A very short history of kites……

Did you know that kites originated in China as military signaling devices. Around 1200 B.C., a Chinese kite’s colour, its painted pattern, and particularly the air movements it was forced to execute communicated coded messages between camps. The ancient Chinese became so proficient in constructing huge, lightweight kites that they …

A short history of Sex-Related Words……

With the conquest of England in 1066 by William of Normandy, the Anglo-Saxon language of the British Isles underwent several alterations. As the French-speaking Normans established themselves as the ruling caste, they treated the native Saxons and their language as inferior. Many Saxon words were regarded as crude simply because …

A history of designer labels….

Dior. Blass. Prada. Givenchy. De la Renta. Von Furstenberg. Cassini. Cardin. Lauren. Gucci. History records the names of today’s fashion designers, but nowhere in its pages are the names of the tailors, dressmakers, and seamstresses who clothed royalty and nobility throughout the ages. They must have existed. Fashion certainly did. …

The Star Spangled Banner is in fact British !…..

America acquired the song that is its national anthem about thirty-eight years after the country won its independence from Britain. It is somewhat ironic that the melody is British, and came from a song extolling the pleasures of wine and getting laid. The American lyrics were of course penned by …

A brief history of the match……..

  Homo erectus, a forerunner of modern man, accidentally discovered fire through the friction generated by two sticks rubbed together. But 1.5 million years would pass before a British chemist, John Walker, produced instantaneous fire through the friction of a match rubbed over a coarse surface. Ironically, we know more …

A very short history of Chopsticks……

  As mentioned in a previous post on forks, the early Europeans were confused with the new vogue of cutting food at the table into small, bite-size pieces. They found the custom, recently introduced by merchants trading with China, tedious and pointlessly fastidious. Unknown to thirteenth-century Europeans was the Oriental …

A very short history of the bra……

  The very first modern bra was introduced to the ladies of New York by Mary Phelps Jacob (1891 -1970), a prominent socialite. Her primary concern was not comfort, bearing in mind corsets were still in vogue, but appearance. In 1913, in preparing to go to a swanky ball, she …

Why do we call a comet, a comet?…..

  “Comet” is from two Greek words. Kometes means “with long hair,” and is derived from kome, meaning “the hair of the head.” To name the stars that orbited the sun and trailed long, cloudlike tails, the Greeks used their noun aster (“star”) and added kometes. This combination meant “a …

A very short history of the sneeze……

  “Gesundheit,” say the Germans; “Felicità,” say the Italians; and the Welsh  say “dduw bendithia chi” whilst the Arabs clasp hands and reverently bow. Every culture believes in a benediction following a sneeze. The custom goes back to a time when a sneeze was regarded as a sign of great …