Thursday, July 22, 2010

Finally! A contest category for us!

A medieval scribe writes at his desk, surrounded by open manuscripts, 15th Century. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Greetings, dearest Punsters!

After a brief holiday hiatus, we're back with more Puns and Pun culture for our loyal readers. Did you miss us? Aww, shucks.

One of said loyal readers, AC, alerts us to the existence of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, for which one of the categories is labelled...wait for it...Vile Puns!!


This year's winner was Greg Homer (brilliant name) from Placerville, CA, with this masterpiece: "Using her flint knife to gut the two amphibians, Kreega the Neanderthal woman created the first pair of open-toad sandals."

Off the scale!

The runner-up was a fellow Kiwi, clearly a man after our own heart, Eric Davies from Dunedin, New Zealand with this exquisitely classical Pun:
'Medusa stared at the two creatures approaching her across the piazza and, instantly recognizing them as Spanish Gorgons, attempted to stall them by greeting them in their native tongue, "Gorgons, Hola!"'

That one rocks!

The third place, or "Dishonourable Mention" (it should be Totally Most Honourable Mention), goes to another Punder from Down Under, Janine Beacham from Busselton, Western Australia:
"Eyeing the towering stacks of food colouring that formed the secret to his billion-dollar batik textile empire, grumpy Old Man Griffington was forced to admit that dye mounds are a churl's best friend."

With such fine Punsmiths operating around the world, I would encourage you all to enter your best, your finest, your most "vile" Puns for next year's competition, and let's raise the profile of the humble Pun!!

Peace and Puns!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A warning to us all

Dearest Punners!

How are you? Really?! That's fantastic! Boy, this Poculum Mundi (World Cup) business has seized the world by the balls and driven many countries hopelessly insane. Punning, I find, helps ease the inevitable madness. Others disagree, of course. One of our readers, Atticus, alerts us to the existence of a textbook for ancient Greek composition (a common subject these days) that includes a comment extremely insulting to us Pun-minded folk.

First, the source: DONOVAN, J. 'Theory of Advanced Greek Prose Composition, with Digest of Greek Idioms, Volume II: Part I. (Concluded), and Part II.' (Oxford, 1922) 263.

Second, the Crime: The first example sentence is this -- "Excessive punning is a characteristic feature of the poetical compositions of the hopelessly insane."

Oh yeah?! Well by that token, Mr "Donovan" (if that IS your real name), the greatest poet of the English language, our beloved Shakespeare, is HOPELESSLY INSANE!! (see post from June 16 for his Punning genius). Well, here's a poem for YOU, Mr Donovan. I hope you like it...

I was doing some Greek prose composition
When I came across words of such disposition
That I tore up the page
Violent war did I wage
And now they've put me in an institution.

Take that, Donovan!
Now if you'll excuse me, I've a spaceship manned by a dinosaur to catch.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It's All White by me!

Dearest Punsters!

Like most of our planet's inhabitants, of late I have been enchanted by the Cup of the football World. In particular, the magnificent journey of New Zealand's All Whites. So, in honour of these fiesty lads, I feel it is time for some appropriately Punchy Puns.

A few contributions from fans are relevant here!

From TJD:
"My friend was updating me on the All Whites' prospects:

'If our All Whites tie their game, and Italy also tie their last game with the same number of goals, we'll be drawing lots.'

'Yes', I replied. 'There WILL be lots of draws.'"

Wordplay. Nice.

From CRS:

Chris was discussing the All Whites' draw with Slovakia with a friend.

Chris: "Who scored the goal that gave NZ a draw, saving them from defeat?"

Friend: "I believe his name was Winston Reid."

Chris: "Winston? More like DRAW-ston..."

Tenuous...but I'll allow it!

Another commentator (PJ) observed the awkwardness of the All Whites' name in post-apartheid South Africa...Best leave that one alone.

Now I must away from the Internet to focus on a very different sort of net! ;)


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Great Puns from History, Part III: Shake your spears for Shakespeare!

Good day, my deareth Puntastic fellows and fellowettes! How fareth thee? Superbeth!

Many of us have had a love/hate relationship with Shakespeare throughout our lives. Being forced to read this strange, boringly Biblical-sounding verse in school was enough to make us look forward to doing algebra instead.

Yet the massive influence that the Bard has had on world literature, pop culture and the English language has made him essential reading - whether you like it or not. While many can now, far beyond high school, stomach and even enjoy his mosaics of iambic pentameter, if you're not a fan, NEVER FEAR! There are several good reasons to revisit these immortal works...

PUNS!! Oh yes, this most famous playwright was a huge fan thereof. Sprinkled throughout his plays are Punning gems in a desert of verse (not that the rest of his plays is "desert", but bear with me here). Some examples:

Romeo and Juliet: After being stabbed, Mercutio maintains his razor-sharp wit: "Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man."

Richard III: The opening lines. Keep in mind Richard III was the son of the Duke of York...:
"Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York..."

Not even the titles of his plays were safe from Punnage. "Much Ado About Nothing" is an interesting example, given that in Shakespeare’s day, "nothing" and "noting" were homophones (they sounded the same). Therefore the title could also be understood as "Much Ado about Noting." "Nothing" is a double-entendre; "an O-thing" was Elizabethan slang for "vagina".

Alas, not all of Shakespeare's readers have enjoyed his puns so much. Dr Samuel Johnson, an early editor of Shakespeare's works, once said that punning was to Shakespeare "the fatal Cleopatra for which he lost the world and was content to lose it", referring to the queen of Egypt who was to be the death of Marc Antony.

But, as has been noted, even Johnson's comment contains a pun. "Fatal" is doubly appropriate, given that Cleopatra was both Antony's death and his destiny.

It seems no one, and nothing, can escape the lure of the Pun.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Get thee to a Punnery!

Dearest devotees of the deity Pun (or Pun Nuns, if you will),

Today we have a fan contribution, from a mysterious fellow going by the name "Atticus". In true Roman style, we have another example of bilingual Punning wit from Atticus' past. Here's his pitch:

"My Latin and Greek teacher at school, an Englishman, still young and fairly fresh-faced from university, told golden tales of his cricketing prowess with the Cambridge 1st XI. Apparently, as captain, standing on the pitch and having just won the customary toss of the coin to begin proceedings, my dear teacher didn't just go with some Ricky Ponting-esque autopilot response. Heavens no. That would have been far too easy.

Rather, when the umpire, having witnessed the toss, turned and asked him what he would like to do, he would merely reply, in solemn tones:

"Curculio vespertilio".

In other words: "Weevil bat"."

If THAT's not a home run, I don't know what is!
Wait, I mean, a hit for six...either way, truly wicket punning. Nothing like coining a new expression.

This post does make me wonder what the insect "cricket" would be in Latin...


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Great Puns from History: Part II

Greetings, fellow Punguins!

On this historic day, time for another dip into the archives of the Punning greats of yore.

Thomas Hood (1799–1845) is perhaps one of our greatest forefathers. His written works, especially in his early days, were positively packed with Puns. In defence of our noble art, he once wrote:

"However critics may take offence,
A double meaning has double sense."

Hear hear!

An example from his real life, however, helps demonstrate why we should all Pun as often as we can on a day-to-day basis; practice makes damn near perfect Puns:
In Thomas Hood's later life, when an undertaker offered him his services, Hood quipped: "He is trying to urn a lively Hood."


P.S. Puns not guns.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One last slice of baked-goods-related Punnage...

Piece of cake.

Easy as pie.


I think not.