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Puppet Kaos - where Kelvin Kao plays with puppets and tell random stories

Research Shows 63% of Puppeteers Double as Typewriter Salesmen in the 1870s

Let’s face it. There aren’t enough puppeteering jobs around, so most puppeteers cannot make a full time living doing puppeteering alone. These days, a puppeteer is usually also a puppet builder, an actor, an animator, or waiter on the side. Diversified, multiple streams of income is the way to go these days, but did you know that in the 1870s, the most popular side job for a puppeteer is typewriter salesman?

I was reading an article by Dr. Conroy Gibson, a professor of American Studies at Cambridge, and he had this fascinating find:

By going through census data from that period, we found a remarkable number of puppeteers selling typewriters door-to-door. They would show typewriters to housewives interested in getting a job doing secretarial work. And then they would encourage the potential clients not familiar with keyboard layout to first try typing words that can be spelled out using just the first row of keys of the typewriter with QWERTY layouts. A well-known one is TYPEWRITER, but there are also words like PUPPET and PUPPETEER that can be typed using only the first row. While the women tried out the new product, the salesman would keep the children occupied with puppets.

Try typing those words! Interesting, isn’t it?

I guess we are past the period of time where we sell typewriters door-to-door, and it’s quite a different world now. Imagine allowing someone into your home to sell you on something AND have them play with their kids today!

Interesting research nevertheless. To read the full text, go to their website by clicking here.

Chinese New Year Lucky Greetings

Happy lunar calendar new year! Even though I always jokingly say, “Chinese people, stop hogging the new year, other countries celebrate it too!”, it is undeniable that the Chinese traditions and sayings for the new year are the most well-known. As someone that speaks Chinese, here’s a cultural lesson for you.

During the New Year, families have reunions. They have food together, and play with firecrackers. It’s the beginning of the new year, so they decorate the place with symbols that represents good luck, and they tell each other these lucky greetings. Here’s a list of commonly used ones:

  • “Gung Hay Fat Choy”
    Wishing you to earn lots of money and great wealth in the new year.
  • “Xin Nian Kuai Le”
    Literally meaning “happy new year”.
  • “Kung Fu Pan Da”
    Used to wish your fat relative to exercise more and find a direction in their lives.
  • “Shut Da Fuk Kup”
    Used to bring more conciseness into your in-law’s life.
  • “Luk Ing Aou Sum”
    Used to praise someone’s great outlook.
  • “Pea Nut But Ter”
    Used to wish someone good breakfasts throughout the year.
  • “Teh Leh Ta Bi”
    Used to wish someone a colourful and happy new year, again, and again.
  • “Co Mi Mei Bi”
    Used to encourage people to have a year of better communication.
  • “Get Da Hel Out”
    Used to wish someone to embark on a great journey in the new year.
  • “Yo Ma Ma So Fat”
    Used to encourage a healthy family feud and rivalry in the upcoming new year.

And to all my readers: Hap Pee Nu Yir!

The Turkey Tragedies

Once upon a time, a Pilgrim and an Indian were discussing the upcoming Thanksgiving party. It was the first ever Thanksgiving celebration, and there were no traditions established yet.

“Hey, let’s discuss the upcoming Thanksgiving party,” the Indian said. “We should really discuss it since it is the first ever Thanksgiving celebrations and there are no traditions established yet.”

“Okay,” the Pilgrim agreed. “Just like Halloween is associated with candies, Valentine’s Day with chocolate candies, and Christmas with candy canes, we need to associate Thanksgiving with some kind of food.”

“Hm…” the Indian pondered. “As a stereotypical Indian, I must say we should listen to the nature to give us the answers.”

They walked by a coyote. The coyote yelped.

“That’s it!!!” the Indian exclaimed (three times). “We can decide by looking it up on Yelp.”

“Nah,” the Pilgrim shook his head. “That hasn’t been invented yet.”

“We can just outsource it to Indians,” the Indian said. “They can build it in no time!”

“You mean outsource to your people?” the Pilgrim asked.

“No,” the Indian said. “Don’t you get it? You are not actually in India!”

They kept walking and then they heard a turkey that went gobble gobble.

“Oh, I know! We shall gobble down some gobble gobble!”

And the rest is history.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There was once a turkey who was very nice. Every Thanksgiving, he would be at the mall. Kids will come, sit on his laps and tell him what they presents want for Thanksgiving.

“I want a robot!” said a kid.
“I want a Tickle-Me Elmo!” said another.
“42 inch LCD TV!”
“X-Box 360!”

