The story behind 6 of the creepiest  nursery rhyme lines 

Published: Tuesday, January 02, 2018 @ 1:10 PM

Here's the story behind some creepy nursery rhyme lines "Hey Diddle, Diddle" may be a reference to the scandal between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley the Earl of Leicester “Humpty Dumpty” was a piece of propaganda that passed from town to town as the news of Charles I's defeat The old woman from "Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe" may have been Queen Caroline or Elizabeth Vergoose of Boston

It's a lucky babe who is sung to sleep with a nursery rhyme, soothing and rhythmic, just like a mother's heartbeat. And the rhymes date back centuries.

Still, "for all their popularity, most of us don't know what the heck we're singing about," noted Emily Frost in Babble. "There was an old lady who lived in a shoe? What!? To make matters worse, we're singing them with children who are at the height of their inquisitive and persistent phase, as in, 'Why? Why? But why?'"

»RELATED: Real-life Humpty Dumpty statue falls off wall

Every now and then, it's refreshing to join the little ones in a good bit of curiosity. 

Before chanting another rhyme about animals who may or may not have any wool or pockets that are full of posies, let's review some lyrics and their origins. Just what do those weird old nursery rhymes mean?

First off, there are the purely bizarre. Kids don't have to grow up and read Alice In Wonderland for outright strange sequences. Not when there's Hey Diddle, Diddle, a nursery rhyme that can be traced back to 1500s England and may be a reference to the scandal between Queen Elizabeth I and her "lap dog," Robert Dudley the Earl of Leicester, according to ABC Kids, Inc.

Sure, the diversity of the dish running away with the spoon is admirable, but "The cat and the fiddle / The cow jumped over the moon / The little dog laughed to see such fun," is pretty odd.

Runner-up in this category, definitely is the Three Men in a Tub. There is the obvious question of whether anyone could ever make a solid living as a candlestick maker. And the whole scene of "Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub. And who do you think were there? The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, and all jumped out of a rotten potater" conjures up the kind of dream you'd have after too many late-night chili dogs.

It's kind of surprising that Stephen King hasn't based a suspense story on a similar scenario: “Them”, instead of “It”.

Even weirder: the actual story behind the lyrics, according to Albert Jack in Babble.  It dates back to the 15th century and first referred to "maids" in a tub, not men, and most likely alluded to a traveling peep show.

When the nursery rhymes aren't outright acid-trippy, they can still be oddly violent, especially against the background of slumbering babies and their parents sing-song voices. Um, really, "All the king's horses and all the king's men, couldn't put Humpty together again" after his great fall? And while illustrators have long considered Humpty an egg, that's not apparent in the verbal version. Shattering is so uncool!

The historical background does put a positive spin on the death and destruction that modern-day parents can appreciate: "Written in the same vein as “Hitler Has Only Got One Ball” (a song mocking the Nazis that raised the British spirits during the darker days of World War II), “Humpty Dumpty” was a piece of propaganda that passed from town to town as the news of [Charles I's] defeat spread across England and the Parliamentarian troops slowly returned home, teaching even their youngest children to recite the tale of their victory," Jack said.

And that stinking Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe? Had so many children, she didn't know what to do? Surely we're not advocating her approach of giving them all broth without any bread, whipping them all soundly and putting them to bed?

But the reassuring note about the Old Woman nursery rhyme is that it probably related to a good thing: According to ABC Kids, Inc., two famous figures may have been the old woman in the rhyme. One is Queen Caroline, wife to King George II, who had eight children. The other is Elizabeth Vergoose of Boston, who had a total of 16 children, six of her own and 10 adopted. A queen who could produce lots of kids for her monarch (the old "heir and a spare") was a good thing, even if whipping was not.

Rock-a-bye-baby is another that's melodious, and has soothed tykes to sleep by the billions. Probably better not to dwell too long on the lyrics involving, "When the bough breaks the cradle will fall, And down will come baby, cradle and all."

It's just no good to have a baby falling out of a tree, whether or not the chant was written by an American immigrant or back in England, as speculated.

Another disheartening, gray tale that is widely accepted and rarely analyzed: "Old Mother Hubbard." The first few lines from this 1800s rhyme, possibly based on a comic book, are probably all most of us know well:

Old Mother Hubbard/Went to the cupboard/To give the poor dog a bone/When she came there/The cupboard was bare/And so the poor dog had none.

While that's not a sweet message for our tots, the second verse is a real hair raiser:

She went to the baker's/To buy him some bread/When she came back/The dog was dead!

To which we reply, "Yikes."

If you think about it, this might be good training. Today, toddlers can subconsciously absorb lyrics to nursery rhymes like Frere Jaques, and only many years later ponder such questions as, "Would morning bells that are ringing really go 'ding, dang, dong?'" This reasoning process will prepare them not to be alarmed when they start listening to rock and pondering lyrics to, say, American Pie. Or maybe they'll do like they do now: enjoy the bonding and not worry about the words.


