Scotland and mythological creatures seem to have a fondness for each other. Not only does Scotland boast ownership of the Loch Ness Monster, it has adopted the unicorn as its official animal.
As far back as 1466, the unicorn appeared on the official coin of the realm, and the Royal Coat of Arms sports two rampant unicorns.
In all official representations of the unicorn, the beast is chained, since it was considered virtually untamable and extremely dangerous. Perhaps it is that fierce desire for independence that will forever unite the unicorn and the Scot.
Where does the Tooth Fairy get all that money she leaves under children’s pillows? The original source of that wealth remains a mystery, but the evidence suggests that she keeps it invested in the U.S. stock market. Continue reading →
Benjamin Franklin is credited with some of the greatest ideas of all time. Not only was he the inventor of bifocal glasses, the Franklin stove, and lightning rod, but as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, his ideas surpassed scientific inquiry and helped create a nation. In fact, so wide were his interests that he spoke into virtually every area of human interest, and the world continues to feel his influence today in the arts, medical science, economics, cartography, and much, much more.
For those countries that observe Daylight Savings Time, Franklin’s influence is often remembered with resentment twice each year as the nation adjusts to Daylight Savings Time. Remembering to change all the clocks is almost as bad as the feeling of jet lag for a few days as the body tries to catch up with the extra or missing hour. We have Franklin to thank for this phenomenon.
You can tell a lot about what concerns people by looking at their language. Eskimos have many words for snow. The ancient Greeks had six words for love. It doesn’t take a lot to conclude that these were important things for these cultures.
Based on this, one can reasonably conclude that Scots are quite concerned about being inconvenienced by people of low intelligence. Scotland has at least twenty words and phrases for the word idiot.
These words include: bampot, diddy, div, dunderheed, dolton, eejit, goon, heid-the-baw, huddy, numpty, tube, choob, wallaper, warmer, galoot, dobber, gommy, roaster, daftie, and neap.
Going to Grandma’s house in a one-horse open sleigh might be your ideal means of Christmas travel, but for residents of Caracas, Venezuela, the tradition is for the entire city to roller-skate to early morning Christmas Mass.
When you view a nativity scene, there are certain elements you expect to be present. No nativity scene can be complete without baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Animals, angels, shepherds, and wise men are common, as well. When is the last time you expected to see a pooping man also present? If you live in Catalonia (northeastern Spain and southwestern France) such a sight would not surprise you.
The pooping man is called the Caganer. His origins are somewhat murky but has been around for at least 200 years. A number of theories exist as to why the figure shows up in Nativity scenes, including:
he is fertilizing the earth to bring about prosperity;
he is a symbol of humility;
he is there simply for shock value.
Whatever the reason, the custom is so common that the Roman Catholic Church has grudgingly tolerated the practice of including the Caganer in Nativity scenes, even in the highly-Catholic Catalan region.