Humbugs beware

Jason Harris opines:

Every reporter who trots out a lame re-working of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” should be flogged. The first guy who tried it was clever, the second was marginally funny. The rest of you are boring, repetitive hacks and you should just stop.

His heart races not

Silas Prophet proffers:

One of the phrases that gets my dander up is “racing against the clock“. This time of year some city service is always “racing against the clock to get the roads salted before the next snowfall.” Political candidates race against the clock as election day approaches. Mediators race against the clock to resolve delicate issues during a cease-fire.
I can almost stomach that cliche when it’s applied in sports (except baseball, where, of course, there is no clock) although, even there it’s over-used.

A local newscaster recently reported that the mayor was “literally racing against the clock…” (the flagrantly improper use of ‘literally’ is another peeve). My overactive imagination pictured the mayor in a foot race with a life-size clock, sweating profusely and trailing by a second-hand.


Sandy Novak asserts:

I am coming to hate the imbedded reporters who introduced us to the phrase “on the ground,” as in “troops on the ground.” I even heard politicos (oh yeah, another good one) using it to describe the crowds of voters this past election: “With poll closings approaching, estimates are that there remain nearly a million voters ‘on the ground.'”

I agree that ‘on the ground’ is the appropriate place for soldiers as well as voters but question the vagueness of the usage. Sounds more like where cattle fall before they’re turned into burgers or where skydivers ought to land.

No just-ice

Bruce Williams writes:

Hi Tom, thanks for the site. “English must be kept up” as J. Keats put it.

My nomination is a phrase much-favoured by The New Yorker: ‘X may
just be
. . . ”

  • Some will not welcome it, but ignominious defeat in Iraq may just be
    the solution to Kerry’s woes.
  • Carlos Carlotta may just be the finest cross-dressing Hispanic cellist
    in this country today.
  • Or, still more cautious: Carlos Carlotta may just be one of the finest cross-dressing Hispanic cellists in this country today.

OK I made these up – it’s more fun that way. Besides, I’m aiming at a job on the Times.

Florida follies

Susan Lundine of the Orlando Business Journal sees this one blowing in the wind:

The most overused phrase during the 2004 hurricane season in Florida, without a doubt, was “hunker down.” It was repeated by TV newscasters so often, that it became a running gag in our house to eat a Cheeto everytime it was said. We quickly found ourselves Cheeto-less.

Sandra Curtis of Miami, Fla., is fed up with:

The phrase “as well“.

  • The traffic on I-95 is at a standstill, and is backed up on the Dolphin expressway as well.
  • He injured his leg in the game, and his right arm as well.
  • We are offering employees health insurance, dental insurance, and disability as well.

Just listen to the radio, the TV, the weather reports, anybody and everybody, and just COUNT how many times they say “as well”. And usually, it is not a “well” thing at all, but something absolutely awful!!!

What happened to also? Too? In addition?