What a fool, you, April!

The first of April, some do say,
Is set apart for All Fools’ Day.
But why the people call it so,
Nor I, nor they themselves do know.
But on this day are people sent
On purpose for pure merriment.
Poor Robin’s Almanac (1790)

What is April Fools Day and how did it begin? Well, that is a very good question. The origin of this holiday is rather uncertain. However, the common belief holds that during the reformation of the calendar the date for the New Year was moved from April 1st to January 1st. During that time in history there was no television and no radio so word spread slowly. There were also those who chose to simply ignore the change and those who merely forgot. These people were considered “fools” and invitations to non-existent parties and other practical jokes were played on them. “All Fools’ Day” is practiced in many parts of the world with practical jokes and sending people on a fool’s errand.

 
 
 
 

 

Julie’s Genealogy says:

In sixteenth-century France, the start of the new year was observed on April first. It was celebrated in much the same way as it is today with parties and dancing into the late hours of the night. Then in 1562, Pope Gregory introduced a new calendar for the Christian world, and the new year fell on January first. There were some people, however, who hadn’t heard or didn’t believe the change in the date, so they continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April first. Others played tricks on them and called them “April fools.” They sent them on a “fool’s errand” or tried to make them believe that something false was true. In France today, April first is called “Poisson d’Avril.” French children fool their friends by taping a paper fish to their friends’ backs. When the “young fool” discovers this trick, the prankster yells “Poisson d’Avril!” (April Fish!)

Today Americans play small tricks on friends and strangers alike on the first of April. One common trick on April Fool’s Day, or All Fool’s Day, is pointing down to a friend’s shoe and saying, “Your shoelace is untied.” Teachers in the nineteenth century used to say to pupils, “Look! A flock of geese!” and point up. School children might tell a classmate that school has been canceled. Whatever the trick, if the innocent victim falls for the joke the prankster yells, “April Fool! “

The “fools’ errands” we play on people are practical jokes. Putting salt in the sugar bowl for the next person is not a nice trick to play on a stranger. College students set their clocks an hour behind, so their roommates show up to the wrong class – or not at all. Some practical jokes are kept up the whole day before the victim realizes what day it is. Most April Fool jokes are in good fun and not meant to harm anyone. The most clever April Fool joke is the one where everyone laughs, especially the person upon whom the joke is played.

It is interesting to note, according to Dawn  that around this day, there are many traditions observed in different parts of the world that have something to do with rejoicing and having fun. For instance, the Hindus celebrate Holi around this time, in which they play with colours and indulge in a lot of playful fun.

The ancient Romans had the Hilaria festival celebrated on March 25 and the Jewish calendar has Purim. But basically it is the revival of life on earth, when the cold dead winter turns into colourful and youthful spring that makes people get into the mood for some fun and games. And by observing April Fools’ Day on April 1, they attempt to do just that.

So whichever explanation you may believe in, if you do wish to have some fun on April 1, just make sure that it is of the harmless kind and no one gets offended. And if you feel someone doesn’t believe you can have fun on their expense just because it is April 1, then don’t mess with them. After all, you really don’t have to do what the rest of the world is doing, just do what you feel is right. ;)

XOXO

Hugs and kisses is a term for a sequence of the letters x and o, e.g. xoxo, typically to express affection or good friendship at the end of a written letter, e-mail or SMS text message, in which, according to most sources, “x” means kisses and “o” means hugs.

The first mention in literature of XXX for kisses at the bottom of a letter was in 1901, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The X itself is very old.

The custom goes back to the early Christian era, when a cross mark or “X” was the same as a sworn oath. The cross referred to the cross of Calvary and the first letter of the Greek word for Christ, Xristos.

Even as little as a hundred and fifty years ago, not many people could read or write. The “X” at the bottom of a document took the place of a signature. They would kiss the “X” as a crucifix or bible was kissed to emphasize the importance of the mark. It was this practice that lead to the “X” representing a kiss.

There isn’t much known about the beginnings of the “O”. It is a North American custom. The “O” represents the arms in a circle around another person. Arms crossed in front of you do not mean the “X” as a hug! The “O” is the hug.

