Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The original title of this post was “Farting On Airplanes” because it is really about farting on airplanes, but I thought it might be better just to call it “It’s An Ill Wind”.

No, come on, now you know don’t turn your noses up, or pretend this is something that (a) you’ve never thought about, or (b) never done. Farting on airplanes is an international phenomenon that transcends all nationalities, religions, ages, creeds, classes and colors.

It is in fact the common bond of all the world’s travelers.

Whether it can ever bring us closer together, however, is another thing (Phew!)

longer larger fart plane

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This is a quite embarrassing story. Not something one would normally admit to, but people write unusual things on blogs.

It concerns one of the first long haul flights that I was ever on.

Nowadays, as a seasoned flyer, I always have a good meal before the flight. I don’t suffer from air sickness of any kind and I don’t care for the stuff they call airline food. Back then, however, I was a novice and ended up on board without any breakfast other than a cup of coffee. My stomach was empty – of food anyhow.

All was well for about twenty or thirty minutes and then it started.

The obvious solution would have been to get up and go to the toilet. But easy options aren’t the way I have gone through life so far.

Also it was a big plane, a 747, and the toilets were quite a bit away from my seat. I would face a long walk down the narrow aisle.

Not that the walk itself was the problem. It was just that whoever designs airline seats has arranged things so that the nose and ears of the person sitting down is just about at the same height as the bottom of the person walking casually past.

You see the predicament?

In any case, I found myself in a window seat with two other seats to negotiate before I got to the aisle. Such was the pressure building up that I feared the exertion of hopping over the additional seats would make the whole purpose of the journey somewhat redundant.

There was nothing for it but to stay where I was, with the unfortunate choice being either bursting or releasing some of the pressure. Not unnaturally I chose to do the latter option.

As these things go it was a substantial outcome. But the drone of the plane engines (they were a lot louder in those days, I think, I hope, weren’t they?) seemed to drown out any other background noises.

I didn’t hear a thing.

I double checked by having a quick look at the person unfortunate enough to be sitting beside me, but there was no sign in the expression on his face that anything untoward had happened. Either that or he was a professional poker player with a practiced deadpan expression – or in a state of semi consciousness as a result of the concussive force emanating from the seat beside him.

My confidence grew. I thought of the famous campfire scene from Blazing Saddles and let a few more go in tribute.

Farting Mid Flight

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I was so happy at the relief and at the fact that all was undetected that I allowed myself a triumphant smile, and then even a laugh. The movie I was watching was a comedy so my laughter didn’t look out of place either.

It was all good.

Hang on a minute.

All was not as good as it seemed.

Cut the laughter and cue serious worried face.

I suddenly realized that all this time I had been wearing the headphones the flight attendant had given us for the movies they were showing. No wonder I had heard nothing!

Oh dear me! What had I done?

Well, I knew what I had done, of course. The big question now was, did anyone else know? Had they heard me doing it?

I looked again at the man in the seat beside me. Again no perceivable reaction on his face that indicated that anything out of the ordinary had happened, although now I was aware of them I saw that he too was wearing the headphones.   

I was relieved a bit, but still very curious. And when I get curious about something I have to try to find an answer.

So there was nothing for it but let rip again, this time with my headphones off.

And that’s what I did.

Thankfully, in the interests of the scientific experiment now under way, the quality of the offending item had not diminished in force. A guy knows about these things even without any audio feedback.

To my great relief, in every meaning of the word, I still didn’t hear a thing. The drone of the airplane engines had indeed drowned out any other sounds.

It was a magnificently liberating experience and from that day on I have never looked back, as it were.

Further experimentation revealed that the same undetectable result could be achieved even on much smaller airplanes. Commercial jets I’m talking about, of course, this is not a sport to indulge in on a single engined Cesna or something like that.

I also found out that it is possible I have been saving the airlines lucky enough to win my custom a small fortune. As you know the air in airplanes these days is all re-circulated and, as the methane content of a fart is lighter than air, the captured gas therefore contributes to keeping the airplane airborne with a consequent saving on fuel. That’s my story anyhow.

farting in airplanes

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And the good news just keeps on coming.

Independent research confirms that a person’s sense of smell is greatly suppressed in the reduced cabin air pressure, which incidentally is also why airplane food tastes so bad. 

So now if you are on an airplane and sitting beside someone who is chuckling to himself – or herself, yes ladies your secret is out – you’ll know the real reason why!

One day it might even be me!!!

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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In case you were wondering, this post has nothing to do with Michael Crichton’s mind control novel with the same title. Rather it is about people with no minds trying to control the rest of us.

Strange, as well as stupid, people feature on the fasab blog.

None come stranger than Mehran Karimi Nasseri, also known as Sir, Alfred Mehran (yes, including the comma).

Nasseri is an Iranian refugee who was expelled from Iran in 1977 for protests against the Shah. After a long battle, involving applications in several countries, he was awarded refugee status by the United Nations High Commission for refugees in Belgium which permitted him residence in any European country.

He claimed to have one British parent, although he produced no evidence to support this, and decided to settle in the UK in 1986.  But en route to there, in 1988, he claimed that he was mugged and his shoulder bag stolen while waiting at the RER platform to go to Charles de Gaulle Airport to take a flight to Heathrow.

When he tried to go to the United Kingdom, Nasseri managed to board the plane, but when he arrived at Heathrow, London without the necessary documentation, immigration officials sent him back to Charles de Gaulle airport.

Unable to prove his identity, or his refugee status, to the French officials, he was initially arrested and moved to the Zone d’attente (waiting zone), a holding area for travelers who do not have papers. However, due to the fact that his entry to the airport was legal he was released, but, since he had no country of origin to be returned to, he began his residence in the departure lounge of Terminal One in Charles de Gaulle Airport on August 8, 1988.

Mr. Nasseri’s predicament was made into a movie in 1993 entitled ‘Tombes du Ciel’, starring Jean Rochefort, Ticky Holgado, and Marisa Paredes. And he was reportedly the inspiration behind the 2004 movie ‘The Terminal’, starring Tom Hanks.

However, unlike Hanks’ character in the movie, and since at least 1994, Nasseri did not live in the duty-free transit area, but simply in the departure hall, in the circular boutiques and restaurants passage on the lowest floor.

Theoretically he could leave the terminal at any moment, although, since everyone knew him, his departure might not remain unnoticed. He did not seem to speak with anyone normally.

With his cart and bags, he almost looked like a traveler, so people either did not notice him or ignored him as if he were a homeless person. Airport workers were kind enough to give him food.

In 1992, his case was taken on by French human rights lawyer Christian Bourget. However, in one of those absurd rulings that idiot bureaucrats and judges can only dream up, the French courts ruled that, having entered the country legally, he could not be expelled from the airport, but neither could it grant him permission to enter France.

Attempts were then made to have new documents issued from Belgium, but the authorities there would only do so if Nasseri presented himself in person. However, under Belgian law a refugee who voluntarily leaves a country that has accepted him cannot return.

In 1995, the Belgian authorities granted permission for him to return, but only if he agreed to live there under supervision of a social worker. Nasseri refused this on the grounds of wanting to enter the UK as originally intended.

In July 2006, eighteen years later (yes, that’s 18 years!) Nasseri’s stay at the Charles de Gaulle Airport ended when he was hospitalized and his sitting place dismantled.

Towards the end of January 2007, he left the hospital and was looked after by the airport’s branch of the French Red Cross. He was lodged for a few weeks in a hotel close to the airport.

On March 6, 2007, he transferred to an Emmaus charity reception centre in Paris’s twentieth arrondissement. As far as I know he may still be there.

And you thought US immigration took a long time!

The Terminal Man - Mehran Karimi Nasseri

The Terminal Man – Mehran Karimi Nasseri

 

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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When I was putting together yesterday’s post about crooks who had either been smart enough to get away with it or police who had been too dumb to catch them, the name Danny Ocean cropped up in relation to a heist in Belgium.

That put me in mind of the very popular movie remake of Ocean’s Eleven starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, et al.

Ocean's Eleven

Ocean’s Eleven

The Clooney version of Ocean’s Eleven was a good piece of work. (We’ll not talk so much about the sequels!) Without spoiling the whole thing for those who haven’t yet seen the movie, basically the plot is to simultaneously steal $150 million from the Bellagio, Mirage and MGM Grand casinos in Las Vegas, all belonging to ruthless entrepreneur Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). The money is being held in a state-of-the-art safe seventy yards underneath the Las Vegas Strip, with loads of hi-tech surveillance, laser beams, motion detectors and alarm systems to protect it.

