House of Letters

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Welcome to the humble abode of me and my letters. There’s often not much room due the way they breed, but we’re always happy to accept guests. Please, have a seat and we can make you a warm cup of chamomyle.

Hm? What are you talkyng ab–oh, yes. That’s defynytely a problem. Please excuse me.

Y! You know that just because you’re a “sometymes vowel,” that doesn’t gyve you lycense to replace the others all wylly-nylly.. Don’t you dare start whynyng at me; you’re makyng us look lyke Chaucer yn front of company! Now what dyd you do wyth hym thys tyme?

The closet? Seryously?

I, really. You have a backbone; you need to stand up to Y more when she trIes to–why do you stIll have your cap on? What do you mean you lost your lower case dot? How can you even–OK, look. There It Is, up there In the thIrd paragra–no. That’s the perIod, I. Next to–there. Yes, that’s much better.

Sorry; I believe we’re all in order now. So, ow about tat cup of cam–o, oly ell…

Wife-carrying competition allows singles

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LATVIA — Organizers of the annual Latvian wife-carrying competition have agreed under pressure of protest to allow single competitors in the race.

While longtime participants have balked at the decision, citing that the object of the competition is to carry one’s wife (or an approved cohabitant) and that the unmarried (or mono-habitant) would have an unfair advantage, single protesters are seeing it as a victory for equal rights.

“For too long, married couples–and approved cohabitants–have enjoyed segregated privileges such as tax breaks, hospital visitation rights, conversation partners and the ability to make little copies of themselves,” said Ludis Kalnins, head of All For One, a singles rights advocacy group that is often mistakenly booked to sing at lavish weddings and state fairs. “Married–and approved cohabiting–people are allowed to participate in solitaire tournaments; why can’t we participate in their wife-carrying competitions?”

While some argue the move is right under political correctness, others dismiss the singles’ push as merely a veiled attempt to get in on action implied through event-related quotes taken entirely out of context.

“We do it two or three times a week,” one champion said in recent coverage. “We run in the stadium, we go with a bicycle, we go in somewhere together. Even when we come home, I lift her on my back and go fourth floor.”

Under the new rules, all single men who wish to participate must shoulder their own awkwardness and insecurities through the course, while single women, like their married counterparts, must cross the finish line without touching the ground. No single competitor placed in the first competition since the rules change.

Why it’s hard to accept the Monty Hall Problem

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(If you don’t know what I’m talking about…)

MONTY: Welcome back to Let’s Make a Deal! So here we are, Martha. Three doors in front of you. Behind two are the finest Kentuckian goats we could find but behind one, a brand new 1972 Dodge Dart! Can you just imagine your sweetie driving you to a Carpenters concert in that beauty?

MARTHA: Eeeee! [The crowd cheers.]

MONTY: So which door will it be, Martha: one, two or three?

MARTHA: I think I’ll go with… oh, dear… I’ll take door number one!

MONTY: Door number one it is! That means you did not pick door number three. Let’s open that now!

[Martha closes her eyes and winces as the door slides open to reveal… a goat next to a small mountain of tin cans. She opens her eyes again once the crowd cheers.]

MONTY: You’ve chosen wisely so far! We know where one of the goats is, but now is where it gets interesting. I will now give you the opportunity to switch to door number two if you so desire, or you could stay with your original choice, door number one!

MARTHA: Really? Eeee, what do I do!? I think… [she nervously wraps a curl of permed hair around a finger as she scans the audience for advice, finding a frenzied mix of bell-bottomed uselessness] I… I think I’ll switch, Monty! Door number t–

???: Whoa, whoa, Martha! What’re you doing to me?!

MARTHA: Who said that…?

MONTY: Er, said what? Probably just a crazed audience member. Let’s move along and open up–

???: It’s me, baby! Door number one!

MARTHA: What? The door?

MONTY:

DOOR ONE: Why are you breakin’ my heart like this, baby? You pick me then just flip me like that as soon as Mr. Slick gives you the chance?

MARTHA: I didn’t really mean to — I mean, I just though you were a door—

DOOR ONE: I’m your door, baby! You chose me for a reason, didn’t you?

DOOR TWO: Please, don’t listen to this knock-off beside me, my dear. The odds are better with me.

DOOR ONE: What’re you talking about, numbknob? There’s two of us left; it’s a 50/50 chance!

DOOR TWO: Aside from my well-demonstrated gift of maturity, I can assure you there is actually a two-out-of-three chance you will find the car behind me.

MARTHA: What? But how?

DOOR ONE: You had to ask…

MONTY: Can we cut to commercial?

DOOR TWO: When you originally picked my knotty little friend—

DOOR ONE: Hey! Don’t knock the mahogany!

