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Tuesday, March 28, 2017


(For politics, please scroll down)

Good ol' clichés. Well, maybe not so good. Lack of originality!

Aside from being both unoriginal and boring, clichés can be thought-terminating:
In his 1961 book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of "Brainwashing" in China psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton introduced the term "thought-terminating cliché".[15] This refers to a cliché that is a commonly used phrase, or folk wisdom, sometimes used to quell cognitive dissonance. Though the clichéd phrase in and of itself may be valid in certain contexts, its application as a means of dismissing dissent or justifying fallacious logic is what makes it thought-terminating.

Lifton wrote:

"The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. These become the start and finish of any ideological analysis."[15]
In George Orwell's 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the fictional constructed language Newspeak is designed to eliminate the ability to express unorthodox thoughts.[16] Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World society uses thought-terminating clichés in a more conventional manner, most notably in regard to the drug soma as well as modified versions of real-life platitudes, such as "A doctor a day keeps the jim-jams away".[17]

In her 1963 book Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt described Adolf Eichmann as an intelligent man who used clichés and platitudes to justify his actions and the role he played in the Jewish genocide of World War II. For her, these phrases are symptomatic of an absence of thought. Arendt wrote, "When confronted with situations for which such routine procedures did not exist, he [Eichmann] was helpless, and his cliché-ridden language produced on the stand, as it had evidently done in his official life, a kind of macabre comedy. Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality, that is, against the claim on our thinking attention that all events and facts make by virtue of their existence."[18]
A few irksome clichés from recent television broadcasts:

(1) "at the end of the day"

(2) "oh, and by the way"

(3) "shared values"

(4) "going forward"

(5) "We need to have a conversation about...."

What other clichés permeate the conversation today?


  1. Oh I dont know, AOW! In this world of double negatives, perverse pleonasms, split infinitives, sentences ad phrases assertively ending in prepositions, the complete loss of the possessive case, threatened extinction of the subjunctive, painfully pared down vocabulary and almost dogmatically inelegant phraseology one man's cliché could all too easily be accepted as another man's idiom.

    Very frankly the list supplied in the markedly tendentious article you've quoted sound like music to my ears in comparison to the Gala Celebration of Linguistic Atrocities to which we are routinely treated every day on television, here in the blogosphere and everywhere else "Merkan" is spoken.

    1. I have been a grammar teacher for nearly years.

      More and more lately, I realize that I'm fighting a losing battle. I see to it that my students' grammar skills are finely honed. Then then go off into the void to college, where their grammar skills are undermined -- even in Composition classes.

      I'm glad that my retirement will soon arrive -- if not because of age but because I'm a dinosaur. Fewer and fewer people, even in the homeschool movement, are interested in what I offer. Ironically, it is the Asians, particularly the Chinese and the Koreans, who are interested in grammar.

    2. FT,
      This will appall you!

      The redesigned SAT, which rolled out a year ago, now tests students' knowledge of the use of the possessive apostrophe. The use of the apostrophe with possessives is a principle that should be mastered in elementary school.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. ________ R.I.P _________

      The English Language

      Now destined to go the way of Latin, classical Greek, Cuneiform Writing, Hieroglyphics, ancient Runic Scribblings and the like. Soon to become the exclusive province of university scholars in Linguistics and Anthropology.

      It may be a natural process of cultural evolution, but sadly it brings to mind Shelley's poem OZYMANDIAS.

      I met a traveller from an antique land,
      Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
      Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
      Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
      And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
      Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
      Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
      The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
      And on the pedestal, these words appear:
      My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
      Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
      Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
      Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
      The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

      ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

    5. "I have been a grammar teacher for nearly years. "
      How close to years?

    6. Typo! Thanks for catching that, Ed.

      I meant to say, "I have been a grammar teacher for nearly 40 years."

      Actually, September will mark my having taught grammar for 45 years.

    7. And if I reach the 50-years mark, I'm done. I'll hang up my red pen.

    8. Nettie Potts said

      FreeThinke made a chilling point when he quoted Shelley's Ozymandias after observing that English usage has degenerated so badly that English, itself, is in the process of becoming extinct.

      Why no one acknowledged his keen perception is hard to understand.

    9. Nettie,
      Perhaps because the theme of the Shelley poem is the inevitability of the downfall of great and mighty things. Depressing thought!

    10. 2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
      3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
      4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

      Shelley was plagiarizing :)

  2. (6) "called out" - as in "X called out Trump's islamophobia", a recent over-used example.

    1. When I hear "called out," I think of the showdown at the O.K. Corral.

    2. As I hear these execrable phrases repeated over and over again, I struggle to translate them back into good standard English.

      It's getting harder and harder to do, since the ENEMEDIA-ENTERTAINMENT MONSTROSITY seems bound and determined to DESTROY the integrity of our language and consign good standard English usage to OBLIVION..

  3. Replies
    1. Bunkerville,
      Yes, another of those annoying, ubiquitous phrases.

    2. Why does "I respectfully disagree" bother either of you? Isn't it better than saying,

      "You're an ASS,"

      "You're a MORON,"

      "You have no more sense than a FENCE POST,"

      "You're a NUMBSKULL!" or

      "DAMN! You're DUMB?" ;-)

    3. Practically speaking there's no difference, they're all just brush-offs of varying degrees of politeness. The truly respectful thing to do is to intelligently disagree. "I accept that your point effectively address issues X, Y and Z, but not without sacrificing A and B, which are important to me, and anyway I tend to subscribe to theoretical model K rather than M; so I prefer to think about it this way..."

  4. "Our Judeo-Christian heritage"

    "Traditional (or family) values"

    1. It would be intriguing to learn what terms you would use instead, Ducky?

      I would prefer to avoid using the prefix "JUDEO" altogether, myself, since our heritage in the West is basically CHRISTIAN and not JEWISH, but the poltically-correct appellation giving a nod to the Jews was never heard when I was in school. I can't remember when it came in, can you?

      "Traditional Values" is all right.

      "Family Values" is all right too, but simehow not as good in my never humble estimation.

      "TRADITIONAL FAMILY VALUES," however, is clumsy and nearly redundant.

      I suppose the better term would be "Middle-Class," but hasn't that been tainted by Shaw's derisive use of "Middle Class Morality" in the person of one Alfred P. Doolittle, "a common dustman" who resented his sudden ascent involuntary to respectability?

    2. "TRADITIONAL FAMILY VALUES," however, is clumsy and nearly redundant.

      Much like "long-necked giraffe"!

  5. The New York Times FACT CHECKED the article.

    The use of FACT CHECK either as a verb OR a noun when VERIFY is meant is abominable usage, uet it has becime accepted thanks to the ubiquitousness of the ENEMEDIA which deliberately miseducates the public every day 'round the clock.

  6. I'm fond of the origin of the word: it was a typesetter's term for casting entire phrases to save the effort of setting them up from individual letters every time -- obviously only worth doing for the most oft-repeated phrases.
    It can be fun to slightly modify a cliche or use it in an unusual context. That slight twist might be sufficient to inspire the reader to split the atomic phrase, or reunite an orphaned allusion with its parent source, or otherwise cast fresh light on that which has been over-shadowed by familiarity, and that can be a wonderful effect -- they only became cliches by being good, we just have to forget to ignore them somehow.

    1. Of what word's origin are you fond, Jez? I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you mean. I hope you return to provide needed clarification.

      By the way. it would read more smoothly if you avoided the split infinitive and said, "It can be fun to modify a cliché slightly, or use it in an unfamiliar context."

    2. Cliche.

      I know you think so, but you know that i disagree! Over zealous 19th century Latin scholars' recommendations are less important to me than style and clarity.

    3. Jez,
      To my knowledge, the split infinitive is not a grammatical issue in Latin, in which word order plays almost no role. Latin is a language of endings -- not a language of word order.

    4. Jez,
      It can be fun to slightly modify a cliche or use it in an unusual context.

      I agree!

    5. "Overzealous 19th-century Latin scholars' recommendations are less important to me than style and clarity."

      Of course that means, "I'll say and do whatever the hell I like, and those who don't approve can jolly well stuff it" –– an attitude typical of younger generations since the cultural debacle that most regrettably characterized the nineteen-SICK-sties.

      DOWN wth the DEWMS (Dead European White Males) and all that.

      Well, you cann have your Brave New World, Sonny Boy. I wish you good luck. You're going to need it.

      At four years shy of age eighty I shall soon be shuffling off the coil –– a blessed event for which I shall not be the least ungrateful at the rate society has been degenerating most of my adult life.

    6. AoW: I agree that English is not Latin. Latin infinitives do not have a particle, so there is nothing to split; I believe that is what inspired this recent injunction against the practice in English.

