Monday, June 27, 2011

Politically Correct Statements

In polite society people are very careful not to offend others and resort to rephrasing of plain statements into what seemed to be more acceptable and less blunt way of expressing inferiority, deficiency and inadequacy in others.
Not all politically appropriate way of saying things have been quite  "correct" as some seemed contrived and others awkward...but it always takes a level of wit to manage the alternative expressions.
Here's a sampler.

Politically Correct Statements
She is not an AIR HEAD - She is REALITY IMPAIRED.








She does not get FAT or CHUBBY - She achieves MAXIMUM DENSITY.


She does not GO SHOPPING - She is MALL FLUENT.



She does not want to be MARRIED - She wants to lock you in DOMESTIC INCARCERATION.

She does not NAG YOU - She becomes VERBALLY REPETITIVE.

She does not TEASE or FLIRT - She engages in ARTIFICIAL STIMULATION.





Your bedroom isn’t cluttered, it’s just “passage restrictive.”

Kids don’t get grounded anymore. They merely hit
“social speed bumps.”
You’re not late, you just have a “rescheduled arrival time.”

You’re not having a bad hair day, you’re suffering from
“rebellious follicle syndrome.”
No one’s tall anymore. He’s
“vertically enhanced.”
You’re not shy. You’re
“conversationally selective.”
You don’t talk a lot. You’re just “abundantly verbal.”

It’s not called gossip anymore. It’s “the speedy transmission of near-factual information.”

The food at the school cafeteria isn’t awful. It’s “digestively challenged.”
No one fails a class anymore, he’s merely “passing impaired.”

You don’t have detention, you’re just one of the “exit delayed.”

These days, a student isn’t lazy. He’s “energetically declined.”

Your locker isn’t overflowing with junk, it’s just “closure prohibitive.”

Your homework isn’t missing, its just having an “out-of-notebook experience.”

You’re not sleeping in class, you’re “rationing consciousness.”

You don’t have smelly gym socks, you have “odor-retentive athletic footwear.”

You weren’t passing notes in class. You were “participating in the discreet exchange of penned meditations.”

You’re not being sent to the principal’s office. You’re “going on a mandatory field trip to the administrative building.”

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Art of the Comeback or the Repartee

Repartee is the art of the “comeback” or the skilful use of a witty reply. It is a highly developed skill calling for fast and analytical thinking. It is a quick, sharp reply (and for skill with such replies) which comes from the French word "repartie," of the same meaning. "Repartie" comes from the French verb "repartir," meaning "to retort." Most of us can think of the clever reply long after the “moment” has passed, but repartee calls for the ability to speak precisely at the psychological moment.
At its most innocent the repartee is just a clever remark, at its harshest it could be a rapier sharp put down to someone making a hostile remark. This requires attention and alertness. It seems to be a dying art; the best examples are mostly drawn from legendary characters like Winston Churchill, Groucho Marx, Robert Benchley etc. who are from the thirties and forties eras.
Below is an assemblage of some of the best forms of recorded “repartee” coming from some of the best users of this social graciousness or sometimes antisocial weapon to the unwary or to a deserving hostile person or group.

After an after-dinner recital, an acclaimed and heavily respected opera singer was invited to the White House. But apparently performing for President Calvin Coolidge was quite a frightening experience and her performance left much to be desired. During the performance, one of the White Houses’ guests leaned over and whispered to Coolidge: “What do you think of the singer’s execution?” Coolidge calmly replied:
“I’m all for it.”

After gaining fame for a campaign to promote colonial India’s independence, Mohandas Gandhi travelled to London and met with British authorities. The British were wonderfully curious about this strange little man, and Gandhi was constantly bombarded with questions from the press and photographers. One day, a reporter cried out, “What do you think of Western civilization?” And in a monumental moment that would define Gandhi’s reputation, he replied:

"I think it would be a good idea."

Muhammad Ali once took a flight on Eastern Airlines in the 1970s. A flight attendant was making her final checks on the passengers, but noticed Ali failed to fasten his seat belt. She kindly asked him to do so, but Ali replied quite arrogantly, “Superman don’t’ need no seat belt.” Not intimidated by the boxer’s reputation and fame, the flight attendant replied:

“Superman don’t need no airplane either.”


