Archive for April, 2012

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

Only very occasionally these days do I use a travel agent. I prefer to organize things myself online. But then I am a fairly experienced traveler. For many other people, particularly the intellectually challenged it seems, the travel agent is their first and last port of call when organizing a vacation.

The following are actual stories provided by travel agents. Since I read these I’m wondering if there should be some kind of proficiency test before one is allowed out of the house let alone venture into another county or country.

That’s one for the bureaucrats to ponder over, but it probably won’t happen, after all most of them couldn’t pass it, and they all like their little trips at our expense.

As usual, I hope you enjoy.

 

What the travel agents said:

 

I had someone ask for an aisle seat so that their hair wouldn’t get messed up by being near the window.

- – – – – – – – – -

 

A client called in inquiring about a package to Hawaii.

After going over all the cost info, she asked, “Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?”

- – – – – – – – – -

 

I got a call from a woman who wanted to go to Capetown.

I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information when she interrupted me with “I’m not trying to make you look stupid, but Cape Town is in Massachusetts.”

Without trying to make her look like the stupid one, I calmly explained, “Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa.”

Her response… click.

- – – – – – – – – -

 

A man called, furious about a Florida package we did.

I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando.

He said he was expecting an ocean-view room.

I tried to explain that is not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state.

He replied, “Don’t lie to me. I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state.”

- – – – – – – – – -

 

I got a call from a man who asked, “Is it possible to see England from Canada?”

I said, “No.”

He said, “But they look so close on the map.”

- – – – – – – – – -

 

Another man called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas.

When I pulled up the reservation, I noticed he had a 1-hour lay-over in Dallas.

When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, “I heard Dallas was a big airport, and I need a car to drive between the gates to save time.”

- – – – – – – – – -

 

A nice lady just called.

She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:20am and got into Chicago at 8:33am.

I tried to explain that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she could not understand the concept of time zones.

Finally I told her the plane went very fast, and she bought that!

- – – – – – – – – -

 

A woman called and asked, “Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to who?”

I said, “No, why do you ask?”

She replied, “Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said FAT, and I’m overweight, is there any connection?”

After putting her on hold for a minute while “I looked into it,” ( I was actually laughing) I came back and explained that the city code for Fresno is FAT, and that the airline was just putting a destination tag on her luggage.

- – – – – – – – – -

 

I just got off the phone with a man who asked, “How do I know which plane to get on?”

I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, “I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these darn planes have numbers on them.”

- – – – – – – – – -

 

A woman called and said, “I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola on one of those computer planes.”

I asked if she meant to fly to Pensacola on a commuter plane.

She said, “Yeah, whatever.”

- – – – – – – – – -

 

A business man called and had a question about the documents he needed in order to fly to China.

After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded him he needed a visa.

“Oh no I don’t, I’ve been to China many times and never had to have one of those.”

I double checked and sure enough, his stay required a visa.

When I told him this he said, “Look, I’ve been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express.”

- – – – – – – – – -

 

A secretary called in looking for hotel in Los Angles.

She gave me various names off a list, none of which I could find I finally had her fax me the list.

To my surprise, it was a list of hotels in New Orleans, Louisiana.

She thought the LA stood for Los Angles, and that New Orleans was a suburb of of L.A.

Worst of all, when I called her back, she was not even embarrassed.

- – – – – – – – – -

 

A woman called to make reservations, “I want to go from Chicago to Hippopotamus, New York.”

The agent was at a loss for words.

Finally, the agent asked, “Are you sure that’s the name of the town?”

“Yes, what flights do you have?” replied the customer.

After some searching, the agent came back with, “I’m sorry, ma’am, I’ve looked up every airport code in the country and can’t find a Hippopotamus anywhere.”

The customer retorted, “Oh don’t be silly. Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!”

The agent scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, “You don’t mean Buffalo, do you?”

