Monday, July 23, 2007

Expressionism?

I’ve always wondered how certain phrases became part of our everyday lexicon. Today I was hiking (walking to the corner store) and wondered how when the shit hits the fan became part of the vox populi. Is it possible that someone actually decided at one point in time to throw poop directly into the revolving blades of a fan, to perhaps avoid emptying the kitty litter? Impress the in-laws? And then afterwards did this person just run around telling people “Dude, you should have seen what happened when the shit hit the fan. Really baaaaaad.”

Or the ever metaphysical live every day as if it’s your last. How depressing would that be? You’d get up in the morning and say “Today is my last day on earth.” Then the next day you’d get up and say, “Today is my last day on earth.” If it really was my last day on earth I’d have to waste it picking out a coffin and choosing a cemetery plot instead of doing what I should be doing, having sex with George Clooney and getting high.

Women are often referred to as a clotheshorse. Did somewhere in the 6th century the horse actually put on trousers and a belt? Or was he a suspender kind of a horse? Is he just down to a saddle now? And why is a man who loves clothes referred to as a natty dresser but his female counterpart is compared to Secretariat?

You get sick as a dog. Did dogs used to run around vomiting all day long? And why would you fight fire with fire? Wouldn't water be more effective?

And how about when someone goes the whole nine yards? Why is that a good thing? Because in the NFL if you go the whole nine yards, people are pretty pissed off and would have preferred that you go the whole 100 yards.

Having all your ducks in a row implies you've got everything set up and you're good to go. Ducks? What are you set up for, a life of poverty and hunting? Frankly, I'd rather have all my houses in a row. Even the fine folks over at Monopoly figured that out.

And could someone please direct me to the catbird seat? If you’re in it, you’re considered lucky and yet no one can tell you where it is. And last I checked, you get a cat and a bird together and the shit definitely hits the fan.

End of a messy chat.

10 comments:

  1. Don't forget "It's like taking candy from a baby," which is supposed to mean something's easy. Clearly whoever coined that expression never actually attempted to remove a delectable from the death grip of a child.

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  2. Anonymous10:34 AM

    I realize the entry was a goof, but you're obviously really smart so I thought you might like some answers, some of which are pretty funny themselves. More fun info here: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php

    1. It's called “fighting fire with fire,” - the task of starving a fire by eliminating its fuel (oxygen) at which point both fires go out. Risky but effective.

    2. clothes horse: an "upright wooden frame for hanging clothes to dry" is from 1806; figurative sense of "person whose sole function seems to be to show off clothes" is 1850.

    3. Ducks in a row: An American expression meaning to have things organized or lined up - in a bowling alley, the pins used to be called "ducks".

    4. catbird seat: An expression from the rural south referring to the spot a cat would sit to catch birds. Literally, the most successful hunter and provider.

    5. "The whole nine yards" remains a mystery. One of the most common explanations for the phrase's origin is that the expression dates from the Second World War, where "nine yards" was the length of an aircraft machine-gun ammunition belt, and to "go the full nine yards" was to use it up entirely. However, machine-gun ammunition belts were not nine yards long, and the expression has been reliably dated back only to early 1964, in U.S. Space Program slang.[1] It was also apparently popular among Air Force personnel in Vietnam.[2] By November 1967 it was recorded in use in the U.S. Army, likewise from Vietnam, and by mid-1969 was appearing in newspaper advertisements in the United States.[3] The first citation in the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1970, in the magazine Word Watching.

    6. When the shit hits the fan: "The expression [the shit hits the fan] is related to, and may well derive from, an old joke. A man in a crowded bar needed to defecate but couldn't find a bathroom, so he went upstairs and used a hole in the floor. Returning, he found everyone had gone except the bartender, who was cowering behind the bar. When the man asked what had happened, the bartender replied, 'Where were you when the shit hit the fan?' " [Hugh Rawson, "Wicked Words," 1989]

    End of (long) comment

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  3. Hey, North Hollywood, California.

    Thanks for weighing in and thank God for outclicks on Site Meter or I wouldn't have figured out it was you!

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  4. I guess the Anonymous commenter never heard the expression, 'Boring as Shit.'

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  5. Look kids! Al's back! There are lots of standups who read my blog and are also alumni of a usenet newsgroup called alt.comedy.standup that got decimated by trolls.

    ANYWAY, my arch enemy Jenee, Abeyta, lovedavelittle and others are all here now. So just know they're all funny and can get to the jugular faster than O.J. so - you've been warned.

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  6. I would write more, but I am busy trying to get the monkey off my back.

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  7. nice OJ joke...ok catbird? never heard of that- EVER. Maybe 'cause I'm a spic and all.

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  8. At least you haven't fucked the goat.

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  9. Anonymous6:27 AM

    I guess Al has heard of the phrase "mean as a snake."

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  10. Looks like prisoners are going to have access to the computer, contact to the outside world and such. Is'nt that what got them locked up in the 1st place ???

    *rim shot

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