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Today a black hawk flew in the sky, and above it a white airplane. In 1705, Peter the Great passed a law forbidding all beards in Russia. Soon the law was amended, however, to allow beards on those who paid a certain tax. The payers of the tax received a "beard-tax coin" proving they were allowed facial hair. I saw one of these coins at an exhibit at the 42nd Street Library, "Russia Engages the World: 1453-1825." It's a brown coin, with an image of a bearded face.

I'm in a Trailways bus to New York City.
I just awoke from an hour's precious sleep. Darkness has wrapped the New York Thruway.
Two men behind me with thick accents are speaking:

"I miss very much the sea. Do you swim?"

"I take fish."

"I also like to fish. You have sharks, where you fish?"

"Sharks? Yes."

"I do not like sharks! They will bite you!"

[They laugh.]

The two men speak without contractions,
like spies in old movies.

"Are we in New Yersey?"
"Yeah, maybe."

"Heaven is at Gate 68," comes the announcement at Port Authority Bus Station. But when it is repeated, I suspect I misheard.
"Kevin is at Gate 28," I believe, is correct.

Though "Heaven is at Gate 68" sounds true.

Q: What is the difference between
broccoli and a booger?
A: A child won't eat broccoli.

I heard one Barnes & Noble worker tell another the above joke, in the Children's section (82nd Street).

Gandalf's gloves,

Cdfgj Knqvwxyz
This poem uses all the
letters of the alphabet.

zebraey - resembling a zebra

House Arrest
In Albuquerque, New Mexico, police arrested a house, charging it with "reckless endangerment of a minor." The two-story gray building was erected in 1947. Police claimed its eccentric construction caused the injury of a four-year-old. The structure was brought to trial, but acquitted. This was the first arrest of a house in US history.

Famous At Night
"I'm only famous at night,"
Deborah Harry told me in 1981.
"During the day I am unknown."

Deux oranges
sont plus rondes

Two oranges
are rounder
than one.

Morse Bible
The Bible was first translated into Morse Code by Edgar
Sippon of Friez, Michigan, in 1907. His edition,
of 1,200 pages, is now out of print.

Your UnZIP Code
To find your UnZIP Code,
write down your ZIP Code
and subtract from 99999.

For example, my ZIP code
is 12464. Therefore
my UnZIP Code is 87535.

A Letter
Greetings Sparrow,
This the first and last time I will write you for the first time.
My name is Andy Papula. I saw your word Grandgodfather and it reminded me of a word my son used once. He referred to a friend of his as his Greatgrandbrother. I found this highly amusing. It makes me feel that there's a contest somewhere in the midst of these titles.
Thanks for keeping me thinking.
Andy Papula, Hyde Park

I suspect Andy is correct; therefore I announce the Groundhog Chopin Contest. The goal: invent a new type of relative (for example, a "warrior-aunt"). Please send submissions to: Groundhog Chopin Contest c/o Chronogram, Post Office Box 459, New Paltz, NY 12561, or e-mail

Speaking of Funny, riddle

  • Musings by Sparrow.


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