Saturday, November 13, 2010

You think English is easy?

Most of what appears here comes from material encountered when I was growing up. Most, but not all. I recently received the material below in an email, obviously doing the rounds.

I have included it because it neatly captures some of the foibles of our language which underlay much of the humour I did (and still do) enjoy.

  1. The bandage was wound around the wound.
  2. The farm was used to produce produce.
  3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
  4. We must polish the Polish furniture.
  5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert
  7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
  8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
  9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  10. I did not object to the object.
  11. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
  12. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
  13. They were too close to the door to close it.
  14. The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  18. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
  19. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  20. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France.

Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all.

That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

Oh, and why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick'?

Sunday, September 19, 2010


by John Lennon, 1965

I find it recornered in my nosebook that it was a dokey and winnie dave towart the end of Marge in the ear of our Loaf 1892 in Much Bladder, a city off the North Wold. Shamrock Womlbs had receeded a telephart whilst we sat at our lunch eating. He made no remark but the matter ran down his head, for he stud in front of the fire with a thoughtfowl face, smirking his pile, and casting an occasional gland at the massage. Quite sydney without warping he turd upod me with a miscarriage twinkle in his isle.

'Ellifitzgerrald my dear Whopper,' he grimmond then sharply 'Guess whom has broken out of jail Whopper?' My mind immediately recoughed all the caramels that had recently escaped or escaped from Wormy Scabs.

'Eric Morley?' I ventured. He shook his bed. 'Oxo Whitney?' I queered, he knotted in the infirmary. 'Rygo Hargraves?' I winston agreably.

'No, my dear Whopper, it's OXO WHITNEY' he bellowed as if I was in another room, and I wasn't.

'How d'you know Womlbs? ' I whispered excretely.

'Harrybellafonte, my dear Whopper.' At that precise morman a tall rather angularce tall thin man knocked on the door. 'By all accounts that must be he, Whopper.' I marvelled at his acute osbert lancaster.

'How on urge do you know Womlbs' f asped, revealing my bad armchair.

'Eliphantitus my deaf Whopper' he baggage knocking out his pip on his large leather leg. In warped the favourite Oxo Whitney none the worse for worms.

'I'm an escaped primrose Mr Womlbs' he grate darting franetically about the room.

'Calm down Mr Whitney! ' I interpolled 'or you'll have a nervous breadvan.'

'You must be Doctored Whopper' he pharted. My friend was starving at Whitney with a strange hook on his eager face, that tightening of the lips, that quiver of the nostriches and constapation of the heavy tufted brows which I knew so well.

'Gorra ciggie Oxo' said Womlbs quickly. I looked at my colledge, hoping for some clue as to the reason for this sodden outboard, he gave me no sign except a slight movement of his good leg as he kicked Oxo Whitney to the floor. 'Gorra ciggie Oxo' he reapeted almouth hysterically.

'What on urn are you doing my dear Womlbs' I imply; 'nay I besiege you, stop lest you do this poor wretch an injury! '

'Shut yer face yer blubbering owld get' screamed Womlbs like a man fermented, and laid into Mr Whitney something powerful wat. This wasn't not the Shamrock Womlbs I used to nose, I thought puzzled and hearn at this suddy change in my
old friend.

Mary Atkins pruned herselves in the mirage, running her hand wantanly through her large blond hair. Her tight dress was cut low revealingly three or four blackheads, carefully scrubbed on her chess. She addled the final touches to her makeup and fixed her teeth firmly in her head. 'He's going to want me tonight' she thought and pictured his hamsome black curly face and jaundice. She looked at her clocks impatiently and went to the window, then leapt into her favorite armchurch, picking up the paper she glassed at the headlines. 'MORE NEGOES IN THE CONGO' it read, and there was, but it was the Stop Press which corked her eye. 'JACK THE NIPPLE STRIKE AGAIN.' She went cold all over, it was Sydnees and he'd left the door open.

'Hello lover' he said slapping her on the butter.

'Oh you did give me a start Sydnees' she shrieked laughing arf arfily.

'I always do my love' he replied jumping on all fours. She joined him and they galloffed quickly downstairs into a harrased cab. 'Follow that calf' yelped Sydnees pointing a rude fingure.

'White hole mate! ' said the scabbie.

'Why are we bellowing that card Sydnees? ' inquired Mary fashionably.

'He might know where the party' explained Sydnees.

'Oh I see' said Mary looking up at him as if to say.

The journey parssed pleasantly enough with Sydnees and Mary pointing out places of interest to the scab driver; such as Buckinghell Parcel, the Horses of Parliamint, the Chasing of the Guards. One place of particularge interest was the Statue of Eric in Picanniny Surplass.

'They say that if you stand there long enough you'll meet a friend' said Sydnees knowingly, 'that's if your not run over.'

'God Save the Queens' shouted the scabbie as they passed the Parcel for maybe the fourth time.

'Jack the Nipple' said Womlbs puffing deeply on his wife, 'is not only a vicious murderer but a sex meany of the lowest orgy.' Then my steamed collic relit his pig and walkered to the windy of his famous flat in Bugger St in London where it all happened. I pondled on his statemouth for a mormon then turding sharply I said. 'But how do you know Womlbs? '

'Alibabba my dead Whopper, I have seen the film' I knew him toby right for I had only read the comic.

That evenig we had an unexpeckled visitor, Inspectre Basil, I knew him by his tell-tale unicorn.

'Ah Inspectre Basil mon cher amie' said Womlbs spotting him at once. 'What brings you to our humble rich establishment?'

'I come on behave of thousands' the Inspectre said sitting quietly on his operation.

'I feel l know why you are here Basil' said Womlbs eyeing he leg. 'It's about Jock the Cripple is it not?' The Jnspectre smiled smiling.

'How did you guess? ' I inquired all puzzle.

'Alecguiness my deep Whopper, the mud on the Inspectre's left, and also the buttock on his waistbox is misting.'

The Inspectre looked astoundagast and fidgeted nervously from one fat to the other. 'You neville sieze to amass me Mr Womlbs.'

'A drink genitalmen' I ventured, 'before we get down to the businose in hand in hand?' They both knotted in egremont and I went to the cocky cabinet. 'What would you prepare Basil, Bordom '83 or? '

'I'd rather have rather have rather' said the Inspectre who was a gourmless. After a drink and a few sam leeches Womlbs got up and paced the floor up and down up and down pacing.

'Why are you pacing the floor up and down up and down pacing dear Womlbs' I inquiet.

'I'm thinking alowed my deaf Whopper.' I looked over at the Inspectre and knew that he couldn't hear him either.

'Guess who's out of jail Mr Womlbs' the Inspectre said subbenly. Womlbs looked at me knowingly.

