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Off-The-Wall   1 - Duke Energy Employee Advocate

Off The Wall - Page One

"On TV, the commercial says that 8 out of 10 people suffer from
hemorrhoids. Does this mean the other 2 people enjoy them?" - Unknown

Resort Reservation

Lurchogram – January 13, 2002

We have a friend who is a rather old-fashioned lady, always quiet, delicate and elegant, especially in how she speaks. She and her husband were planning a vacation in California, so she wrote to Ship Ashore Resort asking for a reservation.

She wanted to make sure the resort was fully equipped, but couldn't quite bring herself to write the word "toilet" in her letter. After much deliberation, she finally came up with the term "bathroom commode". But when she wrote that down, she still thought she was being too forward... so she started over, rewrote the whole letter, and referred to the bathroom commode merely as the B.C. "Does the resort have its own B.C.?"

Well, the resort owner wasn't old-fashioned at all, and when he got the letter he couldn't figure out what the woman was talking about. He consulted with other resort owners and they came to the conclusion that the lady must be asking about the location of the Baptist Church. He replied as follows:

"Dear Madam: I regret very much the delay in answering your letter, but I now take the pleasure of informing you that a B.C. is located 3 miles south of our resort in Smith River, and is capable of seating 250 people at a time. I admit it is quite a distance away, if you are in the habit of going regularly, no doubt you will be pleased to know that a great number of people take their lunches along and make a day of it. They usually arrive early and stay late. The last time my wife and I went was 6 years ago, and it was so crowded we had to stand up the whole time we were there. It may interest you to know that right now there is a supper planned to raise money to put in more seats. They are going to hold it in the basement of the B.C. I would like to say it pains me very much not to be able to go more regularly, but it surely is no lack of desire on my part. As we grow older, it seems to be more of an effort, particularly in cold weather. If you do decide to come down to our resort, perhaps I could go with you the first time you go, sit with you, and introduce you to all the other folks. Remember, this is a friendly community.

Very truly yours...

What Your Parents Never Told You

The New York Times – by Kevin Doughten – December 25, 2001

WEST PATERSON, N.J. -- By now, you may think you know everything there is to know about Santa Claus. However, what you don't know could fill his bottomless bag of toys. Hardly any of the popular tales about Jolly Old St. Nick have been updated since the 1940's. The world has changed considerably since then, and so has Santa.

Thanks largely to some disenchanted elves whose contractual nondisclosure agreements recently expired, we now have firsthand accounts of what it is like to work for the world's most reclusive toy mogul. Their testimony paints a vivid picture of Santa's fierce struggle with modernity and helps to translate the myths of holiday magic into a less romantic, yet more realistic, portrayal of Santa's workshop. What follows is not suitable for children.

Myth: Santa Claus comes down the chimney to deliver toys to good girls and boys.

Reality: Santa Claus hasn't entered houses through chimneys since the late 1950's. Due to quantum improvements in garage-door technology and home security systems in the past 20 years, Santa has been forced to find more creative ways of getting into your home. The pitter- patter so familiar to children everywhere is no longer reindeer hooves on rooftops but the sound of Santa furiously typing away on his laptop computer, trying to hack the access code for your alarm keypad.

Myth: Santa Claus sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake.

Reality: Although it is amazing that Santa Claus can deliver so many toys in such a short period of time, he is neither omnipotent nor omniscient. Santa plays the odds just like everyone else, and with each delivery risks criminal prosecution for breaking and entering. For this reason, Santa delivers toys primarily to young children with early bedtimes, not to teenagers and college kids who stay up all night watching dirty movies on pay cable.

Myth: Santa has eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen.

Reality: Time has not been kind to Santa's stables. None of the original group of reindeer remain. Comet was the first to withdraw, in 1962, citing creative differences with several of the other reindeer. Two years later, Blitzen left to "pursue other projects." Dancer was eaten by a wolf in 1987. Cupid, the last of the original reindeer, is mired in litigation with Santa over a work-related antler injury and has not participated in the Christmas Eve trip since 1994. These days the sleigh is pulled by only four reindeer, who are rehired annually through a temp agency in Nome, Alaska.

Myth: Santa will bring you coal if you've been a bad boy or girl.

Reality: With the massive responsibilities that Santa has taken on in the past five years, including the long negotiations to gain flyover rights to China and the former Soviet republics, resources that were once devoted primarily to the Moral Character Division have been diverted to Toy Production and Legal Representation. Thus, each year the number of bad boys and girls who still receive toys increases, as naughties slip through the ever-widening cracks in Santa's profiling system. Additionally, realizing that the world's energy needs are far more important than an outmoded system of reward and punishment, Santa has recently replaced coal with biodegradable garden mulch.

Myth: Santa's elves make all the toys that Santa delivers.

Reality: At last count, approximately 40 percent of Santa's toys are made by gnomes, which are similar to elves but work much longer hours for much cheaper wages.

Myth: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are all the same person.

Reality: Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are the same person. The Easter Bunny is someone else entirely.

Myth: Santa Claus lives at the North Pole with Mrs. Claus and all the elves and gnomes.

Reality: Santa Claus lives alone in Vancouver.

Read 2 Anthrax Bulletins and Call in Morning

Employee Advocate - – December 4, 2001

Leroy Richmond, postal worker, saved his own life by insisting that he be sent to a doctor, and demanding that he be treated for anthrax.

The New York Times reported that when he first asked a supervisor for a form to see the plant nurse, he was told to come back later. It seems that the supervisor was too busy reading an anthrax bulletin to be bothered!

In a Rut

Lurchogram-Joke of the Week – December 2, 2001

Used Car For Sale

1985 Blue VW Golf

Only 15 km

1st gear & rev. used

Never driven hard

Original brakes

Original fuel and oil

Selling due to lay-off

Photo Attached

And the Millennium Has Just Started

Employee Advocate - – November 23, 2001

The millennium is still in its earliest stage of infancy, and look at what has already transpired. The legal system has been on a roller coaster ride, with no end in sight.

It does not foster confidence in the legal system that a former president has been barred from practicing law in his state, and also suspended from practicing law before the Supreme Court. But now, The New York Times reports that F. Lee Bailey has been disbarred in Florida!

Mr. Bailey is accused of mishandling a client’s stock. The Florida Supreme Court’s ruling was unanimous. His conduct was called egregious and evidence of a "complete disregard for the rules governing attorneys."

The court found that he had defied a federal court order to relinquish the stock, that he had lied to a federal judge, and that he had put his financial interests above those of his client.!

A lot of shocking things have happened in the last while. We have witnessed a parade of amoral CEO’s and shady politicians, but this is unfathomable. A United States attorney is accused of putting his financial interest above those of his client! Is there nothing left to believe in anymore?

Mr. Bailey’s attorney alluded to the intricacies of American jurisprudence by saying: "We are obviously disappointed."

So, You Want Proof

News Dash – November 16, 2001

In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a distraught mother…frustrated that a Sallie Mae loan office would not believe that her debtor-son was deceased…mailed them the cremation certificate AND two teaspoons of his ashes…which triggered a full-scale anthrax panic.

Not the Fast Track

News Dash – November 16, 2001

In Memphis, Tennessee, an unnamed driver…hearing a train coming…thought he would save a little time…by driving around the gates…and collided with ANOTHER unnamed driver…who apparently had the same idea…the train passed by the crash unimpeded.

This is Tight Airport Security?

Employee Advocate - – November 6, 2001

You have heard all the stories about how tight airline security is now. The security agents are confiscating everything – even cigar cutters. According to the Associated Press, airport security is still not catching every little thing.

Subash Gurung was not detained after waltzing through the checkpoint with two knives in his pocket. He had seven more knives in his carry-on luggage – and a stun gun – and a can of mace! He was allowed to blithely walk into the terminal.

Later, another employee searched Gurung’s bag and found the items. Seven airline employees were suspended over the incident.

The Headless Chicken

The Charlotte Observer – by Melissa Manware – October 12, 2001

Someone mugged the Bojangles' chicken, stealing the costumed character's head as he waved to race fans on N.C.49.

Now, Bojangles' Restaurant officials say they will forgive the crime - if the prankster returns the chicken's noggin unharmed.

The incident happened just after Saturday's NASCAR race outside the restaurant near Lowe's Motor Speedway in Harrisburg.

The chicken was outside waving to race fans when a man approached him asking for directions.

The man got close, then grabbed the chicken's head, pulled it off and ran. He jumped into a waiting van that sped away, leaving the headless bird stunned.

"He couldn't believe it," said Mike Bradley, Bojangles' area director.

"He was just standing there trying to say hi and someone steals his head."

The restaurant manager called police and filed a report. But Bradley said he won't ask any questions or press charges, if the chicken head is returned in the same condition it was taken.

Bradley said the head cost the company about $800.

Burger King Cooks ‘Sole’ Food

Duke Energy Employee Advocate - - October 8, 2001

Burger King now roasts “foot longs,” according to The Charlotte Observer. Members of the marketing department are not roasting foot long hot dogs, they are roasting feet – their own feet!

