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Sunday, 30 April 2017

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom


Sir Robert Walpole entered office on April 1, 1721 as the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom under King George I.

Robert Walpole

Sir Robert Walpole resigned on February 11, 1742 over the alleged rigging of the Chippenham by-election. He had served 20 years and 314 days as prime minister, the longest single term and longer even than the accumulated terms of other British PMs who held the office more than once.

The British prime minister Spencer Perceval was on his way to attend the inquiry into the Orders in Council on the evening of May 11, 1812. As he entered the lobby of the House of Commons, a man stepped forward, drew a pistol and shot him fatally in the chest. He was the first, and to date only, British Prime Minister to be assassinated.

19th century illustration of Perceval's assassination in the Newgate Calendar

George Canning (1770-1827). was Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister — he died of pneumonia after just five months in office.

The last British Prime Minister from the House of Lords was Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury from 1895–1902. When time came to appoint his successor it was felt that he should be an elected MP from the House of Commons instead... and they have been ever since.

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman was the first "actual" British Prime Minister. Until the 18th century, the monarch's most senior minister could hold any of a number of titles; usually either First Lord, Lord Chancellor, Lord Privy Seal, or one of the Secretaries of State. During the late 18th Century, the term "prime minister" came to be used. The title was officially recognized by King Edward VII, in 1905, five days after Campbell-Bannerman was elected.

In October 1963, Alec Douglas-Home became the last Conservative Party leader to achieve office not by election but by what was termed "emergence". As the party was in power at the time, his position was confirmed by his being sent for by the Queen to "kiss hands" and receive the seals of office.

Douglas-Home was also the last Prime Minister to have previously sat in the House of Lords.

Margaret Thatcher became Britain's first female Prime Minister on May 4, 1979.


The tallest UK prime minister was Lord Salisbury, who stood at 193 cm (6ft 4in).  He served as prime minister three times between 1885 and 1902.

The shortest UK prime minister was Lord John Russell at 164cm (5ft 4in). He served as Prime Minister on two occasions during the mid-19th century. His Government of 1865 to 1866 might be described as the first Liberal Government.

Lord John Russell in 1861.

The most youthful prime minister was William Pitt the Younger, who was appointed at the age of 24.

Britain's richest prime minister was Edward Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, who was worth about £7m (£765m today) at his death in 1869.

The oldest was William Ewart Gladstone, who was prime minister four times and 84 when he finally left office.


On November 28, 1990, John Major became the only prime minister in the 20th century who’d not been an Opposition MP first.

UK prime ministers Ramsay MacDonald, Neville Chamberlain, Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan and Gordon Brown all chose to be known by their middle names.

UK prime ministers Ramsay MacDonald and Neville Chamberlain both died on November 9, in 1937 and 1940 respectively.

No UK prime minister has ever died in June.

Saturday, 29 April 2017


Primates in zoology are an order of mammals that contains all lemurs, monkeys and apes including humans.

Primates are split into two groups: Strepsirrhini and Haplorhini. Haplorrhini includes monkeys, tarsiers and apes including humans. Strepsirrhini includes lemurs, lorises, galagos (also called bush babies) and the Aye-Aye.

Ring-tailed lemur, a strepsirrhine primate

Primates have hands with five fingers and flat fingernails (most other animals have claws).

Primates and opossums are the only mammals with opposable first toes.

Humans are the only primates to have protruding chins. Non-human anthropoid apes have a simian shelf for example.

The blue-eyed black lemur is the only primate, other than humans, to have blue eyes.

Detail of face showing blue eyes. By Bruce McAdam from Reykjavik, Iceland Wikipedia

With the exception of humans, who inhabit every continent, most primates live in tropical or subtropical regions of the Americas, Africa and Asia.

The slow loris is the only venomous primate on Earth. It sucks venom from a patch on its elbow before giving a lethal bite to its victim.

Madame Berthe's mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae) is the world's smallest primate, growing to just 9 cm long and its seasonal weight is around 30 g (1.1 oz). Madame Berthe's mouse lemur can be found in Madagascar's woodlands.

Madame Berthe's Mouse Lemur (Microcebus berthae). By FC Casuario  Wikipedia

Orangutans are the least social of all primates. Females spend up to 25 per cent of their time with other orangutans. Males less than 9 per cent.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Joseph Priestley


Joseph Priestley was born on March 24, 1733, to an established English Dissenting family in Fieldhead, Birstall, – about six miles (10 km) southwest of Leeds, Yorkshire.

He was the oldest of six children born to Mary Swift and Jonas Priestley, a finisher of cloth.

His mother died when Joseph was about six. When his father remarried in 1741, Priestley went to live with his aunt and uncle, the wealthy and childless Sarah and John Keighley, 3 miles (4.8 km) from Fieldhead.

