The trade mark hairdo of Moe Howard from The Three Stooges was an economical way of trimming hair at home during the Great Depression. The fab four took it further. When the Beatles arrived stateside
in 1964 with new drummer Ringo Starr
TIME magazine described his hair as the "mushroom" cut. A few decades on and adults adopting the style was often shorthand for imbecility or mental disturbances. Jim Carrey sported a bowl cut in 1994's Dumb and Dumber. So did Javier Bardem, as philosophical hitman Anton Chigurh, in No Country for Old Men.
These days the bowl cut has been used in memes advocating far-right and white supremacist beliefs after Dylann Roof was seen with the cut following his 2015 mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. In 2019, the Anti-Defamation League added the bowl cut to its list of hate symbols. It's a rather ignoble fate for what was once simply a silly haircut. (Via Mental Floss)
A reader writes: "Way back in the late 1960s my sister, a friend and I had been farewelling friends off for a mini OE, leaving Wellington for Australia on the Southern Cross liner. After the ship left we decided to have a meal before going home. Dining options in Wellington were pretty limited in those days so we chose "The Shanghai" which had basic Chinese food. We'd almost finished our main and were thinking about dessert when I suddenly had to cough – I thought "I'll just finish this mouthful", but no! Before I knew it, I'd sprayed my friend sitting opposite with chicken curry and rice all over her face and through her long blonde hair. We all started laughing, thoughts of dessert forgotten. The waiter was not impressed and hurried us along with 'thank you ladies, good night, goodnight'. "
War of words
There's a war raging on the internet over how you pronounce emu. Americans tend to pronounce the bird's name as, ee-moo, and National Public Radio declared it an acceptable pronunciation. However, Australians did not take kindly to the action, as they pronounce it ee-mew. It's the difference in the words moot and mute. The Guardian stepped into the middle to declare both wrong. The Portuguese word "ema" was originally used to refer to a cassowary, and may be based on an Arabic word meaning "big bird". The word was likely brought to Australasia by early colonial explorers. Nick Enfield, a professor of linguistics at the University of Sydney, said: "This is pretty typical of English which is just absolutely chock-full of words that are borrowed from languages from all over the world. We mangle it to a more comfortable pronunciation for our own language and, you know, then just takes off."
"My daughters three children have been very good at finding things to keep themselves amused during lockdown," writes Lynn Patton. "At the moment there are three jars around the house each containing ants carefully collected by its respective owner. All was well until yesterday when there was great commotion, crying and finger pointing. Pre-schooler maintains big sister had stolen 2 of his ants!"