Summertime classic: Keeping cool

July 18, 2017

The temperature in Detroit was 98 degrees and rising on July 8, 1946, when the Goldberg brothers — Lowell, Norman, Hiram, and Maxwell — walked into Henry Ford’s office and sweet-talked his secretary into telling him that four gentlemen were there with the most exciting innovation in the auto industry since the electric starter.

Ford was curious and invited them into his office. They asked him to come out to the parking lot where their car was parked.

They asked him to get into the car, where the temperature was at least 120 degrees. Then they turned on the air conditioner and cooled the car off.

Ford was very excited and invited them back to the office, where he offered them $3,000,000 for the patent.

The brothers replied that they would settle for $2,000,000, but they wanted to have a label that said “The Goldberg Air Conditioner” on the dashboard of each car in which it was installed.

Now old man Ford was proud of the Ford name, and there was no way he was going to put the Goldbergs’ name on his cars. They haggled back and forth for a while, and the Goldbergs finally agreed that Ford could use just their first names on the label.

That is why, to this day, the control on every Ford air conditioner says Lo, Norm, Hi, and Max.


Summertime classic: Letter from summer camp

July 11, 2017

Dear Mom and Dad,

We’re having a great time here at Lake Typhoid! Scoutmaster Webb is making us all write to our parents in case you saw the flood on TV and got worried. We are okay. Only 1 of our tents and 2 sleeping bags got washed away. Luckily, none of us got drowned because we were all up on the mountain looking for Chad when it happened. Please call Chad’s parents and tell them he’s okay. He can’t write to them because of the cast.

We never would have found him in the dark if it hadn’t been for all the lightning. Scoutmaster Webb got mad at Chad for going on a hike alone without telling anyone. Chad said he did tell him, but it was during the fire so he probably didn’t hear him. Did you know that if you put gas on a fire, the gas can will blow up? The wet wood still didn’t burn, but one of our tents did. Also some of our clothes. John is going to look weird until his hair grows back.

We’ll be home on Saturday if Scoutmaster Webb gets the car fixed. It wasn’t his fault about the wreck. The brakes worked okay when we left. Scoutmaster Webb said with a car that old you have to expect things to break down. That’s probably why he can’t get insurance on it. We think it’s a neat car. He doesn’t care if we get it dirty, and if it’s hot, he lets us ride on the tailgate. Don’t worry, he’s a good driver. He’s even teaching Terry how to drive. But he only lets him drive on the mountain roads where there isn’t any traffic. All we ever see up there are logging trucks.

This morning all of the guys were diving off the rocks and swimming in the lake. I didn’t go because I can’t swim, and Chad was afraid he would sink because of his cast, so Scoutmaster Webb let us take the canoe across the lake. It was great. Scoutmaster Webb isn’t crabby like some scoutmasters. He didn’t even get mad that we didn’t wear life jackets.

Guess what? We all passed our first aid merit badges! When Dave jumped in the lake and cut his arm on the rocks, we got to see how a tourniquet works. Wade and I threw up, but Scoutmaster Webb said it probably was just food poisoning from the leftover chicken. He said they got sick that way with food they ate in prison.

I have to go now. We’re going into town to mail our letters and buy bullets. Don’t worry about anything. We are fine.

Love,

Billy

P.S. How long has it been since I had a tetanus shot?


Letter from a farm kid

June 26, 2017

Dear Ma and Pa,

I am well. I hope you are too.

Tell Walt and Elmer that the U.S. Army beats working for old man Doggett by a mile. They oughta join up quick before all of the places are taken.

I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m., but I am getting so I like to sleep late. All you got to do before breakfast is straighten up your bunk and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay … practically nothing.

We go on “route marches,” which the sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it’s not my place to tell him different. A route march is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city boys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks.

I keep getting medals for shooting. I don’t know why. The bull’s-eye is near as big as a chipmunk’s head, and it don’t move, and it ain’t shooting back at you. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don’t even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.

We have something they call hand-to-hand combat training, where I get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be careful cause they break easy. It ain’t like fighting with that old bull at home. I’m about the best they got in this, except for that Buck Jordan from over in Moonshine Gulch. I only beat him once. He joined up the same time as me, but I’m only 5’6″ and 140 pounds and he’s 6’8″ and near 280 pounds dry.

Tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join up before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in!

Your loving daughter,

Alice


Going down swinging

April 25, 2017

PRILEP, Macedonia (AP) – Outside a small village near the border between Greece and Macedonia, a solitary nun keeps watch over a silent convent. She is the last caretaker of the site of significant historical developments spanning more than twenty centuries. When Sister Maria Cyrilla of the Order of the Perpetual Watch dies, the convent of St. Elias will be closed by the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Macedonia.

