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Monday, June 07, 2004

Fascinating Facts! Milk!

Things We Found Out Using The Web In Under An Hour

Here we go, as I run some facts past your eyes. Geddit? Oh, please yourselves. Now, normally at the start of any Fascinating Facts, we go into how the item was discovered, and the impact that it has had on the world. Now we've always wondered, who exactly was walking past a cow and saw that thing dangling under it and thought 'By jove, that looks like a riot! It'll give it a squeeze!' And then, not only that deciding to drink the outcome? One can only assume it was one of Traci Lord's or Marc Almond's ancestors.

Cows provide 90% of the world's milk supply. Goats supply 1.6%. What, my goodness, supplies the rest? Well, I have it on good authority that sheep's milk is a bland, slightly sweet fluid, and human use of buffalo, water buffalo and yak's milk is commonplace in the areas where these animals are found. Soya milk is quite common too, but goodness knows how you milk those tiny little beans. Probably very slowly, and with tweezers.

It is true that a glass of milk before you go to bed can help you sleep as it contains tryptophan, and this helps the body to switch off.

Alright, welcome to 'Eeeew! Central' It's time to put you off your milk forever! When cows are milked, there's sometimes a great deal of blood that comes out with the milk. This tainted milk can't be sold, so companies use it to make chocolate milk since cocoa hides the blood. Oh yes.

We love the famous 'Got Milk?' campaign in America: it shows various lovely foxy boys with a foamy white top lip (step forward David Boreanaz with your smeared mouth. Please). I gather they wouldn't be too happy to learn that the milk moustache is actually a creamy layer of mucus, live bacteria, and pus that floats to the top of the glass. Yum.

Moloko means milk in Russian. I'll forgive if you skimmed past that one, though. Ay-than'-kew!

Ernie The Fastest Milkman in The West was the tragic tale of Ernie and his gold tops by perennial bald-man-slapping favourite Benny Hill. It reached the dizzy heights of number one in the UK singles chart in 1971, and a jolly good romp it was too. The idea of slap-and-tickle hanky-panky between bored housewives and randy milkymen has been a common theme for a good hundred years though, with some of the first films featuring hard-core pornography presented an unending line of travelling salesmen, icemen, repairmen, handymen, milkmen and grocery boys visiting lonely, frustrated women in their homes to 'deliver' their 'wares'. Even physicians made house calls to administer 'Dr. Hardon's Injections' - though office visits to doctors and dentists led to the same end, as it where. As these were silent pictures, you never got to hear the lady say to the dentist 'Go on - put your tool in my mouth' but as a bonus, you may have got a nice man playing with his organ in the front row - very much like the last time we went to see The Mummy Returns at a late night showing, really. Happy days.

Milk is bleached to give it that lovely white colour.

In 1852 it is said Disraeli delivered his budget speech to the House of Commons with a glass of milk. It is unclear whether he was drinking the milk at the same time, as in the style of "gottle of gear, gottle of gear - up twelve gercent!" but we'd like to think so.

Jokes about former Prime Ministers shows how cultured we are, doesn't it? Aha! Oh, alright. Next!

Time for some more Gay Maths. There are approximately 25000 herds of cows in Great Britain at the moment, comprising of typically 80 cows in a herd, producing 20 litres per day over about two milking sessions for 300 days in the year. Meaning that there are 4 million litres of milk produced daily. If Kylie was really a pint-sized pop star, cows could produce 7,040,000 pint-Kylies a day. This is far more efficient than the traditional method of producing Kylies (having a paper shop clone her, exiting, dropping her washing, going around in a circle, meeting a clone and picking up her washing) which takes four minutes three seconds to produce a total of five. To get the same amount of Kylies as the cows produce in 24 hours would take the washing-dropping cloning method 95040 hours. Or enabling the cows to hum the whole of the album Fever roughly 125373 times.

There are unique links between cows and music. 1) it is proven that most cows give more milk when they listen to music. 2) Barbra Streisand.

I shall now credit the Americans with a unique piece of ingenuity. In 1943, the New York Times reported that - horror of horrors - US airmen couldn't get a regular supply of ice cream. Ah, but they could get fresh milk, so what they did was built a special canister for the milk and attached it to the tail gunner's compartment of the plane. The plane's vibrations plus the icy temperatures at the high altitudes of a normal mission turned the mixture into a creamy dessert by the time they got back to base. Rare genius.

Camel's milk does not curdle.

More proof that ants are going to take over the world eventually: they too keep 'cows', and even build tiny barns of leaves for them. The cows are aphids, or plant lice. The ants milk the cows by stroking them on their backs with their antennae, giving them a sweet, clear milk called honeydew that's fine with the fish, but I wouldn't have it with the red meat if I were you, sir.

New Favourite Thing! Milkman jokes!
'Early one morning, a milkman is doing his rounds. He goes up to one of the houses and knocks on the door to collect the milk money. A small boy answers the door smoking a huge Havannah cigar, swigging from a bottle of lager, his arm around what appears to be a call girl. The milkman looks at the small boy and asks, "Is your mum or dad in?" The little lad replies, "Does it fucking look like it?"'

Milk paint! We're not making this up! Milk used to be the main ingredient in paint, and the formula can be dated back to Ancient Egypt. Up until the middle 1800's paint was not sold commercially. People made their own containing milk protein, quicklime and earth pigments, and giving a variety of colours from browns to greens. It's also incredibly durable and many examples still exist that are hundreds of years old and whose finish is just as true as the day the paint was applied.

More milk colour oddness: feeding a baby hedgehog on a goat's milk solution turns its droppings from the normal green to light blue. Oh, and yak's milk is pink. We just thought you'd like to know. I would carry on along these lines, but I've realised that I'm just milking it.

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