Category Archives: Humor

idiom idiot

This is going to be a silly post.

I have a great love of the English language. Besides the fact, that in some aspects, I am really bad at it. I mean, I love words and I love reading. But conversation and listening are not my strong suit. I have trouble with intonations and figuring out phrasing from others’ speech, as well as applying appropriate intonation and phrasing to my own speech.

One interesting way that this is shown is my inability to grasp some idioms (or phrases or proverbs or just common words). Sometimes, I end up grasping them at odd moments. And what I lack for in verbal skills, I more than make up for in ability to remember non-even-events in my life. That is what this blog is going to be about.

This is a list of idioms, phrases, or words that I was confused about at sometime and I have a recollection of the moment when it all made sense.

Cock and Bull Story: For most of my life I thought this was a “cockenbull” story. Maybe a “cockenbull” was a type of rooster? I didn’t question it. I was definitely in college when I figured this one out.

The ends justify the means: This took awhile. So in this statement, the “ends” are the end of the situation and the “means” are the means in which something is done. Clearly. But I always thought it was referring to a spectrum with the ends being the outer reaches of the spectrum, while the means being the middle of it. Like the “mean” in math. It wasn’t until I took Latin and had to translate the ablative of instrument as “means by which” an action was done all the time, that I understood what this meant.

Last, but not least: I was younger when this happened. So I think a part the misunderstanding had to do with the fact that I didn’t really understand the difference between “last” and “least.” I heard it said during the opening ceremony of a Miss America pageant and I could not understand it. I don’t know if I had even heard it before, because who says “last, but not least” other than announcers? I associated being last with a race, so if you were last in the race clearly you were the least of the people in the race. I remember standing in from of my refrigerator at home thinking “ohhh! That is like if I announced ‘Condiments in our fridge: ketchup , mayonnaise and last, but not least, mustard!’ because mustard is actually the best of the condiments in our fridge.”

You can’t have your cake and eat it too: This one surprisingly just got solved the other day and was an inspiration for this post. I never understood it because I was interpreting “having the cake” as like “For dessert, I had cake,” while of course it means you can both possess a cake and eat it because if you eat it, then you would be down one cake possession. Though, I think you should admit, it is kind of confusing. How often do you use the verb “to have” in reference to food to mean “to possess?” Very rarely, I assume.

Easter/Esther: I did not grow up in a family that was super religious. But I’ve always had a love of pomp and dressing up. I have the distinct memory of feeling the need to go to the Easter services at our local church one year. I am pretty sure that I wore an American Girl “Dress Like Your Doll” dress from the Felicity collection. But how I prepared for Easter was by reading my little children’s Bible. And when I looked “Easter” up in the table of contents (just a list of the books of the Bible), the closest thing I found to “Easter” was “Esther.” So I just figured they were the same. I read the  story how Esther saved her nation and was very impressed with the whole thing. But then when I went to church with my dad, I couldn’t help being disappointed (and a little angry) that we spent the entire time talking about Jesus (didn’t he already get Christmas?) instead of awesome lady Esther. I don’t know if I’ve ever really forgiven the patriarchal institution of the Presbyterian Church for that.

All intents and purposes: This one is pretty simple. Until my twin brother saw me type it out, I thought it was “all intensive purposes.” I don’t really know what I thought an intensive purpose was.

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How to Pick Up a (Straight and Female) Art History Major

Let’s face it, Art History majors are really awesome. They are looking at a future of designing really great class powerpoints, wearing funky jewelery, and lamenting to no one who cares about people who just can’t see the difference between Baroque and Rococo (or Modern and Contemporary art). Plus they generally have very good taste in nail polish, have good hair, dress really well, and think in a different way than pretty much any other undergraduate major.  So who wouldn’t want to date one?

So here is a list of things to do and things to avoid in order to pick up your feisty art historian.

DO

1. When choosing between staying over night at an aquarium or a museum, choose the museum. Take note, Jim Halpert. (See S2E18 “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” of The Office)

2. It might help to look like one of these Art History hotties

Theodore Gericault

Once called the “Justin Bieber” of the Romantics by a hilarious University of Pennsylvania art history professor.

Raphael's Self-Portrait

The boy wonder of the Renaissance. Also according to the world’s biggest fangirl, Giorgio Vasari, Raphael died from having too much sex. Just going to leave that tidbit right there.

Lewis Paine by Alexander Gardner

One of the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination, Paine (real name Powell) was convicted and hung for an assassination attempt of Secretary of State William Seward. And he was widely considered the most attractive man in the images from my History of Photography class.

Albrecht Durer Self Portrait

Albrecht Durer: Jesus Face

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Bernini managed to be a sasspost and a sexpot. And he is single handedly responsible for 70% of the sex appeal of the Catholic Church.

For more hotties from art history check out these blogs: Hotties of Art History and My Daguerrotype Boyfriend

3. Get to know her specific interests in art. Art History majors love Judy Chicago, Clement Greenberg and Jasper Johns. You know why? Because the Art History professor that she aspires to be, who has cool coats/vests/jewelry, likes these people.* And until she graduates these interests are as important if nor more so than her personal art interests.

4. Learn to appreciate scarves. Art History classes are often in the dark. And often early in the morning. Sometimes the only thing keeping you awake and paying attention to Borromini subverting the classical orders is the warmth around your neck and being able to think “my scarf is way more awesome than anyone else’s in the room. Except maybe the scarf that the professor with the cool coats is wearing.” So Art History majors love scarves. This is potential topic of conversation.

While bored, I made this collage of scarves I like, as evidence of how awesome they are and how much art history majors love them.***

Bitches Love Scarves
5. Use Netflix for good. There are some killer art history documentaries on there, with dopey reenactments and interviews with lots of white old men. Worth it, if you can recommend one to her.
Recommended by this Art History Major to you: Exit Through the Gift Shop, Empires: The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance, Van Gogh: Brush with Genius, The Art of the Steal, Art 21: Art of the Twenty-First Century, Herb and Dorothy and seriously so many more.

DON’T

1. Don’t call him “da Vinci.” Just like in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it’s Leonardo. No need to complicate things with errors.

2. Related, don’t let cartoons be your source of art history knowledge.

Like this, this is completely ridiculous. (artist: yours truly)****

3. Don’t go to a museum and then make fun of the art. If you know less than her, this is not the time to show off your humor chops. Listen and discuss things. That’s why museums are fun. Also: museum dates are not a must. If you cannot handle museums (seriously, not everyone can), it would be better to not go, then then to go and make a fool of yourself. Art History majors have hobbies. Anyways, she’s probably been to the local museum bunches of times, so if you do go, make sure there is a special exhibit in town. It especially helps if it is one you are interested in.

So good luck! And of course there is something else you could do…register for art history classes! They are amazing and unlike any other class offered in an undergraduate program.

*This list may or may not be satirical.
**This may be Agnes Scott specific. Find the professor with the best coat/jewelry combo on campus. Odds, that one is the one she is idolizing.
***We also love collages of our own creation.
****Apparently Botticelli had ADD. And hated non-Italian Renaissances as much as I do.

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