Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Take a Seat!

  • FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD: Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt was the first U.S. president to wear a prosthetic leg due to a bad reaction to the polio vaccine in his own, biological legs. This is why he insisted on always having his picture taken "relaxing" in various chairs.

  • The term "chairman" originally referred to the elected (or appointed) head of an executive board such as those that govern companies, schools, and governmental entities. During board meetings, the actual physical chair reserved for the "chairman" was traditionally larger and more comfortable than those of his subordinates. Today this term has largely been replaced with the gender-neutral "chairman or chairwoman."

  • HE DID IT HIS WAY: In his heyday, Frank Sinatra was known as "The Chairman of the Board," although this was purely an honorific and conveyed no actual power.

  • The popular "Barcelona" chair was the first piece of furniture designed by brothers Charles and Ray Eames for the Barcalounger company. Later this selfsame chair would be featured prominently in an episode of Thirtysomething.

  • LOUIS LOUIS, OH BABY, WE GOTTA GO NOW: The Louis XV chair was the successor to the wildly popular Louis XIV chair in 17th century France and England. However, due to the antique nature of furniture from that era, the Louis XV chair may look older than it appears.

  • The first electric chair was invented by Nicola Tesla in 1892 and debuted at the St. Louis World Fair that same year in 1894. The crowd was electrified (figuratively) by the spectacle of Indian-warrior-turned-sideshow-act Geronimo being "shocked" by a non-lethal voltage. Later, the death penalty was abolished in America, only to be re-instated by popular demand.

  • USA! USA! A recent study concluded that over 90% of Americans use chairs every day, as opposed to the rest of the world, which apparently employs these useful devices to a measurably lesser extent.

Friday, September 21, 2007

OJ Simpson: Innocent Again

We here at Very Little Known Facts believe in America. And the last we heard, in this country (again, America) a person is innocent until proven guilty. And since O.J. Simpson has never been convicted of any crime, this means ipso facto that he is innocent.

This man is a widower trying to raise two mixed-race children as a single parent after suffering serious financial hardship. As if that were not enough, he has been forced to travel with an armed entourage to protect him from the stinging swarm of paparazzi who are nothing but vultures and parasites feeding on his celebrity. Although that is literally a metaphor, it is nonetheless the truth.

At the same time, O.J. has taken it upon himself to FIND NICOLE'S REAL KILLER, a task that law enforcement has apparently given up on. Do you think this can be easy for him? Really, if you think about it, the man is a hero.

Not to overplay the race card, but we cannot help but feel that this is yet another case of society keeping the black man down. Sure, he was a national hero when he won the Theismann trophy and went on to break every major NFL rushing record. Sure, he was a well-known and beloved spokesman for a popular rental car company. But once his acting career starting to take off, well, let’s just say it doesn’t pay for a black man to get TOO successful in this country.

Sadly, America turned on this well-spoken, intelligent polymath—a true Renaissance Man for our day and age—eventually resorting to baseless and hurtful accusations. Is this any way to treat a man? Do you not think that Mr. Simpson, behind that fetching grin, has human feelings like the rest of us? Surely he was hurting that fateful day in May of 1994, driving around Las Vegas in a white Chevrolet Bronco with a gun to his head. Methinks you would do the same if society accused you of heinous crimes. (And lest we forget: the glove did not fit.)

The official word from your friends at VLKF is that the gleeful celebration of Mr. Simpson's continuing misfortune is simply reprehensible. How many times must this poor man be exonerated before the general public can come to terms with his perpetual innocence?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

It's Raining Facts! Hallelujah!

  • Word to Your Mother: The hip-hop term "homeboy" is derived from the French word "homme" meaning "home" or "neighborhood." Similarly, this is also where the slang terms "da hood" and "hoodie" come from.

  • Just as many seafood restaurants let you pick your own lobster from a tank, several "authentic" Mexican restaurants allow you to choose your own live chicken from a coop for their signature dish, pico de gallo.

  • Who Is the Real Spoiler? Spoilers can increase the speed of automobiles by 20% to 30% without using more gas. Both the EPA and Greenpeace have urged that all cars on the road be retro-fitted with these energy-saving devices, but they have met with resistance from conservative consumers more concerned with the aesthetic appearance of their vehicle than saving the environment.

  • Your fingers and toes never stop growing throughout your entire life.

  • Since trichinosis and salmonella have been eradicated from uncooked pork through industrial farming techniques, tasty raw bacon dishes have been appearing on sushi menus throughout the United States.

  • Movie critics recently voted Steven Seagal, son of actor George Segal, as the Best Caucasian Martial Artist of the Decade.

  • Whoa, Nelly! Unicycles are the only wheeled vehicles that cannot coast downhill.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Today Is Labor Day

Very Little Known Facts wishes all of you a “Happy” Labor Day today!

(And a Happy Labour Day to our friends in England, Happy Canada Day to our readers in the Great White North.)

What Is Labor Day?

Although Labor Day (formerly called Memorial Day) is observed by government offices, schools, and businesses alike on the first Monday in September, the actual holiday is September 2nd. It was changed from the original day (the last Thursday in August) in 1946 as a way to benefit war orphans.

Labor Day began as a pagan holiday to celebrate the end of August, which was famously referred to by the poet George Eliot as:

August, the cruelest month
Aye, inferno! the dregs of summer
Devour the new-born foal, the calf of spring;
The center cannot hold.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! — An ecstasy of fumbling,
And into the valley of death
Rode the six hundred.

Later it was Teddy J. Roosevelt, America’s only Socialist president, who dedicated the holiday to the proletariat. Ironically, it wasn’t until the Nixon administration that federal workers got Labor Day off as a holiday—and this was only after Congress marked Labor Day as the official “beginning of the Holiday Shopping Season.”

Other interesting Labor Day facts:

  • It is a myth that Labor Day refers to the large number of babies born nine months after New Year’s Day, although it is true that going into labor is a lot of work for a pregnant woman--and it can be hard on the dad too!

  • Spooky Fun: Nobody knows the origin of the Labor Day tradition whereupon widows and widowers bedeck their mailboxes with black bunting and lace. Some say this macabre ritual is still practiced in remote areas of Appalachia.

  • Americans consume more hamburgers on Labor than any other day of the year aside from the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Spring Break, and Christmas Eve put together.

  • Don’t Let the Upbeat Tone Fool You: The lyrics to “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend,” the smash #1 hit from Danish band Loverboy, actually refer to a man who has to go into work on Labor Day weekend.

  • Labor Day is the birthday of playwright Arthur Miller (62), professional athlete Ed “Too-Tall” Jones (47) and celebrity impersonator Rich Little (deceased).