see a man about a dog

Often used in reply to an awkward question, this phrase usually means that the responder is unwilling to reveal the true nature of his or her business. It’s been a useful excuse for absenting oneself from company for about 150 years, though the real reason for slipping away has not always been the same. According to Eric Partridge, A Dictionary…

the book is out!

The Case of the Copycat Killer is book #5 in The Charger Chronicles series. For a book that’s half the size of a regular novel, it’s got a lot happening — science fiction, mystery and humor. Sorry, no cowboys or vampires. No ghosts, either! Here’s the back page blurb: The first murder victim was splattered like chunky tomato sauce across…

shaggy dog story

An extremely long-winded story that involves an excruciatingly detailed build-up leading, eventually, to a punchline that is only ‘funny’ as a practical joke where the listener has been tricked into paying close attention to a long, pointless story. Shaggy dog stories play upon the listener’s preconceptions of joke-telling. The audience listens with certain expectations, which are not met or met…

full of beans

To be peppy, energetic or frisky; to be in high spirits, rarin’ to go, feeling your oats, enthusiastic.  This phrase has been around for about a hundred and fifty years, and it seems generally understood that it arose in horse racing. Horse beans have been raised for fodder at least since Roman days, and they provided the animal with more…

going to hell in a handbasket

A situation getting rapidly out of hand and going downhill fast. Other versions would be ‘going to the dogs’ or ‘on a slippery slope.’ The first reference to ‘going to hell in a handbasket’ in print occurs in a 1714 entry in Samuel Sewall’s Diary, an American publication. Another is found in the House Documents of the US Congress, in…

balls to the wall

Going all out, with maximum effort, similar to the automotive ‘pedal to the metal.’  The phrase is first found in military aviation. In many planes, a control stick may be topped with a ball-shaped grip.  A throttle on an early aircraft had such a ball on the end of it.  In order to go full throttle, the pilot had to…

Book cover

Here’s the cover for The Case of the Capycat Killer. Looks good for the book being available late next week.