Culture Buzz: Wax Off!

In the bustling cities of many Asian countries, including China, India and Japan, you are likely to run into an ear cleaning station here and there. Yes, the meticulous ear cleaners of Asia will, for a small fee, use an array of specially crafted instruments to clean the insides of your brain, (at least that’s what it feels like.) Don’t try it at home, you can really mess things up in there! America has not yet caught the street-side-ear-cleaning buzz, probably because they couldn’t hear it, -with all the wax up in there. But, who knows? Someday ear cleaning stands may become as common as taco trucks. Just so long as they never mix the two :P

Video Schmistory: February 5.

4 useless observances, Peter Pan and lots of Jello… Must be Feb 5!

History Schmistory: February 4. “Heigh-Hoooooooo!”

1938: Walt Disney Productions’ first full-length animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is released across the nation.

It was also the first full-length cel-animated feature in motion picture history, as well as the first animated feature film produced in America, and the first produced in full color. It became a major box-office success, making four times more money than any other motion picture released in 1938, and by 1939 it was easily the highest grossing film of all time. Which is awesome, because most critics seemed certain that Disney’s wildly anomalous film venture would fail miserably. Snow White and her 7 pals were a resounding success on so many levels, yet it still bothers them that their line is always the shortest at Disneyland.

History Schmistory: February 4. Sibling Rivalry!

February 4, 211. Roman Emperor, Septimius Severus dies without choosing an heir.

History Schmistory: February 3. Tu-soon!

1637: The so-called “Tulip Mania” in the United Provinces (now the Netherlands) collapses faster than the 2008 US economy. Yep, the fleeting tulip craze was more potent than the Macarena or the pet rock, with certain savvy merchants gaining more than 400% of their initial investments. The most sought after tulips were deliberately infected with a mosaic virus which greatly weakened the already prolonged maturation of the plant, but happened to result in a wild array of variegated color schemes that were so popular, merchants began selling “futures”; flowers that did not yet exist! Whaaa?
The craze was predictably short-lived, being rudely interrupted by another unanticipated yet much more hostile virus. Namely, the flippin’ black plague!


Monkeys in contemporary 17th century Dutch dress are shown here dealing in tulips, a satirical commentary on speculators during the time of “Tulip Mania”.

History Schmistory: February 3. Quite a Tunnel!

February 3, 1918. Twin Peaks streetcar tunnel opens in San Francisco.

History Schmistory: February 2. Groundhogs, take warning…

1887: The first Groundhog Day is observed in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where crowds as large as 40,000 have gathered to celebrate the holiday ever since. The tradition can actually be traced back to Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers, who brought with them the legend of Candlemas Day, which states, “For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl in May.”
-If only Punxsutawney Phil was that eloquent…

Hello, Ladies!

Valentines Day Around the World: A Team Marco Polo Song

Did you call Marco’s bluff?

Hey, Marco can’t be right all the time! That’s why he has us!

Gaekkebrev is not a festival in Denmark, nor is it their name for Valentine’s Day!! It’s actually a type of greeting card used in Denmark on the much celebrated holiday. The sender typically writes a love poem and signs in dots, one for each letter in their first name. If the recipient can correctly guess the senders identity, they both win an all-expense-paid trip to Antarctica!! Well, okay, we like to bluff a little too :)

Kudos to those razor-sharp kids who noticed!

Marconauts are super smart!

History Schmistory: February 1. “It certainly is grand… And quite central.”

1913: Grand Central Terminal (also known as Grand Central Station) opens in New York City as the largest train station in the world, with its cavernous concourse measuring 275 ft long, 120 ft wide and 125 ft high. These days around 43,200,000 human ft stroll through it annually, making it one of the top ten tourist attractions in the world.

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