Christmas Gift Selection # 9 For 2017 – 5 lb. Ham

ham   5 lb. Ham

Note: This is a repost of one of our Top Ten Gifts for the discerning buyer originally published in December of 2013, a year that will live in infamy. In what has become a half-assed tradition here at The Institute we have been irregularly reposting these now famous gift selections when we remember to do so in a lame attempt to create a Holiday Tradition and mostly because we suddenly realize it’s Christmas time and we don’t have squat done. It’s fun and we don’t have to spend the time making new stuff up. Enjoy.

The Original One Of A Kind, Never before offered to the American Public, still in its original metal wrapper, It’s *The Institutes very own

5 lb. Ham

This is a very special item for the next to last gift choosing day. You’ve all heard the old joke about the guy who comes to his boss and says “I have to attend a ( Polish**) wedding and I need the weekend off.”

The boss says sure and two weeks later the guy comes into the office and the boss says “hey, you asked for the weekend off to got to a wedding and it’s two weeks later. Where you been?”

The guy says “They had a drawing and I won 2nd place, which was two weeks in Hawaii with the bride.” The boss says “Two weeks with the bride! Geez! What was first place?”

The guy says “A 5lb ham.”

Well, this is that ham! This is the original 5lb. ham awarded to that 1st place winner at that Polish wedding way back then and we got it! What are the odds? It was never opened because the winner knew that this was going to be history. That ham, that 5 lb. ham, would eventually be enshrined in the halls of legendary humor. Our gift researchers found it on eBay and bought it just for this round of gifts. This makes Monet’s Bridge look like a stocking stuffer. There is only one of these and it’s only available here.

Now each of has that one joke that we heard, probably way back in the pre-sexist, pre-politically correct era of humor, before every knee-jerk, thin skinned, I need my fifteen minutes of fame even if it costs you your right to free speech, humor regulator started whining about their feelings getting hurt. Some were about people, some were about sex, some were political or religious things, some were rights of passage things that taught you about life in general even if they were offensive to someone. They were funny, shocking, stick in your mind jokes that etched themselves indelibly into your humor center. Ever been somewhere people watching and you see someone start laughing for no reason at all, then look around guiltily to see if anyone was watching, they’re remembering a joke exactly like this. We all have them. So if you laughed at this one just before your politically correct monitor kicked in, you’re not a bad person. You’re just normal.

Man! You got to be excited about this one. That joke has had to have been told for 50 years. I remember snorting milk out of my nose the first time I heard it. It was in the mess hall at the Naval hospital on Guam. We were fighting one of those wars that wasn’t that funny and needed anything that would make us laugh to take away the days horrors. This is like one of those moments when someone asks you where were you when Kennedy got shot. You remember. If we seem a little excited about this gift choice it’s because we get a lot of stuff in here that is one of a kind, or really special, or unique even fancy, but this, the original 5lb. ham from that wedding, well it’s priceless. In fact you know what? I’m not even going to sell it to you. I’m keeping it. I just wanted to show it to you so you tell your grandkids you saw the original 5lb. ham.

So there you are. NO gift today, just history.

Original Legendary 5lb Ham   NFS    because it’s priceless.

Note from the Director: I would like to take this moment to let you all know that we here at The Institute, and that of course includes me the Director, the head PooBah, do not condone any Politically Incorrect humor at all. We realize that what may be funny to the majority of Americans may cause some individuals with a limited sense of humor to feel uncomfortable. If Polock jokes make you feel kind of weird like you might want to laugh when you hear them, but you think you really shouldn’t, we want you to know that we feel your pain. Just know that in some parts of the country like “Wisconsin” the Pollock’s tell Belgian jokes, but they’re not nearly as funny as Polock jokes. In fact in Chicago and other parts of Illinois they tell “Cheesehead” jokes but those, those are really not funny and should be stopped at once. As an ex-Wisconsonian I can tell you those are mean, humorless jokes and should be banned. The joke related above is simply a reporting of humorous fact as it was presented back in the heyday of humor, like when we were kids, when you could laugh at whatever you wanted to and it wasn’t meant in a mean-spirited way, which reminds me of another story about when A Rabbi, A Priest and a Duck walk into a bar….. but then that’s a story for another day.


** Insert the nationality of your choice here that you’d like to slander, I like Polish because I’m part Polish on my sister’s side and proud of it, but you can use any nationality you think is funny.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

Some Badgers Are OK


We have written several posts about badgers in the past. The earliest one was back in April of 2014 and more recently in January of 2015 we wrote the expose titled “The Thing About Badgers” where we pointed out that Badgers did not make good pets.

