History, Reviews and Other Odd Bits

Annual Updates

Here’s a list of some of the annual library updates I’ve sent out for the New Year:

Jewish Writing

I’m starting a new tradition by sending out a New Year’s Thought. At the beginning of each New Year, I examine my relationship with Judaism and want to share my learning with my friends.


Other Bits

Fun Facts



  • American cheese isn’t awful. You’re judging it against cheese, which it is not, so it’ll always come up short in your eyes. No, American cheese is not cheese, it’s a sauce. You let American cheese slowly melt onto hot hamburger patties, or in-between two slices of buttered and griddled bread. American cheese is a sauce. It adds richness, moisture and flavor to the foods it adorns. From Quora: Why is American cheese so ridiculously awful?



  • The restaurant Stadshuskällaren, in Stockholm Sweden, serves every menu from the Nobel Banquet from 1922 to today.
  • Oneida Silversmith, the famous silverware company started as part of the Oneida Community, a religious community with some odd sexual practices.
  • At its height, London got mail delivered 12 times a day.
  • Take a look at some weird sports stadium names like Welcome Stadium and Tony Macaroni Arena.
  • The derivative of acceleration is jerk (e.g., the change in the acceleration in your car over time). Apparently, the derivative of jerk is snap, with higher-order derivatives being crackle and pop.
  • The satirical Strangers with Candy was patterned after the drug-abusing prostitute Florrie Fisher.
  • In the book Humble Pi, I learned that there are different definitions of a year. It can also be defined by the seasons (a tropical year). As the Earth moves a bit on its axis, a tropical year and a sidereal year differ slightly.
  • Ruth Belville was known as the Greenwich Time Lady. Each day, she would go to the Greenwich Observatory and set her pocket watch to the Shepard Master Clock and then go around London selling the time by setting people’s watches.
  • Here’s a bit on how men try to own women’s sexuality. I especially enjoy the bits about Rachel Maines and the history of hysteria and massage.
  • Here are two lists of Alexa Easter Eggs. My favorite is “Alexa, open the pod bay doors” to which Alexa answers, “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that. I’m not Hal and we’re not in space.”
  • The are many words that we use everyday used to be trademarked. Here’s how brand names can become generic.