Saturday, November 19, 2005


Here is a statement that almost never fails to leave me convulsing with hysterical laughter, to the point of occasionally making me physically sick with uncontrollable mirth.

A man, a plan, a canal: Suez!

I can still recall the delicious mix of surprise and joy I had felt when I first saw it in an old dusty copy of Reader's Digest. In certain ways it typifies the kind of smart, but irreverant and completely random and silly humor that appeals to me a lot, and also explains why I adore Monty Python sketches. However, I should confess that while about half the people I know immediately get exactly where I am coming from, the other half probably never will, so any attempt at explanation would be futile.

Incidentally, some minor googling turned up this expanded version of the original: A man, a plan, a canoe, pasta, hero's rajahs, a coloratura, maps, snipe, percale, macaroni, a gag, a banana bag, a tan, a cat, a mane, paper, a Toyota, rep, a pen, a mat, a can, a tag, a banana bag again (or a camel), a crepe, pins, spam, a rut, a Rolo, cash, a jar, sore hats, a peon, a canal, Panama!

In what may not be a completely unrelated aside, a milder and perhaps more accessible version of a similar structure would be what is sometimes referred to as the Polish Knock Knock joke, and goes, simply:

Knock knock
Come in!

A final word, before I sign off, to the reader who may be upset at the frivolity and irrelevance of this post: developmental psychologists study knock-knock-joke usage in younger children, as it provides valuable insight into how children advance their language skills. So, while nothing is just fun and games, there is no reson why most things shouldn't be.

Friday, November 18, 2005

On the Other Hand...

Kevin (my room mate): It's probably not a good thing when you come back home after partying all night and take six cards out of your wallet with names and phone numbers written on them, and you can only at most remember maybe three of the people...

Me (trying to sound perky): On the contrary, I would be happy; it means I met three people that I liked enough to save their contact information in the first place, and now I will have the pleasure of being able to meet and like them all over again!

How Not to Write a Haiku

Is this a good haiku?
Not really, I am afraid.
(It only thinks it is).

What about this?
Is it any better?
Nope. Negative.

This is a haiku.
Five-Seven-Five: seventeen
Syllables in all.

Thicker Than Water

Umm, well, now that I have finally broken down and pointed out my blog to a couple people at work in a pathetic attempt to increase traffic, I should probably pull out all stops (something I often fantasize about but never actually contemplate seriously doing) and record here exactly how I feel about them. (Actually, I don't think I need to worry; they almost certainly will never want to visit this page anyways). But in the off chance they do, I want them to know that I am honored to count among them some of my dearest friends and confidantes, and they are the closest I have ever had to a family.

Alright. End of occasional obligatory baring of the soul. I guess I can go back to being my regular obnoxious self again now.

Let Us Now Praise Poetic Forms

Short, sweet, and pithy
Like miniature paintings;
I love the haiku.