Tag Archives: Humor

Hail To The Chiefs!

Well, it’s President’s Day again, and time to pay homage to those 44 fellas who have occupied the office of President of these United States.

This holiday began as a celebration of the birthday of Old #1, George Washington, way back in 1879. But these days it is a celebration of all of our Presidents. As such, we bring you a few interesting tidbits about them.

  • Speaking of the Father of our Country, despite popular myth, his teeth weren’t made of wood; they were made of gold, lead, animal teeth, and ivory from elephant and walrus tusks.
  • In addition to being the date on which we celebrate the founding of our nation, the Fourth of July has importance to four of our Presidents: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (#2 and #3) both died on July 4th 1826. #5, James Monroe, died on July 4th, 1831. And Calvin Coolidge (#30) was born on July 4th 1872.
  • Wondering about #4? James Madison had the distinction of being the shortest President at 5 foot 4, and he weighed less than 100 pounds. Lincoln (#16) was the tallest at 6 foot 4.
  • #12, Zachary Taylor, never voted for President.
  • Andrew Johnson (#17) was drunk at his inauguration…and why not?
  • In addition to being the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms (making him #22 and #24), Grover Cleveland also was the legal guardian of an 11-year-old girl, married her 10 years later, and made her the youngest First Lady at age 21. He also had an artificial jaw made of vulcanized rubber.
  • William Henry Taft (# 27) was our weightiest President at 332 lbs. After leaving office, he lost 150 lbs., as well as becoming  the only ex-president to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
  • #29, Warren Harding bet the White House china in a poker game…and lost it in one hand. Oh yeah, and his middle name was “Gamaliel”. Hard to believe people don’t name their kids that anymore.
  • Another tidbit about Calvin Coolidge (#30): he had a morning ritual in which someone rubbed Vaseline on his head while he ate breakfast in bed. Try it! It’s fun, and healthy!
  • Herbert Hoover (#31) and his wife learned to speak Mandarin Chinese fluently, and would speak it around the White House to prevent others from understanding them.

There are lots more, as every President has had quirks, foibles, and downright faults. That’s important to remember in these tumultuous times: Presidents are human (generally) and as such, have human flaws. Fortunately, the Republic is strong and resilient. Despite every effort to bungle, destroy, or otherwise besmirch the office, the Republic soldiers on.

So, on this day of remembrance, pick out your favorite Prez and pour one out for your homie. Unless it’s Andrew Johnson…he might object to the wasting of alcohol.

asd

Today’s Fact Cetera

After becoming the first President to not get his own party’s nomination for a second term, he got  drunk, got on a horse, and ran over a woman.

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A Tale Of Two Uncles

My Dad had five brothers. By the time I came along the youngest was gone, killed in North Africa during WWII. One brother had moved to Pennsylvania and another lived near the border between Minnesota and Canada, so I had very little contact with them.

But I did see the other two—the eldest of the six Lehman boys—every summer. (Careful readers will note the lack of an extra “n” in Lehman. Dad was the only one who spelled it with an extra “n”, but that’s another story.)

On occasion we would visit Uncle Gordon in St. Louis and Uncle Marvin in Judson, Minnesota. But most of the time, we would join my uncles up at “The Lake”, a house my grandfather Henry Lehman had built near Crosslake, Minnesota, and that was now co-owned by his sons.

Uncle Gordon was a genial, outgoing guy. Uncle Marvin was a bit of a grouch. When they were together, Marvin would relentlessly criticize Gordon’s every choice. In Marvin’s eyes, his older brother drank the wrong beer (“Goddammit Gordon, that’s nuthin’ but water.”), used the wrong bait (“Goddammit Gordon, worms? You gotta use night crawlers.”), and lived in the wrong state (“Goddammit Gordon, it’s too hot down there.”).

Uncle Marvin even harped on Uncle Gordon’s taste in cars; ironic, since for years they had both been loyal Studebaker owners. When the automaker ended production in the mid-1960s, Uncle Marvin took it very personally, hinting broadly and often that they had done it just to piss him off. He switched to Chrysler, but when Gordon not only failed to follow his advice but bought a Mercedes instead, Marvin was beside himself. “Goddammit Gordon, how can you drive a Nazi car?”

To this—as to all the unsolicited advice from his brother—Uncle Gordon just laughed. That was the way my Uncle Gordon responded to almost everything, with a smile or a laugh. He must have experienced sadness in his life, but I never saw any sign of it.

