Stuff I've Googled, what I Googled a few minutes ago, what I'm Googling now, why I'm Googling, and other fascinating information.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What diva is named Nona?

Search: nona singer

Why: I was just listening to the Hedwig and the Angry Inch soundtrack for the 490th time this year alone. In "Midnight Radio," which has recently become one of my favorite songs (after "The Origin of Love," natch), the lyrics go like:
Here's to Patti and Tina
And Yoko, Aretha
And Nona, and Nico
And me
at 1:45

I think I know who all those other ladies are, but not Nona.

Answer: Nona Hendryx! She was a member of the trio Labelle along with Sarah Dash and, doy, Patti LaBelle, best known for their hit "Lady Marmalade" in 1974.

She's the beautiful white goddamn rufio peacock below:

They also had lots of other singles.

Thereafter, she had some solo singles and also fronted a progressive art-rock band called Zero Cool. In 1981, she did the vocals for the club hit "Bustin Out" with the funky No Wave group Material.

Source: The Straight Dope, Wikipedia

The More You Know: Another singer named Nona is Nona Gaye, daughter of Marvin Gaye, but that's probably not whom we're talking about here. If it is, sorry, Nona.

Friday, March 1, 2013

What's the song playing in the square in "Groundhog Day"?

Search: groundhog day song square band has begun

Why: A few days ago, Chandler looked at me and said, "It's Groundhog Day." After a moment, I said, "I... don't think you know when Groundhog Day is." Because it was almost a month ago. His phone had sent him an alert to tell him it was Groundhog Day. Though we later determined that this was an old alert caused by an incomplete update, it didn't explain why, at 33, Chandler doesn't know when Groundhog Day is...

But that's irrelephant. The next morning, I was trying to sing that song from the major motion picture Groundhog Day, but found it difficult because I don't know the words. Not "I Got You Babe" -

- not that one. Obviously. The one that they play in Gobbler's Knob. To my brain, it sounds something like, "Wake up - the music - the band has begun - dum dum dum dum - another day for poking."

Answer: "Pennsylvania Polka"!

Lyrics go like:
Strike up the music, the band has begun
The Pennsylvania Polka
Pick out your partner, and join in the fun
The Pennsylvania Polka
It started in Scranton, it's now Number 1
It's bound to entertain ya
Everybody has a mania
To do the polka from Pennsylvania
While they're dancing
Everybody's cares are quickly gone
Sweet romancing
This goes on and on until the dawn
They're so carefree
Gay with laughter, happy as can be
They stop to have a beer
Then the crowd begins to cheer
They kiss, and then they start to dance again
That's some joyful noise.

Source: LyricSet

The More You Know: Two things:

1. Punxsutawney is probably spelled differently than you think. In fact, I spelled it wrong in this post about the first Groundhog Day more than 2 years ago. (Leaving unedited for posterity.)

2. According to the Internet, "Pennsylvania Polka" was performed by Frankie Yankovic, who, according to the Internet, is known as "America's Polka King." He is not related to Weird Al Yankovic, who is also known for making polka medleys - such as "Polka Your Eyes Out," which was on an album I acquired in 3rd grade:

This one from 2011 is called "Polka Face":

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Who played Freddie Mercury in the video for "The Miracle"?

Search: the miracle video

Why: Yesterday, I was watching a bunch of goat edition videos to do a yelling goat meme roundup for Ranker / because they are (occasionally) hilarious. I ran across this shitty one,

but even though it's super lazy and only has that one annoying shrieking goat - which I'm pretty sure is a sheep anyway - I was kind of like, "Wow, Freddie Mercury is was a pretty magnetic performer." I realized I had only really ever seen him perform "live" twice, in the video for "Bohemian Rhapsody" and in that one Queen Live Aid performance that is everywhere all the time.

So I clicked around a bit, and then I ended up looking at this video for "The Miracle":

Who is that kid? He's sprightly. I thought it was a girl until she showed his nips.

Answer: Why, it's Scottish actor Ross McCall!

Do you recognize him as Joseph Liebgott from Band of Brothers?

I don't, because I have not (yet) watched that thing. But I hear it's good!

Source: Wikipedia

The More You Know: I am a person who likes the character Aldous Snow a lot, both in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. Here he is performing "The Clap" with Infant Sorrow at my local amphitheatre.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Where does the name Jonquil come from?

Search: jonquil name meaning

Why: We watched The Queen of Versailles a few weeks ago. The Siegel family has a combined, like, 10 kids, including an adopted daughter / niece named Jonquil. That is not one I hear often.

Answer: It means "Narcissus flower"! And you know what that is? The real name of the daffodil!!

Oh, how fun!

According to this Wiccan blog, when used to describe a color, "jonquil" means "a pale yellow." Also,
In Victorian flower language, jonquils mean "I hope for return of affection."
In this floriography chart here, these flowers mean these things:

  • Daffodil: Uncertainty, chivalry, respect or unrequited love, return my affection
  • Jonquil: "Return my affection"
  • Narcissus: Unrequited love, selfishness

tl;dr: don't name your kid Narcissus.

