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Saturday, 30 April 2016

Mein Kampf

On April 1, 1924 Adolf Hitler was sent to jail for his participation in the Beer Hall Putsch. During his nine months incarceration in Landsberg Prison, he wrote the first part of his political testament Mein Kampf ("My Struggle").

Mein Kampf was typed with two fingers by Rudolf Hess, Hitler's fellow room-mate during his 1923 imprisonment.

It was the composer Richard Wagner's daughter in law, Winifred, who bought to prison the paper that Hitler used to write Mein Kampf.

Hitler wrote the second part of Mein Kampf after his (early) release from jail.

Hitler's last sentence in Mein Kampf is an acknowledgement of the influence of Dietrich Eckart, an influential occultist.

Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published on July 18, 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926.

Both volumes were sold separately between 1926 and 1930, at the price of 12 Reichsmark each. In 1930, both volumes were published as one book.

Dust jacket of 1926–1928 edition

Originally a poor seller, sales picked up once Hitler came to power. However many leading Nazi's such as Eichmann claimed they had never read Mein Kampf as it was so boring.

Henry Ford was praised in Mein Kampf and Hitler kept a life-size portrait of the motor mogul next to his desk.

Once Hitler came to power, schoolteachers in Germany were ordered to read Mein Kampf and to become thoroughly familiar with the Nazi creed.

Hitler mandated that every German couple be  given a copy of his book as a wedding gift.

Bavaria owned the rights to Mein Kampf until 2016. Proceeds were given to charity – although it could be tough finding a charity willing to accept.

In 2016, following the expiry of the copyright held by the Bavarian state government, Mein Kampf was republished in Germany for the first time since 1945. It stayed on German best-seller lists for 35 weeks and sold 75,000 copies.

Mediterranean Sea

The Mediterranean Sea is the body of water that separates Africa, Asia and Europe. It covers an area of 965,000 sq miles (2.5 million sq km) and has an average depth of 4,900 feet (1,500 meters).

It was the superhighway of transport in ancient times. The Mediterranean allowed for trade and cultural exchange between peoples of the region — Phoenicians, Egyptians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, and the Middle East (Arab/Persian/Semitic) cultures.

The Romans called the Mediterranean 'Mare Nostrum' (Our Sea).

The German architect Herman Sörgel (1885-1952) devoted his whole life to promote his grand scheme to drain the Mediterranean and unite Europe and Africa into one super continent. The plan was initially conceived as a solution to the economic and political turmoil gripping Europe in the early 20th century.

In 2008, artist Saimir Strati made his Homage to Mediterranean Life from 229,764 wine corks.

Being nearly landlocked affects the Mediterranean Sea's properties. Tides are limited by the narrow connection with the Atlantic Ocean. The water is saltier, partly because of evaporation.

The coast of the Mediterranean runs past 22 different countries.

The five largest islands in the Mediterranean are Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, Corsica and Crete. The only island nations in the Mediterranean are Cyprus and Malta.

Source Daily Express


Early medicine amongst the peoples of the Mediterranean and the American Indians was closely linked with pagan religions and superstitions. Sickness was often blamed on gods and demon and medical practice was part of the duties of the priests. Various mystical ceremonies involving chants, prayers and incantations were used to appease the angry gods or ward off the evil spirits.

Linked with this was early surgery where priests diagnosed madness, as well as severe headaches, as the effects of a demon trapped inside the skull. The only possible cure was to release him by means of drilling or trepanning into the skull with sharpened flints in a neat circle to let the demon out.

The Extraction of the Stone of Madness, a painting by Hieronymus Bosch depicting trepanation (c.1488–1516).

Before carrying out the operation, the priest anesthetized his patient with a mixed dose of herbs and plants. A rectangle or disc of bone from the vault of the skull was removed. Frequently, with the pressure relieved, the pain ceased and, the patient was cured, firmly convinced that this was due to the departure, through the aperture bored by the priests, of the evil spirit. No doubt this procedure also involved the death of many unfortunate patients.

The evil spirits were believed to detest certain substances, especially those which were evil-smelling and of bitter taste. By swallowing such a potion, it was believed the demon would flee the patient's body thus restoring the person to health. As time went on the priest noticed that particular substances, worked consistently well for certain conditions thus introducing the practice of medicine.

The Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, the "father of western medicine",laid the foundation for a rational approach to the treating of the sick  He was instrumental in helping medicine emerge from a mystical and religious basis and become rational and scientific in its approach to the diagnosis and treatment of the patient. Hippocrates was the first to categorize illnesses as acute, chronic, endemic and epidemic.

Table of contents in a fourteenth-century Hippocratic Corpus manuscript

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the onset of the Early Middle Ages, the Greek tradition of medicine went into decline in Western Europe, as the church looked upon illness as the will of God, a punishment for sin or a test of faith. The best treatment was believed to be prayer, fasting and repentance. Interest in the human body was felt to be sinful.

The Arabs, however, ensured the tradition of Greek medicine continued.The Muslim world had the works of Hippocrates and Galen translated into Arabic, and Islamic physicians engaged in some significant medical research.

