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    A Prayer for Sid Klein


    A nearsighted rabbi glanced at the note that Mrs. Klein had sent to him by an
    usher.

    The note read: "Sid Klein having gone to sea, his wife desires the prayers of
    the congregation for his safety."

    Failing to observe the punctuation, he startled his audience by announcing:

    "Sid Klein, having gone to see his wife, desires the prayers of the congregation
    for his safety."



    Comments

    A Pronunciation Exercise



    Multi-national personnel at North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters
    near Paris found English to be an easy language... until they tried to
    pronounce it. To help them discard an array of accents, the verses below
    were devised. After trying them, a Frenchman said he'd prefer six months at
    hard labor to reading six lines aloud. Try them yourself.

    Dearest creature in creation,
    Study English pronunciation.
    I will teach you in my verse
    Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
    I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
    Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
    Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
    So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

    Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
    Dies and diet, lord and word,
    Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
    (Mind the latter, how it's written.)
    Now I surely will not plague you
    With such words as plaque and ague.
    But be careful how you speak:
    Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
    Cloven, oven, how and low,
    Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

    Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
    Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
    Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
    Exiles, similes, and reviles;
    Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
    Solar, mica, war and far;
    One, anemone, Balmoral,
    Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
    Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
    Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

    Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
    Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
    Blood and flood are not like food,
    Nor is mould like should and would.
    Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
    Toward, to forward, to reward.
    And your pronunciation's OK
    When you correctly say croquet,
    Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
    Friend and fiend, alive and live.

    Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
    And enamour rhyme with hammer.
    River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
    Doll and roll and some and home.
    Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
    Neither does devour with clangour.
    Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
    Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
    Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
    And then singer, ginger, linger,
    Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
    Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

    Query does not rhyme with very,
    Nor does fury sound like bury.
    Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
    Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
    Though the differences seem little,
    We say actual but victual.
    Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
    Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
    Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
    Dull, bull, and George ate late.
    Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
    Science, conscience, scientific.

    Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
    Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
    We say hallowed, but allowed,
    People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
    Mark the differences, moreover,
    Between mover, cover, clover;
    Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
    Chalice, but police and lice;
    Camel, constable, unstable,
    Principle, disciple, label.

    Petal, panel, and canal,
    Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
    Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
    Senator, spectator, mayor.
    Tour, but our and succour, four.
    Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
    Sea, idea, Korea, area,
    Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
    Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
    Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

    Compare alien with Italian,
    Dandelion and battalion.
    Sally with ally, yea, ye,
    Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
    Say aver, but ever, fever,
    Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
    Heron, granary, canary.
    Crevice and device and aerie.

    Face, but preface, not efface.
    Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
    Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
    Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
    Ear, but earn and wear and tear
    Do not rhyme with here but ere.
    Seven is right, but so is even,
    Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
    Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
    Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

    Pronunciation -- think of Psyche!
    Is a paling stout and spikey?
    Won't it make you lose your wits,
    Writing groats and saying grits?
    It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
    Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
    Islington and Isle of Wight,
    Housewife, verdict and indict.

    Finally, which rhymes with enough --
    Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
    Hiccough has the sound of cup.
    My advice is to give up!!!

    Author Unknown





    Comments

    Words that could be confusing and embarrassing in the UK & US


    At long last, here is the complete list of Anglo-American
    confusions.

    The definitions have been cross referenced with the most recent
    edition of the Oxford Dictionary (unless I say otherwise in the
    text), so if you don't agree with some of my definitions, take up
    the argument with them.

    I have made a few alterations, additions and removals too ...

    Thanks to the many people who have helped me compile this list,
    including: Paul R. Montague, Jonathon Watkins, Darran Potter,
    Darlene Ollom & her friend Liz, John Lovie, Gail thingy in
    alt.fan.british-accent, Kevin Walsh, Suzi Howe, D Loomis, Kate
    Lingley, Martin Mazik, Ron Leech, Richard Smith.

    If I have forgotten anyone, sorry!

    The list is also available at my home page:

    http://www.dur.ac.uk/~dgl3djb/~ukus.html

    If you have any further suggestions please mail me at:

    d.j.barton@durham.ac.uk

    Who knows? There may be a second volume... (oh no!)

    deej

    1) Buns. You know what these are. You're probably sitting on them
    now. Over here buns are either bread or cake rolls. Asking for a
    couple of sticky buns in a bakery here will mean Mr. Crusty the
    baker will give you two cake buns with icing (frosting) on the top.
    If I went into a deli in Manhattan and asked for a couple of sticky
    buns I'd probably get arrested...

    2) Fag. A goody but an oldie. Over here a 'fag' is a cigarette.
    So in the song 'It's a long way to Tipperary' the line 'As long as
    you have a Lucifer to light your fag' is not a fundementalist
    Christian's statement that all homosexuals will burn for eternity in
    hell, but saying that 'if you always have a match to light your
    cigarette...'

    3) Faggots. Meat balls made from offal (chopped liver) in gravy.
    Also a small bundle of logs suitable to burn on a fire.

    4) Pants. You call pants what we call trousers; pants are the
    things that go underneath.

    5) Rubber. In this country a pencil eraser. Don't be shocked if
    the mild mannered new Englishman in your office asks for a pencil
    with a rubber on the end. Especially when he says that he enjoys
    chewing it when he is thinking.

    6) Sh*t. To us, bodily waste. To you, practically everything as
    far as I could figure, good or bad (and you certainly don't want us
    to touch yours...)

    7) Fanny. To us the front bottom; to you the back one. In
    Britain, the fanny pack is known as a bum bag for obvious reasons...

    8) Muffler. To us what you call a muffler is called a silencer. In
    the UK a muffler is a long scarf a la Dickensian Novels. A muffler
    was also a derogatory name for a certain part of the female anatomy
    at my school, though this was probably unique to us. Try explaining
    THAT to a upstanding American when you are standing at the petrol
    (gas) station in fits of laughter...

    9) Pavement. Sidewalk to you. I couldn't think of anything smutty
    to go with this.

    10) Pissed. To you it's quite legal to be pissed in a car in a
    traffic jam. In fact, in large cities sometimes you cannot help it.
    For us, it means that you have been over doing it 'down the boozer'
    (pub) and a kindly policeman will shortly flag you down and arrest
    you.

    11) Shag. To you a dance. To us sexual congress. In otherwords
    you may have to summon up the courage to have a shag with someone,
    before you might have a shag with her later on. Also a sea bird
    similar to a cormorant and a type of rough tobacco.

    12) Fancy. To be sexually attracted to or to desire. Also a tea
    cake.

    13) Ass. To us a quadraped of the horse family or a stupid person.
    The word you guys are looking for in English english is 'arse'.

    14) Sneakers. We call these 'trainers' for some reason.

    15) Waistcoat. You call them vests.

    16) Football. A classic example of our culture gap. To us football
    is what you call soccer. To you football is what we call pointless.
    You probably think the same way about cricket...

    17) Baseball. In England we play a game called 'Rounders' which has
    identical rules bar the bat being a short baton designed to be used
    with only one hand. It's only played in schools. In the US, it's a
    PROPER game...

    18) Some food differences

    English American
    ------------------------
    courgette zucchini
    mars bar milky way
    milky way three musketeers
    opal fruits starburst
    chips french fries
    crisps chips

    19) 'Knock you up'. In our country, to wake someone up in the
    morning so they won't be late. Slightly different meaning for our
    American cousins...

    20) Pastie. A pastie is a meat and potato pastry that originates
    from Cornwall, UK. In the guidebook I had for Michigan, it
    mentioned that some cornish tin miners had come over and brought
    over the recipe with them when they settled the Upper Peninsula.
    Even so, I had to taken aside and carefully told what an American
    pastie was so I wouldn't embarrass parents in front of children at
    the summer camp I was working at when I was talking about my liking
    for Cornish Pasties...

    21) Knackered. I'm not sure if you have this word in the US. When
    I said I was knackered I got puzzled looks. It means you are tired.
    It comes from the fact that horses are often tired when they have
    testes removed (their knackers) when they are castrated. (Sorry! I
    guess you didn't want to know that...)

    22) Fag. (Oh no not again!) When at a public (i.e. private --
    confused you will be) school in the UK, you may have to 'fag' for an
    older boy. This usually involves shining shoes, cleaning up and
    performing other favours for this older lad. In return for fagging,
    the older boy looks after your interests and makes sure that you fit
    into the school and promote the school spirit (bon vivre, not
    necessarily the alcoholic kind). This may also be a fag (i.e. a
    tiresome thing).

    23) Trunk. In the US what we in the UK call the boot of a car. In
    the UK, the trunk is the front end of an elephant. Can be
    embarrassing if you happen to be a pachyderm working as a taxi
    driver in NY. (Also a large metal and wooden box much beloved of
    Edwardian travellers).

    24) Spunk. In the US it is perfectly acceptable for a boss to ask
    whether you are feeling full of spunk of a morning (i.e. full of
    get up and go). This situation in the UK may only arise when a
    director is quizzing a male actor in the adult entertainment
    business.

    25) Woody. In the UK, an acceptable description of a wine that has
    taken on the flavour of the barrels it has matured in. In the US
    *never* go a wine tasting and claim that this wonderful Californian
    Chardonnay has an excellent 'woody' flavour, unless you are the
    female co-star of the aforementioned male actor and you are in the
    process of filming an 'arty' movie.

    26) Hood. To our American cousins, the bit of a car that the engine
    sits under or place where you might live if you are a rapper. To us
    Brits, the part of a coat that is designed to cover your head when
    it rains. What you call the 'hood' we call the 'bonnet' on a car.

    27) Gas. To the citizens of the United Kingdom, an instrument of
    warfare, the stuff that you use to cook your dinner on or a state of
    matter that is neither liquid nor solid. To you guys, what we call
    petrol and the gaseous by product of bottom burps (wind).

    28) Pecker. To keep one's pecker up is a state of mind in the UK,
    an athletic feat in the US and a way of life for the common or
    garden woodpecker.

    29) Toilets. Although we have a lot of colourful euphenisms for the
    lavatory experience in the UK (e.g. spend a penny, watering the
    daisies) we lack the prissiness of our American chums. To us a
    toilet is a bog, a kharzi, a sh*thouse (or alternatively an outhouse
    in more polite company), a gents/ladies but mostly a toilet. It is
    perfectly acceptable to be in the Ritz and request to use the
    toilet. However, you guys seem ashamed of the t-word. Hence you go
    to the John (where no-one called John is there) and the bathroom
    (where there is no bath). ...And a word of warning for English
    chaps in the US -- never admit to eating baked beans out of the can.

    30) Beer. What you call beer, we call lager. What we call beer,
    you call disgusting. This might be mutual.

    31) Hard. In the UK, you might see an unshaven tattooed uncouth man
    with big muscles in a pub. If you accidentally spill his beer, he
    might get upset and request you to join him outside. He might say
    `Come on then if you think you're hard enough!' Or even 'I'm hard,
    me, so you better watch your step, mate.' He is not casting
    aspersions on your sexual persuasion, nor does he have an erection.
    He is merely stating the fact that unless you buy him another pint
    of lager in the very immediate future he might beat seven shades of
    sh*t out of you. In the US, our friend the male actor would
    probably say 'I'm hard' while sharing a bottle of woody flavoured
    chardonnay with his co-star...

    32) Flummoxed? Our US chums will be if you use this word. It means
    to be confused. The typical reaction of the average Brit upon
    arriving in the US. Then again you might be 'hit for six' (i.e.
    upset to the point of falling over) by it all. Which just isn't
    cricket, eh chaps?

    33) Roundabout. Imagine you are travelling in the UK along the M3
    into Basingstoke (why I can't imagine -- it's a God forsaken place.)
    You have already worked out that a motorway is the same as a freeway
    and you are feeling pretty pleased with yourself. In front of you
    is the biggest rotary you have ever seen. In the UK, we call them
    roundabouts. To instill a morbid fear of these things in our
    children we force them to play on minature versions of them in
    playgrounds (wooden disk that turns around with bars to hold onto)
    and make them watch endless re-runs of the Magic Roundabout. This
    program was originally a french satire on politics in the late 1960s
    though it looks just like a animated kiddies show made by someone on
    SERIOUS acid. Sugar cube eating dogs indeed.

    34) Cookies. You eat these with milk and with great self control
    you only eat two at a time (you don't? naughty!). We call them
    biscuits. You call biscuits those dry crackery things that might go
    in soup (or at least in the part of the US I went to).

    35) Stuffed. To be full up after eating too many cookies. Also
    'Get Stuffed' a cookery program for insomniac students and people on
    a low income, where you are told how to make fancy versions of beans
    on toast using everyday ingredients like baked beans, bread, butter
    and curry powder. The recipies are invariably called things like
    'Currybeanytoasty-yum-yum-a-go-go'. As well, 'get stuffed' is
    something you say to someone who isn't your best mate.

    36) Randy. In the US a perfectly reasonable first name. Pity then,
    the multitude of poor Americans given this unfortunate appellation
    when they come over to old Blighty. Wherever they go, grimy street
    urchins snigger, little old ladies try desperately to stifle guffaws
    and ordinarily quite sensible members of society burst out in
    laughter. And why? In the UK, saying 'Hi, I'm Randy!' is akin to
    saying to our American cousins 'Hello friend, I'm feeling horny.'
    However, save your pity for poor soul Randy Highman who introduced
    himself to my supervisor at a conference not so long ago...

    37) Aluminium. Over here we say 'al-u-min-i-um'. You say
    'aloom-i-num'. Neither nation can spell the word....
    (Aluminiumiumium?)

    38) Kip. In the UK to have a sleep or a nap. A kip house is
    apparently a brothel. Being young and innocent I was unaware of
    this...

    39) English Swear Words. Our chums across the Atlantic should be
    warned about the following. If some English bloke comes up to you
    and uses one or more of them when addressing you, please be careful.
    He may not be friendly...

    i) Wanker. A charming little word that implies that the addresser
    is accusing the addressee of onanism. Usually accompanied by the
    coital f-word and the oedipal compound-noun. The addresser may also
    raise his right hand and portray a chillingly accurate portrayal of
    the act in question...

    ii) Bollocks. The round male dangly bits. Also, saying 'the dog's
    bollocks' is akin to stating 'this is the sh*t' in the US. Not to
    be confused in agricultural circles with 'bullocks' which are bull
    shaped and go 'moo!'.

    iii) Nancy boy. A male who may express either a sexual preference
    for his own gender or acts in a less than masculine way.

    iv) Spanner. Not only a component of every good mechanic's toolbox
    (see below) but also someone not overly blessed with intelligence or
    savoir faire. A geek, nerd, dork or a dweeb in other words.

    v) Tosser. See 'wanker' and then use your imagination... Also
    tosspot.

    vi) Slag. A woman of uncertain worth and reliability. Also used in
    English 1970s police shows (e.g. The Sweeney) when describing a
    notorious criminal. (e.g. Dosser Jenkins? That slaaaaag!).
    Originally used to describe a by-product of the (now sadly nearly
    defunct) coal mining industry.

    vii) Wanger. Many a Saturday night I have heard this word being
    shouted by rival groups of young men at each other. The dulcit
    cries of 'Oi Wanger!!' have disturbed the peace of many a town
    centre. It is a word used to either describe a penis or an attempt
    by the alcoholically challenged to say 'wanker'.

    viii) Plonker. Another willy euphenism. Immortalised in the TV
    program 'Only Fools and Horses', starring David Jason & Nicholas
    Lyndhurst -- 'You plonker Rodney!'.

    ix) Naff off. Go away. As used by the Princess Royal, Princess
    Anne. For a while she was known as the 'Naff Off Princess' in the
    tabloid press.

    x) Wazzock -- a fool or idiot.

    Strange fact: British males often use wanker, bastard, tosser,
    plonker, etc, as terms of endearment.

    40) Cars. In the UK, only luxury cars have automatic transmissions
    -- in other words the Jaguars, Rolls Royces and Bentleys of the
    world. Most cars have manual transmissions. This is because our
    roads aren't straight. As a consequence all learner drivers have to
    learn how to drive using a car with manual gears. I was told that
    in the States this is referred to as 'learning how to drive stick.'
    In the UK, asking your driving instructor whether he could teach you
    how to drive stick may cause potential embarrassment...

    41) Blowjob. Blowjob, although a word in common use now in both our
    countries was referred to as 'Plating' before the GIs came over
    during WWII. Hence the calling card of Cynthia Plaster-Caster, the
    woman who made plaster casts of the erect willies of Jimi Hendrix
    and the Dave Clark Five, amongst others, had 'Your plater or mine?'
    on her calling cards...

    42) Jelly & Jam. In the UK, jelly is either the stuff you US-types
    call jello or a seedless preserve made from fruit, sugar and pectin.
    To confuse things further, fruit preserves are generically called
    jam over here too. Hence, if you were in an English restaurant
    enjoying a piece of bread with peanut butter and fruit preserve on
    it you would be eating 'a peanut butter and jam sandwich.' BTW, I
    used to enjoy peanut and jelly sandwiches when I was little in the
    UK sense of the word... Sloppy, but very nice.

    43) Stones. To you big rock things that geologists play with. To
    us also a unit of weight. 1 stone is equal to 14 pounds. Also,
    English pints show remarkable value for money compared to their US
    conterparts -- 567ml compared to 430ml. Good thing to know when
    ordering beer.

    44) Cheeky. In the UK to say someone is 'cheeky' is to imply that
    they are awnry or suggestively rude. Much beloved of the 'Carry On'
    Movies which starred Barbara Winsor and Sid James. Typical
    dialogue...

    SJ: You don't get many of those to the pound! (Referring to BW's
    ample cleavage)

    BW: Ooohhh! Cheeky!

    SJ: Phoooarrr! I wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers!

    BW: Ooohhh! You are awful! (for a bit of variety...)

    SJ: Loveliest pair of ...eyes I ever saw!

    BW: Ooohhh! Cheeky!

    and so on ad nauseum...

    45) Khaki. In the UK a light beige colour. In US khaki can also be
    green when referring to army fatigues which are generically known as
    'khaki'.

    46) Knickers. A similar problem to 'pants' (cv). In the US they
    are knee-length trousers like what the Brits call 'breeches'. In
    the UK, they are the things that go underneath. Typically British
    men wear pants under their trousers and women wear knickers, unless
    of course, you are a Tory (Conservative) MP and then anything
    goes... Also NORWICH was an acronym used by service personel during
    WWII for '(k)Nickers Off Ready When I Come Home'. To be on the safe
    side when visiting the doctors it's best to keep your pants/knickers
    on...

    47) Wellies. In the UK a type of waterproof rubberised boot named
    after that Great Englishman, the Duke Of Wellington. You guys in
    the US would call them 'gumboots' or 'galoshes'. In the UK wellies
    are much beloved of Tory MPs with large country estates and
    farmer-types with sheep, particularly the 'Hunter' welly with the
    handy straps on the side.

    48) Warm clothing. In the UK we wear warm woolly upper garments
    during the winter which we call 'jumpers'. You call them
    'sweaters'. Boring but true. Also a long woolly dress is called a
    'jumper' in the US. I suppose both nations have the joke:

    Q: What do you get if you cross a kangaroo with a sweater?
    A: A woolly jumper.

    Groan. Somebody carbon date that joke please...

    49) Spanner. You see that long metal object in your tool kit that
    you use to adjust bolts on your car? We call that a spanner, not a
    wrench.

    50) Slash. In the US a line denoting a separation on the written
    page or on a computer, or even a rip or tear in a piece of material.
    In the UK also a euphemism for a wee, a jimmy riddle or urination.
    Also the name of a rather well known guitarist who was born in
    England and hence should have thought a little harder before
    choosing his 'nom de rock'n'roooolll, man'.

    51) Liberal. In the US someone who has enlightened and progressive
    views on abortion, welfare, health care, racial and sexual issues,
    and sympathsizes with the needs of those less fortunate than
    themselves. Or at least that's what they say. Republicans probably
    wouldn't agree with this statement... In the UK, someone is neither
    left wing nor right wing but somewhere in between. In both
    countries, 'liberal' can be used as an insult and a compliment.
    Although most Americans liberals would probably balk at the idea, in
    the UK they might be considered to be socialists. (Shock! Horror!)

