Tag Archives: humor

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.

Two Great Thinkers and Writers on Patriotism

“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

Samuel Johnson

“In Dr. Johnson’s famous dictionary, patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer, I beg to submit it is the first.”

Ambrose Bierce

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

Devil’s Dictionary: Aristocracy

“Aristocracy, n. Government by the best men. (In this sense the word is obsolete; so is that kind of government.) Fellows that wear downy hats and clean shirts—guilty of education and suspected of bank accounts.”

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

Crime and Puzzlement: Extortion

The kids with whom I have used them have loved them, so I developed a large body of materials from the Lawrence Treat’s excellent series Crime and Puzzlementwhich appears to be available, perhaps with dubious legality, all over the Internet as free PDF downloads.

Here is a complete lesson plan on the Crime and Puzzlement case “Extortion.” I generally begin this lesson, in order to settle students after a class change, with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the idiom “Ships That Pass in the Night.” You will, of course, need the illustration of the crime scene and its accompanying questions from the book to investigate the crime. Finally, this typescript of the answer key will help you and your students, using the evidence, to definitively solve the crime.

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.

Ogden Nash on Children and Parents

“Parents were invented to make children happy by giving them something to ignore.”

Ogden Nash

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