Today I Learned…

…where the term “tip” comes from.  It is /not/, as my coworker Livy insisted, an acronym for “to insure promptness.”  This is probably a backronym of some kind (and incorrect, as it does not use the grammatically correct “ensure”).  According to Wikipedia, the word comes from the 16th century German verb tip, which meant “to give, hand, or pass” and “to tap.”

Also interesting is that the current German word for a tip is the unrelated word Trinkgeld, which literally translates to “drink money.”  That’s exactly what many of us are using it for.

For more info, and information on tipping customs around the world, check out the Wikipedia article.


Today I Learned…

…that I received the first 100% score on a “secret shopper” test in the history of our café!  I got two neato pins — one a star for getting over 90%, and then a mug for getting 100%.

I apparently care way too much about my retail job considering I’m really psyched about this!

Today I Learned…

…where the term “wise-acre” comes from, and it’s not a polite euphemism for wise-ass as you may have thought.  According to wiktionary, the term descends from the Middle Dutch wijssegger, meaning soothsayer.  It is defined as one who feigns knowledge or cleverness; an insolent upstart.

Urban Dictionary currently has a definition of “wise-acre” with 7 thumbs up and 2 down as follows:

Wise-acre is essentially synonymous with the terms jerk and jackass. One defining feature is that a wise-acre enjoys comedy more than anything, and therefore an insult comic or a practical joker would be called wise-acres. It has fallen into disuse recently, but it’s still there.

I’m not sure that I’m a big fan of this definition — I think it misses out on the closeness to the term “wise-ass” that is implied.  There’s no link to the sarcastic nature which is, I think, almost part and parcel with the label.

.o0(Thanks to Kevin at work today who, besides looking like a 70’s baseball card, called me a wise-acre today which prompted me to look up its etymology.)

Today I Learned…

…that strawberries are not a common food allergy, despite what the customer at my store said.

The eight most common food allergies in the United States are:

  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts
  • Seafood
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Wheat

You’ll notice that strawberries are /not/ on this list.

Today I Learned…

…that working up at the register at my bookstore and ripping the covers off of bad romance novels is surprisingly cathartic.  That, and being able to do my best Dante Hicks impression over the walkie-talkie: “I’m not even supposed to be here today!”

Also, I learned that the librarian at IHS vaguely remembers me, which is a bit weird five years after I graduated.

Today I Learned…

…that I need to look at the schedule more carefully when it comes out at work.  I just found out today that I have to be in to work tomorrow at 7am to do cafe inventory.  That is full of suck.  Although I did just figure out that that means I’ll be home in time to watch the late afternoon football games for the first time all season!  So that’s good.

Today I Learned…

…exactly what French Vanilla is.  That’s a common request at my coffee shop — “Can you make a French vanilla latté?”  Our answer is always no, because we don’t have french vanilla syrup.  However, it got me and coworker Stephanie thinking today: what is the difference between regular vanilla and french vanilla?

Well, Wikipedia has the answer.  Thanks, Wikipedia!

The term French vanilla is not a type of vanilla, but is often used to designate preparations that have a strong vanilla aroma, and contain vanilla grains. The name originates from the French style of making ice cream custard base with vanilla pods, cream, and egg yolks. Inclusion of vanilla varietals from any of the former or current French dependencies noted for their exports may in fact be a part of the flavoring, though it may often be coincidental. Alternatively, French vanilla is taken to refer to a vanilla-custard flavor. Syrup labeled as French vanilla may include hazelnut, custard, caramel or butterscotch flavors in addition to vanilla.