A recent fad among dog owners entails crossing various breeds of dog to create unique hybrids with adorable names. The labradoodle, morkie, and chiweenie represent a few of these new pedigrees of pooch, but what happens when two completely separate species are mixed, resulting in an entirely avant-garde animal? It may sound like a plot from a B-grade science fiction movie, but the world’s zoos, farms, and houses are teeming with a multitude of maverick mammals.
The extraordinary offspring of a dromedary (one-humped) camel and a llama, the cama was first bred in 1998. The cama was intended to serve as a revolutionary line of pack animals capable of carrying large burdens while remaining wholly obedient to its master. This unusual camelid additionally produces wool much like a llama’s that can be woven into plush fabrics. While the cama does not have a hump like its camel ancestors, it can withstand the harsh, unforgiving desert climate. As of 2008, only five of these animals have ever existed; experts estimate that the cama should enjoy a lifespan of at least thirty years.
The beefalo, a moderate rarity on America’s agricultural landscape, is produced by breeding bison with domestic cattle. This cutting-edge creature is prized by particular palates for its especially lean and savory meat. The beefalo is also capable of producing much more milk than run-of-the-mill dairy cows. Ranchers favor the beefalo for its relatively low maintenance requirements. Because the beefalo often inherits an exceptional hardiness traced to its bison background, it requires much less space than domesticated cattle and prove much better at foraging for food. A perfect pairing of the two species, beefalo are much easier to handle than wild buffalo thanks to its kine kindred.
For cat owners preferring to live on the wild side, look no further than the Savannah cat! A mixture of short-haired domestic cats and African servals, the Savannah cat exhibits fur markings resembling those of its wild ancestors but showcases much more domesticated behavior. Depending on how many generations have elapsed since its genetic domestication, a Savannah cat can weigh up to thirty pounds and stand eighteen inches at its shoulder. Owners tend to describe these cats as loyal, and many report that their Savannah cat loves to go swimming. However, owning a Savannah cat is definitely not for everyone. Some states have enforce legislation barring its citizens from owning Savannah cats, and their fiery nature may be too intense for families with small children.
The organ has long been a favored instrument of church ensembles, rock bands, and classical masters. The instrument’s swelling tones prove incredibly versatile, capable of satisfying any musical taste. Traditional organs rely on a series of pipes to produce sound, but craftsmen have taken a few creative liberties while reimagining this iconic instrument.
Fiery in its own right, the pyrophone is also known as the explosion organ or the fire organ. Like its name implies, the pyrophone’s dynamite melodies are sourced from the systematic combustion of gasoline or propane. Of course, if played correctly, a certain part of the organ remains ignited for the duration of the performance. This unusual instrument was invented in 1875 by a maverick inventor named Georges F E Kastner. Although the pyrophone is more than a century old, it is currently experiencing a revival as more young musicians are drawn to its explosive aura.
The Great Stalacpipe Organ of Luray Caverns, Virginia, holds the title of world’s largest musical instrument. Located beneath the rolling hills of Shenandoah National Park, this symphonic singularity was first played in 1956. Its inventor, Leland W. Sprinkle, carefully crafted the organ over a period of three years. The Great Stalacpipe Organ utilizes electricity to operate. When a key on its keyboard is struck, it triggers a rubber mallet that gently taps a stalactite. The grand variety of shapes and sizes among the caverns’ rock formations allow the organ to produce a large range of pitches, making it the frontrunner in a new style of rock music!
On the shores of Zadar, Croatia, stands the Zadar Sea Organ. Proclaimed by its designer to be an experiment in instrument design, this oceanic organ has bathed its visitors in haunting melodies. Interestingly, the 230-foot-long Sea Organ has never been played by human hands. Instead, the wind and waves of the Adriatic Sea wash over its thirty-five pipes, creating harmonic echoes that draw thousands of tourists to experience its natural nots.
The year is 1776. Philadelphia seamstress Elizabeth Ross is struggling to eke out a livelihood. Shortages induced by the American Revolution have crippled her family-owned upholstery business, and her husband, a militiaman, was recently killed while guarding ammunition from the clutches of invading British troops. Shunned by her Quaker family for her decision to marry outside of their denomination, the newly widowed Ross, though seemingly abandoned, quickly takes the reins of her floundering enterprise, relying on her plucky personality and professional prowess to navigate the often-unpredictable challenges of wartime.
Only months after burying her husband, Elizabeth “Betsy” Ross encounters a customer who will change the course of the young widow’s life: George Washington. The patriot general, along with his colleges George Ross and Robert Morris, commission the creation of a banner that will unite the thirteen rogue colonies under the common cause of freedom. According to legend, the three men present Ross with a sketch of the proposed emblem, a flag with thirteen alternating red and white stripes and thirteen white, six-pointed stars arranged in a circle on a blue field. Ever practical, Betsy suggests five-pointed stars as they are much easier to cut and sew. Washington agrees to this alteration, and the five-pointed star has appeared on every American flag since the creation of Ross’s radical design.
Over the course of her life, Betsy Ross continued to sew emblems of unity for the American people in spite of overwhelming adversity. Ross married sea captain Joseph Ashburn in 1777. Later that year, the Ashburn house was taken over by British troops in need of housing. With the war still raging in 1782, Joseph Ashburn embarked on a quest to the West Indies for vital materials desperately needed by the rebelling colonies. Betsy became a widow once again when her husband did not return from his voyage; captured and imprisoned by the British, Captain Ashburn died in the infamously brutal Old Mill Prison in England months after the last major battle of the Revolution had been fought. Betsy married for the third time in 1783, a union that lasted until 1817 when her husband, John Claypoole, passed away from natural causes. Over the course of her harrowing life, Betsy had seven children with five surviving to adulthood.
Even the face of tragedy, Betsy Ross never allowed her resolve to waver. A tried and true patriot, this American icon sewed her way into the pages of history. In addition to creating the original American flag, Betsy also fabricated flags for multiple American garrisons and the new government’s Indian Department. While some historians dispute her role in the development of America’s first national flag, the legend of Betsy Ross continues to inspire Americans to overcome adversity, bridge divides, and bind together under our shared love of freedom.
A profession resting soundly on a foundation of humanity and compassion, nursing has existed for thousands of years. Historians believe the earliest nursing school may have been founded in ancient India around 250 B.C. This school, however, only admitted male students, effectively barring women from the practice. A few centuries later in 300 A.D., Roman nurses found employment in early forms of hospitals, surprisingly complex establishments that helped shape the world’s vision of the occupation.
While the profession of nursing saw many advancements and improvements during the Middle Ages, the development of modern nursing largely occurred within the last two centuries. British nurse Florence Nightingale is often credited with spearheading the formation of this new breed of nurses. Nightingale earned her claim to fame when she led a group of female nurses to aid British forces engaged in the Crimean War. Following the conclusion of her service, Nightingale channeled her thoroughly tempered skills to found nursing schools in hospitals across Great Britain.
The Civil War profoundly shaped the face of American nursing. In 1862, during the middle of the conflict, the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston, Massachusetts, became the first American nursing school to open its doors to female prospective nurses. However, the Civil War also inspired a surge of informally trained nurses. Both men and women flooded to bloodstained battlefields to bring hope and comfort to wounded soldiers. First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln served as a volunteer nurse for injured troops as did famous poet Walt Whitman. Former schoolteacher Clara Barton is arguably the most famous nurse of the Civil War although her admitted field of expertise centered around the collection and distribution of vital supplies and the location of missing soldiers following the surrender of the rebellious states.
In the late 1800s, more nursing schools were founded on American soil, forging what was formerly a ragtag spread of loosely trained nurses into an effective force of experts in practical healthcare. Both World Wars further intensified the demand for professional nurses. Nurses began to serve as official military personnel to care instead of humanitarian volunteers. Additionally, more nurses became a more critical element in clinics and hospitals while others found their niche practicing as nurse-midwives in the ranks of America’s poorer working classes.
Today’s nurses continue this rich tradition of excellence. A field comprised of over three million people of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds, nursing is constantly ranked as one of the best careers to pursue. A recent Gallup Survey indicated that the nurse is the most trusted professional in America, to boot. While nursing offers a plethora of financial and emotional rewards, this occupation harbors challenges daunting enough to intimidate even the strongest of hearts. Besides serving as a constant witness to pain and suffering, a nurse’s duties are physically unforgiving as the average nurse walks five miles per shift. The need for nurses proves perpetual, making it ever more imperative that new heroes rise up to meet the challenges of a world crying out for compassion.
A destination famous for attracting honeymooners in droves, Niagara Falls remains a cornerstone of the peerless North American landscape. This collection of cataracts contains three separate waterfalls, Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. The falls straddle the border of the United States and Canada, often making a trip to this legendary landmark an international affair.
Niagara Falls proves a notorious hotbed for thrill seekers. School teacher Annie Taylor Edison was the first stunt person to traverse the falls in a barrel in 1901. She was 63 years old at the time of her trip! This hazardous hobby has since been outlawed; barrel-borne daredevils can now be fined up to $10,000 for their dangerous endeavors. However, new legislation could not stay in the way of Nik Walenda, a tightrope-walker who (legally) traversed Niagara Falls on tightrope in 2012, beginning on American soil and ending in Canada.
While many tourists venture to Niagara Falls to enjoy and encounter with nature, some are surprised with how close of an encounter actually occurs! Several reports of tourists exploring the wooden decks near the base of the American and Bridal Veil Falls being hit by falling, flailing fish have surfaced. Thankfully, no one has been seriously injured. Experts estimate that 90% of fish that go over Niagara Falls survive the drop, the foam at the bottom of the falls acting as a cushion.
Besides service as a source of awe and an opportunity for contemplation, Niagara Falls additionally plays a critical role in the production of hydroelectric power for the surrounding region. In fact, about 75% of the Niagara River’s water is diverted to a nearby dam, leaving about a quarter of the current to plummet over Niagara’s rocky cliffs in proud pageantry. The hydroelectric power plant receives a larger percentage of the water flow at night, ensuring the production of clean energy while daytime tourists still witness the natural spectacle of the falls. Niagara Falls is currently New York’s largest supplier of hydroelectric energy.
Niagara Falls reaches a soaring height of 165 feet at its tallest point. Although Niagara Falls is not among the tallest cataracts in the world, it still claims the titles of North America’s widest and most voluminous waterfall. An impressive 3,160 tons of water rushes over its rim every second, making the sheer mass of airborne water worth the trip to the American-Canadian border.
According to recent polls, the beloved beagle is currently the fifth most popular breed of dog in the United States. This popularity, however, claims retrospective reaches in American history. Lyndon B. Johnson, the thirty-sixth president, owned three beagles named Him, Her, and Edgar. The British share our fascination with the breed as Queen Elizabeth I owned several pocket beagles, a pint-sized predecessor of the modern beagle. Additionally, beagles have appeared on the silver screen, in comic strips, and throughout the pages of favorite novels as loyal, loving companions.
A relatively small dog, the beagle proves a surprisingly versatile breed. First bred to assist their Roman masters on rabbit hunts, the modern beagle is the culmination of thousands of years of selective breeding. Their white-tipped tails were intended to serve as signal flags while tracking animals, and their long ears help beagles pick of even the faintest of scents. Their noses house an estimated 220 million scent receptors, an impressive article of anatomy considering humans only have about five million.
Many experts agree that the beagle remains the most vocal dog breed in existence. In fact, the English word beagle was originally derived from the breed’s French moniker, begueule, meaning “open throat” or “loudmouth.” Beagles showcase three distinct vocalizations: the bark, the howl, and the bay.
The beagle fills a litany of labor positions. This breed’s keen sense of smell makes it a perfect security officer, often policing airports in search of contraband items in passengers’ luggage. The Department of Homeland Security has dubbed this canine crew the Beagle Brigade. Beagles also use their powerful noses to detect bedbugs and to aid biologists in determining if captive female bears are pregnant.
If considering the possibility of making a beagle part of your family, be aware that these athletic animals are master escape artists capable of scaling fences, burrowing under barriers, and even climbing trees! However, the beagle’s sweet demeanor and infectious energy make this dog an ideal addition to almost any household.
The StickerTalk family is proud to announce the addition of two new members! Allow us to introduce you to StickerTalk’s latest recruits:
Peyton Garner is a recent honor graduate of Buna High School’s Class of 2019. In addition to graduating with honors, Peyton was also the president of the BHS chapter of Christians in Action and a member of the National Honor Society. Peyton served as Second Lieutenant of Buna High School’s drill team and competed with the BHS powerlifting team. Peyton will continue her education this fall at Lamar State College Orange where she will complete her basic courses, working towards her dream of becoming a physical therapy assistant.
Hannah Dawson is beginning her senior year at Buna High School as a member of the Class of 2020. Hannah is an avid participant in the BHS band program, serving as flute section leader and performing as a twirler. Hannah is also a member of Buna High School’s chapter of the National Honor Society. After graduation, Hannah hopes to pursue a career as a physician’s assistant or an accountant.
Both of our new members showcase natural optimism and devotion to excellence, characteristics sure to make a positive impact on our team as they continue their training and take their place in the StickerTalk family.
Journalist Regina Brett once stated, “If baking is any labor at all, it’s a labor of love. A love that gets passed from generation to generation.” Indeed, the art of has manifested in many forms during this generational transfer. Archaeologists combing the ruinous remains of ancient Egypt have recovered an early form of yeast utilized to bake an archaic variation of sourdough bread. Experts have also uncovered evidence that ancient Roman bakers were the first to formulate a recipe for cheesecake, a creamy concoction still enjoyed today. Ancient Greeks proved especially fond of pudding. However, the pudding of ancient Greece strays far from our modern understanding of pudding as a sweet treat; Greece’s bygone bakers prepared their puddings by stuffing animal organs with meat and grain. This meaty meal can be consumed in modern Britain where bakers are famous for their kidney and steak puddings.
Modern bakers continue to conjure a variety of interesting ingredients to create culinary masterpieces. Japanese chefs have earned worldwide fame by infusing their sweet treats with pit viper venom, an ingredient the chefs take much care in obtaining. In fact, these brave creators coat their bodies in ice cream to prevent the pit vipers from using their heat-sensing ability to strike their human handlers. During the 1800s, pineapples represented a status symbol as only the wealthiest families could afford to import this exotic fruit. Historical records show that members of the lower class could rent a pineapple to display as a centerpiece at gatherings to create an illusion of supposed splendor. Of course, desserts containing pineapples were coveted as a luxury few could savor. Prior to the American Civil War, baking took on a political hue as debate ensued over the ethicality of a common baking ingredient: cane sugar. Because cane sugar was largely produced by slave laborers, many abolitionist bakers opted to substitute maple syrup in the place of cane sugar.
Bakers have remained a determined lot, creating and breaking a plethora of world records. Bakers in Canada produced the world’s largest chocolate brownie. This sugary behemoth weighed in at over two tons. Not to be outdone by the neighbors to the north, Texan bakers constructed a life-sized gingerbread house calculated to contain a whopping thirty-five million calories. In 2014, the largest cake to ever exit an oven appeared in international headlines, a confection containing two hundred and sixty layers.
Baking has also been integrated into the world of medicine. Renaissance physicians borrowed the marshmallow to treat sore throats… no pun intended! Although no longer an accepted practice, the pharmacists of yesteryear took to the kitchen to produce marzipan as an aid to patients suffering from poor health. Additionally, psychologists have divined a method for utilizing a person’s choice of pie to reveal key aspects of their personality. For example, those preferring chocolate pie are defined by their loving nature, while lovers of apple pie tend to be practical.
Bigfoot, the Yeti, and the Loch Ness Monster: all of these fabled figures are classified as cryptids. Experts in this field of study, called cryptozoologists, define a cryptid as an unusual animal that appears in folklore but careens outside the accepted limits of scientific possibility; meager amounts of evidence often support the idea of a cryptid’s existence. While many cryptozoology enthusiasts regard Bigfoot as the holy grail of their impossible quest, a plethora of additional crafty creatures have allegedly eluded the scientific community for centuries on end, offering an opportunity for imagination and discovery for those adventurous enough to dream.
