Never Party With A Pirate
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Food & Beverage
If you have ever been to a fancy café and ordered an espresso, cappuccino, or hot coffee then, the barista probably handed you your coffee in a ceramic mug on a tiny saucer plate (real classy like). Most people believe that the tiny saucer is meant to be something to hold other than the hot coffee cup but the true reason why we get saucers with hot beverages is much weirder.
In the 17th century drinking tea became all the rage as European trade with the far east expanded. At the time, tea was served scalding hot in small mugs, just like today. 17th century Europeans did not like getting their tea served to them so hot because they kept burning their lips and fingers while holding their mugs. That’s when they invented a bizarre solution that would cool off the tea and protect them from getting burned.
European tea drinkers started pouring their tea into a small plate and allow it to cool off. The added surface area the hot tea to cool fast and allowed impatient tea drinkers to drink their tea soon. Bizarrely, people didn’t pour their tea from their saucer back into their mug to drink it. Instead, they would sip it from the plate like someone drinking milk from their cereal bowl.
We all hate burning our tongue on a hot beverage but the risk is worth avoiding the embarrassment of drinking off a plate in your local Starbucks.
FOOTBALL IS FINALLY HERE! This week marked week 1 of the NFL football season and the football fans’ long wait is finally over. This week’s action ended a long off season that teased football fans with a preseason, rookie draft, and the first event of the off-season, the NFL combine.
The NFL combine includes a series of tests that measure prospective NFL players strength, speed, and explosiveness. The most famous of these events is the 40-yard dash, which can be a make or break event for a player’s future career. Having a fast time in the 40-yard dash can move a player from a 3rd round draft pick to the 1st round (which comes with nearly 3 times the salary). But why do we put so much emphasis on one event? And why do players only run 40 yards? Why not 50? Or 100?
The origin of the 40-yard dash originates with the founder of the Cleveland Browns, Paul Brown, who began giving his prospective players physical fitness tests before every season. Brown would make players run 20 yard, 40 yard, 60 yard, and 100 yard sprints to measure their speed. Eventually other coaches around the league copied the practice and started testing their athletes.
The 40-yard dash became the sprint of choice because at the time, punts traveled about 40-yards. The coaches figured that the 40-yard dash would provide a good estimate of how fast a player could chase down a punt (teams used to punt a lot back then). In addition, the average time that a punt was in the air was roughly 4.5 seconds, so coaches used that time as a benchmark for how fast players ran. Running a 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds became the elite standard that would allow players to stand out to professional recruiters.
Today, punts travel an average of 60 yards in 4.4 seconds so modern player held to the same standard would need to run more than 50% faster. Since now-a-days an extra $10M dollars is on the line, I bet players could do it.
Crime & Punishment
We at HumpDay are big fans of pirates. We have covered pirate superstitions, pirate funerals, and legendary female pirates, but one of our favorite pirate stories is the story of the great pirate Dan Seavey. Dan Seavey was not the traditional pirate that we see in pop culture sailing the seas. Instead he was a pirate in the early 1900’s who terrorized the Great Lakes of Michigan and Wisconsin.
Dan Seavey began his pirate career in 1900 after going broke trying to find gold in Alaska. Down and desperate for money Dan put all of his money into a small ship called The Wanderer and began shipping cargo across the great lakes between Wisconsin, Michigan, and Canada. After some time as a legitimate commercial captain, Seavey realized that he wasn’t making enough money to pay the bills, so he began dabbling in illegal activities.
He started by stealing cargo off other ships docked at port and graduated to smuggling illegal goods in and out of the country. He would also pull a trick called “moon cussing” which involved repositioning sea lights anchored in the lake to cause ships to crash into rocks, so he could steal their goods. Seavey’s pirate ways continued for nearly a decade and he developed a reputation as the most famous pirate on the great lakes.
Dan Seavey’s most infamous exploit occurred in 1908 when he pulled his ship alongside a massive cargo ship known as the Nellie Johnson. He requested to come aboard and was allowed to meet with the ship’s captain despite the fact that the crew knew Seavey to be a pirate. Seavey told the captain that he had stolen multiple cases of whiskey and needed to dispose of them before the authorities came looking for him. Seavey offered the captain and crew all of the whiskey for free if they could drink it all as soon as possible to dispose of the evidence.
The captain and crew of the Nellie Johnson happily accepted Seavey’s offer and invited him to help them drink it with them. Together the entire crew of the Nellie Johnson drank multiple cases of stolen whiskey and partied late into the night. Dan, a notoriously good drinker, drank more than anyone else on the ship and managed to retain his composure. Eventually everyone on the ship had too much to drink and passed out cold. Everyone besides the pirate Dan Seavey.
Once the crew had passed out, Dan picked each crew member up one by one and threw them into the ship’s lifeboats. Once the entire crew was loaded into the lifeboats, he lowered them into the water and set them sailing off in the middle of the great lakes. Dan then drove off with the Nellie Johnson and proceeded to sell off all of its cargo.
Unfortunately, Seavey was eventually caught and arrested for pirating the Nellie Johnson. When he was put on trial for piracy, the captain of the Nellie Johnson refused to testify against him out of either embarrassment or respect. Seavey was released without charges and was eventually hired by the U.S. Marshals Service to help stop piracy in the Great Lakes.
Although he held the position of U.S. Marshal, it is believed that Dan Seavey operated an even bigger smuggling ring during prohibition.
This Week in History
On this week in 1897, the arrest for drunk driving was made in London, England. A 25-year-old taxi driver named George Smith crashed his cab into the side of a building while driving drunk. He was arrested and forced to pay a fine of 25 shillings (~$1.50). As the evolution of motor vehicles continued, so did the effort to curb drunk driving. Early drunk driving laws emerged in the U.S. in 1910 and the predecessor to breathalyzers were introduced in 1936.
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