The Origin of 8 Famous Phrases…

We use phrases, expressions, and proverbs on a daily basis when conversing with each other. Whether you’re at home, hanging out with some friends, or at work, chances are that you’ve uttered one of the phrases below more than once in your life. But, do you ever stop to think about what these expressions really mean? Where they come from? The answer to this is probably no, so let’s take a look at 8 common phrases and learn where there came from.

1. It’s Raining Cats and Dogs

Houses used to have thatched roofs. These roofs had thick straw piled together to form a ceiling, but there was no wood underneath.

So how did this phrase come about? Well, according to a popular theory, on cold nights, animals such as cats, dogs, mice, and rats would climb onto these roofs in order to have a warm place to sleep. Unfortunately, when it started to rain, the thatched roofs got so slippery that cats and dogs would slip and fall off the roofs. Therefore, when it rained heavily, it would literally rain cats and dogs (and whatever other animals were on the roofs).

2. Mad as a Hatter

The average person will probably tell you that this famous expression comes from Alice in Wonderland, but they’d be sorely mistaken. The Mad Hatter character isn’t the reason you use this phrase when describing someone who has lost their mind.

The true origin goes back to the days when actual hatmakers used mercury to construct their hats. The mercury poisoned the hatmakers and affected their nervous systems. Mercury causes aggressive, heavy mood swings, and erratic behavior and, as a result, “mad hatter’s disease” became the nickname for mercury poisoning, and the expression has been popular ever since.

3. Cat Got Your Tongue?

This is often used when someone is silent or at a loss for words. Surprisingly though, it has nothing to do with cats. In the English navy, punishments were handed out in the form of a flogging, which was carried out with a whip known as a cat-o’-nine-tails.

This was a formidable weapon, and the pain from being flogged by it was so bad that it caused its victims to go mute. They would often be afraid to speak and would often remain mute for a long time after a flogging.

Drunken navy sailors would then walk around shouting, “Cat got your tongue?” as a way of taunting the victims. So, next time you’re rendered speechless because someone made a really good point, remember that it could be a lot worse.

4. Bring Home the Bacon

There are a number of theories as to where this phrase comes from, but the two most popular include pigs.

According to one theory, this phrase comes from winners at state fairs bringing home the greased pigs they caught in competitions. However, the more popular theory is that highly successful men back in the day would buy pork, cook some bacon, and then hang it on their walls when they had guests over. This showed everyone how successful the men were. Walking into a man’s house and seeing bacon hanging on the wall meant that he was to be respected. In this particular case, bringing home the bacon was the ultimate sign of power and class.

5. Eat Crow

Usually, we have to “eat crow” when we’ve been proven wrong after taking a strong stance on something.

The expression originates from where you’d expect. Crow meat tastes bad and is hard to swallow. The simple connection to this term can start and end here, but there’s an even more interesting origin story.

Back in 1812, an American accidentally went hunting across British enemy lines. The US soldier was caught shooting and killing a crow by a British soldier. As punishment, the British soldier, after praising the American for his accurate shooting, tricked him into giving up his gun.

Now armed, the Brit pointed the gun at the American and forced him to take a bite out of the crow. After the American complied, he was given back his gun. Angered, the American then turned the gun on the British soldier and forced him to eat the rest of the bird.

6. On Cloud Nine

It’s often thought that this is a reference to Heaven, but this is not true.

According to one known origin of this expression, one of the classifications of clouds, defined by the US Weather Bureau in the 1950s, is known as “Cloud Nine.” This is a type of fluffy, cumulonimbus type of cloud.

So, what makes this cloud so special? Well, this cloud is considered to be the most attractive in the cloud community, which is what gives the phrase it’s positive connotation.

7. Crocodile Tears

For those who may not know, this expression refers to someone who is faking crying or pretending to be upset. When they do this, they are said to be shedding crocodile tears.

Did this phrase come about because crocodiles never cry? Well, no, the origin is a lot more interesting than that. In an ancient anecdote, Photios claimed that crocodiles cry to strategically lure their prey closer to them. When the prey is close enough, the crocodiles drop the act and go in for the kill.

8. Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater

This strange expression goes all the way back to the 1500s. Believe it or not, but people in the 16th century only bathed once a year, and to make matters worse, entire groups used to bathe in the same water.

The men would go first, then the women, and then the children and babies went last. The water was so dirty by the time the babies got in, that they often came out clouded. Sometimes, mothers had to make sure that the babies weren’t literally thrown out with the dirty bathwater.

The phrase, “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” now means that you should make sure you don’t throw out anything valuable while getting rid of unnecessary things. Nothing is more valuable than a newborn baby, so the phrase still rings true even to this day.

Source: listverse  

http://www.ba-bamail.com

Natarajan

Images: depositphotos

 

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The Stockholm Telephone Tower….

 

By the late 19th century, the miracle device called the telephone had been invented but the simple concept of undergrounding telephone cables had eluded engineers. Clumps of telephone wires strung from monstrous towers hung above the heads of pedestrians in all major cities with a sizable number of subscribers.

Telephone service was expensive at that time, and only the wealthy could afford it. In Sweden, the first public telephone exchange was opened in the capital city Stockholm, in 1880, by the Bell Telephone Company. It originally had only 121 subscribers. The telephone company charged subscribers between 160 and 280 Swedish Krona, depending on the subscriber’s location and distance to the exchange. This was equivalent to paying a subscription fee of 9,000 to 16,000 Krona (USD 1,100 to USD 1,966) in today’s value, which was a very high rate.

The Bell Telephone Company with their high rates soon got a competitor in Stockholm General Telephone Company (SAT), which was founded in 1883 by the engineer and businessman Henrik Tore Cedergren. His mission was to put a telephone in every household. Cedergren’s charged very low fees for a connection and monthly subscription, and the number of subscribers increased rapidly. By 1886, Stockholm had more telephones than any of the major cities in the world, with 4,832 subscribers, including about 1,600 at Bell Telephone Company. In 1887, SAT became the world’s largest telephone company, large enough to buy out Bell Company’s business in Stockholm in 1888.

In this early days of telephony, there were no substations and every subscriber was physically connected to the central exchange with an overhead wire. The Stockholm telephone exchange had thousands of wires converging in from every direction. A massive tower held these wires together.

This iconic Phone Tower, or Telefontornet, was opened in 1887, and had over 5,500 telephone lines whose collective length came to around 5,000 kilometers. As you can see from these pictures, it was quite a mess, and the network was extremely vulnerable to the elements. The locals thought the tower looked hideous and even complained that it darkened out the sun.

With the public and the press lambasting the tower at every opportunity, the telephone company decided that the tower needed a makeover. A decoration competition was announced, and in 1890 the tower got the four corner turrets. At all major events in Stockholm, the city’s flags were hoisted there.

However, by the turn of the 19th century, the tower was already on its path to obsolescence. The telephone company realized that laying cables underground was a far more elegant solution than stringing them from towers. By 1913, the entire network had gone underground and the Telefontornet lost its function. The remaining shell stood as a landmark for the several decades. At one point, the telephone company hung advertisement banners from the tower. In 1952, the tower caught fire which weakened the structure, and was demolished the following year on safety grounds.

Source….Kaushik in http://www.amusingplanet.com

Natarajan

What happens if You accidentally damage a Precious Work of Art in a Museum …?

 

What Happens if You Accidentally Damage a Priceless Work of Art in a Museum?

destroyed-ancient-potteryIf you’ve ever walked through a museum or an art gallery you may have noticed that a lot of the art and historical treasure on display is completely exposed. In fact, with the exception of some of the world’s more famous pieces of art, you could easily fall over and damage much of the artwork on display worldwide, right now. So, what would happen if you did trip and accidentally damage an irreplaceable priceless piece of art? As it turns out, not all that much.

This is mainly because of two things- first, museums and galleries will almost always have insurance to cover any such damage. Second, accidents happen and the people running the museums understand that.

In fact, in nearly every case we could find of a piece of artwork accidentally being damaged, no charges were pressed by either the museum or, in some cases, the owner of the art in question. In fact, it appears that the worst that might happen in such a scenario is that you’ll get banned from the museum.

