December 14, 2012 § 6 Comments
Since people are continually stumbling onto The Oldest Jokes in the World in search of actual jokes, not just abstract theories about them, every Friday we have a joke-along post. I’ll search through the site’s stats for a specific joke people have been searching for, comb the internet for the best existing examples, and try come up with one of my own. And then you all can add your own in the comments, so the next time someone comes searching, they won’t leave disappointed.
I wish I hadn’t.
I guess I figured that since I BS about food for a living, food jokes would come easy… but this one was a tough nut to crack. Sorry, but I’m stooping that low to prove what a desperate time I’ve had coming up with walnut-related humor.
The first one that came to my mind is the Rudy Ray Moore chestnut/walnut/chin-nut joke that is sampled at the start of “Deez Nutz” from Dr. Dre’s The Chronic—but it is a little blue for our purposes here, and since the walnut is just the relatively unimportant second example in the set up, I don’t know if we can technically call it a walnut joke.
As a result, I turned to the internet, hoping to find something a little more tame and on topic, but quickly came to see why people always end up at my post about a Cracked Walnut Reading: there just really aren’t too many walnut jokes out there. The most common search result has to do with the way a walnut looks a bit like a brain, but as with the aforementioned RRM skit, it is mostly just a dirty joke that uses a walnut in the setup (but I’ll link it anyway, in case you’re curious).
As for jokes about actual walnuts, it’s a slim selection:
How do you make a walnut laugh? Crack it up.
Walnut too strong, don’t lean on it.
As a result, I’m crowning the following story joke as the winner, because while walnuts are just part of the set-up again, it did manage to give me a pleasant surprise with the punchline, unlike the previous groaners:
Old Dock Warren was a regular at Bob’s Tavern. For the last 30 years he’d ordered the same drink – a walnut daiquiri. One day, Bob ran out of walnuts. He poked around and found an old package of hickory nuts. They would have to do.
Doc arrived as the clock struck six, sat down at his regular spot and ordered his usual. When Bob put the cocktail up on the bar, Doc took one sip and made a face.
“What in tarnation –“, Doc sputtered. “This isn’t a walnut daiquiri!”
“I’m sorry,” Bob said, shamefaced. “It’s a hickory daiquiri, Doc.”
Even with these less-than-intimidating examples, though, I had a hard time coming up with something to match. What is there about walnuts? They look a bit like brains, they have hard shells. Not too big a pool of qualities to play with, so I started researching them further. But the more specialized the information, the less it would work for a general joke: how many people would pick up on a good aflatoxin pun? I thought of trying to play on the differences between english and black walnut varieties, but then thought it would be safer to try to go blue after all. It was while wondering if I was the only person that thought walnuts looked a bit like scrotums that I settled on the following knock-knock joke, figuring it would be best for everyone involved:
Mmmmm walnuts who?
Oh, no, sorry. I was just using your knocker to get these open.
Maybe choosing walnuts for the inaugural joke-along was for the best, then, because I know that none of you should feel intimidated by any of the preceding jokes. You’ve got nothing to lose by adding your best walnut joke to the conversation below. Join the bad walnut joke party; I know you’ve got a good one.
April 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
Just a quick note to let it be known that I’ll be attending The Associated Writing Programs Conference and Book Fair ( #AWP15 ) this week in big-time Minneapolis. I’ve been to five conferences, and they’re always an inspiring and educating experience, so after having to miss last year’s, I’m excited to have it in my own back yard this year.
I’ll be resurrecting our #jokealong series for the week, too, tracking down all the best humor in the keynotes, panels, and hallway banter before nominating a best joke of the conference. If you’ve never been to an AWP before, check out the #jokealong from AWP Boston for sense of how much fun shooting the shit with a bunch of other writers can be.
I’ll be working the Red Bird Chapbooks booth on Saturday from 1-5, closing down the book fair, so stop by to look at some gorgeous hand-made books, get info about submitting to us, or just to say hi and give me your best literary joke. I’ll also have some copies of Slash in my backpack to sell—but honestly, if you go through the trouble of tracking me down, I’ll probably be flattered into giving them to you for free!
July 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
It’s become sort of a tradition around here for me to post a picture of my feet up in a hammock when we get back from our yearly Ontario cottage vacation–which has in turn led to all sorts of people getting googled over here in search of hammock jokes. This year, however, we reached a new height of relaxation and were too lazy to get out the ladders and hang up the hammock; we got off the boat, planted our faces in some books, and didn’t look up until it was time to come back home.
