Wednesday, 30 March 2016

On This Day facts March 30th

On this day in history in 1811 Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen was born.
Robert Bunsen was a German chemist who discovered caesium and rubidium. But his most famous invention was the Bunsen Burner. That thing you remember from your science classes at school.
On this day in history in 1820, Anna Sewell was born.
Anna Sewell is best known for writing the book Black Beauty. In fact, believe it or not, that was the only book she ever published. Seems weird, having read that book a few times at school, and seen the movies and television shows, that she only had one thing published during her life.
Anna Sewell died on the 25th of April, 1878, about five months after Black Beauty was published, of hepatitis or tuberculosis.
On this day in history in 1874, Charles Lightoller was born.
Charles Lightoller was the English 2nd officer on board the infamous unsinkable ship that sank, the RMS Titanic.
Lightoller was the most senior officer of the Titanic to survive the ship's sinking. He was the officer in charge of loading the passengers into lifeboats. And enforced the "Women and Children First" policy.
In fact, he went a lot further than that, and enforced his own "Women and Children ONLY" policy. He actually lowered lifeboats into the water with empty seats, even though there were no women or children to board them, and when there were men waiting.
Lightoller only permitted one adult male passenger to board a lifeboat. His name was Arthur Godfrey Peuchen, who had experience sailing and could help the women navigate their craft.
Lightoller himself survived, but almost didn't.
As the Titanic disappeared beneath the waves, Lightoller was sucked against a grate, being held there by the pressure of the water as the ship sank. A rush of water burst through the grate when the boiler exploded. He was catapulted into the ocean where he swam to a capsized collapsible boat. He gripped the boat, along with 30 others, until they were finally rescued.

On this day in history in 1943, Mr and Mrs Major would like to announce the birth of their son, John Major, future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
When interviewed, Mr and Mrs Major declared their son was special as he was not being fed milk, like most babies, but was having Curry instead. This diet of Curry was to prepare him for becoming Prime Minister one day.
When pushed for details, baby John Major's mother said he would overthrow Britain's first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, in 1990, in a well-orchestrated coup. His downfall would come, though, in the form of a well-tanned weirdo called Tony Blair, about 7 years later.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

On This Day facts March 29th


On this day in history in 1461, Edward of York defeated Queen Margaret to become World Arm Wrestling Champion.
Nope, wait. Edward defeated Margaret at the Battle of Towton during the Wars of the Roses, and became King of England as a result.
The Wars of the Roses had been going on for years. It raged and enraged the House of York and the House of Lancaster.
Basically we have Edward of York, whose house motto is Winter is Coming, fighting against Margaret, played by Cersei, the wife of King Henry VI, who was shifting between bonkers-nutso and being a little bit lethargic.
The Battle of Towton has been described as the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil. It involved over 50,000 soldiers, Tyrion Lannister, some White Walkers, a zombie, and three dragons.
After several hours of fighting, and with over 28,000 dead on the battlefield, the Yorkist army came out as the victors. Henry and his supporters, those who were still alive after the battle, fled England to live in exile.
Edward, Duke of York, marched into London and was crowned Edward IV, King of England, on 28th June, 1461.
On this day in history in 1792, King Gustav III of Sweden died - thirteen days after being shot whilst attending a masquerade ball in Stockholm.

On this day in history, King Gustav IV of Sweden abdicated after a coup d'état.
Wasn't given much of a choice either. He had been kidnapped a few weeks ago by Lieutenant Colonel Georg (without an "e") Adlersparre whilst he slept, along with his family, and imprisoned in a castle, made of stone.
King-No-More Gustav IV of Sweden was persuaded to give up his throne in order to preserve it for his son. He abdicated in the knowledge that the people only hated him, and not his son.
Once gone, there would be a small transitional period and then his son would be king.
At least, that was the plan.
The provisional government declared de-King’d Gustav had not only forfeited his right to rule through his abdication, but had given up his right to for his son to inherit the throne.
Duke Charles was inserted on the throne, which sounds mildly painful, and he became King Charles XIII. Gustav and his family were then exiled to Germany, where he shacked up in a hotel after divorcing his wife, and then spent the rest of his life watching re-runs of The Apprentice.
On this day in history in 1867, Queen Victoria gave Royal Assent to the British North America Act. When it came into force, on the 1st of July of that year, it established the Dominion of Canada.
On this day in history in 2004, where there's smoke there's ... nope, no smoke here. Smoking was made illegal in all work places, including bars and restaurants, in the Republic of Ireland, making it the first country in the world to ban smoking to this degree.

