Etymology of Words and Phrases, Part 4:

No country has a closer association with the language of Olde Englande than the USA. From the days of the first Puritan settlers to recent cross-Atlantic tweetings, the two countries have shared in the development of English.

Many words and phrases used in the USA have retained their Elizabethan English meanings and pronunciations that have long disappeared in England itself. There are many American phrases which are used in the USA but haven’t been adopted anywhere else. Example of this are:

BLUE PLATE SPECIAL: Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘blue plate’ as a restaurant dinner plate divided into compartments for serving several kinds of food as a single order and a main course (as of meat and vegetable) served as a single menu item.

One early citation of the phrase is in this advert for the Young Women’s Christian Association, printed in the Illinois newspaper The Decatur Daily Review, September 1924. However, it is believed that the term blue plate special first appeared on menus of the Fred Harvey chain of restaurants in 1892. These were located at stations along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. The blue plate special was designed to allow passengers to grab a quick bite to eat when the train stopped.

LEAD-PIPE CINCH: The ‘cinch’ that this expression derives from is the Spanish/Mexican word for a horse’s saddle-girth – cincha. The word is recorded in English, as ‘synch’ and later ‘cinch’ in various Canadian and US sources from the 1860s onward. From the 1880s the use was extended into a verb form and things which were tightly secured were said to be ‘cinched’ – for example, this piece from The Manitoba Daily Free Press, December 1882: “The next movement was to throw the bull, and then cinch a lasso and rope tightly around his body.”

The word cinch was also used in the USA as the name of sturdy fixing brackets, which were secure and unlikely to come loose.

The figurative use of cinch, meaning to tie-up or make certain, in non-animal contexts began around the same time. The usage was often in contexts where the rich and powerful used their status to form monopolies or indulge in insider trading in order to cheat the general public. An example of this comes from the Illinois newspaper The Morning Review, December 1889: “The briber and bribed would sit down to a game of poker and a lead-pipe cinch was nothing to the sure thing the legislators had.”

The common usage of ‘cinch’ now, that is, to mean ‘easy’ rather than ‘secure’, comes from this ‘easy money’ association. In October of 1891, The Daily Morning Republican, listed a number of ‘cinch’ superlatives to describe a punter’s certainty that his horse Firenzo would win the next day:

“The track will be heavy tomorrow, and I’ve got a copper riveted, lead pipe, copyrighted, air tight cinch. Firenzo in the mud – she swims in it.”

EIGHTY-SIXED: The term is American and originated in the restaurant trade. Both meanings loosely refer to something that was previously okay becoming not okay. The earliest known example of the expression in print is found in the journal of the American Dialect Society -American Speech, 1936: “Eighty-six, item on the menu not on hand.”

The actual origin is uncertain but is often suggested to be one of these: (1) Chumley’s Bar and restaurant at 86 Bedford Street in Greenwich Village NYC; (2) a reference to article 86 of the New York state liquor code which defines when bar patrons should be refused service; and (3) from Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City. Item number 86 on their menu, their house steak, was often unavailable during the restaurant’s early years.

PRESTO CHANGO: Presto chango is a variant of the earlier exclamation ‘hey presto,’ which is used primarily in the USA. Before either expression was coined, conjurers and other stage performers simply said ‘presto!’ to draw attention to the culmination of a trick.

Presto is an Italian word meaning ‘quickly’ and it was used in England with that sense from the 13th century. “Hey Presto” began being used in England in the 18th century. The English writer Henry Fielding used it in 1732 in his farce The Lottery.

We go forward to the 19th century and ‘presto chango’ began being used in the USA. It took various spellings – ‘presto change’, ‘presto changeo’ and ‘presto chango’. ‘Presto! change’ is recorded in England in 1824 and it soon migrated to the USA and became ‘presto chango.’ One early US example can be found at the Pensacola Gazette & West Florida Advertiser April, 1824: “A tailor cannot drop his bodkin, a brick mason his trowel, or a grocer his cent per cent on coffee and candles; and become my Lord Coke or Hale by a presto change” Another was in the Ohio newspaper The Huron Reflector, February 1844: “Hey! presto! chango! as the juggler says – Kitty Grimes was not to be married to James Duncan after all.” Although ‘presto change’ was first used in the UK, the ‘presto chango‘ form can be said to be American – in fact, few people outside the USA would know what it meant.

Considering the debacle of an election we just experienced, I thought the following words were appropriate!!!!

CHEAT: Under medieval law a title to real estate could lapse in many ways. Property affected by such a lapse was called an “escheat” and became forfeit to the king. These cases were so numerous that some rulers employed escheators to look after their interests. Usually working on a commission basis, these fellows seized property at every opportunity. If they didn’t violate laws, they certainly trifled with justice. Because of the questionable practices of these royal agents, it became customary to call any dishonest person a cheat.”

Cheater Leader in the House

CON MAN: Hard times following the Civil War forced criminals to resort to all sorts of tricks to gain relatively small amounts of money. One of the most common was the sale of fraudulent mining stock. Investors were reluctant to advance funds without examining property, so swindlers adopted the practice of asking a victim to make a small deposit “just as a gesture of confidence.” The full amount was to be paid only after a trip to the West on the part of the purchaser.

Con-Man in the Senate

A swindler would take the money advanced and decamp. This type of trick became known as the “confidence game” because it worked only if the victim had confidence in the proposal. Anyone who practiced confidence games came to be called a con man. This title was applied to many types of swindlers and is now used to describe a shrewd thief who finds suckers [voters] by means of the Internet or e-mail.

FEET OF CLAY: Nebuchadnezzar II was the Babylonian king who captured Jerusalem in 587 BD, destroyed the city, and took the Hebrew people into captivity, ending the Judean kingdom. The book of Daniel tells how the young Hebrew captive explained one of the king’s strange dreams. Nebuchadnezzar had seen a giant image with a golden head, silver arms and breast, brass thighs, and iron legs. Every part was metal except the feet, which were compounded partly of iron and partly of potter’s clay.

Daniel said that his feet made the metal figure vulnerable, meaning that Babylon would be broken into pieces. Impressed by this dramatic story, English readers of the Bible seized upon the weak spot of the strange figure as a symbol of weakness in general. Today, any noted person with a vulnerable point is still said to have feet of clay.

Feet of Clay Crenshaw

KANGAROO COURT: When the English explorer Capt. James Cook returned from Australia in 1771, he was branded a liar. People disbelieved his reports of a strange animal that hopped about on two legs and stood as high as a man, which he reported the natives called a “kangaroo.” Many who heard his accounts doubted their truth and there was great joking about kangaroos.

When a few specimens were brought to Europe, they created a sensation. Anything marvelous or unusual was likely to be termed “kangaroo.” For example, an 1835 issue of the Gentleman’s Magazine described an eccentric horseman as holding his reins with “kangaroo attitude.” Settlers in the New World used the word to stand for any type of irregular gathering. During Reconstruction following the Civil War, a “kangaroo convention” held in Virginia made national headlines.

