Monday, October 12, 2009

Episode #1500 contest!!! Prize Revealed!

As you may know, Mister Ron's Basement ( has just published Episode #1500! It is actually in EIGHT parts, and will be posted over eight days.

There is no other Podcast on iTunes that is even close to 1500 Episodes...

Mister Ron is certainly available for interviews. Just send to the email listed below.

While maybe not everything in the Basement may be your cup of tea, some of the humorous stories are perhaps funnier today than they were a hundred or hundred and fifty years ago.

Most of the authors featured on the Podcast were once household names in America, and now are sadly forgotten. The mission of our program is to try to restore some of those writers to the recognition they deserve.

We have something special planned for Episode #1500, and leading up to it, we are having a contest!
Somebody will win a genuine classic book of American Humor that is at least 100 years old. A true collectible!

The prize is a 1906 hardback printing of Ellis Parker Butler's classic "Pigs is Pigs.".

How do you enter? Simple -- send me an email (my address is with the subject line "My Favorite Episode." Then tell me which Episode of the Basement is your favorite. You don't have to tell me why, but I would love to hear it anyway. Just give me the name of the story and the author. Please send me an email. You can send me messages on Facebook all you like, but they won't count in the contest.

All the entries will go in a hat after we release Episode #1500 (Part Eight of Eight). The winner will be announced afterward. So go visit the web site, or subscribe in iTunes, and pick out a good one! Feel free to use the Catalog and Individual Author indexes to help make your decision.

Thanks to all my listeners!


Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Vital Message from Ron Evry

Many of you have enjoyed my daily podcast, “Mister Ron’s Basement” ( for years now. It began in March of 2005 and currently has over 1350 Episodes, more than any other Podcast on iTunes. The podcast receives anywhere from 25,000 to 35,000 downloads every single day, and uses around 200 to 250 Gigabytes of bandwidth daily.

While some may not find my voice or delivery style to their tastes, there is no denying that the many humorous stories by mostly forgotten authors that I have rescued from oblivion are restoring a vital American Treasure to the world.

Most people’s view of early American humor begins and ends with Mark Twain or O Henry. Yet authors such as Fanny Fern, Max Adeler, George Ade, Edgar Wilson (“Bill”) Nye, M. Quad, George W. Peck, Philander Doesticks, and Stanley Huntley, are highly significant in the development of the uniquely American attitude of not taking everything seriously.

To the world at large, American humor, represented by film, television, comic books and strips, and stand-up comedians, is the pinnacle of comedy. A good portion of our entertainment exports (always in the very top ranks of our Gross National Product) is descending from the works of these mostly forgotten writers, who were once household names.

Utilizing researching techniques that simply weren’t available a few years ago, I am uncovering the stories that our ancestors used to laugh at, and have discovered that a great deal of it is still extremely funny today. The podcasts, in recent months, have been fully indexed, and can be accessed at:

But now Mister Ron’s Basement is facing a major hitch in its operation. Roger Strickland, the proprietor of, my Podcast host for the last four years, will be closing up shop at the end of July. He has attempted over this period to make an economical platform for podcasters, charging five dollars a month for unlimited bandwidth. To accomplish this, he has needed a steady stream of new customers, and the current bad economy has reduced this figure drastically. Undoubtedly, the very success of Mister Ron’s Basement may have put a strain on his resources as well, with its ever-growing need for bandwidth.

Looking through what is available in hosting services out in the real world, I have discovered that most of the surviving hosts out there want $300 to $400 a month from me to continue my operation. One hosting service told me that I “don’t have to be a millionaire” to use their servers. Just $50 a month and thirty cents a Gigabyte for bandwidth. Last month alone I used up Five Terabytes of bandwidth. This works out to $1500 a month. Sorry. Don’t have it.

I have apparently negotiated a deal with a major hosting company to pay a one-time fee for archiving all my back episodes, and continuing with my daily podcasts. Essentially, this is going to work out to about a thousand dollars for the first year. They also will split ad revenue with me, giving me the larger share if I come up with the sponsor.

So far, I have not found any sponsor, but anyone reading this who thinks they can put me in contact with one, please write!

To make Mister Ron’s Basement’s valuable archive and continued podcasts available, I am asking for donations. Ideally, I would like to find a thousand people with a dollar each to help me carry on this work.

If any of these stories have made you laugh, please drop a dollar into my virtual hat. You can get to the donation button at:

This is being done through Paypal, and you don’t have to be a member of Paypal to use the service. 