The cadborosaurus, nicknamed Caddy, is most frequently spotted in the waters of the North American West. From the sandy beaches of California to the icy realm of the Inuits, the cadborosaurus is frequently described by eyewitnesses as a titanic sea serpent with the head of a camel. Many believe this aquatic giant to be a survivor from primeval eras, a living dinosaur. Perhaps the most notable evidence for Caddy’s existence was recovered in 1937 in Naden Harbor, Canada, when whalers discovered what could be the remains of a cadborosaurus. However, the sample disappeared before experts could examine the body, leaving details of Caddy’s actuality subject to speculation.
The mokele-mbembe represents another enigma of the animal kingdom. A possible relative of the Loch Ness Monster, this prehistoric creature is rumored to roam the jungles of the central Africa. Witnesses characterize the mokele-mbembe as a dinosaur-like reptile with a lengthy neck and tail. Some even describe a single horn protruding from this cryptid’s head, intended for defense against the area’s hostile elephants. The mokele-mbembe supposedly frequents the Congo’s waterways, especially Lake Tele. According to folklore, this living fossil dwells in caves it carves out in riverbanks. Although the mokele-mbemebe is rumored to keep a herbivorous diet, this cryptid proves extremely territorial, fiercely warding off any human unfortunate enough to trespass in its domain. While the reality of the mokele-mbembe’s existence is only bolstered by eyewitness accounts, it continues to captivate both locals and inquisitive visitors from abroad with its unmatched mystique.
The thylacine, although now considered a cryptid, once freely roamed the wilderness of Australia and Tasmania. Also called the Tasmanian tiger, this carnivorous marsupial angered the region’s sheep ranchers by preying on domestic flocks; in retaliation, ranchers relentlessly hunted the thylacine. Experts declared this species extinct after the last known thylacine died in captivity in 1936. Hundreds of sightings have poured in since the late 1930s, but biologists have yet to discover conclusive evidence that the thylacine still exists. If you ever find yourself in untamed Tasmania, be on the lookout for a small, dog-like animal with light brown fur and about sixteen black stripes across its back.
Businessman Neil Blumenthal once said, “Creativity flows when curiosity is stoked.” Here at StickerTalk, our curiosity was recently piqued when Great Smoky Mountains National Park reached out to us concerning a unique opportunity for ingenuity. This picturesque national park sponsors an observatory event centered around the synchronous firefly, an illuminating insect native to the Smokies. Because the synchronous firefly is nocturnal, allowing its brilliant bioluminescence to be easily admired, visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park often utilize the LED flashlights on their cell phones to find their way through the firefly’s dark habitat when searching for an ideal spot to view this natural light display. However, the bright lights tend to disturb the fireflies, leading park officials to request that firefly watchers wrap their phones’ flashlights with red or blue cellophane; colored light seems to eliminate most human-caused agitation to the fireflies during their light show. However, this arrangement proved cumbersome at best. The solution? Enter StickerTalk Light Dots™!
The talented design team at StickerTalk harnessed their curiosity to engineer a brand-new product. Printed on a special transparent vinyl, our Light Dots™ act as a color filter to your smart phone’s LED flashlight, adding a pop of color to the flashlight’s beam. Our red Light Dots™ will be distributed this year by rangers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park before the synchronous firefly viewing begins, making it easier for park guests to navigate the landscape without bothering the wildlife.
The uses for our new Light Dots™ are not confined to the great outdoors. Use a Light Dot™ to achieve the perfect lighting for that social media selfie, or apply a colorful Light Dot™ to your phone’s flashlight before waving it to the strains of your favorite band’s new song at the next concert you attend. Stack multiple dots on your flashlight for a richer, deeper color. Also, you can remove a dot and then stick it back on several times before it needs replacement. Whether you’re enjoying a concert, snapping selfies, taking in a firefly display, or simply adding some flair to your tech, our new Light Dots™ are the perfect product for any occasion!
In 1890, Congress and President Harrison officially annexed Wyoming into the Union as the 44th state. Nicknamed the Equality State, Wyoming has gained national renown for being the first state to grant its female citizens the right to vote; however, Wyoming’s rich history began long before its establishment as a member of the United States. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we invite you to lace up your hiking boots and join us on an expedition into Wyoming’s natural wonders.
A land famous for its breathtaking natural beauty, Wyoming is the home of America’s first national monument, Devils Tower National Monument. Native American legend claims the distinctive marks down the sides of Devils Tower were caused by bears attempting to scale the butte. When President Theodore Roosevelt signed the proclamation that established this unique landmark as a national monument, he forgot to add a possessive apostrophe to the name, making the official name “Devils Tower” instead of “Devil’s Tower” as intended. This typo has yet to be corrected.
Perhaps the most famous animal in Wyoming is Steamboat, a bronco that bucked his way into the state’s history books. Named for the whistling noise he made while bucking, Steamboat was born in Wyoming in 1896. For the remainder of his life, Steamboat was called “the horse that couldn’t be ridden,” throwing even the best bronco busters who attempted to break him. To honor his contributions to Wyoming’s culture, Steamboat is pictured on state license plates and on Wyoming’s commemorative quarter.
Nature has also provided the workforce of Wyoming with a steady source of job security: coal mines. Wyoming’s first coal mine was opened in 1867 near the town of Carbon. Near the end of the 20th century, Wyoming led the nation in coal production, producing a staggering three million tons per week! Today, the largest coal mine in America is the Black Thunder mine on the outskirts of Wright, Wyoming.
Considered to be a myth by skeptics, the jackalope hails from the city of Douglas, Wyoming. A cross between an extinct species of deer and a predatory rabbit, the jackalope sports a pair of antelope-like antlers and is rumored to run at incredible speeds up to ninety miles an hour. Cowboys of the Old West also claimed the jackalope possesses the ability to imitate human voices and enjoyed engaging in their campfire sing-alongs on the open range.
Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once stated, “The love of a mother is the veil of a softer light between the heart and the heavenly Father.” This sentiment is nationally celebrated on Mother’s Day each year. However, long before Mother’s Day became an official American holiday, maternal love and support was honored in a variety of primitive forms. Perhaps the earliest version of Mother’s Day occurred in ancient Greece. Worshippers celebrated Rhea, the mythical mother of many of the Greeks’ gods and goddesses, during a spring festival staged in her honor. Borrowing from Greek tradition, the Romans dedicated the Ides of March to the reverence of Cybele, a maternal goddess in the Roman religion; this spring celebration, called Hilaria, spanned three days and involved parades, masquerades, and visits to the temple.
Millenia later, American activists began campaigning for national recognition of the self-sacrificing contributions of mothers. These early feminists included such historical figures as Julia Ward, the lyricist behind “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and social pioneer Ann Jarvis. Julia Ward launched a successful crusade for the city of Boston to recognize the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day. Ann Jarvis’s campaign for Mother’s Day to gain national attention began after the Civil War. Jarvis worked to unite mothers on both sides of the conflict. Although Jarvis passed away before Mother’s Day became a national holiday, her daughter Anna Reeves Jarvis spearheaded a movement that resulted in President Woodrow Wilson officially recognizing Mother’s Day in 1914.
Today, Mother’s Day has spawned a multi-billion dollar industry; an excess of twenty-three billion dollars were spent celebrating the holiday in 2018. Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurant as about 87 million people treated their mother to an effortless meal last year. The most popular gift for mothers tend to be the greeting card, and the carnation typically serves as the official flower of Mother’s Day. No matter the gift, take some time to celebrate the women who love you this Mother’s Day!
Fishing has served as a form of recreation for thousands of years. Countless anglers flood to lakes, rivers, and oceans each year in attempt to land a legendary catch, making fishing one of the most popular pastimes across the nation. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we invite you to grab your tackle box and reel in a fresh catch of fishing fun facts!
Many ancient societies depended on fishing as a source of food and relaxation. Ancient Egyptians fished the blue waters of the Nile, an action depicted on the intricately painted walls of their burial chambers. Archaeological evidenced suggests that the anglers of ancient Egypt employed nets, harpoons, and the familiar line and hook to catch fish. Ancient Grecians, on the other hand, held fishermen in disdain. They believed that the unglamorous nature of angling warranted a much humbler rank in their social hierarchy.
Besides providing an opportunity for carefree contemplation, fishing also represents a thriving field of agriculture. An estimated 21 million people earn livings as anglers, and an additional 200 million depend on the practice of fishing for sustenance and revenue. Chinese fishing fleets comprise the world’s largest fishing industry.
While many anglers have found their niche in fishing for smaller species, extreme participants of the sport seek out larger quarry. The largest recorded fish caught was a white shark reel in off the coast of Australia. This colossal catch weighed in at 2,664 pounds. The angler who landed this frightening fish reportedly used a porpoise as bait.
Unsurprisingly, fishing offers a plethora of health benefits. Fishing can improve strength and muscle tone if an angler frequently reels in large catches. Improved balance and stamina may also appear in avid anglers. The psychological advantages of fishing include decreased levels of anxiety, quality bonding time with family and friends, and heightened senses of patience and self-reliance.
A commemoration common to an overwhelming majority of Christian denominations, Easter celebrates the ultimate triumph of Jesus Christ over the power of evil and death. Always falling on between March and April 25, Easter is observed on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring, a patterned determined by the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. Although the origins of the religious aspects of Easter typically remain unchallenged, the history of the holiday’s non-scriptural facets prove a mystery of tradition.
While the genesis of brightly dyed Easter eggs is difficult to trace, many scholars believe that the tradition of Easter eggs originated in Medieval Europe. One common theory holds that Medieval Christians would hard boil all eggs gathered during Lent to preserve the eggs until the fast was completed. When Lent was fulfilled, Christians would either enjoy these boiled eggs or offer them as an Easter gift of goodwill to those who could not afford to own their own chickens.
Another popular opinion claims that the Easter egg sprang from pagan origins. Anglo-Saxons equated the symbol of the egg with life and rebirth and utilized the egg in rituals celebrating the arrival of spring. Of course, the theme of resurrection was not lost on Christians who easily adapted this form of pagan revelry into a metaphor of worship.
In spite of the complexity of the Easter egg’s inception, the origin of the Easter bunny is relatively undisputed. A tradition ferried over the Atlantic by German immigrants, German folklore describes the existence of an egg-laying rabbit known as the Osterhase. German settlers, primarily in Pennsylvania, encouraged their children to build nests for the Osterhase so that it would leave behind a gift of brilliantly-hued eggs. While it remains indefinite why the hare was chosen as the symbolic bearer of Easter eggs, a prevailing theory points to the Germanic belief that bunnies are born with their eyes already open, a characteristic associated with eternal life.
No matter the tradition or custom, all Easter celebrations point towards Calvary, a symbol of everlasting hope and unfailing love.
A musical instrument transcending generations, cultures, and traditions, the flute has proven a staple of auditory artistry for centuries. While the anatomy of the instrument varies from setting to setting, all flutes are essentially an open tube that creates sound when the musician blows air into it. Of course, the material used to make the flute along with the instrument’s design plays a critical role in a flute’s tone color or timbre.
Flutes have existed since the dawn of civilization. The book of Genesis credits a man named Jubal with the invention and initial mastery of the flute. Some of the first flutes were carved from crude materials like animal bones. Eventually, craftsmen began utilizing other materials such as gold, jade, wood, and brass to create innovative instruments.
Most cultures have incorporated some version of the flute in their traditional music. Native Americans carved flutes from wood to use in a variety of contexts. From courtship to healing rituals, Native American flutes served as a sacred facet of social and spiritual life. In China, an ample supply of bamboo plants primarily lended itself to virtuosity. However, the Gudi, another prominent Asian flute, was traditionally fashioned from the hollow bones of birds. Societies located near the ocean discovered how to convert sea shells into musical instruments, and Indian versions of the flute carried great religious significance.
The majority of flutes seen in today’s concert bands, orchestras, and symphonies are of European descent. Jacques Hotteterre sparked the evolution of the modern flute in the seventeenth century when he created a flute with detachable sections by dividing the flute into a head joint, body, and foot joint. Roughly two hundred years later, German craftsman Theobald Bohm added his own modifications to Hotteterre’s design by manipulating the outlay of the flute’s keys.
Today, flutes continue to serve as a flagship of Western music. Although mastery of the flute requires endless hours of dedicated rehearsal, this instrument proves simple enough for children to learn. If in search of a creative hobby, try a fling with the flute!
Spring is in full swing, ushering the return of blissful temperatures, picturesque wildflowers, and the ever-amusing hummingbird. World renowned, the hummingbird hold a Guinness World Record for its compact stature, but don’t let their size fool you! These feathered fairies are by no means small in spirit. In this edition of The StickerTalk, grab your binoculars and join us on a bird-watching binge to uncover the secrets of the hummingbird.
Experts estimate that over 300 different species of hummingbirds adorn the world’s gardens, forests, and tropics. America’s most prevalent breed of hummingbird is the ruby-throated hummingbird. Cuba’s bee hummingbird is lauded as the smallest species of hummingbird, measuring on average about two inches in length and weighing just under two grams.
The hummingbird’s unique anatomical features allow it to possess superhero-like qualities. While most other birds can only fly forward or higher, the hummingbird can fly in all directions. Upwards, downwards, backwards, and forwards, this flying jewel is the only vertebrate capable of hovering. A hummingbird can effortlessly exceed speeds of 30 mph in flight and boasts better senses of sight and hearing than people.
Despite the hummingbird’s relatively minuscule brain, the bird showcases an astounding intelligence. The master of a mighty memory, the hummingbird can keep mental record of which flowers it has feasted on and how long it takes for each flower to replenish its nectar.
Land of the Golden Gate Bridge, the giant redwoods, and Hollywood Boulevard, California also plays host to a much more elusive icon. Known by many monikers, the Bigfoot, also called the Sasquatch, yeti, and ape-man, is said to inhabit the vast expanses of Californian wilderness. In this edition of The StickerTalk, saddle up for a trip to the Golden State as we comb California’s forests, ravines, and hills in search of the legendary Bigfoot!
The current surge in Bigfoot interest traces its roots to the Californian woodlands. Filmed near Bluff Creek, California, the infamous Patterson-Gimlin Film spurred much of the residual Sasquatch-centered mania. California’s fame as America’s Bigfoot capital has garnered national attention as the National Forest Service has even renamed a stretch of California Route 96 the “Bigfoot Scenic Byway.”
Recently, a Californian hiker found herself face-to-face with a creature strongly resembling a Bigfoot. When she reported her experience to the California Department of Fish and Game, authorities advised her that what she saw was most likely a bear. Irritated and infuriated, the hiker decided to sue the state of California in attempt to gain official recognition of the Sasquatch as a species. Unfortunately for Bigfoot fanatics, her case was dismissed.
While California remains a mainstay in the Bigfoot research community, you can organize your own Sasquatch-hunting expedition wherever you live! Check out local records of Bigfoot activity in your area before setting out. Most experts believe that the Sasquatch is more active at night, but visual evidence, such as broken limbs or footprints, may be more visible during the day. Keep your ears open for vocalizations, whistles, and other abnormal noises, and be sure to write down anything you may find!
A celebration that makes other holidays turn green with envy, St. Patrick’s Day offers a heaping helping of Irish culture and folklore to revelers around the globe. This holiday was designed as an observance to honor Ireland’s patron saint; however, St. Patrick’s Day’s domain now reaches far beyond religion and into the secular celebratory sphere. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we invite you to the rolling, green hills of Ireland to unearth some surprising secrets surrounding this cultural celebration!
Although St. Patrick is often referred to as Ireland’s foremost saint, St. Patrick was not Irish. A native of Wales, the benevolent clergyman traveled to the pagan country of Ireland to spread Catholicism, resourcefully equipped with a shamrock to visually explain the concept of the Trinity. St. Patrick proves a man shrouded by legend. One folktale claims the missionary eradicated all of Ireland’s snakes while another legend states that St. Patrick created the Irish tradition of Leap Day proposals by allowing impatient women to propose to their beaus on February 29 every four years.
