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Jest in Literature - Shocking!!  Gunjan Saraf
 Jul 15, 2002 07:25 PDT 
15th July 2002    #     016
"I'll never forget my wedding day...they threw vitamin pills."
~ Groucho Marx


A Quick Word -
                          ~ The Doc

A Little Ado about Macbeth
                          ~ The Doc

Future Shock
                         ~ The Doc

----------------   MESSAGE   -----------------

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====> A Quick Word

Hello Readers. There are some new things afoot here as we
continue to try to perfect a formula for presenting
Jest-In-Literature. Gunjan and I have decided that we'll
pretty much try anything - in the spirit of the last frontier -
just to see what happens.

First, a kind thank you to all of you who sent your best wishes
to me as I battled that woeful occurrence that beset me in the
form of a blood clot that formed errantly my leg. A special
thanks to Harpeau who spent his midnight hour shouting
weird shit to the moon. I think that provided the turning point.
The gods didn't know who they were messing with until then.
There will be some second thinking for them to do before
they try something like this again.

Not as a prescription or even medical advice, let me whisper
that mega-doses of vitamin E do wonders in breaking up blood
clots, and it beats the hell out of a venogram any day of the week.
Of course, it may do this by redirecting the blood to another piece
of anatomy, but who cares as long as it works? If you don't quite
get that, would it help if I said I'm now standing fully erect?

Comments or Questions :

Kbritestar's Let's Laugh is an adult oriented joke/link list.
We send the list daily, (or almost), and all sends are bcc's.
You must be 18 or over to join, a disclaimer will be sent
and must be returned. So, if you enjoy laughter, whether it be
simple or very xxx, why not join Kbritestar's Let's Laugh ?
Send an e-mail to kbrit-@aol.com with send disclaimer
in the subject line.

===> A Little Ado about Macbeth
And with that off-colored comment, allow me to draw your
attention to the only moment of tension relief in an otherwise
consistently bleak, bleaking, and bleaker play, Macbeth. The
Porter gives us the only good excuses for drinking as well as
the only good reasons not to when he tells Macduff about
those things that drinking inspires.

He is still suffering from the night's excesses when he says
there are three things that drinking inspires - and then
commences to give us four:

"Marry, Sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, Sir, it
provokes, and unprovokes: it provokes the desire, but it takes
away the performance. Therefore, much drink may be said to
be an equivocator with lechery: it makes him, and it mars him;
it sets him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him, and
disheartens him; makes him stand to, and not stand to; in
conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and giving him the
lie, leaves him."

The best visual I have personally seen to make this desire to
perform find disenchantment with the ability is in the Lincoln
Center performance when the Porter grabs the rope holding
his nightgown closed and extends it out in front of himself to
full length. He does this as he says the line "makes him stand
to,". Then he grabs the rope in the middle and lets the outer
half of it fall limply as he says, "and not stand to;".
Erectus inhabilus?

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==> Future Shock
Back to the changes we are contemplating: One thing that has
arisen as a result of last issue's attempt to deal with the wild
and crazy places that can pique one's interest in things bizarre,
is our decision to add a couple of areas to the column.

Personally, I am always intrigued by things that stimulate my
thinking, and I'm especially enamored of things that might
stimulate my writing. There is a theory or belief about those
two things: writing and thinking. Some very famous people
have said, basically, that writing is thinking. There are some
who feel that the way to discover how they actually think
or feel about an issue is to write about it. I don't know
where this leaves those people who feel they think, but
they do not write. Maybe there is room for both theories.
Maybe writing is one way of thinking, but it is not the only

I know there have been times when I have not known what
my feelings are about some issue, so I write about it. On
some occasions, the results are almost shocking to me as
I discover the thoughts I have toward something.

Mark Twain said that thinking is a very difficult thing to do,
and that is why most people avoid it.

But, in the hopes that some of you like to have your thinking
and maybe even your writing stimulated into action, we are
adding a section called: Inspiration Corner (aka: Come on,
Mama, and help me get my lazy ass in gear.)

What we'll put in here are some quotes or thoughts or ideas
or half-baked notions that seem as if they might trigger a
person into some action. These might be things mundane,
provocative, senseless, or seemingly intriguing. These pieces
may be unrelated, or they may all pertain to the same item.
Who knows? But, hopefully, in reading them, someone
might be inspired to actually produce something that they
had been unable to do before. So many potential explosions
are fully charged and lack only the primer to set them off.

Today's example:

"We live in a decaying age.
Young people no longer respect their parents.
They are rude & impatient.
They frequently inhabit taverns & have no self control."

- Inscription, 6000 year-old Egyptian tomb
(cited in R. Buckminster Fuller's I Seem to be a Verb).