The first pharmacies, or drug stores, were established in 754 in Baghdad under the Abbasid Caliphate.. By the 9th century, these pharmacies were state-regulated.

By the twelfth century in Western Europe the growth of population and increasing urbanization meant a growing need for the provision of hospitals. Increasingly whilst the well-to-do were all treated at home, the poor were cared for in a hospital attached to the local poor house, monastery or convent.

The Church also established a network of cathedral schools and universities where medicine was studied. The role of the Catholic Church in health care during the Middle Ages has been likened to an early version of a welfare state.

Pharmacy-like shops began to appear during the 12th century in Europe In 1240 emperor Frederick II issued a decree by which the physician's and the apothecary's professions were separated.

Medical treatment during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Western Europe was dominated by humoral theory. Humorism was a belief that too much or too little of any of four distinct body fluids in a person directly influenced their temperament and health. Many cures were aimed at freeing the sick of unbalanced humors by induced vomiting, purging, and bleeding. The practice of bleeding, which entailed draining the bad blood from the individual, was particularly popular. Unfortunately this inhumane practice called for releasing more blood than is now known to exist in the whole body and it frequently resulted in death or the need for lifelong care.

The British naval surgeon James Lind published his Treatise of the Scurvy in 1753, in which he showed the effectiveness of citrus fruits in preventing scurvy. Lind was aware that the Dutch had employed citrus fruits for several centuries and his discoveries came as a result of searching for objective evidence of the healing effects of such fruits by doing experiments.

By the late eighteenth century appraising a medical treatment by using scientific techniques was a method being used increasingly frequently in Europe. Not only were new cures being found but some old-fashioned remedies were being shown up for their lack of effectiveness. Especially being questioned was the traditional treatment of bleeding.

Samuel Lee Jnr patented "Bilious Pills" in 1796; he was the first American to patent a medicine. By then English patent medicines were already popular in the USA.

The first known heart medicine was discovered in an English garden. In 1799, physician John Ferriar noted the effect of dried leaves of the common foxglove plant, digitalis purpurea, on heart action. Still used in heart medications, digitalis slows the pulse and increases the force of heart contractions and the amount of blood pumped per heartbeat.

Early medicine bottles

For many centuries medications were generally liquids or powders mixed with water or
another liquid. That was until 1862 when Philadelphian Jacob Dunton devised compressed pills or tablets.

The sale of patent medicines- such as Kennedy's Medical discovery, Kickapoo Indian Sagwa and Hamlin's Wizard Oil- had reached $80 million before the US Government started cracking down on them in 1907.

Just like a human would drink medicine, bees drink the nectar of certain flowers to get rid of illnesses and parasites.

About one quarter of natural medicines have been discovered in rain forests.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Medical School

The earliest known Greek medical school opened in Cnidus in 700 BC. Alcmaeon, author of the first anatomical compilation, worked at this school, and it was here that the practice of observing patients was established.

The Greek physician Hippocrates taught frequently at a medical school under a plane tree on the Greek island of Kos where his students were told to be thoughtful when examining their patients, make no assumptions when recording their symptoms and sensitive when treating them.

The Schola Medica Salernitana situated on the Tyrrhenian Sea in the south Italian city of Salerno was the first medical school in medieval times. The school, which found its original base in the dispensary of a monastery founded in the 9th century, was the most important source of medical knowledge in Western Europe between the tenth and thirteenth centuries.

A miniature depicting the Schola Medica Salernitana from a copy of Avicenna's Canons

Universities in the Arab world ensured the tradition of Greek medicine continued and the first Islamic medical schools opened in Turkey in the thirteenth century. The study of anatomy, however, was bound by Islamic doctrine, which forbids dissection of the human body.

By the 18th century, there was rapid growth in the formal study of medicine and many more dead bodies for dissection were needed by the expanding medical schools. As a result, some poor medical students in Scotland were allowed to pay their tuition fees in corpses.

The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine became the first  medical school in the thirteen American colonies when, in the fall of 1765, students enrolled for "anatomical lectures" and a course on "the theory and practice of physik."

Medical Hall and College Hall of the University of Pennsylvania in 1842

One of the staff members at The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine was Benjamin Rush, who controversially persisted in teaching the harmful practice of bleeding.

After the founding of the Pennsylvania General Hospital's medical training facilities, a number of medical schools were set up in America. However the education generally only lasted for two years and the second year was very much a repeat of the lectures of the previous year. The training tended to be theoretical with little opportunity to see patients.

Fifty years before women were allowed to enroll into medical school, Margaret Ann Bulkley dressed as a man to study medicine and become her alter-ego, Dr James Barry. She obtained a medical degree from the University of Edinburgh Medical School, then served first in Cape Town, South Africa and subsequently in many parts of the British Empire. It was only when she died on July 27, 1865 that her secret was exposed after 46 years working as an army medical officer.

Photograph of Dr James Barry; approx late 1840s

The missionary and explorer David Livingstone was a student at the Charing Cross Hospital Medical School in London from 1838–40; Livingstone's courses covered medical practice, midwifery, and botany.

The first medical school for women, The Boston Female Medical School opened in 1848. It later merged with the Boston University School of Medicine.

Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) was the first woman to qualify as a doctor of medicine in America when she was awarded her M.D. by the Geneva Medical College of Geneva, New York on January 23, 1849.

Rebecca Lee became the first black woman to receive an American medical degree in 1864, from the New England Female Medical College in Boston.

In 1870 Elizabeth Garrett became the first woman to be awarded a medical degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris, two years after France decided to allow women to become doctors.

Garrett before the Faculty of Medicine, Paris

The beautician Helena Rubenstein attended medical school in Cracow, Poland for two years before moving in the 1890s to Australia.

France lost so many workers during its failed attempt to dig the Panama Canal in the early 20th century, that for a time their project's main source of income was selling the corpses (pickled in brine water) to medical schools all over the world as cadavers.

After taking top scores in the qualifying examinations for medical school, Alexander Fleming enrolled at St Mary's Hospital Medical School in Paddington, London in 1903. He'd had a choice of three to choose between. Knowing little about them, Fleming chose St. Mary's because he had played water polo against them.

The Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani attended medical school for two years, 

Thursday, 28 April 2016


The first known instance of a medal being awarded comes from the historian Josephus. Writing long after the event, he recorded that in the fourth century BC, the High Priest Jonathan led the Hebrews in aid of Alexander the Great, and that in return for this, Alexander "...sent to Jonathan... honorary awards, as a golden button, which it is custom to give the king's kinsmen."

President Lincoln created the U.S. Army Medal of Honor, the highest American military honor. on July 12, 1862.

A silver medal was awarded to the winner of each event during the first modern summer Olympics in 1896.

1896 Olympic medals
The 1912 Olympics was the last time that gold medals were actually solid gold.

William Donovan, the wartime head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency, during World War II is the only person to have received all four of the United States' highest awards. A decorated veteran of World War I, Donovan was awarded  The Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Security Medal.

Medal of Honor recipients are entitled to much more than the medal including a $1,300 monthly bonus, 10% retirement raise and may wear their uniform even after they are out of the service.

All of the bronze medals from the Sydney Olympics in 2000 were made from melted one-cent coins that Australia had pulled out of circulation.

An Olympic gold medal from the 2016 Rio Olympics would be worth around $600 (£450) as scrap — it is made of silver which is gold-plated.  An Olympic silver medal contains 500g of silver and, melted down, would be worth $310 (£236) — while a bronze would be worth just £4 ($3), as it is made of brass.

Paralympic medals from the Rio Olympics rattle. They emit a different sound depending whether its bronze, silver or gold to help blind athletes.

Christie Rampone, three-time gold medalist in U.S. women's soccer, keeps her Olympic medals in her pots and pans in the kitchen.



The first humans discovered how to make fire by rubbing two sticks together. This control of fire meant that food, in particular meat, could now be eaten cooked. This development had a crucial effect on the anatomy of the eaters. Cooked meat is easier to chew, a factor that contributed to the decrease in size of the jaw and the consequent increase in cranial capacity.

Raw meat

By 100,000 BC, meat was the main source of food for humans. Reindeer meat was a widespread food. Hunters stalked and killed the reindeer which they found crossing their territory and their lives followed the rhythm of the herds' migrations. Other widespread meats were the ox and mammoth, the latter being in America the principle source of meat.

By 10,000 BC the mammoth was beginning to die out in North America and the buffalo started taking its place as the principal source of meat.

The climate was warming up after the last Ice Age in 10,000 BC.  In Europe the warmer weather meant that sources of meat were widespread so animals were still an important part of the European diet.

Spit roasting was first used by the Mesopotamians around 3600 BC.

During the Middle Ages, when meat used in cooking was often rancid, the meats of the rich were often perfumed with musk, violets, roses, primroses and hawthorn flowers.

Almost all beef, pork, mutton, and chicken were chopped fine during the Middle Ages. Forks were unknown at the time and the knife was a kitchen utensil rather that a piece of tableware.

The traveler Marco Polo returned to Venice after spending 17 years in China in 1295.  He observed in Cathay, that while the poor had to be content with meat steeped in garlic juice, the wealthier people ate meat that had been preserved in several of their spices.

In 1490 The Bishop of St Andrews declared that meat pies were too English and banned their consumption in Scotland.

In Elizabethan England pork was a luxury. If people had bacon, they would hang up a slab to show it off.  It was an honor to be able to "bring home the bacon." When company came, a man would slice off a little for each guest, and they would sit around and "chew the fat."

In late seventeenth century London chophouses were selling slices of meat the size of individual portions to busy city dwellers. These were the first ready to be cooked meals.

During the War of 1812, Samuel Wilson (September 13, 1766 – July 31, 1854), a meat-packer from Troy, New York was shipping meat to the government., which was stamped "U.S. Beef." Soldiers fighting in the war with Great Britain begun to call this beef Uncle Sam's beef. This begun the association between the "U.S." stamp and the name, 'Uncle Sam.'

Uncle Sam Memorial Statue, Arlington, Massachusetts By Daderot at en.wikipedia, 

 Many Civil War soldiers suffered from "camp diarrhoea." A Dr. James Henry Salisbury devised a "meat cure" advocating they be fed a diet of chopped beef patties cut from disease-free animals' muscle fibers. He recommended this same diet for all Americans, advising them to eat beef three times a day for health benefits.

