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Now, my dad once told me the story about a peculiar fisherman from Minnesota. You see, this fisherman was very well prepared. He knew how to fish. He had everything you need to be a good fisherman. He had poles, nets, bait, and even a really nice boat, but this fisherman had a problem. You see, for all his preparation he never caught anything. Not one fish. Not one, not ever. And you know why he never caught a fish? What do you think? The answers easy: He never went fishing. He had all the knowledge and all the equipment, but he never got into the boat, he never left the dock.
If you ever happen to listen to Positive 89.3 on Saturday nights, you know that Joe Polek and I often enjoy sharing humorous stories from the news between the songs that we play. If you listened last night, you would have heard us talking about a variety of mistranslations with humorous results. We got started on mistranslations because I had found a news article about a recent tourism publication from the City of Jerusalem. Boldly proclaimed on the front of the brochure were these words: “Jerusalem! There is no such city!” Tens of thousands of copies had been distributed before the mistake was realized—the correct translation? “Jerusalem--there’s no city like it!”
Some of my other favorite mistranslations include:
• A warning to motorists in Tokyo: "When a passenger of the foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet at him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage, then tootle him with vigor."
• In a Tokyo hotel: Is forbitten to steal hotel toweles please. If you are not person to do such thing is please not to read this notice.
• In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist: "Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists".
• When translated into Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "finger-lickin’ good" came out as "eat your fingers off".
• Denmark: in a Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your bags and send them in all directions
• Apparently skiers (and their ski-boots) were making lots of noise after hours in this Austrian hotel, so they posted this sign: "Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.
• in a hotel in Athens: Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily
• Serbia: in a Belgrade hotel elevator: To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.
I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll pass on that elevator—United States comes pretty late in the alphabet, so I’m not sure I’d ever get to my “wishing floor!”
A German soldier was wounded. He was ordered to go to the military hospital for treatment. When he arrived at the large and imposing building, he saw two doors, one marked, "For the slightly wounded," and the other, "For the seriously wounded."
He entered through the first door and found himself going down a long hall. At the end of it were two more doors, one marked, "For officer" and the other, "For non-officers." He entered through the latter and found himself going down another long hall. At the end of it were two more doors, one marked, "For party members" and the other, "For non-party members." He took the second door, and when he opened it he found himself out on the street.
When the soldier returned home, his mother asked him, "How did you get along at the hospital?"
"Well, Mother," he replied, "to tell the truth, the people there didn’t do anything for me, but you ought to see the tremendous organization they have!"
The soldier’s comment describes many churches in our day: really organized, but accomplishing little.
Have you ever felt that you just didn’t have the heart for something?
Late one night, a man had gone to a party and had too much to drink, so he decided it would be best to walk home. He found a shortcut through a poorly lit cemetery and, in the darkness, stumbled into an open grave. He tried to climb out but the walls were too slippery. Again and again he fell back into the grave. Finally, in exhaustion, he settled in a corner to wait for sunlight.
A few minutes later, another man in the same condition was cutting through the cemetery and fell victim to the same grave. He, too, tried desperately to climb and claw his way out...
The children of a well-to-do family decided to give their father as a birthday present a book containing their family’s history. They commissioned a professional biographer to write the book, carefully cautioning him about the family’s “black sheep”—their Uncle George had been executed in the electric chair for murder, and they felt that it would be best if the biographer left Uncle George out of the book.
“No need to do that,” said the biographer. “I can report the situation in such a way that there will be no embarrassment to your father or to you. I’ll merely write that Uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution. He was attached to his position by the strongest ties, and his death came as a real shock.”
The city commission of Miami established a municipal beautification committee. They appointed 25 members to it. Word got around, and it seems that everyone wanted on it. Request after request was granted until 131 citizens were appointed. Then the committee had a meeting. 19 members showed up!
THE STORY OF UNCLE GEORGE
Being honest is not always easy.
The children in a prominent family decided to give their father a book of the family's history for a birthday present. They commissioned a professional biographer to do the work, carefully warning him of the family's "black sheep" problem: Uncle George. Uncle George had been executed in the electric chair for murder.
"I can handle that situation so that there will be no embarrassment," the biographer assured the children. "I'll merely say that Uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important Government Institution. He was attached to his position by the strongest ties and his death came as a real shock."
The message of the angels to the shepherds was that there was Good News! We like good news. We certainly don’t like bad news. A father came home from a very rugged day at work and said to his wife, "I’ve had a bad day. Please! If you have any bad news tonight, keep it to yourself." To which she replied, "O.K. NO bad news. Now for the Good ...
Where have the skunks gone?
If you’ve seen a skunk--or smelled one--in the last five years, Florida wants to know.
"I haven’t seen a dead skunk on the road for a while," said Henry Cabbage, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Neither have the agency’s biologists. They wonder whether the skunk population is taking a plunge, so they are asking the public for help.
Skunks aren’t protected by state law. The black and white animal, about the size of a house cat, is sometimes killed for its shiny fur.
But if the numbers don’t look good for the skunk, the state could decide to protect the species.
Wildlife commission biologist Kristen Nelson, who is collecting the information, said last week that she’s been taking some kidding for the skunk search.
With their stinky spray, which they can shoot up to 15 feet, skunks have an image problem. She doubts anybody will form a "Save the Skunk" Society.
But Nelson isn’t fazed.
"Every creature has some sort of importance in the ecosystem, even if we don’t know what that importance is," she said.
10/15/02 News Headlines from The Christian Science Monitor
A POSSIBLE METHOD OF EVANGELISM
A Christian man owned a barber shop. One night, at a revival meeting, the barber felt greatly burdened to do more with his testimony for Christ. The next evening, the barber began attending a "soul winners class" at his church. He attended faithfully every night for two weeks. He rehearsed all the material, took extensive notes, and memorized the assigned Bible verses. At the end of the two weeks he received a plaque acknowledging his completion of the course.
The next morning, in the barber shop, he hung the plaque and bowed his head. "Dear Lord," he prayed, "help me to witness to the first man to come through that door this morning." At that moment in walked the biggest, meanest, foulest man the barber had ever seen. It seems this man had recently lost a bet with some "biker" buddies and now he had to get his head shaved. Needless to say, the barber did not feel very comfortable quoting the "Roman Road" to a man with a tattoo on his neck.
The rest of the day did not go any better for the barber. At 5:00 p.m., the barber was sobbing with shame. He had not witnessed to a single person. He bowed his head again. This time he prayed, "Lord, if you will allow one more opportunity, I promise I will do my part." At that, the door opened and in walked a pleasant looking gentleman. The man smiled at the barber, apologized for coming in so late and took a seat in the chair.
As the barber draped the man in his protective sheet, he began to...