What Do You Do When You Accidentally Build a Fort In the Wrong Country?

Fresh from its victory against the British in the War of 1812, the United States was eager to secure its northern border. Lake Champlain had been the entry point for several British invasions, so it was the logical place to build a fort. In 1818 the work was commenced on the massive structure. The design... Continue Reading →


Hawaii’s Special Wartime Currency

With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States found itself preparing for the unthinkable: what would happen if Hawaii fell under Japanese occupation? One of the many considerations was what to do about the money. As long as Hawaii remained under U.S. control, Hawaiians had to have full and... Continue Reading →

Moo-ve Over Toto… We’re Not in Doggyland Anymore

Who can imagine The Wizard of Oz without Dorothy's faithful canine friend, Toto? Apparently, the author, L. Frank Baum, could envision such a thing. In the original stage production in 1902, Baum replaced Toto with a cow named Imogene. Long before Toto earned more money than some of the actors, Baum envisioned Dorothy's closest friend as a... Continue Reading →

When Rabbits Take On the World’s Most Powerful Men

When the vicious, decapitating Rabbit of Caerbannog appeared in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, most people thought it was humorous. If Napoleon Bonaparte and Jimmy Carter had watched the film, it's doubtful they would have been laughing. They could tell you stories about their own brushes with the long-eared, cotton-tailed harbingers of death. Napoleon was... Continue Reading →

The Rough Rider was an Inked Rider

President Theodore Roosevelt is the only president confirmed to have had a tattoo. Rumors abound that Franklin D. Roosevelt, James K. Polk, Andrew Jackson and Dwight D. Eisenhower also sported body art, but none of those rumors were ever substantiated. Theodore Roosevelt, who was famously known as the Rough Rider, bore a tattoo image of... Continue Reading →

Visit the Birthplace — and Gravesite — of the First Nuclear Reactor

The first controlled nuclear chain reaction created a huge leap forward in scientific achievement. It also created an enduring problem: what to do with the world's first nuclear waste. The achievement and the dilemma can be visited just outside Chicago, Illinois, at Red Gate Woods. Red Gate Woods is part of a forest preserve within... Continue Reading →

Where To Go to Get Away From it All

If you are looking to get away from it all, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better venue than Bouvet Island. Located at the southern end of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, approximately 1,600 miles (2,600 km) south-southwest of the coast of South Africa and approximately 1,100 miles (1,700 km) north of the Princess Astrid Coast of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica, it is officially the most... Continue Reading →

Visit the Monument to the Giant Octopus Attack — That Never Happened

Who can forget the tragedy when the passengers of the ferry Cornelius G. Kloff met their watery deaths in the clutches of a giant octopus? You need only gaze upon the horrifying image at the Staten Island Ferry Disaster Memorial, and you can practically hear the frantic screams of the 400 victims as the boat... Continue Reading →

May 1 — a Day for Kings


May 1st in history:

May 1st seems to be a big day for “kings” …

On May 1st of 1328, the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton recognized the Kingdom of Scotland as independent from the Kingdom of England. That declaration was reversed exactly 379 years later – May 1st, 1707 – when the Act of Union joined the Kingdoms of Scotland and England to form Great Britain.

King Kamehameha I established the Kingdom of Hawai’i on this date in 1785.

The star of “Blue Hawaii,” Elvis Presley (the King of Rock and Roll), married Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas on May 1st, 1967.

The Empire State Building, a popular hangout of King Kong, was dedicated in New York on May 1st, 1931.

An obituary of Jack Paar called him the original “King of Late Night,” as host of the “Tonight Show” in the late ’50s and early ’60s.  Paar was born on…

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