I've decided to add them to my blog from time to time, so that crevices in time includes not only contemporary stuff, but also includes stuff produced over the past 40 or so year. I wrote this first article sometime in the late 1990s. I can still picture the beginnings of the article: I was travelling on a train at 7 in the morning on my way from Eltham, where I lived (and live) to Frankston, where I was teaching Professional Writing. This first item - Whoops! - was published on Triond in February, 2008.
The just plain stupid things we write and say
We’re all guilty of it at some time or other – we open our mouth and put our foot in it. These small human failings go by various names: howlers, bloopers, idiotisms. But whatever name we give them, these not -so bon mots give rise to two reactions: embarrassment for the speaker (or writer) and riotous laughter for the listener or reader.
A metaphor is a thing you shout through.
And he said, “What shall I do to inherit interal life?”
Poetry is when every line starts with a capital letter.
William the Conqueror was thrown from his horse, and wounded in the feudal system, and died from it.
‘May I introduce the winner of the 1980 Miss Australia contest, Miss Australia herself: Susan Cock.’
One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is `to be prepared’.
As Quayle once observed:
When you make as many speeches and you talk as much as I do and you get away from the text, it’s always a possibility to get a few words tangled here and there.
Of course, Quayle is not alone in this. Indeed, some would argue that the current (soon to be immediate past) president of the US, George W Bush has surpassed Quayle’s extraordinary capacity for garbled nonsense. Pontificating on the state of literacy – or rather, illiteracy – GWB inadvertently proved the very point he was making with the following:
The illiteracy level of our children are appalling. Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?
Peter Sellars once satirized poli-speak in a sketch which lampoons the pompous, ponderous pointlessness of much Party political propaganda:
“Let me begin by saying that I do not consider existing conditions likely. On the contrary, I regard them as matters of the gravest significance…”
A sign posted in Germany’s Black Forest:
It is strictly forbidden on our black forest camping site that people of
different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless
they are married with each other for that purpose.
In a Vienna hotel:
In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.