The science behind dumping mayonnaise on a football coach
Also in this week's Tiny Rabbit Holes: The real story behind Mick Jagger's under-the-radar visit to a bar in Charlotte.
This Newsletter Is On A Weather Delay
Yesterday at this time, I was walking around at Carolina Beach in a t-shirt and shorts, enjoying the 70 degree weather. Now, I am sitting in my living room up near Greensboro, watching the snow pile up in my front yard while looking upon the destruction that 45 mile per hour wind gusts have wrought out back.
Stay safe out there, everyone.
Mick Jagger Finally Explains Himself
Last September, Mick Jagger came to Charlotte, drank a beer in front of the Thirsty Beaver Saloon, posted a picture of it on social media, said nothing else about it, and everyone in Charlotte (and across the country, really) lost their damn minds.
I made a few phone calls, and discovered that nobody there that night even knew that the highly-recognizable frontman of The Rolling Stones was even there! Their bewilderment made for a fun story, which went viral and led to my name being read aloud on CNN.
I analyzed the pictures to figure out precisely how Jagger could slip in and out of this place without being seen, but really, I was just making my best educated guesses. A request for Jagger to DM me went unrequited. I’d never know the real story about how this all came together, it seemed.
At least, until last week.
The Washington Post called up Jagger and talked to him about why he’s so good at Instagram. In short, he likes to go out and explore cities while he’s on tour, and Instagram is a fun way for him to document what he’s up to. He told the Post that he usually grabs a security guy or two, and sometimes someone from the band (not Keith, though), and they’ll get out and walk around.
The reporter asked if the picture from the Beaver was staged, but Jagger said no. People there didn’t notice him because they were all behind him, probably just staring at his back:
There’s hardly anyone there. It’s dark. It’s not like really grand. I’m not in a big, huge limo. I just walk the block and then just go down there. And I can’t go inside the room because the covid rules of the tour don’t allow me to go in a saloon. And that’s a promise we made. But I could stand [on the patio] outside the saloon. And I’m far away from the people.
That answer also explains why the bartender didn’t recognize him and why there was no credit card receipt. He never went in!
The response to that post, according to Jagger, showed him that people would actually be interested in an Instagram travelogue, and so he kept it up throughout his tour. So, way to go, Charlotte! You’ve created something even more exciting than a mortgage-backed security.
I still have questions. Jagger told the Post that a local tipped him off to “the Beaver bar,” but we don’t know who. We still don’t know where the beer came from. We still don’t what kind of beer it was. And, we don’t know about Jagger’s exact route up Central Avenue. The closest big parking lot (at the time) was at Central Square:
Mick Jagger going for a beer at the Thirsty Beaver, then returning to discover that his car had been towed? That would have been the ultimate Charlotte story.
Why Can’t You Meme Roy Cooper?
From my inbox:
In regard to your comment concerning Gov. McCrory. I did not know he made such a stupid remark about antifa but you printed it so I will take it as the truth. How about some remarks concerning Gov. Cooper when he was AG for NC and allowed the SBI lab to taint evidence. How about the pics in his UNC yearbook?
Again, Roy does not want to be memed! The man was first elected to the state legislature in 1986, and has held some sort of Raleigh-related office ever since. He knows how to, you know, not be the subject of that sort of stuff. McCrory, however, painted himself as a guy who wasn’t a Raleigh insider, which became very apparent once he arrived in Raleigh.
As for the two other things here: The yearbook thing has been pretty thoroughlly discredited, and almost all of the crime lab issues predate Cooper’s time in office as attorney general. But I get it. If I’m going to talk about a governor who had his vetoes frequently overridden by his own party, folks on the other side are going to demand that I talk about a governor whose superpower is being boring enough that you actually have to put in the work to clown him. I’m sorry, I’m a very busy man.
Let’s Talk About Mayonnaise Viscosity
Anyone who saw a grown man being dunked with mayonnaise last week after winning the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte may have had the same question that I had: How, exactly, do you get mayonnaise to do that?
