OLD JOKES FOR OLD (SOVIET) FOLKS

Kremlin

Jokes recently declassified by the CIA, that they got from intercepted Russian documents during the Cold War.  I’m old enough to get most of these, although some of you might need to get Wiki or Google to explain them to you.

A worker, standing in a liquor store line says, “I’ve had enough.  Save my place in line.  I’m going to shoot Gorbachev.”  Two hours later he returns.  His friend says, “Did you get him?”  “No!  The line there was longer than this one.”

What’s the difference between Gorbachev and Dubcek?
Nothing, but Gorbachev doesn’t know that yet.

Sentence from a schoolboy’s weekly composition, “My cat had seven kittens.  They are good Communists.”  A sentence from the next week’s composition says, “My cat’s seven kittens are all Capitalists.”  The teacher reminded him that the previous week, he had said that they were Communists.  He replied, “Yes, but their eyes are open now.”

A Chukchi is asked what he would do if the Russian border was opened.  “I’d climb the highest tree.”  When asked why, he replied, “So that I didn’t get trampled in the rush to get out of here.”  When he was asked what he would do if the American border was opened, he said, “I’d climb the highest tree, to see who was the first person crazy enough to come here.”

Somebody happened to call the KGB Headquarters just after a major fire.  “I’m sorry.  We can do nothing.  The KGB has just burned down.”  Five minutes later, he again called, and was told that the KGB had burned down.  When he called the third time, the telephone operator recognised his voice and said, “Why do you keep calling?  I told you that the KGB burned down.”  “I know,” he said, “I just like to hear it.”

A train bearing Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Gorbachev stops suddenly because it runs out tracks.  Each leader applies his own unique solution to the problem.  Lenin gathers workers and peasants from miles around, and exhorts them to build more rails.  Stalin shoots the engineer and crew when the train still doesn’t move.  Khrushchev rehabilitates the dead crew and orders the tracks behind the train ripped up and laid down in front.  Brezhnev pulls down the window curtain, and rocks back and forth, pretending that the train is still moving.  Gorbachev calls a rally in front of the locomotive and leads a chant, “No tracks!  No tracks!  No tracks!”

Ivanov: Give me a medical example of perestroika.
Siderov: (Thinks) How about menopause?

An old lady goes to the Gorispolkom with a question, but by the time she gets to the head of the line, she’s forgotten the purpose of her visit.  “Was it about your pension?” the official asks.  “No, I get 20 rubles a month.  I’m fine.”  “Was it about your apartment?”  “No, I live with three other people in a one room apartment.  It’s fine.”  Suddenly, she remembers; “Who invented Communism – The Communists, or the scientists?”  The official responds proudly, “Why, the Communists, of course.”  “That’s what I thought.” she says, “If scientists had invented it, they’d have tested it on dogs first.”

An American tells a Russian that the United States is so free that he can stand in front of the White House, and yell, “To Hell with Ronald Reagan!”  “That’s nothing”, the Russian replies, “I can stand in front of the Kremlin and shout, ‘To Hell with Ronald Reagan’, too.”

A man goes into a shop and asks, “You don’t have any meat?”  “No,” the lady replies, “we don’t have any fish.  It’s the store across the street that doesn’t have any meat.”

A man is driving with his wife and small child.  A Militia man pulls them over, and makes the man take a breathalyser test.  The Militia says, “See, you’re drunk.”  The man protests that the breathalyser machine must be broken, and invites the officer to test his wife.  She also shows as drunk.  Exasperated, the man invites the officer to test the child, and even the kid registers as drunk as well.  “You must be right.  I guess it is broken.” The officer says, and lets them go.  Out of earshot the man says to his wife, “See, I told you it wouldn’t hurt to give the kid 5 grams of vodka.”

***

This comedic blast from the past has been brought to you by the Old Dude, who isn’t quite as Grumpy, because he got a chuckle from these outdated jokes.  Stop by later, and I’ll try to make fun of Trump, before he becomes a joke all by himself.  😆

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It’s Not Catching

Doctor

Doctors at a hospital in Brooklyn, New York have gone on strike. Hospital officials say they will find out what the doctors’ demands are as soon as they can get a pharmacist over there to read the picket signs!

***

Marriage is like a deck of cards.  When you start out, all you need is a couple of hearts, and a diamond.  After a few years though, you’re hoping for a club and a spade.

***

I called the animal shelter today and told them that I’d found six kittens in a suitcase in the woods.  They asked, “Are they moving?”  I said, “I don’t know, but that would explain the suitcase.