DOOR TWO: There was a one-in-three chance you chose correctly. That means there was a two-out-of-three chance the car was behind myself or door number three. Our esteemed host, however, has already opened door three to reveal a goat. That means our combined better chance of housing the car now lies squarely with me.

MARTHA: That makes sense! I think…

DOOR ONE: Oh, come on! Don’t let all that stupid logic crap sway your heart, baby. You chose me out of fate! Something drew you to me; something neither of us can explain. Switching now is like saying that’s all wrong. That you are wrong!

MARTHA: Well, yeah, but…

DOOR ONE: Look, I know I’ve had my ins and outs with others in the past. They’ve all been public and ugly, but that’s the price of fame, baby! This time will be different, I promise.

DOOR TWO: He does this to everyone Martha. Do not be swayed by your inferior human emotions. Probability is on your side with me!

DOOR ONE: Shut your mouth like the rest of you, Two! This is between me and lady!

DOOR THREE: Everyone just SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP, OK?! At least the two of you still have chances to be chosen. I’ve already been exposed as a loser to the whole world — just some schmuck entryway with a goat who’s already piddled all over the floor! Who the hell wants a door with goat piddle behind it, huh? Huh?? No one! I’m ruined! There’s nothing left. Nothing! I’m going to unhinge myself! I SWEAR TO GOD I’M GOING TO UNHINGE MYSELF!!!

MONTY: We really need to get some curtains.

Romance Stories Written by a Virgin: The Lure of Passion

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He met her down by the old, abandoned wharf; the same place her crystal blue eyes first captured his wandering form. It was the unlikeliest of meetings, but proved more than special enough to continue from that day on.

“I hope I didn’t keep you waiting too long,” he said, glancing around to make sure they were alone before sitting down beside her. “My friend invited me to lunch and I — well, it’d be bad to tell him about us just yet and I couldn’t come up with any excuses.”

She just laughed and passed a hand through her long, flaxen hair. “Don’t worry. I just watched the gulls for a while. The important part is you’re here now.”

The warm, content look that followed her speech sent a tingling pulse radiating outward from his core, momentarily scrambling his larynx.

“I-I.” He cleared his throat as she looked on, head tilting lightly to one side. “What’s so interesting about me? I mean, you — I have to say it; you’re beautiful. Legendarily so. You can’t tell me I’m worth coming back to so many times. There has to be—”

“Hush,” she said, a slender finger touching his chin. “They say there are plenty of fish in the sea, right? They’re wrong. There aren’t as many as you think; especially not good ones. They’re always trying to show off their superiority like I’m some sort of prize to take home. You… have been different. You’re the first I’ve met to actually be fascinated by who I am. And you’ve never once tried to drag me away.” She smirked.

He smiled sheepishly. “Well, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been thinking of a way to do that — only if you ever wanted to, I mean. I know the risks.”

Those lock-on eyes brightened even further as it was her turn to choke up. “Yes… Neither of our loved ones may react that well, but… but I would enjoy it. I’d be willing to, if you can. But… let me give you something you could take home now?”

He forgot how to move as he watched her wan lips close in on his, and he would’ve realized it had he not also forgotten what moving even was. The undulations of the water around them seemed to freeze as they kissed, the amount of time passing locked in their bond counted only by the heavens until they at last parted.

He slowly opened his eyes… to find a peculiar look on her face as she ran her tongue along the roof of her mouth.

“Some sort of taste… What is that?” she mumbled to herself.

“Taste?” he echoed. The blood suddenly drained from his face. “Oh no.”

She stared at his reaction in disbelief. “Oh my — it’s tartar sauce, isn’t it!” She gagged in horror, turning to spit at the ground.

“Wait — no, I can explain! I didn’t think—”

“You monster!” Her crystal eyes rippled with welled-up tears. “I can’t believe I was trusting you with—” A sob overtook her and she dove into the water, her tailfin lashing up to give him a broad slap across the face.

When he turned back, she was gone; only the waves remained.

He rubbed the welts on the side of his face, his other hand balled into a fist as he looked up into the sky.

“Curse you, 2-for-1 Filet-O-Fish deal!”

Internet health care bill passes

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In a monumental victory for President Barack Obama, House Democrats Sunday passed the Senate bill mandating health care for weary travelers of the great digital tubes.

The passage of the bill ends more than a year of hard-pressed debate and rallies on the Democrats’ part, the latter of which had become well-known for the horror stories told of uninsured online victims.