 In 1860s Britain, canned meat was regarded as cheap meat for the poor and was widely disliked for it's coarse, fatty nature. The Navy nicknamed theirs "Sweet Fanny Adams" after the unfortunate victim of a notorious murder whose body was hacked into small pieces.

Prior to 1868, eating meat from four-legged animals had been prohibited in Japan for more than a thousand years.

In 2013 police busted a meat packing plant in Guangxi, China that was selling 20 tons of chicken meat slaughtered in 1967. It had been treated with hydrogen peroxide to make it look presentable in markets and stores.


Americans eat twice as much meat as Europeans, gobbling up some 88.3kg a year; the average Briton eats 44.9kg.

Human meat looks, smells, feels, and tastes strikingly similar to veal; so much so that the average person would not be able to distinguish the difference.

The world's biggest meat company, JBS, can accommodate a daily slaughter of 12 million birds, 85,000 head of cattle and 70,000 pigs.

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

Wednesday, 27 April 2016


Within 40 years of Columbus' discovery of the New World, most of the indigenous population had died of diseases brought by the Europeans, mainly smallpox and measles.

16th-century Aztec drawing of someone with measles

Dr Fagon, the resident French court physician at Versailles wiped out almost the entire French royal family, including Louis XIV in 1715, by treating a measles epidemic with a ruthless combination of induced vomiting and extensive bleedings. Fortunately the five-year-old Louis XV  survived to take the throne thanks to his nurse who hid him from the incompetent doctor.

The 10 year-old Mark Twain nearly died of measles during an epidemic.

During World War II, the Americans renamed German Measles 'liberty measles'.

In 1995 92 per cent of British children were vaccinated with the MMR triple-jab, but this figure has fallen to 80 per cent following the claims of a link between vaccine and autism. More children in Botswana, Peru and Albania now receive measles vaccines.

This child shows a classic day-4 rash with measles.

Vaccines helped reduce measles deaths globally by 78% between 2000 and 2008. In sub-Saharan Africa, deaths dropped by 92% in the same period.

Measles is so infectious that around 90 percent of people near an infected person will become infected if they aren't immune.


Mead is a fermented alcoholic drink created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops.

Mead's history is possibly as old as that of beer. Archaeologists discovered that people were making the honey-flavored alcoholic beverage around 7000 BC. Pottery vessels from that period containing chemical signatures of a mixture of honey, rice and other fruits along with organic compounds of fermentation were found in Northern China.

The earliest surviving description of mead is in the hymns of the Rigveda, which is a Hindu religious text, dated around 1700–1100 BC.

In ancient Babylonia, the bride's father would give his son-in-law all the mead he could drink. Since the Babylonian calendar was lunar, this period was called the "honey month." Today it's called a "honeymoon."

The art of brewing mead reached northern Europe around 1000 BC. Here, because the climate was too cold to grow vines, iit became the principal drink for many. In Ancient Britain the ritual brewing of mead was one of the main activities that take place at sacred religious ceremonies.

During the Golden Age of Ancient Greece, the preferred drink was mead, a mixture of fermented honey from wild bees and water. It was popular with them as they considered bees to be a symbol of immortality.

The ancient Greeks generally avoided drunkenness with the exception of the cult of Dionysus, in which intoxication was believed to bring people closer to their deity.

Vikings were very fond of alcoholic drinks and one of their favorite drinks was mead made from fermented honey. Drinks were served in large horn-shaped cups made of glass or else in the hollowed-out horns of sheep and oxen. Drinking was part of social life, and it also was part of some religious ceremonies. At their banquets they often toasted each other from the skulls of their slain enemies. Drunkenness was common and it was a frequent occurrence for a Viking man to die from the effects of too much drink.

Later, taxation and regulations governing the ingredients of alcoholic beverages led to commercial mead becoming a more obscure beverage. Some monasteries kept up the old traditions of mead-making as a by-product of beekeeping, especially in areas where grapes could not be grown.

In 2013, Poland became the world's largest producer of mead made according to traditional methods 

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Aimee Semple McPherson

Aimee Semple McPherson was born Aimee Elizabeth Kennedy on a farm in Salford, Ontario, Canada on October 9, 1890. She had early exposure to religion through her mother, Mildred (known as "Minnie") who worked with the poor in Salvation Army soup kitchens.

While attending a revival meeting in December 1907, Aimee met Robert James Semple, a Pentecostal missionary from Ireland. She decided to dedicate her life to God and made the conversion to Pentecostalism as she witnessed the Holy Spirit moving powerfully.

At that same revival meeting, Aimee became enraptured not only by the message that Robert Semple gave, but also with Robert himself. They were married on August 12, 1908, in a Salvation Army ceremony.

Robert and Aimee Semple (1910)

After embarking on an evangelistic tour to China, both contracted malaria. Robert also contracted dysentery, of which he died in Hong Kong. Aimee recovered and gave birth to their daughter.

