It's time for our regular segment in which @Gafgarian (AKA Jeremiah Palmer) provides answers to the burning questions left unanswered in each episode of the Rooster Teeth Podcast. Read on to get closure for The Just Had Sex Look – #414.
How does testosterone affect your ball size?
Interestingly, and perhaps strangely when considering @Jon's experience, an accepted side effect of testosterone supplements is a decrease in the size of the testicles. Since the body naturally produces testosterone as needed, the introduction of testosterone from an outside source, via gel, injection, etc., tricks the body into believing that the amount currently in the body is sufficient for the body's needs. This reduces the amount of testosterone produced by the testicles, causing them to eventually atrophy and shrink.
In Jon's case, it is difficult to say why his experience is different, though it could absolutely be related to those cells that should be producing testosterone already being atrophied due to his medical condition. Obviously his doctor would be a better person to answer this question, but until we are all "lucky" enough to see "RT Life - Jon's Ball Doctor Edition" appear on the feed, we'll have to make our own assumptions.
On an extremely loosely related side note, while investigating testes sizes, I stumbled across an interesting bit of etymological trivia and, because we all could use a palate cleanser after discussing Jon's sack, figured I'd share it. For some time now there has apparently been a bit of an urban legend attached to the origin of the word "testify" that suggests it is a descendant of the latin word for "testicle." This rumor was further supported by accounts, though likely fictitious, which explained that an ancient Roman's method for "pinky swearing" was to grab each other by the balls and "testes-ify" to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help them God... or Zeus... or Jupiter, or perhaps the God of testicles, which I suppose is Mars. Who, in a tangent of a tangent, apparently had a mini-god follow him around as his "official" symbol. This mini-god was a woodpecker, so it is totally full circle.
Back to the rumor! The reality of this rumor is that everyone seems to be ignoring the Latin root of both words: "testis." This word, meaning "three," was also used to describe a witness to an event, with the use of "three" signifying a trusted "third" party. The connection to your man-bits is that your testicles are the trusted "third" party signifying your virility. Additionally, while no evidence has been found that swearing on your sack occurred in ancient Rome, the act does appear in the Old Testament of the Bible, though modern translations have moved away from this potentially homoerotic narrative, opting for the much less dramatic “grasping the thigh.” In the end, we will likely never know exactly how much ball-grabbing occurred during the reign of Caesar. The real takeaway is that, for just a moment, I got you stop thinking about Jon's nuts... oops.
When would the use of a "questions word" not be followed by a question mark?
In honor of everything @Becca does to make me sound intelligent, we will have to flag this question for use in the 2017 infographic of "things we learned." On that note, I wonder what type of sly addendum to my findings we may see. >_>
First, grammar is not nearly as cut-and-dry as I had initially assumed. While I think any one of us who has taken even the most basic high school level English class is familiar with the various stylings of MLA or AP, primarily because we all struggled to find the right damn template to plug into Word in order to actually conform to the damned stylebook, the rabbit hole is significantly deeper than anticipated. Apparently these stylebooks are specific to the types of paper being written. The Associated Press Stylebook (AP) is directed toward newspapers and journalists, while the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is intended to be used by every American high school student fighting with Microsoft Word over proper spacing in a bibliography. However, research papers originating from the high scientific world would typically conform to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) or American Medical Association Manual of Style (AMA). This last part leads me to question the necessity for the MLA entirely...
There are also Garner’s Modern American Usage, The Gregg Reference Manual, The Elements of Style, The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage, The Columbia Guide to Online Style, New York Style Manual: The Tanbook, and about twenty others which are, naturally, only applicable to accepted grammatical practices in America. One of these 20 others is The Chicago Manual of Style and it is the only one we care about for the time being because, from what I've been able to find, it is the only one that actually gives us a legitimate answer to this question. While it is echoed slightly in a few of the other publications, Chicago, as it is more commonly referred to, certainly seems to have the most concise definition of proper punctuation use in general. (Note from Becca: Chicago is by far my favorite style guide. I always keep a copy on my desk.)
