Rhode Island Was an Island!

In 1640, what is Rhode Island today (map on the right) was not a single political entity.

Most of today’s mainland section, then called Providence Plantations, was settled by Roger Williams in 1836. Aquidneck Island (map on the left), was settled by other European colonists who made a deal with the Narragansett people (an Algonquian American Indian tribe that inhabited the island and parts of what we now call Rhode Island).

John Clarke a physician and Baptist minister, and Roger Williams championed unification of the region and in 1644, the two settlements formally became a British colony, unified by a charter drafted by Clarke, adopting the name the “Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.”

In time, the name appears to have been shortened in actual use and ultimately adopted the State of Rhode Island as its official name. . . . and

Thanks to a loyal and knowledgeable LegalBytes reader, I am told that “Rhode Island” derives from “Roodt Eylandt” or “Red Island,” so named by the Dutch explorer Adrian Block because of the red clay that lined the shore. Block Island, also an island and part of Rhode Island, is named after Adrian Block.

In Mexico, by Cesare, Of Course!

While it has been difficult to confirm all the facts, according to the story, an Italian immigrant, Cesare (Caesar) Cardini, operated a restaurant in Tijuana, just south of the Mexican border.  Although he lived in San Diego, California, the restaurant was intended to attract tourists from the United States who were frustrated by US Prohibition laws in the 1920s.

Legend has it that Cesare threw some ingredients together over the July 4th weekend in 1924 and his friends loved it –  romaine lettuce, garlic, croutons and Parmesan cheese, hard-boiled eggs, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce.  We can add a bit more to the myth, by noting that his brother, Alex, is credited with adding anchovies in 1926.

Although they originally referred to it as an “Aviator’s Salad,” it was so popular that the salad, including the anchovies, became an iconic standard and was renamed the “Caesar salad.”  Yes, it’s possible the first combination of ingredients might have originated in differing variations or in different places, but the Caesar salad we know and love today became famous in Tijuana, Mexico!

Wayne & Russi

Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor, for decades were the voices of Micky and Minnie Mouse, respectively, and the love story between Micky and Minnie behind the scenes was just as real as  it was on screen.

According to news reports and interviews, Taylor first met Allwine while working on the 1988 Disney special “Totally Minnie.”  When they met, Ms. Taylor was already an accomplished voice artist, previously having done the voices of characters Strawberry Shortcake and Pebbles Flintstone.

Bill Farmer (the voice of Goofy starting in 1987) told the Washington Post both of them were in bad marriages when they met and each eventually divorced their respective spouses. Not just a working relationship any longer, they were married in Hawaii in 1991 and spent the rest of their lives together deeply in love.  Mr. Allwine died in 2009 and Ms. Taylor passed away in 2019.

In 2008, both were inducted into the Disney Legends Hall of Fame.


Will The Real Mickey & Minnie Please Stand Up (with each other)!

Mickey and Minnie Mouse appeared together in the very first Disney short “Plane Crazy” on May 15, 1928 and have been together ever since.  Walt Disney probably never imagined at the time, that the little drawing of a mouse would go on to be probably the most recognizable and iconic cartoon character on the planet. What he also could never have imagined is that there are two people behind the scenes that very few people know about, who met because of these two mice and their lives were intertwined with Mickey’s and Minnie’s for a very long time happily ever after! Can you figure it out?

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head

The first toy advertised on television was Mr. Potato Head, invented by George Lerner in 1949 and first manufactured and distributed by Hasbro in 1952. While the original toy featured individual plastic “pushpin” parts that could be pushed into real potatoes, in 1964, based on numerous complaints of kids holding on to rotting vegetables and new government regulations, Hasbro started including a plastic potato “body” with the toy.  Hasbro then started manufacturing Mrs. Potato Head and soon there was a car and boat trailer to add as accessories.

The Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters appeared in Toy Story and a Mr. Potato Head balloon has even joined the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Just this past year, Hasbro announced it would be dropping the “Mr.” and “Mrs.” honorifics and will be promoting the toy simply as Potato Head, although the individual Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters will still live on!



Emu & Kangaroo

The Australian 50 cent piece, depicts an Emu and a Kangaroo holding the Australian coat of arms!  The Emu is a flightless bird indigenous to Australia and is the second largest living bird.  Kangaroos, also indigenous to Australia, are well known for hopping on their hind legs. They have long tails (used for balance) and like most marsupials, female kangaroos have a pouch called a marsupium in which the babies (joeys) finish their postnatal development.