Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Anything someone says three times is not necessarily true.

In my last post, I showed you some startling (or perhaps not-so-startling) statistics -- one and a half sentences into a post and already I’m starting with the alliteration -- about cabbages wordiness in government documents.

Turns out I have helped to perpetuate a hoax.

Reader and first-time commenter Dan Thoms, a graphic designer who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, graciously supplied a link that exposes the truth of the matter.

This is the link.

As someone said, “Live and learn.”

Live and learn. Live and learn. Live and learn.

The Wikipedia article on cabbage contains 4,082 words. Here are some of them:

Cabbage is a popular cultivar of the species Brassica oleracea Linne (Capitata Group) of the Family Brassicaceae (or Cruciferae) and is used as a leafy green vegetable. [Editor’s note. Please notice that Wikipedia does not say that cabbage is a leafy green vegetable, only that it is used as a leafy green vegetable. Hmmmm. --RWP]

It is a herbaceous, biennial, dicotyledonous flowering plant distinguished by a short stem upon which is crowded a mass of leaves, usually green but in some varieties red or purplish, which while immature form a characteristic compact, globular cluster (cabbage head). [Editor’s note. I couldn’t have said it better myself. --RWP]

Cabbage was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans; Cato the Elder praised this vegetable for its medicinal properties, declaring that “It is the cabbage that surpasses all other vegetables.” [Editor’s note. Only he probably said something like “Brassica oleracea Linne alia vegetabilis surpassitorum est.” --RWP]

The largest cabbage dish ever made was on 19 December 2008 in the Macedonian city of Prilep, with 80,191 sarmas (cabbage rolls) weighing 544 kg (1,221 lbs). [Editor’s note. Evidently, them sarma had karma. --RWP]

In 1653, in a publication called A Complete Herbal, Nicholas Culpepper wrote, “Cabbages are extremely windy, whether you take them as meat or as medicine, as windy meat as can be eaten, unless you eat bag-pipes or bellows, and they are but seldom eaten in our days; and Colewort flowers are something more tolerable, and the wholesomer food of the two.” [Editor’s note. No comment. --RWP]

Boiled cabbage has become stigmatized because of its strong cooking odor and the fact that it causes flatulence. [Editor’s note. Ditto. --RWP]

In European folk medicine, cabbage leaves are used to treat acute inflammation. A paste of raw cabbage may be placed in a cabbage leaf and wrapped around the affected area to reduce discomfort. Some claim it is effective in relieving painfully engorged breasts in breastfeeding women. [Editor’s note. I’m only telling you what Wikipedia says. --RWP]

The top ten producers of cabbage and other brassicas as of June 2008 were People’s Republic of China (36,335,000 tons), India (5,283,200 tons), Russia (4,054,000 tons), South Korea (3,000,000 tons), Japan (2,390,000 tons), Poland (1,375,900 tons), Ukraine (1,300,000 tons), Indonesia (1,250,000 tons), United States (1,171,350 tons), and Romania (1,120,000 tons). Total cabbage production in the world in 2008 was 69,214,270 tons. [Editor’s note. Source: “Food And Agricultural Organization of United Nations: Economic And Social Department: The Statistical Division.” Food and Agriculture Organization. --RWP]

The time has come to close this post, and I will do so with a saying that was common in Texas fifty years ago:

“Two heads are better than one, as long as one of them is not a cabbage head.”


Putz said...

delightful, simply delightful post on cabbage, a most appealing vegatable<>>>now why don't you do a post on spinack

Carolina said...

Since I can only come up with a brilliant comment once a month, at the most, I can only say: gosh.

Emma_ps said...

I love your mind! or perhaps your thinking is a better response but you think with your mind so don't know what else to say really

Pat - Arkansas said...

I rather enjoyed the idea that gub'ment regulations on cabbage ran to almost 27,000 words. I wonder if anyone has counted the words in the IRS code? Hundreds of thousands would be my guess.

My brain must not have been fully charged as I read this post. I "get" the photo of the walruses in connection with cabbage, but not the following photos; part of a rebus? Perhaps it will come to me later.

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhymeswithplague said...

Putz, at the risk of repeating myself, see my next post.

Carolina, since I can only come up with a brilliant post once a month, at the most, I can only say, dankzij.

Emma, my mind at the moment is blank.

Pat, not a rebus. The Lewis Carroll poem with the line about cabbage is "The Walrus and the Carpenter" (emphasis mine), and since the only walrus photo I could find was in the plural, I made the carpenters plural as well. As for the bagpipe, re-read the paragraph beginning "In 1653..." very carefully.

Elizabeth, in the U.S. we greet information such as you have included in your comment with "T.M.I." (short for Too Much Information)!!! :)

Carolina said...

Dear Bob, that doesn't make sense at all. Dankzij? What did you want to say? Perhaps you've found a wrong translation?

rhymeswithplague said...

Carolina, I put in "thanks" to the translator, indicated that I wanted to translate it from English to Dutch, and got back this.

Katherine said...

"Wikipedia does not say that cabbage is a leafy green vegetable, only that it is used as a leafy green vegetable."

Perhaps someone who works at Wiki wishes to infiltrate some articles by re-writing parts in e-Prime?

rhymeswithplague said...

Elizabeth, I hope I didn't intimidate you with my reply. I did include three exclamation points and a happy face at the end, which were meant to indicate surprise (not dislike). It wasn't necessary to remove your comment.

Katherine, my thoughts ran along more frightening lines. Your E-prime guy might need to write "cabbage masquerades as a leafy green vegetable" (implying something more dire and perhaps even unspeakable, although I can't imagine what it would be).

Pat - Arkansas said...

:::slaps self on side of head::: Duh! My brain definitely was not in gear (carpenters). Duh, again.

My visitors (about whom I have posted nought) have departed; I am trying to get back to my normal routine, but have many, many, MANY blog posts still to read, and a few to write.

Later, gater.