Thursday, April 26, 2007

Happy Disjointed-Ruminations-About-the-English-Language Thursday

I like the phrase:
"easy as kiss my hand"
I like it because it's such a weird thing to say, and yet—with its odd little bit of imagery (is there a back story?)—it manages to get the idea rather nicely.

And the other day a co-worker was having difficulty with some task. He declared that he was:
"catching the blues trying to…"
I like that one too. I think I'll add it to my cherished little gunnysack of prized linguistic trinkets.

What phrases are you liking these days?


  1. I have a love of "It'll ride." Say it all time,under my breath and out loud.

    Goes back to when my husband was renovating homes in N.O. A group of half-in-bag opportunists was drivng by about the time my husband's crew was putting a aged pressboard media center to the curb. They asked to have it, loaded it in the back of the pick-up truck and just when my husband showed some concern about whether or not they were going to tie it down, the guy sitting in the bed of truck let it out this particular phrase.

    Needless to say, it didn't "ride." It was left in a thousand depressed pieces in the middle of the street.

  2. There was a guy who lived in our old neighborhood. I'd call him homeless, but I think he actually had a place to stay at night—probably under the roof of some tolerant relative who hadn't grown completely exasperated with him yet. He was often around, usually trying to borrow a buck or two but otherwise harmless, and always—at least outwardly—remarkably cheery. In one of our many little chit chats, he espoused his life philosophy to me. It amounted to three words, "Slide and glide." The 'i's were stretched out to great length, so it was really more "Sl-i-i-i-de and gl-i-i-i-de." This phrase became our private nickname for him.

    Slide 'n' Glide would undoubtedly get on well with your husband's "It'll ride" acquaintances. Maybe they could start a lifestyle movement and deliver their livin'-easy-in-the-Big-Easy wisdom-from-the-fringes to the earnest masses of workaday go-getters. They'll go on Oprah. "Slide and glide. It'll ride." posters will be pinned on cubicle walls across the nation. It will be beautiful.

    Just a thought.

    (And speaking of phrases, I'm intrigued by this "half-in-bag". I'm pretty sure I get the gist, but it's new to me.)

  3. Anonymous4:34 PM

    It isn't as beautiful as the others, but I am extremely attached to "H-E-double toothpicks"
    as in, "Keep going that way, he'll end up in H-E-double toothpicks".

    Another place you might go if things go badly for you: "the hurt locker".

  4. Over the last few years, I have stumbled upon a simple phrase that now summarizes a certain, decisive way of life.
    As a woodworker in a custom cabinet shop, I am often faced with engineering dilemmas that require creative, efficient solutions. Normally, such dilemmas lead to brief, strategic conferences with my shopmate: we assess the problem, stroking our chins, brainstorming this or that solution. Inevitably, our ruminations end, and action must be taken. The conversation has ended when we both agree: "just cut it." Spoken, (in the dudebro patois of the shop) it actually sounds more like "s'cuttit." This mutterance is often accompanied by a small shrug and a cock of the head before firing up the table saw to, well... s'cuttit.

    (by the way, all of the other citations here are amazing!)

  5. More, folks, more! Please make this a monthly feature.

  6. Anonymous9:04 AM

    My personal favorite is still "I just can't get my head around it". No idea of the origin, but I use it for everything from writing an XML file to describing some Tulane student's crazy outfit.

  7. My bad for not proof reading first.

    That's, "It'll r-i-i-i-de." and half-in-THE-bag. I do believe we mutual friend here.

    Visually, I always imagined half-in-the-bag to mean somebody practically huffing the paper bag that holds the bottle of Night Train, but it's really just the mid-way point between politely sipping Mimosas and harfing up Hurricanes. As simple liquor math, that's about two forties before lunch.

  8. Anonymous11:14 AM

    I just remembered Aimee Lalone saying of someone at St. John's "He needs to cut himself a slice of humble pie."
    Just plain "I'm eating humble pie" works for me too.

  9. i recently came across this one in reference to masking a problem the person called it "putting lipstick on the pig"
    loved it!

  10. Anonymous3:41 PM

    One of my faves:

    --Where'd you get that?
    --'the gettin' place.'

    The lipstick pig one reminds me of 'mutton dressed as lamb.' Not nice!

  11. One that's come up a bit at work lately is "gold plating the bumper".

    "Lipstick on the pig" does get bandied around a bit as well, which I've occasionally shortened to a noun form, "pig lipstick", to describe, for example, coming up with a fancy new product brochure for the same old flawed product.

  12. Anonymous9:53 PM

    I call my friend from Philadelphia and say,

    "Hey what's up?"

    "Nothin," says she, "just relaxin' like a 'ho on a Sunday."

  13. Wow, I just happened on this vein of class-of-1994(5)-ness. Hi David... ages ago Zena told me your blog's name and I wrote it down and lost it for eight months.
    The slang of my homeland was so lovingly canonized in Fargo I barely need to add.
    Out here in California the past couple years I've grown fond of the seemingly South-bay-centered "for reals lettuce." As in, "we gotta stop by the In-n-Out before we hit the Central Valley. For reals lettuce-- Im starving."