According to Chicago, the three acceptable use cases in which a question should not have a question mark are an indirect question, indirect one-word question, or a courtesy question. Here are a few of the examples given by The Chicago Manual of Style for these three incidents, respectively:
- "How the two could be reconciled was the question on everyone's mind."
- "The question was no longer how but when."
- "Will the audience please rise." or "How do you do."
How did I do, Becca?
(Not too shabby!)
What is Jay-Z's 99 Problems about?
While the well-known hook, "If you're havin' girl problems I feel bad for you, son. I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one," was borrowed from a 1993 Ice-T song of the same name, that is where the similarities of the songs end. Ice-T's song, as well as Trick Daddy's later follow up, are both obviously about women, specifically their apparent success with them. However, Jay-Z's version, as the Podcast mentioned, is far more nuanced. According to various fan interpretations and Jay-Z himself, the overall meaning of the track is identifying various male figures that Jay has had in his past, be they police officers, supposed friends, enemies, critics, etc. that have doubted the artist in some way, essentially calling all of the doubters a bitch and, in the words of the song, making it clear that they are not his problem any longer because he's proven them all wrong with his success. While this higher level meaning isn't made clear until the final verse in which he points out that he has had to "strong arm a ho" for his moment, and now that he has it, all of the "bitches" who tried to block him are unworthy of being listed among his problems.
In the video below, Jay-Z explains the meaning behind the second verse. Interestingly, the explanation begins as a third-party omniscient narrative; however, by the end, it becomes a first person account of the incident. In a later interview on the topic, Jay-Z revealed that the story of the near run in with the K9 unit had actually happened to him in 1994 while transporting crack along the I-95 East Coast corridor.
In general, the layered meaning of the song is actually pretty impressive and, while I had realized that at least the second verse wasn't about some woman, I was not aware of just how nuanced the track was.
What kind of bug was up that woman's nose?
Oh god... I have watched, read, and thought about a lot of horrifying and disturbing things since starting this answer series and I can tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that nothing has disturbed me as much as this. I can also tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I have never cringed more while writing out an answer.
Perhaps, as a callback to the unnatural abhorrence all humans seem to naturally have against cockroaches, which we discussed in the Podcast #382 Answers post, the cringe is so real on this. Here is how the story breaks down.
Selvi, a 42-year-old Indian woman, visited several doctors, reporting a crawling and burning sensation in her nose, just under her eyes. According to Selvi, she was "sure it was some insect. There was a tingling, crawling sensation. Whenever it moved, it gave [her] a burning sensation in [her] eyes." After being diagnosed incorrectly by several physicians, Selvi eventually found herself at Stanley Medical College Hospital in Chennai where Dr. M.N. Shankar discovered the disgusting culprit and performed a 45-minute procedure, using tongs and suction, to remove the still-alive insect.
While the nose is a rare case, apparently other orifices – specifically the ears – are a prime target for cockroaches. Several doctors that were consulted by the various news agencies reporting on Selvi's experience stated that cockroaches are more commonly found in human ear canals than ear mites; however, finding any insect still alive is a rare case. Moral of the story? I may have to start sleeping with pantyhose on my head. Heard it works against spiders.
I'm not sure how to fully express my disgust in text, so I will just leave this video here with a warning:
What was the name of April O'Neil's Star Trek porn?
That would be Star Trek: The Next Generation – A XXX Parody. Rather unimaginative...
Other classic titles starring O'Neil include: Ten Inch Mutant Ninja Turtles: The XXX Parody (I mean, how could she not be in this one?), Assventure Time, Fap to the Future: The XXX Parody, Game of Bones: Winter Is Cumming, and The Doctor Whore Porn Parody, among others. I have to say that, although the movie titles are occasionally lacking in creativity, the character names Ms. O'Neil happens to play are quite the opposite. Ambassador of Planet Queef, Marty Dickfly, and Rocket Racooch are particularly imaginative.
Why do some people pronounce "vase" as "vahz"?
