Insuring A Bomb Shelter???

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

Something a bit lighter for today’s blog.

We’re going to talk about the end of the world!

 

One thing that you are sure of these days if you are in business is being asked stupid questions. Unfortunately, rather than saying exactly what you think, you have to bite you lip or maybe as in this case give a tongue-in-cheek answer.

This stupid question is in the form of an email from a guy who has bomb shelters on his mind. I don’t know whether he has been inspired by the Myan calendar ending on December 21st this year, the threat of a large asteroid hurtling towards our planet, or the outbreak of World War 3, but he’s definitely worried about the end of the world and thinking about how best to prepare.

It’s also a good example of how stupid people ALWAYS over complicate everything, and that is particularly true of bureaucrats who needlessly over complicate our lives with regulations and then employ other knuckleheads to enforce them.

Here it is. Enjoy.

Query:

“Some people who believe the world will end soon are building (or having them built) enormous underground shelters that rival traditional homes in cost and amenities.

I’m looking for insurers to discuss insurance for these elaborate shelters.

What’s insurable? What’s not? What if the shelter is adjacent to your home or at a separate location? Etc, etc.”

Reply:

Dear Mr XXXXX

I’ve been in mortgages and finance for over 20 years, and have fought with insurance companies on a regular basis over things like “it’s on the top of a hill, it doesn’t need flood insurance” and “it’s made of steel and has a steel roof, the fire risk is about zero” and so forth.

First, if the world DOES end (right) it will be considered an “act of god” and the insurance company won’t pay off, assuming they survive the end of the world in the first place. (Betcha you didn’t know insurance companies believe in God.)

Second, it is a pretty sad bomb shelter that needs to be insured against ANYTHING – I mean this thing is supposed to take a direct hit by a nuclear weapon without so much as rattling the silverware inside, so what else would you POSSIBLY need to insure it against? Termites?

Third, insurance companies have a very difficult time rating unconventional structures. While they could rate the masonry construction part, an underground bomb shelter isn’t going to have hurricane clips on the roof trusses (rate goes up), isn’t going to have hurricane shutters for the windows (rate goes up) and likely has a flat (instead of gable) roof (rate goes up). The fact that the flat roof is made of six foot thick steel reinforced concrete isn’t important, the only thing that is important to them is that it is flat.

If the structure is financed, the lender is going to insist on insurance. Evidently the banks also do not expect to let a minor, trivial event like the end of the world interfere with their lending policies and business practices. If the world does end, they fully expect to be the loss payee, notwithstanding.

If it is adjacent to the owner’s home it becomes an accessory structure. If it is in another location, it would be considered a vacant second home (because renting it out sort of defeats the purpose), and insurance companies consider that very risky, and rate accordingly.

The “fire” portion of the policy is based on the distance from the nearest fire hydrant or fire station. The absolute and total lack of flammability of the bomb shelter isn’t as important as the distance.

 

Personally, I’d just build it, and leave the banks and insurance companies completely out of it.
They’re not going to be any help.

 

Yours Faithfully,

XXXXX XXXXXX

 

Have you had similar experiences? Send them along. Let the world know what is happening before it is too late.

 

I Was Only Obeying Orders!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

“When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.”

That is a great quote from writer George Bernard Shaw, and boy is it true. Throughout history weak, stupid and sometimes just plain evil men (and women) have sought to defend their actions by hiding behind the word “duty”. I have news for them, not only does it not work, it makes them look even stupider and pathetic.

Usually I try to make this blog entertaining and amusing. But from time to time I also like to remind everyone that it also has a serious side as well. The following is a good example of the morons and idiots that should have no place in decent society let alone holding down important jobs. This lot of idiots might not have cost this poor man his life, but they certainly tripped over their “duty” and their precious “regulations” in order to avoid trying to save him.

If you are angry when you read this, well, you should be! And you should realize that the longer we say nothing and do nothing about people like these the more and more incidents will happen. Fight against stupidity and bureaucracy, or it might be you, or someone you know, who is their next victim.

Walpole Park in Gosport, Hampshire, in Britain is just an ordinary park in an ordinary town. It has a little boating lake, which is only three-and-a-half feet deep, and used for model boats. People go there to watch them or to relax and enjoy the open space and the fresh air. Simon Burgess was one of them.

