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#74527 - 06/29/02 11:43 AM Two Birds with One Stone
grump Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/29/02
Posts: 8
The expression about killing two birds with one stone is an embarrassment to the
language; yet it's so darned useful as to be just about unavoidable-- which I guess
is why it has survived so long despite its offensiveness. I've been hunting for
years for an acceptable and equally useful alternative. Any suggestions?


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#74528 - 06/29/02 11:55 AM Re: Two Birds with One Stone
Keiva Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/04/01
Posts: 2605
grump, your e-mail address will bring a major grin to the face of wwh, our most prolific poster (affectionately known as dr. bill).


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#74529 - 06/29/02 12:00 PM Re: Two Birds with One Stone
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
There was a time when killing birds was necessary to get food
There are still places where this is true. So it is offensive only
where there is no need to kill them for food. Except in places
where they destroy crops. I have had redwinged blackbirds
pull up several long rows of corn I had planted, and wished
I could have killed them all.

Keiva used extortion to get re-instated after a well justified
banning. He is unwelcome to post here.


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#74530 - 06/29/02 01:50 PM Re: Two Birds with One Stone
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
what is offensive about it?
i don't understand why you think so...



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my other obsession

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#74531 - 06/29/02 05:58 PM Re: Two Birds with One Stone
Capfka Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/28/02
Posts: 1624
Loc: Utter Placebo, Planet Reebok
I completely fail to understand why there would be anything offensive about the term "killing two birds with one stone" let alone why you might think it's an "embarrassment to the language". Some explanation of your belief that this is the case would be interesting/useful.


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#74532 - 06/29/02 11:28 PM Re: Two Birds with One Stone
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
I would guess that the thought is that most people don't go around killing birds anymore. we often try to encourage them to come near: bird feeders, bird-baths, etc. so the idea of killing them, culturally is a bit distasteful, especially more than one at a time. have to think about an alternative expression...

_________________________
formerly known as etaoin...

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#74533 - 06/30/02 06:30 AM Re: Two Birds with One Stone
Capfka Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/28/02
Posts: 1624
Loc: Utter Placebo, Planet Reebok
Does anyone actually think about killing birds when they use the expression? I use it frequently and I must admit that I don't. To me it's just a figure of speech. It has no direct meaning in terms of killing anything.

As an aside I was thinking about this when I was out feeding the birds earlier. I asked some pigeons about it and they assured me that no one had bagged two of them with one stone within living memory. I must acknowledge that since they were speaking with their beaks full, I guess I could have misunderstood what they were trying to squawk.

- Pfranz

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#74534 - 06/30/02 06:59 AM Re: Two Birds with One Stone
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
I don't see what's offensive about the term. In my mind's eye, I see that stone projected through the air, hitting a mental bird, and, still moving with much force, rebounding off bird one and hitting bird two.

Isn't there some kind of gun shot that spreads so that a hunter could get several birds with one blast of the gun? Don't know much about hutning at all...

The image of birds speaking with their beaks full will stick with me all day, by the way. Imagine birds speaking with beaks full of worms--gross! Just about as creepy as Medussa, that image is. The seed one's easier on the imagination.

Tit for tat times two = something like killing two birds with one stone.

Anyway, Google turned up the article pasted below written by an environmentalist. Most of the expressions proposed really don't convey at all the meaning of killing two bird with one stone, but I'll paste them just for interest:

"In my confusion, I posted a request on the INFOTERRA network run by the United Nations Environment Program through the Uganda National Focal Point, Ms. Elizabeth Gowa. I simply requested anyone out there who could assist me not to offend the environmental community in future while at the same time able to explain the advantages of "being able to do two things in a single effort".

The response was good. Some thought this was not a topic relevant for the INFOTERRA conference. They probably already knew of a non-destructive way to say "killing two birds with one stone". However others were worse than what I could have imagined. Let me list them. Pick what suits you.

These are not any better.

"get two birds in one shot"
"throwing the baby out with the bath water"
"catch two pigeons with one broad bean"
"get seven flies with one slap"
"make two hits with one stone"
"to kill two flies with one hit"
"when killing, conserve stones"
"catch two birds with one worm"
"double hit with one blow"
"feed two birds on one huge stone"
"eat two birds in a lifetime"
"to catch two worms with one beak"
"double edged sword" for whatsoever.

How about these

"one path two works"
"grow two trees from one seed"
"feed two children from one bowl"
"take the extra mile in one stride"
"meet two goals with one strategy"
"two problems, one solution"
"hit two nails with one swing"
"buy one, get one free"
"have your cake and eat it too"
"two for the price of one"
"two fires put out by a single shower"
"identify two new birds on the field trip"
"love two girls with one kiss"
"get your biggest deal from your shilling"
"doing double duty"
"stacking functions"
"take maximum advantage from a situation"

Then there were these from Scotland:

"fools look to tomorrow, wise men use today"
"get what you can, keep what you have that is the way to get rich"
"it is an ugly lass that is never kissed and a silly body that is never missed:

Have a nice day and let your utterances always be environmentally friendly!"

The url's too long to paste. I'll see whether it can be reduced later today.

Bird regards,
WW





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#74535 - 06/30/02 10:50 AM Re: Two Birds with One Stone
grump Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/29/02
Posts: 8
Pfranz wrote:
>>>Does anyone actually think about killing birds when they use the expression? I use it frequently and I must admit that I don't. To me it's just a figure of speech. It has no direct meaning in terms of killing anything.<<<

But in a way it is exactly that casual--or thoughtless--reference to unnecessary killing which is problematic, and helps makes the term offensive! (The rest of the offense, in my view, is in that word "unnecessary". Of course in some times and places killing birds efficiently was a necessary part of survival. But in most places where the phrase is now common, that hasn't been true for a very long time. In an age of dwindling biodiversity and looming ecological disaster, gratuitous (and often unconscious) reference to killing birds is offensive. IMHO!)

Meanwhile, WW came up with some alternatives gleaned from a Google search. The one I like best is
"grow two trees from one seed"
It has two very nice (in the 'precise' sense of that overused word!) advantages: it stands the proverbial phrase on its head, metaphorizing birth instead of killing; and it shares with the original the aspect of being highly improbable on the literal level.

Hope this modest post manages to hit two nails with one hammer,
Ch.S.



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#74536 - 06/30/02 11:04 AM Re: Two Birds with One Stone
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
And yet, none of the alternative suggestions is as terse and clear as the original.


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