A Small Colorado Town's Punny Signs Are Receiving National Attention

Courtesy of Vince Rozmiarek
Courtesy of Vince Rozmiarek

Indian Hills, Colorado—population 1280—has become an unlikely tourist attraction thanks to one resident’s penchant for puns.

As spotted by My Modern Met, the town’s community center changes its roadside sign two or three times a week, and the messages will make you laugh or cringe—or maybe a little of both. “Terrible summer for Humpty Dumpty but he had a great fall,” one sign read. “I was struck by a bottle of of Omega 3 pills. Luckily, my wounds were only super fish oil,” read another.

The mastermind behind these signs is Vince Rozmiarek, a volunteer at the community center and pun-maker extraordinaire. “I've been copied on lots of photos of people posing with the sign,” Rozmiarek tells Mental Floss. “It kind of put us on the map.”

Beyond puns, messages on the signs fit into a few different categories: general jokes, random musings (like “What happened to Old Zealand?”), support for local sports teams, and playful jabs at the local police. Rozmiarek said he’s been writing messages for five years now and has never repeated a sign. He does, however, use puns he finds online from time to time.

The first sign he put up was a rather convincing April Fools' prank. “We have a heavy police presence in the town of Morrison, which is next to Indian Hills, and they run a ton of speed traps,” Rozmiarek told My Modern Met. “The sign said ‘Indian Hills annexed by Morrison, slow down.’ Many people believed that prank, and the amount of attention it brought was really surprising.”

One of his proudest signs is a Denver Broncos-related pun that went viral following their 2015 Super Bowl game against the Carolina Panthers. The message, which referenced the last names of two Broncos players, read: “Breaking news! Large Panther eaten by giant Ware-Wolfe.”

"It is a challenge to come up with fresh ideas, but I try to keep it interesting,” he says. To see more signs like these, check out the photos below or head to the Indian Hills Community Sign Facebook page.

A police vehicle pulls up to a sign reading "Slow Down! Cops hide behind this sign."
Courtesy of Vince Rozmiarek

A sign reads "Police toilet stolen! Cops have nothing to go on."
Courtesy of Vince Rozmiarek

A sign reads "Drugs are not the answer, unless the question is Narcotics - 5 letters"
Courtesy of Vince Rozmiarek

A sign reads "My friend in Quebec is a heavy drinker. In fact he drank Canada Dry."
Courtesy of Vince Rozmiarek

A sign reads "The last thing I need is a burial plot."
Courtesy of Vince Rozmiarek

A sign reads "Puns about communism have no class."
Courtesy of Vince Rozmiarek

A sign reads "The man who invented Velcro has died. RIP."
Courtesy of Vince Rozmiarek

A sign reads "Research shows that 6 out of 7 dwarves aren't happy."
Courtesy of Vince Rozmiarek

[h/t My Modern Met]

Game of Thrones Fans Have Been Mispronouncing Khaleesi

HBO
HBO

While Game of Thrones fans are busy poring over every still image and official trailer released for the show's final season in the hope of noticing some tiny detail that might hint at what's to come, David Peterson—the linguist who creates the series' fictional languages—dropped a huge piece of information: we've all been mispronouncing  Khaleesi.

While being interviewed for The Allusionist podcast, Peterson described the rampant mispronunciation as "a real thorn in my side." So just how should we be saying the Dothraki word?

"I wanted to make sure if something was spelled differently, it was pronounced differently," Peterson explained of his process of transforming the handful of Dothraki words George R.R. Martin had created into a full language. "That worked pretty well for everything except the word Khaleesi ... There's no way it should be pronounced 'ka-LEE-see' based on the spelling. So I had to decide, 'Am I going to respell this thing because I know how people are going to pronounce this, or am I going to honor that spelling and pronounce it differently?' I made the latter decision and I think it was the wrong decision."

(That said, in his book Living Language Dothraki, Peterson writes that "many Dothraki words have multiple pronunciation variants, often depending on whether the speaker is native or non-native. Khaleesi, for example, has three separate pronunciations: khal-eh-si, khal-ee-si, and kal-ee-si," which at a later point in the book spelled is "ka-lee-si.")

