Over the transom

Sometimes, your job just causes you to look things up.  It’s just necessary.  Unavoidable.  Nothing you can do about it. Today, the Oven Glove made me look up the phrase ‘over the transom’.  Why?  Everyone kept using it.  But did I really know what it meant?  Of course not.

Here’s the scoop:

A transom is, basically, any connective piece.  It’s been used with architecture (the cross bar in a window or the bar above a lintel separating a door from a window or a window from another window), shipbuilding (crossbar attached to the stern post), railroads (cross-timbers across sleepers or connecting the sides of a railway carriage), furniture (cross pieces to a head board, the seat of a throne, or a built-in bench in a state room) and to refer to the horizontal part of a cross or  the top bar of a swing or gallows.  So where did this phrase come from?


Do any of you remember those little windows that used to be above interior doors in offices and other places to allow for added light and ventilation?  Basically, that’s where it comes from.  Here’s a picture:

OVER THE TRANSOM – “Kent Dirlam of Greenwich, Connecticut, wrote us: ‘I wonder whether you ever encountered the expression, ‘It came in ‘over the transom.” This goes way back to the early days of the Copper Kings in Montana, when the paying off of legislators and other public officials was not unknown. To avoid observation, contributions were frequently made by tossing packets of banknotes from the hotel corridor ‘over the transom” into the friendly official’s hotel room. Thus the expression, ‘It came in over the transom.’ Thus ultimately came to mean any windfall or expected bit of luck. A transom is simply a hinged window above a door. ‘Over the transom’ has still another meaning in publishing circles. A manuscript that comes to a publisher’s office unsolicited is said to have come ‘over the transom.’.” From the “Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins” by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988)

So originally, it meant a bribe thrown literally through that little window, which was expected and positive, and evolved to the current meaning of an unexpected proposal that may or may not be something we want.  Still, I guess ‘over the transom’ is better than a brick-through-the-window approach to marketing.

If you know who Figit is, you might know this quote. And that’s a big ‘might’.

“Meegosh. Excellent choice.”

Why is this one of my favorite movie quotes of all time? Hmm, let’s see. I love this because it’s a great movie? Or maybe I love it because you can say it in casual conversation and people think you’re saying “Good choice” without picking up on the Meegosh reference at all. Or maybe it’s because Meegosh IS such an excellent choice.

My money’s on the bear

If there was ever a shark vs. bear rumble, this is what would happen:

Shark looking at bear – ‘It could be a rock. Or maybe a very large anemone.’
Bear looking at shark – ‘Mmm. SALMON.’

Ok, true, sharks are pretty fierce. And some of them might be big enough to take on a bear. Might. If the bear falls into the middle of the ocean and can’t get out, or the shark is big enough to drag it into the water (somehow). But let’s just take a look at where this fight would have to take place.

Coastline – bears and sharks obviously live in different worlds. If they meet on the beach to ‘tangle’, the bear has the obvious advantage. Sharks are going to be dying out of water, and most beaches don’t have a deep enough drop off for a shark to effectively jump up and gnaw on a bear. At a rockier, possibly cliffside coast, the bear still has the advantage. If it can flip the shark out of the water (which it is used to doing), the shark is DONE.

So let’s look at a little more combined interaction – polar bear, already in the water, with shark. True, the shark is a better swimmer (even though polar bears swim pretty well). Still, I think toothy mouth and four powerful claws beats one set of massive boneless jaws and a strong tail.

You can call me call me Lightning Hair

Other names include Moves With No Balance, Frohead (ok, that one’s an actual nickname), and Speaks Without Thinking.