A hodgepodge of wrong names, hidden cakes, and runaway flamingos

Published 3:19 pm Friday, April 1, 2022

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Some weeks, it feels like my mind is all over the place. It’s sort of like my brain is a buffet and I’m just sampling everything on the spread. I’m sure I’m not the only one who experiences this on occasion.

This week’s column is going to be a bit like that too. Just a smorgasbord of different things happening (mostly from NPR articles) that I thought were interesting, but not enough to write several hundred words about just one of them.

Firstly, basketball! It’s been a tough week for NC State fans like me. The women’s team was having a stellar season and a spectacular run to the Final Four of the tournament, but they fell short in a double overtime game against UCONN earlier this week. It was disappointing that we aren’t going to get to see them play anymore this season. And on top of that, it kind of looks like the men’s team is imploding, with another player announcing a hop through the “transfer portal” this week. I guess it’s time for me to start paying attention to baseball now for the next few months…

Of course, the biggest topic of conversation this past week was what happened at The Oscars. But I’m not going to toss in my two cents here about slapping people who tell jokes in poor taste. Rather, I think one of the more interesting things about the award show, which got overlooked, was Troy Kotsur’s win for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, for his role in the movie “CODA.” Kotsur is the first deaf man to win an Academy Award. (Marlee Matlin, who coincidentally costarred in this film with him, was the first deaf lady to win, back in 1987.)

Like many of the films featured at the Oscars, CODA isn’t one I’ve seen yet, but it seems like it would be an interesting watch. The story is about a hearing child of deaf parents who has aspirations of becoming a singer. Kotsur portrays the father in the film. Kotsur has had a long acting career, appearing on both television and Broadway. Just last week I was writing about opportunities for people with disabilities, so it is fantastic to see another example of that same kind of success with Kotsur’s win.

Next: isn’t it a little bit embarrassing to learn you’ve been calling something by the wrong name for a long time? Well apparently, we’ve all been calling the ancient city Machu Picchu by the wrong name for over 100 years. Historian Donato Amado Gonzalez and archeologist Brian Bauer worked together to dig into centuries of documents to reveal that the locals called the famous Incan city in Peru “Huayna Picchu” instead of the one we use today.

The miscommunication supposedly happened when two different guides leading explorer Hiram Bingham to the city in 1911 gave him two different names for it: Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu. Somehow, the incorrect name was the one that stuck. After so many years of the world calling it “Machu Picchu,” however, it’s doubtful anyone’s going to change it back now. Besides, there are no inhabitants of the old Huayna Picchu around anymore to complain about it.

I’ve just learned this week that Netflix has a new game show out called “Is it cake?” Unsurprisingly, the show features bakers who are challenged each episode to create a cake that’s indistinguishable from a real item. (For example, could you spot a bucket hat-shaped cake amidst an assortment of real bucket hats?)

I don’t have Netflix myself, so I won’t be watching, but I do find it entertaining that this is basically the “everything is cake” meme from a few years ago. (If you remember, I even wrote a column about the silly trend, which was based on a video of a person slicing into several everyday objects only to reveal they’re actually just cake in disguise.)

Reading about the “Is it cake?” show actually reminded me of a funny bit from a Japanese game show from a couple years ago. The celebrities featured in the episode were trying to discover which of the items in the room had been replaced with chocolate or candy. My favorite part was when singer/actor Nagase Tomoya cautiously bit into a door handle, but a moment later, his whole face lit up with excitement as he realized it actually was chocolate. Sometimes the silliest things end up on TV.

Lastly, did you know an escapee from a zoo in Kansas has been on the run for nearly 17 years? The runaway flamingo, nicknamed Pink Floyd, was spotted on the coast of Texas this month. The flamingo was identified by the numbered band on his leg. (Because how else would they know it was the same one who flew the coop back in 2005!) Over the years, Pink Floyd has reportedly been spotted traveling through Arkansas, Louisiana, and Wisconsin. That’s a lot of mileage for a free-range flamingo!

That was just a taste of a few interesting things happening in the world. Hope you enjoyed this hodgepodge of information!

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at holly.taylor@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7206.