#Idiom: Pleased as Punch & #Idiom: Horse of a Different Color

It’s been a while since I blogged about an idiom, so I selected “Pleased as Punch” and “Horse of a Different Color” for today. Idioms come and go, usually without notice. Then, one day, you think about one and realize you haven’t heard it said in a long time. It’s probably been replaced by a new one.

“Pleased as Punch”

“Pleased as Punch” is a saying I heard growing up, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve heard it. It’s probably been decades. I had no idea how it came about. I thought it was just an example of alliteration that caught on as a saying.

I also didn’t know that “Punch” was supposed to be capitalized. Again, I thought it came about only because “Pleased” and “Punch” both started with the same, strong “P” sound. Shows what I knew.

I recently learned that this idiom dates back to the mid-1800s and the character named Punch in the Punch and Judy shows. According to The American Heritage dic-tion-ar-y of Idioms,by Christine Ammer, Punch “is always happy when his evil deeds succeed.” (Images of a smiling Donald J. Trump, Sr. come to mind.)

Now, I know, and so do you. File this tidbit away in case you’re ever a contestant on “Jeopardy” or “The Chase.”

“Horse of a Different Color”

Photo credit: Gene Devine on unsplash.com

This idiom popped into my head last week, and I realized I hadn’t heard it said in quite some time. Curious about its origins, I reached for my trusty reference book, The American Heritage dic-tion-ar-y of Idioms,by Christine Ammer, which I purchased for either fifty cents or a dollar several years ago when the public library was drastically weeding its collection.

The saying, “Horse of a Different Color” or “Horse of Another Color” means, “Another matter entirely, something else,” according to Ms. Ammer’s book.

She goes on to say that, “This term probably derives from a phrase coined by Shakespeare, who wrote, ‘a horse of that color’ (Twelfth Night, 2:3), meaning ‘the same matter’ rather than a different one. By the mid-1800s the term was used to point out difference rather than likeness.”

My conclusion

It seems we don’t hear as many idioms as we used to. Is that a result of the homogenization of American English? Society presses us to drop our regional accents. As a southerner, I’ve felt that, and it makes me sad. I think our regional differences in our speaking make the United States a more interesting place to live. I hate to see us losing those little differences. I hear it in the voices of my great-nieces who live in Georgia. My accent is much more southern than theirs even though they have lived in Georgia their entire lives. It makes me sad.

Since my last blog post

My blog post today is short and light-hearted because I’ve been spending every spare minute (when not reading!) to work on my family genealogy. My sister and I are working on a project that we want to finish this fall. Time is not on our side!

Until my next blog post

I hope you have one or more good books to read and a rewarding and relaxing hobby.

Make time to read and enjoy that hobby. And, by all means, make time to enjoy family and friends.

Remember the people of Ukraine and Uvalde, Texas.

Janet

My Recent Discovery of OpenLibrary.org

I love how things seem to just happen. Things I couldn’t anticipate because I didn’t know they existed. Serendipity.

OpenLibrary.org

Photo credit: Emil Widlund on unsplash.com

In the process of looking for an out-of-print genealogy book a couple of weeks ago, I quite by chance saw a reference to OpenLibrary.org. I’d never heard of it, so I typed in into a search engine to investigate it. What a treasure!

The website’s self-description reads as follows: “Open Library is an initiative of the Internet Archives, 501(c)(3) non-profit, building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Other projects include the Wayback Machine, archive.org and archive-it.org.

I haven’t taken the time to explore archive-it.org, archive.org, or the Wayback Machine, but I learned from the video overview that the Wayback Machine gives you a way to go back in time and see what a particular website looked like years ago.

After signing up with my email address and a password, I gained free access to 4 million books, including that out-of-print genealogy book! It wasn’t available from Amazon.com and it wasn’t even available from my go-to used books website, abe.com. (The Advanced Book Exchange rarely lets me down.)

On OpenLibrary.org, I was able to access the entire genealogy book and do all the research I needed to do in just a couple of hours. It didn’t cost me a penny. I remember a time not so long ago when being able to do that from the comfort of my home – or from anywhere else, for that matter – was the stuff of science fiction.

If you can’t find the book you’re looking for on OpenLibrary.org, they even have a way for you to sponsor a book, and then it will be available to you and everyone else.

I’m getting no financial or other benefit from blogging about OpenLibrary.org. I just wanted to share with you a free resource that might help you.

Since my last blog post

Photo credit: NisonCo PR and SEO on unsplash.com

I watched a free 90-minute webinar on Tuesday about Amazon Optimization by Geoff Affleck. It was aimed at self-publishing authors. I don’t know yet how I’ll get my novel series published, but I took lots of notes for future reference if I go that route. Also, I picked up some pointers that I can do to my Amazon Author page now.

The Heirloom

I read every chance I got last week, and I worked on my scenic plot outline for Book One in my series (possibly titled, The Heirloom) every day except Sunday. I try not to work on the Sabbath. The word count for the scenic plot outline stood at more than 12,000 as of Saturday night. I’m enjoying my research on the Great Wagon Road and some of the trails that crossed or veered off of it.

Thank you, Beverley in the British Virgin Islands – and a blogger friend of mine – for firmly encouraging me to stop reading so much and make time for my writing. I’m happier now and have more direction in my life.

My sister and I continue to work on photo albums together while we listen to a book, listen to music, or watch TV.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. I continue to have more books than I can get to, but I’m dedicated now to writing six days a week.

Stay warm. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Janet

How to State the Obvious

I keep a notebook in which I write down sentences I like in the books I read. There’s method to my madness. I’m trying to learn how to write good prose.

In my May 7, 2018 blog post, https://janetswritingblog.com/2018/05/07/reading-in-april-2018/, I wrote about reading The Last Child, by John Hart. In that novel a sentence jumped out at me as a clever way to state the obvious.

The Last Child, by John Hart

“He reached inside and caught the bat where it leaned against the doorjam. It had dents and scars from a time he beat the television to death over a fumble in a playoff game.” ~ from The Last Child, by John Hart

What a great way to say Burton “Jar” Jarvis is crazy without saying, “Jar is crazy.”

Since my last blog post

I have worked on my novel outline and rewritten the first scene. I think I have some plot problems figured out. If you’ve read my blog recently, you know this is a breakthrough for me. For instance, in my December 17, 2018 blog post, https://janetswritingblog.com/2018/12/17/to-write-or-not-to-write/, I revealed that I was having doubts about finishing my novel. I hadn’t seriously worked on it since June.

Being the early days of a new year, I was also inspired to weed three cookbooks out of my collection. You have no idea how surprising and necessary this accomplishment is. It’s a start.

Determined to get back to my genealogy hobby, I scanned more than 100 family photos into my genealogy software program.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. I’m reading In the Woods, by Tana French.

If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.

Thank you for reading my blog. You could have spent the last few minutes doing something else, but you chose to read my blog. I appreciate it! I welcome your comments.

Let’s continue the conversation.

What are your hobbies?

What are you reading?

What are you writing?

Like “Jar,” have you ever beaten a TV to death over something that came on the screen that you didn’t like? If you have, you probably need to be in therapy instead of reading my blog. Correction: You probably need to be in therapy in addition to reading my blog. Please don’t stop reading my blog!

Janet