How Did Marvel Comic's Spider-Man Make Webs?

Believe it or not, movies that are based on comic books are not always true to the original story!

Recently, one of my 10-grade students told me that despite what the 2002 Tobey Maguire film showed, comic-book Spider-Man did not receive the ability to shoot webs out of his wrists after he got bitten by the radioactive spider.

He actually used web-shooters which attached to cuffs on his wrists. Here's an explanation of them via Wikipedia:
Peter had reasoned that a spider (even a human one) needed a web. Since the radioactive spider-bite did not initially grant him the power to spin webs, he had instead found a way to produce them artificially. The wrist-mounted devices fire an adhesive "webbing" through a threaded adjustable nozzle...
Spider-Man must steadily replenish his webbing supply, reloading his web-shooters with small cartridges of web fluid... His web-shooters require constant maintenance and on more than one occasion suffer jams or malfunctions...
Occasionally, the web-shooters are modified to expel other liquids.

So, my first question upon hearing this was "What good did come from him being bitten by the spider then?" My student answered with pretty much the same answer as Wikipedia does:
Immediately after the bite, he was granted his original powers: primarily superhuman strength, reflexes, and equilibrium; the ability to cling tenaciously to most surfaces; and a subconscious precognitive sense of danger, which he called a "spider-sense."
I suppose that's enough. :) But I guess that Spider-Man just had to use more ingenuity and engineering in the comic books than in the movie. After all:
Before the radioactive spider bite, Peter Parker was already a gifted academic student with considerable expertise in many fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, engineering, and advanced technology. Through these skills he was able to create his artificial web fluid, his web-shooters and other Spider-man equipment. His scientific knowledge has often been used to defeat his adversaries when his powers are not sufficient enough.

Easier said than done, movie Spidey.


More Words That Should Exist In English

Last year, I posted a couple of words that exist in other languages that could help make American English more concise. Reader's Digest did something similar last month!

Here are some of my favorites from their article:

Iktsuarpok, Inuit: To go outside to check if anyone is coming.

Jayus, Indonesian: A joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.

Tartle, Scottish: The act of hesitating while introducing someone because you've forgotten his name.

Cafune, Brazillian Portuguese: The act of tenderly running one's fingers through someone's hair.

Tingo, Pascuense, Easter Island: The act of taking objects one desires from the house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them.


Love it. These will come in handy on Twitter! Must save characters whenever possible!


Rap Lyrics Explained 3

Here's more from the book Understand Rap, Explanations of Confusing Rap Lyrics You & Your Grandma Can Understand.

This last explanation comes from the Puff Daddy & The Family song, "It's All About The Benjamins (Remix)":
My west coast shorty push the chrome 740

Meaning: "The female I associate with while I am spending time in California is driving a high-end BMW brand automobile, which I may have purchased for or loaned to her, and that has had a special coating applied to give it an extremely bright, silver, mirrorlike finish."
Want more? Click on the title to buy the book!


Rap Lyrics Explained 2

Here's more from the book Understand Rap, Explanations of Confusing Rap Lyrics You & Your Grandma Can Understand.

This explanation comes from the Dr. Dre song, "Forgot About Dre":
I was strapped wit' gats when you were cuddling a Cabbage Patch

Meaning: "When you were still a child and had no concerns other than playing with dolls in the comfort and safety of your home, I was carrying guns around to defend myself in my dangerous urban neighborhood."
Want more? Click on the title to buy the book!


Rap Lyrics Explained 1

My cousin always used to translate rap songs for me into layman's terms, so I was delighted when she got me the book Understand Rap, Explanations of Confusing Rap Lyrics You & Your Grandma Can Understand. I thought I would take the next couple of days to enlighten you with the info I got from this great book!

Today's explanation comes from the Fabolous song, "Throw It In The Bag":
Bag full of chips -- we ain't talkin' Ruffles

Meaning: "I have a bag that contains a large amount of paper money that I am describing by using a term that stems from the circular disks casinos use as in-house currency, clarifying that it is not a particular brand of thin crinkle-cut potato slices that you may have thought I was referring to."
Consider yourself that much more informed. :)


The Kings Of Leon Brothers

I had to look up the writers/performers of the Kings of Leon song "Use Somebody" for work, and was surprised to see that they all had the same last name. Sure enough, the 4 members of the band contain 3 brothers and their cousin; all members of the talented Followill family.

(Side note: they all go by their middle names and not their first!)

They don't give off the typical pop family-band image, but they could have been one marketing decision away from being one!

So close, yet so far away.


Why Doesn't Hello Kitty Have A Mouth?

According to sanrio.com (the company who makes Hello Kitty products):

Why doesn't Hello Kitty have a mouth?

Hello Kitty speaks from her heart. She’s Sanrio's ambassador to the world and isn't bound to any particular language.

But according to the host of the late-night QVC show I watched recently, there's an additional reason as well! The host said that Hello Kitty is more relatable to people when she isn't showing a set emotion. Without a mouth, she can appear to be feeling however the person playing with her is feeling.

I can see that. Imagine an emotion and look at Hello Kitty - she could be feeling that way, too.

Clever. :)


What Does "Bimonthly" Mean?

I know, I know, it sounds like a simple question... but I've heard it used to describe "twice per month" and "every other month". That can be a big difference!

Well, according to Merriam-Webster.com:
Bimonthly, adj:
1. occurring every two months
2. occurring twice a month
No wonder I'm confused when I hear something happens "bimonthly"! I guess you're supposed to tell the meaning by the context? The same goes for biweekly, biannually, etc.

As far as I can see, the word originally (1846) was supposed to mean "occurring every two months", hence the prefix "bi" (meaning "two, twice, double," etc.). I imagine that at some point people got confused when they heard "twice monthly" and started using it to mean twice per month, too. And you know how the English language works - enough people use a word (even if it's wrong) and that defines it.

In case you want to be "more" correct, you can try these alternatives for twice per month:
Fortnightly (since a "fortnight" is 14 days)


French Military Victories

This isn't so much "information" I learned; it's more something kind of funny I learned.

If you google search the phrase "French Military Victories" and click "I Feel Lucky", this is what you'll get:

That's a bit of a low-blow, but I guess history speaks for itself... :)


Good Thing Times Have Changed...!

Via Reader's Digest:
"In 19th-century Japan and China, 'talks too much' was one of seven reasons for which a man could divorce his wife"

Eeeek. What were the other 6 reasons, I wonder?