Posted by Bruce Kahl on January 29, 2001
In Reply to: Milk the ram posted by Rich on January 29, 2001
: anyone know anything about the phrase "Milk the Ram"? ... think it refers to trying to do the impossible...
Yes, it has to do with the impossible or uselessnes, according to Roget.
Here is a paste from Roget's:
seek after impossibilities, strive after impossibilities; use vain
efforts, labor in vain, roll the stone of Sisyphus, beat the air, lash the
waves, battre l'eau avec un baton[Fr], donner un coup d'epee dans
l'eau[Fr], fish in the air, milk the ram, drop a bucket into an empty well,
sow the sand; bay the moon; preach to the winds, speak to the winds;
whistle jigs to a milestone; kick against the pricks, se battre contre des
moulins[Fr]; lock the stable door when the steed is stolen, lock the barn
door after the horse is stolen &c. (too late) Untimeliness; hold a farthing candle
to the sun; cast pearls before swine &c. (waste) Waste; carry coals to
Newcastle &c. (redundancy) Redundancy; wash a blackamoor white &c. (impossible)