Ouch! This is a mix up of “irons in the fire” (a number of jobs or possibilities at the same time) and “balls in the air” (many things happening at once). A big thanks to Martin Pietrucha for sending this one in.
This malaphor was spoken by Congressman Paul Ryan (R – Wis) during his appearance on Morning Joe when asked for his “prebuttal” on Obama’s forthcoming budget. It is a mash up of “hold one’s fire” (refrain from criticism) and “keep one’s powder dry” (ready to take action if necessary). To “hold one’s tongue” also might be in the mix as it has a similar meaning and fits in the context. Or maybe Rep. ryan is changing his mind on the current gun legislation proposals? Many thanks to Mike Kovacs for spotting this one.
My dear friend Cindy W. said when she said this one, everyone looked at her like she had “four heads”. This terrific malaphor thus is a 4 head winner. It is a mash up of “throw a monkey wrench in (something)” (to cause something to fail) and “throw gas (or fuel) on the fire” or “out of the frying pan into the fire” (both meaning make a bad situation worse), or even “several irons in the fire” (a number of possibilities).