Friday, February 15, 2013

Funny Friday

At the risk of being labelled sexist, misogynistic, chauvinistic and any other applicable ists and tics, today's Funny Friday has some pictorial and diagrammatic comments on the differences between men and women, Part 1 . . .

Limerick Spot:

Maddy, the lovely gf of my Number 2 son Elliot, was stung by a wasp that went down the back of her blouse in her car. Sounds like something out of a horror movie and it caused her a lot of pain. I said that I would dedicate this week’s limerick, which is about a wasp, to her with a little story. 

First, the story: 

Those who like limericks owe a great debt to English nonsense writer Edward Lear (1812-1888). Compared with today's formats and style Lear's limericks sucked, but he was the greatest influence in popularising the limerick as a fun poetic form. 

Edward Lear

Whereas today limericks use 5 lines, have a twist or whiplash ending and are frequently of a risqué nature, Lear’s limericks used the traditional rhyming format in 2, 3 and 5 lines, were quite inane and innocuous and usually repeated a variant of the first line. A couple of examples: 

There was an Old Derry down Derry, who loved to see little folks merry;
So he made them a book, and with laughter they shook at the fun of that Derry down Derry. 

There was a Young Person of Smyrna 
Whose grandmother threatened to burn her; 
But she seized on the cat, 
and said 'Granny, burn that! 
You incongruous old woman of Smyrna!' 

I told you that they were awful. And he wrote book after book of the stuff. 

Lear and Bees: 

One of Lear’s limericks was about bees: 

There was an Old Man in a tree,
Who was horribly bored by a Bee;
When they said, 'Does it buzz?'
He replied, 'Yes, it does!'
'It's a regular brute of a Bee!' 


Gilbert and Sullivan incorporated the limerick format into some of their musical works, an example being The Sorcerer (1877): 

My name is John Wellington Wells 
I’m a dealer in magic and spells, 
In blessings and curses 
And ever-fill’d purses 
In prophecies, witches and knells. 

Gilbert was also one of the first to parody Edward Lear’s limericks which, to use a colloquial expression, were as amusing as a fart in an elevator. Here is Gilbert’s dig at Lear: 

There was an old man of St Bees 
Who was horribly stung by a wasp. 
When they said: "Does it hurt?" 
He replied: "No, it doesn't— 
I’m so glad it wasn't a hornet!" 

(Here is another Lear parody, by NZ/Australian comedian John Clarke: 
There was an old man with a beard, 
A funny old man with a beard, 
He had a big beard, 
A great big old beard, 
That amusing old man with a beard.)

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