Since both of those posts could have mistakenly been considered critical to Badgers and all their relatives and the States that harbor them we thought it was time to give Badgers a little good press. Which is why we titled this post, “Some Badgers Are OK”.

Although we had to do a bit of digging to find good points about Badgers we did find some. For instance Badgers are considered good parents as they rarely eat their young and then only for the best reasons. Badgers like to maintain good order within their family groups. Lining up in straight lines is important to them and having all their offspring facing in the same direction is too.

Biting. Biting is big with Badgers. Everyday when the female brings out the young and gets them all pointed in the same direction in a straight line, she will bite the nearest one. At first this was thought to be an act of rage from a single mother who didn’t like raising children, then we noticed that she didn’t bite them all that hard. It was more of a “We’re badgers and this is what we do.” kind of bite. Of course if the other one snickered at its sibling while it was being bitten she would walk deliberately around to his side and give him a bite roughly twice as hard. Discipline is strict in a badger family. No screwing around during the morning biting session.

Badgers realize they have a PR problem and have taken steps to counter the poor image they have made for themselves. Because they are usually grumpy, snarly, ill-tempered beasts at best they are now trying to change that image to show their better side. In the past if you drove by and said something pleasant to a group of Badgers they would respond with a rude gesture and taunt you with an invitation to come closer and “get your soft parts chewed on for a while, if you’re so damn friendly.” Now however it is not unusual to see the badgers lined up on the front porch of their dens or alongside the roadway waving a friendly paw and offering to show you how they eviscerate a ground squirrel for dinner, or how the young can line up in straight lines without even being bitten. This is a big change.

This movement is slow to being accepted universally in the Badger community however. You will still find many Badgers that have no interest whatsoever in being friendly. These Badgers usually live in the more rural parts of Wisconsin and in the more common Western states where hardly anyone goes anyway, so that may account for the slow adoption rate.

Wisconsinites have been paying more attention to their state animal since we have been running these posts and now some of them can even recognize a Badger in the wild, or as wild as it gets in Wisconsin, and will often stop their vehicles and run up to the Badger thinking it is just another furry little animal that will be nice to them. So when they get out of one of those portable roadside clinics set up by the State to treat those who have not yet learned that all wildlife is not their friend, they will stop and compare the number of stitches they got with the other members of their party, then go home and mention to friends and neighbors that it is best to leave all badgers the hell alone until you find out if they have accepted the new “Let’s Be Friendlier Badgers” program.

There may be other good things about Badgers we haven’t mentioned but that was only because we couldn’t find any more of them. Of course we didn’t look too hard as you’re liable to get really bit if you go poking around near Badgers so we found these few items and called it good. At least no one can call us one-sided on the Badger issue now as we have presented both sides of the subject and look pretty darned objective, badger-wise. Ok then, there you have it. Discuss it amongst yourselves if you need to.






Harvest Time At The Institute


It’s harvest time at The Institute and like any other gigantic, inorganic, semi-corrupt, uncaring mega-agriculture corporation we have to get the crops in. We’re not like that grasshopper you hear about that fiddled away the summer and now has nothing to show for it. We’re like the ants, those ones from South America someplace that voraciously consume everything in their path and what they can’t eat they pack away in their ant warehouses and storage units, and those small freighters off-shore, even going so far as stuffing it in an ant Tuff shed here and there.

We’ve been asked “Why do you have so many unpaid interns hanging around The Institute?”. Because its times like this when we need them, that and we don’t usually let them go once they’ve signed our work agreement and we have confiscated their car keys. We send them off into the fields to work, to harvest the bounty our land has produced. Like these red things in the photo above. We don’t know what they are, or if they taste good, or even whether they’re healthy or deadly or what ever, but nature grew them so that’s what we’re going to harvest. We have tons of them growing down along the dry stream bed in the arboretum so it’s easy to harvest them and we don’t lose many interns because they can find their way back simply by following the creek up hill.

It’s a welcome sight to see the long lines of interns, their huge baskets filled to the brim with these red things, singing songs of the working classes, stamping their feet rhythmically on the narrow snake-infested trails, their trump lines making indentations in their foreheads from the back-breaking weight of their overfilled baskets, perspiring as they labor up the 42% grade to the red thing dumping site. It’s a good feeling to know we can provide for our people. We know that the labor will pay off when we need something to feed them over the winter. Our staff of nutritionists gleaned from fast food restaurants all over the world tell us that they can make a delicious paste of some kind that can be smeared on other edible produce and that will sustain the bulk of the interns unless it gets too cold. That ‘s also taking into account of course, that the red things are not poisonous.


