Fun Stuff/ Research

Knock on Wood (Weird Phrases & Their Origins)

How many times have I said the day was going well and then felt the urge to knock on wood?

Everyone knows what this means…. but where did it come from?

I mean, what goofball stood around while his wife was in labor, nervous, hoping everything would go right, and decided to slam knuckles against a wooden banister, as if this would help?

o_0

 

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Meaning: Knocking on wood (or touching wood, in Britain) is a superstition where people knock on a piece of wood to ward off bad luck or to hopefully gain good fortune.

 

Origin: This phrase has been around since the 19th century, yet no one can decide on an exact origin. The idea with the largest following centers on the pagan belief that spirits lived inside trees. Following this logic, knocking on the tree trunks could have done one of four things.

1 – chase evil spirits away,

2 – wake up good spirits in the hope they’d lend some luck,

3 – thank the spirits for good luck already given, or

4 – prevent the spirits from listening in and reversing what goodness had already taken place.

 

Some Christians linked touching or knocking on wood to the crucifixion of Christ on the cross.

 

Yet another theory was put forth by a British author, Steve Roud in his book, The Lore of the Playground. Roud argues that the phrase came from a children’s game of tag where kids were safe from being tagged if they touched a piece of wood.

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I rather like the idea of creepy creatures running around inside the trees.

What about you?  When was the last time you said, “knock on wood”?

Fun Stuff/ Research

If You’re Mind-Numbingly Bored or Depressed #2

Here are some videos that might break up the monotony, help you relax, get all the drama off your mind, inspire you, or simply give you a reason to laugh.

 

What You’ll Find:

  • if you want to laugh
  • animals being lovable & loved
  • feel good/emotional music
  • oddly satisfying
  • informative
  • asmr
  • 3 random videos
  • for writers/readers
  • shameless self-promotion of my 2 YouTube channels
  • animals being saved (at the bottom of list in case its not for you)

 

what are your favorite things to watch?

 

IF YOU WANT TO LAUGH

 

IF YOU WANT TO SEE ANIMALS BEING LOVABLE & LOVED

 

FEEL GOOD/EMOTIONAL MUSIC VIDEOS

 

 

ODDLY SATISFYING

 

INFORMATIVE

 

ASMR

 

3 RANDOM VIDEOS

 

FOR WRITERS/READERS

 

SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION OF MY 2 YOUTUBE CHANNELS

  • daphne shadows

 

  • daphne shadows asmr

 

 

 

 

ANIMALS BEING SAVED

 

Fun Stuff/ Research

Get Your Ducks in a Row (Weird Phrases & Their Origins)

Speaking of the Coronavirus…

Just kidding. This isn’t a coronavirus post. (Even though I feel like a lot of people need to get their heads straight right now. Stop buying up all the toilet paper, people! I’m a broke cracker! I don’t have the money to go buy eight years supply of toilet paper – I live paycheck to paycheck. So now I roam every store and stare at all the empty toilet paper shelves, wondering why I have morals that stop me from punching people who stuff their cart full of every roll that exists.)

But I digress.

 

Ducks in a Row – what does it mean?

Its basically getting your act together. To get organized, get your facts straight, or take care of your responsibilities.

– when did it first appear?

This is a tricky one. The first recorded mention of little duckies in a row was in The Wilmington Messenger, a newspaper article from July 28, 1889. The article in question talks of how a supposed burglar breaks into someone’s house but escapes when she is interrupted. The writer talks of how the would-be burglar had her “ducks in a row”.

There are a few main theories on where this term came from. One of the most popular refers to the duck shaped targets at shooting galleries. The lesser accepted but possible origin comes from a popular bowling game in the 1700s. Duck pins would be used and would be lined up in a row before being bowled over.

-If you ask me, the most likely source of the phrase is how baby ducklings will follow their mother duck. A cute little row of ducklings waddling along to follow their momma duck, all in perfect and organized order.

 

Do you have all your ducks in a row?

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Fun Stuff/ Research

Weird Phrases & Their Origins: Walked Over My Grave

I love this phrase. Ever since I was a munchkin, I’ve been obsessed with certain words and phrases. I guess it’s a writer thing. 