She replied, “That’s it! I knew it was a big animal!”

hippo

Hippopotamus, New York

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

A very good friend of mine, Joe, joined the military. He wasn’t a very military minded man, definitely not the soldier type, but he was patriotic and thought it was his duty to join up. A very commendable attitude.

When Joe had taken this notion he was a little bit long in the tooth for the regular forces. He wasn’t old by any means, but he wasn’t in his teens either as most new recruits are these days. So he elected to join one of the part-time militias.

On his first day Joe arrived at the assigned army camp and joined other new recruits. They were all assembled in the square-bashing quadrangle for the inevitable welcoming speeches by the Officer in Charge and then a piece of less well structured but certainly more gritty initiation from the Sgt Major.

Times being what they have been within the last decade and more the military, like many other similar organizations have taken to having random tests of readiness and security to surprise attacks. Basically what happens is an alarm sounds and everyone gets to their pre-assigned positions and duties as fast as possible.

That is if you have been given a pre-assigned position to get to as fast as possible.

I don’t know whether Joe had been late getting to the base that first day (he did live quite a bit away) or whether he just hadn’t been paying attention, but when the alarm sounded everyone knew what to do  –  except for him.

All the other regulars and recruits ran off in various directions to what were obviously their pre-assigned positions. But Joe just stood there for a few moments, completely bewildered at what had just happened and where everybody had gone. But he quickly decided that he was far too conspicuous standing alone in the yard and that if everyone else was running somewhere then, hell, he would run somewhere too.

He just didn’t know where.

Then he remembered a big tree near the entrance to the army camp. He was fond of trees and nature and wildlife and the outdoors. I am too, but unlike myself Joe had always been a great climber and a fast one too. Before you could say “where did he go?”, Joe was well up the tree and hiding amongst its leaves. His camo gear worked a treat there as indeed it should.

Then in a while’s time the exercise was over and the signal sounded for everyone to stand down.

The new recruits all re-assembled back in the quad and as the army likes to do (frequently!) they dressed off (that’s got into lines properly spaced for those who have never participated in such things) and started a count. Away they went one, two, three, etc., but when they got to the end they were a man short. Joe.

Well, the military being the military, could never leave a man behind. They immediately identified who was missing and proceeded to organize search parties to find poor Joe. To paraphrase the famous Scarlet Pimpernel poem by  P.D.Q. Blakeney, “they sought him here, they sought him there. Those squaddies sought him everywhere! Was he in heaven? Was he in hell? That dammed elusive Pimpernel!”

But Pimpernel Joe was neither of those places. You see, not only did Joe not know the signal for the start of the attack exercise, he didn’t know the signal for the end of it either! As far as he was concerned he was still under attack and therefore still hiding up in the tree!!

He heard some of the search parties, but by this time Joe was completely confused. He had made the mistake a lot of people make when faced with unusual situations. He had thrown logic and plain reasoning out and had over analyzed his predicament. Not knowing that the exercise was finished, he thought that the search parties might be some kind of rouse by the “enemy” and the last thing he wanted to do, particularly on his first day, was to be captured by the opposing forces. I mean would that have looked stupid or what?

So he remained silent. And he remained up the tree.

Luckily it wasn’t cold that night and it didn’t rain either. In the morning at the crack of dawn reveille sounded and once the formalities were done the search parties were sent out again to find Joe.

He was really stiff and sore by this time and hungry too. I think during the night he had figured out that the “attack” was over and that it would be safe to come back down on to terra firma. And that’s what he did. A bit disheveled looking he made it to the ground and was greeted by one of the search parties who ushered him back to the Sgt.

The Sgt inquired politely where Joe had gone and where he had spent the night (WTFHYB……?). At first they thought that he had left the camp, in other words gone AWOL, but eventually he got them convinced of what he had done and where he had been.

They gave Joe a fool’s pardon, but they made sure he learned all his protocols for the next time. I don’t know whether they now use the tree trick as part of their training or not. Perhaps they should, it was certainly effective for Joe.

