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Friday, April 1, 2016

Friends of the Famous - A



Though not the first President of the United States (he was the 6th), or even the first in his family, John Quincy Adams did have a lot of firsts. He was the first president who did not hold slaves, the only President to later serve in Congress and the first President to ever be photographed.

Preferring trousers to knee breeches and wearing his hair short instead of in a ponytail, John Quincy once accepted the gift of an alligator (another first) from Marquis de Lafayette. He kept his reptilian friend in the unfinished East Room of the White House and enjoyed showing it off to visitors. Possibly due to his wife (America’s only foreign-born First lady – to date), silkworms were also Friends of the Famous family. The production of silk is called Sericulture. Sadly, in the process they die; for the cocoons must be boiled.

Having kept a diary since age 11, by the time of his death John Quincy had amassed an impressive collection of first-hand accounts of the early American republic period; fifty volumes of which are kept at the Massachusetts Historical Society. ∞

Emmy award-winning comedic actress and spokeswoman for Jenny Craig, Kirstie Alley has fourteen special ring-tailed friends called Lemurs, but she doesn’t recommend them as pets because they live to be nearly thirty years old, require a strict diet and constant care. Endemic to Madagascar, lemurs are considered one of the most endangered mammals on earth. Roman mythologists believed they were the restless spirits of the undead, which could explain reputed complaints from Ms. Alley’s neighbors. But Ms. Alley deems them “Zen”, spiritually speaking, and claims they even sit in the lotus position. ∞

As records go, our third and final friend in the A category is Adwaita; who made only one. Weighing in at a mere 551 pounds the Aldabra tortoise lived to be an estimated 255 years old, and believed to be among the longest-living animals in the world! ∞

Have you ever been given an unusual pet? Would you keep and alligator? Do you have any unusual pets?



  
It's the Blogging A to Z April 2016 Challenge!  Sign up or check out more blogs here.

16 comments:

  1. Hi, dear Diedre!

    Congratulations on rolling up your sleeves and taking part in "April Madness" - the A to Z Challenge! Won't it be fun to wind our way through the month, counting down to the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight and the Final Four? :)

    I learned some interesting facts about John Quincy Adams. He was clearly a nonconformist. Imagine keeping an alligator at the White House. (Sounds like a croc to me! :) I remember getting a pet alligator by mail order when I was around 8 years old - a terrible idea and inhumane - but that's how things were done in the 50s. The poor thing only lived a few days. I agree with Kirstie Alley that people should not own exotic pets. I wonder why she doesn't follow her own advice. Florida is overrun by exotic snakes and other creatures that were released into the wild by pet owners who lost interest in keeping them. The tortoise is one of my favorite animals and it astonishes me that they have such a long life span.

    Thank you very much for an entertaining and informative A to Z post, dear friend Diedre!

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    1. Hi Shady!
      Sounds like a croc - ha! Actually the Hoover family also had alligators, many years later ;-)
      I can't imagine a mail-order pet - unless it's a chia. We had a tortoise (I think I've mentioned this before) named Bensen. When the landscaper picked him up to move him out of the way I thought our dog was going to tear the astonished guy's arm off! Though any other time the dog ignored the tortoise. Nice to have you stopping by, my friend:-)

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  2. I don't think I'd be brave enough to keep an alligator as a pet, I think I would like the giant tortoise though :)
    Debbie

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    1. I'm with you Debbie;-) Gators just don't seem very trustworthy.

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  3. Can't imagine keeping an alligator as a pet! This was a fun and educational post. Looking forward to the next one. ☺

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    1. I agree, Debbie;-) I'd have to go with a tortoise instead. A better chance of escaping should the need arise (grin).

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  4. I would only have a tortoise as a pet if I could live as long as he lives. Wow! 225 years. How do they verify that I wonder?
    Interesting theme for the year.

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    1. Oh Jeffrey, imagine how much wrinkle cream 225 years would require! As far as I can tell, they can only estimate the age; without a proper birth certificate;-)

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  5. We have tow snakes in our house, they are no trouble at all, so long as you don't mind the frozen mice in the freezer:-) Have a great A to Z
    martine
    http://silencingthebell.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Snakes in the house? I'd be a bit uneasy but you'll enjoy an upcoming post I'm sure. My nephew had a komodo dragon for a time - it drove his mom half crazy whenever she had to feed it:-)

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  6. All three anecdotal passages were entertaining.
    Glad I ventured over. Good luck this month, Diedre.

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    1. Thanks, Michael! I'm glad you did too:-)

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  7. Very interesting facts! We let a baby alligator ride out Hurricane Rita with us. No other strange pets.
    Revisit the Tender Years with me during the #AtoZChallenge at Life & Faith in Caneyhead!

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    1. Aw, I might have to set aside my fears for a baby! Glad you stopped by, Barbara:-)

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  8. And I think a cat in the house is messy. I wonder if the Alligator uses a litter box.

    Very interesting post.

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    1. Ha - a litter box! Good question, Ann:-) Somehow, I doubt it. Isn't there a movie about an alligator-slaying cat?

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Any thoughts? Join the conversation, comments welcome here!