Saturday, October 20, 2007

An anagram

It's Tom Petty's birthday today. His full name,


is an anagram of


Friday, October 19, 2007

A homophone

"Eyebrow raiser" sounds just like "Eyebrow razor".

Now THIS is real-life comedy

My friend recently went on a first date with a woman he met on the internet. They were talking on the phone shortly before this meeting, and even though they had already seen some pictures of one another on the web, the young lady provided my friend with a brief description of her appearance to make it easier for them to recognize each other. Specifically, she told my friend, "I'll be wearing a camouflage jacket."

My friend replied, "Oh, so you'll be easy to spot."

Fashion mistakes

Sometimes, one person or one unfortunate incident can ruin a fashion choice for everyone. For instance, November 22nd, 1963, was probably the nail in the coffin for the pink pillbox hat.

Also, no matter how much of a film comedy buff you are, you aren't going to wear a Hitler mustache and refer to it as an "Oliver Hardy mustache". "What? Why are you looking at me like that? I just enjoy Laurel and Hardy! What's wrong with that?"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Last of a breed

Joey Bishop died yesterday. He was the last surviving member of the Rat Pack.

Some other famous "lasts":

Ray Bolger, who played the Scarecrow, was the last surviving main cast member from the Wizard of Oz. He died in 1987. (However, Meinhardt Raabe, who played the Munchkin coroner, is still alive.)

Tommy Ramone is the only surviving member of the Ramones' orginal lineup.

It remains to be seen who will be the last surviving member of the Beatles or the Who -- both groups have two members remaining.

Twelve men have walked on the moon, three of whom are now deceased. Since all of them were born between 1923 and 1935, I suppose that means that sometime perhaps about a decade and a half from now, there will be a last surviving moon-walker.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sure as shit

I've decided that instead of saying "sure as hell", which is a common expression that flows out my mouth quite easily, I'd like to start saying "sure as shit".

The alliterative factor is a big part of the reason. Furthermore, "sure as hell" doesn't necessarily make a whole lot of sense if you take it literally. Many halfway religious people who have not-super-well-defined spiritual leanings might believe in some kind of afterlife, but a lot of them wouldn't think of hell as any kind of certainty. I think people nowadays are probably a lot more skeptical about the existence of hell than they are about some vague kind of afterlife or some kind of sentient superhuman force that can guide our lives.

Obviously, though, an expression like "sure as hell" shouldn't be taken so literally. When people say it, they aren't actually saying that the existence of hell is something they're more sure of than anything. It's a bit like when people say "What the fuck?" They don't actually mean "What in the name of sexual intercourse?" It's more like saying, "What in the name of [strong word for emphasis]?"

Language in general is fascinating, and so is swearing in particular. I could talk about it all day (for instance, it's interesting that "shit" is a stronger word than "hell", even though the former is merely a perhaps unpleasant daily reality, whereas the latter is punishment until the end of time). But at any rate, yeah, "sure as shit" rules.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Clocks are running late

Let's say I tell you that the clock in my kitchen is five minutes late. When my clock says that it's 8:00, what time is it really?

This is a sincere question. Check the comments for elaboration.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

On the 14th of October

Those words are spoken at the beginning of the 1985 song "L'Affaire Dumoutier" by Montreal band The Box. If you're not Canadian and/or don't remember the 80s, then you're probably unfamiliar with the song -- and even if you are a Canadian who remembers the 80s, there's no guarantee that you remember the song. I had a vague recollection of it, and thought it had a trippy video, and hence was pleased to have recently tracked that song down.

Anyway, that song got me wondering: what are the most famous examples of songs that mention a specific date? I'm thinking specifically of "name of month" + "number" -- there are plenty of songs containing the words "Halloween" or "Christmas" or "New Year's Day", but fewer that say "October 31st" or "December 25th" or "January 1st".

The three best-known examples that occur to me are:

"Pride (In the Name of Love)" by U2 (Early morning / April 4 / Shot rings out in the Memphis sky)

"September" by Earth Wind And Fire (Do you remember / The 21st night of September)

"Saturday In The Park" by Chicago (Saturday in the park / Think it was the 4th of July)