Interesting Stuff: Who Knew?

The Sound of Silence? NYC Subways

Dear Kid,

IF you happened to be hanging around New York City in 1904, and IF you happened to wish to go from Here to There, and IF “here” was City Hall and “there” was 145th Street, and IF you had an extra nickel (which was real money at the time), and IF you happened to be insistent enough to push your way to the front of the line, you might have been on the first ride of the New York City subway.

The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenements halls and whispered in the sounds of silence. Paul Simon. DearKidLoveMom.comActually, probably not. The then Mayor (George McClellan) was the “engineer” of the first run at 2:35pm (no idea how they chose that time), and one can only imagine that the first ride was full of dignitaries, wannabees, journalists, other hangers-on, and 70% of The City’s homeless.

The general public (that’s who you would have been) had to wait until 7pm to turn their nickel into underground transportation. That same ride costs $2.75 today.

A slice of New York City pizza (yum) tends to cost about as much as a ride on the subway. Seriously.

FACT: The world’s oldest underground train network was opened in London in 1863.

ANOTHER FACT: The first subway in the US was built in Boston.

YET ANOTHER FACT: NYC’s subway is bigger than either London’s or Boston’s because New York.

Until 1948, subway cost a nickel. That year the fare was raised to a dime (not two nickels because those wouldn’t fit in the new turnstiles).

Five years later, the fare was raised to 15 cents. But engineers couldn’t figure out how to create a turnstile that could accept two different coins. Enter the subway token.

For 50 years, tokens were the only way to pay to ride the subway and as fares rose, tokens changed—albeit less frequently than I would have expected. There were only 5 tokens over the years (not including the commemorative ones because I don’t want to include them).

Rather than pay for a token, thieves would sometimes jam the turnstiles and suck the tokens out of the slots. Kind of like slurping soup, but much more disgusting. To combat this, the MTA often sprayed the slots with chili powder. Ick.

ONE MORE FACT: Rather than pay for a token, thieves would sometimes jam the turnstiles and suck the tokens out of the slots. Kind of like slurping soup, but much more disgusting. To combat this, the MTA often sprayed the slots with chili powder.

These days, one uses a MetroCard to ride the subway. Which is much more efficient and much less fun.

AND STILL ONE MORE FACT: In 2008, 44 old NYC subway cars were dumped into the ocean off of the coast Maryland to serve as an artificial reef. To date, there have been no reports of fishy graffiti.

Happy New York City subway birthday day.

Love, Mom

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Fee, Fly, Fo, Fum

Dear Kid,

There’s a fly in the house.

And it seems to have adopted me.

No matter which room I’m in, there it is, following me around like a happy little puppy, buzzing and smacking into windows.

Have you ever noticed that flies have an amazing ability to land exactly 13½ inches higher than you can reach? They do this on purpose so that even with a magazine you have no chance whatsoever of swatting them.

God in His wisdom made the fly And then forgot to tell us why. Ogden Nash. DearKidLoveMom.comFACT: Flies only have two wings (most flying insects have four).

This causes an inferiority complex that makes them feel the need to buzz. Loudly. Some bugs are sneaky, subtle little things (for the record, I don’t like them either). Flies Make Their Presence Known.

Buzz, yourself, fly.

Flies are disgusting. Not only do they violate the Any More Than Four Legs is Utterly Unnecessary Rule, they are truly some of the yuckiest animals on the planet.

FACT: They can only eat liquids but they can turn many solid foods into a liquid by spitting or vomiting on it.


FACT: House flies tend to stay within 1-2 miles of where they were born but will travel up to 20 miles to find food.

Why this particular one has chosen our house is a mystery, since I firmly believe there are better cooks and worse housekeepers (although probably not many) within 2 miles.

FACT: Flies are the helicopters of the insect world. They can fly up, down, side to side, and backwards.

This makes them very good at evasive maneuvers. See “magazine” above.

FACT: This one does not have an invitation to be inside and had best buzz its noisy little self outside where it can be eaten by a bird.

Too late. Now I have fly-smoosh on my magazine. But at least it’s quiet in here.

