The Bill of Rights is made up of the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Bill of Rights guarantees rights and liberties to the American people. These amendments were proposed by Congress in 1789, and ratified (approved) by threefourths of the states on December 15, 1791, thereby officially becoming part of the Constitution.
The first eight amendments outline many individual rights guaranteed to all people of this nation, while the Ninth and Tenth Amendments are general rules of interpretation of the relationship among the people, the state governments, and the federal government.
Early aviators had a system of radio signals to guide pilots through fog and bad weather. Dots and dashes were beamed out from a landing field and picked up in the pilot’s earphones. If he heard dot-dashes, he was too far left, and dash-dots meant he was too far right. But when the signals converged into a continuous buzzing sound, the pilot was “on the beam,” or safely on course.
The funny bone exists in your body, but it’s not a bone at all! The funny bone is a part of the ulnar nerve located at the back of the elbow. If you accidentally bump this area it can cause a tingling sensation toward the front of your forearm.
This tingling or dull pain is caused by the ulnar nerve bumping up against the humerus, the long bone that starts at your elbow and goes up to your shoulder. Although it might feel weird, tapping your funny bone doesn’t do any damage to your elbow, arm, or ulnar nerve.
In ancient times, just as today in third-world societies, dogs lived miserable lives with little or no human care, which led to the hard-times expressions, “it’s a dog’s life,” “sick as a dog,” and “dog-tired.” As for the proverb “Every dog has his day,” it was first recorded as an epilogue after the famed Greek playwright Euripides was killed by a pack of dogs in 405 BC.
In medieval France the first-born sons of nobility were known as the “caput,” or head, of the family, while the younger, less valuable boys were called “capdets,” or little heads, and were often sent to the military to train as officers. In English, “capdets” became “cadets,” which the Scots abbreviated to “cads” or “caddies,” meaning any useless street kid who could be hired for the day to carry around a bag of golf clubs.
Not all people own dogs and cats. While many Europeans, including the British, French, and Italians, own dogs and cats, other people have different relationships to them. In Islamic tradition, dogs are shunned as unclean and dangerous, and thus it has never been common for Arabs to own pets. However, in Saudi Arabia and Egypt it has become fashionable among the upper class to own dogs and cats. (As early as 3500 B.C.E., Egyptians domesticated wildcats from Africa, which became their treasured pets and honored for their skill in hunting snakes, rats, and mice.) In China, cats are thought to bring good luck and are kept in shops and homes; the country also has about 150 million pet dogs—about one for every nine people.
The Japanese keep birds and crickets as pets. The Inuit Eskimo of northern Canada adopt bear cubs, foxes, birds, and baby seals. And Australian Aborigines capture dingo (wild dog) puppies and raise them for a time before letting them go.
The phrase boning up comes from a British teacher of Greek and Latin Who wanted to make life easier for his students. With that goal in mind he translated the Greek and Latin classics into English and then had them published and distributed within his classroom. His name was Mr. Bohn, and his grateful students called this new, speedier method of studying the classics “Bohning up.”
The expression grass widow originated hundreds of years ago in Europe where summers were unbearably hot. Because grass was scarce in the lowlands, husbands would send their wives and children, along with their resting workhorses, up into the cooler grassy uplands while they stayed in the heat to till the land. It was said that both the wives and horses had been “sent to grass,” which gave us the expression grass widows.
Antarctica is the coldest, highest, windiest, driest, and iciest continent on Earth. Winds can reach up to 200 miles (322 kilometers) per hour for five hours per day!
The expression “putting on the dog,” meaning showing off, comes from the practice leisurely wealthy women had of carrying lapdogs to afternoon social functions. “Dressed to the nines” comes from a time when the seats furthest from the stage cost one pence, and the closest, nine pence. Sitting in the expensive seats required dressing up to fit in with the well-off. It was called “dressing to the nines.”