October 27, 2017
I’ve always heard about freak shows but have never been to one. I actually don’t think I’d want to go because they seem a little sad to me. I could be way off base. IDK
Not only were these people called freaks when they were alive, but freaky things happened to them in death. Read and see-
- Edouard Beaupre was a giant at 8’3″. He died at 23 of a pulmonary hemorrhage. His cause of death wasn’t unusual given his size. The circus, where he performed, had his body taken to a mortuary to be embalmed, but balked at the high price of shipping his body home. He convinced the family to let him be buried in St. Louis where they were for The Louisiana Purchase Exposition. (The family didn’t go to the funeral.) Instead of paying the mortuary, the guy skipped town and left Edouard to fate. They put his body in a storefront window for a while, but it caused too much traffic. His body was sold 2 more times! It went to a museum and then a circus where he was stored in a barn after the circus went bankrupt. A doctor then bought him, mummified him, and put him on display for 85 years. Finally, a nephew in 1975 petitioned the university to get his uncle back. It wasn’t until July 7, 1990 that he was cremated and buried with dignity.
- Chang and Eng were “Siamese” twins born in Thailand (Siam). A Scottish merchant saw them while there and was amazed at how fast they could swim and move being conjoined. He paid a large amount of money to the family for adoption. He immediately put them in on the sideshow circuit. They did very well! Eventually, they settled in North Carolina, made a lot of money in business, married sisters, and fathered 21 children. The Civil War stripped them of a lot of their wealth and Chang drank heavily. They did not share a circulatory system so Eng did not have the same drinking issues. But on Jan. 17, 1874, Eng woke up to find his brother dead from a cerebral blood clot. Terrified, he called doctors to do an emergency separation, but it was too late. He died 3 hours later. Some think it was mainly due to the shock of losing his brother.
- Grady Stiles was an evil, mean man and got more so the more he drank. He also had fingers that looked more like lobster claws and his feet and legs were also deformed. Even so, he had a good career at the shows, married and had a daughter. On the eve of his daughter’s wedding, he and the groom to be were at a party. Grady was drinking and he murdered the fellow in cold blood. He was found guilty but Grady played on the courts using his disability. Instead of life or an execution, he got 15 years on parole. He never showed remorse and bragged about how he got away with murder. The abuse of those around him got so bad, his wife paid $1500 to another performer to assassinate him! He took 3 bullets to the head while watching TV.
- Betty Lou Williams was born in Georgia 1932. She was the youngest of 12 children, but the only one born with 4 legs and an extra arm. The parasitic twin’s head was lodged inside her torso. Her parents put her on the circuit by the time she was 2. she made a lot of money and managed to put all of her siblings through college and bought her parents a house. She, obviously, was very generous! Betty Lou was also a beauty and never had problems dating despite her deformity. She fell madly, passionately in love with a man and they were engaged to be married. Unfortunately, she found out that he did not really love her, he liked her for her ability to bring in a ton of money. The revelation triggered a massive asthma attack which she died from, but her family insists she died from a broken heart. TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK…………
September 22, 2017
I love tea. I drink it hot and cold. My day is bookended by a hot, steaming mug of Tetley’s British Blend tea. Mmmmmm I’m sipping one right now.
But…did you know:
- Iced tea was invented at The 1904’s World’s Fair in St. Louis. It was so bloody hot, mugs of tea weren’t selling. Richard Blechynden decided to pour it over ice and BOOM, it was an instant success!
- Tea bags were invented by accident as well! In 1908, a salesman created small silk bags to give out samples of tea to customers. Some of them thought they were supposed to put the whole thing in the pot instead of emptying it out, like a metal diffuser. It worked so well, it became a thing.
- There are 4 major types of tea black, white, green, and oolong, but they all come from the same plant. It’s how the leaves are treated that make the difference.
- The art of reading tea leaves is called tasseography.
- There is a legend that tea was discovered, by accident again, by a chinese emperor. A leaf supposedly blew into his bowl of hot water and the rest is history. Hmm, urban legend?
