Yup, I learned twelve things last week… but only published six. (Why did I choose the number six?!?!??? Dunno. It seemed easy at the time I started the blog, I suppose.) It’s a good thing too, as I only learned only three bona fied useless facts this week. Well, I guess I can hold them over until next week… So here we go!
1.) Damn. It hurts to be wrong.
I’ve thought for years that Carl Jung invented the fortune cookie, but the internet told me otherwise. Fortune cookies, the yummy, after-Chinese meal accompaniment, is neither a cookie (it’s a cracker actually) nor indigenous to China. It’s a purely American phenomenon… so don’t expect any confections with trite sayings inside after your dinner in Beijing.
However, who invented it has recently become a matter of debate.
One account claims that David Jung, a Chinese immigrant living in Los Angeles and founder of the Hong Kong Noodle Company, invented the cookie in 1918. (Okay, I got it half right…) He created the cookie to ward off the poor from his street. Each cookie contained a strip of paper with an inspirational Bible scripture on it, written by a Presbyterian minister.
Others believe that the fortune cookie was invented in San Francisco by a Japanese immigrant named Makoto Hagiwara around the same time. Hagiwara was the person who designed the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. After being fired and subsequently hired back to build the garden, he invented the cookie… er, cracker to show his gratefulness to the city.
In 1983, after a lengthy “trial,” a federal judge of the “Court of Historical Review” (a mock court) ruled that the fortune cookie originated in San Francisco. The City of Los Angeles subsequently condemned the decision.
But both municipalities did not read their fortune. The Japanese have a similar concoction with fortunes inside called Tsujiura Senbei, which originated in the 19th Century, predating both claims.
2.) You burn more calories sleeping than watching television.
According to this website, we burn 95 calories an hour when we sleep; 85 when we turn on the boob tube. Intuitively, this makes sense too… during sleep, our bodies are hard at work repairing the damage we inflict to our bodies. Food needs to be digested; red/white blood cells need to be replenished; and general aches and pains needs stabilization for 6-8 hours. Dreaming/flailing around also account for some “exercise” as well.
While watching TV, on the other hand, we tend to sit very still – paying attention to the flashing images unless one reaches for the remote, eats a slice of pizza or goes to the bathroom during commercial breaks.
So get on it, people. Naps are good for you!!!
3.) Turtles breathe out of their butts.
Well, some can… because of their hard shells, turtles have pretty amazing anaerobic capabilities, which allow them to survive on minimal oxygen for prolonged periods of time. Like most animals, turtles do have lungs which takes in air through the mouth and nose… but for a select few, they also have a pair of sacs (bursae) that connect to their butt, which singularly serves as their anus, sexual organs… and breathing apparatus.
These lucky turtles can breathe through their behind both in water AND on land!
4.) You will probably never see a baby pigeon in person.
Have you noticed that all pigeons seem to be around the same size? Well, Mom and Dad are very good at hiding their nests; and feed their spawn nonstop, which makes them grow up super fast! When they leave the nest about a month later, these former babies are almost as big as their parents… if not bigger!
5.) Want some sun???? Move to… Washington, DC(!) I often learn random facts at bars. This ditty was told to me by a drunk patron… turns out, he was right. Despite our (very cloudy/rainy) September that we endured, the District of Columbia receives, on average, 96 days of clear skies (during daytime hours) every year. Miami only gets 74 sunny days.
(Incidentally, have you ever been to Miami during their “rainy season?” It monsoons pretty much EVERY damn day… yeah, I’m bitter.)
But if you want beaucoup sun, move to Phoenix. (They have 211 average days of sunshine per year!) Take your sunscreen too ‘cuz it BURNS!
Wanna be a genius? Start using!