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Over and under

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On Feb. 29, a reader asked about the origin and meaning of what was said to be an old Mississippi expression: "Nothing goes across the devil's back that hasn't gone under his belly first."

We now have a response. Tom Little writes, "Here is a quotation from the book 'Their Eyes Were Watching God' by Zora Neale Hurston":

"Too late for everything except her little home. She had built it for her old days, and planted one by one the trees and flowers there. It was lovely to her, lovely. Somehow, before sleep came, she found herself saying aloud: 'Oh well, whatever goes over the Devil's back, is got to come under his belly. Sometime or ruther, Sykes, like everybody else, is gointer reap his sowing.' After that she was able to build a spiritual earthworks against her husband. His shells could no longer reach her."

The book was written in 1937. The expression could be much older, of course. Apparently, it's another way of saying "What goes around, comes around."

"Lorenzo Fertitta, a casino owner and owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the mixed marital arts league, won the gloves, which organizers had said earlier they hoped would fetch $500,000."

Lang Zimmerman of Mountain Home writes: "I didn't know leagues were forming." Nor I. They'll have big crowds for the matches, I expect.

Watch your step, Officer Krupke:

"After falling on some Girl Scout cookies Tuesday, police said a Little Rock woman stabbed her boyfriend with a pair of scissors." But the police had difficulty speaking plainly with their mouths full of Samoas and Do-si-dos.

And look out for that pail too:

"Hoyer said the attack was 'vicious,' 'reckless,' 'inaccurate' — and perfectly consistent with Limbaugh's modus operandi.  'Rush Limbaugh's attack on Sandra Fluke was beyond the pail, indefensible, vicious, intimidating to others who might want to testify before the Congress of the United States,' Hoyer said in a press briefing at the Capitol."

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