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Friday, 31 July 2015

Hot toddy

A hot toddy is a mixed drink, usually including alcohol that is served hot. Hot toddies are traditionally drunk before going to bed, or in cold weather.

It has been suggested that the name comes from the toddy drink in India produced by fermenting the sap of palm trees.

Uses of the phrase in popular music as a slang term for a hot girl can be dated back to at least 1942 when Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby sung Irving Berlin's "I'll Capture Your Heart" in Holiday Inn:
[Astaire:] Here she comes, down the street
[Crosby:] My, oh my, ain't she sweet?
[Astaire:] Why, here comes my hot toddy
[Crosby:] Over my dead body.

Hot dog

Hot dogs or frankfurters originated in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany around 1484. Two hundred years later, a butcher, Johann Georghehner, created a particularly popular long smoked sausage, which became known as a frankfurter sausage.

By the 1860s in New York City's Bowery district, German immigrants were selling from pushcarts "dachshund  sausages". They often placed them in a milk roll with a serving of sauerkraut and mustard on top.

On a particularly cold day at a New York baseball game in 1901, no one was buying concessionaire Harry Stevens' ice cream, so he begun selling sausages and rolls. He started calling out, "red hot dachshund sausages!" and found they were very popular. Thomas "Tad" Dorgan, a sports cartoonist for The New York Journal, was in the press box and seeing this he attempted to draw a cartoon of a barking sausage steaming in its stretched out roll. As he didn't know how to spell "dachshund," he wrote "hot dog" instead, a name which immediately caught on.

The Nathan's Famous chain of fast food restaurants that specializes in hot dogs began when Nathan Handwerker created a business on the Coney Island boardwalk in 1916, selling a hot dog for a nickel.

Nathan's Hot Dogs were originally priced so low, that customers were suspicious of their quality. In response,  Nathan Handwerker paid locals to wear white lab coats to fool the public into thinking that doctors from Coney Island Hospital were eating the hot dogs.

The Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest has been held at the original location on Coney Island on Independence Day since the early 1970s. Contestants try to consume as many hot dogs as possible in a ten-minute time period. The eating contest supposedly started after four immigrants agreed to determine who was most patriotic by eating the most Nathan’s hot dogs.

Al Capone’s favourite food was Nathan’s Coney Island hot dogs, as was Cary Grant’s.

Hot dogs gained an international reputation when on June 11, 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt served them to King George VI of England and his queen when they visited the United States. The press made a great deal about the hot dogs, (even making the front page of The New York Times).

The world’s longest hot dog stretched 196.85 feet and was prepared by Japan’s Shizuoka Meat Producers in 2006.

Hot Dog season lasts from the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day, until the unofficial end of summer, Labor Day. During this time about 20 billion hot dogs are consumed, which means more than 800 hot dogs per second are eaten in the US.

The Juuni Ban is a hot dog sold by Tokyo Dog food truck in Seattle for $169. The most expensive hot dog in the world, it contains smoked cheese bratwurst, butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, Wagyu beef, foie gras, shaved black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayonnaise, all served up in a brioche bun.

In 1988, the Ameican-Japanese chain 7-Eleven began selling Big Bite hot dogs; today the company sells 100 million hot dogs every year.

The world’s longest hot dog stretched 196.85 feet and was prepared by Japan’s Shizuoka Meat Producers in 2006.

Costco sells approximately 100 million hot dogs a year in their food court - over four times the number sold in all Major League Baseball stadiums combined.

More than an estimated 150 million hot dogs will be consumed on the Fourth of July. That's roughly one hot dog for every two people in the United States.

The actor Bruce Willis, proposed to Demi Moore at Pink's Hot Dog Stand in Hollywood.

It can cost almost $300,000 a year just for the right to operate a hot dog stand in or around Central Park, New York.

If you ask for a “hot dog” in New Zealand, you’ll get it battered on a stick like a corn dog.

Hot dogs cause about 17 percent of all food asphyxiation deaths in children under 10.

The average hot dog is consumed in 6.1 bites. (average sized mouth tested)

Hot dogs are not sandwiches according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council., Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Hospitals in renaissance Italy

In Renaissance Italian cities the successive plague outbreaks and other epidemics instigated the foundation of hospitals ran by various Christian orders. By the end of the fifteenth century there were around forty hospitals in Florence alone. Many of these were small 10-bed ones and were basically refuges for the poor, orphans, widows, and travelers. Of those built specifically for the sick the largest and most eminent was the 230-bed S. Maria Nuova hospital, which had specialist medical staff attached to it.

The Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, fresco by Domenico di Bartolo, 1441–1442

In the 16th century the realization that contagious diseases could be preventing from spreading by quarantining the sufferers increased the use of hospitals, as a place where they could be kept out of circulation until the disease was dealt with. 

Hospitals at the turn of the nineteenth century

By the end of the eighteenth century England was at last catching up with the rest of Europe in providing hospitals for those who were sick but couldn't afford the fees of a doctor. As this was the Age of the Enlightenment, not only were religious figures and civil authorities instituting these centers but secular humanitarians too were getting involved. By 1800 London had seven hospitals, which were handling close to 25,000 patients a year.

Meanwhile outside of the capital starting with the setting up of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in 1729 other cities were at last acquiring their own hospitals and by the turn of the century, all large English towns had one. However these institutions refused to treat infectious diseases restricting themselves to general ailments which could be treated with a combination of medical treatment and convalescence.

In France after years of funding the building of hospitals through public funds, Napoleon was finding his finances stretched due to the costs of his military campaigns. The emperor was forced to revert back to the time honored method of financing such institutions by pious donations and staffing them with religious orders, such as the Daughters of Charity, who particularly prospered in the nineteenth century.

In North America churches and individual doctors had been running small private hospitals since the seventeenth century. After the founding of the first general hospital in Philadelphia in 1751, other larger ones followed all catering for the sick poor. 

Early hospitals and hospices

One of the influences of the rise of Christianity was the amount of hospitals and hospices that were founded in the last years of the Roman Empire. These were in the main wards for the sick and dying, which were included in the monasteries that were being built to house the newly founded orders.

