Fire It Up

I will start by confessing I heard this phrase on a Geico commercial and thought it was really cute. There were these birds on a wire talking to one another. One said, “Fire it up, Will.” The other bird said something like how do you know it’s Will. Another said, it’s not Will. Then the word Geico appeared.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFire it up — you would think it would have to do with a car, or maybe the cannonballs of old. But once I started searching this idiom it has nothing to do with either of these ideas. Wait for it — I was shocked. Fire it up refers to shooting a drug into your vein, or to begin smoking marijuana. Say what!!!???

I looked further, trying to associate the phrase with cars — you know, starting the motor, getting ready to go at a high speed like the NASCAR cars do. They say, fire your motors, but upon thinking about what they say, it’s not fire it up or fire your motors at all, it’s “Gentlemen (or Drivers), start your engines.”  Ah, how we substitute one phrase for another because we think it sounds similar and therefore the meaning should be similar, but come to find out we really do not know what it really means. And the definition — totally different from what we could ever expect.

Now, don’t get fire it up confused with fired up. When you are fired up your feelings are aroused or excited — think of passion, or it could mean to begin to smoke, which would bring us back to fire it up. You are not going to fire up your passion, but your passion will be fired up. Think about someone who really believes in an idea and is willing to give time, energy and money towards that passion, that person is fired up. Excited, aroused. Willing to give. That person is fired up.

Back to fire it up. In my search, I found many a song with the title of Fire It Up, and the majority of them tell stories of drugs, and then there is Joe Cocker’s version. His is the only lyrics that had nothing to do with drugs — he tells the story of a broken heart and he urges the broken heart to let love be fired up again.

I wonder if those who created the ad understood that the definition of fire it up deals with drugs. I wonder if Geico knows. Cute commercial, really cute, but now every time I see that commercial, I am going to wonder about Will…what is really going on away from the wire the birds are sitting on….

And if anyone can find me another definition for fire it up besides dealing with drugs, please share and where did you find it.

Until next time…have a great one…

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A Man’s Gotta Do What a Man’s Gotta Do

Seriously, what is this saying? And what is it that the man’s gotta do? People have said this saying to me through the years, and I always sit there, dumbfounded, trying to figure out what it is suppose to mean. For instance, after telling someone that I need to work on a project all weekend instead of enjoying time off from work, I would get a response of “a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.” Seriously? What kind of a response is that?

In actuality, the phrase/idiom is meant a couple different ways. First, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, it means you do whatever you have to do, even if it’s different or dangerous. I understand that it means you do whatever you have to do, but that element of difficulty or dangerous was added in every dictionary I used to confirm the explanation. Another dictionary confirmed the first definition by saying “something said when you are going to do something unpleasant or you may joke that it may be unpleasant.” Maybe I am just too matter of fact. This is what I have to do, and it really does not need a response, especially one that makes little sense to me.

It is also used as irony or sarcasm — you know, mocking someone or something or showing contempt.

I am not alone in saying that this idiom is silly to use. Fred MacMurry said it in 1955 in the film The Rains of Ranchipur, and Clyde Gilmour, a Canadian radio personality and film columnist, awarded the idiom a prize for the stupidest phrase ever used in a movie.

Actually, the phrase was first seen in print when John Steinbeck wrote and then published The Grapes of Wrath in 1939. In Chapter 18 of the book, Steinbeck wrote, “I know this man — a man got to do what he got to do.” The line never made it to the film version — I can understand why.

And today — well you can hear Dr. Horrible singing his version of “A Man’s Gotta Do What a Man’s Gotta Do.” And, well, I can’t make sense of those lyrics either. I guess I am doomed…..

Until next time…have a good week…

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Buckle Up Buttercup

Are you ready for the ride of your life? If so, “Buckle up Buttercup” because I’m taking you for a ride you won’t forget. Now, the ride may not have anything to do with a car or the car buckles — they may be involved —  but when we buckle up Buttercup,  it will be the ride of your life — you know, going together on a journey that will be memorable. Sometimes, as life changes with me, I say those words to myself because I have no clue what is going to happen, knowing I am embarking on a journey I have never traveled before. So hang on, it’s going to be a ride that is sometimes bumpy, sometimes smooth, but definitely a ride, Buttercup.

buttercup-841225_1920 (1)But why Buttercup? I searched the web as far as I could go, and I never found why Buttercup was the name of choice, but it is used as a term of endearment.

Funny that this flower/weed is used in the context as a term of endearment because the inedible plant can be toxic to dogs and cats, can lead to serious problems for grazing animals, such as cattle and horses, sheep and pigs; and for humans, well, let’s just say that the plant tastes so bad that there is little chance of being poisoned.

Buttercup is also said with the saying, Pucker up Buttercup and Suck it up Buttercup. I tell ya, Buttercup gets around. And I sure would like to know how the buckle up, pucker up and suck it up all names Buttercup!