    52) Snogging. You know that thing you do when you are with your
    loved one when you tickle each others tonsils? In the UK that's
    called snogging. Much beloved of kids at school discos inbetween
    swigging illicit bottles of vodka and Special Brew beer and 'getting
    on down' to Take That (screaaaaammmmm!) (popular beat combo in the
    UK much admired by girlies).

    53) Git. An undesirable and miserable person. Between 'sod' and
    'bastard' on the 'are you going to get your head kicked in?' scale.

    54) Jock. In the US, big guys who like sport, women and acting
    macho. In the UK, a Scottish person who probably also likes sport,
    women and acting macho but in a Glaswegian (i.e. from Glasgow)
    accent. Which is probably more scary since a lot of people have
    difficultly understanding them...

    55) Lemonade. In the US, non-fizzy fruit drink possibly made from
    lemons that we Brits call 'squash'. Our 'lemonade' is fizzy, akin
    to your pop or soda (depending on what part of the US you are from.)
    I was most disappointed when I found this out for the first time in
    a US cinema...

    56) Crossing the road. In the UK we love our cute fluffy and
    feathery friends. So much in fact that we name our road crossings
    after them. We have pedestrian walkways that have broad black &
    white stripes (like on the cover of 'Abbey Road' by the Beatles)
    which we call 'Zebra Crossings'. We also have crossings akin to
    yours with the 'walk/don't walk' signs on them which have a little
    red man standing still and a little green man walking. These are
    illuminated when you are supposed to stay where you are or walk
    respectively. For some inexplicable reason this is called a
    'pelican crossing'. As for the little green man flashing...

    57) Hotels. In the UK the floors in a hotel are numbered ground
    floor, first floor, second floor etc. In otherwords the first floor
    is the second floor, the second is the third and so on and so on.
    In the US, you have a more sensible numbering system. A good thing
    to note if you are a US bell-boy (UK)/ bell-hop (US) looking for
    Take That's (screaaaaammmmm!) suite on the eighth floor in a UK
    hotel. (BTW Just follow the detritus of fluffy toys and soggy
    knickers (cv)...)

    58) Waste disposal. In the UK our household waste is called
    'rubbish' and is taken away by the dustmen or bin men in their
    dustcart. In the US you have two types of household waste -- garbage
    and trash. Also, you see that piece of street furniture which you
    are supposed to put the packaging from your lunch? We call them
    bins; you call then trash cans. I was sooo confused about this.

    59) Merchant Banker. On both sides of the Atlantic an honourable
    and decent profession. In the UK, cockney rhyming slang for an
    onanist (see 'wanker'). Possibly apt.

    60) Buying a drink. Those establishments where you buy alcohol late
    at night where you are not allowed to drink it on the premises are
    called Off Licences (or Offies) in the UK and Liquor Stores in the
    US. I'm over 21 and was repeatedly carded(US)/id'ed(UK) when I
    tried to buy beer (this was before I *tried* American beer). I
    thought that a British Passport was good enough ID for a liquor
    store since it got me in the country, but no, I needed an in-state
    driver's licence. Hellooo? I'm a tourist with a British Passport
    and an English accent who is wearing a t-shirt with UK tour dates on
    the back. Don't you think I *might* be the genuine article?
    (Sorry. The incident still annoys me.)

    61) Please and sorry. In the UK, no sentence is complete with
    either or even both of these words. In the US, the former is said
    begrudgedly and 'What's the name of your lawyer?' is said instead of
    the latter.

    62) English. We speak english in the UK. So do you in the US. But
    yet we don't speak the same language...

    63) Women's things. Pads = US. Towels = UK. Tampons = everywhere.
    Do you have the ones with wings too? Do you have a patronising
    Clare Rayner-type who does the advert?

    64) Crusty. In the US the state of a bread roll when it is freshly
    baked and smelling yummy. In the UK, as well as this, a person of
    possibly no real fixed abode who engages in an alternative lifestyle
    involving travelling around the country, wearing 'alternative'
    clothes (ex-army or hippie gear), having a pragmatic attitude to
    drugs and has possibly dubious personal hygiene. They would rather
    be called 'Travellers' and I admire them for their stance against
    'straight' society. (oooh a bit of politics there...)

    65) Bum. In the UK, the definition of 'buns' (cv) describes more
    than adequately the biggest muscle in the body. In the US, a person
    whom we would call a tramp. Also the act of being a bum. I have
    been reliably informed that Take That (screaaaaammmmm!) have cute
    bums but only one (the scruffy git (cv) with the dreadlocks)
    actually looks like one...

    66) North/South divide. Ask anyone from the north of England where
    the North ends and the South begins, they might say 'Worksop' is the
    dividing line. Ask anyone from the south and they might say 'north
    of Oxfordshire' or even 'north of London'. These definitions differ
    by well over 100 hundred miles! In the north the people have cloth
    caps, whippets (racing dogs, not aerosol cans of whipped cream!),
    keep pigeons, speak in a funny way and drink bitter in grim working
    men's clubs. In the south, the people are either country yokels who
    speak in a funny way, or people with loads of money who speak like
    the Queen or brash Cockneys who speak in funny way while engaged in
    dealings of a dubious nature and drinking lager. That is, if you
    believe the stereotypes as portrayed in the media. It is all utter
    bollocks (cv).

    67) Pardon. As I said before, being sorry is all part of being
    English. We apologise for things that aren't our fault again and
    again and again. I am convinced that the first word that an English
    baby learns to say after 'Mama' and 'Dada' is 'sorry'. Anyway,
    'pardon me' is a polite way of excusing your way through a crowd or
    excusing yourself or if your bodily functions betray you in public.
    The US equivalent, 'excuse me' only seems to be used in a sarcastic
    way, i.e. 'Well excuuuuuse me!' while exchanging lawyers' telephone
    numbers.

    68) Lorry. A UK truck. A word used in the tongue twister 'Red
    Lorry Yellow Lorry' by parents to torture their kids. Try it.
    You'll hate me for it.

    69) Irony. Along with sarcasm, the basis of English humour.
    Totally lost on most of our American chums. Saying '...NOT!' is not
    sarcasm.

    70) Easy. When an English girl says 'I'm easy' she is not saying
    'Please sleep with me.' She is saying 'I don't mind what we do.'
    Then again in the presence of Take That (screaaaaammmmm!) who knows?

    71) Bonk. In a similar vein, to bonk someone in the UK is to enjoy
    sexual congress with them. It also means to hit someone, usually on
    the head. The two might be related if you like that sort of
    thing...

    72) Rumpty. The latest word coined by the British Tabloid Press for
    fun stuff in the dark. Obviously they got bored with bonking...
    Anyway, a typical sex scandal headline in the Sun (infamous tabloid
    paper owned by Rupert Murdock) would read 'Robbie-ex-from-Take-That
    (screaaaaammmmm!) caught in four in bed rumpty with Divine Brown, OJ
    and some ugly Tory Minister who will shortly be resigning'....

    73) Suspenders. In the UK those things that women hold their
    stocking up with. You call them garters. Confusingly, when I was
    in Cub Scouts, the things with the tags on them you used to hold
    your socks up were called garters too. These were instruments of
    torture -- ideal for pinging and causing yelps of pain during prayer
    on church parade services. Some children are sooo cruel. Anyway,
    what you call suspenders we call braces.

    74) Aubergine. Frankly foul purple vegetable used in moussaka. You
    call them eggplants.

    75) Dinky. In the US something that is small or poorly made. In
    the UK something small and cute. I'm not sure if you had Dinky Cars
    in the US, but these toy cars are now worth a fortune over here.
    And I gave all mine away too (sob!)...

    76) Table. Imagine you are in a boardroom. The chairperkin (note
    dubious PC nomenclature) says 'I reckon we should table the motion
    about the McBigcorp account'. If you were American you would think
    'Gee, I guess we can forget about that for a while' -- i.e. the
    motion has been postponed. If you were English, you would think
    'Jolly good show old bean! I fancied (cv) talking about that one!',
    i.e. the motion has been brought up for discussion. How do people
    in trans-atlantic companies cope?

    77) Twat. In the US, calling someone a twat is unwise since you are
    accusing him of resembling a part of the female anatomy. In the UK,
    a mild insult meaning 'idiot' much beloved of school children who
    might get into trouble with naughtier words.

    78) Swank. In both countries to be 'swanky' implies that you are
    showy and vulgar, or to say that something is 'swanky' could also
    mean that it is posh or expensive. Comic book characters (e.g.
    those in UK comics The Beano and Whizzer & Chips) are often seen
    going into the 'Hotel de Swank' after getting money for some good
    turn, where they promptly blow it all on a plate of mashed potato
    with sausages sticking out of it. I have never seen such a delicacy
    on offer in the hotels I have been in, much to my disappointment.
    Anyway, I have also been reliably informed that 'Swank' is also the
    name of a US DIY magazine populated by young women who have great
    difficulty keeping their clothes on or their legs together. They
    also wear high heels in bed. Weird. I have a theory about how the
    magazine got named. The editor was wandering around Soho, London
    (the red light district) one day when he heard a Londoner shout 'S'
    wank innit?' (It is a wank(cv) isn't it). Thinking, 'Aha -- I'm au
    fait with English slang: hence 'Swank' would be a great name for a
    porno mag' he toddled off back to the US and created said magazine.
    Unfortunately, in this context the Londoner was probably referring
    to his job being pointless...

    79) Potty. In both countries 'potty' is that little plastic seat
    that kids are forced to use when they need to expel bodily waste
    when they are too big for nappies(UK) / diapers(US). Americans take
    the meaning of this word into adult life unchanged. English chaps
    use 'potty' to describe someone who is a bit silly, dolalley or, to
    be frank, mad. After watching the film 'The Madness of King
    George', I can see how the two meanings might have a common
    ancestry...

    80) Bloody. You guys might describe an item covered in blood as
    'bloody'. So might we. 'Bloody' is also a mild English swear word
    which is always used in cheesy programs made by Americans about the
    UK. Hardly anyone over here uses it anymore. Similarly, the word
    'bleeding'. We use 'f*ck' just as much as you guys, the big
    difference being that we can use it on network television after 9pm
    in a non-gratutious way, whereas you can only shout 'f*ck' in the
    privacy of your own home. So there.

    81) Grass. You can walk on it and you could smoke it (if it wasn't
    illegal). In the UK you can also do it as well. To grass on
    someone means to tell on him, usually to an authority figure like a
    policeman or a teacher. Someone who tells on a lot of people is
    known as a 'supergrass' -- most often used when describing IRA
    informers who do the dirty on their Republican chums. Also
    'Supergrass' is the name of a pop combo who are rather more popular
    over here than they are in the US. Whether they named themselves
    after this definition or one more akin to why Green Day are called
    'Green Day' is uncertain...

    82) Policemen. UK policemen are unarmed. As a consequence I feel
    safer over here than I did in the US. Anyway, the following are
    used to describe policemen: bobbies, peelers, filth, cops, pigs,
    the old Bill (or the Bill), rozzers, coppers, a plod or perhaps
    'bastards' if you are feeling lucky. I'm not sure how many of those
    you guys might use. Imagine you are a tea leaf (thief) and you spot
    a car in good nick (reasonable condition) so you decide to nick
    (steal) it. Along comes PC (Police Constable) Plod, puts his hand
    on your shoulder and says 'You're nicked mate!' even though he isn't
    your friend and he probably isn't wielding a knife. This is your
    cue to say 'It's a fair cop! You got me banged to rights and make
    no mistake. You'll find the rest of the swag (illgotten gains) in
    the sack!' if you are stupid or 'I aint done nuffink copper!' if you
    are aren't.

    83) Crime and punishment. If you had 'been a naughty boy' and taken
    to court, you may find yourself confronted by a 'beak' (a
    magistrate), who might send you down for some time 'at her Majesty's
    Pleasure'. You would go to gaol (or jail), or 'nick' as it is
    sometimes confusingly called.

    84) Banger. Three meanings in the UK: a sausage, an old car well
    past it's prime and a small firework that makes a loud noise. If
    you were repulsed by the idea of eating a faggot (cv), the British
    banger would really make your stomach turn since it makes even a
    Taco Bell meal look like it contains high quality meat. The Tabloid
    press seem to think that the European Economic Community (the UK is
    a rather reluctant member) wants to ban the British Banger. WRONG!
    They just want to reduce the breadcrumb, eyes and goolies (male
    genitals) content and put meat in instead...

    85) Conk. A nose. Also conkers is a game were small children
    thread horsechest nuts to lengths of string and hit the nuts
    together. The first nut to break is the loser. A conker that beats
    many conkers is known as a 'bully', as in a 'bully-niner' is a
    conker that has beaten nine other conkers. It has probably been
    soaked in vinegar, baked in an oven or scooped out and filled with
    concrete. If such a conker hit you on the conk you would know all
    about it.

    86) Soldiers. On both sides of the Atlantic, members of the
    military who run around shooting things while wearing khaki (cv).
    Also in the UK, soldiers are pieces of buttered toast or bread that
    you dip in your soft boiled egg at breakfast. Yum!

    87) Half inch. To you, half an inch or 1.27cm. To us, to borrow
    without asking first. The likely activity of a Tea Leaf (cv) in
    otherwords.

    88) Cock. There are four obvious meanings that are common to both
    the English and the Americans. A willy (penis), a male bird, to
    ready a gun and to knock or place something off centre. In England
    there is a fifth. If a person says 'Ello cock!' they are greeting
    you as a close personal friend. The first meaning may also apply if
    you are a *very* close personal friend and the third may apply if
    the first makes it's unwanted presence known in an unsuitable
    situation...

    89) Squash. To you a vegetable. To us a fruit drink similar to US
    lemonade. Also called 'cordial', though how friendly a bottle of
    orange squash can be is open to debate.

    90) Mug. There are many meanings to this word, e.g. a vessel to
    contain your 'cuppa' (cup of tea). In the UK, a mug is a fool or an
    idiot and to mug up is to learn. In the US a mug is a thug or a
    hoodlum (sortened version of mugger I suppose). In otherwords, you
    better mug up on how not to be a mug before you are mugged by a mug.

    91) Drug slang. In the UK we have some great rock festivals like
    Reading, Phoenix and Glastonbury (yeah!). You guys have
    Lollapalooza (okay) and Woodstock (wasn't the second one a dodo or
    what?). Anyway, we have some drug slang which you might hear if you
    were into such things at these events (not that I'm condoning them
    but...)

    Vera Lynns (or Veras) -- skins or tobacco papers (named after a WWII
    singer.)

    Mandies -- Mandy Smiths (very young ex wife of ex Rolling Stone Bill
    Wyman) or spliffs.

    Billy Whizz -- speed or amphetamine -- named after a comic character
    who could run very fast.

    E -- ecstacy or MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine). Much hilarity
    ensues when a contestant on the UK quiz show 'Blockbusters' asks
    host Bob Holness 'for an e'. Ho ho.

    There are many others...

    92) Mean. In the UK to be mean implies you are frugal to the point
    of being stingy. In the US you might be mean (i.e. aggressive)
    because of that English guy's inability to get his wallet out and
    buy you a beer (cv).

    93) Autumn. My favourite time of year when the leaves turn orange,
    red and yellow. You call it 'Fall'. I prefer Autumn.

    94) Candy. We call them sweets. Unless they are American
    confectionary, then we call them candy too. I have met quite a few
    Americans girls called 'Candy' but never ever an English one called
    'Sweets'.

    95) Cutlery. The impliments you eat with. You guys also call them
    flatware.

    96) Sucker. In both countries a fool or a silly person. Also a
    piece of candy on the end of a stick that us Brits call a lollipop
    or a lolly. We also call money 'lolly' too to make things just that
    little bit more confusing...

    97) Z. The twenty sixth letter of the alphabet. You call it 'Zee';
    we call it 'Zed'. A whole generation in England has had to relearn
    the alphabet after hearing the 'Alphabet song' on Sesame Street.
    Sadder still, the song doesn't rhyme with the English 'Zed'. At
    least the 'Numbers song' works (1-2-3-4-5, 6-7-8-9-10, 11-12, do
    do-do do-do do-do do etc etc...)

    98) Tire. When visiting the garage make sure you know the
    difference between a UK tire (band of metal placed around the rim of
    a wheel designed to strengthen it) and a US tire (pneumatic effort
    called a 'tyre' in the UK). If you make a mistake it could be a
    very long and bumpy ride home.

    99) 99. In the US purely the number before one hundred. In the UK
    a yummy variety of ice cream consisting of a scoop of vanilla
    soft-scoop ice cream in wafer cone with a chocolate flake stuck in
    it. The cone is specially designed to allow the melting ice cream
    to flow all over your hand before you get to eat it.

    100) Centennial. Dull but apt. You call the period lasting a
    hundred years a centenary.

    There you have it. One hundred definitions and quite a few extra
    along the way. If anyone else has any more suggestions please drop
    me a line at: d.j.barton@durham.ac.uk


    Comments

    Apostrophes


    I think that I shall never see
    Worse use of the apostrophe

    Than greets me early every day,
    As morning papers come my way.

    The St. Pete Times reports the date
    Of *it's* vice president debate. (1)

    How often we see mis-used "it's"
    Enough to give us pedants fits!

    The signs in town find "pig's" for "pigs"
    And "car's" and "bar's" and "wig's" for "wigs"

    TruValue is the store for "key's"
    And one place offers "canopy's" (!)

    If you've apostrophes to spare,
    I'd like some "robin's" for my hair.

    Meanwhile we'll try, the fools like me,
    To tame the wild apostrophe.



    (1) St. Petersburg Times, Monday Sept. 23, Page 1, lead article,
    Julia Campbell byline. Headline: "A day after St. Petersburg learned
    it's presidential debate would carry vice in the title, the debate
    continued over how the switch came about."

    Comments

    Ask Mr. Language Person
    by Dave Barry


    Once again our glands are swollen with pride as we present "Ask
    Mister Language Person," the column that answers your common
    questions about grammar, punctuation and sheep diseases. Mister
    Language Person is the only authority who has been formally
    recognized by the American Association of English Teachers On
    Medication. ("Hey!" were their exact words. "It's YOU!")

    So without farther adieu, let us turn to our first question,
    which comes from a reader who has just returned from a trip
    to England.

    Q. I have just returned from a trip to England, and . . .

    A. We KNOW that. Get to the point! You're wasting space!

    Q. OK, sorry. Anyway, I have just returned from a trip to England, and I
    noticed that the English put an extra "u" in certain words, such
    as "rumour," "humour" and "The Roulling Stounes." Also they call
    some things by totally different names, such as "lift" when they
    mean "elevator," "bonnet" when they mean "lorry" and "twit" when
    they mean "former Vice President Quayle." My question is, don't
    they have any dentists over there?

    A. Apparently nout.

    Q. Please explain the correct usage of the word "neither."

    A. Grammatically, "neither" is used to begin sentences with compound
    subjects that are closely related and wear at least a size 24,
    as in: "Neither Esther nor Bernice have passed up many Ding
    Dongs, if you catch my drift." It may also be used at the end
    of a carnivorous injunction, as in: "And don't touch them
    weasels, neither."

    Q. My husband and I recently received a note containing this sentence:
    "Give us the money, or you seen the last of you're child." I say
    that the correct wording should be "you have done seen the last
    of you're child," but my husband, Warren, insists it should be
    "you have been done seeing the last of you're child." This has
    become a real bone of contention, to the point where Warren
    refuses to come out of the utility shed. What do you think?

    A. We think that an excellent name for a band would be: "The Bones of
    Contention."

    Q. I have noticed that newspapers often state that they have obtained
    information from "informed sources." Who are these sources?

    A. We cannot tell you.

    Q. Why not?

    A. Because the Evil Wizard will turn them back into snakes.

    Q. As an employee of the Internal Revenue Service, I have been tasked
    with the paradigm of making our income-tax forms more "user
    friendly" for the average American citizen, who according to
    our research has the IQ of a sugar beet. I am currently working
    on this sentence from the form 1040 instructions: "A taxpayer
    who dies prior to the fourth trimester of the previous non-exempt
    year must, within 10 fiscal days of kicking the bucket, file
    Form 94-82348-RIP, which has not been available since the
    Eisenhower administration." How can I make this sentence less
    confusing?

    A. According to the Association of Professional Tax Professionals, a much
    clearer wording would be: " . . . which has not been available
    since the Eisenhower administration (1952-60)."

