Tag Archives: language

how DO you skin a cat ?

1 Aug

I’m reminded tonight of some of the crazy sayings we just take for granted. Words that just fall out our mouths without any real thought of the literal origins.skin a cat 2

A buddy pointed out after a quick google… that the term ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat’ actually dates back to 1832 where a Parliamentary Bill was passed regarding the skinning of live cats … saying there are ‘other ways’ to achieve the same outcome (gruesome origin for sure …. )

It took me back to my early adult years when my very sweet but somewhat eccentric neighbour…(an elderly lady in her nightie and no teeth)… was interested in the extent of my physical relationship with my boyfriend. I remember her leaning on the old paling fence and winking at me …saying “just remember there’s more than one way to skin a cat”… I now know this was a salient piece of safe sex advice, but at the time I was wondering what the hell she was on about.

RIP Dear Nellie … you were full of wise words (all be they hidden behind a veil of eccentricity).



say what ???

23 Jun

Ok so tonight  I’m banging on again about our language, and the crazy stupid things we say without even thinking twice about the paradox….no wonder we’re all confused.oxymoron

Today I was more than a little amused when I actually tuned into the stream of contradictions. …all day long I’ve been surrounded by oxymorons (and I’m not even talking about Tony Abbott).

The day started with a TV report on the ‘small crowd’ that turned out (to see someone-or-other…who cares?)…and then the breakfast crew were laughing at their own ‘seriously funny’ jokes… When I got to the office the talk was all about ‘health promotion-prevention’ and ‘ill health’ (someone please remind me how THAT can be…. and I work there!!).

As the evening settled in, we talked about a ‘pretty ugly’ puppy that I saw… the fact that a friend was going on a ‘working holiday’ … then finally I heard an advert for a movie about the American ‘civil war’!

Perhaps it pays not to over-think it… for fear that nothing will make any sense.



what’s in a word…?

22 Feb


Having cut my adult teeth on medical jargon, you would think after 33years in the Health system, I would be used to nonsensical language. But the past few days have highlighted that you can never stay ahead of the ever changing word game. It seems that creation of new language (and acronyms) is a never ending craze… morphing and changing a bit like a mutating virus

I attended a conference over the past couple of days.The presentations were a mix of really interesting… voyeuristic…inspiring… and zzzzzzzzzzzz and I spent much of the time focussing on the language.

Every industry has its own ‘speak’ … a way of communicating that either  lets you ‘in’ or blocks you ‘out’ and I guess we just get used to it and become a bit immune; BUT when you superimpose web words, social media speak and industry idiom… and bring them together in one sentence it can be a little comical even to an insider. … for example

“using SMS, twitter & FB to increase HCV PCR screening of  IDU via SHCs & NSP”.

On top of that… it  seems that no organisation goes by a full title anymore, keeping you guessing what they actually do (mmm…perhaps that’s a strategy in itself ) and adding to the jargon. Over the  past two days we had CSRH,ACON, ASHM, MHHAS, AFAO, NHMRC, AHMRC, AIVL, NUAA along with NSP….. and that’s just off the top of my head.

But I wonder how different all of this language is really ?… compared to the late 70’s when I was just a junior nurse.

Ten points to anyone who can decipher the following (real) entry in a very memorable medical file when I worked in the Emergency Dept in 1979.

“this LOL, PAAF fell and # RNOF”

go figure …