To clarify, the majority of people who still pronounce "vase" as "vahz" fall into one of three categories. They are either over the age of 70, British, or just plain pretentious... though the last two points may be a bit redundant. :P
With regards to the question of "why" Americans sometimes pronounce the word as "vahz," we have early film, or the original "Talkies," to thank for that. Specifically at fault is the Mid-Atlantic, or Transatlantic, accent of the early 1900s. It should be noted that, technically this "accent" is actually an "affectation" of speech, but in the interest of time and simplicity, I'll continue to refer to it as an accent.
The accent in its modern usage has been naturally updated to display far fewer British characteristics than its "old-timey" predecessor. "Old-timey" is the perfect explanation for the Mid-Atlantic accent since, upon hearing it, all of us would likely immediately attribute it to the old-timey movies of early Hollywood. Despite its relatively abrupt removal from common usage, the crisp aristocratic flair associated with the accent made popular by early screen stars such as Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Vincent Price, and Humphrey Bogart still has a bit of subconscious upper-echelon elitism attached.
It was the unusual, and deliberate, combination of established American pronunciations with the posh formality of specific vowel sounds from the British language that formed a truly unique and purposely non-native pattern of speech. You can still hear the short "a" sound in the way most Brits pronounce the word "vase," and this vowel usage was one of several specific vowel sounds that were borrowed from British pronunciation during the creation of the Mid-Atlantic accent. It was this deliberate construction of pronunciations that made the creation of the accent so unique.
In a similar vein as the British Received Pronunciation, the creation and use of the Mid-Atlantic accent was a way for the members of high-society America, specifically in the Northeast, to set themselves apart from the common folk. This divide was further widened when the first films with sound (Talkies) appeared in the late 1920s, and America's fascination with movie stardom began. The movie industry's beginnings in the Northeastern urban sprawls of Philadelphia and New York City, combined with the desire to make the post-silent-era film industry appear even more distinguished and important, caused them to adopt the Mid-Atlantic accent as the defacto speech pattern across the industry.
Shortly after World War II, widespread usage of the Mid-Atlantic accent in both film and daily practice began to wane quickly. However, over the years, there have been a few notable figures that have come from obscure pockets of the Northeast that still retain some part of the classic Mid-Atlantic flair. These have included Jackie Kennedy and even John Kerry to some extent. Additionally, community members who remember the 90s sitcom Frasier may recognize that the brothers Crane also have a slightly out of place "old-timey" feel to their speech. This is perhaps the most recent, widely circulated example of a contemporary recreation of the Mid-Atlantic accent, with very limited adjustments from its original speech patterns.
In other words, "vase" is pronounced with a long "a" like "vayse" or "vayze," just absolutely not with the short "a" of "vahze"... unless you are British, or pretentious, or 70+... You know what, pronounce it however you want, just know that if you are using the short "a," it hasn't been cool since the 1940s, so get over yourself. :P
Burglar gets stuck?
How old is Queen Elizabeth II?
Queen Elizabeth II will be 91 years young on April 26, 2017. In addition, she and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will be married 70 years on November 20.
To give a bit of perspective on just how long she has reigned as Queen, which, at 65 years makes her the longest-reigning monarch in British history, here are some things that have happened since her coronation:
- 34 different Olympic games
- The entire history of man's travels to space
- 13 US Presidents
- The entire history of man's interactions with computers
- The era of modern television
- The Berlin Wall, construction and destruction
- All of video gaming history
What are Her Majesty, the Queen's duties?
Wow... so far more than I had anticipated, honestly. I had always been under the impression that the British monarchy has been relatively stripped of rights and responsibilities since the creation of the United Kingdom, and its Parliament, in the early 1700s. While the monarchy certainly no longer possesses the heavy-handed power of Ye Olde Kingdom, there is a definitive amount of responsibility on the Monarchy shoulders that I was unaware of. Arguably most important among these duties is that of Constitutional Arbitration, which states, in brief, that in times of crisis, such as a hung Parliament, the Monarchy's role is that of a "non-political arbitrator." In other words, the Monarchy, in times of dire indecision, is empowered to intervene as a referee of sorts in hopes of providing a third-party "voice of reason" in order to sway the indecision in one way or another. Additionally, this duty gives the Monarchy the ability to completely dissolve Parliament, prosecute or pardon Parliamentary officials when accused of criminal acts, abolish elections, and even appoint or remove a Prime Minister.
