Norway’s Butter Shortage

In 2011, Norway experienced a serious butter shortage. Consumption grew especially in December with the increased demand in butter for Christmas baking and partly because of the increased popularity of low-carb but fat-rich diets in the country. As well, a rainy summer resulted in low and poor quality milk production.  The Norwegian government cut import […]


Real Men Don’t Wear Pink: Or Do They?

In Western culture, the practice of assigning pink to an individual gender began in the early 1900s. An article in the trade publication Earnshaw's Infants' Department in June 1918 stated: "The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger […]


Phrase Origins: Never Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth

The phrase “Never Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth”, generally means don’t be ungrateful when you receive a gift. The proverb, it seems, can be traced back to St. Jerome who referred to it as a common saying in his introductory remarks to the Epistle to the Ephesians in his translation of the New […]


Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: Defined

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is a song written by the Sherman Brothers, and performed by Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in Disney’s 1964 film Mary Poppins.   Mostly double-talk, the roots of the word can be broken down as: super- “above”, cali- “beauty”, fragilistic- “delicate”, expiali- “to atone”, and docious- “educable”. Put together, it roughly means “Atoning […]

7-up lithiated soda

The Original 7Up Contained Lithium

7 Up was created by Charles Leiper Grigg, who launched his St. Louis-based company The Howdy Corporation in 1920. Grigg came up with the formula for a lemon-lime soft drink in 1929. The product, originally named “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda”, was launched two weeks before the Wall Street Crash of 1929. It contained lithium citrate, […]



Matisse’s Le Bateau

In 1961, Matisse’s Le Bateau (The Boat) hung upside-down for 47 days in the Museum of Modern Art, New York – none of the 116,000 visitors had noticed, including the art dealer Pierre Matisse, the artist’s own son.


Pseudoscience: Drapetomania

  Originating from the Greek (drapetes, “a runaway [slave]“) and (mania, “madness, frenzy”),  Drapetomania was a supposed mental illness described by American physician Samuel A. Cartwright in 1851 that caused black slaves to flee captivity. Today, drapetomania is considered a pseudoscience and scientific racism.      Cartwright described the disorder as “unknown to our medical authorities, […]

First Stanley Cup 1893

Hockey History: The First Stanley Cup

On March 22, 1894, the first championship series for Lord Stanley’s Cup was played in Montreal, Canada. The Stanley Cup was the creation of Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, lord of Preston and the 16th earl of Derby.  He served in Canada’s House of Commons from 1865 until he was named governor general of Canada in […]