[In connection with media coverage and trending blog posts (here’s a particularly good one) about the new Viagra-like pill for women designed to arouse where no arousal was — I submit the following.  It arrived at our house via email from a lively ninety-year old acquaintance of Bill’s (male, naturally), as a joke between two old guys.  Apologies to any aggressively feminist readers who may be offended.  Actually, Bill found it less funny than I did.  But then he alleges his second wife was from Minsk.  I myself never heard of the place.]


The only cow in a small village in Poland stopped giving milk. The villagers did some research and found they could buy a cow from Moscow for 2,000 rubles or one from Minsk for 500 rubles. Being frugal, they purchased the cow from Minsk.

The cow proved wonderful. She produced lots of milk all the time. The villagers were so happy they decided to acquire a bull to mate with her, so that she would give birth to more cows just like herself and they would never have to worry about their milk supply again.

They bought a handsome virile bull and put it to pasture with their beloved cow. He was certainly willing. However, whenever he came close to the cow, she moved away. No matter what approach the bull tried, he could not succeed in his quest to effect closure. Very upset, the villagers sought input from their wise Rabbi.

They explained it all to him in detail: “Whenever the bull approaches, our cow moves away. If he approaches from the back, she moves forward. If he approaches from the front, she backs off. An approach from the side? She just walks away to the other side.”

The Rabbi pondered this for a while. Then he asked,
“Did you buy this cow from Minsk ?”

The villagers were dumbfounded at the question since they had never once mentioned where the cow had come from.

“You’re truly a wise Rabbi,” they said. “How did you know we got the cow from Minsk ?”

The Rabbi answered sadly,  “My wife is from Minsk .”



[A follower of this blog who prefers to remain anonymous and therefore never posts comments online sent me an anecdote by email yesterday that she thought might be right up my alley because it takes place in a courtroom.  I haven’t been inside a courtroom (professionally or otherwise) for upwards of nine years.  But she did roll it up the right alley.  Whether it’s the old Pavlov’s dog reflex, or simply the new blogging me always on the qui vive for fresh material, I asked if I could use it, without attribution of course, and she at once replied, “You betcha.”  Rest assured it has no redeeming intellectual value whatsoever.] 


Anglo-American juries may be comprised of twelve people not smart enough to get out of jury duty.  But you can usually count on them not to be bamboozled in the end.

A defendant was on trial for murder. Overwhelming evidence in the record indicated guilt. But there was no corpse!   Suspecting his client would nevertheless be convicted unless he could raise last-minute doubt in the minds of the jurors, counsel for the defense resorted to a trick in his closing statement.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” he said, as he openly checked his watch. “I have a surprise for you all.  In exactly one minute, the person my client is charged with having murdered will walk into this courtroom.” He spun on his heels and looked directly at the courtroom door. The jurors, stunned expressions on their faces, all turned expectantly to the courtroom door as well.

A minute elapsed. The door remained closed. Defense counsel then turned back to the jurors. “And now, ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” he said,  “I have a confession to make.  I lied to you just now. I have no idea where the alleged victim in this case may be. But you all looked eagerly to the door when I promised he would walk through it.  Therefore I put it to you that each and every one of you has a reasonable doubt as to whether anyone was killed in this case, and you must return a verdict of not guilty!”

The jury retired to deliberate. It took them very little time to return.  “And what is your verdict?” inquired the judge.  “Guilty!” pronounced the foreman.

“But how?” stammered counsel for the defense. “You must have had some doubt. I saw all of you stare at the door.”

“Yes, we looked,” the foreman replied.  “But your client didn’t.”



I heard this one before Russia became Russia again in 1992.  It seemed funny then.  It better be funny now too, because we were out late for Father’s Day dinner yesterday and I was in no condition afterwards to come up with new material.


A man was traveling alone on the Trans-Siberian Railroad when a woman got on, entered his compartment and sat opposite him.

He inspected her for several versts.  “What is your name, Comrade?” he asked at last.

“Olga,” she replied.

“Where are you from?”


“And where are you going?”


“Enough of this lovemaking!” the man declared.  “Undress!”


Yes, I know I should be ashamed of serving up such a trifle.  But since I have, this may be a good time to ask:  Does this short short story mainly demonstrate the boorishness of Soviet men? Or does it just go to show that Pinsk is really close to Minsk?