I Don't Get Them Jokes..

Morpork46

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Hi there. Today I have another question:
In "The Last Continent" Rincewind crosses a dep canyon on a small horse. This horse walks vertikal walls and once even headfirst. There I found this:
‘G’day!’ he said, waving his hat in the air as Snowy set off again. ‘I think I’m about to have a technicolour snake!’ he added, and threw up. (In my 1999 Corgi paperback on p 213.)
Is there a play on words or a hidden meaning behind having a technicolour snake?
 

Alex The G and T

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I've heard vomit described as a "Technicolor yawn." Technicolor snake" seems like a likely Aussie version of that.

Meanwhile, I smell a couple of references to the movie, "The Man from Snowy River," an australian cowboy flick. There's a famous scene of a man riding a horse, headlong, down a near vertical slope. And the name, "Snowy," of course.

Now I have to go read The Final Continent again. I forgot who "Snowy" is.

.
 

Morpork46

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Thank you, this will help.
Concerning Snowy: This is taken from a narrative poem by Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson: THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER. (I suppose so is the film.)
You'll find the lyrics here: http://adc.library.usyd.edu.au/data-2/v00001.pdf
There's several "quotes" from this poem in "The Last Continent".
You may find a lot of information on L-Space: in "The Annotated Pratchett File 9.0 "
The L-Space Web: Books & Writings
And I'm collecting (and publishing) informations for German readers on the homepage of the German Fanclub.
 

ZlodeyVolk

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I've heard vomit described as a "Technicolor yawn." Technicolor snake" seems like a likely Aussie version of that.
I am yet to hear any Australian say 'technicolour snake'; in my experience, they are more likely to say 'spew', 'chunder', or 'technicolour yawn'.

I always took the 'technicolour snake' in The Last Continent as an alteration of 'technicolour yawn' by way of the Rainbow Serpent or Rainbow Snake, which is a common figure in traditional tales (often viewed as a creator god) and a widespread motif in the art and religion of Aboriginal Australia.
 

Morpork46

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@ ZlodeyVolk
You're obviously right. I just looked for "technicolour snake" (British spelling!) on the web and found this:
p 147 "I think I'm about to have a technicolour snake!" - Here Rincewind is confusing two things. A 'technicolour yawn' is one of the many pieces of Australian slang for vomiting while a 'rainbow snake' or more properly 'serpent' is a character out of Aboriginal mythology whose passage over the land carved out many of the natural land formations such as riverbeds.
Bugarup University Student's Guild
 

MemoryTale

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One I never got - at the end of Moving Pictures, Dr. Silverfish discovers a new type of metal derived from lead. His assistant asks him if it would explode and Silverfish asks him where he got that idea from. I'm guessing he's discovered something atomic weapon's grade, but I can't think for the life of me what. Does anyone know?
 

ZlodeyVolk

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I suppose he was speaking of Lead 206, an isotope to which Uranium 238 radioactively decays. Allowing for Discworld magic and alchemy, Dr Silverfish might have been able to reverse the decay and reconstruct U 238 from Lead 206.
 
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Morpork46

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Very witty! The "The Pratchett Quote File v6.0" states, without referring to details:
""'s silvery [...] And it's heavier than lead" - Silverfish has discovered uranium"
(See The Pratchett Quote File v6.0 - Moving Pictures).
As most readers know: Terry Pratchett worked for some time in the electricity supply industry, handling the Press for four nuclear power stations. As he said several times: He could write books about that, but nobody would believe him.
 

Alan Aspie

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Maybe "I don't get them jokes" translates to "I'tm thinking when I should assosiate".

Terrys jokes are often not about meanings but about connotations, assosiations, metaphoras... If you try to understand them, you will miss them.

Characters and character traits are goos exempel. Story world is another. You miss them by thinking and you find them by letting them run free outside the prison of intelligence and brightness.

There is also a metalevel of humour. You find the humour if you are clever and let your intelligence go somewhere else to do something else while you enjoy reading. Getting it is like Lady Luck. Doesn't come if you peg it, comes when you don't think about it.
 

