- In 1957 the BBC reported that due to the elimination of the spaghetti weevil farmers in Switzerland had good crop this year. The broadcast showed women picking spaghetti off trees. The station was flooded with calls from viewers wondering how they could grow spaghetti.
- In 1985 Sports Illustrated published an article about a pitcher named Sidd Finch. He was rookie pitcher for the New York Mets and could throw a fastball clocked at 168 miles per hour.
- In 1996 the Taco Bell Corporation announced that it had purchased the Liberty Bell from the United States Government and had renamed it the Taco Bell Liberty Bell. To add to the confusion White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry responded to questions by saying the Lincoln memorial had also been sold and was going to be renamed the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.
- In 1998 in an article in the New Mexicans for Science and Reason Newsletter, published an article claiming the state legislature of Alabama had changed the value of PI. The value of 3.14159 was being replaced with the ‘biblical value’ of 3.0. The information was published on the Internet, and hundreds of calls came into the Alabama state legislature.
- Also in 1998 Burger King took out a full-page ad for the ‘Left-Handed Whopper’. The condiments inside of the Whopper were optimized for the tasting pleasure of left-handed customers. Thousands of people went to Burger Kings that day looking for the left-handed whopper.
- The April 1985 issue of Discover Magazine featured a picture of a hot headed naked ice borer. The species was discovered in Antarctica, and had a bony forehead plate that was filled with blood vessels. These plates became heated and allowed the animals to make holes and travel through the ice at high velocities. These animals hid under the ice and attacked penguins. The article generated more mail than any other article in the history of the magazine.
Hardness is the measure of one structure hardness against another. French mineralologist proposed a relative scale to measure one substances ability to scratch another’s. The lower the number the softer the material, the higher the number harder the material. [Read more…]
Cinco de Mayo celebrations are becoming increasingly more popular in the United States. The largest celebration occur in cities along the US and Mexico border, especially in Texas and California. Celebrations are also becoming popular in cities with a large Spanish or Mexican populations. Outdoor or street fairs with live music, dancing and street food can be found across the country.Photo by Christian Frausto Bernal
The origin of Valentine’s Day comes from the Roman feast of Lupercalia. The Lupercalia celebration was a pagan tradition that started around the third century A.D. Roman shepherds kept their flocks outside the city in nearby fields. These flocks were often attacked by packs of wolves. Lupercus was a god who watched over the shepherds and their flocks and protected them from the wolf packs. In February the Romans honored Lupercus with a feast called the Lupercalia. Sacrifices and offerings were made to Lupercalia, who in return would protect the flocks in the upcoming year.
During the feast of Lupercalia offerings were made to the goddess Juno. The names of all the young women were put into a box and drawn by the young men. Each boy was matched to the girl whose name he drew out, and they were considered partners for the rest of the year.
The origins of Santa Claus can be traced back to a monk who lived hundreds of years ago. This monk named Nicholas is believed to have been born in the small town in an area that is now inside Turkey around 280 AD. Nicholas is said to have inherited a large sum, which he gave away. There are many legends or stories about the kindness of Nicholas the most famous, involved him providing a dowry for three sisters to prevent them from being sold into slavery or prostitution. The exact date of Nicholas death is uncertain, current belief is that it is December 6th in 345 or 352 AD, when he became known as Saint Nicholas.
After the Protestant reformation Saint Nicholas was one of the few saints to remain in good standing with the people. Saint Nicholas started to become popular in America at the end of the 18th century, when Dutch immigrants celebrated the anniversary of his death. The name Santa Claus evolved from the Dutch version of Saint Nicholas, sint Nikolaas, and eventually became shortened to Sinter Klaas. In the early 1800’s New York Historical Society member John Pintard distributed woodcarvings with the images of Santa Claus, followed by Washington Irving’s book The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon. At this time the images used to represent Santa Claus varied widely.
The current image we have is partly due to Episcopalian minister Clement Clarke Moore. In 1822 he wrote a poem for his children ‘An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas’. This poem fleshed out many of the traits still present today as a full figured jolly bearded man, who entered houses thru the chimney. He even gave names to the Santa’s eight reindeer (Rudolf comes much later) that pulled his magical red sleigh thru the air on Christmas Eve. Political cartoonist Thomas Nast filled in the remaining details of Santa’s appearance in his comic strip in Harpers weekly. He gave Santa his bright red suit and hat, full white beard. He also set Santa’s workshop at the North Pole, where he lived with Mrs. Claus and his toy making elves.
In the 1930’s the Coca-Cola Company was looking for ways to boost it’s sales in the winter months. Illustrator Haddon Sundblom created a series of advertising illustrations with Santa Claus giving, receiving and drinking Coca Cola. The marketing campaign was a success, and brought this version of Santa into pop-culture of the time. While Coca-Cola is often credited with inventing Santa or this particular version of Santa this is nothing more than an urban legend.
In the 1840’s stores began to advertise for Christmas and holiday merchandise. One industrious department store in Philadelphia went as far as to make a life size statue of Santa that was visited by thousands of children. Shortly after this department stores began to have their own live Santa for children
People born in the year of the dragon are usually filled with energy, excitement and are very healthy. They also tend to be honest, sensitive, and brave inspiring trust from others. However they also tend to be short tempered and very stubborn.
Photo credit: beggs
The origins of Christmas date back to the ancient world, and pagan festivals. Before the birth of Jesus ancient people celebrated the passing of darkest days of winter, with a winter solstice festival. [Read more…]
July’s birthstone is traditionally the Ruby. Its deep red color symbolizes passion and love, and is often associated with fire. This Ruby is mentioned in ancient texts, including the bible, and has been sought after by royalty and nobility for generations.
The glowing ruby shall adorn
Those who in warm July are born
They will be exempt and free
From love doubt and anxiety.
The ruby has been prized throughout history is mentioned in the Bible and ancient Sanskrit texts. In India it was believed that the ruby gave its wearer a long life. In Myanmar (Burma) warriors thought rubies made them unconquerable in battle. The fiery crimson color of rubies caused many civilizations to associate them with passion, love and romance. The ruby is July Birthstone and the traditional fortieth anniversary gift.
The origin of the word Ruby comes from the Latin word for red, rubber. While the most sought after color for a ruby is red, it also comes in pink, purple, and orange.
The Ruby is produced Afghanistan, Madagascar, Myanmar (Burma), Kenya, and throughout Southeast Asia. On Mohs Hardness Scale the ruby has hardness on 9.
Each year children dress up in Halloween Costumes knocking on doors Trick or Treating for Halloween Candy. Halloween occurs each year on October 31st, and is celebrated in most of the western world including countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.
- Halloween is a contraction of Hallowee’en or All Hollows Eve. All Hallows eve is the night before All Souls Day (sometimes known as All Saints Day). It originated in Ireland with the Druids and other pagan religion until it was absorbed and changed by Christina missionaries (like Christmas and Easter). Today pagans and modern day Wiccans along with many Spanish speaking countries like Mexico consider Halloween part of the Day of the Dead Celebration.
The history of Valentine’s Day can be traced back to the pagan festival of Lupercalia. In modern times it became associated with Saint Valentine the martyr. Saint Valentine is best known for secretly marrying couples during the time of emperor Claudius II. Claudius II was a warlike emperor who had a hard time building his armies. He believed men were less likely to join because they had wives and families, so he cancelled all engaments and forbid any new marriages. Saint Valentine continued to perform marriage ceremonies in secret. When he was caught he was thrown in the dungeons, where he was befriended by the jailers blind daughter. He is said to have miraculously cured her blindness. Eventually he was sentenced to death clubbed and beheaded on February 14th. He is said to have left a note for the jailer’s daughter that was signed ‘from your Valentine.’
In later times the leaders of the Christian church were eager to do away with the pagan festivals and replaced Lupercalia with the feast day of Saint valentine. However, the tradition of young men choosing young maidens continued on.
By the beginning of the 18th century in Europe it was commonplace that friends and lovers exchanged notes, poetry, or small gifts. The first Valentine’s card is credited to Esther A. Howland in the 1840’s. By the end of the century with mass production and improved commercial printing, store bought cards had begun to replace hand made notes.
Today Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the United States, Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Australia.