'Eric Morley?' I asked, they shook their heaths. 'Oxo Whitney?' I quart, again they shoot their heaps. 'Rygo Hargraves?' I wimpied.

'No my dear Whopper, OXO WHITNEY!' shouted Womlbs leaping to his foot. I loked at him admiring this great man all the morphia.

Meanwire in a ghasly lit street in Chelthea, a darkly clocked man with a fearful weapon, creeped about serging for revenge on the women of the streets for giving him the dreadfoot V.D. (Valentine Dyall). 'I'll kill them all womb by womb' he muffled between scenes. He was like a black shadow or negro on that dumb foggy night as he furtively looked for his neck victim. His minds wandered back to his childhook, remembering a vague thing or two like his mother and farmer and how they had beaten him for eating his sister. 'I'm demented' he said checking his dictionary, 'I should bean at home on a knife like these.' He turned into a dim darky and spotted a light.

Mary Atkins pruned herselves in the mirrage running her hand wantanly through her large blond hair. Her tight dress was cut low revealingly three or four more blackheads carefully scrubbed on her chess. Business had been bad lately and what with the cost of limping. She hurriedly tucked in her gooseberries and opened the door. 'No wonder business is bad' she remarked as she caught size of her hump in the hall mirror. 'My warts are showing.' With a carefree yodel she slept into the street and caught a cab to her happy humping grounds. 'That Sydnees's nothing but a pimple living on me thus' she thought 'lazing about day in day off, and here's me plowing my train up and down like Soft Arthur and you know how soft Arthur.' She got off as uterus at Nats Cafe and took up her position.

'They'll never even see me in this fog' she muttered switching on her lamps. Just then a blasted Policemat walked by. 'Blasted Policemat' she shouted, but luckily he was deaf. 'Blasted deaf Policemat' she shouted. 'Why don't yer gerra job!'

Little did she gnome that the infamous Jack the Nipple was only a few streets away. 'I hope that blasted Jack the Nipple isn't only a few streets away,' she said, 'he's not right in the heads.'

'How much lady' a voice shocked her from the doorways of Nats. Lucky for him there was a sale on so. they soon retched an agreament. A very high class genderman she thought as they walked quickly together down the now famous Carringto Average.

'I tell yer she whore a good woman Mr Womlbs sir' said Sydnees Aspinall.

'I quite believe you Mr Asterpoll, after all you knew her better than me and dear old buddy friend Whopper, but we are not here to discuss her merits good or otherwives, we are here, Mr Asronaute, to discover as much information as we can about the unfortunate and untidy death of Mary Atkins.' Womlbs looked the man in the face effortlessly.

'The name's Aspinall guvnor' said the wretched man.

'I'm deleware of your name Mr Astracan.' Womlbs said looking as if he was going to smash him.

'Well as long as you know,' said Aspinall wishing he'd gone to Safely Safely Sunday Trip. Womlbs took down the entrails from Aspinall as quickly as he could, I could see that they weren't on the same waveleg.

'The thing that puddles me Womlbs,' I said when we were alone, 'is what happened to Oxo Whitney? ' Womlbs looged at me intently, I could see that great mind was thinking as his tufted eyepencil knit toboggen, his strong jew jutted out, his nosepack flared, and the limes on his furheads wrinkled.

'That's a question Whopper.' he said and I marveled at his grammer. Next day Womlbs was up at the crack of dorchester, he didn't evening look at the moaning papers. As yewtree I fixed his breakfat of bogard, a gottle of geer, a slice of jewish bread, three eggs with little liars on, two rashes of bacon, a bowel of Rice Krustchovs, a fresh grapeful, mushrudes, some freed tomorrows, a basket of fruits, and a cup of teens.

'Breakfeet are ready' I showbody 'It's on the table.' But to my supplies he'd already gone. 'Blast the wicker basket yer grannie sleeps in.' I thought 'Only kidding Shamrock' I said remembering his habit of hiding in the cupboard.

That day was an anxious one for me as I waited for news of my dear friend, I became fretful and couldn't finish my Kennomeat, it wasn't like Shamrock to leave me here all by my own, lonely; without him I was at large. I rang up a few close itamate friends but they didn't know either, even Inspectre Basil didn't know, and if anybody should know, Inspectre Basil should 'cause he's a Police. I was a week lately when I saw him again and I was shocked by his apeerless, he was a dishovelled rock.

'My God Womlbs' I cried 'My God, what on earth have you been?'

'All in good time Whopper' he trousered. 'Wait till I get my breast back.'

I poked the fire and warmed his kippers, when he had mini-coopered he told me a story which to this day I can't remember.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fables For Our Times # 7

The Moth and The Star

James Thurber, from Fables for Our Time. New York, 1940

Fables - The MothAndStarA YOUNG and impressionable moth once set his heart on a certain star. He told his mother about this and she counseled him to set his heart on a bridge lamp instead. "Stars aren’t the thing to hang around," she said; "lamps are the thing to hang around." "You get somewhere that way," said the moth's father. "You don’t get anywhere chasing stars." But the moth would not heed the words of either parent. Every evening at dusk when the star came out he would start flying toward it and every morning at dawn he would crawl back home worn out with his vain endeavor. One day his father said to him, "You haven’t burned a wing in months, boy, and it looks to me as if you were never going to. All your brothers have been badly burned flying around street lamps and all your sisters have been terribly singed flying around house lamps. Come on, now, get out of here and get yourself scorched! A big strapping moth like you without a mark on him!"

The moth left his father's house, but he would not fly around Street lamps and he would not fly around house lamps. He went right on trying to reach the star, which was four and one-third light years, or twenty-five trillion miles, away. The moth thought it was just caught in the top branches of an elm. He never did reach the star, but he went right on trying, night after night, and when he was a very, very old moth he began to think that he really had reached the star and he went around saying so. This gave him a deep and lasting pleasure, and he lived to a great old age. His parents and his brothers and his sisters had all been burned to death when they were quite young.

Moral: Who flies afar from the sphere of our sorrow is here today and here tomorrow.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Car We Had to Push

James Thurber, from A Thurber Carnival

The Car We Had To Push001-webMANY autobiographers, among them Lincoln Steffens and Gertrude Atherton, described earthquakes their families have been in. I am unable to do this because my family was never in an earthquake, but we went through a number of things in Columbus that were a great deal like earthquakes. I remember in particular some of the repercussions of an old Reo we had that wouldn’t go unless you pushed it for quite a way and suddenly let your clutch out. Once, we had been able to start the engine easily by cranking it, but we had had the car for so many years that finally it wouldn’t go unless you pushed it and let your clutch out. Of course, it took more than one person to do this; it took sometimes as many as five or six, depending on the grade of the roadway and conditions underfoot. The car was unusual in that the clutch and brake were on the same pedal making it quite easy to stall the engine after it got started, so that the car would have to be pushed again.

My father used to get sick at his stomach pushing the car, and very often was unable to go to work. He had never liked the machine, even when it was good, sharing my ignorance and suspicion: of all automobiles of twenty years ago and longer. The boys I went to school with used to be able to identify every car as it passed by: Thomas Flyer, Firestone-Columbus, Stevens Duryea, Rambler, Winton, White Steamer, etc. I never could. The only car I was really interested in was one that the Get- Ready Man, as we called him, rode around town in: a big Red Devil with a door in the back. The Get-Ready Man was a lank unkempt elderly gentleman with wild eyes and a deep voice who used to go about shouting at people through a megaphone to prepare for the end of the world. ‘GET READY! GET READY!” he would bellow. “THE WORLLLD IS COMING TO AN END!” His startling exhortations would come up, like summer thunder, at the most unexpected times and in the most surprising places. I remember once during Mantell’s production of “King Lear” at the Colonial Theatre, that the Get-Ready Man added his bawlings to the squealing of Edgar and the ranting of the King and the mouthing of the Fool, rising from somewhere in the balcony to join in. The theatre was in absolute darkness and there were rumblings of thunder and flashes of lightning offstage. Neither father nor I, who were there; ever completely got over the scene, which went something like this:

Edgar: Tom’s a-cold. - O, do ae, do de, do de! - Bless thee from whirlwinds, star-blasting, and taking . . . the foul fiend vexes!
(Thunder off)< br />Lear: What! Have his daughters brought him to this pass?
Get-Ready Man: Get ready! Get ready!
The Car We Had To Push002-webEdgar: Pillicock sat on Pillicock-hill:
Halloo! halloo, loo, loo! (Lightning flashes)
Get-Ready Man: The Worllld is coming to an End!
Fool: This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen!
Edgar: Take heed o’ the foul fiend: obey thy parents
Get-Ready Man: Get Rea-dy!
Edgar: Tom’s a-cold!
Get-Ready Man: The Worrld is coming to an end!

They found him finally, and ejected him, still shouting. The Theatre, in our time, has known few such moments.

But to get back to the automobile. One of my happiest memories of it was when, in its eighth year, my brother Roy got together a great many articles from the kitchen, placed them in a square of canvas, and swung this under the car with a string attached to it so that, at a twitch, the canvas would give way and the steel and tin things would clatter to the street. This was a little scheme of Roy’s to frighten father who had always expected the car might explode. It worked perfectly. That was twenty-five years ago, but it is one of the few things in my life I would like to live over again if I could. I don’t suppose that I can, now. Roy twitched the string in the middle of a lovely afternoon, on Bryden Road near Eighteenth Street. Father had closed his eyes and, with his hat off, was enjoying a cool breeze. The clatter on the asphalt was tremendously effective: knives, forks, can-openers, pie pans, pot lids, biscuit-cutters, ladles, egg- beaters fell, beautifully together, in a lingering, clamant crash. “Stop the car!” shouted father. “I can’t,” Roy said. “The engine fell out.” “God Almighty!” said father, who knew what that meant, or knew what it sounded as if it might mean.

It ended unhappily, of course, because we finally had to drive back and pick up the stuff and even father knew the difference between the works of an automobile and the equipment of a pantry. My mother wouldn’t have known, however, nor her mother. Mother, for instance, thought - or, rather, knew - that it was dangerous to drive an automobile without gasoline: it fried the salves, or something. “Now don’t you dare drive all over town without gasoline!” she would say to us when we started off. Gasoline, oil, and water were much the same to her, a fact that made her life both confusing and perilous. Her greatest dread, however, was the Victrola - we had a very early one, back in the “Come Josephine in My Flying Machine” days. She had an idea that the Victrola might blow up. It alarmed her, rather than reassured her, to explain that the phonograph was run neither by gasoline nor by electricity. She could only suppose that it was propelled by some newfangled and untested apparatus which was likely to let go at any minute, making us all the victims and martyrs of the wild-eyed Edison’s dangerous experiments.

The Car We Had To Push003-webThe telephone she was comparatively at peace with, except, of course, during storms, when for some reason or other she always took the receiver off the hook and let it hang. She came naturally by her confused and groundless, fears, for her own mother lived the latter years of her life in the horrible suspicion that electricity was dripping invisibly all over the house. It leaked, she contended, out of empty sockets if the wall switch had been left on. She would go around screwing in bulbs, and if they lighted up she would hastily and fearfully turn off the wall switch and go back to her Pearson’s or Everybody’s, happy in the satisfaction that she had stopped not only a costly but a dangerous leakage. Nothing could ever clear this up for her.

Our poor old Reo came to a horrible end, finally. We had parked it too far from the curb on a street with a car line: It was late at night and the street was dark. The first streetcar that came along couldn’t get by. It picked up the tired old automobile as a terrier might seize a rabbit and drubbed it unmercifully, losing its hold now and then but catching a new grip a second later. Tires booped and whooshed, the fenders queeled and graked, the steering-wheel rose up like a spectre and disappeared in the direction of Franklin Avenue with a melancholy whistling sound, bolts and gadgets flew like sparks from a Catherine wheel. It was a splendid spectacle but, of course, saddening to everybody (except the motorman of the streetcar, who was sore). I think some of us broke down and wept. It must have been the weeping that caused grandfather to .take on so terribly. Time was all mixed up in his mind; automobiles and the like he never remembered having seen. He apparently gathered, from the talk and excitement and weeping, that somebody had died. Nor did he let go of this delusion. He insisted, in fact, after almost a week in which we strove mightily to divert him, but it was a sin and a shame and a disgrace on the family to put the funeral off any longer. “Nobody is dead! The automobile is smashed!” shouted my father, trying for the thirtieth time to explain the situation to the old man. “A1as he drunk?” demanded grandfather, sternly. “Was who drunk?” asked father. “Zenas,” said grandfather. He had a name for the corpse now: it was his brother Zenas, who, as it happened, was dead, but not from driving an automobile while intoxicated. Zenas had died in 1866. A sensitive, rather poetical boy of twenty-one when the Civil War broke out, Zenas had gone to South America - just,” as he wrote back, “until it blows over.” Returning after the war had blown over, he caught the same disease that was killing off the chestnut trees in those years, and passed away. It was the only case in history where a tree doctor had to be called in to spray a person, and our family had felt it very keenly; nobody else in the United States caught the blight. Some of us have looked upon Zenas’ fate as a kind of poetic justice.

The Car We Had To Push004-webNow that grandfather knew, so to speak, who was dead, it became increasingly awkward to go on living in the same house with him as if nothing had happened. He would go into towering rages in which he threatened to write to the Board of Health unless the funeral were held at once. We realized that something had to be done. Eventually, we persuaded a friend of father’s, named George Martin, to dress up in the manner and costume of the eighteen-sixties and pretend to be Uncle Zenas, in order to set grandfather’s mind at rest. The impostor looked fine and impressive in sideburns and a high beaver hat, and not unlike the daguerreotypes of Zenas in our album. I shall never forget the night, just after dinner, when this Zenas walked into the living- room. Grandfather was stomping lip and down, tall, hawk-nosed, round-oathed. The newcomer held out both his hands. “Clem!” he cried to grandfather. Grandfather turned slowly, baked at the intruder, and snorted. “Who air you?” he demanded in his deep, resonant voice. “I’m Zenas!” cried Martin. “Your brother Zenas, fit as a fiddle and sound as a dollar!” “Zenas, my foot!” said grandfather. “Zenas died of the chestnut blight in "66!"

Grandfather was given to these sudden, unexpected, and extremely lucid moments; they were generally more embarrassing than his other moments. He comprehended before he went to bed that night that the old automobile had been destroyed and that its destruction had caused all the turmoil in the house. “It flew all to pieces, Pa,” my mother told him, in graphically describing the accident. “I knew ‘twould,” growled grandfather. “I allus told ye to git a Pope-Toledo.”

Saturday, August 7, 2010


by John Lennon, 1965

Once upon upon in a dizney far away - say three hundred year agoal if you like - there lived a sneaky forest some several dwarts or cretins; all named - Sleezy, Grumpty, Sneezy, Dog, Smirkey, Alice? Derick - and Wimpey. Anyway they all dug about in a diamond mind, which was rich beyond compere.

Every day when they came hulme from wirk, they would sing a song - just like ordinary wirkers - the song went something like - 'Yo ho! Yo ho! it's off to wirk we go! ' - which is silly really considerable they were comeing hulme. (Perhaps ther was slight housework to be do.)

One day howitzer they (Dwarts) arrived home, at aprodestant, six o'cloth, and who? - who do they find? - but only Snore Wife, asleep in Grumpty's bed. He didn't seem to mine. 'Sambody's been feeding my porrage! ' screams Wimpey, who was ' wearing a light blue pullover. Meanwife in a grand Carstle, not so mile away, a womand is looging in her daily mirror, shouting, 'Mirror mirror on the wall, whom is de fairy in the land.' which doesn't even rhyme. 'Cassandle!' answers the mirror. 'Chrish O'Malley' studders the womand who appears to be a Queen or a witch or an acorn.

'She's talking to that mirror again farther?' says Misst Cradock, 'I've just seen her talking to that mirror again.' Father Cradock turns round slowly from the book he is eating and explains that it is just a face she is going through and they're all the same at that age. 'Well I don't like it one tit,' continhughs Misst Cradock. Father Cradock turns round slowly from the book he is eating, explaining that she doesn't have to like it, and promptly sets fire to his elephant. 'Sick to death of this elephant I am,' he growls, 'sick to death of it eating like an elephant all over the place.'

Suddenly bark at the Several Dwarts home, Snore Wife has became a firm favourite, especially with her helping arm, brushing away the little droppings. 'Good old Snore Wife! ' thee all sage, 'Good old Snore Wife is our fave rave.' 'And I like you tooth! ' rejoices Snore Wife, 'I like you all my little dwarts.'
Without warping they hear a soddy voice continuallykhan shoubing and screeging about apples for sale. 'New apples for old! ' says the above hearing voice. 'Try these nice apples for chrissake!' Grumpy turnips quick and answers shooting -
'Why?' and they all look at him.

A few daisy lately the same voice comes hooting aboon the apples for sale with a rarther more firm aproach saying 'These apples are definitely for sale.' Snore Wife, who by this time is curiously aroused, stick her heads through the window.

Anyway she bought one - which didn't help the trade gap at all.

Little diggerydoo that it was parsened with deathly arsenickers. The woman (who was the wickered Queen in disgust) cackled away to her carstle in the hills larfing fit to bust.

Anyway the handsome Prince who was really Misst Cradock, found out and promptly ate the Wicked Queen and smashed up the mirror. After he had done this he journeyed to the house of the Several Dwarts and began to live with them. He refused to marry Snore Wife on account of his health, what with her being poissoned and that, but they came to an agreement much to the disgust of Sleepy - Grumpty - Sneeky - Dog - Smirkey - Alice? - Derick and Wimpy. The Dwarts clubbed together and didn't buy a new mirror, but always sang a happy song. They all livered happily ever aretor until they died - which somebody of them did naturally enough.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

James Thurber Cartoon # 7

"It's Parkins, Sir; We're 'Aving a Bit of a Time Below Stairs"

Sunday, July 25, 2010


From "A SPANIARD IN THE WORKS" - John Lennon, 1965

I have a little budgie
He is my very pal
I take him walks in Britain
I hope I always shall.

I call my budgie Jeffrey
My grandads name's the same
I call him after grandad
Who had a feathered brain.

Some people don't like budgies
The little yellow brats
They eat them up for breakfast
Or give them to their cats.

My uncle ate a budgie
It was so fat and fair.
I cried and called him Ronnie
He didn't seem to care

Although his name was Arthur
It didn't mean a thing.
He went into a petshop
And ate up everything.

The doctors looked inside him,
To see what they could do,
But he had been too greedy
He died just like a zoo.

My Jeffrey chirps and twitters
When I walk into the room,
I make him scrambled egg on toast
And feed him with a spoon.

He sings like other budgies
But only when in trim
But most of all on Sunday
That's when I plug him in.

He flies about the room sometimes
And sits upon my bed
And if he's really happy
He does it on my head.

He's on a diet now you know
- From eating far too much
They say if he gets fatter
He'll have to wear a crutch.

It would be funny wouldn't it
A budgie on a stick
Imagine all the people
Laughing till they're sick.

So that's my budgie Jeffrey
Fat and yellow too
I love him more than daddie
And I'm only thirty two.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fables For Our Times # 6

The Glass in the Field

James Thurber, from Fables for Our Time. New York, 1940

A SHORT time ago some builders working on a studio in Connecticut, left a huge square of plate glass standing upright in a field one day. A goldfinch flying swiftly across the field struck the glass and was knocked cold. When he came to he hastened to his club, where an attendant bandaged his head and gave him a stiff drink. "What the hell happened?" asked a seagull. "I was flying across a meadow when all of a sudden the air crystallized on me," said the goldfinch. The sea gull and a hawk and an eagle all laughed heartily. A swallow listened gravely. "For fifteen years, fledgling and bird, I've flown this country," said the eagle, "and I assure you there is no such thing as air crystallizing. Water, yes; air, no." "You were probably struck by a hailstone," the hawk told the goldfinch. "Or he may have had a stroke," said the sea gull. "What do you think, swallow?" "Why, I - I think maybe the air crystallized on him," said the swallow. The large birds laughed so loudly that the goldfinch became annoyed and bet them each a dozen worms that they couldn't follow the course he had flown across the field without encountering the hardened atmosphere. They all took his bet; the swallow went along to watch. The sea gull, the eagle, and the hawk decided to fly together over the route the goldfinch indicated. "You come, too," they said to the swallow. "I - I well, no," said the swallow. "I don’t think I will." So the three large birds took off together and they hit the glass together and they were all knocked cold.

