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The fun and fascinating follow-up to the international bestseller Red Herrings and White Elephants Why do people put their "skeletons in a closet," "have a hunch," "get the cold shoulder," "get dressed up to the nines," or "call a spade a spade?" These phrases are used every day, yet most people have little or no idea where most of them come from. In Black Sheep and Lame Ducks, Albert Jack takes readers on a journey through the curious- and often bizarre-origins of hundreds of their favorite idioms and expressions. For example, "wearing your heart on your sleeve" comes from the Middle Ages, when a lady would "give her heart" in the form of a handkerchief pinned to the sleeve of a knight who was about to go into battle. And calling someone the "black sheep in the family" refers to a thousands- year-old belief that a black lamb in a flock was unpopular because its fleece was undyeable and therefore less valuable. With Black Sheep and Lame Ducks, any language-lover can feel like a "Smart Aleck"-and also know exactly who that was. .
FOOLED BY FABLES? LED ON BY LEGENDS? MYTH-GUIDED? WONDER NO MORE, MYSTERY-PHILES: THE TRUTH IS IN HERE! What in the world (or out of it) made those giant crop circles? Did skydiving skyjacker D. B. Cooper really get away with it? Is Bigfoot a big fake? Are ETs just BS? If you're tired of scratching your head over persistent puzzlers like these, mystery-buster Albert Jack has the cure for your quizzical itch. He's gone hunting for the truth behind more than thirty of the most famous and baffling conundrums in history. Did a conspiracy or a calamity kill Marilyn Monroe? Is the Bermuda Triangle a tropical tall tale? Was a dead Paul McCartney replaced by a doppelgänger? How did Edgar Allan Poe meet his doom? In quick-witted entries on each enigmatic topic, Loch Ness Monsters and Raining Frogs offers answers certain to surprise, enlighten, amuse, and perhaps disappoint true believers. But Albert Jack never fails to fascinate and entertain as he spills the beans about the odd, the eerie, and the (no longer) unexplained.
The world's strangest questions answered: What happened to the Mary Celeste? Where is the Mona Lisa? (clue: it's not in the Louvre) Is the Loch Ness Monster really a circus elephant? Will the real Paul McCartney please stand up? Who killed Marilyn Monroe? What was Agatha Christie's own mystery? Why does it rain frogs? Does Bigfoot exist? How did D. B Cooper get away with the perfect crime? and many, many more. With enough entertaining information to fuel hundreds of pub conversations, fascinating illustrations and all kinds of discoveries to surprise even the most expert conspiracy theorist, Loch Ness Monsters and Raining Frogs is the perfect present for anybody who's ever wondered whyhellip;
Have you heard the one about... Walt Disney's frozen body? Coca-Cola owning Santa Claus? Alligators living in New York City sewers? We all love a good story. But where do the urban legends, conspiracy theories, and old wives' tales we hear every day really originate? Albert Jack explores the best, strangest, and funniest of the tales so many of us take as gospel, and uncovers some eye-popping true stories that are even more far-fetched than their mythical counterparts. From Robin Hood to JFK's brain, from hamsters under carpets to mysterious travelers, you'll never be short of a scary or bizarre anecdote again. .
From the international bestselling author of Red Herrings and White Elephants--a curious guide to the hidden histories of classic nursery rhymes.<P><P>Who was Mary Quite Contrary, or Georgie Porgie? How could Hey Diddle Diddle offer an essential astronomy lesson? Do Jack and Jill actually represent the execution of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette? And if Ring Around the Rosie isn't about the plague, then what is it really about? This book is a quirky, curious, and sometimes sordid look at the truth behind popular nursery rhymes that uncovers the strange tales that inspired them--from Viking raids to political insurrection to smuggling slaves to freedom.