Shortly after her recuperation in the United States, Semple joined her mother Minnie working with the Salvation Army. While in New York City, she met Harold Stewart McPherson, an accountant. They were married on May 5, 1912, moved to Providence, Rhode Island and had a son, Rolf Potter Kennedy McPherson, in March 1913.

For a long time McPherson had felt the call to be a preacher. One spring morning in 1915, her husband returned home from the night shift to discover McPherson had left him and taken the children. A few weeks later, a note was received inviting him to join her in evangelistic work. Her husband later followed McPherson to take her back home. When he saw her, though, preaching to a crowd, he witnessed her transformation into a radiant, lovely woman.

Harold McPherson, in spite of initial enthusiasm, wanted a life that was more stable and predicable. Eventually, he returned to Rhode Island and he petitioned for divorce, citing abandonment; the divorce was granted in 1921.

In 1916, McPherson embarked on a tour of the Southern United States in her "Gospel Car", and again later, in 1918, with her mother, Mildred Kennedy.

By 1917, McPherson had started her own magazine, The Bridal Call, for which she wrote many articles about women’s roles in religion; The magazine contributed to transforming Pentecostalism from a movement into an ongoing American religious presence.

Wearied by constant traveling and having nowhere to raise a family, McPherson settled in Los Angeles in 1918, where she maintained both a home and a church. Eventually, McPherson's church evolved into its own denomination and became known as the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

McPherson run the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel as a non-denominational group. Much influenced by the Pentecostal movement her theology was based around speaking in tongues, enthusiastic worship, divine healing and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

A photo of Aimee Semple McPherson

There were very few female preachers around at the time and the flamboyant McPherson was the only one to wear make up and jewellery.

McPherson began broadcasting on radio in the early 1920s. On a Sunday morning in April 1922, the Rockridge Radio Station in Oakland California; offered her some radio time and she became the first woman to preach a sermon over the "wireless telephone.”

Aimee Semple McPherson disappeared  in May, 1926, only to be found five weeks later in Mexico, stating she had been held for ransom in a desert shack there. The subsequent grand-jury inquiries over her reported kidnapping and escape precipitated continued public interest in her.

McPherson convalesceing in a hospital with her familyafter her kidnapping. District Attorney Asa Keyes stands to the far left with Mildred Kennedy (mother) next to Roberta Star Semple, middle left (daughter). On the far right, Deputy District Attorney Joseph Ryan is alongside her son, Rolf McPherson.

McPherson emerged from the escapade nationally famous. However, news coverage inflamed accusations she had fabricated her reported kidnapping. There were also continuing negative press reports of misfortunes involving family and church members.

Hollywood star Anthony Quinn first took up acting while playing saxophone in the backing band of Aimee Semple McPherson.

In September 1944, McPherson went to Oakland, California, for a series of revivals, planning to preach her popular "Story of My Life" sermon. McPherson had been struggling with insomnia and and when her son went to her hotel room at 10:00 on the morning of September 27, 1944, he found his mom unconscious with a half-empty bottle of sedatives nearby. She was dead by 11:15.

Her death was ruled accidental caused by an overdose of the sedatives she was taking and and a kidney ailment.

Millions of dollars passed through McPherson's hands. However, when her personal estate was calculated, it amounted to just $10,000.

In her time she was the most publicized Christian evangelist, surpassing Billy Sunday and her other predecessors.McPherson's preaching style, extensive charity work and ecumenical contributions were a major influence to Charismatic Christianity in the 20th century. 

Monday, 25 April 2016

William McKinley


William McKinley, Jr. was born on January 29, 1843 in Niles, Ohio, the seventh child of William and Nancy (née Allison) McKinley.

William followed in the Methodist tradition, becoming active in the local Methodist church at the age of sixteen.

McKinley was the last president to have served in the American Civil War, beginning as a private in the Union Army. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on February 7, 1863 and ended the war as a brevet major.

After the war, McKinley settled in Canton, Ohio, where he practiced law and married Ida Saxton.

McKinley just after the war

William McKinley married Ida Saxton on January 25, 1871, at the First Presbyterian Church in Canton, Ohio  then still under construction. Following the wedding, performed by the Reverend E. Buckingham and the Reverend Dr. Endsley, the couple attended a reception at the home of the bride's parents and left on an eastern wedding trip.

They had two daughters who both died young. Katherine "Katie" McKinley, who passed away aged three on June 25, 1875 of typhoid fever. Ida McKinley who died August 22, 1873 aged four and a half months.

The portrait of Katie that hung on the wall of the McKinley house.

Mrs McKinley broke down under the loss of her two young daughters and for the rest of her life, Ida kept a picture of Katie on the wall of her bedroom. She developed epilepsy and became totally dependent on her husband. Although an invalid the rest of her life, Ida kept busy with her hobby, crocheting slippers, making gifts of literally thousands of pairs to friends, acquaintances and charities, which would auction pairs for large sums.

Ida McKinley

In 1876, McKinley was elected to Congress, where he became the Republican Party's expert on the protective tariff, which he promised would bring prosperity. He was elected Ohio's governor in 1891 and 1893, steering a moderate course between capital and labor interests. McKinley secured the Republican nomination for president in 1896.