“Good, good,” the turkey said with a smile (not sure how that worked). “You will all get your presents, because they are all at such insane discounted prices now.”

When Thanksgiving came, the turkey landed on a kid’s roof in a sleigh. He was carrying a bag of presents, but it was too much trouble to carry so he stuffed it in himself. And then he slid down the chimney.

The fireplace happened to be on and the rest is history.

Russian Spy Ring Case Likely a Movie Promotion Stunt

The timing of the arrest of the 10 Russian spies this month prompted serious questions about whether it had to do with an upcoming film. The movie, titled “Salt” and starring Angelina Jolie, was about CIA agent Evelyn Salt who was accused of being a KGB sleeper agent and was on the run to clear her name. The date which the arrests took place was right before the release of the movie and this raised suspicions among the public, especially the conspiracy theorists.

Today, a confidential document leaked from a major movie distribution studio confirmed that it was indeed a publicity stunt. The 10-page document was a contract between the FBI and the studio detailing the responsibilities of each party and the payout structure. The FBI was to coincide the time of the arrests with the film release to bring more hype to the movie, and in return, the studio would pay a commission based on the box ticket numbers.

In fact, there were more of these contracts between the FBI and movie studios that were leaked. For example, the FBI has been secretly monitoring many alien robots in disguise. These robots, known as the Decepticons, are hiding in plain sight as cars, cassette players, and other household items. According to the contract, the FBI was to make the arrest just prior to the July, 2011 release of Transformers 3 for it to gain publicity. However, the FBI denied the authenticity of the said document.

“Yes, we are keeping tabs on alien robots,” said Agent Fox Mulder, the FBI agent in charge of investigating extraterrestrial and paranormal activities. “But the claim that we based our investigation on movie release dates simply isn’t true. This is not happening.”

In yet another document, details of a collaboration between law enforcement and movie studios were laid out for an upcoming Western. According to the agreement, 10 Indians would be arrested just prior to the release of the film featuring the classic cowboys versus Indians match-up. The document even went into details about how the arrest would be carried out. The following leaked text clearly indicated the FBI’s intention to make these arrests in groups of three: “One little, two little, three little Indians; Four little, five little, six little Indians; Seven little, eight little, nine little Indians; Ten little Indian Boys.”

Local enforcement seemed to be displeased with the FBI’s involvement in these cases.

“Look, the cowboys and Indians had stopped fighting long ago,” said Texas Ranger Cordell Walker, who was himself a cowboy. “The war was over, much like the Cold War and they should stop picking fights just for movie promotions.”

“I have worked in law enforcement around Hollywood for a long time,” said Detective Axel Foley of the Beverly Hill Cops. “Never have I thought the relationship between law enforcement and the movie industry would be tangled together like this.”

The FBI denied its involvement with these movie promotion deals, but announced that it would start an internal investigation headed by its own lie detection expert Dr. Cal Lightman, assisted by consultant Patrick Jane from the California Bureau of Investigation.

“This case was so bizarre that it could be made into a movie,” said a film director who declined to be named. “Don’t be too surprised if you see it in theaters everywhere next year. The truth is out there and it’s stranger than fiction.”

The Origin of Slutty Halloween Costumes

Once upon a time, there was a little town called Apiaoville. The residents were mostly farmers and lived a simple life during this simple time. However, things were about to change when a farmer named Richard George Hoffman was executed.

Hoffman was a honest farmer who grew pumpkins on his land. However, quarrals with fellow farmer Bill Hath over land ownership eventually led to his demise. One day Hath killed another man and framed it on Hoffman. Hath was so clever that the judge believed him and as a result, Hoffman was executed. Little did the town people knew that this was the beginning of a crisis.

On Halloween, the night that the Devil’s magical power was the strongest, a strange event unfolded at the town cemetary. Roger Landley was the first to witness this, as he was a grave digger who was not very good at digging and often had to work extra hours into the night. He saw the soil moving, and finally, fingers started coming out of the ground, and then hands started reaching out. Landley saw this and froze.

He was horrified. What was going on? He wanted to get out of there, but his body apparently wasn’t responding. Finally, zombies started crawling out of the graves, one by one.

Suddenly, he was tapped on the shoulder by a finger. It was cold as Hell and it sent chills up his spine. He jumped up and saw that it was a zombie that touched him. Having snapped out of that frozen state (due to an even colder touch), he ran and ran back into the town. He reported this to the preacher Jonathan Blair. Preacher Blair frowned and told Landley to gather all the town’s people to the meeting house.

An hour later, the whole town was at the meeting house. Some were standing outside peeking through the window, because apparently, not all of them could get in.

