Category Archives: Humour

[Warning: Spoilers dead ahead.]

⊕  The vessel has an important mission to accomplish.

⊕  Someone on board has a hidden agenda.

⊕  Someone on board is mentally unstable.

⊕  The captain has a drinking problem.

⊕  The hull of the boat/ship/sub will spring a leak.

⊕  The motor of the bail-out pump will overheat and explode.

⊕  A klaxon horn will sound and emergency lights will come on.

⊕  The vessel will lurch and items in the galley will crash to the floor.

⊕  The mentally-unstable person will secretly perform an act of sabotage.

⊕  A steam valve will burst, badly burning a non-essential crewman.

⊕  The engineer will be trapped by rising waters while trying to restart the engines.

⊕  A vital cable and/or air hose will break, causing a non-essential crewman to drown.

⊕  The captain and first mate will have a private discussion about the deteriorating morale of the crew.  They will drink coffee from tin cups and one will spit his coffee onto the floor.

⊕  The navigation and/or communications systems will fail.

⊕  Someone will rap his fingers on the glass of a gauge, disbelieving its accuracy.

⊕  A young crew member will come up with a makeshift solution to a temporary crisis by using an item of obsolete and/or defective gear.

⊕  The captain will be unable to control his drinking and will retire to his quarters in a delirious sweat, forcing the first mate to take command.

⊕  The person with the hidden agenda will take advantage of the chaos on board to advance his petty plan.

⊕  A blind radio operator on his last assignment will help the first mate navigate through a minefield and/or icebergs and/or underwater mountain range by placing his ear up to the hull and tapping on it with a wrench.

⊕  Meanwhile, the makeshift repair threatens to fail at any minute.

⊕  The damaged vessel will return to port.  The dead include the engineer, the saboteur and two non-essential crewmen.  Only the engineer will be mourned.

⊕  The captain will be carried off on a stretcher.  The person with the hidden agenda will be taken into custody. 

⊕  The film will close with the first mate standing at the helm of his own boat/ship/sub.  It will be a sunny day and there will be a fresh sea spray.  The end.

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Sydney J. Harris was a mid-20th-century newspaper columnist whose daily syndicated feature “Strictly Personal” sparked my own desire to write.  Harris often devoted his column to the topic “Things I Learned En Route to Looking Up Other Things” and today I will do the same. — Editor

□  Charles Dickens (1812-1870) penned a partial draft of a novel titled Tale of Three Cities, but he abandoned the effort after facing “the greatest difficulty” trying to incorporate the city of Cleveland, Ohio, into his epic saga about love, sacrifice and the French Revolution.

□  A group of bats is called a battalion; a group of starfish is called a constellation; a group of slugs is called a shellacking.

□  The first and so far only dog that has been canonized as a saint was St. Bernard in 1403.  Its attested miracles included heeling, speaking, and playing dead.

□  Before it was mass-produced, toilet paper was harvested from the limbs of shade trees, typically on the morning of November 1.  But storage and handling of the natural product was an issue, and demand always exceeded supply, thus an industry was born.

□  The reason former Vice President Al Gore is rarely seen in public these days is not due to ill health, but because Gore is responsible for making 24 billion connections a second on a gigantic internet switchboard installed in the basement of his Tennessee mansion.  “I wish I’d never invented the damn thing,” Gore told Vanity Fair in 2018.

□  It takes 40 gallons of maple sap to produce one gallon of the maple flavor contained in 132 million bottles of Aunt Jemima pancake syrup.

□  According to an obscure verse in Genesis, God created limes to keep lemons company.  But this made yellowberries jealous and they complained loudly to God.  So God punished the yellowberries for their jealousy by turning them blue.  To this day, blueberries are the only blue fruit or vegetable, friendless among the produce and still resentful of God.

□  One of the first wooden tools was a six-toothed implement that archaeologists believe was used by early humans as a hair comb or a fork, and often both.

□  Worcestershire sauce was created by an English merchant, Darius Butts, who originally named the sauce after himself.  But initial sales were so poor that, on the advice of friends, Butts reluctantly renamed his product.  “Let the ignorant bastards try to pronounce this,” Butts bitterly noted in his 1838 ledger.

□  After automobiles, the second-leading cause of death among opossums is sleep apnea.

□  While watching the Fox News Business Channel, I learned that climate change is a hoax engineered to make us join communes and stop eating meat; that Marriott Corporation is converting over thirty of its properties to Courtyard Communes; and that Burger King is introducing a new vegetable burger called The Global Whopper.

□  Several of these items have an element of Truth in them.  Truth (Tr) is Element 119 and is among the rarest of all substances.  Happy April.

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