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A Penny For Your Thoughts

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The Formation of the American Society (okay, I have no idea what that means, but it sounds good, right?)...

The first man to distill bourbon whiskey in the United States was a Baptist preacher, in 1789.

The Aztec Indians of Mexico believed turquoise would protect them from physical harm, and so warriors used these green and blue stones to decorate their battle shields.

More than 5,000 years ago, the Chinese discovered how to make silk from silkworm cocoons. For about 3,000 years, the Chinese kept this discovery a secret. Because poor people could not afford real silk, they tried to make other cloth look silky. Women would beat on cotton with sticks to soften the fibers. Then they rubbed it against a big stone to make it shiny. The shiny cotton was called "chintz." Because chintz was a cheaper copy of silk, calling something "chintzy" means it is cheap and not of good quality.

The pharaohs of ancient Egypt wore garments made with thin threads of beaten gold. Some fabrics had up to 500 gold threads per one inch of cloth.

The ancient Egyptians recommended mixing half an onion with beer foam as a way of warding off death.

The Chinese, in olden days, used marijuana only as a remedy for dysentery.

"Scientific America" carried the first magazine automobile ad in 1898. The Winton Motor Car Company of Cleveland, OH, invited readers to "dispense with a horse".

In France - Captain Sarret made the first parachute jump from an airplane in 1918.

The first paperback book was printed - by Penguin Publishing in 1935.

In 1956 the phrase, "In God We Trust", was adopted as the U.S. national motto.

Henry Ford flatly stated that history is "bunk."

The first Eskimo Bible was printed in Copenhagen in 1744.

The last words spoken from the moon were from Eugene Cernan, Commander of the Apollo 17 Mission on 11 December 1972. "As we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came, and, God willing, we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind."

Virginia O'Hanlon Douglas was the eight-year-old girl who, in 1897, asked the staff of The New York Sun whether Santa Claus existed. In the now-famous editorial, Francis Church assured Virginia that yes, indeed, "there is a Santa Claus."

The first dictionary of American English was published on April 14th, 1828, by - who else? - Noah Webster.

No automobile made after 1924 should be designated as antique.

John Hancock was the only one of fifty signers of the Declaration of Independence who actually signed it on July 4.

The first United States coast to coast airplane flight occurred in 1911 and took 49 days.

Escape maps, compasses, and files were inserted into Monopoly game boards and smuggled into POW camps inside Germany during W.W.II; real money for escapees was slipped into the packs of Monopoly money.

Values on the Monopoly gameboard are the same today as they were in 1935.

Incan soldiers invented the process of freeze-drying food. The process was primitive but effective — potatoes would be left outside to freeze overnight, then thawed and stomped on to remove excess water.

The first wooden shoe comes from the Netherlands. The Netherlands have many seas so people wanted a shoe that kept their feet dry while working outside. The shoes were called klompen and they had been cut of one single piece of wood. Today the klompen are the favorite souvenir for people who visit the Netherlands.

When airplanes were still a novel invention, seat belts for pilots were installed only after the consequence of their absence was observed to be fatal - several pilots fell to their deaths while flying upside down.

Limelight was how we lit the stage before electricity was invented. Basically, illumination was produced by heating blocks of lime until they glowed.

False eyelashes were invented by the American film director D.W. Griffith while he was making his 1916 epic, "Intolerance". Griffith wanted actress Seena Owen to have lashes that brushed her cheeks, to make her eyes shine larger than life. A wigmaker wove human hair through fine gauze, which was then gummed to Owen's eyelids. "Intolerance" was critically acclaimed but flopped financially, leaving Griffith with huge debts that he might have been able to settle easily - had he only thought to patent the eyelashes.

On November 29, 1941, the program for the annual Army-Navy football game carried a picture of the Battleship Arizona, captioned: "It is significant that despite the claims of air enthusiasts no battleship has yet been sunk by bombs." Today you can visit the site—now a shrine—where Japanese dive bombers sunk the Arizona at Pearl Harbor only nine days later.

Leonardo da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time.

During the California Gold Rush of 1849 miners sent their laundry to Honolulu for washing and pressing. Due to the extremely high costs in California during these boom years it was deemed more feasible to send the shirts to Hawaii for servicing.

According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Egyptian men never became bald. The reason for this, Herodotus claimed, was that as children Egyptian males had their heads shaved, and their scalps were continually exposed to the health-giving rays of the sun.

In 1893, Chicago hired its first police woman. Her name was Marie Owens. While the city was progressive in its hiring practices, Chicago's female police officers were not allowed to wear uniforms until 1956.