William McKinley's campaign for US president was successful, defeating William Jennings Bryan, who was both the Democratic and Populist nominee, on November 3, 1896. McKinley stayed at home in Canton, Ohio, running a front porch campaign that reached millions through press coverage of his speeches, due to his wife's poor health, while Bryan toured the nation by rail. McKinley forged an electoral coalition of the well-to-do, urban dwellers, and prosperous farmers that kept the Republicans in power most of the time until 1932.

McKinley was sworn in as president on March 4, 1897, as his wife and mother looked on.

Chief Justice Melville Fuller swears in William McKinley as president; outgoing President Grover Cleveland at right.

William McKinley's inauguration was the first to be recorded by a motion picture camera.

President William McKinley had a pet parrot that he named "Washington Post."

During his presidency, McKinley supported higher tariffs (taxes on countries which trade with the US).

For decades, rebels in Cuba had waged an intermittent campaign for freedom from Spanish colonial rule. McKinley wanted Spain to grant independence to the island without conflict. However, Spanish reprisals against the rebels grew ever harsher. When American consul Fitzhugh Lee reported riots in Havana, McKinley agreed to send the battleship USS Maine there to protect American lives and property. On February 15, 1898 the Maine exploded and sank with 266 men killed blown up by an underwater mine. When the USS Maine was sunk, the public wanted war.

Wreckage of USS Maine, 1898

McKinley continued to negotiate for Cuban independence, but Spain refused McKinley's proposals, and on April 11, 1898, McKinley turned the matter over to Congress, who declared war on April 20th. The U.S. victory was quick and decisive. And the Spanish-American War started the era of imperialism for the United States.

As well as occupying Cuba, during his term, President McKinley also annexed Hawaii, the Philippines, and Wake Island.

President McKinley took great care to accommodate the First Lady's epilepsy. In a break with tradition, he insisted that Ida be seated next to him at state dinners rather than at the other end of the table. At receiving lines, she alone remained seated.

Guests noted that whenever Mrs. McKinley was about to undergo a seizure, the President would gently place a napkin or handkerchief over her face to conceal her contorted features. When it passed, he would remove it and resume whatever he was doing as if nothing had happened.

McKinley was elected to a second term as president in 1900. His second term did not last very long. He was shot by an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz on September 6, 1901.


President William McKinley was shot at the Temple of Music at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York during a public handshaking reception. Czolgosz said the President committed war crimes in the Philippines and was an enemy of the people.

Artist's conception of the shooting of McKinley

William McKinley was the first president to ride in a self-propelled vehicle. An electric ambulance transported him to the Exposition hospital after he was shot.

Though the hospital did have an operating theater, at the time of the shooting, no fully qualified doctor was at the hospital, only nurses and interns, The Exposition's medical director, Dr. Roswell Park, was in Niagara Falls, performing a delicate neck operation. When interrupted mid-surgery to be that he was needed urgently elsewhere, Park responded that he could not leave "even for the President of the United States". He was then told he needed to operate on William McKinley, the President of the United States.

As he lay dying McKinley whispered the words of his favourite hymn "Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee, e'en though it be a cross that raiseth me". The lifelong Methodist told the attending doctor "This has been my constant prayer."

William McKinley's wounds were not properly dressed and he died of gangrene on September 14, 1901. McKinley was the third American President to be assassinated.

Leon Czolgosz was the fourth child of Polish immigrants; he worked in a wire mill and attended socialist meetings. He shot President William McKinley three years after suffering a mental breakdown and was executed in the electric chair.

After the assassination of her husband, Ida McKinley lost much of her will to live. Her health eroded as she withdrew to the safety of her home, where she was cared for by her younger sister.

President McKinley was interred at the Werts Receiving Vault at West Lawn Cemetery until his memorial was built. Ida visited daily until her own death on May 26, 1907. 

Sunday, 24 April 2016



Brothers Dick and Maurice McDonald opened their first restaurant on May 15, 1940. The tiny street corner eatery was located at 1398 North E Street at West 14th Street in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, California.

The site of the first McDonald's restaurant, San Bernardino, California.

The eatery was originally a barbecue drive-in, but the McDonald brothers discovered that most of their profits came from hamburgers. In 1948, they closed their restaurant for three months, reopening it in December as a walk-up hamburger stand.

This new venture introduced the "Speedee Service System," establishing the principles of the modern fast-food restaurant. The brothers replaced the trained cooks in their San Bernardino eatery with low-paid teenagers who simply flipped burgers and dunked fries in oil. The menu was reduced to a few items and cutlery and china was discarded. Customers had to queue for their food and eat out of a cardboard carton with their hands. Prices was reduced, people piled in and the fast food restaurant was born.

The oldest operating McDonald's restaurant was the third one built, opening in 1953. It is located at 10207 Lakewood Blvd. at Florence Ave. in Downey, California

Downey, California McDonald's By Photo by Bryan Hong (Brybry26) - Wikipedia Commons

American Ray Kroc, a mixer salesman, recognized the idea's potential and partnered with the brothers. Kroc opened his first McDonald's franchise, the ninth overall in Illinois on April 15, 1955, an occasion considered to be the founding of the present corporation. He later bought out the McDonald brothers.

