Question of the Day

Has Halloween been celebrated in America since the first settlers arrived?

Not really. Not until large populations of Irish immigrants came to the United States in the mid-19th century did some of the secular Halloween customs become popular here.

Last 7 Days

    What is a plug nickel, and why isn't it worth much?

    The saying "It's not worth a plug nickel" probably comes from the once-common practice of extracting some metal from a coin to be used for other purposes. Coins tampered with in this manner were no longer legal tender and therefore became worthless.

    Was "Donna" the name of the hurricane that struck Massachusetts in the 1950s?

    In 1955, Hurricane Diane, a Category 1 hurricane, struck the Massachusetts coast with such force that numerous deaths and significant damage resulted: $10.2 billion in 1995 dollars. This was the tenth most destructive hurricane in this country. As a result, the name Diane was retired from use. Interestingly, Hurricane Donna, a Category 4 hurricane, hit the same coast five years later, inflicting $12 billion in damage. The name "Donna" was also retired.

    Is there a home remedy for getting rid of wet dog smell?

    Wet dog has to be one of the worst odors going, but it's not insurmountable. To rid a room of the odor, pulverize (in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle) a tablespoon or so of ground coffee. Roast the coffee in a frying pan over low heat until the coffee odor is pronounced. Then place the pan in the odorous room until the coffee cools down.

    Is there any difference between brown and white eggs? My husband says there is, and I say they bleach brown eggs white.

    Your husband is correct. Brown eggs and white eggs come from different chickens. There are chickens that lay blue eggs, while others lay speckled ones. And you could never bleach eggs that you intended to eat. The shells are porous and would absorb the toxic material, rendering them entirely unsuitable for eating.

    Is there a way to keep ants from sneaking into my home through open doors and windows?

    There sure is. You can spray lemon juice (freshly squeezed or from concentrate) onto windowsills and the bottoms of doors to repel these creepy crawlers. Lemon juice is also great for eliminating the itch of insect bites.

    How are marshmallows made, and where did they come from?

    Marshmallows apparently came from France, where cooks made a confection called pate de Guimauve from the juice of a plant called the marshmallow. The sticky juice of the plant was mixed with eggs and sugar, then beaten to a foam. The marshmallows we buy today no longer make use of the marshmallow plant. Instead, they are made of beaten egg whites, gelatin, and sugar syrup.

    Our bathroom mat with rubber backing left a yellow color on our bathroom floor (vinyl). How can we get it out?

    If you're lucky, it's just your floor wax that's stained. First try this homemade floor wax remover: 1 cup laundry detergent, 3/4 cup ammonia, and 1 gallon warm water. If that doesn't work, try scrubbing the area with baking soda and water, or hydrogen peroxide and water, testing the cleaner first in an inconspicuous spot.

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