This piece appeared in LongStoryShort last year.
My DNA By David Margolis
I was perusing my National Geographic yesterday when I came across an article comparing the human genome to other biological species, and it answered numerous questions that have been vexing me for several years. I read that we share 18% of the same genes with the lowly Saccharomyces cerevisiae also known as Baker’s yeast. I now know why one’s unique talents are referred to as his “bread and butter” which can help him earn a lot of “bread,” but he must be careful not to develop a puffed ego if he gets on a “roll”.
The next item on the list was the lowly grape which has 24% similarity with our species. These genes might account for the purple color that some individuals acquire when angry, while jealousy can often cause our grapes to turn sour, particularly if information was obtained through the grapevine. In the 35-45% range are the nematodes, bees, and flies, so be careful before you call somebody a worm, you might be implicating yourself, and the latest buzz could be about you or your honey. The butterfly in your insides that appear under stress may be real, and remember the best laid plans can be waylaid by a fly in the ointment.
It’s no surprise that Homo sapiens share more genes with animals that are higher up on the evolutionary ladder. Sixty-five per cent of our DNA is present in the chicken and that’s about the same percentage of the populace who are cowards, and certain people strut their stuff while others are at the bottom of the pecking order. I was puzzled that we are more closely related to the platypus than to poultry, but I did some research and found out that these animals have functioning breasts that secrete milk as opposed to a chicken’s breast that’s only useful for grilling. The Zebra fish, related to the lowly minnow, unexpectedly has 70% of its genome in common with man. I know that some people swim very well but that can’t explain the concordance, so it must include all the shysters with fishy schemes, and those that have congenitally dry skin known as ichthyosis although most fish that I have handled seem slimy. Then again, many of us drink like a fish although many fish don’t drink.
Eighty percent of our genes exist in the cow, and therefore it’s not a revelation that subsets of individuals have a herd like mentality, are full of bull, or steer away from trouble; and on every human leg there is a calf. The dog has a similar representation, although I might have expected more. After all, there have been studies to prove that many of us dog it at work, while other’s doggedly pursue their dreams, while still others lead a fortunate life, the so-called lucky dogs of the world, and of course the doggy bag leftovers which folks take home from restaurants, but usually eat themselves rather than feed to their canines. The horse was no problem for me. A select group has a certain amount of horse sense, and seldom horse around, or put the horse before the cart, and never look a gift horse in the mouth. Conversely, if someone is shooting horse, or illegally ingesting horse pills, then that’s a horse of another color, particularly if they heard it from the horse’s mouth but horses don’t talk, only humans and parrots do, and a minority of dudes need to hold their horses especially if beating a dead horse.
The mouse genome is astonishingly akin to hominids at eighty-eight percent, but after thinking about this fact for a while I realized it should be no shock. If you slug your adversary in the eye he might develop a mouse, and a few people, usually women, are called mousy. Then there are all those humanoid mice, Mickey, Minnie, Mighty, and of course the Mouse that Roared and you can’t run a computer without a mouse.
Finally, there are the primates with a ninety per cent match to man. Individuals are greatly relieved when they get the monkey off their back, but become irate when somebody makes a monkey out of them, and when they admire a person they might want to ape them, or if excited, they might go ape, and certain groups will start a guerilla war if they are dissatisfied with their government, and who can forget King Kong, Curious George, and Albert the first monkey in space who unfortunately did not survive the flight.
Having completed my study of comparative genomics, I squat in my man cave hunched over my magazine: my hair long, my beard overgrown, my forehead sloped, and my eyes sunken. Suddenly I emit an audible grunt as my inadequate brain tries to cope with all this knowledge, but this shouldn’t surprise me; I just read that my DNA is two and a half percent Neanderthal.
How many Jewish men can remember their bris?
My Bris: A Recollection after Sixty-Five Years by David Margolis
Jews are prolific writers and there are thousands of memoirs about bar mitzvahs, weddings, parenthood and funerals, but despite careful research I have not come across an autobiographical account of the bris (the Jewish rite of circumcision), so I have decided to fill this obvious gap in Hebraic lore. My peregrination through the birth canal was unremarkable and I proceeded to breathe soon after the obstetrician slapped me on my butt. I began bottle feeding immediately, (breast feeding was not popular then) and I pooped and peed soon after arrival. Everything seemed to be going well until my dad appeared from the father’s waiting room (they weren’t present at the birthing in the 1940’s), and told me that he hoped that I would be a good Jewish boy. Gee, this was a Catholic hospital and there were nuns all over the place so I assumed that I was a Christian although I hadn’t ruled out Buddhism because I was bald and a little yellow, but being a Jew never crossed my mind. Now I was saddled with a five thousand year history of misfortunes, not to mention the guilt.
Suddenly my parents were discussing cutting some skin around my penis to prove that I was from the chosen people. Hey! Everything is working well, and if it ain’t broke why fix it? I can embrace Judaism, maybe not my first choice, but isn’t this unnecessary surgery? Evidently I wasn’t to have any input in the matter and I thought to myself, “let’s get this over with today.” But no, there is a seven or eight day waiting period depending if you were born before or after sunset, and nobody seems to know exactly why, something about taking that length of time to get the body and soul together, long before the Beatles tune “Eight Days a Week.” Then I found out that Abraham wasn’t circumcised until he was ninety-nine so could we put this off indefinitely? I guess not.
The next day my dad returned with a list of prospective circumcisers (mohels) in the area. He had narrowed it down to three men (there were no women in the business). A local butcher, I. M. Fleisher, seemed to have the most experience and he had excellent references, but because of his expertise, he charged fifty bucks for the ritual which in 1947 was a lot of money plus he was not a kosher butcher and my father worried that the job might be tainted if there was some pork remnants on the man’s hands, even though that seemed unlikely. The second individual was Max Goldgraber who owned a deli but had an abrasive personality and was somewhat of a chiseler. He insisted on a package deal where the family would need to buy his bagels for the post bris meal. The third fellow, Noah Klutznick was a novice in his twenties but had just finished his apprenticeship in Brooklyn with a famous mohel who was the Babe Ruth of the profession. In order to make a living, Klutznick continued to work in the family business of making brooms. He was the cheapest of the lot, charging only twenty-five dollars while trying to build up his clientele. Thus, the candidates included a butcher, a baker, and a broom handle maker. My parents went with the still green Klutznick ostensibly for his enthusiasm and modern training. Holy mohely! They would endanger my phallus to save a few bucks, but what choice did I have? I was a long way from eighteen.
Because of my jaundice, the doctor kept me in the hospital until the day of the ritual. That morning, a perky blond nurse in a starched white uniform with matching cap, gave me a bath with a thorough scrubbing of my private parts as they would shortly be on display. She wheeled me to a small conference room where the icons of Christ had been tastefully removed from the walls. A throng of people had gathered, mostly relatives whom I had never met and if I knew then what I know now about them, I would have started crying immediately. They placed me in the lap of my grandfather who insisted on telling some Yiddish jokes to the gentile attendants. Next to us was the chair of Elijah, which of course was empty. He evidently is the same prophet who never shows up on Passover to drink his wine. Klutznick had already arrived looking handsome in a new suit with a fedora perched on his head, Frank Sinatra wearing a tallis. He started the ceremony with the Kiddush and sprinkled some sacramental vino on my lips to get me drunk so I wouldn’t feel the pain. To this day I have an aversion to Manischewitz wine and much prefer a pinot noir or a cabernet. The mohel put a little helmet on my penis so it looked like a soldier and with a clamp and a knife he trimmed away the foreskin. Klutznick was flawless in his performance. I was somewhat tipsy from the wine but was still able to shriek at the top of my lungs. Soon it was over and my father and grandfather were congratulating the rookie slicer on a job well done. Afterwards, my relations did what most Jews do, and that was to eat the bagels (not from Goldgraber), lox, and cream cheese, along with knishes supplied by my grandmother, and then they all went home including me.
My bris was over and I took my place in line as a Jew although I couldn’t start to complain until I was able to talk. I don’t want to go into embarrassing detail about the function of the mohel’s handiwork, but suffice it to say, I was able to produce two children and my aim at the toilet bowl has for the most part been on target. More recently, because of an enlarging prostate, I have made more trips to the commode to empty my bladder, but this has given me more time to look down and marvel at Klutznick’s masterpiece. Last week, I was honored to be present at my grandson’s bris, and discovered that this quirky custom had not changed since my ordeal in the first half of the previous century. The only modification in protocol was the mohel’s announcement at the beginning of the ceremony: he instructed all in attendance to turn off their cell phones.
Danny the Dinosaur Meets Adam and Eve
By David Margolis
I was created by God, even though it’s not clear if I was begat with the sea monsters on the fourth day or the quadrupeds on the fifth day, for there is no specific mention of dinosaurs in the book of Genesis. In fact, my real name isn’t Danny but a very long Hebrew appellation, but that doesn’t explain the absence of my personage in the Holy Scriptures. I’m more like your average beast, not vicious like a Tyrannosaurus Rex, or coated with armor like a Stegosaurus, but I do have the ability to fly, albeit rather feebly. My species is the Mediocresaur. No fossils of my family have ever been found, so you won’t find my kin in any paleontology books.
Anyway, there I was in the Garden of Eden, well not actually in the hallowed plot itself, but in an adjacent gravelly section that looked more like an unpaved parking lot without the chain link fence. As I looked around, there were no humans, just a bunch of creatures like me. The atmosphere was serene and peaceful and I built a small nest from twigs and leaves that I found in the heavenly acreage. The lawn in the Garden itself was pristine, for weeds had yet to be invented, and just like a goose (a distant relative), I loved to waddle over there, munch on the perfect blades, and have a good poop.