You have heard about companies with too much money on hand, looking for ways to blow some of it. One way to burn some cash is by having a corporate firewalking bonding experience. The deal is to pay someone to let employees show off by walking on hot coals. In America, there is a market for almost anything.

Something strange happened while these employees were walking barefoot over 1,200 degree coals – some suffered burned feet! One firewalker was taken to the emergency room. A doctor was brought in to treat others with burned feet. Some were in wheelchairs the next day.

You can always count on a profound statement from a company spokesperson. Burger King’s spokesperson said: "We certainly didn't intend for that to happen."

The guy selling the event was able to explain everything: "Some people just have incredibly sensitive feet." Duke Energy may just want to hire him for their spokesperson!

You know executives always want to put a positive spin on everything. Some of them called the event a success! Wow! One wonders what a total disaster would look like.

Dana Frydman, vice president of product marketing, said: "It was a great experience for everyone." And, she was one of the victims! She said: "It made you feel a sense of empowerment and that you can accomplish anything." We suppose that if one wants to burn their feet, and feels empowered to do it, then, by golly, they can burn their feet. She said: “It's really about mind over matter." No argument here. If she does not mind burning her feet, it does not matter to us.

Despite all of the bluster, Burger King is not going to hold any more firewalking events.

You can get your hamburger fixed just the way you want it at Burger King. If they do not get it right the first time, just hold their feet to the fire until they get it right.

Mission: “Krispy Kreme”

Associated Press – October 7, 2001

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Albuquerque police have taken doughnut runs to new heights, swooping down in an official helicopter for a late-night snack.

"I don't know how they decided that was a good idea," said Lt. Bob Huntsman, department spokesman. Huntsman said the department is investigating.

"If they violated policy or procedure, they're going to get disciplined for it," he said. "We've worked too hard to make this a professional unit to let lack of common sense tear us down."

Keith Turner, who works near a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop, said he was on a break with other people early Thursday when a police helicopter circled and landed in a dirt field nearby.

"I was like, `No, they'd better not go and get doughnuts,'" Turner said. As the helicopter idled, someone got out and went into the store, returning 10 or 15 minutes later with a Krispy Kreme box, he said.

The chopper gave what Turner presumed was a goodbye toot on its police siren as it took off.

Huntsman said he had not yet spoken to those aboard. He said it appeared the two officers were near the end of their shift and probably were flying back to a hangar on the same side of town.

That’s Nice to Know!

Employee Advocate - - October 5, 2001

The story below is indeed a legitimate news article, published by San Diego 10 News, on October 3, 2001:

Coroner: Object In Fruit Drink Not Penis

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Tests revealed that a mysterious object believed to be a human penis that was found in a bottled fruit drink by a Commerce City man was actually bacterial mold, police said.

Juan Sanchez-Marchez brought the bottle of Ora Potency Fruit Punch to police Thursday. He told authorities that he drank almost the entire bottle when he discovered the object.

Investigators had told Commerce City police that the object (pictured, right) appeared to be an intact 3-inch section of a human penis. Tests indicated that the object was not human tissue.

"These tests confirmed that the object was not human tissue, but rather bacterial mold growth. A sample will be forwarded to the FDA forensic laboratory for exact determination of the organism," Adams County Coroner Richard Amend said.

FDA officials told police Tuesday that the drink distributing plant had discovered a second bottle with an unknown substance floating in it.

The substance was described by the coroner's staff as "a cylindrical object about 3 mm long and 3 mm wide," according to a press release.

Police said that they sent the bottle to the coroner's office for testing, and that they were not continuing their criminal investigation into the incidents.

Trying to Get it Right

NewsDash - September 28, 2001

In Virginia Beach, Virginia, Charles Robertson, 19, a would-be bank robber was making his escape when he realized he had left his holdup note with the teller. Not wanting to leave evidence, he returned to the scene of the crime - grabbed the note and exited again. Unfortunately, this time he left his KEYS in the bank - a fact left undiscovered until he got to the car...he managed to elude police, but had to tell his roommate - whose car he had stolen for his adventure. Naturally, she reported the car stolen. An alert officer spotted it near the bank a half hour later and on a hunch, tried the keys left behind by Charles. Police then returned the car - and picked Charles up.

