Archive for the ‘history’ Tag

11/24/2022 “Football History”   Leave a comment

It’s unusual for me to post about sports but occasionally I do so anyway. My favorite sport by far is baseball but over the years football has wormed its way into my life. It all started back in the seventies with the “Steel Curtain” and the “Immaculate Reception” and my one and only hometown team the Steelers. Football has slowly become Americas pastime by not so gently nudging baseball aside. Today I would like to do a short history lesson about football, it’s origins, during the years 1861 – 1946 (my birth year). Read on, you may learn a few interesting things beacuse I certainly did.

  • 1861: The first documented football game that was essentially rugby and was played at the University of Toronto..
  • 1874: McGill University and Harvard play a hybrid version of rugby. The rule changes affect the game in the United States.
  • 1875: The official game ball becomes an egg-shaped rugby ball. The field is now 100 yards long by 53.5 yards wide and teams are cut to 15 players per side referees are also added to the game.
  • 1876: With the addition of the crossbar official goalposts now look like the letter “H”.
  • 1880 – 1885: Game fundamentals are introduced such as the down system (going 5 yards in three downs equals a first down), along with a scrimmage line and yard lines. Teams are now eleven to a side. A field goal is worth five points, a touchdown and conversion, four points each, and a safety is two points. The first play calling signals and planned plays are introduced.
  • 1894: The officiating crew is increased to three; a referee and two bodyguards, also known as the umpire and linesman.
  • 1896: Only one backfield man may now be in motion before the snap, any can be moving forward.
  • 1897: A touchdown now counts as five points.
  • 1909: Now a field goal is worth three points.

  • 1910: Seven players must now be on the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped, establishing the basic offensive formation concept. The forward pass becomes commonplace in college football.
  • 1912: A rules committee determines that a touchdown is now worth six points and adds a fourth down. It is now practical to punt.
  • 1922: The American Professional Football Association becomes the National Football League.
  • 1932: The NFL begins keeping statistics.
  • 1933: There is a major NFL rule change: the passer can throw from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage.
  • 1934: The modern football takes its current shape after a gradual evolution from the oddly shaped egg like rugby ball.
  • 1939: Helmets became mandatory in college football, and the pros followed within a decade.
  • 1941: It’s the end of the dropkick era. Ray McClean boots a conversion off the turf in the NFL championship game. In 2005, Doug Flutie created a sensation by doing it once again.
  • 1946: The NFL’s first major rival league, the All-American Football Conference begins play. It lasts just four seasons with the Cleveland Browns winning all four titles.

It took another eight years before I realized from my father that I had been born a Pittsburgh Steeler fan. I first became a rabid baseball fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates for the next 20 years. Slowly but surely football reached out and grabbed me and when the 1970’s hit I was hooked. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much to cheer about with the Steelers in recent years. I was fortunate enough to move to New England and got to enjoy all of the years of Tom Brady and the Patriots. My allegiance wavered when Brady moved to Tampa Bay, but everything must come to an end at some point. Now I’m what would be called a fair-weather fan.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

and

GO VIKINGS!

09/17/2022 “American History”   Leave a comment

I’ve been a lover of history for most of my life, especially American history. That love motivates me to look for unusual or little-known historical facts. It seems the more I find the more there seem to be. Here’s a small collection for all of you history lovers out there.

  • The oldest seat of government in the United States can be found not in Massachusetts but in Santa Fe, New Mexico, whose governor’s palace was built in 1610, 10 years before the Mayflower landed in the New World.
  • The person who led the Indians in the battle of Little Big Horn was not Sitting Bull who stayed in the hills making medicine, but Crazy Horse.
  • There were ten 19th century American presidents who had been generals: Jackson, W.H. Harrison, Taylor, Pierce, A. Johnson, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, and B. Harrison.
  • The longest war fought by the United States was the 46-year campaign against the Apache nation, which ended in 1886 with Geronimo’s surrender in New Mexico.
  • Lizzie Borden’s verdict was not guilty.
Lizzie Borden

  • The Pentagon was built with about twice as many bathrooms as would have been expected for a building of its size to comply with Virginia’s then legal code; Virginia law at the time required racial segregation of public buildings.
  • President Andrew Jackson was called Old Hickory because of his walking stick.
  • Paul Revere did not shout, “The British are coming”; he shouted, “The regulars are out.” The regulars were British infantry soldiers.
  • Although many people think that all of the states ratified the Prohibition Amendment, two states (Rhode Island and Connecticut) rejected it.
  • President Lincoln’s first choice to lead the Union was not General Grant but Robert E. Lee who rejected the offer because of his loyalty to Virginia.

