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Cliche Sunday

I have been a book-a-holic this week. At this moment, I am fighting the urge to put away my laptop and pull out my e-reader. It has been a while since I had a reading frenzy,but once I gave in…… I read six books this past week–or was it seven?

Unfortunately, the rest of my life tends to suffer when I get like this. Especially my blogs. But I am making a concerted effort here to get the ‘T’ clichés in before giving in to my next book.  So here we go:

technicolor yawn: throwing up. I had never heard this one, and thought it, well, colorful until I saw the meaning. Not a fan of vomit; mine, yours or descriptions thereof. However, since I went to the trouble of looking it up….this phrase comes from our friends down under in Australia. It has been around from at least the 1960s, when Barry Humphries used it (fairly gracefully):

When I swallowed the last prawn,
I had a technicolor yawn and I chundered in the old Pacific Sea.
                      A Nice Night’s Entertainment

tall story: a fake, doozy of a story with very little basis in reality. Given our need to exaggerate, there are many names for such  boastful stories–tall talk, tall writing,tall tales, and even Munchausens. Munchausens were named after the Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Baron von Münchhausen. He was well-known as a “purveyor of extravagantly untruthful stories about himself.”* In America, the stories became a tradition around the campfire, with each storyteller trying to outreach the previous teller, making the tales taller and taller.

that’s all she wrote: an end to one’s plans. While there are a few versions of where this came from, it definitely came from America in the early twentieth century. The first– and unsubstantiated  –version is a Marine during WWII who received a Dear John letter, and told his friends mournfully that she broke up with him and that’s all she wrote. It was definitely used to title  a popular country song by Ernest Tubb in 1942:

I got a letter from my mama, just a line or two
She said listen daddy your good girl’s leavin’ you
That’s all she wrote – didn’t write no more
She’d left the gloom a hanging round my front door.

Although he probably popularised the saying, the first time in print can be found even early, in 1935:

No power except that of the legislature can change the rolls. The assessor-collectors do not have the power, the commissioners’ courts do not have the power. That’s all she wrote and it’s final, the attorney general says in language much more eloquent and technical.
                   Texas newspaper The Brownsville Herald

the bane of my life: the instrument of ruin in one’s life. We often call someone or something the bane of our existence in modern times; such as an annoying coworker or mosquitoes while camping. Bane, however, is a much stronger word than we give it credit for. In Old English, bane actually meant murderer–a much more serious threat. Later bane came to mean anything that might cause death, thus the multitude of plants with ‘bane’ in the name: wolfsbane, hensbane, ratsbane; to name a few. The earliest printed record of this phrase comes from 1592, so we can safely assume that the author was using the phrase with the Old English meaning:

He that like a Lacedemonian, or Romane, accounteth Infamy worse than death, would be loath to emprove his courage, or to employ his patience, in digestinge the pestilent bane of his life.
                     Gabriel Harvey, Foure Letters and certaine Sonnets

To quote Porky Pig, t-th-that’s all folks!

Now, shall I go work in the greenhouse or is it time to read???

 

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