In “The Joys of Yiddish” by Leo Rosten, it is noted that illiterate immigrants (or those who did not know Roman-English letters) would generally sign entry forms with an “X” but Jews preferred an “O” to avoid making something that looked like a cross. Also, shopkeepers and salesmen would similarly sign receipts with a circle. Could this be the origin of the “O”?

Or could it have developed from the game of tic tac toe, where one player uses the “X” and another the “O”, leading people to think that the “O” was the hug, as the “X” is the kiss.

Source: XOXO


O.K.

Just be OK!

Oh, hold on. What in the world does OK mean?

My best friend Wikipedia says :

Okay (also spelled “OK,” “O.K.“) is a colloquial English word denoting approval, assent, or acknowledgment. “Okay” has frequently turned up as a loanword in many other languages. As an adjective, “okay” means “adequate,” “acceptable” (“this is okay to send out”), “mediocre” often in contrast to “good” (“the food was okay”); it also functions as an adverb in this sense. As an interjection, it can denote compliance (“Okay, I will do that”), or agreement (“Okay, that’s good”). As a  noun and verb it means “assent” (“The boss okayed the purchase”).

Well, sure. We all know that already. However, after using this magic word around so much, I started to wonder: WHERE DID OK COME FROM?

I found the best answer on the web, thanks to Encyclopedia:

The Choctaw theory
In the American Choctaw Indian language, there is a word okeh, which means “it is so”. It is likely (although I can find no hard evidence) that this word was used in some American communities in the early 19th century. There is a report that Andrew Jackson, during the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, learned of this Choctaw word, liked it, and used it.

Woodrow Wilson also preferred this etymology, and used okeh when he approved official papers. His use led to this particular form being picked up by Okeh Records, “the name of a series of popular phonograph records” [Mencken, 1936] as well as hot-dog stands, shoe-shining parlours and more.

 


The Andrew Jackson Libel theory
Some time around 1832, Seba Smith was accused of libel in claiming that Andrew Jackson endorsed a pronouncement written by his literary secretary, Amos Kendell, with OK Amos. The details are not very clear, but it is possible that what was really written was OR, meaning “Order Recorded”. However, one newspaper reporting on the matter, presumably some years later, said that the letters OK had been adopted “as a sort of [Democratic] part cry and [were] fastened upon their banners”. This does give at least some credence to the idea that OK was at least in familiar use prior to 1840.


 

The Wolof theory
Like Choctaw Indian, the Wolof language (spoken in Senegal and The Gambia, formerly The Gold Coast) has something like okeh to mean an emphatic “yes” (it’s more like waa-key in reality). Wolof has given American English a number of words, perhaps through the African slave trade, such as jukehonky (to mean a white man), hipcat (or hepcat, meaning a jazz enthusiast), jive and even dig (as in “to understand”), although it should be noted that there is nowhere near universal agreement on these! It is likely that okehappeared in early black American spoken slang.

The Other Languages theories
Yet more languages have similar-sounding words for “yes” or “it is so”. Liberian has oke, and Burmese has hoakeh, for instance. Yet again, it is possible that these examples crept into American use in small isolated areas at some time prior to 1839.

The Indian Chief theory
Keokuk was an Indian chief (after whom Keokuk, in Iowa, is named). His admirers sometimes referred to him as “Old Keokuk, he’s all right”, and the initials OK, came to mean the same thing.

The orl korrect theory
The Internet fashion for condensing phrases into abbreviation certainly not new! The 1830s saw a rise of quirky abbreviations for common phrases, which for some reason seems to have been particularly popular in Boston. ISBD was used to mean “it shall be done”, RTBS for “it remains to be seen” and SP for “small potatoes”.

It went further, with KY used to mean “no use” (know yuse) and an article in the March 23rd, 1839, edition of the Boston Morning Post, saw this produce OK, short for “all correct” (orl korrect). This is the earliest published appearance of OK that has so far been found.

The Richardson theory
William Richardson recorded his journey from Boston to New Orleans in his 1815 diary. Transcriptions of the diary show “Arrived at Princeton, a handsome little village, o.k. and at Trenton where we dined at 1p.m.” – although in some have proposed that this showed the use of the expression in 1815, the original manuscript shows that this was actually part of some alterations that may have been added by Richardson (or someone else), possibly even after 1840 when the term had come into common use. Another possibility is that the writing is of a.h., referring to “a handsome”, but there are many objections to this theory.

The 16th century theories
Several claims have been made to have found appearances of OK have in 16th century manuscripts. In one instance Notes & Queries (1911) points out that the will of Thomas Cumberland in 1565 is shown to use OK. But more careful scrutiny shows that this is more likely to have been the initials of the scrivener.

Books published in 1593 and 1596 also have OK included, but apparently as nouns. The text of one (Have with You to Saffron-Walden, by Thomas Nashe, the British author) goes “Martin is Guerra, Brown a brone-bill, & Barrow a wheelbarrow; Ket a knight, H.N. [referring to Henry Nichols] an O.K.” As Mencken states in his supplement to The American Language, “the meaning here is unfathomable”.

The Old Kinderhook theory
Martin van Buren was standing as the Democratic presidential candidate in 1840. He had acquired the nickname of Old Kinderhook (he was born in Kinderhook, New York). On March 24, 1840 the Democrats opened the OK Club in Grand Street, New York City, based on the initials of van Buren’s nickname.

The expression OK soon became the watchword of this club, and in that same year, a Democratic newspaper equated the initials with the strivings of the party to “make all things OK”.


The Cockney Orl Korrec theory
The Times, in 1939, had an article reporting that it was of Cockney origin. The author remembered its use as an abbreviation for Orl korrec when he was a boy in the late 19th century. However, this post-dates its first appearance by many years.

The French theory
During the American War of Independence, French sailors made “appointments” with American girls aux quais (meaning when they were berthed at the quayside). This theory was put forward by Britain’s Daily Express newspaper in 1940.

The Finish theory
The Fins have a word for correct, and it is oikea. In a 1940 article, someone at the Cleveland Public Library suggested that this may be the origin.

The British Parliament theory
The same source as the Cockney theory (The Times, in 1939) pointed out that some bills going through the House of Lords had to be read and approved by Lords Onslow and Kilbracken, and they each initialed them – producing the combined initials OK.

The Anglo-Saxon theory
Several centuries before its first appearance, Norwegian and Danish sailors used an Anglo-Saxon word, hogfor, which meant ready for sea. This was frequently shortened to HG, which in turn would have been pronounced hag-gay.

The Literary theory
Laurence Sterne was a British author of the 18th century, and in his book A Sentimental Journey, published in 1768, he uses the emphatic French form of yesO qu-oui. In an anglicised pronunciation (oh-key), the phrase was used by some to express affirmation.

The Schoolmaster theory
In a letter in the Vancouver Sun, in 1935, it was pointed out that early schoolmasters would mark examination papers by adding the Latin Omnis Korrecta, which was sometimes abbreviated to OK.

The Ship-Builder theory
Early ship-builders would mark the timber they prepared, and the first to be laid was marked “OK Number 1“, meaning outer keel No. 1″.

The Telegraph theory
Early telegraph operators abbreviated everything, to reduce the amount of work needed. They would use GM for “Good Morning”, GA for “Go Ahead” and so on. In 1935, Tatler, in the Observer, suggests that they also used OK. This doesn’t stand up at all, as the telegraph post-dated the first written occurrence and it is almost certain, in my view, that they adopted OK rather than inventing it.


The Scottish theory
We’ve all heard the Scottish expression, och-aye. An author in the Nottingham Journal in 1943 suggests that OK is simply an adaptation of this expression. The Scottish expression derives from och, meaning an exclamation of surprise and aye meaning yes, and has been in existence since perhaps the 16th century.