A plethora of superstitions are associated with St. Patrick’s Day. While the most well-known custom is arguably the wearing of green, the holiday’s original color was blue! Irish superstition also holds that St. Patrick’s Day is the luckiest day to get married unless, of course, St. Patrick’s Day should fall on a Saturday as Saturdays are the most unlucky days of the week according to Irish tradition.
St. Patrick’s Day, although decidedly Irish in nature, is observed across the globe. In Sydney, Australia, the famous white silhouette of the Sydney Opera House was tinted green in honor of the holiday in 2010. A labor union in Chicago, Illinois, annually dyes the Chicago River green on March 17, and the President receives a gift of shamrocks from the leader of Ireland every St. Patrick’s Day.
The second Saturday in March ushers in the annual pomp of the Redbud Festival for StickerTalk’s hometown of Buna, Texas. This spring celebration began with the establishment of the Miss Buna Pageant in 1957, an effort by the Buna Volunteer Fire Department to raise money for their fledgling organization. A truly down-home event, the first Miss Buna competitions involved a homemade velvet robe and a cardboard crown for the newly crowned Miss Buna along with donated stage décor from a local funeral home. Eventually, the pageant spawned a parade and a subsequent carnival. Named in honor of Buna’s abundance of brilliant redbud trees, the Redbud Festival continues to bring members of the community together for several days of celebration. In this edition of The StickerTalk, join us on a nature hike into the forests of East Texas to explore the floral facts and historical roots of Buna’s blossoming redbuds.
While the redbud tree is primarily valued for its ornamental qualities, parts of the plant are edible! Native Americans used its bark and roots to cure illnesses such as the cold and the flu. Redbud flowers contain more vitamin C than oranges, making it a nutritious snack for anyone who can stomach its rather sour flavor. Additionally, the redbud’s branches have been utilized to make baskets, bows, and tools.
A common nickname for the redbud is the “Judas tree.” Folklore holds that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from the branches of a redbud after betraying Jesus Christ, causing the tree’s formerly white blossoms to turn red with shame.
Like most of us, the redbud tree boasts some, er… interesting relatives. Because this tree is a member of the legume family, it shares its lineage with both peas and beans! Perhaps the easiest way to observe this relation is to examine the redbud’s seedpods. Upon closer review, redbud seedpods bear a striking resemblance to pea pods.
An annual tradition beginning on the first Saturday of March, the Iditarod represents a culmination of Alaskan history and tradition. The first Iditarod race occurred in 1973 as a way to preserve the sport of dog sled racing while simultaneously commemorating the critical role mushing played in a diphtheria epidemic in 1925. When children in Nome fell ill with the deadly disease, teams of sled dogs rushed a vital serum all the way from Anchorage. Running a course similar to the trail these merciful mushers followed almost a century ago, modern mushers and their teams face hundreds of miles of rugged terrain, harsh weather, and even moose attacks!
The frigid journey from Anchorage from Nome takes over a week to complete. Current record-holder, Mitch Seavey, completed the course in 8 days, 3 hours, 40 minutes, and 13 seconds. However, the Iditarod trail has taken up to thirty-two days to for some mushers to traverse. Following time-honored tradition, the Iditarod Trail Committee lights the Widow’s Lantern, a tribute to the guiding lights of roadhouses on the original mail supply trail, in Nome on the morning of the first Sunday of March. The lantern is not extinguished until every musher has crossed the finish line.
The true stars of the show, the sled dogs, prove themselves world-class athletes, the canine equivalents to Olympians. Before the race commences, these ambitious animals must undergo a slough safety precautions, including blood work, ECG examinations, and microchipping. Although unorthodox musher John Suter included poodles in his sled teams decades ago, modern mushers typically rely on three key breeds: the Siberian husky, the Alaskan Husky, and the Alaskan malamute.
While many racing fans are unable to make a pilgrimage to Alaska to witness the Iditarod firsthand, there are still a multitude of ways to stay engaged during the Last Great Race on Earth! Stay tuned to your local news station as most media providers cover the event, and be sure to explore Iditarod.com, the official website of this historic race.
Each year on February 22, America celebrates the birthday of our first president, the illustrious George Washington. Although his main claim to fame lies in his political leadership, Washington’s biography hosts a variety of unexpected truths and trivia. On what would have been his 288th birthday, join The StickerTalk on a historical hike through the engagingly insightful life of Mr. George Washington.
Because he suffered from chronic toothaches, Washington had all of his teeth removed at age 57 and sported a set of dentures for the remainder of his life. While commonly regaled folklore states that his false teeth were carved from wood, modern research revealed that his prosthetic chompers were actually comprised of ivory, gold and lead mixed with fragments of both human and animal teeth.
When Washington was not leading armies into battle or providing political guidance for the fledgling nation, Washington proved a very prosperous farmer, boasting a whopping net worth of over $500 million in today’s money! One of Washington’s cash crops, somewhat surprisingly, was hemp; however, colonial farmers used the now-contraband plant exclusively to make paper and rope. Washington also distilled moonshine, but, being the original model citizen, did so with the proper government licensure.
Washington harbored a fondness for animals throughout his lifetime. In fact, the former president was the first agrarian to introduce the mule to the American farming landscape by crossing his own horses with donkeys owned by the King of Spain and the Marquis de Lafayette. Washington also kept several hunting hounds and sometimes assigned his prized pooches some very interesting monikers. Some of his favorites included Sweet Lips, Tartar, and Vulcan.
Hidden under the towering peaks of Arizona’s Guadalupe Mountains, Carlsbad Caverns National Park hosts a horde of otherworldly wonders and spooky surprises. Believed to be the oldest network of caves on the planet, this collection of colossal caverns offers both nature lovers and history buffs an opportunity to exercise their expertise as the park represents a fusion of both natural splendor and American ingenuity. In this edition of The StickerTalk, strap on your spelunking gear as we explore the underground universe contained in Carlsbad Caverns!
Once called the “Grand Canyon with a roof on it” by Will Rogers, everything about Carlsbad Caverns reflects its sheer size. The national park encompasses an area of 46,766 acres and includes an excess of 115 individual caves. One of the largest caves contained in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, simply referred to as the “Big Room” boasts ceilings that reach elevations of 100 feet in addition to a hole known as the Bottomless Pit (although it has a very definite depth of 140 feet).
The animals of Carlsbad Caverns National Park are as interesting as they are diverse. Perhaps the most noted resident of the caves, Carlsbad Caverns plays host to over 400,000 bats. In fact, the cave network was mined for its ample supply of bat guano in the early twentieth century before it became a tourist attraction. Other local species of fauna include the kangaroo rat, javelina, and a curious species of microbe currently being tested as a cure for cancer.
For those who love a good scare, Carlsbad Caverns National Park offers up its infamous Slaughter Canyon Cave. With no artificial lighting or paved walkways, visitors to this portion of the park must brave the natural wiles of the cave including humidity, looming rock formations, and, you guessed it, lots of guano.
A celebration of love and goodwill, Valentine’s Day heralds visions of candy, cards, and stuffed animals. Although these motifs may seem universal, each culture entertains a unique mode of revelry. In this edition of The StickerTalk, join us on a virtual globe tour to explore Valentine’s Day around the world!
In Denmark, pristine snowdrops replace roses as the floral emblem of the holiday. Men in Denmark additionally enjoy anonymously penning and gifting funny poems to lovely ladies. If a woman can successfully extrapolate who gave her the poem, she will receive an Easter egg from her admirer later in the year.
South African women take a leaf from the ancient Romans in a Valentine’s Day tradition called Lupercalia. In this festivity, ladies wear the names of their love interests on their sleeves, helping the local men uncover the identities of their secret admirers.
Revelers in Italy take Valentine’s Day very seriously! Unlike the American version of the holiday that encourages coworkers, classmates, and casual friends to exchange gifts, Italians reserve gifts exclusively for romantic partners. Chocolates, poems in a variety of languages, and leisurely strolls represent hallmarks of the holiday. Additionally, another prominent Italian tradition holds that the first man an unmarried woman sees on Valentine’s Day will be her future husband, prompting single girls to wake up before daylight to take advantage of the prime pickings!
On the frigid morning of February, 2, 2019, Americans from coast to coast celebrated Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of an early spring when the meteorologically-inclined rodent proved unable to see his shadow. While the American holiday of Groundhog Day may seem eternally rooted in tradition and folklore, other cultures and eras have developed other quirky customs for foretelling future weather patterns. In this edition of The StickerTalk, join us on an intercultural journey to revisit past predecessors of Groundhog Day and explore coexisting equivalents of this American staple.
In a “bear”-ly believable twist on Groundhog Day, several nations in Eastern Europe replace the relatively small groundhog with a wild bear! Local folklore, much like the American tradition, states that a lengthy winter is imminent if the bear sees its shadow upon emerging from hibernation.
Although Punxsutawney Phil most commonly claims the limelight, other groundhogs across the country simultaneously try their hands, er… paws, at weather forecasting on February 2. Perhaps the most learned of these furry forecasters is Georgia’s own General Beauregard Lee, a groundhog boasting honorary doctorates from both the University of Georgia and Georgia University. Other groundhogs renowned for their weather prediction prowess include Staten Island Chuck and Jimmy the Groundhog, both better know for their tendency to munch on their handlers than for their uncanny accuracy.
Due to a shortage of groundhogs on the American frontier, some pioneers relied on the humble hedgehog to predict the arrival of spring. However, these settlers were not the first to utilize the hedgehog’s forecasting skills. Farmers in England could reportedly divine wind patterns by the way hedgehogs built their nests, enabling them to more effectively nurture and protect their crops.
A practice specializing in oral health and nervous patients, dentistry proves a fascinating field of study that springs from the first glimmers of civilization. Historians theorize that the first dentists existed in early Indus Valley communities. Although the Indus Valley dentists left no literature behind, medial pioneers in ancient Samaria published a string of dental theories that served as pillars of the industry for thousands of years. One of these Sumerian ideas stated that tooth worms were responsible for decay; this primitive belief took several millennia to be refuted, dismissed by the dental community after modern ideas took hold in the eighteenth century! Greek philosophers, namely Hippocrates and Aristotle, devoted untold effort to the discussion of dentistry but were unable to decode the deeper details of the trade, including the true cause of tooth decay. During the Middle Ages, most dental services were provided by either general physicians or barbers, their scope typically limited to tooth extraction and early forms of dental prosthetics. The first person to successfully outline key concepts of dentistry was Pierre Fauchard, a French medical professional who wrote “The Surgeon Dentist, A Treatise on Teeth,” arguably the first viable text on the science of dentistry. Since Fauchard’s groundbreaking endeavors, dentistry has evolved into an occupational beacon of efficiency and diversity. Both African Americans and women were employed in the field before the turn of the century. In spite of constant discoveries and advancements, most Americans did not embrace everyday dental health regimens until the conclusion of World War II when GIs returned home with a newfound appreciation for oral care; after witnessing residents of foreign countries devotedly brushing, flossing, and regularly visiting dentists, post-war Americans readily invested in the practical application of dentistry. An occupation characterized by perpetual innovation, dentistry’s colorful past can only be outshined by its promising future.
On the night of January 20, 2019, eyes lifted heavenward to witness a spectacle in the skies. Captivating millions of curious souls, a total lunar eclipse unfolded over the course of the evening; as the moon turned an eerie shade of rusty red, the Earth’s shadow slowly, yet temporarily, devoured all traces of moonlight. Although modern astronomy easily explains this natural phenomenon, each culture has developed its own mythology behind the lunar eclipse. Join us on an ethereal excursion as The StickerTalk separates lunar eclipse fact from fiction.
People have observed lunar eclipses with a combination of awe and fear for centuries. The vast majority of cultures interpreted this event as a bad omen. For example, ancient Greeks believed that a lunar eclipse meant the gods were about to unleash their wrath on the king, and many nations superstitiously claim that the moon’s dimmed beams will cause chaos for expectant mothers and their unborn babies. However, other groups viewed the lunar eclipse with hope and goodwill, using the supposed magic of the occasion to improve themselves. Tibetan eclipse watchers believe that their good deed are multiplied during the celestial celebration. Before modern technology and theories could prove that an alignment of the moon and the earth caused lunar eclipses, a plethora of explanations existed to clarify the phenomenon. The Incas though a gargantuan jaguar was eating the moon while Norsemen thought a pair of sky wolves were stalking lunar prey.
While our most recent lunar eclipse was a total lunar eclipse, there are actually three distinct types of lunar eclipses: full, partial, and penumbral. In a full lunar eclipse, Earth passes precisely between the sun and a full moon. Most lunar eclipses last no longer than 3 hours and 45 minutes. Blood moons typically coincide with total lunar eclipses; when sunlight passes through the earth’s atmosphere, it takes on a reddish tinge before it is reflected from the moon’s surface. The total eclipse of the moon coupled with this unusual variation of hue is not only visually thrilling but is also a riveting subject of scientific study.
Distinguished by its unmatched timbre and unique assortment of physical traits, the trombone continues to remain one of Western music’s most popular instruments. The modern trombone traditionally is confined to roles in symphony ensembles, concert bands, or jazz groups, but the horn’s historical foundation proves much broader in nature. In this edition of The StickerTalk, join us as we meander through a medley of matters to take a closer look at the timeless trombone.
Although most listeners revel in the trombone’s soothing sounds, the instrument represents a tool of auditory torture to others. Famed author, Mark Twain, was a noted critic of the instrument, calling the horn itself “unholy” and its tones “discordant sounds.” A surprising counterpart to Twain in cynicism, Sigmund Freud claimed that the instrument caused him to feel “uncomfortable.”
While some scholars believe that an early predecessor of the trombone existed in biblical times, most historians agree that the first trombone, an instrument called the sackbut, was invented during the Renaissance. The first recorded appearance of a trombone occurred at the Duke of Burgundy’s wedding around the year 1470. Before long, instrument found its way into the first Protestant churches when Martin Luther published his belief that the angel Gabriel’s horn was, more specifically, a trombone. For centuries, the trombone was featured in sacred pieces as a tribute to the archangel’s alleged favorite instrument. Symphonic composers seemed reluctant to include trombones in their work until Beethoven utilized the unusual instrument in his now-iconic Fifth Symphony.
Most modern wind instruments possess multiple keys or valves to allow a musician the ability to produce a variety of pitches. The trombone, however, mainly relies on its characteristic slide when playing varying notes. The trombone’s sound results from the vibration of a musician’s lips against the mouthpiece and is amplified by the flaring bell.
A diva of the desert, the humble succulent has taken fashion and design landscapes by storm. The plant’s unique appearance lends an air of natural beauty to home décor displays, clothing, and jewelry, making the succulent a rising star in a variety of industries. In this edition of The StickerTalk, join us as we rediscover the roots of the succulent’s obscure origins and eventual flight to fame!
The succulent’s name is derived from “sucus,” the Latin word for juice, since the plants’ plump leaves store the sap and water that allow it to thrive in otherwise hostile environments. Because succulents were first grown in sweltering portions of the globe such as Africa and South America, these flowers naturally prove able to stand up to a variety of adverse conditions.
While most succulents appear green in color, assorted hues including pink and yellow are additionally common. Succulent plants also showcase a layer of chalk-like residue on their leaves. Not only does this substance add a fashionable flair to an already prepossessing plant, but it helps defend the succulent from pests and overwhelming temperatures.
The term succulent may actually refer to a number of plant species. Surprisingly taking root in the succulent family tree are both the snake plant and the asparagus. Additionally, some species of aloe and cacti carry the description of succulent.