Many Christians were called to dedicate their lives to serve the sick and dying in these places. These hospitals and hospices were generally modest and often short-lived, with around 10 to 12 beds and a couple of brothers or sisters in charge.

As a result of the world-wide plague epidemics of the 6th and 7th centuries from which an estimated 100 million world-wide perished, institutions such as the Hôtel Dieu in Paris were founded under the direction of the Roman Catholic Church. Others were established by pious bequest under the rule of regular religious orders.

In these hospitals more attention was given to the well-being of the patient's soul than to curing bodily ailments. In major cities, the hospitals became more established. For instance by 600 AD, there were some hospitals in Constantinople that had sufficiently grown to offer separate wards for men and women, and specialized rooms for surgical patients or for those with eye problems.

By the twelfth century in Western Europe the growth of population and increasing urbanization meant a growing need for the provision of hospitals. Increasingly whilst the well to do were all treated at home, the sick poor were cared for in a hospital attached to the local poor house, monastery or convent. Many of the Benedictines, in particular felt called to minister and they are believed to have founded over 2,000 hospitals during the Middle Ages.

Hospital nursing remained as part of the Christian service provided by religious orders, but the priority was ensuring that patients died in a state of grace, having received the sacraments, rather than attempting to cure the sickness, which was probably either a punishment for sin, or a test of faith. 


Although ancient Greece was medically advanced they had no hospitals, though occasionally a patient might be treated in the home of a physician. Temples dedicated to Asclepius, the god of medicine, did admit the sick where their treatment was based on the dreams they experienced whilst sleeping there overnight.

Hindus in Sri Lanka started building the first ever purpose built hospitals in the fifth century BC. Two hundred years later, King Asoka founded 18 hospitals in India, which were all supported from royal funds.

In ancient Egypt temples of the gods were also used for medical purposes. Physicians and surgeons received training in these places, whilst the sick and infirm could get treatment there.

The Romans had various different types of hospitals. In large households, special buildings existed for the relief of sick slaves. Another type called valetudinaria were for soldiers in permanent forts in newly conquered territories, where a set of rooms opening off a square courtyard operated as a hospital.

Valetudinaria were designed to cater for the sick rather than those seriously wounded in battle. There were no buildings devoted to the treatment of the sick among the population in general, who when ailing relied on other members of their family to care for them.

The 325 AD Council of Nicaea, the first church-wide attempt to resolve the great doctrinal controversies, ordered the construction of a hospital in every cathedral town.

Hospitals were built in the eastern Roman empire.. Basil, the bishop of Caesarea, was a monastic pioneer and he believed that monasteries should be outward looking. His own monastery was at the heart of the complex of hospitals and hospices he founded, largely out of his own pocket.

The first hospital in Europe for the benefit of the general population was founded by a Christian of noble birth, Fabiola in 382. After her conversion to Christianity, she devoted her wealth to the sick and poor of Rome. Fabiola sold many of her possessions to finance her hospital, which was originally her home and the sick and lame were brought off the streets to be cared for by her. Fabiola waited on the inmates herself and it was said she personally washed away the matter discharged from her patients' wounds which others couldn't bear to look at.

In medieval Europe the well to do were all treated at home. The poor that were sick were cared for in a hospital attached to the local poor house, monastery or convent.

By the late fourteenth century in England, there were just short of 500 hospitals, though most of them were very small housing around ten patients. Only London had hospitals of any significant size.

The color red was thought to be helpful to the sick in medieval times, so to bring down the fever, hospital patients were dressed in red night-gowns, wrapped in red blankets and forced to eat only red foods. As many red objects as possible surrounded them.

Hernando Cortés built a hospital in Mexico City in 1522. The Hospital of Jesus of Nazareth was the first hospital to be built in the Western Hemisphere. It was solely needed as the Spanish conqueror and his men had left epidemics of smallpox, measles and influenza.

The French established the first hospital in North America at Quebec City in 1639. It was called the Hôtel-Dieu du Précieux Sang,

By 1700 London had a population of over half a million people but it was still reaping the results of
Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. There were only two major hospitals for the sick, St Bartholomew's and St Thomas's and one for the mentally insane, Bedlam. Beyond the capital, the
situation was worse. Indeed there were no medical hospitals at all in other parts of England.

In other Western European countries, the situation was better at the turn of the eighteenth century and in many areas hospitals were being built and run from public funds in response to an increase in population.

In 1737, the Philanthropist, Thomas Coram, established a plan for a hospital to be built for the orphaned and abandoned children of London. Unfortunately this provoked much criticism from the press, as they believed it would encourage loose living. Eventually it was given a Royal Charter and in 1741 his Foundling Hospital opened at Holborn.

Many hospitals were founded in England in the first half of the 18th century including in London Guy's and St George's. They were funded through a combination of individual initiative and co-ordinated voluntary effort and subscription.

The first solely medical hospital in North America, the Pennsylvania General Hospital was established in Philadelphia in 1751. The Philadelphia Governor Benjamin Franklin used the columns of the Gazette to raise the necessary money and the resulting £2,000 from private subscription were matched by funds from the legislative body. Previously only poor houses provided any medical care to those Americans unable to afford their own physicians.

The world's first "Mercy" Hospital was founded in Pittsburgh by the Sisters of Mercy on January 1, 1847. The hospital they established was open to all regardless of race, nationality, age, gender, or religion. The name would go on to grace over 30 major hospitals throughout the world.

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, the first hospital in England to provide in-patient beds specifically for children was founded in London on February 14, 1852. The Hospital is known internationally for receiving from J. M. Barrie the copyright to Peter Pan in 1929, which has provided significant funding for the institution.

Bloomsbury: Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. By Nigel Cox, Wikipedia

A typical American hospital has three to four times more employees than patients.

The U.S. has one hospital bed for every 348 people in the country. Britain has one bed for every 386 people.

There is a Hello Kitty-themed hospital in Taiwan.


The hospice movement arrived in the United States in 1975 after a lecture on the subject by its founder, Cicely Saunders (1918 – 2005) at Yale University in Connecticut. It began in England with the founding of St. Christopher's Hospice at Sydenham, near London, by Cicely Saunders eight years previously.

Through her hospice movement, Miss Saunders introduced new approaches in treating the terminally ill, underpinned by her Christian belief (she was an Anglican) that no human life, no matter how woeful and forlorn, should be without dignity and love. She saw dying as a spiritual event and provided care that met the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of not only the patient but also their families.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015


Instead of trousers, medieval men often wore long hosen or stockings, on their legs. In the British Isles, where Celts and Saxons had long worn pants called braies or braccae, these hosen were first popularized by the Norman invaders of 1066.

Hosen were typically made of scarlach, a high quality, finely-combed wool fabric and lined with linen. Linings helped stabilize a garment's shape and size, but they were probably also to protect the legs from wool's itchiness.

They were hand sewn, often made by hosen makers called chaussers.

Scarlach initially only referred to the costly fabric used in making hosen. Due to the popularity of red as a hosen color, it came to mean the color and eventually became our "scarlet".

Source Daily Mail

Tuesday, 28 July 2015


Horseshoes of various types were used by migratory Eurasian tribes about the 2nd century BC.

Horseshoes were generally adopted on the continent of Europe as late as the tenth century and introduced into England by William the Conqueror.

Horseshoes were always nailed to the masts of ships commanded by Admiral Nelson. He believed they would bring him luck.

On November 23, 1835, Henry Burden of Troy, New York, developed the first machine for manufacturing horseshoes. Burden later oversaw the production of most of the horseshoes used by the Union cavalry during the American Civil War.

The largest horseshoe collection belongs to Petru Costin of Moldova. It consisted of 3,200 horseshoes as of May 21, 2011, in Chisinau, Moldova.


Female horseflies need to drink blood before they can reproduce.

The males are vegetarian, but females regularly attack humans, horses and other mammals to feast on blood, often transmitting diseases.

Female horseflies are equipped with powerful jaws that tear and cut. Viewed under a microscope, the mouthparts look like jagged saw blades.

Female horseflies have one of the most painful bites of any insect because they actually rip a hole in the skin to soak up the blood that comes out.

Left uncontrolled, 20-30 horseflies can drain almost a third of a pint of blood from their victims in as little as six hours.

They can grow to 1.25in long (3.2cm) and are among the world's largest flies.

Horseflies prefer to fly in sunlight, avoiding dark and shady areas, and are inactive at night.

Source Daily Mail

Monday, 27 July 2015

Horses in warfare

A Semitic people who conquered the Mesopotamian region in about 2300 BC were thought to be the first to fight mounted on horses. Seeing a person riding a horse must have struck terror into the hearts of people unaccustomed to such a sight. The myth of the centaur, half horse and half man, probably had its origin in just such an experience.

War horses and chariots were used by the Mitanni in Syria and the Hittites in Anatolia by about 1550 BC.

Alfred the Great was the first English king to provide horses for his troops. He commemorated his victory at the Battle of Edington with a chalk white horse on the downs near Westbury, which still can be seen today.

The horse Comanche, who was the lone survivor from his detachment at the Battle of Little Bighorn, is one of only three horses in US history to be given full military honors at his funeral.

Trench warfare rendered cavalry charges useless during World War 1, so horses were mainly used for reconnaissance and for carrying messengers, as well as to pull artillery, ambulances, and supply wagons. The presence of horses often increased morale among the soldiers at the front, but contributed to disease and poor sanitation in camps. The value of horses was such that by 1917 it was made known to some troops that the loss of a horse was of greater tactical concern than the loss of a human soldier.

The War Horse Memorial at Ascot, England, honors the almost one million (often forgotten) Allied horses who died during the First World War. Of one million drafted horses only 62,000 returned 1918.

Sergeant Reckless, a War Horse who served during the Korean War, was responsible for resupplying multiple frontline units 51 times in a single day in 1953.

Horse riding

From the 2nd millennium BC, and probably even earlier, the horse was employed as a riding animal by fierce nomadic peoples of central Asia. One of these peoples, the Scythians, were accomplished horsemen and used saddles.

It is thought likely that it was the Scythians who  realised the importance of a firm seat and were the first to devise a form of stirrup.

The earliest written manual on the care, feeding, and training of horses dates from about 1500 BC in Asia Minor.

The oldest treatise on horse-riding goes back to Xenophon (430-354 BC), the famous Greek soldier and author. His twelve-chapter manual On Horsemanship was a comprehensive study of the horse, containing most modern ideas. He advocated the use of the mildest possible hits and disapproved of the use of force in training and in riding.

According to tradition, the Mongols of Genghis Khan employed 300,000 horses, stationed at 10,000 posts. They were kept in constant readiness for couriers who, riding through day and night, could sleep and eat in the saddle. Bells attached to the horses announced their approach from afar.

Thomas Hobson (c. 1544 – January 1, 1631) was an innkeeper, who also arranged the delivery of mail between London and Cambridge, operating a lucrative livery stable of 40 horses near St Catharine's College, Cambridge. When his horses were not needed to deliver mail, he rented them to students and academic staff of the University of Cambridge. When a customer came for a horse, they were obliged to take the one nearest the stable door or go without, to prevent the best horses always being chosen. From this comes the phrase Hobson’s choice: A free choice that means no real choice at all — in other words, ‘take it or leave it’.

The world record for the highest obstacle cleared by a horse and rider was set by Alberto Larraguibel Morales on a stallion called Huaso in Santiago, Chile. Huaso jumped 2.47m (8ft 1in) on February 5, 1949.

Breaking the record

During filming of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, Christoph Waltz was thrown from his horse and broke his pelvis. To cheer him up, co-star Jamie Foxx gave him a gift: a saddle with a seat belt.

It is claimed that the Reiterdenkmal, an equestrian monument in the centre of Windhoek, Namibia, is the only monument in the world where an ordinary soldier is placed on horseback.

In Colorado, riding a horse while intoxicated is considered a traffic offense.

A Louisiana man called Jake Williams was arrested for drunkenly riding his horse, Sugar, on a highway in 2015. When detained, he said, "The horse knows the way home" and the sheriff concluded it did not constitute DUI.

