Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Aetiology of Some Well-Known Phrases and Some Curious Facts

1. The Scottish game that was originally for 'Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden' became known as 'Golf'.

2. Coca Cola was originally green.

3. It's (supposedly) impossible to lick your elbow. But can you, without dislocating your shoulder?

4. First novel written on a typewriter was 'Tom Sawyer'.

5. The kings in a set of playing cards represent real people - spades King David, hearts Charlemagne, clubs Alexander the Great, and diamonds Julius Caesar. And so called in a French deck - David, Charles, Alexandre and C├ęsar.

6. Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of their birthplace.

7. If you spell out numbers from zero, you'd need to get to 'one thousand' before you'd find the letter 'A'.

8. The only food that doesn't spoil is honey.

9. The expression 'sleep tight' comes from the time of Shakespeare, when mattresses were secured onto beds with ropes, and, to make the bed firmer, you tightened these ropes.

10. 4000 years ago in Babylon, the bride's parents supplied the groom with mead, a honey-based beer, for a month after the wedding - so the 'honeymoon'.

So guys, which of the ten do you like best?

And how bout the elbow lick thing? Bet you tried to as you read that so-called 'fact!'


  1. Nick, you dag (and that's meant exclusively in an affectionate-horny sort of way) I pretended not to see, emulate or... OK, I tried the elbow thing ;) Yummy, but I can think of a couple of non-autoways to make it even yummier. Your blog (and yourself :P) is quite conducive to that.

    As for the... I just *know* you have researched all ten but I have serious doubts about #6. Who is your source? Come on, don't be selfish, your source may be a doable 'He/him/hwathever..lol' ;)



  2. #7: Wrong. How about one hundred And one? And two? And three etc?

  3. i want video proof that that tongue didn't ever so slightly lurch towards your elbow as you read! i recommend the licking of others' elbows - prior to wider lickings. as far as #6, who knows! it just seemed a nice general all-purpose statistic - LOL. do you doubt it? hug-hug-hug my friend.

  4. One hundred and one (et al) - has an 'a'.

  5. hey victor. the idea is if you just read out the numbers (e.g. 105 is 'one hundred five') then you don't reach the a till 1000. but you are right if you are looking at it your way. take care. nick

  6. I'm a retired public servant which makes me an occupational pedant, lol.

  7. hey victor - i don't think you're a pedant at all - just looked at the issue from a different angle. you obviously like to think things thru rather than accept - which is real kewl. keep in touch! take care. nick

  8. Speak of the devil! There's my own "fun fact," right up there at #5! Well, I figured you'd already know it!

    But are the queens real people, and if so, who?

  9. hey keith - the queens are not supposed to represent any particular historical figures in English cards - but legend has it that the Queen of Hearts shows Elizabeth of York, one of the wives of Henry VII of England. in France, however, it's different - the Queen of Spades rep's Pallas, the Queen of Hearts, Judith, the Queen of Diamonds, Rachel (both last two from the bible). the Queen of Clubs, Argine, is an anagram of the Latin for 'queen' i.e. regina! Close to home for us!