Archive for September, 2012

“You deserve to have the Winning Team on your side!”

September 28, 2012

The New York Times, Tuesday, September 25, 2012 

This is the first paragraph and extended sports metaphor of thoroughbred horse racing on a full page ad for a business corporation.   

Victory in a thoroughbred race requires a talented jockey, an experienced trainer, a strong, sound horse and sometimes a little luck.  Don’t rely on luck in your proxy campaign, governance battle, tender offer, merger or restructuring.  Call on MacKenzie Partners and ask us to join our team so that you too will cross the finish line first.”

The Game: Saturday/Sunday Wall Street Journal

September 26, 2012

A few headlines in WSJ (The Wall Street Journal) of last weekend:  Saturday/Sunday, September 22-23, 2012

On the “CAMPAIGN JOURNAL PAGE:”  Debates Already Take Center Stage,  by Laura Meckler

Obama Team talks Up Romney’s Prowess, while Challenge’s Campaign Looks for a Game Change

There are two idioms in these headlines:  Center Stage and Game Change, the first a theater metaphor for being the actor in the center.  In this case it refers to presidential debates.  The second refers to Governor Romney and advisors hope for “the debates to shake up the race,” or a “game change.”

On the U.S. NEWS page:  “Seniors Are Cool to Ryan’s Pitch,” by Colleen McCain Nelson

Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan spoke to a group of retirees in New Orleans about revising Medicare and repealing the “president’s health-care law.”  According to this article, the group of senior citizens were “cool” to Mr. Ryan.  They did not like his “pitch” or argument.  It is baseball season and in that sense Mr. Ryan was the pitcher, but his pitch or pitches did not go over center plate.  I guess he got a walk.



A Suburban Mother Who Worried That Golf was ‘Dad’s Thing’ Gets a Surprising Education

In this article the mother learns how to play golf rather successfully with her family.   “Game” here refers to an actual sports game, the game of golf.

Game Change?

September 21, 2012

The Economist: The Euro Crisis

September 15, 2012

The euro zone’s leaders have turned a corner.  Where to, is not yet clear:

“When history books trace the evolution of the euro crisis, September 2012 will mark the beginning of a new chapter… On September 12th Germany’s constitutional court backed the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the euro zone’s permanent rescue fund, removing the last hurdle to its launch.  The same day, the European Commission laid out a blueprint for joint European banking suprervision, the first step to a banking union.  Days earlier the European Central Bank (ECB) announced that, under certain conditions, it would buy unlimited amounts of the bonds of troubled euro-zone countries. 

Taken together, these actions mark a big change.  At best they constitute the foundations of a more sustainable monetary union…The hope is that this marks the beginning of the end of the euro crisis…”

The paragraphs above explain game change.  The heading is a great introduction to the article as is: The euro zone’s leaders have turned a corner.  Where to, is not yet clear.”

 The larger idiomatic question is the use of the noun “game” for societal decisions. 

Hurdle is used in the second sentence, and the question here, again, is it idiomatic and related to field games, or is it simply used for overcoming difficulties.

Xi of China Tells U.S. Defense Secretary That Japan Must “Rein In” Behavior

September 21, 2012

The Wall Street Journal, WORLD NEWS, Thursday September 26, 2012

Panetta Urges Beijing to Resolve Island Spat

Presumed Next Leader Xi Tells Defense Secretary That Japan Must Rein In Behavior; Ministry Warns of Trade Impact

Beijing–“U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta met Wednesday with China’s presumed next leader and urged a peaceful solution to a territorial dispute with Japan, an issue that a Chinese official said could damage coming trade talks and economic ties between the two Asian powers…

But Mr. Xi also offered a pointed denunciation of Japan.  China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported that Mr. Xi told Mr. Panetta that the Japanese purchase of disputed islands was a ‘farce’ and that Tokyo should ‘rein in its behavior.’

The term to rein in usually refers to a rider reining in a horse or pulling it back, slowing it down.  In this case China wants  Japan to slow down.  This is not necessarily a sports idiom, but it certainly is a metaphor that is appropriate for the article.  Jockeys have reins as do most riders.  I am not sure we had reins when we hopped on old, retired  cow ponies in Nevada as they were so well trained to do their jobs.  They would turn with body language and knees.  The ponies were perfect for children to ride, as they would stop if we fell off.  They had been trained for cattle roping as well as other work.