Clooney/Ocean puts together a team of experienced professionals, proficient in skills from magic, pickpocteting, pyrotechnics, a card sharp, an electronics and surveillance expert and even a Chinese acrobat! 

The movie is full of special effects and great looking sets with hosts of electronic gadgets that are there to prevent people stealing the casino’s money, and loads of other gadgets that Ocean and his crew have assembled to defeat the former.

Even getting into the surveillance and restricted areas of the casinos is a huge problem that takes sophisticated planning and equipment and well worked plot lines.

casino security

casino security

But that’s Hollywood.

This blog is about reality.

I have spent quite a bit of time in Vegas, mostly on business but I enjoy playing in the casinos too.I even ended up in Federal Court there on one occasion, but that’s a story for another day. Suffice to say here that I like the place and the buzz that it has. Perhaps living there all the time would get to you, but for a visit I highly recommend it (take some money with you though!).

It just so happened that I was in Las Vegas about the time the Ocean’s Eleven movie was doing the rounds, probably 2002. One evening I found myself standing outside the Bellagio watching the fountain show (a great spectacle, see video) and of course my thoughts turned to the movie and all that had transpired. In my mind’s eye I could see Danny Ocean and the others in this very same place. It was a pleasant evening.

Me, Danny and the crew outside the Bellagio

Me, Danny and the crew outside the Bellagio

Within a couple of days of that, however, I discovered that my cell phone was missing. Had I mislaid it, had I dropped it, had it fallen out of my pocket in a restaurant or taxi, or had I had my pocket picked by one of Danny Ocean’s men? I thought the possibility of the latter was highly unlikely so I put it down to my own carelessness.

I was staying in one of the casino hotels, I won’t say which one, because I am sure things have changed a lot in the intervening ten years. But after checking my room for the phone I decided the next best thing to do was to ask the security guys in the hotel in the unlikely event that someone had found it and handed it in. It wasn’t an expensive phone, so I wasn’t too bothered, but one feels obliged to go through the motions when something like that happens.

So I made my way down to the casino on the ground floor and found one of the security guys. He pointed me in the direction of what I presumed was his superior and he in turn pointed me towards a rather non-descript single door on the other side of the casino floor.

After a long walk, circumnavigating numerous roulette and blackjack tables, I got to the door and pressed a buzzer on the intercom affair. To my surprise no one answered, but the door simply clicked open. I wasn’t sure what I should do, but always ready for an adventure I opened the door and went inside.

Man, talk about a disappointment. My crest was fallen on several levels!

Rather than being pleased with myself at the ease with which I had been able to dismantle the multi-million dollar security, I was actually disappointed that it hadn’t been a lot more difficult. I can talk my way (or blag, some people have said) into most places if I choose to do so, and I had been rehearsing various things that I was going to say when questioned. But here I was right in the heart of the casino surveillance system and no one had even spoken to me let alone challenge why I was there.

I was disappointed also by what I saw. Sure there were loads of cctv screens all showing different parts of the casino, different gambling tables and all that sort of thing. And a few obligatory computers. But it wasn’t like the movies. The equipment was clearly not new and the décor left a lot to be desired too, not quite tatty but showing a few years of wear and tear.

I wandered around for a minute or so taking it all in. If Ocean had picked me for his crew I would have had everyone tied up and the place taken over by now, I thought. But then the movie would have been about fifteen minutes long and very little tension and excitement (and box office takings) would have been generated.

Then one of the security guys detected my presence. He didn’t speak, just gave me one of those “Where the f*** did you come from?” looks.

I too was silent, I knew what he wasn’t saying, so I put my right hand inside my jacket and went for my silenced 9mm Walther PPK in its concealed shoulder holster. Well, no, not quite. I just retrieved my room keycard and ID which I thought might be required when everyone came to their senses.

It was. And I explained why I was there and who had sent me. After their initial surprise the guys in the security room were very friendly, but no phone had been handed in and they didn’t hold out much hope of me ever seeing it again, so after a bit of conversation I bid them farewell. I think it took longer to get me buzzed out than buzzed in, but hey that’s life.

Later that evening I again found myself leaning up against the front wall at the Bellagio watching the fountains. But this time Danny and the crew weren’t there, not even in my head. After what had happened earlier, it just wasn’t the same. It hasn’t been ever since!