    Q. When should I say "phenomena," and when should I say "phenomenon?"

    A. "Phenomena" is what grammarians refer to as a "subcutaneous invective,"
    which is a word used to describe skin disorders, as in "Bob has
    a weird phenomena on his neck shaped like Ted Koppel." Whereas
    "phenomenon" is used to describe a backup singer in the 1957
    musical group "Duane Furlong and the Phenomenons."

    Q. What was their big hit?

    A. "You Are the Carburetor of My Heart."

    Q. What is the most fascinating newspaper photograph caption you have
    ever seen?

    A. That would be the caption to a 1994 photograph from the Billings, Mont.,
    Gazette, sent in by alert reader David Martin. The photo, which
    accompanies a very serious story on efforts to end the civil war
    in Angola, shows some bikini-clad women on a beach, looking at a
    man who is holding a monkey. The caption states, in its entirety:
    "An Angolan carries his pet monkey Sunday on a beach in Angola as
    leaders of the country sign a new peace agreement."

    Q. Can you please reprint the top two headlines from the cover of the
    October, 1996, issue of Reader's Digest?

    A. Certainly:

    FIRM UP YOUR BOTTOM
    You Can Raise Your Child's IQ

    Q. In Publication No. 51 of the U.S. Postal Service, which was sent in
    by alert reader Oljan Repic, how is the term "Special Handling"
    defined?

    A. It is defined as "a service that is optional except when mailing
    honeybees to Canada."



    TODAY'S BUSINESS WRITING TIP: In writing proposals to prospective clients,
    be sure to clearly state the benefits they will receive:

    WRONG: "I sincerely believe that it is to your advantage to accept
    this proposal."

    RIGHT: "I have photographs of you naked with a squirrel."

    GOT A QUESTION FOR MISTER LANGUAGE PERSON? That is not our problem.



    Comments


    BOOK(tm)






    A new aid to rapid--almost magical--learning has made its
    appearance. Indications are that if it catches on all the
    electronic gadgets, currently on the market, will be so much junk. The
    new device is known as Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge. The makers
    generally call it by the acronym... BOOK.

    .===. Many advantages are claimed over the
    / /_) ) old-style learning and teaching aids on
    / /_) ) U I L T - I N which most people are brought up nowadays.
    '====` It has no wires, no electric circuit to
    .====. break down. No connection is needed to
    / / / / an electricity power point. It is made
    / /_/ / R D E R L Y entirely without mechanical parts to go
    '====` wrong or need replacement.
    .====.
    / / / / Anyone can use a BOOK, even children,
    / /_/ / R G A N I Z E D and it fits comfortably into the hands.
    '====` It can be conveniently used sitting in an
    .=. .=. armchair by the fire.
    / /_/_/
    / /~\ \ N O W L E D G E How does this revolutionary, unbelievably
    '=' '=' easy invention work? Basically a BOOK
    consists only of a large number of paper
    "sheets." These may run to hundreds where a BOOK covers a lengthy sub-
    ject. Each sheet bears a number in sequence, so
    that the sheets cannot be used in the wrong order. , ,
    |\\\\ ////|
    Each sheet of paper presents the user with an infor- | \\\v/// |
    mation sequence in the form of symbols, which he or | |~~~| |
    she absorbs optically for automatic registration on | |===| |
    the brain. When one sheet has been assimilated a | | B | |
    flick of the finger turns it over and further infor- | | O | |
    mation is found on the other side. By using both | | O | |
    sides of each sheet in this way a great economy is \ | K | /
    effected, thus reducing both the size and cost of a \|===|/
    BOOK. No buttons need to be pressed to move from one '---'
    sheet to another, to open or close the BOOK, or to start it
    working.
    A BOOK may be taken up at any time and used by merely
    , , opening it. Instantly it is ready for use. Nothing has
    /////| to be connected up or switched on. The user may turn at
    ///// | will to any sheet, going backwards or forwards as he
    |~~~| | pleases. A sheet is provided near the beginning as a
    |===| | location finder for any required information sequence,
    | b | | known as a "Contents" sheet.
    | o | |
    | o | | A small accessory, available at trifling extra cost, is
    | k | / the BOOKmark. This enables the user to pick up his study
    |===|/ where he left off on the previous learning session. A
    '---' BOOKmark is versatile and may be used in any BOOK.

    The initial cost varies with the size and subject /|~|\
    matter. Already a vast range of BOOKs are available, / |=| \
    covering every conceivable subject and adjusted to / | | \
    different levels of aptitude. One BOOK, small | | | |
    enough to be held in the hands, may contain an | | | |
    entire learning schedule. | | | |
    | |=| |
    Once purchased, BOOK requires no further upkeep | //A\\ |
    cost; no batteries are needed, since the power, | /// \\\ |
    thanks to an ingenious device patented by the |/// \\\| jgs
    makers, is supplied by the brain of the user. ` `
    BOOKs may be stored on handy shelves and for ease of reference the subject
    of the BOOK is normally indicated on the back of the binding.

    Altogether the Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge (BOOK) seems to have
    great advantages with no drawbacks. We predict a big future for it.

    .======. .-----,,----------------------------------------,_
    /((((((()\ : ||---------------------------------------< `-._
    ((/// \)) : ||----------------------------------------> _D
    ((/`__ __()) : ||---------------------------------------< _.-'
    /`-{_o}^{o_}'\ `-----``----------------------------------------'
    \_ _\ _/
    \ .__, / ---------- Press Review: -----------
    \ `-' /
    /`----'\ *BOOK* does not, in spite of the claims, seem
    .-"""`------'`""-. "to have great advantages with no drawbacks".
    jgs ` Soon, it probably won't even be legal. Consider:

    "It can be conveniently used sitting in an armchair by the fire." Being
    paper, it might burn in the fire. Probably fire laws in most locations
    wouldn't allow its use there. Worse, such a device, which encourages
    close proximity of the user to fire, will be outlawed by OSHA's request.

    "Each sheet bears a number in sequence, so that the sheets cannot be
    used in the wrong order." How quaint; to think that the programmer
    would be allowed to turn over such an important task to the user!
    "Cannot" is clearly misuse; any user could incorrectly turn to the wrong
    page. A proper user interface might correct that, of course, such as
    requiring that each sheet be torn off to expose the next. This is a
    clear conflict with "The user may turn at will to any sheet, going
    backwards or forwards as he pleases."

    "A flick of the finger turns it over" will obviously be a major user
    interface flaw. Such over-reliance on the finger invites lawsuits over
    carpal-tunnel and other debilitating syndromes.

    "BOOKs may be stored on handy shelves and for ease of reference". The
    user interface obviously needs more work before such a system can be
    practical.

    "The motive power -- is supplied by the brain of the user." Clearly,
    the inventors have not examined recent trends. No serious person would
    suggest even expecting a "user" to have a brain present, much less to
    use it so continuously.

    We suggest the inventors return to their cubicles and do a thorough
    associative search of various data banks, like the rest of us, and
    forget this nonsense.






    Comments

    Michener Didn't Write For Mere Book Potatos
    by Bill Hall, Lewiston, Idaho Tribune, Wednesday, October 22, 1997


    James Michener was a novelist who wrote for people who feel guilty about
    reading novels. And I do.

    If I read an ordinary novel, I feel like I'm just wasting my time, just
    having fun when decent behavior demands that I spend the time improving
    myself by reading something factual. With Michener, you could do both
    -- have fun and learn something.

    That explains why, though I have long doted on Michener, a lot of my
    friends never have. Frankly, a lot of my friends read nothing but
    novels. And they do it solely for pleasure, which is morally lax.

    When I read a novel, I always feel I shouldn't be doing that. It
    strikes me as pretty much the same thing as having sex for pleasure
    rather than strictly for procreation. And we all know how wrong that
    is.

    For that reason, I have read far more nonfiction than fiction. A person
    has only so much time for reading in his life, especially given all the
    football games on television. So I always feel guilty when I am reading
    a book that is of no great import, a book that is just a story, just
    entertainment.

    In fact, it is bizarre that novel reading is so highly regarded. It's
    totally frivolous, intellectually lazy, something no mentally energetic
    person would do.

    Even more amazing, it is often compared with television watching in a
    way that puts down television watchers. If one person is reading and
    the other person is watching television, book snobs just automatically
    assume that the reader is noble and the television watcher is a boob.

    But what if the person watching television is watching a program of
    history or science or an opera and the reader is reading a romance novel
    or a murder mystery? Which one is the mental slob and which one is the
    energetic intellectual?

    Actually, there's a lot of that same kind of smugness throughout the
    entertainment world. Opera is an example. Opera is just a play set to
    music, often a simple-minded play. But if I listen to and enjoy Willie
    Nelson (and I do), I'm a bum in some circles. But if I listen to and
    enjoy Luciano Pavarotti (and I do), I am a high-class guy in those same
    snooty circles.

    And yet it's kind of a toss-up which of the two is the greater
    musician. Pavarotti was born with a better set of pipes and has put a
    lot of sweat into making the most of what he has. On the other hand,
    Willie Nelson has written many timeless melodies and lyrics and put a
    lot of sweat into becoming a superb guitar player. I wouldn't want to
    choose between the two musicians and I don't have to so I'm going to
    continue enjoying them both.

    Nonetheless, the way these things go, if you are reading a novel written
    by Willy Nelson and I am watching Pavarotti on television, you are the
    classy one and I'm the dumb couch potato. But novels are also read on
    the couch, you potatoes.

    Nonfiction books are a different matter altogether. If I am reading a
    biography of Warren Harding or the history of pickle packing in America,
    I come to the end of the book knowing stuff that most people don't
    know. I have added to my vast store of useless knowledge and improved
    my mind. And we all know in this society that the only thing more noble
    than improving your mind is having sex strictly for reasons of
    procreation and without having any fun whatsoever.

    Michener's books are kind of like sex for procreation while accidentally
    enjoying it if you're not careful. His books usually amount to a short
    course on some important body of knowledge, but wrapped palatably inside
    the plot and characterization of a novel.

    For instance, his novel "The Source" is the most enjoyable short course
    on comparative religion you will ever encounter.

    But most regular novel readers I know -- book potatoes -- don't agree.
    They read to escape the cares of their drab lives, using reading as a
    narcotic and not to learn anything practical, even if what they learn is
    sugar-coated in a good yarn.

    Michener not only wrote for conscientious people like me but was a
    conscientious person himself. The obituary said that at the time of his
    death he was studying and writing about the ailments that killed him,
    learning about dying and not just dying for pleasure of its benevolent
    release.

    This is football season so I may not find time to read what he wrote,
    but I look forward to the mini-series on television.



    Comments

    Bookstores
    by >Jim Rosenberg


    I love to browse through bookstores. This is due chiefly to the fact
    that I am a world class phony, as you certainly know by now. A
    bookstore is the Carnegie Hall for phonies -- a place where the best of
    the best can display their talents. Although my true tastes run to
    books like "James Worthy: The Man Can Flat-Out Dunk!" I just like the
    feeling I get rooting through the snootier sections. It's almost as if
    I might be having a ... {brace yourself} thought. It's liberating to
    escape the shallowness of my caveman mind into the world of people who
    have not only had an idea -- but put it on paper. On that rarest of
    occasions when I have an idea, I must call everyone I know and disgorge
    it ("For Pete's sake Mom, I know it's 3 AM, but hear me out -- with a
    flat tax, everyone pays the *same* percentage!"). By the time I'm done,
    I'm so tired I can't be bothered to write it down.

    Sadly, the pleasure of shopping at bookstores has been ruined for me
    lately when I began to realize what most people are doing there. I hate
    to burst your bubble, but the majority of book shoppers aren't looking
    for "Absalom, Absalom" -- they have some horrible problem. It's true.
    While cruising the shelves fingering up unreadable classics to impress
    my fellow browsers, I began to examine what they were reading. I had
    hoped to give them a silent "You The Man!" to show solidarity with my
    other buddies in Le Societe de Plus Grand Tete. Then, I noticed that
    most people were in the "Metaphysics" or "Personal Development" section
    looking at books with titles like "You're Not Going To Believe This --
    But Other People Have Your Pathetic Problem!" or "Women Who Love Men Who
    Love Fabio." This made me very sad. I have paid closer attention to
    these self-help books ever since that day.

    Those looking to hammer the final nail in the coffin of American culture
    need look no further than the self-help section of the bookstore. As a
    trained observer of societal behavior (credentials: one remote control,
    one television, one chair), let me be the first to say, in layman's
    terms: we is one screwed up society. I had no idea how many isms,
    syndromes, complexes and the like were gumming up the gutter. On the
    one hand, it's comforting to know that the ship of fools is fully
    booked, but on the other hand will the last normal person in the United
    States please pick up the white courtesy phone? A man right next to me
    was thumbing through a book about assertiveness, but quickly shelved it
    when I gave him a stern look of disapproval. Next to him, a woman eyed
    me hungrily while browsing "Women Who Love Men Who Are Happily Married
    Mediocre Humor Columnists." In the back corner, I saw a shifty looking
    guy cram "Overcoming Your Shoplifting Problem" into his already stuffed
    trench coat. I stopped looking when I saw Dad at the checkout counter
    with "When Sons Disappoint."

    As I leafed through the books, I found that they were all essentially
    the same. The first few chapters defined the problem. ("You are
    single"). The next few chapters were free-form commiseration. ("Single
    people are unloved"). The final chapters told you to stop whatever it
    was you were doing, without saying how ("Get married").

    Soon, my bookstore experience polluted my other shopping. Moving from
    Atticus Books right down to Phar-Mor, I took notice of what my fellow
    shoppers were buying. Maybe it was a bad day, but the Saturday morning
    crowd out with me got up early to find cures for ringworm, bad breath,
    bunions, and matters of a highly personal nature. Suddenly, I felt as
    if my sniffles could wait. I'd rather blow my nose to a bloody red pulp
    than get secondhand ringworm.

    After much moping, a thought floated down from the clouds and
    accidentally landed in my head. I thought of an idea that would end my
    gloominess and make me a millionaire: *The Grosseteria*! I am going to
    open the world's first Superstore for Dysfunctional people. The more I
    think about it, the more it's a can't miss opportunity. There is safety
    in numbers. Embarrassed sufferers will flock to The Grosseteria safe in
    the knowledge that every other shopper is deficient in some way. At
    News & Novels, the guy next to you might be a civil war buff, but at The
    Grosseteria it's more likely he just enjoys dressing up in petticoats.

    I'm sharing my million dollar idea in print because I trust you. If I
    see a Grosseteria open up before mine, I'm going to be awfully mad, and
    consider this: statistics show that there are only three regular
    readers of this column. So don't even think about it, Mom.


    Comments

    Buzz Word Phrase Synthesizer


    Anyone who is familiar with the academic, business or government worlds
    knows that there seems to be a rule that says "When choosing between a
    simple and a more abstract term, always pick the more confusing one".

    In the past, this has been a great setback for clear-headed writers and
    speakers. But now modern technology has now found a solution - the
    Systematic Buzz Phrase Synthesizer.

    The synthesizer is simple to use. Whenever you want to say nothing in an
    authoritative way, simply pick any three-digit number, and then get the
    matching word from each column. For example, 424 produces "functional
    monitored programming," which should impress anyone untrained in
    detecting high-level abstractions.

    COLUMN 1 COLUMN 2 COLUMN 3

    0 Integrated 0 Management 0 Options
    1 Total 1 Organisational 1 Flexibility
    2 Systematised 2 Monitored 2 Capability
    3 Parallel 3 Reciprocal 3 Mobility
    4 Functional 4 Digital 4 Programming
    5 Responsive 5 Logistical 5 Concept
    6 Optional 6 Transitional 6 Time-phase
    7 Synchronised 7 Incremental 7 Projection
    8 Compatible 8 Fourth-generation 8 Hardware
    9 Balanced 9 Policy 9 Contingency




    Comments

    Correct Definitions



    ABSENT MINDED PERSON -- One who stands in front of the mirror for hours
    trying to remember where he has seen the person before.

    LECTURE -- An art of transferring information from the notes of the
    lecturer to the notes of the students without passing through "the minds
    of either."

    OPPORTUNISTS -- One who starts having a bath when he/she accidentally
    falls in a river.

    CONFERENCE -- The confusion of one man multiplied by the number present.

    COMPROMISE -- The art of dividing a cake in such a way that everybody
    believes he got the biggest piece.

    LOVE AFFAIRS -- Something like cricket where one-day internationals are
    more popular than a five day test.

    TEARS -- The hydraulic force by which masculine willpower is defeated by
    feminine waterpower.

    DICTIONARY -- A place where divorce comes before marriage.

    CIGARETTE -- A pinch of tobacco rolled in paper with fire at one end & a
    fool on the other.

    CONFERENCE ROOM -- A place where everybody talks, nobody listens &
    everybody disagrees later on.




    Comments

    Dave Barry on Grammar


    It's time for another edition of "ask mister language person," the column
    that answers your questions about grammer, vocabulary, and those little
    whaddayacallem marks.

    Q. What are the rules regarding capital letters?

    A. Capital letters are used in three grammatical situations:
    1. At the beginning of proper or former nouns.
    EXAMPLES: Capitalize "Queen," "Tea Party," and "Rental Tuxedo."
    Do NOT capitalize "dude," "cha-cha," or "boogerhead."
    2. To indicate a situation of great military importance.
    EXAMPLE: "Get on the TELSAT and tell STAFCON that COMWIMP wants
    some BBQ ASAP."
    3. To indicate that the subject of the sentence has been bitten by a
    badger.
    EXAMPLE: "I'll just stick my hand in here and OUCH!"

    Q. Is there any difference between "happen" and "transpire"?

    A. Grammatically, "happen" is a collaborating inductive that should be
    used in predatory conjunctions such as: "Me and Norm here would like
    to buy you two happening mommas a drink." Whereas "transpire" is a
    suppository verb that should always be used to indicate that an event
    of some kind has transpired.
    WRONG: "Lester got one of them electric worm stunners."
    RIGHT: "What transpired was, Lester got one of them electric worm
    stunners."

    Q. Do you take questions from attorneys?

    A. Yes. That will be $475.

    Q. No, seriously, I'm an attorney, and i want to know which was correct:
    "With regards to the aforementioned" blah blah blah.
    OR:
    "With regards to the aforementioned" yak yak yak.

    A. That will be $850.

    Q. Please explain the expression "this does not bode well."

    A. It means something is not boding the way it should. It could be boding
    better.

    Q. Did an alert reader named Linda Bevard send you an article from the
    December 19, 1990, Denver Post concerning a Dr. Stanley Biber, who
    was elected commisioner in Las Animas County, and who is identified
    in the article as "the world's leading sex-change surgeon"?

    A. Yes

    Q. And what did Dr. Biber say when he was elected?

    A. He said, quote: "We pulled it off."

    Q. Please explain the correct usage of "exact same."

    A. "Exact same" is a corpuscular phrase that should be used only when
    something is exactly the same as something. It is the opposite (or
    "antibody") of "a whole nother."
    EXAMPLE: "This is the exact same restaurant where Alma found weevils
    in her pie. They gave her a whole nother slice."

    Q. I am going to deliver the eulogy at a funeral, and I wish to know
    whether it is correct to say: "Before he died, LaMont was an active
    person." or "LaMont was an active person before he died."

    A. The American Funeral Industry Council advises us that the preferred
    term is "bought the farm."

    Q. Where should punctuation go?

    A. It depends on the content.
    EXAMPLE: Hi Mr Johnson exclaimed Bob Where do you want me to put
    these punctuation marks Oh just stick them there at the end of the
    following sentence answered Mr Johnson OK said Bob ".!"."?"?,,".."!".
    The exception to the rule is teenagers who should place a question
    mark after every few words to make sure people are still listening.
    EXAMPLE: "So there's this kid at school? Named Derrick? And he's
    like kind of weird? Like he has a picture of Newt Gingrich carved in
    his hair? So one day he had to blow his nose? Like really bad? But
    he didn't have a tissue? So he was like sitting next to Tracy Steakle?
    And she had this sweater? By like Ralph Lauren? So Derrick takes the
    sleeve? And he like..."

    PROFESSIONAL WRITING TIP: In writing a novel or play, use "foreshadowing"
    to subtly hint at the outcome of the plot.
    WRONG: "O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?"
    RIGHT: "O Romeo, Romeo! I wonder if we're both going to stab
    ourselves at the end of the plot?"