Poor Choice

NewsDash - September 21, 2001

In Lakeland, Florida, two aspiring young thieves sought to break into a van at the local shopping mall…however, it turned out to be the police department's unmarked surveillance van…

Just Fill Out This Form

NewsDash - September 14, 2001

In Baltimore, Maryland, Edwin V. Gaynor, 21, recently stopped by the local police station, hoping to fulfill his dream of being a cop…and he might have made it too, but for one small question on the application – "Have you ever committed a crime"…Edwin checked "yes" – and then proceeded to tell his prospective employer of his role in a car-jacking incident, and multiple robberies in Texas earlier that year…previously unsolved, of course….he got an "inside" job….in Texas

Billing Me for Killing Me

NewsDash - September 7, 2001

Believing that Frederick Moore IV was drunk and ignoring their commands after a nine-mile chase, two Frederick County, Virginia sheriffs, Eric Winer and Jeffrey Norris,

  • broke Moore's truck's window,

  • sprayed him with pepper spray,

  • beat him with batons,

  • AND (leaving nothing to chance) had a police dog attack him,

leaving Moore, who turns out to have been in diabetic shock, with multiple bites and an extended hospital stay…but that's not the weird part…the two deputies are now suing Moore for $68,000 – claiming that his complaints about the incident have damaged their careers…

The Sound of Music

NewsDash - September 7, 2001

In Cambridge, Ohio, Alan Law, 19, was sentenced to listen to four hours of polka king Frankie Yankovic's greatest hits…after driving through the city with his windows rolled down and his truck's stereo blasting…and yes, Frankie is (was) "Weird Al" Yankovic's papa…

Tax Rebate Check Bounces

Employee Advocate - - September 2, 2001

Butch John (The Courier-Journal) reports that a $300 income-tax rebate check bounced. The payee of the bounced check was Johnathon Hudson, a 22 year old construction worker.

The cause of the bounced check was said to be a computer problem. Well, maybe. And just maybe, it is a precursor of things to come

Rate Your Job

Lurchogram-Joke of the Week - August 19, 2001

In an effort to publicize the conditions that some women have to work under, the National Association of Working Women (known as 9to5) periodically conducts a “Rate Your Job” contest.

To participate, workers send in stories that illustrate “good, bad, and downright unbelievable practices on the job.” Here are a few examples from past competitions in the category of outrageous requests by various managers to their secretaries:

  • Repair a hole is his trousers, while he’s wearing them.

  • Go to a bar and beep him if she finds any good-looking women.

  • Wax the hair off his back.

  • Cup her hands for his cigarette ashes.

  • Clip his nose hairs.

Winners in the outrageous workplace behavior category included:

  • A manager who fired his assistant for having a terminal illness and causing insurance rates to go up.

  • A law firm that decided to protect a new carpet by bolting secretaries chairs to the floor in a way that some were unable to reach phones or keyboards while seated.

  • And a manager who, when a suspicious-looking package arrived in the mail, told his secretary: “this might be a bomb-you open it.”

She Won a New Toyota – Sort of

Duke Energy Employee Advocate - - August 12, 2001

A former Hooters waitress won a beer selling contest and was prepared to receive her new Toyota, according to the Associated Press. She was led, blindfolded, to the parking lot to see her new Toyota.

When the blindfold was removed, she was presented with a new “toy Yoda” (Star Wars doll).

Many employees of other companies have had the same trick pulled on them. Instead of Toyotas, they were led to believe that they would receive promised pensions, retirement health coverage, and early retirement benefits. What they will actually receive will amount to a toy Yoda doll.

The executive’s ribs are still probably sore from laughing about the toy Yoda benefit. The soreness will likely be gone by the time they go to court to face the lawsuit brought against them.

Employees just do not like to be baited and switched, whether it is pensions or toy Yodas! No matter if it is Duke Energy or Hooters, we strive to keep abreast of these employer versus employee conflicts.

Getting Out the Vote

Employee Advocate - - August 12, 2001

The Pentagon ran an experiment last year to let overseas soldiers cast votes over the Internet, the Associated Press reports. The program netted only 84 votes – the cost was $6.2 million!

A lot of turmoil resulted from the military votes cast by mail. Now the Internet is being brought into the act to add more complexity!

The Pentagon officials were happy with the results and the price to get them. But one must remember, these guys are not noted for getting the best deals around.

An Example to Drive Home the Point

NewsDash - August 3, 2001

In Las Cruces, New Mexico, Linda Harris, 53, was arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated – at a DWI awareness picnic...she was the coordinator of Dona Ana County's drunken-driving prevention program…she's now on administrative leave…

You’re Driving Me Crazy

NewsDash - July 27, 2001

Near Toronto, Canada, a teenager had just finished…and apparently passed…her driving test when she went to park…hit four cars…then spun around and hit two more…and a pedestrian (who is fine)…she apparently panicked and hit the gas instead of the brake…and didn't get her license…the driving instructor was treated for shock…

Pig on Duty

ABC News - July 26, 2001

Arnold … became the crime-fighting pig of Clinton Avenue. The 300-pound pet became a star attraction of the Minneapolis neighborhood after he saved his owner's bacon last February when two men her accosted in her garage.

