Sunday, August 14, 2011


These are some Southernisms I've collected. Which ones are just American sayings and not necessarily exclusive to the South? I wouldn't know. I know I've heard them here, but the only thing I remember about living up North is the snow being deeper than I was tall.
My personal favorites are, either fish or cut bait and that dog don't hunt because I love the way my husband says them. I remember my grandma telling my sister and me not to "meddle" in her things. Which ones are your favorite? Do you know of any that aren't listed here?
(The sayings with an asterisk are the ones that my Yankee friend informs me aren't exclusive to the South.)

aim to (plan to do)

as easy as sliding off a greasy log backward (very easy)

*barking up the wrong tree (on a path that will lead to wrong conclusions)

be like the old lady who fell out of the wagon (you aren't involved, so stay out of it)
busy as a stump-tailed cow in fly time (very busy)

carry on (to carry on foolishness)

caught with his pants down (surprised and unprepared)
chugged full or chalked full (full and over-flowing)
chunk (throw, toss)
clodhopper (heavy work shoes or large shoes)
'coon (raccoon)
couldn't swing a dead cat without hittin' one of 'em (in reference to a large group)

crazy as Cooter Brown (perhaps involving drunkenness)

directly (in a little while, or a couple of weeks)

Dixie (Southern States of the U.S.A)
Do go on! (you must be joking)
*do-hicky (substitute name - like the terms whatcha-ma-call-it or thinga-ma-jig)
*don't bite off more than you can chew (don't attempt more than you can accomplish)
*don't count your chickens before they hatch (first know the results)
don't let the tail wag the dog (the chief is in charge, not the Indians)

either fish or cut bait (work or make way for those who will)

even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then (everyone is sometimes lucky or right)

falling out (disagreement)

fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down (really super ugly)
feisty (being frisky)
fixing to (about to)
*fly off the handle (angry and lashing out)

*got the short end of the stick (treated wrong; unlucky)

go hog wild (have a good time)
don't go off half-cocked (having only half the facts)
go to bed with the chickens (in bed early)
go whole hog (go for it all)
got your feathers ruffled (upset and pouting)

*have an axe to grind (have a strong opinion)

He can get glad the same way he got mad, or else he's going to die unhappy. (self-explanatory)
hey (hello)
*hold onto your horses (be patient)
*honey (affectionate term)

I do declare! (usually meaning 'my goodness' or some such expression)

I feel like I've been chewed up and spit out or *I feel like I've been run over by a Mack truck (feeling poorly)

I may've been born at night, but it wasn't last night. (I know what's going on here.)
in high cotton (rising up in society)
in a coon's age (a long time)

*laid up (ill, hurt, unable to work)

*like a bump on a log (lazy and doing nothing)
*like two peas in a pod (act and think alike)
mend fences (settle differences)
mess (one who carries on, "He's a mess.")
meddling (getting into things, "Don't meddle in my business!")
much obliged (thank you; hope to return the favor)

my dogs are barking (my feet hurt)

not much going on upstairs (mentally vacant)

*opening up a can of worms (bringing up something unpleasant)

piddle (waste time; doing nothing)

playing opossum (playing dead or pretending to sleep)

reckon (think or suppose so)

She could ruin a two-car funeral. (she ruins everything)
shindig (dance or celebration)
scarce as hen's teeth (so scarce, probably nonexistent)
*sight for sore eyes (Nice to see you!)
sorry (inferior quality, worthless, lazy)
*spring chicken (young thing)
stomping grounds (familiar territory)
sweet talking thing (has a good line)

*tacky (something the Emily Post of the South would not approve of, it could be anything from a snub to wearing white shoes in November)

tacky tacky (the frozen limit of tacky)
tall drink of water (tall and thin)
that dog don't hunt (story doesn't add up)
that takes the cake (surprised)
*tight (stingy with money)
*too big for one's britches (someone's full of themselves)
*two shakes of a lamb's tail (done quickly)

wait on (serve or assist)

Well, shut my mouth (shocked and speechless)
What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? (You are getting off the subject.)
white lightning (moonshine whiskey)
worry-wort (one who worries all the time)

yonder (employed when giving directions-  a ways off)

some sources:


Robert Duvall sings...

Watching Tender Mercies again made me remember how much I liked this movie the first time I saw it years ago. I'm not a fan of most country music - excepting Duvall, of course. These are a couple of songs he sings in the movie. Also I was wondering, in the movie when he's in the garden talking to his wife after his daughter dies, does he say, "I don't trust happenings" or "I don't trust happiness"?

I've Decided to Leave Here Forever

Wings of a Dove

(That's a really great nose scrunch he's got goin' on there.)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away

I am tired of reading reviews that call A Good Man brutal and sarcastic. The stories are hard but they are hard because there is nothing harder or less sentimental than Christian realism... when I see these stories described as horror stories I am always amused because the reviewer always has hold of the wrong horror. ~Flannery O'Connor
Many critics of Flannery O'Connor "have hold of the wrong end of the horror", wondering what could be wrong with the gal for her to write about things so "grotesque" and "disturbing"! On the other hand (for there are two!) "her work is praised, fawned over, and cleverly ignored through tiresome academic gobbledygook..." (Failed Hermit). It seems as though neither group is able to (or wants to) recognize Jesus as the hero of O'Connor's stories (as Robert Drake puts it) and we, all of us, are in need of being changed by grace. John Desmond in his book Risen Sons writes, "...A major theme in her work, is the theme of deceptive consciousness; the mind's capacity for distortion in apprehending the real and its proneness to closure when impinged upon by the divine.

In one of her letters, O'Connor writes, "All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful." Desmond says, "By denying his true spiritual grotesqueness man also denies his possibility for becoming the New Man through spiritual transformation and transcendence." However, "Even those characters who reject the threatening possibility of a higher mode of existence paradoxically achieve a partial transcendence through loss...brought about by their violent displacement from a former mode of existence."

O'Connor's style is summed up in something Eliade said about his own writing, "In my own stories I have found that violence is strangely capable of returning my characters to reality and preparing them to accept their moment of grace. Their heads are so hard that almost nothing else will do the work. This idea, that reality is something to which we must be returned at considerable cost, is one which is seldom understood by the casual reader, but it is one which is implicit in the Christian view of the world."

Not everyone is comfortable with being changed by grace. One doesn't like to pull back the curtain, as it were, and see one's own freakishness. "Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one."(O'Connor) Can we recognize it? Are we ready for even "our virtues to be burned away"? Can we stop pushing away redemption at the cost of the self-sufficiency we think we have? Do we believe, as Desmond says, "that we can achieve wholeness exclusive of the divine"? If so, that is truly grotesque. And we are "in need of being disturbed." (Failed Hermit)

"If the promise of the Resurrection seems muted in O'Connor's world, it is because that world has denied it."(Joyce Oats) Read O'Connor's stories and see that they are full of Christ's Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. Recognize that she uses "the grotesque...because people are deaf and dumb and need help to see and hear."(O'Connor)

More bits of wisdom from Miss Flannery:

"The novelist with Christian concerns will find in modern life distortions which are repugnant to him, and his problem will be to make them appear as distortions to an audience which is used to seeing them as natural; and he may be forced to take ever more violent means to get his vision across to this hostile audience. When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax a little and use more normal ways of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock — to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the blind you draw large and startling figures." 

"Anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic.

"I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted."

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."

"You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd."

"Only if we are secure in our beliefs can we see the comical side of the universe."

"The Catholic novelist in the South will see many distorted images of Christ, but he will certainly feel that a distorted image of Christ is better than no image at all. I think he will feel a good deal more kinship with backwoods prophets and shouting fundamentalists than he will with those politer elements for whom the supernatural is an embarrassment and for whom religion has become a department of sociology or culture or personality development."

Drink this in with your morning coffee...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sticks in my craw... (Boss)

Okay, so I'll admit it. I love westerns. On our last anniversary I asked my husband to take me to see True Grit starring Jeff Bridges (which I loved) if that tells you anything. Watching Open Range again I realized how many memorable quotes there are in this movie. Here are some of my favorites.

Boss Spearman: A mans trust is a valuable thing, Button. You don't want to lose it for a handful of cards.

Charley Waite: Tell you the truth, Lord, if there was two gentler souls in this world, I never seen 'em. Seems like old Tig wouldn't even kill birds in the end. Well, you got yourself a good man and a good dog, and I'm inclined to agree with Boss here about holding a grudge against you for it. I guess that means Amen."

Sheriff Poole: I've got a warrant sworn out for your arrest, for assaulting Baxter's men.
Boss Spearman: We got a warrant sworn out for attempted murder of them who tried to kill the boy, who's layin' over there at the doc's tryin' to stay alive. Sworn out another one for them that murdered the big fella you had in your cell. Only ours ain't writ by no tin star bought and paid for, Marshal. It's writ by us, and we aim to enforce it.

[Charley has explained his strategy for the upcoming fight] 
Boss Spearman: Sounds like you got it all worked out.
Charley Waite: Yeah, except the part where we don't get killed.

Boss Spearman: I ain't gonna let you do it, Charley. You do this, you ain't no different than Poole or Baxter or that gunhand of his that murdered Mose.
Charley Waite: Him killing Mose is how this started.
Boss Spearman: We come for justice, not vengeance. Now them is two different things.
Charley Waite: Not today, they ain't.
Boss Spearman: Step aside!

Mack: Shame what this towns come to.
Charley Waite: You could do something about it.
Mack: What? We're freighters. Ralph here's a shopkeeper.
Charley Waite: You're men, ain't you?
Mack: I didn't raise my boys just to see em killed.
Charley Waite: Well you may not know this, but there's things that gnaw at a man worse than dying.

Boss Spearman: I believe you have a friend of ours in your jail. His names Mose Harrison.
Sheriff Poole: Yeah, I got him here. He started a fight in the general store.
Boss Spearman: Mose don't start fights. He just finishes them.

Boss Spearman: It ain't right to walk away without a word.
Charley Waite: Well what do you want me to tell her, Boss? We probably ain't gonna make it? Be a big fat comfort.

Doc Barlow: I'd say 'to good health,' gentlemen, but then I'd probably be out of business, wouldn't I?
Boss Spearman: We'll drink to good health for them that have it coming.

Monday, August 1, 2011

art: part duo

This is the first ever Octopus Rapunzel. Don't let that thoughtful smile fool you.

Posted by Picasa


This is E-man's depiction of Bamboo and Douglas using Expo dry erase markers. Below are the subjects themselves looking very serious for their first portrait. You would too.

Posted by Picasa