Tag Archives: humor

Bigly travel story of the week: Six really great walls

                                                                                                        John Tenniel Illustration

Really great walls are taking on a growing role in the plans of many travelers. There’s talk, of course, of a really great wall going up along the U.S. Mexico border. And some Canadians have long thought there ought to be one along their border, too. But really great walls, as we are about to show you, have long been a bigly part of the travel experience.

 

Really great wall of china
                                                                                          BigStock/Severin.stalder Photo

The Really Great Wall of China

Stretching for some 5,500 miles, the remains of the Really Great Wall of China is an early example of how a massive barrier, many feet thick and even more high, is about as effective at keeping people on one side or the other as a stern lecture from a vice-principal is at keeping high school boys from spiking the punch at a homecoming dance.

The problem was that the Really Great Wall of China had some 1,387 miles of gaps so porous that they were thought to be responsible for the enormous success of Chinese take out. No doubt the gaps were responsible, too, for the rise of such popular ice cream flavors as “Mongol Madness.”

The Really Great Wall of China was most successful as a massive infrastructure project. At its height, wall construction put millions of Chinese to work, whether they wished to be or not. Cost over-runs were a problem though, largely because developers had not yet mastered working with such modern building materials as bull excrement.

Today, the most visited part of the wall, because of its easy access to Beijing, is the Badaling section. According to many critics, though, after fighting the crowds and hassling with the taxi drivers, visitors often come away feeling that it ought to be called the Just Ok Wall of China.

 

Really Great Berlin Wall
                                                                                                      BigStock/Hanohki Photo

The Really Great Berlin Wall

From 1961 through 1989 the story surrounding the Really Great Berlin Wall, was, according to leaders of the East German government, the most bigly example of fake news ever reported.

With photos to back up their claim, East German leaders insisted that the Really Great Berlin Wall had in no way been a barrier to keep East Berlin citizens escaping to the West. Instead, they said, the 27-mile long, 11.8-foot high concrete structure had been a really great example — probably one of the greatest examples ever – of government support of the arts.

The wall was meant to be a public venue on which Berlin’s young artists — really great young artists — could showcase their talent through such time-honored media as spray paint.

The extent to which the Berlin government was willing to encourage such artistic expression was made evident, officials said, by the 20 bunkers, 302 guard towers, and uncounted other measures erected to safeguard the artists against interference by fascist and other anti-socialist Western elements.

The Really Great Berlin Wall was demolished in 1990. But commemorative pieces are still for sale. In fact, some 3.6 tons of the original 2.5 tons of concrete used in the construction can currently be purchased on e-Bay.

 

Humpty Dumpty Really great wall
                                                                                                      John Tenniel Illustration

Humpty Dumpty’s Really Great Wall 

Although parts of Humpty Dumpty’s Really Great Wall may still exist, the inspiration for the classic English nursery rhyme is a matter of dispute.

In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, Humpty is depicted as an egg. Or — a reader could infer — someone with an ego as fragile as an egg.

In other interpretations, the clearly wobbly character has been a stand-in for any number of kings and other powerful public figures who, because of their overreach, end up taking such a great fall that not even all their horses and all their political advisors can put them together again.

There’s even an interpretation that holds wide sway, especially among pro-growth supporters, that Humpty Dumpty was a cannon that sat atop the wall surrounding the town of Colchester, England, during the English Civil War of 1642-51. Part of the wall still exists, but the story is that return fire from opposing forces so undermined its foundation that without sufficient infrastructure-funding most of it eventually came tumbling down.

One thing most interpreters agree on, though, is that the poem stands as a cautionary tale about the disaster that can befall anyone who uses a really great wall as a podium from which to draw attention to themselves.

 

Really Great Wall Street occupy
                                                                                             BigStock/Chris Cintron Photo

The Really Great Wall Street

Among Americans who don’t get their news from traditional outlets, Wall Street is perhaps best known for its recent history of standing up to occupiers and other foreigners.

What many people don’t know, however, is that Wall Street is actually named after a really great wall, one built to keep out pirates, Native Americans, non-European Union members and, according to some sources, radical Islamic terrorists.

The original wall was a wooden palisade built at the south end of Manhattan by the Dutch in the 1600’s. Fortunately for much of America’s current population, it did not serve as a barrier for immigrants of British stock, who were able to get visa waivers.

 

Really Great Wall Mart parking lot view.
                                                                                    Wiki.southpark.cc.com Illustration

The Really Great Wall-Mart

Wall-Mart is a really great American-owned retail store featured in an episode of the public affairs program South Park. The episode looks at what could happen in America if addiction treatment is not part of basic health care coverage.

The premise of the episode is that almost everyone in South Park is so addicted to Wall-Mart’s bargain prices that they stop shopping at other South Park businesses, putting the town into such a recessionary spiral that they are desperate to try anything that might make it really great again.

