Posted by Elyse Bruce on October 25, 2010
Whether you’re talking poker or the game of life, having an “ace in the hole” is definitely an advantage. So how did this phrase come to mean someone has a hidden advantage?
Back in the 1920s, when stud poker was a very popular game, the rules were such that after each round of betting, players were dealt an additional card face up. The only one who was dealt a card face down was the last player. This card was referred to as the “hole” card.
The winner of the game was decided by the highest as well as the lowest scoring hand, and those two would then divide the winnings in the pot.
If you were the last player and the card that was before face down in the “hole” position just happened to be an Ace, that player most definitely had a hidden advantage that no one … not even the last player … knew he had.
Posted in Idioms from the 20th Century | Tagged: 1920s, ace in the hole, gambling, hole card, last player, stud poker | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Elyse Bruce on June 24, 2010
Wewoka is a small town in Oklahoma and situated at the junction of State Highway 56 and U.S. Highway 270. The town was originally located in 1849 in what was considered to be the Seminole Nation, Indian Territory (I.T.). After the U.S. Civil War, Elijah J. Brown, was selected by the U.S. government to lead Seminole refugees from Kansas to the Seminole Nation, Indian Territory.
Not too much later, in 1895, the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad (the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway after 1902) ran its line from McAlester to Oklahoma City, passing through Wewoka. They also installed side tracks.
In the early 1900s, freight would oftentimes go missing once a train had been redirected to the side tracks, and items that went missing were said to be ”lost in the Wewoka Switch.”
In the 1920s, when thousands of freight shipments destined elsewhere went missing, they were soon found hidden at the Wewoka Switch. Soon, the railroad company made it a policy to check Wewoka first whenever they were advised of a lost shipment. It got to be such a habit that soon a rubber stamp was created that read: “Search Wewoka Switch.”
It didn’t take too long before the saying became: “It’s in a Wewoka Switch” meaning that whatever or whoever was involved in questionable — possibly illegal — activities was quite obviously tangled up in a tight spot.
Posted in Idioms from the 19th Century | Tagged: 1849, 1866, 1895, 1902, 1920s, Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railway, Choctaw Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad, Elijah J. Brown, Gopher John, Indian Terriroty, it's in a Wewoka switch, lost in a Wewoka Switch, lost in the Wewoka switch, Oklahoma, Seminole Nation, Wewoka | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Elyse Bruce on January 27, 2010
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that Prohibition was a time when, “the parties were bigger,the pace was faster, and the morals were looser.” Hoagy Carmichael wrote that the 1920s came in “with a bang of bad booze, flappers with bare legs, jangled morals and wild weekends.”
Up until the 1920s, knees were kept hidden beneath skirts and petticoats and showing them off would have been scandalous and provocative to say the least .
Back then some women used rouge to highlight and draw attention to their cheeks, although modest women resisted the use of make up and preferred to make the most of ‘natural’ beauty instead.
Flappers, on the other hand, thought of themselves as promiscuous and sexy rebels, and so they rouged their knees to draw attention to them .
Posted in Idioms from the 20th Century | Tagged: 1920s, F. Scott Fitzgerald, flappers, Hoagy Carmichael, prohibition, promiscuity, rouge your knees, sexy | 1 Comment »