Sources Encyclopedia Britannica, Europress Encyclopedia

Horse Racing course

The first recorded horse race meeting at England's oldest course, Chester, took place on February 9, 1540. Early victors were awarded the "Chester Bells", a set of decorative bells for decorating the horse's bridle. Races originally took place on Shrove Tuesday until 1609, and thereafter on St George's Day.

The mayor of Chester in 1540 was Henry Gee. It is thought that it was he who inspired the term ‘gee gee’ for a racing horse.

The British established the first race course in America in 1664 soon after having captured New Amsterdam from the Dutch. In fact, this was one of the first actions of Richard Nicolls, first Royal Governor of New York. The two-mile-long course, laid out on Long Island, was called Newmarket, after England's most famous track.

Queen Anne first gave horse racing at Ascot "Royal" status when she founded the course in 1711. She deemed the heath surrounding the village, then known as East Cote, the ideal place for "horses to gallop at full stretch."The first prize was for Her Majesty’s Plate, with a purse of 100 guineas. The racecourse is famous in particular for its summer meeting, held for four days in June.

Horse Racing

Horse racing is one of the most ancient sports, originating in Central Asia among prehistoric nomadic tribesmen around 4500 BC

When humans began keeping written records, horse racing was already an organised sport throughout the world.

The ancient Egyptians took part in horse races as far back as 1200 BC.

Horse-racing became a favorite Greek sport and both chariot and bareback (mounted) horse races were held at the Olympic Games from 740 to 700 BC. However, at the 33rd Olympiad in 624 BC, the four-horse chariot still predominated.

The type of race called the steeplechase dates back at least to the 5th century BC.

The earliest description of an English horse race was run in 1174 at Smithfield, outside the gates of London during the weekly (Friday) horse fair, where the gentry used to purchase their steeds. A "multitude of citizens" watched the event, generally regarded as the first organised racing of its kind. The example soon caught on and holders of fairs elsewhere included races as a main feature of their program.

The first racing trophy was offered in 1512 by the promoters of the Chester Fair who presented the fastest racer with a wooden ball adorned with flowers.

Quarter-horse racing is an event for racing horses at great speed over short distances on straightaway courses. The distance was originally a quarter of a mile (0.4 kilometer). The sport originated in North America shortly after the founding of Jamestown in 1607.

Modern horse racing was established in England by King Charles II, who was an ardent patron of the sport throughout his reign.

The Thoroughbred is a breed of horse developed in England for racing and jumping. The immediate source according to tradition (in the female line) was 43 or more mares imported early in the 17th century.

In the male line, modern Thoroughbreds trace their ancestry to only three stallions: the Byerly Turk, the Darley Arabian, and the Godolphin Barb--all of the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

Horse Racing becomes the first organised sport in North America when Governor Nicolls established the Newmarket Course at Hempstead plains, Long Island in 1664.

The first horse-racing trophy in North America was offered in 1665 for a race at the Long Island Newmarket course. It was awarded to Captain Sylvester Salisbury.

The first record of quarter mile length races in North America date back to 1674 in Henrico County, Virginia. Each race consisted of only two horses, and they raced down the village streets and lanes. The Quarter Horse received its name from the length of the race.

The controlling body for horse racing in Britain, the Jockey Club, was founded around 1750 at the Star and Garter Coffee House, Pall Mall, London.

The world’s first steeplechase was ridden, in County Cork in Ireland, from the Church of Buttevant to the spire of St Leger Church in Doneraile (steeple to steeple hence steeplechase). The four miles (6.4 km) cross-country race is said to have been the result of a wager between Cornelius O'Callaghan and Edmund Blake,

The Oaks, named after the Epsom home of the 12th Earl of Derby, is run three days after the Derby over 1½ miles (2.4 km) at Epsom; The race was first run in 1779 and was won by Bridget.

The 2000 Guineas, run over 1 mile (1.6 km) at Newmarket, was first run in 1809; it is open to colts and fillies. The first Two Thousand Guineas Stakes race was won by Wizard. The 2,000 Guineas was named after the winning purse. (2,000 guineas = £2,100.)

The 1000 Guineas was first run at Newmarket on April 28, 1814, five years after the inaugural running of the equivalent race for both colts and fillies, the 2000 Guineas. It is open to three-year-old fillies only. The first 1000 Guineas Stakes was won by Charlotte.

An event on the Union Race Course, Long Island, drew an estimated 60,000 people in 1823 - the first large crowd ever to watch an American sporting function. Spectators came from all over the country to see the exciting match, not least perhaps because it also presented a contest between the North and the South. The North ran its unbeaten American Eclipse. The South chose Sir Henry. Eclipse won.

The phrase "Hands down" is from 19th century horse-racing, when victory was so secure that a jockey could drop the reins and still win.

Sir Barton won the Belmont Stakes on June 11, 1919, becoming the first horse to win what was to become to be known as the U.S. Triple Crown.

Seabiscuit defeated War Admiral on November 1, 1938 in an upset victory during a race deemed "the match of the century" in horse racing.The event was run over 1 3/16 miles (1.91 km) at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The estimated 40,000 spectators at the track were joined by 40 million listening on the radio.

Photo-finish cameras were used for the first time in Britain at a race course at Epsom in 1947.

Starting stalls were used for the first time in horse racing in Britain for the Chesterfield Stakes at Newmarket in 1965.

A little known horse called Red Rum won his first steeplechase, a novice event at Doncaster, at odds of 100/7 on November 6, 1970. He later galloped into history as the only three time winner of the Grand National.

By Rick Weston from UK - Red Rum at Castle Park, Bristol 1980 Wikipedia 

In what was billed as the "Battle of the sexes," Kentucky Derby winner, Foolish Pleasure went head to head in a 1975 match race against the undefeated filly, Ruffian. In the lead, Ruffian broke a leg and after an unsuccessful operation to save her, the horse most believe to be the greatest thoroughbred filly ever, was humanely put down.

A horse that wins a race 'hands down' means his jockey never used the whip.

On average, a racehorse will live for 25 to 30 years and around the age of 15, horses will normally retire from racing.

Originally, a "wild goose chase" was a horse race in which a leading rider would make a challenging course that other riders had to follow.

The phrase "dead heat" originates from horse-racing. A heat is that part of a race run without stopping; a dead heat reaches no conclusion as two (or more) horses tie.

Sources Europress Encyclopedia, Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia

Horse Meat

Boniface, the Archbishop of Mainz, lobbied Pope Gregory III for several years to place horseflesh into the forbidden category as many northern European pagans ate it as a religious ritual. His campaign was successful and in 732 the pope banned horseflesh from Christian dining tables, the only food the church has ever outlawed.

In Paris horse meat was all the rage in mid 1870s. Apparently, the Parisians were forced to eat it during the Franco-Prussian war when beef was unavailable, and discovered they liked it.

Horse meat consumption worldwide reached a peak of 628,300 tons in 1979.

It is today a major meat in only a few countries, notably in Tonga and Central Asia.

Kazakh athletes petitioned the IOC to be allowed to bring horse meat to the London Olympics in 2012.

Horse meat is slightly sweet, tender and low in fat.

The practice of eating horseflesh is called hippophagy.

Source Food for Thought by Ed Pearce

Famous Horses in History

From his boyhood days, Alexander the Great had a beautiful dark colored horse called Bucephalus whom he loved riding. Bucephalus was a stallion of high temper that no one could tame, until the ten-year-old prince succeeded by turning the horse's head into the sun as he'd noticed the stallion's own shadow was upsetting it. Alexander went on to teach the great horse to kneel so that his master could mount him in full armour. Bucephalus served him until his death after the Battle of the Hydaspes in what is now Pakistan in 326BC .

The Roman Emperor Caligula raised his favorite horse Incitatus to the rank of senator. When he died, it was deprived of its privileges

The horse on which Lady Godiva is said to have ridden naked through Coventry was named Aethenoth, which means 'Noble Audacity.'

When Hernando Cortés' horse, El Morzillo fell sick in 1524 and was left with the Maya Indians, they worshiped him as a new god. They had never seen a horse before the Conquistadors arrived and rode on deer. The Aztecs were so struck with horror at the sight of Cortés' mounted soldiers that believing they were confronted with divine creatures they felt it futile to resist them.

The most famous trained animal of Shakespeare's day was the bay horse Morocco, shown by John Banks; as exhibited in the yard of the Belle Sauvage, London, it returned gloves to their owners, told the number of coins, and danced (warranting a mention in Love's Labour's Lost).

King William III had a horse called Sorrell who was blind in one eye. When Sorrell stumbled over a mole hill in Hampton Court Park, the English king fell off on breaking his collar bone. A fortnight later he died from his injuries.

The oldest horse recorded was Old Billy who was foaled in 1760 and died in 1822 at the age of 62.

Potoooooooo (1773-1800) was one of the greatest racehorses of all time. He acquired the unique name because his stable lad didn’t know how to spell potato.

Napoleon's favorite was a white Barbary Egyptian horse called Marengo (1793-1831). He was named after the 1800 Battle of Marengo where his performance had impressed Napoleon.

Napoleon Crossing the Alps painted by Jacques-Louis David. The horse in the painting is believed to be Marengo.

Marengo was wounded eight times in his career, and carried the Emperor in the Battle of Austerlitz, Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, Battle of Wagram, and Battle of Waterloo.

The French emperor was still riding it at Waterloo and Marengo outlived Napoleon after he was captured by the British and brought to London.

Copenhagen was the Duke of Wellington's war horse, which he most famously rode at the Battle of Waterloo. He was a three-quarter Thoroughbred, one-quarter Arabian. Copenhagen died on February 12, 1836 at the age of 28 from eating too many sponge cakes, bath buns and chocolate creams.

Copenhagen as painted in his retirement by Samuel Spode.

Anna Sewell's classic animal welfare novel Black Beauty was published on November 24, 1877. It tells the life story of the titular horse named Black Beauty, beginning with his carefree days as a colt on an English farm with his mother, to his difficult life pulling cabs in London, to his happy retirement in the country. The book played a key part in the successful campaign to abolish the check-rein, a strap which stopped a horse from lowering its head.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.



Even in prehistoric times, hunters scratched pictures of horses on the walls of caves. These drawings, some of which date back to about 18,000 BC, vividly depict in simple lines the animation and action of the animals.

The breeding of horses was practised in Central Asia as early as the fifth pre-Christian millennium.

The horse had almost joined the woolly mammoth and the T. Rex on the list of extinct species when man first domesticated it in around 4000BC.

The Sumerians used the onager, a type of horse to pull wheeled carts.

In Asia Minor, archaeologists discovered Hittite cuneiform clay tablets from the fourteenth century BC with elaborate instructions for an entire course of horse training. The earliest known work devoted exclusively to the care, feeding, and training of horses, it was written by a Mitanni horseman hired by a Hittite king.

By the 1500s BC, the Egyptians used horse-drawn vehicles, but few Egyptians rode horses.

The ancient Egyptians decorated their tombs with spindle-legged stylized horses. Those shown on tombs were often many times larger than life size.

The Scythians of the Russian central steppes were a nomadic people to whom the horse was very important to their lives. In their burial mounds warriors were buried in their riding outfits with their trusted animals.

When Greek traders first saw these mounted Scythian men in the Black Sea region, they believed them to be a strange animal, half horse and half man. The Greeks called them centaurs and developed many fables about these unusual beasts.

The Assyrians and Babylonians were expert horsemen and made good use of the animal in hunting. A stone carving from Nimrod's palace at Nineveh, shows the king sitting secure on his galloping horse and, notwithstanding its tremendous speed, shooting an arrow at the prey. Mounted servants are seen following him, carrying a supply of spare arrows and his lance.

For social and military reasons, the horse was of immense importance in early Ireland. Its introduction to Ireland was credited to the mighty Celtic god Lugh.

The word "canter" entered into the English language from the pace of the horses heading for Canterbury in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. People mockingly called their leisurely progress "the Canterbury pace." Eventually, they dropped most of the phrase and retained only half of Canterbury.

