I’m Back …….Well Nearly

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi folks. Hope you are all keeping well. I’ve missed you. Hope you can say the same.

I’m back, sort of. I had a sudden enforced blogging break thrust upon me when I received an SOS from a good friend of mine. His company was in need of help.

desk full of files
I thought at the time that it would be a two week job at most, but when he said he was in trouble he wasn’t kidding. We’re still not done, but at least now things are looking a little bit better.

I’m in “Yurp” right now, watching the refugees take over. More of that in a future post perhaps. In the meantime take Trump’s advice a close your borders or you’ll end up like this place.

refugees europe
I could have done some blogging when I was travelling around, I certainly had plenty of time at airports, in between flights and wading through the dumbest security checks you could imagine, but I wanted to take a bit of time to prepare my next post. Hopefuly I’ll get to it next week.

Meantime, if you can believe WP stats, this blog has whizzed through the 200,000 views landmark without me and there are actually MORE daily hits now than when I was blogging almost every day.

Do you think the world is trying to tell me something?

Maybe I should stay away?

Actually I don’t know whether to be pleased that I have created something with a life of it’s own or dismayed that I’m not really needed.

puzzled
Now in an effort to get some of my dignity back I think I will indulge in a quick gloat.

This is not going to be pretty so feel free to skip over this bit if you haven’t got a strong stomach.

I’m having a laugh at the stupidty of the Fed again and the dumb financial journalists and fund managers who hang on their every word despite a mountain of evidence that should lead them to do otherwise.

Federal Reserve

The Fed has wimped out AGAIN. Lost their nerve. Promised and hinted and leaked stories to the financial press for months that an interest rate rise was imminent – and then they bottled out.

No surprise to me. At the beginning of May I wrote a post explaining why they wouldn’t put up interests despite all the pifle they were saying. (if you want to read it  click here.)

Then in mid-June I did another one ( click here for that one), saying there was no way the Fed could make good on their threats to raise the rate in September.

Of course nobody listened and the meeting on Thursday was one of the most anticipated Fed meetings of all time. And it all came to nothing. No interest rate hike.

And I don’t think they’ll do it next time either. There’s talk about December, but as far as I see the Fed’s hands are tied and rates are going to remain at zero or close to it for years.

Good news for borrowers. Not so good for savers with all the traditional yield opportunities such as bonds, Treasuries and bank CDs offering little or no returns. If you have cash to invest you should be looking at solid low risk undervalued stocks with a decent dividend. Otherwise your savings will be eroded by inflation for at least another year, proably longer.

Having said that, no rate hike is on balance good for the economy as a whole.

That will do for the gloating for now. Not sure when the next post will be exactly. Hopefully next week so if you’re interested keep a look out for that.

Meantime warmest regards to everyone who visits – even when I’m not around.

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Q: What Is More Dangerous Than An Idiot In A Car? – A: An Idiot In A Very Fast Car

“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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Tarzan Takes A Vacation

“Fight Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I used to be friends with a guy from Northern Ireland. We are going back thirty years here so quite a while ago. We’ve lost touch since as you tend to do with some if not most acquaintances.

This story is about his Dad.

As you may or may not know the weather in Ireland is awful. Cold, wet, windy, rains every day with a ‘y’ in it, or so the locals say. One traveler from Africa once remarked that it was like living under an elephant!

The result has been a continual decline in vacation resorts, towns and villages there. People still come for the golf, there is renewed interest in that with the recent success of Rory McIlroy and Darren Clark. But on the whole the locals prefer to get away for one or two weeks to a location with at least the chance of a bit of heat and sunshine.

But in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the period in which this story is set, foreign travel was a fairly new phenomenon for most ordinary people.

But my friend’s father and mother thought it would be a nice and different break for them and they booked two weeks in the south of Spain.

They arrived without incident, booked in to their hotel and that first night just had a meal in the hotel restaurant and went to bed. Traveling is always tiring.