You already know that Herman, the serpent, had taken up residence in this paradise. He seemed like a friendly chap at the time, but as it turned out, I wasn’t a particularly good judge of character. He lived down by the river, mostly concerned with finding a female with which to fertilize a few hundred eggs, so I pretty much left him alone except for a polite hello when our paths crossed.
The sixth day was a seminal twenty-four hour segment in the history of the world, for that’s when man came down from the heavens which were fashioned on the second day. There was a rumor floating around that this fellow was to rule over the fish, the fowl, and the animals, no specific reference to the dinosaurs, but I got the picture; this guy was going to be our boss. There was no puff of smoke or anything like that. He just parachuted right into the orchard, and this young buck was completely naked, but so were the rest of us, therefore no big deal. Then woman came into being after a surgical operation performed by God, using a part of the fellow’s anatomy. The deity did an excellent job if I could be permitted to editorialize. She looked to be about eighteen, firm and perky in every way, and of course she was sans garments as well, with her hair simply tied in a chignon. Remember, there were no hairdressers around at that time, and no cosmetics, but this lass didn’t need any foundation. Though he was post-op from the rib extraction, Mr. Male ran over to the maiden, and began to escort her on a tour of the Garden. Even a dinosaur could see a glint in his eye from the get-go.
I’m a relatively curious fellow, so I flapped over to the couple as they were picking succulent oranges off a tree, for in the beginning the trees were created with fruit already on the boughs. It was only the following year that they needed flowers and bees to produce things, but that’s another story. I plopped down near the pair who were ogling each other. At first they didn’t notice a mundane dinosaur, but in a neighborly tone I said to the man, “Hi, my name’s Danny. How’s it hangin’?”
“Doin’ Ok except for some pain in my side. My name is Adam, and this here is my friend Eve. We were just comparing notes, and it seems that where I’ve got a gadget like a hose dangling down in front, she has a little bush, but on her chest I notice she’s got some things like what’s on that tree over yonder,” and he pointed to the tallest tree in the garden with shapely fruit growing high in the branches.
“That’s the Tree of Knowledge,” I replied. “The serpent claims it produces a very special crop, and wanted me to try a sample, but there’s an abundance of nutritious fare to eat around here. You can get a dozen peaches for next to nothing, the mangos are delicious, and an excellent stir fry can be prepared with the cauliflower and broccoli growing just over the hill. We don’t call it the ‘Garden of Eatin’ for nothing, so you really don’t need to partake of those pulpy pears perched in that tree.”
“Yeah, God already warned us about eating that stuff,” responded Adam, “but thanks for your tip about the broccoli. If you’ll excuse us, Eve and I have business to attend to,” and as he settled himself in the grass alongside the pulchritudinous wench, I couldn’t help notice that his hose had become more like a construction pencil. When I became air borne, I witnessed the serpent angling toward them in the grass. A few hours later, there was a ladder against Woody Wisdom as we nicknamed it, and Eve was standing on the highest rung, picking the fruit. Before long, the lovers were popping generous morsels into their mouths. They saw me aloft in the freshly minted azure sky, and held up their hands to offer me a slice so I swooped on in, grasping a large hunk in my jaws. The sample was fibrous, and not that sweet, more like a Bartlett that you might want to place in a brown bag, and leave on the counter to ripen for a day or two.
Suddenly, there was a sound like a thunderclap, the firmament blackened, and a wind came up. Then the furious voice of God could be heard. As I fluttered to my refuge, I could see him scolding Adam, and the poor fellow was gesticulating and pointing over to Eve as if it were all her fault, a custom which has perpetuated since man has resided on this earth. God turned to the serpent slinking away in the grass, and began to cuss at him, and when I heard the Almighty swearing, I veritably trembled.
A few days passed, and I breathed easier as it appeared that God was unaware of my nibbling on the verboten gourd. I spied Adam and Eve strolling in the providential patch. He was wearing a dark blue suit, and she had on a blouse and skirt. The body parts that had been previously exposed were hidden, and as I plummeted down beside them, they didn’t seem all that blissful.
“You guys are all dressed up. What’s the occasion?” I offered in my softest dinosaur voice.
“I’m really not in the mood for small talk” sneered Eve. “I found out that Adam is not the man I thought he was. After we have sex, he jumps up, and abruptly leaves with that devil, the serpent. They eat some cherries, pick some blueberries, and shoot the bull with the other critters. They don’t come back until nightfall. He’ll need to learn how to treat a gal properly before he gets any more favors.”
“She’s never satisfied, always complaining,” responded Adam. “Ever since God chastised us, I’ve carried a heavy burden to provide for her, particularly now that there’s a little one on the way. The Almighty has decreed that I will have to plough the fields, sow the seeds and harvest the wheat. This isn’t working out too well, and I blame the first bitch for making me eat of the proscribed produce.”
That was enough for me, but as I headed back to my cozy abode, I received the shock of my young life. God was there waiting for me, and by the look on his face, I knew it wouldn’t be to borrow a recipe for cauliflower casserole.
