Re: Eviscerating Stories

1

I tell great stories.

The end.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:19 AM
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Wow! Details, please!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:20 AM
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So, you should start with "I found five dollars"?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:21 AM
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Make it six dollars! Or even seven!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:24 AM
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This is most likely a long, boring post.

You should have heard it in my painful internal monotone.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:26 AM
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5: Wow! Details, please!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:30 AM
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Really, the only thing you need to remember for a successful story is that dick jokes always work.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:30 AM
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7: I'm not captivated.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:33 AM
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Last night, I spent a great deal of time saying "Banana who?" in response to "Knock, knock." Our little one is just starting to move from physical humor (stealing daddy's glasses and running) to verbal humor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:33 AM
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||
OT: From instructions to a new home blood pressure monitor. Stress raises blood pressure. Avoid taking measurements during stressful times. Vindicated for not having tracked it over last decade! Just to be on the safe side, don't weigh yourself during stressful times, either.
||


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:37 AM
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Pace the OP, one of my favorite type of stories is the groaner, dragged-out, detail-laden joke, that ends with a platitude or a pun.

The first example that comes to mind is one about an aspiring florist whose business is failing due to the local Catholic religious order also selling flowers (people preferring flowers bought from a holy group, you see), which Catholic religious order is soon put out of business when the fledgling aspring florist hires the local bully Hugh McClaggart to trash the religious order's florist shop, which he proceeds to do three times, finally resulting in their closing shop permanently, thereby proving, once again, that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

Except with like way more embellishment.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:39 AM
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12

Don't take your blood pressure while Stanley is telling that joke.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:42 AM
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11: you reject the term Shaggy Dog Story?

I have a weird tendency to get the punchlines of shaggy dog stories I no longer remember stuck in my head. "Boy Foot Bear With Teaks of Chan!" I'll say, in my head, all day. "Hey There Boy, Are You The Cat That Stole The New Shoes?" Very confusing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:42 AM
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13: I thought Shaggy Dog stories were something a bit different. I admit to having thrown up my arms in confused defeat at some old nosflowian blogpost about Shaggy Dog stories, and have been confused about 'em ever since.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:45 AM
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This post reminds me of a discussion I had once with a friend in HS. He ended up being my best friend (which was surprising, because practically the first thing he ever said to me was that he wanted to kick my ass, even though we'd never interacted, and i thought I was totally anonymous. But I guess the new kid is never really invisible), but at the time we were just getting to know each other. Anyhow, I noticed that I really enjoyed his stories, especially the ones that revolved around late-night antics, if you take my meaning (specifically, booting stereos from cars down at the mall; nice suburban kid, but bored, I suppose. His dad left his mom around that time, but he insisted on not blaming that for anything, so I guess I won't do it here, although, frankly, it's hard not to. His mom was nice enough, but totally the overstressed, shouty type. I'll never forget the time that my friend was driving their crappy Plymouth Horizon - which replaced their ├╝ber-crappy Ford Fairmount, which had, no joke, a blue book value of $525 in mint condition - with his mom in the passenger seat and me in the back, and, as we approached a green light on a state highway - NJ 10, for locals - and she said, "Larry" - his name was Larry, same as his dad, as if that's not fraught - "there's a green light up ahead, so slow down." Craziest driving advice I've ever heard), so I asked him how he had learned to tell such good stories, especially his use of language, which was simultaneously earthy - he used a number of idiomatic expressions that were new to me but very evocative - and erudite, and he looked me in the eye, and told me, "J, you gotta keep it terse." No, wait, that can't be right. "Keep it concise"? That makes more sense. "Concise," definitely.

Anyway, it's a lesson I've never forgotten.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:45 AM
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"I'm a rambling wreck from Georgia Tech and an elephant engineer." Except the first part isn't skewed.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:47 AM
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9: We're just getting to the point where Things 1 & 2 understand how to make knock-knock jokes. Before, they grasped the structure but not the essence, so we got ones like: "Knock knock." "Who's there?" "Pizza." "Pizza who?" "I put pizza in my underpants."

Also, I hate shaggy-dog jokes more than life itself.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:49 AM
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9: be glad the verbal humor is manifesting in actual jokes. Rory's initial verbal stage was more like:

Knock knock.

Who's there?

Banana.

Banana who?

Rhinoceros!!!! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:51 AM
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17: Also, I hate shaggy-dog jokes more than life itself.

