Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Take the Bull by the Hand

Lucky number 13 on William Safire’s (tongue in cheek) Rules for Writers:
Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.

I love this one. Whenever I hear someone mix a metaphor, it makes me laugh. Or at least a slight smile. I try not to laugh AT people. And you never know if they’re doing it on purpose or not. They’re great for humor. In fact, here’s a funny word for it: mixaphor. That’s a perfect description!

Here are some actual quotes:
We'll have a lot of new blood holding gavels in Washington."
(Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston, quoted in the Savannah Morning News, November 3, 2010)

"I knew enough to realize that the alligators were in the swamp and that it was time to circle the wagons."
(attributed to Rush Limbaugh)

From sports, a reliable source for these:
"'Obviously, it's been a very difficult two days for us,' Nelson said. 'We kind of saw the writing on the wall Friday night. It's just apples versus oranges, and it's not a level playing field by any means.'"
("Seabury’s Football Team Done for the Season." Lawrence Journal-World, September 22, 2009)

An older one:
"Sir, I smell a rat; I see him forming in the air and darkening the sky; but I'll nip him in the bud."
(attributed to Sir Boyle Roche, 1736-1807)

And a nice, long, complicated one:
"I don’t think we should wait until the other shoe drops. History has already shown what is likely to happen. The ball has been down this court before and I can see already the light at the end of the tunnel."
(Detroit News, quoted in The New Yorker, November 26, 2012)

Picture from:; by Baltasar Garcia, 10 July 2007 (


  1. Fun, Kaye. Now you've got me set to watch for them in things I read and hear.

  2. There are a couple of comic strips that excel at this. I wish I were clever enough to make up lots of them. Thanks, Judy.

  3. Those are great. I know I've read some good ones to share but I can't think of any at the moment. (I shouldn't blog visit at night, Lol.)