Onward Bound Humor

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Location: The City, On the edge

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

386. Washington Post Invitational, Week 772

In which we asked readers to alter a literary passage so that it could be understood "by Los Angeles residents under 40," as an L.A. Times reader wrote in a letter to the editor complaining that there were too many hard words in a certain movie review.
Lots of first-time entrants this week, from all over the country and beyond. Not many from L.A., though.

Ernest Hemingway: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Jeffrey Contompasis, Ashburn: " There's this woman who's expecting a baby and something bad happens, like a miscarriage or something, and she had already bought some shoes in anticipation of the birth, so she puts them in the classifieds to sell them and they're still good as new because the baby was never born."
William Shakespeare: "Et tu, Brute?"
Elisa M. Nichols, Kensington: "Bitch set me up!"
John Donne: "Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
Mike Ostapiej, Tracy, Calif.: "Ding dong. It's for you."
Francis Bacon: "If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties."
Jay Shuck, Minneapolis: "You think you're sure? I mean really, you're SURE you're sure? Well, I am, like, SO SURE!"
Pliny the Elder: "The lust of avarice has so totally seized upon mankind that their wealth seems rather to possess them than that they possess their wealth."
Mae Scanlan, Washington: "When money rules, you guys are fools."
Jane Austen: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
Karen Zachary, Arlington, a First Offender: "Everybody knows that a rich single dude wants to be married. Not."
Who is Silvia? what is she,
That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair, and wise is she;
The heaven such grace did lend her,
That she might admir├Ęd be.

Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.:
Who is Sylvia? What is she,
That all the dudes now dig her?
Holy cow, she's hot! I see
The doctor's made her bigger,
And she's about a double-D.
Psalm 52: "Thy tongue devised mischief's; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. Thou loves evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah. Thou loves all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue."
David Kleinbard, Jersey City: "Liar, liar, pants on fire!"
T.S. Eliot via Kathy Hardis Fraeman, Olney: When I get old, I'm going to roll up my pants, eat a peach, and go to an art gallery.
Edgar Allan Poe: "A feeling, for which I have no name, has taken possession of my soul -- a sensation which will admit of no analysis, to which lessons of by-gone times are inadequate and for which I fear futurity itself will offer me no key."
Chuck Smith, Woodbridge: I am soooo wasted.
Poe via LuAnn Bishop, West Haven, Conn.: So, it's really late, and I'm totally bummed out thinking about my dead girlfriend, when then this big black bird hops in my window and says: "Fahgedaboutit!"
Geoffrey Chaucer: "Whan that aprille with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote . . .
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages."
Beverley Sharp, Washington:
"It's spring break . . . ROAD TRIP!!!"
Walt Whitman via Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.: Whoa, dude! The president got shot! We need to get some metaphors going RIGHT NOW.
Thomas Jefferson via:
Russell Beland, Springfield: Us Americans, so that we can have a better country, one that's fair, where we're not yanking each other's chain, and to make sure nobody messes with our homeboys, and to keep things righteous, have worked up a few rules here . . .
Beverly Ellis, Manassas: Sometimes stuff happens and a group of people have to stop being a part of the group they used to belong to and go do the stuff they want to do because it's their right to do what they want to do and to be respected just for living and they gotta tell everybody what's going down and why the shakeup is taking place.
David Kleinbard, Jersey City: It's plain to see, you ain't better than me. God gave us a right to be free. You ain't the boss of me. Shake my branch, I'll kick you out of my tree.
G. Smith, New York: You're not the king of uf!
William Shakespeare:"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears."
Andrea Kelly, Brookeville:"Hey, YO! Up here."
The Gospels according to Russell Beland, Springfield: OMG! We respect you, but can we please have our bread now? And we hope you agree trespassing is no big deal. Don't go offering us any of that nasty stuff, cause we might be tempted. But, you know, we think you're the best.
Abraham Lincoln:"With malice toward none, with charity for all . . ."
John Kupiec, Fairfax:"I love you, you love me, we're a happy family . . ."

Juliet: "What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called, retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title. Romeo, doff thy name and for thy name which is no part of thee take all myself."
Romeo: "I take thee at thy word. Call me but love and I'll be new baptized."

Juliet: "Names are, like, so dumb. Ditch your name and we can like, y'know."
Romeo: "Yeah, okay, cool."
Andrew Marvell:"Had we but world enough, and time
This coyness, lady, were no crime."
Mae Scanlan, Washington:"C'mon, let's get real here -- I've got to go to work tomorrow."
Francis Scott Key via Kathy Hardis Fraeman, Olney:"w00t! its morning and our flag didnt get blown up last night!"
Shakespeare:"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more."

"Life sucks and then you die."
Shakespeare: " There's a divinity shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will."

Paul Kocak, Syracuse, N.Y.:"I'm not very religious? But, like, I'm very spiritual?"
Herman Melville:". . . all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. He piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down."
Shakespeare via Jay Shuck, Minneapolis:"For the luvva God, why'd you have to be Romeo? Just leave your folks! Or, okay, I guess I could leave my folks." -- -- --
Shakespeare: " Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Jane Auerbach, Los Angeles:"You're hotter than Miss July!"
Jane Austen:"May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?"

Russ Taylor, Vienna:"Are you playin' me?"
Michel Foucault:"If one wants to look for a nondisciplinary form of power, or rather, to struggle against disciplines and disciplinary power, it is not towards the ancient right of sovereignty that one should turn, but towards the possibility of a new form of right, one which must indeed be antidisciplinarian, but at the same time liberated from the principle of sovereignty."

Tristan Axelrod, Washington, a First Offender:"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Or maybe it's: You can't beat city hall. I don't really know." -- M. Foucault, Paris
Charles Dickens:"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way -- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

John Bunyan, Cincinnati :"Times were good, the L.A. Times sucked, some people were over 40, some were stupid, there were Republicans, there were Democrats, it was sunny in the afternoon, but there was early-morning low clouds and fog, we thought the Dodgers could win, we knew they'd be out of the playoffs, we shopped Rodeo Drive, we had nothing to wear, we were hitting the waves, we were working -- so basically, it was pretty much like now, and the critics kept writing reviews, good ones and bad ones, with big words no one really uses that really just meant 'great' or 'lousy.' "