Finer Than Frog Hair (and other strange sayings)

frogRecently these words came out of my mouth when my wife asked how I was doing.  While searching for a clever comeback, somehow my brain pulled this rather strange phrase out.

Finer than frog hair?

Why is that a saying?   As we both stood there for a moment, I couldn’t help but wonder why that came out.  I assumed it was a saying that originated from my South Georgia roots.  Who would even think of such a thing?  And is frog hair really fine?

This got me to wondering about other odd sayings that are out there and how they originated:

“Finer than frog hair”

  • What does it mean?  It means a person is in good spirits or excellent mood.
  • Origin:  The allusion to the hairs on a frog clearly points us to the ‘slender, narrow’, meaning of the phrase. Just as clearly, (most) frogs don’t have hair, and the ironic reference to it is intended to highlight the effect.

“I’ll keep my eyes peeled”

  • What does it mean?  Although it sounds like a painful thing to do to our eyeballs, it actually means we are going to watch something very closely.
  • Origin:  From about the 17th century on, pill was commonly spelt peel and took on the sense of “to remove or strip” in the weakened sense of removing an outer covering, such as a fruit. The figurative sense of keeping alert, by removing any covering of the eye that might impede vision, seems to have appeared in the US about 1850.

I beg to differ”

  • What does it mean?  It is usually a way to disagree with someone in a nice way.  You may not actually resort to begging but disagreeing kindly.
  • Origin:  Most sources indicate this saying originated from England as a proper British phrase.

“Let’s hightail it out of here”

  • What does it mean?  While the image of such a phrase is rather humorous, it usually means to get away very quickly.
  • Origin:  From comparisons of animals that raise their tails when fleeing.  Could also be from the days when horses were our primary modes of transportation.

“You’re a sight for sore eyes”

  • What does it mean?  A way to say you have missed someone or that you are happy to see them.
  • Origin:  This phrase was first recorded by Jonathan Swift, in A complete collection of genteel and ingenious conversation, 1738.

“Sleep tight”

  • What does it mean?  We are wishing someone to have a good night’s sleep.   Of course I have already heard it with “…and don’t let the bed bugs bite”.   Yes, that’s a real comforting thought.
  • Origin:  This 19th century expression isn’t, as is often wrongly claimed, a reference to the tightness of the strings used to support mattresses.

“Blood is thicker than water”

  • What does it mean?  Family is more important than anything else.  Yeah, you would think right?
  • Origin:  In ancient Middle Eastern culture, blood rituals between men symbolized bonds that were far greater than those of family. The saying also has to do with “blood brothers,” because warriors who symbolically shared the blood they shed in battle together were said to have stronger bonds than biological brothers.

“I quit cold turkey”

  • What does it mean?  To quit something quickly.
  • Origin:  People believed that during withdrawal, the skin of drug addicts became translucent, hard to the touch, and covered with goose bumps – like the skin of a plucked turkey.

“Waking up on the wrong side of the bed”

  • Meaning:  Waking up in a bad mood.   If you’ve known people like this you might want to consider the origin.
  • Origin:  The left side of the body or anything having to do with the left was often associated considered sinister. To ward off evil, innkeepers made sure the left side of the bed was pushed against a wall, so guests had no other option but to get up on the right side of the bed.

“Getting the cart before the horse”

  • What does it mean?  Getting things out of order
  • Origin:  The meaning of the phrase is based on the common knowledge that a horse usually pulls a cart, despite rare examples of vehicles pushed by horses in 19th-century Germany and early 20th-century France.

There are many more interesting phrases we use and, if your are from the South, the list is even longer.  Comedian Jeff Foxworthy has educated a lot of people on some of those.  We have some very interesting sayings.  Hopefully, I won’t be a frequent user of “fine as frog hair” in my vocabulary.  It’s even more confusing to use it around Halloween.  Some folks might get the idea that you are a witch and using frog hair for some kind of spell.

Okay, let me hightail it out of here before I say anything else…

First Day Impressions = Lasting Impressions

A green nametag sticker with the words Hello I Am New for a rookie, trainee, new staff hire, newbie,

I have always heard that it was important to make a good first impression.  I have always tried to do that, especially on the job.  Last week a new coworker started at the office.  I tried to do my best to make his first day better than my first day was when I started here.  The first day impressions is a two-way street.  It’s not only the new person that is making the initial first impression.

