Skip to content

DID YOU KNOW…? Who is credited with inventing the modern department store?

By Jack Bagley

Do you know what blinkskudd is?

Until a few weeks ago, neither did I.
That’s when I saw a photograph on the Internet that totally captivated me. It was a shot of a parent, tossing a baby up in the air in a moment of fun and joy … and flying right over the baby was a stork.
The expression on that precious baby’s face is one of absolute happiness, and the arms of the parent are raised to catch the child … and it appears as though the stork has dropped
off another successful delivery.
A friend of mine from Norway said that the photo was a perfect example of blinkskudd, a Norwegian word which has no exact translation into English. Roughly, though, it means, “a photograph taken at precisely the right moment.”

Darned good word, if you ask me.
May your upcoming Thanksgiving holiday be full of proper blinkskudd moments! And of trivia, as well, which I now supply in bulk just for you.
Did you know …
… only one-third of all Americans say they’d like to have their boss’ job? (While about 95% of them would love to have their boss’ paycheck, I’m sure.)
… it is illegal in Illinois to fish while sitting on the neck of a giraffe? (It’s perfectly okay to fish while sitting on the giraffe’s back, though.)
… during the time she portrayed Hannah Montana on the television series of the same name, actress Miley Cyrus (born 1992) wore braces? You couldn’t see them, though, because they were glued to the backs of her teeth. (Cinematic magic at its finest!)
… Brigham Young invented the department store? Young (1801-1877), second president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, founded Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution, or ZCMI, in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1868. His idea was to have various Mormon businesses gather together under one roof – a “department” store. The store existed under its original LDS ownership until December of 1999, when it was sold to the May Department Store company, now Macy’s. The name of the store was
changed, after 135 years, to Meier & Frank in 2003, then to Dillard’s in 2005, and to its current name – Macy’s – in 2006.
… UFOs are not a modern phenomenon? One can find references to Unidentified Flying Objects as far back as the Bible (the story of Ezekiel’s Wheel in Ezekiel 1:16). Things traversing the sky that onlookers can’t identify – the actual meaning of an unidentified
flying object – have been recorded for centuries, long before airplanes or even balloons. During World War II, Allied fighter pilots frequently observed moving balls of light in the sky while on combat missions over Europe. Dubbed “foo fighters,” the UFOs are
now thought to have been instances of ball lightning. (All UFOs are not “flying saucers,” but all flying saucers are UFOs. No, I don’t know what that means, either.)
… bank robber extraordinaire John Dillinger (1903-1934) once played professional baseball? He was scouted in 1924, following his dishonorable discharge from the Navy, and played part of the season with the Martinsville, Indiana, Athletics – a team that won
its league championship that year. Later, after beginning his criminal career, Dillinger would be the star of the prison baseball teams while he was incarcerated. (He’s the guy who gave “stolen bases” a whole new meaning.)
… teachers in North Korea were once required to be able to play the accordion? In the 1990s, for some mysterious reason, teachers had to prove an ability to play the accordion to get a job. The country has a cultural fondness for the instrument, calling it the “people’s instrument.” That is because its convenient size makes it the right music maker to take along on marches. (Picture, if you will, an entire nation being led in their schools by Lawrence Welk.)
… the planet Neptune’s existence was predicted before it was discovered? After the discovery of Uranus in 1781, astronomers noted strange perturbations in its orbit, variations that could only be explained by the gravitational pull of another, more distant
planet. On September 23, 1846, astronomers Urbain Le Verrier (1811-1877), Johann Gottfried Galle (1812-1910), and John Couch Adams (1819-1892) all found the planet causing the changes in Uranus’ orbit by direct observation, finding it by looking exactly
where their math said it should be. The deep blue globe was named Neptune after the Roman god of the sea. (And to you kids who say you’ll never use the math they make you learn in school – so there!)
… paper bags are actually worse for the environment than plastic bags? Paper bag production emits more than 70 percent more pollution that the production of plastic bags. Paper bags also require four times as much energy to produce, and they take more time to
decompose than plastic bags do.
… Queen Elizabeth II is a trained auto mechanic? Her Majesty (born 1926) learned how to work on automobile engines during World War II as a member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service.
… someone once tried to sell New Zealand on eBay? A man from Brisbane, Australia, listed the country on the online auction site in 2006. He described it as possessing “the dodgiest American Cup win ever” and having “very ordinary weather.” By the time eBay pulled the listing, the bidding for the nation had hit $3,000. (Only three grand?)

Now … you know!

Leave a Comment