What they try is listening to a politician who promises that under his winning direction they will become the next state to benefit greatly from the legalization of marijuana. Too late, though, even the politician’s most ardent South Park supporters are faced with the reality that the town is in Colorado, where marijuana has already been legal for several years.

 

BobCarriesOn editor-in-chief Bob Payne sits on the wall on a great many issues.

 

Slingshot owners angered by reversal of TSA’s no knives on planes rule

Members of a group who call themselves law-abiding slingshot owners say the new TSA rules allowing knives on planes but continuing to ban slingshots is not only unfair but casts a shadow on one of the best-loved stories in the Bible.

The group, Davids Against Goliath, says the evidence is clear that while knives have played well-documented roles in airborne tragedies, not a single airborne terrorist has been known to carry a slingshot.

“In fact in recent years there has been only one case of a slingshot bringing down a commercial aircraft belonging to a major carrier,” said the group’s spokesman,” Bob Payne.

And that case, Payne is quick to point out, was determined by a fact-finding board, in an 8-4 decision, to be an accident.

“As you may well remember, a man was having a cookout in his backyard, and he’d drunk a beer or two, and meant to use his slingshot to fire a flaming marshmallow over the fence onto his neighbor’s patio, as a harmless joke,” Payne said. ” But he mistakenly loaded the slingshot with a seagull instead, and the bird lofted higher than the man thought it would, and was sucked into the engine of a 747. And as tragic as the incident was, the majority of the board did find that most at fault was the seagull.”

Payne said the result of that incident, which is unlikely ever to be repeated, except on national holidays occuring in months when it is warm enough to cook outside, all responsible slingshot owners are being prohibited from using a handy tool that undeniably has practical uses aboard an aircraft.

“I cannot tell you how many times I have been on a plane, wanted to get a flight attendant’s attention, and the call button wasn’t working, and a slingshot loaded with a jellybean would have saved me considerable inconvenience,” Payne said.

Asked to comment on the news that baseball bats and golf clubs would also be allowed aboard under the TSA’s new ruling, Payne answered only: “Are you kidding me? Do you know how much damage David could have done to Goliath with a three iron?”

When not touring the country as a paid spokesperson for Davids Against Goliath, Bob Payne is the editor in chief and a religion columnist for the travel humor website BobCarriesOn.com.

 

 

 

Zombie attacks air passengers, survivors grateful for extra legroom

In an aviation first, a zombie attack occurred aboard a commercial airliner today. It was a scene of horror worse than even passengers who routinely fly in the most uncomfortable coach seats, with the most restrictive fares, could recall experiencing in some time.

The plane, a Boeing 767 with 173 passengers aboard, at the start, was about half way through a six-hour flight from New York to Los Angeles when the attack occurred. Survivors recall that a woman near the back of the plane began screaming to the man next to her that being unhappy because he was stuck in the middle seat didn’t give him the right to dismember people.

The woman was the first of dozens of victims, many of whom had been waiting for the rear lavatories and did not run following the initial attack for fear of losing their place in line.

“Those of us who survived were really lucky,” said coach passenger Bob Payne, of Pelham Manor, New York, who had been in row 36-E. “If it hadn’t been for some of the things in our carry-on’s we’d forgotten to check, like machetes, calvary swords, and one fellow’s chain saw, I don’t know what we would have done.”

Payne said he’d noticed the man during boarding. “He was snarling and snapping at people, and dragging himself down the aisle, pushing a carry-on the size of a body bag. But you see a lot of that these days, so I didn’t think much of it.”

As soon as the rampage started, a flight-attendant, Enola Swift, who had escaped with only the loss of a leg, hopped up to the cockpit and explained the situation to the captain, who after checking to make sure the cockpit door was secure immediately requested that he be allowed to make an emergency landing.

“Unfortunately,” the captain later told reporters, “There was already a hijacking taking place on Southwest; a United flight had a family with a child who wouldn’t stay in his seat; and an American cabin crew had taken over a plane and was forcing everyone onboard to watch them perform a scene from Les Miserables. So air traffic control told us all available controllers were busy assisting other pilots and we’d have to continue on to L.A. as scheduled.”

Flight attendant Swift said that some passengers quietly accepted what was going on, as many usually do, and just seemed happy, as the people around them had the marrow sucked out of their bones, for the extra leg room. But others, Swift said, especially those whose assault had turned them into zombies, too, were almost unmanageable.

“They were banging on the call buttons, stacking the beverage carts with arms and legs and pushing them up and down the aisles, even smoking in the lavatories.”

The most difficult to deal with, Swift said, were the children. “Take an already cranky kid and turn it into a zombie, and that’s a flight attendant’s worst nightmare. I hope I never see that kind of behavior again.”

