Idea list evokes ‘wise’ comments



Things placed on the list are usually something I’ve read, in a newspaper or a book that tickled my fancy. Much of the time, items on the list come from newspapers and the list has now reached #11413.

Occasionally, the item is a word about which I seem to know proper usage but is often difficult for me to give the Webster definition.

Newspaper stories are from major metropolitan publications in our major cities (mostly from The Houston Chronicle). Of course, many of those stories are about politicians, especially those that are dripping Texiz.

From this point on are samples from that list and my wisenheimer (Google it) musing at the time.

• Political fawning, “worship” — We tend to place elected officials on a pedestal — I think that indicates we have a “desire for royalty.”

• “Sleepy-tailed” — My mother’s description of all four of her sons early in the morning.

• “Biled” — Dad’s explanation of fox-hunting campfire coffee.

• “Sissified” — Dad’s remark of what I did to my first cup of coffee (age 12) with lots of cream and sugar. I’m still sissified, except it’s with special flavors of coffee (and creamers) we can buy in packages of onecup lots.

• “Prospered me” — L. Ray Webb’s reason for not selling a cow that had, over several years, produced half a dozen calves. “She’s done prospered me too much.”

• “Old booger man” — Country description of something “old” and “ugly” that rural farm-ranch parents used to scare their children from straying into dark, mysterious places. — If you go in there the ‘old booger man’ will get you.

• “All-World Domino Player.” — Coined by oldtimers in the early 20th Century who frequented a small town domino parlor and who could play straight dominos or 42 really well.

• “We fix $6.00 haircuts.” — One of my favorite signs of all time.

• “Politics is the province of moral invalids.” — From the James Lee Burke novel The Neon Rain.

• “Busier than a onearmed paper-hanger” or “Busier than a one-legged man at a rear-end kicking contest.”

• “Grinning like a donkey eating cactus.” — Old country saying about a big smile, likely coined in the late 19th Century or early 20th Century.

• “If it tastes good, spit it out.” — Attributed to nutritionist and exercise mogul Jack LaLanne. Rotund comedian Buddy Hackett has used it in some of his routines, saying it is his diet regimen.

• “Invisible and bulletproof.” — Often used to describe men, particularly young men, who often do wild and crazy things without engaging whatever brains they have. “He thinks he’s invisible and bulletproof.” • “I worked from ‘can’ ‘til ‘can’t.’ — Ruth Thornton Webb.

• “I think you’re peeing on my boots and calling it a rainstorm.” Meaning he thinks you’re misleading him or lying to him. — L. Ray Webb. • A pounding. — An event whereby church members bring “a pound” of something produced on their farm to help a preacher feed his family. Rural churches did this frequently since most were small and the meager “collections” didn’t approach feeding a preacher and his family. So, a couple of times a year, the church would give their preacher “a pounding.” To my knowledge, this was continued until at least the mid-to-late-1950s.

• Take off two weeks worth. — Old-fashioned instruction from customer to old-fashioned barber on hair length. Such barber shops have all but disappeared. It is acceptable now for men to get their hair “styled” and most places that provide such services are referred to as unisex hair salons. As a youngster, a frequent reference to barber shop “close cuts” was white sidewalls.

WILLIS WEBB is a retired community newspaper publisher of more than 55 years experience. He can be reached by email at

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