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One day you might be on the other side of the stick

Bob Phillips, state director of the advocacy group Common Cause, uttered this one to The Guardian.  Here is the full quote to give you context:

“Unfortunately, the Democrats, some of them will say, ‘We can’t wait to win in 2020, take it back and gerrymander the hell out of them’,” said Phillips. “Now, that’s not what I want, but it’s out there, and it’s playing in the minds of the majority party. If you are the majority party and you don’t do reform, one day you might be on the other side of the stick.”: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/27/us-supreme-court-2020-election-gerrymandering.

This is a mashup of “other side of the coin” (opposite aspect of something) and “short end of the stick” (unequal outcome of a deal that results in a disadvantage).  Ends and sides must be the reason for this mental scramble.  A big thanks to Barry Eigen for spotting this one.

You won’t get the other side of the stick if you buy the book of books on malaphors, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon today!  https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205

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They’re not holding any punches

Ayman Mohyeldin on MSNBC uttered this one when he was talking about Trey Gowdy and Republicans criticizing Democrats and Mueller’s testimony.  It is a congruent conflation of “not holding back” and “not pulling any punches”, both meaning to act without restraint or limitations.  The congruent conflation to me is the purest form of a malaphor.  The speaker is thinking of the correct idiom but there are other idioms that mean the same thing swirling in the brain.  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this subtle but classic malaphor. @AymanM


He put his lead foot in his mouth

The speaker was discussing Biden’s recent bragging about working with segregationists and uttered this malaphor. It is a mashup of “to put (one’s) foot in “one’s” mouth” (unintentionally say something foolish) and “have a lead foot” (tend to speed when driving).  “Go over like a lead balloon” (utter failure) might also be in the mix, as it seems to fit in context.  This one reminds me of the famous malaphor uttered by Ann Richards at the 1988 Democratic Convention, when she referred to George H.W. Bush as someone who “was born with a silver foot in his mouth”.  Check that one out in my website at https://malaphors.com/politics/.  A big thanks to John Kooser for uttering this one and unabashedly submitting it!


Paul Ryan shamelessly ran cover for Trump

This appears in the very first line of Eric Lutz’s piece in Vanity Fair on Paul Ryan’s interview with Politico’s Tim Alberta.  It is a congruent conflation of “run interference” and “provide cover” (take an action to avoid problems, on behalf of another individual).  “Run for cover” might also have been in the writer’s mind, located in the “freudian slip” area.  A big thanks to Frank King who spotted this one!


Joe Biden needs to get out and shake the flesh

This one conjures up a scary/humorous image.  Former House Rep Joe Crowley (D-NY) (who was unseated by AOC) said this beaut on MSNBC today.  He was asked if he had any advice for the Biden campaign and this was his answer.  It is a congruent conflation of “press the flesh” and “shake hands and kiss babies”, both meaning to go out and meet as many people as possible.  Mike Kovacs, Chief Operating Officer for Malaphor Central, heard this one and sent it in immediately.  Mike noted that there are several cheap jokes embedded in this malaphor.  Crowley lost to AOC, who as many will remember shook the flesh in a great dance video.  Also, Mike queried whether Biden at his age could shake the flesh considering the loss of elasticity, but I believe that actually works to Joe’s advantage.


That’s why I think the President was so steamed off this morning

This beauty was uttered by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, referring to Trump’s reaction to her comments about him engaging in a cover-up.  Here is the context:

“This is why I think the president was so steamed off this morning, because the fact is in plain sight, in the public domain, this president is obstructing justice and he’s engaged in a cover-up, and that could be an impeachable offense,” the San Francisco Democrat said at a progressive conference.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Pelosi-s-cover-up-remark-sets-Trump-off-13872325.php?psid=76uDZ

This is a nice congruent conflation of “pissed off” and “steamed (up)”, both meaning to be angry.  My guess is that Speaker Pelosi was thinking “pissed” but quickly realized that would not be a prudent thing to say in public.  Just guessing.  I will note for the record that “steamed off” is a phrase, but it normally means to leave or depart in an angry or animated manner.  A big tip of the hat to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one!


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!