Fun with the



English is Tough Stuff

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 deal with 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. Author Unknown.

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!!!


Denied Beef or Crispness (that is, December 24th)

Denied Beef or Crispness
Avis Affront Sent Nickel less    bike Lemon Seymour

(Trains crypt shun vice Codfish Hur Indus tie Lovejoy says Yule Essays)

Trust denied beef or crispness, endow Trudy howls
Gnaw decree churl wisteria, naughty venom owls.
This talking sarong bide each amnion scare
Indeo thatch sent Nickel less Holmwood bidet err.

Ditch elder Norn assailed owls noggin dare bats
Whale fissions assure kerplunks tan stinter hats.
Enema inner cur chiffoned ion Mike apt
Adjust saddle daub rains Farralon went her snap.

Win autumn along Thera roe Sedgwick latter
Ice prang form abed Tuesday water the smatter.
A whey Tudor Wendy wife low Wycliff lash,
Tyropita shudder, Andrew opus ash.

Them Noonan depressed over Newfoundland's know
Gay baluster omit dative abject spell low
Windward tomb Ivan daring ice showed up here
Button manager slave, innate tine errand ear

Withal eidolon dry verse alive eel ink wick
Ainu anymore minted moose bison tick.
Murre wrap idem eglises corsairs ache aim,
Andy whiz seldom chowder dun cauldron Benet him:

"Gnawed ash around answer! Gnaw pram surround fix in!
Ankh omit! En queue paid! Undone her amble its in!
Fundy papaver Porsche strudel tapas AWOL,
Gnaw Dacia whey, Dacia whey, Dacia whey haul!"

Astride lees daub afford awhile derrick enough lie
Wednesday mead wither knob stickle, Mantua descry,
Sew Aptos dehors tapas corsairs Dave loo,
Wither slave aloft hoys, ensign Nickel less stew.

Undone inert winkle Ngaio Donner oaf
Dip rant singing poring a vetch lid aloof
Assayed ruin my hedonist yearning oar hound
Donna Jiminy sent Nickel Less gay myth abound.

Hugh as stressed Allen furtive he said Tuohy's put
Andy's close whir Altair nest wee thatches unsought.
Abound aloft hoys hee-hawed flowing onus pack
Andy hooked Lycra ped largess taupe ninny's back.

He sighs, outdate winkled! He Stempel some airy!
Hiss chicks warlike roe scissors know sly kitsch hairy!
He stroll it elm outwards Ranulf ply Cabo
Ann de Beer Dover's Genoa's wight asters know.

This tempo fur pie peahen titan is tea,
Thin desmo kitten sir cul-de-sac Laika wraith.
Hee-hawed abroad fay, Sinaloa rowan Bali
The Chuck fenny left likable fell agilely.

Ewoks chapati aplomb, pariah jelly hole Delft,
Andial Afton eyesore hemming spider mite shelf.
Owing covey sigh, inert wester fizz Ed
Sung Avery tuna Ahab knotting toot red.

Hiss poke gnaw toward, button stray towhee smirk,
Unfilled alder stalkings, interned with edge irk
Inlay ingot vinegar a sigh Dover snows
Ungiving unawed, hope itch enemy arrows.

Hiss prang Tuohy slay, Tuohy steam gay vibrissa
Andy wither elf lowlife can Donovan this ill.
Bowtie herd Emmick's claim, harried roe vow despite,
"Murray Crispness two wall, unto Allah goon height!"


How To Write

by Frank L. Visco

My several years in the word game have learnt me several rules:

   1)   Always avoid alliteration.
   2)   Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
   3)   Avoid cliches like the plague.  (They're old hat.)
   4)   Employ the vernacular.
   5)   Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
   6)   Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
   7)   It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
      Contractions aren't necessary.
   9)   Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  10)   One should never generalize.
  11)   Eliminate quotations.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:
        "I hate quotations.  Tell me what you know."
  12)   Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  13)   Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary;
        it's highly superfluous.
  14)   Profanity sucks.
  15)   Be more or less specific.
  16)   Understatement is always best.
  17)   Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  18)   One-word sentences?  Eliminate.
  19)   Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  20)   The passive voice is to be avoided.
  21)   Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  22)   Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  23)   Who needs rhetorical questions?


Good Writing Checklist

1. Don't use no double negatives.
2. About them sentence fragments.
3. Try to not ever split infinitives.
4. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
5. Between you and I, case is important.
6. Correct spelling is esential.
7. When dangling, watch your participles.
8. Use your apostrophes's correctly.
9. Avoid cliches like the plague.
10. Don't use commas, that aren't necessary.
11. Proofread you writing.


Bad, Bad Analogies

4th Runner-Up: Oooo, he smells bad, she thought, as bad as
  Calvin  Klein's Obsession would smell if it were called Enema
  and was made  from spoiled Spamburgers instead of natural
  floral fragrances.  (Jennifer Frank, Washington, and Jimmy
  Pontzer, Sterling)

3rd Runner-Up: The baseball player stepped out of the box
  and spit  like a fountain statue of a Greek god that scratches
  itself a lot  and spits brown, rusty tobacco water and refuses
  to sign autographs  for all the little Greek kids unless they
  pay him lots of drachmas.  (Ken Krattenmaker, Landover

2nd Runner-Up: I felt a nameless dread. Well, there probably
  is a long German name for it, like Geschpooklichkeit or
  something, but I  don't speak German. Anyway, it's a dread
  that nobody knows the name  for, like those little square
  plastic gizmos that close your bread  bags. I don't know the
  name for those either. (Jack Bross, Chevy Chase)

1st Runner-Up: She was as unhappy as when someone puts
  your cake out in the rain, and all the sweet green icing flows
  down and then you  lose the recipe, and on top of that you
  can't sing worth a damn. (Joseph Romm, Washington)

And the winner of the framed Scarlet Fever sign: His fountain
  pen  was so expensive it looked as if someone had grabbed
  the pope,  turned him upside down and started writing with
  the tip of his big  pointy hat. (Jeffrey Carl, Richmond)
Honorable Mentions:  
 - - He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree. (Jack Bross, Chevy  Chase)

 - - The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when  you fry them 
in hot grease. (Gary F. Hevel, Silver Spring)

 - - The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the  Dr. on a 
Dr Pepper can. (Wayne Goode, Madison, Ala.)

 - - He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like  a guy 
who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without  one of those boxes 
with a pinhole in it and now goes around the  country speaking at high schools 
about the dangers of looking at a  solar eclipse without one of those boxes with 
a pinhole in it.  (Joseph Romm, Washington)

 - - She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to 
dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you  banged the door open 
again. (Rich Murphy, Fairfax Station)
 - - She was sending me more mixed signals than a dyslexic third-base coach. 
(Jack Bross, Chevy Chase)

 - - The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling 
ball wouldn't. (Russell Beland, Springfield)
 - - Having O.J. try on the bloody glove was a stroke of genius unseen since 
the debut of Goober on "Mayberry R.F.D".(John Kammer,  Herndon)

 - - From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an  eerie, 
surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city  and "Jeopardy" 
comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30. (Roy Ashley,  Washington)

 - - Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.
 (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

 - - Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center. 
 (Russell Beland, Springfield)

 - - Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who means to access 
 T:flw.quid55328.comaaakk/ch@ung but gets T:flw.quidaaakk/ch@ung  
 by mistake (Ken Krattenmaker, Landover Hills)

 - - Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

 - - Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie 
this guy would be buried in the credits as something like  "Second Tall Man."  
(Russell Beland, Springfield)

 - - Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the 
grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left 
Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other  from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. 
at a speed of 35 mph. (Jennifer Hart,  Arlington)

 - - Upon completing kindergarten, Lance felt the same sense of accomplishment 
the Unabomber feels every time he successfully blows up another college professor. 

 - - They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences  
that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth (Paul Kocak, Syracuse, N.Y.)

 - - John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also 
never met. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

 - - His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like 
underpants in a dryer without Cling Free (Chuck Smith,  Woodbridge)

 - - After sending in my entries for the Style Invitational, I feel relieved 
and apprehensive, like a little boy who has just wet his  bed. 
(Wayne Goode, Madison, Ala.)

