CONFUCIUS, PRO AND CON

Yesterday, Sept. 29, was CONFUCIUS DAY. Confucius say: Mistermuse perfect pundit to write Sept. 30 CONFUCIUS DAY post because he always a day late and a yuan* short. Mistermuse say: I not a day late, Confucius Day a day too soon — besides, everyone know yuan is actually Spanish/Latino name (as in Don Juan), not Chinese. Latinos say: Whatever. Just don’t Confuci-us with the Japanese, who have the yen. Anyway, before yuan thing lead to another, what counts is the way we Americans say it: “A day late and a dollar short.”  USA! USA! USA!

*Chinese currency

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let us get down to the business at hand, which happens to be a selection of profound proverbs by Confucius, followed by an equal proportion of proverbial conclusions by Contrarius (which happens to be the pun name of Anonymous).

Choose a job that you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.
To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.
He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make words good.
Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.
The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.

Man who stand on toilet may be high on pot.
Wife who put husband in doghouse soon find him in cat house.
Passionate kiss like spider web: leads to undoing of fly.
People who eat too many prunes get good run for money.
War does not determine who is right, war determine who is left.
Man who jump off cliff jump to conclusion.

THE END (and not a moment too soon)

 

 

 

SAY WHAT AGAIN?

The use of wordplay in the titles of my last two posts (ROMANCE WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY and ALL’S FARE IN LOVE AND FOUR) doesn’t cancel the reservations I expressed in my 6/1/15 post (SAY WHAT?); i.e., it’s chancy to ‘pun’ old sayings because most people today don’t know them….and if they don’t know the sayings, they won’t get the wordplay.

Now, granted that some party-poopers may have known the actual sayings (ROME WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY and ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR) behind those titles, but pooh-poohed the wordplay as hardly worth the strain my brain went through to get the end result. Be that as it may, my purpose here is to be ‘test assured’ that my readers are more familiar with once-familiar old sayings than “most people” in the first place — so, if you’re game, here’s a list of 4 old sayings, 4 song titles, and 4 made-up idioms. If you can pick — out of the dozen — 3 of the 4 old sayings, consider yourself a genius. If you get all four right, I will consider you a genius.

1.  FAINT HEART NE’ER WON FAIR LADY

2.  A PRETTY GIRL IS LIKE A MELODY

3.  DISCRETION IS THE BETTER PART OF VALOR

4.  ANY PLACE I HANG MY HAT IS HOME

5.  GOOD FECES MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS

6.  FISH AND VISITORS STINK AFTER THREE DAYS

7.  ANY TIME’S THE TIME TO FALL IN LOVE

8.  DON’T CHANGE CORPSES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREAM

9.  DON’T THROW COLD WATER ON THE FLAME OF LOVE

10. GO TO BED WITH THE CHICKENS, WAKE UP WITH THE ROOSTERS

11. WHILE THE CAT’S AWAY, THE MICE WILL PRAY*

12. GENIUS IS ONE PERCENT INSPIRATION AND 99 PERCENT PERSPIRATION

*Apparently they’re church mice.

So, how do you think you did? If you can’t stand the suspense, hold on to your pants, because I will keep you in suspenders no longer — the old sayings are #1, #3, #6 and #12. Speaking of #12, if you weren’t right at least 3 times of 4, obviously you don’t perspire enough to be a genius.

As for the other two categories, I made up #5 (“feces” for “fences”), #8 (“corpses” replaces “horses”), #10 and #11 (“pray” is a play on “play”), and the song titles are #2, #4, #7 and #9. What’s that you say — #9 sounds like something I made up, not a song? Well, I hate to throw cold water on your hot tamales, but the proof is in the pudding:

In  closing, take pride, ye geniuses who passed the test and could dig the rest; let the record show, The wordplay’s the thing.

 

 

 

SAY WHAT?

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.

 

 

 

 

GEORGE (STILL) ON MY MIND

I wonder how many readers of my previous post realized that its title was an old expression dating back over 300 years. According to grammarphobia.com, 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.

SO THEY SAY (PART FOUR-POSTER)

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.

SO THEY SAY (PART THREE)

Time once again for another exciting episode of SO THEY SAY, so let’s get back to where Part Two left off, and continue putting the right slant on some questionable old axioms. My readers deserve nothing less, because….well, they just don’t.

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The best things in life are free.
Nevertheless, donations are acccepted for this and all previous and future posts.

She will talk to a wooden Indian.
That’s why I keep a wooden Indian around the house.

You can’t get blood out of a turnip.
Try praying harder.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Try praying harder, but only for small turnips. If they fall hard enough, the big turnips should bleed on their own.

It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.
Or, you could pay your electric bill or replace that burned-out bulb.

Six of one, half dozen of another.
The correct Jeopardy! answer is: How many Ricardos and Dons does it take to change a lightbulb?

Seeing is believing.
How true. I see much better now, after turning on the candle in the light socket.

She can’t help being ugly, but she could’ve stayed home.
Maybe she had to run out and buy a thesaurus.

There’s no fool like an old fool.
I prefer to think of it as being special.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.
But don’t be mean when you say it.

SO THEY SAY (PART TWO)

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.

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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….
u
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.