Lady Mondegreen, an eggcorn, a malapropism and mumpsimus…

A mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near-homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning. (eg. “pre-Madonna” instead of “prima donna”)

The unintentionally incorrect use of similar-sounding words or phrases in speaking is a malapropism. (eg. “intensive purposes” instead of “intents and purposes”)

If there is a connection in meaning, it can be called an eggcorn. (eg. “old timers” instead of “Alzheimers”)

If a person stubbornly sticks to a mispronunciation after being corrected, that can be described as mumpsimus.

Just for the sport of it, how about “reverse Mondegreens”:

Some nonsensical lyrics can be interpreted homophonically as rational text. A prominent example is Mairzy Doats, a 1943 novelty song by Milton Drake, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston. The lyrics are a mondegreen and it is up to the listener to figure out what they mean.

The refrain of the song repeats nonsensical sounding lines:
Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, wooden shoe

The clue to the meaning is contained in the bridge:
If the words sound queer and funny to your ear, a little bit jumbled and jivey,
Sing “Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy.”

The listener can figure out that the last line of the refrain is “A kid’ll eat ivy, too; wouldn’t you?”, but this line is sung only as a mondegreen.

Gary and Shelley Wedding Speech

Delivered as Best Man at Providence on 18 December, 2010

Welcome everyone to Gary and Shelley’s wedding. I am Warwick Chapman, known to most people here as Budgee. I have the good fortune of being a friend of both the bride and the groom, and the rather ominous responsibility of having introduced them to one another.

So on behalf of the bride and groom, I would like to thank all of you for having come up here to celebrate this day, especially those of you who knew that I’d be saying a few words – it’s very touching that you still decided to come.

The crucial role a best man must play on this important night is to provide accurate information about the groom such that everyone here has a good idea of just what Shelley has gotten herself into.

I thus thank you Gary for asking me to be your best man. It is a great privilege and I shall not disappoint. First, however, what I must do as a best man is make a heartfelt toast to two people without whom we would none of us would be here today. Hopefully as the night goes on, each of us will have a chance to spend some quality time with them. So I ask you to rise, and join me in toasting the bar staff.

We couldn’t do it without you guys. Thanks alot.

There are many things I can say about the man with the hairiest toes in the world, and a few things perhaps I shouldn’t. But before I tell you about this fella Shelley’s just married, let me propose a real toast to three smashing young ladies.

Lord Alfred Tennyson said simply that “A happy bridesmaid makes a happy bride.” Mary-Leigh and Nicole you two make a fine complement to our stunning bride tonight. I know she appreciates all the support you’ve given her over the last weeks and especially today. I could not possibly complete this toast without mentioning Deidre and that beautiful cong she sang in the chapel. Please rise and join me in toasting the Deidre and the bridesmaids.

More than just a few of us here tonight met GazziPuff 11 or 12 years ago at the University of Natal, Durban Rowing Club. There, being but a slight of a fellow, and a finicky technician in the bowseat, he earned himself the nick name – FairyG.

And who could forget the photo of Gaz published in a mainstream weekend newspaper, dressed in a tiger suit, his hand in a claw pose with the campest of growl expressions on his face. Accordingly, the paper misspelt his name “Gay” Ainsworth. So GazziPuff, even though you’re a FairyG and Gay – you’ve bagged yourself a gentle, intelligent and above all gorgeous wife and are now laughing in the face of these prophecies we wrote in your name. Good show.

Shelley, you no doubt have some idea what you’ve got yourself into, but for the benefit of those less familiar with the dirty details, let me share the sort of treatment Gary might come to expect from a wife. You see, Gary’s doting mother spoilt him as a child, as a teenager, and even as a grown man.

Many people thought us rowers nuts for dragging ourselves out of bed at 4am each day to go rowing. Gary’s mornings, however, were somewhat more comfortable. You see he’d be woken with a cup of tea, and a pair of pre-warmed socks thanks to his darling mother who couldn’t bear the thought of our Gaz getting cold feet. Well, Margaret, I’m pleased to say that your boy is married, and its now Shelley’s job to make the tea and warm the socks, though, perhaps it might just be the other way around!

Just whatever you do Shells, don’t wet his socks and put them in the freezer. You may end up with the fire brigade outside your door in a bad mood. Gaz, ever the prankster, at SA Student Sprint Champs about 100 years ago, found himself pranked and saddled with a hard, frozen pair of his trademark long rowing rugby socks. In a moment of sheer brilliance he decided the obvious solution was to heat them in the oven – sounds good right? – as long as you don’t go off to a fines meeting shortly thereafter and leave them in the oven to combust. Chop.

