Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Posts Tagged ‘1975’

White Out (as in “to erase”)

Posted by Admin on June 8, 2011

White out is the first comic book written by novelist Greg Rucka that tells the story of US Marshal Carrie Stetko’s investigation of a murder in Antarctica. A sequel, “White out: Melt” tells the story of the theft of hidden nuclear weapons from an ex-Soviet base.

However, when someone talks about a white out, what they are referring to is the loss of daylight visibility in heavy fog, snow, or rain, or changing or deleting something that has been previously put forth as a statement, or something that has been published or printed.

The correction fluid used to correct mistakes was invented by a young divorcee and mother of one, Bette Nesmith Graham in 1951.  It was originally called mistake out and was renamed liquid paper by the inventor, Bette Nesmith Graham. and in 1975, it was finally renamed white out.  Now deceased, She was the mother of Michael Nesmith, member of the Monkees.

Over time, the product name has come to mean to delete information regardless of whether it was typed on paper or printed.  With the introduction of computer technology, white out also came to mean an entry in a computer file systems that makes a file appear to disappear

From the “Back 2 Basics” CD released by Sway & King Tech, in the song “The Anthem” featuring Eminum, RZA, Tech N9ne, Xzibit, Pharoahe Monch, Jayo Felony, Chino XL, KRS-One and Kool G. Rap, Eminem raps:

This place is my house, I might as well erase my face wit white out
Cuz y’all can’t see me like Mase’s eyebrows (where you at?)
Climbed out of a nice house
Through the front window and heard this guy shout,

“Hey! That’s my couch.”

Back in 1999, the September 30 issue of Metro: Silicon Valley’s Weekly Newspaper ran an article entitled “Best Public Documents Written In Longhand” journalist Michael Learmonth wrote:

Inside 60 leather-bound volumes in a locked glass cabinet at the city clerk’s office, 100 years of San Jose municipal history is written–literally. In the early volumes, starting in 1855, the minutes of city council meetings are carefully written out in pen and ink–no smudging, no cross-outs and, of course, no goopy white-out.

The earliest use of the expression white out in this context was used in 1977 according to the Entymology Dictionary.

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If You Want Something Done Well, Do It Yourself

Posted by Admin on November 17, 2010

Not a week goes by that a person won’t hear the phrase “if you want something done well, do it yourself!”  After all, the phrase has been around for centuries!

Economist Mary Jane Latsis (1927 – 1997) and economic analyst Martha Henissart (1929) wrote a number of books under the pen name, Emma Lathen (a combination of the two authors’ names.  One of many books they wrote was their 1975 book “By Hook Or By Crook.”  In that book, they wrote:

Do you know how I got it done in the end? I went down to Annapolis myself. I always say, if you want a thing done well, do it yourself!

The phrase was also found in one of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow‘s poems entitled “The Courtship of Miles Standish” which he published in 1858:

That’s what I always say; if you want a thing to be well done, You must do it yourself, you must not leave it to others.

Not surprising, the phrase itself was an adage T. Draxe published in 1616:

If a man will haue his business well done, he must doe it himselfe.

But back in 1541, Henry Bullinger wrote and published “The Christian State of Matrimony.”  The book proved to be extremely popular with continental as well as English reforming Protestants.  Even after eight editions in the 100 years after its first publication, Bullinger‘s words continued to ring true:

If thou wilt prospere, then loke to euery thynge thyne owne self.

It would appear that through the centuries, people have learned at some point in their lives that “if they want something done well, do it yourself.”

Posted in Idioms from the 16th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dog Days

Posted by Admin on October 12, 2010

When someone talks about dog days, they either mean those blisteringly hot days in the dead of summer or they’re referring to a period of stagnation.  Either way, dog days are draining days.

The traditional “dog days” of summer fall between early July and mid-August and are noted for their extreme heat and humidity.  In the Mediterranean, this period coincided with hot days that were plagued with disease and discomfort.

Sirius is the “dog star” from the constellation Canis Major (Latin for “Big Dog”), hence the name.  Sirius, the “dog star,” is within the constellation Canis Major and is the brightest in the heavens.

During this time of year, the star Sirius is at its brightest and can be seen rising alongside the sun.  In fact, the feast day of Saint Roch, the patron saint of dogs, just happens to be August 16.  

Natalie Babbitt’s book, The Prologue of Tuck Everlasting was published in 1975 and is set in the first week of August.  In the novel, the author wrote:

These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.

There is a very descriptive use of the phrase “dog days” in Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel,  A Christmas Carol, that states:

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind-stone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog days; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.

And in William Shakespeare’s King Henry VIII written in 1613, Porter and his Man are talking in the Palace Yard in Act 5, Scene 4.

MAN
The spoons will be the bigger, sir.  There is a fellow somewhat near the door, he should be a brazier by his face, for o’ my conscience twenty of the dog-days now reign in’s nose.  All that stand about him are under the line; they need no other penance.”

The phrase actually dates back to the Egyptians.  They believed that the star gave off extra heat and humidity to augment the already formidable heat of the sun.  In fact, dog days coincided with the annual flooding of the Nile which was important for a good harvest.

Posted in Ancient Civilizations, Egypt, Greece, Idioms from the 19th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Outside The Box

Posted by Admin on October 4, 2010

Think outside the box ” originated in America in the late 1960s and is based on the nine dots puzzle.  The concept is that limiting one’s thoughts is like thinking inside a box that can hold a finite number of ideas. 

By reaching outside the box, the assumption is that one will find other — perhaps more exciting — ideas that are not found inside the box.  It is believed that these new ideas from outside the box will invigorate the creation process and bring fresh  meaning to some of the ideas still in the box.  In the end, the final product will look and feel innovative.

Various authors from the world of management consultancy claim to have introduced it. The earliest citation that I have found comes from the weekly magazine of the US aviation industry entitled Aviation Week & Space Technology.  On July 1975 the magazine reported:

We must step back and see if the solutions to our problems lie outside the box.

The concept of thinking outside the box, as mentioned before, comes from the nine dot puzzle.  It appears in Sam Lloyd’s  Cyclopedia of Puzzles published in 1914. 

The nine dot puzzle is an intellectual challenge where one has to connect the dots by drawing four straight, continuous lines that pass through each of the nine dots, all the while never lifting the pencil from the paper.  It’s difficult to achieve and yet achievable however only by thinking outside the box.

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Edutainment

Posted by Admin on September 1, 2010

Edutainment is interactive education and entertainment services or software, usually supplied commercially via a cable network or on CD-ROM.  While it’s easy to assume that the word is a recent creation, the fact of the matter is that edutainment was used as early as 1948 by The Walt Disney Company to describe the True Life Adventures series.

Edutainment was later used by Robert Heyman in 1973 while producing documentaries for the National Geographic Society, and two years later in 1975, it was used by Dr. Chris Daniels when referring to the theme of his Millennium Project.

In 1983, the term edutainment was used to describe a package of software games for the Oric 1 and Spectrum Microcomputers in the UK and since 1995, it has been used  to describe any presentation of informative or educational material with fun and entertainment as the driving force behind the presentation.

Posted in Idioms from the 20th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »