[Ads-l] Drama Critic Motto: Leave no turn unstoned

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 3 17:03:08 EST 2017


I have a vague memory from the '40's of "no tern unstoned" as the punchline
of a joke having to do with stoning seabirds, which I heard in the wild,
and an equally-vague memory of "no stern untoned" as the punchline of a
joke having to do with women sunbathing, which I read somewhere: Playboy,
Saturday Evening Post, Coronet, Reader's Digest, Collier's, Look aut sim. I
also have an even vaguer memory of a pun based on "throwing stones" and
"glass houses."

[Oddly, my spellcheck has a problem with _unstoned_ but not with _untoned_.]

On Sun, Dec 3, 2017 at 2:49 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> I remember coming across "tern unstoned" in a collection of shaggy dog
> stories when I was a kid. Here's a reference from the folklorist Jan Harold
> Brunvand, with both of Ogden Nash's variations on the theme (though
> Brunvand doesn't credit Nash).
>
> ---
> Jan Harold Brunvand, "A Classification for Shaggy Dog Stories"
> Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 76, No. 299, Jan.-Mar. 1963, p. 61.
> C220. Stoning Sea Birds - Painting Baboons.
> A man keeps throwing stones at sea birds because he "doesn't want to leave
> one tern unstoned. " Another man paints the backsides of baboons so as not
> to "leave one stern untoned." (These two jokes recall one another and are
> often told together, says my informant.)
> --Oral tradition, spring 1958; "Sir Bagby" (6 Oct 1960), "tern unstoned."
> ---
>
> (Garson -- I read your QI piece, but I don't see the 1953 example you
> mention.)
>
> On Sun, Dec 3, 2017 at 2:29 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> wrote:
>
> > Thanks! I might well have been vaguely recalling the Ogden Nash (a
> > favorite of my mother’s), and possibly some other source for the same
> > reversal—one good tern deserves another, after all--but somehow, despite
> > the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and Kesey's Merry Pranksters being
> > favorites of mine at the time, I didn’t retain the wonderful “No Left
> Turn
> > Unstoned”.
> >
> > LH
> >
> > > On Dec 3, 2017, at 2:09 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
> adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > Thanks for your response, LH. There are some fun variants.
> > >
> > > Ogden Nash wrote "I leave no tern unstoned" and "I leave no stern
> > > untoned" in a 1953 collection of poems. The QI piece included a 1953
> > > "Detroit Free Press" citation that mentioned the "tern" phrase. Here
> > > is a citation for 1962 collection with the poem. (I have to visit the
> > > library to verify the 1953 collection):
> > >
> > > [ref] 1962 First Printing, The Pocket Book of Ogden Nash by Ogden
> > > Nash, Poem: Everybody's Mind to Me a Kingdom Is or A Great Big
> > > Wonderful World It's, Start Page 38, Quote Page 39. Pocket Books: A
> > > Division of Simon & Schuster, New York. (Verified with scans)[/ref]
> > >
> > > [Begin excerpt]
> > > This I shall do because I am a conscientious man, when I throw rocks
> > > at sea birds I leave no tern unstoned,
> > > I am a meticulous man, and when I portray baboons I leave no stern
> > untoned,
> > > [End excerpt]
> > >
> > > Tom Wolfe in "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" credited Merry
> > > Prankster Paul Foster with the phrase "No Left Turn Unstoned".
> > >
> > > [ref] 1981 (1968 Copyright), The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom
> > > Wolfe, Chapter 12: The Bust, Quote Page 145 and 146, Bantam Books, New
> > > York. (Verified with scans)[/ref]
> > >
> > > [Begin excerpt]
> > > He also had a lot of pens, some of them felt-nib pens with colors, and
> > > he sat up in the tree house while the old restless Roto-rooter, the
> > > good god Speed, scoured puns, puns, puns, puns, puns from out of the
> > > walls of his skull and he fashioned signs like one he put at the
> > > entrance of the place, where the driveway turned in to the bridge from
> > > Route 84, a sign reading: "No Left Turn Unstoned."
> > > [End excerpt]
> > >
> > > Garson
> > >
> > >
> > > On Sun, Dec 3, 2017 at 12:25 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu
> >
> > wrote:
> > >> Then there’s the joke and/or shaggy dog story with the punchline
> “Leave
> > no tern unstoned”.  Wonder how far back that one goes?
> > >> There must be a whole inventory of these reversals, ranging from “Time
> > wounds all heels” to the (real or faux) Dorothy Parker bon mot “Tell him
> > I’m too fucking busy and vice versa”...
> > >>
> > >> LH
> > >>
> > >>> On Dec 3, 2017, at 11:45 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
> > adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> > >>>
> > >>> The Quote Investigator website now has an entry about the wordplay in
> > >>> the subject line which is often attributed to George Bernard Shaw.
> > >>>
> > >>> https://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/12/02/unstoned/
> > >>>
> > >>> The earliest pertinent evidence I've found is a joke containing the
> > >>> phrase "they left no turn unstoned" in "The Daily Northwestern" of
> > >>> Oshkosh, Wisconsin on August 29, 1899 with an acknowledgment to the
> > >>> "Catholic Standard and Times". I haven't found a digital archive for
> > >>> the "Catholic Standard and Times".
> > >>>
> > >>> Chronicling America seems to say that University of Notre Dame in
> > >>> Indiana has it on microfilm, but searching would be difficult because
> > >>> the date above is simply an upper bound.
> > >>>
> > >>> https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn97016042/holdings/
> > >>>
> > >>> Reference works contain a 1950 citation for George Bernard Shaw and a
> > >>> 1946 citation for Arthur Wimperis. The QI article has 1914 citation
> > >>> for Wimperis but nothing earlier for Shaw.
> > >>>
> > >>> Feedback welcome
> > >>> Garson O'Toole
> > >>> QuoteInvestigator.com
> > >>>
> >
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>



-- 
-Wilson
-----
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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