HAVE A GOOD WEEK

09/13/2022 🚋The Good Old Days🚂   Leave a comment

Trivia . . . more trivia . . . Here’s some interesting retro trivia from those good old days that we’ve always heard so much about. You can decide if they were as good as we’ve always been told.

  • Two hundred years ago: For kissing his wife in public on a Sunday after just returning from a three-year voyage, a Boston ship captain was made to sit two hours in the stocks for “lewd and seemly behavior”.
  • The first Cadillac, which was produced in 1903, cost less than the original model T Ford. Their prices, respectively, were $750 and $875.
  • The bathhouse in the late medieval town became the habitat for loose women and lecherous man as family life deteriorated. The medieval word for bathhouse, “stew,” has come down in English as a synonym for brothel.
  • The average married woman in 17th century America gave birth to 13 children.
  • One-third of all automobiles in New York City, Boston, and Chicago in 1900 were electric cars, with batteries rather than gasoline engines.

  • In 1909, Annette Kellerman, the Australian swimming star, appeared on a Boston beach wearing a figure- fitting jersey bathing suit with sleeves shortened almost to her shoulders and trousers ending 2 inches above her knees. She was arrested for indecent exposure.
  • Life expectancy at birth for Americans was 34.5 years for males and 36.5 years for females when George Washington became president in 1789.
  • As late as 1890, nearly 75% of Americans had to fetch their mail from a post office. A community had to have at least 10,000 people to be eligible for home delivery, and most people then lived in towns or on farms.
  • The Puritans, considering buttons a vanity and used only hooks and eyes.
  • In colonial days it was legal to smoke tobacco in Massachusetts only when the smoker was traveling and had reached a location that was 5 miles away from any town. In 1647 Connecticut passed a law forbidding social smoking and limiting the use of tobacco to once a day, and then only when the smoker was alone in his own house.

DO YOU PREFER “THEN” OR “NOW”?

09/04/2022 “BOOKS”   Leave a comment

Are you an avid reader? I’ve been one since a very early age and it will continue forever. One of my favorite reads is just about anything ever written by Isaac Azimov. He was a prolific writer as well as a noted intellectual. His areas of interest were many but today I’ll post a few facts he gathered concerning books since we’ve both shared a love for them. Books are great and history is even greater. How can I go wrong posting about the history of books?

  • Columbus had with him on his first voyage to the New World a copy of Marco Polo’s book about his 13th century, twenty-two-year odyssey to China and back.
  • Twice as many books on religion were published in England as works of fiction in 1870. Sixteen years later, novels far outnumbered religious works.
  • The Library of Congress houses over 72 million pieces of research material, including over 16.5 million books and 31 million manuscripts, and costs over $150 million a year to run.
  • The Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels was ignored in Germany when it was published in 1848, and a Russian translation was suppressed by censors in the 1860’s. It remained a rare pamphlet until it was reprinted in 1872.
  • The art of printing from wooden blocks with the characters in reverse was initiated in Buddhist monasteries in China. The oldest surviving printed book that can be reliably dated is a Buddhist text, the Diamond Sutra, made in China in 868 A.D.

