These "Tale Spinner" episodes are brought to you courtesy of one of our Canadian friends, Jean Sansum. You can thank her by eMail at
Vol. XVIII No. 09
Abby models her new sweater|
(cllick image to enlarge)
Actually I got Abby because the snowbird fell and hurt her back and was unable to keep her. At first I took care of the dog temporarily. Eventually Joan (the snowbird) had to return to Canada and realized that she couldn´t care for the dog anymore. By that time I had become attached to Abby, who is a very cute dog. For a Canadian, she is a very wimpy dog indeed, but of course she had wintered in Florida. We´ve had a mild winter this year, but last year was cold here, especially by our rather wimpy standards. We had several days in the twenties (F) when Abby would very quickly do her business and run for the house. This year we bought her a lovely pink doggie sweater, which she has worn on a few occasions. We were concerned that she wouldn´t cooperate when we tried to put it on her, but she seems to like it and feel very dressed up in it.
Regarding the problem of Abby´s fondness for tipping over waste baskets:
The dog whisperer said that a dog will get into trouble when bored. We bought Abby two balls to hide treats in for her to play with, which was something the dog whisperer suggested in his book. She has managed to lose both of them. I know they´re around here somewhere but haven´t been able to locate either of them. With the waste baskets, she seems to enjoy the tipping over part the most. I´m kind of afraid she would tip over the step-on can too. We find that we are emptying the baskets more frequently. There are just two baskets she likes, and she doesn´t disturb the one in the kitchen, which would be very messy indeed.
Here is a picture of Abby modelling her pink sweater:
Carol Shoemaker concludes her efforts to fill in the blanks in your knowledge of
1776 - Napoleon decides to maintain a position of neutrality in the American Revolution, primarily because he is only seven years old.
1779 - John Paul Jones notifies the British, "I have just begun to fight!" and then feels pretty foolish when he discovers that his ship is sinking.
1793 - "Let them eat cake!" becomes the most famous thing Marie Antoinette ever said. Also, the least diplomatic thing she ever said. Also, the last thing she ever said.
1799 - Translation of the Rosetta Stone finally enables scholars to learn that Egyptian hieroglyphics don´t say anything important. "Dear Ramses, How are you? I am fine."
1805 - Robert Fulton invents the torpedo.
1807 - Robert Fulton invents the steamship so he has something to blow up with his torpedo.
1815 - Post Office policy is established as Andrew Jackson wins the Battle of New Orleans a month after he should have received the letter telling him the War of 1812 is over.
1840 - William Henry Harrison is elected president in a landslide, proving that the campaign motto, "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" is so meaningless that very few can disagree with it.
1850 - Henry Clay announces, "I´d rather be right than president," which gets quite a laugh, coming from a guy who has run for president five times without winning.
1859 - Charles Darwin writes "Origin of the Species." It has the same general plot as "Planet of the Apes", but fails to gross as much money.
1865 - Union Soldiers face their greatest challenge of the war: getting General Grant sober enough to accept Lee´s surrender.
1876 - General George Armstrong Custer and His Travelling Band plays "Gerry Owen" for several thousand Plains Indians who had gathered along the banks of the Little Big Horn for the open air concert.
1894 - Thomas Edison displays the first motion picture, and everybody likes it except the movie critics.
1903 - The opening of the Trans-Siberian Railway enables passengers from Moscow to reach Vladivostok in eight days, which is a lot sooner than most of them want to get there.
1910 - The founding of the Boy Scouts of America comes as bad news to old ladies who would rather cross the street by themselves.
1911 - Roald Amundsen discovers the South Pole and confirms what he´s suspected all along: It looks a helluva lot like the North Pole!
1912 - People with reservations for the voyage of the Titanic get their money back.
1920 - The 18th Amendment to the Constitution makes drinking illegal in the U.S. so everyone stops. Except for the 40 million who don´t stop!
