June 1 is . . . . . Dare Day. June 2 is . . . . . National Rocky Road Day. June 3 is . . . . . Repeat Day. June 4 is . . . . . Old Maid’s Day. June 5 is . . . . . Festival Of Popular Delusions Day. June 6 is . . . . . Teacher’s Day and National Applesauce Cake Day. June 7 is . . . . . National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. June 8 is . . . . . Name Your Poison Day. June 9 is . . . . . Donald Duck Day. June 10 is . . . . National Yo-Yo Day. June 11 is . . . . National Hug Holiday and King Kamehameha Day. June 12 is . . . . Machine Day and Sports & More’s publisher’s birthday. June 13 is . . . . National Juggling Day and Kitchen Klutzes Of America Day. June 14 is . . . . Pop Goes The Weasel Day. June 15 is . . . . Smile Power Day. June 16 is . . . . National Hollerin’ Contest Day. June 17 is . . . . Watergate Day and Eat Your Vegetables Day. June 18 is . . . . International Panic Day. June 19 is . . . . World Sauntering Day. June 20 is . . . . Ice Cream Soda Day. June 21 is . . . .Cuckoo Warning Day. June 22 is . . . . National Chocolate Eclair Day. June 23 is . . . . National Pink Day. June 24 is . . . . Museum Comes To Life Day. June 25 is . . . . Log Cabin Day. June 26 is . . . . National Chocolate Pudding Day. (This is the third chocolate theme day of the month.) June 27 is . . . . National Columnists Day. June 28 is . . . . Paul Bunyan Day. June 29 is . . . . Camera Day. June 30 is . . . . Meteor Day.
May 20, 2013
More idioms... “Pass the buck” - Meaning, to evade responsibility by passing it on to someone else. Origin: Look up “buck” in the dictionary and you’ll find a couple of dozen assorted nouns, verbs and adjectives. The most common use of the word these days is as the slang term for the American dollar. That’s not the buck meant here though. Look a little further down the list and you’ll find the definition “buck: an article used in a game of poker” - and that’s the buck that was first passed. Poker became very popular in America during the second half of the 19th century. Players were highly suspicious of cheating or any form of bias and there’s considerable folklore depicting gunslingers in shoot-outs based on accusations of dirty dealing. In order to avoid unfairness the deal changed hands during sessions. The person who was next in line to deal would be given a marker. This was often a knife, and knives often had handles made of buck’s horn - hence the marker becoming known as a buck. When the dealer’s turn was done he “passed the buck”. Silver dollars were later used as markers and this is probably the origin of the use of buck as a slang term for dollar. The figurative version of the phrase, i.e. a usage where no actual buck is present, begins around the start of the 20th century; for example, this piece in the California newspaper The Oakland Tribune, from May, 1902: [Oakland City Attorney] Dow - “When the public or the Council ‘pass the buck’ up to me I am going to act.” The reporter’s use of quotation marks around pass the buck indicate its recent coinage as a figurative phrase, or at least one which the paper’s readers might not have been familiar. The best-known use of buck in this context is “the buck stops here’” which was the promise made by US President Harry S. Truman, and which he kept prominent in his own and his electors’ minds by putting it on a sign on his desk.