Criminals who adopted the odd word applied it to a “court” held by inmates of prisons. In such a proceeding, old-timers charged newcomers with such offenses as breaking into jail or being lousy and trying to scratch. Influenced by the prominence of irregular political gatherings, any extra-legal sham hearing came to be known as a kangaroo court.

SMARMY: “Smarmy,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary, dates back to 1909 as an adjectival form of the word “smarm” or “smalm” which had been around for 100 years. Originally just a verb for smoothing, especially of hair, its meaning gradually moved to include the implication of a real smoothie. If you describe someone as smarmy, you dislike them because they are unpleasantly polite and flattering, usually because they want you to like them or to do something for them.


You place the dome in your hand, turn it over and beautifully, magically the item inside is engulfed in a swirling slow-motion blizzard. Everyone can relate to them – evoking a childhood memory or nostalgia of a simpler time. The first mention of a snow globe featured a man with an umbrella displayed at the Paris Exposition of 1878. It was later suggested that the globes were created to commemorate the Tower’s inauguration.

This extremely rare LouisVuitton Eiffel Tower dome made of luggage is a whimsical example that sold for $995 in 2017.

A few years later, a Viennese man Edwin Perzy developed the same idea when researching a way to improve operating room light..He used a glass globe filled with water, hoping to create a magnifying lens by increasing refraction. To enhance the reflected light, Perzy put ground glass in the water. When it quickly sank, he tried semolina which floated slowly to the bottom of the globe. It did nothing to improve the light quality, but the snowfall inspired him to make his first snow globe: he carved a small house and inserted it into the globe.

Edwin Perzy

Facsimile of Perzy’s first globe used in Citizen Kane

Mass production began in the US during the 1920s. Joseph Garaja of Pittsburgh was granted a patent in 1927, which altered how snow globes were made. His method needed the spheres to be assembled underwater, removing any trapped air. This ingenious method made it possible for the industry to go into mass production, which drastically lowered the prices of globes.

However, by the early 1960s, glass snow globes had been overtaken by plastic Hong Kong-made globes. It was soon discovered that the water in their spheres was filthy, obtained directly from their port. As a result, a Hong Kong snow globe producer got into significant trouble and was temporarily barred from entering the United States.

The “snow” in snow globes has a fascinating backstory as well. Snow was previously created in glass domes using tiny porcelain, bone chips, or ground rice. Camphor/wax, as well as meerschaum, was also used to make these snowflakes. Today, most “snow” is tiny particles or shards of white plastic. Also, the liquid hasn’t always been water; at one point, light oil was used. In addition, glycol (antifreeze) was added to help with the problem of freezing during winter shipping.

The snow globe fell out of favor in the 1970’s when it epitomized kitsch –but have evolved into something more sophisticated, intricate and valued among designers and collectors. Novelty gift manufacturers have upgraded the designs and components making them unique gift items often including beautifully modelled landscapes.

Some incorporate lights, music and motors eliminating the need for shaking. Many high-end department stores introduce a custom design every year to commemorate the Christmas season.

Snow globes have become an increasingly popular collectible for both antique and novelty globes. Actor, Corbin Bernsen may be the most prolific collector with about 8,000 – he began collecting snow globes in the ‘80’s. “There’s something that happens to a collector, this internal voice that says, ‘I want to have one of each that is in existence,’” Bernsen says.

Corbin Bernsen

Originally the globes were made of glass and the figures inside were made of porcelain, bone, metals, minerals, rubber or wax. The snow or “flitter” as it’s called, could have been ground rice, wax, soap, sand, bone fragments, meerschaum, metal flakes or sawdust. Producers tried everything. The base was either round or square and may have been of stone, marble, ceramic or wood. Some are quite bizarre!!!

“Snow domes are not only fascinating to look at, to hold, to play with, they are folk art,” says collector Nancy McMichael, author of Snowdomes (Abbeville Press). “They are a bridge back to an idealized past we think existed but is actually in our head. It is something we carry with us.”

Etymology, Part 3: Common Sayings

TAKES THE CAKE: The phrase “takes the cake” comes from the cake walks that were popular in the late 19th century. Couples would strut around gracefully and well-attired, and the couple with the best walk would win a cake as a prize. Interestingly, cake walk was soon used to describe something that could be done very easily, and it’s very possible that from there we get the phrase “piece of cake.”

PARTING SHOT: A parting shot, which is a final insult tossed out at the end of a fight when you assume it’s over, was originally a Parthian shot. The Parthians, who lived in an ancient kingdom called Parthia, had a strategy whereby they would pretend to retreat, then their archers would fire shots from horseback. Parthian sounds enough like parting, and, coupled with the fact that not a lot of people knew who the Parthians were, the phrase was changed to parting shot.

DEAD AS A DOORNAIL: One could certainly argue that a doornail was never alive, but when a doornail is dead, it has actually been hammered through a door, with the protruding end hammered and flattened into the door so that it can never come loose or be removed or used again. The phrase “dead as a doornail” has actually been around since the 14th century, about as long as the word doornail has officially been in the English language.

DOWN TO BRASS TACKS: “There are many theories about what “down to brass tacks” means, including that brass tacks is rhyming slang for hard facts. But it’s very likely that the brass tacks being mentioned here are actual brass tacks. Merchants used to keep tacks nailed into their counters to use as guides for measuring things, so to get down to brass tacks would be you were finally done deciding what you wanted and were ready to cut some fabric and do some actual business.

IT’S GREEK TO ME: “The phrase “it’s Greek to me” is often attributed to Shakespeare, but it’s been around since well before his time. An earlier version of the phrase can be found written in Medieval Latin translations, saying “Graecum est; non potest legi,” or “it’s Greek. Cannot be read.”

SMART ALEC: “You may have presumed the Alec in “smart Alec” was just a name that sounded good preceded by the word smart, but that’s not necessarily the case. Professor Gerald Cohen suggested in his book”Studies in Slang” that the original smart Alec was Alexander Hoag, a professional thief who lived and robbed in New York City in the 1840s. Hoag was a very clever criminal who worked with his wife and two other policemen to pickpocket and rob people. He was eventually busted when he decided to stop paying the cops.

HEARD IT THRU THE GRAPEVINE: “The grapevine people hear things through is a grapevine telegraph, which was the nickname given to the means of spreading information during the Civil War as a kind of wink at an actual telegraph. The grapevine telegraph is just a person-to-person exchange of information, and much like when you play a game of telephone, it’s best to presume that the information you receive has gone through a few permutations since it was first shared.

CAT’S OUT OF THE BAG: “Farmers used to stick little suckling pigs in bags to take them to market. But if a farmer was trying to rip somebody off, they would put a cat in the bag instead. So, if the cat got out of the bag, everybody was onto their ruse, which is how we use the phrase today, just not quite so literally. (We hope.)

OUT OF WACK: “Today, “out of whack” means not quite right, but it took a long time to get there. Whack appeared in the 18th century as a word that meant to strike a blow when used as a verb. The noun whack was the blow that was whacked on something. But whack also grew to mean portion or share, especially as loot that was being split by criminals. From there, whack grew to mean an agreement, as in the agreed share of loot, but it also meant in good order. If something was behaving as it was intended to, it was “in fine whack.” Eventually the opposite fell into common usage, and something that wasn’t in good shape was “out of whack.”

