Friday, July 30, 2010

Met Meets Greece's Request; Returns Ancient Toilet Seats

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, having recently agreed to return one of the finest vases in its collection from the Classical Age of Ancient Greece, has also consented to return the collected toilet seats from the ancient Cretan port city of Ephesus.

The decision has come as a welcome relief to the Greek tourist board, whose embarrassed guides annually answer the same question that tourists ask approximately a thousand times a day. The innocent travelers behold the long cement benches with curious holes that grace an area of their walking tour.

Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan Museum, stated, “I felt returning the priceless vase was the correct step for us to take. It was a pirated item, and I dress far too nattily to be imagined with a piratical patch over one eye. As far as the return of the toilet seats is concerned, we had kept them in storage, because space at the Met is limited, particularly in regard to items I personally prefer not to put on display. So, hearing about the plight of the tour guides, I decided that shipping these less-than-priceless thrones back to Greece is the thoughtful thing to do.”

Tour guides cheered the decision. It remains to be determined if the Greek government will consent to put one on display at Ephesus or will, as the Met did, insist on keeping them private.

Man Loses Memory; Shows Up At Emergency Room

A frantic businessman rushed into the emergency room, threw his attaché case on the reception desk, and exclaimed, “Nurse, I need help!”

The noise woke her up, and she said, “What?”

“This is an emergency!” he said.

“You’ll have to take your place in line,” she informed him.

“What line?” he replied, looking around. “The place is empty.”

“Oh,” she admitted, and held out her hand. “Can I have your insurance card?”

“Sure,” he said, “what’s that?”

“Proof that you have health insurance.”

“Oh, proof,” he said.

Just then a door flew open and a man was wheeled across the room on a table, accompanied by a doctor with a notepad.

“Relax,” the doctor told him. “It’s only a heart attack.”

“But I need help, now, or I could die,” the man informed him.

“Don’t be silly,” the doctor replied. “I already gave you aspirin. That increases survival rate by an average of 33.3%. Now, I have to ask you some questions. Up to four blood vessels in your heart may need replacement.”


“Your insurance only covers two. I need your permission to do the others.”

“OK, OK!” the man consented.

“Good,” the doctor acknowledged. “Now, would you like anesthesia?”

“Of course,” the patient said.

“Excellent,” the surgeon went on. “Your policy is vague on that. Now, when I’m done with the bypass, would you like me to sew you back up?”

“What!?” the patient needed to know.

“Your insurance only covers the incision,” the doctor informed him.

At that point, the patient was wheeled off through the other door.

The businessman turned his attention back to the night nurse. “Nurse! I can't wait all day. I have appointments to keep!”

“Maybe you should come back later,” she let him know.

“I would, if I could,” he told her. “But that's my problem. I can't remember what my appointments are.”

“Why not?”

“It’s terrible, just terrible,” he nearly cried. “I lost my memory!”

“Oh,” she noted, and handed him a form on a clipboard. “First, you have to fill this out.”

He looked it over, and said, “I’m in deep trouble.”

“Is there a problem?” the nurse asked.

“You want to know things like my name, my address, and my phone number! How can I tell you stuff like that when I lost my memory?”

“I'm sorry, sir. Everyone has to fill one of these out. If you can't do it yourself, you'll have to have a family member or friend do it for you.”

“But, nurse,” he explained, “if I could remember who my family and friends are, I'd still have my memory.”

“I'm sorry,” she insisted, “rules are rules.”

Just then a cute young wife hurried in, pulling her husband along. He seemed to be in pain and held a small paper bag.

“Excuse me,” she told the businessman, and addressed the nurse. “This is an emergency!”

“Oh,” the nurse said.

“We have to see a doctor right away,” the man added through his apparent agony.

“I’ll be with you in a minute,” the nurse responded.

“I don't have a minute!” the man replied.

“We have to see a doctor now!” the wife told her.

“Everybody does,” the businessman observed, obviously getting into the swing of things. Then, as if to himself, he lamented, “Oh, I used to have such a great memory! I mean, I could never recite The Iliad or anything like that. But, as least, I could remember my name and address!”

“You don't understand, nurse,” the wife pressed on. “There's not a second to spare!”

“What's seems to be the problem?” the nurse asked.

“We had an argument,” the man sighed, and nearly fainted.

“I love him,” the wife said. “You have to believe I love him. And I'm sorry. But–“

“– What?” asked the nurse.

The man pointed to the bag, and said, “She cut off my navel.”

“Your navel?” the nurse inquired, and turned to the wife. “Why that part?”

"She said, 'I wish you were never born,'" the husband told her. “Then she whacked it off.”

“Oh, sweetheart, I'm sorry,” his wife said, consoling him with a pat or two.

“I need somebody to sew it back on before it's too late,” the man said.

The nurse gave his wife a clipboard with a form on it. “Fill out this paper and have a seat.”

“We don't have time for that!” she screeched.

“My navel is dying, dying with every passing moment!” the man wailed.

“And how would you like to be married to a man without a navel?” the wife begged to know.

“A doctor will be with you shortly,” the nurse replied.

“Come on, darling. I'll fill it out,” the wife said, leading her husband by his free hand.

They took a seat, and, dutiful wife that she was, she began to fill in the information.

The businessman observed them with an increasingly crazed expression, and told himself, “I've got to remember something, anything, even if it’s just something general. Plato said something. I know he did. Ah, that’s it! 'You become what you do.' Hey, maybe I'm a classical scholar. No, no – I have too many appointments for that. Maybe I'm a philosophy major who went into business. Oh, I don’t know, I just don’t know!” he admitted, and turned to the nurse. “I have to see a doctor, now!”

“Is your form filled out?”

“Here,” he said, and handed it to her.

“It's blank,” she informed him.

“That's the point!” he shouted. “It's blank, I'm blank! Get it! I lost my memory.”

“Don't you have a wallet?”


“You must have some I. D. in it,” she explained.

“Hey, why didn't I think of that?” he said, and took out his wallet.

At that moment, an intern who seemed not to have anything to do for a split second, entered the waiting area. “Who's next?” he dared to ask the nurse.

The businessman held up his wallet and was about to speak, when the wife rushed up with her pained husband in tow, hand with clipboard extended.

“We are! We are, doctor!” she claimed.

“She cut off my navel,” the man told the doctor, in an effort to claim precedence.

“Your navel?” the doctor asked, and said, “That's really serious.” Then he turned to the nurse, “But who's next?”

The nurse pointed to the businessman. “But he hasn’t filled out his form yet.”

“That's all right,” the doctor said, and turned to him. “You can finish it while we're talking.”

Feeling a pang of fellow feeling, the businessman replied, “No, no, doctor – I can wait. I only lost my memory. On the other hand, he–“

“– lost my navel,” the husband interrupted.

“All right,” the doctor conceded, turning to the husband and wife. “Come with me.”

“Oh, thank you!” the wife told the businessman.

“Now, tell me,” the doctor asked the husband, as the couple followed him, “how did you lose your navel?”

“She cut it off,” the husband groaned.

“Family spat?” the doctor queried.

“You could say that,” the man answered.

“I said I'm sorry, didn't I?” the wife retold him.

When they had disappeared behind the swinging door, the businessman began to fill out his form, referring to the cards he felt fortunate to find in his wallet. “Name, address,” he mumbled to himself. “It must be me because it’s my wallet. But what about my appointments? And my wife's name, if I have a wife? I can't go home without knowing that!”

As he toiled, another intern entered.

“Next,” the nurse said, pointing at the businessman.

“Oh, thank you,” he told her.

“What seems to be the problem?” the intern asked.

“I lost my memory.”

“Sorry about that,” the intern said. “How did it happen – a traumatic emotional event, a knock in the head, something you ate?”

“No, no, nothing like that,” the businessman said, taking his PDA out of his attaché case. “You see, I keep everything in my electronic organizer. At first, it was a convenience. Then, over time, I became dependent on it. My own memory withered from disuse. Finally, I couldn't remember anything without it. Nothing. Zip. Then today, it happened.”

“What?” the doctor asked.

“The worst possible thing. The battery died.”

“Oh, my,” the doctor admitted. “That’s serious. I better take notes.”

He removed a PDA from his pocket and motioned for the businessman to follow him.

As they walked toward the swinging door, he asked, “Now, tell me, when did you first notice the problem?”

Malice In “I Wonder Who I Am” Land

For many years I maintained confidence in my personal identity. I knew exactly who I was and was quite comfortable in my skin. Although, I must confess my skin used to fit me better than it does these days.

Recently several things happened to shake this confidence in my person. I don’t know about anyone else, but I take pride in my personal mettle.

About two months ago my credit card company informed me somebody hacked into their records and stole my identity, along with approximately one million other customers. They went on to assure me that my account would be safe.

It wasn’t my money I was worried about at the time but my identity. How can anybody steal someone else’s identity?

More important than that, why would anybody want to steal somebody else’s identity? Especially somebody like me.

In thinking about this I wondered, how much can I charge someone for borrowing my identity? I might have a cottage industry here in the making. Or, perhaps it’s just cottage cheese.

I could understand if I were a good looking, rich tycoon with more dollars than sense. I’ve been looking for money all my life and have been unsuccessful. I am so poor some church mice have loaned me a dollar or two over the years. And if I ever see those mice again I aim to repay those loans.

The way I feel about it is if anyone can get money out of my account, good luck to them, because I can never get money out of my account when I need it. In fact, I have a good mind to find these identity thieves and ask how they’re getting money out of my account.

I’d pay good money to find the secret to that puzzle.

The ATM at my bank stands for Automatic Thief Machine. It holds me up from getting to my next appointment with cash and never returns my card.

A second incident furthered my identity malaise. A few days ago, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly were in a little bit of a tight spot. Actually, it was I in the tight spot, which is nothing new for me.

I can’t remember the events leading up to the spot I found myself but my wife looked at me, placed both hands on her hips and declaimed, “Who do you think you are?”

At the time, I did not know quite how to answer that philosophical inquiry. I mean, she has known me for over 35 years ,and for her not to know who I am at this point is just a little bit puzzling to me.

