It's not rocket surgery
October 17, 2018 2:51 PM   Subscribe

 
This is rocket surgery.
posted by pmg at 2:54 PM on October 17, 2018 [10 favorites]


These all appear to be portmanteau metaphors.

Portmanetaphors?
Metamanteaus?
Portmantaphors?
posted by gurple at 3:07 PM on October 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


Ah yes, I feel like Ricky from Trailer Park Boys said a couple of these
posted by lain at 3:08 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


Did not find "That's the way the cookie bounces" but did find "Does the pope shit in the woods?" on the reddit thread, so all is well.
posted by queensissy at 3:09 PM on October 17, 2018 [12 favorites]


"Give them an inch, then they take a foot, and soon you don't have a leg to stand on." - Blackadder III
posted by zaixfeep at 3:11 PM on October 17, 2018 [21 favorites]


I love this stuff.

(cf. malamanteau [xkcd])
posted by Horkus at 3:11 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I had a '28 Portmanteau once, it was delicious - both woody and tinny.
posted by zaixfeep at 3:13 PM on October 17, 2018 [12 favorites]


A bird in the hand saves nine, if you're old enough for that sort of thing.
posted by pipeski at 3:16 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Burning that bridge at both ends.
posted by pipeski at 3:17 PM on October 17, 2018 [11 favorites]


You can lead a piano to water but you can't tuna fish...
posted by jim in austin at 3:18 PM on October 17, 2018 [13 favorites]


Once bitten, twice shy, three times a lady.
posted by pipeski at 3:18 PM on October 17, 2018 [50 favorites]


I once said, “It’s half of one, six dozen of the other.”
posted by Orlop at 3:20 PM on October 17, 2018 [19 favorites]


There are also Malaproverbs (which I think most of these are, technically)
posted by pipeski at 3:23 PM on October 17, 2018


"We'll burn that bridge when we come to it" is a valid metaphor for many things, such as Brexit and climate change mitigation.
posted by ckape at 3:24 PM on October 17, 2018 [36 favorites]


Burn the candle at both ends of the day
posted by nikaspark at 3:27 PM on October 17, 2018


"Hindsight is 50-50." Citation: my cousin.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:29 PM on October 17, 2018 [13 favorites]


A broken clock is worth two in the bush
posted by nikaspark at 3:29 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


Don't put the cart before the horse has bolted
posted by pipeski at 3:35 PM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


I forgot one odd link when composing the post: Malaphor poetry
posted by growabrain at 3:41 PM on October 17, 2018


You have to get up pretty early in the morning to make that dog hunt.
posted by valkane at 3:43 PM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


There's an old Bloom County strip where Opus says "Grab the bulls by the horns of a dilemma."
posted by stannate at 3:43 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


You only live once in a while.
posted by Floydd at 3:43 PM on October 17, 2018 [8 favorites]


Like a hot knife through cake.
posted by kneecapped at 3:45 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


My significant other says "we'll burn that bridge when we come to it" intentionally. She knows it's not the normal configuration of the proverb, and she still uses it to mean the same thing as the "cross" version, but she says her mother used to say it that way and she prefers it. It's one of my favorite things.
posted by penduluum at 3:48 PM on October 17, 2018 [7 favorites]


A favorite from a co-worker who did not speak English as their first language: "There's more than one way to lick a cat"
posted by rjd at 3:52 PM on October 17, 2018 [44 favorites]


One if by land, two if Hi-C.
posted by valkane at 3:54 PM on October 17, 2018


now make like a tree and let them eat the early worm
posted by numaner at 4:07 PM on October 17, 2018


I once had a boss (a francophone who spoke otherwise perfect English but who struggled with sayings like these) tell me:

“It looks like you have all your ducks under your umbrella.”
posted by elkerette at 4:11 PM on October 17, 2018 [38 favorites]


Yep, most Ricky-isms on Trailer Park Boys are right up this alley. It ain't rocket appliances.
posted by tatiana131 at 4:13 PM on October 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


Knowledge is power. France is bacon.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:13 PM on October 17, 2018 [11 favorites]


Hindsight is 50-50.
posted by entropone at 4:24 PM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


A lot of my workday is spent thinking "Not only am I not going to touch that can of worms with a ten-foot pole, I'm not dying anywhere near the zip code of the hill it's sitting on."
posted by mudpuppie at 4:28 PM on October 17, 2018 [7 favorites]


A friend's father coined, "it's not rocket scientry."

We, naturally, adopted it as our own.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:33 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


I also use 'burn the bridge when we cross it' in regular conversation often. Exactly because it puts a nice negative connotation on putting off important decisions for later.
posted by kaibutsu at 4:34 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


> "There's an old Bloom County strip where Opus says 'Grab the bulls by the horns of a dilemma.'"

