Month: September 2016

it ain’t over till the fat lady sings

Nothing is irreversible until the final act is played out. This colloquialism means that one should not make assumptions about the outcome of an event which is still in progress. The phrase is most commonly used in association with organized competitions, particularly sports. The “fat lady” may be the valkyrie Brünnhilde, from Richard Wagner’s Götterdämmerung, the last of the very…

haywire

This has several meanings:  — wire used to bind bales of hay  — in disorder (the city is haywire because of the bus strike)  — out of control, gone wrong, crazy  — poorly equipped, makeshift “To go haywire” probably originally referred to the tendency of wire spooled under tension to spring into an unmanageable tangle once a piece had been…

bells and whistles

Desirable or engaging additional features and fittings or, as described in the US magazine Atlantic in October 1982, “Pentagon slang for extravagant frills.” Originally, the phrase was used in a literal way in 18th and 19th century texts to refer to anyone or anything trying to make a lot of noise. Before modern electronics, there were really only two ways…

Video

Here’s something new! A trailer for Charger the Soldier, Book #1 of The Charger Chronicles:   The Charger Chronicles

leave no stone unturned

Try everything, leave nothing unattempted. The phrase has been used since the mid 1500s in its present form, but it originated in ancient Greece, in a tale told by Euripides. The tale goes this way: When Xerxes made war on the Greeks, and was vanquished at Salamis, he went away but left Mardonius behind to carry on the war in…

slapstick

There are two definitions for “slapstick,” though one derives from the other. A “slap stick” is a paddle designed to produce a loud whacking sound, formerly used by performers in farces. “Slapstick” is a type of physical comedy characterized by broad humor, absurd situations, chases, collisions, and crude practical jokes. The name “slapstick” comes from the Italian word batacchio —…

cool beans

A lighthearted nonsense phrase indicating approval or mild excitement. It began to be used in the late 60s and early 70s, popularized by the pop culture of the time.  As one of the commonest and most nourishing of human foods, beans have long been used as symbols of various aspects of life. Often a single bean means something, for example…