Spanish explorers brought horses to the New World--the first in the Americas since the native horses had died out about 8,500 years before. The Spanish had royal horse farms operating in Jamaica by 1515, and Francisco Pizarro obtained horses from these farms for his expeditions to Peru.

When the Spanish reintroduced the horse to the Americas beginning in the late 15th century, some horses escaped and formed feral herds that remain wild to this day.

A great number of the horses (the majority were Arabians) that the Spaniards brought to the New World managed to escape. Roaming the country, they bred and multiplied, to be joined by other horses that had escaped from French settlers in the north. Together they established the wild American breeds.

A quarter of the horses in the US died of a vast virus epidemic in 1872.

By the middle of the 20th century, machines were performing many of the jobs that horses had done, and the population of horses--especially in Europe and North America--dropped drastically. In 1915 there were more than 21 million horses in the United States, but by 1955 their number had dropped to only a little more than 3 million.

In 2004, Congress designated December 13th as National Day of the Horse.

The world's horse population is estimated at 75,000,000.


The horse genome contains 2.7 billion DNA base pairs, and horses have over 90 hereditary diseases similar to those found in humans.

An individual horse puts out 14.9 horsepower.

Horses expend more energy lying down that they do standing up.

Horses can lock their knee and elbow joints to enable them to stand (and sleep) without using their muscles.

Horses have bigger eyes than any other mammal that lives on land.

A horse can look forward with one eye and backwards with the other.

Horses have nearly 360 degree vision.

Horses can't vomit.

An unborn horse has a rubbery covering over its hooves to protect its mother from being harmed during gestation and birth. They fall off almost immediately as the foal tries to stand.

A horse's hoof is technically a single toe, so horses run on their toes.

Icelandic horses have a unique gait called tölt in which one foot is on the ground at all times.

The phrase "Long in the tooth," meaning "old" was originally used to describe horses. As horses age, their gums recede, giving the impression that their teeth are growing. The longer the teeth look, the older the horse.


When a horse is expressing a positive emotion, it whinnies at a low frequency. When it's upset or excited, it whinnies at a high frequency.

Horses can communicate with humans by pointing to symbols. Researchers trained the horses to understand 3 symbols which meant "blanket on," "blanket off," and "no change." After training they were tested in different weather conditions and researchers found the choices matched the weather.


Big Jake is the tallest living horse. A Belgian draft horse, he stands at 210.19cm (just over 6ft 10in). and lives on a farm in Wisconsin, America. Big Jake eats 40 quarts of oats and one-and-a-half bales of hay a day.


A male horse is called a stallion and a female horse is a mare. A male horse which has been castrated is known as a gelding.

Horses killed more people in Australia between 2000 and 2013 than all venomous animals combined.

Hippophobia is the fear of horses.

Viggo Mortensen purchased Eurayus, the horse he rode in Lord of The Rings. Eurayus had a hard time adjusting to the lights and sounds on set and it took a while for them to get in sync. "We got through it together and became friends. I wanted to stay in touch with him," said Viggo.

The Przewalski's horse is the only true wild horse living in the world today.

There are more horses in the USA than any other country but Mongolia has most horses per head of population.

There are about 9.2 million horses in the United States and 4.6 million Americans are involved in the horse business.

Sources Europress Encyclopedia,  Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Horn (instrument)

Although there are several different bell-shaped brass instruments, from trumpets to tubas, it’s the French horn that people are talking about when they mention “the horn.”

Horn musical instruments began to emerge in the Bronze Age (c. 2300-1000 BC). The first ones were shell horns fashioned from sea shells and ox horns, which were natural ox horns with bronze fittings on the ends.

The first written records of horn music were hunting-horn signals, which date back to the fourteenth century. The early brass instruments used in hunting were round so that the hunter could put his arm through it and carry it on his shoulder and blow it while riding a horse. The riders could send messages to one another by blowing particular notes.

In the 17th century the modern orchestra was developing. Orchestras played for operas and there was often a hunting scene in the story. Hunters were asked to come and play their horns in the orchestra for these scenes. This is how the horn became an orchestral instrument.

The French horn made its first known debut in the comedy-ballet La Princesse d’Elide in Paris in 1664.

The horn officially did not officially enter the Imperial court orchestra in Vienna until 1712, but from there it was quickly adopted into Neapolitan opera, the most fashionable in Europe at the time. One of the first Neapolitan works to use horns was Alessandro Scarlatti's serenata Il genio austriaco: Il Sole, Flora, Zefiro, Partenope e Sebeto, performed August 28, 1713 as part of the celebrations for the birthday of Empress Elizabeth Christina.

Vienna horn. CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia Commons

By the 1830s the modern horn with three valves had been invented. These valves changed the length of the tube, so that the horn had now become chromatic i.e. it could play all the notes including sharps and flats.

When uncoiled, the French horn is 12 to 13 feet long.

Here is a list of pop songs that feature a horn section.

Source Oxford Music Online


Hormones are the chemical messengers of the endocrine system. They are the signals which adjust the body's internal working, together with the nervous system.

Vitamin D is actually a hormone, and can greatly affect your sleep quality and many other bodily functions.

Men and women have the exact same hormones -- the differences lie in the hormone levels and patterns.

Cuddling with pets causes the release of the feel-good hormones like oxytocin and dopamine, and releases the same hormones in the pets.

The hormone that makes you grow is only produced when you sleep.

The word "Adrenalin" - which would become genericized as "adrenaline" - is actually a trademarked name for the hormone "epinephrine." 

Friday, 24 July 2015


Hops are the female flowers of the hop plant, Humulus lupulus.

Hop flower. Pixiebay

The first documented use of hops in beer is from the ninth century. Originally the hop shoots were primarily used as a source of food for the poor before it was discovered their use enhances  the flavor of beer.

Before the introduction of hops, brewers had used a wide variety of bitter herbs and flowers, including dandelion, burdock root, marigold, ground ivy, and heather.

