Just Puns

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Just a neat collection of puns. My favorite is Number 12:

There was a man who entered a local paper’s pun contest. He sent in ten different
puns, in the hope at least one of the puns would win. Unfortunately, no pun
in ten did.

A pun on the word "pun." Can anything higher, or more worthy, be
achieved by the language using animal?


Be sure also to look at Bert Christensen’s page of H. L. Mencken quotes:


On New Year’s Day, Catching Up on the Last Millennium

Words of the Century

conducting my vacation computer maintenance—reformatting, backing up,
upgrading, etc.—I found this list of 100 words, the "words of the
[20th] century" that someone or other sent me at millennium time:


The words of the century


Two members of the American Dialect Society, David K.
Barnhart and Allan A. Metcalf, have selected a word or phrase per year for
the 20th Century, matching the word with the year when it came into its own.
The list appears in their book "America in So Many Words" (Houghton
Mifflin 1997 & 1999)


1900: phony

1901: grass roots

1902: goo

1903: highbrow

1904: cut the mustard

1905: jellybean

1906: muckraker/teddy bear

1907: melting pot

1908: asleep at the switch

1909: pork barrel

1910: barbershop

1911: blues

1912: movies

1913: jazz

1914: backpack

1915: flapper

1916: IQ

1917: GI

1918: D Day

1919: Tshirt


1920: normalcy

1921: media

1922: cold turkey

1923: hijack

1924: brainstorm

1925: motel

1926: Bible Belt

1927: macho

1928: athlete’s foot

1929: jalopy

1930: bulldozer

1931: Skid Row

1932: hopefully

1933: supermarket

1934: whistlestop

1935: boondoggle

1936: streamline

1937: groovy

1938: teenager

1939: juke box

1940: jeep

1941: multicultural

1942: gizmo

1943: acronym

1944: snafu

1945: showbiz

1946: Iron Curtain/Cold War

1947: babysit

1948: cybernetics

1949: coo!

1950: DJ

1951: rock and roll

1952: Ms.

1953: UFO

1954: fast food

1955: hotline

1956: brinkmanship

1957: role model

1958: Murphy’s Law

1959: software

1960: sit‑in

1961: biodegradable

1962: car pool

1963: duh

1964: swing voter

1965: affirmative action

1966: credibility gap

1967: ripoff                                  

1968: aerobics

1969: sexism and ageism

1970: bottom line

1971: workaholic

1972: Watergate

1973: sound bite

1974: streak

1975: substance

1976: couch potato

1977: loony tunes

1978: geek

1979: stealth

1980: gridlock

1981: wannabe

1982: like

1983: greenmail

1984: yuppie

1985: rocket scientist

1986: dis

1987: codependency

1988: push the envelope

1989: virtual reality

1990: PC

1991: about

1992: Not!

1993: newbie

1994: go postal

1995: Newt/World Wide Web

1996: soccer mom

1997: Ebonics

1998: millennium bug

1999: Y2K

The Word Spy – defensive pessimism

Well, it turns out there is a word for it–this strategy of control, which leads to an ironic optimism:

The Word Spy – defensive pessimism

“A strategy that anticipates a negative outcome and then takes steps to avoid that outcome….”

Intriguing how this strategy reduces anxiety for some and increases it for others…. There’s the real lesson: the absence of an objective signification for any term, situation, strategy….

This term is a good fit for my “toolbox” approach to teaching. An important tool, here, for all those melancholy, back-door optimists.

Also: What uses could a dictionary like Word Spy be put to in teaching vocabulary in schools? Is there any way high schoolers could perceive and enjoy the fun of a dictionary like this (dedicated to neologisms), where the play and vitality and lability of language is uppermost….

Rhetoric of the Situation

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Internet Humor

Death of a Senator:

A powerful senator dies after a prolonged illness. His
soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to Heaven," says St. Peter. "Before
you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around
these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you."

"No problem,
just let me in," says the guy.

"Well, I’d like to but I have orders
from higher up. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in Hell and one in Heaven.
Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in
Heaven," says the senator.

"I’m sorry but we have our rules." And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator
and he goes down, down, down to Hell. The doors open and he finds himself in
the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a club and standing in
front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.
Everyone is very happy and in evening attire. They run to greet him, hug him,
and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense
of the people. They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster and

Also present is the Devil, who really is a very friendly
guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good
time that before he realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a big
hug and waves while the elevator rises.

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on
Heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him. "Now it’s time to visit Heaven." So
twenty-four hours pass with the head of state joining a group of contented souls moving
from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and,
before he realizes it, the twenty-four hours have gone by and St. Peter returns."Well
then, you’ve spent a day in Hell and another in Heaven. Now choose your eternity."

He reflects for a minute; then the senator answers,
"Well, I would never have said it. I mean Heaven has been delightful, but
I think I would be better off in Hell."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes
down, down, down to Hell. Now the doors of the elevator open and he is in the
middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends,
dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags. The Devil
comes over to him and lays his arm on his neck. "I don’t understand,"
stammers the senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course
and club and we ate lobster and caviar and danced and had a great time. Now
all there is, is a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable.

The Devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday
we were campaigning…Today you voted for us!"

All Lightning, No Bugs . . . .

September 22, 2004

When in doubt, quote Mark Twain:

  • Grief can take care of itself; but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.
  • “Always tell the truth; then you don’t have to remember anything. “
  • “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
  • “Don’t let school interfere with your education.”
  • “Heaven for climate. Hell for company.”
  • “Love your enemy, it will scare the hell out of them.”
  • “We are always too busy for our children; we never give them the time or interest they deserve. We lavish gifts upon them; but the most precious gift, our personal association, which means so much to them, we give grudgingly.”
  • “Anyone who can only think of one way to spell a word obviously lacks imagination.”
  • “The man who does not read books has no advantage over the man that can not read them.”
  • “It is best to keep your mouth shut and be presumed ignorant than to open it and remove all doubt.”
  • “Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.”
  • “It is not best that we should all think alike; it is differences of opinion that make horse races.”
  • “When people do not respect us we are sharply offended; yet deep down in his private heart no man much respects himself.”
  • “I have made it a rule never to smoke more than one cigar at a time.”
  • “If there are no cigars in Heaven, I shall not go.”
  • “I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.”
  • “When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear.”“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.”
  • “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”
  • “Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform. “
  • “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”
  • “If God had meant for us to be naked, we’d have been born that way.”
  • “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”
  • “A good lie will have traveled half way around the world while the truth is putting on her boots.”
  • “When in doubt, tell the truth.”