News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Monday, March 2, 2009

Serious about the death penalty

I am uncertain about capital punishment. The number of wrongful convictions calls into question whether it should be part of the criminal justice system. But I have no reservations at all about applying it to people who use certain phrases that endanger the mental health and well-being of anyone who has to hear therm. They are:

  • He’s got a lot on his plate. This metaphor is applied to people who have much, much work facing them. But it alludes to someone sitting before a huge plate of food and being told “you can’t leave the table until you eat all that.” When someone has a lot of work to do, I am repulsed at the thought of the person gorging him/herself when he /she should be working up a sweat getting something done.
  • More bang for the buck. I suppose this refers to the size of a bomb that a dollar can buy, and not to financing the big bang that launched this absurd universe. But it raises the image of someone looking for a really cheap prostitute.
  • At the end of the day. This refers to how all the events in time will culminate when I am trying to end my day with a mellow draft or two of single malt.
  • Think outside the box. The problem with this is that not many people think in boxes, and the world would probably be a better place if they did. As a child during the depression, one of the luxuries we could afford was large cartons that children could crawl into, play house, or just be away from the world. I did some of my best thinking inside those boxes, and often thought of having one in my office on campus so I could crawl into it and escape the onslaughts of inanity that people kept confronting me with.
  • I’ve got your back. You haven’t. If you did, you’d have a beautiful ass, too. Snarky flippancy aside, though, people can mean a couple of things when they say this. One is that they support you or agree with you. The other, which was uttered when doing squad patrols on maneuvers in the Army, meant, “You just keep your eyes on the sector you are assigned to cover, and don’t worry about what’s behind you. I am watching anything that might harm your beautiful ass.” They could have simply said, “I’ve got the rear covered.
  • Since the beginning of time. And just when did time begin?
  • Have a nice day. Argo, bleep yourself. I’ll have any kind of day I damned please.
  • No problem. Yes, there is a problem. It’s you, you cliché-spouting idiot.
  • Hmmmmmmm. Go to the bathroom if you’re going to play with your mantra.
  • He’s on the cutting edge. I hope he slips. On his throat.
  • Awesome. Dayamn, dayamn, dayamn. You want to be awestruck? Stick your head in the snowblower.

There are many more thou-shalt-nots, but the stone tablets keep breaking.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States