Celebrity Birthdays
On this day in history in 1955, Marina Sirtis was born.
Seriously, 1955?
She is certainly looking good for it. I'd have guessed around 1965. But, well, some people do age well.
Anyways, Marina played Counsellor Deana Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation, who I may or may not have had a crush on back in the day. And to some degree, maybe, perhaps, still do. But I'm not admitting anything.
On this day in history 1957, Christopher Lambert was born.
Christophe Guy Dennis Lambert is famous for being the French-American who played the Scottish hero in The Highlander. He played alongside an actual Scotsman, Sean Connery, who was playing a Spaniard. Makes perfect sense.
There can be only one.
On this day in history in 1964, Michael Jackson was born.
Nope, not that Michael Jackson.
This is Michael A. Jackson who is the current Maryland State Delegate for District 27B in Prince George's County.
He was also the former Sherriff of Prince George's County, Maryland.
In July 2008, Michael Jackson's department raided a house in Berwyn Heights, Maryland. They handcuffed the occupants, interrogated them, and shot two dogs.
It soon became clear something went wrong. The house belonged to Cheye Calvo, the Mayor of Berwyn Heights.
It wasn't until 2010 that Michael Jackson's department cleared the Mayor Calvos of any wrongdoing. And another year and a half for Michael Jackson to offer a slipper of an apology.
But, apparently, he does a pretty good moon walk.

Monday, 28 March 2016

On This Day Facts 28th March


On this day in history in 1584, it is with a sad heart that we must report the death of Ivan the Terrible.
Ivan the Terrible passed away in the arms of his long-term minion, Bogdan Belsky, shortly after they had started a game of chase-me-around-the-bedroom-in-a-mankini. Or as it was known back in the day, Chess.
Ivan the Terrible had a fearsome reputation and transformed Russia into an Empire. He was the first person to be titled Tsar of all of Russia. He conquered, he butchered, he tortured, he killed, he played "Chess" with his minion.
However, his name was given to him by his wife on their wedding night. And not in a playful, seductive way: "Oh, Ivan, you bad boy. We shouldn't try that. Oh, you're so terrible." but rather in a... "You haven't done this before have you? You're terrible." sort of way.
After Ivan's terrible death, by the hand of his minion, we mean in the hands of his minion -- there's no proof of anything, it was just a heart attack -- the title Tsar, and the Russian throne, went to his incompetent and childless middle son, Feodor, because Ivan had killed his eldest son and heir during a temper tantrum.
Also in the news ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
On this day in history in 37, obviously a real year, the Roman Emperor Caligula, you know, the really evil git, accepted the titles of the Principate, which were entitled to him by the Senate.
As soon as Caligula was granted the powers of the Emperor, his first act was to make void the will of Tiberius, the previous Emperor, who had dictated that Caligula share the throne with his cousin, Tiberius Gemellus.
Caligula's second act was to kick a puppy.
His third act was to have his cousin and co-Emperor, Tiberius Gemellus executed.
Caligula did give a reason for the execution: the eighteen-year-old had bad breath.
Gemellus had been taking medicine for a bad cough. It was quite persistent and he couldn't shift it. Pneumonia may have taken hold, and the young man may not have survived long anyway.
But Caligula believed, or at least that's what he told people, that his cousin had insulted him by taking an antidote against poison. And that his breath stank of it.
That means there was only one thing the new Emperor could do: Send a military tribune to the house of Gemellus and have him shove a Gladius into his belly.
If that won't cure pneumonia, nothing will.
Caligula then went about stealing the fortunes of Tiberius and spending it on drugs, ninjas, and monkey hookers.
On this day in history in 193, Emperor Pertinax was assassinated.
Pertinax was a Roman Emperor for only three months, during the year of the five Emperors (as written by George RR Martin).
The Emperor had imposed stricter military discipline on the Praetorian guard, who had, up until that point, been very pampered. They were, or meant to be, the uber special guard of the Emperor.
As it turns out, he should have made things a little stricter. Or not. Or perhaps just paid them. That might have saved him.
On the 28th of March 193, three hundred of the Praetorian Guard rushed the gates of the palace. They had apparently only been paid half of what they were owed.
The Palace guards saw them coming and went, "We don't get paid enough for this carp."
The palace guards got out of the way pretty darned quick.
Instead of fleeing the palace, the Emperor Pertinax tried to negotiate with the angry Praetorians. And he was almost successful. If he hadn't inserted a hedgehog ration, his attempts to placate them might have succeeded.
The exact means of his assassination are unclear. But there was evidence of a French maid's outfit, a blender, and a George Foreman grill, in his bedroom.
After his assassination, not ones to miss a trick, the Praetorian Guards auctioned off the Emperorship to the highest bidder. It went to Senator Didius Julianus.
This, however, didn't go down well. It started a brief civil war which was eventually won by our Harry Potter friend, Septimus Severus, who became Emperor.
Once Septimus Severus had secured his position as the new Emperor, he didn't miss a trick either. He recognised and deified Pertinax as a legitimate Emperor and then executed all of the Praetorian guards who killed him.
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Sunday, 27 March 2016

