Some months I like to preface my “What I Learned” lists with long-winded summaries, explanations, and analysis. This is not one of those months! Let’s bypass the fanfare and get straight to the fun things that I’ve learned in the month of October.
- Bananas are the most popular fresh fruit in America. The average American eats more than 11 pounds of bananas (about 38 bananas) per year. We eat more than that number each month in our household—mostly because they are portable and cheap!
- I learned from Tim Ferriss that whiskey is spelled with an “e” when it comes from a country with an “e” in its name (e.g. America), but it’s spelled whisky—no “e”—when from countries without an “e” in their name (such as Scotland and Japan).
- I read that the United Nations declared that 2016 will be the Year of the Pulses. . . which led me to look up “pulses.” I discovered that pulses are part of the legume family, but that the term pulse refers only to the dried seed. So, dried peas, beans, chickpeas, and lentils are pulses, while soybeans, peanuts, and fresh peas and beans are not.
- I’ve always been shaky on the difference between sweet potatoes and yams. It turns out that all of them are sweet potatoes—at least the ones we see in grocery stores here in the United States. The reason we called orange-fleshed sweet potatoes “yams” dates back to the 1930s, when producers and shippers chose the English form of the African word “nyami” and labeled them as “yams” in marketing campaigns. True yams are tubers of tropical plants native to Africa, South America and the Pacific.
- In conducting “research” for my Seasonal Seven post, I stumbled upon a website that sells limited edition M&Ms. The flavors include Pumpkin Spice Latte, Pecan Pie, Red Velvet, Gingerbread, Carrot Cake, and more. I had no idea these M&M flavors existed! Have you tried any of them?!
- Speaking of candy—Americans reportedly spent nearly $800 million on candy during Halloween week last year. According to the National Confectioners Association, 72% of households give out two or three pieces of candy per Trick-or-Treater, and 78% percent of parents confess to taking candy from their kids’ haul. In case you were wondering: yes, we do plan on taking Charlie Trick-or-Treating. I’ll let you guess who will be eating that candy (hint:it will likely be somebody with more than two teeth).
From the World of Hollywood
- I enjoy using IMDB to look up trivia about the films that we watch. After watching Pitch Perfect 2, I discovered that Rebel Wilson and I have the same birthday, March 2. (Other celebrities who share our birthday include Bryce Dallas Howard, Daniel Craig, Desi Arnaz, Karen Carpenter, and Dr. Seuss. Not a bad line up!)
- After the success of Cinderella and Maleficent, Walt Disney Pictures has announced the development of several other live-action remakes of their Animated Classics, including Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Dumbo, Winnie the Pooh, Fantasia, and The Sword in the Stone. I’m excited to see how they pull some of those off; a live-action Tigger and Eeyore could be really interesting!
- I listened to the audio version of Mary Poppins a few months ago. At the time, I didn’t realize that the narrator—Sophie Thompson—is sister to Emma Thompson (who played P.L.Travers in Saving Mr. Banks). I love quirky connections like this!
- A number of well-known celebrities got their start on Star Search. The line-up includes Christina Aguilara, Alanis Morissette, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Rosie O’Donnell, and Drew Carey.
- Luke and I recently had a discussion about television theme songs and we started to wonder whether any shows had changed their opening songs. A quick Google search revealed that changing theme songs mid-series is not unheard of. Shows that have had more than one opening song include Happy Days, Boy Meets World, Monk, Baywatch, and I Dream of Jeannie.
- On a recent episode of The Popcast, cohosts Knox and Jamie discussed actors who were recast. I learned that George Lucas wanted Tom Selleck to play Indiana Jones, and that Bette Midler was originally slated to play the lead role in Sister Act. One recast that Knox and Jamie didn’t address, but that I also learned about this month, was that Jean Stapleton and Doris Day both turned down the role of Murder, She Wrote’s Jessica Fletcher. I can’t imagine anyone as a better fit than Angela Lansbury.
- In reading The Science of Mom, I learned a lot about newborn babies, but my favorite piece of information was about babies before they are born. Apparently at 38 weeks of gestation, a fetus can distinguish its mom’s voice from that of another woman. When a baby is played a recording of his mom reciting a poem, his heart rate will increase by five beats per minute, but it will slow by four beats per minute when played a recording of the same poem read by a stranger. At birth, a baby will prefer the sound of his native language to a foreign one, as well as the sound of a familiar story (read aloud by the mother during pregnancy) to a new one.
- Hong Kong is the world’s top city destination, followed by Singapore, Bangkok, London, and Paris. The six US cities to make the top 100 are New York City, Miami, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, and Honolulu.
- On a travel-related note, a new program called Remote Year brings together 75 individuals to spend a year working and living in twelve cities around the world. The program costs $2,000 per month and includes travel, accommodations, and work space within the pre-determined cities. What an awesome experience that would be!
- Everyone has their quirks; one of mine is that I REALLY don’t enjoy taking showers. Don’t worry, I still shower daily, but for some totally obscure reason, I tend to dread my nightly showers. I recently realized just HOW much I dislike showering when I started timing my showers and found that I am in and out—with legs shaved, body cleaned, and hair washed—in under eight minutes. If you know me, you know that I do NOTHING quickly, so the fact that I take such speedy showers is a true testament to my distaste for showering. (Side Note: I kind of can’t believe that I’m putting this grossness out on the internet. Please don’t judge me!)
- From this interesting post on the power of visuals, I learned that a picture is worth approximately 84 words. This is due to the fact that we are able to retain 80% of what we see but only 30% of what we read and 10% of what we hear.
- I’m learning the annoying lesson that our local streets aren’t particularly pedestrian-friendly (especially not when you have a stroller in tow). We live near several amazing horse and bike trails, but we have to cross a few streets to get to them, and our crosswalks are HORRIBLE: sometimes the signs turn from WALK to the dreaded flashing red hand before I can even maneuver our stroller into the street, and other times I’m left waiting for up to five minutes to get a WALK signal. This is a total first-world problem, I know, but it certainly puts a damper on some otherwise wonderful walks!
I’d love to hear one thing you learned this month. Share it with me in the comments! Then head over to Chatting at the Sky where I’m linking up with Emily Freeman and a community of other bloggers to share what we’ve been learning.