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Plunging Necklines and Tan Lines, Oh My

Have you ever wondered why we call swimsuits “bathing suits”? That’s the topic we tackled in Episode 11 of the podcast you can listen and subscribe to on Apple Podcasts.

It’s kind of a funny story or maybe it’s not depending on you feel about nerdy facts. For the most of history, people swam naked so there was no need for swimsuits. #FreeTheNipple is definitely a movement our ancestors would get behind. Some may say there is Roman artwork depicting bikinis but scholars have noticed in this case they are wearing them to play sports. I’m sure we can all appreciate keeping things secure when trying to compete athletically.

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Roman Villa Romana del Casale in Sicily. (286-305 AD)

Fast forward a few hundred years and we arrive in the 1670s where public baths are a necessity for keeping many people clean before we had indoor plumbing. It is in this instance where we see the creation of a “bathing gown” an outfit to be worn on your way to the public bath to clean yourself. It is this same outfit that in the mid-1800s when people start to gain more leisure time and swimming becomes a pastime the same “bathing gown” style would serve them as swimsuits.

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Mermaids at Brighton c. 1829   

In the early 1900s, as more people took the beaches more skin started to show and we even start to see the emergence of two-piece swimsuits. It’s important to note these smaller swimsuits also arose as a result of practicality for the act of swimming itself. I mean who here things a wool swimsuit is a good idea? Considering the aversion to showing skin at the beach, swimsuits were monitored for their modesty, and people were arrested for too much skin.

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Swimsuits being examined in Chicago in 1920s.

Eventually, by the 1940s thanks to war rations on clothing material the bikini was born! The bikini faced initial resistance and when it finally gained acceptance it was purely as beach attire. But as swimsuits became more commonplace and people learned to like tanning, the beachwear industry explored from the 1940s to create essentially every kind of possible swimsuit you can imagine!

What’s your go-to swimsuit style for when you head to the water?

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Larger Than Life- Well, At Least One Of Them Was.

Hello to our lovely followers!

First, let us apologise for not getting a blog post out to you for the last episode, life became unexpectedly and extremely busy for us both. Also, unfortunately Abby was not able to get the Facebook Live function to work, so she couldn’t show you the cool sights of London. However, she will remedy that by including some pictures in this blog!

 

 

 

Anyway, on to our newest episode about folktales! We both chose to talk about our favourite folktales. For Dave it was Paul Bunyan, the larger than life lumberjack with a blue ox. Abby chose a true knight, well King, in shining armour, King Arthur.

For those of you who love to hear the background behind an episode, let me tell you the inspiration for this episode came from my craving of pancakes, yes pancakes. Paul Bunyan and Babe his big blue ox loved pancakes! Thus this latest episode was born and if you can listen to the whole thing and not feel hungry for pancakes then congratulations to you!

Both Paul and Arthur have been incarnated as Disney characters in their folklore and since we’re both Disney lovers all the more reason to love these larger than life characters seen below!

 

Do you have a favorite folktale you’d like share? Please feel free to email us at itsacrossthepondcast@gmail.com to let us know and as always give us a follow at It’s Across the Pondcast on Facebook and iTunes.

CHEERIO!

You Did What With Our Tea? The American Revolution

Over the past two episodes, we explored the American Revolution from the point of view of both the British and the American colonists. While we both admittedly grew up in the American education system, and therefore have a much more one-sided learning of this historical event we decided to give it a go the best we could!

This is our best guess at what was actually said between the colonists and British leading up the war:

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We couldn’t find the historical documents to confirm or deny that this was their actual exchange but our beliefs stand firm that this is historically accurate.

From all accounts, the British seemed to bungle the situation to be sure. They didn’t seem to ask for so much in the beginning but when the colonial rabble-rousers began to cause trouble (ie. The Boston Tea Party) King George acted in poor taste with the Intolerable Acts.

The colonists were masters of harvesting good sentiment towards their cause. While the Intolerable Acts were quite the overstep by the British, the colonists made the outrage go a step further.

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Case in point is this political cartoon of the British forcing their Intolerable Acts on the people of Boston represented by a naked woman being assaulted by the British. It’s  powerful imagery that no doubt helped sway many of the colonists to come to their colonial brethren’s aide and slowly jettison the colonies towards rebellion.

It is clear that at first the Revolutionary War was seen mostly as a way for the wealthy men of the colonies to get richer by blocking out their overlords, the British. However, along the way with the help of some talented persuasion on the side of the colonies and the mishandling of the raucous colonists by King George, it became a widespread war.

Even so, we found many (roughly 60,000 to 70,000) colonists remained loyal, as tories, to the British crown and thus had to flee America for places like Canada. I imagine while independence from the world’s largest superpower at the time would be a welcome event, to those colonists who had to flee their established homes it must have been far from the ideal outcome.

It was interesting to learn, however, that it is so widely taught and praised about in America and rightly so because it gave us independence, but in the British education system, it is barely touched upon. I guess considering what happened, there would be cause not to tarry on that topic for too long.

