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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

China Lays Groundwork For Japan Visit By China's President: Security Detail May Include 5,000 Tanks 4,000,000 Troops For Premier's Visit


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According to an AP report cited on CNN today: "China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi left Thursday for a trip to Japan where he is expected to finalize details for a landmark official visit by China's President (Hu) early next month."

Peter Files Blog inexpert political souses have inferred from thin air that security arrangements for the Chinese President may include a surprise "Security Detail" of 5,000 tanks, 4,000,000 troops and an as yet undetermined lead-painted Thomas The Tanks Engine Red Trains.

When asked about the security arrangements by our Peter Files Blog China Desk Correspondent an unnamed spokesperson on the Chinese Delegate Staff had this to say:

Spokesperson: "Who you taking about?"
Peter Files Blog: "That's Right, Hu."
Spokesperson: "Who?"
Peter Files Blog: "Hu!"
Spokesperson: "He'll be coming to review."
Peter Files Blog: "The new Hu review?"
Spokesperson: "It may be a Zoo."
Peter Files Blog: "We heard his security detail might include troops?"
Spokesperson: "Whoops! Where did you get that idea, we no bring troops."
Peter Files Blog: "Are you sure Hu's not bringing 4,000,000 troops?"
Spokesperson: "This is a peaceful visit, who would bring troops on a peaceful visit? But Chinese exports include Hula Hoops!
Peter Files Blog: "Hu's bringing hoops?"
Spokesperson: "No hoops or troops! This peaceful visit! Peaceful!"
Peter Files Blog: "Many Thanks."
Spokesperson: "No, there will be no Tanks coming on this visit either!"
Peter Files Blog: "Not Tanks, Thanks, many thanks for your time."
Spokesperson: "No the rumor that President Hu's detail bring 5,000 tanks absolutely unfounded! You twist my words!"
Peter Files Blog: "Who's detail?"
Spokesperson: "You know who's detail, Hu's detail, the President's detail! President Hu's detail!"
Peter Files Blog: "The President is Bush?"
Spokesperson: "The President of China is not tired! He is full of energy! He does not need to bring army, I mean Security Detail to keep him awake."
Peter Files Blog: "Not like the American President. I'm not sure if he's awake even when he's awake."
Spokesperson: "Achoo!"
Peter Files Blog: "There you go again. Who?"

After reviewing this transcript, the Peter Files Blog Regrets this article and has decided to re-classify it from news/commentary to political satire and humor and to consider getting a new China Desk. They tend to be expensive so we may just hire a new foreign correspondent instead.


We just don't know.

Any volunteers. You?

The Peter Files Comedy Blog Paranoia Squad asks, why is it that it was the RED trains that were lead painted?

Hu knows?

Peter, Chief Editor and Spelling Wrecker
The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Jokes, Satire, Commentary and Videos

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

5 Ways To Reduce Gas Guzzling In Light Of "Worst President Ever" Bush's New Auto Fuel Standards


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  1. Stop the drinking the 97 Octane Shots during Happy Hour at Stumpy's Truck Stop and Redneck Bar.
  2. Get American Automakers to rethink that whole - "Naw, only geeks would buy electric cars" idea.
  3. Slot machines and dice tables on all public buses and trains to build transit use and create homes for permanent moving craps games.
  4. Baywatch Babes on all Transit Cards.
  5. Cars to have solar panels and sails. Auto foredecks for bikini sunbathing still under debate. While this measure will slow traffic, it may cause accidents.

Give up on Pappy Reagan's idea of not aiding Transit Operations funding with Federal Operations Dollars. The idea to cut Federal Operating Existence was a terrible one then (late 1980's) and it is one now. The theory was that states would pick up the difference, but they did not, at least not in proportion to the funds that were eliminated. The difference in the Chicago region in the years since the cuts is well over a Billion Dollars and climbing.

So instead, our own federal Government drove millions of people off transit and into toxic emitting autos. Wonder if the auto industry lobbyists had anything to do with that idea? 

Moving people in large urban areas to public transportation, preferably hydrogen buses, is an extremely cost-effective way, to reduce toxic emissions, reduce asthma causing smog, and reduce greenhouse gasses.

New Fuel Rules To Go Into Effect Story On CNN

Peter, Chief Editor and Spelling Wrecker
The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Jokes, Satire, Commentary and Videos

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Dr. Pete Discusses Post-Christmas Truamatic Stress Syndrome


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Please note that "Dr. Pete" is in fact not a doctor of anything. Please, please, please do not take anything written in this post, or this blog for that matter, as having any medical value whatsoever. This is a blog. A comedy blog with jokes, satire and comedy. This is not a place for medical advice. First of all, this is a free blog, who ever heard of getting any good advice for free? Next, even if you used the donate box to donate money to this blog, which only my sister has done so far - THANK YOU SIS! The advice in a Dr. Pete Post would still be useless. (Correction - Another sister did buy a bunch of books from Amazon through the site so that was helpful too.)

This post has been affected by off-seasonal affected disorder and would normally appear between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Somehow Dr. Pete got into our production office and locked this one in with a root password. So, here it is.


Dis iz Dr. Pete and it iz time fur anoder vizit from zee Dr. Pete rolling couch.

Az you probably know zee Chtistmaz zeazon is villed vith ztrezz. Ziss goes on und on from Tanksgiving Day until Chrizmaz Day for sure. Zen, some people get a lucky break und zee ztrezz oozez out of zeem like vat uff zee top uff a pan uff veinerschnitzel und zey veel much, much better on December 26th.

If you are one uff zeez strange und unprofitable beeple vor zee bzychiactric provezzion, zen lucky for you, zee you ven your moder and girlvriend start vighting vith each oder again, zat zhould be about two weeks, depending on how much you spendt on zere prezents.

Zat's All? You really are a zucker aren't you. Zee you bright und early Monday Morning und bring me a tribble latte vit zugar von't you? I'll need it. You'll need one too. We'll zee, iv you don't need zee zession by Monday morning zee lattes are und me.

Anyhow, most people zuffer from Post-Chriztmust Post Traumatic Stress Dizorder, which they tend not to come our uv until New Yearz Eve. Zis accountz for many of zee odd und strange dating couple zat you zee on New Yearz Eve. Many of zeez dates vere made at Ovvice parties vith zenior execss und both zides now regret zee dates but getting out of zem waz almozt impozzible becauze phone nuberz waz/were not exchanged.

Zometimes, uv courze a miracle occurze und zees couple find zee bliss together. More often, they find zemzelvez locked together in a permanent zing becauze uv a one night vling.

But zey are not zee largezt group by any meanz.

Ze group zat is var more commen are ze ones who got giftz from zoze zey did not expect and muzt now decide vether it is too late to gift zem.

Ze perzons zat got zee mazzivly ugly givt from zee perzon who vill vant to zee it in zee future on a regular baziz.

Zee perzon who got a vairly decent gift but in zee wrong zize, shape, color, fabric, and or body type and flavor.

Zeez mszt be exchanged zumhow with a zuitable explanation for the disappearance of the ugly givt. Blenders, dogs, unraveling in zee dryer, neighbor cats und wind are generally part of the eggskuze uzed to eggsplain mizzing prezents of ziz kind which have been exchaged.

Chriztmaz Card Anxiety iz alzoa chief Pozt-trumatic Dizorder if dey half not yet gone out. Zee Easter card iz und fine tradition und I suggenst it for zoze who cannot get it all together for Christmaz.

Zee best cure for all zeez dizorderz is to give up!

Just ztop it!

You did enough!

Your children own enough toys now to open zere own zhop. Re-box zee onze dey don't play wit and zell zem, on eBay or Overstock.com vich should be enough to pay down your credit card billz, your last zourze of stress except for long staying relatives.

Vell iv zee virst ztep und zolvink problems iz to identify zem, zen I hope zat I have veen helpvul. Zee next step iz to rezt and clear your mind of zeez ztrezzerz.

For this I prefer Zchnapps, ezpecially in ziz zeazon. Zo Irizh Wizkey is alzo vine.

Dr. Pete

We at the Peter Files Blog would once again would like to disassociate ourselves in every way with the thoughts, manner and ideas of Dr. Pete. Folks, do not try this at home.

Peter, Chief Editor and Spell Wrecker
The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Satire and Commentary

Mother, Sarah, Segel, Oops!
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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Can I Have a Drink of Water?


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My dad sent my visiting cousin to bed. Five minutes later....

"Uncle Pete...."


"I'm thirsty. Can you bring me a drink of water?"

"No. You had your chance. Lights out."

Five minutes later: "Uncle Pe-eete....."


"I'm THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water??"

"I told you NO!" If you ask again, I'll toss you in the shower!!"

Five minutes later......"Uncle Pe-ete....."


"When you come in to toss me in the shower, can you bring a drink of water?"

My cousin didn't believe that she would actually get tossed in the shower. She didn't know my Dad well enough to know that he did not make idle threats.

