Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Make That 501 Uses for a Paper Bag

Ordinarily, this is the sort of book we really like.

When it comes to paper sacks, our creativity usually runs out after "Cut Eyeholes and Call It an Ugly Bag."

And this book promises "over 500 great uses" for our spare bags. So what's the problem?

Simple. They're counting, so it should be more than 500 great uses. Over and under is for candlesticks and beds. Jump over candlesticks. Hide under beds. But when the king is in his counting house, counting out his money (or anything else that can be measured), more than and fewer than are the phrases to use. Less than might also be correct, if the king is counting out a quantity of something that can't be broken down into units, such as the amount of resentment his servants have that he has a counting house while they're stuck scraping calluses off his feet.

So what's that 501st use for the paper bag we promised in the headline? That ugly bag. We have a feeling the copy editor of this cover might like to hide in one.

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