One day in March last year, 41 year old Simon went to the park to feed the ducks at the lake. While he was doing so, the plastic bag he was carrying blew into the water and he waded into the lake to retrieve it. Just then he suffered a seizure and fell, unconscious, face down into the water.

A lady, Mrs Hughes, who was walking beside the lake with her two-year-old grandson saw he was in danger and immediately dialed 999. She watched the Gosport fire crew arrive soon after.

But when they arrived they did nothing, just waited on the bank of the lake, showing little sign of activity. Others also arrived, and soon there were no fewer than 25 members of the emergency services, including a press officer standing around looking at the body of Simon Burgess in the shallow lake. He lay floating there face-down for more than half an hour while firemen, police and paramedics watched and did nothing.

The reason?

Even though they could all swim (and they didn’t even need to, the water was only about three feet deep), the first fire crew to arrive had not been “trained“ to enter water higher than ankle-deep. They had decided Mr Burgess must surely be dead because he had been in the water for ten minutes, and instead of actually finding out if he was alive or dead, this bunch of morons decided to wait for “specialists” to arrive to retrieve the body.

Idiot-in-charge, fire station watch manager Tony Nicholls, who had arrived at the scene within five minutes, told the inquest into the death, that he had refused to try to rescue Mr Burgess because his crew’s “Level 1” training only allowed them to go in the water up to their ankles. In other words, they were only allowed to walk through puddles – and they had to be trained even to be able to do that??? (Pleeeeeze!!!)

Hampshire Fire and Rescue said all its firefighters were trained to “Level 1”, which includes “general water safety awareness and basic land-based rescue techniques”. To comply with the guidelines, they had to wait for a specialist water rescue team to arrive.

Mr Nicholls said these “specialist” officers were “Level 2-trained”, meaning they could “go in chest- high”. Only those who had completed the “Level 3” course would be allowed to swim, however.

A Defra spokeswoman explained: “Our guidance is only ever to be used by the emergency services in response to a flood. This is because floods by their very nature are highly unpredictable, unlike existing bodies of water. Our guidance should never be used in any other instance.”

The police weren’t much better. Even though one of the police officers at the scene, PC Tony Jones, told the inquest that he volunteered to go in, he was “strongly advised” not to by Mr Nicholls. The PC also told the inquest that Mr Nicholls refused to let him borrow his lifejacket.

Then PC Jones was told by his control room that “under no circumstances” should he attempt a rescue.

Asked to explain that decision, Hampshire Police said yesterday: “The fire service were already there and they were recovering a body.”  The decision to downgrade the incident from a rescue to a ‘body retrieval situation’ reflected the confusion over submersion victims.

A paramedic was also told not to enter the water because he didn’t have the right “protective” clothing and might be in breach of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

Despite the safety rules, those at the scene could have entered the water under Health and Safety Executive guidelines that exempt 999 workers from prosecution if they perform acts of heroism. This follows Lord Young’s report, Common Sense, Common Safety, which called for an end to ‘senseless’ rules and regulations.

Last night, Fire Minister Bob Neill said: “Health and safety rules should be there to save lives, not put them at risk.” He added that the Government would review existing guidance and take into account lessons learnt from recent incidents.

I have news for Fire Minister Bob Neill and the rest of the world’s bureaucrats, they won’t learn any lessons from this incident other than to enact more unnecessary stupid legislation, for other stupid jobsworth morons to misinterpret. The answer to too many regulations is less regulations, not even more regulations to regulate the already unnecessary regulations!

In my world, Simon Burgess may not have survived either, but he would have been given every chance to, and people like Tony Nicholls would be out of work faster than Donald Trump could say “You’re Fired”!

The Dail Mail newspaper carried the story. If you want to read more go to:
Daily Mail Link, Simon Burgess Story

Serious News, Guys. The Problem’s Worse Than We Thought!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

When I started this blog, I called it FASAB or the “Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy” and I thought it would be a bit of fun to highlight the morons in jobs who may our lives harder than they should be. Particularly annoying in tough economic times like these.

But it seems the job is bigger than I thought. America, and Britain, and Europe and probably the world in general has suffered a dramatic dumbing down over the past decade and more. Is this deliberate? Do politicians and the people who run them not want the ordinary people to be able to think and articulate their views? I don’t know. But its happening. Everywhere!

Here’s a video done a few years ago of a guy from “down under” interviewing a bunch of random Americans on the road to see how much they know about there country. I reckon he could have done the same with more or less the same result in many other countries too.

