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Some Stories I Found On-Line

Genuinely Humorous Stuff

  • Tom Swifties
  • Tom Swifties are one-line adverbial puns modeled after the Tom Swift series of books. Like one of my journalism professors, Tom could never simply say anything. The journalism professor had us put together a list of hundreds of alternatives to the word says. But they weren't funny. Tom Swifties are.

  • "To a Young Man On How to Choose a Mistress"
  • Benjamin Franklin really did write this letter to a unknown friend of his on July 25, 1745.

  • Keep an Open Mind

    We now have many reasons to keep an open mind.

  • Your Family
  • A friend of mine got this letter yesterday and shared it with me. I thought you would appreciate hearing about your extended family....

  • The Wooden Legged Pig
  • A tourist from the city passed a farmhouse and saw a pig with a wooden leg. He went to the farmer and asked him about the pig....

  • The Declaration of Independence
  • What might have happened if government bureaucracy were as entrenched then as it is now.

  • Famous Quotes
  • Can famous people really say such dumb things?

  • The Bible
  • These biblical "interpretations" were actual answers from students compiled by Richard Lederer. They appeared in the December 31, 1995, edition of National Review magazine.

  • World History
  • "One of the fringe benefits of being an English or History teacher is receiving the occasional jewel of a student blooper in an essay," according to this report by Richard Lederer, then of St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H. Until he wrote me and told me these were for real, I believed they were an urban legend.

  • Supermarkets

    The newly redesigned supermarket near where I live now has multimedia effects.

A Great but Not Humorous Story

  • An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

    I saw the haunting short film An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge by Robert Enrico several times at the Nairobi Film Society when I lived in Kenya during the mid-1960s. This black and white film appeared in 1962. It was also a "Twilight Zone" episode (number 142, February 28, 1964).

    When I decided recently that I would like to see it again, I didn't know that it was a faithful adaptation of a story by Ambrose Bierce. He probably wrote it in the 1880s, and since it is no longer copyrighted, I am free to reprint it here.

Probable Urban Legends

  • The Really Ultimate Urban Legend

    I know this guy whose neighbor, a young man, was home recovering from having been served a rat in his bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

  • Political Language
  • Here's a guaranteed effective all-occasion non-slanderous political smear speech.

  • Inuit Words for Snow
  • The Great Inuit Vocabulary Hoax is anthropology's contribution to urban legends.

  • Deteriorata
  • This is a take-off on Desiderata, which is often attributed as "Found in Old Saint Paul's Church, Baltimore: Dated 1692." Actually, Desiderata (which is also included here) was written in 1927 by an obscure Indiana lawyer and poet named Max Ehrmann.

  • Health Insurance
  • And you thought you had it bad! Just read this letter I got today. Unfortunately, I don't know who wrote it originally....

  • Big Ship
  • The U.S. Chief of Naval Operations on October 10, 1995, supposedly released this transcript of a radio conversation between a U.S. Navy ship and a Canadian source off the coast of Newfoundland in the fall of 1995.

Last modified: November 4, 2003

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