- Another accident! Many people , like me, drink hot tea with milk. That practice was started because they used to pour milk into the delicate china cups to protect it from the boiling water. It’s no longer necessary, and they discovered it was yummy!
- For centuries, tea was only used as medicine. It took over 3000 years for it to become an everyday drink.
- Black teas are made from fermented leaves that have been allowed to dry.
- Tea bags are good for about 6 months before they lose their flavor and quality.
- In Tibet, Butter Tea is served. It is made from black tea, yak butter, and salt.
- Tea is believed to have arrived in Europe, thanks to a Jesuit priest.He visited China in 1590 and was allowed to bring some of the plants home with him.
- The most expensive tea in the world is grown in the mountains of Ya’An in the Sichuan province of China. Workers fertilize the tea bushes using the waste from local pandas whose bodies take in only a small amount of nutrients from the food they eat. The tea costs the equivalent of around $200 for a small cup.
September 15, 2017
If you haven’t heard about the HUGE Equifax breach which included personal information, like social security numbers, for almost half of the people in the United States, then you need to pay attention to these two items!
August 4, 2017
This summer has passed in a whirlwind of activity. I can’t believe we are already in August and Back To School is right around the corner. I hope your summer was a ton of fun!
I love biographies and I read Eric Clapton’s. Whew- what a life. Look what I found out about other rockers-
- Prince and Sinead O”Connor got into a fight. He used his fists and she spit on him multiple times. He wrote her massive hit “Nothing Compares To You” but was upset when she decided to cover it because he wanted to give it to one of his female protege. Discussion turns into him berating her for cussing during interviews and she calmly told him to go f— himself. The fight was on.
- Legendary producer and songwriter Phil Spector is off his rocker. Crazy. He put a loaded gun to Leonard Cohen’s head. He fired a shot in the studio while working with John Lennon. He also held the Ramones at gunpoint. He held the band captive in a locked room and while he sat at the piano, he made the band listen to him sing “Baby, I Love You”. Multiple times. Until 4:30 in the morning.
I kid you not. This is him in court.
- Izzy Stradlin, guitarist for Guns N’ Roses, had to go pee on the plane. The bathrooms were occupied so he declared, “I’m not waiting any longer.” Sooooooo, he whipped it out and peed in the galley in front of stunned passengers and attendants. His attorney’s defense? He was expressing himself……
- Boy George behaved badly. Surprised? In 2007 a Norwegian escort arrived at Boy George’s house for a naked photo shoot. They had some cocaine and next thing you know, Boy George accuses him of hacking his computer, handcuffs him to the wall (Wait a minute, how do you do this unless you have rings screwed in the wall so you have something to handcuff it to?) Anyway, handcuffed him and pulled out chains and beat him! What?!?!
- In 2000, Slim Shady(Eminem) was arrested for 2 separate gun-related incidents just hours apart. Hmmm, not too smart. Each time was with an unloaded gun.
- Marilyn Manson. Sigh. He got in trouble because he thought rubbing his junk on the head of a security guard was a good idea. He said it wasn’t sexual misconduct. The lawsuit claims that Manson grabbed the guy from behind and improperly touched him. He tried to escape but Manson continued to gyrate his hips and pubic area against his head, neck, and face. Instead of being prosecuted as a sex offender, he got disorderly conduct. Manson’s response was, “It’s a victory for art.” Really?!?!?!?
- Foxy Brown loses it over hair glue. Brown was already on probation for assaulting 2 manicurists when she bought a bottle of hair glue and headed to the bathroom. After 15 minutes the owner knocked and said they were closing. Brown said, I bought this glue and I’ll do what I wanna do.” Then the door was flung open and Brown tried to squirt the glue into the owner’s eyes and knocked over a shelf of bottles while using every cuss word known to man. The cop had to use a takedown maneuver. Talk about anger management!
- Britney Spears has a few moments too. Her first marriage to a childhood friend lasted 55 hours. She had her first baby and promptly started teaching it to drive. She stopped wearing shoes in public bathrooms then shaved her head to feel normal. Outrageous behavior or just sad?
