Saturday, January 30, 2010

Several large bowels of pasta

Yesterday, the NYT’s “Schott’s Vocab” zeroed in on malapropisms. Having been raised in an immigrant family, I own a brain that is hard-wired with dozens of malapropistic configuroons. I think I even got some of ‘em through the umbiblical “chord,” though, really, that’s a mute point at this stench in time.

First, the malapropism upon which much of my parents’ fame rests:

“He died because of a blood cloth.”

Sometimes, I will look right at them and say, “There is no such thing as a ‘blood cloth.’ You mean a ‘blood clot.’”

Always, they look right back at me with immediate and utter incredulity.

Here are some examples offered by Schott’s readers:


• Someone I know is a genius at this. She spoke of a woman who had her hair up in a buffoon; saw my new shoes and said, "My, aren't you the fashion plague"; and recently spoke of a man who is very egotesticle.

• my favorite poem is "allergy in a church graveyard".

• My aunt always said, "I can't have anymore children because I've had my utopian tubes tied.”

• My father, noting the first hint of fall in the air, sighed and said: "Soon it will be time to fart stars in the fireplace.” [This seems to be something of a Spoonerism.]

• A busy woman: "Sometimes I get so stressed out I have to go to my room and decompose for an hour."


• A co-worker's little son announced that "you drive my nuts!" My daughter once wrote that our cat Butter Boy jumped on Frenzy when she was "least expectant." My grandfather deliberately invented examples like astosbestos for asbestos and nutneg for nutmeg. Another relative admired the singing of Ethel Murmur and the talents of Shirley Dimple. This becomes a way of life. It's dangerous to be exposed to it when young! [God, this sounds like my upbringing. Pretty whackitudinal!]

• i cannot decide which music i like better, R&B or flip flop

• "lead us snots into temptation...."

• My grandmother was famous for her malaprops; when asked if she would like to take a flight in her friend's new airplane, she gasped "Absolutely not, I like it right here on Terra Cotta";

• At a restaurant: Clams on the half shelf and a cup of chino.

• ". . . government takeover and mandation of healthcare . . ." --Sarah Palin

• Here are selected favorites from my wife:
1. This is the tip of the ice cube.
2. Security in schools has been tighter since 7-11.
3. The right foot doesn't know what the left foot is doing.
4. The swine flu has reached the pandemonium stage.


• At work, our team had been working on a project that had been progressing at snail’s pace with no end remotely in sight. One day, we had a breakthrough, and one of my colleagues excitedly announced at our weekly meeting, “There’s light at the end of the turtle.”

• Our church secretary always refers to the annual report to the denomination as the Sadistical Report.

• A friend with a medical condition consulted a doctor at "Cedars Cyanide"

• "I am impressed by the enormity of the universe."

• I've been tracking these at work:
Someone who is frustrated: "I've been pulling my head out over this one!"
Working through a problem: "I'm just talking out loud here."
Suggesting something: "I don't mean to speak out of tongue, but..."
Rehashing: "I feel like I'm beating this with a dead horse."
Feeling a little disoriented: "At this point, we're running by the fly of our pants."
Is in a bad mood: "He's got a craw up his butt."

• "This is a bare-bones specification, let's flush out the details later".

• After a staff party at which pasta was served, we were reminded that several large bowels of pasta were left over in the refrigerator. None of us went near the fridge as a result.

A translation gone wrong, somehow.


• A few years back my father, who is now nearing one hundred, proudly announced that he had recently had his kitchen floor polyurinated.

• The late Bruce King, governor of New Mexico for many years, was famous for having said of a legislative proposal that it would "open a whole box of Pandoras."

• One of my son's college roommates, an ROTC cadet, dropped out of the program just as the Iraq war was starting. "This is not a good time," he opined, "to be thinking about joining the Army corpse."

• "Be sure and put some of those neutrons on it." –While ordering a salad.


• "You could have knocked me over with a fender."

• "We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this country hostile or hold our allies hostile." –George W. Bush

• Explaining lethal injection: "First, they give 'em a needle to seduce 'em; then they give the legal injection"

• Friend referring to his relationship with his wife, " two ships that go bump in the night."

• "Those kids were able to Flea-Bargain their way to a lesser punishment."

P.S.: My ex and I, having had more than our share of exposure to my nutty family, have always enjoyed, and have been inspired by, endless malapropoidal Bauerific incorrectitude. To this day, when I speak with her, she'll note the "flaw in the ointment" or how the night is as "dark as a bat."

And then we'll just laugh like hell.


Anonymous said...

You're trying to cause me great pain. Stop it.

Anonymous said...

You egotestical bastion!

Anonymous said...

B, you drive my nuts!

Anonymous said...

What? You mean it isn't polyurinated?

Anonymous said...

Some of these are malapropisms, some are eggcorns--google eggcorn for lots of hilarious examples.

I can't remember what it's called--something like "almonagrin"--when folks do this with song lyrics, but an example is She's got a ticket to Rye--->She's got a ticket to ride [not particularly funny--->She's got a tick in her eye [funny for sure].

Creepiest eggcorn in a while (from a story in the LA Times): The young woman who was quaaluded and raped by Roman Polanski told the Grand Jury "then he went down and performed cuddlyness on me."

And my belated congratulations on your de-gooing!

--100 miles down the road

Anonymous said...


--100 miles

Anonymous said...

OMG, thank you for the LOUD laughter you've elicited from me already--much needed for facing a busy and annoying week.

Love 'ya, BvT.

Bohrstein said...

Been meaning to comment: These are funny.

- couldn't think of anything clever BS

Twojobsago said...

Twojobsago. Yeah, you wanna complain? I forfeited my french benefits when I fled your dismal corner of the world.

Anonymous said...

They are HILARIOUS. Thank you for the hearty peals of laughter, which turned out to be a high point in an otherwise (so far) exasperating week. Love 'ya, BvT.

Bohrstein!!! Good to hear from you. How is life at IVC?

Anonymous said...

Oops--I meant "UCI," BS, as you probably know. Glad you are still lurking around the blog!

Bohrstein said...

It's pretty good. The ceaseless onslaught of thought is tiring sometimes, but I'm adapting. I was spoiled at IVC with 18 week semesters; spoiled rotten.

Regarding Lurking:
Lurking is something I do well...I'm always lurking.

is obviously present now, but is lurking elsewhere BS

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