Saturday, November 13, 2010

No Seoul Food for You: North Korea vs. the US

Kim Jong Il

North Korean Ambassador:  Look at our leader, Kim Jong Il .

American Ambassador:  Very good.  And who's in the other picture?
Kim Il Sung

North Korean Ambassador:  That his father, Kim Il Sung.

American Ambassador: Who?

North Korean Ambassador: Kim Il Sung.   

American Ambassador:  Son?

North Korean Ambassador: Yes, Sung.

American Ambassador:  So the first one is Kim John, and the 

other is Kim John's son?

North Korean Ambassador:  No, Kim Jong Il son Kim Jong Un.

American Ambassador:  His ill son?

Kim Jong Un at left front, Kim Jong Il at right front
North Korean Ambassador:  No, not Kim Il Sung.  Kim Jong Il.

American Ambassador:  Why doesn't his son take Kim John to the hospital?

North Korean Ambassador:  He not sick!

American Ambassador:  You just said he was ill.

North Korean Ambassador:  They both Il!.

American Ambassador:  So is the son ill?

North Korean Ambassador:   No, he Il Sung.

American Ambassador:  What about Kim John?

North Korean Ambassador:  Kim Jong Il?

American Ambassador:  Have they seen a doctor?

North Korean Ambassador:  Why doctor?  Sung dead.  No one sick.

American Ambassador:  But you said they were ill!

North Korean Ambassador: No, they fine, both  Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un well.

American Ambassador:  This is making me ill.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Howard Hughes' Supermarine Spitfire

A Spitfire on the River Seine during the Battle of Britain
 that has been camouflaged to look like a Cessna 182
One of the most famous planes of World War 2 was

 the Supermarine Spitfire, which was used before

 and during the war by the air forces of England,

Scotland, Canada, Australia, Wales, Ireland, Poland,

South Africa, Czechoslovakia, New Zealand, and the

Hsutsu tribe of the Upper Congo.  One of the main

 reasons for the plane's great success was its
powerplant, the Merlin engine.  Some credit the design of

 this engine to Mr. Eugene Merlin of St. Falls, Iowa, while others credit the design to the reclusive

 Howard Hughes, who in this instance may have used the pen name "Packard". (Packard of course was

an upper-class stone outcrop on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.  As is well known, the Pilgrims

decided to land at the less expensive Plymouth Rock on Thanksgiving Day).

Whatever its origin,  whether we choose to believe the romantic tales of some English historians who

claim that the aircraft

 was first flown in England by English pilots, instead of  the accepted theory that it was designed by noted air ace

Adolph Galland, we can be proud of its history.   To meet the wartime demand,  Henry Ford built a huge factory at Willow Run,

Oregon, where Spitfires were assembled in large quantities.  They were then flown non-stop across the Atlantic

Ocean to the battlefields in Europe by Lord Beaverbrook and other pilots.

After World War 2, some Spitfires were converted to passenger planes and used by such airlines as

Trans Continental Airways on the heavily traveled Ellesmere Island-to-Rarotonga run.

The Radar Tank

Tanks in Warfare:

Through the Freedom Of Information Act, some of the secrets of wartime are gradually being revealed to

historians. It has been said that

"When a war starts, the first casualty is the truth."
For instance, not many people are aware that during the very early stages of radar development during

World War I, the Allies did not want the Germans to know what they were working on, so Churchill

suggested that the early radar sets be boxed up, labelled as "Tanks", and driven around the country on

railway cars. The idea was that the Germans would think that the word "tank" referred to water tanks. This

program of misinformation was so successful that when the army actually introduced real tanks, they

Cromwell tank
named the first type in Churchill's honour, the "Cromwell." Whereas radar was used in World War I

exclusively as an airborne device, and then in World War II for ships and ground stations, the tank was first

used in battle in the Korean war at the town of Fiona, Italy.

Edison, Father of the Telegraph

The famous Thomas Alvin Edison began his career as a humble blogger on the

BTN (Bell Telegraph Network). In that day and age, most people lived in

rural areas and did not have a private telegraph line, but had to share

communications with others on what is known as a "party line". As a child, Edison used

to stay up late into the night posting messages by telegraph onto the

party line sites, and his postings gradually became more popular. Because

of this, Edison is credited by most historians of the Napoleonic Era with

inventing not only the phonograph, but also the blog. For this effort he

was recognized in 1875 with the receipt of the coveted Gaivesworth-

Farquist Award for Industrial Network Achievement. At the time so many of

the modern devices that we take for granted today simply did not exist,

such as color TV. Anyone who wanted to go onto the telegraph network and

view a site had to put up with a grainy black and white picture that was

often of very poor quality. In addition, the Edison transistor had not yet been

invented, and electronic tubes were hard to find and often did not work at

all. It was based on these humble beginnings, and through the

perseverance of those that came after, like Cecil Rhodes, that the

internet is what it is today.