***

A professor at the University of Oklahoma was giving a lecture on ‘Involuntary Muscular Contractions’ to his first year medical students.  Realizing this was not the most riveting subject, the professor decided to lighten the mood slightly.  He pointed to a young woman in the front row and said,  ‘Do you know what your asshole is doing while you’re having an orgasm?’  Her answer: “He’s probably at the shooting range with his buddies.”

***

A drunken man with a suitcase and a newspaper arrives at the railway station and sits on a bench near a priest. The drunk takes a bottle of whisky out of his bag, drinks a lot of it and then reads the newspaper quietly. At one point he asks the priest:

“Excuse me, Father; do you know why people get sick with spondylosis?”

“Of course”, the priest answers in a cold and sarcastic courtesy. “The factors that cause spondylosis are: a messy life, the companionship of doubtful-quality women, the excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco, drunks ending up in brothels… All these lead to spondylosis”.

“Wowww! I would never have believed that…” replies the drunk and then reads his newspaper again.

After the priest thinks for a while at what he said, he again addresses the drunkard, but this time in a gentle tone:

“Excuse me, I didn’t mean to offend you. How long are you sick with spondylosis, my son?”

“Me? No, Father… I’ve never been sick with it. I just read in the newspaper that the Pope is sick with spondylosis…”

***

A woman was arrested and fined for bringing her own popcorn, candy and soda to a movie theater.  The good news is that she came out a few bucks ahead of if she’d bought it all at the snack bar.

 

‘17 A To Z Challenge – T

Challenge2017

letter-t

You just know that a darkness-loving troglodyte like me would be fascinated with being underneath things, and by;

TUNNELS

With tunnels and the like, I am intrigued not merely with the fact that I am under, but what (specifically) is over.

At a place in England, it is necessary for a narrow-boat canal to cross a river. It does so on a multi-arched aqueduct.  It is fascinating to see photos or video of a west-bound river steamer passing directly beneath a south-bound canal boat.

When we had tired of going from Windsor to Detroit, or back, on the big bridge, and driving above ships in the river, I decided to try the tunnel. While it’s a little more distance, back then, the connection to I-75 was quicker and easier.  I never worried about the tunnel collapsing, but it was interesting to think that I might be driving directly under a 1000-foot-long lake freighter.

When we used to go to Niagara Falls, down at the other end of Lake Erie, I took the opportunity to return home via a tunnel under the Welland Canal. It’s possible that I drove under that same freighter from Detroit.

It costs a lot of money to dig a road tunnel, especially through rock. Most of the American Interstate system, at least in the eastern mountains, goes around them.  One exception is I-40, from Knoxville, Tenn. into North Carolina.  There are two tunnels within a few miles – but only if you’re travelling East.  If you’re heading West, at one of the tunnels, the divided highway hangs along the side of the mountain.  Being in the tunnel there, only means that you’re under pine roots and raccoon shit.

Skyline panorama

We came through Pittsburgh one time, following the Interstate down the edge of the river, 30/40 feet higher than the water. I-376 suddenly crosses the river, and plunges into the side of a 150 foot stone cliff on the other side, and doesn’t seem to come up for air until you’re almost into Indiana.

It’s one thing, especially at spaghetti-junction highway interchanges, to be driving underneath other cars or even big transport trucks. On the west side of town, the Conestoga Expressway passes under not only several surface streets, but the main railroad line, so I’ve driven under trains.

To accommodate our new street-railroad system, two of the major, downtown streets have been excavated under the rail line, so I’ve had even more opportunities to drive under trains. A couple of blocks from the daughter’s place, there is an old, shallow underpass, where I’ve often driven under trains.  I try to be sure that, when I drive under something, I can get all the way out the other side.  Despite signs warning of “Low Underpass,” a couple of times a year, THIS happens.

Tunnels

There’s an underpass like this, somewhere in the States, that’s so famous that it has its own website. With a name like ‘elevenfootsix.com’, you can access it and watch live video from a traffic-cam, or access archived footage and photos.

At least twice a week, some big-rig, or local delivery truck like the one above, rips the top off and gets stuck. There must be a Ryder truck-rental agency upstream, because every second truck is a (now-damaged) Ryder.  It’s (almost) amusing to watch RVs swoop under it, but peel off roof-mounted canoes or air-conditioning units.

I have finally driven under an airplane. One day, coming around the Expressway, on a sunny, cloudless day, suddenly I was in a shadow, and then out again.  What was that??  Ah….a 20-passenger commuter plane, heading for the local airport.  But it’s mid-afternoon, and the sun is off to the west, so I wasn’t directly under it, merely in its shadow.