Morpork46

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Today I have a question on "The Last Continent": The Librarian is very ill. He changes his shape as soon as he sneezes. The wizards are puzzled. Here's the quote (page 36 in my Corgi Edition 1998):

He [the Librarian] turned a sad face towards the wizards as he stopped outside the Library door. He reached for the handle. He said, in a very weak voice, ‘’k,’ and then sneezed.
The pile of clothing settled. When the wizards pulled it away, they found underneath a very large, thick book bound in hairy red leather.
‘Says Ook on the cover,’ said the Senior Wrangler after a while, in a rather strained voice.
‘Does it say who it’s by?’ said the Dean.
‘Bad taste, that man.’

‘I meant that maybe it’d be his real name.’

Why says Ridcully: bad taste? What is he referring to?
 

Overread

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If I recall right I think if you know the Librarian's real name you can turn him back into a human, which he's steadfast refused to allow to happen ever since it happened. Which is why its in bad taste to see who it's by as if that is his real name they'd all know it and could thus potentially reverse the transformation against the Librarian's will.

I have a dim recollection that I think only Rincewind, Death and a few others know his real name (since prior to his transformation the rest of the Wizards mostly ignored him or only know him as the Librarian).
 

Morpork46

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Thank you. You're correct. It is about the Librarian’s real name: The wizards are looking for his name, because without his help they can’t enter the library anymore. That’s why I don’t see how it should be bad taste to look for his name.
You’re also right: Only Rincewind and Death know the Librarian's name. Therefore the wizards try to get in contact with Rincewind who after his adventure in the Agatean Empire is sort of lost on the Continent XXXX.
But maybe there’s just that: It’s bad taste to surreptitiously look for someones real name. And on the other hand, Ridcully uses this phrase in other dialogues as well:
‘Soon have you back on your feet and continuing to make a valued contribution.’
‘Knuckles,’ said the Dean helpfully.
‘Say again?’
‘Knuckles, rather than feet.’
‘Castors,’ said the Lecturer in Recent Runes.
Bad taste, that man,’ said the Archchancellor.


And here’s a second question: The wizards try to contact the “Egregious Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography”. After having entered his apartment they realize he’s having a bath – so it seems.

‘He’s having rather a long bath, isn’t he?’ said the Dean, after a while. ‘I mean, I like to be as well scrubbed as the next man, but we’re talking serious prunes here.’
‘Sounds like he’s sloshing about,’ said the Senior Wrangler.


Does “talking serious prunes” mean the Professor is overdoing the bathing?
 

Paul_C

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I would assume serious prunes means his finger tips will be very wrinkled as a consequence of the time spent in the bath.

I would also suggest that the "bad taste, that man" is just the Archchancellor telling someone off for a joke at a moment where a joke is not appropriate.

The quote:
‘Knuckles,’ said the Dean helpfully.
‘Say again?’
‘Knuckles, rather than feet.’
‘Castors,’ said the Lecturer in Recent Runes.
Bad taste, that man,’ said the Archchancellor.


is, IIRC after the Librarian has sneezed and turned into a chair, so correcting knuckles to castors is meant as a joke, which the Archchancellor considers in bad taste.
 

The Judge

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Re the librarian, I don't think Ridcully is saying "bad taste" because the Dean is wondering if it divulges his real name: if he were, the Dean wouldn't have had to explain himself by saying "I meant..." Usually when someone refers to a book, if you ask "Who's it by?" it's because you're interested in reading it and want to know if the writer is famous/good/one you like/whatever. So I've always translated it as Ridcully thinking that this is what the Dean means, which appears to be in bad taste because he (the Dean) is apparently looking for a good book to read, instead of being anxious about the poor Librarian having been turned into a book, and if he did read it, he would, in effect, be reading the Librarian, which would be not nice.

Re the serious prunes, if you stay in water for too long, your skin gets wrinkled, and it's said to resemble a prune, which of course is also wrinkled. So the longer you bathe, the worse it gets, and you'd be seriously prune-like. So yes, he's saying the Professor is overdoing the bathing.
 

