Category Archives: Wordplay

An exploration of words and language

20 rules of fine writing

1.  Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
2.  Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3.  And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
4.  It is wrong to ever split an infin-

itive.

5.  Avoid clichés like the plague.
6.  Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
7.  Also, too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
8.  No sentence fragments.
9.  Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used.
10. One should NEVER generalize.
11. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
12. Don’t use no double negatives.
13. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
14. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
15. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
16. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
17. Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
18. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
19. Who needs rhetorical questions?
20. Proof read to see if you any words out.

 

(ed. – This post has been previously published in By George Journal, first in 2008.)

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Top-10 Words about Nonsense

Here’s another great top-10 list. Admittedly, it’s codswallop.

However, you will recognize some of the words – and you may just use a few of them.

  1. Buffoonery / foolish or playful behavior or practice
  2. Codswallop / words or language having no meaning or conveying no intelligible ideas; drivel
  3. Bosh / foolish talk or activity; nonsense – often used interjectionally
  4. Tomfoolery / playful or foolish behavior
  5. Bunkum / insincere or foolish talk; claptrap
  6. Blatherskite / voluble nonsensical or inconsequential talk or writing; blather
  7. Flapdoodle / foolish, empty, and often specious talk, writing, ideas, or opinions
  8. Balderdash / nonsense; empty talk
  9. Monkeyshines / pranks; mischievous or questionable tricks or pranks; monkey business
  10. Folderol / nonsensical talk or action; trivial nonsense

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SOURCE: The Merriam Webster Dictionary

 

Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

 

Wordplay

One of our favourite readers, Dick Inwood of Ottawa, has entertained our By George offices for years with his missives on twisted language, punnery and amusing wordplay. Here is an e-mail he sent today…

Heteronyms — Enjoy! Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning. A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.  You think English is easy??  I think a retired English teacher was bored…THIS IS GREAT! Read all the way to the end…

  • The bandage was wound around the wound.
  • The farm was used to produce produce.
  • The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
  • We must polish the Polish furniture.
  • He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  • The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert..
  • Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
  • A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
  • When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  • I did not object to the object.
  • The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
  • 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 the does are present.
  • A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  • To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  • The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  • Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..
  • I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  • How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

 

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.

 

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?

 

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

 

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

 

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

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How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

 

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.PS. – Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’ ?

english

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this .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 .
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 clearing Up .
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP .
When it doesn’t rain for awhile, things dry UP .

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One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP , for now my time is UP, so……..it is time to shut UP ! Now it’s UP to you what you do with this email.

 

(ed. – Thanks Dick!!)

 

Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

20 “well-turned phrases” to send your colleagues sideways

  • Every morning is the dawn of a new error.
  • Regarding apathy, I have no opinion.
  • Remember you’re unique, just like everybody else.
  • I’m ambivalent? Well, yes and no.
  • Indecision is the key to flexibility.
  • Procrastinate now!
  • I’m a PBS mind in an MTV world.
  • I plead contemporary insanity.
  • Def’n of a committee: a body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.
  • That’s “Deja Moo”: The feeling that you’ve heard this bull before.
  • Def’n of a yawn: an honest opinion openly expressed.
  • Def’n of an egotist: someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.
  • Entrophy isn’t what it used to be.
  • Give me ambiguity or give me something else.
  • Eschew obfuscation.
  • If all is not lost, then where is it?
  • I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.
  • I meander to a different drummer.
  • Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.
  • Any philosophy that can fit into a nutshell belongs there.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

 

Origins of some well-known companies’ names

Have you ever wondered where the name Google came from? Do you know the origins of Research In Motion? Well, here’s a list of some well-known company names with their name origins explained.

  • 3M – from the company’s original name, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company
  • A&W Root Beer – named after founders Roy Allen and Frank Wright
  • Adidas – from the name of the founder Adolf (Adi) Dassler
  • Atari – named from the board game Go. “Atari” is a Japanese word to describe a position where an opponent’s stones are in danger of being captured. It is similar, though not identical, to “check” in chess. The original games company was American but wanted a Japanese-sounding name.
  • Bridgestone – named after founder Shojiro Ishibashi. The surname Ishibashi (石橋) means “stone bridge”, or “bridge of stone”.
  • Cisco – short for San Francisco.
  • Coca Cola – derived from the coca leaves and kola nuts used as flavoring. Coca-Cola creator John S. Pemberton changed the ‘K’ of kola to ‘C’ to make the name look better.
  • eBay – Pierre Omidyar, who had created the Auction Web trading website, had formed a web consulting concern called Echo Bay Technology Group. “Echo Bay” didn’t refer to the town in Nevada, “It just sounded cool”, Omidyar reportedly said. Echo Bay Mines Limited,  a gold mining company, had already taken EchoBay.com, so Omidyar registered what (at the time) he thought was the second best name: eBay.com.
  • Esso – the enunciation of the initials S.O. in Standard Oil of New Jersey.
  • Google – an originally accidental misspelling of the word googol and settled upon because google.com was unregistered. Googol was proposed to reflect the company’s mission to organize the immense amount of information available online.
  • HMV – from “His Master’s Voice”, which appeared in 1899 as the title of a painting of Nipper, a Jack Russell terrier, listening to a gramophone.
  • IBM – named by Tom (Thomas John) Watson Sr, an ex-employee of National Cash Register (NCR Corporation). To one-up them in all respects, he called his company International Business Machines.
  • Lego – combination of the Danish “leg godt”, which means to “play well”.  Lego also means “I put together” in Latin, but Lego Group claims this is only a coincidence and the etymology of the word is entirely Danish. Years before the little plastic brick was invented, Lego manufactured wooden toys.
  • McDonald’s – from the name of the brothers Dick McDonald and Mac McDonald, who founded the first McDonald’s restaurant in 1940.
  • Mercedes – from the first name of the daughter of Emil Jellinek, who distributed cars of the early Daimler company around 1900.
  • Microsoft – coined by Bill Gates to represent the company that was devoted to microcomputer software. Originally christened Micro-Soft, the ‘-‘ disappeared on 3/2/1987 with the introduction of a new corporate identity and logo. The “slash between the ‘o’ and ‘s’ [in the Microsoft logo] emphasizes the “soft” part of the name and conveys motion and speed
  • Nike – named for the Greek goddess of victory.
  • Pepsi – named from the digestive enzyme pepsin.
  • Reebok – alternate spelling of rhebok Pelea capreolus), an African antelope.
  • Research in Motion – from the phrase “poetry in motion”, which company founder Mike Lazaridis had seen used to describe a football player.
  • Siemens – founded in 1847 by Werner von Siemens and Johann Georg Halske. The company was originally called Telegraphen-Bau-Anstalt von Siemens & Halske.
  • Toyota – from the name of the founder, Sakichi Toyoda. Initially called Toyeda, it was changed after a contest for a better-sounding name. The new name was written in katakana with eight strokes, a number that is considered lucky in Japan.
  • Wal-mart – named after founder Sam Walton
  • Xerox – named from xerography, a word derived from the Greek xeros (dry) and graphos (writing). The company was founded as The Haloid Company in 1906, launched its first XeroX copier in 1949, and changed its name to Haloid Xerox in 1958
  • Yahoo! – The word Yahoo was invented by Jonathan Swift and used in his book Gulliver’s Travels. It represents a person who is repulsive in appearance and barely human. Yahoo! founders David Filo and Jerry Yang jokingly considered themselves yahoos. It’s also an interjection sometimes associated with United States Southerners’ and Westerners’ expression of joy, as alluded to in Yahoo.com commercials that end with someone singing the word “yahoo”. It is also sometime jokingly referred to by its backronym, Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.

 

SOURCE: Wikipedia

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

Writers on “Words”

  • Words are the physicians of a mind diseased. – Aeschylus
  • Like stones, words are laborious and unforgiving, and the fitting of them together, like the fitting of stones, demands great patience and strength of purpose and particular skill. – Edmund Morrison
  • Proper words in proper places, make the true definition of a style. – Jonathan Swift
  • The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. – Mark Twain
  • A language is a dialect with its own army and navy. – Max Weinreich
  • Some words are like the old Roman galleys; large-scaled and ponderous. They sit low in the water even when their cargo is light – William Jovanovich
  • Slang is language which takes off its coat, spits on its hands – and goes to work. – Carl Sandburg
  • In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer. – Mark Twain
  • I wonder what language truck drivers are using, now that everyone is using theirs? – Beryl Pfizer
  • Footnotes, the little dogs yapping at the heels of the text. – William James
  • A good catchword can obscure analysis for fifty years. – Johan Huisinga
  • Words once spoken, can never be recalled. – Wentworth Dillon
  • The word is half his that speaks, and half his that hears it. – Montaigne
  • “When I say a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” / “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” / “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.” – Lewis Carroll
  • Often I am struck in amazement about a word. I suddenly realize that the complete arbitrariness of our language is but a part of the arbitrariness of our own world in general. – Christian Morgenstern