On my first day here, I had two people look me in the eyes and tell me point blank that I couldn’t replace the person that had left.  Another person pulled me into a situation she was having with a database while I was still being introduced to the office and then said “I thought you knew what you were doing” when I couldn’t help her.   Yes, it was quite the first day on the job here.  The person in charge tried to make the image that the office was a small, family atmosphere.  It was not – at least maybe more like a dysfunctional family.

As the weeks went by, I was still facing pushback because I wasn’t doing things the way the previous person had done.  If that wasn’t bad enough, another person in my section transferred and suddenly I was covering for two other people while only getting paid for one.  It was a trying time.  My wife was my biggest cheerleader and keep me going with her encouragement.

That first impression of my new office didn’t get any better as I was constantly reminded of the previous person.  One day I had enough.  I drew upon the resolve I witnessed in my supervisor at my previous office in Tampa. It was the day I pushed back here.  I ended the comparison with the previous person who had my position.  I made it known that the person was no longer there and we were going to do things my way.  I already had several years of experience and I knew what I was doing.  I started a new day as I decided I was going to do things my way.

I haven’t had any problems since.

I have made it my own in the three years that have passed but those first day impressions have not left me.   It is amazing how some people treat new coworkers on their first day of work.  People come as unknowns to us.  We should never assume anything about new people.  People come to us with their own experiences and specialities.  We should never tell someone they can’t replace the person before them.  Do you want to know a secret?  We can all be replaced.  Painful, I know but that’s just the reality.  We should give people a chance, not compare them with people before them or hold them hostage to memories of employees past.

If you want to keep good people, you have to give them a chance to do what they do.  Don’t saddle them down with your expectations.  A good first impression goes a long way to building their confidence.  It’s hard enough being the new person in the office.  You have to learn the unspoken things that go on in the office such as the cliques and who to stay away from that causes trouble.  You have to learn things which are not in the employee office manual.  I have always learned that the first person that tells you all the problems in the office is usually the one that IS the problem.  It almost never fails to be the truth.

Perhaps one of the things that have changed me from that first day is that I decided not participate in office social functions.  I am here to do my job, not have parties or participate in non-mandatory office functions.  First impressions will set the tone and have done so for me in my current workplace.  We should all remember this when a new person is hired.

 

Nashville Traffic, Soccer and HOCKEY!

blog

Okay, instead of a separate blog for each subject here, I decided to merge them together.  Yes, merge – as in what drivers here do NOT do in traffic here.

Let’s start on that first…the bad and ugly about living in Nashville.

Today it took me about 25 minutes to get to work.  Yesterday it took an HOUR and TWENTY minutes to get there.  The reason for the traffic mess was due to a construction project that wasn’t completed in time for the morning commute.  I don’t blame the TDOT workers for the mess because those folks have a thankless and hazardous job working to fix and maintain our roads.   My issue is with the mayor without any good plan to fix this, yet trying to get a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise here along with a stadium.  I can just about guarantee you that NO ONE stuck in the traffic mess yesterday was thinking about soccer or the stadium plans.  We were all wondering about this grandiose plan to fix the traffic situation.  I know every major city fusses about their traffic issues but Nashville is a little different.  The city is going faster than its infrastructure to support the growth.

Yesterday, the traffic report said there was one word to describe the commute on I-40 travelling from the west:  “Awful”.   It was awful.  There are only two alternate routes to take when I-40 Eastbound is a mess and those alternate routes weren’t any better.  There’s got to be a better way to fix the problem now.  Whoever designed the highway system here needs to be beaten severely with a stick.  Nashville has no interstate bypass routes.  Interstates 24, 40 and 65 all converge in Nashville.  Why is that?  And the enter/exit ramps are like nothing I have ever seen.  They are so poorly designed for the volume of traffic here.   With all the talk of building a soccer stadium at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds I can’t help but to wonder how they are going to get people in and out of there?  If you ever go there for anything you know what I am talking about.

