Posts by Max Cryer

Who said that first? – Hear no evil, see no evil

It’s doubtful that anyone ever said it in English before the end of the 17th century. The concept of ‘see not evil, ‘hear not evil’, ‘speak not evil’ related back to Confucius in China, several hundred years BC, and then travelled to Japan, where it was known for centuries as a moral maxim. By a trick of the Japanese language, the maxim eventually became known world-wide.

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Max’s Dogs – Search and Rescue Dogs

Dog JacketDogs can be invaluable in search-and-rescue, and can assist in ascertaining if fire damage was deliberately caused (by seeking hydrocarbons).

After familiarisation, they can also detect allergens (such as peanuts in food) and alert people for whom such things are dangerous. By the process known as biodetection, dogs can be trained to recognise the very slight odour caused by chemical matter in the early stages of various cancers: breast, bowel, uterine, bladder, prostate, lung and melanoma.

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Superstitions and why we have them

Drunkenness

Over time a number of preventions and cures have accumulated to deal with this common problem.  However there is sparse information about their effectiveness. Consider the following:

In the absence of any available pigs, slip an owl’s egg into the drink of someone who is already drunk.

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Curious words – (Out for a) duck

From Max Cryer’s  CURIOUS English words and phrases – the truth behind the expressions we use:

(Out for a) duck

 Cricket usually has a visual scoreboard and if a player leaves the field having made no runs,  a great big zero stands next to his or her name on the scoreboard.  A practice arose many years ago of referring to this  zero – because of its shape- as a duck’s egg, and this was shortened to just a duck. So if he or she was out for a duck, it means there was no score.

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“I will do thy bidding gently…”

Richard Wagner was  devoted to his King Charles spaniel named Peps, who  actually participated  in his master’s composing.

Wagner’s biographer H.T. Finck records that Peps constantly sat near Wagner when the composer was at the piano. Sometimes Peps would leap on to the table and peer into Wagner’s face, howling piteously.

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M’aidez or Mayday?

Max

From Max Cryer‘s  book ‘Is It True?’

The distress call ‘mayday’ is English for the French term m’aidez.

 Using the word ‘mayday’ dates from 1923, when a senior radio officer at Croydon Airport was asked to think of an easily understood  word which could indicate distress.

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