What is the origin of the term “hair of the dog”?

Search: hair of the dog term origin

Why: Sometimes the only thing that will help a hangover is a Bloody. Or a beer. Or some club soda with a little bitters in it, and maybe some whiskey. I know the term comes from “hair of the dog that bit you” – so, maybe like, a little hair / shot of Jack is analogous to larger biting dog / the entire bottle one might have indiscriminately poured down one’s gullet the night before? No? Anyway, who said it first?

Answer: First: It’s more than just an analogy. Instead, it comes from a literal medieval remedy for rabies, as advised in A Treatise on Canine Madness from 1760:

The hair of the dog that gave the wound is advised as an application to the part injured.

That sounds even less helpful than a single bloody at Sunday brunch. But it kinda made sense at the time. After all, snake venom was used in the antidote to a snakebite, and the reason I have the flu right now is probably because I got a flu shot…

Secondly: The term’s first recorded use in reference to drinking is from 1546. In his A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the Englishe tongue, John Heywood wrote:

I pray thee let me and my fellow have
A hair of the dog that bit us last night –
And bitten were we both to the brain aright
We saw each other drunk in the good ale glass.

Another reference appears in a 1611 dictionary – and in 1661, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary that found the same method quite helpful:

Up among my workmen, my head akeing all day from last night’s debauch.
To the office all the morning, and at noon dined with Sir W. Batten and
Pen, who would needs have me drink two drafts of sack to-day to cure me
of last night’s disease, which I thought strange but I think find it

I want to know what “sack” is.

Source: The Phrase Finder, World Wide Words

The More You Know: On Wiktionary, I see a “rare, humorous” related term – pelt of the dog – that is described like so:

An immoderate, excessive quantity of alcohol drunk the morning after whilst suffering withdrawal symptoms or a hangover, which goes beyond alleviating the complaint to causing drunkenness

Ho ho!

Right, y’all? Memes.

Has a narwhal ever been in captivity?

Search: narwhal captivity

Why: I was just making a Ranker list of famous people who have been immortalized in Google Doodles, and I to play with the the interactive one for my birthday buddy, Jules Verne. You can see narwhals at 0:15.

Answer: Kind of! Many have tried, at least. Transcript from this video:

Attempts at keeping narwhals in enclosures in the late-1960s and early-1970s ended in failure, the animals dying within a few months. Their long, sensitive tusks post a great obstacle in successfully keeping captive narwhals. It would require not only a very large aquarium space, but consideration of several factors reference to the narwhals’ physical and mental well-being.

It’s unlikely the narwhals will be seen in a zoo or aquarium any time within the near future. Considering the concern that many have for keeping large marine mammals – like whales and dolphins – in captivity, this may be for the best.

Here is a sad article about a baby narwhal named Umiak who died at the New York Aquarium on Coney Island in 1969.

Umiak was captured by Eskimos after they had killed its mother for meat and the baby subsequently followed the Eskimos’ canoe, apparently as a substitute mother.

Get out of here.

The narwhal (Monodon monoceros) is considered a “medium-sized whale,” with males measuring 13-18 ft. long (horn not included). They live in pods in the Arctic waters around Russia, Canada, and Greenland. Some lady narwhals have tusks, and some narwhals even grow two tusks!

Magnificent! My horn can pierce the sky!

Source: YouTube, WWF

The More You Know: What do narwhals do with their long beautiful horns? From a 2005 New York Times article:

Scientists have long tried to explain why a stocky whale that lives in
arctic waters, feeding on cod and other creatures that flourish amid the
pack ice, should wield such a long tusk. The theories about how the
narwhal uses the tusk have included breaking ice, spearing fish,
piercing ships, transmitting sound, shedding excess body heat, poking
the seabed for food, wooing females, defending baby narwhals and
establishing dominance in social hierarchies. 

But a team of scientists has made a startling discovery: the tusk,
it turns out, forms a sensory organ of exceptional size and
sensitivity, making the living appendage one of the planet’s most
remarkable, and one that in some ways outdoes its own mythology.

The find came when the team turned an electron microscope on the tusk’s
material and found new subtleties of dental anatomy. The close-ups
showed that 10 million nerve endings tunnel from the tusk’s core toward
its outer surface, communicating with the outside world. The scientists
say the nerves can detect subtle changes of temperature, pressure,
particle gradients and probably much else, giving the animal unique

“This whale is intent on understanding its environment,”
said the team’s leader. Contrary to common views, he
said, “The tusk is not about guys duking it out with sticks and swords.”

