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Carl Pettit

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What’s the Real Story About Why We Flip Someone the Middle Finger?

We’re not talking about giving someone a parakeet for his or her birthday. We’re talking about flipping someone the bird, or the middle finger — a time-honored insult that has been around for thousands of years.

Here’s a little more information about how this very telling gesture got started, in all its variations.

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Thinkstock
Thinkstock
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What’s the Real Story Behind the History of Mother’s Day?

There seems to be a holiday for every member of the family these days, but none is probably more important than Mother’s Day.

What daughter or son would dare forget the woman who gave birth to them? With that in mind, here are a few historical tidbits about the origins of Mother’s Day.

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Thinkstock
Thinkstock
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What’s the Real Story Behind the Phrase ‘Cutting Through the Red Tape’?

When you have to ‘cut through the red tape,’ it means your have to slog through lots of bureaucratic mud in order to achieve the goals you set out to achieve.

How did tape — colored tape at that — come to represent the headaches that mounds of paperwork, unpleasant clerks and by-the-book functionaries cause us when we’re trying to get something done?

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mitjamavsar, Flickr
mitjamavsar, Flickr
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The Real Story Behind Throwing Rice at Weddings

When a newly married couple exits a church, a synagogue, a courthouse or wherever they’ve just tied the knot, people often shower them with rice (not the sticky kind, of course). Most of us have seen this in the movies or in real life.

If you’re wondering how this grain-throwing tradition came about, don’t fret. We’re going to tell you.

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mil_cuervos, Flickr
mil_cuervos, Flickr
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The Real Story Behind the Merry-Go-Round

One of the first rides parents usually let kids enjoy by themselves is the gentle horse carousel, or merry-go-round. Carousels, which seem very safe and wholesome, have drawn families in for years. For many of us, they bring back fond childhood memories.

But how did they first come into our lives?

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squarejer, Flickr
squarejer, Flickr
[

The Real Story Behind the Phrase ‘Break a Leg’

When you tell someone to “break a leg,” you’re not referring to the literal sense, unless you secretly get the utmost satisfaction over watching that person fail. Breaking a leg hurts a lot, which makes it all the more curious as to why this particular phrase became associated with wishing someone good luck.

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