    Comments

    Double Positive


    A linguistics professor was lecturing to his class one day.
    "In English," he said, "A double negative forms a positive.

    In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is
    still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double
    positive can form a negative."

    A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."




    Comments

    Doublespeak


    Who says we're not getting too politically correct?
    Here are some excerpts from the Quarterly Review of Doublespeak:




    A reader reports that when the patient died, the attending
    doctor recorded the following on the patient's chart: "Patient
    failed to fulfill his wellness potential."

    Another doctor reports that in a recent issue of the American
    Journal of Family Practice, fleas were called "hematophagous
    arthropod vectors."

    The letter from the Air Force colonel in charge of safety said
    that rocket boosters weighing more than 300,000 pounds "have an
    explosive force upon surface impact that is sufficient to exceed
    the accepted overpressure threshold of physiological damage for
    exposed personnel." In other words, if a 300,000-pound booster
    rocket falls on someone, he or she is not likely to survive.

    A reader reports that the Army calls them "vertically deployed
    anti-personnel devices." You probably call them bombs.

    At McClellan Air Force base in Sacramento, California, civilian
    mechanics were placed on "non-duty, non-pay status."
    That is, they were fired.

    A personal ad from an unidentified newspaper announces that a
    "formerly single man" seeks a single or married woman.

    After taking the trip of a lifetime, our reader sent his
    twelve rolls of film to Kodak for developing (or "processing,"
    as Kodak likes to call it) only to receive the following notice:
    "We must report that during the handling of your twelve 35mm
    Kodachrome slide orders, the films were involved in an unusual
    laboratory experience." The use of the passive is a particularly
    nice touch, don't you think? Nobody did anything to the films;
    they just had a bad experience. Of course our reader can always
    go back to Tibet and take his pictures all over again, using
    the twelve replacement rolls Kodak so generously sent him.

    The description on the package of Stouffer's Veal Tortellini
    with Tomato Sauce says it contains "exquisite egg pasta."
    The list of ingredients, however, includes "cooked noodle
    product."

    In St. Louis there is an oriental rug store that advertises
    "semi-antique" rugs.

    The Minnesota Board of Education voted to consider requiring
    all students to do some "volunteer work" as a prerequisite to
    high school graduation.

    Senator Orrin Hatch said that "capital punishment is our
    society's recognition of the sanctity of human life."

    Scott L. Pickard, spokesperson for the Massachusetts Department
    of Public Works, calls them "ground-mounted confirmatory route
    markers." You probably call them road signs, but then you don't
    work in a government agency.

    It's not "elderly" or "senior citizens" anymore. Now it's
    "chronologically experienced citizens."

    According to the FAA, the propeller blade didn't break off, it
    was just a case of "uncontained blade liberation."




    Comments


    Down With Plain English



    From the Michigan Law Journal, 5/97, written by one Alan Falk, a
    Commissioner of the MI Court of Appeals, in Lansing... as a letter to
    the editor of same.


    "On behalf of abecedarians and logodaedalophiles, I rise to denounce the
    paraphasts who wish to foist a "Plain English" law upon us.

    Never mind that these soi-disant aolists have battologically assailed us
    in the pages of our professional journal, condemning the lexiphanes and
    logodaedalist with the same broad brush, in a feeding frenzy of
    ergotismic bootstrapping.

    Must we all be consigned to become monoglots? There is an anecdote in
    the banking industry. It seems a large East-coast bank was expanding
    and planning to buy a small western financial institution. The
    accountants from the home office were going over the books, trying to
    put a price tag on the transaction. They found that a great deal of
    collateral loans were "eewees" (they were cacoepists, suffering from
    otosis). After much confusion, they were overhead by the janitor, who
    knew the word for an adult female sheep ("ewe") when he heard it. What
    is "common and everyday" language to the logomachists advocating a Plain
    English Law may be inadequate to the task for we lesser mortals, who
    have come to appreciate that the right terminology, supported by
    commonly available lexicographic sources, is preferable to the
    periphrasis of writing everything in crayon.

    Let's do away with these somniloquent spintexts and quodlibertarians,
    the way comedian Stan Freeburg did with "Mr. Tweeter", who wanted to
    bowdlerize the song "Old Man River" ("Elderly Man River, that Elderly
    Man River, he doesn't know anything, he doesn't say anything...")

    The Plain English Movement achieves an acme of risibility when its own
    purveyors acknowledge ("Why We Need a Plain English Law") that even they
    cannot wholly explain what their own Michigan bill, if enacted, would
    mean.

    Shunting aside the ironic hypocrisy, the jurisprudentially sensitive
    will be alert to the fact that such a law violates elementary notions of
    due process, and would consequently be void for vagueness, since people
    of common understanding would necessarily have to guess at its meaning.

    Let, therefore, these engastrimyths speak for the xylophalic, not for
    those of us who use, understand, and appreciate the mellifluous, the
    alliterative, and the lexi-cographically precise."

    Comments

    When the end of the world arrives,
    How will the media report it?


    USA Today:
    WE'RE DEAD

    The Wall Street Journal:
    DOW JONES PLUMMETS AS WORLD ENDS

    National Enquirer:
    O.J. AND NICOLE, TOGETHER AGAIN

    Playboy:
    GIRLS OF THE APOCALYPSE

    Microsoft Systems Journal:
    APPLE LOSES MARKET SHARE

    Victoria's Secret Catalog:
    OUR FINAL SALE

    Sports Illustrated:
    GAME OVER

    Wired:
    THE LAST NEW THING

    Rolling Stone:
    THE GRATEFUL DEAD REUNION TOUR

    Readers Digest:
    'BYE

    Discover Magazine:
    HOW WILL THE EXTINCTION OF ALL LIFE AS WE KNOW IT
    AFFECT THE WAY WE VIEW THE COSMOS?

    TV Guide:
    DEATH AND DAMNATION: NIELSON RATINGS SOAR!

    Lady's Home Journal:
    LOSE 10 LBS BY JUDGEMENT DAY WITH OUR NEW "ARMAGEDDON" DIET!

    America Online:
    SYSTEM TEMPORARILY DOWN. TRY CALLING BACK IN 15 MINUTES.

    Inc. magazine:
    TEN WAYS YOU CAN PROFIT FROM THE APOCALYPSE

    Microsoft's Web Site:
    IF YOU DIDN'T EXPERIENCE THE RAPTURE,
    DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE PATCH RAPT777.EXE.

    Sun:
    ARMAGEDDON TOLERANT SOFTWARE NOW AVAILABLE!

    Comments

    Gender Punctuation



    An English professor wrote the words
    "woman without her man is a savage"
    on the blackboard and directed his
    students to punctuate it correctly.


    The men wrote: "Woman, without her man,
    is a savage."


    The women wrote: "Woman: Without her,
    man is a savage."




    Comments


    Grammar Police

    from the "Metropolitan Diary" section of the NY TIMES (June 1, 1998)


    Visiting an editor at Random House, I stepped into a crowded elevator and found
    myself pressed close to the control panel.

    "Has everyone got their floors?" I asked.

    After a moment's silence, a young female voice from the rear said, "His or her."

    "I beg your pardon?" I said.

    "His or her. It's 'Has everyone got his or her floors?' Your pronouns don't
    agree."

    "And shouldn't it be 'his or her floor', not 'floors'?" a young man piped up.
    "Each of us gets off at only one floor."

    "And wouldn't it be better to say 'Does everybody have?' rather than 'Has
    everybody got?'" a third voice chimed in.

    I stood corrected - and red faced. But I was glad to know that good grammar is
    alive and well.




    Comments

    Grammar and Spelling Troubles
    from the "Metropolitan Diary" section of the NY TIMES, 1/4/99

    Clara Greenspan was watching a program on innovative school
    programming in Texas on Channel 13 one Sunday evening in late
    November. As one educator was interviewed, he was identified
    on the screen as School Superintendant Muntildeoz. Write
    Superintendent 100 times.

    Along the same lines, Ian Murphy reports that the writers of
    the news zipper at Avenue of the Americas and 48th Street might
    learn something from the maxim of the pot and the kettle. He
    recalls that in early December the ribbon relayed a story razzing
    Texas for having to destroy several thousand books because of
    poor spelling and grammar. The next story involved Iraq's
    importing Viagra even though "its" made in the United States,
    and the item after that was about the "vigrous
    defense" made by President Clinton's lawyers.


    Comments

    Green Eggs & Hamlet


    I ask to be, or not to be.
    That is the question, I ask of me.
    This sullied life, it makes me shudder.
    My uncle's boffing dear, sweet mother.
    Would I, could I take my life?
    Could I, should I, end this strife?
    Should I jump out of a plane?
    Or throw myself before a train?
    Should I from a cliff just leap?
    Could I put myself to sleep?
    Shoot myself, or take some poison?
    Maybe try self immoloition?
    To shudder off this mortal coil,
    I could stab myself with a fencing foil.
    Slash my wrists while in the bath?
    Would it end my angst and wrath?
    To sleep, to dream, now there's the rub.
    I could drop a toaster in my tub.
    Would all be glad, if I were dead?
    Could I perhaps kill them instead?
    This line of thought takes consideration -
    For I'm the king of procrastination.




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    Comments



    Here's a little puzzle to ponder. The following sentence is
    grammatically correct, it just needs to be given the correct
    punctuation.





    Ann while Bob had had had had had had had had had had had a
    better effect on the teacher.



    Scroll Down for the Answer:










    Okay, here's the answer to the puzzle. I'm going to give both the correct
    punctuation and a little explanation. (Believe me, it needs it!!):

    Ann, while Bob had had "had", had had "had had". "Had had" had had a better
    effect on the teacher.

    It has to do with grammar. "Had had" is the past participle (I believe) and
    Bob had [written] the wrong answer on his HW assignment (or
    whatever), which was "had". Ann had [written] the correct answer, which was
    "had had". Thus, While Bob had had "had" [on his paper], Ann had had "had
    had" on her paper. The fact that Ann had "had had" on her paper made the
    teacher happy.

    I was nowhere near close to figuring it out ... and even after I was given
    the answer,I still had to have it explained to me 10 zillion times.... but
    then again, that's why I'm not an English major!! ;-)\



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    Comments

    Hamlet was a College Student: The Literary Evidence
    by Tink


    Hamlet on dorm rooms:

    "I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself king of infinite
    space." (II,ii,256-7)


    Hamlet on orientation week:

    "The undiscovered country from whose bourn/No traveller returns."
    (III,i,80-1)


    Hamlet on late-night study sessions:

    POLONIUS: What do you read, my lord?
    Hamlet: Words, words, words.
    (II,ii,192-3)


    Hamlet on recovering from late-night study sessions:

    "To die, to sleep,/No more..."
    (III,i,60-1)


    Hamlet on dorm food:

    "At supper...a certain convocation of politic worms..."
    (IV,iii,18,20-1)


    Hamlet on bureaucracy:

    "For who would bear/...The insolence of office, and the spurns/That
    patient merit of the unworthy takes..." (III,i,70,73-4)


    Hamlet on the Pub:

    "We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart." (I,ii,175)


    Hamlet on the morning after:

    "Why, what an ass am I!" (II,ii,593)


    Hamlet on the administration:

    "Meet it as I should set it down/ That one may smile and smile and
    still be a villain." (I,v,106-7)


    Hamlet on course requirements:

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,/ Than are dreamt
    of in your philosophy." (I,v,156-7)


    Hamlet on exams:

    "To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man pickt out of ten
    thousand." (II,ii,178-9)


    Hamlet on final grades:

    "There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so." (II,ii,251-3)


    Hamlet on ass-kissing:

    "'Tis as easy as lying" (III,ii,375)


    Hamlet on deceiving roommates:

    "When he is drunk, asleep, or in his rage; / Or in th' incestuous
    pleasure of his bed..." (III,iii,89-90)





    Comments

    It's Ernest and Elvis and The Three Stooges
    by Bill Hall, Idaho Tribune, Sunday, September 7, 1997


    Never mind all those Elvis sightings. Those are nothing by comparison
    with Ernest Hemingway all over the place.

    Everywhere I look these days, I see barrel-chested, bald-headed men with
    white beards. Except for the barrel chest, I probably qualify as one
    myself.

    Every year, some bar some place in one of Hemingway's old haunts has an
    Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest. It used to be that a few guys
    barely resembling the author -- beyond the white beard and a slightly
    plastered look -- would show up for the contest. But in recent years
    the number of entrants has grown huge. And a large percentage of them
    look a lot like Hemingway.

    At first, I thought we had another Elvis-sighting phenomenon on our
    hands, that not only had Hemingway come back from that big trout stream
    in the sky but that he had been cloned. The guy was suddenly all over
    the place.

    Of course, what we actually have is the phenomenon of an aging
    population of 1960s people. Beards on men came back into fashion during
    that decade. And a lot of men from that era kept their beards -- which
    have now turned Hemingway white.

    For good measure, these former slender youths in tie-died shirts and
    bell bottoms have chunked up quite a bit. Today they have bell bottoms
    more than ever and I'm not talking about their trousers. They are, to
    put it kindly, barrel-chested in the fashion of the famous author. They
    couldn't get into a pair of bell bottoms today if their lives depended
    on it. So they wear the ordinary trousers and shirts that work best
    with that shape, sometimes even including a tan fishing vest or a
    hunting jacket. They dress in the Heming-way.

    So that's who they look like. I see them all over town, all over every
    town. It's like there's a factory somewhere cranking them out -- a
    bizarre new toy for aging women who have tired of their Barbie doll
    collections.

    But it's easy to see from this development how the Elvis sightings got
    started. A decade or so ago, people started seeing guys who looked like
    we thought Elvis probably would have looked if he had lived long enough
    to get even more pudgy.

    And in truth, you had a lot of men who started out trying to look like
    Elvis. Elvis had a large puffy hairdo and sideburns. So when Elvis was
    still alive and his imitators were kids, they started wearing sideburns
    and puffing up their hair. They borrowed the whole pose, even his
    swagger and his pouty redneck ain't-I-handsome way of holding his
    mouth. They had a thing about looking and acting as much like "the
    King" as they could. And they have never stopped.

    Consequently, they are just what Elvis would be now -- a pudgy old guy
    who looks like Elvis. Their hairdos are no longer puffy but the guys
    themselves are. So in that sense those who say Elvis lives are
    correct. He lives in the heart and hairdos and beer guts of his aging
    admirers.

    But the many Hemingways are something different. They began as skinny,
    long-haired hippies with a beard and with no thought of trying to be
    like Hemingway. They weren't contemporaries or necessarily even
    admirers. Most has never read him. And their emergence today as his
    clones is simply a striking coincidence. They just fell into the
    Hemingway image without realizing it. First they abandoned the long
    hair they began with. Long hair was too much work and the bald spot
    that wore through the top made them look too much like Benjamin
    Franklin.

    But they kept the beard. And they misplaced the skinny body. So
    everywhere you look, there he is.

    Maybe, like the legendary Elvis, Hemingway isn't dead after all. Maybe
    he got tired of the attention and faked the death and now roams America
    like an ordinary person.

    On the other hand, if so, he is suffering the worst case of multiple
    personalities you have ever seen because sometimes there are several of
    him in the same place at once.

    But there's more to it than that. The other day I was noticing that one
    of the Three Stooges -- Moe Howard -- appears to be everywhere. Every
    other kid in town has Moe's haircut --that bowl cut, or "the shelf," as
    some call it. From the back, they look just like Moe

    It's kind of freaky -- especially if you see a couple of them coming out
    of a convenience store with Ernest and Elvis.



    Comments

    How to Address a Politically-Correct, Non-Sexist Business Letter
    By Andrew Berman


    Let us look at the standard opening phrase of a standard business letter:

    Dear Sir,

    Well, this is clearly sexist as it precludes the possibility that a
    woman is reading the letter. We can try to fix this, however, by
    writing:

    Dear Sir/Madam,


    This was suggested in a recent posting in a few of the gender-issue
    related news groups. However, someone pointed out that by putting the
    masculine title before the feminine one, unacceptable dominance was
    demonstrated, making this non-PC. So, I tried to fix it:

    Dear Madam/Sir,

    Well, this is no good since we're showing dominance in the other
    direction. Of course, since Men are Oppressors and Womyn are
    Oppressees, that may not be so bad. But it's not *really* PC, is it?
    Ok, let's try again:

    Dear Sir
    Madam,

    Well, that solves the problem of who goes first. Of course, the Sir
    is on top now, which is completely unacceptable. Missionary style
    het-sexist imagery abounds. Very bad news, probably worse than the
    original. Ok, what about:

    Dear Madam
    Sir,

    Well, I was once told that men laying on their back during sex was
    sexist as they were making women do all the work. Besides, you still
    have one on top of the other showing dominance. We may not sure who's
    doing what, but *somebody* is being oppressed here. Next:

    Dear MadSiram,

    Put the Sir inside the Madam, ok, neither is going first and neither
    is above the other one. Ok? NO! This is terrible! The Sir has
    inserted himself inside the Madam! Practically splitting her in two
    with himself! How pornographic!! A man writing a letter addressed like
    this to a woman is obviously making an (unwanted) sexual advance. If
    he were at Antioch college, he'd be suspended for a year and have to
    go through rehabilitation. Catherine MacKinnon would have a fit!

    Dear SMadamir,

    Now we put the Madam inside the Sir. Oh, now the Sir has enveloped
    the Madam! Horrors, she has lost her identity, her sense of self!
    This is imprisonment! Ugh, how could I have even thought of this
    one?? I'm so ashamed!

    Well, there's only one answer left:

    To Whom it May Concern

    There. Simple, no reference to sex or sexuality, no problems. Not
    very friendly, but then again unwanted intimacy is a sin. And getting
    rid of friendliness is a small price to pay to make sure that
    absolutely no-one is ever, *ever* offended.

    Comments

    How to Say It ...


    At a recent "panel discussion" in one of our great universities
    several speakers aired their views on "creative education", solemnly
    or otherwise. One pupil got up to remark:"I have discovered that if
    you have pupils of greater ability, you will get better results"; and
    the wall of the university (it is averred) rocked with this momentous
    announcement. Someone suggested that the speaker would have been much
    better advised had he said something like this: "If the correlation of
    intrinsic competency to actual numerical representation is definitely
    high,then the thoroughly objective conclusion may inexpugnably be
    reached that the scholastic derivations and outgrowths will attain a
    pattern of unified superiority."

    No one would have known what he was talking about, and he would there
    after have been regarded with awe as a pedagogical pundit.

    -- Henry Grattan Doyle.



    Comments

    How To Talk To People
    By SimonT



    So you're stuck for something to say - a complete stranger and you've
    got to make conversation. The weather's completely exhausted as a
    topic, so is "What do you do?" and "Where is that?", "Live over here?"
    and everything else you can possibly think of short of the important
    questions "Would you like to have a brief but memorable sexual encounter
    with my good self?", or, for the more casual of persons: "Wanna
    ROOT?". You need something to bridge the gap from point A. "Questions
    that you don't care about the answers to" and point B. "Oh PLEASE PLEASE
    PLEASE say YES!"

    So what do you say?

    In communication, professional conversationalists (Insurance Agents,
    Professional Salespeople, etc, etc) use a technique called OPEN ENDED
    QUESTIONS; that is, questions that cannot be answered with "Yes" or
    "No". For instance, "Have you thought about life insurance?" is a
    close-ended question, whereas "Where do you think the greatest risk
    to your livelihood resides?" is open ended, and forces the other
    person into speaking for a time, giving you some more information
    about themselves and what they're interested in. The next step is
    then to head for the common ground - a topic you both know about, and
    from the the conversation will bloom!

    For instance, here's an example of my after dinner chat when I'm trying
    to pick up that special someone for a deep and meaningful 5 minutes of
    sexual encounter.

    Me: How was the meal?
    She: It was fine.

    [I go in with my open ended question:]

    Me: Where do you think the greatest risk to your livelihood resides?
    She: Sod off Jerk!

    This happens several times a night, and I'm seriously thinking of
    studying my Insurance salesperson more, because his conversations
    always seem to last a little longer...

    Anyway, say you want to be creative and think up your own questions.