  • Euclid is the most successful textbook writer of all time. His book Elements dated around 300 B.C. has gone through more than 1000 editions since the invention of printing.
  • General Lew Wallace’s bestseller Ben Hur was published in 1880 and was the first work of fiction to be blessed by a Pope.
  • America’s first best-selling novelist was a woman, Susanna Haswell Rowson. Although it was a melodramatic work with wooden characters and a hackneyed plot, Charlotte Temple, published in 1791, appealed to popular tastes. It went through more than 200 editions.
  • Icelanders read more books per capita than any other people in the world.
  • To get her book published, in 1896, Fannie Farmer had to pay publishers Little, Brown and Company the printing costs for the first 3000 copies. The publisher refused to take the risk, saying that women would not buy still another collection of recipes. Ironically, her Boston Cooking School Cook Book eventually became the most popular cookbook of its time and a “gold mine” through the years for the publisher; millions of copies have been sold in dozens of editions.

THANK YOU ISAAC

05/15/2022 Sports Cont’d   Leave a comment

I was pleased to see that yesterday’s post on sports trivia was well received. I thought I’d expand it a little more today.

  • In 1994 NY Giant’s linebacker Lawrence Taylor played his last game. He took a small but poignant souvenir from that game which was the referee’s yellow flag. He felt that he deserved it because the refs “throw it against me often enough”.
  • Walter Payton the famous Chicago Bears running back missed only one game during his 13-year career. He carried the ball more often (3838 times) for more yards (16,726) and scored more rushing touchdowns (110) than anyone else.
  • In 1925 the Dartmouth football team contained 22 members of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society.
  • Golfing great Ben Hogan is also known for his famous reply when asked how someone can improve their game. It’s short and simple answer is still true today, “Hit the ball closer to the hole.”
  • After retiring as a player, Babe Ruth spent one year as a coach for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1938.
Roger Bannister
  • In 1912, at the Stockholm Olympics, electric timing devices and a public address systems were used for the first time.
  • Famed fullback Jim Brown while attending Syracuse University in the mid-1950s also played lacrosse. and made All-American.
  • In June 1938 the Cincinnati Reds southpaw pitcher John Vandermeer pitched two no-hitters. They were the only two he ever threw, and they were consecutive. He pitched the first one against the Boston Braves and then his next game he pitched one against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
  • Ty Cobb was the only major league baseball player to have a brand of cigarettes named after him.
  • In 1979 New York Yankee manager Billy Martin had a confrontation with a marshmallow salesman and lost his job.
  • In in 1954 Roger Bannister, was named the Sports Illustrated magazines first Sportsman of the Year for breaking the four-minute mile.

BACK TO WORK TOMORROW

05/03/2022 Do you know your history?   Leave a comment

I’ve been a history buff for most of my life. I would prefer to sit in a corner and read a book on history than just about any other topic except for science fiction. Unfortunately, many historical facts that were being taught in the school systems weren’t exactly accurate. Here are a few examples.

LIZZIE BORDEN
  • Lizzie Borden’s verdict was not guilty.
  • The first shots of the US Civil War were not at Fort Sumter South Carolina. On January 9, 1861, a battery of Confederate soldiers on Morris Island, South Carolina – cadets from the Citadel Military College fired 17 shots at the Star of the West, a civilian union steamship hired by the federal government to transport military supplies and reinforcements to Fort Sumter. Three months later is when the Confederate army fired on the South Carolina Fort.
  • The feminists did not burn their bras but wore them. The closest thing to bra burning happened at the 1968 Miss America pageant. On September 7, 1968, protesters of the pageant filled a “freedom trashcan” with bras, girdles, false eyelashes, men’s magazines, and other items they considered instruments of torture. Some people wanted to burn the items, but they were unable to obtain a burn permit.
  • President Lincoln’s first choice to lead the union armies was not General Grant but Robert E Lee, who rejected his offer because of his loyalty to Virginia.
  • President Andrew Jackson was called Old Hickory because of his walking stick.
  • George Washington’s false teeth were not made of wood but of hippopotamus and elephant ivory held together with gold springs. Real human teeth and bits of horse and donkey teeth were inserted into an ivory plate. By the way, his dentures are on display in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of History and Technology.
GEORGE’S TEETH
  • Contrary to the image of Daniel Boone popularized by actor Fess Parker on TV, the real Daniel Boone didn’t wear a coonskin hat, which he thought looked uncivilized. Instead, he wore a beaver felt hunters’ hat, a wide brimmed, Pennsylvania-style hat, which resembled the hat depicted on a box of Quaker Oats.
DANIEL BOONE

Just when I thought I had a good handle on our history I stumbled upon hundreds of items that needed clarification. I’ll send along more in the future because the more I find the more interesting they become.

