Technorati Tags: ,

 

If it weren’t for the help of a massive influx of French soldiers and sailors fighting on the American side, the British would’ve won the American Revolution.  At the battle of Yorktown, for example, George Washington’s 11,000 soldiers turned the crimson tide of Redcoats with the help of 29,000 French troops.

Most people could walk across Delaware in an afternoon.  The narrowest part of the state is just 8 miles.  The widest part isn’t much bigger – 35 miles.

Ross Bagdasarian, creator of the singing chipmunks – Alvin, Simon, and Theodore – was said to have gotten his inspiration from watching chipmunks in Yosemite, but he named his characters after the officers of his record company.

The guillotine got its name in “honor” of the French politician Joseph Ignace Guillotin, who promoted its use as more humane method of execution than the old block-and-axe method.  Its inventor was  French surgeon, Antoine Lewis.

Have you ever heard of the glass snake?  Despite the fact that it has no legs and looks like a snake with ears, it’s really a lizard.  The glass snake’s long tail breaks off very easily, which is how it got its name.

Lead was commonly used to sweeten wine.  Some historians think it might have contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire.  Although the dangers of lead were understood as early as the 17th century, its use in wine wasn’t banned for another 200 years.

Long before the Druids came along, Stonehenge existed.  Ancient folks built it in three main phases from 2800 to 1500 BC.  Researchers estimate that it took about 20 million work hours and hundreds of years to complete.

Lobsters are not red when alive.  Because the red pigment in their shells is the most heat resistant, it remains colorful even as the natural browns, grays and greens cook away.

The crack of a whip is a small sonic boom that occurs as the lash breaks the sound barrier.

A cuckoo clock reproduces nearly exactly the sound of the European cuckoo bird.

On the Colosseum’s opening day in AD 80, 5,000 animals were killed to entertain the masses.  Procuring exotic animals to slaughter in gladiator spectacles in Rome became a major undertaking.  Several species were rendered extinct by the slaughter, including the North African elephant.

There are five flamingo species, ranging in color from nearly white to deep pink.

Log cabins seem like they’re the essence of Americana, but they originally came from Finland and Sweden.  In the 1630s, Finns and Swedes began settling in and around Delaware, and spread the practical home design to the New Land.

If an octopus released its ink inside an aquarium, it would kill everything inside the glass walls. . .including the octopus.

If you’ve got chrematophobia, you’ve got a deep, unreasonable fear of money.  Send us a blank check, and we’ll quickly cure your problem for you.

Some lizards come with cartilage in their tails that allow them to lose the tail without losing their life.  It’s simple self-preservation.  Some of these lizards can regenerate new tails, but the new tail comes at great cost to the lizard’s overall health.

Francis Cleveland, wife of Grover, was the only First Lady to deliver a baby in the White House.  However, Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph, was the first woman to give birth there.

A cow that sports a black-and-white splotched face is called a brockie.  The word can also mean a person with a dirt-smudged face.

President Millard Fillmore never had any formal education.  Oxford University once offered him an honorary doctorate of Civil Law.  He turned it down, saying, “No man should accept a degree he cannot read.”

J.R.R. Tolkien was a procrastinator, it’s safe to say.  It took him fourteen years to write The Lord of the Rings.  Granted, the epic ran about a thousand pages, and included complex histories and cultures that he made up out of thin air.  But still, he averaged fewer than 100 words per day.  (To compare, this paragraph uses 60 words.)

President Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as president by his own dad, who happened to be a justice of the peace.

Until they got smart in 200 BC, the French didn’t make their own wine.  They bought it from the Italians.  The going price was one slave for a large jug of wine.

Anthropologist James Schaefer studied how music affected the drinking in bars.  He found that people listening to country music drank more than those listening to pop or rock.

The original Rin Tin Tin – dog star of the silent screen – was picked up in Germany by U.S. Army corporal Lee Duncan during World War I.

Wall-climbing lizards don’t have suction cups on their feet.  They have grooves with microscopic bumps that can get a toe-hold on the tiny imperfections on all surfaces, even glass.

The dog days of summer come between July 3 and August 11.  The Egyptians coined the term, believing that Sirius, the Dog Star, helped the sun warm the Earth during that time.

We remember that Benedict Arnold was a traitor, but history also records that he was a great general.  he nearly captured Canada and won a major battle at Saratoga for the revolutionaries, then won battles for the British in Richmond, Virginia, and New London, Connecticutt.  After the war, he moved to London, England.

Rudolph Valentino was the stage name that the silent-screen actor whittled down from his real name.  The original was a little too difficult to work into movie credits:  Rodolfo Alfonzo Raffaelo Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d’Antonguolla.

The longest running newspaper still published in the United States is the Hartford Courant. It was established in 1764.

England’s King George V seems to have been murdered.  He was administered a fatal injection minutes before midnight by his doctor on January 20, 1936.  “It was evident that the last stage might endure for many hours,” wrote the doctor, Lord Dawson, in his journal.  “Dignity demanded a brief final scene, so I decided to determine the end.”

Advertisements