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Articles about North America:

What’s in a Name?

Oct 15, 2013 | in Europe, Featured Articles, News, North America

What’s in a Name?

Not that long ago, I was in London and buying a coffee at a Starbucks. I still can’t quite get around to choosing tea over coffee. But as I was paying for my coffee in British pounds, I wondered why the British, and some other countries, use the word pound for their currency? And why do we, for that matter, use the word dollar? Below is an explanation of how these names came about. British pound – the pound is a unit of currency in some nations, such as Great Britain, where the term originated in the late fourteenth century. This word is...

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The Origin of the Hamburger

Oct 10, 2013 | in Featured Articles, News, North America

The Origin of the Hamburger

I’m a confessed hamburgerholic. My spell checker went a little crazy with that word, indicating that hamburgerholic is not even considered to be a word, but I’m going to use it just the same. For those of you who, like me, love a good burger, you know exactly what I mean. The word hamburger, and the hamburger itself, have two distinct origins. The word hamburger has its origin in the late 19th century when German immigrants, leaving from Hamburg, Germany, came to the United States. In order to make the beef more tender these German...

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The Panama Hat

Sep 17, 2013 | in Featured Articles, Latin America, News, North America

The Panama Hat

If you’ve been to Florida, where I live, you frequently see people wearing Panama hats. These hats are usually light-colored, lightweight, and stylish. They’re wide-brimmed, breathable, and are ideal to protect the wearer from the tropical sun. However, Panama hats did not originate in Panama. They actually originated in Ecuador! Let me explain how that happened. Panama hats were originally made in Ecuador, at least as far back as the seventeenth century, from the plaited leaves of the toquilla palm. Europeans and North Americans, who were...

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Deciphering the Language of Wine

Sep 5, 2013 | in Featured Articles, News, North America

Deciphering the Language of Wine

My wife and I were at dinner last night when the waiter asked me how I liked the glass of wine I was drinking. I confess that I don’t know much about wine. To me a wine either tastes good or it doesn’t. Therefore my response to him was merely it tastes good. Two tables down from me the waiter asked the same question and received an answer that the wine was contrapunctual. Contrapunctual, really? I had to look that word up right then and there on my iPhone. Once I did I have to admit that it was a better response than it tastes good. But it...

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The Origin of Common Sayings

Sep 3, 2013 | in Featured Articles, News, North America

The Origin of Common Sayings

People use common sayings every day. But most of us, myself included, don’t give much thought to their origins, as a great many of them are steeped in the history of the time. But once you understand a little of the history of the time, they seem to make sense. Below are the origins of some of the more common sayings that we use today. Give the Cold Shoulder: In medieval Britain guests who were invited to a feast would be given a cold piece of meat from their host as a way of letting them know it was time to leave. It was a polite gesture on...

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The Origin of Superstitions

Aug 29, 2013 | in Featured Articles, News, North America

The Origin of Superstitions

Superstitions are common in all countries and all cultures. One of my readers asked me to provide them with the origin of some of our more common superstitions. I’m happy to comply and below are a number of superstitions along with their origins. The number 13 / Friday the thirteenth. Superstition: The number 13 brings bad luck. This myth started in Viking mythology. If you’ve seen the movie Thor or The Avengers, you’ll be up on this. The story goes that 12 gods were asked to dine at Valhalla, a grand banquet hall in Asgard, the city of...

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The Origin of Wall Street

Aug 22, 2013 | in Featured Articles, News, North America

The Origin of Wall Street

Wall Street is synonymous with the stock market and the financial district in New York City. But to some, Wall Street is a symbol of much more. It’s become a symbol of the entire U.S. financial markets. However, few people know where the term Wall Street came from. Wall Street, in fact, has its origins in the 17th century. At that time the area of lower Manhattan was sparsely populated and was largely comprised of a settlement called New Amsterdam. This community was, for the most part, agricultural in nature and property at this time was...

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Accidental Inventions

Aug 20, 2013 | in Featured Articles, News, North America

Accidental Inventions

Inventors don’t always hit the target they’re aiming at. In fact, a great many inventions have come about when an inventor is aiming at a different target altogether. Below are some of the top inventions that came about as a result of looking for something completely different, or as a result of someone’s observation. Botox: In 1987 Alastair and Jean Carruthers were using small doses of a deadly toxin to treat eyelid spasms and other eye-muscle disorders. They noticed that, when using their toxin, wrinkles disappeared. Botox was...

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The Origin of the Handshake

Jul 23, 2013 | in News, North America

The Origin of the Handshake

We usually don’t think about handshakes. It’s something we do sub-consciously and without much forethought. It’s, for the most part, automatic. In fact, it’s the most common form of communication we use. It conveys hello, goodbye, congratulations, and we agree. Archaeological excavations show that handshaking was practiced as far back as the 5th century BC in ancient Greece where, in an early stone carving, two soldiers can be seen shaking hands. Other excavations from around this time have shown similar handshaking gestures depicted...

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The Origin of Salsa

Jul 11, 2013 | in News, North America

The Origin of Salsa

Last night my wife and I were having dinner at a local Mexican restaurant when, just after we sat down, they placed a basket of chips and a bowl of salsa in front of us. Salsa is one of my basic food groups. I can’t seem to get enough of it. As I was powering down this staple of life, my wife Kerry asked me if I knew the origin of Salsa. And I actually did, at least a great deal of it. I should first note that the word salsa is generational. If you’re my age, where your odometer has gone around quite a few times and is beginning to rust...

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