Romney: Israel-Palestine Two State Solution: “Kick the Ball Down the Field”

September 21, 2012

The New York Times OP-ED Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Let Them Eat Crab Cake, Maureen Dowd

Washington–Maureen Dowd, Op-Ed columnist commented on Mr. Romney’s appearance at a campaign fund-raiser for “high rollers” in Boca Ratan, Florida.  A video of his remarks at a $50,000-a-plate dinner was filmed and released recently.  Among his remarks were the following about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and the two-state solution:  “He said he sometimes felt ‘that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace–that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.’ 

He continued, ‘You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize this is going to remain an unsolved problem,’ adding ‘And we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately somehow, something will happen to resolve it.”

There are two sports and games idioms here: high rollers and kick the ball down the field.  “High rollers” refers to gamblers who gamble with a lot of money and perhaps for high stakes.  In the context of Mr. Romney’s comments, the term means very wealthy people.  “Kicking the ball down the field” refers to games such as football, soccer where the ball is kicked towards a goal, and sometimes to the opposite team when it is their turn.  Mr. Romney is stating that the problem is not going to be solved soon, but he hopes it will be in the future.

Maureen Dowd’s title is a play on Marie Antoinette’s supposed remarks about French citizens marching for bread during the French Revolution:  “Let them eat cake.”

Pettite Is Back For Stretch Run

September 20, 2012

The New York Times, SPORTS, Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pettite is Back For Stretch Run, by David Waldstein

Baseball:  The Yankees and the Orioles are in a race for a division title (the “stretch run”).  Andy Pettite, who is 40 and suffered a broken ankle is back pitching.  “F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that there are no second acts in American lives, but Pettitte is about to prove that contention wrong, again .  His career has been presented in several acts, including his initial 1995-2003 tenure with the Yankees, his return in 2007 after three years with the Houston Astros, and his comeback last May from a one-year retirement.”

The metaphor here is stretch run which is related to the home stretch, the end of a long process whether for a horse, a baseball team or a business negotiation, project.

The Pitch: Want to Buy a Private Stock?

September 11, 2012


Saturday/Sunday, September 8-9, 2012

BUSINESS & FINANCE:  The Intelligent Investor, by Jason Zweig

Want to Buy a Private Stock?

“…On Aug. 29, the Securities and exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a rule permitting private issuers (of stocks) to promote offerings to the general investing public for the first time.  

Under the Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law of 2010 and the Jobs Act of 2012, Congress required the SEC to study how knowledgeable the investing public is and, at the same time, to allow private companies to market there securities to anyone they care to pitch to. Once the rule goes into effect, probably in  few months, every Tom, Dick and Harry can be pitched on stakes in …offerings that long have been sold privately under an exemption to the federal securities laws, known as Regulation D.” 

This is baseball season when many games are determined by the pitchers as well as the batters.  The idiom pitch  is used in Hollywood to pitch ideas, and also by investment firms.

Strategic Gaming? United States and China

September 8, 2012

The New York Times International, Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Smiles and Barbs for Clinton in China, by Steven Lee Myers and Jane Perlez

BEIJING–“Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived here on Tuesday night to a barrage of unusually harsh coverage in China’s official news media over what they called American meddling in territorial disputes in the region–and then a strikingly warm welcome from the country’s foreign minister…

The sharpness stemmed from tensions over China’s increasingly assertive claims in maritime disputes with other nations in the region, and it echoed a feeling shared by many in both countries that the United States and China are locked in a competition for dominance in the region and beyond.

‘We are committed to building a cooperative partnership with China,’ Mrs. Clinton said… It is a key aspect of our rebalancing in the Asia-Pacific.’  The Obama administration’s renewed focus on Asia has been unfavorably interpreted in some quarters here as an effort to contain China.  China is wary of American moves in the area–including an increase in military personnel an material in Australia and the Philippines.

‘For the United States, the South China Sea is not a matter of territorial disputes,’ said Wu Xinbo, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai. ‘It’s an issue of strategic gaming.  The United States is concerned about China’s naval growth.”

Gaming in the South China Sea by China and the U.S.  However, there are other countries involved, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN.  The Philippines, Brunei and Vietnam, members of ASEAN, have competing claims.  Who is gaming whom ?  Is this a high stakes poker game?  Strategic gaming?  

Gaming is a verb made from the noun, game.  We all play games of one sort or other.  Diplomatic games have higher stakes.