A fight during which the fighters adhere to either written or unwritten rules. I always questioned this term, because if you have a bunch of rules, how much of a fight is it anyway? It's really just a sport, perhaps made more brutal. If I was really in a fight, say, with someone breaking into my home, the only fair fight is one I win.

Still, most struggles are not life and death struggles, and it would be nice if people wouldn't cross certain lines and could keep things civil, but I think we have crossed the event horizon and it's too late to turn back now. So, the next time you get into a fight, be sure to set ground rules (Marquis of Queensbury, anyone?).

At the height of the Intafada, the Israelis and Arabs realized that, if they continued, they would someday end up destroying the world. So they sat down and decided to settle the whole dispute with a dogfight. The negotiators agreed that each country would take five years to develop the best fighting dog they could. The dog that won the fight would earn its country the right to rule the world. The losing side would have to lay down its arms.

The Arabs found the biggest, meanest Dobermans and Rottweilers in the world. They bred them together and then crossed their offspring with the meanest Siberian wolves. They selected only the biggest, strongest puppy from each litter, killed all the other puppies and fed the lone dog all of the milk. They used steroids and trainers in their quest for the perfect killing machine, until, after the five years were up, they had a dog that needed iron prison bars on his cage. Only the trainers could handle this beast.

When the day of the big fight arrived, the Israelis showed up with a strange animal: It was a nine-foot-long Dachshund. Everyone felt sorry for the Israelis. No one else thought this weird animal stood a chance against the growling beast in the Arab camp. The bookies predicted the Arabs would win in less than a minute.

The cages were opened. The Dachshund waddled toward the center of the ring. The Arab dog leapt from his cage and charged the giant wiener-dog. As he got to within an inch of the Israeli dog, the Dachshund opened its jaws and swallowed the Arab beast in one bite. There was nothing left but a small bit of fur from the killer dog's tail. The Arabs approached the Israelis, shaking their heads in disbelief. "We do not understand. Our top scientists and breeders worked for five years with the meanest, biggest Dobermans and Rottweilers. They developed a killing machine."

"Really?" the Israelis replied. "We had our top plastic surgeons working for five years to make an alligator look like a Dachshund!"

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