Dmitri Shostakovich was one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, but we know what you're thinking. That's all jack unless you're somebody in Hollywood. Well, he was in fact nominated (unsuccessfully) for a 1962 Oscar for scoring the film "Khovanshchina." Duke Ellington was also nominated that year for "Paris Blues." They both lost to "...Read more
It would seem so. More than 100 descendants of the prolific (and some would say definitive) composer for the grand instrument, Johann Sebastian Bach, have been cathedral organists.
More than 45 percent of the homes in the United States have dust mites residing in them in significant numbers. The microscopic creatures burrow themselves by the thousands into plush furniture and carpeting to consume flakes from human skin and animal dander. Though mites are harmless, many people are allergic to their waste. When a person ...Read more
Butter is a dairy product made by churning fresh or fermented cream or milk. While butter from cow's milk is most common, it can be made from the milk of other mammals as well, including sheep, goats, buffalo, and yaks. The color of the butter depends on the animal's feed and is sometimes manipulated with food colorings, most commonly annatto or...Read more
In 1889, the first coin-operated telephone, patented by Hartford, Connecticut inventor William Gray, was installed in the Hartford Bank. Soon, "pay phones" were installed in stores, hotels, saloons, and restaurants, and their use soared. Local calls using a coin-operated phone in the U.S. cost only 5 cents everywhere until 1951.
Theodore Roosevelt is the only person with an American national park named for him, although several are named for geographical features in turn named for people. It is in western North Dakota and includes a cattle ranch that he once ran. It is altogether fitting that a park be named for him: As president, he set up five new national parks, ...Read more
In 1769 the British designer Edward Beran enclosed wooden slats in a frame to adjust the amount of light let into a room. These became known as venetian blinds from their early use over Italianate windows.
Two of John Lennon's kids have tried musical careers. The older is Julian Lennon, his son by his first wife Cynthia. Paul wrote "Hey Jude" for him ... it was originally called "Hey Jules." As we learned a few weeks ago, he hit No. 1 in the U.S. with "Too Late for Goodbyes" from his 1984 album Valotte. Lennon's son by Yoko Ono is Sean. John semi-...Read more
Silevethiel: The Vaelinel Trilogy, Book OneAndi O'Connor
Princess Irewen Donríel is betrayed and left for dead in the forests of Mistwood. Rescued by an elf prince, Irewen awakes an exile. But the nightmare is only beginning.
The world of Vaelinel is failing-its fate bound to her in ways no one fully understands. A mysterious elven ...
Scientists think the answer lies mostly in better nutrition and better health. People these days live longer, get less sick, and grow taller because they eat better and understand more about how to remain healthy.
The French are known connoisseurs of truffles, of which they are very proud. These wild black mushrooms usually grow under oak trees. They are grown in the rural areas of France and are a rare delicacy.
The first true calculator, the abacus, originated in China during the sixth century B.C. Its stone-like beads, shifted along vertical strings, enabled the Chinese to perform basic arithmetical operations with speed and accuracy, the test of a true computer. About 200 years after it was used by the Chinese, the abacus caught on in several ...Read more
The dense globules of gas from which stars are born are much larger than the stars they will form. In the Orion nebula, globules have been detected which are 500 times larger than the solar system.
The military salute is a motion that evolved from medieval times, when knights in armor raised their visors to reveal their identity.
Edward VIII had a highly respected reputation as a leader of fashion. As a result, it was assumed he invented the world-famous Windsor knot after he abdicated in 1936 and became Duke of Windsor. According to Sarah Giddings, fashion trend researcher, the tie knot may well have been the brainchild of his father, George V. George was photographed ...Read more
Few heroes have garnered the following of the people as did John F. Kennedy. A powerful speaker, his memorable inaugural speech has left it's mark on history for all time: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Springing from Irish forefathers, Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29, ...Read more
It used to be that whenever a TV show or movie wanted to show that a scene was set in East Asia, they'd play the same musical clip: a pentatonic dadadada-da-da-dun-dun-daa riff. It has appeared in such songs as "Kung Fu Fighting" and "Turning Japanese." It's also called the Oriental riff, which is probably a pretty strong hint that it's ...Read more
There are thousands of varieties of shrimp, but most are so tiny that they are more likely to be eaten by whales than people. Of the several hundred around the world that people do eat, only a dozen or so appear with any regularity in the United States.
George Ellery Hale was the 20th century's most important builder of telescopes. In 1897, Hale built a 40 inch wide telescope, the largest ever built at that time. His second telescope, with a sixty inch lens, was set up in 1917 and took 14 years to build. During the 14 years Hale became convinced that he suffered from "Americanitis" a disorder ...Read more
The first macaroni factory in the United States was established in 1848. It was started by Antoine Zegera in Brooklyn, New York.
William F. Buckley didn't learn English until he was 7. His first language was Spanish, learned in Mexico, and his second language was French, learned in Paris. He went to university in Mexico (and at Yale) and served the CIA in Mexico City. He would later write 11 spy novels featuring Blackford Oakes, a CIA agent that Buckley loosely based on ...Read more