Wednesday, February 11, 2015


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George Armstrong Custer was not the only Custer who died at the Battle of The Little Bighorn. He had two younger brothers, Thomas Custer and Boston Custer, who both died with him on the battlefield. His nephew and brother in law also died there.

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Why is it called the Battle of the Little Bighorn?
The Bighorn River in Wyoming and Montana was named in 1805 by fur trader Fran├žois Larocque for the Bighorn Sheep he saw along its banks. In Montana near the town of Hardin the Bighorn River is joined by the Little Bighorn River (pictured above).

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The wartime sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff in January 1945 in World War II by a Soviet Navy submarine, with an estimated loss of about 9,400 people, remains the greatest maritime disaster ever. It was a German passenger ship which was evacuating German civilians, officials and military personnel from the Polish city of Gdynia.

The greatest loss of life in a peacetime maritime disaster happened on 20 December 1987 when the overloaded ferry Dona Paz (below), heading for Manila, collided with the oil tanker MT Vector. The resulting fire and sinking left an estimated 4,386 dead which included all but 24 of Dona Paz’s passengers, and all but two of Vector's 13-man crew.

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Australian wharfie to English medium-pace bowler J J Warr during the English tour of Australia in 1950, yelled when the boat carrying the English team berthed at the Sydney dock and Warr was walking down the gangplank:

"Hey, Warr, you've got as much chance of taking a Test wicket on this tour as I have of pushing a pound of butter up a parrot's arse with a hot needle."

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The first Academy Awards ceremony was in 1929 and was won by a silent called Wings. It was held as a private dinner with 270 people attending. There were three awards given at that first awards ceremony that were not given again: BEST ARTISTIC QUALITY OF PRODUCTION, BEST TITLE WRITING (an award for silent films) and BEST COMEDY DIRECTION.

The statuette used today is the original design used for the first awards, except for a minor streamlining of the base. It was sculpted by George Stanley from a nude Mexican film director and actor Emilio “El Indio’ Fernandez. (El Indio means The Indian, a reference to his Native American mother, Fernandez was gaoled in Mexico for his role in a failed revolution attempt. Sentenced to 20 years, he escaped after 8 months and joined his failed coup leader in LA, where he worked occasionally as an extra. He was reluctant at first to take the modelling job for the Oscar statuette, but went on towrite, direct, and star in dozens of films in Mexico, receiving acclaim for several).

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