Thursday, January 25, 2007

How many of these did you know?

Some interesting stuff here. I can't totally vouch for these but they sound good and they're interesting, regardless. Thanks Richard Sutton for this list.

Q: Why are many coin banks shaped like pigs?
A: Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of a dense orange clay called "pygg". When people saved coins in jars made of this clay, the jars became known as "pygg banks." When an English potter misunderstood the word, he made a bank that resembled a pig. And it caught on.

Q: Did you ever wonder why dimes, quarters and half dollars have notches, while pennies and nickels do not?
A: The US Mint began putting notches on the edges of coins containing gold and silver to discourage holders from shaving off small quantities of the precious metals. Dimes, quarters and half dollars are notched because they used to contain silver. Pennies and nickels aren't notched because the metals they contain are not valuable enough to shave.

Q: Why do men's clothes have buttons on the right while women's clothes have buttons on the left?
A: When buttons were invented, they were very expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids, dressmakers put the buttons on the maid's right. Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. And that's where women's buttons have remained since.

Q: Why do X's at the end of a letter signify kisses?
A: In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write, documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous.

Q: Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called "passing the buck"?
A: In card games, it was once customary to pass an item, called a buck, from player to player to indicate whose turn it was to deal. If a player did not wish to assume the responsibility, he would "pass the buck" to the next player.

Q: Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast?
A: It used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his host, he would then just touch or clink the host's glass with his own.

Q: Why are people in the public eye said to be "in the limelight"?
A: Invented in 1825, limelight was used in lighthouses and stage lighting by burning a cylinder of lime which produced a brilliant light. In the theatre, performers on stage "in the limelight" were seen by the audience to be the center of attention.

Q: Why do ships and aircraft in trouble use "mayday" as their call for help?
A: This comes from the French word m'aidez -meaning "help me" -- and is pronounced "mayday,"Q: Why is someone who is feeling great "on cloud nine"?

A: Types of clouds are numbered according to the altitudes they attain, with nine being the highest cloud If someone is said to be on cloud nine, that person is floating well above worldly cares..

Q: Why are zero scores in tennis called "love"?
A: In France , where tennis first became popular, a big, round zero on scoreboard looked like an egg and was called "l'oeuf," which is French for "egg." When tennis was introduced in the US , Americans pronounced it "love."

Q: In golf, where did the term "Caddie" come from?
A. When Mary, later Queen of Scots, went to France as a young girl (for education & survival), Louis, King of France, learned that she loved the Scot game "golf." So he had the first golf course outside of Scotland built for her enjoyment. To make sure she was properly chaperoned (and guarded) while she played, Louis hired cadets from a military school to accompany her. Mary liked this a lot and when she returned to Scotland (not a very good idea in the long run), she took the practice with her. In French, the word cadet is pronounced 'ca-day' and the Scots changed it into "caddie."
So now you know!

I found this recipe on the Real Food for Real People newsletter this morning and it sounded great for all this wintery wet weather. Read it all the way thru before making it as it tells you at the bottom how to layer the food. This sounds like a good side dish for a sturdy winter time dinner. I'll bet you could add some cooked chicken to this for a complete meal.....

(Serves 6)You can substitute one layer of cooked elbow macaroni for a layer of rice.
2 cups uncooked brown or white rice
1 pound lentils
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 Tablespoon crushed garlic
2 - 16-ounce cans of tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1 medium onion

Cook rice according to directions. Rinse lentils and put them in a pot, covering them with water, and bring to a boil. Then simmer on low heat until almost all water is absorbed and lentils are well cooked. Add extra water if longer time is needed. To make the sauce, first sauté the garlic in 1 Tablespoon oil until golden. Add both cans of tomato sauce and simmer 10-15 minutes. Add water and vinegar and bring to a boil. Remove from heat immediately and add salt to taste. Finally, slice onion in thin, small pieces and sauté in remaining 1 Tablespoon oil.

On a Side note:
It is absolutely beautiful outside, blue sky and warmer temperatures. We have had twelve straight days of rain, some of it mixed with sleet. It is so nice to see a blue sky....Ahhhh, I love it. It's been a most unusual winter, I'm glad I don't live in Denver...


At 3:38 PM, Blogger Sherpa said...

Cool. I like eating vegetarian for lunch. I'll have to try out that recipe.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

Wow, that was some cool info about lots of things I have wondered about before! Thanks Lucy!

At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that ... I learned some things.

At 10:13 PM, Anonymous nettie said...

about half..

At 3:31 AM, Blogger Pragmatician said...

So jealous you have such great weather.
These tidbits of knowledge were fascinating.
Since I speak French I had a hearty laugh about the Tennis story:)

At 4:06 AM, Blogger FRIDAY'S CHILD said...

That was very interesting and knowledgeable. Like your recipe. Might try it one of this days.
Thanks for the visit.

At 6:46 AM, Blogger Leslie said...

I knew about the m'aidez and the l'oeuf French words from when I took French in high school. The piggy bank is very interesting though. I have heard of the clay called pygg from history in high school (see, I use my high school education for something these days), but I never put the two together or knew the story of the pygg jars.

I love your suggestion about trying the Salvation Army or other resale shope, but the problem is there aren't any here in LJ. The nearest second-hand anything is up near Houston. There might be one in Alvin, but still I can't travel anywhere anymore until after the baby is born. I've been instructed to not leave LJ because of my pre-term labor probls and the fact that my labor is estimated at just an hour this time. My son was 4 hours, my daughter 2 hours, so doc thinks this one will be cutting it awfully close and I may not even get an epidural.