At the time, I must confess, I was a little confused about who she thought she was. Being the gentleman I am, I kept my befuddlement to myself.

My selfhood perplexity deepened. One day this week, I was going about minding my own business n which is a full-time job with part-time pay and no benefits n when I bumped into an old friend. After we exchanged a few pleasantries, he looked at me and said, “Is there anything wrong? You don’t look yourself today.”

Now, the question plaguing my mind was simply, if I don’t look like me, who in the world do I look like?

I simply smiled and mumbled something to the effect that recently somebody had stolen my identity. Frankly, I was surprised someone noticed it.

In thinking about this, I wondered when someone’s identity is lost where does it go? Is there a lost and found department somewhere for lost identities?

Then an awful thought tugged at my mind. What if someone lost their identity, went to the lost and found department and, by mistake, picked up someone else’s lost identity?

How do I know it hasn’t happened to me? What proof do I have that I am who I say I am?

The evidence before me is quite overwhelming. A major corporation in the United States has informed me that someone has stolen my identity; my wife asked me who do I think I am; and a friend I’ve known for years tells me I don’t look like myself.

Talk about having your reality check bounce.

I must confess to times when my mind does wander a trifle. But I refuse to accept the judgment that I am absent-minded. I grant you my mind, on the odd occasion, does take a little break every now and then, but it is never absent.

This recent identity crisis caused me to do a little evaluating about my personhood. Who am I really? I jotted down a few notes: son, brother, uncle, husband, father and grandfather.

Although I’m not old enough to be a grandfather, I do accept the privileges of this position. After all, I’m living with a grandmother, so it is easier just to go along with the program, if you know what I mean.

Then a marvelous thought poked its way into my mind. How it got in with all the clutter is beyond me.

The thought was simply this; I am also a son of God. This is based upon a wonderful verse of scripture. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12 KJV.)

I’m unsure about many things, but one thing I am confident in is my relationship to God.

Living Humour: Squeezing the Juice from Life

Rammy JohnsonFacts, oddities, incidental details: these are only some of the few things I examine in the following twenty features I have come up with concerning life and all its intricacies. Some will make you laugh, others will make you scratch your chin, but whatever your behaviour, each and every one of these twenty or so queries.

1) How come when you close a glue cap the glue sticks but this same paste does not stick to the sides of the glue tube?

2 ) Academic research has detailed reports stating that from a group of four men or women one will most certainly have a mental ailment of some kind or the other. Think about this calculation: if you have three normal friends, then you, unfortunately are the fourth one out. In other words, the fourth person with a mental illness is none other than you.

3) Why do we press down hard on the remote control even though we know that the batteries are weak.

4) Supposedly the man from the jungle lives in the jungle, yes? Then, how and where did his beard disappear to?

5) Switched those bulbs that are enclosed in tight plastic shutters? Have you noticed that whenever you go to do that there are always dead bugs inside? How did they manage to get there?

6) Still use plastic bags instead of the more nature-friendly paper ones? Ok. Then, pray tell, why can't I ever manage to open one on my 1st attempt?

7) Why, pray tell, do doctors just about to inject a prisoner with a lethal injection check that the needle is sterilized?

8) Have you noticed that if your bank account gets overdrawn, your bank will add an extra charge? Why do they do that? Should you maybe inform them that the reason your checkings account is overdrawn is because you don't have money?

9) Why don't we ever hear jokes about father-in-laws?

10) If people run into a sign near a park bench saying that the paint is wet, every one will touch it to check. If this is so, why don't these same folk verify the star count of around four billion stars so stated according to various scientists?

11) How many times will be keep coming back and opening the door to the fridge when we are hungry? Do we really think that food will appear there miraculously?

12) Notice how bullets bounce off superman's chests, but the moment the villain throws the empty revolver, this same invincible superman ducks. Shouldn't the revolver bounce off his chest too?

13) I'm sure you've heard of the evolutionary claim that mankind has evolved from monkeys. Before I am to believe this, I want to know that if this is so why are monkeys still roaming earth?

14) Why is it that when we try to catch something that is falling off a table, our hand knocks down something else?

15) Heard of the Jap airplane pilots who towards the end of the Second World War crashed their planes into American naval ships? Why did these guys even think of wearing a helmet?

16) Why do people move a vacuum cleaner over a small piece of thread again and again. Why do we pick it up, examine it and then place it back down and move the vacuum cleaner over it to give it a second chance?

17) A visit to one of the many soap shops that have sprung up all over and you'll find that soaps come in all kinds of colours. But then, why does the bubbles always turn out white?

18) Is it winter or summer wherever you are right now? Have you noticed that if it is summer we try and make the house as cold as it would be during winter, and if it is winter, we try and make the house as hot as it would during summer?

19) Is there any day when mattresses are not on sale?

20) Isn't it silly that when if wandering through one of the large shopping malls someone doesn't pay attention and the cart they are pushing smacks into your toes, and then they say sorry, all we can think of saying is that no harm was done while your toe is aching.

Uncanny facts and features are not novel. The fact that we humans have strange habits is not new too. But, I have pointed out some of the few irregularities that we live with. This article is for entertainment purposes alone and doesn't try and offend or create new realities. So, take it in the appropriate manner too.

Katana master

This story took place in feudal Japan in the 18th century. An ordinary servant put a noble guest into a rage. The offended said the host should teach his servant a good lesson, which back then certainly meant death for the servant. The host had no right to disobey this tradition.
The man found his dutiful servant and uttered, "I'm sorry, but I must fulfill the wish of our guest and punish you. I have no choice. All I can bitterly advise you to do is to take a sword and fight me - you might kill me during the joust and then throw yourself on mercy of the man you offended."
"Is it not useless for me to draw a sword?", the servant replied with astonishment. "You are a first-rate katana master and a fencing teacher, and my peasant hands have never held a sword before. How could I possibly win?"
The fencing teacher in his turn had been waiting long for a fight with someone past praying for, someone caught in a hopeless situation, but hadn't had a chance so far. He said to his servant, "Take my katana and try your fate. Let's see what happens - the Fortune might be on your side."
When the master and the servant faced each other with their swords drawn, the master noticed that his position is much worse and decided he should change it. He made one step back, then a couple steps more, and soon found himself with his back against the wall. The master had to take the final decision as there was no more room left for backing up. It was no fun any more, no more thoughts of experimenting. Cornered, the master was not able to change for a more advantageous position, and with a loud cry he delivered a stroke slaying the unfortunate servant.
The master would tell his disciples after that , "That was an incredible battle! The servant was about to defeat his master, his attack was almost impossible to repel. So, even an old servant can become a strong rival in this kind of situation, let alone a skillful fencer.

The great warrior and commander Uesugi Kenshin (1530-1578 ) said, "A warrior has success in his head, armor on his chest, and his fate is in heaven. Go to fight with confidence and you'll come back without a single wound. Rush into the battle ready to die. Should you leave home, remember that you shall never see it again, only then shall you come back. If you dream for a moment of returning home, it will most likely never happen. Life brings about constant changes, but samurai doesn't think that way as his fate is predestined".

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Just Say No To Sex. Dr. Coburn Shows You How

(Extended spoof, presented In 10 installments of 4 pages each. This is the third installment; previous ones are available on this site and presented below each new installment at NewsLaugh, in case you miss one or more.)

He closed it, thought for a moment, and recomposed himself. Then he walked to the bookshelf, took down another copy of his work, autographed it, and headed for the den with it.

“All signed up?” he asked.

“Yes, sir,” Dan replied. “She took care of everything. Even gave me a copy of your book.”

“Good,” he said. “But I have a special inspiration for you.” He held out the copy of the book he had signed. “An autographed copy.”

“Gee, thanks, Doctor Coburn,” Dan said, and took it. He read the inscription aloud. "’To Dan Fox: I know you can do it, kid. Abstinently yours, Dr. Coburn.’ “Wow, dynamite!” Dan exclaimed. “I really appreciate this.”

“My pleasure,” Doctor Coburn told him. “In the beginning, you and I will work one on one. Got it?”

“Yes, sir. Sounds great.” “Good. Then, as you make progress, Melanie can lend a hand.”

“But, Daddy!” she objected.

“Please, dear. You’re my most accomplished pupil and, due to the volume of students I expect, I need an assistant. Are you OK with that?”

“I suppose,” she conceded.

“Good.” He turned his attention back to Dan. “Now, let's get started.”

“I’m ready,” his new student said.

“Can I leave now?” Melanie asked.

“Of course, dear. Dan and I need to spend a lot of time together.”

“Have fun,” she told the star athlete, and then she walked out with a bit more swagger in her hips than she usually allowed herself.

Dr. Coburn turned to Dan. “During the first week, you’ll require almost total immersion.”

“Let’s go for it.”

He looked sternly at Dan. “Don't mind if I get ‘sexplicit,’ do you?”

“I guess you have to,” his willing acolyte replied.

“That’s exactly right. If we don't take the bull by the balls, we can’t hope to wrestle it to the ground. Have a seat.”

He indicated the couch and Dan plopped down.

“First things first. You must understand the transcendent importance of the lifestyle adjustment you’re about to commit to. Question: why must you learn how to say no to sex? Think before you answer.”

“Well, sir – “ Dan pondered with indecision.

“– I'll tell you why. Because, my son, you carry within your loins the potential destruction of the human race."

“I do?”

“Of course. Therein lie the sperm that can continue to overpopulate the world and the compulsions that could lead you to become infected with the AIDS virus or another STD. Get my meaning?”

“Yes, sir. But can I say something?”

“Go right ahead.”

“I practice safe sex.”

“My boy, you can practice all you want. But you'll never perfect it. There is no such thing as safe sex. It is, in fact, an outright contradiction in terms.”

“I mean, I use condoms,” Dan told him.

“Not safe by any stretch of the imagination! The only safe thing to do is, as the saying goes, to keep your pecker in your pants. Got it?”

“Yes, sir. But can I say something else?”

“What?” Doctor Coburn asked.

“I don't call it names like that.”

“What don’t you call names like what?”

"My pecker. I guess I just have too much respect for it.”

“Oh. Well, then, what do you call it?”

“My love maker,” Dan confided.

“Really? Where did you learn to call it that?”

“Well, I thought about it for a long time and what I use it for. The name came to me and just stuck.”

“I see. Well, it’s irrelevant. Call it whatever you want to. Just remember: the goal is to keep it in your pants. OK?”

“Yes, doctor.”

“Excellent. Now, let's move on. When I say the word ‘sex,’ tell me what you think of.”

“You really want to know?” Dan asked.

“Of course.”

“I think of women.”

“Ah, ha! And there we have it. The very root of the problem – and the fundamental association we must redefine.”

“What am I supposed to think of?”

“I'll demonstrate.” He walked to the door and called, “Melanie, can you come in here for a moment?”

He headed back to Dan. “I think you’ll find this demonstration helpful.”

Melanie poked her head in, a bit uneasily. “What is it, Daddy?”

“I want to demonstrate something for Mr. Fox. When I say the word ‘sex,’ what do you think of?”

“Tyrannosaurus Rex.”

"Very good. And if that fails to take your mind completely off the usual meaning of the word, what do you think of as a reinforcement?”


“Excellent, Mel.” He turned to Dan. “See how the method works? Soon, you'll think like that, too.”

“I can't wait.” He looked at her. “How do you do it, Melanie?”

“Daddy will explain.”

“Pure sound association,” he informed Dan, and went on with great fervor. “Once you’ve been properly trained, the word ‘sex’ will key off the word ‘Rex’ or the syllable ‘Tex.’”

“You mean, like ‘sex-Tex?’”

“Exactly! And that counter-association will, of course, immediately distract you from thinking about the word ‘sex.’ Notice also that there is no equally resonant association in the potentially disastrous conjunction of ‘sex-woman.’ Or, in Melanie's case, for the conjunction of ‘sex-man?’”

“’Sex-man?’" Dan queried, glancing at Melanie.

“Right,” Dr. Coburn assured him. And, since the sound association of ‘sex-Tex’ is much more resonant, she has virtually nothing to worry about.”

“Oh, I see,” Dan said, catching on. “Sex-Rex, sex-Tex. Hey, it works for me.”

“Great, Dan.” Dr. Coburn turned to Melanie. “See how quickly he’s catching on?”

“Oh, he’s really brilliant,” she slightly scoffed.

“But, doctor, what happens if someone goes on and on, really trying to break down your resistance?” Dan wanted to know. “Do you just keep saying the same two things to yourself?”

“As long as your willpower remains unassailable. The moment you feel that your resistance may be weakening, you must turn to your tertiary line of defense.”

“What's that?”


“You mean, like ‘sex-Mex?’”

“Precisely. That is, in those very rare situations where you may require more than Tyrannosaurus Rex and Texaco. Got it?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. Now, once you've got these interruptive associations working, you can resist nearly any activity that the word ‘sex’ keys off.”

“I can?”

“Yes. Permit me to explain why. It’s a matter of having the enemy outnumbered. Here’s this person, making every effort to seduce you, but what does she have to work with in this elemental area of sound disassociation? One word: sex. Meanwhile, what do you have to work with? Three words. You’ve got her outnumbered three to one. So how can she defeat you?”

“Say, that's good,” Dan admitted, and looked at Melanie out of the corner of his eye. “So let me get this straight. A girl says to me, ‘Let's have sex.’ And I think –“

“– Come on, come on, you can do it, kid!”

“Tyrannosaurus Rex!”

“Right! And then, if she persists?”

“I switch to ‘Texaco.’"

“Extraordinary. And then, should the occasion arise?”

“I pull out Mexico!”

“Come on! Come on!”

“There’s more?”

“You switch back and forth between the words, creating an impenetrable array of counter-associations, until finally the temptress abandons all hope.”

“Great! I've got it now! ‘Tyrannosaurus Rex! Texaco! Mexico! Tyrannosaurus Rex! Texaco! Mexico!’ And so forth."

“Perfect, Dan. You’ll have my course knocked in no time. Right, Mel?”

“I'm overwhelmed,” she said.

“So am I,” Dan admitted. “Gee, I never thought learning how to say no could be so easy.”

“Stick with me, son. We’ve only just begun your no-sex education.”

“Daddy, can I speak with you a minute?” Melanie asked.

“Of course, dear.”


“Excuse me a moment, Dan.”

He followed Melanie out of the den, while Dan stretched out on the couch, beaming with a curiously triumphant smile.

“Daddy,” Melanie told her father, “he's not sincere at all.”

“What on earth do you mean, Mel?”

“I didn’t want to tell you this, but he's been chasing me all year.”

“He has?”

“Yes. I think it’s all about his ego. He wants to prove he can get me to have Tyrannosaurus Rex.”

“Really? Glad you told me, dear. Now, don’t you worry your pretty little head. Soon, he'll be a changed man, and he won’t care a hoot about seducing you. I promise.”

“If you say so,” Melanie said, with what perhaps might be described as marginal conviction.

“Leave it to me, dear. Soon, he’ll be about as interested in sex as a castrated lion.”

“Can I leave now? I have to continue with my own studies.”

“Run right along, dear.”

She headed up the stairs, and Dr. Coburn returned to his study.

“Anything wrong?” Dan asked.

“The craziest thing. She doesn't think you're sincere.”

“Really? What makes her think that?”

“She says you’ve been pursuing her?” Dr. Coburn dared to give voice to.

“Really? Where did she ever get an idea like that?”

“Then it’s not true?”

“No way. I’d never try to do anything with her. I have too much respect for her and for your method. That’s why I’m here.”

“Spoken like a true gentleman. Now, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. So let's keep going.”

“Go for it,” Dan encouraged him.

End Of Third Installment

Just Horsing Around

1. What is the fear of horses called?
A. Hippophobia
B. Riddiophobia
C. Sadlophobia
D. Equiphobia

A. Hippophobia
TBD: Hey, you know we dosn't make this stuff up, right?!?

2. Which is NOT a form of horse racing?
A. Flat racing
B. Harness racing
C. Steeplechasing
D. Hop-scotching

D. Hop-scotching
TBD: Did you know that horse racing may well be the oldest sport? By the time humans began recording history it was already well established. Does that mean that book making may really be the oldest profession?

3. Which is NOT a breed of American saddle horse?
A. Tennessee Walker
B. Morgan
C. Quarter Horse
D. Kentucky Sprinter

D. Kentucky Sprinter
TBD: Although, it could be an unofficial breed!

4. The horse's single toe on each of its four feet is its most marked anatomical characteristic and makes it a perissodactyl or odd-toed ungulate. The horse shares this trait with which other animal?
A. Rhinoceros
B. Tapir
C. Elephant
D. Cow
E. A and B
F. C and D

E. A and B
TBD: Very curious, indeed.

5. Which is NOT one of the three classic American races that make up the Triple Crown?
A. The Bluegrass Stakes
B. The Belmont Stakes
C. The Preakness Stakes
D. The Kentucky Derby

A. The Bluegrass Stakes
TBD: Even though we live in Kentucky, we haven't attended the Kentucky Derby, but we have been to the Bluegrass Stakes (which is a precursor to the Derby) and won money!

6. How were horses introduced to the Americas?
A. They were brought by Spanish Conquistadors and explorers in the 16th century.
B. They crossed the land bridge with early man.
C. They were always there.
D. Leif Eriksson and his Viking crew brought them.

A. They were brought by Spanish Conquistadors and explorers in the 16th century.
TBD: Apparently a species of horse developed in America, but died out, possibly due to disease, so there was no native horse.

7. Is one of these NOT a breed of draft horse?
A. Belgian heavy draft horse
B. English shire
C. Clydesdale
D. Percheron
E. They are all draft horses!

E. They are all draft horses!
TBD: As primarily a visual connoisseur of horses, The QuizQueen is partial to the Clydesdale.

8. The Roman Emperor Caligula is famous for many things, but he was also a horse lover, so maybe he wasn't all bad. What did he once want to do for his favorite horse, Incitatus?
A. Name her his consort.
B. Name him his successor as emperor.
C. Appoint him consul of Rome.
D. None of the above, he actually ate roasted horse for dinner every night.

C. Appoint him consul of Rome.
TBD: As if we needed still further proof of what a very bizarre person he was.

9. The moons of Mars are named for the mythical horses that drew the chariot of Mars, the god of war. Can you name them?
A. There was only one horse, Pegasus.
B. Phobos and Deimos
C. Logos, Pathos, and Ethos
D. Alpha, Beta, Sigma, and Theta.

B. Phobos and Deimos
TBD: Hey, that was hard, but you had a shot if you knew either your astrology or your Greek mythology, right?

10. One of the most famous horses in television history is Mr. Ed. Which is NOT a true Mr. Ed fact?
A. His original name was Bamboo Harvester.
B. He lived to be 30 years old and died Feb. 28, 1979.
C. He was raised to be a parade and show horse.
D. He was Roy Roger's original sidekick, before Trigger.

D. He was Roy Roger's original sidekick, before Trigger.
TBD: He was however owned by the president of the California Palomino Society.

11. What was man's earliest relationship with horses?
A. Dinner: Man hunted the horse.
B. Dinner: The formerly carnivorous horse hunted man.
C. Transportation: Man used the horse for hauling and transporting himself and his goods.
D. Security: The early horse helped keep watch for danger.

A. Dinner: Man hunted the horse.
TBD: Although by the Bronze Age man was using the domesticated horse, in the earlier Stone Age the relationship was strictly food chain.

12. How many horses have been Triple Crown winners?
A. 11
B. 21
C. 31
D. 13

A. 11
TBD: They are Sir Barton, Gallant Fox, Omaha, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Count Fleet, Assault, Citation, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed. The last one was in 1978.

Jokes, The World's Best Medicine

What were the last jokes that made you roll around on the floor because you were laughing so hard? Did it involve a doctor, a priest, and a lawyer? Was it on a TV show, or part of a stand-up comedy routine, or part of a recent lecture? In any event, do you remember how it made you feel?

More likely than not you can remember the last time, and if you took a minute you could probably tell me the jokes, and it probably made your day. It either gave you relief from the stress of taking your self or what you were doing so seriously, or it took your mind off of something that was causing you grief, or it just livened up an otherwise boring talk. Probably most importantly though, it allowed you to laugh which as we all know is "the world's best medicine."

