“Order in the Chaosion!” cried
Dread Cthulhu, but did he mean it?
■ Zombie facts comprise not just facts about zombies, but also facts on any subject that have been thoroughly disproved, but keep resurfacing.
■ Finish the lyrics:
Join us at his side,
Standing there with pride,
Victory is here,
Raise a mighty cheer
At the sight of ___________.
■ Marmageddon! Shortage of Marmite in New Zealand. Also, Australians losing taste for Vegemite. Kraft Foods concerned. New, improved Vegemite: it’s casper, milkier, and baltastier. What a yummy use for yeast extracts and beer-brewing by-products. A staple of down-under school lunchboxes. Wash it down with Bovril.
■ Sometimes the hook in a song is remembered, but the line right before it isn’t. What Velco line comes immediately after “Hey, hey, set me free” in a once-popular song covered by, among many others, the late Robert Palmer? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efOLI6PQ66g
■ Speaking of forgotten lyrics, who remembers the alternate ending, "I had so much fun that I'm goin’ back again/ I wonder what’ll happen with ... Love Potion Number Ten?"
■ “He prayed there was no afterlife, and then, sensing a contradiction, merely hoped there was no afterlife.” --Douglas Adams
■ Legal briefs are supposed to maintain a professional tone, and should not feature any of the following words: absurd, amazing, astounding, disingenuous, inane, laughable, ludicrous, mind-boggling, misguided, nonsensical, ridiculous, risible, tortured, twisted, unbelievable. Ask your lawyer to omit those words from any briefs filed on your behalf. Save them for your book and movie reviews.
■ Speaking of insulting language, it is against the rules of the House of Commons to call another member a “fool” or a “liar,” so members are adept at circumlocution. Example: “The laughter of the honorable member is like the crackling of thorns under a pot.” ("Like the crackling of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of fools. This too is meaningless." Ecclesiastes 7, 6.) Example 2: “I cannot imagine the honorable member expressing the opposite of the truth with greater precision.” Just as revenge is a dish best eaten cold, insult is better done with a stiletto than a chainsaw.
■ Richard Brinsley Sheridan was a playwright (“School for Scandal”) and a member of Parliament. One of his zingers from the floor of the house: “The right honorable gentleman is indebted to his memory for his jests, and to his imagination for his facts.” That bon mot makes one think of another, attributed to Samuel Johnson, but not found among his works: "Your manuscript is both good and original. But the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good."
■ The British Parliament is a good source of zingers. When a speaker attacking Disraeli made disparaging mention of his Jewish ancestry, he replied along the lines of “Yes, I am a Jew, and when my ancestors were priests in the temple of Solomon, worshiping the one God, the ancestors of the right honorable gentleman were brutal savages in the forest, painting themselves blue.” Everybody loves a good comeback.
■ There are gazillions of ways to say that someone isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer or the brightest bulb in the marquee. A big smattering: “all checked in, no luggage”; “tires low”; “phone doesn’t reach his desk”; “didn’t like the piano, so he took stupid lessons”; “all cackle, no eggs”; “wipers don’t touch the glass”; “favorite show is screensaver”; “his dogs don’t bark when the doorbell rings”; “brain runs on sailboat fuel”; “half a sandwich short of half a sandwich”; “not too thinky”; “one sneaker short of a nature hike”; “missed a turn on the way to the brain club”; “dog teaches him tricks”; “differently clued”; “toaster not plugged in”; “forgot to pay his brain bill”; “wheel’s turning but the hamster’s dead”; “too tall for his circulatory system.” But wait, this isn’t over.
■ “Carpet not wall-to-wall”; “brain still in beta”; “fifth to admit he’s a slow thinker”; “cart doesn’t hold all the groceries”; “gets lost in thought -- every time”; “should go with his strong point: opposable thumbs”; “if he had a second brain, they’d both be lonely”; “left brain not so smart as his right brain, and vice versa, ad infinitum”; “Darwin won’t take his calls”; “can’t count his armpits and get the same answer twice”; “Wizard forgot to offer him a brain”; “beat out the other sperm by doping”; “thinks he’s got aces up his sleeve because they’re not in his deck”; “on a good day, can grunt,” “the sum of his brains and his looks is his looks,” “lotta coat hangers, no coats”; “friend took him aside and left him there”; “hungry zombies pass him by”; “not overly blessed with whatever separates us from talking monkeys.” Overall winner: “a person of rare intelligence.”
■ The foregoing examples are not from parliamentary debate and should be lightly dropped into legal briefs.