steepholm: (tree_face)
I've seen a lot of speculation on these questions. I have my own opinion about the relative importance of these factors, but I'd love to know yours.

Poll below cut )
steepholm: (tree_face)
"The sun's over the yardarm," I heard myself say to my mother the other day. Worse, analysis showed that when I said it my irony levels were at critical level - below 25%. I plead our family's nautical heritage as a partial excuse, but still.

Which got me to wondering...


[Poll #1994683]
steepholm: (tree_face)
Magical girls are notoriously disorganized in the morning, meaning that they frequently have to run to school while still eating breakfast. It's charming, but what then becomes of their daily dental routine? A brief study reveals that in the very first episode of Sailor Moon Usagi does indeed brush her teeth, which is reassuring:

usagi brushes

On this occasion she is so late that she appears to skip breakfast altogether. However, by Episode 3 she has taken up the habit of running out of the house with food:

usagi leaves

Tut tut. Cardcaptor Sakura, meanwhile, brushes her teeth and then sits down to a hearty breakfast provided by her father:

sakura brushessakura breakfasts2

It's a very similar story with Madoka. First she brushes, then she breakfasts with her family:

madoka brushesmadoka breakfasts

This allows her to leave in a hurry with a tell-tale slice of toast dangling from her mouth:

madoka leaves

When the cultural context is sufficiently distant it can be hard to tell a topos from real life. Are Japanese kitchens quite as heavily populated by benign aproned fathers as one might imagine from this small sample? I don't suppose so, but still - perhaps in Japan (or at least amongst the magical girls of that nation) it really is usual to brush one's teeth before breakfast. Might this be so? It seems dubious from the point of view of dental health, and the only person I ever knew to advocate it was my old German teacher, Mr Bachmann. His argument, circa 1974, was that waiting till after breakfast before brushing was unhealthy because it meant that you swallowed all the germs that had built up in your mouth overnight - an idea that failed to convince me at the time but struck me hard enough that I've remembered it for forty years. So, perhaps in Germany, Japan and elsewhere it is normal practice.

Maybe I'm the outlier here, in fact? Do let me know.

[Poll #1974494]
steepholm: (tree_face)
[Poll #1939316]

This is in aid of being prepared when asked what I'd like for Christmas, so please don't just put down your favourite. Try to factor in my tastes, as far as you're aware of them! All advice gratefully received.
steepholm: (tree_face)
A few days ago I posted a poll about the countries of origin of various popular TV franchises. What I didn't take into account is that relatively few people on my friends list watch these programmes, and so the number of participants was small. Still, I was impressed at the honesty of those who did fill it out - clearly no one cheated. For what it's worth, here's a digest of the results.

Dragons' Den/Dragons' Lair/Shark Tank
Correct answer: Japan (0%)
Most popular answer: tie between UK and Netherlands (40%) each

Big Brother
Correct answer: Netherlands (50%)
Most popular answer: Netherlands (50%)

Who Wants to be a Millionaire
Correct answer: UK (60%)
Most popular answer: UK (60%)

The Apprentice
Correct answer: USA (60%)
Most popular answer: USA (60%)

The Voice
Correct answer: Netherlands (0%)
Most popular answer: Australia (60%)

The X Factor
Correct answer: UK (60%)
Most popular answer: UK (60%)

Top Model
Correct answer: USA (100%)
Most popular answer: USA (100%)

Dating in the Dark
Correct answer: Netherlands (40%)
Most popular answer: Japan (60%)

I doubt whether any of these results are statistically significant given the small and skewed sample, but it's still tempting to spin some conclusions from their pretty silk. It would be interesting to know how many of the answers were based on knowledge and how many were a best guess at the kind of show likely to be produced in these particular countries. Dating in the Dark, for example, has the element of humiliation common in many Japanese shows from Endurance to Takeshi's Castle and, er, this - but in fact it's just another Endemol concoction. Did people guess correctly about The Apprentice and Top Model being American because they knew that to be the case, or because those shows seem American in spirit? As to why The Voice was perceived as Australian, we can only speculate. (Australia was the joker in my pack: I'm not aware of any widely franchised show that was invented there - unless you know different?)
steepholm: (tree_face)
A quick quiz on the origins of global TV franchises. That these are international shows is no secret, though I suspect that many are popularly regarded as domestic product, but where did they begin?

[Poll #1932383]

Answers below the cut )

How did you do? Any surprises?
steepholm: (tree_face)
It occurs to me that it's some time since I posted a poll...

[Poll #1926963]
steepholm: (tree_face)
My apple-buying habits have changed over the years. Back in the day, I remember feeling that Golden Delicious apples were the bee's knees, but now I'd only eat one of the pallid pap globes if desperate. What changed - my taste, or the strain? Reliability is another factor. At its best, nothing beats a Cox's Orange Pippin - which is also the most beautiful of apples, appearing to have rolled out of a Chardin - but it often isn't at its best, and when it falls short it can be a very ordinary fruit indeed. Pink Lady and Granny Smith are similarly variable, both suffering a tendency to waxiness that can lead to heartbreaking disappointment, especially in the case of the pricey Pink Lady. In recent years, I've found Jazz offers the best overall combination of taste, texture and reliability, but it's usually quite expensive. Braeburn too is reliable, if not quite as tasty. Royal Gala is better than Golden Delicious, but still disappointingly bland. And then there's Russet, which offers the apple equivalent of Rupert Brooke's "rough male kiss of blankets" - a lovely apple, but not for every day.

What are your dessert apple choices? How do you rate the ones I've mentioned, and which others would you recommend?

Poll beneath the cut )
steepholm: (Default)
Isn't it disconcerting when you find, at an advanced age, that you've been ignorant of a really basic fact in a subject about which you're supposedly reasonably well informed? I like geography and history, and if North America isn't exactly my area of special knowledge I'd still have expected to have heard that Newfoundland was, within living memory, an independent country. But until I happened to read it today, I had no idea.

Was I alone?

[Poll #1855055]

Have you had any similar ignorance depth-charges go off recently?
steepholm: (Default)
I dreamed last night that a relative of mine was taken forcibly to hospital on account of his strange-smelling urine. I was running after the doctor, shouting "You don't understand! It's just that we ate asparagus for supper!"

The doctor turned and in my dream he looked at me with a dreadful blankness. And it came into my mind that he didn't know about the asparagus-and-urine thing.

My dream arose from eating it myself last night, of course, and also reading the asparagus Wiki page a few months ago, where I learned that the ability to detect the change in odour was not universal. Apparently it's a genetic thing, limited to about 22% of the population.

Which leads me, naturally, to ask:

[Poll #1830587]
steepholm: (Default)
I dreamed last night that a relative of mine was taken forcibly to hospital on account of his strange-smelling urine. I was running after the doctor, shouting "You don't understand! It's just that we ate asparagus for supper!"

The doctor turned and in my dream he looked at me with a dreadful blankness. And it came into my mind that he didn't know about the asparagus-and-urine thing.

My dream arose from eating it myself last night, of course, and also reading the asparagus Wiki page a few months ago, where I learned that the ability to detect the change in odour was not universal. Apparently it's a genetic thing, limited to about 22% of the population.

Which leads me, naturally, to ask:

[Poll #1830587]
steepholm: (Default)
Okay, I'm doing this mostly to see whether I can work out how to post a poll, but I am interested in the results, as it's a moral quandary that has stumped me for years...

[Poll #1808368]
steepholm: (Default)
Okay, I'm doing this mostly to see whether I can work out how to post a poll, but I am interested in the results, as it's a moral quandary that has stumped me for years...

[Poll #1808368]

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