KIBOSH: “Evidence of kibosh dates the word to only a few years before Charles Dickens used it in an 1836 sketch, but despite kibosh being relatively young in English its source is elusive. Another hypothesis pointed to Irish caidhp bhais, literally, coif (or cap) of death, explained as headgear a judge put on when pronouncing a death sentence, or as a covering pulled over the face of a corpse when a coffin was closed. Today, “to put the kibosh on something” is to shut it down.

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE: “Some people think that the phrase “between a rock and a hard place” is a kind of sloppy reference to Odysseus. But in 1921, the phrase became a popular means of describing when miners had to choose between dangerous work for little or no money or definite poverty during the Great Bankers’ Panic of 1907.

GOT UP ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE BED: “The generally accepted origin of the phrases “get up on the wrong side of the bed” and wake up on the wrong side of the bed is ancient Rome, where superstition was rampant. Ancient philosophers equated the right side of anything as the positive side, and the left side of anything as the sinister or negative side. The story says that Romans always exited the bed on the right side in order to start the day in contact with positive forces. If one rose on the left side of the bed, he started the day in contact with negative forces.

MAD AS A HATTER: “The expression is linked to the hat-making industry and mercury poisoning. In the 18th and 19th centuries, industrial workers used a toxic substance, mercury nitrate, as part of the process of turning the fur of small animals, such as rabbits, into felt for hats. Workplace safety standards often were lax and prolonged exposure to mercury caused employees to develop a variety of physical and mental ailments, including tremors (dubbed “hatter’s shakes”), speech problems, emotional instability and hallucinations.

The Historical Significance and Contemporary Value of Veterans Day

If you or a loved one has ever served in our nation’s military, you know that November 11 is far more than just a day off of work or school. Veterans Day, the nationally recognized holiday often confused with Memorial Day, pays tribute to all who have served in America’s Armed Forces.

Although Memorial Day also commemorates the sacrifices of our country’s service members, it is a much older holiday established in 1868 and celebrated on the last Monday in May. It pays special tribute to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country, commemorating military members who have died while serving. Veteran’s Day has a different significance.

The Short History of Veterans Day

Originally called “Armistice Day,” Veterans Day was intended to serve as a time that would remind nations to always strive for peaceful relationships. Over the decades, the date took on new significance as more worldwide conflicts erupted into war. The twists and turns in the holiday’s history include:

November 11, 1918– The Allied Nations and Germany agree to put an end to World War I with an armistice on “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.”

June 28, 1919 – WWI officially ends with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in France.

November 1919 – President Woodrow Wilson proclaims November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. Celebrations include parades and public gatherings as well as a brief cessation of business activities beginning at 11:00 a.m.

May 13, 1938 – An Act is approved in the United States that designates November 11 an annual legal holiday known as “Armistice Day.” At this time, the day is intended to honor World War I veterans.

June 1, 1954 – In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd Congress amends the Act of 1938 and replaces the word “Armistice” with “Veterans.” This allows November 11 to honor all veterans. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the legislation.

October 8, 1954 – President Eisenhower issues the first “Veterans Day Proclamation”

June 28, 1968 – The Uniforms Holiday Bill assigns the fourth Monday of October as Veterans Day to make it one of four three-day weekends for federal employees. Many states disapprove and continue to celebrate the holiday on November 11.

October 25, 1971 – The first Veterans Day under the new law is observed, but not without widespread resistance and confusion.

September 20, 1975 – President Gerald R. Ford signs Public Law 94-97 to return the annual observance of Veterans Day to November 11, beginning in 1978.

If November 11 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, we celebrate the holiday on the previous Friday or Monday. This policy honors the intentions of the Uniforms Holiday Bill while also respecting Americans who feel strongly about the holiday’s significance.

The Veterans Day National Ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. every November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. A wreath is laid at the tome of the Unknowns, and celebrations continue inside the Memorial Ampitheater to thank and honor all who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

Veterans Day holds great historical and patriotic value for many in our country, and by marking the date annually, we reinforce our national values of duty, honor, selflessness, civic responsibility, and passion for our country.

The homess Marine who received an honorable burial from his fellow Marines

Lance Corporal Andrew Mauney, a former infantryman with Camp Lejeune’s 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, died in January 2015 at the age of 53. He was from Virginia and served three years in the Marines before being honorably discharged in 1983.

At the time of his death, he was homeless on the streets of Wilmington and without family. No one claimed his body, but one family, the Thompsons, took him in like one of their own. When he died, the family said they did all they could to give Mauney a proper burial, but his body wasn’t allowed to be released to them as they weren’t next of kin.

After all paths had been exhausted by The Missing in America Project to find Mauney’s relatives, it was decided that he would be laid to rest by his brothers in arms. That’s because once a Marine, always a Marine, and for veterans and active duty Marines, the term “unclaimed” is unacceptable.

“He’s our brother,” said Retired Marine Bill Holsclaw. “We don’t know him by face, we don’t know him by name, we don’t know him by actions, but we know one thing…we’ve walked in his boots and he’s walked in ours.” Mauney was laid to rest with full military honors in early November 2015.

The veteran who took an Honor Flight almost 50 years after serving in Vietnam

Jerry Snyder was 20 in 1966 when he entered the war. He lost two classmates who were close friends, four men from his unit were killed and he was significantly wounded six months into his tour. He then returned home to slurs and insults. Now at 69, Snyder was about to receive the long overdue gratitude and appreciation for his service to his country that was missing 49 years earlier.

At the Springfield-Branson National Airport, Synder and his daughter, Stephanie McKinney, were joined by 74 other war veterans and their guardians to take a journey to Washington, D.C. on one of 132 established hubs in the Honor Flight Network. (The Honor Flight gives priority to World War II, Korean, Vietnam, and terminally ill veterans who are flown to view their memorials at no cost.)

Escorted by police officers on all four sides of their charter buses, Jerry’s group began its journey at the World War II Memorial. Stops would also include the Korean War Memorial, Marine Corps Memorial and Arlington Cemetery. But the one Jerry and Stephanie were most anticipating was the Vietnam War Memorial. As her dad approached the structure, Stephanie said his demeanor changed.

“We got up to the wall, and I saw a totally different person,” she said. “He had this resolve, squared his shoulders back, and his pace sped up.” “I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s a humbling experience,” Jerry said. “Everyone says you get closure, but if you’ve been to Vietnam and seen all of that, you don’t ever really get closure.”

The volunteers who helped a WWII widow fix up her house

Eighty-three-year-old Normena Welcome is amazed that people who don’t know her are helping make her life easier, just because she’s the widow of a World War II veteran. “She’s lives alone,” said Rob Demerski, a department manager at Home Depot in Greenfield, Massachusetts. “We were all concerned with her well being when we heard about her.”

A few months ago, Welcome attended a presentation at South Deerfield Senior Center by Upper Pioneer Valley Veterans Services. After that presentation, she mentioned to Sue Corey, program assistant at the senior center, that she desperately needed a raised toilet seat—she has problems with mobility—and wondered if UPVVS might be able to help.