Just me this time

Just me this time

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Ocean’s eleven trailer

End sequence

 

Video taken from Paris Casino’s Eiffel Tower Observation Point, on March 11,2007

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Monday is usually the day for stupid quiz show answers. But this Olympic Monday here are a selection of stupid questions asked by some intellectually challenged members of the public in relation to past Olympic Games held in Vancouver, Canada (winter) and in Sydney, Australia.

I think it proves not only that dumb people don’t just give dumb answers, they ask dumb questions too; and that dumbness is a worldwide phenomenon (the nationality of the questioner is indicated after the question).

Enjoy.

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Questions About the 2010 Winter Olympics In Vancouver, Canada:

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Q: I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)

A. We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.

 

Q: Will I be able to see Polar Bears in the street? (USA)

A: Depends on how much you’ve been drinking.

 

Q: I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto – can I follow the Railroad tracks? (Sweden)

A: Sure, it’s only Four thousand miles, take lots of water.

 

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Canada? (Sweden)

A: So it’s true what they say about Swedes.

 

Q: It is imperative that I find the names and addresses of places to contact for a stuffed Beaver. (Italy)

A: Let’s not touch this one.

 

Q: Are there any ATM’s (cash machines) in Canada? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax? (UK)

A: What did your last slave die of?

 

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada? (USA)

A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Ca-na-da is that big country to your North…oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary. Come naked.

 

Q: Which direction is North in Canada? (USA)

A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we’ll send the rest of the directions.

 

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada? (UK)

A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

 

Q: Do you have perfume in Canada? (Germany)

A: No, WE don’t stink.

 

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth.  Can you sell it in Canada? (USA)

A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

 

Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)

A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

 

Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada? (USA)

A: Only at Thanksgiving.

 

Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round? (Germany)

A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of Vegan hunter/gathers. Milk is illegal.

 

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada, but I forget its name. It’s a kind of big horse with horns. (USA)

A: It’s called a Moose. They are tall and very violent, eating the brains of anyone walking close to them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

 

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)

A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.

 

And questions asked during the Olympics in Australia. The Sydney Olympic Committee via their Web site, supplied the answers.

 

Q: Which direction should I drive – Perth to Darwin or Darwin to Perth – to avoid driving with the sun in my eyes? (Germany)

A: Excellent question, considering that the Olympics are being held in Sydney.

 

Q: My client wants to take a steel pooper-scooper into Australia. Will you let her in? (South Africa)

A: Why? We do have toilet paper here …

 

Q: Where can I learn underwater welding in Australia? (Portugal)

A: Under water?

 

Q: Do the camels in Australia have one hump or two? (UK)

A: What’s the time frame?

 

Q: Do tents exist in Australia? (Germany)

A: Yes, but only in sporting supply stores, peoples’ garages, and most national parks …

 

Q: Can I wear high heels in Australia? (UK)

A: This HAS to have been asked by a blonde …

 

Q: Can I drive to the Great Barrier Reef? (Germany)

A: Sure, if your vehicle is amphibious.

 

Q: Are there killer bees in Australia? (Germany)

A: Not yet, but we’ll see what we can do when you get here.

 

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)

A: I love this one … there are no rattlesnakes in Australia.

 

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys’ Choir schedule? (USA)

A: Americans have long had considerable trouble distinguishing between Austria and Australia.

 

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. It’s a kind of bear and lives in trees. (USA)

A: Would you believe the Panda?

 

Q: Are there places in Australia where you can make love outdoors? (Italy)

A: Yes. Outdoors.

 

Q: I was in Australia in 1969 on R+R, and I want to contact the girl I dated while I was staying in Kings Cross. Can you help? (USA)

A: No. And even if I could …

 

 

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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No, it’s not another quiz. I think you could categorize it as one of those “it seemed a good idea at the time” stories. This is the story of an idiot whose stupidity and a fast car brought him to a premature end.  

 

The Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smoldering wreckage embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. They were mystified.

The metal debris resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it turned out to be the vaporized remains of an automobile. The make of the vehicle was unidentifiable at the scene.

It took the CSI type people in the lab to finally figure out what it was, and pieced together the events that led up to its demise.

