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  • Deader Than Kelso's Nuts

    Years ago I saw this term used in a pool book to describe a combination that couldn't be missed (I think). It may have been in Mastering Pool by George Fels. I always thought the meaning of the term was that Kelso had been deceased for a long time hence his nuts were too.

    Now I read today that Kelso was a horse that had been gelded to try to tame him, giving a completely new meaning to "deader than Kelso's nuts". He was a helluva horse who won Horse of the Year five times. He was just barely too old to race in the Triple Crown races in 1960 or so. The horse was so wild that nobody would ride him until a man came along who did train him. That man was Carl Hanford and he died eight days ago at 95 years old.

    Anyway, now I know the genesis of the term and you do too. Here is his very interesting obit (Carls not Kelsos).

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/sp...95.html?ref=us

    Dennis

  • #2
    Originally posted by Cowboy Dennis
    Years ago I saw this term used in a pool book to describe a combination that couldn't be missed (I think). It may have been in Mastering Pool by George Fels. I always thought the meaning of the term was that Kelso had been deceased for a long time hence his nuts were too.

    Now I read today that Kelso was a horse that had been gelded to try to tame him, giving a completely new meaning to "deader than Kelso's nuts". He was a helluva horse who won Horse of the Year five times. He was just barely too old to race in the Triple Crown races in 1960 or so. The horse was so wild that nobody would ride him until a man came along who did train him. That man was Carl Hanford and he died eight days ago at 95 years old.

    Anyway, now I know the genesis of the term and you do too. Here is his very interesting obit (Carls not Kelsos).

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/sp...95.html?ref=us

    Dennis
    Very interesting stuff.
    Thanks
    Rod.
    Rod.

    Rodney Stephens.
    (e-mail) rod.stephens0105@att.net(e-mail) #713-973-0503 is now working

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Cowboy Dennis
      Years ago I saw this term used in a pool book to describe a combination that couldn't be missed (I think). It may have been in Mastering Pool by George Fels. I always thought the meaning of the term was that Kelso had been deceased for a long time hence his nuts were too.

      Now I read today that Kelso was a horse that had been gelded to try to tame him, giving a completely new meaning to "deader than Kelso's nuts". He was a helluva horse who won Horse of the Year five times. He was just barely too old to race in the Triple Crown races in 1960 or so. The horse was so wild that nobody would ride him until a man came along who did train him. That man was Carl Hanford and he died eight days ago at 95 years old.

      Anyway, now I know the genesis of the term and you do too. Here is his very interesting obit (Carls not Kelsos).

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/sp...95.html?ref=us

      Dennis
      Well crap! I've been saying It wrong all these years.I thought It was Kellsies nuts.Ever here of "tighter er dicks hatband"? Wonder what that one means?
      John B.
      Click here to order the DVD
      Click here to order JB shirts

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      • #4
        Also - John Kelsey, who made the wheels for Ford autos in 1910. His lug nuts were put on tighter than Dick's hat band.
        If it ain't funny, it ain't much.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by John Brumback
          Well crap! I've been saying It wrong all these years.I thought It was Kellsies nuts.Ever here of "tighter er dicks hatband"? Wonder what that one means?
          John B.

          You're probably both right but way way back, a guy named John Kelsey, who was an auto manufacturer pioneer, opened The Kelsey Wheel Co. in Detroit, by the way. The saying came to refer to the secure attachment provided by the nuts and bolts on his wheels. In the publics opinion at the time, about 1910, nothing could be made more secure than Kelseys' nuts.

          The first time I remember hearing the expression was in a Clint Eastwood movie when Hemlock (Eastwoods character) killed Miles and George Kennedys' character made a remark that he was discovered in the desert "Deader than Kelseys' nuts". Clint Eastwood movies were so popular that shortly after that I heard a few folks saying it. Some of them were pool players like James Christopher, Billy Argrera, Burton, Dennis Searcy etc. It also came to have sexual connotations but I would never get into anything naughty like that. A business owner running a place would say that when business was real slow. Way back folks would also say something is "Safe as Kelseys' Nuts" or "Tight As Kelseys' Nuts" also a re to Mr. John Kelseys' products. ...............
          "Born Into This"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by John Brumback
            Well crap! I've been saying It wrong all these years.I thought It was Kellsies nuts.Ever here of "tighter er dicks hatband"? Wonder what that one means?
            John B.
            " Dicks hatband" would be a condom.
            Rod.
            Rod.

