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Archive for the ‘Facts’ Category

The BBC has received a mixed reaction to a spoof documentary broadcast this evening about spaghetti crops in Switzerland.  The hoax Panorama programme, narrated by distinguished broadcaster Richard Dimbleby, featured a family from Ticino in Switzerland carrying out their annual spaghetti harvest. It showed women carefully plucking strands of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry.

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But some viewers failed to see the funny side of the broadcast and criticised the BBC for airing the item on what is supposed to be a serious factual programme. Others, however, were so intrigued they wanted to find out where they could purchase their very own spaghetti bush.

Exotic delicacy

a121305_spaghetti1Spaghetti was not a widely-eaten food in the UK and was considered by many as an exotic delicacy. Mr Dimbleby explained how each year the end of March is a very anxious time for Spaghetti harvesters all over Europe as severe frost can impair the flavour of the spaghetti. He also explained how each strand of spaghetti always grows to the same length thanks to years of hard work by generations of growers.

This is believed to be one of the first times the medium of television has been used to stage an April Fools Day hoax.

In Context

The origins of April Fools Day are not clear but it is known that the tradition of practical joking and mischief-making dates back to Ancient Roman times.  It would appear that the festival is closely related to the coming of Spring.

Ancient Romans and Celts celebrated a festival of practical joking at about the time of the Vernal Equinox, as do millions of India’s Hindus. The French also mark 1 April but instead of April Fools they call it Poisson d’Avril (April Fish).

April Fool or “Aprilspøk” as we call it in Norway has a long tradition both in national radio and television. And they have pulled a few very good ones over the years – Ted

Tekst from BBC’s OnThisDay

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Images found on RealityAsylum

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Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigmatic writings of the Jazz Age. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Fitzgerald is considered a member of the "Lost Generation" of the 1920s. He finished four novels: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby (his most famous), and Tender Is the Night. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, was published posthumously. Fitzgerald also wrote many short stories that treat themes of youth and promise along with age and despair.

Fitzgerald’s work has been adapted into films many times. His short story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, was the basis for a 2008 film. Tender Is the Night was filmed in 1962, and made into a television miniseries in 1985. The Beautiful and Damned was filmed in 1922 and 2010. The Great Gatsby has been the basis for numerous films of the same name, spanning nearly 90 years: 1926, 1949, 1974, 2000, and 2013 adaptations. In addition, Fitzgerald’s own life from 1937 to 1940 was dramatized in 1958 in Beloved Infidel.

Clyde Jackson Browne (born October 9, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter and musician who has sold over 18 million albums in the United States. Coming to prominence in the 1970s, Browne has written and recorded songs such as "These Days", "The Pretender", "Running on Empty", "Lawyers in Love", "Doctor My Eyes", "Take It Easy", "For a Rocker", and "Somebody’s Baby". In 2004, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as bestowed an Honorary Doctorate of Music by Occidental College in Los Angeles, California.

In 1971, Browne signed with his manager David Geffen‘s Asylum Records and released Jackson Browne (1972) produced and engineered by Richard Orshoff, which included the piano-driven "Doctor My Eyes", which entered the Top Ten in the US singles chart. "Rock Me on the Water", from the same album, also gained considerable radio airplay, while "Jamaica Say You Will" and "Song for Adam" (written about Saylor’s death) helped establish Browne’s reputation. Touring to promote the album, he shared the bill with Linda Ronstadt and Joni Mitchell.

His next album, For Everyman (1973) – while considered of high quality – was less successful than his debut album, although it still sold a million copies. The upbeat "Take It Easy", cowritten with The Eagles’ Glenn Frey, had already been a major success for that group, while his own recording of "These Days" reflected a sound representing Browne’s angst.

Texts from Wikipedia

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Or you could come to Norway, get a job which gives you the right to social services and get the hip replacement for free. I know I’m queuing up for one – Ted 😉

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SMY Hohenzollern II was built by AG Vulcan Stettin, it was 120 m long, 14 m wide and 5.6 m deep, and had 9,588 HP.

It was in use as Imperial Yacht from 1893 to July 1914. Emperor Wilhelm II used it on his annual prolonged trips to Norway. In total he spent over four years on board.

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The Emperor with members of his family on board of the imperial yacht Hohenzollern

At the end of July 1914 it was put out of service in Kiel. The ship became property of the Weimar Republic in 1918, was struck in February of 1920 and scrapped in 1923.

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Do maids in France really wear those skimpy outfits while keeping house?

Of course not. A mini-skirt, stiletto heels, and fishnet stockings is not the most practical outfit when it comes to vacuuming floors or scrubbing toilets. Depending upon the formality of the household, a traditional European maid or housekeeper might wear a knee-length blue, black, or grey dress with a white apron (not unlike The Brady Bunch’s Alice). And if she values her spine, she’ll wear nurse’s oxfords or athletic shoes rather than high heels.

So where did the stereotype of the slinky French maid uniform come from? During the late 19th century, the high-kicking Can-Can dancers of Paris were considered scandalous and were often the cause of nightclubs being shut down for “public nudity” (that being the exposed bit of thigh between the top of the stocking and the edge of the underpants the dancers revealed when they lifted their skirts).

It became an American burlesque cliché to stage a comedy skit featuring a hapless, uncomprehending, lithe young French housekeeper in scanty clothing finding herself in compromising situations. Her dress, naturally, was a skimpy version of the black and white outfit a standard French housekeeper would wear. It was just risqué enough to titillate audiences without getting closed down by the censors, and the character of the French maid stuck around long enough to become responsible for the ubiquitous costume of the same name.

Text and image from mentalfloss

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a12120_cupThe football World Cup has been stolen while on exhibition at Central Hall in Westminster, London. The £30,000 solid gold Jules Rimet trophy disappeared while a church service was taking place in another part of the building.

Thieves removed the cup from the "Sport with Stamps" display at the Stampex exhibition, but stamps worth £3m were left behind. At least two guards were in the hall at the time of the theft. Alsa-Guard, the security firm at the exhibition, was not available for comment.

Delegates from current cup-holders Brazil left the cup in custody of the Federation of International Football Association (Fifa) last week. The trophy was to be the centre-piece of the World Cup tournament being hosted by Britain later this year.

Vice-chairman of the Football Association Council, Jack Stewart, was reluctant to accept blame for the trophy’s disappearance.

Jack Stewart "We are responsible for it in the end because we are the organizing association."

Detectives and forensics experts are investigating the break-in and have appealed for anyone who was in Central Hall to contact Scotland Yard. Police say a suspicious-looking man was seen in the building at the time of the theft. He is described as being in his early 30s, of average height with thin lips, greased black hair and a possible scar on his face.

The Jules Rimet trophy is named after a French lawyer who was a president of FIFA and initiated the World Cup competition in 1929. Brazil have been holders of the Cup for the last eight years, after winning both the 1958 and 1962 competitions.

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Photographers take photographs of Pickles, the dog who sniffed out
the missing Jules Rimet World Cup Trophy

In Context

Several days of anxiety and frustration followed the Cup’s theft. Brazil said it was a sacrilege that would never have been committed in Brazil where even its thieves loved football too much.

But the trophy was eventually found by Pickles, a mongrel dog, out for a walk with his owner, on 27 March in south London.

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Pickles unfortunately passed away a year later in 1967 after choking
on his lead while chasing a cat. He was buried in his owner’s back garden and his collar is now on display in the National Football Museum in Manchester.


Later that year it was England who won the World Cup, but in 1970 Brazil was allowed to keep the trophy for ever, after winning the competition for the third time.The replacement trophy remains the prize for the World Cup to this day.

The Jules Rimet cup was stolen again in 1983 – in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It has never been recovered.

Text from BBC’s OnThisDay

I apologise for seeming to be more interested in Pickles than the stolen trophy, but to be honest, I’m much more fond of dogs than I am of football – Ted 😉

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