The true test of an English major is knowing the difference between a “girl’s used bicycle” and a “used girl’s bicycle.”
With a national election upcoming in the United States, I have been wondering how much the average American knows about the rights of U.S. citizenship. Naturalized citizens are required to pass a citizenship test (see link ) but those of us born as American citizens have no such requirement. I think it is time that ALL Americans, if they want to be called Americans, stand up and take a test to prove that they are indeed true-blue one hundred percent U.S. citizens.
Ergo (meaning more pompous than therefore), I offer the Curmudgeon-at-Large True-Blue United States Citizenship Test.
2.What is the first question asked by a defense attorney to his client?
3. What is the proper drink for the Fourth of July?
4. Where was President Barak Obama born?
5. Where was Donald Trump born?
6. Which person below is NOT true-blue one hundred percent American?
7. What do you do when go into a voting booth?
8. In the event no candidate for President of the United States receives the required number of electoral votes, who chooses the next president?
9. What are the three branches of government?
10. Match the statement to the president.
|a) I am not a crook.||George H.W. Bush|
|b) I did not have sexual relations with that woman.||Richard Nixon|
|c) Read my lips.||Lyndon Johnson|
|d) Gerald Ford can’t piss and chew gum at the same time.||Bill Clinton|
11. What are the first words a foreign-speaking naturalized citizen should understand when entering the United States?
12. How often does the United States Constitution get changed?
To get your results, please place your answers, a self-addressed stamped envelope and $500 in cash (preferably small bills) in a sealed envelope and mail it to:
You will receive the answers that you deserve.
Your welcome, America!
While I am off thinking of more items to grouse and complain about, I realized that you should have something other than The Donald’s statue to contemplate.
Those of you in Canada or Mexico can choose a state comparable to your province.
Hypertextbook.com says that an average educated person knows about 20,000 words and uses about 2,000 words in a week. Most sources say that the English language contains between 600,000 to over 1 million words depending upon how you count. (Thank you, Captain Obvious.) Not only do most of us use less than 3% of available words, we employ them poorly. And when I say “we,” I mean “me, myself and I.”
As a charter member of the Failed Writers Society, I recognize my repetitive, trite speech and writing patterns especially when I come across informative reading matter.
A recent article from The New Yorker entitled Alone in the Alps by James Lasdin described the connection between the Via Alpina trail in Europe and its rich culture as follows:
“That sense of multiplicity is still strong. The Rockies may offer wilder wilderness, but you don’t experience the pleasure of sharp cultural variegation as you move from place to place… It’s there […] in the freshly incomprehensible road signs, which is Slovenia are clotted with consonant clusters, as if vowels were an indulgence.”
This description of a consonant-rich Eastern European language is the best I’ve come across since a Car Talk episode called Vowels to Bosnia – http://www.cartalk.com/content/vowels-bosnia
So what’s the connection between not improving your health and improving your writing? Well, if nothing else, not improving your heath will give you less time to improve your epitaph* when that inevitable day comes.
[*Dr. Language Guy wishes to point out that he word “epitaph” comes from the Latin epitaphium, which, in turn, comes from the Greek epitaphion, meaning “over or at a tomb.” This is derived as epi (“on” or “over”) + taph(os) (“tomb”).]
Here are some better examples.
In a London cemetery:
Here lies Ann Mann,
Who lived an old maid
But died an old Mann
Dec. 8, 1767
In a Ribblesford, England cemetery:
The children of Israel wanted bread;
And the Lord sent them manna.
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.
In Boot Hill, Tombstone, Arizona:
Here lays Butch,
We planted him raw.
He was quick on the trigger,
But slow on the draw.
Also in Boot Hill:
Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a 44
Of a hanged sheep thief, in Lame, Ireland:
Here lies the body
Of Thomas Kemp
Who lived by wool
But died by hemp.*
* A witticism from Cervantes’ Don Quixote states: “One does not speak of hemp in the house of the hanged.”
A lawyer’s epitaph in England:
Sir John Strange
Here lies an honest lawyer,
And that is Strange.
In Newbury, England (1742):
Tom Smith is dead, and here he lies,
Nobody laughs and nobody cries;
Where his soul’s gone, or how it fares,
Nobody knows, and nobody cares.
In a Welland, Ontario cemetery:
Here lies all that remains of old Aunt Charlotte,
Born a virgin, died a harlot.
For sixteen years she kept her virginity,
A marvelous thing for this vicinity.
And finally, in Hollywood Forever cemetery: