Hold the Mecca

I’m adding this one at the suggestion of a Prints the Chaff reader.

How about confining references to Mecca to the city in Saudi Arabia?
A pilgrimage to Mecca is one of five things a Muslim must do at least once. What say we avoid likening a sacred duty to stopping by a vacation spot, nightclub or spa?

Dust in the wind

Thomas Marzahl suggests:

As an editor at Agence France-Presse, I frequently run into the word
dusty“, usually used to describe a town or village where not much is going
on and is rather run-down. Inevitably it’s a place in the Third World or
developing world… I don’t think there’d be a lot of people who would
describe a small Bavarian village or an English hamlet as dusty. So it’s the
Tubmanburgs in Liberia, or Bunias in DRCongo that get labeled as such…
carrying with it a whiff of condescension.

Banned for life? I’m not sure. But dusty should be used with extreme care.

Meet Mister Twister

Bruce, just Bruce, offers:

Here in Georgia, one of North America’s tornado regions, I’d love for some caffeine-deprived reporter to someday slip up and write that “the tornado sounded like a golf ball, and it dropped hail the size of freight trains“.

Surf lessons

Aaron Perry offers:

Here in Western Australia the Indian Ocean is invitingly clear, a transparent cobalt blue that attracts surfers from around the globe. Yet I sometimes find myself paddling out into the waves among crowds of people better suited to web-surfing, channel-surfing and couch-surfing than actual — well, surfing. If today’s translation of my life’s joy means frivolous time-wasting, I would like to offer several variations. Fridge-surfing might describe one’s hanging on the refrigerator door, wondering whether to reach for the Popsicles or the Ben & Jerry’s after a Friday night spent vice-surfing at the local pub. Where one tried to drink away the anxiety of several months spent job-surfing, ten years of marriage-surfing, and the lack of community and grounding that comes from decades of life-surfing.

Mexican cast-offs

Angelo Young sends these from Mexico:

I couldn’t find (on the Banned for Life page):

  • shark-infested waters off the coast of…” or,
  • comes on the heels of…” or,
  • because I live in Mexico, this one pops up on my radar: “drug
    czar
    .” Since he’s fighting drug use, shouldn’t it at least
    be ANTI-drug czar?) or
  • any use of “ubiquitous
  • And here’s a couple about my current home, Mexico City:

  • Any variation of “the polluted, crowded, crime-ridden metropolis
    or
  • “ubiquitous green taxis
  • and, in Mexico travel writing, get rid of any variation of “…the
    hibiscus spills over the walls of…”
  • Quakes alive

    Steve Parker sends these observations:

    For anyone in earthquake country, the inevitable description called-in to a radio news station right after a temblor:

  • It was like a rolling motion” and (with apologies
    to tornado country) “It sounded like a freight train”.
  • For those who hate “state-of-the-art”…how about …
    the various uses (and spellings) of “hi-tech,” “high-tech
    …etc.
  • They’ve got ‘em in India too

    Sidharth Bhatia sends these fresh (stale?) from the Asian Subcontinent:

    I chanced upon your excellent site and enjoyed all the cliches. In
    India, we suffer from the hangovers of the archaic English left back
    by our erstwhile colonial masters, the Brits. While they have moved
    on, we stick to Ye Olde hackneyed English. And of course, our hacks
    have also developed their own peculiar phrases. Some examples:

  • The detenus flew the coop
  • Ministers air-dashed to the capital (they never fly, always airdash)
  • A favourite with ponderous edit writers: Needless to say (then don’t
    say it)
  • It ill behoves us
  • Culprits nabbed (a very common headline)There are many more, but let me conclude with this story of the editorial
    writer who was summoned by his boss and told to write 600 words on some
    matter of grave importance. At about 5 p.m., when there was no sign
    of the editorial, the Big man himself went to his junior’s cabin and
    found him lying slumped on his typewriter (those were the days before
    PCs), quite dead. On the sheet in the typewriter there was just one
    word:
  • “Notwithstanding… “
  • A heartbreaking work of staggering cleanup

    From Stephen Mcilwaine:

    In natural-disaster-prone Australia (“I love a sunburnt country
    …” is our national poem) we can rely on at least one TV reporter
    per bushfire or flood telling us, “Now begins the heartbreaking
    task of cleaning up
    .”

    A scrambled egg

    From Tim Christie:

    When I worked at the Yakima (Wash.) Herald-Republic in Eastern Washington, and one of the big city papers would come into town to write about a local issue, you could count on one of the many small towns in the Yakima Valley described as a “hard scrabble hamlet.”

    Which always made me think of a hard-scrambled omelet.

    Leaf it to us

    Adam M. Gaffin has had it with:

    Leafy suburb” and “gritty former mill
    town
    .” Sometimes when reading the Boston Globe, you get the
    idea that those are the only two types of communities in eastern Massachusetts.