At the carnage continued, the surviving crew retreated to the forward cabin, which up until then had remained zombie free, and were able to temporarily keep their attackers at bay by pulling the curtain closed and making an announcement to remind coach passengers they were not permitted in First Class.

“Finally, though, they pushed in anyway and we were still fending them off (thank goodness for that chain saw) when the plane pulled into the gate, where we were met by a customer service representative,” Swift said.

Mobbed by reporters after deplaning, passenger Payne said that as horrifying as the ordeal had been he couldn’t help feeling sorry for the original zombie and the others he had turned into monsters.

“Watching as a First Class passenger who had been complaining about the noise was attacked by a horde of zombies and then stuffed down the toilet in the forward lavatory, you knew that deep within those tortured soles there was still some faint spark of humanity.”

In the aftermath of the incident, the nation’s airlines have come together as a group and quickly moved to reassure an on-edge flying public that any passenger who missed a connecting flight as a result of dismemberment or other major injuries would be reimbursed, upon presentation of receipts, for all meal, accommodation, and medical expenses, up to $25.

Trouble saving your seat? Let wild animals help.

It’s happened to all of us. You get up from your seat on a bus, or train, or Southwest Airlines to use the lavatory or ask somebody behind you not to cram their carry-on bag into the same space already occupied by your souvenir sombrero, and when you return another passenger is sitting where you were. Or worse, when you start back you realize you have no idea where your seat is.

That’s when wild animals can help.

The example shown here is of a leopard, spotted on a train between Marseille and Barcelona. But any wild animal will do as long as they have a tail that will allow them to hang down from overhead. That way they are plainly visible no matter how far you wander, and they make it clear to anyone who thinks of occupying your seat while you are gone that there will be consequences.

As successful as wild animals have proven as place savers, even being known to keep celebrities at bay, be aware that there are times when they do not work.  One example is if the animal is seen as symbolic of man’s inhumanity to man, such as an elephant or wild donkey during U.S. political campaigns, when you may return from looking for an in-flight magazine that doesn’t already have the cross-word puzzle filled in to find your guardian hanging from the end opposite its tail.  Or you may return to discover that a five year old you don’t recognize insists on sitting in your lap.

In those few instances, the best alternative is to hang a stalk of wild asparagus.

Convenience store owners concerned by American Airlines plan to hire new flight attendants

The announcement by American Airlines that it plans to hire 1,500 new flight attendants to replace the more highly paid ones it is getting rid of has raised an alarm with convenience store owners across the nation.

“It’s a case of poaching, pure and simple,” claims convenience store spokesperson, Bob Payne, who says he is already getting reports that convenience store clerks who would normally be using their breaks to filch items from store shelves are now instead filling out flight attendant application forms.

“The fear in the industry,” Payne said, “is that the perceived glamour of a flight attendant job will create an allure too strong for many convenience store clerks to overcome, even though a starting flight attendant gets paid less.”

Payne said convenience store owners feel doubly ill-treated because many of the skills they spend weeks training their employees for – dispensing beverages, keeping certain doors locked, differentiating a normally angry customer from a deranged one — are just the skills the airlines are seeking, too.

In related news, a report just out shows that the number of American Airlines pilots who are applying for jobs at convenience stores is at an all-time high.

Afghanistan Adventure Tours? You bet!

On my twitter account @BobCarriesOn I recently wrote:

Travel company to offer epic Afghanistan adventure tour in footsteps of guy who sweeps area for landmines

I assumed that anyone who read it would know I was kidding, in part because I am kidding just about every time I Tweet something, or post on Facebook or Google+ or write for this blog, which is titled, helpfully, I would like to think: Bob Carries On – Bob Payne’s Travel Humor.

At least one reader, however, took me seriously enough, it seems, to ask for a link to the travel company.

Perhaps the reader was a regular follower, and was paying me back in kind.  Or perhaps he is a more mild-mannered iteration of those readers who have demanded, with a sense of outrage and challenge, that I produce my sources.  Tweets/Posts they have railed against include:

Fashion Week Cruise ends in disaster when ship sinks but passengers refuse to wear off-the-rack life jackets

Claim of discovering previously un-contacted Amazon tribe dismissed after some tribe members found to have Wi-Fi.

To enhance on-board experience, first North Korean cruise ship considers installing working toilets.

In victory for environmentalists, Serengeti highway plans scrapped; subway line to be built instead.

In effort to get passengers to pay more attention to lifeboat drill, cruise line dresses crew as Somali pirates.

It’s only coincidence, I am sure, that the majority of these have come from people one might likely encounter on a cruise ship. I do, however, like to think of Bob Carries On as a full-service site, so in that spirit I have included a link for readers interested in Afghan Adventure Travel.