Copyright The Quipping Queen 2005. ALL ABOUT CHORTLES Or, everything you wanted to know about this 8-letter word! By Ovid Publius Hadweenzic, a professor of paltry pedantry with a passionate interest in high-energy brain candy, low-calorie chit-chat, not to mention flatulent free food for thought. The other day as I was leafing through an oddly-named if not rather obscure journal, "Physica D", (devoted to an astounding array of articles about cellular automata), my mind began to wander. In what some of my colleagues prefer to call "a state of chortle-sin", I realized that there was more to life than perusing pithy papers that rarely see the light of day. To be truthful, my mind meandered about as if it had just escaped from the confines of a sandbox onto a great long beach as far as the eye could see. With oodles of things to capture my short attention span, and an urgent need to express myself in the form of a chortle, chuckle, fleer, giggle, guffaw, heehaw, howl, laugh, roar, smirk, snicker, snort or titter, I set about the titillating task of flexing my funnybone and flapping my gums simultaneously. Anyway, to make a long-story short, I settled on "chortle" as it seem to hit the right spot so to speak. After all, it's a word crafted by one of my favorite authors, Lewis Carroll. Found in his celebrated work, Through the Looking-Glass, (written in 1872), the word "chortle" is a combination of two deliriously-droll, dopamine-inducing activities better known as "chuckling" and "snorting". Controlling my giggles enough to Google "chortle", I found no less than 488,000 web page references to this rarely used term found in either conversation or in writing. Since Carroll's coining of this word more than a century ago, new meanings seem to have emerged for the gleeful yet humble verb, "to chortle". Among the many interesting iterations of this very versatile verb (that also appears to have morphed into a quaint common noun) are the following: -- "Goldfish Chortle" - an easy-to-use, free, bannerless blogging solution. -- "A misplaced chortle" in the form of a new book entitled, High Tide: News From a Warming World by Mark Lynas. -- "An unexpected chortle", ...a "petrosexual's tuppence" from a University of Warwick bloke, (also known as the blog of a lonely, car-obsessed perfectionist, and general engineering uber-god). -- "Music to chortle by", especially if you like pianist-parodies by a duo (by the name of Steve Saugey and Lyova Rosanoff), who adore tinkling the ivories and who knows what else! -- "A high-density Christmas Chortle" (said to be low in sodium and high in cholesterol) according to two twits named Borgness and Mr. Aardfly who take pride in writing a witty ditty about a quaint contest, Catholics and croquet mallets. -- Title of a funny poetry contest winner, "A Chortle on Aging". -- "Chortle", the name of an on-line comedy guide to all manner of news, reviews and listings of things funny in the U.K. -- "Chortle", a technology mapping program for table-based FPGAs (whatever all that wonderful bafflegab and gobbledygook means). -- "Chortle", the home of a singularly unusual person named Simon Singh, an author, journalist, TV producer, specializing in science and mathematics (and perhaps altered states of chortle-sin?) -- "Chortle", the subject of much reflection in 2003 and 2004 by a bemused blogger named "eclectic boogaloo". -- Reference to a "chortle" by someone called "Static Zombie" who suggested a laugh-out-loud moment from an episode of the hugely popular American comedy show, "The Simsons": Homer - "I'm going to hide you where there's nobody around for miles: Disney's California...". -- "A totally unfunny chortle" is brought to light by the folks behind the rivetting if not a tad off-the-beaten track website: -- The "smirking cynic" shares his experience of a "chortle", which happens when he reads something called "Moxie" to give him a new perspective on life, although he neglects to say whether his mentor has a skewed standpoint on everything some of the time or just some things all of the time.) -- "Chortles" are a clan of two colourful giants (2.5 and 3 metres high), according to someone who inhabits a planet called "Chortle", (note: the author hails from the outback of Oz). -- Expresso stories, aptly entitled, "Snorts n' Chortles", include interesting biological noises --that gives new meaning to the term "creative non-fiction"! -- Apparently "Chortles" orbits a giant star named Capella (according to cosmic astronomy). -- Astonishingly enough, a rather ingenious 2001 wood sculpture named "Chortles", by Cris Bruch, can be seen at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery (if you'd care to take a gander of course.) So, by all means, enjoy a "chortle" on me today. If you prefer something a tad stronger, please partake of a "yuk yuk", or better yet try a humungous "hoot n' holler". They're all rather fine ways to give your wishbone a well-deserved rest and stroke your spunky soul into a state of complete serenity!