The Old English theory
In early England, the last harvest loads brought in from the fields were known as hoacky or horkey. It was also the name given to harvest-home, which was the feast which followed the last loads brought in. The satisfactory completion of harvest was therefore known as hoacky, which was soon (at least according to an article in the Daily Telegraphin 1935) shortened to OK.

The Prussian theory
The Times printed a suggestion that the Prussian general, Schliessen (fighting for the American colonies during the War of Independence) was properly given the title Oberst Kommandant. All his orders were initialled OK.

The Greek theory
Probably the earliest suggestion comes from the Greek. The two Greek letters omega and khi appear in a work called Geoponica in 920AD as being a magical incantation (when repeated twice) against fleas!

The Railway theory
Obediah Kelly was an early railway freighter. He is known to have signed bills of lading with his initials, OK, and in railway circles OK came to mean that something had been authorised.

The War-Department (or cracker) theory
During the Civil War, the US War Department bought supplies of crackers from a company called Orrins-Kendall. Their initials appeared on the boxes, and as the crackers were of a particularly high standard, the letters OK became synonymous with “all right”. This theory was originally put forward in a publication called Linguist, from the Horace Mann School for Boys in New York, although it has subsequently appeared in a number of other publications.

The multitudinous other theories
During 1840, American politicians used the term frequently, and dreamt up many absurd (and often pointed) origins. Out of Kash, out of kredit, out of klothes, all became identified with van Buren’s campaign. And on the floor of the House of Representatives, a congressman from Illinois suggested it meant Orful Kalamity.


Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia - the fear of long words.


Ain’t scared yet? well… prepare for a long list of long words.

Methionylthreonylthreonylglutaminylarginyl…isoleucine (189,819 letters) - Chemical name of titin, the largest known protein.

Lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsano…pterygon (183 letters) - the longest word ever to appear inliterature.

Bababadalgharaghtakamminapronnkonnbronntonnepronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordeenenthurnuk (100 letters) - This word is on the first pate of Finegans Wake by James Joyce, and is a symbolic thunderclap representing the fall of Adam and Eve.

Aequeosalinocalcalinoceraceoaluminoscupreovitriolic (52 letters) - Describes the composition of the spa wters at Bristol, in Gloucestershire, England.

Antipericatametaanaparcircumvolutiorectumgustpoops of the coprofied (50 letters) -The title of a book on a shelf in a library in the classic ribald work Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Francois Rabelais.

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (45) - Longest word in a major dictionary

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (34) - Famous for being created for the Mary Poppins film and musical

Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism (30) - Longest non-coined word in a major dictionary.

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian (30) –  A word coined so as to be very long

Floccinaucinihilipilification (29) –  Longest unchallenged nontechnical word

Antidisestablishmentarianism (28) –  Longest non-coined and nontechnical word

Honorificabilitudinitatibus (27) – Longest word in Shakespeare’s works; longest word in the English language featuring alternating consonants and vowels

Burn Phoenix, Burn!

“A mythical bird that never dies, the phoenix flies far ahead to the front, alawys scanning the lanscape and distant space. It represents our capacityfor vision, for collecting sensory information about our environment and the events unfolding within it. The phoenix, with its great beauty, creates intense excitement and deathless inspiration” -  Lam Kam Chuen.

The mythological bird of fire is familiar to most of us, but perhaps not everyone knows its original meaning -  “phoenix”  in Greek means “palm tree”.

The phoenix is said to live for 500 years. When it grows tired, it builds a nest of aromatic twigs, and then sets fire to itself to be consumed in the funeral pyre of its own making. After three days, the phoenix would arise from the ashes, reborn. According to Egyptian legend, it carries the embalmed ashes of its previous incarnation to Heliopolis, the city of the sun. The Egyptian phoenix was said to sing sweetly, and to dazzle with its plumage of gold and scarlet and purple.

Tales of the phoenix appear in ancient Arabian, Greek, Roman, and Far Eastern mythology. In the Greek tales, the Phoenix represented the sun, dying in flames at the end of the day and rising each morning.

Early Christians came to view the flight of the Phoenix as a symbol of rebirth and the resurrection, leaving the old world for the new world of the spirit, dying and rising again, reborn. It symbolized the victory of life over death, immortality, and Christ’s resurrection.

