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Sunday, 28 September 2014

Democratic Party (United States)

The modern Democratic Party was founded around 1828. It evolved from the Jeffersonian Republican or Democratic-Republican Party organized by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in opposition to the Federalist party of Alexander Hamilton and John Adams.

On January 15, 1870 a cartoon by Thomas Nast, titled, A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion, appeared in Harper’s Weekly (see below). The cartoon used the donkey to symbolize the Democratic Party. The symbol gave everyone such a such a ‘kick’ that it has stuck to the Democrats to this day.

Democracy

Democracy is a word from the Greek language - demokratia meaning rule by the people.

A sort of democracy was practiced by the ancient Greeks in the city of Athens. Everyone who was a citizen (slaves, women, foreigners, and children could not vote) would pick a leader by writing the name of their favorite candidate on a piece of stone or wood. The person with the most votes became the leader. In effect only 10% of the population had the vote.


In 351 BC, the plebeians or ‘plebs’ of Ancient Rome were given their first taste of democracy — the right to stand for election as Censor, the officer responsible for maintaining public morality.

The pastor and founder of Hartford, Connecticut, Thomas Hooker, argued in the State court in 1638 that the colony’s citizens should have the right to appoint their own magistrates. For this reason he is sometimes known as the father of American democracy.

The Dutch-Jewish philosopher Spinoza published his Tractaus anonymously in 1670. As the work promoted democracy as the most natural form of government he feared it was unlikely to be welcomed by the authorities.

The term 'democracy' is not mentioned once in the US Constitution.

1797 saw the first ever peaceful transfer of power between elected leaders in modern times, when John Adams was sworn in as President of the United States, succeeding George Washington.

In 1941, there were only eleven democracies in the world.

Source Chronicle of The World

Frederick Delius

Frederick Delius was born on January 29, 1862 in Bradford, West Yorkshire of German-Scandinavian descent.

He was baptized as "Fritz Theodore Albert Delius," and used the forename Fritz until he was about 40.

Delius was the second of four sons (there were also ten daughters) born to Julius Delius and his wife Elise Pauline, née Krönig.

He followed a commercial career until he was 20, when he went to Florida as an orange planter, studying music in his spare time.

Delius entered Leipzig Conservatory in 1886, and became a friend of Grieg.

"Fritz Delius (1907)" by Unidentified - "Fritz Delius". Monographien Moderner Musiker [Monographs of Contemporary Musicians] (in German) 2. Leipzig, Germany: C. F. Kahnt Nachfolger. 1907. Licensed under PD-US via Wikipedia - 

After 1890 he composed prolifically. He wrote six operas, including A Village Romeo and Juliet (1901), and a variety of choral and orchestral works, such as Appalachia (1902) and On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring (1912).

In 1897 Delius moved into the house of German painter Jelka Rosen in Grez-sur-Loing, France. They married six years later. She was heiress to a modest fortune from her distinguished Schleswig-Holstein family and her wealth gave Delius financial security.

In 1924 Delius became paralyzed and blind, but with the assistance of a young English admirer Eric Fenby, he continued to compose.

Frederick Delius with his wife Jelka Rosen in 1929

Delius died at Grez-sur-Loing on June 10, 1934, aged 72. He had wished to be buried in his own garden, but the French authorities forbade it. His alternative wish, despite his atheism, was to be buried in an English country churchyard. Jelka chose St Peter's Church, Limpsfield, Surrey as the site for the grave.

Source Europress Family Encyclopedia 1999. 

Delaware

Delaware is named after the Delaware River and Delaware Bay. These, in turn, were named for Sir Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, the first colonial governor of Virginia, who traveled the river in 1610.

The first Swedish colonists arrived in America in the Colony of Delaware in 1638. They established a Lutheran settlement at Fort Christina, named after Sweden’s Queen Christina.

In 1682 William Penn received the area that is now the state of Delaware, and added it to his colony of Pennsylvania.

Delaware is sometimes called the First State because it was the first colony to accept the new constitution in 1787.

In 1929 JC Penney opened store #1252 in Milford, Delaware, making it a nationwide company with stores in all 48 US States.

Convicted murderer Billy Bailey was the last person to be hanged in the USA. He was executed by the state of Delaware on January 25, 1996 .

In Delaware, it is illegal to sell dead people for money without a license.

Chickens outnumber people in the US state of Delaware by more than 200-1.

Source Mentalfloss.com/article/31100/how-all-50-states-got-their-names

Deism

John Toland (1670-1722) was one of the pioneers of the deist movement, the predominate philosophy of the Anglican Church in the late 17th and pre Wesley 18th century.

Many of the American founding fathers including George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. adhered to this philosophy, which replaced revelation and tradition with reason.

Deism can be summed up thus: God has created everything and he has set all the laws in motion in a perfect way and no intervention can improve things. Instead God is removed from human affairs and therefore it is not rational to believe in any supernatural aspects of Christianity such as miracles. As this meant they rejected much of the miraculous and prophetic aspects of Scripture and ecclesiastical tradition, the believer was expected to use reason and their own conscience to arrive at their own moral tenets.


Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) was born in Fore Street, Applegate, London. His father was James Foe, a dissenting butcher and candle merchant. His mother was Alice Foe who died before Defoe was ten.

As a boy John Milton was one of Defoe's neighbors.

The 1666 Great Fire of London left standing only Defoe's and two other houses in his neighborhood.

Defoe was educated for the Presbyterian ministry. a good but not an ordered or aristocratic education. From the age of 14 he attended Morton’s Academy for Dissenters at Newington Green.

In addition to traditional Latin and Greek Defoe studied French, Italian, Spanish, Elementary Science, History and Geography. He was especially good at Geography.

Despite being educated for the non-conformist ministry, Defoe followed his father into trade eventually setting up as a merchant selling everything from fine stockings to the glands of civet cards.

He married Mary Tuffley who had a handsome dowry of £3700 in 1684. Her independent spirit attracted him and they had a happy marriage. They had eight children including six girls.

Defoe took part in Monmouth's doomed rebellion and was one of the first who got away scot free from the Battle of Sedgemoor.

Defoe's breeding of civit cats for the perfume industry was a disaster and he ended up in Newgate prison a bankrupt.

In 1694 with money given to him by his patron King William III, Defoe set up a brick and pantile works in Tilbury, Essex, and began to pay back his creditors.

The business was very successful, supplying the building boom in London with high quality material, but the sudden death of King William in 1702 left Defoe resented by the new administration under Queen Anne.

In 1702 Daniel Defoe anonymously published a tract entitled The Shortest Way with the Dissenters, which satirised religious intolerance by pretending to share the prejudices of the Anglican Church against Nonconformists.

When it was found the following year that Defoe had written the tract, he was arrested and sentenced him to a punitive fine, to public humiliation in a pillory and to an indeterminate length of imprisonment which would only end upon the discharge of the punitive fine. When Defoe was placed in the pillory on July 31, 1703, he was pelted with flowers.


With his imprisonment, Defoe's thriving business collapsed. The timing of the great storm, which raged across southern England in 1703 killing 8,000 people, added insult to injury. Had it occurred earlier in the year, Defoe might have expected a windfall from the highly inflated price of tiles and labor.

Robert Harley, the speaker of the House of Commons, secured Defoe's release in November 1703, probably on the condition that he agree to become a secret agent and public propagandist for the government.

In 1707 Defoe was employed by the government as a propagandist and opinion former in Scotland during the manoeuvres for the 1707 union with England.

Between 1703-13 Defoe ran his own newspaper The Review. News was scarce sometimes so he made up reports to print in it. It appeared three times a week even when he was in prison for libel.

Daniel Defoe was one of the first agony uncles or aunts. In The Review, he gave advice on reader's queries.

At one time he wrote the newspaper with his own hand three times a week for six months. The often outspoken and controversial Defoe never rested working seven days a week.

The virtual founder of the novel and father of modern journalism. His The Review was a great influence on later English newspapers.

Defoe had a gift for observing human nature. He wrote 250 books and over 500 written works including history, biography, sociology, travel, manuals of conduct for parents and lovers, economics and political pamphlets.


Defoe shot to fame with his poem The True Born Englishman.

Once Defoe was pilloried for three days for publishing non conformist tracts during which there was a torrential thunderstorm. Normally fruit and vegetables were thrown at the offender. The sympathetic crowd threw flowers rather than fruit. He spent his time there selling copies of the pamphlet which got him in trouble. Defoe wrote of this experience in verses called Hymn to the Pillory.

In 1719 Defoe decided to write a piece of fictitious journalism based on the true life castaway Andrew Selkirk at the time when his political reputation was sinking. Selkirk was 28 when his ship wrecked on one of the Juan Fernandez islands in the South Pacific in 1704 . He was stranded there for four years and was rescued from the island on February 2, 1709 by English captain Woodes Rogers and the crew of the privateering ship Duke.




The book was titled Robinson Crusoe and Defoe wrote it at 95 Stoke Newington Street. London. The work was published on April 25, 1719. Before the end of the year, this first volume had run through four editions.

Defoe was a zealous, evangelical Puritan. The book revealed Robinson Crusoe, even when marooned on a desert island, behaving in a prudent, hard-working Protestant manner, secure that despite the circumstances God was on his side.

Defoe met Alexander Selkirk, the real life castaway, in the Llandoger Trow pub in Bristol.

Its full title was The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York Mariner.

Defoe made his publishers a profit of over £1000 with the immediately successful Robinson Crusoe.




He wrote his follow up The Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, the month following the publication of the first volume. It was the first ever sequel to a novel. In 1720 Defoe wrote his second follow up Serious Reflections of Robinson Crusoe.

The Apparition of Mrs. Veal, a pamphlet attributed to Daniel Defoe, has been called the first modern ghost story. Defoe had a long-standing interest what would now be termed the supernatural and addressed the topic several times in his works. His Serious Reflections of Robinson Crusoe described "A vision of the Angelick World."

In 1722 Defoe wrote the smutty Moll Flanders to castigate immoral behaviour. It drew on the popularity of the lund criminal biographies which were in vogue at the time.

His A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain published in three volumes between 1724-26 was one of the first travel books.

Defoe exhorted the virtues of the textile factories of Halifax in his book calling them, "The most agreeable sight I ever saw". However the unspoilt countryside around Lancaster he described as, "A kind of unhospitable terror. No lead mines-no coal pits...no use or advantage to either man or beast."

Daniel Defoe’s numerous pen names included Jeffrey Sing-Song, Obadiah Blue Hat, Betty Blueskin, Penelope Firebrand, and the Man in the Moon.

Daniel Defoe died on April 24, 1731, probably while in hiding from his creditors. He was interred in Bunhill Fields, London, where a monument was erected to his memory in 1870.

Source The Independent

Deer

Very protective towards his royal deer, the punishment for merely disturbing King William the Conqueror's stags was blinding. "Anyone who killed a hart or a hind was to be blinded... He loved the stags as clearly as though he had been their father ." said  The Peterborough Chronicler, regarding the death of the monarch.


Deer can abort a pregnancy if there is not enough food to support the deer population. She absorbs the fetus back into her system, or she can hold off giving birth until there are the right conditions.

Only male deer have antlers.The antlers are deciduous, and drop off after the mating season. Their main use is for males to fight for groups of females during the rutting season.

While an antler is growing, it is covered with highly vascular skin called velvet, which supplies oxygen and nutrients to the growing bone. The antler grows faster than any other mammal bone.


Deer have four-chambered stomachs, which help them digest their plant-based food.

When a baby deer, known as a fawn, is born, they are on their feet in 20 minutes.

When deer become startled and flee in a group, they don't collide because an inner compass points them all in a certain direction.


The Declaration of Independence

Although the Declaration of Independence was dated July 4th, the true US Independence Day was on July 2nd when the Continental Congress approved the legal separation of the 13 colonies from Great Britain  and didn’t sign it until August 2, 1776.

On July 8, 1776,  the Liberty Bell pealed from the tower of Independence Hall summoning the citizens of Philadelphia to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.


The Virginia Gazette was the first American newspaper to publish the complete full text of the United States Declaration of Independence. It was printed on July 26, 1776.

Thomas Jefferson, regarded as the strongest and most eloquent writer, wrote most of the document.

The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.



A parchment paper copy of the Declaration was signed by 56 persons on August 2, 1776; two future U.S. presidents, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, were among the signatories.

John Hancock, president of the Second Continental Congress, was the first signer, and his signature is the largest —  it is almost 5 inches long. It is said that he said he signed his name large so King George III could read his signature without his glasses. The term John Hancock is still used today as a synonym for signature.

Benjamin Franklin, who represented Pennsylvania, was 70 when he signed the document. He was the oldest of the signers. Edward Rutledge, 26, of South Carolina, was the youngest.

The only brothers to sign the Declaration of Independence were Francis Lightfoot Lee and Richard Henry Lee.

John Trumbull's famous painting is often identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration, but it actually shows the drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress

The Declaration of Independence refers to Native Americans as "the merciless Indian Savages".

The British Parliament still has a copy of the original American Declaration of Independence in its archives.

The house where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence was replaced with a hamburger stand.

Deckchair

The requirement for comfortable, but easily stowable, outside seats for use in the brisk ocean liner trade saw the introduction of the foldable “deckchair,” made by Edward Atkins of Bethnal Green, London in 1884.

A consumers Association report in 1987 claimed over 2500 people a year needed medical help for injuries caused by deckchairs.

Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy was born at St Germain-en-Laye on August 22, 1862. His father was a travelling salesman and his mother worked as a seamstress.

He had his first piano lesson aged 10 and entered the Paris Conservatoire at the same age. Within three years Debussy was playing Chopin piano concertos.

As a schoolboy Claude Debussy was teased by his fellow pupils as he would only eat the daintiest and most expensive chocolates.

"A pupil with a considerable gift for harmony but desperately careless" (From Debussy's Conservatoire report 1879)

Debussy had a pale complexion, flabby body, vivacious black eyes under heavy drooping lips. He had an enormous forehead and long locks of dark curly hair.

Debussy, by Marcel Baschet, 1884

He was nervous by temperament and fanatical about his music. He loved order and clarity.

Debussy spoke in a soft voice, slowly as if seeking the right word.

He travelled to Florence, Venice, Vienna, and Moscow in 1879 as private musician to Nadejda von Meck, the patron of Russian composer Tchaikovsky.

Debussy won the much coveted Grand Prix de Rome in 1884 for his cantata L'enfant prodigue (The Prodigal Son).

At the age of 18 Debussy began an eight-year affair with Marie-Blanche Vasnier, wife of a Parisian civil servant. The relationship eventually faltered following his winning of the Prix de Rome in 1884 and obligatory residence in Rome.

In 1899 he married fashion model Rosalie ('Lilly') Texier, after threatening suicide if she refused him. He got a job as music critic of a journal called La revue blanche.

Although Texier was affectionate, practical, straightforward, and well liked by Debussy's friends and associates, he became increasingly irritated by her intellectual limitations and lack of musical sensitivity. Moreover, her looks had prematurely aged, and she was unable to bear children.

In 1904, Debussy started an affair with Emma Bardac, wife of Parisian banker Sigismond Bardac. Debussy wrote to Texier informing her their marriage was over.