In ancient times, any Japanese who tried to leave his homeland was summarily put to death. In the 1630's, a decree in Japan forbade the building of any large ocean-worthy ships to deter defection.

The Ramses brand condom is named after the great pharaoh Ramses II who fathered over 160 children.

England's first great industry was wool. Its export had become the nation's largest source of income by the late Middle Ages.

The British once went to war over a sailor’s ear. It happened in 1739, when Britain launched hostilities against Spain because a Spanish officer had supposedly sliced off the ear of a ship’s captain named Robert Jenkins.

Alexander Hamilton and his son, Philip, both died on the same spot, and both during duels. Philip went first, 3 years before his father would be killed in that same field by Aaron Burr.

Florence Nightingale served only two years of her life as a nurse. She contracted fever during her service in the Crimean War, and spent the last 50 years of her life as an invalid.

Emir Beysari (1233-1293), an Egyptian of great wealth, drank wine from gold and silver cups, yet he never in all his life used the same cup twice.

The first European to visit the Mississippi River was DeSoto.

Human skulls had been used as drinking cups for hundreds of years. The muscles and flesh were scraped away, the bottom was hacked off and then they were suitable to hold any beverage.

The first Bowie knife was forged at Washington, Arkansas.

All the dirt from the foundation to build the World Trade Center in NYC was dumped into the Hudson River to form the community now known as Battery City Park.

Louis XV was the first person to use an elevator: in 1743 his "flying chair" carried him between the floors of the Versailles palace.

The last words spoken from the moon were from Eugene Cernan, Commander of the Apollo 17 Mission on 11 December 1972. "As we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came, and, God willing, we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind."

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.

The best working light-bulb a LONG time ago was a thread of sheep's wool coated with carbon.

Salim (1569-1627, heir to the throne of India, had 4 wives when he was only 8 years of age.

Spiral staircases in medieval castles are running clockwise. This is because all knights used to be right-handed. When the intruding army would climb the stairs they would not be able to use their right hand which was holding the sword because of the difficulties of climbing the stairs. Left-handed knights would have had no troubles, except left-handed people could never become knights because it was assumed that they were descendants of the devil.

Charles de Gaulle's final words were, "It hurts."

Alexander the Great was an epileptic.

Shakespeare spelled his OWN name several different ways.

Historians report that the Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula) (AD 37-41) was so proud of his horse that he gave him a place as a senate consul before he died.

Napoleon constructed his battle plans in a sandbox.

Daniel Boone detested coonskin caps.

The Tower of London, for which construction was begun in 1078 by William the Conqueror, once housed a zoo. It also has served as an observatory, a mint, a prison, a royal palace, and (at present) the home of the Crown Jewels.

In the original architectural design, the French Cathedral of Chartes had six spires (It was built with two spires).

Vincent Van Gogh painted a picture a day in the last 70 days of his life.

It took 20,000 men 22 years to build the Taj Mahal.

It took 214 crates to transport the Statue of Liberty from France to New York in 1885.

Fourteen years before the Titanic sank, novelist Morgan Robertson published a novel called "Futility". The story was about an ocean liner that struck an iceberg on an April night. The name of the ship in his novel - The Titan.

George Washington, who was nearly toothless himself, was meticulous with the teeth of the six white horses that pulled his presidential coach. He had their teeth picked and cleaned daily to improve their appearance.

Once upon a time, in the little state of Rhode Island, they were electing a state legislature. There was a thrifty Federalist farmer who started for the polls late in the afternoon and, on the way, heard the squealing of a pig. He looked around to see the pig with its head caught in the mesh of an old wire fence. Hogs often will kill and eat a trapped pig. So the farmer stopped to rescue the porker and was too late at the polls. Now, wait a minute. The Federalist farmer was too late to vote, and, the election was decided by a one-vote margin in favor of the Democrats.
If the farmer had been at the voting place in time, the Democrat would not have been elected. One vote.
At the following session of the legislature (these were the days when the legislatures elected our Senators) a Democrat was sent to the Senate from Rhode Island by a one-vote margin in the legislature. Try to keep up with this. The legislator was elected by one vote and his one vote elected a Senator. And in the United States Senate the vote that we should go to war with England was carried by the one Democrat margin. So the Revolutionary War was fought because, a Rhode Island pig got caught in a fence. One vote.
A vote was taken on which would be the national language - English or German. English by one vote.
Dr. George Benson of Harding College traced this sequence: One morning in 1844 a grain miller in De Kalb County, Indiana, was walking toward his mill. It was election day, but he had work to do and did not intend to vote. Before he reached the mill, however, he was stopped by friends who persuaded him to go to the polls. As it happened the candidate for whom he voted won a seat in the state legislature, by a margin of one vote. When the Indiana Legislature convened, the man elected from De Kalb cast the deciding vote that sent Edward Allen Hannegan to the United States Senate. Then, in the United States Senate the question of statehood for the great state of Texas came up, the result was a tie vote. But Senator Hannegan, presiding as President pro tempore, cast the deciding vote from the chair. So the Lone Star state of Texas was admitted to the Union because a miller in De Kalb County, Indiana, went ten minutes out of his way to cast his one vote, just one vote.
Thomas Jefferson was elected President by one vote in the Electoral College. So was John Quincy Adams. And so was Rutherford B. Hayes, elected President, by one vote. One vote gave statehood to California, Idaho, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. All those people in all those states are Americans because of somebody's one vote.
Kentucky came into the Union as a slave state, by the casting of one majority vote in the Constitutional Convention. Had it not been for the one vote, Kentucky would have entered the Union a free state. If it had, Missouri, largely settled by Kentuckians, would have done likewise. In that event there probably never would have been a war between the states.
And closer to home the Draft Act of World War II, passed in the House of Representatives, by just one vote. One vote.
In St. Johns, Michigan, the race for City Council (two seats, four candidates) was a one-vote wonder. The top three candidates were separated by one vote each. Election results showed Bates with 27%, Hanover with 27% and Huard with 27%. Mark Bates had one more vote than Heather Hanover, who had one more vote than Roland Huard.

The military salute is a motion that evolved from medieval times, when knights in armor raised their visors to reveal their identity.

Civil War General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson has two separate burial sites. His left arm, which was amputated after the battle of Chancellorsville was buried on a nearby farm. A week later, Jackson died and was buried in Lexington, Virginia.

The first advertisement printed in English in 1477 offered a prayer book. The ad was published by William Caxton on his press in Westminster Abbey. No price was mentioned, only that the book was "good chepe."

Czar Paul 1 banished soldiers to Siberia for marching out of step.

Time magazine's "Man of the Year" for 1938 was Adolf Hitler.

Louis XIV had forty personal wigmakers and almost 1000 wigs.

Before 1863, postal service in the United States was free.

The practice of exchanging presents at Christmas originated with the Romans.

New York was the first state to require the licensing of motor vehicles. The law was adopted in 1901.

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was the first American to have plumbing installed in his house, in 1840.

Seating on the first scheduled inter-city commuter airplane flight consisted of moveable wicker chairs. There were 11 of them on the first Ford Tri-Motors. After several years, Ford replaced them with aluminum framed leather chairs.

President George Washington oversaw construction of the White House, but he never lived there. It was our second President, John Adams, elected in 1796, who first lived in the White House. His term was almost over by the time he moved in, and only six rooms had been finished.

Queen Supayalat of Burma ordered about 100 of her husband's relatives clubbed to death. She did this to ensure the throne to her husband.

Suspension of the construction of the Washington Monument, at the 153 foot level, was forced by the anti-Catholic Know-Nothing movement, which was offended by Pope Pius IX's gift of a block of marble from Rome's Temple of Concord. The suspension lasted 26 years. Work resumed in 1880 and the monument was completed in 1888.

The 1,340-foot-long wall that gave New York's Wall Street its name was only 12 feet tall and erected in 1653 by Dutch colonists to protect against their enemies.

Pope Paul IV, who was elected on 23 May 1555, was so outraged when he saw the naked bodies on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel that he ordered Michelangelo to paint on to them.

American astronomer, mathematician, clock-maker, surveyor and almanac editor Benjamin Banneker has been called the "first black man of science." Banneker took part in the original survey of Washington, DC. His almanac was published 1792 to 1797.

The Aztec Indians in Central America used animal blood mixed with cement as a mortar for their buildings, many of which still remain standing today.

While performing her duties as queen, Cleopatra sometimes wore a fake beard.

The Coliseum received its name not for its size, but for a colossal statue of Nero that stood close by, placed there after the destruction of his palace.

In 1778, fashionable women of Paris never went out in blustery weather without a lightning rod attached to their hats.

In Northern parts of China it was once a common practice to shave pigs. When the evenings got cold the Chinese would take a pig to bed with them for warmth and found it more comfortable if the pig was clean-shaven.

Until 1796, there was a state in the United States called Franklin. Today it's known as Tennessee.