The next day they partook of the buffet breakfast that most of the touristy hotels in Spain provide and after that went back to their room, got their towels and creams and so forth, and headed for the beach, which was only about 100 yards or so from the hotel.

My friend’s mother lay down on a towel to take some rays, as they say, and his father who wasn’t really the type of guy who liked to lay about all day, got a beach chair from which he had a better vantage point to survey the beach and sea activities.

We’ll never know whether it was the heat, or just the sight of bare heaving glistening continental bosoms, (they are not a bit bashful in some parts of Europe), but after about half an hour on the beach it all became too much for my friend’s Dad. All of sudden, without any warning whatsoever, he jumped out of his beach chair, started to yell like Tarzan, beating his chest at the same time, and ran towards the Mediterranean Sea.

There was a slight slope in the beach and by the time he had reached the water he had built up a considerable head of steam. His momentum took him quite a bit into the water, not quite waist deep but getting there.

Now, I should say that the Med is no Pacific Ocean, but there are nevertheless waves and as everyone knows the seventh is usually bigger than those preceding it.

And just when my friend’s father reached about as deep as he could on his feet he decided to dive through the next wave, which was a relatively big one. According to his wife, who was looking as this spectacle with more than a little bemusement, he was still doing his version of a Tarzan yell and beating his chest. And so into the sea he dived still yelling and open mouthed.

I forgot to tell you he wore dentures, which is rather crucial to the rest of the story.

Yes, when the wave passed and he resurfaced not a tooth of any kind had he in his mouth.

Of course he frantically searched for both sets of gnashers.

I love watching when people who don’t know how to dive underwater try it. Their ass goes way up in the air, their head maybe six inches or a foot under, and then after maybe two or three seconds they re-emerge gasping and spluttering as if they’ve just been down to the bottom of sea. I imagine that’s what he did.

But you know what the sea is like. Both sets of false teeth were long gone, never to be found again.

I have heard tell of people packing extra underwear, or shoes (hey ladies), or even glasses as emergency back-ups. But I have never heard of anyone packing an extra set of teeth.

My friend’s father wasn’t to be the first one to do it and so he had to spend the next twelve and a half days of his vacation completely toothless, only able to eat soft mushy stuff and soup, but having to avoid the juicy steaks completely.

And he looked like a prat, maybe not quite as bad as the photo below but you get the idea.

toothless
toothless

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Be Very Careful How You Grab A Granny

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I think the moral of this blog post is, if you have to grab a granny at all then be very careful how you do it; and if you do do it hang on as tightly as you can no matter how much she struggles.

It rather strange advice I know, but there is a reason for giving it.

First of all, here’s granny Lucerne.

skydive01
skydive01

As you can see she is in good spirits. I don’t know whether she had a bucket list, but one of the things that this 80 year old granny wanted to do and had been planning for a decade was to skydive.

As for myself, it has never been an ambition of mine to jump out of an airplane that wasn’t in trouble. Although I would much rather that they would stick a parachute under my seat on an airplane instead of a bit of glorified polystyrene, I mean on a flight from L.A. to New York for example how much ocean is there to be worried about?

But back to 80 year old granny Lucerne. For a while everything went well. She was very happy and excited by the prospect of her first skydive parachute jump.

skydive02
skydive02

The trouble started when she got to the door of the small plane and peered outside at planet earth below.

skydive03
skydive03

As her skydiving buddy, to whom she was attached, also tried to push through the open door ready for the jump, granny’s reluctance turned to panic.

skydive04
skydive04

She was heard shouting “No”, but by that time it was too late, the whole process had gained its own momentum.

skydive05
skydive05

And out they tumbled.

skydive06
skydive06

And tumbled, and tumbled, plummeting earthwards at an accelerating rate

skydive07
skydive07

By now granny must have been in a blind panic because instead of relaxing and going with her skydiving buddy, she flailed about and started to slip out of the harness that was holding them together. Remember just the buddy had the chute.

