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Words, Sept. 30

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What happens when the bow breaks?

"The homosexual lobby from across America will be pouring money into this local race in an attempt to make a statement to the country by knocking out an outspoken Christian, pro-family representative. If they succeed, it will serve as a warning shot across the bough of all elected officials who defend Biblical values."

Give me that old-time conjugation:

"For instance, in the polling for secretary of state and lieutenant governor, the actual candidate matchups shrunk the Democratic disadvantages significantly."

"In a Gulf South Conference stocked with senior college and out-of-state talent, the Tigers have consistently swam upstream."

"When PETA learned that A.C. Reynolds High School in Asheville, North Carolina, intended to hold a 'Kiss a Pig' contest, we sprung into action."

Bill Shepherd writes: "Though Encarta lists 'shrunk' as a second possibility for the past tense of 'shrink,' I don't believe it." Me either. Shrink, shrank, shrunk; swim, swam, swum; spring, sprang, sprung — that's the American Way. And the Australian Way too, come to think of it: "Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong, 'You'll never take me alive,' said he ..."

Not to abandon PETA in mid-spring, here's the rest of the item. "We contacted the school principal and alerted her to the cruelty involved in bringing a young, frightened piglet into a huge auditorium packed with screaming students. The principal agreed that terrifying pigs and degrading teachers wasn't the lesson she wanted to teach her students. The pig was never taken into the school, and the students and faculty learned a valuable lesson about compassion."

But some of the contestants were awfully disappointed.

A sign in a probation and parole office — "No pajamas, no wife beaters, no short shorts, no halter or tube top. You will not be seen if you are dressed inappropriately." John Tarpley tells me that the wife beater in this sense is an old-fashioned sleeveless undershirt. The garment has acquired a bad reputation, evidently.

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