Tidbits You Probably Didn't Know
a little smarter after reading this... The snide
came with it and are not from me (Barb)
The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time
television were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
Coca-Cola was originally green.
Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the US Treasury.
It is possible to lead a cow upstairs but not downstairs. (I wonder who
Smartest dogs: 1) Scottish border collie; 2) Poodle; 3) Golden retriever.
Dumbest: Afghan hound.
Hawaiian alphabet has 12 letters.
Men can read smaller print than women; women can hear better. (Say what?)
Amount American Airlines saved in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served first class: $40,000
City with the most Rolls Royce's per capita: Hong Kong
State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work:
Percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28%; Percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%
Barbie's measurements if she were life size: 39-23-33
Average number of days a West German goes without washing his underwear: 7
Percentage of American men who say they would marry the same woman if they had it to do all over again: 80%
Percentage of American women who say they'd marry the same man: 50%
Cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $6,400
Average number of people airborne over the US any given hour: 61,000.
Percentage of Americans who have visited Disneyland/Disney World: 70%
Average life span of a major league baseball: 7 pitches.
Only President to win a Pulitzer: John F. Kennedy for Profiles in Courage
Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.
The world's youngest parents were 8 and 9 and lived in China in 1910.
The youngest pope was 11 years old.
Iceland consumes more Coca-Cola per capita than any other nation.
First novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer.
In the 1940s, the FCC assigned television's Channel 1 to mobile services (two-way radios in taxicabs, for instance) but did not renumber the
other channel assignments. That is why your TV set has channels 2 and up, but no
The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments
The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating a
letter is uncopyrightable.
Hang On Sloopy is the official rock song of Ohio.
Did you know that there are coffee flavored PEZ?
The reason firehouses have circular stairways is from the days of yore when the engines were pulled by horses. The horses were stabled on
the ground floor and figured out how to walk up straight staircases. (Is this
the same guy who had cows walking up the stars?)
When opossums are playing 'possum, they are not "playing." They actually pass out from sheer terror.
Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:
Spades - King David,
Clubs - Alexander the Great,
Hearts - Charlemagne, and
Diamonds - Julius Caesar.
111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle; if the horse has one front leg in
the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the
horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
(If all four legs are OFF the ground, call the X-Files)
Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them would burn their houses down - hence the expression
"to get fired."
Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2,
but the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.
"I am." is the shortest complete sentence in the English language. (Why?)
The term "the whole 9 yards" came from W.W.II fighter pilots in the South Pacific.
When arming their airplanes on the ground, the .50 caliber machine gun ammo belts measured exactly 27 feet, before being loaded into the
fuselage. If the pilots fired all their ammo at a target, it got "the whole 9 yards."
Hershey's Kisses are called that because the machine that makes
them looks like it's kissing the conveyor belt.
The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything wider than your
An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
The longest recorded flight of a chicken is thirteen seconds.
The Eisenhower interstate system requires that one mile in every
five must be straight. These straight sections are usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.
In every episode of Seinfeld there is a Superman somewhere.
The name Jeep came from the abbreviation used in the army for the "General Purpose" vehicle,
The Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia, has twice as many bathrooms as is necessary. When it was built in the 1940s, the state of Virginia
still had segregation laws requiring separate toilet facilities for blacks and whites.
The cruise liner, Queen Elizabeth II, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns.
The highest point in Pennsylvania is lower than the lowest point in Colorado.
Nutmeg is extremely poisonous if injected intravenously.
If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19.
You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make
change for a dollar.
No NFL team which plays its home games in a domed stadium has ever won a
The first toilet ever seen on television was on "Leave It To
The only two days of the year in which there are no professional sports games
(MLB, NBA, NHL, or NFL) are the day before and the day after the Major League all-stars Game.
Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older.
The name Wendy was made up for the book "Peter Pan."
The nursery rhyme Ring Around the Rosey is a rhyme about the plague Infected people with the plague would get red circular sores
("Ring around the rosey..."), these sores would smell very badly so common folks
would put flowers on their bodies somewhere (inconspicuously), so that it would cover
the smell of the sores ("...a pocket full of posies..."). People who died
from the plague would be burned so as to reduce the possible spread of the disease ("...ashes, ashes, we all fall down!")
FEATURED HISTORY LESSON!
The following came to me some time ago via Sherri Rimmer who hosts the WWOL (Wisdom's Way of Learning) List. The title of her email was "You will *really* enjoy this!" As, indeed, I surely did! This is absolutely fascinating!
