Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why do we call someone who loves reading books a bookworm

This question is quite intriguing in more ways than one.  Drawing the line and to be more precise, a person who loves books in its format and qualities or characteristics is called a Bibliophile.  Same thing as the term “Bibliophism” connotes, which obviously mean the addictive behavior of collecting books that a Bibliophile possesses. A person who loves to read books are the ones that are often called a “Bookworm”.

But what really is the associative or the common factor that brings about a book and a worm to define someone who loves to read?

If we are to observe more closely a person who is currently engaged in reading some pages from a book, it’s a sensible fact that this person is either absorbing or just browsing the contents of the material.  But nevertheless, the only thing that we can see moving is this person’s eyes, or we can sometimes hear him murmur the words that he reads.  Analyzing his overall actions, he is motionless or the movements that the reader executes are mostly few, slow and numbered.

This is where our worm enters.  The actuations or movements that our reader has exhibited are more likely to describe the characteristics of a worm.  According to experts, worm species varies on their movement characteristics.  Some worm species do not posses any muscle on its body and actually cannot move on its own.  Other species would need a certain force from others in order to move.

With these two motion-related factors, a common denominator allows us to bind both of their characteristics in terms of the amount of movement that they both execute.  The worm and a person who is reading both exhibit slow to no movement at all.  Thus, the word “Bookworm” which means a person who loves to read books.


Why do we call some people “black sheeps”?

Whenever we see someone in a pack of friends but he seems to not belong with them, we call that person a black sheep. Or when our favorite team has a player who doesn’t want to cooperate with the rest of the team. What about one of the siblings who doesn’t achieve any success and is a lazy bum unlike the rest of the family. Most families have at least one lazy person per family, that person is often called the black sheep. A black sheep is considered worthless, a normal sheep can produce wool that is useful. Nurturing a black sheep takes the same amount of time as a white one but the black wool has no value at all in the market. So raising a black sheep is a waste of time and often are considered  useless.

Black wool was useless because it could not be dyed. So uselessness of these sheep created an analogy with useless humans.


Is it possible to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth

This is another confusing question that if initially taken in its literal sense, the practicality would be far impossible.  If taken in the nature of an English Idiom, these groups of words or phrases would actually mean anyone being wealthy or rich since birth.  The expression of “being born with a silver spoon in the mouth” is oftentimes used for persons with wealthy family backgrounds of someone who is economically stable, so to speak.

The idea of silver spoon as an adjective to describe the abundance of wealth that one possesses came as silver spoons in particular are very precious and considered expensive during those times.  It is believed these treasures are the most priced among the kitchen utensils.  There were also times that these silver spoons were listed as number one targets of burglars.  Being wealthy during those times coincided with the rich family’s healthy backgrounds as well.  The rich children being fed through these silver spoons were believed to acquire fewer illnesses as compared to the normal ones that are fed through other metal spoons.  The wealthy ones during those times enjoyed the silver spoon’s antibacterial effects.

Thus, a child or anyone to have been said to be born with a silver spoon in his mouth is definitely a wealthy and a lucky person considering that he will not exert all his efforts to be one for it is already given to him since the day he was born.  Even if the person is not worthy of it himself, it would also imply that he has a very wealthy and prosperous family background as well.  The best examples of which are those people belonging to the royal family or the descendants of kings and queens.  But if we are to literalize its meaning, it maybe possible that the person’s mom that you are referring to might accidentally swallowed a silver spoon while conceiving! (the swallowing part is less convincing, by the way…)


Why do we call New York The Big Apple

If you do a google search for the word “The Big Apple“, you will find out that first result talks about New York. But how come? Isn’t it supposed to show some big apple? Well for those of you that do not know New York is also called The Big Apple.

Back in 1940-1945, a guy named Robert Emmerich who used to play piano in the Tommy Dorsey Band, wrote an interesting song called “The Big Apple.” But it was not that New York got the name Big Apple right after that song, years passed and people forgot about the Big Apple. But there was on one person who did not forget it. And it was none other than the legendary reporter Walter Winchell. He did not forget the song because he loved the song so much that in his daily column and on the air he began referring to his beat, New York City, as “The Big Apple,” and with time it became popular, and even though people do not know or remember Robert Emmerich, they do refer to New York City as the Big Apple thanks to Winchell.


Why do We Call a Coward “Yellow”?

Yellow has always been associated with treachery, cowardice, jealousy, and inconsistency. The medieval star of yellow color branded the Jews as having betrayed Jesus, the medieval yellow star was even continued by the Nazis. Also, Judas Iscariot (one of the most well-known traitors) is usually portrayed in medieval times wearing yellow garments.

In France, the doors of traitor’s houses are painted with bright yellow. Meanwhile, in Spain, Inquisition victims were forced to wear yellow as a symbol of treason and heresy. In America during the 1800’s, there was a popular expression “yellow-dog” to describe anything that was worthless. Even today, the color yellow is strongly associated with negative things.

For example, there is an expression “yellow-bellied coward” that persists in modern times. The combination of connotations associated with yellow (cowardice, treason) and the guts (heroism, stamina, grit) is apparent. A person with guts is known to have courage which leads to heroism. By associating yellow with the gut, the term “yellow-bellied coward” became a way of saying that a person lacks courage.

But why the seemingly strong dislike for the color yellow? Well, there are actually many theories. For example, in the 1890’s, Asians were seen as a “threat” and yellow was used to imply deceit. However, it is highly unlikely that the origin of using yellow to imply negative characteristics have racist undertones. The more likely source is the medieval medical belief that there are four humors (bodily fluids) within the human body.
The fluids are said to determine the mental and physical condition of a patient. If they are out of balance, they either got physically sick or mentally ill. The four fluids consisted of blood, black bile, the yellow bile, and the phlegm. The yellow bile can make you irascible, choleric, and sick. In addition, cholera (one of the most feared disease at the time) has a symptom wherein the person has yellowish diarrhea. It is easy to make the connection between yellow and inconsistency since then.

