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Sunday, 25 May 2014

The Coliseum

The great Flavian Amphitheater, or Colosseum, in Rome was erected by the emperors Vespasian and Titus in about AD 70-82 on the site of the Golden House of Nero.

It measured 513 by 620 feet. With seating width at only about 14 inches per person, the Colosseum had a maximum capacity of 50,000 people.


The Coliseum was built to celebrate the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem ten years earlier.

To celebrate its opening there are games lasting one hundred days. Most of the 10,000 men who took part were killed and 5,000 animals were massacred.

The Romans invented concrete and used it for many of their most famous buildings, including the Colosseum.

A million animals and 500,000 people are estimated to have died in total in the Colosseum arena.

The name Colosseum was applied to this structure sometime after the 8th century because of its immense size.


If the Colosseum was built today, it would cost around $380 million.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.

Colgate

An American, William Colgate (January 25, 1783 – March 25, 1857) started a candle, starch and soap making company on Dutch Street in New York City under the name of "William Colgate & Company" in 1806.

In 1820, Colgate started a starch factory across the Hudson in Jersey City, leading to a long involvement of the company in Jersey City.

Colgate introduced its first toothpaste, an aromatic toothpaste sold in jars in 1873.



Colgate became in 1896 the first company to manufacture toothpaste in a collapsible tube, similar to the tubes that had just been introduced for artist's oil colors. Colgate Ribbon Dental Cream was invented by dentist Washington Sheffield.

In 1928, Palmolive Peet merged with Colgate to form Colgate-Palmolive-Peet.

1915 magazine ad

Ajax cleanser was one of their first major brand names introduced in the early 1940s.

In 1953, the name was shortened to just Colgate-Palmolive.

Colgate bought a Chinese toothpaste brand called Darkie in 1985. The name was changed to Darlie but is still sold in China as Black Person Toothpaste.

Colgate in Spanish translates directly to the imperative command of "hang yourself."

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born in the country town of Ottery St Mary, Devonshire, England on October 21, 1772. His father, the Reverend John Coleridge (1718–1781), was a well-respected vicar of the parish and headmaster of Henry VIII's Free Grammar School at Ottery.

During the end of the eighteenth century, Samuel Coleridge lived in a miserable, mice infested cottage at Nether Stowey, rented for £7 a year and described as " a miserable hovel" by Coleridge's wife, Sara. He wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner there between 1797-98.

The Nether Stowey locals suspected the Coleridges of being French spies because of their radical political and theological ideas.

Coleridge was a Unitarian, who had considered entering the Unitarian ministry and a pantheist. He had preached throughout the West Country and on one occasion after hearing Coleridge preach, the writer William Hazlett commented “Poetry and philosophy met together. Truth and genius had embraced…under the eyes of religion.”

Coleridge edited for a short time in 1796 a radical Christian journal, The Watchman, which ran for ten issues.

For twenty years Coleridge took half a gallon of laudanum a week for his rheumatism and toothache and he became totally addicted to it.

Coleridge had a bodily revulsion due to his drug addiction, which induced obsessive washing. He couldn't endure the least bit of dirt on his person.

In 1813 after a physical and spiritual crisis at the Greyhound Inn, Bath, Coleridge reached a turning point recommitting himself to the Christian faith , and openly confessing to his opium addiction.

20 years after Samuel Coleridge composed the poem Kublai Khan after an opium influenced sleep it  was finally published in 1816.

Coleridge wrote about 750 poems in total including an elegy to his broken shaving pot.

Coleridge in 1795

A voracious reader, he said the three best-plotted works in literature were Oedipus Rex, Tom Jones and The Alchemist as all the loose ends were tied up at the end.

Coleridge had the habit of scribbling notes and comments in books as he read them. His collected scribbles ran to five volumes.

Among the many words that Coleridge coined were soulmate, bisexual, boastfulness, dream world, dynamic, factual, pessimism and psychosomatic.

Coleridge was out riding with a friend wearing his usual shabby clothes. Seeing some people approaching, Coleridge suggested he pass himself off as his friend's servant. "No" said the companion, "I am proud of you as a friend but would be ashamed of you as a servant."

In April 1816, Coleridge, with his addiction worsening, took residence in the Highgate homes, then just north of London, of an admirer Dr James Gillman, a young surgeon, first at South Grove and later at the nearby 3 The Grove.

Coleridge at age 42, portrait by Washington Allston

Coleridge grew plants on his windowsill at his The Grove, Highgate home, including the symbolic herb myrtle, emblem of lost love.

The model Kate Moss bought Coleridge's former The Grove Highgate home in 2011.

Coleridge died in Highgate, London on July 25, 1834 as a result of heart failure compounded by an unknown lung disorder, possibly linked to his use of opium.

Source Faber Book of Anecdotes 

Cold War

The phrase “cold war” to describe the tension between the Soviet Union and the West was popularized in 1947 by the American financier and presidential advisor Bernard Baruch. In a speech in south Carolina he said “Let us not be deceived-we are today in the midst of a cold war.”

It was Baruch's speechwriter Herbert Bayard Swope, who had been using the phrase privately since 1940, who suggested it to him.

Mikhail Gorbachev's attempts at reform and partnership with Ronald Reagan led to the end of the Cold War.  On December 3, 1989 Presidents George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev announced the official end to the Cold War at a meeting in Malta.

The Soviet leader was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to lessen Cold War tensions and open up his nation.

Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan sign the INF Treaty at the White House, 1987

During the Cold War, the Americans considered airdropping enormous condoms labeled “Medium” on the Soviets.

"In God We Trust" was placed on all U.S. bills during the Cold War as a way to express the United States' anti-communist beliefs.

During the Cold War, the BBC planned to air The Sound of Music after a nuclear strike to improve the morale of survivors.

CIA agents used a method of communication based on how their shoelaces were tied during the Cold War.

During the Cold War, MI5 planned to use gerbils at airports to help detect terrorists, secret agents, and subversives.

Source Dictionary of Phrase and Fable by Nigel Rees

Coin

HISTORY

A group of seafaring trading people from Asia Minor called the Lydians were the first in the Western world to make coins in the late 7th century BC.

It had long previously been possible to use pieces of gold, silver or bronze in bartering and exchange. Like the earliest coins, such pieces of metal were not tokens, but were used in consideration of their intrinsic value and exchanged by actual weight.

2,500 years ago, there were large bronze knife-shaped coins in China, called knife money.

Following the Lydians, the Greeks began minting money in the shape of discs, striking them with detailed high relief. They replaced grain as the medium of exchange. Stamped with a likeness of an ear of wheat, the new coins were lighter and easier to transport than grain, and did not get mouldy.

Some of coins that the ancient Greeks minted had bees on them.

The tetradrachm was an Ancient Greek silver coin equivalent to four drachmae. A Samian silver tetradrachim struck in Sicily and stamped Year 1 - or 494BC - is the earliest dated coin.

The first Roman coins were made of brass and weighed up to 1lb each.

The Romans minted coins in the temple of the goddess Juno Moneta. 'Mint' and 'money' come from her name.

Gold and silver coins were issued by the Emperor, while brass coins were issued by the Roman Senate.

