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Parlay voo?

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"Obama's budget was due in February, but administration officials said it was delayed by the year-end fiscal negotiations and resulting tax changes. It is to arrive on Capitol Hill hours before the president dines Wednesday evening with a dozen Senate Republicans — his second such parlay in recent weeks."

Sounds like the president and the senators will be meeting at the race track. A parlay is a kind of wager, in which the gambler bets his winnings from one race on a subsequent race. A meeting to discuss disputed matters is a parley.

Elaborating, he admitted that only one was like snow, the other more like milk:

Angie Wilson asks where "The jig is up" comes from. Jig has several definitions, including "a kind of lively dance" and "any of several fishing devices that are jerked up and down or drawn through the water." There's also one involving race. But none of those is the origin of "The jig is up."

According to Merriam-Webster and other sources, jig also means, or once did, "trick, game." This usage has largely vanished except for "The jig is up," meaning "The game is over. You're done." ("The jig is up, Moriarty. Keep an eye on him, Watson.")

Our discussion of jig got Angie wondering also about gig, as in "He has a gig playing cello at Red Lobster." Gig, like jig, has several meanings, including "a job, usually for a specified time; especially an entertainer's engagement." Random House says this slangy usage of gig dates from the late 1920s; the origin is "uncertain."

Another meaning of gig is "a light, two-wheeled, one-horse carriage." Only one horsepower? Why then, one wonders, did Curly refer to his Surrey with the Fringe on Top as a "gig," even while assuring Laurey that she'd sit behind a team of snow-white horses. Ah, so many uncertainties.

The rite stuff:

"Since the spill, local residents and members of the media have received conflicting information about the size and scope of the spill. The spill is significant in its own rite, but also in the red flags it raises for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline."

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