26 December 2007

Curiosities #2

Nobody knows which is the 39th and which is the 40th state. North and South Dakota were admitted on the same day and President Harrison kept the text covered while signing both proclamations.

Covered wagons originated the traffic system of passing to the right in America.

President James A. Garfield could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other - simultaneously.

Roger Sherman is the only American who signed these four historic documents: Articles of Association, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, U.S. Constitution.

The first woman to ride side-saddle was Anne of Bohemia (1366-1394), daughter of German Emperor Charles IV and Queen of Richard II of England. She had a deformity which precluded her from straddling a horse and one of her legs was shorter than the other.

In 1893 Henry Ziegland of Honey Grove Texas, jilted his sweetheart, who killed herself. Her brother tired to avenge her by shooting Ziegland but the bullet only grazed his face and buried itself in a tree. In 1913 Ziegland was cutting down the tree with the bullet in it; it was a tough job so he used dynamite and the explosion sent the old bullet through Ziegland’s head, killing him.

“It’s supposed to be automatic, but actually you have to press this button.”
[chapter title in John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar.]

Geronimo's Indian name was Goyahkla (or Goyathlay, per Random House Dictionary), which means "One-who-yawns."

The designation carnivore appears to be based principally on dentition and other anatomical features, not nutrition. Therefore not all carnivores are obligate flesh eaters. Indeed, the zoological literature lists the giant panda and the black bear as "strictly herbivorous carnivores."

"Credo quia absurdum" - it is to be believed because it is impossible to be believed. (it's too weird or impossible to make up)

"No Englishwoman, of any class, had ever worn anything beneath her petticoats up to this date (1736), nor was to do so for at least another sixty years. One might write an essay on this incomprehensible and little-known fact about their under-clothing, or lack in it. French and Italian women had long remedied the deficiency, and English men also; but not English women. All those graciously elegant and imposing upper-class ladies in their fashionable or court dresses, whose image has been so variously left us by the eighteenth-century painters, are - to put it brutally - knickerless." (Fowles, A Maggot)

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