      FT: I hope my syntax does not impose too much upon you. I proceed as if it doesn't and write sentences that suit my own purposes, which may not be yours. I know the rules, or some of them anyway, and use them when they help my writing (esp. clarity and style) and break them when they don't, more frequently in less formal settings such as this. And this rule about infinitives is not really legitimate IMO: since its proposal there was never a time when it was uncontested.
      I sympathise that you were likely beaten as a boy for breaking such rules yourself, and I am grateful not to be so burdened. I have no requirement for you to stuff it, but you needn't read it if it upsets you.

    7. Jez, I was never "beaten," and nothing was ever "imposed" on me. I was simply fortunate enough to have been surrounded by good influences –– people who read widely, spoke well, wrote well, lived well, had a wide variety of interests, did their best to foster intellectual curiosity, had respect for their betters, were informed well enough to be able to recognize superiority when they encountered it, and sought to emulate it to the best of gtheir abilities. More than that they cared enough about me to do what they could to instill their values in me, bless their hearts.

      My quarrel with you, –– if it could be called a quarrel –– is what-appears-to-me-to-be a supercilious assumption on your part that virtually everything begins and ends with you –– I.e.what you happen to like is good, but what doesn't particularly appeal to you deserves either to be ignored, dismissed, mocked or tossed on the scrap heap.

      That may not be true, but it is the distinct impression you have given since the very beginning of our fractious relationship.

      "Good style" is a nebulous term for which there is no precise definition. It's rather like pornography for which no one has yet found a firm legal definition. As many a common observer has said re pornography, "I may not be able to tell you what it is, but I sure as hell know it when I see it." §;-D

    8. Jez,
      Latin infinitives do not have a particle, so there is nothing to split

      Yes, but beyond that (Love knowing that someone else besides me knows what a particle is!), Latin word order is rarely imposed. The attachment of enclitics and the placement of adjectives with the preposition cum are exceptions although the latter is not required but rather preferred. Verbs that require an infinitive (possum, for example) may be far separated from the main verb in the clause.

      Again, Latin is a language of endings, not a language of word order such as English and Spanish are -- just to cite two examples.

    9. FT,
      I'm not sure that Jez intends to give that impression.

    10. FT,
      I was simply fortunate enough to have been surrounded by good influences

      Same here!

      But I must say that my teacher, who was my teacher from 3rd grade through 12th grade, was punitive when it came to grammar and diction errors. His brother, on the other hand, had the worst grammar I've ever heard come from a teacher's mouth. Both men (born around 1929) were well educated, and their mother spoke flawlessly. Odd that the two men were so disparate! Both were excellent teachers: the first taught language arts, the latter mathematics.

    11. "I was never "beaten,""

      Glad to hear it. It was routine in the era you grew up, though.

      "what you happen to like is good"

      Well sure, otherwise why would I like it? (devil's advocate -- I know sometimes I am charmed by works that are lacking by any consciously understood aesthetic measure, it's quite mysterious).

      "what doesn't particularly appeal to you deserves either to be ignored, dismissed, mocked or tossed on the scrap heap."

      Not my opinion -- I enjoy enough niche material myself that it would be perverse to deny the same liberty to anyone else.

      ""Good style" is a nebulous term for which there is no precise definition."

      Agreed. I pursue my own stylistic preferences; wouldn't it be bizarre to comply with yours instead since I don't share them?

      Clarity is subjective too, but much less so -- it's a social rather than an individual construct.

    12. I'm sure life in Britain during the 1940's and 50's was a good deal different from life in these United States at that time.

      No one I grew up with was ever "beaten." Corporal punishment in our public schools was illegal. Looking back I can recall instances when it might have been a good idea if certain impertinent elements had been struck with a switch or a ruler, but I can assure it never happened –– at least not in the milieu in which I was privileged to be raised.

      We all have our perrsinal preferences –– some of mine are probably quite shocking, but those are not the ones I advertise in my public discourse. };^)>

      I thoroughly enjoy many styles of poetry, literature, music, theater and cinema, but reserve the right to find much that has become "popular" since 1955 regrettable, deplorable and execrable. So what?

      I've never been able to discern what your stylistic preferences might be. I'm only certain that you have a penchant for being captious and exceedingly disputatious.

    13. FT,
      I don't see Jez as particularly captious or disputatious. Opinionated certainly. Are we all here in the blogosphere opinionated? Yep.

