Posts Tagged ‘language abuse’

Today I’m introducing you to another book, Cruel and Unusual Puns, by Don Hauptman, a book about transitional puns.  Not sure what those are?  You’ll catch on quickly.  However, my favorite wordmeister, Richard Lederer, chimes in at the beginning of the book to tell us, “…Many of Hauptman’s clever reversals might be called forkerisms–spoonerisms with a point…”  So grab your fork and spoon and dig in for some fun.

I’m going to quote from Chapter 5: Nothing to Choose but your Lanes, Improbable Definitions and Unlikely Quotes.  “Nothing to Choose but your Lanes” should give you a hint as to the direction we’re headed.  Just switch the L and C if you’re confused.

Alimony: (1)  The ties of exes are upon you.  (2)  The bounty of mutiny
            ~(1) Howard Gossage; (2) Source Unknown

Research psychologists:  Pulling habits out of rats
             ~George P. Schmidt, quoted in Saturday Review

Counterfeiters:  They earn money the hard way–they make it.
              ~Elizabeth Critas, Cincinnati, Ohio, in The New York Magazine Competition

Champagne:  Sips that passion the night.
               ~Source Unknown

Children sharing toys:  The din of inequity 
               ~The Complete Pun Book by Art. Moger

Race tracks:  Where windows clean people.
~Mad Magazine
(Try as I may, this will NOT indent!)

And now some from our author:

Unpopular baseball team: Mitts and Hisses

How trolley enthusiasts describe their passion: A Desire Named Streetcar

Euclid’s lost principle of squaring the circle: First sum, first curved

Postpartum depression:  The Blues of the Birth

Country bumpkin who falls for TV pitches selling cheap Zirconium jewelry:Cubic’s rube

And a few transitional quotes:  (You determine whether they’re real.)   🙂

Marcel Marceau, with characteristic humility: “It’s only a tatter of mime”

Henry Luce on the eve of the Chicago fire: “There’ll be a hot town in the old Time tonight.”   (The Chicago Times was a newspaper.)

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It’s Tuesday and after a foray into the world of superior words (did anyone use one of the words) last week, we’re back to a selection from Anguished English.  Last week, I came across my copy of More Anguished English, so we should be set for some time.  🙂  Hopefully that news elicits joyful sounds, not anguished ones!

The following jewels are from insurance reports, where drivers were asked to report their incidents in the fewest words possible.  In many cases, the extra words would have been worth it!

Possibly an unsolvable hit-and-run!

An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car, and vanished.

I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law, and headed over the embankment.

Persistence pays off in these next two.

The pedestrian ran for the pavement, but I got him.

The guy was all over the road.  I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.

I was thrown from my car as it left the road.  I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows.

Not something you see every day!!

The accident happened when the right front door of a car came around the corner without giving a signal.

My car sustained no damage whatsoever and the other car somewhat less.

I would have loved to have seen this one.  It gives the term “footloose” an entirely different meaning!

One wheel went into the ditch.  My foot jumped from brake to accelerator, leaped across the road to the other side, and jumped into the trunk of a tree.

I’m surprised this didn’t happen soon!!  I’ve driven 16 hours a time, but never 40 years!

I had been driving for about 40 years, when I fell sleep at the wheel and had an accident.

This might be my favorite, at least if I don’t read over all the rest. I’m left wondering which of them had the rear end trouble, but not at all  amazed that you’d have an accident if your universal joint gave way!  I must have forgotten that part from my anatomy class.

I was on my way to the doctor with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way, causing me to have an accident.

May you have an uneventful week, with no rear end or universal joint problems!

Disclaimer:  As usual on a Tuesday (and Wednesday), I have to work all day, so excuse any lateness getting to your blog post. It’s not that I don’t want to get there, it’s sometimes that I just don’t have time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m writing this on Monday afternoon with chicken stock simmering on the stove, something to combat the cold outside.  I exercised this morning, both on the treadmill and on the weight machines, but now I’m going to exercise my laughing muscles.  You’re welcome to give yours a workout as well.

