How Multi-Talented Was Picasso Compared To Renaissance Men Like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo?

Pablo Picasso was an amazing and prolific painter. However, unlike Michelangelo, who was also an accomplished poet, or Leonardo, who dabbled brilliantly in the fields of science, math, philosophy, and music, Picasso’s genius in painting did not overlap into other fields. For example, when he tried his hand at writing plays, he took just four … Read more

Which Famous Artist Painted the Most Self Portraits and Why?

Of the world’s famous painters, Rembrandt painted the most self portraits, with 62 self-portraits. Vincent van Gogh is number two, with 40. He had a good excuse, though, while institutionalized for madness, he didn’t have models or landscape views available. One of his portraits is Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, painted in the mental institution not … Read more

Which Has the Biggest Face, the Sphinx, the Statue of Liberty, Or the Presidents On Mount Rushmore?

Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson on Mount Rushmore all have the biggest faces, and win by a nose. The boys on Mount Rushmore each have faces about 60 feet tall. The Sphinx’s face is about half that size, and Liberty’s is only about two-thirds the size of the Sphinx’s face. The … Read more

How Did They Decide Which Presidents To Carve Into Mount Rushmore and Where Did the Idea Come From?

Mount Rushmore

In 1923, South Dakota’s tourism board got the idea to carve western heroes Kit Carson, Jim Bridger, and John Colter into a mountain to attract out-of-state tourists. They approached John Gutzon Borglum, who had just accepted a commission to carve Robert E. Lee on the side of Georgia’s Stone Mountain. Borglum hated the idea of … Read more

What Are Sno Balls and How Many Different Colors Does a Hostess Sno Ball Come In?

Hostess Sno Balls Blue

Hostess Sno Balls are spongy half-domes of cake and marshmallow, and traditionally come in white and pink. But the Hostess company isn’t beyond surprising consumers with special colors on holidays or for special events. For example, when the Broncos made the NFL play-offs, the Hostess bakery in Denver filled each package with one orange and … Read more

Who Was Dr. Pepper and Where Did Dr. Pepper Come From?

Unlike Dr. Brown, Dr. Pepper was very much a real person, Dr. Kenneth Pepper of Rural Retreat, Virginia. The story goes that the founder and creator of the Dr. Pepper Company, Wade Morrison, got his first job at Pepper’s pharmacy in the 1880s. Morrison eventually left and settled in Waco, Texas, where he opened his … Read more

What Makes Root Beer Foam More Than Other Types of Soft Drinks and Why Is Root Beer Frothy?

The extract from the yucca plant makes root beer foam more than other soft drinks. Not all commercial root beer companies add this, though. Some are downright ornery when it comes to the subject of froth. Barq’s, for instance, decided to focus more heavily on carbonation instead of worrying about frothiness. Rick Hill, a Barq’s … Read more

What Are the Names of Snoopy’s Brothers and Sisters In Charles Schulz’s Peanuts Comic Strip?

Here is the order in which Snoopy’s brothers and sisters were introduced in Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip: Spike, Belle, Marbles, Olaf, and Andy. Once, Snoopy’s father received a Father’s Day card from “all eight” of his kids, so there are two more whose names we don’t know. The original drawings of Snoopy were inspired … Read more

Who Invented Kool-Aid and How Did Kool-Aid Get Its Name?

kool-aid packets

You would think Fruit Smack would have been a better name for Kool-Aid. Kool-Aid was invented by Edwin Perkins and his wife Kitty in Hastings, Nebraska, United States. Perkins wanted to do what Jell-O had done, so he kept concocting until he came up with a powdered concentrate for his fruit-flavored drink. He named it … Read more

How Did Duke Ellington Get His Nickname and What Was Duke Ellington’s Real Name?

