I have ALWAYS loved Grettir’s Tidbits (Hey – don’t look at me – HE named them – he could have just as well have chosen “Chunks” and still stayed within the whole “tiny pineapple” theme…). But March, in my opinion, has been a banner Tidbits month so far.
Stephen Hawking, Ira Glass – CODE MONKEY – the song, “Code Monkey,” is delightful, but please check out the other selections – two of my particular favourites are “I Crush Everything” and “Beds Hurt My Booty.” I really related to those songs; they hit me right in the gut.
Sometimes Grettir’s Tidbits are reflective, sometimes they are touching, sometimes thought-provoking, often HILARIOUS; each one is worth further examination.
I am going to share, however, the Tidbit that made me guffaw, chortle, snorkel and weep until tears poured down my face (I really needed a good laugh – I shan’t guarantee that you’ll find it QUITE as hilarious). Forgive me, Grettir, but I am going to include the text in its entirety. One really needs to get the whole picture (and I wish they’d INCLUDED pictures). So here, from the March 2, 2007 edition of the New York Times:
Swiss Accidentally Invade Liechtenstein
ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) — What began as a routine training exercise almost ended in an embarrassing diplomatic incident after a company of Swiss soldiers got lost at night and marched into neighboring Liechtenstein.
According to Swiss daily Blick, the 170 infantry soldiers wandered just over a mile across an unmarked border into the tiny principality early Thursday before realizing their mistake and turning back.
A spokesman for the Swiss army confirmed the story but said that there were unlikely to be any serious repercussions for the mistaken invasion.
”We’ve spoken to the authorities in Liechtenstein and it’s not a problem,” Daniel Reist told The Associated Press.
Officials in Liechtenstein also played down the incident.
Interior ministry spokesman Markus Amman said nobody in Liechtenstein had even noticed the soldiers, who were carrying assault rifles but no ammunition. ”It’s not like they stormed over here with attack helicopters or something,” he said.
Liechtenstein, which has about 34,000 inhabitants and is slightly smaller than Washington DC, doesn’t have an army.
There are SO many levels upon which this is droll and comical and damned entertaining; I couldn’t BEGIN to touch upon them all. Consider the staid tone of the article, the assurances from spokespeople from BOTH countries that we should rest easy and know that they had handled everything through dimplomatic channels and there would be no sudden war of the absurdly small country (with NO ARMY) and its infamously neutral neighbor. Afterall, “It’s not like they stormed over here with attack helicopters or something…”
And I must say this right off the bat; I personally maintain that ANYTHING that mentions Liechtenstein or, for that matter, Luxembourg is inherently funny (come on fans of The Smiths – which instantly makes me sound five hundred years old – “…a buck-toothed girl in Luxembourg” – that’s got to be the most amusing lyric Morrissey ever sang).
I’m sorry, Liechtensteinians and Luxembourgaroos (?) you MUST know that this is the case. For crying out loud, the National Motto of Luxembourg – in LUXEMBOURGISH, naturally – is “Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sinn” – which translates roughly to “We wish to remain what we are.” Indeed, they wish to remain a ridiculously small country (don’t worry – I’ll get back to the even more preposterously diminutive Liechtenstein momentarily) that is fundamentally amusing.
Liechtenstein is too itty-bitty to even HAVE a National Motto. And I still cannot get over the final sentence/paragraph of the above article, “Liechtenstein, which has about 34,000 inhabitants and is slightly smaller than Washington DC, doesn’t have an army.”
NO ARMY??? They have to borrow all their culture from other German-speaking countries (I’m not kidding) and they have NO ARMY? The way I figure it, if you have a population of approximately 34,000 you should have a specialized corps of at LEAST fifty or so combantants of some ilk armed with marshmallow guns (I already have my own – “Truly Ammo-licious!” – so if they ever hire mercenaries, I am THERE).
That reminds me of something: Am I the ONLY one who forgets most of the time that SWITZERLAND has an army? And they have ASSAULT RIFLES (unloaded, yes, but ASSAULT RIFLES)? Let’s see – renowned for a long and proud history of neutrality ≠ ASSAULT RIFLES.
Hold on, hold on – if die Schweiz did NOT have an army, then we would not have Swiss army knives. I have a PERONALIZED one that Janet brought me back from Switzerland, in fact (made in China???). I imagine, however, that the assault-rife-carrying (UNLOADED) army has very little to do with the success of superb timepieces, delicious chocolate or very discrete bank accounts. I’d also rule out yodeling, Alpenhorns, and those really big rescue dogs (someone help me out here – AH – Saint Bernards) with the little kegs of brandy worn about their necks – OH and of course, the CHEESE. I don’t think these are army things.
Anyhoo, thank you Grettir for always providing a much-needed laugh.