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6 Things You Didn't Know About The Olympics_2

On April 6, 1896, the first modern Olympic Games opened in Athens, Greece. The long-lost tradition of ancient Greece were reborn in Athens after 1,500 years of being banned by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I. Here are 6 surprising facts about the Olympic Games that you probably didn't know.

Olympic Champions Haven't Received Solid Gold Medals Since 1912

The last time Olympic champions were awarded solid gold medals was back in 1912. Olympic runners-up can take some consolation in the fact that there isn’t much difference between their silver medals and the gold medals awarded to winners. Medals made with pure gold were last awarded in 1912, and winners today receive medals that are 93 percent silver and 6 percent copper, with just 6 grams of gold.  Interestingly, champions at the first modern Olympics in 1896 received silver, not gold, medal.

The First Olympian To Fail A Drug Test Was Busted For Drinking Beer

Olympic drug testing debuted in 1968, and Swedish pentathlete Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall was first to test positive for a banned substance. His drug? Two beers he said he downed to “calm his nerves” before the pistol shoot. The disqualified Liljenwall and his teammates were forced to return their bronze medals. (Fellow pentathlete Hans-Jurgen Todt could have used something to calm down as well. The West German attacked his horse after it balked three times at jumping obstacles.)

Basketball Games Were Played on Soft Terrain

When basketball officially debuted at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, games were played on outdoor tennis courts made of clay and sand. During the gold medal game between the United States and Canada, a flood occurred during the second-half which turned the court into a muddy mess that would have stymied even the Dream Team.  With dribbling an impossible task, the waterlogged Americans spent most of the half simply playing catch with the slippery ball to protect their lead. Final score: United States 19, Canada 8.

The 1904 Olympics Featured a Gymnast With a Wooden Leg

During the 1904 Games in St. Louis, gymnast George Eyser competed with a wooden leg after being run over by a train. Not only did he compete, but the hometown hero won six medals including three gold medals in the long horse, parallel bar, and rope climbing. He took home silver in the side horse and all-around events and a bronze medal on the horizontal bar.

Only One Athlete Won Gold Medals In Both the Summer and Winter Olympics

Edward Eagan was an American boxer and bobsledder who is notable as being the only person to win a gold medal at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. Eagan competed as a boxer at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, and won the gold medal in the light-heavyweight division.  He went on to win his winter gold medal in the four-man bobsled event at the 1932 Winter Games in Lake Placid. With the win, Eagan became the first, and the last, person to ever win gold in different sports at both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

The Summer Games Used To Last Months

While athletes train most of their lives preparing for the Olympics, the current games only last for 16 days. However, the games used to span months, starting in the spring and ending in the fall. The 1908 Summer Olympics in London spanned 188 days, or more than half of the year. The Games opened on April 27 and ended October 31. The 1900 Paris Games spanned more than five months, and the 1904 St. Louis Games and the 1920 Antwerp Games also lasted nearly as long.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About The Battle Of Shiloh_2

On this day in 1862, the Union Army led by General Ulysses S. Grant defeated the Confederates at the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee. Here are five riveting facts you probably didn’t know about the Battle of Shiloh...

It Was Also Known As The Battle of Pittsburg Landing

The Battle of Shiloh was one of the most significant early battles of the American Civil War. Also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, it was fought on April 6–7, 1862 between the Confederate Army of Mississippi led by Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and Pierre G. T. Beauregard; and the Union Army of the Tennessee led by Ulysses S. Grant which was aided by the arrival of Army of the Ohio of Don Carlos Buell. The Confederate plan was to surprise and destroy Grant’s army before it joined forces with Buell’s army. They were able to partially surprise Grant but ultimately the Union forces counter-attacked and forced the Confederate army to retreat marking an important victory for the Union.

The Battle of Shiloh Was The Bloodies Battle in American History Up To That Point

With 23,746 casualties, the Battle of Shiloh was the bloodiest battle in American history up to that time. There were over 10,000 casualties among Confederates and another 13,000 more among Union soldiers. Another three years of war would continue following the Battle of Shiloh, which included eight more battles that were even deadlier, including the Battle of Gettysburg, which saw between 46,000 and 51,000 casualties.

