Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Do Bees Have Knees?



Yes, I believe they do. Ah, I love the internet. After more grueling research, I learned that there are three main theories regarding the origin of this phrase:

1.) The term "the bee's knees" debuted in a set of similar phrases: the snake's hips, the cat's pyjamas, the sardine's whiskers. Apparently in the 1920's it was a fun, silly thing to exclaim or make up nonsensical animal phrases that indicated something was the best.

I went through a period of switching everyone's first letter of their first and last names in high school. This provided my friends and I countless hours of mindless giggles. Need a new one? Think of another person! Your mom's name! Carol Barrett becomes Barol Carrett! Amazing!

I imagine that if I'd lived in the 1920's, I'd have come up with some winners: "the owl's pantyhose," "the baboon's tube socks," "the otter's opposable thumbs." That was just spinning some ideas off the top of my head. No biggie.

2) Around the same time, there was a broadway dancer named Bee Jackson! Anyone who knew me as a kid knew that I fantasized about being a broadway dancer. (Cats obsession.) I wish I had been Bee Jackson! I picture her in a yellow flapper costume with antennae and a stinger, striped tights... Although I'm sure she didn't do the "bee thing" all the time. (If ever.) But wow, Bee Jackson, Broadway dancer and inspiration for the term "the bee's knees." What a woman!

3) In June, 1797, a certain Mrs. Townley Ward wrote in her Letters, "It cannot be as big as a bee's knee." This one in particular grips me. Who is this Mrs. Townley Ward? To whom did she write? And most importantly, what cannot be as big as a bee's knee?? A zit? A stab wound?!?!? The possibilities are endless!!!

"...and rain will make the flowers grow" Any former Broadway nerds out there??


I'm heading to New Orleans for a couple days. I'm kind of expecting to fall in love with the place and want to move... start a bunch of hives in a backyard... ah, the eternally returning dream of a backyard.

When I return, the Bee Team should have 3 new hives in Brooklyn! I can't wait to meet the new girls!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so thrilled to have found this blog! I studied abroad with Eliza in Kenya and just got an email sending me in this direction.

    I was first introduced to urban beekeeping by the Backwards Beekeepers (http://beehuman.blogspot.com/) here in LA and am very excited to find you doing urban beekeeping in NYC!

    I look forward to reading further.

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