Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The English serve their omelets with an extra dash of T and E

The English serve their omelets with an extra dash of T and E - the letter T and E that is. Just this morning, my co-worker called me and said "Lila, don't think I'm stupid, but how do you spell 'omelette?' I am looking at this menu, and I think it is spelled wrong." Which started a cube-wide debate on the proper spelling of the word (as publicists, sometimes it is imperative that we answer random questions before we can go on with our day, such as Can you eat only pizza for seven days?...What was the best line on last night's Jersey Shore?...Where's Johnny?... Is it a man or a woman?... or How many coats a person wear at once?).

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, "beaten eggs cooked without stirring until set and served folded in half" are defined as an O-M-E-L-E-T. WHAT? Nooo, that looks wrong. Omelette is spelled with two Ts and an E, right?

Wrong. If you enter O-M-E-L-E-T-T-E into the good ol' Merriam-Webster, it automatically redirects you to omelet. Need more proof? When typed into a BlackBerry, spell check calls out omelette as incorrect. Even spell checking this post, every omelette is highlighted as misspelled.

Ok, so where did we go wrong? The word omelet comes from the latin word lamina which means "a thin plate," which the fancy Romans decided to beef up into lamella, which means "a small thin metal plate." Then, the French decided it needed to be fancier, and created la lemelle, which translates into "the blade of a sword or knife." Somehow, a word referring to a knife transformed within the French language to l'alemelle, then alumelle and then alemette, which means "beaten eggs fried until set without stirring." Sometime around the 17th century the British borrowed the term, translating it as omelette. This was well before the American trend to make everything GIANT and flashy and flossy. So when they got hold of omelette, they downsized, dropped the T and E and turned it into omelet.
If you didn't know this, don't feel bad, you're not the only one...

No worries IHOP, I still love you...

Turns out there are a variety of everyday words in the English language where the British, Canadian and American spelling differ. Linguistic Issues specialist Karen Bond has created a handy-dandy chart of them, just in case you ever need to go on a spelling bee road tour of the US, GB and Canada. Everyone knows color/colour and favor/favour, or that we canceled out the second L in cancelled, but did you know that in Britain, tire is spelled tyre? Or that they put a Y in pyjamas?

Now you know.

Monday, January 25, 2010

More than 20,000 people have visited Encyclopedia Branigan

More than 20,000 people have visited Encyclopedia Branigan. According to Google Analytics, has received 20,070 unique views since my first post on October 12, 2008.
Twenty Ten is starting out to be a promising year, with 1,900+ unique viewers since January 1. Who are these lovely people? I don't really know...but I'm guessing that my biggest fans are from New York...

Thank you (thank you, thank you) viewers! It's really exciting to know that people actually read, and possibly benefit from my fact-based banter. The ultimate reward? To see "Encyclopedia Branigan" cited as a reference source on some delinquent student's essay. Haha.
Stay tuned :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Americans eat 100 acres of pizza a day

Americans eat 100 acres of pizza a day, which is consumed at approximately 350 slices per second. To put it in perspective, that's the same as 100 football fields. That's a lotta pizza!

Now, out of the 93% of Americans who partake in this massive pizza-eating endeavour each month, 36 percent prefer to top their pies with pepperoni, approximately 251,770,000 pounds per year.

So how much pizza do you think you could handle in a week? One of my co-workers is about to find out. Starting tomorrow, January 25, Nicky has been challenged to eat nothing but pizza for 7 days straight. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Nothing else. He has started a blog to track his progress this week. Check it out at The bet ends on February 1 at a pizza party lunch.

Pizza is not a significant source of vitamins or minerals, and weighs in at about 140 calories per medium cheese slice and contains only around 7 grams of protein (since Nick has opted to only eat plain pizza, and can only drink water, he might want to look into a multi-vitamin).

Think Nick will make it all week? While I have faith in his ability to eat the same thing all week, I have seen other food-related Coyne bets end in pain (you gave it your best JP!).

Good luck Nick!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Do you like ENCYCLOPEDIA BRANIGAN? Then maybe you should check out the HOT SHEET...

The Coyne PR Hot Sheet is a weekly recap of the best campaigns, promotions, advertisements and ideas of the week - peppered with a touch of pop culture and a dash of the latest social media technology news.

I definitely recommend you check it out - it's pretty Hotsheet. haha. If you really like it, you can subscribe to get a copy in your mailbox every week.

Really really like it? Send the editors some love, I'm sure they would appreciate it ::wink wink::

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Turtles, tortoises and terrapins are all reptiles

Turtles, tortoises and terrapins are all reptiles, contrary to the common belief that turtles and terrapins are amphibians due to the amount of time they spend in the water. So, what is the difference between these three shelled animals?

Turtles, tortoises and terrapins differ in their habitats and behaviors.
  • Turtles spend most of their time in the water and have webbed feet, perfect for swimming. They can be found in fresh or salt water and like to eat fishes.

  • Tortoises live on land in dry, hot areas and have stumpy rugged feet which are idea for digging burrows to hide from the sun. They eat shrubs, grasses and cacti (be careful Paul).

