Category Archives: Answers

Who Started the Red Carpet Tradition?

red-carpet

David asks: When did the tradition of rolling out a red carpet for celebrities start? Throughout history, red carpets have led luminaries to momentous events, both good and bad. Aeschylus (525 BC – 455 BC), the “father of tragedy,” wrote various plays where his heroes fell from grace due to a combination of unwinnable circumstances, arrogance and/or simply stepping on […]

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Why a Final Performance is Called a “Swan Song”

swan-song

Gideon S. asks: Why is a final performance called a swansong? When someone performs for the last time, we often refer to it as a “swan song” which seems odd given that swans aren’t particularly known for their stage presence… So where exactly did this phrase come from? This expression is generally thought to have its genesis in the over […]

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Has There Ever Been an Actual Case of Someone Being Pelted With Tomatoes During a Performance?

thrown-tomato

Andthen2 asks: Has there ever been a real case of someone being pelted with tomatoes during a performance? As we’ve discussed in detail before (see: The Curious Case of the Claque), audiences haven’t always been kind to performers throughout history as evidenced by the fact that there was a thriving industry of people who made a rather lucrative living during […]

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What Happened to Huey, Dewey, and Louie’s Parents?

huey-dewey-louie

Karla asks: I was just wondering if it’s known what ever happened to Huey, Dewey, and Louie’s parents? In 1934 Walt Disney introduced the world to Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse’s lovable ill-tempered friend. Donald was an instant success, becoming one of the most popular cartoon characters of all time. Three short years after his creation, comic artist Al Taliaferro got […]

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Asparagus, Beets, Carrots and Your Urine

squeezed-juices

Stephanie I. asks: Why do beets turn some peoples pee red while others it doesn’t? Asparagus may be the most well-known urine changer, and even Ben Franklin acknowledged that just “a few stems of asparagus eaten, shall give our urine a disagreeable odor.” Although the precise mechanism is not definitively understood (despite extensive study), it is generally thought that a […]

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Why are Some People Allergic to Domestic Cats and Are They Also Allergic to Tigers and Other Big Cats?

tiger-cleaning

Jessica asks: Are people who are allergic to house cats allergic to tigers and other large cats? One of its most common behaviors greatly contributes to the domestic cat’s propensity to stimulate an allergic response in some humans – its grooming. When the cat licks itself, it stimulates both its salivary glands as well as sebaceous glands in its skin, […]

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