Posts for tag: fun facts
Christmas is fast approaching and if you don’t have your stocking hung on the mantle yet…get on it! Christmas stockings are a deep rooted Christian tradition, but generally used for anyone who celebrates Christmas for any reason. Mostly that reason is presents. But do you know the origin of the Christmas stocking?
Apparently no one really does, but the legend goes back to Saint Nicholas. Ol’ Saint Nick was a real figure and a bishop of the Catholic church who is known also for signing the Nicene Creed and being patron saint of sailors, children, and pawnbrokers. He also became associated with Christmas and muddled up with Santa Clause due to a story no one is quite sure on. The legend goes that St. Nick heard of a man who had no money to pay a dowry for his three daughters. Being unmarried, they would be looked down upon and shamed, but the man would not accept charity. So Nicholas, under the cover of night, threw three bags of gold through an open window into their stockings which were drying on the mantle over the fire. While there are many variations on this story, the trend caught on and children across Europe began hanging stockings on their mantles. At first these were just everyday socks and stockings, but over time they became specialized items that held more gifts.
Be sure to hang your stocking by the fire this year so you don’t miss out on all the generosity of St. Nick. And if it turns out to be coal in your stocking on Christmas morning, just remember…there’s always next year.
Humans often pride themselves on being the most intelligent creatures on the planet. We have evolved from living outdoors to building massive luxury homes for ourselves. We have progressed from thinking the sun revolved around the earth to unlocking the secrets of our human genome. In other words, we’re pretty smart. And one of the coolest things we have created are shoes! Okay, maybe not the very coolest, but they are important. So important in fact that we decided shoes were important for more than just the human race.
All the way back in 400BC, humans recognized the importance of shoes for horses and other working animals. In Asia, people would wrap horses hooves with rawhide or leather. The ancient Romans created metal boots that would strap to the hoof, protecting it from wear. It wasn’t until 500 or 600AD though that the modern metal horseshoe (nailed into the hoof) was invented. Don’t worry though, the outer layer of the horses hoof where the shoe is nailed is not sensitive and won’t be damaged by the nails.
It all started with the domestication of horses. When we change the environment, terrain, or work load of a horse it changes the conditions of a hoof. Imagine always going barefoot in a warm dry climate. Now imagine moving to Alaska and still trying to go barefoot. You’re probably not going to have a very good time of it. The same thing happened to horses. The added weight of a rider or a cart added greater strain on the hoof, wearing it down quickly over time. Colder and wetter environments can breakdown the keratin wall of the hoof, causing decay. Horseshoes were the best solution.
Modern horseshoes can be made of anything from steel and aluminum to specialized shoes of rubber, plastic, or titanium. The shoe is specially shaped to each individual hoof for each individual horse and can help with protection, traction, and even gait correction for horses with bone or muscle deformities in the leg. Racehorses (like the ones competing in the Kentucky Derby this Saturday) often wear aluminum horseshoes because they are lightweight. Some racing shoes are actually glued onto the hoof rather than nailed to promote a healthier gait and hoof wall growth. With a growing multitude of styles, materials, and brands available, it’s just as important to match the shoe to the horse and activity, as it is to match a running shoe to your own foot and movement. So before you place your bets this Saturday, read up a bit on what shoes each horse is wearing. A good set of shoes can mean the difference between first and second place.
The College Football National Championship is just 4 days away and as the Clemson Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide duke it out in Tampa, I wonder how many of those fans really know why the game they are watching is called football. After all, there is an average of only 14 times the ball ever contacts the foot in a game.
Have you ever wondered? As many interesting American words began, the origins of the term football lead us back to 19th century England. Colleges during that time played a variety of sports involving inflated balls, running, kicking, carrying, etc. Each school had their own version and it could be difficult to distinguish between the subtle variations. Eventually, (around 1805) the first modern rules of football were officially written down. The umbrella term for these games was deemed football since all the games were played on foot.
The larger schools, Such as Eton College and Rugby College, popularized their versions and turned them into what we know today as Association football (Soccer—to Americans) and Rugby football. Other variations of these games became Australian rules football, Gaelic football, international football, and our definite favorite – Gridiron football (known also as North American football). Each of these is called a football code since each has their own code of rules and regulations for play.
Whether you are heading South for the game or maybe just watching it on TV with your friends, tell someone next to you what you learned and maybe you will impress them with your newfound knowledge.
Happy New Year!
The holiday season is upon us and that means an endless parade of office parties, family dinners, and other occasions that require us to dress in our best. For many ladies, this means breaking out the heels. But even with sensible kitten heels, some ladies will have their feet screaming before they pass around the eggnog. Ever wondered why some ladies are comfortable in flats while others can dance all night in sky-high shoes? It all has to do with the talus bone.
The talus bone, commonly referred to as the anklebone, connects the bones of the lower leg to the bones of the tarsus (a group of bones just below the ankle joint). Remember, the foot has the highest concentration of bones in the body (52 bones; 25% of our body), so the talus has an important job.
A clever podiatrist named Emma Supple, decided she wanted to find out how to scientifically measure the flexibility of the talus bone, therefore determining each woman’s personal Perfect Heel Height (PHH). The formula is simple; all you need is a chair, a pencil, a ruler/tape measure, and a friend (willing or unwilling).
Step 1) Sit in the chair and stick one leg out parallel to the floor, then relax your foot so it falls into a natural position (like the baby blue heels to the left)
Step 2) Have your friend stretch the tape measure from the base of your heel out towards your toes, keeping it parallel to the floor
Step 3) Use the pencil to form a right angle between the tape measure and the ball of your foot. Whatever the pencil points to on the measuring tape is your PPH.
For a woman with a very flexible talus bone, the measurement can be three or four inches. If your foot naturally falls closer to a 90-degree angle to your shin, a lower shoe is necessary to ensure comfort. An overextended talus bone will send you into agony, but so will a squashed one. “According to the College of Podiatry, sore feet cause the average woman 23 days of pain every year. That’s an hour-and-a-half a day.” (https://goo.gl/ijAs72) Needless to say, that much pain can cause major foot problems!
There does seem to be a maximum heel height for everyday wear though. Even if you measure as a four or five inch heel, keep it to three or lower for everyday wear. In addition to height, pay attention to heel positioning. The center of the shoe heel should be directly under the center of the heel of your foot, thus acting as a direct extension of your leg. Heels placed too far back can cause imbalance and potentially snap off under pressure.
Make sure your feet are singing carols this holiday season, not screaming in protest. Take the time to calculate your PPH and I bet you will find that your favorite pair of shoes fall right on that mark.
Occasionally, we like to post photos of outrageous shoes to brighten up your week with a laugh. Well the shoes Teva made Shanthi, a 41-year old elephant at the National Zoo, are no joking matter. They are bringing serious health benefits to this elephant with arthritis! (But they do look darn funny). If you want to see the amazing sight of an elephant walking around in shoes, click the link below and enjoy.