Welcome to the new Syracuse New Times, and to my little corner of it. Have you ever heard the expression good things come in small packages? It’s particularly true of my column.
Because no one stopped me before, I have assaulted readers each week with tiresome alleged humor articles, some of which droned on for 1,000 words or more and contained pre-Digital Age features such as a beginning, middle and end.
That ends today. According to exciting new media research conducted in 1996, newspaper readers don’t want to read anything longer than a hamster dropping, which is fantastic for me personally because to be honest I don’t like to write either. It’s hard. It’s boring. Just like you, I’m happier living on my phone and communicating via digital semaphore:
“Where R U?”
That’s why this new multi-element layout is ideal for all. In fact, I have breaking news there: I just did a word count of how much I have written in this segment, and I’m at 176 words, meaning I’m almost done. My allotted 300 word limit can be doubled in the event I feel extra motivated. Don’t hold your breath.
Goodness, we barely have time for a joke:
A waiter nervously approaches two elderly Jewish ladies and asks, “Is anything all right?”
One final note: My editors are now trusting me to expound on a variety of topics, funny or not. So look here for not just award-winning humor, but for hard-hitting investigations and useful real-time information. For example, during a talk I attended last week at the Century Club, Syracuse Airport Commissioner Christina Callahan (very hot, btw) noted that one of every three pilots who takes off from Hancock International is naked.
You’ll find more bits and pieces below.
120-word segment No. 1: NIGHT TERROR
Strange noises in the night have been part of the human experience since the first juvenile hominid, trying to sneak back into the cave after a toga party, was clubbed to death by his terrified grandmother who was also his stepsister. Nighttime noises touch off primordial fears, as was the case the other night when my wife, Leigh, and I were settling in for bed. We heard a thump-thump on our street like maybe a parked car blasting the stereo with the windows closed. I peered through our windows. Nothing. Finally I threw on some clothes and headed into the late winter chill. As I walked up our hill to investigate, the noise got louder, and ….Sorry. Out of space.
120-word segment No. 2: WHO’S TOP’S?
For most Central New Yorkers, Tops v. Wegmans isn’t much of a contest. The big “W” reigns supreme, raking in more awards and attention by far. But in one area – baked goods — Tops is closing ground and may have even surpassed its more upscale rival. Our family’s opinion is that Tops has better cookies, specialty desserts, breakfast cakes and pastries and more variety overall. Please, Wegmans: Can we call a temporary moratorium on the profiteroles? Wegmans still does a better job with bread, bagels and scones. No matter where you shop it’s important to eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and Bacardi 151.
120-word segment No. 3: They Got Me by the Cort and Curlies
Just in time for April Fool’s Day, I ordered a pack of Junior Mints and a ginger ale at a Broadway show this past weekend.
“Fifteen Dollars,” the vendor said.
“Did you just say $15?” I replied.
“Yes,” the vendor said.
The price perfectly reflected the absurdist play I was watching, Waiting for Godot. It starred the former commander of the Starship Enterprise (the bald one) and the Lord of the Rings guy, Sir Ian McPlease-SpeakEnglish. Both showed a lot of acting potential in this critic’s view. Godot’s meaning has always been unclear. Personally, I think it’s about two homeless guys waiting for a $60,000-a-year job at Destiny USA that never arrives.
What is not subject to interpretation is the Cort Theater’s concession prices. Existentially speaking, they mean: “Godot screw yourself.”
Focus on a Number
Have you ever noticed that this number doesn’t get much attention? In general, negative integers get overlooked. Why? Tweet me your thoughts.
Focus on a Letter
Fun words that start with “K” include:
Kontuz! (Basque for “Danger”)
Overheard at Brookline Pickle: “Next in line, please.”
Helpful Vegetable Prep Tip
Eggplant can be tricky
The injustice of the Kentucky Wildcats making it to the Final Four is almost too much to take if you’re an S.U. fan. The ‘cats had an uninspiring start to their season, and their middle wasn’t that much better. They had the nerve to start getting better…and better. Now they’re awesome. Can someone please tell them that November and December is when you should play your best. That’s how the ‘Cuse rolls. Go Orange!
Jeff Kramer is a humor writer, journalist, playwright, father, husband, dog owner, licensed motorist. He’s also on twitter.
To read more Kramer, give his head a click.