Orange you glad I didn't tell one?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:51 AM
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11: Father! The sages of Wen are deaf!


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:52 AM
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17, 18: Jesus told that story better.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:53 AM
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15: "The night was sultry."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:54 AM
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"Hey There Boy, Are You The Cat That Stole The New Shoes?" Very confusing.

That's "Pardon me, boy..." Is that less confusing?

I know 'em all, too. "Silly Rabbi, Kicks are for Trids."


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:54 AM
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17, 18: We get that kind of response all the time. But, he will usually try something close to the right way before becoming bored and following his own path.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:54 AM
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15: maybe your friend didn't act out because his dad left. Maybe his dad left because of his acting out. People always want to blame the parents.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:55 AM
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The first shaggy dog stories seem to have been variations on a tall tale that was indeed about a shaggy-haired dog. Eric Partridge wrote a little monograph called The 'Shaggy Dog' Story, Its Origin, Development and Nature in 1953. He said that "the best explanation of the term is that it arose in a story very widely circulated only since 1942 or 1943, although it was apparently invented in the 1930's". The term itself is even more recent than those dates: the first reference I've found is to a piece by David Low in The New York Times Magazine in 1945. An obscure collection of shaggy dog stories under that title was published in 1946.
And the earliest were apparently not pun-based.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:55 AM
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That's "Pardon me, boy..." Is that less confusing?

And it's "is that the cat..."

No, it's not less confusing. I know what it's a pun on, I just can't remember the setup.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:56 AM
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And the earliest were apparently not pun-based.

Yeah, re-reading about them now, my confusion was in thinking they were not pun-based. Rather, if I understand correctly, "jokes" like the florist friar one above would fall into a subset of SDSs that are pun-based. Not sure why the pun-or-no-pun criterion had me hung up, but it all makes more sense now. Thanks, internet!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:58 AM
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|| I woke up this morning determined that I would not comment at all today so I could focus on the brief that just got dumped unceremoniously in my lap. I'm off to a stellar fucking start. |>


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:00 AM
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30

Also it's "chewed the new shoes"

I'M A FAILURE


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:00 AM
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31

How would a brief get ceremoniously dropped in one's lap? Trumpets, a brocaded napkin produced with a flourish upon which to rest it?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:01 AM
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17: Also, I hate shaggy-dog jokes more than life itself.

Not my favorite either--especially ones that rely on the introduction of strange names like a "Rary" or "Bill Famey". Whoa! Didn't see that coming. But I guess that's not the point. The journey is the joke.

The Aristocrats!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:03 AM
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33

Part of me, now, is hypercritical of other people
:-P


Posted by: Jammies | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:03 AM
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34

The only Google hit for "cat that stole the new shoes" is this thread.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:04 AM
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35

Isaac Asimov published some bracingly stupid shaggy dog stories.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:04 AM
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33: Wow! Details, please!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:04 AM
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Oh hai 30.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:04 AM
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38

I don't know. I'm a straight-to-the-point, no-extraneous-details kind of storyteller and I feel like that's part of my problem. It seems to me that great storytellers wrap up their audience in details and digressions and so on.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:09 AM
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14, 28: admit to having thrown up my arms in confused defeat at some old nosflowian blogpost about Shaggy Dog stories, and have been confused about 'em ever since.

Neb is sort of a terrorist of the mind. But his latest post is potentially very relevant to MH's 9. (in full): What sort of person is gladdened simply because someone else didn't say "banana"? What kind of life is that?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:10 AM
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38: 33: Wow! Details, please!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:10 AM
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41

33 Shit.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:11 AM
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9: An artfully edited joke, courtesy of my niece:

A: Knock knock.
B: Who's there?
C: Orange.
D: Orange who?
E: Orange you glad I didn't say banana?

Who needs all that meandering in the middle?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:11 AM
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42: Um, whoops. C, E -> A, and D -> B. There are two interlocutors, not five.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:13 AM
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44

31: Good question. Champagne? A plaque?


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:14 AM
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45

The contra-banana-speaking roundtable


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:16 AM
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46

15: maybe your friend didn't act out because his dad left. Maybe his dad left because of his acting out. People always want to blame the parents.

Yeah, I actually don't know the timeline - for years I thought his dad had left when he was younger, but it turned out it was shortly before we met. But I don't know which came first, the criminality or the abandonment*. His academics definitely went downhill after his dad left, and he ended up following in his dad's footsteps to join the Navy. The kid was a lazy therapist's dream. Lotta fun, tho.

