Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Apple #652: Presidential Turkey Pardon

So, you know that bit of tom-foolery (pun) where the President "pardons" a turkey so it won't get killed and eaten for his Thanksgiving dinner?  Everybody says that's such a tradition, and isn't it clever and also humane, and there's all this ceremony around it.

Barack Obama pardoning the turkey -- or is he blessing it?
(Photo from

Well, as traditions go it isn't that old, and in my opinion, it's kind of dumb.  Here are the facts:
  • People have presented turkeys to the White House for a long time, this is true.  The National Turkey Federation has donated turkeys to the WH each year since 1947. But the first 2 Presidents to receive their donation from this group (Harry S Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower) didn't "pardon" the turkeys at all.  They said thank you and ate them.
  • JFK did not "pardon" any donated turkeys, either.  He did say of one that it wasn't big enough so it should be sent back to the farm: "We'll just let this one grow."  Which suggests that after it's had time to grow some more, then we'll eat it.  News reports used the word "pardon," but JFK did not.

Nobody talks much about LBJ's turkey.  I have the feeling that's because it went quietly onto his table.
(Photo from Corbis at Bon Appetit)

  • Ronald Reagan was actually the first President to use the word "pardon" in reference to the donated turkey.  But he wasn't even saying anything like, "I hearby pardon this turkey which has been donated...."  Nope.  He was in the middle of being grilled about the Iran-Contra scandal.  When he was asked if he would pardon Lt. Col. Oliver North and ex-national security advisor John Poindexter, Reagan dodged the question by saying if that year's donated turkey had not already been destined for a petting zoo, "I would have pardoned him."
  • Not sure how that could have satisfied the reporters, but politicians are good at dodging questions.

Ronald Reagan and his helpful press conference prop, the turkey.
(Photo from All This Is That)

  • The first President who used the official pardon in reference to a turkey was George H. W. Bush (the first George Bush).  This was in 1989.  At the turkey press conference -- a function which had started to become an annual thing -- GHWB said of the turkey he had been presented, “Let me assure this fine tom he will not end up on anyone's dinner table. Not this guy. He's been granted a presidential pardon as of right now, allowing him to live out his days on a farm not far from here.”

GHWB and his officially pardoned turkey.
(Photo from Getty at Bon Appetit)

  • Every year since, the sitting President has followed GHWB's lead and said he was "pardoning" the donated turkey.
  • But the turkeys that are donated are raised specifically to be eaten.  That is, they're bred to be enormous, nearly 3x the size of their wild-turkey-relatives.  They're raised to be so large that their skeletons can't even support their own weight.  They suffer all sorts of medical maladies due to our now-typical turkey-to-table breeding practices.
  • As a result, nearly all the turkeys that are pardoned die within a year of the pardon anyway.
  • Finally, the true Presidential pardon exists to exonerate someone of a crime.  These turkeys committed no crime.  Animal rights activists might even argue that the crime was committed against the turkeys.
  • I say, If someone gives you a turkey, you first of all say thank you.  And if you're going to breed and raise a turkey to be eaten, you should eat it.  

In Minnesota, the governor pardons the live turkey -- for one day.  The Minnesota Turkey Growers, who provide the live turkey, also donate some 1,180 frozen turkeys to food pantries.
(Photo by Laura Durben at Minnesota Turkey, sourced from MinnPost)

P.S. There is no period after the S in Harry S Truman.  He did not have a middle name, only a middle initial.  Since the S does not stand for anything, using a period is pointless. (pun)

Related entries: Grateful vs. Thankful, Turkeys, Thanksgiving

Snopes, The Ungobbled Gobbler
Mental Floss, Free Bird: The History of Presidential Turkey Pardoning
The Washington Post WonkBlog, The turkey pardon is America's dumbest tradition
LA Times, Presidential turkey pardon far from a storied tradition, Credit GOP for the first official turkey pardon

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Apple #651: Day/Night Rear-View Mirrors

 I've had a request!  Daily Apple reader Jeroboam wants to know, when you switch your rear view mirror to the night-time view so the reflection from headlights doesn't beam straight into your eyes, how does that work?

I've always suspected mirrors are involved, but I didn't know exactly how, so I thought this was an excellent question.

