Things Dead People Can Do

By: Michael Fowler

As determined by a forensic medical examiner, golfer Ted Mintzer was struck on the head and killed instantly by a golf ball on the fifth green at Burrowing Owl Golf Course in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, but went on lining up his putt. He three-putted for a bogey, not bad for a stiff. After that he caught fire, playing the best round of his life, though dead. When friends in the clubhouse told him he’d set a new course record, the now still golfer got as excited as a block of clay.


A woman passed away of natural causes just as she hit the snooze button on her alarm clock. The next buzz nine minutes later failed to rouse her, and finally, dead, she got up already half an hour late to work. Cursing, she dressed, went out to scrape the snow from her car, got in and tried to start it. When it wouldn’t start, she slumped forward in the driver’s seat, cold as a mound of slush.


A male pedestrian died quickly when struck in the head by a brick tossed from a moving vehicle, but he gave chase to the car and screamed obscenities at the laughing teenage passengers for several blocks until all the blood drained from his body and he sat down on the curb a wasted husk, never more to move.


Don, ticket taker at Lollapalooza 2007, accepted a pair of admission tickets from a teen couple dead for hours from drug overdose. “My suspicions were aroused when neither of them blinked after I told them Coldplay had cancelled,” he said. “In fact, they didn’t show any emotion at all. I had security follow them in.” The deceased teens boogied until late in the evening, then strolled into the shower tent. Rigor mortis hit them under the nozzles, and they fell out like two sacks of hardening concrete.


A woman thrown through the windshield of her car lost her brain and was dead as a broom handle. Still she managed to accompany friends to cash in a lottery ticket worth five hundred dollars and shout “Yowsa!” before she collapsed like a rickety bridge.


A man sliced in half by a rocket went to a movie (top half) and took a scenic hike (bottom half) before he finally keeled over (both halves).


A man killed in a flash after driving a nail into a 100,000 volt wire near his home went to a bar and drank “one last cold one” before he sank to the barroom floor as rigid as a stuffed owl. He still owes the bartender for that beer.


Vera Hatfield of Springfield, Illinois died of starvation after playing video games for 5 days straight without eating, but continued to work her X-Box for an additional 72 hours before she dropped to the floor with some body parts already starting to rot.


A man trying to run across an expressway was struck by a semi as soon as he stepped off the shoulder. He died instantly but continued on, with several more vehicles buffeting him and rendering him almost unrecognizable, until at last he achieved the opposite side. There he gave a thumb’s up to no one in particular and fell over the guardrail into some tall weeds, where he slept the Big Sleep.


An airline pilot died of heart failure after narrowly missing a control tower, but managed to land his craft safely and bed a stewardess in a hotel room — both on “autopilot” — before turning blue as the sky and blank as a sheet.


A 65-year-old woman died of a stroke while bowling. She appeared to revive when a teammate administered smelling salts, but she was really dead, and she wouldn’t quit bowling until she achieved a new personal best score. “I knew I could do it!” she crowed when success came 30 minutes after her death. Then she crumpled over and lay face-up in the right-hand gutter, about as frisky as a broiled scrod.


Flight 712 crashed into the sea and all 86 passengers were killed in the blink of an eye. Nonetheless they all escaped the wrecked plane and, in their various states of dismemberment and drowning, swam to a nearby tropical island. They were “rescued” by a US Navy vessel two weeks later in advanced states of decomposition, but not before sharks had eaten a dozen of them and natives speared ten more.


30-year-old Todd Morse gave up the ghost choking on a hotdog at a Cincinnati Bengals game. But he refused to stop watching the game since the Bengals were actually leading at the half. When the team pulled further ahead in the second with no hope of being caught, he jumped into the aisle pumping his arms and sailed headfirst down a flight of concrete steps. The fall actually revived him somewhat, and he had a near death experience. He beheld soft white lights and heard a comforting voice urging him to rise up and savor his team’s victory. But he remained a goner and in two days was six feet under.


Old Safe on Wheels for Sale

By: Greg Boose

Classified Ad — Week One

FOR SALE: Old safe on wheels. Locked and no combination — I’ve never seen inside it. Leaving the country and can’t take it with me. Buyer owns whatever is inside. Could be a pile of diamonds or could be nothing. Maybe gold bars. Sorry, no refunds. $10,000. Call Rob X3324.

Classified Ad — Week Two

FOR SALE: Big old safe on wheels. Locked! I don’t have the combination or key, and I’ve never seen inside it. Once belonged to my great grandfather, a popular French fur trader, so there may be some nice fur coats in there or stacks of money made in the fur industry. Buyer owns anything and everything found inside. Safe most likely crowbar accessible. No refunds. $9,500. Call Rob X3324.

Classified Ad — Week Three

FOR SALE: Big antique safe on really nice wheels. I don’t know the combination and the door is locked. My highly regarded archaeologist uncle died and left me the safe in his will. Priceless artifacts inside? A map maybe? Or perhaps the answer to all your financial problems? You figure out the combination and whatever’s inside is yours! No refunds. $9,350. Call Rob X3324.