    Well, a general guideline is to start your sentence with a W word.
    These are: WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW and WHY. The more
    sophisticated amongst you are probably already aware that one of the
    words mentioned above is not a "W" word and are nudging each other in a
    rich, protestant way and making "tsk" noises, which is an easier
    word to type than say. For you I will demonstrate a further example
    of an open ended "W" question:

    "Why don't you go and stick your head in a pig?"

    Ok! Now back to the conversation skills again. Think about them and
    practice them where-ever possible, except on the bus with a person who
    smells of rotten vegetables and leaky bladder infections - Practise on
    people who you WISH to talk to. If, however, you wish to "pick up"
    a person with a leaky bladder infection, disregard this last sentence
    and advance straight to GO; there is nothing further I can do for you.

    For you other 5 people, here's a vague list of open ended questions to avoid:

    Exactly What is that fungus growing on your teeth?
    Which STD's do you think I've personally experienced?
    Where did you get such an ugly face?
    How would someone go about picking up a social retard like yourself?

    Anyway, you can play around with it for a while, and then when you've
    finished, practice some questions as well.

    But for now, I'm off like the social butterfly I am, to pick up a nice tasty
    one night stand. My lines are perfect:

    Me: Hi there, is this seat taken? (close-ended and non-threatening)
    She: It's my friend's; at the bar...
    Me: Thanks (sitting down)
    She: {Nothing}
    Me: So, Why exactly do you feel you need insurance policy?

    She: Goodbye. Thwack
    Me: thud!
    Ambulance: Wee Waa Wee Waa Wee Waa...




    Comments

    Important Vocabulary



    Aphorism (n) - a clever concise statement

    Afterism (n) - a clever concise statement, that you didn't think of
    until too late





    Comments

    It is Fundamentally True That the Terms Below Are in English
    by Peter Zane as appeared in the NEW YORK TIMES on Sunday May 26, 1996
    (page E7)


    Why can't we all just get along? Maybe because we have no idea what
    anyone else is saying.
    After all, nobody's fired anymore; employees are selectively separated.
    There are no more old people, but swelling ranks of the chronologically
    gifted. The era of big government is over, but the Feds still spend $1.6
    trillion a year.
    In plain English, American is awash in double-speak and euphemisms.
    Lawyers, spinmeisters, C.E.O.'s, and politicians are employing language as
    a tool to further their own agendas rather than forthrightly communicate.
    In high culture, impenetrable jargon has become so rife that art critics
    and curators recently met in New York to discuss whether windbaggery is
    eroding interest in contemporary art. And a New York University physicist
    recently gained national attention when he duped a leading journal into
    publishing a parody of its stultifying, buzzword-laden prose.
    But take heart: As we struggle to decipher what we read and hear,
    language purists are rushing to the rescue with books, newsletters, and Web
    sites to serve as decoding rings of English. Here are exerpts.

    *****************************************************************************

    THE QUARTERLY REVIEW OF DOUBLESPEAK has been publsihed by the NAtional
    Council of Teachers of English since 1973. A few examples from the latest
    issue:

    EDUCATION: The Clark County, Nev., Board of Education has decreed that
    ... students who earn D's or below will be characterized not as borderline
    passing or failing but as "emerging". Those earning A's will no longer be
    commended for excellent work but will be told merely that they are
    "extending", and those in between will not be described as doing adequate
    or mediocre work but [that] they are "developing"

    ADVERTISING: A TV commercial for an antacid called Pepsid AD shows a
    daughter telling her mother that the drug works for nine hours. The mother
    replies "Nine hours. That's all day." Apparently the mother sleeps for 15
    hours in each 24-hour day.

    GOVERNMENT: Yes indeed, let's be nice. Very, very, very nice! That's the
    new politically correct watchword.Indeed, let us be so nice that we say
    nothing negative about the Ku Klux Klan. And indeed, this is what the
    county Board of Milkwaukee, Wis., has decided to do. No longer will the
    phrase "hate groups" be used by the council to characterize groups such as
    the Klan. The Klan and thier sidekicks are now officially referred to by
    the county board as "unhappy groups"

    LAW ENFORCEMENT: When some of the bullets fired by Phoenix, Ariz., police
    at a a man brandishing a shotgun hit the door of a residential home, a
    police spokesman responded that "to hit center mass all the time is not
    realistic." In other words, "Sometimes we miss."

    *****************************************************************************

    The Inuits have at least 27 words for snow because, well, they live on the
    tundra. Given the business climate, it's not surprising that htere is an
    even more extesnive vocabulary to describe getting fired. James H.
    Kennedy, publisher of EXECUTIVE RECRUITERS NEWS, a trade magazine for
    headhunters, compiles an ever-expanding list of terms used by the industry.
    Here's the most recent:

    Asked to resign
    Axed
    Canned
    Carrer Assessnebt and Re-employment
    Career Transition
    Chemistry Change
    Coerced Transition
    Decruited
    Degrowing
    Dehiring
    Deployment
    Deselected
    Destaffing
    Discharged
    Dismissal
    Displacement
    Downsizing
    Excessed
    Executive Cutting
    Force Reduction
    Fumigation
    Indefinite Idline
    Involuntary Separation
    Job Separation
    Let Go
    Negotiated Departure
    Outplacement
    Personnel Surplus Reduction
    Position Elimination
    Premature Retirement
    Redeployment
    Redirected
    Redundancy Elimination
    Release
    Reorganization
    Replaced
    Requested Departure
    RIF - Reduction in Force: "I was Riffed"
    Right-sizing
    Sacked
    Selected Out
    Selected Separated
    Skill Mix Adjustment
    Termination
    Transitioned
    Vocational Relocation
    Workforce Adjustment
    Workforce Imbalance Correction





    Comments

    Jabberwocky After a Bout With a Spell Checker

    I decided to run "The Jabberwocky" through my spell- checker once again,
    just to see what would happen.
    -- Anonymous


    Jabberwocky

    Lewis Carroll

    'Twas brisling, and the smithy toes
    Did gyre and gamble in the wade:
    All missy were the boor gives,
    And the mom rates out garb.

    "Beware the Jabber wacky, my son!
    The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
    Beware the Jujube bird, and shun
    The furious Banker snatch!"

    He took his coral sword in hand:
    Long time the man home foe he sought---
    So rested he by the Tub tummy tree,
    And stood awhile in thought.

    And, as in offish thought he stood,
    The Jabber wacky, with eyes of flame,
    Came whiffing through the bulgy wood,
    And burbled as it came!

    One, two! One, two! And through and through
    The coral blade went snicker-snack!
    He left it dead, and with its head
    He went gallium ping back.

    "And hats the slain the Jabber wacky?
    Come to my arms, my bearish boy!
    O frab jous day! Callooh! Callay!"
    He chortled in his joy.

    'Twos brisling, and the smithy toes
    Did gyre and gamble in the wade:
    All missy were the boor gives,
    And the mom rates out garb.

    Comments

    Journalists and the Stock Market



    Perhaps you wonder how come we here in the news media always make
    such a big deal about the Stock Market. The answer is simple: We
    don't understand it. We have an old saying in journalism: "If you
    don't understand something, it must be important."

    This is also why we media people get so excited about science. In
    our scientific educations, we got as far as the part in biology class
    where they gave us a razor and a dead frog, and told us to find the
    pancreas. Right then we started thinking two words, and those words
    were: "English major."

    So we quit studying science, which is why we do not begin to
    understand -- to pick one of many examples -- how electricity works.
    We believe that electricity exists, because the electric company
    keeps sending us bills for it, but we cannot figure out how it
    travels inside wires. We have looked long and hard at wires (some of
    us have tried blowing into them) and we cannot begin to figure out
    how the electrons, or amperes, or whatever, manage to squeeze through
    there into the TV set, nor how, once inside, they manage to form
    themselves into complex discernible images such as the Pillsbury
    Doughboy.

    We in the media write our stories on computers, but since computers
    contain both electricity and "modems," we have no idea how they work.
    If you observe us professional journalists covering a news event,
    you'll see that we divide our time as follows:

    -- 1 percent: Getting information.

    -- 6 percent: Writing stories.

    -- 93 percent: Trying to get the computer to send the story back to
    the newspaper by pressing keys pretty much at random with growing
    panic until we have sent our stories to some destination -- possibly
    the Kremlin; possibly the radio room of the Titanic -- but not to our
    newspapers. Then we call our newspapers and beg for help from the
    Computer People, who are technically competent people, the kind of
    people who always found the frog pancreas; they understand "modems,"
    and whatever they tell us to do to our computers, including wave a
    Magic Bone over the keyboard, we do it.

    We in the media are especially impressed with space. We cannot
    comprehend how anybody could get a rocket to land on another planet;
    many of us cannot consistently parallel park. This is why we got so
    excited about the recent Pathfinder mission, which day after day
    resulted in excited front-page headlines like:

    ROCK FOUND ON MARS!

    And:

    ANOTHER ROCK FOUND ON MARS!

    And:

    MARS APPARENTLY COVERED WITH ROCKS!

    We in the media believe that the Mars rocks are important because
    scientists tell us so. We will cheerfully print, without question,
    pretty much anything that scientists tell us about space ("STANFORD
    -- Scientists here announced today that, using a powerful new type of
    telescope that uses amperes connected to a 'modem,' they have located
    six previously unknown galaxies shaped like all the major characters
    on Gilligan's Island except Ginger").

    My point is that this same principle applies to media coverage of the
    Stock Market. We in the media, as a rule, are not good with
    financial matters. Some veteran journalists have not yet turned in
    their expense accounts for the Civil War. So as a group, we don't
    really have a solid handle on (1) What the Stock Market is; (2) Why
    it goes up and down; (3) Which is good, "Bull" or "Bear"; (4) Whether
    "points" means the same thing as "dollars," and if so, why the heck
    don't they just call them "dollars"; (5) Who "Alan Greenspan" is; and
    (6) Whether he is the same as "Dow Jones."

    Because we don't understand these things, we have naturally concluded
    that the Stock Market is extremely important, and whenever it does
    anything, we write front-page stories filled with quotes from
    financial experts. But I suspect that these experts sometimes like
    to yank the media's chain. Consider the following quotation, which
    actually appeared in a Washington Post story back in August
    explaining why the Stock Market went down:

    "'For Coke, an icon of the market, to show feet of clay is
    upsetting,' said Barton Biggs, global equity strategist at Morgan
    Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Co."

    I have read this sentence at least 35 times, and every time I have
    more questions, including:

    -- What kind of job is "global equity strategist"?

    -- What kind of name is "Barton Biggs"?

    -- Since when does Coke have feet?

    These are just some of the issues that lead me to believe that if we
    were to call "Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Co.," we would
    find ourselves talking to the very same scientists who are always
    "discovering" new galaxies and showing us pictures of "Mars rocks."
    That's right: I think that science AND the Stock Market could be
    part of some giant hoax, and I intend to transmit this information to
    the newspaper, just as soon as I can locate the Magic Bone.




    Comments

    Language Barriers



    Since the "Cold War" was over, a squadron of Russian pilots
    were invited to participate in tactical war games at a US Air
    Force base. A gala dinner was planned by the Base Commander.

    Thinking to relax the guests, he offered a WW II toast to
    open the meal. Smiling, he lifted his glass and said, "Eat,
    drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die." in Russian.

    The Russian pilots became very quiet and they hardly ate;
    most left quite early. Thinking they didn't care for the food,
    the Commander asked a Russian pilot what went wrong.

    "Well, comrade commander," he said, "I thought it was going
    well until your toast. I don't know what you were meaning to
    say, but what came out was 'Feast, drink and make happy, for
    tomorrow we will kill you'."

    - - - - -

    A middle aged American, his face drawn in moderate anguish,
    came charging down the Berlin banquet hall corridor, and saw
    another American. He took him by the shoulder and gasped, "For
    Heaven's sake, I gotta go to the bathroom. Tell me quick, am I
    a Damen or a Harren ?"

    - - - - -

    A Cuban was in a Miami classroom reading from a Hans Christian
    Anderson book. "Teacher ?" asked the little girl, "Please, does
    m-i-r-a-g-e spell marriage ?"

    "No my child." sighed the teacher, "But it should... it should."

    - - - - -

    A high ranking official from the Clinton Administration was
    invited to speak at a banquet tendered by the Don Q Rum Corp.
    in Puerto Rico. The man delivered his speech nobly, but for
    one fatal flaw. He persisted in referring to his hosts as the
    "makers of that wonderful Bacardi rum".

    Every time he mentioned the competing name "Bacardi", an
    official from Don Q would jump up and correct him saying, "Don
    Q, senor, Don Q !"

    The smiling aide would answer, "You're welcome".



    Comments

    Language Trends of the Future


    There are consistent trends in the past evolution of languages, and in
    all likelihood they will continue to change in the same fashion in the
    future.

    In 200 years, spoken French will have only one sound, a vowel. All
    consonants and gaps between words and sentences will disappear, leaving
    only an extended "Eauuuuuuuuuuuu..." Meaning will be inferred from
    facial expression. Written French will stay exactly the same.

    These consonants will not be entirely forgotten; they will migrate to
    Czechoslovakia, which will by that time have no use for vowels.

    In 200 years, the English vocabulary will be the union of all other
    vocabularies, but the spelling will be original.

    Similarly, the Japanese alphabet will be the union of all other
    alphabets in the world.

    The Cyrillic alphabet will eventually be the same as the Latin alphabet,
    only backwards. A mirror will suffice for translating Russian into
    Polish.

    Finally, in 200 years, entire books in Germany will be one word. Plus a
    verb at the end, of course.




    Comments

    Medieval vs. Modern English



    The English language has considerably changed over the centuries. Many
    words are not used any longer, whilst others have changed meaning. What
    follows is my perception of some of these words in today's language,
    followed by the actual meaning in Medieval English. Here we go:

    ADULTERINE CASTLE ++

    Modern: A slutty stone building.
    Medieval: A castle build without a persons' liege lord's approval.

    ASSART +++++++++++++

    Modern: Aesthetic representation of backsides.
    Medieval: To turn woodlands into pasture or cropland. To assart
    lands within a forest without license is a grave offense.

    ASSIZE +++++++++++++

    Modern: (v.) To gauge the magnitude of somebody's backside.
    Medieval: The meeting of feudal vassals with the king it also refers
    to decrees issued by the king after such meetings.

    BANALITIES +++++++++

    Modern: Something lacking originality.
    Medieval: Fees which a feudal lord imposes on his serfs for the
    use of his mill, oven, wine press, or similar facilities.
    It some times includes part of a fish catch or the
    proceeds from a rabbit warren.

    BARBER-SURGEON +++++

    Modern: A hairdresser who (illegally) performs surgery.
    Medieval: Monastic who shaves faces/heads and performs light surgery.

    BURGESS ++++++++++++

    Modern: A female hamburger.
    Medieval: The holder of land or house within a borough.

    CARDINAL VIRTUES +++

    Modern: Money, Brains, Looks, Money.
    Medieval: Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude and Justice.

    CRUSADE ++++++++++++

    Modern: A vigorous and dedicated action in favour of a cause.
    Medieval: An exercise in Burning, Killing, Raping & Pillaging that
    took place in Palestine.

    DOUBLE MONASTERY +++

    Modern: A place where monks lead a double life and worship two
    Gods.
    Medieval: Combined monastery for men and women but sexually
    separated.
    Ruled by either an Abbot or Abbess.

    ESCHEAT ++++++++++++

    Modern: To be a crook, in Spanish (e.g., Manuel es un cheat).
    Medieval: The right of a feudal lord to the return of lands held
    by his vassal, or the holding of a serf, should either
    die with out lawful heirs or suffer outlawry.

    FITZ +++++++++++++++

    Modern: Something that goes with gin.
    Medieval: An Anglo-Norman prefix meaning son.

    FORMARRIAGE ++++++++

    Modern: To be in favour of marriage. (Well, you know, De
    Gustibus...)
    Medieval: The sum commonly paid by a serf to his lord when the serf's
    daughter marries a man from another manor.

    FRANK PLEDGE +++++++

    Modern: A solemn promise, made by someone called Frank.
    Medieval: The legal condition under which each male member of a
    tithing (district) over the age of twelve is responsible
    for the good conduct of all other members of the tithing.

    HERIOT +++++++++++++

    Modern: A Macho disturbance.
    Medieval: A payment which a feudal lord may claim from the
    possessions
    of a dead serf or other tenant, essentially a death tax.
    There are various forms of heriot. Generally, if a tenant
    dies in battle the heriot is forgiven.

    HIDE +++++++++++++++

    Modern: The skin of an animal. Also, the evil alter ego of
    Dr. Jekill.
    Medieval: A unit of measurement for assessment of tax, theoretically
    120 acres, although it may vary between 60 and 240 acres.
    It is by custom the land that can be cultivated by one
    eight ox plough in one year.

    HUE AND CRY ++++++++

    Modern: Paint yourself and weep.
    Medieval: The requirement of all members of a village to pursue a
    criminal with horn and voice. It is a duty of any person
    discovering a felony to raise the hue and cry and his
    neighbours are bound to assist him in pursuit and capture
    of the offender.

    HUNDRED ++++++++++++

    Modern: Bo Derek x Bo Derek = 100.
    Medieval: Anglo Saxon institution. Subdivision of a Shire.
    Theoretically equals one hundred hides, but hardly
    ever (You couldn't trust anybody in those days, could
    you?).

    INLAND +++++++++++++

    Modern: Located in the interior of a country.
    Medieval: Land exempt from tax.

    KNIGHT'S FEE +++++++

    Modern: A monetary reward for one-knight stand.
    Medieval: A fief which provides sufficient revenue to equip and
    support one knight. This is approximately twelve hides
    or 1500 acres.

    MAN ++++++++++++++++

    Modern: A carbon-based bipedal life form, that is not a woman.
    Also, a dog's best friend.
    Medieval: To be a lord's man, to owe obligations to, in the forms of
    labour or service. A woman can be someone's man. (Say
    what?)

    MAN-AT-ARMS ++++++++

    Modern: Dog's best friend, with two upper limbs, that are used
    to connect the shoulders to the wrists.
    Medieval: A soldier holding his land, generally 60-120 acres,
    specifically in exchange for military service.

    MARCHER LORDS ++++++

    Modern: Power walkers.
    Medieval: The name commonly given to Norman landholders on the
    Welsh border.

    MARK +++++++++++++++

    Modern: Sucker.
    Medieval: A measure of silver, generally eight ounces, accepted
    throughout Western Europe. In England is worth thirteen
    shillings and four pence, two thirds of one pound.

    RAPE +++++++++++++++

    Modern: Forcing sexual intercourse against a person's will.
    Medieval: The Sussex equivalent of a "hundred."

    RELIEF +++++++++++++

    Modern: Feeling of well-being, following the removal of pain or
    distress.
    Medieval: The fee paid by the heir of a deceased person on securing
    possession of a fief.

    SERGEANT +++++++++++

    Modern: Non-commissioned officer of an army.
    Medieval: A servant who accompanies his lord to battle.

    THIRD PENNY ++++++++

    Modern: What comes after the first and the second penny.
    Medieval: The local earls' one third share of fines in shire or
    hundred courts, often allocated afterwards to a
    particular manor or church as income.

    TOWN AIR IS FREE AIR

    Modern: Yes, quite. Polluted, but free.
    Medieval: Words used in many town charters to proclaim free any
    serf who lives there for a year and a day without being
    claimed by his lord. (Urbanization, finally explained).

    VILLAIN ++++++++++++

    Modern: A wicked person.
    Medieval: The wealthiest class of peasant. They usually cultivated
    20-40 acres of land, often in isolated strips.

    VIRGATE ++++++++++++

    Modern: A gate that has never been opened, a virgin gate.
    Medieval: One quarter of a "hide."

    WARLAND ++++++++++++

    Modern: The terrain on which you play Warcraft.
    Medieval: Land liable for tax, as opposed to Inland, which is
    generally exempt from tax. (Tell that to the Inland
    Revenue Service!)

    YOKE +++++++++++++++

    Modern: A tremendously oppressive force (e.g., Wife, Teenage
    Daughters, Mother-In-Law, Boss...)
    Medieval: A measurement of land in Kent equal to half "hide."






    Comments

    New Defintions


    Abdicate--v., to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

    Balderdash--n., a rapidly receding hairline.

    Bustard--n., a very rude Metrobus driver.

    Carcinoma--n., a valley in California, notable for its heavy smog.

