Category Archives: Culture


First Full-Length Animated Disney Movie?

On December 21st, 1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs graced the Carthay Circle Theatre before being released nationally on February 4th, 1938. During this first release it earned 8 million dollars, taking the record for the highest grossing film with sound at the time. Since then it has been re-released in theaters multiple times until 1990 where it was released on VHS tape* for all to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes.

*For those of you unaware, VHS tapes are were what we used before we had your fancy DVDs and Netflix. Back when Blockbusters were everywhere instead of just in our distant memories, and we had to rewind the tape if we wanted to watch it again.

snow white

Snow White also spawned many memorable quotes, such as the phrase “Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Which is actually a misquote, as the real line from the movie is “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” And the very popular trope of ‘poison apples’ seen in a variety of other fantasy stories.

Not only was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Disney’s first animated movie, but the first animated full length film with color and sound in general, since before it came out animation was usually only used for shorts.

The Disney tale has had other adaptations as well as other entertainment based off of it and other fairy tales, such as Once Upon A Time and Ever After High, these shows being just two of the examples spawned from the Disney versions of the stories.

Snow White also spawned many memorable quotes, such as the phrase “Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Which is actually a misquote, as the real line from the movie is “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” And the very popular trope of ‘poison apples’ seen in a variety of other fantasy stories.

Not only was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Disney’s first animated movie, but the first animated full length film with color and sound in general, since before it came out animation was usually only used for shorts.


Community Playground started?

The wealthy frequently had outdoor spaces set aside for their children to play, at least as early as the beginning of the 1800s. Not long after that Friedrich Ludwig Jahn started a gymnastics movement in Germany. It became very popular and people began putting outdoor gymnastic equipment in the children’s play areas. This sounds like it fit the parents’ idea of what an outdoor play area should be more than it fit a child’s, but if the equipment could be climbed on, it was still probably all good.

Friedrich Fröbel

Another German, Friedrich Fröbel created the concept of kindergarten. In the mid 18800s, as part of the educational play he promoted, he brought the sandbox into his schools. The popularity of having play areas set aside at schools spread through Germany but the first public playground was built in Manchester, England in 1859.

In the 1850s in the US, Frederick Olmstead and Calvert Vaux were designing New York City’s Central Park. They set aside one hill as a place for boys to climb, but that was the extent of the “child-friendly” part of the park. The city was already changing. Its population was growing, immigrants were moving in. They didn’t go to the park, they played in the streets and vacant lots near their homes.

A Tenement House Committee was formed to study the problem in 1889. As a result, the Brooklyn Society for Parks and Playgrounds was formed.It was described as a moral movement – perhaps playthings for children to keep their idle hands from becoming the devil’s playthings.

The earliest had sandboxes and slides plus an open area for sports and they were popular, Boston went from one sandbox playground in 1885 to 11 by 1887.

In 1895 New York made a law saying, “Hereafter no school house shall be constructed in the City of New York without an open–air playground attached to or used in connection with the same.” The first two in the city were located at 69th Street and Broadway.


And 95th Street and Amsterdam. Not much play area there now! Well, maybe if you think you’re Frogger. (We don’t recommend that.)

95th amsterdam

They were only open after school hours.

In 1897, the city wanted to build more playgrounds and have specially trained recreation specialists who would direct the physical energies of the children to good outcomes. Activities included marching, singing, drills, folk dancing, climbing on the equipment, arts and crafts, and basketball.

Between 1903 and 1905 nine new parks opened in Manhattan alone. By 1908 there were eleven playgrounds in Manhattan and five in Brooklyn.

Playgrounds have become an expected part of all parks now. In England after World War II they would upcycle junk in the playgrounds for kids to play with. Now it’s all smooth plastic with short slides over soft tire mulch. Seesaws and monkey bars have dropped in popularity because they’re considered too dangerous. But, really, isn’t that what made them great?

lizard on rock

Facebook Started?

Facebook was founded February fourth, 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. At first it was only for Harvard students before expanding to other Ivy league schools, growing and adding more schools and then corporations until finally in September 2006, it was open to everyone.

Facebook is a social site much like the once popular Myspace, though once Facebook was launched to the public everyone herded onto the new, fresh site and left their old accounts on Myspace to collect dust. Mostly, Facebook is used to catch up with lost friends that only about ten percent of the time you actually wanted to keep in touch with, the other ninety being those people from High School you never cared if you’d see again, or better yet never wanted to see again, but still accept their friend requests to fool yourself into thinking you actually want to connect with these people. In the end you never speak to these people, but maybe groan at their terrible opinions or ignore their multiple requests for a flash game about farming or candy.

