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November 08, 2010


"I have learned ... that 'bonsai' means 'tree in a tray.' My question is, why did the Japanese soldiers of yesterday shout 'Bonsai!' ('Tree in a tray!') when they attacked? I want to know before we get in too deep."

(This classic column was suggested by Alice Sacharoff)


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I thought Dave's response column to all the humorless people who didn't get this column was awesome. I know that it probably had long-lasting impacts on my health and sanity when I came across it at the tender age of three.

Can I suggest that one next?

Also, that Banzai thing clears everything up.

I love Vintage Dave.

I also get confused when the Japanese karate experts yell "Haiku!"

Meanie the Blue is
wondering about the zen
of Japanese poems.

i'm tired of cutting off another piece of my ottoman
every time i take my dogs to the vet

Tora Bora, Dora?

and what if poor Hairy Kerry had gotten thru to a suicide prevention hotline??

"Yanara", he sighed.

BANZAI! and ACHTUNG! are exclamations conjured up by the creators of those GI Joe comics where they all had guns that fired words such as *BAM* *BAM* *BAM*

the much-feared 157th Tactical Shrubbery Division.

Ruh roh. I hit "refresh" and got the dreaded "Odnamrod Meditation:"


Or is it, "Om nom om nom om nom"?

Now i lay me down to sleep
A book of Barry at my feet
If i should dye before i wake
Don't make my hair color a mistake.


(The only effective defense against the KWSN.)

But while we're sorta on the subject, Harry Caray was the sportscaster and Harry Carey was the cowboy.

Ying tong iddle i po

Rut Roh?

Mr. Language Person: Does Scooby or Astro read and or make comments?

A: Ruff.

everybody wang chung tonight

you can request any column by sending as much info as you have about it (key words help a lot) to the blog mail address with "classic column" in the subject line.

I love Mr. Language Person. Thank goodness I'll be able to sleep tonight now that I know the difference between 'bonsai' and 'bonzai' per se. I would like to know when it is acceptable to use per se and when should you use etc.

I've given this a great deal of thought (1 minute) and maybe they did yell bonsai to distract their enemies. I could see the enemies saying, "Tree in a tray? Where?", while they were attacked. Especially if a lot of the enemies wives told them to bring them back something nice after the attack was over.

Would nursecindy like
a well-trimmed Japanese bush
or bad poet-tree?

Mot, actually Bonzai and Achtung are real words.

Oh I knew that Elon, I was merely commenting on their incorrect usage in battle comics. My father served in WWII and never once heard a German soldier cry ACHTUNG as he stormed into battle guns blazing. Schweinhund maybe or even huhne ficker but never achtung, which basically means ATTENTION.

How did we get from discussing Japanese to a mention of "Harry Carey"? Please. people -- unlike English, Japanese vowel pronunciation is quite consistent. The two "a"s in "hara-kiri" are pronounced the same, as are the two "i"s.

Oh, and "plant in a tray" would be a better translation than "tree in a tray"; the characters are different.

Hope this helps.

The dumbest word in the English language is "phonetic". It isn't.

And who's the crazy mutha who put an s in lisp.

Or an ess in "shlur"?

Or an "st" in St-st-st-st-stutter?

Whoa - my work nanny filter let huhne ficker go right on through. Never thought of trying German obscenities......

When y'all get done with the Japanese stuff, could you figure out what the deal is with the skydivers and the "Geronimo" yelling?

Can you have that to me by, say, Thursday? Thursday it is then.

And while we're at it, I read an article that referred to a "suicide victim". Hmmmm.

bonmot, also, why is "abbreviated" such a long word?

Has anyone checked out the comments on this column? Someone wrote in to tell Dave Barry that his grammar was incorrect. In Mr. Language Person column, if you can believe it (heavy sarcasm).

Have to agree with Elon. That column for the humor impaired was priceless. Though I was considerably older than three....

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