The Piano Player

A man who walks into a bar, and sits down on the barstool. He places a large duffel bag on top of the bar.

The bartender greets him, and says “Hey, buddy, what’s in the bag?”

The man says nothing, reaches into the bag, and pulls out a small piano. The bartender looks on, puzzled.

The man reaches into the bag again, and pulls out a small piano bench. The bartender, mystified, says, “What’s up with this?”, but again the man says nothing.

The man reaches into the bag a third time, and brings out a one-foot-tall man, dressed in tuxedo and tails, and sits him on the piano bench. The tiny man begins to play the piano, and suddenly the room is filled with the extraordinary strains of a Mozart Concerto.

The bartender is completely amazed. “Where on earth did you get this?” The man still says nothing, reaches into the bag, and pulls out an old lamp. He hands it to the bartender, and says “Rub it.”

The bartender rubs the side of the lamp, and suddenly, there is a puff of smoke, and a Genie arises from the lamp, beturbined, his arms folded. He bows deeply, and asks the bartender to make one wish.

The bartender’s face lights up, and he says “I want a million bucks!”

The Genie bows deeply again, and retreats into his lamp.

A few moments later, the barroom door swings open, and in waddles a Mallard, quacking loudly. A few moments later, another duck follows him, and another after that. Soon, the room begins to fill with Mallards, all quacking noisily. There are ducks everywhere — on the floor, on the tables, on the shelves, all over the bar. Pandemonium reigns.

The bartender turns to the man on the barstool, and says “Buddy, I think your Genie has a hearing problem. I asked for a million bucks, not a million ducks!”

The men on the barstool says, “Tell me about it! Do you think I asked for a 12-inch pianist?”

Sunday Suggestions

The week has just whizzed by, but there’s been a trainload of great stuff in out in webland:

  • On Government the solid Rock I stand: Obama was preachin’ to the choir again, in a New Orleans church, quoting the Sermon on the Mount.
    First, the obvious: can you imagine a Republican or a Conservativepreaching in a church and quoting the Bible — without the chorus of cries about “theocracy” and “right-wing fundamentalist extremists”? Didn’t think so. But more to the point: I somehow don’t think Christ was referring to government when He spoke about building houses on on the Rock … and isn’t New Orleans an excellent example of building houses on sand?
  • And while we’re on the subject of New Orleans: Just among friends, may I say something, rather politically incorrect? Why in the hell are we rebuilding this city? We’re $127 billion in, with very little to show for it, and we’re one hurricane away from flushing that money down the can as well. Leave the Crescent, bulldoze the rest, breach the dikes permanently, and let the Mississippi regain its tidal marshes. Mona Charen spells it out nicely, as does the Confederate Yankee: Rebuilding New Orleans: A Continuing Mistake
  • In memory of Stevie Ray Vaughn: Stevie Ray Vaughan, one of the truly great blues guitarists, died 17 years ago this week in a helicopter crash:

    And check out this session with Albert King — two of the greatest electric blues players ever. (Notice King’s left-handed Gibson Flying V) — played upside-down (high strings at the top):

    OK, stop me before I link again — here’s SRV, Albert King B.B. King, and I think (correct me if I’m wrong), Charlie Musselwhite. Blues ecstasy!

  • Gagdad Bob nails it: Robert Godwin over at One Cosmos is one deep thinker — so deep at times I need a decompression chamber to recover. No nitrogen narcosis from this one, just outta sight insight: Epidemanology 101: The Cause and Cure of Mankind
  • Sticks & stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me: Modern secular liberalism is all about words — negotiation, compromise, appeasement, multilateral solutions, tough talk without action. Why smooth-talking lily-livered intellectuals pose such a threat to Western culture: Courage, Cowardice and the Wordsmiths:

    These self-flattering views carry over to adulthood, and shape the future wordsmith intellectuals’ political views. If words can resolve all conflicts, then wordsmiths are exceedingly important. If conflicts within and between human beings can be “resolved” with words, then who better to play the role of savior than the wordsmith intellectual?

