Monday, November 12, 2018

Cartoon Caption Contest

Prove Your Comedy Chops with Moment’s Cartoon Caption Contest


Welcome to the Moment Magazine Cartoon Caption Contest, founded with the help of New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff, and drawn by New Yorker cartoonist Ben Schwartz.


Do you have a way with words and humor? If so, look at the cartoon below and send us a caption—or two or three! Plus scroll down to vote for your favorite caption. It’s free and fun!


Winners may claim a free Moment subscription for a friend of family member. Contest open to U.S. residents 18 and above.


Plus: Read interviews with some of our most prolific caption contest contributors here.



Submit a caption for this cartoon by December 20th by writing it in as a comment at the bottom of this page!



Vote for your favorite caption by filling out the form immediately below!


“Two words: acorn latkes.”
—Stephen Nadler, Princeton, NJ

“I knew it was risky, but I put them all in one basket.”
—Dale Stout, Colorado Springs, CO

“Happy Han-nut-kah to you!”
—Jane Smalley, St. George, ME


Vote For Your Favorite Cartoon Caption

Vote for the winner of the September/October contest! The winner will receive a free subscription to Moment to give to a friend. Any U.S. resident age 18 or older can enter.


Chuckle at the July/August 2018 winning caption—and see who wrote it!


“He’s also a member of Guns and Rosenthals.”
—Dale Stout, Colorado Springs, CO

How to Submit Your Caption(s)

Submit as a comment below by December 20, 2018. Finalists will appear in the January/February 2019 issue. To vote for the winner of the September/October 2018 contest (see finalists above), use the “vote form.”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 14:46h, 31 August Reply

    Actually, if you ARE old enough, you do believe in genies, remembering that early-TV hit series “I
    Dream of Jeannie” starring Barbara Eden as a beautiful 2000-year-old genie who is rescued from a bottle by an American astronaut and seeks to do his bidding. No, I don’t believe it was sexist; it was coy, just right for those comparatively innocent times. MS, thanks for the post!

  • Gerald Lebowitz 22:19h, 31 August Reply

    Here are two stories about what happened to people who sought help for their problems:

    (1) A young man went to a life coach. “I have a problem relating to others,” he said. “I never seem to be able to contribute to conversations at parties and other gatherings.”

    The life coach nodded. “The thing to do is steer the conversations around to subjects that you are familiar with. Everyone has points of strength and areas of weakness. Once you do that, you’ll become popular. Tell me, are there any areas in which you excel?”

    The young man smiled. “Horses,” he said. I grew up on a farm where I was in charge of grooming and feeding and training the ponies in the stables from the time when I was a small boy.”

    “Good,” said the life couch.” “Next time you’re at a gathering, you’ll know what to do and you’ll never feel out of things again.”

    A week later the man was invited to a party. He was ushered into a large room where a lot of people were gathered. A circle of people seemed to be talking excitedly about something. He maneuvered himself into the circle and listened politely until it seemed that the discussion was winding down. Then he suddenly thrust himself into the center and yelled, “SPEAKING OF HORSES …”

    (2) A man and his wife visited a therapist. “We’ve been married for over thirty years,” the husband said, and making love has lost its spark. We want to know how we can make intimacy exciting again.”

    “The thing to do,” the therapist said, “is to not make it routine, to get out of the rut of habit, to follow passion wherever it leads you.”

    A week later the couple returned. “It worked!” the husband said excitedly. “We let ourselves be governed by our feelings, and we had a wonderful experience!”

    The therapist beamed. “I am so glad that my suggestion worked for you.”

    As the couple began to leave, however, the wife turned back timidly. “There’s just one thing,” she said.

    “Oh?” asked the therapist.

    “Her face dropped as she said in a soft voice, “We’ll never be able to eat in that Burger King again.” 🙂

  • Gerald Lebowitz 16:08h, 01 September Reply

    MS, has Rabbi E.N. gotten to you again, equating my small request to delete some posts to the murder of radio talk host Alan Berg? Now I consider myself a nonviolent person, but if I could go back in time, there WOULD be one berg I’d try to destroy–the iceberg that sank the Titanic in 1912 in the North Atlantic, resulting in more than 1500 deaths.

    The other Berg I would have helped if I could.

    Peace, and thanks. 🙂

  • Gerald Lebowitz 16:37h, 01 September Reply

    MS, an interesting question has been called to my attention, one that you might be able to answer: Have you been putting words into Rabbi E.N.’s mouth , or has Rabbi E.N. been pulling the strings when you speak? (There is, of course, a third possibility, that you and Rabbi E.N. have deep disagreements but try to present a united front.)

    Since this is the season of teshuvah, I thought I’d ask.

    Of course the answer will vary, depending on which one of you chooses to respond. 🙂

  • Marvin Sager 17:23h, 01 September Reply

    To GL: During World War ll, the Nazi leaders encouraged the burning of books by people they deemed degenerate. In fact they burned all Jewish books among others. You can burn books, but what have you really accomplished? Since no real out cry occurred in Germany, the Nazi thought they had tacit approval to kill and burn human beings. So to burn books or delete words is not what is most important, but to remember decent people and their lives is a mitsve. Therefore, we should never forget the Holocaust, or for that matter Alan Berg, or those poor souls who died on the Titanic. Then to say the fictitious character of Rabbi Elvis Nudnick has gotten to me is ludicrous beyond description. After all, I tried to explain this character to appease everyone concerned with the most delicate of descriptions. So, among mature adults, let’s agree not to pursue this discussion any more. Besides, you are more articulate and a more eloquent writer then I am, and as I readily admit my talents are limited.
    Until the next cartoon caption contest, please enjoy your Labor Day Holiday.

