If someone offered you a penny for your thoughts, and you gave them your two cents worth, would you feel shortchanged?¹


I’m feeling a bit tired tonight, and can’t manage to find the focus to write anything meaningful. I could just write something meaningless. But I’ll spare you.

Seeing as I don’t want to leave you feeling shortchanged, since you bothered to come by to visit, I offer up some more photos as a consolation prize. I took these on Halloween before Phoebe and Theo changed into their costumes.

Phoebe in her "spooky" shirt.
Phoebe in her spooky shirt.

Theo in his mummy pajamas.
Theo in his mummy pajamas.

¹ I thought of this when contemplating posting some spare change from my earlier coin collection. I think I’ve mentioned that I crack myself up.

a chicken joke

    Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
    A: To get to the other Starbucks


This was a joke I made up a while back, inspired by a list of chicken jokes. I cracked myself up with it.

However, recent news that Starbucks is closing 5% of their stores (especially those “unprofitable stores …being cannibalized by nearby Starbucks locations”) may make my joke obsolete. (Though at BU, some students were recently protesting the new Starbucks location, which is basically across the street from not one, but 2 nearby Starbucks locations…)

And what will future generations think of this?

(From Best in Show.)

going bananas

With work keeping me crazy busy, and life in general pulling me in all sorts of directions, it’s no wonder I feel I’m going a bit bananas. And what with yesterday’s big banana-related news, it’s no wonder I’ve got bananas on the brain. Seeing as I don’t have a whole lot of time tonight, this ThThTh list may be on the short side. So please feel encouraged throw in your own bananas.banana_bunch_1.png

A small bunch of bananas

  • banana split. An ice cream sundae characterized by a banana that has been split in half lengthways.
  • The Tattooed Banana: a blog devoted to “the emerging appreciation of banana art.”
  • Banana Yoshimoto. A Japanese author. Not actually a banana. Her first novel was Kitchen.
  • Bananarama. An 80s musical group. They weren’t bananas either. Actually, the members were all female.
  • Yes, we have no bananas.” A song that was a hit in the 20s. (…we have no bananas today…)
  • The Banana Boat Song.” A song made famous by Harry Belafonte. Here’s a clip from the movie Beetlejuice with the song:
  • top banana. An expression meaning “head honcho” or “big cheese.” Has origins in burlesque performances.
  • slipping on a banana peel. A common slapstick-type sight gag. (cf. this batch of cartoons.) For further insights into the phenomenon, check out this insightful post, which also led me to this fabulous banana-peel-slipping-related dialog from the 1966 Batman movie:

    Batman: [reading a riddle] What has yellow skin and writes?
    Robin: A ball-point banana!
    Batman: [reads the second riddle] What people are always in a hurry?
    Robin: Rushing people… Russians!
    Batman: So this means…
    Robin: Someone Russian is going to slip on a banana and break their neck!
    Batman: Precisely, Robin!

  • Banana in the tailpipe: a prank involving shoving a banana up the tailpipe of a car, causing the engine to stop. Made famous by a scene with Eddie Murphy in the movie Beverly Hills Cop (1984).
  • This may come as a shock to you, but I find the word banana itself to be funny. (Yes, much like the word pants.) I might even go as far as saying that I find banana to be an inherently funny word. This may be part of why bananas are featured in a lot of jokes. Some of them remarkably silly. I found a page of banana jokes that someone posted on a joke blog, and lookie what I found there:

    Knock knock
    Who’s There?
    Banana who?
    Banana Pants.

  • banana_peeled1.png

    Happy Pi Day!

    pi.jpgIt’s Pi Day, people! Woohoo! It’s 3-14. And I didn’t even see it coming. (And here I just mentioned a book called Life of Pi yesterday. Of course, that was a pi-free Pi reference.)

    Here are some tasty pi goodies for you to help you celebrate your day:

    • Be sure to check out the official Pi Day website. (Thanks to Tina of Omphaloskepsis (one of the grandest blog names out there) for pointing me there.)
    • I highly recommend the musical pi stuff, like pi rap videos, and the pi(ano) song, where someone has converted the digits of pi to a melody.
    • You can also see a hundred thousand digits of pi. Here’s a preview:


    • Not enough digits for ya? How’s about a million?
    • Kate Bush has a song called “π”. Or “Pi,” if you must stick to ASCII. In it, part of the refrain is seeing 150 digits of pi. Shockingly, it seems that she has, according to Confusablility, gravely erred in her digits:

      I got hold of the lyrics and checked them against an online version of Pi. All was well for the first 53 decimal places but then Kate sang “threeeeee oneeeee” when she should have sang “zeeeeeeerooo” instead. She recovered for the next 24 digits but then it went to hell in a handbasket when she missed out the next 22 digits completely before finishing with a precise rendition of her final 37 digits.

    • Inga of Arbitrary Ruminations is celebrating the day with a list of Pie quotes, which may be safer.
    • Or you might want to watch a movie. Like Pi (1998). A movie sadly lacking in pie.
    • I think that later today, I will have to bake a pi. I mean, a pie. Seriously. I’ve keep meaning to bake a pie, but haven’t found the time. But now the pi forces are conspiring to make pi a piority. I mean, priority.
    • Finally, let me leave you with this classic pi joke:

      A young man goes off to college from his rural home. When he comes back for a visit, his less educated father wants him to show off his fancy learning. “Say something smart, son,” he commands.
      The young man thinks back to his classes, and figures a formula from math should sound impressive enough. He offers up the formula to calculate the area of a circle. “Pi r squared,” he says.
      His father looks embarrassed, and shocked. Shaking his head gravely, he says, “What are they teaching you, son? Pie are round, son. Cornbread are square.”