But have you ever thought more about why this was so? Is there actually something about jokes and the resulting laughter that can change our health in a beneficial way? What is it about laughter that we love so much? Why are comedies so popular? Why is there such a thing as comic relief and why is it so effective--even in the most serious of plays or dramas? Well you shouldn't be surprised to find out that scientists have been studying it but you may be surprised to find out that there is actually something about laughter that affects us more profoundly than we think.

Basically there is good evidence now that laughter produced by jokes can change the chemical milieu that courses through our body on a second to second basis, and in profound degree. Laughter releases natural endorphins that act on the same receptors as morphine that produce the feelings of relaxation and heightened mood. Levels of Dopamine, serotonin, and Nor- epinephrine are altered as well that produce endogenous anti- depressant effect.

Researchers then wondered about what action in particular was producing these changes--was it smiling, or the physical changes that take place in rate of breathing, in blood pressure, increased heart rate, etc. What they found was (as usual) that it most likely was a combination of physical changes in the body that occur with laughter. Each one of these changes by it self produced small effects but together were synergistic in producing these stress relieving, and mood improving results. It was interesting to note that spontaneous laughter was better than self produced laughs but not by as large a difference than you might think. Also merely smiling produced significant changes in the blood chemistry. So basically tell someone jokes, smile more, and laugh even if you have to fake it--it does the body good!

Jimmy Hoffa Continues To Evade FBI

As the FBI, operating on a tip from a prisoner who reported witnessing suspicious activity on the night of Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance, continued to search for the former teamster leader, he was somehow still able to evade capture.

Although Mr. Hoffa disappeared over fifty years ago, no sign of him or his remains have been detected, despite numerous tips of either’s possible whereabouts.

Given the run-ins the teamster boss had with the FBI during the period when he was definitely alive, some observes say it is no wonder he refuses to be located.

This week, the cement floor of the oldest barn on the property where the teamster boss of yore may be hiding out was dug up and, while at a certain depth a color change was noted in the soil, there was, at the end of the dig, still no sign of Jimmy.

The small town near the farm where the search is ongoing has begun to deal with the excavation by treating it lightly. A local bakery has created a new hit, which it calls Jimmy Hoffa cupcakes. They consist of an earth-chocolate cupcake with a green hand reaching out of it and, according to the owners of the bakery, the new creation has become their hottest-selling item. Despite his obvious skill at evasion, Mr. Hoffa has not yet dared appear at the bakery to purchase one.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, despite the efforts of diggers with heavy equipment, forensic experts, and search dogs, there was, at week’s end, still no sign of Mr. Hoffa.

A forensic expert on the scene noted, "You'd think we'd find him. He was born in February of 1913, so by now he should have slowed down quite a lot." He added, "But, since he disappeared way back in 1975, you'd think the authorities would decide it's finally time to put the lid on the search.”

However, as you know, the FBI always gets its man – a policy that should serve as a warning to Osama Bin Laden and his associates of evil. They may have evaded capture till now, but, with the feds on their trail, they should know that no cave is too deep, no mountain too high.

The FBI never gives up, even after you’re out of circulation, one way or another.

JazzFest In New Orleans Kicks Off Without Jazz

The Jazzfest in New Orleans, intended to revive the sodden spirits of the land of legendary jazz greats, went off, oddly enough, with comparatively little jazz. There was, in conspicuous unlikelihood, Bruce Springsteen, who did manage a soulful rendition of When the Saints Go Marching In. Also on hand was the legendary jazz performer Elvis Costello.

While all the misplaced rockers do come as a wakeup call to the people who expect the Jazzfest to feature jazz, the sad truth is that jazz hasn’t been the leading act in New Orleans, or anywhere else in the lower 48, since Bill Haley and the Comets strolled around Preservation Hall, thumping out Rock Around the Clock, ratcheting up that old backbeat rhythm in the first verifiable intrusion of rock and roll into the sensibilities of the former comparatively civilized ears of now extensively deaf humanity.

Of course, there were some performers with a tad of credibility toward the appellation of jazz artist, such as verifiable regulars Dr. John and Allan Toussaint.

It’s time deal with the indisputable encumbrance that we’re living in an age when the big music stars are not, despite their passing pretensions, exponents of the jazz mode, except perhaps in the persona of the skillful New Yorker trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis. The giants of jazz, from raspy voiced trumpeter Louis Armstrong to smoothly elegant pianist Bill Evans, have long been sleeping in the arms of time.

The truth of music in New Orleans has for many years been in the sound of music one hears when he or she strolls through the fabled French Quarter. They have been, not the lilting lines of jazz, but the raucous thumps of rock.

Since popular music is unlikely to return to those golden days of yore, it seems that the least irritating way to return consonance to the Jazzfest is simply to rename it the Musicfest.

Then, while our ears might be just as troubled, at least our minds could ease off the incongruity that persists in troubling them.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Italian Man Asks Wrong Question About Christ; Court Agrees To Hear Case

As you know, an Italian gentleman has challenged the Catholic Church to prove that Christ existed, and, while the case was, somewhat expectedly, tossed out in an Italian court, the plaintiff, undaunted, found a court in Strasbourg that has agreed to hear it. It remains to be revealed who the Catholic Church will designate to defend its historical foundation.

Should we flinch from such a touchy subject and leave you to your own puzzlements? No, dear reader, rest assured that we will never abandon you out of fear to follow whatever the ever-surprising pageant of daily events may present to our fretted brow but smiling aspect. After all, how much more refreshingly salutary it is to realize we can share even the most subtle adumbrations that flit through our evanescent moments of self-awareness.

So what is, in our opinion, the correct question?

We prefer to ask whether belief in Christ, as the Son of God or in any relevant modification, helps people live better lives and deal with the trembling uncertainties that the enormous question mark in the sky about the why and wither of everything, including our mortal selves, still provokes in many a frail human being?

Or is belief in Christ’s divinity more in use to devise liabilities against the natural potential for joy that life seems to be gifted with, while it provides less unshakable hope than one might wish for assured eternal bliss?

What, pray tell, is the answer? Since the two can hardly be hefted into a balance scale, the decision is, agreeably enough, what you, as the decisive individual you undoubtedly are, have determined is your own estimable belief.

Dare we proceed to the evidence for or against what is known as the historical Jesus? What else, ideational companion, would you expect?

First, as you know, the Romans kept engagingly careful histories and prudent civic accounts. Yet there is little mention in the remnants of the Roman record of an existent called Jesus Christ, except one brief notation in a civic record, another in a Jewish history, or a line in a few letters. Some demanding historians, in their histrionics, suppose that, had Jesus performed the wonders He is reported to have accomplished, His existence would have enlarged into an invitingly more elaborate documentation.

Consequentially considered Christian evidence begins with the man who has come to be known as Saint Paul. While he was, unfortunately, too young to have known Jesus in person, it seems he met with the extant personages Peter, James, and John.

We must also come head to headline with the historically disquieting fact that the four Gospels were penned to paper at a later date than we might, in our ideal hopes, prefer: sometime between A. D. 60 and A. D. 120. The Book of Mark, considered the earliest of the four gospels, made its initial appearance about the year 150 AD. While the historic document may well have recorded an oral history or earlier written versions of the story of Jesus, obviously by the time it was penned the scribe never actually broke bread with the central inspiration of his Gospel.

We have not, of course, invented any of the foregoing evidences. We have merely recorded, as accurately as we can in a brief space, what seems to have been passed down over the centuries.

Now, we pass from our wandering deliberations to our initial point.

In the very soul of our hopes and uncertainties, most of us are not excessively concerned about what is historically invariable. We more likely ask what in this wide and chancy world is more helpful, or useful, to us and our fellow uncertain human beings. While it may not be the most piercingly trenchant question, it is certainly the kindest and therefore, in many ways, the most invitingly wise.

By the way, soul of light and wonder, there is also another wrong question we should deliberate with before we conclude. The questioning gentleman from Italy also proclaims that he is an atheist, and we grant him his predilection.

But, one of the surprisingly incisive items the overly commended philosopher William James managed to utter, in his hopefulThe Will To Believe, is that we require just as much information not to believe as it takes to believe.

Once again we must reach for the same handy harp and arpeggiate as follows:

The right question, or so it seems us, is not whether God exists, but whether we can define God in a way we can, with scientific respect, consider valid?

We can only share with you the invitingly unassuming definition that works for us and that, astonishingly, seems unassailably cogent.

And here it is.

Since we, being as logically exacting as we should, cannot dare infer with philosophical propriety that the universe has a “cause,” without the adherents of Davy Hume rushing to inform us that what we, as frequently but not ever fallible humans, perceive as cause and effect may, in fact, be more exactly explicated as usual but not unexceptionable sequence.

So all we can credibly say is that all we behold must have a source – an original or, if you will, an ultimate source – and that we, as placidly accommodated inhabitants of finitude, are willing to consider that source God.

As you might guess, whether or not such a carefully considered God partakes in our everyday lives or has decided we’ve been equipped well enough to manage things on our own – if we would only use the mental and spiritual resources we’ve been given – is, yet again, another question, undoubtedly to be ciphered, yet again, primarily by our own dispositions.

So, interestingly enough, after our exceedingly perspicacious amble through the honed brambles of theological speculation, we arrive, to some extent, where our sometime intellectual companion, ancient Aristotle, left us, that is, with the concept of God as the “First Mover” or “Unmoved Mover.” While his description is obviously a bit more assumptive than ours, it’s reassuringly close enough to make us smile at the inadvertent paternity of his wisdom.

So, lest we trouble you too long in your inquisitive surf of the worldwide Web, we will conclude as follows:

While the daring Italian plaintiff gears up to challenge the divinity of Christ in a Strasbourg court, and the spokespeople of the Catholic Church present their most revered proofs, while the media kern the boiling pot as intemperately as they can, the entire host will all be overwrought about what is, at least to us, really neither the most practical nor spiritually consequential question.

We realize we haven’t been especially humorous in this article, but, if you think about the high subject, such an achievement would have actually been inappropriate.

We also cannot but realize you may be thinking, OK, smarty pants, so what do you think about matters infinite?

Would we ever deny you the inviting knowledge? Never, me bonny lads and lasses!

So here it is. We have a faith not shaken by such perturbations on the largely unmapped sea of certitude, because we have a comforting faith in life – faith that it is, after all, a logical evanescence and therefore an overall benevolence. As part of our faith in it, we believe that, if we take good are of it, we will not only have a much higher likelihood of realizing its resplendent possibilities, but also of helping save it from our own depredations, and, in accordance with our assumpiton of its supreme logic, that whatever made it will, if it takes good care of anyone, take good care of us, who, after all, live in the service of life, accepted as considerately free and capable of exultation. We call this moderate infinite extension of our enlightened commitment faith through life.

Our only remaining hope is that we’ve been able to deconstruct the theological tempest that likely lies ahead into a venue you may observe as, in its inevitable confrontations and triangulations, your informed and wisely unruffled self.

It Was Lights Out At The Old Ballgame

Someone yelling, “Let’s play ball,” officially announces spring. Springtime and baseball seem to go together, as if God created springtime just for the national pastime.

Something about that first baseball game seems to shake away all the gloomy aspects of the past winter. As soon as Old Man Winter strikes out for the last time, good old springtime steps up to the plate and a new game is afoot.

Of course, baseball is for the young. One downside of growing older is the fact that you grow out of certain things. For example, as you grow older you grow out of wearing short pants.

You can tell an old man is trying to act young when he puts away long pants and dons short pants. Somebody needs to tell these men that knobby knees are not in fashion this year and the less seen the better, I assure you.

As you grow older, you also grow out of a lot of free time. There is nothing like trying to make a living to put a crimp in your lifestyle. Once a man puts on his hat, grabs a lunchbox and walks out the door, he is in for a lifetime of work. Free time as he once knew it now has a price tag.

One final thought about growing older — as you grow older you also grow out of extra cash jingling in your pocket. No matter how much a person makes, there seems to be more outgo than income in the average home today.

I remember getting a raise once and when the first paycheck came, my take-home was less than before the raise. My raise put me in a higher tax bracket and hence a lower income each payday.

Only one thing I know that can put a temporary pause in all this nonsense — simply an afternoon at the ballpark. Nothing like a good old ballgame to take away all the anxiety of trying to make a living. When I was younger, I was out in the field, playing ball. But I have outgrown that part of my life and find myself sitting in the stands, cheering on my favorite team.

One of the benefits of becoming a grandfather is attending your grandchildren’s ballgames. Now that my knees creak and my pitching elbow don’t work like it used to, I’m way out of shape to play even one inning of a ballgame. Baseball demands younger knees and elbows that are more pliable. Fortunately for grandfathers, God has bestowed upon them grandchildren who play baseball.

Several weeks ago, it was my privilege to watch my granddaughter play her first softball game. With a good hot cup of coffee and a seat where I could survey the whole process, I settled down to watch a relaxed softball game.

Then, the game took on a new status. My granddaughter came up to bat and I was on the edge of my seat. At that point, the whole game changed for me. Sitting next to me, a man began yelling at the pitcher. “Go ahead, pitcher,” he screamed, “burn one across the plate, the batter’s a bum, she can’t hit nothing.”

I had been away so long from a good ballgame I completely forgot about this element of the game. I demurely turned to the gentleman next to me and opined, “You shouldn’t yell at the kiddies that way. They’re just having fun.”

Without even looking at me, he shot, “Mind your own business, Buster.”

I’m not easily roused, but this man, what should I say, irritated me. Yes, that’s the word, “irritated.”

Then, still not looking at me, he snipped, “The pitcher’s my daughter.”

With all the dignity I could muster under the circumstances I retorted with, “But the batter is my granddaughter. And granddaughters out- rank daughters every time.”

I noticed the information stunned him a little. Old Bubba was trying to process this and I could see he was having a little bit of trouble. I didn’t mind because for a moment he couldn’t think of anything to say, which is good no matter which side you’re cheering for.

At this point, the situation turned ugly. And when I say ugly, I mean Mrs. Bubba inserted herself into the tête-à-tête. Let me say, I was not afraid of good old Bubba; it was Mrs. Bubba who put the fear of God into me at the time.

This only illustrates the vast difference between men and women. Men can have a loud, obnoxious, chest puffing argument and then when it’s all over, go and buy each other a cup of coffee and slap each other on the back celebrating the winning team.

Women are not like that; at least Mrs. Bubba was not like that. As best I recollect the situation, Mrs. Bubba, who was sitting on the other side of Bubba, leaned forward and simply said, “Oh yeah?”

It was not what she said, or even how she said it that bothered me. The last thing I remember was her left hook interfacing with my left eye.

Driving home, I mused on what the Apostle Paul wrote. “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.” (1 Timothy 5:21-22 KJV.)

Sometimes, one strike and you’re out.

It Became An All-Night Serenade Crusade

I’m at the age when sleep, especially during the night, is a very fragile commodity. The least little noise arouses my body to full consciousness. I say my body, because I’m not sure my brain is ever conscious. Too much evidence exists to make one believe there aren’t any conscious gray cells in my cranium. At least, that is the opinion of the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, which she has expressed on more than one occasion.

The confusing thing about all of this is I have no trouble falling asleep during the day. Just let me sit down with a book in hand, and in no time I am in the world of Slumber-ella. To make matters even worse, the world could explode around me and I would never hear it.

This brings me back to my nocturnal sleeping habits. Why I can sleep during the day no matter what noise is buzzing around me and why I cannot sleep at night when even the slightest noise arouses me is beyond my comprehension.

I’ve tried all the remedies and still find myself unable to get a good night’s sleep. I once tried a nice hot cup of cocoa right before going to sleep, but I ended up spilling it on myself just when I dozed, which had the effect of reawakening me and alarming my wife.

Someone suggested once I try some light reading in bed just before going to sleep. I’m not sure why I’ve never thought of this before, but much to my delight it has worked.

I can’t tell you how delighted I have been to overcome my sleeping problem. There is nothing better than waking up in the morning refreshed from proper sleep during the night.

Then, my nocturnal world came to a crashing, chirping halt.

Three weeks ago come next Thurs- day, an incident happened to reverse all of the progress I made to date. Just as I was putting my book away and snuggling under the covers for a good night’s rest, my wife bolted straight up in the bed and exclaimed, “What’s that noise?”

We listened intently and sure enough, there was a foreign noise in the night.

Whispering, for what reason I don’t know, my wife confided to me, “there is a cricket in our bedroom.” We both held our breath and listened.

Chirp … chirp … chirp.

”It sure sounds like a cricket to me,” I agreed.

Then she said those ominous words that began a nightmare of almost three weeks. “Find that cricket and get rid of it.”

I got up, as any dutiful husband would, and tried locating where the noise was coming from. After 15 minutes of diligent searching I came to the conclusion that there was no cricket in our bedroom and that the noise was coming from outside.

I carefully opened the window, so as to not disturb whatever was out there making that noise. Listening carefully it dawned on me that a new neighbor had moved in to our backyard, precisely the tree right outside our bedroom window.

Chirp … chirp … chirp. Our new neighbor turned out to be a tree frog.

I want it known right here and now that I have nothing against tree frogs. I love animals and critters of all kinds. And normally I’m a congenial, easy-to-get-along-with fellow. I harbor no animosity toward my fellow man, fellow frog, or any of God’s creatures.

I do have one exception to this rule. Every rule has its exception. What would a rule be if it didn’t?

The exception is the tree frog in the tree outside my bedroom window. I’ve tried reasoning with this creature, even issuing an ultimatum. But as to this date nothing has convinced this devilish creature to keep quiet during the night.

All night long — chirp … chirp … chirp.

I’m not sure exactly when it begins, this nocturnal serenade, but every morning at 6:11 he quits while it is still dark so I cannot locate him. I think this is a despicable trick.

For almost three weeks this nightly noise has gone continuously without a break.

Chirp … chirp … chirp.

Along about Wednesday night I was finally getting accustomed to this irritating chirp and was finally able to fall asleep. Then the despicable monster changed his tactics.

He chirp … chirp … chirped as usual and then paused. That silence was like a shotgun blast in the night and my eyes snapped open in full alert position. As suddenly as he stopped he began chirping again.

He chirped long enough to lull me into a false sense of security and just as I was about to doze off again the little rascal stopped in mid-chirp, causing me to come to full alertness again.

He now knows he has a captive audience for his chirp-chirp serenades and there is nothing I can do about it. Sleep, as I once knew it, has become but a fond memory.

As usual, I turned to the Bible for some consolation. By chance I stumbled onto Psalms 127:1-2 (KJV.)

“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.”

Although many things can keep us awake, there is one sure way to a peaceful night’s sleep … resting in the Lord who promises to give “his beloved sleep.”

Is Your City Among the Nation's 'Funniest?'

If, as the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine, then the United States is one healthy nation.

Research commissioned by Shoebox, Hallmark's irreverent greeting card line, set out to find the hotbeds of humor in America. The result: Americans coast-to-coast love a good laugh.

Since California is home to movie and television studios, it's got to be the funniest state in the Union. Right? Think again. Try Rhode Island. That's right: The littlest state also is the funniest.

The survey ranked America's sense of humor through a humor score, measuring responses in three categories: consumers' humor sources, such as television sitcoms, movies or comics; responses from individuals who consider themselves "funny"; and sales of Shoebox greeting cards in American communities.

Colder Climates, Hotter Humor?

Just what promotes jocularity among Rhode Islanders is unknown, but there are a lot of laughs packed in the Ocean State's 1,214 square miles based on all three dimensions of the survey. Massachusetts came in second, followed by Minnesota, Colorado, Wisconsin and Nebraska.

Illinois, the seventh most humorous state, earns extra smiles by placing four of its cities on the list of the top 20 most humorous cities (Peoria, Champaign, Rockford and Chicago).

