It’s Black Friday, Shop ‘Til You Drop

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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They call it Black Friday nowadays. It could just as easily have been Red Friday or Purple Friday or Green Friday or Any-Color-You-Like Friday. But the marketing men called it Black Friday and we’re stuck with it.

This is the day when people queue up for hours in the hope of getting something they don’t really need at a discount price they can’t really afford. And sometimes they lose their minds and fight and trample on each other for the dubious privilege.

Ah, the dumbing down of the dumb and the dumber!

When I say dumb and dumber don’t just think I am talking about the uneducated. Not in the least. Some of those for whom schooling was anathema have a lot more street savvy than most, something they have learned in what is sometimes known as the school of hard knocks – in other words, life!

I have learned that idiots come in all shapes and sizes and with all forms of learning and skills. There are smart football players and there are dumb ones. There are smart doctors and there are dumb ones. There are even smart academics and there are the well educated fools who may be exam passing machines but who haven’t the common sense to go to the local store and buy a loaf of bread.

A friend of mine, let’s call him Fred, was a guy like that. He had degrees by the yard, undergraduate, master’s degrees and even a PhD. I suppose I should have called him Dr Fred.

Academically he was brilliant. And a great teacher of academic subjects. He traveled the world and lectured in various schools and colleges to great acclaim.

But Fred hadn’t the common sense of a gnat when it came to commerce. All his life he bought things far too dear but always thought that he had bought them cheap. He was a car salesman’s dream customer, manna from heaven for a realtor, and bread and butter – and chocolate cake with icing – for any shopkeeper selling computing or electronic gear.   

The reason Fred comes to mind today is that he was also one of the idiots who would queue up half the night for a sale bargain, particularly where rare books were concerned. Fred was an avid collector.

Every year our local University bookstore held a one day sale where most of their books were discounted by at least 10 or 20 percent, but where one in particular was discounted by a massive amount, at least by half and sometimes by even more.

One year Fred spotted a book he had been after that was in the sale. It had been reduced from $500 to little over $100 and Fred was determined to have it.

So he spent the night and day before the sale getting as much sleep as he could. Then he made a flask of coffee and a few sandwiches, got a sleeping bag and set off confidently about 3 am in the morning to go to the bookstore to camp out until it opened.  

When he got to the store there was no one around, in fact nothing at all on the street, except for a large cardboard box sitting at the entrance to the shop. Fred quickly surmised that it was extra stock that had been delivered after hours for the sale.

He rolled out his sleeping bag, climbed inside it and settled down for the night. It was about this time of the year and cold, but not freezing or anything too extreme. He was comfortable enough.

The time passed slowly as it usually does at night when you aren’t able to get to sleep or when you are nervously anticipating some event that will happen in the morning. Four o’clock and five o’clock came and went, and at around six o’clock Fred ate his sandwiches and drank his coffee. He was very content. Just another couple of hours to go and the book would be his.  

By seven-thirty it was just beginning to get light. Traffic had started to move along the main streets as people began to make their way to work. The side street where the bookshop was however was still deserted, apart from Fred and the big cardboard box.

And then about ten minutes before eight the staff of the bookstore started to arrive. They smiled at Fred as they walked past and opened the door of the store. They switched the lights on and closed the doors again. Fred knew that they would open them again soon, when they had got themselves organized. Just a few more minutes he thought. Fred stood up and rolled up his sleeping bag, ready to enter the store.

That was when he heard the alarm. It wasn’t very loud and at first Fred thought it was coming from another street nearby. It wasn’t. Then he thought it was coming from inside the bookstore, possibly part of their security system. But it wasn’t that either. And then, before he could think up any other possibilities the alarm stopped just as suddenly as it had started.

Then to Fred’s complete and utter amazement the flaps of the cardboard box flew open and a head came out. It was a young man and as he got to his feet and stretched his arms he looked over at Fred and said, “Morning. You here for the book sale too?”

It was a classic ‘WTF’ moment. But Fred was having trouble grasping what had just happened and he couldn’t get any words from his brain to his lips. So he just stood there, mouth slightly open, trying desperately to piece together what was happening in front of him.

“I’ve done this before,” the young man said cheerfully to Fred. “Best place to be on a cold night is inside a cardboard box. Those old homeless guys know a thing or two I can tell you.”

This time words started to come to Fred. “Were you… did you… have you been… were you in that thing all night?” he eventually spluttered the question out.

“Sure thing,” the young man replied. “Had to get that first edition of..” and he named the book that Fred had his heart set on. “There’s only the one copy, you know.”