Maybe its just a weirdo thing. 😉

Either way, I figured I’d share some info on it with you.

 

What it means: When a person says they feel like someone just walked over their grave, they mean they felt a sudden burst of chills run up or down their spine. It’s an involuntary random shiver of sorts that happens due to absolutely nothing. It gives you a case of the heebie-jeebies and yet you can’t quite figure out where they came from or why.

 

Origin: The freaky phrase was first mentioned in A Complete Collection of Genteel and Ingenious Conversation by Jonathan Swift, published in 1738.
You can find the book in the link below if you want to read it for yourself.

Skip ahead to 1853 when sir E. Bulwer Lytton published his novel Zanoni. Lytton not only gave mention to the phrase but described it perfectly. One can’t help but remember a time they felt someone walk over their grave, when reading along. Here’s what Lytton’s character had to say on the matter:

“I think I understand what you mean,” said he; “and perhaps,” he added, with a grave smile, “I could explain it better than yourself.” Here, turning to the others, he added, “You must often have felt, gentlemen each and all of you, especially when sitting alone at night, a strange and unaccountable sensation of coldness and awe creep over you; your blood curdles, and the heart stands still; the limbs shiver, the hair bristles; you are afraid to look up, to turn your eyes to the darker corners of the room; you have a horrible fancy that something unearthly is at hand; presently, the whole spell, if I may so call it, passes away, and you are ready to laugh at your own weakness.

So I can’t tell you how the phrase really came to be or sparked inside someone’s head, we can certainly trace it’s literary footprints.

I have to wonder if people used it before then though and just never wrote it into any literature of any kind. I really wish I could get into the head of whoever first thought it up.

 

When was the first time you heard this phrase?
Have you ever felt someone walk over your grave?

 

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Sources

https://books.google.com/books/about/A_Complete_Collection_of_Genteel_and_Ing.html?id=3lMJAAAAQAAJ (page 84)

https://books.google.com/books?id=_xwGAAAAQAAJ&source=gbs_navlinks_s (page 41)

Fun Stuff/ Research

Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl – Love and Loyalty

The city I live in has more Mexican restaurants than graves. There’s this fantastic one that I am in love with. Just thinking about it makes me want to swoon on over and order something. If only I had money, transportation, or a gut that likes human food.

*slams head into wall*

*sobs*

*why can’t my gut love Mexican food like I do*

*wails*

 

Anywho.

In every single restaurant, I noticed the same painting. Which got me curious. The myth lover in me knew there had to be a good story behind it.

I looked it up.

There’s a good story behind it.

 

The painting is of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl.

They are the names of two volcanoes visible in Mexico City, which are more than 17,000 feet high. They’re the second and third highest mountains in Mexico.

Iztaccihuatl means “White Woman” because the mountains are always snow capped. The mountain, which has four peaks, looks like the silhouette of a lady lying on her back. Hence the name. Though, people typically refer to it as “Sleeping Woman”.

Popocatepetl means “Smoking Mountain” and is still an active volcano.

The two are connected by a mountain pass named Paso de Cortes.

But that’s not what’s interesting.

 

At first, my only thoughts were that Popo and Izta have quite the tragic love story. I thought it was less love story and more tragedy. But a few days later, after having mulled it over, I realized I really like this story. And I do think it’s a tragedy. But I think it is certainly a love story.

Oh, and I’m going to shorten their names to Izta and Popo because so far I have failed at typing their names correctly. I gave up and copy and pasted their names. No laughing.

 


Izta was the princess; daughter of the ruler. Her lover, Popo, wasn’t allowed to marry her until he went into battle and defeated his enemy.

So off went Popo to fight and Izta awaited his triumphant return.

Popo was victorious, killing their enemies. (Yay!)

But someone told Izta that Popo had not only failed but had died. (not yay)

Some versions of the story say this devious someone was a rival of Popo’s. Others state it as a jealous man who wanted Izta for himself. Regardless, the effect was the same.

Izta fell sick and died from a broken heart. And then Popo popped in to find the love of his life dead because of a lie.

He carries her body to the mountains and builds a pyre for the both of them. He kneels in front of her and dies.

