It was the oldest trick in the book, when you stripped away all of the mind-bending
monkey business, it was a diversion!
—George Parker, The Atomic Kid (2003)
Diversion’s the oldest trick in the book. . . . If something in front of you seems really out of character, you should look behind you.
—Karl C. Klein, Makaila’s Legacy (2001)
"This is the thanks I get?" Yes. I thought you wanted gratitude, not a gratuity.
Selected Wisdom of Jonathan Caws-Elwitt
Inventing deodorants is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.
There is no such thing as superfluous praise.
A true friend does not reveal the song which is stuck in his head.
Every morning I leave the house determined not to let Life make a
monkey of me. But I always carry a banana in my bag, just in case.
If you want to have ice cream at the party, bring ice cream to the party.
So many questions, so many question marks.
Advice to coffee drinkers: Don't put all your filters in one basket.
The pessimist says the glass is half empty. The optimist says the glass
is half full. The optometrist says you need a new pair of glasses.
Behind every successful sock puppet is an otherwise idle right or left hand.
Monday's dessert is Tuesday's appetizer.
Remember never to rely on memory.
A good magician never explains his jokes.
Literary humorist Jonathan Caws-Elwitt's plays, stories, essays,
letters, parodies, wordplay, witticisms and miscellaneous tomfoolery
can be found at Monkeys 1, Typewriters 0
Here you'll encounter frivolous, urbane writings about symbolic yams,
pigs in bikinis, donut costumes, vacationing pikas, nonexistent movies,
cross-continental peppermills, and other compelling subjects.
Leave, why don’t you? But when you come crawling back, be careful
not to trip on the pieces of my shattered life that you left in your
wake. Don’t worry—the pieces won’t cut you. Their edges
have long since been worn down.
Spin the dial at every crossroad and let Fate lead your journey. This four-tiered oracle suggests which direction to turn and alerts to special circumstances along the way. Try out the Web version below and plot an exciting new journey on a map. Or download the standalone application for your notebook computer (links below). Just click!
Click to spin the dial and let Fate lead your journey. There are three ways to read the dial:
1. The inner wheel suggests which direction to turn. Consult this at every crossroad.
2. The edges alert to special circumstances along the way, like a cosmic tour guide.
3. The center encourages you to notice finer details along the way.
FREE DOWNLOADS FOR OFFLINE NAVIGATION
Download Fortune's Navigator for Mac OS X (1.1 MB Flash projector)
Download Fortune's Navigator for Windows (1.0 MB Flash projector)
Designed by Craig Conley & Mike Warwick, www.oneletterwords.com
I dreamed that I had coffee and dessert with Lewis Thomas, who said the
most delightful things, such as: "I have grown fond of semicolons in
recent years. ... It is almost always a greater pleasure to come across
a semicolon than a period. The period tells you that that is
that; if you didn't get all the meaning you wanted or expected, anyway
you got all the writer intended to parcel out and now you have to move
along. But with a semicolon there you get a pleasant little
feeling of expectancy; there is more to come; read on; it will get
Then I dreamed of sitting in a court of law, where "I witnessed a jury
trial over the placement of a semicolon," just as in THIS TIME I DANCE!
by Tama J. Kieves.
Eliminating Bookshelf Clutter by Double-Booking Great Works of Literature
Call for Submissions: Chronogram Seeks Humor Writing
The theme: Help eliminate bookshelf clutter by double-booking great
works of literature. Please provide a title and one-line concept pitch
for a literary twofer, e.g.:
Huckleberry Finnegans Wake. A plucky lad and a runaway slave fall asleep
on a raft in the stream of consciousness.
Inherit the Wind in the Willows. A mole, a rat, and a toad are brought
to trial by weasels for daring to believe in evolution.
Moby-Dick-and-Jane. "Look, Ishmael! See Dick breach. Breach, Dick, breach!"
Deadline September 15. Chronogram, an arts and culture magazine
serving the Hudson River Valley, seeks entries for its "Joined at the
Hip" humor contest. Winners receive a T-shirt. Send 1-3 entries to
firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail to 314 Wall Street, Kingston NY
Follow your blind determination and do what you have to do. When
you’ve finally had your way, and you brush the swarming flies off my
dead body, you’ll notice that I’ve left you a present—
a t-shirt that proclaims ‘I made my choice.’ Wear it proudly.