If you prefer, please drop a dollar or more (or a check) into an envelope and send it to:

Ron Evry

2880 Cedar Crest Ct

Woodbridge, VA 22192

Of course, I am desperately looking for any and all publicity to ensure the survival of this National Treasure. Anybody reading this from print, radio, or web media that would like a fascinating article, please contact me at

Keep Laughing!


Thursday, January 15, 2009

An Edgar Allan Poe Oddity

Listeners to the Basement might notice that we are celebrating Edgar Allan Poe's Bicentennial Birthday with readings of his funniest stories and poems. Poe is not really appreciated by the public for his humor, but he could write some knee-slappers now and then. Poe himself seemed to consider some of his horror tales a laugh riot, but even so, we have found some good stuff that is okay for the squeamish...

One of the stories we have read is called Diddling -- Considered as One of the Exact Sciences from 1843. You can listen to it at A diddler, in case you didn't know it, was a 19th Century term for a con artist. When I read this piece, something struck me as familiar, and then I remembered that way back in Basement Episode number 438, found at, I had read an 1830 Seba Smith story called My First Visit to Portland. In this tale, country boy Jack Downing comes to the big town and outsmarts the city slickers.

The two stories each feature scenes which resemble each other very much. Here's the scene from the Smith 1830 story:

Well, then, says I to myself, I have a pesky good mind to go in and have a try with one of these chaps and see if they can twist my eye- teeth out. If they can get the best end of the bargain out of me they can do what there ain't a man in our place can do; and I should just like to know what sort of stuff these ere Portland chaps are made of. So in I goes into the best-looking store among 'em. And I see some biscuit lying on the shelf, and says I:

"Mister, how much do you ax apiece for them ere biscuits?"

"A cent apiece," says he.

"Well," says I, "I shan't give you that, but if you've a mind to, I'll give you two cents for three of them, for I begin to feel a little as tho' I would like to take a bite."

"Well," says he, "I wouldn't sell 'em to anybody else so, but seeing it's you I don't care if you take 'em."

I knew he lied, for he never seen me before in his life. Well, he handed down the biscuits, and I took 'em, and walked round the store awhile, to see what else he had to sell. At last says I:

"Mister, have you got any good cider?"

Says he, "Yes, as good as ever you see."

"Well," says I, "what do you ax a glass for it?"

"Two cents," says he.

"Well," says I, "seems to me I feel more dry than I do hungry now. Ain't you a mind to take these ere biscuits again and give me a glass of cider?" and says he:

"I don't care if I do."

So he took and laid 'em on the shelf again and poured out a glass of cider. I took the glass of cider and drinkt it down, and, to tell you the truth about it, it was capital good cider. Then says I:

"I guess it's about time for me to be a-going," and so I stept along toward the door; but he ups and says, says he:

"Stop, mister, I believe you haven't paid me for the cider."

"Not paid you for the cider!" says I; "what do you mean by that? Didn't the biscuits that I give you just come to the cider?"

"Oh, ah, right!" says he.

So I started to go again, but before I had reached the door he says, says he:

"But stop, mister, you didn't pay me for the biscuits."

"What!" says I, "do you mean to impose upon me? Do you think I am going to pay you for the biscuits, and let you keep them, too? Ain't they there now on your shelf? What more do you want? I guess, sir, you don't whittle me in that way."

So I turned about and marched off and left the feller staring and scratching his head as tho' he was struck with a dunderment.

Now here is the similar paragraph from Poe's piece:

Rather a small, but still a scientific diddle is this. The diddler approaches the bar of a tavern, and demands a couple of twists of tobacco. These are handed to him, when, having slightly examined them, he says:

"I don't much like this tobacco. Here, take it back, and give me a glass of brandy and water in its place."

The brandy and water is furnished and imbibed, and the diddler makes his way to the door. But the voice of the tavern-keeper arrests him.

"I believe, sir, you have forgotten to pay for your brandy and water."

"Pay for my brandy and water! — didn't I give you the tobacco for the brandy and water? What more would you have?"

"But, sir, if you please, I don't remember that you paid me for the tobacco."

"What do you mean by that, you scoundrel? — Didn't I give you back your tobacco? Isn't that your tobacco lying there? Do you expect me to pay for what I did not take?"

"But, sir," says the publican, now rather at a loss what to say, "but sir —"

"But me no buts, sir," interrupts the diddler, apparently in very high dudgeon, and slamming the door after him, as he makes his escape. — "But me no buts, sir, and none of your tricks upon travellers."

Now there is a significant difference in the details, but the two are quite close. Investigating further, I discovered that Poe was indeed quite familiar with Seba Smith's work, and had written a scathing review of Smith's poetry, stating that the author would be better off sticking to humor.

So what do you think? Your comments and emails are welcome...