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Thread: Early America History Trivia

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    Default Early America History Trivia

    Early America History Trivia

    Here are some interesting tidbits:

    During George Washington's lifetime there were no cameras. A person's image was either sculpted or painted. The paintings of George Washington show him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while other paintings 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 claim hands and arms are more difficult to paint)




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    18th Century lifestyle had men and women taking 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. Wigs could not be washed. The process to clean wigs was to 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 ski n 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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    If you are minding your P's and Q's you are alert and observant, monitoring your behavior and watching your language. In other words... behaving. Even early breweries had a rudimentary 'tab' system. Though not computerized, the barkeep had a chalkboard behind the bar where he would keep track of pints and quarts consumed by the patrons. When a well-watered patron became less than respectful of his bar mates, the barkeep may have said, "Mind your Ps and Qs". Translation? Pull yourself together "or else!" The "or else" was changing the "Ps" to "Qs" on the chalkboard.




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    Farmers discovered that chickens born in the spring were far more desirable at market than older chickens that had lived through the winter. Sometimes a farmer would try to pass off a winter chicken as a young chicken, to which the buyer would respond "that's no spring chicken!"


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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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    In the heyday of sailing ships, all warships 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.


    18th Century Cannonball Monkey

    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 (gets smaller) greater than and much faster than iron when chilled.

    When the temperature dropped during very cold weather, the brass indentations would shrink and flatten out, making the iron cannonballs roll off the monkey. Thus, it was "Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey." (All this time, you thought that was an improper expression.)

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    Default Re: Early America History Trivia

    A substantial part of these tidbits would warrant serious skepticism. For instance, the material under "gossip" is nonsense.

    Gossip is an ancient word, and has been part of the language for over 1,000 years. In the earliest form of English, known as Old English, it was formed from the two words "god" and "sib," the latter having the same root as "sibling." It means "god kin" or what we would term "god parents." Over time, it came to mean simply your "pals" or friends.

    By Shakespeare's time, it had come to mean the group of friends a woman would ask to attend at the birth of her child. Shakespeare uses it this way. By the 18th century, it had come to mean the usually trivial and sometimes unkind conversations that took place at such gatherings--gossip. This also explains at least one reason why "gossip" came to be associated with women.

    You don't have to take my word for it: this definition is clearly outlined in the Oxford English Dictionary--complete with quotations from the appropriate periods.

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    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early America History Trivia

    I like yours better Wing.
    I might not be as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was !


    It's better to be Pissed Off than Pissed On or Stood On and Pissed Off Of !


    The views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not reflect the views of my employer. or my wife , if that matters.

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    Premium Member daman1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early America History Trivia

    Very informative word entemology. Not very funny though. I like Wings version.

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    Default Re: Early America History Trivia





    Let's take a close look at "Old Glory."


    The color white signifies the purity of method - those qualities of honesty, integrity and judgement under all circumstances and conditions.

    The red, or dark crimson, represents the extremely large sacrifices in blood by many since our founding by our original, very thoughtful, founders.

    The blue represents the forthrightness of patience, fortitude and determination of the overall populace.

    In 1777, the Continental Congress resolved that the flag's "union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation" of independent, but united, states. (5-pointed stars did not start appearing on the flag until the post-Revolutionary "federalist" period of American history. Betsy Ross is alleged to have told George Washington she could more easily make a 5-pointed star from a folded piece of cloth than make a 6-pointed star.)

    The thread used to hold all pieces together represents the National Guard.

    The gold fringe of the formal presentation represents the U.S. Merchant Marine.

    It saddens Wingfoot to know a person can count on one hand the number of bureaucrats in Washington DC that gives one shit about our flag and strives to honor the element of each segment..........


    Michelle Soetoro at the 9-11 Ceremony mouths
    "all this just for the flag" and shakes her head!
    And Barry Soetoro blithefully agrees!




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    Default Re: Early America History Trivia

    O K put the Cool aid down!

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    Default Re: Early America History Trivia

    Quote Originally Posted by locatethis View Post
    O K put the Cool aid down!
    Well, maybe Wingfoot errored by limiting his scope to Washington D.C............

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    Default Re: Early America History Trivia











    Charlie Chaplin ~ The Great Dictator's Speech



    Iím sorry, but I donít want to be an emperor. Thatís not my business. I donít want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone - if possible - Jew, Gentile - black man - white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each otherís happiness - not by each otherís misery. We donít want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

    Greed has poisoned menís souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost....

    The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men - cries out for universal brotherhood - for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world - millions of despairing men, women, and little children - victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

    To those who can hear me, I say - do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. .....

    Soldiers! donít give yourselves to brutes - men who despise you - enslave you - who regiment your lives - tell you what to do - what to think and what to feel! Who drill you - diet you - treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Donít give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You donít hate! Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Donít fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

    In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: ďthe Kingdom of God is within manĒ - not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power - the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

    Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world - a decent world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!

    Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world - to do away with national barriers - to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all menís happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!


    Arguably The Best Speech Ever Performed - Written/Performed by Charlie Chaplin (1940 - The Great Dictator)

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    Premium Member daman1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early America History Trivia

    I disagree on two points with Charlie. While it may have been true in his era, I think what has increased regularly for the last several decades is that we now feel too much and think too little. It's what makes us so easily manipulated by the government and the media.

    Secondly and more importantly. Chaplin is no longer the "great dictator". That honor was given to Steve a few years ago.
    Last edited by daman1; December 24th, 2014 at 02:46 PM.
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    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early America History Trivia

    Quote Originally Posted by daman1 View Post
    I disagree on two points with Charlie. While it may have been true in his era, I think what has increased regularly for the last several decades is that we now feel too much and think too little. It's what makes us so easily manipulated by the government and the media.

    Secondly and more importantly. Chaplin is no longer the "great dictator". That honor was given to Steve a few years ago.
    It was. I remember it. I think "Nazi Dictator" was the actual title.
    Wingfoot likes this.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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