The traditional symbol of the pawnbroker—three golden balls—is thought to be derived from the coat of the arms of the Medici family, who ruled Italian city of Florence between the 15th and 16th centuries. The symbol was spread by the Lombards—Italian bankers, goldsmiths, and moneylenders who set up businesses in medieval London.

When the U.S. War Department was established in 1789, there were 840 soldiers in the regular army. Their job was to supervise public lands and guard the indian frontier.

In 1907 the first taxicab took to the streets of New York City.

WWI flying ace Jean Navarre attacked a zeppelin armed with only a kitchen knife.

Catherine the Great relaxed by being tickled.

Despite his great scientific and artistic achievement, Leonardo Da Vinci was most proud of his ability to bend iron with his bare hands.

Louisa May Alcott, author of the classic "Little Women," hated kids. She only wrote the book because her publisher asked her to.

Soldiers arrived to fight the Battle of Marne in World War I - not on foot or by military airplane or military vehicle - but by taxi cabs. France took over all the taxi cabs in Paris to get soldiers to the front.

The U.S. Automobile Association was formed in 1905 for the purpose or providing "scouts" who could warn motorists of hidden police traps.

On June 8, 1959, in a move a postal official heralded as "of historic significance to the peoples of the entire world," the Navy submarine U.S.S. Barbero fired a guided missile carrying 3,000 letters at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station in Mayport, Florida. "Before man reaches the moon," the official was quoted as saying, "mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to Britain, to India or Australia by guided missiles." History proved differently, but this experiment with missile mail exemplifies the pioneering spirit of the Post Office Department when it came to developing faster, better ways of moving the mail.... however, they don't mention if the 3,000 letters were ever delivered.

Chrysler built B-29's that bombed Japan, Mitsubishi built Zeros that tried to shoot them down. Both companies now build cars in a joint plant called Diamond Star.

New Zealand was the first place in the world to allow women to vote. The state of South Australia was next, in 1894, and it was also the first place to allow women to stand for parliament.

The Taj Mahal complex in India was built between 1631 and 1634 at a cost of about 40-million rupees.

The first telephone exchange opened on January 28, 1878, in New Haven, Connecticut.

In the late 30's, a man named Abe Pickens of Cleveland, Ohio, attempted to promote world peace by placing personal calls to various country leaders. He managed to contact Mussolini, Hirohito, Franco and Hitler (Hitler, who didn't understand English, transferred him to an aide). He spent$10,000 to "give peace a chance."

A female pharaoh was unknown in Egypt before Hatshepsut, who had herself portrayed in male costume, with a beard and without breasts.

After being forced to state in public that the earth does not rotate, Galileo is said to have muttered under his breath, "But it does move."

History's first recorded toothpaste was an Egyptian mixture of ground pumice and strong wine. But the early Romans brushed their teeth with human urine, and also used it as a mouthwash. Actually, urine was an active component in toothpaste and mouthwashes until well into the 18th century - the ammonia it contains gave them strong cleansing power.

The 16th century astronomer Tycho Brahe lost his nose in a duel with one of his students over a mathematical computation. He wore a silver replacement nose for the rest of his life.

"Hot cockles" was a popular game at Christmas in medieval times. It was a game in which the other players took turns striking the blindfolded player, who had to guess the name of the person delivering each blow. "Hot cockles" was still a Christmas pastime until the Victorian era.

Civil War General Stonewall Jackson died when he was accidentally hit by fire from his own troop.

When Napoleon wore black silk handkerchiefs around his neck during a battle, he always won. At Waterloo, he wore a white cravat and lost the battle and his kingdom.

Original 'Indian Yellow' was obtained at Monghyr, a town in Benghal, from the urine of cows which had been fed on mango leaves. It was found in the bazaars of Panjab in the form of large balls, having an offensive urinous odor. True Indian yellow has been absent from the market for some time; its production is said to have been prohibited in 1908. Present day Indian yellow colors are made of synthetic pigments, alternatives that are less fugitive and less offensive to the nose.

The steel industry, in 1943, introduced the 5-day, 40 hour work week. Henry Ford adopted it in 1926.

1892 By Presidential Proclamation 1.8 million acres of Crow Indian reservation in Montana were opened to White settlers. The U.S. government had induced the Crow to give up a sizable portion of their land in the mountainous western area of Montana. The Crow received 50 cents per acre for their land.

DaVinci is best remembered as the painter of the Mona Lisa (1504?)and The Last Supper (1495). But he's almost equally famous for his astonishing multiplicity of talents: he dabbled in architecture, sculpture, engineering, geology, hydraulics and the military arts, all with success, and in his spare time doodled parachutes and flying machines that resembled inventions of the 19th and 20th centuries.

