Fun Fact January 12, 2021.

It’s Tuesday and today we’ll look at another tool.  There is a tool for every job and if you don’t have that tool the job can take twice as long and be a miserable experience.  Trust me, I know.  Today’s tool is something that has been around for centuries; the plumb bob.  No, it’s not a tool to pick plumbs or any other fruit.  According the Family Handyman dot com it’s a handy tool used to establish a vertical line.   Egyptians used them to build the pyramids and builders throughout the ages have used them to determine if walls are “plumb” or perfectly straight from top to bottom. They’re a great tool for things like centering lights over a kitchen island, determining the proper spacing of recessed lights or framing basement walls.  A plumb bob can be as simple as a rock or other weight tied to a string to very fancy weights made of solid brass or other metal.  I have one from my dad’s collection that is made of aluminum.  If you own a chalk line, you most likely have a plumb bob in the same tool.  If the end opposite of where the line comes out is pointed, it can be used as a plumb bob.    

Fun Fact January 11, 2021.

A historic flight happened on this date in 1935.  American aviator Amelia Earhart departed from Wheeler Field in Honolulu, Hawaii on a solo flight to the mainland of the United States.  According to History dot com some commercial interest in Hawaii offered $10,000.00 to the first person to complete the flight.  The next day, after traveling 2,400 miles in just over 18 hours, Earhart landed at Oakland Airport in Oakland, California. Earhart was already well known to the public before this flight. In 1928 she was a member of a three-member crew that crossed the Atlantic, becoming the first woman to so in an aircraft.  Americans were enamored with the modest and daring young pilot. For her solo transatlantic crossing in 1932, she was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross by the U.S. Congress.  Two years after her Hawaii to California flight, she attempted with navigator Frederick J. Noonan to fly around the world, but her plane was lost on July 2, 1937.  Her exact fate has never been conclusively determined.

Fun Fact January 8, 2021.

If he were still with us he would be 85 today.  We are talking about the one and only Elvis.  During his teenage years in Memphis he went to school at L. C. Humes High School.  When he was in the eighth grade he was given a “C” in music and was told by his music teacher that he had no aptitude for singing.  His response was that the teacher didn’t understand his type of singing and the next day, despite being too shy to perform in public, brought his guitar to school and sang “Keep Those Icy Cold Fingers Off Of Me” a recent popular song.  After hearing this, a classmate said the teacher agreed with Elvis that she didn’t appreciate his kind of singing.  She may not have, but most of the world did and still does.  Countless recordings, television appearances, live concerts and multiple movies are what we all have now to remember The King Of Rock and Roll.  

Fun Fact January 7, 2021.

Up, up and away! According to History dot com it was on this date in 1785 that Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American John Jeffries traveled from Dover, England, to Calais, France, in a gas balloon, becoming the first to cross the English Channel by air. The two men nearly crashed into the Channel along the way.  Their balloon was weighed down by a bunch of extra supplies, like anchors, a nonfunctional hand-operated propeller, and silk-covered oars.  They thought that they could row their way through the air. Just before reaching the French coast, the two balloonists were forced to throw nearly everything out of the balloon, and Blanchard even threw his trousers over the side in a desperate, but apparently successful, attempt to lighten the ship.  He was arrested in France for indecent exposure.  Ok, I just made that last part up. 

Fun Fact January 6, 2021.

Oh those Brits, they sure do have some odd sayings.  Have you ever been giving a set of verbal instructions and the speaker ends with this saying; “and Bob’s your uncle.”  Yeah, me neither, but apparently it’s a thing in England.  For instance, someone might say “just add a bit of sugar and Bob’s your uncle.” Basically it means, “it’s as easy as that.” Your guess is as good as mine as to where this comes from.  One theory suggests it refers to the supposed nepotism of the 20th British Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, whose first name was Robert, who appointed his nephew to several political posts in the 1880s. Another credits it to the slang ‘all is bob’, meaning ‘all is well’.  The French have a version, “et viola.”  Thanks for listening, check out the podcast and Bob’s your uncle!

Fun Fact January 5, 2021.

Tool time Tuesday!  When I worked on my grandmothers farm we used to cut and split locust trees for fence posts.  My uncle George would usually use a chainsaw to cut and quarter the trees, but sometimes we’d use an adze to split off sections to make the post.  The adze has been around since the stone age.  The modern adze has a wooden handle with a metal cutting edge, like an axe, but with the cutting edge perpendicular to the handle, sort of like a sharp hoe.  It’s used mostly for carving or hollowing out wood like what you might do to make a bowl or canoe.  The adze is also used in the garden to dig and break up soil.  There are two basic types of adze; a short handled version that can be swung with one hand and a long handled version that you use two hands on, providing greater striking force.  There is a similar tool called a mattock.  Perhaps we’ll look at that in the future.

Fun Fact January 4, 2021.

A little rigmarole today, if that’s even possible.  Some add an extra “a” to their pronunciation, rig AH ma role, when actually there is no second “a” and therefore it’s pronounced RIG-me-role.  The definition of rigmarole is any long, foolish, confusing speech or discourse.  Rigmarole can also be used to refer to any long, complicated procedure, sort of like this explanation. According to Word Foolery dot com, the word comes from Ragemon, a medieval children’s game of chance.  The game was very complex and had a list of characters on something called the “ragmans roll.”  That name and the fact that the game was not easy to understand or play probably gave us the word rigmarole.