“Danny, I’m very disappointed. Thought you could fool God did you? Get off scot free while your friends have been punished?”
“Well no sir. It was an egregious error to listen to my colleagues and I’m sorry.”
“Well Danny, if you’d had parents you would know that sorry isn’t good enough. Dinosaurs will exist on this earth for many years, but then you will become extinct, and the only evidence that you ever roamed the earth will be the bones dug up for display in museums, and toys made in your image for children’s play. No one will ever know that you lived in the Garden of Eden, for your name will be expunged from the Bible.” With that he vanished, and I never saw the unmoved mover again.
Soon there was a flood. Not a huge one like Noah’s, but enough to cover the Garden, and when the waters receded, all of the plants and trees were gone including the Tree of Knowledge. The entire area resembled the stony plot next door. My dinosaur colleagues never forgave my insufferable ingestion. We all left the place to go our own way in the world, even big Rex departed looking for a swamp, and the last time I saw Adam, he was tilling the rocky soil in his shirtsleeves, with Eve right behind him holding an infant in her arms, and she was nagging at him.
Rub a Dub Dub
Rub a dub dub, three men in a tub, and who do you think were there? The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker and all of them going to the fair.
While you have been in Yorkshire with your parents, a very embarrassing event has occurred, and I know you will read about it in our local newspaper mailed to you by that despicable busy body Gladys Tullybelton who claims to be your best friend, or in a letter from your sister Agnes who as you can attest, never wanted you to marry me, preferring that mealy mouthed lawyer Harold Cockerham, who by a pure stroke of fortune became the richest man in the district after luckily throwing his lot in with the Imperial Tee Cup Company that obtained an endorsement from the royals after a substantial under the table payoff to the Prime Minister. Therefore, I believe you should receive this bit of unwelcome news directly from your cherished husband, who loves you dearly, but who occasionally suffers a penchant for the drink and a salacious interest in the nubile flesh of the world, and what red blooded Englishman doesn’t have these faults from time to time? As you know, I’m not a regular church goer, but on occasion I will enter the dwelling of our Maker, and will sing and beat my chest with the best of them, and when the congregation looks over and sees my red face and slightly bulbous nose, they know that I am a man of god, if not every day, certainly on those days when I am sober. Remember, that in twenty years of our marriage I have been a steady provider to you and our three children except for the three years that I spent in jail on that spurious charge of selling horse meat at the shop after representing the items as sirloin steak, and fortunately for you and the youngsters, your mother and father took you in with them at their fine house. To this day, I am remorseful that I defaulted on the very generous loan that your parents gave me to start the business in the first place, and then they were also kind enough to pay the exorbitant legal fees of Neville Cockerham, Harold’s brother, who managed to shorten my sentence from six years to three after I swore that I would never get in trouble with the law again, but I must sadly admit that the law has once again come after me, and this is why I am writing this letter to you, my love.
It all started when that sleazy baker, Humphrey Twaddlesworth, with his stale scones, beetle-infested buns and mealy muffins, may that man rot in hell, suggested that he and I stop at the Dog and Duck for just a pint of ale. After a hard day’s work, carving ham hocks and making my signature swine jelly made from the finest hog brains in the shire, and with you and the kids gone on vacation, I felt that a small pint of spirits would be a perfect potion after an uncharacteristically warm August day. We sat at our usual table in the venerable establishment, and soon we were joined by Rodney Goldhind, possibly the most unsavory lout in the county of Smittenshire, who produces some of the shoddiest candlesticks this side of Shropshire, Twittenshire, and Shireshire, whose workmanship is so substandard that special misshapen candles need to be produced to fit in the second-rate sockets produced by this slovenly gentleman, if you can call him that, who recommended after three more pints that we move to the Goose and Screw which as you know is another pub in town, and maybe you are not cognizant of such, but also the location where many of the lascivious, wanton, and debauched women in the area hang out to have a beer with the blokes who are looking for some prurience if you know what I mean. I myself, protested the transfer of our libations to this licentious saloon, and rose to go home, when my former friends Humphrey and Rodney reminded me that they had paid for the initial rounds of our imbibing session, and that I should buy my share of the beverages at the Goose and Screw, so what was I to do? Of course I did the noble thing, and continued on with them to this house of iniquity, simply to satisfy my debt to these loathsome scoundrels.