A couple of months later Texier attempted suicide, shooting herself in the chest with a revolver; she survived, although the bullet remained lodged in her vertebrae for the rest of her life. The ensuing scandal was to alienate Debussy from many of his friends, whilst Bardac was disowned by her family.


In the spring of 1905, finding the hostility towards them intolerable, Debussy and the now pregnant Bardac fled to England, via Jersey. The couple settled at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne from July 24 to August 30, 1905.

The couple returned to Paris in September and their daughter (the composer's only child), Claude-Emma (known as "Chou-Chou"), was born there on October 30th.

Debussy and Bardiac were eventually married in 1908, their troubled union enduring until Debussy's death in 1918.

Photograph of Claude Debussy circa 1908

A slow composer, it would often take Debussy weeks to choose one chord in preference to another.

Debussy's 1902 opera Pelléas et Mélisande, based on the play of the same name by the Belgian poet Maurice Maeterlinck, earned him widespread fame as a musician of outstanding significance.

Pelléas et Mélisande was at first thought utterly tuneless. At the public dress rehearsal hecklers shouted "When will the orchestra stop tuning up? and "Now give us some music". The hostility at its premiere was additionally fuelled by the choice of the young Scottish soprano Mary Garden to play Mélisande, whose imperfect French accent was not to the Parisian public's liking.

Debussy rarely visited the sea, spending most of his time far away from large bodies of water. He drew inspiration for “La Mer” from art, preferring the seascapes available in painting and literature.
Part of it was written in Jersey in the Channel Islands.

The Suite bergamasque, which consists of four movements, is one of the most famous piano suites of Claude Debussy. The best known part is the third movement, titled "Clair de lune," meaning moonlight. It was named after Paul Verlaine's 1869 poem of the same name,

Children's Corner was a piano suite composed for his daughter Chou Chou in 1908. Three of the pieces were musical pictures of her favorite toys, her elephant, Jimbo, her doll and her gollywog.

Debussy had a number of Persian cats. Three of them died by falling from his window.

One of Debussy’s last works was written as a trade for some coal. As supplies were scarce and therefore expensive in France during World War I, the composer offered to write his coal merchant an original composition, "Les Soirs illumines par l'ardeur du charbon" (Evenings Lighted By Burning Coals.) In return, he got his fuel.

Just before Debussy died, he attempted to write an opera based on Edgar Allan Poe's House of Usher.

In 1909 Debussy learned that he was afflicted with rectal cancer, from which he died on March 25, 1918. He was interred at Paris Cimetière de Passy.

Debussy passed away during the bombardment of Paris by airships and long-distance guns in the last German offensive of World War I. This was a time when the military situation of France was considered desperate by many, and these circumstances did not permit his being paid the honor of a public funeral, or ceremonious graveside orations, or festivals of his works. The funeral procession made its way through deserted streets as shells from the German guns ripped into his beloved city.

Sources Encarta Encyclopedia, Wikipedia

Food Related Deaths

From the dawn of man there have been many food-related deaths. The early Palaeolithic peoples had to quickly learn to be excellent botanists lest they mistook a poisonous root for a nutritious one. Their botanical knowledge was handed down from one generation to the next:

54 The Roman emperor Claudius was poisoned with amanita mushrooms by his wife Agrippina, after her son, Nero, was name as his heir.

1135 King Henry I of England died from indigestion caused by eating moray eel.

1159 Pope Adrian IV the only English pope, choked to death when he accidentally swallowed a fly.

1216.In England, King John died of an intestinal illness at an East Anglian abbey having hastened his death by eating an excess of peaches and drinking too much cider.

Russian Czar Alexander I, Roman Emperor Claudius, French King Charles V and Pope Clement VII are just four of several historical figures who died after eating the wrong type of mushroom fungus.

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

Drink Related Deaths

From the dawn of man drinking has been the cause of death for many, especially through over indulgence of alcoholic beverages. Here are a few of the best-known instances.

762 Libai one of the greatest Chinese poets died whilst drunk when he tried to in his rather unsteady state to capture the reflection of the waters of the Yangtze.

1042 Edward the Confessor, the eldest son of Ethelred II, became the King of England after his predecessor Hardicanute died of convulsions whilst drinking at a wedding party. There were suspicions that he was poisoned.

1574 Selem the drunkard emperor of the Ottoman emperor for eight years was not interested in ruling his country, a job which he tended to delegate. Instead he spent his time drinking wine surrounded by various friends and flatterers in his harem. He met a fitting end dying as a result of cracking his skull in a Turkish bath when dead drunk.

1593 The playwright Christopher Marlowe met a violent death whilst drinking in a Deptford, London tavern. It was suspected he was murdered because of his activities as a spy.

1918 John L Sullivan was the last bare-knuckle boxing champion, and the first one to use gloves. The American was an alcoholic, who for four years was not fit enough to defend his title. In his later years Sullivan became teetotal and a supporter of the temperance movement He died in 1918 of health problems caused by his earlier alcoholism.

1931 The English novelist Arnold Bennett drank a glass of water to prove it was safe. It wasn't and he died of typhoid.

1953 The Welsh poet Dylan Thomas who was renowned for his alcohol consumption collapsed in his hotel. He was in New York on a promotional tour and had been drinking heavily. He died later in hospital and his last words were “I've had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that’s a record”.

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

Death

HISTORY

During the Middle Ages, corpses were often boiled to remove the flesh so that the bones could be transported more easily. Prepared for every eventuality, the Crusaders took their own cauldrons with them.

Charles VIII  of France died after an accident in 1498. After striking himself on the head while passing through a doorway, he succumbed to a sudden coma several hours later.

Tycho Brahe died in 1601, several days after his bladder burst during a banquet. It had been said that to leave the banquet before it concluded, would be "the height" of bad manners, and so he remained until his bladder exploded.

After about 1660, the religious emphasis on dying a good death gradually declined as did the belief that sickness and death were punishments sent by God. The new age of reason called the Enlightenment encouraged the belief that God, having created the world, was allowing it to work without divine interference. This allowed for a more naturalistic approach to illness.

The fear of being buried alive largely originated after Jacques-Bénigne Winslow, professor of Anatomy at the Jardin du Roi in Paris, published a paper in Latin in 1740 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 Queen of Thailand drowned in 1880 as her subjects looked on because they were forbidden to touch her.

No American has died of old age since 1951 - that was the year the government removed that classification from death certificates.

In 1967 Dr. James Bedford became the first person to be cryonically preserved with intent of future resuscitation.

Lal Bihari (1955-1975, 1994- ) is an Indian farmer and activist. In 1975, Bihari tried to apply for a bank loan, but it was denied because, according to the government, he was legally dead. He fought with Indian bureaucracy for 19 years to prove that he is alive. Bihari founded Mritak Sangh, the Uttar Pradesh Association of Dead People, to highlight other cases like his.

During the 2009 Iranian election protests, the death of Neda Agha-Soltan was captured on video and widely distributed on the Internet, making it "probably the most widely witnessed death in human history".

DEATH FACTS

We die because our cells die. Though they replace themselves over and over again for some 70-odd years, they can't do so forever.

When a person dies, the first sense lost is sight, and the last is hearing.

If a dead body is left at 50°F, it will take about four months for its soft tissue to decompose until just the skeleton is left.

The US National Institute of Medicine estimated in 2004 that three quarters of Americans die as a result of their lifestyle, factors ranging from drinking, drugs, smoking and violence to stress.

Statisticians have calculated that about 1 in every 113 people die every year.

About 159,635 people will die on the same day as you.

World-wide, one in every eight deaths is due to cancer.

Traffic accidents are the primary cause of death worldwide for people aged 15-24.

The animal that kills the most humans each year is the Mosquito at 725,000 deaths, followed by Humans at 475,000, and then Snakes causing 50,000 deaths per year.

You're 14% more likely to die on your birthday than any other day.