Love, Mom

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10 Emjois We Absolutely Have to Have

Dear Kid,

Did you know there’s a committee that reviews new emojis? I had no idea they required approval, but it turns out they do.

So Committee for Reviewing Appropriate Pics (yes, I made it up, but it’s a great acronym—take a moment to figure it out) meets and thinks about which emojis the world cannot, simply cannot, live without.

What emojis are they considering? The almond. Half a coconut. A pie.

And it gets better. A mermaid. A climber. A person meditating. And a woman breastfeeding.

Emojis being considered. Seriously? Who needs a half coconut emoji? These ideas are clearly better.

Emojis being considered. Seriously? Who needs a half coconut emoji?

“Emoji” means pictograph and has nothing to do with the word “emotion” which is good because almonds are not known for being emotional.

Seems to me the committee could use some guidance (seriously, who needs a half coconut emoji?). So, being the kind of mom I am, I have put together a list of suggested emojis which will clearly improve the world as we know it.

  1. Attacking Squirrel – This is a picture of a squirrel that has (somehow) made its way to the birdfeeder and has caused someone (like your father) to go into a paroxysm of the explosive and squirrel-defying nature. Two in a row mean “call an ambulance.”
  2. Empty Coffee Cup – Related to the sad emoji, this is a warning symbol to let everyone know that someone’s caffeine intake has been insufficient and they can choose to argue at their own risk.
  3. Shoe Sale – A type of call to arms (for shoppers) mixed with a warning to Get The Heck Off The Interstate If You Aren’t Going Shoe Shopping.
  4. Burned Dinner Warning – In the shape of a pizza or other takeout.
  5. Explosive Diaper – Related to rock-scissor-paper-lizard-Spock (extra points if you get the reference), this is a game for new parents when the baby has been overly enthusiastic about using his or her diaper.
  6. Sink Full of Dishes – Easily interpreted as “I cooked; you clean.”
  7. Broken Telephone – Signaling telemarketers and election pollsters.
  8. Disastrous Breakup – Clear communication that the receiver’s job is to agree with everything the sender says no matter how ridiculous or contradictory. And to bring ice cream (don’t bother with bowls).
  9. Smudged Nail Polish – Meaning, I’m about to polish my nails so expect a lot of misspellings because not messing up the polish is more important than grammar. Can also mean, someone just caused me to smudge my polish and I am obviously therefore about to commit murder.
  10. Whoop Joyous – The election is over. Let the post-election nonsense begin. Also a signal to late-night comedians that they will actually have to work to find something to talk about.

Seriously, I do not understand why more people don’t consult me about such things.

Love, Mom

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Happy Mole Day!

Dear Kid,

It’s National Mole Day.

I am a Mole. You're Not.

Who is Avogadro?

Not the kind of mole that has Dad doing the Squish-Down-The-Mole-Hole dance in the backyard (although, when you think about it, that might deserve a day of its own too).

This is the mole as in Avogadro’s number (6.02 x 10 ^23).

So we celebrate on 10/23 from 6:02am to 6:02pm. Get it?

A mole is defined as the amount of a chemical substance that contains as many elementary entities (e.g., atoms, molecules, ions, electrons, or photons) as there are atoms in 12 grams of carbon-12 (12C), the isotope of carbon with relative atomic mass 12 by definition. (So says Wikipedia)


More importantly, we celebrate this day in remembrance of the mole project you did in high school in which we had to create a stuffed character mole (hockey. I remember hockey, but I can’t remember the exact name….) and during which we learned to say the phrase, “Is going to be a beetch to sew.” Possibly the first time you heard your mother talk that way, which made it funny as all get out.

It was fun.

It was a bitch to sew.

But we did it together and that made it OK.

And you never forgot Mole Day or Avogadro.

Neither did I.

Love, Mom


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Do You Know This About Bee Pollen? Why Didn’t Someone Tell Me Sooner????

Dear Kid,

Do you remember I bought bee pollen a week or so ago at the farmer’s market? You might not because A) you were studying so diligently or B) that day’s post didn’t go out properly due to technical weirdness (so you can re-read it here). But I did.

