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I guess it’s better than ‘musk’

March 13, 1998

I got on the elevator the other day, and at the same time a woman from another office got on. Before the doors had even closed, I was blown away by the smell of bubblegum. I wasn’t chewing gum, and she didn’t seem to be either, so I made the natural assumption: she’s wearing bubblegum perfume. Believe me, there are stranger things out there, so it’s not hard to imagine this woman at a perfume counter saying, "Two words describe my ideal man: Willy Wonka. What fragrance would be ideal for me?" And as a perfume, bubblegum is not as bad as some of the noxious scents I’ve known women to load themselves down with. Have you seen all those perfumes that promise a free gift with every purchase, but they never specify what the gift is? I suspect it’s invisible noseplugs. Not that men are exempt here. Every time I’ve gone to get my picture taken at the mall or for a yearbook, the photographer has his shirt half open, is wearing about twelve gold chains, and is so soaked in Brut it’s obviously done brain damage. But back to my story. The woman got out of the elevator, and I realized the smell of bubblegum was actually coming from a big wad of it a former passenger had left stuck to the handrail. Suddenly the tables have turned! The whole time she was probably thinking that either I was a really strange photographer, or that I came from some backward European country where the men only bathe once a month and the rest of the time smear themselves down with bubblegum. And would you like to know what the worst part is? I have absolutely no idea how to end this.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


Absolutely True Facts

  • When King Henry VIII was on his deathbed, although his doctors were competent, they reported that the King was not seriously ill as it was at the time considered high treason to predict a king’s death.

  • John F. Kennedy was voted "most likely to succeed" in high school even though he graduated 64 out of a class of 112.

  • Babe Ruth kept a cabbage leaf (which he changed every two innings under his baseball cap to keep his head cool on hot days.

  • Charles Manson recorded an album entitled "Lie" to spread his philosophies.

  • While at Duke University Law School, Richard M. Nixon broke into the dean’s office to find records showing that he was at the top of his class.

  • Louis XIV of France never took a bath in his life.

  • The middle initial of Harry S Truman does not have a period after it as it does not stand for anything.

  • Isabella, the daughter of 16th century King Phillip II of Spain swore never to change her underwear until the rebellious port of Ostend was re-captured, which took three years.

  • Shirley Temple’s mother made sure the child star’s hair was set every day with exactly 56 curls.

  • While president, Franklin Roosevelt always slept with a gun under his pillow.

  • Mark Twain served one week in the Confederate Army before deserting.

  • Al Capone’s business card said he was a second-hand furniture dealer.

  • Warren G. Harding was the first U.S. president to drive a car.

  • J. Edgar Hoover did not allow anybody to walk on his shadow.

  • After Richard Nixon’s resignation, African dictator Idi Amin wished him a "speedy recovery."

  • Although distant cousins, presidents Franklin Roosevelt, and Theodore Roosevelt pronounced their names differently… Teddy pronounced it "Ruse-a-velt" while Franklin said "Rose-a-velt."

  • Cuban leader Fidel Castro had an unsuccessful tryout with the Washington Senators baseball team while he was at Havana University.

  • In 1936, Shirley Temple received 135,000 presents for her 8th birthday.

  • President George Washington’s family motto was "Exitus acta probat." ("The end justifies the means.")

  • Marcel Duchamp, artist and chess master spent his honeymoon contemplating chess moves until his wife glued the chess pieces to the board. They divorced three weeks later.

  • Paul Revere made George Washington’s false teeth.

  • Frank Sinatra gave Marilyn Monroe a white poodle named "Mafia."


The following is from a 1950’s Home Economics textbook intended for High School girls, teaching how to prepare for married life.

  1. Have dinner ready: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal – on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him, and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.
  2. Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.
  3. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too.
  4. Prepare the children: Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces if they are small, comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.
  5. Minimize the noise: At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him.
  6. Some DON’TS: Don’t greet him with problems or complaints. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day.
  7. Make him comfortable: Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.
  8. Listen to him: You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.
  9. Make the evening his: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment; instead try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his need to be home
  10. The Goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax.

Now the updated version for the ’90s woman:

  1. Have dinner ready: Make reservations ahead of time. If your day becomes too hectic just leave him a voice mail message regarding where you’d like to eat and at what time. This lets him know that your day has been crappy and gives him an opportunity to change your mood.
  2. Prepare yourself: A quick stop at the "LANCOME" counter on your way home will do wonders for your outlook and will keep you from becoming irritated every time he opens his mouth. (Don’t forget to use his credit card])
  3. Clear away the clutter: Call the housekeeper and tell her that any miscellaneous items left on the floor by the children can be placed in the Goodwill box in the garage.
  4. Prepare the children: Send the children to their rooms to watch television or play nintendo.
  5. Minimize the noise: If you happen to be home when he arrives, be in the bathroom with the door locked.
  6. Some DON’TS: Don’t greet him with problems and complaints. Let him speak first, and then your complaints will get more attention and remain fresh in his mind throughout dinner. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner; simply remind him that the leftovers are in the refrigerator and you left the dishes for him to do.
  7. Make him comfortable: Tell him where he can find a blanket if he’s cold. This will really show you care.
  8. Listen to him: But don’t ever let him get the last word.
  9. Make the evening his: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment; go with a friend or go shopping (use his credit card).
  10. The Goal: Try to keep things amicable without reminding him that he only thinks the world revolves around him.

YOU might be a redneck

March 6, 1998

With the current popularity of redneck jokes, most people have forgotten that rednecks are a universal phenomenon. Every culture and society has its own version of the redneck. The ones we joke about most are the Common Redneck (rufuscollum vulgaris) of the southeastern United States, but there are so many others. I know this because I am a student of Comparative Redneckology. I became one by accident when, in a pub, I encountered an English redneck (rufuscollum britannicus or "lager lout" as they’re commonly known). Although I didn’t know it at the time, he had the distinctive plumage: a brightly colored nylon workout suit, a long moustache and a little goatee, blonde hair that was almost nonexistent on top but really long in the back, and bloodshot eyes. After informing me that all Americans are "wankers" (if you don’t know this term, consult the nearest slang dictionary), he offered to "take care of me." He said, "I was in America the other day. Everybody was trying to sell me ice cream. But they took care of me. So I’ll take care of you. Let me know if anybody gives you any trouble, and I’ll take care of them." I was still trying to figure out how exactly he was planning to take care of me when his cab arrived. I later learned that British lager louts are, in most ways, like American rednecks, except for two things: they don’t like country music, and they aren’t a major export.

