Archive for the ‘Factoid’ Category


December 12, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s Blog had a lovely piggy bank but never wondered why. Blog correspondent Brigitte, explains. And adds other interesting facts!

Over to Brigitte and her interesting facts!



Some interesting facts

Why do men’s clothes have buttons on the right while women’s clothes have buttons on the left?

When buttons were invented, they were very expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids, dressmakers put the buttons on the maid’s right! And that’s where women’s buttons have remained since.

Why do ships and aircraft use ‘mayday’ as their call for help?

This comes from the French word m’aidez -meaning ‘help me’ — and is pronounced, approximately, ‘mayday.’

Why are zero scores in tennis called ‘love’?

In France , where tennis became popular, the round zero on the scoreboard looked like an egg and was called ‘l’oeuf,’ which is French for ‘the egg.’ When tennis was introduced in the US , Americans (mis)pronounced it ‘love.’

Why do X’s at the end of a letter signify kisses?

In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write, documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous.

Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called ‘passing the buck’?

A: In card games, it was once customary to pass an item, called a buck, from player to player to indicate whose turn it was to deal. If a player did not wish to assume the responsibility of dealing, he would ‘pass the buck’ to the next player.

Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast?

It used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his host, he would only touch or clink the host’s glass with his own.

Why are people in the public eye said to be ‘in the limelight’?

Invented in 1825, limelight was used in lighthouses and theaters by burning a cylinder of lime which produced a brilliant light. In the theatre, a performer ‘in the limelight’ was the center of attention.

Why is someone who is feeling great ‘on cloud nine’?

Types of clouds are numbered according to the altitudes they attain, with nine being the highest cloud. If someone is said to be on cloud nine, that person is floating well above worldly cares.

In golf, where did the term ‘Caddie’ come from?

When Mary Queen of Scots went to France as a young girl, Louis, King of France, learned that she loved the Scots game ‘golf.’ He had the first course outside of Scotland built for her enjoyment. To make sure she was properly chaperoned (and guarded) while she played, Louis hired cadets from a military school to accompany her. Mary liked this a lot and when returned to Scotland (not a very good idea in the long run), she took the practice with her. In French, the word cadet is pronounced ‘ca-day’ and the Scots changed it into ‘caddie.’

Why are many coin collection jar
banks shaped like pigs?

Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of a dense orange clay called ‘pygg’. When people saved coins in jars made of this clay, the jars became known as ‘pygg banks.’ When an English potter misunderstood the word, he made a container that resembled a pig. And it caught on.

New series: Annabel’s factoids – quantum science and oxpecker birds.

February 5, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is proud to welcome a new correspondent. Annabel. And she will be providing us all with useful things she has picked up as an eight year old with an enquiring mind. Blog policy on this particular series is brevity. And spell check. My computer lacks a logic check.

But that might spoil things.

Annabel: At exceptionally small sizes computer chips and other electronic components are rendered useless by Quantum effects.

Me: Sounds worrying. Maybe they should make them bigger?

Annabel (ignoring my helpful suggestion): In addition to feeding on the ticks and parasites on Africa’s large mammals, oxpecker birds also dine on the mammals tears, saliva, mucus, earwax and blood.

Me: Extremely interesting. I’m very glad I’m not a large African mammal.

Annabel: You aren’t. Can I go now?

Me: Absolutely! And as far away as possible! It’s Sunday morning and I’m trying to be lazy after cleaning out a pile of shite in the hedgehog compound and your cat crap. Come back when you can explain quantum effects.

Annabel: I’ll ask the guard.

Me:  Great idea! Byee!

I now have thirty minutes of relative peace. Better men than me would put these precious, irreplaceable snippets of time to good use. I intend to do none of that stuff.   

I’m going to lie back on my sofa and snore!


Hugh in Bangkok

Thai Days: Tick tricks! Really helpful!

August 15, 2011

Ticks are horrid little bastards. But with a bit of loving tender care,  Hugh Paxton’s blog has the solution. You rub their bodies gently in a circular movement with one finger. This comforts the tick, or it might make it feel ill, if  it’s full of blood.  After a minute, or less, of massaging your tick will release its jaws and become compliant.

You then squash the little parasite with a knife.Make sure you completely destroy it.  Stamping on it might impress the gals, but will just give it a new refuge in your boot waffle. Using a cigarette to burn off ticks is stupid and will inflict minor burns.  Ticks are, to a degree, fire resistant. Unlike your bollocks or other sensitive areas. Pulling them off is very dumb. The head stays embedded and things get really rotten!

So, chaps! Ticks? No worriies!

Give em a soothing body rub!

And spread the word to anybody else who rides elephants, or has a dog or an un-washed teenager ! Tell em you first heard it from Hugh Paxton’s  (tick-free) Blog!

BLOG ED NOTE: This solution was achieved after almost every other option had been explored and found to be defunct. Unfortunately this blog has a passion for rainforests and animals and ticks are regular hitch hikers. But the rubbing method works.

Brigitte’s pick: Numbers and 2011

January 31, 2011

This year we will experience 4 unusual dates… 1/1/11 , 11/1/11 , 1/11/11 and 11/11/11…. Now go figure this out.. Take the last 2 digits of the year you were born in, plus the age you will be THIS year and it will EQUAL to 111.. Unbelievable!!!

Steve Hollier: 10/10/10

October 9, 2010

Steve has pointed out the following interesting set of factoids:

This October has
5 Fridays,
5 Saturdays and
5 Sundays, all in 1 month.
It happens once in 823 years , and are signs of  money bags. Pass them to your people and money will appear in 4 days.
Based on Chinese fengshui. Whoever stops this will experience nothing good…

This Sunday will be 10/10/10 once in OUR lifetime!!!

Brigitte’s Pick: Did you know ….?

October 4, 2010

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Things Thai: Shoes and House Spirits

May 14, 2010


If there is a sudden explosion of violence and you are running for cover, bear the following points in mind. It is customary to remove shoes before entering a Thai house. Failing to do so will offend your host. Last month, in gentler times,  a robber blagging a jewellers removed his shoes (presumably out of force of habit, not because of a desire to avoid causing offence to the hapless proprietor).

Combatants are still taking their shoes off after a day of doom, heat and destruction.

Should you be fleeing a Red Shirt monk and while you are doing it are blinded by a rubber bullet or are being kicked in the head and are looking for somewhere serene, don’t tread on the house threshold. Every Thai building has nine ghosts. One lives on the threshold. And treading on its head is considered rude.

Keeping You Safe And Informed!


Sharp shooting – British Army Sniper Breaks World Record

May 5, 2010

Check Sunday Times website for news about a British sniper, Craig Harrison, a member of the Household Cavalry, who whacked two Taliban machine gunners at a world record distance of over a mile and a half with consecutive shots! That’s sharp shooting.

Which Came First? The Chicken or The Egg?

March 12, 2010
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The egg did.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Eggs did!

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