Product Placement

Each team in the Philippine Basketball Association is owned by a corporation. This makes for some colorful team names:

  • The Powerade Tigers
  • The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters
  • The Clickers
  • The Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters
  • The Alaska Aces
  • The Barangay Ginebra Kings
  • The Barako Bull Energy
  • The B-Meg Llamados
  • The Meralco Bolts
  • The Petron Blaze Boosters

Defunct teams include the Toyota Super Corollas, the Sta. Lucia Realtors, the Shell Turbo Chargers, the Pop Cola Panthers, and the Great Taste Coffee Makers. Between 1980 and 1986, the national team was called Northern Consolidated Cement.

(Thanks, Ethan.)

So There

One also can’t help mentioning in this context the nineteenth century American novelist who inspired irreverent punsters to announce that they were going to Helen Hunt Jackson’s grave. Typical of the Helen Hunt anecdotes in oral circulation is the one about Mrs. Jackson who, while still Hunt, is said to have once found a money purse in a church pew after the morning’s service. The preacher, when she informed him of it, advised her to hold on to it and that he’d announce it at the evening’s service. That night, he addressed the congregation to the effect that a money purse had been found in the church and that the owner can go to Helen Hunt for it. The preacher, we are told, was met with a tittering response from his congregation.

— Robert M. Rennick, “Obscene Names and Naming in Folk Tradition,” in Names and Their Varieties, 1986

In a Word

n. one who is fond of the forest

n. a toll for passage through a forest


  • Dorothy Parker named her dog Cliche.
  • 27639 = 27 × 63 – 9
  • Tikitiki cures beriberi.
  • Can an object move itself?
  • “The best way out is always through.” — Robert Frost


mary youngquist poems


A lady who deftly crocheted,
A terrible temper displeted,
On finding when through
That a dropped stitch or twough
Had spoiled the contrivance she’d meted.

A newspaper man on the Isthmus
Said, “Colonel, now what about thisthmus?”
The Colonel said, “Write
That it looks like a fite,
But I think ’twill be over by Christhmus.”

Once a Frenchman who’d promptly said “Oui”
To some ladies who’d ask him if houi
Cared to drink, threw a fit
Upon finding that it
Was a tipple no stronger than toui.

Young Brewster wed Adeline Worcester,
But nobody knew what indorcester
In writing her name
To spell it the same
And make it read Adeline Brorcester.

There was a young man from Mont.
Who slipped on a peel of ban.
He fell on his head,
And what he then said
Was quite the reverse of “Hos.”

Punctuation’s abhorrent to Thos.,
And he loathes semicolons and cos.
He is such a bad boy
That a wave of great joy
Would arise were the kid taken fros.

— Stanton Vaughn, ed., Limerick Lyrics, 1904

“Spaghettibird Headdress”

Fors oar in shaving ear she goes, awful fodders broad fart hunter dish consonant hay noon action, corn sieved inebriety and addict hated tutor preposition dot omen or crated inkwell.

Non wiring caged integrate cymbal wart, tasting wither damnation, our runny gnashing, socking seed end sod defecated ken logging door. Worm head honor grape batter veal doff fat whore. Wave counter defecator potion audit felled azure vinyl roasting piece fort hose hoe hair gater wives tit tat gnashing mike leaf. Assault her gutter footing in pepper dot weigh shoe duties.

Budding awl archer since, weaken opt defecate, weekend not concentrate, working ought hello disk round. Depravement, livid indeed, hue straggle deer, heft cancer traded hit, pharaoh buff harp burp hours tatter distract. Twirled wheel ladle node orlon ram umber wad wheeze hay year, buttock an if veer fork add catered hairdo done finest walk witch day hoof otter heft dust floor show nobody at fenced. I doze rudder forest tubing hair debtor catered tuba grape tusk rim onion beef harass — dot form tease own whored did, wheat aching greased dim notion tutor cows far wish dig rave do lustful miss shore add dive ocean; dewy her holly dissolve daddies dad shell nut heft tiding feign; end it grubby men, other pimple, brother pimple, father pimple, shell nut pair rich fern dirt.

— “Labour Ham Winking” (Jim Anderson, Jeffrey Brown, and John Spencer), quoted in Willard R. Espy, The Best of an Almanac of Words at Play, 1999

Missed Spellings

Mr. Smith returns to his office to find a message asking him to call Mr. Wryquick. He doesn’t know a Wryquick, so he does nothing. The next day his attorney, Dawcy, Esq., arrives in a snit and asks why Smith didn’t return the call. What’s going on?

In leaving the message, Dawcy had spelled his name “D as in double-u, A as in are, W as in why, C as in cue, Y as in you, E as in eye, S as in sea, Q as in quay.”

That’s from Benjamin L. Schwartz, in Word Ways, August 1972. In Verbatim, Summer 1985, Anna and Taffy Holland point out that a woman named Sue Washhouse, if provoked, might spell her name “S as in see, U as in queue, E as in are, W as in ewe, A as in pea, S as in sea, H as in oh, H as in why, O as in you, U as in eau, S as in see, E as in yew.”

Carving Verbs

A dinner host in the 17th century might have wished for a usage manual — a different term was used for carving each dish, and, according to Samuel Orchart Beeton, “for a person to use wrong terms in relation to carving was an unpardonable affront to etiquette.” One might:

  • allay a pheasant
  • barb a lobster
  • break a hare
  • chine a salmon
  • culpon a trout
  • disfigure a peacock
  • dismember a hen
  • display a quail
  • fin a chevin
  • fract a chicken
  • frush a chub
  • gobbet a trout
  • lift a swan
  • mince a plover
  • rear a goose
  • sauce a capon
  • scull a tench
  • side a haddock
  • splat a pike
  • splay a bream
  • spoil a hen
  • string a lamprey
  • tarne a crab
  • thigh a pigeon
  • thigh a woodcock
  • transon an eel
  • trench a sturgeon
  • tusk a barbel
  • unbrace a mallard
  • unjoint a bittern
  • unlace a coney
  • unlatch a curlew
  • wing a partridge

“Carving was a science that carried with it as much pedantry as the business of school-teaching does in the present day,” Beeton observed in 1875. By that time, happily, such lists were already considered “too long and too ridiculous to repeat.”

In a Word

n. one who hates the smell of tobacco smoke