Most cars' rear view mirrors have a button or a lever at the bottom that allows you to adjust the mirror to reduce the glare from headlights at night.  Pushing that button or tripping the lever does help -- but what exactly is happening with the mirror?  Why does this work?
(Image from Mobile Magazine)

  • Lots of people try to explain how this works and I'm sure they do a fine job of it, but the words just aren't sinking in for me.  I need diagrams.  Pictures.
  • I found a video of a physics lecture given by Bill Layton of UCLA, and he drew pictures on the blackboard.  Those, I get.
  • So I will reproduce for you, using my very rudimentary skills, his diagrams.
  • For all you physics purists out there, these diagrams are not to scale, and the angles of reflection are not in any way mathematically measured or anything like that.  They're only meant to demonstrate the general process.
  • The first thing to know about your rear view mirror is that it isn't like the mirror you have in your bedroom.  It's not a piece of glass laying flat over a silvered surface.  Your rear-view is made of a piece of glass and it is in front of the silvered surface, but they are at different angles to each other.

In these diagrams, you are sitting to the left of the glass, and the right edge of the silvered mirror is the back of the rear view mirror.
(Diagram by the Apple Lady)

  • The fact that the glass and the silvered surface are at angles to each other is why this type of rear view mirror is sometimes referred to as a prismatic rear view mirror.
  • The fact that the glass is less reflective than the silvered surface is also crucial to how the whole thing works.  
  • When light from the headlights comes streaming into the car and strikes the glass, that light is reflected back off the glass.  But the reflection is relatively weak, so in the daytime, you don't perceive that reflection.

Also in the daytime, the angle of the glass relative to your eyes is such that the reflection bounces off in a direction not aimed at you.  So that's another reason why you don't perceive the reflection of the headlights off the glass.
(Diagram by the Apple Lady)

  • The light from the headlights doesn't stop there, of course, but continues on to strike the silvered surface at the back of the rear view mirror.
  • That silvered surface gives back a stronger reflection than the glass will (though slightly less strong than the original beam of light), and it bounces back at an angle that's pretty close to the same angle at which it traveled to the mirror. 
  • So the headlight reflection that you perceive during the daytime is the reflection that's bouncing back off the silvered mirror.

Here's the whole process in action, during the daytime.  The light from the headlights is bouncing off the glass, but weakly, and at an angle not aimed at you.  The light is also bouncing off the silvered surface, but to a stronger degree than that off the glass, and at an angle aimed closer to your eyes.  So you are perceiving only the reflection bouncing off the silvered surface.
(Diagram by the Apple Lady)

  • At night, when you tilt the rear view mirror, you're changing the angle of the glass and the mirror relative to your eyes.  
  • When it's tilted for night-time use, the glass is is at the same angle that the silvered surface was.  Now, the glass is angled so its reflection will bounce back toward you, while the mirror will be angled so its reflection bounces away from you.

The day/night rear-view mirror in its night-time orientation.
(Diagram by the Apple Lady)

  • Now when the light comes streaming into the car, when it bounces off the glass surface, even though that reflection is weaker, since everything else is darker, you'll be able to perceive that reflection.  And it will be angled toward your eyes.

Even though the reflection off the glass is relatively weak, because it's dark out and there isn't as much light competing with it, you will be able to see that reflection.  Also, the reflection off the glass is now angled in your direction.
(Diagram by the Apple Lady)

  • Once again, the light from the headlights doesn't stop when it hits the glass but continues on to the silvered surface.  Now, when it bounces off that, even though that reflection is stronger, it is angled in a different direction, away from your eyes, so you don't perceive it.

Though the reflection off the silvered surface is stronger than that off the glass, it is angled away from your eyes, so that's not the reflection that you see.
(Diagram by the Apple Lady)

  • When I tilt the rear view to its alternate angle at night, I've sometimes noticed maybe the ghost of a reflection, or almost two images of headlights.  I've been sort of distracted by that, and I've been curious about why that is.  Now that I now how the rear-view works, I'll see if adjusting the angle of the mirror as a whole helps get rid of that ghost/mirror reflection.
Thanks for asking the question, Jeroboam!

Here's the video of the physics lecture, if you want to see the professor draw and explain the diagrams for you.  The informative stuff starts at about 1 minute 15 seconds in.

