The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Between a Rock and a Hard Place (well, not exactly that)

American cultural icons, apple pie, baseball, ...
American cultural icons, apple pie, baseball, and the American flag
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         Why I happened to think of the oft used American expression "Stuck between a rock and a hard place" in regard to what I was going to write for this post now escapes me, but it happened to pop into my mind as I was considering my post for today which I was thinking of as a transition post of sorts.   I could have just as easily said "I'm between my Monday post and the post I'll be putting up this coming Sunday".    What I guess I had on on my mind was the consideration of how to remind readers about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge which opened this past Monday and how to drop a few clues about my next Battle of the Bands post which will be coming up this Sunday February 1st.

        Perhaps the more precise way of stating the theme of this current post would be "Stuck between a great big A to Z sign-up list and a rock song".    I guess that wouldn't sound as catchy as an American idiom that has an origin now obscure to most of us, but with a meaning that seems pretty obvious.

           I had to look up that expression out of curiosity and found that it is a theme that appears in nearly every culture dating back to ancient times.   The gist of the saying has to do with being in a dilemma in which any solution is not particularly a good one.  Well!  That being the case the phrase then has no real relevance in relation to my topic for this post.   Imagine me going off on some weird tangent that has little to do with anything.  Yes, that's par for the course I guess--to use a golf idiom that I never paid much attention to the fact that it had anything to do with golf until this moment as I used it.  Come to think of it I don't really say "That's par for the course" very often but there it was just popping into my head.

          Oddly enough I started this post over an hour ago with just the title and went downstairs to watch one of the few TV shows that I follow these days.   The Flash on the CW network is a pretty decent show for the superhero genre which is something I've grown weary of in recent years.  But that's another story for another day (is that another idiom?).  The point I wanted to make about going to watch The Flash after composing the title for this post was that among the opening lines of dialogue in this particular episode one of the characters said they were "stuck between a rock and a hard place" and I found that to be a bit weird considering the circumstances.  Serendipitous perhaps.  I don't know, but at least this gave me a reason to use one of my favorite words "Serendipitous" (or any variation of that word).  Just thought I'd toss that out to you.

          So looking back to Monday, did you get your name on the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Linky list yet?   As I write this, the list is stalled at #330, but I'm sure that as you read this the list will have progressed much more.  The list will be open until April so if you haven't decided whether or not to participate you do have time.  However, get into the community spirit and join now so you can mix and mingle and start making new friends and reacquainting yourself with old ones.  If you don't join in before the list closes you might be a bit blue thinking about the relationships that might have been and you missed out on.   Well maybe that's a bit dramatic, but it's my sales pitch.  I'll be doing that now and then between now and April, brothers and sisters, cause I don't want anyone to cry or feel left out of the fun.

         Maybe you've been catching hints of song clues along with lots of herrings, red and every other color you can think of, and the reason for the clues has to do with Battle of the Bands.  I was shocked that my previous Battle of the Bands post likely broke a record of most votes so far for any Battle of mine and maybe any other Battles of participating bloggers.  A total of 40 votes were received on that Battle.  I had fears that the voter turn-out would be far lower since I broke my own rules and used 3 song versions including one that lasted about 10 minutes.   Thanks voters!  I'll be taking this same route one more time (please bear with me) with 3 songs with one clip that is again about 10 minutes.  Never fear though, there will be two short ones and you can just vote between those if you'd like.

           That's about it for me here at Tossing It Out for today.  I won't even mention that Friday will be my birthday and I'll have a special little post to commemorate that event.  Oh, I guess I did mention it.  I didn't mean to do that--yeah right!   Even if you miss my birthday don't miss my Battle of the Bands post on Sunday or I'll be feeling blue.   Guess I'd better say bye-bye.  Love you, brothers and sisters.

             Did you join the A to Z list yet?    Do you ever wonder about the idioms that people often use?    Can you guess what song I'll be using on my Battle of the Band post?



56 comments:

  1. I signed up yesterday and was surprised to see how many had already taken the plunge! The first time I heard the expression was from my soon to be husband. He used it and I thought it was so cute! He had all sorts of crazy expressions I'd never heard before, like when he was hungry he said "My stomach thinks my throat's been cut." He'd spent some time in the South so I figured that's where they all came from.

    Happy birthday on Friday! That is actually my mother's birthday as well. If she were still with us, she'd be 98.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That throat cut expression is just a little gruesome when you think of it. Maybe Southern but I haven't heard that one.

      Lee

      Delete
  2. Happy birthday early!
    No idea on the song. I never have one anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosh, and I even said the name of the song above. Surely someone will pick up on this one.

      Lee

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Hey, that's a good guess. But since that one didn't come to my mind it's not the song. But darn that's a great guess!

      Lee

      Delete
    2. Okay. Maybe, "Happy Birthday," as in "Happy, birthday, happy birthday baby..."or "American Anthology."
      So what's the prize if we guess it?

      Delete
    3. No to any of those songs, but "Happy Birthday" could certainly be a strange and even interesting choice. And the clips would be very short.