Moral: He who hesitates is sometimes saved.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Charles Addams # 16

We could never have done it without him.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fables For Our Times # 5

The Crow and the Oriole

James Thurber, from Fables for Our Time. New York, 1940

ONCE UPON a time a crow fell in love with a Baltimore oriole. He. had seen her flying past his nest every spring on her way North and every, autumn on her way, South, and he had decided that she was a tasty dish. He had observed that she came North every year with a different gentleman, but he paid no attention to the fact that all the gentlemen were Baltimore orioles. “Anybody can have that mouse,” he said to himself. So he went to his wife and told her that he was in love with a Baltimore oriole who was as cute as a cuff link. He said he wanted a divorce, so his wife gave him one simply by opening the door and handing him his hat. “Don’t come crying to me when she throws you down,” she said. “That fly-by-season hasn’t got a brain in her head. She can’t cook or sew. Her upper register sounds like a streetcar taking a curve. You can find out in any dictionary that the crow is the smartest and most capable of birds - or was till you became one.” “Tush!” said the male crow. “Pish! You are simply. a jealous woman.” He tossed her a few dollars. “Here,” he said, “go buy yourself some finery. You look like the bottom of an old teakettle.” And off he went to look for the oriole.

This was in the springtime and he met her coming North with an oriole he had never seen before. The crow stopped the female oriole and pleaded his cause—or should we say cawed his pleas? At any rate, he courted her in a harsh, grating voice, which made her laugh merrily. “You sound like an old window shutter,” she said, and she snapped her fingers at him. “I am bigger and stronger than your gentleman friend,” said the crow. “I have a vocabulary larger than his. All the orioles in the country couldn’t even lift the corn I own. I am a fine sentinel and my voice can be heard for miles in case of danger.” “I don’t see how that could interest anybody but another crow,” said the female oriole, and she laughed at him and flew on toward the North. The male oriole tossed the crow some coins. “Here,” he said, “go buy yourself a blazer or something. You look like the bottom of an old coffeepot.”

The crow flew back sadly to his nest, but his wife was not there. He found a note pinned to the front door. “I have gone away with Bert,” it read. “You will find some arsenic in the medicine chest.”

Moral: Even the llama should stick to mamma.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Charles Addams # 14

"I suppose I owe you a word of explanation. Less than ten seconds ago I was dropping a coin in a wishing well up in North Wilbraham Massachusetts."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fables For Our Times # 4

The Courtship of Arthur and Al

James Thurber, from Fables for Our Time. New York, 1940

Once upon a time there was a young beaver named Al and an older beaver named Arthur. They were both in love with a pretty little female. She looked with disfavor upon the young beaver's suit because he was a harum-scarum and a ne'er-do-well. He had never done a single gnaw of work in his life, for he preferred to eat and sleep and to swim lazily in the streams and to play Now-I'll-Chase-You with the girls. The older beaver had never done anything but work from the time he got his first teeth. He had never played anything with anybody. When the young beaver asked the female to marry him, she said she wouldn't think of it unless he amounted to something. She reminded him that Arthur had built thirty-two dams and was working on three others, whereas he, Al, had never even made a bread-board or a pin tray in his life. Al was very sorry, but he said he would never go to work just because a woman wanted him to. Thereupon she offered to be sister to him, but he pointed out that he already had seventeen sisters. So he went back to eating and sleeping and swimming in the streams and playing Spider-in-the-Parlor with the girls. The female married Arthur one day at the lunch hour — he could never get away from work for more than one hour at a time. They had seven children and Arthur worked so hard supporting them he wore his teeth down to the gum line. His health broke in two before long and he died without ever having had a vacation in his life. The young beaver continued to eat and sleep and swim in the streams and play Unbutton-Your-Shoe with the girls. He never Got Anywhere, but he had a long life and a Wonderful Time.

Moral: It is better to have loafed and lost than never to have loafed at all.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The King of the One-Liners

Rufus T. Firefy's irrepressible patter of put-downs:
"You can leave in a taxi. If you can't find a taxi, you can leave in a huff. If that's too soon, you can leave in a minute-and-a-huff!"

Friday, April 16, 2010

What Time Is It?

A classic Goons sketch!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Surrealist Alphabet

Every child learns the alphabet when growing up. I learned two.

The Alphabet (Translation)
A for 'orses (hay for horses)
B for mutton (beef or mutton)
C for 'th highlanders (Seaforth Highlanders)
D for 'ential (deferential)
E for Adam (Eve or Adam)
F for 'vescence (effervescence)
G for police (Chief of police)
H for respect; or

H 'fore beauty
(age for respect)

(age before beauty)
I for Novello; or

Ivor you or me
(Ivor Novello)

(Either you or me)
J for oranges (Jaffa oranges)
K for 'ancis; or

K for undressing
(Kay Francis), or

(K for undressing)
L for leather (Hell for leather)
M for 'sis (emphasis)
N for 'adig (in for a dig, or infradig)
O for the garden wall (over the garden wall)
P for a penny (pee for a penny)
Q for a song; or

Q for billiards
(cue for a song),

(cue for billiards)
R for mo' (half a mo' - ment)
S for you (it's for you)
T for two (tea for two)
U for films; or

U for mism
(UFA films)

V for La France (Vive La France)
W for quits (double you for quits)
X for breakfast (eggs for breakfast)
Y for Gawd's sake (why, for God's sake)
Z for breezes; or

Z for 'is 'hat
(zephyr breezes)

(His head for his hat)

See also: Cockney alphabet, which says:
The Cockney alphabet, also known as the Surrealist alphabet is a humorous recital of the alphabet, parodying the way the alphabet is taught to small children. The humour comes from forming unexpected words and phrases from the names of the various letters of the alphabet. In the 1930s, the comedy double act Clapham and Dwyer recorded the ... version {listed above}.
I grew up associating it with Arthur Askey or Ted Ray, English comedians.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fables For Our Times # 3

The Bear Who Let It Alone

James Thurber, from Fables for Our Time. New York, 1940

IN THE woods of the Far West there once lived a brown bear who could take it or let it alone. He would go into a bar where they sold mead, a fermented drink made of honey, and he would have just two drinks. Then he would put some money on the bar and say, “See what the bears in the back room will have,” and he would go home. But finally he took to drinking by himself most of the day. ‘He would reel home at night, kick over the umbrella stand, knock down the bridge ‘lamps, and ram his elbows ‘through the windows. Then he would collapse on the floor and lie there until he went to sleep. His wife was greatly distressed and his children were very frightened.