When he held the tip-top of her head under the lukewarm water for 1/10th of a second she screamed like a banshee. Then he gave her the drink of water. On the second night of her overnight stay she drank enough water to satisfy herself before she went to bed.

Based on a true story.

What she was actually doing was talking too much when we were supposed to be asleep. I edited an old joke which had a funnier format. She got at least 8 warnings before splash. Man was it funny. We would have laughed out loud but we would have been next and we knew it. But there was an awful lot of very hard to suppress snickering for the next hour.

Peter, Chief Editor and Spelling Wrecker
The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Jokes, Satire, Commentary and Videos

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Toddler Nightmare: Toddler Blown Into Lake Michigan Submerged for 15 Minutes and Lives


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You'd think this wasn't a comedy blog anymore. It is! But no parent can help feeling bad for the grandfather who saw his 2-year-old grandson blown into Lake Michigan and founder underwater until he was pulled out and rushed to a hospital by emergency crews after 15 minutes submerged.

A parent's nightmare. Really. When you first realize that your wife is pregnant along with the joy are the worries of all the things that have gone wrong to others that creep into your thoughts and dreams. A friend saw her three-year-old bounce off the bed, through a screen and out the three story window of her apartment. Fortunately into the bushes below.

"Mom! Can I do that again!"

She still quivers a little when she tells that story behind the laughs as she tells it.  Be careful where you let your toddlers bounce is the moral of that tale.

The moral of this tale is, be very careful when walking a small child along a pier along any body of water if you yourself cannot swim.

When my son was three I took him down to the harbors along the lakeshore.  I let him walk down the piers and look right into the water. He laughed and giggled and had lots of fun. But this story does not make me worry that this was a dangerous thing to do. I was prepared for that activity.

First, it was a calm weather day. No heavy winds.

Second, as a teenager I earned both the Boy Scouts Scout Lifeguard Award, the rough equivalent to the Red Cross Water Safety Instructor except that it also has a rowing requirement, I followed that up with Red Cross Advanced Life Saving and Red Cross CPR in College, then before our son was born, my wife and I got certified in Red Cross Infant and Child CPR at a local hospital.

If my son had fallen into the water I would have been able to pull him out in seconds. Had he stopped breathing, I knew what to do while running to a phone to call 911. Though I had a cell phone with me so that was not needed. But I was prepared. You can be too.

If you live near a large body of water be careful near it. Keep close to kids, near the water if you can't swim.

The grandpa in this case did one thing right. By not jumping in when he did not know how to swim he did not cause a double-drowning. Instead, someone saw him and that gave his grandson the best chance he could get.

Never risk a double drowning, but if you know how, this is the order to do it.




But only go if you know how. If you do, try to bring something that floats, like a ring buoy (life preserver) (they are to be thrown over the shoulders of a victim and drawn back not aimed at the head!) or an inflatable something. 

Don't ever let a panicked swimmer grab you. Especially by the neck.

Let's keep this family in our prayers.

And as the sporting season starts, make sure you have a safety vest for everyone on your boat. Not only is it the law, but it prevents tragedies on very small craft.

They are an absolute must for canoes.

I will never forget the year after earning Scout Lifeguard being on a 30 mile canoe trip with a non-swimmer in the bow of my canoe. We were on the White River, near Whitehall, Michigan, just where it starts to feed into White Lake. About a half hour before we would land at Arf n' Barf.

He was wearing his vest. But he was also painfully thin.

It was a windy day and we actually had waves on this part of the river that were 6 to 8 inches high. Very unusual. Most of the river is only a foot to 3 feet deep. But at this part it opens up to about 12 feet deep. I was in the stern, the back of the canoe that controls or steers where the canoe would go. He wanted to move further back and I told him No!

He stood up in the canoe to move back anyway. Without his paddling we started to turn sideways to the wind and waves. I yelled to him as gently as I could to be careful and stay low so that he would not present himself like a sail to the wind. He stood straight up to hear me better, then lost his balance. Over we went.

The canoe turned upside down. I immediately came to the surface. He was not on my side of the canoe. I dived, wearing my vest this was hard, under the canoe to make sure he was not trapped underneath it then came up on the underside of it. He was not on the other side. But his vest was.

The kid was so thin that he had slid right out of his life vest and gone straight to the bottom of the river which had a mud bottom. I yelled to some of the older kids behind us to come then dove down to the bottom.

I could see him down there, barely, through the muddy water. He was not moving or struggling. Fighting the pull of the vest was one of the hardest things I have ever done, the water was at least 12 feet down and perhaps 15, it took all my strength.

