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Posts Tagged ‘Phil Williams’

Pulls My Trigger

Posted by Admin on July 29, 2013

Phil Williams of NewsTalk 98.7 FM out of Knoxville made the comment that a certain news story pulled his trigger. The manner in which the comment was used indicated that he felt strongly on the subject. But what did he mean by that?

If someone says that someone or something pulls their trigger, what they mean is that they feel very strongly about that person or the topic being discussed. It’s an intense reaction where the person whose trigger is pulled takes a stand, and that’s all there is to it! Whether it’s positive or negative is entirely dependent upon the specific situation.

Atlanta, Georgia singer-songwriter, Jeff Silver and Josh Osborne wrote a song about a woman that’s nothing but trouble but she somehow knows how to get men all worked up over her feminine wiles. It appeared on his 2008 release for Silvercraft Records entitled “Looking Forward Looking Back.” The song’s title is, of course, “Pulls My Trigger” and the last line in the chorus is:

That girl pulls my trigger every time.

When author/blogger Crystal Green aka Christine Cody aka Chris Marie Green reviewed the Superman movie she blogged about in her June 28, 2005 spoiler-filled blog entry “Superman Returns To Men” she wrote in part:

Girls and boys, he totally pulls my trigger. If you’re prone to heroics, you’ll know exactly what I mean. My gosh, you’ve never seen Superman done like this before. The guy can fly all right, but this time out, instead of being all, “La la la” as he meanders through the skies, he’s a rocket.

Two years before that, Laura Nation published an article entitled, “How Not To Treat Customers” that appeared in the Cleburne News edition of November 20, 2003. While she acknowledged that dealing with the public could sometimes be rough, she also maintained that if you have a job, you need to do that job to the best of your abilities.

Well, that always pulls my trigger. I try never to tell anyone what they’ll have to do. They don’t have to do anything.

And back on November 13, 1999 there was a 2-page testimony about the annual pig roast held at Mom’s Biker Bar in Longview, Texas that a group of friends from Louisiana attended. They were all (according to the author, John L. Doughty, Jr) the author’s “beer-drinkin’ and pool-shootin’ buddies and the leading citizens of Tullos.” The website retelling of the event took up 2 pages, complete with photographs to accompany the storytelling. And at one point, the author wrote:

I suppose by now some of y’all have figured out that little miss Wild Thang pulls my trigger. Here she is again in a sneaky shot I took with a telephoto lens. Around midnight that night and at least 6 long necks later when she was even less inhibited than her normal uninhibited self and so was I, she posed for a very good shot. Alas, alas, alas, the batteries were dead in my camera. There ain’t no justice.

Now then, John L. Doughty, Jr.is out of Louisiana, the Cleburne News is out of Alabama, Jeff Silver lives in Georgia, and Phil Williams is from Tennessee. So is it possible that this expression is a southern saying?

Possibly, however the expression showed up in a blog article written by blogger Jami Dwyer of Portland, Oregon and published to her Appreciator blog site on May 31, 2008. The entry was entitled, “Why No Sasquatch Next Year” where she wrote about her experience at the Sasquatch Music Festival that weekend. Her insight into the event expressed the good and not-so-good aspects of the festival, and included this tidbit:

I waved my bracelet at ID Dude #1, he spied my myriad gray hairs, and waved me through. But as I tried to move forward, ID Dude #2 said, in full authoritarian mode, “Your ID! Where’s your ID!”

Now, nothing pulls my trigger faster than a mean person.

“This is ridiculous!” I said. “I’ve been checked!” I said, waving my wristband. “YOU checked me!”

And in the Washington Post on November 16, 2006 in article written by Ugochi Onyeukwu, student journalist for the Cardozo Owl newspaper of Cardozo Senior High School in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of northwest Washington, D.C. The school has had some famous alumni over the years including, but not limited to, J. Edgar Hoover and John S. McCain, Jr. The article took on the issue or violence and the gun pledge. The piece was aptly entitled:

Why The Gun Pledge Pulls My Trigger

This indicates that either this is an expression that’s known and understood across the U.S. or it’s a southern expression that has migrated north and west (since it’s more prevalent in the south than in the north). But all that said and done, Idiomation was unable to trace it back to anything published prior to 1999.

That it was used with such ease and with the expectation of being understood underscores the fact that there is a history to this idiom; it just hasn’t been uncovered yet. That being said, Idiomation welcomes any leads on this idiom so its roots can finally be uncovered and shared with readers and visitors of this blog site.