 - - You made my day, even a day as gray as white cotton sheets washed for 
decades in cold water without bleach like no self-respecting woman who came 
of age in the 1940s would allow in her house, much less on one of her beds, 
but up with which she must put whenever she visits one of her own daughters, 
just as if they had never been brought up right.  (DEV, Madison, Wis)


Using the Same Word Eleven Times in a Row

Smith, where Jones had had "had", had had "had had";
"had had" had had the examiner's approval.


Ladle Rat Rotten Hut

by Howard Chase

Howard Chase is a former professor of romance languages at Miami
University in Ohio.  This story is a selection from his book, 
'Anguish Languish'.  He wrote it in the 1940's and it has been 
published at various times in various places.

Wants pawn term dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner
ladle cordage honor itch offer lodge dock florist.  Disc ladle gull
orphan worry ladle cluck wetter putty ladle rat hut, end fur disc
raisin pimple caulder ladle rat rotten hut.  Wan moaning rat rotten
hut's murder colder inset: 'Ladle rat rotten hut, heresy ladle basking
winsome burden barter an shirker cockles.  Tick disc ladle basking
tudor cordage offer groin murder hoe lifts honor udder site offer
florist.  Shaker lake, dun stopper laundry wrote, end yonder nor
sorghum stenches dun stopper torque wet strainers.' 'Hoe-cake, murder,'
resplendent ladle rat rotten hut, end tickle ladle basking an sturred
oft.  Honor wrote tudor cordage offer groin murder, ladle rat rotten
hut mitten anomalous woof.  'Wail, wail, wail,' set disc wicket woof,
'evanescent ladle rat rotten hut!  Wares or putty ladle gull goring
wizard ladle basking?' 'Armor goring tumor groin murder's,' reprisal
ladle gull.  'Grammars seeking bet.  Armor ticking arson burden barter
end shirker cockles.' 'O hoe!  Heifer blessing woke,' setter wicket
woof, butter taught tomb shelf, 'Oil tickle shirt court tudor cordage
offer groin murder.  Oil ketchup wetter letter, an den - O bore!' Soda
wicket woof tucker shirt court, end whinney retched a cordage offer
groin murder, picket inner window an dore debtor port oil worming worse
lion inner bet.  Inner flesh disc abdominal woof lipped honor betting
adder rope.  Zany pool dawn a groin murder's nut cup an gnat gun, any
curdle dope inner bet.  Inner ladle wile ladle rat rotten hut a raft
attar cordage an ranker dough ball.  'Comb ink, sweat hard,' setter
wicket woof, disgracing is verse.  Ladle rat rotten hut entity bet rum
end stud buyer groin murder's bet.  'Oh grammar,' crater ladle gull,
'Wart bag icer gut!  A nervous sausage bag ice!'  'Butter lucky chew
whiff, doling,' whiskered disc ratchet woof, wetter wicket small.  'Oh
grammar, water bag noise!  A nervous sore suture anomalous prognosis!'
'Buttered small your whiff,' inserter woof, ants mouse worse wadding.
'Oh grammar, water bag mousey gut!  A nervous sore suture bag mouse!'
Daze worry on forger nut gull's lest warts.  Oil offer sodden throne
offer carvers an sprinkling otter bet, disc curl an bloat thursday woof
ceased pore ladle rat rotten hut an garbled erupt.
Mural:  Yonder not sorghum stenches shud ladle gulls stopper torque wet

If you are interested in a much larger collection of these, please go to 
the very humorous Anguish Language.


'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the
annual Yuletide celebration, and throughout our place of residence,
kinetic activity was not in evidence among the possessors of this
potential, including that species of domestic rodent known as Mus
musculus. Hosiery was meticulously suspended from the forward edge of the
wood burning caloric apparatus, pursuant to our anticipatory pleasure
regarding an imminent visitation from an eccentric philanthropist among
whose folkloric appellations is the honorific title of St.  Nicholas.

The prepubescent siblings, comfortably ensconced in their respective
accommodations of repose, were experiencing subconscious visual
hallucinations of variegated fruit confections moving rhythmically through
their cerebrums.  My conjugal partner and I, attired in our nocturnal head
coverings, were about to take slumberous advantage of the hibernal darkness
when upon the avenaceous exterior portion of the grounds there ascended
such a cacophony of dissonance that I felt compelled to arise with alacrity
from my place of repose for the purpose of ascertaining the precise source

Hastening to the casement, I forthwith opened the barriers sealing
this fenestration, noting thereupon that the lunar brilliance
without, reflected as it was on the surface of a recent crystalline
precipitation, might be said to rival that of the solar meridian
itself - thus permitting my incredulous optical sensory organs to
behold a miniature airborne runnered conveyance drawn by eight
diminutive specimens of the genus Rangifer, piloted by a minuscule,
aged chauffeur so ebullient and nimble that it became instantly
apparent to me that he was indeed our anticipated caller. 

With his ungulate motive power travelling at what may possibly have been more
vertiginous velocity than patriotic alar predators, he vociferated
loudly, expelled breath musically through contracted labia, and
addressed each of the octet by his or her respective cognomen - "Now
Dasher, now Dancer..." et al. - guiding them to the uppermost exterior
level of our abode, through which structure I could readily distinguish the
concatenations of each of the 32 cloven pedal extremities.
As I retracted my cranium from its erstwhile location, and was performing a
180-degree pivot, our distinguished visitant achieved - with utmost
celerity and via a downward leap - entry by way of the smoke passage. He
was clad entirely in animal pelts soiled by the ebony residue from
oxidations of carboniferous fuels which had accumulated on the walls
thereof. His resemblance to a street vendor I attributed largely to the
plethora of assorted playthings which he bore dorsally in a commodious
cloth receptacle.
His orbs were scintillant with reflected luminosity, while his submaxillary
dermal indentations gave every evidence of engaging amiability. The
capillaries of his malar regions and nasal appurtenance were engorged with
blood which suffused the subcutaneous layers, the former approximating the
coloration of Albion's floral emblem, the latter that of the Prunus avium,
or sweet cherry.  His amusing sub- and supralabials resembled nothing so
much as a common loop knot, and their ambient hirsute facial adornment
appeared like small, tabular and columnar crystals of frozen water.

Clenched firmly between his incisors was a smoking piece whose grey
fumes, forming a tenuous ellipse about his occiput, were suggestive
of a decorative seasonal circlet of holly. His visage was wider than it was
high, and when he waxed audibly mirthful, his corpulent abdominal region
undulated in the manner of impectinated fruit syrup in a hemispherical
container. He was, in short, neither more nor less than an obese, jocund,
multigenarian gnome, the optical perception of whom rendered me visibly
frolicsome despite every effort to refrain from so being. By rapidly
lowering and then elevating one eyelid and rotating his head slightly to
one side, he indicated that trepidation on my part was groundless.

Without utterance and with dispatch, he commenced filling the
aforementioned appended hosiery with various of the aforementioned
articles of merchandise extracted from his aforementioned previously
dorsally transported cloth receptacle.  Upon completion of this task,
he executed an abrupt about-face, placed a single manual digit in
lateral juxtaposition to his olfactory organ, inclined his cranium
forward in a gesture of leave-taking, and forthwith effected his
egress by renegotiating (in reverse) the smoke passage. He then
propelled himself in a short vector onto his conveyance, directed a
musical expulsion of air through his contracted oral sphincter to the
antlered quadrupeds of burden, and proceeded to soar aloft in a
movement hitherto observable chiefly among the seed-bearing portions
of a common weed. But I overheard his parting exclamation, audible
immediately prior to his vehiculation beyond the limits of
visibility: "Ecstatic Yuletide to the planetary constituency, and to
that self same assemblage, my sincerest wishes for a salubriously
beneficial and gratifyingly pleasurable period between sunset and


But I Have Not Yet Gone to College

This is an actual essay written by a college applicant. The author,
Hugh Gallagher, now attends NYU.


I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I
have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making
them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic
slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time
efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.

I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot
bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook
Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a
veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.

Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly
defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious
army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the
subject of numerous documentaries. When I'm bored, I build large
suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On
Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of

I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie.
Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear.
I don't perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I
have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last
summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force
demonstration. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me
fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.