    One of the central features of utopian politics, explaining their appeal to intellectuals, is the promise that conflict can be abolished and human nature fundamentally changed. Whether Communism, Nazism or Islamism, the aim is a unified, submissive, happy mankind led by an elite in possession of the truth, just like Miss Murphy when she taught 6th grade. Aggression will then vanish when egalitarian paradise prevails.

  • The pointlessness of suffering: Once again, a home run over at First Things — this time on the problem of pain and suffering in Christianity:

    Which is to say that there the already of salvation history: He is risen! and the not yet. And the not yet entails suffering in this passing — suffering that is often unjust and seemingly pointless, but in the hands of a sovereign and Good God a tool to conform his children to the image of his Only Begotten, the true purpose of their predestination. (So as not to be misunderstood, because suffering falls within the permissive will of God, and can even be used by him for ultimately good ends, is no excuse for complacency; the alleviation of pain, done in the name of Jesus, is, like preaching and teaching, a heralding of the kingdom and a diffusion of hope.)

    Now, a sovereign God does not displace secondary causes in Christians’ thinking about how the world works. Shifting tectonic plates do give rise to earthquakes and tsunamis. But Christians also believe God continues to intervene in the affairs of his creatures and does so to remind them that the world and its horrors are not beyond his purview, and that the saved child and the answered prayer is a foretaste of the age to come, in which every tear shall be wiped away and the body will no longer be an occasion of sin or pain.

    But a foretaste only. Which is why sometimes only one child is saved. And why only Lazarus is raised from the dead. They are signs of this already, while the rest endure the not yet. Hints, whispers, and still small voices until the full number of the Elect have come into the Kingdom and the very last fundamentalist Darwinian has raged.

    Why Do the Heathen Rage?

  • Such a deal:

    An Arab, desperate for water, was plodding through the desert when he saw something far off in the distance. Hoping to find water, he walked toward the object, only to find a little old Jewish man at a small stand selling neckties.

    The Arab asked, “Do you have water?”

    The Jewish man replied, “I have no water. Would you like to buy a tie? They are only $5.”

    The Arab shouted, “Idiot Jew! Israel should not exist! I do not need an overpriced tie. I need water! I should kill you, but I must find water first.”

    “OK,” said the old Jew, “it does not matter that you do not want to buy a tie and that you hate me. I will show you that I am bigger than that. If you continue over that hill to the east for about two miles, you will find a lovely restaurant. It has all the water you need. Shalom.”

    Muttering, the Arab staggered away over the hill. Several hours later he staggered back, near collapse.

    “Your brother won’t let me in without a tie.”

    (HT: Mr Bagel Funnies)

  • Well, they don’t kill everybody: 100-year-old celebrates her birthday by smoking 170,000th cigarette
  • The doctor will see you — eventually: Why our current health care system promotes scheduling inefficiency and long waiting-room times. Waiting for the doctor.
  • How to avoid getting a DUI: Drunk dad has 11 year old drive home
  • Don’t wear this one to a Greenpeace protest: Exploit the Earth or Die Merchandise

That’s all for now — have a great week, and God bless.

Ducking the Hard Questions

It’s good to know that science is finally beginning to address larger questions of the meaning of life, rather than wasting time on trivial pursuits such as the origins of the universe. This epiphany came to me upon reading the following news release:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Several species of ducks have evolved complicated genitals in what appears to be an “arms race” between the sexes, researchers reported on Tuesday.

And females may be coming out ahead, said the team of biologists at Yale University in Connecticut and the University of Sheffield in Britain.

Their findings not only open a window into a little-studied area of biology, but could help shed light on how evolution works to help both males and females control their own breeding, the researchers said.

Patricia Brennan of both Yale and Sheffield was trying to figure out why some species of birds have penises and some do not.

“Birds are the only group where it mostly has been lost — 97 percent of birds do not have phalluses at all,” Brennan said in a telephone interview.

“So if it is such a handy tool, why don’t they have them any more?” Brennan asked.

