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Question of the Day

Where would one get a "kit and caboodle" and why would you want one?

The words "kit" and "caboodle" have Dutch origins. A "kit" was a tankard or drinking cup. A "boedel" was a general term used to mean one's property or household effects. Later, "kit" became synonymous with the pack of tools a soldier carried. "Boodle" became slang for money, especially tainted money. Various permutations of these two words evolved and now they are used together to indicate "a whole lot" or "everything and everyone."

Last 7 Days

    I have heard that eating yams can increase fertility. Is there any research to support this?

    Well, we couldn't find confirmation of this, but we did find that Dioscoreaceae, which is the whole family of yam tubers, produces chemical compounds called saponins, which are similar to human sex hormones. These compounds are being extracted from tubers and used as the principal raw material in the manufacture of birth control pills, and are also used in fertility drugs, female hormones, cortisone, and hydrocortisone. So eating a lot of yams may enhance fertility, inhibit it, or act as a steroid. Best to consult a doctor on that one.

    Is there a way to get earwigs out of my stack of firewood?

    Try sprinkling borax around the woodpile, but keep pets and children away from this area after doing so.

    What are some ways that people paid taxes in the past?

    In biblical times, taxes were paid with herbs such as anise, and in medieval Europe, people used honey to pay their taxes.

    Why do we call a means of getting out of something a loophole?

    In medieval times, a loophole was a small hole in a fortress wall through which small arms were fired. The wall was the "loop" around the fortress, so if you found a loophole, that was a lucky event. As far as we know, they were not used for escape.

    We often hear the expression "brinksmanship." Does this mean diplomacy to the brink of war or sanctions?

    "Brinksmanship" was a term used by Adlai Stevenson in the 1950s in his criticism of the policies of then Secretary of State John Foster Dulles; Stevenson believed Dulles' methods would lead the United States to the brink of war. The word is still used in this context.

    Do skunks serve any purpose on Earth?

    Certainly. Skunks are prodigious eaters of white grub larvae (which can damage your lawn), cutworms, potato beetles, grasshoppers, mice, rats, and other pests. We're certain they must have other admirable traits as well.

    Can I feed my dog something to repel fleas?

    Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar to each quart of your dog's drinking water to help repel fleas and ticks. Also, put a drop of lemon oil or rosemary oil on the dog's collar. It seems that these pests don't like the smell.


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