So sensitive.

What are flotsam and jetsam?

Search: flotsam jetsam

Why: In this article about Flight 370:

All the team has to go on at the moment, said Dr. Griffin, are pixelated
satellite images of objects that may just be flotsam unrelated to
Flight 370.

The first time I ever heard “Flotsam and Jetsam” was in The Little Mermaid. They were moral eels and Ursula’s little eel butt boys.

Answer: They are terms for shipwreck debris!

  • flotsam – the part of the wreckage of a ship and its cargo found floating on the water
  • jetsam – goods deliberately cast overboard as to lighten a vessel or improve its stability in an emergency, which sink where jettisoned or are washed ashore  

So flotsam floats, but jetsam has been jettisoned. That is easy.

Source: Dictionary.com

The More You Know: There is a secret third related term:

  • lagan – anything sunk in the sea, but attached to a buoy or the like so that it may be recovered

And there’s also this shitty band and this song, which was posted by 666graveviolator666:

What diva is named Nona?

Search: nona singer

Why: I was just listening to the Hedwig and the Angry Inch soundtrack for the 490th time this year alone. In “Midnight Radio,” which has recently become one of my favorite songs (after “The Origin of Love,” natch), the lyrics go like:

Here’s to Patti and Tina
And Yoko, Aretha
And Nona, and Nico
And me

at 1:45

I think I know who all those other ladies are, but not Nona.

Answer: Nona Hendryx! She was a member of the trio Labelle along with Sarah Dash and, doy, Patti LaBelle, best known for their hit “Lady Marmalade” in 1974.

She’s the beautiful white goddamn rufio peacock below:

They also had lots of other singles.

Thereafter, she had some solo singles and also fronted a progressive art-rock band called Zero Cool. In 1981, she did the vocals for the club hit “Bustin Out” with the funky No Wave group Material.

Source: The Straight Dope, Wikipedia

The More You Know: Another singer named Nona is Nona Gaye, daughter of Marvin Gaye, but that’s probably not whom we’re talking about here. If it is, sorry, Nona.

What’s the song playing in the square in “Groundhog Day”?

Search: groundhog day song square band has begun

Why: A few days ago, Chandler looked at me and said, “It’s Groundhog Day.” After a moment, I said, “I… don’t think you know when Groundhog Day is.” Because it was almost a month ago. His phone had sent him an alert to tell him it was Groundhog Day. Though we later determined that this was an old alert caused by an incomplete update, it didn’t explain why, at 33, Chandler doesn’t know when Groundhog Day is…

But that’s irrelephant. The next morning, I was trying to sing that song from the major motion picture Groundhog Day, but found it difficult because I don’t know the words. Not “I Got You Babe” –

– not that one. Obviously. The one that they play in Gobbler’s Knob. To my brain, it sounds something like, “Wake up – the music – the band has begun – dum dum dum dum – another day for poking.”

Answer: “Pennsylvania Polka”!

Lyrics go like:

Strike up the music, the band has begun

The Pennsylvania Polka

Pick out your partner, and join in the fun

The Pennsylvania Polka

It started in Scranton, it’s now Number 1

It’s bound to entertain ya

Everybody has a mania

To do the polka from Pennsylvania

While they’re dancing
Everybody’s cares are quickly gone

Sweet romancing

This goes on and on until the dawn

They’re so carefree

Gay with laughter, happy as can be

They stop to have a beer

Then the crowd begins to cheer

They kiss, and then they start to dance again

That’s some joyful noise.

Source: LyricSet

The More You Know: Two things:

1. Punxsutawney is probably spelled differently than you think. In fact, I spelled it wrong in this post about the first Groundhog Day more than 2 years ago. (Leaving unedited for posterity.)

2. According to the Internet, “Pennsylvania Polka” was performed by Frankie Yankovic, who, according to the Internet, is known as “America’s Polka King.” He is not related to Weird Al Yankovic, who is also known for making polka medleys – such as “Polka Your Eyes Out,” which was on an album I acquired in 3rd grade:

This one from 2011 is called “Polka Face“:

Who played Freddie Mercury in the video for “The Miracle”?

