Sunday, March 15, 2009

question, pig, flexible

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Whence the expression: the answer is a lemon?

On BBC Radio 4, I hear someone refer to the American saying: "Don't wrestle with a pig. You may get dirty, but the pig likes it!"

The climbing rose in the garden used to climb up the house. Unlike a hybrid tea, it doesn't need pruning hard every year, but it is vigorous, and difficult to maintain. Now I realize that its branches are flexible and easily trained horizontally, so that it can reach round the corner comfortably in both directions - an improvement, which is both aesthetic and practical.

3 comments:

Zhoen said...

I've heard a bad car referred to as a lemon, but not an answer.

The pig saying is also unfamiliar, although I could imagine someone saying it.

Trained roses, can you make them 'sit' and 'stay' too?

The Crow said...

The expression originated with George Bernard Shaw, but the version I've heard is "Never wrestle with a pig. You'll both get filthy, but only the pig will enjoy it."

I always took it to mean much the same thing as my mother's caution against stooping to someone else's level should a discussion deteriorate into something less civilized.

Lovely photo of the violet, by the way.

Plutarch said...

Zhoen. They are obedient and respond toa dressing of bone meal.
Thank you, Crow, GBS puts it well.