Other uses of the yellow color include using it as the symbol of quarantine. Victims of the yellow fever were isolated as not to contaminate the rest of the population. Also, there was a time of “yellow journalism” in 1895 wherein newspapers used sensationalism to attract readers. It is ironic the yellow, the color that is literally associated with everything cheerful (the sun, nature, flowers, etc) has become so negative especially if it is used metaphorically.

P/S: Especially dedicated to the coward (you-know-who) who was afraid for confrontation...Boohooo....!


U made us proud Appey Rowena!

I guess it's never too late for me to congratulate our very own ATI College student who was crowned as the new Miss Malaysia Earth 2010 recently held at the Royal Golf Club, Ipoh, Perak last July 18.  Appey had won the state Unduk Ngadau 2009 last year and receives scholarship to pursue her studies in Tourism field. She has fulfilled the ideas of the competition - that beauty queens can be strong and effective advocates for Mother Earth. 

We hope that she will be committed to playing a part in preserving and protecting the environment for future generations. She will represent Malaysia at the Miss Earth 2010 , the 10th edition of Miss Earth beauty pageant, to take place in Vinpearl Land, Nha Trang, Vietnam on December 4, 2010.

More than 80 contestants from various countries and territories will compete for the title in December 2010, where Miss Earth 2009, Larissa Ramos of Brazil will crown her successor at the end of the event that will be broadcast by VTV, ABS CBN and The Filipino Channel. The Miss Earth winner serves as the spokesperson for the Miss Earth Foundation, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other environmental organizations.

Best of luck Appey and make us proud one again!

National pageant notes


  • Azerbaijan, Bonaire, Guyana, Moldova will compete at Miss Earth first time.

Returning countries and territories

  • Mauritiuslast competed in 2005.
  • Cayman Islands, Chile, Curacao, and Ireland last competed in 2006.
  • Belize, Norway, Vietnam and Zambia last competed in 2007.
  • Bhutan, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Germany, Nicaragua, Romania and Rwanda last competed in 2008.

Contestant notes

  •  France: Morgane Valade represented Monaco in Miss Tourism Queen International 2008.
  •  Germany: Reingard Hagemann replaced Miss Germany 2010 Anna Julia Hagen due to latter's academic schedule.
  •  Puerto Rico: Yeidy Bosques previously compete in Miss Miss Universe Puerto Rico and placed 3rd runner up.

Expected contestants

As of July 21, 2010, 39 delegates have been selected.
Country↓ Contestant↓ Age↓ Height
 Azerbaijan Gulnara Alimuradova 21 170 5'7" Baku
 Belgium Jessica van Moorleghem17 170 5'7" Evergem
 Belize Sherrylee Rodriguez 20 170 5'7" Belize City
 Brazil Aline Bruch 25 174 5'8" Balneário Camboriú
 Chile Pamela Soprani  23 177 5'10" Santiago
 Costa Rica Alejandra Álvarez 24 168 5'6" San José
 Cuba Viglis Viquillon - - - Tampa
 Czech Republic Carmen Justova 19 176 5'9" Sokolov
 Denmark Ena Sandra 20 174 5'8" Sønderborg
 Ethiopia Genet Ogeto 21 178 5'10" Addis Ababa
 France Morgane Valade 26 180 5'10" Le Vauclin
 Georgia Sofo Romanishvili 19 175 5'9" Tbilisi
 Germany Reingard Hagemann 24 178 5'10" Schwerin
 Greece Maria Tsagaraki 21 176 5'9" Heraklion
 Guadeloupe Venise Taret 23 179 5'10" Pointe à Pitre
 Guam Naiomie Jean Santos 18 173 5'8" Maina
 Guyana Soyini Fraser 20 175 5'9" Georgetown
 Honduras Alessa Games 24 170 5'7" La Ceiba
 Hungary Jennifer Kaló 22 170 5'7" Budapest
 India Nicole Faria 20 175 5'9" New Delhi
 Israel Gal Erez 18 171 5'7" Jerusalem
 Kosovo Dhurata Lipovica 22 180 5'10" Pristina
 Luxembourg Laureta Bardoniqi 19 167 5'6" Bettembourg
 Malaysia Appey Rowena 19 175 5'9" Kota Kinabalu
 Martinique Christine Garçon 21 177 5'10" Le Vauclin‎
 Netherlands Desiree van den Berg 23 176 5'9" Santpoort
 Peru Silvana Vásquez 19 174 5'8" Cajamarca
 Philippines Kris Psyche Resus 22 165 5'5" Batangas
 Poland Beata Polakowska 23 172 5'7" Ostrów Mazowiecka
 Puerto Rico Yeidy Bosques 22 182 5'11" Mayagüez
 Romania Andreea Dorobantiu 23 178 5'10 Bucharest
 Serbia Tijana Rakic 22 182 5'11 Belgrade
 Slovakia Tímea Szaboová 20 183 6'0" Bratislava
 Slovenia Ines Draganovič 18 - - Ljubljana
 Switzerland Liza Andrea Küster 22 168 5'6" Bern
 Tanzania Rose Shayo - 177 5'10" Dodoma
 Thailand Watsaporn Wattanakoon 22 170 5'7" Chiang Rai
 Turkey Döndü Şahin 24 183 6'0" Nuremberg
 Ukraine Alexandra Nikitina 20 177 5'10" Nova Kakhovka