I was home recently looking through some papers that belonged to my step-father Frank, who passed away in October 2011. I found a list. Boy, doesn't that sound like something out of a spy movie? I found a list...
Well, this isn't that exciting. I just found a list of terms with numbers next to them, written on the backs of yellowed depost slips from a bank in our old town that isn't even in business anymore. Frank was a collector of bits of information like this. He always wrote on scraps of papers, backs of envelopes, deposit slips pilfered from the bank. The capitals of every state, frequently used crossword puzzle words, obscure facts. I think doing this kept his mind very sharp, all the way to the end. He always had the answers, especially if it were some obscure fact. He just knew things. He was the search engine we all used prior to Google!
Here are the items from the list I found. Some of them, like the High Society 400 and the Lines of Quatrain, I'd never even heard of. Others are things it seems we've always just known.
Football Team: 11
In American football, there can only be 11 players from each team on the field at one time.
Dinner at: 8
Dinner At Eight is a 1933 film that can technically be called a romantic comedy. It is a study of people during the Great Depression. The movie addresses topics that include wealthy people dealing with the loss of money and prestige; relationships between men and women involving power, blind love, selfishness, and unselfishness; and relationships between the wealthy and those who work for them.
The R’s: 3
The three Rs (as in the letter R) are the foundations of a basic skills orientated education program within schools: reading, 'riting and rithmetic
Golf course holes: 18
The very confusing Scottish history of why courses have 18 holes can be read here.
Bluebeard’s Wives: 7
The story of a violent nobleman in the habit of murdering his wives.
Supreme Court: 9
The Court currently has six male and three female justices. One justice is African American, one is Latino, and two are Italian-Americans; six justices are Roman Catholics, and three are Jewish. The average age is 66 years, 3 months, and every current justice has an Ivy League background.
ESP is commonly referred to as the sixth sense. The other five are sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell.
Great Lakes: 5
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada–United States border which connect to the Atlantic Ocean through the Saint Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes Waterway. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth comprising 21% of the world's surface fresh water.
Tones in Octave 8
In a traditional MAJOR SCALE (a.k.a. Ionian), there are seven different letter names (and usually an eighth note is added with the same letter name, an octave higher than the first). If you start on C, the major scale is C, D, E, F, G, A, B (and C for the eighth note). You can start on any note, but you will get different letters. Wow - way more information than I needed. I'm confused. More here.
The Muses: 9
The Nine Muses of the Greek Mythology were deities that gave artists, philosophers and individuals the necessary inspiration for creation - they were: Clio, Euterpe, Thalia, Melpomeni, Terpsichore, Erato, Polymnia, Ourania and Calliope.
Zodiac Signs: 12
Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius. See what’s in the stars for you.
Hexagon Sides: 6
Holy shit - all I knew about was the six-sided one. I should have taken geometry.
The Fates: 3
The three Greek Goddesses of Destiny and Fate. Otherwise known as the Moirae, these timeless old hags weave the threads of destiny that control your life. They are: CLOTHO who spins the Thread of Life, LACHESIS who allots the length of the yarn, and ATROPOS who does the snip (the final one).
Known Planets: 9
Well, until the whole hullabaloo about Pluto, there were nine planets. Now, there are officially eight. Whatever.
Bill of Rights: 10
The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution is known as the Bill of Rights. I'm not so sure about Number 8 - there are plenty of people that should have cruel and unusual punishments inflicted upon them.
Pentagon Sides: 5
A plane figure with five angles and five sides. The word pentagon is derived from the Greek words for five (pente) and angle (gonia). In the United States, most people are familiar with the five-sided building we call The Pentagon, after its shape.
The Little Peppers: 5
The Five Little Peppers book series was created by Margaret Sidney from 1881 to 1916. It covers the lives of the five children of Mamsie and the late Mister Pepper who are born into poverty in a rural "little brown house." The series begins with the Peppers in their native state and develops with their rescue by a wealthy gentleman who takes an interest in the family.
Wilson's Points: 14
The Fourteen Points was a speech given by United States President Woodrow Wilson to a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1918. The address was intended to assure the country that the Great War was being fought for postwar peace in Europe.
The Seas: 7
Many believe that "the seven seas" is simply an idiom that refers to sailing many or all of the oceans of the world. The term is believed to have been popularized by Rudyard Kipling who published an anthology of poetry titled The Seven Seas in 1896.
Apocalypse Horseman: 4
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible, called the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ to Saint John the Evangelist at 6:1-8. The chapter tells of a "book/scroll" in God's right hand that is sealed with seven seals". The Lamb of God/Lion of Judah (Jesus Christ) opens the first four of the seven seals, which summons forth four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses. Although some interpretations differ, the four riders are commonly[clarification needed] seen as symbolizing Conquest, War, Famine and Death, respectively.