* Not really abandonment - his dad still came around, but his departure was apparently rather abrupt and unilateral


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:16 AM
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39: Neb's point aside, it's cute when a three year old does it. I credit Montessori because he's in the room with five year olds.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:17 AM
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I have been working on a number of variations on the interrupting cow knock-knock joke. My current favorite is interrupting sloth, in which the would-be interrupter moves too slow to actually interrupt the interlocutor and offers an unenthusiastic "Hey." well after the expected interruption. Hilarious, I tell you!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:18 AM
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49

47: I suppose that goes for the pizza in the underpants, too?

And look at this mess.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:22 AM
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50

You know what joke never works?

What's the secret of co-


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:22 AM
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51

TIMING!


Posted by: Sifu's Interlocutor | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:22 AM
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52

-medy?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:22 AM
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53

48: My greatest joke invention: interrupting Charlie Rose.

[insert boilerplate...]
B: Interrupting Charlie Rose wh--
A: What is it about you? Is it your drive? Your determination? Your curiosity? Is it that you insist on working with the best and smartest people? Or is it that there is something inside you, a need to succeed in spite of obstacles or problems or difficulties... I talk to you and I see in you a competitor, somebody who loves to win, a hunger for learning... [and so on]


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:25 AM
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54

It's 'pardon me Roy,' for goodness' sake. Roy Rogers buys nifty new boots, but on his way home he is attacked by a starving wildcat in a tree that misses him but gets the boots on the back of his saddle. He returns home distraught. Dale can't stand his whining so she goes out, tracks the cat, kills it, and brings it back to Roy, saying "pardon me Roy, is that the cat that chewed your new shoes (boots)?"


Posted by: lurker | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:31 AM
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54: O.K. I now agree with 17.last.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:33 AM
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56

The sins of the fathers...


Posted by: lurker | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:42 AM
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interrupting cow knock-knock joke

Somehow I got to adulthood never having heard this until a year or two ago when my kids started telling them. It still cracks me up.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:46 AM
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57: And I long ago entered dotage, and I still haven't ever heard it.

But I guess it's more likely that I have heard it, but like so many many other things, I've forgotten all about it.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:50 AM
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59

45: How much bigger than a regular banana is a contrabanana?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:50 AM
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10: I recently got an STD test at Planned Parenthood. While taking my blood pressure the tech commented that I was the most relaxed man she'd ever tested. Apparently most guys going in for STD tests are stressed. Ha ha ha festering dick losers!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:50 AM
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59: I don't know, how much?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:53 AM
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62

60: What STD can cause you to lose your dick?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:58 AM
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63

Leprosy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:02 AM
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64

I was going to say 'gone-urethra'.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:02 AM
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65

I guess dropsy isn't sexually transmitted, but that would have been a much better answer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:02 AM
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66

63 reminds of the leper/prostitute joke with "keep the tip" as the punchline.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:03 AM
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67

I read a couple jokebooks' descriptions of "shaggy dog story" over and over as a kid, since I simply did not understand what the point was. It seems to have been a predecessor to the "comedy of awkwardness", in that the craft is to create a joke which has, instead of an unexpected punchline, a line which is absolutely unexpected, and yet is still not funny in the least. Which is actually hard to do.

Associating it with the "sentence-long pun" style of joke doesn't sound right at all.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:03 AM
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I have a weird tendency to get the punchlines of shaggy dog stories I no longer remember stuck in my head.

I thought the sine qua non of shaggy dog stories is that they don't have punchlines. Now I will have to go google things, damn you all.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:04 AM
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69

Coconut crabs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:04 AM
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70

69 to 62.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:05 AM
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68 posted before seeing 67. Will I google anyway? Stay tuned for The Rest of the Story.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:05 AM
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72

And the pig got up and slowly walked away.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:06 AM
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73

69, 70: Why you should always examine a new partner's genitals before having sex.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:07 AM
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73: In case they want to change a 69 to a 62?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:08 AM
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I'm using Asimov's implied definition. Possibly that's what the term "Shaggy Dog story" will refer to... in the future?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:08 AM
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I think a 62 requires a special chair.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:10 AM
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77

Wikipedia says that we are all right and we all get a trophy for participating.

