Audience Participation Friday: April Fools!

An early April Fools' Day joke–dating back to the 17th century–was to give out tickets to the "Washing the Lions" ceremony at the Tower of London.

If you’ve read The Charlatan’s Boy, you’ll remember Floyd and Grady’s roaring machine. It was inspired by something that happened in my father’s boyhood. Some old boy

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Audience Participation Friday: Texting the Classics

"Thanks for friending me. I mean that ever so earnestly"

Before the telegraph was invented, news couldn’t travel any faster than a horse. The slow movement of information had huge historical consequences. The Battle of New Orleans, for instance, was fought three weeks after the Treaty of Ghent–which “ended” the War of 1812. If somebody

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Audience Participation Friday: Mean Teachers

Mrs. Crawley looked much meaner than this.

Sally Apokedak suggested this topic. Blame her.

The great majority of teachers (including both of my sisters) are angels who care very deeply for their students and don’t get paid nearly enough. Today we aren’t talking about those teachers. Today

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Audience Participation Friday: Let’s Talk About Disney

I went to Disneyworld once. I was eight or nine, and if I remember correctly, we just popped over for one afternoon of a vacation spent at Daytona Beach. I vaguely recall riding Space Mountain, but that is literally the only thing I remember about being inside the park. Here’s what I do remember

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What’s Your Favorite Seuss?

Not what I thought Dr. Seuss would look like.

It’s Dr. Seuss’s 107th birthday. One of my kids went off to school today wearing a tall red and white striped hat.

As you may know already, The Cat in the Hat came about when a publisher challenged Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss’s real name)

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The Winner Is…

What do GK Chesteron, Lady Gaga, MacGyver, and Aaron Roughton have in common? They were all the subjects of clerihews in the Clerihew Contest.

The response was overwhelming. Thirty-seven of you submitted eighty-eight clerihews on fifty different subject. We had a tie for the most popular subject, with eight clerihews each: GK Chesterton and Aaron Roughton. The proliferation of Aaron Roughton clerihews is attributable in part to the confusion regarding the pronunciation of his name (Dan Kulp wrote about five to cover every possible pronunciation) and in part to the fact that Aaron wrote one about himself. My thoughts on the Aaron Roughton matter may be summed up in a clerihew (using my preferred pronunciation of his name, which is not, as it turns out, Aaron’s preferred pronunciation):

Aaron Roughton–
Who’d have though him
A literary muse?
Yet he inspired eight clerihews.

I suggested fourteen of the more colorful characters from this blog as possible subjects for clerihews. You wrote about all but one of them; strangely enough, Martin Amis didn’t attract the interest of any clerihew contestants (though, if I’m not mistaken, he was the subject of this blog’s first clerihew, by Dan Kulp (of course), in the comments section. I also wrote a clerihew about Mr. Amis, which you may have missed, buried as it was in the comments:

Amis, Martin,
Had a part in
Edifying millions–
None of them chilluns.

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POETRY CONTEST: Prepare Your Clerihews

Edmund Clerihew Bentley, for whom Dan Kulp's favorite poetry sub-genre was named

EDITOR’S NOTE: The original version of this post stated that I would not be accepting submissions until Friday. I have changed my mind. I am accepting submissions as of right now. You may enter your clerihew(s) in the comments section of this post. I’ll accept entries through midnight Sunday.

Over the last few days we have seen an interesting development in the comments section of this blog. Dan Kulp has introduced the lesser-known poetry subgenre known as the ‘clerihew.’ Here’s the description of a clerihew from Wikipedia:

A clerihew is a whimsical, four-line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley…
A clerihew has the following properties:

  • It is biographical and usually whimsical, showing the subject from an unusual point of view; it pokes fun at mostly famous people
  • It has four lines of irregular length (for comic effect); the third and fourth lines are usually longer than the first two
  • The rhyme structure is AABB; the subject matter and wording are often humorously contrived in order to achieve a rhyme
  • The first line consists solely (or almost solely) of the subject’s name.

An excellent example (also from Wikipedia):

Sir Christopher Wren
Went to dine with some men
He said, “If anyone calls,
Say I’m designing Saint Paul’s.”

Here are some more excellent examples.

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Audience Participation Friday: Valentine’s Day Disasters

When I was in college, I worked one Valentine’s Day at a florist’s shop. The florist, a favorite among students at my school, hired several students to deliver flowers on that very busy day. On my first delivery, the recipient met me on the stoop before I had even rung the doorbell. She blinked

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Audience Participation Friday: Poetry Challenge

We saw some great poems yesterday using the word splanchnoptosis. It made me wonder what would happen if you had a real challenge. So here’s your challenge for APF: write a poem in which you use at least one of the following words…or prose (no longer than 2 sentences) in which you use all

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Audience Participation Friday: Food Favorites

Patrick had a great suggestion for Audience Participation Friday: Give us a story about a meal you’ve eaten. Or write about your favorite food (and why it’s your favorite). Recipes are welcomed, though not required.

I’ll kick things off by telling about a recipe that I invented. If you’ve ever enjoyed a plate of

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