Popular lore: It was a newspaper that changed the spelling of Cleveland : Reflections : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Popular lore: It was a newspaper that changed the spelling of Cleveland|
So here we are, right on the cusp, so to speak, of Halloween.
And you know what the means-the Christmas shopping season has already begun! Time was they used to wait until at least Thanksgiving before assaulting us with gift-giving advertisements pleading with us to make sure we bought everyone expensive enough gifts so that we'd feel of some intrinsic worth.
Now, Thanksgiving is treated as some sort of brief pause for turkey and stuffing while we wait for the stores to open again.
But me, I'm a traditionalist. So I'm looking forward to my grandkids' costumes again this year (and sneaking some of their candy, too), and then the arrival of Thanksgiving wherein the best part is the pie, and then, and only then, will I deign to join the scramble and do my bit to commercialize one of the world's most solemn religious holidays.
And, while I'm looking forward to all that, I did feel it was time to open the junk mail vault here at the Matile manse and take a swim. When I built the thing, I patterned it on Scrooge McDuck's money vault, wherein he'd take a dive from time to time and backstroke among the quarters and half-dollars. And it works for me quite well. In fact, here are a few facts I retrieved during my last swim in the vault, each one delivered faithfully by the U.S. Postal Service's mail carriers to the mailbox out front before being carefully dumped in the deep end:
The youngest First Lady was Frances Folsom Cleveland, who married President Grover Cleveland in the White House when she was just 21 years old. President Cleveland was 49 at the time of the 1886 wedding.
And while we're on the subject, Cleveland, Ohio is not named after the President. It is named for Gen. Moses Cleaveland, agent and chief surveyor of the Connecticut Land Company. Cleaveland founded the city in 1796. According to one popular account, the name was changed in 1830 by the local newspaper, which was having problems fitting "Cleaveland Advertiser" on its front page flag.
One more thing, and then we'll leave Cleveland alone: Grover Cleveland was the only President who served two nonconsecutive terms of office, being elected our 22nd and 24th Presidents.
The first great modern English dictionary, Dr. Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language in 1775, contained about 50,000 entries. When Noah Webster released his American Dictionary of the English Language in 1828, it included about 75,000 terms. The latest version of The Oxford English Dictionary contains some 600,000 entries.
"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is really a large matter-it's the difference between a lightning bug and the lightning." Mark Twain.
Last year, prime ginseng root in Wisconsin was selling for about $40 a pound.
Mozart wrote more than 40 symphonies.
Pre-holiday cooking tip: Let a cooked turkey stand about 20 minutes before carving, but remove any stuffing as soon as you take it out of the oven.
Shelley Taylor-Smith recorded the fastest swim around Manhattan Island (5:45:25) in 1995, but it was a special "record attempt" swim scheduled on an unusually fast tide. The fastest regular swim around the island was by Tobie Smith in 1999, at 6:32:41.
Because of its erratic orbit, Pluto, which used to be the furthest planet from the sun, (back in 2006 its planetworthiness certificate was revoked) sometimes is beyond and sometimes inside the orbit of Neptune.
The first commercially successful steamboat was Robert Fulton's Clermont in 1807. Historical factoid: Fulton never used the name Clermont for his boat.
The Adler Planetarium, the first in the United States, opened in Chicago in 1930. It's still an absolute hoot to visit.
The Great Salt Lake in Utah is between four and seven times as salty as the ocean.
If the stem of a growing carnation is bent into the ground, it will form a new root.
Grand Central Terminal in New York City is the world's largest railway station by number of platforms, having 67 tracks on two levels. However, the Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, Japan handles the most passengers per day, 3.4 million in 2007.
Before he got into politics, Ronald Reagan appeared in more than 50 movies.
There are Egyptian obelisks that stand in both London and New York that are both called Cleopatra's Needle. However, both obelisks have the name Thutmouse III carved into them, and therefore have nothing whatsoever to do with Cleo.
George Clinton and John C. Calhoun are the only vice presidents who each served under two Presidents.
The roller skate was invented in about 1760 by Joseph Merlin, a Belgian musician.
The word "clock" probably comes from the French word cloche, or the German word glocke, each of which means "bell."
New York State passed the nation's first dog licensing law in 1894.
The oldest surviving clock that still works is at Salisbury Cathedral in England installed in 1386. Its advanced age was finally realized in 1886 when a new clock was installed at the cathedral. In 1956 it underwent restoration work. The clock has no face, but instead was used to ring a bell to denote the time by striking the hour. Currently, the clock is working, but the striking mechanism has been disconnected.
You can check this with the nearest 5 year-old boy: The name Dinosauria ("terrible lizards") was given to newly discovered fossils of huge critters back in 1841.
The longest running Broadway show is "The Phantom of the Opera." The show opened on Jan. 26, 1988 and as of May 22 had been performed 9,699 times, already far surpassing its nearest competitor, "Cats," which logged 7,485 performances between Oct. 7, 1982 and Sept. 10, 2000 when it closed.
Finally, it says here, the stars and stripes design of the U.S. Flag was officially adopted by Congress on June 14, 1777.