Ye Olde Christmas Newsletter 2016


Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.

JUST FOR FUN
 
 

Dear Friends and Relations,

The Yule Log is alight, and it’s time again to catch up on the McMurder clan’s accomplishments this past year.

You’ll be happy to know that, despite this season’s Artic chill, we made the trek down to the pound and adopted a lovely Yorkshire Terrier. The puppy is very well behaved. We each put a suggestion in a hat and my husband, grumpy Old Laz, won the blind drawing to select a name, and I can tell you that everyone already loves ‘Yappy Little Shit.’ (Yap, for short.)

Unfortunately, our eldest, Joey, will not be home for Christmas due to a minor disagreement with his employer. (Work issues never end, I suppose.) While I’ll miss him during the festivities, I take comfort in knowing that the FBI is very experienced at protecting mob informants, and our homeowners insurance covered the bullet damage to the front room.

Clementine, now twenty, will be joining us this holiday! We’re so very proud that she’s continuing her university education while still working full time. She’s a film major, and despite her very demanding schedule, she still finds time to write home and ask for money. Her first film (Haven’t seen it yet.) was just released, but Clementine says she won some sort of prestigious award for Boobalicious Bunnies #4.

Little Evelyn, our youngest, appears to be slowing her pursuit of all things Goth. She still wears that horribly dark eye makeup, but it’s been at least three days since she’s had something pierced. She has a boyfriend now! I think Vicious is a nice young man, but Old Laz eyes him suspiciously whenever he’s around Evie. I guess that’s a father’s natural instinct, but it’s driven a wedge between Evie and her dad—one argument after another. Frankly, I’m tired of reminding her not to throw my good china at her father’s head. There’s no reason a young person can’t express themselves with everyday crockery.

Speaking of Old Lazarus, he’s gardening again, and he won the county fair’s Blue Ribbon for his ginormous and genuinely delicious tomatoes. Wouldn’t you know, he flashes that damn ribbon in everyone’s face, and while I try to be supportive, it’s caused more than a few disagreements between us. I say his tomatoes grew so large and tasty because our backyard gets lots of sun, but Old Laz insists it was the stray cat fertilizer.

Quick update on my in-laws: Still dead.

My parents are much the same. Even with his new medication, dad’s dementia hasn’t improved. Still, his doctor insists that I report even minor changes, but the only thing I’ve noticed is that he no longer asks what happened to his Social Security check.

Mom is spry as ever. Her nymphomania has taken a Latin turn this year. I caught her at the Hilton in flagrante with the male membership of the Mexican American Caucus and an overly flamboyant Mariachi band. What a shocker! I was truly horrified at her liberal stance on immigration reform.

Ancient and feeble Uncle Mortimer is still disgustingly wealthy and a childless bachelor, thank God. I love my elderly uncle dearly, but, damnation, he’s a lot of work! We had an absolute panic when his day nurse arrived one morning driving a new Lexus, and our hidden microphone in his bedroom recorded several references to “very special sponge baths.” Hussy! I swear, professionalism in healthcare is dead. Naturally, it was left to me to protect dear Uncle Morty’s weak heart and the family’s inheritance. I fired the brazen gold-digger immediately, and Uncle Morty finally told me which temp agency was supplying these jezebels, so, as promised, I turned his oxygen back on.

I almost forgot myself! I’ve given up decorating the house ala Martha Stewart—so tiring! However, I did join The Kickapoo County Ladies Auxiliary on an impromptu pilgrimage to Martha’s grave. Boy! Were they angry when they found out the fastidious bitch isn’t dead! However, I remain optimistic since more and more overworked, over-stressed suburban housewives are packing and self-medicating. We’ll try again next year.

Well, that’s about all that’s new. As usual, please skip this year’s Christmas gifts and send cash.

Special Note to Harriot Milken-Heifer: I see from your Miami vacation pics that you found the ten pounds I lost. How nice!

Merry, Merry!!

Delightfully yours,

Wanda B. McMurder

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Bad Equality For Women?


Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.

JUST FOR FUN
 
 

A recent article in the magazine, The Atlantic has reported a surprising and somewhat disturbing trend.

A century ago, men were three times as likely as women to have a drinking problem. Among people born in the 1990s, the odds are essentially the same for men and women.

You just gotta love scientists with an inordinate interest in our bad habits.

Frankly, I have no objection to any adult having a drink. America’s flirtation with Prohibition was, at best, an abysmal failure. You can’t stop people from drinking alcohol when anyone with half a brain and a willingness to kill brain cells can whip up a batch of gin in their bathtub.

That’s not the right kind of full-bodied flavor, Ethel. You forgot to clean the tub.

If an individual wants to turn their liver into a charcoal briquette, while that’s not in any way commendable, it is somewhat traditional in the US and many other civilized nations. In most Western countries, having a cocktail or seven is a freedom protected by law in order to maintain an acceptable national birthrate.

OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG!…

The equality between the sexes of alcohol abuse may or may not become a problem of national proportions in America, however the article reporting on this trend has obviously overlooked another very murky aspect of this issue with even greater significance: Such studies show that women are now competing with men in the area of stupidity.

Facing facts, equal rights between the sexes is wholly an excellent idea, but the exercise of one’s rights is not unlimited, nor should it be. Yes, any adult, male or female, is entitled to
act a fool if they’ve a mind. However, a female’s desire to compete with men should also have reasonable self-enforced limitations.

Sweetheart, what do you use for jock itch?

On the other hand, as adults living in a free country, women are entitled to compete fairly and equally with men in all aspects of our society. Who are we to say that their decision is foolish, not recommended, or banned? Along with alcohol abuse, consider a few other male habits that our females might adopt in the name of equality.

FOOTBALL
Shouldn’t women be entitled to give themselves repeated concussions and bone-breaking injuries on the gridiron? I say, yes. Causing oneself grievous bodily harm and early onset dementia in the pursuit of fame and fortune should not necessarily be a male-only, or even a male-dominated pursuit.

(And succumbing for a moment to my testosterone, I for one am thankful that the
female uniforms …er…uh…require more sunscreen.)

WEIGHTLIFTING
By nature, men have more upper body strength, but this does not preclude women from working their muscles to the bone and competing. It’s a completely unfair, sexist myth that building muscle will make a woman less feminine or less attractive. There are a lot of men who genuinely appreciate a woman who can lift their car into a tight parking space.

Note also, with an approximately equal number of men and women receiving PhDs in chemistry, women should easily have equal access to undetectable steroids.

Book Cover image

“Hilarious!”

TRUE CRIME STORIES
Women with guns have traditionally been pinups at the local redneck garage, however if Hollywood can embrace women as both white and black hats, there’s no reason real life women can’t play the hero or the villain. Granted, we now have many brave women working diligently in law enforcement, but where are the criminals—the truly despicable, sociopathic women running heinously bloody drug cartels, or shooting innocent pedestrians from a clock tower? Statistically, women are way, way, WAY behind as serial murderers, and women will never achieve equality in murderous psychosis unless a lot more sadistic bitches step up.

Conclusion
These recent alcohol studies simply highlight a long hidden problem. If modern women wish to compete with men in foolishness, lunacy, and just plain stupidity, there is no logical justification for our society to exclude them from fair competition. In fact, to emulate the male’s truly reprehensible behavior, and embrace his well-documented, self-destructive habits, alcohol abuse probably helps.

So, ladies, can I buy you a drink?

Parting Funny: I wanted to make it really special on Valentine’s Day, so I tied my boyfriend up. And for three solid hours I watched whatever I wanted on TV.Tracy Smith
 
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Compare This!


Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.

CRAFT
 
 

Let’s agree that comparisons are indeed a basic literary device, but that’s exactly why they are so often overlooked.

Humorist have, or certainly should develop, a knack for comparing things to… Well, damn near anything. And that’s the point. The average fiction writer strives for comparisons that are novel, emotionally evocative, or impressive to literary critics. (Although frankly, if a literary critic is nitpicking individual similes, he\she needs their dosage adjusted.)

