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Blues for Beginners
  Author: By Judith Podell  
  Notes: The author of “Blues for Beginners” is Judith Podell who has written for The Village Voice, Mademoiselle, The Washington Post, Wordrights, and The Journal of Compensation and Benefits. She is a stand-up comic and is currently writing a novel. She lives in Washington, D.C., which enjoys a lively blues scene. “Blues for Beginners” has been performed at Washington’s Museum of Contemporary Art.  
     
   

1. Most blues begin “woke up this morning.” “I got a good woman” is a bad way to begin the blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line: “ I got a good woman - with the meanest dog in town.” Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes. Sort of.

“Got a good woman
with the meanest dog in town.
He got teeth like Margaret Thatcher
and he weighs about 500 pounds.”

2. The blues are not about limitless choice. Blues cars are Chevies and Cadillacs. Other acceptable blues transportation is Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die. Teenagers can't sing the blues. Adults sing the blues. Blues adulthood means old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

3. You can have the blues in New York City, but not in Brooklyn or Queens. Hard times in Vermont or North Dakota are just a depression. Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City are still the best places to have the blues.

4. The following colors do not belong in the blues:
a. violet
b. beige
c. mauve

5. You can't have the blues in an office or a shopping mall, the lighting is wrong.

6. Good places for the Blues:
a. the highway
b. the jailhouse
c. the empty bed
Bad places:
a. Ashrams
b. Gallery openings
c. Weekend in the Hamptons

7. No one will believe it's the blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old black man.

8. Do you have the right to sing the blues? Yes, if:
a. your first name is a southern state - like Georgia
b. you're blind
c. you shot a man in Memphis.
d. you can't be satisfied.
No, if:
a. you were once blind but now can see.
b. you're deaf
c. you have a trust fund.

9. Neither Julio Iglesias nor Barbra Streisand can sing the blues.

10. If you ask for water and your baby gives you gasoline, it's the blues. Other blues beverages are:
a. wine
b. Irish whiskey
c. muddy water

Blues beverages are NOT:
a. Any mixed drink
b. Any wine kosher for Passover
c. Yoo Hoo (all flavors)

11. If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is a blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, or being denied treatment in an emergency room. It is not a blues death, if you die during a liposuction treatment.

12. Some Blues names for Women
a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie

13. Some Blues Names for Men
a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Lightning

Persons with names like Sierra or Sequoia will not be permitted to sing the blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

13B. Other Blues Names (Starter Kit) Mix and Match:

a. Name of Physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Asthmatic)
b. First name (see above) or name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi)
c. Last Name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)

 

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