Between our books, magazine, and classes, we at Catapult interact with so many people and topics that it’s impossible not to constantly learn new things. Because we’re people people, we figured we’d share the love and tell you about some of the most interesting things we’ve stumbled across in our work.
Julie Buntin, Director of Writing Programs; Associate Editor, Books
In the process of ordering snacks for an office shindig, I learned that Bugles are weirdly expensive as far as snack foods go, and also that caramel Bugles have very very passionate reviews on Amazon.
Megha Majumdar, Assistant Editor
From a manuscript: In Mexico, people may refer to lifeboats as "tangerines," because of the bright orange color.
Mensah Demary, Editor, Web
While editing Catherine Lasota’s 15 Minutes with Gabriel , that Christmas trees sold on the east coast originate mainly from North Carolina. They’re Fraser firs. Who knew?
Casey Gonzalez, Associate Editor, Black Balloon; Assistant to Publisher
At one of our staff lunches, Andy told us that octopuses decorate their homes. It’s a fact that continues to delight and haunt me. I love takoyaki. And I love home decor. I’ve cut down my octopus consumption and aspire to be octopus-free in the coming year. Now, when attending to my home, I feel like a large and fastidious cephalopod.
Jonathan Lee, Senior Editor
While editing Dorthe Nors’s essay , I learned that the word “wiener” began its life as a shortening of wienerwurst, from the German Wiener (“of Vienna”) + Wurst (“sausage”). Around 1910, pejorative associations to “wiener” began developing in America on account of the sausage of Vienna’s penis-like shape.
Colin Drohan, Writing Programs Assistant
One Friday, I learned that there are $55 dollar flights from New York to Bermuda for lots of dates this fall . . .
Allie Wuest, Social Media Editor; Editorial Assistant, Web
After we published Hair in War by Jessica Miller, I ended up (somewhat accidentally) researching the history of hair bleach. I learned that during the early years of the Roman Empire, prostitutes were required to have yellow hair, which they dyed using the ashes of burnt plants . Eventually my googling led me to Jean Harlow , whose hair stylist mixed Clorox, peroxide, and ammonia to get her signature platinum. All of this has made me more grateful than ever for Ricky’s and Manic Panic.
Trevor Ketner, Publishing Intern
In looking for a list of dead eighties celebrities (don’t ask) I learned for the first time about the existence of The Two Coreys (Feldman and Haim), which made one member of Catapult’s staff feel old. (Sorry, Andy!) I also learned that you did NOT want to be an eighties/nineties child star. Things tended to end badly.
Natalie Degraffinried, Marketing and Publicity Assistant
While reading Jane Alison's Nine Island , I was sent to look up the etymology of the word “manatee.” (“Manatee = mermaid = siren. Look it up.”) I found out that the meanings for both manatee and dugong are related to mermaids—I also realized that a dugong is an actual animal outside of the Pokémon universe. A terrifying animal.
Yuka Igarashi, Editor in Chief, Web
Every day I feel rich in trivia. Recently I’ve loved learning about Quakers in Queens and also how to catch a shoplifter . The Magpie always tells me something I didn’t know about New York. One favorite thing I’ve come across while doing my job (editing Lucas Hunt's auctioneering school diary) is this clip from a 1977 Werner Herzog film. Guy in the plaid shirt at 0:35 .