For all of their differences, my two uncles did have some commonalities. Both were great uncles to me, albeit in different ways. Uncle Gordon took me to St. Louis Cardinal games, and Uncle Marvin taught me how shoot a .22. (For whatever reason, the love of the Cards stuck; not so much the shooting.) Both let me secretly drive their cars when I was well below the driving age, both making me swear to say nothing to my Dad or the other uncle. Uncle Gordon provided me with fun adventures, Uncle Marvin provided me with an endless supply of life advice, most of which revolved around one theme: “Everybody’s out to get ya, so don’t be played for sucker, kid.”

They also shared a love of fishing, but again, with vastly divergent approaches. Uncle Gordon viewed fishing simply as an enjoyable way to relax. Uncle Marvin took fishing very, very seriously. For him, heading out in the boat with the latest in fishing gear was not so much recreation as a holy quest, a pitched battle between Man and Fish.

My Dad was somewhere between the two, and almost never joined his brothers on their fishing excursions. He preferred fishing alone or with his wife and kids. One summer day I discovered why.

At first light on most days, Uncle Marvin would arm himself with fancy rods and reels, carefully chosen bait and his beloved Fish Lo-K-Tor, a sort of radar which at the time was the last word in fishing gizmos. In contrast, Uncle Gordon would grab the closest rod and reel and use whatever bait was handy. Throughout the day, Uncle Marvin would point out everything that his brother was doing wrong and why he wouldn’t catch anything. And in late afternoon they would return, Uncle Gordon smiling broadly and holding up his catch of  northern pike and walleye, and Uncle Marvin grimly silent, having been skunked…again.

On one such morning I helped my uncles carry their gear to the boat. Uncle Marvin had a brand new rod and reel, an expensive model that had all the features necessary to lay waste to the finny population of the Lower Whitefish Chain of Lakes. As they pulled away from the dock, I could hear Uncle Marvin lecturing his brother on the virtues of having the proper equipment. Uncle Gordon just smiled.

About an hour later, I was surprised to hear the boat returning. When they reached the dock, Uncle Marvin gathered up his gear and stomped angrily up the hill. Uncle Gordon just shook his head, smiled, and motored back out to continue fishing.

I would later discover the cause of the shortened fishing trip. Things had begun as usual; Uncle Marvin fished off the left side of the boat, and when he got nary a nibble, began to berate Gordon on his choice of fishing spots. Over on the right side Uncle Gordon was pulling in walleye after walleye. With each one, he would cheerfully exclaim, “Hey Marv, got another one!”. To which Marvin replied, “Goddammit, Gordon.”

At some point, Uncle Marvin leaned his rod against the oarlock and began fiddling with the Fish Lo-K-Tor. At that moment, a fish hit his line, pulling his fancy new rod and reel into the lake. I guess Uncle Gordon couldn’t help himself. “Hey Marv, that was a big one!” At that, Uncle Marvin said, “Goddammit, Gordon, take me back to the dock right now.” They returned in silence, minus one expensive piece of fishing apparatus.

Uncle Marvin sat in a lawn chair on the dock for the rest of the day, sulking and smoking Camel after Camel,  no doubt elevating his elder brother into the same grievance category as “those bastards at Studebaker.”

Later that afternoon Uncle Gordon appeared around the point, heading for the dock. He had an even bigger smile on his face than usual, and was holding something over his head.

Uncle Marvin recognized what it was before anyone else. And in a voice that echoed across the lake, he bellowed, “God-DAMMIT, Gordon!

Returning to the same spot as before, Uncle Gordon had continued to catch fish after fish. But it wasn’t walleyes and northerns that he was holding above his head. While fishing, his hook had become snagged on something. Something that he then pulled out of the lake. Something that he was now displaying proudly. Something that taught me the value of a positive attitude.

Uncle Gordon had caught Uncle Marvin’s lost rod and reel.

asd

Today’s Fact Cetera

Before he was Uncle Joe on “Petticoat Junction”, Edgar Buchanan ran a successful oral surgery practice.

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This Just In…

In a continual effort to bring you the latest research breakthroughs, the RonnBlog (in partnership with the Institute of Things You Already Know) presents the following compelling findings, all financed by you, the taxpayer.

These surprising insights come via Uncle John’s Perpetually Pleasing Bathroom Reader, the 26th edition of their fine series of things you simply must know.

