Monthly Archives: October 2005

The lowest form of wit (and thus the foundation of all wit)

In the Midwestern tradition of Halloween, where kids are actually
forced to tell jokes for candy (making it “Trick for Treat” as opposed
to “Trick or Treat”)

Here’s a list of puns:

1. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead racoons. The
stewardess looks at him and says, “I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion
allowed per passenger.”

2. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and
says, “Dam!”

3. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in
the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can’t
have your kayak and heat it too.

4. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says “I’ve lost my electron.” The
other says “Are you sure?” The first replies “Yes, I’m positive.”

5. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root
canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

6. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing
in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about
an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to
disperse. “But why?” they asked, as they moved off. “Because”, he
said, “I can’t stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer.”

7. A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes
to a family in Egypt and is named “Ahmal.” The other goes to a family
in Spain; they name him “Juan.” Years later, Juan sends a picture of
himself to his birth mother Upon receiving the picture, she tells her
husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband
responds, “They’re twins! If you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Ahmal.”

8. Three friars were behind on their belfry payments, so opened up a
small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers
from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the
competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but
they would not.

He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the
rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious
thug in town to “persuade” them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and
trashed their store, saying he’d be back if they didn’t close up shop.
Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent
florist friars.

9. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time,
which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate
very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he
suffered from bad breath. This made him … A super calloused fragile
mystic hexed by halitosis.

10. And finally, there was the person who posted ten different puns on
his blog, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make
visitors laugh. No pun in ten did?

A Weekend for Reading Dark Fantasy

I’ve read 10 books this weekend. Nine of them had the same author, and one of those the same artist as the tenth. Yes, they were comic books.

I find it fascinating that some of the same people who criticize comic books as ‘for kids’ watch a lot of television and go to see movies all the time. So clearly, it can’t be the idea of ‘telling stories with pictures’ they have a problem with, can it? Why accept it when the pictures are moving, but not when they are standing still? (Of course, they would never claim that art museums are for kids either.)

Of course, I have to admit, there was a time where I was one of those people. But I’ve grown up since then.


I was in my local dealer’s store yesterday, picking up my latest issues, and I saw Book of Lost Souls on the shelf. Written by J. Michael Straczynski, I figured I’d pick up the first issue and see what it was like. I will be reading some of JMS’s work in December, since I am reading the Spiderman: The Other crossover due to my long-time interest in Peter David’s work. I only recall watching one episode of Babylon Five, but friends did rave about it. And it was nearing Halloween…so a dark book might be fun to read.The book felt very familiar. Dark Fantasy…I thought…what other work of comic dark fantasy have I read lately. The recent gift of a friend came to mind. She lent me the first 28 issues of Gaiman’s Sandman. I enjoyed them, but had only gotten through the first 19…and other things had come up, and though I knew I had to read them so I could return them…I hadn’t yet.

So I returned to the stack, picked up issue #20, and stopped. I looked at the cover of issue 20, and then the cover of Book of Lost Souls and I said to myself A Ha! The same artist. And it is true. Colleen Doran did the art for issue #20 of Sandman, October 1990, and 15 years later, the cover of The Book of Lost Souls. However, there’s a problem. She didn’t do the art for issues #1-19. And I hadn’t read #20 yet. So if I was ‘recalling’ her artwork, I was recalling something I hadn’t experienced yet.

Freaky, hunh? Maybe it was just the Dark Fantasy feel. But whatever it was, I like JMS’s writing. The first issue does set up a frame that is interesting, and I am curious to see what he does with it. So I will be picking up issue #2.

And my friend, and writing colleague will be getting her Sandmans back next I see her.

Odd Email

I mentioned this in an earlier entry. It is now over 2 years old, but here is the email conversation in all its glory. I have deleted the individual’s last name and email address. For those who don’t know, I maintain a Victor Hugo website.

From: Hanna
Date: Mon, 7 Jul 2003 16:16:58 EDT
Subject: Compliments

Hi, My name is Hanna. I am 15 years old. For my options I decided to study French as my Language. For part of my GCSE Course work I have to write about any famous person but in french and so from all I had chosen to write about you and your work. I have not heard of you before but I decided to do someone who is french. I have had most of the information but I was wondering if I was able to get a little more about you and your personality and some of your personal details as in what you look/ed like. How old you were when you became famous etc. My email address is [deleted]. I am hoping to hear from you soon.


My Reply. I suspect some will think I was cruel considering she was 15, but consider how much I helped her with her assignment:

Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2003 00:22:46 -0500
To: Hanna
Subject: Re: Compliments

Dear Hanna,

I was born on Feb 26, 1802.

