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You win, Mayor Ford. Your actual life is far more ridiculous than anything I could ever dream up. I bow before you.

I’ve recently been copying music from my parents’ LP collection (mostly from the 1960s) onto CDs; they have a small but eclectic collection, a mix of country, easy listening, and movie soundtracks… and only a single Elvis album and one Beatles amongst them. If anyone doubts that the world has changed, some of the write-ups on the backs of the albums are really of their time. In the first of an ongoing series, I’m going to reproduce verbatim some of the copy on the back of Ray Martin and His Orchestra’s “Goldfinger and Other Music from James Bond Thrillers.”

007 is the most exciting number since topless bathing suits, seventy-six trombones, the Irish Sweepstakes winner or Elizabeth Taylor.

007 is one of the great all-time emergency numbers like Dial M for Murder, that unlisted one between the White House and the Kremlin, or the Daily Double. It is also the serial number for the most appealing, devastating secret agent since incense and candlelight.

James Bond is the inspired 007: Sir Hocus-Pocus; Lord Hokum; Duke of Deviltry; a combination of the Royal Marines, the FBI, the Rangers and Houdini; a name that makes Casanova sound like a Brazilian supper club. He scales super-heights in the erasure of inhuman Bondage and sparks romantic ideas for the timid, the tiresome and others who can’t even entertain an opinion.

. . . 007 is more than a laundry mark on James Bond shirts these days. Ladies monogram their lingerie with it. Young girls design dreams around it. Older matrons sit around and doodle with it.

Incipient bacon

Jews aren’t allowed to eat bacon because God wants all of it for himself.

This line came to me at work today and I blurted it out, to general amusement. But I immediately started to doubt myself, thinking “did I come up with this joke on my own, or am I repeating something I heard once but forgot?”

This is the problem with jokes, or inspiration in general: how do you know you were the originator? Especially when it’s a tiny nugget of an idea or a simple one-liner. It’s a pretty good joke, I think, but also seems obvious after the fact. Surely someone else thought of this before me?

But I don’t know. I’d like it to be my creation, but it might not be. There’s a long tradition of comedians “stealing” jokes, but how can they tell if it’s a case of lightning striking twice or plagiarism? Even the light bulb was “invented” twice, separately, simultaneously.

Here are some other jokes that I believe I wrote myself (but if anyone knows any better, please let me know):

I have a 32″ vertical leap… wait, I mean inseam.

Old maid to beautiful young woman: “I bet you have to beat the men off with a stick!”     “Who needs a stick?”

I went to an anarchist gathering last week… it was very well-organized.

“Doctor, I have terrible trouble with diarrhea… what are my options?”     “Depends…”

It’s free verse for everyone else, but you have to pay.

I was lucky enough to be able to study abroad for college… her name was Samantha.

In a recent speech, U.S. Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney spoke about American exceptionalism, and his belief that God has big plans for the United States. In fact, Romney believes that God (not just some Mormon God, because Romney also wants you to know that he believes in the same God as you do, as long as you’re a Christian, because he’s a Christian too, even thought most Americans believe Mormonism is a cult and not Christian at all–much like many evangelicals believe Catholics aren’t really Christians either) created the United States for a higher purpose, which hasn’t been fulfilled, despite fears that American hegemony is over and that China will soon rule the world. Not so! says Romney. America is just getting started! The twenty-first century will be a century of American dominance! The United States remains a beacon to all freedom-loving peoples everywhere, with the possible exception of the French! America is not done with you yet, planet Earth!

In light of Romney’s confidence in the ongoing supremacy of the United States, it’s interesting to look at the rest of his speech, in order to see what he believes God’s plan is for some other countries. After all, this could be the next President of the United States of America, and the rest of us ought to know where we stand in Mitt’s vision of the coming world order.

Russia – supplier of mail order brides and strippers

Canada – buffer between America and Sarah Palin’s Alaska

Afghanistan – cudgel to criticize your predecessor’s foreign policy

Iran – beards and poignant but little-seen cinema

Great Britain – royalty we pretend to hate but secretly envy

Tunisia – setting for George Lucas Jr.’s Star Wars sequels

Colombia – cocaine to fuel America’s need to condemn drug use

Mexico – drug wars to scare America and keep border fences high and wages low

Japan – to prove to everyone that the U.S. will drop the bomb if they don’t behave

North Korea – a reminder that Communism is evil and America kicked its ass

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