Roman gold coins were called aureus, silver coins, denarius and brass ones sestertius

The Romans introduced the familiar serrated edges of today's coins as a way to discourage the practice of shaving off thin slices.



The first coin to show a year date was made in the Seleucid era in modern-day Syria. This was a silver tetradrachm of Demetrios 1 with Greek letters for the numerals 161 corresponding to the year beginning October 152BC.

When Julius Caesar landed in Britain in 55BC he noted the Britons used either bronze or gold coins for money, or iron ingots of fixed weights.

Julius Caesar was the first person to have his face on a coin in 44BC.

British women during the Roman occupation kept up with the latest fashions in Rome by observing the design of coins and statues. Women would see what hairstyle the latest empress was wearing and follow suit.

Copper coins were minted in Japan for the first time on August 29, 708.


Offa, king of Mercia was considered the greatest Anglo-Saxon ruler in the eighth century. He was responsible for established a new currency based on the silver penny which, with many changes of design, was the standard coin of England for many centuries.

During the reign of Edward III of England, the initials “DG” were inscribed on all English coins. “DG” is short for “Dei Gratia” which stands for “By the grace of God”. To this day all British coins still have “DG” inscribed on them.

The origin of piggy banks dates back nearly 600 years, in a time when people commonly stored their money at home in common kitchen jars. During The Middle Ages, dishes and pots were made of an orange-colored clay called pygg. When people started saving coins in jars made of this clay, the jars became known as “pygg banks.”

In Britain the gold half sovereign of Edward VI , struck in London in 1548, bore the date in Roman numerals MDXLV111. It was very shortly after that the newly introduced silver crown and half crown showed for the first time the date of issue in Arabic numerals as 1551.

Eloy Mestrelle, the man who introduced machine-struck coinage to England in 1560, was executed for coin counterfeiting.

Pieces of eight, much coveted by pirates, were silver coins representing eight ‘reales’, the Spanish unit of currency. In 1600, one coin would have been worth the equivalent of £50. They became the world’s most common form of cash from the late 16th Century onwards as Spain built its global empire. They remained legal tender in America until 1857.

The Lord Baltimore penny was the first copper coin issued for circulation in America. It, along with three silver coins, were made as a set specifically for Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore. They were made for the Province of Maryland to be circulated in the Thirteen Colonies.

Lord Baltimore penny

Issac Newton was Master of the Mint around the turn of the 18th century. During this time, he invented the ridges along the edges of coins, still in use today, to prevent theft.

Martha Washington’s silver service was the source of the silver that went into the first U.S. coins.

The Coinage Act was passed on April 2, 1792 establishing the United States Mint. The first Mint building was in Philadelphia, then the capital of the United States; it was the first building of the Republic raised under the Constitution.


The first coin minted in the United States was a silver dollar. It was issued on October 15, 1794.

The first copper penny was struck in the Soho Mint in Birmingham by Matthew Boulton around the beginning of the 19th century. Soon afterwards all low-value coins became known as coppers.

The first silver English florin was issued in 1849. The new coin upset many God fearing people as it did not carry the traditional inscriptions “DG” (”Dei Gratia”-“By God’s grace”), or “ED” (“Fidei Defensor”- “Defender of the Faith”). A cholera epidemic was blamed on the evil influence of the florin and it had to be withdrawn.

The world’s largest coins were copper plates used in Alaska around 1850. They weighed 40 kg (90 lb), and were worth £3000.

A dam-as in the phrase “I don’t give a damn”-was a small Indian coin.

As a result of the increased religious sensibility arising from the American Civil War, The US.Congress passed the Coinage Act  on April 22, 1864, mandating that the inscription "In God We Trust" be placed on all coins minted as United States currency. The motto was partly inspired by some words in the final verse of The Star-Spangled Banner, "And this be our motto: In God is our trust."


The Liberty Head nickel was an American five-cent piece. It was struck for circulation from 1883 until 1912, with at least five pieces being surreptitiously struck dated 1913. Although no 1913 Liberty head nickels were officially struck, five are known to exist. While it is uncertain how these pieces originated, they have come to be among the most expensive coins in the world, with one selling in 2010 for $3,737,500.



Since 1909, when presidents were first depicted on circulating coins, all presidents had been shown in profile.

With the issue of United States Sesquicentennial coinage in 1926, Calvin Coolidge became the only living American President to feature on US. coinage.

The 1933 double eagle is a gold coin of the United States with a $20 face value. 445,500 specimens of this Saint-Gaudens double eagle were minted in 1933, the last year of production for the double eagle, but no specimens ever officially circulated and nearly all were melted down, due to the discontinuance of the domestic gold standard in 1933. It currently holds the record for the highest price paid at auction for a single U.S. coin, having been sold for $7.59 million.

The Jefferson nickel has been the five-cent coin struck by the United States Mint since 1938, when it replaced the Buffalo nickel.

As nickel was a strategic war material during World War II, nickels coined from 1942 to 1945 were struck in a copper-silver-manganese alloy which would not require adjustment to vending machines.

Following the adoption on July 30, 1956 of “In God we trust” by the USA congress as its country's motto, the phrase was inscribed for the first time on all American coins and banknotes.

The farthing coin ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom on December 31, 1960.


Decimal coins- 5p and 10p pieces, equivalent to one shilling and two shilling coins- first appeared in Britain in 1968.

The United Kingdom introduced the British fifty-pence coin in 1969, which replaced, over the following years, the British ten-shilling note, in anticipation of the decimalization of the British currency in 1971, and the abolition of the shilling as a unit of currency anywhere in the world.

The smallest coin in Europe, a Dutch 10 cent, was abolished when the Netherlands joined the euro.

In 1983 the English pound coin replaced the £1 banknote. The Bank of England £1 note ceased to be legal tender five years later.


FUN COIN FACTS

3 per cent of all £1 coins are fake - their value totals £46 million.

The head of each successive monarch alternates between facing left and right on British coins.

In 2006 the U.S. Mint began shipping new 5-cent coins. The coin has an image of Thomas Jefferson taken from a 1800 Rembrandt Peale portrait in which the president is looking forward.

The largest coin in the world in general global circulation is the Costa Rican 500 colones. Roughly equivalent to the US dollar in value, it is 33mm in diameter.

The most valuable legal tender coin in the world is a $1 million coin from Australia that is worth almost $45 million and is 99% pure gold.

A dime has 118 ridges around the edge, a quarter has 119.

When flipping a coin, three times as many people guess 'heads' than 'tails.'

The probability of a U.S. nickel landing on its edge is approximately 1 in 6000 tosses.

African Americans have appeared on three different coins (Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, and Jackie Robinson).

The US penny is made of copper-plated zinc.

It costs the US mint two cents to make every penny, causing a loss of about $60 million per year.

It costs the US mint over 11 cents to make each 5-cent coin.

If an American coin has the letter “S” printed on it, it was minted in San Francisco; a “D” means it was made in Denver; no letter at all means it was minted in Philadelphia.

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.

The Canadian dollar coin has 11 sides. Due to its depiction of a common loon bird on one side, it is known as “the loonie”.

The world’s least valuable coin is probably the tiyin coin in Uzbekistan. 100,000 are worth about $0.50

Commemorative Star Wars coins became legal tender on the Pacific island of Niue in 2011

Here is a list of songs with coins in the title.

Sources Daily Mail, So That's Why! Bible

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Cognac

A fine brandy has been distilled from wine in the region around Cognac in the Charente region of France since the mid seventeenth century. By the 1780s the name “cognac” was being applied to this quality brandy.

.Cognac is made by blending unblended distilled wine from various years. Each Cognac may contain unblended distilled wine from four or more years varying in age from 2-200 years old.


In 1943, during World War II, German bombs struck the Vatican wine cellar and broke about a hundred bottles of fine cognac. There was a pool of liquor six inches deep, and the Swiss soldier who discovered the damage fetched his fellow soldiers to make good use of what might have been a tragic waste.

Source Christianity Today

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Coffin

The solid gold coffin of ancient Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun is 73 inches long. The value of its gold is $4,3 million, but the casket is priceless.

In 16th century England it was discovered that some coffins, reopened after several years, had scratch marks inside indicating the unfortunate person had not been dead when buried. So they tied a string to the wrist of each person that led to a bell above ground. A person was assigned to sit at night and listen for the bells, hence the expressions: "graveyard shift" and "saved by the bell."


During 1571 in Hertfordshire, England, a pallbearer dropped Matthew Wall's coffin, waking him up—he lived for over two decades after that.

The fear of being buried alive increased greatly in 1740, after Jacques-Bénigne Winslow, Professor of Anatomy at the Jardin du Roi in Paris, published a paper in Latin on the uncertainty of the signs of death. It was translated into French by a Paris physician, Jean-Jacques Bruhier d'Ablaincourt, who sensationalised it by adding 'amusing and well-attested' stories of people who had not only returned to life in their coffins and graves but also under the hands of surgeons.

The sight of Lord Byron’s coffin being rowed up the Thames prompted grief on a huge scale with hysterical women hurling themselves at his corpse when it was put on public view.

Hans Christian Andersen suffered from the conviction that he would be buried alive. He requested a spyhole drilled into his coffin so he could watch his own funeral service.

General Robert E. Lee was buried barefoot as the coffin was too small to allow for his boots.

The actress Sarah Bernhardt  bought a coffin at the age of 15, in which sometimes she slept.

After Humphrey Bogart died a small, gold whistle was placed in his coffin by his wife, Lauren Bacall.

When James Brown passed away, his coffin was 24 carat gold.

What's the difference between caskets and coffins? Caskets are square while coffins are tapered at the head and the foot.

Sources Saturday Evening Post, History World

Coffeemaker

An American physicist and inventor living in Paris, Benjamin Thompson, who was known as Count Rumford perfected the filter method of brewing coffee by devising a drip coffee pot in 1809. His coffeemaker had gold-plated mesh filters of different sizes for assorted cups, and a boiling water jacket which kept the coffee hot.

A French metalsmith named Laurens invented the first percolator back in 1818.

A Frenchman Louis Bernard Rabaut invented in 1822 an expresso coffee machine. It worked by forcing the hot water through the coffee grounds using steam, instead of merely letting it drip through.

James Mason of Franklin, Massachusetts registered the first American patent for a coffee percolator on December 26, 1865, His device still used a downflow method without rising steam and water.

Before the invention of the coffee percolator, European and Americans generally roasted their coffee at home using in particular popcorn poppers and stove-top frying pans.

Percolator By Andreaze - Wikipedia Commons

A German homemaker, Melitta Bentz, invented the coffee filter in 1907 after she lined a tin container with a circular piece of absorbent paper and placed the coffee in the container. She then put her creation over a coffee pot and poured hot water into it and the blotter paper automatically filtered the coffee grinds. Mrs Bentz had experimented with a number of different materials, until she found that her son's blotter paper used for school worked best.

The automatic coffeepot was invented in 1952 by Russell Hobbs (it was their first product). By using a bimetallic strip, which automatically cut out when the coffee was perked, a control could be added which regulates the strength of the coffee according to taste.

The first webcam was deployed at a computer lab at Cambridge University in 1993 – its sole purpose to monitor a coffee pot to help people working in other parts of the building avoid pointless trips to the coffee room by providing, on the user's desktop computer, a live picture of the state of the coffee pot.

The world's largest coffee pot is located in Davidson, Saskatchewan. It measures 24 feet tall, is made of sheet metal and can hold 150,000 eight ounce cups of coffee. 

The Revival of Coffeehouse Culture

Coffeehouses and cafés became more popular in the United States and Britain in the 1950s with the rise of the teenager culture. Because of the liquor laws preventing anyone under a certain age from entering bars, American youths would instead meet together in coffee shops or in Britain in cafés. (The English term café, borrowed from the French, comes from the Turkish “kahve”, meaning coffee.)

Later in the century the rise of international coffee shop chains such as Starbucks, (which is named after Starbuck, a character in Moby Dick), as a popular meeting place for western students and urban professionals was a throwback to the coffee house craze of a few centuries ago.

Today a variety of different types of coffees are offered ranging from Café Latte topped with whipped cream to authentic Colombian or Kenyan coffees. In a similar fashion to 300 years ago customers can keep themselves up to date with the news, thanks to the selection of newspapers, which are frequently on offer.

A modern variation since the mid 1990s are internet cafes, where access to the world-wide web is available with a cuppa.

Coffeehouses in England

Initially a substitute for alehouses, coffeehouses became a popular alternative form of meeting-place for the English intelligentsia. With an emphasis on quiet conversation, while drinking coffee or chocolate they would find out the latest political, military and general news.

Edward Lloyd opened a London coffee house in 1688 which became popular with shipowners and merchants who gathered there to create insurance for their journeys and cargo. It is now Lloyds of London.

Separate coffee shops specialized in different aspects of news. Edward Lloyd’s Coffee Shop for example was of particular interest for merchants who came for the latest information on commerce. Because of the turmoil in the political parties around this time, some of these establishments specialized in becoming public meeting places for people of a particular political persuasion.  Tories, for instance, went to the Cocoa Tree Chocolate House, Whigs to St James’s Coffee House.

In a typical coffeehouse the gentlemen would sit at long communal tables drinking their coffee from tall cups whilst reading newspapers or discussing business or the latest news. These establishments were adorned with bookshelves, gilt-framed pictures and mirrors.  Ladies were excluded from these premises, the only female present would be the lady who poured out the coffee from a coffee-pot, which were ranged at an open fire and she would be separated from the men-folk by a canopied booth.

By 1710 there were over 500 coffeehouses in London, occupying more premises than any other trade in the city. Every respectable Londoner had his favorite house, where his friends or clients could see him at known hours. By this stage they were spreading to provinces, Bristol in particular having a good number of these establishments.

Coffee

COFFEE HISTORY

Around the ninth century Arab shepherds were noticing their sheep, after having eaten berries from an evergreen bush, tended to stay awake all night. They decided to follow their sheep's example, with almost identical results. These berries from the coffee bush were eaten either whole, with fat or used as an ingredient in wine.

The stimulating effect of this coffee berry became increasingly popular, especially in connection with the lengthy religious rites of the Muslims. The orthodox priesthood pronounced it intoxicating and therefore prohibited by the Koran but many found it welcome as a means of keeping them awake and alert during their nightly prayers.