On This Day Facts 27th March

On this day in history in 1785, King, not a king, but maybe a king, Louis XVII of France was born.
Louis XVII of France was the son of Louis XVI of France, because they had no imagination when it came to naming their children.
Louis XVII's father, Louis-Minus-One-From-Seventeen, was executed on the 21st of January 1793, and, as his older brother had just died a few weeks before (bet you can't tell me his name?), he became King of France.
Or, he would have become King of France, if it hadn't been for those pesky revolutionists who had just deposed the King and declared a Republic.
Louis XVII had been imprisoned by the Republic of France after they overthrew his father and executed him. Technically, he was never a King. Although the Royalist Supporters did acknowledge Louis XVII as the monarch, he was never actually crowned.
When the Royalists regained control of France and Louis XVII's uncle became King in 1814, he called himself Louis XVIII, instead of Louis XVII, as a nod to the little boy who wasn't actually king.
Louis XVII died in prison in 1795 at the age of 10-years-old of illness.
On this day in history in 1625, Charles I of England became King of England. He also claimed the thrones of Scotland, Ireland, and France. Because, who wouldn't?
Charles-The-First-To-Suffer-Neck-Problems had an eventful reign as King of England. Especially in the latter days.
The problem arose when King Charles-Not-A-Spaniel beat Oliver-the-evil-git-Cromwell in a game of strip poker.
This annoyed Oliver-Is-The-Monster-Beneath-Your-Bed-Cromwell. A lot. His dingle dangles weren't as big as most men's itsy-bitsies, which embarrassed him. To get back at Charles-The-First-To-See-Dead-People, Cromwell started the English Civil War.
Thus began Oliver-Gonna-Get-You's manhunt for the King's manhunts. The guy was a nutter. The amount of Englishmen he killed to get to the King's Ronald Reagans was staggering. A complete and total nutter. And, as it happens, when he caught the king, he became a de-nutter. King De-Nutter.
Cromwell killed the King by chopping off his head, and having his Lone Ranger for breakfast. Feeling the strength of the King inside him, Cromwell rubbed his belly and stood a few inches taller, before announcing that he'd become the Lord Protector of England.
His killing didn't stop at the King. He basically killed anyone who didn't hold his beliefs. This included Zayn from One Direction, Margaret Thatcher, Monica from Friends, John F Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, and also half of Ireland.
On this day in history in 1794, The United States government established a permanent navy.
It then decided it would need some ships for it to really be considered a navy. Upon review, they authorized the construction of six frigates.
On this day in history in 1946, Michael Jackson was born.
Nope, not that Michaels Jackson, this is Michael Warren Jackson, the former Major League Baseball player.
On this day in history in 1942, Michael Jackson was born.
Nope, wrong again. Not that Michael Jackson.
I'm talking about Michael James Jackson, who was an English writer and journalist. As well as regularly contributing to the newspapers The Independent and The Observer, Michael Jackson sold over three million copies of his books.
On this day in history in 1971, David Coulthard was born.
David Coulthard was a British Formula One driver and is now a commentator for the sport on Channel 4.
During his career, David Marshall Coulthard won thirteen races with various teams, including ... wait a minute. His middle name is Marshall?  Oh boy, didn't know that.
Anyways, the Marshall thing aside, he was actually one of my favourite drivers. And he is pretty good at being a commentator as well. Let's hope Channel 4 doesn't ruin him. Or his new role in Top Gear.