Priestley by Ellen Sharples (1794)

Because Joseph was precocious—at the age of four he could flawlessly recite all 107 questions and answers of the Westminster Shorter Catechism—his Calvinist aunt sought the best education for the boy, intending him for the ministry.

During his youth, Joseph attended local schools including Batley Grammar school where he learned Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.

Priestley's birthplace (since demolished)


In 1751, Priestley started studying for the ministry at Daventry Acadamy in Northamptonshire, a school under Nonconformist auspices, and there his fledgling Unitarian religious views began to take shape.

In September, 1755, Priestley started as a parish minister in Needham Market, Suffolk - though he was not officially ordained until May 18, 1762  at the Warrington Provincial Meeting of the Ministers of the County of Lancaster.

Because Priestley stammered and the parish was not suited to his unorthodox ideas, nor did they want a bachelor for their minister, he was unpopular in his Suffolk parish and he ultimately went to Nantwich, Cheshire.

Priestley established a private school in connection with the church in Nantwich where he preached, and derived his income from that school.

In 1761, Priestley moved to Warrington near Liverpool and assumed the post of tutor of modern languages and rhetoric at the town's Non-Conformist academy. Warrington Acadamy was the biggest of the dissenting academies in England, where the emphasis on practical education contributed greatly to the school’s success.

In addition to languages, Priestley also taught anatomy and astronomy and led field trips for his students to collect fossils and botanical specimens. Both modern history and the sciences were subjects which had not been taught in any schools before Priestley.

The earliest known portrait of Priestley, known as the "Leeds" portrait (c. 1763); 


Priestly's puritan outlook of leading a busy life meant that much of his spare time was devoted to study including scientific experimentation

His scientific reputation rested on his writings on electricity, his invention of soda water, and his discovery of ten previously unknown "Airs" (gases).

In 1773, the Earl of Shelburne asked Priestley to serve as tutor for his children, and librarian for his Calne, Wiltshire estate. The position left ample free time for the research that would earn him a permanent place in scientific history.

The laboratory at Lord Shelburne's estate, Bowood House, in which Priestley discovered oxygen

On August 1, 1774 Priestley discovered a colorless, odorless tasteless gaseous element by heating mercuric oxide using the sun's rays, whilst staying at Bowood House in the capacity of Librarian to the Earl of Shelbourne. He christened it "Dephlogisticated air". To the relief of physics students throughout the English speaking world it was renamed oxygen.

Priestley speculated that one day "Dephlogisticaed air" might become a luxury.

Actually the Swedish Chemist Carl Schele discovered oxygen two years before Priestley, but as the British part time scientist was the first to publish his findings, he gets all the credit.

Equipment used by Priestley in his experiments on gases, 1775

Priestley also discovered other gases during in his time in Calne, including "nitrous air" (nitric oxide, NO); "vapor of spirit of salt", later called "acid air" or "marine acid air" (anhydrous hydrochloric acid, HCl); "alkaline air" (ammonia, NH3); "diminished" or "dephlogisticated nitrous air" (nitrous oxide, N2O).

Priestley discovered a law that governed the force between electrical charges. Based on experiments with charged spheres, he was among the first to propose that electrical force followed an inverse-square law, similar to Issac Newton's law of universal gravitation.

Priestley's "electrical machine for amateur experimentalists", illustrated in his Familiar Introduction to the Study of Electricity (1768)

When Priestley was serving a congregation in the Yorkshire of Leeds, England, chance willed it that his parsonage should be adjacent to a brewery. The beer mattered little to him, but his curiosity was roused by the fumes diffused by the ferment grain. In search of their source, he was led along the very track that caused him, in 1772, to give soda water to the world. As the first to create the carbonated drink, Priestley has rightly been called "the father of the modern soft drink industry."

In 1770 Priestley discovered that India rubber could be used to rub out lead pencil marks.


Priestley's puritan outlook of leading a busy life meant that much of his spare time was devoted to Science and language. He learned a variety of tongues, both classical and modern, in his youth, including several Semitic languages. By the time he reached middle age he could speak many languages including Arabic, Syrian and Chaldee plus French, German and Italian.

Priestley made significant contributions to education and publishing. At Warrington. he found an intelligent printer, William Eyres, willing to publish his work. It was there that he published, The Rudiments of English Grammar in 1761 (a remarkably liberal grammar for its day and now considered a seminal work on English grammar) and other books on history and educational theory.

Title page of Rudiments of English Grammar (1761)

In 1767 Priestley published The History and Present State of Electricity with Original Experiments. This masterwork encouraged others to research electricity.

Priestley reported on his discovery of 10 previously unknown "Airs" (gases)  from 1774–1786 in a giant book of six volumes: Experiments and Observations on Different Kinds of Air.

He wrote extensively and often controversially on religious matters. In 1782 Priestley wrote An History of the Corruptions of Christianity, which the author believed was "the most valuable" work he ever published."

The first ever openly Atheistic book published in Britain was Matthew Turner's Answer to Dr Priestley's Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever.


Priestley was an accomplished flute player.

On June 23, 1762, Priestley married Mary Wilkinson of Wrexham, daughter of ironmaster Isaac Wilkinson and sister of industrialist John Wilkinson.

Mary Priestley, by Carl F. von Breda (1793)

On 17 April 1763, they had a daughter, whom they named Sarah after Priestley's aunt.

By September 1767 the combination of his finances and Mary's health caused him to relocate to Leeds.

Except for his membership on the Leeds Library Committee, Priestley was not active in the town's social life.


Priestly studied for the ministry at the Dissenting Academy of Droitwich. Raised as a devout Calvinist, by this time Priestley was questioning his theological upbringing, causing him to reject election and to accept universal salvation.

Though Priestley started as a parish minister in the 1750s, he was not officially ordained until May 18, 1762  at the Warrington Provincial Meeting of the Ministers of the County of Lancaster.

In 1767 Priestley became the minister of Mill Hill Chapel in Leeds, Yorkshire, one of the oldest and most respected Dissenting congregations in England. During the early 18th century the congregation had fractured along doctrinal lines, and was losing members to the charismatic Methodist movement. During Priestley's time as its minister from 1767 to 1773, he guided the chapel towards Unitarianism.

In 1780 the Priestleys moved to Birmingham, where he took up the position of Minister of the city's Unitarian Chapel.

In 1785 Joseph Priestley's controversial History of the Corruptions of Christianity, which developed the scientist's ideas on Unitarianism was burnt by the common hangman.

By the 1790s, Joseph Priestley was a supporter of the French Revolution and a rejecter of the doctrines of Atonement (Christ's death being a sacrifice) and the Trinity. He taught that God existed in one person only. On July 14, 1791 the Unitarian Minister was attending a banquet to celebrate the fall of the Bastille when his Birmingham Chapel and home were destroyed by a mob who were annoyed at his support for the French Revolution and his questionable Unitarian theology. His papers were destroyed and his apparatus smashed.

The attack on Joseph Priestley's home on 14 July 1791

Unable to return to Birmingham, the Priestleys eventually settled in Lower Clapton, a district in Hackney, Middlesex, where he gave a series of lectures on history and natural philosophy at the Dissenting academy, the New College at Hackney.

In 1793, Priestley received an appointment to preach for the Gravel Pit Meeting congregation at Hackney. Hey was minister there between 1793 and 1794 and the sermons he preached, particularly the two Fast Sermons, reflect his growing millenarianism, his belief that the end of the world was fast approaching. Priestley's unorthodox biblical views were generally unappreciated at the Gravel Pit.


By the time he started tutoring at Warrington, Priestley's religious ideas had matured to Socinianism, a form of Unitarianism.

A member of marginalized religious groups throughout his life and a proponent of what was called "rational Dissent," Priestley advocated religious toleration and equal rights for Dissenters. He argued for extensive civil rights in works such as Essay on the First Principles of Government, believing that individuals could bring about progress and eventually the Millennium; Priestley was the foremost British expounder of providentialism.

He was nicknamed “Gunpowder Priestley” after a comment that gunpowder needed to be laid “under the old building of error and superstition."

Priestley was a member of an Enlightenment group of chemists, inventors and medics called the Lunar Society, because they meet each full moon. Other members of the group include the potter, Joshua Wedgwood, the engineer James Watt, the financier Matthew Boulton and the freethinking poet, Erasmus Darwin.


In 1794, Joseph Priestley sailed to Northumberland, Pennsylvania seeking religious freedom. The radical chemist's three sons had already emigrated to America a year previously. His controversial support for the French revolution meant he was unable to rent a house in Britain.

Priestley had hoped his rural Pennsylvania home would become the center of a utopian community, but this never happened as the expected emigrants could not afford the journey.

The Priestleys' rural Pennsylvania home. By User:Ruhrfisch 


During his last years in America, Priestley spent his time writing and experimenting.

On February 3, 1804, Priestley began an experiment, but found himself too weak to continue. He retired to his bed where he remained for the next three days. Priestley passed away there on the morning of February 6. 1804, aged seventy.

Priestley, painted late in life by Rembrandt Peale (c. 1800)

Priestley was buried at Riverview Cemetery in Northumberland, Pennsylvania.


A priest or priestess is a person who is allowed to do religious rites.


The priests among the early Roman Christians used their everyday clothing for Mass and only gradually began to reserve more costly apparel for that use. It was Constantine The Great who first bought about the change. The Roman emperor liked to be arrayed in splendid jewel-encrusted robes. When he presented the Bishop of Jerusalem with an attractive set to use when celebrating Mass, they were as lavish and impressive as the best ceremonial robes of the pagan high priests. This was the first recorded use of vestments by a priest.

