Posted by Moo on August 27, 2002
Check out this article for my conjecture about "On the Fritz". http://holocaust.hklaw.com/essays/1999/99SF1.htm
General Werner von Fritsch was an accused homosexual during Hitler's reign of terror. It is possible that, somehow, the news migrated to USA. I have heard this used by my parents and others in our area for as long as I can remember (I live in Maryland, near the city of Baltimore.) And also, by nature of Baltimoreans not being very adroit at German, the "sch" was replaced with a "z". Hence, "the computer is on the fritz" means that it is behaving abnormally.
I realize that I have little evidence to back up my claim, but if anyone has any other suggestions I welcome them.
On a side note, if anyone knows anything about middle-eastern culture, I have been wondering about this one for quite awhile: what is the significance of the popular Turkish phrase which effectively translates out to "It's so crowded that you couldn't toss a cat!", and why do they specifically refer to the action of tossing a feline?