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Old 01-15-2013, 06:41 AM   #5926
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I think I'm dead, now....
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:40 AM   #5927
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"widespread disdain that complicates efforts..." Perhaps the article is also a contributing factor to math hatred. Damn, those numbers, always lieing to me.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:57 AM   #5928
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..."almost four in 10"...

First, it irks me when an article mixes the spelling out of a number and a numeric like this, but that is beside the point.

If almost 4 in 10 is a majority, does that mean that almost 4 is really somewhere around 1.5 to 2?
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:23 AM   #5929
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"four in 10" is a newspaper standard from what I know. Anything over nine becomes the numbers, anything less is spelled. I try to follow the general rule for myself to spell anything less than one hundred. I also try to limit contractions in everything I type when I think about it.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:57 AM   #5930
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I think I'm dead, now....
I've seen this and wonder if the headline was a bit tongue-in-cheek?

BOb
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:39 PM   #5931
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One morning a local highway department crew reaches their job-site and realizes they have forgotten all their shovels.

The crew’s foreman radios the office and tells his supervisor the situation.

The supervisor radios back and says, “Don’t worry, we’ll send some shovels. Just lean on each other until they arrive.”
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:19 AM   #5932
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A rookie police officer was assigned to ride in a cruiser with an experienced partner. A call came over the car’s radio telling them to disperse some people who were loitering.

The officers drove to the street and observed a small crowd standing on a corner. The rookie rolled down his window and said, “Let’s get off the corner.”

No one moved, so he barked again, “Let’s get off the corner!”

Intimidated, the group of people began to leave, casting puzzled glances in his direction. Proud of his first official act, the young policeman turned to his partner and asked,

“Well, how did I do?”

"Pretty good, ” replied the veteran, “especially since this was a bus stop.”
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:06 AM   #5933
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Students in an advanced Biology class were taking their mid-term exam. The last question was, 'Name seven advantages of Mother's Milk.’ The question was worth 70 points or none at all.

One student, in particular, was hard put to think of seven advantages. However, he wrote:

1) It is perfect formula for the child.
2) It provides immunity against several diseases.
3) It is always the right temperature.
4) It is inexpensive.
5) It bonds the child to mother, and vice versa.
6) It is always available as needed.

And then the student was stuck. Finally, in desperation, just before the bell rang indicating the end of the test, he wrote:

7) It comes in two attractive containers and it's high enough off the ground where the cat can't get it.

He got an A.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:07 PM   #5934
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There was a farmer who raised watermelons. He was doing pretty well, but he was plagued by local kids who would sneak into his patch at night and steal watermelons.

After some careful thought he comes up with a clever idea that he thinks will scare the kids away for sure. So he makes up a sign and posts it in the field. The sign says, “Warning, one of the watermelons in this field has been poisoned.”

The farmer goes to inspect his field the next morning and finds a new sign that says, “Warning, now two of the watermelons in this field have been poisoned.”
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:07 PM   #5935
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There was a farmer who raised watermelons. He was doing pretty well, but he was plagued by local kids who would sneak into his patch at night and steal watermelons.

After some careful thought he comes up with a clever idea that he thinks will scare the kids away for sure. So he makes up a sign and posts it in the field. The sign says, “Warning, one of the watermelons in this field has been poisoned.”

The farmer goes to inspect his field the next morning and finds a new sign that says, “Warning, now two of the watermelons in this field have been poisoned.”
Reminds me of the time my brother and I took the boat up the river to the watermelon farm. Just as I had a water melon under each arms. BANG! BANG!
We didn't stop to look and just high tailed it out of there as fast as we could.
I ran into the river not realising how deep it was and disappeared under the water leaving two melons bobbing about in the river.
It's really hard to swim to the boat and try and get two water melons to follow you while you're panicking about being used as target practice by a melon farmer.
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:28 AM   #5936
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In the words of the great Mark Twain:

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Withdrawing a Watermelon

"I remember, I remember it so well. I remember it as if it were yesterday, the first time I ever stole a watermelon. Yes, the first time. At least I think it was the first time, or along about there. It was, it was must have been, about 1848, when I was 13 or 14 years old. I remember that watermelon well. I can almost taste it now.

"Yes, I stole it. Yet why use so harsh a word? It was the biggest of the load on a farmer's wagon standing in the gutter in the old town of Hannibal, Missouri. While the farmer was busy with another - another - customer, I withdrew this melon. Yes, 'I stole' is too strong. I extracted it. I retired it from circulation. And I myself retired with it.

"The place to which the watermelon and I retired was a lumber yard. I knew a nice, quiet alley between the sweet-smelling planks and to that sequestered spot I carried the melon. Indulging a few moments' contemplation of its freckled rind, I broke it open with a stone, a rock, a dornick, in boy's language.

"It was green - impossibly, hopelessly green. I do not know why this circumstance should have affected me, but it did. It affected me deeply. It altered for me the moral values of the universe. It wrought in me a moral revolution. I began to reflect. Now, reflection is the beginning of reform. There can be no reform without reflection -

"I asked myself what course of conduct I should pursue. What would conscience dictate? What should a high-minded young man do after retiring a green watermelon? What would George Washington do? Now was the time for all the lessons inculcated at Sunday school to act.