I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy.
I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day
and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I
know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have
performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week;
when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I
successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a
small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.

I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On
weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami.
Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down.
I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a
toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San
Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the
Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and
I have spoken with Elvis.

But I have not yet gone to college.


Abort, Retry, Ignore?

Chip Talk is/was a nationally syndicated column broadcast on KNX-AM
This piece circa 3/91 or slightly before...

"Suppose Edgar Allan Poe had used a computer?  This is Dave Ross with Chip Talk:

Once upon a midnight dreary, fingers cramped and vision bleary,
System manuals piled high and wasted paper on the floor,
Longing for the warmth of bed sheets, still I sat there doing spreadsheets.
Having reached the bottom line I took a floppy from the drawer,
I then invoked the SAVE command and waited for the disk to store,
Only this and nothing more.

Deep into the monitor peering, long I sat there wond'ring, fearing,
Doubting, while the disk kept churning, turning yet to churn some more.
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token.
"Save!" I said, "You cursed mother!  Save my data from before!"
One thing did the phosphors answer, only this and nothing more,
Just, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

Was this some occult illusion, some maniacal intrusion?
These were choices undesired, ones I'd never faced before.
Carefully I weighed the choices as the disk made impish noises.
The cursor flashed, insistent, waiting, baiting me to type some more.
Clearly I must press a key, choosing one and nothing more,
From "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

With fingers pale and trembling, slowly toward the keyboard bending,
Longing for a happy ending, hoping all would be restored,
Praying for some guarantee, timidly, I pressed a key.
But on the screen there still persisted words appearing as before.
Ghastly grim they blinked and taunted, haunted, as my patience wore,
Saying "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

I tried to catch the chips off guard, and pressed again, but twice as hard.
I pleaded with the cursed machine: I begged and cried and then I swore.
Now in mighty desperation, trying random combinations,
Still there came the incantation, just as senseless as before.
Cursor blinking, angrily winking, blinking nonsense as before.
Reading, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

There I sat, distraught, exhausted, by my own machine accosted.
Getting up I turned away and paced across the office floor.
And then I saw a dreadful sight: a lightning bolt cut through the night.
A gasp of horror overtook me, shook me to my very core.
The lightning zapped my previous data, lost and gone forevermore.
Not even, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

To this day I do not know the place to which lost data go.
What demonic nether world us wrought where lost data will be stored,
Beyond the reach of mortal souls, beyond the ether, into black holes?
But sure as there's C, Pascal, Lotus, Ashton-Tate and more,
You will one day be left to wander, lost on some Plutonian shore,
Pleading, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

This is Dave Ross"


Persian Proverb

He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool, shun him.

He who knows not and knows that he knows not is a child, teach him.

He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep, wake him.

And he who knows and knows that he knows is wise, follow him.


A Grandchild's Guide to Using Grandpa's Computer

©1995 Gene Ziegler

Bits Bytes Chips Clocks
Bits in bytes on chips in box.
Bytes with bits and chips with clocks.
Chips in box on ether-docks.
Chips with bits come. Chips with bytes come.
Chips with bits and bytes and clocks come.

Look, sir. Look, sir. Read the book, sir.
Let's do tricks with bits and bytes, sir.
Let's do tricks with chips and clocks, sir.
First, I'll make a quick trick bit stack.
Then I'll make a quick trick byte stack.
You can make a quick trick chip stack.
You can make a quick trick clock stack.

And here's a new trick on the scene.
Bits in bytes for your machine.
Bytes in words to fill your screen.
Now we come to ticks and tocks, sir.
Try to say this by the clock, sir.

Clocks on chips tick.
Clocks on chips tock.
Eight byte bits tick.
Eight bit bytes tock.
Clocks on chips with eight bit bytes tick.
Chips with clocks and eight byte bits tock.

Here's an easy game to play.
Here's an easy thing to say....
If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
and the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
and the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort
then the socket packet pocket has an error to report!

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
and your data is corrupted cause the index doesn't hash,
then your situation's hopeless, and your system's gonna crash.

You can't say this? What a shame, sir!
We'll find you another game, sir.
If the label on the cable on the table at your house
says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
but your packets want to tunnel on another protocol,
that's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,
and your screen is all distorted by the side-effects of gauss,
so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk,
and the microcode instructions cause unnecessary RISC,
then you have to flash your memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM.
quickly turn of your computer and be sure to tell your mom!

(God bless you Dr. Seuss wherever you are!)


Professor's Revenge

Introductory Chemistry at Duke has been taught for about a zillion years by
Professor Bonk (really), and his course is semi-affectionately known as
Bonkistry. He has been around forever, so I wouldn't put it past him to come up
with something like this.

Anyway, one year, there were these two guys who were taking Chemistry and who
did pretty well on all of the quizzes, midterms, and labs, such that going 
into the final thet had a solid A.

These two friends were so confident going into the final that the weekend
before finals week (even thought the Chem final was on Monday), they
decided to go up to UVirginia and party with some friends up there.
So they did this and had a great time. However, with their hangovers, they
overslept all day Sunday and didn't make it back to Duke until early Monday

Rather than taking the final then, what they did was to find Prof. Bonk
after the final and explain to him why they missed the final. They told him that
they went up to UVa for the weekend, and had planned to come back in time to
study, but they had a flat tire on the way back and didn't have a spare and
hence were late getting back to campus.

Bonk thought this over and then agreed that they could make up the final on the
following day. The guys were elated and relieved. So, they studied that night
and went in the next day to take the final. 

The Professor placed them in separate rooms and handed each of them a test 
booklet and told them to begin. They looked at the first problem which was 
something simple about molarity and solutions and was worth 5 points. 
"Cool" they thought, "this is going to be easy". They did that problem and 
then turned the page. They were unprepared, however, for what they saw on the 
next page. 

It said: (95 points) Which Tire?


Suicide, Accident, or Homicide?

[from the journal of the American Academy of Forensic Scientists]
For those of you who were unable to attend the Awards Dinner during
the Annual Meeting in San Diego, you missed a tall tale on complex
forensics presented by AAFS President Don Harper Mills in his
opening remarks. The following is a recount of Dr. Mills story...

"On March 23 the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and
concluded that he died from a gunshot wound of the head caused by a
shotgun. Investigation to that point had revealed that the decedent
had jumped from the top of a ten story building with the intent to
commit suicide (he left a note indicating his despondency). 

As he passed the 9th floor on the way down, his life was interrupted by a
shotgun blast through a window, killing him instantly. Neither the
shooter nor the decedent was aware that a safety net had been
erected at the 8th floor to protect some window washers and that the
decedent would not have been able to complete his intent to commit
suicide because of this.

Ordinarily, a person who starts into motion the events with a
suicide intent, ultimately commits suicide even though the mechanism
might not be what he intended. That he was shot on the way to
certain death nine stories below probably would not change his mode
of death from suicide to homicide. But the circumstance caused the
medical examiner to feel that he had homicide on his hands.

Further investigation led to the discovery that the room on the 9th
floor from whence the shotgun blast emanated was occupied by an
elderly man and his wife. He was threatening her with the shotgun
because of an interspousal spat and became so upset he could not
hold the shotgun straight. Therefore when he pulled the trigger, he
completely missed his wife and the pellets went through the window
striking the decedent.

When one intends to kill subject A, but kills subject B in the
attempt, one is guilty of murder of subject B. The old man was
confronted with this conclusion, but both he and his wife were
adamant in stating that neither knew that the shotgun was loaded.
It was a longtime habit of the old man to threaten his wife with an
unloaded shotgun. He had no intent to murder her, therefore the
killing of the decedent appeared to be an accident. That is, the
gun had been accidentally loaded.

But *further* investigation turned up a witness that their son was
seen loading the shotgun approximately six weeks prior tp the fatal
accident. That investigation showed that the mother (the old lady)
had cut off her son's financial support and her son, knowing the
propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded
the gun with the expectation that the father would shoot his mother.
The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the
death of Ronald Opus.

Further investigation revealed that the son became increasingly
despondent over the failure of his attempt to get his mother
murdered. This led him to jump off a ten-story building on March
23, only to be killed by a shotgun blast through a 9th story window."

Now, is it Suicide, Homicide, or an Accident?

The son had actually murdered himself so the medical examiner closed 
the case as a suicide.


Cute Palindromes Etc.

A man, a plan, a canoe, pasta, heros, rajahs, a coloratura, maps, snipe, 
percale, macaroni, a gag, a banana bag, a tan, a tag, a banana bag again 
(or a camel), a crepe, pins, Spam, a rut, a Rolo, cash, a jar, sore hats, 
a peon, a canal, Panama!

Pray tell, William dear, is that child your target? You, as father, cry.
But despair will not do. Do not, Will, despair! But cry, "Father!" as you
target your child. That is, dear William Tell, pray!


The World According to Our Students

Richard Lederer
St. Paul's School

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 throughout the United States, from eight grade through
college level. Read carefully, and you will learn a lot.

The inhabitants of Egypt were called mummies. 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 cul- tivated by irritation.
The Egyptians built the Pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube. The Pramids
are a range of mountains between France and Spain.

The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible, Guinesses,
Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. One of their children, Cain, asked
"Am I my brother's son?" God asked Abraham to sacrifice Issac on Mount Montezuma.
Jacob, son of Issac, stole his brother's birthmark. Jacob was a partiarch who brought
up his twelve sons to be partiarchs, but they did not take to it. One of Jacob's sons,
Joseph, gave refuse to the Israelites.

Pharaoh forced the Hebrew slaves to make bread without straw. Moses led them to
the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any
ingredients. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments.
David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fougth with the Philatelists,
a race of people who lived in Biblical times. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 500
wives and 500 porcupines.

Without the Greeks, we wouldn't have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of
columns - Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth.
One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he
became intolerable. Achilles appears in "The Illiad", by Homer. Homer also wrote
the "Oddity", in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his
journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name.

Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They
killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock.

In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, and threw the
java. The reward to the victor was a coral wreath. The government of Athen was
democratic because the people took the law into their own hands. There were no
wars in Greece, as the mountains were so high that they couldn't climb over to see
what their neighbors were doing. When they fought the Parisians, the Greeks were
outnumbered because the Persians had more men.

Eventually, the Ramons conquered the Geeks. History call people Romans because
they never stayed in one place for very long. At Roman banquets, the guests wore
garlic in their hair. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul.
The Ides of March killed him because they thought he was going to be made king.
Nero was a cruel tyrany who would torture his poor subjects by playing the fiddle to them.

Then came the Middle Ages. King Alfred conquered the Dames, King Arthur lived
in the Age of Shivery, King Harlod mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings,
Joan of Arc was cannonized by George Bernard Shaw, and the victims of the Black
Death grew boobs on their necks. Finally, the Magna Carta provided that no free man
should be hanged twice for the same offense.

In midevil times most of the people were alliterate. The greatest writer of the time was
Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verse and also wrote literature. Another tale tells
of William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son's head.

The Renaissance was an age in which more individuals felt the value of their human
being. Martin Luther was nailed to the church door at Wittenberg for selling papal
indulgences. He died a horrible death, being excommunicated by a bull. It was the
painter Donatello's interest in the female nude that made him the father of the Renaissance.
It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented the Bible. Sir
Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes. Another important
invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a
100-foot clipper.

The government of England was a limited mockery. Henry VIII found walking difficult
because he had an abbess on his knee. Queen Elizabeth was the "Vir- gin Queen." As
a queen she was a success. When Elizabeth exposed herself be- fore her troops, they
all shouted "hurrah." Then her navy went out and defeated the Spanish Armadillo.

The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespear. Shakespear never made
much money and is famous only because of his plays. He lived in Windsor with his merry
wives, writing tragedies, comedies and errors. In one of Shakespear's famous plays,
Hamlet rations out his situation by relieving himself in a long soliloquy. In another, Lady
Macbeth tries to convince Mac- beth to kill the King by attacking his manhood. Romeo
and Juliet are an example of a heroic couplet. Writing at the same time as Shakespear was
Miquel Cervantes. He wrote "Donkey Hote". The next great author was John Milton. Milton
wrote "Paradise Lost." Then his wife dies and he wrote "Paradise Regained."

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 the was
called the Pilgrim's Progress. When they landed at Plymouth Rock, they were greeted
by Indians, who came down the hill rolling their was hoops before them. The Indian squabs
carried porposies on their back. Many of the Indian heroes were killed, along with their
cabooses, which proved very fatal to them. 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 Wars was the English put tacks in their tea.
Also, the colonists would send their pacels through the post with- out stamps. During
the War, Red Coats 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 thirteen 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 elec- tricity by rubbing cats backwards
and declared "a horse divided against itself cannot stand." Franklin died in 1790 and
is still dead.

George Washington married Matha Curtis and in due time became the Father of Our
Country. Them the Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic
hostility. Under the Constitution the people enjoyed the right to keep bare arms.

Abraham Lincoln became America's greatest Precedent. Lincoln's mother died in
infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. When
Lincoln was President, he wore only a tall silk hat. He said, "In onion there is strength."
Abraham Lincoln write the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to
Gettysburg on the back of an envelope. He also signed the Emasculation Proclamation,
and the Fourteenth Amendment gave the ex-Negroes citizenship. But the Clue Clux
Clan would torcher and lynch the ex-Negroes and other innocent victims. On the night
of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the
actors in a moving picture show. The believed assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a
supposed insane actor. This ruined Booth's career.

Meanwhile in Europe, the enlightenment was a reasonable time. Voltare invented
electricity and also wrote a book called "Candy". Gravity was invented by Issac
Walton. It is chiefly noticeable in the Autumn, when the apples are flaling off the trees.

Bach was the most famous composer in the world, and so was Handel. Handel was
half German, half Italian and half English. He was very large. Bach died from 1750 to
the present. Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he
wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling
for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.

France was in a very serious state. The French Revolution was accomplished before
it happened. The Marseillaise was the theme song of the French Revolu- tion, and it
catapulted into Napoleon. During the Napoleonic Wars, the crowned heads of Europe
were trembling in their shoes. Then the Spanish gorrilas came down from the hills and
nipped at Napoleon's flanks. Napoleon became ill with bladder problems and was very
tense and unrestrained. He wanted an heir to inheret his power, but since Josephine
was a baroness, she couldn't bear him any children.

The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East and
the sun sets in the West. Queen Victoria was the longest queen. She sat on a thorn for
63 years. He reclining years and finally the end of her life were exemplatory of a great
personality. Her death was the final event which ended her reign.

The nineteenth century was a time of many great inventions and thoughts. The invention
of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up. Cyrus McCormick invented
the McCormick Raper, which did the work of a hundred men. Samuel Morse invented a
code for telepathy. Louis Pastuer discovered a cure for rabbis. Charles Darwin was a
naturailst who wrote the "Organ of the Species". Madman Curie discovered radium.
And Karl Marx became one of the Marx Brothers.

The First World War, cause by the assignation of the Arch-Duck by a surf, ushered in a
new error in the anals of human history.


Who's On First (Sketch by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello)

LOU: I love baseball. When we get to St. Louis, will you tell me the guys' name on the
team so when I go to see them in that St. Louis ball park I'll be able to know those fellows?

BUD: All right. but you know, strange as it may seems, they give ball players nowadays
very peculiar names, nick names, like "Dizzy Dean." Now on the St. Louis team we have
Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third --

LOU: That's what I want to find out. I want you to tell me the names of the fellows
on the St. Louis team.

BUD: I'm telling you. Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third --

LOU: You know the fellows' names?

BUD: Yes.

LOU: Well, then who's playin' first.

BUD: Yes

LOU: I mean the fellow's name on first base.

BUD: Who.

LOU: The fellow playin' first base for St. Louis.

BUD: Who.

LOU: The guy on first base.

BUD: Who is on first.

LOU: Well, what are you askin' me for?

BUD: I'm not asking you -- I'm telling you. WHO IS ON FIRST.

LOU: I'm asking you -- who's on first?

BUD: That's the man's name!

LOU: That's who's name?

BUD: Yes.

LOU: Well, go ahead and tell me.

BUD: Who.

LOU: The guy on first.

BUD: Who.

LOU: The first baseman.

BUD: Who is on first.

LOU: Have you got a first baseman on first?

BUD: Certainly.

LOU: Then who's playing first?

BUD: Absolutely.

LOU: (pause) When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?

BUD: Every dollar of it. And why not, the man's entitled to it.

LOU: Who is?

BUD: Yes.

LOU: So who gets it?

BUD: Why shouldn't he? Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.

LOU: Who's wife?

BUD: Yes. After all the man earns it.

LOU: Who does?

BUD: Absolutely.

LOU: Well all I'm trying to find out is what's the guys name on first base.

BUD: Oh, no, no, What is on second base.

LOU: I'm not asking you who's on second.

BUD: Who's on first.

LOU: That's what I'm trying to find out.

BUD: Well, don't change the players around.

LOU: I'm not changing nobody.

BUD: Now, take it easy.

LOU: What's the guy's name on first base?

BUD: What's the guy's name on second base.

LOU: I'm not askin' ya who's on second.

BUD: Who's on first.

LOU: I don't know.

BUD: He's on third. We're not talking about him.

LOU: How could I get on third base?

BUD: You mentioned his name.

LOU: If I mentioned the third baseman's name, who did I say is playing third?

BUD: No, Who's playing first.

LOU: Stay offa first, will ya?

BUD: Well what do you want me to do?

LOU: Now what's the guy's name on first base?

BUD: What's on second.

LOU: I'm not asking ya who's on second.

BUD: Who's on first.

LOU: I don't know.

BUD: He's on third.

LOU: There I go back on third again.

BUD: Well, I can't change their names.

LOU: Say, will you please stay on third base.

BUD: Please. Now what is it you want to know.

LOU: What is the fellow's name on third base.

BUD: What is the fellow's name on second base.

LOU: I'm not askin' ya who's on second.

BUD: Who's on first.

LOU: I don't know.


LOU: You got an outfield?

BUD: Oh, sure.

LOU: St. Louis has got a good outfield?

BUD: Oh, absolutely.

LOU: The left fielder's name?

BUD: Why.

LOU: I don't know, I just thought I'd ask.

BUD: Well, I just thought I'd tell you.

LOU: Them tell me who's playing left field.

BUD: Who's playing first.

LOU: Stay out of the infield!

BUD: Don't Don't mention any names out here.

LOU: I want to know what's the fellow's name on left field?

BUD: What is on second.

LOU: I'm not askin' ya who's on second.

BUD: Who is on first.

LOU: I don't know.

BUD and LOU: (together and calmly) Third base.

LOU: And the left fielder's name?

BUD: Why.

LOU: Because.

BUD: Oh he's Center Field.

LOU: (whimpers) Center field.

BUD: Yes.

LOU: Wait a minute. You got a pitcher on this team.

BUD: Wouldn't this be a fine team without a pitcher.

LOU: I don't know. Tell me the pitcher's name.

BUD: Tomorrow.

LOU: You don't want to tell me today?

BUD: I'm telling you, man.

LOU: Then go ahead.

BUD: Tomorrow.

LOU: What time?

BUD: What time what?

LOU: What time tomorrow are you gonna tell me who's pitching?

BUD: Now listen, Who is not pitching. Who is on --


BUD: Then why come up here and ask?

LOU: I want to know what's the pitcher's name.

BUD: What's on second.

LOU: I don't know.


LOU: You gotta Catcher?

BUD: Yes.

LOU: The Catcher's name?

BUD: Today.

LOU: Today. And Tomorrow's pitching.

BUD: Now you've got it.

LOU: That's all. St. Louis has a couple of days on their team.

BUD: Well I can't help that.

LOU: You know I'm a good catcher too.

BUD: I know that.

LOU: I would like to play for the St. Louis team.

BUD: Well I might arrange that.

LOU: I would like to catch. Now I'm being a good Catcher, tomorrow's pitching
on the team, and I'm catching.

BUD: Yes.

LOU: Tomorrow throws the ball and the guy up bunts the ball.

BUD: Yes.

LOU: Now when he bunts the ball -- me being a good catcher -- I want to throw
the guy out a first base, so I pick up the ball and throw it to who?

BUD: Now that's the first thing you've said right.


BUD: Well, that's all you have to do.

LOU: Is to throw it to first base.

BUD: Yes.

LOU: Now who's got it?

BUD: Naturally.

LOU: Who has it?

BUD: Naturally.

LOU: Naturally.

BUD: Naturally.


BUD: Now you've got it.

LOU: I pick up the ball and I throw it to Naturally.

BUD: No you don't, you throw the ball to first base.

LOU: Then who gets it?

BUD: Naturally.


BUD: All right.

LOU: I throw the ball to Naturally.

BUD: You don't you throw it to Naturally.

LOU: Naturally.

BUD: Well, naturally. Say it that way.

LOU: That's what I said.

BUD: You did not.

LOU: I said I'd throw the ball to Naturally.

BUD: You don't. You throw it to Who.

LOU: Naturally.

BUD: Yes.

LOU: So I throw the ball to first base and Naturally gets it.

BUD: No. You throw the ball to first base--

LOU: Then who gets it?

BUD: Naturally.

LOU: That's what I'm saying.

BUD: You're not saying that.

LOU: I throw the ball to Naturally.

BUD: You throw it to Who!

LOU: Naturally.

BUD: Naturally. Well say it that way.


BUD: Now don't get excited.

LOU: Whose gettin excited!! I throw the ball to first base--

BUD: Then Who gets it.

LOU: (annoyed) HE BETTER GET IT!

BUD: That's it. All right now Take it easy.

LOU: Hrmmph.

BUD: Hrmmph.

LOU: Now I throw the ball to first base, whoever it is grabs the ball, so the
guy runs to second.

BUD: Uh-huh.

LOU: Who picks up the ball and throws it to what. What throws it to I don't
know. I don't know throws it back to tomorrow -- a triple play.

BUD: Yeah. It could be.

LOU: Another guy gets up and it's a long fly ball to center. Why? I don't know,
he's on third, and I don't give a darn.

BUD: What did you say?

LOU: I said "I don't give a darn."

BUD: Oh, that's our shortstop!

LOU: ABBOTT! ----------------------------------------------------------------


Near A Raven

Mike Keith, a most talented writer and mathematician, has come up with an
intriguing version of Edgar Allan Poe's immortal poem, The Raven. It is an
example of constrained writing, prose or poetry subject to a particular artificially
imposed restriction. The most famous of these are the two published novels
written without the luxury of a single letter E present in the entire work. Keith's
work is constrained by a most curious restriction; let me show you the work...
see if you can deduce the artifice. (The answer is given at the end.)

Poe, E. 
       Near a Raven

 Midnights so dreary, tired and weary. 
     Silently pondering volumes extolling all by-now obsolete lore. 
 During my rather long nap - the weirdest tap! 
     An ominous vibrating sound disturbing my chamber's antedoor. 
         "This", I whispered quietly, "I ignore".
 Perfectly, the intellect remembers: the ghostly fires, a glittering ember. 
     Inflamed by lightning's outbursts, windows cast penumbras upon this floor. 
 Sorrowful, as one mistreated, unhappy thoughts I heeded: 
     That inimitable lesson in elegance - Lenore - 
         Is delighting, exciting...nevermore. 

 Ominously, curtains parted (my serenity outsmarted), 
     And fear overcame my being - the fear of "forevermore". 
 Fearful foreboding abided, selfish sentiment confided, 
     As I said, "Methinks mysterious traveler knocks afore. 
         A man is visiting, of age threescore." 

 Taking little time, briskly addressing something: "Sir," (robustly) 
     "Tell what source originates clamorous noise afore? 
 Disturbing sleep unkindly, is it you a-tapping, so slyly? 
     Why, devil incarnate!--" Here completely unveiled I my antedoor-- 
         Just darkness, I ascertained - nothing more.
 While surrounded by darkness then, I persevered to clearly comprehend. 
     I perceived the weirdest dream...of everlasting "nevermores". 
 Quite, quite, quick nocturnal doubts fled - such relief! - as my intellect said, 
     (Desiring, imagining still) that perchance the apparition was uttering a whispered
         This only, as evermore. 

 Silently, I reinforced, remaining anxious, quite scared, afraid, 
     While intrusive tap did then come thrice - O, so stronger than sounded afore. 
 "Surely" (said silently) "it was the banging, clanging window lattice." 
     Glancing out, I quaked, upset by horrors hereinbefore, 
         Perceiving: a "nevermore". 

 Completely disturbed, I said, "Utter, please, what prevails ahead. 
     Repose, relief, cessation, or but more dreary 'nevermores'?" 
 The bird intruded thence - O, irritation ever since! - 
     Then sat on Pallas' pallid bust, watching me (I sat not, therefore), 
         And stated "nevermores". 

 Bemused by raven's dissonance, my soul exclaimed, "I seek intelligence; 
     Explain thy purpose, or soon cease intoning forlorn 'nevermores'!" 
 "Nevermores", winged corvus proclaimed - thusly was a raven named? 
     Actually maintain a surname, upon Pluvious seashore? 
         I heard an oppressive "nevermore". 

 My sentiments extremely pained, to perceive an utterance so plain, 
     Most interested, mystified, a meaning I hoped for. 
 "Surely," said the raven's watcher, "separate discourse is wiser. 
     Therefore, liberation I'll obtain, retreating heretofore - 
         Eliminating all the 'nevermores' ". 

 Still, the detestable raven just remained, unmoving, on sculptured bust. 
     Always saying "never" (by a red chamber's door). 
 A poor, tender heartache maven - a sorrowful bird - a raven! 
     O, I wished thoroughly, forthwith, that he'd fly heretofore. 
         Still sitting, he recited "nevermores". 

 The raven's dirge induced alarm - "nevermore" quite wearisome. 
     I meditated: "Might its utterances summarize of a calamity before?" 
 O, a sadness was manifest - a sorrowful cry of unrest; 
     "O," I thought sincerely, "it's a melancholy great - furthermore, 
         Removing doubt, this explains 'nevermores' ".
 Seizing just that moment to sit - closely, carefully, advancing beside it, 
     Sinking down, intrigued, where velvet cushion lay afore. 
 A creature, midnight-black, watched there - it studied my soul, unawares. 
     Wherefore, explanations my insight entreated for. 
         Silently, I pondered the "nevermores". 

 "Disentangle, nefarious bird! Disengage - I am disturbed!" 
     Intently its eye burned, raising the cry within my core. 
 "That delectable Lenore - whose velvet pillow this was, heretofore, 
     Departed thence, unsettling my consciousness therefore. 
         She's returning - that maiden - aye, nevermore." 

 Since, to me, that thought was madness, I renounced continuing sadness. 
     Continuing on, I soundly, adamantly forswore: 
 "Wretch," (addressing blackbird only) "fly swiftly - emancipate me!" 
     "Respite, respite, detestable raven - and discharge me, I implore!" 
         A ghostly answer of: "nevermore". 

 " 'Tis a prophet? Wraith? Strange devil? Or the ultimate evil?" 
     "Answer, tempter-sent creature!", I inquired, like before. 
 "Forlorn, though firmly undaunted, with 'nevermores' quite indoctrinated, 
     Is everything depressing, generating great sorrow evermore? 
         I am subdued!", I then swore. 

 In answer, the raven turned - relentless distress it spurned. 
     "Comfort, surcease, quiet, silence!" - pleaded I for. 
 "Will my (abusive raven!) sorrows persist unabated? 
     Nevermore Lenore respondeth?", adamantly I encored. 
         The appeal was ignored. 

 "O, satanic inferno's denizen -- go!", I said boldly, standing then. 
     "Take henceforth loathsome "nevermores" - O, to an ugly Plutonian shore! 
 Let nary one expression, O bird, remain still here, replacing mirth. 
     Promptly leave and retreat!", I resolutely swore. 
         Blackbird's riposte: "nevermore". 

 So he sitteth, observing always, perching ominously on these doorways. 
     Squatting on the stony bust so untroubled, O therefore. 
 Suffering stark raven's conversings, so I am condemned, subserving, 
     To a nightmare cursed, containing miseries galore. 
         Thus henceforth, I'll rise (from a darkness, a grave) -- nevermore! 

                         -- Original: E. Poe
                         -- Redone by measuring circles.

Well, now that you have read the entire text, any ideas? The more
mathematically-minded of the readers will observe that they might have
enjoyed this poetry with a nice piece of pi...especially since each of the words
in this poem has the precise number of letters described in the value of
pi: 3.1415926535897932384626433832795... and so on!


Famous "Expert" Predictions

Have you ever wondered what made someone an expert? Was it a degree? Was
it experience? Well, I sure don't have the answer...especially in light of some of
these famous (and not-so-famous) experts' claims, comments, and predictions:

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." --Charles H. Duell, Office of
Patents, 1899.

"There will never be a bigger plane built." --A Boeing engineer, after the first flight
of the 247, a twin engine plane that carried ten people.

"Ours has been the first, and doubtless to be the last, to visit this profitless locality."
-- Lt. Joseph Ives after visiting the Grand Canyon in 1861.

"There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable.
It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will." -- Albert Einstein, 1932.

"We don't like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out." --Decca executive,
1962, after turning down the Beatles.

"It will be years--not in my time--before a woman will become Prime Minister."
--Margaret Thatcher, 1974.

"With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn't
likely to carve out a big slice of the US market." --Business Week, August 2, 1968.

"Computers may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." --Popular Mechanics, 1949.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." --Ken Olson,
president of Digital Equipment Corp. 1977.

"This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a
means of communication." --Western Union memo, 1876.

"No imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody
in particular?" --David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urging investment in
the radio in the 1920's.

"Who wants to hear actors talk?" --H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

"I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper."
--Gary Cooper, after turning down the lead role in Gone With The Wind.

"Market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy
cookies like you make." --Response to Debbi Fields' idea of Mrs. Fields' Cookies.

"We don't need you. You haven't got through college yet." --Hewlett Packard excuse
to Steve Jobs, who founded Apple Computers instead.

"I think there's a world market for about five computers." --Thomas J. Watson,
chairman of the board of IBM.

"The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives." --Admiral William
Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project.

"Airplanes are interesting toys, but they are of no military value whatsoever."
--Marechal Ferdinand Fock, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.

"Stocks have reached a permanently high plateau." --Irving Fisher, Professor of
Economics, Yale University, 1929.

"No matter what happens, the U.S. Navy is not going to be caught napping."
--U.S. Secretary of Navy, December 4, 1941.

"While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and
financially it is an impossibility." --Lee DeForest, inventor.

"Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will
prove to be a hoax." --William Thomson, Lord Kelvin English scientist, 1899.


Terrific Anagrams

An anagram, as you all know, is a word or phrase made by transposing or rearranging
the letters of another word or phrase. The following are quite clever and I hope you
enjoy them. Thanks to Maura for sending them to me.
Someone out there either has way too much time to waste or is deadly at Scrabble.

 Dormitory   Dirty Room    Snooze Alarms  Alas! No More Z's
 Evangelist  Evil's Agent    Alec Guinness  Genuine Class
 Desperation  A Rope Ends It    Semolina  Is No Meal
 The Morse Code  Here Come Dots    The Public Art Galleries  Large Picture Halls, I Bet
 Slot Machines  Cash Lost in 'em    A Decimal Point  I'm a Dot in Place
 Animosity  Is No Amity    Eleven plus two  Twelve plus one
 Contradiction  Accord not in it    George Bush  He Bugs Gore

This one's truly amazing:

To be or not to be: that is the question, whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of
outrageous fortune."

And the Anagram:

In one of the Bard's best-thought-of tragedies, our insistent hero, Hamlet, queries on two fronts about how
life turns rotten.

And for the grand finale:


The Anagram:


Nope, one more!

The following phrase is a perfect anagram with our randy president in mind:


It can be rearranged (with no letters left over, and using one letter only once) into:



One more encore, while we are on the subject of presidents:





36 Oxymorons

36. Jumbo Shrimp
35. State worker
34. Legally drunk
33. Exact estimate
32. Act naturally
31. Found missing
30. Resident alien
29. Genuine imitation
28. Airline food
27. Good grief
26. Government organization
25. Sanitary landfill
24. Alone together
23. Small crowd
22. Business ethics
21. Soft rock
20. Butt head
19. Military intelligence
18. Sweet sorrow
17. Rural metro (ambulance service)
16. "Now, then . . ."
15. Passive aggression
14. Clearly misunderstood
13. Peace force
12. Extinct life
11. Plastic glasses
10. Terribly pleased
9. Computer security
8. Political science
7. Tight slacks
6. Definite maybe
5. Pretty ugly
4. Rap music
3. Working vacation
2. Religious tolerance
1. Quiet riot

If you like oxymorons (and who doesn't?), there is a great page of hundreds
of them ==> Here!


Another English Lesson

We'll begin with box, and the plural is boxes;
But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.
Then one fowl is goose, but two are called geese ...
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a whole lot of mice,
But the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
When couldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
The cow in the plural may be cows or kine,
But the plural of vow is vows, not vine.
And I speak of a foot, and you show me your feet,
But I give a boot ... would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?
If the singular is this and plural is these,
Why shouldn't the plural of kiss be nicknamed kese?
Then one may be that, and three may be those,
Yet the plural of hat would never be hose;
We speak of a brother, and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
The masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine she, shis, and shim!
So our English, I think you will all agree,
Is the trickiest language you ever did see.
I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you
On hiccough, thorough, slough, and through?
Well, done! And now you wish, perhaps
To learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead; it's said like bed, not bead;
For goodness sake, don't call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat,
(they rhyme with suite and straight and debt)
A moth is not a moth in mother.
Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there.
And dear and fear for bear and pear.
And then there's dose and rose and lose -- Just look them up -- and
goose and choose. And cork and work and card and ward,
And font and front and word and sword.
And do and go, then thwart and cart.
Come, come, I've hardly made a start.
A dreadful language? Man alive,
I'd learned to speak it when I was five, And yet to write it,
the more I sigh ...


This Wonderful Language of Ours

We polish the Polish furniture.
He could lead if he would get the lead out.
A farm can produce produce.
The dump was so full it had to refuse refuse.
The soldier decided to desert in the desert.
The present is a good time to present the present.
At the Army base, a bass was painted on the head of a bass drum.
The dove dove into the bushes.
I did not object to the object.
The insurance for the invalid was invalid.
The bandage was wound around the wound.
There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
They were too close to the door to close it.
The buck does funny things when does are present.
They sent a sewer down to stitch the tear in the sewer worker's seam.
To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
After a number of Novocain injections, my jaw got number.
I shed a tear when I saw the tear in my clothes.
I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
I spent last evening evening out piles of books.


'Twas the Night Before Finals

T'was the night before finals,
And all through the college,
The students were praying
For last minute knowledge.

Most were quite sleepy,
But none touched their beds,
While visions of essays
Danced in their heads.

Out in the taverns,
A few were still drinking,
And hoping that liquor
Would get their brains thinking.

In my own apartment,
I had been pacing,
Dreading all those exams
I soon would be facing.

My roommate was speechless,
His nose in his books,
And my comments to him
Drew unfriendly looks.

I drained all the coffee,
And brewed a new pot,
No longer caring
That my nerves were shot.

I stared at my notes,
But my thoughts were all muddy,
My eyes went a'blur,
I just couldn't study.

"Some pizza might help,"
I said with a shiver,
But each place I called
Refused to deliver.

I'd pretty much concluded
Life is unfair and cruel,
Since our futures all depend
On grades made in school.

When all of a sudden,
Our door opened wide,
And Patron Saint Put-It-Off
Ambled inside.

Her spirit was careless,
Her manner was mellow,
She looked at the mess
And started to bellow:

"Why should us students
Make such a fuss,
About what those teachers
Toss out to us?"

"On Cliff Notes! On Crib Notes!
On Last Year's Exams!
On Wingit and Slingit,
And Last Minute Crams!"

Her message delivered,
She vanished from sight,
But we heard her laughing
Outside in the night.

"Your teachers won't flunk you,
So just do your best.
Happy Finals to All,
And to All, a good test."


What Women Really Want

Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a
neighboring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him, but was moved
by Arthur's youth and ideals. So the monarch offered him freedom, as
long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a
year to figure out the answer; if, after a year, he still had no answer,
he would be put to death.

The question: What do women really want?

Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and, to
young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better
than death, he accepted the monarch's proposition to have an answer by
year's end.

He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everybody: the princess,
the prostitutes, the priests, the wise men, the court jester. He spoke
with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer. Many
people advised him to consult the old witch--only she would know the
answer. The price would be high; the witch was famous throughout the
kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged.

The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no alternative but to
talk to the witch. She agreed to answer his question, but he'd have to
accept her price first: The old witch wanted to marry Gawain, the most
noble of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur's closest friend!
Young Arthur was horrified: She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only
one tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises... etc. He had never
encountered such a repugnant creature. He refused to force his friend to
marry her and have to endure such a burden.

Gawain, upon learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur. He told him
that nothing was too big a sacrifice compared to Arthur's life and the
preservation of the Round Table. Hence, their wedding was proclaimed,
and the witch answered Arthur's question thus:

What a woman really wants is to be in charge of her own life.

Everyone instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and
that Arthur's life would be spared. And so it was. The neighboring
monarch granted Arthur total freedom.

What a wedding Gawain and the witch had! Arthur was torn between relief
and anguish. Gawain was proper as always, gentle and courteous. The old
witch put her worst manners on display, and generally made everyone very

The honeymoon hour approached. Gawain, steeling himself for a horrific
experience, entered the bedroom. But what a sight awaited him! The most
beautiful woman he'd ever seen lay before him! The astounded Gawain
asked what had happened. The beauty replied that since he had been so
kind to her when she'd appeared as a witch, she would henceforth be her
horrible, deformed self half the time, and the other half, she would be
her beautiful maiden self. Which would he want her to be during the day,
and which during the night?

What a cruel question! Gawain pondered his predicament. During the day,
a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the
privacy of his home, an old witch? Or would he prefer having by day a
hideous witch, but by night a beautiful woman with whom to enjoy many
intimate moments?

What would you do? What Gawain choice follows below, but don't read
until you've made your own choice.


Noble Gawain replied that he would let her choose for herself. Upon
hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time,
because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own

What is the moral of this story?

If your woman doesn't get her own way, things are going to get ugly!


Thinking Outside the Box

See if you can figure it out without looking at the answer at the bottom.

You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night. You pass by a
bus stop, and you see three people waiting for the bus:

1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
2. An old friend who once saved your life.
3. The perfect man (or) woman you have been dreaming about.

Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could
only be one passenger in your car? Think before you continue reading.
This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a
job application.

You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus
you should save her first; or you could take the old friend because he
once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him
back. However, you may never be able to find your perfect dream lover

The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble
coming up with his answer.


- - - - - - - - Don't peek until you've given an answer....















He simply answered: "I would give the car keys to my old friend, and let
him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the
bus with the woman of my dreams."

Sometimes, we gain more if we are able to give up our stubborn thought

Never forget to "Think Outside of the Box."


Two Stories


World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander
Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier
Lexington in the South Pacific.

One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he
looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off
his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get
back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier.

Reluctantly he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet. As he
was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned his blood
cold. A squadron of Japanese bombers were speeding their way toward the
American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie and the fleet was
all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in
time to save the fleet. Nor, could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger.

There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.
Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of
Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking
one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch weaved in and out of the
now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until finally
all his ammunition was spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at
the planes, trying to at least clip off a wing or tail, in hopes of damaging
as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly. He was
desperate to do anything he could to keep them from reaching the American

Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.
Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the

Upon arrival he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The
film from the camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent
of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had destroyed five enemy

That was on February 20, 1942, and for that action he became the Navy's first
Ace of W.W.II and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of

A year later he was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town
would not allow the memory of that heroic action die. And today, O'Hare
Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man. So
the next time you're in O'Hare visit his memorial with his statue and Medal
of Honor. It is located between Terminal 1 and 2.


Some years earlier there was a man in Chicago called Easy Eddie. At that
time, Al Capone virtually owned the city. Capone wasn't famous for anything
heroic. His exploits were anything but praiseworthy. He was, however,
notorious for enmeshing the city of Chicago in everything from bootlegged
booze and prostitution to murder.

