This is the big, 40,000 foot question

Tim Mak, NPR political reporter on the NPR radio show, Here and Now, was discussing the recent indictment of Roger Stone.  He was retelling what was in the indictment, but questioning what evidence Special Counsel Robert Mueller has in his possession.  This gem can be heard at 5:15 of the following:

This is a wonderful conflation of “the 64,000 dollar question” (a question very important and/or difficult to answer) and “the 10,000 (or sometimes 20, 30, or 40,000) foot view” (a description of a problem or issue that provides general information, but short on details).  Idioms containing numbers are often jumbled.  I have posted some other great ones, such as “hindsight is 50/50” ( and “we were 3 sheets passing in the night” (  A big thanks to Tom Justice for hearing this one and sending it in!


Everything’s peachy-dory

While I have posted this one before (, it bears repeating as President Trump said it a few days ago.  Let’s go to the transcript:

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, the news incorrectly reported.  Because I said, well, if we go back and everything is peachy- dory, and you say, “We’ll talk over 30 days,” at the end of 30 days, are you going to give us great border security, which includes a wall or a steel barrier.

This is a mash up of the expressions peachy keen and hunky-dory, both meaning fine or satisfactory.  This seems to be a fairly common malaphor, based on internet hits.  Now hunky keen is a different matter….Several of you caught this one, including Steve Grieme and Mike Kovacs, both expert malaphor hunters.

Negotiating with Trump is like trying to talk to Jello

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) uttered this gem on CNN January 4, 2019.  The context is regarding the recent Government shutdown over Trump’s proposed wall.  This is a conflation of “like talking to a wall” (a futile conversation because the other party is not listening) and “like nailing Jello to a wall” (a futile attempt at something).  Both idioms contain the word “wall” (appropriate in context, right?) and both concern something that is futile (a conversation or an attempt).   A hat tip to Tom Justice for hearing this one!

The guardrails are coming off

This one is from a CNN news story:  “The White House official who was in contact with CNN’s Brown said that with the impending departures of both Chief of Staff John Kelly and Mattis, there is a feeling that the guardrails are coming off. The official says “of course it’s crazy. Anyone looking at this has got to think there’s some craziness going on.”
This is a congruent conflation of “off the rails” and “the wheels are coming off”,  both meaning a state of chaos or disorder.   The words “rails” and “wheels” were confused, probably due to the association of both of them (wheels on a railroad car).  Of course, if the guardrails are removed, a state of chaos would probably ensue.  A big thanks to Ron MacDonald for spotting this one.

Trump is hunkering in

This was uttered by Elise Jordan on MSNBC, as she was describing Trump alone in the White House.  It is a congruent conflation of “digging in” and “hunkering down”, both meaning to get started in working on something or alternatively to seek refuge in a particular place.  A big thanks to Frank King for catching this one.

The government pulled the wool over him

On the Ali Velshi MSNBC show, Matt Apuzzo was talking about General Flynn and that some believe the government tricked him.  He then uttered this nice malaphor, which is a congruent conflation of “pull the wool over (one’s) eyes” and “pull one over on him”, both meaning to trick or deceive.  The operative word here is “pull” which appears in each idiom.  A big thanks to Hawk-eared Frank King for hearing this gem.

We will be able to put all the dots in a row

Jackie Speier (D-CA) uttered this nice malaphor on the All In with Chris Hayes show on MSNBC (11/28/18).  Here is the context:  “and I have no doubt in my mind that we will at some point, when the Mueller investigation is over, be able to put all the dots in a row and draw a line through them.”  This is a congruent conflation of “get your ducks in a row” (organize your affairs) and “connect the dots” (to understand something by piecing together bits of information).  “Dots” and “ducks” sound alike and the idea of connecting dots is similar to a row.  A big thanks to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one.