However, that isn’t likely to happen soon, as Sister Maria, 53, enjoys excellent health. By her own estimate, she walks ten miles daily about the grounds of the convent, which once served as a base for the army of Attila the Hun. In ancient times, a Greek temple to Eros, the god of love, occupied the hilltop site.

Historians say that Attila took over the old temple in A.D. 439 and used it as a base for his marauding army. The Huns are believed to have first collected, and then destroyed, a large gathering of Greek legal writs at the site. It is thought that Attila wanted to study the Greek legal system and had the writs and other documents brought to the temple.

Scholars differ on why Attila had the valuable documents destroyed — either because he was barely literate and couldn’t read them, or because they described a democratic government that did not square with his preference for autocracy.

When the Orthodox Church took over the site in the 15th century and the convent was built, church leaders ordered the pagan statue of Eros destroyed, so another ancient Greek treasure was lost.

Today, there is only Sister Maria, watching over the silent convent on the site of the old Hun base, and when she goes, the convent will cease to be.

So that’s how it ends — with no Huns, no writs, no Eros, and nun left on base.

 


It’s a dog’s life

April 20, 2017

An Englishman went on safari in Zambia, taking his faithful corgi along for company. One day the corgi decided to go do some exploring on her own. 

As she was wandering around, she saw a leopard approaching with the obvious intention of having her for lunch. Just in time, she noticed some bones on the ground nearby, and settled down to chew on the bones with her back to the approaching leopard.

When the cat was close enough to pounce, the corgi said, “Wow, that was one delicious leopard! I wonder if there are any more around here?”

Hearing this, the leopard immediately halted his attack and retreated into the jungle. “Whew, that was close,” said the leopard. “That dog nearly got me.”

A monkey who had witnessed the whole encounter from a nearby tree figured that he could put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection. So he went after the leopard, and when he caught up to him, the monkey told what he had seen and heard and struck a deal for himself.

Furious at having been tricked, the leopard growled, “All right, monkey — hop on my back and watch what I’m going to do to that conniving canine!”

But the corgi had seen the monkey go after the leopard and figured out what he was up to. When she saw the leopard approaching with the monkey on his back, she sat down with her back to them, pretending she hadn’t seen them. When they were close enough to hear, the corgi said, “What’s taking that monkey so long? I sent him half an hour ago to bring me another leopard!”


When the roll is called up yonder

March 7, 2017

Henry and Alice had been married for 65 years. Although well into their eighties, they were both in excellent health, due primarily to Alice’s insistence on a healthful diet and regular exercise.

But one day while walking home from Whole Foods, they were hit by a truck, and the next thing they knew, they were standing together just outside the pearly gates.

St. Peter welcomed them and escorted them inside. He took them to a beautiful mansion and said, “This will be your new home.”

Stunned by the beauty of the place, Henry asked St. Peter how much it was going to cost.

“Nothing at all,” St. Peter replied. “This is heaven.”

Henry looked out the window, and saw that right outside the mansion was a championship golf course, more beautiful than any that existed on earth.

“What are the greens fees?” he asked.

“This is heaven,” said St. Peter. “You can play anytime you want, and it won’t cost a cent.”

Then St. Peter took Henry and Alice to the dining room, where they saw a lavish buffet set out with all kinds of delectable foods – juicy steaks, exotic seafood, gourmet cheeses, fine wines, freshly-baked breads and rolls, and rich desserts.

“Don’t even ask,” said St. Peter. “This is heaven. It’s all free for you to enjoy.”

“Where are the low fat and low cholesterol foods?” Henry asked.

“There aren’t any,” said St. Peter. “In heaven, you can eat and drink whatever you like, whenever you like, as much as you like. You’ll never get fat and you’ll never get sick.”

“No gym to work out at?” Henry asked.

“Not unless you want to,” St. Peter replied.

“No testing my blood pressure?”

“Never again. All you do here is enjoy yourself.”

Henry glared at Alice and said, “You and your bran muffins! We could have been here ten years ago!”


Schoolhouse shock

February 7, 2017

When seven-year-old Alice got home from school, her mother asked her what she’d learned that day.

“We learned how to make babies,” said Alice.

Alice’s mother was shocked. She sent her daughter outside to play, then she called Alice’s teacher to complain that the things she was teaching were not appropriate for second graders.

“Did you ask her to explain how it’s done?” said the teacher.

“No,” said the mother.

“Ask her, then call me back,” said the teacher.

Alice’s mother went outside to where her daughter was playing and asked her, “So how do you make babies?”

Alice replied, “You drop the ‘y’ and add ‘ies’.”

Some assembly required


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