I’m Back …….Well Nearly

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi folks. Hope you are all keeping well. I’ve missed you. Hope you can say the same.

I’m back, sort of. I had a sudden enforced blogging break thrust upon me when I received an SOS from a good friend of mine. His company was in need of help.

desk full of files
I thought at the time that it would be a two week job at most, but when he said he was in trouble he wasn’t kidding. We’re still not done, but at least now things are looking a little bit better.

I’m in “Yurp” right now, watching the refugees take over. More of that in a future post perhaps. In the meantime take Trump’s advice a close your borders or you’ll end up like this place.

refugees europe
I could have done some blogging when I was travelling around, I certainly had plenty of time at airports, in between flights and wading through the dumbest security checks you could imagine, but I wanted to take a bit of time to prepare my next post. Hopefuly I’ll get to it next week.

Meantime, if you can believe WP stats, this blog has whizzed through the 200,000 views landmark without me and there are actually MORE daily hits now than when I was blogging almost every day.

Do you think the world is trying to tell me something?

Maybe I should stay away?

Actually I don’t know whether to be pleased that I have created something with a life of it’s own or dismayed that I’m not really needed.

puzzled
Now in an effort to get some of my dignity back I think I will indulge in a quick gloat.

This is not going to be pretty so feel free to skip over this bit if you haven’t got a strong stomach.

I’m having a laugh at the stupidty of the Fed again and the dumb financial journalists and fund managers who hang on their every word despite a mountain of evidence that should lead them to do otherwise.

Federal Reserve

The Fed has wimped out AGAIN. Lost their nerve. Promised and hinted and leaked stories to the financial press for months that an interest rate rise was imminent – and then they bottled out.

No surprise to me. At the beginning of May I wrote a post explaining why they wouldn’t put up interests despite all the pifle they were saying. (if you want to read it  click here.)

Then in mid-June I did another one ( click here for that one), saying there was no way the Fed could make good on their threats to raise the rate in September.

Of course nobody listened and the meeting on Thursday was one of the most anticipated Fed meetings of all time. And it all came to nothing. No interest rate hike.

And I don’t think they’ll do it next time either. There’s talk about December, but as far as I see the Fed’s hands are tied and rates are going to remain at zero or close to it for years.

Good news for borrowers. Not so good for savers with all the traditional yield opportunities such as bonds, Treasuries and bank CDs offering little or no returns. If you have cash to invest you should be looking at solid low risk undervalued stocks with a decent dividend. Otherwise your savings will be eroded by inflation for at least another year, proably longer.

Having said that, no rate hike is on balance good for the economy as a whole.

That will do for the gloating for now. Not sure when the next post will be exactly. Hopefully next week so if you’re interested keep a look out for that.

Meantime warmest regards to everyone who visits – even when I’m not around.

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Friday The 13th, Part Two.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Friday 13th

What do you know, it’s Friday 13th AGAIN.

Second one in two months and there will be another in November 2015 too.

How lucky is that?

Well, I guess not so lucky if you suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia (also known as friggatriskaidekaphobia), which is a fear of Friday the 13th, or even triskadekaphobia which is the scientific name given to a fear of the number 13 itself.

It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise really. The longest period that can occur without a Friday the 13th is 14 months, and every year has at least one and sometimes, like this year, three Friday the 13ths.

There is no written evidence for a “Friday the 13th” superstition before the 19th century, the first reference to an unlucky Friday the 13th coming in an 1869 biography of the composer Rossini who died on Friday November 13, 1868.

The superstition only gained widespread distribution in the 20th century, although the origin is believed to have come from the Bible, the association stemming from the idea that the 13th guest at the Last Supper was the one who betrayed Jesus prior to his death, which occurred on a Friday.

The Curtis Hotel in Denver

Hotels, skyscrapers and even hospitals have been known to skip out on creating a 13th floor due to its unlucky connection and even airports sometimes quietly omit gate 13. The Curtis Hotel in Denver, Colorado, on the other hand uses the superstition as a gimmick to amuse guests by playing the “dun, dun, dunnnnn!!” theme in the elevator shaft for guests as they arrive on the 13th floor.

