Nutworks magazine

Electronic Humor Magazine.

Issue019, (Volume V, Number 1). July, 1987.

NutWorks is published semi-monthly-ish by

Brent C.J. Britton, < Brent@Maine.BITNET>

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NewsWorks ...................... Points of Interest

Nuts & Bolts ................... Commentary

Clone of My Own ................ Song

This Is the Title of
This Story, Which Is
Also Found Several Times
in the Story Itself ............ Story

Noah and the Ark ............... Joke


(If news = none Then news <-- good.)

It's NutWorks Humor, the magazine that has been called many things
but never "A Dylan-esque tune with a driving beat" and this is the first
issue of Summer, 1987. (Another thing NutWorks has never been called is
"on schedule.")
Seeing how it's that laid-back time of year when people everywhere
toss all thoughts of an honest day's work to the wind, the NutWorks
staff feels no guilt in informing our readers that we have basically
been on vacation since mid-May, and so are taking this opportunity to
publish some of the readers' contributions that have been sitting around
taking up valuable disk space for the past two and a half years.
Enjoy! Oh, and if you're ever at the Carlisle Hotel in Montego Bay,
say hi to Sherry for us, ok? Thanks.

Le Staff de NutWorks

Nuts & Bolts

by Brent C.J. Britton

Living smack in the middle of a place like Maine means that you
have to drive a fairly good distance to get anywhere that doesn't
look like a Jack Daniel's ad. You know the ones where there's a
black and white picture of some old redneck with no teeth to speak of,
wearing overalls and a baseball cap with the visor flipped up, and he's
sitting on the back of a '68 Ford flatbed pickup truck whittling
toothpicks out of a two-by-six pine plank? I have to drive a long way
to escape that sort of thing up here.
One of things I've noticed while driving across this great land of
ours is this: The people who make road signs have Q-tips Cotton
Swabs(tm) for brains.
I'm not talking about your average, humdrum road sign like "STOP"
or "YIELD" to which the average, intelligent American driver pays little
or no attention in the first place. No. I'm talking about the kind of
road signs that make you wonder if the guys down at the DOT are running
with a full frame of resident pages, if you get my proverbial drift.
These are some of my favorites:


Tell me, does the placement of this sign on the highway imply some
action on my part as a motorist? I mean, just how "low-flying" are
these aircraft? What am I supposed to do if I see one? Duck? Should
I assume that the aircraft has the right of way? This sign is about
as valuable as its cousin:

(little picture of an avalanche)

"Well officer the reason I rear-ended the school bus was because I
had my eyes peeled on that mountainside so I could swerve to avoid any
boulders that happened to come loose as I drove past..."


What this sign means is, if, as you are driving through the con-
struction area past the ten or twelve road workers who are standing
around in small groups with their hands in their pockets discussing
whether or not the color of the steam-roller conforms to their union
contract, and one of them flicks a cigarette butt your way which ignites
your gas tank and your car explodes, you cannot hold them liable for


No verb this sentence.


I wonder how many crazed pyromaniacs drive around with a carload of
walkie-talkies looking for these babies, hmm?


Don't worry guys, evolution is your friend.


"Gee, I guess we'll have to use the unsanitary ones..."


This is on the Maine turnpike just after you come over "The Bridge"
from New Hampshire. It serves as a reminder to tourists that it could

snow at any minute without warning.

Clone of My Own

by Randall Garrett
Sung to the tune of "Home on the Range"

Oh, give me a clone
Of my own flesh and bone
With the Y chromosome changed to X.
And when she is grown,
My very own clone,
We'll be of the opposite sex.

Clone, clone of my own,
With the Y chromosome changed to X.
And when we're alone,
Since her mind is my own,
She'll be thinking of nothing but sex.

This Is the Title of This Story, Which Is Also

Found Several Times in the Story Itself

by David Moser
Submitted by David N. Blank < BLANK@BRANDEIS>

This is the first sentence of this story. This is the second
sentence. This is the title of this story, which is also found several
times in the story itself. This sentence is questioning the intrinsic
value of the first two sentences. This sentence is to inform you, in
case you haven't already realized it, that this is a self-referential
story, that is, a story containing sentences that refer to their own
structure and function. This is a sentence that provides an ending to
the first paragraph.

This is the first sentence of a new paragraph in a self-
referential story. This sentence is introducing you to the protagonist
of the story, a young boy named Billy. This sentence is telling you
that Billy is blond and blue-eyed and American and twelve years old
and strangling his mother. This sentence comments on the awkward
nature of the self-referential narrative form while recognizing the
strange and playful detachment it affords the writer. As if illustrat-
ing the point made by the last sentence, this sentence reminds us,
with no trace of facetiousness, that children are a precious gift from
God and that the world is a better place when graced by the unique
joys and delights they bring to it.

