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Folklore: between a rock and a hard place

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GUEST,Jolene 08 Feb 02 - 09:58 AM
GUEST 08 Feb 02 - 10:03 AM
Bardford 08 Feb 02 - 10:19 AM
GUEST 08 Feb 02 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,okthen with computer probs. 08 Feb 02 - 10:26 AM
mack/misophist 08 Feb 02 - 10:33 AM
mack/misophist 08 Feb 02 - 10:34 AM
Murray MacLeod 08 Feb 02 - 10:36 AM
GUEST 08 Feb 02 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,Mad4Mud at work 08 Feb 02 - 10:56 AM
Midchuck 08 Feb 02 - 11:04 AM
Amos 08 Feb 02 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,Mad4Mud at work 08 Feb 02 - 11:28 AM
Steve in Idaho 08 Feb 02 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,Mad4Mud at work 08 Feb 02 - 11:43 AM
catspaw49 08 Feb 02 - 12:17 PM
Amos 08 Feb 02 - 01:58 PM
53 08 Feb 02 - 06:55 PM
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Subject: between a rock and a hard place
From: GUEST,Jolene
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 09:58 AM

What does it mean?

Where does the saying come from?

Thanks in advance

Jolene


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 10:03 AM

According to my dictionary, it means:

without a satisfactory alternative, in difficulty

It comes from North America. That's all I know


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: Bardford
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 10:19 AM

This linkhas this to say:

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE -- From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" (1996) by Gregory Y. Titelman(Random House, New York, 1996): "Between a rock and a hard place. Forced to choose between two unpleasant options. The expression originated in the early twentieth century in the United States. It usually follows 'to be caught'…" The "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Fact on File, New York, 1997) says "the expression was probably born in Arizona during a financial panic early in this century…"

I hope my cut and paste works.

A follow up post to that thread suggests that the Russians couldn't win a war in Afghanistan because they were between Iraq and a hard place.

Bardford


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 10:21 AM

Thank you Bardford


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: GUEST,okthen with computer probs.
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 10:26 AM

I thought the original was " between Scylla and Charybdis" which (as we all know) were a gragon-like monster on an island and a whirlpool. Sailors had to sail very carefully not to come too near either of them. Could be the Oddyssey, not sure.


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: mack/misophist
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 10:33 AM

Scylla and Charybdis are in the Oddyssey. The idea's the same though.


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: mack/misophist
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 10:34 AM

It's a lot like being on the horns of a dilemma.


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 10:36 AM

Or between the Devil and the deep blue sea

Murray


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 10:41 AM

but where does the 'hard place' come from?


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: GUEST,Mad4Mud at work
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 10:56 AM

Here's a guess: when sailing down a river a "hard place" might be an area difficult to navigate. A rock, of course, would not be welcome either to your boat. That's assuming the Scylla and Charybdis nautical reference holds which I believe this expression was based on.


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: Midchuck
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 11:04 AM

It's like when you don't know whether to shit or go blind, so you fart and close one eye.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: Amos
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 11:20 AM

A hard place is another name for another rock; it is a creative way of saying there are no comfortable choices -- you go one way, you hit a rock, you go the other way you're up against a rock, you're in a bind, caught in irons, suspended on the horns of a dilemma, forced to choose between the lesser of two evils, out of leeway and sitting in a problem.

Scylla and Charibdis were colliding pillars of rock which tower up out of the sea at the north end of the Straits of Messina, between Italy and Sicily; one of them has been worn down over the centuries, and is little more than a big boulder, but the other is still dramatic. However, they do not collide with each other at regular intervals, as Homer had it. The currents are very strange at that end of the Strait, and they may have been what gave rise to the poetic legend of colliding rocks.

A


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: GUEST,Mad4Mud at work
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 11:28 AM

I believe the Charybdis was a whirlpool....


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 11:32 AM

I wonder if it comes from the days when stoning was a method of dealing with transgressors. The hard place was the earth and the stones - well people were throwing those. Which brings up the second piece - throwing stones??

Steve


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: GUEST,Mad4Mud at work
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 11:43 AM

Found this through Google....
Click here and read the last paragraph.


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 12:17 PM

Well, this is dumb. The whole thing with some ancient lineage is revisionist at best...........Amos hit it. Hard place is simply another way of saying immovable object, same as a rock. I'd seriously doubt that the person who coined the phrase had any other thought in mind, let alone the "Classics."

Now if you'll excuse me I have to either evacuate my bladder or wind my watch.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: Amos
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 01:58 PM

From the translated original, a warning to Odysseus by Circe:

Circe warns Odysseus about Scylla and Charybdis, set between two cliffs:

"But of the two rocks, one reaches up into the wide heaven with a pointed peak, and a dark cloud stands always around it, and never at any time draws away from it, nor does the sunlight ever hold that peak, either in the early or the late summer, nor could any man who was mortal climb there, or stand mounted on the summit, not if he had twenty hands and twenty feet, for the rock goes sheerly up, as if it were polished.

Halfway up the cliff there is a cave, misty-looking and turned toward Erebos and the dark, the very direction from which, O shining Odysseus, you and your men will be steering your hollow ship; and from the hollow ship no vigorous young man with a bow could shoot to the hole in the cliffside. In that cavern Scylla lives, whose howling is terror. Her voice indeed is only as loud as a new-born puppy could make, but she herself is an evil monster. No one not even a god encountering her, could be glad at that sight.

She has twelve feet, and all of them wave in the air. She has six necks upon her, grown to great length, and upon each neck there is a horrible head, with teeth in it, set in three rows close together and stiff, full of black death. Her body from the waist down is holed up inside the hollow cavern, but she holds her heads poked out and away from the terrible hollow, and there she fishes, peering all over the cliffside, looking for dolphins or dogfish to catch or anything bigger, some sea monster, of whom Amphitrite keeps so many; never can sailors boast aloud that their ship has passed her without any loss of men, for with each of her heads she snatches one man away and carries him off from the dark-prowed vessel.

The other cliff is lower; you will see, Odysseus, for they lie close together, you could even cast with an arrow across. There is a great fig tree grows there, dense with foliage, and under this shining Charybdis sucks down the black water. For three times a day she flows it up, and three times she sucks it terribly down; may you not be there when she sucks down water, for not even the Earthshaker could rescue you out of that evil.

But sailing your ship swiftly drive her past and avoid her and make for Scylla's rock instead, since it is far better to mourn six friends lost out of your ship than the whole company."


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Subject: RE: between a rock and a hard place
From: 53
Date: 08 Feb 02 - 06:55 PM

I have always been between a rock and a hard place, it's justa way of life, so grin and bear it.


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