"I had left the side door open," his owner, Becky Moyer, said. "Pretty soon I felt this thing in my back like a gun." They went into the kitchen where Arnold was lying on the floor, and when Moyer began screaming, the pet pig sprang into action.

"He swung around and grabbed the guy right in the calf muscle." The man yelled, "There's a [expletive] pig in here!" and they ran out, Moyer said. Her other porcine pet, a 165-pound purebred Vietnamese pot belly named Axel, cowered under a chair.

"He was squealing as loud as I was," the 54-year-old remembered...

Hillary’s Freudian Slip

Employee Advocate - - July 21, 2001

Senator Hillary Clinton gave a policy speech at the National Press Club. She brought down the house, unintentionally, according to The New York Times.

Senator Clinton was asked if she was going to run for president. Her answer: "No, I have said that I am not running and I'm having a great time being presi —. Being a first-term senator."

The crowd would not stop laughing.

Dead People Are Low Maintenance

Employee Advocate - - July 19, 2001

Philip Morris financed a report in the Czech Republic touting the money saved by the government due to the early deaths of smokers, according to Reuters. That is what we call a hard sell for cigarettes! You know, smoke inhaled into the lungs will lead to “coffin.”

The report revealed the huge savings on pensions, health care, and housing for the elderly. We cannot refute the figures; dead people are usually very low maintenance (provided they are not interred in rented tuxedos).

No doubt, the large employers, who have converted to cash balance pension plans, are keenly interested in this development. They have proven that they are out to make a buck at the expense of employees, by any means possible. Ethics is no consideration!

The board members are probably in the back room now, “smoking over” the new pension plan. Let’s see, if they changed the pension rules (again), so that an employee’s estate received nothing if he died before retirement age, and then the company gave him two packs of cigarettes per day…hummm. Any employees that lived until he was within one year of retirement, could qualify for the accelerated pension benefit plan: Two packs of cigarettes per day and a fifth of gin!


Lurchogram - Joke of the Week - July 15, 2001

One day an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students will never forget.

As he stood in front of the group of high powered overachievers he said, "Okay, time for a quiz." Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide mouth mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?"

Everyone in the class said, "Yes."

Then he said, "Really?"

He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the space between the big rocks. Then he asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?" By this time the class was on to him.

"Probably not," one of them answered.

"Good!" he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all of the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full?"

"No!" the class shouted.

Once again he said, "Good." Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim.

Then he looked at the class and asked, "What is the point of this illustration?"

One eager beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more things in it!"

"No," the speaker replied, "that's not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all." What are the 'big rocks' in your life? Time with your loved ones? Your faith, your education, your dreams? A worthy cause? Teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you'll never get them in at all. So, tonight, or in the morning, when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the 'big rocks' in my life? Then, put those in your jar first.

The Ultimate Protection - by M. W. Guzy - July 13, 2001

Wire services reported that one Mario Castellano was fatally wounded while attempting to run "a police checkpoint set up to enforce a new law mandating helmets for scooter and motorcycle riders."

Castellano, who was riding a motor scooter without benefit of helmet, thus became the first man in history to be shot dead for his own protection…

Once, This Was Only a Joke

NewsDash by Plan Sponsor - June 29, 2001

In Acchen, Germany, an argument between an unnamed man and his wife had to be broken up by police…the man, apparently seeking "solace" in a local "red-light" district ran into his wife, who was, unbeknownst to her husband, already "employed" in said district…


Lurchogram - Joke of the Week - June 25, 2001

There was a man who entered a local paper’s pun contest. He sent in ten different puns, in the hope that at least one of the puns would win.

Unfortunately, no pun in ten did.

Bush Saw the Bad Moon Arising

Employee Advocate - - June 15, 2001

G. W. Bush may not have had a reception like this in many moons. But that is exactly what he got in Sweden - “many moons.” In fact, a Reuters story referred to the event as a “mass mooning.”

G. W. Bush has been the butt of many jokes in the United States. We assure no word had been assimilated on his assessment of the asinine anatomical antics. But he, no doubt, assumed that it was a cheeky display of deep-seated resentment.

Dogs of War

NewsDash by Plan Sponsor - June 8, 2001

During WWII Russians tried to wreak havoc on German Panzer tank divisions by strapping bombs to the backs of dogs and teaching them to associate food with the underneath of their enemies' tanks…unfortunately, the dogs only associated food with their OWN (Russian) tanks…forcing an entire Soviet division to retreat…

Helmet is Not For Identity Protection

NewsDash by Plan Sponsor - June 1, 2001

A quick nod to the vanity of Austin, Texas' Barry Richards, who robbed a restaurant…while wearing his motorcycle helmet…with his name on it…

Wasn't This on "The Three Stooges"?

