Sunday, 30 July 2017

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Ten

After a brief hiatus, the Random Stuff series is back with number ten.

1. Gypsies’ is Short for Egyptians


1. A member of a travelling people traditionally living by itinerant trade and fortune telling. Gypsies speak a language (Romany) that is related to Hindi and are believed to have originated in South Asia.

Synonyms: Romany, Rom, traveller, nomad, rover, roamer, wanderer.

2. A nomadic or free-spirited person.

The Romani (also spelled Romany; /ˈroʊməni/, /ˈrɒ-/), or Roma, are a traditionally nomadic ethnic group, living mostly in Europe and the Americas and originating from the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent, presumably from where the states Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab exist today. The Romani are widely known among English-speaking people by the exonym “Gypsies” (or “Gipsies”), which some people consider pejorative due to its connotations of illegality and irregularity.

What I just found out is that the origin of the name came from the time when they entered Europe between the eighth and tenth centuries C.E; they were called “Gypsies” because Europeans mistakenly believed they came from Egypt. Seriously!

Now I can confidently introduce myself as a gypsy.

On a parallel note, check this early piece of mine: Why Hippies Are Sometimes Called Bohemians.

2. New Orleans, Louisiana
Only a few weeks ago I came to know that New Orleans — La Nouvelle-Orléans — is not an actual state in the U.S but a city of Louisiana. The reason why I had always assumed it was a full state is because whenever asked, almost all the people I met from there say “I’m from New Orleans” rather than “I’m from Louisiana”.

I got curious to know more so I kept reading. Nicknamed the “Big Easy”, I also found out that it is known for its round-the-clock nightlife, vibrant live-music scene, and spicy, singular cuisine reflecting its history as a melting pot of French, African and American cultures.

New Orleans is equally known to be where the first American Mardi Gras took place on March 3, 1699 when French explorers celebrated it.

One day soon I would like to visit this charming place.

Remnants of Prohibition

A couple of weeks ago I went to the nearby grocery store at around 5:30 am. I got what I needed, added a bottle of rosé wine, and headed to the cashier. The girl put the stuff in my bag but then said that there is no alcohol sale before 6 am (by California law).

“Are you serious?” I asked and she confirmed it. Since it was 5:50 by then and I was not about to drink it any time soon, I said screw it and left the bottle.

This got me scratching my head a little. Is there really a difference between 5:59 and 6:01 when it comes to regulating the public’s alcohol consumption? I mean, most pharmacies or “drugstores” and gas stations in the U.S sell booze and tobacco — the legal drugs. While at the same time there are states such as Alabama, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia where you cannot buy alcohol on Sundays. True story and it’s 2017. These regulations must be the reason why alcoholics across the nation are causing less mayhem and debauchery! Lives are saved!

This also makes one think about how the system of such a production-consumption culture essentially works and who really is in charge.


4. Rivet

Those tiny copper buttons we find on jeans are called rivets. They are there to prevent jeans from wearing out and ripping at the seam, making them last longer. Young Levi Strauss came up with the idea in 1829 when he noticed miners were complaining about how quickly their pants wore out. Rivets are actually patented by Levi.

The word originates from Middle English; from Old French; from river “fix, clinch”, of unknown ultimate origin.


1. Rivet (n) a. A short metal pin or bolt for holding together two plates of metal, its headless end being beaten out or pressed down when in place.

b. A rivet-like device for holding seams of clothing together.

2. Rivet (v): a. Join or fasten (plates of metal) with a rivet or rivets.

b. Fix (someone or something) so as to make them incapable of movement.

Synonyms: Fixed, rooted, frozen; unable to move, motionless, unmoving, immobile, stock-still, as still as a statue, as if turned to stone.

c. Attract and completely engross (someone).

Synonyms: Fascinated, engrossed, gripped, captivated, enthralled, intrigued, spellbound, rapt, mesmerised, transfixed.

Fascinating, gripping, engrossing, very interesting, very exciting, thrilling, absorbing, captivating, enthralling, intriguing, compelling, compulsive, spellbinding, mesmerizing, hypnotic, transfixing; (informal) unputdownable.

d. Direct (one’s eyes or attention) intently.

On a parallel note, the tiny pockets we also find on jeans are another invention of Levi Strauss; they were originally made for pocket watches. When they began being used for different purposes they were eventually also dubbed: Frontier pocket, condom pocket, coin pocket, match pocket, and ticket pocket.

And now you know.

5. Hustler, moi?

I remember an ex who would occasionally tell me: “You’re not a hustler, you will never ‘fight’ for me.” And I always told her, “No I’m not and I won’t. There is no need to fight for anything; if it’s not happening, you cannot force it.”

Then some time later I found out the full meaning of ‘hustler’.

Hustler (n): An aggressively enterprising person; a go-getter, especially in selling and promoting business; a prostitute (uhu).

The word originated as a 19th-century slang, hustle “To have sexual intercourse”. Later in the same century it meant “To sell goods in an aggressive manner”. Then even later “To work as a prostitute”.

In the late 19th Century, the term hustler became slang for a ‘player’, ‘gambler’, which by the 1910s had become a pimp, which in turn by the 1920s then became a prostitute of either sex.

I do love to play but it is no wonder the word never sincerely appealed to me.


Random Stuff You May Not Know: Seven

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Eight

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Nine

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Eleven

Nations’ Did You Know

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Some Useful How-To Videos
Bizarre Random Facts

Why Hippies Are Sometimes Called Bohemians
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