Corey contacted Mark Fitzpatrick, a service officer with the Veterans Agency, and they checked out her home. They soon realized she needed more help than initially she let on. The house hadn’t been updated in four decades, so 25 volunteers, many of whom are local Home Depot employees and members of VetNet, a veteran-based, community-centered nonprofit, gathered for two days to clean and update her property.

Normena was married to Percy Welcome, one of seven brothers from Charlemont who were drafted at the same time during World War II. They all returned safely, she said. Her husband died in 1993. “This was as much for Percy as it was for Normena,” said Fitzpatrick.

Veterans Personal Stories

Find out about veterans who are living productive lives with visual impairment or blindness.

Etymology of Words and Phrases – Part 2

GABARDINE: Few movements in history have been more thrilling than the pilgrimages of the Middle Ages. Many people traveled to shrines throughout Europe and even to the Holy Land. Pilgrims continued to visit some of the shrines at enormous sacrifice of time and money. They wore an unofficial but characteristic garb: a gray cowl bearing a red cross and a broad-brimmed, stiff hat. Pilgrims carried a staff, a sack, and a gourd. They usually traveled in company with other adventurers, singing hymns as they walked and begging food from those they met.

Medieval Pilgrims

Since a particular type of upper garment was worn by the pilgrim, it gradually came to be identified with the journey itself. A will filed in 1520 included this bequest: “Until litill Thomas Beke my gawbardyne to make him a gowne.” From the garment the term came to refer to the coarse material from which it was customarily made. Slight modifications in spelling produced gabardine – a kind of cloth that passed from the religious pilgrim’s vocabulary into general use.

Assorted Gabardine

RUBBER: On his second voyage to “East India,” Columbus found natives playing with a substance they called caoutchouc. It would stretch and then snap back into shape; when made into balls it would bounce. Scientists who examined the odd substance agreed that it was unlike anything known in Europe, yet they confessed themselves unable to imagine any use for it.

Small quantities of caoutchouc were brought to Europe, but it remained a curiosity for more than two centuries. Finally, someone discovered by accident that the material could be used for removing the marks of a lead pencil. Hence, bookkeepers termed it “lead-eater.”

Around 1780 Joseph Priestley experimented with a bit of caoutchouc, hoping to find some use more important than erasing errors made in ledgers. He failed and decided that it would never be of value except for rubbing out pencil marks.

Joseph Priestley

Consequently, he called it “East India rubber.” Soon the nickname of the one-job substance was abbreviated to rubber. The name serves as a perpetual reminder that civilization was once at a loss as to what to do with a substance of a thousand uses.

MAP: Greek geographers of the sixth century BC developed considerable skill in making charts to guide sailors and travelers. Then the Romans extended the art by engraving scale representations of the Empire on fine marble slabs. These devices, and the more abundant clay tablets, proved to be extremely cumbersome, so someone thought of painting geographical charts upon cloth.

Fragment of Greek “Map”

For this purpose, the most suitable material proved to be fine table linen, or mappa. This led to the practice of calling any flat geographical chart a map.

RECIPE: Since Latin was the universal language of medieval scholars, physicians used it in writing directions for compounding medicines. Virtually every prescription listed the ingredients in precise order and began with the Latin verb recipe, meaning “take.”

Ancient Apothecary “Recipes”

Care in measuring and blending the ingredients of a tasty dish is also essential. Therefore, when housewives began to master the art of reading and writing, they adopted the apothecary’s custom and made written lists of ingredients and steps in cookery. Inevitably, such a set of directions took the pharmaceutical name and became familiar to the household recipe.

BUDGET: Struggling with a budget is no new problem; it dates back to the days of the Roman Empire. Housewives had to be cautious in their spending and they kept money for household expenses in a little leather bulga (Latin for bag). This custom also prevailed among businessmen, who may have borrowed it from their wives or vice versa.

Antique “Bulga”

Centuries later, the Latin word was adopted into Middle French as bougette (“little leather bag”). When the British Chancellor of Exchequer appeared before Parliament, he carried his papers explaining the estimated revenue and expenses in a leather bag and then “opened the budget” for the coming year. Thus, budget (as it came to be pronounced) came to mean a systematic plan for expenditures, both for governments and for private individuals.

EAT ONE’S HAT: Many a man engaged in a contest of some sort has offered to eat his hat if he loses. In such a situation, a knowledge of etymology would be of great value, for the expression eat one’s hat once referred not to a Stetson or a Panama, but to a culinary product.

Napier’s famous Boke of Cookry, one of the earliest European cookbooks, gives the following directions: “Hattes are made of eggs, veal, dates, saffron, salt, and so forth.” In the hands of amateur cooks, the concoction was frequently so unpalatable that it required a strong stomach to eat it.

Even so, the early braggart who offered to eat a hatte had in mind nothing so distasteful as a felt or a straw!

FLOUR: During the Elizabethan Age, the word “flower” meant “the best,” as it does today in such expressions as “the flower of the nation’s youth.”

Millers of the period ground wheat by a crude process, then sifted the meal. Only the finest of it passed through the cloth sieve in a process called “boulting.” Reserved for tables of the nobility, this top-quality ground wheat was naturally called the “flower of wheat,” but in this context the word came to be spelled flour. The two spellings were used interchangeably until the 19th century. In Paradise Lost, Milton wrote the line, “O flours that never will in other climates grow.”


COOKING TERMS: There is at least one serious gap in European history. Her contemporaries failed to record the name of the woman who first thought of stuffing an egg. Nothing is known about her recipe, except that she was liberal with pepper. Her invention was so hot that folks who tried it were reminded of Beelzebub’s fiery furnaces. As a result, the tidbit came to be called a deviled egg.

Most other terms of cookery are prosaic by comparison. More than half were borrowed from the French – which suggest that English cooks were never very imaginative. Braise stems from French for “hot charcoal.” Toast is but slightly modified from “toaster” (“to parch with heat). Boil stems from a continental verb meaning “to make little bubbles.” Poach grew out of pocher, which meant “to pouch,” that is, to enclose an egg’s yellow in a little pouch of white.

Fry, grill, roast and baste were also adapted from French. Fricassee was taken as is from that language, but the ultimate origin is unknown.

The oldest term in cookery is probably cook, still much like Latin coquus. The Norse gave us bake, from baka (“hearth”). The Saxons contributed sear, spelled just as it is today. It originally meant to “wither with heat.” Scorch – the bane of a cook’s existence – has a long history that goes all the way back to the Old English scorkle, which started life as a term for skinning meat by searing.

Etymology of Words and Phrases

Someone posted something about etymology and it caught my interest – IIRC, I have Duchess to thank!

I decided to do an open about the subject since I have a book about it. But there is so much more in the book than I can put in one open, I expect I’ll be doing more in the future. If anyone has specific words or phrases they are curious about, let me know and I’ll include it in a future open.

First, the definition of etymology:

– The origin and historical development of a linguistic form as shown by determining its basic elements, earliest known use, and changes in form and meaning, tracing its transmission from one language to another, identifying its cognates in other languages, and reconstructing its ancestral form where possible.

– The branch of linguistics that deals with etymologies.

