211011-PSA-More Useless Info

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 cost the buyer more. Hence the expression, ‘Okay, but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg.’ (Artists know hands and arms are more difficult to paint)  

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. They couldn’t wash the wigs, so to clean them they would 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 1700’s, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used for dining. The ‘head of the household’ always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually 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. They called the one sitting in the chair the ‘chair man.’ Today in business, we use the expression or title ‘Chairman’ or ‘Chairman of the Board..’

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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’. In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt . . . Therefore, the expression ‘losing face.’

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Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in ‘straight laced’. . Wore a tightly tied lace.

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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 the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TV’s or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They 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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One more and betting you didn’t know this!

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. However, 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.

However, 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.’ (All this time, you thought that was an improper expression, didn’t you.) 

If you believe all of these useless facts please go to the following link to fact check.

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/56017/10-wacky-whoppers-about-origins-popular-18th-century-phrases

American Dirt

STEINBECK: GRAPES OF WRATH. Wraparound jacket of the first edition, 1939, of ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, John Steinbeck’s novel of ‘Okies’ forced to migrate from the Dust Bowl
American Dirt, Lydia and Luca

The title of this post is also the title of a book I am reading. A catch phrase by Don Winslow, a commenter, forced me to pick it up and check it out; the phrase, “A Grapes of Wrath for our times.” I loved the Grapes of Wrath as a story by John Steinbeck, and as a movie starring Henry Fonda. The story involves the futile migration of a family desperate to survive. Their story begins in the great flatlands of the midwest, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, or any number of states that are agricultural. The time frame is the Great Depression. Many farmers were poor share croppers, and during those years they experienced huge dust storms across the entire region causing them to lose their farms to banks. The Joad’s pile into their broken down truck and head to California to find work.

The story very explicitly details their experiences which get worse and worse as they head down the road like having to bury grandma along the road side. They reach California only to learn that the jobs they were envisioning didn’t exist, and the competition for the few that did was fierce. Locals treated them like garbage and made life even harder. The story had me hooked to the end.

America Dirt is a story about a family of two that must escape Mexico to remain alive. In this situation it is not nature that is causing the hardship it is a drug cartel led by a ruthless kingpin. The story is one which will grip you by the heart and keep you reading. The trouble the heroine undergoes trying to evade the cartel is relentless. She, however, stays strong and manages to evade the country-wide search for her. She has a bounty on her head, and can trust no one. Her trouble escalates as she proceeds northward toward the United States where she believes she will finally be free.

Many times, I have boasted about being a conservative and have written about the evils placed upon our country by the thousands of “illegal” immigrants sneaking across the border into our sacred space. Over the years, I have read numerous books extolling the cost of allowing these people to remain in the USA, and I even read one book about the life of a Coyote whose business it was to sneak these people across the line. This book, however is from the point of view of the immigrant. I have learned the conditions that have driven these people to flee. I am learning of the hardships they face to make the long trip across Mexico (as long as two thousand miles) to the border. I am finding that once they get to the border they meet another impediment in the form of a wall, ICE, US Border Patrol, and more.

I have not yet reached the point in the story to know what hardship they actually meet at the border, but the hardships along the trip are enough to change my mind about letting these people into our safe space. Anyone who can endure the difficulty of traveling with only the clothes on their back, shoes on their feet and perhaps a few dollars while dealing with the cartels, desperados, kidnappers, human smugglers and the many criminal elements all across Mexico have earned my sympathy. I am changing my mind about how we should deal with these immigrant people.

The problem I have is that all my ideas involve changing the criminal elements along the way. Control the cartels, eliminate local government and police corruption, establish migrant stations along the major routes. All of these things that I believe have to change are outside the periphery of US control. We the United States cannot move into Mexico and clean up their centuries of graft and criminal activity. Even if we were able to clean up Mexico we would then have to move into Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and the remaining Central American countries to clean up their acts. We would have to annex them into the country as states. The cost would be more than we can afford, although the cost of allowing the thousands of migrants coming through illegally is nearly as high.

Everyone who has a problem with illegal immigrants coming from Central America should read American Dirt to learn first hand what the problems are.

It would be easy for me to promote American Dirt as a learning experience except that it is fiction, not a non-fiction story based on facts and real experiences. Just like the Grapes Of Wrath chronicled the Joad’s moving through the dust bowl to the land of eden called California was fiction. Both stories have parallel themes which are based on realistic happenings, but they do not contain hard evidence to support the truth with facts. I do, however, believe that both John Steinbeck, author of the The Grapes of Wrath, and Jeanine Cummins, author of American Dirt had to have some living experience with the peoples who became characters in their stories. If not, then my hat goes off to each of them for having the imagination to write very believable and moving stories.