We also harvest another crop that grows wild on our boulders and smaller rocks. It is called lichen and it is chock full of healthy stuff like riboflavin’s, free radicals, imprisoned radicals, natural chemicals, riboflavin’s, yellow dye number 5, some orange stuff you have to scrape off before you can eat it, certain minerals and vitamin C and D and R.

Lichen is difficult to harvest as the boulders and smaller rocks have to be rolled up the incline to the lichen harvesting place where other interns whose knees are shot from harvesting the Red Things, scrape it off the boulders with old putty knives. Being that The Institute believes in sustainability and the well being of Mother Earth, the boulders have to be rolled back to their original positions so the seeds of the next harvest can be planted. Rolling a 7 or  8 ton boulder back down the hill without anyone getting injured or killed dead on the spot is a tricky business.

Luckily we have staff brought on from various County Rehabilitation programs in Georgia, Alabama and Wisconsin, that previously supervised the work crews that performed work similar to our lichen harvesting procedures along various southern roadsides. We value their experience and knowledge of how to handle unwilling workers, plus it’s nice to see how the German Shepherds keep everyone closely clustered around the boulder as they lower it.

The experience gleaned from their Work and Not Release program that has been so effective for them down there has been invaluable. These officers overseers guards  work facilitators are always ready to offer advice and moral support. It goes without saying that we do not condone the use of chains or other manacles and we offer them breaks several times a week. The Institute has placed the highest regard for safety for our volunteer workers and will continue to do so right down to the last one.

We have asked our nutritionists if the red paste they are creating might be combined with the lichen for a more well-balanced foodstuff. They said it could and they have found other uses for it as well. It makes an incredible chinking material as the first few volunteers who have consumed it state they have not had use of their digestive tract since eating it four weeks ago. Anything that will clog a system like that will keep the sub-zero wind from blasting through the logs of the bunkhouses. And apparently it’s waterproof. Another benefit.

Got to run just got word from the overseers that something happened to twenty or thirty of the interns down near the lichen field. Rope probably broke on that big boulder they were trying to lower.




We are nearly through with our semi-annual inspection of Yellowstone National Park having checked off almost all of our items on the list except for the few involving working with wolves.

Wolves. What can I say about wolves except that they’re the prima donnas of Yellowstone. They’re good looking, they’re cool, they’re head turners wherever they go and they know  it. They’re the rock stars of the park and pretty much do what ever they want to. But that also makes them super-hemerriodial to work with.

They know that they play a large part in this inspection report and usually are falling all over themselves trying to stick their muzzles in everything. They’re the original photo bombers, nonchalantly walking into picture after picture, stealing the thunder of who ever else is being photographed, but not this year.

Apparently they are cheesed off because I outed their watcher they had set up to observe us and blabber it all over the park that we were coming to do our inspection again, see, and had made themselves unavailable the entire trip, showing themselves to the occasional tourist but never to us. It looked like it was going to be the first time in many years that we were not going to be able to include the wolves in our report.

Through the use of an intermediary we were able to convince the Lamar pack to assist us, grudgingly of course, with the last item on our report listed as “Resolvability: Can You See the S.O.B.’s Or Not : YES or No”. Resolvability as you know, is defined as “the quality or state of being resolvable”, like that helps right, by one of the better known dictionaries who asked to remain anonymous after hearing that they would be quoted in our report, but whose initials we can disclose are Merriam Webster. To clarify matters a little more clearly, we  turned to our own patented, copyrighted, unprinted dictionary “Words You Don’t Hear Much and Understand Less” (The Institute press : ISBN: 55555555551: Author: The Director : © 2015 about 15 mins ago).

Our definition of Resolvability is “to clarify; to make clearer; to see way, way out there; to get fuzzy looking stuff to look right; : Photographic context: to get pixels that are blurry and all over wonky to line up right and get really clear so you can make out what it is you’re trying to see; to not be fuzzy; to not be unrecognizable because it’s all fuzzed up and you can’t tell what it is; to get little hard-to-see details not so hard to see; and so on”. We’ll use our own definition for this report as it makes more sense than the ones those professional dictionary types provide.

So to test the resolvability of seeing wolves we asked them to come in closer so we could at least see them with our naked eyes, but being wolves and the Lamar pack at that, the biggest divas of the bunch, the most we could do was get them to come in to about 3/4 of a mile from our viewing station. They did deign to howl for us however. Being so far out there meant that they were just tiny itsy little black dots barely resolvable with the naked eye and only if you knew exactly where to look for them. The dots didn’t even look wolf-like. You couldn’t see ears or eyes or as they say in Wisconsin, nothin’. You couldn’t see nothin’. So the wolves get a big fat FAIL on this test. We’ll see how they like it when management reads this report and sees how they acted. I hope they get transferred down to Old Faithful where they’ll be on display all day long with screaming kids and flash cameras going off in their face all day . We’ll see how they like being divas then.

We did have one ace up our sleeve though. We had this great big long lens that has plenty of resolvability built into it and we were able to get some pictures of them. Not really clear ones with every pixel lined up perfectly but resolvable for being shot at 3/4 of a mile away in the rain and nearly dark out. This is a huge crop from the area where the wolf was sitting. If the scene were viewed with your eye the wolf wouldn’t have been visible, just a dark unwolf-like dot. So I guess if we got any pictures at all where you can tell they’re wolves than there was a certain amount of resolvability and we may have to revise our report to a Yes.

Note : To those of you tuning in late the following posts will catch you up on preceding events. There is no extra charge for this service, it is included in the cost of admission. We know you don’t want to miss a minute of our fascinating but undocumented report.

The Thing About Badgers



The thing about badgers is that they do not make good house pets. I know this is a surprise what with all those slick ‘adopt a badger’ ads you see on TV. The close-up of their beady little bloodshot eyes, the slow motion shots of the badger running towards its supposed loved one, the way it seems to want to be cuddled and held. However many people have found to their dismay after the fact that badgers, although taciturn and often grumpy, also have many other unsavory habits that tend to make them an undesirable pet.

Unfortunately they don’t have good prospects to be your new best friend because they are not genetically predisposed to be friendly loving creatures. Their background  includes being related to polecats, weasels, and wolverines and we’ve all known people who have been raised by weasels and how that didn’t work out. Breeding shows. I know that is a harsh statement but you will see as you read further that this condemnation is usually proved true. If it makes it any easier to accept think of them as being like politicians, they seem ok until you elect them and then their true colors come out.

First in a long list of problems is that they are very short. Squatty, actually. While shortness is not a bad habit in itself, it is what one does with that shortness that causes a problem. Several unfortunate pet owners have stated that everything was fine with having a badger for a pet until they introduced them to the household cat. The badger feigning friendliness quickly grabbed the unoffending tabby, and being short, easily dragged it under the heavy divan in the sitting room and made a short meal of it amidst much contented grunting and snorfling. There was the usual screaming and caterwauling from everyone involved of course, as the men in the family tried unsuccessfully to lift the heavy couch to rescue the poor feline. But this was too little, too late as badgers are known for taking hasty meals. Besides losing fluffy, what seemed to bother the new owners of the badger the most, was the unrepentant attitude of the badger after the fact. It was if the badger didn’t care.

Another problem is their reticence towards public speaking. It is difficult if not impossible to get a badger to make a speech or even carry on a casual conversation. They will sometimes answer a question with a single syllable grunt or a high-pitched squeaking sound if the question surprises them, but if you’re looking for a witty dinner companion do not choose the badger, they will constantly disappoint you.

But by and large the biggest problem and by biggest we mean freaking huge with having a badger around is their tendency towards drunkenness. If you think badgers are a handful sober try having them around when they’re hammered. In the wild you can often find drunken badgers sprawled out around the edges of an orchard where they have eaten fermented fruit for its alcohol content until they pass out and become nuisances of the first order. Often fighting, and scratching rude messages on the apple trees, they show a total disregard for others personal property. Farmers often have to circumnavigate their orchards in the morning, dragging the besotted creatures to a safer place to sleep it off so they don’t get run over by the farm machinery and gum up the works. Alcoholism and homelessness in the badger population is a huge issue in States that have large fruit crops such as Washington for its apples, and Wisconsin because it has cheap beer, to name just two.

In the home it becomes a more personal problem for the owner of these pets as they will raid the liquor cabinet and consume everything in it, often just before you plan to have a large party. They are particularly fond of fruit liqueurs but will even drink your most expensive Cognac, badgers don’t care. If nothing else is available they will drink beer having no problem pulling the caps off the bottle with their strong forearms and long claws which act as built-in church keys. The real problem comes when they wake up as they have ferocious hangovers and are completely unmanageable until much later in the day. It is best to simply coax them outside with an empty liquor bottle and lock the doors.

While it may seem like a good idea to have a badger as a pet it often doesn’t work out. Don’t be fooled by those slick TV ads where they show young children holding a homeless, bedraggled looking badger with the message of ‘give a badger a home, make a friend for life’, or ‘save this animal from a life of misery in the heartless out of doors’,  or ‘Open your hearts, open your home’ (and open your liquor cabinet) is often the hook used to get you to take in a seemingly innocent badger. Remember, the thing about badgers is, they don’t make good pets.