He should have shown more fire and vinegar

Another from sports talk radio.  Andrew Fillipponi from 93.7 The Fan (a Pittsburgh sports talk radio show) was talking about Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s lack of anger and passion at his press conference after the loss to the New Orleans Saints.  It is a sweet mashup of “fire and brimstone” (intense speech filled with emotion and anger) and “piss and vinegar” (having an abundance or excessive amount of rowdiness or enthusiasm).  Maybe the speaker didn’t want to say “piss” on the air, but he could then have substituted “spit” as “spit and vinegar” has the same meaning.   The contributor of this nice malaphor wanted to remain anonymous so I respect his/her wishes.

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!

Top of the crop

This gem was seen on the sleeve of an Illy cup of coffee (see picture below).  While it may not be unintentional (Illy is an Italian coffee company, so who knows?) it was too good to pass up.  It is a conflation of “top of the heap” and “cream of the crop”, both meaning superior to others or the very best.  This one is similar to a malaphor posted a few years ago, “He is the top of the notch”.   https://malaphors.com/2012/12/11/he-is-the-top-of-the-notch/

A big thanks to Steve Grieme for spotting this one in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida, and taking a picture of it!

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.”https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/22/politics/shutdown-mattis-whitaker-trump/index.htm
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.

Nothing to shake a home about

Joe Theismann, the ex-Redskins quarterback, was discussing the 2018 Redskins on a local D.C. sports talk radio show and in particular the average wide receiver corps.  This is a mash up of “more (something) than you can shake a stick at” (a very large number) and “nothing to write home about”  (not especially remarkable or noteworthy).  This is an interesting one as the two idioms have almost opposite meanings – a perfect example of an incongruent conflation. Maybe Joe was thinking of an earthquake with homes shaking when he uttered this one.  A big thanks to Joe Welch who heard this one and sent it in.

He had a hissing contest

Ron Cook, a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer, uttered this beauty on the sports talk radio show, 93.7 The Fan.  He was summarizing Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown’s out of control behavior and that Brown had “a hissing contest” with one of the coaches.  This is a conflation of “pissing contest” (useless or trivial argument) and a “hissy fit” (a childish temper tantrum).  Both idioms actually fit the context, a rarity in malaphors.  The rhyming of hissing and pissing also contributed to the mashup.  A big thanks to John Kooser for hearing this one and sending it in.

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.

Whatever turns your boat

Overheard at a WalMart at midnight: two women were talking about another woman’s unusual outfit and one of them uttered this classic malaphor.  It is a congruent conflation of “whatever floats your boat” and “whatever turns you on”, both meaning whatever makes you happy.  The phrases both begin with “whatever”, and with boats capsizing, you can see where the confusion arises.  A big thanks to John Kooser who heard this one while doing some midnight shopping.

If you enjoyed this one, and are thinking about how to fill that Christmas stocking, why not get the malaphor book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”?  It’s available on Amazon for a cheap 7.99.  Makes a great addition to any bathroom.

Beat the iron while it’s hot

This beauty comes from a video tutorial on Getting Google Reviews.  It is a nice mashup of “strike while the iron is hot”  (to make most of an opportunity or favorable conditions while one has the chance to do so) and “beat (someone) to the punch” (to do something before someone else does).  Both idioms involve doing something early.  A big thanks to Frank King for seeing this one and passing it on.  Shout out to The Ranking Academy for giving us this blooper.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCopSeO4OPWd5M9zzPhA6qpg