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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Goat with One Eye

     Way back in elementary school, some of my classmates had a dispute over how to spell a particular word. Someone remembered that I was a good speller, and they asked me to arbitrate. "Is it b-l-o-o-n or b-l-o-o-m?" the spokesman asked. 
     I said, "Um, if you mean a flower, it's b-l-o-o-m." 
     "No, no, not a flower," said one of them. "The thing you blow up and tie on a string."
     "Oh," I said. "Balloon. That's b-a-l-l-o-o-n."
     "No, it isn't," they all scoffed as one. "That can't be it. It has to be bloon or bloom." And off they went, still disputing. 
     A Dutch priest of the 15th century, Desiderius Erasmus, is said to have said "In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king." Maybe. But sometimes the one-eyed man is the goat.

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