 

Hiding In A Tree

Hiding In A Tree

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

So yesterday’s blog post turned out to be about elephant’s bottoms. Who’d have thought? Sometimes these posts are a surprise to me too!

But it seemed to be reasonably popular so as they say, if you’re on a roll….

 

Today we’re in La Grange, Georgia and talking about a guy called Antonio Mendoza, an attorney. I probably shouldn’t have told you that last bit, it might take away some of your sympathy for poor Antonio.

Anyhow, Antonio has a dog. And as dogs have a habit of doing sometimes, it dragged Antonio’s things all over the place. One of the things belonging to Antonio that the dog got hold of was his cel phone which ended up in the shower.

And so did Antonio. One morning he was having a shower but he slipped on a wet tile, tripped on the dog and in his own words “sat down right on the thing”, the thing being his cel phone!

That of itself would probably have been enough to spoil most ordinary people’s day, but Antonio’s phone, like the unfortunate guy’s head yesterday, went right up where the sun don’t shine.

You’d think it couldn’t get much worse than that, but you’d be wrong.

Antonio’s phone was one of those flip phone types and the impact of his fall had managed to flip open the cover up inside his rectum. There was nothing for it but go to the hospital where the delicate extraction took more than three hours.

“He was a real trooper during the entire episode,” said Dr.Dennis Crobe. “Tony just cracked jokes and really seemed to be enjoying himself. Three times during the extraction his phone rang and each time, he made jokes about it that just had us rolling on the floor. By the time we finished, we really did expect to find an answering machine in there.”

 

That’s what can happen if you do it by accident.

 

Have a listen to the consequences if you are really, really and I mean REALLY dumb!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

You’ve possibly heard of the saying, “Stick your head where the sun don’t shine”? If you haven’t, or you are not sure what it means just take a quick look at my logo/gravatar for this blog and you’ll get the picture.

My blog post starts in Paderborn, Germany, where an elephant was under the care of overzealous zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt.

The problem was that the poor elephant was constipated and had been for a few days. Not a pleasant affliction if you’ve ever had to suffer it.

In his desperation to help the poor elephant Stefan had given it twenty-two doses of animal laxative and more than a bushel of berries, figs and prunes.

Not content with that explosive mixture, Fredrich also thought he would give the plugged-up pachyderm an olive oil enema as well.

As he was doing so, however, the first concoction must have done its work. The elephant let fly and dumped two hundred pounds of poop on top of Fredrich.

Unfortunately, according to flabbergasted Paderborn police detective Erik Dern, “The sheer force of the elephant’s unexpected defecation knocked Mr. Riesfeldt to the ground, where he struck his head on a rock and lay unconscious as the elephant continued to evacuate his bowels on top of him”.

With no one there to help him, he lay under all that dung for at least an hour before a watchman came along, and during that time he unfortunately suffocated.

It seems to be just one of those freak one-in-a-million accidents that happens.

Er…. Better make that two-in-a-million.

Here’s a video.

Enjoy!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

I did a bit of hunting when I was a kid and it was enjoyable enough at the time. And I have nothing very much against it for those who are inclined to such pastimes. But as I got older I lost interest in it. If there’s vermin around I’ll take out my shotgun and dispatch it no problem. But these days, and you may agree with this or not, I find that there are much more interesting things to do that trying to outwit a duck.

The same can not be said for these two intrepid hunters.

The story begins with a guy in Michigan, USA, who bought a brand new $30,000 Grand Cherokee, on credit naturally. He was very proud of his new rig, and got hold of his friend to do some male bonding with the new ride.

They decided to go duck hunting on a frozen lake and turned up with their guns, a dog, lots of beer and of course the new vehicle. They drove out onto the ice.

Now, they needed to make a hole in the ice to attract ducks – something for the decoys to float on. In order to make a hole large enough to interest a flock of ducks, they needed to use something a bit bigger than your normal ice drill. But, thinking ahead and coming prepared, they had brought with them a stick of dynamite with a 40-second fuse.