Mad hatter . . . pie in the sky . . . egg on your face. We use these phrases every day, yet how many of us know what they really mean or where they came from? From bringing home the bacon to leaving no stone unturned, the English language is peppered with hundreds of common idioms borrowed from ancient traditions and civilizations throughout the world. In Red Herrings and White Elephants, Albert Jack has uncovered the amazing and sometimes downright bizarre stories behind many of our most familiar and eccentric modes of expression: If you happen to be a bootlegger, your profession recalls the Wild West outlaws who sold illegal alcohol by concealing slender bottles of whiskey in their boots. If you're on cloud nine, you owe a nod to the American Weather Bureau's classification of clouds, the ninth topping out all others at a mountainous 40,000 feet. If you opt for the hair of the dog the morning after, you're following the advice of medieval English doctors, who recommended rubbing the hair of a dog into the wound left by the animal's bite. A delightful compendium of anecdotes on everything from minding your p's and q's to pulling out all the stops, Red Herrings and White Elephants is an essential handbook for language-lovers of all ages.
"Mad hatter . . . pie in the sky . . . egg on your face." We use these phrases every day, yet how many of us know what they really mean or where they came from? From "bringing home the bacon to leaving no stone unturned," the English language is peppered with hundreds of common idioms borrowed from ancient traditions and civilizations throughout the world. In "Red Herrings and White Elephants," Albert Jack has uncovered the amazing and sometimes downright bizarre stories behind many of our most familiar and eccentric modes of expression: If you happen to be a "bootlegger," your profession recalls the Wild West outlaws who sold illegal alcohol by concealing slender bottles of whiskey in their boots. If you're on "cloud nine," you owe a nod to the American Weather Bureau's classification of clouds, the ninth topping out all others at a mountainous 40,000 feet. If you opt for the "hair of the dog" the morning after, you're following the advice of medieval English doctors, who recommended rubbing the hair of a dog into the wound left by the animal's bite. A delightful compendium of anecdotes on everything from "minding your p's and q's to pulling out all the stops," "Red Herrings and White Elephants" is an essential handbook for language-lovers of all ages.
From the wireless to the computer, and from hula hoops to interplanetary travel, inventions and discoveries have changed our lifestyles in ways that would have astounded our ancestors. Each of them was originally developed by visionaries who dreamt of the seemingly impossible, but who were opposed by an array of experts publicly declaring that `It cannot be done.? Well, yes it could . . . And here's the story of how those dreamers overcame the odds against them.
They Laughed at Galileo takes a humorous and reflective look at one thousand years of the development of humankind. Those who dreamt, those who taught, those who opposed, and those who, ultimately, did. At some point in modern history each and every one of our inventions and discoveries was thought up in the first place and then developed by a single person, or a handful of people, who dreamt of the seemingly impossible. For them the future was clear and obvious, but for the vast majority, including the acknowledged experts of their day, such belief was sheer folly. For just about everything that has improved our modern lifestyles in a way that our ancestors could not possibly imagine, there was once a dreamer opposed by a team of experts publicly declaring that "It cannot be done." Well, yes it could. The radio, crude oil, show business, high-powered trains and high-flying airplanes, computers, medicine, and nuclear energy-each of these inventions have had a profound effect on the course of human history, and each one was rejected, resisted, and ridiculed by the leading "experts" of the time. Ultimately the inventors and innovators who brought these into existence provided invaluable contributions to science and the culture of humankind.
Did you know... the term "hot dog" is believed to have been coined during a baseball game between the Yankees and the Giants in 1901? calzones get their name from their less-than-glamorous looks: calzone means "trouser leg" or "drooping sack" in Italian? the word "salary" comes from Roman soldiers being paid their wages in salt? shrimp cocktail became popular in the 1920s as a safe way of "having a cocktail" during Prohibition? the Cobb salad was invented by Robert H. Cobb-founder of the Brown Derby restaurant chains-who threw the salad together for Sidney Grauman-owner of the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood-as a midnight snack based on ingredients in his refrigerator? In What Caesar Did For My Salad, historian Albert Jack offers a fascinating look at the unexpected stories, creators, and bizarre origins behind the world's most beloved dishes. Who was Margherita, for instance, and why was the world's most famous pizza named after her? Why do we call our favorite kinds of coffee espresso or cappuccino? Did medieval Turkish soldiers really invent the kebab by threading bits of meat on to their swords and balancing them on top of their campfires? What exactly does horseradish sauce have to do with our equine friends? From your morning eggs to America's favorite pies, fries, and martinis, you'll never look at your kitchen pantry or refrigerator in the same light again.
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