Sometimes research seems to add weight to the superstition. A study in Finland, for example, has shown that women are more likely to die in traffic accidents on Friday the 13th than on other Fridays.

And, according to a report from U.K.’s newspaper, The Mirror, 72 percent of United Kingdom residents have claimed to have had bad luck experiences Friday the 13th. The readers polled admitted to avoiding traveling, attending business meetings and making large purchases on this unlucky day, with 34 percent admitting to wanting to “hide under their duvet” for the upcoming dates. The study did not speculate if their luck would have been better if they had gone about their normal business!

Former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a strong fear of the number 13 and refused to host a dinner party with 13 guests or to travel on the 13th day of any month. US President Herbert Hoover had similar fears.

Maybe he did what superstitious diners in Paris do – hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.

I don’t think Cuban leader Fidel Castro had the same fears because he was born on Friday, August 13,1926, as was the celebrated outlaw Butch Cassidy (born on. Friday, April 13,1866).

Butch Cassidy

Speaking of outlaws, Oklahoma bandit Crawford “Cherokee Bill” Goldsby murdered 13 victims, and was captured after a reward of $1300 was posted. At his trial, 13 eyewitnesses testified against him, the jury took 13 hours to render a verdict of guilty. He was hanged on April 13,1896 on a gallows with 13 steps!

Stock broker and author Thomas W. Lawson, wrote a novel in 1907 entitled “Friday the Thirteenth,” about a stockbroker’s attempts to take down Wall Street on the unluckiest day of the month. Reportedly, stock brokers after this were as unlikely to buy or sell stocks on this unlucky day as they were to walk under a ladder, according to accounts of a 1925 New York Times article.

The independent horror movie Friday the 13th was released in May 1980 and despite only having a budget of $550,000 it grossed $39.7million at the box office in the United States – not unlucky for it’s backers. In fact the “Friday the 13th” film franchise continues to sweep up its box-office competition. According to  BoxOfficeMojo.com, the dozen films named after the haunted holiday have raked in more than $380 million nationally, with an average gross of $31 million per feature.

Another director noted for his suspenseful psychological thrillers, Alfred Hitchcock, was born on the Friday 13th in August 1899, although he also had a run in with bad luck on that date too when his directorial debut movie called “Number 13,” never made it past the first few scenes and was shut down due to financial problems. He is supposed to have said that the film wasn’t very interesting. We’ll never know!

Alfred Hitchcock

Also with movies in mind there was a feature film based on the unlucky events of Apollo 13, launched on 13:13 CST, April 11,1970, which barely escaped becoming a doomed flight when an explosion disabled the craft occurring on April 13th (not a Friday in case you are interested).

According to Thomas Gilovich, chair of Psychology at Cornell University, our brains are known to make associations with Friday 13th in a way that would give favor to the “bad luck” myths. He explains this by saying that “if anything bad happens to you on Friday the 13th, the two will be forever associated in your mind and all those uneventful days in which the 13th fell on a Friday will be ignored.” It’s a bit like remembering the good old days and forgetting the bad ones!

Always contrary, pagans believe that 13 is actually a lucky number since it corresponds with the number of full moons in a year and in Spanish-speaking nations, Tuesday The 13th is regarded as unlucky rather than Friday!

So I guess you just have to make up your own mind whether you believe Friday 13th is unlucky or not.

I’m hoping of course that the fact that you have landed on this blog today is good luck rather than bad.

It was good luck for me, please call again.

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Poor Oliver Buckworth!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Anyone who has traveled by air anywhere in the world since the 9/11 attacks has been the victim of the idiotic security measures at airports.

Belts off, shoes off, laptops out, body scan or grope – you know the drill. All useless and ineffective and there, like a lot of other stuff, to give the impression that the government is doing something when in reality it is doing nothing.

And as always the stupid rules are enforced by even stupider people.

So, who is poor Oliver Buckworth?

He’s a 28-year-old Melbourne-based interior designer, a threat to no one, and a victim of the security morons that infest air travel these days.

You see Oliver was on a flight in Australia, on a carrier called Tiger Airways. To pass the time he started doodling in a note pad he had with him.

The doodle said “In a land of melting ice-cream, sandy feet and fluffy bears, how could anybody be fearful of terrorism?” and along with it was a visual pun with the word “terrorismadeup” picked out in different colors to suggest that “terror is made up”. Being an interior designer he also drew a chandelier on the same page.

Now you are probably asking, what exactly was his crime?

Doodling with intent to do what?

Not taking the air travel security farce seriously enough?

Having a sense of humor?

Or just getting bored and passing the time with his note pad and pen?

A busybody passenger sitting near Buckworth reported his doodle to the airline staff, who, instead of telling the other passenger to wise up, took the whole thing seriously. Yes, they were as stupid as the busybody passenger.

Apparently Tiger Airways have a “zero tolerance” policy “towards inappropriate and antisocial behavior” which seemed to include Oliver’s doodle. He said he was writing a sentence about the absurdity of recent fear-mongering statements about the threat of possible terrorist attacks, but it was enough to have him thrown off the plane and handed over to the Australian Federal Police.

To be fair to the police, after doing a background check on Oliver they realized that the airline idiots hadn’t uncovered the next Osama Bin Laden and they didn’t take any further action.

But, choosing not to involve themselves with common sense, Tiger Airways banned him from using the airline again, not that he’d probably want to now anyway.

Well done Tiger Airways, you done Australia proud – I think not!

Here’s Oliver’s doodle, make up your own mind.

the Buckworth doodle

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None. That’s Ninguno, Aucun, Keiner, Zero!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Farnborough Airc Show 2014 logo

In the summer in Farnborough in Hampshire, England one of the biggest events in the aviation industry takes place. It’s call the Farnborough Air Show.

I remember when I used to work in that industry helping to prepare invitations, information packs, and all the usual PR stuff. Farnborough is THE place to meet and greet both those who buy aircraft and those firms like Boeing and AIrbus who build them and provide tens of thousands of jobs for smaller companies.

So it is an important event.

At this year’s show they named the world’s best airline, in fact they named the top ten best airlines.

And despite the United States building some of the best airplanes in the world, and despite the United States having some of the world’s largest and busiest airlines, do you know how many United States airlines made it into the top ten?

The title of this post probably gave it away. The answer is….

None. That’s ninguno, aucun, keiner, zero!

Even the regional category for North America was won by Air Canada.

cartoon intrusive airport searches

Apparently, not only are air travelers in America to be treated as potential terrorists, herded and prodded and scanned and humiliated when they are trying to get on to an airplane. But when they do, the comfort and service they can expect will be second rate.

I think that’s a disgrace. America should be leading the world in the standard of their airlines. They should be at least one, if not more, of the top ten list every year offering a consistently high standard that their customers (that’s you and me) deserve.

And this award is decided by the votes of millions of travelers, so customers’ opinions do count.

So time for United States airlines to ditch those bureaucratic bean counters who decide that they can squeeze just another row of seats into an airplane so that everyone is uncomfortable. In the long term this kind of thinking doesn’t save you money, it loses you money. And when your customers vote for the best airline, they don’t vote for you!

For those of you who are interested, this year’s best airline was the Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific. They were voted best performer across all types of travel, economy, and luxury.

Cathay Pacific World's Best Airline 2014
Cathay Pacific World’s Best Airline 2014

Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines placed second and third respectively in the global category, with last year’s winner, Emirates, slipping to fourth. Fifth to tenth places went to Turkish Airlines, ANA All Nippon Airways, Garuda Indonesia, Asiana Airlines, Etihad Airways and Lufthansa respectively.

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My New Year Resolutions!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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First of all a Very Happy New Year to the readers of my blog, and to everyone who visited during 2013 a big “THANK YOU”.

Whether you are a regular visitor or just called in today on the off chance you are more than welcome and I hope you will continue to visit through 2014.

Today I thought I would share with you my New Year Resolutions for 2014.  

I hope you like them. I think I will be more successful keeping this lot than I have been other years.

Enjoy!

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New Year Resolutions 2014

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1. First and foremost, I won’t be tempted to relocate to Detroit.

Sure the house in the email is only a dollar,

but it’s a fixer upper and I haven’t got the time.