Where there’s a video, I usually end by saying “enjoy”, but in this case, whilst I hope you still enjoy it, I think I’ll say “cringe” – I did!

 




El Camino del Rey

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

Occasionally you get something really stupid that you just have to admire. The guy doing the video linked below is one of them.

First, here’s what it’s all about….

 

El Caminito del Rey (English: The King’s little pathway) is a walkway, now fallen into disrepair, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Álora in the province of Málaga, Spain. The name is often shortened to Camino del Rey (English: King’s pathway).

In was originally constructed in 1901 for workers who needed to cross between the hydroelectric power plants at Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls, to transport materials, and for inspection and maintenance. Construction of the walkway took four years and it was finished in 1905.

In 1921 King Alfonso XIII crossed the walkway for the inauguration of the dam Conde del Guadalhorce and it became known by its present name.

The walkway is one metre (3 feet and 3 inches) in width, and rises over 100 metres (350 feet) above the river below. Constructed of concrete resting on steel rails supported by stanchions at around 45 degrees into the rock face.

It is currently in a highly deteriorated state and there are numerous sections where part or all of the concrete top has collapsed. The result is large open air gaps that are bridged only by narrow steel beams or other support fixtures.

Very few of the original handrails exist but a safety-wire runs the length of the path. Several people have lost their lives on the walkway in recent years and after two fatal accidents in 1999 and 2000, the local government closed both entrances, but not the gift shop.

In June 2011, the regional government of Andalusia and the local government of Málaga agreed to share costs of restoration (including car parking and a museum) of €9 million. The project will take approximately three years to complete. Many of the original features will remain in place and the new materials that are used will be in keeping with the old design

I think I’ll wait until it’s fixed before I start thinking about having a go. In the meantime if you want to see something daringly stupid watch the video. They guy who took it is a lot surer footed (and braver) than I am, I can tell you that!

A Story For Saint Patrick’s Day

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

It’s St Patrick’s day, so maybe a story with an Irish flavour today.

One dark night in Dublin, a fire started inside a local chemical plant and in a blink of an eye it exploded into massive flames.

The alarm went out to all the fire departments for miles around.

When the fire fighters appeared on the scene, the chemical company president rushed to the fireman in charge and said,

“All our secret formulas are in the vault in the centre of the plant. They must be saved. I will give 50,000 euros to the fire department that brings them out intact.”

But the roaring flames held the fire-fighters off.

Soon more fire departments had to be called in as the situation became desperate.

As the firemen arrived, the president shouted out that the offer was now 100,000 euros to the fire station who could bring out the company’s secret files.

But still the fire fighters could not get through.

From the distance, a lone siren was heard as another fire truck came into sight.

It was the nearby rural township volunteer fire brigade, composed mainly of over 65’s.

To everyone’s amazement, that little run-down fire engine roared right past all the newer sleek engines that were parked outside the plant.

Without even slowing down it drove straight into the middle of the inferno.

Outside, the other firemen watched as the old timers jumped off right in the middle of the fire and fought it back on all sides.

It was a performance and effort never seen before.

Within a short time, the old timers had extinguished the fire and had saved the secret formulas.

The grateful chemical company president announced that for such a superhuman feat he was upping the reward to 200,000 euros and walked over to personally thank each of the brave fire fighters.

The local TV station caught the thank you on film and asked their chief,

“What are you going to do with all that money?”

“Well,” said Paddy, the 70-year-old fire chief, “de furst ting we’re gonna do is fix de fekkin brakes on that bloody fire truck.”

 

Have a great St Pat’s Day, and if you’re having a pint of Guinness (or unlucky enough to be having a glass of green beer instead) remember that old Irish toast,

“May you be in heaven a good half-hour before the devil even knows you’re dead!”

 

And finally, an Irish blessing,

“May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you’re going, and the insight to know when you’re going too far.”

 

 

Stupid People Shop Too!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

Stupid people do have some things in common with ordinary people. For one thing they like to shop and try out stuff in the stores.

Isn’t it great for the rest of us that they either cannot read, or cannot understand what they read.

This short video clip is from Germany. Enjoy!

All Men Are Created Equal – Really?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

There was always something wrong with the phrase “All men are created equal”.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful aspiration but it’s just not true. Yes everyone should have an equal chance to do what they want to do and have equal rights, which I think is really what the phrase is meant to say.