DaVinci made detailed drawings of human anatomy, which are still highly regarded today.

DaVinci wrote notebook entries in mirror (backwards) script, a trick that kept many of his observations from being widely known until decades after his death. It is believed that he was hiding his scientific ideas from the powerful Roman Catholic Church, whose teachings sometimes disagreed with what Leonardo observed.

When Gaius Caesar was a boy, Roman soldiers affectionately nicknamed him "little boots" for the boy-sized military footwear he sported.

Although most people think that Napoleon was short, he was actually five feet six inches tall (1.676 meters), an average height for a Frenchman in those days.

The German Kaiser Wilhelm II had a withered arm and often hid the fact by posing with his hand resting on a sword, or by holding gloves.

Napoleon took 14,000 French decrees and simplified them into a unified set of 7 laws. This was the first time in modern history that a nation's laws applied equally to all citizens. Napoleon's 7 laws are so impressive that by 1960 more than 70 governments had patterned their own laws after them or used them verbatim.

More than 5,600 men died while building the Panama Canal. Today, it takes more than 8,000 workers to run and maintain the canal. It takes a ship an average of 33 hours to travel the length of the canal.

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was the first American to have plumbing installed in his house, in 1840.

While the world was busy welcoming the arrival of the twentieth century on December 31, 1900, a forceful gale on England's Salisbury Plain blew over one of the ancient monumental stones at Stonehenge.

In 1555, Ivan the Terrible ordered the construction of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. He was so thrilled with the work done by the two architects that he had them blinded so they could never be able to build anything else more beautiful.

The ancient Etruscans painted women white and men red in the wall paintings they used to decorate tombs.

When Sir Walter Raleigh introduced tobacco into England in the early 1600's, King James I wrote a booklet against it. I guess that makes King James the founding father of the "Just Say No" campaign.

The dirt road that General Washington and his soldiers took to fight off General Clinton during the Battle of Monmouth was called the Burlington Path.

All of the officers in the Confederate army were given copies of Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo, to carry with them at all times. Robert E. Lee, among others, believed that the book symbolized their cause. Both revolts were defeated.

Marco Polo was born on the Croatian island of Korcula (pronounced Kor-Chu-La).

Karl Marx was targeted for assassination when he met with two Prussian officers in his house in Cologne in 1848. Marx had friends among the German labor unions, and he was considered a threat to the autocrats. Dressed in his bathrobe, he forced the officers out at the point of a revolver, which, it turned out, was not loaded.

The right arm and torch of the Statue of Liberty crossed the Atlantic Ocean three times. It first crossed for display at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition and in New York, where money was raised for the foundation and pedestal. It was returned to Paris in 1882 to be reunited with the rest of the statue, which was then shipped back to the U.S.

In 1878 Wanamaker's of Philadelphia was the first U.S. department store to install electric lighting.

Playing cards were issued to British pilots in WWII. If captured, they could be soaked in water and unfolded to reveal a map for escape.

The first telephone book ever issued contained only fifty names. It was published in New Haven, Connecticut, by the New Haven District Telephone Company in February, 1878.

The first time an enormous amount of clothing was needed all at once was during the Civil War, when the Union needed hundreds of thousands of uniforms for its troops. Out of this need came the ready-made clothing industry.

Traffic engineering was not developed in London, New York or Paris, but rather in ancient Rome. The Romans, of course, were noted road builders. The Appian Way, for example, stretched 350 miles from the Eternal City to Brundisium. In Rome itself there were actually stop signs and even alternate-side-of-the-street parking.

Until the 19th century, solid blocks of tea were used as money in Siberia.

"John has a long mustache" was the coded-signal used by the French Resistance in WWII to mobilize their forces once the Allies had landed on the Normandy beaches.

The State of Nevada first legalized gambling in 1931. At that same time, the Hoover Dam was being built and the federal government did not want its workers (who earned 50 cents an hour) to be involved with such diversions, so they built the town of Boulder City to house the dam workers. To this day, Boulder City is the only city in Nevada where gambling is illegal. Hoover Dam is 726 feet tall and 660 feet thick at its base. Enough rock was excavated in its construction to build the Great Wall of China. Contrary to old wives' tales, no workers were buried in the dam's cement.

Unfortunately Gaius grew up and became emperor, incongruously retaining his boyhood diminutive. "Little boots" in Latin is "Caligula." As you may know, he was a bloodthirsty, sadistic fiend.

Before winning the election in 1860, Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections for various offices.

Houses were first numbered in Paris in 1463. In Britain, numbering did not appear until 1708, on a street in London's Whitechapel area.

