Interesting and Uncommon Facts

Home Forums Decaffeinated Coffee Interesting and Uncommon Facts

Viewing 15 posts - 301 through 315 (of 315 total)
  • Author
  • #926688

    this didnt require googling but its interesting…

    scenario: a female goes over to her friend and asks for help finding a lost earring. The friend will readily agree, but only after checking that both of her earrings are in place.


    an open book

    kapusta: when i read that, i automatically felt for my earrings 😉 but it makes sense, you know how many earrings i’ve lost before?


    AOB, lol!


    anon for this

    ICOT, I have “Like I Was Sayin’…” & “Sez Who? Sez Me”. I read “Boss” (about Richard J.) but don’t own it. Personally I liked his muckraking columns the best. I read his column during the 80’s & 90’s & remember when he jumped to the Tribune. Unlike Newfield, Royko was not really a liberal though, especially by today’s standards & (especially later in life) managed to offend people of various ethnic groups.


    anon for this-

    Some other columnists I enjoy(ed) reading are:


    anon for this-

    Columnists (cont.)

    Charles Krauthammer – Conservative writer. Brilliant analyses, mainly political.


    A Spire to go Higher:

    In the early part of the twentieth century there was a race to build the highest building in the world using newly developed technologies.

    Upon completion of the buildings in 1929, they both measured 925 feet, an apparent tie.

    However, unknown to others Van Alen had a trick up his sleeve, too.

    Hidden inside the building, a huge ornamental spire was being secretly built in three parts.

    After 40 Wall was completed, the spire was raised thru the roof, assembled and mounted.

    The height of the building was then measured as 1,046 feet, topping 40 Wall by a wide margin, and becoming the first building taller than 1,000 feet.

    The triumph of the Chrysler Building was short-lived.

    Less than one year later, the Empire State Building topped them both by a comfortable margin, and remained the tallest building in the world for over forty years.


    The Republicans Steal the Election!

    (NOT by Al Gore)

    The presidential election in the centennial year of 1876 was particularly nasty.

    Incumbent President U. S. Grant had declined to run for a third term, leaving the election open to two newcomers.

    The Democratic nominee was Samuel J. Tilden, the governor of New York, who had a reputation as a crime-fighter and eradicator of corruption (he also had a less flattering reputation as a prissy individual).

    The Republican nominee was Rutherford B. Hayes, the governor of Ohio, who was viewed as an honest though uncharismatic man who was picked as a compromise candidate.

    Lies and innuendo were exchanged by both the Democrat and Republican campaigns up until the election.

    Due largely to the lack of a passionate electoral following for Hayes, it was widely expected that he would lose to Tilden by a significant majority.

    Sure enough, the election went to Tilden by a quarter-million votes (out of eight-and-a-half million cast), or an approximately 51% – 48% edge.

    In order to actually win the presidency 185 Electoral College votes were needed.

    Tilden had 184 votes, Hayes had 165.

    To fairly decide the results of the election, the two houses of Congress set up the bi-partisan Electoral Commission to decide the actual winner. The commission consisted of 15 members: five from the House, five from the Senate and five from the Supreme Court. In total, the Commission consisted of 7 Democrats, 7 Republicans and Supreme Court Justice David Davis of Illinois, whom both sides considered to be independent.

    In a brilliant political move, the Illinois Republican-controlled legislature then had Justice Davis appointed to the Senate, and he was replaced by Justice Joseph P. Bradley on the electoral panel.

    A party-line vote followed, with Hayes winning in all of the contested 20 electoral votes by an eight-to-seven vote.

    The Democrats were outraged.

    As part of the compromise of 1877, the Democrats agreed to allow Hayes to assume the presidency if the Federal occupation of the south and reconstruction were ended.

    Partially as a result of the end of reconstruction, Jim Crow laws existed and in some cases flourished in the south for nearly another century.

    Were the Democrats so clean?

    (If you’ve ever seen a broken fluorescent bulb and wondered what the powder in the tube was – now you know)


    Revisionist History:


    Today is the sixty-fifth anniversary of Operation Overlord, the June 6, 1944 Normandy invasion known as D-Day.

    The outcome was far from certain.

    Here is a statement Eisenhower was prepared to give if the invasion failed-

    Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.


    The first successful manned lunar landing was on July 20, 1969.

    There was concern that the lunar module would not be able to take off again and rejoin the orbiting command module.

    Here is the speech William Safire wrote for Richard Nixon to deliver in that eventuality-

    These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

    They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

    In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

    In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.



    (Not quite. John Kerry picked John Edwards)



    (Still the granddaddy of blundering journalism)


    (If only.)

    This was so any currency captured by Japan in a successful Hawaiian invasion could be instantly rendered useless.