  • Gerald Lebowitz 19:12h, 01 September Reply

    To AS: This week’s “For Better or for Worse” Sunday strip starts with Elizabeth watching her friend Richard enjoying himself on the swing. In the first panel, Elizabeth asks, “Can I have a turn on your swing?” and Richard answers, “When I’m finished.”

    The second panel: “Can I now?” Richard: “I’m not finished yet.”

    Third panel: “But I been waiting a long time!” Richard: “I said when I’m finished.”

    Fourth panel: Elizabeth turns away, crying.

    Fifth panel: Elizabeth is sitting on the steps, eating an ice cream. Richard approaches: “Hi, Elizabeth.”

    Sixth panel: He asks, “Hey, can I have a bite of yer ice cream?” She answers, “Sure!”

    Final panel: Elizabeth finishes her sentence with, “… When I’m finished.”

    Both kids are about seven, approximately your granddaughter’s age. In a humorous way, Lynn Johnston tackles issues that all kids are faced with, including not getting what one wants and establishing self-respect. I don’t think your granddaughter would be too young to enjoy the strip. She might get a good laugh along with the lesson that turnabout is fair play. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Adrian Storisteanu 21:23h, 01 September Reply

      A nice smart one! A demanding 2nd grade starting very (too) soon, we’ll see… : – )

      (The comics are probably being recycled, I think Lynn stopped writing new ones some time ago.)

  • Gerald Lebowitz 20:17h, 01 September Reply

    TO MS: I think that you took what I meant as humor as criticism. Nothing could be further from the truth. I never use humor as a way of making fun of anyone. Obviously my attempt at lightness here failed. Your writing doesn’t take a backseat to anyone, and your thoughts are always eloquently expressed. However, although I generally agree with everything you say (who wouldn’t?) I tend to take a lighter approach. One of my favorite Aesop’s fables describes a contest between the wind and the sun as to which one could get a man to take off his overcoat. The wind blew and blew and blew, but the man pulled the garment more tightly around him.. Then it was the sun’s turn. The sun simply smiled, and the man wiped his brow and quickly removed the coat. I even remember Aesop’s moral: “Gentle persuasion is better than force.” The world is wide enough to encompass many approaches and for us to be friends in. I look forward to many more of your always appreciated contributions. Please don’t stop!

  • Marvin Sager 10:11h, 02 September Reply

    There was a time when I taught classes for military personnel. One of the solders in my class had a mean disposition, and refused to study or pay attention in class. I did everything that I thought possible to encourage him to do better. But, his attitude was he was being trained to kill the enemy and that nothing else mattered. So, one day after repeated attempts to improve his life with education, he was livid. He said to me, “I am an expert on how to use my rifle, and I won’t hesitate to kill my enemies.” I perceived this as an attempt to intimidate me, or an indirect threat to me. But, I just looked at him and laughed in his face and said, ” I acknowledge your expertise in weaponry, and I trust you are ‘smart’ enough not to shoot yourself in the foot!” Such is the story of my life to use humor to mitigate most unpleasant situations. We should never allow ourselves to get “bent out of shape” to the point where we advocate unnecessary violence or revenge. (Just rambling on and on, “killing more time and space” until the next cartoon caption contest, if you will pardon the pun.)

  • Gerald Lebowitz 20:26h, 02 September Reply

    MS: Have you thought of writing a memoir? Your experiences have been rich and interesting and you have much to share in a deep, thoughtful way. With excellent writing, I might add.

    Back to humor. I have two Army stories, the first concerning an announcement that a general will be rolling in shortly for a platoon inspection. Platoon Sergeant Schwartz is called upon to prepare his troops. When the general arrives, he looks over the men. The first row is impeccable, trousers pressed, perfect posture, etc. The general is very pleased. Then he goes on to the second row. The men there are OK, but the shoes are not so shiny, the trousers a little wrinkled, the postures not so erect. Then on to the third row. There he sees a marked difference. The men are not as scrubbed and their uniforms not as clean and their postures slumped. The general is obviously displeased. “Tell me, Sergeant Schwartz,” he asks, “what did you do before you joined the Army?”

    “Me?” the sergeant replies. “I owned a fruit and vegetable store.” 🙂

    The next tale concerns Private Second Class Julius Adler, a meek and mild soldier who seems always to be called on the carpet by the Master Sergeant. Finally, after a severe tongue-lashing, Private Adler turns to his friend and says, “You know, I feel like giving that sergeant a piece of my mind again.”

    His friend whirls around. “Again?” he asks.

