Monthly Archives: August 2013

Gordon Bennett!

I heard the following story from QI (Series F, episode "Fashion"). James Gordon Bennett Jr. (called just Gordon Bennett, to distinguish him from his father), was a high-society New York newspaper publisher in the mid-to-late nineteenth century. He was from … Continue reading

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The US Loves Bird Poop

I learned the following from QI, Series G, episode "Geography." In 1856, the US passed the Guano Islands Act, which stated that any American citizen, upon discovering any unclaimed island with a deposit of guano, is allowed to raise and … Continue reading

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Graveside Nudity and a Brawl

I found the following story on the Ludicrous Scenes blog. Their story is here. The original source was The Gloucester Citizen, May 8, 1890. It reports on a disturbance at the St. Patrick's graveyard in Kilkenny, Ireland, at the funeral … Continue reading

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Mrs Beeton’s Liquid Pasta

A really short one today. According to the QI Elves on Twitter, "19th century celebrity cook Mrs Beeton recommended boiling pasta for an hour and three quarters." Isabella Beeton is often regarded as the first writer of the cookbook and … Continue reading

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The Accidents of Youth

I'm reblogging this from the blog Jane Austen's World, with some extra material I found on my own. Their post is here. In Jane Austen's time (Regency England, in the late 18th- and early 19th century) there were illustrated educational … Continue reading

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Geese Make The Best Toilet Paper

Going waaaaaaaay back before the Victorians today with a small quotation from Rabelais's Gargantua, a sixteenth-century French satirical novel about a giant. I had first heard this quotation from QI (Series G, Episode "G-Animals"). The quotation occurs when Gargantua discusses … Continue reading

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Those Polite Victorians

I found this story on Futility Closet. Their post is here. The following is an invitation sent by Madame de Lignerole to Augustus Hare on August 1, 1851. I'm not sure if perhaps English wasn't her first language and she … Continue reading

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