Duke Ellington’s real name was Edward Kennedy Ellington, a successful big-band leader and composer of more than 2,000 musical works, got his noble nickname because he had a dignified bearing. The name may have been influenced by its similarity to “the Duke of Wellington,” who was famous in schoolbooks for defeating Napoleon in the 1800s. … Read more

When Were Arthur Sullivan and William Gilbert Knighted By Queen Victoria For Their Comic Operas?

William Gilbert had to wait until Queen Victoria died before he was knighted. It’s true that Gilbert and Sullivan were both talented men and they equally contributed to the operettas that made them famous. However, Victoria “was not amused” at Gilbert’s lyrics, especially the devastating satires of her governmental officials. She didn’t hold Sullivan’s music … Read more

Who Invented the First Keyboard Synthesizer and When Was the First Synthesizer Created?

Robert Moog built the first Moog synthesizer in 1964. The electronic instrument was enormous and could play only one note at a time. When Walter Carlos recorded Switched on Bach on it, he had to laboriously build Bach’s chords and counterpoint by repeatedly recording separate tracks on tape. In 1970, advances in electronic miniaturization and … Read more

Which Month Is Most Popular For Suicides and Why Does December Have the Highest Number of Suicides?

The month of December does not have the highest number of suicides, it is a popular misconception. It’s true that many people go through a seasonal depression around the winter holidays for reasons as diverse as sad memories and shortened daylight. Still, statistics show that December and January have the lowest rates of suicide. In … Read more

Why Is Bullfighting Illegal In the United States?

As long as the matador does not harm or kill the bull, bullfighting is legal in the United States. Detroit is one city that has featured bloodless bullfighting, bringing in some of the best Spanish and Mexican bullfighters to demonstrate their skills, speed, and courage without doing overt harm to the animals. In Portugal it … Read more

How Big Is a Polo Ball and What Is a Polo Ball Made Of?

Traditionally a polo ball is made of willow root, but hard plastic has made significant inroads in the game. The outdoor polo ball is about 3¼ inches in diameter and weighs about four ounces. For indoor polo, players bat around an inflated leather ball 4 1/2 inches in diameter. The oldest polo ground in the … Read more

What Sports Originated In the United States?

There are at least three sports that originated in the United States. Basketball, Volleyball, invented in Holyoke, Massachusetts, by William Morgan in 1895, for sedentary businessmen who found the new sport of basketball too strenuous. Rodeo, first formalized as a sport in Prescott, Arizona.

What Happened To Shoeless Joe Jackson After the 1919 World Series Scandal?

Shoeless Joe Jackson and eight other White Sox players were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series against Cincinnati, and were thrown out of baseball forever, even though they were acquitted of criminal charges. For 10 years afterward, Jackson, one of the best baseballers ever, played semipro around the country under various assumed names. When … Read more

What Is the Ceremony That Is Performed Before a Sumo Match Called and How Is dohyō-iri Performed?

Each sumo match is preceded by an elaborate ceremony called dohyō-iri which is based on Shintoist traditions. The judges file into the ring with attendants and sword bearers. Each official is supplied with a small ceremonial dagger, originally provided so that he could disembowel himself if he gave a miscall. They perform a short ritual … Read more

Why Was Robert E. Lee’s Mother Buried Alive In Virginia?

Anne Carter Lee, the Southern general’s mother, suffered from cataleptic spells that caused her to fall unconscious and grow rigid with tremors. As the story goes, she was mistaken for dead during one of these spells and buried in the family plot in Virginia. Hearing a noise a while later, one of the servants called … Read more

How Did the Hearse Funeral Car Get Its Name and What Does Hearse Mean In Norman Language?

Here’s how the Hearse funeral car got its name. It all began with the huge, elaborate candelabras that the ancient Normans used in religious ceremonies. Because, upside down, they resembled a type of British plow used under Norman rule, these candlesticks were eventually given the same name, herse. The large candlesticks not only were used … Read more

How Many U.S. Presidents Have Been Related To Each Other?

