Bear News Beartown News
MAY 1, 2004

THE COUNTRY CORNER

FRANCE

After Quasimodo's death, the bishop of the Cathedral of  Notre Dame sent word through the streets of Paris that a new bell ringer was needed. The bishop decided that he would conduct the interviews personally and went up into the belfry to begin the screening process. After observing several applicants demonstrate their skill, he had decided to call it a day. Just then, an armless man approached him and announced that he was there to apply for the bell ringer's job.
The bishop was incredulous. "You have no arms!"
"No matter," said the man. "Observe!"
And he began striking the bells with his face, producing a
beautiful melody on the carillon. The bishop listened in astonishment; convinced he had finally found a replacement for Quasimodo. But suddenly, rushing forward to strike a bell, the armless man tripped and plunged headlong out of the belfry window to his death in
the street below. The stunned bishop rushed to his side. When he reached the street, a crowd had gathered around the fallen figure, drawn by the beautiful music they had heard only moments before.
As they silently parted to let the bishop through, one of them
asked, "Bishop, who was this man?"
"I don't know his name," the bishop sadly replied, "BUT HIS FACE RINGS A BELL"
The following day, despite the sadness that weighed heavily on his heart due to the unfortunate death of the armless campanologist, the bishop continued his interviews for the bell ringer of Notre Dame.
The first man to approach him said, "Your Excellency, I am the
brother of the poor armless wretch that fell to his death from
this very belfry yesterday. I pray that you honor his life by allowing me to replace him in this duty."
The bishop agreed to give the man an audition, and, as the armless man's brother stooped to pick up a mallet to strike the first bell, he groaned, clutched at his chest, twirled around, and died on the spot.
Two monks, hearing the bishop's cries of grief of this second tragedy, rushed up the stairs to his side. "What has happened? Who is the man?" the first monk asked breathlessly.
"I don't know his name," sighed the distraught bishop, but "HE'S A DEAD RINGER FOR HIS BROTHER" 

U  S  A

THE SCIENCE OF ICE FISHING

Once upon a time, long, long ago there was a Presidential election that was too close to call. Neither the Republican presidential candidate nor the Democratic presidential candidate had enough votes to win the election.
Therefore, it was decided that there should be an ice fishing contest between the two candidates to determine the final winner.
There was much talk about ballot recounting, court challenges, etc., but a week-long ice fishing competition seemed the (manly) way to settle things. The candidate who catches the most fish at the end of the week wins. After a lot of back and forth discussion, it was decided that the contest would take place on a remote and cold lake in Wisconsin.
There were to be no observers present and both men were to be sent out separately on this remote lake and return daily with their catch for counting and verification.
At the end of the first day,
George W. returns to the headquarters and he has 10 fish. Soon, Kerry, who has answers to everything, but no plan,  returns and has zero fish.
Well, everyone assumes he is just having another bad hair day or something and hopefully, he will catch up the next day. At the end of the 2nd day
George W. comes in with 20 fish and Kerry comes in again with none.
*That evening,
Bill Clinton gets together secretly with Kerry and says, "I think George W. is a lowlife cheatin' son-of-a-gun.
I want you to go out tomorrow and don't even bother with fishing. Just spy on him and see if he is cheating in any way."

The next night (after
George W. comes back with 50 fish), Clinton says to Kerry, "Well, what about it, is George W. cheatin'?"
"He sure is, Bill, he's cutting holes in the ice."

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POLAND

You May Be Old School
If you come from Chicago, Buffalo, Cleveland, Hamtramck, or Milwaukee there is a large church called "Saint Stanislaus's," or "Saint Hedwig's," within one block of your childhood home (that is, unless you're one of those suburban exiles, in which case the church is within one block of your babcia's house!)
The neighborhood you grew up in is called "Little Warsaw," "Slavic
Village," "Polish Hill," or something of that sort.
You like to celebrate St. Patrick's Day but only because "the Irish are oppressed too"!
Your knowledge of the Polish language is limited to 'naughty' words
(e.g., dupa, gowno, gatki, etc), names for food (e.g., pierogi, kapusta, etc), and drinking toasts (e.g., na zdrowie, sto lat, etc

You occasionally add the suffix "-ski" to English words for no apparent reason (e.g., "I'm gonna go put the car-ski in the garage-ski").
[If you also happen to know a few basic conversational phrases in Polish], you are considered "old school" by friends and relatives.
You call your grandma "babcia" or "busia" and your grandpa "dziadzia."
You know how to dance the polka, but you only do it at weddings? After kicking back a few generous shots of vodka

You like to drink. Especially beer. Especially cheap beer.
When frustrated, you slap your forehead, shake your head, and say "O Jezu Marija!"
You have one grandma that wears a babushka and galoshes every single
day of the year and another grandma that wears a lot of chintzy jewelry and too much make-up.

You have a grandma who uses every single part of animal carcasses to
Make sausages, soups, dumplings, etc.

You know more Polish jokes than all of your non-Polish friends combined.
You have at least one uncle named "Stan," or "Stas,"
You have at least one relative who works, or used to work, for the
Big Three.

Your relatives have devotion to saints, the Blessed Virgin, the Pope, the Democratic Party, the U.S. Steelworkers, etc.
Your grandma has a shrine complete with votive candles and a picture of The "Madonna of Czestochowa" or "infant of Prague".
Your parents have at least one crucifix or religious picture mounted on a wall in their house with palms tucked behind it.
Your grandparents and other relatives habitually kiss everyone they meet.
You refer to your two dozen or so cousins by childhood nicknames
(e.g., Stannie, Nicky, Louie, Joey, Chickie, Honey, etc) irrespective of their ages.

You refer to grandparents and aunts by pet names (e.g., Aunt Honey,
Aunt Chickie, Grandpa Jo-Jo, etc.

You regularly attend Friday fish fries, harvest festivals, parish festivals, Vegas nights, and/or bingo.
You bowl regularly and/or on a team sponsored by a local bar.
You get your food blessed at Easter and your house blessed at
Christmas time

Your family has a wigilia meal on Christmas Eve at which you share
oplatki.

You like to put sour cream, horseradish, and/or beer on everything you eat.

     Continued in JUNE

Email: dernc@sover.net


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