04/12/2022 Historical Trivia   Leave a comment

I’m a lover of history, and I’m absolutely crazy about obscure historical trivia facts. I’ve collected quite a few over the years and I’m going to begin today with what I hope will be a number of postings with more of these little tidbits. Enjoy!

  • “Take this script,” Rudyard Kipling said to the nurse who cared for his firstborn child, “and someday if you are in need of money, you may be able to sell it at a handsome price.” Years later, when the nurse was actually in want, she sold the manuscript of the first Jungle Book and lived in comfort for the rest of her life.
  • After writing the runaway bestseller Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe was bombarded with hate mail. Out of one package that she received fell the ear of a slave.
  • The author of the best-known document in the United States, and perhaps in the world, published only one book. Thomas Jefferson’s answers to a set of 23 questions about the American continent, circulated in 1780 by the French emissary François Marbois, appeared as Notes on the State of Virginia.
  • Walt Whitman was dismissed from his clerical post in the Indian Bureau of the Department of the Interior when the Secretary of the Interior, James Harlan, read a portion of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and deemed it “pernicious poetry”.
  • Heavyweight boxing champion Gene Tunney lectured on Shakespeare at Yale University.
  • The electric automobile self-starter, which was perfected in 1911 by Charles F Kettering, made it possible for women to drive without the companion previously needed for cranking the engine.
  • In the early 1860s, a New York firm offered a prize of $10,000 for a satisfactory substitute for ivory in the manufacture of billiard balls. The prize was won by an American inventor, John Wesley Hyatt, who devised for the purpose what came to be known as celluloid. It was the first synthetic plastic.
  • Somewhere out there in space, amid all of the junk, is the Hasselblad camera dropped during a spacewalk by the United States astronaut Michael Collins. It will orbit the earth indefinitely.
  • A manned rocket reaches the moon in less time than it took a stagecoach to travel the length of England.
  • In 1930, Ellen Church recruited seven other young nurses to work 5000 feet above the Earth. They were the first airline stewardesses, flying on Boeing’s San Francisco to Chicago route, a trip that, in good weather, took 20 hours and made 13 stops.

WHO DOESN’T LOVE HISTORICAL TRIVIA?

04/04/2022 More Bad Poetry   2 comments

As you may have guessed, I’ve been around a while and my memories go back many years. I survived the 60’s and 70’s with only minor damage and tried desperately to forget everything about the 80’s and 90’s. The new millennium was a big letdown, and it still remains just that. This little ditty was written in 1978 or there abouts. I was smoking a lot of Weed in those days so I’m not entirely sure about the exact date. Take a trip back with me.

THE GENERATION GAP❤
Your Dis’n me, I’m Dis’n you,
It’s all just Greek to me.
It’s wicked hot, she’s wicked cool,
I’m wicked confused you see.


I thought our slang from years ago
was a cool and groovy thing.
We’d rap all night about far-out stuff
and what the future might bring.


Peace Man! Protest marches,
and on into the night.
We’d smoke some weed and drink some beer,
it’s what made everything alright.


Stop the war! Kent State Revenge, was
what we thought was cool.
Pass the beer, we can crash over here,
so, we’re a little late for school.


To mix and match the old and new
really must be done.
To help prepare for whatever new
and the nonsense that’s sure to come.

❤❤❤

And for our millions of millennials:

LIKE WHATEVER!!!!!

08/27/2021 Old Golden Rule Days   Leave a comment

As most of you are aware I am a lover of all things trivial and historical. I love all history but especially my own. Now it’s time for me to take you on a little trip down memory lane back to 1960. I’m going to introduce you to someone in my life who left me with vivid memories of school and a few emotional and geographical scars.