By the 6th century fashions had changed and people were abandoning the traditional Roman kind of apparel, in favour of the new short tunics, trousers, and cloaks of  the invading barbarians. However, one style remained the same - the garments worn at Mass by the priest.

The clergy, conservative in all things, refused to adopt the "modern" garment and continued to use the now outmoded Roman toga and long type of tunic. Indeed, Pope Gregory the Great, determined to obstruct any change, decried the new fashion as barbarian and decreed retention of the Roman garb by his priests.

This form of dress still survives today in the surplice, cassock, and frock worn by priests.

The Anglican Bishop of Willesden wearingvestments on Laetare Sunday,with three of his priests, 

In 1566 Thirty-seven English clergy are suspended from their posts by the Archbishop of Canterbury for refusing to wear ecclesiastical dress because it smacked of Roman Catholic trappings.


In the early Middle Ages, it was not uncommon for an abbess (the female head of a religious community) to rule "double" communities of both men and women. One who did so was Hilda of Whitby (614-680), whose abbey became famous for its learning and libraries. Five future bishops were trained in her community, and kings and rulers sought her advice.

Antoinette Blackwell ((May 20, 1825 – November 5, 1921)) was inspired by evangelical revivals to enrol at the Presbyterian Oberlin College and study theology, but as a woman she was refused a degree and ordination. After lecturing on women's rights and occasionally preaching at progressive churches, she was appointed in 1853 pastor by the First Congregational Church in South Butler, New York, thus becoming the first woman minister in an established Protestant denomination. However due to theological disagreements she resigned after less than a year and later joined the Unitarian church.

Portrait of Antoinette Louisa Brown Blackwell

In 1944, the first woman priest in the Anglican communion, Florence Li-Tim Oi of the neutral Portuguese colony of Macau near Hong Kong, was ordained. However after the Second World War finished there was an explosion of anger and outrage and even the Archbishop of Canterbury denounced her ordination so now under pressure Li Tim Di decided to give up her license. However she continued to serve a small congregation in a Chinese church as an unlicensed priest.

The American Episcopal Church approved the ordination of women as priests and bishops in 1976. Two years later,  the Episcopal Canon Mary Simpson of New York spoke from the pulpit of Westminster Abbey in London. She was the first ordained woman to preach there in the 913 years since 1065, when the Abbey was first consecrated.

In 1992 the Church of England Synod voted in favor of women priests. Two years later, the first 32 Anglican women priests were ordained at Bristol Cathedral by Bishop Barry Rogerson. However in response, 700 Anglican clergymen threatened to leave the Anglican Church for the Roman Catholic Church.

Women aren't allowed to be priests in the Catholic Church because, according to Catholic doctrine, priests actually embody the persona of Jesus and God.


Catholic priests are not allowed to marry meaning that they have to be celibate. Orthodox priests can be married, but they must not marry after they become a priest. Anglican priests can get married before or during the time they are a priest.

Celibacy of the clergy had been promoted as an ideal since the second century when it was first taught that clerical sexual abstinence was an apostolic practice which must be followed by ministers of the church. However it was not enforced legally until 1075 when Pope Gregory VII as part of his Dictatus Papae (The Pope¹s Memorandum) enjoined the people to take action against married priests and deprive these clerics of their revenues. There was much opposition to this. For instance in Normandy, the Archbishop of Rouen was stoned by an angry mob after ordering that priests whether single or married must give up sex.

There are actually about 80 married Roman Catholic priests. In almost all the cases, the priests were married before they joined the Catholic church. Once they converted to Catholicism, they remained married and their vows are recognized by the Vatican.


The Roman Catholic religion was outlawed in Elizabethan England, , In 1568 William Allen, an exiled English Catholic priest, founded a seminary at Douai in The Netherlands, to train English priests for the Catholic community in England. He desired to restore Roman Catholicism in Britain and he wanted to ensure there was a supply of trained clergy ready to come into the country when Catholicism was restored.

John Southworth was the last English Catholic priest to be executed in 1654.

Bonnie Prince Charlie's younger brother Henry (1725-1807) was a celibate Roman Catholic Priest who later become a cardinal.

When Stephen T. Badin, a French Catholic missionary, completed his studies at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore in 1793, he became the first Catholic priest to be ordained in America.

Stephen Badin

In 1865 Franz Liszt became a secular Franciscan priest. After his ordination on July 31, 1865, he was often called Abbé Liszt.

Hannibal Goodwin, the inventor of celluloid photographic film, was an Episcopal priest.

The Big Bang theory was formulated in 1927 by Georges Lemaitre, a Belgian Catholic priest.

Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty was an Irish priest who organised an escape organisation in Italy during World War II. He saved the lives of 6,500 Allied soldiers and Jews by hiding them in farms, homes and convents. O'Flaherty was a master at disguises and evaded capture by the Gestapo many times earning him the nickname "Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican".

Tom Cruise was raised as Catholic and actually wanted to be a priest in his earlier days. He left seminary school a year after enrolling.