“Poor Agatha Jones, an 79-year-old grandmother of seven from Billings, Montana, logged on to the Internet seeking images of LOLcats,” Obama recently told a town hall meeting in Dayton, Ohio. “She unwittingly stumbled upon Something Awful, where she innocently submitted a post asking for said cats and immediately suffered third-degree flame burns over 80 percent of her body. Ceiling Cat watched, but it is up to us to act.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi considered the passage of the bill a historic event for the Internet, even though the Wikipedia article at the time said the bill had been passed by “the exploding population of African elephants.”

“Last year, 3,400 Americans permanently blinded themselves in back-alley eye-bleaching operations,” Pelosi said. “Now we can ensure everyone can afford to unsee anything they have witnessed on the Internet.”

Republicans fought the bill to the end, and in fact tried to Digg it down.

“The Internet should be open and unfettered to every American! Except for sites that require pay or contain embarrassing and/or incriminating photos of our personal actions,” House Minority Leader John Boehner said.

Rep. Ackbar, R-Fla, was asked whether he believed this bill was some sort of trick or deception.

“I know what you’re trying to do,” he said. “I’m not going to say it.”

Obama responds to unemployment

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In another bold move aimed to enrich and protect the future of many struggling Americans, President Barack Obama today signed a new law in response to the nation’s elevated unemployment rate.

“America is facing one of its most significant crises in decades as the number of people desperately seeking a highly limited number of jobs increases,” President Obama said. “The most direct and threatening effect of these circumstances is clear: a massive influx of resumés thrown away by employers is filling our landfills, destroying our trees and probably contributing to climate change somehow.

“That is why I am proud to say today we have passed through legislation requiring all resumés submitted by job seekers to be printed on special, federally-certified paper that is both 100 percent recycled and highly biodegradable. I welcome this law as a giant step forward in addressing the problem caused by unemployment in our country.”

The new law was lauded by employers, who had been complaining for some time of feeling oppressed and hopeless against what feels like an insurmountable wall of people wishing to work for them.

“We get so many job applications nowadays, we’ve gone to only opening envelopes with the cutest stamps on them,” said Leonard Hills, CEO of McDermot—Schlesenhauffer Enterprises. “We’ve felt so guilty about shipping all this paper away. It’s a godsend the government has finally heard our pleas and decided to truly do something about this awful situation we’ve been under.”

The new paper is expected to cost approximately 2.7 cents more per sheet than standard paper. Proposals made to the government requesting funding to build domestic plants for such paper have been denied, as a sufficient number of plants sprung up in China yesterday.

Interview with the Cherub

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[Editor’s Note: If you’re familiar with my writing in past places, you may have already read this. I am planning on porting old pieces I enjoy onto my blog when convenient times present themselves. Please enjoy, and Happy Valentine’s Day!]

[A camera is trained on a small, chubby, man sitting on a stool. He winces momentarily, his wings flinching, as a light passes over his eyes.]

OFF-SCREEN INTERVIEWER: I’m sorry. We’re usually set up well in advance for these, but this was on such short notice and we know you’re very busy. We’re very grateful you could take time at all.

WINGED MAN: Hey, no worries. No one’s ever wanted to ask us anything before, like it’s some mystical sorta thing, you know? It’s really pretty basic if—

INTERVIEWER: I’ve been told we’re ready, sir.

WINGED MAN: Oh, right. Good to go, here.

INTERVIEWER: Right, then. Roll film.
[The camera’s red light blinks on.]
Again, thank you for taking the time, Mr. … Cupid…?

WINGED MAN: Kip, please. Cupid was our founder, so he’s become our brand name in a way. Like Kleenex with us, but we all have different names.

INTERVIEWER: Kip, then. Sorry. There are many of you, then?

KIP: Yep! A couple million, give or take.

INTERVIEWER: Unionized?

KIP: Think we’d still be wearing these diapers if we were?

INTERVIEWER: Fair enough. Please describe your job for us.

KIP: Sure. It’s really just about how everyone thinks it goes. We’re the “sparks” in love, right? We’re given assignments to join two people chosen by fate to be together in as holy a matrimony as possible, and we go stoke their fires. Call us the links in the ol’ ball and chain.

INTERVIEWER: And you do this with the classic bow and arrow?

KIP: Eh, we still carry ’em around for tradition’s sake, but we try to use other means when we can.

INTERVIEWER: Why is that?

KIP: Well, come on. You can be a master archer, but sometimes arrows just don’t go where you want them. Wind gusts, things getting in the way. You ever have a time when you went to the house of some lady you might’ve been interested in and things were going pretty well, but then her mutt starts going all Pepe LePew on your leg and it wrecks the mood?

INTERVIEWER: Yes…

KIP: That’s a miss. Sorry. Sometimes another human gets hit, too, and that causes all sorts of headaches. The best-known example’s gotta be—

INTERVIEWER: Lennon and Ono?

KIP: Charlie still gets flak for that.