The word "coffee" was at one time a term for wine, but as the Arabs found the black drink helped them to pray, so they honored it with the name they had originally given to wine.

By the fourteenth century coffee production was a jealously guarded secret, and fertile beans couldn't be found outside of Arabia. They were mainly commercially grown and harvested near the port of Mocha.

The Arabs started selling the coffee beans to the Turks who roasted them for use as a beverage rather than eating them whole. The beans were roasted over open fires before being crushed and then boiled in water. They flavoured their coffee with spices during the brewing process.

By the fifteenth century Coffee was being widely lauded in the Middle East by physicians for its medicinal properties. These included combating small pox, eliminating constipation, prompting urination and importantly the wonderful smell it gave to the body.

The first coffee shop, called Kiva Han, opened in Constantinople in the early sixteenth century. Turkey had become the chief distributor of coffee, with markets established in Egypt, Persia, and Venice.

Coffee in early sixteenth century Turkey had become so important that if the man of the house failed to keep his family's pot filled with coffee this provided grounds for his wife to seek divorce.

In 1590 Pope Clement VIII was facing the rising tide of Islamic power. The priests advised him, that coffee, the favorite drink of the Ottoman Empire, was part of the infidel threat and a danger to Christianity. The Pope took a sip of the black but fragrant beverage. Far from agreeing to conspiracy theories and "coffee plots," he found it so delicious that he blessed the drink and declared that it would a shame if the infidels were the only ones allowed to enjoy the beverage, thus making it acceptable for Christians.

In early seventeenth century Europe coffee was known as “Arabian Wine.”

By the beginning of the seventeenth century some Egyptians had started adding sugar to coffee to cut its bitterness. This was the first instance of sugar being added to sweeten coffee.

The English physician William Harvey who discovered that the circulatory system of blood, was a keen lover of coffee. Though the new drink was still virtually unknown in England, several of William's brothers were early coffee importers so he was  able obtain his own supply.

The first Englishmen who drunk coffee regarded it mainly as an antidote against alcoholism.

Advertisements for coffee in the 1650s in London claimed that it was a cure for scurvy, gout and other ills. The sick were treated with a variety of combinations of coffee and honey, oil and heated butter.

Consignments of coffee started being imported to New England by a trader, Dorothy Jones of Boston, Massachusetts in the early 1660s. This was the first coffee to be sold in North America.

Previously coffee was considered to be merely a therapeutic product by the French aristocracy. However at the exotic parties given by Soliman Aga, the Turkish ambassador to the court of Louis XIV in Paris, coffee was served in tiny cups of egg-shell porcelain. As laid down by Turkish custom, the ambassador offered it to all who come to visit him and he even persuaded the Sun King to give the drink a try. This “newly flavored drink”, as it was called quickly came into fashion in Parisian High Society where the upper classes would loll around in Turkish dressing gowns drinking coffee.

Ten years after Dorothy Jones became America’s first coffee trader, the new drink had replaced beer as the favorite breakfast beverage for many New England colonists.

In 1723 Captain Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu, a young French naval officer brought a live cutting of a coffee tree from a French botanical garden to the Caribbean island of Martinique, where he planted it on his own estate under armed guard. He originally obtained his seedling after a moonlight raid of a greenhouse in the French king's garden.
The voyage was a difficult one. Among the incidents that de Clieu experienced on board was an attack by pirates, a violent storm and an attempt by a jealous passenger, who attempted to steal his coffee seedling and, when unable to get the plant away from him, tore off a branch. As the ship neared its destination water grew scarce but the young coffee tree was kept alive because de Clieu shared with it his limited ration of drinking water.

54 years after the Frenchman Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu planted the first coffee tree in Martinique, it has yielded a total of nearly 20 million trees.

King Gustav III, of Sweden (1746-1792) was so convinced that coffee is poisonous that he ordered a criminal to drink himself to death with the beverage. The execution proved not particularly successful, as the condemned man remained very much alive.

In the mid 1880s Joel Cheek , a partner in the Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, a wholesale grocery firm in Nashville, Tennessee met Roger Nolley Smith, a British coffee broker who could reportedly tell the origin of a coffee simply by smelling the green beans. The pair developed a coffee that allowed less flavor to escape during the roasting process. In 1892 their coffee was served at the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville where it has become so popular that the hotel owner ordered that no other coffee should be served to his guests. This blend became known as Maxwell House Coffee. For many years, until the late 1980s, it was the largest-selling coffee in the United States.

Maxwell House newspaper ad from 1921

In Chicago, a Japanese American chemist, Satori Kato, invented soluble “instant” coffee in 1901.

The first mass produced instant coffee was the invention of George Constant Washington, an English chemist living in Guatemala. In 1906, while waiting for his wife one day to join him in the garden for coffee, he observed dried coffee on the spout of the silver coffeepot. Intrigued he started experimenting, which lead to his discovery of easily dissolving coffee. Three years later he put his product, Red E Coffee, (a pun on "ready") on the market.

 Advert from The New York Times, February 23, 1914.

During the First World War, US soldiers called their coffee “a cup of George”. The nickname was derived from the name of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, who in 1913 banned alcohol from being served on U.S. Navy warships. The sailors began to drink more coffee, which they then nicknamed "Joe."

In order to fund their sea voyage to the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, Brazilian athletes loaded their ship with coffee and sold it as they made their way.

Nestlé introduced a more advanced coffee refining process in the late 1930s. Nescafe, the first truly successful instant coffee, was launched by Nestlé on July 24, 1938. The Nescafe brand is a combination of the words “Nestlé” and “café.”

Due to the blockading of German U-boats during the Second World War, there was a shortage of many popular items of food and drink in Britain. To counter the housewives came up with an abundance of creative substitutes. For instance were roasted and used as a substitute for coffee.

Joe Sheridan was a barman at the Shannon Airport in Ireland. He had many tired and exhausted customers at his bar, who after a long flight across the Atlantic could well do with a "pick-up." His remedy was a strong cup of coffee fortified with a dash of whiskey, and topped with whipped cream. The travel writer Stanton Delaplane started publicizing Sheridan’s Irish coffee in 1952 after he discovered it during one of his trips.

Expenditure on coffee in Britain first overtook the amount spent on tea in 1998.

At the beginning of the new millennium, tea was the most popular drink on this planet. However in America coffee was more popular and such was the Americans love for the beverage that it helped it to become the world’s second best selling consumer item after oil.

In 2012 a cup of coffee containing 13,200 litres made in London earned a Guinness World Record for the largest ever cup of coffee.

FUN COFFEE FACTS

Coffee comes from an edible fruit -- The coffee cherry is sweet and tastes like watermelon, rosewater, and hibiscus all at once.

In 2002, scientists found that sprinkling coffee grounds in the garden helps deter snails and slugs.

Instant coffee

A car called ‘Car-puccino’ drove from Manchester to London powered by ground coffee in 2010.

Coffee is a great fertiliser for acid-loving plants like hydrangeas, camellias and roses.

In 2010, the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl was hospitalized after he overdosed... on coffee.

Brazil has been the world’s largest exporter of coffee for over 150 years. It accounted for around 80% of the world’s coffee production in the 1920s but that figure has currently fallen to around a third.