In Britain around 580,000 will die of which just over 70% will be cremated and just under 30% will be buried.

The most common time for deaths in a hospital is between the times of 4pm and 6pm, the time when the human body is at its weakest.

Cholesterol and saturated fats (from pork, beef, eggs and other dairy products) have killed more people around the world than all the battles and wars combined.

The dead outnumber the living by more than 30 to one.

Some scientists believe that one out of every two people who have ever lived have died of malaria.

The US state with the highest death rate is Mississippi; Hawaii has the lowest.

Every day since 1840, life expectancy has increased by about six hours.

Here is a list of songs about death

Would You Believe This Too, History World

James Dean

James Dean was born in Marion, Indiana, United States on February 8, 1931 to Winton Dean and Mildred Wilson.

When Dean was six his family moved to California, and James went to school in Los Angeles.

James' mother died of cancer when he was nine, and he went to live with his aunt and uncle in Fairmount, Indiana.

When he was 11 years-old, Dean was sexually harassed by a Protestant minister. This experience tortured him during all his whole childhood.

In high school, he became interested in drama and car racing. After he graduated, he moved back to California to live with his father and stepmother.

He had two front teeth knocked out while he was swinging around on a homemade trapeze. Dean said he lost them in a motorbike accident and would shock people by taking out his false teeth during conversations.

James Dean made his television debut with an appearance in a Pepsi commercial on December 13, 1950. He was the guy who put the money in the jukebox. He was asked to film a second Pepsi ad the very next day.


Dean attended Santa Monica College and UCLA, but left college in 1951 to become a professional actor.

Dean in Rebel Without a Cause

Dean had a fondness for auto racing and had purchased the 1955 Porsche Spyder sports car, one of only 90 made of that year model, planning to participate in the upcoming races in Salinas, California on Oct 1, 1955.

Exactly one week before he died, James Dean was warned by Sir Alec Guinness not to get into his new Porsche 550 Spyder, or “You’ll be found dead in it by this time next week."

On September 30, 1955 the 24-year-old James Dean, driving his Porsche Spyder, collided with another car in Cholame, California and was killed. He had received a speeding ticket just two hours and fifteen minutes before.

Ironically, he had filmed a highway safety commercial with actor Gig Young on the set of Giant in July 1955. Dean told Young, "I used to fly around quite a bit, took a lot of unnecessary chances on the highway.... Now when I drive on the highway, I'm extra cautious."

Source Wikipedia

Deafness

In 1755, Abbe Charles Michel de L’Epee of Paris founded the first free school for deaf people. He used a system of gestures, hand signs, and finger spelling.

Beethoven was completely deaf when he composed his Ninth symphony in 1824.

The National Deaf Mute College, later named Gallaudent College was incorporated in Washington DC in 1857. It was the first school in the world for advanced education of the deaf.

Alexander Graham Bell's mother was deaf. His father, Alexander Melville Bell, was a specialist in deaf children's education. He invented "visible speech", a method of phonetic notation for deaf mutes.

Alexander Graham Bell assisted his father in teaching deaf and dumb children in London. When Bell and his family moved to America,  he opened a private school in Boston to train teachers of the deaf and the methods of visible speech he'd learnt from his father.

In 2003 British Sign Language was recognized as an official British language.


In the dreams of deaf people, they still don't hear but either the people in their dreams know sign language or all communication is essentially telepathic.

Honeybees and turtles are deaf.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Dead Sea Scrolls

 In 1947 the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by an Arab shepherd boy in a cave on the shore of the Dead Sea where they had been hidden in around 68 AD by a Jewish monastic community.

Over the following nine years a search of the surrounding caves led to a total of around 850 documents being found.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a group of ancient scrolls and fragments of all of the Old Testament books except the Books of Esther and Nehemiah plus other historical texts and they date from around 150 BC to 68 AD, a thousand years older than the earliest Hebrew manuscript of the Old Testament (AD 895).

A portion of the second discovered copy of the Isaiah scroll, 1QIsab.
Four of the Dead Sea Scrolls were offered up for sale in an advertisement in the 1 June 1954, Wall Street Journal. They were purchased by Israelis Professor Mazar and the son of Professor Sukenik, Yigael Yadin, for $250,000 on February 13, 1955  and brought to Jerusalem.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were made available to the public for the first time on September 22, 1991 by the Huntington Library.

The scrolls reveal how accurately the scribes carried out the copying of earlier Hebrew texts. It is interesting to note, for instance, that the 14 copies of the Book of Isaiah have produced only six minor changes to the text as previously known. 

Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is a lake between the countries of Israel, Jordan and Palestine.

At 1,371 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on the surface of the Earth.

Legend has it that the prophet Abraham's aged wife Sarah bathed in the Dead Sea before conceiving Isaac.

The Dead sea is almost nine times as salty as the ocean. That makes it impossible for most life to exist in it. - hence its name.

The sea is not completely dead. In 1998, three species of fungi were discovered to be living in the Dead Sea. One of the species is new to science and cannot survive without salt.

Because the water is so salty, it weighs more than fresh water. This is enables people to float in the Dead Sea without any effort.

Many doctors prescribe a visit to the Dead Sea for their patients as a source of healing. Thanks to its extremely high salt and mineral content, the water is said to help people with respiratory issues, joint problems like arthritis, and many chronic skin conditions.

Source Wikipedia

Madame de Pompadour

Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour (1721-1764), was a member of the French court and  the official chief mistress of Louis XV from 1745 to her death.

She was presented to the royal court by a cousin of the King, the Princess of Conti.

A fully rounded hair style, the Pompadour, in which the hair is swept straight up from the forehead to a high, turned-back roll, for women, or simply brushed up from the forehead, for men is named after her.

Versailles sent out fashion dolls ever five years or so to other European courts with miniature versions of Madame Pompadour's latest wardrobe so that women such as the Russian Czar Catherine the Great could get their dressmakers to copy them

Although they had ceased being lovers after 1750, they remained friends, and Louis XV was devoted to her until her death from tuberculosis in 1764 at the age of forty-two.

Her importance was such that she was approached in 1755 by Wenzel Anton Graf Kaunitz, a prominent Austrian diplomat, asking her to intervene in the negotiations which led to the Treaty of Versailles. This was the beginning of the Diplomatic Revolution, which saw France allied to her former enemy Austria.

Source Wikipedia

Robert De Niro

Robert Anthony De Niro was born in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan, New York on August 17, 1943.

His father, Robert De Niro Sr. was a noted abstract Expressionist artist, and his mother was a painter. Later, his father came out as gay

At the age of 10, Robert De Niro played the Lion in a local production of the Wizard of Oz.

As a boy his nickname was 'Bobby Milk', after his pale skinny frame. The moment he left school he joined a gang.

De Niro spent $20,000 for a dentist to mess up his teeth for his role in the movie, Cape Fear.

Robert De Niro gained 60lb (27kg) tp play Jake LaMotto in Raging Bull.

De Niro ate pancakes every morning and went to Italy on an eating tour to gain weight to play Al Capone in The Untouchables.

Robert De Niro learned to play the saxophone for his role in New York, New York.

Bananarama, who had a hit in 1984 with "Robert De Niro is Waiting," had themselves to wait when De Niro, a fan of the song, set up a meeting. They were so nervous they got steaming drunk before he turned up.

De Niro at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. By Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49203466

Among the many film scripts the famously picky actor turned down was The Last Temptation of Christ, in which he was offered the role of Jesus. But he was happy to appear on Ricky Gervais' comedy show, Extras, during a break in the filming of the 2007 movie Stardust.

