Archive for the ‘Idioms’ Category

Rodeos and sword dances

May 27, 2017

(Warning: there will be talk of penises and mansex.)

On The Hill site on 5/21, “Tillerson: ‘Not my first sword dance’ in Saudi Arabia”, by Jill Manchester:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday that his sword dance the previous night in Saudi Arabia was not his first.

“I hadn’t been practicing, Chris, but it was not my first sword dance,” Tillerson told Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace.

Tillerson and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross linked arms during the dance with Saudi performers on Saturday night. [REDACTED] also took part, swaying to the music, and appeared to enjoy the ceremonial dance. The event took place on [REDACTED]’s first day visiting Saudi Arabia, his first stop on his first foreign trip as president.

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Ross and Tillerson sword-dancing among Saudis

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Squid Pro Quo

May 20, 2017

This Non Sequitur cartoon by Wiley Miller:

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squid / quid. And squid as a source of ink, squid as food. .

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Ruthie faces the unfamiliar, again

May 19, 2017

The One Big Happy in my comics feed today:

Rockefellers / rocky fellows. How was Ruthie to know her grandmother was using a proper name? And fellers is a familiar dialect variant for fellows – and an old one (Americans have been labeling feller an “impropriety” or “provincialism”, with an “excrescent” r, since at least 1795, according to DARE).

Ruthie undoubtedly also didn’t know that the Rockefeller family has long been seen as the richest family in the world, hence as the, um, gold standard of wealth. Which gives We’re no / not Rockefellers as an idiom meaning, roughly, ‘We’re not rich’.

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Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit: three cartoons for the 1st

May 1, 2017

It’s May Day, an ancient spring festival — think maypoles and all that — so, the beginning of the cycle of the seasons. (Everybody knows the Vivaldi. Try listening instead to the Haydn, here.) And it’s the first of the month, an occasion for still other rituals, including one that calls for everyone to greet the new month, upon awakening, by saying “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit” (or some variant thereof). There’s even a Rabbit Rabbit Day Facebook community, with this page art (not attributed to an artist):

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The three-rabbit variant is the one I’m familiar with. (I got it as an adult from Ann Daingerfield Zwicky. Since she was from the South, I thought it was a specifically Southern thing. But today I learned, from an astonishingly detailed Wikipedia page, that that is very much not so.)

Today also brought a Facebook posting from my friend Mary Ballard, to whom the whole inaugural-rabbit thing was news, and, by good fortune, three cartoons from various sources: a Bizarro I’ve already posted about; a Mother Goose and Grimm with an outrageous bit of language play; and a Calvin and Hobbes reflection on the meaning of the verb read.

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New Yorker artwork 4/17/17

April 15, 2017

(Not primarily about language, but there is a bit in there.)

From this issue: a Flatiron Building cover by Harry Bliss; a Rob Leighton cartoon on the Dear John letter, nit-picking, and self-awareness; and a Will McPhail cartoon about duck hunters.

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Three more Reapings

April 13, 2017

The latest bulletin from Pinterest featured a Reaper Jokes board maintained by Kathy-Lynn Cross. More Grim Reaper cartoons, including one that especially caught my eye because of the two idioms in the text. A Mark Parisi showing one (angry) Reaper confronting another (disconsolate) Reaper: “I’ve had it with you! From now on, you’re alive to me!”. Nice reversal of the idiomatic you’re dead to me ‘I disown you, cut you off, will never see or speak to you again’. Spoken by Death to Death, you’re alive to me conveys the same.

More on this cartoon, then two more Grim Reapers, to add to the 14 already posted on this blog; it’s a very popular cartoon meme.

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The trophy boys park the beef bus in tuches town

April 9, 2017

(The title tells the story. Racy topic, unquestionably alluding to hard-core mansex, but indirectly and playfully. Use your judgment.)

The Steam Room Stories video that came by me yesterday morning: “Trophy Boys”, in which two good-looking, ripped gay men complain about being treated as pieces of meat, as just their bulging muscles and big dicks. There are several twists in this short scene (which you can watch here), but here I’m going to focus on the title and on one of the men’s complaints about the men who pick him up as their trophy boy:

It’s dinner, drinks, and back to their place to park the beef bus in tuches town.

(referring to insertive anal intercourse). Playful alliteration in beef bus and tuches town, — the characters in SRS are given to fanciful indirect references to all matters sexual — and then there are the specific items beef, tuches, and of course trophy in trophy boy.

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pain in the X

March 9, 2017

A recent One Big Happy:

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Higher vs.lower, in several senses. The two families of pain in the idioms are high vs.low on the body and high vs. low in tone. (They’ve been around for about a hundred years, but apparently didn’t catch fire until the 1930s.)

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No whey in hell

March 6, 2017

On Pinterest this morning, along with a bunch of Gary Larson cartoons, this cartoon by Dan Thompson from some time ago:

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Ingredients: “Little Miss Muffet”; homophony (or near-homophony) of whey and way; the complex AmE idiom no way in hell. Bonus: Anne Taintor.

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Playing for laughs

February 22, 2017

… or, playing over the top, and in fact doing this knowingly while winking at the audience, so that you might want to say: camping it up. I refer to the Netflix version of A Series of Unfortunate Events, in which Neil Patrick Harris (NPH) plays the villain for laughs, while Patrick Warburton plays the author-narrator, Lemony Snicket, ditto, and a bunch of others — notably Joan Cusack, K. Todd Freeman, and Alfre Woodard — join them.

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