Okay, Zogby, I just stopped reading your piece. I only made it to the first line of the third paragraph before you committed what I consider to be one of the worst journalistic offenses possible - talking about your pun.
Please explain what possible value is added to your post about Al Gore and other phantom candidates by the words 'pardon the pun'. Would I - heaven forbid - have missed your pun if you hadn't properly prepared me for it? Or perhaps I would not have appreciated the linguistic talent that it takes to construct a sentence that has both the word 'hottest' and the word 'warming' in it. The English translation of 'pardon the pun' is PLEASE NOTICE MY PUN. We do not like it when you beg.
Stop it right now. The pun is a fine and noble use of language, one that need not be explained or foreshadowed. Speaking of a pun robs it of it's power and damages both the reader and the writer. Go and sin no more, James Zogby.
Okay, Sporty Spice, I do understand why you might not want to participate in a reunion of your silly-ass band, but I do not for a moment believe that you did not intend to utter that pun. I believe that you have in fact been waiting for months if not years to use that pun. Here is the English translation of 'no pun intended' - I AM MAKING A PUN! Well, good for you. Now quit it.
Okay, Rocky Mountain News, I'm looking at you, because your boy M. E. has managed to commit a compound felony with his analysis of the rise of Bill Richardson. 'Pun intended' clearly translates to 'I HAVE JUST SAID SOMETHING VERY AMUSING'. You have not. Instead, you have caused me to stop reading your piece and try to figure out what exactly this very amusing thing is. Is Bill Richardson really that fat? He is a little portly, true, but not so overweight as to merit a 'pun intended'. You obviously didn't think so either, hence your decision to put the word larger in italics so that we wouldn't miss out on the hilarity. You only get this one warning, Sprengelmeyer.
I could go on - the phrase 'to make a really bad pun' merits a posting of it's own - but the bottom line is this: don't tell us about it. Go ahead and make your puns, just don't put them in a neon frame. And one more thing - if you ever pull a Chuck Yarborough (below) on us, be prepared for a strongly worded letter to the editor.
Yarborough, you are so busted.