Research Day: Brew’s Clues

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 …

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.

* * *

39 comments.

  1. While I’m sure you just love getting corrected on less-than-important facts presented on your blog (don’t we all), I looked up Soleil Moon Frye in a fit of nostalgia. It seems that Wikipedia disagrees with you on the breast reduction:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soleil_Moon_Frye#Popular_myths

    Does that mean you owe Wikipedia a beer now?

  2. Wait… having been reminded (by Mr Yeti himself) that reading things is important, I think I now disagree with myself. She did have a breast reduction.

    Do I now owe myself a beer and, if so, what do I do with it?

  3. I once bet a guy that the bug he found in his bathtub was a common centipede. He was SO SURE that it was anything BUT a centipede, that he bet me $100. It took me less than an hour to find a website containing a photo and full description of the ‘Common House Centipede’, “often found in bathtubs and sinks”. He was so furious he accused me of making up that whole web page.

    Long story short – I never got that $100, but I had the priceless satisfaction of knowing I Was Right.

  4. There was an expos

  5. Wow about the peanuts! Being from a only semi-recovered backwoods southern family, I knew we always harvested our peanuts out of the dirt, but I know no idea about the burrowing. That’s just freaky-a$$ weird.

    But boiled peanuts (pronouced bolled peanuts), that is dang good.

  6. I’d really like to know how much time you spent on that research. And if you’re available to do research for term papers and the like. For the price of one beer, of course.

  7. You were “wracked with certainly” ??

  8. My wife and I use a different SBU (standard betting unit) : $1,000,000. We figure, if you’re never going to pay up anyway, why not make it entertaining? According to my score sheet, she owes me like $25 million by now….

  9. In Africa, peanuts are called ground nuts. Mmmmmmm….ground nuts.

  10. you people are freaks. you’ll talk about anything won’t you?!
    ..that must be why i keep coming back.

  11. Unfortunately, my wife doesn’t drink alcohol and she already owes me $14 million. Therefore, we’ve been relegated to coming up with our own set of unique stakes. I won’t list all of them but one in particular stands out. When our daughter was born 15 months ago, we got into an argument about something I can’t entirely recall now (it may have had something to do with Adrian Zmed and his prominence in “Battle of the Network Start.”)

    Anyway, the loser of the bet had to drink a sake cup filled with breast milk. Not too bad, actually! Much better than formula!

  12. Corn is a fruit???

    This seriously f’s up my whole world view.

    How many other things am I completely wrong about?

  13. Regarding Anita’s reference to “bolled peanuts”. I once worked with a young lady from Alabama who talked about “bolled peanuts”, except in my mind I kept thinking “bowled peanuts”. It took my staff and I the longest time to figure out what she was talking about.

  14. I bet you one beer that the pH levels in northern Ontario are far too acidic, and that drastic measures will need to be taken in order to reverse the damage caused by this.

    eh, eh eh? One beer. I’ll take you answer in Word format, font 12, double spaced with 1″ margins.

  15. The whole vegetable argument drives me crazy. I can be a human and a husband, this drinking glass can be a hard object and a container, what I am wearing is both cotton and a shirt. But, call something a vegetable, and suddenly, it can have no other catagory of meaning. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers are all fruit botanically, but on my plate, they are vegetables. “Eat all of your vegetbles” always included my green beans, a legume and potatoes, a tubar (sp?). My dictionary simply defines vegetables as edible plants. Really, all we mean by “vegetable” is “edible, not primarily sweet, not from an animal.” But someone will follow up with an exception.

  16. Hi, I’m celebrating Procrastination Month (which I imagine was some time ago, but can’t be bothered to find out) by belatedly delurking for Delurking Week.

    I really like “betoddlered”. I have twins — am I bi-betoddlered?

    Our prize of choice for bets is getting to move up any movie in the Netflix queue. Problem is, we can remember that we bet, but forget who bet which way. This lack of sleep thing gets better as we are less betoddlered, right?

  17. I’ve got to agree with the other white jason on the whole veggie issue. Vegetable is not a scientific definition, it’s a categorical one: animal, mineral, vegetable. Not precise, and doesn’t really cover anything synthetic (is plastic a mineral?), but that’s that. And according to a recent study by Statistics Canada which showed a decline in veggie eating but an increase in fruit eating, the potato is on the veggie list.

    People, this is stupid. I propose we no longer use the word “vegetable” at all. Call it “plant”. All of it. Stalk, root, leaf, twig, tuber, seed, ovary, it’s all planty goodness.

    Also, DY, I think a strict reading of that peanut article suggests that the peanut grows both above AND below ground. The wording suggests that the nut itself begins above ground, but matures/ripens in the cool embrace of the soil, and that claim is backed up by this definition http://www.thefreedictionary.com/peanut So that one is a draw, I’d say.

    And I gotta agree on the Crash thing. I had no idea that was Tony Danza. Even now, thinking back on it, I couldn’t tell you which role he played.

  18. I like it when you post research as bets, it’s much more entertaining to read :D :D

  19. i was gonna comment, then saw that deadlytoque already said it, but i was already here, so hi…and 2nd big-up the other white jason for his point.
    walk good.

  20. sarah: 34.

    kelly: dont you know what the queers are doing to the soil?! Now kelly, if you look at the soil around any large U.S. city with a big
    underground homosexual population – Des Moines, Iowa, perfect example.
    Look at the soil around Des Moines, Stuart. You can’t build on it, you
    can’t grow anything in it. The government says it’s due to poor farming.
    But I know what’s really going on, Stuart. I know it’s the queers.
    They’re in it with the aliens. They’re building landing strips for gay
    Martians. I swear to God.

  21. I like you, Stuart. You’re not like the other people here, in the trailer park.

  22. Hops on pop. Genius.

  23. I’m fairly certain that “betoddlered” is not a real word, but it should be. That’s classic. :)

  24. This has nothing to do with peanuts or bets or any of that, but there was a Matthew Baldwin in an NPR story today about how Seattlites are more laid-back than Pittsburghers about their respective football teams. There were a bunch of quotes in rapid-fire style about how having the Seahawks in the Super Bowl was like Dennis Kucinich winning the presidential election or some such thing, and I’m pretty sure Mr. Baldwin said it was “like going to the movies and seeing a trailer for the big summer blockbuster and having the star be the barista you see every day but never think about.”

    That was you, wasn’t it? Nice turn of phrase.

    And like John, I too got a kick out of “Hops on pop.”

  25. At first I thought “Hops on Pop” was supposed to be a dirty joke, then I finally connected it with the beer. Or am I still wrong? Who knows. I sure don’t.

  26. I used to have the ‘more wrong’ argument all the time until I came up with a way of explaining how I could win a bet by being ‘less wrong’ than the other person (my girlfriend at the time)
    Answer this question:
    1+1= ?
    a) 5
    b) 389,958,954.2
    c) The Sock

    Obviously, the best answer is 5, because it’s the closest to the correct answer. b is far off, but it’s a number. The sock is the ~most~ wrong because it’s not even a number!
    From that point on, when a person arguing with me is more wrong than I am, they are “the sock”.

  27. ew. ovaries. I don’t know if I’ll ever look at fruit the same way again.

  28. I’m with Mark, was that you on NPR last night?

  29. Have you ever actually SHELLED a peanut? Any peanut still in its shell looks and feels like it came out of the ground, because of the dirt residue.

  30. Don’t forget to put bovine mammary juice on your ripened ovary flakes.

  31. To win the next bet you can read up on cashews and then see if she knows where those come from. Seriously, this blew my mind! http://www.theconservative.info/html/trivia.html

  32. If you made shirts that said “WTF PEANUTS?!!” I would totally buy one.

  33. My wife and I were having an argument about whether or not Gwen Stefani was the signer in the band in the movie “10 things I hate about you” She said no, and I said yes. We checked, and its turns out she may have been correct, except that I beligerantly refused to accept it.

    Several days later, we were arguing about whether or not an Arbys Roast Beef Sandwich came standard with Arbys sauce. She said yes, I said of course not! Our bet – the loser had to concede the point about our previous argument regading Gwen Stefani.

    We pulled up to an Arby’s drive through: “Does a regular Arby’s sandwich come with Arbys sauce?” “No” “Ok Thanks” And drove off.

    Being proved right, I then forced her to admit that Gwen Stefani is indeed the singer in the band featured in “10 things I hate about you” I then took every possible opportunity to bring it up in public and ask her, “who was that singer in that movie?”

  34. dear defective yeti,

    please never ever stop blogging. never. ever. thank you. ;p

  35. Actually, Lionfire, that Wiki article doesn’t deny the breast reduction surgery. It just debunks the myth that it was for serious life-threatening health reasons.

    The girl had the surgery.

  36. I’ll second the motion for a WTF PEANUTS?!? T-shirt. Actually, I think Matthew could sell t-shirts proclaiming pretty much any phrase on this site. Don’t worry about missing out time for Lost and such, kid: we understand, and we’ll wait.

  37. How educational! I always wondered why they were called ground nuts.

  38. I found a better link for an explanation of how peanuts grow at http://www.goodearthpeanuts.com/aboutpeanuts.htm

    Had no idea.

  39. If you’d ever gotten peanuts from a local farmer, you’d have known, because you’d have had to wash the dirt off!