Search: the miracle video

Why: Yesterday, I was watching a bunch of goat edition videos to do a yelling goat meme roundup for Ranker / because they are (occasionally) hilarious. I ran across this shitty one,

but even though it’s super lazy and only has that one annoying shrieking goat – which I’m pretty sure is a sheep anyway – I was kind of like, “Wow, Freddie Mercury is was a pretty magnetic performer.” I realized I had only really ever seen him perform “live” twice, in the video for “Bohemian Rhapsody” and in that one Queen Live Aid performance that is everywhere all the time.

So I clicked around a bit, and then I ended up looking at this video for “The Miracle”:

Who is that kid? He’s sprightly. I thought it was a girl until she showed his nips.

Answer: Why, it’s Scottish actor Ross McCall!

Do you recognize him as Joseph Liebgott from Band of Brothers?

I don’t, because I have not (yet) watched that thing. But I hear it’s good!

Source: Wikipedia

The More You Know: I am a person who likes the character Aldous Snow a lot, both in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. Here he is performing “The Clap” with Infant Sorrow at my local amphitheatre.

Where does the name Jonquil come from?

Search: jonquil name meaning

Why: We watched The Queen of Versailles a few weeks ago. The Siegel family has a combined, like, 10 kids, including an adopted daughter / niece named Jonquil. That is not one I hear often.

Answer: It means “Narcissus flower”! And you know what that is? The real name of the daffodil!!

Oh, how fun!

According to this Wiccan blog, when used to describe a color, “jonquil” means “a pale yellow.” Also,

In Victorian flower language, jonquils mean “I hope for return of affection.”

In this floriography chart here, these flowers mean these things:

  • Daffodil: Uncertainty, chivalry, respect or unrequited love, return my affection
  • Jonquil: “Return my affection”
  • Narcissus: Unrequited love, selfishness

tl;dr: don’t name your kid Narcissus.

Source: BabyNamesWorld, Merriam-WebsterBewitching Names

The More You Know: A few other flower names you maybe didn’t know were plant names and/or have never heard used on a person:

  • Bryony 
  • Calathea
  • Celandine
  • Daphne
  • Linnaea
  • Lobelia
  • Tansy
  • Zinnia
My grandmother has a friend named Zinnia.

What is Omri Katz up to?

Search: omri katz 2012

Why: I’m watching Hocus Pocus for the first time this year. It’s just as exquisite as I remember from last year. In 1993, Omri Katz was one of my first big screen boyfriends.

Answer: Oh gosh, just breaking my heart. Not being in things. These are literally the only credits to his name since 1993:

Here is some sort of abomination that was posted to the Internet in 2006.

I don’t care.

Omri: If you are in LA but not a hairdresser like the Internet says, call me between auditions. We can have a romantic lunch at Umami Burger on Little Santa Monica.

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

The More You Know: Remember when Garry Marshall and Penny Marshall play husband and wife in Hocus Pocus? That was super weird.

Because they are brother and sister.

Also, remember the dad in that movie? Charles Rocket? He slashed his own throat in 2005, only 9 years after he starred in It’s Pat. (He was also the bad guy in Dumb & Dumber.)

I want to watch a video of a platypus hatching

Search: platypus hatching; echidna hatching

Why: The other morning, Chandler said, “I sleep standing up! and-” and then – in unison – we both said, “I only eat at night!” He was very “How do you know that??” and “What is that even from???” and it was from this Wildlife Treasury commercial, which we both watched probably on Nickelodeon in the 1980s.

The duck-billed platypus has feet like a duck, but it’s furry. Now it’s all I can think about.

Answer: Well, I can’t find a video of a platypus hatching, BUT! I did find this. Watch it, and then we’ll talk about what we’ve learned:

Source: YouTube

The More You Know: Facts about echidnas and platypodes!