Rock musician Jack White was once accepted to the Wisconsin Seminary and almost became a priest. He didn’t go when he found out he couldn’t bring his guitar and amp.

Catholic Digest, Europress Encyclopedia,

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice was first written at Steventon Rectory when Jane Austen was 21-years-old and originally titled First Impressions. In 1797, her father sent the manuscript to the publisher Thomas Cadell. In response, Cadell scrawled “Declined by Return of Post” on the letter and sent it back with insulting speed.

Watercolour-and-pencil portrait of Jane Austen by her sister Cassandra

After the publisher's rejection the novel languished for 14 years.

Flush with the success of Sense and Sensibility, which was well on its way to selling out its first print run of 750 copies, Austen revised the manuscript in 1812.

The title change is thought to have happened because by the time Austen revised her manuscript there were two other works with the same  name out by Margaret Holford and Horace Smith respectively.

Austin sold the full rights to Pride and Prejudice to Thomas Egerton, the publisher of Sense and Sensibility for £110, having asked for £150.

Pride and Prejudice was published on January 28, 1813 when Austen was 37 years old.

Title page from the first edition of the first volume of Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen didn’t put her name on her novels. The title page of Pride and Prejudice said, “by the author of Sense and Sensibility.” It wasn’t until after Austen's death in 1817 that her brother revealed her name to the public.

Pride and Prejudice was advertised in the Morning Chronicle, priced at 18s. Favorable reviews saw this edition sold out, with a second edition published in November 1813.

In the first two editions alone published in 1814, Egerton profited £450. Since then, Pride and Prejudice has sold approximately 20 million copies.

Charlotte Brontë, in a letter to the critic George Henry Lewes, wrote that Pride and Prejudice was a disappointment, "a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; but ... no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck".

There have been at least 11 film and TV versions of the book. The six-episode 1995 BBC British television adaption of Pride and Prejudice was critically acclaimed and a popular success, Pride and Prejudice was honored with several awards, including an Emmy for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Costume Design for a Miniseries or a Special".

The role of Mr Darcy in the BBC series elevated Colin Firth to stardom. Although it's the role that made him famous, Colin Firth almost passed on playing Mr. Darcy—he knew very little about Pride and Prejudice.

Source Mental Floss

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Elvis Presley


Elvis Aron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in the Mississippi city of Tupelo.

Elvis was actually one half of a set of twins. His twin brother, later named Jesse Garon Presley, died during birth, which was not terribly uncommon for a family in 1935 Mississippi.

With no other siblings, Elvis was raised an only child.

As a one-year-old in Tupelo on April 5, 1936, Elvis and his family survived a tornado that was ranked as the fourth deadliest in United States history. It took 216 lives.

Presley's birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi

According to elderly witnesses, Elvis was no tearaway but a scholarly, contemplative child. He apparently loved to read Enid Blyton books.

On January 7, 1946 a tornado ripped through Tupelo, forcing a ten-year-old Elvis Presley into the cellar with his mother, Gladys.

For his 11th birthday, Elvis Presley asked for a bicycle. Instead, his father bought him a guitar.

In 1949 the family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where young Presley attended L.C. Humes High School, graduating in 1953.

Elvis Presley received a 'C' in his 8th grade music class. His teacher told him he "had no aptitude for singing."


Before he found fame, ‘the King’ auditioned for a band called the Songfellows — they turned him down, suggesting he couldn’t harmonize.

In the summer of 1953 Elvis first came to the attention of Sam Phillips, president of the Sun Record Company, when he went there to make a personal recording intended as a present for his mother.

In April 1954, Presley began working for the Crown Electric company as a truck driver. Sam Phillips had retained interest in the 19-year-old and arranged some sessions with a couple of local session players. The trio tried a few different songs in various styles, finally hitting the mark when they informally started playing Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's 1946 blues song "That's All Right," in a fast style.  Phillips liked what he heard and it became Presley's first commercial recording.

Elvis Presley made his radio debut in 1954 when WHBQ Memphis played his first recording for Sun Records, "That's Alright Mama."

 On July 12, 1954 Elvis Presley signed a recording contract with Sun Records.

Presley in a Sun Records promotional photograph, 1954
The Blue Moon Boys made their live debut on July 20, 1954 appearing on the back of a flatbed truck outside a new drug store in Memphis. The band line up was Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black. The name was taken from a song they had recorded as a the b-side to "That's Alright Mama.", a cover of Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon Of Kentucky."

By early 1955, Presley had become a regional star. In January of that year music promoter Colonel Tom Parker became his manger.

Before becoming Elvis's notorious manager, Colonel Tom Parker used to paint sparrows yellow and sell them as canaries.

Elvis made only one advertisement in his life: a TV commercial for Southern Made Doughnuts in 1954. His only line of dialogue was: "You get 'em piping hot after 4am."

In 1955, Sun Records owner Sam Phillips sold Elvis Presley's contract to RCA for $35,000. It wasn't such a disastrous decision by Phillips: Presley had just one year left on his contract, and Phillips invested the money in a local hotel chain called the Holiday Inn, which made him a bigger fortune than anything he did in music.

On January 28, 1956, Elvis Presley made his first television appearance on The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show. He sang "Shake, Rattle and Roll."

Publicity photo for Elvis 1st appearance on the CBS program Stage Show


On February 25, 1956, Elvis Presley earned his first # 1 hit with "I Forgot to Remember to Forget," topping the country chart for two weeks.

The 21-year-old Presley created a sensation with his rock 'n' roll-styled "Heartbreak Hotel," the first of his 14 records in a row that sold more than a million copies each. Released on January 27, 1956, it climbed to the top of the pop chart reaching #1 in April and spending eight weeks at the summit. The success of "Heartbreak Hotel" began his period as the most famous American musician and teen idol.

Wikipedia Commons

Love Me Tender, Elvis' first film, was released that same year.

On September 9, 1956 Elvis Presley made the first of three appearances on TV's Ed Sullivan Show. While Ed recovered from an auto accident, actor Charles Laughton introduced Elvis, who sang his forthcoming single "Love Me Tender.". He was watched by an agog audience of approximately 60 million viewers—a record 82.6 percent of the television audience - instantly becoming the most famous 21-year-old in the world.

Ed Sullivan and Presley during rehearsals for his second appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, 

Elvis' pelvic gyrations on the Ed Sullivan Show were considered so scandalous that during his third and final appearance on the program on January 6, 1957 he was shot only down to the waist.

Elvis Presley received his draft notice on December 20, 1957, but applied for and received a 60-day deferment to fulfill his commitment to the movie, King Creole.

On March 15 1958, Elvis Presley performed his last concert before leaving for the Army, a show at Memphis' Russwood Park. Aside from two benefit shows in 1961, this would be the last Presley concert until 1969.

Presley's records, 45 of which sold more than a million copies each, his 33 motion pictures, and his appearances on television and in live concerts made the young singer into a one-man industry who by the mid-1960s was the highest-paid performer in show business history.


Elvis shocked the more staid Americans with his ducktail haircut, long sideburns and undulating hips.

Presley in a publicity photograph for the 1957 film Jailhouse Rock

Elvis' hip gyrations, which some viewers thought too suggestive, earned him the nickname Elvis the Pelvis.

His favourite aftershave was Brut.


Elvis Presley was drafted in the U.S. Army in 1958. He went through regular training and then served as a truck driver in West Germany

Presley being sworn into the U.S. Army at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, March 24, 1958

Sergeant Elvis Presley was discharged honourably from the U.S. Army in 1960. Elvis set foot in the UK for the first and only time on March 2, 1960 when he landed briefly at Prestwick airport in Scotland to refuel on his way home after his military service in Germany.


Resuming his career under Colonel Parker's supervision, Elvis worked up a touring act, based in Las Vegas, Nevada, and attracted an ever-expanding public.

On January 14, 1973 Elvis Presley's concert Aloha from Hawaii was broadcast live via satellite, and set a record as the most watched broadcast by an individual entertainer in television history. Later released as a double album, it became one of Elvis's bestselling releases of the '70s.

Presley in Aloha from Hawaii, broadcast live via satellite on January 14, 1973


While in Friedberg, Germany, Presley met 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu. They would eventually wed after a seven-and-a-half-year courtship.

Elvis and Priscilla were married on May 1, 1967, in a brief ceremony in their suite at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.

Presley's only child, Lisa Marie, was born on February 1, 1968.

The Presleys with newborn Lisa Marie, February 1968

The Presleys separated on February 23, 1972, after Priscilla disclosed her relationship with Mike Stone, a karate instructor Presley had recommended to her. They were divorced in 1973.


Though in his pioneering rock 'n' roll days in the 1950s he was much criticized by the church for the 'sinful gyrations' included in his act, Elvis was a lover of Gospel music and usually included some spiritual songs amongst his repertoire.

Elvis wore a Star of David, the Hebrew letter chi and the cross as jewellery, explaining himself with, "I don't want to miss out on heaven due to a technicality."


The Graceland site was originally part of a 500-acre farm owned by Stephen C. Toof, founder of S.C. Toof & Co., the oldest commercial printing firm in Memphis.

The "grounds" were named after Toof's daughter, Grace. She inherited the farm/grounds from her father in 1894. After her death, the property was passed down to her niece Ruth Moore, a Memphis socialite, who together with her husband, Dr. Thomas Moore, built a 10,266 square feet (953.7 m2) Colonial Revival style mansion in 1939.

Dr and Mrs Moore divorced in 1952. After her divorce, Mrs Moore allowed a local church group to use her property until they could build a church on adjoining property.

Their daughter, Ruth recalled that Elvis's offer (just over $100,000) was chosen over others' not due to her mother's love of rock 'n' roll, but Elvis's love of gospel music and church. He completed the purchase in the spring of 1957.

Elvis used Graceland, a lavish plantation mansion set in a 13-acre park, as a retreat from the enthusiasm of his public.


Presley was known for a life of luxury and excess, as exemplified by his estate at Graceland. He owned a number of expensive motor vehicles, including three pink Cadillacs.

The Pink Cadillac on display in 2012

Elvis named a private jet after daughter Lisa Marie. It had a blue suede bed and gold taps.

When he was in his early 20s Elvis Presley had a pet spider monkey called Jayhew.

Elvis had a pet chimp called Scatter, which developed a taste for Scotch and bourbon.


In the last years of his life, Elvis devoured vast amounts of food. He breakfasted on twenty rashers of bacon and five banana splits.

There were two cooks on twenty-four hour duty to provide the meat loaf, fried chicken, peanut butter sandwiches and chocolate gravy that Elvis loved.

At its height, Elvis's daily food intake was an estimated 94,000 calories, nearly twice that of an Asian elephant.

The last food Elvis ate was four scoops of ice cream and six chocolate chip cookies.


The Army introduced Presley to karate, which he studied seriously, later including it in his live performances.

 In Memphis, Presley earned his first-degree black belt in 1960 under Chito-Ryu stylist Hank Slemansky.

In his quest to become an honorary undercover agent for the DEA and do his bit for the never-ending war on drugs, Elvis was invited to the White House on December 21, 1970 to offer his services to President Richard Nixon. Reportedly under the influence of heavy prescription barbiturates, the king gave the leader of the free world a chrome-plated Colt .45 pistol. In exchange, Nixon gave Presley a Narcotics Bureau badge.

Presley meets U.S. President Richard Nixon in the White House Oval Office

By 1976 Elvis had a vast collection of police badges, in February of that year he was made a reserve Memphis policeman.


Unable to go anywhere without being mobbed by fans, Presley became increasingly reclusive. He gained weight and took various prescription drugs.

Elvis died of heart failure in Memphis on August 16, 1977. He was sitting on a toilet at the time reading The Scientific Search for Jesus.

Elvis' death in 1977 in no way diminished his popularity with his fans. is records continued to sell, and his legend brought on a whole generation of imitators.

Presley's gravestone at Graceland
Although Elvis's middle name on his birth certificate was 'Aron', his grave has it as 'Aaron', which was his own preferred spelling.

Memphis police caught three body snatchers trying to steal Elvis, just a week and a half after his burial. As a result, the singer's father Vernon Presley had his son's and wife's bodies moved from Forest Hill cemetery to the grounds at Graceland.

When the United States Post Office decided to do an Elvis stamp in 1992, they put it up for a vote: a young Elvis or an old Elvis image. The young Elvis won by a landslide, getting more votes by a factor of three to one.

A lock of Elvis Presley’s hair was sold at auction for $115,000 in 2002.


At the age of 36, Elvis Presley became the youngest recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The alphabet positions of the letters in 'Presley'' add up to 100.

The world record for the longest non-stop Elvis impersonation is 55 hours.

Elvis Presley recorded over 600 songs, but never wrote any of them.

The famous phrase "Elvis has left the building" reflects the fact that Elvis Presley never performed an encore.

Sources Triple Radio, Compton's Encyclopedia

Monday, 24 April 2017

President of the United States


George Washington was elected the first president of the United States on February 4, 1789.

Portrait of George Washington (1732–99)

In 1844, Latter Day Saints founder Joseph Smith became the first Mormon to run for President of the United States and the first American presidential candidate to be assassinated.

In 1845 The U.S. Congress passed legislation overriding a President's veto for the first time. President John Tyler was in office at the time.

James K. Polk was laid to rest in Nashville, Tennessee in 1849. He was the first and so far only president buried on the grounds of a state capital.

Victoria Woodhall, the radical feminist, was the first woman to run for president of the United States in 1872.

In 1881 Eliza Garfield became the first mother of a U.S. President to live in the executive mansion. She moved into the White House with her son James, the President.

In 1886 Grover Cleveland became the first and so far only U.S. President to marry in the White House when he wed Frances Folsom.

In 1892 former President Cleveland defeated incumbent Benjamin Harrison in 1892, becoming the first (and, to date, only) chief executive to win non-consecutive terms to the White House.

Benjamin Harrison had served as the 23rd President of the United States from 1889 to 1893; he was the grandson of the ninth president, William Henry Harrison. John Harrison was the only person to be both the child (William Henry Harrison) and the parent (Benjamin Harrison) of U.S. Presidents.

In 1906 Theodore Roosevelt became the first sitting President of the United States to make an official trip outside the country. He did so to inspect progress on the Panama Canal.

President Theodore Roosevelt sitting on a steam shovel at Culebra Cut, 1906

When former U.S. President William Howard Taft was sworn in as 10th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1921, he became the only person to ever be both President and Chief Justice.

U.S. President Warren G. Harding was the first Chief Executive to pay taxes and account for his income in 1923. Harding's tax bill amounted to nearly $18,000.

A presidential address was broadcast on radio for the first time in 1923 as President Coolidge spoke to a joint session of Congress.

When Calvin Coolidge took the oath of office in Washington DC for his second term in 1925, it was the first presidential inauguration to be broadcast on radio.

In 1937 Franklin Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to be inaugurated on January 20th. The 20th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution set the date, officially, for the swearing in of the President and Vice President. The amendment was ratified by Congress in 1933.

Harry S Truman was the first U.S. President to use radio and television to say farewell as he left office in 1953.

In 1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first person to be elected U.S. President after the ratification of the 22nd Amendment (which limits a person's presidential service to two terms).

A presidential news conference was filmed for television (and in movie newsreels) for the first time in 1955, with the permission of President Eisenhower. The thirty three-minute conference was cut to twenty eight-and-a-half minutes to fit TV formats.

The first televised presidential debate was September 26, 1960, between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Kennedy's quick wit made him "an immediate sensation," according to reporters gathered at the scene.

In 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first black candidate for a major party's nomination for President of the United States, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

Richard Nixon was the first American president to resign from office in 1974.

Richard Millhouse Nixon was the first US president whose name contains all the letters from the word "criminal." The second was William Jefferson Clinton.

Gerald Ford became the first non-elected President of the U.S. after Richard Nixon resigned. He said "I know that you have not elected me as President with your votes, but I ask that you confirm me with your prayers."

On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was voted in as the first black President of the United States.


George Washington was the wealthiest US President, with $525 million (adjusted for inflation). His salary was 2% of the total US budget in 1789, and he owned over 50,000 acres of land.

After delivering a long inauguration speech on a cold day, William Henry Harrison, went down with pneumonia and died 32 days later. He served the shortest term of any U.S. president.

When the 68-year-old Harrison took office in 1841, he was the oldest man elected president, a record that stood for 140 years and was broken by Ronald Reagan, who was 69 years old when he took office.

Ronald Reagan

Theodore Roosevelt was President McKinley's vice-president. When McKinley was assassinated, Roosevelt was 42, making Roosevelt the youngest ever president.

John F. Kennedy, the youngest elected US President, was 43 year 7 months and 22 days when inaugurated.

Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson were both 193cm (6ft4in) tall, the tallest US presidents.

The shortest US president on record was James Madison, who was 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighed less than 100 pounds.

James Madison

John Tyler had the most children of any president - 15. His youngest child was born when he was 70. He was married twice.


November 2 is the only date that was the birthday of two US presidents: Warren Harding (born 1865) and James Polk (1795).

July 4 is the only date on which three US presidents died: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (both 1826) and James Monroe (1831).

Seven US presidents have died in July, which is more than any other month.

No US President has ever died in May. It is the only month that can make such a claim.

No only child has been US President (although some only had half-siblings).

It takes a single one-page form and about four minutes to apply to become an official presidential candidate in the U.S.

Six presidents were named James: Madison, Monroe, Polk, Buchanan, Garfield and Carter.

The U.S. President's Guest House is larger than the White House.

Once you become President of the United States of America you can no longer drive on public roads.


A president is the leader of a country. The president of a country is not the same thing as a prime minister. A prime minister is part of a parliament, but a president is not.

The first usage of the word president to denote the highest official in a government was during the Commonwealth of England. After the abolition of the monarchy the English Council of State, whose members were elected by the House of Commons, became the executive government of the Commonwealth. The Council of State was headed by a Lord President, the first of which was John Bradshaw. However, the Lord President alone was not head of state, because that office was vested in the council as a whole.

John Bradshaw (July 15, 1602 – October 31, 1659) 

The modern usage of the term president to designate a single person who is the head of state of a republic can be traced directly to the United States Constitution of 1787, which created the office of President of the United States.

Pedro Lascuráin was President of Mexico for 45 minutes in 1913; this is the shortest term to date of any person as president of any country.

When Argentine president Juan Perón died on July 1, 1974, he was succeeded by his wife and vice president, Isabel, who became the first female president of any country in the world. She served as president of Argentina until March 24, 1976.

Isabel Martínez de Perón

When Eamon De Valera reached the end of his second term as President of Ireland in 1973 at the age of 91, he was the oldest head of state of any country in the world.

When Shimon Peres stepped down as Israel’s president in July 2014, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe born February 21, 1924) assumed the mantle of the world’s oldest head of state.

Robert Mugabe in May 2015 By, Wikipedia

Hery Rajaonarimampianina, the president of Madagascar, has a longer surname than any other president in the world.