a mile wide and an inch deep

I read Achenbach's sunday column today and learned, all of a sudden, that the phrase "a mile wide and an inch deep" is in widespread use as a slur. Is that new or did I never notice? Where I grew up, it's part of the local folklore you learn in 4th grade social studies. The alternative grass-stem-chewing description of the Platte River is: "it's too thick to drink and too thin to plow." And there you have it. Lately it's a good year in the water wars if there's any water in the river at all by August.

700,000 google results for the phrase and about 3 of them seem to refer to the Platte river.

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