– That part of philology which treats of the history of words in respect both to form and to meanings, tracing them back toward their origin, and setting forth and explaining the changes they have undergone.


It is a Latin term for “flowing” or “running” that gave rise to the word “cursive” to describe handwriting produced in flowing style. The flow of letters that is produced when a pen is guided by skilled fingers is an impressive art. The name for this efficient and effortless writing style, in this computer age, soon was adapted and bestowed upon the small marker that moves quickly and gracefully across a computer screen. The cursor blinks until it is stimulated into action.



Early computer programmers faced an obstacle: the memories of their computers were wiped clean each time the machines were turned off. To address this problem, the programmers needed to enter a short program called a “bootstrap loader” each time the machine was turned on. When the first desktops first came out, there was a “boot” disc that resided in one drive, while a data disk was in the second drive, where the work was saved. This is the portable laptop I used to take with me on business trips – note the 2 drives side-by-side.

COMPAQ Portable PC

Once this program was read, the computer could then perform more complex functions. The short program gave the machine a “bootstrap” it could then use to perform tasks; without it, the computer was useless. Over time, programmers figured out ways to design software so computers could perform this function automatically, and bootstrap loaders are now part of the basic make-up of any operating system. Pulling oneself up by the “bootstraps” is a means of restarting one’s situation. The expression lives on in the phrase to boot, which today simply means to turn it on, but reflects decades of efforts of computer programmers to make computers easier to use.


As an abbreviation, this cluster of letters has come to function as a word naming a compact disc crammed with an immense amount of data, graphic material, music, or other sounds. The disc can be read and viewed and printed out, but can’t be altered, making deletion of selected portions impossible. Once the basic nature of this disc is understood, it makes complete sense that the abbreviation stands for “Compact Disc [with] Read-Only Memory.


Plantation owners and merchant princes of colonial America took great interest in horse racing. For many generations major contests were supported largely by the wealthy. After the Civil War, promoters began bidding for attendance by the general public and racing then surged to new popularity and prominence.

Skilled jockeys made an art of timing the final spurt toward the ribbon; sometimes a fellow would be so far ahead of the field that he didn’t have to lift his hands in order to urge his mount forward. Expecting an easy victory, the backer of a horse would boast that his jockey would win hands down. Erupting from racetrack lingo about the turn of the last century, the phrase came to indicate any effortless triumph.


Medieval householders made wide use of flax, whose fibers are so tough they had to be carefully worked with a tool called the hackle. Farmers noticed that angry fowls have a way of raising the feathers on their necks. Disturbed in such a fashion, a bird looked as though someone had rumpled his feathers with a hackle. Hence by 1450, such feathers had taken the name of the combing tool.

Medieval Hackle

Since visible hackles indicated anger, it was natural to say that anything causing an outburst of rage raised the hackles of the offended person.


England has few families whose blood is a deeper shade of blue than that of the Stanleys. Descended from an aide of William the Conqueror, this family came into possession of the earldom of Derby in the 15th century. Their name entered common speech because the 12th Earl of a lover of fast horses. With no specific desire for fame, Derby established an annual race for 3 year old horses; first run in 1780, it quickly became the most noted race in England.

American sportsmen who took in the races after the Civil War were impressed by the odd hats some of the English spectators wore. They brought a few of the “Derby hats” back to the US, where a new model was developed. Made of stiff felt with a dome-shaped crown and narrow brim, the derby won the heart of the American male. By the time the first Kentucky Derby was run in 1875, the derby was standard wear for the man of parts. It is merely incidental that the hat also brought a kind of immortality to the distinguished house of Derby.

English Bowler Derby

As a side note… did the Kentucky Derby get that name?

“The Kentucky Derby is America’s most celebrated horse race, but its inspiration comes from England.

Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark, founder of Churchill Downs, wanted to model the track’s major races after the English classics. The gold standard for Europe’s three-year-olds is the Derby at Epsom, which also stages the corresponding race for three-year-old fillies, called the Oaks.

Both the Epsom Derby and Oaks are contested at about 1 1/2 miles. And originally so were the Kentucky Derby and Oaks, in the early years since their inception in 1875. Both were eventually shortened, with the Kentucky Derby firmly established at its traditional 1 1/4-mile distance in 1896. The Oaks was subsequently held at distances ranging from 1 1/16 miles to 1 1/4 miles, finally settling at its current trip of 1 1/8 miles in 1982.

But why were the Epsom classics named the Derby and Oaks at their creation in the late 18th century? An aristocratic connection, of course!

The 12th Earl of Derby, Edward Stanley, was instrumental in the development of both. The fillies’ race was established first in 1779, and named after Stanley’s Surrey estate. Fittingly, he won that inaugural Oaks with Bridget.

That prompted the idea to create another classic, open to both colts and fillies, the following year. According to the oft-told tale, the new race’s name hung on the outcome of a coin flip. Was it to be named after the Earl of Derby, or after his friend, Sir Charles Bunbury? Luckily, the toss came up in favor of the Earl, and the first “Derby” was held at Epsom in 1780. Bunbury didn’t go home empty-handed: his Diomed triumphed in that first running.

With the Epsom Derby giving rise to so many spin-offs around the world, racing fans can be grateful for that toss of the coin. The “Kentucky Bunbury” just wouldn’t have the same ring to it.”


For more than two centuries, the English-speaking world has used the expression “stealing thunder” to mean the appropriation of any effective device or plan that was originated by someone else.

An obscure English dramatis was the father of the phrase. For the production of a play, John Dennis invented a new and more effective way of simulating thunder onstage. His play soon folded but shortly afterward he discovered that his thunder machine was in use for a performance of Macbeth at the same theater.

Dennis was furious!!! “See how the rascals use me?!?” he cried. “They will not let my play run, and yet they steal my thunder.


There are many theories out there about what was really behind the shooting at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017. Regardless of the motivation, it was horrific for those at the festival, with many an odd coincidence cropping up day after day after day. We all know SOMETHING isn’t right about this – there are just far too many oddities and we know what that means!


I am going to completely ignore the accepted “story” that has been bandied about by the media and focus instead on the connections to the Saudi regime, with connections to the Killary Show and the Muslim-in-Chief. IMO, Paddock was a CIA/FBI patsy/player who was used for this shitshow, whether knowingly or not – who can say? Waaay too much shady shit in HIS background!

Let’s lay out the players here and provide the backstory…..we all know the Saud Family is very incestuous, devious and convoluted. The current King Salman has 13 children from 3 different marriages. The current Crown Prince is one of his sons from his 3rd marriage, Mohammed Bin Salman.

Mohammed Bin Salman

Another critical player in this cat-and-mouse game is Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire businessman who is the Grandson of King Saud. He has ties to the DNC, Clinton, Podesta, and Obama. He also co-owned (with Bill Gates) The Four Seasons at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, which occupies the top five floors of Mandalay Bay from 35 to 39 (Paddock was on 32), as well as shares in Twitter and other high-tech silicon valley companies. He is just one of many, many “family” members who have designs on the Crown but he is more deeply and directly involved in US politics than most. He funded Obama’s stint at Harvard……

Prince Alaweed

Flash back to the May 2017 meeting….the Globe… see, SA was in a bind – they underestimated the amounts of natural gas the US was able to produce via fracking….they had vastly underestimated the amount of total shale reserves in North America. They had no idea that so much of this stuff exists and thought maybe they could ride it out if the reserves would dry up in a decade or so. But nope. We have enough shale to supply us for at least 50 years. Hmmm… big problem.

