Posts filed under “Press Clippings”
Sir: Technology and science have improved our lives immeasurably. Humanity owes a debt that can never be repaid to all the researchers, inventors, and public-spirited scientists who have worked tirelessly to make it possible for the rest of us to sit inert in our recliners like some sort of fungus.
Of all the unsung heroes of technology, no one deserves more praise than the nameless woman or man who first compressed automatic-dishwasher detergent into an easily manipulated pellet. I remember when we used to have to measure detergent into a cup that was built into the dishwasher. No wonder lifespans were shorter in those days. Think of the countless seconds of labor saved by this one invention alone!
Technology, however, does not stand still, and it is vital to civilization itself for us to press forward with more and more improvements in labor-saving. That is why Ballot Initiative No. 16 is so important. It is the next logical step in labor-saving technology. By adding automatic-dishwasher detergent to the Mount Oliver municipal water supply, we eliminate the labor-intensive placement of the pellet in the dishwasher, not to mention the opening of the package of pellets, the removal of said package from the cabinet or drawer where it is stored, and the inexcusably inefficient trip to the grocery store to procure another package when the supply in the first one proves less than infinite. By voting for Ballot Initiative No. 16, we will be voting for the next stage in human evolution. We will be remembered in history as the generation that finally completed humanity’s transformation into a fungus—a new and glorious species of fungus, perfectly adapted to its environment (viz., the La-Z-Boy). When you vote this fall, don’t forget to vote YES on Ballot Initiative No. 16. It may be the last ballot initiative you ever have to vote on. —Sincerely, Russula Brevipes, Mount Oliver.
Sir: I seldom venture outside these days on account of the danger of alien abduction; in fact, the last time I remember being out of the house was in January of 1986, and I made sure to do it in the middle of the night, staying under awnings as much as possible so that the aliens would not be likely to see me. Believe it or not, some of my friends (I only have the Facebook kind, but they’re good enough for my purposes) tell me I’m crazy. They say there’s no proof aliens are coming here and abducting people to make them love slaves for lonely fiendish alien princesses. Then I send them the 150,000-word informational email I keep ready for occasions like that, and pretty soon they stop talking to me and I know they’ve been abducted by aliens. Guess they’ve got their proof now.
But anyway, yesterday I ran out of aerosol cheese, and when I called the Food Festival they said they didn’t have any delivery slots available, but the guy I talked to said there had hardly been any alien abductions at all this week, and I could probably make it six blocks to the store without running into a tractor beam of any sort. So I risked opening the curtains a little, and I saw that it was a cloudy day, and the cloud cover might be some protection against aliens, so I decided to risk it.
Well, I got about halfway there when I noticed that the clouds were breaking up. Somebody ought to do something about defective cloud cover, by the way. What are we paying taxes for? And in one more block, the clouds had moved aside, and suddenly there it was: a huge extraterrestrial object in the sky. I could feel the heat of the radiation it was giving off, and it was glowing so brightly I couldn’t bear to look directly at it. But I took this picture of it with my phone, just to show those doubting Thomases that the alien menace is real.
Then I ran back home, and I ordered a whole case of spray cheese from Amazon, and believe you me it’s going to be a long time before I make the mistake of leaving the house again. But what I want you to do is warn your readers. Tell them not to go out of the house, because there’s some giant extraterrestrial object in the sky that’s giving off who knows how much radiation. Stay inside, pull down the blinds, close the curtains, and eat your cheese. —Sincerely, Walter Walterson Walters, Blandville.
The world was appalled last year to learn that Elon Musk had passed Jeff Bezos as the richest man in the world. What has become of our civilization? Musk contributes nothing to our society except cutting our dependence on fossil fuels and advancing the frontiers of science. Bezos gives us consumer luxuries right on our doorstep!
We all know that the United States government grants no titles of nobility. My petition to amend the Constitution to drop that ridiculously archaic prohibition has so far fallen on deaf ears. A friend of mine suggested that maybe I should put it in writing or something if I’m going to circulate it at Gallaudet, but if those people can’t hear me shouting at the top of my lungs, whose fault is that? However, the American people have always had it in their power to grant the one title of nobility before which all other titled nobles grovel: I speak of the title of Richest Man in the World. For countless centuries men and women vied for titles of nobility based on ancestry or accomplishment, but it was left to our glorious republic to discover the one true source of human nobility: money.
Once we understand this principle, we must immediately grasp the vital importance of seeing to it that our honors are conferred only upon the worthy. We are Americans: we grant our titles by spending our money. We have it in our power to make sure the right man is ennobled. I personally pledge to take all the discretionary income I used to waste on local businesses and spend it on luxury goods from Amazon.com. Who is with me? Who will sign the pledge to buy nothing from Elon and everything from Jeff? Enough of us working together can reverse this injustice. Enough of us working together can make Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world once more.
Sincerely, Habakkuk Barton,
President & CEO,
The Barton Carton Co., Inc.
Makers of fine shipping cartons and mailers
“We learned a valuable lesson tonight,” said Winifred Planken, chair of the Progressive Caucus in the General Assembly. “Left or right, Democrat or Republican, progressive or conservative, we all really hate anyone who tries to make us see the complexities of an issue.”