The Highest Ranking Officer Killed During The Civil War Died At Shiloh

Confederate commanding general Albert S. Johnston's right leg was wounded by a gunshot in an area of the Shiloh battlefield known as the "Hornet's Nest". As he thought the wound was insignificant, he sent his personal surgeon to take care of other wounded Confederates and Union soldiers they had captured rather than asking for his own injury to be looked after. Unfortunately, he ended up bleeding to death as a result of a lacerated artery in his leg. Johnston was the highest-ranking officer during the Civil War to be killed in combat. Confederate President Jefferson Davis considered Johnston to be the most effective general they had at the time and considered Johnston's death to be a turning point for the Confederate Army. 

Many Union Deaths Were Blamed on the Man Who Wrote "Ben Hur"

Major General Lewis "Lew" Wallace of the Union army caused a stir in the Battle of Shiloh after leading his troops meandering aimlessly through the forest after getting lost following an unexpected advancing Confederate Army. They didn't make it to the Union camp until 7pm, missing the bloody battle. Wallace blamed Grant for giving him unclear instructions on where to move his troops, though Grant claimed that he was clear about his instructions to take the southern route. Regardless of Wallace's blunder in the Battle of Shiloh, he eventually experienced success by penning the novel "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ."

Ulysses S. Grant Was Blamed For the Bloodbath At The Battle of Shiloh

Despite his victory in the Battle of Shiloh, Ulysses S. Grant was heavily criticized by the media for all the casualties. The press claimed that Grant was not adequately prepared for battle. As a result, many called for Grant's removal, and he was eventually demoted to the position of second in command after his superior Union Major General Henry W. Halleck arrived to take command of the Union forces. Ulysses S. Grant would ultimately become the Commanding General of the US Army in 1864 and the 18th President of the United States in 1869.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Arthur Ashe_2

On April 8, 1992, tennis champion Arthur Ashe held a news conference to announce he had AIDS. It was believed he contracted the HIV virus from a tainted blood transfusion. Here are 5 things you probably didn't know about Arthur Ashe.

He Was The First Black Man to be Ranked No. 1 In The World

Ashe was a five-time Grand Slam champion and had 47 titles over the course of his tennis career.  He is celebrated for his many accomplishments, one of which is that he’s the only black man to ever win the singles title at Wimbledon (1975). Ashe was also the first African American to: be on the U.S. Davis Cup team, win the U.S. Open title (1968), win the Australian Open (1970), and be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (1985). He is also the fist black man to be ranked No. 1 in the world.

He Served in the Army in the Late 1960s—But His Brother Saved Him From Vietnam

Like many young men in the 1960s, Ashe served in the Army. However, he was able to avoid being sent to Vietnam because his brother, who was in the Marines, decided to head back to Vietnam a second time. His brother, Johnnie, had already served overseas and came home, but he knew that Arthur was at risk of being sent to Vietnam himself. Because the government had a policy that stopped siblings from being at war simultaneously, Arthur stayed in the United States while Johnnie returned to Vietnam. Johnnie made it back to the U.S. just in time to see his brother beat Tom Okker in five sets to claim his first U.S. Open, becoming the first African-American man to win a Grand Slam tournament.

He Received The Presidential Medal of Freedom

On June 20, 1993, Ashe was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton. Eight years prior, the tennis superstar was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. But his talents didn’t end there: he dabbled in writing, and even won a Sports Emmy for co-authoring the documentary, ‘A Hard Road to Glory’ with writer, producer, and author George Polivka.

He Announced He Had Aids On This Day in I988

In 1988, Ashe learned he had AIDS. It was believed he contracted the HIV virus from a tainted blood transfusion following a 1983 heart operation. Ashe kept his medical condition private until April 1992, when a newspaper informed him of its intention to run an article about his illness. Ashe decided to pre-empt the article and held a nationally televised press conference to announce he had AIDS. “Some of you heard that I had tested positive for HIV,” Ashe said. “That is indeed the case.” 

In 1988, Ashe learned he had AIDS. It was believed he contracted the HIV virus from a tainted blood transfusion following a 1983 heart operation. Ashe kept his medical condition private until April 1992, when a newspaper informed him of its intention to run an article about his illness. Ashe decided to pre-empt the article and held a nationally televised press conference to announce he had AIDS. “Some of you heard that I had tested positive for HIV,” Ashe said. “That is indeed the case.” 

He Became An AIDS Activist After Contracting The Disease

Ashe spent the remainder of his life working to raise awareness about the disease. After announcing his illness, Ashe created the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health. The History Channel writes, “He established tennis programs for inner-city children and campaigned against apartheid in South Africa. On February 6, 1993, Arthur Ashe died of complications from AIDS, at age 49 in New York City.  Ashe’s body later laid in state at the governor’s mansion in Richmond, Virginia, where thousands of people lined up to pay their respects to the ground-breaking athlete and social activist.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About The Civil War_3

On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered 28,000 Confederate troops to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia, effectively ending the Civil War.  Here are 5 things you may not know about the American Civil War.

Immigrants and African Americans Made Up a Large Number of Soldiers

One-third of the soldiers who fought for the Union Army were immigrants, and nearly one in 10 was African American. Union ranks during the Civil War included 7.5% Irish soldiers and 10% Germans soldiers.  Other immigrant soldiers were French, Italian, Polish, English and Scottish. In fact, one in four regiments contained a majority of foreigners. Blacks were permitted to join the Union Army in 1863, and some scholars believe this infusion of soldiers may have turned the tide of the war.

Black Soldiers Refused Pay for 18 Months

Black Union soldiers refused their salaries for 18 months to protest being paid lower wages than white soldiers. When black soldiers began signing up with the Union Army in 1863, they were paid $10 a month. White soldiers were paid at least $13, with officers earning even more. Blacks were further insulted when they were charged a $3 monthly fee for their clothing, which lowered their pay to $7. As a result, the highest-paid black soldier earned about half the lowest-paid white soldier’s salary. To protest these conditions, black regiments refused to accept their inferior wages. In September 1864, Congress rectified this injustice by raising the pay for blacks and making it retroactive, allowing many soldiers to send money home to help out their families.

An Assassin Attemped to Kill Lincoln Two Years Before His Assassination

Lincoln was shot at—and almost killed— nearly two years before he was assassinated. In August 1863, Lincoln rode by horse to the Soldiers’ Home, his family’s summer residence. Lincoln stated that he heard a gunshot, sending his horse galloping so fast that it knocked his hat off.  When guards retrieved the hat, they discovered a bullet hole in it.  Lincoln asked the guards to keep the incident quiet as not to worry his wife Mary.

William Tecumseh Sherman Lost His Command Due to "Insanity"

In October 1861, William Tecumseh Sherman, commander of Union forces in Kentucky, told U.S. Secretary of War Simon Cameron he needed 60,000 men to defend his territory and 200,000 to go on the offensive. Cameron called Sherman’s request “insane” and removed the general from command. But in February 1862, Sherman was reassigned to Paducah, Kentucky, under Ulysses S. Grant, who saw not insanity but competence in the disgraced general. Later in the war, when a civilian badmouthed Grant, Sherman defended his friend, saying, “General Grant is a great general. He stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk; and now, sir, we stand by each other always.”

Lincoln Wanted to Send The Freed Slaves Out of The Country

Abraham Lincoln supported sending the freed slaves abroad. The policy, called colonization, had been also supported by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and even Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lincoln wanted to send freed blacks to Central America, even calling for a constitutional amendment authorizing Congress to pay for colonization. Prominent abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison were appalled by the idea. Lincoln never gathered any support for the policy, and dropped the idea after signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About "The Great Gatsby"

On April 10, 1925, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was published. One of the bestselling novels of all time, The Great Gatsby is considered one of the most significant achievements in twentieth-century fiction. Here are five things you probably didn't know about The Great Gatsby.

Fitzgerald Rewrote Parts Of The Novel To Suit The Cover Artwork

The iconic book cover for The Great Gatsby pictured bright red lips and two sad eyes floating in a blue sky over a cityscape, and was designed before the manuscript was completed. Fitzgerald loved it so much that he rewrote sections of the book to better suit the artwork. For example, the description of Daisy as having "blue and gigantic" eyes was added to suit the book cover.

The Great Gatsby Was A Commercial Flop In Fitzgerald's Lifetime

The Great Gatsby was a commercial flop in Fitzgerald's lifetime. In addition to its lackluster reviews, The Great Gatsby sold only 21,000 copies in its first year—less than half the first-year sales for his previous books. It did not achieve commercial success or wide critical acclaim until after Fitzgerald's death in 1940. By 1960 it was selling 50,000 copies each year.

Fitzgerald Walked Out Of The Theater When Watching The First Movie

In 1926, the silent movie The Great Gatsby appeared in theaters starring Warner Baxter as Jay Gatsby and Lois Wilson as Daisy Buchanan. Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, hated it. In a letter Zelda wrote to her daughter, she said, "It's rotten and awful and terrible and we left.

Fitzgerald Was An Awful Speller

Fitzgerald was a poor student and a horrible speller. In fact, when he showed a draft of one of his early novels to his Princeton classmate, Edmund Wilson, who called it, "one of the most illiterate books of any merit ever published. Some of his spelling mistakes still baffle editors. Misspelled words in the original draft of The Great Gatsby included "apon" for "upon" and "yatch" for "yacht."

World War II Troops Received Copies Of The Book While Overseas

New York editors, publishers and librarians believed it was a good idea that American troops abroad during World War II have something to read. They chose several novels, including The Great Gatsby, to be "Armed Services Editions" and sent 123,000 copies of the novel —to sailors and soldiers overseas.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About The Spanish–American War_2

On April 11, 1898, President William McKinley asked Congress for a declaration of war against Spain. Find out the five things you didn’t know about the Spanish-American War, which lasted from April to August 1898.

The U.S. May Have Gone to War Because of a Misunderstanding

The United States became involved in the war after the USS Maine, a U.S. battleship in Havana to protect American interests, exploded in February 1898 (“Remember the Maine!”). Two hundred sixty-six sailors died, and though the exact cause of the explosion was never discovered, the Spanish were blamed, and this helped encourage the U.S. to take military action against Spain. Today, experts say the explosion that sank the Maine was probably caused by how the ship’s ammunition was stored, its coal bunker, and the ship’s design. 

The Rough Riders Didn’t Really Ride

Artistic renderings of the Battle of San Juan Hill, led by Theodore Roosevelt, depict the soldiers going forward on their horses, armed with weapons raised for battle. However, when the Rough Riders traveled to Cuba, most of the soldiers had to leave their horses and mules in Florida.  So its members did not — despite their name — all ride horses during that battle.  While Theodore Roosevelt did indeed ride his horse, the majority of the Rough Riders charged up San Juan Hill on foot.

Few Of The Soldiers Died In Battle

The Spanish-American War claimed the lives of 3,000 Americans, but only a small fraction of these soldiers died in combat. Yellow fever and typhoid decimated entire units, swiftly spreading through camps in the Caribbean and the southeastern United States. After the war, After the war, scientists conducted experiments outside Havana that proved for the first time that mosquitoes spread the potentially fatal sickness. Only 379 U.S. soldiers died in combat during the war.

Residents of Guam Welcomed the Invasion

When American troops captured Spanish-controlled Guam, they were surprised to be welcomed by a friendly Spanish officer who rowed out to meet their ship. He was probably even more surprised when they immediately took him prisoner. As it turned out, neither the 60 Spanish marines stationed on Guam nor the island’s civilians had any idea that war had broken out two months earlier. 

Gitmo Came About From The Spanish-American War

Guantanamo Bay was captured by Cuban and American forces during the Battle of Guantanamo Bay in June 1898. This victory proved to be strategically important to protect the U.S. Navy during hurricane season. Several years later, in February 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed a treaty with Cuba’s new government that leased the area to the United States for 2,000 gold coins (roughly $4,000) a year. (Though rent is still paid to this day, the Cuban government refuses to cash the checks.) Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, sometimes called Gitmo, is now America’s oldest overseas military installation. 

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On 7/31/2020 at 5:19 PM, phkrause said:

5 Things You Didn't Know About Andrew Johnson_3

On July 31, 1875, former President Andrew Johnson died and was buried with his body wrapped in the American flag, and with the U.S. Constitution as his pillow. Here are 5 things you didn't know about the man who replaced Abraham Lincoln following his assassination.

He and His Brother Were Indentured Servants

Johnson and his brother, William, were sent to James Selby, a tailor, to work as indentured apprentices. Although they were bound to the tailor legally, they were unhappy and ran away about two years later. The tailor placed a newspaper ad offering a $10 reward for their return. However, they were never captured.