He looked up at me, reached up to me with his hand, I grabbed it and pulled him into a cross-chest carry with control and the vest rocketed us up to the surface. At the top he exploded out the breath he had been holding.

When I shouted at him why hadn't he tried to come up to the surface he shrugged and said. "I was waiting for you. I knew you'd come get me." Nice. Very nice. By this time a couple of the other canoes got there and I had lashed the kid back into his vest and pushed him into one of the other canoes. We then did a maneuver called canoe over canoe rescue.

To do this you need a second canoe. While the overturned canoe is still upside-down you push one end down so that the other end comes up over the middle of the other canoe. Then you push the over turned canoe up until it is balanced on the middle of the other canoe upside down. Then when it is balanced in the middle, you can turn the canoe over out of the water and slide it back into the water floating. Then the person(s) in the other canoe can hold both canoes together by the thwarts, sides, to make it easier for the people in the water to get back in.

This was in some ways the most panicked of all, I wanted us to get back in the canoe before our Scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster came around the bend and saw what had happened. I did not want them to know that I had dumped a 10-year old non-swimmer to the bottom of While Lake and almost drowned him. The current had been moving fast. If I had missed him on that first attempt, I don't know if I could have found him on a second try. It was terrifying.

I also did not know if I had the strength for a second or third try given the depth and the strength it took to fight the life vest and my own considerable natural buoyancy. The senior scouts with me and the kid looked at each other in shock.

"Pete", one said, "You almost really screwed that one up."

"Yeah," said another, "But you didn't."

"Hey," I said, "What Willy doesn't know," our Scoutmaster, "won't cause him any lost sleep or tears."

"Right." They all agreed.

"You!" The biggest of the lot said to the kid. "Keep your mouth shut about this and your butt in the bottom of the canoe."

I used what we called Willy-rope, rope our Scoutmaster used to get from tossed-out rope from his employer to tie the vest onto the kid and sat him down while we were still together. I was tempted to tie him to the canoe, but that was unsafe. We moved close to the North bank of the river, the Arf N' Barf side, and moved together as a group the last mile or so to our landing place well ahead still of the last of the 30 canoes with Willy in it.

I don't know if he ever learned that story.

Ten years later I was at my one of my sister's weddings and the kid's sister came up to me.

"Hi Peter," she said in a manner that was a lot friendlier than I would have expected given our lack of time spent together. She was my sisters' friend after all. I said Hi. She looked around. Noticed that we were sort of alone, then she grabbed me and kissed me. Hard.

"Wow! What was that for? I mean, thanks."

"You'll know what that was for if you think a little.:


"Done any canoeing lately? Say on the White River at Owasippe?" Then the penny dropped. I knew that she knew. "Thanks. I really have liked having my brother around for the last 10 years. You know he only told me that story recently so its still a little shocking. I don't know what I would have done..."

That's more than you need to know. It made me feel good that someone knew and remembered what had happened. Not my stupidity in letting the situation get that far, though I had done all the warning I could have. But I was even gladder to hear how well he had done since then. That was the best news of all.

Switching back to the news story. This toddler has a possible future just like the kid in my story. It may be that he goes on to a great life. I sure hope so. But all those involved in his rescue deserve kudos for the attempt, from the stranger who stopped and called it in, to each hospital worker. Each life touches so many others. Each one we save, touches thousands more.

And I did not act alone. I was in the position to go to the bottom. But I had the support of the other canoes that rushed to my side. They just didn't help me hide it from Willy. That really wasn't important in the long run. They helped me get the kid out of the water fast. And back into a safe canoe, in a life vest.

When you go out in the water this summer, make sure you wear a properly fitting life vest.

For more on the toddler story on CNN click here

To see maps of the area of the canoe trip around the White River and the Owasippe Scout Reservation click here or at the Help Save the Owasippe Scout Reservation link at the top of my Sidebar. You will have to navigate to the maps of Owasippe. 

Note: The White River trips started at Canoe Central near the Administration Center and Horse Corral and Ended in Whitehall at Dog 'n Suds which had great food. After almost two weeks of camp food it was like heaven on earth despite our nickname for it.

Peter, Chief Editor and Spelling Wrecker
The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Jokes, Satire, Commentary and Videos

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Peter Files Blog of Comedy's Top 10 Jokes About Yesterday's Downstate Illinois Earthquake


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The Peter Files Blog Top 10 Jokes About Yesterday's Downstate Illinois Earthquake

  • 10. Mick: Did you get satisfaction Daisy-May?
  •  9.  I guess Britney's off her diet.
  •  8.  Elvis! It's not safe to jump onto that trampoline from the balcony! I don't care if you want to make your jail-house rock!
  •  7.  Farm radio: There's a surprise pre-dawn 2-for-1 on overalls at Ethyl's Downstate Big & Tall where "We open, before your rooster crows."
  •  6.  Liz: Michael! I love your new hideaway farmland play land! Where does this little chute go? The playroom?   Michael: No! Wait! It's the laundry!
  •  5.  (Downstate Radio: The rumors that Hillary Clinton will be driving through town on her way to her next campaign stop are untrue. It is safe to return to your homes.)
  •  4. Biker bar near the end of an impromptu road stop on the way to Chicago:  Whoa! Somebody stomp on that little pink iguana! It stole my stash!
  • 3: (Whispered for a YouTube.com video camera: Going for a new world's record, now, 500 frat-boys, 500 cows.  When the gun goes off, tip!
  • 2. Alright, who had the garbanzo beans with dinner last night?

And the Number One Line heard during last night's earthquake:
  • 1. Shhh! We're filming the surprise early morning wake-up call for the 2009 Season Premier of NBC's The Biggest Loser - Boot Camp.  We're here in the secret men's barracks somewhere in downstate Illinois. Guest host Ty Pennington gets out his bull-horn....

More on the Illinois Earthquake from CNN.com.

Hope you liked them!

Peter, Chief Editor and Spelling Wrecker
The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Jokes, Satire, Commentary and Videos

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More Comments on the Illinois Earthquake


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I've seen some comments in blogs from Alaska and California asking why an Illinois or Midwest earthquake should be such a big deal if its only a 5.2.

My main response is this.

Unlike their regions, where earthquakes are commonplace and expected, earthquakes here are rare, and are outside the experience of most people. More, most people in the Midwest until now have been completely unaware of even the possibility of an earthquake here.

This means that most homes in major cities that could be affected by a very large earthquake, such as a 7.0 - 8.0, including St. Louis, Memphis, Kansas City, Atlanta, Gary and Chicago have not been built to the kind of building codes used in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Anchorage, etc., where earthquakes are known to occur.

There are exceptions that I know about. Sears Tower for example, even though it was built to be the World's tallest building in the 1970's was deliberately built to be earthquake resistant through its basic design. It sways in heavy winds and in a major earthquake would rock heavily, but it would take the ground splitting underneath it, which as far as we know, due to the large distance between Chicago and the fault line, is extremely unlikely, to knock it down.

Many other major structures might not fare so well here. Which ones? How much damage they might take? Who knows?

The fact that it has not happened here and that people are very upset makes it newsworthy.

The fact that we are less prepared than you makes it newsworthy.

The fact that the press was surprised probably gave it an extra bump in the news.

But really, anyone who complains that our earthquakes are getting more attention than their earthquakes is really being petty. Very petty. Or are maybe being what are known in the newsgroups as "trolls" people deliberately stirring up trouble, just to do so. For their own sake.

In the matter of earthquakes, this is not funny. I am a comedy writer, so I did a piece today on earthquakes which I hope is funny. That's a good thing, it relieves stress about something that really worries people.

But what we really should be doing about it is thinking, O.K., this is something that really could happen here, what should we as individuals and family members or neighbors be ready to do about it. What's our PLAN?

"I survived Hurricane Frederick - 1979" were the pins that my College gave out after the storm. I've been through a natural disaster, not as bad as some hurricanes go, but bad enough to be without lights, running water for days and to have very significant storm damage to deal with for months. The college (Spring Hill College) was very prepared. It had a great disaster plan.

We were safe during the storm, or as safe as we could be, in highly reinforced buildings, there were ample emergency supplies, electricity was back up through emergency generators in a few critical areas quickly, and emergency volunteer clean-up efforts were safely organized so that in hours any dangerous overhanging tree-fall was gone in walking paths, and in a day or two all roads and pathways on the campus were clear enough for traffic. Psychological damage and stress relief programs were in place right away too.

So, what's your plan. Does your family know where to meet, how to get together if the cells go out and your cell phones don't work because all the towers are down or unpowered. Expect that this will happen in a major earthquake and a significant amount of stress will be relieved if you have a plan for it. 

Fire is a major problem in earthquakes.

Where is it safest to be in an earthquake?

That might be a critical issues during one and might vary by building downtown in Chicago. If I was in Sears Tower I wouldn't leave it and if I was just outside I would try to duck inside immediately before the sheets of glass began to fall from 103 stories up. Or they might not. It would have to be a mammoth quake to do that.