Top Five Weirdest Easter Traditions

Top 5 Weirdest Easter Traditions

1)  Scoppio del Carro or Explosion of the Cart
Ever wondered about starting a tradition where you strap a rocket to a dove and shoot it along a wire into a cart that explodes? You have? Psycho!
As it turns out, you don't need to wonder. In Florence, they actually did it. Yep, not kidding.
On Easter Sunday, a herd of oxen sprinkled with flowers and herbs, probably for the barbeque afterwards, pull an antique cart that is three-stories high from Porta al Prato to the Piazza del Duomo. The cart is escorted by soldiers, musicians, a flock of people dressed like they've been ejected from the 15th century, which is where this tradition began, and a chef specialising in oxen barbeques.
A fire -- Fire ... FIRE ... we're all gonna end up on fire -- is started by rubbing some ancient flints together, which is used to light a candle, which is then used to light some coals, which is then placed in the cart for its journey to the cathedral. I can't think of one possible safety reason as to why you shouldn't place the red-hot coals on that cart. Not one.
Speaking of the cart, it comes pre-loaded with fireworks. Lots and lots of fireworks. And twenty seven combustible hedgehogs. Once the cart arrives at the cathedral, the oxen, which are no longer needed, are stapled to its sides, and sprinkled with some more herbs and a bit of seasoning.
Here comes the favourite part, you sicko. A wire is strung from within the cathedral and tied to the cart outside. Then a rocket is strapped to a dove*, the dove to the wire, and step back and watch that sucker go.
If all goes well, there will be a good harvest. If all doesn't go well ... better be able to GET THE HELL OUT OF ... Oh, nuts, I'm on fire.
2)  Rouketopolemos - The Rocket War
This is one of the more interesting traditions and it thankfully doesn't involve an egg. In the quiet town of Vrontados, on the Greek island of Chios, Easter gets noisy. Very noisy.
At the stroke of midnight, before Easter Sunday begins in earnest, two rival churches, St. Mark's and Panaghia Ereithiani, conduct a Rocket War. They fire thousands, and I mean thousands, of home-made rockets across the town in an attempt to hit the bell tower of the opposition church.
The tradition dates back to the Ottoman era and they originally used real cannons stuffed with hedgehogs, until those were outlawed in 1889.
Each church needs to score a direct hit on the belfry and the hits are counted the following day to see who wins. Every year they both declare themselves the winner, and each vows to get their vengeance the following year. And so it continues.
This has got to be one of the best traditions, ever.
3)  Smigus-Dyngus or Dyngus Day
Basically, boys chuck water over girls and then spank them. Yep, it sounds weird, but it's true.
In Poland their Easter tradition involves boys sneaking into a girl's home at the break of dawn on Easter Monday. Can't see anything dodgy so far. Then up to the girl's bedroom. Nope, still nothing wrong with that. And then they throw buckets of water over the girls whilst she is still in her bed. Pretty sure that's still okay.
But, then it gets perverted.
The boy will say a rhyme.
A Rhyme? What the...? What kind of sick son of a...?
The traditional rhyme goes, "Dyngus, dyngus, po dwa jaja; nie chce chleba tylko jaja." This translates as, "I can see your nipples." Nah, only kidding. It actually means, "Dyngus, dyngus, for two eggs; I don't want bread but eggs." And a nice pair of eggs they are.
Once the boy has emptied his load over the girl (of water-The bucket of water), the screaming girl is carried out of her house and dragged to the local river or lake, usually still in her bed, before both bed and girl are thrown into the water.
Attractive girls can expect this repeated throughout the day.
As if waterboarding girls wasn't enough, the boys would obtain pussy willows from the local dealer, take them to the church to be blessed by priests, and then use them to whip and spank the girls.
Because that's how you show a girl you like them - drenching and spanking.
However, it's all okay, as the following day the girls get to do it to the boys. The Czech Republic or Slovakia, have similar traditions.
4)  The Egg Dance
And again we meet up with the mighty egg. It does seem to be heavily involved with Easter festivities. I blame the Pagans. It's all their fault. Stupid symbolism about Earth's rebirth at spring, and then those early Christians had to go and adopt it, too.