    14. "... regrettable, deplorable and execrable."
      A-ha! So YOU'RE the one who wants to mock, dismiss etc. anything that doesn't particularly appeal to him. Within your rights, but I don't feel the same way, except about musical theatre. ;)

      Captious, disputatious, opinionated? Maybe that's just the kind comment I'm moved to make online. On conservative blogs i often read comments of the form "liberals are all thumb-sucking idiots out for free stuff. For example..." and there follows some bad misrepresentation of a liberal argument. Most of my replies are motivated by a desire to improve both the general and specific misrepresentation, starting with the specific. That must affect how i come across.

  7. Senator Titus P. McGoohan said, "I want to tell THE AMERICAN PEOPLE that Donald J. Trump is a pathological liar."

    Don't you get weary of being called "THE AMERICAN PEOPLE," when "the citizenry," "the populace," "the public," "society" or even just plain "Americans" would do as well or better?

    1. FT,
      Don't you get weary of being called "THE AMERICAN PEOPLE," when "the citizenry," "the populace," "the public," "society" or even just plain "Americans" would do as well or better?

      I'm weary to the bone of it!

  8. Had a high school English teacher who summed it up in four words: "name calling stops thinking".

    1. "Don't you get weary of being called "THE AMERICAN PEOPLE,"

      Well yes, after all "it is what it is", isn't it!

    2. TOUCHE, John!

      I wonder if we will we ever hear "It is what it isn't?" or "It isn't what it is," don't you? ;-)

    3. "It is what it is" is a proverb often posted at post-stroke rehab facilities. In that context, the proverb fits.

  9. I love THE FACT THAT the bathroom has a toilet with a seat on it.

    I like THE FACT THAT the house is located far away from the street.

    I love THE FACT THAT my sweetheart doesn't have crooked teeth.

    I like THE FACT THAT the school is only one block away.

    George Orwell regarded the use of "THE FACT THAT" as a linguistic atrocity. We were marked down for using it when I was in school.

    1. FT,
      Even worse than THE FACT THAT is "the fact of the matter is that."

      BTW, Strunk & White forbade the use of the "the fact that."

    2. FACT: "a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true"

      OK, that's what I thought. So why do we see reference to "facts" that are un-true?

  10. some irksome ones from the field of politics:
    it's the right thing to do (particularly thought-terminating)
    metropolitan elite
    hard working families

    1. So even if it clearly IS the right thing to do, –– such as calling the police, if you see someone in the street being attacked outside your window –– in your mind what you're attempting should not be called "the right thing to do" by anyone describing the incident? How quaint!

      Look, let's stop sparring and be honest for a moment. A cliché is an obviously true statement that gets repeated endlessly, because it most easily comes to mind when responding to certain situations. Synonyms for the term include platitude, banality, bromide, truism, axiom, old chestnut, old saw, and the like.

      There is nothing WRONG with these things other than their lack of freshness and originality. Ideas become clichés primarily because they are inherently true.

      I don't know about you, but we were taught that in restating a question, idea or proposition, etc. we should try never to use the same wording twice in a letter or composition. The idea was not to write more accurately or become more factual, but simply to avoid dulness.

      The paranoid, psychoanalytic approach attributing dark, devious, diabolical, "racist" motives to the use of bromides and common idioms seems far-fetched and frankly ridiculous.

      The overuse of clichés should be avoided mostly in the interests of promoting vitality and better style to whatever writing we do, whether it be expository, anecdotal, fictional, poetic, earnest, humorous, formal, personal or intimate.

    2. Jez,
      some irksome ones from the field of politics:
      it's the right thing to do (particularly thought-terminating)

      I should have mentioned that one in the body of the blog post!

      That particular refrain is used to quell cognitive dissonance (mentioned in the article cited in the body of the blog post).

    3. FT: Why only for a moment?! I don't believe we should refrain from cliche -- see my remark above about how they can be deployed artfully; furthermore, not all language needs to be playful.
      But "it's the right thing to do" is ubiquitous in UK politics, and frequently abused, applied to decisions where morality is either problematic or at least arguable; in this context, it really is nothing more than an invitation to stop thinking. I earnestly strive to avoid paranoia but by now the government's use of the phrase has become a warning sign -- it was a particular favourite of Cameron's, not sure if it'll persist with May's tenure.