    “Yes,” Private Adler says. “I felt like giving him a piece of my mind yesterday, too!” 🙂

  • Marvin Sager 22:39h, 02 September Reply

    To GL: Thanks for your compliments. I only wish I could keep-up with your advanced skills and talents. Unfortunately, most of what I would like to offer is very raunchy and not suited for general audiences. But, I shall try to persevere with the following acceptable version of the following story. So, this farmer invited his neighbor over to witness his new amazing roster. He informed his neighbor that this specially bred roster can impregnate chickens faster and more efficiently than any roster ever born. His neighbor was obviously skeptical and said, “This I have to see to believe.” The boastful farmer said, “Watch this closely.” The farmer went to the enclosed area where the roster was housed and retrieved him. Then he carried the roster over to the hen house where there were 20 hens. He gingerly released the roster into the hen area. It was bedlam, as the roster impregnated the hens one after another without hesitation. The neighbor was overwhelmed with amazement to what he had just seen. As the feathers were still flying and landing on the ground, the next occurrence was that the roster lay prostrate on his backside and didn’t move. The farmer and his neighbor were horrified that the roster was dead from over exhaustion. They immediately went inside the large cage area and observed the roster. At their astonishment, the roster opened one eye with sort of a wink, and with his right wing pointed to the sky at the flock of buzzards hovering overhead.

  • Gerald Lebowitz 10:42h, 03 September Reply

    MS: Don’t EVER feel that you have to “keep up” with anyone. You have your own beautiful style which is better than anyone else’s You are able to mix humor and serious confrontation without stumbling. You are a very brave man, making the soldier with deadly rifle expertise stand down while at some level you must have been scared. The closest I can come to your writing is Joseph Heller’s famous “Catch-22.” Your style, to be succinct, is first class.

  • Gerald Lebowitz 12:18h, 03 September Reply

    MS: Strangely enough, the other writer that comes to mind when I look at your writing is the late 19th century American author Jack London, whose books are basically about a man who wants to confront everything in life, a man who relishes his adventures. Don’t downgrade yourself; you’re much, much better than you think.

  • Marvin Sager 18:07h, 03 September Reply

    To GL: With all your generous praise and accolades, maybe I should ask for some kind of compensation for what I consider now a “weepy eye” syndrome. My dreadful use of the word “persiflage” comes to mind when I describe my work, but not the work of great artists like yourself or others. If only I had a magic wand, then I could really make this world a better place to live. All I can offer are a few smiles and perhaps some positive suggestions to hopefully improve things. I am waiting for more mature people on this site to add their input with humorous contributions. We need as many people as possible to make me laugh and stimulate me to add more stories. If anyone is reading this, JUMP-IN.

  • M. A. Resnik 15:02h, 06 September Reply

    Please join us for some heavy metal and challah after the service.

  • Gerald Lebowitz 17:31h, 08 September Reply

    M.A. Resnik, why did you wait so long to submit? Your entry is GREAT but was submitted after the August 20 deadline and after the new issue of the magazine went to press. But if your caption is indicative of the quality of future submissions, your star will certainly shine very brightly here. I, for one, look forward to seeing your name again and again and again. Thanks!

  • Gerald Lebowitz 15:06h, 11 September Reply

    It’s intermission here at the site, and while we wait for the lights to go on and a new show to begin, here’s a diversion. And here’s wishing everyone a blessed year!

    In 1943 a reporter for the Associated Press was sent to Moscow to write an article on the public’s view of Joseph Stalin, the country’s premier and also the general secretary of the Communist Party. The reporter encountered an elderly man on the street and posed her question, “What do you think of Joseph Stalin?”

    The man turned pale and peered around cautiously, looking behind to see if he was being observed. “Come with me,” he whispered to the reporter and took her into a nearby house. He led her down a double flight of stairs into a basement, made sure the basement door was locked, and directed her to the center of the room where he wouldn’t be overheard. Fearfully he came close to the reporter and, hands shaking, whispered into her ear.

    “Joseph Stalin?” he barely spoke, and then paused again.

    “”Confidentially, I like him.”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 15:29h, 11 September Reply

    I just re-read my previous post and realized that lights are ON during an intermission, not off, and dim when the performance resumes. Sorry for the goof, but the story it introduced was amusing, at least to me. Peace! 🙂

  • Gerald Lebowitz 21:46h, 11 September Reply

    Another story the above reminds me of: At the end of World War II, the Soviet Army forced the Nazis out of Poland. Stalin was determined to dominate the country and impose communist rule. On a street corner in Warsaw, an agent from the Moscow Kremlin addressed a large crowd, exhorting all the Polish citizens to accept communism and Soviet rule. “Under the new system,” he shouted, “this country will prosper, and you will be well fed and happy. With the new means of production, you will have to work only one day a week, say, Wednesday.”

    The hand of an elderly member of the crowd shot up. The man stared at the speaker with great displeasure and yelled, “EVERY Wednesday?” 🙂

  • Gerald Lebowitz 22:47h, 12 September Reply

    No cartoon yet? Oh well, then. Time for one more tale, in the same vein as the two told above. 🙂

    In 1939 the Slovak Republic had a pro-Nazi government and initiated a series of measures designed to make life difficult for the hated Jews. In the capital, Bratislava, there was a popular butcher shop. But deliveries had become relatively infrequent as the war raged around the country and supplies were limited.

    On this particular day, there was a very long line of people waiting for the latest shipment of meat. After two hours, one of the butchers came out and said that there wouldn’t be enough meat to accommodate all those waiting, so all Jews on the line would have to leave. After four more long hours the butcher emerged again, and this time told the weary crowd that there would be no meet delivery at all so that the entire crowd would have to disperse.

