Yesterday I was buying a large bag of Purina dog chow for Athena the wonder dog at Wal-Mart and was about to check out. A woman behind me asked if I had a dog. What did she think I had, an elephant? So since I’m retired, with little to do, on impulse, I told her that no, I didn’t have a dog, and that I was starting the Purina Diet again.
Although I probably shouldn’t, because I’d ended up in the hospital last time, but that I’d lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.
I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry and that the food is nutritionally complete so I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in the line was by now enthralled with my story.)
Horrified , she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me. I told her no; I stepped off a curb to sniff an Irish Setter’s ass and a car hit us both.
I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack, he was laughing so hard!
WAL-MART won’t let me shop there anymore.
I cannot trace this joke back further than 2008 when it was sent as email to Chris Pietschmann.
A newly married couple were looking for a home in the country and after finding one that was suitable returned home. The young wife after reaching home happened to thing that she had not noticed a water closet in the place and decided to write the owner about it. Being very modest she hesitated to spell out the words “water closet” in her letter so referred to it as W.C. The owner did not readily understand what she meant and after pondering a while decided she meant Westerly Church and answered:
I regret very much the delay in answering your letter and take great pleasure in informing you that the WC is located 9 miles from the house and is capable of seating 1450 people.
This is very fortunate especially if you are in the habit of going regularly.
But it will interest you that many people bring their lunch
and make a day of it while others who cannot spare the time go via auto and arrive just in time but generally are in too big a hurry to wait, that is if the place is crowded.
The last time my wife and I went was six years ago and we had to stand all the time. You may also be interested to know that it was planned to hold a bazaar to provide plush seats for the W.C. as they have for a long time been wanted. I might state that it pains us very much to be unable to go quite frequently. It is surely through no lack of desire but as we grow older it seems more of an effort particularly in the cold.
Once again Alan Scott serves us a plateful of humour with a dash of serious. OMG, that talk-show. “Women Who Bitch With Other Women” remind me of some very popular talk-shows that definitely do not have ASD’s in mind. “Next season’s must-have fashion accessory!” indeed.
Once again, the idiotic government wants to kill their once-upon-a-time tool. This is one of the worst thing about governments around the world. For heavens sake, let SCoT-1 get his well-deserved revenge instead of wasting unnecessary lives trying to stop an unstoppable person – especially with Terminal Flatulence on his side.
It was the cover that lured me in. Sometimes I am lucky and the cover actually presages the contents.
Dominic Green‘s Ant & Cleo series is as well-written and ridiculous as only British humor can be. These two young (12 years old) people go through experiences that are disconnected to reality as we prefer to believe it. Unless, of course, Britain, Russia (USSR) and the US have actually managed to get colonies into space. I suppose it is possible?
First, Antony and Cleopatra, the main characters. Their characters have little to do with the portrayal by Shakespeare but more in common with the originals. Ant seems to be bluff, passionate and a little simple-minded (and highly underestimated by Cleo), while Cleo is fairly intelligent and practical.
It all begins with a trip to the woods with Ant’s father. Forests are great places for adventure, though I doubt many people get to go into space with an alien from Lalande 21185. Strangely enough, this alien looks like a human:
“The new man looked tired and thin, and had a haircut that suggested he spent a lot of his time in prison. He was wearing neither a suit nor combat fatigues, but a pair of Levi’s which still had the label dangling from the back of them, and a maroon T shirt. The T shirt had aliens in flying saucers on it, along with the words SPACE RASTA.”
Mr. Green throws Ant & Cleo into situations that keep them wondering about the things they have learned in school. The spaceship they leave Earth in is their first clue to their ignorance. “Made in Britain by Hawker Siddeley Aviation” seems a bit far-fetched to them. But that is what the maker’s plate says.
Then they meet Americans (US) in space. What a parody of every prejudice non-US citizens have had of them. White-supremacy, a confederate flag and deep southern accents along with names like Billy-Bob, Billy-Hank and Wayne-Bob. A whole sleuth of movies go through my memories as I write this. The funniest thing about these stereotypes is that Hollywood is the worst perpetrator of the image (and early James Bond). Their new compatriots join them on that planet. Glenn Bob and Truman make an odd couple. One very curious and the other diligent in carrying out assigned jobs.
After the US, Ant & Cleo get to meet members of the Soviet Union. Yes. In space the USSR still rules and feelings between the US and Russians continue to be very cold (I guess a bit like today). Here, too, accents and behavior copies movie and television stereotypes. Mr. Green nails these stereotypes.
“Glorious Soviet Yutopia does not kyill wyomen and chyildren”
OMG, non-russians speaking English with Russian accents drive me crazy. Finally, Ant & Cleo get to meet and talk with the British. Their poor kidnapper has been unconscious ever since their spaceship broke Earth’s orbit, so they do not know who he is and where he is from. He is British. Here again, Green nails every stereotype. These are the British who shake their head and carry on with the job even when they are severely wounded, wring sweat out of their long underwear to make water and express strong feelings by saying things like “Golly”, “Gosh” and “Bally good”.
