A brief summary of stock expressions and timeworn clichés that are past overdue for entire elimination — well, for some but not all

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First and foremost, I’m fascinated by common expressions that contain superfluous words. No, I don’t mean things like “She felt that her heart was breaking” where “that” isn’t needed. After all, it wouldn’t be wrong to keep “that” in the sentence (and it isn’t superfluous either, as it doesn’t convey a redundancy). I’m referring to extra words that aren’t needed (but aren’t necessarily wrong). Consider the following:

  • “It’s snowing outside.” Where else would it be snowing?
  • “I thought to myself” No one else can think for you.
  • “He had a smile on her face.” Where else would a smile be?


McDaniel, the GOP Chair, shamelessly shills for her boss

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As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, with no sign, as of this writing, of it abating, a favorite talking point among many Republicans is that Donald Trump has saved two million lives. This belief is captured in this tweet posted yesterday (!) by McDaniel:


Which group do you belong to?

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As of this date, October 27, 2020, we are one week away from the presidential election. Well, I should say we’re one week away from ending the election, as early voting has been going on for several weeks now. With one week to the finish line, this much we can say with some confidence: Things aren’t looking so hot for Trump supporters (I’m prepared to gulp these words), and while Vice President Biden appears to have the upper hand, surprisingly, in several “battleground” states and localities, what interests me most these days is understanding why anyone would vote for Trump…


Trying not to bore you, Sir Paul, with the same ol’ interrogation

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The Beatles broke up fifty years ago this spring and since that time I can’t imagine there are many fresh and original questions to ask Paul McCartney, whether they’re to do with his career in the 1960s or later. Really, the man must be tired of hearing the same questions in different guises after all this time. However, I’ve come up with five that I believe are original and have never been asked. Paul, if you see this, I look forward to seeing what you have to say in the comments section.

  1. The Anthology version of “And I love Her”…

Which is it: “Harris’ record” or “Harris’s record”? The answer is obvious

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We’re all pleased—well, those of us of a certain political persuasion are pleased — that Vice President Joe Biden picked Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. First off, for those of you who don’t know, the California senator’s given name is pronounced “calm-a-la,” though some have argued that it’s “comma-la.” I prefer “calm-a-la,” which everyone seems to use anyway without any complaint from her. Fine. But I’m here today to address another issue — an annoyance, frankly: how her last name in the possessive case is often rendered in print.

Take a look at these four examples:

From HuffPost


There’s a pandemic going on. If you cite “freedom” or “personal choice” as the reason to not wear a mask, you’re probably a sociopath

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During the run-up to the 2016 election Jordan Klepper interviewed several Trump supporters in a segment for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. When Klepper wasn’t facetious with his questions and comments, he’d feign interest in their views and concerns. My favorite exchange was this one, captured here in a still image from a GIF. The transcription is accurate. This is for real:


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A few years ago I was having a conversation with a conservative social services administrator about the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). She wanted to let me know that despite all the press about how the ACA had improved people’s lives it was in fact terrible because some people under her care were gaming the system. Huh? What does the behavior of a small number of people in Lower Manhattan have to do with how the ACA has benefited millions of people across the country? Her view was akin to saying, “I can’t believe these stupid people on the highways…


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First of all, this photo. John, put your mask up. George, that’s not funny.

Every so often you’ll see an online discussion of people’s favorite Beatles songs. You can pretty much tell from people’s lists what kind of fans they are. There are those who place emphasis on the “solo” years of the White Album (“solo” because not one song from the collection is a group creation). Then there are those who like songs drawn from the psychedelic era of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (George Martin never forgave himself for leaving “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” off…


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Let’s see a show of hands. How many of you get annoyed when you see a sign that reads “10 items or less”? How many of you are distinctly not amused by “apple’s for sale”? And how many of you want to correct people who say Crackerjacks because the product name is Crackerjack? OK, that last one is a bit esoteric, and I usually do hold my tongue when I hear a gaffe, but if you tell me “Boris Karloff played Frankenstein,” I will correct you.

I’ve been a freelance copy editor for about a decade, and during this time…


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In a previous essay, I touched on the subject of “ensoulment” and the contradictory ideas that accompany this belief, but after giving this issue some more thought, I decided that I would expand on it and flesh out some ideas; hence the essay you’re now reading.

When does the soul enter the body? Catholic Online tells us “Scientists discover moment souls enter eggs at the time of conception.” In Islam the soul is said to enter the body at roughly 120 days after conception. Believers in reincarnation will tell you that your soul existed before you were born. In Hinduism…

Barry Lyons

Pet peeves: religion and papaya. Pet loves: Beethoven and comedy.

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