Here’s a short guide to spotting rednecks in other regions: In Russia, rednecks are "Zhirinovsky’s friends" In central Africa, rednecks are "the party currently in power" In Australia, rednecks are "the locals."

Enjoy this week’s offering.


From a book called, "Wisdom From The Walls," by Kristen Kammerer and Bridget Snyder. They compiled some really great graffiti, and here it is:

If you can piss this high, join the fire department.
– -On the wall in the men’s restroom at a height of 6 feet.
       O’Ryan’s Irish Pub.  Ashland, Oregon.

Beauty is only a light switch away.
    Perkins Library.  Duke University.  Durham, North Carolina.

I’ve decided that to raise my grades I must lower my standards.
    Houghton Library, Harvard University.  Cambridge, Massachusetts.

If life is a waste of time, and time is a waste of life, then let’s all get wasted  together and have the time of our lives.
    Armand’s Pizza.  Washington, D.C.

If Bush were captain of the Titanic, he’d say we were stopping for ice.
    Smoky Joe’s.  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Remember, it’s not, "How high are you?" it’s "Hi, how are you?"
    Rest stop off Route 81.  West Virginia.

God made pot.  Man made beer.  Who do you trust?
    The Irish Times.  Washington, D.C.

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.
    The Bayou, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

No matter how good she looks, some other guy is sick and tired of putting up with her shit.
    Men’s Room, Linda’s Bar and Grill.  Chapel Hill,  North Carolina.

To do is to be.       -Descartes
To be is to do.       -Voltaire
Do be do be do.     -Frank Sinatra
    Men’s restroom, Greasewood Flats.  Scottsdale,  Arizona.

At the feast of ego, everyone leaves hungry.
    Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea, Tucson,  Arizona.

It’s hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.
    Written in the dust on the back of a bus. Wickenburg, Arizona.

Make love, not war.  –Hell, do both, get married!
    Women’s restroom, The Filling Station.  Bozeman, Montana.

God is dead.  -Nietzsche
Nietzsche is dead.  -God
    The Tombs Restaurant.  Washington, D.C.

If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.
    Revolution Books.  New York, New York.

A Woman’s Rule of Thumb:  If it has tires or testicles, you’re going to have trouble with it.
    Women’s restroom, Dick’s Last Resort.  Dallas, Texas.

If pro is opposite of con, then what is the opposite of progress? Congress!
    Men’s restroom, House of Representatives.  Washington, D.C.

What are you looking up on the wall for?  The joke is in your hands.
    Men’s restroom, Lynagh’s.  Lexington, Kentucky.


METHODS TO GET RID OF TELEMARKETERS

  1. If they want to loan you money, tell them you just filed for bankruptcy and you could sure use some money. Ask, "How long can I keep it? Do I have to ever pay it back, or is it like the other money I borrowed before my bankruptcy?"

  2. If they start out with, "How are you today?" say, "Why do you want to know?" Or you can say, "I’m so glad you asked, because no one seems to care these days and I have all these problems, my sciatica is acting up, my eyelashes are sore, my dog just died…." When they get try to get back to the sales process, just continue on with telling about your problems.

  3. If the person says he’s Joe Doe from the XYZ Company, ask him to spell their name, then ask them to spell the company name, then ask them where it located. Continue asking them personal questions or questions about their company for as long as necessary.

  4. This one works better if you are male: Telemarketer: "Hi, my name is Judy and I’m with Canter and Siegel services…. You: "Hang on a second." (few seconds pause) "Okay, (in a really husky voice) what are you wearing?"

  5. Crying out, in well-simulated tones of pleasure and surprise, "Judy!! Is this really you? Oh, my God! Judy, how have you BEEN?" Hopefully, this will give Judy a few brief moments of terror as she tries to figure out where the hell she could know you from.

  6. Say, "No", over and over. Be sure to vary the sound of each no, and keep an even tempo even as they’re trying to speak. This is the most fun if you can keep going until they hang up.

  7. If MCI calls trying to get you to sign up with their Family and Friends plan, reply, in a sinister a voice as you can muster, "I don’t have any friends…would you be my friend?"

  8. If they clean rugs: "Can you get blood out, you can? Well, how about goat blood or HUMAN blood – chicken blood too?"

  9. Let the person go through their spiel, providing minimal but necessary feedback in the form of an occasional "Uh-huh, really, or, "That’s fascinating." Finally, when they ask you to buy, ask them to marry you. They get all flustered, but just tell them you couldn’t give your credit card number to someone who’s a complete stranger.

  10. Tell them you work for the same company they work for. Example: Telemarketer: "This is Bill from Watertronics." You: "Watertronics!! Hey I work for them too. Where are you calling from?" Telemarketer: "Uh, Dallas, Texas." You: "Great, they have a group there too? How’s business/the weather? Too bad the company has a policy against selling to employees! Oh well, see ya."

  11. Answer the phone. As soon as you realize it is a telemarketer, set the receiver down, shout or scream, "Oh, my God!!!" and then hang up.

  12. Tell the Telemarketer you are busy and if they will give you their phone number you will call them back. If they say they are not allowed to give out their number, then ask them for their home number and tell them you will call them at home (this is usually the most effective method of getting rid of Telemarketers). If the person says, "Well, I don’t really want to get a call at home," say, "Ha!"

Take that Prozac away!

Feburary 27, 1998

"The world is insane!" I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this, but I’ve recently come to the conclusion that it’s not true. My forthcoming study based on years of observation and research of sane people proves conclusively that the more sane a person is, the more prone that person is to develop the kind of babbling lunacy that results in the shooting of coworkers, passers by, and fast food restaurant customers. Insanity is something in all of us, and, without an occasional release, it backs up and poisons the entire system. Things like anthrax bombs, random highway shootings, and the success of the Spice Girls are not symptoms of a world gone insane. They are indications that the world is TOO sane, and is in desparate need of a global release. Some countries, such as France, are already planning small-scale releases using the millenium as an excuse, but it may be too little too late. Worldwide sanity has been a problem for too long. History is full of acts that are so sane they boggle the imagination. That’s why, while talking to a friend the other day, I looked over at an empty parking lot and yelled, "Hey you kids, get away from that donkey!" My friend said, "What was that all about?" I replied, "Just doing my part to make the world a better place."