NewsDash by Plan Sponsor - May 25, 2001

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, local firefighters went to deal with a fire at an abandoned house…but left fish frying on the stove at the firehouse…which soon lived up to its name…an hour later – still trying to put out the fire at the house, they heard the reports of the fire at their station…

The Great Escape

NewsDash by Plan Sponsor - May 4, 2001

A Los Angeles County a suspect fleeing from police figured that if he turned off his vehicle lights, he might find it easier to evade his pursuers….which it might have….except that every time he made a turn….he thoughtfully turned on his turn signal.

Out of the Car Scum Bags!

NewsDash by Plan Sponsor - April 27, 2001

There was that elderly lady who, having completed her shopping, returned to her car – only to see 4 men in the process of leaving with her car…pulling a handgun from her purse, she threatened, " I have a gun and I know how to use it! Get out of the car you scum bags!" The men ran away, and our heroine – somewhat shaken – got in the car and tried to start it…but couldn't get her key into the ignition…only to find her REAL car about a half dozen spaces away…turns out the police got a report on a strange car-jacking…by an elderly, crazy white woman with a large handgun.

Big Boss Has Big Idea (He Made a Difference!)

NewsDash by Plan Sponsor - April 13, 2001

In Kansas City, Missouri, there was Neal Patterson, head of Cerner Corporation (CERN) who, distressed that the 3,100 employees at the medical software maker weren't showing the proper amount of "devotion" to their jobs, sent an email to his 400 managers demanding that the company parking lot be nearly full at 7:30 a.m. and half full on weekends, or he would fire them all….that email ended up on a Yahoo! bulletin board…and investors, concerned about the goings on there….dumped the stock 22% over two days…costing the company $270 million in market! capitalization….and Mr. Patterson about $28 million…

Last Cookie

Lurchogram - Joke of the Week - April 7, 2001

An elderly man was at home, dying in bed. He smelled the aroma of his favorite chocolate chip cookies baking. He wanted one last cookie before he died. He fell out of bed, crawled to the landing, rolled down the stairs, and crawled into the kitchen where his wife was busily baking cookies.

With waning strength, he crawled to the table and was just barely able to lift his withered arm to the cookie sheet. As he grasped a warm, moist, chocolate chip cookie-his favorite kind-his wife suddenly whacked his hand with a spatula.

"Why?" he whispered. "Why'd you do that?"

"They're for the funeral," she replied.

Squirrelly Story

NewsDash by Plan Sponsor - March 30, 2001

Don't Try This at Home, or in the Woods

In Bloomfield, Indiana, one Jack Constable, 18, was squirrel hunting with a friend…Jack decided that it would be fun to take a squirrel he had bagged earlier [and play a joke]... [He] hid behind a tree and moved the squirrel as if it were still alive, hoping to fool his friend…who was completely "fooled"…turning his 12-gauge shotgun to the task…wounding Jack in both hands, his left knee and stomach…

You Cannot Pin Anything On Me

NewsDash by Plan Sponsor - March 30, 2001

Afraid that police would recognize his distinctive clothing, Travion Davis, 19, decided instead to disrobe in a Los Angeles alley…nonetheless, sheriff's deputies thought that a naked man running in an alley with two shopping bags might be worth checking out…

Answering the Call of Justice

Chicago Sun Times - March 2001

So, That's Why It's Called a "Cell" Phone

Patrick Mahoney was jailed after his cell phone rang in a courtroom. He had gone there with his teenage son, who was appearing in traffic court to show proof he was insured. As Mahoney walked out to answer the call, deputies stopped him, and took him handcuffed to a holding cell. He spent a restless night alone in a cell before being released the next morning. The judge didn't like being interrupted by cell phones and pagers.