At length the bear saw the error of his ways and began to reform. In the end he became a famous: teetotaller and a persistent temperance lecturer. He would tell everybody that came to his house about the awful effects of drink, and ‘he would boast about how strong and well he had become since he gave up touching the stuff. To demonstrate this, he would stand on his head and on his hands and he would turn cartwheels in the house, kicking over the umbrella stand, knocking down the bridge lamps, and ramming his elbows through the windows. Then he would lie down on the floor, tired by his. healthful exercise, and, go to sleep. His wife was greatly distressed and his children were very frightened.

Moral: You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Charles Addams # 12

"For goodness sake, stop that chattering and let your father think."

Sunday, February 14, 2010


by John Lennon, 1965

Jesus El Pifco was a foreigner and he knew it. He had imigrateful from his little white slum in Barcelover a good thirsty year ago having first secured the handy job as coachman in Scotland.
The job was with the Laird of McAnus, a canny old tin whom have a castle in the Highlads. The first thing Jesus EI Pifco noticed in early the days was that the Laird didn't seem to have a coach of any discription or even a coach house you know, much to his dismable. But - and I use the word lightly - the Laird did seem to having some horses, each one sporting a fine pair of legs. Jesus fell in love with them at first sight, as they did with him, which was lucky, because his quarters were in the actually stables along side his noble four lepered friends.
Pretty polly one could see Jesus almost every day, grooming his masters horses, brushing their manebits and hammering their teeth, whistling a quaint Spanish refrain dreaming of his loved wombs back home in their little white fascist bastard huts.
'A well pair of groomed horses I must say,' he would remark to wee Spastic Sporran the flighty chamberlain, whom he'd had his good eye on eversince Hogmanose.
'Nae sa bad' she would answer in her sliced Aberdeen-martin accent. 'Ye spend more time wi' yon horses than ye do wi' me,' with that she would storm back to her duties, carefully tying her chastity negro hardly to her skim.
Being a good catholic, Jesus wiped the spit from his face and turned the other cheese - but she had gone leaving him once small in an agatha of christy.
'One dave she woll go too farther, and I woll leaf her' he said to his fave rave horse. Of course the horse didn't answer, because as you know they cannot speak, least of all to a garlic eating, stinking, little yellow greasy fascist bastard catholic Spaniard. They soon made it up howevans and Jesus and wee Spastic were once morphia unitely in a love that knew no suzie.
The only thing that puzzled Jesus was why his sugarboot got so annoyed when he called her his little Spastic in public. Little wonder howeapon, with her real name being Patrick, you see?
'Ye musna' call me Spastic whilst ma friends are here Jesus ma bonnie wee dwarf' she said irragated.
'But I cannot not say Patrick me little tartan bag' he replied all herb and angie inside. She looked down at him through a mass of naturally curly warts.
'But Spastic means a kind of cripple in English ma sweet wee Jesus, and ai'm no cripple as you well known! '
'That's true enough' said he 'but I didn't not realize being a foreigner and that, and also not knowing your countries culture and so force, and anywait I can spot a cripple anywhere.'
He rambled on as Patrick knelt down lovingly with tears in her eye and slowly bit a piece of his bum. Then lifting her face upwarts, she said with a voice full of emulsion 'Can ye heffer forgive me Jesus, can ye? ' she slobbed. He looked at her strangely as if she were a strangely, then taking her slowly right foot he cried; 'Parreesy el pino a strevaro qui bueno el franco senatro! ' which rugby transplanted means - 'Only if you've got green braces' - and fortunately she had.
They were married in the fallout, with the Lairds blessing of course, he also gave them a 'wee gifty' as he put it, which was a useful addition to their bottom lawyer. It was a special jar of secret ointment made by generators of his forefingers to help get rid of Patricks crabs which she had unluckily caught from the Laird of McAnus himself at his late wifes (Lady McAnus') wake.
They were overjoyced, and grapenut abun and beyond the call
of duty.
'The only little crawlie things we want are babies,' quipped Jesus who was a sport. 'That's right sweety' answered Patrick reaching for him with a knowsley hall.
'Guid luck to you and yours' shouted the Laird from the old wing.
'God bless you sir' said Jesus quickly harnessing his wife with a dexterity that only practice can perfect. 'Come on me beauty' he whispered as he rode his wife at a steady trot towards the East Gate. 'We mustn't miss the first race my dear.'
'Not likely' snorted his newly wed wife breaking into a gullup. 'Not likely' she repeated.
The honeymood was don short by a telephant from Mrs El Pifco (his mother) who was apparently leaving Barcelunder to se her eldest sod febore she died laughing, and besides the air would do her good she added. Patrick looked up from her nosebag and giggled.
'Don't joke about Mamma please if you donlang, she are all I have loft in the world and besides your mother's a bit of a brockwurst herselves' said Jesus, 'And if she's still alive when she gets here we can throw up a party for her and then she can meet all our ugly Scottish friends' he reflected. 'On the other handle we can always use her as a scarecrab in the top field' said Patrick practically.
So they packed their suitcrates marked 'his and hearse' and set off for their employers highly home in the highlies.
'We're home Sir' said Jesus to the wizened tartan figure knelt crouching over a bag of sheep.
'Why are ye bask so soon?' inquired the Laird, immediately recognizing his own staff through years of experience. 'I've had some bad jews from my Mammy - she's coming to seagull me, if its all ripe with you sir.' The Laird thought for a mumble, then his face lit up like a boiling wart.
'You're all fired' he smiled and went off whistling.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fables For Our Times # 2

The Little Girl and the Wolf

James Thurber, from Fables for Our Time. New York, 1940

ONE afternoon a big wolf waited in a dark forest for a little girl to come along carrying a basket of food to her grandmother. Finally a little girl did come along and she was carrying a basket of food. "Are you carrying that basket to your grandmother?" asked the wolf. The little girl said yes, she was. So the wolf asked her where her grandmother lived and the little girl told him and he disappeared into the wood.

When the little girl opened the door of her grandmother's house she saw that there was somebody in bed with a nightcap and nightgown on. She had approached no nearer than twenty-five feet from the bed when she saw that it was not her grandmother but the wolf, for even in a nightcap a wolf does not look any more like your grandmother than the Metro-Goldwyn lion looks like Calvin Coolidge. So the little girl took an automatic out of her basket and shot the wolf dead.

