A blog of trivial facts and nothing news

Archive for the month “October, 2013”

Where Doth My Sandwich Come From

I occasionally eat a peanut butter sandwich or a jelly sandwich, I may even do a chicken sandwich but it was my daughters history of the sandwich which has lead to my blog. I knew for instance that the sandwich was named after the Earl of Sandwich. But the rest of the story is what I want to ramble about. The fourth Earl of Sandwich (born John Montagu), is the British statesman whose name is forever linked to our  lunchtime meal.  But what you may not know is the foundations of this food can be traced back to the Arabs. It seems that they stuffed meat inside their pita bread way before the Earl came up with the idea, Nevertheless his name is forever linked to the sandwich. What would we have called the Arab version anyhow?

The Earl  may not have been the first to eat meat between two slices of bread, but he did give it his name and he did it while playing poker. It’s true! Late at night around Nov. 3, 1762, the Earl was deep into a marathon poker game.  The Earl couldn’t be bothered to leave the gaming table even though he was hungry. So he asked a servant to bring him a piece of meat — stuffed between two slices of toast so he wouldn’t smear food on his cards.  From this little incident, we have inherited that quick-food product that we call the sandwich. 

In a rather strange twist of fate I have realized that the sandwich and I have something in common. We both came into being on the same date November the 3rd. (A special thanks to the inspiration for many of my blogs my daughter Hannah.)


It Ain’t Rocket Science

This is probably one of my favorite sayings especially with my children when the answer to their homework is easy. But if your like me you probably want to know where the saying “It’s not rocket science” came from. Well it is home grown made in America.  It started when America was one of the first countries to adopt a  program for the development of rocket science. The first group of people who were widely known as rocket scientists were German military technologists. After World War 2 some of these scientists were transported to the USA, the UK and the USSR. By 1950, rocket science was generally accepted as being intellectually challenging and outside the capabilities of your average man on the street. Evidently that thought continued for many years  and in the 1980’s the term “not rocket science”appears to have came into vogue concerning  football. As an example, this piece from a sports report in the Pennsylvania newspaper The Daily Intelligencer, December 1985: “Coaching football is not rocket science and it’s not brain surgery. It’s a game, nothing more.” So there you have it the research for this blog wasn’t rocket science either.

Linda Ronstadt





Who didn’t like Linda Ronstadt back in the 1970’s? That woman could sing, I remember listening to her when I as a young man of seventeen. I can still remember her belting out “You’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good, Baby, you’re no good ” But that isn’t my point. This young lady had a great depth of  talent. One of Ronstadt’s first early musical influences was Mexican songs that her father taught her and her siblings. Before her career was over she would go back to those roots. She eventually went to college and  ended up performing with the Stone Ponies. By the end of the 1960’s, Ronstadt had become a solo act producing several albums before landing on the charts with Heart Like a Wheel in 1974. The album had several hits, including “You’re No Good” and “When Will I Be Loved.” The recording went platinum selling more than one million copies. Ronstadt quickly became one of the great musical superstars of the 1970’s. It was in the later 70’s when I heard her on the radio.  Looking back on those days I thought she was younger rather then being in her late 20’s. Linda Ronstadt  proved to be more than just a girl rocker.  She has been called the most versatile singer of her generation, a talent who could master rock and country and mariachi. In the 1980’s, Ronstadt tried her hand at pop standards and she also went back to her Hispanic heritage  by recording a Spanish-language album, Canciones de Mi Padre(1987), which was filled with traditional Mexican songs like the ones her father loved. I had just heard her song “You’re no good” on the radio recently and I was surprised to hear that she had Parkinson’s disease and she had lost her singing voice. Although we cannot condone everything she may have done in the past you still have to tip your hat to her for her talent and ability.

October History (Yom Kippur)

I have another installment for Ramblings and this month begins with the anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. It was October 6 1973 when Israel ended up in a war with Egypt and Syria. Both of these countries were supplied and assisted by other Arab allies. Egypt and Syria  opened up a two front war which put Israel in crisis for almost twenty one days. The war began when the Arab coalition launched a joint surprise attack on Israeli positions in the Israeli-occupied territories of the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights. The Arabs attacked on Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement the holiest day of prayer and fasting in the Jewish calendar knowing that the military of Israel would be participating in the religious celebrations associated with Yom Kippur.  

The Egyptians launched a successful crossing of the Suez Canal, and their forces advanced virtually unopposed into the Sinai Peninsula. They moved up to 15 miles inland of the most advanced Israeli troops in the Sinai. Meanwhile the Syrians coordinated their attack in the north at the Golan Heights and made major gains into Israeli-held territory. By the end of October 7th, the military signs were ominous for Israel.

After three days, Israel mobilized its reserve forces and managed to halt the Egyptian offensive, settling into a virtual stalemate. Israeli forces in the north managed to push the Syrians back to the pre-war ceasefire lines. They then launched a four-day counter-offensive and within a week, Israeli artillery was shelling the outskirts of Damascus.  

 Egyptian president Anwar Sadat started to worry about his ally Syria, so he ordered the Egyptians to go back on the offensive but the Israelis quickly repulsed the attack and counterattacked at the seam between two Egyptian armies. They crossed the Suez Canal into Egypt, and began advancing southward and westward towards Cairo suffering heavy casualties on both sides.

By October 24, the Israelis improved their positions and encircled Egypt’s Third Army and the city of Suez. This development led to tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union which brought a ceasefire October 25 to end the war.

In one sense Yom Kippur was like Pearl Harbor to Israel. They were caught napping and suffered a heavy price but like the U.S. they rallied and managed to take the offensive and gain the upper hand.

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