Source Mail on Sunday

Catherine de' Medici

Catherine de' Medici was born in Florence, Republic of Florence, as Caterina Maria Romula di Lorenzo de' Medici on April 13, 1519. Catherine's father, Lorenzo II de' Medici, was made Duke of Urbino by his uncle Pope Leo X, and her mother, Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne, the Countess of Boulogne, was from one of the most prominent and ancient French noble families.

Madeleine died 15 days after her daughter's birth of puerperal fever or plague and Lorenzo died from syphilis just 6 days later. Catherine was raised by her aunt, Clarice Strozzi.

At the age of 14, Catherine de' Medici married Henry duc d'Orléans, the son of the French King Francis I. The wedding took place in the Église Saint-Ferréol les Augustins in Marseille on October 28, 1533

Catherine and Henry's marriage, painted seventeen years after the event
When Catherine de' Medici married the future Henry II of France she brought with her a group of Florentine cooks from her native Italy. With their help, she introduced many new Italian dishes never seen before in France such as artichoke hearts, asparagus, macaroons, pasta, raspberry, lemon and orange sorbets, sweetbreads and truffles.

Catherine de' Medici brought forks with her to France, so these new foods were served using utensils instead of fingers or daggers. She introduced a new elegance and refinement to the French table.

As a wedding present, her uncle, Pope Clement VII presented to Catherine de' Medici a new bean, the haricot bean, which had been imported from the New World.

Catherine de' Medici introduced the art of lacemaking at the French court. In an inventory of her household goods were 381 squares of unmounted lace in one chest and 538 in another. She kept her waiting women constantly at work making lace to decorate her bedchamber.

On her visit to Rome, the Venetian envoy described Catherine as "small of stature, and thin, and without delicate features, but having the protruding eyes peculiar to the Medici family.”


Prince Henry showed no interest in Catherine as a wife; instead, he openly took mistresses.

For the first ten years of the marriage, Catherine failed to produce any children. Eventually she bore him five children, Francis II of France, Elizabeth of Valois, Charles IX of France, Henry III of France and Margaret of Valois.

When Catherine de' Medici was Queen of France she maintained about eighty alluring ladies-in-waiting at court, whom she used as tools to seduce courtiers for political ends. These women became known as her "flying squadron."

At the 1576 wedding of Marquis de Lomenie and Mlle de Martigues, Catherine de' Medici ate too many of her favorite cockerel kidneys and artichoke bottoms and for a time became so ill with diarrhea she thought she would die.

Queen Catherine de Medici lived in the Louvre. Certain rooms were said to be constructed with a network of listening tunnels, so that anything spoken in one room could be heard in another. That way the paranoid Queen could scupper any plots against her.

Catherine died at the age of sixty-nine on January 5, 1589 at her Château de Blois home, probably from pleurisy.

Effigies of Catherine de' Medici and Henry II by Germain Pilon (1583), Basilica of St Denis

Sources Daily Mail, Wikipedia,  Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc, Food For Thought by Ed Pearce, Tresashley.blogspot.com

Day

Monday is the only day of the week that is an anagram of a single word: ‘dynamo’.

The day of the week Tuesday is named after Tiw, the Norse god of single combat, victory and glory. Tiw is associated with Mars, the Roman god of war, which is why the day is Mardi in French, Martes in Spanish and Martedi in Italian.

The actress Tuesday Weld was born on a Friday.

According to a survey in 2002, Tuesday is the most productive day of the week in the workplace.

Wednesday is named after Woden, the most important God in the German pantheon, often identified with the Norse God Odin.  Woden and Odin are also associated with the Roman god Mercury, which is why the French call Wednesday Mercredi and the Spanish Miercoles.

The Japanese for Wednesday translates as ‘Water day’ as the planet Mercury was known as the ‘water star’.

In German, Wednesday (Mittwoch) is the only day of the week not ending in ‘tag’ (day).

The Wednesday before Easter is known as ‘Spy Wednesday’ referring to Judas’s betrayal of Jesus.

Submarine crews do not use a typical 24 hour day, one day lasts 18 hours.

A day on the Moon is so slow that you could outrun the sun in a car and stay in perpetual sunlight.

Here is a list of songs with days of the week in the title

Source Daily Express

Charles G. Dawes

Charles Gates Dawes (1865 – 1951) was an American banker and politician who was the thirtieth Vice President of the United States between 1925 and 1929.

Dawes won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1925 for his work on the Dawes Plan for World War I reparations.

Dawes was a self-taught pianist and composer who composed a classical violin and orchestra piece in 1911, “Melody in A Major.” It was eventually used in Tommy Edwards’ 1958 #1 hit (for a then record six weeks) “It’s All in the Game.”

Dawes composed the piece in a single piano sitting. "It's just a tune that I got in my head, so I set it down," he told an interviewer. Dawes played it for a friend, the violinist Francis MacMillan, who liked it enough to show it to a publisher.

Source Songfacts.com

Sir Humphry Davy

Humphry Davy was born in Penzance, Cornwall on December 17, 1778, the eldest of five children. His Cornish father was a comfortably well off wood carver and small farmer who died when Humphry was 16.


A keen naturalist as a boy he was encouraged to take up science by Davies Goddy, a figure of local importance who gave the boy the run of his lab.

Due to his father's early death, Davy was entered into an apprenticeship with John Bingham Borlase, a surgeon with a large practice at Penzance in order to support his family.

A talented poet as a young man according to Coleridge, Southey and Wordsworth. They thought better of  Davy's  poetry than do some modern critics.

Wordsworth gave Davy the task of assisting his friend Cottle, the poet's publisher in correcting the second edition of his Lyrical Ballads.

In 1798 Davy was  employed by the physician Thomas Beddoes as laboratory head in his fashionable medical pneumatic institution in Bristol.

Davy investigated then demonstrated whilst working for Thomas Beddoes the use of laughing gas (nitrous oxide) by inhaling it himself to ease the pain from a tooth abscess.  He nearly died from the effects. Davy never followed up his findings, as he saw the hilarity it caused a useful way of relieving the pain of surgery. He never saw it as an anesthetic.

In 1800 he wrote Researches, Chemical and Philosophical Chiefly Concerning Nitrous Oxide and its Respiration.

Sir Humphry Davy, Bt, by Thomas Phillips (died 1845). 


The first tooth extracted using laughing gas was on a New England dentist, Horace Wells in 1844.

Between 1801 and 1802 Davy tried to fix an image on light sensitive paper but was unsuccessful in producing the first photo.

In 1802 Davy was appointed Professor of Chemistry at The Royal Institution in London. He was such a handsome scientist that women would flock to his discourses on chemistry to see him. The brilliant lectures he delivered as professor of chemistry were major social occasions.

Cleanliness was not a priority for Davy. J Cordy Jeaffreson wrote in A Book About Doctors (1860):  "He was said to be affected...not to have enough time for the ordinary decencies of the toilet. Cold abulations, neither his constitution nor philosophic temperament required so he rarely washed himself. And on the plea of saving time, he used to put on his clean linen over his dirty...so that he has been known to wear at the same time five shirts and five pairs of stockings."

In 1809, it is said that Davy invented the first electric light. He connected two wires to a battery and attached a charcoal strip between the other ends of the wires His lights only lasted a few minutes.

A friend of Sir Walter Scott, Darwin regularly visited the Scottish novelist at  his Abbotsford home.

Davy damaged his eyesight in a laboratory accident with nitrogen trichloride in 1812. His accident induced him to hire Michael Faraday as a coworker.

Faraday became a greater scientist than Davy. His last years were embittered by jealousy .

In 1812  Davy married a wealthy Scottish widow, Jane Apreece (1780-1855), three days after being knighted. She disapproved of science especially after her husband took a chemical chest on their honeymoon. The marriage was ultimately unhappy and childless.

After marrying Jane Apreece Davy went on a tour of Europe with a young Michael Faraday in 1813-14 and met many European scientists. They hobnobbed with leading French scientists despite the country being at war with France.

