They Died Laughing

in Fun Trivia 2 Comments »

LaughingAside from dying in your sleep, dying of laughter might seem like the perfect way to go. And although it sounds like the stuff of fiction, on rare occasions it has been known to happen in real life.

The Greek soothsayer, Calchas, was said to have died of laughter during the Trojan wars. When planting grapevines he was supposedly told by another soothsayer that he would never get to drink the wine he produced from his grapes. Once the wine was eventually made and ready to drink, Calchas invited the soothsayer along. After the soothsayer repeated his prophecy Calchas began a fit of laughter that resulted in him choking to death!
Read the rest of this entry »

Wisecracking Wit: An Array of Facts about Mark Twain

in Celebrity Trivia No Comments »

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, is considered one of America’s foremost writers.  His works have influenced generations of writers and classics like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are read in high schools and universities across the country.  Perhaps, best known for his characteristic (and sometimes irreverent) wit, Mark Twain is one of the most beloved writers of all time.  The following offerings relate fascinating facts and trivia about this notable author’s life and career.

Twain was born in Florida, Missouri (two months early) to parents John and Jane Clemens in 1835 during the presidency of Andrew Jackson.  Soon after, his parents purchased a home on the town’s Main Street, but by 1839 the family had moved to Hannibal, Missouri.  The boys could see the Mississippi river from their upstairs bedroom window.
Read the rest of this entry »

Interesting Facts about George Washington’s Mount Vernon

in Locations Trivia No Comments »

Mount VernonThe property where Mount Vernon, the home of first United States President George Washington, sits was first obtained by John Washington, the great grandfather of George, in 1674.  When Washington inherited the estate after the death of his elder half brother, Mount Vernon would rise to great prestige to become one of the most treasured homes in the country.  The following article offers a wide array of facts and trivia about this great U.S. landmark.

Mount Vernon is located in Virginia; it overlooks the Potomac River as well as the low hills of Maryland.  It is considered to be America’s “first home.”

George Washington’s great grandfather John Washington was granted five thousand acres from King Charles II with the stipulation that he pay an annual rent and “seat and plant” the land within the span of three years.  This tract of land was divided with John Spencer.
Read the rest of this entry »

Kentucky Derby Trivia: Ten Fascinating Facts

in Sports Trivia 1 Comment »

horse racingThe Kentucky Derby is sometimes called the “Most exciting two minutes in sports”. That’s because it lasts just about two minutes. But what a two minutes it is! Here’s a bit of trivia to help you understand and enjoy “The run for the roses” even more:

* The idea for the Kentucky Derby was thought up by explorer Meriwether Lewis. In fact, the land where it is run was donated by his relatives, the Churchills– thus the name Churchill Downs.
Read the rest of this entry »

Fascinating Facts about Calcutta

in Locations Trivia 1 Comment »

CalcuttaWith a population nearing the six million mark, the ancient city of Calcutta figures deeply into the imaginings of the wider world.  A city of mystics and saints, artists and throngs of impoverished-Calcutta is a city of great extremes.  The following article lists a wide array of facts and trivia about the Indian city of Calcutta.

Calcutta is the capital city of West Bengal, a northwestern state of India.  It is known in Bengali as Kolkata.  The name derives from the land of the Goddess Kali.  The name was officially changed from Calcutta to Kolkata in 2001.

Considered the second city of the British Empire, Calcutta was established in 1690 by the East India Company.  It grew out of the small fishing village of Kolikata.  Before the East India Company acquired the land, the nearby villages were known for the production of muslin and chintz.
Read the rest of this entry »

Fascinating Facts about Chinese Foot Binding

in Fun Trivia 1 Comment »

foot bindingGolden lilies, idyllic bound feet of women and girls, were the erotic hallmarks of feminine China for one thousand years.  Yet, to practice the custom meant enduring the excruciating pain of mutilation and even the threat of death should the binding be improperly applied.  The following offerings relate facts and trivia about the fascinating and controversial ancient custom of foot binding.

Foot binding has been dated to the middle of the tenth century when it was confined to the royal and upper most classes.  By the seventeenth century the practice spread to millions of Chinese women from many social and economic classes.
Read the rest of this entry »

Blarney! American Misconceptions About St. Patrick’s Day

in Holidays Trivia No Comments »

St Patrick's DayAmericans have a long tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day each March 17th with  plenty of green beer and pinches to go around. But where did these traditions come from? Did our Irish ancestors bring them to America when they immigrated? Or are these customs purely Americanized visions of an Irish holiday? Surprisingly, the latter is true. Most St. Patrick’s Day customs that we are familiar with today have no roots in Ireland at all.
Read the rest of this entry »

Accidental Discoveries: The True Stories Behind Five of Our Favorite Products

in Science Trivia No Comments »

Not all of the world’s most brilliant innovations were intentional. In many cases, an accident or mistake led to some creative thinking, which eventually became a new, hot product.

Such is the case with these products.

Post It NoteThe Post-It® Note
A 3M engineer named Spencer Silver was working one night in 1968. His goal was to invent a strong adhesive. Instead, he came up with the reusable “ but quite weak “ adhesive that a fellow 3M engineer by the name of Arthur Fry would eventually turn into a bookmark. That became the Post-It® Note.

By 1980, the Post-It® Note was available all over the world. Today, the 3M company markets some 200 products that contain Silver’s accidental invention: the adhesive that has made the company a sizable fortune.
Read the rest of this entry »

Spamtown USA

in Food Trivia, Locations Trivia No Comments »

canned meatSpamtown USA is the nickname given to Austin, Minnesota, a town full of spirit and community pride.  Austin acquired its name from one of its original settlers, Austin Nichols.  This town is home to the Hormel Foods Corporation, the maker of the world’s supply of Spam, as well as a variety of other products. 

Spam, once touted as the miracle meat in a can, was developed in 1937.  This clever meat product did not need to be refrigerated and was created from a mixture of ham and pork that was chopped and flavored.  Unfortunately for its makers, competitors honed in on the market and presented fierce competition initially. 

The Hormel Company created a contest to come up with a catchy name for their product in an attempt to garner more of the canned meat market.  Obviously, the winning entry was “Spam” and the winner received one hundred dollars for the prize.  A singing commercial, one of the first, followed in 1940. 
Read the rest of this entry »

Dream Big: The Levi Strauss Story

in Celebrity Trivia, Clothing Trivia No Comments »

JeansAmerica is filled with ‘rags to riches’ stories but not all are as comical as the Levi Strauss story. Necessity truly is the Mother of invention. Just ask Levi Strauss!

Practically the entire world is familiar with the brand of Levi Strauss, but not everyone knows that the name belonged to an actual person who lived back in the 1800’s. Nor does anyone know just how many pairs of jeans were worn before the right ones were finally made to fit perfect.

There’s Gold Out Yonder!

In 1853 Levi Strauss, a German immigrant, set his sights on the California gold rush. He traveled to California from New York with a load of dry goods, mainly fabrics for his brother, and he planned on opening a store out west.
Read the rest of this entry »