Today I Learned…

where all the Pixar Easter Eggs are!

This began as a discussion of a bet in which someone was challenged to find WALL-E somewhere on the Ratatouille DVD.  It expanded into a comprehensive catalog of Pixar’s long history and penchant for inside jokes.  The rubber ball from Luxo Jr., one of Pixar’s very first shorts, appears in almost every movie, as does the Pizza Planet delivery truck from Toy Story.


Whoops!  Missed Wednesday, and Thursday’s post is coming in late.  Sorry about that!  Here’s a doublepak of knowledge for ya!

Today (Wednesday) I Learned…

…that Popeye’s spinach habit was government-funded.  In the early days of Popeye comics, no explanation was ever given for Popeye’s super strength.  However, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the brawny sailor suddenly began eating cans of spinach to get his mus-kles.  Why?

Seems that the United States government was concerned about the nutrition of the American people given the extremely high price of meat during the Depression.  Spinach was believed to be a ridiculously good source of iron, and the government enlisted Popeye the Sailor Man to start hawking spinach to the people of the nation.  It worked — sales of spinach increased 33% and American children rated it as their third favorite food behind turkey and ice cream.  The feds weren’t just interested in the nutrition, however — they were also pushing canned goods as a good source of emergency rations.

Also, it turns out that some of the scientific findings that the US based this program on were faulty — a decimal point was misplaced in an 1870 paper which made it seem that spinach had 10 times as much iron as it actually did; however the deed was already done when this was found out.

Thanks to mental_floss magazine for that one.

Today (Thursday) I Learned…

…about a fantastic band.  Go check out Scythian, and support these guys if you get a chance.  A bunch of us saw them Thursday night at Castaways in Ithaca and they put on a hell of a show.  Opening for them was OneSide, another great band from Boston.  Check them out too.

Today I Learned…

…that the final British monarch to also be an emperor was George VI (thanks Spam!)

…that the largest US state capital to not have a franchise in one of the four major American sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) is Austin, TX.

…that ET used a Speak ‘n’ Spell made by Texas Instruments to “phone home” (nailed the final question!).

…that Team “Mounting Sexual Theoretics” was the final 3rd place team to bring home a prize at Rulloff’s trivia!  $15!

Today I Learned…

…how to properly address a noble within the social customs of Elizabethan England.  (Thanks to for the following)

  • Sir goes only with a man’s given name. To address a knight using only his surname, say Master (see examples below).
  • Lord implies a peerage whether temporal (baron or better) or spiritual (bishops).
  • Not every knight is a lord; not every lord is a knight. It is best not to say My Lord to anyone not so entitled.
  • A territorial title is one which is attached to a particular piece of land, such as a county.
  • Peers sign their names and refer to themselves and each other by their territorial titles, such as “Henry Southampton”, “Francis Bedford”, or “Thomas Rutland”.
  • Every woman married to a knight or better can be called my lady. For unmarried women, see the various examples.
  • The children of a knight, baron, or viscount have no titles at all other than Master and Mistress.
  • All the sons of a marquis or a duke are styled lord.
  • Only the eldest son of an earl is called lord (because he takes his father’s secondary title and is one, by courtesy) though all an earl’s daughters are styled lady. They retain this courtesy even if they marry a commoner.
  • Your Grace belongs properly only to royal blood: the queen, dukes, and visiting princesses. It does not apply to Earls or Countesses in the 16th century. Archbishops share this honor as princes of the church.
  • The style of Honourable or Right Honourable for younger sons and daughters of peers has not yet come into use. Peers, however, often receive dedications in a form such as “the right Honourable the Lord Chandos”.
  • Esquires are the younger sons of peers, the heirs male of knights, esquires of the body, and officials such as judges, sheriffs, and officers of the royal household. Esquire is not actually a title, although it may be used after a gentleman’s surname; as, William More, Esquire.
  • If you are not noble, you may wish to address those above you as Your Worship, Your Honour, or Your Lordship/Ladyship.
  • Children are taught to address their parents as Sir and Madam, or my lord and my lady. A noble child refers to my lady mother and the lord my father.

Today (Yesterday) I Learned…

…that duh, there’s no trivia at Ruloff’s during Cornell’s fall break.

Karaoke as a substitute was fun, though.  And good luck to Hanners student teaching in NYC this week!

Today I Learned…

…that Jacoby Ellsbury hit the first three-RBI single in baseball postseason history.  In the second inning, Boston’s rookie leadoff hitter comes to bat with the bases loaded and two outs.  On a full count, he hits what seems to be an easy flare out to shallow center field.  Los Angeles shortstop Erick Aybar (who would later have the game-winning RBI in the 12th inning), second baseman Howie Kendrick, and center fielder Torii Hunter all converge on the ball, but each of them stops short and the ball falls between them.  All three baserunners score after running on the pitch, while Ellsbury is stopped at first because the ball is hit so shallow.

Special bonus Ruloff’s Trivia wrap-up!

…The only state which broke the rule against having a living person on its state quarter is Ohio, featuring Neil Armstrong.

…”The Incredibles” is the only Pixar movie to receive a rating other than G from the MPAA.

…The only movie to win both Best Picture at the Oscars and Best Kiss at the MTV Video Music Awards is “Shakespeare in Love.”

Today I Learned…

…that the Sioux City, Iowa regional airport’s abbreviation is SUX. (We actually got this one.  Thanks Carrie!)

…that the two main ingredients in succotash are corn and lima beans. (Not sufferin’, as I wanted to write down.)

…and that according to the most recent version of the Oxford English Dictionary, the most common noun in the English language is “time.”  (Stephanie had said this one, and we were deciding between it and “home.”  We picked the wrong one.)