Here are a few things I would suggest from just a citizen’s point-of-view:

  • Build an interstate bypass around Nashville so that the semis won’t have to roll through downtown.  I’m sure they all dread having to come through Nashville.
  • Commuter Rail.  You’ve got the Music City Star train but it only comes from the East to Downtown.  This is nothing really.  Even if you live over there, the schedules need to be better.  Expand it for the high volume areas such as from Murfreesboro, Hendersonville and Franklin.
  • Downtown Rail.  I know we have the free Music City Circuit bus routes for downtown but get the buses off the road.  There’s already too much crap downtown for these buses to deal with like the peddle taverns, go carts, party buses, etc.   Why not create a people mover rail like they have in Miami?  It is very clean, convenient and free for people to take around downtown areas.  It’s not a major subway system and very efficient.
  • Funding revenue from parking vendors.  Take the funding from these parking vendors who price gouge the people who work downtown.  They jack up the prices when there is a special event downtown.  Jack them up by taking some of their greedy money.
  • Funding revenue from traffic violators.  The traffic cops really need to sit at the entrance/exit ramps and they will get a boost in revenue for red light violators and lane blockers.
  • Redesign the entrance/exit ramps.  I don’t know what to suggest here but there has GOT to be a better way.

Now for the good news….HOCKEY IS BACK!

The Nashville Predators open the 2017-2018 season tonight in Boston.  I have been more excited for the start of the hockey season than I was for the kickoff of the National Football League (NFL) season a few weeks ago.  I think this is the first time in my life I have ever felt this way.  Last year’s Nashville Predators run to the Stanley Cup final was an awesome experience.  I think the team will do pretty well but I won’t go as far as to say they will return to the final.  It’s a long season.  Nashville went absolutely crazy over the Predators last season.  It was amazing to see so many fans fill the streets of Nashville (and create additional traffic headaches) during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  The Predators should finish at least second in the Central Division standings.  It’s a tough division so they will be battle tested once again when the playoffs start in April.  I have always been a football fan but I have to admit that hockey has become a real close second.  There is a lot more action than football.  The only thing that keeps hockey from being my number one is the fighting.  I don’t like the fighting at all and most of the time there isn’t as much as at other times.  It’s still a great sport to watch in person.  Watching it on TV doesn’t do it justice.  My wife was never a fan until I took her to her first game.  Now she loves it.  She knows the players and is right there watching the games.  Until we moved to Nashville, I never really had a favorite hockey team to follow.  I liked the Atlanta Flames and New York Islanders when I was younger but I never got into it much until we moved to Nashville.  The Predators are definitely my favorite hockey team now.  For a guy to have Predators’ bedroom slippers and wear them proudly around the house, you know I have to be a fan!

 

It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World

madWhy did he do it?

That’s what people are asking about this guy that decided to open fire on the concert in Las Vegas on Sunday night.

So many are speculating.   Some say it is ISIS.  Others say it was a gambling debt.  There are a lot of people speculating.  At this point we just don’t know.  I’m sure investigators are looking through everything belonging to this guy.  I know this “guy” has a name but I’m choosing not to use it.  He’s not famous and deserves no mention in my blog.

I was discussing this with my wife last night on the commute home from work.  What causes people to snap?  Some say his actions were planned.  It just puzzles me why he did it.

One thing that worries me is that we live in a mad world.  People are so quick to get angry.  As I was talking to my wife, some jerk jumped in front of me on the road and I was quick to point my finger at them and fuss at what they just did.

There it is.  Anger.

“Careful, they might shoot you,” my wife cautioned.

Yep, she was right.  While I’m fussing and pointing my finger at them, in this world they could stop, pull out a gun and shoot me.  They were in the wrong and yet THEY would get mad at me for calling them out on their traffic infraction.

I also shouldn’t get upset.  Let it go right?

We are much too stressed and self-focused to make allowances for anyone outside of our little circle of family and friends.  It’s a sad world when people’s first response to being angry is to pick up a gun and shoot.  It is also crazy that anyone should have possession of semi-automatic weapons.  Why would someone need this type of arsenal?  What kind of war are people arming themselves for?  Good grief people.  I think people need medication to calm down.