It seems that a former Air Force sergeant had somehow got hold of a JATO (Jet Assisted Take-Off) unit. JATO units are solid fuel rockets used to give heavy military transport airplanes an extra push for take-off from short airfields.

Dried desert lakebeds are the location of choice for breaking the world ground vehicle speed record. So the sergeant took the JATO unit into the Arizona desert and found a long, straight stretch of road. He attached the JATO unit to his car, jumped in, accelerated to a high speed, and fired off the rocket.

The facts, as best as could be determined, are as follows:

The operator was driving a 1967 Chevy Impala. He ignited the JATO unit approximately 3.9 miles from the crash site. This was established by the location of a prominently scorched and melted strip of asphalt.

The vehicle quickly reached a speed of between 250 and 300 mph and continued at that speed, under full power, for an additional 20-25 seconds.

The soon-to-be pilot experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog-fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburners.

The Chevy remained on the straight highway for approximately 2.6 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied the brakes, completely melting them, blowing the tires, and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface.

The vehicle then became airborne for an additional 1.3 miles, impacted the cliff face at a height of 125 feet, and left a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock.

Most of the driver’s remains were not recovered; however, small fragments of bone, teeth, and hair were extracted from the crater, and fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel.

Ironically a still-legible bumper sticker was found, reading “How do you like my driving? Dial 1-800-EAT-SHIT.”

Rocket Car

Rocket Car

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I’m sure you have never heard of Col Dan Raschen. I would guess that very few have. I only found out about him and his series of autobiographical works thanks to a mention by Mr Stephen Pile in his Heroic Failures book. Born in 1925, Raschen was in the British Army for thirty-three years and retired with the rank of Colonel.

Whilst Col Raschen cannot be classed as either stupid or a failure, he does nevertheless rate a mention in the fasab blog because his journey through the military ranks was not without a few bumps and bruises.

His four books of autobiography are written with a self-effacing modest humour and if you are interested in that kind of work, well worth a read.

They include adventures such as…..

After Wellington College and Peterhouse, Cambridge his service in the Royal Engineers took him, at the end of World War II, first to a new campaign in the East Indies then back to India for the country’s partition from Pakistan (Book, “Wrong Again Dan!”).

 

Wrong Again Dan

Wrong Again Dan

When he was on his way to India to join his regiment he lost all his underwear and his only pair of pyjamas while washing them out of a porthole. All the ship’s cutlery went the same way when he threw out a basin of dishwater. The troops had to eat with their fingers for the rest of the voyage.

On arrival he was instantly accused of murder. The case only foundered when he pointed at his supposed victim grinning cheerfully in the growing crowd of onlookers.

So enthusiastic was his performance during tests for a commission that after the obstacle course he had to wait for other less interesting candidates to finish so they could come back and rescue him from beneath a railway sleeper.

Whilst in charge of three amphibious tanks, he lost all them in one week. Two got stuck in a pond and one went through the wall of his own accommodation.

After completing his degree at Cambridge, Dan volunteered for the Korean War, where the pheasant shooting was of high repute. Because the pheasants lived in or near minefields, which were Dan’s particular concern, he managed to combine pleasure with eighteen months of war (Book, “Send Port & Pyjamas!”).

Send Port & Pyjamas

Send Port & Pyjamas

For one so exquisitely disaster prone a career in explosives was the inevitable course.

Back in England efforts were made to train Dan in military technology, and his subsequent soldiering was unusually varied in scope. After a spell in a weapons design team, he went to the Central Pacific to command an independent unit and to advise on coral blasting (Book, “Don’t Step on a Stonefish!”).

 

Don't Step On A Stonefish

Don’t Step On A Stonefish

After an intense period of training he arrived at the South Pacific to blow up some coral reef, never having attempted it before. His finest hour came when he moored his own boat to the very bit of reef that was receiving his closest attention.

In his own words he says, ‘One likes to think that there have been people who have been worse, but admittedly it does seem unlikely’.

Home again, Dan was an ammunition instructor before returning to Cambridge to command the University Officers Training Corps. His second command was of a Royal Engineers regiment in Germany. Then he and his wife, Judy, were delighted to spend three years in Sweden with Dan being the British Military Attaché (Book, “Diplomatic Dan”).

