The Queen and I are not above gambling when some fact of brobdingnagian importance is in dispute, such as “did Punky Brewster get a breast reduction?” (She did.) Our standard monetary unit in such wagers is One Beer. Unfortunately we are old and betoddlered, so we tend to forget the bet was ever made mere moments after the handshake is concluded.
Today, however, I have dredged up our last three bets from the murky depths of my memory. If my calculations are correct, The Queen will soon be bestowing Hops On Pop.
Is that Tony Danza?! We both asked that question aloud while watching Crash on DVD. I thought the actor looked like Danza, but decided that it wasn’t because he sounded all wrong; The Queen didn’t think the guy look like Danza at all, but was convinced it was based on the sound of his voice. Only one place to go for this answer: IMDB — Crash.
Verdict: Yup, that’s a Danza, all right. Winner: The Queen.
Is corn a grain or a vegetable: This one’s a bit tricky, because it depends on whether you are considering an entire cob, a bunch of fresh, detached kernels, or ground up meal. The latter — corn meal — is a grain, as grain (also called caryposis) is defined as “the seed of a grass. And irrespective of what else it may or may not be, corn is indisputably a grass.
But what of about fresh corn? That’s a vegetable, right? Unfortunately, the word “vegetable” does not have a strict botanical meaning, unlike — just to pluck a random example out of the ether — “fruit,” which means “the ripened ovary or ovaries of a seed-bearing plant.” And guess what: they may as well call ’em “Kellogg’s Ripened Ovary Flakes,” because corn is all fruit, baby.
Verdict: We were both kind of wrong, but as (a) I was only half wrong and (b) The Queen was all wrong and (c) it’s my goddamned blog, I’m giving myself the point. Plus The Queen is a professional botanist, so I get credit just for holding my own on any subject that involves chlorophyll. Winner: Me.
Do peanuts grow above ground or below: The nice thing about betting for beer is that you’ll wager even when you’re not entirely sure you’re correct. For instance, I was unsurprised to discover that the Mystery Actor was Danza, and The Queen wasn’t adamant that corn was a vegetable.
But we were both suffused with certainly on the question of whether peanuts grew above ground or below. Though peanuts are outside of The Queen’s professional bailiwick (she’s an expert on native plants, and peanuts hail from South America), she was sure that they grew underground. I insisted otherwise. After all, I reasoned to myself, peanuts are actually legumes, and legumes (e.g., beans, lentils, and peas) grow on stalks. I don’t need no fancy bow-TAN-ikle degree to know that growing on a stalk = above ground.
Except, apparently, when the stalk grows above ground … and then, in a shocking surprise twist sure to have you on the edge of your seat, bends over and burrows into the soil before producing fruit. WTF PEANUTS?!!
That was totally unfair — there was no way I could have known that those legumes were going to go all psycho on me. Verdict: Peanuts grow below ground. Winner: The Queen, but only on a technicality. The technicality being that I was completely wrong.