Free Wind Power

There is a lot of attention these days to the opportunity to harness the power of the wind 

as an alternative to other energy sources, such as solar power, which heats up the earth, 

or tidal power, which slows down the rotation of the earth.

We owe much of our present ability to harness wind power to those who went before. 

Records show that the windmill was invented by the French, under the encouragement 

of Napoleon, who desperately wanted to beat the English and Prussian armies in the race to use military

windmills. However, after Napoleon's defeat and the capture by the allies of the unprotected

French wind farms, its development took a different course.

The French secretly moved their technology to their colonies where they could continue their development in 


Research went on for a while, but with the conversion to the metric system, problems began to

show up. First, the French blade designs had been based on the old Imperial system of

measurement, whereas the wind speed was now measured in kilometres per hour, and therefore the

blades and the wind currents no longer matched up, causing frequent failures. Then the French

attempted to use their windmill designs to create the Panama Canal, shipping entire windmills over from Paris

to Panama on giant barges.

When this venture failed due to lack of readily available windmill parts, Thomas Edison, who was

by then quite prosperous, was able to purchase the windmill patent from the La société moulin de la France 

("French Windmill Society"). Edison was able to use the resultant monopoly to control the use of wind power

throughout the world. It is only with the expiration of the original patent in 2004, plus the

invention of the wind turbine by Buckminster Fuller that free wind power is available today to

the public.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria reigned over a vast territory. As Queen of England, Scotland, and Iceland, she

ruled from Poland on the Adriatic to Australia in the South China Sea. During her life the

British Empire changed the face of progress as her scientists invented such things as coal and

iron, and her industrialists introduced international trade. The Post Office was charged with

the daunting responsibility of delivering the mail to Empire colonies in the far corners of the

globe. To do this they introduced British Celsius Time to cope with the longer days of the

summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the shorter days of winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

Under this system, during the summer the populace of the U.K. starts work an hour early so that

all the goods and services will arrive on time at the British colonies of Australia, New

Zealand, Switzerland, and the Falkland Islands.

Argentina has always claimed the Falkland Time Zone to be their own, and in 1982 even invaded to

bring the islands in line with Buenos Aires time. They lost to a force from England operating

under the military version of Celsius Time called British Calculus Time. With the Argentine

surrender, General Pinochet was forced to resign.

Superman and Robin

Historians have long argued over the story of Superman and Robin. Robin Hood of course is based on the

famous play by William Shakespeare, although some have suggested that this play was actually based on the

story of Robin of Malta, who is perhaps most well-known for reputedly bringing the famous hawk statue

from Jerusalem to Britain during the time of the Crusades, as celebrated in the book and movie

 'The Maltese Falcon'  which of course starred Dashiell Hammett playing the part of Humphrey Bogart and

Peter Lorre as Robin.  

But in the times at the end of the Crusades, Superman was well matched by the

sinister Sheriff of Nottingham, and it was all he could do to fight the Sheriff and his evil ally, Prince John.  It

was only with the aid of the redoubtable Robin Hood that he was able to maintain the battle against crime.

The TV version of Robin Hood was most famously played by Richard Greene, well-known actor & brother

of  Lorne Greene of "Gunsmoke'.

It is to their credit that a park at Sherwood Forest is open to the public today.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Fiona is the name of a popular city in Italy, whose creation

is credited to the author James MacPherson, and then adopted as the pen

name of the author William Sharp. Mr. MacPherson first heard it while

listening to the couple who ran his local Italian restaurant: The head

waiter, Giuseppe, was talking to his wife, Maria:

Giuseppe: "Heya Maria, I'm kinda hungry. Whatta food you-a gotta?"

Maria: "Hey Giuseppe, if youa hungry whya youa noa sitta downa and trya me-a lasagna?"

Giuseppe: "Yes-a Maria, I-a trya you lasagna."

Maria: "Howa youa lika da lasagna?"

Giuseppe: "I-a lika youa lasagna justa fiona."

