The unintended pun in everyday life.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Seasonal Word Study

During this season of gift-giving, I want to pause from the Puns, and instead give you a gift in the spirit of this blog--a word study meaningful to the Christmas story.

The Bible accounts describe the "birth" of Jesus of Nazareth--born in a manger with cattle and hay all around. It was a humble, quiet scene, except perhaps for a baby wailing for its mother. But other parts of the account give more details about this "birth" that should make us think about Christmas much more deeply:
  • A host of angels appeared to shepherds and told them about this newborn baby, announcing that he would bring peace.
  • An old man named Simeon, having spent most of his life waiting "for the consolation of Israel," upon seeing and holding the baby Jesus, was moved to pray to God, "For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."
  • And of course, even how Mary became pregnant is a great mystery--"The Holy Spirit will come upon you."
So, this was no ordinary "birth." It was, however, necessary, that Jesus of Nazareth be "born" as a human being, to have both a human nature and a God nature within Him. He could then live as a human being--live a perfect life, to become the perfect sacrifice, to fulfill God's perfect justice, and therfore be Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the savior of the world. Instead of ordinary, this "birth" was extraordinary in ways beyond our imaginations: it represented the insertion of God into the world, the collision of the eternal with the temporal, the King of kings entering His kingdom.

Given all this, when you think of the "birth" of Jesus over the next few weeks, think of God entering the world, or a King entering His domain. Snow, and reindeer, and trees, and lights are all fun and festive. But please think of God and this birth on a deep level during this Christmas season.

I'll return next time with some great Unintended Puns.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, October 12, 2012

No Predictive Puns, But Some New Ones

Turns out the deck didn't have to come down after all, though it was touch and go for several weeks. So last blog's pun didn't have actual Predictive Power, just the potential. We still don't own the property, either, but that's a story for another time, perhaps if someone utters a great Unintended Pun during closing. This time, I'll just post a couple of great recent puns, the first is one I thought, and the second was reported to me by a work colleague that he heard on the radio. We'll have to take his word on it, since I didn't hear it myself. If he made it up, he needs to start writing fiction--it's awesome.
October 4, 2012 As I was driving on one of the local NASCAR circuits on my way to work last week, everybody was passing a relatively slow-moving truck, which was dominating the road by taking the center lane. I thought to myself: "Trucks are a real problem on the 101. Everybody has to dodge them right and left."

I guess my favorite Unintended Puns, except probably for the ones that are truly hilarious (see below), are the ones that state a simple truth. "Dodge right and left" of course is exactly what drivers had to do to get around a truck in the middle of three lanes, but I just meant it in the sense of "dodging all over the place."

The second one comes from my work colleague, who heard it during an interview on the radio. Police in the subject city are going to be wearing minicams on their uniforms, to record all they do as a way to prevent unwarranted lawsuits, as well as to provide a sense of accountability for the police.
October 10, 2012 The interviewee said something like: "The camera makes the police press the pause button as they go about their work..."

Assuming he didn't say it on purpose, which is unlikely, this is really funny. The speaker reached into the part of his brain where recording equipment resides, looked for a metaphor to help describe the police's need to think twice about what they were about to do, and chose the exact right image to fit the situation for the speaker--and one that is the exact wrong thing to do in the situation that the police would be in. He or she is about to do something really bad to somebody (Taser a homeless person, punch somebody slumped over their car, or worse.): "I'll just press the pause button on this darn minicam. Nobody will ever know. bwahahahaha." Hilarious pun. And scary for the rest of, what with editing equipment available to splice something together to make the paused and re-started recorded session seem benign.

Please follow our blog, and report the Unintended Puns you come across. They'll help us understand our brains--and much more importantly, lighten our burdens and give us a laugh.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Pun with Predictive Power?

My wife and I are in the somewhat long and somewhat unpleasant process of buying a property in the very pleasant town of Prescott. The house in question is very nice, backs to National Forest land, has most of the features we were looking for, all at a price we are willing to pay. After the home inspection conducted by a private inspector hired by us, we requested a number of items be repaired. This list, incorporated on a form called a "BINSR," included our request that two additions to the house, which had not been "permitted" by the county upon construction, now be formally submitted and approved for permits. As regular readers would suspect, I don't care much about the county issuing these permits. It's mostly a formality, allowing the local municipality to collect its fee for doing very little. But most people do care, so that later when we sell the house, we would need to get the permits. So we want to get the additions permitted now, before we purchase the house.
June 18, 2012 As my wife described her thoughts on this, she said: "If the seller isn't willing to do the permit work, things kinda fall apart."

Besides being a nice pun, as the process has moved forward since she said this, it has turned out to be something of a predictive pun. One of the additions is a deck--a deck that spans most of the back of the house--a great place to spend time out of the Phoenix heat, admiring the National Forest/Scrub, enjoying the great outdoors. But, turns out that the deck needs some shoring up, so would potentially fall apart if it were not worked on and properly repaired. Christine of course meant that the deal could fall apart if the seller were not willing to do the permit work, and the reason it was a pun in the first place was because we knew at least the railing and stairs had to be repaired. But I am giving this pun the Power of Prediction due to the added need for beams being replaced. So, we have a first--A Pun with Predictive Power.
Anyway, please post your puns. We love a good pun, especially when it's Unintended. I know they are out there. Just add them in your comments.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Political Pun-entary

Regular readers of The Unintended Pun Forum will not be surprised to learn that I am not a fan of minimum wage laws. As with most do-gooder government intervention, forcing employers to pay a minimum wage has had not only unintended consequences, but to have had the reverse impact that its orignators wanted. Before any further comment, let me present today's pun-entary, which when analyzed to its core, provides all the comment needed.
After a months-long search, my son recently obtained a minimum wage job working at a nearby grocery store. As part of his in-processing, he was required to provide his Social Security card, to prove to the company that he is an American citizen.
April 9, 2012 As my son described this process, he said, with sarcasam in his voice: "Paying somebody $7.75 who isn't a citizen would be un-American."

Besides being a nice pun, this statement covers so much ground, and provides subtle and profound political commentary that you'll rarely find in the mainstream media. It gets at so many things in America today that are indeed un-American, that so many Americans just accept as "American":
  • It gets at the illegal immigration problem--are illegal immigrants "taking" jobs from American citizens, or just doing jobs that Americans wouldn't take anyway, and therefore just making life more pleasant at an inexpensive price?
  • It reminds us of one of the core beliefs that founded this country: "Don't Tread on Me"--and yet forcing employers to pay a certain wage, regardless of the employee's skill or experience is a great example of treading.
  • It hints at how entwined the government is with companies--they have to follow so many regulations, becoming part of the bureaucracy and essentially agents of the state in enforcing those regulations, or face fines and penalties if they don't enforce them.
Then, to move beyond the pun-entary a little: Minimum wage laws actually raise unemployment and decrease the incentive to work--as I have read in the on-line pages of The Daily Reckoning, to get rid of unemployment, you only need to do two things:
  1. Get rid of minimum wage laws.
  2. Get rid of programs that provide incentives to not work.

Please share your Pun-entary, or any other Unintended Puns. There's nothing better than a good commentary, especially when told in the form of a pun.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Pun as Truth--New Category or New Factor?

Before I reviewed some of my previous posts, I thought we would be discussing a new category of pun today--The Pun as Truth. That is, a phrase that not only states something that is true, but also in the context is a lovely pun. But as I looked through previous posts, I noticed that a better way to caracterize this kind of pun would be just to add it as a Pun Factor--"does the pun tell a truth?" And I had just blogged one in a recent post without realizing it--when I shared that I was concerned how I, as a city slicker, would look wearing boots, and I said, "I don't think I could pull off boots." As a matter of fact, I do have have trouble pulling off anything tight from my feet, probably because I have high arches and fairly wide feet.

On to the Truth Telling Puns, which have a "does the pun tell a truth?" answer of YES:

I was discussing the long-running BBC television show Dr. Who with a work colleague.
March 14, 2012 I mentioned that I never can remember which actor is from which era of the show, which has been on since 1963: "I have trouble telling who's who."

This second one, as many, was a thought, in the privacy of my own car. I don't know about you, but one of my pet peeves as a daily commuter is to have people pass me only to have me catch up them at the light. How ridiculous is this? They have created an interaction that doesn't need to happen--if they are a daily commuter, which is most likely the case, they should know the light timing as well as I do. So they know the light isn't going to change just because they are driving faster. But they choose to add to the danger of the world--in this case, me and them--so they can get to the red light in the car ahead of me, sometimes just to block me from making my right on red. Take a word from your intrepid blogger--don't do this. Anyway, as somebody was doing this, the pun happened.

March 15, 2012 I said to myself as the guy slipped into my lane ahead of me: "These people pass me like this all the time. It's like a rite of passage."