Regrettably, our quaffing became less than abstemious at that sinful place, and all three of us became inebriated to the extent that we lost some of our Christian judgment that I have occasionally misplaced in the past under the influence of some tasty Guinness that I will concede is a better quality ale than is served at the Duck and Dog, but significantly more expensive, and I confess that I soon spent more on this plummy beer than I had intended, and soon the few quid that I had in my pants pocket was lost as was the entire pair of pants, but that comes later. Deplorably, we met an intemperate vixen there named Roxy, curse me that I ever met her, who came over to our table sporting quite a generous cleavage (I’ll spare you the details), and we bought her a few bubblies all the while becoming more tipsy. Soon we were joined by two of her lady friends, Candy and Crystal, and we got to carousing, and then they suggested that we go to the fair grounds to continue our partying. As you are aware, Smittenshire hosts the annual pickled pepper festival that our family has attended on so many occasions, where we have eaten the delicious ice cream and cotton candy (if not the peppers), while having great fun throwing a ball at a target and upon hitting the bulls eye, submerging the principal of the school into a tub of water from a platform situated above the tank, and everyone laughs and has a great wholesome time, all for the sake of charity.
Now as I mentioned, it was a very hot sticky night, unusually humid for England, and it was at that point that the six of us made a very lamentable decision. Humphrey proposed that we take a swim in order to cool off, and with our prudence clouded by the booze, we found the tub that Mr. Skimpole, the principal, had been dunked so many times during the day, but at night this area was dark, and the container was still filled with that enticing cool water. The next thing we knew, in a besotted lack of propriety, we jumped into the receptacle and somehow lost our clothes in this aquatic adventure. The water, I have to admit, was wonderfully refreshing, enhanced by Roxy’s sensuous back rub, but I swear to the good Lord on high that I never ogled or lusted after the voluptuous female bodies that accompanied us in the tank, and I state for the record that these big bosomed girls were all a tad overweight. Well, we were having a jolly good time cavorting in the container, when the disgusting candlestick maker had the asinine notion to perform cannonballs off the platform, and these boorish shenanigans caused a considerable commotion particularly when his rotund bottom hit the water, for suddenly the overhead lights came on, and in the illumination, there we were, all six of us, splashing around naked in the tub, soon surrounded by a throng of onlookers who were curious to see us in our birthday suits when in truth it was none of their business.
After that, the rest as they say is history. The constable was called, and after hastily wrapping us in towels to the cheers and whistles of the boisterous and lustful crowd, we were hustled into a paddy wagon and hauled off to jail where I sit currently writing this sad epistle to you. My lawyer, Mr. Cockerham, has advised me that I will soon be released, charged with intoxication and lewd behavior in a public place. Because I am a repeat offender, the maximum sentence is one year in jail (they called me the ringleader in this caper but that’s a complete lie), but there is good news; Cockerham is confident that he can eliminate the prison time, although I will be forced to pay a heavy fine as well as a substantial bribe to the judge. Unfortunately, after last night we have no money, and in addition, my wallet was misplaced in the pool along with my denims, so I will need an immediate sum to post bond, and if I could impose upon your saintly parents for another magnanimous loan, it would be deeply appreciated, and I swear I will pay this one back.
Your Affectionate Husband
PS. Say hello to the kids. I bought them some toys at the fair and they will be great fun after they dry out.
Political Spin for Pariahs
The Serpent is a devoted family man. He spends most of his day gathering food in the Garden of Eden to bring home to Mrs. Serpent and the brood of little Serpents. He occupies his evening reading bedtime stories to the toddlers and helping Mrs. Serpent vacuum and dust the nest. He made one small mistake eons ago and has been maligned in the Bible ever since. It was alleged that he told Eve to eat of the forbidden apple but new evidence has come to light indicating that it may not have been The Serpent but possibly Gordon Gecko who persuaded Eve to take that fateful mouthful while trying to convince her that greed is good. We have proof that The Serpent was nowhere near the Tree of Knowledge when the apple was eaten but was actually in a different orchard picking fruit for distribution to some homeless snakes and toads. We also have in our possession a video taken from a hidden camera which depicts Eve pole dancing in the Garden; and in that same clip, a naked Adam can be seen stuffing a shekel into her fig leaf. This was long before any mention was made of a verboten russet and after viewing this excerpt it’s not difficult to believe that she would need much coaxing to undertake some sinning if you know what I mean. Our website can be contacted for additional information regarding Eve and her sexual exploits. Even God after watching the video on YouTube has changed his mind about The Serpent and absolves him of any and all perfidy in this matter. Remember this coming November to cast your vote for The Serpent for Chief Reptile of the Garden of Eden.
I am The Serpent and I approved this message.
Nero has been an honest and hardworking emperor for our country. It’s certainly possible that he could have handled some interpersonal problems with more tact and he now regrets that he tried to drown his mother in a boat before having an assassin club her to death. This started with a small disagreement over him not coming to her house for dinner every other Sunday and had nothing to do with him leaving his wife and marrying his best friend’s spouse and then having his first wife killed as well as the second wife but the idle gossip that he kicked the second wife in the stomach while she was pregnant is a complete falsehood and she may have fallen or been pushed down a flight of stairs. These untruths were spread by his former chief counselor, who then suffered a sudden death probably a coronary thrombosis; and his step brother, who expired precipitously after a large meal probably related to gluttony rather than cyanide ingestion as some have claimed. As far as fiddling while Rome burned, this is a complete lie and we have eyewitnesses from his family (the few that are left) that Nero was singing that night and not playing the violin. The fact that he built a large palace for himself on the site of the burned ruins to stage three- day orgies in no way implicates our beloved emperor of culpability for the fire. We fervently believe that Nero is the best man to lead our empire through these immoral times. Jupiter bless our great emperor!
