Something funny happened on the way to the wiki

I was going to wait until the end of this six-month consulting gig to list all the new stray tidbits of information I’ve picked up while doing my work research, but the list was already getting long and weird and I couldn’t tell if any of it was interesting to anybody besides me. So to commemorate the halfway point of this gig, I present to you a relatively short list of the flotsam thus far:

  • Marie Antoinette popularized “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow” after she heard a maid singing it.
  • Retta (Donna from Parks & Rec)’s aunt won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 and is the president of Liberia
  • The six-note “Charge!” you hear at many sporting events was written in the ’40s by a drum major at USC who was also the football team’s placekicker. When he was called in to kick a field goal, he would run down from the bleachers and make his kick still wearing his drum major hat.
  • In Croatia, the “nanny, nanny, boo boo, ha ha on you-hoo” taunt has different words and is translated as: “Catch me, catch me, (if you do that) I’ll buy you a newspaper. Newspapers are expensive, kiss my tushie.”
  • Andre The Giant played the Sasquatch on the Six Million Dollar Man.
  • John Wayne lost his college football scholarship after getting injured in a bodysurfing mishap.
  • Midnattsloppet is not me drunkenly eating fried chicken in bed but a 10k nighttime race held every August in Stockholm, Sweden
  • Hans J. Salter, the composer who wrote the score for classic monster films Ghost Of Frankenstein, House Of Frankenstein, and Son Of Dracula studied composition under Alban Berg of the Second Viennese School… and
  • Alban Berg died from an insect sting.
  • Vivian Vance (Ethel Mertz from I Love Lucy) was godmother to the Lovin’ Spoonful‘s John Sebastian.

Impress your friends! Bore your loved ones! More tidbits to come unless I drown in this stuff.

Etiquette & superstition: champagne

Go ahead; celebrate. It’s been a tough couple of weeks.

ETIQUETTE: The appropriate wine to serve with Chinese food is champagne. Clearly there should be more champagne delivery services, but maybe somebody is working on that. When opening a bottle of champagne, unless you’re a football player you don’t pop the cork out with the intention of maximum velocity and fizz. Twist the cork out carefully and pour the champagne into the glass at an angle to avoid a big foaming head (champagne people call the foam “mousse”) and a waste of bubble gas. And the glass you’re supposed to use? Unfortunately, it seems that the current preferred glass is the long and skinny flute. I find that a shame because I prefer the more old fashioned coupe-style glass pictured above. One reason is because you can’t use flutes to make a champagne tower and champagne towers are hilarious, and the other reason is I like the legend that the coupe was shaped in the form of Marie Antoinette’s left breast. I hope the champagne flute’s form does not mimick the shape of anyone’s breast.

SUPERSTITION: A new ship is supposed to be christened with the breaking of a wine bottle (preferably champagne bottle) against its bow. Supposedly it is a very bad omen if the bottle does not break, but considering the glass thickness of a champagne bottle, it seems a miracle that any ships are sailing at all. If you’re at the christening of a baby instead of a ship, or at a wedding, or some other celebratory event, you should make a slit in the cork after you’ve opened the bottle and put a coin in the slit. This will ensure good fortune for the people being celebrated. Some people put a gold piece into their champagne glass in the hopes of gaining wealth, but this seems to be more of a choking hazard than anything. Maybe some opportunistic ass somewhere choked on the gold piece and successfully sued the treasury for making a dangerous gold piece that someone could choke on, but that sounds like a pretty iffy gamble to take, and you don’t want to be that person anyway.

Photo by Maverick Liew on Flickr
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