Take Pucker up Buttercup — you may remember this line in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when Ed Rooney said to Grace, Pucker up Buttercup. Well, I don’t think Grace appreciated the innuendo, but he did say pucker up — wanna kiss? Buttercup, put those lips together and get ready for a big smacker.

In my book, buckle up and pucker up is better than suck it up. Don’t you just hate it when you meet that whiner? During World War I there was Captain Williams, company commander of the 5th Marines, who was at a battle in France when someone asked him to retreat. His response, “Retreat? Hell, we just got here! Suck it up Buttercup.” Sadly to say, he never made it through the battle, but his words have lived on. Keep going and stop your whining. Words to live by.

All in all, I may buckle up Buttercup, may even pucker up a few times, and know suck it up more than not during the course of this lifetime, but oh! what a ride!!! Don’t you just love life and what it brings? As I said, what a ride…

Until next week…have a great one…

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A Few Fries Short of a Happy Meal

I think I have said this before, but I have never heard this idiom before, so I really needed to investigate this one. Oh-ho, now I know what it means!

burger-and-fries-1371533338to1 (1)You know, McDonald’s serves the Happy Meal to the little tikes of the world. The small child will get a burger or nuggets or chicken sandwich with fries and usually apple juice or milk. Plus the toy, don’t forget the toy. And once again, this phrase has nothing to do with a Happy Meal, or any meal for that matter that serves a burger and fries.

So, what does this phrase mean? Shoot, it means the same as “a few cards short of a full deck”, “not the sharpest knife in the drawer”, and “the elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top of the floor” to name a few. All are derogatory remarks pointing out someone’s shortcomings, specifically in the intelligence arena.

True, there are some people in this world who lack the basic information to form a sound decision, but there are times in an intelligent person’s life when those terms could be used. Think about it. A person is going through a highly stressed time, and they are “not quite all there”, or the person is sick, or the person is taking medicine that affects his thinking ability, or the person is preoccupied with a project. I know that I can become so preoccupied with a project that if I am interrupted, it takes me a minute or two to re-enter the physical world, and I may appear “not quite all there”.

So, when is it appropriate to use these derogatory remarks. Ah — Never. But I hear them frequently, and I am proposing that there are reasons for being “a few cards short of a happy meal” including not being given the basic information to make an informed decision.

I do enjoy writing this blog, and sometimes learning a new idiom and what it means. Today, though, I discovered something else about these miswords we use. Crossword answers. So, I am going to share answers with crossword lovers for “a few fries short of a happy meal” — insane, obtuse, dense, ditsy, and loopy when there is only one fry short of a happy meal. Insane means mentally deranged; obtuse means mentally slow; dense means thick, impenetrable; and ditsy is a scatterbrain/rattlebrain. Well, when you are loopy you are slightly crazy. Which, aren’t we all a bit?

And then there is the other synonym for this idiom — “if his brains were dynamite there wouldn’t be enough to blow his nose” —

With that said, I will say good night for now ….


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Back to the Drawing Board

I thought you could use this idiom/expression when you started a project over. For instance, I have finished my first book, and it is out (“Echoes From the Heart-Nine Short Stories”/ and I am ready to start the next book, a novel this time. The first one went well and I started with the short stories to get my feet wet. But now I am going to jump right in and write 80,000 words for a novel, and I thought I could say I was going back to the drawing board. But that is the wrong term for me to use.

th60NQPBQ7What happens when you go back to the drawing board is that the project has failed, synonymous with “back to square one”. I would need to start my original book over from scratch because it has failed. But, I do not need to start over. I will start over in the sense of writing another book, start the process over, but with a new idea, new characters, new settings, new everything. It’s just the process that I will be starting over. A writer starts over every time one piece is complete and the next one starts. So it is with nearly everyone who creates.  Yet nothing has failed. So, I was wrong, I can not use “back to the drawing board.” Or let’s say, I shouldn’t use the term.

The expression/idiom did not even exist until a cartoonist, Peter Arno, had his cartoon with a caption that read “Well, back to the drawing board” printed in the New Yorker Magazine in 1941. The cartoon showed a designer leaving a crash scene with rolled up plans under his arm. It depicted both failure (the crash) and starting over.

I searched and searched to find if this idiom could be used in my sense of the phrase — to start again, but to no avail. It is not a new beginning because I have learned a lot from producing “Echoes From the Heart”. I definitely do not want to wipe the slate clean, although I have erased the titles of the short stories from my white board and the hard copies of the stories have been filed away; I reiterate, I learned a lot from producing the book. And I do not need to start from scratch even though I will be creating an entirely different scenario with different characters; I reiterate, I learned a lot from writing and self publishing the short stories.

So, what do I say. I guess it will be short and sweet. I am organizing and readying my life to do it again — and maybe it is wrong to say that I am going back to the drawing board, but for me, that is where I am headed. And, oh my, I have so many ideas floating around my head. I may have to concentrate on one, but then work on others so I do not lose the scenes that filter in and out of my mind.

Maybe I should say, I am excited, I am going to do it again. I am going to repeat my first action. I am, I am, I am…back to the drawing board????

Have a good one…

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There ya go

A very long time ago I had a boss who ALWAYS used the phrase, “there ya go”. I would ask her a question, and she would answer the question, but then would add, “there ya go.” I would tell her something, not a question but information, and without responding with an acceptance or a rejection, she would simply say, “there ya go.” I liked her as a boss and as a person; she knew her work and she let me work without much interruption, but I could never figure out her phrase. Usually, it just shut me up when I was telling her something, or I did not feel like there was much room for discussion when she answered a question when it was followed with “there ya go.”

And through the years, I have heard this phrase over and over; in fact, I heard it yesterday and again today, so, there ya go.

This phrase has more than one meaning or use. Yes, it is used to shut someone up. It is a polite way of saying, “I really don’t want to get into a long conversation with you about this subject.” Usually, the responder was like me a long time ago when I heard it, “what do I say back to there ya go?” So, I said nothing. What do you say? I always wondered if she just didn’t care enough about my work, or if she didn’t know what to say. I will never know.

Another use for the phrase is when something is done correctly, someone is doing something right. For instance, I have studied hard and long for my SATs, I took the workshop to prepare me for the big test, I am ready and I took the test. I walked out of the test, feeling optimistic and a person who knows how hard I studied responds with “there ya go” after I say I think I did pretty good with the test. It is now used as an affirmation that all that studying was something I did that was right.

Or, maybe you are doing something for someone, like straightening a guy’s tie before a huge interview, and after you have helped his appearance you say, “there ya go” meaning you look good, the appearance is right for the interview. All is well with your world.

Then you could use the phrase after someone has discovered that what you told them was just like you told them.

Or, you could use it as a filler, like ummmm…. It’s just with words, there ya go.

Or, you could use “there ya go” (but I would use the more formal “there you go”) when you are responding to someone’s expressing the fact that there are situations that one cannot change, so you might as well accept it. There are many of those situations today. True, we may all have opinions, and we may think we can change situations, but really, we can’t. And, there you go.

Finally, you use “there you go” after giving someone something they wanted. Then again, you could take off the “t” for this one and simply say “here you go”. And that’s the truth, the whole truth as I see it, so there ya go.

Have a great one…


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Fat Cat

photo-downloadI went to my writing group today and we made a general consensus that we were dog lovers. Well, to tell you the truth, I like dogs, but I am a cat person myself. I like their independence. And really, don’t you just love this one! Lounging, no doubt. One fat cat!

But there’s more than one meaning to that fat cat. Sure, it could mean a very healthy weighted furry animal — and then it could mean the money man, the fat cat of politics. You know, he’s the guy who carries the money purse with power and influence to whoever is in office. It’s how our government runs. The fat cat is the one who calls the shots, tells us how our world will run over the next years. It’s been that way for a long time — maybe since the beginning of political times. When you use “fat cat” for that political money man, it is meant in a derogatory way. I could picture that “fat cat” looking just like the cat pictured above. Lounging back, giving orders on how he wants to see the world evolve.

DonCaricature_of_-Organized_Big_Business_Interests-‘t get the money man mixed up with moneybags. Moneybags refers to a wealthy person, and usually people refer to that big spender outside of his earshot, but moneybags is not used derogatively, it is simply referring to a person who has wealth and throws it around for everyone to see. We have all seen those people during our life, whether their wealth is real or superficial. People love to show their money!

Then, there is the “fat cat” which refers to a rich and greedy person, or let’s say a corporation. We are used to those types of people and corporations in this 21st century — think of Bernie Madoff or the big banks. Here, it’s still derogatory, but in a different sense. These “fat cats’ are greedy — want what they have and what you have. I say run, don’t walk, from these fat cats.

The other “fat cat” is the one who becomes lazy and self-satisfied because of his privilege. Notice, I say privilege, not wealth, even though wealth is implied. I really can not think of any of those people in today’s society. I am sure there are those around, but those who come to mind with this meaning were the genteel class of the 19th Century — you know the land baron in England where all they had to do was whittle their time away reading poetry and partaking in fox hunts — think “Downton Abbey”, which I absolutely loved watching on PBS. And you know what happened to them — the time ended for them, and they actually had to work for a living. Amazing. Just goes to show you that the “fat cat” better be busy his entire life or the fat cat will become the lean cat.

Whichever way they are, I still like cats. The furry kind, that is.

Until later…have a good one!

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