Before They Were Literary Giants They Submitted Lists To Hip Online Humor Magazines

By:

The Probable Causes Of My Demise

By Edgar Allan Poe

Buried alive through misadventure

Buried alive through devious intent (by a mortal enemy)

Sleep deprivation induced by stifling nightmares of live interment

Being –- not buried, but — enclosed, restricted or encased, in a confined area until suffocated or starved over a long period of time

Same as above, but possibly sooner if a sharpened pendulum be incorporated

Alcoholism

What I Found In My Pocket This Morning

By Charles Bukowski

An empty bottle of Jack Daniel’s

Blood

Jizz

Blood (someone else’s)

The memory of a life not lived

Herpes-riddled chapstick

My Good Friends And What I Think Of Them

By Ernest Hemingway

F. Scott Fitzgerald: Lazy Drunk

Gertrude Stein: Lazy Dyke

John Dos Passos: Overrated treacherous hack

Ford Maddox Ford: Pompous, wheezing dilettante

James Joyce: Considering he’s an Irish, emaciated, nearly blind bookworm, he can string together some decent prose.

Harold Loeb: Jew

What I Did Today And The Thoughts That Followed

By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Cooked up some eggs — Judging others is wrong

Mailed letter to Melville — It is a sin to impugn evil to another

Lightly dusted my bookshelf — Witch-hunts are bad

Attended a comedic performance — We are all sinners

Ate pot roast for dinner — I must endeavor not to believe myself holier than thou

Readied myself for bed — Christ, I don’t remember that demon postmaster stamping my letter!

What To Do If You Are Confronted With An Absurd And Impossibly Cruel Fate

By Franz Kafka

Rail against it pointlessly

Accept it inconceivably

Share

The Six-Month Benihana Job Evaluation of Mindfreak’s Criss Angel

By: ,

Date: March 14, 1993

Appearance:

At the time of Mr. Angel’s retention, it was explained that while Benihana hires employees of varied races, our customers have certain expectations regarding their chef’s appearance. To this end, many of our Latino and Filipino employees have successfully affected an air of “Japanese” through a combination of training, demeanor, and attire. Mr. Angel claimed creating such an illusion would be “wicked easy” because he had been “schooled by an ancient Oriental mystic.”

Despite our high hopes, however, Criss’s appearance has consistently failed to meet expectations. While we truly do “get it” that the late martial arts actor Brandon Lee was partially of Cantonese descent, we fail to see how coming to work in makeup influenced by The Crow is in keeping with Benihana’s goals, particularly as a Japanese restaurant. Furthermore, Criss’s more recent Kabuki-theater justification seems similarly half-baked.

Benihana would also like to stress that our continued insistence on hairnets is dictated by a faithful adherence to governing health code ordinances, and not this corporation’s desire to “slay [Mr. Angel’s] dragon spirit.” On a related note, we are fairly certain that Health and Safety Ordinance 114020 contemplated only soap and water when requiring employees to wash hands. Mr. Angel’s self-prescribed “fire baths” are not a safe or adequate substitute for this practice — nor do we consider Svarog, Slavic Spirit of Fire, a recognized authority on workplace sanitation procedures.

Rapport with Customers:

Benihana prides itself on being a family-friendly establishment. Customers come here for first-class food served with a dramatic flourish — not to have their “reality shattered by freaky awesomeness.”

Good customer service also means accommodating reasonable special orders. For example, many of our guests abstain from shellfish due to allergies or religious concerns. Accordingly, when guests refuse the shrimp appetizer, the appropriate response is not “Why? Did my flaying technique blow your mind?”

Clear speech is also an essential part of customer relations. As many of Benihana’s chefs speak English as a second language, we tend to be forgiving of indiscretions presented by the foreign tongue. Still, a Long Island accent coupled with a crippling lisp is simply beyond the limits of Benihana’s patience. After all, people come here to eat.

Dexterity Performing Required Tasks:

Mr. Angel has proven his dexterity in performing all required Benihana cooking presentations, or as Criss insists on calling them, “culinary freak-outs.” He executes the onion volcano flawlessly, and has never failed to catch a shrimp tail or balance a bowl of rice on a spatula. Still, Benihana continues to receive complaints due to Mr. Angel’s fundamental misunderstanding of both Teppanyaki-style cooking, and what constitutes entertainment in general.

