Category Archives: Orbilius

General Tso’s Chicken

At least that’s what some of the other generals say.

Posted in Orbilius | Leave a comment

Missing the Obvious Pun

I wish I’d known about Barney Greenglass the Sturgeon King when I worked for six months just a few blocks away: very tasty. But if I were in the lox business I would call myself the Sturgeon General.

Posted in Orbilius | 1 Comment

Pedantic Joke/Riddle

What are the two (2) ingredients in a Hirtius salad, and why do I call it that? If it helps (it probably won’t) I just had one with a can of kippered herring and some crackers.

Posted in Latin Literature, Orbilius | Tagged | Leave a comment

Unidiomatic Spam

When I see the subject-line “How to handle wild babies?”, I can’t help thinking of feral infants: an interesting concept for a horror movie, if it hasn’t already been done. (I’m not much interested in horror movies, so I wouldn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Orbilius | 1 Comment

Unusually Vain Vanity Plate

Seen on a new or nearly new Saab 9-3 convertible: SNAAB Too bad the car was an unattractive shade of green, because the pun is excellent.

Posted in Orbilius | Leave a comment

Equal and Opposite Indexing Errors

Too bad they don’t cancel out. 1. The index of Albrecht Dihle’s Greek and Latin Literature of the Roman Empire from Augustus to Justinian (Routledge, 1994) includes one entry for Lucilius and one for Lukillios. Too bad they are actually … Continue reading

Posted in Greek Epigram, Orbilius | Leave a comment

Latin or Pseudo-Latin?

Colby Cosh writes: “I guess I’m the only news editor alive who isn’t busy reading about horcruxes.” I haven’t read the books or seen the movies, and have no plans to do either, but shouldn’t that be ‘horcruces’?

Posted in Orbilius | Leave a comment


Ann Althouse ends a post on Wisconsin cuisine with a linguistic comment: . . . isn’t it cool that there’s a town called “Mazomanie.” It sounds sounds like a form of insanity. A cute and amazing mania. It does indeed … Continue reading

Posted in Etymology, General, Orbilius | 2 Comments

Worse than Wikipedia

Our Biology teacher despises Wikipedia, but I think its usefulness depends a great deal on the subject. Anything technical is likely to be ill-informed, and anything political is almost certain to be tendentious, at least until someone corrects or hypercorrects … Continue reading

Posted in Music, Orbilius | Leave a comment

Linguistic Puzzle II

Am I the only one who can’t help thinking of gigantic sandwiches when driving down Interstate 40 between Raleigh and Durham? Specifically when passing the sign for ‘William B. Umstead State Park’, I should add.

Posted in General, Orbilius | 1 Comment

Linguistic Puzzle I

A local shopping center contains a ‘Center for Aesthetic Dentistry’. Wouldn’t that be the exact opposite of Anaesthetic Dentistry? Ouch!

Posted in Etymology, Orbilius | Leave a comment

Is This a Joke?

Three early Fellini movies (Le Notti di Cabiria, La Strada, and I Vitelloni) list one of the workers as ‘Narciso Vicario’. This must be a pseudonym. According to IMDB, he is also named Vicario Narciso, Narciso Vicari, and Narcisio Vicario, … Continue reading

Posted in Movies, Orbilius | 1 Comment

Worst Classical Typos

Here are my nominations: 1. In a Greek text: In Volume I of R. D. Dawe’s Teubner Sophocles (1975), the first word of Oedipus Tyrannus is misspelled. The fact that it’s a one-letter word is particularly impressive:  τέκνα Κάδμου … Continue reading

Posted in Greek Literature, Latin Literature, Orbilius | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Things That Warm My Cold, Cold Heart

Misreading two lines in a Chicagoboyz post, a review of a book on the fall of the Roman Empire. They give the table of contents, which includes these lines:       1. Romans 3       2. Barbarians 46 I couldn’t help reading that … Continue reading

Posted in Latin Literature, Orbilius | 1 Comment

Hmmmmm . . . .

Terry Teachout’s life of H. L. Mencken is titled The Skeptic. Given Mencken’s taste (and aptitude) for invective, it might just as easily have been titled The Skoptic — not that anyone outside of Classics departments would know what that … Continue reading

Posted in Orbilius | Leave a comment

Two (Non-Classical) Riddles

What fact connects the following words? cross, lane, return, rock, waltz How about the following series of words and phrases? amnesia, babe, baby, blues, crowd, gal, girls, hardwood floor, healin’, heart, husband, man, merry go round, moon, night time man, … Continue reading

Posted in Music, Orbilius | 4 Comments

An Editorial Shipwreck

I’ve been reading the new translation of Sebastiano Timpanaro’s The Genesis of Lachmann’s Method, edited and translated by Glenn W. Most and published by the University of Chicago Press (2005). Or rather, I have been trying to read it, but … Continue reading

Posted in Orbilius | 1 Comment

An Unnecessary Gloss?

In Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932), the subtitles quote the maid as telling the title character, Priape Boudu, “You behave like a Neanderthal”, but the last word is clearly audible as ‘troglodyte’. Was the gloss really necessary? Surely anyone likely … Continue reading

Posted in Movies, Orbilius | 1 Comment

Retro Me, Spamulatores

I upgraded WordPress to version 1.5 yesterday, which makes spam comments a lot easier to deal with. Lately, quite a few of the latter have contained a simple two-word message: tool die. My first thought on seeing one was that … Continue reading

Posted in Orbilius | Leave a comment

Etymological Stereotyping

Wanting to make a big pot of Mulligatawny a few nights ago, I finally got around to unpacking my Christmas blender. Consulting the manual, I was amused to discover that the Spanish name is the macho and sinister ‘licuadora’, while … Continue reading

Posted in General, Orbilius | 1 Comment