Archive for the ‘Words’ Category

Here’s the end of history as we know is or, rather, as we didn’t know it. Unfortunately, the bloopers only go up to WWI, but don’t worry, there will be lots more fun with words on the following Tuesdays.  Now on to the fun!

During the Renaissance America began. Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. His ships were called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Fe. Later, the Pilgrims crossed the ocean, and this was called Pilgrim’s Progress. The winter of 1620 was a hard one for the settlers.  Many people died and many babies were born. Captain John Smith was responsible for all this.

One of the causes of the Revolutionary War was the English put tacks in their tea. Also, the colonists would send their parcels through the post without stamps.  During the War, the Red Coast and Paul Revere was throwing balls over stone walls.  The dogs were barking and the peacocks crowing. Finally, the colonists won the War and no longer had to pay for taxis.

Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin had gone to Boston carrying all his clothes in his pocket and a loaf of bread under each arm. He invented electricity by rubbing two cats backwards and declared, “A horse divided against itself cannot stand.” Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.

George Washington married Martha Curtis and in due time became the Father of Our Country. Then the Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic hostility. His farewell address was Mount Vernon.

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Are your ready for some more fractured history?  We’ll start with the Middle Ages, when everyone was middle-aged,  and end with Shakespeare and his contemporaries.  Thanks again to Richard Lederer and his hilarious book, Anguished English.  As I’m mentioned before, he has a number of other books that will keep you laughing.  Pick one up and tell me if I’m wrong…if you’re able to get the words out while giggling.

Warning!!  Do NOT consume hot beverages or even food while reading unless prepared to do laundry and clean up your surroundings.  You have been warned!!

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Then came the Middle Ages, when everyone was middle aged. King Alfred conquered the Dames. King Arthur lived in the Age of Shivery with brave knights on prancing horses and beautiful women. King Harold mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings.

Joan of Arc was cannonized by George Bernard Shaw. And victims of the blue-bonnet plague brew boobs on their necks.  Finally, the Magna Carta provided that no free man should be hanged twice for the same offense.

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I’m a history buff, so this mash-up of student bloopers makes me laugh until I cry.  I don’t know if you’ll cry, but I’m quite sure you’ll laugh, possibly out loud.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WORLD

‘The World According to Student Bloopers’

by Richard Lederer

One of the fringe benefits of being an English or History teacher is receiving the occasional jewel of a student blooper in an essay. I have pasted together the following “history” of the world from certifiably genuine student bloopers collected by teachers through the U.S., from eighth grade through college. Read carefully, and you will learn a lot.

The inhabitants of ancient Egypt were called mummies, and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation.

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Three Dog Night may think that “One is the loneliest number”, but in this case, one is the funniest number.  We’re back with the 2013 Washington Post again, this time with their Style Invitational.  Here’s how it works.  And yes, once again I was laughing out loud!

The Washington Post’s Style Invitational asks readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

The winners were:

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This week we’ll take a break from Anguished English because my sister-in-law sent me the results of the Washington Post’s annual neologism contest.  These are just too much fun not to pass on.

(Just did a bit more research and found that these are from 2013.  That means more to come, I’d guess.)

Once again The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words.
The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n), olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence (n.), emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

You’ve survived Monday, so let me reward you with some good laughs for Tuesday.  For that, we’re back to Richard Lederer’s Anguished English for examples of signs in other countries that are written in English.  However, their messages are more than a bit mixed or maybe muffed.  I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite.  Which is yours?

In a Bangkok dry cleaner’s:  Drop your trousers here for best results.

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What on earth is a bienapropism??  Richard Lederer says that “The best malapropisms are those that leap across the chasm of absurdity and land on the side of truth” and dubs them bienapropisms, in the spirit of the French roots.  My interpretation?  Bien (good) + appropriate + malapropism = lots of fun!!  Here are some examples, again from Anguished English.  Read ’em and weep.

  1. The cookbook is being compiled.  Please submit your favorite recipe and a short antidote concerning it.
  2. We sold our house and moved into one of those pandemoniums.
  3. To be a leader, you have to develop a spear de corps.
  4. Senators are chosen as committee chairmen on the basis of senility.
  5. The hills were worn down by eroticism.
  6. Apartheid is a pigment of the imagination.
  7. Certainly the pleasures of youth are great, but they are nothing compared to the pleasures of adultery.
  8. The defendant pleaded exterminating circumstances.
  9. Finally, this one that we’ve used for fun in our family for years:  It’s a fragment of your imagination.

