The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

24 April 2014

Tid bits

... in which I offer trivial bits of nonsense.

So, I have this purple shirt. I didn't used to wear purple - or pink for that matter - but now when I look in my closet, there is an entire pink/purple section. Apparently what 'they' say is true, in that the right shade of pink warms the tone of your skin and is very flattering.  Give it a try.
But back to this purple shirt. It's a gym shirt, nothing special. It's my favourite to wear when I get home from work because it fits just right, you know? And I feel pretty in pink. Here's the thing. Not five minutes after I put it on, a stain appears on it, anything from ink to engine oil to egg yolk. On goes the stain treatment and I set it aside to soak, feeling blah in black instead.

There are any number of committees at my new (temporary) place of work. Among them is The Wellness Committee.  They send emails encouraging us to go for walks, and once provided a snack of yoghurt with nuts and berries. Today they laid on tea and cookies. The email they sent around to let us know alerted us to the many health benefits of green tea (and black tea, but that list was much, much shorter. I think they just didn't want black tea to feel left out). Lest  you imagine a spread with fine china and elegant hand crafted nibblies on tiered plates, it was instead boxes of green (and black) tea on a table in the lunch room, with cookies pre-sorted in sandwich baggies - two to a bag. As I looked over the goodies deciding which to bring back to my desk, I kept reminding myself, "Self, remember you don't like green tea.  You don't like it at all. " (I think it's the broccoli principle: a thing is supposed to be good for you, so it tastes yucky) (come to think of it, both are green.  Hmmmm...) Can you guess which kind of tea I chose?
Green tea.
I didn't like it at all.

One of the side benefits of working in libraries – or working with books – is gleaning interesting little factoids.  For example:
There are a few German terms used in cataloguing.  Festschrift, and Bildungsroman are two.
While cataloguing a book about container shipping, I learned the biggest ships hold upwards of 18,000 containers. That class of ship is Post Panamax, because they are too large to go through the Panama Canal (the canal is too shallow, but is in the process of being expanded. Many ports are dredging deeper to be able to keep up with the behemoths lugging our goods around the seas.)
Elsewhere I learned that the Netherlands has 18 million people in a space not quite twice the size of New Jersey. It is the third highest agricultural exporter.
There are professional bees. They are kept by the millions in thousands of hives and trucked across country, season by season to [pollinate?] fruit and nut orchards.
Dario Cecchini of Tuscany is the world’s best butcher.
Enthusiast clubs exist for every hobby, no doubt. One such revolves around long distance motorcycling, called The Iron Butt Association.  By long distance, they mean 1,000 miles in a 24 hour period, and the fun goes on from there, such as 10 consecutive 1,000 mile days. The thought makes me want to cry.
Evolving church architecture led to evolving church music (and sermon-giving) as sound fade and echo changed with the interiors.
The great vowel shift in the English language took place over the span of roughly 300 years, around the time of the invention of the printing press. Until mass printing was possible, English spelling was fluid. Some believe the standardization contributed to the shift, as did the broader acceptance of English as their everyday language by the upper classes (who previously preferred French), as well as population migration resulting from the plague. As the name suggests, vowels before and after the process of shifting were different, both in sound and formation – ie. where they were formed in the mouth. And because of The Great Vowel Shift, we now have words that don’t match in sound and spelling. Isn’t that right, neighbour?
An octopus has three hearts.

We only have one, and life is pretty good.


  1. This is the most educational post I've read anywhere in awhile - perhaps ever. :) ! I am intrigued by the evolution of vowel pronunciation (I love language and words and accents), and won't forget that an octopus has 3 hearts!

  2. I like to think of this as a full service blog, Nancy: informative as well as entertaining.