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Old 11-06-2005, 04:48 PM
The Central Scrutinizer
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Explain this Discworld joke

I recently finished Going Postal, which BTW is now one of my favorite Discworld books. One thing in it I didn't get. I don't have the book in front of me so I can't get a direct quote but if you read the book you'll know what I mean. The bad guy dressed like a pirate and had a bird. Not a parrot, I believe it was a cockatoo. The bird keeps repeating "twelve and a half percent" Is there something I'm missing? Something British?
Old 11-06-2005, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach
I recently finished Going Postal, which BTW is now one of my favorite Discworld books. One thing in it I didn't get. I don't have the book in front of me so I can't get a direct quote but if you read the book you'll know what I mean. The bad guy dressed like a pirate and had a bird. Not a parrot, I believe it was a cockatoo. The bird keeps repeating "twelve and a half percent" Is there something I'm missing? Something British?
12.5 percent == 1/8.

Parrot suggests pirate.

Pirates parrots sitting on their owner's shoulder repeating 'pieces of eight!' is a cliche.

A 'piece of eight' is 1/8 of a Spanish Dollar.
Old 11-06-2005, 05:11 PM
The Central Scrutinizer
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Ok that makes sense. I don't find it funny, but it makes sense.

I am disappointed that it took 11 minutes to get an answer.
Old 11-06-2005, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach
Ok that makes sense. I don't find it funny, but it makes sense.

I am disappointed that it took 11 minutes to get an answer.
I found that funny, but maybe it was just because I was explaining to someone the other day about pieces of eight, the pirate, and 'treasure island.' (Was that book the original source of the cliche, or does it predate??)
Old 11-06-2005, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by chrisk
I found that funny, but maybe it was just because I was explaining to someone the other day about pieces of eight, the pirate, and 'treasure island.' (Was that book the original source of the cliche, or does it predate??)
I know that in Shakespeare's time plays about pirates were very common, and pirate characters would frequently have a bird on their shoulder. Whether the bird said "pieces of eight", I'm not sure.
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