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

PSA-210206-I Dare You Not to Smile

We’Ve Come A Long Way, Or Have We?

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The Gift (A serial, part 4)

THE GIFT (A serial, part 4)

Morty cut down the beautiful spruce, with the empty birds’ nest, and found the spot where the rabbit used to stay warm.

“Well, Mr. Rabbit,” he said, “come home with me. I’ll keep you warm.” The rabbit jumped out from under another tree and said,

“Will you take care of me the way Connie did?”

“Yes,” said Morty, “come with me.” Then the cardinal and the sparrow, and the chickadee all flew around his head.

“Will you take care of us too?”

“Sure!” said Morty, “come with me we are going to have a great time.”

Morty pulled Connie through the grove to where farmer Jim would find them. He began to wonder about how he would get the tree home on his scooter. Although Connie is a little tree he is as tall as Morty, and his branches spread out much wider than Morty. Just then, Farmer Jim came by with the wagon and picked them up. Farmer Jim told Morty not to worry because he would help tie the tree to his scooter.

In the shed, next to the barn, Farmer Jim placed Connie into his wrapping machine. The machine wrapped cord around the tree branches, pulling them tightly into the trunk. When the farmer finished wrapping him, Connie was much thinner than before.

Morty carried Connie to his scooter but could not figure out how to load him on the scooter. The trunk on the scooter was only big enough to hold a picnic lunch and some tools, so Connie could not ride in the trunk. Before Farmer Jim came out of the barn to help, Morty placed the tree against the side of the scooter. The side of the scooter was smooth, and nothing was sticking out to hold the rope. Next, Morty put him on the seat. He fit nicely lying along the top and hanging over the end of the scooter, but Morty would have to sit on top of him to drive.

Morty did not like that, so he tried holding Connie upright between his legs and arms as he sat on the scooter. This was even worse because he could not see with the tree in his face.

In the end, Farmer Jim tied the tree to the seat,

and Morty sat on it. The bunny jumped on and huddled by his feet, and the birds all perched on the branches. Connie hummed the tune to Happy Birthday as they took off.

To be continued , , , ,

The Gift (A serial, part three)

THE GIFT (A serial, part three)

The little tree answered, “My name is Connie, short for Coniferous. How can I be so special? My work is to provide a house for the birds, and to shelter the rabbit that sleeps under my boughs. This past summer I had three families of birds living in my branches. What will they do without me to provide for them?”

“The Boss will take care of them,” said Morty, “besides, the many trees of the forest will help them. It is a great honor to do something special for Jesus’ birthday. Then, after Christmas is over, I will use your branches to warm my house. Please do it.”

Connie hesitated a bit and said, “If I choose to accept, then I am giving myself totally to the Baby Jesus. I will live only as long as the sap within my branches will support my needles.”

“I realize that,” said Morty, “that’s why I picked you. You are magnificent and when I am finished dressing you, I know you will please Jesus, and make him smile. I will have my friends string popcorn beads, painted pine cones, icicles, and snowflakes on your branches. I will lay strings of colorful lights on your boughs. Near the lights, I will hang crystal ornaments to reflect the light onto the needles of your branches. On your top stem, I will place a crystal star. You will look stunning. I’ll play Christmas carols and sing while I’m decorating so we can get into the spirit of Christmas.”

Connie agreed that pleasing Jesus on his day was important. He knew that Christmas day was special. This was his chance to do something he could not do if he remained in the forest and grew up for the wood mill harvest. Finally, Connie said,
“It will be an honor to be your gift to Jesus.

To be continued . . . .

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