Monday, October 11, 2010

Bet your bottom dollar

What is a "bottom dollar" anyway? I know, it's your last bit of money. It's certainly not the opposite of "top dollar." You can pay top dollar for something, meaning that you're paying the highest price. But you never pay bottom dollar for something. Instead, you pay "rock bottom." Why? No one ever pays "rock top" for anything, do they? It seems that the only thing bottom dollars are good for is betting. And I've never heard anyone talk about middle dollars; we must keep those very close to our vests. Even though not many of us actually wear vests. English is a creative and confusing language.

"The sun'll come out, tomorrow." Actually, it's been out for a few days and that's been nice.

So, as I've mentioned, the chainsaw is in the chainsaw hospital. The other day the oil that lubricates the chain ran out, so I refilled the tank. Then I noticed that oil was leaking out all over the place. This happened once before when I first got the saw, but it stopped. I now know it stopped because the oil level had fallen below the level of the oil cap.

It turns out that the oil cap no longer seals the tank. Add to that that I've been using the saw quite a lot and the chain has become a bit dull. So on Friday I took the saw in to the guy that sells and repairs power tools over across the river. He said they could fix (replace) the cap and sharpen the chain and that the saw would be ready some time this week.


  1. "very close to our vests"

    Interesting... we wear vests, but keep things very close to our chests.

  2. A vest in America is called a waistcoat in England, I believe. Your British vests are our undershirts, I think

    In America, men dress in three-piece suits: pants (trowsers), vest (waistcoat), and jacket. What do you call the jacket?

    Correct me if I'm wrong about British or Australian terms.

  3. For me, as an Australian, the undergarment is a singlet, a vest is a waistcoat and suits have trousers and jackets. Pants are undergarments in British English, and usually referred to as knickers in Britain if they are female attire and called underpants in Australia.

    Having said that, vest for waistcoat and pants for trousers would be perfectly understood in Australia, and used not infrequently.

  4. But of course in these more relaxed times, many of us in business find that jeans, shirts are accepted and ties are virtually non-existent these days. Trousers, vest/waistcoat and jacket is a "bag of fruit" (suit). Trousers could be pant!!!!
    Underpants could be undies or jocks.
    Which reminds me when I was living in San Francisco, it was my shout so I ordered a couple of "jugs" for my thirsty mates. They told me I should requested Pitchers. That's language, we live and learn.

  5. T R O U S E R S. Where did that W come from? Obviously, trousers is not a word we use in America. We do call them "slacks" however, or used to. We say that we wear a coat and tie (I never do any more) but then we also call it a jacket, a suit jacket for example. Don't they have three-piece suits in Australia?

  6. Bet your bottom dollar that that chainsaw will come back like brand as a tack.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Well, since we're talking about language and jackets and vests, I have NEVER been clear on these words:

    une veste (I know it's not a vest/waistcoat... but, is it any kind of jacket, including what we'd also call un blouson? and a suitcoat? or a blazer/sportcoat?)

    un veston (suit coat or sportcoat/blazer that doesn't match pants?)

    un gilet (a vest? or is it a cardigan sweater that buttons up the front for women??)

    Many thanks to anyone who can clear this up for me!


  9. I wouldn't say that Americans don't use the word trousers. My mother always used that word and I grew up calling them trousers. Today I use the word if I want to trick someone into thinking I had some class.

  10. Vests are making a comeback in New England/the greater NYC area this season...just FYI...(as in 'pull over the head' knitted sweater vests to keep you warm, worn OVER a shirt to clarify things) ;)

  11. Here in Derbyshire we have woolly vests, thermal vests and string vests, all items of underwear. Occasionally you will find someone slobbing around in just his vest in front of the telly with a can of lager on Saturday afternoons.

    When I was a little girl a child's vest was called a liberty bodice and it was made of thick cotton and buttoned down the front. A child was doomed to wear one of these from September to May to keep warm against the long English winters. Hence the phrase: ne'er cast a clout til May is out.

  12. Judy, I'm not going to be of much help here because I never wear any of those things.

  13. English is very confusing, because it absorbed so many words and phrases from other languages.
    I blame the Normans.

  14. And here I thought I would get comments about dollars!

  15. In my opinion, veste and veston are exactly the same thing, i.e. an American jacket.
    A gilet, when formal, is an American vest and is part of a tree-piece suit. But is could also mean any wool garment, like a sweater, with or without buttons in front, you wear over a shirt. It could also be some sort of T-shirt and then it is a gilet de corps.


Pour your heart out! I'm listening.