    Circumvent--n., the opening in the front of boxer shorts.

    Coffee--n., a person who is coughed upon.

    Esplanade--v., to attempt an explanation while drunk.

    Flabbergasted--adj., appalled over how much weight you have gained.

    Flatulence--n., the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are
    run over by a steamroller.

    Gargoyle--n., an olive-flavored mouthwash.

    Internet--n., the web of interns in which Ken Starr has tried to snare
    Bill Clinton.

    Lymph--v., to walk with a lisp.

    Macadam--n., the first man on Earth, according to the Scottish bible.

    Marionettes--n., residents of Washington, DC, who have been jerked
    around by the mayor.

    Negligent--adj., describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer
    the door in your nightie.

    Oyster--n., a person who sprinkles his or her conversation with Yiddish
    expressions.

    Rectitude--n., the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a proctologist
    immediately before he or she examines you.

    Semantics--n., pranks conducted by young men studying for the priesthood,
    including such things as gluing the pages of the priest's prayer
    book together just before vespers.

    Testicle--n., a humorous question on an exam.


    Willy-nilly--adj., impotent.




    Comments

    Only


    The word "only" progresses one word in each sentence ...


    Only I lent my cousin my AM radio. (No one else lent it.)
    I only lent my cousin my AM radio. (I didn't GIVE it to her.)
    I lent only my cousin my AM radio. (I didn't lend it to anyone else.)
    I lent my only cousin my AM radio. (I have no other cousins.)
    I lent my cousin only my AM radio. (I didn't lend anyone else's radio.)
    I lent my cousin my only AM radio. (I have no other AM radio.)
    I lent my cousin my AM-only radio. (It doesn't have FM.)
    I lent my cousin my AM radio only. (I didn't lend anything else.)



    Comments

    Only Dweebs Read Books!
    Originally posted annoynomously on the alt.drugs newsgroup


    Responsible Fellow Travellers of A.D -

    It has recently come to my attention that many of the "regulars" here
    on alt.drugs have developed serious book habits. As a worker in library
    automations systems, I have seen first hand the grisly damage caused the
    use of books, the hollow, vacant staring eyes of the hard-core reader,
    broken down in the corners of a public library; it's not pretty sight.

    Statistics show that most Americans are well acquainted with the
    dangers of books and wisely avoid their use, but here on alt.drugs, I've
    even seen ostensibly responsible adults urging the naive and innocent
    youth of our nation to indulge their lust for knowledge in the most wanton
    and irresponsible manner possible, even publicly encouraging trips to
    libraries, reading books at night, even periodicals and journal articles!
    And never a word of warning, to advise these vulnerable youngsters of the
    wickedness, the lurking danger in books. Don't you people see what
    happens to "readers"? It doesn't matter what you read, even a "pamphlet",
    in "reader" street jargon, can spark your interest, and once you're
    interested in something, it's all over; you'll be a reader for life,
    quickly moving on to heavier stuff. Eventually, you might even end up
    reading Heidegger or Proust!

    Unfortunately, books have thoroughly saturated the very structures of
    our society. But the Bible reassures us that eventually righteousness
    shall prevail, and we WILL WIN THE WAR ON READERS! For it began with the
    fall from grace, when A&E ate of the "Tree of Knowledge", a clear reference
    to their immoral, wrong and perverse use of books! And so shall it end,
    when we return the land to righteousness, severely restrict the use of
    dangerous books, and burn those particularly damaging tracts which cannot
    be responsibly used by anyone!

    I know the skeptical among you may be thinking, "What a hypocrite! He
    works for the library industry, he admits to having read the Bible! He's
    a reader himself!" And all of that is true, but the crucial difference
    is that THE BIBLE IS NOT REALLY A BOOK! Yes, it has many similar
    characteristics of a book, but unlike harmful books like the Hobbit and
    Huck Finn (which should be banned everywhere!) the Bible is far less
    likely to get you "interested". Most people read the Bible for it's
    righteousness, not for it's content. With responsible use, the Bible can
    be read safely without really causing interest or enlightenment. Indeed,
    the Bible can hardly be characterized as a recreational book; it's very
    hard to get even a giggle out of it, and most people never laugh when
    reading the Bible.

    Books should only be read in moderation, if at all, under the
    benevolent guidance and care of the libraries. We should all look out for
    one another: if you see a Reader on the street, report him to the
    authorities at once; if caught early enough, some readers can be
    rehabilitated and reintegrated into polite society. And if someone gives
    you a book, or even suggests that you read a book, JUST SAY NO! Put it
    back on the shelf, brother! And support the fight for de-literization.
    This country will be much safer and tidier when we've finally rounded up
    all the book dealers and thrown them in jail and seized their illicit
    private stashes of books! Remember, ONLY DWEEBS READ BOOKS!

    - Standing Aboveus

    Source: alt.humor.best-of-usenet



    Comments

    Ooops



    ATLANTA (AP) Coca-Cola is fixing an embarrassing typo in the word "disk"
    in copyright information on about 2 million 12-packs of the drink.

    In the misprint, the "s" is replaced by a "c". Normally, the small type
    under the copyright information states that the "red disk icon and
    contour bottle are trademarks of the Coca-Cola Co."

    Comments

    Opposites


    "Just to establish some parameters," said the professor, "Mr. Nichols,
    what is the opposite of joy?"

    "Sadness," said the student.

    "And the opposite of depression, Ms. Biggs?"

    "Elation."

    "And you sir, how about the opposite of woe?"

    "I believe that would be giddy up".....


    Comments

    Oxymorons



    Act naturally Found missing Resident alien
    Advanced BASIC Genuine imitation Safe sex
    Airline food Good grief Same difference
    Almost exactly Government organization Sanitary landfill
    Alone together Legally drunk Silent scream
    British fashion Living dead Small crowd
    Business ethics Microsoft Works Soft rock
    Butt head Military intelligence Software documentation
    California culture New classic Sweet sorrow
    Childproof "Now, then ..." Synthetic natural gas
    Christian Scientists Passive aggression Taped live
    Clearly misunderstood Peace force Temporary tax increase
    Computer jock Plastic glasses Terribly pleased
    Computer security Political science Tight slacks
    Definite maybe Pretty ugly Twelve-ounce pound cake
    Diet ice cream Rap music Working vacation
    Exact estimate Religious tolerance



    Comments

    Politically Correct Little Red Riding Hood


    Red Riding Hood lived with a nurture giver whom she sometimes referred
    to as "mother", although she didn't mean to imply by this term that she
    would have thought less of the person if a close biological link did not
    in fact exist.

    Nor did she intend to denigrate the equal value of nontraditional
    households, although she was sorry if this was the impression conveyed.

    One day her mother asked her to take a basket of organically grown fruit
    and mineral water to her grandmother's house.

    "But mother, won't this be stealing work from the unionized people who
    have struggled for years to earn the right to carry all packages between
    various people in the woods?"

    Red Riding Hood's mother assured her that she had called the union boss
    and gotten a special compassionate mission exemption form.

    "But mother, aren't you oppressing me by ordering me to do this?"

    Red Riding Hood's mother pointed out that it was impossible for women to
    oppress each other, since all women were equally oppressed until all
    women were free.

    "But mother, then shouldn't you have my brother carry the basket, since
    he's an oppressor, and should learn what it's like to be oppressed?"

    And Red Riding Hood's mother explained that her brother was attending a
    special rally for animal rights, and besides, this wasn't stereotypical
    women's work, but an empowering deed that would help engender a feeling
    of community.

    "But won't I be oppressing Grandma, by implying that she's sick and
    hence unable to independently further her own selfhood?"

    But Red Riding Hood's mother explained that her grandmother wasn't
    actually sick or incapacitated or mentally handicapped in any way,
    although that was not to imply that any of these conditions were
    inferior to what some people called "health".

    Thus Red Riding Hood felt that she could get behind the idea of
    delivering the basket to her grandmother, and so she set off.

    Many people believed that the forest was a foreboding and dangerous
    place, but Red Riding Hood knew that this was an irrational fear based
    on cultural paradigms instilled by a patriarchal society that regarded
    the natural world as an exploitable resource, and hence believed that
    natural predators were in fact intolerable competitors.

    Other people avoided the woods for fear of thieves and deviants, but Red
    Riding Hood felt that in a truly classless society all marginalized
    peoples would be able to "come out" of the woods and be accepted as
    valid lifestyle role models.

    On her way to Grandma's house, Red Riding Hood passed a woodchopper, and
    wandered off the path, in order to examine some flowers.

    She was startled to find herself standing before a Wolf, who asked her
    what was in her basket.

    Red Riding Hood's teacher had warned her never to talk to strangers, but
    she was confident in taking control of her own budding sexuality, and
    chose to dialogue with the Wolf.

    She replied, "I am taking my Grandmother some healthful snacks in a
    gesture of solidarity."

    The Wolf said, "You know, my dear, it isn't safe for a little girl to
    walk through these woods alone."

    Red Riding Hood said, "I find your sexist remark offensive in the
    extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an
    outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop an
    alternative and yet entirely valid worldview. Now, if you'll excuse me,
    I would prefer to be on my way."

    Red Riding Hood returned to the main path, and proceeded toward her
    Grandmother's house.

    But because his status outside society had freed him from slavish
    adherence to linear, Western-style thought, the Wolf knew of a quicker
    route to Grandma's house.

    He burst into the house and ate Grandma, a course of action affirmative
    of his nature as a predator.

    Then, unhampered by rigid, traditionalist gender role notions, he put on
    Grandma's nightclothes, crawled under the bedclothes, and awaited
    developments.

    Red Riding Hood entered the cottage and said,

    "Grandma, I have brought you some cruelty free snacks to salute you in
    your role of wise and nurturing matriarch."

    The Wolf said softly "Come closer, child, so that I might see you."

    Red Riding Hood said, "Goddess! Grandma, what big eyes you have!"

    "You forget that I am optically challenged."

    "And Grandma, what an enormous... what a fine nose you have."

    "Naturally, I could have had it fixed to help my acting career, but I
    didn't give in to such societal pressures, my child."

    "And Grandma, what very big, sharp teeth you have!"

    The Wolf could not take any more of these specious slurs, and, in a
    reaction appropriate for his accustomed milieu, he leaped out of bed,
    grabbed Little Red Riding Hood, and opened his jaws so wide that she
    could see her poor Grandmother cowering in his belly.

    "Aren't you forgetting something?" Red Riding Hood bravely shouted. "You
    must request my permission before proceeding to a new level of intimacy!"

    The Wolf was so startled by this statement that he loosened his grasp on
    her.

    At the same time, the woodchopper burst into the cottage, brandishing an ax.

    "Hands off!" cried the woodchopper.

    "And what do you think you're doing?" cried Little Red Riding Hood. "If
    I let you help me now, I would be expressing a lack of confidence in my
    own abilities, which would lead to poor self esteem and lower achievement
    scores on college entrance exams."

    "Last chance, sister! Get your hands off that endangered species! This
    is an FBI sting!" screamed the woodchopper, and when Little Red Riding
    Hood nonetheless made a sudden motion, he sliced off her head.

    "Thank goodness you got here in time," said the Wolf. "The brat and her
    grandmother lured me in here. I thought I was a goner."

    "No, I think I'm the real victim, here," said the woodchopper. "I've
    been dealing with my anger ever since I saw her picking those protected
    flowers earlier. And now I'm going to have such a trauma. Do you have
    any aspirin?"

    "Sure," said the Wolf.

    "Thanks."

    "I feel your pain," said the Wolf, and he patted the woodchopper on his
    firm, well padded back, gave a little belch, and said "Do you have any
    Maalox?"




    Comments

    Plurals

    The manager of a large city zoo was drafting a letter to order a pair of
    animals. He sat at his computer and typed the following sentence: "I
    would like to place an order for two mongooses, to be delivered at your
    earliest convenience."


    He stared at the screen, focusing on that odd word mongooses. Then he
    deleted the word and added another, so that the sentence now read: "I
    would like to place an order for two mongeese, to be delivered at your
    earliest convenience."


    Again he stared at the screen, this time focusing on the new word, which
    seemed just as odd as the original one. Finally, he deleted the whole
    sentence and started all over. "Everyone knows no full- stocked zoo
    should be without a mongoose," he typed. "Please send us two of them."





    Comments

    A Candidate for a Pullet Surprise
    by Jerrold H. Zar


    I have a spelling checker,
    It came with my PC.
    It plane lee marks four my revue
    Miss steaks aye can knot sea.

    Eye ran this poem threw it,
    Your sure reel glad two no.
    Its vary polished in it's weigh.
    My checker tolled me sew.

    A checker is a bless sing,
    It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
    It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
    And aides me when eye rime.

    Each frays come posed up on my screen
    Eye trussed too bee a joule.
    The checker pours o'er every word
    To cheque sum spelling rule.

    Bee fore a veiling checker's
    Hour spelling mite decline,
    And if we're lacks oar have a laps,
    We wood bee maid too wine.

    Butt now bee cause my spelling
    Is checked with such grate flare,
    Their are know fault's with in my cite,
    Of nun eye am a wear.

    Now spelling does knot phase me,
    It does knot bring a tier.
    My pay purrs awl due glad den
    With wrapped word's fare as hear.

    To rite with care is quite a feet
    Of witch won should bee proud,
    And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
    Sew flaw's are knot aloud.

    Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays
    Such soft wear four pea seas,
    And why eye brake in two averse
    Buy righting want too pleas.




    Comments

    Porpoises




    A man had a friend who owned 2 very intelligent porpoises. They could do
    amazing tricks, and communicate with humans very well. After much urging,
    the owner agreed to sell the porpoises to his friend. "But remember this,"
    said the seller: "The porpoises will never die as long as you feed them each
    one live seagull every day. As soon as you miss a day, they will die."

    The new owner transported the porpoises to his home, and placed them in his
    outdoor swimming pool, where he kept them alive and well for some time. Each
    day he would go down to the beach, capture 2 live seagulls, and bring them
    home to feed to the porpoises.

    One day as he was returning home with a live gull in each hand, he found a
    lion lying across his doorstep, basking in the sun. He became panicked,
    because he knew that if he didn't get through to feed the porpoises, they
    would die. So he jumped over the lion and ran quickly into the house.

    Inside, much to his surprise, were two FBI agents who promptly placed him
    under arrest. "What's the charge?" asked the stunned porpoise owner. "What
    have I done wrong?"

    "You, sir," replied one of the FBI agents, "are being charged for illegally
    transporting captive gulls across a sedate lion for immortal porpoises!"




    Comments

    Pun-ny Jokes


    1. The world's best chess players were at a tournament. They hung
    out in the hallway, bragging to each other about their recent
    victories. Suddenly, the hotel manager told them to leave. When asked
    why, he replied: "I hate chess nuts boasting by an open foyer."

    2. A city in Alaska passed a law outlawing all dogs. It became known
    as Dogless Fairbanks.

    3. Which famous golfer loves to drink wine? Litre Vino.

    4. A man goes to a dermatologist with a rare skin disease. The
    doctor says, "Try a milk bath". So the guy goes to the grocery store
    and tells the dairy manager he needs enough milk to take a bath. The
    dairy guys ask "You want that pasteurized?" "Nah", the man replied
    "Up to my chin should do it."

    5. What's the difference between an angry circus owner and a Roman
    barber? One is a raving showman, and the other is a shaving Roman.

    6. In ancient Rome, deli workers were told that they could eat
    anything they wanted during the lunch hour. Anything, that is except
    the smoked salmon. Thus were created the world's first anti-lox
    breaks.

    7. Did you hear about the red ship and the blue ship that collided?
    Both crews were marooned.

    8. Why did the maharishi refuse novocaine when he had his tooth
    pulled? He wanted to transcend dental medication.

    9. Did you hear about the two men from the monastery who opened a
    fast-food seafood restaurant? One was the fish friar, the other was
    the chip monk.

    10. A scientist cloned himself but the experiment created a duplicate
    who used very foul language. As the clone cursed and swore, the
    scientist finally pushed it out the window, and it fell to its death.
    Later the scientist was arrested for making an obscene clone fall.

    11. What do you get when you toss a hand grenade into a kitchen in
    France? Linoleum blownapart.

    Comments












    Regional/Travel Humor




    The
    18 Cardinal Rules For Driving in Philly
    39
    Things You'll Never Hear a Southerner Say
    102
    Ways to Tell if You're Chinese
    The
    American Dream
    American
    English vs. The Real McCoy
    American
    Fairy Tales
    Americans
    vs. Canadians vs. Brits
    And
    G-d Created Canada ...
    The
    Annotated Thermometer
    At
    Disney World
    Basic
    Pointers for Airline Travel
    Basic
    Rules for Driving in Boston
    Bawstonian
    Lexicahn
    Boston
    Geographical Sense
    Boulder
    Surplus
    Brits
    Superior to Americans?
    Brooklyn
    Travel
    Bronx-ese
    Buying
    Paint From an Airline













    California
    According to Dave Barry
    Camping
    Alert
    Couple's
    Divorce Stuns Tight-Knit Community of Manhattan
    Cruise
    Questions from the Intellectually Challenged
    DC Phrase
    Dear
    Mr. Weatherman
    Diary
    of a Seattle Resident
    Dig
    Me Out: A Californian View of Chicago Weather
    Disney
    [World] Employment
    Disney
    on Fear
    Driving in LA
    Driving
    Tips for Seattle Greenhorns
    Frequent
    Fliers Can Be Eaten Alive
    How
    to Annoy a Yankee
    How
    to Go on Summer Vacation
    How
    to Identify Where a Driver is From
    How
    to Ski Without Leaving Your Neighborhood
    How
    to Talk Southern
    Hurricane
    Survival Quiz Link Fixed
    In
    Plainspoken English, America's Still Whopperjawed
    Language
    Trends of the Future
    Life
    in Upstate NY
    Light
    Flight
    The Loan
    The
    Love Boat (somewhat risque)
    The
    Mayor's LIVE SHOT on TV (NOTE FROM LORI: This one REALLY happened -- I noticed it too!)
    National
    Park Humor

    The
    New Jersey Environmental Manifesto
    New
    York Cabbies Stage a (Bleeping) Boycott
    New
    York City Rules of Etiquette
    New
    York (City) Top Ten Lists
    New
    York (City) Joke
    New
    York Slanguage
    New
    Yorkers and the Grand Canyon -- A View of the World
    NYPD
    Blue Disclaimer
    The
    Queen's English vs. Queens English
    A
    Really Good Vacation Has To Be an "Adventure"
    Rejected
    State Mottos
    Rules
    for Driving in NYC
    The
    "Rules" for Tour Guides at Disney's Animal Kingdom
    Rules
    of Washington
    Signs
    You Love Too Close to an Amusement Park (may be offensive)
    Signs
    You Might Be Canadian
    Signs
    You Might Be "Too Canadian"
    The
    Skyline as Headline
    Slanguage
    Comparisons
    Southern
    Ten Commandments
    Successfully
    Understanding the British: A Guide for American Visitors
    Sunless
    in Binghamton













    Tips
    for DC Tourists
    Top
    10 Good Things About a Blizzard in NYC
    Top
    10 Great Things About Playing Baseball in New York
    Top
    10 Reasons for Internationally Being ...
    Top
    15 Signs You Live Too Close to an Amusement Park
    Top
    20 Signs You're from New York City
    Top
    20 Signs You've Been Living in DC Too Long
    Top
    100 Signs You're From South Jersey
    Tourists,
    and Other Forms of Entertainment
    The
    Tourists' Prayer
    Trash
    The Exam
    Two
    More Pieces of Pie and I'll Be Ready to Face the Airport
    Vocational
    Vacation Spots


















    The Walt
    "You Will Have Fun" Disney World Themed Shopping Complex and Resort Compound
    (Dave Barry)
    We,
    The Passengers
    What
    is an American?
    What
    You Should Know About France
    Where
    Are We?
    The
    World's Reaction to Lady Di's Death (parody of various nations, not
    the late princess)
    Why Americans
    Fail Geography Class
    Why
    Would Anyone Want to Live There?!?!?!? (image)
    You
    Know It's Summer in Texas When ...
    You
    Know You're in Arizona When ...
    You
    Know You're in Israel When ...
    You
    Might Be From Boston if ...
    You
    Might Be From Philadelphia If ...
    You
    Might Be From Seattle if ...
    You
    Might Be From Upstate New York if ...
    You
    Might Be a Yankee if ...



    Comments

    Roses are Red

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    Some poems rhyme
    But this one doesn't




    Comments

    Shakespearian Insult Kit


    To construct a Shakespearean insult, combine one word from each
    of the three columns below, and preface it with "Thou":

    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3
    artless base-court apple-john
    bawdy bat-fowling baggage
    beslubbering beef-witted barnacle
    bootless beetle-headed bladder
    churlish boil-brained boar-pig
    cockered clapper-clawed bugbear
    clouted clay-brained bum-bailey
    craven common-kissing canker-blossom
    currish crook-pated clack-dish
    dankish dismal-dreaming clotpole
    dissembling dizzy-eyed coxcomb
    droning doghearted codpiece
    errant dread-bolted death-token
    fawning earth-vexing dewberry
    fobbing elf-skinned flap-dragon
    froward fat-kidneyed flax-wench
    frothy fen-sucked flirt-gill
    gleeking flap-mouthed foot-licker
    goatish fly-bitten fustilarian
    gorbellied folly-fallen giglet
    impertinent fool-born gudgeon
    infectious full-gorged haggard
    jarring guts-griping harpy
    loggerheaded half-faced hedge-pig
    lumpish hasty-witted horn-beast
    mammering hedge-born hugger-mugger
    mangled hell-hated joithead
    mewling idle-headed lewdster
    paunchy ill-breeding lout
    pribbling ill-nurtured maggot-pie
    puking knotty-pated malt-worm
    puny milk-livered mammet
    qualling motley-minded measle
    rank onion-eyed minnow
    reeky plume-plucked miscreant
    roguish pottle-deep moldwarp
    ruttish pox-marked mumble-news
    saucy reeling-ripe nut-hook
    spleeny rough-hewn pigeon-egg
    spongy rude-growing pignut
    surly rump-fed puttock
    tottering shard-borne pumpion
    unmuzzled sheep-biting ratsbane
    vain spur-galled scut
    venomed swag-bellied skainsmate
    villainous tardy-gaited strumpet
    warped tickle-brained varlet
    wayward toad-spotted vassal
    weedy unchin-snouted whey-face
    yeasty weather-bitten wagtail




    Comments

    Shakespearian Insults
    Comments

    Simian Shakespeare



    The English Lit Professor was addressing the class:

    "We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million
    typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of
    Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not
    true."





    Comments

    Sniglets
    Twenty Words That Should Exist


    1. ACCORDIONATED (ah kor' de on ay tid) adj. Being able to drive and
    refold a road map at the same time.

    2. AQUADEXTROUS (ak wa deks' trus) adj. Possessing the ability to turn
    the bathtub faucet on and off with your toes.

    3. AQUALIBRIUM (ak wa lib' re um) n. The point where the stream of
    drinking fountain water is at its perfect height, thus relieving the
    drinker from (a) having to suck the nozzle, or (b) squirting
    her(him)self in the eye (or ear).

    4. BURGACIDE (burg' uh side) n. When a hamburger can't take any more
    torture and hurls itself through the grill into the coals.

    5. BUZZACKS (buz' aks) n. People in phone marts who walk around
    picking up display phones and listening for dial tones even when
    they know the phones are not connected.

    6. CARPERPETUATION (kar' pur pet u a shun) n. The act, when vacuuming,
    of running over a string or a piece of lint at least a dozen times,
    reaching over and picking it up, examining it, then putting it back
    down to give the vacuum one more chance.

    7. DIMP (dimp) n. A person who insults you in a cheap department store
    by asking, "Do you work here?"

    8. DISCONFECT (dis kon fekt') v. To sterilize the piece of candy you
    dropped on the floor by blowing on it, somehow assuming this will
    `remove' all the germs.

    9. ECNALUBMA (ek na lub' ma) n. A rescue vehicle which can only be
    seen in the rearview mirror.

    10. EIFFELITES (eye' ful eyetz) n. Gangly people sitting in front of
    you at the movies who, no matter what direction you lean in, follow
    suit.

    11. ELBONICS (el bon' iks) n. The actions of two people maneuvering
    for one armrest in a movie theater.

    12. ELECELLERATION (el a cel er ay' shun) n. The mistaken notion that
    the more you press an elevator button the faster it will arrive.

    13. FRUST (frust) n. The small line of debris that refuses to be swept
    onto the dust pan and keeps backing a person across the room until he
    finally decides to give up and sweep it under the rug.

    14. LACTOMANGULATION (lak' to man gyu lay' shun) n. Manhandling the
    "open here" spout on a milk container so badly that one has to resort
    to the `illegal' side.

    15. NEONPHANCY (ne on' fan see) n. A fluorescent light bulb struggling
    to come to life.

    16. PEPPIER (pehp ee ay') n. The waiter at a fancy restaurant whose
    sole purpose seems to be walking around asking diners if they want
    ground pepper.

    17. PETROPHOBIC (pet ro fob' ik) adj. One who is embarrassed to
    undress in front of a household pet.

    18. PHONESIA (fo nee' zhuh) n. The affliction of dialing a phone
    number and forgetting whom you were calling just as they answer.

    19. PUPKUS (pup' kus) n. The moist residue left on a window after a
    dog presses its nose to it.

    20. TELECRASTINATION (tel e kras tin ay' shun) n. The act of always
    letting the phone ring at least twice before you pick it up, even when
    you're only six inches away.



    Comments

    Stop that Bulletin!!

    Church bulletins sometimes should never have seen the light of day. The
    reason why is evident in this collection of church bulletin announcements
    sent to us by the Rev. Stanley H. Connover of St. Louis Park, Minn.. He
    came across the collection, unaccredited to any source, in a local nursing
    home newsletter. So we cant vouch that everything is as misannounced as
    shown. But does it matter?

    This afternoon there will be a meeting in the South and North ends of the
    Church. Children will be baptized at both ends.

    The Service will close with Little Drop of Water. One of the ladies will
    start quietly and the rest of the congregation will join in.

    On Sunday, a special collection will be taken to defray the expenses of the
    new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet, please
    come forward and get a piece of paper.

    This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Johnson to come forward and lay
    an egg on the altar.

    The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind, and they may
    be seen in the church basement on Friday afternoon.

    The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David
    Alan Bleser, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Delser.

    Thursday at 5:00 PM, there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club.
    All those wishing to become little mothers will please meet the minister
    in his study.

    Comments

    Tandem Story


    Received from an English Professor:

    This assignment was actually turned in by two of my English students:
    Rebecca
    and Gary

    English 44A

    SMU

    Creative Writing

    Professor Miller

    In-class assignment for Wednesday:

    Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The
    process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting
    to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first
    paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph
    and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will
    then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to
    reread what has been written each time in order to keep the story
    coherent. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been
    reached.

    -----------------------------------------

    At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The
    chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home,
    now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times,
    that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs,
    keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if
    she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So
    chamomile was out of the question.

    Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron
    now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about
    than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with
    whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A. S. Harris
    to Geostation 17", he said into his transgalactic communicator.
    "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before
    he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and
    blasted a hole through his ships cargo bay. The jolt from the direct
    hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

    He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt
    one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who
    had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its
    pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Sklylon 4.
    "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel."
    Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously
    excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her
    youth - when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no
    newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of
    innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one
    lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

    Little did she know, but she has less than 10 seconds to live.
    Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched
    the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dimwitted wimpy
    peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty
    through Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile
    alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within
    two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on
    course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire
    planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their
    diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere
    unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine
    headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the
    inconceivably massive explosion which vaporized Laurie and 85 million
    other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference
    table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's
    blow'em out of the sky!"

    This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My
    writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent.

    Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at
    writing are the literary equivalent of Valium.





    Comments

    Taters


    You know that all potatoes have eyes. Well, Mr. and Mrs. Potato had eyes for each other and they finally got married and had a little one--- a real SWEET POTATO whom they called "YAM".

    They wanted the best for little Yam, telling her all about the facts of life. They warned her about going out and getting half baked because she could get Mashed, get a bad name like Hot Potato, and then end up with a bunch of Tater Tots. She said not to worry------no Mr. McSpud would get her in the sack and make a Rotten Potato out of her! But she wouldn't stay home and become a Couch Potato either. She would get plenty of food and exercise so as not to be skinny like her Shoestring cousins.

    Mr. and Mrs. Potato even told her about going off to Europe and to watch out for the Hard Boiled guys from Ireland and even the greasy guys from France called the French Fries. They also said she should watch out for the Indians when going out west because she could get Scalloped. She told them she would stay on the straight and narrow and wouldn't associate with those high class Blue Belles or the ones from the other side of the tracks who advertise their trade on all the trucks you see around town that say Frito Lay.

    Mr. & Mrs. Potato wanted the best for Yam, so they sent her to "Idaho P.U."-that's Potato University - where the Big Potatoes come from and when she graduated, she'd really be in the Chips. But one day she came home and said she was going to marry Dan Rather. Mr. and Mrs. Potato were very upset and said she couldn't marry him because he's just a.......

    (Now wait on the punch line)





    (Don't become impatient now)










    COMMON TATER!!!!!!!!!


    Comments

    The Duel


    A duel was fought between Alexander Shott and John Nott. Nott was shot and
    Shott was not. In this case it is better to be Shott than Nott. Some said
    that Nott was not shot. But Shott says that he shot Nott. It may be that the
    shot Shott shot, shot Nott, or it may be possible that the shot Shott shot,
    shot Shott himself. We think, however, that the shot Shott shot, shot not
    Shott, but Nott. Anyway it is hard to tell which was shot and which was not.

    Comments

    The History of the English Language
    by Owen Alun and Brendan O'Corraidhe



    In the beginning there was an island off the coast of Europe. It had no
    name, for the natives had no language, only a collection of grunts and
    gestures that roughly translated to "Hey!" "Gimme!" and "Pardon me, but
    would you happen to have any woad?"

    Then the Romans invaded it and called it Britain, because the natives
    were "blue, nasty, br(u-i)tish and short." This was the start of the
    importance of u (and its mispronounciation) to the language. After
    building some roads, killing off some of the nasty little blue people
    and walling up the rest, the Romans left, taking the language
    instruction manual with them.

    The British were bored so they invited the barbarians to come over
    (under Hengist) and "Horsa" 'round a bit. The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes
    brought slightly more refined vocal noises.

    All of the vocal sounds of this primitive language were onomatapoeic,
    being derived from the sounds of battle. Consonants were derived from
    the sounds of weapons striking a foe. "Sss" and "th" for example are
    the sounds of a draw cut, "k" is the sound of a solidly landed axe blow,
    "b", "d", are the sounds of a head dropping onto rock and sod
    respectively, and "gl" is the sound of a body splashing into a bog.
    Vowels (which were either gargles in the back of the throat or sharp
    exhalations) were derived from the sounds the foe himself made when
    struck.

    The barbarians had so much fun that decided to stay for post-revel. The
    British, finding that they had lost future use of the site, moved into
    the hills to the west and called themselves Welsh.

    The Irish, having heard about language from Patrick, came over to
    investigate. When they saw the shiny vowels, they pried them loose and
    took them home. They then raided Wales and stole both their cattle and
    their vowels, so the poor Welsh had to make do with sheep and
    consonants. ("Old Ap Ivor hadde a farm, L Y L Y W! And on that farm he
    hadde somme gees. With a dd dd here and a dd dd there...")

    To prevent future raids, the Welsh started calling themselves "Cymry"
    and gave even longer names to their villages. They figured if no one
    could pronounce the name of their people or the names of their towns,
    then no one would visit them. (The success of the tactic is
    demonstrated still today. How many travel agents have YOU heard suggest
    a visit to scenic Llyddumlmunnyddthllywddu?)

    Meantime, the Irish brought all the shiny new vowels home to Erin. But
    of course they didn't know that there was once an instruction manual for
    them, so they scattered the vowels throughout the language purely as
    ornaments. Most of the new vowels were not pronounced, and those that
    were were pronounced differently depending on which kind of consonant
    they were either preceding or following.

    The Danes came over and saw the pretty vowels bedecking all the Irish
    words. "Ooooh!" they said. They raided Ireland and brought the vowels
    back home with them. But the Vikings couldn't keep track of all the
    Irish rules so they simply pronounced all the vowels "oouuoo."

    In the meantime, the French had invaded Britain, which was populated by
    descendants of the Germanic Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. After a
    generation or two, the people were speaking German with a French accent
    and calling it English. Then the Danes invaded again, crying "Oouuoo!
    Oouuoo!" burning abbeys, and trading with the townspeople.

    The Britons that the Romans hadn't killed intermarried with visiting
    Irish and became Scots. Against the advice of their travel agents, they
    decided to visit Wales. (The Scots couldn't read the signposts that
    said, "This way to Lyddyllwwyddymmllwylldd," but they could smell sheep
    a league away.) The Scots took the sheep home with them and made some
    of them into haggis. What they made with the others we won't say, but
    Scots are known to this day for having hairy legs.

    The former Welsh, being totally bereft, moved down out of the hills and
    into London. Because they were the only people in the Islands who
    played flutes instead of bagpipes, they were called Tooters. This made
    them very popular. In short order, Henry Tooter got elected King and
    begin popularizing ornate, unflattering clothing.

    Soon, everybody was wearing ornate, unflattering clothing, playing the
    flute, speaking German with a French accent, pronouncing all their
    vowels "oouuoo" (which was fairly easy given the French accent), and
    making lots of money in the wool trade. Because they were rich, people
    smiled more (remember, at this time, "Beowulf" and "Canterbury Tales"
    were the only tabloids, and gave generally favorable reviews even to
    Danes). And since it is next to impossible to keep your vowels in the
    back of your throat (even if you do speak German with a French accent)
    while smiling and saying "oouuoo" (try it, you'll see what I mean), the
    Great Vowel Shift came about and transformed the English language.

    The very richest had their vowels shifted right out in front of their
    teeth. They settled in Manchester and later in Boston.

    There were a few poor souls who, cut off from the economic prosperity of
    the wool trade, continued to swallow their vowels. They wandered the
    countryside in misery and despair until they came to the docks of
    London, where their dialect devolved into the incomprehensible language
    known as Cockney. Later, it was taken overseas and further brutalized
    by merging it with Dutch and Italian to create Brooklynese.





    Comments

    The Importance of Correct Punctuation
    From Games Magazine,, 1984


    We examine two "Dear John" letters ...

    Version 1:

    Dear John,

    I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous,
    kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless
    and inferior.

    You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no
    feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy--will
    you let me be yours?

    Gloria

    Comments

    The Pluperfect Virus
    By Bob Hirschfeld
    Sunday, May 2, 1999




    A new computer virus is spreading throughout the Internet, and it is far
    more insidious than the recent Chernobyl menace. Named Strunkenwhite after
    the authors of a classic guide to good writing, it returns e-mail messages
    that have grammatical or spelling errors. It is deadly accurate in its
    detection abilities, unlike the dubious spell checkers that come with word
    processing programs.

    The virus is causing something akin to panic throughout corporate America,
    which has become used to the typos, misspellings, missing words and mangled
    syntax so acceptable in cyberspace. The CEO of LoseItAll.com, an Internet
    startup, said the virus has rendered him helpless. "Each time I tried to
    send one particular e-mail this morning, I got back this error message:
    'Your dependent clause preceding your independent clause must be set off by
    commas, but one must not precede the conjunction.' I threw my laptop across
    the room."

    A top executive at a telecommunications and long-distance company,
    10-10-10-10-10-10-123, said: "This morning, the same damned e-mail kept
    coming back to me with a pesky notation claiming I needed to use a pronoun's
    possessive case before a gerund. With the number of e-mails I crank out each
    day, who has time for proper grammar? Whoever created this virus should have
    their programming fingers broken."

    A broker at Begg, Barow and Steel said he couldn't return to the "bad, old"
    days when he had to send paper memos in proper English. He speculated that
    the hacker who created Strunkenwhite was a "disgruntled English major who
    couldn't make it on a trading floor. When you're buying and selling on
    margin, I don't think it's anybody's business if I write that 'i meetinged
    through the morning, then cinched the deal on the cel phone while bareling
    down the xway.' "

    If Strunkenwhite makes e-mailing impossible, it could mean the end to a
    communication revolution once hailed as a significant timesaver. A study of
    1,254 office workers in Leonia, N.J., found that e-mail increased employees'
    productivity by 1.8 hours a day because they took less time to formulate
    their thoughts. (The same study also found that they lost 2.2 hours of
    productivity because they were e-mailing so many jokes to their spouses,
    parents and stockbrokers.)

    Strunkenwhite is particularly difficult to detect because it doesn't come as
    an e-mail attachment (which requires the recipient to open it before it
    becomes active). Instead, it is disguised within the text of an e-mail
    entitled "Congratulations on your pay raise." The message asks the recipient
    to "click here to find out about how your raise effects your pension." The
    use of "effects" rather than the grammatically correct "affects" appears to
    be an inside joke from Strunkenwhite's mischievous creator.

    The virus also has left government e-mail systems in disarray. Officials at
    the Office of Management and Budget can no longer transmit electronic
    versions of federal regulations because their highly technical language
    seems to run afoul of Strunkenwhite's dictum that "vigorous writing is
    concise." The White House speechwriting office reported that it had received
    the same message, along with a caution to avoid phrases such as "the truth
    is. . ." and "in fact. . . ."

    Home computer users also are reporting snafus, although an e-mailer who used
    the word "snafu" said she had come to regret it.

    The virus can have an even more devastating impact if it infects an entire
    network. A cable news operation was forced to shut down its computer system
    for several hours when it discovered that Strunkenwhite had somehow
    infiltrated its TelePrompTer software, delaying newscasts and leaving news
    anchors nearly tongue-tied as they wrestled with proper sentence structure.

    There is concern among law enforcement officials that Strunkenwhite is a
    harbinger of the increasingly sophisticated methods hackers are using to
    exploit the vulnerability of business's reliance on computers. "This is one
    of the most complex and invasive examples of computer code we have ever
    encountered. We just can't imagine what kind of devious mind would want to
    tamper with e-mails to create this burden on communications," said an FBI
    agent who insisted on speaking via the telephone out of concern that trying
    to e-mail his comments could leave him tied up for hours.

    Meanwhile, bookstores and online booksellers reported a surge in orders for
    Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style."




    Comments

    The Ten Commandments in Ebonics


    1. I be G-d. Don' be dissing me.
    2. Don' be makin hood ornaments outa me or nothin in my crib.
    3. Don' be callin me for no reason - homey don' play that.
    4. Y'all betta be in church on Sundee.
    5. Don' dis ya mama ... an if ya know who ya daddy is, don' dis him
    neither.
    6. Don' ice ya bros.
    7. Stick to ya own woman.
    8. Don' be liftin no goods.
    9. Don' be frontin like you all that an no snitchin on ya homies.
    10. Don' be eyein' ya homie's crib, ride, or nothin.



    Comments

    The Three Little Politically Correct Pigs

    exerpt from J.F.Garner's book "Politically Correct Bedtime Stories."


    Once there were three little pigs who lived together in mutual respect
    and in harmony with their environment. Using materials that were
    indigenous to the area, they each built a beautiful house. One pig built
    a house of straw, one a house of sticks, and one a house of dung, clay,
    and creeper vines shaped into bricks and baked in a small kiln. When they
    were finished, the pigs were satisfied with their work and settled back to
    live in peace and self-determination.

    But their idyll was soon shattered. One day, along came a big, bad wolf
    with expansionist ideas. He saw the pigs and grew very hungry, in both
    the physical nad ideological sense. When the pigs saw the wolf, they ran
    into the house of straw. The wolf ran up to the house and banged on the
    door, shouting, "Little pigs, little pigs, let me in!"

    The pigs shouted back, "Your gunboat tactics hold no fear for pigs
    defending their homes and culture."

    But the wolf wasn't to be denied what he thought was his manifest destiny.
    So he huffed and he puffed and he blew down the house of straw. The
    frightened pigs ran to the house of sticks, with the wolf in hot pursuit.
    Where the house of straw had stood, other wolves bought up the land and
    started a banana plantation. At the house of sticks, the wolf again
    banged on the door and shouted,

    "Little pigs, little pigs, let me in!"

