Archive for the ‘Language Humor’ Category

Limerick Gibberish

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

It’s Gibberish Day, which seems silly;
Throwing language around willy-nilly
Doesn’t make any sense
And it’s sickening. Hence,
Of such talk I’m constrained to speak illy.

So This Is My Limerick Q & A About Over-Using The Word “So”

Friday, January 1st, 2016

Dear Interviewees: Kindly stop using the word “so” at the beginning of your answers to questions.

Q: “Why do folks start their answers with ‘So…'”?
A: “So I guess that they use it for flow.”
Q: “Don’t they know that it’s wrong?”
A: “So their habit’s so strong,
     They believe that they sound ‘in the know.'”

A Word Lover’s Woes (Limerick)

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

My hunger for words is voracious,
And I’ve just learned a new one: “fugacious.”
It means “fleeting,” I’ve read,
But it soon will have fled
From a brain insufficiently spacious.

Anti-Antimeria, No More? (Limerick)

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

A Slate language column by Katy Waldman has me re-thinking my anti-antimeria stance. (Antimeria is a “rhetorical device that repurposes a word as a different part of speech than usual.”)

Her column makes some solid points about antimeria’s advantages. In fact, the device may even prove to be handy for humor writing.

Katy’s viewpoint may generate frowns:
Turning nouns into verbs, verbs to nouns
Is extolled by that writer.
Though some may indict ’er,
The thought ain’t as bad as it soun’s.

Dictionary Day (Limerick)

Friday, October 16th, 2015

It’s National Dictionary Day, created in honor of Noah Webster’s birthday.

I attempt to learn new words each day–
At least one, sometimes two, but they stray;
Seems as new words are learned,
The old ones are spurned:
“You’re evicted!” those brain-hoggers bray.

Sanctioning The Word “Sanction” (Limerick)

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

The word “sanction” is terribly flawed
Cuz its usage goes well beyond broad.
If you say that my act
Has been sanctioned, redact:
Did you penalize me, or applaud?

Fun With Language (2-Verse Limerick)

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

Fun With Language (2-Verse Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Is there any original pun?
Is there wordplay that’s never been done?
With our language so strange
There’s unlimited range
To be playful, inventive, have fun.

We are homophone/homonym rich.
(Though ad hominem hits make me twitch.)
And later or sooner
The likes of Rev Spooner
Bewitch with the swull of a pitch.

Limerick Ode To International Apostrophe Day (3rd Friday of August)

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Today’s the 3rd Friday of August, which means it’s International Apostrophe Day:

An apostrophe’s often misused
And bruised by the over-enthused,
Whose possessives, contractions,
And capital actions
Can leave marks when our grammar’s abused.

Oy Vey Iz Mir! (Limerick)

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Oy Vey Iz Mir!
By Madeleine Begun Kane

The gist of the Yiddish “oy vey”
Is nothing like “hip hip hooray.”
At times it is mere
Annoyance that’s here,
And at other times utter dismay.

Word Hoarder (Limerick)

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Word Hoarder (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

With words, I am rather a hoarder.
My brain is a language importer.
Is it all for the birds?
How I long for my words
To arise in a risible order.

UPDATE: I just found out that January 9th was National Word Nerd Day.

Me, Myself, & I (Limerick)

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Do you cringe when people incorrectly use the reflexive pronoun “myself” instead of “me?”

Myself too! (And yes, I was joking.)

Misuse of “myself” is widespread.
It’s an error that people should shed.
To reflexively use it
And often abuse it
May stop you from getting ahead.

Cursing’s Healthy, I Swear (Limerick)

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Cursing’s Healthy, I Swear (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

New research, Brit experts declare,
Has revealed that it’s healthy to swear.
So you damn SOBs,
No more slamming my ease
With the expletive. Carpers beware!

Happy National Grammar Day (March 4)

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Happy National Grammar Day (March 4).

Grammar Gripes (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

A grammar-fanatic would gripe
To his wife about language, and snipe:
“Your syntax is bad!”
She’d respond, really mad:
“I’ll divorce you if down you don’t pipe.”

