02 August 2011

And then there are the amusing things that really don't matter

In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes when you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. That's where the phrase, "goodnight, sleep tight" came from. 
The sentence "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." uses every letter in the alphabet.  (developed by Western Union to test telex/twx communications)
The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating a  letter is uncopyrightable.
When opossums are playing 'possum, they are not "playing."  They actually pass out from sheer terror.
The Main Library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building. [So that's why my house seems to be listing slightly...]

The term "the whole 9 yards" came from WWII fighter pilots in the Pacific.  When arming their airplanes on the ground, the .50 caliber machine gun ammo belts measured exactly 27 feet, before being loaded into the fuselage.  If the pilots fired all their  ammo at a target, it got "the whole 9 yards."

The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb. [Unfortunately, this could include a nasty length of rebar]
An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.  [As opposed to human eyes which we know are generally bigger than the human stomache] 
The name Jeep came from the abbreviation used in the army for the "General Purpose" vehicle, G.P.
The cruise liner, Queen Elizabeth II, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns. [Presumably the Queen herself moves along at a slightly brisker pace]
Nutmeg is extremely poisonous if injected intravenously.  [Note to self: despite the temptation, do not do this when baking at Christmas]
No NFL team which plays its home games in a domed stadium has ever won a Super Bowl. [Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gon beat dem Saints?]

The first toilet ever seen on television was on "Leave It To Beaver."

Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older. 

In Cleveland, Ohio, it's illegal to catch mice without a hunting  license. [Why does this sound like a Tom and Jerry episode?]

It takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year's supply of footballs. 

In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts. So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them to mind their own pints and quarts  and settle down.   It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's."

Thirty-five percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married.

There are an average of 178 sesame seeds on a McDonald's Big Mac bun.

The world's termites outweigh the world's humans 10 to 1.

The 3 most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, Coca-Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.

When Heinz ketchup leaves the bottle, it travels at a rate of 25 miles per year.  [And if you're pouring it while sailing on the Queen Elizabeth II ... ??]

Ten percent of the Russian government's income comes from the sale of vodka.

On average, 100 people choke to death on ball-point pens every year.  [What is WRONG with these people?]

In 10 minutes, a hurricane releases more energy than all the world's nuclear weapons combined.

It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer, and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called  the "honey month" or what we know today as the "honeymoon."

Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim or handle of their ceramic cups.  When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some  service.  "Wet your whistle," is the phrase inspired by this practice.

And with that, I'm off to wet my whistle with a cup of tea. 

Carry on.

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