In the case of the latter duty, Queen Elizabeth did have to manage the appointment of a Prime Minister, in 1974, following the resignation of Edward Heath and the subsequent hung Parliament when electing his successor.
Additional duties of the Monarchy include instilling a sense of stability and continuity in the nation since the reign of the Monarchy exists across, and irrespective of, political parties, elections, or term limitations, as well as functioning as the UK's Head of State in regards to its foreign affairs and relations. There are others, of course, but these seem to be a few of the most important.
Among the powers of the Monarchy is the power to make war and peace, command the armed forces of the UK, ratify/dissolve treaties, issue passports, appoint bishops in the Church of England, control the marriages and relations of their peers, and drive at any speed on any road in the kingdom, regardless of speed limit or whether the vehicle even has a license plate.
Does the Queen have a Twitter?
She does, though it is highly unlikely that the Queen actually is the one doing the tweeting. Unlike our current president's obsession with sharing his 140-character opinion with anyone who will listen, the official Twitter of the British monarchy, RoyalFamily, is far less concerned about using all caps to explain how we are all surrounded by fake news and terrorists. Instead, opting for the occasional update on events the Royal Family is attending, as well as posting tons of pictures of the Queen wearing what can only be described as her infamous "cake hats."
Was Valentine's Day invented by the greeting card industry?
Surprisingly no. While it is true that the greeting card industry rakes in millions during the first few weeks of February, the origins of sending notes and messages of love during the month of February dates to the middle ages, specifically the Pagan fertility festival of Lupercalia, observed on February 15. During this festival, a priest would sacrifice a goat and dog and, in order to bless them with fertility, cover the Pagan women and crops in the animals' sacrificial blood. Names and messages of love would be offered up as sacrifice as well, in hopes of being paired or conceiving with the mate of your Pagan dreams.
Naturally, in much the same vein as Christmas and Saturnalia, a corresponding Christian "love" celebration appeared to distract from the accepted Pagan ritual. This celebration centered around St. Valentine who was, coincidentally, martyred by the Church on February 14. What luck that this date would coincide with the Pagans’ February celebration! Part of the Church's tale surrounding St. Valentine's martyrdom was a story about Valentine's forbidden love and a note he had sent her, just prior to his death, that read "From your Valentine."
The commercialization of Valentine's Day did not appear in the American lexicon for hundreds of years following the Church's recognition of St. Valentine. This commercialization began with Ester A. Howard's mass-production of cards in the 1840s, and, by the early 1900s, the printing industry had evolved enough to support the growing popularity of the holiday and premade cards became the norm.
Who decided cauliflower should be white over yellow?
It is difficult to say when or who was responsible for deciding that white cauliflower is the most appetizing cauliflower. A few things that are certain, however, is that yellow isn't the only color to be concerned with and cauliflower is not the only vegetable to have its natural color systematically removed from acceptable consumption.
As you can see from the image below, there exists several colors of cauliflower beyond the standard white and shunned yellow. These various colors are caused by natural pigment mutations caused by an overabundance of specific vitamins or, similar to red cabbage, the antioxidant anthocyanin. These cauliflower variations technically have an identical taste to that of the common white breed; however, connoisseurs of the multi-colored vegetable world will claim they can distinguish between the differently shaded plants.
In addition to cauliflower, other vegetables that have had their colorful counterparts phased out include carrots (which also occasionally appear purple), potatoes, and broccoli. Interestingly on the part of carrots, until the 17th century, the orange carrot was a rare mutation. However, Dutch breeders purposely bred and cross-pollinated existing carrot varieties to create a more widespread occurrence of the orange hue naturally. This was done to honor the Dutch royal family and quickly became the "standard" carrot color. Again, it is difficult to say with any certainty as to why this seemingly arbitrary color became the choice of the people, but similar to cauliflower, it likely has very little to do with differences in taste. In the case of the carrot, the adoption of the orange standard, given its connection to the Dutch royal family, is more than likely related to the desire to partake in the "food of royalty”... much the same way the Mid-Atlantic accent, discussed above, took hold because of its connection to high society.