Other Sources

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Apple #650: Hot Cocoa vs. Hot Chocolate

 It's a blustery day, and that's got me thinking about hot chocolate.

Or is it hot cocoa?

What's the difference, if there is one?

Can you guess which of these is hot chocolate and which is hot cocoa?  By the end of this entry, I bet you'll be able to.
(Photo from fine cooking)

  • The difference is in the ingredients.  Cocoa and chocolate are 2 different things.
  • You don't go to the candy store and buy a tin of powdered cocoa and eat it plain, right out of the package.  Nope, you buy a bar of chocolate.  The difference there is what is behind the difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa.

The chocolate is the squares, the cocoa is the powder beneath.  The difference between those two is what makes the difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa.
(Photo from Texas Cooking)

  • Hot chocolate is made -- unsurprisingly -- with chocolate.  Chocolate is made of
    • Cocoa solids -- the brown, bitter, powdery thing that makes chocolate taste like chocolate. Cocoa powder and cocoa solids are often the same thing.
    • Cocoa butter -- a rich fat that is the cocoa solid's very good friend
    • Sugar
    • Often, vanilla.  (It's one of those seemingly contradictory truisms of life that chocolate tastes better with a little vanilla added.)

  • Hot cocoa is made, as you have probably already guessed, with cocoa powder. Which is primarily just the cocoa solids. Cocoa powder has none of the fat, sugar, or vanilla that chocolate has.
  • The result is that hot chocolate has more of a creamy, luscious texture. If you use a lot of the hot chocolate, you might get something closer to a thick chocolately syrup.

Now that's a gooey cup of hot chocolate. The recipe for this Cioccolato Caldo calls for 6 ounces of dark chocolate.
(Photo from What's Cooking America. Scroll almost to the bottom of the link for the recipe)

  • Hot cocoa, on the other hand, doesn't have that creaminess already built in.  But without that extra fat in there to coat and smooth the cocoa solids, the chocolate flavor will stand out more.
  • In a lot of ways, the difference between the two is similar to milk chocolate versus dark chocolate.
  • That said, a lot also depends on your recipe.  What kind of chocolate are you using?  Is it cheap-o chocolate chips?  Or are you shaving bittersweet baking chocolate?  Or are you using the most gourmet dark chocolate that is 75% cocoa solids?  
  • If you're going the hot cocoa route, are you using generic cocoa powder?  Or will it be gourmet organic unsweetened cocoa powder?  Or are you using Dutch-processed cocoa powder, which reduces the acidity of the cocoa solids?
  • And what kind of milk are you using?  2% milk?  Whole milk? A mixture of milk and cream?  All of these decisions will affect what your hot chocolate / hot cocoa tastes like, and which of the two you might prefer. 

This cup of hot cocoa has whipped cream, sprinkles, and a peppermint stick on top. But the important part is that it's made with a combination of half & half and whole milk.  That'll get you some creamy hot cocoa.
(Photo and recipe from Real MOM Kitchen)

  • Other food bloggers have investigated this duo, and they've done side-by-side tests.  But very few say which of the two they prefer.  One blogger said that her hot chocolate was thicker and creamier, but it was also sweeter, maybe even too sweet.  So her preference fell on the side of hot cocoa.  But it wasn't a runaway victory.
  • Then she added up the calories.  Her mug of hot chocolate had 375 calories; her hot cocoa had 150.  I think that tipped her scales (pun) for certain in the direction of hot cocoa.
  • I'm guessing that, in general, both are delicious, and which one you make will probably depend more on what ingredients you happen to have in the house.


  • I can't talk about these things without giving you recipes.  Here are recipes for hot chocolate and hot cocoa from one blogger at FoodHappy who said these recipes are about as comparable as it gets on a cup-by-cup basis.  So if you want to do your own side-by-side taste test, these might be the 2 recipes to use: 

FoodHappy's Hot Chocolate by the mug

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1.5 oz to 2 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped or grated
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  1. 1.5 oz of chocolate yields a "standard-tasting" cup of hot chocolate.  2 oz yields a more "indulgent" cup.
  2. Combine milk and salt in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. (A thick-bottomed saucepan will help keep the milk from scalding.) On medium heat, bring to a simmer.
  3. Remove from the heat, add chocolate.
  4. Let the chocolate do its own melting thing for about a minute. Then whisk until the chocolate has fully melted and combined with the milk.
  5. Whisk in the vanilla extract and serve.

