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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Larry Simoneaux
Bio: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  August 5, 2007
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Topic category:  Other/General

Some woolgathering.

Summerís here and I often find myself looking for moments in which to think about and do absolutely nothing of any importance.

Since this an opinion column and the latest political brouhaha is over Hillaryís cleavage, Iím of the opinion that, this week, itís doubly important to seek more such moments.

If you feel the same, I offer the following bits of information that Iíve come across here and there.

In the grand scheme of things, they are absolutely useless. Still, on an August morning, they seem at least a step above worrying whether or not Hillaryís recent choice of dress is worthy of comment.

So, worries down. Woolgathering 101 now begins.

  • In earlier times, mattresses were secured to bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes, the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer and more comfortable. Hence the term, "Sleep tight."
  • The terms "port" and "starboard" come from the time when vessels had a steering board "steerboard" on one side and only the other side could be made fast to the dock or "port" side.
  • In ancient Babylon, a brideís father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead (a honey beer) he could drink for an entire month (moon to moon). Hence the term "honey month" or, as we now know it, "honeymoon."
  • In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts. When the drinkers got unruly, the bartender would yell for them to "mind their pints and quarts" and settle down. This phrase was eventually shortened to, "Mind your pís and qís."
  • In those same pubs, drinkers frequently had a whistle baked into the handle of their mugs. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. Hence, "Wet your whistle."
  • The term: "Son of a gun" comes from the time when sailing ships would fire their cannons to induce or speed up labor in women who were about to deliver on board.
  • "Tossing the baby out with the bath water" comes from the time when everyone would bathe (not very frequently, mind you) in the water held in the "bath tub." Dad would go first, followed by mom. Then would come the kids. By this time, the water was (to put it mildly) a bit murky. Thus, when the baby got washed, the washer was reminded not to lose sight of the child and to certainly not throw it out with the now thoroughly dark water.
  • If you were to spell out numbers, the first number to use the letter "A" would be "one thousand."
  • 40% of all people at a party will snoop in your medicine cabinet.
  • The term "the whole 9 yards" is said to have came from WWII fighter pilots. When arming their airplanes on the ground, the .50 caliber ammunition belts measured exactly 27 feet before being loaded into the plane. If the pilots fired an entire belt at an enemy plane, that plane got "the whole 9 yards."
  • Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than for the US Treasury.
  • The nursery rhyme "Ring Around the Rosey" is a rhyme about the plague. Infected people with the plague would get sores with red rings around them ("Ring around the rosey"). The sores smelled so badly that common folks would put flowers somewhere inconspicuous on their bodies to cover the smell of those sores ("a pocket full of posies"). Furthermore, people who died from the plague would be burned so as to reduce the possible spread of the disease ("ashes, ashes, we all fall down").
  • The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $6,400.
  • The term "threshold" comes from the time when the floors of homes were covered with the stalks of threshed wheat that were used to collect dirt, food scraps, etc. The threshold was a low board placed at the base of the <
  • The name "Jeep" came from the abbreviation used in the army for the "General Purpose" vehicle, G.P.
  • Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history: Spades - King David; Clubs - Alexander the Great; Hearts - Charlemagne; Diamonds Ė Caesar Augustus.

There. Absolutely useless. But a good way to spend a few minutes doing nothing much at all Ė unless youíd rather be arguing about Hillaryís cleavage.

In which case, summer mornings are likely wasted on you.

Larry Simoneaux

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Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.

Read other commentaries by Larry Simoneaux.

Copyright © 2007 by Larry Simoneaux
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