Get Me Outta Here

The Law Enforcement Assistance Administration spent $26,000 to determine why inmates want to escape from prison. Inmates were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their criminal histories, attitudes toward escaping from prison and other aspects of criminal life. The findings:

  • “Escape is both a function of the characteristics of individuals and the situations in which they find themselves.”  For example, if they are criminals in prison.
  • “The escapee is more likely than other inmates to be, among other things, ‘one who has been turned down for parole’ and ‘not scheduled for parole review.’”  Well, that’s surprising!
  • “Analyses tend to depict the escapee, particularly the multiple escapee, as a career criminal.” So, don’t worry about the amateurs or enthusiasts.

Take All You Want, But Want All You Take

Researchers were vexed by a persistent question: Are obese people more likely to opt for “all-you-can-eat” restaurants? For a mere $2,500, they observed 1,718 patrons at 4 different restaurants that offered a buffet or smorgasbord in addition to menu items. To what must have been their surprise, they discovered that:

  • “Obese persons formed a far higher percentage of the customers in restaurants where smorgasbord was served rather than under conditions of traditional menu service.” Well, I’ll be darned!
  • “Far more food was eaten in the smorgasbord than in the menu-service condition.” Well, butter my buns!
  • “Obese people may be more likely to seek out sites where more food is available.” May be more likely? MAY be???

Is This Crystal Ball Working?

In the 1970s,  U.S. Department of Transportation invested $225,000 to forecast transportation needs in the year 2025. They examined the transportation needs in four different scenarios, including the U.S. entering an Ice Age. They prognosticated that in an Ice Age:

  • “It will no longer be socially acceptable to attend business meetings in traditional walking, bicycle or motorcycle attire.” Oh, the horror!
  • “Large numbers of people will move south and west in search of a warmer climate.” Wow…who’da thunk it?
  • “Hitchhikers will be ubiquitous and drivers will charge 25¢ to take them on local trips.” Seems reasonable. Especially when you factor in the cost of snow tires and ice scrapers!

Fast Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration spent $45,000 to determine how long it takes to cook breakfast. FDA researchers timed themselves cooking breakfast, but instead of using seconds and minutes, they devised a “time measurement unit” (or TMU) that was equal to 0.036 seconds. They found that it takes:

  • 838 TMUs to fry two eggs in a skillet.
  • 1,222 TMUs to fry six ounces of hash.
  • 960 TMUs to make french toast, including 22 TMUs to reach for the egg and 15 TMUs to crack it against the bowl.

Well, that settles that, then.

Aren’t you reassured to know that as you read this, researchers are beavering away to unravel the significant mysteries in our world?

No, me neither.

asd

Today’s Fact Cetera

The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.

 

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God Save The Queen…Some Money

The following is a transcript from a recent teleconference between House of Windsor CEO Her Majesty Elizabeth II  and selected analysts and media.

Good morning, and thank you for joining us on this call. As you no doubt are aware, our current financial situation is less than satisfactory. The headlines have been both sensational and dismal. Our royal reserves have fallen from a high of 35 million pounds on 2001 to 1 million pounds today. And though we have cut costs, clearly we have not cut deep enough, nor fast enough.

Rest assured: We are not amused.

Our purpose today is to give you a brief overview of our plans for dealing with this…er…situation. Said plans have two main thrusts; let us begin with cost control.

We are currently investigating a variety of measures designed to both provide one-time as well as enduring savings. This includes—but is not limited to—staff re-sizing, reduction in ceremonial paraphernalia, sales and/or leasing of royal land and buildings, etc. Several schemes are currently being discussed, such as:

  • A cross-marketing arrangement with Nike to provide ceremonial robes, uniforms and other clothing items at no cost to the Royal Household, in return for prominent yet tasteful placement of their “Swoosh” logo.
  • Replacing the Royal Train and aircraft by using  commercial rail and air services. Given the leadership shown by British airlines in the low-price market, we believe there may be significant savings in air travel. And British Rail must certainly be less expensive than the current Royal Train cost of 200,000 pounds per annum.
  • The existing  fleet of Rolls Royces and Land Rovers may be replaced by more economical British vehicles. We are given to understand that Vauxhall produces a perfectly serviceable line of vehicles.

