31 July, 2008

How literal should we be?

Here's the latest in too-true signs in Chicago, found by our latest correspondent and proficient commentor - my Mom.

It turns out that there was a car accident a few days ago, not too far from her house. I preface this story by letting you all know that no one involved seems to have been too seriously injured, so we can feel relatively free in enjoying a lighter side of the story. Anyway, according to the Chicago Tribune:

The driver, a 56-year-old Chicago woman, "was turning into the Starbucks when she lost control of the vehicle and went through the glass window, striking two individuals," said Chicago Police Officer John Mirabelli. The Lexus jumped a curb, leveled a stop sign and damaged a tree before shattering the wall of the shop in the 6000 block of North Lincoln in the Peterson Park neighborhood. The driver was cited for making an improper right turn, negligent driving and lack of insurance, police said.

Sounds really scary, right? This woman drove right into the coffee shop, injuring herself, her passenger, and two customers who were already inside. Definitely sad, definitely a shame.

Then my Mom noticed the picture that went along with the article, and began to laugh. Hmm, I wonder where I got my warped sense of humor... anyway, here's the photo - you can judge the laugh factor for yourselves:

Lost control of her vehicle? Perhaps she was just following instructions.

22 July, 2008

Hers and His: A photoessay

Well, this post has been a long time coming.

One of the first times I remember noticing a sign was almost twenty years ago, as I was waiting for someone outside a washroom. I saw the standard signs

and wondered why, internationally, it's t
otally acceptable that these figures' heads are disconnected from their bodies. Isn't that peculiar? And yet, I had never even noticed.

Now, most bathroom signs are pretty much standard, with a few subtle twists here and there. Some are older than others, and show it. Old or not, the heads are still off here:

Some have gotten a bit carried away with the whole mutilation thing, and have started
disconnecting other body parts:

Some have gotten really fancy, and started buildin
g golden statuettes, ala the Oscars. At least now the heads are firmly connected: progress!

Now here's where it starts getting weird.

What are we meant to learn from this? Men are hollow? Hmm... okay, fair enough.

Here's one I found in a mall; apparently someone decided to fill it in by hand. Lovely!

Here's a nice equal opportunity sign. It's the first time I've seen a skirt on a disabled figure. Way to go, someone!

Now, to get back to the bizarre: I promise, but really promise that these are real. We went to a popular chain hardware store, and these were on the main bathroom doors:

I'm not even going to attempt a guess at the inspiration behind this one. That's definitely Donald Duck, right?

Now, some places are
daring enough to break away from the standard decapitated mold. (No, I do not consider the previous sign daring.) Here's an example of a more abstract, yet fairly clear set of signs. The cigarettes I could do without, but these are pretty unique, you have to admit:

Before my grande finale, I'd like to remind everyone of another bathroom sign post that I once wrote. It was one of my very first, and I think one of the funniest.

Anyway, here's the last entry, for now. I don't know what's going on in this bathroom, but it sure looks entertaining!

Really, it's the things we see every day that can be the silliest.

16 July, 2008

Finally, this one works

There are a few comic strips that I enjoy, and try to read regularly - most of them can be found here on the sidebar. Unfortunately, although they're funny on a regular basis, they never seem to be the kind of things I can legitimately link to here, since they rarely have much to do with
funny signs. Until yesterday, that is, when I found this on F Minus:

Sorry, I know it's small - feel free to click on the link and see the original. Actually, go every day! It's a great strip.


08 July, 2008

This just in from Tel Aviv

Thanks to my new Tel Aviv correspondent, Menashe for finding the subject of today's post! Menashe, as you may recall, is my dear brother in law, and often finds funny signs in the Jerusalem area. This time he traveled far and wide to bring us this gem:

According to Wikipedia: A rout is commonly defined as a chaotic and disorderly retreat or withdrawal of troops from a battlefield, resulting in the victory of the opposing party, or following defeat, a collapse of discipline, or poor morale. A routed army often degenerates into a sense of "every man for himself" as the surviving combatants attempt to flee to safety.

Now it's true, in the ever-hectic central bus station, folks certainly may get the chaotic or disorderly feeling that it's "every man for himself." Even still, I'm pretty sure they're referring to routes. Agreed?

According to Menashe, these are all over the Tel Aviv bus station. Sigh... doesn't that seem a shame? Someone put a lot of money and effort into these, and yet no one thought to proofread. It pretty much reinforces my theory that English signage here isn't meant for accuracy as much as it is for decoration. But somehow, in Tel Aviv, that fountainhead of Western values, you'd think that things would have been a bit less casual. I guess not!

03 July, 2008

Is this funny? Gentle Reader, it's up to you!

There's a sign I've seen here and there around town - it's striking, but never struck me as amusing. It's certainly possible that I've become so Israeli that the inherent humor now passes me by without a second thought, but I've left it to you to decide.

"Why are you posting something that you don't find funny?" I hear you cry. Well, the fact is, my brother-in-law mentioned something to me a few months back about a goofy sign that he'd seen in Jerusalem. When he got into detail describing it, I realized that it was the same sign I had seen here in Efrat. I kind o
f dismissed it, since, of course, it wasn't a funny sign.

Then my brother came to visit. (Perhaps you remember his catch here. More to come...) Around and about, he found a bunch of funny signs, and in his collection, this unfunny one appeared once again. That's when I understood that there's a good chance that the unfunny is only in my head - if others seem to consistently find it entertaining, who am I not to share? Here it comes:

Yes, there it is, on the electricity pylon thing, toward the bottom. Here, I'll get a little bit closer.

Seems pretty helpful to me. For a country where people often complain about unprofessional behavior and disorganization, I'm pretty impressed. They've got those poky things, so that you really understand that you're not meant to climb up, and a scary sign to boot! I saw it, and I was appreciative.

Apparently, in the real world (outside of my head), this sign is really silly. The claims I heard were:
it's just so funny, it sounds like the name of a movie, it's overdramatic, it doesn't say why there's a danger of death, it doesn't say Don't Climb, it doesn't say Electrocution, it doesn't say High Voltage (it actually does, in Hebrew), it's worthy of background music/percussion (perhaps a "bum bum bum"), and on and on.

So, in the name of equal opportunity, I leave it to you. It's gotten so that I can lean either way, so one doesn't need to feel that one is choosing sides. What do y'all think of this one?