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Jokes and Stories: Truth is Funnier than Fiction

Amazing, amazing stories. All true. At least they all claim to be true. And if one or two of them are not true, they ought to be.

Note: I have no idea where these items originated, with the exceptions noted. If one of them came from your fertile mind or hapless life, then let me know and I'll say that you claimed credit for it. Also, please tell me if any of this information is subject to copyright limitations and I will remove it immediately.

Air Force Maintenance Reports (Anonymous)
Insurance Inquiry (Phillip Dolan)
Advertizing Slogans Translated (American Demographics Magazine)
Newspaper Headlines (Anonymous)
Frivolous Lawsuits (Anonymous; urban legends)
In My Day (Washington Post)
Kung Fu Movie Subtitles (Kung Fu Movie Subtitle Makers)
Good Engineering (Wall Street Journal)
Bricklayer's Report (Gerard Hoffnung; thanks Ann Weissman!)
Strange United States Laws (Anonymous)
Stupid Product Warning Labels (Anonymous)
Bizarre Death
Quayle Quotes
McDonald's Job Application
(Greg Bulmash; urban legend)
Could I Get a Mortgage?
Darwin Awards, 1998
Lawyer Laughs (From Disorder in the Court)
The Exam Retake
The Historical Origin of the Middle Finger Gesture
The World's Easiest Quiz
The Aging Process
Insurance Claim Excerpts
Journalistic Excellence
(Private Eye)
Sports Quotes
Stories Told to Travel Agents
Overheard in Court
NASA Comes to the Rescue
Smithsonian Curiosity
Will the Real Dummy Please Stand Up?! (Anonymous)
Bush-isms from George, Jr. (compiled from various sources)
Pudding Guy: Cult Hero of the Frequent Flyers (San Francisco Examiner)
A Fine Bunch (Anonymous)
Darwin Awards 2001 (from
From the Australian Bureau of Statistics (Anonymous)
Teacher or Educator (Anonymous)
GM versus Microsoft (Anonymous)
Job Evaluations (Anonymous)
Learning About Australia (Anonymous)
All Publicity is Good Publicity (Anonymous)
Life is a Test and You are Graded on a Curve (Anonymous)
Ultimate Lawyer Tale (Anonymous)
Courtroom Yiddish (Anonymous)
The Value of Undies (Anonymous)

Air Force Maintenance Reports...

The US Air Force must have given up on the Fault Tree Analysis they had developed in 1959. Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by US Air Force pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews.

Problem: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
Solution: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

Problem: Test flight OK, except autoland very rough.
Solution: Autoland not installed on this aircraft.

Problem: The autopilot doesn't.
Signed off: IT DOES NOW.

Problem: Something loose in cockpit.
Solution: Something tightened in cockpit.

Problem: Evidence of hydraulic leak on right main landing gear.
Solution: Evidence removed.

Problem: DME volume unbelievably loud.
Solution: Volume set to more believable level.

Problem: Dead bugs on windshield.
Solution: Live bugs on order.

Problem: IFF inoperative.
Solution: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.

Problem: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
Solution: That's what they're there for.

Problem: Number three engine missing.
Solution: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

Insurance Inquiry...

I was talking to a friend last night who was telling me that he was driving into the city to renew his auto insurance. He was on his cellular phone, trying to get a better deal when a woman opened her car door in his path, and he collided with it. He said you can just imagine the conversation from the point of view of the person at the insurance company. "Hello, could you please give me a quote for insuring my car ... CRASH!! .... oh, doesn't matter. Goodbye." [From Phil Dolan]

Advertizing Slogans Translated...

A multitude of camels be upon you... (Isaiah 60.6)

From "American Demographics" magazine, here’s a look at how shrewd American business people translate their slogans into foreign languages.

When Braniff translated a slogan touting its upholstery, "Fly in leather," it came out in Spanish as "Fly naked."

Coors put its slogan, "Turn it loose," into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer from diarrhea."

Chicken magnate Frank Perdue’s line, "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken," sounds much more interesting in Spanish: "It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate."

When Vicks first introduce its cough drops on the german market, they were chagrined to learn that the german pronunciation of "v" is f - which in german is the gutteral equivalent of "sexual penetration."