Classified Ad — Week Four

FOR SALE: Beautiful antique safe on ivory-like wheels. Safe is locked and I don’t have the combination or key. Once belonged to my great-great grandfather who sailed the Caribbean and around Cape Cod as a savage, yet brilliant, pirate. Buy it and crack the code, and own whatever is inside! (When I roll the safe around on its super nice wheels it sounds like there are jewels bouncing around inside, but can’t say for sure. Could be pearls.) Absolutely no refunds. $8,000 OBO. Call Rob X3324.

Classified Ad — Week Five

FOR SALE: Beautiful antique safe on wheels so nice that they have to be worth at least $50 each themselves. Door is locked. I have never had it opened, but possess six-sevenths of a riddle that leads to the combination. My obsessive manuscript-collecting grandmother died and left safe to me, but I don’t have room for it in my car. Buyer owns riddle and whatever’s inside even if it is the first draft of Ulysses or The Great Gatsby. Sorry, no refunds. $6,500 OBO. Call Rob X3324 or email

Classified Ad — Week Six

FOR SALE: Big old safe on wheels. Locked. No combination. Opened once but lost the key. Four dishwashing sponges still in package and very large amount of grocery plastic bags are inside. Make me an offer! No refunds. Call Rob X3324.


Bartlett’s Unfamiliar Quotations

By: David Martin

Selected entries from Bartlett’s Unfamiliar Quotations (first edition):

Socrates (469 – 399 B.C.)

“I didn’t know you could make tea from hemlock.”

Jesus (ca. 1 – 33)

“Now after I’m gone, don’t go adding a bunch of elaborate rituals.”

Christopher Columbus (1451 – 1506)

“Who the hell set the course west?”

William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

“”rancis, would you mind lending me a hand with these plays?”

John Milton (1608 – 1674)

“Paradise Gone? Paradise Misplaced? Paradise Missing? Damn, this title is elusive.”

Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)

“That bastard son of Adams’ will probably win the Presidency even though he didn’t get the most votes.”

Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)

“Mary, I told you these half-price theater tickets were no good.”

John D. Rockefeller (1839 – 1937)

“What the hell are we going to do with a million barrels of oil?”

Adolph Hitler (1889 – 1945)

“No, seriously, some of my best friends are Jews.”

Lyndon Johnson (1908 – 1973)

“What pleases me most is a consensus arrived at through reasoned and gentlemanly discourse.”

Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004)

“The national debt’s tripled. When is this trickle down crap gonna kick in?”

Richard Nixon (1913 – 1994)

“John, Bob…I feel the fairest thing to do is release all the tapes.”

John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963)

“Ask not what your President can do for you; ask what position you can assume for your President.”

Queen Elizabeth II (1926 – )

“Remind me again, Philip, why we had children.”

George W. Bush (1946 – )

“They voted me in again? And they say I’m stupid!”

Bill Clinton (1946 – )

“What this country needs is a good, self-lubricating cigar.”

Al Gore (1948 – )

“I categorically deny, refute and gainsay any allegations to the effect that I am boring.”

Mel Gibson (1956 – )

“No, seriously, some of my best friends are Jews.”


A Letter From God To HSBC Regarding His No-Interest Loan

By: Ken Krimstein

Dear Sir or Madam,

I have more than a small bone to pick with you regarding the instigation of the full APR on my no-interest loan for the MacMall purchase I made earlier this year — account number 3259-4300-9546-8891. As you know, MacMall had been touting a special incentive to lure me into upgrading my computer from a G4 to a G5, or was it a G5 to a G6? I’m not sure, I usually have people who deal with such matters for me. Dead people, to be sure. But since they’re trying to earn their wings, I find they are very dedicated and focused on such matters. And, at any rate, had I wanted to, I could have just caused said machine to appear in front of me — whoosh — but, as they say, I work in mysterious ways. Sorry for the digression. I’m a little overwrought.

That’s better. I just breathed deeply for ten seconds. Now, to get back to the matter at hand. The offer was, and I quote, “same as cash, no interest payments for six months.” Due to a screw-up by the Post Office (I swear this is true, there are some things even I can’t remedy), my final statement arrived THREE DAYS AFTER EXPIRATION DATE OF THE PROMOTIONAL OFFER. Now, I could turn you and the entire Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation to pillars of salt if I wanted to, but I’d rather state my case calmly and equivocally. The point is, your statement came too late. I should not have to pay the 23.99% APR on the entire balance, even the paid balance.

I promptly called the service number. I’ll have you know, I could have simply done a mind-meld with anyone in your organization, I could have made the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chief of the Federal Banking Commission, even Henry Kissinger do my bidding by telepathy, but I called the 800 number. I don’t like to cross boundaries if I don’t have to. I’m not that kind of Supreme Being. After being put on hold, and forced to listen to an off-key version of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for what felt like three seasons, I finally got in touch with someone, a human being. Now, I love all my children equally, that’s a big part of my deal, but this person on the end of the line — clearly not, how shall I put it — a person whose first language is English. There were problems. I could have changed the languages of the world to whatever obscure tongue was this member of my flock’s language of choice, but no, I play by the rules. So, after an interminable bout of furumphing and thissing and thatting that tried even my patience, I finally asked to speak to a supervisor. I didn’t mean to pull rank, really, charity is my middle name, but I thought, under these circumstances that, as a figure of authority myself, it might be more efficient for me to take my grievances to an entity, who, like myself, understands Power. (Sorry for all the clauses in the previous sentence, but having invented the comma, sometimes I really like to put that little sucker through its paces.)