skydive08
skydive08

The next few shots show just how far out the harness her struggling had caused her to slip. By the way, the hand in the bottom left of the photo belongs to the photographer who had realized what was happening and guided himself over to them to try to help.

skydive09
skydive09

Another photo also showing just how far out of the harness granny had managed to wriggle.

skydive10
skydive10

Eventually her skydiving buddy gets the chute opened. (He has got a complete right leg in case you’re wondering, it’s just the angle of the photo!)

skydive11
skydive11

And with granny held in what had to be a vice like grip they both made it to the ground, a little worse for wear but thankfully, alive.

skydive12
skydive12

And here’s the video.

Enjoy!

On The Oul Timers’ Ward

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

“I’ll never forget what’s his name,” is something I have a habit of saying. I’ve always had a good memory and recall for most things, particularly numbers, but sometimes I’m terrible with names. I can be trying to hold a sensible conversation with someone, usually someone who I haven’t seen for a long time, and while I know their face perfectly, can I remember the name! It makes for awkward times and sometimes amusing ones as well.

I hope it doesn’t get any worse as I get older! I’d hate to end my days with “oul timers” as we call it in our family, my aunt having been so afflicted for a few years before her passing.

But like all adversities there are the funny sides.

Here’s a report from an old issue of the Southland Times in New Zealand that I thought was amusing.

 

The police were called to the Whangarei ward at the Aged Care Centre in Kaikohe, New Zealand, because a fight had broken out.

When they arrived, they could see that the two elderly protagonists had been involved in a mighty punch-up. Both were covered in blood, their clothes were torn, one had a broken nose and half his hair ripped out, and the other had a broken arm and a hypodermic needle stuck in his penis.

Furniture and equipment had been smashed flat, beds had been overturned, and the other patients on the ward were terrified.

When the matter came to court, Police Sergeant Maurice Loveridge reported as follows:

“…. the fight took place in a ward full of elderly Alzheimer’s patients, and it has gradually become clear that nobody can remember what happened, or who was responsible.

One patient keeps repeating the phrase ‘we ought to have more manure’, but frankly this gives us no clue.

The two accused men do not recognise each other, nor do the other patients, and the ones who initially reported the incident to us had forgotten that there even was a fight by the time we tried to question them.

Therefore, because nobody can now recall the incident, the Police Prosecution Department has reluctantly decided to withdraw the case against both men.”

 

These aren’t the same old boys as in the New Zealand fracas, but they’re the best I could come up with. They made me laugh.

Enjoy!

Lost In Transit

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

 

I wrote a little while ago about Tommy who got lost in the fog in a field beside his own house, and about Thomas Nutall the worst explorer in the world. Well, sense of direction, or the lack thereof, has come up many times in my journeys.

I used to travel on business with a guy called “Bill”. Bill was a nice man, old-school, good manners, fairly prim and proper I suppose you would say. He was in his seventies when I got to know him and worked along with him.

He should have been retired from business but he had a wife who sounded a lot better from a considerable distance and luckily she was not unhappy about getting rid of him for a while – as often as possible as it turns out!

Anyway, domestic bliss aside, Bill made frequent plane trips which obviously meant using airports.

Getting him on to a plane usually wasn’t so bad, although if he stopped to buy something or talk to somebody and you walked on without him, he would always be the last man on to the plane.

But the real fun was when Bill got off the plane. Even on short trips, where the gin and tonics hadn’t been flowing in his direction.

Actually, I’ll come back to that in a moment – I’d forgotten about this until I started to write this blog post.

Bill even got lost once inside the airplane itself. I mean actually inside the airplane! Can you believe it?

He had got up, I presume to go to the bathroom – no, hang on, I absolutely refuse to call what they have on airplanes a “bathroom”; for a start there’s no “bath”, and for another thing there’s no “room” either; it’s a “toilet”, and a small one at that, okay! And for another thing why are they always so small, whether you are on a huge 747 Jumbo jet (I haven’t yet been on one of those Airbus monsters) or a piddly small 737, the toilets are still the same size. All for the sake of being able to offer a couple of extra seats to keep more passengers total discomfort. End rant. Sorry about that, back to today’s blog.