You can probably see where this is going already?

To their credit, these guys realized that they wanted the explosion to be far away from themselves, the jeep and their equipment. However, they also didn’t want to light the fuse and run back to the jeep in case they slipped on the ice.

So far so good, and the logic of their thinking was okay.

Their solution, however, was to stay where they were, light the dynamite and then throw it as far as they could.

Again so far so good, it still sounded like a plan.

So they did that very thing. They threw the dynamite and the explosive landed a suitable distance away. They waited for the explosion.

However, when they made their plan they had no contingencies in it about their dog.

A well-trained golden Labrador, it immediately set out across the ice to bring the back the stick.  That’s what dogs do. And this dog did.

The two would-be hunters started yelling, stomping, and waving their arms.

The dog glanced back but took all the frantic activity as approval and encouragement and happily ran back toward the hunters, fizzing stick of dynamite firmly clenched in it’s jaws.

As the dog approached, one of the pair thought rapidly, grabbed his shotgun, and shot the dog.

Unfortunately the shotgun was loaded with #8 duck shot and was hardly effective enough to stop a dog the size of a Labrador.

The dog did pause for a moment, slightly confused, but then continued on.

Another shot rang out.

This time the dog became really confused and, quite naturally, scared.

He changed direction, and now with an extremely short fuse still burning, headed for the nearest and indeed only cover on the wide expanse of ice.

Yeah, underneath the guy’s brand new Cherokee.

The dynamite went off, and dog and jeep plummeted to the bottom of the lake.

Strangely, the insurance company refused to pay up.

 

 

golden Labrador dynamite retriever

golden Labrador dynamite retriever

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

I don’t think it would be exaggerating to say that at some time in our lives we have bought something that we were not happy with. Maybe it’s happened more than once, it certainly has to me. However, unless the problem is very bad or the product very expensive we seldom if ever complain – although we should.

Thankfully some people are not so backward when it comes to coming forward.

Take this lady for example.

Here is an actual letter she wrote to one of the top executives at Proctor & Gamble. It’s probably one more for the ladies than the gents, buy hey guys we’ve all been sent to the supermarket (and been afraid to say, “No”!).

Enjoy.

 

 

An Open Letter To Mr. James Thatcher, Brand Manager, Proctor & Gamble.

 

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your Always maxi pads for over 20 years, and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core or Dri-WeaveTM absorbency, I’d probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I’d certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts.

But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can’t tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there’s a little   F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from “the curse”? I’m guessing you haven’t. Well, my “time of the month” is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I’ll be transformed into what my husband likes to call “an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.” Isn’t the human body amazing?

As brand manager in the feminine-hygiene division, you’ve no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers’ monthly visits from Aunt Flo. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it’s a tough time for most women.

In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend’s testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey’s Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy! The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in capri pants.

Which brings me to the reason for my letter.

Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words:

“Have a Happy Period.”

Are you fucking kidding me?

What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness actual smiling, laughing happiness is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James?

FYI, unless you’re some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything “happy” about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlúa and lock yourself in your house just so you don’t march down to the local Walgreens armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.

For the love of God, pull your head out, man. If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn’t it make more sense to say something that’s actually pertinent, like “Put Down the Hammer” or “Vehicular Manslaughter Is Wrong”? Or are you just picking on us?

Sir, please inform your accounting department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flexi-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bullshit.

And that’s a promise I will keep.

Always.

 

Always marketing message

Always marketing message

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

Only two things are infinite:

the universe and human stupidity;

and I’m not sure about the universe. 

Albert Einstein

At the weekend I was reading a post from ‘A Frank Angle’ which I had linked on to via Alex Autin’s Things I Love blog. Alex had been nominated for the “Very Inspiring Blogger” award  –  many congratulations Alex, well deserved  –  and this was one of the site she in turn recommended.