I normally report on the funniness of the books I read while I’m up there, but it was all pretty serious stuff this time around, with a historical fiction bent, to help me scheme on the project I want to work on after Slash. (Which isn’t to say it won’t be funny, just that I wanted the best historical stuff I could find, whether they were funny or not). I read The King Must Die by Mary Renault and am almost done with Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel. The Renault made for a great summer read, full of lusty adventure, but the Mantel in particular, is incredibly, and full of snort inducing quips that bring the verve and intelligence of the period to life in a much more visceral way than stale descriptions of clothes and furnishings. I also read the deadly serious Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin, starting two trilogies I’m already looking forward to continuing next summer. About the only comedic thing I read was Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Stephen Leacock, which lived up, for better or worse, to the “Canada’s Mark Twain” blurb that got me to buy it. It did seem more like a watered-down version of Huckleberry Finn than something fresh of its own, but was certainly a fun way to spend an afternoon on a Canadian lake, especially with the lovely design and illustrations by Seth in the version I have. If you want to hear more about what I’m reading and what I think about it, friend me on Goodreads; I’m always curious to see what other readers are up to!
In any event, I’m excited to be back. Not happy–I really feel like I could just sit up there and read forever–but ready for a whole ‘nother year of writing to bring you guys. With the final episode of Slash out in just a few weeks, I need to get the epilogue done by this weekend, and once that’s complete, I’ll be able to dedicate more time to this blog again. I already have a few tragicomic posts planed about the state of the industry and my adventures in self-publishing, and hope to read some real funny literary fiction to share with you all soon!
May 31, 2014 § Leave a comment
If you’re stopping by The Oldest Jokes in the World on account of MANDREW‘s stop on the #MyWritingProcess blog hop, howdy! Thanks for taking a look around. I’ll have my own answer to those questions up later this week, but in the mean time, you can read a few good jokes and a bunch of bad ones in my jokealong series, check out my slightly academic essays on literary humor in the menu to the left, or head over to slashserial.com to check out what I’ve been working on lately: a serial novel called Slash. It’s the only metafictional erotic thriller / comedic murder mystery / romantic slashser to be chosen as an Indie Reader Top Book Pick. You can read a free preview of the first chapter by clicking the cover below and check back in a few days to see how I came up with it all…
May 31, 2013 § Leave a comment
If you’ve lately noticed a drop in the quantity (hopefully not the quality) of output at The Oldest Jokes in the World, I’m sorry to say you’re not imagining things. There’s plenty I want to write about—I’ve been brainstorming for a series of posts about anachronistic funnies drawing on the work of John Gardner, Jonathan Lethem, and Brian K. Vaughn, among others, as well as an academic exploration of the “Deez Nuts” joke—but all I’ve managed in the past month is a jokealong and couple of posts apologizing for how little output I’ve managed. I can blame part of the drop off on moving and planning for a wedding, but in all honestly, I’ve still found plenty of time for writing; I’ve just spent all that time working on Slash.
Slash is a novel I’m going to self-publish serially, and I’ve been feverishly trying to set up www.slashserial.com and a fb page so that I’ll be ready to promote in advance of its September release. If you’re wondering what Slash the novel is all about, I recently put up a synopsis detailing our hero Alexis Bledsoe’s troubled relationship with slash fiction; and if you’re wondering what slash fiction is, I also added a page defining and outlining this oft-misunderstood literary genre.
In the novel, I’m trying to give a fair and searching exploration of both the positive and negative aspects of slash fiction (and the act of reading fiction in general, I think). On the website, however, I’m going to focus on only the best slash fiction and fan fiction has to offer, so as to better build community and discussion.
As a result, I only think it fair that I offer up the worst slash fiction has to offer on this blog: My Immortal will introduce you to everything that is wrong with slash fiction including awful grammar, sloppy spelling, absurd plot twist, gross sounding Harry Potter fantasies that are supposed to be sexy, and so much more!
As such, it will hopefully keep you laughing while I take a break from The Oldest Jokes in the World. I won’t say we’re going on hiatus because I hope to at least get the two series of posts I was discussing above out by the end of summer, but I just don’t think it is fair of me to promise weekly posts anymore. I’m going to aim optimistically for twice monthly, so check back in a bit for a thoughtful laugh… either at what I’ve written by then or my hubris.
May 10, 2013 § Leave a comment
So… this is the third week in a row that I’m going to promise a new jokealong next week. I’m starting to feel a bit like the King of Empty Promises from The Kids in the Hall.
Which isn’t to say that joking around slipped my mind. I thought about joking around often, but it was usually longingly, while occupied by a more serious task. I’ve been busy laying the groundwork for Slash‘s release this autumn by setting up a facebook page and familiarizing myself with ebook formatting for Smashwords.
I’ve become somewhat confident on Smashwords by converting three of our most recent Red Bird chapbooks. Shaun Rouser‘s Family Affair, with its three patiently intelligent long-form stories was probably the easiest to format; Matthew Burnside‘s Escapologies was a little harder, as it contains a dozen distinctly beautiful prose poems; but Laura Bogart‘s collection of compelling short stories was the hardest, as it also contains several of her lovely illustrations.