Instead, they mate using what biologists call a “cloacal kiss” — a brief touch of the single opening that birds of both sexes have for disposing of waste and that both eggs and sperm come out of.

Brennan noted that in many species, females choose a mate after he puts on an elaborate courtship display, and breeding pairs are often monogamous.

An exception is ducks — especially mallards. Although mallards pair off to mate, females are often raped by stray males.

Yet studies show that these rapes do not pay off for the males. “Even in a species where 40 percent of the copulations are forced copulations, the ducklings still are mostly sired by the mates,” Brennan said.

“That implies the females may have some kind of mechanism that allows them to keep control of the paternity.”

So Brennan’s team looked at a lot of duck bottoms.

What they found surprised them — corkscrew-shaped oviducts, with plenty of potential dead-ends.

“Interestingly, the male phallus is also a spiral, but it twists in the opposite, counterclockwise, direction,” said Yale ornithologist Richard Prum in a statement.

“So, the twists in the oviduct appear designed to exclude the opposing twists of the male phallus. It’s an exquisite anti-lock-and-key system.”

Brennan believes females evolved convoluted oviducts to foil the male rapists.

“You can envision an evolutionary scenario that, as the male phallus increases in size, the female creates more barriers. You get this evolutionary arms race,” Brennan said.

Only if the female is relaxed and cooperative can the male’s sperm get anywhere near the unfertilized eggs, the researchers suggest.

“What I think is really cool is this does speak a lot about the ability of the female to have these cryptic mechanisms of choice,” Brennan said.

And it may mean something for people. “We can expect that these types of antagonistic traits are probably widespread and are likely part of the reproductive interactions of all sorts of animals, including humans,” Brennan said.

See also here, where Dr. Brennan informs us: “When females cooperate during copulation, they don’t struggle.”

News you can use, to be sure.

Despite my fascination with corkscrew copulation, I must say that some questions still remain. First of all, what sort of passionate dedication leads a man to spend the better part of his life studying duck genitalia? This sounds like the sort of fellow who was ecstatic when Dolly the sheep was cloned, because he would have a date both Friday and Saturday night.

And it’s good to know that evolution is creating longer penises; perhaps, in a few billion years, my e-mail inbox will no longer be filled with spam which is, shall we say, long on promises and short on delivery. This is also exciting news for my new business venture; I anticipate you will soon hear an announcement for MallardWear™. As there are millions of ducks in the world, this may represent huge business opportunity.

And while evolution is enhancing the studliness of well-endowed drakes, it is simultaneously making the lady quackers pro-choice. Think of the long-term implications of this process: In a billion years or so, there may be no more demonstrators carrying placards which read, “Keep your clergy off my cloaca!” Who knows, evolution may bring about all sorts of favorable change along these lines. A billion years from now, we will almost certainly see the demise of Fox News; the end of global warming; the extinction of Republicans and conservatives; and surely there will be no more blood for oil. Male ducks will evolve training wheels to manage their formidable phalluses — or perhaps their penises will simply grow wings. “Fly United” will take on a whole new meaning.

And the thought of emptying our prisons of rapacious renegade ringneck rapists is certainly a hopeful dream — freeing up more prison cells for safe-quackers and other Mallardian malfeasants. We’ll all sleep better.

Ain’t evolution grand? How did she get so smart?

Perhaps she might also engineer the extinction of moronic scientists.

One can only hope.

Franchise Opportunity–Going Fast!

Rarely a day goes by when I do not receive, from my friendly Post-person, some promotional material. Much of it is trivial (pens emblazoned with drug logos), most of it banal (copies of stupid marketing materials which insult the intelligence, like this), all of it unsolicited.

But there are rare occasions when something truly transformational arrives at your door, unexpected and unannounced.

Yesterday was such a day.

The box seemed like so many others, UPS-tan, no distinguishing labels. Upon opening it I was greeted with what appeared to be a black t-shirt, in a clear plastic wrapper. Underneath, a curious plastic sheet with fluid-filled domes, not terribly unlike mutant bubble wrap on steroids.