But for better or worse people are not created equal. Some are academically gifted, but they couldn’t screw in a light bulb! Other people can wire up an entire house or building effortlessly, but academically don’t perform. There are people with natural practical skills and people who are exam passing machines. One isn’t better than the other – just different.

Sadly western society’s answer to the fact that we are different is to try to make us all the same and that just does not work. In Britain for example, the government’s answer was comprehensive education. Piling everyone in to the same classes, where no one could learn faster than the dumbest person in the room. In the US there is little financial incentive to attract talented teaching staff, without which the standards in schools cannot progress, quite the reverse in fact.

On the other hand, for many years in communist regimes where everyone was supposed to be the same, those who had a talent, whether athletically and otherwise, were given far greater encouragement to development than the rest.

If you have a gift or talent for playing a musical instrument like the violin or piano you should be allowed to study in a specialist music school. If you have a gift or talent for academia you should be allowed to progress through university, get your PhD and cloister yourself away doing research that may or may not have practical applications that you will never realize. If you have practical skills you should be encouraged to learn a trade to enable you to earn a good living doing something you are good at and enjoy. And if you have an entrepreneurial flare you should be assisted and encouraged to create companies and employ people, not hampered by stupid bureaucrats who try to enforce even stupider and unnecessary government regulations and restrictions on you.

And so on, and so on.

All this can be illustrated, as can most things, with a graph called a normal distribution curve (sometimes also referred to as a “standard deviation curve”). This is just a fancy name for a graph that shows that the vast majority of people are relatively close to “normal” in that they conform more or less to a standard, whether that be IQ, height, weight or whatever.

standard deviation curve

Take intelligence for example. At one extreme end of the IQ scale (say less than 1% of the population) you have the Einsteins and Mozarts whose gifts in their respective categories are well beyond the norm. And at the other end of the scale you have the people who do not express a talent for anything. Certainly not anything productive and useful.

These are the people who invariably are employed by the government and big corporations and who quite often unnecessarily make our lives a misery. We have already looked at some examples of these people in this blog, and will no doubt do so again.

On the other hand there are people like the painter on the scaffolding whose dumbness serves, perhaps to frustrate a little, but mostly to entertain.

Our late friend from yesterday, George Carlin, expressed the problem very well. George said, “Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!”

Here are a few other examples.

There was the guy, identity unknown, who in 1976 made the most unsuccessful hijack attempt ever. On a flight across America, he rose from his seat, drew a gun and took the stewardess hostage.

“Take me to Detroit,” he demanded.

“We’re already going to Detroit,” she replied.

“Oh… good,” he said, and sat down again.

Or the three British men who, in August 1975, were on their way in to rob the Royal Bank of Scotland at Rothesay, when they got stuck in the revolving doors. They had to be helped free by the staff and, after thanking everyone, sheepishly left the building.

A few minutes later they returned and announced their intention of robbing the bank, but none of the staff believed them. When they demanded 5,000 pounds in cash, the head cashier laughed at them, convinced that it was a practical joke.

Then one of the men jumped over the counter, but fell to the floor clutching his ankle. The other two tried to make their getaway, but got trapped in the revolving doors again.

And just in case you think I’m just picking on the unfortunates in the US and UK, what about 52-year-old Walter Schoegl, the drunk bank robber in Mainz, Germany, who tried to hold up his local bank armed with a water pistol and a potato peeler, and with a stocking over his head?

He demanded cash, but left with nothing after the bank teller told him that the bank had run out of money.

When he was arrested about five minutes later he was still wearing the stocking on his head.

And finally, a short scene showing a similar kind of bank raid. It’s from the 1989 movie “Three Fugitives”, if you haven’t heard of it or seen it, it’s well worth a look.

Airline Announcements And George Carlin

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

Today we seem to be back on the subject of travel again. It has a way of cropping up quite a bit.

This time it’s another video presentation, part of a routine by comedian and life observer George Carlin.

I was always a big fan of George Carlin. I didn’t agree with a lot of the things that he said, and he never refrained from using strong language when he wanted to, but he had a great gift for seeing the funny side of life, and for that I was grateful. Too often we get too frustrated and angry at the idiots we have to deal with and miss the ridiculous absurdity of what is happening around us. Not George.

Sadly George is no longer with us, but his work lives on.

*** WARNING: As usual if you are likely to be offended by strong language, then perhaps you should give this one a miss, otherwise, enjoy!