MIND OVER MOTTO
(2/23/96 - 3/8/96)
This contest is now closed. But enjoy!
(Click here to go directly to the winning entries.)
The idea for this contest has been
suggested by WordsWild, whose AOL account is hereby magically dusted with
5 free hours courtesy of The Atlantic Monthly.
WordsWild attributes this word-game idea to the book "Descriptionary," in
which author Marc McCutcheon coins the term "malonym" for a metaphor,
cliche, or popular expression mangled by the use of an incorrect word.
WordsWild suggests that we choose a common idiomatic phrase and mangle it
in such a way that it might appear to be a famous person's motto. For
example, the malonym "Every crowd has a silver lining" might be the motto
for the Artful Dodger, the pickpocket in "Oliver Twist." And "Look before
you leak" might have been the motto of the Titanic's captain.
Get the idea? In case you want another example or two, WordsWild adds that
Gloria Steinem's motto ought to be "A ms. is as good as a male." And
Cyrano de Bergerac might have sworn by the expression "Nose is a nose is a
Now it's your turn! Mangle an idiomatic expression so that it becomes the
punny motto of a person real or fictional. Authors of our three favorite
manglosities will each receive a free book from The Atlantic Store and 5 free AOL hours (if
they are AOL members). Multiple contest entries are welcome, but for our
convenience pack your ideas into one piece of e-mail whenever possible,
and please don't use attached files.
We will continue accepting Mind Over Motto entries through Friday, March
8. Results will be posted at the Atlantic Monthly on Friday, March 15.
--EC and HR
P.S. Did we mention that Admiral Nelson's motto was "An aye for
P.P.S. And remember, our new Word Games and Puzzles message board is open
for business on The Atlantic Monthly's America Online forum (keyword
ATLANTIC). Our board manager Raviac (Alice Catherine Raven, that
"Revel-Area Technician") gives away *5 Free AOL hours* each week in her
Acronyms contest! Plus, she sprinkles her magic Free-Hour dust each week
on the handful of wordplay postings that make her laugh the most! So check
us out and tickle Raviac's ribs. (It's not hard to do, believe us!)
(All names without @ symbols are AOL screen names.)
When we described WordsWild's idea for this contest, we gave as an example
"An aye for an aye" (the motto of seafaring Admiral Nelson). Correspondent
BurgFans topped that one, telling us that Steamboat Willy's reply to
Admiral Nelson was "A toot for a toot."
Come to think of it, lots of you thought of mangled mottos much funnier
than our own. How do you do it, folks? We hope you're not warping your
brains (maybe it's already too late for some of you). Inveterate gagster
Birdsinger wrote to say, "While I was working on this my family suffered,
but I Riddled while Home Churned."
Mad geniuses do think alike sometimes, and we can rarely predict what the
common wavelength will be. Who could have foreseen that Julia Child would
be the target of more mangled mottos than any other person? Here's a
sampling of the watchwords attributed to that beloved chef: "Love it or
leaven it." (MMartin804)
"The pan is mightier than the sword." (SSAPhD)
"One man's meat is another man's poisson." (Doropatent)
"Thyme is of the essence." (Hunny3)
"Count your dressings." (Hunny3)
"Let us puree." (ARTJAB)
"You're one in a bouillon." (Yore grg)
"Don't put all your eggs in one biscuit." (Gardenia)
"A bird in the pan is worth two in the bush." (ADStark)
"A silk pois from a sauciere." (DEALDERETE)
"What foods these morsels be!" (BPhill9040)
There's a whole bunch more "malonymming" below for your amusement. But
first let us present prizes to our three top Perpetrators of Preposterous
Punnery: Doropatent, Hunny3, and BALD MT! Each of these daffy aphorists
will receive 5 free AOL hours (if they are AOL members) and a free book
from The Atlantic Store.
Congratulations and LOL to Doropatent, Hunny3, and BALD MT!
The Three Musketeers: "En garde, we thrust." (Doropatent)
Heloise: "The glass is always cleaner on the other side." (Hunny3)
Oscar de la Renta: "Creased is creased and pressed is pressed and never
the train shall pleat." (BALD MT)
And More Mangled Merriment
Leonard "Bones" McCoy: "You can't teach an old doc new Treks."
Elizabeth Taylor: "May divorce be with you!" (SMPolonsky)
Liberace: "You can have your cape and bead it, too." (SMPolonsky)
Vincent van Gogh: "Ear today, gone tomorrow." (SMPolonsky)
Homer: "Odyssey is the best policy." (SMPolonsky)
Bizet: "Opera eternity only knocks once." (SMPolonsky)
Richard Simmons: "Taste makes waist." (SMPolonsky)
Jesse James: "No noose is good news." (OberOber, SMPolonsky)
Jefferson Davis: "If at first you don't secede, try, try again."
