Historical Trivia

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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.
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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)

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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. 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
phrase  ‘minding your ‘P’s and Q’s’.
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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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About Dick and Danna

Resume for Dick Vernon, PHD (Possess Highschool Diploma) I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. I am a strong conservative politically. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row. I make women swoon with my sensuous steel guitar playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru. Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I’m bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, I repair computerized aircraft panels free of charge. I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don’t perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. Ihave been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me. I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations with the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On week- ends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. I have given Rachel Ray and Emirile cooking lessons. I breed prize-winning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performe open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis many times when I taught him how to play guitar.. But I have not yet gone to college. ——————————————————- Resume for: Danna Vernon I put up with Dick Vernon. Doesn’t that say it all?
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