Saturday, December 10, 2011

And now for some hilarity . . .

Sorry. I can't help it.

I mentioned a few weeks ago Michael Quinion's World Wide Words. I am still fascinated by his discussions of words' provenances. But for me, the highlight of the newsletter is "Sic!" in which he and his readers point out strange and humorous headlines or turns of phrase in news stories. A collection from the last month's worth of newsletters.

Particularly humorous after yesterday's event in our family: "Miranda Kerr returns to the Victoria's Secret catwalk after giving birth in a $2.5 million diamond studded bra." ("Gosh, that's a bit dressy for giving birth!" wrote the woman who noticed the headline.)
"Headline of the week!" announced Howard Sinberg, in reference to one over a story dated 9 November on the website of WDSU in New Orleans: "Unmarried Couples Find Divorce Difficult."

"I'd like to see them take it away!" Colin Hall remarked, having read the What's News section of the Wall Street Journal dated 2 November: "The president-elect of Kyrgyzstan said the U.S. should leave its air base there when the lease expires in 2014."

I didn't know the University of Colorado was that old," commented Jeff Brandt about a story of 14 November from the Alaska Dispatch: "The buckle ... was found inside an excavation of a 1,000-year-old Inupiat house that had been dug into a beach ridge at Cape Espenberg by a team from the University of Colorado at Boulder."

On 21 November, a story in the New York Times (noted by Jim Conroy) stated that "Cities like Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and San Juan, P.R., have started to fly to Havana in recent months."

John Eliot Spofford reports that the online Newswire edition of Trains magazine for 28 November had this headline for an article about the Metro-North commuter train service for New York City: "Metro-North unveils plan to improve winter interruptions."

A report on ABC News on 30 November about a lawsuit contained a typo (since corrected): "It was filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Please." Robert Wake wondered if there might be a counterbalancing Court of Thank You.
And then, finally, this wonderful ironical paragraph of advice about how to speak (or write) effectively. Quoted from Notes and Queries, 11 February 1893:
Let your conversation possess a clarified conciseness, compacted comprehensibleness, coalescent consistency, and a concatenated cogency. Eschew all conglomerations of flatulent garrulity, jejune babblement, and asinine affectations. Let your extemporaneous descantings and unpremeditated expatiations have intelligibility, without rhodomontade or thrasonical bombast. Sedulously avoid all polysyllabical profundity, pompous prolixity, and ventriloquial vapidity. Shun double-entendre and prurient jocosity, whether obscure or apparent. In other words, speak truthfully, naturally, clearly, purely, but do not use large words.
Uh. Yeah.
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