Following the farmer’s instructions, I raced home (sort of) and put the pollen in the freezer as directed.

Then I promptly forgot about it.

Until I remembered and decided it was silly to invest in bee pollen if you’re not going to use it, and to use it you have to know how to use it and that required consulting My Friend the Internet.

I happened to have a few free minutes and so I did just that.

Here’s what I learned based on my extensive research of exactly one site.

Pollen is the male seed of the plant. This is factual and entirely less interesting than when the king in “Once Upon a Mattress” tries to explain the birds and the bees to his son (which I’m including here for your enjoyment because I’m that kind of mom).

Fact: Bee pollen can’t sting you. This is a good thing. But it gets, oh, so much better.

Bee pollen is approximately 40% protein and is one of nature’s most completely nourishing foods according to Bees Weekly interviews. Just kidding. The bees aren’t interviewed and they don’t have their own magazine, but bee pollen is all kinds of good for humans (and bees).

Bee pollen can’t be made in a laboratory. Something that looks like bee pollen and seems to be bee pollen can be made, but if you feed it to bees they die. So that is a big #fail.

It takes one bee working 8 hours a day for a solid month (no weekends off) to gather a teaspoon of pollen. Hence the price which doesn’t quite require a home loan but is still rather hefty.

The percentage of rejuvenating elements in bee pollen exceeds those present in brewer’s yeast and wheat germ.” Rejuvenating?? What??? Why didn’t anyone tell me about this sooner?

According to MFtI, bee pollen improves endurance and vitality, extends longevity, helps people recover from chronic illness and common illness (colds), builds new blood, and reduces cravings and addictions. It may also be the cure for the common election season, but that hasn’t been proven yet. It may protect against radiation and have anti-cancer qualities.

Local pollen can also help people who suffer from hay fever and allergies which is pretty much everyone in the Ohio River area (and by “Ohio River area” I mean USA).

What?? Why didn’t anyone tell me about this sooner? DearKidLoveMom.comBut here, is the second best part (the first best was the rejuvenation part because some of us are aging). Get this:

The British Sports Council recorded increases in strength of as high as 40 to 50 percent in those taking bee pollen regularly. Even more astounding, the British Royal Society has reported height increases in adults who take pollen.


I am absolutely going to start taking this stuff. Be on the lookout when you come home. I will be a 20 year-old who is a slim, buff, 5 foot 8 inches.

Love, Mom

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The London Beer Flood (Really)

Dear Kid,

IF you had been alive and aware on Oct 17, 1814, and IF you happened to have found yourself in England, and IF by chance you were wandering around London (more specifically the parish of St. Giles), you might have witnessed the London Beer Flood. I kid you not.

You can never buy beer, you just rent it. -- Archie Bunker, DearKidLoveMom.comOn October 17, 1814, an enormous (and by enormous I mean 610,000 liters) vat full of beer broke. This in and of itself would have been sad and tragic. However, in the tradition of beer-related chain reaction events, other vats collapsed under the onslaught of beer and breakage, and almost a million and a half liters (1,470,000 liters to be more specific) burst their containers and erupted into the surrounding area.

The alcoholic tsunami wiped away two homes, washed out the wall of the Tavistock Arms Pub, swamped several streets, filled several basements and first floor rooms, interrupted a wake, and then set up a fuss because the international media didn’t interrupt coverage of the events of the day to set up 24 hour reports.

Rock and Roll artists didn’t even hold a fundraiser for the beer-diseased and displaced. All in all, the tsunami thought it was severely underrepresented.

Eight people died in the flood (none of them were college students who would have known how to drink their way out of beer-flooded environments).

A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.-- Czech Proverb, DearKidLoveMom.comThe brewery was sued over the accident, but the judge and jury (who were plied heavily with the product in question) remained sober just long enough to rule the disaster an Act of God. God never weighed in on the decision, but hinted strongly in tabloids that there was human corruption and neglect involved. Since it was 1814, and since this was a really poor part of town, no one looked into the incident to carefully until recently when the beer tsunami memoires surfaced and we learned just how upset a tsunami can be.

Love, Mom

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