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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday October 10, 2003

Things you always never wanted to know

· In 1999, Lin Chi-Fa, from southern Taiwan, discovered a three-headed turtle in his garden pond. Only two of its heads were fully developed. Since the turtle is regarded as a sacred animal in Chinese folklore, Lin took it to a temple to be blessed, only to notice that it walked in a zig-zag fashion. Its two fully developed heads could not agree on which direction to take.

· On the eve of World War II, the U.S. Army ranked, with reserves counted, 19 among the world's armed forces. This placed the U.S. after Portugal but ahead of Bulgaria.

· In 1555, Ivan the Terrible ordered the construction of St. Basil's Church in Moscow. He was so pleased with this piece of work by the two architects, Postnik and Barma, that he had them blinded so they would never be able to design anything more beautiful.

· The Greek playwright Aeschylus, according to some sources, was killed by a tortoise. The animal, it is said, was dropped from the claws of an eagle flying overhead, which mistook Aeschylus' bald head for a rock.

· Samuel Beckett, another playwright, was stabbed by a pimp with no specific motive and was found lying in a Paris street by the pianist Suzanne Deschevaux-Dumesnil. She visited him in the hospital, decided to live with him, and 24 years later they were married.

· Helen Keller (1880 1968), blind and deaf from an early age, developed her sense of smell so finely that she could identify friends by their personal odors.

· There was rioting in England when the Gregorian calendar was adopted and Sept. 3, 1752 became, just like that, Sept. 14. Many people insisted they had just been deprived of 11 days.

· Eleven days before the statute of limitations was to expire on the Brink's robbery in Boston, Mass., which netted nearly $3 million in January 1950, one of the robbers confessed, betraying his fellow robbers.

· Mark Twain was born in 1835 when Halley's comet appeared. He predicted that he would die when Halley's comet next returned to scare everyone and he did, in 1910. Superstitious people bought anti-comet pills (all-purpose) at $1 a box, but alas, the comet returned in 1986.

· Throughout her long and enormously successful career, the great French actress Sarah Bernhardt never trusted any of her money to a bank. She insisted upon being paid in gold coins, which she carried with her in a battered chamois bag. From this bag she paid her company, servants and creditors. When there were too many gold coins for the bag, she put the overflow in a chest under her bed, a pretty rosewood coffin.

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