His results were so highly esteemed that Davy was awarded a prize established by Napoleon even though Britain and France were at war.

While in France Davy was asked by Gay-Lussac to investigate a mysterious substance isolated by Bernard Courtois. Davy showed it to be an element, which is now called iodine

Davy discovered seven new elements in total including sodium potassium, calcium and magnesium.

A letter from Italy safely reached Davy despite being addressed to "SIRO MFREDEVI/LONDRA"

Davy was an expert angler with an intense interest in it. His younger brother John said he was "a little mad about it"

He wrote a book on fly fishing titled Salmonia or Days of Fly Fishing by an Angler.

Davy started experimented with lamps for use in coal mines in 1815. At that time before gas lightening had been invented, the only way a bright light could be obtained was a candle without protection. The first trial of a Davy lamp with a wire sieve was at Hebburn Colliery on January 9, 1816.

Diagram of a Davy Lamp

The first Davy lamp to be taken down the mine shaft of the Penzance Ding Dong mine was carried by the Reverend John Hodgson. The first miner he approached with this new apparatus freaked out.

Davy refused to take out a patent for his lamp as he didn't want to make money out of saving the lives of miners.


Chemical poisoning from his frequent experiments left Davy an invalid the last two decades of his life.

Davy spent the last months of his life writing Consolations in Travel, an immensely popular, somewhat freeform compendium of poetry, thoughts on science and philosophy. Published posthumously, the work became a staple of both scientific and family libraries for several decades afterward.

Humphry Davy died in a hotel room in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 29, 1829 after suffering a stroke several months previously.

Source The Faber Book of Anecdotes 

Bette Davis

Bette Davis (1908-1989) was an actress known for playing strong, independent women. Her movies include What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?, Jezebel and All About Eve.

Bette Davis as Margo Channing in All about Eve

She was born at 55 Cedar Street, Lowell, Massachusetts on April 5, 1908. Her father was Harlow Morrell Davis, a law student from Augusta, Maine, who became a patent attorney. Her mother was Ruth Augusta "Ruthie" (née Favor), from Tyngsboro, Massachusetts.

Most of her ancestors had lived almost exclusively in New England since moving to the United States in the 1600s.

She was born Ruth Elizabeth Davis, but was known from early childhood as "Betty,"

Betty's parents divorced when she was 10. She and her sister were then raised by their mother.

She attended Cushing Academy, a boarding school in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, She met there her first husband, Harmon O. Nelson, known as "Ham."

In 1926 Davis saw a production of The Wild Duck, with well known Broadway actress Peg Entwistle, which inspired her to seriously pursue acting.

One of her classmates at John Murray Anderson's Dramatic School in New York was Lucille Ball.

Davis turned down the lead in The African Queen with Humphrey Bogart, after hearing it would be shot on location. She told her Warner Bros. boss: "If you can’t shoot the picture in a boat on the back lot, then I’m not interested."

Joan Crawford and Davis had feuded for years. During the making of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), Bette had a Coca-Cola machine installed on the set due to Joan Crawford's affiliation with Pepsi. (Joan was the widow of Pepsi's CEO.) Joan got her revenge by putting weights in her pockets when Davis had to drag Crawford across the floor during certain scenes.

Bette Davis was often filmed in close-ups that emphasized her distinctive eyes.

Davis was very active in leading Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts due in part that in her childhood she was a decorated Girl Scout.

Bette Davis owned a nightclub in Hollywood for US servicemen and women where everything was free, and other celebrities would regularly volunteer to serve food or perform.

Kim Carnes had an international hit single in 1981 with "Bette Davis Eyes." Bette Davis wrote letters to Carnes and the songwriters to say she was a fan of the song and thank them for making her "a part of modern history." One of the reasons the legendary actress loved the song is that her granddaughter thought her grandmother was "cool" for having a hit song written about her.

Bette Davis died on October 6, 1989, of metastasized breast cancer, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France.

She was interred in Forest Lawn—Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.  On her tombstone is written: "She did it the hard way," an epitaph that she mentioned in her memoir Mother Goddam as having been suggested to her by Joseph L. Mankiewicz shortly after they had filmed All About Eve

When Davis died, her false eyelashes were auctioned off, fetching a price of $600.

Davis was the first person to receive ten Academy Award nominations (winning with Dangerous and Jezebel). She held the record for Oscar nominations until Katharine Hepburn overtook her with twelve.

Sources Wikipedia, Songfacts

The Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code is a 2003 mystery-detective novel written by Dan Brown, which explores an alternative religious history that the Merovingian kings of France were descended from the bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene.

Though Dan Brown asserts it is only fictional, the controversial story-line of The Da Vinci Code is based on Gnostic scriptures claims that the Catholic Church hushed up the ‘fact’ that Jesus had no divine nature and he married Mary Magdalene.

The novel was an international best seller, selling over 80 million copies as of 2009 and has been translated into 44 languages.

The Da Vinci Code is France's bestselling book ever. Over 25% of the population has read it.

When The Da Vinci Code was made into a film in 2006 it earned the second largest worldwide opening weekend gross in history.

The Catholic Church was portrayed as depraved and corrupt and many Christians around the world protested about the film. However others saw it as an opportunity for evangelism.

Saint David

Saint David (c. 500 – c. 589) was a Welsh bishop of Menevia during the 6th century.

He founded a monastery (St.Davids) in a remote and inhospitable part of south west Wales and established many other monasteries churches throughout the country.

Saint David was given the nickname ‘the water man’ as he only drank water, never ale or wine and he liked to stand in cold water to help him concentrate on God.

The practical saint urged the Welsh warriors to wear leeks to distinguish themselves from their Saxon opponents in battle.

His last words were "Be steadfast, brothers, and do the little things."

Saint David's Day is the feast day of Saint David and falls on March 1st each year. The date was declared a national day of celebration within Wales in the 18th century.

King David

The youngest of 8 sons, David (C1040-970BC), his early occupation was that of tending his father's sheep on the uplands of Judah. He frequently spent his time, when watching sheep, with his shepherd's musical instruments (flute and harp).

David’s skill on the harp bought him to the notice of King Saul who suffered from a strange melancholy dejection. He played his harp before the king so skillfully that Saul was greatly cheered, and began to entertain great affection for the young shepherd.

David became a hero of the people when he defeated the giant Goliath. When King Saul gave him his tunic, a coat of armour and a bronze helmet to fight Goliath, David felt uncomfortable so he resorted to his own shepherd's attire.

Having graduated to being armour bearer to King Saul, then falling out with him, David was forced to flee to the desert and become leader of an outlaw band. In the desert having not eaten for three days he devoured a cake of pressed figs and two raisin cakes possibly flavored with a feathery herb called coriander which had a lemony citrus flavour.

David was anointed king of all Israel in 993BC following death of King Saul. As a shepherd he was immensely knowledgeable about animals. The experience of looking after his father's sheep taught him a great deal. In later years it helped David in pasturing the flock his heavenly father gave him - The Israelites.

David conquered the Jebusite settlement of Zion, which became the nucleus of his capital city, Jerusalem. After seven years as King he moved his capital from Hebron to Jerusalem in deference to the ten northern Kings who opposed his reign.

David was a man after God's heart, who kept God's command all of his life apart from during an adulterous relationship with Bathsheba, the beautiful wife of one of his officers Uriah, whom he had killed. He trusted in God, but as his comfort zone increased his reliance on God decreased.

David's life's ambition was to build a temple but God did not permit this, although he was promised an eternal dynasty in Jerusalem.

David is traditionally reckoned on having written 73 of the 150 Psalms in the Bible. These songs and prayers stand out as great poetry. They spotlight the heights and depths of human experience. "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He lays me down in pastures green” he wrote in Psalm 23.

