None of the following is exactly earth-shaking information, but on the other hand, it does offer you some tidbits with which to dazzle your friends next time you’re sitting around looking for a topic of conversation. So, instead of the usual “weather” chit-chat, try something like this ...
• On July 26, 1955, a fellow named Ted Allen set a world record for the game of horseshoes. Incredibly, he pitched 72 consecutive ringers.
If you’ve ever played that tricky game, you know how difficult it would be to achieve such a milestone.
• Back in 1902, the city of St. Pierre, on the Caribbean island of Martinique, was completely destroyed in three minutes when Mt. Pelee erupted. About 30,000 inhabitants of St. Pierre died in the eruption and only one man survived. Ironically, he had been locked up in a deep underground jail cell.
Talk about being in the right place at the right time.
• Back in the 1400s in Italy, girls believed that sitting in the moonlight would make them beautiful. On bright moonlit nights, girls sat out in the moonshine thinking that the powerful moonbeams would put more highlights in their hair. They considered this to be essential to beauty.
• Istanbul, Turkey, is the only city in the world located on two continents. Half the city is in Europe and the other half is across the Dardanelles in Asia.
• Only one of these three may have actually existed: William Tell, Arthur of Camelot or Casey at the Bat. Do you know which one was possibly real?
Historians still argue over whether or not Arthur actually existed. Historical documents for the post-Roman period are scarce, so a definitive answer to the question of Arthur's historical existence is unlikely (Wikipedia). Sites and places have been identified as “Arthurian” since the 12th century, but archaeology can confidently reveal names only through inscriptions found in secure contexts. The so-called “Arthur stone,” discovered in 1998 among the ruins at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall — said in the 12th century by Geoffrey of Monmouth to be Arthur’s birthplace — is securely dated to the sixth-century and created a brief stir, but has been proven to be irrelevant. The name Artognou on the stone was proposed as a variant of Arthur, but has since been rejected.
Other inscriptional evidence for Arthur, including the Glastonbury cross, is tainted with the suggestion of forgery. Although several historical figures have been proposed as the basis for Arthur, no convincing evidence for these identifications has emerged.
On the other hand, William Tell and “Casey at the Bat” are both known to be fiction. Good stories, mind you, but still fiction.
• In the United States on a typical day, about four people call Graceland to talk to Elvis. Sorry, he’s left the building.
• What was the name of the first American-made mass-manufactured compact car? It was the 1939 Crosley, a two-door convertible that weighed under 1,000-pounds (454 kilograms) and sold for US $250.
• We can relate to this one since our weather changes so rapidly. The record for the greatest temperature change in a 24-hour period occurred on January 24, 1916, in Browning, Montana, when the temperature dropped from 44°F (7°C) to -56°F (-49°C), a 100 degree difference. That certainly makes dressing for the weather a challenge.
• How did the frankfurter come to be known as the hot dog?
Cartoonist T.A. Dorgan is said to have came up with the name hot dog, because the shape of a frankfurter reminded him of the shape of a long, narrow Dachshund dog, but the term was already in use when he used it in a cartoon panel. On the other hand, he did come up with a number of slang names, such as drugstore cowboy, cat’s meow and cheaters (eye-glasses).
The earliest known usage of hot dog in clear reference to sausage, found by Fred R. Shapiro, appeared in the December 31, 1892, issue of the Paterson (New Jersey) Daily Press. The story concerned a local traveling vendor, Thomas Francis Xavier Morris, who was also known as “Hot Dog Morris.”
• How’s this for a perspective on our importance in the universal scheme of things? If the earth's history could be compressed into a single year, the first eight months would be completely without life, the next two would see only the most primitive creatures, mammals wouldn’t appear until the second week in December, Homo sapiens wouldn't make the scene until 11:45 p.m. on December 31, and the entire period of mankind’s written history would occupy only the final 60 seconds before midnight.
See how your memory does on these nostalgic questions (answers follow):
1. After the Lone Ranger saved the day and rode off into the sunset, the grateful citizens would ask: “Who was that masked man?” Invariably, someone would answer, “I don't know, but he left this behind.”
What did he leave behind?
2. When the Beatles first came to the U.S. in early 1964, we all watched them on The ___ _________ Show.
3. “Get your kicks, ____ ________ ____.”
4. “The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to ________ ____ _______.”
5. “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, ___ _____ _____ __________.”
1. The Lone Ranger left behind a silver bullet.
2. Ed Sullivan.
3. “on Route 66.”
4. “protect the innocent.”
5. “the lion sleeps tonight.”