“Townspeople, I gather you here to tell you, that the Prophesy of Davidson had been fulfilled,” said Preacher Blair.
“What is that?” Someone asked.
“The Prophesy foretold that when the blood of the innocent is spilled, Hell breaks loose and zombies come out,” said Preacher Blair.

The people started to murmur.

“Now, I gather you here to all think of ways to get rid of the zombies, because Davidson was known as the half-ass prophet and did not foretell that part,” said Preacher Blair, “Any ideas?”
“Fire?” someone shouted out a suggestion.
“Throw Bibles at them?” said another person in the crowd.
“Now those are all very good suggestions,” said Preacher Blair, “but some other zombie-infested towns have tried those and failed. We need something different.”
“Fear!” somebody shouted out. Everybody turned their head. It was Larry Sherlock, the smartest man in town.
“Can you elaborate on that, Mr. Sherlock?” asked Preacher Blair.
“I think we should fight fear with fear,” said Sherlock, “If we all dress up as ghosts that’s even scarier than theirs, maybe they will be scared to death, again.”
“It’s so crazy that it just might work!” said Preacher Blair.

So people all went home and dressed up as ghosts and they proceeded to the cemetary. When the townspeople and zombies finally met each other face to face, the townspeople started to do the scariest faces that they could think of. However, the zombies were not terrified at all and proceeded to kill people.

“Run away!” Preacher Blair declared. People all started running away. Mary Silverman was among the one running away. However, when she was running, her dress was caught in tree branches and that tore off the fabric. She was standing there with her luscious bare legs showing.

The townspeople (especially the guys) all stopped to stare at her legs, forgetting that there were zombies, while the zombies actually ran away in fear. The townspeople were relieved, but puzzled. They looked at one another and scratched their heads.

The preacher thought for a while and finally figured out what was going on.

“People, let’s not forget all these zombies all died quite a while ago and you know what that means?” said the Preacher.
Everybody shook his or her head.
“They were really old ghosts which means they are very conservative ghosts! Really conservative ghosts were terrified of legs!” said the Preacher, “Ghost costumes are not enough to scare them, but slutty costumes are! If this ever happen again, we shall all dress up slutty and they will be scared away!”

Everybody agreed. So the next time it happened, they were prepared with their sexy nurse, sexy schoolgirl, sexy maid, and all these other sexy costumes. And this was the origin of all the slutty costumes today.

One Thousand and One Night of Stupidity: Sledgehammer

This story is part of the One Thousand and One Nights of Stupidity Series, a series of stories that insult people’s intelligence. Visit this link for the premise of the story and other installments.

King Shagua loved Jane’s stories, so he wanted to hear another one.
“Here, your majesty, is a story about a man with way too many locks…” said Jane.

He turned the key in the lock and opened the door. To his horror, he saw… yet another lock.

“Another lock? What was I thinking?” He grumbled and continued to look for the key on his hula hoop. Yes, Hula hoop. Normal people used a small key chain, but he had so many keys that a Hula hoop was the only option.

Meet Gary Morrison. He was once a successful banker, with a beautiful house, a beautiful wife, two beautiful children and a beautiful dog. He was earning big and living large. All these changed after that one morning that he left the door open during breakfast. Normally that wasn’t a big deal, but his dog happened to be particularly stupid. The dog wandered off and could not find his way back.

The family was devastated. They sent out a big search team because rich people could afford that, but they couldn’t find the dog. Some people claimed that the dog stepped into a balloon and flied off, but that was never confirmed. They even checked all the boxes in the attic but did not find anything. He blamed himself. He kept on asking himself what he could’ve done.

One day, he was complaining to his friend Tommy Jefferson, another successful businessman.

“You know, I never knew that losing something can hurt so much,” said Gary with a sigh.
“Yeah, I am sorry, man,” said Tommy, “You’ve got to carefully guard what you own.”
“Is that what you’ve been doing?” asked Gary.
“Oh, of course,” said Tommy, “You’ve got to have more locks in your life.”
“Locks?” asked Gary.
“I’m a great believer in lock, and I find the harder I work, the more lock I have.” Tommy said.
“You mean, I should lock up everything I have, so I never lose them?”
“You got the idea, man,” said Tommy, “My friend Lawrence King once told me ‘Those who have succeeded at anything and don’t mention lock are kidding themselves.’ Couldn’t have said it better myself!”
“You know what? I will do that!” said Gary, “Do you know any good locksmith?”
“Yeah, just a second.” Tommy dug through his wallet and handed Gary a business card. “This is my locksmith. Call her up!”

