Friday, April 22, 2011


An old friend from Texas sent some paraprosdokians. You can't eat them or plant them in your yard, but you can enjoy them. In fact, you have, even if you didn't know it.

From A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to re-frame or re-interpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists.


1. I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
2. I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather, not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
3. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.
4. War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
5. Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening' and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.
6. How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
7. Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.
8. You do not need a parachute to sky dive. You only need a parachute to sky dive twice.
9. A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.
10. Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.
11. I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.
12. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

Answer to last week's question: What's wrong with this Fox News Headline?
"Nine people killed in Oklahoma and Arkansas after tornadoes, severe storms moved through"
The word "after." If the people were killed after the tornadoes moved through, what killed them? And what does it have to do with the storms?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fox bloopers

Fox News headline:
"Dog Killed by Alligator Lurking Near Florida Home"
I can see where that might make the home's residents nervous. But dead dogs are harmless, aren't they?

What's wrong with this Fox News Headline?
"Nine people killed in Oklahoma and Arkansas after tornadoes, severe storms moved through"

Friday, April 8, 2011

Review review

Review of a review of a film of a book

Movie reviews are rarely a kick, but P.J. O'Rourke's review of "Atlas Shrugged: Part 1" in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal is.

Read the review even if you've never read the book and don't intend to see the film.

The title of the review is classic O'Rourke: "Atlas shrugged. And so did I." You can almost see the disciples of Ayn Rand reaching for their pitchforks.

He writes: "I will not pan 'Atlas Shrugged.' I don’t have the guts. If you associate with Randians — and I do — saying anything critical about Ayn Rand is almost as scary as saying anything critical to Ayn Rand. What’s more, given how protective Randians are of Rand, I’m not sure she’s dead."

He has Randians, who prefer to call themselves objectivists, pegged. But he did have the guts after all, and he did pan it. Gently.

I might interject that I'm actually looking forward to the movie, which Hollywood has threatened to make ever since Rand personally tried to ingratiate herself to Tinseltown. It is needed in a time when people don't read 900-page books (if they ever did) and are therefore unarmed against the collectivist propaganda spilling out of academia into places where its peddlers might actually exert influence, like the White House.

But I'm off track. O'Rourke correctly notes that the current wave of collectivism gave rise to more than just an overdue — but strangely not updated — film about Rand's most famous book: "Hence the Tea Party, and Ayn Rand is invited. Not for nothing is Kentucky Senator Paul named Rand. The premise of 'Atlas Shrugged' applies to every maker in a world of takers."

The tea party wasn't around when this film was conceived, but the movement will swell the movie audiences. It sounds like a film you hope your "progressive" neighbor will go see to get their derailed thinking back on track — even if you don't get around to seeing it yourself.

By the way, a tale that takes 900 pages to tell won't fit in two hours. Or even three. Thus, as O-Rourke put it, "The movie’s title carries the explicit threat of a sequel."

Let's hope P.J. reviews the sequel as well.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Best of the Web

So we're agreed?
House Speaker John Boehner did his best, if unintentional, Yogi Berra impersonation yesterday after Democrats announced they had reached a compromise on cuts to this year's budget.

Boehner said: “There is no agreement on numbers and nothing will be agreed to until everything is agreed to.”

Have you started your file of rejection letters yet? If your manuscript has been turned down, you're in good company.

Twelve publishing houses rejected J.K. Rowling's first Harry Potter. But one publisher, Scholastic, recognized the potential and agreed to publish it. Sales of her books topped 400 million copies in less than 15 years and she became a billionaire.

John Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill, was rejected by 16 publishers. But in the last two decades, Grisham's 25 novels have sold 250 million copies.

Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time was rejected 26 times. It went on to win the Newberry Medal.

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen received 134 rejections for Chicken Soup for the Soul. But when a publisher finally took a chance on it, the book became a runaway best-seller. Additional titles followed. After 15 years, Chicken Soup for the Soul brand had sold 112 million books and raked in more than $2 billion.

Best of the Web

If you haven't discovered James Taranto's witty "Best of the Web Today" column on the Wall Street Journal site, let me be the first to recommend it. A sampling:

Metaphor Alert
"Even 7.5% unemployment means 11.5 million Americans without jobs. The human cost of that dry statistic can be detailed in a canvas of broken hopes and shattered lives." — Mitt Romney, USA Today, March 31

Dey Got a Point
"Dem Losers Still Blaming Nancy Pelosi" — headline,, March 30

Questions Nobody Is Asking
* "Leaping Sea Creatures: Do We Need Bigger Boats?" — headline,, March 30
* "What Was the New York Times Magazine Like 100 Years Ago?" — headline,, March 30

Answers to Questions Nobody Is Asking
* "Why You Should Care About Cricket" — headline, ESPN website, March 28

Bottom Stories of the Day
* "Jon Huntsman Snags Endorsement of Sam Brownback's Campaign Manager" — headline,, March 31
* "Kucinich to Deliver Hour-Long Speech on Libya" — headline,, March 30