It Really Happened

  • The average cost of rehabilitating a seal after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska was $80,000. At a special ceremony, two of the most expensively saved animals were released back into the wild amid cheers and applause from onlookers. A minute later they were both eaten by a killer whale.
  • A U of M psychology student rented out her spare room to a carpenter in order to nag him constantly and study his reactions. After weeks of needling, he snapped and beat her repeatedly with an axe leaving her mentally retarded.
  • In 1992, Frank Perkins of Los Angeles made an attempt on the world flagpole-sitting record. By the time he had come down, eight hours short of the 400 day record, his sponsor had gone bust, his girlfriend had left him and his phone and electricity had been cut off.
  • A woman in Illinois came home to find her husband in the kitchen, shaking frantically with what looked like a wire running from his waist towards the electric kettle. Intending to jolt him away from the deadly current she whacked him with a handy plank of wood by the back door, breaking his arm in two places. A shame as he had merely been listening to his iPod.
  • Two animal rights protesters were protesting at the cruelty of sending pigs to a slaughterhouse in Bonn. Suddenly the pigs, all two thousand of them, escaped through a broken fence and stampeded, trampling the two hapless protesters to death.
  • Iraqi terrorist, Khay Rahnajet, didn’t pay enough postage on a letter bomb. It came back with “return to sender” stamped on it. You’ve guessed it, he opened it and said a fond farewell to his face.
  • Trying to keep warm in freezing weather, a 50 year old Cypriot huddled over his paraffin heater. Accidentally overturning it, he set himself on fire, screaming in pain as his clothes were engulfed he ran out of his abode and jumped into a nearby reservoir, where he sunk like a stone and drowned.
  • A rapturous welcome awaited Antonio Gomez Bohorquez and Pascual Fuertes Noguera when they returned home to Murcia in southern Spain after pioneering a new route up Mount Sisha Pagma in the Himalayas. On studying specialist publications, however, they had to sheepishly admit that they had, in fact, climbed the wrong mountain.
  • In Cebu city, Philippines, Enrique Quinanola made a determined effort to kill himself. Quinanola, 21 and unemployed, attempted to hang himself, but relatives cut the rope and took him to hospital. While doctors prepared a sedative, he slipped away and ran to a nearby restaurant where he grabbed a knife and slashed his wrists. Police saw the incident and tried to subdue Quinanola, but he put up a terrific struggle, so the officers shot him, first in his leg, then in the chest. He died a few minutes later. His relatives sued the government for violating his civil liberties.
  • An armed robber, jailed for eight years in Argentina, decided to hire a private detective to trace the father he never met. The detective discovered the man’s father was the warder of the prison in which he was incarcerated.
  • Markku Tahvainen drove his family 250 miles to a zoo in Finland in order to see the bears. Whe they returned home, though, they discovered footprints and droppings in their garden which revealed that in their absence they had been visited by a bear which had eaten their ducks.
  • Martin Reeves travelled 8,000 miles to India to find parts for his 1957 Morris Cowley. His mission was succesful, but when he got back to Brighton, England, he found the car had been stolen.
  • Athlete John Oliver, 31, went all the way from Bournemouth, Dorset, England, to Nepal – a journey of over 5,000 miles – to take part in his first marathon, only to sprain his ankle on the starting line.
  • In Mumbles, Swansea, England, Robin Branhall got tired of vandals who had broken the window of this surfing shop more than 20 times, so he fitted an unbreakable one. Arriving at his shop next day, he found the entire window had been stolen.
  • A Dutchman who invested more than $1,000 in a police trained guard dog to protect his house in Schalkhar woke up two days later to find the house had been broken into. The only thing the burglars had taken was the dog.

Idle Thoughts

  • Indecision is the key to flexibility.
  • There is always one more son-of-a-bitch than you counted on.
  • If you find something you like, buy a lifetime supply, because they will stop making it.
  • All things equal, fat people use more soap.
  • You can’t tell which way the train went by looking at the track.
  • Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a tough battle.
  • This is as bad as it can get, but don’t bet on it.
  • There is no substitute for genuine lack of preparation.
  • By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.
  • Happiness is merely the remission of pain.
  • Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  • Sometimes too much drink is not enough.
  • The facts, although interesting, are irrelevant.
  • The world gets a little better every day and worse in the evening.
  • The careful application of terror is also a form of communication.
  • No one shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious.
  • Someone who thinks logically is a nice contrast to the real world.
  • Things are more like they are today than they ever have been before.
  • The other line always moves faster until you get in it.
  • Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for.
  • Everything should be made as simple as possible but no simpler.
  • Friends may come and go but enemies accumulate.
  • It’s hard to be nostalgic when you can’t remember anything.
  • I have seen the truth and it makes no sense.
  • To live forever, acquire a chronic disease and take care of it.
  • Suicide is the most sincere form of self-criticism.
  • If you think that there is good in everybody, you haven’t met everybody.
  • If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.
  • One seventh of your life is spent on Monday.
  • The more you run over a dead cat, the flatter it gets.

The Heavy Thinker

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone – “to relax,” I told myself – but I knew it wasn’t true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time. I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don’t mix, but I couldn’t stop myself. I began to avoid friends at lunch time so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, “What is it exactly we are doing here?”.

Things weren’t going so great at home either. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother’s.

I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, “Skippy, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don’t stop thinking on the job, you’ll have to find another job.” This gave me a lot to think about.

I came home early after my conversation with the boss. “Honey,” I confessed, “I’ve been thinking…”

“I know you’ve been thinking,” she said, “and I want a divorce!”

“But Honey, surely it’s not that serious.”

“It is serious,” she said, lower lip aquiver. “You think as much as college professors, and college professors don’t make any money, so if you keep on thinking we won’t have any money!”

“That’s a faulty syllogism,” I said impatiently, and she began to cry. I’d had enough. “I’m going to the library,” I snarled as I stomped out the door.

I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche, with a PBS station on the radio. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors… they didn’t open. The library was closed. To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that
night.

As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. “Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?” it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker’s Anonymous poster.

Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was “Porky’s.” Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.

I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed… easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.

Forrest Gump Goes to Heaven

The day finally arrives: Forrest Gump dies and goes to heaven. He is met at the Pearly Gates by Saint Peter himself. The gates are closed, however, and Forrest approaches the gatekeeper. Saint Peter says “Well, Forrest, it’s certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot about you. I must inform you that the place is filling up fast, and we’ve been administering an entrance examination for everyone. The tests are fairly short, but you need to pass before you can get into Heaven.”

Forrest responds “It shore is good to be here Saint Peter. I was looking forward to this. Nobody ever told me about any entrance exam. Sure hope the test ain’t too hard; life was a big enough test as it was.”

Saint Peter goes on, “Yes I know, Forrest, but the test I have for you is only three questions. First: What days of the week begin with the letter T? Second: How many seconds are there in a year? Third: What is God’s first name?”

Forrest goes away to think the questions over. The first thing the next morning, Saint Peter returns to the gate to find Forrest already there waiting for him. Peter smiles warmly and says, “Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over, tell me your answers.”

Forrest says, “Well, the first one – how many days of the week begin with the letter ‘T’? Shucks, that one’s easy. That’d be Today and Tomorrow.

The saint’s eyes open wide and he exclaims, “Forrest! That’s not what I was thinking, but… you do have a point, and I guess I didn’t specify, so I give you credit for that answer.”

“How about the next one: How many seconds in a year?”

“Now that one’s harder” says Forrest, “But I thunk and thunk about that and I guess the only answer can be twelve.”

Astounded St. Peter says, “Twelve! Twelve! Forrest, how in Heaven’s name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?”

Forest says “Shucks, there gotta be twelve: January second, February second, March second…..”

“Hold it,” Saint Peter interrupts. “I see where you’re going with this, and I guess you’re right. It wasn’t quite what I had in mind, but I’ll give you credit for that one, too. Let’s go on with the next and final question. Can you tell me God’s first name?”

Forrest replied, “Andy.”

“OK, OK,” said a frustrated gatekeeper, “I can understand how you came up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the world did you came up with the name Andy as the first name of God?”

“That was the easiest one of all,” Forrest replied. “I learned it from the song! ‘Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am his own…'”

5 Lessons to Make You Think About How We Treat People

  1. First Important Lesson – Cleaning Lady.

    During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:

    “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name?

    I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

    “Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”

    I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

  2. Second Important Lesson – Pickup in the Rain

    One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

    She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached..

    It read:
    “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away… God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”

    Sincerely,
    Mrs. Nat King Cole.

  3. Third Important Lesson – Always remember those who serve.

    In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. “How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked.

    “Fifty cents,” replied the waitress.

    The little boy pulled is hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. “Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired.

    By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.

    “Thirty-five cents,” she brusquely replied.

    The little boy again counted his coins.

    “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said.

    The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies..

    You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

  4. Fourth Important Lesson. – The obstacle in Our Path.

    In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

    Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!

    Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

  5. Fifth Important Lesson – Giving When it Counts…

    Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

    I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes I’ll do it if it will save her.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

    He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away”.

    Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

Famous Words

  • “I have always found strangers sexy.”- Hugh Grant, six months before he was arrested with stranger Divine Brown.
  • “I would not wish to be Prime Minister, dear.”- Margaret Thatcher in 1973.
  • “That rainbow song’s no good. Take it out.”- MGM memo after first showing of The Wizard Of Oz.
  • “You’d better learn secretarial skills or else get married.”- Modelling agency, rejecting Marilyn Monroe in 1944.
  • “Radio has no future.”
    “X-rays are clearly a hoax.”
    “The aeroplane is scientifically impossible.”
    – Royal Society president Lord Kelvin, 1897-9.
  • “You ought to go back to driving a truck.”- Concert manager, firing Elvis Presley in 1954.
  • “Forget it. No Civil War picture ever made a nickel.”- MGM executive, advising against investing in Gone With The Wind.
  • “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”- A film company’s verdict on Fred Astaire’s 1928 screen test.
  • “Very interesting, Whittle, my boy, but it will never work.”- Professor of Aeronautical Engineering at Cambridge, shown Frank Whittle’s plan for the jet engine.
  • “There will be one million cases of AIDS in Britain by 1991.”- World Health Organization in a 1989 report. It over-estimated by 992,301 cases.
  • “The Beatles? They’re on the wane.”- The Duke of Edinburgh in Canada, 1965. They went on to produce a string of Number 1 hits.
  • “The atom bomb will never go off – and I speak as an expert in explosives.”- U.S. Admiral William Leahy in 1945.
  • “All saved from Titanic after collision.”- New York Evening Sun, April 15 1912.
  • “Brain work will cause women to go bald.”- Berlin professor, 1914.
  • “Television won’t matter in your lifetime or mine.”- Radio Times editor Rex Lambert, 1936.
  • “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”- director of the US Patent Office, 1899.
  • “And for the tourist who really wants to get away from it all, safaris in Vietnam.”- Newsweek magazine, predicting popular holidays for the late 1960s.

The American Dollar Bill

A lesson for our citizens in the United States of America as our country just selected our next President. Take out a one dollar bill and look at it. The one dollar bill you’re looking at first came off the presses in 1957 in its present design. This so-called paper money is in fact a cotton and linen blend, with red and blue minute silk fibers running through it. It is actually material. We’ve all washed it without it falling apart. A special blend of ink is used, the contents we will never know. It is overprinted with symbols and then it is starched to make it water resistant and pressed to give it that nice crisp look.

If you look on the front of the bill, you will see the United States Treasury Seal. On the top you will see the scales for the balance – a balanced budget. In the center you have a carpenter’s T-square, a tool used for an even cut. Underneath is the Key to the United States Treasury. That’s all pretty easy to figure out, but what is on the back of that dollar bill is something we should all know.

If you turn the bill over, you will see two circles. Both circles, together, comprise the Great Seal of the United States. The First Continental Congress requested that Benjamin Franklin and a group of men come up with a Seal. It took them four years to accomplish this task and another two years to get it approved. If you look at the left hand circle, you will see a Pyramid. Notice the face is lighted and the western side is dark. This country was just beginning. We had not begun to explore the West or decided what we could do for Western Civilization. The Pyramid is uncapped, again signifying that we were not even close to being finished. Inside the capstone you have the all-seeing eye, and ancient symbol for divinity. It was Franklin’s belief that one man couldn’t do it alone, but a group of men, with the help of God, could do anything.

“IN GOD WE TRUST” is on this currency. The Latin above the pyramid, ANNUIT COEPTIS, means “God has favored our undertaking.” The Latin below the pyramid, NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM, means “a new order has begun.” At the base of the pyramid is the Roman Numeral for 1776.

If you look at the right-hand circle, and check it carefully, you will learn that it is on every National Cemetery in the United States. It is also on the Parade of Flags Walkway at the Bushnell, Florida National Cemetery and is the centerpiece of most hero’s monuments. Slightly modified, it is the seal of the President of the United States and it is always visible whenever he speaks, yet no one knows what the symbols mean. The Bald Eagle was selected as a symbol for victory for two reasons: first, he is not afraid of a storm; he is strong and he is smart enough to soar above it. Secondly, he wears no material crown. We had just broken from the King of England. Also, notice the shield is unsupported. This country can now stand on its own. At the top of that shield you have a white bar signifying congress, a unifying factor. We were coming together as one nation.

In the Eagle’s beak you will read, “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” meaning “one nation from many people.” Above the Eagle you have thirteen stars representing the thirteen original colonies, and any clouds of misunderstanding rolling away. Again, we were coming together as one.

Notice what the Eagle holds in his talons. He holds an olive branch and arrows. This country wants peace, but we will never be afraid to fight to preserve peace. The Eagle always wants to face the olive branch, but in time of war, his gaze turns toward the arrows.

They say that the number 13 is an unlucky number. This is almost a worldwide belief. You will usually never see a room numbered 13, or any hotels or motels with a 13th floor. But, think about this: 13 original colonies, 13 signers of the Declaration of Independence, 13 stripes on our flag, 13 steps on the Pyramid, 13 letters in the Latin above, 13 letters in “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, 13 stars above the Eagle, 13 plumes of feathers on each span of the Eagle’s wing, 13 bars on that shield, 13 leaves on the olive branch, 13 fruits, and if you look closely, 13 arrows. And for minorities: the 13th Amendment.

“Why don’t we know this?” Your children don’t know this and their history teachers don’t know this. Too may veterans have given up too much to ever let the meaning fade. Many veterans remember coming home to an America that didn’t care. Too many veterans never came home at all. Tell everyone what is on the back of the one dollar bill and what it stands for, because nobody else will!

The Death of Common Sense

We mourn the passing of an old friend, Common Sense. Common Sense lived a long life but died in the United States from heart failure on the brink of the new millennium. No one really knows how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He selflessly devoted his life to service in schools, hospitals, homes, factories helping folks get jobs done without fanfare and foolishness. For decades, petty rules, silly laws, and frivolous lawsuits held no power over Common Sense. He was credited with cultivating such valued lessons as to know when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, and that life isn’t always fair.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you earn), reliable parenting strategies (the adults are in charge, not the kids), and it’s okay to come in second.

A veteran of the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, and the Technological Revolution, Common Sense survived trends including body piercing, whole language, and “new math.” But his health declined when he became infected with the “If-it-only-helps-one-person-it’s-worth-it” virus.

In recent decades his waning strength proved no match for the ravages of well intentioned but overbearing regulations. He watched in pain as good people became ruled by self-seeking lawyers. His health rapidly deteriorated when schools endlessly implemented zero-tolerance policies.

Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, a teen suspended for taking a swig of mouthwash after lunch, and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student only worsened his condition. It declined even further when schools had to get parental consent to administer aspirin to a student but could not inform the parent when a female student was pregnant or wanted an abortion.

Finally, Common Sense lost his will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses, criminals received better treatment than victims, and federal judges stuck their noses in everything from the Boy Scouts to professional sports.

Finally, when a woman, too stupid to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot, was awarded a huge settlement, Common Sense threw in the towel.

As the end neared, Common Sense drifted in and out of logic but was kept informed of developments regarding questionable regulations such as those for low flow toilets, rocking chairs, and stepladders.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by two stepbrothers: My Rights, and Ima Whiner.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

Obituary author unknown.

Ethical Questions

  • Ethical Question #1

    It is time to elect the world leader, and your vote counts. Here are the facts about the three leading candidates:

    • Candidate A associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologers. He’s had two mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day.
    • Candidate B was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college and drinks a quart of whisky every evening.
    • Candidate C is a decorated war hero. He’s a vegetarian, doesn’t smoke, drinks an occasional beer and hasn’t had any extramarital affairs.

    Which of these candidates would be your choice?

    Decide first, no peeking, then scroll down for the answers….

  • Ethical Question #2

    Religious beliefs aside, if you knew a woman who was pregnant, who had 8 kids already, three who were deaf, two who were blind, one mentally retarded, and she had syphilis; and she was pregnant again, would you recommend that she have an abortion?

Think before scrolling down…

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Well, if you said ‘yes,’ you just killed Beethoven…

Answers to the Ethical Question #1

Candidate A is Franklin D. Roosevelt
Candidate B is Winston Churchill
Candidate C is Adolph Hitler

Did you choose well?

The Cynic’s Guide to Life

  • Follow your dream! Unless it’s the one where you’re at work in your underwear during a fire drill.
  • Always take time to stop and smell the roses and sooner or later, you’ll inhale a bee.
  • Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either. Just leave me alone.
  • If you don’t like my driving, don’t call anyone. Just take another road. That’s why the highway department made so many of them.
  • If a motorist cuts you off, just turn the other cheek. Nothing gets the message across like a good mooning.
  • When I’m feeling down, I like to whistle. It makes the neighbor’s dog run to the end of his chain and gag himself.
  • It’s always darkest before the dawn. So if you’re going to steal the neighbor’s newspaper, that’s the time to do it.
  • A handy telephone tip: Keep a small chalkboard near the phone. That way, when a salesman calls, you can hold the receiver up to it and run your fingernails across it until he hangs up.
  • Each day I try to enjoy something from each of the four food groups: the bonbon group, the salty-snack group, the caffeine group and the “What-ever-the-thing-in-the-tinfoil-in-the-back-of-the-fridge-is”.
  • Into every life some rain must fall. Usually when your car windows are down.
  • Just remember: You gotta break some eggs to make a real mess on the neighbor’s car!
  • When you find yourself getting irritated with someone, try to remember that all men are brothers and just give them a noogie or an Indian burn.
  • This morning I woke up to the unmistakable scent of pigs in a blanket. That’s the price you pay for letting the relatives stay over.
  • It’s a small world. So you gotta use your elbows a lot.
  • Keep your nose to the grindstone and your shoulder to the wheel. It’s a lot cheaper than plastic surgery.
  • This land is your land. This land is my land. So stay on your land.
  • Love is like a roller coaster: When it’s good you don’t want to get off, and when it isn’t, you can’t wait to throw up.