      No prize other than the dubious satisfaction of knowing that your mind is as convoluted as my own because you guessed the song.

      Lee

      Delete
    4. "Saturday in the park, I think it was the fourth of July" - Chicago, would correlate with a film of Barefoot in the Park.

      No cigar, right?

      Delete
    5. No cigar, but serendipitously I was listening to a song about cigars today.

      Lee

      Delete
    6. Serendipity Singers... blah, blah, blah... I'll wait!! thanks for letting me guess so many times, Lee (smile).

      Delete
  4. I did sign up for A to Z and I think it's going very good. Already so many have signed up. It's going to be an awesome year!

    Happy early Birthday!!!!

    BTW...I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. If you don't do the awards, that's completely fine. I just wanted you to know. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't usually do the awards, but maybe I'll make an exception since it's my birthday on Friday. Great to have you with us for A to Z, now go and spread the word!

      Lee

      Delete
  5. Par for the course is used all the time in this house as all my boys are golfers. I watched The Flash last night too though I only catch it on occasion when I remember it's on. The list will grow. Build it and they will come. Know that movie?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Field of Dreams is a film that I enjoyed a great deal though I haven't seen it in a very long time. I usually forget that a lot of shows that sound interesting are on, but certain ones like The Flash become a habit so I'll watch them. There aren't many though.

      By the way I heard on the radio the other day that the actual quote was "If you build it, he will come" referring to baseball legend Shoeless Joe Jackson. It's apparently a commonly misquoted line which I have always misquoted myself.

      Lee

      Delete
  6. One of my Russian books has a section on Russian idioms, which are just as odd as many English idioms. They've got idioms like "To charm someone's teeth" (to talk one's way out of trouble), "To walk on one's head" (to make trouble), "To wash bones" (to gossip spitefully), "To fly out the chimney" (to lose all one's money), and "To wind something on one's moustache" (to make note of something).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can kind of see the mustache one, but the others are very weird. I guess a lot of ambiguity comes from cultural differences or mistranslation? Idioms are strange.

      Lee

      Delete
  7. I have no clue on the song. Maybe it has to do with idioms?

    I've seen a couple of episodes of The Flash. Mostly my husband and I put it on when we need to focus on other stuff, like cooking. We aren't too invested in it. Murder mysteries with humor mixed in are more our thing.

    Happy early birthday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sometimes have a hard time focusing on a TV series so maybe that's why a show like The Flash appeals to me--I don't have to pay as much attention to the intricacies of the dialogue. With only 3 shows that I watch each week I'm watching more TV lately than I have in a long time.

      Lee

      Delete
  8. I'm always fascinated by idioms, in fact I probably over use them. One of my favourites is "at the drop of a hat" but I never remember what it means. At least with "between a rock and a hard place" it's clear that's not a good place to be!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well a hat drops pretty quickly. I wonder if it's an expression that is more relatable to back when most guys wore hats. Maybe it's like "throwing down the gauntlet" but more helpful than an expression of aggression? Interesting idiom.

      Lee

      Delete
  9. There was a comedy that came out in the 80s called 'Gung Ho'....cast of thousands....where the Japanese come to a run down, dying American town to revive their auto plant. I always chuckle when the Japanese receptionist is trying to use her English expressions and says to Michael Keaton, 'He's between a rock and a hard on'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hilarious! I know idioms can be confusing to learners of new languages. I was talking to a Korean lady who was taking English classes and she said they had a special session of coverage that dealt with idioms.

      Lee

      Delete
  10. Not having read all the comments, as far as I know the origin was Scylla and Charybdys which were a couple of sea monsters one was supposed to have to sail past at the Straits of Messina. Homer mentioned it. Happy Birthday on Friday Lee.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes that's one of the stories I came across when I investigated the phrase. But I can see similar idiomatic expressions arising in other parts of the world just because of the idea of a difficult dilemma.

      Lee

      Delete
    2. And therein goes my guess of the Police with Wrapped Around Your Finger...

      Delete
    3. No Police in this song unless they did a cover of it that I missed. They very well could have.

      Lee

      Delete
  11. Good luck with A to Z. I'll be watching, reading and cheering from the side lines. :-)

    Happy (early) Birthday

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks on all accounts and if you want to jump into the Challenge we'll cheer you on as well.

      Lee

      Delete
  12. I've got a couple of books that explain the origin of various idioms. Pretty interesting. Some of them I already knew, but not the majority by any stretch of the imagination.

    Friday is your actual birthday, right, BoidLee?

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
  13. Origins of idioms are interesting, but sometimes I question what some say when I find conflicting explanations. Some idiom origins don't make a lot of sense to me.

    Yes, Friday is my real birthday and not my spiritual rebirth day or any bloggy inspired birthday. I was actually born on January 30th quite a number of years ago.

    No song guess? Not even when I stated the title along with a hint of the artist that did the original version? I really made this one easy I thought. Okay, yeah, just me playing guessing games.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Lee! Happy birthday in advance in case I actually follow through with my resolve to binge write on Friday.

    Serendipitous and its relations are a favorite words of mine, too. Also synchronicity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Synchronicity is a great word! As is the concept.

      Lee

      Delete
  15. I love how idioms originate. My father had his own style like "That SOB is as useless as a boar's tits" or as useless as a dog's hind leg". If course my lumberman dad would say the whole SOB words. He would also say "That poor bastard doesn't have a pot to piss in" OK am I being too Carole Lombard (she did have a gutter mouth). I don't think it as bad since I grew up hearing these words come from my dad. The song wouldn't have Serendipity in the title or anything like that? I actually have no clue. I did sign up for the A to Z and am looking forward to it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The song does not have "serendipity" in the title nor was it sang by the Serendipity Singers (remember them?) and it is not "Synchronicity" by The Police. If I keep doing these song guessing games someone will probably come up with an idiom to describe my practice of doing so.

      Lee

      Delete
  16. The last time I checked I was signed up at blog #164 on the Challenge. Want to go ahead and wish you a very happy birthday on Friday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just keep in mind that your number will likely change if any blogs above yours are culled from the list.
      Thanks for the birthday wish!

      Lee

      Delete
  17. Arlee - thanks for stopping by my blog. I've been more or less out of the loop since losing my husband last year. I feel as though I'm coming back to life. AND behind on all my writing projects. Gradually moving forward the last few weeks. Snow, icy, slush here in Ohio makes for some days inside to write! Best of luck with the A-Z challenge. Best always, Barb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loss of a loved one can be a real emotional setback and I'm sorry to hear of yours. Good to know you're gradually getting back into the groove of life. We go on.

      Lee

      Delete
  18. The first thing I thought about when I read your blog post title was the Rolling Stones song, Rock and a Hard Place. I love when serendipity happens! Good share! Happy Birthday: I say start celebrating early. Birthday celebrations should last for a week anyway... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My wife and I have been celebrating since Saturday with various birthday dinners for me--her idea not mine, though we always eat out on week-ends anyway. Eating out on Monday and Tuesday was not typical though. We have two more dinners out coming up on Friday and Saturday.

      I don't recall that song by the Stones though that's an appropriate guess.

      Lee

      Delete
    2. Glad to hear you're doing some early celebrating! Re: the Stones song: you'll recognize it when you hear it probably: http://youtu.be/7pYBQg4qifU

      Delete
    3. I do remember this though I never listened to that album too much. I don't know if many covers of this song have been done, if any.

      Lee

      Delete
  19. Rock & a hard place, drop of a hat, stomach thinks my throat's been cut, throw down the gauntlet are all common English idioms. Drop of a hat as you said is "fast"; throwing down the gauntlet dates from mediaeval times when it was literally a challenge action.
    I was discussing with friends on a train journey once why some English idioms translated directly into German but not French and vice versa. A lady sitting with us joined in. Her daughter was studying mediaeval history, and it was all to do with the way the monks moved around, taking language with them. Depends which circuit they did as to which way the idiom travelled.

    Sounded good to me.

    Happy birthday, Lee xxoxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like a reasonable explanation. I think it sometimes has also something to do with the sound of the language or cultural differences. I think that some idiomatic expressions are plays on certain words and they don't work in other languages, but off hand I can't think of one.

      Lee

      Delete
  20. As always, I'll be a cheerleader for those participating in A-Z, but every year I'm amazed how it grows and grows. Kudos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And if you get enough inspiration to do an intense blogging experience in April we hope you'll join in the fun. But cheerleading is always welcomed.

      Lee

      Delete
  21. Early happy Birthday Arlee! Sounds like you've been happy a great time already!
    Haven't a clue as to your upcoming BOTB ... I was thinking Blue Moon or Blue River but I don't think so!
    Signed up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, nothing blue in the title, but I can see where you would have picked that up.
      I try to have a happy time whenever and wherever I am. As much as I can.

      Lee

      Delete
  22. Happy early birthday! I wish I could do the A-Z thing, but I can barely come up with one post every week; I don't think I could come up with a new post every day for one month. But I do enjoy reading everyone else's A to Z posts, so I look forward to reading them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But you can do it! That's partly what A to Z is all about. If you do change your mind then sign up. You may be better at this than you think!

      Lee

      Delete
  23. There's still plenty of time for A to Z signups and I plan to look at some old sources like media outlets this weekend. I have a decent sized list. i just hope the individuals are still employed in the same capacity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent! I'll be addressing this issue soon, but if you get the jump on this it would be great.

      Lee

      Delete
  24. I haven't decided if I'll do A-Z yet. Maybe life will slow down a little for me and I'll be able to join in this year.

    Have a wonderful birthday. Celebrate all weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or you can burn the candle at both ends! Nothing like pushing oneself to the extreme. I plan to have a nice quiet birthday. Maybe I'll celebrate with a nap after a good meal.

      Lee

      Delete
  25. The excitement of a new A-to-Z! Also, I love when I get to use a wonderful word that I rarely use.

    ReplyDelete

Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee