EVER WONDERED WHERE SOME OF OUR QUAINT LITTLE QUIPS COME FROM...?


>>
Did you know the saying "God willing and the Creeks don't
>> rise" was in reference to the Creek Indians and not a body
>> of water? It was written by Benjamin Hawkins in the late
>> 18th century. He was a politician and Indian diplomat.
>> While in the south, Hawkins was requested by the President
>> of the U.S. to return to Washington . In his response, he
>> was said to write, "God willing and the Creeks don't
>> rise.." Because he capitalized the word "Creeks" it is
>> deduced that he was referring to the Creek Indian tribe and
>> not a body of water.
>> ************************************************************
>> *
>>
>> 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.'
>> (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.
>> ************************************************************
>> **
>>
>> 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.'
>> ************************************************************
>> **
>>ommon 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.'
>> ************************************************************
>> **
>>
>> 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.'
>> ************************************************************
>> **
>>
>> 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 phrase
>> 'minding your 'P's and Q's'.
>> ************************************************************
>> *
>>
>> One more: bet 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.)

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Comment by Ms. Down-to-Earth on September 12, 2011 at 9:35am
Good ones! (I did know the last one but not many of the others.)

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