Given that Daenerys Targaryen has a mouthful of other titles at her disposal, we'll just call her the Mother of Dragons from now on.

Game of Thrones returns for its final season on April 14, 2019.

[h/t: Digital Spy]

15 Unique Illnesses You Can Only Come Down With in German

iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages
iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

The German language is so perfectly suited for these syndromes, coming down with them in any other language just won’t do.

1. Kevinismus

At some point in the last couple of decades, parents in Germany started coming down with Kevinismus—a strange propensity to give their kids wholly un-German, American-sounding names like Justin, Mandy, Dennis, Cindy, and Kevin. Kids with these names reportedly tend to be less successful in school and in life, although some researchers have suggested this could be due to a combination of teachers’ prejudices toward the names and the lower social status of parents who choose names like Kevin.

2. Föhnkrankheit

Föhn is the name for a specific wind that cools air as it draws up one side of a mountain, and then warms it as it compresses coming down the other side. These winds are believed to cause headaches and other feelings of illness. Many a 19th century German lady took to her fainting couch with a cold compress, suffering from Föhnkrankheit.

3. Kreislaufzusammenbruch

Kreislaufzusammenbruch, or “circulatory collapse,” sounds deathly serious, but it’s used quite commonly in Germany to mean something like “feeling woozy” or “I don’t think I can come into work today.”

4. Hörsturz

Hörsturz refers to a sudden loss of hearing, which in Germany is apparently frequently caused by stress. Strangely, while every German knows at least five people who have had a bout of Hörsturz, it is practically unheard of anywhere else.

5. Frühjahrsmüdigkeit

Frühjahrsmüdigkeit or “early year tiredness” can be translated as “spring fatigue.” Is it from the change in the weather? Changing sunlight patterns? Hormone imbalance? Allergies? As afflictions go, Frühjahrsmüdigkeit is much less fun than our “spring fever,” which is instead associated with increased vim, vigor, pep, and randiness.

6. Fernweh

Fernweh is the opposite of homesickness. It is the longing for travel, or getting out there beyond the horizon, or what you might call wanderlust.

7. Putzfimmel

Putzen means “to clean” and Fimmel is a mania or obsession. Putzfimmel is an obsession with cleaning. It is not unheard of outside of Germany, but elsewhere it is less culturally embedded and less fun to say.

8. Werthersfieber

An old-fashioned type of miserable lovesickness that was named “Werther’s fever” for the hero of Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther. Poor young Werther suffers for the love of a peasant girl who is already married. Death is his only way out. A generation of sensitive young men brought made Werthersfieber quite fashionable in the late 18th century.

9. Ostalgie

Ostalgie is nostalgia for the old way of life in East Germany (ost means East). If you miss your old Trabant and those weekly visits from the secret police, you may have Ostalgie.

10. Zeitkrankheit

Zeitkrankheit is “time sickness” or “illness of the times.” It’s a general term for whatever the damaging mindset or preoccupations of a certain era are.

11. Weltschmerz

Weltschmerz or “world pain,” is a sadness brought on by a realization that the world cannot be the way you wish it would be. It’s more emotional than pessimism, and more painful than ennui.

12. Ichschmerz

Ichschmerz is like Weltschmerz, but it is dissatisfaction with the self rather than the world. Which is probably what Weltschmerz really boils down to most of the time.

13. Lebensmüdigkeit

Lebensmüdigkeit translates as despair or world-weariness, but it also more literally means “life tiredness.” When someone does something stupidly dangerous, you might sarcastically ask, “What are you doing? Are you lebensmüde?!”

14. Zivilisationskrankheit

Zivilisationskrankheit, or “civilization sickness” is a problem caused by living in the modern world. Stress, obesity, eating disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome, and diseases like type 2 diabetes are all examples.

15. Torschlusspanik

Torschlusspanik or “gate closing panic” is the anxiety-inducing awareness that as time goes on, life’s opportunities just keep getting fewer and fewer and there’s no way to know which ones you should be taking before they close forever. It’s a Zivilisationskrankheit that may result in Weltschmerz, Ichschmerz, or Lebensmüdigkeit.

This list first ran in 2015.

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