And the Game Goes On… and On… and On….

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Fans of sporting events are known to be so committed to their team that they will endure years of poor performance, shell out big money for season tickets, sit through horrible weather to watch an event, and wear their team’s colors on every possible occasion.

Sometimes fans also have to be prepared to wait. And wait. And wait.  Continue reading

Long-Lasting Laughs

Katzenjammer Kids is the longest-running comic strip

Readers of the December 12, 1897 edition of the New York Journal had no idea that they were seeing something their great-great-grandchildren would still be reading more than a century later. That was the day The Katzenjammer Kids debuted, starting a run that would earn it the distinction of being the longest-running comic strip in history. Continue reading

The Man Who Survived Two Atomic Bombs

Tsutomu Yamaguchi survived two nuclear bombs

Tsutomu Yamaguchi could tell you stories about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He was working for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and on August 6, 1945 his work took him to the city of Hiroshima, Japan. At 8:15 a.m. the sky ignited with the explosion of the first atomic bomb to be used in warfare. The explosion ruptured his eardrums, blinded him temporarily, and left him with serious burns over much of his body.  Continue reading

Ben Franklin Needed a Sarcasm Sign

Benjamin Franklin proposed Daylight Savings Time as a joke

Benjamin Franklin is credited with some of the greatest ideas of all time. Not only was he the inventor of bifocal glasses, the Franklin stove, and lightning rod, but as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, his ideas surpassed scientific inquiry and helped create a nation. In fact, so wide were his interests that he spoke into virtually every area of human interest, and the world continues to feel his influence today in the arts, medical science, economics, cartography, and much, much more.

For those countries that observe Daylight Savings Time, Franklin’s influence is often remembered with resentment twice each year as the nation adjusts to Daylight Savings Time. Remembering to change all the clocks is almost as bad as the feeling of jet lag for a few days as the body tries to catch up with the extra or missing hour. We have Franklin to thank for this phenomenon.

The problem is that he wasn’t really being serious.  Continue reading

An Island of Gallantry

Malta award of George Cross

The George Cross is the second highest award of the United Kingdom honours system. It is awarded for gallantry “not in the face of the enemy” to members of the British armed forces and to civilians.

In 1942 King George VI recognized the heroism exhibited by the people of Malta by awarding the people of the entire island with the George Cross. He awarded this distinction in a hand-written letter on April 15, 1942.

If you wish to address a letter to someone in Malta, the address should end with “Malta, G.C.”

George VI George Cross Malta
Letter from King George VI, awarding the George Cross to the entire population of Malta.

Weird Wagers — Which Would You Do?

Weird wagers and bets

English gambling records reveal some unusal wagers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries:

  • A Captain Bennett bet he could roll a hoop 22 miles in 3½ hours.
  • A Mr. Lloyd bet he could walk 30 miles backwards in 9 hours.
  • Charles Bulpett bet he could ride a mile, run a mile, and walk a mile within 16½ minutes.
  • One individual wagered he could walk 12 miles on stilts in 4½ hours without stopping or stepping off the stilts.
  • Another man bet he could stand on one foot for 12 hours.

The records show that each of these gamblers won their bets, although the man who stood on one foot had to be carried home.

source: Bryan, J. Hodgepodge: a commonplace book. New York, NY: Ballantine , 1986. 294. Print.

This Word for a Tasty Dish is a Real Mouthful

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Aristophanes (427 BC – 386 BC) was groundbreaking with his plays. His skills as a satirist and as a keen observer of everyday life led him to give us one of the most revealing pictures of what life was like in ancient Athens. Continue reading