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Last German First World War Vet Erich Kaestner, believed to be the last surviving German First World War veteran, died on January 1, 2008 at the age of 107. While other countries have held--or plan to hold--state funerals for their last serviceman from the Great War, Kaestner's death went almost unnoticed in Germany. Several weeks went by before the media was alerted by a Wikipedia update. Curiously, the German government does not keep official records of its WWI and WWII veterans. In Kaestner's later years he often received autograph requests from Americans. He never answered them.
Tags: Erich  Kaestner  Germany  First  World  War 
Added: 1st April 2009
Views: 1385
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Posted By: Lava1964
Niagara Falls Dewatered - 1969 From June to November 1969, the American portion of Niagara Falls had its water flow from the Niagara River diverted to Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side. It was the work of the US Army Corps of Engineers. The reason for the drastic measure was to scientifically study the falls for critical erosion damage. At the time there was a great fear that steady erosion was irretrievably affecting the falls. If the falls eroded to the point where they were not spectacular, the lucrative local tourism industry would suffer badly. The only way to know for sure if the falls were threatened was to examine the limestone precipice without any water present. Accordingly the engineers deftly dumped tons of landfill to block the American side of the falls. The Niagara River's typical discharge of 60,000 gallons of water per minute was reduced to just a small trickle. It was determined that natural erosion was not a threat at the time, but the engineers did use the opportunity to install sensors to alert them to any future erosion issues. Interestingly 1969 produced the greatest tourism year ever at Niagara Falls because people were drawn to the region to view the strangely barren waterfall.
Tags: Niagara  Falls  Dewatered  erosion  control 
Added: 24th February 2016
Views: 2141
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Posted By: Lava1964
Do Re Mi - Belgian Railroad Station Naomi alerted me to this terrific video a couple of weeks ago. It's too good not to share with everyone. At 8 a.m. on Monday, March 23, 2009, this joyful, creative stunt was staged at Antwerp, Belgium's Central Station. It was designed to publicize a cast search for The Sound of Music. Watch as dozens of dancers (in regular street clothes) emerge from the crowd and begin their surprise show! This is really uplifting. I wish I had been there!
Tags: Do  Re  Mi  Belgium 
Added: 13th June 2009
Views: 1550
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Posted By: Lava1964
Dunblane School Shooting On March 13, 1996, unemployed former shopkeeper and former Scout leader Thomas Watt Hamilton committed one of the most dastardly crimes in the history of Great Britain. That morning Hamilton walked into the Dunblane Primary School in Dunblane, Scotland. Although Great Britain has strict gun control laws, Hamilton was armed with two 9-mm Browning HP pistols and two Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolvers--all legally held. He was carrying 743 cartridges, and fired his weapons 109 times. After gaining entry to the school, Hamilton made his way to the gymnasium and opened fire on Gwen Mayor's class of five- and six-year-olds (shown in the photo), killing or wounding all but one person. Fifteen children died together with Mayor who was killed trying to protect them. Hamilton then left the gymnasium through the emergency exit. From the playground he began shooting into a mobile classroom. No one was injured there because an alert teacher had warned her class to take cover under their desks. Hamilton also fired at a group of children walking in a corridor, injuring one teacher. Hamilton returned into the gym and killed himself with a bullet to the head. A further 11 children and three adults were rushed to the hospital as soon as the emergency services arrived. One of these children was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. The motive for the shooting is unknown, but Hamilton was well known in Dunblane for being odd and creepy. He had been stripped of his scout leader credentials and his private sports clubs had been shut down by local officials because of Hamilton's alleged paedophilic tendencies toward young boys. Among the uninjured pupils at the school was eight-year-old future tennis star Andy Murray who seldom discusses that day's tragic events.
