Apr 27, 2012

Happy Friday

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, and faithfulness the best relationship.

I am content with my good health and and always faithful to having a Happy Friday!

Atlas Obscura Day

It will be celebrated tomorrow, April 28, 2012. Obscura Day is an international celebration of wondrous, curious, and esoteric places that is organized by Atlas Obscura, a website that catalogs bizarre and curious attractions around the world, both natural and manmade.

Here is a list of the 10 most popular places for 2011 LINK

Interesting Number

If you multiply 21978 by 4 the result is the same number backward, 87912.

Seven Interesting Cracker Facts

The first cracker was made in 1792 by John Pearson. He was looking to make a type of biscuit that would last longer than traditional sailor’s biscuits without spoiling. He eventually mixed just flour and water, baked it, and called his invention 'Pearson’s Pilot Bread'. This later became known as hardtack or sea biscuit and was popular among sailors due to its long shelf life without spoiling.

The name cracker came to be when Josiah Bent accidentally burned a batch of what we now call crackers.  As they burned, they made a crackling noise, which inspired the name.  He invented soda crackers, which were precursors to saltine crackers we enjoy. Some folks still call saltines soda crackers. In 1810 Bent’s cracker business was acquired by the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco).

Crackers have holes for a reason, because the holes allow steam to escape during cooking. This keeps the crackers flat and the holes also help crisp the crackers. If the holes are too close together, the cracker will become extra dry and hard, due to too much steam escaping. If the holes are too far apart, parts of the cracker will rise a bit forming little bubbles on the surface of the cracker, which is undesirable in most types of crackers, except Cheez Its. There are hundreds of varieties of crackers now and sales are over $10 Billion a year.

Just Words

Green Eggs and Ham contains just fifty words. Doctor Seuss' publisher, Bennett Cerf bet him fifty dollars he could not write a book using just fifty words. Cerf lost. Forty nine of the fifty words are one syllable words.

The U.S. Constitution has 4,543 words, including signatures. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address contained 271 words. The US Tax Code has about 3,800,000 words, but is constantly being updated.

Knock Off Work

The phrase, which means to quit work for the day, originated in the days of ships propelled by oarsmen. To keep the oarsmen rowing in unison, a man with the gift of perfect rhythm would beat time on a block of wood; when it was time to rest or change shifts, he’d give a special knock. The term to knock off  became popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Apr 24, 2012

What's in a Name, Beverly Hills

The area we now call Beverly Hills was a series of ranches until it was purchased in the 1880s by two men named Charles Denker and Henry Hammel. Their ultimate ambition was to turn the area into a “North-African themed subdivision called Morocco.” Severe drought and an economic collapse forced them to sell the land in 1900 to the Amalgamated Oil Company. After the company failed to find oil under the land, they changed their name to Rodeo Land and Water Company and called the area Beverly Hills, after Beverly Farms in Massachusetts.

Beverly Farms itself is named after the town of Beverly, which it skirts. The town was once a popular tourist resort; President Taft had a summer house there. It also claims to be the birthplace of the U.S. Navy, although this is debated. In 1668, English settlers named the town after the village of Beverley in Yorkshire, England.

So why was this English town called Beverley? Because in the 700s, a bishop named John founded a monastery in the town of Inderawuda and called it Beverlac, possibly after a colony of beavers in a nearby river.

Eventually a slightly altered version of the name came to stand for the whole town, and Bishop John became known as St. John of Beverley after his canonization in 1037.

There you have it: Beverly Hills is actually named after some medieval English beavers.

Bacon Sundae

Received this one from Tim, Burger King Bacon Sundae. Thanks.

Eight Regional Slang Words

English is bad enough without more words, but it seems some parts of our great country have come up with some words of their own.
whoopensocker (n.), Wisconsin - Whoopensocker can refer to anything extraordinary of its kind, from a sweet dance move to a knee-melting kiss.

wapatuli, (n.), Wisconsin - Nearly everyone who has been to college in America has either concocted a homemade alcoholic drink with any combination of hard liquors or other beverages. A wapatuli can also refer to the occasion at which that stuff is consumed. In Kentucky, the word for terrible liquor is splo, while in the mid-Atlantic, moonshine is ratgut or rotgut.

jabble (v.), Virginia - When you are standing at your front door rifling through your purse for fifteen minutes because you can’t find your keys it is because all the stuff in your purse is all jabbled up. It means 'to shake up or mix', but can also be used  as 'to confuse'.

sneetered (v.), Kentucky - If you’ve ever been hoodwinked, duped, swindled, fleeced, or scammed, you have been sneetered. The noun version, sniter, refers to that treacherous person responsible for your unfortunate sneetering.

chinchy (adj.), South, Midwest - This useful word perfectly describes your stingy friend who is too cheap to split the bill or pay his fair share.

mizzle-witted (adj.), South - This word means 'mentally dull', but depending on where you are in the country, mizzle can also be used as a verb meaning 'to confuse', 'to depart in haste' or 'to abscond'. 

mug-up (n.), Alaska - When Alaskans take a break from work to grab a cup of coffee, they are enjoying a “mug-up” or coffee break.

bufflehead or bufflebrain (n.), Pennsylvania - This word means a fool or idiot. I guess calling someone a mizzle-witted bufflehead would be doubly unkind.