Charles Reichblum, author of the Knowledge in a Nutshell book series, joined George for a discussion on fascinating facts about the winter holidays that he's gleaned from his years of research. The custom of bringing trees inside one's home and decorating them started in Germany, Reichblum explained, adding the practice was brought to America in the mid-1800s by German immigrants. The Germans initially adorned their green trees with red apples, which is how the colors green and red became associated with Christmas, he continued.
According to Reichblum, a song heard often during Christmastime, "Jingle Bells," is not about the holiday. "It was not written for Christmas at all," he said, noting there is not a mention of Christmas in the lyrics as the song was composed for a church event in Boston around Thanksgiving. Reichblum pointed out another holiday favorite, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" as sung by Bing Crosby, is best-selling single in the world. Speaking of white Christmases, Silver Lake, Colorado, did not have to dream of one in 1921, when almost 76 inches of snow fell in a single day there. More snow falls in the United States than in Antarctica, Reichblum reported.
He shared some interesting facts about past U.S. presidents. Three of the first five presidents, John Adams (1826), Thomas Jefferson (1826), and James Monroe (1831), died on the same day, July 4, he revealed. Reichblum also covered how Grover Cleveland is counted as both the 22nd and 24th president, and answered the riddle, "Who's buried in Grant's tomb?," famously posed by Groucho Marx on his comedy quiz show You Bet Your Life. "Nobody is buried in Grant's tomb because Grant himself is entombed above ground," he disclosed.
Open Lines followed in the latter half of the program. Kyla in Toronto, Canada, espoused the pain-relieving benefits of taking a Himalayan pink salt bath. According to Kyla, 2.5 pounds of salt crystals should be added to a tub of water the same temperature as the human body. "For the first week my back and knees were so pain free... it was incredible," Kyla admitted. Jim from Portland, Oregon, revealed a interesting fact about Finland being the only democracy that fought on the side of the Axis during WWII.
Howard in Vancouver, Washington, shared an embarrassing incident an old fisherman friend related to him. Howard told George the boat his friend was on looked like the rickety boat from the movie Jaws. On one trip, as the crew was pulling in their nets, the friend noticed a giant dark form in a fog bank and thought a huge freighter was about to crush the boat. As it turns out, "it was his own boat casting a shadow," Howard said.
News segment guests: John Curtis / Peter Davenport