01/05/2023 “Odds & Ends”   Leave a comment

Being a collector of useless information and all types of odd trivia, I offer for your enjoyment today the following list of really strange occurrences and/or coincidences. I’ve firmly believed for years that there are no such things as coincidences but maybe these will prove me wrong.

  • The Surete, the French precursor and modern counterpart of the FBI, was founded in 1812 by a man who was once named Public Enemy Number One. Eugene-Francois Vidocq, a thief and outlaw, evaded the police for years, turned police spy, joined the force as a detective, and used his knowledge of crime to establish a new crime fighting organization, the Surete.
  • The carpenter who built the first stocks in Boston in 1634, a man named Palmer, was the first to occupy them. He was charged with over-billing the town elders for the construction, found guilty, and sentenced to spend a half-hour in the stocks he had recently completed.
  • To help determine on what floor it should have its offices in one of the two World Trade Center towers, a Japanese company hired a soothsayer to throw dice.
  • A Harvard student on his way home to visit his parents fell between two railroad cars in Jersey City, New Jersey, and was rescued by an actor on his way to visit his sister in Philadelphia. The student was Robert Lincoln, heading to the White House to visit his father. The actor was Edwin Booth, the brother of the man who in a few weeks would murder the student’s father.
  • The celebrated seventeenth-century pirate William Kidd was a wealthy landowner in New York state.

  • Mark Twain was born in 1835 when Halley’s comet appeared. He predicted he would die when Halley’s comet next returned to scare everyone – and he did, in 1910. The comet returned again in 1986.
  • U.S. Congressmen expressed surprise on learning in 1977 that it takes fifteen months of instruction at the Pentagon’s School of Music to turn out a bandleader but merely thirteen months to train a jet pilot.
  • Eleven days before the statute of limitations was to expire on the three-million-dollar Brink’s bank robbery in Boston in 1950, one of the robbers confessed and betrayed his fellow robbers.
  • During the Gold Rush days in California, Charlie Parkhurst was a stagecoach driver, taking passengers and gold shipments along dangerous roads. Charlie smoked cigars, chewed tobacco, played cards, drank and at one time shot dead two highwaymen. On December 31, 1879, Charlie was found dead at his home. As they were dressing the body for burial it was discovered that Charlie Parkhurst was a woman.
  • The slave, Henry Brown escaped from Virginia in 1858 by hiding (with a box of biscuits and a bladder of water) in a box that was shipped from Richmond to Philadelphia. There, he popped out into “the free world.” He was forever after known as “Box” Brown.

Here is a message from my new 2023 calendar that specializes in profanity laced sayings.

January 5 – CHASE YOUR BIG F*****G DREAMS

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