I published my first collection of poetry at age 20, and my first novel, Han d’Islande , the following year. In 1827 I published the play, Cromwell, and Hernani, in 1829, some say, cemented my leadership of French Romanticism. Notre Dame de Paris was published in 1831. Are you familiar with the American Disney movie “Hunchback of Notre Dame”? This movie is a mutilation of this novel…This upsets me to no bloody end. But alas, I can do nothing about it. My works are in the public domain.

Are you familiar with that term? I actually came up with the phrase “The public domain of letters.” It’s fun to come up with phrases that catch on. I also coined the phrase “The United States of Europe.” OK…they changed the wording to “The European Union” but they liked the idea, yes? “There’s no force stronger than an idea who’s time has come.” That’s mine also. As is “Violets are Blue, Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, and I love my love.” I’m real proud of that one. It appears in Les Miserables. Unfortunately, few people realize it is mine.

Works enter the public domain currently 75 years or so after an author has died. Yeah, believe it or not, I am not 201 years old. I have not found the fabled Philosopher’s Stone. I passed beyond the veil May 22, 1885. I guess that’s not part of the information you already had. Sorry to break the news to you.

Victor Marie Hugo
You can find pictures of me at here.

[ My Biographer, and website designer, John Newmark, was born in 1969. He has written and published a few poems and short stories. He is not famous (yet), and is an American. At times the overly sarcastic nature of his personality can get the better of him, and he has been known to offend people, but that is not his intent. ]

Good luck on your GCSEs.

I may not have taken into account her age as much as I should have. Or perhaps she was able to out-sarcasm me. This was her response:

Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2003 07:52:50 EDT
Subject: Fwd: Compliments

Dear Victor

Thank you so much for your time to write back to me. As I told you that I had to describe a famous french person in my french coursework I had chosen you and as I gave it in to my teacher she really was looking forward to reading it. I hope everything I had wrote was true because going on different websites gave me slightly different info.

Any way thank you very much and I hope you have a good summer holiday From your nowadays fan


Note: All my information was correct. Unless of course she ended up writing that Victor Hugo was born in 1969 or something.

Harry Potter News

I haven’t blogged about Harry Potter for several months, and I’m no longer getting as many visits from fans as I used to so, here goes:

Harry’s flying Ford Anglia has been stolen

In other Harry Potter News, Daniel Radcliffe wants Harry to die in the seventh book, and is a little nervous about the nude scene in the upcoming film.

Locally, Ronnie’s Cine 20 is converting one of their theaters to a commercial IMAX theater, which is opening on November 18th. It’s not a coincidence that this is also opening night for the upcoming Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Odd Email

Neil Gaiman, in his journal, writes about odd email, including an email from People Magazine on the movie, Beowulf, and an email concerning the film MirrorMask.

But you know, they’re not really odd. Gaiman was actually involved with the scripts for both movies. It’s not like he’s getting email from Archaeologists in Hawaii wanting to know what to do with shards of glass or email addressed to Victor Hugo from students who think he is alive, and they’ve found his website. (I’m not sure I blogged about this one.)

Some day

On an email list I participate in, someone today said, “I’m still
kinda baffled why, in this day and age, it’s even an issue as to one’s

Here’s what I posted in response:

It shouldn’t be. But it was only a couple years ago that the US made
it legal to act on one’s orientation. There are still many people
who insist they have no issue with orientation, but get upset when
they hear people ‘announcing’ their orientation, as if someone should
go through life without mentioning a part of who they are.

I know how I would feel if every time I made reference to the fact I
was Jewish, someone responded, “you know, I don’t make a big deal out
of being Methodist,” or something like that. But they don’t say that,
and for the most part, I don’t think they think it.

But somehow, it’s still different in many people’s minds for sexual
orientation. Some day it won’t be.

Remember The Exorcist? The House is for Sale

Remember The Exorcist? The exorcism happened at St. Louis University, but the house in St. Louis where the family lived is for sale.

Many strange things allegedly happened in that home. Their home in Maryland prior to moving to St. Louis has long since been torn down. The buildings on the St. Louis University campus involved in the events no longer exist. This house is all that is left.

And for the first time, apparently: The name of the child appears in a newspaper. (Though the Riverfront Times admits a couple websites beat them to it.) The alleged individual is still alive, age 70, though he’s not talking.

The Real Estate salesman didn’t want this published. He didn’t think it would help sell the house. Is he crazy? I know if I had the money, I’d be considering it. It might depend somewhat on the zoning laws.

Can you imagine: Satan’s Bed and Breakfast

I’m sure the neighbors wouldn’t be too thrilled with the idea…

I also find it amazing that nowhere in the article is the address of the house talked about, beyond mentioning it. It is on Roanoke Drive.