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Rip Van Winkle

The Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa -- did she name all her daughters after herself?

The Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa — did she name all her daughters after herself?

The usual April 1 routine among publications is to write up some ridiculous story and try to convince readers that it’s true. Today I’m going to reverse that.

All of these 12 trivia items have appeared in some form on my blog over the past two years or so. Only one of them is false.

See if you can figure out which one is strictly for April Fool’s Day:

* You can fly to Mongolia from Beijing, China, in less than two hours.

* Some of the most coveted and prestigious student residences at the University of Virginia have no bathrooms.

* Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa had 16 children; her 11 daughters were all named Maria or Marie.

* The small South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has made millions… Continue reading

Washington Irving's Sunnyside cottage. Photo from

Washington Irving’s Sunnyside cottage. Photo from

Most everyone remembers the great Washington Irving tales “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle,” both dating from nearly 200 years ago.

In “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Ichabod Crane, the stork-legged superstitious schoolteacher, was frightened into fleeing the area by a rival who posed as the Headless Horseman. (Johnny Depp starred in a movie about it.)

In “Rip Van Winkle,” Rip — a resident of a small village in the Catskills while New York was still an English colony — unwittingly had a drink with the ghosts of Henry Hudson’s crew and slept for 20 years, right through the Revolutionary War.

As some of you know, I’m a resident of the Catskills myself, so I’ve put together a little Washington Irving themed literary legends tour of the area.

You can start your Irving legends tour at the… Continue reading






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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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