Saturday, April 25, 2009

US History Trivia

My apologies, but once again I have failed to come up anything vaguely creative or interesting to put up as a weekend posting. It might have something to do with the fact that the Columbus Blue Jackets went down without a win this spring in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs (much like my Cubs did in the first round of the World Series playoffs last fall). Perhaps it is simply that the weather is warming up (especially in the South where I have been traveling) and I am suffering from a bit of spring fever. More likely it is simply that the pressure of nonsense in my head has been temporarily relieved, and nothing therefore is forcing it's way out. Since I have become an even more voracious reader of history in recent years, as well as a collector of trivia, I decided to regale you with some interesting tidbits about the history of our country.
  • If a statue in a park of a person on horseback has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
  • Our first president was elected by almost unanimous acclaim, riding on the coattails of his success as the head of the Continental armies. This is pretty amazing when you realize that he lost approximately 70% of the battles he fought. Of course he won the last one, which was why the position of president was available in the first place.
  • Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2nd, with the last signature being added 5 years later.
  • The most well-known version of the song “Yankee Doodle”, adopted by American colonists as an anthem during the Revolutionary War, was actually created by the British, and as an insult. The song described a Yankee ‘doodle’ which was another word for a fool going to a club in London notorious for its membership of foppish dandies. So it could be said that Yankee Doodle was not only one of our first anthems, but possibly our first “gay anthem”.
  • Andrew Jackson’s opponents called him a “jackass” during his run for the presidency in 1828. He liked the image so much that he made the image of the animal the new symbol of his national party, the Democrats.
  • The only war that the United States could actually be considered to ever have lost was not the Vietnam War, as most people think, but was in fact the War of 1812. During this war the US lost almost every land and sea engagement, and had its capital burned to the ground. Ironically the most significant battle that the US won during this war was the “Battle of New Orleans”, which made Andrew Jackson famous and launched his political career. It fought on January 8th, which was two weeks after the war was technically already over.
  • ·Every day, more money is printed for Monopoly than for the US Treasury. (I'm not so sure on this one any more, as I believe that the Treasury has put the presses on overtime and into overdrive.)
While I recharge my batteries this weekend with sunshine and warm weather (and perhaps some single malt lubricant), I hope that you too get a chance to enjoy Toledo's belated spring.

6 comments:

Hooda Thunkit said...

Tim,

"Andrew Jackson’s opponents called him a “jackass” during his run for the presidency in 1828. He liked the image so much that he made the image of the animal the new symbol of his national party, the Democrats."In the spirit of Spring Fever, maybe I should just withhold the obvious comment.

Besides, it would be way too easy.

;-)

Tim Higgins said...

HT,

I think I know where you are going with this, but we could settle for saying how amazing it is that history repeats itself, could we?

:-)

Winky Twinky said...

I never heard that about Yankee Doodle...interesting...but we showed them anyway, didn't we. More and more the "real" history of this country is interesting to me...those who know any real facts are a dying breed unfortunately... thanks for the history update!!

PS: Hell, I'll say it... I always KNEW Democrats were jackasses... glad they acknowledged it! (not) Now, if we could just get the elephantasses to get a clue, we might get somewhere!!

Tim Higgins said...

WT,

Some people collect stamps or coins, I collect historical quotes and trivia. My collection may be worth less, but it also takes up less space.

Ben said...

I too doubt that Monopoly fact is true anymore.

Tim Higgins said...

Ben,

Look on the bright side. Pretty soon the value of Monopoly dollars and US dollars will be at an even exchange rate.