Tag Archives: humor

H.L. Mencken, Presciently, on the Current State of Patriotism

“When you hear a man speak of his love for his country, it is a sign that he expects to be paid for it.”

H.L. Mencken

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Devil’s Dictionary: Hell

“Hell, n. The residence of the late Noah Webster, dictionary-maker.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000. 

Rotten Rejections: And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street

[This, of course, refers to Dr. Seuss’s 1937 book, which refers to Mulberry Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, which was the good doctor’s home, rather than the famous street in Little Italy in Manhattan.]

“…too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.”

Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

The Algonquin Wits: Robert Benchley

“A scene in one of his numerous movie shorts required Benchley to be strung up in a mass of telephone wires above a city street. While waiting for the final camera, he called to his wife Gertrude, who was on location: ‘Remember how good in Latin I was in school?’

‘I do,’ she replied.

‘Well, look where it got me.’”

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

Devil’s Dictionary: Bribe

“Bribe, n. That which enables a member of the California Legislature to live on his pay without any dishonest economies.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000. 

The Algonquin Wits: Ring Lardner

“He gave her a look that you could have poured on a waffle.”

Ring Lardner

Excerpted from: Drennan, Robert E., ed. The Algonquin Wits. New York: Kensington, 1985.

Crime and Puzzlement: Footsteps in the Dark

Moving right along this morning, here is another lesson plan on a Crime and Puzzlement caseFootsteps in the Dark. I begin this lesson, to get students settled after a class change, with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the idiom money burning a hole in one’s pocket. Students and teacher will need the PDF of the illustration and questions of this case to investigate and solve it. Finally, here is the typescript of the answer key for this case.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.