A Frank Angle’s post was on the subject of evolution, which was interesting and very well written. I don’t want to get into one of those “Intelligent Design versus Evolution” arguments, because this blog really isn’t the proper place for such a debate and in my experience I rarely if ever win over the poor deluded fools who don’t believe as I do! Why I’m writing about this at all is just to set the scene for you.

The thing that got to me when I was reading this post by A Frank Angle was in the comments section, not the post itself. Now the comment concerned as a whole was good enough and very applicable to the post so I am not in any way taking the writer to task for that. But it did contain one of the dumbest clichés in creation (little pun there folks!).

The writer talked about people denying “confirmed science”.

This may turn into a bit of a rant, but, excuse me just wtf exactly is “confirmed science”, apart from being a complete contradiction in terms?

It is a phrase often see used in the evolution argument, and elsewhere too, that implies that currently accepted scientific views cannot be challenged, with the further implication that one is an idiot if one dares to do so.

Quite the reverse is the truth in fact. Scientists tell us things are the way they are  –  until some other scientists tell us that this is not the way things are at all, in fact they’re this other different way instead  –  and so it goes on and on. And that’s actually a cack-handed way to define science. It is continual observation and discovery and hopefully therefore increased understanding of things. Nothing is ever “confirmed” forever.

Science is very valuable, I have nothing against it whatsoever. In fact I find lots of scientific things both extremely interesting and fascinating. But science is no different from any other sector as regards the people who inhabit its realm.

My realm is the business world mainly. And you actually can take this as “confirmed” born out through countless observations, that for everyone who is a good businessman or woman there are many, many more of the dumbest so-and-so’s you could ever have the misfortune to meet. And boring – don’t start me on that!

Other spheres are likewise.

There are brilliant doctors and there are good doctors and there are doctors you wouldn’t want to be seen dead with – except you probably would be! Same goes for veterinarians, or bricklayers, or fund managers, or secretaries, etc., etc., etc.

Scientists (and I know a couple of really bright sparks in that field) are no different. They are people and people are fallible. They make mistakes. And they misinterpret things based sometimes on stupidity, sometimes on jumping to the completely wrong conclusion, sometimes by interpreting data in an erroneous way and sometimes they have their own more personal and pecuniary motives. Yes, that last bit means that some of them make “discoveries” for their own attempt at fame or for the money, or both. It happens. They’re just people, smarter people maybe, but people.

Take the global warming debate. I’m not going to go into that in depth here either, but whether you subscribe to the theory that it is a man made phenomenon, or that it the result of millions of cows farting too much, or that it is just a long term natural cycle that predates records, some of the scientists involved have very unscientifically (and dishonestly) “cooked the books” as regards the evidence they have provided on the subject, and more particularly the evidence that they have deliberately withheld.

An engineer and scientist by the unusual name of Vannevar Bush (nothing to do with the Presidents of that name, although I think he may have been an scientific advisor to FDR) gave the game away when he admitted that “The common idea that scientists reject a theory as soon as it leads to a contradiction is just not so. When they get something that works at all they plunge ahead with it and ignore its weak spots… scientists are just as bad as the rest of the public in following fads and being influenced by mass enthusiasm.”

Like I said, they’re just people.

You know how one day scientists tell you your breakfast cereal, with all its vitamins and fiber and stuff, is just the best thing you could ever put inside your body, and then the next day some other scientist decides that it’s really bad for you?

Stop eating chocolate it will kill you!   No, eat chocolate it’s good for your heart!

Cholesterol is bad!   No it’s not, just some of it is bad, actually some of it is really good too!

If you drink alcohol you will surely die!   No, no, have a drink if you want to, as long as you aren’t driving, it’s good for you in moderation, particularly red wine.

There’s a major flu epidemic on the way! It’ll be worse than the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918!! It’s going to kill millions!!! Here stupid governments, spend billions of dollars on this here serum thingummy-doo-dah that we just happen to have prepared earlier and inoculate your people. Er…. what flu epidemic was that then?