            Rodney Stephens.
            (e-mail) rod.stephens0105@att.net(e-mail) #713-973-0503 is now working

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by vapros
              Also - John Kelsey, who made the wheels for Ford autos in 1910. His lug nuts were put on tighter than Dick's hat band.


              Sorry Vapros. I overlooked your post and copied you. I didn't know about Dicks' Hat Band........... ty...
              "Born Into This"

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              • #8
                Kelsey's nuts

                I do believe the original term was referring to somebody named Kelsey, as I recall hearing it in the 50s at least. However, I do recall Kelso the gelded horse. He was probably my favorite thoroughbred of all time. Horse of the year about 5 times. Since Kelso was gelded, the term, deader'n Kelso's nuts may be even more appropriate.

                The jockey who rode Kelso on his last win told a great story. (very famous, but I forgot) Kelso was old, washed up, and a beaten horse in his last race. I think it was at Aqueduct. The jock knew Kelso was all done running as they were going into the final turn. Suddenly, the crowd started screaming Kelso's name as they turned into the stretch. Kelly! Kelly! Kelly! The jock swore Kelso's ears pricked up and he came to life, invigorated, and he roared to his last victory.


                Beard
                New stuff on my site. 100s of pgs. of pool goodness
                www.bankingwiththebeard.com

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by John Brumback
                  Well crap! I've been saying It wrong all these years.I thought It was Kellsies nuts.
                  John B.
                  Maybe not John, it seems there is a usage for "deader than Kelsey's nuts" also although I don't quite understand how lugnuts on a wheel translate into "dead" .

                  I found this online.


                  Originally posted by Babylon
                  deader than Kelsey's nuts

                  it's an expression that former US President Richard Nixon was rather fond of using. Like other Americans before and since, he meant by it that something was unquestionably and permanently defunct. You might hear somebody say "The battery's deader than Kelsey's nuts", or "His chances of surviving the election are deader than Kelsey's nuts". That takes care of the meaning, but who or what was Kelsey and what was so special about those nuts? He turns out to have been a real person, John Kelsey, one of the pioneers of car manufacture in the USA. With the encouragement of Henry Ford, he set up the Kelsey Wheel Company in 1910. By 1913 this was based in Windsor, Ontario, just across the river from Detroit. To start with, he manufactured the wooden wheels that were then state of the art, but later moved into making wire-spoke wheels and later steel wheels. As Kelsey- Hayes Canada Ltd, the company still exists. The saying refers to the proverbially secure attachment provided by the nuts and bolts on the wheels that Kelsey's company made. In the view of the public, nothing could be fixed more tightly. And the obvious anatomical innuendoes in those nuts made the saying just a little naughty. Though some examples are recorded from the 1930s, the phrase began to become more widely known in the 1950s. Early on, it appeared as "tighter than Kelsey's nuts" to mean a person who was stingy or mean, and is also recorded in the form "as safe as Kelsey's nuts", meaning very safe...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by John Brumback
                    Ever here of "tighter er dicks hatband"? Wonder what that one means?
                    John B.
                    Here's a couple of theories, the first from Yahoo Answers:

                    One theory is that the "Dick" referred to is Richard Cromwell, the 2nd Lord Protector of England, who held this position for only a few months after the death of his father Oliver Cromwell. The theory is that Richard was not fit to wear the crown (the "hat" referred to in the saying), so the phrase "Tighter than Dick's hatband" referred to a position that someone could get into that they were not capable of performing. Richard Cromwell was also referred to, disparagingly, as "Tumbledown Dick" and "Queen Dick".

                    Hope this helps!

                    Another theory likens it to the tight band of a condom and the most common usage puts it to a southern saying referring to a tight-fisted or cheap person.

                    There seems to be no unanimous agreement on the origin or exact meaning of this term.

                    Dennis

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by fred bentivegna
                      I do believe the original term was referring to somebody named Kelsey, as I recall hearing it in the 50s at least. However, I do recall Kelso the gelded horse. He was probably my favorite thoroughbred of all time. Horse of the year about 5 times. Since Kelso was gelded, the term, deader'n Kelso's nuts may be even more appropriate.

                      The jockey who rode Kelso on his last win told a great story. (very famous, but I forgot) Kelso was old, washed up, and a beaten horse in his last race. I think it was at Aqueduct. The jock knew Kelso was all done running as they were going into the final turn. Suddenly, the crowd started screaming Kelso's name as they turned into the stretch. Kelly! Kelly! Kelly! The jock swore Kelso's ears pricked up and he came to life, invigorated, and he roared to his last victory.


                      Beard
                      Freddie,

                      Kelso was ridden by Willie Shoemaker, Eddie Arcaro and I think at the end of his career by Ismael Valenzuela. I tried to find that story but couldn't. Kelso was ranked 4th all-time only behind Man o' War, Secretariat and Citation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelso_(horse)

                      This (below) may be a clue as to how "Kelso" became "Kelsey" to some people. Maybe it was a juxtaposition of Kelso (Kelly) and Kelsey and "tighter than" & "deader than". Who will ever know?

                      Originally posted by wickipedia
                      He was named for Mrs. du Pont's friend Kelso Everett and, like Mr. Everett who went by the nickname of "Kelly", so did the horse.
                      Dennis

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                      • #12
                        Kelso made his final public appearance on Oct. 15, 1983, at age 26, when he was led onto the Belmont track together with the gelding Forego, 13, a three-time Horse of the Year, before the running of the Gold Cup. Their ceremonial appearances, aimed at drawing contributions from fans to finance housing for retired racehorses, drew cheers from a crowd of more than 32,000. But the next day, after a van ride back to Mrs. du Pont’s farm, Kelso died of colic.

                        So now the expression ought just to be "deader than Kelso", right?


                        Anti-pleonasm Skin
                        Skin

                        "It's easy!" - Coach Acosta, former Mexican pro, instructing his 10 y/o little leaguers

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Skin
                          So now the expression ought just to be "deader than Kelso", right?

                          Skin
                          Yeah, or even "deader than Kelso's trainer" or even "deader than Kelso's trainer's nuts".

                          RBL

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Cowboy Dennis
                            Yeah, or even "deader than Kelso's trainer" or even "deader than Kelso's trainer's nuts".

                            RBL
                            Now I know whay you left the "Anti-pleonasm" descriptor off "Skin" in your quote, Cowboy man Dennis.

                            Skin
                            Skin

                            "It's easy!" - Coach Acosta, former Mexican pro, instructing his 10 y/o little leaguers

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Skin
                              So now the expression ought just to be "deader than Kelso", right?

                              Anti-pleonasm Skin

                              Originally posted by Skin
                              Now I know whay you left the "Anti-pleonasm" descriptor off "Skin" in your quote, Cowboy man Dennis.

                              Skin
                              Actually I left it out because I hadn't googled it yet and did not know it's definition . Now that I have and do I will say this; You'd be technically correct saying "deader than Kelso" as it is the anti-pleonastically thing to say, however, in the time reference mentioned regarding his nuts, they died more than 20 years before he did and are therefore "deader" . It stands that "deader than Kelso's nuts" is a more accurate descriptor and not pleonastic at all when the frame of reference (time) is included, and it's automatically included since he was castrated years before he died
                              Originally posted by wikipedia
                              Semantic pleonasm and context
                              In many cases of semantic pleonasm, the status of a word as pleonastic depends on context. The relevant context can be as local as a neighbouring word, or as global as the extent of a speaker's knowledge. In fact, many examples of redundant expressions are not inherently redundant, but can be redundant if used one way, and are not redundant if used another way.
                              Dennis

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