So, if you’re King Salman, what do you do? Well, there’s only one thing you can do. Give up the reliance on oil production and try to use existing wealth to stay wealthy; to modernize trade to include more than just exports of oil. They would need to build an entire industrial country from scratch and, to do that, he needed the help of the USA. which is where President Trump comes in.


It was a business meeting – King Salman asked Trump for help. Trump was more than willing to give it (like listing the oil companies on the NYSE) but his help would come with a price: Liberalization and the stop of illegal funding; no more contributions to American politics; no more supplying funds to terrorists or splinter groups. King Salman took the deal and, all of a sudden, women were allowed to drive, ISIS was retreating and Syrian rebels suddenly ran out of ammunition.

Sword Dance – very rare honor!

Not all the royals in KSA are into this, of course, so they started plotting against King Salmon. Who was occupying that whole floor in the Mandalay Bay that night? The whole floor was reserved for that week and no one would do that unless they were Saudi royalty. Many believe, as I do, that it was Crown Prince Mohammad – it wasn’t King Salman because he was in Russia at the time. These pictures were taken in a nearby casino that is connected to the Mandalay Bay while the shooting was on-going.

Is that MBS???

At Mandalay Bay

The plan was to take out the crown prince, then kill King Salman — with the King and the Crown Prince both dead, Deputy Crown Prince, Muqrin, is next in line. Posing as terrorists who wanted to buy the guns for some terrorist attack, they either duped the CIA/FBI to supply the guns to the death squad via Paddock, or they were in on it. The plan is to climb the stairs right after the deal and kill the VIP in the floors above them, which is why the weapons cache was located on the 32nd floor.

Paddock’s Room
Paddock’s Room

Somehow, the word leaked, and the royalty in the floors above were notified of the assassination plot – the prince was e-vac’d out. This accounts for all the helicopter flight reports that can be found on the net, as well as the gun fire from black-dressed figures that was on video taking place on runways.

EXCERPT: “In a bombshell audio recording from the night of the Las Vegas shooting, an air traffic control dispatcher can be heard telling one pilot that it might not be a good idea to land because there are “active shooters on the runway.”

Co-founder of “The New Right,” Mike Tokes, obtained the recording and has dispensed it on Twitter.

Listen for yourself. The specific statement comes just after the 2:00 mark. [NF: I didn’t try to find the Tweet – I expect it has been removed by now]

‘Air traffic control tapes on the night of the Las Vegas shooting:

“There’s active shooters on the runway. They’re on the airport property””

—Michael Coudrey (@MichaelCoudrey) October 29, 2017′

“Shutting down might not be a good idea, there’s active shooters on the runway,” he declared. “The 19s are closed, we are in the process of trying to round them up, they are on the airport property.”

We know from audio analysis that there were at least two different ranges of shots that were fired. Mike Adams provided an excellent analysis of the audio from video footage that has been obtained and made several points of reference to where the shots of a second shooter may have originated. However, not one of the places the Adams pointed to as a possibility was the airport.”

Now, let’s fast forward to one month later. We know a missile was intercepted by the Saudi military on November 3 or 4th, which was probably the final effort by the anti- King Salman group to kill him. OR, it was staged to give King Salman the excuse to round everyone up in retaliation of the assassination attempt. We know that MASSIVE raids and the rounding of Saudi princes took place on the 5th. And who was killed at that time? The son of Muqrin, Mansour, who died in a chopper crash.


In a shocking development Saturday, the Saudi Arabian government arrested prominent billionaire Waleed bin Talal, a member of the royal Saudi family with deep ties to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Arrests were carried out by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recently-formed anti-corruption committee and included bin Talal, ten senior princes, and dozens of ministers for corruption and money laundering charges.

Bin Talal, a primary shareholder of Citigroup, News Corp., and Twitter, was arrested along with dozens of other princes and ministers on Saturday. Bin Talal’s arrest was part of a massive sweep of Saudi elites charged with corruption and money laundering by a newly formed anti-corruption committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Meanwhile, Royal princes’ private planes have been grounded.”

Even more oddities follow…..

EXCERPT: “A staggering eight survivors, eyewitnesses and a legal attorney representing key players in the Las Vegas shooting have died in suspicious circumstances. Others are missing. What are the odds on eight people dying, the majority of them very young, in such a short space of time?

The odds would be astronomical. The fact is all of those eight people, every single one of them, had one thing in common, other than being there during the shooting, or having inside information. They all had information on the attack that contradicts the official narrative….” Here are just a few of them:

Dennis and Lorraine Carver

The most recent eyewitnesses to die were Dennis and Lorraine Carver, a married couple from California. Their car suddenly veered off the road outside their home and crashed into a gate, exploding into a fireball on impact, killing both of them instantly. A spokesman for the local fire authority said it took fire fighters over one hour to extinguish the blaze.

Suspicions surrounding the real nature of their death was raised when, one week after the fatal crash, the couple’s eldest daughter, Brooke Carver, received an item carrying memories of her 52-year-old father through the post. During the confusion of the shooting, he had lost his phone that was full of photos and videos from the night of the attack. His phone had somehow ended up in the FBI’s possession, but a Las Vegas agent promised to ship the phone back to him.

“When we turned it on, all his photos and messages were still there,” Brooke said. The question is why did the FBI take three weeks to return the phone? As has been widely reported, the phones and laptops of eyewitnesses were confiscated and wiped by the FBI, so why was Mr. Carver’s phone returned seemingly intact?

Brooke Carver says “all his photos and messages were still there,” but how would she know if anything had been deleted? She wouldn’t have seen what was on her father’s phone before the FBI had it. Could the Carver’s have captured something they shouldn’t have? Perhaps unknowingly?

Danny Contreras

In the same week the Carvers died, Danny Contreras, an eyewitness Las Vegas shooting survivor who publicly claimed there were multiple shooters involved in the attack, was been found dead in an empty house in Las Vegas with multiple gunshot wounds.

His body was found in a vacant home in the northeastern valley after a neighbor heard a man groaning inside the building and called 911. Police say Contreras was dead when they arrived at the 5800 block of East Carey Avenue, near North Nellis Boulevard. Mr. Contreras tweeted the day after the attacks saying he was “lucky to be alive” after he was “chased by two gunmen.” His social media post from his Twitter account, which has since been suspended by Twitter, that was shared several times said:

Kymberley Suchomel

Kymberley Suchomel went public with claims of witnessing multiple gunmen, and was determined to prove the mainstream narrative is wrong. She even announced plans to set up a survivor’s group to shine a light on the truth about what happened in Las Vegas, and expose the lies.

According to Kimberley, the Las Vegas shooting was carried out by multiple gunmen who were chasing people down in the crowd and shooting them. Her post on Facebook quickly went viral as it confirmed what many had already suspected: The mainstream media “official” narrative that Stephen Paddock was a “lone wolf” gunman was false.