 Jewish legend describes the Phoenix as the one creature that did not leave paradise with Adam, and that its legendary longevity is due to abstaining from the forbidden fruit that tempted the ‘first man’.

 On Roman coins, the phoenix represented an undying empire.

In Chinese mythology, the Phoenix is the symbol of grace and virtue and is second only in importance to the Dragon. It represents the union of yin and yang, and was a gentle creature associated with the Empress, who alone could wear its symbol. The feathers of the Chinese phoenix were black, white, red, green and yellow – the five primary colours.

In Japan, the phoenix is found carved into sword hilts, and the image of the bird is seen as embroidery on kimonos. Along with the sun, the phoenix is one of the emblems of the Japanese Empire. In Japanese tattooing the phoenix is often twinned with the the dragon, symbolizing yin and yang, the harmonious combining of the best of the feminine and masculine virtues.

What is Love?

“Love all, Trust few, and Do wrong to none.” – William Shakespeare

Love is patient, love is kind. It has no envy, nor it boasts itself and it is never proud. It rejoices over the evil and is the truth seeker. Love protects; preserves and hopes for the positive aspect of life. Always stand steadfast in love, not fall into it. It is like the dream of your matter of affection coming true.   Love can occur between two or more individuals. It bonds them and connects them in a unified link of trust, intimacy and interdependence. It enhances the relationship and comforts the soul. Love should be experienced and not just felt. The depth of love can not be measured.And as God said “Love all”.  

The question of all centuries is “What is Love?” Many experienced it, many have a long way to go until they find out. Still, I believe every single body has asked this question at least once in their life. This question has very many and various answers. And all of them are right! Love means different things to different people.

Therefore, i will not take a chance to persuade you that my perception of love is better, or even it is the only “right” one. I will try and see what love is for psychologists.

Psychology portrays love as a cognitive phenomenon with a social cause.

According to psychologist Elaine Hatfield, there are two basic types of love: compassionate love and passionate love. Compassionate love is characterized by mutual respect, attachment, affection, and trust. Compassionate love usually develops out of feelings of mutual understanding and shared respect for each other.

Passionate love is characterized by intense emotions, sexual attraction, anxiety, and affection. When these intense emotions are reciprocated, people feel elated and fulfilled. Unreciprocated love leads to feelings of despondence and despair. Hatfield suggests that passionate love is transitory, usually lasting between 6 and 30 months. 

Passionate love arises when cultural expectations encourage falling in love, when the person meets your preconceived ideas of an ideal lover, and when you experience heightened physiological arousal in the presence of the other person, according to Hatfield. 

Ideally passionate love leads to compassionate love, which is more enduring. While most people desire relationships that combine the security and stability of compassionate with the intensity of passionate love, Hatfield suggests that this is rare.

Another scholar, John Lee compared styles of love to the color wheel. Lee suggested that there are three primary styles of love just as there are three primary colors. The three primary styles of love are: Eros, Ludos, and Storge.

Eros  is loving an ideal person;  Ludos means love as a game and Storge –is the love as friendship.

Continuing the color wheel analogy, Lee proposed that these three primary styles of love could be combined to create nine different secondary love styles. For example, a combination of Eros and Ludos results in Mania, or obsessive love. Eros and Storge, on the other hand form Agape, the selfless love, wich most of us percieve as the primary meaning of love.Ludos and Storge together make Pragma, realistic and practical love.

Love = a triangular formula?

Psychologist Robert Sternberg proposed a triangular theory of love. It suggests that there are three components of love: intimacy, passion, and commitment. Different combinations of these three components result in different types of love. For example, a combination of intimacy and commitment results in compassionate love, while a combination of passion and intimacy leads to passionate love. 

Relationships built on two or more elements are more enduring that those based upon a single component. Sternberg uses the term consummate love to describe a combination of intimacy, passion, and commitment. While this type of love is the strongest and most enduring, Sternberg suggests that this type of love is rare.

