Monthly Archives: May 2011

Phial — Have any at your house?

Phial is a small bottle or container.  It usually has a closure and holds liquids.

The origin is Latin – phiola which means saucer and the Greek word piale meaning a wide shallow vessel.

One can surmise that the word vial is somehow a distant relative of the phial.

Arcades and high schools

Arcades and high schools?  Yes, if you are talking  about the high school I attended.

Last week, I was back in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to visit family, friends and former
classmates.   On one of the days, my wife and I drove around some of the old familiar places in town.

On the way to see my Grandma’s old house (we lived in the basement when first married), we went by my old high school.  George Washington High, to be exact.

So, back to the arcade.  One of the features of good old WHS was the arcade. No, not the video game type!   Actually, I am so old that there were no video games (not even Pong) at that time.)

There are two definitions for arcade:

One is a business or area that contains games, both mechanical and electric.   People hang out there and feed quarters into the machines to play the games.

The other definition of arcade is an architectural one.   An arcade can be a series of arches supported by columns/pillars or a  covered passageway.

The way WHS was built, the main group of buildings is separated from the area that contains, or at least did contain, the music and drama area.  A second story link connected the two units.   In this link were a hallway and classrooms.

The area beneath the arcade was a good covered area for dropping off or picking up students.  This was especially helpful in an Iowa snowstorm.

This area was also a great place for the local hot rods to show off.  Parking under the arcade was interesting.  The pavement under the car and the cement
roof made for a great place to check out the deep rumble of a car’s glass pack

Ahhh, memories.

Paraprosdokian? What is that?

Paraprosdokian sentences? 

A paraprosdokian  is a figure of speech where the latter part of a sentence or phrase is  surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe  or reinterpret the first part.

It is mainly used for humorous or dramatic  effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax.

Here are a few paraprosdokian

If I agreed with you we’d both be wrong.

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and
beat you with experience.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear
bright until you hear them speak.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many
is research.

Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.

The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the

Evening news is where they begin with “Good evening”, and then
proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a
train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

Famous people use or used paraprosdokians too.

He was at his best when the going was good.” —Alistair Cooke on the Duke of Windsor

“If I could say a few words, I’d be a better public speaker.” —Homer Simpson

“If I am reading this graph correctly — I’d be very surprised.” —Stephen Colbert

“She looks as though she’s been poured into her clothes, and forgot to say ‘when’.” —P.G. Wodehouse

“If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.” —Dorothy Parker

“I sleep eight hours a day and at least ten at night.” — Bill Hicks

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” —Groucho Marx