FOR EIGHT YEARS, Bob Blackburn entertained and instructed us with his sometimes crotchety, always trenchant English, Our English columns, the last of which appeared in the March issue. But we can't let Bob go without giving his many fans and students a chance to show him how much they have been paying attention.
Accordingly, we are asking readers to submit candidates for the Bob Blackburn Memorial Sentence. The idea is for you to try to contrive the most grammatically appalling sentence possible, its dreadfulness (and wit, of course) depending, perhaps, on the sheer number of solecisms you can cram into the thing, while still keeping it intelligible; or maybe you prefer to dazzle us with just one or two truly inspired, deftly placed clinkers. If you can attribute your abomination to some politician, academic or writer, so much the better. Hopefully, we'll be able to convince Bob himself to judge the contest, with the winner being the sentence that impacts him most. Do your worst and send it to CanWit No. 128, Books in Canada, 366 Adelaide Street East, Toronto M5A 3X9. The prize is $25. Deadline: May 1.
RESULTS OF CANWIT NO. 126 OUR REQUEST for definitions of Canadian place names brought a deluge of responses. Our readers believe there are millions of brilliant Canadian place names crying out for useful employment. The winner is Garvin Moody of Toronto who receives $25 for the following submissions:
Aishihik (n): An inebriated country fellow.
Ardbeg (bv): To appeal persistently and insistently for funds (as in a public television campaign).
Assiniboia (n): A male juvenile delinquent.
Chilliwack (vb): To ambush and pelt with snowballs.
Chezacut (vb): To obtain a position or gain entrance to a country by misrepresenting one's past.
Ecum Secum (adj): Comme ci, comme ca.
Granby (n): That witty riposte you only thought of when it was too late.
Guelph (vb): To nip into a parking space that someone else spotted first.
Kapuskasing (pp): The art of loading one's plate to maximum capacity at a salad bar.
Lethbridge (n): A dental appliance to correct a lisp.
Manitowaning (n): A decline in belief in a supreme being. Maniwaki (n): A strike by public transit employees.
Morpeth (n): Not yet paid for in full.
Nipigon (n): The feeling of intense relief on noting the disappearance of a nipissing.
Nipissing (n): A burning sensation that makes a man suddenly wish he had used a condom.
Oshawa (vb): To forget the name of the person you've just been introduced to.
Petawawa (vb): To sooth a distressed child.
Revelstoke (vb): To get gloriously sozzled at a party.
Saskatoon (vb): To feign sincerity by lowering one's voice an octave, e.g. "Brian can't help saskatooning."
Spragge (vb): To attempt to enter a bus or subway car just as the doors are closing.
Vanderhoof (n): An egregious social gaffe.
Waco (adj): A few bricks short of a fall load (usually applied to premiers of British Columbia).
Wawa (n): A risibly small male organ.
Yarmouth (n): An old salt who spins improbable seafaring yams.
Fergus (n): A village ne'er do well. As in, "he's a right fergus."
Gitsheoaksit (vb): A Haida Indian expression meaning, "to miss the last bus."
?? Ronald Robinson, Winnipeg
Assiniboia (n): A woman wearing a man's tight jeans.
Gimli (adv): With courage, despite awkwardness, e.g. in the
style of Joe Clark.
Mactaquac (n): A duckburger served by a fast food outlet.
Minnipuka (n): Self?induced vomiting, resulting from a mild case of bulimia.
?? Alec McEwen, Ottawa
Assiniboia (vb): To belch loudly in church.
Lumsden (n): The white cat hair that clings to black pants, etc. Wakaw (n): The long string of spaghetti that slides off your fork just before you get it to your mouth.
?? Sharon MacFarlane, Beechy, Sask.
Moose Jaw (n): Swelling of the lower part of the face brought on by expelling excessive amounts of hot air during political campaigns.
Nipigon (n): That sinking feeling when you accidentally lock your keys in the trunk of your car.
?? Lois Grant, Calgary
Nipiwin (vb): To time one's arrival to coincide with the end of the poetry reading and the start of the vin d'honneur.
Nipigon (vb): To arrive too late for the vin d'honneur.
Skookumshuck (n): A virulent disease, characterized in its final stages by a fear that one's soap is not clean.
?? S.E. Adams, Brockville, Ont.
Haliburton (n): That half?muffled burp that unexpectedly arrives halfway through an explanation.
?? David J. Paul, London, Ont.