Friday, January 30, 2009

You can visit Encyclopedia Branigan without the blogspot

You can visit Encyclopedia Branigan without the blogspot, plus a little www. YES! It's true, we're official! Encyclopedia Branigan can now be reached at Thank you for helping us get started, but you were really cramping our style.

To purchase your domain click your settings tab or visit

Thanks to all the people who forgot to put in for inspiring me to make this move. This is for you.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A catfish has approximately 100,000 taste buds

A catfish has approximately 100,000 taste buds -- on the outside of its body. Humans only have around 10,000 and they are all on our tongues. According to Holly Flax they have these taste buds because they taste good. I refuse to accept that as an answer as I don't like fish (unless its paper thin and deeply fried, and there must be tartar sauce) or cats (no exceptions, sorry LJ).

Throw it back!

Not only are they great at taste testing, but catfish can grow to enormous sizes. The largest catfish ever caught was the giant Mekong catfish, caught in Thailand on May 1, 2005.

I will never go swimming in Thailand. Not with Loch Ness in the water.

For more information on catfishies, click here.

This post was inspired by a Keanu Reeves movie that involved the ocean, subsequently leading me to fish facts.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The most important category of the Oscars is Best Documentary Short

There are twenty four categories in this year's Oscars. While most people watch for the Best Picture and Actor/Actress in a Leading Role, there is another category that I feel is the most important.

In 1997, "Daughter of the Bride" was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. The film, produced by Terri Randall Productions, was the story of a 66-year-old widow who announces that she is planning to remarry and the conflicting emotions of her three grown children.

That 66-year-old was my grandmother, and the man she married was Seymour.

I don't remember much of my grandfather (I was around 5 when he died) but I imagine if there was anyone he would have wanted my grandmother to end up with after him it would have been Seymour. He loved my grandmother with all of his heart and treated her children and grandchildren as his own. Not only did he care deeply about family, but he was also committed to giving back to the community.

For the last 17 years, Seymour was a part of my family, and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to know and love him as a grandfather, and as I grew older, as a person. For the rest of my life, he will continue to live on in my heart.

This post is dedicated in loving memory to Seymour Lehrhoff. You will be missed.

Monday, January 26, 2009

UPDATE Smart people love free stuff

The deadline for the "Smart People Love Free Stuff" contest has been extended to Friday, January 30. Winners will be posted the following Monday.

Thank you,

Encyclopedia Branigan

Monday, January 19, 2009

Smart people love free stuff

Smart people love free stuff. So, since you are all so very smart (you're here!) I have decided to hold my first contest!! Yay!

I would like to see just how smart you are. To enter this contest, please send me an e-mail with the following:

  1. A random fact - A duck's quack doesn't echo (it does, but this is just an example)
  2. How you know the fact - I stepped on a duck once, while walking through a tunnel and it quacked, and nothing happened.
  3. Proof that the fact is true - must be a reputable source, this is an Encyclopedia, I don't post lies.

Entries will be judged by an expert panel based on randomness of fact and presentation of information (please refrain from send anything vile, profane or straight stupid). Send entries to lrbranigan AT gmail DOT com, subject line "Smart People Love Free Stuff." Your entry must be in by Tuesday, January 27 at 12:00 AM EST.

The winner will not only have their fact posted on the site (with the picture of their choice) but they will also receive an official diploma from the University of Branigan and, something every good student needs...

...a Dos Equis prize bundle!

Second and third place runner ups will also have their facts posted and will receive an official certificate of participation.

This post was inspired by my 400 unique viewers, who deserved to be showered with freebies.

Romans are the reason a broken mirror means seven years bad luck

Romans are the reason a broken mirror means seven years bad luck. Romans were the first to invent glass mirrors. They believed that the mirror had the power to take a part of your soul and therefore if your appearance in the mirror was damaged, say, by breaking the mirror, then you would be as well.

Romans also believed the soul was renewed every seven years. So if you were to break a mirror, and your soul was damaged, then in seven years you would be cool beans again.


Personally, I am VERY superstitious. I don't pick up unlucky pennies (pennies that are tails up), I don't walk under ladders, and I get very uncomfortable when a black cat crosses my path (I don't like cats to begin with). All of these mean bad luck, but only a broken mirror means SEVEN years. Supposedly, the only thing you can do once you have broken such mirror is to wait seven hours to clean the broken glass up (not really safe) and then bury the pieces at night (glass, night, digging? Also unsafe, but so is seven years of being cursed).