All that changed on my most recent drive to Ottawa, to visit the Grandson. The highway goes past a Canadian Forces Airbase, and there were two big military transport planes angling in for a landing, 45° ahead and to my left.  Can I?  Can I?  I hope!

The first one crossed the highway and went to final approach.  A minute later and a mile further east for me, and lower and nearer for the second….VOOOM!  I went right under him!  When a C-16 cargo plane passes 200 feet above you, there’s no mistake.  The sonic vibrations pounded me and the car.  I could see his nose out the passenger side, while his tail was still on my driver’s side.

Small things do indeed amuse small minds. It’s better than being under suspicion, under investigation, under the influence, under arrest, or under a misapprehension.  What things would you admit to being under?   😕

***

By the way:  Happy New Years guys.  The best of good wishes for the coming year, and thanx for your ongoing company and support.  😀

’17 A To Z Challenge – R

Challenge2017

The word ‘Roundhouse’ has two, very different but connected meanings, so, for the letter

letter-r

I’m going to tell you about them.

Roundhouse Slang. A punch in which the arm is typically brought straight out to the side or rear of the body and in which the fist describes an exaggerated circular motion.

This is a type of punch that is usually not thrown until a jab or a hook has stunned an opponent, and his defenses are (slightly) open, because it opens the defense of the fighter who is throwing it. The large circular motion is necessary to accumulate speed and striking power.

At the height of his career, I saw Bruce Lee demonstrate, what he called ‘A One Inch Punch.’ He stood before a sparring partner, tightly clenched his fist and held it 1 inch from his opponent’s chest.  He then wound up his ‘punching muscles’ while holding back, like a dragster revving the engine, but standing on the brakes.

When he had achieved maximum dynamic tension, he suddenly extended his arm, and the victim went stumbling backward. But that was not a punch! That was a push, a powerful push, but a push.  Even a dragster cannot achieve its top speed in its own length.  A punch requires time and distance to amass its total potential

Roundhouse II

a building for the servicing and repair of locomotives, built around a turntable in the form of some part of a circle.

My home town was the end of a railroad line. Another spur on the other side of the peninsula extended all the way to the northern tip.  Train engines can push backward, as well as pull forward, but pulling is more efficient.  Normally, at rails’ ends, and any other place where locomotives have to turn around, roundhouses are used to give them a 180° spin.

My town though, grew up because it was a Great Lakes Port. Besides the river docks, a long stone pier was built out to the offshore island, offering storm protection.  The railroad was used to carry freight from Lake Huron, to Toronto and Lake Ontario, before the building of the Welland Canal, to get past Niagara Falls – grain to flour mills, lumber to the factories, iron ore to the steel mills.

As the railroad came north into town, a spur line branched off, and ran west, out to the end of the dock. The spur line branched back, and joined the main line ending at the station, forming a giant Y, with an empty triangle inside it.  The engines and cars which needed to be reversed, were merely backed up, and run forward around the Y.

We never needed an expensive and maintenance-intensive roundhouse. We did have a big railway building that was large enough to house a couple of locomotives, and cars which needed repair, out of the weather.  We called it ‘the roundhouse,’ but no engines ever got dizzy on a roundabout.

Now, the trains are all long gone, the tracks ripped up, the right-of-way is a hiking trail, and all that’s left are my fond memories. That feels like a roundhouse punch.   😦  😯

Flash Fiction #39

Old Shep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Had A Little – Fright

They asked, “Why does the lamb love Mary so?”
‘Tis that Mary loves the lamb, you know.

Mary didn’t have a lamb.  She had an old dog named Shep.  She could not bring herself to tie Shep up, but he followed her everywhere.

“I won’t fall down a well, Lassie.  I won’t crash through the floor of an old barn.  I’m just going to walk to school beside the tracks, like I do safely, every day.”

Until the day old Shep rushed at her, barking furiously, just in time for her to see the unscheduled freight, with the extra-wide load.

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday picture as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story

 

Old Food

Pioneer BBQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found another old place to eat.  This one is in Kitchener.  It wasn’t, when it started, but it is now, because the city has eaten it up, and people from the city are going out there to eat up.  It first opened in 1927, so it’s three years older than the Harmony Lunch I wrote about earlier. 

Currently owned by a Greek-Canadian and his wife, it has changed hands several times over the years, getting bigger and better.  It’s called Pioneer BBQ, because it’s near the Pioneer Tower memorial, from my Magical Mystery Tour.

From center to center of many towns in Southern Ontario is five miles, because that was as far as a set of horses pulled a stage-coach, thus, the “stage” in stage-coach.  Five miles south of the center of Kitchener, there used to be a small village named Centerville, long since annexed and existing now only as a subdivision name. 