My favorite Opus malaphor is, "You can lead a yak to water, but you can't teach an old dog to make a silk purse out of a pig in a poke."
posted by kyrademon at 4:36 PM on October 17, 2018 [9 favorites]


Don’t count your chickens until the barn door is closed.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:51 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


Put your shoulder to the grindstone.

It’s no egg off my hat.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:52 PM on October 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


I call these Dolanisms after a friend of mine. My favorite of his is “I’m just trying to get my face in the door.”
posted by STFUDonnie at 4:59 PM on October 17, 2018 [16 favorites]


Push the envelope through the window of opportunity
posted by nubs at 5:00 PM on October 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


Ooh, triple malaphor:

"We'll burn that bridge when they cross under it."

To purposefully hurt someone again when they've gotten over a past grievance.
posted by FJT at 5:05 PM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


Let’s think outside the kimono.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:08 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


Better get all your ducks up to speed, or it's all milk under the dam.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:08 PM on October 17, 2018


let's run that ball of wax up the flagpole and see who salutes
posted by mwhybark at 5:08 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


strike while the irony's cool
posted by mwhybark at 5:09 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


If it ain't broken by teaching your grandmother to put eggs in one basket without making an omelette then don't fix it
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:14 PM on October 17, 2018


Captain Zapp Brannigan - "the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate."
posted by hampanda at 5:15 PM on October 17, 2018 [21 favorites]


Think outside the box of chocolates.
posted by Glomar response at 5:27 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


I use "That train has sailed" and enjoy coming up with variants of "Not the Xest Y in the Z." Well, you know, he's not the sharpest crayon in the chandelier. Really not the brightest tool in the drawer.
posted by skullhead at 5:31 PM on October 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


This is just the tip of the icecube.
posted by sabraonthehill at 5:36 PM on October 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


Beauty is in the eye of the storm.
posted by Daily Alice at 5:36 PM on October 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


I was watching a Bulls game on TV sometime in the mid-90s when I heard a sportscaster say that a previously injured player had been given a "clean bill of slate."
posted by Daily Alice at 5:37 PM on October 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


That ship has failed...
posted by jim in austin at 5:38 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Give a man a fish and he’ll fish for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll fish for the rest of his life.
posted by dephlogisticated at 5:39 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


Does a bear shit in the pope’s hat?
posted by brand-gnu at 6:00 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Get in your fail boat, and fail away home...
*singing*
Come fail away, come fail away, come fail away with meeeeee....
posted by kaibutsu at 6:00 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I had a professor in a grad school class about the origins of Hinduism who spoke English impeccably in that precisely pronounced way of his people until that day he said, "Well, that would open up a whole new jar of worms."
posted by kozad at 6:01 PM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


I was watching a sports thing once and one commentator called someone a "suppository of information."
posted by vrakatar at 6:04 PM on October 17, 2018 [9 favorites]


Malaprops, malaphors, malamanteaus, mallomars, but nothing holds up like a good Malkovich.
posted by zaixfeep at 6:04 PM on October 17, 2018


Deja vue for the first time.
posted by vrakatar at 6:06 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


We all have our cross to burn.
posted by Jode at 6:06 PM on October 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make her care.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:08 PM on October 17, 2018


Don't cry over the midnight oil.

Elvis has left the cat out of the bag.

This is the last straw of decency.

Out of your depth in shit creek/take a shot out of the deep end

Not playing on a boat with a full deck.

This is where the Pope (or bear) hits the fan.

This is not the hill you want to hold your breath on.

Fall head over pants (in love).

But I don't want to shut the door after the horse has left the wheelhouse.

Go ahead and have a TIA like I did, then you'll know you can impress people by being sharp as a light bulb with your idioms.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:12 PM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


Don’t count your eggs in one basket


My boss is good at these, the only I can remember is deaf as a door knob. Oh, and funny as a heart attack.
posted by Sterros at 6:14 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I love these. I'm another person who says "We'll burn that bridge when we come to it" on purpose.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 6:15 PM on October 17, 2018 [8 favorites]


I knew someone who frequently accidentally mixed metaphors, my favorite was when she quipped, "The chip doesn't fall far from the block!" 🤔 I'll allow it.
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 6:16 PM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


yeah I say that bridge burning thing, eponymm.
posted by vrakatar at 6:17 PM on October 17, 2018


SpaceX rocket surgery.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:22 PM on October 17, 2018


can we have a day for this? International Malaphor Day. I'd say just go for October 17th, but I'm Canadian at that's already become Cannabis Day ... or whatever we're going to call it. Throw enough shit against the wall and a fat lady will sing.
posted by philip-random at 6:24 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


water under the bridge over troubled water
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 6:25 PM on October 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


Bonus points if you put any of these in quotes and attribute them to Abraham Lincoln.
posted by q*ben at 7:01 PM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


That'll really put the spanner amongst the pigeons.
posted by deadwax at 7:15 PM on October 17, 2018


"Burn that bridge when we come to it!"