 

Diplomatic Dan

Diplomatic Dan

On his return to England Dan was Project Manager for Infantry Weapons, and then a Colonel at the Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham, Oxfordshire. After retiring from the army in 1979, he continued to work at the College as a scientific civil servant for a further twelve years. While there he invented “Raschen Bags”, an indestructible cushion for use under mortars.

 

Dan Raschen

Dan Raschen

 

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Yesterday the subject of my blog post was a rather nice story about a farmer in England who had put a lot of thought, time and effort into creating a memorial tribute to his late wife. I called it “Well done Winston Howes, Who Says Romance Is Dead?”.

A bit out of character for this blog perhaps, but I admire people who do things that are just that little bit above and beyond the call of duty.

Today, however, you could say that “normal service” has been resumed. You could probably tell from the title, “Hard Luck Mr Scott, The Romance May Dead But Your Wife Isn’t!“.

This is a story about another Englishman. This time a Mr Peter Scott from Southsea who has gone down in history as the least successful husband at trying to murder his wife!

All in all Mr Scott made seven attempts to kill his wife.

And the strangest thing of all was that she never once noticed that anything was wrong.

It all started in 1980 when he took out an insurance policy on his good lady that would pay out a quarter of a million British pounds in the event of her accidental death.

 

insurance money

insurance money

Shortly afterward, he made his first attempt to cash in when he placed a lethal dose of mercury in her strawberry flan. Unfortunately for Mr Scott the heavy mercury all rolled out.

Strike attempt # 1.

 

strawberry flan

strawberry flan

However, not wishing to waste this deadly substance, he next stuffed a mackerel with the entire contents of the bottle. This time, to his delight, his wife ate it, but, to his dismay, with no side effects whatsoever.

Strike attempt # 2.

 

mackerel

mackerel

Warming to the task, he then took his better half on holiday to Yugoslavia. Recommending the panoramic views, he invited her to sit on the edge of a cliff, but she declined to do so, prompted by what she later described as some “sixth sense.”  

Strike attempt # 3.

 

cliff

cliff

He tried the same type of thing a few weeks later when he urged her to enjoy the view from Beachy Head, the famous 500 feet high chalk headland in the south of England.

Strike attempt # 4.

 

Beachy Head

Beachy Head

Then, when his spouse was in bed with chicken-pox he started a fire outside her bedroom door, but some interfering busybody put it out.

Strike attempt # 5.

 

Would-be Arsonist

Would-be Arsonist

Undeterred, Mr Scott started another fire but only succeeded in burning down the entire apartment. The target of his arsonist adventures escaped uninjured.

Strike attempt # 6.

 

burning apsrtment

burning apsrtment

On yet another occasion he asked her to stand in the middle of the road so that he could drive toward her and check if his brakes were working.

Strike attempt # 7.

 

Road Rage

Road Rage

Unbelievably, at no time did Mrs. Scott feel that the magic had gone out of their marriage. She must have been sooooo dumb!

Finally, since it appeared that nothing short of a small nuclear bomb would have alerted this good woman to her husband’s intentions, he eventually gave up and confessed everything to the police.

 

arrested

arrested

After the case, a detective said Mrs. Scott had been “absolutely shattered” when told of her husband’s plot to kill her.

 

Had not a clue

Had not a clue

 

”Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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As I’ve said before on this blog, I’m a doggie person, but I know that there are a lot of people out there who like cats. However, I don’t think any of them could have liked the cat that is the subject of this post.

It happed a few years ago when a colleague and myself were on a business trip that included a visit to a small town in West Virginia. It was a lovely little town, called Rednecksville (I won’t tell you it’s real name so as to protect the guilty), full of lovely, very friendly and hospitable people.

During the time we happened to be there they held a local fair come flea market where people from the town and the surrounding countryside would gather. Some set up stalls to sell their home crafted goods, others, like myself just went along to see what was on offer and perhaps buy a few trinkets as gifts. 

But, whilst the experience itself was enjoyable, the items that were on sale left a whole lot to be desired. They were quite unbelievably crudely made.

There was a guy with what I think were supposed to bird nesting boxes and/or feeders, but they looked more like an old plank of wood with a bit of drain pipe nailed to it. (It looked like that because that’s what it was, lol)

Other stalls were selling home made jewelry in what you could only call primitive style.

And yet more had bits of metal junk.

Surprisingly one of the junk stalls seemed to be doing good business, selling big rusty nuts and bolts and bits of chain and so forth. On second thoughts perhaps not so surprisingly since this was a largely rural community and new uses can always be found for stuff like that.

I smiled quietly to myself as I wondered if the bird box guy had been a customer of this stall the last time they had the fair.

At another stall a woman was selling some stuffed toys/animals she had very obviously made herself. None of them were good, but some were just downright awful.

For some reason best known to himself my colleague chose to buy a stuffed cat for his wife. He was getting on in years and had been married a long time, but in all those years he never had any idea about women or what they would like – and that was especially so in regard to his wife, although in his defense I have to say that she didn’t seem to like anything he did very much.

To my utter amazement he choose the most unusual stuffed cat I have ever seen. It wasn’t that it looked ugly as such, or that it was badly made. This thing looked pure evil. And no matter where you would be standing it always seemed to be looking right at you, or through you.

It was terrible, horrendous, occultish. If Steven King had been there he’d have written a book about it for sure. If Vincent Price had been holding it in some horror movie set it might have looked more acceptable. Or if we had been in Haiti, I could have understood it if it was supposed to be some voodoo ritual piece. But this was right in the middle of good old evangelical Christian Bible Belt America. This was no place for the cat from hell.  

“What do you think?” he asked, proudly showing me his new purchase.

“I hate it!” I told him in no uncertain terms. “What the hell did you buy that thing for?”

He seemed rather miffed.

He must have been more miffed when he got it home. Needless to say his wife hated it. Wouldn’t give it house room at all. And I’m sure she made her feelings very clear to him, as she usually did about almost everything.  

So he gave it to his daughter. 

She hated it. Didn’t want it near her house either.

So he gave it to his daughter-in-law. 

She hated it. She was actually scared out of her wits by it.

So he gave it to his grand-daughter. 

She hated it. Started to cry, I believe.

So he put in the trunk of the car and brought it to his office the next day. 

His secretary hated it, too. Wouldn’t have it near the office.  

So back in the trunk it went.

Eventually he must have got to hate it too because it disappeared never to be seen again.

And the weirdest bit of all….

I photographed him with it when he bought it and I would have attached it to this blog post except for one thing – the photo is nowhere to be found!

That was one weird cat!

 

 

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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When this blog post came into my head I was reminded of an old Stealers Wheel hit of the 1970s called “Stuck In The Middle With You”, which incidentally also featured as the soundtrack for the hit movie “Reservoir Dogs”. It seemed appropriate. For those of you who don’t know it, or would like to hear it again, I have attached a video at the end of the post.

As you are no doubt well aware if you have read even a little of this blog, I am fond of humor. I like to try to see the funny side of things, no matter how serious or frustrating. It usually comes quite easily to me, sometimes too easily. All in all, this gift has served me well over the years, but now and again it has caused a little bit of bother.

This story starts off rather sadly. A friend of the family had been killed in a car accident. Not his fault, the moron in the car who hit him was going too far too fast, but that didn’t do my friend any good. He left behind a widow and two children.

A Church Service was held before the interment at the local graveyard and we all filed into the Church and tried to fine a space in one of the pews. The Church was small and the number of people attending the funeral was large. As a consequence we were packed into the seats like the proverbial sardines. But there was nothing else we could do.

I found myself between two guys whom I did not know, so there wasn’t much in the way of conversation before the service started. I didn’t even know their names.

The Minister took his place in the pulpit and began the Service.

Everything went smoothly.

For a while.

Then the guy to my left decided he would take the hiccoughs. Well I think the hiccoughs made the decision to take him and there was little he could do about it. That became mildly amusing in itself. It reminded me of my days at school where one of my classmates was often similarly afflicted.

Trying to suppress hiccoughs only makes things worse and I remember at school there would be a series of rather quiet ones and then one would strike simultaneously with an intake of breath making an elongated and rather loud and unusual noise. It always made us laugh and frequently got us into trouble when we were in school.

That’s the one I was waiting for in the Church, the big noisy one. The anticipation was almost unbearable. Would it happen during a Hymn? Or when the Minister was speaking? Or worst of all, at a moment of silence in the proceedings drawing everyone’s attention in our direction?

When it came, thankfully, we were in the middle of the first Hymn. A few people noticed, but not many. I just held my Hymn Book in front of my face and giggled, more with relief that it had happened rather than at the act itself.

