Our latest semester started Monday, with five classes on five wildly different topics. Here's a couple of my favorite facts from each:
NYC History - I spent the entire weekend reading Forgotten New York and memorizing exceedingly arbitrary things about Brooklyn's streets and neighborhoods.
Want some facts? Before Brooklyn was King's County, it was six separate towns; one of them, New Utrecht, was founded by a pirate and his "somtimes prostitute" wife after they were kicked out of New Amsterdam proper. The name "Gowanus" comes from the name of a local Canarsie chief. Either that or from the Dutch word for "bay," no one's quite sure. There are so many more where that came from.
Typography - Capital letters are called "upper case" letters because they were literally stored at the top of a typsetter's desk. (In case you couldn't guess, this is also how where we get "lower case" from.) Cool.
Whiskey - There's a funny thing called corn whiskey, which is made from a mash of at least 80% corn and doesn't need to be aged at all. Apparently some of it tastes alright once it's aged, but good old Georgia Moon, the one you're most likely to find at the liquor store, most certainly does not.
World Food - Ethiopian food is awesome and really delicious! And fulllllll of ghee, like so much ghee you can't imagine. Ghee's just butter with all the milk solids skimmed off, and it keeps for a super long time without being refrigerated.
American Sign Language - Signs can be really regionally specific: people around here will understand your signs for the five boroughs, but try doing that in Iowa and no one will get it. The same sign could also mean different things in different places. For example, the sign for Brooklyn (a bouncing letter B), is also the sign for Boston.