Now, I must post this essay and return to reading the end of American Dirt. Perhaps the end of the story will become a topic for another post.

Green New Deal-Dream to Reality

While driving north on interstate 355 this week I passed a familiar air inflated dome on the East side. My mind was racing through many wild thoughts like a newsreel gone wild. Flashes of ideas burning their way through my brain. It seemed like the wheels on a slot machine whirling through waiting to settle on something. Then the images stopped just as the dome came into view. Emblazoned across the balloon was the name “Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports.”

What if we were to enclose the entire country under one giant humongous air building like Bo Jackson’s? We might actually be able to achieve the dream of the Green New Deal? Without any dirty air coming at us from different parts of the polluted world it could be possible. Constructing the cocoon over America would be easier than convincing countries like China to cut their emissions. We could definitely control the air inside our cocoon. Or could we? Then, the practical aspects of living in a balloon began to spin in my slot machine idea generator. How would we cover the mountains? Building the fence between Mexico and the USA was a large enough task, but it would be declared a piece of cake compared to covering the Smokies and the Rockies under a balloon. The idea generator began spinning again, and a new picture developed. What if we merely covered the cities and towns all around the States? In other words, just put balloon buildings where people live. That way they can breathe absolutely 99.9999% pure air and be allergy and asthma free. The town balloon can be connected by balloon tunnels between. Oh yeah, well what about all the emission you generate inside the balloon? Not a problem with electric vehicles. Where will you get the electricity? Also not as big a problem when all the balloon structures are also encased in photovoltaic cells generating as much power as needed. Also, it will be without the unsightly acres and acres of solar panels.

When millions of people are enclosed within a limited air building they will generate tons of exhaled carbon dioxide which will have to be dealt with, how? Well we could just displace the carbon dioxide with pure filtered air without pollutants. In nature, the trees and vegetation do that work for us by using the carbon dioxide to power photosynthesis. But still, we will have to dispose of the tons of exhaled carbon. Where? How about we build a balloon chimney to blow the needed carbon into the space beyond our stratosphere? One novel idea proposed by science is to convert the carbon into coal. Isn’t that where all this began? Coal? My idea generator stopped spinning at two cherries and a lemon. Thankfully, by this time I arrived at my destination and my mind was forced into thinking about other matters like lunch and where to buy gasoline.

Trouble Keeps Finding Me

Gosh my life has changed since I proclaimed myself a writer of fiction. The punch I took last Friday night at the bowling alley bar put me out of commission. Even though I went to the emergency room to get checked out, and sent home with a clean bill of health it seems I had some extenuating circumstances show up later. The guy who punched me, and who I then attacked viciously was not too happy. He was released from jail two days later and vowed to come and kill me.

He won’t succeed unless he puts a bullet into me from a block away. He won’t come near me because he knows that I can whup his ass in a heart beat crazy old man that I am.

Inspite of all that he showed up at my front door and began berating me as a human with utterly obnoxious obscenities, so I slammed the door in his face. Later that night I had a brick come flying through my front window. I filed a complaint with the police and the next day went to court to file a restraining order against him. If he comes within 500 feet of my front door he will go to jail.

Meanwhile, I had to repair a large picture window. First with plywood and finally with new glass, $$$$. For some reason before the window was closed up my furnace went out and I had to have a repair man come out to fix that too $$$$.

This afternoon, I went to the basement to retrieve something and the lights didn’t come on. One switch turns on three florescent fixtures at the same time. How could all three burn out simultaneously? I figured a breaker tripped, but I couldn’t find one that did. So, is this circumstance or is it the man’s evil double coming to taunt me?

Today, I learned that the guy who sucker punched me is a huge Biden fan. Since I am an even greater Trump fan I didn’t feel bad about the trouble he is in. If he continues to harass me with bricks he will pay the price of a person who believes in using fire-power as a deterrent. My front door and all my windows are now under camera surveillance so, it won’t be hard to identify the next poltergeist who guides a brick missile through my window.

The day after the incident my face was black and blue and a cap fell off my molar, $$$$$. He is getting even with me in the dentist chair since I was told this cap was temporary and that the proper fix would be an implant. There is nothing more aggravating than a tongue that won’t leave a huge cavity alone.

It is Friday night again and I am pondering whether to venture up to the bowling alley bar to see if the hot lady with shapely legs is there tonight. She caused me a lot of trouble and probably doesn’t even know it. I’ve decided to make this a Friday night without a date night period.

Believe it or not.

Tracey J Boothe Publishing Blog

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