(OberOber, SMPolonsky, LatteLdy72)
The Brave Little Tailor: "The hole is greater than the seam of the pants."
Foghorn Leghorn: "Mighty yolks from little leghorns grow." (OberOber)
Garfield: "The scratchin' is the better part of velour." (OberOber)
Snoop Doggy Dogg: "Homies swear the hardest." (OberOber)
Cinderella: "The shoe must go on." (Ceejayyy)
Shirley MacLaine: "Read between the lives." (Ceejayyy)
Richard Simmons: "There's got to be a better weight." (Ceejayyy)
Woody Allen: "Mia culpa." (VCRogers)
Cain: "Able was I ere I saw Abel." (VCRogers)
Marshal Petain: "Veni, Vidi, Vichy." (VCRogers)
Al Gore: "Veni, Vidi, V.P." ("I came, I saw...I was the Vice President.")
Commander Robert E. Peary: "Many are cold but few are frozen." (Karen
Howard Stern: "Gall for one and one for gall." (Karen Ariz)
Richard Simmons: "The weak shall inherit the girth." (Karen Ariz)
Hawk-eye: "The buck drops here." (Karen Ariz)
Anti-bigamy law: "You can't have your Kate and Edith too." (Karen Ariz)
Marcel Marceau: "Mime your p's and q's." (Karen Ariz)
Moe Howard: "To err is humor." (Karen Ariz)
Hank Aaron: "There's no base like home." (Karen Ariz)
Lucy Ricardo: "Whining isn't everything, it's the only thing." (Karen
Captain Ahab: "Be careful what you fish for, you might just net it."
Colonel Sanders to his unfortunate fowl, to encourage them to reach the
desired state through overfeeding: "If at once you don't suck seed--fry,
fry, fry again!" (stevend@MICROSOFT.com)
U.S. Olympic team: "When it trains, it scores." (Ismite)
The late Shah of Iran: "In life, a little reign must fall." (Oasisdude)
Advice to dieters: "A word to the wide is sufficient." (Oasisdude)
Lady Godiva: "Hair today; gown tomorrow." (SmithStev)
Liz Taylor's next marriage vow: "Four better and four worse." (ChicSoup)
Howard Stern: "Slur of the moment." (ChicSoup)
National Rifle Association: "I think, therefore I aim." (KENG501)
Shakespeare: "Where there's a Will, there's a play." (LinCWin)
Stephen King: "Look on the fright side." (LinCWin)
Yoko Ono to her son Sean at age 2 (trying to get him to eat vegetables):
"Give peas a chance." (JM1@s-3.com)
Dracula: "I have not yet begun to bite." (JM1@s-3.com)
Gypsy Rose Lee: "Grind and bare it." (LARAMAY)
Dr. Benjamin Spock: "What grows up must calm down." (TEEPOT40)
Tennis player Borg: "A star is Bjorn." (TEEPOT40)
Rainmaker: "Send in the clouds." (TEEPOT40)
White House Chef, Nixon Administration: "I am not a cook." (SSAPhD)
Marcel Marceau: "A mime is a terrible thing to waste." (SSAPhD)
Bill Gates: "The DOS ate my homework." (SSAPhD)
Winnie the Pooh: "The love of honey is the root of all evil."
The Queen of Hearts: "Tarting is such sweet sorrow." (BttrCooky)
Judge Wapner: "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less
gaveled by, and that has made all the difference." (BttrCooky)
Little Bo Peep: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a lamb!" (BttrCooky)
Shirley Temple: "Curls will be curls." (HCM1000)
Fort Knox: "Ingot we trust." (Rhr702)
Oprah fan club: "Winfrey or die." (Rhr702)
Washington during the Nixon Administration: "Land of 10,000 Leaks."
Henry Ford: "Never give a Tucker an even brake." (Deej xy)
Toulouse-Lautrec: "Absinthe makes the art grow fonder." (Deej xy)
Seward: "Be it ever so humble there's no place like Nome." (Deej xy)
Donald Trump: "Ivana be alone." (LatteLdy72)
Dolly Parton: "Thanks for the mammaries." (LatteLdy72)
The Clintons: "The blond leading the bland." (LatteLdy72)
Dr. Heimlich: "Different chokes for different folks." (LatteLdy72)
G. Gordon Liddy: "Too many crooks spoil the plot." (LatteLdy72)
The Frito Bandito: "The face that launched a thousand chips."
Humpty Dumpty: "I'll patch your crack if you'll patch mine."
