Friday, October 27, 2017

Corn, Old And New

     I am so BLEEP!ing sick of the political news that words fail me. There's absolutely nothing to write about that thousands of other commentators, some better informed than I (though not nearly as handsome, gifted, or modest), haven't already covered. So I'm going to fall back on humor.

     I mean, when "the news is all bad, but it's good for a laugh" (Tom Paxton), what would be more appropriate? So get your Rimshot Generators ready, folks: here comes some corn.

The Same, Only Different.

     Smith and Jones were exploring the Lunar surface, expecting to see only rocks and dust, when they came upon a curious little creature: short, shaped much like a Teddy bear, and thickly furred in a white and black checkerboard pattern. The thing was apparently suited to the Moon's airless surface for it wore no clothing of any kind... except for a propeller beanie. The little creature noticed their interest, waved a hand in greeting, and bounded toward a nearby cave. The two astronauts followed in haste.

     What they found in the cave astounded them. The little creature who had waved to them was lost in a throng of identical short, Teddy bear-shaped figures, each thickly furred in a white and black checkerboard pattern, and each wearing a propeller beanie. The clustered around a large chair, a throne, really, on which sat yet another of their number, indistinguishable from the rest except for his seat. It was this one that beckoned the humans to approach.

     "Welcome! Welcome to the Moon!"

     The astronauts came near and offered polite thanks for the warm welcome. After a few initial pleasantries had been exchanged, including the expected congratulations for having crossed interplanetary space, the Teddy on the throne said, "Now, what would you like to learn about our little society, that you might take home to astonish your Earthly brethren?"

     Smith and Jones looked briefly at one another, and Smith said, "Well, sir, we can't help but notice that all of you are exactly alike."

     The Teddy nodded. "Just so. We discovered long ago that to allow differences among us caused dissension and envy, so we embarked on a eugenics program to eliminate them. Today we are as you see: identical copies of an ideal plan."

     "But I sense that you are in a leadership role," said Smith. "If you are all the same, how are your leaders chosen?"

     "By rote," responded the Teddy. "In an egalitarian society like ours, nothing else would make sense. But I see that the two of you are quite different: one short and one tall, one fat and one thin, one white and one black. How do you manage with all these conspicuous differences?"

     "Well," said Smith, "we manage. On Earth you would quickly meet many individuals different from either of us in uncountable ways. Are you really all exactly alike?"

     "Exactly," replied the Teddy.

     "All of you just so high?"

     "Just so."

     "And all of you have white and black checkered fur?"

     "All of us."

     "And you all wear propeller beanies?"

     "All of us," replied the Teddy. "Except, of course, for the goyim."

The Brass Rat.

     One fine evening a tourist was wandering San Francisco's fabled Chinatown, not looking for anything in particular, when he spied a dimly lit sign that read "Antiquities," over a flight of steps that led into the basement of a nondescript building. Curious, he descended the steps to a rickety door at the bottom. Within was a large, disorderly room closely packed with tables, each one piled with oddments. The sole occupant was a wizened old Chinese man, who sat at the cash register eating rice from a small bowl, chopsticks moving slowly and rhythmically between the bowl and his lips. The old Chinese acknowledged the visitor with a nod, but said nothing.

     The tourist moved casually among the many tables, sorting gingerly through the piles, examining a curio here and there, but taking little interest in any particular item... until he found the brass rat.

     It was an ugly thing, a twelve-inch-long replica of a common rat. Beyond the accuracy of it, it lacked any particular esthetic value. Yet the tourist found himself strangely attracted to it. He toted it to the register and asked the old Chinese, "What's the price?"

     The Chinese glanced at what the tourist held in his hands and said, "For the rat, ten dollars. For the story behind the rat, one thousand dollars."

     Well, for a thousand dollars, our hero decided he could make up his own story, so he whipped out a sawbuck, handed it to the old man, and sauntered out of the shop with his acquisition.

     From the moment the tourist ascended the steps back to street level, things appeared strange. The city around him, which had been quiet, pulsed with a new energy. The buildings seemed to loom over him with an undisclosed purpose. Even the occasional streetlamps cast their yellow eyes on him in a dubious manner. He began to walk faster.

     A pair of rats emerged from behind a pile of trash, sniffed the air, and began to follow him. At the sound, several more rats nosed out of an abandoned car and joined them. Our hero became mildly alarmed, and pushed himself to walk faster still.

     Several more rats emerged from a sewer drain. Perhaps two dozen rose up from a storm grating. These added themselves to the procession behind the tourist. He began to trot.

     From a hole in the side of an old tenement came several hundred rats, each sniffing the air briefly and then adding itself to his train. Another tenement added hundreds more. The rats were now a gray-brown carpet over the Chinatown street, and our tourist, fearing for his life, began to run. The rats pursued him.