Five miles further south, there was never a “village”, but always a point of commerce.  This is just about five miles north of the center of our neighbor city, another stage-coach hop.  The two burgs have sprawled towards each other, till now the boundaries abut.

The area has grown into a conglomeration of hotels, various bars and fast-food joints, restaurants, big-box stores, Cineplex and gas-stations.  Poor little Pioneer huddles behind/between the Tim Hortons/Subway strip mall which faces one big road, and the tire store/furniture/ electronic games store strip mall which faces the other main street.  It fronts on the main access road to the next town, fighting for its business with the Golden Arches across the street, and can be seen from the back of the Costco parking lot.

Continuing in the fight to confuse locals and visitors alike, two-lane, little Pioneer Tower Road comes up from the river.  When it reaches the old highway, it blossoms into a 4/6 lane street, now named Sportsworld Drive, where our eatery is located.  A half a mile south, it passes into the city of Cambridge, and becomes Maple Grove Road.

Just at that border, in 1927, the Preston/Kitchener Street Railway ran.  Folks used to take an electric-trolley ride out that far for a Sunday trip in the country, and stop in for some fine eatin’.  At first, it was just the parlor of the home of the wife of a Railway Manager, which got turned into a dining area.  Later their living room became the sit-down counter.

 In the 70s and 80s, a liquor licence was obtained, and a large roofed deck was added to the other side of the “house”, to segregate the smokers.  It could only be used for a few months each year, so, in the 90s, it was closed in, insulated and a fireplace and heat vents added.  Smoking in Ontario restaurants has since been banned.

This is Home Cookin’ at its best, or pretty darn close.  Pulled pork, beef, or chicken sandwiches, with pickles almost as good as ours, sturdy salads, onion rings with onion, not tons of coating and a whisper of onion, thick, crisp, browned steak fries.

They serve a variety of burgers and combos.  They have steaks, spaghetti, fish and chips, cold sandwiches and hot sandwich plates.  This is a real Mom and Pop diner.  At an ordinary restaurant, a turkey sandwich would contain a couple of thin slices of processed turkey loaf.  The wife ordered a turkey sandwich and was asked, “White meat, or dark?”, and got slabs of turkey thigh meat.

They must employ at least one, or more, near-world class bakers – doughnuts, tarts, muffins, brownies, 5 or 6 kinds of pies, and CAKES, with caramel and/or chocolate drizzled over them.  Ya gotta keep moving past the display case, or you gain weight.  Everything, including the pastries, is available for take-out.

SDC10617SDC10615Like Harmony Lunch, I’ve never seen or heard of Pioneer BBQ advertising.  They’ve survived by word of mouth.  Slowly, as more and more people grow familiar with the area, because of the surrounding shops, their clientele increases.

The food is delicious.  The service is tight and friendly.  The prices are reasonable for the healthy blue-collar size servings.  The noise level was low, the day we went there.  Even with the (relatively) new owners, they still like doing things the old-fashioned way, which is fine by me. I took a business card as a reminder to compose this post.  The first thing I noticed is that they don’t have a website.  Our waitress told me that some of the young preppies ask where the Wi-Fi section is – and everyone laughs!

(It’s inevitable, and unavoidable. Between composing and publishing this post, we invited the son out for lunch here during his vacation period.  It gave me another great restaurant meal, and a chance to take photos of the pastries.  They still don’t have a website, but as we approached the door, we could see the new sign, “FREE WIFI.”  A couple almost as old as us sat next to us, not saying a word, but each diddling a new Smartphone.  The son said, “If I ignored you, at least I’d do it to your face!”)

We sometimes take the daughter out for lunch before we all go shopping at Costco.  We’ve hit a nearby Wendy’s a couple of times, and have been thinking about the all-you-can-eat Indian buffet, across the highway, but this place is definitely on our go-back-to list. 

They’ve got old-fashioned food for us old-fashioned fogies.  It’s nice to know another local eatery is still going strong after almost 87 years.  I’m willing to throw myself on a plate of poutine to keep them going.  (And that gold cake with caramel sauce, could we take a slab of that home?  Please?!)  Diet??!  What diet?  😕

😉

Book Review #7

The Author – Eric Flint

The Book – 1636  The Saxon Uprising

The author, Eric Flint, is a history buff, who enjoys spending hundreds of hours researching various areas and time periods, and then writing alternate-history books about them. His favorite time and place is Europe, during the Thirty Years War.  He started a series of books back in 2001, named Ring of Fire.