"And they did act. The word that came to me was 'restitution.' Obviously, there lay the path of duty. I reasoned with myself. I labored. At last I was fully resolved. 'I'll do it,' - said I. 'I'll take him back his old melon.' Not many boys would have been heroic, would so clearly have seen the right and so sternly have resolved to do it. The moment I reached that resolution I felt a strange uplift. One always feels an uplift when he turns from wrong to righteousness. I arose, spiritually strengthened, renewed and refreshed, and in the strength of that refreshment carried back the watermelon - that is, I carried back what was left of it - and made him give me a ripe one.

"But I had a duty toward that farmer, as well as to myself. I was as severe on him as the circumstances deserved. I did not spare him. I told him he ought to be ashamed of himself giving his - his customers green melons. And he was ashamed. He said he was. He said he felt as badly about it as I did. In this he was mistaken. He hadn't eaten any of the melon. I told him that the one instance was bad enough, but asked him to consider what would become of him if this should become a habit with him. I pictured his future. And I saved him. He thanked me and promised to do better.
From The New York Times, May 12, 1907.

Complete article at http://www.twainquotes.com/19070512.html

Last edited by Pablo; 01-18-2013 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:51 AM   #5937
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A senior citizen drove his brand new Corvette convertible out of the dealership. Taking off down the road, he floored it to 80 mph, enjoying the wind blowing through what little gray hair he had left. "Amazing," he thought as he flew down I-95, pushing the pedal even more. Looking in his rear view mirror, he saw a Florida State trooper behind him, lights flashing and siren blaring. He floored it to 100 mph, then 110, then 120. Suddenly he thought, "What am I doing? I'm too old for this," and pulled over to await the trooper's arrival. Pulling in behind him, the trooper walked up to the Corvette, looked at his watch, and said, "Sir, my shift ends in 30 minutes. Today is Friday. If you can give me a reason for speeding that I've never heard before, I'll let you go."
The old gentleman paused. Then he said, "Years ago, my wife
ran off with a State trooper. I thought you were bringing her back."

"Have a good day, sir," replied the trooper.

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Old 01-19-2013, 06:05 AM   #5938
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I have recently been indulging myself in the mystery genre of the last century, and have read John Dickson Carr's excellent essay "The Grandest Game in the World", where Carr writes about the detective fiction in genereal and its development from ca. 1900 to 1946, and of his sympathies in the detective fiction. Carr writes very humorously about the mystery genre in the 1920s and 1930s, and while this essay isn't really a joke (Carr writes explicitly that the following is not written in ridicule) I personally got a good laugh from it since Carr's descriptions are spot on, and wanted to quote some parts of the essay here. The essay itself is copyrighted, but since this is merely a small extract, I think fair use covers this.

First, let's hear what Carr has to say about the typical mysteries from the 1920 "British" school of mysteries:

Quote:
But the pattern of the average detective story ran thus: The victim, on the eve of making a new will, was found murdered in his library. He had been stabbed with an Oriental dagger, customarily used as a paper knife on his desk. The whole room was strewn with cuff links, bus tickets, lace handkerchiefs and cigarette ends, in the fine artistry of a paper chase.

Inspector Brace, summoned hastily to the scene of the crime, found only the beginning of his troubles. The baronet or industrial magnate – in addition to his ne’er-do-well son, his rebellious daughter and his invalid wife – was afflicted with such a household as nobody, even in the days of the servant shortage, would tolerate for five minutes. The butler was a blackmailer, the chauffeur an ex-convict, the housekeeper a religious maniac. If this were not enough, investigation discloses that no less than eight other suspects, at the time of the murder, were skulking in one long procession past the library windows.

“This situation”, says Inspector Brace, “is hopeless!”

And it is difficult not to agree with him, since the various cuff links and sigarette ends are proved to have been dropped innocently by one or the other of the suspects, popping at intervals in and out of the windows like Box and Cox. Inspector Brace, desperate, is about to arrest the ne’er-do-well son when the latter’s fiancée calls in that gifted gentleman, the private detective Reginald Du Kink.

Then we get real business. It is Du Kink who discovers that the established time of the murder is all wrong, due to an effect of ventriloquism or a phonograph record of a voice, and at a dramatic gathering of suspects he fastens the guilt on the dead man’s secretary. The secretary, haggard and foaming, waits only to scream out a confession before he drinks off the contents of a small vial and instantly falls dead.

And that was that.

Now the above, so help me, is not written in ridicule. It is not meant as burlesque. You and I, who have been improving our minds with sensational fiction for so many years, are much too fond of detective stories. We are aware that all the above plot tricks were used long before 1920, have been used since, and are still in use today – often by the very best practitioners in the business.

Seldom are they lumped together in one story, as was formerly the case, nor is the clue so naïve as a broken cuff link. And the ghost of Dr. Freud haunts everything today. But the old elements remain. The millionaire’s home, the threatened disinheritance, the rebellious family, the enigmatic servant, the multiplicity of suspects, the wrongly accused, the wrong time of death – how many novels can you name in which not one of these elements is to be found?
Then we move on the the 1930's and the "hard boiled" "American" school of mysteries:
Quote:
As we earlier discussed the saga of Brace and Du Kink, let’s take a typical American detective novel of the later 30s. Its plot runs something like this:

The hero, Chip Hardstone, is a wisecracking private detective with an attractive blond stenographer. To Chip’s office, in violent agitation, comes the lean, elderly, aristocratic J. T. Witherspoon, a millionaire with a country house in Sundown Hills.

Mr. Whitherspoon’s daughter, it appears, has got herself involved with a notorious character called Smooth Ed Spumoni. A priceless crystal flask, with goldwork by Benvenuto Cellini, has been stolen from the millionaire’s collection. Matters at home are tense, since – in addition to his ne’er-do-well son, his rebellious daughter and his neurotic young wife – Mr. Witherspoon has further grounds for suspicion in that the butler is a blackmailer, the chauffeur an ex-convict, and the housekeeper a hophead. What he wants, he says, is to recover the Cellini crystal and free his daughter from the clutches of Smooth Ed Spumoni.

“But no scandal, Mr. Hardstone!” pleads the millionaire. “Above all things, no scandal!”

Already, before going to the country house, Chip has accumulated a lot of information. Practically every character in the story calls on him and tries to retain him. These he first bluffs and then insults – all except the representative of an insurance company, whom he merely insults.

Arrived at the house in Sundown Hills, Chip finds the “mad family” of earlier fiction now so completely nuts as to require a psychiatrist rather than a detective. The daughter removes her clothes; the wife intimates that she is willing to do so; the son tries to knock Chip’s head off on sight. Other friends swing punches at the son, at Chip, or at each other; and Chip, who replies by insulting everybody he has previously missed, is interrupted with the discovery that one of the guests has been found dead – his throat mangled – in the swimming pool.

(Observe the departure of originality here. The millionaire himself is seldom murdered. He must be kept alive to pay Chip’s fee.)

But one of the guests is murdered. No less than eight persons, it appears, know some vital secret about the murder. All of them have disappeared. It being Chip’s job to find them, in a roulette-ball spin round the city, he concentrates first on a mysterious red-haired girl who has been traced to an apartment house at the corner of Pineapple and Banana.

Racing to the apartment house, Chip finds the girl gone but a corpse on the floor. He flies to a second apartment house, only to find the girl gone again and another corpse on the floor. By the time he has reached the third apartment house and the fourth corpse, he is in a spot. The police are after him, the reporters are after him, Smooth Ed Spumoni is after him, even the millionaire is after him to call him off. Chip won’t be called off. He intimates, with something very like blackmail, that the old s.o.b can’t get out of it after bringing him in.

“All the same”, says Chip, “this setup is hopeless!”

And again we agree, since the vital secrets turn out to be innocent side games in which everybody is chiseling everybody else, and have nothing to do with the murders. Chip, on the point of being arrested by Captain Hooligan of the Homicide Bureau, suddenly gets an inspiration – it is never very clear how – that the murderer is J. T. Witherspoon’s wife. He confronts her; there is a gun fight all over the house; and the wife, waiting only long enough to scream out a confession, falls dead at his feet.

This is the end of the story, leaving the reader in some doubt as to just what did happen after all.

Now why, at the outset, are the adventures of Chip Hardstone so vaguely familiar? What strikes a reminiscent note? Despite the original kind of hero, despite the spit-in-your-eye style of writing, despite the chases and sluggings and kidnappings, we seem to have met this motiveless and clueless method somewhere before.

Don’t we see that it’s Inspector Brace and Reginald Du Kink all over again?

Instead of cuff links, bus tickets and lace handkerchiefs which bear no relation to the problem, we have “secrets” which bear no relation to the problem, either. Instead of the suspects doing their ring-around-the-rosebush outside the library, they now rush away from capture in cars and aircraft; but they still act either for no reasons at all, or for no reasons that are ever explained.
Was it only me who thought of Sam Spade when reading the description of Chip Hardstone?
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:27 AM   #5939
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Originally Posted by Iznogood View Post
Was it only me who thought of Sam Spade when reading the description of Chip Hardstone?
Sam Spade, Phillip Marlowe, Jim Rockford, Peter Gunn, Dan Tanner, Spenser, and Thomas Magnum.


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Old 01-19-2013, 06:48 AM   #5940
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Originally Posted by Stitchawl View Post
Phillip Marlowe
How could I forget about Philip Marlowe
Almost all the scenes in Carr's "recap" is present in the Marlowe novels. Substitute "crystal flask" for "dubloon" and you have "The High Window". And the murders in all the apartmenthouses are also present in a Marlowe-novel, but I forget which.

As for the others you mention, I must admit that they are unknown to me. Are they good reading material?
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