    The pigs shouted, "Go to hell, you carnivourous, imperialistic oppressor!"

    At this, the wolf chuckled condescendingly. He thought to himself:
    "They are so childlike in their ways. It will be a shame to see them go,
    but progress cannot be stopped."

    So the wolf huffed and puffed and blew down the house of sticks.
    The pigs ran to the house of bricks, with the wolf close at their heels.
    Where the house of sticks had stood, other wolves built a time-share condo
    resort complex for vacationing wolves, with each unit a fiberglass
    reconstruction of the house of sticks, as well as native curio shops,
    snorkeling, and dolphin shows.

    At the house of bricks, the wolf again banged on the door and shouted,
    "Little pigs, little pigs, let me in!"

    This time in respnse, the pigs sang songs of solidarity and wrote
    letters of protest to the United Nations.

    By now the wolf was getting angry at the pigs' refusal to see the situation
    from the carnivore's point of view. So he huffed and he puffed, and huffed
    and puffed, the grabbed his chest and fell over dead of a massive heart
    attack brought on from eating too many fatty foods.

    The three little pigs rejoiced that justice had triumphed and did a little
    dance around the corpse of the wolf. Their next step was to liberate
    their homeland. They gathered together a band of other pigs who had been
    forced off their lands. Their new brigade of porcinistas attacked the
    resort complex with machine guns and rocket launchers and slaughtered the
    cruel wolf opressors, sending a clear signal to the rest of the hemisphere
    not to meddle in their internal affairs. Then the pigs set up a model
    socialist democracy with free education, universal health care, and
    affordable housing for everyone.


    Please Note: The wolf in this story was a metaphorical construct. No
    actual wolves were harmed in the writing of the story.


    Comments

    The Top 16 Plays Shakespeare Chose Not to Publish
    by Chris White and Ziff Davis


    Christopher Marlowe Can Kiss My Elizabethan Ass
    Henry VIII, I Am, I Am

    Fast Times at Verona High

    A Midsummer Night's Nocturnal Emission

    Om'let

    Love's Fing'r Pulled

    Romeo & Steve

    Twelfth Night, Children Stay Free

    Felines

    Henry VIII was a Big Fat Idiot

    Six Degrees of Francis Bacon

    Stratford-upon-Avon 90210

    Hamlet II - Where the hell is everybody?

    Romeo & Michelle's High School Reunion

    King Gump

    Booty Calleth




    Comments


    A story by David Moser...

    This Is the Title of This Story, Which Is Also
    Found Several Times in the Story Itself



    This is the first sentence of this story. This is the
    second sentence. This is the title of this story, which is
    also found several times in the story itself. This sentence
    is questioning the intrinsic value of the first two sen-
    tences. This sentence is to inform you, in case you haven't
    already realized it, that this is a self-referential story,
    that is, a story containing sentences that refer to their
    own structure and function. This is a sentence that pro-
    vides an ending to the first paragraph.

    This is the first sentence of a new paragraph in a
    self-referential story. This sentence is introducing you to
    the protagonist of the story, a young boy named Billy. This
    sentence is telling you that Billy is blond and blue-eyed
    and American and twelve years old and strangling his mother.
    This sentence comments on the awkward nature of the self-
    referential narrative form while recognizing the strange and
    playful detachment it affords the writer. As if illustrat-
    ing the point made by the last sentence, this sentence rem-
    inds us, with no trace of facetiousness, that children are a
    precious gift from God and that the world is a better place
    when graced by the unique joys and delights they bring to
    it.

    This sentence describes Billy's mother's bulging eyes
    and protruding tongue and makes reference to the unpleasant
    choking and gagging noises she's making. This sentence
    makes the observation that these are uncertain and difficult
    times, and that relationships, even seemingly deep-rooted
    and permanent ones, do have a tendency to break down.

    Introduces, in this paragraph, the device of sentence
    fragments. A sentence fragment. Another. Good device.
    Will be used more later.

    This is actually the last sentence of the story but has
    been placed here by mistake. This is the title of this
    story, which is also found several times in the story
    itself. As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy
    dreams he found himself in his bed transformed into a
    gigantic insect. This sentence informs you that the preced-
    ing sentence is from another story entirely (a much better
    one, it must be noted) and has no place at all in this par-
    ticular narrative. Despite claims of the preceding sen-
    tence, this sentence feels compelled to inform you that the
    story you are reading is in actuality "The Metamorphosis" by
    Franz Kafka, and that the sentence referred to by the
    preceding sentence is the only sentence which does indeed
    belong in this story. This sentence overrides the preceding
    sentence by informing the reader (poor, confused wretch)
    that this piece of literature is actually the Declaration of
    Independence, but that the author, in a show of extreme
    negligence (if not malicious sabotage), has so far failed to
    include even one single sentence from that stirring document,
    although he has condescended to use a small sentence
    fragment, namely, "When in the course of human events",
    embedded in quotation marks near the end of a sentence.
    Showing a keen awareness of the boredom and downright hos-
    tility of the average reader with regard to the pointless
    conceptual games indulged in by the preceding sentences,
    thiss sentence returns us at last to the scenario of the
    story by asking the question, "Why is Billy strangling his
    mother?" This sentence attempts to shed some light on the
    question posed by the preceding sentence but fails. This
    sentence, however, succeeds, in that it suggests a possible
    incestuous relationship between Billy and his mother and
    alludes to the concomitant Freudian complications any astute
    reader will immediately envision. Incest. The unspeakable
    taboo. The universal prohibition. Incest. And notice the
    sentence fragments? Good literary device. Will be used
    more later.

    This is the first sentence in a new paragraph. This is
    the last sentence in a new paragraph.

    This sentence can serve as either the beginning of the
    paragraph or end, depending on its placement. This is the
    title of this story, which is also found several times in
    the story itself. This sentence raises a serious objection
    to the entire class of self-referential sentences that
    merely comment on their own function or placement within the
    story e.g., the preceding four sentences), on the grounds
    that they are monotonously predictable, unforgivably self-
    indulgent, and merely serve to distract the reader from the
    real subject of this story, which at this point seems to
    concern strangulation and incest and who knows what other
    delightful topics. The purpose of this sentence is to point
    out that the preceding sentence, while not itself a member
    of the class of self-referential sentences it objects to,
    nevertheless also serves merely to distract the reader from
    the real subject of this story, which actually concerns Gre-
    gor Samsa's inexplicable transformation into a gigantic
    insect (despite the vociferous counterclaims of other well-
    meaning although misinformed sentences). This sentence can
    serve as either the beginning of the paragraph or end,
    depending on its placement.

    This is the title of this story, which is also found
    several times in the story itself. This is almost the title
    of the story, which is found only once in the story itself.
    This sentence regretfully states that up to this point the
    self-referential mode of narrative has had a paralyzing
    effect on the actual progress of the story itself -- that
    is, these sentences have been so concerned with analyzing
    themselves and their role in the story that they have failed
    by and large to perform their function as communicators of
    events and ideas that one hopes coalesce into a plot, char-
    acter development, etc. -- in short, the very raisons d'etre
    of any respectable, hardworking sentence in the midst of a
    piece of compelling prose fiction. This sentence in addi-
    tion points out the obvious analogy between the plight of
    these agonizingly self-aware sentences and similarly
    afflicted human beings, and it points out the analogous
    paralyzing effects wrought by excessive and tortured self-
    examination.

    The purpose of this sentence (which can also serve as a
    paragraph) is to speculate that if the Declaration of
    Independence had been worded and structured as lackadaisi-
    cally and incoherently as this story has been so far,
    there's no telling what kind of warped libertine society
    we'd be living in now or to what depths of decadence the
    inhabitants of this country might have sunk, even to the
    point of deranged and debased writers constructing irritat-
    ingly cumbersome and needlessly prolix sentences that some-
    times possess the questionable if not downright undesirable
    quality of referring to themselves and they sometimes even
    become run-on sentences or exhibit other signs of inexcus-
    ably sloppy grammar like unneeded superfluous redundancies
    that almost certainly would have insidious effects on the
    lifestyle and morals of our impressionable youth, leading
    them to commit incest or even murder and maybe that's why
    Billy is strangling his mother, because of sentences just
    like this one , which have no discernible goals or perspicu-
    ous purpose and just end up anywhere, even in mid

    Bizarre. A sentence fragment. Another fragment.
    Twelve years old. This is a sentence that. Fragmented.
    And strangling his mother. Sorry, sorry. Bizarre. This.
    More fragments. This is it. Fragments. The title of this
    story, which. Blond. Sorry, sorry. Fragment after frag-
    ment. Harder. This is a sentence that. Fragments. Damn
    good device.

    The purpose of this sentence is threefold: (1) to apo-
    logize for the unfortunate and inexplicable lapse exhibited
    by the preceding paragraph; (2) to assure you, the reader,
    that it will not happen again; and (3) to reiterate the
    point that these are uncertain and difficult times and that
    aspects of language, even seemingly stable and deeply rooted
    ones such as syntax and meaning, do break down. This sen-
    tence adds nothing substantial to the sentiments of the
    preceding sentence but merely provides a concluding sentence
    to this paragraph, which otherwise might not have one.

    This sentence, in a sudden and courageous burst of
    altruism, tries to abandon the self-referential mode but
    fails. This sentence tries again, but the attempt is doomed
    from the start.

    This sentence, in a last-ditch attempt to infuse some
    iota of story line into this paralyzed prose piece, quickly
    alludes to Billy's frantic cover-up attempts, followed by a
    lyrical, touching, and beautifully written passage wherein
    Billy is reconciled with his father (thus resolving the sub-
    liminal Freudian conflicts obvious to any astute reader) and
    a final exciting police chase scene during which Billy is
    accidentally shot and killed by a panicky rookie policeman
    who is coincidentally named Billy. This sentence, although
    basically in complete sympathy with the laudable efforts of
    the preceding action-packed sentence, reminds the reader
    that such allusions to a story that doesn't, in fact, yet
    exist are no substitute for the real thing and therefore
    will not get the author (indolent goof-off that he is) off
    the proverbial hook.

    Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Para-
    graph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph.
    Paragraph. Paragraphh. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph.

    The purpose. Of this paragraph. Is to apologize. For
    its gratuitous use. Of. Sentence fragments. Sorry.

    The purpose of this sentence is to apologize for the
    pointless and silly adolescent games indulged in by the
    preceding two paragraphs, and to express regret on the part
    of us, the more mature sentences, that the entire tone of
    this story is such that it can't seem to communicate a sim-
    ple, albeit sordid, scenario.

    This sentence wishes to apologize for all the needless
    apologies found in this story (this one included), which,
    although placed here ostensibly for the benefit of the more
    vexed readers, merely delay in a maddeningly recursive way
    the continuation of the by-now nearly forgotten story line.

    This sentence is bursting at the punctuation marks with
    news of the dire import of self-reference as applied to sen-
    tences, a practice that could prove to be a veritable
    Pandora's box of potential havoc, for if a sentence can
    refer or allude to itself, why not a lowly subordinate
    clause, perhaps this very clause? Or this sentence
    fragment? Or three words? Two words? One?

    Perhaps it is appropriate that this sentence gently and
    with no trace of condescension reminds us that these are
    indeed difficult and uncertain times and that in general
    people just aren't nice enough to each other, and perhaps
    we, whether sentient human beings or sentient sentences,
    should just try harder. I mean, there is such a thing as
    free will, there has to be, and this sentence is proof of
    it! Neither this sentence nor you, the reader, is com-
    pletely helpless in the face of all the pitiless forces at
    work in the universe. We should stand our ground, face
    facts, take Mother Nature by the throat and just try harder.
    By the throat. Harder. Harder, harder.

    Sorry.

    This is the title of this story, which is also found
    several times in the story itself.

    This is the last sentence of the story. This is the
    last sentence of the story. This is the last sentence of
    the story. This is.

    Sorry.





    Comments


    Hmmm?
    What if Mother Goose had tendencies and propensities
    toward verbosity and prolixity?



    Jack becomes dexterous,
    Jack becomes able to attain high velocity,
    Jack forms a trajectory over the illuminating apparatus of
    ozocitereous structure.

    Mary was formerly the owner and proprietor of a pygmy Ovis aries,
    It possessed an outer wool covering which had the characteristic
    pallidness much like that found in the appearance of crystalline
    precipitation,
    And to each point in space that Mary would venture to,
    The aforementioned Ovis aries would participate with a high degree of
    certainty.

    Diminutive Jack Horner
    Was seated at the perpendicular conjunction of three planar surfaces,
    Ingesting his baked Yuletide pastry.
    He inserted his opposable digit,
    And excavated a specimen of genus Prunus,
    And remarked, "What a benevolent adolescent I have become!"


    Lilliputian damsel Muffet
    Was rested upon a squatty seating apparatus,
    Ingesting the lacteal substances in her possession.
    At this point arrived an arachnid
    Which inhabited the immediate vicinity of the maiden,
    And, true to the fundamental principles of stimulus and response,
    arose trepidation in the damsel with sufficient efficiency so as
    to induce the aforementioned maiden to change locale.

    Comments

    Verbose Writing


    The following letter was found at my school; in the interest of not
    making our state look any worse, I have deleted proper names and
    replaced them with aliases in parentheses. Except for that, what
    you see is an exact reproduction ...

    Dear (Faculty Member):

    We are writing about a male or female musician, we have a
    piano in our church, we have church on 1st. and 3rd Sunday,
    we practice twice a month. We are looking for someone can
    go off with us, come and practice with us. We are located
    in (Town, State). about 20 miles from (you), our pastor is
    Rev. (Name), president of the choir is Decon (Name). If you
    are concerned please contact us.




    Comments

    Verbs is Funny



    A boy who swims may say he swum,
    But milk is skimmed and seldom skum,
    And nails you trim; they are not trum.

    When words you speak, these words are spoken,
    But a nose is tweaked and can't be twoken.
    And what you seek is seldom soken.

    If we forget, then we've forgotten,
    But things we wet are never wotten,
    And houses let cannot be lotten.

    The things one sells are always sold,
    But fog dispelled are not dispold,
    And what you smell is never smold.

    When young, a top you oft saw spun,
    But did you see a grin ever grun,
    Or a potato neatly skun?

    Comments

    Vowels to Bosnia

    Cities of Sjlbvdnzv, Grzny to be First Recipients



    Before an emergency joint session of Congress yesterday, President
    Clinton announced US plans to deploy over 75,000 vowels to the war-torn
    region of Bosnia. The deployment, the largest of its kind in American
    history, will provide the region with the critically needed letters
    A,E,I,O,U, and Y, and is hoped to render countless Bosnian words more
    pronounceable.

    "For six years, we have stood by while names like Ygrjvslhv and Tzlynhr
    and Glrm have been horribly butchered by millions around the world,"
    Clinton said. "Today, the United States must finally stand up and say,
    'Enough.' It is time the people of Bosnia finally had some vowels in
    their incomprehensible words. The US is proud to lead the crusade in this
    noble endeavor."

    The deployment, dubbed Operation Vowel Movement by the State Department,
    is set for early next week, with the Adriatic port cities of Sjlbvdnzv
    and Grzny slated to be the first recipients. Two C-130 transport planes,
    each carrying more than 500 boxes of "E's," will fly from Andrews Air
    Force Base across the Atlantic and airdrop the letters over the cities.

    Citizens of Grzny and Sjlbvdnzv eagerly await the arrival of the vowels.
    "My God, I do not think we can last another day," Trszg Grzdnjkln, 44,
    said. "I have six children and none of them has a name that is
    understandable to me or to anyone else. Mr Clinton, please send my poor,
    wretched family just one 'E'."

    Said Sjlbvdnzv resident Grg Hmphrs, 67: "With just a few key letters, I
    could be George Humphries. This is my dream."

    If the initial airlift is successful, Clinton said the United States
    will go ahead with full-scale vowel deployment, with C-130's airdropping
    thousands more letters over every area of Bosnia. Other nations are
    expected to pitch in as well, including 10,000 British "A's" and 6,500
    Canadian "U's." Japan, rich in A's and O's, was asked to participate, but
    declined.

    Linguists praise the US's decision to send the vowels. " Vowels are
    crucial to construction of all language," Baylor University linguist Noam
    Frankel said. "Without them, it would be difficult to utter a single word,
    much less organize a coherent sentence."

    According to Frankel, once the Bosnians have vowels, they will be able to
    construct such valuable sentences as "The potatoes are ready," "I
    believe it will rain," "My house was bombed last week," and "Let's go
    kill Serbs."

    The airdrop represents the largest deployment of any letter to a foreign
    country since 1984. During the summer of that year, the US shipped
    92,000 consonants to Ethiopia, providing cities like Ouaouoaua, Eaoiiuae,
    and Aao with vital, lifegiving supplies of L's, S's, and T's. The
    consonant-relief effort failed, however, when vast quantities of the
    letters were intercepted and hoarded by violent, gun-toting warlords.

    Comments


    Worst Paragraph


    The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is a literary competition for the
    first paragraph of the worst novel ever written. There is an annual
    general prize and prizes by category. The results are witty and quite
    funny. Here's a couple of examples from the 1997 contest:



    Grand Prize Winner
    The moment he laid eyes on the lifeless body of the nude socialite
    sprawled across the bathroom floor, Detective Leary knew she had
    committed suicide by grasping the cap on the tamper-proof bottle,
    pushing down and twisting while she kept her thumb firmly pressed
    against the spot the arrow pointed to, until she hit the exact spot
    where the tab clicks into place, allowing her to remove the cap and
    swallow he entire contents of the bottle, thus ending her life.
    -- Artie Kalemeris, Fairfax, VA

    Winner: Fantasy
    Prince Oryza's determined, handsome countenance was reflected
    in the gleaming, polished steel of his sword, Gowayoff, as he hewed
    valiantly at the armored sides of the dragon, which could only be
    pierced by gleaming, polished steel and not the regular kind of steel,
    which doesn't gleam as much, and isn't polished quite as well, but
    does a pretty good job against your smaller dragons.
    --J. N. Pechota, Dulzura, CA

    Western
    No one in Cisco City dared to question Jake Lattimer about the
    disappearance of neighbor Jones's hogs, not only because Jake
    was the best sheriff the town had ever seen, but also because his was
    the only dental parlor in the territory where a man could buy himself
    a decent set of slightly-used false teeth.
    - Mary Clare, Austin, TX

    Adventure
    It was, presumably, Dr. Livingstone who emerged into the clearing from
    the dense rain forest beyond, although it was difficult to tell for
    certain just WHO it was beneath the layers of leeches clinging to his
    limbs, the spiders covering the surface of his sun helmet, the bounty
    of bugs on his body, and the multitude of mites crawling on everything
    from his Mont Blanc pen to his machete though, as he had recently
    employed the latter in hacking his way through the jungle while he had
    long abandoned his diary, the pen was somewhat mitier than the sword.
    --Jan Wolitzky, Madison, NJ

    Purple Prose
    "This is the end," Alfalfa sobbed, clutching at her heaving bosom and
    pausing only occasionally to scratch her itching left armpit while her
    sapphire eyes, brimming with salty tears, turned helplessly towards
    the gibbous moon that hung in the brooding sky like a tobacco-stained
    nail paring.
    --Niki Wessels, Centurion, South Africa

    Detective
    With the last rays of sunshine silhouetting her slim form, and the
    still-smoking pistol clutched in her trembling right hand, Cora knelt
    beside the body at her feet, only to be brought up short by the sudden
    awareness of that unmistakable creeping-insect-like feeling of a run
    ripping up the back of her left stocking.
    --Marcia E. Brown, Austin, TX

    Science Fiction
    Captain Richard Probe stood toe-to-claw with the female alien on
    the bridge of his star ship as she aimed her laser gun at his navel,
    knowing full well as his eye-level gaze surveyed her three breasts,
    that in order to save his crew he needed to overcome the stirrings of
    his manhood, which was soon made easier by the realization that indeed
    his pants were only getting tighter because her laser was
    shrink-wrapping his uniform.
    --Maggie Moris, Woodbury, MN

    Romance
    Veronica had had little experience of treachery when she first arrived
    in Paris, so when Jean-Luc left her in the Rive Gauche with only a Bic
    and a bock and a broken clock she was somewhat surprised.
    --Juliette Hughes, Northcote, Victoria, Australia




    Comments