Showing 11 - 20 of 49 posts found matching keyword: trivia

Most tombstones show the date of death. Many tombstones record the date of birth. But there aren't too many tombstones showing a third date.

Multiple choice tombstones?

This tombstone for Jennie Hardaway McBride, found in Newnan's historic Oak Hill cemetery, demanded a little research. And not because there are no oaks or hills anywhere in sight.

It turns out that "Jennie" isn't even Mrs. McBride's real name. Before she was Mrs. "Jennie" McBride, wife of Newnan merchant and Scotch-Irish society member William Cardwell McBride, she was Virgina Rebecca Hardaway, daughter of Isora Burch. In 1903, Isora Burch organized the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, named in honor of her great-grandmother, Sarah Dickinson Simms. Jennie would eventually succeed her mother as regent for the DAR Sarah Dickinson chapter. But that doesn't solve the question of why she has three dates on her tombstone.

The death certificate for "Mrs. W. C. McBride" of 14 Robinson Street in Newnan, Ga, lists the cause of death at age 50 as "acute uremia." The internet tells me that uremia is typically caused by kidney failure. In this case it wasn't a surprise to anyone when she died; the certificate notes that she was diagnosed with "uremia" six months before it killed her. However, that still doesn't account for the third date on the tombstone.

The father of Mrs. McBride was Robert Henry Hardaway, descendant of a boy "kidnapped" onto a ship bound for America in 1685. It turns out that daddy also has 3 unusual dates on his grave: "December Twelfth, 1837, - 1869, February 11, 1905." Robert Hardaway was born in 1837 and died in 1905. So what did he do between those two dates? He stayed busy. For one thing, Hardaway was a Confederate States Army soldier in Company B of the 1st Georgia Calvary. For a time afterwards, he was a member of the Georgia State General Assembly. And he was also a partner in the merchant firm Hardaway & Hunter in Newnan where he met Isora Burch and was married on December 12, 1869! Ah, ha!

The historical record states that Jennie R. Hardaway was married on April 18, 1894. Mystery solved. At least two generations of the Hardaway family of Newnan liked to put their wedding dates on their tombstones. Who knows why, exactly, but if I had to guess, I'd suppose they died a little those days. They don't call spouses "balls and chains" for nothing. Marriage: it's a life sentence.

Sources (in case you're interested):

1. Allen, Alice. "Coweta County GaArchives History - Books .....Introductory Information 1928." Coweta County Chronicles. Free Genealogy and Family History Online - The USGenWeb Project. Web. 18 Apr. 2011. .

2. "Capt. Robert Henry Hardaway." Dickinson-Tree.net. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.

3. "Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System." National Park Service Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.

4.Georgia's Virtual Vault : Death Certificate Mrs. W. C. McBride. Digital image. Georgia's Virtual Vault : Home. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.

5. Hubert, Sarah Donelson. Thomas Hardaway of Chesterfield County, Virginia, and His Descendants. Richmond, VA: Whittet & Shiperson, 1906, p. 19.

6. Scotch-Irish in America, The; Proceedings and Addressess of the Sixth Congress at Des Moines, IA, June 7-10, 1894. Nashville, TN: Barbee & Smith, 1894, p. 317.

7. "Spend-the-Day Parties." Atlanta Georgian and News, Jun. 6, 1882, p. 5.

8. Statutes of Georgia Passed by the General Assembly of 1884-85. Atlanta, GA: JAS. P. Harrison & Co, 1885. p 245.

9. "uremia." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.

10. "With Line and Ribbon." Weekly Constitution (Atlanta), Jun. 6, 1882, p. 5.

11. Wood, Dianne. "Georgia: Coweta County: LINEAGE BOOK." The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Vol. 106. 66. Free Genealogy and Family History Online - The USGenWeb Project. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.

12. Wood, Dianne. "1827-1900 Coweta County Georgia, Marriages by Groom L-Z." Georgia Genealogy. 2002. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.

[For the record, Jennie Hardaway McBride shares a common ancestor with my mother. Sarah Dickinson Simms, Mrs. McBride's 2nd great-grandmother, was my mother's 4th great-grandmother, making her my 5th great-grandmother. What can I say? Newnan's kind of a small town.]

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Hanna-Barbera's The Flintstones went off the air in 1966. Its last spin-off series, Cartoon Network's Cave Kids, aired it's last new episode thirty years later in 1996. The most recent original Flintstones content aired in 2001, so it's been a decade since The Flintstones has been culturally relevant as anything other than nostalgic reruns. That being the case, why do they still make Flintstones-themed Fruity Pebbles?

Introduced in 1971, Post™ Fruity Pebbles weren't introduced to the public until after The Flintstones were canceled thanks to free-falling ratings. Their entire, long-running success has endured without the support of the very product from which they were licensed! That's pretty amusing given that Fruity Pebbles is credited as the first breakfast cereal brand built from the ground up around a licensed property. Since then countless licensed cereals have come and gone, including E.T. Cereal, Mr. T, and Urkel-Os, which had hte the benefit of support from their licensed properties.

My point -- assuming that I have one -- is that I suspect that at this point the merits of the cereal, such as they are, must speak for themselves. Surely no one is buying Fruity Pebbles because of the Flintstones ties anymore, so there must be something in those Fruity Pebbles to enable 40 uninterrupted years of sales longevity. Nothing that The Flintstones actually actively endorsed on their show could have sold this well, right?

Never mind.

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In the American English language, "pussy" is a charged word that can be uttered innocently, but if you yell it in a room almost everyone will assume you mean it as vulgar slang. In that regard it's like "beaver," also a cute and furry little animal turned profane synonym. Come to think of it, women are also often called "chicks" or "rabbits," which sort of make me wonder why other cute, furry animals like squirrels and raccoons don't get similar treatment.

A quick internet search on the word "pussy" -- don't try this at home -- revealed that the English word has been used as a diminutive form of "puss," as in "cat," for more than 400 years. For most of that time, the word has also been clearly used to refer to women as a term of endearment; the word apparently didn't assume its profane meaning that won't pass network television censors until the late 19th century. There is no consensus among etymologists what triggered this change, but it has been suggested that this was due to an infusion of Old Norse or Old Germanic languages. It seems that "pusse" is Low German for "vulva." (Something else to blame on the Germans!)

This wealth of meaning has caused "pussy" to become the base for several other words of widely diverse meaning over the years. Certainly the self-redundant "pussycat" (ca. 1805) is an obvious example. But so, too, the feline-inspired "pussywillow" (ca. 1869, because cats are soft) and "pussyfoot" (ca. 1903, because cats are stealthy). On the other hand "Pussy-whipped" (ca. 1956) is clearly derived from the profane definition. I don't suspect that anyone ever wanted to whip a cat. Women, of course, are a different story.

This entire train of thought was generated over a pleasant dinner at Olive Garden when my mother informed me that she found it acceptable to use the word "pussy-whipped" despite its etymology. I suspect that this is only because the time she was busy defending ridiculing my need to rush home and tend to my poodles, a situation that caused her to label me as "poodle-whipped." That label is fine by me: I'm sure that I enjoy my cute, furry animals at home as much as the next guy.

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I recently took a quiz on MentalFloss.com in which I had to name the internet's 10 most visited sites. I did... poorly. If you'd like to try your hand at it before you read any further, go here.

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Done? Good. Clearly I wouldn't mention this quiz unless I had done awesomely or abysmally. Care to guess which?

I got only 2 out of 10, the search engines. Bah! No wonder I can't earn a living making websites. I clearly have no idea what people use the web for. I should have gotten Wikipedia; I go there almost every day! But the others? I have no money, so no ecommerce site even crossed my mind. And social networking sites are for people who who like people!