The trouble lies in the ill thought out reverence people give to scientists which is founded on ignorance – in every definition of the word. Ordinary folks are afraid to take scientists on because we usually know little or nothing about the very narrow field of study that these people have devoted their lives to.

We don’t look at them as ‘people who know a lot about a little’ which is really what they are. We look at them as ‘people who know everything about everything’ which is absolutely what they are not. And sadly, we just accept what they say as fact when clearly it is not. And that is a very dangerous thing.

What is even more dangerous is that many of the scientists themselves think that they know everything about everything. When they are lucky enough to “discover” something they are seldom content to leave it at that. Next comes the extrapolation based on the “discovery” which is mostly pure conjecture on their part, but it is swallowed as fact by many gullible believers.

Actually I have a theory (not scientific you’ll be relieved to know) that no scientist should ever announce that they have discovered anything that is the be-all-and-end-all of a subject. They’re just setting themselves up for an inevitable fall, and their followers for a big disappointment.

Clever Scientist: “Hey, I’ve discovered the quark. It’s the smallest thing in the universe.”

Simple Simon: “Really? That’s fantastic!” 

Clever Scientist: “Yes, I’m ever so clever, aren’t I?”

Simple Simon: “What’s it made of then?”

Clever Scientist: “What’s it what???……. Oh, crap!”

Scientists used to think the earth was flat. At the time that was “confirmed science”.

For a while, well before microscopes and theories of cells and germs and stuff, scientists believed in spontaneous generation. Aristotle said, in no uncertain terms, that some animals grow spontaneously and not from other animals of their kind. But while you’re laughing at that, many scientists right up to the 19th century believed it was “confirmed science”. Some even wrote recipe books for making animals, like you would make a scorpion by using basil, placed between two bricks and left in sunlight. I know what should have been placed between the two bricks instead, it wouldn’t have made a scorpion but I’m fairly sure it would have stung quite a bit!

Another bit of “confirmed science” was a thing called Phlogiston, which was on the go around 1667 when Johann Joachim Becher (a German physicist) suggested that it was the fifth element to go with the four classical elements (Earth, Water, Air, Fire) which was contained within objects that could burn. The “confirmed science” of the day went something like, objects that burned in air were rich in phlogiston and the fact that a fire burned out when oxygen was removed was seen as proof that oxygen could only absorb a limited amount of the substance. This theory even led to the belief that humans’ need to breathe had a sole function which was to remove phlogiston from the body.

And, of course, there was good old alchemy that had its origins in ancient Egypt and, combined with metallurgy, ended up in belief in being able to turn ordinary metals into gold, and even to conjure up genies, and perform all manner of bizarre not-so-science-like activities.

To us now all these bits of “confirmed science” are absurd. But the likelihood is that sometime in the future a lot of the current batch of “confirmed science” will look equally absurd. The truth is, although we now know a lot more than we did, say 100 years ago, we still know next to nothing about our existence, and our own little planet, let alone what’s going on elsewhere. There’s a certain arrogance born out of ignorance that makes anyone think that they have a handle on it all, and an even more certain stupidity about those who believe them.

Take an interest in science by all means, as I do. But please do not be so dumb as to “believe” in scientists. Keep you feet planted firmly on the ground. Gravity will help you with that. It’s a really good job Sir Isaac Newton “discovered” it all those years ago otherwise we’d be floating about all over the place!

gravity - don't leave home without it

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

Definition of a “Gentleman”

Someone who knows how to play the bagpipes, but never does!

 

This one didn’t happen to anyone I know, in fact I don’t even know if it happened at all, but it is kinda funny I hope. (I do have a couple of good stories about funerals and they’ll probably make their way on to this blog eventually).

Anyway, for now here’s the story in the words of the bagpiper himself.

 

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man.  He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the back country.

