10 things we now know thanks to Doug Lennox

10 things we now know thanks to Doug Lennox

Posted on December 8 by Kyle
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Doug Lennox (January 21, 1938 – November 28, 2015) was an internationally acclaimed broadcaster, a veteran actor, a commercial voice artist, and a bestselling author.

Dundurn is proud to have published over 20 books in his Now You Know series. Here are just a few of the things we can proudly say we now know thanks to the late great Doug Lennox.

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1. Why do we call Academy Awards “Oscars”?

Since 1928, the Academy Awards have been issued by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for excellence in filmmaking. The statuettes were nicknamed “Oscar” in 1931 by Margaret Herrick, a secretary at the academy who, upon seeing one
for the first time, exclaimed, “Why it looks just like my uncle Oscar.” Her uncle was Oscar Pierce, a wheat farmer.

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2. Why is a blue ribbon a symbol of champions?

Blue was the favourite colour of England’s King Edward III, who in 1348 created the highest Royal Order of the Knights of the Garter. Its membership was and is limited to the king and princes of England as well as a very few knights of distinguished service. The insignia of the Royal Order is a blue garter, and because of this, blue ribbons have come to be a reward for any supreme achievement.

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3. Why do we say “justice is blind”?

The Egyptian pharaohs, concerned that courtroom theatrics might influence the administration of justice, established the practice of holding trials in darkened chambers with absolutely no light. That way, the judge wouldn’t be moved by anything but the facts. It’s this principle that inspired Lady Justice, the well-known statue of a woman in a blindfold holding the scales of justice that is often found outside contemporary courtrooms.

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4. How much would all the gifts cost in “The Twelve Days of Christmas”?

Because the golden rings are pheasants and not jewellery, the most expensive item in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is seven swans a swimming, at US$7,000, followed by ten lords a-leaping and nine ladies dancing. The current price of a partridge in a pear tree is $34, which is the hourly rate for eight maids a-milking. So when everything is added up, the tab is $15,944.20.

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4. Why are people considered financially stable called well-heeled?

Before cockfighting was banned in 1849, individual birds were often fitted with sharp steel spurs, giving them an advantage in mortal combat. They were “well heeled.” In the nineteenth century, the expression became slang for anyone armed with a weapon. Then, around 1880, the term began to mean anyone who was well-off financially and who could overcome any obstacle with money instead of a weapon.

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 6. Why when astonished would someone say, “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle”?

During the famous Scopes trial in 1925, a Tennessee schoolteacher, John T. Scopes, was accused of breaking that state’s law by teaching Animals 101 Darwin’s theory of evolution rather than the Biblical origins of mankind. The trial was a sensation and astonished many who had never heard that humans might be related to the apes, and from this came the expression, “Well, I’ll be a monkeys uncle.”

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7.  Who, by profession, make the best tippers?

A survey of North American service workers rated the best tippers in this order: (1) Other restaurant workers (2) Regular customers, especially cigarette smokers (3) Young male “wannabes” (4) Small business owners (5) Tavern owners (6) Hairdressers (7) Liquor salesmen(8) Taxi drivers (9) Salesmen (10) Musicians.

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8. What dates define Generation X, Generation Y, and the Echo Boomers?

For those people born after the post–World War II baby boomers, advertisers have created labels to define their targets. Within that industry, those born between 1964 and 1983 are known as Generation X. Echo boomers, or the children of the baby boomers, were born between the late 1970s and the early 1990s. Generation Y’s members are the children of Generation X and were born after 1983.

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9. Why is an unstable person called a “crackpot”?

A crackpot is an irrational person. Crackpots have always been with us, but the word only came into use in the late 1800s. The term plays on the obsolete use of the word pot to describe a skull. It suggests that the person in question has a cracked skull, which is causing him or her to behave in a mad, foolish, or eccentric manner.

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10. What is the origin of the expression “it’s raining cats and dogs”?

The general legend about “raining cats and dogs” relates to the thatched roofs of the Middle Ages and would have you believe that when it rained, all sorts of creatures, including cats and dogs, slipped and fell in such abundance that it gave rise to the expression, but that’s wrong! The truth is that the saying predates even the Dark Ages and goes back to a time when people believed that ghosts and goblins were around every corner. Cats and dogs had magical, mystical powers. Sailors believed that cats brought on storms and that witches rode those storms (with their cats). To the early Norsemen, dogs and wolves symbolized the wind, and the Viking storm god Odin was always shown surrounded by dogs. So during a violent rainstorm, an angry Odin’s dogs were set loose, and the cats,
symbolizing the rain, caused people to say, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”