But you have to think about the worst sometimes and plan for it so that you can think clearly if it does happen. Then, forget about it except to keep your emergency supplies like fresh water up to date.

I'll try to update this post with some disaster prep links or info in this post.


For more blogger's comments on the earthquake go to:

Peter, Chief Editor and Spelling Wrecker
The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Jokes, Satire, Commentary and Videos

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Aftershock 1014 hours 4/18/08 - Just my Imagination? NO!


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I think there was just an earthquake aftershock. Shorter, but perhaps more powerful? None of the earlier warning kind of things, just shaking though there was some vibration through my feet. Could the difference in part be that I am now wearing shoes?

My dad said that he felt the first one and timed it at 3 minutes. He lives in a brick house though. He recognized it immediately from one he experienced the first day he got to Japan in the 1950's.

Revised: 10:50

Nothing on the media or USGS Looks like it was just my imagination?

Revised: 10:54 I was right! http://pasadena.wr.usgs.gov/shake/cus/ Reports that there was a 4.5 magnitude earthquake 18 miles SE of Olney Illinois. It was not my imagination (KEN!) even if there is no word on CNN, yet. Perhaps my blog is just a better news source on this stuff. hah! I run rings around you logically.

(My sense that it was smaller was also surprisingly correct.)

For more blogger's comments on the earthquake go to:

Peter, Chief Editor and Spelling Wrecker
The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Jokes, Satire, Commentary and Videos

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Peter's Files Experiences of The Illinois Earthquake on 4/18/08


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I'm hoping that the lack of information about injuries and deaths so far is a sign that the earthquake early this morning resulted in none.

An Earthquake hit the State of Illinois according to the USGS at 4:36 Central Standard time with an Epicenter in far downstate Illinois with a Magnitude of 5.2 (revised at 10:51) on the Richter Scale.

At the time I was having trouble sleeping. This is not unusual. Chronic pain sufferers endure sleep problems. So I was awake when I felt the hairs on the back of my neck rise. Suddenly, I had this odd sensation like someone else had entered the room from behind me, which happened to be SSSE the direction of the quake's epicenter from my home in Chicago.

The lights were off in my bedroom so I turned them on, but no one was there.

Suddenly there was an odd feeling of pressure, as if our 1880 frame house was feeling a strong breeze.

I then realized the pressure had a rhythmic quality and I had trouble figuring out what it was for perhaps a second and then it hit me, the odds were strong that I was feeling a low magnitude earthquake!

I had a flash sense that it had to be from the Missouri Fault Line - I think that's what it is called - which runs on a line through or just south of Southern Illinois From Missouri to Kentucky or Ohio. CNN probably has the details out by now.

That gave me a flash worry about people who I knew from St. Louis who I knew from Spring Hill College, many of whom I had not seen for 28 years Jim, Bill, Karen, Mary Sue, Carl's family (I think Carl is in Toronto now) - all their families - even some I had seen more recently, like Vinny.

That took me about a microsecond after realizing that it was an earthquake.

In another instant I debated waking the others in the house: was that an increase in the quake's intensity?

Then I felt some actual movement or swaying in the house. The ceiling fan above me had begun to sway just a little and I could feel a bassy vibration through the floor through my socks. Not enough for real swaying of the house, but enough to know that something was there. Kind of like the subway running by underground. Of course, we don't live over the subway, and this was a lot more powerful.

This feeling was probably a component wave of the earthquake as it spread in all directions from either the surface above the origin of the quake, or the actual underground source, but unlike that actual shaking you would feel much closer to the quake, was more like the thump-thump-thump base of the speakers that you might feel through the walls of your dorm from a band in the quad.

But this thump was slow. Earthquakes must have a very low frequency a long distance away. But not too low. There was a vibrato in the thicker vibrations that I felt coming up through the floor. I'm taking a long time to describe something that only took seconds to experience.

No - I stayed put - it seemed that what I was feeling was as much as we were going to feel. This time.

The richter scale is a scale where each digit is geometrically higher than the one above it. So a 6 on the scale is a lot stronger than a 5, and a 7 is a whole lot stronger than a 6. And no one wants to be anywhere near an 8 or 9.

Living in the Beverly Hills neighborhood of Chicago, which is just west of the I-57/I-94 split, that is on the far southwest side, the fact that this quake could be felt here means that it must have been a doozy downstate. Not enough to bring down all the houses, better watch the news to make sure, but let's hope that this is a tension relief earthquake that gets us by for a few decades and is not the precursor to something a lot stronger.

