Another Piñata of Miscellanea. Go On, Take another Swing!

Here, once again, is “something completely different” that I have culled from various emails and notes from friends and followers.

As I did the other day, I am sharing some of these epistles and dispatches with readers as a way for all of us to disengage from the steady stream of depressing news about COVID, inflation, forthcoming wars with Russia and China (let us hope not!), and the Washington swamp that overwhelms and engulfs us day after day.

 9 Words Removed From the Dictionary

The English language is comprised of thousands and thousands of words (more than 470,000 in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary). But as language evolves and new vocabulary (including slang) is coined, older words that have fallen out of favor are continually revised, retired, and, sometimes, removed from dictionaries.

Full compendiums such as the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary are more likely to change the usage of a word by marking it as “archaic,” “historical,” or “obsolete.” But smaller, or more specialized, dictionaries can be more particular. A “descriptivist” philosophy means the dictionary represents how language is used, and sometimes words drop out of the lexicon.

So, is a word no longer a word once it’s been removed from a dictionary? Maybe. Maybe not. Have you used any of these eradicated words recently?


A British term referring to a landing field for airplanes and related structures (e.g., hangars). The word “airport” has since replaced it.


This is an obsolete term for psychiatry, which is the study and treatment of mental illnesses. It’s a fair assumption this term was phased out due to the offensive connotation of connecting the word “alien” with mentally ill patients.


To brabble is to squabble, quarrel, argue, or fight. Considering the number of synonyms readily available for this one word, retiring it was for the best.


From French, meaning wagon with benches, this combination of a bus and a motor coach was used for sightseeing. This word belongs in historical fiction now.


Check again, this word is NOT “delicate.” “Deliciate” means to amuse or please oneself by indulging in revels. It does, however, come from the Latin word delicatus, which means delicate. With this confusing etymology, it’s better that this word dropped out of use.


This word was used to describe something that causes cold or is chilling. Today we still have “frigid,” but the older cousin is no longer commonly used.


Love shrubs? This word means having the appearance of a shrub, but Merriam-Webster shows it in the bottom 10% of word searches. Perhaps it’s time for this word to meet its retirement.


It sounds like an advanced form of interrogation, but it means going above and beyond what is required by duty, obligation, or need. Its roots lie in Medieval Latin, and when “supererogation” was first coined, it was primarily used in religious contexts.


The older definition of this word can refer to a young man or a child. There’s also a former department store founded in 1856 by the name of “Younkers” — now it’s online-only. Otherwise, this one isn’t used anymore.

A few phrases of wisdom (and I say that with some reservations)

  • If you are worried about your smartphone or TV spying on you, think about this: Your vacuum cleaner has been collecting dirt on you for years.
  • I’m at a place in my life where errands are starting to count as going out.
  • I’m getting tired of being part of a major historical event.
  • I don’t always go the extra mile, but when I do, it’s because I missed my exit.
  • I don’t mean to brag, but I finished my 14-day diet food supply in 3 hours and 20 minutes.
  • Remember back when we were kids and every time it was below freezing outside, they closed school? Yeah, me neither.
  • I may not be that funny or athletic or good looking or smart or talented. I forgot where I was going with this.
  • I love being old, I learn something new every day and forget five other things.
  • A thief broke into my house last night. He started searching for money, so I got up and searched with him.
  • Just remember, once you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.
  • Having plans sounds like a good idea until you must put on clothes and leave the house.
  • It’s weird being the same age as old people.
  • When I was a kid I wanted to be older. . . is not what I expected.
  • Life is like a helicopter. I don’t know how to operate a helicopter.
  • It’s probably my age that tricks people into thinking I’m an adult.
  • Marriage Counselor: “Your wife says you never buy her flowers. Is that true? Me: To be honest, I never knew she sold flowers.
  • Never sing in the shower! Singing leads to dancing, dancing leads to slipping, and slipping leads to paramedics seeing you naked. So remember. . . . Don’t sing!
  • If 2021 was a math word problem: If you’re going down a river at 2 MPH and your canoe loses a wheel, how much pancake mix would you need to re-shingle your roof?
  • So if a cow doesn’t produce milk, is it a milk dud or an udder failure?
  • Corona-coaster: noun; the ups and downs of a pandemic. One day you’re loving your bubble, doing workouts, baking banana bread, and going for long walks and the next you’re crying, and missing people you don’t even like.
  • I’m at that age where my mind still thinks I’m 29, my humor suggests I’m 12, while my body mostly keeps asking if I’m sure I’m not dead yet.
  • We all get heavier as we get older because there’s a lot more information in our heads. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The Humor of Henny Youngman

