What’s a weasel? It’s an animal, of course, but in some parts of Montana you might put weasels on your ice cream – because some Montanans call M&Ms “weasels.” And in the 1700s, when the nursery rhyme “Pop Goes the Weasel” was composed, everyone knew the “weasel” of the title referred to a yarn winder.
In the days before Disney, many imaginary sprites that excited children’s imaginations could be found in books. In 1881, Palmer Cox wrote an illustrated story about a group of characters called “Brownies” for Wide Awake magazine.
Phrenology, the study of the shape of the skull, supposedly could tell the shape of your brain and information about your behavior. The “science” became popular about 1810, years after it was developed by German doctor Franz Joseph Gali, in 1796. It remained popular until about 1840 as a way to understand personality and to help with decisions when hiring employees or choosing a spouse.
Flag Day was first celebrated on June 14, 1889, in a public school in Fredonia, Wis. The teacher thought the pupils should celebrate the 112th anniversary of the official adoption of the Stars and Stripes.
Drinks before or after dinner have been part of the ritual of dining in America since the 1800s. By then, the wealthy lived in houses that had a dining room, living room and perhaps a parlor or library.
Carousel figures, made mostly in the early 1900s, sell for high prices today. Carousels probably were first made in the 1700s to train spear-throwers, not as enjoyable rides for children. A horseback rider would ride toward a hanging ring and try to put the spear through it.
"Kitsch” is a term that refers to something that’s overly sentimental or vulgar or in just plain poor taste. Paintings on velvet of Elvis Presley, plastic pink flamingos and hula girl statues were all once considered kitsch – and laughable.
Opinions change with time. Throughout the past 40 years, it has become popular to “think green.” But our ancestors had to hunt for food and killed buffalo, deer and passenger pigeons, making some species endangered and others extinct.
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