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McCain beats to his own drum

Robert Traynham said this one on MSNBC discussing McCain’s vote on the health care bill.  It is a subtle mash up of “march to the beat of his own drum” and I think “he is his own man”, both meaning someone who does things that don’t conform to the standard or prevalent norm.  A shout out to Susie and Andy Wakshul for hearing this one.
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He’s open game

This perfectly formed malaphor was uttered by Josh Miller on the radio show The Fan on 93.7 in Pittsburgh (Miller was a former punter for the Pittsburgh Steelers and is now a sports commentator).  Miller was discussing the crazy antics of a fan at a baseball game and the nasty comments directed at him.  “Open game” is a mashup of “open season” (a period of time when everyone is criticizing someone or something) and “fair game” (something or someone who is considered permissible to attack).   The speaker may have had deer season on his mind, thinking of open season on game?  A big shout out to John Kooser who heard this one and sent it in!


It’s all water in the bucket

This was heard at a meeting.  When the speaker was asked what he meant by that phrase, he said it was similar to the idea conveyed by the phrase “Every penny adds up””.   However, it appears to be a malaphor, mixing “water under the bridge” (a prior issue that is now resolved) and “It’s a drop in the bucket” (a very small or unimportant amount).  A tip of the hat to Raffi Tashjian for hearing this one and sending it in.


Not the sharpest bulb in the shed

In our continuing series of confused phrases describing not so intelligent people, Darleen DiGirolamo brings us this one from the website Lucid Nation.  It’s a mash up of “not the sharpest tool in the shed” and “not the brightest bulb in the pack (or chandelier)”, both describing a slow-witted or dull person.  There are lots of descriptions of slow-witted folk, and so they are bound to get mixed up in true malaphor fashion.  Here are a few examples previously posted on this site:

“He wasn’t the brightest bulb in the basket”

“He’s not the sharpest light bulb in the pack”

You’re not the brightest toolbox in the shed”

“not the brightest tool in the shed”

A big thanks to Darleen DiGirolamo for spotting this one! @lucidnation


That’s the icing on the iceberg

Flipping through the AM stations, Paul Kaufman heard this gem.  It is a nice mashup of “tip of the iceberg” (small portion of something much larger and complex that cannot yet be seen or understood) and “icing on the cake” (an extra enhancement).  In this age of a heating planet,  we could stand to have some more icing on our icebergs.  Thanks to Paul Kaufman for hearing this one and sharing it!


I don’t want to go over the things Bob touched about

A speaker at a meeting blurted out this one.  It is a nice mix of “touched on” and “talked about”.  Those pesky prepositions confuse us, don’t they?  A tip of the toque to the Professor of Malaphors, Martin Pietrucha for hearing this one and sending it in.


It blew me off of my feet

This very well-formed malaphor was uttered on the HGTV show, Good Bones. “I really didn’t know what to expect.  It blew me off of my feet.”  It is a congruent conflation (the best kind of malaphors, in my opinion) of “knocked me off my feet” and “it blew me away”, both meaning to cause someone great pleasure or surprise.  Certainly a strong wind might blow one off one’s feet, but they stand a better chance of staying put if they have “good bones”.  A tip of the hat to David Stephens for hearing this one and sending it in!