On the Blessed Origins of Festivus

While most people in the US will be celebrating Christmas today, I'm guessing a few of you out there will be gathering around the olde Festivus pole. For those of you indulging in Festivus (A Holiday for the Rest of Us!), you might be interested in learning that the Costanza clan's strange celebration of choice-- popularized on Seinfeld-- actually existed long before the show. The holiday, which features a stark aluminum pole instead of a Christmas tree, "The Airing of Grievances" where complaints are voiced about friends that have wronged you, and "The Feats of Strength" where someone has to wrestle and pin down the head of the household for the event to end, was conceived by staff writer Dan O'Keefe's father. The holiday got its start when Dan's father began researching a bunch of obscure European holidays. Basically, he  bundled them together as an excuse to gripe about his magazine job (he worked for Reader's Digest). According to Dan, not only was he forced to attend the make-shift celebration for years, supposedly the O'Keefe household event was far stranger than anything depicted on the sitcom.

In any case, if you're looking to recreate Festivus in your home, we'd suggest you start with the pole. Here's a bit of the Kramer/ Frank Costanza dialogue to inspire you.
Cosmo Kramer: And is there a tree?
Frank Costanza: No, instead, there's a pole. It requires no decoration. I find tinsel distracting.
Frank Costanza: It's made from aluminum. Very high strength-to-weight ratio.

Bone Broth 101

Whether you drink it on its own or use it as stock, bone broth is the perfect recipe to master this winter. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education

Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?

If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).


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