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Words, April 9



Let's separate the sheep from the fish:

“Familiar name is tossed in hat for Senate post.” Sounds harder than tossing a hat into a ring, which is what most candidates do. But I guess it would depend on the size of the ring and the size of the hat. And the name.

“Don't kill golden goose.” He's safe, it's the one that laid the golden egg that's imperiled.


Vastly different from monkey business, I'm sure:

“The National Weather Service bestowed one of its top honors on a monk at Subiaco Academy, thanking him for 44 years of daily meteorological readings. … He only misses readings when he's on vacation — often to hike in Colorado — or out of town on monk business.”

What's “monk business”? Being poor and chaste? Seems like he could do that at home.


Be careful not to hit the goose:

The Phrase Finder says that “Throw your hat into the ring” goes at least as far back as the early 19th century and means “Make or take up a challenge, or demonstrate one's willingness to join an enterprise. … The ring in question here is a boxing ring. These, of course, used to be circular spaces in a crowd of onlookers, rather than the square, ‘roped' rings of contemporary pugilism. Any Jack the lad who fancied his chances in a bout would throw in his hat.”


Sticks to your ribs:

A couple of people have responded to my mention of “paste eaters,” a term that seems to be growing in popularity as a designation of the not-so-bright. Both say that the name and the practice are rooted in childhood. One writes:

“Paste eaters are the dumb kids in kindergarten who actually eat paste out of the jar. There's (at least) one in every class. Or there used to be. I don't even know if they use paste anymore.” Me either. I hope they're not eating computer terminals these days.   

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