    As the people straggled away, one man turned to his friend. “No wonder our government doesn’t like Jews,” he said. “They always manage to take advantage. Even today they had the good luck to walk away with nothing after spending only one third of the time!”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 11:29h, 15 September Reply

    ‘How long will I have to stand here and listen to that #@% music? I haven’t even been able to deliver my sermon. By now a new cartoon should have replaced us.” 🙂

  • Scott Evans 12:19h, 17 September Reply

    “And you shall strike the rock.”

  • Marvin Sager 17:44h, 17 September Reply

    ACORNy Rosh Hashanah treat.

  • Gerald Lebowitz 19:16h, 17 September Reply

    SN: Congratulations again! By the way, I myself voted for your entry, so I guess that makes me a winner, too! 🙂 (I wish I were as lucky in picking investments.)

    Let us hear from you more.

    • Stephen Nadler 17:48h, 22 September Reply

      Thanks, Gerald. I’m stunned that you didn’t vote for your own caption! What if my entry won by only one vote?

  • Gerald Lebowitz 19:24h, 17 September Reply

    “Mrs. Rubenstein, this bag of acorns is a gift from our family to yours in honor of your son’s bar mitzvah. It’s to ensure that his future will be A-oak-kay.”

  • Adrian Storisteanu 20:29h, 17 September Reply

    “Acornucopia to start the New Year!”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 21:21h, 17 September Reply

    AS: You spoil it for everybody else by being so clever, especially so early in the competition, and I bet you don’t even feel guilty about it.

    P.S. Your submission, i suppose, means that your granddaughters have gone, leaving you in peace and, perhaps, a little lonely.

    Glad you’re joining us for company. Come again. 🙂

    • Adrian Storisteanu 21:28h, 17 September Reply

      Just stricken by a bad case of pun-ick…

  • Adrian Storisteanu 21:25h, 17 September Reply

    “‘A. Kohn’s, and company!'”

  • Dale Stout 01:19h, 18 September Reply

    They’re from Washington, in case you need more nuts.

  • Dale Stout 01:31h, 18 September Reply

    Shofar so good.

  • Jim Gorman 11:02h, 18 September Reply

    “I just overheard a highly placed Cabinet member tell his intern that if Congress had any of these ‘they wouldn’t hesitate to do what needed to be done’, and then the intern shook her head and mumbled something like ‘you need to find a new metaphor’.”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 14:33h, 18 September Reply

    To Dale Stout, MWP (Master of Wordplay):

    Congratulations on the new degree you’ve earned. If to celebrate your accomplishment, I sent you a bowl of the very same nuts that are in the cartoon, would you consider it acorn-y gift?

    Or this acorn-y pun?

    At any rate, you’re a wise man and, to vary a well-known proverb, award to the wise is sufficient.

    (Ouch! If the pun police do knock on my door, I’m not going to answer.)

    • Marvin Sager 15:20h, 18 September Reply

      My pun almost exactly: ACORNy Rosh Hashanah treat. (Above entry.)

      Thanks again GL for your indirect recognition of my cartoon caption contest entry. The “pun police” have been notified to grant you clemency. Also, may I continue to be fortunate enough to provide you and others with diligent and humorous punch lines in the near future.

    • Dale Stout 11:13h, 20 September Reply

      Thank you Gerald-the Pun Police have me under arrested development.

  • Huffman, Rob 11:29h, 19 September Reply

    “What acorny sentiment.”

  • Huffman, Rob 12:01h, 19 September Reply

    “Well, this is certainly acorny idea.”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 12:31h, 19 September Reply

    MS: OMG, the pun police are not the worst things for me to worry about. In my haste I plagiarized your clever puns and without giving you proper credit. Do I face a bloodthirsty intellectual property lawyer in my future?

    Honestly, I’m sorry for the oversight, but take comfort in the fact that there’s nobody more worthy of being plagiarized than you, with your rich humor and the inventiveness of your prose. Nobody would want to steal from a poor man.

    But luckily we’re in the season of Teshuvah. Am I granted forgiveness on this Day of Atonement? According to custom, I have to seek it from the person I wronged.

    And may I make a comment as to the handling of the new cartoon? We shouldn’t think of the creatures as squirrels. They’re just a typical Jewish family with a name like Cohen or Abrams or Samuels, and they live in a nice apartment (which just so happens to be in a tree). What is the occasion for the beautiful gift of nuts? A bris? A wedding? A get? Where is the mezuzah at the entrance to their apartment (I believe that was Dinah Rokach’s great caption in an earlier contest involving a rabbit who suddenly emerged from a rabbit hole; thanks, Dinah).

    Anyway, you always enrich the site and pass your wonderful humor on to all of us. Many thanks for being here, and all blessings for a truly good year! And blessings to us all.

  • Gerald Lebowitz 12:47h, 19 September Reply

    “Don’t worry, Mrs. Ginsberg, the nuts definitely have OU kosher certification.”

  • Marvin Sager 15:09h, 19 September Reply

    What is actually missing with the squirrel cartoon is a bottle of kosher wine from Israel. After all, with a hard nut to crack, you need a good wine to soften the crunch. As the saying goes, “A day without wine is like a day without sunshine.” I might add, “A day without a hard nut is like a day without a chipped tooth.” So, if you don’t have wine, then ACORN whiskey will do. Well, in a few words, that’s the story in a nutshell!

  • Gerald Lebowitz 16:00h, 19 September Reply

    Ouch!!! It can’t be a coincidence that the first three letters of the word “punishment” are “pun.”

