Thursday, November 06, 2014

Things I Learned in October

It's that time again: a miscellaneous collection of things I learned this month, linked with Chatting at the Sky. Here we go...

1. The heart could actually be removed from the body, placed in saline solution, given oxygen, and still continue to beat. I found this out in the midst of a fascinating online discussion about a news story involving "brain death," a controversial and confusing medical term.  

2. Early versions of the smallpox "vaccine," called "variolation," involved scraping an infected person's pox sores and wiping it into a cut in a healthy person's skin. After seeing this happen (or rather, having to avert my eyes because it was so disgusting) during the John Adams miniseries Steve and I have been watching, I had to find out more. YIKES!

3. Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is a clever riff on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. I'm sure most of you moms out there are facepalming with a huge "DUH"...but we don't have access to regular TV, so the only time my boys get to watch PBS Kids is at my parents' house, and I hadn't seen or paid any attention to the show until they were watching it a couple of weeks ago. The main thing I wanted to note, though, was a clever little song taught on the episode the boys saw: "Saying 'I'm sorry' is the first step--then 'How can I help?'" I absolutely loved the concrete lesson on not only saying sorry, but learning to make amends after you've done wrong or hurt someone. Brilliant!

4. Arkansas Black apples are the hardest, most crisp apples I've ever encountered--so crisp I was sure I was going to cut myself trying to get a knife through them--and, oddly, they taste like grapes. Strange and interesting, but not my favorite apple. By the time you finish chewing, the bite has no flavor left, just really starchy. (Cameos are still number one in my book.)

5. An "eggcorn" is when you replace the original word in a common phrase with a new word, such as "old-timers' disease" instead of "Alzheimer's disease." Different from a malapropism (where your substitution is just nonsensical), an eggcorn is an error that displays some degree of creativity or logic, where the meaning is connected. Often it happens when people replace an "unfamiliar, archaic, or obscure" word with a more familiar modern word (i.e., "baited breath" instead of the original "bated breath"). I often notice people doing this, but I had no idea there was a word for that!

6. The world record for the heaviest pumpkin was set in 2007--it weighed 1,689 pounds. What in the world?! Found that tidbit on a poster of random facts about pumpkins in the bathroom stall at the Warner Park Nature Center. 

How about you--what did you learn in October?


Danielle said...

The John Adams mini series is on my list to watch. AND, of course, there's a whole episode on What You Missed in History Class about the early development of the smallpox vaccine. This link doesn't seem to link directly to the podcast, but it would give you the title to find it. It was fascinating:

And yes, Sophia loves Daniel Tiger around here.
And me too. Actually, the songs have really helped her with emotional stuff like calming down. She'll actually sing the song "take a deep breath and count to 4" when she gets upset. And there's one about being scared. It's actually one of the better shows out there, in my opinion. That and my boys adore Wild Kratts.

Anonymous said...

I truly enjoyed reading your list. Lots of information. I did not know about eggcorns, so thanks for that. Also, the small pox vaccination - I too would not have been able to look. Never heard of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood (not on cable and no littles), but glad to know that there is a replacement for Mr. Rogers - he was such an icon. I love the colors on your blog. Enjoyed stopping by from over at Emily's.