In Britain and some other countries, vehicles with automatic transmission are the exception rather than the rule. It tends to come as standard only on the high-end cars and SUVs. I’m not sure whether this is a result of tradition, or stupidity, or maybe even stupid tradition, but it’s how things are.
In many other countries, however, including the United States of America, automatic transmission on vehicles is standard.
So what has this got to do with stupid criminals you may ask?
Well, the answer is that cars get stolen. A lot of them. Every day.
And every so often, you’ll hear about a dumb car thief in America who got completely stumped in their criminal career because they didn’t know how to operate a manual transmission.
But 19-year-old Jasmine Hernandez from Phoenix was different.
She wasn’t dumb. She was VERY dumb!
One Saturday evening, a man was dropping off his kids at a home to visit friends and he left his car running on the driveway while he went inside with the youngsters.
When he returned outside again, he heard his engine revving and saw that a woman, Jasmine, was in the driver’s seat of his car.
The owner of the vehicle opened the door in an attempt to prevent her from getting away and saw that she was frantically using the levers that adjust the lights and windshield wipers in an attempt to put the car into drive.
Poor Jasmine had no idea how to operate the transmission because she was apparently unaware that some vehicles – in fact, many, many vehicles – don’t have column-mounted shifters.
The rest of the story is easy to guess.
The owner of the vehicle was able to pull Hernandez out and detain her until police arrived.
Police discovered Hernandez had a warrant out for her arrest for aggravated assault and arrested her on those charges.
Her attempt at becoming a car thief was apparently so bad that police haven’t even charged her with that crime.
And that is the story of Jasmine Hernandez, the stupidest car thief in the world!
It isn’t often that there is the opportunity to report a victory of the common man over the banksters. But a few years ago one did happen when a 71-year-old British farmer, from Northumberland, won a £300,000 settlement from his bank after what he described as years of frustration and pain.
Although the bank settled, shortly before the case went to the British High Court, the farmer, Mr David Cannon, said he still felt as though he had not got justice. “They could give me every penny on the planet, but it still couldn’t put it right. It’s taken 10 years away from me. To them it’s monopoly money, but to me it’s all I’ll get.”
His problem was with the National Westminster Bank plc, and began in May 1990. It centered on £70,000 which Mr Cannon claimed went missing somewhere between his own account, his son’s personal and business accounts and an account belonging to his son’s business partner.
He is convinced the money had disappeared gradually during “dozens and dozens” of transfers between the accounts. Naturally the NatWest Bank always strongly denied that the money went astray.
The legal proceedings started way back in 1991, and the Cannons were forced to sell their 300-strong herd of prize-winning Ayrshire cows to fund their case. Mr Cannon said: “It was heart-breaking having to sell the herd, and soon I, and especially my wife, had problems with our health.”
After four-and-a-half years of deadlock with the legal proceedings Mr Cannon decided enough was enough. He borrowed a muck-spreader and chugged into Newcastle-upon-Tyne on his tractor.
In a little over two minutes, he blasted four tons of slurry over NatWest’s Mosley Street branch.
Stonemasons spent two weeks clearing up and Mr Cannon was fined £2,000. But undeterred, a year later, he subjected the bank’s Ponteland branch to the same exterior decoration.
He really was giving them shit!
Still the dispute dragged on, until December 1998, by which time Mr Cannon had lost patience once again. This time he blocked the door of the Grey Street branch of the bank with his tractor.
Ten months later he returned to the Ponteland branch, baffling staff by measuring the entrance. The next day he forced the doors open with his tractor and barricaded himself inside, nailing fence rails across the doorway. This bank job cost him another £600.
His final fling occurred the following June 12, when he dumped a five-ton load of shit on the doorstep of the Ponteland branch and returned to his farm – pursued by police. Amazingly, he managed to reload and chugged back to the bank, where he made a second five-ton deposit. A low-speed chase ensued, the police puncturing the 10mph tractor’s tyres with a ‘stinger’.
Mr Cannon was charged with criminal damage, dangerous driving, driving without an excise licence and failing to stop for a police officer. He was given a 60-day suspended sentence and ordered to pay £845.60 compensation plus £250 costs.
Mr Cannon, a former bare-knuckle boxer, said: “But fortunately it was in my nature to fight them. Breeding cattle was my life.”
The bank, NatWest issued a token 63-word statement which denied any admission of liability. They refused to add to it when questioned by reporters.
Simon Pitkeathley of the British Bankers’ Association, says angry customers would do better to follow the conventional complaints procedure or move your account elsewhere, said: “Mr Cannon’s behaviour obviously can’t be condoned.”
But I liked it. Good one Mr C.
The big question is, by awarding £300,000 to a man who has taken direct action, has the bank set a dangerous precedent for those distressed customers contemplating direct action? Wouldn’t it be great if they were in for loads more shi……I mean, bother?
I’ve discussed before in other blog posts that part of the reason for the problems we suffer these days is the direct result of the staggering number of stupid lawyers who are being allowed to qualify from our universities in spite of the fact that they are clearly unfit to hold down a proper job in the legal profession.
Thus we have many of them turning into ambulance chasers to try to eek out a living, whilst others encourage equally dumb people into taking spurious law suits against decent people and businesses.
The judiciary does not help by their tolerance of junk law suits and by some of their decisions, the stupidity of which take one’s breath away.
We’ve had the morons who sue people like McDonalds because they say they didn’t know their hot coffee was hot or their iced coffee was cold.
But just when you thought you’d heard it all, in one recent case a man claimed caffeine drove him to molest women.
Kenneth Sands was convicted July 3 for groping two women and three teenage girls after a volleyball game in Onalaska, Oregon, on Oct. 18, 2011.
His sorry-assed defense?
Blame it on the caffeine.
Sands, a school bus driver for the Rainier School District, attempted to argue in court that caffeine “caused a psychotic episode,” reported KOMO News. “My son-in-law and daughter have never seen that kind of behavior from myself,” Sands, 51, told the court.
This “behavior” that Sands claims caffeine induced includes grabbing a 46-year-old woman’s breasts several times during the game and later trying to grab her butt as she tried to get away; grabbing a 15-year-old’s butt outside of a bus after the game, and then slapping a 16-year-old’s butt as she was getting on the bus. Sands climbed aboard the bus and touched yet another volleyball player before he was kicked off, the Lewis County sheriff’s office told KOMO.
Thankfully some sanity prevailed on this occasion and the court ruled that caffeine was not, in fact, the reason behind Sands’ aggressive and lewd behavior. He was sentenced to 30 days for each of the five counts of fourth-degree assault.
Sands’ caffeine defense might have been inspired by the “Twinkie defense,” ABC News suggests. San Francisco supervisor Dan White successfully avoided a first-degree murder conviction for the 1978 assassination of San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, claiming his sugary diet caused depression.
Dr. Martin Blinder, the psychiatrist who presented the “Twinkie defense” during the 1979 trial, told ABC News that caffeine could not hold up as a defense because it is made from coffee beans, which are all-natural. “We have no evidence that coffee is harmful,” Blinder told ABC.
Rest assured: drinking too much coffee will not turn you into a serial groper.
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.”
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!”).
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!”).
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!”).
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”).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After the case, a detective said Mrs. Scott had been “absolutely shattered” when told of her husband’s plot to kill her.
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.”
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.)
When I was a kid I loved going to the beach (still do actually).
Every summer, or what passed for a summer, in those days we lived very much up north, there was always great anticipation about an imminent trip to see the sea. First, however, there was the tedious part, the journey there. When you are a kid things like that seem to take forever, but the excitement kept us all going and eventually we were within sight of the beach.
Finding somewhere to park was the next problem. It seemed everybody had the same idea as us. But we always found a spot and quickly gathered up all our beach gear and headed as fast as we could towards the salty fresh air and the inviting water.
While Mom and Dad took care of all the important stuff like organizing towels, seats, even a big umbrella for a bit of shade, we stripped down to our swimwear and ran as fast as we could towards the sea. (I keep calling it the “sea”, but actually it was the Atlantic Ocean.)
Each year we did the same thing, and each year we learned nothing from the year before.
On we galloped into the water and approximately 1.25 seconds after that we remembered.
The water that looked so inviting was so very, very cold.
For an old person the shock might well have been too much for the system. But when you are young you tend to shrug off these minor discomforts. We were at the beach, and we were in the sea. That’s all that mattered.
After a while it didn’t feel so cold. Our feet and legs had grown accustomed to the temperature. Actually our feet and legs were probably numb by this time and would not have felt it if we had been standing in boiling water either.
And then just as we were starting to enjoy the whole experience, in would come a big wave and it would splash all over our upper bodies which had not been in the water yet and had not been given the chance to go completely numb.
It was always a “WTF” moment, even in the days when we didn’t know what “WTF” meant!
But there was nothing else available so we were none the wiser and made the best of it. There were also a few laughs too.
A friend, George, was always good for one or two. George fancied himself as a bit of an underwater expert and he always had a face mask and snorkel with him. Trouble was when George launched himself for an underwater expedition only his head ever went under the water. Most of the rest of him was in the fresh air. He must have had great natural buoyancy.
That was funny enough, but then someone (yes, sometimes me) would push the little ball thingumy into the snorkel pipe which soon provoked a serious amount of splashing and gasping for air as George’s head resurfaced. He was never very pleased, but the rest of us cracked up.
Then there was usually some unfortunate kid whose granny had bought him (or maybe even made) his swimming trunks. On dry land and even going into the water these were fine and looked quite normal, but coming out to go back up to the beach was quite another thing. You see the material they were made of often as not was water absorbent and these poor souls lumbered their way out of the ocean with a crotch full of icy water dragging between their knees. They must have weighed a ton and it’s a miracle they stayed on at all. It was so funny and I daren’t say what names we called them. Kids can be so cruel.
That was the “refreshing dip” over. We spent the next hour or two on the beach, first getting dried and then lying in the sun thawing out. Then it was off to get something to eat and on to the amusement park to go on a few rides there and spend more pennies in the various slot machines and games.
When it was time to leave both us and our money supply were exhausted. The trip home was a lot shorter, mainly because we slept most of the way. But the day had been good. Enjoyed by all. And the memories were selective. We’d do it again, soon, but we would never remember the coldness of the water, just the warmness of the day.