Sunday, November 25, 2007

words, funny and otherwise

Cake inscriptions gone wrong This morning I was surfing along, following links, and somehow I ended up at a page from about some pretty funny goofs. My favorite:

For my 40th birthday, my husband decided to surprise me with a birthday cake from our local bakery. "In the middle please print 'Happy Birthday Nita,'" he instructed them over the phone. "Then, 'you're not getting older' at the top and 'you're betting better' at the bottom." When he went to pick it up, he discovered that they had decorated the cake with the words exactly as he had said them. "Happy Birthday Nita, you're not getting older at the top, you're getting better at the bottom."

Unlike most entries at, this one doesn't try to get at the veracity of the stories.

British soldiers weren't called "lobsterbacks"--at least during the American Revolution. J.L. Bell, at Boston 1775, reports on research by Christopher Lenney that the first American use of that word, at least in print, came with the War of 1812. Only then did historians begin using the term in connection with the Revolution.

Like a ring in a bell Over at Language Log, Arnold Zwicky recently discussed a new eggcorn: "like a ring in a bell," a mis-hearing of the phrase in Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode"--he "played the guitar like a-ringin' a bell." I love this stuff.

added later: I really dislike the "blockquote" function on Blogger. I'm sure there's a way to use it without messing up the formatting of the whole posting, but I haven't figured it out yet.