He Had No Formal Education

That's right. Although Johnson never attended school, he was able to teach himself basic reading and writing. He was able to get an apprenticeship as a tailor and open his own shop before marrying. In fact, while he worked, he actually hired someone to read to him while he was sewing clothing. This allowed him to continue learning subjects like history even if he couldn't pick up the books himself.

Johnson Was Supposed to Be Assassinated With Abraham Lincoln

Johnson was part of a group of politicians marked for assassination along with Abraham Lincoln. When John Wilkes Booth devised his plan to kill Lincoln, he had two accomplices assigned to kill two other politicians. One was Secretary of State William Seward, who was stabbed almost to death (but survived). The other was Andrew Johnson, who was then vice president. However, the man assigned to kill Johnson was too scared to even knock on Johnson's door and ended up taking a walk instead. He was still charged as part of the conspiracy, taken to trial, found guilty and executed on July 7, 1865. pillow

Thanks for sharing! Didn`t know anything about that!

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On 5/16/2020 at 12:21 PM, phkrause said:

5 Things You Didn't Know About Jim Henson And His Muppets

Jim Henson, creator of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the other Muppets who entertained and educated millions of preschoolers around the world, died on this day in 1990.  Here are 5 things you may not know about Jim Henson and his Muppets...

Kermit Wasn't Originally A Frog

In the early days of the Muppets, the character Kermit was not a frog. His  body was made out of Jim Henson’s mother’s old coat, and his eyes were made out of ping pong balls. He was introduced in 1955 on the show Sam and Friends with roundish feet instead of flippers and no collar. He was more turquoise than his signature green. As Jim Henson described: "all the characters in those days were abstract"; Kermit was simply a lizard-like creature, and was not a specific species. According to Jim Henson himself, Kermit officially became a frog in the 1971 TV special The Frog Prince.

Cookie Monster's Real Name is Sid.

The original Cookie Monster went by the name Wheel-Steeler and was used in a 1966 snack-food commercial by General Foods Canada, complete with a full set of sharp teeth. Although the ad never aired, Cookie Monster reappeared a few years later, minus the sharp teeth, on “Sesame Street.” Instead of stuffing his mouth with food snacks, he switched to cookies. His signature song, "C Is For Cookie", was first aired during the 1971–72 season, and became one of the best-known songs from Sesame Street. In a song in 2004, Cookie Monster revealed that, before he ate his first cookie, his name was Sid.


That`s soo amazing! 

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5 Things You Didn't Know About Captain Phillips

On April 12, 2009, American cargo ship captain Richard Phillips was rescued from Somali pirates by U.S. Navy snipers. The incident was later adapted into the 2013 film Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks. Here are five things you didn't know about the film Captain Phillips.

Captain Phillips Wrote a Book About His Experiences

Captain Richard Phillips wrote a book in 2010 called "A Captain's Duty" along with co-writer Stephan Talty, which became the 2013 movie Captain Phillips. The film starred Tom Hanks as Captain Phillips, alongside Barkhad Abdi as pirate leader Abduwali Muse. Captain Phillips received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Abdi.

None Of The Somali Pirates Ever Acted Before

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, an open casting call was held to fill the Somali pirates' roles in the movie. Minneapolis was chosen as the casting location because it has the largest population of Somalis in the country. Barkhad Abdirahman, Barkhad Abdi, Mahat M. Ali and Faysal Ahmed were chosen from over 700 Somalis who auditioned to be in the movie. The four actors were selected, according to search casting director Debbie DeLisi, because they were "the chosen ones, that anointed group that stuck out."

Barkhad Abdi Was a First-Time Actor

Barkhad Abdi, who had never acted before “Captain Phillips”, played the part of the pirate leader Abduwali Muse. The fledgling actor was actually born in Somalia and improvised the famous line in the movie, "Look at me, I am the captain now." His acting was so good he received two nominations for Best Supporting Actor. Abduwali Muse, the real-life pirate that kidnapped Captain Richard Phillips, was only 15 at the time. He is now serving 33 years in Prison.

The Real Captain Phillips Was Sued

In real life, one of the men from Richard Phillips’ crew sued him after the incident. He claimed that Phillips was well aware of the danger in the Somali waters but went in anyway endangering all of them because he wanted to get the shipment to harbor faster, even though the shipping company itself sent him a note advising him to avoid the Somali seas.

The Somali Actors Unnerved Tom Hanks

In order to build tension for the film, the actors playing crew members on the ship did not meet the Somali pirate actors until filming the scene when they stormed the bridge. Hanks said while loud explosions were going on, Barkdad Abdi and three Somali actors playing the pirates appeared. Hanks went on to say they were “the skinniest, scariest human beings I had ever come across” and it raised the hair on the back of his neck.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Sidney Poitier

On April 13, 1964, Sidney Poitier became the first African American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, in the film Lilie.s of the Field.  Here are 5 interesting facts about the impressive actor as we celebrate the anniversary of his first Oscar win.

He Was The First Black Man To Win An Oscar

As an African American, Sidney Poitier has been a trailblazer in Hollywood. He was the first African-American to be nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars for his role in the 1958 film The Defiant Ones, which he starred in alongside Tony Curtis. He made history again five years later when he won Best Actor for his role in Lilies of the Field and was the first African American to win such an award. In addition to groundbreaking films like In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Poitier would go one to be a steadily working director in Hollywood, worked as the Bahamian Ambassador to Japan, and was awarded the highest civilian honor — the Presidential Medal of Freedom — by President Barack Obama in 2009.

He Took A Pay Cut To Act In Lilies Of The Field

By the 1960s, Sidney was a highly-respected and famous Hollywood actor who could easily collect big paychecks for his film roles. However he was so excited to star in the film Lilies Of The Field that he agreed to star in the movie for $50,000 and 10% of the box office returns, which was significantly less than his usual salary. However, in 1964, the film would earn him an honor that no amount of money could equal to and his second Academy Award-nomination became his first Oscar-win, which was also the first Best Actor Academy award given to a black man.

He Has Been Knighted

Sidney Poitier does not just hold the title of Hollywood Actor, director, author, or even the Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. He also holds the title of "Knight" after being knighted in 1974. But rather than using the title "Sir" to represent his knighthood, Poitier uses the suffix K.B.E., which stands for "Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire."

He Studied Radio Announcers To Shed His Bahamian Accent

When Sidney Poitier first auditioned to be in a production for the American Negro Theater in the mid-1940s, his thick accent cost him the role and he was told by founder Frederick O'Neal he would be better off as a dishwasher, which, coincidentally, was his occupation at the time. Poitier was determined to evolve from his Bahamian dialect and prove his worth as an actor. Poitier bought a radio and observed the speech pattern of one of his favorite announcers to develop a new accent.

He Tried to Leave The Army With a Fake Mental Illness

Sidney Poitier enlisted in the Army in 1943 but soon became dissatisfied with his position at a veterans hospital. In an effort to leave the army, he started behaving in socially awkward ways in hopes of coming across as having some form of mental illness, allowing his discharge from the army earlier. However, Poitier inevitably confessed to faking his condition after medical professionals prescribed shock treatment. That said, he was discharged anyway, which gave him the opportunity to pursue an acting career.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About Webster's Dictionary

On April 14, 1818, Noah Webster compiled Webster's American Dictionary, compiled by Noah Webster was printed for the first time. The dictionary has since become the go-to resource for those who wish to determine the meaning of every word in the English language.  Here are 5 interesting facts you didn't know about Webster's famous dictionary..

The Dictionary Wasn't His First English Language Book

After graduating from Yale in the late 1700s, Webster worked as a teacher. As an educator, he was horrified at the poor quality of school textbooks, and took it upon himself to produce his own. Webster produced 'A Grammatical Institute of the English Language', which was published in 1783 and was the standard English language textbook in US schools over the next century.

It Wasn't His First Dictionary Either

Webster's American Dictionary was not the first dictionary that Noah Webster published. He put out a smaller dictionary in 1806 called 'A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language'. Though the dictionary may not have been as detailed as the one to come, it still consisted of 37,000 defined words. It was also considered the first major dictionary in history to list the letter I and J and U and V separately. He began work on his American Dictionary the following year.

It Took Him 22 Years To Complete

Webster’s dictionary was one of the first lexicons to include distinctly American words. Webster  was 70 years old when his American Dictionary of the English Language was finally published in 1828.  The dictionary, which took him more than two decades to complete, introduced more than 10,000 “Americanisms.” The introduction of a standard American dictionary helped standardize English spelling.