    π π π π π π π π π π π π π π π π π π π π

    dot dot dot

    exclamation_point1.jpgThere are times when the world conspires to make me ponder a topic for a list. This week the world apparently wants me to reflect on punctuation.

    I’m quite fond of punctuation, really. Not so much the prescriptive uses of it. I like the informal uses of it that reflect the prosody of spoken language. You can break up a sentence or phrase with periods to show the strong emphasis of making each word its own intonational phrase. (What. The. Hell?) There’s the use of parentheses or commas for, you know, parenthenticals. (And I’m quite partial to parentheticals.) Or you can use ellipses to signal that you’re trailling off…

    So I offer you a ThThTh list with an abundance of punctuation marks.

    First, I offer to you the Evidence of Punctuation Conspiracy:

    Further punctuation-related things include:

    • The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. This blog is a “great” place to see of all sorts of abuses of quotation marks.
    • Apostrophe Abuse. Its the cats pajama’s in terms of misused apostrophe’s.
    • The Ominous Comma. A blog. While not actually about punctuation, it gets points for having such a cool punctuation-related name.
    • Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss. A book on punctuation that is said to be entertaining. (Yes, I should have read it. I have it. But haven’t read it. It will probably tell me to stop with the sentence fragments. Or some such. Screw that.)
      • There’s a punctuation “game” based on the book. (I use “scare quotes” here to suggest that there is not a lot of “fun” or “playing” involved.)
      • More fun is the panda joke that is the inspiration for the book title (offered up by Geoffrey Pullum of The Language Log) .
    • I love you period,” a song by Dan Baird

      I love you period
      Do you love me question mark
      Please, please exclamation point
      I want to hold you in parentheses

    • Let’s not forget the colons and semi-colons of the island nation of San Serriffe:

      The native people of San Serriffe are the Flong. However, the dominant group are of European stock, the descendants of colonists, known as colons. There is also a large mixed-race group, known as semi-colons.

    • Finally, I offer a bit of cartoon swearing. As in using punctuation marks in place of swear words, usually in a cartoon. (This allows me to end the post with a bang. Or 2.)(Sorry, a little punctuation mark humor.)(No, I’m not sorry. I’m dorky like that.)


    lightbulb jokes

    Yes, I admit it. I got a bit burnt out in the blogging business. 40 posts in 30 days is too, too much. And I have far too many blogs in my feedreader. And I’m busy with work. And busy with life. And I’m just really tired. I need to go to sleep.

    So, even though I have a bunch of posts in progress, and owe some stories based on that done/not done checklist, I’m just going to post a couple more jokes. Many of our last round of jokes featured the theme of “walking into a bar.” (Thank you for all those contributions, folks.) Here I give the other perennial favorite, the lightbulb joke.

    These two lightbulb jokes are my favorites, and I’ll give you a bonus story. I first heard them while on a boat going down the Amazon, sitting around on hammocks. On Thanksgiving day, no less. That would have been in 1991. There were other jokes, and plenty of other tales from that trip, but here are two jokes that I can share quickly. (And yes, I realize that they are pretty similar.):

      Q: How many mice does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
      A: Two, but they have to be pretty small mice.

      Q: How many flies does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
      A: Two, but how do you get them in there?

    Please share your lightbulb jokes with me. Pretty please?


    pirateparrot.jpgHere it is, the day after International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and I’ve still got pirates on the brain. But rather than bringing you a list of pirates for this week’s Themed Things Thursday, I’ll bring you a list of the frequent pirate’s companion: the parrot.

    A Flock of Parrots

    1. Parrots are frequently to be seen on the shoulders of pirates¹, specifically of fictional pirates. Captain Flint was a pirate’s parrot in Treasure Island, the pirate novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. More recently, we’ve seen the pirate in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
    2. Parrots, especially African Grey Parrots, are well known as birds who can imitate human speech.
    3. This is no doubt the source of the use of the word parrot as a verb (transitive), meaning repeat without really understanding. As in “They parroted my parrot jokes, but none of them laughed.”
    4. You can find a variety of parrot jokes out there. (These even a site with pirate and parrot jokes.) This is probably my favorite parrot joke.
    5. Polly want a cracker? The stereotypical parrot sentence, whether said to a parrot, or by a parrot. Possibly popularized in Robert Lewis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.
    6. Poll or Polly has been a common parrot name for centuries, with an early documented use from 1611.
    7. Also in the nursery rhyme:

      Little Poll Parrot
      Sat in his garret
      Eating toast and tea;
      A little brown mouse
      Jumped into the house,
      And stole it all away.

    8. Then there’s the song “Polly,” by Nirvana

      Polly wants a cracker
      I think I should get off her first
      I think she wants some water
      To put out the blow torch

    9. Or Paulie (1998), a movie about a parrot.
    10. Parrots have been featured in various folktales from around the world, like 2 Buddhist folktales from India “The Brave Little Parrot.” (who puts out a forest fire²) and “The Steadfast Parrot” (who is faithful to a tree) and an
      Italian folktale (involving a prince who has himself turned into a parrot).
    11. Other moderately famous parrots include Waldo the Parrot, from Twin Peaks (who seems to have been present, and biting, the night of Laura Palmer’s death) and Parrot, the parrot with biting sarcasm from the Terry Pratchett novel Faust Eric
    12. Parrot Heads are the nickname given to fans of the musician Jimmy Buffett
    13. And to round things off, I bring you Python’s parrot. The ex-parrot. He is decidedly not pining for the fjords.


    ¹ Or about the arms and head, especially of those posing as pirates.

    ² Kind of like a friend of mine did recently, except he used a plastic bag to put out the fire.