My curiosity piqued, I read the enclosed letter.

I would like to introduce you to Vaso-Ware … The garment is designed to be worn for several days after vasectomy or vasectomy reversal … Each Vaso-Ware combines practical design and functionality … from its interior shelf for support to its oversized front pocket to hold ice … Vaso-Ware: we have your support.

Vaso-Ware?? What the …??

A closer look at the “t-shirt” reveals a smartly-designed pair of black Jockey briefs — sans the customary peep hole. In its stead: a pouch. I check inside: no baby wallabies. The weird bebubbled sheet fits neatly into the pouch, turning the briefs into a lumpy yet luxurious instrument for hi-tech genital hypothermia.


Suddenly, the light goes on; marching bands begin to play; my ship has come in at last!

This is a great franchise opportunity! And I’m giving you, my faithful readers, an opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Dr Bob, I love your writing, and I trust you implicitly. But are you trying to get me to invest in a business which sells a single product, which someone will purchase to use just once in their lives? What sort of fool do you take me for?”

Oh ye of little faith: ever heard of a bridal shop?

(Yes, I know that marriage is a growth industry; almost everyone nowadays seems to get caught up in more than one. But you get the point …)

So hear me out: this thing is big — really big.

The problem is, you’re thinking inside the box (or the pouch, if you will). Granted you’ve got the perfect apparel for making those ‘nads nippy in the dreadful days after the ol’ “snip-snip,” or the hopeful re-hook to keep the new wife happy. But what’s to keep ’em coming back for more, rather than tossing the bepouched panties into the dustbin of bad memories, never to purchase again?

Re-purposing, my child — re-purposing. Expand those horizons. Multiply those possibilities. Visualize success.

The key is to see the potential in this product — it’s almost limitless. Just to demonstrate — here’s a small sample of our new Vaso-Ware™ product line:

 ♦ iPants™: Plug in your buds, slip the ‘Pod in your duds! iPants™ come in a rainbow of colors to match your iPod. Great for the gym, where folks’ll think your scratchin’ yo’self when you’re just changing playlists. Bump the base, turn up the Ludacris, you’ll have a workout without breaking a sweat!

 ♦ Vaso-Ware Executive™: You’re an important person — and you know it! Your cell phone never stops ringing. Keep it close to home, and set the ring to vibrate for those you love. No more lying when you tell ’em to “call again soon.”

 ♦ Vaso-Ware Endowment™: If you’re more gifted than the rest, blessed by genetics, touched by Eutykhia — or are an aficionado of spam e-mails — life is good. But you know the headaches it can cause: enraged feminists casting icy glares at your glory; beautiful women “accidentally” bumping into you; pretty boys grabbing the adjacent stool (and other things) at the bar. It’s endless, embarrassing, and it’s time to put an stop to it. With Vaso-Ware Endowment™ you can pack your pachyderm in arctic coolness, guaranteeing the shrinkage which will put you back in the middle of the pack.¹

 ♦ Vaso-Ware Wannabes™: If you’re one of those poor fellows at the opposite end of the spectrum — whose bell clappers are high chimes rather than cathedral bells — Vaso-Ware™ has the answer for you, too! Stud-muffinry at its finest. Custom-fit bulges to enhance your image in all the right places. Available in Large, Extra-Large, and World Cup.

 ♦ Vaso-Ware Heat™: The world’s a dangerous place. You never know when some crazed Korean commando’s gonna shoot up the joint — and who wants to be his next victim? But you’ll be ready if you’re packin’ heat! With Vaso-Ware Heat™ you’ll be ready for action! Accepts all common handgun sizes. Shotgun and AK-47 adapters coming soon!²

 ♦ Junk-in-the-Trunks™: We don’t want to forget you ladies out there! Tired of that boring flat bum? Longing for that bodacious booty, but dreading painful plastic surgery? Then Junk-in-the-Trunks™ is just what the doctor ordered! Designed with a broad pouch in the rear, with perfectly-formed implants to make yo’ girlfriends green with envy! Comes in three sizes: Sportscar™, Wagon™, and Rumbleseat™³.

