Interesting Stuff: Who Knew?

Shoddy Not Shotty Not

Shoddy Not Shotty Not

Dear Kid,

It’s a darn good thing I pay attention. Otherwise, the world might tilt off its axis and head off in the wrong direction.

Also, people might use words incorrectly without being corrected.

The word, in this particular case, is “shoddy.” With “d”s.

Adorable puppy that has nothing whatsoever to do with today's post. But hopefully makes you smile. DearKidLoveMom.comIf you look up the word shoddy, you discover that it means more than you thought it meant.

You thought shoddy means “inferior” or “imitative.” It does. But it also can mean “reclaimed wool from material that is not felted” and/or “fabric of inferior quality.” Who knew?

But certainly, you did not (of course not) think the word was “shotty.” Because that would be wrong as there is no such word as “shotty.”

Except there is. Being the kind of mom I am, I double checked and was astounded to discover this.

I was not astounded to discover that “shotty” has absolutely no relationship whatsoever to “shoddy.” (Not even 5th cousins.)

“Shotty” means “hard and round like a pellet of shot” and is often used to describe lymph nodes. (As if lymph nodes often need describing.)

According to the Urban Dictionary, “shotty” also can mean getting the front passenger seat (riding shotty or I call shotty).

There is also a “shotty not” to call the right not to do something. Like “nose goes” only without body parts. “Shotty not taking out the trash.”

Except it doesn’t work in our house so don’t even try.

Neither does using “shotty” when you mean “shoddy.”

Love, Mom

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55 Frivolous (and not so) Facts About the Number 5

Dear Kid,

It’s the 5th. So I thought it would be a good idea to share 5 cool things about the number 5.

But I can’t. Because there are too many funky facts about five to limit it.

Here are 55 frivolous (and not so) facts about the number 5.

  1. The pattern of five dots on a die is called a quincunx. Excellent Scrabble word. Will send everyone running for the dictionary.
  2. There are five rings in the Olympic symbol (stay tuned for PyeongChang 2018).
  3. Five is a prime number.
  4. It’s also a Fibonacci number.
  5. You have 5 senses (so do I).
  6. “Take five” means to take a five minute rest. It’s amazing how often the break lasts longer than that.
  7. There are 5 players on the court for each side in a game of basketball (unless you’re playing one on one).
  8. Number 5 DearKidLoveMom.comA devout follower of Islam worships five times a day facing the holy city of Mecca.
  9. The Islamic creed is the ‘Five Pillars of the Faith’.
  10. Punch traditionally has five ingredients (some lovely form of liquor, water, sugar, lemon juice, and an even lovelier choice of spice).
  11. The lovely liquor is often contained in fifths.
  12. The name punch comes from the Hindi word for five. Who knew?
  13. Boron is the 5th element in the period table.
  14. There is a movie called the Fifth Element. I haven’t seen it, but I’m pretty sure it’s not about boron.
  15. Five babies are born every second.
  16. 5 is a Catalan Number (look it up if you’re interested).
  17. There are five vowels in the English alphabet (yes, “y” gets short changed every time).
  18. A nickel is worth 5 cents (I didn’t say they were all new and interesting facts).
  19. A fiver is a five pound note in Britain.
  20. We have five fingers on each hand.
  21. And five toes on each foot.
  22. “V” is five in Roman numerals. (Do they still teach Roman numerals in school?)
  23. The pentathlon has five events.
  24. Pentagram, pentangle and pentacle are all names for a five-pointed star.
  25. A pentagon has 5 sides. Also five angles. Also lots of high ranking military people.
  26. Confucius said: “To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect Virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.” 
  27. A pentasyllabic word has five syllables. The word pentasyllabic is pentasyllabic.
  28. Most bolts are hexagonal, but the ones on most fire hydrants are pentagonal because you need a special wrench to open them.
  29. Five was Coco Chanel’s lucky number. In 1921, she introduced Chanel No. 5 on the fifth day of the fifth month.
  30. There are five books in the Torah.
  31. The book of Psalms is arranged into 5 books.
  32. The New Testament contains 5 foundational books.
  33. In Greek Orthodox Christian mysticism, the number 5 symbolizes the Holy Spirit.
  34. The Five Platonic Solids are the only five convex regular solids it is possible to construct. (They are the tetrahedron (four sides), the cube (six sides), the octahedron (eight sides), the dodecahedron (12 sides) and the icosahedron (20 sides).)
  35. Flowers on the wild rose has five petals.
  36. Apples, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, pears, cherries, plums, and peaches all have flowers that have five petals. They are related to the wild rose (wouldn’t it be perfect if they were 5th cousins?).
  37. Donovan McNabb wore number 5 with the Eagles.
  38. Carles Puyol, Fabio Cannavaro, Franz Beckenbauer are freakin’ amazing soccer players who all wore number 5.
  39. There are a boatload of Hall of Fame baseball players who wore number 5. Extra points if you can name any of them.
  40. Danielle Scott-Arruda played volleyball for the US in 5 Olympics.
  41. Michael Phelps also competed in 5 Olympics. He’s better known than Danielle.
  42. On average, 5 people died each year in shark attacks. They aren’t faster than Phelps. Who isn’t faster than the shark.
  43. Tetrominoes are shapes made by combining four squares. There are only 5 possible.
  44. If you combine five squares to make a shape, you must call it a pentomino. Because “George” would be inappropriate.
  45. The 5 Elements: Fire, Air, Water, Earth, and Spirit.
  46. The constellation Cassiopeia has five stars. And five syllables.
  47. Libra also has five stars. And five letters.
  48. The world’s largest hula hoop was 5 meters across. Not your everyday hula hoop.
  49. Beethoven’s 5th symphony was one of his more famous pieces. It also led to a film (which was direct to video, so not many people noticed).
  50. Five is the smallest number of queens needed to attack every square on a standard chess board. Who gets five queens? Ridiculous.
  51. Five Points was a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan (NYC). The Five Points Gang was the criminal gang from – wait for it – Five Points.
  52. There are 5 calories in half a peanut. (Depending on the size of the peanut.)
  53. Wood is the traditional gift for a 5th
  54. Silverware is the modern gift for a 5th Someone needs to get more creative on gifting.
  55. It took me 5 times as long to write this as it should have. (The research I do for you….)