Tags: Scotland  mass  murder  Dunblane   
Added: 29th January 2011
Views: 3387
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Posted By: Lava1964
Albertine Lapensee Mystery During the First world War, most of Canada's young able-bodied males enlisted in the military. As a result the quality of men's hockey dropped dramatically. For a short time, women's pro hockey took center stage--and Albertine Lapensee briefly and mysteriously became a superstar. Nicknamed 'the Miracle Maid,' the 26-year-old Lapensee played for her hometown Cornwall (Ontario) Victorias. Her hockey debut came in January 1916 against Ottawa; she scored five of the six goals in Cornwall's victory. Immediately after her debut game, Ottawa players complained that she was really a man. Suspicions and accusations dogged her the rest of her brief career. A week after her debut, Lapensee scored four goals in an 8-0 shutout against the Montreal Westerns before a crowd of about 3,000 fans. At one point the Montreal players yanked off Lapensee's toque to see how long her hair was. (She had braids that fell past her shoulders.) The continuous rumors about Lapensee's gender prompted her hometown newspaper, the Cornwall Standard, to vouch for her. Miss Lapensee, it said, '...played more with her brothers and other boys than with her girlfriends, and this accounts for the masculine style of play she has developed.' Furthermore, 'Scores of people in East Cornwall have known her since her infancy.' Albertine played on, indifferent to the rumours, and the fans didn't seem to mind too much either, as large crowds came to watch her play. In one game she scored 15 goals. When the Victorias agreed to play against the Ottawa Alerts, the Vics' manager had to guarantee Lapensee's appearance by contract. She even behaved like her male counterparts off the ice. She once refused to play until she had been paid, which nearly caused a riot. Although scoring records for the time are incomplete, they indicate Albertine scored about 80 percent of Cornwall's goals in the 1916-1917 season. The next season, Lapensee led her team to an undefeated season. Then, after two spectacular seasons, Albertine Lapensee vanished. There is no record of her playing hockey again--at least as Albertine Lapensee. Family legend says she went to New York in 1918 and had a sex change operation. She/he supposedly married and settled down to run a gas station near Cornwall under the name of Albert Smyth. There are no known photos of Lapensee. Her story is not widely known--not even in Canada.
Tags: hockey  Albertine  Lapensee  controversy  gender 
Added: 24th June 2011
Views: 2843
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Posted By: Lava1964
Nicole Morin Unsolved Disappearance - 1985 One of the most perplexing missing persons cases in Canadian history is that of eight-year-old Nicole Morin. On Tuesday, July 30, 1985 Nicole, clad in a one-piece peach swimsuit and carrying a blanket and beach towel, left her penthouse apartment in Toronto's Etobicoke area...and vanished. She never reached the apartment's lobby where a friend named Jennifer was waiting for her. In nearly three decades there has been no trace of Nicole--who was likely abducted moments after leaving the apartment. At 10:30 a.m. Nicole had gone to the lobby of the apartment building to collect the mail. She returned to her 20th-floor apartment and got ready to go swimming with a playmate in the building's supervised outdoor pool. Before leaving the apartment, Nicole spoke to Jennifer via the building's intercom and promised to be right down. At about 11 a.m. Nicole said goodbye to her mother Jeanette, who was busy running a small daycare service she operated from her apartment. Nicole went out the door--and was never seen again. Jennifer waited about 15 minutes before buzzing the apartment again to find out why Nicole hadn't arrived at the lobby. Jeanette assumed Nicole was dawdling and was not unduly concerned. Eventually Jennifer went to the pool on her own, but Nicole never showed up. Several hours went by before Nicole's mother realized something was terribly amiss and alerted the police. A thorough search turned up no clues whatsoever. A week later the case was turned over to the homocide department. Jeanette died of a heart attack in 2007. Nicole's father, Art, who was estranged from his ex-wife in 1985 and has an ironclad alibi for that day, still clings to the unlikely hope that Nicole is alive somewhere. (She would have turned 35 on April 1, 2012.) One unsubstantiated theory Art proffered in a 2010 interview with the Toronto Star is that someone connected to his ex-wife took Nicole to prevent him from gaining custody. Well after her disappearance, a school notebook of Nicole's was found to have the tantalizing phrase, "I am going to disappear" written in it. Investigators delcared it to be a statement of childhood fantasy rather than a meaningful clue.
