The Buick Motor Company originated as the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company in 1899, and was named after David Buick. He had the bad luck and poor business sense to found two successful companies and sell them both before reaping the rewards. By the end of his life, he couldn’t even afford a telephone in […]
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 […]
There are several bridges over the Thames, which flows through London. In fact, the bridge in question is only one of several bridges that have been named London Bridge through history. After the wooden London Bridge was torn down by the Danes in 1014, city leaders were determined that the next London Bridge would be […]
To get a one year assignment as a hotdogger, you have to be a recent college graduate, preferably in the field of communications, journalism, advertising, or public relations. Be aware, though, that competition is stiff. The company gets about 1,000 applicants a year. For the 1999-2000 year, they hired 21 hotdoggers, 15 of them women. […]
Disney World has only been closed for one day on September 15, 1999 since it opened in 1971. Although Disney World has shut down early or opened late for many reasons over the years, Hurricane Floyd in September 1995 has been the only event compelling enough to close down Disney’s Florida amusement park for an […]
Here’s how morticians keep a dead person’s mouth shut. Before embalming, it wasn’t uncommon to tie gauze or string around the chin and head until rigor mortis set in. Today undertakers pass a suture through the nasal septum and tie it to the lower lip. Or they use an injector needle gun to place wires […]
Illinois Avenue is the most landed space in Monopoly. It is followed by B&O Railroad, Free Parking, Tennessee Avenue, New York Avenue, and Reading Railroad. Monopoly is a redesign of an earlier game “The Landlord’s Game”, which was first published by the Quaker and political activist Elizabeth Magie. Monopoly is also the most played commercial […]
A gold record was one that sold a million copies and a platinum was a record that sold two million copies. But standards were loosened in the record industry in 1989, ostensibly because compact disks cost more than vinyl records and so should count more. A gold record used to take sales of a million […]
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 […]
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 […]
Picasso did smoke, and he credited cigar smoke with saving his life. The story that he told was that he had been born grey and wasn’t breathing. The midwife thought he was dead, but luckily an uncle, who was a doctor, decided to try something desperate, he blew cigar smoke into the infant’s nose. The […]
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”. […]
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 […]
The Sphinx is the giant statue of a lion with the face of the pharoah Khafre that guards the pyramids. You may have heard a story of what happened to the Sphinx’s nose, that somebody or other shot it off. But this is just an old legend, and with each telling the culprit changes. Some […]
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, […]
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 […]
Pepsi got its name from one of its main ingredients, pepsin, a substance used to relieve indigestion. When pharmacist Caleb Bradham concocted the kola nut, pepsin, sugar, and vanilla mixture in 1893, he called it Brad’s Drink. When it became popular, he changed the name in 1903 and began the PepsiCola company. Bradham, who was […]
Elvis Presley did no give any encores for any of his concerts. Instead, the lights would come up and an announcer would say, “Elvis has left the building.” Perhaps this is a good idea, why should audience members have to beg and applaud in order to finally hear a performer’s best song?
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
Although Chicago is called the Windy City, truth be told, it’s a wimp in comparison to the big boys. Chicago comes in 21st in a top 68 list of windiest cities. Cheyenne, Wyoming is the windiest city in the United States. The average speed of Cheyenne’s wind is about 12.9 miles per hour, while Chicago’s […]
A traditional version of the classic tale “Little Red Riding Hood” was banned in the town of Empire, California, in 1990. Ironically, it wasn’t because of the sexual undertones in the story of the beautiful young girl being seduced by the aggressive, conniving wolf, or the gory attack on the grandmother. Nor was it because […]
The word Bronx is the possessive form of “Bronk.” In 1639, Jonas Bronk, or Bronck, moved into the area and laid claim to the place, naming a river, burgs, and streets after himself. The Dutch made “Bronk’s” easier to write by using their possessive “x” and spelling it “Bronx.” The Bronx is the northernmost of […]
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 […]
The main purpose of putting makeup on the dead is to make them look as life-like as possible for the viewing. This isn’t always easy, as blood pools after death, sometimes from broken or clogged blood vessels, sometimes because the body has been left in one position for a while. The embalming procedure helps: since […]
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 […]
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.
Postum is a drink made of bran and molasses that was originally concocted as a substitute for coffee and a digestive aid. C. W. Post created Postum in 1895, then had to convince people to buy and consume Postum instead of coffee. So he did what every desperate businessman would do: scared the bejeebers out […]
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 […]
The word computer first appeared in the seventeenth century as the job title of a person who did calculations as an occupation. Most human computers weren’t paid very much, just like the Information Technology workers of today, even though their job descriptions are slightly different. Although slide rules were sometimes called computers, it wasn’t until […]
Japan’s population is expected to drop to 95 million by 2050. In 2011 about 127,960,000 lived in Japan, and in the 2010 census the population of Japan was 128,056,026. Yup, that means the country’s population decreased. The main reason for the decline can be blamed on a low birth rate, Japan’s birth rate has been […]
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. […]
What Does the Saying Started At Pudding and Ended At Pie Mean and Where Did the Expression Come From?
Started at pudding and ended at pie is a British saying that has come to mean anything all-encompassing or far-reaching; figuratively, from one end of town to the other. The origin of the phrase dates back to the Great Fire of London on September 2, 1666, which started in the royal baker’s house on Pudding […]
Where Did the Custom of Using Xs as Kisses at the Bottom of a Letter Come From and What Did it Mean Originally?
During medieval times, most people could neither read nor write. Even those who could sign their names were required to follow it with an X, symbolizing the cross of St. Andrew, or the contract would be invalid. Those who couldn’t write their names still had to end the contract with the X to make it […]
It has been a rumor since the 1930s that Dr. Pepper is made out of prune juice, but it’s not true. Prune juice has never been in Dr. Pepper. So what is the flavor? According to inside sources, the original soda jerk who concocted the brew was looking to duplicate the sweet smells of a […]