I was not familiar with the backwoods and I got lost. I didn’t stop for directions and should have.

I finally arrived an hour late and saw that the funeral guy had gone because the hearse was nowhere in sight.  There was only the digging crew left and they were eating lunch.

I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late.

I went to the side of the grave and looked down and saw the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around.

I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends.  I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man.

As I played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car.

Though my head was hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say,

 

“I never seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”

 

Apparently I’m still lost….

 

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

I must confess as to never having had the urge to write to Dear Abby about any of my problems. I prefer to sort things out myself as best I can and usually that works, not perfectly, but okay. Other people seem to be different, which is a good thing as regards this blog post.

Here are a selection of Dear Abby letters that I enjoyed reading.

As always, I hope you do too.

 

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

Dear Abby,

A couple of women moved in across the hall from me. One is a middle-aged gym teacher and the other is a social worker in her mid-twenties. These two women go everywhere together and I’ve never seen a man go into or leave their apartment. Do you think they could be Lebanese?

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

 

Dear Abby,

What can I do about all the Sex, Nudity, Fowl Language and Violence On My VCR?

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

 

Dear Abby,

I have a man I can’t trust. He cheats so much, I’m not even sure the baby I’m carrying is his.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

 

Dear Abby,

I am a twenty-three year old liberated woman who has been on the pill for two years. It’s getting expensive and I think my boyfriend should share half the cost, but I don’t know him well enough to discuss money with him.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

 

Dear Abby,

I’ve suspected that my husband has been fooling around, and when confronted with the evidence, he denied everything – and said it would never happen again.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

 

Dear Abby,

Our son writes that he is taking Judo. Why would a boy who was raised in a good Christian home turn against his own?

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

 

Dear Abby,

I joined the Navy to see the world. I’ve seen it. Now how do I get out?

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

 

Dear Abby,

My forty year old son has been paying a psychiatrist $50.00 an hour every week for two and a half years. He must be crazy.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

 

Dear Abby,

I was married to Bill for three months, and I didn’t know he drank until one night he came home sober.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

 

Dear Abby,

My mother is mean and short tempered – I think she is going through mental pause.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

 

Dear Abby,

You told some woman whose husband had lost all interest in sex to send him to a doctor. Well, my husband lost all interest in sex – and he is a doctor. Now what do I do?

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Dear Abby,

I’ve been going steady with this man for six years. We see each other every night. He says he loves me, and I know I love him, but he never mentions marriage. Do you think he’s going out with me just for what he can get?

Gertie

 

Dear Gertie,

I don’t know. What is he getting?

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Dear Abby,

My boyfriend is going to be twenty years old next month. I’d like to give him something nice for his birthday. What do you think he’d like?

Carol

 

Dear Carol,

Never mind what he’d like. Give him a tie.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

 

Dear Abby,

Are birth control pills deductible?

Kay

 

Dear Kay,

Only if they don’t work.

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Dear Abby,

Our son was married in January. Five months later his wife had a ten-pound baby girl. They said the baby was premature. Tell me, can a baby this big be that early?

Wondering

 

Dear Wondering,

The baby was on time, the wedding was late.

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Dear Abby,

Do you think about dying much?

Curious

 

Dear Curious,

No, it’s the last thing I want to do.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

 

Dear Abby,

Is it possible for a man to be in love with two women at the same time?

Jake

 

Dear Jake,

Yes, and also hazardous.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

 

Dear Abby,

I know boys will be boys, but my ‘boy’ is seventy-three and he’s still chasing women. Any suggestions?

Annie

 

Dear Annie,

Don’t worry. My dog has been chasing cars for years, but if he ever caught one, he wouldn’t know what to do with it.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

 

Dear Abby,

I have always wanted to have my family history traced, but I can’t afford to spend a lot of money to do it. Any suggestions?

Sam in Cal.

 

Dear Sam,

Yes. Run for public office.