Easy Eddie was Capone's lawyer and for a good reason. He was very good! In
fact, his skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.
To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money
big; Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a
fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day.
The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago city block. Yes,
Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to
the atrocity that went on around him.

Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddy
saw to it that his young son had the best of everything, clothes, cars, and a
good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object. And despite his
involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from

Yes, Eddie tried to teach his son to rise above his own sordid life. He
wanted him to be a better man than he was. Yet, with all his wealth and
influence, there were two things that Eddie couldn't give his son. Two things
that Eddie sacrificed to the Capone mob that he could not pass on to his
beloved son: a good name and a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Offering his son a good
name was far more important than all the riches he could lavish on him. He
had to rectify all the wrong that he had done. He would go to the authorities
and tell the truth about "Scarface" Al Capone. He would try to clean up his
tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this he
must testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. But
more than anything, he wanted to be an example to his son.

He wanted to do his best to make restoration and hopefully have a good name
to leave his son. So, he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended
in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street. He had given his son the
greatest gift he had to offer at the greatest price he would ever pay.

What do these two stories have to do with one another?

---> Butch O'Hare was Easy Eddie's son.


More Fun Phrases (groaners and Bon Mots alike...)

Those who jump off a bridge in Paris are in Seine.
A backward poet writes inverse.
A man's home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.
Dijon vu - the same mustard as before.
Practice safe eating - always use condiments.
Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.
A man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.
A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.
Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.
Reading while sunbathing makes you well red.
When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.
A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two tired.
What's the definition of a will? (It's a dead giveaway.)
Time flies like an arrow.   Fruit flies like a banana.
In democracy your vote counts. In feudalism your count votes.
She was engaged to a boyfriend with a wooden leg but broke it off.
A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
If you don't pay your exorcist,  you get repossessed.
With her marriage, she got a  new name and a dress.
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.
The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.
You feel stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
Local Area Network in Australia: the LAN down under.
He often broke into song because he couldn't find the key.
Every calendar's days are numbered.
A lot of money is tainted - It taint yours and it taint mine.
A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.
He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
A plateau is a high form of flattery.
A midget fortune-teller who escapes from prison is a small medium at large.
Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
Once you've seen one shopping center, you've seen a mall.
Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.
Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
Acupuncture is a jab well done.


Humorous Unit Conversions

Here is a list of some mildly laughable unit conversions that might actually
make sense to the modern common man or woman like you and I...

Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter: Eskimo Pi

2000 pounds of Chinese soup: Won ton

1 millionth of a mouthwash: 1 microscope

Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement: 1 bananosecond

Weight an evangelist carries with God: 1 billigram

Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour: Knot-furlong

365.25 days of drinking low-calorie beer because it's less filling: 1 lite year

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone: 1 Rod Serling

Half of a large intestine: 1 semicolon

1000 aches: 1 megahurtz

Basic unit of laryngitis: 1 hoarsepower

Shortest distance between two jokes: A straight line (think about it a moment)

453.6 graham crackers: 1 pound cake

2000 mockingbirds: two kilomockingbirds (work on it....)

10 cards: 1 decacards

1000 grams of wet socks: 1 literhosen

1 millionth of a fish: 1 microfiche

10 rations: 1 decoration

100 rations: 1 C-ration

2.4 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University Hospital: One I.V. League



I'm sure you've heard those phrases and ideas that just make you think, ones that, well,
kind of boogle the, for your entertainment, are just a few of these imponderables:

Can you cry under water?

How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated
instead of just murdered?

Why do you have to "put your two cents in"...but it's only a "penny for your thoughts"?
Where's that extra penny going to?

Once you're in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were buried in for eternity?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

What disease did cured ham actually have?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea
to put wheels on luggage?

Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up like every two hours?

If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?

Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars
to look at things on the ground?

Why do doctors leave the room while you change?
They're going to see you naked anyway.

Why is "bra" singular and "panties" plural?

Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp,
which no decent human being would eat?

If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a stupid song about him?

Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane?

If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut,
why can't he fix a hole in a boat?

Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours?
They're both dogs!

If Wiley E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME crap,
why didn't he just buy dinner?

If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables,
what is baby oil made from?

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

Do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?

Why did you just try singing the two songs above?

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you,
but when you take him for a car ride; he sticks his head out the window?


The Wonderful Word "Up" (thanks to Paul Oliver)

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other
two-letter word, and that is "UP."

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list,
but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the
officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver,
we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and
some guys fix UP the old car.

At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble,
line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about
thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways
UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP
with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP!
When the sun comes out we say it is clearingUP
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, and it is time to shut UP.....!


Neat Nine-Letter Word (thanks to Eli Bomar)

There is a common English word that is nine letters long. Each time you remove a letter from it,
it still remains an English word - from nine letters right down to a single letter.
What is the original word, and what are the words that it becomes after removing one letter at a time?

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The base word is startling --> starting --> staring --> string --> sting --> sing --> sin --> in --> I


Yiddish Proverbs

Here is a short collection of some surprising and wickedly clever witticisms from some famous Yiddish people.
You might want to say "Oy Vey!" at the end (it couldn't hurt).

If the rich could hire other people to die for them, the poor could make a wonderful living.

The wise man, even when he holds his tongue, says more than the fool when he speaks.

What you don't see with your eyes, don't invent with your mouth.

A hero is someone who can keep his mouth shut when he is right.

One old friend is better than two new ones.

One of life's greatest mysteries is how the boy who wasn't good enough to marry your daughter can be the father of the
smartest grandchild in the world.

Old friends, like old wines, don't lose their flavor.

A wise man hears one word and understands two.

"Don't be so humble - you are not that great."
---Golda Meir (1898-1978) to a visiting diplomat

Pessimism is a luxury that a Jew can never allow himself.
---Golda Meir

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
--- Albert Einstein

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
--- Albert Einstein

When his wife asked him to change clothes to meet the German Ambassador, he said "If they want to see me, here I am. If they want
to see my clothes, open my closet and show them my suits."
--- Albert Einstein

Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them.
---Albert Einstein

The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax.
---Albert Einstein

You can't control the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

I don't want to become immortal through my work. I want to become immortal through not dying.
---Woody Allen

I'm not afraid of dying - I just don't want to be there when it happens!
---Woody Allen

Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Sign hanging in Einstein's office at Princeton.

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.
--- Albert Einstein

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
--- Albert Einstein

Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.
--- Albert Einstein

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
--- Albert Einstein


Use a Pun, Go to Jail

If you are a lexophile (a lover of words), I think you will find a nugget or two here to hang your hat on next time you're in need of something clever to say...oh, groaning is okay, but no nasty emails...I didn't write 'em...

I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.

The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.

The butcher backed up into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.

The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.

Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.

We'll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.

The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on it.

The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.

The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.

A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.

A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.

A will is a dead giveaway.

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. (Grouvho Marx)

A backward poet writes inverse.

In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.

A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.

When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France, resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.

You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.

Local Area Network in Australia: The LAN down under.

He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.

A calendar's days are numbered.

A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.

A boiled egg is hard to beat.

He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

A plateau is a high form of flattery.

Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.

If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.

When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

Acupuncture: a jab well done


Some Clever Politicos

I couldn't resist adding some of my favorite political quips from some of the greatest thinkers of our age...

1) Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself. --- Mark Twain

2) I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is Like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. --- Winston Churchill

3) A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. --- George Bernard Shaw

4) Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner . --- James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

5) Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries. --- Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

6) Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to boys. --- P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian

7) Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. --- Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

8) Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it.
and if it stops moving, subsidize it. --- Ronald Reagan (1986)

9) I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. --- Will Rogers

10) If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free. --- P.J. O'Rourke

11) In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other. --- Voltaire (1764)

12) Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you. --- Pericles (430 B.C)

13) No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. --- Mark Twain (1866)

14) Talk is cheap...except when Congress does it. --- Unknown

15) The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery... --- Winston Churchill

16) What this country needs are more unemployed politicians. --- Edward Langley, Artist (1928 - 1995)

17) A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. --- Thomas Jefferson



Mecheria 45100
General Revision for pupils
Lexis and rules

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