Did you know the origins of these sayings?!

Early aircraft’s throttles had a ball on the end of it, in order to go full throttle the pilot had to push the throttle all the way forward into the wall of the instrument panel. Hence “balls to the wall” for going very fast.

During WWII , U.S. airplanes were armed with belts of bullets which they would shoot during dogfights and on strafing runs. These belts were folded into the wing compartments that fed their machine guns. These belts measure 27 feet and contained hundreds of rounds of bullets. Often times, the pilots would return from their missions having expended all of their bullets on various targets. They would say, “I gave them the whole nine yards,” meaning they used up all of their ammunition.

In George Washington’s days, there were no cameras. One’s image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are ‘limbs,’ therefore painting them would cost the buyer more. Hence the expression, “Okay, but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg.”

As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year (May and October). Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn’t wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term ‘big wig’. Today we often use the term ‘here comes the Big Wig’ because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.

In the late 1700’s, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used for dining. The ‘head of the household’ always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the ‘chair man.’ Today in business, we use the expression or title ‘Chairman’ or ‘Chairman of the Board.’

Common entertainment included playing. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the ‘Ace of Spades.’ To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren’t ‘playing with a full deck.’

Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TV’s or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to ‘go sip some Ale and listen to people’s conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different times. ‘You go sip here’ and ‘You go sip there.’ The two words ‘go sip’ were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term ‘gossip.’

At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid’s job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in ‘pints’ and who was drinking in ‘quarts,’ hence the phrase ‘minding your ‘P’s and Q’s’.

In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem….how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a ‘Monkey’ with 16 round indentations. However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make ‘Brass Monkeys.’ Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey; Thus, it was quite literally, ‘Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.’

(ed. – Thank you to our friend Dick Inwood who sent this missive through to us this past week. Always appreciated Dick!)

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

The art of listening

Listening is not the same as hearing. It is comprehending what is being said to you, and what is being communicated, and internalizing what is said so that you might provide thoughtful comment.

There is an art to listening and many people do not do it well as they are too busy trying to figure out what to say next, rather than fully understanding the other person’s comments.

Here are 6 great pointers on how to become a better listener.

  • Take the time to converse… permit yourself to “be lost” in a conversation
  • Look into the eyes, give your undivided attention (put away that cell phone)
  • Think to yourself: I will listen to understand, not to respond
  • Watch for any non-verbal communications signs
  • Ask questions to clarify anything not understood; and ask open end questions to obtain more details of what is being discussed
  • Be patient; do not interrupt but allow the speaker finish her thoughts

The best conversationalists are great listeners (is this not true?!). So, let the other(s) speak and learn from them how you can thoughtfully contribute to the exchange. In making an impact with your communications, it is quality not quantity that will create a lasting impression.

Think about the pointers provided in this post to become a better listener. If you wish to improve your listening skills over the next month, take Psychology Today’s “Listening Skills Test” and mark down your score. Print off the pointers and consciously think about them in your work and social exchanges. Then retest yourself in a month’s time and measure your improvement.

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Top 10 Christmas Record Breakers

Here is an interesting list of some pretty amazing Christmas records.

  1. Biggest selling Christmas song is Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” The song was written by Sir Bob Geldof, and sold fifty million copies and continues to be a holiday favorite today!
  2. The world’s largest gift was the Statue of Liberty. The people of France gave it to the US in 1886. It’s 151 feet, 1 inch high and weighs 225 tonnes.
  3. The most valuable Christmas card was sold at an auction in Devizes, Wiltshire, UK in 2001 for £20,000 (approx. $40.000). The card was originally sent by Sir Henry Cole of Bath to his grandmother in 1843!
  4. The largest Christmas angel ornament is over 18 feet (5.57 meters) high and over 8 feet wide at the bottom. It’s made out of 2946 beer bottles. The angel was displayed on Alfonso Reyes Avenue, Nuevo Leon, Mexico in January 2000.
  5. World’s largest working Christmas cracker is 181 foot, 11 inch long and 11 foot, 9 inch high. It was made in Australia. It was pulled at a shopping center in Sydney, Australia on December 16, 1998.
  6. The world’s largest Christmas goat made from straw is built every year by the citizens of Gävle Sweden. It is an 13-metre tall, 7-metre long, 3 tonne goat. Unfortunately almost every year the poor goat gets burned down.
  7. The “World’s Largest Christmas Store” is Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, a retail store in Frankenmuth, Michigan. The store has grown to the size of five-and-a-half football fields and is home to over 50000 gifts.
  8. The largest carol service was five-hundred-and-nineteen Christmas carolers, who braved the New York cold to sing themselves into the Guinness World Records Book. The singers gathered on the steps of Manhattan’s General Post Office across the street from Madison Square Garden.
  9. The best-selling book every year is the Bible. The Bible was the first book and is the all-time best selling book with 1 billion copies having been sold.
  10. The tallest-ever Christmas tree in the world was recorded 1999 in Tasmania. This towering Eucalyptus regnans was 80 meters (262 ft) tall and had 3,000 Christmas lights. Later The Guinness Book of Records has rejected The Wilderness Society’s claim for the world’s tallest Christmas Tree on the grounds that the tree was a eucalypt and not a spruce.

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

Conversations over the eggnog bowl

As we enter Christmas and New Year’s festivities, inevitably, we will find ourselves at cocktail parties or dinner settings where we will be reaching for a topic of discussion. To help us through this season, By George Journal provides observations and questions that will serve as perfect conversation starters. Here are a dozen questions to start us off – enjoy your talks!

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
  2. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?
  3. What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?
  4. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
  6. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
  7. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
  8. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
  9. What are you most grateful for?
  10. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
  11. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
  12. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that? What can you do tomorrow that you’ll remember in 5 years? Are you going to do it?

 

More questions for your musings over the eggnog bowl can be found on past By George Journal posts:

Here

Here

Here

And Here

 

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

Well-Turned Phrases

Regarding apathy, I have no opinion.

Remember you’re unique, just like everybody else.

Give me ambiguity or give me something else.

Indecision is the key to flexibility.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.

Every morning is the dawn of a new error.

If all is not lost, where is it?

Ignorance is no excuse. It’s the real thing.

I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.

I plead contemporary insanity.

Committee: a body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.

Yawn: an honest opinion openly expressed.

Education is what you have left after you’ve lost all your notes.

Procrastinate now.

Deja Moo: The feeling that you’ve heard this bull before.

Any philosophy that can fit into a nutshell belongs there.

No matter where you go, there you are.

Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.

Meandering to a different drummer.

Hermits unite!

Dyslexics Untie!

Eschew obfuscation.

Egotist: someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.

A PBS mind in an MTV world.

Ambivalent? Well, yes and no.

Entrophy isn’t what it used to be.

She had a body like a burlap bag full of bobcats.

Compost happens.

Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.

That was Zen. This is Tao.

 

Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.