The only U.S. State that grows their own coffee beans is Hawaii.

More than 400 billion cups of coffee are drunk around the world every year.

Coffee beans are actually tasteless until they're roasted.

Coffee doesn't taste like it smells because our saliva wipes out 300 of the 631 chemicals that combine to form its complex aroma.

Coffee beans are actually the pit of a berry, which makes them a fruit.


Most instant coffee is made from Robusta beans grown in Vietnam.

The world consumes close to 2.25 billion cups of coffee every day.

The Dutch drink more coffee than any other nation, an average of 2.414 cups each, every day.

The United States consumes the most coffee as a nation, but per capita, it's equivalent to less than one cup of coffee (0.93) per person per day.

One third of the tap water used for drinking in North America is used to brew daily cups of coffee.

It takes approximately 37 gallons of water to make just one cup of coffee when you account for inputs needed to grow and process the beans.

The world’s most expensive coffee is Kopi Luak with retail prices reaching US$700 per  kilogramme. It is made from beans excreted by the luak (palm civet) of Indonesia.

The Turks are so into their coffee that their word for ‘breakfast’ translates literally to ‘before coffee.’

Only thirty-five percent of coffee drinkers drink their coffee black.


Coffee spills from your cup after you take 7 to 10 steps because the rhythm of walking perfectly oscillates the liquid in the cup.

Source Daily Express

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

William “Buffalo Bill” Cody

William “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846-1917) earned his nickname after being employed in 1867-8 to feed workers building the railways. He personally shot 4,280 bison in seventeen months.

Cody was employed as a scout for a time by the United States Army. In January 1872, Cody was a scout for Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich, the fourth son of Alexander II of Russia, during his highly publicized royal hunt.


Cody was active in the concordant bodies of Freemasonry, being initiated in Platte Valley Lodge No. 32, North Platte, Nebraska, on March 5, 1870. He received his 32nd degree in Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in 1894.

Cody founded Buffalo Bill's Wild West in 1883 in the area of North Platte, Nebraska. It was a circus-like attraction that toured annually with real cowboys and Indians.


In 1884 Oakley approached Buffalo Bill Cody about joining his touring company, and the following year she began to appear as a performer in the Wild West Show. She was an immediate hit, and before long the posters for the show prominently featured her.

Cody took the show to Great Britain in celebration of the Jubilee year of Queen Victoria opening in London on May 9, 1887. Her Royal Highness attended a performance and wrote in her diary afterwards that it was "most exciting."


On October 29, 1901 outside Lexington, North Carolina, a freight train crashed into part of the train carrying Buffalo Bill's show. 110 horses were killed by the accident or were put down later. No people were killed but Annie Oakley's injuries were so severe she was told she would never walk again, though she eventually did.

Cody died of kidney failure on January 10, 1917 at the age of 70, surrounded by family and friends at his sister's house in Denver.

Some 25,000 viewed the body, and the Colorado National Guard marched in the funeral procession.


Code

The earliest known use of cryptography is found in non-standard hieroglyphs carved into monuments from the Old Kingdom of Egypt circa 1900 BC.

Ahmad al-Qalqashandi (1355–1418) wrote the Subh al-a 'sha, a 14-volume encyclopedia which included a section on cryptology. The list of ciphers in this work included both substitution and transposition, and for the first time, a cipher with multiple substitutions for each plaintext letter.

Binary code was invented in 1679.

The Vigenère Cipher, invented in 1553 and using various alphabets, was not cracked until 1854 by British computer pioneer Charles Babbage. No other code has taken as long to crack.

During the Second World War, Bletchley Park was the site of the United Kingdom's main decryption establishment, where ciphers and codes of several Axis countries were decrypted, most importantly the ciphers generated by the German Enigma and Lorenz machines.

For the many members of the Women's Royal Naval Service (Wrens) who worked at Bletchley Park, their posting was to HMS Pembroke V.

Cryptography is the art of writing or solving coded writing.

Source Wikipedia

Coconut

In Java and Nicobar the traveler Marco Polo became the first European to have encountered the coconut. He called it "the Pharaoh’s nut," describing it as a fruit full of flavour, sweet as sugar, and white as milk.


The coconut was originally called just ‘coco’ in English in the 16th century. Coco was a Spanish word meaning "head" or "skull", from the three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble facial features

The 96,000 people who visited the The Derby Exhibition of 1839 were able to view a coconut.

Coconuts played an important part during World War One. US gas mask manufacturers found that masks using coconut carbon were superior at filtering noxious substances, and saved many lives as a result.

The water inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma. Coconut water was during World War Two as a substitute for blood plasma in transfusions

The coconut is so versatile that in Malaysia it is called 'pokok seribu guna' - the tree of a thousand uses.

The sea coconut, also known as coco de mer, or double coconut, is endemic to the islands of Praslin and Curieuse in the Seychelles. The mature fruit is 40–50 cm in diameter and weighs 15–30 kg, and contains the largest seed in the plant kingdom.

A female Coco de mer palm tree with some seeds in the growth. Wkipedia Commons

Each year there are approximately 20 billion coconuts produced worldwide.

Most of the world production is in tropical Asia,. Indonesia is the world’s largest coconut producer, followed by the Philippines and India.

In Thailand, pigtailed macaques have been trained to harvest coconuts on large plantations. Males can harvest up to 1,600 coconuts in one day, while their human overlords can only harvest about 80.

Falling coconuts kill 150 people every year.

According to a report in 1984, 2.5 per cent of injuries treated at a hospital in New Guinea were caused by falling coconuts.

Sources Eat Out magazine, Daily Express

Monday, 12 May 2014

Cocoa

A drink used to be made by the Aztecs for the gods which had the ingredients of ground cocoa mixed in with spices and corn.

About 40 cocoa beans are contained in each cocoa pod.


In 1866 Cadburys became the first company in England to sell cocoa as a drink. The cocoa beans were roasted, ground and then mixed with sugar to make a powder. Customers added hot water or milk to the  powder to make what became a much-liked drink.

Cadbury uses more than sixty thousand tonnes of cocoa each year, in the United Kingdom alone.

A person would have to drink more than 12 cups of hot cocoa to equal the amount of caffeine found in one cup of coffee.

An extract of cocoa has been found to be more effective than fluoride in keeping your teeth healthy.

West Africa collectively supplies two thirds of the world's cocoa crop.

Source Greatfacts.com

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Cocktails and Bitters

The first publication of a bartender’s guide, which includes cocktail recipes, was made in America in 1862. On top of listing recipes for various punches and other types of mixed drinks there were ten recipes for drinks referred to as "cocktails". The "cocktails" were differentiated from other drinks in this guide through the use of bitters as an ingredient.

Bitters, a herbal mixture with a bitter flavor was originally created in 1824 in Venezuela by a German doctor, who intended it as a treatment for stomach ailments. Soon the blend was being exported to England and North America where it began to be used as a flavor enhancer in cocktails. Different types of bitters were developed including Peychaud Bitters whose chief taste comes from a bitter herb called gentian.

The word “cocktail” came about earlier in the century. In the French founded city of New Orleans, Antoine Pechaud, the inventor of Peychaud bitters was serving a mixture of cognac and his own bitters to customers in his apothecary shop. He served them in eggcups, which in French is “coquetier”. His American customers started pronouncing “coquetier” as “cocktail.”

