Canadians: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid collision.
Americans: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid collision.
Canadians: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid collision.
Americans: This is the Captain of a U.S. Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.
Canadians: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.
Americans: THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER U.S.S. LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES' ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH. I SAY AGAIN, THAT'S ONE FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ASSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.
Canadians: We are a lighthouse. Your call.
Here's the actual response from the Smithsonian Institution.
Dear Mr. Williams:
Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labeled "93211-D, layer seven, next to the clothesline post...Hominid skull." We have given this specimen a careful and detailed examination, and regret to inform you that we disagree with your theory that it represents conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago.
Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll, of the variety that one of our staff, who has small children, believes to be "Malibu Barbie."
It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to contradiction with your findings. However, we do feel that there are a number of physical attributes of the specimen, which might have tipped you off to its modern origin:
1. The material is molded plastic. Ancient hominid remains are typically fossilized bone.
2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9 cubic centimeters, well below the threshold of even the earliest identified proto-hominids.
3. The dentition pattern evident on the skull is more consistent with the common domesticated dog than it is with the ravenous man-eating Pliocene clams you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time.
This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypotheses you have submitted in your history with this institution, but the evidence seems to weigh rather heavily against it. Without going into too much detail, let us say that:
A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll that a dog has chewed on.
B. Clams don't have teeth.
It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your request to have the specimen carbon-dated. This is partially due to the heavy load our lab must bear in its normal operation, and partly due to carbon-dating's notorious inaccuracy in fossils of recent geologic record.
To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie dolls were produced prior to 1956 AD, and carbon dating is likely to produce wildly inaccurate results.
Sadly, we must also deny your request that we approach the National Science Foundation Phylogeny Department with the concept of assigning your specimen the scientific name Australopithecus spiff-arino. Speaking personally, I, for one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance of your proposed taxonomy, but was ultimately voted down because the species name you selected was hyphenated, and didn't really sound like it might be Latin.
However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this fascinating specimen to the museum. While it is undoubtedly not a Hominid fossil, it is, nonetheless, yet another riveting example of the great body of work you seem to accumulate here so effortlessly. You should know that our Director has reserved a special shelf in his own office for the display of the specimens you have previously submitted to the Institution, and the entire staff speculates daily on what you will happen upon next in your digs at the site you have discovered in your Newport back yard.
We eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation's capital that you proposed in your last letter, and several of us are pressing the Director to pay for it.
We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories surrounding the trans-positating fillifitation of ferrous ions in a structural matrix that makes the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex femur you recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty 9-mm Sears Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.
Yours in Science,
Harvey Rowe Chief Curator- Antiquities
Mr. Ryan De Vries
Dear Mr. DeVries:
It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above-referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity: Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond. A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity. A review of the Department's files shows that no permits have been issued.
Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, annotated.
The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding at downstream locations. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted.
The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all unauthorized activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the stream channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31,1998.
Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff.
Failure to comply with this request or any further unauthorized activity on the site may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action.
We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.
David L. Price
Dear Mr. Price:
Your certified letter dated 12/17/97 has been handed to me to respond to. You sent out a great deal of carbon copies to a lot of people, but you neglected to include their addresses. You will, therefore, have to send them a copy of my response.
First of all, Mr. Ryan De Vries is not the legal landowner and/or contractor at 2088 Dagget, Pierson, Michigan - I am the legal owner and a couple of beavers are in the (State unauthorized) process of constructing and maintaining two wood "debris" dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervised their dam project, I think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of natural building materials "debris." I would like to challenge your department to attempt to emulate their dam project any time and/or any place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.
As to your request, I do not think the beavers are aware that they first must fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity.
My first dam question to you is: (1) are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers or (2) do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request? If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through the Freedom of Information Act I request completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued. Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451of the Public Acts of 1994,being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, annotated.
I have several concerns. My first concern is - aren't the beavers entitled to legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said representation - so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer. The Department's dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event causing flooding is proof that this is a natural occurrence which the department is required to protect. In other words, we should leave the Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling their dam names.
If you want the stream "restored" to a dam free-flow condition - please contact the beavers - but if you are going to arrest them (they obviously did not pay any attention to your dam letter-being unable to read English) -- be sure they are read the Miranda rights first. As for me, I am not going to cause more flooding or dam debris jams by interfering with these dam builders. If you want to hurt these dam beavers-be aware I am sending a copy of your dam letter and this response to PETA. If your dam Department seriously finds all dams of this nature inherently hazardous and truly will not permit their existence in this State-I seriously hope you are not selectively enforcing this dam policy - or once again both I and the Spring Pond Beavers will scream prejudice!