Fred did know, boy did he know. But it never occurred to him that someone else might know the value of the book or that they might want it too. It never occurred to him to look at the cardboard box, even though he had been there beside it for most of the night. And it certainly never occurred to him that there might be somebody inside it!

“FFS!” Fred exclaimed, more to himself than anyone else. He didn’t say another word after that. He didn’t go into the bookstore either. He turned and walked away, still not entirely sure, I think, what had just happened.    

 

As for me, you wont get me near a shop tomorrow, bargains or not. If you are going shopping then good luck, this might be what you are letting yourself in for.

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Forget Gangnam, Here Is A Little Musical Interlude – Fasab Style

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I’ve been feeling a little bit guilty ever since I inflicted Mrs Miller upon you (sorry about that, but click here if you don’t know what I am talking about or, and this is unlikely, you want to hear her again – Mrs Miller).

So to help to redeem myself here is a little musical interlude for the weekend. Not the typical selection – we don’t do typical selections on the fasab blog – but nothing as bad a Mrs Miller. In fact, although unusual, some of it is pretty good.

I hope you enjoy.

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Ukulele

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Dulcimer

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Bits of Pipe

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Drums

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Glass Harp

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Guitar

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Zither

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The kitchen sink ?????

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Hang drum

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Mbira

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And finally, one for you Frank

Donkey Hokey

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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No, I’m not tilting at windmills, not just yet anyhow. And despite the play on words in the title, nor am I referring to Cervantes character Don Quixote. This post actually does concern a donkey, though. In fact animals in general.

It is a little known fact that donkeys kill more people than plane crashes. And at the end of August I read about a small town Texas mayor who was killed in an attack by his own donkey. He was Bill Bohlke and he was Mayor of Hollywood Park in Atascosa County, Texas.

That unfortunate event set me thinking of a number of things.

First I asked myself how the heck you pronounced his surname.

Then I wondered if Mayor Bohlke was a Republican or Democrat and how macabre it would have been if the donkey had done away with his elephant man rival.

And then I thought about the amazing and different ways people find to leave the mortal coil. I bet, like most of us, the last thing Mayor Bohlke thought was that some day he would meet his end from an attack from a randy donkey!

And then I marveled at how so many people, for no logical reason, have a romantic fantasy notion that animals are not inherently dangerous. They are.

And this is true for people who work with them every day and should know better.

For example, when I was growing up I would spend time at my uncle’s farm. He had a herd of one hundred or more dairy cows and every evening when I was there my cousin and myself would be sent out to the fields to bring the cows in for milking.

We had a couple of great little collie dogs to help us, not that much help was needed because the cows had a routine and once they heard us calling for them they made their way to the field gate and up the lane to the milking parlor, glad no doubt that they were about to be relieved of their burden once more.

With them came the bull. A huge brute of an animal and unbelievably strong. But he was docile enough, walked up with his herd of ‘wives’ and while they made their way into the queue for the milking machines he would usually lie down in the hayshed and munch on some of the hay.

As innocent (dumb) kids we would sometimes sit down beside him, even using him as a prop to lean against. He didn’t seem to mind a bit, we thought he was glad of the company perhaps.

Then one day as the herd was being ushered back out to the fields Mr Bull totally out of the blue decided he would like to kill my uncle.

Luckily us kids had our chore done in bringing the herd in to get milked. When the time came to take them back out again we were engaged on other vital business, I can’t remember exactly what but I’m sure it involved football, playing cowboys and Indians, fending off some galactic foe who was attacking earth that day, or some such vital stuff. But we could hear the commotion in the distance.

Furious about something, only he knew what, the bull roared angrily and ran towards my uncle who had been leading the way. With his head lowered he hit my uncle between his lower back and his knees and threw him up into the air like a rag doll – and my uncle was a BIG man. Very fortunately the bull tossed him into the air with such force that he went clean over the raised fence and hedge on the right hand side of the lane and ended up in one of the fields. 

The crazy bull then tried to go after him but couldn’t get up the steep embankment on which the fence had been constructed. Another cousin, quite a bit older than us, saw the attack. He was in a tractor and he immediately had the presence of mind to use that to take the bull’s attention away from my uncle. The distraction seemed to work, because as suddenly as it had started it was over and things were back to normal.

But my uncle had learned a valuable lesson. Animals can be dangerous.

So had I, even though I wasn’t there at the time, but from then on I haven’t been a fan of bulls – not in Chicago or Wall Street either come to think of it.

Unfortunately Mayor Bohlke wasn’t so lucky with his donkey.

I wonder if it happened something like this???

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Factoid Friday – Significant Numbers: Is Three A Crowd?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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In the past on this blog they’ve been ‘beautiful’, they’ve been ‘big’ and they’ve been ‘unusual’. Today we have the first of a selection of ‘significant’ numbers, so-called because of their use and the beliefs surrounding them.