This sentence describes Billy's mother's bulging eyes and
protruding tongue and makes reference to the unpleasant choking and
gagging noises she's making. This sentence makes the observation that
these are uncertain and difficult times, and that relationships, even
seemingly deep-rooted and permanent ones, do have a tendency to break

Introduces, in this paragraph, the device of sentence fragments. A
sentence fragment. Another. Good device. Will be used more later.

This is actually the last sentence of the story but has been
placed here by mistake. This is the title of this story, which is also
found several times in the story itself. As Gregor Samsa awoke one
morning from uneasy dreams he found himself in his bed transformed
into a gigantic insect. This sentence informs you that the preceding
sentence is from another story entirely (a much better one, it must be
noted) and has no place at all in this particular narrative. Despite
claims of the preceding sentence, this sentence feels compelled to
inform you that the story you are reading is in actuality "The
Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka, and that the sentence referred to by
the preceding sentence is the ONLY sentence which does indeed belong
in this story. This sentence overrides the preceding sentence by
informing the reader (poor, confused wretch) that this piece of
literature is actually the Declaration of Independence, but that the
author, in a show of extreme negligence (if not malicious sabotage),
has so far failed to include even ONE SINGLE SENTENCE from that
stirring document, although he has condescended to use a small
sentence FRAGMENT, namely, "When in the course of human events",
embedded in quotation marks near the end of a sentence. Showing a
keen awareness of the boredom and downright hostility of the average
reader with regard to the pointless conceptual games indulged in by
the preceding sentences, THIS sentence returns us at last to the
scenario of the story by asking the question, "Why is Billy strangling
his mother?" This sentence attempts to shed some light on the question
posed by the preceding sentence but fails. THIS sentence, however,
succeeds, in that it suggests a possible incestuous relationship
between Billy and his mother and alludes to the concomitant Freudian
complications any astute reader will immediately envision. Incest. The
unspeakable taboo. The universal prohibition. Incest. And notice the
sentence fragments? Good literary device. Will be used more later.

This is the first sentence in a new paragraph. This is the last
sentence in a new paragraph.

This sentence can serve as either the beginning of the paragraph
or end, depending on its placement. This is the title of this story,
which is also found several times in the story itself. This sentence
raises a serious objection to the entire class of self-referential
sentences that merely comment on their own function or placement
within the story E.G., the preceding four sentences), on the grounds
that they are monotonously predictable, unforgivably self-indulgent,
and merely serve to distract the reader from the real subject of this
story, which at this point seems to concern strangulation and incest
and who knows what other delightful topics. The purpose of this
sentence is to point out that the preceding sentence, while not itself
a member of the class of self-referential sentences it objects to,
nevertheless ALSO serves merely to distract the reader from the real
subject of this story, which actually concerns Gregor Samsa's
inexplicable transformation into a gigantic insect (despite the
vociferous counterclaims of other well meaning although misinformed
sentences). This sentence can serve as either the beginning of the
paragraph or end, depending on its placement.

This is the title of this story, which is also found several times
in the story itself. This is ALMOST the title of the story, which is
found only once in the story itself. This sentence regretfully states
that up to this point the self-referential mode of narrative has had a
paralyzing effect on the actual progress of the story itself -- that
is, these sentences have been so concerned with analyzing themselves
and their role in the story that they have failed by and large to
perform their function as communicators of events and ideas that one
hopes coalesce into a plot, character development, etc. -- in short,
the very RAISONS D'ETRE of any respectable, hardworking sentence in
the midst of a piece of compelling prose fiction. This sentence in
addition points out the obvious analogy between the plight of these
agonizingly self-aware sentences and similarly afflicted human beings,
and it points out the analogous paralyzing effects wrought by
excessive and tortured self-examination.

The purpose of this sentence (which can also serve as a paragraph)
is to speculate that if the Declaration of Independence had been
worded and structured as lackadaisically and incoherently as this
story has been so far, there's no telling what kind of warped
libertine society we'd be living in now or to what depths of decadence
the inhabitants of this country might have sunk, even to the point of
deranged and debased writers constructing irritatingly cumbersome and
needlessly prolix sentences that sometimes possess the questionable if
not downright undesirable quality of referring to themselves and they
sometimes even become run-on sentences or exhibit other signs of
inexcusably sloppy grammar like unneeded superfluous redundancies that
almost certainly would have insidious effects on the lifestyle and
morals of our impressionable youth, leading them to commit incest or
even murder and maybe THAT'S why Billy is strangling his mother,
because of sentences JUST LIKE THIS ONE, which have no discernible
goals or perspicuous purpose and just end up anywhere, even in mid

