More things you can get free in the mail (well, you pay for shipping): this time, about 40 CD albums of comedy and humor, from Shelley Berman, Beyond the Fringe, Bob and Ray, the Bobs, and the Bonzo Dog Band to Allan Sherman, the Smothers Brothers, the best of This American Life, and the best of Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me (both from public radio in the U.S.).
Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category
Today’s replay of an old Calvin and Hobbes:
Classic humor: idiots, explosives, and falling anvils. Who could ask for anything more? Well, at least on Saturday morning, in front of a television set. If you’re a 6-year-old boy.
[Correction: my original posting said “falling animals”, rather than (the correct) “falling anvils”. Yes, I have a reading problem. I got new glasses last week, prescribed last October but only arrived last week, and they did indeed sharpen my vision, but they were also bifocals rather than the ordered trifocals. Missing the bit for viewing my computer screen. While my optometrists rage at and revile the firm that grinds the lenses, they told me to use the bifocals. But it turns out that with then I can see my computer screen only by taking off my glasses and getting really close to the screen. I’ve been making a lot of reading errors, like the “animals” one. Ok, now I’ve gone back to the old, somewhat fuzzy, glasses, which at least give me a better chance. (Almost surely TMI, but there it is.)]
Jeff Shaumeyer on Facebook points us to a new piece on Serious Eats, “Peepshi: The Next Generation” by Niki Achitoff-Gray on 3/21/16, the latest of the Peepshi (Peeps + sushi] postings there (on an earlier one, see my 3/23/15 posting “Peeps time in Japan”):
(Hurry! Only two days until Easter!)
This is a tribute to the associative abilities of the human mind. When I woke this morning, my iTunes was playing what I recognized as comic songs by Gracie Fields, and what came into my mind was a bit of imagined comic dialogue:
(1) A to B: Say hello to the kids. B: Hello to the kids.
in which there’s a quotational scope ambiguity, over how much of what A said is used and how much mentioned.
I quickly figured out the route from Gracie Fields songs to (1): from Gracie Fields to Gracie Allen (both comic actors with the first name Gracie) to this famous but (as it turns out) apocryphal exchange:
(2) Burns to Allen: Say good night, Gracie. Allen: Good night, Gracie.
to (1) as a new variant of the joke in (2). But this path was beneath the level of my consciousness, producing an almost instantaneous short-circuiting from the music to (1).
Note: this posting is about pickles (in the American sense: pickled cucumbers) and uses of the word pickle, especially in proper names; my main theme is that pickles and the word pickle tend to be intrinsically funny, inherently risible. I’ll be citing a whole bunch of uses, but I do not intend this posting to be a complete inventory of uses of the word, so if I don’t mention some example that you know or especially like, please add it in a comment, but don’t do this by accusing me of having failed or neglected to mention your example; that would just be gratuitously insulting.
It started with an entertaining piece by Winnie Hu in the NYT on the 15th: (on-line) “At United Pickle, Preserving the Standards of a Deli Staple”, (in print) “Family-Run Supplier Preserves Standards For a Briny Deli Staple”, beginning:
Not every cucumber has what it takes to be a pickle. As dozens of them tumbled from a steel hopper onto a conveyor belt in a Bronx factory, two workers enforced a strict pickle standard.
Bruised. Broken. Too curvy. Too short. Sorry, no exceptions.
The rejects — about one in 10 — were tossed into plastic bins, destined to become relish.
“You can’t just pickle any produce,” said Stephen Leibowitz, the self-described “chief pickle maven” of this operation, as he reached past the workers to personally pluck out an offending cucumber. “I can put in the best ingredients, and they still won’t turn out right.”
Mr. Leibowitz is the man to see if the pickles at your local deli, diner or burger joint have lost their crunch. Whether kosher dills, sours, half-sours or bread-and-butters, chances are they got their start on the production line at United Pickle, the largest family-owned supplier of pickles and pickled condiments in New York City.
Or as Mr. Leibowitz, 73, ever the pickle pitchman, put it, “If you’re in a pickle, call United Pickle.”
Kosher dill spears in preparation:
In the NYT yesterday, “Bob Elliott, Half of the Deadpan Bob and Ray Comedy Team, Dies at 92” by Peter Keepnews & Richard Severo (with a companion piece, “Recalling Bob and Ray, Who Paved the Way for Today’s Deadpan Humor” by Jason Zinoman):
Bob Elliott, who as half of the comedy team Bob and Ray purveyed a distinctively low-key brand of humor on radio and television for more than 40 years, died on Tuesday at his home in Cundy’s Harbor, Me. He was 92.
His death was confirmed by his son Chris Elliott, the actor and comedian, who said his father had had throat cancer.
Mr. Elliott and his partner, Ray Goulding — Bob was the more soft-spoken one, Ray the deep-voiced and more often blustery one — were unusual among two-person comedy teams. Rather than one of them always playing it straight and the other handling the jokes, they took turns being the straight man.
The pair early in their career:
[Note that this posting is filed under Humor.]
The Sophist Abilities Test. Part D: Analogies.
(Reminder: no electronic devices are permitted in the examination room.)
There are 12 questions in this test. For each, you are to supply the X that completes the analogy. For example, given the incomplete analogy
Able : Baker :: Charlie : X
you would write Dog in the space below the question.
You have 10 minutes for this test.
Note: We told you last week that it was really important that you do the assigned reading in preparing for this test. So, if (for example) you don’t know who the Darios in question #3 are, it’s your own damn fault.
Feel free to groan at the language play.
On NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday last Sunday (November 29th), an interview by NPR’s Rachel Martin with parodist Josh Friedland on the occasion of his new book Eatymology: The Dictionary of Modern Gastronomy, about new words having to do with cooking and dining: