As progress speeds toward completion of the second volume of Most Comprehensive Origins of Clichés, Proverbs, and Figurative Expressions, I want to emphasize the fact that everyone needs the first volume. They go together “like two peas in a pod,” a saying which has been with us in English since 1580, found in the original volume. This book has sold thousands of copies and is in several college libraries. It has been given accolades by librarians, professors, editors, authors, and others. It is available at stclairpublications.com and on Amazon sites worldwide.
The other day I received an autographed copy of Lee Pennington‘s latest offering to the literary world. Aside from being a past Poet Laureate of Kentucky, retired college professor and film maker, he is a two-time nominee for the Pulitzer in LIterature, and rightfully so.
Pretty much every morning I rise early, and before time to walk my dog, Brody (about sunrise), I read to get my mind fresh for the day. Though I have been into a novel by a best-selling author, when I got Lee’s book, Appalachian Newground, a combination of arresting short stories and crisp poetry based on his youth in rural Kentucky, illustrated with remarkable drawings by world renowned artist, and mate of Lee’s, Jill Baker, I couldn’t help replacing the novel with Lee’s book, which is much better written than that of the best-selling novelist. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves the charming past and is into nostalgic, well-thought out writing. I’m also looking forward to getting one of a few remaining sets of Jill’s prints from the book.
Lee’s work is so out-of-the-ordinary that it inspired me. Rhonda and I have been beset by some tough circumstances of late, and I needed some inspiration. I’m certainly no Lee Pennington, buy my inspiration led me to pen the following poem.
It’s a sticky wicket, Such a slippery slope; A stodgy old curmudgeon Digesting his own jokes.
Imagination’s window Seems to crack a smile, Then deafening silent darkness Blinds the brightest minds.
As I tossed my thoughts together They struck a pitchy chord And I watched a silver granny Her rusting trinkets hoard.
Tomorrow looked at Yesterday, And shook hands with Today; Then imagination’s window Had nothing more to say.
As many of you know, I love reading the “intelligence page” (another cliche) of our local paper. Now that we’ve been subscribing for the past several months, I even glance at the small ones on the puzzle page. This morning The Born Loser, one of my favorite strips, had Thornapple saying to his wife, “They say an apple a day keeps the doctor a day, right?” Then he says, “So, what would happen if I ate two apples a day?”
His wife’s expression remained nonchalant as she replied, “You’d get diarrhea.”
The origin of this well-known proverb is found in Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions on page 25:
apple a day keeps the doctor away, An
Reference to this was initially found in a Welsh folk proverb.”Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from eating his bread.” The phrase was first coined as we know it in the U.S. in 1913 by Elizabeth Wright in Rustic Speech and Folk-lore.
“Ait a happle avore gwain to bed, An’ you’ll make the doctor beg his bread; or as the more popular version runs: An apple a day Keeps the doctor away.”
Sales of this popular book continue each and every month, Get yours today at
Since it seems like every newscast begins with the headline “Deflate-gate” over the past few days, most people probably think this just came up in the playoff game for the Super bowl. Actually, the Indianapolis Colts “smelled a rat” back last November about under-inflated balls supplied by the Patriots following its regular season game against them. But I guess that was just “swept under the rug.” After all, it wasn’t a big championship game.
But this time the charge was taken more seriously. Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s Today show this morning said she thought they were now “Trying to get their ducks in a row.”
Quarterback Tom Brady says he had nothing to do with any deflating of balls. Head Coach Bill Belichick said repeatedly that “He has no idea how that could have happened.”
This is just the latest in a series of scandals which the media has dubbed “Gate”
When I was in Washington, DC last August I saw the building where it all began on 17 June 1972 when the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel was bugged by members of the Republican party. We all know that was traced back to President Richard M. Nixon, and that’s what took him down. After that every scandal became a “Gate.” There are so many I won’t attempt to name them all. All the way from Billy-gate to Debate-gate to Frankie-gate to House-gate to Iraq-gate, Korea-gate, Closet-gate, Flake-gate, Gamer-gate, Portrait-gate and on and on. You get the picture. I guess this just goes down as another infamous cliche.
The question remains as to whether these incidents, take Watergate and Deflate-gate, for example… whether they were isolated incidents or just one more in a string of such practices that happen all the time but those involved are not caught. In the latter in certainly seems so, and I think the former as well.
But let’s get our mind off of the news and think about all of these sayings! All the ones used above except gate, along with their origins, may be found in Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions. If you don’t have your copy, order one online today at Amazon or any reputable retailer. They are “going like hotcakes!” (That’s in there too!)
One of my social media outlets is Pinterest, though I usually only go there occasionally because of my situations, obligations and physical conditions.
The other day I was re-pinning a post from another user on my GREAT THOUGHTS board and made a statement which was entirely my own, out of my heart. I have chosen to make it my new motto. The statement was: “Strive to be your best even at your lowest point.”
This year I have been on a roller-coaster ride from highs to lows and vice versa. I have truly reached some of my lowest points. The deaths of my son, my uncle, my cousin and a dear friend; multiple injuries resulting in surgery, and heavy dental procedures resulting in continuous pain–the last two not being over yet. And there have even been other great upsets.
Even at the lowest points I have chosen to retain faith in God and the gifts that have been granted to me which keep me going.
Sure, I have had moments when I was less than positive, but I have always picked myself up and taken another positive step.
So when life “gets your goat” (see my book Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions for this one), remember to drag out my personal motto: “Strive to be your best even at your lowest point.” And you may quote me on that!
Have you ever noticed that words which have nearly the same meaning often take on different connotations in actual usage?
Take middle and center, for example. Someone between the buyer and the seller who takes the price up for the consumer is the “middle man.” Someone getting between two people that causes tension is always in the middle of the problem.
On the other hand, a person can be the center of attention, or the center of one’s world, etc.
Center and middle are basically the same in meaning, but in most cases very different in their usage.
There are a number of other words like this. But word usage is a passion of mine as evidenced by my popular phrase and expression origin book, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions selling every day on Amazon. Buyers say that the paperback version is really great! Get it today on Amazon or other online bookseller or better still, at the St. Clair Publications website, http://stclairpublications.com where PayPal payments are one of the safest ways to pay ever!
Until our recent trip to the Newark airport town of Elizabeth, New Jersey, the nearest I had come to fulfilling the old saying, “You can’t get there from here” was at the tiny Pacific coastal fishing village of Yalapa, Mexico, where the only two options to get there are horses stomping through the rain forest and a water taxi from Puerto Vallarta. I shall never forget that great jaunt by water.
But after we got off of the New Jersey Turnpike and followed the directions that we had to get to Wyndham Gardens Hotel, where we were intending to stay, it would truly seem that finding it was impossible. After the directions didn’t work we stopped twice for directions, the last one even getting them from the Internet. Still we couldn’t find it. We ended up staying at the Newark Airport Hilton for the next two nights.
Even when my cousin was bringing me back from our trip into Manhattan, he directed his iPhone to take him there and it misdirected him to that hotel! I have no plans on a repeat of that venture, though I enjoyed the evening in Manhattan and the time at the hotel with Rhonda very much.
So the next time someone tells me jovially, “You can’t get there from here,” I won’t be laughing. I’ll be looking for another destination.
In the meantime, get a copy of my book, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions online in either paperback or Kindle, and be looking for the first volume of Exploring Our Exciting World due out before Christmas.
One of the cliches in my popular book, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions is “Busier than a one-armed paper hanger. The entry reads like this:
Busier than a one-armed paper hanger
This humorous analogy has been in common use in the U.S. since at least the early twentieth century. Sometimes it is expanded to say, ‘with hives’ or ‘on a windy day.’ The meaning is clear, too busy for one’s own good. Despite the fact that someone who writes useless checks is also known as a ‘paper hanger,’ this applies to the obvious—hanging wallpaper—a task which requires both hands to perform properly.
An early example is found in St. Nicholas, an illustrated magazine for boys and girls, Volume 45, Part 2 by Mary Maples Dodge, in a section called Daddy Pat’s Letters from the Front, 1919:
“Daddy has been busier than a one-armed paper-hanger, and it has been awful hard to find time to write.”
Well, as of late it seems that I have been about that busy, and unable to “get my head together” to do regular entries.
I am currently working on three books from three different authors and expecting more. Add to that other obligations what is coming up like a class reunion in North Carolina, and vacation and research in New England for the book series, Exploring Our Exciting World, well…this is going to get worse. Then I will be having surgery and be incapacitated for several weeks. Oh well, that’s life, and I enjoy mine immensely.
In the meantime, visit our website at http://stclairpublications.com and order a great book. You can also find them at all Amazon sites around the world, or order them from your favorite book retailer.
My best to all!.
For years I have resisted the fever which has gripped the majority of people I know. It seemed that even my grandchildren, those over 13 anyway, all have had smart phones for an eternity. I guess I was just hesitant of change. One of my mottoes has been, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” an axiom in my popular book, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions.
Well, the other day I received the second notice from my wireless provider telling me I could get a ‘free upgrade.’ Of course I understand ‘free’, but I went anyway this time, feeling like my phone was a dinosaur, a part of a distant past for most Americans. I paid for the package with ‘all the bells and whistles’ (another of those sayings) to go with the new iPhone5c, now I’m learning how to do almost everything with it.
My son John told me over a year ago that a lot more than I was doing could be done even with the phone I had. Well, now I can do it all. ‘Who wouldda thunk it?’
One week ago today my post indicated that on March first I would be making a big announcement. We’re at the half-way mark and it’s time for another hint. My first entry on this mentioned my book, Most Comprehensive Origins of Proverbs, Cliches and Figurative Expressions. It also was splattered with expressions, some from the book, some not. That was meant to give a bit of a ‘shadow of things to come.’
Now I’ll drop another hint. ‘The best is getting better.’ At least my best. In the first year since the book’s release it has gained a lot of attention from folks of all walks of life. I personally know a lot of doctors who own a copy. Traditionally lawyers, ministers, entrepreneurs and other professionals are among the owners of my writings. This book has been called ‘the best book of its type’ and ‘just what I was looking for’ by people I have never met. That makes me very proud…and thankful. But doing a work like this takes a lot of dedication, time, effort and determination. It doesn’t just ‘fall into place.’
For those who have not yet purchased their copy I will unveil my news a week from today. For those who have, I also have good news. Stay tuned to my blog, and good reading!