When I make use of old sayings or adages (such as the title of my last post, DOLLARS TO DOUGH-NUTS), I sometimes hesitate to do so because I’ve observed that (unlike my generation)  many people these days don’t know them….which, in turn, means that the reader probably “doesn’t get it” and my wordplay didn’t work. You might claim that’s because my generation was around when most of these old sayings originated, so naturally I’m familiar with them. Very funny.

DOLLARS TO DOUGHNUTS, for example, is a 19th century pseudo-betting phrase implying short odds (dollars are valuable but doughnuts aren’t), as in this sentence in a February 1876 Nevada newspaper: Whenever you hear any resident of a community attempting to decry the local paper…it’s dollars to doughnuts that such a person is either mad at the editor, or is owing the office for subscription or advertising.

Well, I’ve got news for you — I wasn’t around in 1876, but I still knew the phrase. How familiar are you with old sayings such as these (just to make it interesting, all but one of the following have a slightly altered word or two; if you can make the appropriate corrections, I’ll admit that you came up smelling like a tokus — I mean, like a rose):

1. A bird in the hand is worth two in the blue.
2. It ain’t over, still the fat lady sings.
3. It’s all over but the shooting.
4. The best laid plans of mice and men oft go oy vey.
5. A stitch in time saves a dime.

6. A picture is worth a thousand turds.
7. All good things come to those who can’t wait.
8. All is fair in love and divorce.
9. Behind every Dodge Stratus there’s a Silverado.
10. Better late than whatever.

11. He who hesitates is last.
12. Neither rhyme nor treason.
13. Blood is thicker than liquor.
14. Don’t change houses in the middle of the storm.
15. No rest for the wicked.

And now, if you’ll pardon me, it’s time for my nap.







I wonder how many readers of my previous post realized that its title was an old expression dating back over 300 years. According to, BY GEORGE dates from a 1694 translation of a comedy by Platus: “By George, you shan’t be a Sowce the better for what’s in it”….but “George” was used in an expression even earlier, as here (from a 1598 Ben Johnson play): “Well! he knowes what to trust to, for George.” Here is a more recent (1964) example of “By George!” by Rex Harrison in the above-average film MY FAIR LADY, starring Harrison and Audrey Hepburn:

My larger point: the small percentage of people who know old adages and expressions  — at least, that is my impression from watching game shows like JEOPARDY!, where supposed broadly-knowledgeable players almost invariably don’t know a familiar (to me) old saying when the question arises. You may say That’s easy for me to say, an old codger who was probably around before most old sayings started. Very funny. I resemble that remark — and I’m not the only one:

So much for idle rumors. If you’re so smart, let’s see how many of these old sayings you know at your tender age. No cheating. Remember, honesty is the best policy (why give insurance companies a legitimate excuse not to pay — they’ll give you a hard enough time on general principles). But just to keep you on your tokus, I’ll throw in several dishonest — I mean made-up — old aphorisms to see if you can separate the wheat from the shaft:

A fool and his money are soon parted.

A day late and a dollar early.

A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.

Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.

All work and no play makes Jack an ass.

Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.

Better late than never.

Blood is thicker than tomato soup.

Close but no cigar.

Close only counts in horseshit.

Curiosity killed the cat.

Do unto others before they do unto you.

The rest is yet to come….

….if I do a Part Two.


Have you heard the one about the best cure for insomnia? Get more sleep.
In order to do that, it might help if you go to bed instead of staying up late reading….unless, of course, you’re reading this post, in which case, all beds are off. You can’t get (revised) wisdom like this in your dreams, you know:

Gone to bed with the chickens.
Mr. Rooster says it’s a hard life, but somebody’s got to do it.

You’ve made your bed, now lie in it.
Like you don’t lie enough when you’re awake?

She got up on the wrong side of the bed.
Buy a bed that doesn’t have two wrong sides.

She looks like an unmade bed.
Makeup-wise, face it — the bed can wait. It’s not going anywhere.

I hate to be a wet blanket, but it’s time to hit the hay….or the sack, if it’s a good night.
Good night.


How time flies. It seems like only yesterday that I posted Part One of SO THEY SAY. Time to get back to work. Time’s a-wasting. Time to bite the bullet. Time is stranger than fiction. Etc.

In Part One, as you will fail to recall, I did what I will continue in Part Two, so rather than repeat the original intro, I’m sitting here trying to think of another one even more brilliant….

Sorry, I can’t do the impossible. Just scroll down to that post to get the idea. They say time waits for no one, but I’ll wait. Take your time.


The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.
As if it cared.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Hold the fries.

There may be snow on the roof, but there’s still fire in the furnace.
I suppose that beats fire on the roof and snow in the furnace.

The course of true love never runs smooth.
What’s the rush?

The cure is worse than the disease….
nless the side effects put you mercifully out of your misery. Just sayin’.

The only sure thing is death and taxes.
That’s two things (unless you can afford a very creative accountant).

The pen is mightier than the sword.
and just as obsolete.

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
OK, I’ll bite….as long as I don’t get heartburn and there’s a rear exit.

The truth shall set you free.
My truth — not the other guy’s. Trust me.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.
Sounds to me
like there may be
a Part Three.
We shall see.


In some lost past post of mine somewhere in the blogosphere, I asserted that what you don’t know can’t hurt you  is one of the dumbest well-known sayings ever said. Don’t get me wrong — I love a good old adage as much as the next good old adage lover, but not all old adages are created equal. I think we’re often inclined to take such supposed wisdom at face value, when a second look might give us pause — second thoughts, so to speak.

I have over the years acquired over a dozen books of old sayings, truisms, maxims, aphorisms, expressions, etc. Here is a selection from my collection which, upon further inspection, may warrant further reflection:

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.
That didn’t seem to bother W. C. Fields, Dean Martin or Homer Simpson.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
And yet, very few smokers carry fire extinguishers.

We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Easy now. What did that bridge ever do to you?

Truth is stranger than fiction.
In fact, so strange you can only find it in the Rare Books section.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.
So much for practice makes perfect.

What goes up must come down.
Try telling that to all the kites and balloons caught up in trees.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
But when the meek get tough, they get dis-blessed and disinherit the earth.

When it rains, it pours.
One word: drizzle.

When you lie down with dogs, you get fleas.
My dog resembles that remark (or at least he would, if he had fleas).

And that’s just scratching the surface. There’s plenty more where they came from, so I’m thinking there’s a Part II in your future, you lucky dog.