FoodHappy's Hot Cocoa by the mug

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 to 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  1. 1 tablespoon of brown sugar makes a somewhat sweet mug of hot cocoa.  2 tablespoons makes it quite sweet.
  2. In that small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 2 tbsp of the milk, cocoa powder, brown sugar, and salt. Whisk over medium heat until the cocoa powder and brown sugar have dissolved.
  3. Then add the rest of the milk and over medium heat, bring to a simmer.
  4. Remove from heat, whisk in the vanilla extract, and serve.

Now here are a few more hot chocolate & hot cocoa recipes, in case one strikes your particular fancy:

Yasmeen Health Nut's Easy & Organic Hot Chocolate

  • 2 cups reduced fat organic milk
  • 1/2 cup or 4 oz high-quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  1. Combine the chocolate and the milk in a saucepan and heat together over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Takes about 10 minutes. Serve.

An Educated Palate's Easy Creamy Hot Cocoa

  • 2 tsp Dutched cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp cream, not heated
  • 6 oz boiling water
  1. Combine cocoa powder and sugar in the mug you'll be drinking from.  Mix well.
  2. Add the cream and stir into a smooth paste.
  3. Add boiling water and stir until smooth and well-blended.  Drink.

From Scratch Club's Spiced Hot Chocolate for 4

  • 2-1/2 c whole milk
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  1. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat until it's hot and a bit frothy.
  2. Whisk in chocolate and sugar, and keep whisking until sugar has dissolved.
  3. Whisk in vanilla, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.  Serve.

This mug of spiced hot goodness is made using both cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate, plus cinnamon and nutmeg and cayenne pepper and espresso.  Yowza.
(Photo and recipe from OMFG So Good)

Jo and Sue's Single Serving Hot Cocoa

  • 2 tbsp baking coca powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 c water
  • 2/3 c 1% milk
  1. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, mix cocoa, brown sugar, and salt.
  2. Slowly stir in vanilla and water.  Then turn on heat.
  3. Heat over medium heat until boiling.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and keep on a slow boil for 2 minutes, stirring the entire time.
  5. After 2 minutes, add milk.  Heat to desired temperature, being careful not to allow it to boil.


Of course you can add all sorts of things to your hot cocoa or hot chocolate for further deliciousness:
  • Marshmallows
  • Homemade marshmallows (if you have a whole lot of time)
  • Whipped cream
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Peppermint stick
  • Bailey's Irish Cream
  • Brandy
  • Nutella
 I wonder if sliced bananas would be good. Oooh, maybe sliced bananas coated in chocolate....

Hot chocolate with Nutella
Photo & recipe from Honey, What's Cooking?)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Apple #659: Fear of Clowns

For Halloween this year, I dressed up as Raggedy Andy.

Raggedy Ann and Andy were dolls that came to life in books from the 1920s. They had nice little adventures like getting in pillow fights and roasting marshmallows and having the marshmallows get stuck to their soft cotton hands.
(Image from

You could also get soft, stuffed dolls made to look like the drawings in the books. This is a Raggedy Andy doll. 
(Photo from I Found My Childhood on eBay)

My costume was one my mom had and gave to me several years ago. I had worn it once about 10 years ago, and I thought this year, why not break it out again. Nobody I know now has ever seen me wear it, so it will be new to them.

Admittedly, my costume is only an approximation of the original doll. Also, while I remembered there were triangles on the face, I remembered them wrong so when I painted my face, it didn't quite look like Raggedy Andy's. The result was, people assumed I was a regular old clown.

And several people said they were therefore afraid of me--or my costume.

Really? THIS is scary?

The number of people who said they were afraid of my costume was rather surprising. More people said they were afraid of me this year than when I wore the costume 10 or so years ago.

First of all, I personally don't get the whole fear of clowns thing. It's a person wearing make-up and baggy clothes. Wooo, scary. So I'm wondering, especially since more people seem to be afraid of clowns--or more people are saying they're afraid of clowns--is this like bacon? I mean, is fear of clowns increasing the same way love of bacon has become so widespread, if you say "bacon," 15 people will start drooling immediately? Is fear of clowns becoming that pervasive, so now if you were to say, "Hey, a clown," 15 people would duck under a table and another 5 would say, "Totally. Love the bacon. Hate the clowns."

  • There is a name for a phobia of clowns. But first, let's get our levels of fear straight.
  • There's "I don't think clowns are funny." This is me. Not afraid, but not entertained, either. Clown humor is slapstick. "Oh! Look at my enormous shoes! Oh, I fell down! Oh, I squirted water out of my stupid fake daisy!" To me, slapstick is more annoying than funny. Like America's Funniest Home Videos. Physical humor and nothign more. Boring after about 30 seconds, annoying after about a minute. 
  • The next level is, "I don't like clowns." At this level, you just don't care for them. You wouldn't put a clown picture on your wall, you might even be tempted to punch such a picture, but you wouldn't run and hide from it either. 
  • Next we have, "I'm afraid of clowns." You see a clown and you get a little heart-poundy, a little nervous. You're not really sure what that clown is going to do, and you don't really want to find out. If you saw a clown in a haunted house, you would get scared, solely by virtue of the fact that it is a clown. 
  • Finally we have clown phobia. You see a clown and your heart races. You break out in a sweat, your hands shake, you feel nauseous, you have trouble breathing, you feel panicky. Full-blown, out of control fear. 

(Image posted by BlackTequilaKiss at

  • People say the phobia-word for this is coulrophobia. Literally, that means fear of stilt-walkers. Because apparently the Greeks, from whom we get most of our -phobia words, don't have a word for "clown." 
  • It isn't a term accepted by any psychological association, nor is it in the DSM-5, nor is it in a lot of dictionaries. Apparently the word has only been around since the 1980s or so -- which suggests to me that this fear of clowns thing may be recent in origin. 
  • But for some people, fear of clowns can be quite real. Like a fear of spiders, or a fear of snakes, or any other phobia, it can affect people's lives in very definite ways. Some people will even avoid eating at McDonald's because they don't want to see any images of Ronald McDonald. 

To me, if anything, this is only mildly annoying. But for some people, this instills fear.
(Photo from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States)

  • Very guessy estimates say clown phobia is much more prevalent in Western society, and that anywhere from 5% to 12% of adults have some fear of clowns. 
  • People who have studied this say that what instills the fear is the fact that the faces are painted. 
  • The reason people -- especially children -- find this disturbing is because even babies know that the painted-on face is not an authentic expression of what the person under the make-up is actually feeling. The children & babies (and adults) are reacting to the fact that the face paint is telling an obvious lie. 
  • Because the paint says one thing and the person's demeanor says another, you don't trust them. And since they seem to be trying very hard to tell you they're happy, that makes you even more suspicious. Why the heck do they want so much for you to believe that they're happy? What else are they going to do that I'm supposed to ignore and think that means happiness too?
  • So instead of happy giggling children, you get suspicion, distrust, and fear. 
"We found that clowns [were] universally disliked by children," said one researcher who studied whether using clown images to decorate a children's hospital ward would be a good idea. 

Children actually don't like clowns -- something to consider the next time you're planning a child's birthday party.  
(Photo from Rap Genius)

  • OK, this is making sense. I'm not going to feel your clown-fear with you, but now I understand where it's coming from. 
  • But this raises other questions. Are people just as afraid of sad clowns? Do people think the sad clowns are also lying and are therefore suspicious? Or are they not afraid of fake sadness in the same way they're afraid of fake happiness? 
    • (Personally, I loathe sad clown art. Detest it. I don't think you can even call it art.  I think you call it a cultural splinter in the eye. So I am not going to post any images of sad clowns.)
  • Some people say they are less afraid of sad clowns than happy ones. But other people say the sad clowns disturb them even more than the happy ones. Still others are not afraid of the happy ones at all, but are only afraid of the sad ones. 
  • Thus, apparently it's not just the fake-happy emotions that people distrust, it's any fake emotions. (researchers agree with this).  Perhaps which fake-ness you distrust more may depend on your personal make-up (pun), or perhaps on your own childhood experiences.