  • Terrapins are more like turtles as they spend their lives in and out of the water, but they are not found in salt water.
Recently their have been claims that a "turtle" has been kidnapped in my office. Based on the above information, I feel that the kidnapee was not a "turtle" but a tortoise. Why? "Clarence" or "Tommy" has thick, stumpy legs, has not eaten any of John's fishes and has not been spotted in or around any bodies of water. Furthermore, turtle shells are typically flat and streamlined so they can move quickly through the water, whereas tortoises, such as the aforementioned kidnapee have bulky rounded shells.

If you have any information about the disappearance of this tortoise, please let the kidnapper know that their "turtle soup" threats are irrelevant.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Microearthquakes occur 8,000 times a day

Microearthquakes occur 8,000 times per day. These tiny tremors register below 2.0 on the Richter Scale - the universal measurement system of earthquakes which assigns a number to each quake based on the seismic energy it releases.

On January 12, at around 5 PM EST a 7.0 earthquake shook southern Haiti. The massive quake only lasted 30 seconds, but the damage was devastating. CNN reports that the capital city of Haiti, Port-au-Prince lays in ruins, with many buildings and homes completely collapsed, including a hospital. There is no total number of fatalities at this point, but a representative U.S. State Department expects there will be a "serious loss of life."

The dust has not yet settled in Haiti to reveal the full extent of damage, but there are already ways to help those effected by this disaster. Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, and much help will be needed to rebuild and restore.

Below is a list of just a few non-profit organizations you can get involved with to help the victims of today's earthquake:

Monday, January 11, 2010

A "coon's age" is approximately 7 years

A "coon's age" is approximately 7 years (I found a number of variations this number, and 7 was the average). Back in the day, in the early 1800's people believed that raccoons had long lives, around 5-7 years and referred to that length of time as a racoon's age, slurred into "coon's age."

While the raccoons can live up to 20 years, most wild raccoons only make it to about 3 years old. Contrary to the belief that the majority of raccoons are killed by reckless drivers (I once hit a raccoon on the way up to the "haunted" Clinton Road in high school - I felt terrible) The most common cause of death for raccoons in North America is distemper, a multi systemic viral disease that is fatal in raccoons as well as dogs, foxes and skunks.

Another common cause of death? Obesity. Yes. Even the raccoons in the US are overweight. Such was the case with "Bandit" - the world's fattest raccoon. Raccoons usually weight around 25 lbs, but bandit weighed in at around 75 lbs.

Growing up on the edge of the South Mountain Reservation, we had plenty of raccoons in our backyard. Sometimes we would have them trapped, and I always thought the little babies the trapper was going to take "to the country" were sooo cute, that is until their mad momma would jump out of our garbage cans. Some people keep them as pets - hmmm maybe its time for Chloe to get a friend...

And the winner is...

Using, with Nick Dimichino as my witness, a random number of 49 was drawn, making Johnny the winner of the Albums are released on Tuesday because of Billboard Magazine contest. Johnny will win a custom made copy of the premier album of Max Randall Branigan, "I Do Not Know" by Person Man.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Albums are released on Tuesday because of Billboard Magazine

Albums are released on Tuesday because of Billboard Magazine, the leading magazine of the music industry, as well as the publisher of the famed Billboard Charts. Now today we can get information in a second via the World Wide Web, but back before America Online struck lightening and signed us all on to the wondrous Internet, people relied on physical publications for their news.

Billboard was founded in 1894 as a trade magazine covering bill posting. It started covering entertainment, and began highlighting music when the first successful line of jukeboxes were invented in 1927. In 1940, Billboard released their first official Music Popularity Chart, and the rest is history.

So why does Billboard dictate that albums should be released on Tuesdays? The Billboard charts were published on Wednesday, so in order for an album to generate the highest sales before the next chart was posted, it needed to be released on a Tuesday. As I said before, now that we can calculate totals and get information at the click of a button, charts can posted every day, but albums are still traditionally released on Tuesday.

As it is Tuesday, I would like to "drop" an album. No no, not my own - I put away my ruby slippers a long time ago - my brother's.

I have written of my brother many times. I think he is pretty awesome. He has used his innovation to create unique works of art (which have sold in galleries for upwards of $200) and one of a kind clothing items like graphic-Ts and custom sneakers, as well as write posts for The New York Times "The Local" blog, and has now extended himself to into the world of music.

I always thought it was pretty funny that he could create a spontaneous song with guitar accompaniment about how I was "the worst sister in the world" whenever he wanted to get his way (it usually worked), but I had no idea how talented he was until I saw that he had created an entire album!

So, in the steps of award winning Gaelic singer and flautist Amelia Branigan, legendary childhood singers for the New York City Department of Sanitation, The Garbage Girls, guitarist John Branigan of Jersey, and bassist Fred Randall of Richard and the Young Lions, I present the premier album of Max Randall Branigan, "I Do Not Know" by Person Man.

You can also become his fan on Facebook. I suggest you do.

True, you can download the whole album for free99, but Max also makes physical copies of the CD, complete with individually designed covers. Want one? All you have to do is pick a number between 1 and 50 and post it below. Price is Right rules, closest guess wins, guess over you lose. No duplicates. Enter by Sunday at 11:59 - winner announced Monday.

Ready, set, guess!