Moral: it is not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Peter Cook

Strictly speaking this wasn't something I came across when I was young, but I do remember Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, and the show That Was The Week That Was.
Anyway, this has all the requirements of a classic segment. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fables For Our Times # 1

The Birds and the Foxes

James Thurber, from Fables for Our Time. New York, 1940

ONCE upon a time there was a bird sanctuary in which hundreds of Baltimore orioles lived together happily. The refuge consisted of a forest entirely surrounded by a high wire fence. When it was put up, a pack of foxes who lived nearby protested that it was an arbitrary and unnatural boundary. However, they did nothing about it at the time because they were interested in civilizing the geese and ducks on the neighboring farms. When all the geese and ducks had been civilized, and there was nothing else left to eat, the foxes once more turned their attention to the bird sanctuary. Their leader announced that there had once been foxes in the sanctuary but that they. had been driven out. He proclaimed that Baltimore orioles belonged in Baltimore. He said, furthermore, that the orioles in the sanctuary were a continuous menace to the peace of the world. The other animals cautioned the foxes not to disturb the birds in their sanctuary.

So the foxes attacked the sanctuary one night and tore down the fence that surrounded it. The orioles rushes out and were instantly killed and eaten by the foxes.

The next day the leader of the foxes, a fox from whom God was receiving daily guidance, got upon the rostrum and addressed the other foxes. His message was simple and sublime. "You see before you," he said, "another Lincoln. We have liberated all those birds!"

Moral: Government of the orioles, by the foxes, and for the foxes, must perish from the earth.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Colonel Stoopnagle's Fictionary (Unabashed)

by Col. Stoopnagle

Wordplay is a long and venerable tradition in my family, continuing into the present generation.
My father had a book called The Pee Little Thrigs by Colonel Stoopnagle, which included the story from which the title of this Blog is taken (more of that another day). I used to delight in reading it.
The items below were written by Stoopnagle (more about him some other time). They are offered as a tribute to my late Father and late brother-in-law, Peter.

ALTARCATIONLeft at the church
AMBIDEXTROSEBeing able to buy either granulated or lump sugar
ANNIVERSORRYThe wedding date you should have remembered, but didn't
ARCTICULATIONEskimo as she should be spoke
ARRESTOCRATPolice chief with a social background
BAAZAARA sheep fair
BARETENDERHe mixes drinks in a nudist colony
BENNYFITJack [Benny], doing a show for charity
BIGLOOA deluxe Eskimo dwelling
BOTHTUBA place for bathing twins
BRAYNWhat a donkey thinks with
BREADUCATIONLearning to become a baker
BROOMATISMPain sweeping down your leg
CAN'TCHOVIESWhen you are unable to eat them
CELLOFEIGNAn imaginary transparent wrapper
CHAMPAGNEZEEA gent who makes a monkey of himself in night clubs
CHEWELRYGold teeth
CHAIRUBAn angel sitting down
CIGARETIQUETTENot dropping ashes on the floor
CLARINOTA guy who doesn't play the clarinet
CONCUBEENAn old concubine
CUCUMBERSOMEA hefty pickle
DADPOLEA papa polliwog
DAPPERITIONGhost with a top hat, white tie and tails
DIMOCRACYThe U.S.A. during a blackout
DISAPPEARAMIDMirage on the Sahara desert
DRABBITA dull brown bunny
DWHARFAn undersized pier
EGGOTISTA self-centered hen
FARMERCYA drugstore for agriculturists
FLATLASA map of the world before Columbus
FOETOGRAPHA picture of the enemy
FRANTIQUEJust crazy about old things
GHOSTOFFICEWhere the dead letters are buried
GRASSIEREA Hawaiian undergarment
GRUMLINA grim and gloomy gremlin
HEALICOPTEROne the doctor flies around in
HELLOCUTIONISTA telephone operator
HINDUITIONGandhi's instinctive insight
HOGMENTEDAn increase in the pig family
HYMNPROVEMENTBetter singing in church
IDOLEYESFrank Sinatra's
IDON'TICALTwo things that don't look alike
IMMEDIATRICIANDoctor who wants to operate right away
IMMURALA lewd picture on a wall
INFIZZABLEWhat the bubbles are when a drink's flat
JUMBEAUA lady elephant's sweetheart
KNOCKTETEight woodpeckers
KNOCKTURNALSomebody at the door at midnight
LACKOMOTIVEA train without an engine
LACKSIMILESomething that doesn't look like anything
LAUGHTERMATHWhen Fred Allen's show is over
MA'AMOTHA great big lady elephant of long ago
MAJAMASWhat mother wears at night
MANOKLEPTIACA guy who backs into department stores, puts stuff on the counter and runs like anything
MC CANICKAn Irish machine operator
MENUFACTURERGuy who prints the bills of fare
MEWSICIANKitten on the keys
MINNIE-ATUREWhat Mickey Mouse carries in the back of his watch
NAYBORThe guy next door who'll never let you borrow the lawn mower
NEARLOUGHSame as a furlough, but you don't go so fur
NETIQUETTEEmily Post on tennis
NEWSPEPPERHot off the press
OINKMENTSalve for a sick pig
O-LIMP-IANGreek runner with a Charley horse
OPERATUNITYMetropolitan audition
OWTINGPicnic under a wasps' nest
PADDLESCENTSKids in a canoe
PASS'EMISTGuy who thinks he'll never get by that line of traffic
PEDALGOGUEA Latin teacher on a bicycle
PINSTITUTEA bowling emporium
POORTRAITA picture of you that you don't like
PORCUPRONEA porcupine lying face down
POSSECATA cat who hunts mice with a gun
PRAYDIOWhat we listen to on Sunday morning
PROFISHIONALMan who catches herring for a living
PURRGATORYWhere naughty little kittens go
REFRIGERAIDERA midnight marauder
ROAMEOA vagabond lover
ROUGHEREEA football umpire who's hard on the players
SAPARATIONTaking the maple syrup from the maple
SCISSOROA Roman orator known for his shear wisdom
SIRCUMFERENCEDistance around a man's middle
SNUBURBOutlying district where the snooty bluebloods live
SOWNDNoise made by a lady pig
SPITCHERA tobacco-chewing baseball hurler
SPLITIGATIONThe proceeds of a lawsuit divided between the lawyers
SUBOURBONITEA tipsy commuter
SWIGWAMA tepee with a bar
TELLERPHONETo give a bank clerk a ring
TOYLETBathroom in a dollhouse
TROUTLAWA guy who fishes forbidden waters
WAGABONDA wandering puppy
WEERIEA tired ghost
WHIRMAIDAn up-to-date mermaid equipped with a propeller
WHOPPERWILLA great big night bird
WOBBLYGATOA decrepit old violinist
WRENOVATIONOverhauling the little birdhouse for the new spring occupant
YESTIMATETo calculate the number of affirmative votes

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

James Thurber Cartoon # 5

"You're Not My Patient, You're My Meat, Mrs Quist!"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Fat Budgie

by John Lennon

I have a little budgie
He is my very pal
I take him walks in Britain I hope I always shall.

