George Carlin

“Congratulations! You’ve Been Pre-Selected for This Offer!”

Meaningless Marketing Mumbo Jumbo: Exhibit A Somebody has to carry on the George Carlin tradition. In that vein . . .  I’m sure he’d scratch his head about the difference between being “pre-selected” (for yet another credit card I don’t need), and just plain, old ordinary “selected.” Pre-what, exactly? Is there another group of prospective customers...
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The Various Meanings of “That’s Rich!”

“That’s Rich” may not have the protean meanings of some other phrases, like “Shut Up!!” or “Hot Dog!” See, “Shut Up!” Has 9 Different Meanings? Shut Up!! (No, YOU Shut Up!)”; and “The Many Guises of “Hot Dog.'” But, it has more definitions than you might initially guess: One. Caloric. “That chocolate cake sure is rich.”...
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Why Is Calling Something (or Someone) “Tasteless” an Insult?

The Color Taste of Water Water usually doesn’t have a taste, and people don’t object to that. Ditto for celery. So why is calling something ” like a comment, a work of art, or an article of clothing ” “tasteless” a dis? “Taste-Free” vs. “Tasteless” Clearly, what the speaker intends to say is, “in bad taste.”...
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If “Colloboration” is Good, Why Are “Colloborators” Bad?

Somebody has to keep the George Carlin spirit alive. In that vein, I offer up the inherent contradiction between “collaboration” (“They all collaborated on the winning science project”), and at least one accepted definition of “collaborator” (“He was a collaborator during the occupation”). Maybe it’s just a generational thing(?) . . . See also, “You’re...
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“Stomping Grounds” vs. “Stamping Grounds”

Does anyone know the difference? I’m guessing not, because the two terms seem to be used interchangeably (“Sally went to her college reunion and revisited some of her old stamping/stomping grounds”). At least to me, the former term evokes a factory assembly line, while the latter suggests lots of bare feet in a big vat crushing...
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“Out of an Abundance of Caution” . . . & Its Opposite

The Buried Mea Culpa Once upon a time, the likes of William Safire and George Carlin could be counted on to call out linguistic curiosities. In that spirit, I offer up the very confused expression, “Out of an abundance of caution.” Overcompensating Practically dripping with CYA (“Cover-Your-A**”), it’s almost always invoked by a contrite person...
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