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Posted on Sep 14, 11:26AM | IANS
TEE Hee Hee. My children were sniggering over a text message. My brother-in-law had ended it with "LOL", thinking it stood for "lots of love" rather than "laugh out loud". I told them that British premier David Cameron made the same error. The kids were stunned that a person could even graduate from kindergarten, let alone get to be a world leader without knowing the most important Facts of Life, i.e., how to write text messages.
Judging by the tales going around, I reckon the following text conversation happens somewhere in the world about once a week. MOM: "Grandpa passed away this morning. He died in his sleep. LOL." CHILD: "Mom! LOL means Laugh Out Loud." MOM: "Oh no! I sent the message to 2,643 people! How do I get it back?" CHILD: "You can't."
Modern-seeming words have actually been around a long time. Researchers recently found "OMG" used as an exclamation in 1915. Other researchers said "What's up?" was used in the 1860s and "computer" in the 1640s.
On the radio I heard a professor say that people in history used "just as much slang as we do today", but it would have been "edited out" for official printed versions. Amazing. In that case, we can probably recreate the original PRE-EDITED versions of famous speeches.
For example, after reporter Henry Stanley tracked down his man in Africa in 1871, he probably didn't say: "Dr Livingstone, I presume?" but, "Doctor Livingstone, sup dude?" ("Sup?" is short for "What's up?")
Here are other examples of famous quotations in their pre-edited slang-containing state:
John Keats: "A thing of beauty is OMG totally PHAT forever."
Mahatma Gandhi: "An eye for an eye makes the whole world krunk."
John F. Kennedy: "Ask not what your homies can do for you. Ask what you can do for your homies."
Chairman Mao: "Shawties hold up half the sky."
Winston Churchill: "We shall fight the haters on the beaches, we shall fight the haters on the landing grounds, we shall never surrender but ROFL at them."
Alexander Pope: "Fools rush in where angels say: l8tr dude."
Abraham Lincoln: "You can fool some of the noobs all the time, and all of the noobs some of the time, but you cannot fool every noob six ways from Sunday."
Shakespeare: "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more buff and more mega hot, dudette."
The very funny Hong Kong comedian Anthony Solimini made me laugh with this note last week: "From my study, if I wait until 9 p.m., stand on a chair and lean to the right with a mirror, I can see my neighbor undressing! Why should I have to put up with this? It's disgusting."
I resent the fact that Asian business people are always portrayed as being evil crooks. The 99 percent are giving the rest a bad name.
A rescuer searched for a missing tourist most of the night before realizing she was looking for herself.
She was part of a tourist group which stopped at an Icelandic volcano one afternoon last month. After looking around, she decided to "freshen up" in the toilet, according to a report on C-News, forwarded by Amy Sin.
Now to your average male, freshening up is a 0.5 of a second glance in the mirror. But this girl decided to change her make-up and adjust her clothing. She went back to the coach, but it didn't move off because the other tourists were waiting for the original "her", who was declared missing.
I can imagine the conversation: A: "What did she look like?" B: "A lot like you but with different lipstick and no scarf." A: (Taking off her lipstick and scarf.) "Like this?" B: "Yeah, exactly like that. Have you seen her?" A: "Nope."
They searched all afternoon and well into the night. At 3 a.m., just as a rescue helicopter was about to join them, the tourist clicked that the woman who looked exactly like her was her.
Case cracked, and it only took them 10 or 12 hours. Tourists must be getting smarter.
Here are the Five Stupidest Tourist Questions.
1) A tourist asked staff at the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau: "Can you tell me which beach is closest to the ocean?"
2) A tourist in Hong Kong asked a friend of mine: "What time do they fire the Noon Day Gun?"
3) A tourist in Scotland asked: "What time do they feed the Loch Ness Monster?"
4) A tourist at Niagara Falls asked:"What time do they turn the water off?"
5) A tourist in Sri Lanka asked: "Is this tea freshly picked?" My friend replied: "Yes, I keep a bush in the kitchen."
Thomas Cook and the Association of British Travel Agents revealed the dumbest comments they had received:
5) From beachgoers: "The beach was too sandy."
4) From visitors to India: "I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry."
3) From tourists at a coastal resort: "No one told us there would be fish in the sea."
2) From a British visitor to Spain: "There are too many Spanish people."
1) From a young couple: "My fiance and I booked a twin-bedded room but we were placed in a double-bedded room. We now hold you responsible for the fact that I find myself pregnant."
Observation from a person who has been an employer for a long time: "People can get an amazing amount of work done, providing it is not the work they are supposed to be doing." Wise words indeed.
On an unrelated topic, befuddled actor Clint Eastwood recently yelled at a chair, apparently under the impression that it was running the United States. This is actually not a bad idea. Planet Earth has a long history of inanimate objects doing well in politics.
In 1967, a tin of foot powder was elected mayor of Picoaza, Ecuador. In 1997, a puppet called Dustin the Turkey received thousands of votes in a presidential election in Ireland. A rural part of New Zealand has had many non-human leaders, including Billy Gumboot the Goat (1999), Tai the Poodle (2003) and Murtle the Turtle (2005 to present day). Last year, a sock called Ed the Sock ran during the Canadian federal election.
Here in Asia, Ed the Sock would have WAY more personality than ANY of our leaders.
A reporter phoned me last week to ask me what I thought about the bestseller 50 SHADES OF GREY. I replied: "It's filled with people having guilty thoughts and giving each other smoldering looks, but there's not much actual sex. It reminded me of my teen years. And twenties. And married life, come to that."
(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveler. Send ideas and comments via www.mrjam.org)