I dreamed of a planet with two moons. The lower moon slowly waned
away. Then I dreamed I had corrective surgery to remove my comma
half. I was a period! I indicated the full pause with which
the utterance of a sentence closes. Mine was a pregnant silence.
I woke up feeling uneasy, however, sensing that the period is mightier than the semicolon.
When I fell back asleep, I had a nightmare. I was being chased by
a character called "the Flotz," who gobbles up punctuation. In
fact, it was eerily like in the poem "The Flotz" by Jack Prelutsky: "I
chomp on commas half the day, / quotation marks are rarer prey, / a
semicolon's quite a treat, / while polka dots are joys to eat."
Disclaiming All Pretensions to Rhetoric
—Deborah Cameron, Verbal Hygiene (1995)
I dreamed that a dingo took my baby.
Later that night, I dreamed of falling in love with a man convicted of
"the crime of silence" and who dedicated himself to semicolons. I
realized upon waking that my dream was inspired by the novel A HISTORY
OF LOVE by Nicole Krauss
: "Only after they charged him with the crime
of silence did Babel discover how many kinds of silences existed.
When he heard music he no longer listened to the notes, but the
silences in between. When he read a book he gave himself over
entirely to commas and semicolons, to the space after the period and
before the capital letter of the next sentence."
|I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought
The whole world is strewn with
snares, traps, gins and pitfalls
for the capture of men.
–George Bernard Shaw
He offered me a chair.
Was it a snare?
He presented salty finger foods
and exotic beverages.
I said, "You tempt me."
He was looking for
someone to take
out to dinner,
and then, perhaps,
"Enticing," I admitted.
His daring fashion faux pas
were symptoms of an infectious joie de vivre.
But it was Eartha Kitty
who snagged me in the end.
Patron of Inadequate Compensation.
Devotions to Saint Makegood are commonly known as either The Five
Requests (in which each appeal begins with the letter R) or the Five
Petitions (in which each appeal begins with the letter P). It is
presumed that the alliteration is merely a mnemonic device.
- respect (politeness)
- rewards (perks, payoffs, prizes)
- recognition (praise)
- response (positive feedback)
- rapid advancement (promotion)
In cultures where animist religions were absorbed into Christianity,
Saint Makegood is often represented by a tassel made of
cornsilk--presumably a symbol of fringe benefits.
Great! And I understand that the
ancient Druids of the region now known as Surrey kept this symbol in an
especially high place of honor -- hence the expression "Surrey, with
the fringe on top."
|Who is your favorite imaginary saint? Do share!
It’s the oldest trick in the book. You get the punt—you get others so deeply
involved that they don’t dare fold. It’s the dream, you see? They think if they stay in it’ll all work out.
—Terry Pratchett, Going Postal (2004)
I dreamed about Jesus and the Twelve Apostrophes.
Later that night, I dreamed yet again that I was a colon. I was
part of a ratio, and stood for the word "to," as in 3:1 (three to one).
Then I dreamed I heard confession from a woman who said: "I suffer over
every period and comma; I am certain the entire meaning of the whole
book might be changed by an aptly placed semicolon," just as in MORE
NOW, AGAIN by Elizabeth Wurtzel
SONG: So Fine
She's so fine, fine, fine
She's a dime, dime, dime
She's so fine, fine, fine
She's all mine, mine, mine
ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION:
She's my boarder, boarder, boarder
Not my warder, warder, warder
Got a disorder, -order, -order
Pays per quarter, quarter, quarter
|* Payphones used to take dimes, but now they take quarters. Isn't
it time to update song lyrics to reflect the realities of
inflation? Alas, it's vastly easier to rhyme the word "dime" than
the word "quarter," but here at Inflationary Lyrics Headquarters we
have risen to the challenge. Please join the fun and share your
own inflationary lyrics, with both the "before" and "after" versions!
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Original Content Copyright © 2020 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.