Professor Media Matters

I am a media professional with 6 years as a TV producer and reporter, and college professor in the field of Communications. I am also a Conservative with a passion for pop culture. This will be my attempt to put the "me" in media. It will be my take on movies, TV, books, magazines, newspapers, the Internet and all that is the worldwide media.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

SO THE SAYING GOES: The other morning my wife and I were joking around and she said something I have heard a million times, but this particular morning it struck me as especially funny. And odd. She said, in response to a question I had asked, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." That is such a bizarre sounding phrase. Where do weird phrases like that come from? The English language and our catch phrases and slang are so fascinating. Now, I think I know what the phrase means -- Just be glad for the gift you got, but don't press your luck by examining it too closely. In other words, be thankful someone gave you a horse. But don't examine it's teeth up close or you might be disappointed in the overall health of the horse, and therefore the value of the gift. The funny thing is, in today's modern times, we don't often give horses as gifts. And how did an awkward sounding phrase like that get used often enough that it became a part of our lexicon?

Another odd saying that my Grandma (God rest her soul) always used to say was "cuter than a bug's ear." That always made me chuckle. Do bugs even have ears? And if so, I doubt they are cute. I seriously question whether or not they are even big enough for us to see with the eye to evaluate their cuteness. Yet my Grandma would always mutter that saying when something caught her eye or tickled her fancy. A smiling baby was "cuter than a bug's ear." A drawing by one of her grandkids was "cuter than a bug's ear." Where did that saying come from? Where did she hear it first? And how did it catch on? Funny thing is, now I sometimes catch myself saying it. And the only reason I know what it means is because I experienced what it meant for my Grandma. Nevertheless, it is a bizarre sequence of words. I would love to know the etymology of this phrase and other weird ones out there in the English language.

What weird phrases strike your fancy? Put the "me" in media and tell me what you think.


At 11:39 AM, Blogger Mr. Energy Drink said...

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On the site of New Orleans station WWL-TV, you could summon video replays of the station's news coverage - including a seemingly despondent Mayor C. Ray Nagin talking of "a state of devastation" - and read a ...
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At 9:10 AM, Blogger THIRDWAVEDAVE said...

I have some friends in the hills that breed horses, and this saying has come up in our discussions. It falls inot the category of "it's the thought that counts." They, being breeders, often look into the mouth of their horses and of the ones they intend to buy. It gives them a quick picture of the age and overall health of the animal. If someone gave you a car and you immediately went and read the odometer, it would be rather insulting to the gift giver. As for the "bug's ear" saying, I've heard it but have no idea how it came about. It's cute, though.

Are you thinking about ENERGY SUPPLIMENTS? I'm not.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Mrs. Media Matters said...

How in the world did this poor site become a spam comment site?
I personally like "snug as a bug in a rug" he he he

At 2:15 PM, Blogger susan said...

Have you heard this one?
"Finer than Frog hair?"
Mighty fine, so fine you can't see them.
Well, in two shakes of a lamb's tail I've got to be someplace else.
Thanks Professor, enjoyed your Blog.

At 2:22 PM, Blogger susan said...

Have you hear this one?
"Finer than Frog hairs."
That's mighty fine, so fine, you can't see them.
Well, I must be somewhere in "Two shakes of a lamb's tail, so thankx Professor for the look-see.


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