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He should have shown more fire and vinegar

Another from sports talk radio.  Andrew Fillipponi from 93.7 The Fan (a Pittsburgh sports talk radio show) was talking about Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s lack of anger and passion at his press conference after the loss to the New Orleans Saints.  It is a sweet mashup of “fire and brimstone” (intense speech filled with emotion and anger) and “piss and vinegar” (having an abundance or excessive amount of rowdiness or enthusiasm).  Maybe the speaker didn’t want to say “piss” on the air, but he could then have substituted “spit” as “spit and vinegar” has the same meaning.   The contributor of this nice malaphor wanted to remain anonymous so I respect his/her wishes.

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Negotiating with Trump is like trying to talk to Jello

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) uttered this gem on CNN January 4, 2019.  The context is regarding the recent Government shutdown over Trump’s proposed wall.  This is a conflation of “like talking to a wall” (a futile conversation because the other party is not listening) and “like nailing Jello to a wall” (a futile attempt at something).  Both idioms contain the word “wall” (appropriate in context, right?) and both concern something that is futile (a conversation or an attempt).   A hat tip to Tom Justice for hearing this one!


Top of the crop

This gem was seen on the sleeve of an Illy cup of coffee (see picture below).  While it may not be unintentional (Illy is an Italian coffee company, so who knows?) it was too good to pass up.  It is a conflation of “top of the heap” and “cream of the crop”, both meaning superior to others or the very best.  This one is similar to a malaphor posted a few years ago, “He is the top of the notch”.   https://malaphors.com/2012/12/11/he-is-the-top-of-the-notch/

A big thanks to Steve Grieme for spotting this one in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida, and taking a picture of it!


The guardrails are coming off

This one is from a CNN news story:  “The White House official who was in contact with CNN’s Brown said that with the impending departures of both Chief of Staff John Kelly and Mattis, there is a feeling that the guardrails are coming off. The official says “of course it’s crazy. Anyone looking at this has got to think there’s some craziness going on.”https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/22/politics/shutdown-mattis-whitaker-trump/index.htm
This is a congruent conflation of “off the rails” and “the wheels are coming off”,  both meaning a state of chaos or disorder.   The words “rails” and “wheels” were confused, probably due to the association of both of them (wheels on a railroad car).  Of course, if the guardrails are removed, a state of chaos would probably ensue.  A big thanks to Ron MacDonald for spotting this one.
  

Nothing to shake a home about

Joe Theismann, the ex-Redskins quarterback, was discussing the 2018 Redskins on a local D.C. sports talk radio show and in particular the average wide receiver corps.  This is a mash up of “more (something) than you can shake a stick at” (a very large number) and “nothing to write home about”  (not especially remarkable or noteworthy).  This is an interesting one as the two idioms have almost opposite meanings – a perfect example of an incongruent conflation. Maybe Joe was thinking of an earthquake with homes shaking when he uttered this one.  A big thanks to Joe Welch who heard this one and sent it in.


A rose is a rose by any other name

This is a nice literary malaphor, uttered on the MSNBC show Hard Ball .  It is a congruent conflation of Shakespeare’s “A rose by any other name” and  Gertrude Stein’s sentence “a rose is a rose is a rose”, both interpreted as meaning things are what they are.  A big thanks to Mike Kovacs for hearing this conflation of two famous lines in literature.


He had a hissing contest

Ron Cook, a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer, uttered this beauty on the sports talk radio show, 93.7 The Fan.  He was summarizing Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown’s out of control behavior and that Brown had “a hissing contest” with one of the coaches.  This is a conflation of “pissing contest” (useless or trivial argument) and a “hissy fit” (a childish temper tantrum).  Both idioms actually fit the context, a rarity in malaphors.  The rhyming of hissing and pissing also contributed to the mashup.  A big thanks to John Kooser for hearing this one and sending it in.