Saturday, December 13, 2008

what is that whatsit anyway?

recently the telegraph made a note of some of the thingummys that abound in our lives and what they are actually called. i present ten of my favourites:

(Pronounced bor-buh-rig-mus) is the name for the rumbling sounds made by the stomach. These are caused by the movement of fluids and gases, as food, acids and digestive juices migrate from the stomach into the upper part of the small intestine. The average body makes two gallons of digestive juices a day. The hydrochloric acid in your stomach is so strong it could eat into metal, but a special form of mucus protects your inner linings from this acid along the length of its journey.

Is the small pink protuberance in the corner of the eye. It contains glands which produce sweat and tears. These tears are then secreted onto the surface of the conjunctiva. These glands are known as Ciaccio's glands, named after Italian anatomist Giuseppe Vincenzo Ciaccio, who first described their function in 1874.

(pronounced drah-zhay) Are those little silver balls to be found on birthday cakes. They're smaller than a cultured pearl, made of sugar and adorned with a metallic coating to resemble a ball bearing.

Is the type of paper that lines boxes of chocolates or truffles and cups single chocolates. In a special manufacturing process, paper pulp is beaten to break down the fibres, and pressed into moulds, then allowed to dry into sheets. After that, a process called ' calendering' presses the sheets through hot rollers, making the paper grease- and air-proof. This is ideal for protecting chocolates from that white 'bloom' that can sometimes appear.

The Interrobang
Is the combination of an interrogative point, or question mark, and a bang (printers' parlance for the exclamation mark). These are some sentences which require one: 'She said what?!'; 'He ate how many slices of cake?!'; 'You're going to have a baby?!'
No one uses them more eloquently than Captain Haddock in Herge's Tintin stories.

Phloem bundles
(Pronounced flo-em bundles) are the squidgy, stringy bits between the skin and the edible part of a banana.

Are the pink and blue aniseed-flavoured jelly sweets in bags of Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts - and the only ones that contain no liquorice.

If you've dotted an i, you have tittled, because the little dot above the i and the j is called a tittle. Hence the phrase 'jot and tittle', which indicates that every small detail has received attention.

Is the cardboard holder for a coffee cup that has no handle. The word comes from the Arabic for container or envelope, because the device (originally a metal holder for a handle-less glass) originated in the Middle East.

(pronounced zoo-ket-oh) Is the skullcap worn by Roman Catholic clergy. The colour of the zucchetto (which means pumpkin in Italian) denotes rank. Cardinals traditionally wear red, bishops and abbots wear violet, priests black and the Pope has a white one."

now aren't you glad you know that? although i would argue that the skullcap worn by the bishops and cardinals and popes is actually a kippah/yarmulke. just like mine, except theirs don't have the new york yankees or blue's clues or rainbow magen davids on them.

the rest of the article is, i hope, here.

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