Archive for September, 2006

47 male celebrities 5'7" or under

September 29th, 2006

According to popular mythology, male celebrities (and especially leading men on the big screen) are supposed to be tall, dark, and handsome. But many a successful actor, filmmaker, and singer has risen to great heights in the industry without having his head in the clouds—including some larger-than-life action heroes. Speaking as someone who can see […]

28 creative uses for lemons

September 27th, 2006

When we first toured our current apartment, one of the delightful things we discovered is that it had a lemon tree in the backyard. Once we moved in, we tried to think of all the things we could make with lemons, and we found quite a few, including sugary lemon bars, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, lemon […]

Eight poets named William

September 25th, 2006

Although the name William is very common, there does seem to be a preponderance of poets with that name, including many from my list of favorites. Did the parents of Blake, Wordsworth, and Yeats hope that their sons would grow up to be great poets in the same mold as their famous predecessor, William Shakespeare? […]

IKEA products that could be Shakespearean epithets

September 22nd, 2006

This is the fourth entry in our series of IKEA lists. I have great affection for the wonderful epithets Shakespeare coined for his plays; his linguistic dexterity and wit seem to shine most brightly when he is putting these put-downs in the mouths of his characters. There are too many to list from his plays […]

11 Billboard Top 20 Hits with “Magic” in Their Titles

September 20th, 2006

Since the pop song was invented, its’ creators have often relied on a common and limited vocabulary in both lyrics and title (e.g., “love,” “baby,” and “yeah”). This is probably a smart tactic, introducing a new song by using a familiar sentiment; rarely does a song with a very strange name or lyrics gain public […]

32 Weirdly Specific Museums

September 18th, 2006

Taking as a starting point my short list in Museums of Interesting Things at Interesting Thing of the Day, I set out to discover other small museums that specialize in just one specific (and typically rather odd) subject matter. I thought I’d find a few more; it turns out there are dozens. Here’s a mere […]

28 San Francisco Hair Salons with Puns in Their Names

September 15th, 2006

For some reason, hair salons, more than most other kinds of businesses, tend to come up with names involving bad puns. There’s the ever-popular Curl Up and Dye, which appears in numerous cities, and many other names involving plays on words like cut, snip, shear, and head. Here for your amusement are some actual salons […]

Eight Switzerland Comparisons

September 14th, 2006

Recently I read an article about the history of the San Francisco neighborhood I live in, Glen Park. In its early days it was known as “Little Switzerland” because of its hilly terrain and the presence of several Swiss-owned dairies in the area. This inspired me to find other examples of Switzerland comparisons, and I […]

20 Most Popular U.S. Baby Names in 2005 and 1885

September 13th, 2006

There seems to be a trend lately of parents choosing names for their children that may be considered more traditional. I think this may be a backlash against decades of popular baby names that were newly coined or given new spellings. It’s interesting to see that there are some names that remain popular from one […]

13 Oral Hygiene Practices from the Past

September 12th, 2006

It seems like every time I go to buy toothpaste there are fifty new kinds to choose from. Offering endless combinations of properties (whitening, tartar control, breath-freshening, cavity protection, sensitive teeth formula) in a vast array of media (paste, gel, liquid gel, sparkle gel) and flavors, I usually opt for my old standby, plain mint […]

Eight Potential Subjects for Christopher Guest Films

September 11th, 2006

I have been a huge fan of Christopher Guest from the first time I saw This is Spinal Tap, and that affection has only grown with each movie he participates in. From Waiting for Guffman to A Mighty Wind, Guest keeps me laughing with the oddball worlds he creates in his films. He seems to […]

Eight Body-Based Units of Measurement

September 8th, 2006

Before we had precise, standardized units of measure such as meters and feet, lengths (and even, ocasionally volumes) were reckoned based on the average dimensions of human body parts. In Body-Based Units of Measurement at Interesting Thing of the Day, I listed a few such historical units of measure, which can still come in handy […]

11 Ways to Say “I’m sorry, I don’t speak ___”

September 7th, 2006

When traveling in foreign countries, it’s always helpful to know a few stock phrases and key words even (or especially) if you don’t speak the language fluently. One useful phrase is “I’m sorry, I don’t speak [insert language here].” Although it may be difficult to master even that much of the language, it may make […]

The Questionnaires of James Lipton, Bernard Pivot, and Marcel Proust

September 6th, 2006

Fans of Inside the Actor’s Studio are familiar with James Lipton’s list of questions, which he poses to each of his guests at the end of an interview. Lipton always gives credit for this list to French talk show host Bernard Pivot, who hosted Apostrophes from 1975–1990 and Bouillon de Culture from 1990–2001; he often […]

Six Intriguing Uses for Peanuts

September 5th, 2006

In the last few decades there has been a sharp increase in the number of people who are allergic to peanuts. According to an article in the June 24, 2006 issue of New Scientist, “Allergenic foods are often things a population eats a lot of,” and “Today, the average American eats 3 kilograms of peanut […]

IKEA products that could be vanity license plates

September 1st, 2006

This is the third entry in our series of IKEA lists. Alhagen Name for: A basket Could be: A license plate for an ice cream fan Brallis Name for: A clothes-hanger Could be: A license plate for a “natural” woman Brygd Name for: A pitcher Could be: A license plate for a dentist Espnäs Name […]