Lizzo makes history by playing the Library of Congress’ 200-year-old crystal flute


On Friday 23 September the librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, tweeted Lizzo inviting her to play Madison’s 1813 crystal flute, which sits among the library’s collection of flutes – the largest in the world, comprising more than 1,800 flutes. “Like your song they are ‘Good as hell’,” she joked.

Lizzo replied with gusto: “I’m coming Carla! And I’m playing that crystal flute!!!!!”

On 27 September, Lizzo took to the stage with the dazzling historical item, first playing a single note to display its crystal clear tone, before branching out with a trill.

The flute originally belonged to James Madison, America’s fourth President from 1809 to 1817, who wrote The Federalist Papers with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay.

It was one of only two flutes made of crystal, and came from the workshop of Parisian flute-maker, Claude Laurent. According to an engraving on the silver panel that joins the headjoint to the body, the flute was made in 1813, specifically for James Madison.

As Lizzo coined on stage: “History is freaking cool, you guys!”

The Blue People of Kentucky

When it comes to the Fugate family, you may think of the color blue. It’s not every day you get to see a person whose skin color is blue. This makes it easier to understand why people found the Fugate family as an interesting topic. It’s disheartening, but many of the members of the Fugate family remained hidden because of the uniqueness of their situation. You can’t truly blame either side, especially since it sounds almost impossible if you think about it. The possibility of the color blue as a skin tone becoming a hereditary trait feels like a cartoon show. Still, it was an actual situation for the family that was mixed with half-French and half-American. In fact, the Fugate family still exists to this day and their descendants still carry this gene.

The Fugate family has earned many nicknames over time. They’ve been called the Blue People of Kentucky, the Huntsville Subgroup, and the Blue People of Troublesome Creek Kentucky. This is because some members of the family had blue skin. A lot of people had different stories regarding the Fugate family’s skin origin, but the truth is that they have a genetic disease called methemoglobinemia.

Methemoglobinemia (MetHb) can be gained by hereditary means or through the consumption of specific medicines and food. The condition is a side-effect of the overproduction of methemoglobin. This makes oxygen distribution difficult to pass through body tissues, making them blue in color.

Methemoglobinemia in the Fugate family is passed down genetically. In most cases, both parents do not suffer from it, but both carry the gene. That wasn’t the case for Martin Fugate and Elizabeth Smith, as as they clearly have blue skin.

Random Facts

  • While children of identical twins are legally first cousins, genetically, they are actually half siblings. I found this one particularly interesting because I have twin daughters.
  • Did you know that chocolate can actually protect your teeth against tooth decay?
  • And that, 95% of us report washing our hands after using a public toilet....but a study of 8,000 people in big US cities found that the figure was actually closer to 67%? (Gross!)
  • Cats happily climb up trees, but do you know why they can't find their way down? Turns out a cat can't climb down headfirst because every claw on its paw points the same way. To get down from a tree, a cat must back down.
  • While Neil Armstrong got to be the first to take a step on the moon, Buzz Aldrin managed his own historic first, becoming the first person to urinate on the moon. (Take that, Mr. One Small Step!)

Zorita, the 1940s “Half and Half” Snake-wielding Burlesque Dancer


She was an American burlesque dancer. She was best known for a twenty-minute dance which she performed with two boa constrictors called ‘Elmer and Oscar’

Some of her other unique and subversive numbers:

In another act, she emerges from a giant spiderweb dripping in rhinestones. Dark ‘spider’s hands’ slowly peel off her clothes from the rear. Another one was called ‘The Consummation of the Wedding of the Snake”, where she stripped while holding an 8-foot boa constrictor. She described it as: “A gorgeous young maiden is going to be sold into slavery to an ugly old man. Instead, she dances with a snake, gets bitten, and dies.”

She was also known to walk her snakes on leads in public.

