John Bluff

Original jokes and humor

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A slice of Americana

August 19, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Anecdotes

A wife is working in her kitchen gathering plates, napkins, and utensils while her husband is preparing the grill on the patio outside.

“Honey,” he calls. “Can you bring me that bottle of lighter fluid?”

The wife retrieves a bottle of lighter fluid from the closet, brings it to her husband, and returns to the kitchen.

After a minute, the husband calls again. “Honey, can you bring me that second bottle of lighter fluid?’

The wife is mildly alarmed but doesn’t say anything. She retrieves another bottle of lighter fluid, brings it to her husband, and returns once more to the kitchen.

Another minute passes. Then another. At last the man calls again. “Honey?”

This time the wife doesn’t move. “I’m not going to bring you another bottle of lighter fluid. You’ve used enough as it is.”

“I wasn’t going to ask you for another bottle,” he calls back.

“Okay, good.”

“But can you bring me your eyebrow pencil?”

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As told to me by Dick Cheney

August 19, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Anecdotes

A hunter is returning to his truck after a long day’s hunt.  As he approaches he sees his friend, another hunter who had set out earlier that morning.

“Get anything?” he asks.

“I saw something big moving through the trees about an hour ago. The sun was shining in my eyes and it was a hundred yards out, but I managed to hit him. I’m pretty sure I just grazed him, though.”

“How could you tell?”

“It said, ‘Ah, what the f#$k.’”

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I wish I were this clever

August 18, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Anecdotes

A woman confronts her reckless, philandering husband.

“I can’t believe you! First you run off with a ditzy 22-year-old—those boobs are fake by the way—and then you take out $5,000 from our home equity line. What on earth did you spend that money on?”

The man did his best to suppress a smile. “Honey, you just answered your own question.”

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Splitting the baby

August 17, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Anecdotes

Two men are sitting in a café and commiserating over their recent divorces.

The first man stared down into his coffee. “The division of assets went relatively smoothly. We sold the house and split the money and the furnishings evenly. The problem has been child custody. There’ve been threats, insults, and intimidation on both sides, and it’s costing us both a lot of money in legal fees.

The second man wanted to give his friend some helpful advice, but found that he had none. “I wish I could help. But in our case the issue of child custody got resolved pretty easily. The fair compromise was obvious.”

“How was it obvious? You have two young girls, just like we do.”

“Yes, but our girls are twins.”

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The Psychiatric Profession

August 16, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Anecdotes

I was at the therapist’s office the yesterday. He had me try an interesting new technique in which I close my eyes and describe select episodes from my childhood. I talked about laughing and playing cards with my mother, and throwing the football in the yard with my father. I talked about the birthday party my uncle threw for me when I was nine, and the day we brought home Lexie, our puppy. I was so cheerful about reminiscing over my childhood that before I knew it, a tiny bell rang and our session was over. I opened my eyes to see the doctor writing on his prescription pad. He tore off a slip and handed it to me.

“Paxil?” I said. “Do you really think I need an antidepressant?”

“Maybe, maybe not,” said the therapist, “but you have to understand, I work on commission.”

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What I imagine my eulogy would be like

August 16, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Anecdotes

A doleful crowd is gathered at a funeral.  A priest approaches the lectern near the casket and motions everyone to be seated.

“At this time, the deceased’s brother Robert will deliver the eulogy. Robert?”

Robert comes forward and relieves the priest at the lectern.  He lets his eyes hover over the casket for a moment before turning to the audience.

“Our parents, God bless them, taught us never to speak ill of the dead.  Thank you and good night.”

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The School Psychiatrist

August 15, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Anecdotes

My mother is a terrific wit.  I remember when I was in middle school, my mother took me to see the school psychiatrist, who had some somber news about my recent underperformance on a series of standardized tests.

“I’m afraid, Mrs. Bluff, that your son may be dyslexic. Not a lot is known about this affliction, but we suspect its origins may be genetic.”

“Oh God dear,” she said.

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Family Bliss

August 15, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Anecdotes

A brother moving out of his college apartment asked his sister to help him move. “Do you think you could help me out this Saturday?” he asked.

“Don’t you remember that my daughter Ashley’s recital is this Saturday?” she replied.

The brother paused. “I think I remember you saying something about that.”

The sister continued. “And don’t you remember that mom asked both of us to help clean the basement for the open house on Sunday?”

“That rings a bell,” said the brother, feeling a twinge of guilt.

“And that our brother needs to be picked up from the airport or else he’ll be stranded?”

“Yeah, I hadn’t thought of that.”

“I’m not doing any of that for them, so why should I help you?”

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Blowing Away the Leaf

August 11, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Articles

Finally, an American car company has been able to keep pace with the Japanese. General Motors is claiming that the electronic engine of its Chevrolet Volt will have a range of up to 40 miles. This is a tremendous achievement by an American company, one that will thankfully spare us taxpayers, as unwilling investors in General Motors, from having to exercise our First Amendment right to send angry, powder-laced letters to members of Congress. An obviously envious spokesman for Nissan, which has sought to emulate the power and dynamism of the Volt with a car called the “Leaf” (a name that narrowly edged out the equally powerful and dynamic “Peony”), dismissed the accomplishment, saying that its model will also achieve a 40-mile radius, but will do so—and this is where Nissan is really engaging in some jealous nit-picking—without the 40-mile extension cord.

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A young Galileo

July 15, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Anecdotes

I believe in love at first sight. I saw this girl once, and she was absolutely gorgeous. She had deep brown eyes with what seemed like flecks of gold. A tiny diamond pendant dangled from a brilliant necklace, and on her cheek was a tiny birthmark that looked like a droplet of rain. As if that image weren’t magical enough, in that moment I also saw in the corner of my eye a star shooting across a cloudless night sky, which I thought might be a sign from the heavens. Without any hesitation I swiveled my telescope to see.

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The Original Thirteen Virtues of Benjamin Franklin

June 09, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Articles

The Thirteen Virtues of Benjamin Franklin

The Thirteen Virtues of Benjamin Franklin

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Why GM Should be Saved

June 01, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Articles

The "Marx II," a new truck to be developed by Government Motors I had a dream recently, as I often do when I’m driving my car, about the fate of the automotive industry. In it, the government, played by Susan Sarandon, is driving in a car with General Motors, played by Geena Davis, toward the edge of a cliff. The two have pledged eternal commitment to one another, and they think that, by plunging to their deaths, they will prove a point. No one has any earthly idea what the point is, but it is a dramatic point nonetheless.

The dream prompted me to ask questions about the fate of GM. Is GM totaled? Should it be scrapped? Many high-profile politicians and business leaders I posed these questions to said, “Yes. Absolutely. I’ve answered your questions, now please release my daughter.”

But I disagree. GM is an American institution that is worth saving. True, there has been some mismanagement. “Buyer Beware” was perhaps not the best advertising slogan. It might have been a mistake to build a line of SUV’s targeted at the pre-teen demographic. GM should not have copied Japanese production methods so thoroughly that it put the steering column on the right side of its cars. But these missteps obscure GM’s great successes, successes that a post-bankruptcy GM can build upon. Did you know that GM engineers and scientists have built a machine that can burn fuel at nearly 100% efficiency? Imagine what GM could do if it put that machine to work on gasoline instead of money.

What this tells us is that GM is worthy of a bailout. Unlike one CEO whose name (John Thain) I won’t mention, the CEO of GM has not and will not spend the bailout money on lavish office furnishings. I have visited the office of GM’s CEO. Mind you, it is nicely appointed, with a leather interior, built-in satellite radio, and several large cupholders, but it is not extravagant. GM will spend our money wisely.

But whether GM is worthy of the bailout is irrelevant to the bailout’s main purpose. The main purpose of the bailout is to save jobs, jobs that are essential to the recovery of America’s manufacturing sector, jobs like Union Boss, Union Underboss, and Union Mafia Liaison. On top of the jobs saved, a rescued GM will create thousands of new jobs by dismantling its manufacturing infrastructure and building each car by hand, something the Japanese can’t claim. Japanese cars are unlovingly built by hyper-efficient, reliable, cost-effective, superior and potentially self-aware robots. But with GM’s ability to market its cars as hand-crafted, together with an attractive GMRP (Government Mandated Sticker Price) of $375,000 and “Buy American” legislation that makes not buying GM cars a federal crime, GM has a strong chance to keep pace with the Japanese for as many as six months before needing to beg for more money. At that point, GM will have to go to Plan B, which is to undertake a massive taxpayer-funded effort to buy Toyota Camrys in bulk and replace their hood ornaments with GM’s. To help market the re-branded cars, GM will build a plant—in America—to manufacture “Made in America” stickers, which the Camrys will bear proudly, together with a suboptical disclaimer that the phrase refers to the sticker itself, and does not necessarily imply anything about the rest of the car.

GM is not getting a “free ride” with the bailout, though. There are conditions. GM must transition from the “slow-track bankruptcy” it’s been on for the last thirty years to a “fast-track bankruptcy,” a restructuring plan modeled after the plot of “Weekend at Bernie’s,” a movie in which two naïve bunglers prop up a corpse and pretend it’s alive in order to stave off inevitable disaster, but a movie which nevertheless spawned a sequel. GM, too, will have a sequel.

It’s a little bit scary to think that, as part of the bankruptcy, the government will take a majority ownership interest in GM. Americans are used to the government confiscating property indirectly through the tax system, but for the government to take property directly is troubling to many. I am troubled too. I am skeptical of the government’s plan to build cars according to “traditional American values of fuel economy, safety, and Bolshevism.” But I also see the advantages. By being an extension of the government, GM will have constitutional authority to declare war not only on prices but on foreign competitors. It will be able to meet the threat of imports with continuing innovation and naval blockades. And don’t worry about the ability of the government to manage a company as well as the private sector. Congress will ensure the new GM’s ability to remain nimble in the marketplace. As of this moment Congress is setting up a Commission for the Nimbleness of Government-Owned Enterprises, which will review and score every management decision of the new GM leadership against soon-to-be-developed nimbleness benchmarks. Consistent with the urgency of the situation, the Commission could be up and running as early as 2014.

Critics say that it doesn’t matter what the government does, because none of it will change the fact that Americans have no desire or ability to buy more cars. But what about monster truck rallies? Don’t they need car husks to be crushed by the monster trucks? And don’t daredevils need dozens of cars to jump over, and clowns need cars to comically emerge from? These are huge pockets of demand that are currently going unmet. As if this demand weren’t enough, there is also latent demand in the traditional markets, especially for hybrid vehicles, a technology that GM is way out in front on. By 2010, GM will be rolling out its new line of hybrids, which, through a marvelous feat of electromechanical engineering, will draw power alternately from gasoline and pedaling.

I hope that the above paragraphs have convinced you that GM is worth saving, if not by their logic then by their obfuscation of the real issues. Thank you for reading this. Your daughter will now be released unharmed.

Photo courtesy Flickr / dave_7

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An American in Cuba

May 27, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Articles

A look at Cuba's modern transportation system

I’ve always wanted to go to Cuba. When I was in school, I took part in a mock international congress made up of repressive dictatorships and stateless terror groups, and my teacher assigned me Cuba. As a public schoolteacher, she took a politically neutral point of view, and told me I could choose whatever path I wanted for Cuba as long as I “threw off the yolk of American imperialist aggression.” But I defied my teacher. I declared that I wanted diplomatic relations with the United States. She must have heard the conviction in my voice and seen the passion in my eyes, because she immediately led a bloody coup against me and nearly forced me into exile. Politically isolated and socially devastated, I was forced to swallow my pride and request subsidies from the gifted class, who were already fomenting revolution at a 9th-grade level. But the isolation endeared Cuba to me. I learned that Cuba is uniquely compelling place. I also learned the screening process for teachers isn’t as rigorous as it ought to be.

Many years later, I am excited that I may soon get the chance to see Cuba for myself. President Obama recently lifted travel restrictions on Cuba, allowing Cuban Americans who have long been illegally traveling to Cuba to travel to Cuba, an important first step toward allowing travel for Americans generally. When I heard this news, I nearly fainted with joy. I had thought America would never ease relations with Cuba. But President Obama’s order came, and then, as if that news weren’t good enough, the judge released me pending trial, concluding I was not a flight risk! Cuba, here I come!

I am also excited to practice my Spanish. I took Spanish in high school, and about the only thing I can confidently say is, “No habla ingles,” though judging from the puzzled looks I’m getting I must be saying it wrong. I’m sure more will come back to me, though. To help me along, I am studying a Cuban phrasebook I bought in a C.I.A. gift shop. After a few months of practice, I have memorized the following useful, everyday phrases.

Common Phrases to Use in Cuba

  • Can you direct me to the nearest Soviet missile silo?
  • How many years of pay is this side of beef?
  • The President’s beard looks exceptionally bushy today.
  • I am a Marxist. Karl, not Groucho.

My goal for the next few months will be to memorize these phrases in Spanish.

Probably the thing that I am most excited about, though, is access to socialized medicine. Socialized medicine is a terrific system for the fair distribution of medical treatment. It is a system where average citizens, regardless or rank or social status, are assured of receiving equal access to ineffective and dangerous medical procedures, and the political elite are assured of being flown to America. I understand that medical treatment in Cuba is less than ideal, but like most Americans I believe that dying is a small price to pay to avoid having to deal with insurance companies. I am mildly concerned with privacy, but I have been assured that, in Cuba, everything I say within the three dilapidated walls of the doctor’s office stays between me and my government minder. I suppose the only downside is that, as a person who once made a substantial living in the healthcare industry, I’ll no longer be able to sustain myself with frivolous malpractice claims.

Before I end I will touch upon, caress even, the sensitive subject of Guantanamo Bay, or “Gizmo,” the U.S. naval base on the southeastern end of the island. I have heard that some terrible things have gone on inside that base, and, for the sake of America and its tradition of transparency in government, I would like this covered up completely. But what should not be covered up is the terrible inattentiveness to one of the greatest tactical successes in the history of warfare—the base itself. How on earth did we sneak an entire military base inside our enemy’s homeland? Hasn’t anybody noticed this? I’m no military strategist, but I’m pretty sure World War II would have been over a lot sooner if we had built a military base in suburban Berlin. I demand to know how we managed to pull this off. Maybe one of the prisoners knows. I’ll ask my old teacher—I think she has been corresponding with them.

Photo courtesy of Flickr / zedzap

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I was my High School Validiktorean

May 21, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Articles

Don’t believe me?  Just look at a my report card. 

WARNING! UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS DETECTED.

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Top Twelve Hilarious Tombstone Epitaphs

May 20, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Articles

Dude, here lies some, like, cool people.

  1. What part of "cremated" didn’t you understand?
  2. Born 1960. Buried 2001. Died 2002.
  3. Here lies the world’s fattest man. Part 1 of 3.
  4. The joke’s on you. I gave it all to charity.
  5. See you at the exhumation!
  6. You put me in a home and look what happens.
  7. Did the insurance company pay? Can I come out now?
  8. Beloved wife (pre-op) and brother (post-op).
  9. Thanks for giving me my keys back, barkeep.
  10. My last words: "Look, ma! No hands!"
  11. Here lies a man driven by his quest for immortality.
  12. Let the bickering over my estate begin!

             Photo courtesy of Flickr / nikoretro

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An Exercise in Futility

May 15, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Articles

Photograph of John Bluff not running on a treadmill About eleven months ago I bought an annual gym membership for one thousand dollars. A thousand dollars is a lot of money to pay for the right to use “exercise” equipment that is better suited to eliciting false confessions, but I rationalized the purchase by forcing myself to conclude that this gym was everything a fitness buff (not that I know any) could ask for, with gleaming new equipment, free exercise classes, and a waffle bar. Nearly a year into the membership, I asked myself, was the cost justified? Did I work out everyday like I said I would? To answer these questions, I built a spreadsheet instead of working out and performed the necessary calculations. I divided the thousand-dollar fee by the number of workouts I performed last year, which gave me an average cost-per-workout of one thousand dollars. Better than I’d hoped!

Nevertheless, with only a month left in my membership, I thought it made financial sense to get in one more workout. Not only would it reduce my average workout cost to $500, it would also get Dr. Burnhart, my cardiologist, off my back. Dr. Burnhart is at least eighty-years-old, and generally full of good advice, but you can tell he came of age in the 1950’s. Take for example the following exchange.

“John, I can’t overemphasize how important it is to exercise every day. It improves mood, lowers cholesterol, gives you more energy, and decreases the risk of stroke and heart attack. Do you understand?”

“Yes, doctor.”

“Good. Cigarette?”

“Yes, please.”

I decided to heed Dr. Burnhart’s advice. I promised myself I would go to the gym tomorrow, no matter what. This of course was my cue to find some excuse not to go to the gym tomorrow.

The creative mind is particularly fertile when imagining ways not to go to the gym. Thomas Edison used to warm up his mind like this every day, and look at all he accomplished. He miraculously drew light from a carbon filament light bulb moments after a flash of genius told him to plug it in. In my case, I have learned to follow blindly any path that presents a marginally credible excuse for not going to the gym. For example: Today is the tenth day in May, which means there is only about six weeks to the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year, which means I should be spending more time outside, which means I should not be frittering away countless hours figuring out how to lower the treadmill incline to the point where I don’t need a Sherpa. Therefore, I should not go to the gym. See what I mean?

You can’t count on creativity all the time, though. It’s also important to keep a backup excuse handy. Mine is television. I can’t possibly lumber arrythmically on the treadmill without something to watch on television. Without this distraction, I will look down at the treadmill every few minutes and scream, “Are you kidding me?? That was only 22 seconds??”, before despairing and diving off the treadmill in the sincere hope of cracking a rib. I don’t want to crack a rib. Therefore, I should not go to the gym.

But even the backup excuse can fail. I know it doesn’t seem possible, but sometimes there’s nothing good to watch on television, and without its tranquilizing effects my body is defenseless against the one disease that medical science has yet to obliterate with pharmaceuticals: guilt. It is guilt that forces me to find my workout shoes (Here’s a pair from 1994. Great! They look brand new!), pick out some clothes that flatter my elliptical physique (This is not technically possible, but I do it anyway), Mapquest the gym (It has probably moved—twice—since I was there last), drive to the gym, hit the waffle bar, and confidently waddle up to the line of treadmills, where it becomes agonizingly apparent that I am the only one wearing legwarmers.

But I’m not about to let a little retro fashion blunder stop me. There’s no trick to walking on the treadmill. Left, right, left, right, chew gum, fall, spit out gum, left, right, left, right. It’s all coming back to me now. I’m doing it! I’m walking! I can’t wait to do this again next year! Can somebody spot me a thousand bucks?

Photo courtesy of Flickr / DC9T

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Top Ten Jokes President Obama Didn’t Tell at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

May 12, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Articles

1. Hillary Clinton has assured me she will work hard to make my administration a success. She didn’t assure me in person, though. She sent a 25-year-old female intern.

2. Hillary has enthusiastically embraced my campaign message of change. She’s already printed up bumper stickers that read, “Change in 2012.”

3. When I first greeted President Bush in the Oval Office, I was astonished to see the Declaration of Independence laid out across the President’s desk. It didn’t make sense until he asked if I had seen the movie “National Treasure.”

4. Sasha and Malia have a new puppy. We had to get a new muzzle for it because we put the one we had on Joe Biden.

5. I believe it’s important to be open-minded in a country where half the country agrees with your point of view, and the other half is wrong.

6. There is currently too much religion in the public discourse. I don’t want to hear any more apocalyptic predictions about the end of the earth. Please stop, Mr. Gore.

7. My administration is facing enormous challenges. I have the smartest, most educated advisors in the world, and we still haven’t figured out a way to get Rahm Emanuel to stick with anger management.