Cocktail

Sir Francis Drake is credited with inventing the cocktail in 1586. Made with mint and rum, 'The Draque' was a precursor to the modern mojito.

The tomato juice and vodka cocktail known as Bloody Mary was named after Queen Mary I of England. 300 English Protestants were martyred during her reign, which earned her the nickname "Bloody Mary."

The Manhattan cocktail is a mixture of whiskey and sweet vermouth. Popular history suggests that the drink originated at the Manhattan Club in New York City in 1874, where it was invented by Dr. Iain Marshall for a banquet hosted by Jennie Jerome (Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston's mother) in honor of the new governor Samuel J. Tilden.

The Brandy Daisy, a cocktail of citrus juice and brandy, was the forerunner of the Margarita. One of the earliest known recipes was published in 1876 in the second edition of Jerry Thomas's The Bartenders Guide or How To Mix Drinks: The Bon-Vivants Companion. Margarita is the Spainish name for Daisy.

Sir Thomas Gimlette (1857-1943), a British navel surgeon, believed that drinking straight gin was unhealthy and impaired the efficiency of navel officers, so he began to dilute it with lime juice, creating a new cocktail – the Gimlet.

Harry MacElhone and his bar man Fernand Petiot, of Harry's New York Bar in Paris, were the creators of the Bloody Mary cocktail on April 16, 1921. The addition of tomato juice to the vodka-based seasoned mixture gave the Bloody Mary its reddish, blood-like color. The blood-red concoction got it’s name because it reminded one of his staff of the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago, and a girl there named Mary.

Bloody Mary. By Good1228gmail - Wikipedia Commons

Death in the Afternoon, a cocktail containing absinthe and champagne, was popularized by Ernest Hemingway in a 1935 recipe book.

London celebrity haunt Movida launched the world’s most expensive Christmas cocktail in 2007 at £35,000 a pop. It included a large measure of Louis XII cognac, half a bottle of Cristal Rosé champagne, flakes of 24-carat edible gold leaf — and an 11-carat white diamond ring.

An attempt to set the Guinness World Record for the world’s most expensive cocktail was thwarted when a customer dropped and broke the bottle of Cognac that was worth $77,000.

Source Daily Mail

Cockroach

Thomas Edison developed in 1866 a device to electrocute cockroaches.

Tea made of cockroaches was a common Creole medicine for treating tetanus and other ailments in the 19th century.

The world record for cockroaches eaten is 24 in a minute by retired English rat catcher Ken Edwards on March 5, 2001.

In 2007, a Russian cockroach named Nadezhda became the first creature to give birth in space.

The scientific name for a group of cockroaches is called an intrusion.

Cockroaches can run on two legs, and that they can reach speeds of almost five feet per second.

A cockroach can change directions up to 25 times in a second.

Female cockroaches make eggs more quickly if they cuddle with other roaches.


Baby cockroaches are called nymphs. They are soft and white but turn hard and brown on contact with air.

A cockroach can bite with 50 times more force than its body weight.

Cockroaches can flatten themselves almost to the thinness of a piece of paper in order to slide into tiny cracks.

Much like humans, cockroaches get lonely if they don’t have companionship

A cockroach can live nine days without its head before it starves to death.

The Cockroach Hall of Fame Museum may be found in Phoenix, Arizona.

Cocker Spaniel

The first mention of the cocker spaniel dates back as far as 1368 in the British Isles. Later strains crossed with toy dog breeds to give it its modern, small stature.


It was bred to its now recognisable breed by the Dukes of Marlborough, by crossing the original Spanish breed with King Charles Spaniels. Thus, the Cocker Spaniel was definitely established by the end of the nineteenth century.

The cocker spaniel was exported from Britain to America in 1882, American breeders produced a smaller dog with longer legs, while retaining the finely chiselled facial features.

The cocker spaniel was first used in America to flush or "cock" game into nets, and later used for gun hunting of small birds.

By the mid 1930s the English Cocker Spaniel was the most popular breed in Britain and by the 1940s the American Cocker Spaniel breed was the most popular dog in North America.

Steven Spielberg’s cocker spaniel Elmer appeared in four films that he directed: The Sugarland Express, JawsClose Encounters Of The Third Kind and 1941.

Corky retired from the U.S. Customs Service in Miami in 1991. The golden cocker spaniel, rescued from an Illinois animal shelter three years earlier, had sniffed out $18-million in drugs. 

Cockfighting

Cockfighting was popular in ancient times in China, India, Persia, and other Eastern countries and was introduced into Greece in the time of Themistocles (c. 524-460 BC).

It was during Magellan's voyage of discovery of the Philippines in 1521 when modern cockfighting was first witnessed and documented by Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan's chronicler.

The earliest known book on the sport of cockfighting was The Commendation of Cocks and Cock Fighting published by George Wilson in 1607.

Cockfighting was a popular sport in England until 1849, when it was banned.

The actor Steven Seagal once participated in a raid trying to uncover an illegal cockfighting ring because "Animal cruelty is one of my pet peeves". The raid ended up killing more than 100 hens and roosters and the family dog.

Cocaine

Sigmund Freud was a chronic migraine and sinusitis sufferer, and he took cocaine to alleviate his sinusitis but found it did little for his headaches.

Freud was interested in the clinical uses of cocaine, and he suggested using it to wean drug addicts of morphine. His friend, the Viennese eye surgeon, Carl Koller took up and used the idea. Having watched a colleague Dr Von Fieschl battle with morphine addiction, he prescribed injections of cocaine as a cure only to find his patient has got hooked on the drug instead. Koller and Freud thus created Europe's first cocaine addict.

In Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel Last Bow, his hero, the detective Sherlock Holmes suffered from a rare Asiatic disease. This was an euphemism for a cocaine overdose.

Coca-Cola used to contain cocaine when it was initially introduced in 1886.

Before Coca-Cola, there was Coca Wine, 10% alcohol and 8.5% cocaine extract by volume, and endorsed by Queen Victoria and Pope Leo XIII.

In the 1970's McDonald's had to redesign its coffee spoon because it was being used for snorting and measuring cocaine.

The american comic actor Tim Allen was arrested on October 2, 1978 in the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport for possession of over 650 grams (1.43 lb) of cocaine. He provided the names of other dealers to reduce his sentence from life imprisonment to 7 years.

Steven Tyler, Aerosmith's frontman, claims that he spent at least $5 million on cocaine in the 1970s and 1980s.

Jonah Hill had to be hospitalized while filming Wolf of Wall Street because he snorted so much fake cocaine.

Cocaine is derived from the leaves of the coca plant. Three countries — Colombia, Peru and Bolivia — account for all the coca harvested in the world.

Cocaine that is smoked gets to the brain in as little as eight seconds, while cocaine that is snorted will take about ten minutes.

According to figures from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, coca farmers in Colombia receive $1.30 for each kilogram of fresh coca leaf. In Peru and Bolivia, farmers receive $3.00 per kilogram as the leaf is air-dried before being sold.

1 in 40 people in Scotland uses cocaine, a higher rate than anywhere else in the world.

Less than 5% of the world lives in the U.S., but Americans consume about 37% of cocaine in the world.

