Amazing Facts and Trivia Archives
April 28, 2003
Bet you didn't know this stuff...
Here's some history fun for you. Next time you are washing your hands, and
complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think
about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:
Most people got married in June, because they took their yearly bath in
May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, as time passed they were
starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had
the privilege of the nice clean water; followed by his sons, and other men
living under the same roof. Then came the women and finally the children.
Last of all were the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could
actually lose someone in it, hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with
the bath water."
Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw, piled high-with no wood underneath.
It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs, cats and
other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it
became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof, thus
came the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs." ?
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house either. This
posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could
really mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet
hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came
into existence. The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than
dirt, hence the saying "dirt poor."
The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet,
so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As
the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until when you opened the
door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the
entrance way creating a "thresh hold."
In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always
hung over the fire. Every day they lighted the fire and added things to
the pot. They ate mostly vegetables without much meat. They would eat the
stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight, then start
over the next day. Often times the kettle contained the same stew for quite
a while, hence the rhyme, "peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas
porridge in the pot nine days old."
Families that could obtain pork considered themselves quite special. When
visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was an
outward sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon." Another
indication was to cut off a sliver of bacon to share with guests and sit
around to "chew the fat."
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Unknowingly at the time, food
with a high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food,
causing lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes,
so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
Most people did not have pewter plates, but had trenchers, a piece of wood
with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Often trenchers were made from
stale bread, which was so old and hard that they could be reused for quite some
time. Trenchers were never washed, and worms and mold got into the wood
and old bread. After eating off wormy, moldy trenchers, one would get "trench
There's more to come on this later! (since discovering this information is not completely factual, we will not follow-up with the rest of the items sm)
May 5, 2003
While digging, an Armadillo can hold its breath for up to six minutes.
Anti-American demonstrators protesting in Bangladesh after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks carried posters of Osama bin Laden sitting alongside Bert, a beloved Sesame Street Muppet character.
The adult electric eel can produce a five hundred volt shock, which is enough to stun a horse.
Shaggy from Scooby-Doo's real name is Norville Rogers. His home address is 224 Maple Street, Coolsville.
A jiffy is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second. Thus the saying, I will be there in a jiffy.
During one seven year period, Thomas Edison obtained approximately three hundred patents. In is whole life he obtained over one thousand patents.
The first kind of PENCIL was a bunch of GRAPHITE sticks held together by string. Then someone decided it would be better to push the graphite into the inside of a hollow wooden stick.
Did you know the first bicycle that was made in 1817 by Baron von Drais didn't have any pedals? People walked it along
May 12, 2003
Not only was Ronald Reagan the oldest person ever elected president at age of 69, he has lived longer than any former president ever has. He recently turned 91. God bless you, Mr. President.
Venus Fly Traps only live in the wild in the Carolinas and nowhere else in the world.
The California grizzly bear is the state's official animal. However, in 1953 when it was named, it had already become extinct. The last known California grizzly to have been killed was in 1922.
The "largest" city in the United States is Juneau, Alaska. It covers about 3,000 square miles. That's larger than the state of Delaware. In case you are wondering, Jacksonville, Florida is the largest in the lower 48 at just over 800 square miles.
Martin Luther King, Jr., was originally named Michael, like his father. When Jr. was 5, dad
changed both their names to Martin.
Francis Scott Key, who penned the Star Spangled Banner, was a practicing lawyer. His sister, Anne Key, married Roger Brooke Taney, who later would be the Cheif Justice that gave the decision in the Dred Scott case.
Amelia Earhart designed her own line of clothes that were sold all over the United States.
Degas, the great French painter, lived in New Orleans for one year, 1872-1873.
Calvin Coolidge had 2 pet racoons.
There are no poisonous snakes in Maine.
May 19, 2003
Unique animals. Whales can't swim backwards, tarantulas can't spin webs, crocodiles can't chew and hummingbirds can't walk.
Americans on average eat 18 acres of pizza every day.
On average, Americans spend about 6 months of their lives waiting at red traffic lights (is this why so many people are now running them?)
It takes about 20 seconds for a red blood cell to circle the whole body.
The world's termites outweigh the world's humans 10 to 1
The "sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick" is said to be the toughest tongue twister in the English language.
Venus is the only planet in the solar system to spin backwards.
If hot water is suddenly poured into a glass that glass is more apt to break if it is thick than if it is thin. This is why test tubes are made of thin glass.
A gigantic likeness of the Quaker Oats man was placed on the White Cliffs of Dover in England, requiring an act of Parliament to have it removed.
A typical shave will cut about 20,000 to 25,000 facial hairs.
SPAM luncheon meat was hailed as the "miracle meat," and its shelf-stable attributes attracted the attention of the United States military during World War II. By 1940, 70 percent of Americans had tried it, and Hormel hired George Burns and Gracie Allen to advertise SPAM on their radio show.