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Interesting words and languages

The first word spoken on the moon was "okay". (Or not - see comments). Seoul, the South Korean capital, just means "the ca...

Farewell 2009



Happy New Year

Hallelujah for Chartusian monks

Recession Proof Christmas

Today’s global challenges require the North Pole to continue to look for
better, more competitive steps. Effective immediately, the following economy
measures are to take place in the “Twelve Days of Christmas” subsidiary:

1. The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree never turned out to be
the cash crop forecasted. It will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant,
providing considerable savings in maintenance.
2. The two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost
effective. In addition, their romance during working hours could not be
condoned. The positions are therefore eliminated.
3. The three French hens will remain intact. After all, everyone loves the
French.
4. The four calling birds were replaced by an automated voice mail system,
with a call waiting option. An analysis is under way to determine who the birds
have been calling, how often and how long they talked for.
5. The five golden rings have been put on hold by the Board of Directors.
Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative implications
for institutional investors. Diversification into other precious metals as well
as a mix of government bonds and high technology stocks appear to be in order.
6. The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer be
afforded. It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose
per day is an example of the decline in productivity. Three geese will be let
go, and an upgrading in the selection procedure by personnel will assure
management that from now on every goose it gets will be a good one.
7. The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times.
Their function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order. The
current swans will be retrained to learn some new strokes and therefore enhance
their outplacement.
8. As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy
scrutiny by the EEOC. A male/female balance in the workforce is being sought.
The more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility.
Automation of the process may permit the maids to try a-mending, a-mentoring or
a-mulching.
9. Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will be
phased out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the steps.
10. Ten Lords-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of Lords plus the expense of
international air travel prompted the Compensation Committee to suggest
replacing this group with ten out-of-work politicians. While leaping ability
may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant because we expect an
oversupply of unemployed politicians this year.
11. Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the
band getting too big. A substitution with a string quartet, a cut back on new
music and no uniforms will produce savings which will drop right down to the
bottom line.
12. We can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl, animals and
other expenses. Though incomplete, studies indicate that stretching deliveries
over twelve days is inefficient. If we can drop ship in one day, service levels
will be improved.

Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorney’s association seeking expansion
to include the legal profession (”thirteen lawyers-a-suing”), action is
pending.

Lastly, it is not beyond consideration that deeper cuts may be necessary in
the future to stay competitive. Should that happen, the Board will request
management to scrutinize the Snow White Division to see if seven dwarfs is the
right number.

The WC

An English teacher was going to visit Switzerland and was having difficulty finding a room, so she asked the local schoolmaster to help her. After a satisfactory hotel with a room had been found she started packing. Suddenly, it occurred to her that she hadn't asked whether the room had its own loo, so she wrote to the schoolmaster asking whether there was a W.C.

The schoolmaster, not knowing the meaning, asked the parish priest and together they decided that it must mean "Wayside Chapel." He wrote the following email:

Dear Madam,

It is my pleasure to inform you that there is a W.C. just 9 miles from your home, in the center of a grove of pine trees. It seats 229 people, and it is open on Thursdays and Sundays. This is an unfortunate situation if you are in the habit of going regularly, but you will be glad to hear that some people bring their lunches and make a day of it.

I would especially recommend Thursdays, for then there is an Organ accompaniment. The acoustics in the W.C. are excellent; even the most delicate sound can be heard.

My son was married in the W.C. and there was such a rush for seats that 10 people had to sit on the same seat. The look on their faces was very interesting.

My wife is sickly but dedicated, so she doesn't go regularly, in fact she hasn't gone for nearly a year.

I will be glad to reserve a seat in the W.C. for you, where you will be seen and heard by everyone.

Hoping I have been of some assistance.

Sincerely yours,
The Schoolmaster

Probably the Most Stupid Quotes in the World

Miss Alabama when asked: "If you could live forever, would you want to, and why?" answered, "I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever."

"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life." Brooke Shields

"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body." Winston Bennett


"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country." Marion Barry

"I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president" Hillary Clinton

"That low-down scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I'm just the one to do it." Congressional candidate in Texas

"I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves." John Wayne

"Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical." Lawrence Peter Berra

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's The impurities in our air and water that are doing it." Al Gore

"I think that the undecided could go one way or the other." George Bush

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure." Bill Clinton

"Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances." Department of Social Services

"If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there will be a record." Mark S Fowler

A Festive Offering

Poor old Santa is feeling the pinch in this video from Jib Jab. (It cuts close to being tasteless, but is generally harmless).

History of the English Language

In the beginning there was an island off the coast of Europe. It had no name, for the natives had no language, only a collection of grunts and gestures that roughly translated to "Hey!" " Gimme!" and "Pardon me, but would you happen to have any woad?"

Then the Romans invaded it and called it Britain, because the natives were "blue, nasty, br(u- i)tish and short." This was the start of the importance of u (and its mispronounciation) to the language. After building some roads, killing off some of the nasty little blue people and walling up the rest, the Romans left, taking the language instruction manual with them.

The British were bored so they invited the barbarians to come over (under Hengist) and "Horsa" 'round a bit. The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes brought slightly more refined vocal noises.

All of the vocal sounds of this primitive language were onomatapoeic, being derived from the sounds of battle. Consonants were derived from the sounds of weapons striking a foe. "Sss" and "th" for example are the sounds of a draw cut, "k" is the sound of a solidly landed axe blow, "b", "d", are the sounds of a head dropping onto rock and sod respectively, and "gl" is the sound of a body splashing into a bog. Vowels (which were either gargles in the back of the throat or sharp exhalations) were derived from the sounds the foe himself made when struck.

The barbarians had so much fun that decided to stay for post-revel. The British, finding that they had lost future use of the site, moved into the hills to the west and called themselves Welsh.

The Irish, having heard about language from Patrick, came over to investigate. When they saw the shiny vowels, they pried them loose and took them home. They then raided Wales and stole both their cattle and their vowels, so the poor Welsh had to make do with sheep and consonants. ("Old Ap Ivor hadde a farm, L Y L Y W! And on that farm he hadde somme gees. With a dd dd here and a dd dd there...")

To prevent future raids, the Welsh started calling themselves "Cymry" and gave even longer names to their villages. They figured if no one could pronounce the name of their people or the names of their towns, then no one would visit them. (The success of the tactic is demonstrated still today. How many travel agents have YOU heard suggest a visit to scenic Llyddumlmunnyddthllywddu?)

Meantime, the Irish brought all the shiny new vowels home to Erin. But of course they didn't know that there was once an instruction manual for them, so they scattered the vowels throughout the language purely as ornaments. Most of the new vowels were not pronounced, and those that were were pronounced differently depending on which kind of consonant they were either preceding or following.

The Danes came over and saw the pretty vowels bedecking all the Irish words. "Ooooh!" they said. They raided Ireland and brought the vowels back home with them. But the Vikings couldn't keep track of all the Irish rules so they simply pronounced all the vowels "oouuoo."

In the meantime, the French had invaded Britain, which was populated by descendants of the Germanic Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. After a generation or two, the people were speaking German with a French accent and calling it English. Then the Danes invaded again, crying "Oouuoo! Oouuoo!" burning abbeys, and trading with the townspeople.

The Britons that the Romans hadn't killed intermarried with visiting Irish and became Scots. Against the advice of their travel agents, they decided to visit Wales. (The Scots couldn't read the signposts that said, "This way to Lyddyllwwyddymmllwylldd," but they could smell sheep a league away.) The Scots took the sheep home with them and made some of them into haggis. What they made with the others we won't say, but Scots are known to this day for having hairy legs.

The former Welsh, being totally bereft, moved down out of the hills and into London. Because they were the only people in the Islands who played flutes instead of bagpipes, they were called Tooters. This made them very popular. In short order, Henry Tooter got elected King and begin popularizing ornate, unflattering clothing.

