Archive for 2: Uppercase 1

Y: Matt Brocchini Explains It All to You

Matt Brocchini searched through two years' worth of his saved email to find all the lines that began with the word "because"; then he arranged those lines in alphabetical order. (Or at least his computer's idea of alphabetical order.) The resulting found art should provide an explanation for any occasion. I have taken the liberty […]

X: Calling Glenn Miller…

There are letters on my telephone dial. This fact does not surprise you. "Of course there are letters on your telephone dial," you say. "How else could you dial 1-800-CORRECT? How else could you dial 1-900-HOT-SEX? How else could you say 'My phone number spells out PIGEONZ'?" (Ever notice how in movies they use "555-" […]

W: Gang Aft Agley

There's an old riddle which goes: Q: What word is always pronounced wrong? A: The word "wrong." I recently encountered another version of that riddle in a book: Q: What word is never pronounced right? A: "Wrong." Whoever wrote up this latter item may have not understood the original joke (the second version borders on […]

V: That Lovede Venerie

Q: What has four wheels and flies? A: A garbage truck. ...No, wait. I got the punch line right but the wrong question. Let's back up and try that again. Q: Johnny, name a collective noun. A: A garbage truck! I read that joke in I don't know how many riddle books as a kid, […]

U: A Capital Idea (Reader Comments and Addenda)

I recently encountered the term "TWAIN," referring to scanner-related software. I vaguely wondered what it stood for, but assumed it was just some boring computer acronym. So I was delighted when Don Monson coincidentally dropped me a note a couple weeks later to tell me what "TWAIN" really stands for: Technology Without An Interesting Name. […]

U: A Capital Idea

"Many thanks to old Cadmus, who made us his debtors, by inventing one day the capital letters." —from an old rhyme, according to Oscar Ogg When I decided to write about acronyms, it occurred to me to wonder where capital letters came from—or more precisely, where and when the idea was formed of having two […]

T: It’s All in the Rhythm

(Notes: my information here is based largely on research I did in 1990; much of it comes from linguistics papers from the '60s and '70s. My information may therefore be somewhat outdated, but it's the most recent information I have available. On an unrelated note, you'll need a browser that can display tables to get […]