I am Nero and I approved this message.
Attila the Hun is a peaceful and generous man. His invasion of Gaul was entirely justified because Mr. Hun was in need of money for charitable giving to the widows and orphans of Hunland. When he crossed the Rhine it was his intention to negotiate in a civilized manner. He made reasonable demands for ninety per cent of the gold and jewels in each city. When these very humble requests were refused he was forced to enter many of the houses and churches and politely remove the booty that he found. To his dismay some of the burghers expired in their homes and it’s obvious that many of these deaths were suicides; the result of guilt feelings for not voluntarily giving their wealth to such a benevolent man as Mr. Hun. Some of the women were enamored of the Hun men and wanted to have sex with them and the accusations of rape were mostly “he said she said,” and the fires which burned most of the cities could well be blamed on faulty construction and unsafe ovens. Mr. Hun is a dedicated husband and father to his twelve wives and thirty-two children. He had a close relationship with his brother before he regrettably took ill and died in a bathtub at Mr. Hun’s castle. We urge you to vote for this great man to lead our nation as opposed to any of his rivals most of whom are dead.
I am Attila the Hun and I approved this message.
This magnificent woman is the wife of a Scottish noble and soon to be the next Queen of Scotland. Rumors abound that she incited her husband to kill the reigning King Duncan when he was a guest at their castle after hearing about a prophecy from some witches. We can prove that this is a total fabrication. That afternoon she was at a tournament to cheer on her son who was just beginning knight little league. She is one of the many jousting moms that live in the suburbs of Edinburgh. She was forced to leave this event early to host the banquet for the King and of course she didn’t have a minivan but had to ride a mule. At the feast, the old monarch became inebriated and made a crude pass at a buxom baroness and while being subdued by the guards he fell and hit his head and died. The great guilt that Agnes—-all her friends call her Agnes—- experienced afterwards had nothing to do with the death of the King but was remorse for not being present when her son put on his first chain mail. Her famous lament “out, damn’d Spot!” was not related to blood stains on her hand but was uttered while disciplining her Scottish Terrier Spot who had peed on the noble bed. She spent hours trying to clean the ducal comforter while washing urine from her hands. This upstanding wife and mother deserves to be the new queen and she will do a killer of a job even though she may not be as cute as Kate Middleton.
I am Lady Macbeth and I approved this message.
A Letter from the NRA
I am pleased to be writing the annual letter for the year 2020. As you know the last five years have been rather difficult for our organization. It started with increased background checks for gun buyers finally passed by Congress in 2015. Our former leader, Mr. Lapierre suggested that this was a slippery slope for gun ownership and was he ever correct. The next president Mr. Michael Moore, the first chief executive ever inaugurated in a baseball cap, used the depletion of the squirrel population in Arkansas and Missouri as an excuse to ban all shot guns, and currently there are more squirrels than people residing in those states. Then several liberal PAC groups formed: Pinko’s United, Tree Huggers Against Pistol Luggers, Mommies for Commies, and Left Wingers Versus Gun Slingers. Their powerful connections contributed to the weakening of the gun lobby. Bumper stickers began to appear such as “Have you Hugged your Psychopath today?” and “Your Home Intruder is a Person Too.” The Jewish restaurateurs won an award for the slogan: “Don’t bring your Smith & Wesson to the Delicatessen” but our greatest setback occurred when the professional athletes “Jocks against Glocks” came out against gun violence.
Several new groups were established to challenge the NRA. The National Sling Shot Association (NSSA) became influential as people clamored to buy rubber bands and three inch diameter rocks. The Club for Clubs (CFC) mobilized the public to save old baseball bats and two irons and the Chain Mail Association (CMA) encouraged folks to convert their old pots and pans to armor. The American Spear Association (ASA) organized a potent consortium and believe me this had nothing to do with asparagus. The newer Battle Axe and Bludgeon Society (BABS) gained strength with much of their money coming from retired Vikings and Visigoths.
On a brighter note I would like to emphasize some of the more positive accomplishments of the past year. I am happy to report that squirt guns are still legal in 45 states but you must show ID at Toys R Us proving that you are over eighteen years of age. Water cannons are permissible but the water in them must be distilled and samples are to be submitted to the local health department on a periodic basis. Bows and arrows are now the weapons of choice for self-defense but regrettably new laws mandate only three arrows per quiver. We have lobbied hard for the right of home owners to build moats on their properties and several state legislatures are considering bills in favor of this endeavor although in California the draw bridge must be solar powered.
There are still several rebates that can be obtained with your NRA card. You can receive a 10% discount from Piggly Wiggly Stores on most of their items except for unhealthy fare such as beef jerky and chewing tobacco; and at Whole Foods the organic kiwis and mangos can be purchased at a reduced price with proof of membership. “Fidel Castro: My Life” was a bargain at Borders Books before they went bankrupt but can still be obtained online. Unfortunately the “Field and Stream” markdown is no longer valid but “The American Poetry Review” can now be bought for pennies on the dollar.
Finally I must announce that this will be my last letter to all of you. We have decided to merge with the National Pea Shooter’s Association (NPSA) but if you pay your dues before yearend, you will receive a free bag of dried lentils in the mail.
Elmer Fudd III
My Dog is a Republican by David Margolis
I have spent most of my life in this dog eat dog world supporting liberal causes: aid to the disadvantaged, the right to universal health care and a healthy environment for all our citizens. Fortune has smiled on me and one might correctly presume that my financial status is greater than the majority of my fellow Americans, some call us the one percent. Nevertheless, I eagerly accept my social security check each month which I really don’t need, while looking for ways to cut my taxes, although if I was true to my progressive politics, I should actually desire to pay more. Be that as it may, I’m just an old retired left wing white guy, a member of a vanishing breed, so one can imagine my dismay as results from the midterm elections rolled in and my party suffered a bruising defeat. OK, not a big surprise there, yet not only was I obliged to endure the horrific pummeling that the Democrats received, but I suddenly realized that my poodle Bernie was a staunch conservative, and it was then I discovered that a dog could crow.
The election returns came in and the senate races in Arkansas, West Virginia and Kentucky quickly went into the GOP column. At the same time, Bernie began to bark happily and I thought that my wife must have taken one of his flavored mint bones out of the closet as a reward for brushing his teeth. This dog loves to have his teeth brushed and possibly has the cleanest teeth of any dog in any liberal home in America. I looked around and found my spouse in the bedroom room watching Love it or List It and there were no dog treats or doggie dental equipment in sight. Soon Senator Mitch McConnell came on the tube to deliver his acceptance speech. Bernie became delirious and tried to lick, you won’t believe this, the television set. And then I asked the pooch, “Don’t you know that Senator McConnell’s position on cutting taxes mostly benefit affluent people like myself who earn income from interest and dividends? Surely, if the wealthy paid a little more, the cut in the food stamp allowance could be restored, or money for research could be increased, or more teachers could be hired to work in the inner cities. Bernie stretched and gave me a weird look. All at once, I knew what he was thinking.
“Are you kidding me? Sure, I’m luxuriating here in my doggie bed by a warm fire and have just eaten my fill of the finest dog food which you purchased at the upscale canine supermarket, but remember, I guarded the house all day today. All right, I had four naps but they were short ones, and I would have wakened immediately had there been any intruders which there weren’t. Dave, you can’t pay more taxes so lazy people can continue in the welfare state. More free money only promotes lounging on their couches and watching TV when they should be out looking for a job. A little hunger in the belly would certainly stimulate a job search.” I was taken aback by his callousness but I soon forgot his musings as more dreadful news came in.
I poured myself a stiff bourbon on the rocks to quell my nerves. As I settled back in my chair, I watched Senator McConnell supporting clean energy; a statement diametrically opposed to his position in the Senate where he voted to bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases from coal mining. I emitted a mournful groan. The poodle jumped on me, vigorously wagging his tail and I let him outside to do his business which incidentally doesn’t employ anybody and has no payroll, but soon I comprehended that his excitement was a reaction to the words of the soon-to-be majority leader of the senate and was unrelated to his bowels or bladder. Still, I couldn’t conceive that my dog was in favor of polluting the atmosphere and contributing to climate change or what used to be called global warming. He stared into my face with those big brown eyes. “What climate change? I haven’t seen any difference in the weather between this year and last year or the year before or the year before that. Look at the temperature of our home, a steady 70 degrees. Everything is very comfortable in here, no evidence of any kind of warming or cooling for that matter, a uniform environment all year around. Why pay higher energy bills just to limit coal emissions? You might need that money to buy my expensive doggie bones. And what if the groomer raises the cost of my shampoo and hair cut? And what if you can’t afford to send me to doggie day camp? What then?”