Benihana has a proud tradition of praising employee initiative, but Criss’s innovations have brought terror in place of joy. For example, Benny Tsubo was promoted to head chef in 1979 when the flick of his well-placed spatula brought forth life from the heart-shaped chicken-fried rice and laughter from patrons nationwide. By contrast, no one is pleased by Criss’s ability to make the rice heart bleed. For one, it’s disgusting. And secondly, ketchup does not complement a traditional Japanese meal. Also, while Criss’s ability to insert a bowl of rice into his back and pass it out through his abdomen is impressive, it’s hardly surprising that no one is eager to eat said rice after this miraculous journey.

Attitude:

Employees should always provide supervisors with honest straight-forward answers to fair questions. Nevertheless, when asked about his frequent disappearances, Mr. Angel’s standard reply is, “a magician never reveals his secrets.” Such responses are wholly unacceptable, and, frankly, childish. Benihana also takes issue with Mr. Angel’s more recent practice of claiming to have been on the premises in invisible form and then producing a hysterical 16-year-old girl to attest to this miracle. While this display is strangely compelling, Benihana remains skeptical that such allegedly unbiased accounts could constitute credible testimony.

Summary:

Benihana will be refraining from its traditional practice of providing suggestions for improvement. Such suggestions would be moot as Mr. Angel has proclaimed repeatedly that he takes advice only from two men: The Highlander and Ronny James Dio. Accordingly, Benihana feels it is best to make a clean break at this time.

We hereby terminate Mr. Angel’s employment, effective today. His uniform and culinary tools were repossessed this morning, and when Mr. Angel emerges from the 15-foot block of ice he currently occupies in the meat locker, we ask that he be forcibly removed from the premises.

Share

Battle of the Bands Who Would Have No Career If Radiohead Had Kept Making Accessible Music

By: ,

Hello, and welcome to the third annual Battle of the Bands Who Would Have No Career if Radiohead Had Kept Making Accessible Music. I’m your host, Thom Yorke: primary creative force behind Radiohead — the only band of any significance in the last decade.

Our contestants are ready for an exciting day, but first, a little background. In the mid-90s, a weary music scene turned from grunge in search of something new. Radiohead responded, producing hits like “Creep” and “High and Dry.” But we soon grew tired of 14-year-old girls singing our songs at slumber parties and decided to release increasingly complex and obscure albums. Enter today’s contestants, who have all attempted to pick up the mundane and sugar-coated mantle we willingly tossed away:

Hailing from London and sporting the finest in carefully maintained stubble and expensive sweat pants: Chris Martin and the boys from Coldplay.

Endeavoring for a second hit while playing “Why Does It Always Rain on Me?” as an opening act for any tour that will have them: our underdogs, Travis.

And, fresh out of rehab, the soft and cuddly newcomers: Keane. No guitars. Aren’t they adorable?

Let’s give them all a big hand. And, oh, one more thing. Even though these lads rose to fame mimicking early Radiohead, I will be judging them by Radiohead’s current standards. Unfair? Maybe. And now, for our first challenge:

Pictorial Analysis of Woman Baking Cookies

On the screen in front of us is an antiquated picture of a middle-aged woman, apron-clad, pulling a tray of cookies from the oven. Okay contestants, please describe what is taking place here…Time’s up! Let’s see those answers.

Coldplay writes: “Is she lost, or incomplete? Does she feel like a puzzle, she can’t find her missing piece? (Fee-ee-ee-eeeeeeeeel.)”

Incorrect. Unfathomably fruity, and incorrect. Also, negative points for phrasing your answer in the form of a question, Coldplay. Do I look like Alex Trebek? No, obviously not, because I look like a gargoyle. Moving on…

Keane offers: “She’s getting older; she needs something to relyyyyyyy on.”

Wow. Truly stunning. Tell me, Keane. Now that you’re sober, what have you been relying on? A 16-year-old lyricist? Wrong. No points. Do us a favor, boys. Go grab a pint and don’t stop drinking until you’re dead. Next.

Travis?