Oscar Wilde was widely known for his wit and intelligence in plays, but he was no stranger to it in real-life. After one performance of one of his plays, Wilde went on stage and welcomed a warm reception. Many people applauded and threw a copious amount of beautiful flora, but one unsatisfied person threw a rotten cabbage at the playwright. Wilde picked it up and replied with a straight face:
Thank you my friend. Every time I smell it, I shall be reminded of you.”

When the Civil War took its start, Henry Ward Beecher travelled throughout the US attempting to gather up support for Lincoln and his Emancipation Proclamation. He said that the Union would beat the Confederates in sixty days during his travels; and when he made a trip to England, this was used against him. At that time, war was still a very sensitive topic among the British, due to the Americans winning the Revolutionary War. While he was speaking in Manchester, one hostile man cried out: “Why didn’t you whip the Confederates in sixty days, as you said you would?”
He hesitated only for a second, but then replied:

“Because we found we had Americans to fight this time, not Englishmen.”


In his early career, Churchill was at a meeting and another member was giving a long-winded speech. Churchill began to close his eyes and fall asleep. At the sight of this, the member became visibly angry and shouted: “Mr. Churchill, must you fall asleep while I’m speaking?”  Instead of making attempts at an apology or a cover-up, Churchill simply replied:
“No, it’s purely voluntary.”

Abraham Lincoln was not the most attractive presidents but he was in a sense, almost fascinatingly ugly. During a debate, Lincoln was accused by his more hostile opponent of being two-faced. Lincoln managed to accomplish what few men have done before, he defended himself without insulting the other man, and even poked fun at a flaw of his all in the same sentence. Lincoln calmly turned to the crowd and said:

“If I had two faces, do you think I’d be wearing this one?”


FEMALE INTERVIEWER: So, General Cosgrove, what things are you going to to teach these young boys when they visit your base?
GENERAL COSGROVE: We’re going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery, andshooting. FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Shooting! That’s a bit irresponsible, isn’t it?
GENERAL COSGROVE: I don’t see why, they’ll be properly supervised on the rifle range. FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Don’t you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?
GENERAL COSGROVE: I don’t see how. We will be teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a firearm.
FEMALE INTERVIEWER: But you’re equipping them to become violent killers.
GENERAL COSGROVE: Well, Ma’am, you’re equipped to be a prostitute,  but you’re not one, are you?

For many decades, a delightful story has been told about one member of a theatre group, the playwright Marc Connelly. One evening, Connelly was dining with friends when another member of the group snuck up from behind, placed his hands on top of Connelly's bald head, and said to the amusement of the other guests, "Marc, your head feels as smooth as my wife's ass." Connelly raised his hands to his head, began rubbing his own scalp, and with a wry smile, said:
"So it does, so it does."

During a discussion of suicide one day, George S. Kaufman was asked by another member of the group, ‘So, how would you kill yourself?’ Kaufman considered the question thoughtfully for several moments before replying:

‘With kindness.’”


After receiving the Nobel Prize in 1922, the Danish physicist Niels Bohr invited friends and associates to a celebration party at his country cottage North of Copenhagen. The event was also well-attended by members of the press. One reporter, noticing a horseshoe hanging on a wall, teasingly asked the famous physicist, "Can it be that you, of all people, believe a horseshoe will bring you good luck?" Bohr replied:
"Of course not, but I understand it brings you luck whether you believe it or not."

The woman's husband, angry at his wife's display of interest in another man, staggered over to Capote's table and assumed an intimidating position directly in front of the diminutive writer. He then proceeded to unzip his trousers and, in Capote's own words, "hauled out his equipment." As he did this, he bellowed in a drunken slur, "Since you're autographing things, why don't you autograph this?" It was a tense moment, and a hush fell over the room. The silence was a blessing, for it allowed all those within earshot to hear Capote's soft, high-pitched voice deliver the perfect emasculating reply: 
"I don't know if I can autograph it, but perhaps I can initial it."

Ferber and Coward were friends (she once described him as her favorite theater companion) and Coward saw an opportunity to engage in a bit of playful badinage with one of his favorite people. Carefully looking her over, he observed, "Edna, you look almost like a man." Ferber looked Coward over in a similar manner and came back with a classic riposte: 
"So do you."

While posing for publicity photographs for the film, actress Mary Anderson approached the director and asked, "What is my best side, Mr. Hitchcock?" His reply was soon being circulated all around Hollywood:
"My dear, you're sitting on it."

