You don’t have to be an MD or a sick puppy to appreciate the enormous family of humorous medical terms, including ‘peanut butter balls’ (phenobarbitol), ‘horrendoplasty’ (an operation without a sunny forecast), or ‘duck’s disease’ (‘being short’, so-named for the non-NBA-ready stature of quackers).
Mark Peters looks at all the variations of the snowclone “set phasers to x” on Twitter.
Mark Peters explores the phrase “I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.”
By Mark Peters
A few weeks ago, I spotted this tweet by Braden Graeber: “Dear white guys, stop trying to make camouflage cargo shorts happen.”
Minutes later—in a moment of true synchronicity—I saw a white dude in camouflage cargo pants. Whoa.
As a fashion-challenged, oft-confused doofus, I appreciated the heads-up to two facts: 1) those shorts are an atrocity, and 2) this phrase is a snowclone that’s invaluable in mocking anything fake or contrived that annoys or pains us.
Ben Zimmer’s follows up on last week’s post, Pouring New Wine Into Old Phrasal Bottles.
By Dave Wilton
Having just moved to Toronto, Ontario from Berkeley, California, one thing that is on my mind, as well as on my front yard, is snow. Crunching through the drifts on my way to the subway, or when I walk my dog Dexter, gives me a lot of time to contemplate the unfamiliar white stuff. One of those thoughts is how familiarity with snow figures into one of the more persistent false beliefs about language—the one that says, “Eskimos have X number of words for snow,” with X being a number ranging from several dozen to as many as four hundred.
Twitter is a joke factory, where professional comics and civilian jesters crank out one-liners round the clock. In that joke factory, there are popular models. Every day, new jokes play on phrases such as “Dance like no one is watching,” “Sex is like pizza,” and “When life hands you lemons.” While the repetition can be maddening, I’m impressed by how, inevitably, there’s always another good joke lurking in even the most tired formula.
By Mark Peters
If I had a lemon for every time I heard “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” I’d have enough lemons to open a lemons-only Wal-Mart. If I had another lemon for every time I heard a variation like, “When life hands you lemons, run straight home and hide them because the apocalypse is upon us and soon everyone will want them,” I’d have an absolute monopoly on the lemon market, fulfilling my boyhood dreams.
This expression and its variations are everywhere, nowhere more so than on Twitter, the richest source of jokes
By Mark Peters
Before reading, I want you to know, just in case you hate this column, it is not my column. Not my column! These are not my words, not even the prepositions. I think my cousin wrote this—or one of his creepy pals.
Sorry, I guess I just wanted to be as cool as famous folk who use the “not my X” routine whenever the long arm of the law threatens to burst their celebububble. In a nifty blog piece, Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger suggest that “not my X” has become a kind of snowclone
Mark Peters looks at the language of The Big Lebowski.