Posts Tagged ‘word humor’

A metaphor is a direct comparison, such as the second line of the poem, The Highwayman, by Alfred Noyes: “The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.”  If he’d said “The moon was like a ghostly galleon”, it would have been a simile.

Metaphors are quite useful, but when they get mixed, things get a bit, well, mixed up!  Just take a look at these gems, courtesy of Anguished English.

The sacred cows have come home to roost with a vengeance.  (I hope they have a very sturdy perch and please do NOT stand underneath it!!)

The slowdown  is accelerating.

The Sword of Damocles is hanging over Pandora’s Box.

Let dead dogs sleep.

She was a diva of such immense talent that, after hearing her perform, there was seldom a dry seat in the house.   (I can’t really comment on that one.)

Let’s hope Steve Carleton gets his curve ball straightened out.  (Perhaps Yogi was catching for this one.)

It’s difficult living in a bowl of fish.  (Unless of course you’re a fish.)

That guy’s out to butter his own nest. (Slick!)

I’m sticking my neck out on a limb.  (Ouch!!)

He was a very astute politician with both ears glued to the ground.  (Ouch again!)

The banker’s pockets are bulging with the sweat of the honest working man. (Yuk!)

Richard Lederer (again in Anguished English) points out that even Ian Fleming mixed a cocktail of metaphors at least once (shaken, though, not stirred) when he wrote: “Bond’s knees, the Achilles heel of all skiers, were beginning to ache.”  So if you happen to mangle a metaphor or three (or would that make it a meta-four?), you’re in good company.

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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.)

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.

 

 

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.

(more…)

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.


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