On their first day in business Ray Kroc's McDonalds eatery did $366.12 in revenue.

Kroc has been credited with making a number of innovative changes in the food-service franchise model. Chief among them was the sale of only single-store franchises instead of selling larger, territorial franchises which was common in the industry at the time.

The stores in Cincinnati created the Filet-O-Fish in the early 1960s, to satisfy the wants of local practicing Catholics (who did not eat meat on Fridays).

The Big Mac was launched in 1968 by Jim Delligatti, a McDonald's owner and operator from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Although the "Golden Arches" logo appeared in various forms, the present version as a letter "M" did not appear until November 18, 1968, when the company applied for a U.S. trademark.

The first drive through window at a McDonald's restaurant was created at the McDonald's in Sierra Vista, Arizona in 1975 It was put in so the soldiers from Ft. Huachuca could get food since the base had a regulation prohibiting anyone in uniform from entering a business establishment.

Breakfast was served at McDonald's in 1975, when owner-operator Herb Peterson of Santa Barbara created the Egg McMuffin and it was added to menus everywhere.

Chicken McNuggets debuted on the menu in 1983. The iconic battered bites were almost onion nuggets, but taste testers preferred chicken!

McDonalds opened its first restaurant in Moscow on January 31, 1990. The massive eatery remains one of the largest McDonald's in the world with 900 seats and more than 20 cash registers. As at August 2014 it had 438 stores across Russia.

Pushkin Square in Moscow is home to the world’s busiest McDonald’s, serving 40,000 a day.

In a worldwide survey in 1995 regarding the public recognition of various symbols, the five rings logo of the International Olympic Movement came out top with a 92% recognition rate, the fast food chain McDonald's "M" scored 88% and the Christian Cross a mere 54%.

McSki-thru, the only McDonald's restaurant in the world where you can ski through the drive-thru, opened in Lindvallen Sweden in 1996. You just ski up to the counter, order your food and ski off.

Ronald McDonald is a clown character used as the primary mascot of the McDonald's fast-food restaurant chain. In 1996, McDonald's tried to sue a man legally named Ronald McDonald for running his family restaurant by the same name. The real Ronald won.

Bolivia’s only branch of McDonald’s closed in 2002 after poor sales and political protests.

Joan Kroc, the widow of the founder of the McDonald's fast-food chain, died in 2004. She left in her estate a gift be in excess of $1.5 billion for The Salvation Army. The legacy was intended to be used for the development of community centers across America, and was the largest ever gift for a religious organization.

In 2008, McDonald's saved $278,850,000 by removing one of the two slices of cheese from the McDouble Cheeseburger.

Donald A. Gorske ate his 26,000th Big Mac on October 11, 2012. He has consumed more Big Macs than anyone in the world. Gorske has eaten at one of their outlets (nearly) every single day since May 17, 1972.

McDonald's is the world's second largest private employer—behind Walmart—with 1.9 million employees, 1.5 million of whom work for franchises.


The manager of the first ever McDonalds was named Ed MacLuckie.

The capital of Vermont, Montpelier, is the only state capital in the United States that does not have a McDonalds.

The world's smallest McDonalds in Tokyo, Japan is 492 sq ft.

The McDonald's in Sedona, Arizina is the only one in the world with non-yellow arches. They're turquoise so they don't clash with the building's red rock.

68 million customers a day visit McDonalds across the world.

According to McDonald's, the chain sells 75 burgers every single second of every minute of every hour of every single day.

100 billion burgers have been sold in its history.

A new McDonald's restaurant opens every 14.5 hours.

20 per cent of all McDonalds sales include a toy, making it the world's biggest toy distributor.

Around seven per cent of the potatoes grown in the USA end up in chip bags sold by McDonald's.

1 out of 3 of all cows in the US used for food purposes (beef) are used by the McDonald's Corp.

1 in 8 people in have been employed by McDonald's in the US.

A McDonald's Big Mac bun has an average of 178 sesame seeds.

It would take on average one hour 43 minutes to burn off a 540-calorie Big Mac.

A McDonald's Caesar Salad has more calories, fat and salt than a Double Big Mac burger.

According to McDonald's, a quarter of all its Filet-O-Fish sandwiches in 2017 were sold during Lent. (Many of the people buying them were Catholics abstaining from meat).

Before he became successful, James Franco worked at McDonald's and practiced his accents on customers.

Virginia rapper Pusha T wrote the 2003 jingle "I’m Lovin’ It" for McDonald’s. Performed by Justin Timberlake and produced by The Neptunes, it became the longest-running jingle in the fast food chain's history.

Pusha T performing in 2007.

Justin Timberlake was paid $6 million for to record the jingle.

The ad executive responsible for the McDonald's "I'm Lovin' It" jingle  committed suicide at the age of 40. Paul Tilley jumped to his death from the upper floor of a Chicago hotel.

As a five-year-old, actress Sarah Michelle Gellar was banned for life from McDonald’s after starring in a controversial TV commercial for rival Burger King that sparked a lawsuit between the chains.