Not to be outdone, Puffs tissues tried later to introduce its product, only to learn that "Puff" in german is a colloquial term for a whorehouse. The English weren’t too fond of the name either, as it’s a highly derogatory term for a non-heterosexual.

The Chevy Nova never sold well in Spanish speaking countries. "No va" means "it doesn’t go" in Spanish.

When Pepsi started marketing its products in China a few years back, they translated their slogan, "Pepsi Brings You Back to Life" pretty literally.

The slogan in Chinese really meant, "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave."

When Coca-Cola first shipped to China, they named the product something that when pronounced sounded like "Coca-Cola." The only problem was that the characters used meant "Bite the wax tadpole." They later changed to a set of characters that mean "Happiness in the mouth."

A hair products company, Clairol, introduced the "Mist Stick", a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that mist is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the manure stick.

When Gerber first started selling baby food in africa, they used the same packaging as here in the USA - with the cute baby on the label. Later they found out that in Africa companies routinely put pictures on the label of what’s inside since most people can’t read.

Newpaper Headlines...

58 Actual Newspaper Headlines (collected by actual journalists)

1. Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
2. Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
3. Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted
4. Drunk Gets Nine Months in Violin Case
5. Survivor of Siamese Twins Joins Parents
6. Farmer Bill Dies in House
7. Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
8. Is There a Ring of Debris around Uranus?
9. Stud Tires Out
10. Prostitutes Appeal to Pope
11. Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
12. Soviet Virgin Lands Short of Goal Again
13. British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands
14. Lung Cancer in Women Mushrooms
15. Eye Drops off Shelf
16. Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
17. Reagan Wins on Budget, But More Lies Ahead
18. Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim
19. Shot Off Woman’s Leg Helps Nicklaus to 66
20. Enraged Cow Injures Farmer with Ax
21. Plane Too Close to Ground, Crash Probe Told
22. Miners Refuse to Work after Death
23. Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
24. Stolen Painting Found by Tree
25. Two Soviet Ships Collide, One Dies
26. Two Sisters Reunited after 18 Years in Checkout Counter
27. Killer Sentenced to Die for Second Time in 10 Years
28. Never Withhold Herpes Infection from Loved One
29. Drunken Drivers Paid $1000 in ‘84
30. War Dims Hope for Peace
31. If Strike isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last a While
32. Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
33. Enfields Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
34. Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge
35. Deer Kill 17,000
36. Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
37. Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge
38. New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
39. Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
40. Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
41. Chef Throws His Heart into Helping Feed Needy
42. Arson Suspect is Held in Massachusetts Fire
43. British Union Finds Dwarfs in Short Supply
44. Ban On Soliciting Dead in Trotwood
45. Lansing Residents Can Drop Off Trees
46. Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
47. New Vaccine May Contain Rabies
48. Man Minus Ear Waives Hearing
49. Deaf College Opens Doors to Hearing
50. Air Head Fired
51. Steals Clock, Faces Time
52. Prosecutor Releases Probe into Undersheriff
53. Old School Pillars are Replaced by Alumn
54. Bank Drive-in Window Blocked by Board
55. Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
56. Some Pieces of Rock Hudson Sold at Auction
57. Sex Education Delayed, Teachers Request Training
58. Include your Children when Baking Cookies

Frivolous Lawsuits...

Note: Steven Ward of Brunel University, London, wrote me to say that this is an urban legend.

A Charlotte, North Carolina man, having purchased a case of rare, very expensive cigars, insured them against ... get this ... fire.

Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of fabulous cigars, and having yet to make a single premium payment on the policy, the man filed a claim against the insurance company. In his claim, the man stated that he had lost the cigars in "a series of small fires."

The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason that the man had consumed the cigars in a normal fashion. The man sued... and won!

In delivering his ruling, the judge stated that since the man held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable, and also guaranteed that it would insure the cigars against fire, without defining what it considered to be "unacceptable fire," it was obligated to compensate the insured for his loss.

Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the judge’s ruling and paid the man $15,000 for the rare cigars he lost in "the fires." After the man cashed his check, however, the insurance company had him arrested ... on 24 counts of arson! With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used as evidence against him, the man was convicted of intentionally burning the rare cigars and sentenced to 24 consecutive one year terms!

In My Day...