Degrees in a Circle: 360
There are 360 degrees in a circle, no matter how big or small the circle is. A degree of arc is a measuremtn of plane angle, representing 1/360 of a full rotation.
Technically, not just eighty. An octogenarian is a person from eighty to eighty-nine years old. My step-father was an octogenarian.
Pecks in a bushel: 4
A US bushel is a measure of dry volume and equals approximately 35 litres, or 8 dry gallons. An Imperial bushel equals approximately 36 litres, or 8 Imperial gallons. A peck is also a measure of dry volume and equals 8 dry quarts in both the US and Imperial systems. There are 4 pecks in a bushel. But the only way that I've ever know it was by the song my grandmother always sang to us: "I love you, a bushel and a peck! A bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck! A hug around the neck, and a barrel and a heap. A barrel and a heap, and I'm talkin' in my sleep. About you."
Baker’s Dozen: 13
A baker's dozen, also known as a long dozen, is a grouping of thirteen.
Faces of Janus: 2
In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions, thence also of gates, doors, doorways, endings and time. He is usually a two-faced god since he looks to the future and the past. The concepts of January and janitor are both based on aspects of Janus.
Men on Dead Man’s Chest: 15
Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest, Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! Drink and the devil had done for the rest, Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Books of the Bible: 66
The Bible contains 66 books, divided among the Old and New Testaments. There are 39 books in the Old Testament. There are 27 books in the New Testament.
Blackbirds in a pie: 24
Who doesn't know this nursery rhyme? "Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye. Four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie. When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing; Wasn't that a dainty dish, to set before the king?"
Jesus had twelve apostles, also known as disciples.
Gentlemen of Verona: 2
The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1590 or 1591. It is considered by some to be Shakespeare's first play.
Knights of the Round Table: 12
It doesn't seem as if anyone knows how many knights King Arthur really had, but let's keep the legend intact and just go with twelve.
Alphabet Letters: 26
There are eight letters in alphabet. Gotcha! Go on, take a minute....it'll come to you. Ha! OK, there are 26 letters in the English alphabet, the one most of us English speakers are used to. For other alphabet information, check this out.
Dots in colon: 2
The colon (:) is a punctuation mark consisting of two equally sized dots centered ont he same vertical line. It informs the reader that what follows the mark proves, explains, or lists elements of what preceded the mark.
Piano Keys: 88
Almost every modern piano has 36 black keys and 52 white keys, for a total of 88. Some older pianos have only 85 keys. The rest of the information might only be of interest to pianists. Heh-heh. She said "pianist".
Cabinet Members: 12
Now this one is wrong, according to my research, but it was probably right when Frank wrote it. The information I found is: "With the creation of the Department of Transportation in 1966, the Cabinet consisted of 12 members. This figure was reduced to 11 when the Post Office Department became an independent agency in 1970 but, with the establishment in 1977 of a Department of Energy, became 12 again. Creation of the Department of Education in 1980 raised the number to 13. Creation of the Department of Veterans' Affairs in 1989 raised the number to 14. The establishment of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002 brought the number to 15."
Freezing point of water: 32
Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (or 0 degree Celsius, if you're into that kind of thing). Don't we all know this one?
Teeth in a human adult: 32
Among permanent teeth, 16 are found in the maxilla and 16 in the mandible, for a total of 32.
Bits in a half dollar: 4
In the U.S., the bit as a designation for money dates from the colonial period, when the most common unit of currency used was the Spanish dollar, also known as "piece of eight", which was worth 8 Spanish silver reales. One eighth of a dollar or one silver real was one "bit".
Lines of quatrain: 4
A quatrain is a stanza, or a complete poem, consisting of four lines of verse.
Lives of cat: 9
It's a common myth that cats have nine lives. The myth is attributed to the natural suppleness and swiftness cats exhibit to escape life-threatening situations.
High Society: 400
At the height of the Gilded Age, the "Four Hundred" represented the epitome of New York Society during the last quarter of the 19th Century.
Basketball Team: 5
Only five players from each team are on the court at any one time - one center, two forwards and two guards.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Food With Integrity That Fuels Creativity
2 YEARS AGO: If Only It Were Dollars Instead Of Miles
3 YEARS AGO: The Last Bit Of Winter
4 YEARS AGO: Eddie Fr-eye-day
5 YEARS AGO: Authorized Personnel
6 YEARS AGO: Stolen Zillow