  • Rob Nance 19:24h, 19 September Reply

    I would have brought honey crisp apples, but they’re too darned expensive!

  • Marvin Sager 22:05h, 19 September Reply

    The word “punctilious” (adj.)–“punctiliousness” (noun)–“punctiliously” (adv.) also by coincidence have the first three letters “pun” in the beginning of the words. The dictionary explains the definition as, “Very careful about behaving properly and doing things in a correct and accurate way.” (Syn. meticulous, scrupulous, careful, and punctual.) Words that I cherish to guide my life on a daily basis.

  • Dale Stout 11:15h, 20 September Reply

    I got these at the Wailing Walnut.

    • Dale Stout 15:22h, 20 September Reply

      I got these at the Wailing Walmart.

  • Dale Stout 11:16h, 20 September Reply

    Was our fasting too fast?

  • Dale Stout 11:17h, 20 September Reply

    There is a time to gather and a time to chatter.

  • Dale Stout 11:19h, 20 September Reply


  • Marvin Sager 13:59h, 20 September Reply

    Thanks, Dale, for your input which inspires me to write the following:

    It seems to be a squirrely day in the neighborhood with many “nut cases” abounding. (If this applies to anybody’s life, then you should seek help immediately.) So, as “nutty” as it may sound, enjoy today in good health and “nuts” to your enemies, as was the case in World War II at the Battle of the Bulge.

  • Dale Stout 15:29h, 20 September Reply

    Thanks, Marvin – your “Squirrelly Day in the Neighborhood…” reminds me a bit of Mr. Rogers. I think there was a commander in WWII that once said “Nuts!” to surrendering- so there’s no turning back. Thanks

  • Gerald Lebowitz 16:22h, 20 September Reply

    “Congratulate me, dear. I hit a big slot jackpot in one of the casinos in Las Vegas, and look what came out!”

  • Scott Evans 18:35h, 20 September Reply

    The perfect gift for one who is chewish.

    • Dale Stout 00:20h, 23 September Reply

      Yes, good one!

  • Joel Guggenheimer 20:15h, 20 September Reply

    Look what I found on the Goldberg’s sukkah!

  • Gerald Lebowitz 21:02h, 20 September Reply

    Scott Evans, you are the absolute master of the one-liner, and your latest submission proves my point without question. Keep ’em coming, along with your books! (Have you ever tried stand-up?)

  • Stephen Gelb 10:47h, 21 September Reply

    Yes, but don’t they look Jewish?

  • Jane Smalley 11:40h, 21 September Reply

    Happy Han-nut-kah to You!

    • Dale Stout 21:59h, 23 September Reply

      Funny :^)

  • Gerald Lebowitz 14:28h, 22 September Reply

    In a new book, Max Brod, a friend of Kafka’s, is described as “a man inclined to search out greatness in others.” I too am happy to cheer on and learn from a great submission , a new way of expression, a neat turn of phrase. And that’s why I come to praise one of our new contributors, Scott Evans.

    Oscar Wilde, the Irish poet and playwright of the 1890’s, was widely praised for both his conversation and his epigrams, such as “Nothing exceeds like excess” and “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Well, we don’t have to go back to Oscar Wilde. Here are some of Mr. Evans’ aphorisms:

    (1) “All that must happen for evil to fail is for good people to do something.” (This calls to mind the statement by Robert Oppenheimer, the renowned physicist and director of the Manhattan Project: “It is perfectly obvious that the whole world is going to hell. The only possible chance that it might not is that we do not attempt to prevent it from doing so.”

    (2) “To all my atheist friends: Happy Nothing!” (I’ve always thought that an atheist is a person without any invisible means of support.)

    (3) “Sideburns should be called ‘earbrows.'”

    (4) “We need to build a wall–between money and congress.”

    (5) “When life poops on you, hey, free manure.” (Aren’t the most beautiful flowers rooted in excrement of one sort or another?)

    (6) “The world is bipolar.” (Genesis tells us that God created the heavens and the earth, splitting into two what once was one–creating the schizophrenic world we live in.)

    Mark Twain once wrote, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” It takes more time and acuity to condense our thoughts. Scott Evans is a man of few words. But every word shines with intensity and compresses mountains.

    Thank YOU, Scott.

    • Scott Evans 20:06h, 07 October Reply

      Thank you so much Gerald. You are a gem. In a world where people don’t read, it is rare and precious to find someone who appreciates one’s work.
      I have little to give in return, but to mention you in the acknowledgments of my upcoming book, and to offer you a free e-copy of any work you might wish to have emailed to you.

  • Stephen Nadler 00:11h, 23 September Reply

    “Two words: acorn latkes.”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 15:24h, 24 September Reply

    Some comedians distort or caricature reality to get their humor. For example, Rodney Dangerfield once told how bad a driver his wife was. “The other day she smashed into a light pole. When I asked her how come, she said, ‘It wasn’t my fault. I honked first.'” Presumably this would’ve given the light pole time to get out of the way. Other comedians, like Jerry Seinfeld, have made fortunes by displaying reality as it is, without much embellishment at all.

    These comments segue into two real-life tales. I was walking on a crowded street the other day. In front of me were a young couple who were talking animatedly. We all reached the red light and stopped. The guy suddenly turned to the woman and, in a loud voice, said, “I love you, I love you.” And she turned to him and said, “Don’t threaten me.”

