Damn, this cheered me up. I have a deep abiding love for Colbert. He's a brilliant comic, actor and perhaps foremost a brilliant writer--and it was wo...moreDamn, this cheered me up. I have a deep abiding love for Colbert. He's a brilliant comic, actor and perhaps foremost a brilliant writer--and it was wonderful to be reminded of his writing skills, considering that he has a team of writers on his (still hilarious) show.(less)
When I first encountered this book in a friend's bathroom I definitely thought it was called The Meaning of Life at first glance and this (undoubtedly...moreWhen I first encountered this book in a friend's bathroom I definitely thought it was called The Meaning of Life at first glance and this (undoubtedly common) optical aberration made what I discovered inside so much funnier.
This is a wonderfully creative book. It’s a list of definitions which can be read randomly. All the terms are actual places--many being towns in England and America--and the definitions for things and happenings for which there was no single term for beforehand. In other words it's a list of observations of "the little things" but not in a groan-inducing early 90's Seinfeld stand-up comedy way whatsoever. It's like an intelligent, irreverent, childlike-curiosity-driven, British version of the "Didja ever notice when...", "...airplane peanuts...", etc, tiresome bullshit routine we all know, loathe, and were sick of mocking a decade ago. It combines that basic style of observational humor with an eye for the truly tiny details and a sensitive finger on the pulse of absurdity lurking behind, well, most things in daily life.
E.g. at random:
OSBASTON (n.) A point made for the seventh time to somebody who insists that they know exactly what you mean but clearly hasn’t got the faintest idea.
OSHKOSH (n., vb.) The noise made by someone who has just been grossly flattered and is trying to make light of it.
OSSETT (n.) A frilly spare-toilet-roll-cosy.
OSWALDTWISTLE (n. Old Norse) Small brass wind instrument used for summoning Vikings to lunch when they’re off on their longships, playing.
OBWESTRY (abs.n.) Bloody-minded determination on part of a storyteller to continue a story which both the teller and the listeners know has become desperately tedious.
OUGHTERBY (n.) Someone you don’t want to invite to a party but whom you know you have to as a matter of duty.
OUNDLE (vb.) To walk along leaning sideways, with one arm hanging limp and dragging one leg behind the other. Most commonly used by actors in amateur production of Richard III, or by people carrying a heavy suitcase in one hand.
OZARK (n.) One who offers to help just after all the work has been done.
MILWAUKEE (n.) The melodious whistling, chanting and humming tone of the milwaukee can be heard whenever a public lavatory is entered. It is the way the occupants of the cubicles have of telling you there’s no lock on their door and you can’t come in.
NAZEING (participial vb.) The rather unconvincing noises of pretended interest which an adult has to make when brought a small dull object for admiration by a child.
PITSLIGO (n.) Part of traditional mating rite. During the first hot day of spring, all the men in the tube start giving up their seats to ladies and straphanging. The purpose of pitsligo is for them to demonstrate their manhood by displaying the wet patches under their arms.
PLEELEY (adj.) Descriptive of a drunk person’s attempt to be endearing.
PLYMOUTH (vb.) To relate an amusing story to someone without remembering that it was they who told it to you in the first place.
PLYMPTON (n.) The (pointless) knob on top of a war memorial.
"In Life*, there are many hundreds of common experiences, feelings, situations and even objects which we all know and recognize, but for which no words exist.
On the other hand, the world is littererd with thousands of spare words which spend their time doing nothing but loafing about on signposts pointing at places.
Our job, as wee see it, is to get these words dow off the signposts and into the mouths of babes and sucklings and so on, where they can start earning their keep in everyday conversation and make a more positive contribution to society.
A one star review of this book stated, "If you want to see Rossellini dressed up in a paper barnacle costume with a long paper penis, then maybe this...moreA one star review of this book stated, "If you want to see Rossellini dressed up in a paper barnacle costume with a long paper penis, then maybe this is the book for you." And then asked, "Honestly, who really wants to see that?"