Monthly Archives: May 2019

Having Trouble With Your Memory?

Who isn’t? Mark Twain wrote, “My memory was never loaded with anything but blank cartridges.”

                                                                Life on the Mississippi

 

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The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

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That’s the title of a little book I picked up the other day. It contains quotations on various topics, this one on writers. Twain had been introduced to an audience as “one of the world’s greatest authors,” and this was his response:

I was sorry to have my name mentioned as one of the great authors because they have a sad habit of dying off. Chaucer is dead, Spenser is dead, so is Milton, so is Shakespeare, and I’m not feeling very well myself.

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RIP, Doris Day

 

images-1.jpg    “I knew her before she was a virgin,” said Oscar Levant, American pianist, composer,  humorist, author, actor, hypochondriac, and television talk show host.   (1906-1972)

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Pun Lovers of the World, Unite

From mi amiga Susana in Washington, DC. Enjoy!

 

“Lexophile” describes those that have a love for words, such as “You can
tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish,” and “To write with a broken pencil is pointless.”

 

The New York Times holds an annual competition to see who can create
the best original pun.

This year’s submissions.

I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic.  It’s syncing now.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.

This girl today said she recognized me from the Vegetarians’ Club,
but I’d swear I’ve never met herbivore.

I know a guy who’s addicted to drinking brake fluid, but he says
he can stop any time.

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

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

I got some batteries that were given out free of charge.

A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.

A will is a dead giveaway.

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

Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old
was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off?
He’s all right now.

A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine last week is now
fully recovered.

He had a photographic memory, but it was never fully developed.

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

Acupuncture is a jab well done. That’s the point of it.

I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because
she couldn’t control her pupils?

When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.

When chemists die, they barium.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.

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

 

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So What?

This is a rerun of a post I wrote almost five years ago. I thought perhaps this linguistic hiccup might disappear, but it seems as robust as ever:

I’d like you to consciously listen to people around you today or—if you can stomach it—for a week and become aware of how many sentences are being started with the word “So.”

I am now seeing this fairly often in writing as well, which makes me not happy at all. “So” legitimately means “as a result”: “Benjamin failed his driving test twice, so he is very nervous he won’t pass on his final chance to take it again.”

That, however, is not how the word is flooding discourse these days. It’s being used as the very casual, conversational beginning of sentences:

So did I tell you about the new manager in Human Resources?

So a new series is starting on HBO tonight.

So I’m wondering when my niece is going to finish college.

So the new plan is to limit department meetings to 30 minutes.

In each of those sentences, the word does no work. You can erase it and no meaning is lost, no confusion ensues. Pay attention in the next few days. Good chance you even will catch yourself saying “So” when it is extraneous. If it carried meaning, I would have no problem with it. However, it’s just deadwood. Chop it out.

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