Tag Archives: general silliness

A Poetic Interlude (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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There’s more to Ms. Violet Crepuscular than just Oy, Rodney and bas-cuisine. Earlier this week she acquired a new pet, a freshwater clam named Farfel. She was kind enough to send us a video of him in action.

We are not told what the clam is eating. Maybe a few crumbs of Violet’s toothpaste sandwich cookies.

And now, on to Chapter CCCXVII of Violet’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney.

Terribly disappointed in the advice he’s been getting from the Wise Woman of the Woods, Lord Jeremy Coldsore turns to Johnno the Merry Minstrel. “With a little practice, old man, you, too, could be an oracle. We need someone much more reliable than that silly old trout in the woods. You could do it standing on your head!”

This is precisely what Johnno tries to do. It requires several attempts before he is able to remain standing on his head long enough to act as an oracle. The position achieved, he then makes his first oracular utterance.

“If you would lift Black Rodney’s curse,

And hopefully not make it worse,

Forget those foolish morris dancers:

They’re not the ones who have the answers!

“Instead, resort to axolotls

Confined in one-quart whiskey bottles–”

This is as far as he can get without falling down. But Lord Jeremy is impressed. “Keep it up, man, keep it up!” he cries. “What do we do with the axolotls after we confine them in the bottles?”

“My lord,” gasps Johnno, “I don’t know! And my head hurts something dreadful! Why don’t we get the axolotls first, and then I’ll try again?”

“Oh, very well!” grumbles Lord Jeremy. “It can’t be all that hard to obtain a few axolotls–provided they’re in season, this time of the year.”

Here the chapter ends. “This is how I heighten the suspense and keep the reader reading,” Ms. Crepuscular confides in her readers. “Besides which, I think Farfel might be ready to learn a trick or two.”


Lawsuit-Happy Scurveyshire (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Nothing much happens for several chapters, so let us move on to Chapter CCCXVI of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney. This chapter is notable in that it is not able to provide us with any new crepuscularities. Oops…

The Marquess of Groan is suing Lord Jeremy Coldsore because he fell ill when the roof was blown off Coldsore Hall, Johnno the Merry Minstrel is suing the Wise Woman of the Woods for being wrong all the time, and the proprietor of The Lying Tart is suing the vicar for not getting rid of his backyard wading pool, under which quite a few of the pub’s most reliable customers have disappeared. It’s bad for business.

“Maybe I just ought to shoot all these dummies who want to sue everybody,” suggests the American adventurer, Willis Twombley. “We had a whole slew of lawsuits in Babylon once, so we put all the plaintiffs to death and that made the lawsuits go away.” Twombley believes himself to be Sargon of Akkad.

“You can’t shoot the Marquess because the Queen wouldn’t like it,” replies Lord Jeremy, “and you certainly can’t shoot Johnno because we need him to sniff out Black Rodney’s cuss-bags. He found another one just this morning–right under my bed, by Jove! Besides, we still don’t know what the Wise Woman of the Woods meant by warning us of ‘the clam before the storm.'”

“My six-gun’s gettin’ rusty, ol’ hoss,” Twombley complains. He suspects Lord Jeremy, his bosom friend, still harbors some resentment against him for accidentally shooting him in the foot, which is why he now has two left feet. He remains unable to dance properly.

Ms. Crepuscular suddenly shifts gears, subjecting the reader to her recipe for toothpaste icing for chocolate grass cake. “Mr. Pitfall will soon be released from the hospital,” she adds, “and I want to surprise him with it.”


Play It Smart with False Facts

Did you know that the sound we call a “raspberry” was once a popular nickname in the ancient language of Arzawa? It translates as “Shorty.”

By popular demand we present a few samples of False Facts IV, published six months ahead of schedule because the world is going to end in 12 years unless we make government powerful enough to stop Climate Change–

And that’s just one of the False Facts you’ll get in this set! Here are a couple of the others.

In the Forest of Dean, in England, there are more gorillas per square mile than in the entire Congo rain forest.