For example, consider the case of Nick Flynn, a man who in 2006 tripped over his shoelace while walking around the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and knocked over three 17th century vases worth about £175,000 (~$225,000). Flynn noted of the experience,

“I snagged my shoelace, missed the step and crash, bang, wallop. There were a million pieces of high quality Qing ceramics lying around underneath me… Although [I knew] the vase would break I didn’t imagine it would be loose and crash into the other two.  I’m sure I only hit the first one and that must have flown across the windowsill and hit the next one, which then hit the other, like a set of dominos. I can say with my hand on my heart that it was not deliberate … it was just my Norman Wisdom moment, just one of those unbelievably unlucky things that can sometimes happen.”

The museum official’s response was to merely send him a letter advising Flynn “not to visit the museum again in the near future.” Yes, he didn’t even technically get banned; just politely asked to abstain from visiting for a while.

In fact, the museum didn’t even identify Flynn to the public to spare him the embarrassment of being known as the guy who tripped and knocked over three vases that, before encountering Mr. Flynn, had managed to survive about four centuries and a full six decades sitting on those very windowsills. (We only know his name because British tabloids tracked him down after the fact.)

In another example, this one in 2015, a 12 year old boy tripped while visiting a Taiwanese art exhibition. During his fall forward, he managed to punch a hole through a 350 year old painting, Flowers, by Paola Porpora, valued at about $1,500,000… (You can watch the video of this happening here.) The organisers of the exhibition went out of their way to assure the boy and his family that they wouldn’t be liable to pay any damages nor in any trouble legally. In fact, one of the organisers, Sun Chi-hsuan, publicly insisted that the boy wasn’t to blame.

In yet another case, in 2010, a young woman, who as per usual with these sorts of things went unnamed publicly, damaged a $130,000,000 Picasso painting called The Actor by falling into it during an art class. The result was a six inch tear in the lower right-hand corner. In this specific case, the museum officials were more concerned with reporting that the woman was uninjured than the fact that her accident had potentially wiped away half the painting’s value.

So those are pure accidents. What about more negligent cases? All evidence would seem to indicate that museums and galleries similarly seem hesitant to do anything to the patron in question.  Beyond countless selfie-related accidental destruction of art that has become something of a frequent occurrence in recent years, there is the case of a clock made by artist James Borden that hung in Columbia Pennsylvania’s National Watch and Clock Museum for over two decades before being destroyed. How did it meet its end? An elderly couple began touching and pulling on its various bits, seemingly trying to see what the clock looked like when working; this ultimately caused the clock to come crashing down. (You can watch a video of this here.) The museum chose not to press any charges nor seek compensation for the damages. In fact, as in other examples, they didn’t even berate the individuals in the press, choosing not even to name them at all.

That said, we did find one exception to this “no fault” negligent destruction of art general rule. This happened when a tourist scaled the facade of a Portuguese train station to take a selfie with an 1890 statue of Dom Sebastiao, resulting in the statue’s destruction when said tourist accidentally knocked the statue over and it shattered on the ground below. The unnamed man was later charged with destruction of public property.

As for the non-public, even in cases where museum or gallery staff damage or destroy the art, the individual usually gets off with only a slap on the wrist if it truly was an honest accident. For example, in 2000, some porters at the Bond Street auction house accidentally put a painting by artist Lucian Freud, valued at £100,000 (about $130,000), into a crushing machine…

The painting was stored in a large wooden box, which the porters assumed was empty and put out with the rest of the trash. The auction house assured papers that the porters wouldn’t lose their jobs over the matter, and that it was an honest mistake.

In another case, an unnamed cleaning lady tossed a bunch of modern art valued at about $15,000 into the garbage in 2014. To be fair to the cleaning lady, the “art” in question, created by modernist Paul Branca, was a bunch of cardboard boxes haphazardly strewn across the floor of a section of the gallery (modern art everybody). Again, no action was taken against the cleaner. (We can only hope Mr. Branca was on his game that day, and he simply took the opportunity to go full meta-on it, displaying his former cardboard box art now in the garbage bin, perhaps even increasing its value in that case…)

All this said, while it appears most museums, galleries and even artists will take the destruction or damage of their work in good humor if done accidentally (even if there was a fair bit of negligence involved), the same can’t be said if the damage is malicious. In these cases, the museum can and will press charges, and one might expect a bit of jail time.

