IT'S ALL IN THE BOOK 12-01-12
SWAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
Amidst a dramatic hostage situation unfolding in a bank in downtown Boston, the Commissioner summoned the head of the Police Department SWAT team.
"Analysis has shown that the guy is generally visible from the window of an office on the thirty-second floor of the building diagonally across the street. Do you have someone available who can place a shot from there?"
"Well," replied Captain O'Reilly, "We have Crazy Louie in the precinct today. Probably the best on our team. I'll call him in."
While Maintenance cut a section of glass from the window, Louie lay out on a table, on his back, head toward the window. Holding his rifle in the air, pointing downward over his shoulder and out the window, he sighted into a mirror on the stock, ever so gently squeezed the trigger, and on a single shot brought down the culprit.
Details of the incident quickly leaked to the press. "How could you possibly make a shot like that? Isn't this somewhat unconventional?"
"Aw, shucks," replied Louie. "There is nothing you can name that is anything like odd aim."
"SWAT�s It All About?" by Bob Dvorak from "The Ants Are My Friends" by Richard Lederer & Stan Kegel (�2007) "There is nothing you can name that is anything like a dame� from "Nothing like a Dame" from "South Pacific" by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, Jr. (�1949)
A palindrome (from the Greek palindromos, "running back again") is a word, a word row, a sentence, or a longer statement that communicates the same message when the letters of which it is composed are read in reverse order. Even if you're a dud, kook, boob, or poop, palindromes should make you exult, Ah ha!, Oh, ho!, Hey, yeh!, Yo boy!, Yay!, Wow!, Tut-Tut!, Har-har! Rah-rah!, Heh-heh!, Hoorah! Har! Ooh!, and Ahem! It's time. Ha!
Prize palindromes exhibit subject-verb structure. Cobbling a subject-verb palindromic statement is harder to pull off than single-word or phrasal palindromes and, hence, more elegant when the result is successful. Moreover, subject-verb syntax inspires the reader to conjure up a clearer image of persons or things in action:
Nurse, I spy gypsies. Run!
Sit on a potato pan, Otis.
Stop! Murder us not, tonsured rumpots!
This matter of imagery is crucial to the greatness of a palindrome. Top-drawer palindromic statements invoke a picture of the world that is a bubble off plumb yet somehow of our world. One could warn one�s nurse that gypsies are nearby. Someone named Otis could sit on a potato pan, and shorn drunkards could seek to do us grave bodily harm.
Two of my favorite subject-verb palindromes are Elk City, Kansas, is a snaky tickle (and there really is an Elk City, Kansas) and Doc, note. I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod. But as delightfully loopy as the first specimen is and as astonishing in its length and coherence as the second three-sentence jawdropper is, they do not summon up vivid images to cavort in our mind�s eye.
Using the rubrics of elegance, subject-verb structure, and bizarre but vivid imagery, I submit that the greatest palindrome ever cobbled is: Go hang a salami. I'm a lasagna hog.
Now that you have read this small disquisition on the art and craft of the palindromes, I hope you have lost any aibohphobia, "fear of palindromes," you may have experienced and are now suffused with ailihphilia, "a love of palindromes."
"Palidrome" from "Amazing Words" by Richard Lederer (�2012)
You can purchase signed advance copies through Richard's website www.verbivore.com or his email address richard.lederer@...
A TURNING POINT
A strong northeast wind pushed the surf far up the beach and threw the cold rain against the rocks. Far from its normal hiding place, a small tern struggled to overcome these winds and find shelter inland. The struggle was too difficult, however, and the weary bird began to falter. Suddenly, another tern was there offering a helping hand. With the help of the additional bird, they both made it to safety.
The storm blew itself out and the sunshine finally returned to the beach. The small tern who had struggled against the storm began to search for his savior. For many days he visited flock after flock until he spied the selfless Samaritan feeding in a nearby lagoon.
"I have come to be your slave," he said to the older tern.
"That is not necessary," the older one replied. "In fact, that is only done in the movies."
"But I insist," the younger demanded. "For it still remains true that in times like these one good tern deserves another."
"A Turning Point" from "Groan And Bear it" by Gary Younglove (�2010)
A woman decided to have twelve clones made of herself. When she went to the clinic, she found it was a bleak brick house without any windows. When she asked the clone maker why there were no windows, she was told that people in glass houses shouldn't grow clones.
As the clones were growing up, she would never be allowed to take them out for a walk, as you'll never walk a clone.
What disturbed her the most was that every time she would visit them, they all would be yelling at the top of their lungs. When she asked why they yelled so much, she was told that this was to be expected, as she had ordered a dozen I scream clones.
"The Clones" from "Punzoli" by Gilbert Krebs (�2012)
But enough about the rest of the whirled�let�s stalk about us. That�s US with capital letters. So let�s start with the capitol�Washing Town, D.C. It�s fitting that D.C. is a kind of current, since many current evince take place there. Learning what the Congress is doing with our money can indeed be electrifying. In fact, the reason the city is called Washing Town is because so much money-laundering goes on there. Washing Town is the site of the Awful Office and many other important sites of govern mint. (Spear mint tastes better but is pointy to run into.)
