Hey dawg, hunker down get-er-done!

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 5, 2006

Other than the International 500 Snow Mobile race in early February, there’s only so much to do in the winter in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

In an area of Michigan known for its nasty winter solstice, students, faculty and staff at Lake Superior State University spend those miserable months awaiting spring’s arrival by taking aim at the &uot;Queen’s English.&uot;

Since 1976, LSSU puts itself on the worldwide map by taking nominations for words and phrases that should be banished from the English language. After sorting through and discussing the nominated words (a record 5,000 were submitted last year), they release their official list of banished words, ones they feel are mis-used, over-used or just plain useless.

Listed below are their current suggestions:

SURREAL – Oddly, news anchor and television small talk is becoming more surreal. &uot;Dreams are surreal, not daily adjectives.&uot; – Tracy from Murray, Ky.

HUNKER DOWN – To brace oneself, in anticipation of media onslaught. &uot;I have a hankering to ban all of this hunkering.&uot; – Kate Rabe Forgach, Fort Collins, Colo.

PERSON OF INTEREST – Found within the context of legal commentary, but seldom encountered at cocktail parties. &uot;Does this mean the rest of us are too boring to deal with?&uot; – Patricia Johnson from Mechanicsville, Va.

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

UP OR DOWN VOTE – A casualty of today’s partisanship. No discussion on this one; the committee just tossed a coin. &uot;I see a bright future for ex-senators as elevator operators.&uot; – Allan Dregseth, Fargo, ND.

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

DESIGNER BREED – 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. &uot;When you mate a miniature schnauzer to a toy poodle, it’s not a ‘Schnoodle,’ it’s a mongrel.&uot; – George Bullerjahn, Bowling Green, Ohio.

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

FIRST-TIME CALLER – Preamble often heard on talk radio. &uot;I am serious in asking: who in any universe gives a care?&uot; – Miguel McCormick, Orlando, Fla.

PASS THE SAVINGS ON TO YOU! – Marketing catch phrase that became a lost-leader long ago. &uot;Read: Pass the markup along to you.&uot; – C. W. Estes, Roanoke, Tex.

97% FAT FREE – Adventures in delusion. &uot;Still has 3% fat . . . accept it.&uot; – Andrew Clucas, Canberra, Australia.

AN ACCIDENT THAT DIDN’T HAVE TO HAPPEN – Best-laid mayhem. &uot;This means some accidents need to happen, for whatever reason, I can’t figure.&uot; – Thomas Price, Orlando, Fla.

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

DAWG – No designer breed here. &uot;This is species confusion.&uot; – Rob Bowers, Santa Clara, Calif. &uot;Don’t call me ‘dawg’! I’m not your pet!&uot; – Michael Swartz, Albuquerque, NM.

TALKING POINTS – Cover your ears! &uot;Topics which will please those you want to impress.&uot; – Michele Mooney, Van Nuys, Calif.

HOLIDAY TREE – Many salvoes were fired during this past season’s &uot;war on Christmas.&uot; At the risk of jumping into the breach, the committee feels that &uot;Holiday tree&uot; 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.

The 2004 list included some great suggestions. Here are a few:

METROSEXUAL – An urban male who pays too much attention to his appearance.

PUNKED – As in bamboozled, duped, flimflammed, hornswoggled. Kill it before it grows.

PLACE STAMP HERE – Can we legitimately claim to be a superpower if we need to be reminded to put a stamp on an envelope?

COMPANION ANIMALS – They’re called PETS!!!!

EMBEDDED JOURNALIST – In the interest of objectivity, journalists probably shouldn’t be embedded with any organization they regularly cover.

CAPTURED ALIVE – What other way are you going to be captured? Maybe ‘found dead’ or ‘discovered dead’, never ‘captured dead.’

SHOTS RANG OUT – Shots don’t ‘ring’ unless you are standing too close to the muzzle, and in that case you don’t need the reporter telling you about it.

SWEAT LIKE A PIG – Pigs do not have sweat glands; that is why they roll in mud to cool themselves.

IN HARM’S WAY – Who is Harm and why would you want to get in his way?

SANITARY LANDFILL – Ever been to one? It’s not the cleanest place in the world.

To submit a nomination, send your word or phrase to www.lssu.edu/banished.