For those of you who might not know, I am left-handed. I am unique in that I am one of the approximately 10% of the population who are in their RIGHT MIND!
This past Christmas I got one of those “fact a day” desk calendars devoted to left-handed facts, quotes and trivia. I finally tore off the pages to today’s date (and actually, for some screwy reason, tore down to March 16th instead of February 16th) and placed the small booklet of daily facts in my pocket to read at the dentist office today. As I sat there, being wowed by who can be found in the sinister pack (The Free Dictionary, definition 3 for sinister: On the left side; left. From the Latin sinister, on the left) and by interesting facts about left-handedness, I thought it might be fun to add a widget to Mt. TBR with the daily facts from The Left-Hander’s Calendar. So, in honor of one of my favorite stores (one I’ve missed terribly since it closed when Indy’s Union Station closed. *sniff* Christmas has never been Christmas since… but that’s a tale for another post), I’ve named it Lefty’s Corner.
Since I’ve missed about six weeks’ worth of facts, I thought I blog the best of the Lefty facts thus far:
1) 799 A.D.: Father of Europe and the Emperor responsible for our present calendar, Charlemagne established an extensive library, founded an academy for educating young Frankish knights, and made a strong effort to produce an educated clergy. This royal lefty also established a system of justice in which nobles and clergymen traveled about the kingdom, hearing court cases and bringing the law to every town and village. What’s more, according to MrDonn.org, Charlemagne established “a system of trial by panel. Under Charlemagne’s system, each accused person would be heard by a panel of honorable men, men who had taken an oath to listen and to judge fairly based on the evidence presented.” From this, our modern “trial by jury” system was born.
2) Left-handers really are special, and brain scanning, along with the latest genetic technology, is finally enabling scientists to crack the mysteries of what makes us left-handed. Research geneticist Clyde Francks of Oxford University found that left-handers tend to share a variant of a gene named LRRTM1. This gene, however, appears to influence handedness only if it is inherited from the father.
While genetics play a role in handedness, there are no guarantees. Handedness does run in families, though not in an easily predictable way. Left-handers are about twice as likely as righties to produce left-handed children, but most of their offspring will still be right-handed. Personal fact: My father was ambidextrous, I’m left-handed, as is one of my nephews. Two of my three daughters are right-handed, while my middle daughter is ambidextrous.
Also, whites, blacks, and North American Indians are more likely to be left-handed. Just over 9% of Asians and Hispanics are lefties.
3) I’m smarter than you are! Tests conducted by Alan Searleman from St. Lawrence University in New York found there were more left-handed people with IQs over 140 than right-handed people. Personal Fact: my IQ is 169 (not that I’m bragging ;-) )
4) A Danish legend says that on the twelfth night after Christmas, if an unmarried woman walks to bed backward, throws a shoe over her left shoulder, and says a verse to the Three Holy Kings, the man she sees in her dreams will one day marry her. HOWEVER, it doesn’t say that it’ll be a happy, long-lasting marriage or if it will end in an acrimonious, War-of-the-Roses style divorce. AND what of lucid dreamers? If I don’t like who I see, I’d just change it. (BTW, does “a verse to the Three Holy Kings” mean to sing a few bars of the Christmas carol “We Three Kings”?)
5) Four of our last six presidents have been southpaws: Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. The country has turned increasingly left-handed. Before Ford, only James Garfield, Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman were lefties. (Of course, most children were discouraged to write with their left hands, painfully so with rulers and other whacking tools, so it’s not a surprise there weren’t more.)
PLUS! Our new president, Barack Obama, is also a lefty :-D
6) W.C. Fields was a lefty born in Philadelphia,, but when he was born is up for debate. Some say he was born on April 9, 1879, and jokingly say he was born again on January 29, 1880. His grandson believes the 1880 date is correct.
7) The official Boy Scout handshake uses the left hand instead of the right. Although Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, was ambidextrous, he chose the lefty shake because the left hand is nearer to the heart.
8) On the cartoon The Simpsons, each character has appeared as a lefty at least once. In fact, there are Web sites devoted to tracking just who is left-handed in each episode. It’s no surprise – Matt Groening, The Simpsons’ creator, is left-handed.
9) There are more than 500 million left-handed people on the planet ;-)
10) Edwin “Buzz Aldrin (Gemini 12, Apollo 11) was the first lefty to walk on the moon. Other left-handed U.S. Astronauts include James Lovell (Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8, Apollo 13) and Wally Schirra (Mercury 8, Gemini 6, Apollo 7).
Some famous southpaws:
Paul McCartney, who said: “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
Henry Rollins– singer, songwriter, spoken word artist, author, actor, and publisher. He was also the frontman of punk band Black Flag.
Actor Brent Spiner -he played my all-time favorite Star Trek character, Lt. Commander Data, and his hillbilly character, Bob Wheeler, on Night Court was hilarious! Threshold is another one of my favorite shows in which Spiner was cast as the hippy, conspiracy-theorist Dr. Nigel Fenway.
Actor James Cromwell– The man is a legend and highly credited actor, and yet… when I think of him, Farmer Hoggett from BABE is what always comes to mind… “That’ll do, Pig! That’ll do!” Second to Babe, The Sum of All Fears pops into my head. In Sum he played President Fowler, but it wasn’t the last time he played a US Pres. Recently, he starred in W, cast in the role of former President George H. W. Bush, who was also a lefty ;-) .
Vincent D’Onofrio, who appeared in Full Metal Jacket (he was Marine recruit Private Pyle who, after the continual harangue from the D.I., played by real former Marine, Gunny Sgt R. Lee Ermy [I highly recommend checking out Gunny Sgt’s site :-D ], ate the end of his rifle.), Mystic Pizza, Ed Wood, Men in Black, The Cell, The Break Up, and more. However, he is now best known as Detective Robert Goren on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Actor Telly Savalas, the man who made bald sexy and lollipop sucking acceptable for adults.
Singer Phil Everly, of The Everly Brothers. Songs best known by The Everly Brothers are “Bye, Bye Love“, “Wake Up Little Suzie“, “Crying In the Rain“, “Let It Be Me“, “All I Have to Do Is Dream” and “Cathy’s Clown” (I’ve always loved Dream), and so many more! One more treat: “Gone Gone Gone” -not that it’s all that great of a song, but WATCHING the video, particularly the girls dancing, made me laugh. I thought that kind of thing only happened on The Corny Collins Show!
Benjamin Franklin– Inventor, statesman, author and one of the U.S. founding fathers, Benny also appears in Benjamin Franklin: The Punctual Plumber’s commercials (ads played here repetitvely sing out “Benny! I got your number 867-5309!”, a toll free number utilizing the ubiquitous Tommy Tu-Tone’s Jenny’s number) and, along with other money-starring U.S. historical figures, in the Turbo Tax commercials.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.– Everyone, of course, knows King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and along with the full speech, I found an interesting short versionthat has incorporated a Spiritual in the clip. In the past year, King’s Dream was revisited in the will.i.am “Yes We Can” song, which incorporated the line
…a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.
from Barack Obama’s speech (now President Obama, a major step toward the realization of Dr. King’s dream). Oh! King and Obama are both lefties… :-D
Kurt Cobain– Ah, yes… The anthem of my teenage years, “Smells Like Teen Spirit“. I bought the album, Nevermind, which also had “Come As You Are” and “Stay Away” (a song that was more my anthem than the first one). These songs make me feel like I’m an acne-battling, high school student sitting in the corner of the cafeteria by myself, trying not to look friendless. Oh, those were the days…
Billy Ray Cyrus -Okay, everyone over twenty-five KNOWS “Achy Breaky Heart“, and those under 20, or with children under 20, knows Billy Ray Cyrus as Robby Ray Stewart, Hannah Montana’s father and real-life father to Miley Cyrus who plays Hannah.
Actors and brothers, Dennis, The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia was my introduction to those special, warm-tingly feelings, and Randy Quaid, whose character “Cousin Eddie” (Fried Pussy Cat makes me laugh just as hard for the millionth time as it did the first) from the National Lampoons Vacation movies has made Christmas Vacation one of my favorite Christmas movies.
Director Joel Coen (of The Coen Brothers) -my favorite Coen Brothers’ movie is O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and a second clip for good measure… and The Sirens Song. LOL.. I love it when Everett and Delmar wake up after drinking with the Sirens, and Delmar screech/squeals when he looks over and sees Pete’s clothes, sans Pete, and a toad hops out of Pete’s shirt.
Them syreens did this to Pete. They loved him up and turned him into a horny toad.
k… I’m going to my DVD drawer to grab this movie now.
Former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton (whose portrait can be seen on the US $10 bill)- said “A well-adjusted person is one who makes the same mistake twice without getting nervous.”
Actor and singer David Bowie– said, “We can be Heroes, Just for one day.” I loved Labyrinth! The Dance Magic scene is great, and I love-love–LOVE the ball scene. After watching Labyrinth, I had a little David Bowie crush for a while.
Author James Baldwin– African-American writer and essayist who penned Native Son, among others.
Last thing I want to leave you with is a quote from John Diana’s The Left-Hander’s Guide and Reference Manual.
The Average Lefty:
Thinks Like Einstein
Looks Like Redford
Paints Like de Vinci
Leads Like Schwarzkopf
Sings Like Newley
Fights Like Corbett
Clowns Like Chaplin
Baseball Like Babe Ruth
Soccer Like Pele
Tennis Like Conners
Golf Like Charles
Runs Like the Devil and
Swims Like Spitz
BTW… All the people mentioned in that quote are lefties!
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