The lady in question was my eighth grade geography teacher. She was obsessed with geography to a fault. She was one of the meanest teachers I’ve ever had but also absolutely unforgettable (and not in a good way). On the first day of classes she told our group that half of our grade for the entire year would be based on our ability to memorize all the countries of the United Nations in alphabetical order and to recite it in front of the class. We spent many a day standing in front of the classroom and reciting as best we could as many of the countries as possible. Did I learn the countries, you bet I did, and at that time there were 82 of them.

All of us students agreed that she was an absolute lunatic and that was never disproven. She passed away many years ago and I actually sat in a bar that night with a close friend, another of her students, and toasted the old girl with a few stiff drinks. I didn’t attend her funeral but I was tempted to because I wanted to make sure she was really gone. This post is a something of a memorial and tribute to miss Mabel Milldollar, one of the most unforgettable persons I’ve ever met. This list of trivia items would have been something she would have loved but only if she could have used the information to create one of her memorable pop quizzes. They were brutal. Let’s get this started….

  • The part of the United States that the sun shines on first is the top of Mount Cadillac in Maine.
  • The state of Hawaii is composed of 132 Islands.
  • 25% of the State of California is made up of deserts.
  • The southernmost tip of Africa is the Cape of Agulhas.
  • The northernmost point in the United States is the city of Point Barrow, Alaska.
  • The city of Timbuktu is located in Mali in Western Africa.
  • The Sahara desert in North Africa has an area of 3,250,000 square miles.
  • Western South Dakota marks the geographical center of the United States since the addition of Hawaii and Alaska.
  • Piccadilly Circus in London got its name from collars, called picadillo’s, that were made by a tailor name Robert Baker who created them in the area.
  • The highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world is Angel Falls in Venezuela. It has a 3212 foot drop.
  • The lowest point of dry land on the earth is the shore of the Dead Sea, between Jordan and Israel, which is approximately 1300 feet below sea level.

I hope you’re smiling up at me Miss Milldollar because you couldn’t possibly be looking down on me. Your evil brainwashing techniques would have certainly qualified you for special duty at Club Gitmo. No terrorist in the world could have stood up to that “evil eye” you were famous for. I hope you’re sitting in the corner of wherever you happen to be with a pointy dunce cap on your head and having your hand smacked with a big ass ruler.

Am I bitter? Nah, I’m not bitter.

08/16/2021  Ten Year Anniversary   Leave a comment

Good morning readers. I just wanted to let everyone know I’m within two weeks of celebrating my tenth year of blogging which I think requires me to do an honest review of myself. I have to admit it’s been a real learning experience but one I wouldn’t change for anything. I never decided to blog because I thought I had all the answers or that my philosophy of life was of any interest to anyone but me. I blog primarily to keep myself sane. Blogging is a good way for me to vent and lower my blood pressure all at the same time.  I especially enjoy reading the feedback even if it’s discourteous, rude, or off-color.  It’s called freedom of speech.

I initially blogged about personal stories of my life but found out very quickly that family and friends dislike notoriety. From that point on I made sure to never mention names or to post any family members photographs.

I then moved into politics and voiced my opinions rather loudly and pointedly. It helped me to quickly discover that most blog surfers are of the “sound bite” generations. My goal then became writing a variety of articles that would keep readers reading to the end. It involved a mix of politics, humor, sarcasm, trivia, and whatever else I could find. I’m interested in anyone who really wants to take the time to read every word, think about it for a while, and then comment with a yea or nay. I’m not looking for approval just honest and open discussions and opinions.

After my interest in political blogging waned I decided to return to writing about personal stories from my past. It seemed the best way to go if I wanted to increased traffic. It also seemed that I wasn’t the only person fed up with politics and politicians. I love embracing change and have done so many times over the years. An old quote I heard many years ago still holds true today: “the greatest opportunities are found on the edge of chaos”.

I have a rather loyal following of readers who’ve stayed with me through my cancer diagnosis, surgeries, and a year of little or no blog postings. I’d like to thank them all for their continuing interest and support. It made returning to this blog a much easier transition than I had ever hoped for. Thanks again.

 

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