    Could anybody have made this up?

    One more bit of reality: Days before Donald Trump’s inauguration, Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus announced that “the greatest show on earth” would be closing after 146 years. Did it somehow know that it would soon be upstaged by a new, free Donald Trump Circus unlike anything else the world had ever seen?

    In the immortal words of Puck, “What fools these mortals be!”

    Including myself, of course.

  • Gerald Lebowitz 15:39h, 24 September Reply

    Stephen Nadler, welcome back from premature hibernation. Are you somehow related to Calvin Coolidge?

    Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president, was known as “Silent Cal” because he was a man of few words. One evening, at a dinner, a woman came over to him and said, “Mr. President, I made a bet that I could get you to say more than two words. President Coolidge then looked at her and said, “You lose.”

    (Personally, if I could get to utter only two words, I doubt that they would be “acorn latkes.”) 🙂

  • Gerald Lebowitz 18:54h, 25 September Reply

    “Welcome to Treetop Restaurant, Ma’am. May we offer you an hors d’oeuvre?”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 14:05h, 26 September Reply

    “There’s a special singing telegram that I’m supposed to deliver with this gift:

    Dear Grandma, here’s a special treat
    Of nuts to bury or to eat,
    But if you hide them, please remember
    Just where they are come next December,
    For though there’s none with whom we quarrel,
    We didn’t buy these for another squirrel.”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 18:38h, 27 September Reply

    There’s a very interesting new book out by mathematician Hannah Fry called “Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms.” Algorithms are appropriately defined by Fry as “lines of code … telling us what to watch, where to go, whom to date, and even whom to send to jail.” More and more human judgment is being turned over to machines.

    (May I add that the large number of entries sent in each week to the New Yorker’s Caption Contest are now being evaluated by algorithms. When I heard this, I must admit that I felt a little like Julius Caesar when he saw Brutus approach him with a knife on that fateful Ides of March. Et tu, New Yorker?)

    A side thought too delicious to resist: In 1930 George Gershwin composed what turned out to be a hit song for Ethel Merman to sing in his musical “Girl Crazy.” It’s title is “I Got Rhythm,” and it’s now a standard. If Gershwin were alive today, would he feel compelled to change the title to “I Got Algorithm”? I, for one, certainly hope not. 🙂

  • Stephen Nadler 20:04h, 27 September Reply

    “Why, no, I didn’t see your eggs. Where do you think you put them all?”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 22:19h, 27 September Reply

    “We’re rich! I just found out that acorns are going to be the new reserve currency in the squirrel kingdom.”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 15:52h, 28 September Reply

    Scott Evans: Here’s a new book you should read. It’s “Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life,” essays about almost everything and filled with aphorisms to feast on and authored by Nassim Taleb, a former risk-taker turned philosopher. I’d never thought of myself as a matchmaker before, but when I went through this book, I knew that you and it had to meet. The term in Yiddish is “bashert.” Please let me know if I’m wrong.

  • Gerald Lebowitz 16:22h, 28 September Reply

    SN: Just saw your posting of September 22. It was out of sequence so I’d missed it. I voted for your entry for one simple reason: it was better than mine, as so many of your entries are. I picture you poised, pen or pencil or keyboard at the ready, waiting for the mot juste and then striking. Robert Frost once said that writers in a sense are like farmers, often too eager to take their crops to market. But you never harvest until you’re sure that the words are exactly those you want to express. I’m here to play more than to win, and if I see something beautiful, I rejoice with the author as if I had written it. We’re all fingers on the same hand after all. In answer to your other comment, if you indeed did win by one vote, why would
    you blame it on my vote? After all, every point in a voting circle is the center. The deciding vote might have come from a casual reader who picked up the magazine and was smart enough to realize how good you are!

  • Gerald Lebowitz 13:02h, 29 September Reply

    More humor from the news:

    The Dunkin’ Donuts chain sent out a publicity release a few days ago stating that as of January 1st the word “Donuts” would be dropped from its name and the stores would be known only as “Dunkin’,” bringing to mind the classic story of the man who opened a fish store and put a big sign in front that read “Fresh Fish Sold Here.”

    The first customer who came in cautiously approached the owner and said, “Tell me, why do you need the word ‘fish’ on your sign? You can smell the aroma of your fish a mile away.” So the new owner, anxious to please, removed the offending word. Then the next customer approached the owner. “Isn’t it silly to have the word ‘fresh’ on your sign? Do people actually expect you to sell fish that’s not fresh? The freshness is always assumed and is not necessary to be stated.” So the new owner adjusted the sign again. A little while later–yes, you guessed it–a third customer criticized the word “sold.” “No one expects you to give your fish away. You’re in business. The word ‘sold’ is completely unnecessary.” And of course a while later someone questioned the word “here.” “Of course you’re selling the fish here. Where else would you be selling it? In Russia?”

    So soon there were no more words and no more sign.

    And, shortly afterward, no more store.

    As far as Dunkin’ Donuts is concerned, I’m now waiting for someone to come along and say, “Hey, there’s lots of things you can do with donuts without dunkin’ ’em. That word ‘dunkin” is unduly limiting. It’s got to go!”

    We can only hope the chain survives the change. 🙂

  • Gerald Lebowitz 10:54h, 30 September Reply

    Scott Evans: The advantage of being a literary matchmaker over the regular kind is that there’s never any need for a prenuptial agreement and no danger of a nasty split or custody proceedings. If the person doesn’t like the recommended book, he/she simply takes it back to the library. No alimony ever has to be paid!