I hate to think like this, but in the buying wood or buying brick house debate, I'm glad I'm living in a wood house right now. They flex better in earthquakes. But it looks like I might just need to check out the fine print in my homeowners insurance right about now.

I predict increased interest in earthquake insurance in the Midwest, if we can get it.

For more blogger's comments on the earthquake go to:

Peter, Chief Editor and Spelling Wrecker
The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Jokes, Satire, Commentary and Videos

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Another Reader Joke - Edited by Peter


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Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Take One

Two engineering students and a philosopher were walking across a university campus where
one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?"

The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding
my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to
the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want."

The second engineer nodded approvingly & said, "Good choice; the clothes
probably wouldn't have fit you anyway."

The philosopher thought for a minute and said, "You do realize, don't you, that if you had taken the woman, she might have led you to an super-bike that was waiting for you at her home?"

"Darn", said the first engineer.

"You did the best you could", said the philosopher, "Hell, is a room full of those other bikes, and no repair kits."

Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Take Two

To the optimist, the glass is half full.

To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.

To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

To the philosopher, whether the glass is there or not depends on whether there is someone there to drink it.

Understanding Engineers & Philosopherss - Take Three

A priest, a doctor, an engineer, and a philosopher were waiting one morning for a
particularly slow group of golfers.

The engineer fumed, "What's with those blokes? We must have been
waiting for fifteen minutes !"

The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such inept golf!"

The priest said, "Here comes the greens keeper. Let's have a word with

He said, "Hello, George! What's wrong with that group ahead of us?
They're rather slow, aren't they?"

The greens keeper replied, "Oh, yes. That's a group of blind fire fighters.
They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we
always let them play for free anytime."

The group fell silent for a moment. The priest said, "That's so sad. I think
I will say a special prayer for them tonight."

The doctor said, "Good idea. I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist
colleague and see if there's anything he can do for them."

The engineer said, "Why can't they play at night?"

The philosopher said, "From their point of view they're already playing at night, I'll bet they can't understand why we don't wait till daytime like a normal person. Besides, they're having the time of their lives."

"What do you mean", said the engineer?

"Well", said the philosopher, "haven't you noticed the reason they're so slow?"

"No", said the engineer.

"You'd be slow too", opined the philosopher, "if you had to stop every hole to celebrate four holes in one!"

"Four holes-in-one", complained the engineer, "that's outrageous, "how can they possibly think that four blind golfers are making holes-in-one!"

"One of them must been a part-time carpenter", snickered the philosopher, "and he's estimating for the group!"

Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Take Four

What is the difference between mechanical engineers, civil engineers & philosophers?
Mechanical engineers build weapons, civil engineers build targets and philosophers start or stop wars in the first place.

Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Take Five

The graduate with a science degree asks, "Why does it work?"

The graduate with an engineering degree asks, "How does it work?"

The graduate with an accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?"

The graduate with an arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with that?"

The graduate with a philosophy degree asks "Hey, you at the fries vat, how many times do I have to tell you, you don't punch in, you don't get paid"!

Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Take Six

Three engineering students and a philosopher were gathered together discussing the
possible designers of the human body.

One engineer said, "It was a mechanical engineer Just look at all the joints."

Another engineer said, "No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system
has many thousands of electrical connections."

The last engineer said, "No, actually it had to have been a civil engineer.
Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?"

Then the philosopher chipped in, "interesting hypotheses, but all of your arguments fail, it had to be a philosopher, only a philosopher would create a body where an undistributed middle term could so often defy reason and cause so much irrational motion."

"I give up", the first engineer said, "I'm through Hegleing with you about this, your arguments have too much Sartre to them."

Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Take Seven

Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

Philosophers believe that if we think its broke, we may just misunderstand its true purpose.

Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Take Eight

An engineer was crossing a road one day, when a frog called out to him
and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess."

He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.

The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a
beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week."

The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to
the pocket.

The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a Princess,
I'll stay with you for one week and do ANYTHING you want."

Again, the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his

Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful
princess & that I'll stay with you for one week and do anything you want.
Why won't you kiss me?"

The engineer said, "Look, I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend,
but a talking frog, now that's cool."

Later in the week he ran into his friend the philosopher who had talked him into coming to a wine and cheese party where he was giving a paper on Camus's writings about Sisyphus (Camus and the Myth of Sisyphus: Or A Rolling Rock is Here to Stay, ©1980 by PJF). The engineer came only because the quantity of wine consumable always vastly exceeded the attendance.