For instance, in the aforementioned vase-smashing story, sometime later there was some thought that Flynn had smashed the vases on purpose for the publicity of it (given his going out of his way to give interviews about it and some of his comments therein, despite that the museum had so carefully avoided assigning any blame or mentioning his name). As a result, he was eventually detained for a night, though noted he was treated very well while under arrest, with the police simply trying to determine if he’d done it on purpose. Once they decided it had indeed been an accident, he was let go with no further consequences.

In another instance, one Andrew Shannon punched a Monet painting, Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sail Boat, then worth about £7m (about $9 million). He later claimed he tripped and fell and it was an accident, but security footage clearly showed him intentionally punching the painting.  When he was detained by security guards, a can of paint stripper was also found in his pocket.  He was given a five year prison sentence.

This brings us to perhaps the most obvious question that arises from all this- why is such valuable, and often irreplaceable, art stored in such a way that people can just walk up to it and damage it (whether accidentally or not).

Well one reason is cost- placing every painting, sculpture and fresco behind protective glass or under the careful watch of a burly guard is expensive. Contrary to the value of the pieces they sometimes contain, museums and art galleries often aren’t swimming in money.

A second, perhaps more important reason, is that it would disrupt the experience of viewing the art in question; ensuring the art can be properly appreciated is of tantamount importance to those running various museums and galleries. It’s noted that said institutions have to constantly strike a balance between “keeping works of art accessible to the public, and protecting them at the same time”. Such a balance necessitates a degree of trust be placed in the public to not paw at the priceless works of art on display and to otherwise be careful around them.

Source…www.today i foundout.com

Natarajan

Hoover and Their Disastrous Free Flight Promotion…

world-travelGiving away free stuff with a purchase is a good way to bolster sales and can result in a tidy increase in profits, provided you follow the general rule of making sure the long term projected profit from the promotion is greater than the cost of the giveaway. Appliance giant Hoover learned this seemingly obvious lesson first hand in 1992 when they inexplicably decided to give away free flights worth several times more than most of the products they were selling as part of what has become known as Hoovergate- one of the most disastrous marketing campaigns of all time, today taught in marketing text books the world over.

Though Hoover sells a multitude of appliances and domestic goods, the company is known mostly for its vacuum cleaners. (And if you’re curious, see: Who Invented the Vacuum Cleaner?) So much so in fact that over in Blighty the word “hoover” is an accepted synonym for the device, much to the annoyance of Hoover who, like other companies, fought hard not to have their brand become genericized like Aspirin and Thermos. This generalizing of their brand name largely rose from the near total monopoly Hoover had over vacuum sales in the UK throughout much of the 1950s to 1970s. However, as the end of the 20th century approached, the British arm of Hoover found that sales were beginning to lag considerably from their heyday, with their marketing share steadily declining and warehouses slowly filling with old stock nobody wanted to buy.

In the early 1990s, Hoover’s British arm was approached by a now-defunct travel agent called JSI Travel with a rather intriguing offer to help shift some of this old stock out of the warehouses and into the hands of customers. The idea was to offer two free return flights to Europe with every purchase of any Hoover product worth more than £100 (about £190 today or $235), all arranged through this travel agency. Beyond revenue from sales, much of the cost for the tickets themselves from those who jumped through the many, many hoops to actually get the tickets would be subsidized by JSI Travel selling additional services like travel insurance and hotel packages. JSI Travel also thought it would provide a long term benefit for their small company as it would introduce tens of thousands of people to their travel agency’s services.

Hoover liked the sound of the arrangement and in 1992 launched their free flights campaign, advertising it on TV and in papers across the country with the simple caption: “Two Return Flight Tickets. Unbelievable.”

The offer saw sales of Hoover product explode because, hey, free flights. Slowly, but surely, Hoover’s warehouses began to empty.

