Things I Saw and Did in January
Books Read in December and January
Things I Learned in January
- To prevent fires back in the days when houses were warmed and lit by fire, people covered flames at night with a lid called a “coverfeu.” This word developed into our word “curfew.”
- The Duke of Marlborough was so cheap that, to save ink, he didn’t dot his “i”s.
- The dining room came into existence in homes largely because people got tired of stains on their expensive, upholstered parlor furniture.
- In an average year, more people die of food poisoning contracted at church picnics than have died from contact with bats in all of recorded history.
- There are around 50,000 square miles of lawn in the United States, a larger area than that taken up by any single farm crop.
- Falling down stairs is second only to car accidents as a cause of accidental death. Unmarried people are more likely to fall than married people. People in good shape are more likely to fall than those in bad shape.
- When you say that something is “the greatest thing since sliced bread,” you’re saying it’s the greatest thing since 1928, the year a Missouri jeweler named Otto Rohwedder invented the bread-slicing machine.
- In 1907, Kellogg offered a free box of Corn Flakes to any woman who would wink at her grocer.
- The word “literal” is an adjective of the Latin word “littera,” meaning “letter.” Centuries ago, when only a handful of educated people knew how to write (or read) and the materials for doing so were hard to come by, something that was “literally true” was of such importance that it was worth writing down.
- Christopher Columbus took notes in Italian, gave most of the places he discovered Portuguese names, wrote his official correspondence in Castilian Spanish, kept a public journal of his voyages in Latin and a second, private, one in Greek, used Hebrew astronomical tables, and spoke the lingual franca (a mix of Arabic, Italian, and Spanish) of Mediterranean traders. And he was typical of learned men of his day.