Enjoy.

 

3 Three

The number 3 is perhaps the most significant of all numbers. I’m sure at some time in our lives we have all heard that “things happen in 3’s.” There are lots of sayings and superstitions connected with the number 3. For example,

  • luck, especially bad luck, is often said to “come in threes”;
  • there is an American superstition which says that celebrity deaths tend to occur in threes;
  • in Vietnam, there is a superstition that considers it bad luck to take a photo with three people in it; it is professed that the person in the middle will die soon;
  • some people believe that it is unlucky to take a third light, that is, to be the third person to light a cigarette from the same match or lighter. (This superstition is said to have originated among soldiers in the trenches of the First World War when a sniper might see the first light, take aim on the second and fire on the third.);
  • the phrase “Third time’s the charm” is the opposite of the previous belief and refers to the superstition that after two failures in any endeavor, a third attempt is more likely to succeed; although where something illegal is involved it can mean that the third man to do something gets caught.

 

Many world religions contain triple deities or concepts of trinity, including,

  • the Christian Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit);
  • the Hindu Tridevi and Trimurti (Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer );
  • the Three Jewels of Buddhism;
  • the Three Pure Ones of Taoism (heaven, human, earth);
  • and the Triple Goddess of Wicca.

There are also three main Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

 

According to the Chinese, 3 is a perfect number.

To the Mayan, the sacred number of woman.

Egyptians see it as the number of the cosmos.

 

There are three types of universe  –  matter, astral (mental or soul) and spirit.

There are three main galaxy morphological classifications: Ellipticals, Spirals and Lenticulars.

The Roman numeral III stands for giant star in the Yerkes spectral classification scheme.

Earth is the third planet in its local Solar System, hence the name of the popular comedy show ‘3rd Rock From The Sun’.

The Moon has three phases.

 

Three is the atomic number of lithium.

Atoms consist of three constituents  –  protons, neutrons, and electrons.

There are three types of matter  –  animal, vegetable, and mineral.

 

There are 3 primary colors with which it is possible to obtain all the other colors we can see, because human color vision is trichromatic (because the brain uses three independent channels to process color information).

Strangely though, different applications use a different combination of primary colors, for example, CRT (TV) displays which use additive combinations of colors, normally have red, green, and blue as their primary colors; whereas in printing, which uses a subtractive combination of colors, the primary colors are usually cyan, magenta, and yellow; although most artists prefer the  red, yellow, blue combination.

 

Finally, a natural number is divisible by three if the sum of its digits in base 10 is divisible by 3. For example, the number 21 is divisible by three (3 times 7) and the sum of its digits is 2 + 1 = 3. Because of this, the reverse of any number that is divisible by three (or indeed, any permutation of its digits) is also divisible by three. For instance, 1368 and its reverse 8631 are both divisible by three (and so are 1386, 3168, 3186, 3618, etc..).

 

And finally, finally, how about 3 Degrees  

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More Of Those Awkward Moments – Life’s Great Levelers, part three.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Another selection of those awkward moments we all experience as we journey through life. Some make you laugh, some make you angry, but all of them make you feel a little bit stupider that you really thought you were.

Enjoy.

 

 

That awkward moment when you realize you left the rest room with your dress tucked into your undies.

(Definitely haven’t managed that one yet, but I know someone who has.)

 

 

That awkward moment when you accidentally fart doing sit-ups at the Gym.

(Hey, another gold medal possibility if they make it an Olympic sport. For ‘accidentally’ read ‘inevitably’.)


 

 

That awkward moment when you see someone coming your way after you’ve just farted.

(Why do you think people take dogs with them for walks?)

 

 

That awkward moment when your girlfriend asks you if you love her more than your car.

(There’s only one answer to this one.)

 

 

That awkward moment when you bend down and your pants rip and you’re wearing floral underwear.

(Hello sailor!!!)

 

 

That awkward moment when you get caught in the rain in a cheesecloth dress, and really big underwear.

(I told you I don’t wear dresses, but seen it happen, very funny. Really big underwear, also known to us men folk as, ‘kidney warmers’. Sorry ladies.)

 

 

That awkward moment when someone walks in while you’re changing.

(Can be just as awkward when you walk in on someone else – or not – depending.)

 

 

That awkward moment when you confidently say the wrong answer aloud in class.

(And then try to turn the whole thing into a bad joke.)

 

 

That awkward moment when someone is doing the dishes and you slowly put another dish in the sink.

(Just do it with a smile and you’ll be okay. But only do it once.)

