From time to time every newspaper prints corrections for mistakes
which have appeared in the paper. Today I am catching up on some of my
In my column about the Olympics, I erroneously
referred to the mayor of London as a "nit." A nit, it turns out, is a
type of head lice. What I had meant to write was "git" ("a completely
ignorant, childlike person with no manners.") I apologize to head lice
for the mistake.
In my column about frolicking at a
water park, I suggested that a churro vendor should deposit his product
in a bodily region not in keeping with good Christian anatomy. I regret
the outburst and my description of churros as "the devil's hornpipe."
Let me just say here for the record that in a civilized society there is
room for all types of confectionery.
In my column
about the tourist town of Big Bear, I wrote that there were so many
carved wooden bear statues, the ratio of humans to bear statues was 1:1.
This was inaccurate. There are actually five times as many bear statues
as there are people in Big Bear. I want to apologize to Bear Carvers
Local 114, the fine folks at Bears R Us, as well as Smitty's Chain Saw
Masterpieces. Carve on, my brothers.
In my column about
the new "Transformers" ride at Universal Studios, my suggestion that a
90 minute wait was "totally not worth it" was incorrect, according to a
knowledgeable source I like to call the "Universal Legal Department."
The ULD reminds me that a "wait" of any duration, however lengthy, is a
prime opportunity to "get to know your family better" and to "shut the
heck up about wait times." Point taken, ULD. Point taken.
my recent column about "the Cloud," I used the phrase "agile, scalable
infrastructure." I do not know what those words mean, nor does anybody
at the paper. I copied them from an Internet article. In fact, I have my
suspicions that they are not even real words. Going forward, I promise
to fact-check my computery columns with a teenager before publication.
in writing about Venus' recent "transit" of the sun, the auto-complete
function of my word processor unfortunately replaced it with the word
"transvestite." As far as I know, astronomers have not found any
transvestites in space, and not for lack of trying. I sincerely regret
the error, and, frankly, for getting your hopes up.
There comes a time in every man's life when the opportunity arises to
complete an act of reckless stupidity he somehow missed in his youth.
missed a lot of those, because I was a sober teen; something Shakespeare
advised against, by the way.
The opportunity came for me this week when
I plunged down a water slide with a seven-story vertical drop.
had visited this local legendary water park, which I will call here
Rampaging Wetness, several times over the decades, and walked past that
flume thinking "You'd have to be crazy to do that."
Not because of the
free-fall, but because of the epic wedgie awaiting you at the bottom; a
wedgie so intense, rumor had it your swimsuit sometimes passed through
your entire digestive tract, and you ended up wearing it as a hat.
have lived a happy life and I figured if I died at least they could use
my body for wedgie research, which is woefully under-funded.
is great value in facing your fears. At least that is the sentence I
kept repeating to myself as the line crept slowly up the tower toward
Rampaging Wetness, in its wisdom, soothes aspiring
flume-plungers by blasting hip-hop music as you wait in line. For
someone of my generation (a generation which prided itself on
appreciating music involving guitars), this was akin to waiting in line
to walk the plank while all the while being heckled by foul-mouthed
The line was made up almost entirely of young men, there
to prove something to each other or themselves. During the time it took
to reach the top, two people bailed out of the line from fear. "No
shame," I wanted to reassure them as they passed, but my mouth was too
dry from fear.
The time came. I lay down at the top of the
slide, crossed my ankles and arms, and the lifeguard shoved me off. I
closed my eyes and thought of England. I had never realized England was
At the bottom, flushed with manliness and the applause of
my family, I basked in glory as I put back on my sandals. Then I saw
her—the little girl who came down the flume after me. She was tiny.
Now that Christmas has passed I can say it: a lot of those carols are messed up.
"Angels We Have Heard On High"? Angels we have heard WHILE high, more like it. "And the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains"? Only at the holidays can you anthropomorphize alps.
I have also never understood the part that goes "In Excel sheets day-o!" Maybe the tally man uses them for figuring.
In the second verse of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" they rhyme "come" and "womb." That is loopy, unless you are in Liverpool. But then in the fourth verse they rhyme "come" with "home." I guess if you have just had a visitation from angels, consistency is not high on your list of priorities.
At least in "Jingle Bells" they keep the rhyme, but only by making up words: "The horse was lean and lank, misfortune seemed his lot. We got into a drifted bank and then we got upsot."
"Up on the House Top" details the contents of the stocking of Little Will, to whom Santa delivers a hammer, lots of tacks and a whip that cracks. God help his sister.
"God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay" sounds like a word order Yoda would come up with.
"Away In A Manger" proclaims "The stars in the sky looked down where he lay." I guess it's not just the hills that have eyes.
"It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" offers up this gem: "the world has suffered long" under "life's crushing load." Luckily, that flutter of wings you hear? It's not another hawk, come to carry off another of your young. It's just angels. Angels are a good sign! Um, right?
We think of Christmas carols as jaunty and uplifting, but if you manage to reach the fourth verse of "We Three Kings," you get "Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume breathes a life of gathering gloom. Sorrowing, sighing, breathing, dying, sealed in a stone-cold tomb."
Pop Christmas tunes can be just as strange. "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" promises there will be "marshmallows for toasting" and "scary ghost stories." You can kinda tell the writers had just lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Well, that's all behind us now. New Year's is coming up, and "Auld Lang Syne" will rule. Just don't look up the lyrics. Trust me.
Readers may contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org