The sunset used a palette that left mortal artists found wanting.

Comparisons for a humorist have no such limitations. Or, any limitations.

LSD invented: 1938. The Wizard of Oz flying monkeys: 1939.

To Compare or Not to Compare
It’s true, comparisons can be considered trite, and there are some fairly good arguments supporting that belief. However, comparisons can also be very effective, which is why they have survived as a literary device, and as jokes. If a comparison is trite, it’s not the fault of the device, but the writer.

Ooh, that hurts!

The problem with comparisons is that, although they offer a fabulous opportunity to stretch one’s imagination, many humorists—particularly beginners—bypass the opportunity or settle for the patently obvious. On the other hand, stretching one’s imagination—really pushing the envelope—when using a comparison offers your audience exactly what they’re looking for: a great laugh.

Ah yes, divorce, from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man’s genitals through his wallet. – Robin Williams

Simile Smiles
The simile is in its simplest, purest, and totally unadulterated form: this is like that.

She welcomed me like E. coli in the mayonnaise.

Or, one of my personal favorites from Judy Rose’s post, The 25 Funniest Analogies (Collected by High School English Teachers):

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

A true artiste that one!

The lowly simile is probably the first comparison that most us learned in grade school English class. Used well, it is also the most effective. With no exaggeration, millions of jokes are based on similes. The funniest, by far, are those where the writer refused to settle for his first idea and kept pushing until he had a great gag tickling hell out of his audience.

TOP SECRET Humor Formula #7826: Pushing your imagination is not time consuming after a modest bit of practice. It quite easily becomes second nature, and the speed with which you will be able to formulate a great gag regularly increases.

Metaphor, My Love
A metaphor is a hidden comparison not using like or as. However, it’s the same soup, just a different flavor.

All the world’s a stage and men and women merely players.
– William Shakespeare

Olde Will could certainly turn a phrase, and he was screaming funny at times, even in his tragedies. Of course, there’s still plenty of humor fodder in more modern views:

Obstetricians aren’t real doctors; not once did mine say, ‘This won’t hurt a bit.’

Oh, So Familiar Analogy
An analogy explains something unfamiliar by comparing it to something familiar, which is particularly useful in topical humor when something esoteric makes headlines.

Scientist have discovered that electrons are spherical. If an electron was the size of the solar system, any imperfection would be less than the width of a human hair or the dust that your mother-in-law can see on your countertop.

Allegory
Welcome to George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Cover image: "Sexual Evolution"Allegory uses symbols and symbolism to compare people, things or even all of society to abstract ideas or events. As allegories are generally longer works, I’ll skip posting an example, but you can find a list of popular allegorical books at Goodreads. Note, longer forms are not immune to humor. The theme, entire plots, and bits and pieces of any book can be both humorous and allegorical.

Conclusion
Comparative literary devices are practically straight-lines for humorists. And for those humorists with lots of imagination and no fear, one final comparison: Use them like you know what you’re doing.

Parting Funny: The best way to get most husbands to do something is to suggest that perhaps they’re too old to do it.Ann Bancroft
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The Weenies Are Winning America

Author’s Note: I’m back. Naturally, there is an entirely rational explanation for my long absence, and fortunately, I have the maturity to keep it to myself. Let’s start off with a rant that I recently shared with Goodreads’ The Humour Club:


Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.

JUST FOR FUN
 
 

A recent Washington Post article entitled, People are so stressed by this election that the American Psychological Association has coping tips, brings to light a disturbing trend in America’s social consciousness: We are losing our toughness.

It’s unfortunate, but true.

How can anyone rational be stressed by a presidential election just because the candidates are unquestionably defective? Let’s face reality, the candidates are always defective! (Some significantly more defective and groping than others.) I’m not stressed by this at all. In fact, I am fully cognizant of the fact that just to enter into the political arena a person must have a screw loose and be as ethically-challenged as a pickpocket after milk money in a daycare center.

