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MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Is A Watch A Watch?

Chances are, if you were to look at your wrist right now, you’d see a watch on it. But why is that thing called a watch? I mean, do you have to watch a watch any more than you would a clock? Why not call it a “wrist-clock”? Why “watch”?

Well, according to the dictionary, the word “watch” has the same Old English etymology as the words “wake” & “awaken”. So, were the first watches alarm clocks? Obviously not. But, word historians speculate that “watch” is also derived from another Old English word that meant “to keep vigil”. And they say that the naming of our wrist clock actually had more to do with the fact that the timepieces were originally carried by night watchmen (who kept watch).

With that said, however, there’s another more fascinating (even if unverifiable) origin story for why we call a watch a watch. Back when watches were first introduced, clocks had no hour or minute hands. Instead, clocks just struck on the hour, meaning time was told strictly by auditory signal. (In fact, the word “clock” actually comes from the Latin word “cloca”, which means “bell”.) So, when watches came about, sporting both hour & minute hands, you had to literally “watch” your watch to figure out what time it was.

So that’s why a watch is a watch (even though I kind of like the sound of “wrist clock”…even if it is slightly wordier).

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at andy@wfre.com.

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MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Grocery Stores Vs. Supermarkets

Ever wondered what separates a grocery store from a supermarket? Are there even any real differences? Well, actually…yes, there are!

Grocery stores have been around a lot longer than supermarkets. Back in the day, when most towns had a bakery, a butcher shop, and a grocery, the grocery store offered townsfolk an efficient way to shop for a variety of foods, all in one convenient place. Back then, your grocer would usually collect your goods for you, too, which you’ve probably seen portrayed in old movies or TV shows, where a customer hands over a shopping list to the person behind the counter & they go get the goods for him or her. Today’s grocery stores may not be quite as personal now, but modern grocery store selections are pretty much still the same: food, beverages, and some household products.

A supermarket, on the other hand, epitomizes the idea of a “one-stop shop”, with a much broader array of foodstuffs than grocery stores, as well as home goods, clothing, baby products, appliances, and more. Also, a supermarket is usually part of a large chain & orders its inventory in bulk, whereas a grocery store orders products as needed & is often independently owned.

Then, there are the superstores, which are much larger than either grocery stores or supermarkets & regularly look more like warehouses (think Costco or Sam’s Club). But, depending on what items you need to pick up on the way home, at least you now know whether you’d be better off shopping at your local grocery store or the nearest supermarket (since now you know which is which).

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at andy@wfre.com.

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MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why People Drink Mint Juleps For The Kentucky Derby

Whether you enjoyed the race with us at Longshots, or you just put on an extravagant hat in the comfort of your own home, chances are that, if you watched the Kentucky Derby this year, you probably sipped a refreshing mint julep at some point. But, why is the mint julep the official Kentucky Derby race day beverage?

For the uninitiated, the mint julep cocktail is traditionally made up of bourbon, sugar, water, and mint. It’s been a favorite in Kentucky since long before Churchill Downs came into being. In fact, in 1816, silver julep cups were given as prizes at Kentucky county fairs. (The stuffed animals they offer today are a huge downgrade if you ask me). Before that, a “julep” was considered a medicinal tonic that was “prescribed” for stomach problems & sore throats.

It’s said that the Kentucky Derby’s founder, Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., planted mint for cocktails when he founded the track in 1875, so mint juleps have likely been enjoyed there since the beginning. But it wasn’t until 1938 that the cocktail was declared the “official” Derby drink. And, it was only a few years ago that the Derby actually switched to a more “authentic” version of the mint julep. For nearly twenty years, the mint juleps served at the races were made with Early Times alcohol. Because of the aging process, Early Times isn’t actually considered bourbon, just “Kentucky whisky”. So, they switched to Old Forester, (actual bourbon, by definition) in 2015.

Even with the switch to “genuine” bourbon, what most race-goers really get is the Old Forester Ready-to-Serve Cocktail mix, not a handcrafted mint julep. You only get the real thing if you’re willing to plop down $1000 for the special version of the drink, made with small batch Woodford Reserve bourbon. Sure, it may set you back a grand, but hey, at least you get to keep the pewter cup it comes in, right? Plus, proceeds benefit the Project to Protect African American Turf History, a nonprofit that preserves the history of Black jockeys & tells their stories. (Oh, and there’s also a $2500 version of the drink which comes in a gold cup with a silver sipping straw…but, if you’re like me, you’re just fine with the ol’ “ready-to-serve” cocktail in a plastic cup & thousands of bucks left safely in your pocket.)

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at andy@wfre.com.

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Andy Webb, a 25-year Radio entertainer & content creator, is the new Program Director for 99.9 WFRE & host of “The Free Country Free Ride” weekday afternoons from 3pm-7pm.

From his very first job in 1995, in his hometown of Meridian, MS, Radio has been the only occupation Andy’s ever known; from the age of reel-to-reel tape to today’s digital audio, he worked his way up through late-night air shifts all the way up to morning drive. Always an eager student of Radio, Andy has used every opportunity to hone his skills and personality into an affable mixture of humor and gravitas listeners can instantly identify with & latch onto. He’s been featured across many formats, including Country, Classic Rock, Adult Contemporary, Hot AC, Southern Gospel, and even Urban AC; and, as a testament to his talents and commitment to fun-yet-informative radio, Andy was awarded the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters“Radio Personality of the Year” award four out of five years between 2006 and 2011.

While having attended The University of Southern Mississippi on an Opera Performance scholarship, Andy always followed the path Radio set before him, which has taken him from Meridian to Hattiesburg, MS, to Charleston, SC, and now Frederick, MD. Andy enjoys spending time with his wife, Emma (a fellow Broadcaster), and daughter, Isabel, while also spending his infrequent free time golfing, wood-working, an motorcycle riding.

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