There are still cavemen living in Sayreville, NJ.

President James K. Polk originally spelled his name “Poke” but changed it after he was mistaken for the James K. Poke who taught belly-dancing in Oofty Township, Tennessee.

Extraterrestrial pottery has been found in China.

Want people to think you’re smart? Shoulders back, look ’em in the eye, and recite a False Fact in a tone of unshakeable conviction–’cause now you know things that nobody else knows! Be the center of any family gathering!

False Facts IV–now on sale for only $679.99 at Foolburg’s Farmacies.


Are They Real Sharks?

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A reader wishes to know if this picture of sharks swimming around the flooded lobby of this building is on the level.

The short answer is–oh, c’mon! Of course not. It’s a moderately famous fake.

But the long answer is much more interesting.

In the summer of 2008, Eegah Bros. Department Store in Bosh Beach, NJ, faced imminent bankruptcy. The store managers needed a gimmick to bring in customers. They had just endured a month of July that saw them have no customers at all.

The solution was to flood the ground floor of the store, move all the goods to the second floor, and stock the water with colorful and exciting fish. Naturally, the novelty of it all attracted crowds.

Imagine the brothers’ horror when customers started getting picked off by sharks. Somehow several man-eating bull sharks got in with the nice parrotfish and sea horses and before anyone knew it, they’d devoured 18 shoppers. Another seven were to be attacked and eaten before an alert customer snapped this picture from higher up on the escalator. The management had no alternative but to close down the store and call in a certain Captain Quint to remove the sharks.

There is not the slightest evidence that this long answer is in any way true.


Confronting the Wise Woman of the Woods (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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As we take up Chapter CCCXIV of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, we find Lord Jeremy Coldsore very angry that the Wise Woman of the Woods’ prescription for lifting Black Rodney’s curse on the vicar’s backyard wading pool proved completely ineffective, resulting in the loss of three seventh sons of seventh sons who were also expert morris dancers.

“She’ll pay a grim price for that!” he vows, and orders Constable Chumley to arrest her.

The constable demurs. “Naith o’ flurrin’ with yar blymin’ och, m’lord,” he says in his quaint rural dialect. Unmoved, Lord Jeremy orders him to accompany him to the Wise Woman of the Woods’ quaint little cottage in the woods. Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who think he’s Sargon of Akkad, brings up the rear.

At first the Wise Woman of the Woods can’t believe the ritual didn’t work. But upon being told the details of the shameful episode, she shakes her head sadly and remarks, “It’s all your fault, my lord. I never told you to use three seventh sons of seventh sons. That was all wrong! And I fear that this is just the clam before the storm.” No one knows quite what she means by that.

“Enough of this superstitious twaddle!” declares Lord Jeremy. “Constable, arrest that woman!”

“No, my lord–you don’t have time for that!” she cries. “What you need now is a wombat’s womb. It’s the only way to save the shire.”

Lord Jeremy stares at her. “And how am I supposed to lay my hands on one of those? Where is a wombat womb at?”

Ms. Crepuscular writes triumphantly, “Aha! Yet another crepuscularity! Dear reader, we are making literary history!”

[Editor’s Note: If you think I’m kidding, visit http://www.chessgames.com, click on “Chessforums,” then click on my “Playground Player” forum (the one with the little green dinosaur), and scroll down to yesterday’s posts. You will find a host of new crepuscularities devised by some of my enthusiastic chess colleagues. This could become the 21st-century equivalent of the Droodle.]

We are not told how Lord Jeremy is to obtain the womb of a wombat. Ms. Crepuscular is saving that for a subsequent chapter.


Famous Vet Says: ‘Worm the Planet!’

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“There’s nothing wrong with Planet Earth that a jolly good worming won’t cure!” declares Dr. Romulus Stunata, widely celebrated as the “Veterinarian to the Stars.” Which stars, we are not told.

“Look, it’s simple,” he explained. “Your dog gets worms. Your cat gets worms. And you can get worms, too, if you don’t watch out. Well, Mother Earth has worms! So she’s got to be wormed.”

A global effort, he continued, must be mounted to accumulate colossal quantities of veterinarian worming medicine “and then just pour it into the earth. If that hole they drilled for Project Mohole is still there, use that. Otherwise, pour it down caverns, mine shaft, oil drilling shafts, and any bottomless pits that might be handy.”

“And then,” he added, “stand back! Because there’s going to be an awful lot of worms come squirting up from the depths of the planet. So stand back from caves, wells, manholes, oil wells and drilling platforms, and all the rest. The planet is going to expel hundreds of thousands of tons of worms! And some of them will be bigger than you ever imagined was possible.”

Most of the earth’s worms, he said, will probably die as soon as they’re exposed to sunlight. “The rest will probably have to be shot or something.”

“It’s all them worms that are causing Climate Change, hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes, and pantophobia,” said Dr. Stunata. “But take it from me–if it works for your cat or dog, it’ll work for Momma Gaea.”


The Exorcism of the Wading Pool (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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At last–Chapter CCCXIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney. I have skipped Chapter CCCXII because I couldn’t find it anywhere.

As instructed by the Wise Woman of the Woods, Lady Margo Cargo has hired three men who are each the seventh son of a seventh son, all expert morris dancers, and all named Squeeb MacTavish, to remove Black Rodney’s curse on the vicar’s backyard wading pool. If you don’t understand that sentence, welcome to the club.

All three are now in position to perform the magical ritual, each equipped with an orange beach ball. Looking on are Lady Margo and her fiancees, Lord Jeremy Coldsore and the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, whom she thinks are the same person.

“Ready?” cries Lord Jeremy.

“We are ready, my lord,” answers Squeeb MacTavish–well, answers one of them. Which one doesn’t really matter.

“Then do yer stuff!” shouts Twombley.

With their backs to the pool, all three toss their beach balls into the air, hopefully to land in the middle of the pool. They do, all three of them.

Out from under the pool, with blinding speed, shoot three slimy tentacles, instantaneously wrapping around the three morris dancers and snapping back under with the three men. Gone, all three of them.

“That wasn’t supposed to happen!” Lord Jeremy cries. Twombley laughs, earning a frown from Lady Margo.

“I deplore this man’s laughter at this manslaughter!” she declares.

“And I, dear reader,” exults Mr. Crepuscular, “have executed another crepuscularity!” She is sure this will catch on as a literary technique.

(“Toldja that so-called Wise Women of the Woods is full of it!” grumbles Lady Margo’s crusty old butler, Crusty. “She’s never been right about anything.”)

Here the chapter dissolves into an orgy of self-congratulation by Ms. Crepuscular, too shameful to repeat here.


Feeling Dumb? False Facts to the Rescue!

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After the fantastic success of the first three editions of False Facts–believe it or not, not a single reader wrote in to plead with me not to previewFalse Facts 4.0: not even one!–we were gratified to adopt presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden as our company mascot. Let his words be our motto!

“We choose truth over facts.”

Tired of people thinking you’re just a poor dumb dope who doesn’t know anything? Do you wish you knew a lot of cool stuff that they don’t know? Wouldn’t it be great to have them all marveling at your erudition?

All you need is False Facts 4.0!

Here are just a few examples for you to practice with. When you see how impressed people are, you’ll want to buy the whole set.

Just remember: when you deliver a False Fact, stand up straight, speak boldly and authoritatively, and look that other person right in the idea, double-dog-daring him to challenge you. And okay, here we go.

*Yogurt was originally invented by the Vikings, who used it to treat nightmares in chickens.

*The Great Gatsby was originally written as an advertising gimmick for Lifebuoy Soap.

*The city of Glasgow, Scotland, does not actually exist. It was removed in 1968, but the maps have never been updated.

*TV coverage of the Battle of Fallen Timbers shortened the Civil War by turning the public against it.

*The Pestilent Dutch Elm Monkey of Central Africa can eat four times its own weight in shredded wheat each day.