I suspect anybody under the age of 60 has no idea who Henny Youngman was. For the unenlightened, he was a standup comic/comedian/musician considered the king of one-liners. Like a lot of Jewish comics of his era, he got his start in the Catskills of New York State. Youngman was born in 1906 and passed away in 1988. He often appeared with his violin which he would sometimes play between one-liners.

Henny did not start out as a comedian. He actually was a musician and played the violin. He once led a small jazz band and during their performances, he often told jokes.

One night, the club’s regular comedian didn’t show up and the owner asked Youngman to fill in. He enjoyed it and thus began his long career as a stand-up comic.

Thereafter his violin was his stage prop, but he held it more often than he played it. He would deliver the jokes in a rapid-fire style, telling dozens in just 10 minutes. His wife was frequently the butt of his jokes, as were Jews.

Here are a few of his jokes and one-liners. I hope you enjoy them. Notice, they are ALL CLEAN. Comics in the past could make audiences laugh without dropping pervasive F-Bombs and other vulgar expressions.


“When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.”

A woman is staying at a hotel and calls down to the front desk. She complains that the bed in her room vibrates so much when the train passes on the nearby tracks that she is thrown out of bed. The hotel manager doesn’t believe her and goes to the room to investigate. Once he gets there he lays down on the bed. All of a sudden the woman’s husband walks in.

” What the hell are you doing here?”

“believe it or not, I’m waiting for a train”


A man says to another man, ‘Can you tell me how to get to Central Park?’


‘All right, I’ll mug you right here.’


I told the airline ticket lady, “Send one of my bags to New York, send one to LA, and send one to Miami.”

She told me, “We can’t do that!”

I told her, “Well you did it last week!”


I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places he said stop going to those places


I’ve been in love with the same woman for 41 years if my wife finds out she’ll kill me


A man walks into a library and asks I hope you don’t have a book on reverse psychology


There was a beautiful young woman banging on my hotel room door all night last night I finally let her out.


The psychiatrist says, “You’re nuts!”

The man says, “I want a second opinion!”

Psychiatrist says, “OK, you’re ugly, too!”


The CO says, “Are you crazy? You just joined the Israeli army, and you already want a 3 day pass? You must do something spectacular for that recognition!”

So the soldier comes back a day later in an Arab tank! The CO was so impressed, he asked, “How did you do it?”

“Well, I jumped in a tank, and went toward the border with the Arabs. I approached the border, and saw an Arab tank. I put my white flag up, the Arab tank put his white flag up. I said to the Arab soldier, ‘Do you want to get a 3 day pass?’ So we exchanged tanks!”


Husband: How could you lose $150 in the slot machines?

Wife: Well, you lost $15,000 at the crap tables.

Husband: Yeah but I know how to gamble.


After 30 years of marriage, people always ask, “What’s the secret of keeping the romance alive?” I always tell them…

We go to the same romantic restaurant every week, twice a week…I go on Tuesday. She goes on Fridays.


I’ve got all the money I’ll ever need if I die by four o’clock.


What’s the use of happiness? It can’t buy you money.





About Ronald E. Yates

Ronald E. Yates is an award-winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy. Read More About Ron Here

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