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


HOW TO SING THE BLUES
(attrib. to Memphis Earlene Gray
with help from Uncle Plunky)

  1. Most blues begin "woke up this morning."

  2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line:

    I got a good woman-
    with the meanest dog in town.

  3. Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes. Sort of.

    Got a good woman
    with the meanest dog in town.
    He got teeth like Margaret Thatcher
    and he weighs about 500 pounds.

  4. The blues are not about limitless choice.

  5. Blues cars are Chevies and Cadillacs. Other acceptable blues transportation is Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Walkin’ plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin’ to die.

  6. Teenagers can’t sing the blues. Adults sing the blues. Blues adulthood means old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

  7. You can have the blues in New York City, but not in Brooklyn or Queens.  Hard times in Vermont or North Dakota are just a depression.  Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City are still the best places to have the blues.

  8. The following colors do not belong in the blues:
    a. violet
    b. beige
    c. mauvre

  9. You can’t have the blues in an office or a shopping mall, the lighting is wrong.

  10. Good places for the Blues:
    a. the highway
    b. the jailhouse
    c. the empty bed

    Bad places:
    a. Ashrams
    b. Gallery openings
    c. weekend in the Hamptons

  11. No one will believe it’s the blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old black man.

  12. Do you have the right to sing the blues?  Yes, if:
    a. your first name is a southern state-like Georgia
    b. you’re blind
    c. you shot a man in Memphis.
    d. you can’t be satisfied.

    No, if:
    a. you were once blind but now can see.
    b. you’re deaf
    c. you have a trust fund.

  13. Neither Julio Iglesias nor Barbra Streisand can sing the blues

  14. If you ask for water and baby gives you gasoline, it’s the blues.  Other blues beverages are:
    a. wine
    b. Irish whiskey
    c. muddy water

    Blues beverages are NOT:
    a. Any mixed drink
    b. Any wine kosher for Passover
    c. Yoo Hoo (all flavors)

  15. If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it’s blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is a blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, or being denied treatment in an emergency room. It is not a blues death, if you die during a liposuction treatment.

  16. Some Blues names for Women
    a. Sadie
    b. Big Mama
    c. Bessie

  17. Some Blues Names for Men
    a. Joe
    b. Willie
    c. Little Willie
    d. Lightning

    Persons with names like Sierra or Sequoia will not be permitted to sing the blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

  18. Other Blues Names (Starter Kit)
    a. Name of Physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Asthmatic)
    b. First name (see above) or name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi)
    c. Last Name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.) Mix and Match

Now hiring…anybody

February 20, 1998

In my sordid past I worked for a fast food restaurant. I’m not proud of this, but what I think is strange is the application I had to fill out. They wanted to know everything about me. My education, my address, my social security number, a photo identification, where I’d worked previously…I wouldn’t have been surprised if they had run a background check on me, but why did they want to know all this about me? I was going to be restocking a salad bar for minimum wage–not handling national security documents. Were they afraid I had been convicted for doing unnatural things with lettuce? I was asked for references, and could hardly imagine what a former teacher might say if asked how well I handled a spatula. To make it even stranger, I was recently in the same restaurant, and they have significantly revised their applications. I didn’t ask for one–they put them out in open view now, and they only ask for name, address, phone number, and "special skills". I’m a little offended. I was grilled for almost an hour about why I wanted to "join the team" when now convicted felons could probably walk in off the street and be hired on the spot. What they put under "special skills" alone would be enough to qualify them: "I was noted for my attention to detail and my attention to the customers last week when I held up this place."


These Quotes were taken from real resumes and cover letters and were printed in a recent issue of Fortune Magazine:

  1. I demand a salary commiserate with my extensive experience.

  2. I have lurnt Word Perfect 6.0 computor and spreadsheet progroms.

  3. I Received a plague for Salesperson of the Year.

  4. Reason for leaving last job: maturity leave.

  5. Wholly responsible for two (2) failed financial institutions.

  6. Failed bar exam with relatively high grades.

  7. It’s best for employers that I not work with people.

  8. Let’s meet, so you can ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over my experience.

  9. You will want me to be Head Honcho in no time.

  10. Am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget details.

  11. I was working for my mom until she decided to move.

  12. Marital status: single. Unmarried. Unengaged. Uninvolved. No commitments.

  13. I have an excellent track record, although I am not a horse.

  14. I am loyal to my employer at all costs … Please feel free to respond to my resume via my office voice mail.

  15. I have become completely paranoid, trusting completely no one and absolutely nothing.

  16. My goal is to be a meteorologist. But since I possess no training in meterology, I suppose I should try stock brokerage.

  17. I procrastinate, especially when the task is unpleasant.

  18. As indicted, I have over five years of analyzing investments.

  19. Personal interests: donating blood. Fourteen gallons so far.

  20. Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store.

  21. Note: Please don’t misconstrue my 14 jobs as ‘job-hopping’. I have never quit a job.

  22. Marital status: often. Children: various.

  23. Reason for leaving last job: They insisted that all employees get to work by 8:45 a.m. every morning. Could not work under those conditions.

  24. The company made me a scapegoat, just like my three previous employers.

  25. Finished eighth in my class of ten.

  26. References: None. I’ve left a path of destruction behind me.


Actual lines out of U.S. Military Efficiency Reports

  • Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

  • Got into the gene pool while the lifeguard wasn’t watching.

  • A room temperature IQ.

  • Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all together.

  • A prime candidate for natural deselection.

  • Bright as Alaska in December.

  • Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn’t coming.

  • So dense, light bends around him.

  • If brains were taxed, he’d get a rebate.

  • If he were any more stupid, he’d have to be watered twice a week.

  • Was left on the Tilt-A-Whirl a bit too long as a baby.

  • Wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead.

  • His men would follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiosity.

  • I would not breed from this officer.

  • He has carried out each and every one of his duties to his entire satisfaction.

  • He would be out of his depth in a puddle.

  • This young lady has delusions of adequacy.

  • This medical officer has used my ship to carry his genitals from port to port, and my officers to carry him from bar to bar.

  • Since my last report he has reached rock bottom, and has started to dig.

  • She sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.

  • He has the wisdom of youth, and the energy of old age.

  • Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap.

  • This man is depriving a village somewhere of their idiot.