Bizarre. A sentence fragment. Another fragment. Twelve years old.
This is a sentence that. Fragmented. And strangling his mother.
Sorry, sorry. Bizarre. This. More fragments. This is it. Fragments.
The title of this story, which. Blond. Sorry, sorry. Fragment after
fragment. Harder. This is a sentence that. Fragments. Damn good

The purpose of this sentence is threefold: (1) to apologize for
the unfortunate and inexplicable lapse exhibited by the preceding
paragraph; (2) to assure you, the reader, that it will not happen
again; and (3) to reiterate the point that these are uncertain and
difficult times and that aspects of language, even seemingly stable
and deeply rooted ones such as syntax and meaning, do break down. This
sentence adds nothing substantial to the sentiments of the preceding
sentence but merely provides a concluding sentence to this paragraph,
which otherwise might not have one.

This sentence, in a sudden and courageous burst of altruism, tries
to abandon the self-referential mode but fails. This sentence tries
again, but the attempt is doomed from the start.

This sentence, in a last-ditch attempt to infuse some iota of
story line into this paralyzed prose piece, quickly alludes to Billy's
frantic cover-up attempts, followed by a lyrical, touching, and
beautifully written passage wherein Billy is reconciled with his
father (thus resolving the sublimnal Freudian conflicts obvious to
any astute reader) and a final exciting police chase scene during
which Billy is accidentally shot and killed by a panicky rookie
policeman who is coincidentally named Billy. This sentence, although
basically in complete sympathy with the laudable efforts of the
preceding action-packed sentence, reminds the reader that such
allusions to a story that doesn't, in fact, yet exist are no
substitute for the real thing and therefore will not get the author
(indolent goof-off that he is) off the proverbial hook.

Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph.
Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. PARAGRAPH. Paragraph.
Paragraph. Paragraph.

The purpose. Of this paragraph. Is to apologize. For its
gratuitous use. Of. Sentence fragments. Sorry.

The purpose of this sentence is to apologize for the pointless and
silly adolescent games indulged in by the preceding two paragraphs,
and to express regret on the part of us, the more mature sentences,
that the entire tone of this story is such that it can't seem to
communicate a simple, albeit sordid, scenario.

This sentence wishes to apologize for all the needless apologies
found in this story (this one included), which, although placed here
ostensibly for the benefit of the more vexed readers, merely delay in
a maddeningly recursive way the continuation of the by-now nearly
forgotten story line.

This sentence is bursting at the punctuation marks with news of
the dire import of self-reference as applied to sentences, a practice
that could prove to be a veritable Pandora's box of potential havoc,
for if a sentence can refer or allude to itself, why not a lowly
subordinate clause, perhaps THIS VERY CLAUSE Or this sentence
fragment? Or three words? Two words? ONE?

Perhaps it is appropriate that this sentence gently and with no
trace of condescension reminds us that these are indeed difficult and
uncertain times and that in general people just aren't nice enough to
each other, and perhaps we, whether sentient human beings or sentient
sentences, should just TRY HARDER. I mean, there IS such a thing as
free will, there HAS to be, and this sentence is proof of it! Neither
this sentence nor you, the reader, is completely helpless in the face
of all the pitiless forces at work in the universe. We should stand
our ground, face facts, take Mother Nature by the throat and just TRY
HARDER. By the throat. Harder. Harder, harder.


This is the title of this story, which is also found several times
in the story itself.

This is the last sentence of the story. This is the last sentence
of the story. This is the last sentence of the story. This is.


Noah and the Ark

Submission by Paul Charette <>

When the Ark had come to rest on Mt. Ararat, Noah said to the
animals, "Go then forth, all ye creatures, and multiply."
All the animals went forth, except for two snakes.
Noah said to the snakes, "Did I not command you in the name
of the Lord to go forth and multiply? Why then have you not obeyed?"

The snakes replied, "Behold, we are adders, and cannot multiply."

(Pause for substantial quantities of groaning at such an old chestnut.)

Then Noah sent forth his sons from the Ark, bidding them to
seek and hew a mighty tree. The sons of Noah returned,
bearing with them the trunk of a great tree. Then did Noah
bid his sons to strike the tree into pieces, and make
therefrom a great table of wood.

Noah then said unto the snakes, "Behold where my sons have made

for you a table of logs, wherewith you now can multiply, being adders!"

Three Morons

by John Squires CUJTS@ECNCDC

There were five morons standing in an alley shooting heroin. They
were all sharing the same needle.

After a while, they were seen by a passer-by who started yelling:
"What are you guys doing!? Haven't you heard about the AIDS epidemic?"

One of the morons replied, "Not to worry... we are all wearing


Issue019, (Volume V, Number 1). July, 1987.