I'm not the only one!!!!


MY PEOPLE!!!!!
posted by ZakDaddy at 7:32 PM on October 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


I've always used "you can't break eggs without getting your feet wet" which I'm not sure is even a proper malaphor
posted by tarshish bound at 7:33 PM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


I used to say that a problem was "no skin off my teeth" when it didn't matter to me. I have since been corrected.

I also use burn that bridge intentionally, and will occasionally extend things to include dynamite and salting the earth.
posted by Hactar at 7:42 PM on October 17, 2018


The apple of my eye can spoil a whole tree.
posted by armeowda at 7:43 PM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


what we're trying to do here is get them to drink the kool-aid

(it in itself is the purest expression of the form, really)
posted by mwhybark at 7:53 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I knew a woman who swapped out rocket surgery and instead said "It's not brain science."
posted by Emmy Rae at 7:54 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


"Until the cows freeze over" is another fun one.
posted by Emmy Rae at 7:56 PM on October 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


We could have saved so much typing by just referencing Yogi Berra in the first place.
posted by zaixfeep at 8:00 PM on October 17, 2018 [4 favorites]


Is this the same thing as a mixed metaphor?

Samuel Goldwyn invented this stuff.
posted by ovvl at 8:13 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


"Game's on, Tiny"...
posted by growabrain at 8:28 PM on October 17, 2018


Ya gotta dance with the horse you rode in on.
posted by Knowyournuts at 8:38 PM on October 17, 2018 [10 favorites]


A favorite from a co-worker who did not speak English as their first language: "There's more than one way to lick a cat"

I like to think that was a reaction to the horrible English idiom.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:46 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I don't suppose "measure once, cut twice" counts, or "dot all the T's and cross all the I's". Maybe the latter if "eyes".
posted by lipservant at 8:49 PM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


A friend in college used to talk about marching to a different kettle of fish.

A Swedish friend of my mom’s who learned UK English and not the American kind used talk about how complicated situations are a sticky forest.
posted by rtha at 8:53 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


God-damn it, I was so smug when I was like fifteen and came up with what I believed was the world's first ever "it's not rocket surgery". I've been coasting on those big laughs for over two decades now.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:54 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


I once said, “It’s half of one, six dozen of the other.”
My uncle had a talent (?) for these; he used to say "It's six of one, six of the other."
He was also known for having said adoringly of his wife (he had three throughout his life, I don't know which one it was) "She can run rings around my little finger."
posted by huimangm at 8:56 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


Life is a bowl of cherry pits.
If wishes were fishes then horses would ride.
Are the two I use to get that utterly satisfying look of existential confusion on peoples' faces.
posted by carsonb at 8:57 PM on October 17, 2018


Not the sharpest bowling ball in the shed / egg in the basket.
It’s not like we’re shaving babies.
You say potato, I say potato.
posted by erniepan at 9:00 PM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


The other game along these lines that's fun is mis-attributing a quote and meme-ing it over yet another person's portrait. It can get pretty subtle, for instance.
posted by carsonb at 9:05 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


One man's trash is another man's moccasins.
posted by imelcapitan at 9:27 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Whatever blows up Marilyn Monroe.
posted by MrVisible at 9:29 PM on October 17, 2018


I hear some interesting ones and i attribute some of them (perhaps unfairly, but with reason) to drug-induced brain damage. One, from a long, long time crack user, goes like this:

Bite your nose to spite your face.

(Like... how does one even bite their own nose? I have no idea, but I kind of love it.)

Also, while not quite a mixed metaphor or malaphor, i always get a giggle when he uses the word "petticoat" as an invective.. as in "that's some petticoat behaviour B!"
posted by some loser at 9:34 PM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


Here's three in one, courtesy of yours truly;

Shit happens, then it rolls downhill.

You're welcome.
posted by M-x shell at 9:39 PM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


Kind of tangentially, I always wondered about "you'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"

So... who in their right mind already has honey and is so desperate for fresh flies than they would use it to catch them? What are you going to do with those flies once you catch them you fucking weirdo?

also: you better not put that honey back in the jar when you're leaving to go do whatever it is you do with those flies.
posted by some loser at 9:42 PM on October 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


Best to make lemonade while the sun shines, I guess.
posted by blue shadows at 10:39 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


That's like closing the elevator doors after the horse has flown the coop.
posted by Tool of the Conspiracy at 11:12 PM on October 17, 2018


Who's up for a metaphor?
posted by boilermonster at 11:20 PM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


So... who in their right mind already has honey and is so desperate for fresh flies than they would use it to catch them? What are you going to do with those flies...

Winnie-the-Frog.
posted by zaixfeep at 11:26 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


What's a mixed metaphor?