He studied the major players till he knew them like family, the Swedes invading the Germanies, Emperor Gustavus Adolphus, Baner, Oxenstierna – the Germans, John Georg and Wilhelm Wettin – Cardinal Richelieu and the French king’s wily brother, “Monsieur Gaston.”  Then he wondered what would happen if an impish group of intergalactic aliens moved a Virginia coal-mining town back in time and space to Thuringia in 1632  What changes would be wrought by fore-knowledge, education, critical thinking and technology?

They popped out in the middle of a campaign, and 700 Croat cavalry, attempting an attack to the Swedes’ rear, suddenly came upon the defenceless town. Fortunately, two young men, driving near the event horizon, got back soon enough to warn the residents.  A Percheron can’t keep up with a Mustang.

Coming out of the forest, the cavalry formed up in a meadow at the edge of town, with lance and sabre, to find themselves facing 40 or 50 bloody-minded Appalachian hillbilly miners.  Used to mercenaries armed with inaccurate single-shot muskets, they expected to ride over a grease-spot, or a hole where their opponents broke and ran.  But these were mountain-men, protecting their wives and daughters and their homes.

Armed with very accurate pump shotguns, semi-automatic rifles, and quickly-reloaded pistols, they taught the Croats the first new rule of warfare – Rate Of Fire – click-click, boom, click-click, boom.  This was their home!  They did not break, they did not run!  They put out a sleet-storm of high-power projectiles, quickly piling up a wall of bodies, both horse and men.  In all, they only killed 40 or 50 cavalry, barely their own number, but the horsemen had never experienced this, and it was they who broke and ran.

Next it was a favor for their new ally, the Swedish emperor, an impregnable fortress which would cost him thousands of lives to take.  They gave the job to an 18 year-old cheerleader with an eagle-eye and a sniper rifle with a telescope.  See that guy on the parapet with the plume in his hat?  Yes sir, BANG.  The guy who was beside him with the fur collar on his fancy cape?  Yes sir, BANG!  Shoot out the eyes and brains, and soon the rest want to leave town.

Not all changes were wrought through violence.  The de facto leader of the town is soon the young, miners’-union president.  Most of the aristocracy is off, playing at war, and the administrators who are left are soon faced with militia and activist groups organised on union lines.

What can five thousand uptimers do to change five million Germans, much less Swedes, French, Spanish, Italians, Dutch and English?  Like a drop of oil on a puddle, the result is quickly wide-spread and colorful.  The Thirty-Years War was fought largely because it was time for change, and the ruling classes tried to hold on to their power and privilege.  In these books, the Americans precipitate changes intentionally, and simply by existing.

As the commoners gain more strength, and the likelihood of lethal consequences for nobles in battles increases, war as a sport and an ego salve greatly reduces.  The ruling class enjoy some of the changes, but definitely not others.  Soon democratic elections are being held, medical treatment and hygiene cut deaths from plague, iron rails are cast, and VW Buses become engines for narrow-gauge railways.

Torture is officially frowned upon, Jews are set free from ghettos, and become more accepted in society, and witchcraft trials and burning at the stake fade into the past.  In a Steam-Punk way, many high-tech things are redesigned for the lower-tech capabilities.  Crude gasoline engines are assembled, Wright Brothers-level planes are built, and hot-air blimps begin transportation.

With their history books, and greater knowledge of psychology, the Americans often outthink their belligerent opponents, providing disinformation to spy networks, and doing things in unusual, non-customary ways.  Ah, so easy in books!  If only it were this easy to bring peace and harmony to the real world.

In this book, when the emperor is injured, and out of action for a couple of months, his number-two decides to take a big chunk of Germany for his personal fief.  Our union boss has been made a general in the army, so Mister Ambition assigns him and his loyal troops to subduing Poland.  He imprisons the newly-elected Prime Minister, threatens the Emperor’s daughter, and besieges the German city she’s in, thinking that there will be huge civil unrest, which he can “put down” to seize control.

The Citizens Committees keep the population angry, but under control.  The tyro general uses American organization and supply systems to provide warm clothing, boots, food and sleighs for an unheard-of winter march.  Then, to compensate for a smaller army and less battle experience, he uses walkie-talkies to direct his forces during a battle in a blinding snowstorm.  While the Swedes are away from the siege-lines, the city militia sallies forth, and takes away their fall-back position.

And they all lived happily ever after – except for the occasional beheading.  Definitely not the history expert that Flint is, I know just enough about this period to be entranced at the possible influences modern American sensibilities could exert on real live (well, actually dead) historical figures and occurrences.  Not really “science-fiction”, these books are more like historical romance/action tales, and well worth a good read.