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Humor, Facts & Stats, Trivia and More

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Traveling Boy Photographer Allan Smith Focuses His Camera on Washington State’s Stunning Mount Baker

Mount Baker, North Cascades, Washington

Tired of 300+ wine education books? The subject of wine can be overly complicated and seemingly endless. is all you need to know about wine in 90 minutes or less, the “Cliff Notes” on wine. Whether you are trying to identify your taste preferences or simply looking to pick up a good bottle for dinner, Monika Elling’s new book, Wine 123 is an intuitive guide to wine confidence.

Monika Elling
Monika Elling

Every UNESCO World Heritage Site in the UK

Courtesy Ferne Arfin, TripSavvy

the Roman Baths, Somerset, England

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has been identifying and listing World Heritage Sites of special cultural, scientific and natural importance to humanity for more than thirty years.

Today, of the 1,073 sites on the planet, 31 are in the UK including its newest, The English Lake District, added to the list in 2017. They are landscapes, castles, cathedrals, prehistoric communities, bridges, factories and natural wonders. They are scattered across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but also Gibraltar and remote island territories in the North and South Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific. And a further 11 sites are waiting in the wings in the early stages of nomination to the list.

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Pay Respects to Liz Taylor, Walt Disney at this Glitzy Graveyard to the Stars in Glendale

LA Times

The Great Mausoleum, Forest Lawn GlendaleThis is one of the grand cemeteries in the world — in setting, in scope, in star power. Step inside Forest Lawn Glendale and honor the memories of Elizabeth Taylor, Walt Disney and Jimmy Stewart, among dozens of other famous names.

The 300-acre cemetery dates to 1917 when Hubert Eaton took it over in hopes of celebrating eternal life. It hosts funerals, art shows and weddings. Ronald Reagan married Jane Wyman in one of its chapels.

Grab a map from the info booth as you enter the lush and hilly cemetery. Out of respect for privacy, the map will not guide you to the stars’ graves, but other resources offer maps.

From the front gate, follow signs to the wonderfully gothic Great Mausoleum, where Elizabeth Taylor is buried and honored by a giant angel at the end of the hallway. L. Frank Baum, of “Wizard of Oz,” fame is buried to the west of the Great Mausoleum, with a hefty tombstone.

Michael Jackson? He rests in a private section not open to the public.

But Jimmy and Gloria Stewart are marked by humble graves that are open to public viewing – though not easy to find.

As you face the Wee Kirk O’ the Heather chapel, they reside up the hill to your left: space 2, lot 8, small markers near the statue of a man holding an arrow.

Clustered at the Freedom Mausoleum, you’ll spot the graves of Walt Disney, Spencer Tracy, Errol Flynn, George Burns and Nat “King” Cole.

Where: 1712 S. Glendale Ave., Glendale, Calif., about 15 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, in Los Angeles County.

How much: Free

Info: Forest Lawn Glendale, (323) 254-3131

Talking Turkey: Thanksgiving Trivia

Why is the Turkey bird call “Turkey”?

Turkeys (the birds) are originally from the Americas. The Europeans knew a similar looking and tasting bird, known nowadays as Guinea fowl, originally from Africa but introduced through the Ottoman Empire, who was called the turkey-cock or turkey-hen. When the Europeans arrived to the Americas and found the bird we now know as turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), they called it turkey by association. In other countries it is called different names, referring to the geographical origin, and mostly getting it totally wrong.

A Thanksgiving mix-up inspired the first TV dinners

In 1953, a Swanson employee accidentally ordered a colossal shipment of Thanksgiving turkeys (260 tons, to be exact). To get rid of them all, salesman Gerry Thomas came up with the idea of filling 5,000 aluminum trays with the turkey – along with cornbread dressing, gravy, peas and sweet potatoes. They were sold for 98 cents, and were a hit. Within one year, over ten million were sold.

Talking Turkey

The origin of “talk turkey” seems to come from colonial times. Historical accounts suggest the phrase came about from the day-to-day bartering between colonists and Indians over wild turkeys. Today the term ‘talk turkey’ means to discuss something frankly and practically. When someone ‘talks turkey’ they get to the point and the term often refers to settling a business deal

Gobble, Gobble

Male turkeys are called “gobblers,” after the “gobble” call they make to announce themselves to females (which are called “hens”) and compete with other males. Other turkey sounds include “purrs,” “yelps” and “kee-kees.”

Our National Symbol

Benjamin Franklin never proposed the turkey as a symbol for America, but he did once praise it as being “a much more respectable bird” than the bald eagle.

a young Paul McCartney

Beatle Beat

The Ramones band name was in reference to Paul Ramon, the pseudonym that Paul McCartney used to maintain his anonymity when checking into hotels.

In a 1995 interview, Joey Ramone explained: “In the days of the ‘Silver Beatles,’ Paul McCartney would go to check into a hotel room, using the name Paul Ramone. Dee Dee was a big Paul McCartney fan, so he changed his name to Dee Dee Ramone. When I hooked up with Dee Dee, we decided to call the band the Ramones.”

Time Capsule Cinema

movie poster for The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage – A Look Back

By Walt Mundkowsky

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a scene from the 1926 movie The General

The General (1926)

This shot from the movie The General is the most expensive shot in silent film history. Directed by and starring Buster Keaton, It was filmed in a single take — that had to be perfect — with a train and a ‘dummy’ engineer (notice the white arm hanging out the conductor’s window). Some of the audience who came to watch the filming thought the dummy was a real person and screamed in horror; supposedly, one person even fainted.