It Was the Largest Dictionary Ever Created

Webster's Dictionary required two volumes to encompass all 70,000 defined words. About half of these terms were never part of any other English dictionary before. Other dictionaries paled in comparison, including the likes of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, which was published in 1755 and contained 42,000 words.

He Made Edits to Certain Words

While developing his dictionary, Webster sought to reform certain words included in his dictionary. For instance, he suggested taking out the letter "U" in words such as "colour" and "honour." Such reforms remain today, leaving behind some differences in American and British spelling. However, other suggestions were less successful and didn't take. Among his less popular suggestions, Webster attempted to remove the letter "B" from "thumb", the letter "S" from the "island", the letter "E" from "give".  

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5 Things You Didn't Know About The Sinking of The Titanic_3

April 15, 1912, is the day the British ocean liner Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City.  Here are five surprising facts you may not know about the sinking of the Titanic...

A Full Moon May Have Led to The Iceberg Collision

Scientists arrived at a new theory that the full moon on January 4, 1912 could be to blame for the Titanic‘s collision with the iceberg. Quoting astronomer Donald Olson of Texas State University, “That full moon, on January 4, 1912, may have created unusually strong tides that sent a flotilla of icebergs southward—just in time for Titanic‘s maiden voyage.” This wasn’t a normal full moon, though. It was the closest approach of the moon since A.D. 796, and Earth won’t see its like again until 2257.

The Sinking of the Titanic Was Predicted in More Than One Book

At least four fictional books had eerily similar tales of liners that met the same fate as the Titanic. That might not sound so weird until you realize that all four were written before the ship sank. The first was the 1886 novel The Sinking of a Modern Liner, a British story about a ship that leaves Liverpool for New York, hits something, sinks, and loses most of her passengers because she lacked the correct number of lifeboats. What's even stranger is that the author of this book, W.T. Stead, died on the Titanic. Another book is 1898's Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan, in which a liner named Titan, supposedly unsinkable, hits an ice shelf and sinks. Additional creepy details include sinking off Newfoundland, like the Titanic; not having enough lifeboats; and traveling at similar speeds. A third book was 1908's The Ship's Run. However, there were so many similarities between the Titanic and the ship in the book that there is speculation that the author saw construction plans for the Titanic before writing the story. The fourth book was 1912's The White Ghost of Disaster. This book, released as the Titanic was setting sail, saw a ship crash at a specific speed—the same one that the Titanic traveled at when it hit the iceberg. 

Days Passed Before the True Story of the Titanic Became Known

News that the Titanic struck an iceberg began to spread on April 15. As wire dispatch messages were being relayed to the media, details were hazy. But many publications went full steam ahead with their coverage. One paper proclaimed “All Saved From Titanic After Collision,” while a London Daily Mail headline said “No Lives Lost.” The New York Times was skeptical of the ship’s fate, but published a dispatch that claimed, “All Titanic Passengers Safe; Towing to Halifax.” It was days later before the real story of the massive loss of lives reached the press.

Titanic Memorability Fascinates Collectors

Though it sank more than 100 years ago, Titanic memorabilia is still highly sought after by collectors, who pay big bucks from items that survived the ship’s sinking. In 2015, a first-class lunch menu from the Titanic saved by a passenger fetched $88,000. In 2017, an unsent letter recovered from the body of a passenger and dated April 13, 1912, sold for $166,000 at auction.

Titanic’s Oldest Living Survivor Died in 2009

Millvina Dean was a nine-week-old infant traveling with family emigrating to Wichita, Kansas, when the Titanic went down. When the ocean liner sank, she represented the youngest survivor. Dean, along with her mother and brother, survived and returned to Southhampton after their rescue.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About Charlie Chaplin_3

On April 16, 1889, future Hollywood legend Charlie Chaplin was born Charles Spencer Chaplin in London, England. Here are 5 things you didn't know about one of the most successful stars of early Hollywood...

He Co-Founded a Movie Studio

In 1919, Chaplin and his fellow filmmakers, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith, created United Artists as a way to finance their own movies. The first film released by the studio was His Majesty, the American starring Douglas Fairbanks. The studio took off and eventually branched out to build a chain of movie theaters. Chaplin sold his ownership in United Artists in 1955, eight years before UA released the first James Bond film. The parent company of UA is now MGM Studios.