In some versions, Popo remained there to watch over her in her sleep for so long that the snow covered them both and they became volcanoes. In others, the gods were so moved by the love the two shared and the tragedy of their deaths, that they turned Popo and Izta into mountains so they would be together forever.

Regardless, Popo now kneels, facing Izta who lies sleeping, for as long as this earth stands.


 

What I like about this story is – love wins. It may be a bit out of the box. But this story is different than most. They’re together. Forever.

Popo didn’t come home and go on a crazy rampage, killing and maiming out of rage. He focused on his lady. I found that quite interesting. Especially since Popo was a warrior.

I love that he was done. As if his life was over now that she was gone. I wish we had more love like that these days. Love that shows and isn’t all about flashy and hollow gestures.

(I don’t recommend anyone jumps off a bridge or offs themselves when their lover dies. I’m simply commenting on this as a story.)

I really enjoy that this popular legend surrounds love surviving all – even death. It’s all over Mexican restaurants. I love that there’s a celebration of a love story all over the city I live in, in the details.

 

Also, why do all old legends and myths surround everyone that’s in love, dying??? Can we answer that question please?

 

Anywho. Here are some photos of the two volcanoes.

 

Popocatepetl

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Iztaccihuatl

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Sources

http://www.mexonline.com/history-popo.htm

https://www.inside-mexico.com/the-legend-of-popocatepetl-iztaccihuatl/

Fun Stuff/ Research

Valentine’s Day Weirdness

Hiya!
I’m always curious about holidays and special occasions and where they came from. I always seem to find some pretty strange stuff and though today’s findings are pretty normal (if not sticker shock-inducing), I did find one strange tidbit.
So here are some random facts about Valentine’s Day and what people are doing with their money.

 

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This is how we spend money on Valentine’s Day…

$16.1 BILLION on chocolates
$10.7 BILLION on non-chocolate goodies
and
$6.5 BILLION on jewelry …. and silverware

What’s up with the silverware???

 

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In the Middle Ages, people in romantic relationships would recite poetry to one another.
Handmade valentines showed up in the sixteenth century.
Mass produced cards reared their heads in the nineteenth century.

 

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In 2018 – and this is just February alone, we spent:

$158.5 million were spent importing bouquets of flowers
$92.7 million was spent on roses and buds only

 

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That’s a lot of chocolate and flowers. But why on earth buy silverware on Valentine’s day? Am I missing something?
I know it’s a bit old fashioned, but I love it when people bring home flowers or the oddball little-personalized thing throughout the year, for no reason.
I feel it shows appreciation and love for someone – regardless of what kind of relationship it is.

I hope we can get back to sprinkling Valentine’s Day with some of that genuine spark as well. Instead of just grabbing a card, signing it, and expecting your significant other to throw on lingerie for you, why not try something that shows how much you actually love them? We’re a society filled with underappreciated people. Don’t let your relationship become automated and dry. That’s how they die.

And on that depressing note, I hope you guys and gals had a really nice Valentine’s Day yesterday!
Regardless of whether you’re single or not. It’s a day to celebrate love. And romance is not the only kind of love.

 

heart-shape-1714807_1280
SOURCES
https://www.census.gov/newsroom/stories/2018/valentines.html
https://www.loc.gov/item/today-in-history/february-14/?#

Click to access valentines-day-ff.pdf

Fun Stuff/ Research

3 Old Wives Tales That Are Wrong

Old wives tales are superstitions passed down through time. They’re beliefs that aren’t backed up by facts.

While some of them are actually true, some are dangerously false. How are a couple of old wives tales dangerous, you ask? Dangerous like killing an infant with alcohol by accident. Just saying…
Here are three old wives tales that have been proven to be incorrect. As well as the facts to back them up so argumentative relatives can’t catch you with your opinion pants down around your ankles. 

You know what I’m talking about. We all have those relatives who enjoy arguing more than breathing.

 

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ONE
The tale: Rub some whiskey on your infant’s gums to stop teething pain.

The truth: Alcohol can kill the wee just born mini humans.

The facts: According to Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician, no amount of alcohol is safe for infants. Makes sense to me!
Let’s look at it this way. When adults take a shot, they drink about one ounce of alcohol, according to Jaclyn Stewart. A baby is getting 0.01 of that amount when a parent rubs whiskey on their gums.

