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How Does a Fortune Cookie Proposal Work?

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My girlfriend loves a good romantic comedy (to be fair, she’ll watch mediocre and bad ones, too). So on weekend afternoons, our TV is often tuned to whatever quirky love story TNT/TBS/USA is running on a constant loop. Usually, these movies will climax with the female lead’s love interest asking for her hand in marriage in some grand, romantic way. More than a few times, these proposals have involved a diamond ring tucked away inside a fortune cookie.

It’s at this point in the movie that I usually have to stop whatever else I’m doing and wonder how the character, for whom there’s usually little other evidence of cleverness, got the ring in there. What’s more, how do real life people do it? Do you need to be in cahoots with a fortune cookie magnate? Have a friend who’s a baker?

Nope. Apparently, you can get it in there all by yourself. While some fortune cookie companies will try and take almost $40 to give you a cookie stuffed with a prop ring, the good folks at fortunecookiesupply.com provide instructions for aspiring Casanovas to rig up their own proposal cookies at home.

Like every other cookie, fortune cookies become malleable if you heat them back up, so all you need to do is nuke one in the microwave real quick, unfold the cookie, swap the fortunes, insert your ring, and fold the cookie back up. Once the cookie cools and hardens again, no one will be any wiser. Then it’s just a matter of getting the lucky lady to pick the right cookie.

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Big Questions
Why Does Turkey Make You Tired?
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iStock

Why do people have such a hard time staying awake after Thanksgiving dinner? Most people blame tryptophan, but that's not really the main culprit. And what is tryptophan, anyway?

Tryptophan is an amino acid that the body uses in the processes of making vitamin B3 and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep. It can't be produced by our bodies, so we need to get it through our diet. From which foods, exactly? Turkey, of course, but also other meats, chocolate, bananas, mangoes, dairy products, eggs, chickpeas, peanuts, and a slew of other foods. Some of these foods, like cheddar cheese, have more tryptophan per gram than turkey. Tryptophan doesn't have much of an impact unless it's taken on an empty stomach and in an amount larger than what we're getting from our drumstick. So why does turkey get the rap as a one-way ticket to a nap?

The urge to snooze is more the fault of the average Thanksgiving meal and all the food and booze that go with it. Here are a few things that play into the nap factor:

Fats: That turkey skin is delicious, but fats take a lot of energy to digest, so the body redirects blood to the digestive system. Reduced blood flow in the rest of the body means reduced energy.

Alcohol: What Homer Simpson called the cause of—and solution to—all of life's problems is also a central nervous system depressant.

Overeating: Same deal as fats. It takes a lot of energy to digest a big feast (the average Thanksgiving meal contains 3000 calories and 229 grams of fat), so blood is sent to the digestive process system, leaving the brain a little tired.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Big Questions
How Are Balloons Chosen for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?
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Getty Images

The balloons for this year's Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade range from the classics like Charlie Brown to more modern characters who have debuted in the past few years, including The Elf On The Shelf. New to the parade this year are Olaf from Disney's Frozen and Chase from Paw Patrol. But how does the retail giant choose which characters will appear in the lineup?

Balloon characters are chosen in different ways. For example, in 2011, Macy’s requested B. Boy after parade organizers saw the Tim Burton retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. (The company had been adding a series of art balloons to the parade lineup since 2005, which it called the Blue Sky Gallery.) When it comes to commercial balloons, though, it appears to be all about the Benjamins.

First-time balloons cost at least $190,000—this covers admission into the parade and the cost of balloon construction. After the initial year, companies can expect to pay Macy’s about $90,000 to get a character into the parade lineup. If you consider that the balloons are out for only an hour or so, that’s about $1500 a minute.

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