“Waverly and First”

Madeline tells Rory and Paris that she and Louise have been asked to a party “on the corner of Waverly and First” by Jess and Sean, the boys they picked up at the concert. This is apparently just around the corner from the concert venue.

Waverly Place is in Greenwich Village, not far from New York University, suggesting that Jess and Sean are students there. In real life, there is no point where Waverly Place crosses with First Avenue, although it does cross with Fifth and Sixth. It is very possibly a deliberate error.

Miss German train

RORY: Maybe something happened. Maybe he’s not coming.
LORELAI: Maybe he’s just late, Miss German train.

Despite the common perception that German trains must be extremely punctual, in fact delays are common on long-distance trains in Germany, as the infrastructure is overstretched. However commuter trains in cities are generally pretty good, although nothing remarkable.

Note that this is yet another reference to someone running late on the show.

Cumquat

JACKSON: For some time now I’ve been toying with cross-pollination. Finally I’ve got it. I figured out a way to cross a raspberry with a cumquat.

A cumquat is a small cold-hardy citrus fruit native to south Asia and the Asia-Pacific. They were introduced to Europe and North America from China in the 19th century.

In reality, it is not possible to cross a cumquat with a raspberry. It’s clearly just a joke by the scriptwriter, but if you were determined to make this a semi-believable situation, yellow raspberries do exist, and Jackson might have bred one with an especially sharp, citrus-y flavour, making him over-excitedly believe that he had somehow crossed a raspberry with a cumquat.

260 Year Old Cat

BABETTE: Oh, Morey, don’t do this to yourself. He thinks it was the clams …
VET: It wasn’t the clams. Morey, in human years this cat was 260 years old.

There are two things wrong with the vet’s statement. First, 260 “human years” is just 260 years – the vet actually means “cat years”. Second, for a cat to be the equivalent of a 260 year old human, it would need to live to 60. There is no way Cinnamon is 60 years old – a cat might survive into its early twenties if kept indoors and well cared for. The oldest cat on record lived to 28.

The vet is confused, exaggerating, not good at mathematics, not good with English, and/or doesn’t understand how long cats live.

Luxembourg Gardens

MICHEL: I was attacked by a band of swans in the Luxembourg Gardens when I was a boy.

Le Jardin du Luxembourg, called the Luxembourg Garden in English, is a formal garden in Paris outside the Luxembourg Palace. The garden is owned by the French Senate.

Although there is a large pool in the Garden, it doesn’t have a “band of swans”; there is a fountain which depicts Leda and the Swan instead. This calls into question Michel’s story, and the fact that he gets the name of the Garden wrong makes one wonder if he grew up in Paris at all.

Flat earth

JACKSON: Hey, the world was flat until someone took a boat trip.

Jackson is promoting the modern misconception that people in the Middle Ages commonly believed that the Earth is flat. In fact people have known that the Earth is spherical since the Ancient Greeks – the mathematics to prove it aren’t particularly difficult. The myth seems to date from the 17th century, as a Protestant campaign against Catholic teaching.

The idea that it was the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World which changed everyone’s mind about the flat Earth comes from Washington Irving’s 1828 biography, A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus.

Highly romanticised, it contained fictional scenes where some of the Spanish disagreed that the Earth was spherical. Even Irving pointed out that a flat Earth theory didn’t affect Columbus’ navigation, but rather the limited understanding of Earth’s size and position of the continents.