As in, how do you get mayonnaise to, you know, slide on out of the container like that? Well, my inside source told me that a little bit of water was added to 4.5 pounds of mayo to get the desired result (the desired result did not include bonking South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer on the head). This makes sense, especially since an earlier tweet showed a bowl employee tediously squeezing out a jar of mayo into the official dumpin’ jug.
Or, potentially, they could have just used a comically oversized knife or a big squeeze bottle.
I am not an expert on mayonnaise viscosity (no joke, there are actually mayonnaise viscosity experts out there!). But in short, mayo is a non-Newtonian liquid, meaning that its resistance to flow is not constant. Hence, if you open a jar of mayo and set it on its side, it won’t just spill out all over the counter. But! If you take a knife and twist it around, it changes the viscosity of the mayo, which means it flows (and most importantly, spreads) much more easily.
One good example of this has to do with another condiment:
Ketchup is considered a non-Newtonian fluid because unlike water, its viscosity is dependent on shear rate. If you take that plastic ketchup bottle and squeeze, the ketchup will pour out significantly faster. In fact, perhaps a little too fast you might make a mess when it squirts out.
Ketchup explosions happen because when non-Newtonian fluids yield to pressure (squeezing, shaking, thwacking, etc.) and start to flow, the viscosity actually decreases the faster it flows.
One way to think of it: Water’s a Newtonian fluid, so if you had a bottle of water it’d just all flow out at the same rate (Also, Honey is a Newtonian fluid). But because condiments like ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard are a bunch of things mixed together, they behave differently than a straight up liquid.
It also helps to think of ketchup as a soft solid: a liquid with a bunch of stuff suspended in it. Those suspended bits that compose the ketchup form a network that doesn't really want to leave the bottle. Without adding shear force, ketchup is essentially a solid.
This is, basically, the science that makes condiments work. Pop a knife into a jar of mayo and it lowers the viscosity enough that you can spread it. Afterward, the viscosity goes back to being high enough to sit in place on top of your sandwich or hot dog or whatever. This is also why plastic squeezable bottles are so clutch, and why glass ketchup bottles suck. In order to lower the viscosity enough to get the ketchup out of a glass bottle of Heinz, you have to smack it or tap it.
One last thing: mayonnaise is considered to be an emulsion, which is two liquids that don’t really mix (oil and egg). Paint is also non-Newtonian, but it’s a colloidal suspension: tiny solid particles mixed into a liquid. This is also key to painting: If it was a Newtonian fluid, it’d just run right off the wall. But the brush changes the viscosity enough for you to spread it, and then it mostly stays in place after the brush goes away.
So, which mayonnaise has the perfect viscosity? I’d imagine every brand would say that it, in fact, does. But there are precise ways to test it. I’m not smart enough to know what’s going on in the video below, but I really enjoyed the opening sequence:
If you made it this far, bless you. But if you skipped down here, just know that the Duke’s Mayo Bowl folks lowered the viscosity of their mayonnaise enough to be able to dump it on poor victorious Shane Beamer. But Beamer himself would probably have preferred to have been given a bath in a Newtonian liquid that wouldn’t have stuck to him in large, odorous blobs.
One Plane Ticket Directly To Durham, Please
If the folks up in the Triangle have a peeve that’s comparable to Charlotteans getting turnt over being called “Charlotte, North Carolina,” it’s being referred to as Raleigh-Durham. We’re not Fuquay-Varina or Winston-Salem, they’ll say! Raleigh-Durham is the airport! We’re two very different cities!
Well, careful what you wish for:
Not exactly sure where Durham International Airport is, but I’m guessing it’s across I-40 from the Chapel Hill Ferry Port.
That Time When Sir Purr Downed A Punt
The Panthers are bad, so I am forced to go looking back 25 years for some sort of mirth:
Not as exciting as a position player trying to kick, but I’ll take it.
Do Not Underestimate The Womenfolk!
Last thing here, and it’s not really North Carolina-related, but still. I popped this record on because one of my in-laws had it, and I thought it was kinda funny.
I was wrong! The Womenfolk do a version of La Bamba and, as the kids say, IT SLAPS.
The only Black woman in the group, Leni Sorensen, went on to be a food scholar who swears up a storm. This story about her is delightful.
Enjoy your week everyone.