Eugene Debbs and the dignity of goldfish!


 By Gerry Moran

This week, dear readers, some tid-bits to savour over a skinny latté, a good old mug of tea or a pint of plain if that’s your preference:

Hitler had ambitions to be an artist but in 1908 he was rejected by Vienna’s Art School – twice; his marriage to Eva Braun lasted one day. They killed themselves as the Red Army advanced towards their bunker in Berlin.

* Eleven days after King Henry V111 had his wife, Anne Boleyn, beheaded (May 19, 1536) he married Jane Seymour.

* In the 1400s a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence the phrase ‘rule of thumb’.

* The largest ice-berg on record measured 200 miles by 60 miles and had a total area larger then Belgium.

* In 1920, Eugene Debbs was nominated for President of the United States by the Socialist Party while in prison for inciting rebellion and a breach of public order during World War 1. The only man to run for President from prison, he received nearly a million votes, 3.3% of the total.

* Absinthe was the LSD of the 19th Century. With a 70% alcohol content, and known as ‘Bottled Madness’, its hallucinogenic properties appealed to people who wanted to soar to new levels of creativity.

* Kangaroos received their name when Captain Cook’s crew asked the Australian aborigines what those strange creatures hopping about were. They answered “Kangaroo”, which means “What are you saying?”

* Cleopatra used crocodile dung as a contraceptive.

* The first couple to be shown in bed together on American prime time TV were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

* The Chinese will go out of their way to include the lucky number 8 in their home and business addresses, telephone numbers, and web addresses. As an example of their devotion to the number 8, the Olympic Games, hosted in Beijing, commenced at exactly 8 minutes past 8 on the 8th day of the 8th month in 2008.

* Picasso died in bed, drawing – at the age of 91.

* The song ‘Delaney’s Donkey’ (made famous by Waterford man Val Doonican) was composed by Englishman William Hargreaves and was the best-selling sheet-music in Britain in 1965 at a time when the Beatles, and Elvis, were topping the charts. The sheet music sold in such great numbers because people wanted the words.

* “New York wasn’t everything I thought. The first year I was held up at gun point, raped on the roof of a building and had my apartment broken into three times” – Madonna on arriving in NYC as a 19-year-old in 1977. She achieved world fame in 1984 with ‘Like A Virgin’.

* Some 40,000 Americans, of all ages, die by the gun each year – RTE News, December, 2022.

* Men can read smaller print than women but women can hear better; women also blink nearly twice as much as men.

* The writer CS Lewis, born in Belfast in 1898, and author of The Chronicles Of Narnia (which sold more than 100 million copies) failed the Driving Test 17 times.

* In 2010, the animation movie, ‘The Secret Of Kells, produced by Kilkenny’s Cartoon Saloon, lost out on the animation Oscar to Pixar’s Up. Kells cost €6.3 million to make while Up had an estimated budget of $175 million!

* The actor Gary Cooper turned down the role of Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind proclaiming that “it will be the greatest flop in cinema history”.

* Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic drinking mugs. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. ‘Wet your whistle’ comes from this practice.

* Winston Churchill was born in a ladies’ room during a dance.

* In Shakespeare’s time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase “Goodnight, sleep tight.”

* Always give a 100% in life – except when giving blood.

* Switzerland has the most stringent animal rights laws in the world including one protecting the dignity of goldfish!

Previous Top boys out to keep on winning!
Next Culture Night invites everyone everywhere, on one joyful night, to discover and celebrate all that our culture is today. Friday 22 September 2023