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Bet you didn't know.... PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Cosmic   
Tuesday, 10 September 2013 07:57

Bet you didn't know....

Early aircraft's throttles had a ball on the end of it,
in order to go full throttle the pilot had to push the throttle all the way
forward into the wall of the instrument panel. Hence "balls to the wall"
for going very fast. And now you know, the rest of the story.
During WWII , U.S. airplanes were armed with belts of bullets which they
would shoot during dogfights and on strafing runs. These belts were folded
into the wing compartments that fed their machine guns. These belts measure
27 feet and contained hundreds of rounds of bullets. Often times, the
pilots would return from their missions having expended all of their bullets
on various targets. They would say, "I gave them the whole nine yards,"
meaning they used up all of their ammunition.
Did you know the saying "God willing and the creek 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 Creek don't rise." Because he capitalized the word "Creek"
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.'
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.'
Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and
dignified woman, as in 'straight laced' wore a tightly tied lace.
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.'
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
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 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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Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 07:57

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