  1. Mammals that lay eggs are called monotremes. There are 5 extant species of monotremes (4 of which are echidnas – there is only one species of platypus [duck-billed]).
  2. Echidnas have pouches. Most animals that have pouches are marsupials (literally “having a pouch”), but echidnas are not marsupials. Platypodes do not have pouches.
  3. Echidnas lay one egg at a time. They keep their little baby blobs in their pouches for 7 weeks until they grow skin. Then the moms drop the babies off in burrows, which they visit every few days. They care for and nurse their little baby blobs for 5-6 months.
  4. Monotreme egg shells are leathery, kind of like reptile eggs. An embryo grows an egg tooth that it uses to break out of the shell, kind of like a bird or I guess a reptile.
  5. BABY ECHIDNAS ARE CALLED PUGGLES OMG. There is no official name for a baby platypus, but you could probably get away with calling it a puggle.
  6. For a little while, right after hatching, echidna puggles breathe through their skin. They also kind of look like tardigrades.
  7. Monotremes don’t have nipples, but adapted pores that excrete milk on their tummies.
  8. Platypodes are born with teeth, but they drop off over time. Echidnas never have teeth (except the egg teeth).
  9. The male echidna has a four-headed penis. During mating, the heads on one side “shut down” and do not grow in size; the other two are used to release semen into the girl’s hoo-ha. The heads used swap each time it bangs. Click here to see the four-headed echidna penis because you are a pervert. (Here too.)

How big is a whale’s blowhole?

Search: how big is a whale’s blowhole; blowhole size

Why: You guys, guess where I finally went Sunday for the first time ever? I’ll give you 3 hints:

That’s right: Comic-Con!

Answer: Well, what kind of whale we talking here? 

  • Blue? According to this documentary about bleu whales, their blowholes are big enough for a toddler to fit inside.
  • The humpback whale blowhole is 8-10 inches long.
  • The sperm whale blowhole is about 20 inches long. It is also S-shaped.
  • I can’t find any information about killer whale blowholes, but based on this photo (which must have been taken before this happened), I am going to estimate that it’s something like… 4 inches in diameter? I have no idea. You could definitely fit your whole fist in it, if that’s what you’re wondering.

The blowhole leads to the whale’s trachea, which then goes to its lungs, bypassing the mouth. The spray from a humpback whale’s blow hole goes 10-13 feet in the air. The spray from a blue whale‘s blowhole can go up to 30 feet!

It takes a dolphin only a fraction of a second to empty its blowhole. Baby dolphins are too dumb to understand breathing, so they raise their heads out way above the water until they get the hang of it.

Source: Enchanted Learning, Neatorama, National Geographic, this site, Understand DolphinsPanda’s Thumb (which also has part of an interesting essay about the evolution of whale nipples)

The More You Know: The blowhole is covered by a muscular flap that the whale contracts to open. When closed, the seal is water-tight. If water gets in there, the whale could drown.

Also, baleen whales (humpbacks, blue whales, gray whales) each have 2 blowholes! TWO!!

The other kind of whale (Odontoceti – sperm, killer, beluga, dolphin) is called “toothed.”

One of the nostrils (air-passages) of toothed whales evolved into their echolocation system (the sensing system in which they make and receive high-pitched sounds in order to orient themselves, catch prey, and communicate), leaving them with only one blowhole.

Put that in your hole and smoke it.

Are there any pets in the Bible?

Search: pets in the bible

Why: I made this list of the Best Fictional Pets the other day at my place of business, and I was looking at it again just now. I included Argos, the loyal puppy from The Odyssey, and then I thought “O wait! Maybe it’s rude to call The Odyssey ‘fiction’?” I don’t know why I thought that, but then my brain obviously leapt straight to the Bible.

Answer: No! Not named ones, anyway. There are animals about, but they don’t seem to be domesticated enough where you could have them live in your house and take naps on your tummy.

Interestingly (? you be the judge), there are exactly 40 references to dogs in “the Bible or citations in Scripture.” The fellow who wrote this article believes that means that dogs are messengers of God, though it looks like he had to do quite a bit of finessing to come up with that nice round sacred number. After all, several of the verses are identical, and one time, he counts the verb “to dog,” which I don’t think translates the same way in Aramaic. (PS: One of the only words I remember from a billion years of Hebrew school is kelev, “dog.”)

Also, most of the times they’re mentioned, dogs are described as wild ominous beasts who eat people, get treated poorly, and/or are disgusting. For example:

  • 1 Kings 14:11
    Dogs will eat those belonging to
    Jeroboam who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on
    those who die in the country. The LORD has spoken!’
  • Psalm 22:16
    Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.
They’re coming.
  • Proverbs 26:11
    As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.
  • Philippians 3:2
    Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.
  • Revelation 22:15
    Outside are the dogs, those who
    practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters
    and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

Dogs also did some shepherding, hunting, and companioning, and it looks like they were occasionally not dangerous:

  • Mark 7:27
    “First let the children eat all they want,” he
    told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it
    to their dogs.”
  •  Luke 16:21
    …and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
  • Proverbs 12:10
    Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.

