the cutting edge


knife_12For last week’s ThThTh list, I set the table with forks and spoons. I said I’d be back later with the knives.

  1. like a hot knife through butter: an expression meaning that something was or can be cut easily
  2. not the sharpest knife in the drawer: an expression meaning “not very smart,” playing of the use of the word sharp as a synonym of intelligent.
  3. The Subtle Knife: A novel by Philip Pullman, second in the trilogy His Dark Materials. (It’s the sequel to The Golden Compass.)
  4. “3 Blind Mice”: a nursery rhyme and song in which a carving knife is used. Possibly is about Bloody Mary.

    Three blind mice, three blind mice,
    See how they run, see how they run,
    They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
    Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
    Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
    As three blind mice?

  5. going under the knife: an expression meaning “having surgery”
  6. “I always eat my peas with honey”: A poem of largely unknown origins. I first ever heard it while visiting my in-laws last week (and eating peas), and then encountered it a second time the next day when Magpie left it as a comment on my utensil list. Kind of eerie.

    I always eat my peas with honey;
    I’ve done it all my life.
    They do taste kind of funny but
    It keeps them on my knife.

  7. Shonen Knife: an all female “pop punk” band from Japan. They also have an album called Let’s Knife.
  8. Mack the Knife: a song from the Threepenny opera. Has been performed by many, From Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Louis Armstrong to Sting, The Doors and The Psychedlic Furs.
  9. “Cuts Like a Knife”: the title track from the 1983 Bryan Adams album (YouTube)
  10. Slash with a Knife, a book of works by artist Yoshitomo Nara with many paintings of angry and threatening-looking but cute litte kids.
  11. Knives can be used for slashing, stabbing, and throwing (as well as slicing, dicing and julienning), so they appear pretty frequently in movies as weapons. You might see them such in fight scenes (eg. West Side Story) or murder mysteries (eg. Gosford Park).
  12. The knife is one of the possible murder weapons in the boardgame Clue.
  13. “That’s not a knife. This is a knife.” A line from Crocodile Dundee. (See the scene on YouTube.)
  14. “Chefs do that”: A line from the movie The Long Kiss Goodnight. Geena Davis plays an amnesiac with no memory of her past life as an assassin. When she discovers her skill with knives, she briefly thinks she must have been a chef. Then she throws a knife and skewers a tomato against the wall, saying “chefs do that.” (You can see at least part of the scene in the trailer on YouTube.)
  15. knife throwing: a sport involving throwing knives at a target. (The goal is to hit the target with the point of the knife, not, for instance, the handle.)
  16. knife throwing act: involves a performer throwing knives around a person, with the goal of not impaling the person. Somewhat ironically considered an “impalement art.” Here’s an example of a mother throwing knives at her little kids in the 50s:
  17. knifehand strike: a martial arts strike using the “blade” of the hand (not the palm or a fist), and sometimes called a “karate chop.”
  18. “In Japan, the hand can be used like a knife.” A famous line from a 1970s commercial for the Ginsu knife.
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5 responses to “the cutting edge

  1. Glad I’m not a Gallagher.

  2. aw. thanks for reminding me of the bryan adams song. i am now going to listen to it repeatedly. highschool memories…

  3. Love Philip Pullman.

    On re-reading “my” poem: I think it scans better without the “always” in the first line…

  4. I just learned that omelet is a variation on lemele – “knife blade,” because of it’s thin flat shape.

  5. Yes. I know it as: “I eat my peas with honey. I’ve done it all my life. It makes the peas taste funny but it keeps them on my knife. ”

    There’s also the tradition of taping a penny to a knife when given as a gift so as not to sever the friendship.

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