While being a nice social website that allows you to connect with Family members who barely know how to use a computer, or friends from elementary school whose name you forgot (but don’t worry they remembered your’s) it has the added bonus of time consuming games based off of popular TV shows, movies, books and then just games made to waste time and occasionally make you pay five dollars to get the special in-game currency.

Facebook also seems to know us better than we know ourselves, deciding that we want to see the most active, commented on or liked posts on our feed instead of the most recent, since actually seeing what is currently going on in people’s lives is just not possible, instead we need to look at this cute photo of a teacup pig from 2010, or a friend’s status made three weeks ago with a long argument over cheese in the comments.


First Oscar Award Ceremony?

The very first Academy Awards (Oscar) ceremony was on May 16, 1929. The presentation ceremony lasted 15 minutes. Movies from 1927 and 1928 were eligible.

Wings (1927) won best picture. It was a silent movie set in World War I, combining action and romance with a little nudity and the first same sex onscreen kiss.


Wishbone First Used to Make Wishes?

People have been making wishes on a wishbone (the furcula, the v-shaped clavicle of a bird) for at least 2,400 years.


The custom began with the Etruscans, people who lived in what is now Italy, between the Tiber and Arno Rivers. They believed that fowl could tell the future. They would draw a circle on the ground, divide it into 24 segments (for the letters of their alphabet), and scatter corn in the circle. The order of the letters selected by corn pecking would give them a message that was interpreted by the priests.

When one of the sacred birds died, it’s wishbone would be saved and dried. Wishes would be made while stroking the bone. The Romans adopted this superstition because there wasn’t anyone on tumblr back then to complain about cultural appropriation.

The Romans brought the tradition to Britain. At some point after stealing it from one culture and before imposing it on another, they began having two people each tug on a side to break the bone, with good luck (a granted wish) going to the one holding the larger part.

The wishbone, or merrythought, as it was also called, was a well-established ritual by the time the Pilgrims came to America. According to tradition, wishes were made on wishbones during the first Thanksgiving in 1621.

It has been speculated that the furcula was chosen as the bone that would carry the mystic powers of the bird because the forked shape reminded them of the human crotch. Or maybe the priests thought, one wishbone per bird = market scarcity = higher prices.

santa pigs

Story of Winston the Christmas Whale Started?

The story of Winston the Whale dates back to the 1800’s, where young children would ask of the merfolk, who were once well acquainted with the land dwellers. The merfolk then told them what they tell their young: The story of Winston the Whale.

Winston’s story is a bit long, but the shortened version is that while the reindeer could fly, they could not swim, and Santa had no way to take the gifts to the merfolk. As he sat on the beach worried for those young mer-children and how sad they would be finding no presents left for them, a whale arose a short distance from the shore, asking what ailed Santa so. Once explained, Winston offered to help, but he could not hold his breath forever. Santa accepted, and with the help of magic, he was able to hold his breath twice as long! He would store the gifts, in his mouth as Santa, who could in fact breath underwater himself, rode him to deliver the mer-children’s gifts.

Today, Winston is still a well known figure for Christmas, bringing ocean themed gifts to the children of the land every year.

Also to good little piglets, because let’s face it, they’re all way cuter than most human children.


House Cat Domesticated?

Have they been domesticated? I’ve had several cats during my life (I now live with three) and they all varied in the amount of what I would consider domestication. They all have seemed quite happy to have us around while still maintaining an air of being willing to do without us if we lost our usefulness.

Scientists from archaeologists to geneticists are looking for information that will help give us a better idea of when was the time that cats decided we were worth keeping around. They think that cats have been living with us for at least 9,000 or 10,000 years. Until recently there wasn’t much known about how cats went from kind of, sort of, living with us to cult worship status in Egypt 4,000 years ago.

A 9,500 year old co-burial site with a person and a wild cat was found in Cyprus. In the same area they have also found a sculpted head of what looks like a part cat/part human creature.

Results of a study was published in 2013 that showed that, more recently, cats were living with people in a Neolithic farming village of Quanhucun, China (about 5,300 years ago). If cats weren’t domesticated at that point, at least they were living in a symbiotic relationship with us – eating the vermin that were eating the grain stored by the farmers.

Within the next thousand years they definitely became pets – there’s a picture of a cat with a collar in an Egyptian tomb from around 2500-2350 BC and by 1976-1793 BC they were showing up frequently in Egyptian art.

Read or listen to a fictional story about how cats came to live with people, “The Cat Who Walked by Himself” by Rudyard Kipling.

Find out about different cat breeds.

Thinking about adopting a pet? Search for U.S. animal shelter pets to adopt.