Posts Tagged ‘words’

This quote, culled from a book many of you might enjoy, Use Your Words; Word Power Quizzes and Quotable Quotes” from Reader’s Digest, made me and my husband laugh out loud. But finding a photo to go with it was tricky in this PC age.  I hope you think I chose well.

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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.

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.)

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re taking a break from Anguished English and language abuse to enjoy some words from The Superior Person’s Book of Words by Peter Bowler.  The word in the title, slubberdegullion, is “A glorious seventeenth-century term of contempt (found in Hudibras), apparently meaning a dirty, wretched slob.  What’s not to like about that?  🙂

Let’s see what else we can find.  All definitions are quotes from the book.

Nidificate v.   To build a nest.  You settle down in the quietness of the theater to enjoy the opening dream sequence of Wild Strawberries.  From the seat in front of you comes an insistent crackling and rustling of candy wrappings.  “Usher!” you call out in a loud voice, “I think the woman in front of me is nidificating in her seat!

Limaceous a.  Sluglike, having to do with slugs.  “Keep our hands to yourself, you limaceous endomorph!”

(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

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.