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

‘How I Met My Wife’

Here is a morning smile… ‘How I Met My Wife’ was written by Jack Winter and published 25 July 1994 in The New Yorker.

 

It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate. I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way. I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I’d have to make bones about it since I was travelling cognito. Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn’t be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do.

 

Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or a sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion. So I decided not to risk it.

 

But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make heads or tails of. I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado, and it nerved me that she was interested in a pareil like me, sight seen. Normally, I had a domitable spirit, but, being corrigible, I felt capacitated–as if this were something I was great shakes at–and forgot that I had succeeded in situations like this only a told number of times.

 

So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings. Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had no time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous. Wanting to make only called-for remarks, I started talking about the hors d’oeuvres, trying to abuse her of the notion that I was sipid, and perhaps even bunk a few myths about myself. She responded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savory character who was up to some good. She told me who she was. “What a perfect nomer,” I said, advertently. The conversation become more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal. We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.

 

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

BGJ’s Top-10 Innocuous Sayings

Do you not find it irritating when you are looking for a response that might give some idea to what has just happened and your companion lowers her voice and lets escape a milquetoast statement…  In far too many conversations today, when discussing complex or involved issues, it has become customary to shrug and utter an innocuous statement that, rightly or wrongly, conveys tired indifference. The curt retort adds absolutely nothing to the greater understanding of the matter at hand and, more to the point, it often derails any further exploration of the subject.

For those who might have entered into the conversation to arrive at a better understanding of a situation, this is irritating – and, for us, these default statements have become a real pet peeve. (In fact, By George would prefer rather than the innocuous saying to hear the serenity prayer mumbled: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference. But then again, perhaps, this too would become bothersome?)

To bring this subject into clearer focus and have people rethink their use of this conversational tactic, By George shares “Top 10 Innocuous Sayings” counted down to reveal our society’s most irritating utterance.

#10 – Oh well, nothing we can do about it…

#9 – Stupid is what stupid does.

#8 – Suppose, what goes around comes around.

#7 – And, so it goes.

#6 – Tell me something I didn’t know.

#5 – Nothing’s new under the sun.

#4 – Shit happens.

#3 – C’est la vie.

#2 – Whatever…

And, the number one innocuous saying in today’s society is….

It is what it is.

Truthfully, how do you feel when you hear this?! It’s a conversation stopper.

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Do you use an innocuous saying to sum up your feigned indifference that is not in this top ten list? Please share.

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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Diversion: a list of paraprosdokians

We received a number of paraprosdokians in our e-mail today from our friend Dick Inwood. It was great to see a few new ones to add to our growing list:

  • Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
  • I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently used in a humorous situation. Here is the original list that Dick sent to us a few years ago. Enjoy!

  • Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
  • The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.
  • Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  • If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  • We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
  • War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
  • Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good Evening,’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  • To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  • A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.
  • I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.
  • Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says, ‘In case of emergency, notify:’ I put ‘DOCTOR.’
  • I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  • Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
  • Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  • A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
  • I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
  • You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  • Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  • There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.
  • I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
  • You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  • To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  • Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  • Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  • A diplomat is someone who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you look forward to the trip.
  • Hospitality is making your guests feel at home even when you wish they were.
  • I always take life with a grain of salt. Plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila.
  • When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.

(ed. – This list first appeared in By George Journal in June 2011. Thank you again to Dick Inwood, our favourite Ottawa jokester.)

 

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

Top-10 most commonly confused words

The Merriam – Webster on-line dictionary has put together a very useful top-10 list of the most commonly confused words. Here they are:

Flaunt / Flout
Affect / Effect
Deserts / Desserts
Stationary / Stationery
Flak / Flack
It’s / Its
Pore / Pour
Fewer / Less
Flounder / Founder
Principal / Principle

Here’s the link to the Merriam-Webster presentation.

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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a trusted executive assistant, a communications can-do guy, or a go-to-scribe? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

Our Twisted English Language

Is there anything stranger than our English language?? Consider these:

  • Why is “abbreviated” is such a long word?
  • Why is “phonics” not spelled the way it sounds?
  • Why do “overlook” and “oversee” mean opposite things?
  • Why does “slow down” and “slow up” mean the same thing?
  • Why does “fat chance” and “slim chance” mean the same thing?
  • Why do “tug” boats push their barges?
  • Why is it called “after dark” when it really is “after light”?
  • Doesn’t “expecting the unexpected” make the unexpected expected?
  • Why are a “wise man” and a “wise guy” opposites?
  • Why do we put suits in garment bags and garments in a suitcase?
  • Why are they called “stands” when they are made for sitting?
  • Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway ?
  • Why is the third hand on the watch called the second hand?

And here’s a couple of questions to chew on…
Q – If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever know?
Q – If Webster wrote the first dictionary, where did he find the words?

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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a trusted executive assistant, a communications can-do guy, or a go-to-scribe? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

50 striking verbs

writingBy George offers 50 striking verbs to add a lift to your next memo or conversation.

abolish / advance / arrest / assault / berate / choke / collapse / crawl / edge / elude / emerge / engage / erupt / expedite / flaunt / flog / fumble / gnaw / gouge / grapple / gyrate / hang / haul / hurl / inflict / launch / lunge / mangle / muster / pander / parade / persuade / placate / plunge / repel / rub / salute / scrawl / snare / spear /stifle / subdue / tackle / thrash / touch / trounce / undertake / undo / unite / usher
.

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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a trusted executive assistant, a communications can-do guy, or a go-to-scribe? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

 

 

New words?

Here are some new words being proposed for inclusion in Oxford English Dictionary

Errorist : Someone who repeatedly makes mistakes.

Ambitchous : Striving to be more of a bitch than the average bitch.

Dudevorce : When two male heterosexual best friends officially end their friendship over a lame disagreement, usually concerning a girl.

Nonversation : A completely worthless conversation, wherein nothing is illuminated, explained or otherwise elaborated upon. Typically occurs at parties, bars or other events .

Destinesia : When you arrive in the room where you intending to go, you can’t remember why you were going there in the first place.

Unkeyboardinated : Lacking physical or mental keyboard coordination; unable to type without repeatedly making mistakes.

Cellfish : Those who continue to talk on their cell phone, oblivious to the effect on others around them.

Textpectation : The anticipation one feels when waiting for a response to a text message.

Carcolepsy : The inability to stay alert when in a car.

Hiberdating : Someone who ignores all their other friends when they are dating a boyfriend/girlfriend.

Deja poop : The feeling that the same lame shit keeps happening over and over to you.

Askhole : A person who constantly asks for your advice, yet always does the opposite of what you say.

 

(ed. – Thanks to our loyal Ottawa contributor: Dick Inwood!)

Canadian Mottos

Is it possible to sum up our country in an all-encompassing motto? A few years ago the National Post editorial board conducted a contest to define ‘Canada’ in six words or less.

Here are the top ten finalists:

  • Medicare, we’re dying to keep it – C.N. Johannesson, Calgary
  • If countries are clothes, we’re cardigans – Paul Meyer and Jane Power, Montrose, BC
  • Life, liberty and pursuit of hockey-ness – Lawrence JHickman, Victoria
  • Proud to be humble – Nesta Morrise, Unionville, Ontario
  • Double, Double, from Sea to Sea – Pat Harrise, Toronto
  • Canada: Mostly OK – Sandy Baillie, Munster, Ontario
  • From inquiry to inquiry – Gord Nixon – Barrie, Ontario
  • Endless possibilities squandered in political correctness – Gary Valcour, Oshawa, Ontario
  • Canada – a home for the world – Deborah Torenvliet, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Canada: Nobody gives a puck – Charles Cook, Toronto, Ontario

From the hundreds of entries published by the paper, here are a dozen favourites selected by the By George scribes:

  • Mediocre, and reasonably proud of it
  • Bad weather, punishing taxes, cold beer
  • Canada: scenery, greenery, political chicanery
  • Canada: United in diversity
  • Lest ever should we understand ourselves
  • Rights without responsibilities
  • Universal health care or die waiting
  • Land of inferiority complexes
  • We’ll tolerate anything, except intolerance
  • Canada, a play by Paul Henderson
  • Canada, nine equal provinces and Quebec
  • Beauty, eh?