I don’t know. Some of the other animals mentioned in the Bible were ones from the Middle East: cattle, camels, ostriches, locusts, fish, lizards… Not tigers or penguins or Galapagos turtles or velociraptors or anything, but they were all probably just lumped under categories like “birds” and “beasts” and then, obviously, on the Arc.

But anyway: no, there weren’t any pets in the Bible. And I’ll tell you something else that was for sure never said:

Source: Yahoo! Voices, Wikipedia, All About the Bible, answers2prayer

The More You Know: There are no cats in the Bible as we know it… But have you heard of the Book of Baruch? Most of the text of it has been lost, but it allegedly had a line or two about kitties. Nobody knows what they called them or anything, but I’m sure whatever the name was, it was adorable.

What’s the origin of the word javelina?

: javelina name origin

Why: I was admiring some art from Draw Something (are you playing? I can’t get enough. We literally lie in bed drawing and laughing and cornholing except Buster) when I spotted this:

which made me think of this:

Pagoda! Where’s my javelina?

and subsequently this:

There you are.

Answer: It’s a topic of debate! But here is a pretty good theory:

  • It comes from the Spanish word jabali, “wild boar.” A jabalina is a “wild sow.”
  • That term comes from the Arabic term khinzīr jabalīy, “mountain pig.” A jabal is a mountain.

Another option: What it may come from (but probably not) is the word javelin. Javelinas have sharp teeth, don’t it.

Source: Some person’s page about javelinas

The More You Know: Other beautiful names for the javelina include peccary and skunk pig.

Bonus screenshot: Wherein James and I discuss “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and his experiences with peccaries in Guatemala:

What happened to Drew Allen Bush?

: drew allen bush

Why: On PostSecret this week:

How did he die?

Answer: His shitty new friend Sean Slater shot him in the throat. He was 12 years old. His mom Shelly Bush wrote this on his memorial site:

Passed away on September 3, 2005.

drew went to a short term friends house where the boy got out a 20 gauge shot gun said he wanted to scare drew and pointed it at him when drew told him to stop twice he then pionted the gun around the room then pointed back at drew cocking pulling hammer back then pulled the trigger a foot away from drew’s throat killing him instantly. this boy got 90 days in d.h. for this which we fill very let down by the justice system this boy knew what he was doing and paying no price for it. his mother got 30 days in county and short time in a rehab. she allowed her son the gun in his room because he says he was afraid she allowed him alcohol and hand pipe rolling papers and bong for a mind alltering herb he was smoking. she is a pathetic mother that shouldnt have custody of her child so again the justice system let us down. the slater family is a disgusting unremorceful trash. we are the family serving the life sentence. we will always fight for drew and fight to change laws LOVE-A-KID LOCK-A-GUN

Yipes. She wrote more here.

He was points champion at motocross dirt bike racing. #77

: Last-Memories.com, Common Sense About Kids and Guns

The More You Know: Ew, and the mother of the murdery kid also gave him salvia (in addition to the shotgun). The story reminds me of that thing in America where it’s illegal to do pretty much anything except churn out a bunch of kids and then be a horrible parent who ruins lives.

Who played Gaylord Felcher tonight on “30 Rock”?

: gaylord felcher

Why: That guy was funny and looked familiar. And had a funny name.

: Michael Torpey! Have you heard of him? Me neither! Here are his IMDb credentials til now:

  • One 2011 episode of “Louie” (as “Male realtor”)
  • A couple other things
  • And I think he has also been in a bunch of commercials, including one or more with Michael Jordan. Here is his acting real:

Good luck, Michael! You’re about to be Googled by a ton of people! (jk, I’m the only person who still watches this show.)

Source: SpoilerTV.co.uk
The More You Know: Is “Gaylord Felcher” a thing people say? It came up on Google on forums from like 2002. I have never heard such before (maybe because I’m not a 14 year-old boy?). They say things like:

The OP is gayer than Gaylord Felcher.

which, to me, is less funny than:

The OP is gayer than 8 guys blowing 9 guys.