This is the same dude the Poms decide to make their Safety officer while he was working in the UK. Safety first Gaz. Shells, keep a leash on him, you never know what could go down. And whatever you do, never ever respond when Gary asks you to check if something smells funny. Not unless you want whatever it is he’s holding all over your face… that one never ever fails to amuse him.

Sure this man has matured over the years, but beware of the rare failure to be discrete. A fellow rowing friend, Caroline Reid, related to me an almost lost story of one of Gary’s first flings in varsity which unnerved him more than just a little. So concerned was our Gaz, that he confided in Cally that this lass “had gone from friend to psycho over just one kiss.” Unfortunately the lass was standing right behind him. Smooth dude.

For Gary’s Bachelor bash at Inanda Dam, we asked Shelley a set of questions about Gary. At the party, we put each question to Gary, and then compared with Shelley’s answer. A most illuminating exercise.

One of the questions asked whether Shelley knew that Gaz used to wear an Alice Band and if he still had this hair style would she have even given him a second glance?

Gary’s answer (granted he was properly trousered and full of confidence): “She would’ve loved it!”

Shells responded: “Yes I have actually seen photographic evidence from Lauren Carrol!!! Honestly if he was still sporting such fashion accessories when I met him ,we would not be here today. ”

Another question referred to Gary’s incessant whining, asking Shells on average how many times a night does he moan about something?

Gary’s reponse: None

Shelley’s reponse: He does tend to be a winger. If I had to give it a number I would say between two and three. Just tonight I have heard that he has a bite on his arm and that he hopes it won’t lead to tick bite fever (because he has had it three times before!) and that he also has a paper cut which is actually very sore!

Gary took his rowing very seriously at varsity, making up for his significant lack of height with spirit and commitment. Rowing itself aside, Gaz was the inspiration of the sense of humour department, president of the association of pranksters and fellow in the institute for inebriation induced creative dancing. He’s the sort of legend that makes fun times great.

Gary provided many notable figures in the rowing community with simpler, easier to remember names. One unfortunate fellow, who I had the pleasure of cover tackling into the Msunduzi for harassing one of our UND ladies, protested that I had wet his, and I quote, “10000 grand Diesel watch”. We all laughed at him heartily. Gary called him “Diesel watch guy” from that day forward. Others to suffer the misfortune of Gary’s programme of renaming were “Model boy”, “Big nostril dude”,

Gary lived with me for a year or so a couple of years ago. We were hopeless single people, and occasionally we did what hopeless single people do, and went to Billy the Bums for a burger and beer. We were wingmen, wallowing in our uselessness. These were good times.

There one night, we bumped into my dear old friend, and evidently also hopeless single person, Shelley Wright. At the moment, I decided that I was actually tired of Gary being in my house, holding me back, so I took it upon myself to inflict Gary on Shelley. Gary was instantly smitten. I cant be certain but I’m fairly sure that Shelley wasn’t. As we walked out, he said to me, “Soo… do you think I’ve got a chance? You know, she’s way outta my league.”

Naturally, I assured him Shells was keen as beans – of course I had no idea if she was – but it was my duty as wingman to say such things.

I am, however, sure of one thing. If there are such things, Gary, Shelley is in your league. Gaz, you are the consummate gentleman, quite possibly my most loyal and forgiving friend, you’re brutally honest, trustworthy and reliable. And you have the biggest BIG toe nail I’ve ever seen.

Shells, I’ve known you a few more years than Gaz – since Glenwood and Girls’ High days, through our beautiful friend Annie, who, incidentally, I also arranged to have married off to a rower.

Shelley, you are a gentle soul, caring, thoughtful and I know you love Gary dearly. I know you’ll take care of him and I have no doubt that he’s already devoted his life to loving and caring for you.

I wish your partnership endless love, good fortune, and despite the Pope’s recent comments, a great many children.

Could I ask you all to rise and toast the bride and groom.

For crying out loud, get a hospital plan at least!

I have heard just one too many stories of people getting injured in car accidents, hit and runs etc and not having even just a simple Hospital Plan to cover their hospital bills.  Family and friends them have to scramble to raise hundreds of thousands of Rands to cover the medical bills.

This is just plain irresponsible.  For the price of several drinks a month (perhaps not drinking those reduces your chance of having one of these accidents as well), you can get a basic hospital plan which covers your medical costs in the event you have an accident or land up in hospital for whatever reason.  If you don’t have one, GET ONE!

Foodie Walk in ‘Old Delhi’ with Dr Chopra and Delhi Couch Surfers

I am currently in New Delhi, India on my way to Kolkata where I will be attending and speaking at INDIASOFT 2009.