As usual, at least so far, all examples are from Richard Lederer’s manual on how misuse of the English language can make us laugh, Anguished English.  Have any of you picked up a copy either at the library or bookstore since you started reading the Language Abuse posts?  I hope at least a few of you have enjoyed them enough to do so.  But now, without further ado or even much ado about nothing, let’s take a look at signs that might give a rather different impression to the reader than was expected by the creator of the sign.

In a New York restaurant:  Customers who consider our waitresses uncivil ought to see the manager.

(more…)

These days, headlines tend to be found online, but there was a time when they were at the beginning of every newspaper article.  The objective, of course, was to interest a potential reader as well as give a very, very short idea of what the article was about.  Once again, Richard Lederer has found some of the most hilarious for readers of Anguished English.  Let me share just a few.  As some of you may remember, headlines were always in capital letters and it didn’t mean shouting.

FLAMING TOILET SEAT CAUSES EVACUATION AT HIGH SCHOOL

TWO CONVICTS EVADE NOOSE:  JURY HUNG

DEAF MUTE GETS NEW HEARING IN KILLING

COMPLAINTS ABOUT NBA OFFICIALS GROWING UGLY

S. FLORIDA ILLEGAL ALIENS CUT IN HALF BY NEW LAW

SURVIVOR OF SIAMESE TWINS JOINS PARENTS

IRAQI HEAD SEEKS ARMS

HERSHEY BARS PROTEST

TRAFFIC DEAD RISE SLOWLY

POLICE BEGIN CAMPAIGN TO RUN DOWN JAYWALKERS

GRANDMOTHER OF EIGHT MAKES HOLE IN ONE

Last week I promised Allan at Ohm Sweet Ohm that this week I’d be featuring a few of the language home runs Yogi Berra hit over the years. Not to be confused with Yogi Bear, although his AP obituary initially stated that Yogi Bear had died, he was an outstanding baseball player for the New York Yankees.  But he is just as famous for his humorous use, or some might say, misuse, of the English language.  Perhaps his best known is “It isn’t over till it’s over.”  But there are many more.  Here are just a few to interject a smile or even a laugh into your day.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

You can observe a lot by just watching.

It’s like déjà vu all over again.

No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.

 Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.

A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.

Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.

You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.

Never answer an anonymous letter.

He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.

It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.

Half the lies they tell me aren’t true.

Can we believe that Yogi actually said all these things?  I think so, but then again he did say, “I never said most of the things I said.”   So you decide.  🙂

Sam Goldwyn, legendary movie producer, was known for more than just his movies.  He was also know for his mangling of English, as shown by a few of the examples from Anguished English.  Ready?  Roll ’em.

A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

I’ll give you a definite maybe.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.

I never like you and I always will.

When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you.

Let’s have some new clichés.

A bachelor’s life is no life for a single man.

Our comedies are not to be laughed at.

I never put on a pair of shoes until I’ve worn them five years.

I may not always be right, but I’m never wrong.

 

 

It’s Tuesday, so it must be time for a language abuse post.  Today is all about modifiers that aren’t placed in the right place, thus conveying rather different meanings than the writers intended, more fun from Richard Lederer’s Anguished English.  Hang on, because here we go.

No one was injured in the blast, which was attributed to a buildup of gas by one town official.

Yoko Ono will talk about her husband, John Lennon, who was killed in an interview with Barbara Walters.

Plunging 1,000 feet into the gorge, we saw Yosemite Falls.

CALF BORN TO FARMER WITH TWO HEADS.

Two cars were reported stolen by the Groveton police yesterday.

After years of being lost under a pile of dust, Chester D. Thatcher III found all the old records of the Bangor Lions Club at the Bangor House.

Do not sit in chair without being fully assembled.

Here are some suggestions for handling obscene phone calls from New England Telephone Company.

The judge sentenced the killer to die in the electric chair for the second tie.