Quick Takes.

How D’You Like Them Apples?

It’s October and time to finally put to rest one of the most vexing seasonal questions of all: what is the difference between apple juice and apple cider?

Apple juice: Non-alcoholic.

Apple cider: May be non-alcoholic or alcoholic. Traditionally alcoholic in Europe the term “cider” referred to raw apple juice in the US for a long time in spite of its derivation from a Hebrew word meaning “strong drink” before the rising popularity of alcoholic cider.

 

Apple juice: Filtered, clear.

Apple cider: Generally unfiltered; may be clear or cloudy.

 

Apple juice: Pasteurized.

Apple cider: Generally also pasteurized but at a lower temperature or shorter period, giving it a shorter shelf life. Left alone will either turn into apple cider vinegar or applesauce.

 

Apple juice: Consumed year-round, mostly by children.

Apple cider: The alcoholic variety is consumed year-round, mostly by adults, while the non-alcoholic variety is consumed in the fall at church picnics by people who think it sounds kind of seasonal and also it’s cheaper.

 

Apple juice: Squeezed from the fruit using modern equipment, processed, and bottled within twenty-four hours.

Apple cider: Fruit and pulp are pressed in ancient stone building. The juice is then left to ferment for months or years while druids perform strange rituals over the barrels.

 

Apple juice: Usually served cold but can also be served hot and flavored with spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and star anise.

Apple cider: Always cold because of its aura of menace. Sucks the life force from cinnamon sticks like Billy Zane in The Mummy.

 

Apple juice: Made from a variety of red delicious apples specifically bred for juice.

Apple cider: Made from cursed apples that grow in orchards planted in forgotten graveyards.

 

Apple juice: Apples are harvested by industrial means in large quantities.

Apple cider: Apples are harvested by hand by tough withered Steinbeck characters with names like Nick, Skipjack, and Hortense.

 

Apple juice: Found on grocery store shelves next to the powdered drink mixes.

Apple cider: Found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store next to the beer, but may also be sold to you in the alley behind the store by a tough withered Steinbeck character with a three-day beard, an eyepatch, wearing a tattered trenchcoat, and carrying an axe. Answers to “Hortense”.

 

Apple juice: May be made from concentrate.

Apple cider: You know it’s thinking something.

 

Apple juice: Family friendly; often sold in bottles adorned with cartoon characters.

Apple cider: “We only fly the flag of the Jolly Roger,” says Hortense, glaring at you.

 

Apple juice: Goes great with a child’s afternoon snack of graham crackers or ginger snaps.

Apple cider: Lurks in the darkness waiting for the proper incantations that will release the demons trapped in its depths.

 

Apple juice: May have added sugar.

Apple cider: “I’d be more concerned with what it takes,” says Hortense, wiping something from her axe.

 

Apple juice: Makes adults nostalgic for carefree summer days of running barefoot through the tall grass with friends.

Apple cider: Wants you to pour it out over a blood sacrifice performed under a full moon, thus opening a portal to the netherworld where dark and mysterious creatures still reign.

 

Apple juice: Has a diuretic effect.

Apple cider: The only thing known to dislodge that bubblegum you swallowed in third grade.

Source: Wondermark


Source: Wondermark

It’s A Sign.

Source: Google Maps, because I wasn’t fast enough with my own camera.

My wife and I were driving through my old neighborhood recently and as we went by a strip mall she said, “Oh, the upside down sign is still there.”

I’m not sure when exactly the upside down sign was first installed. I remember seeing it a lot, though, because I lived nearby and we passed it regularly.  I’m pretty sure I was in my early teens. Maybe I was even younger. It was there when there was a miniature golf course behind that strip mall—a miniature golf course where my friends and I spent a lot of summer Saturdays before it finally shut down. It was there when there was an arcade in that strip mall where my friends and I played a lot of video games, and when there was still a Radio Shack there. It was there when there was a small market that, for reasons no one ever understood, carried a lot of different imported beers from around the world—and this was in the ‘80’s, long before the craft beer craze. Also long before I started drinking beer. I only know about the market that carried a lot of imported beers because I’d go in there sometimes to buy a candy bar and I’d see this unusual stuff called “Guinness” in the refrigerator case, and I’d always think, well, if it’s beer it must not be that different from the Michelob my father drinks, and it would be several years before I’d discover Guinness resembles Michelob about as much as, well, a miniature golf course resembles a Radio Shack, but that’s another story.

The first few years it was there, every time my friends and I passed it, I’d say, “What’s wrong with them? Why don’t they fix that sign?” And my friend John would say, “Well, maybe it’s working for them. It’s getting attention.”

He was right too. The sign must be working. It’s still there, and the business it advertises is still there. In fact it’s the only thing that hasn’t changed. Well, there’s probably at least one place nearby where you can still get Guinness.  

Rejected Writing Prompts.

The moisturizer didn’t start working until several applications later.

 

Why aren’t amino acids called “amateur teins”?

 

It wasn’t apropos—it was the propos.

 

Things used to turn on a dime. With inflation they turn on a dollar.

 

Nothing had changed. So had everything.

 

How much power does it take for your phone to warn you the battery is low?

 

Creaky door in a full house on a summer afternoon—no big deal.

Creaky door in an empty house in the middle of the night in late fall or early winter—utterly terrifying.

Creaky door in an empty house in the middle of the night in summer—hey, might as well check it out, it’s not like you have to get dressed or anything.

 

Opening dialogue:

“How can we get people to come to the event?”

“I could give out samples of my wine cake.”

“I’m not sure about that.”

“Oh, it’s not what it sounds like. It’s soaked in vodka!”

 

The dessert known as a Baked Alaska in the United States is called a Norwegian Omelet in France.

 

One-hundred and eighty minutes later we realized it had been three hours.

 

Do cowboys ever pretend they’re 7-year olds?

 

Was “Bingo” the name of the dog or the farmer?

 

Did telegram messengers use stationery bikes?

 

I’ve never run a Marathon but one summer I did work as a clerk at one of their gas stations.

 

You don’t meet a lot of women with “Jr.” after their name.

 

We chose the Czech airport for reasons that were purely Prague-matic.

 

My life was influenced by the Greek philosopher Mediocrites.

 

Why is there lemonade but no grapefruitade, kumquatade, or banananade?

 

Opening dialogue:

“They really treat you like family at this restaurant!”

“Here’s your bill, and as soon as you’re done you can start washing the dishes.”

 

In the end the salmon was a red herring.

 

Ray Bradbury said, “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.” Prove him wrong.

Not In Theaters.

It’s been a while since I was last in a movie theater and I’m not quite ready to go back to one just yet even though I’d really like to. It seems hard to justify going to a theater when I have an overabundance of movies (not to mention TV shows, documentaries, and, oh yeah, I’ve got a few books too) but I love the experience of going to the theater and sitting in the dark with strangers. There’s the smell of popcorn, having my ticket torn, the process of finding just the right seat. Things happen in movie theaters that could never happen at home, like the time I went to see Pulp Fiction and a couple behind me got into an argument about whether they’d seen Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta together on TV and it was so weird I thought it might actually be part of the movie. Or there was the time I went to see the 2011 film The Thing, which was a prequel to the 1982 film The Thing, which was described as a remake of the 1951 film The Thing From Another World but was actually closer to the source material, the 1938 novella Who Goes There? written by John W. Campbell. Anyway the 2011 film ends with an exact recreation of the opening of the 1982 film and as the credits rolled and Ennio Morricone’s haunting score played all of us in the theater—all seven of us, since it was a box office dud—gathered in front of the screen and had an impromptu film discussion.

And when a friend started sending me terrible parody film posters from a Twitter account devoted solely to the worst of the worst it just made me want to go to a theater even more. Even the worst real movie couldn’t be as bad as any of these, right?  

Source: @AWFULfanPOSTERS

Source: @AWFULfanPOSTERS

Source: @AWFULfanPOSTERS

Source: @AWFULfanPOSTERS

Especially terrifying are the sequels that seem like they really could be made.

Source: @AWFULfanPOSTERS

And, you know, there are some I would actually like to see. Seriously. Sometimes what starts off as parody crosses over into something potentially good.

Source: @AWFULfanPOSTERS

And speaking of movies that should be real I think we can all agree that the only thing wrong with this reimagining of Calvin And Hobbes is that it isn’t a real full-length movie playing in theaters everywhere.

Inter-office Memos: National Poetry Month Edition.

Because I could not stop for work—

They sent it to my room—

No one could tell I had no pants—

Because we met in Zoom—

–E. Dickinson & Associates, Amherst

From: elsa.hildegard@ passaicgen.com

To: All Staff

Subject: Plums!!!