INTERVIEWER: What about all those crazy celebrity matchups?

KIP: Sorry, not our jurisdiction. You’ll have to ask their respective planets’ cherubs about that.

INTERVIEWER: Ouch.

KIP: Anyway, you were asking what we use, right? It’s largely situational. Ideally, it’s a long-distance job. High-powered love rifles.

INTERVIEWER: High-powered rifles.

KIP: Of love.

INTERVIEWER: That doesn’t sound very romantic…

KIP: And getting an arrow through your chest is better just ’cause the point’s shaped like a heart? Get over yourselves.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. But, well, I just thought—

KIP: (rolls his eyes) We carve hearts on the bullets if it makes ya feel better.

INTERVIEWER: Ah. Good…

KIP: And the bullets fragment, making sure all the shrapnel stays in the target and doesn’t hit bystanders.

INTERVIEWER: …

KIP: …Pink, fluffy little bits of lovey-dovey shrapnel? That what you wanna hear?

INTERVIEWER: Okay. I get it now.

KIP: It’s serious stuff, pal. But sometimes you can’t do it with the rifles. People are too hidden away for various reasons. But love blooms in the strangest places too, so we gotta be there. That’s when we go covert…

[Flash to a dim warehouse floor. Groups of people, their faces covered by bandannas, are busily loading bags of white, powdery substances into boxes as groups of gunmen, their faces also covered by bandannas, look on. The only person not wearing a bandanna — and is, in fact, in a nice suit — watches from an upper balcony. His sweeping gaze suddenly locks upon a pair of eyes belonging to an obviously female packer. It remains…

…as a very short worker in a pink bandanna sidles by. With nearly imperceptible speed the figure draws a knife, flips it open]

KIP: I can tell you want to ask it.

INTERVIEWER: …D… does the butterfly knife—

KIP: YES IT HAS BUTTERFLIES ON IT!

[and plunges it cleanly into the boss’s abdomen, who staggers and falls over. By the time the guards make it up to the balcony, there was no sign the pink figure was ever there.

GUARD: Boss! You okay?!

BOSS: Hurgh… yeah, yeah. Just… got some butterflies in my stomach…]

INTERVIEWER: That was pretty corny.

KIP: What was?

INTERVIEWER: The whole ‘butterflies’ thing. Come on.

KIP: What are you talking ab—oh… Oh! Hey now, I did NOT realize the pun there when I started telling this. Honest! You’re the one who asked about the knife in the first place!

INTERVIEWER: All right; no need to argue. Please continue.

KIP: Fine. Now, there are some situations where you just can’t take in any sorta metal whatsoever…

[A woman sits alone at an airport bar, staring listlessly ahead. A man walks up and lightly taps her on the shoulder.

MAN: I’m sorry to bother you, miss, but do you happen to know which gate the Delta flight to Atlanta is leaving from?

WOMAN: Hm? Oh, um… A5. That’s the one I’m taking.

MAN: Really? Me too! Flying out alone to meet with the other single, high-end shoe company CEOs. We like to set up golf trips now and then.

WOMAN: Oh, r-really?? Well, I— I—

The woman falls face-flat onto the bartop as a pink rock smacks off the back of her head.

MAN: Miss? …Miss?

WOMAN: (babbles incoherently)]

INTERVIEWER: Honestly, now.

KIP: What? She’s fine! In her world, her head may have gotten the raw deal, but the happiness of her feet more than make up for it.

INTERVIEWER: And this is really how it works nowadays?

KIP: Yep! There are some different methods in other countries. The Japanese cherubs are the stealthiest out of all of us, for example…

[A boy and girl catch eyes across a classroom. The boy gives a small smile. The girl blushes. Suddenly, a small breeze blows through the classroom, a stinging orchestra hit rings out, and the boy screams at the heart-shaped shuriken now in his chest.]

INTERVIEWER: The orchestra hit wasn’t necessary, I don’t thi—

KIP: And the cherubs of the Argentinean plains are much more straightforward…

[People awkwardly begin to mingle at a club’s singles night, but the talking eventually stops as a rumble and the sound of shouting grow closer. Confused questioning instantly gives way to chaos as a band of dusty, horse-riding gaucherubs bust through a wall. Love bolas in hand, they begin separating the weaker members out of the singles herd, tripping them up and carrying them away in twos.]

INTERVIEWER: Okay, this is just becoming ridiculous now. Mr. Kip, can you please—

KIP: But the most dedicated workers we’ve got are in the Middle East…

[A crowded marketplace in]

INTERVIEWER: No! NO! We are NOT going there! This interview is over, Mr. Kip! Cameras off! We’re leaving!

KIP: Eh, be that way. Just watch yourself around dogs from now on, pal.

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