In ancient Greece, courtesans wore sandals with nails studded into the sole so that their footprints would leave the message "Follow me".

In 1937 the emergency 999 telephone service was established in London. More than 13,000 genuine calls were made in the first month.

In 1974 there were 90 tornadoes in the U.S. in one day.

Satirist Jonathan Swift suggested in his essay "A Modest Proposal" that the children of the poor be sold as food to feed the rich. This shocking essay is one of the best examples of satire you'll find.

Akhbar the Great Mughal routed the Hindus under Hemu by turning their elephants against them at the battle of Panipat in the Hindu revolt.

When the first U.S. Congress set the president's pay at $25,000 per year they established the vice president's salary of $5,000.

At the outbreak of World War I, the American air force consisted of only fifty men.

Before all-porcelain false teeth were perfected in the mid-19th century, dentures were commonly made with teeth pulled from the mouths of dead soldiers following a battle. Teeth extracted from U.S. Civil War soldier cadavers were shipped to England by the barrel to dentists.

King Charles VII, who was assassinated in 1167, was the first Swedish king with the name of Charles. Charles I, II, III, IV, V, never existed. No one knows why. To add to the mystery, almost 300 years went by before there was a Charles VIII (1448-57).

Lafayette was a major general in the United States at the age of 19. Lafayette's whole name takes up an entire line on a page: Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette.

Many hundreds of years ago when the well-known style of Irish dancing began in the country side of Ireland, most houses of the poor - and that means most houses - only had a dirt floor which was not a lot of use for dancing on if you were holding a ceildh (pronounced kay-lee and meaning party - more or less). So in order to make the dancing easier the owners of the house which was holding the party would take the doors off their hinges and lay them on the floor. There was just enough room on each door for two people to dance, providing they did not fling their arms about - hence the original name for Irish dancing - Door Dancing.

In a tradition dating to the beginning of the Westminster system of government, the bench in the middle of a Westminster parliament is two and a half sword lengths long. This was so the government and opposition couldn't have a go at each other if it all got a bit heated.

In 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the first minimum wage in the United States. The new law, considered controversial at the time, established at.25 cents per hour minimum wage and a maximum 44 hour work week for minors.

In Britain, the law was changed in 1789 to make the method of execution hanging. Prior to that, burning was the modus operandi. The last female to be executed by burning in England was Christian Bowman. Her crime was making counterfeit coins.

A painting of the Madonna in Fiorano Castle, Italy, escaped without even being scorched when invading soldiers set the castle afire, yet all the rest of the building was destroyed.

U.S. Army doctor D.W. Bliss had the unique role of attending to two U.S. presidents after they were shot by assassins. In 1865 he was one of 16 doctors who tried to save Abraham Lincoln, and in 1881 he supervised the care of James Garfield.

King Tut's tomb contained FOUR coffins. The third coffin was made from 2,500 pounds of gold. And in today's market is worth approximately $13,000,000.

The very first enclosed shopping mall was and is Valley Faire in Appleton, Wisconsin. Not in Minnesota as most people believe. Appleton is also famous for being the birth place of Harry Houdini and the first city in America to use Hydro-electric power in homes.

It is a well known trivial fact that Neil Armstrong was the first man to step onto the moon. However, many do not know that he stepped onto the moon with his left foot.

Until 1796, there was a state in the United States called Franklin. Today it is known as Tennessee.

While Theodore Roosevelt was campaigning in Milwaukee in 1912, a would-be assassin fired a bullet into the right side of his chest. Much of the force of the slug was absorbed by the President's eyeglasses case and by the 50 page speech he was carrying double-folded in his breast pocket. Nevertheless, the bullet lodged itself just short of his lung, and, dripping in blood, Roosevelt pulled himself up to the podium. He asked the crowd to please " very quiet and excuse me from making a long speech. I'll do the best I can, but there's a bullet in my body... I have a message to deliver, and I will deliver it as long as there is life in my body." He spoke for 90 minutes, but was unable to refer to his text due to the gaping hole which the bullet had torn through it.

In the 15th century, scholars in China compiled a set of encyclopedia that contained 11,095 volumes.

New York's Central Park opened in 1876.

Minna Braun, a nurse in Berlin, Germany, was pronounced dead from an overdose of sleeping pills and, as was customary in suicides, was buried in an open grave (The next day the coffin's nailed lid was opened to permit identification of the body), and the girl was found to be alive. She recovered and returned to her nursing duties. (Oct. 28, 1919)

What would eventually become one of the world's most prestigious museums, the Louvre Museum opened in Paris in 1793. Until the French Revolution, the King's art collection had been strictly for the private pleasure of the Court, but revolutionary leaders decided to open the collection to the public. Among some of its most famous art pieces, the Louvre houses, the Joconde (Mona Lisa), Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Liberty Leading the People.