DetroitAbandonedHouse

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2. I resolve never to jump off a bridge or other high place

with my only my ankles secured with a big rubber band.

bungee jumper shits himself

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3. I will refrain from putting partially eaten cartons

of ice cream back into the refrigerator,

I will finish them instead.

ice-cream-container-empty

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4. Every time my wife asks

“Does this dress make my ass look fat”,

I will reply “Of course not, darling.”

Last year’s answer of

“No darling, the dress is beautiful, you’ve just got a fat ass”

was apparently unacceptable.

fat ass

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5. I will not take a laxative and a sleeping pill

on the same night.

never_take_a_sleeping_pill_and_a_laxative_together

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6. I will use more deodorant and do less laundry,

unless I lapse and forget resolution #5.

perspiring

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7. I will try to figure out why I “really” need nine e-mail addresses

and try to cut it down to six or seven.

EmailAddressTab-orig

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8. When I hear a funny joke I will stop replying,

“LOL… LOL!”

LOL

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9. This year I promise to buy my lottery tickets at a luckier store,

last year’s was hopeless.

buying lottery ticket

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10. I will never again eat more than two mangoes

before going to Church or other public function.

fart-in-church

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11. Too much exercise is bad for your health, it can even kill you,

just look how many joggers keel over and die.

I will try to keep it to a minimum this year.

tiredjogger

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12. I will stop trying every January to cut out delicious meals

and eat bits of cardboard and birdseed instead.

It never works anyhow and that joke my wife does

with putting newspaper below my chair in the office is just old.

health food

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13. Work less and take it easy will be the order of the day – every day.

After all, all work and no play can make you a dull boy

and I don’t want to be a dull boy.

couch-potato

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14. I will stop considering other people’s feelings

when they so obviously don’t consider mine

– from here on in I’ll tell it like it is!

Mr_Angry

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15. I will start to do what my mother always told me and wear clean underwear,

“just in case I get knocked down by a bus”,

even though I know if I see a bus hurtling towards me

and I can’t get out of the way

the first thing I am going to do is sh*t myself.

hit-by-bus

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16. I will definitely try to stop saying,

“Oooh, mama that feels soooo good”

whenever the security guys frisk me at airports.

airport search

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17. I will draw up a list of people who were nasty to me in the past year,

and get my own back on them during the next 12 months!

It will be fun trying anyway.

list

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18. After what happened in New York

I will always remind the wife

to “check for paper”

before and after leaving a public restroom.

check for paper

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19. I’m going to scrap all my “To Do” lists this year

and start writing “Won’t Get This Done Today” lists.

There should be a greater sense of achievement at the end of each day.

to do list

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20. And finally,

I will not sit at the computer all the time.

I will try to stand while I type

for at least fifteen minutes a day.

standing typing

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I really think I can do it this year. Wish me luck!

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Did You Know? More Fabulous Facts Folks!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Not much else needs to be said about today’s post.

Another selection of fabulous facts.

Enjoy.

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did you know1

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At one point in the 1990s,

50% of all CDs produced worldwide were for AOL.

aol_old_cdrom

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A British man changed his name to Tim Pppppppppprice

to make it harder for telemarketers to pronounce.

Tim Pppppppppprice

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Google’s founders were willing to sell to Excite

for under $1 million in 1999

—but Excite turned them down.

(Huge big dumb move, where is Excite today!)

ExciteLogo

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Officials in Portland, Ore., drained 8 million gallons of water

from a reservoir in 2011 because a buzzed 21-year-old peed in it.

Calvin peeing

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When three-letter airport codes became standard,

airports that had been using two letters simply added an X.

LAX

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A California woman once tried to sue the makers of Cap’n Crunch

because Crunch Berries contained “no berries of any kind.”

Cap'n Crunch berries

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Actor Wilford Brimley who has appeared in such films as

The China Syndrome, Cocoon, The Thing and The Firm,

was once Howard Hughes’s bodyguard.

Wilford "Bill" Brimleycirca 1980s

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According to Amazon, the most highlighted Kindle books are

the Bible, the Steve Jobs biography, and The Hunger Games.

amazon-kindle_with_books1-1

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During WWI, German measles were called “liberty measles”

and dachshunds became “liberty hounds.”

liberty measles

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In Spain, Mr. Clean is known as Don Limpio.

Don Limpio

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After leaving office, President Lyndon B Johnson

went all hippy and let his hair grow out.

