Thomas Jefferson Had A Dead Moose Shipped To Paris To Win An Argument
In between helping create the United States and sleeping with his slaves, Jefferson was also minister to France from 1785 to 1789. While in Paris, he discovered that the haughty Europeans still had their noses in the air over America. Literally. According to a popular French theory, America had poor air quality which stunted people's growth, both physically and morally.
Jefferson could not stand idly by while these aristocrats in powdered wigs called Americans frail wimps, so he hatched an insane plan. He would import a giant moose from America to France, just to shut up all those size-shaming Frenchies.
Denali National Park/flickr"Neat! I always wanted to travel to Eur-" BANG
Over the next year, Jefferson kept badgering his colleagues back in America to stop doing all that unimportant statecraft and bag him a moose. Eventually they put the governor of New Hampshire on the case, and he sent out hunters to shoot the biggest moose bull they could find. Which they did. 20 miles from the road. In the middle of winter. But if Thomas Jefferson needed a moose, by god would he get one. The hunters dragged the beast through towering snow for 14 days to deliver it to civilization, had it spruced up a bit by a taxidermist, and shipped it off for a year-long-voyage to Europe.
Naturally, by the time the moose arrived in Paris, it was a putrid, stinking mess with no antlers -- though the governor had included spare parts from other animals, in case Jefferson wanted to "mix and match as he saw fit." Yet bold Jefferson was unfazed, presenting the rancid moose to his French critics and simply telling them to use their imagination to fill in the blanks. If nothing else, he proved that Americans do have one thing (well, a pair of things) that's pretty big.
Ben Franklin Electrocuted Himself Trying To Cook Turkeys
It turns out kite-flying wasn't the only way Ben Franklin tinkered in God's electrical domain. Centuries before drunken dads perfected the craft, he set out to find a way to nuke turkeys with "electrical fire" so as to provide a nine-minute dinner. Using a six-gallon Leyden jar, he zapped the plump birds with electric currents. Yet each one's goose remained uncooked, with Franklin's defeated reports stating: "The turkies [sic], though thrown into violent convulsions and then lying as dead for some minutes, would recover in less than a quarter of an hour."