The commonly believed archetype of the shaggy dog story is a story that concerns a shaggy dog. The story builds up, repeatedly emphasizing how amazing the dog is. At the climax of the story, someone in the story reacts with, "That dog's not so shaggy." The expectations of the audience that have been built up by the presentation of the story, that the story will end with a punchline, are thus disappointed.

but also

Shaggy dog story has come to also mean a joke where a pun is finally achieved after a long (and ideally tedious) exposition.

Forget all that, though, because this is the truly important part: "This [the pun-related meaning] is also called a feghoot."

It's called a feghoot! This has made my day.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:13 AM
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78

I say that's a stupid joke, son.


Posted by: Feghoot Logblort | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:15 AM
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77: So the main point is building-up expectations and then disappointing them? Like grad school?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:15 AM
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80

Oh, Wikipedia doesn't know anything.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:16 AM
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81

My family tells the "herd of interrupting cows" variant. Now the kids think that you yell "MOOOOO!" anywhere you want in a knock knock joke.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:25 AM
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Along the lines of Stanley's pun-based story/jokes, I've always enjoyed the still-repeating My Word from the BBC. Frank Muir and somebody else would always compete on who could explain the origin of a particular phrase better, only the actual phrase wouldn't be the end result, but something which sounded like it. Is that properly a pun? How does that work?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:25 AM
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83

I'm totally stealing Interrupting Sloth. I really enjoyed Iris' Interrupting X phase.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:30 AM
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84

I had a roommate who could absolutely suck the life out of a story. I asked her one time how she hurt her arm. She told me, but never noticed I was staring at her disgustedly. You fell off a zipline and landed in a thornbush while you were drunk at a party! How are you making this dull?! This is great material. It should be immune to the telling.

I stopped asking her how her day was because the answers were too boring.

She was very pretty and wore little clothing. I wondered if she had always gotten enough attention that she hadn't needed to sharpen her stories.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:31 AM
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I'm totally stealing Interrupting Sloth.

Huzzah! Go forth and tell the masses!

Slowly.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:35 AM
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86

Timing.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:38 AM
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87

She was very pretty and wore little clothing.

Yep. That obliviates the need for effective story-telling.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:41 AM
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It's called a feghoot!

This is from a old series of SF short-short stories about Ferdinand Feghoot that were just buildups to a pun. I can't remember who wrote them -- I don't think it was anyone terribly famous for anything else.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:55 AM
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89

Did everybody go to change into something more comfortable?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:55 AM
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90

87: obliviates = obliges to obviate?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:04 AM
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"She was very pretty and wore little clothing. I wondered if she had always gotten enough attention that she hadn't needed to sharpen her stories."

This explains why nobody bothers to hide their contempt for my pitiful storytelling ability.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:05 AM
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92

The natural complement to losing looks is gaining puns.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:06 AM
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90: I added Harry Potter spells to my spell checker.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:07 AM
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I stopped asking her how her day was because the answers were too boring.

She was very pretty and wore little clothing.

So, Megan, tell us more about your roommate. She sounds fascinating.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:07 AM
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95

Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it IS "artistic."


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:21 AM
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So, Megan, tell us more about your roommate. She sounds fascinating.

She cups C-cups by the sea shore.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:24 AM
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97

Sorry. Sexist and forced-punning.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:25 AM
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98

Can I just keep hijacking the thread with stupid jokes I made up? Okay!

Q: How many uninteresting people does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: [dryly] One.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:27 AM
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98: I've heard the same joke told about WASPs.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:39 AM
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100

95 is making me happy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:39 AM
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101

She did capoeira, which tells you all you need to know about her.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:42 AM
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101: Maybe, after I google capoeira.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:43 AM
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Here, watch this. It will explain everything about capoeira.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:46 AM
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103: Very Indiana Jones meets the swordsman.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:48 AM
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I've heard the same joke told about WASPs.

Ooh, even better. Consider it stolen.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:50 AM
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88: Apparently a writer named Reginald Bretnor, although the feghoots were anagrammatically published under the name Grendel Briarton. The Wikipedia reminds that "Peabody's Improbable History" segments from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show were basically animated shaddy dog stories of the feghoot variety. (And very similar to the originals as Ferdinand Feghoot worked for the Society for the Aesthetic Re-Arrangement of History.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:51 AM
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107

98 would seem to imply that we could expect additional stupid jokes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:02 AM
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108

How do you keep a Moby Hick in suspense for hours?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:12 AM
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107: I'm suddenly drawing a blank except for Spanish ones I've come up with, and they're really, really stupid. For instance:

Q: What did the latino dude say to the surgeon who was operating badly on the latino dude's friend?
A: Hey! Get out of my guey!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:12 AM
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I have made exactly one Spanish pun in my life. We were in class, reading outloud from a passage the kept referring to 'el hombre de carne y hueso.' I read 'el hombre de carne y queso'.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:17 AM
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111

It was probably funnier if you could have seen the instructor's face.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:19 AM
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I have made exactly one Spanish pun in my life.

