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Brian Fleck

Being Polish

Walkin'

How do you get a Polack into a bathtub? Simple, throw in a nickel.
These and about another hundred jokes survive from my childhood growing up in the Chicago area. Later, I would run into many of the same in Iowa, only recycled as “Bohemie” jokes.
In my youth, long before the age of political correctness, I told the jokes in ignorant innocence of the terrible discrimination the Poles faced from the German and Russian empires. There was nothing funny, for example, about the ethnic slurs guised in the form of humor Nazi Germany perpetuated to make ethnic cleansing more palatable.

The dating blues

Carol and I “broke up” soon after our first kiss, but I can’t really remember why or how.
I do remember that the split occurred on a Sunday morning before church, and during service she suddenly burst out sobbing. I didn’t have a clue about what to do, but then that’s fairly typical for me.
The angst sent me into another bout of celibacy, not that I was beating girls off with a stick. The truth is that I was very shy around girls.

White sport coats

Walkin'

By chance I heard the song “A White Sport Coat” the other day and it got me to thinking and doing a little Wikipedia research about the politics, cars, celebrities and jokes of the era.

‘Ender’s Game’ ****

Walkin'

I watched the movie “Ender’s Game” this past week and found it to be one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while. Of course, I loved the novel when it came out in 1985, so I was likely to enjoy the film version.

Real men make quiche

walkin'

I have been making quiche a lot lately since we added a coop, AKA Hen Hilton, complete with a half-dozen hens, to our house.
Fresh eggs should be on any list of proofs that there is a god, along with the complexity of DNA, the vastness of our universe, the color of autumn and crisp bacon.
Think about it.

The mysterious building

Walkin'

You’d think that between pot smoking, whiskey-drinking gnomes on one side, and ghost trains on the other, that the apartment complex I mow has more than its fair share of paranormal activity.
Think again.

The gnomes I’ve known

walkin'

A tiny pipe for smoking marijuana, also know as a one-hitter, is just one of the many odd things I’ve seen or found while mowing the grass at an apartment complex in North Liberty, a small town a few miles from Iowa City, where we live.

The bachelor

walkin'

Sabra is visiting her parents and friends in Denver this week. The trip was planned awhile back so she didn’t go there because of the flooding. As it turns out her family and friends are all okay, although her sister, who lives in Golden, had water in her basement. In any event, that leaves me home alone for five days with only Pearl, the cats and chickens to keep me company.

Poultmanteau

Walkin'

Things in the old hen house have been a bit topsy-turvy lately.
One of the original five chickens, Jezzabelle, turned out to not be all hen, but half hen and half rooster. A hooster or roosten. We knew Jezz was different from the start as he/she had the spurs of a rooster on one leg. We also suspected that she wasn’t laying eggs and was never found on the nesting box. The final, irrefutable telltale came when we began hearing crowing in the morning.
In other words she was a henaphrodite.

Sign, sign everywhere a sign

walkin'

I’ve added a couple of new signs to my collection this summer.
The signs are not physically collected; just the verbiage.
To date, my favorite is the one I ran across on a fishing trip to northern Minnesota several years ago. While taking a break from angling I went for a walk down a rural road and came across this gem: “No shooting/children at play.”

Not born Sicilian

Walkin'

We arrived at my cousin’s place about 1:30 p.m., perfectly timed to share the late and expansive meal Sicilians have about two in the afternoon. A small, fun party was held that evening. The next day we traveled to the reception site, an elegant seaside resort about an hour’s drive along the coast, to help tie ribbons on the chairs in the already elegantly decorated banquet room. My guess is that Suzzie’s to-do list for the wedding ran to about 100,000 and this was number 979,533 or something.

Vic the Sicilian

Walkin'

Victorio Tripoli was the youngest boy in a family of three girls and three boys raised in Bagheria, Sicily.
His mother gave birth to all the children at home, and in Sicilian tradition they were named after relatives. Victorio was name after his uncle, who was a mechanic. Until his uncle passed away, family called him Victoruccio (little Vic). The naming was foretelling as Vic liked working on cars, and as a child helped out in his uncle’s shop.