Recently in the Puns Category

Some puns

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Uncle Dobe passed along a list of puns, many of which (to my surprise) I hadn't seen before, and some of which made me laugh out loud. Here's an abridged version of the list:

  • I tried to catch some fog. I mist.
  • When chemists die, they barium.
  • I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.
  • I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.
  • This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I'd never met herbivore.
  • I'm reading a book about antigravity. I can't put it down.
  • I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.
  • The letter from the blood bank told me I had type A blood, but it was a type-O.
  • Class trip to the Coca-Cola factory—I hope there's no pop quiz.
  • The Energizer bunny has been arrested and charged with battery.
  • The old man didn't like his beard at first. Then it grew on him.
  • What does a clock do when it's hungry? It goes back four seconds.
  • I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.
  • All the toilets in New York's police stations have been stolen. Police have nothing to go on.
  • Cartoonist found dead in home. Details are sketchy.
  • I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me!

Heh—some of these would make good secret yets.

Modes of persuasion

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I have no training and but little skill in rhetoric, but I find the bits of it that I've seen fascinating, especially the names for things.

I recently learned that there are traditionally three modes of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos.

Every time I see that list, I can't help thinking “And d'Artagnan!”

(I now see that Vardibidian made the same joke in a blog-entry title a year ago, but subtly enough that I didn't get it at the time. I imagine there've been many other renditions of this joke over the years, but this one is mine.)

On a side note, this entry is an example of the Indexing Problem, in that if you were to do a search for [musketeers] on my site, this entry wouldn't come up. Well, now it will, 'cause I just mentioned it. Is there a name for the rhetorical device of using metacommentary about search issues to add a keyword to a page? Maybe we need a new glossary of computational rhetoric.

(“Online rhetoric” would probably be a more accurate term for what I'm talking about, but the phrase “computational rhetoric” is too appealing to pass up.)

Dual-interpretation sketches


Vardibidian recently pointed to a Ronnie Corbett sketch involving double meanings of terms like “Blackberry.”

I enjoyed the sketch; fun verbal comedy. And I was pleased, because I often see that kind of thing (dual interpretation of tech terms) done in ways that I don't find funny at all.

But it wasn't until now that I learned that it goes back to an earlier tradition of Two Ronnies sketches: in particular, the 1976 four candles/fork handles sketch, in which a shopkeeper and customer repeatedly misunderstand each other.

The older one includes a couple of jokes I don't get—presumably based on British and/or 1970s terminology—but I did laugh out loud a couple of times, so I figured it was worth pointing y'all to it.


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Unintentionally funny bit from an article today. The article discusses the lack of delays today from passengers requesting a “pat-down” instead of going through backscatter machines. Then it switches topics to the more general issue of other kinds of airport delays today, and it notes:

Some travelers also faced technical glitches. Spirit Airlines was forced to handle its passengers manually at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after its computers experienced problems.

—“Fliers facing minimal airport delays, despite protest threats,” by Alan Levin, USA Today

To which I thought: Isn't handling passengers manually what the TSA pat-down fuss is all about?

Nearly every major-news-venue article I've seen about California's Proposition 19 (the one to legalize marijuana) has used the word “hazy” and/or some other pun about marijuana smoke or getting high. Some samples:

And so on.

It's like the puns are addictive. It's like the writers (or the editors) are giddy. They can't resist, like a stoner can't resist snacking. It's like the prospect of a pun has clouded their minds. It's like—

Never mind. You get the idea.

It makes me want to do an ad: “This is your article. This is your article on cheap obvious puns.” Or: “Friends don't let friends litter serious news articles and headlines with cheap dumb jokes.”

I know this is nothing new. Headline writers in particular have always loved puns. And articles about sports games and box-office results have always featured puns relevant to the teams or movies involved.

But something about Prop 19 really seems to bring out this tendency in a way that other propositions don't seem to do.

What are these writers smoking?

(PS: Just to be clear: I love puns. What bugs me about these is that they're obvious and ubiquitous and not terribly funny.)

Punny names

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An assortment of real-life British punny names, with more in the comments following the article. Including a couple that are so British I didn't get them. It took me a while to figure out that Dawn Hobbs probably sounds like "doorknobs" in some British accents, for example.

comma sutra


This morning, the phrase "comma sutra" popped into my head, don't know why.

I immediately thought it would make a good name for this blog, which I've been thinking of renaming for a while now.

Sadly, I am not the first to come up with this pun. For example, there's a comma sutra T-shirt, and a grammar book called Comma Sutra: Position Yourself For Success With Good Grammar. (It appears to be full of cheap sex-related puns along with the grammar lessons, with chapter titles like "Assume the Position: Nouns, Pronouns, Verbs.")

Also, it was unclear to me whether the phrase would come across as disrespectful to Hindus and Buddhists.

So I'll keep looking for a replacement title. But in the meantime, thought the phrase was cute enough to be worth posting.

Cute tees

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Happened across the BustedTees T-shirt company the other day. (Run by the people.) Most of the T-shirt companies I see have a bunch of crass, obnoxious, racist, sexist, and generally nasty shirt slogans; this one has its share of unfortunate shirts, but there are also several I found entertaining, and some surprisingly geeky ones (in a good way).

Most of these are not shirts I would wear (so don't get 'em for me), and some of them seem to me more suited to a greeting card or one-panel comic strip than a T-shirt, but still.

Here are some I was amused by:

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Puns category.

Punctuation is the previous category.

Quotations is the next category.

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