Mike Andrews Makes Me Laugh!

November 28, 2010

My friend Mike Andrews, who lives in the south of England when he is not gallivanting around the world, can always be counted on for funny stuff in his emails. I met him in Olympos, Turkey a half-dozen years ago, where we had joined a gathering of eclipse aficionados to view what will likely be the definitive dousing of the sun in our lifetimes. We hit is off instantly and hung out together for a week or more until our paths diverged; we drank, laughed, and experienced a horrific motorcycle accident together (well, he experienced the accident, which I saw only in the rear view mirror of my bike, immediately after which I made a dicey U-turn and went back to render what assistance I could). Fortunately he walked away from the encounter, somewhat abraded and contused, but remarkably intact when you consider that he was hit by a large SUV and dragged several car lengths down the street before the driver could bring the vehicle to a stop. Nowadays we correspond fairly regularly via email, in which he often includes snippets of humor gathered from all around the internet. Mike must have a symbiotic relationship with the worldwide web, as he turns new stuff up with great regularity. To the best of my recollection, he has never sent anything that I had seen beforehand. So, with any luck, perhaps some of these will be new to you as well: 


Beskrivelse: cid:X.MA1.1284586664@aol.com 

Bob, a handsome dude,

walked into a sports bar around 9:58 pm.

He sat down next to a blonde at the bar

and stared up at the TV. 

The 10 pm news was coming on.

The news crew was covering the story

of a man on the ledge of a large building

preparing to jump..

Beskrivelse: cid:X.MA2.1284586664@aol.com

 The blonde looked at Bob  and said,

“Do you think he’ll jump?”

 Bob said,

“You know, I bet he’ll jump.” 

The blonde replied,

“Well, I bet he won’t.” 

Bob placed a $20 bill on the bar and said,

“You’re on!”

Beskrivelse: cid:X.MA3.1284586664@aol.com

 Just as the blonde placed her money on the bar,

the guy on the ledge

did a swan dive off the building,

falling to his death. 

The blonde was very upset,

but willingly handed her $20 to Bob. 

“Fair’s fair. Here’s your money.”

Beskrivelse: cid:X.MA4.1284586664@aol.com

 Bob replied,

“I can’t take your money.

I saw this earlier on the 5 pm news,

and so I knew he would jump.” 

The blonde replied,

“I did too,

but didn’t think he’d do it again.” 

Bob took the money…

Or how about this gem:

Research confirms that drinking gives you the same benefits yoga does !!! 

Position of total relaxation.    


Position that brings the sensation of peace and calm.  


Setu Bandha Sarvangasana 
This position 
calms the brain and heals tired legs. 

Position stimulates the midriff area and the spinal column.   
Excellent for back pain and insomnia.   
Excellent for the shoulder area, thorax, legs, and arms.   
Great exercise to stimulate the lumbar area, legs, and arms. 
Ananda Balasana 
This position is great for massaging the hip area. 
This position, for ankles and back muscles.  

Or how about this brief look at the merits of dogs versus children: 


Life really boils down 
to 2 questions…

1. Should I get a dog…..?






2. Should I have children?



This next was of course photoshopped; but I thought it was hilarious nonetheless:
  Just to let you know 
I’m thinking of you today. 
No  matter what situations life throws at  you…. 
No  matter how long and treacherous your journey may seem.. 
Remember  there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 




Miracle on 34th Street, Japan Edition

November 28, 2010

As we come up on the holiday season once again (as evidenced by the kilogram of retail store flyers that arrived in my mailbox yesterday), I feel oddly compelled to take a short look at the state of the holidays, here and abroad. Two or three years ago, at about this time, I was wandering around in Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district, admiring the magnificently decorated store windows, all brimming with Yuletide paraphernalia (and, of course, oodles of spendy merchandise). One window in particular caught my eye, a brightly illuminated nativity scene peopled with the usual manger crowd (Joseph, Mary, a haloed Jesus, Balthazar, Melchior, Kaspar, and an assortment of farm animals). In addition, there were a couple of surprise guests in attendance: a ruddy-cheeked Santa Claus, heavily laden with a sack of gaily beribboned gifts; and, on a raised ledge off to one side, smiling down beatifically upon the scene, a crimson Satan, his pointy tail draped artfully down the wall. My initial reaction, which I suspect would be akin to that of most Westerners, was “Oh dear, these folks have a skewed view of the meaning of Christmas.” The more I ruminated on it, however, the more I began to think “Maybe not; maybe they get it better than we do.” Here’s why: Christmas is simply a merchandising opportunity in Japan, one that is not imbued with any particular meaning or tradition. The overwhelming majority of Japanese are non-Christian, and would be hard pressed to explain the significance of the manger scene. In fact, Christmas is not even a holiday there; most folks work all day December 25th (although it must be said that many are recovering from Christmas Eve overindulgence of one sort or another). As an institution, Christmas is about on a par with Valentine’s Day, bringing joy far and wide—into the hearts of retailers. An overall mood of benevolence and goodwill? Not so much. Kinda like here in the West, only without the self-delusion.

Certainly I wouldn’t be the first person to complain that Christmas Spirit is on the endangered species list nowadays. Retailers, pundits, and government spokesmen form an uneasy alliance around this time of year, urging us to spend, spend, spend—it’s the patriotic thing to do. It’s the season for us to finally catch up with the Joneses, and for the Joneses to take yet another quantum leap ahead of us. The post office generates untold revenues from kids’ importunate letters to the North Pole, all of which are stamped, and none of which will require delivery. That’s probably just as well, I guess. To the best of my memory, none of my requests to Santa Claus were for world peace or gifts for underprivileged kids, but rather about stuff for me, me, me. And me.

As I am usually in Japan during the holiday season nowadays, I have begun to take a kind of a low-key approach to Christmas celebration. There are always wonderful illumination festivals in the parks and arcades, light shows that make a Times Square New Year’s Eve look positively sedate by comparison; I will visit as many of these as I can squeeze in between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. With my friends I will sit glued in front of the flat screen, watching Japanese-subtitled versions of silver screen holiday classics: Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas. Sometimes someone asks me if that was what Christmas was like when I was a kid, (never mind that all of those movies predate my time on this planet by a fair bit). “Maybe,” I reply, but I am not entirely convinced, for cynicism, once it takes up occupancy in one’s heart, is a difficult lodger to evict. Still, this year I am going to try. I’ll let you know how it goes.