Hugs and Kisses

Feb 14, 2011 | 2 comments

Red Ruby Lips!

     I do believe you can find almost anything on the internet.  I’ve been doing a bit of research in connection with my Observer series “Behind Bars in Old Pacific County” and was frustrated because our own county courthouse records are somewhat incomplete.  So I Googled what I wanted and voilá!  I found the very documents I was looking for in some Washington State Supreme Court transcripts from the 1890s.  Fabulous!
     Of course, the authenticity or accuracy of internet information isn’t always clear-cut.  It takes some searching to find corroborating evidence.  Even then, I often take what I find floating around in cyberspace with that proverbial grain of salt.  For instance, hugs and kisses.
      I wanted to find out how ‘OOO’ and ‘XXX’ came to be those universal symbols that we’ve all known from childhood.  The theory put forth concerning OOO for hugs is that the letter ‘O’ approximates encircling arms – a kind of forerunner to the now popular ’emoticons.’  I’m not sure I accept that explanation.  It sounds a bit contrived to me.
     The history of XXX for kisses, though, I liked a lot.  I want to believe it, whether or not it’s true.  Supposedly, in the middle ages in Italy, it was customary for illiterates to sign legal or other important documents with an X.  Then, to show their sincerity, they would lift the ‘signed’ document to their lips and kiss it.
     Over the years… well, the rest is history, as they say.


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    Isn’t the Internet marvelous, Sydney? Rather like having your very own reference librarian on your desk. At Gig Harbor High School we teach the students to be discriminating when researching on the Internet since occasionally you run across some guy with no credentials, probably in his underwear, sitting in his garage in Florida. Sometimes these “authorities” on things even misspell their topics. A student once found a Holocaust site that had misspelled Holocaust, so yes, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet, but I love it that it’s there and I love your story about the Xs. I have always assumed that the Os were hugging arms myself, use them myself on emails and so I close with XXOO to you.

  2. Diana C

    Having been involved with sending memos across the surface of the earth since teletype, and computers since mainframes were becoming mini’s, and core memory was actually doughnuts of ferrite hand threaded with fine wires. I never cease to be amazed by Moore’s law (Yes I’m sure I only missed meeting Marconi because he wasn’t at the same places I was).

    Nevertheless… It was DARPA and CERN’s contribution (I believe contrary to Al Gore’s recollection) That I have spent most of my time exploring.

    What I find most intriguing is how democratic the internet is…
    I, for example, can post a webpage that is as good as a major power or a billionaire, the Pope has a very nice webpage by the way.
    I don’t have to speak English. I don’t have to be sighted or hearing, or mobile. I don’t have to be attired in any particular way, or attired at all!
    I could be in a garage in Hillsboro and start my software company.
    What makes up a good webpage?
    Is it spelling?
    how it looks?
    how fast it loads?
    the links it has?
    is it that I have a Doctorate in Philosophy?
    You might as well ask if we all learn the same way…

    As an individual I have unique needs and tastes, the fact that I am able to understand and communicate in the most esoteric levels, that singularly suit me, is nothing short of miraculous!

    Yes, it takes discrimination and some intuition to evaluate the data available to separate the wheat from the chaff. (but wheat and patenting genes is yet another topic) It’s the value in information and how it is used that is incalculable!

    I off to visit the Louvre this morning, I go occasionally,their goal is to have all of their works available in the near future…. I’ll be back for lunch!


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