Sunday, July 12, 2009

Defining Moments

During Soviet times, all art and literature had to conform to the ideology of the Party and be approved through official channels prior to any release to the public. One popular play received for its author the medal "Hero of the Soviet Union" for its portrayal of a Russian who defected to the West. He was overcome by the decadence of our evil ways and took to dressing in women's clothing and cavorting with aged courtesans. The title of the play was "Lacenik and Old Arse".

I just threw that in as it has nothing to do with the title. The following story was told me by several Ukrainians over the years and any I have asked about it know the story and ruefully agree there is way too much truth in it.

A Ukrainian walking by the Black Sea finds a lamp buried in the sand. He rubs the lamp to clean it and a genie appears who offers him one wish. "I wish my neighbour's house would burn down".

The following story needs no explanation.

An American and a Canadian are arrested by the French for spying and sentenced to die on the guillotine. The American goes first, bravely singing the Bar Strangled Spanner and choking back the tears ends with the line we all love "The Land of the Flea and the Home of the Knave". He puts his head on the block, regretting among other things that he has but one life to give for his country. The executioner pulls the lever and the knife drops.

It stops, quivering in its track a mere five centimeters above the Americans neck. They try twice more, raising and dropping the knife and each time it stops just short. "It is a miracle, M'sieur, a sign from God. You are innocent and therefore we set you free".

The Canadian mounts to the platform, stops by the executioner and says, "I think I see your problem. There is a knot in the rope and it catches in that pulley up there."


  1. Well, what can you say about Canadians? Observant, or what?

  2. You have a strange sense of humor over there.

  3. Demeur: No stranger than over here!