Monday, April 27, 2009


by Gina Sestak

Does anybody else remember Sidney J. Harris? He was a newspaper columnist many years ago who would sometimes write about "things I learned while looking up other things." I felt a kinship with him while preparing this post because, while I never did find the information I was looking for, I did find some other strange and interesting tidbits.

I had intended to write about charity walks, a subject fresh in my mind because I spend part of Sunday morning walking to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. It was one of those events in which volunteers walk/run/bike/grow beards/sit in an imitation jail cell, or engage in some other activity wholey unrelated to the sponsoring charity. This behavior is supposed to motivate other people to contribute money. Oddly enough, it works.

I started to wonder, though, where this idea originated. Who came up with it?

I turned to the internet and tried searching "Origin of Charity Walks." After a few hours, I had no idea how the charity walk idea originated. I did, however, find that this query will bring up such disparate information as Origin of Providence Hospital as an Insane Asylum: and Wyandot Popcorn Museum:

My favorite, though, was the Detroit Zombie Walk, which collected 1,018 pounds of nonperishable food. I couldn't help but wonder who accepted that food though, since the same web page proclaims, "Brains are yummy."

How about you? What strange and interesting things have you learned while looking up other things?


Tory said...

Yesterday I was looking up lyrics for a traditional English Mayday song called, "Hal-an-Tow." What I found was that when I googled "Hal an Tow lyrics" I got 16,000 hits! Who would have thunk?

Our newest Pittsburgh Morris team, Whiskey Rebellion, will be getting up before dawn on Friday and dancing the sun up in Oakland. Anyone interested is welcome to join us!

"We dance the sun up so you don't have to."

Joyce Tremel said...

I can't think of anything interesting in particular, but I could spend hours and hours researching subjects. I get started on one topic, then three hours later I don't even remember what I looked up in the first place.

Tory, if the sun stays hidden (ie, cloudy and rainy) on Friday, I'm blaming it on your dance group. If you're responsible for this heat wave, I thank you.

Annette said...

I did a couple of charity walks last fall. I don't know where the idea originated, but it seems like there's a walk benefitting everything from breast cancer to in-grown toenail research these days.

The one walk I went on actually was a fund raiser to maintain the walking trail we were using. That made entirely too much sense.

Gina said...

Tory -
Where in Oakland will the sun up dancing take place? That sound like the kind of thing I'd like to experience - as long as I can still get to work by 8:30.
- Gina