Happy Tuesday!

“Surprise” is the theme of this week’s photo challenge.  As Jen mentioned in her example, I’ve often been surprised by what appears in a macro shot, especially if it’s taken with my phone in bright sunshine!  Little critters that I didn’t even notice look like sci-fi creatures when viewed on my laptop or iPad.

I like to be surprised by wit and word play is one of the things I most enjoy.  So you might imagine the surprised happiness the name of this shop gave me when I chanced to look across a Philadelphia street and see it.

© janet m. webb 2017

 

Let’s face it.  Every blogger, although s/he loves a “like”, really wants to read some praise-filled comments!  You know it’s true!  Yet how often do you read a post you love or view a photo that you wish you’d taken, yet not really know how best to comment?

Part of the problem is time–so many posts, so little time. But an important aspect of being a good follower is to take the time to let the blogger know what you like about the post.  Every blogger looks forward to reading complimentary comments, but there can easily be so  much more to a comment than “Great post.”  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying you should never use those two words.  But it’s simple to make your comment just a little bit better and to vary what you write in that comment section.

The obvious is true.  Be specific when mentioning what strikes your fancy. Do you love the twist at the ending of the story or that the story made you feel good? Are the colors in the photo vivid or does the photo remind you of good times in your past? Mention those things and the writer/photographer will love to hear from you.

But you don’t always have the time to comment in-depth. So let’s consider that word “great.” Yes, every blogger wants to hear that you love the post. However, many comments overuse a few words, hence my suggestion that you periodically resort to the thesaurus. The thesaurus is a “great” way to find some descriptive words that not everyone is using. Here’s what a cursory search found:

adj. exhibiting expertise in some activity

brilliant
champion
distinguished

excellent
expert
first-rate

master
outstanding

superb
virtuoso

Or perhaps something from this list would be more like you:

adj. held in great respect

A-1
A-OK
ace
attractive
best ever
cat’s pajamas
choice
commendable
cool

copacetic
crackerjack
deserving
dream
estimable
excellent
exquisite
fine
good

great
greatest
hunky dory
keen
laudable
meritable
meritorious
neat
out of sight

out of this world
peachy
praiseworthy
rare
solid
super
super-duper
superior
unreal

valuable
wicked
wonderful
worthy
zero cool

(A personal favorite is “the cat’s pajamas”, a phrase my dad used to use and that I have on a cup, although I have yet to use it in a comment.)

Consider also that the internet has the effect of bringing out the superlatives in comments. How often have you read (or said) that something is “brilliant?” Are there that many things that are actually “brilliant?” What do you say if you then see something or read a piece that’s even better?

I’m not trying to discourage you from fulsome compliments in your comments. Don’t we all love a peachy/deserving/zero cool compliment?  But you might consider the thesaurus when looking to praise; if nothing else, so that your compliment stands out a bit more.  Pair the word with something specific and you’ll be the darling of the comment section.  Rather than “exquisite post”, “The colors of the rainbow are exquisite” tells the photographer what you love about the photo.  “Superb descriptions” is more to be cherished than “Superb post.”

For even more useful words in the same vein, take one minute and pop “marvelous, synonym” in your search engine and take note of what you find. Seriously! Try it. You’ll be amazed! And your comments will be the cat’s pajamas.

Fine print generally isn’t.  It’s the written equivalent of the page (or even two) of disclaimers that follows an ad for a drug or the here-are-all-the-exceptions spiel rattled off at the end of a radio or television commercial by someone who might be an auctioneer in his or her spare time.  No one read it or hears it and we can get caught out by not doing so, when someone says to us, “But it says right here in the fine print…”.

However, several days ago I was chatting on the phone with our older daughter while perusing the fine print on a coupon for a BOGO (buy one, get one) coupon for Chipotle.  For those of you not familiar with Chipotle, they are, in their words, a Mexican grill, offering a limited but tasty menu of gigantic burritos, burrito bowls, salads and tacos.  And their fine print was the finest I’ve ever seen.  Read it and tell me what you think. (more…)


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