Weather Wit, Worst Ways to Start a Book, and More

Grins and Groans from The Old Farmer's Almanac.

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Sometimes, kids say the wisest things. Here are some of their thoughts on weather, plus a few of the worst ways to start a book and a bit of 19th-century nonsense.

What Kids Say About the Weather

True quotes from St. Louis schoolkids…

  • When lightning goes through them, clouds start making sounds. So would anybody.
  • Rain is saved up in cloud banks.
  • Water vapor gets huddled and snuggled together in a cloud. When it is big enough to be called a drop, it does.
  • Humidity is the experience of looking for air and finding rain.
  • The main value of tornadoes is yet to be discovered.
  • The difference between air and water is that air can be made wetter, but water can not.
  • The water cycle is a cycle made out of water that you can pedal along on. I don’t believe it has been invented yet.
  • A blizzard is when it snows sideways.
  • Some oxygen molecules make rain, while others help fires to burn. Sometimes, it is brother against brother.
  • Listening to meteorologists is one of the chief by-products of bad weather.
  • It is so hot in some parts of the world that the inhabitants there have to live somewhere else.
  • The wind is like air, only pushier.
  • In order to have different seasons, we had to get Earth tilted over on its axis. But it has been worth it.
  • Meteorologists look something like people.
  • You can listen to thunder after lightning and tell how close you came to getting hit. If you don’t hear it, you got hit, so never mind.

Words to Lose By

Some time ago, the English department at San Jose State ran a contest to find the worst possible opening sentence for a novel. From among more than 4,000 entries, they deemed the following to be the winner:

“The lovely woman-child Kaa was mercilessly chained to the cruel post of the warrior-chief Beast, with his barbarian tribe now stacking wood at her nubile feet, when the strong, clear voice of the poetic and heroic Handsomas roared, “Flick your Bic, crisp the chick, and you’ll feel my steel through your last meal.”

Apparently not content with but one dose of decrepitude, the judges also selected a runner-up:

“I had left the barbecue quite hurriedly with sketchy directions to the ladies’ room ‘out back,’ and now faced a black cow wearing one red earring standing beneath an ill windmill, bladeless and bent from years of prevailing winds, as she watched me with bovine detachment, my heels sunk arch-deep into the mire … I hate the country!”

19th-Century Nonsense: Most Certainly

Having run away from school to go to sea, a boy was admonished by his friends that death would be perpetually staring him in the face.

“Most certainly,” the boy replied, “for, as you know, every ship is provided with shrouds.”

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