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Trump sees a window and he’s taking it

This one is from an online article posted by John Cassidy, the fine New Yorker columnist, quoting another pundit on the Sessions firing. “This is a frontal assault on the Mueller investigation”, Susan Hennessey, the executive editor of the Lawfare blog, wrote on Twitter.  “Trump sees a window and he’s taking it.” This is a conflation of “sees an opening” and “window of opportunity”, both meaning a short period of time in which one has a favorable opportunity to do or accomplish something.  A window is an opening, and thus the reason for the mashup.  Kudos to John Costello for spotting this one and sending it in.
Did you enjoy this one?  There are many more like this one in my book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available at Amazon.  Click on this link for more! https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205
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The President is using his bully pit to create questions on our elections

This gem was uttered by Maria Teresa Kumar on MSNBC’s Last Word on November 12, 2018.  Is it a malaphor?  I think it is a malaphor word blend of “bully pulpit” (a public position that allows a person to share his views with a large audience) and “pit bull” (an aggressive and tenacious person).  The latter defines the subject and the former was the intended idiom to be used.  A big thank you to James Kozlowski for hearing this one and sharing it.


It’s better than a kick in the eye with a sharp stick

This is a mashup of the phrases “better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick” (better than nothing) and “kick in the pants” (message or gesture that acts as motivation for the recipient).  Kicking and poking are confused here.  Or maybe the speaker was saying just do something to get motivated?  A big thanks to Eric for sending this one in!


We’re going to leave nothing uncovered

This one comes from Donald Trump, explaining how he’s going to thoroughly investigate the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.  It is a great mash up of “leave no stone unturned” (to look for something in every possible place) and “leave nothing to chance” (to allow nothing to be settled by chance) or perhaps also “uncover the truth.” The added bonus here is that his mash up manages to mean exactly the opposite of what he intended.

Here is the link: https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/15/politics/trump-saudi-king-tweet/index.html?fbclid=IwAR0oO6TcAWywTPU6JF2RHzKe-sT4Om1yrgqoQe3HHCvX73Xayfp44icHKSI

A big thanks to David Barnes for spotting this one and sending it in.


He’s barking up the wrong horse

This one was almost uttered and then held back, apparently realizing it was wrong.  It is a nice mashup of “barking up the wrong tree” (to attempt a futile course of action) and “backing the wrong horse” (to support a person in an effort that fails).  Both phrases involve failure, and “barking” and “backing” sound and look similar, hence the mix up.  Also, the word “wrong” is in each idiom, contributing to the mental hiccup.  As I have posted previously, idioms involving horses for some reason are frequently mixed up, causing malaphors.  Go to the Malaphors web page and search “horse”.  You will find a treasure trove of malaphors.  As Kramer would say, “Giddyup!”  A big thanks to John Kooser for almost belching out this one.


She was threading that line in the Trump Administration

Kathleen Parker from the Washington Post uttered this one on MSNBC (the malaphor channel), talking about Nikki Haley.  It is a conflation of “toeing the line” (adhering to the rules of something) and “threading the needle” (pass something through a narrow space between two things).  Both idioms make sense in context, and perhaps Ms. Parker’s malaphor is really an economical way of expressing two ideas at once.  A big thanks to Jim Kozlowski for hearing this one and passing it on.


I want to thank you for giving me the down low

Alex Witt on MSNBC’s Live with Alex Witt uttered this on Saturday, October 13.  It is a nice mashup of “get the lowdown” (receiving specific facts or information on a situation) and “get the down and dirty” (receive uninhibited and direct news).  At first I thought he might have just inverted the phrase “the lowdown” but in context he was thinking of “down and dirty” as well.  A big thanks to Frank King who always gives the down low.