Crack cocaine is called "Crack" because of the sound it makes when heated.

Cocaine raises dopamine levels by 250%, compared to 100% from sex and 50% from food.

Source Stratfor.com



Coca Cola

HISTORY

John Pemberton, a former Confederate officer turned pharmacist, created a new beverage at his Atlanta Pemberton Chemical Company on March 29, 1886.  It was called Coca-Cola after two of its ingredients, coca leaves and kola nuts.


Coca Cola was originally sold as a patent medicine. Pemberton started selling his carbonated beverage on May 8, 1886 touting it as a cure for headaches, hysteria and melancholia..

Coca-Cola was originally green. It would still be green if coloring weren't added to it.


Coca Cola's name was chosen by Pemberton's bookkeeper Frank Robinson.

Despite an inauspicious start- only 25 sales of the patent medicine were made in its first year, Asa Candler, a wholesale druggist, purchased the formula for Coca-Cola from John Pemberton for $2,300. He began to improve the manufacturing process and started selling his syrup to local soda fountains, billing it as an "esteemed brain tonic and intellectual beverage.”

The Coca-Cola Company, then known as the Pemberton Medicine Company, was incorporated in Atlanta on January 15, 1889.

Coca-Cola was sold only as a fountain drink until 1894 when Vicksburg, Mississippi confectioner Joseph Biedenharn thought of bottling the beverage in the same manner he had been bottling soda water and offering it for sale to those who could not always make it to town to visit one of his three soda fountains. Bottled Coca-Cola was sold by him for the first time on March 12, 1894.

In 1894 the first big outdoor wall advertisement that promoted the Coca-Cola drink was painted on the side of a building located on 2 W Main Street, Cartersville, Georgia. It still exists today.

An early advertisement
The Coca-Cola Company signed its first agreement in 1899 with an independent bottling company, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee which allowed it to buy the syrup and produce, bottle, and distribute the Coca-Cola drink. They sold for five cents per bottle.

Sales of Coca-Cola started increasing rapidly once it started being marketed as a soft drink rather than a medicine in the dry southern states.

Coca Cola went on sale in Britain in 1900.

Coca-Cola used to use the slogan "Good to the last drop," in the early 1900s. This slogan was later used by Maxwell House.

By the mid 1920s Coca-Cola was being sold in grocery stores and restaurants throughout the United States and had become America’s favorite drink.

Since he lived in Atlanta near The Coca-Cola Company's headquarters, Rabbi Tobias Geffen received many inquiries from rabbis across the United States inquiring whether Coca-Cola was kosher and whether it was kosher for Passover. In 1935 he asked the company for a list of the beverage's ingredients and the Rabbi was provided with its formula on the condition that he not disclose it. Geffen requested that the non-kosher beef tallow be substituted with a vegetable-based gylcerin, which was done, and the drink was declared kosher.

The development of "Hom-Paks," the first six-pack cartons, contributed to the growth of Coca-Cola and other soft drinks in America. This was due to the convenience of being able to carry these cartons and their ensuing increased availability across America.

American General Dwight Eisenhower was very fond of Coca-Cola and his fondness for the drink led to the construction of Coke bottling plants wherever the American troops landed during the Second World War.
Thus sales of the American soft drink rapidly increased in many different places around the world.

Coca-Cola produced a secret "White Coke" variant in the 1940s, which was made specifically for a powerful Soviet Military Marshall. He loved Coca-Cola but needed to hide the fact he was drinking it as it was seen as an American imperialist product.

A bottle of Coke cost a nickel for its first 70 years. Eventually inflation killed the nickel Coke. The price of the ingredients rose and the last nickel Coke seems to have been in 1959.


Two years after the death of Chairman Mao, Coca-Cola started selling their popular soft drink in China. It was the first American consumer product to be sold in China since the communists came to power. Mao referred to Coca-Cola as “the opiate of the running dogs of revanchist capitalism.”

The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as “Kekoukela,” meaning “Bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax”, depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent “kokou kole”, translating into “happiness in the mouth.”

In 1982 Coca-Cola introduced their own low calorie version called Diet Coke, the first new brand since it was created by John Pemberton to use the Coca-Cole trademark. It used aspartame, a synthetic sweetener made from two building blocks of protein, to reduce the sugar content whilst still retaining the sweet flavor of the drink.

In 1985 Coca-Cola introduced bottled Cherry Coke. Soda jerks at drug store fountains had been mixing it since the 1930s.

Coca-Cola changed its classic formula and released New Coke on April 23, 1985. The response was overwhelmingly negative, and the real thing was back on the market in less than three months.

On September 18, 1988 Kuwait lifted its 21-year ban on the sale of Coca Cola. The company had been blacklisted because it had a bottling plant in Israel.  

FUN COCA COLA FACTS

Even Fidel Castro hated New Coke, calling it “a sign of American capitalist decadence.”

The Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho lost his 750k deal with Coke for drinking Pepsi.

A can of diet coke will float in water, while a can of regular coke will sink.


According to Coca-Cola, the "perfect" temperature to serve its drink is between 34 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit​.

The two people that have the recipe for Coca Cola are not permitted to travel in a vehicle together in case of a crash.

Icelanders drink more Coca-Cola than any other nation, at eight bottles a week on average.

The Coca-Cola Company is currently the world’s largest beverage company. Among its 500 sparkling and still brands are Coca Cola itself. Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, Vitaminwater, Powerade and Minute Maid.


Coca-Cola is the most "liked" company on Facebook with more than 79 million fans giving it the thumbs up.

12% of all the Coca-Cola in America is drunk at breakfast.

Every second, 8000 Coca-Cola Company products are consumed in the world.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi are sold in every country in the world, except Cuba and North Korea.

"Coca-Cola" spelled out phonetically in Mandarin can mean "female horse fastened with wax," "wax-flattened mare," or "bite the wax tadpole."

"Coca-Cola" is the second most well understood word in the English language after "Okay." 94% of the world's population recognizes Coca-Cola.

Cobweb

Roman soldiers dressed wounds with cobwebs.

William Shakespeare shared the common belief of the time that cobwebs have a magical medicinal property that stops wounds from bleeding. In Midsummer’s Night Dream Act 3 Scene 1 he has Bottom say “ I shall desire of you more acquaintance, good master cobweb; if I cut my finger, I shall make bold with you.”

Cobra

The name "cobra" is short for cobra de capelo or cobra-de-capelo, which is Portuguese for "snake with hood", or "hood-snake."

In 1978, the Skansen Zoo in Stockholm let a king cobra wander across zoo grounds at night to stop a spate of burglaries—it worked.


In March 2006, Shahimi Abdul Hamid of Malaysia set a world record by kissing a king cobra 51 times in three minutes, one second.

Cobras, which may live up to 20 years, are found from southern Africa, through southern Asia, to some of the islands of Southeast Asia.

A Snake charmer is a person who seems to make snakes (mainly cobras) rise up by playing a pungi. The wind instrument consists of a mouth-blown air reservoir made from a gourd, which channels air into two reedpipes. Snake charming is most common in India though other Asian nations and some North African countries are also home to performers.