If Facebook is really the most visited non-search engine website in America (Google is #1 overall), of course a movie based on it would be popular. The Social Network is the equivalent of those unauthorized biographies of Justin Bieber that line supermarket tabloid check-out aisles. They don't have to be good, they just have to exist; Bieber's own fame will sell them. If The Social Network wins Golden Globes and Oscars, shouldn't the authors of those Bieber biography books start winning Pulitzers?

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I don't care for the New Year's Eve holiday. I'm too old to be excited about being another year older and too young to be excited about surviving another year. I'm not nuts about crowds anyway, and I don't drink alcohol.

The New Year's Eve television coverage leaves me cold as well. I don't care to listen to rock concerts. I don't care to watch radio DJs. And I have no idea what Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffen have in common, but I'm pretty sure that I don't care.

That said, there is something to look forward to on television on New Year's Eve: University of Georgia football! Georgia has been invited to the Liberty Bowl this year to battle the University of Central Florida. Consider the following facts:

  • No SEC team has lost in the Liberty Bowl since 1991.
  • Despite UCF's 10-3 record, they haven't played any team that has approached SEC-level talent.
  • The UCF head coach is George O'Leary, who went 3 for 7 against UGA during his tenure as head coach of Georgia Tech a decade ago.

What does all that mean? Hell if I know. But get out of the way, Dick Clark; here come the Bulldogs!

Bonus Trivia note: This is the first time in the Liberty Bowl's 52 year history that it will be held twice in the same year. The 2009 Liberty Bowl was played January 2, 2010.

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The 2010 New Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year is "refudiate," meaning "to reject." My spell-checker wants to change that word into "repudiate," which makes sense, since "refudiate" is nothing more than a typo in a Twitter feed back in July. We now have a new, completely unnecessary word in our dictionary. This bit of political genius/manipulation will now be bloating the reference aisles on our national bookshelves with as much bullshit as is typically reserved for the self-help section.

The enemy here is not, surprisingly, Palin. This bit of trivia may be lost to history, but Sarah Palin herself attempted to correct her initial typo to "refute," the word she presumably meant to Tweet. Rather than let Palin get away with her mistake on Twitter -- where grammar goes to die -- her followers and detractors forced her into owning the mistake as intentional in order to save political face. She's relatively innocent in this fiasco. Sure, she could be smarter and not send messages to the public realm without reviewing them for mistakes, but that's probably asking too much.

No, the enemy here is the New Oxford American Dictionary. Damn you, Oxford University Press dictionary editors. Throwing a political figure's mistaken and jumbled words words back at them is a tried and true political tactic with great lineage. ("Potatoe" and "misunderestimate" spring to mind.) Mudslinging may have a storied tradition in American politics, but let's not start treating the weapons used as anything other than what they are: mud. If Oxford University Press includes words like "refudiate" in their dictionary, all they are doing is dirtying their own reputation.

Therefore, I refudiate the inclusion of the word "refudiate" to my automated spell-checker's personal dictionary. It already has a hard enough time with the perfectly cromulent words that I've already added such as "truthiness," "unfriend," and "wriphe." I mean, come on, it's not like my hard drive has all the space in the world.

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Well blow me down!Despite my guess that his surname was Sailorman (pronounced SAY-ler-mun, of course), it seems that the eternally surly Popeye has no last name. That surprises me mainly because the character is over 80 years old. (Chronologically, anyway. According to his copyright holders, he's officially 34, and has been for a very, very long time.) Older fictional characters tend to pick up a lot of baggage as their stories expand infinitely. Somehow, Popeye's baggage hasn't included any name tags.

For example, over the years Popeye has picked up a father, Poopdeck Pappy (a nickname, as Popeye is definitely not Popeye Pappy), and a grandmother, Granny (last name long forgotten). In addition to adopting a son he affectionately calls Swee'Pea, Popeye has sired a son with Olive named Popeye, Jr. (If Popeye is missing a last name, there must be Oyl on Junior's Social Security Card.) Popeye has even helped raise his unfortunately named quintuplet nephews Pipeye, Pupeye, Poopeye, and Peepeye. (Since Popeye has no siblings and Olive has no sisters, they must also be Oyls. That's a lot of Oyl!)

