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March 05, 2005

Harper Valley Elternbeirat (Also, dies ist Peyton Place in klein!)

19% of you will think this is the funniest thing you've seen all month. You will be looking for cognates like "Witwe" and "Tochter," and trying desperately to sing along in your heads.

24% of you will understand the humor, but not actually find it funny.

57% of you won't get it at all, some because you don't know what it refers to. More's the pity. Sample some MP3 verses, and backstory, here.

I don't speak German, but I'm in that first 19%.


Harper Valley Elternbeirat
Jeannie C. Riley

(Words and music by Tom T. Hall)
(Übersetzung © Volker Pöhls)

Ich möchte Euch allen eine Geschichte erzählen über eine Witwe aus dem Harper-Tal.
Sie hatte eine Tochter im Teenager-Alter, die zur Harper Valley Junior Highschool ging.
Also, ihre Tochter kam eines Nachmittags nach Hause und fing gar nicht erst an zu spielen.
Sie sagte, "Mammi, ich hab hier einen Brief vom Harper Valley Elterbeirat."

In dem Brief stand: "Frau Johnson, sie tragen viel zu kurze Röcke.
Wir haben hier einen Bericht, dass Sie trinken und mit Männern rumlaufen und verrückt spielen.
Und wir glauben, sie sollten ihre kleine Tochter nicht so aufziehen."
Es war vom Sekretär des Harper Valley Elternbeirats unterschrieben.

Also, zufällig sollte der Elternbeirat an dem Abend tagen.
Sie waren überrascht, als Frau Johnson in ihrem Minirock den Raum betrat.
Und als sie zur Tafel ging, ich erinnere mich noch genau an ihre Worte,
sagte sie: "Ich möchte ein paar Worte an die Elternbeirats-Versammlung richten.

Also, da sitzt Bobby Taylor, der hat sich sieben Mal mit mir getroffen.
Frau Taylor scheint ne ganze Menge Eis zu verbrauchen, wenn er weg ist.
Und Herr Baker, können Sie uns sagen, warum Ihre Sekretärin diese Stadt verlassen mußte?
Und sollte man Witwe Jones nicht mal sagen, dass sie ihre Vorhänge ganz runterlassen sollte?

Äh, Herr Harper konnte nicht herkommen, weil er mal wieder zu lange in Kellys Bar gewesen ist.
Und wenn Sie Shirley Thompsons Atem riechen, dann werden sie merken, dass sie sich einen kleinen Schluck Gin genehmigt hat.
Und dann haben Sie die Nerven, mir zu sagen, dass sie glauben, ich wäre als Mutter nicht geeignet.
Also, dies ist Peyton Place in klein und Sie sind alle Harper Valley Heuchler.

Nein, ich würde Euch nicht auf den Arm nehmen, weil es wirklich genau so passiert ist.
An dem Tag, als Mama es dem Harper Valley Elternbeirat mal richtig gegeben hat.

Posted by EtherPundit at 11:09 PM | Comments (1)

January 27, 2005

There once was a dictionary in limericks....

One that invites reader submissions, no less. The OEDLF (Omnificent Dictionary in Limerick Form) is addictive, if incomplete.

Not all the reader submissions really nail the meter of the limerick or the sense of the word they're defining. But when they do, it's so satisfying. Here's one of the several definitions of anagram:

With anagrams fun is in store.
They disclose what is hidden, and more.
"George Bush" is a name
Whose letters seem tame,
But they also can spell "He bugs Gore."

(by Chris Doyle)

Posted by EtherPundit at 07:02 AM | Comments (1)

January 23, 2005

Rathergate story, told in anagrams of "Powerlineblog."

Well, I’ve got the Powerlineblog Rathergate anagram* narrative done. Hardest anagramming I’ve ever done. Would it have killed them to put an “a” or an “s” in the name of their site?

The Instapundit anagram narrative and the Little Green Footballs anagram narrative held together without much annotation, but this one needed chapter summaries to make sense. Like "Little Green Footballs," "Powerlineblog" contained the word “goner,” so I was able to use that term to describe Dan Rather again.

(Because this narrative isn't quite as self-explanatory as the others, I've written explanations after some of the lines in white type. Highlight to make them visible if you need them.)

"W" NG Lie = Blooper!

A story in anagrams

Chapter 1:
Bill Burkett nurses a grudge and seeks to destroy Bush
by spreading lies through the mass media.