I wondered if people were afraid of rodeo clowns too. I thought maybe not, since they help the rodeo contestants. But this guy, Keith Isley, who is a rodeo clown -- they prefer now to be called bullfighters -- said one of the parts of his job is helping people get comfortable with his clown-ness. One of the ways he does that is to let them see him put on his make-up, and even let them put some of it on him themselves.
(Photo by Michael Cavazos at the Longview News-Journal)

  • People who treat patients for clown phobias -- I'm talking the debilitating, affects-your-life level of fear -- say that it's similar to lots of other phobias: clown phobia originates at some point in childhood, when the child experienced something negative or traumatic involving a clown. The person never had cause or reason to let go of the fear, so it only intensified over time. 
  • The best way to treat clown & any phobia is to bring the person into contact with the feared thing gradually, a little bit more over time. The person can cope with the anxiety at relatively low levels while they learn that the thing they're afraid of won't actually harm them. 
  • Popular culture may actually not be helping that effort. 
  • There have been lots of happy clowns that people used to like, or seemed to like.  There was Clarabell the Clown, who was Howdy Doody's silent sidekick. (The first guy who played Clarabell was Bob Keeshan, who later became Captain Kangaroo.)

L to R: Buffalo Bob, Howdy Doody, and Clarabell the Clown
(Photo from The Fifties Web)

  • There was also Bozo the Clown, who was so popular by the mid-1960s that there was a 10-year wait to get tickets to see his show.
We had a Bozo the Clown show at our local TV station.  One of the meteorologists played him.  I got to be on his show with the rest of my Bluebird troop.  He had a game where a lucky kid from the audience had to throw a ball into one of several circles, with the best prizes in the farthest circle. My friend Jill got to be the lucky kid, and she won a huge container of Tootsie Rolls that lasted her 2 years.  I don't remember anyone ever saying they were afraid of Bozo.
(Photo from Infinity Dish TV Blog)

  • But then came a whole raft of evil clowns.  The first one was the real thing.
  • John Wayne Gacy, a real-life guy who dressed up as a clown for children's parties and was also a serial rapist and murderer. 
  • Then came the movies:
    • Poltergeist (1982) - a boy's clown doll comes to life and tries to drag him under the bed
    • It (1986) - Stephen King's Pennywise the Clown is actually a demon who attacks children
    • Clownhouse (1989) - escaped mental patients disguise themselves as clowns and murder-slaughter all sorts of people in a rural town
    • Batman movies featuring the Joker. Jack Nicholson's Joker looked, to me, like Jack Nicholson with green paint on his face.  Heath Ledger's Joker, on the other hand, is a different story.  He is scary-looking, for sure. (But isn't that what you want in a villain?)
    • Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) - OK, really?  Some people include that one their list of scary clown movies?  The thing was a spoof!

Their weapons are popcorn that turn into spider-like insects, and cotton candy that gets spun into a suffocating cocoon of sugar-death. There's also something about the whipped cream pies that I can't remember.
(Photo from Pop-Break)

  • But you see the point.  Movies have taken the clowns-can-be-unsettling thing and worked and worked it until they made clowns into fear-worthy icons.
  • So I see it as no accident that, with the influx of evil clown movies beginning in the 1980s, that's when we started to see the coulrophobia word appear.  And the people who said they were afraid of my costume?  They were not people who grew up with Howdy Doody, but younger.  People who would have seen those evil-clown movies in the theaters when they came out.
  • My final question is this: those of you who are afraid of clowns, are you afraid of KISS too?  Were you afraid of them in their heyday?  Eh, probably the people who are afraid of clowns didn't make it far enough into the entry even to see this question.

KISS: scary clowns or rock icons? They wore white face paint too, you know.
(Photo from Huff Post Entertainment)

NPR, Fear of Clowns: Yes, It's Real, August 6, 2013
Linda Rodriguez-McRobbie, The History and Psychology of Clowns Being Scary, Smithsonian Magazine, August 1, 2013
Krystal D'Costa, Why Are We Afraid of Clowns? Scientific American, October 31, 2011
Bill Briggs, No laughing matter: Fear of clowns is serious issue, NBC News, April 20, 2012
Joseph Durwin, Coulrophobia & the Trickster, Trinity University
Coulrophobia: the Fear of Clowns
World Wide Words, Coulrophobia
Charles Bryce, 2011 Stock Show & Rodeo: Clowning Serious Business, San Angelo Standard-Times,February 12, 2011