Words

They’re Ravin’

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For all the entertainment bookers and speaker bureau agents who make our comedy shows and anti-theft keynotes possible: They’re Ravin’ ONCE UPON a midnight…

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German menu translated into English.

German menu

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If you just keep your eyes open, travel is full of laughs. This German menu, translated into English, amused me. “For salads we reached…

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Norrtälje signage

Do not hold your child’s hand

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Strange signage in Norrtälje, Sweden. We all know what the red diagonal means. What do we make of this combination? • Do not hold…

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The Impersonator, by Ann Mann

The Impersonator: Double Duplicity, Innocence, Intrigue

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Film options for The Impersonator, by Ann Mann, are sure to be promptly snapped up. I’ve seen the film in my mind, so richly…

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Laughing in pidgin

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I was somewhere near the intersection of the equator and the international dateline when I saw this sign at airport security. Plis putum algeta…

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Creative shelving

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My brother-in-law, the self-proclaimed Swedish Okie and country bumpkin, is a book collector. This is only one of his meticulously organized bookcases. Though his…

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Neither courteous nor honest

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“I loved your show.” Bob and I both had our mouths full of Roquefort and pears and sourdough croutons. We raced each other to…

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Boy in park with dog

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Adult: “Nice dog. What’s his name?” “Thermidore.” “Hi Sermidore! Good dog!” “THERmidore,” child enunciates. “Oh, SIR Midore,” adult says. “An honorable dog.” “No, Ther-mi-dore.”…

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Malva pudding; weekly mail pudding

A pudding

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After twenty years of baking this decadent dessert, which I’ve called by a name I’m quite fond of, I must finally, if fleetingly, commit…

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Humor in the book business

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Is it humorous, or just pathetic? I got a letter in the mail this week from a literary agent. His letter was dated and…

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Ragged right

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Coogee Beach, Australia— I spend a lot of time on our hotel balcony because the view is spectacular. The weather is glorious and the…

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English as a second language

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Heard at the front desk: “Checking out, sir?” “Yes.” “Hope you enjoyed your stay. Your bill, sir…” “How can I owe $670?” “It’s only…

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What currency do you charge in?

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Overheard at the reception desk on the Queen Mary 2: German gentleman: “Good Afternoon. I have a digital camera with a rechargeable battery——” Receptionist:…

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Acoustic and luminous

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Maybe it’s a good idea to change the subject. Too much Barcelona negativity. So how ’bout, instead, I share a sign I saw at…

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Getting used to robot speech

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I’ve been listening to essays by George Orwell. Terry, a voracious reader, devoured Orwell after Proust and Vidal, and he’s now working on Paul…

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Chinese torture contraption ?

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Can anyone tell me what this contraption is? I took this picture through a window in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, after a dinner at…

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A map of quivering jelly

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In school, I didn’t pay much attention to geography. This pretty much fits the American selfcentric stereotype. I did eventually learn the difference between…

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