More U.S. presidents are related to each other than one might think. John Adams and John Quincy Adams were father and son. William Harrison and Benjamin Harrison were grandfather and grandson. James Madison and Zachary Taylor were second cousins. And finally, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt were fifth cousins. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the … Read more

Did Any of the Presidents Invent Anything and What Device Did Abraham Lincoln Invent?

Abraham Lincoln was granted U.S. Patent No. 6,468 12 years before he became the 16th president. The four-digit patent number is a telling indication of just how long ago that was. The device was intended to help grounded steamboats get off shoals and sandbars without jettisoning heavy cargo; it involved inflatable chambers designed to float … Read more

Who Was the Smartest President In the United States and Why?

It’s hard to say for sure who the smartest president in the United States was, but James Garfield must be up there in the top percentile. He was a college professor in ancient languages and literature and once published a mathematical proof of the Pythagorean theorem. An ambidextrous man, Garfield also had a nifty trick … Read more

How Many U.S. Presidents Were Gay and Who Was the Only Bachelor President?

Of course, it’s impossible to know for sure if any former U.S. presidents were gay. However, our only bachelor president, James Buchanan, had that reputation in his lifetime. His longtime roommate, Senator and later Vice President William Rufus De Vane King of Alabama, also never married. According to historians, the two had an inseparable relationship … Read more

How Many U.S. Presidents Were Born In a Log Cabin?

Seven U.S. presidents were born in a log cabin. They included Abe Lincoln, Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan, Andrew Jackson, and James Garfield. A log cabin was the first generation home building erected quickly for frontier shelter. Historically log construction has its roots in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, and the first log cabins were probably built … Read more

Did Shakespeare Ever Mention America In Any of His Plays?

Shakespeare mentioned America once in his plays. In The Comedy of Errors, during a discussion between Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse, Dromio describes a woman, a rather large woman, who, in his mind, is globe shaped. During the course of the conversation, Antipholus urges Dromio to keep pinpointing geographic locations on her large … Read more

Where Did the Story of Frankenstein Come From and Why Did Mary Shelley Stay Up To Write the Story?

frankenstein scaring people

The story of Frankenstein came from a ghost story party in 1816. Nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley, her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, her pregnant stepsister, Claire Clarement, Lord Byron (father of Claire’s unborn child), and Byron’s physician, John Polidori, were all staying together on holiday in Geneva, Switzerland. To fill the long, rainy nights during this stay, … Read more

What Does the “F” In F. Scott Fitzgerald Stand For and What Was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Most Famous Book?

The “F” in F. Scott Fitzgerald stand for Francis. His full name was Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, and yes, he was the second cousin, three times removed, of the Francis Scott Key who wrote the U.S. national anthem. F. Scott Fitzgerald is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, … Read more

Where Did Mayonnaise Come From, What Is Mayonnaise Made Of, and What Does Mayonnaise Mean?

Mayonnaise is typically made from egg yolks, oil, water, vinegar, and some optional sweeteners, preservatives, and thickeners. Mayonnaise got its name from Port Mahon on Minorca, one of the islands of Spain. The word mayonnaise is believed to be a corruption of moyeunaise, from the very old French word moyeu, which means “yolk of egg”. … Read more

What Is Cold Filtered Beer and What Does Cold Filtered Beer Mean?

Cold filtered beer is just an advertising term and clever marketing. All beer is “cold filtered”, it just means using fine screens to remove particulates, including microbes. If combined with sterile handling, the filtering eliminates bacteria, which means that the beer doesn’t have to be pasteurized. Unpasteurized beer can legally be labeled “draft” beer, even … Read more

Who Invented the Comic Strip and Who Was the First Comic Strip Character Ever?

Richard Felton Outcault is widely regarded to have invented the modern comic strip, and was born on January 14, 1863. Outcault’s “Yellow Kid’ is considered the first comic strip character, and appeared in Hearst’s New York Journal in 1896. The Kid was a bald, floppy-eared, buck-toothed, grinning kid in a huge yellow shirt. Barefoot and … Read more