{A reminder that nothing ever changes but that it stays the same.}

[Reminds me more of ...
"The old-fashioned respect for the young is fast dying out.
Whatever influence I ever had over mamma, I lost at the
age of three."
From Oscar Wilde's The Importance of being Ernest]

<Doc, Thanks for leaving that last bracket symbol for
me! ~ Gunjan>


Should you ask me where I come from, I must talk with
broken things, with fairly painful utensils, with great beasts
turned to dust as often as not & my afflicted heart.

1904 -- Pablo Neruda lives (1904-1973), Parral, Chile.
Poet, diplomat, Marxist, winner of the 1971 Nobel Prize.

{Making notice that he doesn't describe where he is from
by describing Chile, but by referring to broken things and
great beasts.}


I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which
governs least"; & I should like to see it acted up to more
rapidly & systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to
this, which also I believe - "That government is best which
governs not at all"; & when men are prepared for it, that
will be the kind of government which they will have.

- Henry David Thoreau

{The trigger here might be the notion that we get what we
deserve or are ready for.}


A second area we will add/continue is the single-word focus
for your own poetic notions. This got off to a start that fizzled
temporarily by my own near demise. I apologize to those of
you who worked to create a submission for review based on
the word "prejudice." I have those submissions, and I will
include them in the next issue along with comment. I think the
notion is worthy of pursuit, and your submissions prove there
is room for this type of thing. With my hand over where some
people believe I don't have a heart, I promise to get this area
back and functional. So, be you from India, Africa, or the USA,
please do not lose heart that your efforts were in vain (vein?).

Prior to offering a second word, let me fulfill my promise about
the first. This area will actually become something with the next

In the last issue, I was following my own unknown thinking by
using three different works to indicate where ideas for writing
might spawn. I mentioned the notion of The Last Temptation
of Christ making use of a couple of seconds on the cross to
launch a work which became, and remains, very controversial.
That led to mention of the Hulk comic character and an idea
of perspective about how one thing can be a small part of a
larger thing which is part of a still larger thing and so on. I
ended, abruptly, with the mention that in one of the most
famous plays of all time - Hamlet - we are left with a
character who obviously undergoes a change, but we are
not privy to that moment when it occurs. That issue ended
up getting more reader response than any so far.

As a result of that response, Gunjan is thinking of creating a
forum wherein we may exchange ideas without moderation.
That means the ideas are not moderated, not that we can be
immoderate. Those of you who'd like to participate, not just
subscribe but PARTICIPATE, please drop a note to Gunjan -
gun-@workinghumor.com ; It will help us decide whether
to go ahead with the exercise or not.

The final area that I am, by writing this, proposing to Gunjan,
is one that might help develop thinking skills and the writing
process. A secondary benefit of this item is that it helps a
person develop self-discipline regarding those two things.
Now, I know that these things are just exciting as
Fig Newtons to most of you, but hang in here a moment,

There have been gadzillions of times that I will meet a
former student after years of not seeing him. Sometimes,
though not often, I might inquire if he has continued to write.
You see, if you happen to be placed in one of my classes,
the one thing you can count on is that you will write something
at every meeting. This is because I ascribe to two theories of
learning: one is that writing is thinking; and two is that the
single method we actually know that works to improve a
person's writing is to have that person write. That last one is
known as "time on task." The more you write, the better you
get at it. Makes sense, doesn't it?

What I find out if I ask a former student this question, though,
is that, without the process of me writing the prompt that they
must respond to, they cannot find a stimulus for continuing to

For classes, what I usually do is write a full-page topic to
which each student responds with a full page of his own.

I get two birds with that single stone, actually. You see, we
also know that one of the single best ways for a person to
improve his reading ability is the same as the writing
improvement model. In other words, the more a person
reads, the better he gets at reading.

By creating the full page prompt or topic for response, a
person is made to read, and by his response, he is made to
write. Pretty tricky, eh? Except for the part where I have
to get up at four in the morning every day to write that topic.

So, the last area that I am proposing is one where I create
a prompt or topic, and you, the reader, can respond to that
as you will. Your response would not be something you
would submit (unless you have a burning desire to do so),
but the topic might present you with a weekly topic that
could prompt you to write with some regularity thereby
improving that skill.

There is probably no way that we can determine whether
this area is useful or not, but on the chance that it might be,
I'd like to include it. Besides, it is a place where I can be
outrageous, uncouth, illogical, and bilious without restraint,
and I kind of like that.

However, for this week, this is merely advance notice so
you'll recognize it when you see it next time.

So, for a while, at least, you will find these things added to
the newsletter:

=> Single-word poetry prompt.
=> Full-page writing prompt.
=> Inspiration corner.

In case those things sound awfully academic, rest assured,
we intend to keep our focus on the humorous things in
reading, writing and discussions.

For those of you who are just too damned lazy to care about
any of these things, good for you. We will continue to write
about those things in literature that will hopefully entertain you
and will require no actual thinking at all. (Okay, you know
that's not true.) That is what this newsletter is all about

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===> Winding up Cartoons

Say it with Flowers


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