Richard Lederer is a self proclaimed verbivore. What is a verbivore? Why, a devourer of words, of course. Carnivores eat meat, herbivores love those veggies, and verbivores can't get enough words to fill their hungry tummies. He is a language enthusiast, punner extraordinaire, and a retired teacher of English and media.
He went to Haverford College intending to major in pre-med, but his literary leanings prompted him to switch to English. He then attended Harvard Law, but realized that he was reading his cases for their literary value. So he gave up, realizing that he probably ought to be teaching. He then switched into the Masters of Teaching and Arts program, still attending Harvard.
He then taught English and media at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. He would have been glad to stay forever (well, until forced to retire, at any rate), but upon earning a PhD in English and Linguistics from the University of New Hampshire he was inspired to write his books commenting on the English language. The succes enabled him to venture forth from the world of school-teaching, and let his ideas teach the world at large.
He has a column entitled "Looking at Language," which appears in newspapers and magazines around the US. Billing himself as "The Wizard of Idiom, Attila the Pun, and Conan the Grammarian, he has a weekly radio show called "A Way With Words," which is co-hosted with Charles Harrington Elster.
Mr. Lederer is the author of several books. His bibliography includes the Anguished English series, which consists of : Anguished English, More Anguished English, and Fractured English. He also wrote several pun and wordplay books, among them Get Thee to a Punnery and Nothing Risqué, Nothing Gained.
In the "Anguished English" series, Richard Lederer has cobbled together a delighful account of world history and a retelling of the Bible, according to the mistakes he has received in student papers (as well as those submitted to him from teachers everywhere). He calls his version of the Bible "The Revised Nonstandard Bible." The following excerpt concerns the Revelation at Sinai...kind of.
...Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Amendments. The First Commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple. The Fifth Commandment is humor thy father and mother. The Seventh Commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery. The Ninth Commandment is thou shalt not bare faults witness.
Moses ate nothing but whales and manner for 40 years. He died before he ever reached Canada. Then, Joshua led the Hebrews in the battle of Geritol. The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed him.
One of my favorite pieces of his is "The History of the World According to Student Bloopers." I have, for your edification and reading pleasure, included a segment from this literary gem as well.
...in Europe, the enlightenment was a reasonable time. Voltare invented electricity and also wrote a book called Candy. Gravity was invented by Issac Walton. It is chiefly noticeable in the Autumn, when the apples are falling off the trees.
The nineteenth century was a time of many great inventions and thoughts. The invention of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up. Cyrus McCormick invented the McCormick Raper, which did the work of a hundred men. Samuel Morse invented a code for telepathy. Louis Pastuer discovered a cure for rabbis. Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote the "Organ of the Species". Madman Curie discovered radium. And Karl Marx became one of the Marx Brothers."
As a verbivore myself, I am a huge fan of Lederer's work. When I read Anguished English, I laughed so hard, I almost fell off my bed. I would recommend this author to anyone who loves (or hates) the English language.
Credit goes to www.verbivore.com for providing me with the best web goodies on Lederer.
Much of the biographical info came from this page. http://pw1.netcom.com/~rlederer/aboutrl.htm
The excerpts came from this page. http://pw1.netcom.com/~rlederer/arcblpr.htm#student