Brief Facts About the Shortest Presidential Term

shortest term as president Pedro Lascuráin Mexico less than one hour

Pedro Lascuráin held the highest governmental office in Mexico briefly. Very briefly. In fact, he holds the record for the shortest term in history as a nation’s president. Continue reading

The Getty Kidnapping: How Much is a Grandson’s Life Worth?

 

Jean Paul Getty refused ransom demand for grandson

Jean Paul Getty (1892-1976) was one of the wealthiest man in the world. In 1966 the Guinness Book of Records named him as the wealthiest man on the planet with a fortune of $1.2 billion ($9.1 billion in 2017). He earned his fortune in the oil business, and in 1996 The Wealthy 100 ranked him as the 67th richest American who ever lived. Continue reading

Scotland Did Not Always Give Sports a Sporting Chance

King James I Banned football soccer in Scotland
Scotland is known for its passionate football (American soccer) fans, and it is recognized as the birthplace of golf and home to the most famous golf courses in the world. Did you know that both sports were once illegal throughout the land? Continue reading

Close Doesn’t Count in Patent Race 

Alexander Graham Bell controversy Elisha Gray telephone invention patent
Elisha Gray (left) and Alexander Graham Bell (right)

February 14, 1876 was a big day for Elisha Gray. That was the day he filed his application for a patent for his revolutionary new invention. His device promised to unite the world as never before by allowing a person to speak to and hear another person miles away by sending the voices through a tiny electrical wire. That miraculous device would be called the telephone.  Continue reading

Letting the Dead Rest in Peace

coffin torpedo grave robbers body snatchers

Grave robbery was not something that just showed up in Frankenstein stories. In the last half of the 19th century, human corpses were in high demand by medical schools, and the body snatching market grew in response. No one’s remains were considered off limits. Extraordinary measures had to be taken to protect the body of President Abraham Lincoln.  One notable person whose body was stolen was John Scott Harrison, the only man who was both the son of a US President (William Henry Harrison) and the father of a US President (Benjamin Harrison). Outrage over the theft of his mortal remains sparked the first landmark legislation to address the growing problem. Continue reading

When POTUS Has to Ask for Mommy’s Help

JFK letter to mother Kruschev autograph

He may have been the most powerful man in the world, but John F. Kennedy learned that there are some things even the President of the United States can’t do. He commanded a military of nearly 3 million people who would follow his orders without question, but there was one person to whom he needed to say, “Please.” That person who could reduce POTUS to a little boy was none other than his mother. Continue reading

Furniture for the Truly Special Occasions

Queen Elizabeth II throne room
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s thrones (upper left), the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace (upper right), and the only time the Queen’s throne has been used (lower right).

To be a monarch means that you have a throne. Most traditional concepts of kings and queens are indelibly connected to the throne, the ultimate seat of power. Queen Elizabeth II has a Throne Room in Buckingham Palace. Appropriately enough, the focal point of the room is her throne. Right beside it is the throne for Prince Phillip. Curiously enough, the Queen has used that throne only once, Continue reading