Tag Archives: humor


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WEIRD AL: TACKY music video (I’m sorry — I can’t put the video in my post. Please click to go watch it.)

You’ve seen Pharrell’s video “Happy,” right?

This video is a parody video. In other words, it’s almost the same song, but it has funny new words. The musician is “Weird Al” Yankovic. He was very popular with people my age when we were young. He’s still making funny songs, so I’m still a fan.

In this video, Weird Al and several comedians dance and sing. It sounds like “Happy,” but it’s about being “tacky.”

Adjective: tacky

Noun: tackiness

The Longman Dictionary of English says

if something is tacky, it looks cheap or badly made, and shows poor taste:

tacky ornaments

especially American English showing that you do not have good judgment about what is socially acceptable:

It’s kind of tacky to give her a present that someone else gave you.
It’s a little hard to define “tacky,” because it’s based on social rules. Those rules are different for different people. Here are some things that people I know think are tacky:
– Ed Hardy brand clothes
– Anything that Paris Hilton does
– Wearing a lot of brand logos, like Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc.
– Asking directly for money as a wedding gift
– Telling everyone your big salary at your new job
– Many things that are for sale in souvenir shops (warning: some images might be “adult” — don’t look at work!)
– Bringing fast food to a potluck dinner party
– Taking a selfie at a funeral
I think that “tacky” is connected to being inappropriate, showing off, and being self-centered. Still, it’s really hard to define, and people often don’t agree on what is tacky. (For example, giving money for a wedding gift is normal in many groups. Potluck dinner parties are common in the US, but asking guests to bring food is very rude in some other countries.)
Similar words: crass, crude, tasteless, over the top, kitschy, inappropriate.

Twitter Lists – Reading Material

I know that many of you use Twitter, so I’ve made some lists of Twitter accounts that you might like to follow.

I started working on this about 8 days ago. I stopped because of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I was watching the news and trying to contact friends. Then, after that, I thought it wasn’t a good time.

However, now a lot of people are saying that are really stressed out. They want something to take their minds off of the news. They can’t do anything right now besides donate, wait, and hope for the best. So I decided to go ahead and share the lists. There are funny things, interesting things, and useful things on various accounts. You might find something that you like.

Of course, I’d be happy to get more recommendations. I’d especially like to know about Twitter accounts that tweet links or articles that are easy to read. Please tell me if you know about any. Thanks!

You can read about the lists on two new pages that I’ve made: 1) Twitter Lists — How to Use Them 2) Twitter Lists by @readable.

These lists include the community college anime club students who wanted to meet Japanese Twitter users, so please go read about them and follow them if you’d like!

If you have any questions, please ask me on Twitter.


You probably know about Spam, the meat product. Do you know about the connection between Spam and the English verb/noun “spam”?

The noncountable noun/verb “spam” means “e-mail and other internet messages that you don’t want.” Usually, these messages are advertising something (“BUY SOFTWARE CHEAP NOW”). People also use this word to mean “posting too often” or “posting a message over and over again.” Imagine that your Twitter account has a problem. It accidentally posts your Tweet 5 times. You might apologize by writing “Sorry for spamming everyone. It was an accident!”

You can get advertising spam on your blog, in your e-mail, on Twitter, etc. Recently, someone spammed Readable Blog on Facebook! That’s why I started thinking about the word “spam.”

Spam (the meat product) is not very common or popular in the US. However, we don’t usually use it as an insult. So how did it become the word for internet messages that you don’t want?

Monty Python is the name of a British comedy group. They were most active during the 1970s, but they are still popular today. In the US, they are especially popular with geeky people. Below is one of their famous sketches (comedy performances). The “Spam” sketch starts around 0:32 and ends around 2:41–sort of. Two people are in a cafe trying to order breakfast. The server or shop owner is telling them what she can serve them. (Yes, all of the main performers are men.) Warning: There are a couple of body-part words in here. Don’t watch it at work, and don’t watch it if you are under age 16 without your parents’ permission.

It might be hard to understand all of it (Monty Python’s comedy is very strange). But I think you’ll get the main idea. You can watch a higher-resolution official video with no subtitles here.

When the internet was still new, there were online games and message boards. People who used these games and message boards sometimes typed the words of the “Spam” sketch or just “Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam.” After a while, people started to call this kind of annoying activity “spam.” Later, people also started to post messages to message boards trying to sell things or get others to join money-making plans.

In 1998, the New Oxford English Dictionary added this definition to “Spam”: “Irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of newsgroups or users.” (There’s a long explanation about all this on Wikipedia.)

And now we get spam all the time. It’s everywhere, just like the Spam in the comedy sketch.


Strange and Fun Poems

Shel Silverstein’s poems are known by most American children and adults, because they are strange and funny. His books include drawings by him that go with the poems. Some of his poems are very long and hard to read, but others are easy to understand. These books have been popular for a long time, so you should be able to buy them at used bookstores.

This poem is called “Lazy Jane,” and it’s from his most famous book, Where the Sidewalk Ends. Do you know the word “lazy?” It’s an adjective that means “someone who doesn’t want to do any work.” I think the meaning will be very clear after you read this silly poem, which is about a really, REALLY lazy girl!

“Lazy Jane”
by Shel Silverstein



A joke from Eijiro

I just got back from vacation, and I still have a lot of work to do! I’m sorry I haven’t been posting.

Anyway, here is a cute joke from Eijiro:

One day, a mother mouse and her child were taking their daily stroll when, out of the blue, they were cornered by a cat. Keeping calm, the mother mouse yelled out “Woof! Woof!” Startled, the cat ran off in fear.

The mother mouse then hugged her child and said, “Now you can see why it’s so important to learn a foreign language.”

Do you understand it? I love it!

You can read the joke in Japanese and listen to it at www.eijiro.jp — Eijiro is the source for the popular dictionary at ALC, so it’s very good!