The tabulations from North Carolina and Colorado added to my disheartenment. Those new blue states that MSNBC had told me about for all those months with the favorable demographics: the young people, the Asians, and the Hispanics. Not only were they not purple, they were flashing crimson! Yes Scarlet, I don’t give a damn. I’m going back to Charleston where I belong, but there’s a lot of red in South Carolina and West Virginia too. Just then I remembered to take out the garbage for the early morning pick up, a very important job for retired men, kind of gets that testosterone flowing, but when I re-entered the house, I received the shock of my elderly life and I exploded. “Oh my god. Oh my god. Iowa is in the Republican camp with the hog castrator Joni Ernst!” Bernie observed my ghastly countenance as I quickly drained the bourbon and looked in the pantry for more. He came up to me with that look of disgust that only man’s-best-friend can communicate to his master. “Why you two-faced son of a bitch,” forgetting for a moment that he was also a son of one himself. “You took my balls off when I was just a puppy, told me I was going to the vet for a checkup, and I came back without my testicles. Then you laughed that derisive laugh when I tried to engage the cocker spaniel next door and I heard your caustic remark that I was humping a bitch without bullets. And now you’re astounded that this woman cut off some porcine nuts on her farm? And guess what? She’s for the Keystone Pipeline. That’s exactly what this country requires, a large dollop of thick crude oil from Canada. Who cares if a couple of geese are put out and maybe a rabbit hole is bulldozed or a deer habitat is disturbed. We’ve got too many of those critters already. I’m barking at deer all day and they just keep multiplying, plus that pipe won’t be built anywhere near us so why should we be concerned? And come to think of it, why did you install those solar panels on our roof? You won’t get your money back for ten years. I was hoping for a new run in the back yard and my leash and doggie bowls need upgrading. That’s where you should be spending the money.”
The election outcome continued to disappoint and by this time I was on my third whiskey. I rummaged in the cupboard for the salted peanuts and stale Goldfish snacks. Forget the carrots and the broccoli and the hummus dip. When I returned, I noticed that Bernie was whimpering and he started to rub his muzzle against my lucky jogging suit that I wore when Jimmy Carter was elected. I looked at my expensive high definition television. Eight states had voted to increase the minimum wage! Finally, a humanistic idea had gained popularity with the populace, but at that moment, I understood Bernie’s despondence. He recalled all the work he’d done around this house for nothing: collecting the New York Times from the curb which taxed every muscle in his jaws (fortunately I now obtain this liberal publication on my smart phone), fetching my furry slippers when I came home from work (I did do that once upon a time), or nipping at the postman as I eagerly awaited my dividend checks (they are now deposited electronically along with my Social Security). Nowadays, all I receive in the mail are bills and solicitations for charities or mailers from stores like Victoria’s secret— the only secret that I have from Victoria are my Viagra pills. No, Bernie never received a minimum wage let alone any wage, and he was damned if he was going to sit or beg for some worker at McDonald’s to receive a higher salary. And so what if a Wal-Mart employee is on food stamps? Bernie worked for peanuts and he likes almonds too.
Finally in my abject misery, I fell asleep in my recliner intermittently dreaming of Obama’s 2008 campaign with the slogan of yes we can. At five am, Bernie’s enthusiastic woofing woke me up from my shut-eye. I initially assumed that he felt the urge for another visit to the backyard, but it wasn’t that, the Alaska results were coming in. The GOP candidate was beating the incumbent Democrat to complete the Republican’s landslide win, and I remembered Mitch’s words about removing Obamacare root and branch. Until then, I hadn’t appreciated that Obamacare was a sapling. Speaking of trees, I went outside with Bernie hoping that a satisfying lift of his leg would settle the poodle down, but his energetic utterances continued. I began to fear that the neighbors might be awakened at that early hour, not believing that any of them had stayed up to watch the voting returns from the forty-ninth state. I dragged the big overweight poodle into the house as he continued to slobber and yelp in my face. “Finally Obamacare will be gone. Did anyone ever subsidize my veterinary bills? No. We paid full freight and you know I earned it, watching for stray dogs and cats invading our gated community, as well keeping an eye out for the odd squirrel planning mischief on the tennis court. I’ve been particularly alarmed by those two robins persistently pooping on the umbrella near the pool. Sure, subsidize some lazy oaf so he can get help for his diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Hey bud, get off your ass, lose that weight, and find a job. So what if there’s no health insurance from your employer. He hired you didn’t he? And maybe there’s not quite enough money to eat three meals a day. Get another job in the evening. Sometimes I need to bark not only in the evening but late into the night. If your leg gets infected from the diabetes or you have a heart attack, go to the Emergency Room and wait there for three hours. If you don’t get fed up and go home then you’ll know you’re really sick. After you’re released from the hospital no doctor will treat you as an outpatient, but you can still set up a medical savings account if you have any money which of course you don’t. But even if you did have the cash, you wouldn’t be able to get insurance due to your preexisting conditions, remember Obamacare is gone, so go out and get a third job and perhaps you can pay off the debts from the hospital and that leaves you three hours a day to sleep, eat, and spend time with your family but you’re not a job creator.”
After he got all that off his chest, Bernie began to doze. It was time for his pre-breakfast nap. I got up from my chair and opened the closet where his dog food was kept. I put two scoops of the sweet potato and rainbow trout kibble into his dish, added some left over chunks of filet mignon that we had eaten the night before, and then filled the drinking bowl with eight ounces of Evian bottled water. I dejectedly headed to the bedroom to finish what was left of my night’s sleep and soon I was dreaming about another presidential race, this time 2016. Unfortunately it was a Republican victory and I soon died due to the lack of health benefits, but there was good news, I was reincarnated as a labradoodle yuppie puppy!