Monday, March 31, 2008

The ham of the sandwich

A long, long while ago I promised a post laying out the grossly misused turns of phrase that float around in the corridors of my client site. At long last, here they are.

I've divided them up into three categories:

1) Simple Grammatical/Spelling/Pronunciation Errors
2) Misused Idioms and Expressions
3) I Don't Know Where the Hell This Came From

Most of these come from two people in particular at my client site. One of them sort of has an excuse because he's Puerto Rican and English is his second language. The other one has no excuse, unless it's possible that chest hair detracts from intelligibility. And now, the list:

Category 1

-hoz poz (in place of "hodge-podge")
-physical year (in place of "fiscal year")
-chow (in place of "ciao")
-per say
-interpretate (Being in the business of treaty implementation, it reflects poorly when you don't know how to conjugate the verb "to interpret.")
-nucular (Again, we're in the treaty business. Arms control treaties. They should probably learn how to pronounce "nuclear.")
-vise (in place of "vice")
-hey or nay
-Respectively, (name)
-Have you did that yet?
-Wallah! (...voila)
-with all do respect

Category 2

-passers byers
-read between the tea leaves
-breathing light back into it
-cut the cheese (in place of “break the ice”)
-we’ve taken a different tactic (Once again...considering that this is a Naval client, you would think that a simple nautical term might be correctly used.)
-whimsical chairs (in place of "musical chairs")
-Run Will Roberts! (My client was flailing his arms like the robot on Lost in Space as he said this.)
-Hulkian effort
-throw out the baby and keep the bathwater
-Nobody wants to touch the pink elephant in the bathtub.

Category 3

8 – 3 = 6 (This came from a presentation that my client was giving to a room full of high-ranking officers. He told them that he had eight slides, but since we were short on time he could cut out three and just present the six...)
-appropriately massaging our customers
-like the stick that doesn’t work
-from Joe to Blow
-hit the stick and see what shakes it out of it
-I don’t want to see you caught like the ham of the sandwich, in the middle of the two loaves.

That last one was my favorite. The Puerto Rican said that to me to let me know that he was looking out for my best interests. I walked away feeling slightly uncomfortable.


Warren said...

"unless it's possible that chest hair detracts from intelligibility." Let's hope not.

Nick said...

I actually really liked these two:

-throw out the baby and keep the bathwater
-Nobody wants to touch the pink elephant in the bathtub

I'm trying to think of a good situation where I'd use that second one.

Julie C said...

In some circles, cutting the cheese probably would break the ice. Most likely not in arms control treaty talks where unexplained explosive noises could easily be misconstrued. (Great - now you're making me wonder if I used misconstrued correctly.)

JKC said...

I think "Hulkian effort" is my favorite. Bruce Bannen goes Greek.

Scrumpestuous D said...

-"Throwing out the baby and keeping the bathwater": Getting rid of the correct results and keeping the bad ones? Hmm...

-" elephant in the bathtub": shouldn't that one be in the third category?

-I can think of at least one high ranking government official who makes that mistake. Perhaps it's an homage?

Cabeza said...


-The correct phrase is "throw out the baby with the bathwater." Trust me, Jesús was not making a clever adaptation here.

-This elephant stays in the second category because I know what he was trying to say--that everyone's ignoring the elephant in the room. Jesús just added in a few interesting modifiers.

Nick said...

I don't mean 'I really like it and intend to use it regularly', I mean 'I will use this whenever I come up against a case of someone throwing out the good results and keeping the bad' (which I assume was not Jesus' intent)

The pink elephant one reminded me of the paradox that the republican primary contenders faced: What exactly do you do with an endorsement from the log cabin republicans? Obviously, you accept any support you can get, but a national republican primary candidate might not want to touch that particular pink elephant in the bathtub.

Cabeza said...

I gotcha, Nick. I was just responding to my friend Scrumpestuous D's comment.

amanda said...

I think "asterkiss" would be a great name for a band.

Nick said...

I was just responding to myself- rereading, I sounded like I wanted them for regular use.

SD- I think I know the J. Mulcock you've got a picture of on your blog. We were in the same mission in Argentina. Say hi for me.

Scrumpestuous D said...

Can do!

JKC said...

I also think that "breathing light back into it" is vaguely (albeit unintentionally) poetic.

JennyW said...

Laughing. Very. Hard.

And "read between the tea leaves" makes me think of Harry Potter. Go figure.

Cabeza said...

This just in:

"You’re my Daniel Boom, going into the woods."

Warren said...

Apparently he didn't go to Boonesboro as a kid with his family.

The Shark said...

All of these comments from friends of different periods of my life (SD, JKC, Amanda) who don't normally comment on this blog made me want to jump in, too.

So, here's my comment.

(By the way, my favorite is also the "Hulkian effort")

JonnyF said...

Is the opening prayer in the Priesthood Session of general conference off limits? If not, I would like to add:

Julie C said...

Ok, so I know this post was a little while back, but for some reason I just remembered my all-time favorite Sacrament meeting talk ... by a little 4-year old.

She memorized a scripture, and told us all that "this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immorality and eternal life of man."