May 13, 2013
Following the end of the Civil War, many communities set aside a day to mark the end of the war or as a memorial to those who had died. Some of the early cities creating a memorial day include Charleston, South Carolina; Boalsburg, Pennsylvania; Richmond, Virginia; Carbondale, Illinois; Columbus, Mississippi; many communities in Vermont, and some two dozen other cities and towns. These observances eventually coalesced around Decoration Day, honoring the Union dead, and the several Confederate Memorial Days. In 1865, according to Professor David Blight of the Yale University History Department, the first memorial day was observed by liberated slaves at the historic race track in Charleston. The site was a former Confederate prison camp as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who had died while captive. A parade with thousands of freed blacks and Union soldiers was followed by patriotic singing and a picnic. The official birthplace of Memorial Day is Waterloo, New York. The village was credited with being the birthplace because it observed the day on May 5, 1866, and each year thereafter, and because it is likely that the friendship of General John Murray, a distinguished citizen of Waterloo, and General John A. Logan, who led the call for the day to be observed each year and helped spread the event nationwide, was a key factor in its growth. General Logan had been impressed by the way the South honored their dead with a special day and decided the Union needed a similar day. Reportedly, Logan said that it was most fitting; that the ancients, especially the Greeks, had honored their dead, particularly their heroes, by chaplets of laurel and flowers, and that he intended to issue an order designating a day for decorating the grave of every soldier in the land, and if he could he would have made it a holiday. Logan had been the principal speaker in a citywide memorial observation on April 29, 1866, at a cemetery in Carbondale, Illinois, an event that likely gave him the idea to make it a national holiday. On May 5, 1868, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a veterans’ organization, Logan issued a proclamation that “Decoration Day” be observed nationwide. It was observed for the first time on May 30 of the same year; the date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of a battle. The tombs of fallen Union soldiers were decorated in remembrance of this day. Many of the states of the U.S. South refused to celebrate Decoration Day, due to lingering hostility towards the Union Army and because there were very few veterans of the Union Army who lived in the South. Many Southern States did not recognize Memorial Day until after World War I since many veterans of World War I were from the south, although they continued to have a separate Confederate Memorial Day, with the date varying from state to state. A notable exception was Columbus, Mississippi, which in its 1866 Decoration Day commemorated both the Union and Confederate casualties buried in its cemetery. The alternative name of “Memorial Day” was first used in 1882, but did not become more common until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967. On June 28, 1968, the United States Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved four holidays from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The holidays included Washington’s Birthday (which evolved into Presidents’ Day), Columbus Day, Veterans Day, and Memorial Day. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May. The law took effect at the federal level in 1971. After some initial confusion and unwillingness to comply at the state level, all fifty states adopted the measure within a few years, although Veterans Day was eventually changed back to its traditional date. Ironically, most corporate businesses no longer close on Columbus Day or Veterans Day, and an increasing number are staying open on President’s Day as well. Given its origins in the American Civil War, Memorial Day is not a holiday outside the United States. Countries of the Commonwealth, as well as France and Belgium, honor members of the military who died in war on or around Remembrance Day (November 11), which has its origin in World War I. The United States uses that date as Veterans Day (formerly Armistice Day) and honors all veterans, living and dead. In Ireland, the National Day of Commemoration commemorates all Irish men and women who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations.
May 6, 2013
Memorial Day – The first holiday Originally, the holiday was known as “Decoration Day.” It was started by a Civil War general named Gen. John Logan, who was the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic. General Logan sought a way to help the country come back together after the horrors and divide of the Civil War. The holiday was first observed on May 30, 1868, and Gen. Logan chose that date for two very important reasons: First, the day did not mark the anniversary of a Civil War battle, and second “flowers would likely be in bloom all over the United States.” Indeed, many took flowers to Arlington National Cemetery, an activity that still occurs every year. Two special days in May have been designated by Presidential proclamations. Mother’s Day, first observed in 1908, was recognized officially by Congress and the President in 1914. It is celebrated in honor of the nation’s mothers on the second Sunday in May. The third Saturday of the month is Armed Forces Day, when the United States honors the men and women of the military services. In 1950, the Armed Forces Day celebration combined the Army, Navy, and Air Force tributes, which had been held at separate times. May is named for the Greek goddess, Maia. The month is a time of celebrations in the northern hemisphere. It is time where the flowers emerge and crops begin to sprout. The Anglo-Saxon name for May was Tri-Milchi – in recognition of the fact that with the lush new grass cows could be milked three times per day. The bird of May is the nightingale May’s birth flower is the lily of the valley or hawthorn. May’s birthstone is the emerald. In Germany it is an old custom to plant a “tree of May” to honor someone. Often young men set up an adorned birch in front of their girl-friend’s house in the night before May 1. May is the only month in which a President of the United States has not died. What it means..... “On the ball” Meaning: To be paying attention, to respond promptly, to be doing one’s job. Example: If you were a bit more on the ball, we might have averted the reactor melt down. Origin: From the early days of baseball. A pitcher who “had nothing on the ball” was one who was having a bad outing. The term implies that the pitcher has no control or speed on the ball. “Put English on it” Meaning: To impart a spin to something in an effort to make it hard to control, usually a ball in sports like tennis. Example: Your serve is dangerous when you put English on it. Origin: “The English way” or “English” comes from the British game of Snooker. Snooker is a forerunner to the game of Billiards or pool. Similar to pool, Snooker uses cue sticks, balls, and a table however the table has no pockets. A technique used in Snooker is to impart a spin to the ball to alter its travel.
