Let's Take A Closer Look

Explaining complicated subject matter simply since 1986

Over coffee one day in the 1950s, a shop teacher heard a policeman say he wished there was a way to immobilize parking violators’ cars instead of just issuing citations that are often ignored. It could have been called the Frank Marugg boot, but was given the name of the place it was invented, not the man who invented it. The Denver Boot is used when municipal authorities want your full attention. When your car is clamped, you have to call someone and pay to have it removed, along with the amount of your fine. People also buy their own Denver boots and attach them to trailers and classic cars so they can’t easily be stolen.


Say boots to most adults and they think of footwear that comes to calf-height, although some cover only the ankle.and others don’t stop until they’ve covered the knee. Rubber wading boots even cover the hip, so there you go. Ask Brits and they’ll tell you a boot is the trunk of a car and Boots is a UK pharmacy chain with more than 2,000 stores. Germans think it’s a boat. Say boot to Young Moderns and they’ll say it’s how they turn on their electronic devices.

Italy’s boot

Every kid instantly saw how Italy was shaped like a boot. The toe is the Calabria region and the heel is Apulia.

Cowboy boots

That tall heel was invented to give riders a secure foothold on their wooden stirrups while they’re out riding and roping on the range. They’re the favorite daily and dress-up boots of people who like cowboy hats, large belt buckles and country line dancing. John Travolta wore ’em dancing with Debra Winger at Gilley’s in Urban Cowboy.

Boot camp

Boot camp is a military term that got its start in the Navy during the Spanish-American War because of the shiny new shoes recruits were issued. Also known as basic training, boot camp prepares raw recruits for service by building strength and endurance while teaching them to follow orders without question. The term has been adopted by any organization that has an introductory program, even ones that pamper paid attendees. If you want a taste of what boot camp was like for millions of American men, take a look at the film The D.I., starring Jack Webb. Boots became the term applied to rookie police straight from the academy, a way seasoned cops had of putting newbies in their rightful place.


Get the boot

The formal term, summary dismissal, means you are immediately terminated without notice. You’re fired. Hit the bricks. Out the door. Goners. So long, see ya – wouldn’t want to be ya.

Johnnie Walker

As the story goes, the original Johnnie Walker was a Scot who dabbled with blending single malt whiskeys until he found a formula he liked. The company’s Striding Man is 120 years old and one of the world’s most recognized brand icons.

Puss in Boots

This is a 200-year-old story about a son who inherited a cat when his father died. Puss happened to be a talking cat who walked around wearing a pair of boots. Puss talked people into doing things, tricked the evil ogre, charmed the king and married the princess. Some boots, huh? 

Walking boot

This a medical device that is used to protect the foot and ankle after an injury. Someone decided they should be called CAM boots, meaning controlled ankle movement. Others call them walking casts.


Bunny boot

This is the nickname for what are called Extreme Cold Vapor Barrier Boots, designed to keep feet warm in temperatures as low as -60°F. I had them on while refueling a B-52 outside at Kincheloe AFB one February night when the temperature hit -56°F, my fingers were frostbitten and my feet were the only warm part on me. Some called them Mickey Mouse boots, but aren’t the rodent’s yellow?

These Boots Are Made For Walkin’

Nancy Sinatra wasn’t quite the singer Frank was, but she was a looker. Her big hit came in 1966. Click here to watch her VH1 Classics video.


“A lie travels around the world while truth is putting her boots on.” -Edgar Allan Poe


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