To keep cows AND bulls in.
posted by zaixfeep at 11:27 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


Kind of tangentially, I always wondered about "you'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"
Fly paper will blow your mind.
posted by b33j at 12:04 AM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


ones I regularly use:

it's not rocket surgery

giving up the creek (...ghost/up shit...)
posted by beige at 12:07 AM on October 18, 2018


My German teacher in high school would routinely say things like "don't kick a gift horse in the mouth."

Reader, she was from Chicago.
posted by DoctorFedora at 1:51 AM on October 18, 2018 [3 favorites]


So... who in their right mind already has honey and is so desperate for fresh flies than they would use it to catch them? What are you going to do with those flies once you catch them you fucking weirdo?

It's likely because you don't want flies, not that you do. If they're safely ensconced in a bit of honey, they aren't buzzing about being a pain. Baiting your fly trap with vinegar, by comparison, flat doesn't work.

Personally, I've always wondered about "don't look a gift horse in the mouth". In light of commonly known ancient stories, it seems like bad advice, maybe even anti-Troy propaganda.
posted by Dysk at 1:54 AM on October 18, 2018 [3 favorites]


Well, now, this is a can of Pandora's worms.
posted by trotzdem_kunst at 1:56 AM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


The funny thing is that vinegar is actually a really good bait for fly traps, heh.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:21 AM on October 18, 2018 [5 favorites]


Is the pope's bear watertight?
posted by sjswitzer at 2:51 AM on October 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm fond of "you can't make a chicken without breaking eggs" but that's accidentally true ...
posted by nickzoic at 3:44 AM on October 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


You've buttered your bread, now lie in it.
posted by ergomatic at 4:08 AM on October 18, 2018 [8 favorites]




Ah yes, the Bush Administration.
posted by panama joe at 5:35 AM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


Coworker: "That would open up a whole can of doors."
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:44 AM on October 18, 2018 [6 favorites]


Actually, I am a rocket wizard
-Ponder Stibbons
posted by mfu at 6:10 AM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


Whatever floats your goat.
posted by Ansible at 6:17 AM on October 18, 2018 [4 favorites]


Obligatory Jack Aubrey: There are two ends to every pudding.
posted by Faustian Bargain Bin at 7:19 AM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


That's a whole new kettle of fish
posted by pipeski at 8:31 AM on October 18, 2018


It is time to grab the bull by the tail, and look it in the eye.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 8:51 AM on October 18, 2018


I still think one of the funniest ones I've heard was on The Two Ronnies when Barker is talking to Corbet about Dr Spooner's wife at a party.

"I still say she is far too pretty to be a teacher!"


Which has a lovely ring of truth about it.
posted by Burn_IT at 10:27 AM on October 18, 2018


I like, "Now the worm is on the other foot!"
posted by fizban at 1:40 PM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


Related by someone who was learning English...
"What's good for the goose, is good for the gooser."
posted by kokaku at 2:31 PM on October 18, 2018 [5 favorites]


Build a man a fire, he'll be warm for one night...light a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 2:56 PM on October 18, 2018 [4 favorites]


You can lead a horse to water, but you can't teach it to fish.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:13 PM on October 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


who in their right mind already has honey and is so desperate for fresh flies than they would use it to catch them?

I keep a few ant colonies. I feed them a balanced diet of carbs (assorted syrups, honey) and proteins (fruit flies, crickets, chicken smoothie).

I return from a long trip. Ants are hungry. Pet shop closed for the weekend. Empty fridge but for some honey, beer and assorted condiments.

You could say I already had honey but was desperate for some fresh flies.

You can see where this is going. I fed some honey to the ants and used malt vinegar to catch plenty of fruit flies.
posted by Dr. Curare at 6:06 PM on October 18, 2018


Personally, I've always wondered about "don't look a gift horse in the mouth". In light of commonly known ancient stories, it seems like bad advice, maybe even anti-Troy propaganda.

I think it is about politeness. You can tell a horse's age by looking at their teeth, so if you look a gift horse in the mouth you are checking the gift for flaws.

But if someone gave me a gift as complicated as a horse I would definitely check it out.
posted by Emmy Rae at 7:55 PM on October 18, 2018 [3 favorites]


People who live in glass houses shouldn't call the kettle black.
posted by Daddy-O at 10:44 PM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


Don't count all your chickens in one basket.

A penny saved is worth two in the bush.
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:03 PM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


I don't have a horse in this fight.
posted by Tunierikson at 11:15 PM on October 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


As W said, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, won't get fooled again!"
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:21 AM on October 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Pin your ear to the wisdom post
Pin your eye to the line
Never let the weeds get higher than the garden
Always keep a sapphire in your mind
Always keep a diamond in your mind
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 5:09 AM on October 19, 2018


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