The Marks & Co antiquarian bookshop made famous in the 1970 book 84 Charing Cross Road, which later became a movie starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins, is now a McDonald’s restaurant.

People in Australia call McDonald's "Macca's"

In Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain they serve beer in McDonald's.

Ronald McDonald is called Donald McDonald in Japan because Japanese people can't say their R's very well.

Sources Daily Mail, Parade magazine, Food For Thought by Ed Pearce 

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney was born June 18, 1942 in Walton Hospital, Liverpool, where his mother, Mary (1909–1956), had qualified to practice as a nurse. His father, James ("Jim") McCartney (1902–1976), was absent from his son's birth due to his work as a volunteer firefighter during World War II.

Paul McCartney wrote his first song, "I Lost My Little Girl", when he was 14 in 1956.

The first time Paul McCartney ever sung at stage was at Butlins holiday camp in Wales when he was there with his parents. He played the guitar and sang Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally."

A 15-year-old Paul McCartney first met 16-year-old John Lennon at a St Peter’s Parish Church party in Woolton, Liverpool in 1957. Lennon's group, The Quarrymen were performing at the do whilst Paul, who was baptized a Roman Catholic but was being raised without religion attended the function. Impressed by Paul's ability to tune a guitar and by his knowledge of song lyrics, John asked him to join his band as lead guitarist.

McCartney originally played guitar for The Beatles, he switched to bass when Stu Sutcliffe left. John Lennon and George Harrison both refused to switch from guitar.

McCartney with Lennon, Harrison and Starr, 1964
His Beatles song "Yesterday" has been covered by over 2,200 artists, more than any other copyrighted song in history.

Paul McCartney loved his Old English sheepdog Martha so much he dedicated The White Album song "Martha My Dear" to her.

Paul McCartney married photographer Linda Eastman at Marylebone Register Office on March 12, 1969. None of the other Beatles attended (George Harrison was actually helping police after a drug raid on his home in which he was arrested.)

Linda Eastman had a daughter, Heather, whom he adopted. McCartney and Linda had three more children together, named Mary, Stella and James. Stella later became a popular fashion designer.

The Beatles officially broke up in 1970.  McCartney formed the successful soft-rock group Wings with his wife, Linda. They had many hit records, including "Band On The Run" and "Mull Of Kintyre" before disbanding in 1981.

McCartney performing with wife Linda in 1976. By Jim Summaria - Wikipedia Commons

Paul McCartney's 1971 song "Uncle Albert" was about a real uncle of his, who when drunk would quote and read from the Bible, but when sober would not be seen near one.

In 1972 Paul and Linda McCartney were arrested backstage in Gothenburg, Sweden, for possession of six ounces of cannabis. It had been mailed to them by someone in McCartney's office who thought they would like some weed on the road. The couple were  released after paying a combined fine of $1,200.

In 1972, McCartney wrote "Live And Let Die" for the James Bond movie of that name one Sunday afternoon after reading the 1954 Ian Fleming novel.

McCartney has been a strict vegetarian since 1975; he insists his crew not eat meat either, at least while on the road with him. He and his wife Linda decided to stop consuming meat after Paul saw lambs in a field as they were eating a meal of lamb.

Linda McCartney launched a line of vegetarian frozen dinners, which became popular, and in time made Linda wealthy on her own.

In 1980 Paul McCartney was incarcerated in Tokyo after it was discovered that he had half a pound of weed in his possession. He spent ten days in a Japanese jail before being booted out of Japan with his tour cancelled.

Paul McCartney being interviewed at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, January 1980. By Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, 

McCartney became friends with Michael Jackson, but this ended after Jackson outbid McCartney for ownership of the publishing company which owned most of the Beatles's music.

Paul McCartney's original birth certificate was sold to a private Beatles collector for $84,146 on March 22, 1997.

 McCartney, holding a guitar, in 2010. By Oli Gill  Wikipedia Commons

Linda Eastman died in 1998 of breast cancer (McCartney's mother also died from the same disease in 1956).

McCartney married former swimwear model Heather Mills in 2002; the couple's daughter Beatrice was born in 2003.

Heather Mills is a disabled-rights activist. Her leg was amputated below the knee in 1993 after she was hit by a police motorcycle

McCartney and Mills separated in 2006, and, after a long battle over a settlement, they divorced in March 2008.

McCartney married New Yorker Nancy Shevell, 51, in a civil ceremony at Old Marylebone Town Hall, London, on October 9, 2011. It was the same venue as where  the singer and his first wife, Linda McCartney, married in 1969. The wedding was a modest event attended by a group of about 30 relatives and friends.

Paul McCartney was made a Knight by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on March 11, 1997 for his contributions to music and to British culture, and for his charity work. "Proud to be British, wonderful day and it’s a long way from a little terrace in Liverpool," McCartney told reporters.

In 2010, Sir Paul McCartney was honored by President Barack Obama with the Gershwin Prize for his contributions to popular music.

McCartney receiving the 2010 Gershwin Prize from US President Barack Obama.
Paul McCartney performed at the 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony for the astonishing amount of  £1 ($1.57).

Source Artistfacts