8. Rahm Emanuel is a tough competitor. But sometimes he can be a little too hostile. I regret to say we had to go to extraordinary lengths to keep him from giving the finger.

9. I’ve had the pleasure to personally extend offers for prestigious jobs in my administration to many talented people. Though grateful, they typically ask for a little time to talk it over with their family…accountant.

10. The Vice President must have left in a hurry. Not only did he leave the iron on, he left out the ironing board, and for some reason it was soaking wet.

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WHITE HOUSE AIDE RESIGNS OVER FLYOVER FLAP

May 09, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Articles

In a letter to the President, White House Aide Louis Caldera resigned as head of the White House Military Office as of May 22, 2009.  A copy of his letter, obtained exclusively by johnbluff.com, is reproduced here. 

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HOW TO MAKE BIG MONEY AS AN ETHICIST

May 09, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Articles

clip_image002If you are like most Americans, struggling to stay afloat in an economy sinking deeper into recession, desperately searching for an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, you are probably wondering how easy it is to rob a liquor store. Let me tell you. It’s not easy. You have a better chance of robbing Chuck Norris.

Fortunately, there is an alternative. Can you tell right from wrong (without looking at your feet)? Can you wear rumpled suits and adopt the air of a pseudo-intellectual? Can you sneer at people even as you take their money? Then you are ready to become an ethicist.

An ethicist is an expert in ethics, a professional who is hired to resolve ethical dilemmas by repeating “It depends” over and over again until the client has security escort you from the premises. As you can see, being an ethicist is pretty easy. The trick, though, is making money, because unless you’re a United States senator, wringing money out of the rules of ethics takes a lot of work. That is why I have done some of the work for you. Presented below, as gathered from various copyrighted sources, are the top ten ways to make big money as an ethicist.

TOP TEN WAYS TO MAKE BIG MONEY AS AN ETHICIST

1. Offer to consult on matters of ethics. Tell prospective clients that it would be unethical for them not to engage your services, as you have already identified several ethical lapses in the manner in which they have arranged the furniture.

2. Consult with both sides of an ethical dispute. Get paid twice for the same work.

3. Charge unethically high billing rates. Justify your rates by saying that they are definitely ethical, and that you should know, because you’re an ethicist.

4. Insist on full disclosure from your clients, up to and including their personal bank codes. If they resist, reassure them that everything they tell you is protected by the ethicist-client privilege.

5. Start the world’s first ethical hedge fund.

6. Agree to serve on the ethics committee of a major corporation, then resign immediately, citing the conflict of interest between serving on the committee and accepting a huge salary. Resolve the conflict by accepting the salary and pledging not to do any work.

7. Identify companies that scrupulously adhere to their ethical guidelines. Short their stock.

8. Cultivate ethical blind spots for your wealthier clients. For example, give an opinion as to why a CEO did not, technically, break any rules of ethics when he murdered a rival CEO. Check your own company’s code of conduct! You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that most codes of conduct do not specifically prohibit murder.

9. Manufacture and sell a rubber stamp that says “Ethically Approved.”

10. Rob a liquor store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr / mlcastle

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JOHN BLUFF MAKES HEADLINES

May 02, 2009 By: John Bluff Category: Articles

SteppTwo with cigar by Normann Copenhagen.Internet raconteur John Bluff made headlines this week when a link to his article, 25 Pretentious Words and Unpretentious Reasons Why You Know Them, appeared on Cigars Fast, a cigar aficionado weblog. 

“This is a terrific moment for my website and cigar aficionados everywhere,” said John, inexpertly choking on the smoke of a La Riqueza, a Nicaraguan cigar with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper and triple cap.  “It was only a matter of time, though.  Someone was bound to come across me.  How many websites can there be?  A couple hundred?  Five hundred tops.”

By being an early adopter of web technology and one of the first bloggers on the scene, John believes he has secured a first-mover advantage for his website, which he expects to go viral at any time.  He also believes that the evil wizard Gargamel has returned to kill Harry Potter.

Image courtesy of Flickr / Normann Copenhagen

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