A Tale of Two Brities

A Tale of Two Brities

Two famous British Generals from the Revolutionary War were General John Burgoyne and General William Howe. They were going to join forces in the Battle of Saratoga to quash the rebels. Things did not quite work out as planned.

Two famous British Generals from the Revolutionary War were General John Burgoyne and General William Howe. They were going to join forces in the Battle of Saratoga to quash the rebels. Things did not quite work out as planned.

Editor’s Note: VFTB’s crack team of researchers and military historians has uncovered a never-before-seen collection of letters between two heroic British generals who served nobly during the American Revolutionary War: General John Burgoyne and General William Howe. (Yes, they are actual historical figures.)

This sampling of correspondence describes their strategy to defeat the rebellious colonials at the Battle of Saratoga in the fall of 1777.

While some may question the authenticity of these letters, (which I find astonishing), the circumstances around the build-up to this historic battle, which played a pivotal role in turning the tide of the Revolutionary War, are essentially true. – TEJ

17 August 1777

To My Esteemed Comrade, General Howe,

It has been a long, arduous passage from our wilderness encampment in the Canadian territory. But it is with great pride that I share the news of our brilliant victory over those scoundrel rebels of New York colony, as the King’s brave young soldiers clashed with those ruffians and overwhelmed their defenses at Fort Ticonderoga. As the sun sets, the colours of His Majesty King George’s Kingdom of Great Britain wave proudly against the smoke-filled skies.

I remain confident our plan to join forces, yours from the south and mine from the north, on the fertile plains of Saratoga will cut off those groggy, ill-mannered hooligan colonials from their New England brethren, thus ensuring for the two of us the highest honour. Perhaps a knighthood shall be in order, ol’ chum?

Long live our King.

General John Burgoyne

(P.S. my faithful wife Catherine, Duchess of Strathmore, enjoyed your jovial demeanor at our last encounter and asks of your wellbeing.)

********

31 August 1777

To My Noble Servant of Our King, My Esteemed, General Burgoyne,

It has been nigh to a fortnight since your correspondence informing me of your glorious victory over those vulgar plowboys of New York colony. Alas, I am still tethered to our encampment here along the banks of the Delaware, betwixt the shores of Philadelphia and Camden, seeking provisions and reinforcements. As soon as they arrive, it will be with the swiftest alacrity that I shall decamp and reconnoiter my forces to rendezvous with your fine men on the fields of Saratoga, where, God and the King be willing, we shall prevail and vanquish those pesky rabble-rousers, thus bringing to a rightful conclusion this senseless spillage of tea in our harbors. I shall send word of my impending arrival and look forward to joining forces before the next full moon.

Yours in the Service of our King,

General William Howe

(P.S. That is kind of the fair Duchess Catherine to ask. Pass on to your lovely wife, I am solid of spirits, except for of an odd rash of late. Do say, will the fair duchess’s carriage be following you south with each undoubted triumph?) Continue reading “A Tale of Two Brities” »

Breaking up with an English Teacher

Breaking up with an English Teacher

[The following text exchange took place between a female business executive named Roxanne and her boyfriend of four years, Virgil, a high school English teacher.] 

Roxanne: Dear Virgil, I gotta tell you something and it’s been on my mind for a long time.

Virgil: Good evening, Roxanne. Thank you for your text. By the way, “gotta” is not proper English. I believe you meant to say, “I must” or “I have to.” What’s up?

Roxanne:  We need 2 talk. 

Virgil: You errantly used the digit “2” as in one more than one. So, you’ve lost me. We need “one plus one talk?” That makes no sense. Please clarify. 

Roxanne: Oh, for God’s sake, Virgil. 2 is short for “to.” We need TO talk. I cant wait any longer. 

Virgil: Sorry, still not clear on what you’re trying to convey – unless you mean “no, I can’t” in which case, don’t forget the apostrophe since it’s a contraction.   

Roxanne: Geez. Okay. Got it. 

