Cliche Rotation Project


September 25, 2007

Cliche Rotation Project, Round II

The second round of the Cliche Rotation Project is complete. (For details on the CRP, see

A big thanks to everyone who contributed. Here are some of the best I received.

Old Cliche Replacement Contributor Note
Seeing the world through rose colored glasses Reporting from the Green Zone Brett  
Sweep it under the rug Clear the cache Ryan Murphy  
Timing is everything Timing is the difference between salad and garbage Anonymous  
Not the sharpest crayon in the box Not the brightest LED in the house mantaworks Fully y3k-compliant.
Sometimes, you just have to roll with the punches. Sometimes you just have to park your car beneath a bird Dave  
Rain on your parade. Stick a boot on your wheel. JMT  
The grass is always greener on the other side of the street The line is always shorter at the Starbucks up the street Penni Prominski  
It's not rocket science It's not Advanced Squad Leader zosa This is in reference to the infamously complex wargame ASL. Typical rule:

2.2401 GUN DUELS: Vs a non-concealed, non-Aerial DEFENDER's declared Defensive First Fire attack on it, a vehicle may attempt to Bounding First Fire (D3.3) its MA (/other-FP, including Passenger FP/SW) at that DEFENDER first, provided the vehicle need not change CA, is not conducting OVR (D7.1), its total Gun Duel DRM (i.e., its total Firer-Based [5.] and Acquisition [6.5] TH DRM for its potential shot) is < that of the DEFENDER, and the DEFENDER's attack is not Reaction Fire (D7.2). Neither the +1 DRM for a Gyrostabilizer nor the doubling of the lower dr for other ordnance in TH Case C4 (5.35) is included in the Gun Duel DRM calculation. The order of fire for non-ordnance/SW is determined as if it were ordnance [EXC: TH Case A can apply only if this unit/weapon is mounted-on/aboard a vehicle that is changing CA; all such non-turret-mounted fire is considered NT for purposes of TH Case C, and; A.5 applies to any type of FG]. If the ATTACKER's and DEFENDER's total Gun Duel DRM are equal, the lower Final TH (or non-ordnance IFT) DR fires first - and voids the opponent's return shot by eliminating, breaking, stunning, or shocking it. If those two Final DR are equal, both shots are resolved simultaneously. Any CA change the DEFENDER requires in order to shoot (5.11) is made before the ATTACKER's shot if the DEFENDER's total Gun Duel DRM <= the ATTACKER's; otherwise its CA changes (if still able to) after the ATTACKER's shot. After the initial Gun Duel had been fully resolved, and if otherwise able and allowed to, that DEFENDER may announce another attack vs that ATTACKER who in turn may declare another Gun Duel; this time the printed ROF of one firing weapon on each side may be included as a -DRM in that side's Gun Duel DRM calculation. Only the ATTACKER may declare a Gun Duel [EXC: not if the DEFENDER has done so per 5.33].
Hit me with your best shot Shock & awe me aaron c  
Dumb as a post Dumber than shoes Megan Coughlin  
A watched pot never boils A watched microwave never pings Suezboo  
All the tea in China All the porn on the internet Danny D and the Defects  
Busier than a one-armed paperhanger Busier than a sailor on shore leave RustyBadger self-explanatory, I think!
A stitch in time saves nine. Enable Autosave! Carmen  
No shit, sherlock. Does a one-legged duck swim in a circle? Anonymous  
Kill two birds with one stone Steal two elections with one candidate Pete Stine oh, you KNOW who I mean.
Gone without a trace Gone 404. Ryan  
Stuck out like a sore thumb Stood out like a miniskirt in a monastery Lung the Younger  
Like a knife through butter Like a chainsaw through cheesecake Lung the Younger  
keep your eye on the ball Track it like NORAD Michael  
Nice guys finish last James Dean died young Ben Ide  
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Always the fluffer, never the porn star. Richard From my wife while trying to fluff a houseplant back into shape after a disastrous repotting.
Forgive and forget Flag and move on Cior  
Born with a silver spoon in his mouth Born with a venture capitalist in the family Cior  
As slow as molasses. Like Baldwin posting a Cliche Rotation Project update. Bill Braine Molasses flows very slowly because of its inordinately high viscosity. The very slow pace of this flow is reminiscent of the pace at which Matthew Baldwin, author of the popular blog "Defective Yeti" posts updates to his Cliche Rotation Project series of entries. Thus replacing the old standard simile "as slow as molasses" (used to describe the pace of change in a very slow process or the pace of physical movement of a particularly slow object or individual) with "like Baldwin posting a Cliche Rotation Project update" presents the listener/reader with a cognitively appropriate and mildly amusing (because of the tiny effort/reward of decoding the dynamic) new simile, perfect for use as (nerdy) parties.
August 21, 2007

CRP Update

Oh jeeze, I totally forgot I initiated s new round of the Cliche Rotation Project a few weeks ago. I'll post entries next Monday. In the meantime, you can continue to send in your submissions here.

July 11, 2007

Cliche Rotation Project, Round II

Submit your new cliches here.

March 02, 2007

The Cliche Rotation Project

7/16: The next round of the Cliche Rotation Project is going on now. Submit your entry here.

Rosecrans and I had a weird moment of Baldwinicity last month, as we were both struck by essentially the same idea at the time. I called on my readers to participate in The Cliche Rotation Project, a drive to replace old and worn out sayings with new ones of roughly equivalent meaning. A few days later, Rosecrans unveiled the Contest for Total Idioms, in which readers of The Morning News were asked to submit newly minted proverbs and adages.

Well, the winners of the Contest for Total Idioms were announced today. So it seems only fitting that I published some submissions in the CRP as well.

I got lots and lots of entries, but have narrowed this batch down to 30. I think this might become a reoccurring feature, though, so you'll see some of the rest later. And you shouldn't hesitate to send new ones to

So: out with the old and in with the new! Or, as I like to say, let's shed skin and slither in style.

Old ClicheReplacementContributorNotes
Always a bridesmaid, never the brideI'm not the hero of this story.Nathan Werth"This one is a bastardization from my gaming geek days, when my friends and I would joke that 'I am so not the PC here.'"
Back to square oneBack to World 1-1Martin Mushrush 
The bee's knees; the cat's pajamasThe bee's pajamasRobin Lane"My 14-year-old son, Calvin, shares your interest in giving new life to old cliches. A few months ago, he somehow came across these two old versions and decided to revamp. The droll tone is crucial: 'Well, that's just the bee's pajamas, Mom.'"
The blind leading the blindEnrolled in the Paris and Nicole Academy 
The coast is clearThe porn is deletedJohn Taylor 
Come hell or high waterEven if they send in Chinese tanksRob Cockerham 
Do the right thingGet on the nut footDave Yeagar"There's a story here. Basically a few of us took my buddy out for his birthday and he got somewhat inebriated. He began to talk nonstop about these roasted almonds that this guy sold out of a truck near his place of employment. He literally went on about these nuts for almost 30 minutes. Finally one of us tried to stop the madness by suggesting he talk about something else, but he adamantly slurred: 'No.... you gotta... you gotta get on the nut... foot.'"
Don't be a party-pooperDon't squeeze out your grumpies in publicbeajerry 
Don't take any wooden nickelsDon't mistake eggs for oystersEve Tolpa 
Dumb as a box of rocks.Don't have the good sense that God gave cabbageCindy Molitor"This isn't a new one. My mother used to say it to me all the time when I was growing up. However, it's one that I've never heard anyone else use."
He's yesterday's newsHe's a stamp-lickerDavid LaMotte 
If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.If you won't shake your bootie, get off the dance floorPam Coughlan 
It's a win-win situation.Everyone gets ice cream!Alkelda the Gleeful 
Keep your eyes peeledPut your deadlights on high beamsScott BushI don't know if "deadlights" is a typo, but I like it -- MB
Knuckle sandwichBoot souffleNeal 
Let's make like a tree and leaveLet's shoot this pig into space.Clint Bishop 
Looking for a needle in a haystackTrying to find a clock in a casinoAngus Stocking 
Looks a gift horse in the mouthWants birthday cake on Christmas.Mud 
More fun than a barrel of monkeysMore fun than 20 yards of bubble wrapDiesel 
Nice guys finish lastNo one remembers Ivan the WonderfulLung the Younger 
Playing second fiddleJeeves in a Google worldMud 
The pot calling the kettle blackThe pot calling the pipe "drug paraphernalia."Jonathan Hoferle 
Pushing up daisiesTanning the soles of his feetLung the Younger 
Putting the cart before the horsePutting the "umption" before the assJulie 
Reinvent the wheelStart a whole new batch of sourdoughBill Braine 
Silence is goldenQuiet is currencySusanna 
Sleep with the fishesFlirt with the dirtSouthpaw Jones 
Still waters run deepQuiet squirrels have more nutsNo Name Slob 
The squeaky wheel gets the greaseThe squeaky dolphin gets the fishEric 
Two-facedVerbally biChag 
We'll cross that bridge when we come to itWe'll chop that tomato when the salsa runs outSuzanna 
You made your bed, now sleep in itYou poop it, you scoop itReuben 