    4. "balanced plan" -- that was another one that was parroted over and over during the last general election. Just summoning it from my memory has literally made me nauseous.

  11. That kitchen is A TOTAL GUT JOB.

    The entire house needs to be GUTTED.

    There's nothing here a TOTAL GUT JOB wouldn't fix.

    We have The Home & Garden Chnnel to thank for that –– and many other offensive phrases blighting the language..

  12. A current advertisement boldly asserts, "Febreeze eliminates odors YOU'VE GONE NOSE BLIND TO."

    I writhe in indignation and my poor stomach twists itself into a knot every time this deeply disturbing ad is shown.

    1. I don't mind the use of "nose blind." Figurative language, IMO. It could be viewed as a mixed metaphor, I suppose.

      I doubt that "nose blind" will ever appear in the Oxford Dictionary.

    2. Well, FT, the phrase "nose blind" is a concise way of summing up a common problem with odors.

    3. Perhaps so, AOW, but the way it is used in the sentence I quoted, which IS directly quoted from an advertisement seen all too frequently on television is ABOMINABLE. There are ever so nany so many better ways to express that same thought.

    4. FT,
      Yes, there are other ways. But using "nose blind" makes the product unforgettable -- or has a good chance of doing so.

    5. OBLIVIOUS to the VILE STENCH emanating from CAT PEE would be clearer and more to the point.


    6. FT,

      Except that the stench in the ad is in reference to a teenage boy's room and his stinky socks. Hehehe.

    7. "Oblivious" is correct, but not specific enough to be memorable. Anosmia would be highly specific, but perhaps a touch clinical for a light-hearted commercial. I think "nose blind" is an acceptable neologism. I assume FT's main problem with the slogan is the preposition it ends with ;)

    8. I am a SWORN ENEMY of CLUMSY, GRACELESS SYNTAX, even if it's not considered technically incorrect.

  13. The following gem of linguistic odium is heard constantly on Love It, or List It? –– a long running show on the Home & Garden Channel:

    "So what do you think this home is listed at?"

    Now, come ON! Why not simply ask,"How much do you think the owners are asking for this house?" - or even - "Can you guess how much this place will cost, if you want to buy it?" or any one of a dozen other ways of asking the question?

    Another irksome expression heard all the time on this channel is "PRICE POINT."

    The term is PRICE. Nothing more nothng less So much of this sort of clumsy creeping redundancy and perverse pleonasm has crept into the language we are not really speaking good standard English anymore, but a semi-literate dialect instead.

    1. "Price point" is a marketing technical term and is not synonymous with "price".

    2. FT, Absolutely agree. There is no value in using two words that have no value over one. Price Point. you can easily say Price and it means the same thing. Same with "Form Factor". Fricken disturbing.

    3. Jargon emanating from commercial enterprises –– particularly the ADVERTISING INDUSTRY –– TELEVISION NEWS –– and today's ill-conceived worship and emulation of THUGS, GANGS, GHETTO CULTURE, and the ways of POVERTY-STRICKEN AREAS where abysmal Ignorance abounds have had a hugely deleterious effect on what-had-always-been-considered right, good, proper and eminently desirable.

      The REAL ESTATE COMMUNITY is one of the absolute worst offenders in this regard.

  14. I don't think of the phrases at the end of your post as cliches.

    Something I would consider to be a cliches is "Don't believe everything/anything you read and only half of what you see". I think of cliches as words of wisdom passed down by our ancestors who after x number of years living in the human environment, uncovered some things that were constants. Like Einstein's universal constants such as You cannot exceed the speed of light.
    Odd that so many people dismiss cliches as "Oh, that is only a cliche" because cliches come into existence because so many life experienced people agree that the concept is valid. Same as it ever was.

    1. Kid,
      I agree with you about cliches being reflective of true concepts. But I prefer more originality -- the composition teacher in me, I guess.

    2. Problem is, for every cliche there's an equal and opposite cliche -- you can justify pretty much anything by appealing to carefully selected aphorisms.
      If I dismiss a cliche, it is because they are no good substitute for logic, reason, evidence etc., *not* that they are not valuable in other ways.

  15. ________ Femme Fatale ________

    Her comments were really quite ane,
    Though her morals were known to be maculate.
    She was sipid and sidious and sane
    But mune to the comments quite draculate

    Which trilled that her conduct was peccable.
    She thought her behavior quite ferior
    But flagrante delicto is wreckable
    E'en to those who believe they're superior.