So, I got a Janice Y58. I know and you know that Y58 is not her real last name. But that way she was speaking to me, I could have made it her last name. I could have made Y345.782 her last name. Would have caused her one garbanzo of trouble when she tried to cash her next paycheck. But I didn’t do that. I heard her out.

She wouldn’t budge. Wouldn’t move. Wouldn’t yield. Insinuated that I, the Font of all Goodness and Charity in Creation was the One at fault. Not very nice of Janice Y58. But, in my eternal wisdom, I could see she was just following company policy. It wasn’t Janice Y58’s fault that I had to pay the $327.00 APR. No, not one tiny little bit. I could see, with my all-seeing eyes, that she was graciously and professionally following the company policies. (Well, truth be told, and I am the Supreme Truth Teller, she wasn’t that gracious, but more about that later.)

I don’t have to tell you that $327.00 is a lot of money, even to me. I didn’t get to where I am today by being a spendthrift. Even though I could have just gotten the combination to the big safe at Fort Knox and taken as much gold bullion as I wanted to, I didn’t. Instead, I have written the letter you see before you.

So, I put it to you, Sirs and Madams. Either you waive that APR or I end all life as we know it.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely yours,



A Memo To Thunder, The Golden State Warriors’ Mascot, Regarding The Upcoming Second Half Of The 2006-2007 Season

By: Jay Dyckman


While the first half of this season has shown promise, management feels, given the history of this organization, that it’s best that we prepare for the inevitable collapse. As you are surely aware, times have been tough for the Warriors family. No championship since the ’74-’75 season. Thirteen years without making the playoffs. Top draft picks traded only to go on and produce for other teams. A coaching carousel. And an increasingly bitter fan base stung by prior promising starts that are most likely illegal under some type of bait-and-switch tort theory.

Well, we are leaving nothing to chance this season and have planned in advance for the forthcoming collapse. So, our lycra-clad friend, here are some things to keep in mind going forward.

First, a general note on your performance. There have been complaints from the front office that your enthusiasm had notably waned during last season’s second half debacle. Yes, we expect that from our fans. You, however, are not permitted this luxury. Did you really think we wouldn’t notice the frequent smoke breaks in the player’s entrance tunnel? Look, we don’t care how many fourth quarter collapses, defensive breakdowns, stagnant offensive series, comatose rebounding performances, missed free throws, apathetic box-outs, failures to rotate, blasé responses to full-court pressure, apparent boycotts against driving the lane or ill-advised three point attempts you are forced to watch, you will cheer them on. When the PA system blares “Get This Party Started,” you will get that party started. Or you may get unemployment started. Your call.

Second, as the playoffs slip even further from our fragile grip, we expect head coach Nelson to begin the annual “rebuilding phase” and turn to his bench to groom any potentially untapped talent. But, as you are probably aware, our drafts haven’t gone so well, leaving us a little thin on reserves. So, long story short, you should be ready to enter the game at a moment’s notice. No need to panic here. No one expects you to play defense, least of all Nellie. Just show some hustle, and maybe one or two of those high-flying dunks. (Although, to be on the safe side, please try to get in a little practice on these without the aid of the trampoline.) Plus, we hear this is how Mugsy Bogues got his start in the league so make the most of the opportunity.

Third, years of the customary “we’re out of contention” circa Groundhog Day have taken its toll on fan turnout. However, in order for our games to continue being broadcast, we need to have a minimum fan attendance. Thus, to prevent embarrassing television blackouts and to keep the ad revenue flowing, we have reached an arrangement to augment our fan base with “volunteer” fans from local rest homes and juvenile detention centers. Again, no reason to panic. Our new octogenarian friends should not impact your act much. Simply avoid hitting them with the T-Shirt bazooka. At the end of the game, they will simply be woken up by ushers and pointed toward the exits (as has been standard fourth quarter procedure for all fans at the Arena for years.)

The juvenile seat fillers will probably provide more of a challenge. If you simply refrain from direct eye contact you should be fine. However, and we cannot be more emphatic about this, DO NOT POINT THE T-SHIRT BAZOOKA DIRECTLY AT THESE FANS. If you do, expect counter fire and take defensive action immediately. In fact, no need to get the party started near that section.

Finally, and this is not a threat, but your contract does run at the end of this year. While we have no immediate plans to start looking, you might recall that management conducted a fan poll last season of possible mascot replacements. Top vote getters were team owner Chris Cohan’s head on a stick (unlikely) and Manute Bol. Again, not that we’re inclined to make any moves in that direction but we did think you should keep it in mind.

And Bol is available.

— Chris Mullin, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations