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Do you speak American?

Could some kind soul explain what popular idiom I'm failing to understand here?
"As exciting as the new version of Visio is, the new version of Project is also a very exciting release. I was trying to – I asked Mike backstage, c'mon, between us chickens, tell me, so to speak, is this a breadbasket or a refrigerator or is it something in between, bigger than a breadbasket, smaller than a refrigerator. Mike says this is a sub zero, this is the biggest set of innovations we've done in Project in a long, long, long time."
Steve Ballmer



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
20th Jan, 2006 12:30 (UTC)
Sub Zero = maker of extreme fridges

Would you believe, I just googled for it ... ;-)
20th Jan, 2006 12:32 (UTC)
The implication being ...
... adding a breadbasket to a kitchen is a small change, adding a new refrigerator is a big change, and adding a sub-zero fridge is even bigger than that (or so I assume) ... whether it's reference to some Extreme Makeover:Home Edition/Martha Stewart programme I don't know ...
20th Jan, 2006 12:34 (UTC)
Re: Sub Zero = maker of extreme fridges
but is 'refrigerator as measure of size' a common US metaphor? If you ask me for something big I'm going to say 'space' or 'Australia' or 'a double decker bus'. I'm not going to say 'a fridge' even if it is an *American* fridge!
20th Jan, 2006 12:41 (UTC)
Re: Sub Zero = maker of extreme fridges
Twenty questions - I think they are two of the standard set of questions to do an initial refinement...
20th Jan, 2006 13:01 (UTC)
Re: Sub Zero = maker of extreme fridges
wot he said
20th Jan, 2006 14:03 (UTC)
Re: Sub Zero = maker of extreme fridges
I haven't heard "smaller than a refrigerator", but then I haven't played Twenty Questions in years. "Is it bigger than a breadbasket?" is traditionally one of the first two or three questions.
30th Jan, 2006 03:41 (UTC)
smaller than a ... refrigerator?

I've not run across that in common usage, either. Bigger than a breadbox, now, that's big - metaphorically speaking.

A Sub Zero would not necessarily be large - the company makes very large refrigerators, but also small dorm-room-sized models and very upscale drawer models - but its price tag would be.
20th Jan, 2006 12:35 (UTC)
it's monkey-boy, was it meant to make sense ?
20th Jan, 2006 12:54 (UTC)
I'm reasonably sure that sub-zero is, here, referring to coolness factor.
21st Jan, 2006 11:33 (UTC)
I think they're measuring the excitement level. No one gets very excited about buying a breadbasket (if one even buys such a thing). You get more excited about buying a new fridge. And a Subzero, well...excitement RULES.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


full steam ahead
Mary Branscombe
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