Some people are just asking for it...

For more information on superstition, click here.

Thanks to the mirror I mounted on my wall for falling and inspiring this post. Thankfully, it didn't break. Maybe that is seven years good luck...hmmm.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lifting 101

Lift - (verb) to move upward from the ground

(the following post is about lifting objects, not weights -- sorry, this won't help you get your swell on)

Sounds simple enough, but lifting heavy objects without injury is not so easy. Here are a few tips to make ensure you're able to lift that, say, TV stand and not being lifted to the hospital.
  • Plan - Before you lift, make sure there is a clear path to where you are going to put your object. Make sure that if you are lifting with someone else, they know where you plan to go as well.
  • Accessorize - Wearing a back brace can help when lifting heavy objects by supporting the spine and promoting proper posture. To purchase a brace, visit DocOrtho.
  • Keep it close - You're body will be more stable if you lift an object with your limbs closer to your body. Balance is key. Be sure to keep your feet shoulder width apart to maintain a solid base for the lift.
  • Bend at the knee, lift with the leg - Start the lift by bending at the knee with a straight back - this stance is key for preventing back injury. With the object in a firm grip, lift by extending your legs upward.

  • The core is core - Use the muscles of your core (your abs) to support the back during the lift.
  • Know when to say no - If you can't lift it, don't. Sometimes you need help and you will be much better off if you get some. If you don't ask for help and hurt yourself, you will just end up asking for it later when you pull your back out.

I know IKEA, you warned me...

If you have injured yourself, check out Orthopedics, or visit Dr. Nadelberg, chiropractor extraordinaire.

Thanks to my new TV stand and my stubborn disposition for causing the injury that inspired this post.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Painkillers should really be called painblockers

Painkillers don't kill pain, they block specific chemicals in order to make you feel as if the pain isn't there. There are two classes of painkillers, aspirin drugs and narcotic drugs and they each deal with pain differently.

Aspirin drugs (over the counter), like paracetamol and ibuprofen treat pain by blocking the production of prostaglandins, which are the chemicals that give the feeling of pain and swelling. As the level of prostaglandins in an injured area (say, an ankle) is reduced, the pain goes away.

Narcotic drugs (Rx drugs), like morphine and codeine block the chemical messages being sent from your brain to the area in pain and then alter the sensation of pain (These drugs should only be used if prescribed by a doctor as they can be very addictive).

For more information on pain management, visit WebMD.

This post is dedicated to John's ankle.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Allosaurus gives the finger but T-Rex wins the fight

Allosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex lived 80 million years apart, but if they were to fight (god forbid) in some Jurassic Park type disaster, T-Rex would walk away the winner. There are a couple differences between the two theropods that ensure a T-Rex victory.

Maybe not the best place to stand...

  1. Size does matter... in dinosaur fights. T-Rex was much larger than the Allosaurus
  2. T-Rex had a stronger jaw than it's younger cousin and could wolf down 500 lbs a time (ouch!)
  3. T-Rex was more agile than Allosaurus, and would be able to maneuver around the Allosaurus' attacks

The only thing Allosaurus had on T-Rex was an additional finger, but with 30 inch arms on a 12 foot tall body, one extra finger doesn't really make a difference. It would be pretty dumb of any dino to take on the T-Rex.

For more information on T-Rex and Allosaurus, visit the Dinosaur Encyclopedia.

Shaving wont make you furrier

Shaving does not cause hair to grow in thicker. A normal strand of hair tapers a the end. When it is cut, the thicker part of the strand is exposed, making it appear thicker and courser. When hair is waxed versus shaved the entire strand is removed from the root, so the hair that grows back is tapered and feels softer and finer.

For some tips on getting a close shave visit the Beauty Bunny.

Thanks to Snake Child's "friend" for submitting this topic.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sorry, but it's called "the Shore"

According to the, a "shore" is the land that borders a sea, lake or ocean (such as the land bordering the Atlantic Ocean) while the "beach" is defined as sand or pebbles located along the shoreline (such as the sand in Seaside Heights). So technically, if you were to travel to the area of a state (such as the great state of New Jersey) that lies along the coast, you would be visiting the shore. See figure 1 below.

Fig. 1

Now, once one has arrived at the shore, it would be accurate to say you were going to visit the area defined by topographical characteristics as the beach. See figure 2 below.

Fig. 2

I know there are some who may disagree with this posting, but even the lovely folks at call it the "Jersey Shore."