So you can see the enormous potential in this product. Why work the ol’ 9-to-5 when you can retire in luxury as a Vaso-Ware™ reseller? We’re also exploring foreign sales, and test-marketing specialized products, such as 72-Virgin-Ware™ for Middle East markets.

So don’t tarry — call 1-800-MyPouch for your information packet on investing in Vaso-Ware™ now. Our operators will be waiting.

1. Excessive exposure may cause frostbite. Discuss with your doctor before extended use.
2. Some restrictions apply. May not be sold to felons. Concealed weapons permit required. Safety lock recommended. Not available in every state.
3. Pilot car and wide load warnings may be required in some states.

The Watch

An old Mafia don lies sick on his death bed, his family gathered around.

The old man lifts his head, and turns to his 12-year-old grandson:

“Vinny, mya boy, I’m a die. I givva you mya pearl-handled .38 revolver.”

Vinny, never shy, says, “Thank you, grandfather — but I’d rather have your Rolex watch.”

The old man lies quiet for a moment.

“Vinny, youa good-a-lookina boy.”

“Somma day you grow up, havva lotta money, marry you-a beautiful-a girl.”

“You havva lotta beautiful-a children like-a me.”

“You-a big-a man in-a Organization, you know?”

‘Then one-a day you comma home, you finda you wife, she a sleepin’ in you bed with another-a man.”

So what-a you-a gonna do?”

“Looka ata you watch and say, ‘Time’s a up???”

Things I Learned This Week …

I figure any week where you haven’t learned something is truly a week wasted. Fortunately, this week has been a treasure trove of acquired wisdom — which I am duty-bound, of course, share with you.

So here’s this week’s lessons:

 ♦ Why men die younger

 ♦ Why women should always shop alone.

 ♦ Why displaying police sketches on TV can be … disturbing

 ♦ Why I may consider taking up archery (or at least take some lessons):

Replay video | Share video | Watch more videos


 ♦ The latest terrorist threat …

 ♦ Questions to ponder while wide awake at 2 am …

 ♦ And lastly, recreational activities I plan to skip …

Life’s Little Insanities

It takes a big man to find fault with little things.

Or, something like that…

Life has no shortage of major crises, from wars to terrorism, from auto accidents to health problems to family disputes. But sometimes it’s the little things which drive you crazy. And it’s therapeutic to vent about them, I’ve found, if for no other reason than to find some humor in life’s little insanities. So here’s a few of the burrs sitting under my saddle at the moment.

First stop: the supermarket.

Most supermarkets have fairly generous aisles, as a rule posing no impedance to the normal pursuit of culinary commerce — unless you have the misfortune to encounter one of these:
Continue reading “Life’s Little Insanities”

The Flying Imams

I know I’m late to this party–but only a bit later than Dean Barnett, so I don’t feel too badly. As many of you know, six Imams were removed from a US Airways flight out of Minneapolis just over a week ago, for behavior which nervous passengers found unsettling–such as loud public praying in the airport, angry talk about how evil the U.S. was and the injustices inflicted by us on Saddam and the Iraqis, and bizarre requests for seat belt extensions by those who obviously didn’t need them. After their removal from the flight, an investigation cleared them of any wrongdoing, and they later flew home (on another airline) uneventfully. Of course, the usual suspects (read: CAIR) chimed in to protest this obvious injustice, religious discrimination, and racial profiling. No doubt a host of lawsuits will be flying soon, darkening the sky like Qassam rockets during Ramadan.

We’re sorry–we really, really are. No American should be treated this way.

But in the interest of helping our bigoted, infidel, intolerant American minds, allow me to make a few suggestions to our Imam friends to help ensure your future enjoyment and freedom from hassle as you wing your way around our great nation, avoiding those nasty chaffed handcuff wrist marks and the oh-so-burley FBI agents who force you to bow your heads as you get into their patrol cars:
Continue reading “The Flying Imams”