Oct 30, 2012

Abigail Adams

She was the first Second Lady and the second First Lady. She was the wife of  John Adams, who was the first Vice President and second President of the US.

She said something to remember around election time, "Many of our disappointments and much of our unhappiness arise from our forming false notions of things and persons."

Voting Tuesday

Between 1788 and 1845, states decided their own voting dates. In 1792, a law was passed mandating that state elections be held within a 34-day period before December, so most elections took place in November. By November the harvest was finished but winter had not begun, so it made for a good time to vote.

During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, communication was slow, so results took weeks to announce, but with the advent of the railroad and telegraph, Congress decided it was time to standardize a date.

Monday was out, because it would require people to travel to the polls by buggy on the Sunday Sabbath. Wednesday was not an option, because it was market day, and farmers would not be able to make it to the polls. So it was decided that Tuesday would be the day that Americans would vote in elections.

In 1845, Congress passed a law that presidential elections would be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Baseball Record

Joel Youngblood was the only major league baseball player to get hits for two different teams in two different cities on the same day. On April 4, 1982, he hit a single that drove in two runs for the New York Mets at Shea Stadium against the Chicago Cubs. He was traded to the Montreal Expos and flew to Philadelphia in time to get a hit in the 7th inning at Veterans Stadium.

Poll, Polled, Polling, Polls

The word comes from the German Poller, meaning head. Modern use seems to have evolved from 'counting heads'. Poll has many definitions:


1. The casting and registering of votes in an election.
2. The number of votes cast or recorded.
3. The place where votes are cast and registered. Often used in the plural polls.
4. A survey of the public or of a sample of public opinion to acquire information.
5. The head, especially the top or back of the head where hair grows.
6. The blunt or broad end of a tool such as a hammer or ax.

polled, polling, polls Verb,
1. To receive a given number of votes.
2. To receive or record the votes of: polling a jury.
3. To cast a vote or ballot.
4. To question in a survey; canvass.
5. To trim or cut off the hair, wool, branches, or horns of: polled the sheep; polled the trees.
Sometimes, when the polls do not go their way, people feel like they have been clipped.

Oct 26, 2012

Happy Friday

You look at where you are going and where you are and it never makes sense, but then you look back and a pattern emerges.

It makes much sense when you have a history of having Happy Fridays!

Jack O' Lantern

This was originally one of the numerous names given to ignis fatuus (Medieval Latin for “foolish fire”), another of which is “Will O’ the Wisps”, basically the odd light that can occasionally be seen over marshes, swamps, etc.

When you see someone carrying a lantern in a distance at night you see is a man, but you can’t make out who exactly it is, he is literally “man with a lantern”, a.k.a. “Jack of the Lantern” or “Jack O’ Lantern.” This was also commonly used for a nickname for night watchmen.

“Jack O’ Lantern” first popped up in the mid-17th century in East Anglia, UK and spread from there through parts of England, Ireland, and Scotland. The name likely originally derived from the practice of calling men generically “Dick, Jack, Tom, etc.” In particular, men who were lower class, were often called generically “Jack” beginning around the 14th century in England.

How this name made the jump to referring to carved pumpkins with lights inside, it has its origins in the Celtic practice of hollowing out and carving faces into turnips and other vegetables during Samuin (a festival where many of the traditions of Halloween come from). After carving the vegetables, they placed candles inside and put them in windows or carried the make-shift lanterns with them as they walked to ward off evil spirits.

In Britain, pranksters would make these types of carved lanterns to scare people on the road or children would carry them around during Hallowmas while begging for soul cakes.

Milk Duds

They really are duds. The Milk Duds name came about because the original idea was to have a perfectly round piece. Since this was to be impossible to do at the time, the word 'dud' was used. Each piece was a dud, because it was not round.

In 1928, Milton J. Holloway took over F. Hoffman & Company of Chicago, the original manufacturer of Milk Duds chocolate covered caramels. The brand passed through many other hands in subsequent years and is now owned by Hershey.

Marx Brothers Name Origins

The five Marx brothers got their nicknames during a poker game. The Marx family comedy act was made up of Julius, Adolph, Leonard, Milton, and Herbert Marx. The five characters became better known as Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Gummo, and Zeppo. Four of the five were given their new names in 1915.

The boys were involved in a poker game with monologist Art Fisher. It was a popular fad around this time to give everyone a nickname that ended in “o”. Common nicknames were “Jingo” or “Bongo” or “Ringo, etc.

In this poker game, Fisher was dealing out the cards to the four Marx brothers and he gave them each their nicknames as he dealt. “First, here’s a card for ‘Harpo’.” Adolph Marx played the harp.

“Here’s one for ‘Chicko’.” Leonard Marx was a notorious ladies’ man and, in those days, women and girls were often referred to as “chickens”. Later the slang term became “chicks.” Supposedly, a typesetter accidentally left the “k” in “Chico” out in one town the brothers were performing in, and his name became “Chico.”

Next was Julius, “And here’s a card for Groucho.” The name derived from Julius’ not-so-friendly demeanor. Julius denied this for most of his life.

The fourth was Milton, “And here’s a card for Gummo”, Fisher said. This one has two popular theories behind it. The one the family (except Harpo) is because Milton often wore gumshoes (rubber soled shoes), hence “Gummo.” The alternate from Harpo is that Gummo was sneaky and would creep up on people like a gumshoe detective. Gumshoe detectives received their name for the same reason, rubber sole shoes.

A few years later, the youngest of the five brothers entered the act, replacing older brother Gummo. Herbert Marx became “Zeppo.” Harpo said Zeppo was named in honor of a wild monkey who played on the bars and ran around named “Zippo”. Groucho said in 1972 that Zeppo was named after the Zeppelin airships.

What's in a Name, Grawlix

That is the name we give to a sequence of typographical symbols used to represent a non-specific, profane word or phrase. That is no #@$%*! It is true.
The term was coined in 1964 by American cartoonist Mort Walker, who is best known as the creator of the Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois cartoons.

He also created and named an international set of symbols used in comics around the world and called it Symbolia. A few examples:
 briffits: clouds of dust indicating that a character left in a rush
 plewds: drops of sweat indicating that a character is hot or stressed
 squeans: asterisks with an empty center indicating drunkenness or dizziness