I was just preparing to steel myself for the next big one when all of a sudden the man to my right started to sway backwards and forwards and wriggle from side to side, his hands moving quickly up and down his legs and up to his sides. His left elbow hitting my right arm on a number of occasions. His face was twitching too.

“Oh FFS, what now?” I said to myself, very inappropriately for a Church Service I admit.

“This other idiot is taking some sort of a fit,” I thought. “And I’m stuck here in the middle, between him and the hiccough king, and there’s no way out.”

What was I to do?

Then things got better.

Then things got worse.

To my momentary relief, it turned out the bloke on my right wasn’t taking some kind of a fit after all. Apparently he felt he was about to sneeze and was frantically trying to get into one of his trouser pockets for a handkerchief.

His problems were two-fold. One, the sneeze was imminent, and, two, we were all so tightly packed into the Church pews that he couldn’t get enough room to get his hand into his trouser pocket, hence the frantic movements of his arms. The man wasn’t having a fit, he was just in a mild state of panic looking for his hankie.

If there isn’t a saying, “a sneeze waits for no man”, there should be because they don’t. And sneeze he did. A great big one. That was bad enough, but unfortunately he must have had a cold or something because when he sneezed at least six inches of rather unpleasant stuff made its way out of his nose and just hung there like an icicle in winter. He quickly did the only thing he could and put his hand up to his nose capturing the offending article.

My next worry was where was he going to put it? If I was keeping an eye on him before when I thought he was about to have a fit, I was keeping an even tighter eye on him now.

And then to my surprise he stood up, reached into his pocket and retrieved his handkerchief. I thought him standing up was a bit odd, yet I admired him for having the courage to do it in front of all these people.

Satisfied that he was now under control I turned back to my left to the guy with the hiccoughs. To my equal surprise he was on his feet as well. I’d heard that standing on your head and trying to drink a glass of water would cure the hiccoughs, but never just standing up on your feet in Church. This guy had got it all wrong.

But actually he hadn’t. When I looked round the Church everybody was on their feet. And when I looked up at the pulpit and made eye contact with the Minister he stared down at me expectantly.

I had been so caught up on the events at either side of me and at the same time trying to hold in my laughter that I had completely tuned out of the Church Service. Now we were going to sing another Hymn  –  if I would just get on to my feet that is. I was holding up the whole Service!!

I did. Immediately. The organist started to play and everybody began to sing the Hymn. I took out my handkerchief this time, not because I was in the same predicament as the other bloke, but just to mask more laughter.

When it was all over we walked out to the graveyard, much to my relief. After the interment I met a friend. Apparently he had been watching the happenings in the Church.

“Man, I didn’t know you were so fond of the deceased,” he said. “You looked terribly upset in Church.”

“Oh yes, we go back a long way,” I said. ‘You know how it is.”

I got away with that one, I think.

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

It’s Friday again so time for another few funnies.

This time another batch from the insurance claim file.

I hope you enjoy.

 

“I was driving along the motorway when the police pulled me over onto the hard shoulder. Unfortunately I was in the middle lane and there was another car in the way..”

 

Q: “Could either driver have done anything to avoid the accident?”

A: “Travelled by bus?”

 

“On approach to the traffic lights the car in front suddenly broke.”

 

“First car stopped suddenly, second car hit first car and a haggis ran into the rear of second car.”

 

“The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intention.”

 

“The accident happened when the right front door of a car came round the corner without giving a signal.”

 

“My car got hit by a submarine.”

(The Navy informed the wife of a submariner that the craft was due in port. She drove to the base to meet her husband and parked at the end of the slip where the sub was to berth. An inexperienced ensign was conning the sub and it rammed the end of the slip, breaking a section away, causing her car to fall into the water. The Navy paid the compensation claim.)

 

“I bumped into a lamp-post which was obscured by human beings.”

 

“The accident was caused by me waving to the man I hit last week.”

 

“I knocked over a man; he admitted it was his fault for he had been knocked down before.”

 

“A house hit my car.”

(A house was being moved by a large truck. My friend had his car parked on the side of the road correctly. The house began to tilt off the truck and eventually fell off the truck, landing on my friend’s car. He eventually had the insurance paid, after lengthy explanation and the moving company confirming the story.)