The overall No. 1 most humorous place to live? Mankato, Minn., followed by Helena, Mont., at No. 2. Mankato ties with Lansing, Mich., to top the score's Shoebox card sales dimension, while Milwaukee does the most comedy TV- and movie-watching, and residents of Cheyenne and Scotts Bluff, Wyo., are most likely to consider themselves funny.

Laughing last on the Shoebox Humor Score: the warm weather states of Hawaii, Alabama and Arkansas. And as for California, it comes in at 44th in the nation.

Shoebox keeps watch on what makes America laugh so that it can be translated into cards that help people connect. New Shoebox cards are available in Hallmark Gold Crown stores nationwide and wherever Hallmark is sold.

Iraqi Insurgents In Secret Talks; Admit May Be Fighting Wrong Enemy

Iraqi insurgent groups, in secret talks with resourcefully pacifying President Jalal Talabani, admitted they may have been fighting the wrong enemy. Upon hearing the admission, President Talibani slapped his forehead so hard he fell over backwards and was unconscious for approximately three days.

Upon being resuscitated, he continued the talks. Apparently, the insurgents, most of whom are Sunni Muslims, have slowly begun to realize that American and coalition troops, who they have been making their best efforts to kill, may not be the real enemy. It seems they are also growing disenchanted with the practice of blowing up a dozen or so of their fellow countrymen every day.

While it is far too soon to expect them to realize that coalition troops are actually the helpful heroes who liberated their country from murderous despotism and will be delighted to depart their sandy realm as soon as they can get their act together and run their own country, the groups have indicated a marginal willingness to consider giving up their various armaments and roadside explosives.

Behind the change in their sentiment seems to be, not only their longtime-overdue displeasure with dismembering their own nation, but the realization that they are dangerously bordered by their traditional enemy, Iran, as they have been for quite a few thousand years, and that, because of the continuing discord, Iran has managed to increase its influence in the country, particularly among their uneasy Mosque fellows, the Shiite contingent of the legions of Mohammed. This perception is especially upsetting to the insurgents, because, as noted above, most of them are rival Sunni “Mosque-ovites.”

Their infuriatingly slow realization of the error of their ways is likely to elicit hardly more than ironic displeasure from the many families, coalition and Iraqi alike, who have lost loved ones during their misguided rampage.

But at least their willingness to talk and to consider mending their detonative ways is a glimmer of hope for the families whose sons and daughters are still in Iraq, attempting to do the right thing by the Iraqi people, Sunni and Shiite alike.

May the day soon come when enough of the knuckleheads realize the error of their war so we and the other nations that are in the hot sands we’ve gotten ourselves into can finally get our much underappreciated troops the heck out of there.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Iraq Opens Suicide Bomber Range; Calls It Twice-Blessed Paradise Express

In an effort to reduce the loss of life and limb by suicide bombers, the Iraqi government has opened a suicide bomber range. The government's intention is to encourage all those who are determined to carry out such an explosive termination to execute the insane plan in a way that is being hailed as twice-blessed.

The government maintains that it will be blessed because, one, the bombers will be carrying out their hope of putting themselves on the expressway to the paradise of their dreams and, two, they will accomplish their mission without blasting off with anyone else.

As Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki stated, "We have established a way for the suicide bombers to achieve their highest goal in a far more considerate way; now, they can blow themselves up in sanctimonious privacy.”

A suicide bomber, who had arrived to take advantage of the new opportunity, said, “I think the government did a great thing. Just think! Now, I get to blow myself up, which I long to do so much I can't express the intensity of my need. But now, while the end will be the same for me, I won’t have to kill anybody else to get to paradise.”

The government also touted the range as an ideal opportunity for suicide bombers to execute their plans while they provided themselves with some insurance against the misfortune that, should they meet Allah and discover He actually disapproves of anyone blowing other human beings, they might escape the severe condemnation attendant to detonating others.

A suicide bomber commented, "I like that it comes with an insurance policy against any possible disapproval by Allah. If by some chance He disapproves of one human being blowing up himself and other human beings, at least, I'll only be punished for blowing up myself. It removes a lot of concerns."

Prime Minister al-Maliki went on to say, “In an effort to achieve reconciliation, we must stop the murder of Iraqi by Iraqi, as well as, come to think of it, the murder of anybody by an Iraqi, including the murder of coalition troops, who are here to help us make a smooth transition to a peaceful and prosperous nation, not to mention protecting me and the government from coming to a premature end due to the various activities of insurgents, including their suicide bombers.”

Another suicide bomber who decided to take advantage of the new opportunity said, “I think this approach is wonderful. I get to blow myself up, which I long to do so much, and I can go to paradise as soon as my timer reaches zero. At the same time I won’t inconvenience anyone else with my detonation. It really makes the most sense; the end will be the same for me, and, just think, I won’t have to kill anybody else to head for heavenly bliss.” He seemed about to say something else, but, unfortunately, his timer hit zero.

President Bush told reporters, “I think a private detonation range for suicide bombers is a real breakthrough in the peace process. I encourage all would-be bombers to take advantage of this considerate opportunity. In fact, I encourage every country that has experienced the tragedy inflicted by suicide bombers to immediately establish its own suicide bomber range.”

Donald Rumsfeld stated, “Oh, I consider the suicide bomber range a wonderful solution to one of the thorniest and intractable problems we face in Iraq. I have instructed General Casey to cooperate fully and, if necessary, to provide assistance in terms of dynamite and timers. I just hope the practice catches on enough to get the SB’s off the street. I can’t tell you how it upsets me to see people being blown up every day.”

While the bomber range is certainly a regrettable development in terms of the more promising sensibilities of civilization, it may at least be seen, in the dismal brutality of its context, as an intensely rational response to inexcusably irrational behavior.

Internet, Which Began As Tech Wizardry, Ends Up As Ad Wizardry

The Internet, which began as the inspiration and implementation of technical wizards, has apparently ended up as the playground of advertising wizards. Witness the incessant publicity about such Internet prodigies as Google Adwords. And wherever can you click that an ad doesn’t flash at you, featuring one beast or another, from a barrel of monkeys to a cobra, or glitteraty type –- all in an energetic effort to call your attention to everything from low mortgage rates to cures for erectile dysfunction.

Our own unassuming site is hardly innocent of colorful calculations intended to cajole you into opening your wallet for one irresistible offer or another.

But then that’s the way it is with most things. The begin in brilliance and end up as a business, even when it comes to hocking the volumes that embody the greatest intellectual achievement of the human race.

The descent into pecuniary hustings grows out of the inevitable need for anybody who makes or just prints anything to tell us about it so we might consider purchasing it.

The practice goes back a long way. For instance, remember the village smithy? Even he thought to hang out a sign that said something like, “Horseshoes Made, Saddles Mended.”

The most we frazzled recipients of all the advertising hootenanny can do is hope for occasions when the attempt to extract our funds is done with taste and, when inspiration allows, imagination that invites us to attend.

Infant Author Accused Of Plaigarism; Copied Sounds In Nursery

A newborn infant, who showed unusual promise in the hospital nursery in the modulation of her of coos and cries and was immediately swept from her mother’s arms to Harvard University, has now been disgraced as a mere plagiarist.

It seems that the infant, commissioned to write an original succession of coos and cries by a wily book packager, had listened, intentionally or not, to the coos and cries of her fellow newborns during her brief stay at the hospital.

Hapless child that she was, she could hardly do more than imitate their enchanting litany.

Now all has been uncovered and the infant is widely disgrace and currently inflicting unnecessary mortification on herself.

Along with the author’s disgrace with fortune and adult’s eyes, the once storied publishing company of Little Baby & Company, which optioned, not only one but two books of coos and cries from the infant, now has pabulum on its face.

To recuperate as much as possible from the catastrophic descent of its reputation, it has cancelled its contract with the babe, not only for a revised version of its present rendition of infant sounds, but for the second collection, for which, in its eagerness to make money even at the cost of its intellectual dignity, paid the newborn the sum of $700,000 for the expected twin bestsellers.

As usual, the rains of time will wash away the pabulum and the child, we hope, having one day realized the immensity of her transgression, will have the wisdom to attribute it to her preconscious state of relative unconsciousness and will go on to achieve whatever she may in the yet unknown possibilities of her post coos-and-cries intellectual development.

Independence Fever

1. What event do Americans celebrate with a national holiday on July 4th?
A. George Washington’s birthday
B. King George III’s ascension to the throne of England
C. Formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence from England
D. Official signing of the Declaration of Independence

C. Formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence from England
TOPICS: The official signing actually took place over several days.

2. What country celebrates a national holiday in July in honor of an 1867 act that unified the nation?
A. United States
B. Canada
C. Russia
D. Korea

B. Canada
TOPICS: On July 1, 1867, the British North America Act unified Upper and Lower Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as the Dominion of Canada. The holiday was formerly known as Dominion Day but changed to Canada Day in 1982 when the Canadian Constitution was changed.

3. What country celebrates an independence day that originated 13 years and 10 days after America’s July 4th holiday?
A. Australia
B. Canada
C. England
D. France

D. France
TOPICS: Bastille Day is a national holiday in France celebrated on July 14th. It dates back to the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789.

4. Every revolution worth its salt has a flag for its supporters to display. What do you call a person with an expert knowledge of flags?
A. Vexillologist
B. Flagman
C. Flatulent
D. Flagellin

A. Vexillologist
TOPICS: It doesn’t make much sense until you think about revolutions. After all, vex means to agitate and you must admit a rebel flag will do that to the powers that be.

5. In 1581, the Dutch provinces within the Union of Utrecht declared their Independence from what nation?
A. Spain
B. Belgium
C. England
D. Germany

A. Spain
TOPICS: Political dissatisfaction combined with growing Protestant support caused the movement, although this battle for Independence lasted decades and was not won easily.

6. Bernardo O’Higgins was a famous revolutionary leader for what country?
A. Chile
B. Ireland
C. United States
D. None of the above, he was made up by The QuizQueen

A. Chile
TOPICS: He was a Chilean revolutionary leader and in fact declared Chile independent of Spain in 1818, although somewhat prematurely as the last Spanish forces were not expelled until 1826. He was named director general but his rule did not outlast the Spanish as he was ousted by popular opinion in 1823.

