Whenever the name Napoleon Bonaparte is mentioned, it inevitably brings up images of a short man, laboring under the psychological burden of his diminished physical stature. There's only one problem with this well-known historical fact: it isn't true. Legends about Napoleon's shortness stem from reports, including his autopsy, that placed his height at 5 foot... Continue Reading →
Do you think you know which nation has the most time zones? Think again, because the answer may surprise you. Common sense tells us it should be Russia. The largest nation in the world should cover the most time zones, right? If your answer was Russia, you are incorrect. While Russia does boast an impressive... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
The oldest bridge in Paris, France is Pont Neuf. The name means "New Bridge."
Half of all male babies born in France in 1890 were killed or maimed during World War I. source
The world record for the longest novel ever published goes to A la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust. It was published in 13 volumes beginning in 1912. With an estimated 9,609,000 characters (each letter counts as one character. Spaces are also counted, as one character each), it came out at 4,215 pages in... Continue Reading →
The longest tournament chess game, in terms of moves, ever to be played was Ivan Nikolic vs. Goran Arsovic in Belgrade, Serbia in 1989 The game lasted for 269 moves and took 20 hours and 15 minutes to complete. It ended in a draw. The longest decisive tournament game was Viktor Kortchnoi vs. Laurent Fressinet,... Continue Reading →
Pierre de Fermat (1605-1665) wrote in the margin of a book, "I have discovered a truly remarkable proof of this theorem which this margin is too small to contain." He then died. It took 357 years before his proof was rediscovered by Andrew Wiles in 1994. The theorem was noted by Guinness Book of World Records as... Continue Reading →
A French lady to an American who was trying to converse in French: "How wise of you not to attempt the French accent!" source
The Duke of Windsor's visits with French troops in the early days of World War II were helpful in boosting morale, but his flaccid grasp of the French language sometimes resulted in unintended levity. At one luncheon where he was the guest of the French Army, he remarked that after the war, France and England... Continue Reading →
Voltaire wrote of Shakespeare's Hamlet, "It is a vulgar and barbarous drama, which would not be tolerated by the vilest populace of France, or Italy.... One would imagine this piece to be the work of a drunken savage."
Jean de La Fontaine was a 17th century French author who wrote simple animal stories that contained elements of satire and social criticism. He was famous for his absentmindedness. He once called at the house of a friend whom he hadn't seen in some time. When reminded that his friend had died six months earlier,... Continue Reading →
King Louis XIX succeeded to the throne of France upon the abdication of his father, Charles X. Twenty minutes later he abdicated in favor of Henry V.
Victor Lustig was one of the most successful con men of all time. His first con was to show people a device that could print $100 bills. The only problem, he would tell them, is that it only prints one bill every six hours. Many people paid him enormous amounts of money (usually over... Continue Reading →