And for you time-counters: It would count for both "World History" *and* "Language (Idiom) Origins"! Five whole minutes, maybe? Read slowly and discuss it to get 10 or 15 minutes out of it! ;-) Research the validity of it and get a few
As Sherri said... "I have NO idea how accurate this is, makes sense though!" I have to agree with her! If anyone finds out any more about anything here, please let us know! The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy has a whole chapter just on "idioms"! Anyone else have that? (I don't have time to check right now.)
LIFE IN THE 1500's
Anne Hathaway was the wife of William Shakespeare. She married at the age of 26. This is really unusual for the time. Most people married young, like at the age of 11 or 12. Life was not as romantic as we may picture it.
Here are some examples:~
Anne Hathaway's home was a 3 bedroom house with a small parlor, which was seldom used (only for company), kitchen, and no bathroom.
Mother and Father shared a bedroom. Anne had a queen-sized bed, but did not sleep alone. (This is before she married) She also had 2 other sisters and they shared the bed also with 6 servant girls. They didn't sleep like we do lengthwise but all laid on the bed crosswise. At least they had a bed...
The other bedroom was shared by her 6 brothers and 30 field workers. They didn't have a bed. Everyone just wrapped up in their blanket and slept on the floor. They
had no indoor heating so all the extra bodies kept them warm. SO in their house they had 27 people living.
They were also small people, the men only grew to be about 5'6" and the women were 4'8".
Most people got married in June. Why? They took their yearly bath in May, so they were still smelling pretty good by June, although they were starting to smell, so the brides would carry a bouquet of flowers to hide their b.o.
Like I said, they took their yearly bath in May, but it was just a big tub that they would fill with hot water. The man of the house would get the privilege of the nice
clean water. Then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was pretty thick. Thus, the saying, "don't throw the baby out with the bath water." It was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.
I'll describe their houses a little...You've heard of thatched roofs, well that's all they were. Thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath. They were the only place for the little animals to get warm. So all the pets; dogs, cats and other small animals,
mice, rats, bugs, all lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery, so sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Thus the saying, "it's raining
cats and dogs."
Since there was nothing to stop things from falling into the house, they would just try to clean up a lot. But this posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings from animals could really mess up your nice clean bed, so they found if they would make beds with big posts and hang a sheet over the top it would prevent that problem. That's where those beautiful big 4-poster beds with canopies came from.
When you came into the house you would notice most times that the floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, that's where the saying "dirt poor"
The wealthy would have slate floors. That was fine, but in the winter they would get slippery when they got wet. So they started to spread thresh on the floor to help
keep their footing. As the winter wore on they would just keep adding it and adding it until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. SO they put a piece of wood at the entry way, a "thresh hold".
In the kitchen they would cook over the fire, they had a fireplace in the kitchen/parlor, that was seldom used and sometimes in the master bedroom. They had a big
kettle that always hung over the fire and every day they would light the fire and start adding things to the pot. Mostly they ate vegetables, they didn't get much meat.
They would eat the stew for dinner then leave the leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day.
Sometimes the stew would have food in it that had been in there for a month! Thus the rhyme: "peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine
Sometimes they could get a hold of some pork. They really felt special when that happened and when company came over they even had a rack in the parlor where they would bring out some bacon and hang it to show it off. That was a sign of wealth and that a man "could really bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and they would all sit around and "chew the fat."
If you had money, your plates were made out of pewter. Sometimes some of their food had a high acid content and some of the lead would leach out into the food. They really noticed it happened with tomatoes. So they stopped eating tomatoes -- for 400 years.
Most people didn't have pewter plates though, they all had trenchers, that was a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. They never washed their boards, and a lot of times worms would get into the wood. After eating off the trencher with worms, they would get "trench mouth."
If you were going traveling and wanted to stay at an Inn they usually provided the bed but not the board.
The bread was divided according to status. The workers would get the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family would get the middle, and guests would get the top, or the
They also had lead cups and when they would drink their ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. They would be walking along the road and here would be someone knocked out and they thought they were dead. So they would pick them up and take them home and get them ready to bury. They realized if they were too slow about it, the person would sometimes wake up. Also, maybe not all of the people they were burying were dead. So they would lay them out on the kitchen table for a couple of days, the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. That's where the custom of holding a "wake" came from.
Since England is so old and small they started running out of places to bury people. So they started digging up some coffins and would take their bones to a house and
re-use the grave. They started opening these coffins and found some had scratch marks on the inside. One out of about 25 coffins were that way and they realized they had still been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string on their wrist and lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a
bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night to listen for the bell. That is how the saying "graveyard shift" was made. If the bell would ring, they would know that someone was "saved by the bell" or he was a "dead ringer".