Jokes are only old if you've heard them before...
Culture in Action from The Wall Street Journal, Monday, April 13, 1998 WILL 'MR. CAT
POOP' CLEAN UP AT THE BOX OFFICE IN HONG KONG? by Hal Lipper,
Staff Reporter of the Wall Street Journal HONG KONG -- When it comes to
translating movie titles, not every name will do. So Hong Kong's movie
distributors have created a cottage industry to rename Hollywood titles
for Chinese audiences. "Major studios think up titles that are flat, boring
and don't tell audiences what movies are about," says Doinel Wu, who has
spent more than a decade renaming Western movies. "We create titles that
are more straightforward." Hence, the Cantonese title for the film
biography "Nixon" is "The Big Liar." The title for "Boogie Nights"
can be interpreted as "His Powerful Device Makes Him Famous." Since many of
Hong Kong residents don't know Fargo is a city in snow-blown North Dakota,
the movie "Fargo" became "Mysterious Murder in Snowy Cream." The words
"snowy cream" are pronounced "fah go" in Cantonese. The stakes are
huge since English-language blockbusters dominate Hong Kong's movie market
and Chinese translations help sell the films to a wider audience.
Mr. Wu's title are touted as among the best in the business. For the arty
thriller "The Professional," about a killer befriending an orphaned girl,
he concocted "This Hit Man Is Not as Cold as He Thought." "The English
Patient" was problematic. Few Hong Kong residents knew of the novel and
marketers say a faithful translation, like "The Sick Englishman," wouldn't
have drawn audiences. Mr. Wu's title, "Don't Ask Me Who I Am," captured
the story's mystery and passion. "Good Will Hunting" was equally challenging.
Mr. Wu's Chinese title, "Bright Sun, Just Like Me," uses characters to
imply more than can be said with words. The first half alludes to the Chinese
title for "Dead Poet's Society," ("Bright Sun in Heavy Rain") which also
starred Robin Williams and was set at a school. The second half denotes
a movie for young people who boldly do what they like. "Titanic" and "Air
Force One" needed no translation, distributors decided. But some of the
local idioms don't travel well. "The Full Monty," a comedy about six unemployed
steelworkers who become strippers, uses a Cantonese colloquialism meaning
"Six Stripped Warriors." The Mandarin interpretation is "Six Naked Pigs."
And some translations simply defy rationale. The Hong Kong title for "As
Good As It Gets," a comedy about a mean-spirited novelist, is "Mr. Cat
Poop." Its distributor declined comment. top
of page Odd
Signs from England IN A LAUNDROMAT:
Automatic washing machines. Please remove all your clothes when the light
goes out. IN A LONDON
DEPARTMENT STORE: Bargain Basement Upstairs IN AN OFFICE:
Would the person who took the step ladder yesterday please bring it back
or further steps will be taken. IN ANOTHER
OFFICE: After the tea break staff should empty the teapot and stand upside
down on the draining board. ON A CHURCH
DOOR: This is the gate of Heaven. Enter ye all by this door. (This
door is kept locked because of the draft. Please use side entrance) OUTSIDE
A SECOND HAND SHOP: We exchange anything - bicycles, washing machines etc.
Why not bring your wife along and get a wonderful bargain. QUICKSAND
WARNING: Quicksand. Any person passing this point will be drowned. By order
of the District Council. NOTICE
IN A DRY CLEANER'S WINDOW: Anyone leaving their garments here for more
than 30 days will be disposed of. IN A HEALTH
FOOD SHOP WINDOW: Closed due to illness. SPOTTED
IN A SAFARI PARK: Elephants Please Stay In Your Car SEEN DURING
A CONFERENCE: For anyone who has children and doesn't know it, there is
a day care on the first floor. NOTICE
IN A FIELD: The farmer allows walkers to cross the field for free, but
the bull charges. MESSAGE ON A
LEAFLET: If you cannot read, this leaflet will tell you how to get lessons. ON A REPAIR SHOP
DOOR: We can repair anything (Please knock hard on the door - the bell
doesn't work) SPOTTED
IN A TOILET IN A LONDON OFFICE BLOCK: Toilet
out of order. Please use floor below. top
of page Ancient
ERA contributed by Sonia Pressman Fuentes Exhibit One
Zeliophedad (numbers 271), Who, praise the
Lord, five daughters had, He died, and
here's the point that stabs, His property
came up for grabs No son.
To make the story short, His daughters
took the case to court, Demanding justice
under law, And what a furor
Moses saw When five young
women aimed their sights And marched demanding
equal rights. Then Moses went
before the Lord, Who told him
girls can't be ignored, They won, despite
some dirty looks, The oldest lawsuit
on the books! top
of page De- If lawyers are
disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that electricians
can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed and
dry cleaners depressed?
could decrease, eventually becoming depressed and depleted! Even more, bedmakers
will be debunked, baseball players will be debased, landscapers will be
deflowered, bulldozer operators will be degraded, organ donors will be
delivered, software engineers will be detested, the BVD company will be
debriefed, and even musical composers will eventually decompose. On a more positive
note though, perhaps we can hope politicians will be devoted. top
Confession Becky was on
her deathbed, with her husband Jake at her side. He held her cold
hand and tears silently streamed down his face. Her pale lips moved. "Jake,"
she said. "Hush," he quickly interrupted, "don't talk." But she insisted. "Jake," she said
in her tired voice. "I have to talk. I must confess." "There is nothing
to confess," said the weeping Jake. "It's all right. Everything's
all right." "No, no. I must
die in peace. I must confess, Jake, that I have been unfaithful to you." Jake stroked
her hand. "Now, Becky, don't be concerned. I know all about it", he sobbed.
"Why else would I poison you?" top
of page Sisters
of Mercy A man is driving
down a deserted stretch of highway, when he notices a sign
out of the corner of his eye. It reads SISTERS
OF MERCY HOUSE OF PROSTITUTION---10 MILES. He thinks
it was just a figment of his imagination and drives on without a second
Soon, he sees
another sign that says SISTERS OF MERCY HOUSE OF PROSTITUTION 5 MILES
he realizes that these signs are for real.
When he drives
past a third sign saying SISTERS OF MERCY HOUSE OF PROSTITUTION- NEXT RIGHT,
his curiosity gets the best of him and he pulls into the drive.
On the far side
of the parking lot is a somber stone building with a small sign next
to the door reading SISTERS OF MERCY. He climbs the steps and
rings the bell. The door is answered by a nun in a long black
habit, who asks, "May I help you, my son?" He answers,
"I saw your signs along the highway, and was interested in possibly
doing business." "Very well, my son. Please follow me."
He is led through
many winding passages and is soon quite disoriented. The nun
stops at a closed door, and tells the man, "Please knock on
as he is told and this door is answered by another nun in a long habit
and holding a tin cup. This nun instructs, "Please place $50
in the cup, then go through the large wooden door at the end of the hallway."
He gets $50 out
of his wallet and places it in the second nun's cup. He trots eagerly
down the hall and slips through the door, pulling it shut behind him.
As the door locks behind him, he finds himself back in the parking lot,
facing another small sign
GO IN PEACE, YOU
HAVE JUST BEEN SCREWED BY THE SISTERS OF MERCY. top
Importance of Punctuation
The kindergarten class had a homework assignment, to find out about something
exciting and relate it to the class the next day. When the time came for
the little kids to give their reports, the teacher called on them one at
was reluctant to call on little Johnnie, knowing that he sometimes could
be a little bit crude. But eventually his turn came. Little Johnnie walked
up to the front of the class, and with a piece of chalk, made a small white
dot on the blackboard, then sat back down.
the teacher couldn't figure out what Johnnie had in mind for his report
on something exciting, so she asked him just what that was.
a period" reported Johnnie. "Well I can see that" she said, but what is
so exciting about a period."
"Damned if I know" said Johnnie, "but this morning my sister said she missed
one. Then Daddy had a heart attack, Mommy fainted and the man next door
shot himself. top
and Puny Puns On an Electrician's
truck: "Let us remove your shorts." English
Sign in German Cafe: "Mothers, Please Wash Your Hans Before Eating." On a Scientist's
door: "Gone Fission" On a Taxidermist's
window: "We really know our stuff." Outside
a Hotel: "Help! We need inn-experienced people." At an
Auto Body Shop: "May we have the next dents?" At a Music
Store: "Out to lunch. Bach at 12:30. Offenbach sooner." On a Music
Teacher's door: "Out Chopin." On the
door of a Music Library: "Bach in a min-u-et." At a farmer's
field: "The farmer allows walkers to cross the field for free, but the
bull charges." In a Podiatrist's
window: "Time wounds all heels." On a Butcher's
window: "Let me meat your needs." On another
Butcher's window: "Pleased to meat you." At a Used
Car Lot: "Second Hand cars in first crash condition." Outside
a Radiator Repair Shop: "Best place in town to take a leak." At the
Electric Company: "We would be delighted if you send in your bill. However,
if you don't, you will be." In a Beauty
Shop: "Dye now!" On the
door of a Computer Store: "Out for a quick byte." In a Dry
Cleaner's Emporium: "Drop your pants here." In a Restaurant
window: "Don't stand there and be hungry, come in and get fed up. top
of page Two
Snakes were crawling along when one snake asked the other, "Are we
poisonous snakes?" The other replied, "Yes, we are! We're rattlesnakes.
Why do you ask?" To which the first replied, "I just bit my tongue." top
of page Orange Why did the Orange
stop at the top of the hill? It ran out of juice... top
of page Siamese
twins Why did the Siamese
twins go to England? So the other one could have a chance to
of page Godfather Q. What
do you get when you cross a Godfather with a lawyer? A. An offer
you can't understand. top
of page Stressed It's no accident
that stressed spelled backwards is desserts. top
of page Toothbrush Did you know
that the toothbrush was invented in Alabama? If had been invented
anywhere else it would have been called a teethbrush! top
of page Two
Dogs During break
time at obedience school, two dogs were talking. One said to the
other, "The thing I hate about obedience school is...you learn ALL this
stuff you'll never use in the real world!" top
of page Kuwait A journalist
had done a story on gender roles in Kuwait several years before the Gulf
War, and she noted then that women customarily walked about 10 feet behind
their husbands. She returned to Kuwait recently and observed that the men
now walked several yards behind their wives. She approached one of
the women for an explanation. "This is marvelous," said the journalist.
"What enabled women here to achieve this reversal of roles?" The Kuwaiti
women replied, "Land mines." top
of page Fund
Raiser The local United
Way office realized that it had never received a donation from the town's
most successful lawyer. The volunteer in charge of contributions
called him to persuade him to contribute.
"Our research shows that out of a yearly income of more than $600,000,
you give not a penny to charity. Wouldn't you like to give back to
the community in some way?"
The lawyer mulled this over for a moment and replied, "First, did your
research also show that my mother is dying after a long illness, and has
medical bills that are several times her annual income?"
Embarrassed, the United Way rep mumbled, "Um... No."
"Second, that my brother, a disabled veteran, is blind and confined to
The stricken United Way rep began to stammer out an apology but was cut
"Third, that my sister's husband died in a traffic accident," the lawyer's
voice rising in indignation, "leaving her penniless with three children?!"
The humiliated United Way rep, completely beaten, said simply, "I had no
The lawyer cut him off once again and said, "Well, if I don't give any
money to them, then why should I give any to you?!" top
of page Questions 1.
Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle? 2.
Can fat people go skinny-dipping? 3.
Can you be a closet claustrophobic? 4.
Why is the word abbreviation so long? 5.
Is it possible to be totally partial? 6.
What's another word for thesaurus? 7.
If a book about failures doesn't sell, is it a success? 8.
If the funeral procession is at night, do folks drive with their lights
When companies ship Styrofoam, what do they pack it in? 10.
If you're cross-eyed and have dyslexia, can you read all right? 11.
If a stealth bomber crashes in a forest, will it make a sound? 12.
If the cops arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain
If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages? 14.
When it rains, why don't sheep shrink? 15.
Should vegetarians eat animal crackers? 16.
Do cemetery workers prefer the graveyard shift? 17.
What do you do when you see an endangered animal that eats only endangered
Do hungry crows have ravenous appetites? 19.
Why is bra singular and panties plural? 20.
If a mute swears, does his mother wash his hands with soap? 21.
If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself,is it
considered a hostage situation? 22.
Instead of talking to your plants, if you yelled at them would they still
grow? Only to be troubled and insecure? 23.
Is there another word for synonym? 24.
Isn't it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do "practice"? 25.
When sign makers go on strike, is anything written on their signs? 26.
When you open a bag of cotton balls, is the top one meant to be thrown
Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all"? 28.
Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food? 29. Why
do they report power outages on TV? top
of page What's
On the first day of college, the Dean addressed the students, pointing
out some of the rules
"The female dormitory will be out-of-bounds for all male students, and
the male dormitory to the female students. Anybody caught breaking this
rule will be fined $20 the first time."
He continued, "Anybody caught breaking this rule the second time will be
fined $60. Being caught a third time will cost you a fine of $180.
Are there any questions?"
At this point, a male student in the crowd inquired
"How much for a season pass?" top
of page What
The Colors Mean
Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her
mother, "Why is the bride dressed in white?"
"Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day
of her life."
The child thought about this for a moment, then said, "So why is
the groom wearing black?" top
of page Actual
On an Electrician's
truck "Let us remove your shorts."
Outside a Radiator
Repair Shop "Best place in town to take a leak."
In a Non-smoking
area"If we see you smoking we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate
On Maternity Room
door "Push, Push, Push."
On a Front Door "Everyone
on the premises is a vegetarian except the dog."
At an Optometrist's
Office "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right
On a Scientist's
On a Taxidermist's
window"We really know our stuff."
In a Podiatrist's
window"Time wounds all heels."
On a Butcher's window"Let
me meat your needs."
On another Butcher's
window"Pleased to meat you."
At a Used Car Lot"Second
Hand cars in first crash condition."
On a fence"Salesmen
welcome. Dog food is expensive."
At a Car Dealership"The
best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment."
Outside a Muffler
Shop"No appointment necessary. We'll hear you coming."
Outside a Hotel"Help!
We need inn-experienced people."
In a Dry Cleaner's
Emporium"Drop your pants here."
On a desk in a Reception
Room "We shoot every 3rd salesman, and the 2nd one just left."
In a Veterinarian's
waiting room"Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!"
On a Music Teacher's
At the Electric Company"We
would be delighted if you send in your bill. However, if you don't,
you will be."
In a Beauty Shop"Dye
On the door of a
Computer Store"Out for a quick byte."
In a Restaurant window
"Don't stand there and be hungry, come in and get fed up."
Inside a Bowling
Alley"Please be quiet. We need to hear a pin drop."
On the door of a
Music Library"Bach in a minuet."
In the front yard
of a Funeral Home"Drive carefully, we'll wait."
In a Counselor's
office"Growing old is mandatory. Growing wise is optional