Interesting Origin of a Few English Phrases & Customs

“Piss Poor”

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken & Sold to the tannery…….if you had to do this to survive you were “Piss Poor”

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot……they “didn’t have a pot to piss in” & were the lowest of the low

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Tradition of Bride carrying a Bouquet when getting Married 

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.. However, since they were starting to smell . …… . Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting Married.

“Don’t throw the baby out with the Bath water!”

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the Bath water!”

“It’s raining cats and dogs.”

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof… Hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

What led to Canopy Beds 

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

Why House has a thresh hold 

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “Dirt poor.” The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.

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India is the Biggest Banana Republic !…Surely Vodaphone and Ratan Tata would agree !

At the outset let me disclose that this Post has been provoked by

  • Vodaphone….Our Government giving a Clarification with retrospective effect ,effectively overturning the Supreme Court order that agreed with Vodaphone  not being subject to Billion of Dollars of tax in India  and
  • Ratan Tata…..he expressed his frustration that India is headed towards becoming a Banana Republic

…..but neither has sponsored it !

Take it as a Sunday Chuckle or Trivialisation…..

India is the Biggest Banana Republic…Literally…Take a Look at the Stats below

 Top Ten Countries in Banana Production  sourced from  www.nationmaster.com        

Rank Countries  Annual Production  in metric tonnes
# 1 India 11,000,000
# 2 Brazil 6,339,350
# 3 Ecuador 5,000,000
# 4 China 4,812,530
# 5 Philippines 3,560,800
# 6 Indonesia 3,165,730
# 7 Costa Rica 2,101,450
# 8 Mexico 1,802,280
# 9 Thailand 1,720,000
# 10 Colombia 1,570,000

Ofcourse what Ratan Tata meant was in a totally different context….of Economic & Moral Depravity… how India is shaping up disastrously in the way it is being governed and the way business is being run…. the increasing Income Inequalities and Disparities and Inadequate Distribution that concentrated  maximum Wealth in minimum hands….the unprecedented and shameless scale of corruption…the dominant vested interests and powerful forces…the collapse of business ethics and moral fibre in those who govern and those who do business…the unholy nexus between the two…policy paralysis…increasing level of relative poverty….increasing anti business stance of the government that’s killing entrepreneurship and business…..trust deficit as government changes policies ,tax structures and laws at it’s whims and fancies to suit vested interests and coalition partners and that too with retrospective effect of years…how can Business plan forward ?  

Atleast,Mr Tata,there are enough Bananas to go around ! ….A Banana Hit Song of Yesteryears comes to mind…. Let’s sing together that popular Jamaican Folk Song ” The Banana Boat Song” …the 1956 version by Harry Belafonte while our Country continues to slip on banana peels !…unless ofcourse you fear we may be taxed with retrospective effect for our performance !

Cheers ! 

 

Everything copasetic at Guangzhou Asian Games Town

Copasetic….It’s an American Slang adjective that means “Everything’s ok” or “Completely satisfactory”

…came across it while browsing through the official website of the ongoing Asian Games 2010 at Guangzhou in China…check out http://www.gz2010.cn/10/1120/23/6LVISNVR0078002T.html 

…Everything copasetic at Guangzhou Asian Games Town

Copasetic does not feature in the English Oxford Dictionary….that gave me a hint that it could be of American source and origin…it is…check out wikipedia http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/copacetic …the etymology is not proven but originated probably in the US South…..from African Americans in the early 20th or late 19th century….Copasetic has only one meaning but could also be spelt as Copacetic

….I’m enjoying blogging…it’s copasetic at my end…..hope the context is in order…..Cheers !

Trivia….Connections…Tina Turner & Pierce Brosnan…Vapi & Wimbledon…Singapore & Sanskrit

I Love Connecting…even if it appears as Trivia….over the Years it’s become an inherent and instant reflexive action when I read about or see a Person,Thing or Place

Like….. what’s the Connection between the Crooner and even Actor,Tina Turner…she’ll turn 71 in November this year ( Oh ! I loved her ‘Private Dancer’ and ‘What’s Love got to do with it’) and Pierce Brosnan,the still handsome…he’s 57 years old and he’s trying to protect Whales from being killed… and suave Irish Actor who carved a niche in Hollywood (‘The Thomas Crown Affair’,’Dante’s Peak’,’The Tailor of Panama’,’After the Sunset’ with Salma Hayek.’Mamma Mia’ with Meryl Streep and Four ‘Bond’ Movies) ?….the Bond Movie ‘Goldeneye’……Pierce Brosnan,was the ideal actor to play ‘James Bond’ but was bound in the 1980s by contract to play the lead ‘Remington Steele’ with costar Cybill Shepherd in a popular TV Detective Serial ‘Moonlighting’…I was addicted to this serial…remember being glued to the TV in the Middle East while I was working for one of the Big Four Audit Firms there….. When Brosnan was released from this contract,he was finally signed up for the role of  ‘James Bond’…..’Goldeneye ‘was one of Brosnan’s Four ‘Bond’ films….Saw it a few days ago on a Film Channel….Tina Turner has sung the title song ‘Goldeneye’ for this Pierce Brosnan ‘Bond’ Film

Like….. what’s the Connection between Vapi,the town in Gujarat State in West India and the All England Club Wimbledon Tennis Championship ?….Championship Towels….The All England Club has licensed out the manufacture of Championship Towels to Christy….The Welspun Group of India ( Pipes & Terry Towels) recently bought out Christy…..they shifted the manufacture of the Championship Towels to the Welspun India Plant at Vapi…I’ve been to this Plant,retained by AIMA to train Welspun Employees in Security Analysis & Portfolio Management to prepare them for Professional Examination

Like….what’s the Connection between Singapore & Sanskrit,an ages old Indian language ?….the name Singapore is a combination of two Sanskrit words…’Singa’ meaning Lion and ‘Pura’ meaning City…so how did this name come about ?….Singapore in ancient times was known as ‘Temasek’…it’s a Javanese word for Sea…It was a busy Trading centre,just as it is today….In fact Temasek is the name of one of the Singapore Govt’s Investment arm that has heavily invested in Indian Companies…..Temasek was destroyed at the end of the 4th Century…It is said by the ‘Malay Annals’ that it was rediscovered in the 11th century by Sang Nila Utama, a Prince of the Sri Vijaya Empire…when he landed on it’s shores he saw a strange beast,which he later learnt was a Lion…he named the Land ‘Singapura’….Modern Day Singapore…the Country’s Symbol ‘Merlion’ is a Lion head and a Fish Body

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Wedding Season is on…So what’s the origin of the word ‘Honeymoon’?

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, which we know today as the honeymoon.