Pope John XXIII once asked by a journalist, "How many people work in the Vatican?" the pontiff pondered the question, giving the impression that he was trying to come up with an accurate estimate. Then, with a straight face, he answered:
"About half."

At a club one night, Betty angrily accused Chico Marx of kissing another woman on the dance floor. His defense may not have convinced his wife, but it has pleased language lovers ever since:
"I wasn't kissing her, I was whispering in her mouth."

One day, Dorothy Parker was about to step through a doorway when she came face-to-face with Clare Booth Luce. As the story goes, Mrs. Luce stepped aside, extended the palm of her hand, and said coyly, "Age before beauty." Parker glided through the door, saying ever-so-sweetly:
"Pearls before swine."

Voltaire once acceded to an invitation to an orgy. His friends were happy to learn that they might have converted the great philosopher to their hedonistic ways, the group invited him to join them again later that evening. Voltaire graciously declined by offering a bon mot that only served to enhance his reputation as a great wit and wordsmith:
"Ah no, my good friends, once a philosopher, twice a pervert."

Primarily remembered today for his paintings, James McNeill Whistler also became a successful author with the publication of his 1890 book "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies." An exceedingly witty man, he was one of the few people who could hold his own with the incomparable Oscar Wilde. In one legendary exchange, after Whistler had offered a particularly clever observation, Wilde said admiringly, "I wish I had said that." Whistler seized the moment, replying:
"You will, Oscar, you will."

During a heated argument, Montagu scowled at Wilkes and said derisively, "Upon my soul, Wilkes, I don't know whether you'll die upon the gallows, or of syphilis" (some versions of the story say "a vile disease" and others "the pox"). Unfazed, Wilkes came back with what many people regard as the greatest retort of all time:
"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles, or your mistress."

Robert Benchley offhandedly said to the uniformed man standing by the front door, "My good man, would you please get me a taxi?" The man immediately took offense and replied indignantly, "I'm not a doorman. I happen to be a rear admiral in the United States Navy." Benchley instantly quipped:

"All right then, get me a battleship."
As he lay in his hospital bed shortly before his death, W C Fields was visited by the actor Thomas Mitchell, a good friend. When Mitchell entered Fields' room, he was shocked to find the irreligious Fields paging through a Bible. Fields was a lifelong agnostic, and fervently anti-religious (he once said that he had skimmed the Bible while looking for movie plots, but found only "a pack of wild lies"). "What are you doing reading a Bible?" asked the astonished Mitchell. A wiseacre to the end, Fields replied:
"I'm looking for loopholes."

“Dorothy Parker and a friend were talking about a forceful and garrulous celebrity. ‘She’s so outspoken,’ remarked the friend.

‘By whom?’ asked Dorothy.”


“Looking at a worn-out toothbrush in their hostess’s bathroom, a fellow guest said to Dorothy Parker, ‘Whatever do you think she does with that?’ ’I think she rides it on Halloween’ was the reply.”


"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here."
-Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator."
-John Bright

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial."
-Irvin S. Cobb

"He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others."
-Samuel Johnson

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up."
-Paul Keating

Nancy Astor - 'You're drunk!'
Winston Churchill - 'And you're ugly. But in the morning, I shall be sober'.

Nancy Astor - 'If you were my husband, I would poison your tea”.
Winston Churchill - 'Madam, if you were my wife, I'd drink it'.

'I never forget a face. But, in your case, I'll make an exception'.
Groucho Marx.


The Most Beautiful Words In the English Language

 Here is the compilation of the most beautiful words in English. How do we know we have the most beautiful? They were chosen by Robert Beard, who has been making dictionaries, creating word lists, and writing poetry for 40 years.
Dr. Beard gathered a collection of the loveliest words in the English language, carefully researched and written up in a book designed to help increase the beauty of our conversations and our understanding of how and why we speak in the ways we do.
I am not sure as to what criteria was used by Dr. Beard to have a high regard for a word. I would hazard a guess that it has to do with emotional reactions to the sound or meaning of a word. The words were chosen just by themselves and not in their usage in the context of a phrase. Needless to say, words, no matter how elegant, when used inappropriately in a sentence or a phrase become senseless and ridiculous.
The words chosen by Dr. Beard, used well, will decorate and make elegant your articles, essays, blogs, term papers, memos, love letters-even conversations with those we love.
  Most Beautiful Words In The English Language
adroit Dexterous, agile.
adumbrate To very gently suggest, to make shadowy or obscure
aestivate To summer, to spend the summer, to be in a state of dormancy
ailurophile A cat-lover.
assemblage A gathering.
beatific Befitting an angel or saint.
beleaguer To exhaust with attacks.
blandiloquent Beautiful and flattering.
caliginous Dark and misty.
champagne An effervescent wine.
chatoyant Like a cat's eye.
chiaroscuro The arrangement of dark and light elements in a picture.
cockle A heart-shaped bivalve or a garden flower.
colporteur A book peddlar.
conflate To blend together, to combine different things.
cynosure A focal point of admiration.
becoming Attractive.
brood To think alone.
bucolic In a lovely rural setting.
bungalow A small, cozy cottage.
comely Attractive.
dalliance A brief love affair.
demesne Dominion, territory.
demure Shy and reserved.
denouement The resolution of a mystery.
desuetude Disuse.
diaphanous Filmy.
diffuse Spread out, not focused or concentrated.
dulcet Sweet, sugary.
ebullient Bubbling with enthusiasm.
effervescent Bubbly.
efflorescence Flowering, the opening of buds or a bloom.
desultory Slow, sluggish.
dissemble Deceive.
ebullience Bubbling enthusiasm.
elision Dropping a sound or syllable in a word.
elixir A good potion.
emollient A softener.
encomium A spoken or written work in praise of someone.
ephemeral Short-lived.
epicure A person who enjoys fine living, especially food and drink.
epiphany A sudden revelation.
erstwhile At one time, for a time.
eschew To reject or avoid.
esculent Edible.
esoteric Understood only by a small group of specialists.
ethereal Gaseous, invisible but detectable.
etiolate White from no contact with light.
evanescent Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time.
exuberant Enthusiastic, excited.
eloquence Beauty and persuasion in speech.
embrocation Rubbing on a lotion.
evocative Suggestive.
felicitous Pleasing.
fescue A variety of grass favored for pastures.
foudroyant Dazzling.
fragile Very, very delicate.
felicity Pleasantness.
fetching Pretty.
forbearance Withholding response to provocation.
fugacious Fleeting.
furtive Shifty, sneaky.
gambol To skip or leap about joyfully.
glamour Beauty.
gossamer The finest piece of thread, a spider’s silk.
halcyon Happy, sunny, care-free.
hymeneal Having to do with a wedding.
harbinger Messenger with news of the future.
imbrication Overlapping and forming a regular pattern.
imbroglio An altercation or complicated situation.
imbue To infuse, instill.
incipient Beginning, in an early stage.
ineffable Unutterable, inexpressible.
ingénue A naïve young woman.
inglenook A cozy nook by the hearth.
insouciance Blithe nonchalance.
inspissate To thicken.
inure To jade.
jejune Dull; childish.
labyrinthine Twisting and turning.
lagniappe A gift given to a customer for their patronage.
lagoon A small gulf or inlet in the sea.
languor Listlessness, inactivity.
lassitude Weariness, listlessness.
laughter The response to something funny.
leisure Free time.
lissome Slender and graceful.
lilt To move musically or lively, to have a lively sound.
lithe Slender and flexible.
loquacious Talkative.
love Deep affection.
luxuriant Thick, lavish.
mellifluous Sweet-sounding.
missive A message or letter.
moiety One of two equal parts, a half.
mondegreen A misanalyzed phrase.
A slip of the ear.
murmurous Murmuring.
nebulous Foggy.
nemesis An unconquerable archenemy.
niveous Snowy, snow-like.
obsequious Fawning, subservience.
odalisque A concubine in a harem.
oeuvre A work.
offing That part of the sea between the horizon and the offshore.
onomatopoeia The creation of words by imitating sound.
opulent Lush, luxuriant.
paean A formal expression of praise.
palimpsest A manuscript written over one or more earlier ones.
panacea A complete solution for all problems.
panoply A complete set.
pastiche A mixture of art work (art or music) from various sources.
peccadillo A peculiarity.
pelagic Related to the sea or ocean.
penumbra A half-shadow, the edge of a shadow.
peregrination Wandering, travels.
petrichor The smell of earth after a rain.
plethora A great excess, overabundance.
porcelain A fine white clay pottery.
potamophilous Loving rivers.
propinquity A nearness, similarity, or kinship.
pyrrhic Victorious despite heavy losses.
quintessential The ultimate, the essence of the essence, most essential.
ratatouille A spicy French stew.
ravel To knit or unknit.
redolent Sweet-smelling.
rhapsody A beautiful musical piece.
riparian Having to do with the bank of a river or other body of water.
ripple A small, circular wave emanating from a central point.
scintilla A spark or very small thing.
scintillate To sparkle with brilliant light.
sempiternal Forever and ever.
seraglio Housing for a harem.
serendipity Finding something while looking for something else.
summery Light, delicate or warm and sunny.
sumptuous Lush, luxurious.
surreptitious Sneaky.
sussurous Producing a hushing sound, like flowing water.
symbiosis Interdependence of two different species.
syzygy The direct opposition of two heavenly bodies.
talisman A symbolic object believed to have magical powers.
terpsichorean Related to dance.
tintinnabulation Ringing.
umbrageous Shady.
umbrella Protection from sun or rain.
untoward Unseemly, inappropriate.
vestige A small fragment.
vestigial In trace amounts.
wafture Waving.
wherewithal The means.
whisper Speaking without vibrating the vocal folds.
woebegone Sorrowful, downcast.
zyzzyva A kind of beetle.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

RH Bill, What Debate?

To call the RH bill discussions a debate is a misnomer.
No amount of persuasive reasoning can cause the Catholic Church to change its stand. It is an order to its flock that has to be followed unquestioningly. This has been repeatedly pronounced in pulpits all over the nation and on trimedia. They have to stand foursquare on their beliefs because these are laid down as doctrines; ex cathedra statements from no less than Pope John Paul VI in his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae. The Pope said that the only form of birth control permitted is that of abstinence.
The Church believes that all licit sexual acts must be unitive (with love) and procreative at the same time. With some levity this pronouncement was taken to mean that one cannot lust over one’s wife because the act was for mere pleasure. This made one housewife to quip that if her husband does not lust over her she will leave him.
The rhythm method is allowed because it is regarded as a periodic abstinence. It would seem that any method that prevents procreation, whether pre-uterine or post-uterine, is not allowed and yet periodic abstinence (doing it at infertile periods) essentially is an act that prevents procreation. The Natural Family Planning method is making love without procreative intentions.
Have you ever wondered why the family sizes of the middle to lower upper group, the most moral of the demographic groupings in our society, tend to be small? It would be naive to think that they, at some time, didn’t avail of contraceptive methods and/or pills and devises. Preventing pregnancy without extraneous help is wishful thinking.
So many of us Catholics, both casual and practicing, feel restive with the thought that we are “out of grace” and would reap hellfire and eternal damnation if we don’t toe the line. The sacraments will be withheld from us if we are in the state of mortal sin. I believe that this is patently coercive and leaves a lot of Catholics feeling wretched as a result.
It has been broached by one anti-RH Bill stalwart that perhaps, as a long term outlook, we should encourage population increase because it would translate into more hands to work in foreign soil because of the important role they have played in keeping the country’s economy above water.
I feel uncomfortable to look at our people as transportable resources to earn and remit dollars that help boost our economy. The OFW is a phenomenon that stems from a poverty stricken nation and should be looked at as a temporary condition until such time when the country strengthens its economic standing.
It is hardly a desirable long term prospect for us. Is it not that one of the government’s goals is to lessen the incidence of people working abroad? The OFW has to endure sacrifices. They leave hearth and home to trade off family bonds and values for dollars.
As I said, there is no debate. It is a classic standoff between an immoveable magisterium and politically motivated proponents of the RH bill and never the twain shall meet. It’s a no win situation which might be more harmful for the Church as it could signal the disillusionment of its flock as what happened to the Catholic Church in Spain, Netherlands, France and others.
Population control is just one aspect of a complicated world problem which is interwoven with other concerns such as depletion of natural resource (global warming, water scarcity; food to mouth ratios); social issues – e.g. cultural and moral; political issues e.g.- territorial conflicts; ideological; global and national economic issues and the dichotomies that exist in all of these.
Religious ramifications should be considered seriously but not to the exclusion of universal consequences and concerns. The protagonists in the RH issue are so engrossed with their own parochial interests forgetting that some of these may be counterproductive to the bigger scheme of things.