The Egg Dance involves dancing around eggs and trying to damage as few as possible. It can trace its history back a few thousand years to a time of a people in desperate need of a television and the internet.
In 1498, the very first reality dance show happened. I believe Bruce Forsyth was the host. Yes, he's that old.
A hundred eggs were scattered over the sand and each potential bride and groom were forced to take hands and dance. Dance, I say. Dance little monkeys. Dance. Dance like your feet are on fire.
If they completed the dance without breaking the egg, it would go to the judges to make a decision, and when Simon Cowell couldn't decide, it went to a public telephone vote to see if they made it into the next round and be allowed to marry.
The first winners were Margaret of Austria and Philibert of Savoy.
5)  Pace-Egging
There is an Easter tradition in England known as Pace-Egging, where kids would roll decorated hard-boiled eggs down a hill. The kid who rolled it the furthest, or fastest, or highest, or deepest, or something-est, would win a prize - they'd be allowed to eat a hard-boiled egg. Yummy!
Many other countries such as Germany, Egypt, Netherlands, Denmark and Narnia, all have a similar tradition known as the Easter Egg roll.
Pace Egging in England dates back hundreds of years. It could be, or not, perhaps be symbolic of the rolling of the giant chocolate egg away from the tomb of Jesus before his resurrection.
Or, as is more likely, it's to do with the tradition of rolling babies down a hill to symbolise knew life and the struggles a mother goes through in childbirth. If the baby makes it to the bottom of the hill, it's allowed to drink its weight in beer as a prize.
There would be dancing, karaoke, piddling on a garden gnome, usually from the roof of a house, and then the night ended with the babies throwing hedgehogs at stray cats. Followed by a kebab.
In reality, we really have no idea why the heck it started. But baby-rolling is as good an explanation as any other.
About three hundred years ago babies were replaced with an egg because, well, apparently rolling babies down a hill is wrong. Who knew?
The original tradition involved decorating a hardboiled egg and rolling it down a grassy hill. There are some towns in England that still use hard-boiled eggs, but some have since switched to chocolate eggs.
In an unrelated fact, the number of accidents involving children diving after chocolate-eggs-thrown-down-a-hill increased one-hundred-fold.
Honourable Mentions
Easter Egg Push
In America there is an annual tradition of the Easter Egg Push. Every Easter Monday the President gathers hundreds of kids on the White House lawn, who have had to go through an extensive and thorough background check and security screening, and forces them to push an egg across the grass with a long-handled spoon.
The tradition is believed to have been started by the wife of President James Madison, Dolley Madison, in 1814, and was originally held in the grounds of the US Capitol, the seat of the US Congress.
However, it was moved to the White House lawn in 1877 when Congress decided they hated children. Yes, the US Congress hates children (I mean, hated children, past tense. They may like them now).
They also hated Fun.
And they specifically hated children having fun.
Since they couldn't do anything about banning children having fun, and they spent a load of money researching whether they could, they instead made sure children couldn't have fun within sight and earshot of them. So they passed a law making it illegal to use the grounds of the US Capitol as a children's playground.
"Get off our grass, you horrible kids."
On the 13th April, 2009, President Obama and his wife ... (err, she's called, hang on, it'll come to me, it begins with an "M". Oh, yes) ... Mrs Obama, hosted their first White House Easter egg roll.
The theme "Let’s go play" was meant to encourage young people to lead healthy, active lives.
However, most of the kids ignored that and stuffed their faces with chocolate eggs and candy. Because who wants to live a healthy, active life when there's chocolate? Gobble. Gobble. Gobble.
Egg Tapping
The clue to this Easter tradition is in the title. You hard-boil eggs and tap them together until one of them cracks.
In England it is also known as egg knocking, egg pacqueing, egg jarping, or simply as dumping.
Be careful when you suggest dumping though, as it can mean a few different things depending on where you are in England.
On a Saturday night in Bradford, for instance, blokes get hammered, have a kebab, and do a bit of dumping on a random front garden on their way home (When you gotta go, you gotta go).
It's a tradition that can trace its history back to the 15th century. Which is strange, as Egg Tapping can also be traced back to the 15th century (In Poland). An amazing coincidence.
Since 1983, a World Egg-Jarping championship takes place every Easter Sunday at Peterlee Cricket And Social Club, in County Durham. A few years ago, international outrage hit the front pages of literally no newspapers all around the world. Two contestants were banned from competing at any international and Olympic events in Egg Tapping. The unscrupulous scoundrels filled their eggs with cement.
Marksville in Louisiana claims to have the oldest official Egg Tapping event. They started their competition back in 1956. They even have different categories, from the chicken egg category, to guinea hen egg and flamingo.
A new category was introduced in 2015 after scientists discovered a secret cult of seriously grumpy hedgehogs in the Amazon rainforest that squeeze out ostrich-sized eggs instead of live young. Ouch, that'll leave some stretch marks.
We will finish our Easter Traditions on a high
In Bermuda it's traditional to force children into slave labour by getting them to make kites, the more colourful, the better.
And to then fly them.
Up to the highest heights.
And send it souring.
Up through the atmosphere. Up where the air is ... Oh, you get the idea.
It's to commemorate Jesus ascending to heaven - as high as a kite.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

On this day facts March 26th


On this day in history in 1931, Leonard Nimoy was born in Boston, Massachusetts (not an easy place to spell without the help of Google. And nope, I didn't cheat. So it's probably incorrect).

In the future, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Leonard Nimoy is busting out of his grave to pound death grip my neck for putting a Star Wars reference into this sentence, instead of a Star Trek one.

Leonard Nimoy was best known for singing the most awful song of all time, The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins. It's a song that once you hear, you can never un-hear. Or get out of your head.

Leonard Nimoy also portrayed the pointy-eared first officer of the Starship Enterprise, Mr. Spock, in a show that became mildly popular quite sometime after it originally aired in 1966.


On this day in history in 1934, the driving test for those wishing to drive motor vehicles in the United Kingdom was first introduced.

However, it was initially made as a voluntary driving test. So you only had to do it if you could be bothered. It wasn't mandatory until the following year. And then for only those who hadn't been driving before this date in 1934.

On this day in history in 1031, Malcolm III of Scotland was born.

Fun Facts About Easter Eggs

Fun Facts About Easter Eggs

As we all know, Easter is all about the eggs. Here are 5 Fun Facts About Easter Eggs.
1. The United Kingdom's first chocolate egg was produced in 1873 by Fry’s of Bristol (who merged with Cadbury in 1919).
Fry's of Bristol were not the first to produce a chocolate egg, though.
Easter Eggs have been around in France and Germany since the early 19th century. Most were solid, unlike the hollow eggs we are familiar with today. Imagine biting into a solid egg. Sheesh, you'd break your teeth. But it might be worth it.
The problem was in the mould. It was green and furry and had a mind of its own. It would attack those who were trying to mould the eggs with a mould so the mould would attack the moulders and even a Scully or two.
Wait, I might be getting my moulds mixed up. Or mold, if you're American.
Back in the day, they had to line the moulds with paste as they hadn't found a successful method of pouring the liquid chocolate into the moulds.
But those eggs-traordinary people would crack it eventually. Oh, gimme a break, I had to get one in.
2. The world's most popular Easter Egg is the Cadbury's Crème Egg.
Or, as it's called in Canada, the Oeuf-Fondant.
It's a small chocolate egg filled with sugary, gooey goodness which, since this year, is now made with crappier chocolate and more than a bit smaller.
To top it off, it also costs more money to buy. You don't get them in packs of six anymore, they are sold in less enjoyable packs of five.
A Cadbury spokesman said that they had conducted a range of customer surveys and focus groups and this new smaller, crappier egg is the product of Cadbury ignoring everything and anything they said.
One can only assume. Because, seriously, who is going to say they want a smaller product that costs more money and made with lesser quality ingredients?
3. The tallest chocolate Easter egg was made in Italy in 2011.
This massive Easter Egg measured over ten metres in height and weighed over 15,000 pounds.
But making the egg wasn't the tricky part.
Trying to hide the fecker from the kids taking part in the traditional Easter Egg Hunt was down right difficult.
In the end, they balanced a brontosaurus on top of a blue whale resting on three thousand hedgehogs in front of the egg.
It was only found when one very smart kid realised something was wrong. The health and safety people would never have allowed a whale to rest on a bed of hedgehogs.
But, Wow! A Brontosaurus!
Dinosaurs are cool.

4. In 2007, a Faberge egg covered in diamonds sold for almost £9 million.
Expensive, yes. But it's a pretty impressive egg.
Every hour a cockerel made of jewels pops up from the top of the egg, flaps its wings four times, nods its head three times, and makes a crowing noise.
Yep, that's one impressive egg.
The gold and pink enamel egg was made for the engagement of Germaine Halphen and Baron Edouard de Rothschild as a gift for the Baron's fiancé.
Because, if you had to spend £9 million, who wants an iPhone or a Ferrari, or massive castle, spaceship, or maybe a herd of life-sized brontosaurus?
Nope. Give me a crowing, flapping, nodding cockerel in an egg any day of the week.
5. A tradition at Easter is the Easter Egg Hunt.
It was an invention by parents to keep their kids busy for an hour or two.

The largest Easter Egg hunt was held in Cypress Gardens, Florida, back in 2007 when nearly 10,000 kids searched for over half a million eggs.

There was, apparently, no limit to the number of eggs each child could find. One kid gobbled up over thirty-eight thousand of the little suckers before throwing up and passing out in a row boat. He still had room for a McDonald's on the way home, though.
The Easter Egg Hunt was originally planned for Bush Gardens, also in Florida. It was cancelled when someone pointed out the dangers of hiding eggs in the lion enclosure.
So, kids, how desperate are you for those chocolate eggs?
Would you wrestle a lion for one? Answers in the comments below.

Friday, 25 March 2016

On This Day In History March 25


On this day in history in 1199, Richard-The-First-King-To-Eat-The-Heart-of-A-Lion has been shot.
On this day in history in 421, according to legend, Venice was founded at exactly 12:00 noon.
Basically two blokes were at the pub getting well and truly hammered, when they came outside to try and find somewhere that sold kebabs. They ended up in a field in the middle of nowhere and one declared, "We should found a city. I love you, tree. Oh, crap, I'm gonna barf."
And that's how Venice was founded.
On this day in history in 1306, Robert the Bruce became King of Scotland.
Back in 1298, Robert-Upset-Me-And-You-Get-Bruced became the Guardian of Scotland. But, what the hell? What's this stupid Guardianship rubbish? Gimme the throne. Bunch of morons.
Robert the Bruce had to share the Guardianship with another: John Comyn, his rival to the throne. Plus someone else. But no one cares about that dude.
Things didn't go well at first for Robert The Bruce. He had to hand in his Guardian of Scotland title in 1300 after a little tiff with Comyn.
Those two really didn't get along. In fact they really, really didn't get along.
In February 1306, they had an argument whilst discussing the best way to make coffee. Robert liked it sweet and milky, like his women. Comyn liked it black and strong.
The two couldn't agree. The argument got really heated and Robert the Bruce had had enough of those snakes on a plane. He killed John Comyn on the spot. Boinked him on the nose. With a haggis.
Although, all things considered, it didn't work out too badly for Robert. Even though the Pope excommunicated him, the Bishop of Glasgow de-excommunicated him back to being communicated.
The following month he became King of Scotland.
On this day in history in 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh was given permission to colonize virgins.
Oops, nope. He was granted permission and patent to colonize Virginia.
On this day in history in 1634, Maryland received its first settlers.
On this day in history in 1655, Christiaan (the extra "a" is important) Huygens discovered Titan, the largest moon orbiting the planet Saturn.
On this day in history in 1802, The Treaty of Amiens is signed between the United Kingdom and France.
It was hailed as the Definitive Treaty of Peace between the long term warring nations of Europe. However, it wasn't as definitive as some thought. The United Kingdom and France were back at war the following year.
On this day in history in 1807, The Slave Trade Act became law. It abolished the slave trade across the British Empire.
On this day in history in 1807, The Oystermouth Railway, which later became known as the Swansea and Mumbles Railway, became the first passenger-carrying railway ... in the world.

Richard the Lionheart: the assassination of the King of England

Richard the Lionheart: An 1199 News report on the assassination of Richard the Lionheart

It's the 25th of March, 1199, Richard-The-First-King-To-Eat-The-Heart-of-A-Lion has been shot.

Yes, today is a grave day for England. Our beloved and gentle King has been shot by an arrow, shot by a bow, shot by a child, who will be shot with a shotgun in the face, as he shot the King. It's shocking!

Details are still coming in from our reporter at the scene, but it's a little unclear as to what happened.

They say the king was out walking in the grounds of Castle Limousin, the same castle he had besieged and then captured from the Viscount-Whose-Name-You-Can't-Pronounce. A small child, or perhaps Tyrion Lannister, no one is quite sure, emerged atop the castle wall and shot him with a crossbow.

No one is quite sure why Tyrion would want to shoot a King, as it seems out of character. But, as soon as we know more about the motivations of the assassin, we'll let you know.

Immediately after the king was shot, he was taken to his private room, where he tried to extract the arrow himself. However, as good as he was at extracting a heart from the chest cavity of a lion, he was not great at pulling arrows from arms.

A surgeon, nicknamed the Butcher, which is exactly the name you want in a surgeon, was called to attend the King.

After a quick evaluation, and seven rum and cokes, the surgeon prepped the king for surgery. This involved another four rum and cokes, a hooker, and a whiskey chaser. The king declined both the drink, the hooker, and the latest in anesthesia, which is club to back of neck.

The surgeon, who kept winking during the surgery, a side effect of the hooker, extracted the arrow by way of the spank-it-yank-it technique.

Unfortunately, even with the most highly trained surgeons on the planet, and the latest in medical technology and treatment, things can go wrong.

During the process the surgeon seriously mangled the king's arm. He also failed to clean the wound.

Reports coming in to the news desk suggest the king's wound has since turned gangrenous. And, despite the fact the king is expected to make a full recovery, gangrene is tragically a common occurrence in cases like this.

It shows why more money is needed to fund research into the causes of infections.

However, the latest procedures are cutting edge, and show how far we have come with medical care.

The Butcher had followed all current best practices, which included gobbing on the wound and covering it in a dirty scrap of cloth previously used as toilet paper. He also strapped the arm up.

Watch out for follow-up reports about the fate of the young boy who shot the king, who is expected to be executed for his crime. We will include details of the king's health as they happen.

BREAKING NEWS: A psychic has just had a vision. The death of King Richard The Lionheart will happen in a week and half. And the boy will be pardoned.

Sheesh, like a psychic has ever been right.

UPDATED - April 6th

On this day in history, April 6th, in 1199, Richard I of England, also known as Richard the Lionheart, died.
Two weeks ago, we reported Richard-I-Ate-The-Heart-Of-A-Lion was shot by an arrow, shot by a bow, shot by a child, who will be shot with a shotgun in the face, as he shot the King.
The king was out driving in a Limousin in the grounds of a castle, when a small child resembling a French Tyrion Lannister, emerged atop the castle wall and shot him with a crossbow.
After the king tried unsuccessfully to extract the arrow from his privates ... oops, tried to extract the arrow in private ...  he called a surgeon, nicknamed the Butcher. That really is a great name for a doctor. Gives you confidence in his abilities. It's someone you'd take your kids to see for a check-up. Trustworthy. Professional.
During the highly delicate operation to remove the arrow, the Butcher lived up to his name and butchered the hell out of the king's appendage. And his arm.
The Butcher failed to clean the wound, and it turned gangrenous. He reported afterwards that the king was expected to make a full recovery.
The king didn't.
In fact, he died. Keeled over, writhing in pain, singing a pretty good rendition of Abba's Waterloo. The poor guy was delirious. Which is probably why he also declared the boy who shot him was to go unpunished and set free.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