One Method To End Pension Stonewalling

NewsDash by Plan Sponsor - March 23, 2001

"I was working for a consulting firm in the NYC metro area when we got a call from a plan sponsor for a benefit calculation. We did our standard "submit request and two weeks later you'll have your calculation"…..only to learn the insistent plan participant was in the client's office with a shotgun."…

The Getaway

NewsDash by Plan Sponsor - March 2, 2001

In Davenport, Washington, two thieves decided they would rob a local tire store and, not wanting to cause suspicion, drove into one of the garage bays and ordered a new set of tires. Our intrepid heroes then entered the establishment, one distracted the cashier, the other got into the register, and then both ran out….to their car….which was now about 3 feet off the ground…and tireless…police caught up with them easily…

How Not to Recoup Losses

The Charlotte Observer - By CHUCK SHEPHERD - February 27, 2001

John Robert Broos Jr., 57, was charged with obstruction of justice in Barron County, Minn., in December after reporting that he had been mugged in a robbery in the parking lot of the St. Croix Casino in Turtle Lake. Broos appeared to have been beaten up, but he was apparently unaware that a parking-lot surveillance camera had recorded the entire "incident." Broos was seen returning to his truck after losing $50 gambling, then walking over to a light pole, banging his head against it three or four times, reaching down for some dirt and gravel, and smearing it against his face. Then, still on camera, he checked his look in the truck's mirror, apparently was not satisfied, and smashed his head several more times before returning to the casino and reporting the "robbery." Said the prosecutor, "In this profession, it's hard to be surprised anymore."

Total Electric deregulation

NewsDash by Plan Sponsor - February 24, 2001

In Logan, Utah, one Clarence Stucki, 91 (that's not a typo), has been charged with stealing electricity - about $82,000 worth. Actually, he has been siphoning it off from a nearby power line since the 1940s, but the statute of limitations capped the charges at 7 years of theft....Clarence was discovered when he complained about...a power the way, he had just scraped the wires bare to connect them to his action that could have been fatal...

More Poetic Justice In The End

NewsDash by Plan Sponsor - February 24, 2001

Phillip Boivin, 46, showed up at a Boise, Idaho, residence at 3:40 a.m. recently, armed with a handgun and demanding a dog from the homeowner....he got one (a collie), then left, apparently sticking his weapon in the back waistband of his pants (some of you can already see where this is going)...sure enough, it began to bother him, and he reached back to adjust the weapon...well, let's just say it then bothered him more....seeking to remedy THAT (new) pain, he instead inadvertently (we assume) fired it AGAIN...he's in the hospital...the collie is back with his owner...and no one (yet) knows why...

Soul Bidding

Duke Energy Employee Advocate - February 17, 2001

Reported by “NewsDash” on 2/16/01: “Adam Burtle, 20, sold his soul on eBay last week …the bidding began at a nickel, but shot up to $400 in the final hour of bidding…going to a Des Moines woman before the auction site pulled the listing.”

Duke Energy’s executives are eternally looking for a way to turn a buck, but will be dismayed to find that they cannot participate in this auction “opportunity.” Their souls were sold on January 1, 1997 when the cash balance pension plan replaced our promised retirement benefits.

Poetic Justice In The End

NewsDash by Plan Sponsor - February 9, 2001

A German bank robber entered a bank, intending to make an unscheduled withdrawal. He reached behind his back for the pistol (not-so) cleverly tucked inside his waistline….and pulled the trigger…..when he should have pulled the handle…it all worked out in the "end."

Feeling Worked to Death?

NewsDash by Plan Sponsor - February 2, 2001

Employees of a publishing firm are trying to work out why no one noticed that one of their employees had been sitting dead at his desk for FIVE DAYS before his "lack of productivity" was noticed. George Turklebaum, 51, who had been employed as a proof-reader at a New York firm for 30 years, apparently suffered a heart attack in the open-plan office he shared with 23 workers…on a Monday….but nobody noticed until SATURDAY morning…when a cleaning employee asked why he was working on the weekend…his (ex) boss Elliot Wachiaski explained, "George was always the first guy in each morning and the last to leave at night, so no one found it unusual that he was in the same position all that time and didn't say anything. He was always absorbed in his work and kept much to himself"…he was proofreading medical text books at the time…

Bureaucracy in the Planet of the Apes

Duke Energy Employee Advocate - January 15, 2001

“Bureaucracy in the Planet of the Apes” was posted on an IBEW news list. We were able to trace it back to the January 7, 2001 edition of “Lurchogram,” a Joke of the Week e-mail newsletter. The story was passed along to the publisher as “author unknown.” Here it is, but we feel it is much more than just a joke:

Bureaucracy in the Planet of the Apes – author unknown

1. Start with a cage containing five apes. In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put stairs under it. Before long, an ape will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the Banana.

2. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the apes with cold water. After a while, another ape makes an attempt with the same result--all the apes are sprayed with cold water.

3. Turn off the cold water. If, later, another ape tries to climb the stairs, the other apes will try to prevent it even though no water sprays them.

4. Now, remove one ape from the cage and replace it with a new one. The New ape sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his horror, all of the other apes attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

5. Next, remove another of the original five apes and replace it with a New one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous Newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.

