Monthly Trivia Archives: April 2011

Week of April 24 – Easter facts

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The first Easter baskets were made to look like bird’s nests.

The traditional act of painting eggs is called Pysanka.  The custom of giving eggs at Easter time has been traced back to Egyptians, Persians, Gauls, Greeks and Romans, to who the egg was a symbol of life.

In medieval times a festival of egg-throwing was held in church, during which the priest would throw a hard-boiled egg to one of the choir boys. It was then tossed from one choir boy to the next and whoever held the egg when the clock struck 12 was the winner and retained the egg.

Easter is now celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon which happens on or after March 21, the Spring Equinox.

Easter is the second most important candy-eating occasion of the year for Americans, who consumed 7 billion pounds of candy in 2011, according to the National Confectioner’s Association.

In 1953, it took 27 hours to create a Marshmallow Peep. Today it takes six minutes.

Read more: Easter Candy Facts —

The Germans brought the symbol of the Easter rabbit to America.  The bunny as an Easter symbol seems to have it’s origins in Germany, where it was first mentioned in German writings in the 1500s. The first edible Easter bunnies were made in Germany during the early 1800s. The first bunnies were not made of chocolate; they were made of pastry and sugar.

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Week of April 17th – Boston Marathon Trivia/Facts

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The event now attracts an average of about 20,000 registered participants each year, with 26,895 people entering in 2011. The all-time record for the world’s largest marathon ever run was the Centennial Boston Marathon in 1996 with 38,708 entrants. This year is the 115th running of the Boston Marathon.

The first Boston Marathon was held on April 19, 1897. Other than the quadrennial Olympic Marathon, on which it was patterned, it’s the oldest continuously run marathon race in the world.

For most of its history, the Boston Marathon was a free event, and the only prize awarded for winning the race was a wreath woven from olive branches. However, corporate-sponsored cash prizes began to be awarded in the 1980s, when professional athletes began to refuse to run the race without cash awards. The first cash prize for winning the marathon was awarded in 1986.

In terms of media coverage, the Boston Marathon is the second biggest single-day sporting event in the U.S., just behind the Super Bowl. 500,000 spectators are expected to line the course this year.

The youngest runner to win Boston was Tim Ford, who was only 18 when he won the race in 1906. His margin of victory over second-place finisher Dave Kneeland was only 6 seconds, the closest finish until 1982, when Alberto Salazar beat Dick Beardsley by only 2 seconds.

Johnny Kelley’s remarkable marathon career spanned eight decades. Beginning in 1928 and ending in 1992, he started Boston 61 times, failing to finish on only three of those occasions. He won Boston twice, took second seven times and finished in the top-10 18 times. Six of those top-10 finishes came after the age of 40, one after 50.

In 2009, the top three elite women finishers were separated only by nine hundredths of a second.

The nickname “Heartbreak Hill” originated with an event in the 1936 race. On this stretch, defending champion John A. Kelley caught race leader Ellison “Tarzan” Brown,  giving Brown a consolatory pat on the shoulder as he passed. His competitive drive apparently stoked by this gesture, Tarzan Brown rallied, pulled away from Kelley, and went on to win—in the words of Boston Globe reporter Jerry Nason, “breaking Kelley’s heart.

When Kathrine Switzer showed up to run the Boston Marathon in 1967, she wasn’t there to make a political statement about a woman’s right to compete in a men-only event. She was a 20- year-old Syracuse University junior who wanted to prove to herself and her coach she was capable of running 26.2 miles.  Switzer never told Boston Athletic Association officials she was a woman, but the race application didn’t ask. In those days, the BAA assumed everyone entering its grueling event was a man.  About three miles into the race, the press truck caught up to Switzer, who was running with her coach and her burly boyfriend, Tom Miller. When the photographers noticed a woman in the race with an official number, the cameras started to click. And something clicked inside a BAA official, Jock Semple, who jumped off the truck and ran at Switzer in an attempt to tear off her number.  Dazed and frightened she would be pulled off the course at any moment, Switzer managed to finish between four and five hours. No one was quite sure of her time. She wore no watch and by the time she finished, all the officials had left. Ironically, Bobbie Gibb, a woman who ran the race without an official number, finished about an hour ahead of her. But it was Switzer who had made headlines the next day with dramatic photos of her encounter with Semple.  In 1972, The BAA and Semple, allowed women to officially enter the race.  From 1970 to 1976, Switzer competed at Boston six times, finishing second in ’75.

During his 1975 victory, Bill Rodgers stopped five times: four times for water and once to tie a shoelace at the base of Heartbreak Hill. Told his time was 2:09:55, Boston Billy remarked, “I can’t run that fast!”

Joan Benoit Samuelson often runs marathons with a cap as protection against the sun. The practice began inadvertently. She had the lead at Boston in 1979 when a spectator ran out of the crowd and offered her a Boston Red Sox cap. Taking it, she popped it on her head with the bill backwards and crossed the finish line thus adorned.

Alberto Salazar, who took few fluids during his 1982 duel with Dick Beardsley on a warm day, collapsed after winning. Medical technicians pumped 6 liters of fluid intravenously into his body within 30 minutes so he could meet the press.

The marathon was first plagued by a cheater in 1909, but the most visible and infamous impostor was Rosie Ruiz. In 1980, Ruiz appeared out of nowhere at the 25-mile mark to steal the victory from Jacqueline Gareau. After reviewing all information for 10 days, B.A.A. officials finally disqualified Ruiz and gave Gareau the laurel wreath she deserved.

This author ran the Boston Marathon 4 times.  Hopefully I will get another under my belt!

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Week of April 10 -Odds and Ends

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– The King of hearts is the only King without a Moustache

– Wolves have recently been removed from the Endangered Species list

– The Highest point in Pennsylvania is Lower than the Lowest point in Colorado

– The Very 1st Bomb dropped on Germany in WWII – killed the only Elephant left in the Berlin Zoo

– In 1987 Nasdaq Stock Exchange shut down for 82 minutes after a Squirrel ate through a phone line

– The oldest known redwood tree recorded is 2,200 years old and is located in Humboldt Redwoods State Park in California

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Week of April 3 – First cover of magazines

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TIME Magazine (March 3, 1923) – Speak Joseph G. Cannon

People Magazine (March 3, 1974) – Mia Farrow

Sports Illustrated (August 16, 1954) Milwaukee Braves star Eddie Mathews at bat and New York Giants Wes Westrum in Milwaukee County Stadium.

Sport Illustrated Swimsuit (January 20, 1964) – Babette March

TV Guide Magazine (April 3, 1953) – Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Jr.

Life (November 23, 1936), The cover photo was of the Fort Peck Dam by Margaret Bourke-White.

Saturday Evening Post -The first edition was published by Atkinson & Alexander on August 4, 1821.  Initially it was four page newspaper with no illustrations.

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