Love, Mom

Baseball Hall of Famers who work number five: Luke Appling, George Brett, Lou Boudreau, Hank Greenberg, Johnny Bench, Joe DiMaggio, and Brooks Robinson.

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The Secret Meaning of Yawns

The Secret Meaning of Yawns

Dear Kid,

I’m exhausted. Fatigued, tired, beat, bushed, and out of synonyms.

You understand this because you napped for about 32 hours yesterday.

As I sit here (yawning), I started thinking about yawning.

As we know, the foremost authority on sleep and yawning is Dr. Seuss:

A yawn is quite catching,
you see. Like a cough.
It just takes one yawn
to start other yawns off.

What do yawns mean? I think they mean "bed time." DearKidLoveMom.comThe medical community doesn’t pay enough attention to Dr. Seuss.

They (the medical professionals of the world) agree that yawns are contagious (because duh), but they seem to think there are reasons beyond looking down someone’s neck. (And they have nothing to say about Biffer-Baum Birds.)

The medical dudes focus on (get this) science and biology. When you yawn, you stretch your jaw which increase blood flow in your neck and head, and sends spinal fluid and brain blood down. Meanwhile, incoming (cooler) air gets breathed in (maybe) cools the brain.

They (some medical professionals) tested this theory, hypothesizing that we (the test subjects) would yawn more when the air is cool and less when it’s hot.

Except (say the skeptics) the brain doesn’t need to be cooled down when it’s cool; the brain needs to be cooled down when it’s hot. Which makes the yawn-more-when-it’s-cool theory pretty much bass-ackwards.

Others in the medical profession say that the body cools down in other ways (sweating, drinking diet coke, cold showers) and a cooling process that doesn’t work when we most need it is ridiculous.

The “hey, it’s a social thing” camp says yawning is social communication. Maybe it says “you’re boring”, or maybe it says “yaaaawwww.”

Personally, I think it says, “Bed time.”

Love, Mom

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Getting a Little Nutty

Getting a Little Nutty

Dear Kid,

Peanuts aren’t nuts, they’re legumes. Which pretty much everyone knows.

Cashews aren’t nuts, they’re seeds. Which pretty much no one knows (except those paying attention last Friday—read here).

Getting a Little Nutty. DearKidLoveMom.comAll nuttiness aside, botanist make distinctions between nuts and seeds. IMO the distinction is blurry at best (what with all the exceptions and exemptions).

First the definitions:

A nut is a fruit composed of an inedible hard shell and a seed, which is generally edible. In a botanical context “nut” implies that the shell does not open to release the seed. Most seeds come from fruits that naturally free themselves from the shell.