The seed of govern mint is the Capitol, which is always spelled with a Capital. The Capitol Dumb is rounded, with a point. The heads of many members of Congress are pointy ass swell. The Penta is Gone, so we won�t bother to discuss it. Then there is the Washing Ton mon, you meant, which costs a ton to clean the outside of, hence its name. There is also a monu meant to Abe Lincoln, the first precedent to have a toy fish named after him�Lincoln lox.
But the You Knighted States doesn�t start and stop in Washing Town. There are many other deservedly famous cities here. There are also many famous cities and provinces in our neighboring country to the north, a friendly nation that many of us avoid on a Canada the dog who ascends trees and shivers�yes, it�s a cold climb mutt, indeed.
Some of the many notable locations under the Mabel, leave! flag include Toronto, named after the instructions stamped on each base after the Blue Jays got an influx of fast-but-dumb players. Another is On Terry O., scene of a locally famous sexual escapade involving Theresa O�Reilly. Yet another is named after a game show host of days past�Monty Hall. And a certain deep-sounding instrument is found in abundance in Many Tuba.
"Jogger-Free" from "Betcha Didn't Know" by Cynthia MacGregor (�2011)
The Ismaili Institute of Higher Studies always rewarded the annual Hayworth Memorial Lecturer with his weight in diamonds but only if he withstood the attacks of the faculty.
Ferdinand Feghoot, lecturing on "Space Colonization and the Human Emotions," ran this gantlet successfully in 2883. "Everywhere man has gone," he declared, "and no matter how he has changed, you always find some small, homey, nostalgic reminder of old Mother Earth."
At once he was challenged. "What about the planet Candide?" a professor demanded. "They are infidels, cannibals! How could anything there remind one of Earth?"
For an instant, Feghoot was taken aback. Then he smiled. "I would have said you were right," he replied, "if it hadn't been for one thing. As you know, the Candideans especially relish the plump juicy buttocks of slaves raised on large farms for the purpose. And it was on one of these farms that I saw something which took me right back to my boyhood, and brought tears to my eyes."
"What was it?" everyone asked.
"It stood on a shelf in the kitchen," signed Ferdinand Feghoot. "It was just an old Fanny Farmer's Cook Book."
"Feghoot 9" from "The Collected Feghoot" by Reginald Bretnor writing under the pen name Grendel Briarton (�1992)
THE INDIAN WIRE
There was once an Indian chief upon whose reservation oil was discovered. In an attempt to wisely spend the newfound tribal wealth, he decided to send his oldest son off to school. The son attended one of the best prep schools in the nation. He did well enough there to earn a scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
After four years of intense study, the young Indian received a degree in electrical engineering and returned home to the reservation. The proud chief arranged a tribal festival in honor of his son, the college graduate. The entire tribe celebrated for several days.
Near the end of the festivities, the son turned to his father and said, "I really do appreciate all you have done for me. I'd like to do something in return. Father, what can I do?"
The chief thought for a time, then said, "I have always wanted heat and an electric light in my outdoor toilet."
"I can do that with no trouble at all," said the grateful son.
The next day he went to town where he bought 10 miles of wire, some switches, plugs, sockets and the other things he needed. As soon as he returned, he installed an electric light in the outdoor toilet, thus becoming forever famous as: The first Indian to wire ahead for a reservation!
"The Indian Wire" from "Shaggy Dogs have Punny Tales" by Gene Child (�1992)
A NOVICE OLYMPIAN
During the last Olympic games, an unknown woman sprinter named Judy Johnson ran and won the 100 meters race. Obviously she was entitled to the gold medal and the laurel wreath that all winners receive. She gave the wreath to her husband, Bo, but Bo was just as much in the dark as Judy was about where the laurel wreath should go. Was it to be carried on the arm, placed over the neck and worn like a lei or garland, or was it simply to be mounted and displayed in a place of honor on a wall? Neither Judy nor Bo knew what to do with the wreath.
During the Olympic ceremony, Judy asked Bo to place the wreath in its honored spot. Bo didn't know where it went, so he attempted to slip it over her head and have her wear it around her neck. This was wrong, of course; she wasn't supposed to wear it there, and he was admonished by Olympic officials that Judy's garland goes somewhere over the brain Bo.
"A Novice Olympian" from "Punning For Your Life" by Ted Brett (�2002)
PROVERBIAL WISDOM Part 1
By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn.
A teacher is better than two books.
He who is afraid of asking is ashamed of learning
Do not confine your children to your own learning,
for they were born in another time.
When the pupil is ready, the teacher will come.
Teachers open the door, but you must enter yourself
"Proverbial Wisdom" from "A Tribute To Teachers" by Richard Lederer (�2011)
Compiled by Stan Kegel skegel@...
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