On a good note though, I suppose my entire church got invited to my baby showr, not just the choir or my Sunday school class, but the whole church--It's on the front page of our weekly newsletter that gets mailed out to all members. Not that the entire church will show up, but a lot of people know who I am and tell me every Sunday how pretty the choir sings when they see me sitting up there in my choir robe. I didn't know what a big deal they were making of my shower until I got my newsletter in the mail yesterday and saw my baby shower on the front page. I don't think I'll have a problem with receiving the things I need.

I wish we did have a Goodwill or something here though. It's where we got my son's first dresser and refinished it to match the crib over 5 years ago. Unfortunately it hasn't lasted as long as we had hoped through moves and kids playing and all that. It did only cost us $14, so the fact that it's destroyed now doesn't bother me. I wish I had a project like that now though--Currently we have piles of laundy baskets with clean clothes folded in them as storage and no dresser or chest for the girls.

At 7:17 AM, Anonymous Rhea said...

I love learning the origins and words and phrases. I was intrigued by the buttons one. I've been looking for a long time for a book that explains the history of words and phrases.

At 7:39 AM, Blogger Live, Love, Laugh said...

You bless me with all these little things you post all the time. I must say your blog is so unique it is one of my favorites to visit.

At 8:05 AM, Blogger Merle said...

Hi Lucy ~~ Your post is full f info about lots of thing. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for your visit and I am glad you liked the Gift of Love. We do need to be reminded sometimes to be grateful for all that we have. Take care, Love, Merle.

At 8:42 AM, Blogger Big Dave T said...

There you are! I've been wanting to respond to a comment you left on my blog. Yes, I do play the accordion some, but I don't have a large repertoire of songs.

Those were all interesting little historical nuggets. It's amazing all the trivia you can learn, and still there's plenty more.

On essiac tea, I've heard the health benefits of that. My sugars have been fairly normal of late (and I'm not a big fan of tea), so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can keep this up.

At 1:20 PM, Blogger Steven Novak said...

Hey! Look at that! I learned something!

Who knew the internet could teach you things? ;)


At 1:51 PM, Blogger Mountain Mama said...

Thanks for the fun info. I have often wondered about some of these.
We are having a sunshine day too and after all the snow, rain and cloudy days it makes my heart sing, "spring is coming, oh yes Spring is just around the corner, yippee, hallelujah, and glory to the Lord!"
Ok I'll stop now.

At 3:02 PM, Blogger An80sNut said...

Love seeing word origins. Reading these definitely made me smile. Some day I may attempt lentils as it isn't a regular item that I cook.

ps. - I'll be stretching out the Michelle story for awhile. I didn't want to hit people over the head with too much at once. hahaha

At 11:09 PM, Blogger SusieQ said...

Lucy, trivia like this fascinates me so much.

Speaking of fasteners like buttons, the zipper was originally called a "separable fastener." It was patented in 1917. B.F. Goodrich liked the "zip" sound that it made, so he coined the term zipper.

At 9:01 AM, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

shepra - Let me know how the recipe turns out.

rachel - daybyday - nettie belle - Thanks for coming by and enjoying the little tidbits.

prag - glad you enjoyed it.

fridays child - good to see you again.

leslie - Glad you enjoyed the tidbits..It looks like you were attentive in high school and that's good.... There is a second hand shop in Alvin, I've been there with a friend. It's really nice.....Aren't you glad that you have such a supportive church?.... My labors were pretty short too, but not as short as yours are. Good luck on getting to the hospital on time....Have you looked at ebay for baby items? I bought some things for my granddaughter on Ebay and was pleasently suprised at how nice it was. If you are looking for furniture, click on the regional button and you can look for items in you own area. Good luck!

At 9:11 AM, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

rhea - they facinate me too.

live, love, laugh - I love coming to read your blog too. You have a special spirit and I admire that about you.

Hi Merle - did you have a nice Australia day? Yes, I am grateful for all that I have.

Dig Dave - I love learning all those little tidbits. I am ordering the isseac tea tomorrow and I will let you know how it works.

steve - the internet can be a very valuable teaching tool.

mountain mama - spring will come soon enough for us down here in Houston. It's raining again today, hopefully clearing out this afternoon. We have a cold front heading our way for late tonight...

an80snut - lentils are very easy to cook and are very good for you. Waiting to hear more about Michelle...I wish you luck on getting rid of the dinasours...Ha Ha.

susieq - Interesting fact about the zipper.

At 7:42 PM, Blogger Lisa said...


These facts were so interesting! And they all really make sense. The recipe sounds yummy...I'm a big lentil fan! I'll let you know if I try it this's been cold here in NY, so it seems like great comfort food!

Take good care,

At 5:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i knew about half of those, i didn't know that piggy bank one though, who doesn't or hasn't had a piggy bank at one time!

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Evey said...

Interesting post Lucy. Its fun to read about where words and traditions originated from. Thanks for sharing.

At 3:38 PM, Blogger The probligo said...

Love it, Lucy.

The l'oeuf = "love" in tennis is generally accepted, but disputed.

In NZ the edge patterns on coins (now including one with notches) are unique for each denomination. The intention is to assist blind people with identifying the value of each coin.


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