Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta Constitution’

Cut From The Same Cloth

Posted by Elyse Bruce on September 12, 2011

If you and a friend are cut from the same cloth it means you and your friend share many similarities.  It could be that you and your friend seem to have been reared in a similar fashion or that circumstances molded both of you into having a similar mindset.  Tailors use fabric from the same piece of cloth when making a garment to make sure the pieces match perfectly.  Because there are slight differences between dye lots, it’s important to make garments from the same fabric so that the dye is even.

On August 10, 2008 the Sunday Mercury newspaper in Birmingham, England reviewed the CD “The Long Walk Home” by Neil Ivison and the Misers.  Reviewed by Paul Cole, the opening line of the review was this:

Midland songwriter Neil Ivison is a singer cut from the same cloth as Paul Rodgers but his debut album isn’t a nostalgia trip, instead offering contemporary class and an energy that suggests barnstorming live gigs.

Almost 30 years earlier, the News and Courier newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina, published an article about Pastor Dr. R.L. Maddox and the Easter Sunday announcement he made to his congregation of 850 church followers.  Perhaps it was coincidental that then-President Jimmy Carter‘s son, Jack, and daughter in law, Judy Carter, were part of the congregation at the time of his announcement as reported in the story, “Ga. Paster To Join Carter Staff.”  The article began with this paragraph:

Dr. R.L. Maddox, who says he is “cut from the same cloth” as President Carter, said Sunday he will leave the First Baptist Church of Calhoun to become a White House speech writer.

The December 25, 1904 edition of the New York Times reviewed Donizetti’s Comedy at the Opera House which was hailed as a sparkling performance. Entitled, “L’Elisir d’Amore and Fidelio Given” the unnamed reviewer gave a succinct and extremely positive review of the performances.  The reviewer stated in part:

It is of the same sort, cut from the same cloth and possessed of the same brilliant gayety.  Its music is still fresh and buoyant — melody of the most facile Donizettian type, graceful and fluent and consorted most dextrously with the rippling comic action.  It is all music that singers of the coloratura style delight to employ their powers in.

On February 10, 1888 the Atlanta Constitution ran a story entitled, “The Bogus Lard Ring” which dealt with members of the Georgia delegation in congress who were opposed to the Dawes and Butterworth bills.  It would appear that the purpose of these bills was designed so additional taxes could be levied on the production of cotton seed oil thereby handicapping the growing southern industry. The article, harsh in its opinion of the proposed bills, stated in part:

It is of a piece with the entire republican system of taxation; it is cut from the same cloth.

Idiomation could continue jumping back in time, however, the earliest version of this saying goes back to Ancient Rome and Latin where the saying was “eiusdem farinae” sometimes written as “ejusdem farinae” which translates into “of the same flour.”   Back in ancient times, it was as important to use flour that was milled at the same time so that one knew what to expect from baked goods.  It’s no different than using the same bolt of fabric so one knows what to expect from a garment that is cut from the same cloth.

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Out Of The Blue

Posted by Elyse Bruce on June 10, 2011

The expression out of the blue — also known as out of the clear blue sky and a bolt out of the blue — is used by Brits, Australians and Americans. out of a clear blue sky means something happens suddenly and unexpectedly, without warning or preparation.

On December 8, 2009 Associated Press Writer Christopher Wills wrote a piece entitled, “Holy mackerel! One Year Since Blagojevich Arrest” which was published in the Seattle Times.  Christopher Wills wrote in part:

When the news arrived, Rep. Bill Black thought at first it was somebody’s lame idea of a joke. But it was true: The FBI had arrested the governor of Illinois, hauling him away wearing a track suit and handcuffs … [snip] … Blagojevich’s arrest on Dec. 9, 2008, didn’t come out of the blue.  Federal prosecutors had long been investigating whether the governor, then in the middle of his second term, had used his official powers illegally – to pressure groups into making campaign contributions, for instance, or to award government jobs and contracts to political allies.

On July 13, 1971, the Miami News ran a story on Reggie Jackson‘s hit, estimated at close to 600 feet since it hit against the facade over the upper deck at Tiger Stadium’s right-centre field, in a story entitled, “Bolt From The Blue.”  The story’s first paragraph read:

After eight years of All-Star Frustration the American League finally won … and it came like a bolt out of the blue.  Reggie Jackson’s bolt, not Vida Blue’s.  While the fans came to see Blue pitch, they all went home talking about Jackson’s home run that helped the Americans stop an eight-game losing streak with a 6-4 victory over the Nationals in last night’s 42nd All-Star Game.

The Youngstown Vindicator ran an interesting news story on June 16, 1905 entitled, “Czar’s Uncle Quits; Grand Duke Alexis Resigns Post As Head Of The Russian Navy.”  The news bite related:

Although from time to time since the war began there have been rumors that the grand duke would retire on account of the savage criticism, not to use harsher terms, directed against the administration of the navy, especially in the construction of ships, the announcement of his resignation came like a bolt out of the blue.  Consequently it was assured that some sudden event precipitated it and ugly stories immediately came to the surface.