Found on Pinterest. She also has a pretty interesting Wikipedia page.

via Messy Nessy Chic

Virginia Hall the "most dangerous of all Allied spies!"

The Nazis considered Virginia Hall the "most dangerous of all Allied spies," yet the incredible feats of the "Limping Lady" are largely unknown today. Determined to help defeat the Nazis, Hall became the first female secret agent to operate in France, first for the British and later for the American spy agencies -- and she is now considered one of the greatest spies of WWII. To read the story of how Hall spent years undercover behind enemy lines -- along with her wooden prosthetic leg that she nicknamed Cuthbert -- visit


In 2006 a high school English teacher asked students to write a famous author and ask for advice. Kurt Vonnegut was the only one to respond - and his response is magnificent:

“Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely and Congiusta:

I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances any more because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.

Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

God bless you all
Kurt Vonnegut

Weird Tracks in Texas Indicate Giant Sauropods Walking on Their Front Feet Only

Massive dinosaur tracks have been uncovered in a dried-up river bed amid a historic drought in Texas. Experts say the tracks belonged to a 60-foot, 44-ton dinosaur called the Sauroposeidon around 113 million years ago.

📸: Dinosaur Valley State Park

They were the largest animals to ever walk the Earth: sauropods, a dinosaur clade of such immense size and stature, they're sometimes dubbed 'thunder lizards'.

These towering hulks – including BrontosaurusBrachiosaurus, and Diplodocus among others – needed four thick, powerful legs to support and transport their massive bodies. At least, most of the time. Perhaps.

Some mysterious, ancient tracks described in a 2019 study could offer fresh support for a disputed view in paleontology: that these lumbering giants sometimes got around on two legs, not four, belying what their quadruped status (and simple physics) would seem to demand.

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Bless me Father ...


"Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I have been with a loose girl."

The priest asks, "Is that you, little Joey Pagano?"
"Yes, Father, it is."
"And who was the girl you were with?"
"I can't tell you, Father. I don't want to ruin her reputation."
"Well, Joey, I'm sure to find out her name sooner or later so you may as well tell me now. Was it Tina Minetti?"
"I cannot say."
"Was it Teresa Mazzarelli?"
"I'll never tell."
"Was it Nina Capelli?"
"I'm sorry, but I cannot name her."
"Was it Cathy Piriano?"
"My lips are sealed."
"Was it Rosa DiAngelo, then?"
"Please, Father! I cannot tell you."
The priest sighs in frustration. "You're very tight lipped, and I admire that. But you've sinned and have to atone. You cannot be an altar boy now for 4 months. Now you go and behave yourself."
Joey walks back to his pew, and his friend Franco slides over and whispers, "What'd you get?"
"Four months vacation and five good leads...

Japanese Students Send Letters on Tree Leaves and Actually Get Them Delivered


The students at Keio University have been mailing leaves of Ilex latifolia, a species of holly native to Japan and China, since April as part of a class project that spans science and history. Also known as tarayou … letters written on tarayou leaves go as far back as the Heian period (794-1185) and are believed to be the first postcards in Japan.

A group of university students in Tokyo has been writing letters on tree leaves and managing to get them delivered by the country’s renowned postal service with nothing more than a stamp.

The students at Keio University have been mailing leaves of Ilex latifolia, a species of holly native to Japan and China, since April as part of a class project that spans science and history.

Maho Omura, a first-year student in the group, came across the leaf of Ilex latifolia, also known as tarayou. Letters written on tarayou leaves go as far back as the Heian period (794-1185) and are believed to be the first postcards in Japan.


Unlike most other tree leaves, the back of a tarayou leaf can be scratched to leave permanent black etchings. Once scratched, the surface of the leaf undergoes a Maillard reaction, the same chemical process that gives a steak or a loaf of bread its brown crust

“People said it looks like something from My Neighbor Totoro,” Mio Hirose, one of the students behind the project, told VICE World News, referring to the popular 1988 Japanese animated fantasy film.

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