1924 - Hitler is released from prison four years early, after convincing the parole board that he is a changed man who won´t cause any more trouble.
1928 - Herbert Hoover promises "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage," but he neglects to add that most Americans will soon be without pots and garages.
1930 - Pluto is discovered. Not the dog, stupid; the planet. The dog wasn´t discovered until 1938.
1933 - German housewives begin to realize why that crazy wallpaper hanger with the mustache never came back to finish his work.
1933 - Hitler establishes the Third Reich, and announces that it will last for a thousand years. As matters develop, he is only 988 years off.
1934 - John Dillinger is gunned down by police as he leaves a Chicago movie theatre. And just to make the evening a complete washout, he didn´t enjoy the movie either.
1934 - As if the Great Depression weren´t giving businessmen enough headaches, Ralph Nader is born.
1938 - Great Britain and Germany sign a peace treaty, thereby averting all possibility of WWII.
1944 - Hitler´s promise of Volkswagens for all Germans as soon as they´ve won the war doesn´t prove to be as strong an incentive as he had hoped.
1945-1999 - Very boring. US invades Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Kosovo; Microsoft, Intel, Monica, Diet Coke, Hula Hoop, International House of Pancakes, Hippies, Moonies, Furbies, Moon Landing, Moon Pies, Mooning, War on Drugs and Sex, Nixon, Carter, Johnson, Gerald Somebody, Clinton, Disney World, Payne Stewart - your cell phone is ringing.
Y2K, then, at the year 2000, the world ended.
Tom Williamson sends a list that was probably written by a woman:
10. Cats´ facial expressions.
9. The need for the same style of shoes in different colours.
8. Why bean sprouts aren´t just weeds.
7. Fat clothes.
6. Taking a car trip without trying to beat your best time.
5. The difference between beige, ecru, cream, off-white, and eggshell.
4. Cutting your bangs to make them grow.
3. Eyelash curlers.
2. The inaccuracy of every bathroom scale ever made.
And the number one thing only women understand:
1. OTHER WOMEN
Verda Cook sends this sad story:
After being snowbound for two weeks last winter, a Toronto man departed for his vacation in Miami Beach, where he was to meet his wife the next day at the conclusion of her business trip to Calgary. They were looking forward to pleasant weather and a nice time together. Unfortunately, there was some sort of mix-up at the boarding gate, and the man was told he would have to wait for a later flight. He tried to appeal to a supervisor but was told the airline was not responsible for the problem and it would do no good to complain.
Upon arrival at the hotel the next day, he discovered that Miami Beach was having a heat wave, and its weather was as uncomfortably hot as Toronto was cold. The desk clerk gave him a message that his wife would arrive as planned. He could hardly wait to get to the pool area to cool off, and quickly sent his wife an e-mail, but due to his haste he made an error in the e-mail address. His message arrived at the home of an elderly preacher´s wife whose even older husband had died only the day before.
When the grieving widow opened her e-mail, she took one look at the monitor, let out an anguished scream, and fell to the floor dead. Her family rushed to her room, where they saw this message on the screen:
Dearest wife, Departed yesterday, as you know. Just now got checked in. Some confusion at the gate. Appeal was denied. Received confirmation of your arrival tomorrow. Your loving husband.
P.S. Things are not as we thought. You´re going to be surprised at how hot it is down here.
1. Never give yourself a haircut after three margaritas.
2. You need only two tools: WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn´t move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn´t, use the tape.
3. The five most essential words for a healthy, vital relationship are: "I apologize" and "You are right."
4. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
5. When you make a mistake, make amends immediately. It´s easier to eat crow while it´s still warm.
6. The best advice that your mother ever gave you was, "Go! You might meet somebody!"
7. If he/she says that you are too good for him/her - believe them.
8. Learn to pick your battles. Ask yourself, "Will this matter one year from now? How about one month? One week? One day?"
9. Never pass up an opportunity to pee.
10. If you woke up breathing, congratulations! You have another chance!
11. Living well really is the best revenge. Being miserable because of a bad or former relationship just might mean that the other person was right about you.