He Married Three Separate Teenagers

Chaplin didn't have the best track record in terms of marriage, and he tended to marry young. In 1918 Chaplin tied the knot with 17-year-old actress Mildred Harris, a decision he would soon come to regret, saying they were “irreconcilably mismated.” Following their divorce, he married 16-year-old Lita Grey, another actress with whom he had a bitter breakup. And in 1943, while in the middle of a high-profile paternity suit, 54-year-old Chaplin married 18-year-old Oona O’Neill. O’Neill’s father, playwright Eugene O’Neill, was so upset by the match that he disinherited her. But unlike Chaplin’s other relationships, this one would last. The two stayed together until Chaplin’s death at age 88 and had eight children.

His Body Was Stolen And Held For Ransom

In 1978, several months following his death, Chaplin’s body was stolen from a cemetery in Switzerland and held for ransom. The grave robbers wanted $600,000 for the remains. Two auto mechanics, one from Bulgaria and the other from Poland were arrested, and Chaplin’s body was discovered around one mile from his family home, buried in a cornfield. Roman Wardas, was sentenced to 4 ½ years at hard labor, while his cohort, Gantscho Ganev, received a suspended sentence of 18 months. Both men wrote apology letters to Chaplin’s widow, Oona before they were sent to jail. 

He Composed The Music For His Films

Starting with City Lights in 1931, Chaplin composed the music for the soundtracks of his films. His song “Smile,” which debuted in the film Modern Times, became a classic, and was recorded by Nat King Cole with lyrics in 1954. Chaplin won his only competitive Oscar in 1973 for composing the theme to his film Limelight.

Chaplin Resisted The Arrival Of Talkies

Movies with sound quickly replaced silent films beginning in 1927 with The Jazz Singer. Yet Chaplin hesitated to adopt the new technology, fearing it would ruin the Little Tramp. In his two 1930s movies, City Lights and Modern Times, Chaplin included music but not dialogue, except for one scene in which he sings in nonsensical fake Italian. Finally, in 1940, he released a full sound film, The Great Dictator, an anti-Hitler satire featuring him as a character other than the Little Tramp for the first time in almost 20 years.

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5 Things You Might Not Know About Federal Express

On April 17, 1973, FedEx, called Federal Express at that time, began operations by delivering its first 186 packages, and soon became the premier carrier for the express shipping industry. Here are five things you didn't know about Federal Express.

FedEx Originally Transported Bonds

FedEx didn’t start out as the courier company as it is today. The business plan crafted by founder Fred Smith in 1971, was that FedEx would be a company which would pick up checks from the 12 Federal Reserve banks in the United States, fly them to a central hub and then deliver the checks to the federal reserve member banks the next day. Later, the federal reserve directors changed their mind - and the company was left with no client, two jets and $3.6 million in debt. Forced to re-consider his business plan, Smith decided to instead to create a service providing USA-wide delivery for time-sensitive documents for businesses and consumers.

The Founder Gambled His Last $5,000

In 1974, three years after the company’s birth, FedEx was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. The company was losing $1 million each month, and was down to only $5,000 in their account. Smith decided to take drastic action. He flew to Las Vegas and he spent the weekend playing blackjack with the company funds. Smith returned to the company headquarters in Little Rock on Monday and told astonished executives that he had managed to turn the $5,000 into $27,000. Soon afterwards, the company captured $11 million in funding.

The FedEx Logo Contains a Hidden Design

Look closely between the letters "E" and "X", and you will see an arrow in the white space between the two letters.  The hidden arrow in the design of the logo provides a subliminal message of getting from point A to point B.. The message was accidentally created in 1994 as the logo designer noticed that putting a capital "E" and a lowercase "X" together created the suggestion of an arrow. The clever use of the negative space between the last two letters has won the logo several awards and makes it one of the most effective logos ever created.

FedEx Invented Tracking Numbers

In the late 1970’s FedEx created the tracking number – a set of numbers designed to the track the journey of a package. The system was originally intended for internal quality control but was later released to the general public. Today, tracking numbers are used throughout the courier industry and millions of tracking numbers are entered everyday into fedex.com. 

It's a Really Busy Company

FedEx owns the most extensive fleet of air cargo planes in the world, with more than 670 in use to deliver packages. The company handles more than 19 million packages daily. It keeps up with the packages, too, with around 125 million requests by clients who want to track their deliveries' progress.

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