    For a time this domitable daughter
    Insisted on staying cognito
    Her hibitions flowed freely as water
    From Montauk to Sausoleto.

    The results of this all were too effable
    Her friends forgot she was ane
    They thought she was merely laughable
    Which caused her considerable pain.

    "Enough of this!" she said one night
    The future still is evitable
    I haven't yet begun to fight
    To prove I'm not a vegetable

    So petuously did this dam-ned dame
    Set out in search of iquity
    To make her imical once again
    For righteous ubiquity

    Her virtue no longer is vincible 
    She holds her hibtions in check
    Her whole life is a matter of principle
    But she looks and feels like a wreck

    Now that she's become dolent, they're dignant.
    She's just a dividual now,
    But free from the scarlet pigment 
    That once stained her ferior brow.

    ~ FreeThinke (c. 1963)

    1. I'm glad you found it amusing, Jez.

      That was certainly its intent.

  16. "Working families"

    Dumb, patronizing, irrelevant.


    1. though it is kind of refreshing!!

    2. "WORKING FAMILIES" is a euphemism poor people with children who work at substandard wages, yet still pay taxes.

      Another sociological cliché you might find objectionable would be


  17. Re. Illegal Immigrants:

    I'm tired of hearing: "they do the jobs that Americans won't do". With a record [low] Labor Force Participation Rate there are plenty of "Americans" to do such jobs if they weren't being subsidized not to!

  18. The clichés that come to my mind are insidious and used by career politicians and other bureaucrats. They aren't truisms. They are patently false on their face. Thought-termination or debate termination is the intent.

    1. It's for the children.

    2. I (or we) are not in the habit of .... (you fill in the blank)

    3. Believe it or not, we have the best interests of the children at heart. (Used on me by a group from the local school corporation.)

    1. Number 3 lights up my board, Warren! It is the mantra of all progressive "educators," who also use the phrase "child centered education." BS-filled educational jargon, to which I was subjected for two long years when I was qualifying for my teacher certification here in Virginia.

      All those hours I spent I classes and writing papers were useless in the classroom! It's a wonder that I didn't throw in the towel! I almost did give up -- then I found a wonderful private school, where I taught for 18 years under the best administrator ever. She did not have a degree in education, but she could teach. Gifted in that regard! Never I some 30 years did she encounter a child that she couldn't teach to read. Amazing to watch that lady teach! Wisely, she did not require teachers in the school to certify or re-certify. What she DID do very, very well: choose an excellent curriculum, which she REQUIRED the various teachers to use. For over 25 years, she owned and ran a small school that went on to become the 2nd best school in the state of Virginia -- and a school with near,y the lowest tuition rate in the state so that parents could afford to send their children to the school.

      I miss those days of that school. Alas! It closed in 1996, when this lady and her husband aged out (in their 80s when they finally retired).

  19. ___ Live, My Precious ___

    Living on by memory and will
    I survive, because of all of you ––
    Vivacious, learned, passionate and shrill ––
    Eventually, your message did get through.
    Meager my existence would have been
    Yet freer, if I’d been allowed to drift,
    Perhaps, but then I never would have seen
    Rare treasures that ennoble and uplift.
    Ecstatic moments live within the mind.
    Cherished and revered these ideal states
    Imbue with standards lofty yet so kind
    Our hearts fill, then a way to joy relates.
    Unless we labor under Truth’s constraints,
    Sagacity our lives forever taints.

    ~ FreeThinke



    Move-in Ready

    Curb Appeal

    A Total Gut Job

    Location! Location! Location!

    That kitchen needs to be updated

    The bathroms need to be updated

    Creative Financing

    There's no room for my shoes!

    There's no room for my clothes!

    I must have a three-car garage.

    We must have a finished basement.

    That wallpaper has got to go!

  21. I SAVED the WORST for the LAST:

    I don't know where I'm AT.

    We don't know where they're AT.

    That stinkin' outfit has no idea where it's AT.

    My shoes? No one knows where they're AT.

    A disgusting, depressing, graceless, abysmally LOW CLASS usage that regrettably seems to have gained widespread acceptance.

  22. "We reached out to..." means media has tried to elicit a comment from someone who would not spit on them if they were on fire.

    1. TLEP,
      Another overused and meaningless phrase that pervades the media.


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1. Any use of profanity or abusive language
2. Off topic comments and spam
3. Use of personal invective