One further area for savings is in the repair of the various Royal palaces and other properties, some of which are in quite dire straits, indeed. In return for no-cost repairs, providers of said services will be allowed to feature these projects in their advertising and marketing efforts, as well as placing large signs with their company name and phone number on the Royal grounds.

At the same time, we will endeavor to increase revenues in the future. We have secured the services of a number of experts in tourism attractions, including representatives of Disney, Six Flags and Graceland, as well as Mr. E.F. “Buddy” Whippingwell, the former head of the Branson Tourism Office. The goal is to discover methods and manners in which we might improve the experience and number of visitors to our various properties.

Initial thoughts include:

  • Offering carriage and horse rides during ceremonial parades.
  • Expanding gift shops to all Royal properties, including authentic replica royal garb.
  • “Spend a Day With A Royal”
  • Creating Royal Food Courts in all properties, with fine dining, lighter fare and snack options created by the Royal Kitchens.
  • “Adopt a Corgi”
  • A reality show tentatively called “Liz’s World”.

A further effort is currently underway to inventory the contents of all Royal households. Once complete, we will categorize each item as “Essential”, “Historic”, “Nice To Have” and “Expendable”. The items in the latter category will be offered to the public as part of an annual “Queen’s Garage Sale” on the grounds of Windsor Castle.

As should be abundantly clear, we are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to get our financial House of Windsor in order. You will see evidence of our efforts very soon. But let us be clear: this is a long-term effort that will require our full attention and much resiliency.

Let frugality be our watchword. Let creativity be our sword and shield. Let no one doubt our resolve.

We shall prevail.

Now, if you will excuse us, we must meet with a representative of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in regard to some overdrafts.

HRH The Queen departed without taking questions.

asd

Today’s Fact Cetera

The cruise liner, Queen Elizabeth 2, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns.

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The Lost Transcript

The following is a recently discovered partial transcript from a 1934 episode of a classic radio adventure.

1

ANNOUNCER

And now Bricker Brothers, makers of fine dusting products, present the thrilling exploits of Captain Torvald & His Flying Norsemen! Bricker Brothers takes the guesswork out of dusting!

Captain Torvald, intrepid backwoods pilot with an encyclopedic knowledge of the northern-most reaches of Minnesota, patrols the skies to protect the wilderness and its inhabitants. Together with his hardy band of Flying Norsemen, Captain Torvald is ever ready to soar off to aid those in need.

We find Captain Torvald & His Flying Norsemen in the ready room of their base at Hjalmersson Field. A birdwatcher has reported mysterious planes flying low over Lost River State Forest, and the authorities have asked Captain Torvald to investigate.

The Flying Norsemen rush to their aircraft and take off, heading west. As they approach the edges of Lost River, Captain Torvald spots an aircraft with strange markings making lazy circles over the forest. Diving to investigate, our intrepid hero is suddenly jumped by four aircraft with the same strange markings!

Before we join the action, here’s a word from our sponsor…

Say, homeowners…are you tired of battling household dust with the same old worn-out equipment? Today’s dust can easily overwhelm the average dusters, but now there’s a modern alternative!

The Dust-O-Matic from Bricker Brothers makes short work of the most stubborn dust. Pianos, bookshelves, tables…all are quickly free of pesky dust with the Dust-O-Matic! And what about the floors, you ask? Simple! Just pull out the EZGrip™ handle to its full extension and you have a floor duster without parallel!

High or low, dust can’t hide from the Dust-O-Matic! Now with the improved FilthFighter dusting head! (patent pending)

And don’t forget Dust-B-Gone, the space-age spray for dust that won’t listen to reason. One quick spray to any surface, and Dust-B-Gone goes right to work at the molecular level where even the most obdurate dust kneels before its mighty power!

That’s the Dust-O-Matic and Dust-B-Gone, from Bricker Brothers, the last word in cleaning products. Accept no substitutes! Ask for it by name! Available at fine retailers everywhere.

And now, let’s join Captain Torvald and His Flying Norsemen in today’s exciting and danger-packed adventure!

asd

Today’s Fact Cetera

Between 1918 and 1993, 76 patents were granted for flying cars.

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Year-End Round Up

Now that 2014 has commenced, it’s time to take a last look at the “What the What?” file from 2013.

Here are a few items that caught the attention of the RonnBlog staff:

From The “We Should Do Something…But What?” Department:

Astronomers have re-analyzed and re-calculated the estimate of asteroids that could hit Earth, and are now saying we are 10 times more likely to get struck by an asteroid than before.

