Why do we say “lock and load” when getting ready?

May 5th, 2010

The expression “lock and load”, we often say that before preparing to do something dangerous. Though where does the expression come from? And what did it actually mean before the current sense. It all spurred from the American G.Is during the Second World War. They said the expression when they loaded their M1 rifles prior to a tough task. The phrase has a simple meaning, inserting a full ammunition clip then lock the bolt straight, pressuring a round into the chamber. The initial expression was “load and lock” but when the All American, John Wayne mixed the words up a new expression was born in the English lexicon “lock and load”. John Wayne had mixed up the expression in the movie The Sands Of Iwo Jima, the expression has stayed since.

Did you know in the movie The Sands Of Iwo Jima, John Wayne and the rest of the characters […] Continue Reading…

How did the days of the week get their names?

May 4th, 2010

Did you know there is a mythology behind every week of the day. Most of them have some relation with the Roman mythology but it’s the Vikings who went on to name them.

“Sunday”: It’s like the word says, Sun day, it is a day that stands for the sun.
“Monday”: This day is a tribute to the moon. The pronunciation is similar to Moon-day.
“Tuesday”: Is for the Germanic war god Tiu, Tiu is also the name of one  of the king of ancient Egypt, he was a pharaoh in lower Egypt.

“Wednesday”: This too has links with Germanic Gods, this time the god of the sky, Woden. Woden was also referred as Odin The Wanderer in some English parts of the world.

“Thursday”: This comes from the Norse god of Thunder Thor, Thor was the most famous of the Norse gods, stories of him were told around Europe.

“Friday”: From the Norse Goddess […] Continue Reading…

What is a Catch-22?

May 4th, 2010

A Catch-22 is often a very hard and most of a time an impossible situation that is encountered by someone. The word originated by the New Yorker Joseph Heller’s novel Catch-22, so the word itself comes from the title of the much renowned novel. The word entered the english lexicon thanks to this novel, in which the main character was in the war but wanted to survive, so he never flew in  dangerous missions. The problem was that the regulation specified that if you were a sane man like the protagonist you had to fly. So it was a no win situation and an impossible one, no matter what the main character did to avoid the situation it ended happening.

Since then the word has  become a way to mock no win bureaucratic situations. Or any other situation that is absurd as the protagonist of Catch-22’s.

Why is something great called a “Masterpiece”?

May 4th, 2010

When one speaks of a masterpiece it often is something that is not like anything else, something that comes once a lifetime. The word wasn’t always in English it first appeared in the Dutch language. It was meisterstuck , the word stood to describe a level of excellence expected by an apprentice prior to joining a guild of master craftsmen. After spending years learning things under a master, the apprentice would build one last piece for his master, to prove he is ready to step up. If his work pleases the master, he can then move on the next stage of craftsman and completely master the trade of craftsmanship.

Did you know that there is a new form of craftsmanship these days, software craftsmanship is what is big these days. It is the art of crafting applications, programs and games. All of these are possible through different codding engines.

The origin of “Son Of A Gun”?

May 2nd, 2010

Early in the 18th century, wives of sailors and their lovers would go with them in long journeys(sometimes prostitutes were on board too).  The sailors would drink all day so when they didn’t drink they did the only other sensibly thing, with the women. When one of the women became pregnant during the trip with no land nearby. The women would be forced to give birth on the sea, they would place a clean curtain near the midship gun/cannon. The women would then give birth at that spot. Since there were many men on the ship and few women, it was hard to know who the father actually was. So they just called the baby, son of a gun, since it came out near a gun.

Why are some newspapers called “gazettes”?

May 2nd, 2010

The man who once ruled over more than a quarter of the planet, invented the newspaper, Julius Caesar in 59 B.C. These papers that were written by Julius himself. These posts were availaible in big cities like Rome but not many others. However it didn’t take long to make papers available to a massive amount of people for a small price. Thanks to Gutenberg’s press printing method, newspaper became a new industry. Citizens of Venice started to pay for these papers to know what is going around in the world and their own parts. This phenom blew up in the 16th century, the price of these papers were 1 gazetta, which is 1 Italian Coin. This gave us the term Gazette for newspapers.

Newspaper isn’t the only thing the army strategist help grow. Everything that you learn in politic has some root to Julius Caesar’s reign as the emperor of […] Continue Reading…

Why is a shopping infrastucture called a “mall”?

May 2nd, 2010

Shopping centers are like mushrooms these days, popping up everywhere. From the big city mall to the small town mall, these commercial centers are everywhere in this modern day.  Shopping centers started to become popular around the 1950s but weren’t called malls. Mall is a word that came from the Italian game Palamaglio, which means ball and mallet game. When the word came into english it was just called pall-mall(pronounced pell-mell). The game was invented in the 16th century but around 18th century the word was forgotten in England. Though there was a street named after it, where wealthy people would go shopping. The street’s name was Mall, so that is how shopping centers got their name, from a fancy avenue in London.

The name of the modern malls we have now, was strip malls in 1920, even though they aren’t exactly what he have now, the idea was pretty […] Continue Reading…

Why is it bad to open an umbrella indoors?

April 29th, 2010

The umbrella, we all have used it probably sometime in our life. Whether it’s to protect us from sunlight, rain or some other bothersome object. But whenever you take it out, you must have heard that it’s not a good thing to open it inside and that you should wait till you’re outside. Where does this superstition of opening your umbrella outside come from? The umbrella is an old african invention, so the superstition rightfully comes from Africa. The use of the umbrellas changed, Africans used to protect themselves from Sunlight but upon entering Europe, through Spain in the 12 century, the use changed to protect one from rain. The superstition started in Africa, people believed if you opened the umbrella inside the sun god would feel insulted and harm the people.

Some facts point that the umbrella or the parasol was first invented in the middle east like many […] Continue Reading…

The origin of Piggy Banks

April 29th, 2010

Everybody has bought a piggy bank once, or has at least seen one. A pretty useful vessel to contain some change when you’re in a hurry. In medieval times, in England, pots and dishes were created with clay, that type of clay was called “pygg”. Much like now, pots were often used to keep some spare cash in the kitchen or in other areas in the house. Near 1600, an English pot maker got an offer to make a pot, though this one was unfamiliar with pygg bank, so he actually made a vessel in the shape of a pig. The pig had a slender hole on it’s back so you could put coins in it.

Since then piggy banks have become somewhat part of our culture. Rachel, is the biggest piggy bank in the world, it weights around 600 pounds and is made out of bronze.

Why are foot combatants called Infantry?

April 28th, 2010

If you’ve ever seen anything army related, movie, book, you will know that we call the soldiers that operate on foot, infantry. This component of the army is the biggest, it has the most people in it too. Infantryman as they are called, the words meaning in Latin is non speaking, just like an infant who doesn’t reply back or refute back orders, soldiers were well trained to not answer back at a superior. Infantry also meant army ant in Latin, ants are the only other species than the humans to use army formations.

The word soldier comes from the word Solidus which meant a gold coin because it wasn’t cheap to raise an army of mercenaries.