Next time, we'll get it right

A tradition was born last Saturday in the town of Te Kuiti, New Zealand - one aimed at someday rivaling the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. On cue, 2,000 beasts were released from stockyards for the first ... Running of the Sheep. (They are the backbone of the local economy.) And? Well, the concept may need a bit more work. The ewes soon broke ranks and set off in all directions, smearing spectators who stood too close with lanolin from their wool, and requiring trained dogs to herd them together again. It was chaos, organizers admitted. Still, they are optimistic that, like Pamplona, the event may yet develop a cult following.

Did you have to say that? Identifying trite phrases

If you find yourself boring other people in conversation, maybe it's time to drop the well-worn phrases, such as "at the end of the day." It is the most irritating cliché in the English language, according to results of a new survey by the Plain English Campaign, a linguistic watchdog group in London. The survey polled 5,000 people in more than 70 countries and found that many a phrase people regard as irritating in one place can be annoying elsewhere as well. "Like" (used as a form of punctuation) and "at this moment in time" tied for second. "With all due respect" ranked fourth. Others that received multiple mentions in the survey:

"Address the issue"
"Ballpark figure"
"Bear with me"
"Between a rock and a hard place"
"Boggles the mind"
"Bottom line"
"I hear what you're saying"
"In terms of"
"It's not rocket science"
"Moving the goal posts"
"Pushing the envelope"
"The fact of the matter is"
"Thinking outside the box"
"To be honest with you"
"Touch base"

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