On May 15, 1880, John Brown Gordon (1832 – 1904) former Confederate soldier with an Alabama regiment and an American businessman and politician who dominated Georgia after the Reconstruction period, tendered his resignation to Governor Alfred H. Colquitt.   He claimed that he was carrying out a long cherished desire to retire from public life after 20 years in public service, either at war or in politics.  This story was reported by the media four days later on the 19th and the Atlanta Constitution reported that the resignation had come as “a bolt out of the blue.”  The fact of the matter is that the change had been in the works for several months leading up to his resignation.

The earliest citation is found in Thomas Carlyle‘s book The French Revolution published in 1837:

Royalism s extinct; ‘sunk,’ as they say, ‘in the mud of the Loire;’ Republicanism dominates without and within: what, therefore, on the 15th day of May 1794, is this?  Arrestment, sudden really as a bolt out of the Blue, has hit strange victims: Hebert, Pere Duchesne, Bibliopolist Momoro, Clerk Vincent, General Rosin; high Cordelier Patriots, red-capped Magistrates of Paris, Worshippers of Reason, Commanders of Revolution.

Idiomation was unable to find an earlier published version for the phrase out of the blue.

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A Cold Day In Hell

Posted by Elyse Bruce on January 10, 2011

When you hear someone say it will be a cold day in Hell before something happens, it means it will either never happen or it’s highly unlikely to happen.  The phrase hasn’t lost much of its punch over the years and has the same bite it seems to have always had.

On July 20, 1990, the Los Angeles Times reported on the Republicans block of the Democrats’ $55.4 billion spending proposal.  In fact, it was reported that Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, the representative for San Francisco said:

I know you (Republicans) hate people on welfare. Well, I was one of those poor children on welfare. I was raised on welfare. There are a lot of poor children out there who deserve our support, who deserve to be able to eat, who deserve to be able to sleep. I’m going to fight for those children. It will be a cold day in Hell before I participate in a society giving up on its children.

Back in 1944, after Ernest Graham lost his bid for governor for the state of Florida, the Miami Herald wrote:

It will be a cold day in Hell when anybody from Miami will be elected governor.

Going all the way back to July 7, 1886, the Atlanta Constitution newspaper published an article written by F.B. Doyle with a headline that read:

It Will Be A Cold Day In July And Mighty Late In The Evening When The People Desert General Gordon

Considering that the article was only 183 words long, the 20-word headline summed up the article quite nicely.  At the time, General Gordon secured the necessary majority of the delegates-elect to the Democratic state convention.

It was widely believed that his nomination — and having two-thirds of the delegates behind him — and election to the governorship would follow as a matter of course.  It was widely reported in the newspapers of the day that Gordon’s campaign — in its inception, progress and results — was without precedent or parallel in the history of Georgia.

And while the phrase a cold day in Hell or a cold day in July seems to be commonplace in the late 1800s, Idiomation was unable to find a published reference to the phrase prior to 1886.

As a side note, it’s a fact that Hell — which is between Flint and Ann Arbor in Michigan — froze over in 2004.

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Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Posted by Elyse Bruce on December 31, 2010

The old saying, let sleeping dogs lie, means more than just to let sleeping dogs lie, which is very sound advice in the first place.  It also means that one ought not instigate trouble.  In other words, people should leave situations or people alone else it might cause them trouble.

The Atlanta Constitution newspaper reported on a court case on August 6, 1909 that dealt with a Mr. Jerome who had menaced a Mr. Carvalho who had threatened Mr. Jerome.  The article read in part:

“You’d better let sleeping dogs lie, Mr. Jerome,” exclaimed the witness, before the district attorney had said a word. As he spoke the expert’s eyes flashed and he pointed an agitated finger at Jerome.

In November of 1870, the New York Times ran an article entitled, “Russia and India: The Frontier of the Russian Empire.”  The article asked whether England was on the verge of losing its Asiatic possessions.

Let us consider why Russia has gained enough to suppose she is sufficiently strong to infringe the wholesome rule to “let sleeping dogs lie” when applied to the English. The Crimean War showed her plainly that her people were barbarians, and that her strength lay in brute force.

The saying “let sleeping dogs lie” was a favourite of Sir Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister of Great Britain, who exercised considerable influence over King George I as well as King George II from 1721 through to 1742.  He was quoted as saying this on more than one occasion regardless of whether it had to do with matters of the King’s Court, the American Revolution or any other situation where difficulties had arisen.

Geoffrey Chaucer used a similar phrase in his story, Troilus and Criseyde, published in 1374.

It is nought good a sleepyng hound to wake.

It’s recorded in French even earlier in the 14th century, as found in the Proverbia Vulgalia et Latina, where the saying is:  “Ne reveillez pas le chien qui dort.”  Translation: Do not wake the dog that sleeps.

As the phrase is referenced in the Proverbia Vulgalia et Latina, it is most likely that it comes from the Latin saying, “Quieta non movere” which means “Do not move settled things.”

That being said, the Book of Proverbs (26:17) says:

He that passes by, and meddles with strife belonging not to him, is like one that takes a dog by the ears.

