FACTOID # 10: The total number of state executions in 2005 was 60: 19 in Texas and 41 elsewhere. The racial split was 19 Black and 41 White.
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Encyclopedia > Shaggy dog story
This article is about the joke. For the television program of the same name, see Shaggy Dog Story (TV).

In its original sense, a shaggy-dog story is an extremely long-winded tale featuring extensive narration of typically irrelevant incidents, usually resulting in a pointless or absurd punchline. These stories are also known as yarns, coming from the long tradition of campfire yarns. Shaggy Dog Story was a charity programme for Children in Need, put together by the BBC in 1999 as a sequel to the previous years Future Generations video (featuring chilcrens programmes), and the great success of 1997s Perfect Day charity single. ...

The canonical story concerns a shaggy talking dog. This amazing animal is much discussed and much promised, but slow to arrive. When it finally does and, miraculously, does indeed talk, someone in the story reacts with, "That dog's not so shaggy." (An alternate version involves a search for the shaggiest dog in the world.)

Shaggy-dog story has come to also mean a joke where a pun is finally achieved after a long (and ideally tedious) exposition. The humor in the punch line may be due to the sudden, unexpected recognition of a familiar saying (see the examples), since the story has nothing to do with the usual context in which the phrase is normally found, yet the listener is surprised to discover it makes sense in both situations. Therefore, if the audience is not already familiar with the phrase used in the punch line, or is not aware of the multiple meanings of the words in the phrase, the surprise ending of the joke cannot be recovered by "explaining" the joke to the audience. A joke is a short story or series of words spoken or communicated, ideally with the intent of being laughed at or found humorous by the listener or reader. ... It has been suggested that dajare be merged into this article or section. ... A punch line is the final part of a joke, usually the word, sentence or exchange of sentences which is intended to be funny and to provoke laughter from listeners. ...

A shaggy-dog story may not have a pun at all; the humor (if any) is then derived from the fact that the joke-teller held the attention of the listeners for a long time (such jokes can take five minutes or more to tell) for no reason at all (an anticlimax). In rhetoric, climax is a figure of speech, in which words, phrases, or clauses are arranged in order of increasing importance. ...

A similar construct is the famous joke about the Purple Wombat, also encountered as the joke about the Purple Flower and the Purple Gorilla.

A more ribald or scatological version is The Aristocrats (joke). The Aristocrats (also known as The Debonaires or The Sophisticates in some tellings) is a joke that has been told by numerous stand-up comedians since the vaudeville era. ...

Weird Al's eleven-minute song "Albuquerque" could be considered a musical shaggy-dog story.


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