 

 

That awkward moment when you are trying to impress someone on the dance-floor but you dance into a pole.

(Prefer to watch other people dance where there are poles.)

 

 

That awkward moment when you think the trash can is a stool.

(So why hasn’t anyone invented a trash can that doubles as a stool – or is that a crap idea?)

 

 

The awkward moment when your friends make plans right in front of you, and the plans don’t include you.

(I can take a hint.)

 

 

That awkward moment when you’re so tired from taking a nap that you feel like to have to take another nap to get over your nap.

(Oh yes, the nap recovery nap nap!)

 

 

That awkward moment when you lose your bikini top in the surf.

(Not a problem for me, but I see the point…er..points??)

 

 

That awkward moment when you are on the beach and someone has told you that your tampon string is hanging out of your bikini.

(What does one do, and where does one do it?)

 

 

That awkward moment when you don’t know where to stand to pull your wedgie out without being noticed.

(Impossible to do without being seen. Impossible to do and still look elegant.)

 

 

That awkward moment when your neighbor starts talking to you while you’re hanging out your underwear.

(Hi there, washing the smalls today?)

 

 

That awkward moment when one heel flies off your high heels on the dance floor.

(It still baffles me why women wear high heels and how they can walk in them – or not, see videos.)

 

High heels fall 1

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High heels fall 2


 

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More Awkward Moments – Life’s Great Levelers, part two

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Here are a few more examples of what I like to call awkward moments. Things that happen that are, by and large, beyond our control. Sometimes they make you laugh and sometimes they make you feel stupid.

Mostly, though, I laugh, that’s better!

Hope you do too.

Enjoy.

 

 

That awkward moment when it’s quiet and you’re eating something crunchy.

(I take pride in this one.)

 

 

That awkward moment when you can’t tell if someone is a boy or a girl.

(The older I get, the more difficult it seems to be.)

 

 

That awkward moment when you start to cross your legs during a phone call because you’re busting to go to the loo.

(Hmmmm, been there, crossed that…er, those.)

 

 

That awkward moment when she looks at you and smiles. And then her boyfriend glares at you.

(Boy, the stories I could tell….)

 

 

That awkward moment when you change your Facebook status to “single” and your ex ‘Likes’ it.

(Facebook, yuk!)

 

 

That awkward moment when you type your ex’s name into your Facebook status instead of the ‘Search’ bar.

(Make that a double yuk!!)

 

 

That awkward moment when your Facebook friend tags a photo of you as a kid.

(Strike three, yuk!!!)

 

 

That awkward moment when you are in an important meeting and someone farting unexpectedly starts you to laugh.

(Most awkward if you are the culprit. )


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That awkward moment when you’ve accidentally sent a text to the friend you were gossiping about.

(Guilty as charged.)

 

 

That awkward moment when you say “I love you” and he says “Okay”.

(Not me, pal.)

 

 

That awkward moment when someone you don’t want to date asks you out.

(I’m washing my hair. Helps if you have some though.)

 

 

That awkward moment when you are introducing someone and get their name wrong.

(Never been good with names.)

 

 

That awkward moment when you are in a class where you don’t speak to anyone, and your teacher says go find a partner.

(One of the drawbacks of being a loner, I guess.)

 

 

That awkward moment when someone mistakes you for the shop assistant.

(Happened to me in Walmart, they didn’t seem to think it unusual that I was no help at all.)

 

 

That awkward moment when you step out of the shower and then realize there is no towel.

(Very difficult to put your clothes on when you’re soaking wet.)

 

 

That awkward moment when you are gossiping about someone and they walk up behind you.

(Whoops, caught out again!)

 

 

That awkward moment when you push on the toilet door thinking no one was inside.

(I feel an airport toilet story coming on.)

 

 

That awkward moment when a man walks into the ladies toilets

(Haven’t managed that one yet.)

 

 

That awkward moment when you pick up the remote control to answer the phone.

(Or worse, see video.)


 

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One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind – Oh, And What A Relief For Mr Gorsky!

There are times when it is difficult enough trying to think up stuff for a new blog every day. But there are also a few times when you get handed some inspiration because of an event that happens somewhere in the world.

Occasionally those events are inspiring and exciting, more often than not though they are tragic. Today is one that is a mixture of both and has led to a double-blog post Sunday for the first time.

I’m sure from the title you know who this post is about.

A young Neil Armstrong during his NASA days
A young Neil Armstrong during his NASA days

 

I learned yesterday via an NBC news headline and from a friend from the blogshpere, John Erickson, of the death of Neil Armstrong.

Everybody knows who he was and what he achieved during his life, so there is no point in going over all that again here. Sunday’s newspapers will be full of it.

I have no personal anecdotes about Neil Armstrong. I never met him, and never came close to meeting him. But I was with him, as were millions of others, on July 20, 1969 when he became the first man to set foot on the moon. I sat in front of our television and watched, totally enthralled, as he did it.

The tv picture was crappy and the sound intermittent, but it didn’t matter. It was happening, and we could see it happening in real time. It was the most exciting thing that had happened in my lifetime and then some. My Dad watched alongside me, every bit as engrossed in the whole event. He couldn’t quite believe it even though he was watching it happen.

It was and remains a truly wondrous event.

At the time, and being a kid, I never considered the courage it must have taken to be the first man to set foot on our moon. It was just an adventure, but what an adventure.

The word “hero” is bandied about a lot these days, but as far as Armstrong is concerned it is a plaudit well earned and well deserved. And not just for what he achieved in his career with NASA, but in how he lived his life as well.

Is it sad that Neil Armstrong is no longer with us? Of course it is. Men like him are all too rare. But he lived more in his lifetime than most of us could ever hope to or even imagine. He will be remembered well and that’s about as much as any of us can hope for.

Neil Armstrong - the first man to set foot on the Moon
Neil Armstrong – the first man to set foot on the Moon

 

 

And Mr Gorsky mentioned in the title of this post?

Naturally this blog being what it is there is a duty to add a little bit of humor and, fact or fiction, Neil Armstrong was aware of the story of Mr Gorsky and I am sure it provided him with a lot of amusement over the years, as it has also done for people like myself who have retold it many times.

For those who don’t know, the legend goes that when Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, he not only gave his famous “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind” statement, but before he re-entered the lander, he said “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky.”

Over the years, many people asked him what it meant but he would never say. Then one July 5, in Tampa Bay, FL, while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26- year-old question. He finally responded. It seems that by that time Mr. Gorsky had died and so Neil Armstrong felt he could at last answer the question.

He said when he was a kid, he was playing baseball with his brother in the backyard. His brother hit a fly ball which landed in front of his neighbors’ bedroom window. The neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Gorsky.

As he leaned down to pick up the ball, he heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky, “Oral sex? Oral sex you want? You’ll get oral sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!”

;o)

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Fasab’s Eleven – Danny Ocean Eat Your Heart Out

“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

A Very Strange Case Of Mistaken Identity

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Throughout history opposing factions, whether in politics, racial campaigns, sports competitions or even wars, have used cartoons as a medium to promote their side and to denigrate the opposition.

Nowhere was this better seen than during WWII when both sides used thousands of derogatory cartoons to depict the ‘enemy’.

But one of the most humorous incidents occurred much earlier, during the Napoleonic war between France and England.

It allegedly took place in the little town of Hartlepool on the north-east coast of England.

As part of the propaganda campaign in England during this war the enemy, the French, had been portrayed as short and hairy, sort of monkey-like. The cartoon below will give you the idea.  

Napoleonic Wars propaganda cartoon of a Frenchman
Napoleonic Wars propaganda style cartoon of a Frenchman

Also, during the Napoleonic Wars there was great fear that the French had plans to invade Britain and therefore much public concern about the possibility of French infiltrators and spies.

As a consequence the fishermen of Hartlepool kept a close watch on French vessels sailing near the English coast.

One day, as they watched, a French vessel was seen struggling against a storm. It took a severe battering in the rough seas and eventually sunk.

The Hartlepool fishermen then turned their attention to the wreckage washed ashore.

Among the wreckage lay one wet and sorrowful looking survivor. It was the ship’s pet monkey and, to amuse the sailors, it had been dressed in a military style uniform.

Stupid individuals are one thing, annoying but they can be handled. Group stupidity on the other hand is extremely dangerous. The stupidity level seems to increase by at least ten times the number of morons gathered together. I’m sure there’s a mathematical formula for this, there should be.

So, severely intellectually challenged, and thinking they had captured the enemy, the Hartlepool fishermen apparently questioned the monkey and held a beach-based trial.

Unfamiliar with what a Frenchman looked like, and unable to understand what he (the monkey) was saying (presumably “ooh ooh aah”, as opposed to “oh la la”), they came to the conclusion that this poor primate was a French spy.

They quickly sentenced the French spy (monkey) to death and the unfortunate creature was hanged, with the mast of a fishing boat (a coble) providing a convenient gallows.

A very strange case of mistaken identity indeed!

Hartlepool Fishermen Hanging Of The French Monkey Spy
Hartlepool Fishermen Hanging Of The French Monkey Spy

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One Lump, Or Two With Your Coffee?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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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.

One lump, or two?

 


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