“Amen to that, sister,” added Leopold Blanch, president of John Birch Society Local No. 27.
According to reports from local affiliates, after the episode aired, mobs of Socialist Workers and Proud Boys formed spontaneous vigilante committees all over the country to round up anyone suspected of moderatism.
Currently on hiatus, Nuance Guy will resume taping when Dr. Thale is released from the rehabilitation hospital. The next episode will be a fair and measured presentation of both sides of the Sheetz vs. Wawa question.
Sir: Today I bought a 12-pack of beer made in Wilkes-Barre, even though I live in Scranton and some of my neighbors might consider it unpatriotic, but anyway when I got it home I noticed on the side it said “12 16-ounce cans = 16 12-ounce cans.”
Whoa! Symmetry like that has to be more than coincidence, I thought. I mean, what are the odds? I bet it wouldn’t be like that if they were 24-ounce cans.
But I got out my pocket calculator, which was in my pocket, because that’s where I keep it, and I did the math, and you know what? Sixteen 24-ounce cans would be the same amount of beer as twenty-four 16-ounce cans!
Okay, but I also had some of that Irish beer that’s brewed by a German company in Scotland, and it comes in 14.9-ounce cans. Got you there, I said to myself. But no! It turns out that 12 14.9-ounce cans is the same as 14.9 12-ounce cans!
This is just too weird, and the more beer I drank the weirder it seemed. I kept calculating. Did you know that 48.3 13.7-ounce cans is the same as 13.7 48.3-ounce cans? Or that 53.264 27.1438-ounce cans is the same as 27.1438 53.264-ounce cans? It just blows my mind.
So my question is this: Why is there no Nobel Prize in mathematics? Cause I totally deserve it for discovering what I think I’ll call the Commutative Property of Beer.
——Sincerely, Bernie Riemann, Scranton.
WHY ARE THERE SHIFT KEYS ANYWAY? WHAT’S THE POINT? HUH?
I MEAN, THE FIRST TYPEWRITER HAD CAPITAL LETTERS, AND THAT WAS IT! THE CARRIAGE DIDN’T MOVE UP AND DOWN! THAT WAS NOT IN GOD’S PLAN FOR THE TYPEWRITER!
CLASSICAL WRITERS DIDN’T USE LOWER-CASE LETTERS! THE INSPIRED AUTHORS OF SCRIPTURE WOULDN’T BE CAUGHT DEAD USING LOWER-CASE LETTERS! THEY HADN’T BEEN INVENTED YET! LOWER-CASE LETTERS WERE AN INVENTION OF THE DARK AGES! IGNORANT MONKS INVENTED THEM TO FOOL US INTO THINKING THE MEEK WILL INHERIT THE EARTH! WELL, I’M HERE TO TELL YOU THE MEEK WON’T INHERIT THE EARTH! YOU KNOW WHY? BECAUSE THEY’RE TOO MEEK, THAT’S WHY!
SO I JUST TAPED DOWN MY CAPS LOCK KEY, AND NOW I DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING! SOME PEOPLE SAY IT LOOKS LIKE SHOUTING. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SHOUT? PEOPLE HEAR YOU, THAT’S WHAT! DID YOU EVER THINK OF THAT? EVERYBODY IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD HEARS ME, ESPECIALLY WHEN I TALK TO THE POODLES!
SO I SAY DO AWAY WITH THE EFFEMINATE LOWER CASE! KILL IT NOW! CAPITAL LETTERS WERE GOOD ENOUGH FOR CICERO, AND THEY’RE GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU!
OH, AND !!!!!!!!!
SINCERELY, E. E. CUMMINGS
Sir: There has been much debate over various forms of wealth tax, and I thought that my long experience as a teacher of fifth-grade arithmetic at Blandville Elementary might be of some service in forming sound notions of correct public policy.
First of all, we must define our terms. Every good American will agree that there is nothing wrong with being rich. A million or two here or there will help pay the bills and keep the wolf from the door. Even a hundred million can have its uses; one might buy a butler and a housekeeper to keep one’s house running smoothly, paying each of them a few million a year to keep them contented. But I think we can all agree that anything over a billion dollars is just too much for one person. A billionaire may be considered by definition obscenely rich. No one could ever spend a billion dollars on personal comfort.
Now, the obscenely rich form a large pool of wealth from which the government might make an occasional withdrawal without materially affecting their comfort. Here is where arithmetic is of great utility. Elon Musk, for example, is estimated to have a net worth of $217 billion. Plainly, he is obscenely rich. Now, should we punish him for his wealth? By no means. Doubtless he came by it honestly, as all billionaires do. But let us say, hypothetically, that we wish to make use of his wealth, without affecting his personal comfort at all. If we remove $216 billion from his assets, he is still obscenely rich. As my fifth-graders could demonstrate to your satisfaction, $217 billion minus $216 billion leaves 1 billion—an amount that we have previously agreed exceeds every possible human want.
What shall we do with this knowledge we have gained through the art of arithmetic? That will be up to the wisdom of our legislators. I take it for granted that no one can be elected to Congress without a thorough understanding of human nature and an almost supernatural intelligence. I content myself with knowing that I have contributed a salient fact to their discussion from the realm of my own little specialty.