The Evolution of the Cell Phone

Did you know that the cell phone has been around since 1973? Yes, according to this article from edn.com “Motorola’s Marty Cooper made the first call from a handheld mobile phone (distinct from car phones) to Joel S. Engel, a rival at Bell Labs, on April 3, 1973”. Fast forward to more than 40 years later, and not only are cell phones everywhere, but they are much more compact. It really is fascinating to see how far technology has advanced. What starts as a dream turns into a prototype until it is eventually a household item. And not one per household, but everyone in the household.

Check this link from Time.com that is a photographic timeline of the cell phone. Truly fascinating!

The Largest Art Robbery in History

On March 18, 1990, thirteen paintings were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The value of the paintings at the time were $100 million, making it the largest art robbery in history. I wondered if the paintings had been recovered, and upon researching I came to find that in fact it is still an ongoing investigation. There is currently a reward for any information leading to the recovery of the paintings. Twelve of the paintings were stolen from the second floor, one on the first, and none from the third. It took them a total of 81 minutes to take them. What is really cool, their website takes you through an interactive look within the museum.

There have been several suspects in the theft throughout the years. One man, David Turner, was arrested for attempted robbery of an armored car company.  He is still in prison, but will be let out seven years early, leaving many wondering if it is because he has provided information regarding the theft. Others, however, are thinking not, since the paintings have yet to be recovered. In 2013, the FBI said they had identified the thieves, but declined to name them, stating it is an ongoing case. In the end, this is a fascinating case, and it will be interesting to continue to follow, to see if the paintings are ever recovered.

Happy Birthday President Washington

Happy Birthday George Washington! Yes, today we celebrate the life of our first President, the man whose face is on the one dollar bill. President Washington lead a fascinating life, both before his presidency and after. You can find all sorts of fun facts about him here like how he contracted smallpox while in Barbados, that he was an excellent dancer, and owned a distillery. There are also facts that have more to do with things that occurred during his presidency such as the fact that he never lived in Washington D.C. and that his second inaugural speech was the shortest on record. It really is interesting reading and learning about his history.

Still Honoring Our Presidents

Presidents Day was yesterday, and in honor of our wonderful Presidents, we thought we would look up how many of them were lawyers. In fact, 25 of our 45 Presidents were lawyers, Harvard having the most Presidential graduates with four. Here is the complete list with some fun little tidbits about them. For instance, did you know, “the three best known Western name in China are Jesus Christ, Elvis Presley, and Richard Nixon”, and that Obama has a nerdy side enjoying comic books and Harry Potter!!

This got us thinking about what else the past Presidents had done. We found this list, which lists professions by number of Presidents. Common jobs were in Politics (probably a given), but there were also a number of educators, businessman, and journalists/writers. Many of our Presidents were Ambassadors, and there were even a few farmers. Do you know the number one profession? You will have to click to find out…it is quite interesting, recognizing our rich history!!

National Puzzle Day

Jigsaw puzzles haven’t been around as long as you’d think, and the origins of them was the result of practical need – teaching children, specifically, England’s King George III’s children geography. Engraver and cartographer, John Spilsbury, of London is believed to have produced the first jigsaw puzzle around 1760, using a marquetry saw. Originally known as “dissections” they were produced by mounting maps on sheets of hardwood and cutting along national boundaries. You can almost hear King George’s children’s governess saying something like “Children, here are the English territories”. And imagine her “dumping” the many pieces on the table and assembling them one by one.

What inventor Spilsbury probably never imagined is that one day jigsaw puzzles would become so incredibly popular and affordable.  Or that the jigsaw puzzle would one day used as therapy for Alzheimer patients. Read on for more interesting “puzzling” facts.

 

Peculiar People Day – History of Attorney’s

In the beginning, a court consisted of judges and the guilty had to “plead” their own case.  Along the way, someone decided that their very well-spoken friend might do a better job of communicating their plight. That appears to be the beginning of the practice of law.  And by the way, when that occurred, the well-spoken “friend” or “orator” as they began to be called, was not allowed to collect a fee for their services.

attorneyatticus-finch

The ban on fees was abolished by Emperor Claudius sometime around 40 A.D., but he also placed a fee ceiling of 10,000 sesterces, which wasn’t much money.  The advocates, as they were known complained and then the real establishment begun as “rhetoric” began being replaced by actual law. If you are interested in knowing how things changed through the Middle Ages, Dark Ages and how the Roman Catholic church weighs in on this profession, then continue reading here.

Remembering The Cold War

On this day in 1989 President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev declare the COLD WAR OVER. What started as an allied relationship between the U.S. and Russia during World War II, albeit, a tense one, turned hostile once the war was over. Eventually American officials agreed to a strategy of “containment” to deal with the Soviet threat. This strategy is responsible for the unprecedented arms buildup in the U.S.

Atomic weapons, the hydrogen bomb, and nuclear weaponry all were further developed or expanded during the Cold War. And then the “Race to Space” was born, it was America’s commitment to beat the Russians to outerspace. While we did not accomplish that, we did put the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong.

Read more about what came about during the 40 years of the Cold War.

Small Business Saturday

This will be the last “shopping” post I’m going to make this year.  And the only reason to post this one is because of who sponsored this relatively new trend.

Small Business Saturday was first observed in Roslindale Village, Massachusetts on November 27, 2010 in response to the “big box” events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  The event encourages shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.  The first event was sponsored by American Express, in partnership with the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino , and, of course, Roslindale Village Main Street. Since the first one more than 95 million people are now coming out to shop, spending more than $14 billion, as noted on the American Express Small Business page.

According to Small Business Saturday on Wiki, the UK saw the success of Small Business Saturday and decided to pick it up and run with it. So great that small businesses all over the world are prospering because of this day. I will be out there supporting my local community, I hope you will consider doing the same.

Black Friday & It’s History

Black Friday is called that because it is the day retailers go “in the black” in the profit column, right?  Well, actually the first recorded use of the term “Black Friday” was applied to a financial crisis on September 24, 1869.  The crash of the U.S. gold market caused by two notoriously ruthless Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, who worked together to buy up as much gold as they could hoping to drive the price sky-high and sell it for astonishing profits.  On that Friday, the conspiracy unraveled, sending the stock market into free-fall and bankrupting everyone from Wall Street barons to farmers.

While there are many rumored stories of Black Friday, the one that took root in retail and evolved into a more positive event involves the city of Philadelphia and the big Army-Navy football game.  You can read all about this game, and how it came to be here.

A History Of Gingerbread

Gingerbread Day – Nothing says the holidays are have arrived quite like gingerbread.  There are gingerbread houses, men, cookies and loaves among other things!  Since I tend to always be a tad inquisitive (kind of goes with the legal profession) I decided to learn a little about where gingerbread came from and why those little houses.

“Run, run, fast as you can,

You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!”

~ The Gingerbread Man, a fairy tale

gingerbread-man

Gingerbread has been around a long time, and in fact, the first known recipe for gingerbread came from Greece in 2400 B.C. The Chinese have recipes recorded in the 10th century, and in Medieval England, the term gingerbread simply meant “preserved ginger” and wasn’t applied to the desserts we are familiar with until the 15th century.  Gingerbread houses originated in Germany during the 16th century.  The decorating of the houses became popular when the well known tale of “Hansel and Gretel” by The Brothers Grimm became popular. It was at that time that the houses migrated to the US, coming here with German settlers. And now, according to the Wilton Blog, over 2,000,000 houses were made in 2011, how far we have come!!

PBS writer Tori Avey has done a great job of getting to the bottom of gingerbread fact and fiction. She even has the world record gingerbread house specs from 2013, spanning more than 40,000 square feet. Now that, gingerbread men and women, is quite the place!! If you are interested in reading more on this fascinating history, that has become a tradition please click here.