7. Between 1821 and 1829 the people of Greece battled for their independence from what empire?
A. Catholic
B. Roman
C. Russian
D. Ottoman

D. The Ottoman Empire
TOPICS: An uprising fifty years previous had failed, but during the intervening years the empire had weakened and the mood of the world had shifted to sympathize with rebels following the American and French revolutions.

8. What country celebrates its Independence Day on September 16 in honor of a martyred priest’s failed attempt to overthrow the government?
A. Ireland
B. Italy
C. Mexico
D. Spain

B. Mexico
TOPICS: Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla led a crusade to free Mexico from the oppressive Spanish colonial government in 1811. His memory was honored after Mexico attained independence in 1824.

9. How many colonies were there at the start of the American revolution?
A. 3
B. 13
C. 23
D. 33

B. 13
TOPICS: No Americans better have missed that question…

10. What country marks August 15, 1947 as its Independence Day?
A. Guatamala
B. Australia
C. Puerto Rico
D. India

D. India
TOPICS: That day marked the end of British rule in India.

11. January 1, 1912, marks what important event in Chinese history?
A. The end of imperial rule
B. Establishment of the Republic of China
C. Establishment of the People’s Republic of China
D. Establishment of the People’s Democracy of China

C. Establishment of the People’s Republic of China
TOPICS: The new Republic of China was inaugurated on that date (under a Republican form of government) although the end of imperial rule would be acceptable (even thought that ended by all effects some time in late 1911. The People’s Republic of China (under a Communist form of government) was not created until 1949.

12. The Russian Revolution of _____ resulted in the formation of the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?
A. 1895
B. 1905
C. 1917
D. 1927

C. 1917
TOPICS: There was a Russian Revolution of 1905 that did earn some concession from the Czar but did not end the rule of Czars. That event came about in 1917. If you think that is nit-picky just be glad I didn’t ask what month (as there were both February and October revolts in that year!).

In Response To Miniaturization, Human Hands Get Smaller

Scientists report that human hands, which must currently struggle with ever smaller keypads and buttons on high-tech paraphernalia, have begun to grow smaller.

Unfortunately, the adaptation is not yet complete, and most human beings are still encumbered with normal-size hands. As a result, they must put up with a certain amount of infuriating digital clumsiness.

Ever attentive to how they might help improve the human body, plastic surgeons have begun to offer a variety of hand-reduction procedures, which range from the conservative approach of washing them in hot water and then desiccating them with hairdryers to the more radical procedure of hand-reduction surgery.

One eminent plastic surgeon noted, “Many people don’t realize the mental and physical toll it takes on a person with a normal-size hand to deal with a cell phone or other piece of high-tech equipment that looks as if it was designed for a midget. My guess is that the reduction in stress that these new procedures allow will also lead to greater longevity, due to an expected reduction in blood pressure and heart attacks.”

A delighted early adapter of hand-reduction surgery commented, “Wow, now my hands are so small I can whiz around the keypads on my stuff like an ant with ten legs. I’m looking forward to new gizmos that will be even smaller. I’m all ready for them.”

There have been some notable holdouts, where large hands are a real plus, particularly among jazz pianists and basketball players.

Monday, July 26, 2010

In Mogadishu, Coke Is Branded As The Infidel Thing

Islamic militants who have taken over in Mogadishu and dropped the dark veil of medievalism over the minds of the citizenry have branded Coca-Cola as un-Islamic.

A hard-line sheik has declared that Westerners are enemies of Islam and their products should not be consumed.

The man has followers. One, who owns a tea shop, said, "Out of ignorance, I was selling and drinking Coca-Cola, but now I hate it so much.'

Pointing to various rules regarding beverages that grace the Koran, the militants point out that Mohammed states, "There is only one beverage, and it's name is water." They maintain that, In another place, the Prophet notes, "Things don't go better with Coke; it makes me burp." Finally, they say he reveals, "The infidels invented Coke, and true believers never imitate the infidels, except when I took ideas from Moses and Jesus, but remember: I always gave them credit, or at least as much as I could stand to give them."

As a result, the one factory that represents a drop of modernity in the impoverished burg is in danger of being shut entirely. Sales are down markedly, because many of the citizenry believe in the soft-drink wisdom of their leaders.

Doubt exists as to the genuineness among some of the citizens of the new abhorrence for the drink. A recent convert commented, "I think these backward thinkers are just the kind of people I want to follow. For me abstaining from Coke has nothing to do with the fact that they carry machine guns, and I don't own one."

There is also some forthright good news. A young man, age 31, is ignoring calls by religious leaders to stay away from it. "I love Coca-Cola," he said, "I drink it all the time. It's my favorite drink."

There was another bright spot in an otherwise dismal mindscape A consumer who considers it his favorite beverage said, "I don't have suspicions about it. I don't think hostility can work in business. Business must be free from political and religious affairs."

His level-headed comment reminds us somewhat of the sign that used to be painted on the side of the IBM building in New York City, which managed to combine the economic basis of society with the urgent need for humans to find peaceful ways to conduct themselves. It said "World peace through world trade." Nice idea. The more factories you build in another country, the less likely you are to bomb it. At least, one hopes.

I'll Get Up In Just A Minute

Are you one of those people who wake up in the morning, fully refreshed and singing with happiness at the start of a bright new day?

Well, most of us aren't. And frankly, we'd rather those of you who are would knock off the racket. We're trying to get a little last minute sleep before staggering off to get our morning coffee.

Those final minutes in bed are golden.

You know the ones I mean, the last precious moments, still snug and warm under the covers, fully awake and knowing you have to get up. But not just yet. No, just a few minutes more.

This is why the snooze button is so popular on the alarm clock. People just do not want to get out of bed in the morning. Especially kids. Anyone who has tried to drag a 9 year old out of bed at 7:30 AM to prepare for an 8:30 AM school day knows exactly what I mean.

But even for adults, overcoming the morning inertia can be an exercise (and I use that word with its loosest possible meaning) of insidious procrastination.

Luckily for my family, we have an almost infallible system for overcoming this daily problem. We call our system "The Dogs."

The way this works is that Doug, our larger, main dog, will wake up promptly at 6:30, sit by my side of the bed and place his paw on my back. We call this, "Giving The Paw."

The process works something like this:


Me: "Ok Doug, good boy."

Ten seconds go by.


Me: "Ok, Doug. Ok."

Another ten seconds go by.

Doug: ...

Me: "Coming Doug, Coming."

Fifteen seconds.


At this point there is an air of frantic insistence in Doug's pawing. The message is clear, either I get up to take him out or suffer the consequences.

Now, Doug is an 85 pound Labrador Retriever, and he is capable of producing some pretty hefty consequences.

Rather than face the prospect of scraping a 3 pound consequence off the living room carpet, I haul myself out of bed to take him out.

An astute reader may recall that I used the term "Dogs" to describe our automatic wake up system.

The astute reader may further assume that there is a second dog involved in this process in the unlikely event that Doug fails to produce the desired result.

The astute reader is quite correct. Zippy, our second dog, is nowhere near as subtle and restrained as Doug when it comes to announcing his morning needs.

While Doug may sit demurely by the side of the bed and indicate his desires with a considerate paw, Zippy will climb onto the bed, stick his wet nose in your face, ear or eye, whichever is most conveniently exposed, and sneeze.

This method has never failed to elicit the desired response. And has some obvious advantages over Doug's method, although for obvious reasons, I prefer Doug's system to Zippy's.

In either case, we are now up and ready to begin our day.

The following poem was written after commiserating with another family member who wanted to lie in bed for just a few more of those precious minutes this morning.

I'll Get Up In Just A Minute

Each morning when I slowly wake
I like to lie in bed,
Ignoring all the thoughts that skip
And clamor in my head.
The daily deeds that must be done,
The tasks which will not keep,
The many errands I must run
All drag me from my sleep.
I try to close my eyes once more,
And repossess my dreams,
But give up, rising to the chore
Of facing life's regimes.

Humorous Thought for the Day - How I Write Funny Lines on a Daily Basis

Imagine a web site where you go on a daily basis to see a humorous thought for the day. Better yet, what if that site delivers the humorous thought for the day to your email?

And what if instead of providing stale, you've-heard-it-a-thousand-times-before humor, that site provided fresh, baked-daily humor created on-site in their in-store ovens?

Well ... that's the project I've taken on.

And it's turning out to be quite the challenge to keep up with baking all those daily loaves of laughs.

So how do you go about creating a thought for the day that's humorous without having to be a professional comic?

Here are some tips:

1. Think about the types of things in your everyday life that you find unusual, ridiculous, hard-to-understand, silly or embarrassing.

2. Come up with a way to express one of these things in a way that leads the mind in one direction. Then, suddenly shift direction with the final part. This is the setup/punchline structure of humor.

3. For a given idea, generate as many setup/punchline variations as you can. Keep pushing to generate them, even when you think you can't come up with any more. The ones you fight hard for are usually the funnier ones.

4. Try to make your humor express your final point in an indirect way. It's funnier to say someone could use "subsidies of something" than to say someone "someone doesn't have much something."

5. With each setup/punchline, play with the words to try to make your humor brief and to the point. Wordy "humor" generally is not as funny as brief humor.

6. Try to hide the final destination of your humorous setup/punchline until the very end. You want the punch of your humor to be showcased at the end, with nothing trailing it to drain the funny part away.

7. Practice on a regular basis. Keep what's funny and toss what's not funny. You'll have to use your best judgment here. This is easier to do if you set what you've written aside for a few days. Then, come back later and review it. Many of the lines that lack humor will stick out like a sore thumb.

Here's an example of how I created a funny line:

- The word "imagination" popped into my mind, and I thought about how insulting it is to be accused of having no imagination.

- I wondered what group could I insult without really offending anyone. Politicians are always a good target.

- I then tried to figure out how I could accuse politicians of having no imagination.

- For the setup I wanted to suggest that I was going to compliment politicians by saying they had a lot of imagination. So I thought, "With the amount of imagination politicians have ...."

- I tried to think of a way to indirectly say someone has no imagination. My approach was "... they should qualify for government subsidies."

