Five Interesting Facts to Celebrate the Birthday of Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss was born Ted Geisel on March 2, 1904, meaning today would have been his 114th birthday! Check out these amazing facts you probably didn’t know about the man behind the Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham…

#1. Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham on a bet.

Dr. Seuss himself—a.k.a. Ted Geisel—pictured here with perhaps his most famous book. Photo source: WikiCommons

After some blockbuster hits like Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas in the late 1950’s, Seuss’ editor, Bennett Cerf, thought the Doctor could use a new challenge. He bet Seuss that he couldn’t write a book using just 50 words. Seuss said, “challenge accepted,” and the end result was Green Eggs and Ham: his best-selling book with over 8 million copies in circulation. The 50 words, in order, were: I am Sam; that; do not like; you green eggs and ham; them; would here or there; anywhere; in a house with mouse; eat box fox; car they; could; may will see tree; let me be; train on; say the dark; rain; goat; boat; so try may; if; good; thank. Talk about a tongue twister.

#2. His name rhymed with “voice,” not “moose.”

Sorry to spoil it for you folks, but you’ve been saying the guy’s name wrong your whole lives. Ted Geisel first adopted the moniker while at Dartmouth College after getting banned from writing for the school paper after being caught with gin in his dorm room. He went by “Seuss” to continue writing (and later added the “Doctor” because his dad always wanted him to go into medicine). But, he never intended the name to be pronounced the way we all do today. Instead, he wanted the name to go by the German pronunciation, which rhymed the name with “voice.” A friend even wrote a short poem to help with pronunciation:

You’re wrong as the deuce,

And you shouldn’t rejoice

If you’re calling him Seuss.

He pronounces it Soice (or Zoice).

#3. Writing and illustrating books for kids was not his only artistic job.

Dr. Seuss working on illustrations for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Image Source: WikiCommons

During World War II, Seuss enlisted in the Army and became commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces. Not a bad gig, all things considered. Seuss was responsible for creating animated propaganda films. Before hitting it big in the children’s books universe, Seuss also held down a job as an artist for advertisements. Seuss drew cartoons for General Electric, NBC, Standard Oil, and Narragansett Brewing Company.

#4. Seuss was a big fan of symbolism.

You might pick up a Dr. Seuss book and think it’s all just a bunch of nursery rhymes about boisterous cats or multi-colored fish, but the truth is that there’s a lot more beneath the surface. Take Yertle the Turtle for example. A domineering turtle with a whole pond to call his own gets greedy and tyrannizes his fellow turtles in his quest for multi-pond domination? If that sounds to you like a not-so-subtle allegory for Adolf Hitler, you’re absolutely right. Seuss later acknowledged the Turtle was a symbol of Hitler and Nazi Germany.

#5. His first book was turned down by 27 different publishers.

It took 28 tries to get And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street published, a process so frustrating that Seuss nearly burned his draft of the book. But, he persisted, and after writing over 40 books in his lifetime and selling more than half-a-billion copies, Dr. Seuss is one of the most successful children’s authors of all time.

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A Little Trivia for Today

Previously holding the position as Princeton University president, which president was nicknamed “Professor”?

Before entering politics, Woodrow Wilson spent many years as a college professor. He would become president of Princeton University and Governor of New Jersey before becoming elected the 28th President of the United States. Wilson led America through World War I and crafted the Versailles Treaty’s “Fourteen Points,” the last of which was creating a League of Nations, a precursor to the United Nations. An advocate for democracy and world peace, “The Professor” is often ranked by historians as one of the nation’s greatest presidents.

Did you know…? Series of Highlights in Internet History

Highlights in Internet History

Did you know…Co-founded in 1994 by Jerry Yang and David Filo while they were PhD students at Stanford, the company that would become a leading search engine and pioneer of the internet used to go by a much lesser known name. The search engine giant began as Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web, but by 1995 the founders realized they’d need something a bit more concise, so they renamed the company Yahoo! — an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.” According to Filo, the exclamation point was added for “pure marketing hype.”

Today in History, November 19th

11/19/2017

4 Score and 4 Trivia Questions about the Gettysburg Address

President Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address on November 19th, 1863. It’s widely regarded as one of the famous speeches in history, but how much do you know about it? Try your hand at these four trivia questions about 272 words that proved a speech doesn’t have to be long to be memorable…

Who Wrote the Speech for Lincoln?

Rather than vilify the Confederacy after the battle of Gettysburg, Lincoln chose a more inclusionary tone for his speech. Photo credit: Greg Goebel/Flickr.

Today, whenever a president gives a speech, you know that it has been written by a professional speechwriter – someone who actually studied the art of public speaking and knows the mechanics of delivering a great speech. But in 1863, things were done a little differently. It was, in fact, Abraham Lincoln himself who wrote the Gettysburg Address – every word of it. He finished the speech the night before he gave it and spoke from the heart. That’s why it is still so powerful today.

Why Is This Speech So Famous?

Lincoln came out the night before his speech and told a few jokes to a crowd of several hundred people.

Lincoln could have made the speech all about defeating the South and winning the war, but he did not. Instead, he geared the speech toward keeping the country together, working together, healing rifts, and honoring the democratic intent of the country’s Founding Fathers. This was not a bitter speech, nor did it try to stir up anger or fear. It would have been very easy for Lincoln to go the emotional button-pressing route, but he took a more inclusionary path, reminding people that the war was not being fought to vanquish an enemy, but to hold together a country that was started with such promise.

What Was the Original Purpose of the Speech?

Lincoln’s speech was really supposed to be a short address that was more of an afterthought than anything else. The ceremony’s star guest was famed speaker Edward Everett, who spoke for two hours. Lincoln did plan out what he would say (the legend that he wrote it on the fly was just that, a legend), but his invitation was a last-minute decision, and he was supposed to be there more for moral support than anything else. Lincoln’s intent in the speech was to remind people of how important this war was to the country and to try to keep morale up after such a devastating battle. Instead, the short speech gradually gained a reputation for being one of the most eloquent examples of patriotism and devotion to the ideals of democracy.

What Newspaper Retracted the Poor Review it originally gave the Gettysburg Address 150 Years Later?

NPR did a tongue-in-cheek story about the paper’s retraction, including an interview with the Opinion Page editor.

At the time, newspapers made no bones about which side they supported. The Patriot-Union, a Pennsylvania newspaper, dismissed the president’s remarks as “silly” and wrote, “For the credit of the nation, we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that there shall be no more repeated or thought of.” At the 150 year anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, in 2013, the same newspaper, now known as the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, issued a retraction which read, “Seven score and ten years ago, the forefathers of this media institution brought forth to his audience a judgment so flawed, so tainted by hubris, so lacking in the perspective history would bring that it cannot remain unaddressed in our archives.”

Article of the Day for September 25th

St Botolph’s Church, Quarrington

St Botolph’s Church is an Anglican place of worship in the village of Quarrington, part of the civil parish of Sleaford in Lincolnshire, England. By the time Domesday Book was compiled in 1086, a church in Quarrington was part of Ramsey Abbey’s fee, and around 1165 it was granted to Haverholme Priory. The right to present the rector was claimed by the Abbey in the 13th century, by the Bishop of Lincoln in the early 16th century, and by Robert Carre and his descendants after Carre acquired a manor at Quarrington. The oldest parts of the current building date to the 13th century, although substantial rebuilding took place over the following century. Renovations followed and the local architect Charles Kirk the Younger carried out restoration work in 1862 and 1863, when he added a chancel in his parents’ memory. The church consists of a tower and spire with a nave and north aisle spanning eastwards to the chancel. With capacity for 124 people, the church serves the ecclesiastic parish of Quarrington with Old Sleaford. Recognised for its age and tracery, the church has been designated a grade II* listed building. 

Courtesy of Wikipedia 

Learn Something New Everyday, It Makes Life Interesting© -Jill M Roberts 


Article of the Day 


Literary Hall

Literary Hall is a brick library building and museum in Romney, West Virginia, built in 1869 and 1870 by the Romney Literary Society. Founded in 1819, the society was the first literary organization of its kind in the present-day state of West Virginia, and one of the first in the United States. In 1846, the society constructed a building which housed the Romney Classical Institute and its library. During the Civil War the library’s contents were plundered by Union Army forces, and many of its 3,000 volumes were scattered or destroyed. The society transferred ownership of its Romney Classical Institute campus to the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind in 1870 and in that year completed Literary Hall, where the society reconstituted its library collection and revived its literary activities. The Romney Literary Society’s last meeting was held there in 1886. In 1979 the hall was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its basic design incorporates Federal and Greek Revival styles along with Victorian details. 

Courtesy of Wikipedia 

Learn Something New Everyday, It Makes Life Interesting© -Jill M Roberts