Sunday, 28 February 2010

Is there any difference between ‘happen’ and ‘transpire'?

Grammatically, ‘happen’ is a collaborating inductive that should be used in predatory conjunctions such as: ‘Me and Norm here would like to buy you two happening mommas a drink.’' Whereas ‘transpire’' is a suppository verb that should always be used to indicate that an event of some kind has transpired.

WRONG: ‘Lester got one of them electric worm stunners.’
RIGHT: ‘What transpired was, Lester got one of them electric worm stunners.’


Venezuela to shift clocks half an hour

Venezuelan prez Hugo Chavez today postponed a scheme to secure his place in the pantheon of classic comedy Latin American despots by shifting back his country's clocks half an hour, Reuters reports.

Chavez rather gamely admitted that his cunning plan, slated for activation today and which "would allow children to wake up for school in daylight instead of before sunrise", might be considered in some quarters "crazy", but decided to go ahead anyway with just eight days' notice. He announced that the move would liberate the nation from the shackles of Yankee imperialist hourly divisions - a slur likely to earn him a congratulatory exploding cigar from the CIA, we suspect.

Naturally, there was no advance publicity campaign to herald the realignment to four-and-a-half hours behind Greenwich Mean Time, and Chavez himself got a bit mixed up in announcing the masterplan when he "told Venezuelans to move their clocks forward, when really the measure requires them to be turned back".


Thursday, 18 February 2010


Sidney Morgenbesser (September 22, 1921 – August 1, 2004) was a Columbia University philosopher.

Morgenbesser was known particularly for his sharp witticisms and humor, which often penetrated to the heart of the philosophical issue at hand.

  • During a lecture the Oxford linguistic philosopher J. L. Austin made the claim that although a double negative in English implies a positive meaning, there is no language in which a double positive implies a negative. To which Morgenbesser responded in a dismissive tone, "Yeah, yeah."
  • On the independence of irrelevant alternatives: After finishing dinner, Sidney Morgenbesser decides to order dessert. The waitress tells him he has two choices: apple pie and blueberry pie. Sidney orders the apple pie. After a few minutes the waitress returns and says that they also have cherry pie at which point Morgenbesser says "In that case I'll have the blueberry pie."
  • Interrogated by a student whether he agreed with Chairman Mao’s view that a statement can be both true and false at the same time, Morgenbesser replied “Well, I do and I don’t.”
  • Morgenbesser once set this as an exam question: “It is often said that Marx and Freud went too far. How far would you go?”
  • When challenged why he had written so little, he fired back: "Moses wrote one book. Then what did he do?"
  • "The only problem with pragmatism is that it's completely useless." When asked his opinion of pragmatism, Morgenbesser replied "It's all very well in theory but it doesn't work in practice."
  • In response to Heidegger's ontological query "Why is there something rather than nothing?" Morgenbesser answered "If there were nothing you'd still be complaining!"[


Thursday, 11 February 2010

Pronunciation of goal = jail?

In the case of "gaol" we have a spelling that reflects the Norman word (gaiole, gayolle, gaole) while the pronunciation is that of the Central French word (jaiole, jaole, jeole, geole), better reflected by the spelling "jail".

from alt.usage.english