To calm the public’s ire, Larson had to explain the joke, which was simply if cows were to make tools, “they would lack something in sophistication.” Why this barely-a-joke struck such an irate chord with readers remains a mystery.

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Long Hundred: We’ve long been baffled by the traditional European system of weights and measures, with 79 gallons to the hogshead (U.S. gallons, that is; it’s 66 imperial gallons. And we’re talking about a hogshead, as opposed to a tobacco hogshead, which is 145 gallons, 121 imperial), and 5 1/2 yards to the rod. But it’s amazing there was a consensus on any system at all, given that medieval Europe couldn’t even agree on how to count to 100. Germanic languages used the word “hundred” to refer to 120, otherwise called the “long hundred,” or “twelfty.” Medieval England, unsurprisingly, used both, with a Latin book of weights and measures using the long hundred to measure some goods and short hundreds (i.e., 100) to measure others, and alum being measured in stone, but not the contemporary 14-pound stone still sometimes used in Britain and Ireland; also not to be confused with a Tower pound, which was 12 ounces as opposed to 16, or the mercantile pound, which was 15 troy ounces. We’re going to lie down for a while.

Wulfstan (died 1095): Medieval Europe had a lot of units of measurement, and it also had a lot of bishops named Wulfstan. Wikipedia disambiguates three by including the year of their deaths, as well as 11th-century monk Wulfstan The Cantor, and 9th-century merchantman Wulfstan Of Hedeby. But Wulfstan Died 1095 is the most confounding of the lot, as he was the second Wulfstan The Second. He was named after his uncle, Wulfstan Died 1023, who was by turns Bishop Of London, Bishop Of Worcester, and Archbishop Of York. As Archbishop Of York, 1023 was known as Wulfstan II, because there had been a previous Archbishop with that name. But when his nephew took his old post as Bishop Of Worcester, he was also known as Wulfstan II, as he was the second Bishop Of Worcester with the name, the first one being the first Wulfstan II. Okay, we’re going to go lie down again.

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Kanchō: A very quick shout out to Kanchō, a children’s prank popular across East Asia that involves clasping one’s hands together in the shape of an imaginary gun, and poking the victim’s anus, while exclaiming, “Kan-CHŌ!” The word itself is a slang term for “enema” in Japanese. Koreans call the prank “ddong chim,” and in China, it’s “Qiānnián shā.” Kanchō even has a arcade game adaptation, Boong-Ga Boong-Ga, although it seems only five consoles were ever made. If a player got an exceptionally high score, the machine would “dispense a small plastic trophy in the shape of a pile of feces.”

Further Down the Wormhole: Wikipedia helpfully included a link for feces, but we’re just going to let that one go. Instead we’re going to the page for finger gun, which helpfully includes detailed instructions for how to make your hand into the shape of a gun. It’s part of a “gestures” category that includes everything from dapping, to pinky swear, to the Vulcan salute, to the kiss. We’ve always thought of kissing as more than a mere gesture, but as Wikipedia correctly notes, “cultural connotations of kissing vary wildly.”

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The most consequential kiss in the Christian world was that of Judas Iscariot, who kissed Jesus Christ before betraying him, making the name Judas synonymous with betrayal, and among other things, giving him a namesake in the Judas Goat, which we’ll look at when we run down some animal-related quick hits next week.