In other words, the saying “let sleeping dogs lie” has its roots in the Bible.

Posted in Ancient Civilizations, Bible, Christian, Idioms from the 14th Century, Religious References, Rome | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Picture Perfect

Posted by Elyse Bruce on November 23, 2010

When something is exactly as it should be, it is said to be picture perfect. So how did this term come about?

Back on September 6, 1977, the Montreal Gazette ran a story about NASA’s Voyager 1 lift off in Florida.  The headline announced:  “Voyager’s Start Picture-Perfect” as the first paragraph trumpeted:  “Voyager 1 blasted off towards the outer planets yesterday in a near-flawless launch, joining its twin space probe Voyager 2 on a 675-million-mile journey to Jupiter and beyond.”

A generation before that, readers of the Milwaukee Journal back on May 18, 1950 were delighted to find a recipe for Picture Perfect Strawberry Preserves printed in their local newspaper.  The description under the headline read:  “The whole fruit with  natural color and flavor make these out of this world.”  All it took to make Picture Perfect Strawberry Preserves was 4 cups of strawberries, 4 cups of beet sugar and 1/2 cup of water plus a lot of attention paid to just 3 ingredients while cooking up those preserves.

And a generation before that, the Reading Eagle newspaper published an advertisement for the Glen-Gery Shale Brick Brick Home on March 28, 1926.  The description read:

When you build your brick home make it a thoroughbred — brick footings, walls, bearing partitions, chimneys, and fireplaces.  And surround it with harmony that makes the picture perfect — brick walks, brick drive, and brick garage.  Banish painting, repairing and that “wish I had” feeling that comes when it’s too late.  Look for the “100% Brick Home” sign before you buy.  Cost?  Not so much more than for any type of construction.  You can even build with brick at no extra cost.  Come in – let’s talk it over.

In the end, however, the term “picture perfect” was coined in America at the turn of the 20th century. As early as January 1909, the Atlanta Constitution newspaper ran a story in its ‘Savannah Social News’ column that read:

Exquisite decoration made the setting for the wedding picture perfect, quantities of lovely flowers being used in the adornment of the four rooms.

Of course, all of this can be traced back to those who, when arranging a room just so during Victorian Times when family photographs were oftentimes posed in the parlour, insisted that the room and the subjects be “perfect” for the “picture” hence the term “picture perfect.”

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Snap Shot

Posted by Elyse Bruce on November 22, 2010

The term “snap shot” has had a colour albeit short life in comparison to other terms.  It can mean a brief overview of a situation or a quick biography or a photograph or to hunting or even to hockey!  The history of the term “snap shot” is certainly varied and interesting.

Being nearly hockey season, I think providing that meaning at this point is helpful to all non-sports fans alike.  So when “snap shot” is used while discussing hockey, it refers to a quick shot where the blade of the stick is drawn back a short distance and then rapidly driven forward, with the wrists snapping inward after the puck leaves the stick.  In other words, a “snap shot“has the accuracy of a wrist shot blended with the power of a slapshot.

If we’re talking photographs and photography, then a “snap shot” is something else altogether.  Way back in the day, on March 8, 1896 — and much to the delight of readers of the Atlanta Constitution newspaper — the following headline was published:

Ghatty’s Snap Shot Photographers A Tramp!

The sub-headling below read:

And It Brought Her Great Good Fortune, Where She Expected The Reverse.

Eight years earlier, in the Journal of the Bombay Natural  History Society, Volume 3 in the segment entitled “Notes on Sambhur and Sambhur Stalking” written by Mr. Reginald Gilbert and read at the Society’s meeting on August 6, 1888, the following account was shared:

The horn is here, and has been given by me to this Society. On the 27th December , 1886, when stalking with Mr. Barton near the Taptee River, a few miles from Asirghur, in the Central Provinces, I put up a monster stag sambhur out of a thick nullah. It ran down the nullah. I was standing on the top. I only saw him for a second or two, and had only time to take a snap-shot at him before he passed round a bend in the nullah. The shell hit his horn from behind and knocked it off, splitting it up as you see. I picked the horn up and here it is.  I never saw that sambhur again; but to the last day of my life I shall never forget him or cease to regret I missed him.

From reading these last two uses for the term “snap shot” one might think that while hunting version of the term continued into the 20th century, that the camera version was something that came about sometime after 1890.  Not so.

On March 14, 1839, John Herschel — whose father was renowned astronomer William Hershel, the discoverer of Uranus — presented his paper entitled “Note on the Art of Photography or The Application of the Chemical Rays of Light to the Purpose of Pictorial Representation”  to the Royal Society.  The subject of the paper related to the first glass-plate photograph which was taken by Herschel and it is this photograph to which he referred to as being a “snap shot.”  He also coined the terms “negative” and “positive” within the context of photography.  For those who are curious, the photograph was that of his father’s 40-foot telescope, already a half-century old at the time the shot was snapped.

The hunting term “snap shot” was coined in 1808 by English sportsman Sir Henry Hawker.  His use of the term was a gun shot at a fast-moving target that was both quick and without aim.

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