Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ag-ing Poorly

Silver bails. Silver bails. It’s amiss time in the city.
Ding-a-ling, here’s the thing: Soon it will be dismiss gray. ♫

Why did silver leave? If that shade has abandoned us, gray will surely follow.

Sliver, in the sentence pictured below, is anything but sterling. When you want to spell the metal whose symbol on the periodic table is Ag, no gray area exists; silver is the gold standard.


The sentence lacks what every cloud has. If silver were deposited in sliver’s place, the sentence would have a “silver lining,” which is something good that can be found in a bad situation. John Milton may have originated this phrase in his 1634 poem Comus, which included the following lines:

Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?

A cloud, even one described as dark or gloomy, may have a hint of the shining sun behind it. This can give the cloud’s lining, or edge, a silvery complexion. A dark cloud reveals signs of brightness, just as dark times may hold a hopeful prospect.

In the spirit of silver linings, the writer should look on the bright side: At least he went with the anagram sliver instead of the anagram livers. Of course, silver, a hot commodity, would have been most useful in this instance. 

You may not care about this malaprop, but silver minds. (When it comes to silver, I am a mother lode of awful puns. I serve them on a platter. You know what kind of platter.)

Polish that sliver. All this struggling editor wants for Christmas is silver.

And gold. Lots and lots of gold.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Clashing Pumpkins

When the days get shorter and the nights get cooler, autumn is here … and so is a certain round, orange fruit. It infiltrates store shelves, finding its way into everything from macchiato and hummus to yogurt and KahlĂșa. It pops up in Pop-Tarts. It manifests in Mini-Wheats. It penetrates pasta sauces. Heck, it even adds volume to shampoo. This vine crop crops up everywhere.

Well, not everywhere.

Earlier this week a jump line in my local newspaper alerted readers to “See Pumpkin on A5.” When I jumped to A5, however, I didn’t see the word Linus would label great. I spotted something much scarier: a forbidden fruit.

Should anything come between m and p? The answer lies in the alphabet.

When carving this particular pumpkin, an inattentive writer harvested two k’s. One is stuck in the pump. Remove it. That first k is as out of place as a 30-year-old trick-or-treater. Chunk pumkpkin in the trash. It’s rotten.

Every company from Kellogg’s to Kraft Foods uses pumpkin. Reproduce their work. It’s an act of pumpkin pi…racy. Perfectly legal. And perfectly delicious, especially with a dollop of whipped cream.


Happy Halloween!