The Quick 10: 10 Tales From Your Closet

If you're anything like me, you have exactly enough time in the morning to get out of bed, shower, throw on some clothes that vaguely go together and, if you're lucky, grab a bowl of cereal. You're not standing in front of your closet saying, "Honey, why do you suppose the cardigan is called the cardigan?" The truth is, though, there's a story behind almost everything you wear. Here are 10 of them.

1. Cardigan sweater. It's hard to imagine that the tame little button down sweaters we often wear to cubicles at the office originated with the military, but they did. James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, who wore this type of sweater during his Crimean campaign from 1853-1856.

2. Raglan sleeve. If you've ever worn a baseball shirt, you've worn a raglan sleeve. It's a type of sleeve that goes straight from to the collar with no shoulder seam, and often the sleeves are a shorter length than usual. The style was named after the First Baron Raglan, who favored this style (particularly after he lost his right arm at Waterloo, according to some).

3. Chuck Taylors. I love my Chucks (and so does my husband - those are our feet). Converse All-Stars are wildly popular these days, but that wasn't so until basketball player Chuck Taylor started wearing them in 1917. He loved them so much he went to Converse in 1921 and asked for a job; Converse obliged him. Taylor had all kinds of suggestions, including giving the shoe non-skid soles and making them higher for a little more ankle protection. Although you won't find Chucks on the feet of many professional players pounding the hardwood today, you're sure to find them on plenty of spectators.

4. Mary Janes. Remember the comic strip Buster Brown? OK, Probably none of us remember the original version "“it was first published in 1902. But you've probably at least heard of it in reference. Buster was a little boy who got up to all kinds of shenanigans with his dog, Tige, and sometimes his sister, Mary Jane. When Richard Outcault, Buster Brown's creator, sold licensing rights to his characters to the Brown Shoe Company in 1904, they named some of their shoes after the characters. The Mary Jane, of course, was the girl's shoe with the ankle strap. Mary Jane and Buster Brown both wore the style in the comic strip.

5. Blazers. In 1825, the rowing club at St. John's College in Cambridge wore bright red jackets while they as part of their sports uniform. The red made it look like the team and their boat were ablaze as they rowed their way down the river, hence the term "blazer." Another source has the blazer taking its name from the HMS Blazer. The crew aboard this Royal Navy ship apparently had special blue and white striped jackets made so they would look especially sharp for a visit from Queen Victoria, and soon the fashion caught on to civilians.

6. Bobby pins take their name from the hairstyle they were originally created for "“ the bob. Likewise, Bobby socks are named after the bob because they're cut short like the hairstyle was.

7. Dickies (or dickey). I can't think of dickies without giggling "“ it makes me think of Christmas Vacation when cousin Eddie is wearing that black dickie under a white sweater so you can perfectly see the outline underneath his holiday best. Anyway, I only have half a story for you here "“ the turtleneck dickey takes its name from a type of dickey that was popular during the vaudeville days. They were just partial dress shirts designed to be worn with a tux, and they could be quickly and easily changed between skits. Plastic ones were even worn because they didn't wrinkle or stain. But how those original dickeys came to be called dickeys "“ your guess is as good as mine. Any etymologists out there know?

8. Kitty Foyle. You may not have known this particular type of dress had a name, but you know the dress "“ it's all black with stark white cuffs and collar. Wednesday Addams wore one, but long before her, Ginger Rogers made the style popular when she played a character named Kitty Foyle in a 1940 movie by the same name. She won an Oscar for her performance, actually.

9. A Nehru jacket has a lapel-less collar (also known as a mandarin collar) and is so-called because Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, liked to wear them during his reign from 1947-1964. But it may have been the Beatles who popularized the look "“ the Fab Four wore Nehru jackets when they gave their famed performance at Shea Stadium and the look became a "˜60s craze.

10. Capri pants. They were named, as you might imagine, after the Isle of Capri off the western coast of Italy, where the trend originated. At one time the term referred strictly to tight calf-length pants that had slits at the bottom hem, but now it generally means all calf-length pants. Mary Tyler Moore fought long and hard for the right to wear them on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Laura Petrie might not have been able to sleep in the same bed as her husband, but she was going to wear pants if it killed her!

10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.



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