Results of a contest for "theories" sponsored by Omni magazine

GRAND PRIZE WINNER

When a cat is dropped, it always lands on its feet, and when toast is dropped, it always lands with the buttered side facing down. I propose to strap buttered toast to the back of a cat; the two will hover, spinning inches above the ground. With a giant buttered cat array, a high-speed monorail could easily link New York with Chicago.

RUNNERS-UP

  1. If an infinite number of rednecks riding in an infinite number of pickup trucks fire an infinite number of shotgun rounds at an infinite number of highway signs, they will eventually produce all the world’s great literary works in Braille.

  2. Why Yawning Is Contagious: You yawn to equalize the pressure on your eardrums. This pressure change outside your eardrums unbalances other people’s ear pressures, so they must yawn to even it out.

  3. Communist China is technologically underdeveloped because they have no alphabet and therefore cannot use acronyms to communicate ideas at a faster rate.

  4. The earth may spin faster on its axis due to deforestation. Just as a figure skater’s rate of spin increases when the arms are brought in close to the body, the cutting of tall trees may cause our planet to spin dangerously fast.

HONORABLE MENTION

The quantity of consonants in the English language is constant. If omitted in one place, they turn up in another. When a Bostonian "pahks" his "cah,"the lost r’s migrate southwest, causing a Texan to "warsh" his car and invest in "erl wells."

Is this what they mean by ‘Hit the slopes’?

February 13, 1998

Well, it’s Olympic time again, and that means there’s a lot of attention on skiing – especially the really big falls that send the skiers spinning through the air like tops. I’m really not sadistic or warped (although you’re more than welcome to believe otherwise). It’s just reassuring to me when I see professionals making some of the same moves I made my first – and only – time skiing. Being from an area that has pitifully small amounts of snow even during the harshest winters, I had an incredibly romantic idea of skiing. I thought it was simply a matter of pointing your skis downhill and enjoying the ride. And of course I knew the group I was with, consisting entirely of teenage guys, would get one of those young, attractive ski instructors we would all develop immediate crushes on. All in all, I assumed it would be one of those experiences that would last me a lifetime. At least I got one thing right. The instructor was a 78-year old retired auto worker, but I really didn’t have a chance to get over my shock at having a grandfather figure for an instructor. The lesson had barely started when I began to move. Honestly – I was just standing there trying to listen when my rental skis, complete with a mind of their own, took me on a ride down the amateur slope. Backwards. Then on my stomach. The instructor shouted down to me that I needed to turn my skis sideways, and walk up the hill. As I was progressing, slowly, up the slope, the skis – apparently having decided they didn’t want me wearing them – tried to get away from me again. I slid into the side fence, as far away from the rope that carried skiers back up the hill as possible. When I finally got to the rope and figured out how to use it (imagine an escalator where YOU are one of the steps), I got flipped onto my back every time I grabbed it. I spent the next four and a half hours just trying to get back up the hill, although in that time I did manage two seconds of perfect skiing. At that point, it was enough to last me the rest of my life.

Tomorrow is St. Valentine’s Day – have a happy one everybody. I have a few appropriate offerings, but remember that today, February the 13th, (which also happens to be a Friday, so don’t spill any salt, walk under ladders, or step in front of large moving vehicles) is St. Modomnoc’s Day. He’s the patron saint of beekeepers, so it’s not too early to call your significant other "honey".


Romance, Country Folk Style

Kudzu is green, my dog’s name is Blue, And I’m so lucky to have a sweet thang like you.

Yore hair is like cornsilk, A-flapping in the breeze. Softer than Blue’s, And without all them fleas.

You move like the bass, Which excite me in May. You ain’t got no scales, But I luv you anyway.

You’re as graceful as okry, Jist a-dancin’ in the pan. Yo’re as fragrant as SunDrop, Right out of the can.

You have all yore teeth, For which I am proud; I hold my head high when we’re in a crowd.

On special occasions, when you shave yore armpits, Well, I’m in hawg heaven! – I’m plumb outta my wits.

And speakin’ of wits, You’ve got plenty fer shore. ‘Cuz you married me, back in ’74.

Still them fellers at work, They all want to know, What I did to deserve such a purty, young doe.

Like a good roll of duct tape, Yo’re there fer yore man, To patch up life’s troubles, And stick ’em in the can.

Yo’re as strong as a four-wheeler, Racin’ through the mud, Yet fragile as that sanger, Named Naomi Judd.

Yo’re as cute as a junebug, A-buzzin’ overhead. You ain’t mean like no far ant, Upon which I oft’ tread.

Cut from the best pattern, Like a flannel shirt of plaid, You sparked up my life, Like a Rattletrap shad.

When you hold me real tight, Like a padded gunrack, My life is complete; Ain’t nuttin’ I lack.

Yore complexion, it’s perfection, Like the best vinyl sidin’. Despite all the years, Yore age, it keeps hidin’.

And when you get old, Like a ’57 Chevy, Won’t put you on blocks, And let grass grow up heavy.

Me ‘n’ you’s like a Moon Pie, With a RC cold drank, We go together; Like a skunk goes with stank.

Some men, they buy chocolate, For Valentine’s Day; They git it at Wal-Mart; It’s romantic that way.

Some men git roses On that special day From the cooler at Kroger; "That’s impressive," I say.

Some men buy fine diamonds, From a flea market booth. "Diamonds are forever," They explain, suave and couth.

But for this man, honey, These will not do. For you are too special, You sweet thang you.

I got you a gift, Without taste nor odor, Better than diamonds; It’s a new trollin’ motor!


Something useful for those of you seeking a meaningful relationship:

COLLABORATION AGREEMENT WHEREAS the party of the first part (hereinafter referred to as "she") and the party of the second part (hereinafter referred to as "he") are desirous of exploration an opportunity for a joint and mutually beneficial collaboration (hereinafter referred to as the "Relationship"); AND WHEREAS he is willing to invest an inital amount of time and money in investigating the potential for such a Relationship; AND WHEREAS she has determined that she is not washing her hair during the time in question; NOW THEREFORE, she, being sound of mind and fairly good body, and he, being out of his mind and into his body, agree as follows:

1 –    DUE DILIGENCE

The parties agree to make a minimum initial investment of $200 and 4 hours each into the Relationship. During such period (hereinafter referred to as the "First Date"), each party may conduct his or her due diligence investigations to determine whether he or she wishes to proceed with the Relationship. The cash portion of his investment will be applied towards a form of entertainment to be agreed to by both parties. The cash portion of her investment will be applied towards apparel to be worn by her on said First Date.