The introduction of hops from the Netherlands around 1475 resulted in English breweries starting to manufacture continental beer as well as the "hop-less" ale.

Hop cultivation was began in the present-day United States in 1629 by English and Dutch farmers.

Early season hop growth in a hop yard in Washington's Yakima River Valley.

A study has found that the hops found in beer not only add flavor, but also may lessen the damaging effects of alcohol on the liver.

Hops contain antioxidants, but you'd have to drink 118 gallons of beer a day to see any health benefit from them.

The hops used in beer are in the same biological family of flowering plants as marijuana. This is why some beers might taste/smell somewhat like cannabis.

Bob Hope

Leslie Townes "Bob" Hope was born on May 29, 1903, in London, England to a Welsh mother and English father. In 1908, the Hopes migrated to Cleveland, Ohio.

From the age of 12, Hope earned pocket money by busking, singing, dancing, and performing comedy. He entered many dancing and amateur talent contests (as Lester Hope) and won a prize in for his impersonation of Charlie Chaplin.

He changed his name from Leslie to Bob, because in school they would call the roll as 'Hope, Leslie' and classmates shortened it to hopeless.

In 1920, at the age of 17, Hope became an American citizen.

Before he was an actor, Hope fought as a professional boxer under the name of  "Packey East".

Bob Hope's first show business job was as a dancer in the 'Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle' vaudeville review in Cleveland in 1924.

Bob Hope's film The Big Broadcast of 1938 debuted in New York on February 18, 1938. The movie introduced Hope's signature song, "Thanks For The Memory."

Bob Hope performed his first USO show on May 6, 1941 at California's March Field. and continued to travel and entertain troops for the rest of World War II, later during the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the third phase of the Lebanon Civil War, the latter years of the Iran–Iraq War, and the 1990–91 Persian Gulf War.

Bob Hope USO show, 1944

Bob Hope made his network TV debut on April 9, 1950, hosting the 90-minute entertainment extravaganza Star-Spangled Review on NBC.

In February 1934, Bob Hope married Dolores DeFina (May 27, 1909 - September 19, 2011). She had been one of his co-stars on Broadway in Roberta .The couple adopted four children: Eleanora, Anthony, Linda, and Kelly.

The couple lived at 10342 Moorpark Street in Toluca Lake, California from 1937 until his death.

Bob Hope wrote a book Confessions of a Hooker, about his lifelong passion for golf.

His golf buddy was Prescott Bush, the father and grandfather of presidents George Bush and George W. Bush.

Bob Hope died of pneumonia on July 27, 2003, two months after his 100th birthday. He was buried three days later, and reburied on July 22, 2005 in a custom made grave in California.

The legendary comedian's last words were "Surprise me" in response to his wife's question regarding where he would like to be buried.

He holds two entries in The Guinness Book of World Records. One is for having the distinction of being the entertainer with "the longest running contract with a single network - spanning sixty-one years". The second is for being the "most honored entertainer", with over 1500 awards.

Bob Hope in 1978

Hope amassed 88,000 pages of comedy material over his lifetime and his long-serving secretary said she’d typed up about seven million jokes over 30 years and had never laughed once.

Bob Hope hosted a total of 19 Oscar ceremonies.

Bob Hope was the only person who was awarded five times with an honorary Oscar.

William Hoover

William Henry “Boss” Hoover (1849-1932) was an industrialist; born near North Canton, Ohio, who ran a leather goods manufacturing business. He was married to Susan Troxel Hoover (1846-1925).

In 1907, Susan Hoover's cousin, James Murray Spangler, a janitor in a Canton, Ohio department store, deduced that the carpet sweeper he used was the source of his cough. He tinkered with an old fan motor and attached it to a soap box stapled to a broom handle. Using a pillow case as a dust collector on the contraption, Spangler invented a portable electric vacuum cleaner.

Spangler gave one of his Electric Suction Sweepers to his cousin Susan Hoover, who used it at home. Impressed with the machine, she told her husband about it. Seeing a marketing opportunity, Hoover bought the patent from Spangler in 1908, founding the Electric Suction Sweeper Company with $36,000 capital, retaining Spangler as production supervisor with pay based on royalties in the new business.

Since Hoover vacuums were not well-known yet they offered a 10-day free trial of his electric suction sweeper. At the end of 1908, the company was able to sell 372 units of the models.

After Spangler's death in 1915, the company name was changed to the Hoover Suction Sweeper Company.

In 1919, Hoover's advertising agency came up with a slogan which summed up the Hoover's cleaning action: 'It it it Cleans' Hoover marketed his "vacuum cleaner" around the world, making his name virtually synonymous with the device. Eventually there was a Hoover vacuum cleaner in nearly every home.

William Hoover was a Sunday school teacher for 50 years. 

Herbert Hoover


Herbert Hoover was born on August 10, 1874, in West Branch, Iowa. His father, Jesse Hoover, was a blacksmith and farm implement store owner, of German  and Swiss ancestry. Hoover's mother, Hulda Randall Minthorn (1849–1884), was of English and Irish ancestry. Both of his parents were Quakers.

Herbert Hoover birthplace cottage, West Branch, Iowa. By Billwhittaker at English Wikipedia, 

At about age two "Bertie", as he was then called, contracted the croup. Little Bertie was so ill that he was momentarily thought to have died, until he was resuscitated by his uncle, John Minthorn

As a child,  young Bertie was often called by his father "my little stick in the mud", since he repeatedly was trapped in the mud while crossing an unpaved street.

1877 Herbert Hoover Tintype

Bertie's father died in 1880. After working to retire her husband's debts, retain their life insurance, and care for the children, his mother died in 1884, leaving Hoover (aged nine), his older brother, and his younger sister as orphans Fellow Quaker Lawrie Tatum was appointed as Hoover's guardian.


Hoover entered Stanford University in 1891, its inaugural year. While at the university, Hoover was the student manager of both the baseball and football teams and was a part of the inaugural Big Game versus rival the University of California (Stanford won).

He earned his way through four years of college working at various jobs on and off campus, including the Arkansas and United States Geological Survey.

Hoover graduated in 1895 with a degree in geology.


Hoover went to Western Australia in 1897 as an employee of Bewick, Moreing & Co., a London-based gold mining company. He worked at gold mines in Big Bell, Cue, Leonora, Menzies, and Coolgardie.

Herbert Hoover, aged 23; taken in Perth, Western Australia, in 1898

Later, Hoover worked as chief engineer for the Chinese Bureau of Mines, and as general manager for the Chinese Engineering and Mining Corporation.

In 1908, Hoover became an independent mining consultant, traveling worldwide until the outbreak of World War I in 1914. He left Bewick, Moreing & Co and, setting out on his own, eventually ended up with investments on every continent and offices in San Francisco, London, New York City, St. Petersburg, Paris and Mandalay, Burma.

By 1914, Hoover was a wealthy man, with an estimated personal fortune of $4 million.


Herbert Hoover met Lou Henry at Stanford University and they started courting. When Hoover graduated from Stanford in June 1895, they decided to delay wedding plans while she continued her education and he pursued his engineering career in Australia. In 1898, the year Lou graduated from Stanford, Hoover cabled a marriage proposal, which she promptly accepted by return wire.

First Lady of the United States

Both Herbert and Lou were 24 years old when they married on February 10, 1899, at the home of the bride's parents in Monterey, California.

Although raised an Episcopalian, Miss Henry decided to become a Quaker. But because there was no Quaker Meeting in Monterey, they were married in a civil ceremony performed by Father Ramon Mestres, a Roman Catholic priest of the Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo.

The day after their marriage, the Hoovers sailed from San Francisco for Shanghai, China, where they spent four days in the Astor House Hotel. The newlyweds soon settled into their first home, a large house in Tianjin. Hoover's job required extensive travel throughout remote and dangerous areas, which they did together.

 President Herbert Hoover and his wife Lou Henry standing at the back of a train in Belvidere, Illinois.

They had two sons together Herbert and Allan. Lou died of a heart attack in New York City on January 7, 1944. She predeceased her husband by 20 years,


After the United States entered World War I in April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Hoover to head the U.S. Food Administration.

Herbert Hoover established one meatless, two wheat-less and two pork-less days each week. This program helped reduce consumption of foodstuffs needed overseas and avoided rationing at home.

As a United States Commerce Secretary in the 1920s under Presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, Hoover promoted economic modernization.

The first long distance public television broadcast in America on April 7, 1927 from Washington, D.C., to New York City, displayed the image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover.

In the presidential election of 1928, Hoover easily won the Republican nomination. The nation was prosperous and optimistic, leading to a landslide for Hoover over the Democrat Al Smith.

Herbert Hoover was the first US president born west of the Mississippi.

President Hoover and his wife would talk in Mandarin Chinese to prevent White House staff from eavesdropping.

The custom of taking a "stretch" after the seventh inning during a baseball game started when Herbert Hoover, who was attending a game had to leave before it was finished. It so happened that his departure coincided with the end of the seventh inning. Seeing their president leave, all spectators got up to pay him respect. Thus the "stretch" originated, which has been observed at that very juncture of every game ever since.

A few months after Hoover was elected president, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began.

53 years after the invention of the phone, a line was finally installed in the White House for Herbert Hoover in 1929.

Due to his failure to fix the Great Depression, Hoover lost the 1932 election to Franklin Roosevelt.

Herbert Hoover, turned over all the Federal salary checks he received to charity during the 47 years he was in government.


Herbert Hoover had a Belgian shepherd dog called King Tut.

Hoover liked to drive his car, accompanied by his wife or a friend. He would go on wandering journeys, visiting Western mining camps or small towns where he often went unrecognized, or heading up to the mountains, or deep into the woods, to go fishing in relative solitude.

Herbert Hoover weighed 200 pounds when he entered the White House in 1929. His physician Joel Boone invented a game called Hooverball in which two teams of three players throw a 6-pound medicine ball back and forth over an 8-foot net on a tennis-like court. Hoover lost 21 pounds in his term.

He wrote extensively after his presidency, including The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson, the first biography of one president written by another,

A year before his death, his own fishing days behind him, Hoover published Fishing For Fun—And To Wash Your Soul, the last of more than sixteen books in his lifetime.


Herbert Hoover died following massive internal bleeding at the age of 90 in his New York City suite at 11:35 a.m. on October 20, 1964.  At the time, no former president had lived as long.

Source Wikipedia

Thomas Hooker

The puritan pastor and gifted preacher Thomas Hooker (1586-1647) had fled England to escape the persecution of the High Church Archbishop William Laud for non-conformity. After a period as first minister of the First Parish in Cambridge in 1636 he led his 100-strong congregation away to found a new settlement in Hartford, Connecticut. There he was much instrumental in the establishment of a written constitution for the government of the Colony. This was the first ever written Constitution known to history, that created a government and for this reason he is sometimes known as the father of American democracy


The common people of Rome wore a cloak with an attached hood.

Some kind of hood continued to be worn outdoors by both men and women throughout the early Middle Ages. If it was separate from the cloak or cape it was called a chaperon. If it was attached, it was a cowl, or capuchon.

The hooded cloak came into widespread use during the early part of the last millennium. It was worn by clerics, religious pilgrims, and shepherds.

With the emergence of the friars in the twelfth century, Francis of Assisi and Dominic devised a tunic that had an extensive hood attached. Friars, when turning to prayer would simply pull their hood over their heads. This was their withdrawal from the immediacy of the world within which they ministered.

The academic hood can be traced to a shoulder covering worn in the Middle Ages by begging Friars. Apart from keeping the itinerant monks warm on cold days, it served as a cloth receptacle and carrier bag for gifts presented to them by the pious.

The hood achieved its greatest popularity in the 15th century, when it was lengthened into the liripipe --a long, narrow band at the crown that almost touched the ground.

In about 1500, women began to wear hoods, highly jeweled and embroidered. Some form of hood or lace cap continued to be worn until the late 1700s.

Today, fashion hoods are generally soft headcoverings which form part of robbing a larger garment, such as an overcoat, shirt or cloak; an exception is a rain hood which is not part of a larger garment.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.