On the road again…

Random military stuff for your Monday, this is the first week of sequestration, so on Friday and every Friday until the end of the FY only active duty military will be working. All DOD civilians will be on enforced time off without pay, along with numerous National Guard units…

Guess we better hope and pray we don’t need support on any given Friday…

secure building


my family

Popular expressions and their origins: 

Early aircraft’s throttles had a ball on the end of it, in order to go full throttle the pilot had to push the throttle all the way forward into the wall of the instrument panel. Hence “balls to the wall” for going very fast. And now you know, the rest of the story.
During WWII , U.S. airplanes were armed with belts of bullets which they would shoot during dogfights and on strafing runs. These belts were folded into the wing compartments that fed their machine guns. These belts measure 27 feet and contained hundreds of rounds of bullets. Often times, the  pilots would return from their missions having expended all of their bullets on various targets. They would say, I gave them the whole nine yards,
Did you know the saying “God willing and the creek don’t rise” was in reference to the Creek Indians and not a body of water? It was written by Benjamin Hawkins in the late 18th century. He was a politician and Indian diplomat. While in the south, Hawkins was requested by the President of the U.S. to return to Washington . In his response, he was said to write, “God willing and the Creek don’t rise.” Because he capitalized the word “Creek” it is deduced that he was referring to the Creek Indian tribe and not a body of water.


In George Washington’s days, there were no cameras. One’s image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but how many ‘limbs,’ therefore painting them would cost the buyer more. Hence the expression, ‘Okay, but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg.’ (Artists know hands and arms are more difficult to paint.)

In the late 1700’s, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair.  Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used  for dining. The ‘head of the household’ always sat in the chair while  everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the ‘chair man.’ Today in business, we use the expression or title ‘Chairman’ or ‘Chairman of the Board.’
In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried  iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was  necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem….how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a ‘Monkey’ with 16 round indentations. However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make ‘Brass Monkeys.’ Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled.. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey; Thus, it was quite literally, ‘Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.’ (All this time, you thought that was an improper expression, didn’t you.)

I’m on the road again this week, so posting and commenting will be light…


On the road again… — 22 Comments

  1. As soon as I read “Chairman of the Board” I started singing a Frank Sinatra tune in my head.

  2. Folks at my base decided that it didn’t make sense to have everyone off at the same time, so everyone’s time off is staggered through out the week.

  3. Now, with sequestration,does that mean that Obama and his menagerie will not be leaving or returning from all his/her’s vacations on Friday? Will they stay sequestered in their quarters all day and night on Friday’s? Will their tax paid cooks, assistants and secret service people be off,too? I think not.

  4. Okay, I am sad about the furloughs for every one who has to suffer through them except for One person.. My neighbor.
    Only because of his stuck up arrogant wife, who when her husband was active duty she wore his rank…ugggggg.
    She is so irratating that when he retired after 22 years in the Navy, HE bought HER a new car. Why? Because of her service and support.. WTF? Who the hell does that?
    So, The that next week he started a new civilian contractors job on Base..and she is driving around, sporting her new convertible. Now, they have three cars in the driveway, huge house payment that they are under water in, she is high maintenance as hell…and hopefully he gets furloughed…

    Thank you for the background on where some of our most famous “sayings” came from. I was particulary fond of the artist one. Now it makes lots of sense as to why most paintings are from the waste up….

  5. “Balls to the Wall” is from steam engine governors and the “whole nine yards” gun belt story came many years after the saying was first used.

  6. The same order does indeed mean different things to different branches of the service. The Coasties would try and tie the building to a dock.

  7. MSgt- sorry… LOL

    Spike- THAT makes sense, unlike the others I’m hearing about…

    PE- Hadn’t thought about it, but you’re right!

    CP- Of course not, it doesn’t apply to them!!!

    JUGM- Yeah, there is ALWAYS one… 🙂

    WSF/Julie- Thanks!

    Rev- You’re welcome

    Keads/Jenn- Tryin…

    Jon- I’d never heard either of those, thanks!

    Gerry- LOL, good point!

    Brighid- Thanks, but “I” couldn’t afford a girl in every port, y’all are EXPENSIVE!!!

    LL- Yep… 🙂

  8. go to history.navy.mil and check their FAQ. I did. Sorry to say that round shot were kept near the guns in “shot garlands” which were planks with holes bored in them.

  9. You’re a sailor… Ya know where we got “three sheets to the wind”?
    Safe trip!

  10. John- True, but it’s still funny, probably came from the “Brass monkey” tail stories from English sailors.

    DT- Yep, loose ropes on the bottom corners of the square rigged sails… 🙂

    • Good on ya!
      A little too much grog, I’m thinking.

  11. I got “the look” today at a high level meeting when I referred to it as “se-castration.”

    It was worth it.

  12. DT- That too…LOL

    Bob- Thanks!

    Brigid- It’s only getting WORSE…sigh But thanks! 🙂