12. Work is good, but it´s not that important.
This is an online interview I did for Shelly Klammer, who works in the arts department at George Derby Centre, a home for veterans, for their in-house newsletter, The Town Crier:
Shelley: I was wondering how you came to volunteer at George Derby?
Editor: When I retired 25 years ago, I looked around for something interesting to do. I saw Shirley Conlon´s note in a local paper asking for a volunteer to organize George Derby´s library. (Shirley was the volunteer coordinator at that time.)
I had been a school librarian for 17 years and was happy to use those skills at Derby. I organized their small library alphabetically, because the Dewey Decimal system seemed like overkill. The library was in a corner of a large building on the original site of the centre, and many other activities were based there.
When the centre moved to its present location, they hired a part-time librarian and formalized the position, so Shirley found me something else to do. The new centre had a gift shop which was run by volunteers, and at first I helped Shirley bank the proceeds, and did any other jobs she needed help with. Eventually, an accountant was found to act as treasurer, and I became his assistant.
I remember three treasurers who preceded me: Al McLeod, who argued unsuccessfully with the tax department that the shop should be listed as a charity. He was succeeded by Jack Downing, who stayed on the job even after he had to drag his own oxygen supply. And then came Allan Wright, who eventually came to work in a motor scooter, until he could no longer live on his own and had to retire.
After Allan left, I was offered the job of treasurer, but I hesitated to accept it because it seemed to have fatal effects on those in the office. But I did accept it and have been treasurer for the volunteer society for some years. Last year I got a helper, Gayl Taylor, who has taken on many of the tasks I had done before and has made the job much more fun.
Shelley: What do you like about volunteering at George Derby?
Editor: One of the reasons I still volunteer at Derby is that it makes me feel useful, and I actually like doing spreadsheets. Another is that no-one else wants the job!
Shelley: Could you tell me about the newsletter that you write? How/ why did you start it? What do you like about doing it?
Editor: Seventeen years ago I wrote to CARP asking if anyone was interested in corresponding with another senior. I got 40 replies, and that was far too many people to write to, so I proposed making a mailing list and sharing the letters I got with the group. At that time we included e-mail addresses because spam and scams were largely non-existent. The addresses allowed members of the group to write directly to others with whom they shared interests or history.
Members wrote their stories and I published them. We learned about their childhood, their war experiences, their travels, their pets, their philosophies, and their sense of humour. Many of them sent me jokes, and they still do. Now they also recommend websites with videos they enjoyed.
Because all of the original subscribers were seniors, we have grown old together. We have lost some of our online friends over the years, and gained subscribers from Austria to New Zealand. Most of our members are in Canada, but there are others from the US, Great Britain, Europe, and recently, one in South Africa.
The newsletter, which is called The Tale Spinner, is sent by e-mail directly to subscribers, but is also to be found online at http:// members.shaw.ca/vjjsansum/ or http://nw-seniors.org/stories.html
My editorial policy is to provide an antidote to the constant spate of bad news from major media sources. I publish people´s stories and jokes and letters and recommendations. It takes quite a few hours each week to edit the Spinner, but it is a labour of love. Publishing a weekly newsletter is the closest this old-time printer will ever get to having her own newspaper!
Bruce Galway recommends this site, which shows underwater footage from Fiji and Tonga. To learn the names of the creatures filmed, click on the CC bottom-right corner.
Bruce also suggests this site for a video of a useless hunting dog:
Gerrit deLeeuw forwards the URL for a video of an amazing chance encounter with a troop of wild mountain gorillas near Bwindi National Park, Uganda:
Tony Lewis recommends this video of a thank-you from Japan for all the help they received during the disastrous tsunami last year:
Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire were the original pranksters:
To check out the features of the "freedictionary", which changes daily, go to
When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President. I´m beginning to believe it.
- Clarence Darrow