Now, if Hoover had chosen to quit here, we wouldn’t really have much to say other than kudos to them on a smart business decision. (And if you’re wondering, see What’s a Kudo?) Unfortunately for them, they got too greedy and hilarity ensued.

After examining the numbers linked to the campaign and realising that only a fraction of the people who’d bought a qualifying product as part of the campaign actually jumped through all the hoops to redeem for the tickets, Hoover decided to extend the promotion and get a little more international, hoping to boost sales even further in the process.

This was despite Hoover having approached various risk management companies to evaluate the promotion and being summarily told it was a horrible idea. For instance, risk management advisor Mark Kimber from PIMS-SCA would late note,

“I advised Hoover of the potential pitfalls of the promotion. Having looked at the details of the promotion along with attempting to calculate how it could actually work I declined to even offer risk management coverage based upon the information presented. With such a high value offer for only a relatively small cost to the consumer, to me it made no logical sense.

…nevertheless Hoover chose to completely ignore both mine and the industry’s advice and continue on its calamitous crusade without considering the potential cost or consequences…”

Head firmly in the sand, Hoover approached three of the biggest airlines of the day, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines, along with various travel agencies, and entered into negotiations to offer a similar deal as they had previously, only this time offering free flights to either New York or Florida from the UK.

After terms were set and contracts signed, Hoover once again launched a massive ad campaign to tell the public about the promotion, which still inexplicably offered the free flights if the customer spent a minimum of just £100. This is an important fact because, at the time, a flight to either destination would have set you back on average about £600 (nearly £1,200 or $1,500 today) making the promotion infinitely more desirable than a pair of free flights to a European destination that cost a fraction of that.

According to news reports after the fact, its purported that Hoover expected that the value of the flights to America would encourage people to perhaps buy a more expensive product. Whether that’s true or not, customers flocked to stores and predictably bought the absolute cheapest qualifying product possible (the Turbopower Total System which clocked in at a reasonable £119.99)  before sending off for their free tickets to the land of freedom and cheese that comes in a can.

This resulted in massive backlogs in Hoover’s offices as they only anticipated about a tenth of the eventual response. Thanks to their status as a trusted, well-established brand known for their quality, Hoover’s reputation wasn’t initially hurt by the delays that resulted until a reporter for the Daily Record claimed that not a single airline had received a booking to America from a Hoover voucher holder. Whether accurate or not, this story raised the hackles of the customers who up to this point had been waiting patiently.

Along with being one of the most popular articles the Daily Record ever published, it had the side-effect of alerting millions of people that the promotion existed, resulting in tens of thousands of additional sales.

It was soon after reported that local travel agencies wanting to avoid the loss of income from their part of the deal began trying to dissuade customers by abusing the offer’s small print- doing things like offering flights from airports that were across the country from the person trying to fly. According to a contemporary BBC report, one agency, Free Flights Europe, seemed to require customers to buy about £300 of add-ons to their “free” tickets before they’d stop hassling them and finally give them their tickets.

During the ensuing media firestorm, Hoover blamed the delays on the airlines and travel agencies they’d contracted with for being unable to meet the demand. Whoever’s fault it was, their customers weren’t happy.

One particularly irate customer was one Harry Cichy who decided that he was going to get his flight no matter what, organising a group of likeminded customers who doggedly pursued their tickets from Hoover in and out of court. The aptly named Hoover Holiday Pressure Group, spearheaded by Cichy, refused to allow Hoover to worm their way out of their obligation, with Cichy himself going as far as travelling to the company’s American headquarters (a trip that was ironically paid for by Hoover) to argue his case in front of their executives.

Despite Cichy’s best efforts, it’s estimated that only 220,000 of the half million or so (Hoover never released the official figures) people who applied for the promotion were able to ever claim their free flights, with those who didn’t either suing for the value of the flights in small claims court or moving on and swearing off the brand forever. This latter point turned out to be the heaviest blow to the company.

As to that aftermath, three top executives, director of marketing services Michael Gilbey, vice president of marketing Brian Webb, and Hoover’s European president William Foust, were summarily fired by the company’s American owners, Maytag.

Beyond the major firings, the company spent about £50 million (around £100 million today or $125 million) for the tickets for the free flights compared to about £30 million in gross revenue generated from sales during the promotion. But the ultimate cost was far greater.