JP the Taximan and Indira Gandhi International Airport
JP the Taximan and Indira Gandhi International Airport

Vijay Prasad and Ronita Das have been my hosts in New Delhi for the past two nights and their openness and hospitality in their home in Dwarka has been the most perfect “Welcome to India” that any first time visitor could ask for.  I met Ronita on CouchSurfing.com after being introduced to the concept by a beautiful friend of mine (<3) and searching for someone to stay with in New Delhi.

Vijay PrasadRonita Das
Vijay Prasad and Ronita Das hosted me in their home in Dwarka for 2 nights

Tonight and tomorrow night I will be staying with another CS friend of theirs, Shyam Singh in Gurgaon.  Shyam, like many young Indians works in a BPO Call Centre and thus works night shifts – so he is sleeping now and I have a few hours to catch up online.

Shyam SinghDr Ashish Chopra
Shyam Singh and Dr Ashish Chopra. Shyam is hosting me tonight and tomorrow night and Dr Chopra lead the Foodie Walk

But this post is about the CS ‘Foodie Walk’ which I was invited to join yesterday afternoon and evening.  The idea of the walk was conceived by another Delhi CSer and travel writer, Dr Ashish Chopra who has previously taken some of the most high profile CEO’s from Gurgaon on the same excursion – walking through the street markets of ‘Old Delhi’ and sampling the various eastern delights on offer.

The Lane Opposite the Mosque - we ate dinner in a place just to the left.
The Lane Opposite the Mosque - we ate dinner in a place just to the left.

This culinary adventure is made better by the atmosphere of the ancient city as the backdrop to thousands of people just getting on with their lives – pulling rickshaws, cooking, travelling, begging… The colours and sounds and, of course, the smells are an adventure in themselves before you’ve even tasted any of the food on offer.

Chilla/Cheela - savoury pancackes made with chickpea flour and semolina which come from Northern India - Rs.10 ea (R2)
Chilla/Cheela - savoury pancackes made with chickpea flour and semolina which come from Northern India - Rs.10 ea (R2)

We stopped at places along the way and sampled all sorts of things with names like chilla (savoury pancake with cheese and tomato), dahi balla (I have no idea…), japanese samoosa (Indian-style wantaan), gosh raan (thigh of lamb), brain curry (er, sheep brain, curried), mutton stew, kaleji (livers), gurda (kidney) and at the end of it all a beetle leaf with all sorts of sweets and stuff on it called Paan. To a boy from Durban in South Africa many of the flavours were familiar and those that weren’t were compatible with what we like to eat…  nothing was outrageously hot though – I’d have liked to have found something piping ‘ot!

Paan - Beetle leaf loaded with goodies which you are supposed to chew and periodically spit the juices out.  They love it when people smile with red teeth from all the stuff that comes out of it!
Paan - Beetle leaf loaded with goodies which you are supposed to chew and periodically spit the juices out. They love it when people smile with red teeth from all the stuff that comes out of it!

This morning, Vijay, Ronita and I watched Slumdog Millionaire win 8 out of the 10 Academy Awards which it was nominated for, and though billed as a British Movie, it is equally as Indian, having been filmed in India, co-directed by an Indian and adapted from an Indian novel.  I am going to watch it tonight with Shyam and Dr Chopra – I cannot wait!

The tale of the broken bird and the “cramping” girl

This morning I found out where the Durban and Coast SPCA is, and wiped shit off my car seat with a pink Barbie towel.

My brother said I should’ve pulled the rest of the feathers out, basted it in peri-peri and shoved it in the oven.

Looks like chicken. Tastes like beef.

As I was leaving home this morning, a little girl of 8 or 10 came up to me with a Hadeda (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadada_Ibis) wrapped in a bright pink Barbie towel under her arm and asked me to dial the SPCA.

Just as I had finished telling the SPCA where to come and get the bird, the girl suddenly said “Oooh! Ooh! Ow! My stomach! Please sir, take it from me.” So I did, fearing the worst but suspecting the inevitable, and with that, she sped off, never to be seen again.

So there I was, sitting alone in my car holding a big ass bird wrapped in a towel.

Gingerly, I plonked it in the passenger footwell, praying it would not freak and went to find the SPCA. There, I filled in the form, went back to the car to get the poor, broken bird… and… it would not comply.

So I went round to driver side to get it and it shat on my seat the jumped out and ran under the decking at the coffee shop (“Coffee Cats”) with a party of about 10 animal lovers and employees trying to “rescue” the forsaken animal. I say “rescue” because some of the methods of capture they were discussing were downright concerning.

Anyway, so life must go on and that involves driving, which is not great when you have a massive, liquid bird-turd on your seat. So, I dipped said Barbie towel into the fishpond, wiped my seat off and continued my day as normal.

Except now everyone wants to know why I have a cute pink Barbie towel at work with me.