A breed characterized by its large stature and gentle demeanor, the Belgian horse boasts a rich tradition coupled with a powerful build. The Belgian traces its impressive pedigree back to the Middle Ages. Early Belgians, a breed known as the Flemish “Great Horse,” carried medieval knights into battle. In fact, Richard the Lionhearted, one of history’s most prominent proponents of this breed, proved so fond of the horses that he arranged for a large number of the gentle giants to be transported from their native home in the Low Countries to the island of England. The Belgian’s sheer mass later lead farmers and drivers to employ these gentle giants as draft horses; a newborn Belgian foal weighs an average of 125 pounds, later growing to an astounding 2,000 pounds at adulthood! First introduced to American arenas and fields in the late 1800s, the Belgian has since galloped its way into the hearts of horse lovers across the nation, captivating multitudes with its unmatched grace and style.
The resolution: a tradition typically embraced during the initial onslaught of the new year’s temptations but eventually abandoned for the sake of comfort and routine. While many consider new year’s resolutions a fairly modern blight on humanity’s resolve, these annual objectives have existed since ancient times. Approximately four thousand years ago, ancient Babylonians created resolutions for the upcoming year that would ensure favor with their deluge of deities. Centuries later, Roman farmers continued the tradition by setting a new year’s agenda outlining the duties they hoped to fulfill in the upcoming year. Other Romans made vows to Janus on the first day of the year in order to secure prosperity and prospective. However, since the era of the Roman Empire, new year’s resolutions have taken a downward plunge with just over nine percent of resolutions reaching completion by the December 31 deadline. Only twenty percent of new year’s resolutions survive into February to boot! In spite of this depressing data, there is hope for those who wish to better themselves in the upcoming year. Because most people set goals such as maintaining healthier lifestyles or exercising greater financial caution, new year’s resolutions serve as agents of inspiration, beckoning complacent crowds into a happier state of mind. And yes, new year’s resolutions can be kept! Experts suggest employing strategies like setting small, realistic goals and limiting the amount of resolutions you set to improve your chances of attaining your objectives. With a little bit of determination and a sound method of execution, no new year’s resolution need be feared!
New Year’s Day traditionally embodies sentiments of hope and lauds the coming year’s abundance of opportunities. While these uplifting themes prove universal throughout most languages and cultures, the medium of celebration varies from nation to nation. In 2018’s final edition of The StickerTalk, our blog surveys the assorted array of international customs and curiosities surrounding the cross cultural motif of January 1.
Farmers in Romania traditionally wish each of their animals an individual greeting of “Happy New Year!” as Romanian legend states that January 1 is the only day of the year that animals can verbally communicate with their masters. However, if an agrarian is able to understand one of their animals, bad luck is said to await them in the new year.
Professional divers in Russia annually plunge into the icy depths of various bodies of water to plant a tree underwater on New Year’s Day. Clad in festive attire, strong swimmers in the Shchitovaya Bay retire a Christmas tree to the bottom of the lake, ceremoniously performing dances and enjoying a champagne sipping charade after their charge has been deposited in its near-freezing new home. Similar celebrations occur under the waves of the Lena River and under the already frozen surface of Lake Baikal.
An Irish New Year combines the sentimental with the seemingly senseless. Families in Ireland honor loved ones lost during the previous year by setting places for them at the dinner table with corresponding vacant seats. Some families also leave the door unlocked to allow the easy passage of their late friends and relatives into the house. Another Irish tradition observed on January 1 involves the beating of bread against the walls of an abode. According to folklore, this delicious din will drive away evil spirits, ensuring good luck in the coming year.
A cross-cultural celebration, Christmas has been translated into a multitude of languages and customs. Although we here in Southeast Texas religiously observe Christmas with such treasured traditions as sweet potato pie, fried turkey, and short-sleeves, curiosity is nevertheless piqued by the international and exotic; so, in what has become an annual endeavor, The StickerTalk invites you to embark on an international expedition to explore Christmas traditions around the world!
English folk tales claim that the devil died when Jesus Christ entered our world. To commemorate this triumph of truth and virtue, Christians congregate at certain churches to hear the tolling of the “devil’s knell,” a tradition in which church bells are rung to celebrate Christ’s inspiring victory over evil. Perhaps the most famous ringing of the devil’s knell occurs at All Saints Church in Dewsbury. A single tenor bell rings once for every year that has passed since the birth of Christ, commencing at approximately 10 p.m. and ending exactly at the stroke of midnight.
Jolabokaflod is observed in Iceland on Christmas Eve night. According to tradition, each person receives a new book on December 24 and dedicates the remainder of the day to delving through its pages. This celebration traces its roots back to World War II when Icelandic citizens found their customary Christmas gift exchanges thwarted by material rations. However, paper continued to flow freely, making books the perfect Christmas gift.
Christmas in Uganda and other East African countries showcases stark differences from the American version of the holiday. The nation’s extreme poverty severely limits commercialism, allowing Ugandans more clarity in the religious aspects of the celebration. New clothes to sport at church along with gifts of home-grown food serve as heartfelt replacements for first-world luxuries while rocks, leaves, and other natural items are gathered as Christmas presents for Jesus. The customary Christmas meal typically features roasted goat as the headlining dish.
“Sprucing” up the holidays since the 1500s, Christmas trees typically prove a common sight during December. Like many customs, this annual evergreen exposition has experienced evolution over the course of past centuries and varying cultures. Join The StickerTalk as we needle into the lifeblood, er… sap, of the tradition of the Christmas tree!
Many historians credit German Christians with the innovation of the Christmas tree. Decking an evergreen with apples and other assorted fruits, these unorthodox pioneers symbolically celebrated the purity mankind abandoned in the Garden of Eden. These German “sweet trees” crossed the Atlantic where Americans eventually embraced this European endeavor with Franklin Pierce becoming the first American president to decorate a Christmas tree in the White House in 1856.
While tinsel has been a popular Christmas tree decoration since the 1930s, its mythology remains disputed. The most popular legend recalls the story of a poor widow attempting to surprise her children with a decorated tree on Christmas morning. Much to her chagrin, spiders littered the tree branches with webs overnight, laying waste to her heartfelt efforts. However, Jesus noticed her anguish and transformed the cob webs into brilliant strands of tinsel.
Artificial Christmas trees first came onto the market in the 1800s. German inventors dyed goose feathers green and attached the dyed down to wire branches. It wasn’t until 1958 that mostly aluminum trees were manufactured. Many environmentalists oppose artificial evergreens due to their unrecyclable nature. Real trees, they assure, can serve many roles after the holiday is over. They can be used in fish ponds and erosion barriers to help ensure environmental stability.
A custom of quintessential quality, the annual display of Christmas lights has a deep-rooted history in civilized society. The tradition of lighting a Christmas tree is believed to have been established by Martin Luther, the priest responsible for the Protestant Reformation. A lover of nature, Luther attempted to replicate the serenity of starlight shining through tree branches by placing candles among the branches of an evergreen tree he had placed in his house. Electric lights became vogue after President Cleveland decked the White House in an ornate display of Christmas lights in 1895. Families who were fortunate enough to afford then-costly lights payed an electrician an average of three hundred dollars to wire lights on their Christmas trees, a fee equaling nine thousand dollars in modern money. America’s lavish love for Christmas light displays continues to require an amazing amount of monetary resources. Americans spend approximately six billion dollars on holiday decoration each year as well. In addition to the initial purchase price of light strands, energy usage and subsequent bills seem to spike around Christmas. Americans use more electricity during the holiday season than the entire nation of Ethiopia utilizes during an entire year!
From careful connoisseurs of conduct to skillful surveyors of sweets, Santa’s task force of elves fills a multitude of roles during the Christmas season. While some aspects of an elf’s life and labor seem universal, its appearance differs from culture to culture. Join The StickerTalk as we embark on an elven adventure to explore the innumerable international interpretations of the Christmas elf!
In Icelandic legend, Santa’s elves are replaced with thirteen trolls collectively called the Yule Lads. Children leave a shoe in the window in anticipation of the Yule Lads’ nightly visits from December 12 through Christmas Eve. If the child has been well-behaved, the trolls deposit sweet treats in the shoe. However, the Yule Lads leave behind rotting potatoes.
Denmark celebrates Christmas with the help of Nisse, a gnome who enjoys pranks and mischief. Said to be clad in gray, woolen garments with a signature red hat and bright white clogs, Nisse traditionally passes by Danish houses on Christmas Eve. If he is left an offering of porridge or ride pudding outside a house, he will continue his journey without attempting to trick the people living there.
In some cultures, Santa is accompanied by a variety of villainous vagrants instead of a troop of jolly elves. French children fear Santa’s character foil in Père Fouettard whose name means “the whipping father.” Père Fouettard, as his moniker implies, whips children guilty of disobedience during the previous year. The Christmas Cat, the Père Fouettard’s Icelandic counterpart, preys on people who have not received the gift at least one new article of clothing, and the German Knecht Ruprecht serves as Santa’s negative reinforcement.
The snowman represents a frosty facet of holiday nostalgia, a frozen friend of millions of children. An international icon, the snowman’s fame reaches far and wide as the majority of northern cultures celebrate the snowman in a variety of forms and fashions. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we invite you to indulge in a flurry of facts about this sleeted celebrity!
The first snowman is thought to have made an appearance in the 1380 in The Book of Hours. About a century later in 1494, a young Michelangelo received a commission to sculpt a snowman for a powerful Italian ruler. Snowmen made history yet again in 1690 when haggard Dutch watchmen at Fort Schenectady formed snowmen to serve as decoy guards to potential attackers. However, their plan failed, and the fort fell to a combined force of French and Native American soldiers.
Snowmen serve an integral part in a multitude of world record titles. The world’s tallest snowman towered over adoring crowds at an astounding 122 feet tall! This frozen feat hailing from Maine was named Olympia in honor of a beloved state senator, Olympia Snowe. While Maine boasts the largest snowman, London, England, lays claim on the world’s smallest snowman. British scientists at the National Physical Laboratory created a microscopic snowman using tools typically used to handle nanoparticles, an artistic achievement measuring only 0.01 millimeters.
Although the arrival of wintry weather is often anticipated by many, the Unicorn Hunters club at Lake Superior State University were so ready for spring in 1971 that they celebrated the onset of higher temperatures by burning a paper effigy of a snowman! In an unorthodox act turned annual celebration, the students at the university celebrate the snowman burning by eating hotdogs and hamburgers while appreciating the fire’s desired heat.
Santa’s preferred beast of burden and a zoological favorite among the young and young at heart, the humble reindeer headlines each December as the North Pole’s crowning critter. Traditional folklore states that a team of reindeers powers Santa’s annual international escapade, but how much additional information about this unique animal is considered common knowledge? Join The StickerTalk on an icy expedition to the Arctic tundra to rub shoulders with the reindeer.
The magical clicking of a reindeer’s footsteps is actually due to a rather unexpected abnormality. When a certain tendon passes over one of the deer’s foot bones, it produces the reindeer’s characteristic click! Reindeer are extremely social creatures, typically living in herds numbering from 50,000 to 500,000 members, and many experts believe that the sound of clicking hooves help the animals stay together.
Reindeers boast an armory of assorted oddities that help them survive in their native northern stretches of tundra. Because nights in the Arctic are especially extensive in the winter, reindeers possess the capability to see ultraviolet light, a talent that grants them vision even in complete darkness. Also, their hooves change shape and texture from season to season to allow greater traction during icy winters and better mobility on soft ground in the late spring and summer.
Although most the vast majority of Christmas commentators claim that Santa’s reindeers are all male, some zoologists contest this belief. Since male reindeer usually shed their antlers in November and early December, the fully antlered reindeers that are hitched to Santa’s sleigh each Christmas Eve are likely entirely female!
A traditional icon of Christmas, the poinsettia’s striking colors have added an abundance of cheer to holiday celebrations for centuries. It is said that the poinsettia was first introduced to American greenhouses by Joel Roberts Poinsett. Poinsett, the first American ambassador to Mexico and the plant’s namesake, was enamored by this Mexican flower, bringing some back to the United States to cultivate and share with his fellow flower enthusiasts. In fact, December 12, the anniversary of Poinsett’s death in 1851, is annually celebrated as Poinsettia Day. The poinsettia has carried a variety of nicknames, however. Names like “lobster flower” and “flame-leaf flower” pay homage to the poinsettia’s signature shade of fiery red. In some Hispanic countries the flower is called “Flores de Noche Buena,” meaning “Flower of the Holy Night” in English; some believe the poinsettia’s association with the Nativity is due to its star-like shape that often reminds worshippers of the Star of Bethlehem. Others claim that an old Mexican legend propelled the poinsettia’s rise to prominence. The legend tells of a poor Mexican girl named Pepita who could not afford a gift for the Christ Child on Christmas Eve. Weeping in regret, she encountered an angel on her way to the chapel who told her to bring an offering of weeds. When she presented her bundle of weeds to the Baby Jesus, they miraculously sprouted into rich red poinsettias. The poinsettia’s rich tradition in folklore as well as its natural allure insure that this dazzling flower will herald the arrival of the Christmas season for generations to come!
As the year winds to its conclusion, the month of December finally begins, bringing numerous holidays, frosty weather, and a plethora of time-honored traditions. In this edition of The StickerTalk, join us as we discover some of December’s most delightful details.
The name “December” traces its roots back to Ancient Rome, “decem” being the Latin word for “tenth.” While December is the twelfth month in modern Gregorian calendars, it formerly occupied the tenth spot in the annual lineup of months. When the Romans introduced the months of January and February to the calendar, they chose not to change December’s moniker.
Believe it or not, December is the perfect month to plant certain species of flora. Holiday favorites like poinsettias and Christmas cacti make a great December addition to your garden!
Many causes are advocated during the month of December. December is Human Rights Month and Read a New Book Month. On a lighter note, December also plays host to National Fruit Cake Month and National Handwashing Awareness Week.
The StickerTalk Celebrates Thanksgiving Around the Globe
An observance as old as America itself, Thanksgiving annually commemorates the survival of the pilgrims in the New World. While Thanksgiving is undeniably, uniquely American, a multitude of other cultures throughout the world celebrate holidays of gratitude. Join The StickerTalk on an international expedition of appreciation as we delve into the global variations of Thanksgiving.
A holiday mandated in Scripture, Sukkot is chiefly celebrated in Israel. Jewish participants in Sukkot devote a week to the remembrance of ancient Israel’s flight from slavery in Egypt by offering special prayers and eating celebratory meals.
Fall in Korea heralds the celebration of Chuseok. Spanning three days, Chuseok observers give thanks to deities and honor the memories of their ancestors. Much like the American version of Thanksgiving, food plays an integral role in this Korean tradition. However, instead of a turkey taking center stage, a half-moon-shaped rice cake called the songpyeon sits in a place of honor on the Chuseok table.
During Yurya, a pagan celebration common to Belarus, worshippers perform dances and ceremonies to please Yurya, the goddess of spring. Believing that Yurya will provide an abundant harvest, Belarusians observe this festival of thanks before taking to the fields to plant their crops.
An area comprised of picturesque Atlantic coastline, Cape Cod’s natural allure invites admirers from all corners of the globe to bask in a haven from modern perils. This scenic peninsula proves to be a hotspot for tourism and culture, providing its visitors both carefree entertainment and intellectual enlightenment. In this edition of The StickerTalk, join us as we travel to the shores of Massachusetts and explore this iconic American destination!
Vikings may have been the first European explorers to set foot on Cape Cod. Although no proof has been found to completely support this claim, a titanic block of granite recovered from a Native American archeological site may contain inscriptions carved by Viking record keepers. However, because experts have not been able to decipher the stone’s script, this theory remains unsubstantiated.
Squanto, the Native American largely responsible for the survival of the Plymouth Rock Pilgrims, is buried on Cape Cod. Although his exact place of burial remains a mystery, this American hero’s resting place enhances the sense of historical significance exemplified by the iconic peninsula.
From the moment the Pilgrims arrived in the area, Cape Cod has been a center of industry. Although its soil could not sustain large-scale farming, the waters surrounding the peninsula served as the perfect stage for fishing and whaling. Shipbuilding and the refinement of sea salt also played critical roles in the business dealing of early Cape Cod settlers.