Update: Theresa writes:

Some time ago, my brother-in-law decided to teach my daughter, N., the phrase, "That dog don't hunt," to be used after any sentence that had a lie or tall tale included in it. N. used it quite often at first and even would ask me to make up some untrue statement just so she could respond with, "That dog don't hunt!". Having a three year old armed with this phrase and knowing when to use it was a great ice breaker and/or party trick. The phrase eventually wore out of it newness and was not used. Recently, N. and I were visiting a friend, and when someone made a random, nonsensical comment, N. responded with, "That spoon don't scoop!" My jaw dropped and I had to ask her, "Where did you learn that?" and she responded, "I made it up!" Either she is pretty darn smart or a pretty darn good liar...That dog don't hunt, N.!
Yeah, along with the kid activities Heather previous classified here as "cute the first time, obnoxious the 65,000,000,000th," add "using a catchphrase." I taught The Squirrelly to use the phrase "down the hatch!" when eating. Hilarity ensued--until he started bellowing it before every forkful of Veggie Dog during every single meal. That's a cliche in dire need of rotation.

January 23, 2007

The Cliche Rotation Project

The following post was inspired by the fourteenth suggestion in No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog, which was randomly selected by Jon Deal of Ransom-Note-Typography. Jon posted a video today in honor of the occasion, so you should definitely check it out.

Despite crotchety old men like me carping about acronyms like "LOL" and "IMHO," we've always had literary shortcuts that allow us to get our point across economically. They are called "cliches," and they are an essential element of our language. Just think how many words you'd have to write or say to communicate the same idea that "caught with his pants down" expresses so succinctly.

Of course, the problem with cliches is that they are just so darned ... you know. Cliche.

That's why I am initiating the Cliche Rotation Project, to replace our current set of cliches with new ones of equivalent meaning. For example:
Old & BustedNew Hotness
Made a mountain out of a molehillSaw a duck and shouted "dragon!"
Quiet as a church mouseSilent as a shadow's whisper
Ready and willingOn it like a bonnet
Wore his heart on his sleeveFlew his feelings from a flagpole
And so forth.

Come, join me in the CRP. If drop me an email at with the following information:

  • The old cliche
  • Your replacement cliche
  • Your name
  • URL of your blog, or where ever you'd like me to link to when I publish these
I'll collect all the entries and print them here Friday. Or do something with them. I'm not really sure, yet.

If you needs some cliches to get started, go here, browse here, or pick one off this list.

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