Nothing is realistic. Well, except that quite a lot of it is. Tension between countries, secretive and lying governments and people who try to follow the propaganda they have been brought up are all things Green portrays as is. Propaganda, my goodness, what a great examples of propaganda and the brainwashing citizens are put through and accept.
I enjoyed this book immensely and think it would be appropriate for people from around 10 years old and up. Adults might have to explain some of the references, but with the I-net available to many, they might not.
On the Tuesday morning following Labour Day, rather than listening for the 8:50 bell to ring, I will be casually chatting over a steaming cup of sweet, frothy something with a close friend and former colleague at a neighbourhood coffee shop.
It won’t be our first Day 1 of school spent not at school. But our conversation will doubtless return to reminiscing about our days in the classroom.
I gave my Grade 12 English students a memorable assignment in the late 1990s, one that I used again several times.
I found the idea buried in a professional journal. It’s a prime example of John Gray’s Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.
An English professor from the University of California described it in her instructions to a first-year English class:
“Today we will experiment with a new form called the ‘tandem story.’ The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph of a short story.
“You will e-mail your partner that paragraph and send another copy to me. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story and send it back, also sending another copy to me. The first person will then add a third paragraph and so on, back-and-forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely no talking outside of the e-mails and anything you wish to say must be written in the e-mail. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached.”
Here’s what two of my students turned in. Let’s call them Marla and Neil.
The Tandem Story:
(First paragraph by Marla) “At first, Betty couldn’t decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favourite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Bruce, who once said, in happier times, that he also adored chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Bruce. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question. She’d switch to chai.”
(Second paragraph by Neil) “Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Bruce Harrington, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Zontar 3, had more important things to think about than the neurotic meanderings of an air-headed, asthmatic bimbo named Betty with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. ‘A.S. Harrington to Geostation 17,’ he said into his transgalactic communicator. ‘Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far …’ But before he could sign off, a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship’s cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.”
(Later in the story: Marla) “Bruce struck his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Zontar 3. ‘Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel,’ Betty read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. … “
(Even later in the story: Neil) “Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Meribian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dimwitted, bleeding-heart peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through parliament had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. … The prime minister, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the floor of the Arctic Ocean, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized poor, pathetic, stupid Betty.”
(Marla) “This is absurd, Mrs. Melnicer. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.”
(Neil) “Yeah? Well, my writing partner is a self-centred, tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. ‘Oh, shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of freakin’ TEA??? Oh no, what am I to do? I’m such an air-headed bimbo who reads too many Jackie Collins novels!’ “
(Marla) “Brain-dead jerk!”
(Neil) “PMS witch!”
(Marla) “Drop dead, you neanderthal!! “
(Neil) “In your dreams, you flake. Go drink some tea.”
Time for the teacher to interject.
(Mrs. Melnicer) “I really liked this one. Good work!”
Since the objectives of the assignment focused on the appreciation of another’s point of view, the building of respect for another’s opinion and heightening motivation to continue a meaningful dialogue, what took place seemed to the students a dismal failure.
However, in terms of meeting the objectives I had set for the assignment, and fully knowing where their “mistakes” were going to take us, the exercise couldn’t have been more successful. Or more fun!
Every good teacher – every effective leader, for that matter – knows that it is from our mistakes we all learn. It follows, then, that failure is something to celebrate; it is the very soil in which learning grows and knowledge blooms.
Don’t you ever laugh as the hearse goes by,
For you may be the next to die.
They wrap you up in a big white sheet
From your head down to your feet.
They put you in a big black box
And cover you up with dirt and rocks.
And all goes well for about a week,
Until your coffin begins to leak.
And the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
The worms play pinochle on your scalp,
They eat your eyes, they eat your nose,
They eat the jelly between your toes.
A big green worm with rolling eyes
Crawls in your stomach and out your sides.
Your stomach turns a slimy green,
And pus comes out like whipping cream.
You spread it on a slice of bread,
And that’s what you eat when you are dead.
And the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
They crawl all over your dirty snout.
Your chest caves in, your eyes pop out,
And your brain turns to sauerkraut.
They invite their friends and their friends too,
They all come down to chew on you.
And this is what it is to die,
I hope you had a nice goodbye.
Did you ever think as a hearse goes by,
That you may be the next to die?
And your eyes fall out, and your teeth decay,
And that is the end of a perfect day.
“Well, it’s funny that you should ask. I do a little proofreading, sort of a family thing. My father did it before me, so I decided to carry on the tradition. Editing. Marking up manuscripts with red pen. Hence all the books.”
“I just had a marvelous thought. You can proofread my book.”
“Hang on,” he said, startled, “I wouldn’t want to presume on your acquaintance.”
“Don’t think of it,” she said. “I’m not at all offended by your asking.”