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Vol. 13, No. 38, April 9, 2001

 Web Fun

The Noon Siren
contributed by John Mix – a real life story

In Moscow, Idaho, they have one of the finest volunteer fire departments in the country. They annually “hire” students from the University of Idaho to be on-site in the station house in return for room costs.

The fire department also has one of the more sophisticated communications systems to connect with the regular fire crew (also volunteers) scattered around the city.

But, one of the traditions that won’t go away is the sounding of the noon siren. Years ago, when I worked in Moscow, I was visiting the fire station, talking to the chief when the noon siren blew. I looked at my watch and saw that it was a minute slow.

“Chief,” I asked, “how do you set the time on your system that causes the siren to blow each noon time?” He replied, “We occasionally call the phone company and sychronize the time that way.”

A couple of weeks later, I was visiting the General Manager of the phone company and again, it was at noontime and the siren blew. I asked the GM, “How do you set your clocks here at the phone company.” He replied, “We set them almost everyday by the fire siren.”

Catch 22

A Cold Winter Indeed

It was autumn, and the Indians on the remote reservation asked their new chief if the winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was an Indian chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets, and when he looked at the sky, he couldn't tell what the weather was going to be.

Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he replied to his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect wood to be prepared.

But also being a practical leader, after several days he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, "Is the coming winter going to be cold?"

"It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold indeed," the meteorologist at the weather service responded.

So the Chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more wood in order to be prepared.

A week later he called the National Weather Service again. "Is it going to be a very cold winter?"

"Yes," the man at National Weather Service again replied, "it's going to be a very cold winter."

The Chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of wood they could find.

Two weeks later he called the National Weather Service again. "Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?"

"Absolutely," the man replied. "It's going to be one of the coldest winters ever.

"How can you be so sure?" the Chief asked.

The weatherman replied, "The Indians are collecting wood like crazy."

Which brings us to the story in the box at right.

Foreign Signs

"Is forbitten to steal hotel towels please. If you are not person to do such thing is please not to read notis." – in a Tokyo hotel

"Please to bathe inside the tub." – in a Japanese hotel room

"The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable." – in a Bucharest hotel lobby

"Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up,” – in a Leipzig elevator

"Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 AM daily.” – in a hotel in Athens

"The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid." – in a Yugoslavian Hotel

"It is not allow in the hotel room for guest participating in Illicit Arts, banging of firecrackers, gambling, and wrestling" – Hotel Jincheng Shenyang, China)

"You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid." – in a Japanese hotel

"You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday." – in the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery

"Our wines leave you nothing to hope for" – on the menu of a Swiss restaurant

"Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion." – on the menu of a Polish hotel

"For your convenience, we recommend courageous, efficient self-service." – in a Hong Kong supermarket

"Ladies may have a fit upstairs" – outside a Hong Kong tailor shop

"Drop your trousers here for best results" – in a Bangkok dry cleaners

"Order your summers suit. Because is big rush, we will execute customers in strict rotation." – in a Rhodes tailor shop

"There will be a Moscow Exhibition of Arts by 15,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years." – from the Soviet Weekly

"A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers" – in an East African newspaper

"In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter" – in a Vienna hotel

"Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose" – in a Zurich hotel

"Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time" – in a Rome laundry

"Stop: Drive Sideways" – detour sign in Kyushi, Japan

"We take your bags and send them in all directions" – in a Copenhagen airline ticket office

"When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor." – from a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo


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