    The best definition of alimony, by the way, comes from a once popular journalist named “Bugs” Baer. Alimony, he said, was “like buying oats for a dead horse.”

    (I can hear Adrian S. laughing.)

    • Adrian Storisteanu 00:37h, 01 October Reply

      : – )

    • Scott Evans 20:10h, 07 October Reply

      Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll put it on my list.

  • Dinah Rokach 12:18h, 30 September Reply

    “I’m saving it for Purim.”

  • Stephen Nadler 17:39h, 30 September Reply

    “Now, now. You know better than to call them deplorables.”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 09:49h, 02 October Reply

    “Shalom. The Jewish Federation formally welcomes you to the neighborhood with this official Jewish welcome wagon. May these acorns provide you with naches as well as nourishment, and may we see you at the next Shabbos services.”

  • David Freeman 17:54h, 02 October Reply

    “I knew it was risky, but I put them all in one basket.”

  • Nancy Conjelko 21:06h, 02 October Reply

    Happy Nut Day!

  • Gerald Lebowitz 15:03h, 04 October Reply

    “Don’t be upset if you forget where you buried them. After all, every forgotten acorn will become an oak tree with new apartments for your children’s children.”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 15:29h, 04 October Reply

    “Consider this a buyout offer. The landlord is converting all the units into condominiums, and he wants you out.”

  • Stephen Chaim Listfield 16:17h, 05 October Reply

    Don’t eat any. They’re for throwing at Sammy when he finishes reading his bar Mitzvah speech

  • JR 17:53h, 05 October Reply

    “We have the charoset already.”

  • Stephen Nadler 08:43h, 07 October Reply

    “I have 100 good reasons for you to accept my marriage proposal.”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 13:19h, 07 October Reply

    “This is to celebrate your receiving semicha from Yeshivat Maharat, the very first squirrel to be granted the honor!”

  • Scott Evans 20:18h, 07 October Reply

    Don’t worry, they’re organic.

  • Gerald Lebowitz 17:47h, 08 October Reply

    “As they say, ‘Sweets to the sweet.’ I hope you like these nuts.”

  • JR 09:36h, 10 October Reply

    “we said to bring kneidlach, not knutlach.”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 12:40h, 10 October Reply

    “Is this the residence of Rocky the flying squirrel? I have a special gift for him from his former partner, Bullwinkle moose.”

  • Seb Blackbourne 03:30h, 12 October Reply

    “I know this is a-corny gift, but your beauty drives me nuts!”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 21:13h, 12 October Reply

    “These acorns are to cover tuition for your weekly Yiddish lessons.”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 15:30h, 13 October Reply

    Hmm. Scott Evans is an author who deserves to have his words more widely read, and Dinah Rokach is a book reviewer looking for interesting books to bring to the attention of the reading public. A match made in heaven? Or is this just wishful thinking? (Carrie Fisher once titled her autobiographical humor book “Wishful Drinking”).

    If only “Moment”had a literary personals column.

    Just wishing, not drinking.

  • Gerald Lebowitz 15:35h, 13 October Reply

    “This is to celebrate your daughter’s wedding, Mrs. Nusbaum. I hear that she married a doctor.”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 15:57h, 13 October Reply

    “Oh, I got plenty o’ nut-tin’
    And nut-tin’s plenty for me
    I got the sun, got the moon
    Got the deep blue sea
    And what to me is most heavenly
    Is livin’ wid you in this tree …”

    (With deep apologies to Ira Gershwin
    for mutilating his lyrics) 🙂

  • Steve K 14:21h, 16 October Reply

    1. I’m so happy, they’ll think I was from the tribe of Asher.

    2. We’re giving a tenth of what we have at the temple.

    3. They mentioned milk and honey, but look at all these nuts!

  • Gerald Lebowitz 13:46h, 17 October Reply

    The online article just placed on this site describing “Moment”‘s caption contest contributors omits one point. The contest, to a meaningful extent, depends on what Tennessee Williams in one of his plays called “the kindness of strangers,” people who suddenly appear like shooting stars and then disappear. One example is Sheri Knauth, a finalist in the last contest whose caption is certainly good enough to be the winner. Another, in this contest, is David Freeman, who came out of nowhere, took the pass tossed by Stephen Nadler , and ran with it to score a touchdown: Stephen had written, “Why, no, I didn’t see your eggs. Where do you think you put them all?” And then David took off with Stephen’s metaphor, having been reminded of the old adage not to put all of one’s eggs in one basket, and then used it to great effect in his caption, “I knew it was risky, but I put them all in one basket.”

    By the way, does anyone remember that great wit Dorothy Parker? She used that very adage a long time ago when she had to get an abortion after the end of one of her disastrous relationships and uttered, “It serves me right for putting all my eggs in one bastard.”

    It is said that Halley’s comet comes back every 75 years. Will we have to wait that lone before Sheri Knauth and David Freeman reappear with more great submissions? I hope not. 🙂

  • Scott Evans 09:49h, 18 October Reply

    You’ve heard of Meals on Wheels? This is Nuts on Mutts.

  • Dale Stout 00:38h, 20 October Reply

    Let’s wash these down with some Beer Nuts.

