The Mongols were an unstoppable force, moving ever eastward, threatening Europe. But in 1241, Genghis's grandson Batu Khan destroyed Hungary at the Battle of Mohi and demanded that the Holy Roman Emperor resign. But then Ogedei Khan died, and the Mongols leaders had to return home for the succession. They were never able to regain their momentum...Read more
Lettuce and celery will keep longer if stored in the refrigerator in paper bags instead of cellophane ones. Do not remove the outside leaves of either until ready to use.
In 1889, Aunt Jemima pancake flour, invented at St. Joseph, Missouri, was the first self-rising flour for pancakes and the first ready-mix food ever to be introduced commercially.
One of the stranger albums of the 1980s was called "The Return of Bruno," a Motown cover album by, of all people, Bruce Willis, who had become a hot star thanks to the TV series "Moonlighting." Bruno was the name Willis used back when he was a bartender, because at one time, Bruce was considered a "gay" name (so much so, in fact, that Bruce ...Read more
Although Mary enjoyed tremendous popular support and sympathy for her mistreatment during the earliest parts of her reign, she lost almost all of it after marrying the Spanish prince Philip, the only son of her first cousin, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Many English viewed the marriage as a breach of English independence; they felt that it ...Read more
What do bats' wings, elephants' ears, flamingos' legs, rabbits' ears, goats' horns, and human skin all have in common? They radiate heat to providing cooling for the animal.
Absinthe, a distilled, highly alcoholic (45%-75% ABV) also called “wormwood" or “the Green Fairy,” is perhaps best known for its popularity in late 19th- and early 20th-century France, particularly among bohemian culture. Portrayed as a dangerously addictive, psychoactive drug it was banned in the United States and in most European ...Read more
The Sun produces more energy every minute than all the energy used on Earth in a whole year.
David Shulman's sonnet "Washington Crossing the Delaware" is remarkable piece of writing. Every line rhymes, but that isn't that hard. But every line is also an anagram of the poem's title. So, "A hard, howling, tossing water scene/ Strong tide was washing hero clean." Unsurprisingly, Shulman is a lexicographer who contributes Americanism to the...Read more
Each 2-ounce bottle of Tabasco Sauce contains at least 720 drops of sauce. The fiery pepper sauce is produced by the McIlhenny family, and the McIlhenny Company was founded back in 1868 at Avery Island, Louisiana.
A pig is a hog -- but a hog is not a pig. "Hog" is a generic name for all swine. Per hog-raising terminology, a pig is a baby hog less than ten weeks old.
The modern zipper, the Talon Slide Fastener, was invented in 1913 but didn't catch on until after World War I. The first dresses incorporating the zipper appeared in the 1930s.
Henry Ford was obsessed with soybeans. He once wore a suit and tie made from soy-based material, served a 16-course meal made entirely from soybeans, and ordered many Ford auto parts to be made from soy-derived plastic.
Bhut jolokia was ranked as the world's hottest pepper by the Guinness Book of World Records. It is rated at more than 1 million Scoville heat units, compared t to measly few thousand Scovilles you find in tabasco and jalapeno peppers. So it occurred to military in India ... this could make for a darn fine weapon. It has bee researching using ...Read more
In the city of Reykjavik, Iceland, one can see the stars eighteen hours a day during the heart of the winter. During the summer, sunlight is visible 24 hours a day.
The Untouchables, which debuted in 1959 and starred Robert Stack, was the most violent television show of its time. It became the target of more protests from viewers than any other regular TV series. To this day, it is the only TV program ever boycotted by mobsters over unfair treatment.
Martin Van Buren, eighth president of the United States, was the first to be born a citizen of the United States. He was born in 1782, six years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
When movie critic Patrick Goldstein panned on "Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo," Rob Schneider in turn panned Goldstein, observing that it's not like Goldstein had a Pulitzer Prize or anything. As it happens, a handful of film critics have won Pulitzers, including Robert Ebert, who fired back. "As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, ...Read more
Dr. Samuel Langley was able to get many model airplanes to fly, but on December 8, 1903, Langley's "human carrying flying machine," the aerodrome plunged into the Potomac River near Washington D.C., in front of photographers who were assembled to witness the event. Reporters around the country made fun of the idea that people could fly and nine ...Read more
In 1977, the legendary Groucho Marx died three days after Elvis Presley died. Unfortunately, due to the fevered commotion caused by Presley's unanticipated death, the media paid little attention to the passing of this brilliant comic. Groucho, with his talented brothers (Chico, Harpo, and Zeppo), starred in irreverent films in the 1920s through ...Read more