A prophet as well, David prophezied in Psalm 22 the future Messiah’s' death including v18 "They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing."

David placed great importance on the cultivation of olive trees; He even had guards watching over the olive groves and warehouses, ensuring the safety of the trees and their precious oil.

David (Michelangelo)

In 1501, the city government of Florence commissioned sculptor and painter, Michelangelo Buonarotti to create a statue of the Old Testament king of Israel, David, as part of a series of statues meant to adorn the roofline of Florence's cathedral dome.

Michelangelo unveiled his 13ft high stone carving on September 8, 1504. Michelangelio's David astounded the public with it's realism. Every muscle and vein of its subject is shown.


Michelangelo's patrons were so overwhelmed by David's beauty that they decided to scrap the plan to place it on the cathedral dome. Instead, it was located where it could be appreciated up close, outside Florence's government offices in the Palazzo Della Signoria.

Because of the nature of the hero it represented, the statue soon came to symbolize the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the supremacy of the Medici family.  Protesters pelted it with stones the year it debuted, and, in 1527, an anti-Medici riot resulted in its left arm being broken into three pieces.

The statue of David's right hand is too big for his body. It is believed this is Michelangelo's nod to David's nickname, manu fortis—strong of hand.

The statue was moved to the Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence, in 1873, and later replaced at the original location by a replica.

On September 14, 1991, Italian artist Piero Cannata attacked the statue with a small hammer he had concealed beneath his jacket; in the process of damaging the toes of the left foot, he was restrained.

Dating Agency

Helen Morrison is said to have placed the first female Lonely Hearts advert in 1727, in the Manchester Weekly Journal.The Lord Mayor sent the lonely spinster to an asylum for a month, believing she was mad.

The personal classified advertising business started on February 23, 1886 in the UK when The Times first allowed matchmakers to advertise lonely spinsters.


106-year-old English lady Mrs Betsy Pennick placed an advert in the Dundee Courier in 1924 looking for ‘a husband with a good financial position’. When the ad came to light in 2015, one news website described her as the ‘world’s first and oldest “cougar.”

A researcher in Antarctica got a date via Tinder with a woman who was at a field camp 45 minutes away.

The highest traffic time on both Tinder and OKCupid is 9:00 p.m.

In America, 35% of people who use personal ads for dating are already married! 

Dating

The earliest recorded use of the word girlfriend was in 1859: boyfriend dates back to 1822.

In the 18th century, colonial New England couples used a courting stick, a six-foot-long hollow tube, to talk without getting too close.

When the dating concept was invented in the 1910s, American women could be arrested for going on a date—police often mistook dating for prostitution.

In 1987, only 48% of Americans approved of interracial dating.

Each year November 11th has become an unofficial holiday in China known as Singles' Day when singles are encouraged to make an extra effort to find a partner.

1 in 4 relationships now start online.

The Sunday after New Year’s Day is the busiest time of the year for online dating.

Fei Chong We Rao is a Chinese dating show... for dogs.

A scientist in Antarctica managed to find a date (through Tinder) with another scientist who was camping 45 minutes away.

Date

In the first few centuries after Christ, each country or religion tended to have its own year-numbering system, sometimes dating back to the supposed year of the creation in their beliefs but more often relating to the number of years a particular emperor or king had been reigning. When the monarch, died, a new era began at year one.

In the second century some bishops in the Eastern Roman Empire began counting the years from the birth of Christ.

It wasn't until 525 when the monk Dionysius Exigous (Dennis the Little) (c470-c545) devised a new calendar originating from Christ’s birth, which he assumed was 48 years after the death of Caesar, that some in the west began recording time from the life of Christ. Unfortunately he made a mistake in his calculations, and it is now felt the birth of Christ was around 4BC.



The use of Anno Domini was popularized in Western Europe only after it was used by Bede to date the events in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People. In particular the endorsement of this method by the scholar Alcuin, a member of Charlemagne’s court at the end of the eighth century was a principal factor in the system’s prevalence up to current times.

In 1565 King Charles IX of France issued a decree that fixeed the beginning of the year at 1st January instead of 1st April. This innovation was not very popular and on 1st April both as a protest and as a joke people sent sweetmeats in the shape of fish to one another as mock New Year’s gifts. Fish was chosen as the Sun happened to be in the constellation of Pisces.

Pope Gregory XIII introduced the modern calendar in 1582. In attempting to eliminate the difference between the date of the birth of Christ as it was then estimated and the errors that have been made and repeated ever since, the Pontiff removed all the days between the 4th and 15th of October of the current year. Roman Catholic countries quickly adopted the new system, but many people were upset as they feel the papacy has taken away 11 days of their lives.

In 1712, February had 30 days in Sweden as it changed from the Julian to Gregorian calendar.

UK prime ministers Ramsay MacDonald and Neville Chamberlain both died on November 9th in 1937 and 1940 respectively

Contrary to popular belief, the first day of the 21st Century was Monday, January 1, 2001, not January 1, 2000. This is due to the fact counting did not start for the current calendar in the year 0.

The nation of Samoa observed the same time as the Samoa Time Zone until it moved across the International Date Line at the end of December 29, 2011 making it 24 hours (25 hours in summer) ahead of American Samoa. As a result, the date of December 30, 2011 was omitted in Samoa.

A Samoan family.

November 9, 2013 was the last date until March 1, 2105 with three consecutive odd numbers. And December 12, 2014 was the last with three consecutive even numbers until April 2nd, 2106.

The dates 4/4, 6/6, 8/8, 10/10, and 12/12 all fall on the same day of the week during any one year.

2013 was the first year since 1432 that is a rearrangement of four consecutive numbers.

Submarine crews do not use a typical 24 hour day, one day lasts 18 hours.

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was born in on February 12, 1809 in Shrewsbury, the same day as Abraham Lincoln.

His father, Robert Darwin, was a successful local doctor, but was stern and critical towards him.

Darwin's mother, Susannah Wedgwood, was the daughter of Josiah Wedgwood, the famous potter. She died when he was eight. His three elder sisters reared him.

His other Grandfather was Erasmus Darwin, a naturalist, poet and philosopher who had put forward his own theory of evolution which Darwin disowned.

As a boy he was so enamored with chemistry that his young friends nicknamed him "Gas".

Painting of seven-year-old Charles Darwin in 1816.

Darwin attended Shrewsbury school after his mother died. His schoolwork later suffered due to spending time shooting and rat catching. His father complained "you care for nothing but shooting, dogs and rat catching and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family.”

Darwin studied medicine at Edinburgh University 1825-27. He dropped out as he could not stomach the operating theatre. Darwin found the two years there to be “intolerably dull”.

Finding himself squeamish at the sight of human blood and suffering, Darwin left Edinburgh and went to the University of Cambridge, in preparation for a life as a Church of England clergyman, which he thought would best allow him to pursue his increasing interest in natural history.

At Cambridge Charles Darwin preferred riding and shooting to studying, and along with his cousin William Darwin Fox became engrossed in the then current craze for the (competitive) collecting of beetles.

As a student at Cambridge, Darwin set up the Glutton Club to dine on "birds and beasts unknown to the human palate." He was particularly fond of puma.

At Cambridge he came under the influence of two figures: Adam Sedgwick, a geologist, and John Stevens Henslow, a botanist. Henslow not only helped build Darwin’s self-confidence but also taught his student to be a meticulous and painstaking observer of natural phenomena and collector of specimens.

When exams loomed Darwin focused on his studies, becoming particularly enthused by the set texts by Paley which included the argument of divine design in nature.

In his finals in January 1831 Darwin shone in theology and scraped through in classics, maths and physics, coming 10th out of a pass list of 178.

Darwin was 6ft tall with a big, bushy white beard.


