Little Jokes for Friday

I wonder:
Why are watermelons and bananas so tasty and sweet, but sweets with those flavors so awful?

Why is sandpaper so good at wiping off surfaces, but it makes such terrible toilet paper?

What’s the punishment for being illegally blind?


Sheik, Rattle and Roll

Apparently, one of the clerics in Iran is claiming that that country’s earthquakes are a result of women dressing inappropriately.

I wonder:
  • Are these earthquakes caused by under-covered agents?

  • Are the tremors more the fault of the women than the faults of the land mass?

  • Is this a veiled threat?


When I am King: Celebrating our Differences

When I am King...

Marriage vows aren’t the only things that should be renewed; we should celebrate all of the permanent commitments in life.

Some couples get their marriage vows renewed. I used to think that it was because they were reaffirming their relationship, but now I realize that it’s probably because their marriage was so many years ago, they couldn’t remember whether it had happened or not. Meanwhile, my married gay friends and family members are so lucky. Thanks to the constantly changing laws in our states, they get to renew their marriage vows on a regular basis.

That act of that reconfirmation is so important, remembering each other and the promises you made as the years go by and you each get progressively less attractive in your own, distinctive way. It’s society’s way of telling each other, “I will if you will.”

But other than these vows of marriage and lifelong marital indentured servitude, there are no commitments that we take the time to renew in our lifetime. Of course, there’s the renewal of our driver’s license, but that’s just an affirmation that the DMV is still a place that we’d rather not spend any more time. Which, come to think of it, sounds like a lot of marriages I know.

When I am King, we will renew all of the truly important and permanent commitments to each other. For example:

Prenuptials: What’s the good of having built-in distrust at the beginning of a relationship without, every few years, renewing that legally binding contract of mutual wariness? It would be wonderful if, every five years, the happy couple could take a weekend retreat away, just with each other and their respective lawyers, and hammer out the new clauses to cover life’s evolving circumstances and return with a fresh, new prenuptial contract with both signatures. In blood.

Divorces: The statistics clearly prove that divorce is a more common commitment in any relationship than the marriage itself. What marriages ever go to term anymore? Few things are more sacred than marriage. But nothing is more permanent than divorce.
With that reality, let us celebrate our differences by gathering on neutral ground every 5 years to renew the commitment to staying the Hell out of each others’ lives. This celebration will be a warm, even heated, remembrance of why the couple got into this situation in the first place, from the reading of the respective restraining orders to the final words in the ceremony, “Till death do us be apart.”

Sure, we should remember the good things in relationships. But we should really celebrate our differences.


When I am King: Buy the By

When I am King...

“Best by” dates will become more realistic.

Recently, I listened again to Jerry Seinfeld’s bit about the expiration date on milk cartons. Unlike milk, that routine doesn’t get old and curdled.

I was reminded of the time that I first noticed the “Best by” date on food products. I was about eight years old, and I noticed a stamp on the Grape Nuts box that said “Best” and then a date that was some seven months in the future.

I thought that seemed kind of strange: what would make a cereal better if used on that date? But being the curious, and apparently stupid, child I was, I had to find out. So I stashed the Grape Nuts way in the back of the pantry, so that nobody would find them between now and that magical date in the future when the cereal would suddenly become more tasty.

I guess I learned the meaning of the word “by” in those seven months, because the next time I took the cereal out, I realized that it meant that it would taste better before that date, signified by the word “by” in the phrase “Best by.” Like the child in Joyce’s Araby, I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity, except for me the driver was illiteracy. And my stomach burned with anguish and anger.

I finished the Grape Nuts immediately, anxious to avoid letting even more time pass and making the cereal taste worse, although it’s not obvious how that could happen with a food apparently made from wood chips and gravel.

There’s a basic problem here that’s not solved by that helpful “Best by” date: the products do not, in fact, stay in some holding pattern of goodness until that date and then suddenly fall off the Cliff of Yuck. Instead, they start at some mediocre level and get progressively worse as time, staleness, and insects eat into them. That date is nothing more than a point in time when the company lawyers have decided that the potential of food-decay-related illness lawsuits outweigh the corporate benefits of customers overbuying the product and storing it on their pantry shelves. Cereal is not fine wine: you should eat the stuff as soon as you buy it if you want it to be as fresh as possible. Anytime after that, it’s just worse.

Besides, the current “Best by” approach confuses kids. Or at least it confused me. And I’m pretty sure kids these days are dumber, at least based on their spelling over IM and SMS. (That’s my token “grumpy old man” comment – I need to do that to maintain the kind of dignity that Kingship requires).

When I am King, the “Best by” paradigm will shift and we will adopt a simpler approach: all foods will be stamped with the phrase, “Worse after” plus the date that the product is actually made. We don’t want to know when the lawyers would like us to stop eating it; we want to know how long ago the stuff came off of the assembly line. Then we can decide where the hunger-versus-staleness balance lies.

Oh, and by the way: Grape Nuts after seven months? Tasted about the same. That’s the advantage to food products made from inedible substances. But that’s the subject of another blog.


Ode to a Donut

The problems not solved by a donut are few,
And even those problems are solved by two.