Much of history is told from the victor’s point of view but I think it’s a good practice to view from the other side and that appears to the trend in a lot of historical research these days. It takes something like America’s independence and makes it appear with perhaps less of a luster than many of us Americans are used to hearing. These podcast episodes are sort of our homage to both sides so we hope you enjoyed our whirlwind history.

Just the same do you have your own unique story regarding the American Revolution from either the American or British point of view? Please share your story with us if you do!

Do You Have a Parking Meter for that Elephant?

This week’sUntitled design episode of It’s Across the Pondcast we explored some unique laws that are still active in both America and Great Britain. While as crazy as they may seem, we’d like to point out that, at least in most cases, something had to happen to initiate said laws going on the books so keep that in mind during the episode.

One of our personal favorites is the law in the state of Florida that if you park your elephant at a parking meter you must pay the meter. I suppose this makes sense in if you’re using the space you should pay the meter, but I have to wonder how many people are riding an elephant on their morning commute. Better yet, how would one put a ticket on an elephant?

On the surface, it seemed the crazy laws in Great Britain are slightly more logical than those in America though the ban on having salmon in suspicious situations is certainly a “fishy” one. An equally weird law regarding fish exists for the state of Ohio in which you can’t get a fish drunk. Since fish live in water, I’d imagine you’d have to put them in a bowl of alcohol to achieve this and though I’m no ichtyhologist I feel like the fish would’t survive that adventure.

Overall, I think we were quite surprised by all the unique laws out there that are still on the books. If nothing else these could aide you in a successful trivia night!

If you haven’t listened to the podcast yet please give us a download and listen on either Soundcloud or iTunes. Even better yet, if you like what you hear give us a rating and review to help share our nerdiness!

 

 

 

Food, Glorious Food! Episode Two (which is actually called ‘Crumpets and Tea’)

Hello again everybody! If you haven’t already, go check out our second episode of Across the Pondcast.

Many people would say that food is one of the most important things in life. When travelling, sampling the traditional food of wherever you go is a great way to experience the culture. In this podcast, we explore differences between the US and the UK, but like Ogres, countries are also like onions, and have many layers. There are small, local specialties as well as countrywide stereotypical foods to try.

One of the most popular and stereotypical UK meals is, of course, fish and chips. (Clarification: chips in the UK are fries in the US, chips in the US are crisps in the UK. Got it? Good.) Traditionally, fish and chips are wrapped in newspaper, which was to keep the cost down, as it was considered a working man’s meal. Interestingly, it was used as a morale booster, and not rationed in WWII. The origin of fish and chips is somewhat debated, but it began to emerge in London in the 1860s. (I can just imagine Jack the Ripper snacking on fish and chips, reading about his latest victim while roaming the streets of foggy London..) If you’re curious about fish and chips, check out this cool article from the BBC.

The classic American food we discussed was the mysterious hot dog. Though it is shaped similar to a sausage, the hot dog is uniquely American. They are convenient for baseball games, and summer bonfires. S’mores, another uniquely American delicacy, are also great for bonfires. Unfortunately, graham crackers aren’t really a thing in the UK, nor are huge marshmallows. However, there are biscuits (cookie-like crackers, not flaky bread covered in gravy) which are an delicious compliment to the properly prepared cup of tea (and by proper, I mean black tea with milk.)

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However, the UK has crumpets. For those who have never seen one before, here’s a picture!

 

 

 

 

 

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Anyone who has learned to play the recorder has learned the song ‘Hot Crossed Buns.’ Well, you may be surprised to know that they are still made, and enjoyed in the UK to this day! You can see why they are called ‘crossed,’ and they are best served hot.

 

 

 

 

Well, I don’t know about you, but now I need a nice cup of tea, and maybe a biscuit…. or two. Keep an eye out for our next podcast and blog, it promises to be a very entertaining one!! If you’re interested in seeing what we’ll be rambling about next, subscribe to our podcast and follow our blog. Also, if you have any suggestions, comments, questions, and so on, feel free to let us know!!

 

 

 

Episode 1: Turn of Phrase

Welcome to our inaugural blog post to coincide with Episode 1 of our podcast Across the Pondcast which can be found on both iTunes and Soundcloud!

It turns out “touch wood” or “knock on wood” has been used across many different countries so it’s hard to say who can lay claim to its first usage. There is at least some sound grounding for its origin in German folklore where spirits were thought to live in wood and by knocking on the wood you were able to gain their protection.

While there is no real way for us to quantify why Americans appropriated the phrase as “knock on wood” from “touch wood” we at least have some data to show the timeline for it.

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Usage of Touch Wood versus Knock on Wood in British English from 1700-present
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Usage of Touch Wood versus Knock on Wood in American English from 1700-present

Looking at the numbers, it seems “knock on wood” only started to appear in the lexicon around 1900 both in America and England, whereas “touch wood” had been used in English as far back as 1750. It seems “knock on wood” gained some usage in British English though it is far out used by “touch wood”. Meanwhile “knock on wood” outpaced “touch wood” in American English around 1950.

It would be interesting to learn whether “knock on wood” originally sprouted in England and transplanted over or if it was American adaptation that eventually transplanted the other way. Either way no matter which you use I’d like to think the magic of phrase works.

If you have any ideas about the phrase and please subscribe to our podcast on iTunes!