A dubious History of the Middle Finger

April 18, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers. Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore they would be incapable of fighting in the future. This famous English longbow was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as ‘plucking the yew’ (or ‘pluck yew’).

Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and they began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French, saying, ‘See, we can still pluck yew! Since ‘pluck yew’ is rather difficult to say, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodental fricative ‘F’, and thus the words often used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute! It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as ‘giving the bird.’

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Dog called for jury duty in US: “A German Shepherd has been called for jury duty in the US, leaving its owners rather bemused: “Last week IV (pronounced “Ivy”) Griner received a jury summons from Cumberland County court in New Jersey. The five-year-old dog’s owner Barrett Griner believes the confusion took place because his full name is Barrett Griner IV, and the county’s computer must have mistaken the Roman numerals for his first name. “I’m wondering like, What is this? Something from the county office about her vaccinations or something? Like, why is my dog getting mail?” Dennis Moffa, Cumberland County Judiciary Coordinator, told NBC that the county’s jury duty notices are computer-generated and frequently include name errors.”

Daredevil, 20, drags 3tonne fully-laden van using only his jaws while walking on broken GLASS: “Many people say their commute is like pulling teeth, but Yang Dong has more reason to complain than most. The 20-year-old gripped a rope between his jaws and pulled a van laden with nine adults – while walking on broken glass. He began practicing the stunt 10 years ago and now manages to pull a van weighing three tons down the street. Meanwhile, the road under him was laden with a 13ft carpet of shattered beer bottles. Mr Yang managed to pull off the feat last week in Fuzhou, a city of 7million people and the capital of south east China’s Fujian province.

Anonymous altruist posts mystery money through Essex letterboxes: “An anonymous benefactor has sent hundreds of pounds to people in the post. Lesley Quilter, 58, and Doreen Neal, 86, who live in the same street in Colchester, Essex, received £200 and £100 through their letterboxes last month. Mrs Neal, a retired teacher, said she felt uncomfortable at the gesture. Her white envelope had a second class stamp and a south-east post mark, and it was addressed by the same person who sent the other two. She said: “I don’t like mysteries, I think it is a bit creepy actually. “I am sure they did not mean to scare me but why did they do this? “£100 is a lot of money to me but I certainly won’t be spending it — I’ll be keeping it safe.”

A MONKEY herds Indian farmer’s goats: “Mani the monkey helps the unnamed farmer in rural India keep control of his goat herd. The talented monkey jumps from goat to goat to ensure they choose the right path. Mani even manages to work despite caring for her adorable baby monkey. The monkey makes sure that each of the goats makes it home safely after their outing”

Everyone’s a winner! Chinese customs seize more than 1,000 unauthorised replicas of football World Cup (and perhaps England’s best chance of a trophy): “Customs officers have thwarted more than 1,000 shots at glory – by seizing boxes rammed full of fake trophies at a warehouse in China. The 1,020 statuettes were found in the city of Yiwu, Zhejiang province, which has among the busiest export trades in the world. The fakes, which from afar bore a remarkable resemblance to the real thing, were due to be exported to Libya. The General Administration of Customs of China launched a campaign in April to crack down on football-related copyright theft ahead of the tournament in June. Brazil’s World Cup is expected to make huge sums in merchandising, and China has a valuable dog in the fight: its factories have manufactured a million versions of the official armadillo mascot”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

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