This is being written the morning after Election Day, when nothing has been truly settled. Following my strict policy of not writing about things political, I’ve decided to devote today’s writing to sharing what I consider to be very unimportant things that everyone should know. Now, I’m aware that our nation is divided into two distinct camps: those persons who desperately love trivia, and those persons who couldn’t care less. I have always been proud to swim in the lake of Trivia, and I feel sorry for those persons whose hearts don’t beat just a little faster when they hear a particularly juicy bit of unimportant stuff. So here goes:
Two days ago, on November 2, North Dakota celebrated its statehood anniversary. Actually North and South Dakota both were brought into the union on the same day in 1889, but North Dakota is considered the 39th state, and the “other” Dakota is the 40th. Why? Well, when the Dakota territory was to receive statehood, it was divided into two distinct states – North and South. The president at that time, Benjamin Harrison (who, by the way, was the grandson of William Henry Harrison, the 9th president, making it, until now at least, the only grandfather/grandson presidential family), actually turned the statehood charters over, and signed the back of each charter, and then mixed them up so no one would know which state was first. However, since “N” precedes “S” in the alphabet, the list of states by date has North Dakota edging out the other one by five letters.
The armadillo’s shell is bulletproof. Unfortunately, armadillos have the strong tendency, when startled, to jump straight up in the air in order to escape predators. That may work in the wild, but along highways, they will jump straight up into the undercarriage or fender of a moving vehicle, and then it doesn’t matter if you can stop bullets…
When you look at pictures of the Titanic, you will see four huge smokestacks. Only three were functional – the fourth one was built for show, to balance the look of the ship. By the way, you may know that before the Titanic even launched for the trip to meet the iceberg, it had a fire burning in the massive coal storage area in the base of the ship. Some believe that the heat from that fire actually weakened the otherwise almost impenetrable hull, which also happened to be on the side of the ship that hit the iceberg, causing it to rupture and sink.
Airplane “black boxes” are actually orange boxes so they can be more easily found in a wreckage or underwater.
The largest type of deer on earth – is a moose.
Leonardo DaVinci (whose actual full name at birth was merely Leonardo, as he was born as illegitimate and so did not receive his father’s surname – Vinci was the village he lived in while growing up) invented the following items, and more: parachute, diving suit, the double hull of a ship, the armored car, the 8-barreled machine gun, the ornithopter, predecessor to the helicopter, and scissors. Some said he was a pretty good painter, too. La Gioconda was maybe his best work – his painting of Lisa Gheradini, or “Mona Lisa.”
Bagels originated in Poland.
The hottest planet in our solar system is not Mercury, although in the closest part of its orbit around the sun, it’s only(!) 27 million miles away. By contrast, Venus is 67 million miles away, and yet it is the hottest planet. This is due to the incredibly dense gaseous atmosphere – 90 times more massive that Earth – that holds heat in so well. Also, as an extra, Venus rotates opposite of all the other planets in the system, and the rotation is incredibly slow, so that a day on Venus is longer than a year on Venus.
The phrase, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” is really backwards. The correct saying is, “You can’t eat your cake and have it too.” When you hear it that way, it makes much more sense. It’s sort of like when someone says they “could care less.” Does that mean they care a good deal? Instead, it should be that someone “couldn’t care less,” which tells you their care is non-existent.
Well, there you go, some things to think about, or to take your mind off the here and now, at least for the here and now. I do hope that no matter who you voted for, that your candidate wins. It’ll certainly make you feel better, and since I have no power over any of it… One thing that each of us can do with certainty, and without trivia is to find ways to show love today. Intentional and powerful, or gentle and heart-opening love is what makes the greater difference, even in a time of uncertainty. Be loved today.
Word for the day: kapellmeister. Pronounced CA-pel-my-ster. As you look at the word, it just appears to be German, which it is – especially the meister, or master part. The kapell, however, leads us further away from its root with this word. The word means “choirmaster,” or leader of a choir or even an orchestra. The first part actually helps us recall the chapel, or Latin capella.
The word chapel has a fascinating origin. It was believed that St. Martin of Tours, when he was in the military, came across a beggar who was freezing. Martin took his cape, and cut it in half, and gave half to the beggar (believed in the legend to be Christ in disguise). Martin then had a small cape, or “capella” to wear. He later became a monk, then abbot, then bishop. The capella eventually became a religious relic that the kings of France adored, and they would carry it into battle, keeping it safe in its own tent, which became known as a “capella,” or shortened for place of the cape, where daily Mass was offered. Those priests became “chaplains,” or priests of the capella.
Eventually, when small places of worship were built off of the sanctuary, where only small groups would gather, were also known as “chapels,” whether or not the actual capella of St. Martin was there. These small rooms were too tiny to have any kind of organ or any musical instrument, and so the small choirs that would sing there ended up singing a capella, in the chapel, without accompaniment.
It kind of defeats the story and definition when we then call the huge room at the Vatican the Sistine “chapel.” Of course, in comparison to St. Peter’s basilica, it is kind of tiny. By the way – one more thing. The Sistine chapel was originally called the “Capella Magna” or Great Chapel, but when Pope Sixtus IV restored it, it took on his name, and Sistine followed.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.