Saturday, October 09, 2010


Holly holy

Barking Pumpkin Records logoThe image to the right was the logo of Barking Pumpkin Records, a record label created by Frank Zappa in the early 1980s. The logo shows a pumpkin barking at a cat, and the cat exclaiming two Chinese syllables in response.

Let’s look at the Chinese characters here: 聖糞

A friend once asked a Chinese-speaking colleague what those two syllables mean, and the colleague hesitated, then responded, somewhat embarrassed, They mean... sacred... dung.

Or, in more idiomatic colloquial English: Holy shit!

The other day, I read a blog post (or perhaps it was a comment to a post), in which the writer typed Holly shit! With two ls. After shaking my head and saying, Moron, I wondered whether the guy might have more company in Morontown than we’d like to think. And so I asked Google...

...and I saw almost 85,000 hits (along with a suggestion for the better way to spell it). 85,000 web references that think holy has two ls. Sample text: HOLLY SHIT!!!! The Hippie movement was created by CIA.

Checking further, I found almost 31,000 references to wholly shit (sample, Wholly Shit They Found A Nuke In Iraq). But take heart: I see only about 7,000 references to holey shit (sample, Holey shit the achievements are so easy to obtain.), so there are limits, after all.

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