From The “Blame The Horse” Department:

A South Carolina police officer confronted a woman who was riding a horse down the center line of the street. The woman, who was barely able to stay on the horse, stank of alcohol and slurred her defiant insistence that she was sober and it was the horse that was drunk. The horse, by the way, was stolen.

And in Colorado, a man was charged with drunken horseback riding after police saw him hit his horse and wander in and out of traffic. He was arrested with a small pug named Buford in his backpack and beer cans and a black powder pistol in his saddlebag. He told officers he was headed to his brother’s wedding in Utah.

From The “Coach Said It’s Okay” Department:

In Portland, Hooters’ waitresses in orange shorts and tight tops lined up in two rows to cheer Corbett Middle School football players who arrived for an after-season party. The coach thought Hooters was appropriate and refused to back down, and was subsequently fired. The official awards party was the following Monday, with pizza.

From The “Modern Technology: Threat or Menace?” Department:

When his dog ate a portion of the left shoe of a $200 pair of Cole Haan wingtips, his owner posted the shoe on eBay. It sold for $378.00.

And a 16-year-old in Virginia has been accused of hitting his mother in the head with a frying pan after she refused to let him use her Kindle.

From The “Now THAT’S A Headline!” Department:

From Discovery News: “Weird Black Hole Has Extra Suck”

From The “Political Correctness Gone Wild” Department:

Just in time for the Christmas season, Hallmark offered an ornamental, miniaturized version of the ugly holiday sweater. The ornament, which sells for $12.95, is emblazoned with the phrase: “Don we now our FUN apparel!” Hallmark released a statement saying the multiple meanings attached to the word “gay” meant the sweater’s lyrics would be “open to misinterpretation.”

And Finally, From The “Ain’t Love Grand?” Department:

A  British bridegroom made a hoax bomb threat rather than admit he’d neglected to book the venue for his wedding, leaving his fiancée standing in the street in her wedding gown while the building was evacuated. He was sentenced to a year in jail, but his defense lawyer said the couple is still together.

asd

Today’s Fact Cetera

Al Capone’s business card said he was a used furniture dealer.

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Lame Excuse, Dude

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is a colorful politician — sort of like Genghis Khan was a colorful Mongol. As politicians go, he makes Jesse Ventura look like Woodrow Wilson. Loud, belligerent, passionate, controversial…Mayor Ford is a gift from heaven for reporters used to covering the standard boring politicians.

Throughout his career, Ford has been a bull in Canada’s political china shop. In the latest of a long line of controversies, the Mayor first denied the existence of a video purporting to show him smoking crack. Months later, he finally admitted that yes, he had smoked crack cocaine. But he went on to excuse that behavior by saying that it was during “one of my drunken stupors.”

Well, that’s okay then.

This dubious excuse puts Hizzoner in fine company:

  • San Diego Mayor Bib Filner excused numerous charges of sexual harassment by calling himself “demonstrable” (sic), “outgoing” and “a hugger of both men and women.”
  • Congressman Charles Rangel excused his failure to tell the Internal Revenue Service about the $75,000 in income he received from a shore side villa in the Dominican Republic by explaining that he couldn’t understand Spanish well enough to read the financial statements nor  understand his Dominican business partners.
  • Former Congressman Vito Fossella, after being arrested for DUI, argued that his 0.17 percent blood-alcohol level was not the result of a drinking binge but was caused by the alcohol contained in the hand sanitizer he used hours before.
  • Congressman Richard Kelly excused a video showing him stuffing his pocket with $25,000 in bribes from associates of a wealthy Arab sheik — who turned out to be undercover FBI agents — that he was actually conducting his own personal undercover operation.

By the way, Mayor Ford is no newbie when it comes to lame excuses. In 2006, the then-city councilor was thrown out of a Maple Leafs game for getting into drunken, expletive-laden arguments with fans (whom he referred to as “communists”). When asked about the incident by reporters, Ford at first said he wasn’t even at the game, but later admitted he was, saying “I had one too many beers, and I sincerely apologize.”

A RonnBlog tip for young would-be politicos: when dealing with the press or the public, it’s best to avoid the words “drunken stupor”.

qwe

Today’s Fact Cetera

It is illegal to ride a street car on Sunday in Toronto if you have been eating garlic.

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