Busy, busy busy!

Spring time and we’re all very busy.  How busy, you ask?  According to English By Day dot com, there are several comparisons to determine exactly how busy you may be.  You may have a lot on your plate.  Slammed is another level of being busy.  You may be snowed under or swamped.  You could be busy as a bee or a beaver, hopefully not both at the same time.  Another animal that tends to be busy is a cat on a hot tin room.  You could be up to your, insert body part here; arse, armpit, neck, eyeballs, ears, etc. You may have a lot of irons in the fire, probably because you bit off more than you can chew.  Perhaps you compare your schedule to that of a rail station, as in, I’m busier than Grand Central Station.  Maybe the elements describe how busy you are, as in, busier than a one armed paper hanger in a wind storm. My favorite is I’m as busy as a one legged man in a butt kicking contest.  That one inspires a visual for sure. Listen to the podcast here; https://theriver953.com/lonnies-fun-fact/

Playin’ it by ear!

For today’s fun fact, I’m just going to play it by ear.  In other words, I don’t really have a plan, or a clue, as to what I’m going to write.  This phrase most likely originated from the world of music, where people would listen to a piece of music and then try to play it by what they heard.  Although I took piano lessons when I was a kid, I never really developed the skill to read the musical notes.  My piano teacher moved away when I was eight or nine.  Perhaps it was the way I played.  I can look at sheet music and figure out the notes, but I can’t do it fast enough to actually play from the sheet music.  I can sit down at a keyboard and peck out a tune, at least with one hand.  When I started playing guitar, I learned some scales and chords, but still play mostly by ear.  Some people live their entire life playing it by ear, in other words just live day by day and adapt to the current situation, whatever that may be.  I suppose there is a certain freedom in that, but for me there is also a great deal of potential for things not to work out so good mixed with the risk of something awesome taking place.  Sort of a double edged sword.   Listen to the podcast here;  https://theriver953.com/lonnies-fun-fact/

Fun Fact December 2, 2021.

So have you ever done something whole hog?  The idiom most likely comes from the butchering of livestock, pigs specifically, meaning to use every thing from snout to tail.  According to phrase dot org, the phrase is American in origin and first started appearing in print in newspapers in 1827.  The earliest example being from the New York paper, The Commercial Advertiser, on December 28, 1827. The use of the phrase became widespread during the United States presidential election of 1828, in which the enthusiastic supporters of Andrew Jackson were called ‘whole hog’ Jacksonites.   Listen to the podcast here; https://theriver953.com/lonnies-fun-fact/

Fun Fact November 19, 2021.

A bit of hyperbole today.  You’ve probably heard, and may have even said, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse!”  The idiom dates back to the 1700’s and the origin is not clear.  You can interpret it in a couple of ways.  One is that you could actually eat an entire horse, which of course is impossible.  Another is that you could eat the rear end of a horse, again not likely.  The fact that you’d eat any part of a horse is doubtful, not to mention frowned upon by Western culture. The phrase basically means you are very hungry.  There are a lot of people in our neighborhoods who are hungry, maybe even hungry enough to eat a horse.  You can help.  We’re not asking you to bring a horse, or any part of one, to the Camping For Hunger bus, but we would appreciate a nonperishable or monetary donation.  The bus is parked at 1106 Elm Street in Front Royal or you can make a safe and secure donation at The River 95-3 dot com.  Listen to the podcast here; https://theriver953.com/lonnies-fun-fact/

Fun Fact September 29, 2021.

The cat is out of the bag!  There are a couple of theories as to the origin of this idiom.  One is from the high seas where disobedient sailors were beaten with a whip called a cat o-nine tail.  A leather strap with nine knots tied in it.  It was kept in a bag to keep it from drying out in the sea air.  If the cat came out of the bag, someone was in trouble.  The other theory is from someone buying a pig in a bag, but the seller would switch the pig for a cat and the unsuspecting purchaser wouldn’t know until he got home and let the cat out of the bag.  Both of these are a bit far fetched, especially the second one.  And neither one explains how letting the cat out of the bag is related to revealing a secret, which is what the idiom has come to mean. Listen to the podcast here; https://theriver953.com/lonnies-fun-fact/

Fun Fact September 13, 2021.

A few odd idioms today.  When someone sneezes, typically someone will say “bless you” or “God bless you.”  In Mongolia they go one step further; they say “bless you and may your moustache grow like brushwood.”  Apparently good facial hair is highly desired in Mongolia.  I wonder how the ladies feel about a blessing for their moustache.  You may have heard of having other fish to fry, meaning you have other, more important things to attend to.  In France, they don’t fry fish they whip cats.  This feline fixation in idioms seems somewhat universal, for example, “let the cat out of the bag,” “curiosity killed the cat,” or “pace around hot porridge like a cat.” That last one is the Czech equivalent to the English “beat around the bush.”

Fun Fact June 30, 2021.

Caught you red handed!  Where did this idiom come from?  For the answer we have to go back to 15th century Scotland.  According the Yahoo dot com, The phrase, at least then, referred to being caught with blood on your hands, either from murder or poaching.   The first recorded instance of someone referring as having a “red hand” comes from “The Scottish Acts of Parliament of James I” in 1432.  The term as known today, that being “red-handed” can be found in Sir Walter Scott’s “Ivanhoe” from 1820.  The idiom has not changed in meaning since first being used, in other words, if you are caught red handed you’ve been caught in the act of doing something you aren’t supposed to be doing, like stealing a cookie.  You know, being caught with your hand in the cookie jar.    

Fun Fact June 23, 2021.

It came out of the blue!  But where did that idiom come from?  The phrase out of the blue means without warning and completely unexpected.  It is from a bolt out of, also from, the blue, describing a sudden and unexpected event, a complete surprise, with reference to the unlikelihood of a clap of thunder or a bolt of lightening coming from a clear blue sky. For example, The London Standard newspaper had the following on August 26, 1863:  “Murder now rises up before us, gaunt and unmitigated, in a circle where all seemed lovely, virtuous, and peaceful. This is verily ‘a bolt out of the blue’—the lightning flash in a sunny sky.”  Which brings me to a dad joke I saw recently; I just found out I’m color blind.  I’ve got to tell you, that news came out of the purple!