Which came first: “Rolling Stone” or The Rolling Stones?

: rolling stone magazine band

Why: This morning, Chandler was singing “Sunshine of Your Love,” which made me think of Cream, which made me think of CREEM, which made me think of Almost Famous and that scene where they get their picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone:

(That song, by the way, was written by Shel Silverstein).

Answer: The band! Except they were named after a Muddy Waters song:

According to Richards, Jones christened the band during a phone call to Jazz News. When asked for a band name Jones saw a Muddy Waters LP lying on the floor of which one of the tracks was “Rollin’ Stone.” On July 12, 1962, the band played their first gig at the Marquee Club billed as “The Rollin’ Stones”

(That 1950 song is is Waters’ interpretation of “Catfish Blues,” a traditional blues that dates back to 1920s Mississippi.)

Their first single was a version of the Chuck Berry song “Come On,” released in summer 1963.

The first issue of Rolling Stone was published Nov. 9, 1967. John Lennon was on the cover.

Source: FunTrivia

The More You Know: The Rolling Stones have been on the cover of Rolling Stone 13 times, and Mick Jagger has been on a total of 29 times. Only John Lennon was on more, with 30.





Who first called Death “the Grim Reaper”?

: grim reaper name origin

Why: I don’t remember why, but yesterday, I read the Prologue and Chapter 1 of Flowers in the Attic. One time, Emily told me that book gave her her first “funny feelings” as a young Mormon in Oregon. I couldn’t find any of the funny business on the Internet, but I did read:

I hated it every time someone asked how he died, and what a pity someone so young should die, when so many who were useless and unfit, lived on and on, and were a burden to society. From all that I heard, and overheard, fate was a reaper, never kind, with little respect for who was loved and needed.

Grim, indeed!

Answer: The legend of the personified “Death” has been around for a long, long time, but as far as anyone can tell, he’s only been “grim” for the last century or so. This is a weird thing that I found. Either a lawyer or a judge said it:

So far, the earliest reference was to a 1931 legal case in Florida. It’s the State of Florida ex. rel. Skillman v. City of Miami, 101 Fla. 585 at 591: “When one looks upon a funeral home, his thoughts naturally turn to the certainty of death and to the scenes of desolation and sorrow which, within his experience, have been occasioned by the grim reaper.” The case, involving a funeral home, was heard in the Florida Supreme Court, the opinion dated May 12, 1931.

Someone else mentioned that the name “Grim” comes from Grimnir – aka the Germanic god Odin – who personified death in some legends. I don’t know about that.

Source: Yahoo! Answers, The Eerie Side of Things,

The More You Know: One of my favorite movies ever is Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. In fact, I have been thinking a lot lately that someday, I would like to have a pet named De Nomolos. Anyway,

You might be a king or a little street sweeper, but sooner or later, you dance with the reaper.

What’s the difference between a parable and a fable?

: fable parable

Why: The Bible is filled with parables; kindergarten is filled with fables. None of them are true. They both end in -able.

Answer: A fable has animals! or plants or anthropomorphized forces of nature. Each character represents a particular human virtue or fault, and what happens in the story is directly related to his personality. The word “fable” comes from the Latin root fari, “to speak.”

A parable is set in the real world with human characters. It features realistic problems and results handled with spiritual fortitude if not sanctimony. The word is related to parabola, from from para, “alongside,” + bole, “a throwing, casting, beam, ray.”

Both fables and parables teach moral or ethical lessons.

Source: Wild Fables,

The More You Know: The word fable is also related to the word fabulous, i.e. “rich in myths; legendary.” Speaking of fabulous, I just found out that Season 4 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” started January 30th.

May the best woman win!

What’s the difference between a blimp and a zeppelin?

Search: blimp zeppelin

Why: Corbett took Leigh on a blimp ride for his b-day. Nbd.

What makes a blimp not a zeppelin? The shape? The material? Are zeppelins even a thing anymore?

Answer: For starters, both blimps and zeppelins are dirigibles.

A dirigible is any lighter-than-air craft that is both powered and steerable (as opposed to free floating, like a balloon). Blimps, rigid airships, and semi-rigid airships are all dirigibles.

The name comes from the French verb diriger, “to steer.”

A rigid airship has a rigid framework that maintains its shape. It also has one or more gas cells.