Virgil: Who’s got what? “Got it” is missing a subject. Who has it? A policeman? The Queen of England? My schnauzer? My brain buzzes with possibilities. Could you clarify who it is that has it and what specifically does he or she have? 

Roxanne: Jesus, Virgil. I’m talking about US. We need to talk about US. 

Virgil: Capitalizing the letters US only makes sense if you’re referring to our country. But even then, technically you should put periods after the letters since it’s an abbreviation for United States. 

Roxanne: Virgil, focus. For the millionth time, I don’t need another syntax lesson. 

Virgil:  I believe you mean “another grammar” lesson. Syntax is about word order. Your mistake was – 

Roxanne: My MISTAKE was taking four freakin’ years to tell you what I should have told you four years ago. It’s over.  Continue reading “Breaking up with an English Teacher” »

My Confession to My Readers

My Confession to My Readers

Confession to my readersLately, I’ve been carrying a heavy burden that I need to get off my chest. There are many things I feel guilty about, and I just have to come clean about them to my loyal readers – all eleven of you. In the spirit of Stephen Colbert’s Midnight Confessions, I have decided to make my own public confessions to all who care to listen.

[NOTE: Before reading my heartfelt confessions below, please turn up the volume of your speakers, then click on this link, skip past the commercial and wait about four seconds, after which you’ll hear some appropriate background confessional music. Then return to this page to read my confessions. God bless you, my friend.] 

Dear reader,

Sometimes I can be a bit lazy. Like when my wife asks me to clean the sheets of the guest bedroom after our most recent visitors have left, I will say “Absolutely, honey” but then I’ll simply pull the bed covers over the sheets without changing them.

Sometimes I will tell my neighbor that his lawn looks great, when secretly, deep down in my heart, I know it doesn’t. It really needs to be weeded.

I’m not proud of this, but recently, when I played golf with my buddies, I told the guy keeping score that I got an 9 on the par-3 eleventh hole, when really I got a 10.

When donating food to the homeless, there have been times when instead of putting the Girl Scout Thin Mints cookies in the donation bag, I’ll put in graham crackers. Because I don’t particularly care for graham crackers – unless they’re the cinnamon ones, in which case I’ll probably keep them, too.

Continue reading “My Confession to My Readers” »

A Valentine Story – Love and Romance in Aisle 7

A Valentine Story – Love and Romance in Aisle 7

Author’s note: Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I thought I would celebrate with a true story about love and romance. Sometimes you never know when or where love will find you, as this story proves. Their names have been changed out of respect for their privacy but the story is exactly what happened. – tej]

“Pardon me, sir. But do you play bridge?” That’s how it all started. A simple question, posed by a middle-aged woman to a complete stranger. To be more specific, Beth was emboldened to ask this question in Aisle 7 of the grocery store, somewhere between the shampoo section and men’s shaving cream.

“Um, well, uh, yeah, I do”, stammered the elderly man, confused by the query and not sure why this mysterious woman was accosting him in the middle of a store. His name was Ed – a kindly fellow, well into his 80s, with a warm, jovial smile. He was just minding his own business. But Beth was not finished. “My mother plays bridge. Would you like to meet my mother sometime?”

More stammering. More confusion. Mixed with an extra helping of embarrassment. Ed was caught in a deer-in-the-headlights moment. He had no idea what the correct answer was to this audacious inquiry. So, being the gentleman that he was, and not wanting to offend this lady in Aisle 7, he replied, in his noticeably southern drawl, “I dunno. Well, um, I guess that would be ahhhlrahhht.”

Apparently by “sometime,” Beth meant NOW. Because before Ed had time to ask her name, she was on the phone with her mom. “Mom, meet Ed. Ed, meet my mom, Margaret.” And then she handed the phone to Ed and walked away. Suddenly there were now two deer caught in the headlights – and neither of them knew what to say. Margaret wanted to say, “Beth, why are you trying to embarrass me? Hang up this phone this instant!” But Margaret was raised to be polite and instead told Ed, “What a pleasure it is to make your acquaintance,” hoping this awkward situation would be over quickly, never to be discussed again.

Continue reading “A Valentine Story – Love and Romance in Aisle 7” »

You Have the Right to Remain Silent – My Recent Run-in with the Law

You Have the Right to Remain Silent – My Recent Run-in with the Law

[The following is an approximate re-telling of a recent traffic stop I had with local law enforcement for a moving violation. The events of my run-in all happened exactly as described below. Well, almost exactly.]

traffic-stop-speed-limit-signIt was 7:22 am on a Wednesday. I was driving northbound on Main Highway like I always did this time of week. But this time, there was a problem. I was running late for my regular Wednesday meet-up with a buddy of mine. Let’s call him Terry, because, well, that’s his name. Terry was waiting for me at our regular rendezvous, a place called Terry’s Corner (honest). My buddy Terry is a big deal in this small town. But Terry was going to have to wait. Because, like I said, I was running late.

I knew I shouldn’t have downed half a six-pack of Mountain Dew Live Wire first thing in the morning. My heart rate was through the roof as I raced down the highway in my silver Toyota minivan, desperately trying to make up time. I saw the speed limit sign. It read 50 mph, just like it always read this time of day. Some things never change. I looked in my rear view mirror. Drivers were climbing up on my tail. Okay, not literally my tail. I don’t have a tail. It’s just a figure of speech. Maybe I was just imagining things, but it looked like the guy behind me wanted to run me over. My heart started pounding. My palms got clammy. I could barely hold onto the steering wheel.

My mind buzzed with all the things I had to do today. Little did I know that my agenda was about to take a major U-turn – because just as I was writing the previous sentence, I zoomed past a parked trooper. In that instant, the cop pulled onto the highway, flashed his lights, and started in hot pursuit.

Continue reading “You Have the Right to Remain Silent – My Recent Run-in with the Law” »

Please Accept My Heartfelt Apology If I’ve Offended You

Please Accept My Heartfelt Apology If I’ve Offended You

I apologize - Tim and PopeI want to apologize. Recently I’ve learned that remarks I’ve made in previous humor articles have offended some readers. To Mr. Arnold Halasz of Budapest, Hungary, whom I appear to have sent completely over the edge, I apologize for my snarky comment that in Hungary, the only three foods you’ll find are pickles, cabbage, and pickled cabbage. I completely failed to mention cauliflower, and that one is totally on me. Thank you, Mr. H., for all your letters. I should mention, however, that your most recent death threat came postage due. Don’t forget to use two 1st class stamps next time.

So if I have offended any of you the way I appear to have done to the entire nation of Hungary, let me extend an olive branch by way of apology in the hopes that someday you might find it in your heart to forgive me.

To Edna Weppler of Racine, WI, who was offended by my post A side by side comparison of our Savior vs. the Apple iPad, I apologize. I absolutely respect your deeply held religious convictions. I was not trying to imply the iPad is better than your Lord and Savior. I was simply trying to point out that it has a much faster operating system than Jesus, with more advanced graphics, comes with way more free apps, and has a more forgiving interface. 

To Maria Solbein of Hornbeck, LA, who was offended by my post Women, help end discrimination against men. Get struck by lightning, I apologize. I appreciate that from your perspective it seemed I was arguing that men face more discrimination than women in our society. Your exhaustive list of 342 studies documenting longstanding patterns of discrimination against women in the workforce, politics, and society was, I must say impressive – not to mention exhausting. But I stand by my claim that far more men than women suffer from male pattern baldness. So let’s just agree to call it a tie, okay? 

To Angus O’Shaughnessy of Halifax, Nova Scotia, who was offended by my post Seven myths about our neighbors to the north, I apologize for my insensitivity to your great nation and for my callous stereotypes about your country being totally ice-covered for 10 months of the year, along with my egregiously flippant comment that most Canadians live in igloos and leave their elderly to die alone on ice floes. In doing some additional research, I realize now I meant to say Norway, not Canada. I promise to print a correction in the next issue. Continue reading “Please Accept My Heartfelt Apology If I’ve Offended You” »