Elbowing prole
(That'd be Burkett.)
on prowl: Beg, lie,

libel GOP. “W = Nero!”

Begin Orwell op.
(Using supposedly nonpartisan “news” media as a partisan bludgeon = Orwellian.)

Chapter 2:
Bill Burkett forges the memos;
Dan Rather broadcasts them on his program.

Bile on pol grew.
(Burkett could no longer contain his resentment of his least favorite pol.)
Goober will pen

libel. Pow! Goner:
(Goner = Dan Rather.)
“We libel on prog.
(Prog. = abbreviation for “Program.”)
I leer — GOP blown!”

Opine well, Borg.
(Borg=“person who has been absorbed into the collective mind”--the anti-Bush media hive mind.)

Chapter 3:
Powerline and the blogosphere step in.

Now, re: GOP libel:

We blog on peril.

W, lie? Long probe...
(Did W lie about his Texas Air NG service? Blogs began to probe diligently…)

Chapter 4:
It becomes clear that Burkett is a liar.
The story falls apart.

Bingo! “W peer”? LOL!
(Per Dan, Burkett was in the "TX Air Guard," like Bush. Wrong; he was in the Army National Guard.)
Loner, below pig!
(A bit harsh, but some would feel it's a reasonable depiction of Burkett)
Pro-Lib glee now

blip. Longer woe

ere long. Pow, Lib!
(The momentary joy of having tarnished Bush was just a blip. A long woe — 4 years long — awaited the Libs.)

Chapter 5:
Dan Rather stonewalls to save his job.
Public opinion shifts in favor of Bush.

GOP libeler now:

“GOP boner? Well, I...

... I ... We probe NG!” (LOL.)
(Dan claimed he would continue to probe the National Guard [NG] story.)
No, W/GOP libeler.
(Nope, Dan. Can’t get away with it.)
Web poll: “I” gone “R.”
(The NG story swayed some independents toward Bush [“R”].)

Chapter 6:
Bad news for Burkett: Bush is re-elected.

Bill, GOP e’er won!


*Anagram: A word or phrase created using all the letters, and only the letters, of another word or phrase. Every line in black uses all the letters, and only the letters, in "Powerlineblog."

Update: Welcome, Powerline readers! Look around, check out some of the other posts listed above on the right, make yourselves at home. Read my comment on Powerline's take on the Harvard/Summers/women and math controversy. Or take a look at some recent spooky photos of NYC's bridges in a freak fog — my fogblog.

Update: I just realized I've left out the blogs on the left. These fine citizen journalists deserve anagrams that reveal their dynamic, proactive role in exposing this egregious abuse of the public trust. Here they are:

Atrios:     Or... I sat.

Kos:      's OK.

Posted by EtherPundit at 06:32 PM | Comments (5)

January 18, 2005

Rathergate story, told in anagrams of "Little Green Footballs"

As promised, here's a crack at telling the Rathergate story using only anagrams* of "Little Green Footballs." Instapundit's Rathergate anagram had the letters D-A-N to work with, which was very convenient. But I find calling Dan "goner" seems to fit. Anyway, here goes:


TANG Bile Left Sore Toll

A story in anagrams
"Little Green Footballs."

Chapter 1.

TANG libeler: Left's tool.
"Let's fool lettering lab!"
TANG letters libel, fool!

Chapter 2.

Lo, lib net flogs a letter!
Goner abets left's ill lot,
flogs a letter. "Not libel!"
(Goner oft tells lib tales.)

Chapter 3.

Allies blog letter, font.

Chapter 4.

So. Lettering fable toll:
Flog letter, lie lots? = Ban!
Toll fell: To resign beat.
(Goner slot till late Feb.)


I'm working on anagrams of "Powerlineblog," and finding it really challenging. I'll post what I have when I'm done.

Update: Done! Powerlineblog anagram narrative is here.

Update: Thanks to Charles at LGF for the link! Glad to have you, lizardoids; poke around a bit, make yourselves at home.

*Update: It's come to my attention that not everyone knows what an anagram actually is. Basically, it's a word or phrase rearranged to make another word or phrase. All letters must be used. You'll see that every line above uses all the letters, and only the letters, in "Little Green Footballs." For more on anagrams, click on "Anagrams" under "Categories," to your right.

Posted by EtherPundit at 08:40 PM | Comments (13)

January 17, 2005

Rathergate story, told in anagrams of "Instapundit."