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I've been busy this past week installing a fence at my brother's home in Dublin, GA. I've been calling it a cyclone fence, but you probably know it as a chain link fence. Turns out that cyclone fence got that name from the Cyclone Fence Company of Waukegan, IL, a trademarked brand now owned by U.S. Steel.

Coke is Coca-Cola!

So I've been committing the same error as people who call a copy a Xerox, facial tissue Kleenex, a hook and loop fastener Velcro, and soda Coke. (For those paying attention, the grammatical error of substituting the specific for the general is called a metonym.) Worse, Cyclone Fence was initially a northern brand (though the concept of the chain link fence was invented by the British), so I have unwittingly been using a Yankee word! I apologize to ya'll for this error and will try to correct my usage in the future.

P.S. I'll post a picture of Trey's fence once I've developed my the pictures still in my kodak.

[UPDATE 08/03/10]: Pictures. Note the DirecTV dish in all three pictures for site reference.

That looks like a lot of yard.
Start of Day 1: It doesn't look that big, right? Next time you shovel the concrete.

Watch out for snakes!
Start of Day 2: I lost track of how many fence posts after I was attacked by the fire ants.

It's not much of a fence if you can see through it.
Start of Day 3: Another day, another $12.74 worth of rebar to fix what we did wrong on Day 2.

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Three things of note today:

1: May 25 is International Towel Day, a day of celebrating the life and works of Douglas Adams by carrying around a towel. If you don't know why carrying a towel is a relevant way to celebrate or even who Douglas Adams was (hint: he's a brilliant, deceased British author), you can probably skip this event.

2: May 25 is International Lilac Day, a day of support for the life and works of Alzheimer's Disease patient Terry Pratchett by wearing a lilac. If you don't know who Terry Pratchet is (hint: he's a brilliant, diseased British author), you may still want to wear a lilac in support of Alzheimer's sufferers everywhere.

3: Remember my friend Brian? (Refresh your memory here.) Well, I haven't heard if he's survived his trip, but someone is posting images of his trip on his Facebook account. And I am sooo jealous of him now:

Threesome with Penn Jilette!

That's Brian with Penn Jilette. If you don't know who Penn Jilette is (hint: he's a brilliant, living American entertainer. Bonus hint: he's the one in the middle above.), then I have to say that I'm beginning to wonder what you're doing reading this blog.

Kudos, Brian. Whether you are now dead or married, I'm sure it was totally worth it to meet Penn Jilette.

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The Cooking Channel debuts on Memorial Day. Maybe "debuts" is a little strong. Technically, it's a re-branding of the Food Life Network (FLN). Apparently living food got to be too much, so they've decided to turn on the oven and change their name.

Cooking Channel is owned by Scripps, which also owns Food Network and the Travel Channel, home of food-centric shows such as Bizarre Foods, Man vs. Food, and No Reservations. Just how many food-centric television channels does one company need? Hell, how many food-centric television channels does one country need? The FDA is prepared to say that too much salt is bad for us, but the FCC is keeping mum on the proliferation of cooking television networks. Does America have so many food networks because Americans are fat, or are Americans fat because we have so many food networks?

I speak from a position of indifference: my plebeian tastes never evolved past the 4th grade cafeteria. My palate still prefers mashed potatoes, pizza, and chicken fingers. I won't eat anything that I've ever seen Bobby Flay prepare. I've never even heard of most of the secret ingredients used on Iron Chef. And I don't care enough to get queasy over Bizarre Foods. I'm the antonym of a gourmet, which Dictionary.com defines as an "ignoramus."

If something is an acquired taste, why should I bother to make the effort to acquire it when I'm just going to be hungry again in a few hours anyway? Give me something that won't go bad before I eat it and can be prepared in under 5 minutes, and I'll be just happy with my peanut butter and honey sandwich on white bread, thank you very much. Let's see Scripps turn that into an entire television channel.

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To be continued...

 

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