Soon, everybody was wearing ornate, unflattering clothing, playing the flute, speaking German with a French accent, pronouncing all their vowels "oouuoo" (which was fairly easy given the French accent), and making lots of money in the wool trade. Because they were rich, people smiled more (remember, at this time, "Beowulf" and "Canterbury Tales" were the only tabloids, and gave generally favorable reviews even to Danes). And since it is next to impossible to keep your vowels in the back of your throat (even if you do speak German with a French accent) while smiling and saying "oouuoo" (try it, you'll see what I mean), the Great Vowel Shift came about and transformed the English language.

The very richest had their vowels shifted right out in front of their teeth. They settled in Manchester and later in Boston.

There were a few poor souls who, cut off from the economic prosperity of the wool trade, continued to swallow their vowels. They wandered the countryside in misery and despair until they came to the docks of London, where their dialect devolved into the incomprehensible language known as Cockney. Later, it was taken overseas and further brutalized by merging it with Dutch and Italian to create Brooklynese.

Paranoid Office Worker



There's one in every office.

Man: Who did this to me? Who *did* this to me?

Ah. It musta (must have) been him - the new guy. Yes, of course it was the new guy. He knows I'm number one and he's playing mind games with me. So, he moved the desk away from the outlet. Very clever, new guy. Very, very clever. It's exactly what I would have done. Yes, it seems that I'm dealing with a very cool customer. It will be a pleasure doing battle with you, new guy. If in fact you are a new guy. I'll just put him on my list.

Wait a second, I sharpened this pencil yesterday. Someone is dulling my pencils!

Of course it's her. She deals with pencils all day long. She would know exactly what to do. She's not even looking at me; what a *poker* face she has. She may be against me, but she's a very, very smooth operator and I like her for that. Yes, receptionist, you've earned my grudging respect. You are my enemy, but you fight a good fight. I look forward to meeting you on the field of battle. Wait a second, everyone's on my list. They're *all* against me. I don't know who their ringleader is, but I like their sense of teamwork. My hats off to them. They've done their research well. They know my weaknesses and they know the best time to strike. One of them could be a genius, maybe all of them. I've got my work cut out for me.

Man: All right. All right. Okay. The game is up. I know what each and every one of you is thinking and what each and every one of you is about to do. Oh, you're good. You're all very good; I'll give you that. But you've met your match today, my friends. You're dealing with a master now.

The boss: Sit down, you loser.

Man: Okay.

The Real North Pole

I don't often post links, and this one is a teeny bit rude, but very funny.

Just make sure you type your real name when asked:-

http://www.busybus.co.uk/design/xmas_santa.swf

It's not just English you can have fun with

The following are some of the winners in a New York magazine contest, in which the rules were: take ANY well-known phrase in ANY foreign language, change JUST ONE SINGLE LETTER, and then provide a definition for the new expression.

HARLEZ-VOUS FRANCAIS? - Can you drive a French motorcycle?

EX POST FUCTO - Lost in the mail

IDIOS AMIGOS - We're wild and crazy guys

VENI, VIPI, VICI - I came, I'm a very important person, I conquered

COGITO, EGGO SUM - I think, therefore I waffle

RIGOR MORRIS - The cat is dead

RESPONDEZ S'IL VOUS PLAID - Honk if you're Scottish

QUE SERA SERF - Life is feudal

LE ROI EST MORT, JIVE LE ROI - The king is dead. No kidding

POSH MORTEM - Death styles of the rich and famous

PRO BOZO PUBLICO - Support your local clown

MONAGE A TROIS - I am three years old

FELIX NAVIDAD - Our cat has a boat

HASTE CUISINE - Fast French food

VENI, VIDI, VICE - I came, I saw, I partied

QUIP PRO QUO - A fast retort

ALOHA OY - Love; greetings, farewell; from such a pain you should never know

MAZEL TON - Tons of good luck

APRES MOE LE DELUGE - Curly and Larry got wet

PORT-KOCHERE - Sacramental wine

ICH LIEBE RICH - I'm really crazy about having dough

FUI GENERIS - What's mine is mine

VISA LA FRANCE - Don't leave your chateau without it

CA VA SANS DIRT - And that's not gossip

MERCI RIEN - Thanks for nothin'

AMICUS PURIAE - Platonic friend

Thanks to Cheri for this one!