Archive for October, 2010

A Brilliant Foul Ball

October 31, 2010

“Murder at the Library of Congress”, Margaret Truman.

A well-known researcher/scholar, a suspect, who is about to be murdered is interviewed by a reporter.  She is reporting on an art theft  possibly related to a rare book.  He is very uncooperative about questions.  They both leave. Two female researchers talk about the interview, one saying, “A brilliant foul ball.”

A foul ball in baseball is not playable as it is outside of the playing field area.

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How Wall Street Fleeced the World

October 17, 2010

Time, October 18, 2010:  Movies

“The searing new doc(umentary) Inside Job indicts the bankers and their Washington pals.”  This article highlights Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job while mentioning his Oscar-nominated film No End in Sight, the latter analyzing “the Bush administration’s slipshod  planning of the Iraq occupation.”

“The larger message of both No End in Sight and Inside Job is that American optimism, the engine for the nation’s expansion, can have tragic results.  The conquest of Iraq? A slam dunk.  Gambling billions on risky mortgages? …the geniuses in charge constructed faith-based policies that enriched their pals; they stumbled toward a precipice, and the rest of us fell off.”

The sports idiom in this article is underlined:  A slam dunk is part of a sarcastic sentence about the Bush Administration’s idea that the Iraq war would be easy to win.  A slam dunk in basketball is an easy basket.

“Roosevelt’s Purge”: A Time to Play Hardball.

October 15, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010, OPINION, Wall Street Journal:  Bookshelf, by Jonathan Karl

When President Franklin Roosevelt’s second-term agenda “hit a brick wall” of Democratic (his own party) opposition…”It was time to play hardball. As Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau put it: There has got to be a fight and there has got to be a purge…He had reason to believe he could call the shots.” Roosevelt endorsed liberal primary challengers against incumbent Democratic senators.   The incumbents won: “The voters may have liked their president, but they didn’t want him picking their senator.”

Professional baseball is hardball. As an idiom, hardball is what one does after trying easier methods. A person calling the shots says what is going to happen and then tries to do it, for instance when Babe Ruth, a famous baseball player, said he would hit a home run to centerfield, he did it.

Wall Street Rides Wave of Stock, Bond Rallies

October 8, 2010

Wall Street Journal, Friday, October 1, 2010: Quarterly Markets Review

Wall Street had “a strong finish in September…”

Riding a wave is a surfing metaphor/idiom.  One has to catch the wave just as it is about to curl in order to ride the power of the wave as it heads to shore.  In the Wall Street case, stocks and ponds are powering the wave.