Ishi had made it very clear before he died that he did not want to be autopsied. However, his wishes were ignored and his body was autopsied and the brain removed and sent to the Smithsonian, where scientists were collecting brains for a study of brain size and race. After 83 years, the Smithsonian is finally returning the brain of Ishi to his closest relatives so they can bury his remains.

Ishi's remains will be given to representative of the Redding Rancheria and the Pit River Tribe, two Native American groups from Northern California. Ishi was actually a Yahi-Yana Indian. Smithsonian officials decided that the two tribes were the closest living relatives and truly represented the Yana descendants.

While the world was busy welcoming the arrival of the twentieth century on December 31, 1900, a forceful gale on England's Salisbury Plain blew over one of the ancient monumental stones at Stonehenge.

Spartacus led the revolt of the Roman slaves and gladiators in 73 A.D.

Seat belts became mandatory on U.S. cars on March 1, 1968.

There were 57 countries involved in World War II.

Socrates committed suicide by drinking poison hemlock.

The Korean War began on June 25, 1950.

A B-25 bomber airplane crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building on July 28, 1945.

India tested its first nuclear bomb in 1974.

After the great fire of Rome in A.D. 64, the emperor Nero ostensibly decided to lay the blame on Christians residing in the city of Rome. These he gathered together, crucified, covered in pitch (tar), and burnt alive. He walked around his gardens admiring the view.

Most people know that the reign of Czar Nicholas II of Russia ended in tragedy, but few know that's how it started as well. At his coronation, presents were given to all the people who attended. As the gifts were being handed out, a rumor started that there weren't enough to go around and a stampede started. Hundreds of women and children were killed.

The first known item made from aluminum was a rattle—made for Napoleon III in the 1850s. Napoleon also provided his most honored guests with knives and forks made of pure aluminum. At the time the newly discovered metal was so rare, it was considered more valuable than gold.

General Henry Heth (1825-1888) leading a confederate division in the Battle of Gettysburg, was hit in the head by a Union bullet, but his life was saved because he was wearing a hat two sizes too large, with newspaper folded inside the sweatband. The paper deflected the bullet, and the general, unconscious for 30 hours, recovered and lived another 25 years.

During the American revolution, more inhabitants of the American colonies fought for the British than for the Continental Army.

During the Crimean War, the British Army lost ten times more troops to dysentery than to battle wounds.

During the Renaissance blond hair became so much de rigueur in Venice that a brunette was not to be seen except among the working classes. Venetian women spent hours dyeing and burnishing their hair until they achieved the harsh metallic glitter that was considered a necessity.

During the Renaissance, fashionable aristocratic Italian women shaved their hair several inches back from their natural hairlines.

During the Spanish American War in 1898 there were 45 stars on the American flag.

During World War II the original copies of the U. S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence was taken from the Library of Congress and kept at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

During World War II, the U.S. Navy had a world champion chess player, Reuben Fine, calculate - on the basis of positional probability - where enemy submarines might surface.

On June 13th 1944, a single Tiger tank headed by Captain Michael Wittman stopped the advance of the entire British 7th armored division (the famous 'desert rats') in the town of Villers Bocage, Normandy. This has been the deadliest single action in the entire war and stopped the British offensive, planned by Montgomery, to break through German lines. Wittman died later in August fighting against 12 Canadian Sherman tanks.

Five members of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer's family were killed at the Battle of little Big Horn. They were Tom and Boston, two half-brothers, Harry Armstrong Reed, a nephew and a brother-in-law, James Calhoun.

In 1865 opium was grown in the state of Virginia and a product was distilled from it that yielded 4 percent morphine. In 1867 it was grown in Tennessee: six years later it was cultivated in Kentucky. During these years opium, marijuana and cocaine could be purchased legally over the counter from any druggist.

The Roman emperor Commodos collected all the dwarfs, cripples, and freaks he could find in the city of Rome and had them brought to the Coliseum, where they were ordered to fight each other to the death with meat cleavers.

High-wire acts have been enjoyed since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Antique medals have been excavated from Greek islands depicting men ascending inclined cords and walking across ropes stretched between cliffs. The Greeks called these high-wire performers neurobates or oribates. In the Roman city of Herculaneum there is a fresco representing an aerialist high on a rope, dancing and playing a flute. Sometimes Roman tightrope walkers stretched cables between the tops of two neighboring hills and performed comic dances and pantomimes while crossing.

John Wilkes Booth's brother once saved the life of Abraham Lincoln's son.

There was a "pony express" in Persia many centuries before Christ. Riders on this ancient circuit, wearing special colored headbands, delivered the mails across the vast stretch of Asia Minor, sometimes riding for hundreds of miles without a break.

It was only after 440 A.D. that December 25 was celebrated as the birth date of Jesus Christ.

The first aerial photograph was taken from a balloon during the U.S. civil war.

Olive oil was used for washing the body in the ancient Mediterranean world.

In 1801, 20 percent of the people in the U.S. were slaves.

Slaves under the last emperors of China wore pigtails so they could be picked out quickly.

Dinner guests during the medieval times in England were expected to bring their own knives to the table.

It is estimated that a few years after Columbus discovered the New World, the Spaniards killed off 1.5 million Indians.

The Fish Bowl was invented by Countess Dubarry, Mistress of King Louis XV (Born 1710 Died 1774)

Leonardo DaVinci painted the Mona Lisa on a piece of pinewood, 77 x 53 cm (30 x 20 7/8 in) in the year 1506.

Today the painting hangs in the Musee du Louvre, Paris, France.

DaVinci's name for the painting was La Gioconda. Named for the wife of Francesco del Giocondo; 1503-06

Who posed for the painting? Dr. Lillian Schwartz of Bell Labs suggests that Leonardo painted himself, and was able to support her theory by analyzing the facial features of Leonardo's face and that of the famous painting, She digitized both the self-portrait of the artist and the Mona Lisa. She flipped the self-portrait and merged the two images together using a computer. She noticed the features of the face aligned perfectly.

When Elizabeth I of Russia died in 1762, 15,000 dresses were found in her closets. She used to change what she was wearing two and even three times an evening.

Napoleon, the famous French general, was not born in France. He was born on the Mediterranean island of Corsica of Italian parents.

When he resigned in 1923 because of illegal behavior in the Teapot Dome Affair, Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall was offered an appointment to the Supreme Court by President Harding. In 1931, Fall was tried and found guilty of conspiracy to defraud.

Jahangir, a 17th-century Indian Mughal ruler, had 5,000 women in his harem and 1,000 young boys. He also owned 12,000 elephants.

China was the first country to introduce paper money (in 812), but it wasn't until 1661 that a bank (Banco-Sedlar of Sweden) issued banknotes.

If the arm of King Henry I of England had been 42 inches long, the unit of measure of a "foot" today would be fourteen inches. But his arm happened to be 36 inches long and he decreed that the "standard" foot should be one-third that length: 12 inches.

Napoleon's nemesis, the Duke of Wellington, was an accomplished yo-yo player. At that time, the yo-yo was known as a "bandalore."

When Thomas Jefferson became U.S. President in 1801, 20 percent of all people in the young nation were slaves.

Early Egyptians wore sandals made from woven papyrus leaves.

The Marquis de Lafayette, America's Revolutionary War ally, named his only son George Washington Lafayette.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the fathers of communism, wrote 500 articles for the "New York Tribune" from 1851 to 1862.

While Theodore Roosevelt was campaigning in Milwaukee in 1912, a would-be assassin fired a bullet into the right side of his chest. Much of the force of the slug was absorbed by the President's eyeglasses case and by the 50 page speech he was carrying double-folded in his breast pocket. Nevertheless, the bullet lodged itself just short of his lung, and, dripping in blood, Roosevelt pulled himself up to the podium. He asked the crowd to please " very quiet and excuse me from making a long speech. I'll do the best I can, but there's a bullet in my body... I have a message to deliver, and I will deliver it as long as there is life in my body." He spoke for 90 minutes, but was unable to refer to his text due to the gaping hole which the bullet had torn through it.

Karl Marx was targeted for assassination when he met with two Prussian officers in his house in Cologne in 1848. Marx had friends among the German labor unions, and he was considered a threat to the autocrats. Dressed in his bathrobe, he forced the officers out at the point of a revolver, which, it turned out, was not loaded.

Ishi was believed to be the last of the Yahi, a tribe of Native Americans living in California that were wiped out by disease and massacres. In the early part of the twentieth century (1911), he became a sensation when he wandered out of the woods near Oroville. Ishi was taken to the University of California at San Francisco where he lived and worked (as a janitor) in the anthropology museum, helping researchers to document the Yahi language, until his death from tuberculosis in 1916. His name, Ishi, was given to him by the anthropologists. Linguists believe it was his tribe's word for "man."

Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?

Crazy but True