Hard Day’s Night 2017

Hard Day's Night 2017

The Travel Guys

Hands down, this Canadian gem is our pick for the most hilarious, madcap travel show on the cybersphere.

In this zany episode, the Travel Guys take on Las Vegas.

WATCH Travel Guys Take on Las Vegas

The California Bucket List: Your Daily Guide to the Best Adventures and Experiences in the Golden State

California bucket list

The California Bucket List is your daily guide to essential California adventures, from easy to edgy. Check in every day for a new must-do adventure, each tried and tested by one of the Travel section’s staffers and contributors. Or use the filters in blue below to seek out great spots in each of 12 California regions: North Coast, Shasta Cascade, Gold Country, S.F. Bay Area, High Sierra, Central Valley, Central Coast, Deserts, Inland Empire and the counties of L.A., Orange and San Diego.

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Butter

Last year, France consumed about 18 pounds of butter per capita, according to statistics from a coming report by the International Dairy Federation. That is over twice the European Union average, and more than three times the figure in the United States.

butter
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Dairy production in Europe, though, has been falling since European Union milk quotas ended in 2015, slumped after the summer of 2016 because of bad yields from fodder crops and unfavorable weather.

Meanwhile, as butter has shed some of its unhealthy image, demand has risen worldwide, especially in the United States — where the fast-food chain McDonald’s promised to put butter back in its recipes last year — and in China.

In France alone, butter consumption increased 5 percent from 2013 to 2015, according to a recent report by an umbrella organization for France’s dairy industry, Le Cniel.

Albert Einstein’s Quote about Living A Modest Life Sells For $1.3 Million

Albert Einstein is known worldwide for his phenomenal work in theoretical physics that gave the world the Theory of Relativity. However, the genius scientist has also made various intellectual statements and quotes that remain relevant even today and a hidden note that the physicist gave to a courier service messenger in Tokyo resurfaced, giving us lessons on Einstein’s theory of happiness. The handwritten note that Albert Einstein gave to a Japanese messenger in 1922 just sold for $1.3 million.

A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success
combined with constant restlessness
.” – Albert Einstein

The original note on paper is below, followed by a translated version.

original Albert Einstein note

translated Albert Einstein note

Fall Festivals in Asia

Courtesy Greg Rodgers, TripSavvy

festival in Thailand

These fall festivals in Asia are exciting and widely celebrated — yet another list of good reasons that fall is a great time to travel in Asia.

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Steve Kerr: Golden State Warriors to Bring Values to D.C. After Trump Dis

Head coach also notes it’s a “no-brainer” that Colin Kaepernick is being “blackballed” in the NFL in recent interview

The Golden State Warriors' Steve Kerr and Kevin Durant
Head coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors speaks to Kevin Durant during the game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Golden State Warriors as part of 2017 NBA Global Games China at Universidade Center on October 5, 2017 in Shenzhen, China. Credit: Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

Coach Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors got a very public dis-invitation from President Donald Trump to visit the White House. What is normally a warm and non-political event for championship teams became a wholly political spectacle that played out in the media and on Twitter.

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant won’t visit White House if Warriors are invited. “I don’t agree with what [Donald Trump] agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” the Golden State Warriors player said.

Now, with the Warriors schedule empty for their February 28th visit to the nation’s capital, the team is trying to find a way to still make a statement. Kerr spoke about potential plans on the Pod Save America podcast on Monday, and the interview was conducted by Dan Pfeiffer, a former Barack Obama aide.

“I don’t think we would have gone,” Kerr said. “And I think he knew that. Several of us had been very critical of the president in the past year, and it would have been awkward, for sure.”

Kerr also said the team might visit the childhood home of Kevin Durant in Seat Pleasant, Maryland and run a basketball clinic. He says they’ve received invitations from other D.C. politicians, and there’s also the possibility the team visits a historic monument or museum.

The head coach has been to the White House numerous times as a championship player and coach, and his brother also worked there during the Bill Clinton administration. Kerr also spoke about the differences between the fanbase of the NBA and NFL, and how that has fueled Colin Kaepernick being “blackballed,” and why NBA players are allowed to have a more open voice.

“That’s a no-brainer,” Kerr said of Kaepernick. “All you have to do is read the transactions every day, when you see the quarterbacks who are being hired. He’s way better than any of them.

“The NFL has a different fan base than the NBA,” Kerr continued. “The NBA is more urban, the NFL is more conservative, and I think a lot of NFL fans are truly angry at Kaepernick, and I think owners are worried what it’s going to do to business.”

Personal Translator Lets You Speak and Understand 80 Languages

See how it works:

Travis the TranslatorTravis is the first translator with artificial intelligence, and the more it’s used the smarter it becomes. In each language combination, it chooses the most appropriate translation software: from engines like Google and Microsoft, to more local ones. Soon Travis users will be able to rate on an online platform the accuracy of translations delivered, so that the translator can improve. “We already have 6,000 users and are looking for more early adopters who want to make Travis even better. This year we want to reach 50,000 active users to make even better translations available to everyone through software updates in the device.”

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