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His experience as a POW drove tears into my eyes

This was in response to a picture of me and Hal Kushner on my Facebook page.  Tears for Hal Kushner, the Vietnam hero who is featured in Ken Burns’ Vietnam War series.  It is a congruent conflation of “moved (drove) me to tears” and “brought tears to my eyes”, both meaning to evoke a strong emotion.   If you don’t know about Dr. Kushner and his amazing story, watch the Burns series or check him out on google or YouTube.  A big thanks to my friend Rainer Reichelt for unintentionally writing this nice malaphor and driving tears into my eyes with laughter!

 

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You can get it for a song and dance

Maybe this means to get a low price after an elaborate request?  In any event, this phrase is a nice mix of “for a song” (for a very low price) and “a song and dance” (an elaborate story or effort to explain something).  Kudos to Sam Edelmann who heard this one and passed it along.

 


Joe Biden can’t count all the chickens before they roost

Zerlina Maxwell said this on MSNBC’s Hardball recently. She was speaking about Biden and that since 21 Dems are running (and counting),  he can’t be sure he will get the nomination.  Ms. Maxwell actually uttered this same malaphor last year when she was talking about Democrats avoiding calls for impeaching Trump.  Here was my post:

Zerlina Maxwell on MSNBC’s “Live with Katie Tur” uttered this beauty when she was talking about Democrats avoiding calls for impeaching Trump.  This is a barnyard mashup of “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” (don’t make future plans before they happen) and “chickens come home to roost” (you have to face the consequences of your mistakes).  “Chickens” of course are the culprit here, contributing to the mental yolk.  These  fowl phrases seem to get mixed up a lot  – see “Never count your eggs before they hatch (July 9, 2012 post) , and “Might the roosters be guarding the henhouse?” (August 2, 2014 post).  I was eggcited when several people laid this one on me.  First was the ubiquitous Mike Kovacs, followed quickly by James Kozlowski and Bob Maxwell (no relation).  Malaphor spotters are everywhere it seems.

https://malaphors.com/2018/08/27/they-dont-want-to-count-their-chickens-before-they-roost/

Zerlina, if you are following, please keep them coming.  We need to egg this process forward.  This is a favorite of mine.  The latest barnyard mashup was brought to you compliments of Beatrice Zablocki (“my ol’ pal”).

 


He always said 1990 was the year he hit the rocks

This one comes from New York Times reporter Susanne Craig, appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, discussing her reporting on Donald Trump’s business losses during 1984-1994.  It is a congruent conflation of “hit rock bottom” and “hit the skids”, both referring to a period of trouble or decline.  Both contain the word “hit”, contributing to the mixup.  “Hit a new low” might also be in the mix.  A big thanks to Vicki Ameel Kovacs for hearing this one.  Vicki can spot a malaphor a mile away.


He’s a pillar of salt

This one comes from Cape Town, South Africa.  One of the contestants on the tv show “The Bachelor South Africa” was describing her dad.  It is a mix of “pillar of strength” (a supportive or emotionally strong person) and “salt of the earth” (a genuine and morally sound person).  Both idioms describe a person of good character, probably creating the confusion.  Also, as the contibutor of this malaphor said, the speaker may have been thinking of that Biblical pillar of salt, Lot’s wife.   A big thanks to Erika Bornman who heard this beauty and sent it in all the way from Cape Town, South Africa.

Did you like this one?  Check out the salty book on malaphors, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205.


That’s a bit of a straw horse, isn’t it?

This was heard in a phone conference.  The context indicated that the speaker was thinking of straw man.  It is a nice conflation of “straw man” (a form of argument and an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent) and I think “horse of a different color” (something completely different, particularly in comparison of something else).  Both expressions refer to comparisons or substitutions. “Trojan horse” (something that seems good or useful but is really something to cause harm in the future) may also be in play, as again it refers to a substitution or comparison.  The speaker probably linked “straw” with “horses” instead of “men” which would be logical, as horses sleep on straw.

Speaking of straw man arguments, they are incredibly abundant in today’s political theater as fallacies seem to be successful tactics.  For example, Trump wants a wall on our southern border. That leads Republicans to support the unfair assumption that anyone who opposes the wall is for open borders; Trump even went so far as to accuse House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of supporting human trafficking because she opposes the border wall. However, immigration is not an either/or proposition. Both sides are in favor of border security, but if the Democrats must defend themselves against the false charge that they want no restrictions at all on immigration, they waste time and energy that could be spent on reaching common ground. Thus the straw man that Democrats are distracted by and find themselves attacking instead of the real issue.

A big thanks to Forrest Morgan for hearing this one and passing it on!


Don’t leave me out to dry

The speaker uttered this one and then realized a few minutes later he had spoken a perfect malaphor.  This is a conflation of “leave (one) hanging” (keep someone in suspense) and “hang (one) out to dry” (to desert in a troubling situation).  Certainly you leave clothes out to dry on a nice sunny day so perhaps the speaker had this visual in his mind.  A tip of the hat to Dan Obergfell for not only sharing this one but saying it as well!