Run-On Phrases


      This "game" is really just a verbal exercise where you add words or names together by their common parts.  An example of this using famous names would be the combination of Elton John and John Wayne to create Elton John Wayne.  Add Wayne Newton to the end and you get Elton John Wayne Newton.

      My brother, Chris, and I have begun doing this not just with names, but with common phrases.  A simple example would be the combination of the phrases "public library" and "library book" which makes "public library book".  Add the phrases "book of poetry" and "poetry reading" and you end up with "public library book of poetry reading".  Sure, these strings of names and phrases are nonsensical and silly.  But, it can be very challenging to go back and forth between two people, each person trying to add (quickly, if possible) to what the other person has just added.  Try it!

      Our original string began with a name but then evolved by incorporating song titles and common phrases.  This all started one evening when Chris and I were talking on the phone.  Our conversation took an interesting turn when we started adding phrases one at a time to lengthen what each other was saying.  It began when Chris was trying to think of the name of the actress who had played the androgynous character "Pat" on Saturday Night Live.  I said that the actress' name was Julia Sweeney.  Her name reminded me of the play "Sweeney Todd" so then I also said Julia Sweeney Todd -- just combining the two names by their common part.  Chris picked up on the pattern and said "Julia Sweeney Todd Rundgren".

      Now this was becoming something and I felt compelled to continue it.  This time I added to the front of the string and contributed the actor Raul Julia's name: "Raul Julia Sweeney Todd Rundgren".  Not to be outdone, Chris cleverly (and phonetically) added the name of a Van Halen song to the string: "Raul Julia Sweeney Todd Rundgren with the Devil".  After I finished laughing at his devious use of the Rundgren/Runnin' combination, I had to proceed with: "Raul Julia Sweeney Todd Rundgren with the Devil Went Down To Georgia".  Without missing a beat, Chris instantly came back with: "Raul Julia Sweeney Todd Rundgren with the Devil Went Down To Georgia On My Mind".  Then we added "mind your own business" to the end and, well, you can figure out what that sounded like.

      I know, I know... we are strange.  But, hey, it was funny and we laughed our asses off.

      Since then we have come up with various strings, some of considerable length.  From time to time, we have taken a few phonetic liberties to splice phrases that didn't share exactly the same word.  I like those examples because they are funny and inspire clever thinking.  To get started, just try going back and forth with someone else, saying phrases to each other and continually adding to the string. You could start with a common phrase like "flower bed", which could be followed by "bed of roses", "bed of nails" or "bed bug".

      It's up to you whether or not you want to allow the use of proper names and titles or whether you want to stick with common phrases.  Another challenge is to try and make a string that loops back onto itself.  A short example of that would be the combination of the three phrases "station wagon", "wagon train" and "train station" to create the loop: "...station wagon train station wagon train station wagon train..."

      Below is one of our longest examples.  It uses a total of 50 common phrases, proper names and titles (and a few examples of phonetic creativity).

...Raul Julia Sweeney Todd Rundgren with the Devil went down to Georgia on my mind your ps and qs me while I kiss the sky is the limited engagement party of five card draw a picture is worth a thousand words of comfort food for thought police station wagon train track and field and stream of data entry level headed for disaster area equals R squared times pi a la mode of travel brochure of information super highway to heaven can wait til your father gets home on the range of motion picture frame of reference library card trick or treat...


      I hope you enjoy this game.  If you would like to comment on this game please feel free to e-mail me.



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