As I was saying, he had got up, I presume to go to the bathroom. There had been a queue at the toilet closest to where Bill was sitting, so he wandered to another one on the far side, and at the back, of the plane (it was 747, small toilets but a big plane!)

But when he opened the door and walked out he didn’t know where he was! I mean, he knew where he was, he knew he was on a plane, but he didn’t know where his seat was and he couldn’t remember the number. And his routine was to put boarding passes, tickets and other paperwork neatly away in his carry on bag before take-off, so he had nothing to refer to.

He had a walk round first class and was gently ushered out of it by a polite, but firm, flight attendant, before he managed to make his way up the stairs. He inspected business class but saw nothing familiar. Then he spent the next twenty minutes walking up and down the wrong aisle looking for his seat in coach.

I watched what was going on. But I didn’t help him out. And I kept my head down so that he wouldn’t see me. We were sitting together and I didn’t want to give him a clue as to where to look. It was too funny and I was enjoying it, much better that whatever film they were showing at the time. And I knew there was a limit to where he could go.

After a good half hour he showed up.

“You were away for a while,” I said when he got back.

“I didn’t feel too well,” he told me. “And I went to ask one of the flight attendants for some water and an aspirin.”

“Oh?” I answered. “I though maybe you’d got lost or something.”

“No, no, nothing like that.”

I just left it, he’d already given me enough entertainment. He went to sleep and that was it until we landed.

 

Which is actually what I started to say in the first place. Bill was just a normal bloke when the airplane doors opened and everyone started to funnel out into the terminal. It was when he got out into the open that the fun started.

For some strange reason Bill invariably took off like a bullet. And always in the completely wrong direction. If he was going for a connecting flight he headed for baggage claim and the exit. If he was at his journey’s end he headed for connecting flights. And all at top speed.

The first few times I tried to run after him, but it was hard work, he had a remarkable turn of speed for an older man. After that I just let him run wherever he thought he was going. Once he even walked from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 at Heathrow airport, and back again, and that is quite a distance despite what the airport brochures tell you. It was perhaps fortunate that he didn’t get on the underground train and end up in the middle of London somewhere.

By the way, when an airport brochure says “close” reckon on at least half a mile or more, and if have lots of luggage that’s a long way.

Remarkably though, he always turned up – eventually. He never said what had happened or where he had been. And I never asked, so I don’t know.

I’m certain that made two of us!

 

 

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

The Worst Airport Greeting In The World

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

This is a sort of follow on from yesterday’s blog about Mr Nicholas Scotti, the worst tourist in the world.

Today’s is about Mrs Josephine Williams and her family, who in 1975 went to meet a long-lost brother at Heathrow Airport (London).

Eventually the traveller wandered into the airport lounge, greatly relaxed by the in-flight drinking facilities, and was immediately smothered with the kisses of Mrs Williams and her sisters.

“Gee, this is great,” he kept saying, all the while cuddling Mrs Williams in a manner which she later described as “not like a brother.”

His enthusiasm for British hospitality was modified, however, when Mr Williams shook his hand firmly and ushered him to a parked car.

They first suspected that something might be amiss when their long-lost relative tried to jump out of the car while travelling at speed up the motorway.

When told that he was being taken to a family reunion in Coventry, he replied, “Take my money. Here’s my wallet. Take it and let me go.”

Slumped miserably in the front seat, he added, “This is the first time I have been to England and I am being kidnapped.”

“I thought from the beginning he wasn’t my brother,” Mrs Williams said later, “but my sisters wouldn’t listen. They said I was only twelve when he left for America and wouldn’t remember.”

They had taken home a complete stranger!  I don’t know if they ever met up with their brother or not.