But infants are tiny little sacks of flesh wrapped around tinier bones! They’re itty bitty and can easily be harmed. Stewart continues to plead our case as she goes on to describe what alcohol does to a tiny baby’s body. In a few words? It slows them down.

Sounds like not such a big deal? Think again.
Babies are constantly growing and slowing their freshly baked bodies down can cause developmental issues.

There’s enough challenge in this world for us humans, please don’t add any more for your child before they’re old enough to even understand the difference between chocolate and vanilla.

What to do instead? Dr. Shu saves our bums again. She suggests massaging your baby’s gums with a warm washcloth, allowing them to chew on cool baby rings made of the appropriate materials, or using an over the counter pain reliever in the appropriate dose for your wee one.
Seriously though, don’t give alcohol to babies. It’s not funny.

 

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TWO

Old wives tale: Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis.

The truth: Nope. It hasn’t been proven to cause arthritis. Though, you might not want to make a habit of it, regardless.

The facts: There are multiple theories as to why our knuckles make a cracking sound. The most popular one is that bubbles are bursting in our synovial fluid when we crack them. Synovial fluid, by the way, is fluid that lubricates your joints. Muy importante.

Everywhere we turn, there is one thing people agree on. Cracking your knuckles on a consistent basis is noisy and annoying. Knock it off.

It certainly isn’t on the top of my annoying noises list.

(Anyone here chew with their mouth open and smack louder than a dog with peanut butter? You’re at the top of my list. Stop or die. Grrrr!!!)

But apparently cracking your knuckles drives some people up the wall and back down again. Pick a new habit. And in case that isn’t enough to get you to quit, it’s also been suggested that cracking your knuckles gives you problem with grip strength. Not something I’d give up without a fight.

So while the old wives were wrong about cracking knuckles causing arthritis, it’s still not advisable.

 

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THREE

Old wives tale: Starve a fever, feed a cold. (I’ve also heard people turn that around.)

The truth: No! No! And, uh? No!
Please hold while I slam my head into this desk.

The facts: Starving is rarely, if ever, good for improving anything. Except maybe your appreciation for life once you’re rescued from that island you were shipwrecked on, after you nicknamed the local seagulls and began wondering how good tree bark tastes.

Regardless of which way you’ve heard this old wives tale said, it doesn’t matter. They’re both wrong. We need to feed both a fever and a cold.

When fighting off being sick, our bodies need energy. Nutrient-rich food is what our bodies use to create that energy. Ta-da.
(You definitely don’t want to overeat though.)
When you have a fever, it’s your body trying to fight off the illness. According to Mark Fischetti over at Scientific America, fevers increase our metabolism, meaning we need enough food for our bodies to burn in the pursuit of getting healthy.

Whether we have a fever or a cold, we need to eat healthy food and stay hydrated. Our bodies need the nutrients. Antioxidants, protein, glutathione, phytochemicals, and bioflavonoids are especially good for your health and can often prevent a person from getting sick too often.

If you’re sick and hear someone tell you to fast? Roll your eyes and cram the veggies and water down your gullet. When stuffy nose and fever attacks, fight back with healthy food, giving this old wives tale no nevermind.

 

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The next time you hear an old wives tale, maybe consider whether or not it’s true on your own.

 

Did your parents put alcohol on your gums? 

Does anyone else remember those teething rings from the fridge that were in the shape of the number eight and had little bumps all over them? (I used to love those things as a wee one.)

What are your favorite old wives tales? Are there any you wonder whether or not are accurate?

 

Sources

https://www.babymed.com/blogs/jaclyn-stewart/whiskey-risky

http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/expert.q.a/12/01/baby.teething.gums/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-feed-a-cold/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/does-knuckle-cracking-cause-arthritis

https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/joint-cracking-osteoarthritis

Fun Stuff/ Research

Have You Seen a Deer Shedding it’s Antler Velvet?

Weird question, I know.

I’d never actually seen a deer in real life until I moved up here five years ago. Now they walk around in the cemetery, which is awesome, or around my mum’s work building. Sometimes I catch them meandering around the street during the day. I even saw one walking out of someone’s yard on a jog one night. I love this place.

Back to deer shedding velvet though.