    My very own journalistic “oops”

    should be



    Chaim Smadar Z’L, HY’D

    (from The Jerusalem Post 10 Iyar 5762 12:53 Monday April 22, 2002)

    EYE ON THE MEDIA: Depending on your ‘point of view’

    By Bret Stephens

    (April 14) – “To know the competitiveness, jealousies, chaos and blind chance that prevail in the news business is to realize that an all-media conspiracy is an impossibility.

    “Yet it is difficult to find a rational explanation for the almost total uniformity with which the media make decisions on the newsworthiness of Israeli events.” – David Bar-Illan, “Eye on the Media” Sept. 1994

    The strength of David’s writing was its moral clarity. Moral clarity is a term that doesn’t get much traction these days, least of all among journalists, who prefer “objectivity” and “balance.” Yet good journalism is more than about separating fact from opinion and being fair. Good journalism is about fine analysis and making distinctions, and this applies as much to moral distinctions as to any others. Because too many reporters today refuse to make moral distinctions, we are left with a journalism whose narrative and analytical failings have become ever more glaring.

    Take New York Times correspondent Joel Greenberg’s April 5 dispatch, “2 Girls, Divided by War, Joined in Carnage.” The story, about the parallel lives and entwined fates of supermarket suicide bomber Ayat al-Akhras and suicide bomber victim Rachel Levy, is a model of objectivity and balance. The high school seniors, a year apart in age, looked “strikingly similar.” Both had black hair; both wore blue jeans. Akhras was a “top student with superior grades”; Levy had an interest in photography.

    The similarities don’t end there. Levy “wasn’t afraid” of the terror, according to her mother. Akhras “saw the scars left by Israeli shellings and military incursions, but there were never any indications that she was slipping into despair or plotting an act of revenge.” The Palestinian girl pursued a diligent routine of school, homework and housework, all with the aim of studying journalism in college. “She was quite normal,” according to her father. The Jewish girl, raised in California, was obsessed with fitness, worked out to a Jane Fonda video, “tended to get stressed out.” Quite normal, too. Akhras left a farewell video in which she called herself a “living martyr.” Levy left behind a notebook of adolescent ruminations on love, and death.

    All this is undoubtedly accurate as far as the particulars are concerned: NYT reporters are good at that. Greenberg makes no moral judgements, so the piece is “objective.” And it is balanced – mathematically balanced – insofar as there are nine paragraphs devoted to each girl.

    But who’s kidding whom? There’s a hero to this story. She’s a quiet, studious, beautiful Palestinian girl, with a rich and mysterious inner life, who one day bids a nonchalant farewell to her classmates, leaves a “grim warren of alleys and tightly packed dwellings,” and commits something perfectly abrupt and terrible, in the stylized manner of ritual Japanese suicide or a French art-house film. The Rachel Levy of Greenberg’s telling is, by contrast, just another transplanted JAP. More problematic is that Greenberg’s evident concern for balance is such that he tells us nothing about Akhras save the details of her life that mirror Levy’s. Which is to say, everything about her that’s banal. But it is not a banal girl who walks into a supermarket with explosives wrapped to her waist to detonate herself and every other living thing within a 20 meter radius. To limit the profile of Akhras to the fact that she went to school and did the laundry is a little like telling us that Charles Manson likes mustard on his burgers and is a huge fan of the LA Lakers.

    Absent from Greenberg’s account is some idea of how a young woman can be raised, educated and eventually recruited to become a suicide bomber. What were her family’s politics? On what diet of literature was she schooled? How did the suicide squad find her? What sort of training did she get? What kind of society makes murderesses out of its future mothers?

    But we get none of it, except that Akhras “was quite normal.” Within that artless remark there’s a story worth telling about this killer and the world that made her. Too bad Greenberg misses it.

    NEWSWEEK’S Joshua Hammer gins up something better. Hammer, recall, was the journalist who got kidnapped by Fatah in Gaza but then saw more to complain about in an IDF roadblock. But he’s done his homework on the Akhras-Levy story, so that some of the questions above can be answered.

    Begin with the fact that Akhras was not especially poor. She lived in a three-story home; her father earned steady money as a construction supervisor in the settlement of Betar Ilit. Nor, it turns out, was Akhras the introvert of Greenberg’s account. She “became infected by politics” at an early age, “dominated conversations,” was “fiercely opinionated.” She spent “hours glued to news reports on Al-Jazeera and Al Munar, the television network of Lebanon’s Hizbullah movement.” Family and local influences also had their effect. “Masked militants often marched through the neighborhood after the funerals of suicide bombers… .” “Three cousins, all members of Hamas, were killed in the Gaza Strip.” “A close family friend and a member of Fatah was shot dead while planting a roadside bomb.” His picture was framed by Akhras’s mother and given a place of honor in the family living room. Hammer does an equally creditable job of telling us how the Al Aksa Martyr’s Brigades, which unlike Hamas had no religious objections to bringing women into its ranks, set up a suicide squad and recruited members. “‘You send out signals at school or mosque, and those in charge of suicide attacks gather information about the candidates,'” one neighborhood teacher is quoted as saying.