As you can see from this crystal clear definition (did you pick up on the words “generally” and “most”?), nuts contain seeds, but seeds don’t necessarily have nuts wrapped around them. And not all seeds go about happily releasing their shells. Think chia seeds and sesame seeds (even though it would make sense for sesame of all things to open).

So let us (as good researchers) look at the nutrient content:

Nuts are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and fat; while seeds are rich in protein, vitamin B, minerals, fat, and dietary fibers.

Which means nutrient content is not helpful in figuring this out.

To recap: we have nuts, seeds, legumes, drupes

Wait, what? Drupes?

Yes, drupes.

Drupes are fruit with an outer fleshy part around a shell (and by “shell” they mean pit) inside. Easy examples are peaches, cherries, and plums. Where it gets relevant to nuts (and by “relevant” I mean confusing) is that walnuts, almonds, and pecans are drupes.

Yes, walnuts which even have the “nut” in their name. Pine nuts (still with the last name “nut”) are seeds. And acorns (which have the vegetable “corn” in their name) are, in fact, nuts.

Brazil nuts (no, not the folks who went to watch the last Olympics) are seeds. Chestnuts (whether or not they’re roasting on an open fire) are nuts.

Legumes arrive in pods and generally have multiple fruit (as in “two peas in a”). Peanuts are legumes. So is carob.

Because this is so confusing, people in the food world have decided to deal with the problem by inventing the term “culinary nut” to refer to all those things that are used like nuts regardless of their botanical heritage.

I’ve decided to handle the problem by continuing to taste test.

The Yum wins.

Love, Mom

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Cashew (God Bless You)

Dear Kid,

I recently took a left turn at peanut butter and fell head first into cashew butter.

So (obviously) I thought I should investigate cashews (and by “investigate” I mean consult My Friend the Internet and eat the little dudes).

Cashews grow out of the fruit (which are generally called apples, but look more like teeny, misshapen pumpkins). DearKidLoveMom.comCashews are seeds. Yep, seeds. Not nuts. Seeds. They grow out of the fruit (which are generally called apples, but look more like teeny, misshapen pumpkins) which makes them technically seeds. Now forget that and move on to the conventional wisdom of “cashews are nuts.”

Cashew shells are poisonous. They contain urushiol which you may remember is the nastiness found in poison ivy. If this stuff can give you a rash on exterior skin, guess what it can do internally? No, don’t guess. Don’t imagine. It’s awful. Do not eat, touch, or even think about raw cashew shells. But don’t fret over it because cashews are never sold with their shells.

And I like these things?

Yes, I do.

Speaking of raw, did you know that raw cashews are green? They are. At least before they are roasted. This is because cashews are related (third cousins) of pistachios, mangos, and (wait for it) poison ivy and poison sumac.

Oil from cashew nut shells is used for all sorts of inedible things like insecticides, brakes linings, paints, and plastics. The sap from the tree (which is native to the Brazilian part of the Amazon rain forest and is now grown all over the place) is used to make varnish.

And I eat these things?

Yes, I do, I really, really do.

People in the United States eat 90% of the world’s cashew crop. It would be nicer if we shared, but did I mention the YUM?

Not only yummy, cashews are good for you (only if you eat them). They have healthy fats and phytochemicals (I don’t really know what a phytochemical is, but it sounds like it’s good for me). Cashews have all sorts of nifty minerals and micronutrients, which are teeny, tiny nutrients. They’re full of essential vitamins (and “meh” vitamins), antioxidants, and stuff that is good for your eyes.

Have a cashew. Why not? Unless I get there first.

Love, Mom

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You Can Do WHAT in Cincinnati? I’m Not Sure This is a Good Idea…

Dear Kid,

The things I don’t know continue to astound me.

For example, I didn’t know that the golf balls at Top Golf are microchipped and are therefore smarter than I am.

I didn’t know that mac & cheese on a burger was a thing (it is).

And I didn’t know that you can go axe throwing in Cincinnati.

AXE throwing? What? I'm not sure everyone should be handed sharp objects... DearKidLoveMom.comTurns out there is a place (cleverly) named Cincinnati Axe Throwing. Apparently, one goes there and learns to throw an axe and then, wait for it, throws axes.

It’s team building. (I know this because it says so on the website.)

I get escape rooms as team building. I get (kind of) bowling as team building. I even (sort of) get golfing as team building.

But throwing axes?

Seems to me, the team better be pretty solid before anyone is handed a sharp object.

Love, Mom

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