Oh, this is interesting. Travis has not provided a verbal answer, but instead submits a mason jar containing a solitary tear drop from each band member. This, too, is incorrect, but I will award partial points because we were not actually forced to listen to anything that Travis produced. Thank you, Travis — you are gentlemen, truly.

The correct answer is: The woman’s seemingly elated expression belies her disenchantment with the corporate bastardization of the confectionery industry. Or, put lyrically: She: defeated. Stop now. Otis Spunkmeyer carcass. Traverse equals sign.

Let’s move onto our next challenge:

Write an Electric Guitar Part to Accompany My Acoustic Strumming

I will now strum a simple chord progression: C/G for two measures, into A minor for one measure, and finally into G major. Ready lead guitarists? Accompany!

Travis is playing the root note of each chord in double time while running through an industrial-sized delay pedal set at 7. That is incorrect. No points. Or imagination.

Coldplay is…Oh my! Really? Coldplay is also playing the root note of each chord in double time, but they have set their industrial-sized delay pedal to 8. Also wrong. Plus, negative points awarded for Chris Martin walking needlessly across the stage in slow motion.

Finally, Keane is doing what it does best: proving that anyone can not play guitar. Keane has actually crawled inside the piano and is plucking desperately at the strings with the butt end of a guitar pick. So help me, Keane, if you don’t stop this instant I will nail the cover shut and sell the lot of you into white slavery. You really are a bunch of — wait a second — ARE YOU CRYING, KEANE? Oh, c’mon. Wipe away those tears boys, and Daddy will show you how to play a diminished chord? Okay? There ya’ go. Who’s a big boy?

In fairness, that was actually a trick question. The correct answer is: a disgusted refusal to play anything whatsoever over a chord progression so banal.

On to our next challenge:

Without Using Words, Convey Man’s Place in an Increasingly Technological World

Okay, Keane’s up first this time. Let’s see. Very good. All three members of the band are drinking heavily. Understood. An opiate against the fake plastic tech-ocracy. Good. And now, oh, there’s a second bottle, and…hey, you’re not even playing, are you? No points. And, Christ, at least have the decency to drink real liquor. I didn’t even know they still made wine coolers.

How ’bout you, Coldplay? All eyes are on Chris as the band prostrates themselves on the floor before him. Let’s see what he comes up with. Ah, brilliant. Chris is walking and lip-syncing in slow motion again. Boy, that just never gets old. Negative points, and Mr. Martin must leave the country, taking his American wife and tragically-named offspring with him.

What’s this? Travis seems to really be up to something. They’re gathered round a dust bin and…could it be? Yes, they are actually eating the partial remains of yesterday’s lunch out of the garbage. Fascinating. Starved by the barren façade of technology, man must return to yesterday for nourishment! Good show, Travis! What’s that? You were just hungry? You haven’t been able to afford regular meals since 2003? Oh. Well, points awarded for the visual, nonetheless.

The correct answer was exactly what Travis did — except for the part about really starving to death. And now, our last challenge:

Name Radiohead’s Next Album

Okay, me and the boys are putting the final touches on our new album. For our final contest, please write down a suitable title for this LP…Time’s up.

Coldplay. Your answer is: Kid X, Y, & Z

That is just adorable. Of course, it’s wrong, as Radiohead would never come so close to repeating itself — even in titling its albums. But I am awarding partial points considering how much worse it could have been. Nevertheless, do not mistake my happy-go-lucky magnanimity for weakness, Coldplay. I’ve got my one fully functioning eye on you.

Onto, Keane who submits: Cyborg Lullabies. Oh, from the mouths of babes. Barely literate, tone deaf babes. Still, partial points for the gratuitous use of a technological reference.

And lastly, Travis, who writes: “What is an ‘LP?'”

Hmm. Perhaps that was to be expected from a band so utterly unprolific that they rely on singles-sales to prepubescents for sustenance. No points. And, as a special penalty, I will be giving the hooligans from Oasis your home address and the keys to you apartment.

If you don’t mind, Radiohead will stick with our working title, Frigid, Non-miscible Garbagescapes. Terrifyingly beautiful, no?

Well, that’s it. Let’s see who’s won. Coldplay has negative points and my well-earned disdain. Keane has one partial point and no future. That means the winner is Travis with two partial points! Of course, no matter who wins, the loser is always you, the listening public. That’s it. I’m Thom Yorke. Up next, Adam Duritz hosts a showdown between Train and The Fray in Battle of the Bands Who Would Have No Career If Counting Crows Hadn’t Turned To Crap. Goodnight!

Share

Han Solo Prepares For The Mos Eisley Mayoral Election

By: ,

At times I don’t know who I am anymore. I can’t trust myself. Cocksure on some days, and then others? Memory’s fading. Leia thinks Greedo shot first. She’d like to think that. But at point blank range? How does a bounty hunter miss at point blank range? This wasn’t some kid shooting wamp rats out in the desert. This was fricking Greedo. He wasn’t Boba Fett, although in the end, it turns out Boba Fett wasn’t Boba Fett. Still, you’d think the guy who caught up to me wouldn’t have missed. Oh, it all happened so long ago. Ancient history, except it’s not. It’s politics.

Sometimes Leia says I shot first. When she wants to make me feel bad about myself. Like when the Falcon was blocking the driveway because I was waiting for parts and she had to park on the street and then it was “you shot Greedo first.” Or like when she gets mad because I ask her to wear the Jabba slave girl outfit. But is that so wrong? I must be the only guy who missed that — still blind from the carbonite and all. You’d think she could throw me a bone.

Maybe I wasn’t meant to be married. Maybe the Force created me to walk this earth alone, by myself, singular, not part of a duet…what’s the word I’m looking for? No, that’s stupid. There are two rules in politics: you have to be married, and you have to believe in the Force.

There were like a thousand witnesses in that bar, some with several sets of eyes, but everyone remembers something different. The drummer says I shot first. The bald bug-eyed oboe dudes insist it was Greedo. All the bartender remembers is that I flipped him a coin for the mess. Why would I clean it up if he shot me first?

And why does it even matter? I mean, he was going to cause my death one way or the other, right? What difference does it make whether he was a cold-blooded killer or just an amoral bounty hunter dropping me off to be tortured by Jabba? Only an imbecile with too much time on his hands would worry about who drew first. I mean, either way it was self-defense. But I can hear my PR people now: “Of course, it matters. The people of Mos Eisley don’t want a drug smuggler with an itchy trigger finger as their mayor. Greedo shot first.”

How did a guy like me even end up with PR people? I’d like to shoot them first. But a necessary evil I’m told if I want to be mayor of Mos Eisley. Do I want to be mayor of Mos Eisley? Am I qualified? Ah, what am I saying? That’s the Sergeant Solo talking…I’m a Captain! Who should be mayor if not me? I’ve done so much here since I first visited after my record-breaking Kessel Run. Nobody else would have turned this backwater planet into a premier shopping and gambling destination. Nobody else would have had the gumption to build the Death Star Resort with five thousand rooms and staff dressed as Stormtroopers. They called it tacky, but it paid for itself instantly. And I always stood by Chewie even when it was confirmed that Wookies spread Lyme disease.

So why am I listening to my critics now? Who are these Tatooines for Truth, spreading rumors? The lies they tell. That I was never frozen in Carbonite, that I’ve never even been to Endor. And now this – that I shot Greedo in cold blood, and chose a law career later in life defending bounty hunters pro bono so I could make up for it.

I tried to get my hands on the bar’s surveillance tapes, but I’m not sure which is the right one. I swear, there’s like three. One where I shoot first. Another where he totally guns for me first — badly. And then there’s one where I actually turn out of the way, but it looks weird, like the orgy scene in Eyes Wide Shut.

Sometimes I wish Luke were still here. That he had gone on with his life. Had new experiences. Now I only see him on a talk show every couple of years talking about the old days. You knew things were bad when he went from black robes to a white sequined jumpsuit. I get so sad, I can’t even watch. But at least he endorsed me. Lando threw his support to the blue piano-playing elephant at the last minute, saying I was weak on the malt liquor tax issue.

I could always say, “Greed killed Greedo.” I mean, that’s technically true isn’t it? But that would never hold up through all these press conferences and town hall meetings. My consultants tell me there’s shades of truth as if there’s anything subtle about a direct blaster shot to the gut. But, I know I’ll have to listen. Greedo shot first. Greedo shot first. Yeah, that version sounds better. Polls better anyway.

Share