Wednesday, February 10, 2010

So...What Are You Doing This Weekend?

One of my favorite sites to visit is Schott's Vocab. To quote from the website - "Schott’s Vocab is a repository of unconsidered lexicographical trifles — some serious, others frivolous, some neologized, others newly newsworthy. Each day, Schott’s Vocab explores news sites around the world to find words and phrases that encapsulate the times in which we live or shed light on a story of note. If language is the archives of history, as Emerson believed, then Schott’s Vocab is an attempt to index those archives on the fly."

Ben Schott is the author of “Schott’s Original Miscellany,” its two sequels, and the yearbook “Schott’s Almanac.” He is a contributing columnist to The Times’s Op-Ed page. He lives in London.

For me, the highpoint of every week is the Weekend Competition. This is a fun time as readers (Co-vocabularists) are invited to participate. The competition has, in the past, included such topics as - Euphemisms for Stupidity, Define Youth, Imaginary Libraries, Modern Similes, Tom Swifties and many more. The results always range from the sublimely witty to the outright hysterical. I would urge my readers to take part in the competitions each weekend. This truly is playing in the word farm!

(Please note that you will have to register with the New York Times to enter comments but you will not be bombarded with spam etc if you do.)

Recently there was a competition entitled Pun(ishment) and there was one comment that is the best I have ever read.

Here is the introduction to that competition -

Weekend Competition: Pun(ishment)

This weekend, co-vocabularists are invited to stoop to the lowest form of wit and submit the puns that have always tickled them.

Dorothy Parker famously observed: “You can lead a whore to culture but you can’t make her think.”

S. J. Perelman gagged: “I tried to resist his overtures, but he plied me with symphonies, quartets, chamber music and cantatas.”

Edmund Burke spotted: “What is (m)ajest(y), when stripped of its externals, but a jest?”

And Shakespeare’s famous pun – “Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York” – has itself been punned upon by many a shopkeeper: “Now is the winter of our discount tents.”

Whether you’re a wordbotcher, quip on the draw, or a glutton for pun(ishment), your puns are welcome here.

The submission that I referred to earlier came from someone named MikeAq and I reprint it here without permission because I have no idea how to contact this person. If you enjoy puns, sit back and enjoy this piece. It is simply wonderful.

This is the post from MikeAq -

The following was a joint spontaneous effort among friends about a year ago, which I revised somewhat for this competition:


C, E-flat, and G go into a bar. The bartender says: “Sorry, but we don’t serve minors.”

So the E-flat leaves, and the C and the G have an open fifth between them.

After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished and the G is out flat. An F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough. D comes into the bar and heads straight for the bathroom saying, “Excuse me, I’ll just be a second.”

Then an A comes into the bar, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor. He notices a B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and exclaims, “Get out now. You’re the seventh minor I’ve found in this bar tonight.”

The next night, E-flat waltzes in accompanied by a very drunken C. The bartender says, “E-flat and C again! This could be a major development.”

Someone called the police and a capella soon arrived, who put C under a rest. He was acoustic of public drunkenness and marched off to jail. He objected loudly, alto no avail.

C was brought to trial, found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, for de cadence, for breaking the Penal Coda by having an unprotected sax. And otherwise fluting the law. He was sentenced to 10 years at an upscale aria facility

On a peal, however, C was found innocent of any wrongdoing, even accidental, and that the charges were bassless.


E-flat, not easily deflatted, came back to the bar the next night clad only in a three-piece suite, which he removed, and stood there au natural, with exposed octaves partially hidden by a small fan dangle, apparently pedaling himself

A drunk who ate at the bar, Bached away and said, “Don’t that beat all!” and yelled for the boss Tony Pops, who called the voice squad.

The squad lieder said, “Gavotte do we have here?” They saw what was going on, saw E flat was carrying a piece, and said, “OK, E-flat, you know the quadrille. The jig is up!”

Pops wanted to refrain from prestoing charges because E-flat was not a violin offender, but the cops medley persisted, saying “Euphonium, we a rest ‘em.”

E-flat said, “Wait a minuet – reed my lips – these charges are falsetto!” The cops said, “Etude, you are slurring your phrases, off you go!”

The cops treated him like a piano kidding. They tried to march him off to jail in double time, but his movements were slow. His feet were retardando by tightly noted chords, and he could only take half-steps down the rocky clef to the jail, whose inmates were making noises lie kazoo.

Things progressioned from ballad to verse. Before they even made a notation in the station house register, the cops beat him with his own staff. He called his very obase fife Ella G, but the cops told her to make herself scherzo.

Ella G called a defense lyre, Lyn D. Hop, who knew E’s lady judge. Lyn thought he could get E out of jail, saying, despite being under a gigue order, “I wood baton it as long as E-flat can common time to see the judge and meter in her chamber.”

In jail, E-flat complained that all he had to eat was tune a fish, octet-opus, scale yunz and apple encores thrown in for good measure, with no soprano to wash his smelodious hands.

But his big-bassooned fife Ella G brought him a quartet of high screams for dessert, so he composed himself and changed his tune.

Lynn conducted E-flat’s defense by trumpeting his innocence in a longa breve to the court, saying “This is no hum drum case!”

He insisted on an impromptu trial, and arranged a bridge loan for E-flat’s bail, since he was going baroque.

A relative pitched for his release. And E-flat’s mother, Ma Zurka, even paid the lyre’s daily podium fees.

At E-flat’s trio, his lyre proved that there was no motif, and that the charges were prelude icrus. This tuned out to B a key theme , and his tone proved instrumental in the resulting verdict.

Dorian the trial the judge sostenutoed almost all defense objections, which gave E-flat quite a trill.

After a chorus of blues from E-flat’s supporters turned into a crescendo, the judged bowed to the mob, recapitulated to the inevitable, said “I am obbligato to release him!,” declaring the trial mute.

The prosecution failed to overture this release on a peal. All in all, a suite victory – avoiding being sentenced to an insti-tutti.

Everyone now agrees that E flat’s a rest had been a grave mistake, was glad that the judge set hymn loose, and that all his legato problems were finé.

The bar owner gave everyone a free round, ordered pizza gatos, played his treasured frank sonata records, and said we should all “just fuguettaboudit and all live in Harmonium”.


It’s very encouraging that after such a wide interval, E-flat’s case was resolved.

It was rumored that E’s fat fife was getting tired of being retenuto, from singing; when the good news reached her, she took an Allegro to clear her sinuses and began crowing loudly, which got her into treble with her neighbors.

You pickup the story from hear.


I have no symphony for those who are bass enough to crescendo this chorus by mail to other musicians; it’s cymballic of the times that we now orchestrate even puns!

— MikeAq


Thanks MikeAq for a great entry!

1 comment:

  1. My music teacher daughter thought this was "Very fun!"
    I thought it was "very long"...and too cerebral for my limited wits.