It’s a funny thing about this anger thing.  We all get caught up in it.  It’s dangerously contagious.  I’m a fairly patient person but the anger button can be pushed.   The difference is that while I have gotten angry, I have never wanted to shoot anyone.   What is with this shooting mentality?

Of course, now this incident is called the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history and when the news reports come on there are this sensational graphics to go with it.  These tragic events are made into a movie-like report.  I know it’s news and has to be reported but can we not make it so sensational?  There’s someone else out there that’s already thinking about doing something to top it whether it be ISIS or someone that is just an emotional bomb waiting to go off.

So what’s the answer?  Ban ALL guns?  Yeah, that’s not going to happen.  More gun control?  We’re supposed to have a bunch of laws controlling that now.  Metal detectors everywhere?  There would never be enough.

The answer is that each person dial it down a notch.  We are all in need of an inventory of ourselves.  We need to remember that the world doesn’t revolve around us and who’s on our friend list.  Every life matters.  None of us are perfect, we all make mistakes.  We all get upset.  When we get upset at someone who isn’t in our circle, we need to do a better job with controlling our internal thermometer.   Everyone is not out to get us or purposely trying to harm us.  Yes, there are people who are a donkey’s rear end but let’s be careful not to cast that perception over the entire population.

Calming down this mad, mad, mad world starts with each of us.

Only You Can Be You

you

Be yourself.

I have heard that quote for most of my life.   It’s good when you can be yourself but, honestly, sometimes we don’t feel comfortable with being ourselves.  There are always people who are going to be smarter than us or with more life experiences than we do.  It can be intimidating if we let it.

Be yourself because no one else can be you.

I laugh because I wonder if anyone else really wants to be me.  I can be a little quirky about things.  I like to have a plan and I like to be on time for things.  I know that can drive people crazy that know me.  The good thing about being me is that I have someone that knows me and it doesn’t drive her crazy.  She gets me.  We all need at least one person who gets us.

I often watch how people act because most of the time I am an observer.  (Yes, that’s obviously another one of my quirks.)   It is interesting how some people change who they are according to the group they are with.  I’m sure there is some kind of psychiatric definition for people who do that.   I call them chameleons because they change their colors according to the environment they are in.

I also see people, especially in the work place, who love to stir up drama.  They will fuss and complain about it but they are not happy unless they have someone stirred up about something.  The drama gives them something to their lives.  This kind of person really puzzles me.  They often complain about the drama when THEY are the ones that created it in the first place.

I think a lot of times people are just not comfortable with being themselves.  They either aren’t happy with themselves or need some sort of affirmation by being someone they are not.  It’s a two-edged sword when you spend your life trying to please others.  It’s a game that you never win because ultimately you will succeed at pleasing no one.  Changing you to please someone only hurts you.  You lose your own identity to be the person you were intended to be.

You have something to offer and you are important.  I hate it when I get in a group of people and the first thing they will ask you is “what do you do?”   This is an instant mental classification process that people do in their minds.  What you do isn’t who you are.   Does it matter if I am a janitor or the CEO of a large company?  You don’t know my story or who I am by just knowing what I do for a living.

I often find myself around people who are smarter than me.  I try not to be self-conscious about that and I will add to the conversation when I feel I have something to contribute but I’m certainly not going to be intimidated by it.  Although I may not know anything about how to fix a carburetor on a car, if they conversation turns to football I am probably likely to know something about that.  I think we get caught up in trying to fit in rather that just be who we are.

It’s important that we respect each other and understand that we will have differences in opinions about various subjects.  Two of the most heated subjects are often politics and religion.  I try to stay off of those subjects because I know how people get about those issues.  We tend to SAY we want people to be themselves until they do not agree with some of these subjects.  It seems to be okay to allow someone to be themselves until they don’t agree with our side of certain issues.  You are allowed to have an opinion aren’t you?   Granted, some people have a opinion but not based on the facts or a strong basis on what they believe.  It’s very difficult to debate anyone like that.

I can tell you I spent a lot of time understanding why I believe some things that I believe.  I have had to question if I have my point of view because it is my point of view or is it something I have been told to believe?  It’s funny how we easily adopt things to believe simply because someone told us to believe them that way.  When I talk about beliefs here I’m not just referring to religious or political beliefs but those two are largely ones that are a challenge.