BTW – the winner of the paper’s contest was…

Canada – a home for the world

What Makes 100%??

Here is a classic wordplay that we are sure you have seen before…

 

What Makes 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%?

From a strictly mathematical viewpoint it goes like this: Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about achieving 103%? What makes up 100% in life?

Here’s a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions: If: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z is represented as: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

Then: H-A-R-D-W-O-R- K 8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98% and K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E 11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

But, A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E 1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100% And, B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T 2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you. A-S-S-K-I-S-S-I-N-G 1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that, while hard work and knowledge will get you close, and attitude will get you there, it’s the bullshit and ass kissing that will put you over the top.

Arrrr, so you want to be a writer, do you matey?

I simply had to share this.   6 Reasons being a Pirate is like being a Writer by Chuck Sambuchino is a very clever, instructive piece on writing. Anyone pounding away on a keyboard for their day job, or pursuing creative ends of prose at the edges of night, will like this concise list of essential elements for “a good story.”  Chuck Sambuchion writes:

Here are 6 things I learned from a pirate about writing.  It turns out pirates and writers need the same things in their arsenal. Every pirate (and writer) needs:

1. A hook: Hooks grab the reader in the first few sentences or can be found at the end of a chapter to keep the pages turning. EXAMPLE: “Captain Hook stood on the edge of the plank. Below swam a wide-mouthed crocodile chomp-chomp-chomping at the air between Captain Hook and the sloshing sea…”

2. An anchor: A ship is afloat without an anchor. Your anchor is the story question. The story question keeps your writing focused. Will Hook make it out alive?

3. Navigation tools: A pirate needs to know how to navigate the genre. Know your story structure.  A play structure is going to be entirely different from a picture book structure. But each will have:

  • A well developed main character
  • A setting full of sensorial language, (Why use lily-livered language when you can write like a salty pirate?)
  • A story question that includes several attempts at a solution
  • A story answer that involves a physical and an emotional ending.

4. A plank: Every story must reach the point where the main character’s toes are hanging over the edge of the plank with nowhere left to go. This climax should have your reader feeling that sorry bloke’s anxiety. Tic, Tic, Tic!

5. A cutlass: A pirate has to be willing to use his cutlass. Once your story is written cut, cut, cut, down to the briny bones of a swashbuckling seafaring story.

6. A treasure: When your reader closes the book make sure he leaves with a treasure he will want to come back to again and again.

 

Chuck Sambuchino is an editor and published author who runs the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, one of the biggest blogs in publishing.   6 Reasons being a Pirate is like being a Writer is found on Writers Digest at:

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/6-reasons-being-a-pirate-is-like-being-a-writer

 

Redneck Medical Terms

RuralHealthHere are some medical definitions

from the back-forty…

  • Artery: The study of paintings.
  • Benign: What you be after you be eight.
  • Bacteria: Back door to cafeteria.
  • Barium: What doctors do when patients die.
  • Cesarean Section: A neighborhood in Rome.
  • Cat Scan: Searching for Kitty.
  • Cauterize: Made eye contact with her.
  • Coma: A punctuation mark.
  • Dilate: To live long.
  • Enema: Not a friend.
  • Fester: Quicker than someone else.
  • Fibula: A small lie.
  • Hangnail: What you hang your coat on.
  • Impotent: Distinguished, well known.
  • Labor Pain: Getting hurt at work.
  • Medical Staff: A Doctor’s cane.
  • Morbid: A higher offer than I bid.
  • Nitrates: Cheaper than day rates.
  • Node: I knew it.
  • Pelvis: Second cousin to Elvis.
  • Post Operative: A letter carrier.
  • Rectum: Darn near killed him.
  • Seizure: Roman emperor.
  • Tablet: A small table.
  • Tumor: More than one.
  • Urine: Opposite of you’re out
  • Varicose: Near by

 

(ed. – Again, many thanks to our friend Dick Inwood. Keep ’em coming!!)