2.    FULL DISCLOSURE:

During the First Date, each party agrees to make full, true and plain disclosure of:

(a) any and all material facts including existing dependents, bizarre religious beliefs, social diseases, extreme political affiliations, radical forms of political correctness, or currently active relationships which have not yet terminated;

(b) any deep-seated mother/father/brother/sister complexes;

(c) any family history of schizophrenia or depression;

(d) any fanatical obsessions with cleanliness, pets, careers or organized sports.

Failure to make such disclosures will result in the immediate termination of the relationship.

3.    OPTION TO EXTEND

Should both parties agree to continue the First Date past the minimum four hour period, they may do so at the location at which either party is resident, subject to such residence meeting the minimum requirements of environmental regulation (including, but not limited to, absence of roaches, poisonous substances growing on socks, and toxic chemicals not contained in refrigerated areas).

4.    TERMS OF EXCLUSIVITY

The parties confirm that the continuation of the Relationship past the First Date neither implies nor requires any guarantee of exclusivity. Both parties mutually agree not to ask any questions about the other’s whereabouts on weekends, weeknights or holidays during the first 30 days of the Relationship (the "Dating Period"). During the Dating Period, neither party will have any "right" or "hold" over the other’s time.

5.    TERMS OF EXERCISE OF OPTION

Following the completion of the Dating Period, both parties may mutually agree to exercise their option to continue the relationship provided that each covenant to the other, and confirm that the other is relying on such covenants, that:

(a) such party will not refer to the other as his or her "lover", "little woman/man", "my old woman/man";

(b) such party will not call the other more than once a day on weekdays;

(c) all dates will still be made at least 24 hours in advance for another 30 days;

(d) such party will not use the "L" word; and

(e) such party will make at least one romantic and apparently spontaneous gesture within two weeks of exercising the option.

Upon the completion of the first 45 days of the Relationship, each party will return to his or her normal personality.

6.    GROUNDS FOR TERMINATION

Any of the following events will be grounds for immediate termination and final dissolution of the Relationship:

(a) failure to return phone calls promptly,

(b) failure to limit phone calls to a reasonable number

(c) comparative statements involving an ex

(d) discovery of strange prescriptive medications in the medicine cabinet of the other party

(e) yelp-like laughter,

(f) excessive absenteeism,

(g) cold feet

(h) bad hair

(i) bad breath

(j) annoying breathing habits (including, but not limited to snoring).

7.    INDEMNIFICATION:

(a)    INDEMNIFICATION OF UNDERWRITER

Each party agrees to hold the person who arranged the underwriter of the relationship (colloquially referred to as "the matchmaker") blameless in the event that the other party is found to be a "real loser" or a "psycho bitch". For a definition of "real loser", see Maradonna: "My story", available at most bookstores, or Michael Palin as Ken in "A Fish called Wanda". For a definition of "psycho bitch", see Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct" or Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction", all of which are incorporated into this Agreement and form an integral part of what not to do in the Relationship.

(b)    INDEMNIFICATION IN RESPECT OF FRIENDS AND OTHER VALUABLES

In the event of a termination of the Relationship other than in accordance with this Agreement, each party agrees to indemnify the other for all loss, damages, and distress caused by:

(i) removal of the indemnified party from the circle of friends of the indemnifier, which friends are more fun than those of the indemnified party (if in fact the indemnified party had any friends at all), resulting in such indemnified party being left with no one to have brunch with on Sunday mornings;

(ii) the appropration by the indemnifier of what few cool friends the indemnified party has which friend consistently talk about how much fun they had the other night at the indemnifier’s dinner party, resulting the indemnified party never being able to forget about the indemnifier and move on; and

(iii) the appropriation of sweatshirts, boxers, and other paraphenalia belonging to the indemnified party.

8.    DECLARATION OF STRENGTH

At the time of breakup, the party being dumped (the "dumpee" – pronounced "dumpy") reserves the right to make the other (the "dumper") feel guilty for breaking up with him/her.

9.    MISCELLANEOUS:

(a) Each party agrees to give the other at least five minutes notice before terminating said relationship.

(b) Both parties agree to remain exclusive until such time as the Relationship appears to be "on the rocks".

(c) On termination of the Relationship

(i) both parties agree to behave maturely and return compiled socks, sweatshirts, books, record albums, door keys and personal undergarments with all due haste through impartial intermediary

(ii) each party agrees to wait at least seventy-two (72) hours before engaging in sex with any of the other’s friends

(iii) both parties agree to refrain from slandering the other for a period of at least three days (bedroom performance included).

During the three days following the termination of the Relationship, both parties consent to use one of the following nebulous terms in the description of the breakup, "The timing wasn’t right", "He/she wanted more than I could give", "He/She was too involved in his/her career", He/She decided to go back to his/her

(1) girl/boyfriend,

(2) last lover

(3) hometown

(4) therapist".

One heck of a tangle

February 6, 1998

So I’m taking my weekly shower, and I notice that the shampoo and conditioner – both the same brand made by the same company – have a toll-free number you can call during regular business hours or an address you can write to if you have questions or comments. Here’s the strange thing, though: each one has a different number AND a different address. One’s in New Jersey, and one’s in Illinois. Now, anyone taking the time to call in a comment would, unquestionably, make sure that they had the right number depending on whether they wanted to comment on the shampoo or the conditioner. But what about someone in an emergency situation? Let’s say you get up late, you’re rushing around, and you pour shampoo in your hair without wetting it first (for those of you who didn’t know you were supposed to wet your hair first, I strongly recommend the instructions printed right above the customer service information). Of course, the offices in either state probably wouldn’t be open yet, so you’d have to proceed immediately to some other source of assistance. But let’s say you live on the west coast, and you’re really late. You call the shampoo office in New Jersey, explain the situation and…oh no! In your panic, you actually poured CONDITIONER in your hair without even shampooing first! Chaos! To make it worse, the unhelpful person is now transferring you to the conditioner offices in Illinois. You’ve been moved back an entire time zone and the conditioner people haven’t arrived yet! Hair emergencies of this degree are rare, but let’s face it, it could happen! At this point there’s only one course of action: call the police, ask for the styling department, and hope that trained professionals will arrive before it’s too late.

Enjoy this week’s squeaky clean offerings.


Announcing the new Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge device (BOOK).

The BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It’s so easy to use even a child can operate it. Just lift its cover!

Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere — even sitting in an armchair by the fire — yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc. Here’s how it works…

Each BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. These pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder, which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence. Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs in half. Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now BOOKs with more information simply use more pages. This makes them thicker and harder to carry, and has drawn some criticism from the mobile computing crowd.

Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet. The BOOK may be taken up at any time and used by merely opening it. The BOOK never crashes and never needs rebooting, though like other display devices it can become unusable if dropped overboard. The "browse" feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish. Many come with an "index" feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.

An optional "BOOKmark" accessory allows you to open the BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session – even if the BOOK has been closed. BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; thus, a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers. Conversely, numerous bookmarkers can be used in a single BOOK if the user wants to store numerous views at once. Only the number of pages in the BOOK limits the number.

You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with an optional programming tool, the Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Stylus (Pencils).

Portable, durable, and affordable, the BOOK is being hailed as the entertainment wave of the future. The BOOK’s appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform. Look for a flood of new titles soon.


Dealing With Telemarketers

  1. If they want to loan you money, tell them you just filed for bankruptcy and you could sure use some money.

  2. If they start out with, "How are you today?" say, "Why do you want to know?" Alternately, you can tell them, "I’m so glad you asked, because no one these days seems to care, and I have all these problems; my sciatica is acting up, my eyelashes are sore, my dog just died…"When they try to get to the sell, just keep talking about your "problems."

  3. If they say they’re Joe Doe from the XYZ Company, ask them to spell their name. Then ask them to spell the company name. Then ask them where it is located. Continue asking them personal questions or questions about their company for as long as necessary.

  4. This one works better if you’re male: Telemarketer: "Hi, my name is Judy and I’m with Canter & Siegel services… " You: Hang on a second. [a few seconds’ pause] Okay, [in really husky voice] "What are you wearing?" Telemarketer: [Click.]

  5. Cry out, in well-simulated tones of pleasure and surprise, "Judy! Is that you? Oh, my GOD! Judy, how have you BEEN?" Hopefully, this will give Judy a few brief moments of terror as she tries to figure out where the hell she could know you from.

  6. Say "No", over and over. Be sure to vary the sound of each one, and keep an even tempo even as they’re trying to speak. This is the most fun if you can keep going until they hang up.

  7. If MCI calls trying to get you to sign up with their Family and Friends plan, reply, in as sinister a voice as you can muster, "I don’t have any friends…would you be my friend?"

  8. If they clean rugs: "Can you get out blood? Can you get out GOAT blood? How about HUMAN blood?" Alternate: "Sorry, my floor is made of stone."

  9. Let the person go through their spiel, providing minimal but necessary feedback in the form of an occasional "Uh-huh", "Really" or "How fascinating". Finally, when they ask you to buy, ask them to marry you. When they get all flustered, tell them you couldn’t just give out your credit card number to a complete stranger.

  10. Tell them you work for the same company they work for. Example: Telemarketer: "This is Bill from WaterTronics." You: "WaterTronics! Hey, I work for them too. Where are you calling from?" Telemarketer: "Uh…Dallas, Texas." You: "Great, they have a group there too? How’s business/the weather?!?" Telemarketer: "Sorry, we can’t sell to employees." You: "Oh, Okay. Bye!"

  11. Answer the phone. As soon as you realize it is a telemarketer, set the receiver down, Shout or scream "Oh my God!!!" and then hang up.

  12. (Jerry Seinfeld version) Tell the telemarketer you’re busy at the moment and if they give you their phone number, you’ll call them back. Telemarketer will say "We’re not allowed to give out our number". You say, "I guess you don’t want anyone bothering you at work, right?". Telemarketer will agree. You say "Now you know how I feel!" Hang-up.

Morning Lessons

January 30, 1998

The snack machine down the hall occasionally has notes on it that say things like, "This machine owes Ellen in office 228 65 cents for M&M’s", or "This machine owes Roger on the 11th floor 50 cents for a chocolate bar". The other day, I noticed this one: "This machine owes Lenny $5 for a superbowl bet." It just goes to show that machines aren’t trustworthy. How can anyone expect a machine that would sadistically torment someone in the midst of a chocolate craving to pay off gambling debts? I happen to know for a fact that they lock up this building on the weekends not just to keep the burglars out but also to keep that particular machine in. It earned quite a reputation at the dog tracks up in Indiana, and was even arrested for trying to sneak into the press box at the Kentucky Derby. Oh, very few people realize just how insidious some machines can be. Lenny, if you’re out there, let this be a lesson to you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pay off the elevator. Enjoy this week’s offering – – some more things you should know.


If you toss a penny 10000 times, it will not be heads 5000 times, but more like 4950. The heads picture weighs more, so it ends up on the bottom.

The longest word in the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. The only other word with the same amount of letters is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconioses, its plural. Hydroxydesoxycorticosterone and hydroxydeoxycorticosterones are the largest anagrams.

Los Angeles’s full name is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula."

Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older

Ben and Jerry’s send the waste from making ice cream to local pig armers to use as feed. Pigs love the stuff, except for one flavor: Mint Oreo.

Al Capone’s business card said he was a used furniture dealer.

Wilma Flintstone’s maiden name was Wilma Slaghoopal, and Betty Rubble’s Maiden name was Betty Jean Mcbricker.

A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

The Ramses brand condom is named after the great pharaoh Ramses II who fathered over 160 children.

If NASA sent birds into space they would soon die, they need gravity to swallow.

Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors.

A pig’s orgasm lasts for 30 minutes.

The characters Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street were named after Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in Frank Capra’s "Its A Wonderful Life"

It was discovered on a space mission that a frog can throw up. The frog throws up its stomach first, so the stomach is dangling out of its mouth. Then the frog uses its forearms to dig out all of the stomach’s contents and then swallows the stomach back down again.

Armored knights raised their visors to identify themselves when they rode past their king. This custom has become the modern military salute.

Sylvia Miles had the shortest performance ever nominated for an Oscar with "Midnight Cowboy." Her entire role lasted only six minutes.

Charles Lindbergh took only four sandwiches with him on his famous transatlantic flight.

Goethe couldn’t stand the sound of barking dogs and could only write if he had an apple rotting in the drawer of his desk.

101 Dalmatians, Peter Pan (Wendy), and Sleeping Beauty are the only three Disney cartoon features with both parents that are present and don’t die throughout the movie.

‘Stewardesses’ is the longest word that is typed with only the left hand. The Baby Ruth candy bar was actually named after Grover Cleveland’s baby daughter, Ruth.

A whale’s penis is called a dork.

Armadillos have four babies at a time and they are always all the same sex.

Armadillos are the only animal besides humans that can get leprosy.

To escape the grip of a crocodile’s jaws, push your thumbs into its eyeballs — it will let you go instantly.

Reindeer like to eat bananas.

A group of unicorns is called a blessing. Twelve or more cows are known as a "flink." A group of frogs is called an army. A group of rhinos is called a crash. A group of kangaroos is called a mob. A group of whales is called a pod. A group of geese is called a gaggle. A group of ravens is called a murder. A group of officers is called a mess. A group of larks is called an exaltation. A group of owls is called a parliament.

Physicist Murray Gell-Mann named the sub-atomic particles known as quarks for a random line in James Joyce, "Three quarks for Muster Mark!"

The phrase "sleep tight" derives from the fact that early mattresses were filled with straw and held up with rope stretched across the bedframe. A tight sleep was a comfortable sleep.

"Three dog night" (attributed to Australian Aborigines) came about because on especially cold nights these nomadic people needed three dogs (dingos, actually) to keep from freezing.

Gilligan of Gilligan’s Island had a first name that was only used once, on the never-aired pilot show. His first name was Willy. The skipper’s real name on Gilligan’s Island is Jonas Grumby. It was mentioned once in the first episode on their radio’s newscast about the wreck.

In England, the Speaker of the House is not allowed to speak.

Playing cards were issued to British pilots in WWII. If captured, they could be soaked in water and unfolded to reveal a map for escape.

Ivory bar soap floating was a mistake. They had been overmixing the soap formula causing excess air bubbles that made it float. Customers wrote and told how much they loved that it floated, and it has floated ever since.

Studies show that if a cat falls off the seventh floor of a building it has about thirty percent less chance of surviving than a cat that falls off the twentieth floor. It supposedly takes about eight floors for the cat to realize what is occurring, relax and correct itself.

The saying "it’s so cold out there it could freeze the balls off a brass monkey" came from when they had old cannons like ones used in the Civil War. The cannonballs were stacked in a pyramid formation, called a brass monkey. When it got extremely cold outside they would crack and break away from the stack… Thus the saying.

Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks; otherwise it will digest itself.

The Sanskrit word for "war" means "desire for more cows."

THIS isn’t a real job?

January 23, 1998

They’re back. One side of the building I work in looked slightly paler in full sunlight than the other, so the construction workers are back to tear out a few walls. The other day, walking by them, one happened to say to me, "Hey, why don’t you get a real job?" It really made me think. Maybe I SHOULD go out and get a real job. Something in construction. Yeah. I’ve been using my brain too much lately. It’s about time I get a job in which I can be paid twenty bucks an hour to eat doughnuts, drink coffee, and expose almost half of my backside. But I have nobler reasons for considering this occupational change. Hooting at any woman who happens to walk by seems to have gone out of style at construction sites, but there’s still room for improvement. While a question like, "Did you guys see that opera on the arts channel last night?" might at first lead to a comparison of beer guts to see which one of us looks most like Pavarotti from the neck down, it might lead to a thoughtful discussion of Wagner’s dark view of the human condition and his disagreement with Nietzsche. Sure. Who knows? Maybe I could convince them to temper the normal job site joie de vivre with a little after-doughnut meditation time and poetry reading. Sure. Look for next week’s Freethinker edition: my inside guide to a hospital emergency room. In the meantime, enjoy these offerings.


English Lessons

Written by Richard Lederer
Read the entire essay on Richard’s Verbivore Page

Let’s face it-English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through annals of history but not a single annal? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?

Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who ARE spring chickens or who would ACTUALLY hurt a fly?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn’t a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it.


Twins

One day, a married couple bore twin sons. They couldn’t afford to keep them, however, so they put them up for adoption. One of the boys went to a Spanish family and was named Juan. The other son went to an Egyptian family and was named Amal.

Some years later, Juan became curious about his real parents. After researching and finally locating them, he sent them a nice letter and a picture of himself. Upon receiving the picture, the original mother said, "I’m so glad that he’s happy. And what a wonderful picture. I wish we had a picture of Amal. I wonder what he looks like."

And her husband turned to her and said, "I wouldn’t worry about it. When you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Amal."

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

January 16, 1998

In most parts of the world, snow is a natural phenomenon that is enjoyed and treated with respect. However, here in The South (that is, the southeastern U.S., not to be confused with the southwestern U.S., southern Europe, southern Asia, or, for that matter, the entire southern hemisphere) snow is a paralyzing, dangerous event. It results in people driving even more like idiots than they usually do, careening around on ice-covered residential roads at highway speeds so, no matter how much food they already have at home, they can go to their local grocery and stock up on bread, milk, eggs, and toilet paper. In recent years, though, a steady inward flow of Northerners has offset these cultural practices. In order to preserve our proud Southern heritage, the local legislature has written the following Snow Reaction Plan:

1 inch or less: Wild, disorganized rioting in groceries begins. Children are automatically released from school because snow’s myserious beguiling properties will keep them from learning anything as long as it’s coming down.

1-3 inches: Grocery stores set up special barricades to prevent looting. Checkout-people are issued handguns. This is the only time that the "ten items or less" rule in the Express Lane is enforced.

3-6 inches: Cars entering the state are stopped. Any with license plates farther north than Kentucky are refused entrance for fear that drivers with experience driving in snow will interfere with locals intent on causing as many wrecks as possible. Children who have been given sleds by Yankee relatives test their reaction time by careening around assorted wreckage and gasoline fires.

6-9 inches: Salt trucks are fired up and used by public officials as escape vehicles. As snow levels reach the upper limit, the emergency broadcast system is used to inform people that "all hell is about to break loose."

Over 9 inches: The mayor will declare martial law from his hotel room in Florida.

In the words of the Southern Roman scholar Cletus, "Permittet ningitere!" Enjoy this week’s offerings–especially the first one which was a nice trip down nostalgia lane for me.


This frog was really down on his luck. All he had left in the world was this little ceramic figurine his mother had willed him when she croaked. He decided he’d go to the bank and get a loan so he could improve his lot in life. He wrapped up the figurine and hopped on down to the local bank. When he got to the bank, the bank receptionist directed him to a loan officer by the name of Mr. Paddywack. Mr. Paddywack took one look at the frog and knew his day was ruined. "Ok, he said, what can I do for you?"