General George S. Patton once stated, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” Taking a leaf from General Patton, Americans annually celebrate our veterans on November 11, a tradition that began on November 11, 1919. Exactly one year following the conclusion of World War I, Armistice Day arose to commemorate the brave men and women who selflessly sacrificed to secure global peace and prosperity. The holiday received a name change in 1954 when President Eisenhower declared the eleventh day of November Veterans Day, an alteration that indicated a generalized sense of gratitude towards veterans from all wars, both the fallen and the living. Today, the American tradition of honoring our heroes entails a variety of activities, ceremonies, and gatherings. Perhaps the most prominent of these events is the laying of a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a solemn act typically carried out by the president. Although many of us will not be able to witness this cherished custom in person on Veterans Day, a plethora of opportunities remain to express our gratitude to the men and women who have served. Attend a local Veterans Day ceremony, share the stories of family and friends who donned a uniform, or simply take the time to thank a veteran. Heroes who are willing to lay down their lives in hope of a brighter tomorrow, veterans are a treasured pillar of our nation that should never be forgotten.
A day that’s as unique as you, birthdays prove universal in all languages, cultures, and eras. Heralded by cakes, presents, and parties, people everywhere anticipate birthdays as a celebration of life and love. In this edition of The StickerTalk, join us as we slice into the sweet histories and obscurities surrounding the birthday!
Many of our modern birthday traditions trace their roots to ancient times. Historical records indicate that Egyptian pharaohs hosted lavish parties to commemorate their birthdays. In ancient Greece, revelers placed candles on birthday cakes as a form of worship to a select group of goddesses. A few centuries later, the first birthday party invitations were distributed during the first century in Rome by Claudia Severa, the wife of a prominent Roman commander.
Like most special occasions, there are many superstitions surrounding the birthday. In China, gifts of clocks and watches are considered an omen of ill will, and people living in Malaysia only give birthday gifts if they are close to the birthday boy or girl to avoid the appearance of bribery.
More people are born in August than any other month. However, the most popular date of birth is October 5. Additionally, more people are born on Tuesdays than any other day of the week with Sunday being the least popular day for deliveries.
As October fades into November, voting season culminates in a grand display in democracy. No matter which end of the political spectrum you hail from, everyone can agree that your vote and voice matter in the upcoming election. In honor of National Election Day, The StickerTalk has compiled an interesting assortment of political peculiarities that are sure to make you flex your cranium before you head to the polls!
Proud that you voted? Whatever you do, don’t take a selfie with that ballot! In the United States, taking a picture with your ballot constitutes a crime that may result in punishments ranging from a fine to jail.
Although American politics may seem to careen towards absolute absurdity at times, at least our system is more sophisticated than the voting system utilized in ancient Sparta. In order to vote, the governing body of Sparta would simply shout! Of course, the loudest side won the vote. However, American elections have often rivaled the antics of this somewhat outlandish operation. For example, the state constitution of Ohio blatantly declares that “idiots” cannot cast a vote in any of the state’s polling sites, and, during the presidential election of 1872, Ulysses S. Grant ran against a dead man.
While many Americans wish that Election Day occurred during the weekend, our Founding Fathers carefully chose to hold elections on a Tuesday in order to ensure that a voter would not have to choose between casting a ballot or attending church. Additionally, the first part of November was selected to host Election Day to allow farmers a chance to complete their fall harvests before traveling to the polls.
The Appaloosa: Amazingly Adept and Absolutely American
Some call it the Dalmatian of the horse world. Others know it as the most versatile and uniquely American equestrian breed. Whatever your impression of the Appaloosa horse, it is easy to understand why this speckled breed has trotted away with the hearts of animal lovers. Saddle up and hang on tight as The StickerTalk gallops through the Appaloosa’s impressive profile!
The Appaloosa is a jack of all trades. The breed’s versatility makes it an exceptional dressage, jumping, or rodeo horse. However, inexperienced buyers beware! The Appaloosa’s high-strung and overachieving demeanor may require a much more experienced rider.
The Appaloosa breed was developed by the Nez Perce Native American Tribe. While the tribe resided in Washington, Oregon, and parts of Idaho, they selectively bred their horses, a process resulting in the quick and agile Appaloosa horse we know today. White settlers originally called them “Palouse horses” after the Palouse River that winded across Nez Perce land.
Appaloosas were a favorite on the silver screen during the heyday of Western films. Movie stars including John Wayne and Marlon Brando were often captured on-screen alongside these unique creatures.
From the all-American apple to the fall flavors of pumpkin, pies are a culinary staple across the nation. These popular pastries appear at the pinnacle of potlucks, picnics, and parties, making any meal just a little sweeter. Join The StickerTalk as we survey a slice of the pie’s flavorful history.
Pies were crafted and enjoyed in the ancient world. Many scholars credit the ancient Greeks with the invention of the sweet treat; however, the Romans proved especially fond of the dessert as did the Egyptians who carved images of pie into the walls of royal tombs.
While pie may seem merely an innocent indulgence today, Oliver Cromwell, a major British political leader in the seventeenth century, banned pies because he considered them to be directly related to pagan enjoyment. This pastry ban caused pie bakers and eaters to establish a sort of black market that throve until the ban was lifted at the beginning of the Restoration.
Several American holidays honor the delicious dessert. Both December 1 and January 23 are National Pie Day, April 27 is National Blueberry Pie Day, and September 28 is National Strawberry Pie Day.
It is the capital city of the United States and a cultural melting pot for people from all corners of the globe; Washington, D.C., hosts a plethora of unusual sights and harbors a unique heritage. Throughout our nation’s winding history, this bustling city has played a central role in the destiny of millions, attracting the attention of countless curious visitors. In this edition of The StickerTalk, join us as we “capitalize” on the many wonders of Washington, D.C.
Although Washington, D.C. has served as the official home of forty-five U.S. presidents, only one is buried in the city. When Woodrow Wilson passed away in 1924, his remains were enshrined in the Washington National Cathedral. Not only is the Washington National Cathedral famous for being the burial ground of the former president, but it also features the profile of Darth Vader in its vast array of gargoyles!
Washington, D.C. is home to a curious collection of monuments and statues, but perhaps the most intriguing statue is that of Thomas Jefferson located in the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Though a 19-foot-tall, bronze likeness of the Founding Father currently stands in the center of the monument, the original statue was made of plaster due to World War II-era metal rations.
Many notable figures call Washington, D.C. their hometown. D.C. locals include television personality Bill Nye, music mogul Duke Ellington, and actress Goldie Hawn.
A picture is worth a thousand words; almost everyone has heard this ancient adage. However, many people are not familiar with the picture’s equally intriguing role in politics, society, and discovery. Strike a pose with The StickerTalk as we explore the colorful world of photography!
Although cameras have been utilized extensively since the early 1800s, modern photographers snap more pictures in a mere two minutes than all the photographers of the eighteenth century combined. According to one census, social media users share about one trillion photos on an annual basis.
Cameras have played a vital part in the course of modern human history. For the first time in history, journalists in the Civil War used their newfound innovations in photography to capture the horrors of war; this technological development helped shatter the idea of war as a source of boundless opportunities for glory and fame and made the warring states more eager to reconcile. Cameras have continued to share both encouraging and action-provoking images ever since, even making their way to the surface of the moon in 1969. However, the cameras used to document the moon landing were left in space in order to lighten the load of the spacecraft.
Many casual observers of antique portraits believe our forerunners must have been a stern lot as their facial expressions often lack any sign of warmth or joy. Quite the contrary, these grim faces are only common in old photographs because nineteenth century technology required its subject to remain completely still for hours at a time. Imagine trying to maintain a steady smile for two hours!
A horrific disease that affects people of all genders, backgrounds, and ages, breast cancer has ravaged society for centuries, claiming far too many lives and leaving many without hope. However, brave men and women dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer have declared October Breast Cancer Awareness Month in hopes of raising awareness of the disease with bolstering hope in the hearts of millions. In this installment of The StickerTalk, we invite you to reflect on the courage displayed by each and every breast cancer patient and take the opportunity to explore the movement to end this tragic trend.
More people are surviving breast cancer than ever before! Thanks to continuing breakthroughs in medical science and increasingly effective treatment options, a record percentage of patients are able to complete long and happy lives without the constant fear of breast cancer.
You can take an active role in preventing breast cancer. Experts recommend healthy habits like regular exercise and limited use of alcohol and tobacco to help avoid this devastating disease.
October is teeming with opportunities for you to join the fight against breast cancer! Attend a Pink Out football game at your local field, participate in a walkathon, or visit a women’s health exposition. When it comes to promoting awareness and supporting a cure for breast cancer, the possibilities for involvement are endless!
The hotdog, both a slang term suggesting excellence or a tasty treat enjoyed at picnics and baseball games, serves as an American cultural icon. A dish that has revolutionized the culinary industry and forever altered the palates of the American diner, hotdogs are currently served in a plethora of forms and fashions, many geographical regions boasting their own rendition of the recipe. In this edition of The StickerTalk, join us as we get to the meat of this savory snack.
Fabled Fare: Even ancient kings couldn’t resist the full flavor of a hotdog! Homer included descriptions of hotdog-like dishes in his literary masterpiece, The Odyssey, and the infamous Nero reportedly enjoyed an early version of the dish while he was not adding to his litany of leery legacies.
Downing Dogs: While you don’t need to be a full-time foodie to savor a hotdog, many folks find their thrill by competing in hotdog eating contests. The reigning hotdog-eating champion devoured a staggering sixty-two hotdogs in a mere ten minutes in 2015!
Sausage in Space: A food that transcends the Earth’s boundaries, hotdogs have accompanied hungry astronauts to space on several NASA missions. Beginning around the launch of Apollo 11, astronauts were able to enjoy tastes of home while exploring the far reaches of our universe.
Tupelo: Terrifically Trendy and Thoroughly Thrilling
Although not typically considered a monstrous metropolis, the city of Tupelo, Mississippi, serves as a hub of culture and history. Its unique location allows Tupelo to harbor both serene, natural beauty and modern innovations, making the community a complex fusion of the area’s rich past and its promising future. In this edition of The StickerTalk, join us on a virtual road trip through the wondrous ways of Tupelo, Mississippi!
A Bunch of Buffalo: Within Tupelo’s city limits is the largest zoo in the state of Mississippi. It’s primary exhibit? An extensive herd of buffalo! A home to approximately 300 buffalo, the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo was founded at the site of a former cattle ranch in response to the American bison’s rapid decline in the twentieth century. Thanks to the park’s founders, current and future generations of Tupelo tourists can marvel at the gentle giants.
Absolutely Electrifying: Tupelo was the first city to receive electric power through Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Policy. The Tennessee Valley Authority accomplished this great feat in order to combat unemployment and secure a brighter future for future Tupeloans.
Birthplace of a King: The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, traces his roots back to Tupelo, Mississippi. Born in a double-room house in Tupelo on January 8, 1935, Elvis spent the first thirteen years of his live largely within Tupelo city limits. The city continues to honor this celebrated citizen through the annual Elvis Festival.
Officially beginning at 8:54 PM on September 22, autumn has commenced its annual reclamation of both weather and foliage, prompting fans of fall to don a light jacket and order a pumpkin spice latte. Although autumn is generally recognized for its more obvious characteristics such as gradually decreasing temperatures and leaves fading into pastel yellows and oranges, this celebrated season offers much more than mere aesthetics. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we invite you to fall into the many wonders of autumn.
Surging Sweets: Since the custom of trick-or-treating was first observed in 1927, its influence has spread across the globe. Recent studies indicate that more participants become involved in trick-or-treating each year. The current average amount of candy a costumed kid receives from each house is two handfuls, an always increasing figure. In America alone, over two billion dollars are annually spent on Halloween candy!
Autumn in the Atmosphere: While the arrival of autumn is perhaps most proudly mirrored in the physical realm by the vivid colors of falling leaves, the skies additionally announce the beginning of a new season. NASA refers to autumn as “aurora season” due to the doubled frequency of geomagnetic storms that occurs throughout the season.
Matchmaking and Merrymaking: Bobbing for apples is a time-honored tradition entirely unique to autumn. While today’s version of the game is only played for grins and giggles, unmarried young people in Britain developed the sport as a courting ritual. Each bachelorette would bob for an apple, hoping to secure the apple assigned to her sweetheart.
The pleasantly plump pumpkin has recently gained notoriety as the key ingredient for a litany of pumpkin-spice-flavored seasonal eats, drinks, and treats. However, the pumpkin possesses a variety of other charms besides its inexplicable ability to enhance the flavor of lattes in coffeeshops across the nation. Join The StickerTalk as we carve into the delicious details of the pumpkin’s legendary past and illustrious present.
Primitive Pumpkins: Modern research indicates that the pumpkin was initially cultivated on the American continents. The gourd has long been a vital source of sustainment for native peoples; Native Americans consumed every part of the pumpkin, even eating the blossoms in stews. Pumpkin seeds additionally provided a form of medicine for Native Americans. Upon Columbus’s arrival to the Americas, he was among the first Europeans to see a pumpkin. Oral tradition states that Columbus carried pumpkin seeds across the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in the rise of pumpkin growing in European gardens.
A Thanksgiving Staple: While no contemporary Thanksgiving feast would be complete without a slice of pumpkin pie, the decadent dessert did not exist at the time of the initial observance of the holiday. Because pumpkin pie would take another fifty years to find its way onto the Thanksgiving table, grateful pilgrims and Native Americans enjoyed pumpkin custard at the conclusion of the first Thanksgiving meal. Pilgrims also reportedly brewed pumpkin-flavored beer.
A Favored Flavor: As already mentioned, pumpkin-infused delights have taken the culinary world by storm. But just how much do Americans spend to savor their prized pumpkin spice? A recent study concluded that a staggering $414 million was spent on pumpkin-flavored products in 2017 alone!
From pyramids to pompoms and from flight to flips, cheerleaders and their assorted arsenal of acrobatics have played an integral role in athletic contests for over a century. Today’s ever-optimistic cheerleader brightens up sporting events, rallies school spirit, and even participates in competitive cheering events, but the modern cheerleader owes its existence to a mixed medley of athletic ancestors. In this edition of The StickerTalk, follow us on an expedition designed to examine the highlights of this unparalleled pastime!
The Princeton Precedent: While an early form of cheerleading reportedly developed in Great Britain during the 1860s, the sport was first witnessed in America in the year 1884 when spectators at Princeton University began to chant cheers during athletic events. A Princeton graduate named Thomas Peebles was later credited with creating the niche for cheerleaders at the University of Minnesota; instead of the crowd participating in self-directed chants, Peebles unwittingly became the America’s first cheerleader when he lead cheers and chants at a Princeton-Minnesota football game in 1894.
Catchy Costumes: Contemporary cheerleaders are often clothed in stylish spandex, this has not always proved the norm. The first female cheerleaders donned ankle-length skirts and varsity sweatshirts before cheering their team to victory. Eventually, in the 1930s, paper pompoms began to accompany the cheerleader’s casual ensemble, a prop that lost popularity only when vinyl pompoms were developed in the 1960s.
Prominent Promoters: Popular culture and celebrity tabloids are chock-full of former cheerleaders. Examples of famous cheerleaders include Katie Couric, Sandra Bullock, and even George W. Bush!
Fast-paced and packed with exciting action, volleyball has been entertaining both athletes and spectators since 1895. William G. Morgan, the man additionally responsible for the creation of basketball, invented the sport for the students under his instruction at his local YMCA. By fusing aspects of already existing sports, including tennis, basketball, and handball, Morgan carefully orchestrated the first game of volleyball, then called mintonette. The net reached a height of 6 feet, 6 inches tall, a few inches taller than the average mintonette player of Morgan’s era. While observing one of the first mintonette matches, the spectators noted that the athletes tended to volley the ball across the net, prompting Morgan to rechristen the sport volleyball. Within the next couple of decades, the sport had spread across the globe, largely through the YMCA’s international network. In the year 1916, the NCAA officially adopted volleyball as an opportunity for students to earn physical education credit and to compete among their peers, and in 1956, the International Olympic Committee declared that the popular sport would be a team event in the upcoming 1964 Olympic games. Today, volleyball continues to expand its influence to promising young athletes; an excess of 800 million claim to play the sport at least once a week. With a sustained interest and a perpetually growing number of participants, volleyball is sure to remain a worldwide staple of athletic sportsmanship.
Characterized by its regal demeanor and poofy pelt, the Pekingese boasts the title of one of the most ancient and pure dog breeds still in existence. The Pekingese’s past is ornamented with colorful folklore and truthful tales of the breed’s character and cultural importance. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we invite you to meet the fiery, yet noble, Pekingese.
Ancient Allies: Chinese legend claims that the Buddha created the Pekingese by transforming a lion into the size of a lapdog. A revered breed, only members of the imperial family were allowed to own a Pekingese, and anyone found guilty of thieving one of the prized pooches was sentenced to death. Ancient Chinese aristocrats were so smitten with the breed that the Pekingese is said to have traveled in their billowing robe sleeves.
Crossing Continents: The Pekingese resided exclusively in China until the Opium Wars of the nineteenth century. When British troops invaded the royal palace in Peking, they confiscated five Pekingese dogs and presented them to Queen Victoria. The monarch took an instant liking to the breed, naming one of her Pekingese puppies “Looty.” A natural trendsetter, Queen Victoria and her taste in pets soon took the remainder of the globe by storm.
Sturdy Survivor: Of the approximately twelve dogs aboard the ill-fated Titanic, only three canine passengers survived the now-famous maritime disaster, a Pekingese among them. Sun Yat-Sen, a prized Pekingese belonging to a prominent enterprising family of New York, boarded lifeboat 3 on Titanic’s starboard side, luckily surviving the tragic ordeal.
Labor Day is traditionally recognized as the end of the grilling season and as the last chance to rock a white ensemble, but the holiday has not always carried such a lighthearted connotation. Observed annually on the first Monday of September, the nineteenth century labor movement originally founded Labor Day to commemorate the dedication and sacrifices of America’s working class. While the vast majority of the American work force enjoys a surplus of benefits and safety regulations while on the job, workers in the 1800s often toiled in dangerous circumstances performing backbreaking manual labor without sufficient pay. Children under ten years of age were a common spectacle in sweatshops and coal mines, and job-related deaths were an expected tragedy in a number of professions. Finally, near the turn of the century, the labor movement began to transform American life. Demanding safe working conditions and reasonable schedules and pay, these freshly founded labor unions are responsible for most of the benefits members of the modern workforce have the opportunity to utilize. Though strikes and collective bargaining, these founding fathers of labor won an assorted array of victories for the working class. Without the astute protests of early labor unions, America as we know it would appear unrecognizable to even the most perceptive observer. This Labor Day, seize the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate your rights and privileges as a member of the workforce in the twenty-first century!
It’s the largest city on the European continent, so it comes as no surprise that Moscow, Russia, effortlessly attracts the attention of wandering wayfarers. Boasting a rich history and unique customs, Moscow’s far reaches shelter a plethora of secrets. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we invite you to delve into the endless enigma of Moscow, Russia, the capital city and crowning jewel of the largest country in the world.
Go With the Flow: Moscow was named in honor of the Moskva River. Sprawling over a distance of approximately 312 miles, the river serves as a critical source of water for the city as well as a number of neighboring communities.
A Banner of Courage: The city flag of Moscow, Russia, depicts Saint George astride a white horse slaying a serpentine dragon. According to oral tradition, this portrait serves as a metaphor for the eradication of paganism, partially due to the heroism of Saint George himself. Legend claims that the saint faced torture and eventual martyrdom at the hands of his pagan captors without renouncing his Christian faith.
The Curious Kremlin: Moscow’s colossal Kremlin easily takes the title of the world’s largest medieval-era fortress. This living piece of history continues to play an integral role in the Russian identity as it remains in use today. The far-reaching fortress contains four palaces and five cathedrals. The largest cannon in the world along with the world’s most massive bell additionally call the Kremlin home.
Although considered an emblem of the American past, the exquisitely extravagant banana split still boasts the ability to make mouths water and diets be conveniently forgotten. In fact, this sweet treat garners such an abundance of attention that Americans annually dedicate August 25 as National Banana Split Day. In spite of the banana split’s widespread renown, its origins remain disputed, a culinary crusade largely fought between the cities of Wilmington, Ohio, and Latrobe, Pennsylvania. According to homegrown historians hailing from Latrobe, the dessert was created in the sweltering summer of 1904. A druggist apprentice named David Strickler, they claim, first scooped the classic confection in Latrobe’s Tassell Pharmacy in an effort to attract business in an era when pharmacies, soda fountains, and ice cream parlors vied in fierce capitalist competition. This seemingly airtight alibi, however, often elicits the ire of Ohioans who claim the banana split was initially served in their fair city of Wilmington three years later in 1907. A friendly rivalry between the opposing cities continues to provide a source of benevolent banter as people across the globe curiously conclude which side of the split to support. Which city is the confection’s cradle? We’ll let you decide!
An unequalled fusion of archaic ages and fresh fashion, the nation of Egypt perpetually serves as a source of amazement for the inquisitive. While modern Egyptians boast a rich culture and curious customs, much of the country’s allure stems from the era of the Egyptian pharaohs. The StickerTalk invites you to travel back in time to witness the splendor of the ancient African kingdom that continues to thrive on the banks of the Nile.
Bizarre Beliefs: Before the majority of modern Egyptians embraced the monotheism of the Islamic faith, their ancient counterparts worshipped over a thousand gods and goddesses. Religion played an integral role in the lives of ancient Egyptians. They believed that all humans were formed on the potter’s wheel of a god named Knhum and that the annual flooding of the Nile River was caused by the tears of the goddess Isis.
Girl Power: Unlike women in other ancient civilizations, women in ancient Egypt enjoyed many of the same basic rights as Egyptian men. Women could own property and serve on juries. Most impressively, women even ascended the Egyptian throne. The first woman pharaoh was Hatshepsut; however, Hatshepsut’s fame often pales in comparison with that of the infamous femme fatale, Cleopatra, who later became pharaoh.
Molding Modernity: Many contemporary customs trace their roots to ancient Egypt. For example, the tradition of exchanging wedding rings is thought to have originated in ancient Egyptian ceremonies. Several of our modern luxuries, including toothpaste, locks, and paper, also derive from ancient Egyptian inventions.
As summer vacation draws to a close, marching bands across the country ready themselves for successful seasons. Of course, the Mighty Cougar Marching Band, located in StickerTalk’s hometown of Buna, Texas, is no exception. Dedicating themselves to musical excellence and the art of discipline, this group is sure to impress and amaze in upcoming halftime performances. Many members of the StickerTalk team pride themselves on their past or present involvement in the Buna Band Program and understand the diligence required of a band member, so we decided that a sweet treat would be the perfect way to round out an outstanding series of summer band practices. Providing root beer (and Coke) floats, the StickerTalk team thoroughly enjoyed every minute we were able to spend with members of the Mighty Cougar Marching Band. We’re looking forward to another noteworthy season!
A floral favorite, the sunflower’s distinctive yellow petals can add a bit of brightness to any garden. Whether you enjoy its delectable seeds or simply revel in the flower’s aesthetic charm, the sunflower’s versatility offers a wide array of pleasures to a multitude of tastes. Not only does the sunflower delight the eye and the palate, but also serves as a playground for curiosity. Allow your interest to blossom as The StickerTalk delves into the power of the sunflower.
Sunflowers are native to North and South America. Native peoples utilized the sunflower for food, dye, and medicine, using it as relief from chest pain and ailing kidneys. Spanish conquistadors introduced the sunflower to the remainder of the world in the 1500s, sparking a worldwide craze that continues today.
When a sunflower begins to bloom, it develops heliotropic tendencies, meaning the flower follows the sun as it arches across the sky. This all-natural super power ends only when the flower becomes too heavy and stiff for constant movement and the mature flower faces permanently east.
Average sunflowers stand somewhere between 5 and 12 feet tall when fully mature. However, the world’s tallest sunflower, grown by German gardener Hans-Peter Schiffer, grew to an astounding 30 feet, 1 inch tall!
Besides serving as the subject of the ever-popular, yet increasingly cliche joke, chickens also populate countless farms across the globe as one of the most widely domesticated animals on Earth. Although the word “chicken” has become synonymous with cowardice and dimwittedness, these festively feathered fowls prove entertaining pets as well as an immersive subject of study. In this edition of The StickerTalk we invite you to explore the arcane and obscure nature of the chicken’s history and its everyday antics (although we could not scrounge up a better explanation as to why the chicken crossed the road).
There’s a Name for That? – The dangling red flap of skin under a rooster’s beak is called a wattle. Scientists tend to believe that the wattle helps roosters attract hens when performing a courtship dance known as tidbitting.
Maternal Instincts – The hen’s intense attention to her offspring has earned her the accolades of even ancient observers. In Ancient Rome, when someone wished to compliment another person’s upbringing, they would exclaim, “You were raised by a hen!” A tradition that continues today, the phrase “mother hen” describes a lady who takes an especially keen interest in the wellbeing of her children.
Religious Roosters – Roosters have often found themselves immortalized in religious texts and traditions. For example, in the New Testament a rooster plays a key role in Peter’s denial of Jesus. In Islamic culture, believers are taught that a rooster crows because he has seen an angel. According to some European folk stories, the devil is driven away by the a rooster’s crowing.
A spectacle of splendor, Palo Duro Canyon shatters the monotony of the high plains of the Texas Panhandle, carving intricate indentions into brilliantly banded rock. Palo Duro Canyon State Park, a sanctuary where rocky spires may freely scrape endless blue skies, serves as a refuge from the perils of modern life. The canyon boasts a past steeped in a multitude of histories and cultures. Although the physical beauty Palo Duro alone proves capable of capturing the attention of a nation, The StickerTalk hopes to enhance your appreciation of this natural marvel by spotlighting noteworthy incidents of the canyon’s past, a story as deep and mysterious as the landmark itself.
Everything’s Bigger in Texas: At a staggering 120 miles long and 800 feet deep, Palo Duro Canyon’s sheer size earned it the unofficial title of the second largest canyon in the United States. Only Arizona’s Grand Canyon sprawls over a larger area of land; the Grand Canyon spans 277 miles long and reaches a maximum depth of approximately 6,000 feet.
A Land Divided: Like much of the United States, Palo Duro Canyon once witnessed violent clashes between white settlers and Native Americans. Perhaps the most infamous of these conflicts is the Red River War of 1874. Largely led by Comanche Chief Quanah Parker, the Native Americans residing near Palo Duro Canyon fought valiantly to retain their homelands. However, after suffering a series staggering defeats, Quanah Parker and his followers were forced from their land and onto reservations, bringing about a tragic end to an ancient chapter of the canyon’s history.
Exotic Etymology: As Spanish explorers were among the first European explorers to study the geography of Texas, it seems fitting that this massive landmark bears a Spanish name. Observing the hardwood trees growing in the area, these early explorers gave the name “Palo Duro,” meaning “hardwood,” to the canyon.
As the dog days of summer wind to a close, young musicians lay aside the leisures of of the season and take up their instruments, flocking to band halls and practice fields. Seamlessly weaving together musicianship, discipline, and camaraderie, marching band plays an integral role in the lives of countless students, molding untried youths into seasoned leaders. Many students who opt to participate are driven by lighthearted motives; Friday night lights, time spent with friends, and new, exciting music prompt countless students to don a uniform and take to the gridiron. However, band programs offer a plethora of unseen benefits that may not surface until after a band member graduates. As marching season begins to capture the curiosity of spectators, The StickerTalk invites you to explore a sample of the lasting advantages of marching band.
Learning to Lead: The vast majority of marching band programs call upon student leaders to assist band directors and other staff members. Drum majors, section leaders, and council members must fine tune their planning and communication abilities in order to maintain peace and accomplish the goals of the group. As new generations of leaders hone their skills, they cultivate capacities which will serve them in future careers and relationships.
Flex Your Neurons: The art of marching band requires an impressive memory. Participating students must not only memorize their halftime drill, but the accompanying music as well. As a result, band students often become more adept in their academic studies and better able to comprehend complex sets of data.
A Dose of Discipline: Like many extracurricular activities, marching band solicits quite a sacrifice from its participants. By devoting untold amounts of time, energy, and effort into the perfection of a drill, band students acquire the virtues of self-discipline and selflessness. A part of something much larger than themselves, marching band members gain firsthand experience in teamwork, cooperation, and excellence.
A beacon of freedom and an emblem of unity, Mount Rushmore towers above all other national monuments. This titanic sculpture draws countless crowds of tourists annually, offering pristine views of the Black Hills of South Dakota and opportunities for patriotic ponderings and reflections. Although the sculpture gracing Mount Rushmore may seem as old as the hills themselves, its journey to fame began in 1923. A historian named Doane Robinson, later called the Father of Mount Rushmore, proposed the carving as a means of attracting visitors to South Dakota. Robinson enlisted the expertise of Gutzon Borglum, a Dutch-American sculptor, and the project officially began on October 4, 1927. Utilizing an impressive amount of manpower, the Mount Rushmore carving required the skill of over four hundred laborers, many working with the Civilian Conservation Corps. These doggedly determined workers faced a plethora of daily struggles; their morning began with a trek up 506 steps to the Mount Rushmore worksite before handling the dangerous explosives used to mold the earth into human profiles. Miraculously, no lives were lost in the creation of the Mount Rushmore Monument. However, on March 6, 1941, Borglum passed away prior to the completion of his masterpiece leaving his son, Lincoln, to complete the sculpture. In accordance with his father’s wishes, the young Borglum and his artistic team completed their illustrious project on October 31, 1941, taking a grand total of fourteen years and twenty-seven days to finish. The completed sculpture showcased the likenesses of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Each of the presidents stretch sixty feet in height. Their eyes span a distance of eleven feet, and their noses stand twenty feet tall. Since its completion the Mount Rushmore National Monument has served as a pillar of the American identity. By exalting the American spirit, this colossal carving continues to promote liberty and equality as an enduring reminder of the promise of democracy.
They are absolutely everywhere: from front yards to zoos and from aquariums to amusement parks, flamingos brighten up any environment! Although these brilliant birds originally hail from tropical climates, they have found their way into the hearts of avian enthusiasts across the globe. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we have assembled a flamboyance of flamingo facts to flatter our feathered friends.
Fiery Feathers Named for their colorful plumage, the word, “flamingo'” is derived from the Spanish word for fire, “flamenco.” Although flamingos are typically shown with bright pink feathers, a portion of the population remains white or gray. Flamingos that do sport a vibrant array of hues procure their pigment from certain nutrients found in their diet.
Featherstone’s Flamingoes If you have ever admired a plastic lawn flamingo, thank Mr. Don Featherstone! Featherstone, a Massachusetts native, invented the now-iconic pink lawn ornament in 1957, triggering a cultural revolution. Today, there are more plastic lawn flamingos in America than real flamingoes!
An Answer to an Age-Old Question Many of us have wondered why flamingos prefer to strike a pose with one leg tucked underneath their bodies. Wonder no longer! Animal experts have deduced that this baffling behavior is designed to conserve heat.
The piano is perhaps the most versatile musical instrument in existence. From sophisticated concert halls to adrenaline-fueled rock concerts, the humble piano boasts the unique capability to transcend a plethora of genres. Easy enough to seem approachable to young students yet simultaneously daunting to even the most seasoned musician, this instrument entertains a variety of enigmas. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we will examine the intricate harmonies of the piano’s past.
Ancient Melodies: While the piano is a relatively new instrument at an approximate 300 years of age, one of its musical relatives, the hammered dulcimer, dates back to the year 900 A.D. The piano itself was invented in 1698 in Italy. Its original name, fortepiano, payed homage to the instrument’s impressive range.
Some Strings Attached: A standard piano requires 230 strings to achieve its full range of sound. Each of the strings holds an average of 168 pounds of tension, placing the piano’s total tension poundage at over 18 tons!
High-Priced Harmonies: The most expensive piano in recorded history was sold for a staggering 3.22 million dollars at auction. Called the Crystal Piano, this pricey piano’s transparent structure garnered the world’s attention at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Boasting sweeping scenery, a diverse culture, and a vivid past, the city of San Francisco entertains an assorted array of tastes and curiosities. From the pristine waters of the San Francisco Bay to its endless blocks of historical architecture, San Francisco represents the epitome of all things American. Due to its complex identity, the city harbors a variety of surprises; in this edition of The StickerTalk, we will delve into the secrets of San Francisco, celebrating the city’s unique aspects and uncovering hidden stories of a bygone era.
Always on the Move: The streets of San Francisco play host to an incomparable historical spectacle. The city’s famous cable cars are the only National Historical Monument capable of movement. In fact, these products of antique engineering travel at an unchanging speed of 9.5 miles per hour.
The Sound of San Francisco: Surprisingly, the official instrument of San Francisco is the humble accordion. The city’s Board of Supervisors bestowed the title upon the instrument in 1990 as the result of a 6 to 4 vote.
The Orange Gate Bridge?: An example of chromatic confusion, the Golden Gate Bridge is actually painted International Orange. Although the original plans called for the bridge to sport black and yellow stripes, the chief architect fell in love with the bright red color of the sealant.
The noteworthy sport of pickleball has recently garnered attention as a favored pastime of innovative athletes. A relatively new sport, pickleball harbors an array of enigmas to the average observer; because the sport is a complex blend of other games, it may seem difficult to understand or enjoy. However, pickleball’s vibrant past teamed with its specialized set of rules make the sport a unique experience for any athlete!
Pickleball was created in 1965 by a trio of fathers desperate to entertain their bored children. The game was a success! Even Pickles, a cocker spaniel owned by one of the first families of the game, reveled in the excitement, chasing the ball any time it escaped the control of the athletes. The dog’s enthusiasm for the sport prompted the name, “pickleball.” Pickleball borrows objectives, equipment, and rules from a variety of sources, deriving inspiration from tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. Played on a court, pickleball players may play one-on-one or compete in teams of two by utilizing solid paddles to hit a wiffle ball to their opponent(s) across a net. While the sport is a favorite of young athletes, professional pickleball players regularly vie for titles and prizes. Regardless of your skill level, pickleball proves an exciting form of both exercise and entertainment!
Stretching across the northern wilderness, the state of Alaska proves a modern marvel of civilization. From snow-capped mountain peaks to famous dog sled races, the Last Frontier offers a variety of wonders to travelers of all ages and backgrounds. In this biweekly edition of The StickerTalk, we hope to highlight a handful of Alaska’s high points, paying homage to a state with deep-seated roots in the past and brilliant dreams for the future.
Everything’s Bigger in… Alaska? It’s no small secret that Alaska is the largest American state; it snatched the title from Texas upon its annexation in 1959. However, it may come as a surprise that Alaska is home to four of the largest cities in the United States, the largest of these metropolitan monsters being Sitka. Sitka, claiming no more than 11,000 residents, sprawls over 2,870.3 square miles, making the city larger than the state of Rhode Island!
An Arctic Paradise While Sitka can rightfully boast of its sheer size, the city of Anchorage, Alaska, proves a treasure trove of surprises. Anchorage serves as a safe haven for people suffering from ophidiophobia as the city’s snake population is comprised only of domesticated pets; in fact, no species of snakes are native to the entire state of Alaska. Additionally, Anchorage offers the most espresso stands per capita in the United States and is free from any form of sales tax.
The Last Great Race on Earth One of Alaska’s most iconic events is the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. This harrowing challenge annually honors the courage and sacrifice of the mushers and sled dogs of a bygone era. In January of 1925 the village of Nome, Alaska, fell victim to a lethal outbreak of diphtheria. The icy weather froze Nome’s ports and grounded airplanes, so sled teams were largely responsible for delivering a valuable shipment of medicine to a dying community. Participants in today’s Iditarod race begin their trek in Anchorage and cross the finish line in Nome after traversing an approximate distance of 1,000 miles.
A sport dating back to the pinnacle of ancient Egypt, archery requires both physical strength and careful cunning. Because each generation has adopted its own variation of the sport, archery boasts a rich heritage steeped in a plethora of cultures and customs. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we have amassed an assorted array of archery actualities in order to share the sport’s timeless history.
Archery… Or Else! King Edward IV, fearing the up-and-coming sport of cricket would hinder his subjects’ archery practice, banned the new game. Later, when English athletes began developing the game of football (or soccer), King Henry VIII again discouraged participation in archery’s rival sports. King Henry VIII later legally mandated weekly archery practices for his subjects and ordered English fathers to pass the love and knowledge of archery to their sons.
By Any Other Name Another name for an archer is a toxophilite. Although this synonym is scarcely utilized, this Greek-inspired word translates to “lover of the bow.”
The Sport of Heroes Homer’s epic, the Odyssey, relates the story of Odysseus, a powerful king separated from his kingdom and family for two decades. Upon his eventual return to his homeland, Odysseus showcases his archery skills to confirm his identity to his skeptical wife and overthrow his remaining enemies.
In spite of its sleek, futuristic design, the Gateway Arch traces its roots back to the early days of American exploration. This magnificent monument’s origins begin with the Louisiana Purchase of 1803; President Thomas Jefferson, driven by the dream of national expansion, acquired over 800,000,000 square miles of formerly French land for the rather reasonable sum of fifteen million dollars. Jefferson, eager to delve into the enigmas of the American frontier, ordained an exploration into his newly obtained territory headed by Meriweather Lewis and William Clark. Jefferson’s presidency may have ended long ago, but his passion for expansion lives on. Designed by Eero Saarenin and completed in 1965, the Gateway Arch comprises a portion of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri. The Arch, a truly incredible undertaking, required thirteen million dollars to construct, a figure equaling $130 million in today’s currency. Combining America’s rich history with a host of inventive innovations, the Gateway Arch is a technological marvel as well as a cultural Mecca. This unique tribute holds a plethora of records including the world’s tallest arch, the world’s tallest stainless steel monument, and the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere. The monument is also designed to withstand earthquakes and violent winds. However, perhaps the Gateway Arch’s greatest achievement is its ability to transcend the ages, uniting all Americans under a common bond of curiosity and discovery.
Each year, the third Sunday in June is reserved for the celebration of Father’s Day. A holiday honoring the traditional protector and provider for the household, Father’s Day has been celebrated since the early 1900s. The fatherly festival owes much of its existence to Sonora Smart Dodd, the “Mother of Father’s Day.” Inspired by her own father, a Civil War veteran who raised six children following the death of his wife, Dodd’s desire to honor her father’s leadership and guidance transformed the social landscape of America. Father’s Day was casually observed by millions until it received the title of national holiday in 1972 when President Nixon signed it into law. Although family dynamics continue to shift, the holiday has remained unwaveringly popular. According to recent data, Father’s Day boasts the largest quantity of collect phone calls and proves the fourth-largest season for greeting cards with over 87 million Father’s Day cards annually purchased.
While most Americans celebrate Father’s Day according to Dodd’s original calendar scheme, other cultures have alternative dates set aside for the celebration of their fathers. For example, many predominantly Catholic nations honor their fathers on March 19, St. Joseph’s Day. This combination of celebrations allows observers to esteem St. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, and their own fathers simultaneously.
Father’s Day has only a handful of official traditions, but a few trends have become evident throughout the years. One such informal custom is the presentation of gifts to fathers, namely the giving of neckties. Research has shown that the humble necktie has been the most popular Father’s Day gift since the creation of the holiday.
Each country, culture, and family may celebrate a unique variation of Father’s Day; however, the unconditional love of a father remains the same across the globe.
A dog characterized by its oxymoronic combination of sheer mass and gentle demeanor, the Mastiff is often considered one of the oldest breeds in existence. Although modern Mastiffs often prove leisure-loving giants, the breed’s colorful past contains stories of valor, vengeance, and suspense. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we have mustered a handful of the highlights of the Mastiff’s vibrant history.
An Ancient Warrior The molossus, a predecessor of the present-day Mastiff, was bred for the purposes of hunting and combat. The molossus and other mastiff ancestors hunted lions in ancient Babylon, fought wild animals in Roman arenas, and charged into battle alongside Carthaginian and Celtic soldiers.
Famous Cousins Because the Mastiff stands head and shoulders above the majority of other breeds, it may be difficult to believe that other dogs share their lineage with the canine behemoth. Some of the Mastiff’s cousins include the Chow Chow and, surprisingly, the pug!
Protector, Patron… Pilgrim? Although the evidence is not conclusive, many reports claim that a Mastiff accompanied the pilgrims aboard the Mayflower across the Atlantic and into the New World.
The StickerTalk Celebrates National Aquarium Month
Fittingly, the month of June serves as National Aquarium Month. As the weather warms and beachgoers flock to the shorelines, conservationists hope this month-long celebration will inspire intrigue in curious minds concerning the native inhabitants of our beloved oceans. A timeless tradition,aquariums trace their extensive roots to ancient times. Ancient Egyptians may have been the first of many aquarium owners, retaining schools of fish in holding ponds for later utilization. Other archaic civilizations, including the Assyrians, the Chinese, and the Japanese, proved successful aquarium custodians. However, it was not until the year 1832 that Jeanne Villepreux-Power created the first glass aquarium. Later, in 1852, the first public display aquarium opened in London, England. An assorted array of aquatic specimens may be observed in modern aquariums; from the deceptively deadly stonefish to marine marvels like the dumbo octopus, aquariums showcase the diversity contained in our oceans. This June, experience the splendor of creation flourishing beneath the waves by visiting your local aquarium!
The humble donut, sweet, soft, and sugary, globally serves as a breakfast staple. From donuts adorned with vibrant sprinkles to the modest glazed dessert devoured by donut purists, there is a flavor for every palate. While most people have savored the tempting taste of this popular pastry, few donut-devourers are aware of the donut’s rich history. In this biweekly edition of The StickerTalk, we have amassed the essential ingredients of the pastry’s past, a treat we hope you will enjoy!
By Any Other Name… The donut, due to its international presence, has accumulated a variety of monikers. One of its earliest names, “olykoek,” was a Dutch term meaning “oily cake.” In present-day America, however, both “doughnut” and “donut” are common variations denoting the fried fancy.
A Taste of Home In both World Wars donuts were offered to lonely soldiers in attempt to diminish their heartache. In World War I, female volunteers affectionally named “Doughnut Girls” distributed the dessert while Red Cross volunteers, more colloquially called “Doughnut Dollies” served the snack in World War II.
A Blissful Blunder Some sources claim that the donut was invented by a cow! According to the tale, the oblivious bovine kicked a pot of boiling oil onto some pastry batter, frying up the world’s first, but certainly not last, batch of donuts.
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., once stated, “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Honoring this theme, Americans annually dedicate Memorial Day to the memory our fallen soldiers. The tradition of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, began in the years following the Civil War; General John A. Logan declared May 30 a day of remembrance and celebration of the sacrifices made by American soldiers. People flocked to cemeteries and monuments to decorate the eternal resting places of servicemen, offer prayers, and perpetuate the legacy left behind by those slain to protect our country. The observance of Memorial Day was changed to the last Monday in May when the Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect in 1971, officially establishing Memorial Day as a federal holiday. Although its date may have been altered, the guiding spirit behind Memorial Day remains constant. Parades, memorial services, and a host of additional activities occur across the nation on the final Monday in May as Americans pay homage to the brave men and women who laid down their lives for our multitude of freedoms.
The world’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park has been amazing visitors since its establishment in 1872. From gushing geysers to towering forests, Yellowstone’s abundance of natural wonders serves as a timeless source of inspiration for people of all ages, backgrounds, and creeds. Yellowstone, an expansive region, sprawls over 2.2 million acres of land, an area larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined! The park is so massive that one of Yellowstone’s first explorers, a man named Truman Everts, was stranded for over a month in the wilderness that would become Yellowstone when he became separated from his exploratory party. The park’s sweeping landscape plays host to an assorted array of spectacles. Yellowstone’s Lower Falls, for example, stands at an astonishing three hundred feet tall while Niagara Falls only measures one hundred sixty-seven feet in height. Although Yellowstone’s landmarks elicit astonishment, its animal inhabitants additionally serve as causes of curiosity. Over sixty different species of mammals call Yellowstone home including the gray wolf; this majestic creature was reintroduced to the park in 1995 and has since flourished in Yellowstone’s diverse ecosystem. The park’s fauna, teamed with its rich variety flora and breathtaking scenery, make Yellowstone National Park the crowing jewel of America’s frontier.
Stumble upon any country club, high school, or recreation league, and you will likely witness at least a handful of athletes engaged in a lively match of tennis. Popular around the world, tennis is a sport immersed in tradition and history. In this biweekly edition of The StickerTalk, we have concocted a compilation of the most pertinent and peculiar components of tennis’s extensive history.
A Perilous Pastime: Tennis contributed to the untimely demise of King James I of Scotland. When attempting to outwit intruding assassins, the royal Scot’s escape through the drainage system was thwarted by a sealed sewer drain opening located in his favorite tennis court; the king had recently ordered that the sewer drain be secured due to the copious quantities of tennis balls lost to the drain’s ravenous mouth.
Humble Origins: Many historians believe that the ancient sport of badminton played an integral role in the development of tennis. Early tennis players used the palms of their hands as racquets; this primitive version of tennis was fittingly named “game of the palm.” Racquets appeared on tennis courts in the 1500s. The sport continued to evolve, eventually being renamed “lawn tennis” by Major Walter Clopton Wingfield of England, a tennis enthusiast responsible for penning the first set of governing rules in 1873. Following the codification of the game, tennis exploded in population, spreading across the globe and perpetuating into modern times.
An Unpredictable Event: The average tennis game requires approximately two and a half hours. However, the longest recorded tennis match spanned eleven hours and five minutes while the shortest lasted only thirty-four minutes.
A creature bursting with character, the llama has taken popular culture by storm. Its unruly appearance coupled with its distinctive disposition make this animal a supreme subject for the curious and creative. However, there is more to the llama than meets the eye. Llamas boast an extensive service in domestication; first utilized by native peoples populating the Andean highlands of Peru, the llama’s original role in society was that of a pack animal. Intelligent, easy-going, and easy to train, llamas proved natural beasts of burden. Additionally, unlike most other pack animals, llamas thrive in harsh conditions, making them ideal for use in the icy Andes Mountains of South America. The llama was eventually utilized for meat and wool as well. Today, the llama is a fairly common sight in barnyards and petting zoos. The even-tempered attitude that earned the llama the respect of ancient agrarians continues to enchant and amaze, securing this brilliant beast a pedestal in the animal kingdom.
A holiday honoring relentless maternal love, Mother’s Day became an official American holiday in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson formally dedicated the second Sunday of May to this momentous celebration of motherhood. Children traditionally observe Mother’s Day by showering their mothers with flowers, cards and gifts to express their gratitude to their long-suffering maternal figures. In the spirit of Mother’s Day, The StickerTalk has collected a smorgasbord of motherhood marvels to share with our readers!
The animal kingdom is home to a host of interesting mothers. A female polar bear will gain upwards of four hundred pounds during her pregnancy. Not to be outdone by her carnivorous counterpart, a mother elephant’s pregnancy lasts for twenty-two months, ending with the birth of a two hundred pound baby.
A plethora of health benefits accompany motherhood. Becoming a mother strengthens your immune system as well as reducing the risk of breast cancer later in life. Additional benefits include a fortified memory, a decreased tendency toward depression, and ample motivation to break unhealthy habits.
Even celebrities have mothers: a subject they love to talk about!
“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.”
The StickerTalk Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week
Society’s unsung heroes, teachers of all education levels perpetually strive to educate and equip the next generation of achievers. From English teachers to music educators and vocational teachers to coaches, all teachers seek to exemplify altruism, selflessly sacrificing for the benefit of their students. In this biweekly edition of The StickerTalk, we have compiled an assorted array of anecdotes and assertions designed to celebrate the teacher.
Many celebrities were teachers before becoming famous. Well-known former teachers include Andy Griffith, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Gene Simmons.
Teaching is considered by many experts to represent one of the most stressful careers in existence. The immense pressure caused by the many demands of teaching prompts almost half of all new teachers to leave the profession within five years of beginning their career.
Teachers push the boundaries of the known world. A teacher, Christa McAuliffe, was chosen to become the world’s first civilian astronaut.
While challenging, teaching offers many benefits and rewarding experiences. Teaching constantly facilitates learning while giving teachers the opportunity to change the future.
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A city shrouded in enigma, Roswell, New Mexico, existed in peaceful obscurity until the year 1947 when Roswell native Mac Brazel discovered an unidentifiable pile of wreckage in his pasture. Brazel, along with panicked neighbors, attributed the heap of distorted metal, plastic, and foil to extraterrestrial activity. When soldiers quickly responded to the scene to confiscate the mysterious materials, rumors of a UFO crash spread like wildfire. Years later, military officials revealed the so-called “UFO remains” to be the remnants of an espionage ballon used in the top-secret Project Mogul. However, many curious spectators refused to believe the government’s explanation. America’s fascination with extraterrestrial life was only heightened when a nearby Air Force base began conducting dummy drops near Roswell during the 1950s. The dummies’ human-like forms coupled with eerily unnatural secondary features fueled the imaginations of alien enthusiasts. Like the wreckage of Roswell’s initial alleged alien encounter, these “aliens” were quickly scooped up by military personnel, sparking even more skepticism and speculation. Tales of abductions and encounters soon became commonplace in the Roswell area, a tradition that has continued into the present day. Whether or not the government conceals a monstrous secret is an object of perpetual debate. Evidence of aliens, or military misfires? We’ll let you be the judge!
On April 30 musicians around the world will celebrate International Jazz Day. A truly unequalled musical genre, jazz invites listeners of all backgrounds to immerse themselves in its rich harmonies and unusual rhythms. Jazz’s unique flair can be traced to the style’s origins. The genre was born when slaves from West Africa were transported to the Southern United States. These captives preserved their tribal heritage by fusing traditional African musical elements with those of conventional European compositions. This collision of worlds not only spawned new modes of musicality but also inspired the assembly of unprecedented ensembles; African instruments like the banjo and guitar accompanied European instruments including the saxophone, piano, and trumpet. Jazz music reached prominence in the early 1900s. Musicians like Louis Armstrong and his cohorts helped popularize the style. While every jazz musician displayed uncanny artistic prowess, jazz’s emphasis on individuality and improvisation ensured that each artist developed a distinct identity. The genre’s ability to provide voice and singularity continue to grant jazz a permanent place in the heart of people around the globe, a musical style worthy of celebration!
When asked to recall information concerning the battles comprising the American Civil War, most people paint sprawling images of the chaos at Gettysburg or the destruction following Sherman’s March to the Sea. However, one of the most important battles of the war was fought west of the Mississippi. Often called the Bull Run of the West, the Battle of Wilson’s Creek took place in the rolling hills of Missouri on August 10, 1861. Historians cite the St. Louis Massacre as the source of this conflict; in May of 1861, Union officer Nathaniel Lyon caused a riot in St. Louis when he paraded a group of pro-secessionist prisoners through the city’s streets. This unintended carnage in St. Louis turned many Missourians against Lyon and his Federal forces. The opposing sides finally met near Wilson’s Creek in the cornfield of John and Roxanna Ray. To the family’s horror, the Ray house was transformed into a hospital after the fighting began, but not before their property sustained a fair amount of damage, forcing most of the family into the safety of their cellar. While the house itself was not hit by any artillery, the Rays’ chicken coop was counted among the many casualties of the battle. At the conclusion of the battle, over two thousand soldiers had laid down their lives including General Lyon, the first Union general to be claimed by the American Civil War. Although the Battle of Wilson’s Creek is not counted among the most renowned conflicts of the war, many historians agree that the battle played an integral role in the North’s ultimate victory, helping solidify the preservation of the Union and aiding in the abolition of slavery.
The sport of bowling, both engrossing and exacting in nature, boast a lengthy role in culture and entertainment. According to an archeological discovery made during the 1930s, Ancient Egyptians may have been the first bowlers. The sport then spread to Europe. Early Germans allegedly proved natural bowlers as did the English; in fact, British soldiers so frequently engaged in bowling that King Edward III forbade his military from the sport in order to keep their minds on military matters. American colonists developed serval versions of the game upon their arrival to the New World. When bowling formed a strong association with gambling and other misdemeanors, Connecticut’s legislators outlawed bowling. However, in spite of government disapproval, the sport never lost popularity among American aristocrats, many of whom constructed bowling lanes in their homes. In the 1800s modern bowling was spawned following the formation of the American Bowling Congress. Since its establishment, the Congress has overseen the perpetual advancement of the sport, ensuring bowlers of all generations have the opportunity to enjoy this unique sport.
Characterized by intrigue and enigma, Loch Ness is among the most popular tourist destinations in the world. This pristine lake located in the Scottish Highlands effortlessly captures the attention of a multitude of curious explorers, many of whom hope to catch a glimpse of the ever-elusive Loch Ness Monster. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we have compiled a collection of arcane, obscure, and amazing facts concerning this global focal point of wanderers from all walks of life.
A direct result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, a layer of radioactive settlement has been sitting at the bottom of Loch Ness since 1986.
The deepest part of the lake is about 812 feet deep, making Loch Ness the second-deepest lake in Scotland.
Dr. Robert Rines, an explorer partially responsible for discovering the Titanic, ventured to Loch Ness where he dedicated over 30 years of his life to finding the Loch Ness monster.
An average of 20 Loch Ness monster sightings are reported each year.
The first Loch Ness Monster sighting occurred in the 800s; sightings continue to serve as a source of both excitement and speculation.
Chocolate is one sweet treat that universally serves as a guilty pleasure. Although most people prefer to enjoy its sweet, rich flavor in candy bars, cakes, and other food items, chocolate made is culinary debut in liquid form. The Olmecs, Mayans, and Aztecs devoutly consumed chocolate as a spiced beverage. One of the most prominent chocoholics of his time, Aztec emperor Montezuma II supposedly drank gallons of liquid chocolate every day; his subjects even used cacao beans as currency. When European explorers collided with these chocolate-loving tribes, the conquistadors were intrigued by the unique taste of this culinary staple. Upon their return to Europe, they spread the appetite for chocolate among curious residents of the Old World. The European love of chocolate proved evident in the colonization of America as settlers of all classes eagerly consumed their own versions of the ancient drink. In fact, colonial soldiers involved in the American Revolution were occasionally paid in chocolate instead of money. It wasn’t until 1847 that the chocolate bar was created and popularized. Today, people of all cultures continue to savor chocolate in many shapes, states, and forms as the chocolate industry perpetually expands. Before you bite into your favorite candy bar, pause to appreciate the dessert’s sweet heritage!
April 10 marks the annual observance of National Sibling Day. A holiday commonly celebrated on an assorted array of social media platforms, the holiday prompts revelers to snap a selfie with brothers and sisters, reflect on treasured memories, and laud their siblings’ unique quirks. While each household cultivates differing dynamics, science indicates the existence of universal relationships between siblings. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we have hand-picked a few of our favorites to share in honor of National Sibling Day.
People with siblings often showcase superior interpersonal skills. As anyone with a brother or sister may attest, maintaining sibling relationships typically requires a fair amount of diplomacy, ingenuity, and charisma.
Younger siblings tend to flaunt more extroverted personalities. In some cases, younger brothers and sisters may even develop rebellious tendencies as a result of their birth order.
Siblings commonly share bad habits. Science has repeatedly proven the importance of siblings’ influence, so it comes as no surprise that a sibling may introduce damaging behaviors to brothers and sisters.
Siblings rarely share similar personality traits. Contrasting behaviors may be caused by a sibling’s efforts to establish individuality.
Having siblings may help you keep your weight under control. One study claims that this is especially true between sisters.
An area forever immortalized in song, the land comprising Shenandoah National Park is steeped in history and rich in natural beauty. The region’s first settlers were Native Americans who thrived from the land’s abundant natural resources. Shenandoah’s picturesque landscapes amazed European adventurers when they arrived in the eighteenth century. Many of these newcomers earned a living as fur trappers and traders, naturally flooding to the flourishing ecosystems of the Shenandoah Valley. Eventually, homesteads speckled the formerly remote hills of the area as courageous pioneers ventured westward. Present-day Shenandoah National Park witnessed its fair share of combat during the American Civil War; both the Northern and Southern militaries aimed to gain control of the area, leading to periodic skirmishes. The valley again made history during the Great Depression. In response to alarming unemployment rates, the political minds behind the New Deal established the Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCC, in its quest to provide jobs to young men, transformed Shenandoah Valley into the national park modern tourists know and love. Offering opportunities for hiking, camping, and quiet reflection, Shenandoah National Park is truly one of America’s hidden gems.
A breed famous for their spotted coat, the Dalmatian dog breed proves a household favorite across the globe. Although many automatically imagine the speckled dog perched atop an old-fashioned fire wagon, the Dalmatian boasts a rather diverse, yet arcane, history. Historians cannot determine the exact origin of the breed but believe the dog earned its name while living in Dalmatia with bands of roaming gypsies. In Dalmatia, the breed enjoyed a variety of tasks. From assisting shepherds to amusing audiences in lighthearted circus performances, the Dalmatian’s complex personality allowed it to accomplish an assorted array of endeavors. The Dalmatian’s keen sense of intelligence and athletic prowess additionally impressed the English who utilized the breed as a coach dog, a job that involved protecting the carriage and horses as well as clearing the coach’s path along crowded city streets. When the Dalmatian crossed the Atlantic and arrived in America, it was given its most well-known title: firefighter. Firehouse Dalmatians continued their work as coach dogs, running alongside fire wagons. However, the breed took a more active role in search and rescue missions. Several reports exist of Dalmatians braving fiery embers to lead disoriented or incapacitated victims to safety. Today, while the population of firehouse Dalmatians has somewhat diminished, the breed still serves as a beloved pet. Their comical personality coupled with a heart of gold secure the Dalmatian a sacred spot in the hearts of dog lovers everywhere.
Brightly dyed eggs and cheerful bunnies commonly constitute symbols of Easter, but one religious motif captures the spirit of the holiday like no other. The lily has served an integral role in Easter celebrations of countless generations, appearing in both churches and devout Christian households during the Easter season. A deeply symbolic representation, the lily boasts a multifaceted interpretation of Christ’s triumph over the grave. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we invite you to take a closer look at the many illustrations of the Easter message portrayed through the lily.
The lily’s white petals convey the purity and innocence of Jesus Christ, while the golden hue of the flower’s stamen proclaim His majesty.
The bell-like shape of the lily is reminiscent of the Archangel Gabriel’s trumpet. In the Bible, Gabriel heralded Jesus’ birth to a multitude of believers. Additionally, Christians believe that the sound of Gabriel’s trumpet will announce His return.
Finally, the lily’s growth patterns parallel the Easter story. Planted as a bulb, the lily suddenly springs to life as a beautiful blossom; for many Christians, this symbolizes Christ’s resurrection.
Few sports showcase the American spirit with the vibrancy of baseball, earning the game the title of “America’s pastime.” A relatively young sport, baseball’s origins are intricately woven into the history of the nation itself. According to some historians, facets of modern baseball are derived from a children’s game called rounders, a favorite game of early colonial athletes. The game was eventually introduced to other areas of the country. Each region adapted a unique version of the sport with certain districts constructing rather unusual game balls out of sturgeon eyes. As America transformed into an industrial superpower in the 1800s, even working men relished the lighthearted nature of the ever-changing sport, a welcome diversion from the burdens of an expanding society. While America’s assorted array of baseball players reveled in their own form of the game, standard guidelines were not penned until 1845 when a man named Alexander Joy Cartwright assembled the first set of rules for the sport. Amazingly, many of his conventions remain in place today. Cartwright’s codes were observed by soldiers on both sides of the conflict when the nation went to war against itself from 1861 to 1865. Although Union servicemen championed the sport, Northern and Southern troops alike entertained themselves with lively games of baseball in their own camps and in military prisons. During yet another of the nation’s trials, the Great Depression, baseball widely served as a means of relaxation. Since then, the sport has continued to influence American culture, sneaking into our literature and vernacular and perpetually uniting a multitude of backgrounds and beliefs under one extremely fascinating interest.
One of Christianity’s most prominent celebrations, Easter is heralded by a number of various traditions and celebrations. While Passion plays, chocolate bunnies, and egg hunts are common sights here in Southeast Texas, other cultures commemorate Christ’s resurrection in more exotic manners. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we invite you to embark on an expedition to observe Easter around the globe.
This African nation is defined by abounding religious diversity among its citizens, a statistic that prompts Christians in Burkina Faso share Easter celebrations with their non-Christian neighbors, many of whom are Muslim. Like American believers, Burkina Faso’s assorted array of celebrators attend church and enjoy hearty meals. The people of Burkina Faso also make social calls on Easter, visiting friends and family members who are not seen very frequently.
A nation immersed in the Catholic faith, Spain requires an entire week for their extravagant Easter celebrations. Named Semana Santa, or Holy Week, this extended holiday involves Spanish Christians participating in candlelit vigils, grandiose parades, and solemn reflection. Spain’s religious processions, though earnest in nature, attract countless curious wanderers to witness larger-than-life depictions of Biblical scenes, rigid military expositions, and a variety of other cultural marvels.
Christians in the Philippine Islands boast perhaps the most extreme Easter tradition on Earth. In order to remember the sacrifice of Calvary and to petition divine intervention, a handful of brave Filipino Christians are, in essence, “crucified.” Often after subjecting themselves to whippings and beatings, they are nailed to wooden crosses with real nails. The participants survive the ordeal, unlike an authentic crucifixion, but always require immediate medical attention following the reenactments.
Named after an ancient Egyptian city, Memphis, Tennessee, serves as a hub of art and culture. Its rich history teamed with the surrounding natural scenery have earned the city the world’s fascination. While reasons to visit Memphis abound in multitudes, The StickerTalk has compiled a list of our favorite aspects of this unique destination.
Memphis was once home to “royalty.” After rising from extreme poverty to unfathomable fame, Elvis Presley made his home in this Tennessean city. His adoring fans continue to flock to his mansion in Memphis to pay homage to the King of Rock and Roll.
Like barbecue? You’ll love Memphis! An excess of 100 barbecue restaurants are contained within Memphis’s city limits, giving diners an opportunity to sample authentic southern fare.
Memphis boasts musical roots. While its sister city, Nashville, plays host to countless country music performers and venues, Memphis is famous for blues and rock and roll. No trip to Memphis would be complete without pausing to listen to these iconic genres in their native home!
A day dedicated to Ireland’s vibrant culture, it comes as no surprise that St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by a wide variety of other nations. While most people are moderately familiar with the holiday’s quirky traditions, St. Patrick’s Day customs are deeply rooted in Irish religion and convention. In this biweekly addition of The StickerTalk, we have sifted through the yellowed pages of history to present a concise examination of the traditions and beliefs behind St. Patrick’s Day.
Why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
As its name implies, this holiday honors St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick is credited with popularizing Christianity in Ireland, essentially abolishing the pagan lifestyle of the native Irish people.
Why do people wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?
Oddly, blue was the first color to be associated with St. Patrick. However, as the saint became an easily recognizable symbol of the Emerald Isle, green soon became the “official” color of the holiday. St. Patrick’s use of the shamrock to explain the Trinity may have also contributed to the use of green to represent this celebration.
What foods are traditionally eaten on St. Patrick’s Day?
Corned beef and cabbage typically appear on reveler’s plates on St. Patrick’s Day. Irish bacon was originally consumed on this holiday, but impoverished Irish immigrants found corned beef to be an affordable and tasty substitute.