Gary took the business card and made an appointment with the locksmith, Sheryl Temple Black. She came the next day and installed a giant lock on the door.

“But how do I know it’s a good lock?” asked the somewhat skeptical Gary.
“Oh honey,” answered the cheerful locksmith, “Good lock needs no explanation, okay?”
“I’ll give you a refund if it doesn’t work out, okay? Here’s your bill, have a nice day!”

She got in her truck and drove off before he could utter a word, but the lock did work well. It had been two weeks and no dog of his has ever wandered off again!

Of course, part of that was because he did not have a dog anymore, but it was good lock nevertheless. He started to get obsessed with locks. He would put several new ones on a door every month. And finally, when banks started going bankrupt (because of the financial crisis and because you can’t spell “bankrupt” without “bank”), he bought the building from one of the failed banks. This became his dream home.

In his mind, the bank vault was his perfect habitat. It had several locks on each door. You had to open multiple doors before you could really get inside. Each door was bullet proof and could lock out everything, even moisture. It was perfect!

But apparently his family didn’t think so. They could not stand the locks anymore. One day they all went to work and school and never came back. Some said they flied off in a balloon, but it was never confirmed. This got him mighty depressed.

Why did he still fail to keep what he loved, when he had so many locks in place? What was going on? He consistently asked himself the question. Meanwhile, he installed more locks, because he simply could not lose any more things.

Enough flashback. Let’s look at Gary now. Still opening locks? Apparently he had so many locks to open that he still wasn’t done going through all the locks while we’ve already told a good chunk of his life story. He was actually getting annoyed and frustrated himself with the locks.

Suddenly he heard a voice behind him. “Good morning, chief.”

He turned around. It was a burly man with a huge grin.

“Raul Waldo Emerson, chief,” He reached his hand out for a handshake to a confused Gary. “I am the handyman you called in to fix your drain?”
“Oh,” replied Gary, “You’ll have to wait. Door’s not open yet.”
“What’s with all the locks, chief?” asked Raul.
“Well, the locks are here to make my life better.”
“But I can see they are making your life miserable.”
“You sir, are a shallow man,” said Raul.
“Excuse me?” Gary was a little offended.
“Shallow men believe in lock. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” said Raul. “Come on, I can make your life better.”

Gary looked at the man in front of him. Yeah, this man was happy, unlike himself. Maybe he was onto something.

“So, what should I do now?” asked Gary.
“See, you got locks, chief,” said Raul, “Sure you locked some things in, but look at all that you’ve locked out! You’ve got to tear the locks down!”
“How do I do that?” asked Gary.
“Remember I said strong men believe in cause and effect? Well, you be strong now.”

Raul pulled out a sledgehammer. “Look, this is the cause.”

Raul lifted up the sledgehammer and went straight at the lock. A few blows later, he managed to smash the lock.

“That’s the effect, chief.” Raul wiped off the sweat on his forehead. “Now you try.”

Gary picked up the sledgehammer and went for the next lock. He was hesitant at first, but he started having more and more fun.

“Oh my god! I am loving this!” Gary kept going and going. He felt as if the locks on his mind had been smashed away because it was simply easier to use whatever he was already doing as the metaphor instead of thinking of another one. When he finally smashed the last lock. He had a silly grin on his face.

“Wow!” Gary cried out.
“Much better, chief?” asked Raul, with a grin.
“Hell yea! Whole lot better! I can never thank you enough!”

Gary turned and gave Raul a big hug. Raul was amused.

“Now I just got to find my wife and kids back,” said Gary, “That might be difficult though.”
“Oh, that’s easy. I already sent out my friend, who is a police officer, to look for them.”

They turned around and the family were there.

“Go to them now and talk things over with a sledgehammer,” Raul said.

“Wow, it was so easy to end the story when you have a cop out,” said King Shagua.
“Yep, exactly,” said Jane.
“I have a question,” Violet raised her hand, “Why is the family talking things over with a sledgehammer at the end? Are they tearing down their metaphorical boundaries with it?”
“Oh, no, that’s a different kind of sledgehammer. You know, Vodka, lime juice, and Sunny Delight.” Jane said.
“I do like Sunny Delight!” said Violet.
“Oh yes, sledgehammer,” said Jane, “There’s something in it for everyone.”

This story is inspired by the writing prompts on the Writing Forward blog. The blogger receives no compensation for mentioning Sunny Delight in case FCC is wondering. You may contribute random story ideas or quotes in the comments section and they just might end up in the next story. :-)

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