Horses Sweat, Men Perspire And Ladies Glow ~ Late Night Thoughts

The last of my illness seems to be passing away. Unfortunately, it seems to passing through my body…all I will say is there has been more dripping and such (I’m being discrete here folks!) and I’ve been literally sweating more out. Thanks for the comments and emails I’ve received…they mean a lot. I think this is the last of it.

I didn’t want to simply not post tonight – and as I was bedded down this afternoon reading I ran across a delightful passage in a book that I just HAD to share with you.

I am an enormous fan of Lilian Jackson Braun who has written over 20 of “The Cat Who…” books. Without taking away any of the surprises in the books, she has managed to create a set of characters that are amazing in their reality ~ and a pair of Siamese cats that, if people will only pay attention, can solve murder and other mysteries.

The main character (other than the cats) is a delightful bushy mustached gentleman by the delightfully odd name of Qwilleran who writes a “Qwill’s Pen” column for the local paper. In the book “The Cat Who Saw Stars…” he also starts a column about grammar – titled Gramma’s Grammar. And as much as I love words, puns and use of language ~ I just couldn’t resist this passage:

Dear sweet readers — Your charming, sincere, intelligent letters warm Ms. Gramma’s pluperfect heart! Sorry to hear you’re having trouble with the L-words. The safest way to cope with lie, lay, lied, laid and lain is to avoid them entirely. Simply say, “The hen deposited and egg…He fibbed to his boss … She stretched out on the couch.” Get the idea? But if you really want to wrestle these pesky verbs to the mat, use Ms. Gramma’s quick-and-easy guide.

1- Today the hen lays an egg. Yesterday she laid an egg. She has laid eggs all summer. (Ms. Gramma likes them poached, with Canadian bacon and Hollandaise sauce.)
2- Today you lie to your boss. Yesterday you lied to him. You have lied to the old buzzard frequently. (Tomorrow you may be fired.)
3- Today you lie down for a nap. Yesterday you lay down for a nap. In the past you have lain down frequently. (See your doctor, honey. It could be an iron deficiency.)

Here’s my challenge: what fun combinations in the style of the above can you come up with for ~

who – whom
that – which
as and like
less – fewer

But It Said ~

My home being in the south central part of the US (read: Texas), there are certain things we do battle with almost continually – bugs. As I was deciding whether to do them in or buy them presents, I ran across a new-to-me spray made with “real” orange peel juice. I thought it would work, bought it and tried it out today. This was a good day to do it as I needed to attack the kitchen of my apartment. I did the cupboards, under the refrigerator and such. About half way into the job, I was coughing, gagging and having difficulty breathing. I walked carefully (all right, I fled) out the door to get some reasonably fresh air into me. It was then that I really read the label, which informed me to use ONLY in a well-ventilated area. That got me thinking about language (and those who don’t read information as they should) and it’s use and misuse.(more on some of my adventures with language for later posts).

Every year, there are several lists that I look forward to seeing. Lists such as the Darwin Awards (for another post) and the LSSU banished words list. With this list are a few more words that need to be retired (like certain over hyped celebrities) to the trash can.

Lake Superior State University 2006 List of Banished Words


One part opiate of the masses, 13 parts overuse. Oddly, news anchor and television small talk is becoming more surreal. “Dreams are surreal, not daily adjectives.” – Tracy from Murray, Ky.

To brace oneself, in anticipation of media onslaught. Trotted out in reports about everything from politics to hurricanes. “I have a hankering to ban all of this hunkering.” – Kate Rabe Forgach, Fort Collins, Colo.

Found within the context of legal commentary, but seldom encountered at cocktail parties. “People with guns want to talk with you.” – Melissa Carroll from Greensboro, NC. “Does this mean the rest of us are too boring to deal with?” – Patricia Johnson from Mechanicsville, Va.

A five-dollar phrase on a nickel-errand. Value-added into many higher education mission statements. “Not to be confused with ‘school.’” – Jim Howard from Mishawa, Ind.

A casualty of today’s partisanship. No discussion on this one; the committee just tossed a coin. “I see a bright future for ex-senators as elevator operators.” — Allan Dregseth, Fargo, ND.

Once it stopped presses. Now it’s a lower-intestinal condition brought about by eating dinner during newscasts. “Now they have to interrupt my supper to tell me that Katie Holmes is pregnant.” — Michael Raczko, Swanton, Ohio.

Many nominators consider this a bastardization of dog breeding. It may be a good line to use on angry neighbors when an un-neutered dog escapes. “When you mate a miniature schnauzer to a toy poodle, it’s not a ‘Schnoodle,’ it’s a mongrel.” – George Bullerjahn, Bowling Green, Ohio.

Dedicated to the memory of a great federal agency consigned to the ash heap of parody. “If they don’t do anything, we don’t need their acronym.” – Josh Hamilton, Tucson, Ariz.

Preamble often heard on talk radio. “I am serious in asking: who in any universe gives a care?” – Miguel McCormick, Orlando, Fla.

Marketing catch phrase that became a lost-leader long ago. “Read: Pass the markup along to you.” – C. W. Estes, Roanoke, Tex.

Adventures in delusion. “Still has 3% fat . . . accept it.” – Andrew Clucas, Canberra, Australia.

Best-laid mayhem. “This means some accidents need to happen, for whatever reason, I can’t figure.” — Thomas Price, Orlando, Fla.

Banished from the Marketplace of Ideas. “It’s not scientists who are using this phrase so much as the people who practice junk politics.” – Ron LaLonde, Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada.

GIT-ER-DONE – (Any of its variations)
It’s overdone. “There’s no escaping it. It’s everywhere, from TV to T-shirts,” says Amanda Tikkanen of LaGrange, Ind. “Please tell me when we’re done with this one.”

No designer breed here. Someone should wash out this Spot. “Even parents are starting to use it!” – complains Mrs. Swartz’s Fifth Grade Class in Church Road, Va. “This is species confusion.” – Rob Bowers, Santa Clara, Calif. “Don’t call me ‘dawg’! I’m not your pet!” – Michael Swartz, Albuquerque, NM.

Cover your ears! “Topics which will please those you want to impress.” – Michele Mooney, Van Nuys, Calif. Joe Wonsetler of Swanton, Ohio, believes the phrase was created after PR staffers stopped attending seminars on how to put a positive ‘spin’ on their press releases.

Many salvos were fired during this past season’s “war on Christmas.” At the risk of jumping into the breach, the committee feels that “Holiday tree” is a silly name for what most folks hold as a Christmas tree, no matter your preference of religion. Thank goodness we all agree on the first day of winter.

LSSU accepts nominations for the List of Banished Words throughout the year. To submit your nomination for the 2007 list, go to

I sent a nomination for this list –
All-OVER -IT —
This term, it seems, has become a catch phrase of Fox News and CNN. It seems to be used every program for almost every story. I usually associate the phrase with having spilled something “all over it.” The two news channels cause some unintended laughter from me as the describe a situation such as a car wreck and tell me that their reporters will be all-over-it.

So how about you? Surely there are phrases/words that you feel should be done away with. Let me know – perhaps we could send a P B & J set of nominations for next year.