"Well, I’d like a small loan," the frog said,"so I can get back on my feet."

"We don’t usually lend money to frogs," Paddywack said."Do you have anything in the way of collateral?"

The frog held up the figurine and said, "Well, I have this."

Paddywack rolled his eyes and said, "I’m going to have to ask my manager."

He went to find the manager, and told him, "You’re not going to believe this. There’s this frog out here, who wants money. He has this figurine for collateral. Have you ever heard of something so dumb?"

The manager scowled at him and said, "For Heaven’s sake, it’s a knicknack, Paddywack, give the frog a loan."


A guy driving a Yugo pulls up at a stoplight next to a Rolls-Royce. The driver of the Yugo rolls down his window and shouts to the driver of the Rolls, "Hey, buddy, that’s a nice car. You got a phone in your Rolls? I’ve got one in my Yugo!"

The driver of the Rolls looks over and says simply, "Yes I have a phone."

The driver of the Yugo says, "Cool! Hey, you got a fridge in there, too? I’ve got a fridge in the back seat of my Yugo!"

The driver of the Rolls, looking annoyed, says, "Yes, I have a refrigerator."

The driver of the Yugo says, "That’s great, man! Hey, you got a TV in there, too? You know, I got a TV in the back seat of my Yugo!"

The driver of the Rolls, looking very annoyed by now, says, "Of course I have a television. A Rolls-Royce is the finest luxury car in the world!"

The driver of the Yugo says, "Very cool car! Hey, you got a bed in there, too? I got a bed in the back of my Yugo!"

Upset that he did not have a bed, the driver of the Rolls-Royce sped away, and went straight to the dealer, where he promptly ordered that a bed be installed in the back of the Rolls.

The next morning, the driver of the Rolls picked up the car, and the bed looked superb, with satin sheets and brass trim. It was clearly a bed fit for a Rolls Royce. So the driver of the Rolls begins searching for the Yugo, and he drove all day. Finally, late at night, he finds the Yugo parked, with all the windows fogged up from the inside. The driver of the Rolls got out and knocked on the Yugo. When there wasn’t any answer, he knocked and knocked, and eventually the owner stuck his head out, soaking wet. "I now have a bed in the back of my Rolls-Royce," the driver of the Rolls stated arrogantly.

The driver of the Yugo looked at him and said, "You got me out of the shower to tell me THAT??"


A small town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand in a trial-a grandmotherly, elderly woman. He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"

She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you Mr. Williams. I’ve known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you’ve been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you’re a rising big shot when you haven’t the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Williams, do you know the defense attorney?"

She again replied, "Why, yes I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. I used to babysit him for his parents. And he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He’s lazy, bigoted, he has a drinking problem. The man can’t build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the shoddiest in the entire state. Yes, I know him."

At this point, the judge rapped the courtroom to silence and called both counselors to the bench. In a very quiet voice, he said with menace, "If either of you asks her if she knows me, you’ll be in jail for contempt within 5 minutes."

Look out, 1998!

January 9, 1998

In the time that that Freethinkers Anonymous has been available to the entire world via the web, I’ve gotten three messages from people who just happened to stumble across it. One of those was a notice of a copyright violation. One was a question about our "organization" from the head of the International Freethinkers Association in South Africa. As for the third and most recent one, the one that greeted me when I turned on my computer for the first time this year, I’d like to share it share it and my response to it with you. But first, let me just say how proud I am of the underwhelming response to my rants and offerings. As a cultural icon, I’m practically nonexistent. No fifteen minutes of fame for me. I’m working toward a much harder goal–fifteen years of obscurity. I’m comfortable and secure with that. There’s an old saying: When fools attack you, you must be doing something right. The rest, despite bad grammar, spelling, and questionable a priori philosophical deductions, speaks for itself.


From: heather rasp
To: Christopher Allen Waldrop

Hello there,old man. I want to say something about the word freethinker.Do you know, you cant be free and thinking at the same time.They are opposite things.It is like saying Chickenbeef (Dont know why this example) Let say you are in Mcdonalds.You are thinking what to eat.Why? You are not free to eat them all, that’s why! I also suspect you a little bit.There is something fishy about the name.Are you atheist? communist? You better tell us that you are a normal usual citizen ,so that I can read your discussions more relaxedly.Sometimes It feels like listening to a lecture from a guy about whether to use ketchup or mustard for hotdog. And one feels like the guy is a vegeterian anyway. Sorry I have to stop because I am going to McDonalds’ now. Hungry a little bit. By

 

From: Christopher Allen Waldrop
To: heather rasp

Hey there yourself,

Nice to hear from you, and I take it from your message that you’ve been reading my web page (well, actually it’s maintained by someone else, so I guess technically the web page is a joint effort).

Did you know that the Freethinkers were a 19th Century German group founded to promote the ideas of religious freedom and tolerance? Not that I’m trying to sway anyone to any particular religious, philosophical, or economic view. The idea originally was to send funny, weekly messages out to my friends, but in the interest of protecting anyone from ever having to admit that they were actually a friend of mine, I made the list anonymous. And since the members had different religious, philosophical, and economic backgrounds, I wittily referred to them as Freethinkers–not because they were members of a 19th Century German sect, (I don’t think anyone on the list was even born in the 19th Century, and while I wouldn’t exclude Germans, I know of no one in that region of Europe who is receiving these weekly offerings at this time) but because the right to think freely is the beginning of acting freely. I also consider thinking freely to be a basic existential right–one which it is very difficult to impose upon excepting the use of certain chemical substances, hypnosis, and possibly mind control devices which have not yet been invented. To use your own example, we may be limited by what we finally choose to eat at McDonald’s, but we at least do have the right to decide between the Big Mac and the McNuggets; or, for that matter, whether we just want to get a cup of New Coke and pour it into our car’s radiator. And if they took that choice away, (although it would be very poor customer service) there’s almost always a Burger King nearby. Let’s imagine, though, that in some bizarre totalitarian regime we HAD to eat at McDonald’s and a goose-stepping clown came out and told everyone what they HAD to have. It would take some pretty fancy technology to deprive us of our ability to imagine having a Big Mac while eating McGruel (oh, cruel totalitarian regime that would deprive us even of miniscule cheeseburgers!). And if the technology to do so were used by Ronald and Friends, well, it’s highly unlikely that you and I would be having this conversation in the first place.

Thank you for your thoughts, and have a pleasant new year.

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