Please share your Puns as Truth, or any other Unintended Puns. I know they make my day more enjoyable, and your puns will let all of us more in on the brain's intricate workings.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

More Fun Puns

I know it's not just me. You all are saying and hearing, and more importantly, noticing, Unintended Puns all the time, or at least I hope so. Otherwise, just I and a few of my closest associates are having fun with these lovely little verbal gems, and the rest of humanity is missing out one of my life's great pleasures.

Today I'll share two private, and one very public pun, one that many of you would have heard if you watched the Republican debate in Tampa a few weeks ago. If you noticed the Unintended Pun that Mr. Santorum said, please post a comment at the Pun Forum so I'll know there are more of us paying attention.

First, the fun private ones.

Claire, my daughter and one of the close associates I alluded to above, had grown weary of her mother and father watching a Youtube video that altered the ending of the movie Titanic, making it happy.

January 17, 2012 As the music finished, with images of the people and ship being hit with rushing water, pouring in from the high seas, Claire said: "And on that note, probably a high-C..."

This second private one never made it out of my mind, and actually the word that completed the pun didn't even become fully formed, since I realized that it was about to make an Unintended Pun.

I'll have to give a little background. I read an article that claims that wheat is bad for humans to consume, which may or may not be true. The article went on to claim that when farming became common five or ten thousand years ago, the farmers somehow convinced the rest of humanity that eating wheat was better than eating what people had been eating, which was a very primal diet of meat and not much else. I don't think I'll comment on the article, except to say I always find it interesting/amusing when people claim to know what was going through someone's mind a long time ago.

So, this morning I was thinking about that article after I noticed a loaf of whole wheat bread on our kitchen counter.
February 11, 2012 I said to myself with regard to the author of the article: "I guess you have a beef with wh....."

The last pun for today was very public. It took place toward the end of the Tampa Republican debate, when Brian Williams, the moderator, asked the candidates to describe their role in furthering conservatism:

Brian Williams: "This has been called, in addition to this unprecedented primary contest the GOP is in the midst of, a battle for the soul of the Republican Party. Governor Romney, the question is, about that soul, what have you done to further the cause of conservativism as a Republican leader?"

After Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich gave their answers, it was Rick Santorum's turn. (See below for political commentary.)

February 11, 2012Part of Santorum's answer: "They didn`t stand tall for the conservative principles that they argued that they were for. And as a result, we ended up with this bailout that has injected government into business like it had never been done before.
They rejected conservativism when it was hard to stand. It`s going to be hard to stand whoever this president is going to be elected. It`s going to be tough. There is going to be a mountain of problems. It`s going to be easy to be able to bail out and compromise your principles."

Political commentary: I really don't care about major either political party, though I do care about the government getting smaller, much smaller. I watched the debate to see how Ron Paul would do compared to the other much more famous and polished candidates.

The answers to this particular question totally fascinated me, but didn't surprise me at all--I mean, these guys are politicians, and they want to stay politicians, so they have to persuade us to vote for them, which means saying what they think we want to hear. So their answer of what they have done "for" conservatism, Romney basically said what he had been doing was conservativism, because after all, they figured that's what Republicans want to hear, at least somewhat. Gingrich followed suit, then Santorum. Basically, none of them have done anything to further conservativism, except in the sense that they have done what they have done--furthering anything would be to actually have vision and take chances, and maybe actually lose an election because they took a stand, not just because their particular take on public opinion was wrong for a given election.

Finally, Ron Paul had his chance, and he did just what I thought he would do--he said,

PAUL: Well, I think the problem is, is nobody has defined what being conservative means.
WILLIAMS: Go ahead.
PAUL: And I think that is our problem. Conservative means we have a smaller government and more liberty. And yet, if you ask, what have we done? I think we have lost our way.

So, there you have it--a couple of fun private puns, which of course you didn't hear, and one very public one, which you may have heard. If you did, let us know here on the Pun Forum, and definitely share your private puns as well.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Depressing Subject; Still Some Puns

I just finished listening to a set of CDs from The Teaching Company called "Utopia and Terror in the 20th Century." It's part of The Great Courses/Modern History series, this particular one taught by Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius of the University of Tennessee. He covers many of what I have thought of in the past as The Top Ten Bad Guys of the 20th Century--Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, others--suggesting that their attempt to remake their societies into something of a utopia led them to use terror and violence, and of course often turning the death and destruction inward, on the very people they had supposedly hoped to re-make into "the perfect people." As with all the Great Courses, it is excellent, and in this case, makes for sobering and at times very uncomfortable listening--how could sane people follow these obviously insane "leaders," to the point, in the case of China during the Cultural Revolution in the time of Mao, where an entire population dressed exactly alike for fear of offending somebody?

Despite this serious and difficult topic, Dr. Liulevicius was unable to avoid during his 24 lectures saying a few Unintended Puns. One of them barely counts, as explained below, one of them I misheard a mispronounced word into an Unintended Pun, and one of them is blatant.

This first one kind of doesn't count, because there may not be another way to say it. I include it as an interesting historic note.
January 15, 2012 Said the professor in explaining how one of the most unintelligible, but at the same time somehow powerful and motivating and destructive, pieces of writing was put to paper:" "Hitler dictated Mein Kampf."

This second one is a new case for the Pun Forum. The Professor pronounced the word "totalitarianism" two different ways. The first time he used it, at least when I noticed it, he said it such that the word "total" was pronounced as usual, followed by the rest of the word. Sort of like "total-it-arianism."

January 10, 2012 As I got to thinking about this word later, I thought he had said" 'total-Aryanism,' which fit perfectly with the subject at hand, which was Hitler's attempt to re-make the German people into 'total Aryans.' "

Okay, now back to our usual brand of Unintended Pun, though again quite sobering in its context and meaning. The Professor was explaining the practice of eugenics "good born," which sadly for Americans, had its roots in the United States. It was made use of by many of the utopian madmen examined in the lecture series, most widely by the Nazis.

January 12, 2012 In explaining the idea behind eugenics, and how it took hold in the scientific community as a way to "improve" on human nature by among other things the sterilization of certain "unfit" people, the Professor said" "Eugenics was seen as the cutting edge of science."

The 20th Century saw some horrible and widespread violence, almost all of it brought about by a very few men attempting to create a legacy of...what? Mao Tse Tung, who must be in the Top Five, said "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." All of these "leaders" knew the only way to reach their goals was to seize control of their governments, and in most cases, they then tried to move outward from there. They persuaded millions that the utopia/perfection they sought was not only reachable, but if reached, would make all of them happier, feel better about themselves, and perhaps make them remembered forever--despite obvious evidence all around those millions that they were causing suffering and bloodshed and unhappiness. Since human nature doesn't change--there will always be insane men who want to "lead" us to some new utopia--may the average sane person find within the ability to resist the barrel of the gun.

Thank you for reading these Unintended Puns, and please resist the calls for utopia.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year, New Category of Unintended Pun

Despite millions of people having as their number one resolution for the New Year to stop saying Unintended Puns, nothing can stop the subconscious mind from uttering them. (Okay, I doubt even one person made that even their lowest resolution, but I had this image of people contorting their lips, tongue and jaw, trying vainly to stop from saying what they know is about to be an Unintended Pun--and it made me laugh.) Reminds me of Mr. Universe in Firefly: "Nothing stops the signal."

Anyway, I think we've run across a new category--the Mixed Metaphor Unintended Pun, contributed by our favorite punster, my daughter Claire. She is a big fan of Ron Paul (as am I), and has been following the news coverage of his campaign. Of course, if you pay attention to the news about the Republican primaries, you know that finding information about Ron Paul requires quite a bit of persistence--the mainstream media seem determined to keep him out of their stories about the primaries, whether because they don't know what to make of him (definitely part of the problem) or because they hope by keeping him out of their stories he won't win the nomination.

But thanks to Claire's persistence, we have a lovely Unintended Pun, which even if it weren't a pun, would make a funny combination of metaphors.

From Ron Paul’s Secret Plan To Actually Win in BuzzFeed. Click here for the story.

January 3, 2012
“One of my running mates is a Paul supporter and there’s nobody in the world that works harder and she doesn’t just work for him – she does a lot of the heavy lifting in my district,” said Karen Karls, a Republican member of the Idaho House of Representatives, a state where Paul’s campaign is focused on validating the candidate with the endorsements of local elected officials. "I know some people maybe think the Paul supporters are sitting in the weeds taking pot shots at us, but seriously a lot of the people that probably would support him would be very likely to get involved long term, and that’s really what a political party needs."

I love the mixed metaphor by itself; the bonus of its making a pun qualifies it as one of the finest quotes ever. With humor like this, maybe the media will start looking more to Ron Paul supporters for their stories; then maybe they'll start noticing that what Ron Paul himself has to say makes more sense than what the other candidates are saying.