Friday the 13th

To all our readers who enjoy an extra bit of trivia today, many people have heard the word “triskaidekaphobia” used in connection with the fear of the number 13 generally. But did you know that there is actually a word meaning fear of Friday the 13th?  It’s “paraskevidekatriaphobia,” which is derived from the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, in English that is Friday), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, which in English is thirteen).

There is no clear origin of the reasons why Friday the 13th has become associated with bad luck and made people superstitious.  Some attribute it to the fact that there were 13 individuals present in the Upper Room on the 13th of Nisan, the date of Jesus’ last supper and crucifixion and the night before his death (Good Friday).  Another historical connection may relate to Friday, October 13, 1307 –   the day Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar— an event referenced in Dan Brown’s 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code.

That said, from a historical view, until sometime in the 19th Century, the unlucky attribution to both Friday and the number 13 together has never been substantiated.

Happy Friday the 13th !

The Only U.S. President Elected under the 12th Amendment is…

The 12th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides for the election of the president and vice president by the electoral college, and if no candidate obtains a majority, the House of Representatives chooses the President.

The only president of the United States to be elected by the House of Representatives under the 12th Amendment is John Quincy Adams.

In 1824, four major candidates vied for the presidency: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, William H. Crawford and Henry Clay. In the election, John Quincy Adams received 40,000 fewer votes than Andrew Jackson – Jackson received 153,544 votes out of a total of 356,038 cast in that election. Adams also garnered fewer electoral college votes than Jackson (Jackson had 99, Adams 84 and the other 78 votes going to other candidates). Since no candidate had a majority of electoral college votes, the presidential election went to the House of Representatives to select the president from the top three electoral college vote recipients – Jackson, Adams and Crawford. Clay was eliminated from contention, having the lowest number of votes. But in addition to being a presidential candidate, Henry Clay was the powerful Speaker of the House at the time. He threw his support to Adams – the tale told that he did so in return for his appointment as Secretary of State. Clay’s endorsement ultimately won the day: John Quincy Adams became president and Henry Clay was appointed Secretary of State, a position he held from 1825-1829.

The 12th Amendment in U.S. History

The 12th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1804. It provided for the election of the president and vice president by the electoral college and not directly by popular vote. The 12th Amendment also states that if no candidate obtains a majority of the electoral college votes, the House of Representatives (one vote per state) chooses the president and the Senate chooses the vice president. Bet you didn’t know that!

Now the hard part.


Who is the only president of the United States to actually be elected by the House of Representatives under the 12th Amendment?

WOODSTOCK, The Legend at 45!! Need We Say More?

45 years ago, on July 20, 1969 at precisely 10:56 p.m. EDT, American Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon. Armstrong then stated, "That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

First man on the moon

Less than a month later, on August 15, 1969, 45 years from today, the festival officially billed as The Woodstock Music and Art Fair, An Aquarian Exposition, began and lasted through August 18th and became legendary – probably never to be replicated in exactly the same way, ever!

The Festival that ultimately became known as “Woodstock” actually never took place in Woodstock, New York (where Bob Dylan lived), but actually was held in the Catskill community of Bethel – 60 miles away – on a 600 acre dairy farm leased to the organizers by Max Yasgur.

. . . . and this is how it all started!



Which event do you remember best?

Useless But Compelling Facts – July 17, 2014 Answer

Our most recent Useless But Compelling Fact question asked if you knew where the character Batman came from, and we are happy to provide the answer.

Batman (or the Bat Man), the character, first appeared in May 1939 in Issue # 27 of Detective Comics. Batman would go on to be the star of the title (often written "Detective Comics featuring Batman"), and taking over the logo art on the cover. The comic book issue is considered to be among the most valuable comic books in existence – with one reported sale of a copy in very good (but not mint) condition selling for US$1,075,000. Holy Batman!

Useless But Compelling Facts – July 17, 2014

Some of you know that “Batman Begins” is a 2005 motion picture directed by Christopher Nolan, staring Christian Bale in the lead role as Batman.

The motion picture has an amazing supporting cast that includes such stars as Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman, and tells the origin of the character, beginning with Bruce Wayne’s childhood fear of bats. The motion picture is one of a new series of films based on the crime-fighting adventures of the iconic Batman character.

What you may not know is where the character Batman actually comes from . . . if you don’t know, I’ll tell you when we publish the answer . . . next week! But if you do know, send me an email, or better, why not just use the Bat Signal . . .

Useless But Compelling Facts – July 2014 Answer

Earlier this week, recognizing the FIFA World Cup fever sweeping the globe, we asked you to tell us how many "own" goals have been scored thus far in World Cup history. We also asked a bonus question – name the only player in World Cup history to score goals for both teams (his own and the competing team) in the same match.

The answers – both of which Shari Gottesman, longtime friend and Legal Bytes reader, got perfectly right – are:

As of today, 41 own goals have been scored in World Cup play.

In 1978, Ernie Brandts (born Ernstus Wilhelmus Johannes Brandts), playing for the Netherlands, scored an own goal in the 18th minute of play and then a "normal" goal for his team in the 50th minute of the match between the Netherlands and Italy. The Netherlands went on to win that match 2-1.

If you want to really immerse yourself in World Cup trivia:

  • Manuel Rosas scored the first own goal in World Cup play in 1930 in the match between Mexico and Chile
  • In 2002, in Portugal’s match against the USA, the USA’s Jeff Aggos scored an own goal in the USA net, and in the same game Portugal’s Jorge Costa scored in Portugal’s net
  • Trinidad and Tobago, in its only appearance, is the only team that has scored more own goals than regular goals in World Cup history. It scored an own goal favoring Paraguay in 2006 and never scored for itself in the match. 

Useless But Compelling Facts – May 2014 Answer

Our May UBCF question asked who was the only pope in history to serve more than once, and the only one to have ever been accused of selling the papacy!

Pope Benedict IX, who lived from 1012 to 1056, was one of the youngest popes in history, being first elected at about the age of 20, serving as pope on three occasions between October 1032 and July 1048. He was first expelled from the papacy and succeeded by Sylvester III. He returned to reclaim the papacy in April 1045 and was persuaded to sell the papacy to Pope Gregory VI in order to avoid a scandal. Pope Gregory VI was also encouraged to resign in favor of his successor, Pope Clement II; but, regretting his resignation, Benedict IX returned to Rome and remained on the throne until July 1046, although Gregory VI continued to be recognized as the true pope.

Useless But Compelling Facts – June 2014 Answer

Our last trivia question asked if you can identify the newspaper that claims to be the oldest, longest continuously published newspaper in the United States.

The Hartford Courant, which traces its origins to the weekly news publication that published its first issue October 29, 1764, today boasts the slogan "Older than the nation," and is generally recognized as the oldest continuously published newspaper in the United States.