What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor? Mr. Gradgrind’s Literal Answers to Rhetorical Questions

A sample from one of my favorite internet posts ever:

People commonly ask empty rhetorical questions that rarely receive any sort of sensible answer. When you have had your surfeit of poetical whimsy and are ready for some good, hard facts, come here to be set straight.

Who wrote the Book of Love?

René of Anjou, King of Naples 1435-1480, wrote and illustrated his Book of Love (Le cueur d’amours espris) some time after 1473 while living idly in Provence.

There’s more, oh so much deliciously more (come one, admit it, you’ve always wanted to know what to do with a drunken sailor, especially earlye in the mornin’). If you’ve never read this Q&A from one of literature’s greatest educators, go do so now.

It’s funny.

And curmudgeonly.

And well worth your time in reading it and then forwarding it to everyone you know.

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7 Responses to What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor? Mr. Gradgrind’s Literal Answers to Rhetorical Questions

  1. Jeannie says:

    And how DO you solve a problem like Maria?

    These are great! Reminded me of my daughter, who can be very literal: I was helping her with something on the computer, and I said, “Hmm, why won’t it read my USB key?” And she said, “Mom, I wish you wouldn’t ask me questions that I don’t have the answer to.” (Note to self: think to self, not out loud.)

    • Tim says:

      Your daughter sounds like a wonderfully thoughtful girl, Jeannie.

      And your self-directed advice is something I have to remind myself of on the bench too. Attorneys don’t like feeling as if they need to answer all my musings, especially the unanswerable ones!

  2. Mary Anne says:

    But who put the bomp in the bompty-bompty bomp?
    Who put the ram in the rama-lama-ding-dong?
    Who was that man? I’d like to shake his hand . . . 😉

    Showing my age,
    MA

  3. KSP says:

    What a great post! Thanks for introducing me to that site. Hard to pick a favorite from “Mr. Gradgrind” there, but this might be it:

    Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    No one well informed, of course, since the writer in question died in 1941; but during her lifetime she was known to have a sharp tongue, and many persons had reason to fear her wit.

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