On the other hand, if politicians aren’t carrying any baggage, they’ve never done a damn thing. No one in politics accomplishes anything without making enemies, making mistakes, and screwing taxpayers. That’s the job!

Granted, blatant criminal behavior is not in the job description, but then neither was Climate Change denial, and we should just thank our lucky stars that planet Earth does not wear a short skirt and a clingy top.

Understanding even a little about politics in general, how can anyone claim that America’s Standard Political Modus Operandi causes stress?

It’s because we are turning into a nation of weenies.

The American Psychological Association can find “weenie” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). It’s listed under Miscellaneous Disorders between ‘Fear of a stubbed toe’ and ‘Skinned-knee phobias.’

Today, American college students want a “safe space” to avoid opinions that offend them. American women want equal rights and freedoms without having to emulate Mary McCauley in a hot combat zone. Men want girlfriends without having to grovel. I tell you the weenies are winning in America!

Now, I’m no Chuck Norris, but I don’t hide in a “safe space” when someone disagrees with me, or expresses an opinion that I believe deserves to be flushed forthwith. I can also claim that, in my younger days, I did serve in the military and I have walked through active combat zones. While I readily admit my knees were knocking, there was nothing wrong with my spine.

Perhaps, that’s the key. “Safe space” must be a euphamism for undiagnosed spine damage.

Wait.

That’s probably covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Let me think…

Okay, since I don’t want to be prosecuted and end up in federal prison, it appears that I’m forced to relent. Ergo, let election stress abound. Let the entire population seek coping tips and hide ignobly in a safe space. Let the weenies win.

Anybody know the lyrics to O Canada.

Parting Funny: I like how we say “vegan” now instead of “eating disorder”.Alex Baze

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The Ex-American Blues


Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.

JUST FOR FUN
 
 

The 2016 Presidential Election is certainly turning out to be contentious, and many Americans are threatening to emigrate should Donald Trump become our President-elect.

Now, you may remember that in 2008 many members of the KKK and similar white-supremacist groups threatened to emigrate if Obama became president. Yet, Obama was elected by a margin of almost ten million votes and none of our hardcore racist organizations left the United States in spite of the tremendous number of people offering them free tickets and bon voyage parties.

Are the members of the Anti-Trump camp more credible with their current threats to emigrate?

Frankly, I don’t know, but it appears to be a minor problem. Conservative estimates claim that, if Trump wins, it’s unlikely that we will lose more than 50 to 60 million of our most well-educated and rational citizens. That being the case, we can certainly speculate on how America’s Trump-inspired downsizing might be accepted by the rest of the world.

Shannon International Airport, Western Ireland
“Passport please, sir.”
I cheerfully smiled as I handed the immigration officer my documents. “Here you go.”
“Ah, another American. Please, state the reason for your visit to Ireland?”
“Trump was elected.”
“That’s what they all say, lately. However, your tourist visa is only good for ninety days…”
“Ninety days! But, the next presidential election isn’t until 2020! I’ll need a four year extension.”
He returned my passport. “Possibly eight years.”
“There’s no need to get nasty!”

Excerpt from the American Refugee Report to UN General Assembly
(Presented by European Union Special Envoy Greta Goneto-Berlin)
“…American President-elect Donald Trump will take office in January 2017. I realize that this has already caused a massive American refugee crisis in Canada and Mexico, however the European Union needs to remind the UN General Assembly that we are also in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

In recent years, Europe has been overwhelmed by a flood of immigrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Albania, Pakistan, Iran, Ukraine, and a massive weekend overflow of Japanese tourists from Disneyland Paris.

“Europe’s resources are now under tremendous strain. Without help from the world community, we cannot resettle the millions of Americans hoping to avoid the President-elect’s recently announced and currently pending, first executive order requiring American citizens to tattoo ‘Buy Trump Steaks’ on their foreheads.”

BREAKING NEWS from the Mexican Newspaper El Universal
President Enrique Pena Nieto today informed Mexico’s Congress of the Union that construction has begun on a wall to stop the tremendous flood of Gringos streaming south across our 1,989 mile border with the United States. The legislators strongly objected until
el presidente explained that the wall would be paid for, in full, by Donald Trump.

El presidente and the Secretary of Finance recently completed top secret negotiations purchasing all of President-elect Trump’s debt from Russia, China and every Wall Street firm that doesn’t want to see their Mexican, Central and South American investments nationalized before breakfast tomorrow morning.

“As we now own Mr. Trump,” said President Nieto, “He will pay for the wall, or we will foreclose on everything, up to and including his bottle of orange hair dye.”

NOTE: Despite the rapidly spreading rumor, it is untrue that a certain senator from Veracruz immediately called out in open session, “Dibs on Melania!”

Cover image: "Sexual Evolution"A Sample Employment Interview
   “I see from your most impressive resume that you have PhDs in both particle and theoretical physics, Dr. Outlier. And that you are have won two Nobel prizes! Remarkable!”
   “Yes, I was hoping to find a teaching or research position at the University of Panama.”
   “I’m so sorry to disappoint,” the clerk replied. “Unfortunately, doctor, all of those positions are currently filled with tenured professors. However, I don’t want you to get discouraged. Panama offers a wide range of employment opportunities, and as an American, your unique perspective can be most valuable.”
   “Thank you. I enjoy being productive.”
   “Excellent attitude. Now, since it’s unlikely that the international physics community will be relocating the Large Hadron Collider to Panama City, how do you feel about chicken farming? Do you have any bird allergies?”

Conclusion
There is reason to be hopeful. Many expat Americans live happy, productive lives in countries around the world. So, don’t be discouraged by a few barely noticeable difficulties. Instead, focus on your personal needs and desires, and don’t be afraid to ask yourself hard questions.
For example: Do you like Canadian beer?

Parting Funny: Vote early and vote often.Al Capone

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Picture This!


Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.

CRAFT
 
 

Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but I heartily recommend that captions be significantly shorter.

Captions are practically custom-made for ‘outside the box’ thinking. Seriously… Captioning pictures and cartoons is a fabulous opportunity for the humorist to stretch their imagination. Even better, your readers expect humorous captions to push the envelope—the more outlandish the better—as long as it produces a laugh.

Limits
While it’s easy to say that humorous captions have no limits, it may be difficult at first for the novice writer to make appropriate, though wild and wooly, connections. However, consider that the best humorous connection between the picture and the caption is not necessarily inherent within the graphic itself. It’s perfectly acceptable for your caption to connect the graphic to something remotely related or even unrelated. In fact, it may be preferred. Often, the least obvious connection gets a better response due to surprise.

Shack, falling down

The San Francisco City Council strongly disputes reports that affordable housing is no longer available within city limits.

Use the whole picture.
It’s natural for someone viewing a picture to focus on…well, the focus of the picture. However, both foreground and background objects are viable fodder for a good caption. When searching for the most humorous line, try both before making a final decision.

Laundromat, climb in dryer

My Zen training kept me in the moment while I waited, so I immediately noticed the available empty basket.

Odd Captions
While it’s true that most captions are statements, there is no law requiring a caption to be a standard one-liner. It’s entirely fair to attempt a question, a paragraph, or even a multiple choice caption.

CAUTION: Readers do not expect to read War and Peace when viewing a caption. Still, long captions are perfectly acceptable, but they are best when over the top funny.

Bride, red bouquet

A bride’s smile says to the world:
1. I’m so happy.
2. I’m so in love.
3. I fit in the damn dress; I’m going to eat today!

Cartoon Ballons
Cartoons capture both the real world and fantastic fantasies dredged from the mind of the artist.

First, be sensitive to an artist’s rights. While it’s often easy to think of a better caption for a published cartoon, make sure that you get the artist’s permission before use, or stick to public domain.