To begin with, hundreds of thousands of people in the UK now had Hoover products that in many cases they didn’t actually want or need. The result from this was a massive sell off of these items on the second-hand market, meaning potential future customers could easily buy brand new Hoover products for a fraction of the price Hoover was selling them for in the stores.

On top of that, the company took a major hit to their reputation, meaning even those customers who might have still purchased something from Hoover were now avoiding the brand. To try to fix this, Hoover launched an advertising campaign costing about £7 million to help restore their image, with little affect.

Unsurprisingly, the Hoover brand in the UK took a major hit, with their market share dropping from about 50% in 1992 to just 20% in 1995. Cutting their losses, the entire European arm of Hoover was sold by Maytag to an Italian manufacturer called Candy at a significant loss from what they’d paid for it just six years before in 1989.

Source….www.today i foundout.com

Natarajan

வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை…” பணத்தின் மறு பக்கம் “

 

பணத்தின்  மறுபக்கம் …
…………………….
செல்லாத பணம் இது ..வேண்டாம் இது எனக்கு இனிமேல்!
தன்  மதிப்பு இழந்த பணம் வெற்று  காகிதமானதே ஒரே நாளில் !
நன் மதிப்புடன்  வாழ்ந்த மனிதர் பலர் விதியால் தன் பொருள்
இழந்து அவர் வாழ்வின் மறுபக்கம் காணும்  சோகம்
பார்த்து  மனம் கலங்கியதுண்டு  நான் ! ஒரே ஒரு
வரியால்  தன் மதிப்பை இழக்கும்  வரை பணத்துக்கும்
தெரியாது அதன் மறுபக்கம் என்ன என்று …!
பணத்தின் மறுபக்கம் என்ன என்று  பார்க்கும் மனிதனுக்கு புரிய வேண்டும்
அவன் வாழ்வின்  மதிப்பு  அவன் சேர்க்கும் பணத்தால் அல்ல என்று !
Natarajan
7th Dec 2016

வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை…” செல்லாக் காசு ” !!!

 

செல்லாக் காசு
………….
சேர்த்து வைத்த செல்வம் எல்லாம் ஒரே ஒரு சொல்லால் செல்லாக் காசானதே !
பார்த்து நடந்து கொள்  தம்பி …புரிந்து கொள்ளவேண்டும்  நீ …
செல்வாக்கு ஒருவனுக்கு அவன் சேர்த்து வைக்கும் பணத்தால் அல்ல என்று !
 சுத்தமான  சொல்வாக்கு தரும் உனக்கு ஒரு தனி செல்வாக்கு !
கறை  படியா கரமும் நெறிபிறழா வாழ்வு முறையும் சேர்த்து வைக்கும்
உனக்கு எங்கும் என்றும்  செல்லுபடியாகும் ஒரு செல்வாக்கை !
காசு பணம் செல்லாது நாளை முதல் என்று சொல்ல முடியும் ! ஆனால் மாசற்ற
செல்வாக்கு செல்லாது இனிமேல் என்று சொல்ல முடியுமா யாரும் ?
யோசிக்க வேண்டும் நீ…  தம்பி !
Natarajan
http://www.dinamani.com  dated 21st Nov 2016

Joke of the Day…” Way to cut cost …” !!!

 

Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert.

Congress said, “Someone may steal from it at night.” So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job.

Then Congress said, “How does the watchman do his job without instruction?” So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write the instructions, and one person to do time studies.

 

Then Congress said, “How will we know the night watchman is doing his tasks correctly?” So they created the Quality Control Department and hired two people. One to do the studies and one to write the reports.

Then Congress said, “How are these people going to get paid?” So they created a time keeper and a payroll officer position, then hired two people for the roles.

Then Congress said, “Who will be accountable for all of these people?” So they created an administrative section and hired three people: An Administrative Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary.

Then Congress said, “We have had this command in operation for one year and we are $18,000 over budget, we must cutback overall cost.”

So they laid off the night watchman.!!!

 

Source….www.ba-bamail.com

Natarajan