A list of curious facts
One: Some Japanese folks use a coach to learn how to smile. For example, Keiko Kawano who has all sorts of clients—ranging from nursing homes to companies like IBM—and people who hope a better smile will help them land better jobs or a spouse.
Kawano claims her business has boomed after the pandemic—when many people forgot how to smile behind their face masks: “People started realising that they hadn’t used their cheek or mouth muscles very much. And you can’t just suddenly start using these muscles. You need to work on them.” Her workshop curriculum draws on yoga practices—“strengthening the zygomatic muscles, which pull the corners of the mouth.” ICYMI: our lead image is an excellent reminder that some of us don’t need a ‘smile coach’ lol! Also: why miss an excellent opportunity to throw in a cute animal pic 🤷🏽♀️.
Two: Speaking of laughter and joy, did you know that great apes are just like little kids? They love to spin round and round until they get dizzy. And they do it for the same reason as humans:
Spinning alters our state of consciousness, it messes up with our body-mind responsiveness and coordination, which make us feel sick, lightheaded, and even elated as in the case on children playing in merry-go-rounds, spinner-wheels and carousels.
A recent study found 132 instances of rope-spinning across 40 videos involving orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos. Like this wild mountain gorilla:
What’s really mind-boggling: “Most of the apes, they found, spun at an average rotation velocity of 1.43 revolutions per second—a speed rivalling professionally trained human dancers and aerialists.” (Smithsonian Magazine)
Three: Did you know that the heir to the French throne is a 48-year-old man named Balthazar Napoleon de Bourbon—who lives in Bhopal?! That’s according to Prince Michael of Greece—cousin to Prince Phillip (Liz’s hubby)—who has published a historical novel called 'Le Rajah de Bourbon'. As he tells it, back in the 1560s, the nephew of the first Bourbon king—Henry IV—Jean de Bourbon was kidnapped by pirates—who sold him into slavery in Egypt. He escaped first to Ethiopia—and then to the court of Akbar—where he became a trusted advisor and started an Indian line of Bourbons.
Sadly, there is no sign that the good citizens of France plan to hit ‘undo’ on the French Revolution—or we’d have an Indian King of France. Think of all the work WhatsApp uncles and aunties would put in trying to find a rishta to the Bourbons:) Below is the painting of Balthazar I—the first minister to the rulers of Bhopal—and lover of the queen (allegedly). This older GQ profile (free w/ login) has the rest of this fascinating story—or you can get the shorter version in the Manchester Evening News. And The Wire has a party-pooping critique of this fabulous tale.