Darwin spent five years between 1831-36 on board a Royal Navy exploring ship, the HMS Beagle. He was the guest naturalist, which meant that he was responsible for making collections and notes about the animals, plants, and the geology of the countries they visited.

Darwin paid his own way during the Beagle voyage at £500 per annum.

HMS Beagle was a 242 ton, 10 gun, 90 ft long,Cherokee-class ship of the Royal Navy. It was launched on 11 May 1820.

Darwin's father strongly opposed Charles going on theBeagle  voyage as he felt his son's calling was to the Church.

Darwin was nearly rejected as ship's naturalist on the Beagle because of shape of his nose. The captain, Robert Fitzroy was not certain that anyone with such a broad, squat nose would have the character to survive such an arduous journey.

Modest and kind,, the amiable Darwin was nicknamed "Philos" by the crew of the Beagle.

During his five-year voyage on the Beagle to the Pacific, Darwin shared a cabin with Robert Fitzroy. The commander of the Beagle subsequently became governor of New Zealand, and a vice admiral. Later he became one of Darwin's fiercest critics on scriptural grounds. He committed suicide in 1865 for the part he played in undermining the Bible.

Quite an action man on his South American trip, Darwin rode with the toughest hauchos of the Argentine Pampas and scaled the highest peaks of the Andes.

Darwin described the meat of the agouti, a South American rodent, as “the very best meat I ever tasted.”

His observations of animals and plants (including the giant tortoises) on Galapagos Islands were different to everywhere else and even differed from island to island. He spent a year studying there which suggested to him that animals and plants were not replicas created by a heavenly snap of fingers.

Darwin was lionised on his return to London from the Beagle as a brilliant geologist. Later his 1839 Journals of Researches during Voyage of the Beagle achieved excellent sales.

Darwin drew up a list with columns headed "Marry" and "Not Marry." Having come down in favour, he went to visit his cousin Emma Wedgwood and proposed to her.


On January 29. 1839 Darwin married Emma Wedgwood at Maer church in Staffordshire. (Her family lived in the Jacobean Maer Hall nearby) It was an Anglican ceremony arranged to also suit the Unitarians.

Emma Darwin, wife of Charles Darwin

Charles and Emma spent many happy years together. She did not share her husband's enthusiasm for his work and didn't pretend to find his experiments interesting.

Darwin enjoyed listening to his wife Emma playing Mendelssohn on the piano.

Between 1839-42 the Darwins lived at "Macaw Cottage,"110 Gower Street on what was then the northern edge of London.

In 1842 the Darwins moved to Down House, Downe Kent, which is situated in 16 acres in a village near Farnborough, Kent.

Originally a parsonage, Downe House wasn’t particularly inspiring but it suited Darwin’s needs. He conservatively decorated it apart from some William Morris wallpaper.

The Darwins moved from London to Kent due to the riots in the streets of London at the time and they felt the city was no place to bring up children.

They had ten children of which three died in infancy. He used his children as laboratory assistants.

Among his sons, were George Darwin, Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge, 1845-1913
Sir Francis, a moderately successful Reader in Botany at Cambridge 1848-1925
Leonard, entered Royal Engineers and took part in several scientific expeditions and became an authority on eugenics. MP for Lichfield 1892-95 1850-1943
Sir Horace, a make of scientific instruments at Cambridge 1851-1923.

One beloved daughter Annie, died tragically aged ten leaving her father and mother tremendously grieved. Her loss challenged his belief in a benevolent God.

Though Darwin recalled that "Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox" he later struggled with faith and became increasingly agnostic, particularly after the death of his daughter Anne.

Darwin first formatted his theory of evolution in 1844 but put it aside for eight years to study barnacles. He was stung into publishing his work when he realized a younger naturalist then working in Malaysia, Alfred Russell Wallace, had come up with the same idea.

An early draft of Origin of Species languished for 20 years in a broom cupboard by the back door of Downe house.

Darwin let his children use the original manuscript of Origin of Species as drawing paper.

AR Wallace sent his essay On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original type to Darwin and then agreed to back down and let Darwin take the glory (and brickbats).

Darwin's theory of evolution was the continuous process of change from a simple to a more complex form of life in which those species of plants and animals survive that most readily adapt themselves to their environment and therefore become stronger and more numerous than the rest. He then concluded from this that men evolved from the higher species.

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection on the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life was written in layman's terms and published on November 24, 1859. Darwin had agonised over his prose, constantly rewriting passages and the result was one of the clearest written, most lucid scientific books ever.



By the time Darwin published The Origin of Species he had has been a chronic invalid for twenty years, unable to work for days and weeks on end. He was prone to giddiness, fainting spells, shaking, nausea, dry retching and frequent migraines and suffers from panic disorder and agoraphobia.

A probable cause of Darwin's ill health was a bite by a bug during his trip to South America. The disease then possibly lay dormant in his blood for years though his health problems might well be largely psychosomatic.

In 1849 Darwin took the first of several water cures at Malvern to improve his health, however his illness has released him from many domestic and social responsibilities, thus enabling him to concentrate on his work.

On  the publication of The Origin of Species, Darwin fled to the Yorkshire moors and was covered in stress related boils. He was afraid of being thought a French Republican blasphemist with his evolutionary views and was upset that people were saying that his book claimed there is no God. Despite his own religious skepticism, Darwin believed that his theory revealed the way God created us all.

All 1250 copies of The Origin of Species sold out on first day of publication in November 1859. In Darwin's lifetime there were 35 printings translated into 11 languages. Today there have been over 400 printings in around 30 languages.

‘Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution’ is an anagram of ‘Oh-ho! Words verify Natural Selection’.

In 1867 the poet Matthew Arnold predicted a “melancholy, long, withdrawing roar” of the “sea of faith” in a post Darwinian world.    
       
Darwin's second book on evolutionary theory, 1871's The Descent of Man, created another uproar with its assertion that human beings are of the same family as apes and chimpanzees. Bishop Wilberforce summed up the ecclesiastical indignation asking one Darwinist whether he was descended from apes on his grandfather's or grandmother's side.

Darwin never actually used the term "survival of the fittest". It was Henry Spencer who originated the term in his book Principals of Biology.

Darwin proposed in The Descent of Man that music developed from mating calls and preceded speech. "Human song is generally admitted to be the basis or origin of instrumental music. As neither the enjoyment nor the capacity of producing musical notes are faculties of the least use to man in reference to his daily habits of life, they must be be ranked among the most mysterious with which he is endowed."

Darwin was a gifted botanist who used his own gardens at Down to great effect. In the last two decades of his life he wrote five botanical books, describing a wide range of observational and experimental work. It included the role of insects on cross-fertilisation and the important function of the earthworm in breaking down leaves and turning earth into fertile soil.

By the end of his life Darwin was ruing over the use of his theory by Karl Marx to deny the existence of God. His Christian wife Emma was unhappy about her husband’s supposed challenge to the Bible and he regretted upsetting her.

A popular Christian urban legend known as the "Lady Hope Story" claims (variously) that he "converted" to Christianity on his deathbed after the evangelist Lady Hope visited him, but these claims were refuted by his children; Henrietta stated that Lady Hope was not present during Darwin's final illness.

Charles Darwin had a heart attack whilst calling upon a friend in 1881. This was followed by a series more of them and he died at Down House on April 19, 1882. His last words were "I am not in the least afraid to die".

Darwin had a state funeral accompanied by Beethoven's funeral march watched by representatives from all over the world.

Karl Marx considered Darwin had provided the biological basis for communism.

Darwin in Australia is named after the evolution pioneer.

In 1999 one leaf from The Origin of the Species was bought for £45,000 at an auction.

Charles Darwin's pet tortoise Harriet died in 2006.

Sources Encarta Encyclopedia,  Giant Book of Facts & Trivia