February 18, 2015

What every schoolchild knows

  • [...is familiar with] Lincoln's speech at Cooper Union.  (link)
  • July 5th marks the anniversary of the Olive Branch Petition, the letter sent by the Continental Congress to the King in 1775, advising him to chill and stop being whack, and stuff.  (link)
  • [I]n March 1861 [Alexander Stephens] sought to explain the reasons for the secession of the southern states in an extemporaneous oration known as the Cornerstone Speech.  (link)
  • [The Song Dynasty] roughly coincides with the accession of Edgar the Peaceful to the throne of England, although it very slightly predates his murder of Æthelwald. (link)
  • [The Varda bridge] was built by the Germans in 1912 as part of the Berlin-Basra railway.  (link)

  • Martin Hayes...is one of the two or three finest Irish fiddle players.  (link)
  • [Al] Stewart got his start in the big skiffle craze, which was led by Lonnie Donegan, also known as The King of Skiffle.  (link)
  • Two piece bands are a la mode [2006].  (link)

Military History
  • [E]very schoolchild is well-versed in the Quasi-War nowadays.  (link)
  • [Ernst Udet] killed himself in 1941 for reasons of love, disappointment, or possibly because he'd been caught sleeping with a diplomat's wife who was working for the Russians.  (link)
  • [A] portion of the [USS San Francisco's] bridge, removed during repairs, resides at Lands End in San Francisco, California.  (link)
  • [T]he Battle Off Samar was not only the windup to the largest sea battle ever fought (the Battle of Leyte Gulf), it was one of the greatest moments in U.S. naval history, as a small squadron of light U.S. ships drove off the main battle fleet of the Japanese Navy.  (link)
  • Collingwood was one of the leading naval men of his day. He was in the thick of things at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent, and first into action at Trafalgar.  (link)
  • [T]he Poles saved the German people from annihilation at the Battle of Vienna when the estimable John III Sobieski routed the Turks at the head of 20,000 lancers, the Largest Cavalry Charge in the History of the World. (link)
  • [T]he 4th Armored was the pointy end of Patton's stick, leading Operation Cobra (the breakout from St. Lo), running amok through the German rear areas, and later liberating Bastogne as an encore.  (link)
  • [T]he British retreat from Tobruk might have turned into a complete rout, but for the heroic stand of the Free French at Bir Hakim.  (link)

  • [Max] Beerbohm was a renowned caricaturist.  (link)
  • [T]he 1960s television series, Jonny Quest owed a significant, albeit uncredited debt to the Rick Brant books, a series of 23 juvenile adventure novels published between 1947 and 1968, beginning with The Rocket's Shadow and concluding with Danger Below! (link)
  • [T]he fallout of this behavior [putting gum on a painting by Helen Frankenthaler] is best described by a Python sketch... (link)
  • [T]he Kalevala...is a compilation of ancient Finnish rune-songs.  (link)
  • "There Are Wheels Within Wheels" ... is the mantra of [P.G.] Wodehouse's scheming and witless, but also unsinkable Monty Bodkin, borrowed from verses in Ezekiel that describe an extraterrestrial visit (or not).  (link)
  • Fletcher Pratt was an American original, a prolific author who, after writing a series comprehensive histories of the American military, went on to a career as one of the pioneer American science fiction writers.  (link)
  • G.K. Chesterton was a popular author and raconteur in early 20th-century England, a close friend of the estimable Hillaire Belloc.  (link)

The World of Sport
  • [T]he greatest pennant race collapse was the epic implosion of the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1964 National League race.  (link)
  • [George] Sisler was not only a devastating hitter, but the finest defensive first baseman of his generation.  (link)
  • Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine was the model European 20th Century Man.  He survived the Russian Revolution and World War I, lived in France, dominated world chess in the 1930s, collaborated with the Nazis, married four times, defeated the immortal Capablanca, fathered a bastard child with a Baroness, lost to Euwe but then won his title back, died under mysterious circumstances, and drank too much and was a lawyer.  The Russians idolize him.  (link)

  • [P]ower sharpeners are all very well and good for the pencil laity, but the professional pencil technician will generally stand by the precision and superiority of a high quality hand-cranked sharpener model, which like shoes, are generally better the older they are.  (link)
  • E8 is the 248 variable symmetrical mathematical object that has stumped mathematicians for oodles of decades.  (link)
  • [T]he Seattle fireboat Duwamish was designed with a built-in ram to use as a last resort.  (link)
  • “Every contact leaves traces” ([is from] Edmond Locard’s 1923 Manuel de Technique Policiere).  (link)
  • [W]hen you want to know whether the world is round or flat, the truth is obviously exactly in the middle: a giant lozenge.  (link)

Addendum:  What schoolchildren arguably do not know well enough
  • [N]ot one schoolchild in five can tell you what a hitter Turkey Mike Donlin was, or remember the name of the The Peerless Leader.  (link)
  • [O]n this day and age, I'm not sure every schoolchild knows about the Battle of Monmouth (1778).  (link)


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