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Just some interesting tidbits from my friend Mary in Florida.

:)

Did you know?

In George Washington's days, there were no cameras.
One's image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are "limbs," therefore painting them would cost the buyer more. Hence the _expression, "Okay, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg."
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As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year! (May and October) Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. The wigs couldn't be washed, so to clean them they could carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term "big wig." Today we often use the term "here comes the Big Wig" because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.
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In the late 1700s, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board was folded down from the wall and used for dining. The "head of the household" always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Once in a while, a guest (who was almost always a man) would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. Sitting in the chair, one was called the "Chair man." Today in business we use the _expression or title "Chairman" or "Chairman of the Board."
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Needless to say, personal hygiene left much room for improvement. As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee's wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to stare at another woman's face she was told "mind your own bee's wax." Should the woman smile, the wax would crack, hence the term "Crack a smile." Also, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt and therefore the _expression "Losing face."
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Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the "Ace of Spades." To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren't "playing with a full deck."
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Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what was considered important to the people. Since there were no telephones, TV's or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars who were told to "go sip some ale" and listen to people's conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different times. "You go sip here" and "You go sip there." The two words "go sip" were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term "gossip."
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At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid's job was to keep an eye on the customers, and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in "pints" and who was drinking in "quarts," hence the term "minding your "P's and Q's."

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In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls.
It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon, but how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem...how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a "Monkey" with 16 round indentations. But, if this plate were made of iron! , the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make "Brass Monkeys." Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey. Thus, it was quite literally, "Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey."

Mary Barnich
 

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Love the last one zOOmz.

Here's another:

It was an accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead (a honey beer) he could drink._ Because their calendar was lunar-based, this period was called the "honey moon".
 

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shay2nak
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wow, these are cool.

here's another.

in England, i guess 18th century, men where allowed to beat their wives with a stick. The diameter of this stick could not exceed the diameter of the husband's thumb and thus the expression "rule of thumb."

pretty funny. It's amazing how some of the expressions we use come from the most unlikely places.
 

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And another one...

shay2nak said:
wow, these are cool.

here's another.

in England, i guess 18th century, men where allowed to beat their wives with a stick. The diameter of this stick could not exceed the diameter of the husband's thumb and thus the expression "rule of thumb."

pretty funny. It's amazing how some of the expressions we use come from the most unlikely places.
IIRC, this practice also gave rise to the expression "beating around the bush"...:)
 

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I've seen other lists like this discussing "raining cats and dogs", "over the threshold" and others. However while these are very engaging and plausible I question their authenticity. I checked the easiest one in the list in a few dictionaries and on-line etymology indexes and found

gossip - O.E. godsibb "godparent," from God + sibb "relative," of unknown origin. Extended in M.E. to "any familiar acquaintance" (1362), especially to woman friends invited to attend a birth, later to "anyone engaging in familiar or idle talk" (1566). Sense extended 1811 to "trifling talk, groundless rumor." The verb meaning "to talk idly about the affairs of others" is from 1627.

Does not appear to having anything to do with pubs and like most words comes from other languages, in this case Old English.

Of course, this does not mean the rest might not be right, and if not right they are at least enjoyable.

It turns out even the popular "its a doozy" is not actually from Dusenberg, but was just enhanced by it:
doozy - 1903 (adj.), 1916 (n.), perhaps an alteration of daisy, or from popular It. actress Eleonora Duse (1859-1924). In either case, reinforced by Duesenberg, expensive, classy make of automobile 1920s-30s.
 

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Does anyone know the origin of that other famous English saying "coming Fall 2003"???
 

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zOOmz said:
Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey. Thus, it was quite literally, "Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey."
I once had a stress and dynamics professor give the problem of figuring out how cold it had to be to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.
 

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shay2nak
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zOOmz said:
The camel is a horse designed by a committee. Maybe that same committee? :D

Personally, I blame shay2nak!! hehe
Hey!! keep me outta this! i'm in enough trouble as it is! i don't need hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people waiting outside my house asking about the Elise!! :p

People blaming me for things beyond my control, or have nothing to do with me, is not something new.

It all started when....

In college, whenever a piece of equipment failed or if a computer crashed I was blamed for it! One tiny event, and people put a label on you. Sheeesh! I was known as D&D, not as in Dumb & Dumber, but as in Delete & Destruction. OMG. Anyway it all started when I came to my college's Senior Design Room for electrical engineers. I brought my Playstation so I could hook it up to the TV that we had. Now this TV was suspended from the ceiling. I'm sure all of you have seen this. You can turn it 360 degrees without if falling and a lot of people can view it.

Upon hooking up my Playstation, I rotated the TV 90 degrees to connect the cables to the back. Without warning it came crashing down! I tried to catch the 27" TV before it hit the ground but instead it hit a chair which was directly underneath it. That chair belonged to a desk with a PC for anyone to use. Luckily no one was sitting there. So it hit the top of the chair and flew to the right. There was no way I could catch it and hence the TV broke. It would turn on but that was it. As if that was not bad enough, the Lakers were in the playoffs at the time (2002) and we never got to watch any of the games there. Were people pissed at me. When we finally got a new TV, someone placed a sign hanging from the bottom of the TV with my name "ARA" crossed out. (the circle with the diagonal line - ie Ghostbusters) I didn't care, i still touched the new TV anyway. After that everyone knew who I was, but i still didn't know most of them. And i got into further trouble with some gals who's name i didn't not know. THE END.
 

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shay2nak
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zOOmz said:
Yeah, dem damn Electrical Engineers, they all have *the Knack*

;)
i forgot to add the TV that fell was on its last thread on the screw holding it up. It was completely installed incorrectly. There wasn't even a nut screwed in to prevent the TV from falling. Needless to say, the newer unit was installed properly, i made sure. This time the TV was screwed in all the way to the top, more that 10-15 threads from the bottom, and a nut was put in place. DUH! Put that crap in before it falls! Idiots man....well, at least i didn't pay for it. I would have refused it anyway. I guess I am a bit clumsy like Tim Allen, but not as bad. He causes injury to himself and I haven't done that yet. LOL!
 
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