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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 2, 2005 / 23 Nisan, 5765

What's up with microwave popcorn bags?; how did polka dots get their name?; how far is a ‘click’?

By Jeff Elder


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: Why does it make any difference which side of a microwave popcorn bag is "up" when you put it in the microwave? — Bill Giduz

A: Bill, `member the early days of microwave popcorn?

Even if you programmed the oven perfectly, punched in the right time, cheered along with each pop and yanked the bag at the poptimum moment, half the kernels would STILL be unmotivated.

The bag came out looking like a beanbag chair the dogs had got a hold of.

Why?

Those old bags didn't heat up fast enough or stay hot long enough. The only thing in those old bags to "catch" the microwaves was the oil and kernels. See, microwaves need something to sort of grab them. They can't just heat the air.

Nowadays, there's a heater-helper inside each bag. The bag needs to go in the oven a certain side up so this patch of carbon-like material can do its job. (You can see the patch — it's a little darker than the rest of the bag.) The patch is under the oil and kernels. It heats up fast and stays hot. So it gets things poppin'. And more importantly, the patch, which faces up, keeps the temperature high by "catching" those microwaves. So stubborn kernels will pop — even after the sizzlin' oil has slipped away.

Think microwave popcorn hasn't made an impact on our country? It's the No. 1 product made specifically for microwaves.

Great thanks to Garry Smith, president of Jolly Time Popcorn, for his help with this column. His great-granddad started the Sioux City, Iowa, outfit in 1914, and Garry's the fourth generation to run it.

Just like his pop, and before him his pop, and before him ...

Did you know microwave popcorn was invented before the microwave oven?

Well, kinda.

Perry Spencer, an engineer with Raytheon, was working with a magnetron tube just after World War II. He took out a candy bar for a snack, and the high-voltage system melted it. So Spencer placed some popcorn kernels near the tube. Within minutes, he had cooked up the first batch of microwave popcorn. And this helped lead to ...

NO, not a fancy new kind of s'mores! The invention of the microwave oven, which relies on the magnetron tube to zap stuff.


Q: How did polka dots get their name? — Big Dog

A: Big (Mr. Big?), back in the '50s young people were jumpin' around to a real cool new dance music. It used loud new contraptions and upbeat tempos. The proper adults shook their gray heads. But what could they do? It was a nation-sweeping fad that had young 'uns itching like a man on a fuzzy tree, as Elvis said.

Except this wasn't the 1950s. It was the 1850s.

The polka craze spanned a lot of the 19th century. Americans just couldn't get enough of that music, accordion to experts. And marketers squeezed their share out of it, too.

There were polka hats and polka socks. And most of all, there were polka dots.

(How'd Dr. Seuss get in here?)

The term polka dots survived, experts have surmised, because it conveys a regular pattern.

Think about it. The phrase says so much more than just "dots."

I probably shouldn't admit this, but I kinda like accordions. If nothing else, they're elaborate contraptions. Not everyone can be saxophone cool. Some of us have to be dorky and fun.


Q: How far is a "click" in distance? (As in military terminology.) — Jo Robbins and family

A: A click is a kilometer, Jo and family. So about 0.6 miles. And your question reminds me of my time with Stars and Stripes overseas. Hey to everybody over there!

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Elder is a columnist for The Charlotte Observer. Comment or try to stump him by clicking here. If you send him a great question, he'll send you a Glad You Asked T-shirt.

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