In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream. They have more dam right than I do to live and enjoy Spring Pond. If the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection lives to its name, it should protect the natural resources (Beavers) and the environment (Beavers' Dams).
So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until 1/31/98? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then and there will be no way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them then.
In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention a real environmental quality (health) problem in the area. It is the bears. Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! (The bears are not careful where they dump!)
Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact
you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your
dam office via another government organization - the dam USPS. Maybe,
someday, it will get there.
Stephen L. Tvedten
IF YOU THINK YOU ARE HAVING A BAD DAY
1. 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.
2. In 1992, Frank Perkins of Los Angeles made an attempt on the world flagpole-sitting record. Suffering from the flu he came 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.
3. A woman 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. Till that moment he had been happily listening to his Walkman.
4. 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.
6. Iraqi terrorist, Khay Rahnajet, didn't pay enough postage on a letter bomb. It came back with "return to sender" stamped on it. Forgetting it was the bomb, he opened it and was blown to bits.
HOW COLD IS IT?
60 -- Californians put on sweaters (if they can find them in their wardrobe).
50 -- Miami residents turn on the heat.
40 -- You can see your breath.
35 -- Italian cars won't start.
32 -- Water freezes.
30 -- You plan your vacation to Australia.
25 -- Boston water freezes.
20 -- You can hear your breath.
15 -- French cars don't start.
10 -- Too cold to ski.
5 -- You plan your vacation in Houston.
0 -- Alaskans put on T-shirts.
-10 -- German cars don't start.
-15 -- You can cut your breath and use it to build an igloo.
-20 -- Cat insists on sleeping in your pajamas with you.
-25 -- Too cold to think.
-30 -- You plan a two-week hot bath.
-40 -- Californians disappear.
-50 -- Congressional hot air freezes.
-80 -- Hell freezes over.
-90 -- Lawyers put their hands in their own pockets.
Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don't even have.
The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intensions.
I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and drove over the embankment.
A pedestrian hit me and went under my car.
The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve several times before I hit him.
I had been driving my car for forty years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.
As I approached the intersection, a stop sign suddenly appeared in a place where no stop sign had ever appeared before; I was unable to stop in time to avoid an accident.
In my attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.
I was sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him.
My car was legally parked as I backed into the other vehicle.
I told the police that I was not injured, but on removing my hat I found that I had a fractured skull.
An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car and vanished.
The power pole was approaching fast. I was attempting to swerve out of its path when it struck my front end.
The pedestrian had no idea what direction to go, so I ran over him.
ONLY IN AMERICA
can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance...
are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink...
do people order double cheeseburgers, a large fry, and a diet coke...
do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters...
do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and leave useless things and junk in boxes in the garage...
do we use answering machines to screen calls and then have call waiting so we won't miss a call from someone we didn't want to talk to in the first place...
do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight...
do we use the word "politics" to describe the process so well: "Poli" in latin meaning "many" and "tics" meaning "blood-sucking creatures"...
(in the head)
I had someone who wanted to stay at the Bob Newhart Inn in Connecticut. When I explained that the inn was fictional, the customer became very irate and insisted "I know it is real, I see them check in every week!" Also, I really did have someone ask for an aisle seat on the plane so that their hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window.
A client called inquiring about a package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked, "would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?"
I got a call from a woman who wanted to go to Capetown. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information when she interrupted me with "I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts. Without trying to make her look like the stupid one, I calmly explained, "Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa." Her response....click.
I got a call from a man who asked, "Is it possible to see England from Canada?" I said, "No." He said "but they look so close on the map."
Another man called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas. When I pulled up the reservation, I noticed he had a 1-hour layover in Dallas. When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, "I heard Dallas was a big airport, and I need a car to drive between the gates to save time."
A nice lady just called. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:20am and got into Chicago at 8:33am. I tried to explain that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she could not understand the concept of time zones. Finally I told her the plane went very fast, and she bought that!
A woman called and asked, "Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to who?" I said, "No, why do you ask?" She replied, "Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said FAT, and I'm overweight, is there any connection?" After putting her on hold for a minute while I "looked into it" (I was actually laughing) I came back and explained the city code for Fresno is FAT, and that the airline was just putting a destination tag on her luggage.
I just got off the phone with a man who asked, "How do I know which plane to get on?" I asked him what exactly he meant, which he replied, "I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have numbers on them."