Hugh Hefner put together the first issue of Playboy Magazine while moonlighting from his job with "Children's
Why do things appear darker when they're wet?
Grab a white shirt, dip it in water,
and voila, it turns
gray right before your very eyes. If we hadn't all seen it
much too often it would make for an
impressive magic trick.
What causes this optical transformation is simple science.
When fabric gets wet, light
coming towards it refracts
within the water, dispersing the light. In addition, the
surface of the water causes incoherent
The combination of these two effects causes less light to
reflect to your eyes and makes the wet
fabric appear darker.
Why is a leading indicator of a trend called a bellwether, as in a bellwether stock?
The "wether" in bellwether is a castrated sheep, the one the rest of the pack follows. The bell around it's
tells the shepherd where all the sheep are headed. Hence our
use of "bellwether" as a leading indicator.
They weren't invented in France, so why does everybody call
them "French fries?"
It's true, the French fry wasn't invented in France.
(Its origin is probably Belgian.) But the "French"
French fries doesn't refer to its country of origin. It
refers to the way in which this side dish is prepared.
Food that is cut into strips is said to be "Frenched."
Since French fries are strips of potato that
fried, they became known as French fried potatoes, or
Why is it called a "hamburger" if it doesn't contain ham?
At first glance, it seems that the word "hamburger" is a
combination of the words "ham"
and "burger." Therefore, one
naturally assumes that a hamburger is a burger that
the word "hamburger" actually traces its roots back to
Hamburg Germany, where people used to eat a similar food
called the "Hamburg steak." Eventually, the Hamburg steak
made its way to the United States, where people
its name to "hamburger."
Why doesn't drinking water cool your mouth after eating
in most of the hot foods that we eat are oily,
and, like your elementary school science teacher taught you,
water don't mix. In this case, the water just rolls
over the oily spices.
So what can you do to calm your aching
tongue? Try one of
these three methods. Eat bread. The bread will absorb the
oily spices. A second solution is to
drink milk. Milk
contains a substance called "casein" which will bind to the
spices and carry them away.
Finally, you could drink
something alcoholic. Alcohol will dissolve the oily spices.
What's a papal bull?
In fact, that kind of bull has nothing to do with it. A papal bull
is a document in which the Pope presents his views on a significant subject. Catholics are supposed to give it serious thought.
Traditionally, this document became official once it received the papal seal -- which in Latin was called the "bulla."
Over time . . . you guessed it.
Are there any Christians who do not celebrate Christmas?
Retailers who depend
on Christmas gift sales for a major part
of their annual profits probably consider this a rather un-
to behave. And indeed there is a group that
falls into this category, if one classifies Jehovah's
Witnesses as Christians.
The Witnesses do not believe in the divinity of Jesus. But
they rank Him just under God and do believe in the
of the Old and New Testaments. Founded in the United States
in the 1870s, they base their creed on a passage
(43:12): "Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and I am God."
They observe holidays only when
the Bible literally says to
do it, and it says nothing about celebrating Christmas.
Were hot dogs ever made of dogs?
Nah. But when they were first introduced, people
touch hot dogs for fear that they were made of dogs.
So, how'd the hot
dog get its strange name?
The hot dog was originally called "frankfurter" after Frankfurt,
Germany, its birthplace. But from the beginning people called
it "dachshund sausage," because it looked
like the long, thin dog.
In the US, the German sausage was especially popular with New York
baseball fans, who
bought the newfangled sandwich from vendors who
sold them by yelling, "Get your dachshund sausages while they're
Ted Dorgan, a leading cartoonist, thought these vendors were so
comical, that he decided to
lampoon them. In his cartoon, they were
shown selling REAL dachshund dogs in a roll, yelling "Get your hot
at each other. The name stuck, and the rest is history.
When & where did rap music begin?
The roots of rap are in African-American culture's
oral tradition. That means the blues and gospel music, the
black church and its minister's cadenced sermon.
from the "dozens," the ghetto verbal duel of insults and
retorts. You can even hear it in the
civil rights movement.
(Danny Simmons, father of Russell Simmons of Run-DMC,
motivated a busload of demonstrators
in the 1963 March on
Washington with witty, biting, sometimes rhyming patter -- I
have it from a firsthand source.)
Disco DJ's brought it into the commercial realm, rapping over recorded music. The Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight"
(1979) is said to be the first rap recording.