Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

IWSG, By the Skin of My Teeth I'm Driving that Jalopy, Quotes, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:   Janet Alcorn, SE White, Victoria Marie Lees, and Cathrina Constantine!

This month's question is: What turns you off when visiting an author's website/blog? Lack of information? A drone of negativity? Little mention of author's books? Constant mention of books? Oh gosh. Lack of information about what?  I don't recall ever visiting a blog or website that's a drone of negativity. But I'm sure that would be a turn-off for me. My own blog is guilty of not mentioning my books much, but they're there...over to your right if you'd care to check them out. Since writers have had to become their own promoters (even if published traditionally) I can't fault those who loudly toot their own horns. If they don't do it, who will? I'm an introvert in that department. I'm happy be in the chorus and sing my part, but I'm not comfortable as the soloist.

Origins: a recurring post in which I delve into the history of a word or  phrase.

Today's phrase is: By the Skin of My Teeth
I was surprised to learn how old it is...

The phrase made it's first written debut in the 1550s in the Geneva Bible.

Léon Bonnat - Job
Job. A haunting painting
of despair... 
When Job is lamenting all that Satan has done to him and all that God has allowed to happen (it is a piteous and heart-wrenching passage to read) he cries out in anguish, "I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth." And this is a direct translation from the Hebrew. Who can say how long the Hebrews used the phrase before it was written in the Book of Job? I think it's safe to say, it's anywhere between 4 to 9 thousand years old, as that's how old scholars believe Job's story to be (give or take 5 thousand years). You can read the whole lament here at Job Chapter 19. None of that explains what the skin of one's teeth actually is. I'm kind of inclined to think it's that semi-slimy layer of scum that's on your teeth when you wake up in the morning. (Gross I know.) Or maybe it has to do with the gums.

Today's Weird Word is: Jalopy
Most sources acknowledge there's no sure source of where or how this word originated. It popped up in the early 1920s. Most however agree it might have come from Jalapa, Mexico (same place the Jalapeño is from) which, it seems, is where used cars from the US were sent to die.Old pickup 01
In my experience growing up the Virgin Islands, a jalopy was definitely a beat-up vehicle, a rust-bucket held together with baling wire and maybe duct tape, but still running, still operational. Anyone who had a good running jalopy could be called upon to go places regular vehicles couldn't go. I learned to drive in a jalopy. It was a jeep that jumped out of second gear and barely had reverse! 

We were "jeeping" and "off-roading" LONG before it became a "thing.

Quotes of the Month
"Faith gives you an inner strength and a sense of balance and perspective in life." Gregory Peck


"Enjoy life as it is today -- it is going to change." Stephen Ramjewan


"Measure not men by Sundays, without regarding what they do all the week after." Thomas Fuller


"Those sons-of-bitches over there ain’t buying. Every yard gets ’em. They’re lookers. Spend all their time looking. Don’t want to buy no cars; take up your time. Don’t give a damn for your time. Over there, them two people – no, with the kids. Get ’em in a car. Start ’em at two hundred and work down. They look good for one and a quarter. Get ’em rolling. Get ’em out in a jalopy. Sock it to ’em! They took our time." John Steinbeck from The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 7.

I don't know who wrote this analysis of the quote, but it's great.   "Dehumanized by his runaway greed, the used car dealer lectures his employees on how to exploit customers. Seeing vulnerable migrants as easy money, he motivates his sales team to suck as much money as possible out of them. There is irony in the fact that even those not interested in buying a car are targets for his cynical sales pitch."

And who knew "Sock it to 'em" didn't originate in the late 1960s on Laugh-In.

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful that we survived a very hard freeze 
(at one point we were colder than Billings, Montana!) 
And, we got a little bit of rain. 
The weather has been wild and crazy.

What are you thankful for? Do certain authors' blogs or websites annoy you? Have you ever felt like you were hanging on by the skin of your teeth? Ever owned or driven a jalopy?


  1. Hi, Bish. I'd love to visit Montana. I hear it's beautiful. Interesting about that phrase, by the skin of my teeth! I love the quotes!

  2. Hi Bish! Jalopy is a fun word. That quote from Steinbeck takes my breath away. I may have to go read The Grapes of Wrath again.

  3. I love the quotes by Stephen Ramjewan and Gregory Peck. They're so true. I'm grateful to have survived the bitter cold in Michigan too.

  4. I'd say the phrase has to do with the gums.
    I don't mention my books often either, but they are all listed if anyone is interested.

  5. That's funny you learned to drive on a Jeep. I learned on a VW Bus and I never could get the darn thing into reverse.

  6. I love the word jalopy, always have! Putting your book in the sidebar is a great way of saying, "Hey, I do this." You know, what bugs me, is when authors don't update their book list. I was at a site yesterday that was boasting a coming soon release -- that was released four years ago. 😕

  7. What a wonderful post, Bish. I learned so much. And what a good idea to place your books on your right margin. Subtle. I'm a chorus-type of gal myself. Have a beautiful day!

  8. I like the sound of "jalopy." However, if it originated in Mexico, it would sound a lot different. Interesting, Bish!


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!