Looking back, the most charitable interpretation I can put on the whole experience is that maybe when large bureaucracies start moving in one direction, they reach a point when they can no longer resist their own momentum."My mom's family often used the idiom "for crying in a bucket," which I've never heard anyone else use. Did your family have idiosyncratic phrases?
Anyway, this one is about long-standing idioms/cliches in the English language. What I'd really like is to know when each of these entered the language. I expect that "tougher than a nickel steak" is older than "just saying," e.g. (The comments are also good on this one.)
Louis Armstrong was often called an Uncle Tom, but his politics were more complicated than that.
Armstrong was arrested by the Memphis Police Department in 1931. His crime? He sat next to his manager’s wife, a white woman, on a bus. Armstrong and his band were thrown in jail as policemen shouted that they needed cotton pickers in the area. Armstrong’s manager got him out in time to play his show the next evening. When he did play, Armstrong dedicated a song to the local constabulary, several of whom were in the room, then cued the band to play “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Old Rascal You.” The band stiffened, expecting another night in jail, or worse. Instead, he scatted so artfully that, afterward, the cops on duty actually thanked him. Armstrong most likely never quit smiling that night. His subversive joke was not understood by anyone except the African-Americans in his band.The text adventure game of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy has been updated with graphics and sound, which could be horrible, but isn't. You can play it online here:
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