Saturday, September 6, 2014

silly, I guess

A couple of sillies -- one more seriously silly than the other -- were called to my attention today. The first comes from comedian George Carlin:

1. George Carlin: The English Plurals

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes;
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese;
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen ?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet ?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth ?

Then one may be that, & three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose;
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother & also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his & him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis & shim !

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England.

We take English for granted,
But if we explore its paradoxes,
We find that quicksand can work slowly,
Boxing rings are square;
A guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
Why is it that writers write, but fingers don't fing,
Grocers don't groce & hammers don't ham ?

Doesn't it seem crazy that ...
You can make amends but not one amend ?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends ...
And get rid of all but one of them,
What do you call it ?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught ?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables,
What does a humanitarian eat ?

Sometimes I think all people who speak English
Should be in an asylum for the verbally insane.
In what other language do people recite at a play,
And play at a recital ?

We ship by truck but send cargo by ship ...
We have noses that run & feet that smell;
We park in a driveway & drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance & a fat chance be the same,
While a wise man & a wise guy are opposites ?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
In which your house can burn up as it burns down;
In which you fill in a form by filling it out,
& in which an alarm goes off by going on.
And in closing .....

If Father is Pop .....
How come Mother's not Mop ? ? ? ?

2. The other, not-quite-so-whimsical silly was to wonder if there were a rational person anywhere who would dispute the assertion that "no one can know the future."

Don't be too quick to answer. Think it over. Check it out in real-time experience: No one can know the future. Gather up all your exceptions and excuses and then consider the assertion: No one can know the future. It's not all that serious, I suppose, but it has some confounding implications ... as for example, why do individuals agree with the assertion and yet insist on collecting a collating information that will do its best to prove the opposite? But not only do they collect and collate, they also can believe their own rhetoric... and then be disappointed when the results only prove the original assertion -- no one can know the future.

And far from becoming humbler in the face of their own failed projections, the ill-fated will redouble their efforts to do better next time. Take the Department of Homeland Security, for example.....


  1. I've said it before and stand by it. The present being a demarkation between past which is gone and future which is yet to be, then what is there of the present that can be known?

    Maybe that's just juggling language, but how wide is a demarkation? Is the present an entire day? A year? Or a nanosecond? If something happened earlier today or this year, wasn't that in the past?

    So it seems to me, that if you "be here now", you've already done it and shifted into an ever receding future. Language may be slippery, but how about logic? I've heard logic called an infinite bog by somebody famous, forget who.

    So here i am, avoiding metaphysics that seem worthy of the tin foil hat set. Appreciating science that grows ever more strange. All i'm left with is some kind of magic beyond the ken of humankind.

    Of course there's no mystery to chopping wood and carrying water. Just don't ask me when it was done.

  2. Sorry, to summarize... who can know the present?