I left a bag of plums in the break room refrigerator. Someone ate them even though the bag was clearly marked with my name on it. They were there for after my morning run. THIS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. Show some respect, people. I don’t want to place blame unfairly but I think whoever did it left their red wheelbarrow out next to the chickens.

From: bill.c.williams@ passaicgen.com

To: elsa.hildegard@ passaicgen.com

Subject: RE: Plums!!!

This is just to say

I’m sorry. I have eaten the plums

That you were probably saving for breakfast.

Forgive me. They were delicious,

And I thought they were like the Girl Scout cookies

You brought last week.

From: elsa.hildegard@ passaicgen.com

To: elsa.hildegard@ passaicgen.com

Subject: RE: Plums!!!

Okay, Bill, I forgive you, but seriously learn to indent.

 

From D. Thomas, in the cubicle next to yours:

A Refusal To Mourn Your Departure From The Office

 

Do not go gentle into retirement,

It’s still too soon for your 401(k).

Now, now, go tell the boss he should get bent.

 

Your final e-mail has been typed and sent,

You’ve had a cake, and it’s the end of day.

Do not go gentle into retirement,

Now, now, go tell the boss he should get bent.

Coming Up:

Charles Dodgson, L.C., offers advice on wooing celebrity investors in “The Hunting Of The Shark”

Elizabeth Bishop’s instructions on dealing with corporate bankruptcy with “The Art Of Losing”

Walt Whitman contains multitudes, because he’s offering sweet deals on office space.

Ten Things Only I Think Are Funny, With Unnecessary Explanations, Annotations, And Footnotes.

Source: fromoldbooks.org

I have a rare album: Rex Harrison[1] Sings Billy Idol[2].

Explanation: There’s at least one other person who finds this funny, although I texted this to him one night with no other explanation after I’d had a couple of beers and, since it was a Friday night, I’m sure he’d had a few too and at that point just about anything is funny, and I still kind of wonder why I didn’t say I had an album of Brian Blessed singing Cyndi Lauper which, let’s face it, would have been almost as funny.

Annotation: Rex Harrison was hopeless as a singer but regularly cast in musicals, most famously the 1967 film version of Doctor Dolittle. He developed a style of “speech singing”, essentially talking his way through songs. Billy Idol, on the other hand,  has both a broad vocal range and a much cooler haircut.

Medieval European polearms [3]

Explanation: This one is a you-had-to-be-there kind of joke although I bet there are a lot of historians who get why this is funny. There are literally dozens of different designs for what’s basically a blade and some pointy things on the end of a stick, each with their own specific name and it just makes me laugh to imagine a knight saying to his squire, “Hey, I asked for a bec de corbin and you brought me a ranseur!”

I put a quarter in a Wurlitzer[4] and pita bread stuffed with thin-sliced roasted and seasoned lamb[5] popped out.

Explanation: This came to me one night when I was on my way to get some Greek takeout food and I was kind of embarrassed because I couldn’t tell the guy behind the counter why I was laughing so hard without sounding like a lunatic.

Annotation: Foreigner’s album 4, first released in 1981, has proven to be one of their longest lasting, with the second track, an ode to a young boy who is unable to buy a concert ticket but, hearing a guitar, becomes a musician himself, is considered by critics to be the best song in their entire catalog.

Aardvarks[6].

Explanation: I was watching a nature documentary and an aardvark came on and started digging into a termite mound and I couldn’t stop laughing because I’d never realized before that they’re basically giant long-tailed pigs with bunny ears.

Annotation: Aardvarks share a common ancestor with elephants, manatees, and hyraxes, none of which any rational person finds funny.

Hansel and Gretel[7] kill their parents.

Explanation: This is a bit dark but my lifelong love of fairy tales has prompted me to write alternate versions of several, including Hansel and Gretel, and I think it would be weirdly funny is the kids figured out their parents were planning to abandon them and took matters into their own hands and maybe got adopted by the witch.

Cans of mixed nuts.

Explanation: It’s not so much the nuts as the conversations I imagine them having. Hazelnuts[8] would call each other “Phil” and “Bert”, pecans[9] would speak with a Southern accent, and Brazil nuts[10] would speak German.

Annotation: Most commercially available nut mixes also include peanuts, almonds, and cashews, none of which are funny.

Excel spreadsheets[11].

