Friday, March 23, 2012


1.  Q: Why are many coin banks shaped like pigs? )(Piggy Bank)
     A: Long ago, dishes and cookware in  Europe were made 
      of a dense orange clay called 'pygg'. When people saved 
      coins in jars made of this clay, the jars became known as
     'pygg banks.' When an English potter misunderstood the word, 
      he made a bank that resembled a pig. And it caught on.

2.  Q: Did you ever wonder why dimes, quarters and half 
           dollars have notches, while pennies and nickels do not?
     A: The US Mint began putting notches on the edges of coins
           containing gold and silver to discourage holders from 
           shaving off small quantities of the precious metals.  Dimes,
           quarters and half dollars are notched because they used 
           to contain silver. Pennies and nickels aren't notched 
           because the metals they contain are not valuable enough 
           to shave.

3.  Q: Why do men's clothes have buttons on the right 
           while women's clothes have buttons on the left?
     A: When buttons were invented, they were very expensive 
           and worn primarily by the rich. Because wealthy women 
           were dressed by maids, dressmakers put the buttons on 
           the maid's right! Since most people are right-handed, 
           it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left      
         and that's where women's buttons have remained since.

4.  Q. Why do X's at the end of a letter signify kisses?
     A: In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to 
           read or write, documents were often signed using an X. 
           Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations 
           specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually 
           became synonymous.

5.  Q: Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called 
          'passing the buck'?
     A: In card games, it was once customary to pass an item, 
          called a buck, from player to player to indicate whose turn 
          it was to deal. If a player did not wish to assume the  
          responsibility, he would 'pass the buck' to the next player.

6.  Q: Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast?
     A: It used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy   
          by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that 
          a drink was safe, it became customary for a guest to pour a 
          small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both 
         men would drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted 
          his host,he would then just touch or clink the host's 
          glass with his own.

7.  Q: Why are people in the public eye said to be 'in the limelight'?
     A: Invented in 1825, limelight was used in lighthouses and 
           stage lighting by burning a cylinder of lime which produced 
           a brilliant light. In the theatre, performers on stage 'in the 
           limelight' were seen by the audience to be the center of attention.

8.  Q: Why do ships and aircraft in trouble use 'mayday' as their 
           call for help? (MAYDAY)
     A: This comes from the French word m'aidez - meaning 
           'help me' and is pronounced 'mayday.'

9.  Q: Why is someone who is feeling great 'on cloud nine'?
     A: Types of clouds are numbered according to the altitudes 
           they attain, with nine being the highest cloud. If someone 
           is said to be on cloud nine, that person is floating well 
           above worldly cares.

10.  Q: Why are zero scores in tennis called 'love'?
       A: In  France, where tennis first became popular, a big, 
             round zero on the scoreboard looked like an egg and 
             was called  'l'oeuf,'  which is French for 'egg.'    
           When tennis was introduced in the US, Americans 
            pronounced it  'love.'

11.  Q: In golf, where did the term 'Caddie' come from?
       A. When Mary, later Queen of Scots, went to France as a 
             young girl (for education & survival), Louis, King of France, 
             learned that she loved the Scot game 'golf.' So he had the 
             first golf course outside of Scotland built for her enjoyment. 
             To make sure she was properly chaperoned (and guarded) 
             while she played, Louis hired cadets from a military school 
             to accompany her. Mary liked this a lot and when she returned 
             to Scotland (not a very good idea in the long run), she took 
             the practice with her.  In French, the word cadet is 
             pronounced 'ca-day' and the Scots changed it into 'caddie.'

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