Exam Anxiety

You have most of the class participation points, you have done all of your homework, studied hard, and you think you are absolutely acquianted with the material. You’ve got all it takes to ace any exam possible. But when the day of the test comes, suddenly, you blank out, freeze up, zone out, or feel so nervous that you can’t get it together to respond to those questions you knew the answers to just last night.

If you recognize yourself in the paragraph above, you may have a case of test anxiety — that nervous feeling that people sometimes get when they’re about to take a test.

It’ is normal to feel a little nervous before a test.  A touch of nervous anticipation can actually help one get revived and keep him/her at peak performance while taking the test. However, for some people, this normal anxiety gets more intense. Anxiety before a test can be so strong that it interferes with their concentration or performance.

This type of anxiety is serious, and can strongly interfere with one’s ability to perform any task assigned to him\her.

Test anxiety is actually a type of performance anxiety — a feeling someone might have in a situation where performance really counts or when the pressure’s on to do well. However, it is not the same as doing poorly on a test because your mind is on something else. A breakup or the death of someone close can also interfere with one’s concentration and prevent him/her from an excellent performance on a test.

Any anxiety is a reaction to anticipation of something stressful. Test anxiety affects the body and the mind, just like any anxiety types. When you’re under stress, your body releases the hormone “adrenaline”, which prepares it for danger. This causes causes sweating, a pounding heart, and rapid breathing. Usually these sensations become intense, as the stress grows. The more a person focuses on the bad things that could happen, the stronger the feeling of anxiety becomes. This makes the person feel worse and, because his or her head is full of distracting thoughts and fears, it can increase the possibility that the person will do worse on the test.
Yes, of course, we all know all of the synmptoms, and the effects of it. But how do we deal with anxiety? Moreover, how do we defeat it once and at last?
KidsHealth came up with a piece of advice for the students who have this problem and are willing to change things for the better.

Use a little stress to your advantage. Stress is your body’s warning mechanism — it’s a signal that helps you prepare for something important that’s about to happen. So use it to your advantage. Instead of reacting to the stress by dreading, complaining, or fretting about the test with friends, take an active approach. Let stress remind you to study well in advance of a test. Chances are, you’ll keep your stress from spinning out of control. After all, nobody ever feels stressed out by thoughts that they might do well on a test.

Ask for help. Although a little test anxiety can be a good thing, an overdose of it is another story entirely. If sitting for a test gets you so stressed out that your mind goes blank and causes you to miss answers that you know, then your level of test anxiety probably needs some attention. Your teacher, your school guidance counselor, or a tutor can be useful resources to talk to if you always get extreme test anxiety.

Be prepared. Some students think that going to class is all it should take to learn and do well on tests. But there’s much more to learning than just hoping to soak everything up in class. That’s why good study habits and skills are so important — and why no amount of cramming or studying the night before a test can take the place of the deeper level of learning that happens over time with regular study.

Many students find that their test anxiety is reduced when they start to study better or more regularly. It makes sense — the more you know the material, the more confident you’ll feel. Having confidence going into a test means you expect to do well. When you expect to do well, you’ll be able to relax into a test after the normal first-moment jitters pass.

Watch what you’re thinking. If expecting to do well on a test can help you relax, what about when people expect they won’t do well? Watch out for any negative messages you might be sending yourself about the test. They can contribute to your anxiety.

If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts (“I’m never any good at taking tests” or “It’s going to be terrible if I do badly on this test”), replace them with positive messages. Not unrealistic positive messages, of course, but ones that are practical and true, such as “I’ve studied hard and I know the material, so I’m ready to do the best I can.” (Of course, if you haven’t studied, this message won’t help!)

Accept mistakes. Another thing you can do is to learn to keep mistakes in perspective — especially if you’re a perfectionist or you tend to be hard on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes, and you may have even heard teachers or coaches refer to mistakes as “learning opportunities.” Learning to tolerate small failures and mistakes — like that one problem you got wrong in the math pop quiz — is a valuable skill.

Ladies and gentlemen, I hope it was a helpful post. Let us all do our best at any examination and attain 100% success.