  • Dale Stout 00:41h, 20 October Reply

    They’re from Harry and David.

  • Gerald Lebowitz 13:58h, 20 October Reply

    Since I mentioned Dorothy Parker in my last post, I’ve thought more about her. She was a very, very funny woman who wrote essays and light verse and did drama criticism in the ’20s. She also was a very troubled woman. I’ve known so many funny yet sad people. A lot of comedians use their wit to gently (and sometimes not so gently–think Lenny Bruce) get back at the world for their feelings of being left out.

    Dorothy Parker was known for her blazing wit and was part of a group (sometimes improbably including, of all people, Harpo Marx!) who met weekly for lunch at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City to trade barbs. Our own wonderful Dale Stout would have felt completely at home there. Ms. Parker was especially adept at a game akin to our own caption contest. But instead of a cartoon, the players would be given a word and told to use it in an unexpectedly funny new way. One time she was thrown the word “horticulture.” She immediately snapped back with, “You can lead a whore to culture, but you can’t make her think,” riffing, of course, on the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.”

    P.S. The only comedian I knew who wasn’t basically sad was Bob Hope. He had a long string of comedy writers always on call and treated humor as a business and himself as a corporation. He was a nice, untroubled guy, almost an exception to the rule, and was over a hundred years old when he died.

    Peace to all. 🙂

  • Gerald Lebowitz 14:13h, 20 October Reply

    PPS. When Bob Hope died at the age of 100, he left peacefully, surrounded by family, with, according to all accounts, a big smile on his face, as though he was seeing something wonderful.

  • Stephen Nadler 20:02h, 20 October Reply

    “I say winter, shminter.”

  • Stephen Nadler 20:03h, 20 October Reply

    “When I say, ‘Nuts to you’ it’s a good thing!”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 11:20h, 21 October Reply

    A final thought (I promise): When Woody Allen was asked whom he admired most in filmmaking, whom he sought to imitate, he said Ingmar Bergman. When asked who his hero was in comedy, he said Bob Hope. Strange because you’d have thought he might have mentioned someone like Joan Rivers or Nichols and May or Mel Brooks or Mort Sahl or even one of the famous Catskill tummlers, but, no, he picked a buttoned-up WASP comedian. But on second thought, it makes sense. Bob Hope was self-assured, professional, always in control, full of savoir faire and sophistication, the perfect foil for the insecure and tentative Allen.

    On to other things. The submissions so far are great. I miss Adrian and Jim Gorman and others, but people often have more to say in some contests and less in others. I hope all are well, though!

  • Gerald Lebowitz 16:03h, 21 October Reply

    Bob Mankoff, as all of you must know, is now Cartoon and Humor Editor of Esquire.

    He’s now testing a new type of contest for his magazine, this time listing a newspaper headline and requesting funny punch lines; in other words, a headline instead of a cartoon for inspiration. I just submitted an entry and would like all of you talented souls to join in. The headline he gave for this trial go-round is “POLE DANCING ROBOTS APPEAR IN LAS VEGAS TO SPICE UP CES 2018.” Send your entries to with the subject line “zingers.”

    Adrian, with your technical expertise and marvelous sense of humor, you’d be a natural for this. And Dinah, please wake your brother up and tell him to participate. This is the first time I can remember when you entered a contest and he didn’t. This is not allowed!

    The game of life is truly enjoyable when everyone plays. 🙂

  • Gerald Lebowitz 21:11h, 21 October Reply

    “I asked for chestnuts. Should I give them back?”

  • Gerald Lebowitz 09:01h, 07 November Reply

    Stephen N.: a marvelous new book: “Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey.”

    But you knew about this, didn’t you?

  • Annette Bode 01:11h, 09 November Reply

    When did you say Purim comes this year?

  • Dale Stout 00:19h, 10 November Reply

    Jonah was the one that got away.

  • Dale Stout 00:22h, 10 November Reply

    Lucky for you Mack, it’s the Year of Jubilee.

  • Dale Stout 00:39h, 10 November Reply

    Shlemiel shlimazel.

  • Adrian Storisteanu 02:00h, 10 November Reply

    “And gefilte fish, is to die for!”

  • Adrian Storisteanu 02:15h, 10 November Reply

    “Hanukah sure, but everything else is just great!”

    • Adrian Storisteanu 02:27h, 10 November Reply

      (But I guess Shabbat candles also pose problems…)

  • Adrian Storisteanu 02:20h, 10 November Reply

    “Swimming, sure — but otherwise I’m not really into sports.”

  • Adrian Storisteanu 02:45h, 10 November Reply

    “Ever since the conversion, my Rivka keeps kvetching about the humidity…”

  • Adrian Storisteanu 02:58h, 10 November Reply

    “What can I say, now I’m even crazier about herring.”

  • Lynda Rosemark 14:51h, 10 November Reply

    Not to worry! I don’t eat treif!

  • Marvin Sager 09:00h, 11 November Reply

    The wannabe kosher shark eyes his non kosher “crabby” hors d’oeuvre.

  • Adrian Storisteanu 10:02h, 11 November Reply

    “I’m booking a pod trip to the Whaling Wall.”

  • Scott Talbot Evans 11:09h, 11 November Reply

    We can be friends. I just can’t eat you.

  • Scott Talbot Evans 11:12h, 11 November Reply

    Don’t worry, my yarmulke is bulletproof.

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