FIRST LOOK: Tesla's solar roofs are here

Published: Thursday, May 11, 2017 @ 7:13 AM

First Look At Tesla's Solar Roofs

Tesla is officially taking orders for its solar glass roof, which is said to be cheaper than a regular roof with an "infinity warranty."

>> Read more trending news

Elon Musk tweeted on Wednesday that the solar roof can be ordered in "almost any country." The roofs will be deployed this year in the U.S. and overseas in 2018. 

The roofs will come in textured, smooth, Tuscan and slate. 

The roofs are made with tempered glass and are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles, according to Tesla's website.

Learn more here.

Biography of Elon Musk

Psychic-hotline producer owns 2nd most expensive apartment in NYC

Published: Friday, August 28, 2015 @ 5:00 PM
Updated: Friday, August 28, 2015 @ 5:00 PM


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He probably saw this happening years ago.

Yahoo Homes says Steve Feder, producer of the popular Ms. Cleo psychic hotline infomercials, owns the second-most expensive apartment in Manhattan, a $100,000 per month penthouse in the Time-Warner building.

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The site says only actor Robert DeNiro pays more.


Why you should never wash your dishes by hand

Published: Saturday, October 03, 2015 @ 9:34 AM
Updated: Saturday, October 03, 2015 @ 9:34 AM

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You're wasting water

For a lot of people, the typical after-meal routine includes rinsing off the dishes before they're placed in the dishwasher. Well, you should stop doing that.

First of all, you're wasting water. That pre-rinse uses a lot of water for something the dishwasher is going to do all over again -- and much more efficiently.

Read more: Scientists say a messy bed is a healthier bed

"Pre-rinsing your dishes in the sink can easily waste more than 6,000 gallons of water per household each year," according to Consumer Reports.

You can try to do it more efficiently than the dishwasher, but...

“In order to wash the same amount of dishes that can fit in a single load of a full size dishwasher and use less water, you would need to be able to wash eight full place settings and still limit the total amount of time that the faucet was running to less than two minutes,” Jonah Schein, a technical coordinator in the EPA’s WaterSense program, told The Washington Post

Washing dishes by hand doesn't make them cleaner

The sponge you use to wash dishes by hand is probably really dirty. In fact, it's likely dirtier than your toilet seat. Sponges get wet, stay wet and collect bacteria. One survey that studied kitchen sponges and dish towels found that 10% of them contained Salmonella. To clean a sponge, just throw it in the microwave for 30 seconds.   Even without all those dirty dishes piled in it, your kitchen sink likely isn't very clean either. “There’s more E. coli in a kitchen sink than in a toilet after you flush it, according to Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson.  

Read more: Three things you should probably clean more often

"The sink is a great place for E. coli to live and grow since it’s wet and moist. Bacteria feed on the food that people put down the drain and what’s left on dishes in the sink. That’s probably why dogs drink out of the toilet—because there’s less E. coli in it.”

Let the dishwasher do its job

You have a dishwasher for a reason.

When you wash dishes by hand, you probably use lukewarm water -- so you don't burn your hands off -- which is understandable. But when you do that, you aren't really cleaning much. Our hands can't take the heat required to truly clean dishes to the point of being bacteria free. Dishwashers use water that's around 140 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you don't have a dishwasher...

There are ways to making hand-washing the dishes a cleaner and more eco-friendly process.

First, clean the sink. “Clean the sink basin with a disinfectant product made for the kitchen," says Dr. Gerba. "Vinegar and lemon juice can clean some bacteria, but they can’t clean really bad pathogens, so the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t recommend using them as an alternative.”

And if you want to reduce the amount of water used, here are some ways to make hand-washing more eco-friendly.

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Teen nearly drowns when sidewalk collapses, woman says

Published: Monday, October 19, 2015 @ 3:15 PM
Updated: Monday, October 19, 2015 @ 8:48 PM

A Florida woman said her special-needs son nearly drowned Monday morning when the ground opened up beneath the sidewalk as he walked to his Orange County school bus.

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Lecear Garcia said her 17-year-old son, who is nearly 6 feet tall, went underwater when he fell into the hole.

"My son just dropped. He fell in a hole and went all the way completely down," Garcia said.

She said that when she pulled her son from the water, he was soaked.

"I know he swallowed water because he was underneath," she said.

Garcia said there was no indication that there was a problem with the ground as she walked with her son to the bus.

The management at the complex where Garcia lives sent an email warning residents of a water main break just after midnight Monday, Garcia said. But she said there were no warnings of possible hazards on the grounds of the complex.

"No sign, no warning, no nothing to let us know, us tenants, that there was a sinkhole right there," she said.

After the incident with Garcia's son, complex managers sent an email warning residents of the hole.

"I almost lost my son," Garcia said. "I thank God he is alive. That's the most important thing. It could have been anybody's child. It could have been anybody this morning."

A complex employee told WFTV that she had no comment on the story.

Garcia said her son was being treated at Dr. P. Phillips Hospital.