    With her political furies and restrained manner, Akhras was clearly a natural. She got her instructions, recorded a scripted farewell on videotape, spent a morning in school, slipped across the Green Line, met an accomplice, slipped on her explosive belt. “She was so composed before her act she shooed away two Palestinian women selling herbs and scallions in front of the supermarket.”

    And then Akhras murdered Rachel Levy and a security guard named Haim Smadar.

    Hammer devotes less space to Levy, but this is right: the outlines of her life, after all, are known to us. Still, the portrayal is direct and sympathetic. Just as Akhras was not particularly poor, nor was the Levy family especially rich. The photography exhibit that Greenberg treats with a touch of contempt turns out to have been central for Levy: it won “rave reviews” and “gave her a lot of confidence in herself.” Watching scenes from the Netanya massacre on Seder night left Levy “sad, worried.” Yet she recovered her spirits the following day. In short, a fairly typical teenager but not the cossetted Miss Neurotic of Greenberg’s telling.

    ALL THIS rings true, and offers much to chew on. Levy may be a familiar figure, but Akhras is only slightly less so: A little ball of rage kept under lid, with all the political certitudes and lack of self-doubt typical of certain precocious young women. The amateur psychologist in me wonders about her relationship with her father, whom at some level she must have despised for helping build the settlements and who, unlike other parents of suicide bombers, showed no joy in her “martyrdom.” And I speculate also about what would have become of Akhras in a more normal society, one in which self-annihilation and the murder of strangers did not enjoy such prestige.

    Yet for all this, Hammer’s story disappoints. “There was something about staring into the almost-twin faces of the bomber and her victim last week,” he writes, “that moved the seemingly unending tale of strife in the region to a deeper and even more unsettling place… Martyrdom – or, depending on your point of view, murder – is becoming mainstream.”

    Depending on your point of view? The media critic Philip Meyer has observed that “objectivity, as defined by the knee-jerk, absolutist school of media ethics, means standing so far from the community that you see all events and all viewpoints as equally distant and important – or unimportant.” And here we have the editors of Newsweek, unable to get beyond the undergraduate cliche about one man’s terrorist being another man’s freedom fighter. I guess they had to be “objective.” The larger failing of Hammer’s story, however, lies in the basic narrative choice of playing this as an Akhras versus Levy story. For whatever your view on the vexed subject of martyrdom or murder, the supermarket bombing was not a one-for-one deal. There was a second victim, security guard Haim Smadar. The Israeli press has given him his due, as does Etgar Lefkovits’s story in today’s Jerusalem Post magazine. But in the West, he doesn’t count: his presence interrupts the happy fictive symmetries of its political imagination. So a word about Haim Smadar.

    He was a father of five. Two of his children are deaf. He had been married for more than 30 years. He made a security guard’s salary. He prided himself on his alertness. He received a commendation last year from Mayor Ehud Olmert for his diligence. His knowledge of Arabic – he was born in Tunisia – may have alerted him to the danger posed by Akhras. Witnesses attest that his last words, as he struggled to stop Akhras from entering the supermarket were, “You are not coming in here. You and I will blow up here.” He may have saved 12 or 20 or 30 lives, or more.

    SINCE NEITHER Joshua Hammer nor Joel Greenberg saw fit to say this in their published reports, let me say this in mine: G-d bless Rachel Levy and Haim Smadar. May their memory be a blessing.


    Throughout the twentieth century, Life was one of the most well-known magazines in the world, famous for its articles and especially the amazing pictures that often accompanied them.

    Life magazine lost popularity in the late twentieth century, and a decision was made in early 2000 to fold the publication.

    The final issue of the magazine was supposed to carry one last photo and update of Story, now a man in his sixties.


    Feeling Lucky?

    Although each and every secular year must have at least one Friday the 13th, it is possible to have twelve or more consecutive months without one.

    We are currently in the middle of a nearly fourteen-month stretch without a single Friday the thirteenth (the last was July 13, 2012, the next is September 13, 2013).



    Wow Rosh Hashanah is on a Thursday this year!!! So cool 🙂

    See this snazzy chart that’s brought to you by,*I can only try*:

    Interesting and Uncommon Facts


    Why would you want to fit 14 newborn opossums on a tablespoon? To make opossum soup, obviously. (It’s not kosher, fyi.)

Viewing 15 posts - 301 through 315 (of 315 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.