11 Classic Tongue Twisters

You guys are still into tongue twisters, right?

I didn't want to admit it. Even for me, it just seemed too childish. But recently a Jason Mraz-tweeted tongue twister had me delighting in my inability to enunciate “Irish wristwatch.” I texted it to all my friends.

So, if you, too, are ready to admit your fondness for such puerile phonetic frivolity, please join me in celebrating 11 classics in the field.

1. A Tudor who tooted a flute ?
tried to tutor two tooters to toot.
?Said the two to their tutor, ?
"Is it harder to toot?
or to tutor two tooters to toot?"

2. Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager ?
imagining managing an imaginary menagerie.

3. You've no need to light a night-light?
On a light night like tonight,?
For a night-light's light's a slight light,?
And tonight's a night that's light.?
When a night's light, like tonight's light,?
It is really not quite right?
To light night-lights with their slight lights?
On a light night like tonight.

4. She stood on a balcony inexplicably mimicking him hiccuping and amicably welcoming him in.

5. Chop shops stock chops.

6. A tree toad loved a she-toad?
Who lived up in a tree.?
He was a two-toed tree toad?
But a three-toed toad was she.?
The two-toed tree toad tried to win?
The three-toed she-toad's heart,?
For the two-toed tree toad loved the ground?
That the three-toed tree toad trod.?
But the two-toed tree toad tried in vain.?
He couldn't please her whim.
?From her tree toad bower?
With her three-toed power?
The she-toad vetoed him.

7. If you stick a stock of liquor in your locker,
?It's slick to stick a lock upon your stock,
?Or some stickler who is slicker
?Will stick you of your liquor
?If you fail to lock your liquor?
With a lock!

8. There was a minimum of cinnamon in the aluminum pan.

9. Once upon a barren moor?
There dwelt a bear, also a boar.?
The bear could not bear the boar.?
The boar thought the bear a bore.?
At last the bear could bear no more
?Of that boar that bored him on the moor,?
And so one morn he bored the boar —
?That boar will bore the bear no more.

10. Give papa a cup of proper coffee in a copper coffee cup.

11. One smart fellow, he felt smart.?
Two smart fellows, they felt smart.?
Three smart fellows, they all felt smart.

(This one contains some bonus juvenile fun.)

* * *

What's your favorite tongue twister that I may one day text my friends?

Why Tiny 'Hedgehog Highways' Are Popping Up Around London

Hedgehogs as pets have gained popularity in recent years, but in many parts of the world, they're still wild animals. That includes London, where close to a million of the creatures roam streets, parks, and gardens, seeking out wood and vegetation to take refuge in. Now, Atlas Obscura reports that animal activists are transforming the city into a more hospitable environment for hedgehogs.

Barnes Hedgehogs, a group founded by Michel Birkenwald in the London neighborhood of Barnes four years ago, is responsible for drilling tiny "hedgehog highways" through walls around London. The passages are just wide enough for the animals to climb through, making it easier for them to travel from one green space to the next.

London's wild hedgehog population has seen a sharp decline in recent decades. Though it's hard to pin down accurate numbers for the elusive animals, surveys have shown that the British population has dwindled by tens of millions since the 1950s. This is due to factors like human development and habitat destruction by farmers who aren't fond of the unattractive shrubs, hedges, and dead wood that hedgehogs use as their homes.

When such environments are left to grow, they can still be hard for hedgehogs to access. Carving hedgehog highways through the stone partitions and wooden fences bordering parks and gardens is one way Barnes Hedgehogs is making life in the big city a little easier for its most prickly residents.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?

Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

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