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Poke in the eye with a sharp stick/choke cat with butter

Posted by D. Pulaski on April 11, 2001

My grandfather used to use the above phrases. He would say 'It is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick' of payments or rewards that were very meager. (as in minimum wage is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. He also used to say that there were more ways to kill a cat than by choking it to death with butter to mean that 1. your solution to this problem is stupid/extreme 2. there are always more than 2 solutions to any problem.
Does anyone know the origins of these expressions?
thanks, dpp