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From the Joke Factory Again

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Edited by Richard Walker, Sunday, 17 Jan 2016, 02:55

Q. What award is given to an alpine cow that no-one can catch?



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Snow Gauge Haiku

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Tonight, here, a very little snow

Hardly worth writing about

Still a surprise.


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Another from the Joke Factory

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Q. What did the worm sob, as he threw himself over the cliff?

A. See comment

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Departure

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"Now I must go", she said.

I will write whenever I can.

If it does not distress you.

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Breakage

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 14 Jan 2016, 00:43

We often scramble in our heart-rubbish

For shattered glass.

Sobbing to think it was broken.

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Joke Factory Again

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Edited by Richard Walker, Wednesday, 13 Jan 2016, 03:07

Q. What ring does a baby swan wear?

A. See comment smile

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One Liner from Ankh-Morpork

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Edited by Richard Walker, Wednesday, 13 Jan 2016, 00:32

Bad financial news today from the Assassins' Guild, who are going into liquidation.

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A Happy Landing

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We asked the mother ship to bear

Us to a golden star, and there

Everything was just right.

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I wear my time on my wrist

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Christmas, past and

New Year here.

Easter beckons, a

Time to roll eggs. Watch.






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Giant Stars

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 12 Jan 2016, 00:42

In our stars we see red giants.

White and blue too.

Why no green ones?

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The Remembrance of Distemper

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Edited by Richard Walker, Monday, 11 Jan 2016, 03:35
Tonight at my local pub, the snug was stripped bare for repainting. The Sunday regulars discussed interior decorating for a while, and then someone (I think it was the pint of IPA) mentioned distemper: something which was common before we started decorating our interior walls with emulsion.


Distemper! A Marcel Proust moment for me, with paint in place of cake. Not only do I remember the wall that half a century ago I was sent to distemper, I remember too the colour (a sort of orange my mother wanted). I can see now details of the room: where the windows are; the dressing table; the adjoining washroom with its obscure glass window and fanlight; the coat-hook on the door. I feel the texture of the wall, grasp the handle of my broad, black-bristled paintbrush. 

Distemper has been and is still is used as an art medium. Here's an attractive example from 1918. What a super composition! And there is an interesting story surrounding it; try looking up "The Grand Teddy Tea Rooms paintings."


https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Le_Grand_Teddy.jpg

 


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Birds Fly Home

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The wind is cold,

and the birds fly home.

Winter twilight.

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The Interrogation

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Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 8 Jan 2016, 03:28

"Would a star burn a flag?", was whispered in my ear.

Then was I saved; for I could neither see nor hear.

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The Red, White and Blue, Episode 1 trailer

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Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 8 Jan 2016, 00:26

Flags should be ashamed of the beauty of the skies. Watch episode 1 to learn why.

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Cicada Song

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 7 Jan 2016, 16:39

That hot day

Cicadas bellowed at us.

"One chance, one chance."

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Resonance

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The greatest poets have written lines memorable even in translation. Here is one I read for the first time ever today

Death will come, and she will have your eyes.

I remembered it instantly (even though I got it wrong) after reading it here. And I was drawn there by a reference in Primo Levi's book The periodic table. Specifically the chapter on Nickel.

Levi himself was a poet, and a good one: as well as much else. But he doesn't come near "Death will come.." in my eyes, and the young translator of this captured an eternal voice.



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These roads I must feel

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These roads I must feel

Travelling alone in the night.

Morning please look out

And kiss my eyes.

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Joke from the Cambridge Fringe

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Keep your toenails carefully filed. Then you won't lose them.

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Mondegreen

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This is another mondegreen I've collected. Last night I heard someone say "She's an heiress".

What they actually said was "She's hilarious".

This is another example of Steve Pinker's observation that the phrase the listener hears is often less plausible than the actual utterance.

The person being spoken about is indeed very funny, but I'm pretty sure she isn't an heiress. However "heiress" was what it sounded like to me.

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Here Be Dragons

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 5 Jan 2016, 02:17

Entering the cathedral of Kraców, you can't help noticing, that high on the left-hand side, are huge bones, bound by rusty chains.

These, in legend, are the remains of the local dragon, Smok Wawelski (pictured below). The exact details vary a bit, but a long time ago this dragon lived in a cave lower down on the rock than the modern cathedral (and still accessible to visitors).


The dragon terrorized and ravaged the land thereabout, because dragons do ("fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, dragons gotta terrorize and ravage"). However, as happens often with  mega-fauna, open conflict with the interests of humans led to it being slain.

"Smok Wawelski" sounds like the dragon's personal name (usually not mentioned in dragon-lore). But Smok is just old Polish for dragon or snake (like "worm" in Anglo-Saxon), and the second part comes from the location, Wawel being the rock on which the cathedral was founded, post-dragon. So this was just the Wawel dragon.

"Smok" might be the origin — and it's controversial — of the word schmuch (and many variant spellings), which means "a contemptible person", according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The origin is the Yiddish word for penis (I never knew that before!), and it's a taboo word in that language. The possible connection is with snake. The OED records the slang term "trouser snake" to mean, well, penis.

Many scholars don't agree with this derivation. No-one will never know the etymology for sure: unless there is a continuous documentary record of a word's use we can never be certain where it came from: and in fact the origin of a word can follow two or more parallel strands. Given the taboo associations it's even more hard to trace.

The bones?

Coffins in the crypt hold those of Jagiellonian kings. Bones on the wall belonged to Pleistocene whales.

And I wonder where the name "Smaug" came from.


Credit: wikimedia


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The Joke Factory Again

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The latest from the Elves, based on field notes we fed them

Question: Why aren't recycling bins made standard?

Answer: Because the system's rubbish.

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Schrodinger's cat rites home

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Edited by Richard Walker, Sunday, 3 Jan 2016, 18:54

dear mater and pater

a Physics teecher put me in a nasty box, it was HOORIBLE with know air holes I didnt no if i was alive or ded

Yours sincerly Felix



(With apols to Nigel Molesworth)


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My Ancestor Knew Doctor Pavlov

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Gran paraded us the pedigree again.

"Descendants of Pavlov's dogs."

I thought

"Frankly my dear, I don't give a spit."


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Dar me um beso

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At least

This

Kiss 

Exists

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New blog post

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Cold winter rain

Made us cry

But not for long

Your warm hands

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