I call my budgie Jeffrey
My grandads name's the same
I call him after grandad
Who had a feathered brain.

Some people don't like budgies
The little yellow brats
They eat them up for breakfast
Or give them to their cats.

My uncle ate a budgie
It was so fat and fair.
I cried and called him Ronnie
He didn't seem to care.

Although his name was Arthur
It didn't mean a thing.
He went into a petshop
And ate up everything.

The doctors looked inside him,
To see what they could do,
But he had been too greedy
He died just like a zoo.

My Jeffrey chirps and twitters
When I walk into the room,
I make him scrambled egg on toast
And feed him with a spoon.

He sings like other budgies
But only when in trim
But most of all on Sunday
Thats when I plug him in.

He flies about the room sometimes
And sits upon my bed
And if he's really happy
He does it on my head.

He's on a diet now you know
>From eating far too much
They say if he gets fatter
He'll have to wear a crutch.

It would be funny wouldn't it
A budgie on a stick
Imagine all the people
Laughing till they're sick.

So that's my budgie Jeffrey
Fat and yellow too
I love him more than daddie
And I'm only thirty two.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Catbird Seat (Part Three)

(Read Part One or Part Two.)

Mr. Martin got to the office at eight-thirty the next morning, as usual. At a quarter to nine, Ulgine Barrows, who had never before arrived at work before ten, swept into his office. "I'm reporting to Mr. Fitweiler now!'' she shouted. "If he turns you over to the police, it's no more than you deserve!'' Mr. Martin gave her a look of shocked surprise. "I beg your pardon?" he said. Mrs. Barrows snorted and bounced out of the room, leaving Miss Paird and Joey Hart staring after her. "What's the matter with that old devil now?" asked Miss Paird. "I have no idea," said Mr. Martin, resuming his work. The other two looked at him and then at each other. Miss Paird got up and went out. She walked slowly past the closed door of Mr. Fitweiler's office. Mrs. Barrows was yelling inside, but she was not braying. Miss Paird could not hear what the woman was saying. She went back to her desk.

Forty-five minutes later, Mrs. Barrows left the president's office and went into her own, shutting the door. It wasn't until half an hour later than Mr. Fitweiler sent for Mr. Martin. The head of the filing department, neat, quiet, attentive, stood in front of the old man's desk. Mr. Fitweiler was pale and nervous. He took his glasses off and twiddled them. He made a small, bruffing sound in his throat. "Martin,'' he said, "you have been with us more than twenty years." “Twenty-two, sir," said Mr. Martin. "In that time," pursued the president, ''your work and your - uh - manner have been exemplary.'' "I trust so, sir," said Mr. Martin. "I have understood, Martin," said Mr. Fitweiler, "that you have never taken a drink or smoked." "That is correct, sir," said Mr. Martin. "Ah, yes." Mr. Fitweiler polished his glasses. "You may describe what you did after leaving the office yesterday, Martin,'' he said. Mr. Martin allowed less than a second for his bewildered pause. "Certainly, sir," he said. "I walked home. Then I went to Schrafft's for dinner. Afterward I walked home again. I went to bed early, sir, and read a magazine for a while. I was asleep before eleven." "Ah, yes," said Mr. Fitweiler again. He was silent for a moment, searching for the proper words to say to the head of the filing department. "Mrs. Barrows,'' he said finally, "Mrs. Barrows has worked hard, Martin, very hard. It grieves me to report that she has suffered a severe breakdown. It has taken the form of a persecution complex accompanied by distressing hallucinations.'' "I am very sorry, sir," said Mr. Martin. "Mrs. Barrows is under the delusion," continued Mr. Fitweiler, "that you visited her last evening and behaved yourself in an - uh - unseemly manner." He raised his hand to silence Mr. Martin's little pained outcry. "It is the nature of these psychological diseases,'' Mr. Fitweiler said, "to fix upon the least likely and most innocent party as the - uh - source of persecution. These matters are not for the lay mind to grasp, Martin. I've just had my psychiatrist, Dr. Fitch, on the phone. He would not, of course, commit himself, but he made enough generalizations to substantiate my suspicions. I suggested to Mrs. Barrows, when she had completed her - uh - story to me this morning, that she visit Dr. Fitch, for I suspected a condition at once. She flew, I regret to say, into a rage, and demanded - uh - requested that I call you on the carpet. You may not know, Martin, but Mrs. Barrows had planned a reorganization of your department - subject to my approval, of course, subject to my approval. This brought you, rather than anyone else, to her mind- but again that is a phenomenon for Dr. Fitch and not for us. So, Martin, I am afraid Mrs. Barrows' usefulness here is at an end." "I am dreadfully sorry, sir," said Mr. Martin.

It was at this point that the door to the office blew open with the suddenness of a gas-main explosion and Mrs. Barrows catapulted through it. "Is the little rat denying it?" she screamed. "He can't get away with that!" Mr. Martin got up and moved discreetly to a point beside Mr. Fitweiler' s chair. "You drank and smoked at my apartment,'' she bawled at Mr. Martin, "and you know it! You called Mr.Fitweiler an old windbag and said you were going to blow him up when you got coked to the gills on your heroin!'' She stopped yelling to catch her breath and a new glint came into her popping eyes. "If you weren't such a drab, ordinary little man," she said, "I 'd think you'd planned it all. Sticking your tongue out, saying you were sitting in the catbird seat, because you thought no one would believe me when I told it! My God, it's really too perfect!'' She brayed loudly and hysterically, and the fury was on her again. She glared at Mr. Fitweiler. "Can't you see how he has tricked us, you old fool? Can't you see his little game?" But Mr. Fitweiler had been surreptitiously pressing all the buttons under the top of his desk and employees of F & S began pouring into the room. "Stockton,'' said Mr. Fitweiler, "you and Fishbein will take Mrs. Barrows to her home. Mrs. Powell, you will go with them." Stockton, who had played a little football in high school, blocked Mrs. Barrows as she made for Mr. Martin. It took him and Fishbein together to force her out of the door into the hall, crowded with stenographers and office boys. She was still screaming imprecations at Mr. Martin, tangled and contradictory imprecations. The hubbub finally died out down the corridor.

"I regret that this has happened," said Mr. Fitweiler. "I shall ask you to dismiss it from your mind, Martin." "Yes, sir," said Mr. Martin anticipating his chief’s "That will be all'' by moving to the door. "I will dismiss it." He went out and shut the door, and his step was light and quick in the hall. When he entered his department he had slowed down to his customary gait, and he walked quietly across the room to the W20 file, wearing a look of studious concentration.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Charles Addams # 8

"Better let him play through, Hartley."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Charles Addams # 7

"Same time tomorrow, then, Miss Straley?"