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Archive for the ‘language’ Category

The Finnish word sisu has many shades of meaning in English. Grit, perseverance and resilience are all shades of meaning but do any of it touch the nerve of being? Alas, no. Such are words and let me see what it means to you and me. It is to see your wallet bare and that takes grit to tighten the belt and cancel the grocery list for the week. You preserve in your indigence and there comes a time when your deprivation has smoothed the dog-ears of want and you can even a joke at ‘being too much in a want to want anything particularly’. It is in extremis. But that will do nicely. Ah then you have learnt the word ‘sisu’ for the kingdom come. Adios amigos! (Ack: Tim Lomas Positive Lexicography Project)

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Iktsuarpok (Inuit) – In Greenland when the bears walk and as I set the lines for trouts to bite I am living the word. But to my friends in Idbil or Astana it is like like going to the market place on a Friday. You know something is to happen and a death wish or ‘knowing your ‘karma’. To my friends in the atoll Pago-Pago it is the feeling you get when TV news cover the polar caps have melted and even when you turn in for the night you don’t know what the morning may bring.

  • Iktsuarpok (Inuit) – the anticipation one feels when waiting for someone, whereby one keeps going outside to check if they have arrived

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Puns Galore!

Marie Rambert DBE, founder of a famous ballet company, on being made a Dame described the event as, the ‘The Dameing of the Shrew.”

2.

Mrs. Patrick Campbell, the actress once complained that in her profession she could not stand them calling her Mrs.Pat. She explained, “The ‘Pat’ is the last straw that breaks the Campbell’s back”.

4.

Noel Coward’s producers were trying to come up with a suitable title for the Night of 100 Stars’ Charity Show.

One suggested, “Summer Stars,” to which Coward replied, “Some are not.”

5.

Max Beerbohm, ‘the incomparable Max’ once declined to be lured into hiking to the summit of a Swiss Alp. “Put me down,” the author of Zuleika Dobson said firmly, “as an Anti-cimb Max.”

6.

Poet and author Hilaire Belloc expressed this wish, “When I

am dead, I hope it may be said his sins were scarlet, but his books were read.”

7.

At a dinner party at Buckingham Palace, when a waiter spilt gravy on her latest gown, actress Beatrice Lillie (Lady Peel)

snapped, “Never darken my Dior again!”

8.

Called to address the guests at a Thanksgiving dinner, William M. Ewarts, the Secretary of State under Hayes began: “ You have been giving your attention to turkey stuffed with sage; you are about to consider a sage stuffed with turkey.”

9.

In his early days Oliver Wendell Holmes practiced medicine and taught anatomy at Harvard and Dartmouth. People seemed to have reservations about consulting one young in years, who had posted the sign above office door, ‘Small fevers gratefully accepted’.

10.

Bud Abbot and Lou Costello were discussing an actor they knew. “Nice guy,” Abbot was sure, “but have you noticed how he always let his friend pick up the dinner check?”

Yes,” replied Costello, “ he has a terrible impediment in his reach.”

11.

Sir W.S. Gilbert, of Gilbert and Sullivan duo, was noted for his waspish tongue. Once when a player urged his untalented mistress on Gilbert for a star part, Gilbert turned to his friend to observe: “This fellow is obviously trying to blow his own strumpet.”

12.

Groucho Marx on the Alps: Ah the Alps. I love the Alps so does God , because God alps them that alps themselves.”

13.

While interviewing a Chinese boy in his radio show, Groucho was told that he was 24. ‘In years or in yen,’ asked Groucho. When the boy answered with a straight face one doesn’t count age in yen, the comic replied, ‘Oh no? I have a yen to be 21 again.’

14.

A Professor of Greek once tore his suit and took it to a tailor named Acidopolus from Athens. The tailor looked at the tear and asked,’Euripdes?’

‘Yes,’ replied the professor,’Eumenides?’

(Ack: Cailyn Coffin quoted by Bennet Cerf-

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