Less than one week after she gave this account, Kymberley was found dead at her house in Apple Valley, California.

This was a multi-faceted, multi-level operation with wide-ranging, global ramifications, IMO. In the following video, you can see the muzzle flashes coming from a chopper.

Shooting Location: Panorama Tower
4525 Dean Martin Dr
Las Vegas, NV 89103


Almost everyone is familiar with the movie image of Dracula, the smooth but sinister Transylvania count, elegantly dressed in evening clothes and a cape, who throws his disguise aside to reveal fearsome fangs that strike for the neck of his innocent victim. The vampire Count Dracula is the supreme creation of Irish writer Bram Stoker, now a century old yet showing no signs of losing his popularity.

Bram Stoker

But Stoker did not dream up his Dracula entirely from nothing, for historians have fixed on a plausible and horrific original for Dracula himself and there are many well-attested accounts of vampirism in modern and ancient times. Vampires are certainly not a product of the 17th century, as belief in the undead preying on the living has been extremely widespread, both in time and geography. The ancient Babylonian bloodsuckers were known as Ekimmu and according to Jewish tradition, the first woman on earth actually became a vampire, Lilith – before the creation of Eve.

Vampire Princess (depiction)

They are known in folklore and legends from Africa, East Asia, Australasia, the Near East, the Americas and, of course, Europe. In Romania, from whence the probable original model for Dracula arose, according to folk tradition: “…there was once a time when vampires were as common as blades of grass, or berries in a pail, and they never kept still, but wandered round at night among the people.”

Vampires are real enough, at least in terms of ancient communities’ beliefs, but what about Dracula himself? Remarkably, there are good grounds for believing that Bram Stoker based him on a real character, Vlad the Impaler, the ruler of Wallachia in modern Romania in the mid-15th century AD.

Vlad The Impaler

Vlad bore a family Christian name, his father also being a Vlad, while “the Impaler” was a nickname he earned from his horrific behavior. He was born in Transylvania in 1431, becoming the heir to the neighboring princedom of Wallachia in 1437, after his father expelled the previous ruler. When the Ottoman Empire was completing it’s takeover of Greece, Wallachia became a strategic border state; the Turkish sultan took as hostages the young Vlad and his brother Radu in 1442 to ensure Wallachian loyalty.

Regardless, the Wallachians undertook a series of campaigns against the Turks, with some success, until the older Vlad was put to death after falling out with his allies, the Hungarians. The younger Vlad escaped captivity and embarked on a long campaign to regain his father’s throne, now occupied by a distant relative. His efforts finally bore fruit in 1456 with the assassination of his rival, and he became the Prince of Wallachia. Vlad’s subjects were soon to find out that their new ruler intended to crush any lingering opposition. He called a meeting of nobles and after testing them, and their making it abundantly clear how little they thought of the various Princes and Kings, he had his armed guards seize all 500 hundred, leading them outside, where they were impaled on sharpened stakes, along with their wives and servants, and left to rot.

Bran Castle

Vlad’s cruelty became famous, as he turned against Transylvania, land of his birth, because of its economic control of Wallachia. He led a series of raids on the major towns from 1457 to 1460, massacring vast numbers of men, women, and children, with torture being followed up by slow impaling. Moreover, Vlad showed every sign of enjoying these horrors. According to a German pamphlet printed in 1499, he was perfectly at home sitting down to watch the death throes of his victims at the town of Brassoc: “All those whom he had taken captive, men and women, young and old, children, he had impaled on the hill by the chapel, and all around the hill, and under them he proceeded to eat at table and enjoyed himself in that way.”

Prince of Wallachia

But, appalling though the deeds of Vlad the Impaler undoubtedly were, where does the Dracula connection come in? Vlad was the son of Vlad Dracul. The Dracul part was a nickname with a double meaning – “dragon” and “devil.” The official version was probably “dragon,” since the elder Vlad had been invested with the Order of the Dragon in 1431. Thereafter, Vlad Dracul minted coins with a dragon symbol and flew a flag bearing a dragon. The alternative meaning of his name, “devil,” was not unwelcome, for his rule was based on fear.

Dracula means “son of Dracul,” and Vlad the Impaler actually signed himself “Dracula” on official documents. Perhaps he relished the idea of being known as the son of the devil. This may have been uppermost in the mind of the court poet Michel Beheim in 1463, when he composed an epic entitled “Story of a Bloodthirsty Madman Called Dracula of Wallachia.” Technically, he WAS a vampire, for he reportedly dipped his bread in the blood of his victims at his macabre feasts of the dying.

As in all of history, all tyrants come to an end eventually. After many years of fighting the Turks and overwhelming them with his wholesale slaughter, they left Vlad’s brother Radu behind when they retreated. Radu soon gained support among the aristocracy, who could not forgive Vlad’s massacres of their fellow nobles, while Vlad’s army faded away once the threat of the Turks had been lifted.

Vlad the Impaler’s Poenari Fortress

Vlad escaped to Hungary, where he was captured, tried on false charges, and confined for 12 years until Radu’s death, when Vlad agreed to subject himself to Hungarian control, converted to Catholicism and married a Hungarian princess. He regained his throne in 1476 but, in a final battle against an army of Wallachian nobles supported by the Turks, he was himself impaled by a lance. The Turks cut off his head and delivered it to the sultan, where it was put on display as proof that their deadly foe was finally vanquished.

Snagov Monastery (where Vlad’s headless corpse is alleged to be buried)

Vampires definitely existed in the strongly held beliefs of past people concerning the dead. Dracula was not a vampire in the folklore tradition, but he was certainly bloodthirsty in more ways than one!!!

Source: Ancient Mysteries


On 9/11, I was working for Schiebel Technology, which is an Austrian company, at the old Vint Hill Farms Army base and had my computer set to receive breaking news alerts. About the same time the breaking news alert popped up on my computer, one of the trainers (ex-Army) came rushing out of his office to say 2 planes had hit the Twin Towers in NYC. We had no TV reception, although we had at least 5 TVs that were used for presentations on the CamCopter at trade shows, but no antenna. I lived only a mile from the base and had a set of rabbit ears so I rushed home to get them.

CamCopter ensemble

We set up the TV just outside the back door, which was the only place we could get any reception. Updates were being given every half-hour so everyone rushed downstairs to watch the updates. Then we heard about the alleged plane that hit the Pentagon (I still believe it was a missile). Whoa!!! That was WAY too close to home and we were on an old Army Base – could we be next???? Heather called me to say, “Mom, thank God you don’t work at the Pentagon any more!!!!” The plane hit on the 1st floor, Corridor 4 and extending into Corridor 5, all the way thru to the B ring near the center of the Pentagon; I worked on the 3rd floor, D ring, 7th corridor. For your info:

Diagram of Pentagon

It takes a lot to make me really cry – serious crying is not something I do often. On Friday of that week, I took the company Tahoe to Warrenton to get our mail. On the way back, Lee Greenwood’s song “God Bless the USA” came on the radio – I was overcome with tears, sobbing, and had to pull over on the side of the road because I couldn’t even see.

Ten days later, 8 Egyptian Naval officers arrived for training on the CamCopter system. 9/11 will always be inextricably linked to the Egyptians for me. They were all incredibly respectful and thoughtful – every time they came to my house, they brought me some gift: flowers, small statues, a papyrus, etc., etc.

Postcard from Walau

We considered cancelling the training, especially since 2 of the guys who worked for us (the two Mikes) chose to quit and re-up in the Army to work on their AUV program – but the owner, Hans Schiebel, made the decision not to cancel. They had to bring Peter over from Austria for the training. We also weren’t sure about the reception the Egyptians would get in rural VA. However, all went well and each, to a man, stood with the US against this horrific action – of course, I didn’t know the truth then, nor did they, I expect. I’ve written about my experiences with the Egyptians before but one particular circumstance really sticks in my mind.

Wajdi (who really wanted to be a chef – he was in charge when they prepared the Ramadan meal at my house, which began on November 11, 2001 and lasted for a month) wanted to do some sightseeing over a week-end and was going to rent a car to go to FL. I told him he shouldn’t go to FL – the only thing to see there was beaches and a lot of retired people. I suggested he should go to New York City and he took my advice.

HB and Wajdi on Thanksgiving

While he was there walking around, people kept asking him if he was Spanish, giving his complexion. He repeatedly informed them that, no, he was Egyptian, but he was getting tired of it. So the next time someone asked him, he just agreed. Unbeknownst to him, there was an undercover FBI agent nearby and he promptly stopped him to ask why he had lied.

He was in a quandary as to what to do if the agent didn’t believe him. He told me he thought, “Should I call an attorney? No, I’ll call Judy – she’ll take care of this for me!” Thankfully, since he had the laminated card we had made for all of them identifying them as students here for training at Schiebel, the agent was finally convinced and left him alone.

We bought a 15 passenger van so we could ferry all of them around at one time, if need be. I took those who were interested on a tour of Skyline Drive. We had them over for an old-fashioned American BBQ and spent Christmas Eve with them.

Sightseeing on Skyline Drive
Aymon and my grandson on Christmas Eve – Aymon gained the nickname of “Troublemaker Aymon” after he showed Gage what fun it was to throw a Nerf ball into the ceiling fan! He was also the one who had never had brown sugar before and he asked me to make him an entire batch of my Sweet Potatoes after I served it on Thanksgiving. Of course I did, and he didn’t share even ONE bite with any of the other guys!

The picture below was taken the day they all graduated from the training. The man standing on the far right was the rep from the Egyptian company with whom Schiebel had collaborated in the sale of 4 CamCopter systems to the Egyptian Navy, Mr. Shehata. Peter, from Austria, is standing to my right.

Graduation – they flew out on Christmas Day

At one point, Mr. Shehata approached me about a problem one of the younger guys was having at the hotel where they were staying. Apparently, he made some calls to a 900 line at some point and found himself broke from having to pay for the phone charges. I agreed to work with the hotel to see what could be done so I went to the hotel manager and requested a detailed listing of the calls. As I perused the bill, I noticed that some calls were being placed during the day when I knew for a fact that he was at Vint Hill training.

Back to see the manager, who refused to do anything until I demanded to speak to their Regional Manager. She backed off right quick and ended up refunding the entire amount. After that, I was golden, pure and simple! Many of them called me their American Mom! We had sooooo much fun!

Aziz (left) and Magdi (right) – Magdi, whose Father was an Admiral, was engaged, arranged when they were children, and was supposed to buy his fiance a wedding gown while he was in the US. Yeah, no, that didn’t happen! He didn’t even want to return to Egypt but I convinced him that, if he was going to do that, he had to go back and do it the right way. He did end up and marry her. Aziz and I stayed in touch up until I got banned at FB.

Later in 2001, Life Magazine came out with a memorial book and another book of only pictures was produced by Magnum Photographers. I ordered both of them immediately and have scanned some pics to include here.

“One Nation: America Remembers September 11, 1001” (sorry about the glare)
View from Space
Debris Field

Searching for the missing:

Pennsylvania Site

We would very much enjoy hearing about your experiences and feelings regarding 9/11.

The Nazis Sent Franceska Mann To The Gas Chamber, But She Had No Intention Of Going Quietly

Franceska Mann knew she was going to die, but she was determined to go down with a fight.

Franceska Mann, Wikipedia Commons

In early 1943, Franceska Mann was transferred to the Hotel Polski along with hundreds of her fellow countrymen. Moved from the Warsaw Ghetto, the hotel seemed like a reprieve; rumors of being given passports and papers to be sent to South America hung over the crowd, a beacon of hope for those who had had little in the past.

Hotel Wolski, Warsaw

They soon realized, however, that it was a trap. There was to be no deportation to South America. Instead, the hotel guests would be transferred to concentration camps like Vittel, Bergen-Belsen, and Auschwitz.

Before she had arrived at the Hotel Polski, Franceska Mann had been a ballerina and an accomplished one at that.

She’d placed fourth out of 125 in an international competition in Brussels in 1939 and had become a performer at the Melody Palace nightclub in Warsaw shortly afterward. She was widely revered as one of the most beautiful and promising dancers of her age in Poland and was said to be as smart as she was talented, a skill that would suit her in the last hours of her life.

While allegedly transferred to Switzerland, the SS officers stopped the inmates to be “disinfected,” at Bergen, a transfer camp near Dresden. They were told the aim was to get them to Switzerland, where they would be exchanged for German POWs. But in order to get there, they had to be stripped, cleaned, and registered. However, upon arrival, the inmates were not registered and instead taken to a room adjacent to the gas chambers and told to undress.

Inmates line up in a concentration camp for food rations. Keystone/Getty Images

At this point, Franceska Mann knew that there was little chance that the inmates would be set free, let alone get out of Bergen alive. She knew she was going down, and decided that if she went, she wasn’t going without a fight.

As the women were separated into their own room to undress, Mann noticed two guards leering at them through the door. Seizing her opportunity, Mann enticed them in, undressing slowly, and encouraging the other women to do so as well.

Josef Schillinger and Wilhelm Emmerich were indeed enticed, moving into the room. As soon as they were within range, Mann ripped off her shoe, striking Schillinger over the head with it. Then, she pulled the gun from his holster and fired three shots. Two of the bullets hit Schillinger in the stomach, the third struck Emmerich’s leg.

Inspired by Mann’s actions, the other women in the room joined the revolt and attacked the two men. According to one report, one of the officers had his nose torn off in the attack while the other was scalped by the angry mob. Schillinger ultimately died from his wounds, while Emmerich’s did not prove fatal.

Before long reinforcements arrived, alerted by the noise of the revolt. The gas chamber was turned on, trapping whoever was inside it. The women who were between the gas chamber and the undressing room were all gunned down by machine guns, while the women in the chamber were taken outside to be executed.

Still determined to go down on her own terms, Mann turned Schillinger’s gun on herself, taking her own life. Though she was unable to save herself or the women in the room with her, Franceska Mann ensured that she left the Bergau camp with one less Nazi than they’d had before.