June 2, 2017
The weather has heated up. Schools are letting out. Life is a beach.
But, do you really know summer? Check out these tid-bits-
- The phrase ‘the dog days of summer’ has to do with the stars and not about sweltering heat. The dog star Sirius begins its rise just before the sun towards the end of July. The Romans believed the extra light gave off more heat heat to the sun and was responsible for the super hot days.
- More thunderstorms occur during summer than at any other time. It’s all that extra heat and moisture! Believe it or not, the most occur in the south of England. Hmmmm
- New York has a cool thing going on! Owing to the city’s design on a grid rotated 29 ° clockwise from true east-west, twice a year the sun sets directly at the end of the many New York’s major streets to create a spectacular sunset. The sun is slightly above the horizon and nestled between the rows of buildings.
- The first modern Olympic games were held in the summer of 1896 in Athens.
- The last day of summer is September 20th.
- The iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris grows every summer. With the heat, the metal expands and it grows up to 6 inches!
- The Roman general, Marc Anthony, named the month July after Julius Caesar.
- August was named after Julius Caesar’s nephew. He had received the title of “Augustus” which means “reverend”.
- Ice pops were invented by an 11 year old boy in 1905! THANK YOU!
- The first women’s bathing suit was created in the 1800’s. It had a pair of bloomers with it! ACK!!!
- Swimming nude used to be the norm. In ancient days, clothes were definitely pitched to the side. However, in the 17th century, laws were put into place about decent swimming attire…and nude wasn’t it!
- Watermelons are a vegetable! Who knew?!? It is a member of the squash, cucumber, and pumpkin family. Americans eat around 15 lbs. per year.
- In the United States, over 650 million long distance summer trips are made. Let’s hit the road!!
- Scientist argue that babies born in the summer will suffer from more mood swings than babies born at other times. Really?
- Jenn and I hope you have a terrific summer filled with lots of laughter and fun…and that’s a fact!
April 28, 2017
Most people know writers tend to live in their own little worlds. I can hear many of you laughing already because you know me! Yes, we are different…but some are even more interesting than you think!
- Stieg Larsson, who created The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, stated the heroine was based on what Pippi Longstocking would be like when she was grown. Hmmmm, not what I would have thought about Pippi.
- Alexander Dumas, The Three Musketeers, fought his first duel at the age of 23. He has the unusual distinction of having his trousers fall down during the event! I think it was better he wrote about fighting instead of participating!
- Before finding fame as a novelist, The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown was a pop singer. One of his solo albums was called Angels and Demons.
- Bram Stoker, Dracula, was a crazy conspiracy theorist! One of his best theories is that the Queen Elizabeth that we all studied about was really a man in drag! Supposedly, the real Elizabeth got sick and died when she was 10.
- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, was kinda weird. For instance, he always positioned his bed northward- he said it sparked his creativity. He had a thing for the dead. One of his favorite past times was hanging out in the morgue- he even spent a few Christmas and New Years Days at the Paris morgue……
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, thought Houdini was magical. After his son died, he spent a great deal of time studying mysticism and trying to talk to the dead. Somehow along the way, he decided his friend, Houdini, had magical powers even though Houdini was constantly trying to prove to him otherwise.
- Norman Mailer, The Executioner’s Song, was a raging alcoholic who stabbed his wife and beat up actor Rip Torn. Many considered him to be a world renowned jerk! He also ran for mayor of New York City claiming he would outlaw private cars, have trial by jousting and turn the city into the 51st state. The stories only get better from there- I just don’t have space to write about so many!
- John Steinbeck used 300 pencils to write East of Eden and was known to use up to 60 pencils in a day.
- When Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham, was stuck writing his books, he would go to a secret closet filled with hundreds of hats and wear them till the words came. Something else to make you go hmmmmmm.
- Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea, once took home the urinal from his favorite bar, arguing he’d ‘pissed away’ so much of his money into it that he owned it.
- Sting wrote the song ‘Every Breath You Take’ at the same desk which Ian Fleming used to write his James Bond novels. It was at the ‘Fleming Villa’ at GoldenEye on the island of Jamaica.
