Month: August 2015

red herring

The phrase can refer to a dried smoked herring, which has been turned red by the smoke, or something, especially a clue, that is usually intended to be misleading or distracting. Prior to refrigeration kipper was known for being strongly pungent. In 1807, William Cobbett wrote how he used red herrings to lay a false trail, while training hunting dogs…

potholes

When we hit a particularly deep, jarring pothole, we may refer to them as %@!*ing potholes. These abrupt breaks in pavement come in all shapes and sizes, cause thousands of dollars of damage to cars, trucks and buses, and they’re a growing fiscal problem for local and national budgets. But where does the name come from? The explanation I like…

let the chips fall where they may

Do what you intend to do, no matter what the results may be. In other words, when chopping wood, pay attention to the main task and don’t worry about the small chips. This idiom comes from the world of logging, probably late 1800s. When you chop down a tree, every time the axe bites into the trunk, pieces of wood…

the book is live!

You probably already know this, but I’ll say it again anyway. Because I enjoyed writing this book so much, I want everybody else to enjoy reading it! DECEPTION BAY, my thirteenth novel, is out from Felinity Press. To a tourist, the sleepy village of Deception Bay appears to be an idyllic, peaceful retreat, anything but deceptive.  But Larry, the bartender…

riding shotgun

To travel as an armed guard next to a vehicle’s driver. The phrase has also been used to mean giving support or aid to someone in a situation, i.e. to “watch their back.” There is good evidence that people were employed to guard stagecoaches on early USA stateliness. In October 1891, the Iowa newspaper The Oxford Mirror, published this comment:…

short takes

from hell to breakfast: meaning completeness. Similar to ‘Till the cows come home.’ blink of an eye: super fast, a jiffy, in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, a nanosecond get blood out of a stone: to attempt what is impossible sweep under the rug: conceal something embarrassing spur of the moment: unplanned And that’s exactly what this post is:…

square meal

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, my favorite words, second only to ‘books.’ It’s tempting to look for origins based on a literal reading of the words. For example, sailors used to eat off square wooden boards and, after a heavy watch were given a large meal which filled the board — a square meal. Another example: in ye olde Britain, a dinner…