Maria: "So Giuseppe, whata are-a we-a gonna name-a oura little bambino?"

Giuseppe: "Well-a, I thinka we-a name-a our-a little bambino Luigi."

Maria: "Hey Giuseppe, I-a think-a Luigi is-a nice-a name-a. But what-a if'-a it's not-a boy-a?"

Giuseppe: "Wella Maria, if-a it's-a girl-a- that's ok-a. In-a fact-a it's-a fiona."

Maria: "That'sa nice-a name-a."

Their daughter, Fiona, grew up to become their town's treasurer and was

the first person to ever balance the municipal budget, thereby becoming the first

ever to receive the prestigious UN Award for Fiscal

Achievment in 1903. By 1907 she had improved the local financial

situation so much that in order to address the imbalance in trade between

her town and the rest of Italy, she created the Euro, which

many years later was adopted by the rest of Italy. By 1987 most of Europe

had also moved away from the Greek Lira standard to the Euro.

After her death it was decided to change the name of the town to honour

her, and today it is the UN heritage site, Fiona, Italy. To celebrate her

history and bring financial good luck to the family,

many parents will choose to name a daughter Fiona after her and her town.

Editors Note: To insure the absolute accuracy of this information, “every fact has been checked, rechecked, and checked again” , to quote our fact checker, the Late Johnny Carson.  And as they say at your local Bricklin-DeLorean dealer regarding claims about fuel efficiency, “actual mileage may vary.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Actual Mileage May Vary

Have you ever noticed that in an ad for a car they brag about how great the

mileage is, and how it gets so many miles per gallon or kilometres per

liter? Then in the fine print you often see a disclaimer which says

something like "Actual Mileage May Vary", which is another way of saying

that you are never going to get those results, unless you turn off the

engine and get a towtruck to drag you along, preferably downhill. The

things we are led to expect by the government, mutual funds, the media, or in fact most any

institution, are a lot like that. So here you get a whole new perspective

on Life, the Universe, and Everything, by looking anew not at Things To Come, but Things That Were.

It is not just history that is remembered here, but also past history.

The Metric System

A lot of people wonder how the Metric system came into being. It has a

long history, dating back to the time when the Romans were establishing the

city of Carthage on the Nile River in Egypt. Because of the differences in

measurement systems between the Roman engineers who were building

structures like the Parthenon, and the Egyptian engineers who were building

pyramids like the temples at Luxor (not to be confused with the temple of

Angkor Wat at Chichen Itza), there was much confusion and it was realized

that a standardised system of measurement would help. So with the help of

Antony Caesar and Cleopatra, the scholars of the day created a system of

standards which could be used internationally.

Unfortunately this system was lost when the Roman civilization collapsed.

However, years later in Egypt, French troops under Napoleon dug up a large tablet or

monument, now known as the Rosetta Stone, which gave the measurements of

various different items in 3 different languages: Egyptian hieroglyphs,

Greek, and Latin. It was therefore an easy matter for Rennaissance

scholars to create a table of conversion factors. The scholars were headed

by the famous abbey, Bernard de Metrier, or in English, Bernard of

Metricia. Hence the system that they worked out was named the Metric

system in his honour.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Vancouver Tourist Sites

One of Vancouver's lesser known structures is a monument honouring a man

who was at one time a feared enemy. Whereas London, England has

Trafalgar Square with its Nelson's Column, Vancouver Canada is home to a

celebration of his rival, Napoleon. Secreted away from view on an obscure

sidestreet, and not located on most maps, Napoleon's Column pays homage

to the great French leader, whose defeat on the

Plains of Abraham led to his tragic death at Waterloo. Visitors who

object to paying the Airport Improvement Fee at the

Vancouver International Airport (located in Richmond, BC)

are often advised that a large part of the money

collected may go to the restoration of this important symbol, which has

fallen into disrepair since the end of hostilities in 1812 with the

signing of the peace treaty between France, Prussia, England, and Japan.

To celebrate the declaration of peace, July 27,1813 was declared a holiday for Vancouver

by Queen Victoria and local school children were given the day off, partly in recognition

of Napoleon's onetime visit to the city.

Note from our publisher:  Archaeologists have recently deciphered a message carved on a cliff face high up in the eastern Andes.  This message was apparently left as a warning by the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the nearby Bolivian jungle, the Khalamaree Indians, a tribe of hunter gatherers who lived almost entirely on the local octopus. Their ancient warning, now translated into modern English, says “Don’t believe everything you read.”