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The Devil’s Beating His Wife

Posted by Admin on July 1, 2013

Recently, NewsTalk 98.7′s Phil Williams used the expression the Devil’s beating his wife on his show, listeners from the southern states knew what he meant while listeners from the northern states were a little less in the know about what he was saying. Whenever you hear someone say the Devil’s beating his wife, the speaker means that the sun is shining while it rains. In other words, it’s what some people call a sun shower.

But how did it get to mean that? Some say that it’s because, quite obviously, the Devil is angry with God for creating beautiful sunny days, and when the Devil gets angry enough about it, he takes his anger out on his wife by beating her. She, in turn, cries large tears that fall from the sky and turn into raindrops. Since this is the explanation for the saying, it makes sense that the expression should exist even though the action itself is criminal. Then again, it would prove next to impossible to charge and prosecute the Devil for any wrongdoing, including domestic assault.

When Joshua Katz from the Department of Statistics at North Carolina State University published his interactive dialect maps that resulted from his “Beyond Soda, Pop or Coke: Regional Dialect Variation in the Continental US” research project, he was selective with the questions covered by the study.

What he did mention in an interview was that when he asked respondents what they called it when rain fell while the sun was shining, most of the country had no term for that incidence and were, therefore, unable to answer the question. However, respondents in parts of the northeast and Florida referred to it as a sunshower while respondents in Mississippi and Alabama referred to it as the Devil is beating his wife.   Because the scope of the study didn’t cover where the expression or term was learned, there was no history as to why people in Mississippi and Alabama referred to sunshowers in this way. Strangely enough, a regional variant used in Tennessee appears to be that the Devil is kissing his wife (and why that would make her cry is anybody’s guess).

According to Dave Thurlow on June 25, 1996 on his radio show in a segment entitled, “Geese, Dutchmen and the Devil” he stated that the expression was interchangeable with other interesting sayings such as the “foxes are getting married” and the “witches are doing their wash” and “a tailor is going to Hell.”

All of those expressions are far less controversial, however, they still provide no hints and give no clue as to the idiom’s origins. That being said, some sources quote the expression as being the Devil’s chasing his wife for burning up the rice. In any case, it would seem that the Devil’s wife certainly finds herself on the receiving end of some awful behavior from her spouse.

On March 7, 1966 the Spokane Daily Chronicle took on explaining a handful of inexplicable idioms including this the Devil’s beating his wife. In Hal Boyle’s weekly column, “Poor Man’s Plato” he began by stating that it doesn’t pay to hitch your wagon to a snail as it had been determined that it takes 2.5 million snails to equal the pulling power of one horse. With that, he ploughed through expressions and folklore with the enthusiasm of a young child competing in a formidable spelling bee of sorts. Part of the article read as follows:

Folklore: The storm will be a long one if chickens come out while it is still raining. To cure a cold, drink a mixture of wine vinegar, rock candy and two fresh raw eggs. When the weather shines and showers at the same time, that’s a sign the Devil is beating his wife. To stop the nosebleed, place a cold key on the back of your neck.

Jumping all the way back to 1922, however, the word whipping sometimes replaced the word beating, as it did in the text of the book entitled, “The Book of Woodcraft and Indian Lore” by Ernest Thompson Seton and published by Doubleday, Page & Company. In the chapter entitled, “General Scouting Outdoors: Old Weather Wisdom” the following is written on page 115:

Rain before seven, clear before eleven.

Fog in the morning, bright sunny day.

If it rains, and the sun is shining at the same time, the Devil is whipping his wife and it will surely rain to-morrow.

If it clears off during the night, it will rain shortly again.

While it was difficult to research the expression, it was found in “A Compleat Collection of Genteel and Ingenious Conversation, According to the Most Polite Mode and Method Now Used at Court, and in the Best Companies of England: In Three Dialogues” by Simon Wagstaff, published in 1738 by B. Motte and C. Bathurst at the Middle Temple-Gate in Fleet Street.

It rain’d, and the Sun shone at the same time.

Why, then the Devil was beating his Wife behind the Door, with a Shoulder of Mutton.

Perhaps Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950) was correct when he said, “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.”

Despite Idiomation’s most ardent efforts, the expression could not be traced to any other published books or articles prior to 1738.  However, that it was used in 1738 with the expectation it would be understood by the public, it is not unreasonable to peg the saying to at least 1700, and most likely earlier. That being said, the saying still begs the question: Who, in their right mind, would marry the Devil in the first place, especially in light of the fact that he’s known to be such a hot-head?

Posted in Idioms from the 18th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »