French Lemon Festival Highlights Olympics
February 19, 2024
The Lemon Festival is even bigger this year, thanks to the Olympics. The Fête du Citron takes place in Menton, a city in the French Riviera, on the Italian border. Every year for about two weeks, the city residents go wild for lemons and oranges, decorating the surroundings in bright colors. A common attraction is a giant fruit display. This year's displays include nods to the Olympics, including a giant swimmer made of lemons. Town officials have said that they used more than 500,000 lemons and oranges to craft this year's decorations. The 2024 Olympic Games run July 24–August 10, in Paris and other venues around France.
Rediscovered Lincoln Letter, One of His Last, Up for Auction
February 19, 2024
One of the last documents ever signed by Abraham Lincoln is up for auction. It had been undiscovered in a desk drawer for many years. The document is an approval for an appointment to the Treasury Department for Allen Gangewer, an abolitionist. The date on the document is April 11, 1865, the day that Lincoln gave his last public address and three days before he was fatally shot. Gangewer was a newspaper editor and then served as private secretary to Salmon Chase, Lincoln's first Secretary of the Treasury and later a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Gangewer also had a hand in founding the National Colored Home, a Washington, D.C., facility that gave aid and shelter to African-Americans who had been enslaved. The letter had sat in a desk belonging to another man, who recently died. When the man's wife went through the desk, she found the letter.
Chiefs Repeat as Super Bowl Champs with 25–22 OT Victory
February 11, 2024
The Kansas City Chiefs repeated as Super Bowl champions, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 25–22 on a touchdown in overtime.
Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes directed his team on a must-score drive, capping it with a -yard pass to Mecole Hardman in the end zone for the game-ending touchdown. Mahomes was named the Super Bowl MVP. He was 34-of-46 passing for 333 yards and two touchdowns. He threw one interception. He was instrumental in his team's winning drive, completing eight passes and rushing for 27 yards. It was the first postseason played under a new set of overtime rules. Because both teams were tied at the end of four quarters, they essentially started over, with the possibility of playing four more (regular) 15-minute quarters if neither team scored. However, the situation changes if one team scores. Unlike in previous years, when the first team to score in overtime would have won the game, the other team gets the ball after one team scores and then must score on that possession. If the score is again tied after each team has scored, then the next team to score wins. However, if the second team scores more points than the first team did, then the team with the most points wins. That is what happened in Super Bowl LVIII. San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy drove his team down the field deep into Kansas City territory, but the Chiefs defense came up big on a 3rd & 4 play, forcing the 49ers to kick a field goal. That made the score 22–19. At that point, the Chiefs had to score. They had to keep gaining first downs, even going for it on fourth down if they had to. They did have to at one point, succeeding on a 4th & 2. A handful of plays later, Mahomes found for the winning score.
Team Ruff Wins Puppy Bowl XX
February 11, 2024
In an extremely close battle, Team Ruff won the Puppy Bowl, defeating Team Fluff 72–69 and winning the Lombarky Trophy. The Most Valuable Pup was Moosh, an Australian shepherd mix (right) that scored two touchdowns, including one the length of the field. Scoring the game-winner was Cookie, a Siberian husky and American pit bull terrier mix. The all-dog precursor to the Super Bowl was in its 20th year. The contest featured 131 dogs from 36 states and 73 shelters. All dogs, including six with special needs, have been adopted. In a first, this year's participants included a dog from the U.S. Virgin Islands, a chow chow/American Staffordshire terrier named. Other firsts included the all-time smallest participant, Sweetpea, who weighed in at just 1.7 pounds, and the all-time largest participants, 72-pound Greyhound Levi.
Museum to Display Bayeux Tapestry Copy Owned by Rolling Stone
January 29, 2024
A 19th-Century reproduction of the Bayeux Tapestry once owned by a famous rock star will soon be on display at a French museum dedicated to the famed medieval artwork. The Bayeux Tapestry is a very large display depicting nearly five dozen scenes from medieval England and France, notably 10 of the Battle of Hastings, the victory by Norman troops over Saxon forces that launched the Norman Conquest of Britain. In 1872, an English photographer took a long panorama of life-size shots of the tapestry. Photography at the time was relatively new, and the result was a set of 180 glass photographic plates. Then, artists from London's National Art Training School painted a representation of the photographic plates. In all, they made six copies of the finished product. At some point in the 20th Century, Charlie Watts, longtime drummer of the rock group The Rolling Stones, acquired one of the copies. He died in 2021, and the copy was one of the things auctioned from his estate. The Bayeux Museum bought that copy.
Biden, Trump Win in New Hampshire
January 24, 2024
Donald Trump followed up his win at the Iowa caucuses by finishing first in the New Hampshire primary, outdistancing his only remaining challenger, Nikki Haley, and President Joe Biden won the Democratic primary in a write-in campaign. Trump secured more than half of all of the votes cast, with some projections handing him 54 percent of the vote. Haley, who served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations when Trump was President, garnered 44 percent of the vote in projections. She had come in third in Iowa, behind Trump and second-place finisher Ron DeSantis; the Florida governor dropped out of the race just a few days later and endorsed Trump. Biden, the incumbent President, had no trouble finishing first among New Hampshire Democratic voters, even though his name wasn't officially on the ballot. It was a technicality, as the state had no official permission to have its Democratic primary on that day because of Democratic National Convention rules stating that South Carolina would be the first-in-the-nation primary this year. Voters in that state go to the polls on February 3. Biden's name appeared as a write-in candidate on 67 percent of the New Hampshire ballots cast. Coming in a distant second was Rep. Dean Philips (D–Minn.).
Rare Gold Roman Arm Guard Intact Again 1,800 Years Later
January 24, 2024
Now on display at National Museums Scotland is a gold Roman arm guard, in its entirety again after 1,800 years. It was in 1906 when James Curle, a lawyer and antiquities enthusiast, discovered the arm guard, at the Trimontium fort, near Newstead, in the Scottish Borders. Trimontium was the largest fort erected by the Romans after they built Hadrian's Wall in the 1st Century. Curle found a collection of scraps of metal and thought that he had found chest and shoulder armor. The fragments, which numbered more than 100, sat neglected for nearly a century, until museum officials started to piece them together. When they did, they discovered that it was indeed a gold arm guard, one of only three ever found from Roman imperial times. Museum officials think that the Romans just left the arm guard behind, during their withdrawal, in 410.
Stanford's Vanderveer Basketball's Winningest Division I Coach
January 21, 2024
The winningest Division I college basketball coach of all time is now Tara VanDerveer, who won her 1,203rd game on January 21, 2024, as Stanford defeated Oregon State 65–56 at home. At that point, VanDerveer's career won-loss record was 1,203–267. She has coached at Stanford for 38 seasons, beginning in 1985, and before that coached at Idaho (1978–1980) and Ohio State (1980–1985). Her teams have won three national championships (1990, 1992, 2021), and she herself coached the 1996 U.S. women's Olympic team to a gold medal-winning performance in Atlanta. During her tenure, Stanford teams have won the Pac-12 regular season 27 times and the conference tournament 14 teams. Not far behind in the total wins column is Connecticut's Geno Auriemma, with a won-loss record of 1,194–159. Third place on the all-time wins list for women's coaches is Tennessee icon Pat Summitt, who racked up 1,098 wins (against just 208 losses) in 38 years as the Volunteers head coach. The winningest men's Division I basketball coach is Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, who won 1,202 games (and lost 368) in 47 years coaching Army and Duke.
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