May 3, 2013 § Leave a comment
I’m sorry to say we’ll have to go another week without a jokealong because I’ve got even more exciting news to share. I’ve been hinting on the blog for a while now about the novel I’ve been working on and, after several years of private work, I’m finally ready to start taking steps towards bringing it into the world.
Slash is a metafictional-erotic-thriller/comedic-murder-mystery/romantic-slasher. Half literary experiment, half titillating pulp, I’ll be self-publishing it in seven cliffhanger-heavy episodes—with both a cheap, easy ebook versions, as well as handsome hand-made volumes for the serious collector. The first episode will be out in September, but to drum up advance interest, I’m launching the website today.
As the project progresses, slashserial.com will feature contests for fan fiction and fan art as well as news about the series, but for now, the main attraction is the first chapter, posted as a free preview. Please check it out and follow for future updates, if you’re so inclined.
(I’ll warn that it’s a little racier than what I normally post on the blog, so it might not be for everyone. In fact, while writing it, I thought it was so dirty I was contemplating a pen name. But then when I gave it to my writing friends for comments, most of them told me I back off too much and that I should make it dirtier. Who knows what counts as lewd these day? (All I know is that warning people that something is raunchy will entice them to read.))
April 9, 2013 § Leave a comment
Sorry world. I jinxed everything with all the talk of spring in my last post; apparently, I should have stayed in the library working on a longer post for you all, because it didn’t take too long for it to snow once I started playing hooky. And now it feels like spring will never come.
The good news is that spring is still going strong at Red Bird, so we can all keep ourselves warm with good chapbooks. As promised Shaun Rouser’s darkly comic “Family Affair” is now available for purchase in our store. The three stories in this beautiful, hand-bound chapbook explore, with a disturbing exactitude, the convoluted obligations that bring us together as family. Mr. Rouser has a unique, erudite voice, so please do click on the cover below to check it out in our web store.
In more big news, we’ll have this and other fiction titles available soon in ultra-affordable (though far less lovingly-physical) ebook formats at out Smashwords Store. I’ll let you know as they become available.
Lastly, I wanted to stress one more time we would love to consider your fiction manuscript for publication as a Red Bird Chapbook. Please, please, please send us your flash fiction or short story collection! Just click the little birdie on the right and he’ll take you to our submission guidelines. And don’t forget to come back next week for our special 1-year anniversary jokealong extravaganza.
April 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
Spring has finally come to Minnesota. Looking out the window of the library I write in, I can see the snow on the hills melting down into the little lake that I watched freeze over almost six months ago now—so I hope you understand why that it’s going to be a short edition of The Oldest Jokes in the World this week.
I do have some exiting news to share with you all after a big Red Bird Chapbooks editor’s meeting we had earlier this week. We’ve been having a great first quarter to 2013, with a burgeoning staff and line of great chapbooks.
I’m especially proud to announce the newest fiction manuscript we’ve accepted: Ivory Children by Joe Baumann. Joe writes striking flash fiction, and the vignettes in this collection range from fantastical and surreal to grounded and understated, but they all contain a concentrated chunk of humanity. Some of the stories included have already been published at various literary journals around the web, so I encourage you to check them out for free in advance of Ivory Children‘s release in a few months:
“Thimbles” at The Dying Goose
“Sally the Imortal” at matchbook
“Porcelian” at Crack the Spine
I also just received a copy of the final product of the first manuscript I worked on at Red Bird, Family Affair by Shaun Rouser. The chapbook is a beautiful home for Mr. Rouser’s darkly comic tales, and I’m anticipating a great swell of pride when it becomes available to the world at large. It should be available for purchase at the Red Bird store any day now, so I’ll keep y’all posted.
Lastly, I wanted to stress that, apart from these two wonderful collections, we have a drought of fiction manuscripts at Red Bird right now. With increased sales and recognition for our beautiful chapbooks, the poetry editors are being inundated with more verse than they can keep up with—which is making us fiction editors lonesome. Please, please, please send us your flash fiction or short story collection because we want to publish it! Just click the little birdie on the right and he’ll take you to our submission guidelines.
Anyhow, I’m going to get the hell out of this stuffy library (the first day of spring is the only day of the year on which I will insult a library), but check back next week: it is the one-year anniversary of the blog, so we’ll have a special birthday jokealong! If you’re wondering what to get me, I like puns.
March 7, 2013 § Leave a comment
This week, The Oldest Jokes in the World is coming to you live from Boston, where I’m attending the AWP Bookfair and conference.
As promised, I’m not just here glad-handing publishers, soliciting chapbook submissions, and getting craft notes—I’m also searching for the greatest literary anecdotes and one-liners for a special AWP JOKEALONG next week. So far, though, the biggest joke has been me thinking I’d get much blogging done while here—one day in and I’m already feeling burnt-out and overwhelmed. Plus, it is tough blogging on and iPhone with these fat fingers of mine (I’ve already accidentally published this post half-finished twice now). So I’ll leave you with a few photos of my fiance and I enjoying the festival and see you next week.