Morpork46

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Thank you! That helps.
As a kind of immaterial thank you here's a little information about things I found out:
a small table set with a red-furred tea service
a reference to the artist Meret Oppenheimer's "fur cup"
www.moma.org/collection/works/80997
The Omega Conspiracy
That book is really existing: "The Omega Conspiracy: Satan's Last Assault On God's Kingdom"
And this one:
Mind you, the people in the bar included three sheep in overalls and a couple of kangaroos playing darts.
And they weren’t exactly sheep. They looked more like, well . . . human sheep.

That's obviously referring to Gary Larson's sheep in a bar which you may find here:
.
 

Morpork46

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Today I have another question:
In "Thief of Time" Lu-Tze says "Nice try, but no cylindrical smoking thing,"
I looked that phrase up on the internet. There I found the straighter talk "but no cigarette".
Can anyone explain where that phrase came from and what it means?
 

Morpork46

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And a second question - n on "Pyramids":
On p 12 of my pocket book edition (Corgi Book, 1992) you read:
(Teppic) He’d nothing but The Cordat;
(This is, when Teppic is learning to become an assassin.)
My guess is, it's an allusion to books for learning to pass the driving test, because later in the story Teppic is asked by Mericet:
"Now, I want you to proceed at your own pace towards the Street of Book-keepers,’ said Mericet evenly, ‘obeying all signs and so forth." - which is an allusion to the British driving test
See Annotations on apf (The Annotated Pratchett File v9.0 - Pyramids): Teppic's examination is heavily modelled on the British Driving test, which, as with the other important tests in British life such as 16- and 18-plus exams, undergraduate finals, and doctoral vitas is not actually intended to test whether you are actually any good at what is being tested, concentrating instead on your proficiency at following arbitrary instructions.
 

Pyan

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Today I have another question:
In "Thief of Time" Lu-Tze says "Nice try, but no cylindrical smoking thing,"
I looked that phrase up on the internet. There I found the straighter talk "but no cigarette".
Can anyone explain where that phrase came from and what it means?

To start with, it doesn't really refer to a cigarette, but a cigar. It means to fall just short of a successful outcome and get nothing for your efforts.
The phrase, and its variant 'nice try, but no cigar', are of US origin and date from the mid-20th century. Fairground stalls gave out cigars as prizes, and this is the most likely source, although there's no definitive evidence to prove that.

'Close, but no cigar' - the meaning and origin of this phrase
 

Pyan

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And a second question - n on "Pyramids":
On p 12 of my pocket book edition (Corgi Book, 1992) you read:
(Teppic) He’d nothing but The Cordat;
(This is, when Teppic is learning to become an assassin.)
My guess is, it's an allusion to books for learning to pass the driving test,

Pretty much - it's the Assassin's Handbook, and lays down the Rules of Engagement for the Guild, as well as what you can use, and when, and where, and how to inhume your client's target.
It's also a shortening of Concordat, which is defined as an agreement or treaty, usually between the Church and the State, but used in a broader sense to, again, define the Rules...

Nil Mortifi Sine Lucre!
 

Morpork46

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Pyan, thank your for your answers!
I just realized you had answered both of my questions.
Very impolite. I beg you pardon.

New question (Thief of Time):
Myria LeJean, the Auditor who’s supposed to stop the time and who changes sides and is then called “Unity” talks with Susan:
... There’s still Auditors down there somewhere.’
[...]
‘That means time is flowing through the world. The body exacts its toll, Susan. Soon my— my former colleagues, bewildered and fleeing, will become tired. They will have to sleep.’
‘I follow you, but—’
‘I am insane. I know this. But the first time it happened to me I found such horror that I cannot express it. Can you imagine what it is like? For an intellect a billion years old, in a body which is an ape on the back of a rat that grew out of a lizard? Can you imagine what comes out of the dark places, uncontrolled?’

I think she describes in an extremely short form the evolution: dinosaurs (lizard), small mammals (rats), apes. My question is on the phrase “on the back of”. Is it to be taken literally? Or does it mean “behind”?
 

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