 

A few months ago, I ran into a photo on Pinterest of a deer with bloody antlers that had pieces of its own antlers hanging off. It looked like the deer had gone four rounds with a wood chipper with its antlers and tried to walk it off.

I did not like it.

Not at all.

Looked like the poor deer was in pain.

 

Thank heaven someone commented below and cleared everything right up with sciencey stuffs. When a deer’s antlers are fully formed, the blood vessels that covered them prior then harden and fall off.

Hence the gory looking velvet peeling off the brand new deer antlers.

Fast forward a few months and it was last December. My sister was wearing red antlers and I was wondering as to why anyone would sell red antlers when antlers are brown. Then the photo pinged somewhere in the back of my brain. And I was curious.

Of course, I had to go look for details.

 

Check it out.

 

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Velvet on a deer’s antlers is what makes their antlers look fuzzy.

A deer sheds and grows their antlers like once every year. Which sounds exhausting and kinda counterproductive. Just keep the pair you have and if those fall off, then grow a new pair. But that’s not how deer work.

 

It goes like this. More sunlight means more testosterone. More testosterone means growing antlers. In order to do that, there needs to be a lot of nutrition.

Nutrition comes in the form of furry skin that’s made up of blood vessels and nerves. This velvet is what causes the antlers to grow so quickly. It feeds nutrition to the growing antlers, which grow stronger and stronger. Around about Fall, the antlers are brand new and ready for full use and the velvet dries up and starts to fall off. This only takes about a day.

 

For that one day, we see loads of pictures of deer rubbing their antlers against trees. I thought it was because they were itchy.

Nope. Wrong again. Thankfully. I don’t want them in pain or even a little itchy. I mean, they don’t have back scratchers or opposable thumbs to alleviate their itchiness.

They rub their antlers against trees to mark them with their scent. Kinda like a house cat. Or a werewolf. Just saying.

According to science, they also do it to grow stronger neck muscles.

 

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I wonder how they figure these things out though.

No one has ever possessed an animal, read their minds, and then repossessed their own body and reported to a lab of scientists.

At least, not that I know about.

That would be kinda cool. For like a second. Then I’d want some sort of way to keep out possession by scientists. Sounds like a good book idea. But I digress.

(It would be a great way to learn about animals without experimenting on and torturing them.)

 

If you want some great photos of bright red antlers, check out the article below. It has ten great photos of vibrant red antlers. The deer look like they’re bleeding and falling apart. Real great idea for a creature in a novel that freaks people out but is then like, “Nope, just time to shed these babies”.

…. Animals don’t talk though? Sometimes I concern myself. Am I suggesting a were-deer?

https://www.wideopenspaces.com/10-awesome-photos-of-deer-shedding-their-velvet-pics/

 

Other Random Stuff About Deer Antlers

While we’re here, why not?

 

Deer typically use their antlers to fight for dominance. You know, for the rights to mate with a chick. They also use them to move things around and search for food. I guess that means they don’t need opposable thumbs. They have mini forklifts and built-in buckets for moving and hauling. Works for me.

 

What happens to the velvet once the deer sheds it?

Because the velvet is so rich in nutrients, sometimes the deer themselves eat it. Or other deer around them.

Can you imagine? You’re a deer, your velvet is shedding, and some random deer waddles on over and starts eating it. *awkward* Or maybe not. I mean, they do defecate where they stand, so I highly doubt eating one another’s shedded antler velvet is strange.

Other than deers, other wee creatures will eat the shedding velvet. Like birds.

Because, you know, food.

 

Oh, oh. And does (female deer) can grow antlers. Two kinds. One, the kind that’s a pseudohermaphrodite. These does have outer female parts and internal male parts. The second kind have velvet antlers.

Nature is freaky cool.
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(Yes, I know, I know. Deer don’t waddle.)

 

What have we shed in our past that once helped us grow but we no longer needed in our lives?

What do we need to shed now?

 

Sources

http://www.iwla-rh.org/html/DGIF_articles/deer_antlers.html

https://sciencing.com/do-deer-velvet-horns-6690259.html

https://www.mossyoak.com/our-obsession/blogs/deer/a-furry-crown-what-is-antler-velvet