April 29, 2013
Proverb - Don’t throw the baby out with the bath-water. Meaning Don’t discard something valuable along with something undesirable. Origin One of the claims in one version is that “in mediaeval times” people shared scarce bath-water and by the time that the baby was bathed the water was so murky that the baby was in danger of being thrown out unseen. Complete twaddle, of course. The proverb originated in the 1500s. “Throw the baby out with the bath-water” is a German proverb and the earliest printed reference to it, in Thomas Murner’s satirical work Narrenbeschwörung (Appeal to Fools), dates from 1512. The Germans say, “you must empty-out the bathing-tub, but not the baby along with it.” Fling-out your dirty water with all zeal, and set it careering down the kennels; but try if you can to keep the little child! The proverb, in the form of “do not empty out the baby with the bath water”, was in general use in English from the late 19th century onward. Sports Quotes “Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” - Haywood Hale Broun “What counts in sports is not the victory, but the magnificence of the struggle.” - Joe Paterno “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” - Plato “A gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” - Cool Runnings “Placing first is not the same as winning.” - Roger Ebert, “Chicago Sun Times” Hypnotist: “You will beat Shelbyville.” Team: “We will beat Shelbyville.” Hypnotist: “You will give 110%.” Team: “That’s impossible. No one can give more than 100%. By definition, that is the most anyone can give.” - The Simpsons “Slump ? I ain’t in no slump. I just ain’t hittin.” - Yogi Berra “We’re supposed to be perfect our first day on the job and then show constant improvement.” - Ed Vargo, major league baseball umpire “One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.” - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBA Center
April 22, 2013
Where do we get the expression - Scot free. Meaning - Without incurring payment; or escaping without punishment. Origin Dred Scott was a black slave born in Virginia, USA in 1799. In several celebrated court cases, right up to the USA Supreme Court in 1857, he attempted to gain his freedom. These cases all failed but Scott was later made a free man by his so-called owners, the Blow family. Knowing this, we might feel that we don’t need to look further for the origin of ‘scott free’. Many people, especially in the USA, are convinced that the phrase originated with the story of Dred Scott. The etymology of this phrase shows the danger of trying to prove a case on circumstantial evidence alone. In fact, the phrase isn’t ‘scott free’, it is ‘scot free’ and it has nothing to do with Mr. Scott. Given the reputation of Scotsmen as being careful with their money we might look to Scotland for the origin of ‘scot free’. Wrong again, but at least we are in the right part of the world now. ‘Scot’ is a Scandinavian word for tax or payment. It came to the UK as a form of redistributive taxation which was levied as early as the 10th century as a form of municipal poor relief. ‘Scot’ as a term for tax has been used since then in various forms - Church scot, Rome scot, Soul scot and so on. Whatever the tax, the phrase ‘getting off scot free’ simply refers to not paying one’s taxes. Scot free - No one likes paying tax and people have been getting off scot free since at least the 11th century. The first reference in print to ‘scot free’ is in the Writ of Edward the Confessor. We don’t have a precise date for the writ but Edward died in 1066, which is a long time before Dred Scott. The use of the figurative version of the phrase, that is, one where no actual scot tax was paid but in which someone escapes custody, began in the 16th century, as in this example from John Maplet’s natural history Green Forest, 1567: “Daniell scaped scotchfree by Gods prouidence.” Scotchfree was a variant based on a mishearing. An example of the currently used form, that is, ‘scot free’, comes a few years later, in Robert Greene’s The Historie of Dorastus and Fawnia, 1588: These and the like considerations something daunted Pandosto his courage, so that hee was content rather to put up a manifest injurie with peace, then hunt after revenge, dishonor and losse; determining since Egistus had escaped