Rating The Movies

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

A recent Washington Post Style Invitational contest asked us to “suggest some new movie ratings to warn against various objectionable aspects of films.”

Here are my entries, one of which won me Second prize. Yippee!!! Can you guess which? (The answer will appear “upside down” at the end of this post.)

Rated BYOJ: A comedy so unfunny, you should “Bring Your Own Jokes.”

Rated DDM: “Dreadful Dramatic Music” can’t disguise the lack of a plot.

Rated THU: Too Hard to understand.

Rated WEF: Weird Enough to be Foreign.

Rated PGD: Rated “Please Get Dressed” because it features barely clad actors who don’t exercise enough.

Rated WOR: Way Over-Rated.

Rated DBG: “Don’t Bring your Girlfriend,” if you ever want to see her again.

Rated TVEFQT: Too Violent Even For Quenton Tarantino.

Rated P2BP: Pretending to be Profound.

Rated ZZZ: Impossible not to sleep through.

Rated SHIT: Stay Home. It’s Terrible.

And here (in upside down form) is the entry that won Second Prize:

˙uƃıǝɹoɟ ǝq oʇ ɥƃnouǝ pɹıǝʍ :ɟǝʍ pǝʇɐɹ

You can read all the winning entries here.

Fun With News Headlines

Friday, December 13th, 2013

A recent Washington Post Style Invitational contest asked us to find a REAL headline in any publication, and “then write a ‘bank head’ that reinterprets the headline or comments wryly on it.”

Here are my entries, one of which got an Honorable Mention. Can you guess which? (The answer will appear “upside down” at the end of this post.)

Obama scoffs at people who call him a ‘socialist’
Socialists file libel suit

Saudi Arabian man arrested for giving out free hugs
“What? I should charge for them?” says Saudi hugger

Adam Levine is ‘People’ mag’s Sexiest Man Alive
People demand second opinion

Meet Magnus Carlsen, the ‘Justin Bieber’ of chess
Hunky Norwegian seeks World Chess, World Chest championships

Strand Bookstore ‘uses sprinklers to evict homeless’
Homeless thank Strand for first shower in years

Jake Gyllenhaal Punches Mirror on Set
In “fairest of them all” title dispute

Kidnapped Girl Found After 19-Year Manhunt
A girl-hunt might have been faster

Apple and Google “Dog Fight”
Pet-lovers stage boycott

Some Doctors Challenge New Statin Guidelines
Claim “whoever did the math must be on drugs”

Beaver steals hunter’s rifle
Pleads self-defense

Rob Ford stripped of key powers
Ford strips in protest, powers hurriedly restored

Belief is more powerful than proof
Prove it!

Dow, S&P close at new highs
Fox News explains why this is bad news for Obama

The Rules for Eating Lunch at Your Desk
Rule 1: Don’t!

Ted Turner wants to go to heaven
Clarifies: “No rush! Heaven can wait.”

Amazon Deforestation Rises
Increased e-book sales will reverse trend, Amazon claims

Chicago woman hopes to turn things around after 396 arrests
The 397th time’s the charm

Robots Allow Doctors To Remotely Advise, Diagnose Patients
Shrug off blame for “epidemic of golf course overcrowding”

Head defends dialect ban in class
Body disagrees

Dog Predicts Polar Bear Pregnancy
Denies paternity

Train Heading to NYC Goes Wrong-Way, Ends Up in Philly Suburbs
Stubborn conductor refuses to stop, ask for directions

McDonald’s restaurant turns to opera to drive out loitering teenagers
“Gounod’s Faust drives those devils out in five minutes flat,” says manager

Dinosaur Fossils Recreated Using CT Scanners and 3D Printers
Had great old time “doing it”

Rep. Trey Radel busted in cocaine sting
Poised to challenge Toronto’s Rob Ford in ’14 mayoralty race

Costco sorry for labeling Bibles as ‘fiction’
Relabels Bibles “sci-fi”

And here (in upside down form) is the entry that received an Honorable Mention:

„ɥsnɹ ou„ :sǝıɟıɹɐןɔ
uǝʌɐǝɥ oʇ oƃ oʇ sʇuɐʍ ɹǝuɹnʇ pǝʇ
:pɐǝɹ oʇ sɐ os ʇnɔ sɐʍ ʇı ‘ɹǝʌǝʍoɥ

„˙ʇıɐʍ uɐɔ uǝʌɐǝɥ ¡ɥsnɹ ou„ :sǝıɟıɹɐןɔ
uǝʌɐǝɥ oʇ oƃ oʇ sʇuɐʍ ɹǝuɹnʇ pǝʇ

Snopes Definitely Won’t Back Me Up

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

I love learning about the origin of words and phrases. But sometimes you just have to make things up:

1) In the first draft of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge said “Bach! Humbug!” (Dickens despised Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.) But Dickens’ editor was worried about lawsuits and changed it to “Bah! Humbug!”

2) The second chair bass player of a now defunct symphony orchestra fantasized about playing first chair bass and marrying the principal bass player’s wife. When pulling strings didn’t work, he tried a different technique — poison. And that’s how he “got to first bass.”

3) In the early days of Broadway theater, actors had a bad habit of showing up for rehearsals dead drunk. Frustrated directors finally struck a deal with Actors’ Equity, which required actors to arrive at dress rehearsals sober. These final run-throughs were designated “dry runs.”

4) “Your Number’s Up” is a prize-winning tale about a society that murders its citizens on their 86th birthdays. The story climaxes with a revolt by the elderly, who “86″ their would-be killers.

5) Philosopher René Descartes was a boating fanatic with a speech defect. This led him to be credited with saying “Je pense, donc je suis” (“I think, therefore I am.”) Alas, what he really said was “Je punt, donc je suis.” But people were so impressed with what they thought he’d said, that he never bothered to correct them. This paid off in dividends, allowing him to purchase more than a dozen shallow water punts.

6) When people are “down in the dumps,”
They’ve been saddened by life’s little bumps.
But that phrase’s first sense
(Please do NOT take offense)
Was “plunged in what comes from our rumps.”

(I wrote these in response to a Washington Post Style Invitational contest that challenged us to write “bogus stories of the origins of familiar expressions.” You can read the winning entries here. And alas, I didn’t win.)

Picture This: My Selfish Take On “Selfie”

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Alas, “selfie” is Oxford Dictionaries’ international Word of the Year for 2013, beating out shortlisters “bedroom tax,” “binge-watch,” “bitcoin,” “olinguito,” “schmeat,” “showrooming,” and “twerk.”

Picture This: My Selfish Take On “Selfie” (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Oxford’s Word of the Year is a crime!
Choosing “selfie” just won’t ring my chime.
Why not finalist “schmeat,”
The lab-raised fake meat?
For one thing, “schmeat’s” simpler to rhyme.

Limerick Ode To Dictionary Day

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Limerick Ode To Dictionary Day
By Madeleine Begun Kane

At this moment, I’m feeling quite spurred
To just soak up a new-to-me word.
Lest you think I’m all wet,
I have reasons — don’t fret:
Webster’s birthday’s today, so I’m stirred.

Have you any new words to suggest?
One that’s odd or obscure would be best.
Something wickedly cool,
Like “facinorous.” Who’ll
Help ensure that my word need’s addressed?

****

American lexicographer Noah Webster, of dictionary compilation fame, was born October 16, 1758.

Happy National Punctuation Day (Limerick)

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Happy National Punctuation Day (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

When you punctuate, please don’t be rash.
Over-use can turn prose into ash.
And a comma misplaced
Lays your writing to waste.
Mark my words … or your readers shall dash.

(National Punctuation Day is celebrated yearly on September 24th.)

Those Smashing French Language Police (Limerick)

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

The French are at it again:

Those Smashing French Language Police (2-Verse Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Le Binge Drinking’s” been outlawed in France.
They’re maintaining a very strict stance–
Not against all that drinking.
No! What were you thinking?
It’s their “dump English verbiage” dance.

A new phrase that has Frenchified grace
Must henceforth be used to replace
Such Anglicized words,
Discarded like turds:
“Beuverie express” — drink at fast pace.