Lyndon B Johnson long hair

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There was a third Apple founder. Ronald Wayne

he sold his 10% stake for $800 in 1976.

ron_wayne

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If you start counting at one and spell out the numbers as you go,

you won’t use the letter “A” until you reach 1,000.

number_1000

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In Gaddafi’s compound, Libyan rebels found a photo album

filled with pictures of Condoleezza Rice.

gadaffi-loves-condoleeza

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Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men is used by researchers

to attract animals to cameras in the wilderness.

calvin klein obsession men

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Only one McDonald’s in the world has turquoise arches.

Sedona, AZ thought yellow clashed with the natural red rock.

mcdonalds-sedona_az

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Marie Curie’s notebooks are still radioactive.

Researchers hoping to view them must sign a disclaimer.

curie-notebooks

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The 50-star American flag was designed by an Ohio high school student

for a class project. His teacher originally gave him a B–.

50 star US Flag

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Tsutomu Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima for work

when the first A-bomb hit,

made it home to Nagasaki for the second,

and lived to be 93.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi

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Barry Manilow did not write his hit “I Write the Songs.”

It was actually written by the former Beach Boy Bruce Johnston.

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Did You Know? Here Are The Facts – Let’s Face It Folks, Your Whole Childhood Was A Lie!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Yes indeed, here are the facts. Another random selection for your enjoyment.

I hope you find them interesting, maybe even educational.  

And, of course, you’ll find out a little later why your whole childhood was a lie.

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did you know2

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The chances of making two holes-in-one in a round of golf

are one in sixty-seven million, 1:67,000,000.

Did You Know hole in one

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Another word for hiccups is ‘singultus’.

Did You Know hiccups

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Airports that are at higher altitudes require

a longer airstrip due to lower air density.

Did You Know lukla-airport

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The only poisonous birds in the world are the three species of Pitohui.

The Hooded Pitohui from Papua New Guinea is the most deadly out of the three

Did You Know Hooded Pitohui poisoness bird

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In 1955, only 330 Volkswagen Beetle’s were sold

at a price of $1800 each in the United States.

Did You Know 1955_volkswagen_beetle

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The Chihuahua was named after

the Mexican state where they were discovered

Did You Know Chihuahua

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There are more than 640 muscles in the human body

(and as you get older they all start to hurt!)

Did You Know Chihuahua

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The odds of having quadruplets are 1 in 729,000

(for men the odds are much higher!)

Did You Know Popeye Quadruplets

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The destruction of the Berlin Wall began when private citizens

started to demolish entire sections of the Wall without interference

from government officials on November 9, 1989

Did You Know berlin_wall

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France is known as the perfume capital of the world

Did You Know France perfume

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Since its introduction in February 1935,

more than two hundred million Monopoly board games

have been sold worldwide

Did You Know Obama-Monopoly

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It takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL

with enough leather for a year’s supply of footballs.

Did You Know NFL-football

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When former Texas Governor James Hogg was on his deathbed

he made a special request that a pecan tree

be planted at the head of his grave instead of a tombstone.

The governor passed away on March 2, 1906,

which is Texas Independence Day.

The pecan tree is now the state tree of Texas

Did You Know Jim_hogg

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In 1477, the first diamond engagement ring was given to

Mary of Burgundy by Archduke Maximillian of Austria

Did You Know 1st diamond engagement ring

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The smallest frog is the “Brazilian baby frog”,

which is smaller than a dime

Did You Know brazilian_gold_frog

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India used to be the richest country in the world

until the British invasion in the early 17th Century

Did You Know Golden_Temple_India

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Marie Curie, the Nobel prize winning scientist who discovered radium,

died of radiation poisoning

Did You Know Marie_Curie_c1920

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The iron disulfide (Pyrite) is considered “fool’s gold”

because it looks very similar to gold.

Did You Know fools_gold

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In 1759, St. James’s Gate Brewery (where they brew Guinness)

was leased for to Arthur Guinness for 9,000 years for 45 pounds per year.

Did You Know St James Gate Guinness Brewery entrance

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A Roadrunner’s top speed is 20 mph

while coyotes can reach speeds of up to 43 mph

– so let’s face it folks, your whole childhood was a lie!

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