After the groans had driven the audience into harder than usual drinking, the very inebriated engineer told his friend the philosopher about his new talking frog. The philosopher, from Missouri, the "Show Me" state, and a born skeptic, demanded proof, so the two made their way drunkenly back across the quad to the Engineer's room so that he could show off his new pet who promptly asked the philosopher to kiss the frog.

The Engineer panicked, but the philosopher said, "don't worry", who believes a talking frog"?

So the Engineer allowed the philosopher to hold it and pet it.

Once again the frog promised to do "anything" the philosopher wanted, if only he would kiss it. This was too much for the philosopher and skeptic or not he kissed the frog who promptly turned into a Princess.

The engineer was livid.

"I trusted you. You are my friend! How could you betray me like this! If anyone should have kissed the frog and gotten this, wow, very beautiful princess willing to do anything you asked, it should have been me!"

"Im sorry man," said the philosopher, "I really didn't believe the frog would turn it into a beautiful princess, that's just a really great bonus. But look here, I have to turn in a 40-page analysis of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason by next Friday and I'm terrified. I'd take anyone's help with that. Even a frog's!"

And they lived hoppily ever after.

Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Take Eight

And it came to pass that in a certain department all of the employees but one became afraid to enter the office of their boss. An excellent, well meaning, but very precise engineer.

Her meetings with her staff were legend. Though the meetings with the staff as a whole were not long, woe be it the staffer called into her office for a project review for projects that she deemed to be in trouble or in need of her minute and detailed help.

Week after week this went on, some of the engineering staff having daily meetings that lasted as long as one or two hours, until they became nervous and fearful, even though the engineer was no ogre.

One day it came to pass that one of the engineers who was worst afflicted saw one of the staff coming from the dreaded bosses office with a smile on his face, even whistling a bit.

"Wait a minute," as the light dawned on her, "why is he happy? How can he be coming from that office without fear and dread on his face?"

As she thought about it, she realized that he had not had one of those long meetings in months. Not months and months.

"O.K. buster", she said, "what's your secret? I've been going crazy here with daily two hour meetings with the boss, and you seem to be exempt.?

He smiled.

"There are two reasons, the real reason, and how I do it. Which do you want?"

"Ooooh, you are nasty. I want both. None of this either or, you share this cubicle with me, now out with everything or...", he realized that she was beyond the point of no return and liked her enough to want to really help her.

"O.K. You aren't going to believe either one, but I'll tell you. The real reason you and everyone else get trapped into these meetings is that you are planners and engineers. You create the box then stay inside it. I was a philosophy major. If I see a box, I look at the box, consider its structure and form, and question it, and figure out if its moral, right, and ask, what if everyone did it. Then, if I see a problem with it, I try to work around the box or create an escape hole."

"And that's what you've done", she said.

"Sort of, In this case, the box is that our boss needs to feel that she knows what's going on with the projects in her domain and that the people running those projects know how their doing, where they are on their deadlines, what problems they face and how they are going to address them. Anyone who doesn't give her that information, she meets with UNTIL SHE GETS IT."

"Nooo." The cubicle mate said. It can't be that easy.

"I just dropped off my daily report. It lists all my projects, and everything that got done yesterday. At the end of the week I have another form that lists the goals for next week and I give her a copy of this week's sheet with done things scratched off and undone things explained.

I haven't had a single meeting since. I can email you the forms if you like, with completed copies."

"I'm going to kill you!"

"I tried to tell you this a month ago and you didn't believe me!"

"No you didn't!"

"Check your email"

Performance review time.

"In conclusion, my effort to convert the staff to our new reporting system went better than I thought."

"Great work." "I Talked to my boss. The Promotion is yours."

See, Engineers and Philosophers CAN work together.

Similarities between the individuals in this story and actual people and circumstances are coincidental and are really, really stretching the truth. Especially where alleged promotions are concerned. But as Checkov said approximately, it is nice when stories end like that, isn't it? And they all moved to Moscow and married the Princess and lived in a castle.

Thanks to my friend Andy for the original engineer jokes. All of the philosopher references have been added by yours truly.

I edit many of the jokes I get, from simple typo corrections, to complete re-writes. Sometimes there are huge improvements, sometimes I fail miserable. Only you can tell me how I did. Please tell me.

Because philosophers wind up taking hard core courses in logic, they actually tend to get along very well with engineers, at least serious ones do. Except that philosophers can write. Hee hee.

There really is a paper called Camus and the Myth of Sisyphus: Or a Rolling Rock is Here to Stay. I wrote it for my Existentialism class in college an got an A+. Thanks Babs, wherever you are.

Peter, Chief Editor and Spelling Wrecker
The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Jokes, Satire, Commentary and Videos

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