Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I was out dancing the other night when the band started playing "Brickhouse," a Commodores song from the 70's. I love how clever this song is and how much fun I had explaining it to my kids in the van on one of our homeschool field trips.

Brandon: What's a "brickhouse." It doesn't sound like a woman.
Me: The whole phrase is "She's built like a brick shithouse."
Sophie: What? A woman is a shithouse?
Me: No, it's a metaphor. It's saying she's built like a brick shithouse.
Brandon: How do you know that? They don't say that in the song.
Me: No, but they leave space in the lyrics and melody. Listen to how they say "brick....house." They're leaving out the "shit" because they wouldn't be able to play it on the radio. But it's implied because of the pause and the way they fill between the words.
Sophie: I still don't get what a brick shithouse is.
Me: It's an outhouse. People used to dig a big hole in the ground and build a small building around it. They called them outhouses or shithouses, and that's where they went to the bathroom. We used to steal them for our big autumn bonfire when I was growing up. Not many people had them by then. When my dad was a kid everybody had them, and they used to think it was funny to sneak up on people and tip the outhouse over while they were in it.
Brandon: Did they build them out of bricks? How did you burn bricks?
Me: No, most of them were wood, but rich people could build theirs out of bricks. They would be much nicer than most people's. That's why it's a bigger compliment to be a brick shithouse than just a shithouse.
(At that point, I realized I wasn't going to be able to fully explain the metaphor, because really, what woman wants to be called a "shit" anything?)
Sophie: I wouldn't want anybody to call me a shithouse. That's not nice.
Me: Well, if somebody was going to call you a shithouse, at least you'd want them to call you a brick shithouse because that's the prettiest kind.
Sophie: I guess so.
Brandon: (opens his mouth)
Me: Don't ever call your sister a brick shithouse, Brandon.
Brandon: (closes his mouth)

She's a brick...buh buh buuuuh buh.....house
She's mighty mighty
just lettin' it all hang out...

Monday, February 9, 2009

What they say...

I dearly love my students and I would never make fun of them. But I do have to laugh at some of the word usage mistakes they make. In the last batch of 48 papers I read and commented on, I found two pretty amazing mistakes. If they had done it on purpose, I would have been really impressed. They didn't though, and probably wouldn't even see the humor in them that I did.

The first one was in an analysis of a TV commercial. The writer described the commercial down to the opera music playing in the background. Further on she said the commercial would appeal to men because "men think with their libretto." Is that awesome? (Of course, she meant libido, but that's really not news to any of us.)

The second one isn't as funny, but I still like it. This student was analyzing a parody of a Mastercard commercial. In the commercial, a young man is asking a young woman for a blow job after a date. The writer wrote that when the young woman responds she "makes a facial expression depreciating his comment." Oh, if only I were that clever and could do it on purpose. (Unfortunately I have no idea what word she meant to use.)

God bless spellcheckers. Have you ever made a word usage mistake that turned out to be the cleverest thing you said that year of your life?