Those poor little Budweiser frogs with their tongues stuck to the can:
"You can't teach an old frog new licks." (LatteLdy72)
Stephen King: "Buyer, be scared." (LatteLdy72)
Smokey the Bear: "One good burn deserves a smother." (LatteLdy72)
Rush Limbaugh: "Talk on the riled side." (LatteLdy72)
Daisy Mae: "Talk softly and marry a big hick." (Hunny3)
Muhammed Ali: "Jaws are made to be broken." (Hunny3)
Princess Di: "Onto each wife some reign must fall." (Hunny3)
John LeCarre: "The spy's the limit." (Hunny3)
Paul Bunyan: "Chop 'til you drop." (Hunny3)
Bill Blass: "Bare today, gowned tomorrow." (Hunny3)
Michelangelo: "All work and no clay make Jack a dull boy." (Hunny3)
Freud: "Return to gender." (Hunny3)
Bluebeard: "Booty is only shin deep." (Hunny3)
W.C. Fields: "Tiptoe through the juleps." (Hunny3)
Thomas Edison: "Many hands make lights work." (Hunny3)
John Barrymore: "Actors speak louder than bards." (Hunny3)
F. Lee Bailey: "Never put off until tomorrow what you can sue today."
Pat Buchanan: "Immigration is the greatest form of charity." (Hunny3)
Little Bo Peep: "Fleecy come, fleecy go." (Hunny3)
John James Audubon: "A picture is worth a thousand birds." (SMPolonsky)
Cleopatra: "If you don't know what to do, just asp!" (SMPolonsky)
The Marquis de Sade: "Keep a stiff upper whip." (SMPolonsky)
Astronaut James Lovell: "There's no such thing as a free launch."
Joe Montana: "There's a sacker born every minute." (SMPolonsky)
Rush Limbaugh: "Give me liberals, and give me debt!" (SMPolonsky)
Captain Ahab: "All's well that ends whale." (SMPolonsky)
Walt Disney: "The Mickey shall inherit the earth." (SMPolonsky)
Ogden Nash: "Verse things first." (SMPolonsky)
J.R.R. Tolkien: "Old hobbits are hard to break." (SMPolonsky)
King Oberon and Queen Titania: "The Puck stops here." (SMPolonsky)
Botticelli: "All the nudes that're fit to paint." (SMPolonsky)
Jack Benny's barber: "A Benny shaved is a penny earned." (OberOber)
John James Audubon: "One good tern deserves an otter." (OberOber)
John Watson, MD: "There's no pace like Holmes's." (OberOber)
James Beard: "To everything there is a seasoning." (Doropatent)
Dolly Parton: "My cups runneth over." (Doropatent)
Dante (or perhaps, more accurately, his illustrator?): "When hell friezes
Bill W., founder of A.A.: "You can eat an hors d'oeuvre later, but you
can't take a drink." (BALD MT)
AA members: "The only thing to fear is beer itself." (email@example.com)
Heidi Fleiss: "Eat, wink, and be merry." (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Norwegian fishing fleet: "In cod we trust." (email@example.com)
Weight Watchers: "Mind over fatter." (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Cindy Crawford: "Pose is a pose is a pose." (Pegesus 51)
Ms. Manners told Spock to "Live long and proper." (Pegesus51)
Captain James T. Kirk: "Nobody knows the tribbles I've seen."
Jean-Luc Picard's tailor: "Make it sew!" (ECheyney)
John the Baptist: "Two heads are better than none." (Doano)
Julius Caesar: "A friend in need is a fiend in deed."
Elsie the Cow's version of The Golden Rule: "Moo unto udders as you would
have them moo unto you." (MIZZOU LEW)
Pasta lover Paul Prudhomme: "A penne sauteed is a penne burned." (MIZZOU
Michael Jackson: "A fool and his honey are soon parted." (Bryda)
Dracula: "There's no ghoul like an old ghoul." (Bryda)
Robin Williams: "He's gestalt of the mirth." (Bryda)
Commenting on the brisk sales of camisoles, the salesperson at Victoria's
Secret said: "There's many a slip between the cup and the hip." (G8ly)
Disappointed that his daughter chose a career as an optician rather than
attend a prestigious liberal arts college, the father complained: "She
loved not Wellesley but two eyes." (G8ly)
Danny DeVito, on the other hand, avoids being cast opposite tall
Athenians, preferring to "Beware of Greeks wearing lifts." (G8ly)
Elmer, the Borden glue man: "Epoxy on both your houses." (Pun Bud)
Juan Carlos (who likes to fly a lot): "The reign in Spain is mainly in the
plane." (Pun Bud)
Jimmy Carter (if he has arthritis): "The pain in Plains comes mainly with
the rains." (Pun Bud)
Optometrist Dr. Pearle: "I for an eye." (MadMom2)
The original cast of Saturday Night Live: "To bee, or not to bee...."
Werner Erhard: "There's a seeker born every minute."
Princess Di: "Britty is as Britty does." (SunSaeng)
Movie sensation Babe wants to make a sequel, but his studio is afraid they
won't be able to "teach an old hog new flicks." (BarbPoet)
Chessmaster Kasparov, pitted against a computer, found that "Too many
rooks foil the coup." (BarbPoet)
When Marcel Marceau does a commercial, it's "a pitch in mime."
As Greg Norman putts out in the U.S. Open, he comes in on a "Ping and a
Charo: "There is arroz in Spanish Harlem." (Alamaneau)
Chief of NYC Fire Department: "You can lead a force to water..."
Newlywed: "One good turn deserves the cover." (Alamaneau)
Magic Johnson advises rookie: "Don't put all your legs in one basket."
Elvis applying to bank: "Love me lender, love me due." (Alamaneau)
Tweetie, dismayed by electronics: "The whirlybird gets the worm."
Mr. Ginsu, after selling out: "I regret the fact that I have but one knife
to give to my country." (Alamaneau)
Mae West after getting arrested: "Why don't you come up and free me
After a fairy tale divorce: "The pot calling the kettle back!"
Col. Sanders: "Don't put all your legs in one basket." (Thelinster)
Sarah Bernhardt: "Keep the role bawling." (Birdsinger)
Vincent van Gogh painted "Swirls before pine." (Birdsinger)
Dr. Joyce Brothers thinks "Dr. Ruth is stranger than fiction."
Luciano Pavarotti doesn't waste his breath, but he has a "Waist of
breadth." (Does he "Clip the tight elastic" in his waistbands?)
Dr. Spock: "Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to
Tuber grower: "I think, therefore I yam." (Deneumann)
Montreal Expos: "Honni swat qui mal y pense." (Deneumann)
Rush Limbaugh: "Toil evasion is a mass waistband." (Lowell PI)
Richard Harding Davis: "You may wire when ready, Gridley."
Blackened-redfish chef Paul Prudhomme: "You may fire when ready, griddle."
Frank Lloyd Wright: "The bevel made me do it." (JayDeDubya)
Benjamin Franklin: "Go fry a kite." (Pertex)
Elizabeth Taylor: "Diamonds are a girl's best mend." (Pertex)
Groucho Marx: "Walk softly but carry a big schtick." (PayPete1st)
FBI: "Let us pry." (ARTJAB)
Pablo Neruda: "Let a simile be your umbrella." (ARTJAB)
Smith & Wesson: "One pistol is worth a thousand swords." (ARTJAB)
Quasimodo: "For Whom the Bell Toils." (Buteo40)
A warning motto to the Easter Bunny: "Owl be seizing you." (Buteo40)
Elizabeth Taylor says it's "Keeper by the dozen." (SunSaeng)
Betty Crocker: "Only thyme will tell." (Morkin)
The spider in "Charlotte's Web": "Time's fun when you're having flies."
Director of Organic Gardening magazine: "An ounce of invention is worth a
pound of manure." (JuneF205)
A brain surgeon: "A stitch in time saves minds." (Motherphi)
Exxon's Motto: "Oil's well that ends well." (Gtpappas)
The captain of the EXXON Valdez: "What comes around, goes aground."
Your personal computer: "I think, therefore I RAM." (Phofman5)
Moby Dick: "Have a nice bay." (COYOTETRAP)
Merriam Webster: "A word in the hand is worth two in the bush."
Albert Einstein on nuclear energy: "The road to hell is paved with good
Pillsbury: "There's no business like dough business." (Shycon)
Rip Van Winkle: "Doze is a doze is a doze." (Gardenia)
Popsicle Company: "A stick in lime pays mine." (Ravensegg)
National Enquirer: "We will sell no crime before it's slime."
Chicken Little: "Hensome is as hensome does." (KSpaceyGrl)
Baseball team: "A pitch in time saves nine." (Vxx1)
An early Easter egg-hunt: "The hides of March." (BartSuede)
Credo for a manufacturer of false teeth: "Nothing dentured, nothing
Hitchcock film promo: "A picture is worth a thousand birds." (BartSuede,
Anti-Clinton political slogan: "When he reigns, it poors." (BartSuede)
Michelle Pfeiffer in "Batman": "It's not over till the cat lady swings."
A maitre d': "Putting the carte before the course." (KEITH1030)
Burt Reynolds: "Toupee or not toupee, that is the question."
F. Lee Bailey's secretary: "Lock him up and I'll throw away everything
but the fee!" (EEENEW)
My boss's actual motto: "A piece of kick." (Toxwaste)
Ed McMahon: "Call me wish mail." (WVdulcimer)
Cole Porter: "It was the best of rhymes, it was the worst of rhymes."
P.T. Barnum: "Sucker is a-coming in, loudly sing coo-coo." (WVdulcimer)
I remember a kosher restaurant run by orthodox Jews from Spain. Their
motto? "Hummus--we're Sephardis." (i.e., "home is where the heart is")
Playtex: "The stay's the thing." (PinWA)
Uri Geller: "All's well that bends well." (PinWA)
Copyright © 1996 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All