A zeppelin is a rigid airship made by a specific company, the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin (“Zeppelin Airship Construction Company”) of Germany. The guy who started that company was one Mr. von Zeppelin (actually a Count).

A blimp – technically a “pressure airship” – has no rigid inner structure. Its shape is maintained by the pressure of the gases within its envelope. If it deflates, it loses shape.

Turns out: the thing Corbett and Leigh rode in was actually a zeppelin.

: Airships.net
The More You Know: The LZ-129 Hindenburg was a zeppelin (LZ = Luftschiff Zeppelin). At more than 800 feet long, it remains one of the largest objects to ever fly (even bigger than a pterosaur).

From its completion in March 1936 until its fiery disaster in May 1937, the Hindenburg provided the fastest and most comfortable way to fly across the Atlantic. In 1936, it made 17 round trips from the hangar in aviation town Friedrichshafen in Southern Germany over the Atlantic – 10 times to the US and 7 to Brazil. The flight to New York was something like 62 hours long. From New Jersey to Frankfurt, the Hindenburg’s best time was 43 hours and 2 minutes.

According to passenger / reporter Webb Miller, passenger accommodations were enclosed in about 4,500 square feet. There 25 two-bed one-sink cabins, a promenade flanked by windows, a salon with writing desks and a piano, and a dining room. Below deck were shower / baths, toilets, kitchens, a smoking room, and a bar.

Tickets were $400 (~$5000 today). People were classy.

Nazis notwithstanding, it sounded very nice.

Which came first: Sylvanian Families or Calico Critters?

: calico critters sylvanian families

Why: I saw this thing on reddit (warning: it’s a mockery of religious faith):

In the comments,

One guy: My sister had these toys when we were kids. What were they called?

Other guy: http://www.calicocritters.com/ I still have some of these toys, which makes me feel both appreciative of this comic and also incredibly lazy and uncreative because I’ve never thought to do anything remotely this awesome

I also had little animals like those, but they were called Sylvanian Families, not Calico Critters. What on earth.

Answer: Sylvanian Families! VINDICATED!!! The little animals were created in Japan (natch) in 1985. In the early 90s, Tomy – who had been distributing the toys worldwide – lost the rights to the name Sylvanian Families in North America. They reintroduced the characters as the Calico Critters of Cloverleaf Corners (I think; this website is confusing).

Then, because it was Japan in the 80s, and because there was a craze about small velvety anthropomorphic woodland creatures, the toys turned into a cartoon series. The first anime show was done by a completely separate company and called “Maple Town.”

Right?? Riveting. The Maple Town Friends were a bit different than the Sylvanian Familes. For starters, they looked more like cartoons, less like real animals. For twosies, they wore work garb – like lab coats and firefighter suits – instead of traditional home clothes.

The rabbits ran the post office.

Anyway, the next year, there was also a “Sylvanian Families” cartoon, but it wasn’t a huge hit. Nobody is reading this. Bye.

Source: Maple Town, Wikipedia,

The More You Know: There is a Sylvanian Families theme park in Japan.

Of course there is.

Is “margarine” a brand name?

: margarine

Why: Just posting an awesome article at work when a wild misspelling appears.

Maybe it’s just because it’s plural. I don’t know.

Answer: Nope! It’s just a thing that was invented by a guy. In 1870, Emperor Louis-Napoleon III offered a prize to whomever could produce a satisfactory substitute for butter. To make his entry, Provençal chemist Hippolyte Mège-Mouriez used a delicious fatty acid compound called margaric acid. It had been named for the Greek word for “pearl” – margarites – due to its “lustrous pearly drops.”

Gross, man.

Source: ButterySpreads.com (my new homepage)

The More You Know: In the theme of foods that begin with “margari,” nobody seems to know who invented the first margarita. Three popular legends:

  • 1938, Tijuana – Carlos “Danny” Herrera made a drink for his customer Marjorie King, an aspiring actress who was allergic to all hard alcohol other than tequila. He combined all the usual elements of a regular shot – tequila, lime, and salt.
  • 1948, Acapulco – Dallas socialite Margarita Sames invented the drink at her vacation home and served to guests – one of whom was Tommy Hilton. He later added the drink to the bar menu at his hotel chain.
  • 1945 – The first importer of Jose Cuervo in the US advertised with the tagline, “Margarita: It’s more than a girl’s name.”