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

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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.

Handling

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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

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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 CollegeHumor.com 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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