     He ran unthinking, heedless of any destination, unconcerned with anything but escape, and the rats kept coming. Their numbers swelled with each drain, each abandoned building, each pile of litter he passed, until a tide of rodents unknown in the history of Man pursued the fleeing tourist into the waterfront area and onto the loading docks.

     At the very end of his wits and physical resources, our hero spied a crane at the edge of the water, its hook dangling just beyond the edge of the dock. With his last strength he sprinted for the hook, the brass rat clutched in his hand. At the edge of the dock he leaped for the hook and threw the accursed brass figure out as far as he could into the waters of San Francisco Bay.

     The hook swung out and back under the impact of his weight, but held fast. From his vantage above the dark waters, the tourist watched as uncounted thousands of living rats followed the brass rat into the bay, diving without slowing and vanishing at once beneath the water, with only a huge spread of bubbles to mark their passing. A moment more, and all was still.

     The tourist carefully jumped back onto the dock, straightened his clothes, and made his way painfully back to the little shop beneath the "Antiquities" sign. The old Chinese looked up as he entered, and smiled.

     "Aha! You have returned for the story of the rat."

     "Uh, no," replied the intrepid tourist, "I just wanted to ask if you have any brass lawyers."

The Prime Directive of Adultery.

     A few years back, in a comments thread on PJ Media, someone asked whether it could be made "safe" to commit adultery. I was feeling a bit whimsical that day, and this is what followed:

     Someone had to ask that question. Thank you!

     The solution, if you’re unconcerned about your prospects in the afterlife and believe that your marriage can withstand an outside involvement, is obeying the Prime Directive of Adultery:

  • If you’re married, he must be married as well.
  • If you have a middle-class income and existence, then so must he.
  • If you have children, he must have children — preferably the same number and about the same ages.
  • If you must travel a considerable distance to your trysts, then he should have to do the same.

     …and so on. Adultery’s potential consequences for the two of you should be well matched. Any kind of asymmetry represents both a source of stress on the affair and a potential lever for one of you to use against the other.

     Never, ever assume that something that begins with wine and roses can’t possibly devolve to pistols at dawn. Always equalize the risks!

     (This is not an endorsement of adultery, which remains forbidden by the Sixth Commandment and is still against the law in many jurisdictions. Neither is it an offer to commit adultery, which can only be done by formal prospectus. Adultery’s risks include legal, spiritual, physiological, and emotional consequences, not all of which are completely understood. Side effects include increased expenses on clothes, shoes, and perfume, frequent trips to the salon, aggressive dieting, cosmetic surgery, and excessive gazing into the mirror. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. No spouses were harmed in the making of this feature. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.)

     It got a lot of laughs at the time, but looking back on it, I'm not so sure everyone took it as lightheartedly as I intended.

One Day, Early In Creation.

     This one came my way yesterday, via email.

     The Garden of Eden was truly a beautiful place, and God could see that Adam was enjoying his time there. But God was troubled, and it took Him some time to reason out why. After long thought, He came to a conclusion:

     "It is not good for man to be alone."

     And with that, God decided that Adam should be alone no longer. He came to Adam and said, "Adam, you have been a loving, loyal and trustworthy man to me, ever reverent and thankful for your life and its blessings. For this I will reward you with a partner. I will call your partner woman. Woman will be loving, loyal and trustworthy to you. She will also be supportive, caring, kind, and understanding. She will never nag, be condescending, complaining, or critical of you. She will have beautiful long flowing hair and a shapely, forever sexy body."

     Adam was stunned. "Wow, thank you God!" But after a moment he became troubled, and thought more deeply. "It all seems too perfect. Will the creation of woman cost me anything?"

     God replied, "A woman like that will require I take from you one arm, and one leg."

     Adam considered for a moment. "What can I get for a rib?"

The Wisdom Of The Aged.

     One more, to satisfy the Law of Fives:

     The young woman had "married well" and in consequence had recently been admitted into the exclusive New York City social circle called The Four Hundred. She decided to cement her position more firmly by throwing a dinner party and inviting a number of city notables. Her husband approved, but suggested – quite firmly – that she include her grandfather. The young lady was worried, for though she loved him, Grandpa was an old backwoodsman who hadn't been out of his cabin in the Adirondacks for several decades. More, he was given to saying exactly what he thought at all times, with no regard for what her socialite friends would call "the proprieties." All the same, she wanted to please her husband – yes, those were strange times – so she agreed.

     The party went off well, and Grandpa was the soul of courtesy throughout, until coffee was served. He picked up his cup and took a large mouthful, discovered that it was boiling hot, and promptly spat it out onto his plate.

     The other guests tried not to look surprised, but the silence made it clear that they were waiting for Grandpa to apologize. It took the old fellow a moment to notice the many pairs of eyes focused on him. When he did, he said quite loudly...

     "A lot of danged fools would've swallowed that!"

     Have a nice day, Gentle Reader.

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