Regular readers will have noticed my fondness for anagrams. I recently started anagramming the names of some of my favorite blogs, and made an interesting discovery: I could tell the entire Rathergate story using only anagrams for Instapundit. Here it is.

Disputant in
Unpaid Stint

A story in anagrams

Titan du Spin.

Dan tip is nut.
Dan puts it in.
“Tut, Dan!” I snip.
“Dan? Nut!” I spit.
I stand, input.
I sit, punt Dan.
Stint up, Dani!
Dan in tits-up.*

*Tits-up = British slang for dead, kaput, hopelessly messed up.

I'm going to attempt the same feat with anagrams of Little Green Footballs and Powerlineblog. I'll post what I have as soon as I've completed it.

Update: Glenn says I have too much time on my hands. Guilty as charged, m'lud!

Update: Check out the new set: Rathergate story, as told in anagrams of "Little Green Footballs."

Update: Now the Powerlineblog anagram story is up.

Posted by EtherPundit at 04:26 PM | Comments (12)

December 03, 2004

Is death smart? I say yes.

Uncommon Knowledge about Death

Is it used by the police?  I say Probably.
Does it have a hole in it?  I say Probably.
Is it a predator?  I say Probably.
Is it used for entertainment?  I say Probably.
Does it have a backbone?  I say Probably.
Does it have a face?  I say Probably.
Does it use numbers?  I say Probably.
Does it dig holes?  I say Probably.
Is it found in salad bars?  I say Probably.
Is it smart?  I say Yes.
Is it originally from Africa?  I say Probably.
Does it have arms?  I say Probably.
Can it speak?  I say Probably.
Is it ferocious?  I say Probably.
Is it delivered?  I say Probably.
Does it cut?  I say Yes.

Words of wisdom from 20Q,net, a site that allows you to play 20 Questions with a robot. The interesting thing is: The robot learns from each game. It's an ongoing artificial intelligence experiment. I've played the game many times and tried to catch the robot learning, but the questions seem to rotate as part of the game, so it's hard to detect a change.

The robot is very talented at guessing objects, but has trouble with abstract concepts. The noun I was trying to get the robot to guess above was "suicide." It did manage to guess that my concept had something to do with death, so gold star for robot boy. After I admitted "defeat," it bragged about some of its other knowledge about death, spewing out the list shown above.

Sigh. Robots apparently have little need to understand death. (Although I will admit that death is used by the police, is used for entertainment by some, alas, and is found in salad bars. Especially in certain Korean delis around the midtown Manhattan area where they leave the lunch food in the hot/cold trays until dinnertime, by which time the whole buffet has become a deadly hot 'n' cold Petri dish of romping pathogens.)

Try a game yourself here.

Posted by EtherPundit at 11:26 AM | Comments (1)

December 02, 2004

I, the prudent EtherPundit: Anagrams, Part II

"I, the prudent" is an anagram for EtherPundit. I've already written about my love for anagrams. I can't help myself: I had to delve for some more, this time for EtherPundit.

Anagrams for EtherPundit:

Pud tinter, eh?  As a matter of fact, the color is all natural! But thanks for noticing.

Hit DU, repent.  Because it's not nice to torment retards.

Dr. Petite Hun.  She's cute as a button, but watch out for that prostate exam.

Hindu petter.  Those Bollywood films get me all randy...

I tuned Perth.  An unusually good night for DX. I suspect tropospheric ducting.

Hup! Rid Tenet!  Hey ho, hey ho! George Ten-et has got to ...  he's gone, you say? Huh. Just as well.

Deep thin rut.  Every blogger's worst nightmare, and inevitable fate.

Hide pet runt.  If maw finds out you didn't drown that thing, there'll be hell to pay.

I.D. the punter!  Blimey, guv! I prefer to remain anonymous!

Nu, Dr. Epithet?  So now you're a doctor, suddenly it's okay to talk this way to your own mother? Such a foul mouth!

Posted by EtherPundit at 08:20 AM | Comments (1)

November 28, 2004

New Feature! Yiddish Proverb Sundays! Read, so you should learn!

You asked for it!* Regular readers** wanted to see some weekly features, and I'm only too happy to oblige. So today I inaugurate...

Yiddish Proverb Sundays!

Unless noted, all proverbs will be from the 1970 book "1001 Yiddish Proverbs," by Fred Kogos.

