Did You Know...
Sex Habits of the Anglerfish
When doing research for Vancouver Island's Sea Serpent we investigated deep water sea creatures including the angler fish. Possibly the ugliest fish in the ocean, the anglerfish lures in its food with a lighted dorsal spine. But only the female has this most impressive attribute, the male has a far less flamboyant lifestyle. Being much smaller than the female, the male cruises the dark depths of the ocean looking for Miss Right. When he finds her he bites into her flesh and begins a process where his flesh becomes hers, her blood becomes his and over time he fuses with her metabolism. The union is so complete that the male loses his eyes and internal organs becoming little more than a parasitical sperm dispenser attached to Miss Right for life. Doesn't it have all the makings of a horror movie? Yikes!
Honeymoon Road Trip to Riches
One of the best movies of all time is Citizen Kane. The story was based on the life of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. But had it not been for his honeymoon road trip where would his dynasty be today?
Mr. Hearst was known as a stage door Johnny with a well known passion for the young dancers, actresses and singers of the day. Finally on April 28, 1903 the 40 year old Hearst married a 22 year old dancer, Millicent Wilson. The newlyweds decided to celebrate their nuptials by taking a road trip through Europe. While in London, Hearst caught the car bug and after reading a copy of The Car magazine realized that the public would be fascinated by this new mode of transportation. The seed was sown.
Upon arrival home in 1903 Hearst published his first magazine called Motor. Two years later he purchased the Cosmopolitan magazine and continued growing his dynasty to ultimately publish more than 300 magazines worldwide.
Had it not been for a honeymoon road trip where would the Hearst magazine dynasty be today?
In 1860 if you wanted to send a letter from Missouri to California you called the Pony Express. Most of the employees were 15 – 18 year old boys that met the weight requirement of 125 pounds or less and took the Riders’ Oath.
While I am the employ of A. Majors, I agree not to use profane language, not to get drunk, not to gamble, not to treat animals cruelly and not to do anything else that is incompatible with the conduct of a gentleman. And I agree, if I violate any of the above conditions, to accept my discharge without any pay for my services.
The Pony Express Stations were placed 10 miles apart as this is the distance a horse can gallop. The rider would get a fresh horse at each station and continue on to the next. Buffalo Bill Cody began riding for them when just 15 years old and Wild Bill Hickok also found employment before becoming the famous lawman and gambler.
But did you know that despite all the notoriety, the movies, stories and TV Series broadcasted over time, the Pony Express only lasted a mere 18 months! It seems that the train and the telegraph brought a sudden and final end to the western icon.
One Eyed Charley Parkhurst
Parkhurst was a celebrated stagecoach driver in California during the gold rush days. He was known to be able to handle anything that came along whether it be bandits or washouts and it was quite the honour to ride ‘shotgun’ on the driver’s seat. He was handy with a gun and whip, used profanity, smoked cigars, chewed tobacco and would fight at the least provocation.
Despite his rough and tumble demeanor he was known as one of the fastest and safest stagecoach driver of his time. He was a small fellow made all the smaller when perched above a four or six horse team. He was clean shaven and usually wore pleated shirts held in by a wide leather belt, blue jeans, a wide-brimmed hat and buckskin gloves.
But did you know that Charley Parkhurst was a cross dressing woman who had disguised herself as a man for most of her life. From the time she left her orphanage she realized that it would be easier to make her way in the world as a man. Her legacy certainly proved her right.
Riding the Cowcatcher
Did you know that the first person to ride on a train's cowcatcher was a woman? This is not all that surprising but the fact that it was Sir John A. Macdonald’s wife would surprise even the most jaded among us. That’s right, the very first to go for the thrill ride was none other than Lady Agnes Macdonald herself!
In 1886 Sir John and Agnes were aboard a CPR train heading west to the coast. During a stop in Kicking Horse Pass, Agnes decided to ride on the cowcatcher, the ultimate front seat. She found an empty candle box and strapped it and herself to the cowcatcher as they crossed the Continental Divide.
During the first stop she cleaned the bugs from her teeth, fixed her disheveled hair and informed Sir John that she ‘shall travel on the cowcatcher from summit to sea’. And she did, for 1,000 kilometres across the Rockies to the West Coast.
In the end she described her adventure as "Breathless - almost awestricken - but with a wild triumph in my heart, I look from farthest mountain peak, lifted high before me, to the shining pebbles at my feet!" All we can say is - way to go girl!