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Features

  • It’s the New Year and no doubt many of us have made New Year’s resolutions. Some of these resolutions may be in the form of being better to our bodies and striving for better health. You need only look past the Christmas sales to see the ads for fitness equipment, active wear and gym memberships. But before you run out to join a gym, I have another way to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve memory.

  • Tonight is Christmas Eve. By now your shopping should be over and parents and grandparents worn to a frazzle. While kids anxiously await the arrival of Santa Claus, take a break, relax and wander down Pun Alley for some punny stories.

    A kid’s vision

    A youngster drew a Christmas scene that showed Santa, sleigh and reindeer. There were the regular eight and Rudolph plus a strange looking tenth animal. The addition looked like a cross between a reindeer and a cow with a green nose. The youngster explained that it was Olive, the udder reindeer.

  • Each holiday season, those who exercise, at Curves in Jasmine Plaza are asked to help others.

    Most years they collect food, but this year they did something different.

    Hearing Peggy Bradshaw, owner of the neighboring businesses 2nd Chance Consignment Shop, telling other business owners at the West Marion Business Association that she was collecting coats to give to the homeless, Curves owner Sue Minicozzi decided they would help.

     “Almost everyone has a coat in their closet they’re not using,” said Minicozzi.

  • With the holiday season approaching it’s a time when many groups and clubs celebrate by eating out at one of the many busy Ocala restaurants. It’s also a time when the waiters, now often referred to as servers, can be harried by customers who expect immediate service and endlessly complain. Perhaps the following stories can be considered as worthy replies to these unreasonable customers.

    Waiter, what’s this fly doing in my soup? Looks like the breaststroke to me, sir.

  • Africa. The very name conjures up mystery, exploration, exotic animals and the Jewish state. While Israel may seem like a non sequitur in reference to the Dark Continent, in an ironic turn of events, the Jews almost had a country in Kenya and while that never came to fruition, the history of the Jews in Kenya and its relations with the African country makes for a fascinating historical study.

  • It’s a few days after Christmas,the grandchildren are still with us for the holidays and their new toys have lost their novelty. What can we do to keep ‘em occupied and happy?

  • According to the Internet site, Bizarre, Crazy, Silly Unknown Holidays, this month is Aviation History Month, so we take Pun Alley into the air with some uplifting tales beginning in the early days and flying into the modern age.

    Back when flying was still a novelty, pilots with open seat airplanes would show up at county fairs and take people up for $10. One such pilot, Frank, was waiting for customers when he saw Phyllis, a large overbearing woman, berating her husband Wayne, a small almost midget fellow, about how $10 was too much to pay.

  • Aloha!

    The word means “to share the breath.”

    We can get very stressed out at this time of year. Anxiety levels increase; blood pressure surges and our stress hormones go ballistic. We’re blessed that this body breathes automatically. We’re even more fortunate when we learn that we can take conscious control of our breathing. Imagine! Just by extending the exhalation, you can lower blood pressure. Of course, it takes practice, and with consistency, you will realize benefits that are palpable.

  • To talk about simplicity at this time of year is probably the most absurd notion. However, if we want to arrive at the day after Thanksgiving without feeling overextended and overstuffed, this is the very time to pause and take stock of exactly what it is we are trying to achieve.

     

    With each approaching day, the pressure builds as we get caught up in the luncheons, parties, visiting and shopping. Surely there is something on our “to do” list that we can eliminate, maybe even some calories along the way.

  • The other day I went to buy a little decoration for a Thanksgiving package I was bringing to a friend. To my surprise, (and maybe I shouldn’t have been) there were no Thanksgiving stickers or ornaments left. I was vaguely referred to the 70 percent off display which only had a few shopworn turkeys, some baskets and a worn out sign that read, “Give thanks,” aptly made in China, of course.

  • Several weeks ago I spoke at an Oak Run Friends of the Library meeting about writing Pun Alley and on humorous material. One of the things I mentioned is that my searches for material often find the same jokes rewritten to fit different occasions. To demonstrate this, I asked the audience for two occupations. They called out fireman and butcher, which I used in the following story.

    Three firemen and three butchers were traveling by train to a union meeting. At the station, the three butchers each bought tickets and watched as the three firemen bought only a single ticket.

  • It was wall-to-wall bikers last Saturday as the Steel Horse Stampede took place to benefit Hospice. The motorcycle riders braved the cool weather to raise funds for a worthy cause.

  • An article in a local newspaper caught my eye the other day. In a recent survey concerning Americans’ knowledge of religious belief, it showed that agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Catholics in answering questions, but although they were knowledgeable about other faiths, some respondents did not know the basic tenets of their own faith. For instance, Catholics did not know that the bread and wine used in Communion, actually become the Body and Blood of Christ, according to Church teaching and that the wine and bread are not merely symbols.

  • Each of the 102 veterans on board had served in World War II. Each had a different story.

    The 102 veterans were on the second Honor Flight trip to leave from Ocala carrying Marion County veterans to Washington D.C. Each veteran on the trip wore a name tag denoting they were VIPs.

    The chartered jet left around 8 a.m. Thursday for the one hour, 30-minute flight to Baltimore carrying the veterans and 70 volunteers. Once there the group was split, as per their hat color, to three different buses for a trip to the World War II monument.

  • Next Thursday is Veterans Day, a holiday to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. It is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, falling on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I.

    Our parade down Pun Alley starts with a 21-pun salute to honor our veterans.

    When hostile armies were preparing to storm the bridge to his castle, the king said to his wife, “Hand me the moat control.”

  • Years ago Halloween was strictly for children’s activities of dressing up in costumes and going from door to door for candy treats. Now, even adults get into the act wearing a costume and pretending to be other than what they really are. Most of us have just one day for this. But our politicians do this every day, especially leading up to Election Day Nov. 2.

  • On travels far away from Pun Alley I found a mountain moonshine festival to be held this weekend in Georgia’s Dawson County. It explores the history of the area during prohibition when running moonshine through the foothills of the northeast Georgia mountains was a way of life. I took a shine to it and its stories.

    A real shot

    A flatlander was driving down a road back in the hills when a hillbilly stepped out into the road and leveled his rifle at him.

  • Shoppers at the Canopy Oak Publix on State Road 200 Monday evening, Oct. 4, may have noticed some young shoppers searching the aisles.

     Those young shoppers were fourth and fifth graders from Hammett Bowen Elementary School. They were not really shopping.

    They were working math problems written by their teachers but pertaining to a grocery shopping trip.

    One problem for fifth graders went this way:

  • Today is the day you can be grouchy without any excuses. According to the Internet site, Bizarre, Crazy, Silly Unknown Holidays, today is National Grouch Day. But to be grouchy all day, you should probably wait till tomorrow to read Pun Alley.

    Cooking

    Two women were discussing marriage, and one said, “We’ve been married 10 years, and every night my husband has complained about dinner. Not one night without complaining about the food.”

    “That’s awful,” the other woman said. “That must really bother you.”

  • The minute I got the phone call I knew I’d be in hot water when I got home. Sure enough, it was running out of the garage and down the driveway. The hot water heater had sprung a leak. When the plumber arrived to install a new one I had just started cleaning out the water logged mess in the garage. We exchanged some interesting stories that have now made their way to Pun Alley.

    Double double, toilet trouble

    A plumber obtained a seal pup from a marine animal rescue service. He brought the slippery little fellow up to be his valued assistant on the job.