Yes, believe it or not I have my own opinions.  That doesn’t make me wrong, that makes me who I am.   I once had a person in my life who was a royal pain in the behind.  She was always critical of me and my motives.  It was a very negative charged environment when she was around.  I finally had to get to the point of reminding myself that her opinion of me didn’t matter.  That was her opinion.  Just because she had an opinion didn’t mean she was right.  If you are going to be yourself, you have to rise above what others think.  Believe me, that’s a very difficult hurdle to clear.  The haters are going to hate.  We have to deal with it and move on.

While I like being myself, I don’t over exaggerate it either at the expense of others.  What I mean by this is that some will say:  “That’s how I am and I don’t give a (bleep) what people think!”   Yes, we can be ourselves but we don’t need to take it that far.  If people don’t like who you are you can remove yourself either physically or mentally from the situation.  There’s no point in fighting about it.  It drives me crazy when people excuse bad behavior with a blanket excuse of “that’s how they are” or “that’s how they were raised”.   No, sorry, that’s not being you.  That’s an out for being a jerk face.  Being yourself isn’t a license to do whatever you want without regards to others.

One thing I want to be is consistent.   I want people to know that I am the same Milton in any situation.  I am who I am and they can count on that.  I am the only person I know to be.  It’s a lot easier than trying to pretend to be someone I am not.

Through The Eyes Of A Two-Year-Old


It’s funny watching a two-year-old and looking at the world through their eyes. Watching them run around with happiness in their steps while commanding the attention they get from making you smile.  It would be nice to bottle that happiness.  I’m not saying I want to be a two-year-old again but there are some things I would like to emulate from the toddler.  

They get over things.  They don’t hold a grudge like we do.   They get mad and they get over it.  They move from one toy to another.  I would like to get over things as quickly as a toddler does.  I tend to pitch an internal fit sometimes that can last for days.  It’s a shame that a toddler will eventually learn that skill when they get older.  An errant word or disapproving look can send us in a spiral for days and, sometimes, years.  A toddler won’t remember what they were upset about minutes later. 

I love seeing how the two-year-old looks at the world in amazement.  It’s not boring or old.  Whether it is a dump truck passing by or the elephant at the zoo, the tiny tot is amazed at what they see.   I wish I would take more appreciation for the world around me.  Maybe not so much dump trucks or elephants but stop for a few minutes to enjoy nature and the things around me instead of in a constant rush to be somewhere.  They love new adventures and they love to see new things. They love to explore and they don’t ever take a minute for granted. 

Watching a toddler this weekend, I noticed that they will go to anyone without reservation.  Unfortunately, we become people that can avoid others due to whatever reasons there are to do it.  Toddlers have no such restraints.  They won’t avoid anyone.

I wish I could look at life through a two-year-old’s eyes.  They have a simple world. Material things aren’t of any importance to them.  Give them an expensive toy and they will prefer to play with the box that it came in.  They are happy with what you give them and normally are easy to please. So often we get tied up into the things we wish we had or things that would be nice to have.

We become so jaded as we grow into adults.       We lose the sight that a two-year-old has of the world and others.  We get mad and stay mad longer than we should, we aren’t in awe of anything and we don’t have the same joy in our world.  

Should we act like a two-year-old?   Well, maybe not in every way, but we should take a moment and look at our world in their point of view.  

The End Is Near…Again

Have you heard the latest doomsday predictions?  Apparently this Saturday – September 23rd – is the next due date for the end or beginning of the end.  If you’re like me, your reaction is something like “Here we go again”.  Yes, we have some so-called prophetic experts that have aligned their claims that – really – September 23rd will be THE day.  No kidding.

Why is this Saturday the next target date?

According to Christian astrologer David Meade, the key to understanding all of this is the number 33. In the Bible, Jesus is said to have lived for 33 years before being crucified. Elohim, the Canaanite god who was later adopted as the supreme god of ancient Israel, is mentioned 33 times in the Bible.  All of this links back to the constellation Virgo and last month’s solar eclipse which was visible throughout most of the United States, according to Meade.

Okay, scientifically speaking, for the first time since 1827, the stars and planets will align when the head of Virgo will come from other constellations while Jupiter goes into entering Virgo’s “womb” and then exiting it.  Of course, this gives fodder to people saying this is a prophetic sign from Revelation 12:1-2:  “And a great sign appeared in heaven:  a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.  She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.”   Well, while this COULD be some sort of sign it doesn’t appear to say anything about the end of the world.

If that wasn’t enough, there is also this issue that some mysterious “Planet X” or “Nibiru” that is going to collide with Earth on Saturday.  Apparently, this large rouge planet has gone totally undetected by NASA or anyone else in the legitimate scientific community.  So how is it that these select group of people know this is coming?  Do they have special telescopes?  Yep, it’s all going down on Saturday.

Now, I do believe in the Bible and what is said about the end times; however, there is a passage that clearly says that no man knows the hour.  I’m pretty sure God isn’t leaking the information.  I also believe that there are “signs” as indicated in the Bible but if you ask 10 Bible prophecy “experts” you will get 10 different answers about how they interpret the Bible.   And have you ever read the Book of Revelation?   It’s not the easiest read in the Bible.  Yet, we’ve always got these folks that think they have some sort of secret communication with God about these interpretations.

We’ve heard this before:

  • In 2014-2015, Televanglist John Hagee and prophecy expert Mark Blitz warned us about the blood moons and that the last one would be the rapture.
  • On December 21, 2012, the world was to be destroyed by Nibiru because the calendar was predicted in the Mayan calendar.
  • On May 27, 2012, Ronald Weinland said that Jesus Christ was going to return on this day.
  • On October 21, 2011, Harold Camping failed on yet another prediction that the end of the world would occur on this date.
  • In 1999 there were many predictions that the world would end because of Y2K when all the computers would go crazy because they had two-digits for the year instead of four.

I’m certainly not taking light the seriousness of what the Bible says about the end times.  I do think Jesus Christ is going to return and all the things it says will happen.  I’m just tired of all of the predictions and interpretations these prophets stir up.  Mostly to promote their book or speaking fees at prophetic conferences.  Even Jim Bakker – yes, THAT Jim Bakker – is selling food buckets to people to stock up on food so they can survive the tribulation period.  You see, there are some that believe in pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation and post-tribulation in how they interpret when the rapture will happen.  Believe me, I have heard these claims all of my life growing up in a Pentecostal denomination.   The constant term “Jesus is coming soon” has been said since I was old enough to understand what people were saying.  It has been preached and taught in many different ways.

I’m not buying any food buckets or sending money to get some secret prophetic DVD to some TV preacher.    I think a person just needs to do what’s right and be a good person.  Yes, I’m a believer but I’m not going to run around screaming the sky is falling.  I think it makes God look bad when people do things like that.

This David Meade guy is not saying the world is going to end Saturday but claims it is the beginning of the end.  Others are jumping on board with this planet collision with Nibiru.    David Meade is an author who is selling a lot of books.  I’m just not sure how he’s going to spend his money after Saturday.  My guess is that he will disappear into oblivion and laughing all the way to the bank.

If you are interested in Jim Bakker’s end times food buckets, you are out-of-luck because it takes 4-6 weeks for delivery.   When I went to the website to see if this was true, the first item on the list is “Augason Farms Tasty Pantry Deluxe Plus Bucket Canada (I guess for the specific issues that Canada will have to deal with on doomsday).  The $175 dollar bucket includes all of your favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner in one bucket.  It includes 283 servings plus an additional 91 BONUS servings of savory, tasty food for you and your family.  Yum.  Sounds delish!

As a believer, all this junk is just that – junk.  It is an embarrassment because people lump you in with these crazies.  No wonder people reject the Bible and people who are believers.  These idiots make us look bad.  Sorry, but it just makes me mad.  We’ve had these religious Chicken Littles running around since Jesus returned to heaven.  I mean, they thought he was coming back in their lifetime.  These folks have been making historical and scientific events fit into their prophetic interpretations for over 2,000 years.

“But about that day or hour on one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”  (Matthew 24:36)