Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Five Factlets

When British Labour Party politician and leader of the Opposition, Michael Foot (1913-2010), was put in charge of a Nuclear Disarmament Committee, The Times’ headline read “Foot Heads Arms Body”.

According to Martyn Cornell, who was a subeditor on the Times around 1986, a conventional headline in largish type across a single column was difficult. "I certainly wasn't going to get 'nuclear' or 'disarmament' or 'committee' to fit, so after a struggle I decided on 'Foot chairs arms body', then thought 'Foot heads arms body' would at least give a laugh to the revise sub. To my astonishment, the headline was printed.”


On September 28, 1918, Private Henry Tandey, a British soldier serving near the French village of Marcoing, encountered a wounded German soldier and declined to shoot him. The soldier, part of a German retreat, had come into Tandey’s line of fire. According to Tandey, "I took aim but couldn’t shoot a wounded man, so I let him go." The German soldier nodded in thanks, and disappeared. The German soldier was Adolf Hitler.


The record for the fastest sending off in a soccer is 2 seconds in a game in October 2000. Cross Farm Park Celtic striker Lee Todd had his back to the referee when the referee blew his whistle to start the game. Startled by the force with which it was blown, Todd muttered “Fuck me, that was loud” and was immediately red carded for foul language. "I wasn't swearing at the ref or anyone else," protested Todd afterwards. "Anyone else would have done the same - he nearly blew my ear off." Manager Mark Heard was supportive, despite the 11-2 loss, saying “Referees are supposed to use a bit of common sense."


A Russian cruise ship has been adrift in the North Atlantic since January 2013, after breaking free from a towing line as it was being delivered from Canada to a scrapyard in the Dominican Republic. The Lyubov Orlova, built in 1976, once operated as a cruise ship, exploring the icy waters of Antarctica. In 2010, she was seized at St. John’s Harbour in Newfoundland following a lawsuit over unpaid fees. The ship remained tied up for more than two years before it was sold to Caribbean buyers in February 2012. On Jan. 23 of this year, the derelict ship left Canada for the Dominican Republic to be scrapped but its towing cable snapped a day later. The ship escaped again after it was secured by a supply vessel on Jan. 31. It then drifted into international waters. 

According to a document from a US intelligence agency, the abandoned ship was recently seen about 1,300 nautical miles off the coast of Ireland and is drifting toward Europe. Irish authorities are looking over satellite data to try and locate the loose vessel since there’s some concern that the ghost ship, apparently infested with rats, could hit Ireland’s shore.


Isidor Strauss, the co-owner of Macy’s department store, died aboard the Titanic with his wife, Rosalie Ida Blun.  The couple had seven children. After the Titanic hit the iceberg, Ida refused to leave her husband, reportedly saying “I will not be separated from my husband. As we have lived, so will we die, together.” They were last seen sitting on the deck holding hands. His body was recovered, but hers was never found. The old couple in the film lying on the bed holding each other as the ship sinks is based on them.

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