"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

the power of the metaphor and the fun in mixing it

We learn from our children.  Matthew is a master of playing word games but just as we sometimes call him "Jude" (the Obscure) you do sometimes have to marvel in the way his mind works.  It started when he was pretty young - he would make up words like "coinsequence" and when you corrected him, he had the ability to make you wonder what he was getting at because he clearly knew the meaning of both "coincidence" and "consequence"  and just preferred the sound of "coinsequence".  So he has one word that he uses for two meaning.  He is also a master at the Target word game in the Argus.  He does however, not mess around.  No looking for the small words to build the big one.  He glances at it for a couple seconds and 8 times out of 10 comes up with the big word immediately.

I was reading some old notes the other day.  Sometimes you do keep things for a reason.  This was a print out of some really funny mixed metaphors and they reminded me of Matt.   But I will come back to those in a bit.

Quickly, for those who want a brief lesson for the day on metaphors (this is not from me but from about.com) and really I am not doing the teacher kind of thing, it is just that I like to have my memory refreshed from time to time, so I hope you do too.  So here goes:-

"Metaphors are comparisons between two dissimilar things. The use of a metaphors is a way to describe something. Authors use them to make their writing more interesting or entertaining, sometimes easier to understand. 

Similes are a specific type of metaphor that use the words "as" or "like" to make a comparison; a simple metaphor states that something is something else. 

For example,"Bob ran like the wind" This is a simile. 

Because the sentence compares Bob's running ability to the wind it is a metaphor. Because it makes the comparison using the word "like," it is a simile. 

"Bob is a purebred racehorse."
"Life is a journey."
"Time is a thief."

These are all metaphors (but not similes), as they say that each thing is something that, quite obviously, it is not (and does not make the comparison using the words like or as.) 

All metaphors consist of two parts: the vehicle and the tenor. The vehicle is the figurative expression, that is the concept, idea, or thing that is being used to make the comparison. The tenor is the idea that is illustrated or illuminated by the vehicle. 

For instance: in the sentence "Life is a journey," journey is the vehicle, and Life is the tenor. 

Beyond the simple metaphor and similes, there are actually many different types or expressions of metaphors."

Therein ends your lesson for today.

So back to the mixed metaphors.  Here are some pearlers:-

Thank you, from my bottom and my heart
It’s not rocket surgery
It’s a recipe waiting to happen
Sometimes you shoot your foot off to spite your face
If it can’t be done today, don’t wait until tomorrow.
Monday morning the fan is going to hit the roof.
We’re having this meeting to make sure all our ducks are on the same page
You don’t want to put all your legs under one blanket
We’re treading on thin water here

Then a little poem for the day:-

I'm caught between the Devil and a hard place
Between the fire and the deep blue sea
Between a rock and the frying pan
What a terrible place to be.

I kicked two birds with one bucket
Bit more bullets than I could chew
I burnt my bridges at both ends
That's a pretty dumb thing to do.

And now I've got a snowball's chance in a handcart
I hope you'll let me explain
I'm standing on the precipice
Of a runaway train.

Now I'm hoist by my own line and sinker
Since I opened up a whole bag of cats
I put my nose out of joint on the grindstone
I don't know why I did that.

I took a bull by the china shop
I won't do that again
Now I'm standing on the precipice
Of a runaway train.

And a cartoon:-

So that is it from me for today.

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