Ring out the Old, ring in the New

Dec. 26, 2011

Last week was poetry. This week it’s fun.

I am always impressed at how little people read (present reader excepted) …

Like at the health club where my wife and I go swimming regularly. The staff put a large sign on the door to the locker room last week that due to repairs there would be no water in the showers that afternoon. Wouldn’t you know, a fellow member comes out of the shower stalls that afternoon, naked and dry, shouting to anyone and everyone, “Help! The water’s not working!”

A New Yorker cartoon has four panels. Three of them show a couple driving down a rural road past three signs, all of them promising “Fresh Corn Ahead.” The final panel has the woman getting out of the car and asking the farmer, “Is the corn fresh?”

A woman bought a new laptop computer and couldn’t figure out how to install the batteries. When she called the company hot line for help the technician told her that the instructions for putting the batteries were on the first page of the instruction manual. She growled, “I just paid $2000 for this damn thing, and I’m not going to read a book.”

The poetry of the day is often found in one-liners on bumper stickers. For would-be scientists we have …

Astronomy is looking up

Biologists Do It Better

Eat/Die

Stop Continental Drift!

For political junkies in Madison …

Recall Walker

For political junkies outside Madison …

I Stand With Scott Walker

For assorted cranks and wise-guys …

Visualize whirled peas

Happiness is seeing your boss’s picture on the back of a milk carton

My karma ran over my dogma

Support bacteria—they’re the only culture some people have

Nudist families have more fun

We are the 99%

A protester in Great Britain claimed, “We’re fed up with being broke. … There are people here with nothing.”

“Nothing, that is,” said the psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple, “except an education that has cost $80,000, a roof over their head, clothes on their back and shoes on their feet, food in their stomachs, a cellphone, a flat-screen TV, a refrigerator, an electric stove, heating and lighting, hot and cold running water, a guaranteed income, free medical care, and all of the same for any of the children they might care to propagate.”

So far my new book has not sold many copies. I take heart from the Beatles …

In 1962 Dick Rowe, head of Decca Records, said, “Guitar groups are on the way out … the Beatles have no future in show business.”

Two years later a Newsweek music reviewer wrote, “Musically they are a near disaster; guitars slamming out a merciless beat that does away with secondary rhythms, harmony and melody. Their lyrics (punctuated by nutty shouts of ‘yeah, yeah, yeah!’) are a catastrophe, a preposterous farrago of Valentine-card romantic sentiments.”

Country western has always been popular with simpler sentiments …

I Got You on My Conscience but at Least You’re Off My Back

Did I Shave My Legs for This?

Thank God and Greyhound She’s Gone

My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend, and I Sure Do Miss Him

I Don’t Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling

You Can’t Have Your Kate and Edith Too

The Darwin Awards are given each year to the least evolved of us. Here are a few of the lucky devils from last year …

“When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at the intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, the would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.

“The Chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat-cutting machine and submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company, suspecting negligence, sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and he lost a finger too. The chef’s claim was approved.

“The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn’t open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren’t available for breakfast. Frustrated, the man walked away.”

Did you get holiday letters reporting on how wonderful life was in 2011? Here is a classic from the late Ann Landers column a few years ago …

“Budget cuts at Ed’s company resulted in many layoffs, and he has been unemployed for 10 months. The mortgage company calls on a weekly basis to threaten foreclosure, but I am not worried because I was offered a part-time job at Burger King for $4 an hour. Our son Billy’s new business was doing well until his partner and best friend embezzled $25,000 and left with their secretary for the South Seas. Jimmy has many friends. Unfortunately, they are members of the Deadly Snakes motorcycle gang and wanted by the police. Suzy had her nose pierced for Christmas and looks like a freak. We had to replace the roof on the house after that hurricane destroyed it. When we called the contractor, we found out he went out of business due to many lawsuits. Our family vacation this year consisted of visiting the Christmas display on Main Street.”

“Cool” is one of the more durable adjectives. Not all of us oldsters get it right though. An older woman came up to Yogi Berra after a spring training game in Florida and said, “My, you look mighty cool Yogi.” He answered, “You don’t look so hot yourself.”

Final word of advice for the New Year from F. P. Jones, “Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.”

Please have a Happy Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P.S. If you got a Kindle for Christmas your best post-Christmas bargain could be my new book, TWILIGHT OR DAWN? a Traveler’s Guide to Free Market Liberal Democracy. You can get it in e-book form now on www.amazon.com for 99 cents!

P.P.S. For anyone who is home-schooling their children, or works in a school with a limited budget for media and would like to purchase great up-to-date DVDs at bargain prices—check out our selection on www.hawkhill.com or www.amazon.com now. We have a bloated inventory of super-good DVD programs that regularly sell for $54.50 to $98.50. All DVDs are new copies with 21st century copyrights. I would like to see them get a wider circulation before I close down the company and pass on to the great unknown. In the meantime I could use the cash. To help this process along I have reduced the price to $9.50 a program. This sale price will be in effect through January and February of 2012.

P.P.P.S. All of our DVDs are also good entertainment and education for adult learners in science, history and politics. Especially many of the new and updated DVDs on Democracy, Biotechnology, Capitalism, Religion, Ecology, Environment, Radiation, and Nuclear Power. Wisconsin studies too. If you go to amazon.com just type in Hawkhill or Bill Stonebarger to see the rich selection available. On our hawkhill.com website you can see all of our DVDs at $9.50 apiece. Give them a try. You won’t be disappointed. I guarantee it.

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