6. Again, replace a third original ape with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four apes that beat him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest ape.

7. After replacing the fourth and fifth original apes, all the apes which have been sprayed with cold water have been replaced. Nevertheless, no ape ever again approaches the stairs.

Why not?

"BECAUSE that's the way it's always been done around here."

Yes, we feel that this is more that just a joke. It tells volumes about human nature. Picture senior management as the zookeepers and the employees as the apes. That’s really the way management looks at it anyway. Instead of a banana, our earned retirement benefits are suspended from a string. If management can control the thoughts of enough apes, the rest will be controlled by peer pressure. But there are those who are oblivious to management sanctioned peer pressure. They know their earned benefits are on the string and they are hitting the stairs going after it!

To subscribe to "Lurchogram-Joke of the Week," send e-mail with first and last name, e-mail address and who referred you. You will be added to the following weeks "Lurchogram".

How Not to Raise Christmas Cash

The New York Times - December 16, 2000

Seven soldiers who police say robbed a McDonalds restaurant in a commando-style heist for Christmas money have been arrested.

Two of the soldiers, dressed all in black, entered the restaurant Thursday night and pointed 9 mm pistols at the staff, police said. The others stayed outside, communicating by walkie-talkie.

The first suspects were questioned in their Fort Carson barracks a few hours later.

``They all squealed right away,'' said police detective John Pentland. ``They all said they needed the money. Apparently, they talked about it prior and just decided it would be easy to do and went out and tried it.'' Pentland said the soldiers arrived at the restaurant around 10 p.m. and waited until no customers were left inside. He said two of the soldiers were supposed to block the drive-through lane but ``chickened out.'' The gunmen ordered workers to lie on the floor, then pointed a gun in the night manager's face and ordered her to open the safe, Pentland said. He said the manager said she didn't know the combination and emptied out the cash registers, and the robbers ended up taking about $100.

Poetic Justice

NewsDash by Plan Sponsor- December 15, 2000

There was the housewife who, distraught over her husband's unfaithfulness, decided to end it all by jumping out of the window of her third floor apartment. Only she didn't realize her husband was walking underneath the window. She's better. He's not.

Even a reindeer kick isn't this bad

The Charlotte Observer - By David Perlmutt - December 15, 2000

Distressed 3-year-old boots Santa helper at mall into a hospital bed

Mall Santa Terry Snider is accustomed to the occupational hazards of his seasonal job.

His long, white beard has been tugged. Yes, it's real.

He's been wet on. Often.

And, occasionally, he gets kicked by a frightened child apprehensive about sitting in his lap.

But never has Snider - one of Santa Claus' thousands of uniformed helpers throughout the world - been kicked like he was this week at Eastland Mall. A double booter by a 3-year-old boy has marooned him in a Mercy South Hospital bed with an infected knee and a swollen leg as puffy as a stocking on Christmas morning.

"It wasn't the kid's fault; it was the mother's," Snider said Thursday. "She got mad at him because he was putting up an argument - he didn't want to sit in Santa's lap.

"So she grabbed the kid by one arm and pulled him up in the air, and he kicked me with both feet."

Snider cringed, but stayed at his post. It wouldn't be right for Santa to leave before all the children had delivered their wish lists.

"I didn't want to scare the kids any more than they were, so I tried to keep as quiet as I could. I still had six hours to go in my set, and I just shut it off. I really thought it would clear up, but the next morning my leg started to swell."

Monday's kicks cut his knee and something from his Santa suit may have caused the infection.

Snider, 62, resembles the real Santa. Because the real one can't be everywhere, Snider enlisted as a Santa lieutenant 12 years ago. He's been a mall Santa at Charlotte's Eastland Mall for two years.

When he's not helping Santa, he works at Wal-Mart at The Arboretum, where he's sometimes recognized from his other role.

"Kids see me and say, `You aren't supposed to be in here,' and the parents say, `See, I told you Santa's always keeping a watch on you.'"

When he returns to his Santa chair at Eastland, probably Monday, he will wear shin guards. And knee pads.

Al Gore Wins Election!

FreeRepublic - November 29, 2000

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - …Al Gore can take solace in knowing he won one election: that of volunteer district director of the Marion Soil and Water Conservation Board.

With 23 write-in votes, it appears the vice president won handily. Donald Duck got more votes but was disqualified as an animated character.

No candidate sought the job so all 4,570 votes were write-ins. Gore beat Bush, radio shock jock Howard Stern and John Doe, among other write-ins for the district seat.

A Real Blast

PS Magazine, page 9 - August, 1993
(The Army's magazine of preventive maintenance.)

A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what's left of your unit.

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