Give Us This Day Our Daily Chuckle
||February 22th, 2007|
This week, a
compendium of wit,
wisdom and neat stuff
you can tell at parties. Enjoy!
When Bureaucracy Began. . .
The Court of King George III
July 10, 1776
Mr. Thomas Jefferson
c/o The Continental Congress
Dear Mr. Jefferson:
We have read your "Declaration of Independence" with great interest. Certainly, it represents a considerable undertaking, and many of your statements do merit serious consideration. Unfortunately, the Declaration as a whole fails to meet recently adopted specifications for proposals to the Crown, so we must return the document to you for further refinement. The questions which follow might assist you in your process of revision:
1.In your opening paragraph you use the phrase "the Laws of Nature and Nature's God." What are these laws? In what way are they the criteria on which you base your central arguments? Please document with citations from the recent literature.
2.In the same paragraph you refer to the "opinions of mankind." Whose polling data are you using? Without specific evidence, it seems to us the "opinions of mankind" are a matter of opinion.
3.You hold certain truths to be "self- evident." Could you please elaborate. If they are as evident as you claim then it should not be difficult for you to locate the appropriate supporting statistics.
4."Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" seem to be the goals of your proposal. These are not measurable goals. If you were to say that "among these is the ability to sustain an average life expectancy in six of the 13 colonies of at last 55 years, and to enable newspapers in the colonies to print news without outside interference, and to raise the average income of the colonists by 10 percent in the next 10 years," these could be measurable goals. Please clarify.
5.You state that "Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government...." Have you weighed this assertion against all the alternatives? What are the trade-off considerations?
6.Your description of the existing situation is quite extensive. Such a long list of grievances should precede the statement of goals, not follow it. Your problem statement needs improvement.
7.Your strategy for achieving your goal is not developed at all. You state that the colonies "ought to be Free and Independent States," and that they are "Absolved from All Allegiance to the British Crown." Who or what must change to achieve this objective? In what way must they change? What specific steps will you take to overcome the resistance? How long will it take? We have found that a little foresight in these areas helps to prevent careless errors later on. How cost-effective are your strategies?
8.Who among the list of signatories will be responsible for implementing your strategy? Who conceived it? Who provided the theoretical research? Who will constitute the advisory committee? Please submit an organization chart and vitas of the principal investigators.
9.You must include an evaluation design. We have been requiring this since Queen Anne's War.
10.What impact will your problem have? Your failure to include any assessment of this inspires little confidence in the long-range prospects of your undertaking.
11.Please submit a PERT diagram, an activity chart, itemized budget, and manpower utilization matrix.
We hope that these comments prove useful in revising your "Declaration of Independence." We welcome the submission of your revised proposal. Our due date for unsolicited proposals is July 31, 1776. Ten copies with original signatures will be required.
Management Analyst to the British Crown
A number of folks have contacted The Paper, indicating they’d like to write, or learn to write. We are always happy to oblige and submit the following writer’s guidelines:
How to Write Good
Our several years in the word game have learnt me several rules:
1. Avoid alliteration. Always.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat.)
4. Employ the vernacular.
5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
8. Contractions aren't necessary.
9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
10. One should never generalize.
11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.''
12. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
13. Don't be redundant; don't use more use words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
14. Profanity sucks.
15. Be more or less specific.
16. Understatement is always best.
17. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
20. The passive voice is to be avoided.
21. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
22. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
23. Who needs rhetorical questions?
24. Be careful to use apostrophe's correctly.
25. Do not use them pronouns as modifiers.
26. And never start a sentence with a conjunction.
Some Steve Wright Classics
I used to work in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn't park anywhere near the place.
I stayed up all night playing poker with tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died.
Last week, I went to a furniture store to look for a decaffeinated
coffee table. They couldn't help me.
What's another word for "thesaurus"?
When I get real bored, I like to drive down town and get a great
parking spot, then sit in my car and count how many people ask me if I'm leaving.
When I was a kid, we had a quicksand box in the backyard. I was an only child ... eventually.
I bought some batteries, but they weren't included. So I had to buy them again.
For my birthday I got a humidifier and a de-humidifier. I put them in the same room and let them fight it out.
I have a switch in my apartment that doesn't do anything. Every once in a while I turn it on and off. One day I got a call from a woman in France who said "Cut it out!"
I replaced the headlights on my car with strobe lights. Now it looks like I'm the only one moving.
I wrote a song, but I can't read music. Every time I hear a new song on the radio, I think "Hey, maybe I wrote that."
I got my driver's license photo taken out of focus on purpose. Now when I get pulled over the cop looks at it (moving it nearer & farther, trying to see it clearly) . . . and says, "Here, you can go."
I went to a general store but they wouldn't let me buy anything specific.
I turned my air conditioner the other way around, and it got cold out. The weatherman said, "I don't understand it. It was supposed to be 80 degrees out today." I said "Oops ..."
I put contact lenses in my dog's eyes. They had little pictures of
cats on them. Then I took one out and he ran around in circles.
I spilled Spot remover on my dog. Now he's gone.
My neighbor has a circular driveway. He can't get out.
I bought some powdered water, but I didn't know what to add.
I put instant coffee in a microwave and almost went back in time.
I have an answering machine in my car. It says, "I'm home now, but leave a message and I'll call when I'm out."
I bought a house on a one-way dead-end road. I don't know how I got there.
I went to a restaurant that serves "breakfast at any time." So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.
A friend of mine is into Voodoo Acupuncture. You don't have to go. You'll just be walking down the street and . . .
. . . oohh, that's so much better.
I have a hobby. I have the world's largest collection of sea shells. I keep it scattered on beaches all over the world. Maybe you've seen some of it.
I Xeroxed a mirror. Now I have an extra Xerox machine.
Last week I forgot how to ride a bicycle.
"Each of us is a mixture of some good and some not so good qualities. In considering one's fellow man it's important to remember the good things, and to realize his faults only prove he's a human being. We should refrain from making judgments---just because a fella' happens to be a dirty, rotten son-of-a-bitch".
John Wayne's favorite expression engraved on a plaque that he kept on board his first yacht, the "Nor'wester."