- The result was:

With the amount of imagination
politicians have, they should
qualify for government subsidies.

If you don't find that line funny, that's OK. Your sense of humor may be different than mine. And that's fine. Humor is very subjective, and there is a wide variety in the things people find funny. Also, analyzing the creation of a joke step-by-step, like we did above, has a tendency to kill the humor as you go.

This is the process I'm using on a regular basis to create fresh humor for my thought for the day web site. It's not an easy task, but it's fun and satisfying when the funny pours out. And it's great to think that maybe I've added a little humor to the middle of someone's day, maybe just at the point where the person's daily stress was about to overwhelm them. That's why I call my humorous thought for the day Laugh Vitamin.

Humanist Terrorists Nabbed In Miami; Planned To Plant Explosive Books

A group that calls itself humanist terrorists was apprehended by the FBI in a preemptive strike in Miami. The terrorist cell, which claims affiliation with the Middle Atlantic terror group all-Libraries, was infiltrated by an FBI operative.

The leader of the group confided to the informant that the members planned to plant explosive books in various locations throughout the United States, including the Sears Tower, a number of FBI buildings, and radical Muslim mosques.

The humanist terrorist group had been operating out of the basement of an as yet undisclosed free public library in Miami. The FBI found plentiful evidence of the group’s plans, including many intelligent books generally considered to be easily accessible and therefore highly dangerous.

At a news conference held to announce the arrests, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales stated, “Fortunately, the plot by this home-grown terrorist cell was disrupted in the planning stages. The group was still trying to get funding to acquire a sufficient number of books.”

In a deposition, a spokesman for the humanist terrorists confessed, “We were planning to spread enlightenment wherever we could, so we selected two of the most informative and readable philosophy books of recent times, both by the leading but now deceased humanist terrorist Bertrand Russell. First, we were going to stage an attack with his landmark The History of Western Philosophy, just to provide people with an overview of our radical ideology. Then we hoped to follow that up with a strike using The Selected Writings Of Bertrand Russell. Our goal was, I confess, to disrupt the new Dark Age that appears to be descending on a worldwide basis.”

The prosecuting attorney outlined the government’s case, saying, “The confession of this self-styled humanist terrorist clearly indicates there was a clear intention to disrupt the deadly ignorance that pervades much of today’s society. Obviously, the group poses a threat to the widespread determination of much of the world’s population to return to a time so wonderfully ill-informed that it can truly be described as The Dark Ages come back.”

The families of the terrorists were startled by the arrests and continued to maintain that the suspects are innocent.

As one mother said, “My son is not a terrorist. He’s a good boy who somehow came to believe in radical ideas like truth and wisdom. If he’s freed on bail, I promise to limit his reading time.”

How to drive traffic to your website using funny videos

After a website is optimized for the search engines, some creative marketing can easily be done to help drive new traffic to your site. Many high traffic entertainment/humor websites use funny videos that are viewed for free by site visitors. In fact, many of these viral video clips that are sent around the world via e-mail originated from these websites.

The only down side to starting a funny videos site is the initial cost to build it, and ongoing update costs, coupled with the bandwidth these websites consume, which can cost between $100-$1000/month just for hosting on a dedicated server. This is because these funny videos websites have hundreds or even thousands of downloadable videos available, and every time one is viewed there is a sizable amount of bandwidth consumed.

So how do you take the idea from the funny videos platform and apply it to your own website? Webmasters can easily incorporate this creative marketing technique into their own eCommerce websites.

Think about it this way. Most eCommerce websites have one primary function: To sell a product. The key to success with an eCommerce website is to rank high in the search engines and be found by someone looking for a product. Often times when a customer visits an eCommerce site, he or she sees the same basic format. There is a nice looking home page with an overview of the company and product line, and some pictures of featured products. Then the customer can find links to other product pages as well, or do a search for a product by keyword.

But to get the customer to come back to your website and buy more products, there must be something that sets you apart from your competition. How can this be done? There are two effective methods to achieve this. In a nutshell, adding video media will bring a whole new dimension to your website to help drive new traffic and gain repeat visitors.

In the case of an entertainment website, the funny videos are the catalyst that drives the repeat traffic to the website. In the case of an eCommerce website, you can add videos to your pages that blend with the theme of a particular product.

For example, if you sell fishing gear, then you can add the funny video of the reporter in Mexico who was floating down the river, only to be repeatedly pummeled by hundreds of fish that were jumping at his spotlight into the boat. That should get a laugh from your customer, and give them something to feel good about while they are looking at your product inventory. It's kind of like a bakery. When you walk into a bakery, you are almost always enticed to buy something. It makes you feel good. Well on the internet, you unfortunately don't have the option of smelling what you see. But adding funny media can arouse other senses in a customer and make their shopping experience more enjoyable.

Another great way to help market your product is by creating 'how to' videos for your products. For example, if you sell products for sailboats, you can make a series of short 'knot-tying' videos, and feature a different type of video on each product page. This can be done easily with a digital camera that records video clips.

Here is how you can accomplish this:
1.First, set up an area where you camera is on a tripod or table.
2.Next, make sure you have a good backdrop for the video clips. You want to use an area that makes the action in the video stand out.
3.Then record the video. In the case of knot-tying, you can write a script before hand and narrate the video as you are tying each knot for the camera.
4.Then download your video clip to your computer. You can also modify the size of your video with any video editing shareware tool.
5.Simply upload the video clip to your website and link to it with a descriptive title. That is it.

One idea to make this effective is add one knot-tying clip to each product page. This will not only make the customer want to visit each page, but it keeps them interested in your website.

There is one more important point to consider. You must present the training clips so they are most effective. To do this, be sure and place them in a prominent area on each page so they can be seen. And add several lines of text under the video link with a description of the video and keywords that someone might find while searching. For example you can tag the video link with 'Instructional Video On How To Tie An Angler's Knot'.

Then lastly, you can create a separate webpage with a 'video directory' of all your videos. You want to also have search engine friendly keywords on this page as well. Then add a link to your directory page from your other pages, especially your index page.

These tips will help your website stand out from the competition. Simply by adding a few funny videos to your site, or some informative training videos that you can easily create from your home or office, you have added a creative marketing edge that goes beyond optimization.

Friday, July 23, 2010

How To Be A Modern-Day Fictional Heroine

It used to be so easy. All you needed was a thick mane of tousled auburn locks, high cheekbones and a determined little chin; add an ounce of determination and an event from your past that haunts you still. Then, wham! You were the perfect fictional heroine.

But now it’s not so simple. With television shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Ally McBeal, books like Bridget Jones’s Diary and Good in Bed, and movies like Miss Congeniality and Legally Blonde, we’re getting all sorts of mixed messages over how the ideal woman is supposed to be. What’s a modern girl who wants to hold herself up to impossible standards to do?

Simple! Just follow these guidelines, and you’ll be as witty, complex and neurotic as the rest of them. In other words – you will be the perfect, modern-day fictional heroine.

Step 1 – Be Flawed

This step is super easy, because come on, we’re all already flawed anyway, right?

Except for one little catch. It is necessary to adopt the correct flaws, and these three are non-negotiable.

1.)You must be self-involved. This includes comparing your own petty personal problems to things like death, war, and injustice, and finding some sort of unique parallel no matter what the situation may be. It also includes having a constant inner dialogue with yourself where you point out these parallels with witty commentary. For example: “Even the news reminded me of him. Yesterday I saw this report that said routine circumcision in Africa could prevent 300,000 deaths in the next ten years. What a shocker! Chopping away at a guy’s penis could help eliminate pain, loss, and heart-ache. What will they think of next?”

2.)You must have issues with food. If you plan to be a television or movie heroine, this means that you cannot eat. Period. If you plan to be a book heroine, this means that you must eat all the time, except when you’re not eating, and then you should be thinking about eating. I strongly recommend the second option.

3.)You must become preoccupied with an unhealthy relationship. This includes but is not limited to, relationships with boyfriends, friends, mothers, fathers, roommates, and exes. Especially exes.(And make sure that your ex is dreamy, preferably with a new girlfriend who is in no way as good for him as you were.)

Step 2 – Practice Retail Therapy

Today’s modern day fictional heroine realizes one fundamental truth – that there is no problem too big or too small that cannot be remedied with shopping. Again, there is a catch; you need to be careful of what you go shopping for. Hard and fast rule – anything that’s practical or cheap is out. Other than that, I have provided you a list of approved shopping items, with the most highly recommended items on top, and continued in descending order:

•Designer shoes
•Designer beauty products
•Designer chocolate
•Designer purses
•Designer lingerie
•Anything else designer
•Clothes (This is listed as the very last option because although clothes shopping can be a lot of fun, if you happen to have gone up a size, the blow to your ego will be so enormous that it will negate the therapeutic aspect of said retail therapy.)

Step 3 – Have a purpose, deeply question it, then either accept it or abandon it to find a new purpose.

Rather than go into unnecessary detail, I have created a handy-dandy chart. Just pick an option from each column and you’ll be good to go.

Column A

1.You’re a (lawyer, publisher, or banker) and you love the power and money.
2.You’re a (doctor, policewoman, or writer) and you love changing lives.
3.You’re a stay-at-home mom and you love your family.
4.You’re all of the above, and you’ve never been so fulfilled!
Column B
1.It’s all getting to be too much and nobody understands you.
2.None of it means anything anymore and nobody understands you.
3.You wish you could have some time for yourself, and why doesn’t anyone understand you?
4.Is this really what you set out to do? You did major in art history after all.

Column C

1. After meeting the right guy, you decide to chuck it all and live overseas.
2. After falling back in love with the guy you’ve been with for years, you decide to start your own home-based greeting card company.
3. After realizing that the nerdy guy is actually the one for you, you return to your career with a new sense of purpose.
4. Who needs health insurance anyway? You decide to take some time off just to focus on you.


So you see; it’s really not that hard for truth to imitate fiction. Gone are the days of walking moors, wearing corsets, and dying of consumption. Nowadays all you need is a little attitude thrown in with a barely noticeable social complex. So get your credit cards ready, preheat the oven for those brownies, and start living your life as if everyone can (and wants to) hear what you have to say. A new age has arrived!