For those of us who can't tell a hashtag from a pound sign, suspect the twittersphere is filled with intestinal methane, and think twerk is the place you drive to on weekday mornings, Lake Superior State University has a list for you!On every New Year's Eve since 1975, the Michigan institution of higher learning has released a List of Words to be Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse, or General Uselessness. The tongue-in-cheek list is the brainchild of the university's public relations director, Bill Rabe, who also gained local fame for starting an annual snowman burning ritual on the first day of spring, and creating World Sauntering Day.The phrase "at this point in time," used to excess by politicians during press conferences when "now" or "today" would suffice, topped LSSU's first banished words list. Last year's list included "double-down," once a respectable blackjack term hijacked by politicians and political pundits to mean "repeat." For those who continue to use the phrase despite its banishment, its definition should change to another poker term - "hit me!"In addition to hashtag, twittersphere and twerk, this year's banished words list includes "selfie," or self-portrait by smartphone, and "t-bone," as in perpendicular car collision, not a type of beefsteak. The not-so-honorable honorific "Mr. Mom" also made the list, nominated by scores of dads who don't think it's unusual for men to take care of their children."If you call me Mr. Mom," wrote one self-described stay-at-home dad who was among those nominating the title, "I will punch you in the throat."The sports term "fan base" which serves no purpose other than to add an unneeded word to "fans" also made the list, along with a pair of long suffering suffixes -- ageddon and pocalypse. In other words, if you have an abundance of positive thoughts and actions, you could bring about karmageddon. Should a hard frost devastate the bumper crop of pawpaws growing in your patch of woods, a pawpawpocalypse has occurred.
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Last week, I enjoyed reading about all the imaginative objects dropped from tall buildings across America to celebrate the arrival of New Year's Day. The huge glass ball that descends on New York's Times Square at midnight seems pretty tame in comparison.In Mobile, Ala., a 600-pound Moon Pie was dropped from 35-story RSA Tower, Alabama's tallest building.In Brasstown, N.C., a live possum was dropped -- well, lowered gently in a glass cage from a crane and later released unharmed.In Lebanon, Pa., a 13-foot-long, 200-pound Lebanon bologna was dropped from a crane and donated to a homeless shelter.Maybe Charleston should start its own New Year's tradition.How about a 500-pound biscuit drop from the Capitol Rotunda?