Although snakes are able to sense sound, they lack the outer ear that would enable them to hear the music. The cobra that sits up and sways to and fro is following the rhythmic movements of the player, who himself sways in time with the melody. The snake considers the charmer and pungi a threat and responds to it as if it were a predator.

King Cobra is called as "King" because it can eat other species of snakes, and their poison doesn't affect it.

King Cobras aren't actually true cobras and are called that because their diet consists of other snakes, including Cobras.

One gram of King Cobra venom can kill 150 people.

King Cobra females are the only snakes that build nests.

Still-beating hearts of live cobras are eaten as a delicacy in Vietnam.

Cobbler

In the second half of the eighteenth century skilled shoemakers traveled to the Colonies. They went from door to door, repairing old shoes and making new shoes. Some established small shops in villages and towns.

The first to operate a shoe shop on a factory system was John Adam Dagyr, a Welshman who came to Lynn, Massachusetts in 1750. Under his system each worker specialized in only a single operation of the entire shoemaking process. Dagyr is called the "father of American shoemaking."

The first steps towards mechanisation were taken during the Napoleonic Wars by the engineer, Marc Brunel. In 1812 he devised a scheme for making nailed-boot-making machinery that automatically fastened soles to uppers by means of metallic pins or nails. With the support of the Duke of York, the shoes were manufactured, and, due to their strength, cheapness, and durability, were introduced for the use of the army.

A shoe stitching machine was invented by the American Lyman Blake in 1856 and perfected by 1864. Entering in to partnership with McKay, his device became known as the McKay stitching machine and was quickly adopted by manufacturers throughout New England.

Sources Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc, Wikipedia

William Cobbett

William Cobbett  (1763– 1835) was the third son of George Cobbett (a farmer and publican) and Anne Vincent. He was taught to read and write by his father.

On 6 May 1783, on an impulse, Cobbett took the stagecoach to London and spent eight or nine months as a clerk in the employ of a Mr Holland at Gray's Inn.

Cobbett joined the 54th (West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot in 1783 and was stationed with his regiment in New Brunswick Canada between 1785 and 1791, rising through the ranks to become Sergeant Major, the most senior rank of NCO.

He returned to England with his regiment and obtained discharge from the army in December 1791. He married Anne Reid in February 1792, whom he had met while stationed at Fort Howe in Saint John, New Brunswick.

The couple went to the USA, where he wrote fierce pieces against democratic government under the name ‘Peter Porcupine’.

Returning to England in 1800, Cobbett was welcomed by the Tories, and started his famous Weekly Political Register (1802), which continued until his death, changing in 1804 from its original Toryism to an uncompromising Radicalism.

In 1810 Cobbett was imprisoned for two years for criticising the flogging of militiamen by German mercenaries, and in 1817 he went again to the USA, fearing a second imprisonment.

Returning in 1819 he travelled widely in Britain and joined with other Radicals in his attacks on the government. Three times during the next couple of years was charged with libel.

After four unsuccessful attempts, Cobbett finally became an MP after the passing of the 1832 Reform Act when he was able to win the parliamentary seat of Oldham.

In Parliament, Cobbett concentrated his energies on attacking corruption in government and the 1834 Poor Law.

From 1831 until his death, he farmed at Normandy, a village in Surrey a few miles from his birthplace at Farnham.

Cobbett died at his farm after a short illness in June 1835 and was buried in the churchyard of St Andrew's Parish Church, Farnham.

His works include Rural Rides (1830), a classic portrayal of the situation of the rural workers of the time.

Source Wikipedia

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain was born at Grays Harbor Hospital in Aberdeen, Washington on February 20, 1967, to a waitress, Wendy Elizabeth, and an automotive mechanic, Donald Leland Cobain.

Grays Harbor Hospital in Aberdeen, where Cobain was born. By Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7681465

He had a happy childhood until his parents divorced when he was 7-years-old. The divorce left Kurt's outlook on the world forever scared. He became withdrawn and anti-social. He was constantly placed with one relative to the next and at times even homeless, forcing him to sleep under a bridge.

Kurt's talent as an artist was evident from an early age. His bedroom was described as having taken on the appearance of an art studio, where he would accurately draw his favorite characters from films and cartoons such Disney characters like Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Pluto.

Kurt Cobain was not the most popular person in high school, getting picked on by "jocks" and being labelled as "queer".

Although not interested in sports, Kurt was enrolled in a junior high school wrestling team at the insistence of his father. Kurt was a skilled wrestler, yet despised the experience.

Kurt Cobain dropped out of high school, then worked there as a janitor.

On his 14th birthday on February 20, 1981, Cobain's uncle offered him either a bike or a used guitar. He chose the guitar. Soon, Cobain began working on his own songs.


The first song that Kurt Cobain learned to play on the guitar was AC/DC's "Back In Black."

The first concert he attended was Sammy Hagar and Quarterflash at the Seattle Center Coliseum in 1983.

Cobain formed Nirvana with Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1985 and established it as part of the Seattle music scene.

Nirvana's first single was a cover. They recorded "Love Buzz," by The Shocking Blue, in 1988.

Kurt's mother predicted the impact that Nirvana's breakthrough album, Nevermind, would have on him. She describes in Brett Morgen's 2015 documentary Montage of Heck almost crying from fear when he first brought home the record's final master cut back home to Aberdeen  "This is going to change everything," she recalled telling her son. "You better buckle up, because you are not ready for this."

Kurt Cobain, along with Nirvana bandmates Dave Grohl, and Krist Novoselic were kicked out of a Nevermind release party for starting a food fight. The date was Friday September 13, 1991.

Cobain was married to Courtney Love from the group Hole. They first met at an L7 and Butthole Surfers concert having been introduced by Nirvana's drummer Dave Grohl.

Cobain and Love got married on February 24, 1992 on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. Cobain wore green pajamas as he had been "too lazy to put on a tux."


Cobain always wore black converse all-stars in public; they were his only pair of shoes.

Kurt Cobain was a lifelong doodler. "Once he could draw, he drew all the time," remembered his mother, Wendy O'Connor in the documentary Montage of Heck. As an adult, Cobain was constantly scribbling thoughts and lyrics in notebooks.

Kurt Cobain's body was found on April 8, 1994 in his Seattle home by an electrician sent to install motion detectors and a new alarm system. He is believed to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound three days earlier.

A suicide note was found near Cobain's body written in red ink. It was addressed to his childhood imaginary friend Boddah.

Cobain's suicide note (full transcription). Taken from Nivana wikia  Copyright held by Kurt's estate. 

His ashes were scattered in McLane Creek- Olympia, a handful were scattered under the willow at the front of 171 Lake Washington Boulevard, Seattle, another handful was given to a Buddhist to make a tsatsu - a memorial sculpture.

Kurt Cobain's hometown, Aberdeen, placed a sign that read "Welcome to Aberdeen: Come As You Are" as a tribute.

Cobain is in the ‘27 club’ of musicians who died at 27, which also includes Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse.

In 2006 Forbes announced that Kurt Cobain is now the Top-Earning Dead Celebrity, beating out Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Johnny Cash, George Harrison, Ray Charles, and Bob Marley.

Frances Bean Cobain, Kurt Cobain's daughter, doesn't like Nirvana—she prefers Oasis.

Sources IMDB, Wikipedia, Artistfacts