So after 14 years, this weekend sadly marks the end of Mythbusters. The very last episode where they blow something up, prove movie physics to be wrong and admit that failure is always an option will air tonight. Watching the marathon leading up to the final episode, I heard Adam say “let’s get the lead out.” That immediately made me think, where did that come from?
get the lead out: to move quickly, to hurry. A popular saying during World War II, often with an attachment on the end of “of your a$$.” The original lead, however, is likely to be bullets. To fire first during an engagement meant that one was more likely to survive.
another phrase that I feel the Mythbusters can get behind, having watched for years as they try to figure out just the right formula:
genius is one percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration: genius is usually the result of hard work, rather than a flash of insight. This cliché can actually be laid at a specific someone’s feet as the inventor: Thomas Alva Edison. He was recorded saying the phrase around 1902, as reported in the September 1932 edition of Harper’s Monthly Magazine.* He was not the first person to think of the idea, however, as it was the Comte de Buffon who said:
Genius is only a greater aptitude for patience.
Hérault de Séchelles’ Voyage à Montbar, in 1803*
and, since they have had far more than the fifteen minutes predicted, much to the Mythbuster’s own surprise:
fifteen minutes of fame: another phrase with a specific inventor, Andy Warhol. He first used in it 1968, during an exhibition in Stockholm. Even more than Warhol could have predicted, with YouTube, reality TV and, yes, blogs, almost every one is guaranteed their fifteen minutes!
and, my last one:
failure is always an option: things never turn out as expected. Yet another one that can be laid at someone’s feet, this was coined by Adam Savage on Mythbusters. He meant that things can, and do, often go wrong during experiments–and life. The important thing was to understand why it had a different ending than expected and to move on accordingly.
If you have never heard of Mythbusters, or never watched them, I highly suggest that you try the re-runs sure to be on tv for decades. They make science fun–and do a bit of explaining along the way 🙂 The interaction of the team is hilarious, as is the end of their experiments occasionally!