23 October 2008

Given the economy, Santa may soon call in lots of "loans"

Alright, all you language lovers, now that it's been 10 years since Bill Clinton let us all know there was some uncertainty about the meaning of the word is, it's high time that a government corruption trial provide us with a new definition for what we thought to be a simple, unchanging word:

What's a gift? Sen. Stevens testifies on freebies

"He bought that chair as a gift, but I refused it as a gift," Stevens said. "He put it there and said it was my chair. I told him I would not accept it as a gift. We have lots of things in our house that don't belong to us. ... I refused it as a gift. I let him put it in our basement at his request."

Given this wonderful new definition of gift, here's a helpful (for you) list of things I'd like to indefinitely borrow from any or each of you:

• Your car.
• Some* of your money.
• A bunch of your coolest stuff, hand-selected by me.
• Your clicks on the Amazon links to the right whenever you're heading there to do your Indefinite-Loan-Granting-Season shopping. Nearly starving** would-be orphans will thank you for their commission.

* By some, I mean most. Thanks for understanding.
** Fussiness is an acceptable reason for starvation, right? I may need to give the Red Cross a call.


Ali said...

I am NOT playing to a jury and yet I am genuinely confused.

Summer said...

ps-I'd rather have the whole post!

Anonymous said...

Wow, he does rank (ah, what an appropriate word choice) right up there with Clinton asking for a definition of the word is.
I was kind of wondering where my couch came from all of a sudden and apparently it's a not-gift. I have GOT to figure out how I can do this and I have absolutely no power to make decisions. Maybe it was the chair fairy. Too bad he's old and can't spend much time in jail. Oh, wait he might lose his great pension over this and then his wife can also pay a price for his crime.

Tara R. said...

I wonder if he's sat his non-butt in this non-gift at any time. Interesting lesson in semantics.

I am a Tornado ~ proven fact! said...

7 years

SO if you didn't purchase it, it's not a gift, but it's now yours ... then you STOLE IT.

miko564 said...

"We have lots of things in our house that don't belong to us..."

Yes, so does every thief and shoplifter...

If it works, it should provide every two-bit burglar with an airtight defense. Thanks for looking out for the little man Senator (as I am contemplating a career move to life-of-crime if the economy doesn’t pick up).

unmitigated me said...

I have 51 6th grade students I'd like to store in Sen. Stevens basement at my request.

Russ said...

my brain hurts.

Allison said...

I have like $27 in my checking account. Which, you can have if you come find the secret stash in my house.

Bethalea said...

Uh, so, it wasn't a gift. It was, what? Litter? Did that guy pay a fine for littering in someone elses house?

I just made myself giggle.



LiteralDan said...

ali: That's okay, I think that just means your brain is working.

Summer: Duly noted, madame. That's one vote for your side so far-- I think it's possible the others are abstaining in protest.

Mary: I think whatever time he does spend in prison, it won't be served in the kind of jail where he'll have to worry about chair-fairies.

I think his wife will be able to work out the stress in that massage chair.

Tara R.: Or was it a non-lesson?

I am a Tornado ~ proven fact!: You'd better page the prosecution-- I think you have him nailed pretty good there. Your semantics are stronger than his semantics.

miko564: Why wait? Jump in now before all the good spots are taken! With luck, you'll have a small but loyal staff stealing for you in a matter of weeks!

Middle Aged Woman: I think underaged slaves/prisoners are the last thing he needs at the moment, but he thanks you for the effort.

Russ: Time to consider running for office!

Allison: Did you try all the places I suggested? Or did Laef launch a campaign to discredit me before you had a chance? I bet he just moved the loot before you got there.

just beth: I think it's contagious. Wouldn't that be a great story? They got Al Capone on tax evasion, and Ted Stevens on Failure to Assess a Littering Charge. Or would it be funnier to work in a reference to the timeless "No Dumping" signs?

Jenny Grace said...

You know Bill Clinton was endlessly mocked for that, but as a linguist, I felt like he had a really valid syntactical point.

LiteralDan said...

Though you may be a cunning linguist, I urge you to stop trying to ruin my fun.

Katie said...

What a weasel. But, if you want to put your car in MY driveway with the keys inside and leave it there, I won't complain.

LiteralDan said...

Wait, no, you don't understand how this works. YOU leave YOUR car with keys in MY driveway, and I won't complain.

Now that we've straightened that out, I'll save a space out there.