I'll start the series with the last proverb in the book:

Altsding lozst zich ois mit a gevain.

Everything ends in weeping.

That's got to be the ur-proverb, right there. Could be pulled straight from Ecclesiastes, and for all I know it is. There it is, distilled into a few words, hard and sharp as diamonds: Ladies and gentlemen, the human condition.

This might be a good time to note that I don't speak Yiddish. Several people have called me an honorary Jew, though. Perhaps that's why these proverbs speak to me; I mean, the human condition is the human condition, but some cultures face it a little more squarely than others. And with a little more humor, might I add.

(Language nerd stuff coming up. Avert your eyes if you are sensitive to dorkiness or products processed in a dorkiness-processing facility.)

I'm going to include the Yiddish version whenever I can, because the originals often have lilting cadences and rhymes that don't carry over into the translation. (I imagine anyone with even a slight familiarity with the sound of spoken Yiddish or German could easily "hear" what the Yiddish might sound like.) Plus, I like spotting English cognates. In this example, there's Altsding ("all things") and gevain (sounds like "whine," certainly shares a root). And I'm guessing lozst shares DNA with "lost."

(Okay, the dorkiness-sensitive can resume reading now. If you are a dorkiness-sensitive patron and you got any of the above paragraph in your eyes, please proceed immediately to the nearest eye-wash station, where your eyeballs will be flushed with issues of Maxim and Sports Illustrated until all traces of dorkiness have been expunged. Thank you.)

* No you didn't.
** Of which I had, at last count, between 0 and  23, depending on whether you count the voices in my head.
If the voices in my head do count as regular readers, and I don't know why they shouldn't, then this statement is true.

Posted by EtherPundit at 04:19 PM | Comments (4)

November 26, 2004

EtherHouse: Seethe Hour

"Seethe Hour" is but one of many anagrams for "EtherHouse."

I've always been fascinated by word games, and anagrams are one of my favorites. A really suitable anagram is more than just wordplay -- it seems to reveal hidden truths about its subject.

Like "I, Rearrangement Servant" -- an anagram for Internet Anagram Server, a site I love to waste time at. There are other anagram sites, but this remains my favorite because of its simplicity, speed and power. I do find that the human touch is still required, but the program does some of the legwork for you.

More EtherHouse anagrams:

Treehouse "H". Any Simpsons fan will recognize this nickname for the "Treehouse of Horror" series.

There, sue OH. We all know Bush stole the state with the help of his minions at Diebold. Let the writs fly!

He tore US, eh? Our Canadian neighbors express their typically meddlesome opinion about the starkly divided electoral map.

Hetero hues. Hey, I can't help the sexual orientation I was born with! Lighten up, anti-breeder bigots!

Sheer Tue OH. Yes, Ohio was a tight race indeed on Tue Nov 3. I believe they didn't call it, in fact, until early Wed morning.



Hush Roe tee. I'm as pro-choice as the next person, but really: these kinds of garments do more harm than good.

Update: I anagrammed EtherPundit, too, and got slightly better results.

Posted by EtherPundit at 03:32 PM | Comments (3)

November 19, 2004

The new Newspeak: Making wicked thoughts unthinkable

Ace of Spades makes an important point about the slow, stealthy redefining of words like "diversity," which has now come to mean "abundant presence of certain so-called 'minorities'; which ones specifically are to be determined by your betters." One can't help but notice that this bears virtually no resemblance to the dictionary definition of diversity.

Nor, come to think of it, does the accepted (read: deviate and you're a racist) definition of "minority" bear much resemblance to its dictionary definition. Women, for example, are not actually a minority. They're virtually the only natural subdivision of people that are not a minority; there are more adult females than adult males. Jews are a minority, yet one never sees hiring quotas for Jews. I suppose you could say that "minority," used in certain contexts, means "group believed to need favors for political or cultural reasons." Fine; then why not say "favored group"? Why take an existing word and Newspeak it? Why not call "diversity" "favored-group presence" instead of sucking the marrow out of a perfectly useful, necessary, ancient English word? Is the reality of what these words mean thought to be so ugly that the public would recoil in horror if the truth were spoken?

Come on. I think we're all used to the idea of racial quotas, "affirmative action" and such. I think we can all tolerate the truth at this point. Can we have some of our words back now?

Posted by EtherPundit at 03:21 PM | Comments (2)