Tags: missing  child  Nicole  Morin  Canada 
Added: 12th June 2012
Views: 4622
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Posted By: Lava1964
Scrabble Cheating Scandal - 2012 It's not often that the U.S. National Scrabble Championship tournament prompts a discussion on an ESPN panel show, gets feature coverage on CNN, is reported in numerous overseas newspapers, and has an op-ed piece in the New York Times written about it, but it happened at the 2012 tourney in Orlando. Why? A youthful competitor was disqualified for cheating. It was the first time in the tournament's 35-year history that a player was booted out of the Nationals. The minor, whose identity is being protected by the North American Scrabble Players Association because of his age, was caught 'palming blanks' before his 24th-round match on Tuesday, August 14. At the previous year's tourney in Dallas, suspicions were raised about the same player because he only had six tournaments' worth of experience and did not possess especially strong word knowledge, yet he consistently scored exceptionally well. After the tournament, one suspicious opponent polled the boy's other opponents and discovered the youth had gotten about 90% of the important blank tiles over 31 games--which is statistically improbable. The legitimacy of the boy's 2011 performance was widely debated on Internet Scrabble forums, with the accusers often being denounced as jealous or sore losers. At the 2012 event, the boy's 'lucky tile drawing' again appeared. Before round 24 began, after all 100 tiles were supposed to have been put into the tile bag, the youth's opponent suspected that the boy had palmed the two valuable blank tiles instead of placing them into the bag. He summoned a tournament director (referee) to examine the bag to see if it contained 100 tiles or just 98. Just as the director was about to begin his count, an alert player at a nearby table shouted, 'He just threw two tiles onto the floor!' Sure enough, they were the two blank tiles. The youth was quickly disqualified--and the close-knit tournament Scrabble world knew about it almost immediately through Internet tournament coverage and social media. The I-told-you-so crowd had a field day. The news spread quickly beyond the Scrabble chatrooms. Within 40 minutes the story was on ABC News' website and on CNN's within an hour. Without much delay, the story spread to most of the English-speaking world, garnering print media coverage in Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, among other far-flung places. The British enjoy a good scandal, so it was not too surprising that UK newspapers were escpecially interested in the youth's disqualification. A picture of the youth, cleverly Photo-Shopped to show him playing Scrabble behind prison bars with the vertical caption 'BUSTED' (written in Scrabble tiles, of course), circulated in cyberspace. John D. Williams of the National Scrabble Association joked, "We're one step away from drug testing." Nigel Richards, a brilliant New Zealander who lives in Malaysia, won the the tournament and the $10,000 first prize for the third time in four years in a spectacular manner--but Richards' feat was almost completely overshadowed by the juicy cheating scandal.
Tags: Scrabble  scandal  cheating 
Added: 5th September 2012
Views: 1525
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Posted By: Lava1964
Happy Days - Richie Moves Out West It is pretty much agreed that the heyday of Happy Days was its first three or four seasons. Ron Howard (who played Richie Cunningham) left the show in 1980 after six years. (According to the plot, Richie and friend Ralph Malph had joined the Army.) Nevertheless, Happy Days continued until 1984. Howard returned for a special two-part episode in the fall of 1983. In this moving scene, Richie says his goodbyes after announcing he will be pursuing his dream to become a screen writer in California. Tissue alert! Be prepared!
Tags: Happy  Days  Richie  Ron  Howard  farewell  scene 
Added: 19th March 2013
Views: 1688
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Posted By: Lava1964
Every Alfred Hitchcock Cameo Alfred Hitchcock was known for two things: being a superb film director and making cameo appearances in his own films. Part of the fun watching a Hitchcock movie is trying to spot Hitchcock's surprise appearance. This compilation film shows every one of Hitchcock's cameo appearances in chronological order. Be very alert! Some of them occur quite quickly!
Tags: Alfred  Hitchcock  cameo  appearances 
Added: 29th May 2013
Views: 1315
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Posted By: Lava1964
Sad Final Years of Jerry Quarry Jerry Quarry was an extremely popular heavyweight fighter whose best years unfortunately coincided with the heydays of both Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Quarry was a two-fisted slugger who possessed suprising mobility in the ring. A fine overall athlete, Quarry was a finalist in ABC's Superstars in 1974. His popularity landed him cameo appearances on TV shows such as Adam-12, I Dream of Jeannie, and Batman. However, Quarry's long career in the ring--he had about 200 amateur bouts and 66 pro fights--took a heavy toll. In 1983, six years after his last fight, Quarry and two other boxers volunteered to take neurological exams for a Sports Illustrated feature on the harmful effects of boxing. Although Quarry seemed perfectly healthy and alert, his test results were shockingly bad. By the mid 1990s, pugilistic dementia, commonly known "being punch drunk" had set in. This sad feature on Quarry was shot in 1995 when he was just 50 years old. He was under the care of his brother because he was unable to take care of himself anymore. Quarry was hospitalized in late December 1998 with pneumonia and died of cardiac arrest on January 3, 1999. He was just 53 years old.
Tags: boxing  Jerry  Quarry  pugilistic  dementia   
Added: 13th November 2013
Views: 1975
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Posted By: Lava1964

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