On This Day Facts March 22nd


On this day in history in 1322, Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, and Earl of Leicester, and Earl of Derby, and Earl of Lincoln, and Earl of Salisbury, died as a result of a serious case of Off-With-His-Head.
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, was also Baron of Halton, and Lord of Bowland. Yep, he had quite a collection of Earldoms and Lordships. He was also the cousin of King Edward II.
All families have their problems. I have a cousin I don't particularly like. And although Lancaster's relationship with his Kingly cousin started off okay, it went downhill fast.
In no small part to the Earl of Lancaster rebelling against the rule of the King of England. Lancaster preferred to ally himself with the King of Scotland instead.
Lancaster would learn the hard way that you shouldn't vex the King of England. His rebellions failed. He was captured. Torture was also involved. Something to do with pokers and bottoms. But that's just a youtube fail. If you're out on your last night of freedom, don't somersault over a wall when you're drunk and nekkid.
He was put on trial for crimes against hedgehogs. And treason.
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, and other Earldoms, and winner of the inaugural tiddlywinks championships, was not allowed to speak at his own trial. They basically duct-taped his mouth shut. They were taking no chances with him.
The trial was a mere formality. He was going to be found guilty no matter what.
But, luckily for him, the King took pity on his cousin.
Nope, not that much pity.
The dude was still going to die.
But, because of his royal blood, his blood wouldn't be spilled. Well, as much as it could have been spilled. King Edward II decided to downgrade his execution to a simple Off-With-His-head.
The sentence imposed on Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, had been the Full-Monty: Drawn, Quartered, and Beheaded.
Also in the news ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
On this day in history in 1913, Sung Chiao-jen, or Song Jiaoren, founder of the Chinese Nationalist Party, died as a result of wounds from an assassination attempt two days earlier.
Sung Chiao-jen was out and about with some mates, probably not on an all-night bender doing the famous local pub-crawl, when he was accosted by a lone gunman at Shanghai railway station.
Sung Chiao-jen was shot twice in the chest at close range by a shadowy figure called Wu. It is thought he was contracted to kill Sung Chiao-jen by a Shanghai underworld boss called Ying Guixin.
That's what happens when you don't pay your bar tab.
The evidence led to other conspirators, but there was never a trial. Probably totally unrelated, but all those implicated were either assassinated or just plain vanished.
Yep, alien abductions. That was my first thought as well.
On this day in history in 1989, Clint Malarchuk found out ice-skating is a really dangerous past time.
As he was playing with the Buffalo Sabres, he was run over by another player's skate. It accidently slit his throat. Don't worry, it wasn't fatal. But it did ruin the ice for a few months.
On this day in history in 1997, the comet Hale-Bopp, made its closest approach to Earth. And some astronomers, who were crazy people, observed it was being followed by an alien spacecraft.

Monday, 21 March 2016

On This Day In History facts 21st March


On this day in 1152, King Louis VII of France had his marriage to Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine annulled.
King Louis VII, or Louis the Younger, as his daddy was kingy before him, and that dude was called Louis as well. It was a very popular name for Kings of France and members of boy bands back in the day.
Louis VII of France had married his Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine when he was seventeen. Some say it was out of love of the beautiful young duchess, however, it wasn't. She was rich. Rich beyond the king's wildest dreams.
She came with the fortunes of the Duchy of Aquitaine and her money would put Donald Trump to shame.
However, fast forward fifteen years, and the King and Queen of France hit a stumbling block in the road. Girls. They were all girls. Eleanor couldn't give the King of France a son. Only one thing to do. Get rid of the witch and find another, younger, model to take her place.
Eleanor had actually sought to end the marriage but had been refused by the Pope.
It was after the birth of Louis and Eleanor's second daughter, Alix of France, that Louis had had enough. He needed a male heir. Not these stupid daughters.
The Pope Eugene granted their annulment on the grounds of consanguinity in the fourth degree. Basically, on the grounds the two were related, and marrying someone who is related to you is sick and perverted.
King Louis VII and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine were third cousins once removed.
Bonus Round
Eleanor of Aquitaine, now free from her marriage with the French King, and missing the royal entrapments she had become accustomed, sought out Henry II of England.
Well, she needed royal protection.
On her travels to Poitiers, Theobald V, Count of Blois, and Geoffrey, Count of Nantes, who were both a couple of Counts, attempted to kidnap de-queen'd Eleanor. They sought to marry her and claim her lands as their own.
She evaded the two Lords of Counts, and as soon as she had arrived in Poitiers, Eleanor sent special envoys to Henry, Duke of Normandy, who would also become the future King of England.
The rest is history.
Eight weeks after her marriage to Louis VII of France had been annulled, she was married to Henry, Duke of Normandy.
As a besides, Eleanor and Henry were more closely related than her and Louis. The new couple were third cousins once removed.
Special Note: It would take another couple of marriages before Louis VII of France had a wife that gave him a male heir.

Also in the news - ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
On this day in history in 1413, Henry V became King of England.
King Henry V became King of England after his father, Henry IV, died suddenly of not-alive-no-more.
The new King of England was crowned in a magnificent ceremony at Westminster Abbey on the 9th of April. Nothing can compare to the coronation of a medieval king. Apart from the king's eyes. "They flashed from the mildness of a dove's to the brilliance of a lion's."
On this day in history in 1556, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was burned at the stake, in Oxford.
Thomas Cranmer was the Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of King Henry VIII, Edward VI, and please not ... Mary-Mother-Of-God-I'm-Going-To-Die.
Check out
On this day in history in 1928, Charles Lindbergh, who flew the first solo trans-Atlantic flight, was presented with the Medal of Honour.
No, wait. Americans don't like the letter "U".
It was the Medal of Honor.
And my spellcheck just blew a fuse.
On this day in history in 1980, Who the heck shot J.R?
Yep, I still have no idea. The episode of Dallas, A House Divided, aired. And had everyone asking the question: Who shot J.R.
On this day in history in 2006, Twitter, the greatest social media site on the internet, is founded, forcing everyone to use less...
Ran out of damned space.