Next, even if the box is the same size, the ‘outside’ in ‘outside the box’ just became much larger. However, don’t be intimidated. Pure fantasy can be just as humorous as reality, and frankly, it’s a lie that adults outgrow cartoons. Almost every newspaper has a comics page because of their enduring popularity.

Think of captioning cartoon characters as simply expanding your repertoire.

Potato 01 - Caption Replacable

A Narrative in Pictures
My last blog told the story of Trump vs. Baby. Narratives using pictures and captions offer a chance to significantly pump up the humor. However…

  1. Never force a picture to conform. Choose pictures that you feel fit naturally into your story.
  2. Keep the story simple. It’s not only easier to find pictures for a simple story, but simplicity improves the flow for the reader.
  3. If you choose a theme, it’s generally best to keep it light so that it doesn’t interfere with the humor. No one sane wants to laugh at graphic pictures of Armageddon.

Conclusion
Captioning pictures and cartoons is great fun for most humorists, and to be honest, relatively easy. A picture kick-starts one’s imagination. After that, it’s simply a matter of editing the caption to tighten up the humor. So, if you haven’t yet tried captioning, what are you waiting for?

All photos CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay
 

Parting Funny: I tried to be normal once. Worst two minutes of my life.Ziad K. Abdelnour

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Trump vs. Baby, The True Story


Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.

JUST FOR FUN
 
 

And now for something completely different.
– Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Everyone knows what happened.

OR…

Do they?

Here’s the true story of the Trump vs. baby controversy in their own words:

Two babies talking.

Tell me what happened.

Heavily pregnant woman.

Well, you know how it is, after feeling claustrophobic for so long, I just had to get out.

Inquisitive baby.

“Mom, can we go to the Trump rally?”

Two babies "talking."

Trump? Really?

Surprised baby.

I wanted to see if he really had orange hair.

Baby orangutan

He does. Look at this picture.

Interested baby.

Freaky! Continue.

Yawning baby.

To be honest, the rally was a little boring.

Baby in elephant costume.

They only let me in because I dressed Republican.

Crying baby.

And frankly, I wasn’t having a good time.

Black baby.

I couldn’t even get tickets!

Hispanic baby.

His security people built a wall to keep me out.

Baby wearing Muslim head scarf.

He wouldn’t even let me in the country.

Surprised baby, mouth agape.

Well, believe it or not, Trump kicked me out!

Shocked baby, hands on head.

Wow! What a bastard!

Stunned baby - indeterminate expression.

I was stunned.

Baby in bathtub.

I felt so dirty.

Crying baby 2.

I wanted to cry some more.

Baby gnawing her fingers.

There was so much stress.

Baby messily eating chocolate.

I almost went back to my chocolate bar addiction.

Baby wearing clown hat.

But then I thought, “I’m not the one acting like a clown.”

Mom and baby sticking out tongue.

I told my mom, “I’ll handle this.”

Baby pointing finger.

After all, it’s his problem!

Happy baby, eyes closed.

So, I closed my eyes and imagined my revenge.

Baby, stiff lip.

I was so determined…

Crawling baby.

I got moving immediately.

Stunned baby 2.

First, I told a friend, who couldn’t believe it either.

Two stunned babies.

Then, my friends told their friends.

Two babies, facing.

Everyone spread the word.

Babies, hand on shoulder.

They encouraged me to go to the press.

Three babies seated.

So, I talked to the youngest reporters I could find at the Times, the Post and the Tribune.

Babies, Asian dress.

I even went to the foreign press.

Baby, wide smile.

Front page, baby!

Happy babies, open mouths.

Wow! We’re so proud of you.

Happy baby and dad.

So was my dad when I told him.

Sleeping baby.

But, it was an exhausting day!

Baby wearing crown.

“Who’s the king now, Donald?”

Happy babies, heads together.

I love this story. Tell it again.

All photos CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay
 
Book Cover image

“Hilarious!”

Parting Funny: When your first baby drops her pacifier, you sterilize it. When your second baby drops her pacifier, you tell the dog: ‘Fetch!.’ – Bruce Lansky
 
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