I’ve always loved Dick Eastman‘s newsletter and I invited him to dinner last Thursday when I was in Boston. He took me to the Union Oyster House, the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the U.S.

Besides great food and a great evening, I learned from Dick and from a document at the restaurant that Charles Forster from Maine was the first U.S. citizen to manufacture toothpicks. To jumpstart business, he hired Harvard Law Students to eat at the Union Oyster House (the “in” place to eat in Boston) and ask for a toothpick. When the restaurant admitted they didn’t have toothpicks, the Harvard boys were instructed to make a scene about it. After 5 or 6 Harvard boys complaining about the lack of toothpicks, the Union Oyster House placed an order. Apparently, when the oldest restaurant in town carried toothpicks, the rest of the restaurants in Boston followed suite. From Boston, toothpicks spread throughout the country. Nice marketing idea.

I fulfilled a life-long dream of boarding the U.S.S. Constitution. I built a scale model of the ship when I was young and I’ve always wanted to visit it. The Navy launches the ship about 8 times per year. They have a raffle for those who get to launch with her. I’m going to enter the raffle until I get to ride that beautiful ship.

Interesting facts given by the tour guide:

  1. 500+ crew.
  2. 9-11 sailors needed for operating each gun.
  3. 44 guns.
  4. Originally called the U.S.F. (United States Frigate) because of the number of guns on the ship.
  5. All ships today are U.S.S. (United States Ship) because there are so many different sizes and combinations of guns today.
  6. Oldest commissioned Naval vessel in the world.
  7. Had 33 engagements during its day. Never lost one.
  8. Rudder weighs 5,000 pounds.
  9. Masts have been replaced 4 times.
  10. The ship was originally commissioned to protect young America’s merchant fleet which found itself unprotected by the Royal fleet following the Revolutionary War.

I can’t believe I didn’t have a camera when I was there. It gives me an excuse to go back.

I’d like to hear Seth Godin speak in Utah. If entrepreneurship or marketing or sales interests you, I’d recommend participating in this. $50 means you hear Seth speak, have a book and four books to give as gifts. Not a bad deal. Good idea Seth.