Well, that’s enough to get you started. When you’re ready for the full set of False Facts 4.0, mosey on down to your local Rite-Aid with $410.89 in cash. Tell ’em Joe sent you.


The Arrival of a Rival (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CCCXI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular exults:

“I have introduced a new stylistic flourish to English prose, dear readers! I shall call it the Crepuscularity. ‘The Arrival of a Rival’ is a shining example of the technique! Allow me to provide two more. ‘A Man’s Laughter at Manslaughter,’ and ‘Where Is a Wombat’s Womb At?'” Here she inserts several kissing emojis, which I am unable to reproduce here. For that matter, I am also unable to define “crepuscularity.” What the dickens is she getting at?

We were all waiting to see what would happen when the three seventh sons of seventh sons, expert morris dancers and all named Squeeb MacTavish, attempted to lift the curse on the vicar’s backyard wading pool, following the instructions of the Wise Woman of the Woods. But do we get that?

“Bear with me, dear readers,” Ms. Crepuscular confides in her readers, “as I heighten the suspense by introducing a necessary complication into the plot.”

The complication takes the form of a well-dressed but also very rugged-looking man who shows up at the door of Lady Margo Cargo’s luxurious country house.

“Who the devil are you?” demands her crusty butler, Crusty.

“I was Lady Margo’s girlhood boyfriend, pledged to become her husband after I made good in the world. I then went off to seek my fortune. Now I have returned.” The man pauses to scratch at a livid scar in the shape of an exclamation point. “Please tell her that Mr. Agamemnon Frizzle is here to claim his bride.”

Crusty, whose own marital ambitions have been thwarted by Lord Jeremy Coldsore, is in no mood for the arrival of a rival. (“There! I did it again!”)

“I don’t see no fortune,” he drools. (I cannot explain why Ms. Crepuscular chose this verb.)

Mr. Frizzle grins, a horrifying sight. “And no one saw the lost city of Shopworth, either,” he declares–“until I found it!”

Crusty is perplexed. The city of Shopworth, Saskatchewan, has never been lost, to his knowledge.

Here the chapter breaks–again “to heighten the suspense,” explains Ms. Crepuscular. Or maybe she just doesn’t know what to write next.


The Expert Morris Dancers (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Chapter CCCX of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, is almost too exciting to read. Almost, but not quite.

To exorcise the curse placed by Black Rodney on the vicar’s backyard wading pool, the Wise Woman of the Woods has declared that it is necessary for the seventh son of a seventh son, who is also an expert morris dancer, to stand with his back to the pool and throw an orange beach ball over it while reciting something or other, it doesn’t really matter what. The detective hired by Lady Margo Cargo has found three men in Scotland, who are all each other’s uncles, who meet those qualifications. They have just arrived by train.

The Scurveyshire Brass Band welcomes them with a lusty rendition of “Great Balls O’ Fire.” Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad, chases the band away by shooting up their tuba. “I hate the smell of classical music,” he explains.

As the three seventh sons of seventh sons step off the train, Lord Jeremy Coldsore greets them and introduces himself and Lady Margo. The tallest of the trio introduces himself: “Squeeb MacTavish, y’r honor, and pleased to meet yer.” The other two are also named Squeeb MacTavish.

Meanwhile, Lady Margo’s crusty butler, Crusty, frantically warns Constable Chumley to stop the ritual before it can begin. “Our so-called Wise Woman of the Woods is an idiot!” he cries. “Thanks to her advice, I invested my life savings in Fli-Bi-Nite Hair Growth Creme For Men–and look at me!” Only disaster can ensue, he says, if the ritual is allowed to proceed. The constable races to the railway station in time to deliver an urgent warning to Lord Jeremy.

“Thar be shinnims all bymie, M’Lord, whiff dastle cremakins–avant weer doggles!”

“He seems upset,” says Twombley.

“It’s all right, constable,” Lord Jeremy replies soothingly. “We’ll get started as soon as we can get these gentlemen to the vicar’s pool.”

The chapter breaks off with a malediction against archaeologists. Ms. Crepuscular has very strong feelings against their profession.


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