Source: BabyNamesWorld, Merriam-WebsterBewitching Names

The More You Know: A few other flower names you maybe didn't know were plant names and/or have never heard used on a person:

  • Bryony 
  • Calathea
  • Celandine
  • Daphne
  • Linnaea
  • Lobelia
  • Tansy
  • Zinnia
My grandmother has a friend named Zinnia.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

What is Omri Katz up to?

Search: omri katz 2012

Why: I'm watching Hocus Pocus for the first time this year. It's just as exquisite as I remember from last year. In 1993, Omri Katz was one of my first big screen boyfriends.

Answer: Oh gosh, just breaking my heart. Not being in things. These are literally the only credits to his name since 1993:
Here is some sort of abomination that was posted to the Internet in 2006.

I don't care.

Omri: If you are in LA but not a hairdresser like the Internet says, call me between auditions. We can have a romantic lunch at Umami Burger on Little Santa Monica.

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

The More You Know: Remember when Garry Marshall and Penny Marshall play husband and wife in Hocus Pocus? That was super weird.

Because they are brother and sister.

Also, remember the dad in that movie? Charles Rocket? He slashed his own throat in 2005, only 9 years after he starred in It's Pat. (He was also the bad guy in Dumb & Dumber.)

Friday, September 21, 2012

I want to watch a video of a platypus hatching

Search: platypus hatching; echidna hatching

Why: The other morning, Chandler said, "I sleep standing up! and-" and then - in unison - we both said, "I only eat at night!" He was very "How do you know that??" and "What is that even from???" and it was from this Wildlife Treasury commercial, which we both watched probably on Nickelodeon in the 1980s.

The duck-billed platypus has feet like a duck, but it's furry. Now it's all I can think about.

Answer: Well, I can't find a video of a platypus hatching, BUT! I did find this. Watch it, and then we'll talk about what we've learned:

Source: YouTube

The More You Know: Facts about echidnas and platypodes!
  1. Mammals that lay eggs are called monotremes. There are 5 extant species of monotremes (4 of which are echidnas - there is only one species of platypus [duck-billed]).
  2. Echidnas have pouches. Most animals that have pouches are marsupials (literally "having a pouch"), but echidnas are not marsupials. Platypodes do not have pouches.
  3. Echidnas lay one egg at a time. They keep their little baby blobs in their pouches for 7 weeks until they grow spin. Then the moms drop the babies off in burrows, which they visit every few days. They care for and nurse their little baby blobs for 5-6 months.
  4. Monotreme egg shells are leathery, kind of like reptile eggs. An embryo grows an egg tooth that it uses to break out of the shell, kind of like a bird or I guess a reptile.
  5. BABY ECHIDNAS ARE CALLED PUGGLES OMG. There is no official name for a baby platypus, but you could probably get away with calling it a puggle.
  6. For a little while, right after hatching, echidna puggles breathe through their skin. They also kind of look like tardigrades.
  7. Monotremes don't have nipples, but adapted pores that excrete milk on their tummies.
  8. Platypodes are born with teeth, but they drop off over time. Echidnas never have teeth (except the egg teeth).
  9. The male echidna has a four-headed penis. During mating, the heads on one side "shut down" and do not grow in size; the other two are used to release semen into the girl's hoo-ha. The heads used swap each time it bangs. Click here to see the four-headed echidna penis because you are a pervert. (Here too.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How big is a whale's blowhole?

Search: how big is a whale's blowhole; blowhole size

Why: You guys, guess where I finally went Sunday for the first time ever? I'll give you 3 hints:

That's right: Comic-Con!

Answer: Well, what kind of whale we talking here? 
  • Blue? According to this documentary about bleu whales, their blowholes are big enough for a toddler to fit inside.
  • The humpback whale blowhole is 8-10 inches long.
  • The sperm whale blowhole is about 20 inches long. It is also S-shaped.
  • I can't find any information about killer whale blowholes, but based on this photo (which must have been taken before this happened), I am going to estimate that it's something like... 4 inches in diameter? I have no idea. You could definitely fit your whole fist in it, if that's what you're wondering.

The blowhole leads to the whale's trachea, which then goes to its lungs, bypassing the mouth. The spray from a humpback whale's blow hole goes 10-13 feet in the air. The spray from a blue whale's blowhole can go up to 30 feet!

It takes a dolphin only a fraction of a second to empty its blowhole. Baby dolphins are too dumb to understand breathing, so they raise their heads out way above the water until they get the hang of it.

Source: Enchanted Learning, Neatorama, National Geographic, this site, Understand DolphinsPanda's Thumb (which also has part of an interesting essay about the evolution of whale nipples)

The More You Know: The blowhole is covered by a muscular flap that the whale contracts to open. When closed, the seal is water-tight. If water gets in there, the whale could drown.

Also, baleen whales (humpbacks, blue whales, gray whales) each have 2 blowholes! TWO!!

The other kind of whale (Odontoceti - sperm, killer, beluga, dolphin) is called "toothed."
One of the nostrils (air-passages) of toothed whales evolved into their echolocation system (the sensing system in which they make and receive high-pitched sounds in order to orient themselves, catch prey, and communicate), leaving them with only one blowhole.
Put that in your hole and smoke it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Are there any pets in the Bible?

Search: pets in the bible

Why: I made this list of the Best Fictional Pets the other day at my place of business, and I was looking at it again just now. I included Argos, the loyal puppy from The Odyssey, and then I thought "O wait! Maybe it's rude to call The Odyssey 'fiction'?" I don't know why I thought that, but then my brain obviously leapt straight to the Bible.

Answer: No! Not named ones, anyway. There are animals about, but they don't seem to be domesticated enough where you could have them live in your house and take naps on your tummy.

Interestingly (? you be the judge), there are exactly 40 references to dogs in "the Bible or citations in Scripture." The fellow who wrote this article believes that means that dogs are messengers of God, though it looks like he had to do quite a bit of finessing to come up with that nice round sacred number. After all, several of the verses are identical, and one time, he counts the verb "to dog," which I don't think translates the same way in Aramaic. (PS: One of the only words I remember from a billion years of Hebrew school is kelev, "dog.")

Also, most of the times they're mentioned, dogs are described as wild ominous beasts who eat people, get treated poorly, and/or are disgusting. For example:
  • 1 Kings 14:11
    Dogs will eat those belonging to Jeroboam who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country. The LORD has spoken!'
  • Psalm 22:16
    Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.
They're coming.
  • Proverbs 26:11
    As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.
  • Philippians 3:2
    Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.
  • Revelation 22:15
    Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Dogs also did some shepherding, hunting, and companioning, and it looks like they were occasionally not dangerous:
  • Mark 7:27
    "First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
  •  Luke 16:21
    ...and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
  • Proverbs 12:10
    Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.
I don't know. Some of the other animals mentioned in the Bible were ones from the Middle East: cattle, camels, ostriches, locusts, fish, lizards... Not tigers or penguins or Galapagos turtles or velociraptors or anything, but they were all probably just lumped under categories like "birds" and "beasts" and then, obviously, on the Arc.

But anyway: no, there weren't any pets in the Bible. And I'll tell you something else that was for sure never said:

Source: Yahoo! Voices, Wikipedia, All About the Bible, answers2prayer

The More You Know: There are no cats in the Bible as we know it... But have you heard of the Book of Baruch? Most of the text of it has been lost, but it allegedly had a line or two about kitties. Nobody knows what they called them or anything, but I'm sure whatever the name was, it was adorable.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's the origin of the word javelina?

: javelina name origin

Why: I was admiring some art from Draw Something (are you playing? I can't get enough. We literally lie in bed drawing and laughing and cornholing except Buster) when I spotted this:

which made me think of this:

Pagoda! Where's my javelina?

and subsequently this:

There you are.

Answer: It's a topic of debate! But here is a pretty good theory:
  • It comes from the Spanish word jabali, "wild boar." A jabalina is a "wild sow."
  • That term comes from the Arabic term khinzīr jabalīy, "mountain pig." A jabal is a mountain.
Another option: What it may come from (but probably not) is the word javelin. Javelinas have sharp teeth, don't it.

Source: Some person's page about javelinas

The More You Know: Other beautiful names for the javelina include peccary and skunk pig.

Bonus screenshot: Wherein James and I discuss "RuPaul's Drag Race" and his experiences with peccaries in Guatemala:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What happened to Drew Allen Bush?

: drew allen bush

Why: On PostSecret this week:

How did he die?

: His shitty new friend Sean Slater shot him in the throat. He was 12 years old. His mom Shelly Bush wrote this on his memorial site:
Passed away on September 3, 2005.

drew went to a short term friends house where the boy got out a 20 gauge shot gun said he wanted to scare drew and pointed it at him when drew told him to stop twice he then pionted the gun around the room then pointed back at drew cocking pulling hammer back then pulled the trigger a foot away from drew's throat killing him instantly. this boy got 90 days in d.h. for this which we fill very let down by the justice system this boy knew what he was doing and paying no price for it. his mother got 30 days in county and short time in a rehab. she allowed her son the gun in his room because he says he was afraid she allowed him alcohol and hand pipe rolling papers and bong for a mind alltering herb he was smoking. she is a pathetic mother that shouldnt have custody of her child so again the justice system let us down. the slater family is a disgusting unremorceful trash. we are the family serving the life sentence. we will always fight for drew and fight to change laws LOVE-A-KID LOCK-A-GUN
Yipes. She wrote more here.

He was points champion at motocross dirt bike racing. #77

:, Common Sense About Kids and Guns

The More You Know: Ew, and the mother of the murdery kid also gave him salvia (in addition to the shotgun). The story reminds me of that thing in America where it's illegal to do pretty much anything except churn out a bunch of kids and then be a horrible parent who ruins lives.

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