Explanation: Actually not funny at all, not even to me, and I think I’ve established that I’ve got a really weird sense of humor, but at this point I’m just trying to pad out the list.

Annotation: In high school I knew guys taking computer classes who’d get really excited about making spreadsheets. This was the ‘80’s and it just goes to show how much of a novelty computers were that something accounting-related could actually seem exciting.

Padding lists[12]

Explanation: It’s always funny to me when someone throws something weird and seemingly random into a list.

The word “swab”

Explanation: There are plenty of weird words that just sound funny to me but “swab” is my go-to when someone asks for an example. Maybe it’s because I think of pirates swabbing the decks but it could just as easily be because cotton swabs tickle the insides of my ears.

Annotation: The origins of the word “swab” date to at least the mid-17th century when it originally meant a mop made of rope yarn, ultimately derived from the Swedish “svabba”, meaning “a dirty person”, and why the Swedish needed a specific word for a dirty person is a mystery.

Ridiculously long titles.

Explanation: None needed.

Annotation: See above.

Footnotes follow.

1-An English stage and screen actor (b.1908-d.1990)

2-An English musician, singer, and songwriter (b.1955, d. probably several times because, you know, rock stars)

3-A weapon consisting of a blade attached to a long wooden staff

4-A brand name of jukebox.

5-A sandwich commonly known as a “gyro”, sold as Greek or Middle Eastern cuisine.

6-Scientific name Orycteropus afer, an insectivorous mammal whose range extends across much of Africa.

7-The child protagonists of a German fairy tale of medieval origin first published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812.

8-Nuts produced by the hazel tree (scientific name Corylus avellana), hazelnuts are also known as “filberts” and now we’re just over-explaining the joke.

9-Nuts produced by a subspecies of hickory (scientific name Carya illinoinensis)

10-Not technically a nut but rather a seed from a South American tree (scientific name Bertholletia excelsa)

11-A computer application used for storing, sorting, organizing, and analyzing data in the form of a table.

12-Made you look.

 

What It Was Was Fantasy Football: 2021 Edition.

Source: qwantz.com. Awesome fun times!

Defending Team

Safety- Tyrann Mathieu

Safety- Daniel Sorensen

Cornerback- BoPete Keyes

Cornerback-Rashad Fenton

Outside Linebacker-Anthony Hitchens

Outside Linebacker-Darius Harris

Middle Linebacker- Lavonte David

End- Ndamukong Suh

End- Tanoh Kpassagnon

Tackle- Rakeem Nunez-Roches

Tackle- Donovan Smith

Wide Receiver-Mecole Hardman

Wide Receiver- Tyreek Hill

Tackle- Khalen Saunders

Tackle- Derrick Nnadi

Guard- Ali Marpet

Guard- Andrew Wylie

Center- Ryan Jensen

Tight End- Travis Kelce

Quarterback- Patrick Mahomes

Fullback- Damien Wilson

Halfback- Charvarius Ward

Receiving Team

Safety-Egg Shen

Safety-King Meshugah

Cornerback-Garet Jax

Cornerback-Dejah Thoris

Outside Linebacker-Thorin Oakenshield

Outside Linebacker-Yog Sothoth

Middle Linebacker-Sandman

End-Ningauble Of The Seven Eyes

End-Rincewind (filling in for Falkor, currently out with COVID-19)

Tackle-Sir Gawain

Tackle-Mongo

Wide Receiver-Namor Of Atlantis

Wide Receiver-Jareth (reserve for Baron Munchausen)

Tackle-Hellboy

Tackle-Xena, Warrior Princess

Guard-Anita Blake

Guard-The Red Queen

Center-Lessa/Ramoth

Tight End-Lord Voldemort

Quarterback- Schmendrick The Magician

 Fullback-Eeyore

Halfback-Rudy Ruettiger

 

 

All About Meme.

Sometimes art critics have to clarify and even defend the importance of a work of art, to explain its cultural relevance. Not every work of art is understood or appreciated in its time but most had at least one defender who wasn’t the artist who tried to get the work the attention it deserved. And sometimes they just have to say, HEY, NOT MUCH I CAN SAY BUT THIS THING IS AWESOME AND YOU REALLY SHOULD LOOK AT IT.

So anyway here are some memes created by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and archived by the Library of Congress and you really should look at them because they’re awesome and also your safety might depend on it.

And you may notice the Library of Congress website has regular technical difficulties which would normally be annoying but somehow they managed to make that funny too.

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