I remember exactly one pun from HS Spanish class:

Q: What did the mother fish say to her daughter?
A: nada


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:22 AM
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"El hueso es un ├│rgano firme, duro y resistente"

...señoreetaz.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:25 AM
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Speaking of things that most people quite reasonably would not find funny, the past two weeks have been reminding my why I read nukees.

You can start here and read forward to today. About half of those strips are just moderately funny, but I find about half, including today's very funny indeed.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:26 AM
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Bilingual puns: while I was an exchange student in France, one of my host fathers came up with a monologue of puns off my name, "proving" that he was me. "Cyrus, c'est russe. Si c'est russe, c'est slav. Si c'est slav, il se lave. S'il se lave, il se nettoie. S'il n'est toi, c'est moi."

110, 111: Heh. I know just barely enough Spanish to figure out the second one, but I had to look up the first.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:27 AM
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Are AWB and I are the only Mothgoers here? They have it in New York and Los Angeles, just introduced it in Chicago, and drop in occasionally to hinterlands like Pittsburgh and Madison, although I think those are set performances and not storytelling slams.

The rules are simple: you have five minutes; you should stick to the announced theme ("Disguises" "Beginnings" "Behind The Scenes"); no stand-up comedy; have a beginning, a middle and an end. As obvious as it sounds, this last is incredibly helpful for those who feel their storytelling needs work. Also, members of the audience are recruited for the judging, which results in a few tweaks to the rules: the scores will get higher towards the end of the night; the time limit doesn't matter if you're funny; comment 7 above.

A friend of mine is a storycoach in their school outreach programs, and has helped me practice when I've brought stories. Get in in the middle of the action and raise the stakes. The best stories involve not getting what you want, or getting it Monkey's Paw style. And Heebie's advice is dead on: cut, cut, cut.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:30 AM
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Hey, Hermano!


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:33 AM
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She was very pretty and wore little clothing. I wondered if she had always gotten enough attention that she hadn't needed to sharpen her stories.

But I hadn't had a case for a while and my landlord had started lurking on landings looking for me and my rent, so I took her $25 a day plus expenses and went out to find her sister.

In unrelated news, I am a little discombobulated by the realization, prompted by a rereading of The Maltese Falcon, that I am probably of an age with Sam Spade, or older.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:35 AM
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||

I just spied the sweetest little house centipede making its way across the wall behind my desk, when PLUNK! he just fell six feet to the floor. Stupid house centipede.

|>


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:39 AM
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The French farmer had a pig who could do math. "Watch," he said. "Pig, what is three plus six?" he said. "Neuf, neuf," the pig said. "Neuf, neuf." "Pig, what is three times three?" he said. "Neuf, neuf," the pig said. "Neuf, neuf." I asked if I could try. "Pig, what is four times two?" I said. "Neuf, neuf," the pig said. "Hold on," said the farmer. He reared back and kicked the pig in the nuts. "HUIT!"


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:42 AM
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he just fell six feet to the floor

What happened to the other ninety-four?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:43 AM
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And, for the lusty Latins:

Q: Plata no es. Oro no es. Que es?

A: Platano!


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:44 AM
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118
In unrelated news, I am a little discombobulated by the realization, prompted by a rereading of The Maltese Falcon, that I am probably of an age with Sam Spade, or older.

I was discombobulated when I got to near the end of Snow Crash and enough details finally were revealed to show that it was set, like, today.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:46 AM
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Q: What's the motto of the French navy?

A: A l'eau, c'est l'heure!


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:48 AM
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Are AWB and I are the only Mothgoers here? They have it in New York and Los Angeles, just introduced it in Chicago, and drop in occasionally to hinterlands like Pittsburgh and Madison, although I think those are set performances and not storytelling slams.

Yeah, I saw them when they came to town - an acquaintance was performing with them, and a friend had tix for us. It was entertaining enough, but there was definitely a sense of "aren't you provincials impressed by us?" Given that my friend's been running a reading series with nationally-known authors for almost 10 years, she was a bit annoyed at the presumption.

Anyway, it was interesting afterwards talking with the acquaintance as he described the intense coaching/directing the speakers were getting about cutting the story down, down, down. I think his piece may have gone from 45 minutes to ~8?

That said, the slams sound like they'd be the best part, as long as you have tolerance for some smug people with terrible material.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:50 AM
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House centipedes are, in fact, sweet, and I try to appreciate them. The way their legs ripple makes me jump, though. Also, I don't like to let them go on hanging out in the sink, which seems to be where I tend to find them, and yet I am always afraid I'll crush some of their legs when I try to trap them under something for transport out of the sink. Life is so difficult!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:53 AM
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smug people with terrible material

There's one woman who I've seen three times now. Skinny fashionista who's worked as a designer to the stars. Her first story was more or less, "I'm so much better than everyone at a Bon Jovi concert I didn't really want to go to." Her second story was "I'm so much better than everyone in both my quaint hippie elementary school and my constraining, suburban high school." Her third story was about selling Britney Spears's underpants, which suffered from some of the habits of the first two but wasn't, at least, entirely thematized along those lines.

Actually, smug person with decent material. If she'd go the extra mile and adopt the bitchy villain persona that she doesn't seem to understand she radiates, she'd probably be quite good.

A pretty good way to lose the audience is to cast blame for your misfortunes. One woman told a story about how she and her writing partner were hired to write an episode of Taxi, and then had it totally rewritten -- it would have been great if she'd presented as making fun of her own expectations, but instead she seemed outraged that James L. Brooks had changed her work.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:59 AM
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When I'm chatting with friends and want to confirm something, I hold up my right hand with my fingers and thumb curved into a 'C', which is a pun for 'Si", which means 'yes'. It is a no-words, bilingual pun, or something.

When I'm talking to myself, I use my left hand, so the 'C' is correct from my vantage.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:12 PM
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I always like telling stories that make fun of my expectations. I also like telling stories that build to an anti-climax. That was one of the themes of my old blog, that in real life the outcome often fizzles away to not-much.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:14 PM
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So I was travelling through the south having adventures and bonding with real Americans when I met this farmer at a diner. He was a hilarious guy, but had the most wicked drawl I've ever heard. He talked at an absolutely glacial pace. It was funny at first, but given that it took him like four minutes to get out a sentence, soon enough I started to get super impatient (I'd also been drinking coffee all morning). Still, I didn't want to leave, because like I said the guy was often funny and completely fascinating. Anyhow, we'd been talking for what seemed like an hour -- and maybe gotten through three complete thoughts, you know? -- when he asked me if I'd like to hear a knock knock joke. This didn't sound promising, but I said "sure, okay." So he kind of sets himself up against the bar -- we were in a diner -- and begins:
"Knaaawck"
(Long pause)
"Knaaaaawck"
"Yes," I say, "who's there?"
"Ba-nayuh-n'uh"
"Banana? Banana who?"
"Knaaawck... Knaaaaawck"
"Yeah, who's there?"
"Ba-huh-nayuh-n'uhj"
When he says banana for the second he draws it out, like it takes twice as long, and has twice as many syllables, as the first time.
"Banana who?"
"Knaaaaaaaaaaaaaawck..."
"Look!" I say, "I've had enough. I know how this joke goes, and I don't mean to mock your accent, but this is ridiculous -- I mean you're drawling these words out way beyond the point that's reasonable. I don't mean to be rude, but I'm on a road trip, here, and you're just one stop. Can you please just tell me what the deal is with you and this joke?"

He looks at me balefully for a minute, then settles back a bit more, stuffs some dip into the corner of his mouth, and peers at me with one rheumy eye.
"Well sir," he intones, "I always heard that puns were the slowest form of humor."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:16 PM
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One of the surprises I had when I actually sat down to read a bunch of Heavy Metal Magazine was how many of those pictures of boobs in chainmail were really features in really awful shaggy dog stories.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:18 PM
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write an episode of Taxi, and then had it totally rewritten

Wow, time to let it go, lady.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:19 PM
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BTW, I'm sorry I didn't make this joke several hours ago, when it would have been timely.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:22 PM
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WHAT'S SO DAMN FUNNY, I'D LIKE TO KNOW.


Posted by: OPINIONATED SHAGGY DOG | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:22 PM
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My wife's mom can't tell a story. There is usually no point to what she is saying. She just likes to talk. She is very nice otherwise.


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:24 PM
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When I'm chatting with friends and want to confirm something, I hold up my right hand with my fingers and thumb curved into a 'C', which is a pun for 'Si", which means 'yes'. It is a no-words, bilingual pun, or something.

Do you like to wear blue? Megan's a Crip!


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:25 PM
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I am wearing blue RIGHT NOW!

(We were far too dorky to have any affiliations, but my high school was neither Crip nor Blood territory, so I would have thrown neither sign if anyone had cared about the nerd allegiances.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:32 PM
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I have a peculiar multi-lingual pun association with the author Bernard Malamud. Mal is sick in French, and amud is page in Hebrew -- hence, Bernard Sickpage.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:41 PM
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135: My Grandmother was like that. Told interminable stories about nothing. No point, no humor, just relating what people around her had done. Drove me crazy.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:41 PM
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The people who kill me are the ones who narrate what we are currently doing. "Yep, driving around the parking lot. Find a spot soon, I guess. Have to get down this lane first, though. Nothing here."

I am present! I know what we are doing! Why are you simultaneously telling me what we are doing?!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:50 PM
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A man who only speaks Spanish goes to a department store and is helped by a clerk who only speaks English.

Clerk: "May I help you?"
Cliente: "Quiero un par de calcetines."
Clerk: "I don't speak Spanish. Do you want some pants?" [holds up pair of pants]
Cliente: "No, pantalónes no! Quiero calcetines."
Clerk: "Do you want a shirt?" [holds up shirt]
Cliente: "No, camisa no. Quiero calcetines."
Clerk: "How about some shoes?" [holds up shoes]
Cliente: "No, zapatos no. Quiero calcetines."
Clerk: "Are you looking for socks?" [holds up socks]
Cliente: "¡Sí! ¡Sí! ¡Eso si que es!"
Clerk: "Well, if you knew how to spell it, why didn't you just do that from the beginning?"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:53 PM
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141: That's a stupid joke. But in a good way.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:55 PM
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141: Hah! A Spanish joke where I know all the words! I wouldn't have thought that was possible.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:56 PM
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I am present! I know what we are doing! Why are you simultaneously telling me what we are doing?!

Revealing how vacuous most "dirty talk" is?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:57 PM
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130: Nicely played.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 12:59 PM
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Told interminable stories about nothing. No point, no humor, just relating what people around her had done.

I always remember a funny scene from Benson. Remember how the governor (Gene) was always telling rambling, fairly pointless stories? Well, the whole group goes up to the backwoods, where the governor is apparently from. One of his uncles tells an interminable, pointless story. At the end, Benson, exasperated, says, "Uncle Joe, what's the point of that story?" "Oh, Gene's stories have points. Mine are just pure entertainment."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:00 PM
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140: "Look at this room, what a beautiful room, have you seen this room?"
"Are you insane? This is Hitler's car." "Yes! We're in it! "


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:04 PM
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118: In unrelated news, I am a little discombobulated by the realization, prompted by a rereading of The Maltese Falcon, that I am probably of an age with Sam Spade, or older.

The novel was published in 1930, and Spade is already an established PI. So Flippanter is a centenarian?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:09 PM
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4: My story is better. I found $20 on the way out of the building this morning.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:20 PM
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Her third story was about selling Britney Spears's underpants

Before Ms. Spears went on stage or after?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:26 PM
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The people who kill me are the ones who narrate what we are currently doing. "Yep, driving around the parking lot. Find a spot soon, I guess. Have to get down this lane first, though. Nothing here."

A read an interesting essay on porn (somewhere!) that pointed out that a lot of porn dialogue during the sex scenes is like this. I'm giving it to you there. Do you like it there. Yeah you like it there. Sometimes its even in the future tense--I'm going to give it to you there--even though the action is ongoing. The author suggested that the subtext here was of a command obeyed before it is even finished.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:27 PM
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@138

Like Horselover Fat in the Philip K. Dick story (via Greek? and German).


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:29 PM
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jrothpned.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:29 PM
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Revealing how vacuous most "dirty talk" is?

Vacuous, yes, but vagilent.


Posted by: Crypticed | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:37 PM
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151: Funny, I associate that only with kids playing sports doing commentary as they are playing -- "Here comes peep dribbling down the lane, and he stops, he shoots! and it's another air ball!"


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:38 PM
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"Here comes peep dribbling down the lane, and he stops, he shoots! and it's another air ball!"

Peep Presents The Lion's Thing 5: Anal Africa, yeah? Good movie.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:39 PM
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Funny, I associate that only with kids playing sports doing commentary as they are playing -- "Here comes peep dribbling...

That could still be porn talk.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:43 PM
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I'm not pwned because Sifu and I created porn in different ways out of peep's sports commentary.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:44 PM
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Not my favorite either--especially ones that rely on the introduction of strange names like a "Rary" or "Bill Famey".

I told the Rary one at UFC 1.0. It seemed to go over as well as these things can.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:44 PM
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Well, um, ok, I have to back wait, no I don't need to type that, just this part, Ok then, I was going to say, I really need erase all this and start over, dammit, I forgotten what

max
['Screw it.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:46 PM
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152: Yeah, exactly!

156; I don't get this. I don't think I want to get it.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:47 PM
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159: lotta punsters in the world of MMA.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:47 PM
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162: Yeah, they really get a kick out of wordplay.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:52 PM
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kids playing sports doing commentary

I think it is in "Muriel's Wedding" where we see the grown idiot brother narrating his soccer game against no one in the courtyard. He says "How can one man be so fast and so strong?", and I loved that beyond measure. I say it all the time. I took out the trash! How can one woman be so fast and so strong?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 1:59 PM
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"Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac... It's in the hole! It's in the hole! It's in the hole! "


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 2:14 PM
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Is 165 sports or porn?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 2:19 PM
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166: So I jumped ship in Tibet...


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 2:24 PM
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So I jumped ship in Hong Kong...


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 2:28 PM
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"How can one man be so fast and so strong?"

my new FB status. Hear me roar, byotchkas.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 2:32 PM
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168: ...big hitter, the Lama...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 2:43 PM
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The novel was published in 1930, and Spade is already an established PI. So Flippanter is a centenarian?

A centenarian where it counts, doll.*

Miles Archer is described as "apparently as many years past forty as Spade was past thirty." It probably isn't too far off the mark to speculate that Hammett thought of Spade as around his own age (b. 1894).

* I.e., in the heart of Willard Scott, I guess.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 2:43 PM
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He's 6-5, with the afro, 6-9. Four Million dollars a year sure..but he's worth every penny. Watch here as he fights off four, five defenders. Fletch, he defines grace under pressure.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 2:55 PM
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I am present! I know what we are doing! Why are you simultaneously telling me what we are doing?!

Hear that kiddos? Other people feel the same way as me! "We do not need the sodding running commentary."


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 3:26 PM
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Wow! *No* Details, please!

Perfectly understandable, though.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 4:22 PM
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Actually, I rather like venison sausage.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 4:23 PM
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175: How does it go with low-hanging fruit?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 4:26 PM
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You ever get the feeling you just missed something?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 4:32 PM
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177: Yeah, but then along comes something new! Time flies like an arrow; low-hanging fruit flies like dog-meat frankfurters.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 4:36 PM
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116: Chicago you say? Well now I intend to check it out. I wish I knew how to tell a story. The website suggests they have workshops.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 4:43 PM
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I tell stories with details that people think interesting enough to take on tangents, or details that are more interesting than the story that's developing seems likely to be without knowing the end, and then never finish the stories.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 5:53 PM
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I tell stories with details that people think interesting enough to take on tangents,

There was a kindly mathematician at a conference who was telling a long, boring story with the incidental detail, "This was back when i was writing jokes for Letterman."

I was like "WHAT! WHAT!" and made him go back and tell that story, which was vastly overstated. He used to send jokes to Letterman, and they'll pay you $50 if they use your joke. Or they used to.

He got one joke in: "For the 1986 presidential primaries, the strip clubs in New York hired 200 extra dancers for the Democratic primary. The strip clubs in Houston hired 150 extra dancers for the Republicans. So it's true, Democrats do create more jobs!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 5:59 PM
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I haven't told stories with that kind of tangent, at least not usually. It's more like people don't realize, or don't care, that there's more to the story. It happens more in groups than with just one person. You have to have a different approach with groups, like clearly signaling "this is about the time that [something something]" instead of just telling the story about that. Individuals are less likely to jump in about such and such.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 6:05 PM
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For the 1986 presidential primaries

Letterman needs some better fact-checkers.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:01 PM
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I sometimes have the problem that I'm telling some true story and partway through I realize that the denoument is actually kind of horrifying, even though I think it's hilarious. this is one of the things I like about AA and NA, that you can get a room full of people laughing heartily at someone's failed suicide attempt.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 7:45 AM
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