- D. H. Lawrence, Women In Love, liked to climb trees buck naked because he wanted to stimulate his creativity.
April 21, 2017
I started poking around the internet and before I knew it, I had lost two hours! Sigh. I know learning is never a waste, but it sure can be a time suck. Check out some of the tid-bits I dug up!
- In 1986, a volcanic lake in Africa let out a cosmic sized burp of sulfuric acid and killed 1746 people within minutes!! Holy Moly!! I had no idea this could happen.
- There was a Harley Davidson motorcycle built to look like a giant hamburger………………….. why?
- In the past 20 years, scientists have found over 1000 plants outside of our solar system. Really? Have you heard about this?
- If you started with a penny and doubled your money everyday- you’d be a millionaire in 27 days!
- You can’t kill yourself by holding your breath.
- In France, it is legal to marry a dead person. (Things that make you go hmmmmm)
- It’s considered good luck in Japan if a sumo wrestler makes your baby cry.
- The oldest marathon runner was 100 years old when he finished the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in Canada. Fauja Singh crossed the line in 8hrs., 25min., and 16sec.
- The Spanish national anthem has no lyrics.
- The full length Greek national anthem has 158 verses. Well, that’s from the sublime to the ridiculous!
- Tupac Shakur’s ashes were smoked, along with marijuana, by his friends.
- A full head of hair is strong enough to support 12 tons of weight! Another holy moly in my book!!
- In 1567, the man who was said to have the longest beard, died trying to run away from a fire. You guessed it! He tripped on his beard.
- Did you know you could dance yourself to death? Yes! Yes, you can! There was such a thing called The Dance Fever which occurred in 1518 in Strasbourg. Inexplicably, hundreds of people danced for a whole month. Many of them danced themselves to death.
- Light doesn’t necessarily travel at the “speed of light”. The slowest light has been recorded moving is at 38mph. Who knew?!?!?
April 7, 2017
Many of us have switched to olive oil since it is a healthier alternative to many other oils for cooking. What you didn’t know is that you are probably getting ripped off. This is big business and millions are being made by scamming the public. What a ripe scenario for a book!
- “Mafia copies of fine olive oil, wine and cheese have fueled an explosion of food crime in Italy,” said CBS News correspondent, Bill Whitaker.
- “It’s very difficult to say in any given case with olive oil exactly how many drops in a given bottle actually have Mafia blood on them.” Tom Mueller
- Many times you get a lower grade oil mixed with a small amount of good extra virgin oil.
- Sometimes it’s very low quality that has been deodorized, mixed with something that has a little color and BOOM! you have high quality, made in Italy, extra virgin olive oil. It’s illegal and its done all the time.
- You can take colorless, odorless sunflower oil, add some chlorophyll and it has the color of “olive oil”.
- Some responsible olive growers in Sicily have tried to fight back against the Mob. Nicola Clemenza started a consortium and had his car burned and also part of his house while he was still inside with his wife and daughter!
- 75-80% of the olive oil that reaches Americans is NOT really extra virgin.
- The top-selling brand in the US is Bertolli. Samples were sent to professional tasters and they described it as lampante- which means its the lowest grade of oil. Bertolli is embroiled in a fraud investigation and several class action lawsuits.
- Italy is not the only one making money this way. A company in Córdoba, Spain are under investigation for allegedly exporting adulterated olive oils to Italy to be sold as authentic extra virgin olive oil.
- Portuguese food standards y agency ASAE seized 6,000 liters of fake olive oil from a company in the town of Penamacor.
- The earliest written mention of olive oil, on cuneiform tablets at Ebla in the twenty-fourth century B.C., describes teams of inspectors who toured olive mills on behalf of the king, looking for fraudulent practices.
- “The single-minded devotion of these food artisans, who built Italy’s culinary fame, is almost superhuman when you consider how consistently they’re being undercut by olive oil crooks, and abandoned by their own government. In fact, forces within the Italian government often help the crooks.”