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

I have to say in my own defense here that I am usually a very good tipper. In restaurants or taxis or whatever, if the service is good, and it usually is, then I have no qualms about rewarding the person who has taken pride in their work and done a good job.

I just wish the world did likewise and rewarded those who did a good job instead of falling over themselves to reward those who don’t and who don’t even want a job to begin with.

But when the service is bad or the person has a bit of an attitude problem, then I don’t tip. Well actually yes I do, but I make the tip so small and derogatory that the message gets through.

In fact, I’ll make that a different sort of tip for anyone reading this blog, if you are in a restaurant or wherever and the service has been bad, pay the bill, without a gratuity if you’re paying by credit card, and leave just a penny on the table for the server. They’ll get the message better than leaving them nothing and so will their colleagues who you will usually see smirking in the background. Oh, and don’t go back to the restaurant, they don’t deserve your custom if they employ people like that.

Fortunately, I haven’t had to resort to that kind of thing very often. I remember though, one time myself and a friend were in the airport in Sanford in Florida. We had a while to wait for our flight which had been delayed and to pass the time we decided to go to one of the restaurants for a beer or coffee and maybe a sandwich. It was a particularly hot day and we decided to sit close to a ceiling fan. It was very comfortable.

Although it was beside the other tables it must have been a place reserved for larger meals than a snack and the waitress paced back and forth, knowing we were ready to order, but deliberately ignoring us. Neither of us were the least bit annoyed, in fact watching her antics helped to pass the time. I’m afraid our comments on her attitude and even her appearance were none to complimentary. She hadn’t been blessed with good looks, nor, from her attitude towards us, much of a brain or a personality either.

There was no one else in the place which should have been a bit of a clue for us. But we persevered. Eventually she came over to our table, took out her notepad and stood there without saying a word. We just ordered a couple of beers which were delivered to the table again without a word and without a smile.

We took our time over those and when it was time to board the airplane we asked for the bill. We left the exact amount plus one penny for the great service. It was all in change, mainly nickels and dimes and pennies. As we were going out the door we stopped and watched as she went over to the table to collect and count the money. We could see her counting it, and then counting it again, and then a third time.

Finally the literal penny in the palm of her hand the metaphorical penny in her head dropped too. She didn’t hope we had good day, in fact the look on her face said just the opposite. But, you know, it didn’t matter, we’d already had one at her expense, literally.

Then there was another time when my generosity was curtailed, this time it was in New York. I had arrived at JFK from Heathrow, and, suitably tired after first the flight and then the long and humorless ordeal that is US Immigration since 9/11. I was eager to get to my hotel.

I got the first available airport taxi. The driver was a New Yorker, from Queens. An authority on everything, you know the type. So there I was stretched out in the back of the cab listening to this guy give me a lesson on all things New York. It was unnecessary because I was a frequent visitor to the City and knew Manhattan reasonable well, but I listened to him anyway and answered when appropriate, which wasn’t that often because he liked the sound of his own voice.

When we got to the hotel, nice place on West 44th Street, he stopped the cab and I reached into my pocket for some money. The fare was $20, so I reached him a $20 dollar bill. As I was turning the bunch of bills over to get to the $5’s for the tip, the cab driver proceeded to give me a lesson on life in New York.

“It’s customary to give a tip,” he said in that harsh grinding New York accent. “In fact it’s expected!”

“Is it?,” I answered innocently. “Would $5 be okay?”

“Yeah, I suppose so,” he reluctantly replied.

“Well then,” I went on, “Here’s your tip, if you’d given me time I’d have gladly given you the $5 and maybe more, but because you couldn’t keep your mouth shut, here’s a dollar. Maybe you’ll give your customers the benefit of doubt the next time.”

In truth I doubted if he would. Needless to say he wasn’t pleased, but neither was I.

So I think the moral of this post is, reward good work generously, but do not be afraid not to reward incompetence, bad service or people who expect something for nothing. They’re literally not worth it.