From a Washington Post Report from Week 228, in which readers were asked to tell Gen-Xers how much harder they had it in the old days:

Second Runner-Up: In my day, we couldn’t afford shoes, so we went barefoot. In the winter we had to wrap our feet with barbed wire for traction. (Bill Flavin, Alexandria)

First Runner-Up: In my day we didn’t have MTV or in-line skates, or any of that stuff. No, it was 45s and regular old metal-wheeled roller skates, and the 45s always skipped, so to get them to play right you’d weigh the needle down with something like quarters, which we never had because our allowances were too small, so we’d use our skate keys instead and end up forgetting they were taped to the record player arm so that we couldn’t adjust our skates, which didn’t really matter because those crummy metal wheels would kill you if you hit a pebble anyway, and in those days roads had real pebbles on them, not like today. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

And the winner of the velour bicentennial poster: In my day, we didn’t have no rocks. We had to go down to the creek and wash our clothes by beating them with our heads. (Barry Blyveis, Columbia)

Honorable Mentions:

Back in the 1970s we didn’t have the space shuttle to get all excited about. We had to settle for men walking on the crummy moon. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

In my day, we didn’t have days. There was only time for work, time for prayer and time for sleep. The sheriff would go around and tell everyone when to change. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

In my day, people could only dream of hitchhiking a ride on a comet. (David Ronka, Charlottesville)

In my day, we didn’t have fancy health-food restaurants. Every day we ate lots of easily recognizable animal parts, along with potatoes drenched in melted fat from those animals. And we’re all as strong as AAGGKK-GAAK Urrgh. Thud. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

In my day, we didn’t have hand-held calculators. We had to do addition on our fingers. To subtract, we had to have some fingers amputated. (Jon Patrick Smith, Washington)

In my day, we didn’t get that disembodied, slightly ticked-off voice saying ‘Doors closing.’ We got on the train, the doors closed, and if your hand was sticking out it scraped along the tunnel all the way to the Silver Spring station and it was a bloody stump at the end. But the base fare was only a dollar. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

In my day, we didn’t have water. We had to smash together our own hydrogen and oxygen atoms. (Diana Hugue, Bowie)

In my day, we didn’t have Strom Thurmond. Oh, wait. Yes we did. (Peg Sheeran, Vienna)

Kids today think the world revolves around them. In my day, the sun revolved around the world, and the world was perched on the back of a giant tortoise. (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

In my day, we wore our pants up around our armpits. Monstrous wedgies, but we looked snappy. (Bruce Evans, Washington)

Back in my day, ‘60 Minutes’ wasn’t just a bunch of gray-haired liberal 80-year-old guys. It was a bunch of gray-haired liberal 60-year-old guys. (Russell Beland, Springfield, & Jerry Pannullo, Kensington)

In my day, we didn’t have virtual reality. If a one-eyed razorback barbarian warrior was chasing you with an ax, you just had to hope you could outrun him. (Sarah M. Wolford, Hanover)

Kung Fu Movie Subtitles...

A list of actual subtitles from Kung Fu films from Hong Kong:

1. I am damn unsatisfied to be killed in this way.
2. Fatty, you with your thick face have hurt my instep.
3. Gun wounds again?
4. Same old rules: no eyes, no groin.
5. A normal person wouldn’t steal pituitaries.
6. Damn, I’ll burn you into a BBQ chicken!
7. Take my advice, or I’ll spank you without pants.
8. Who gave you the nerve to get killed here?
9. Quiet or I’ll blow your throat up.
10. You always use violence. I should’ve ordered glutinous rice chicken.
11. I’ll fire aimlessly if you don’t come out!
12. You daring lousy guy.
13. Beat him out of recognizable shape!
14. I have been scared sh*tless too much lately.
15. I got knife scars more than the number of your leg’s hair!
16. Beware! Your bones are going to be disconnected.
17. The bullets inside are very hot. Why do I feel so cold?
18. How can you use my intestines as a gift?

Good Engineering...

This is from an article in the Wall Street Journal, Tuesday July 22, 1997, about the Dutch firm that has been hired to manage the International Arrivals Building at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport.

The tile under the urinals in the Arrivals Building has that familiar lemony tinge; rubber soles stick to it. Over in Amsterdam, the tile under Schiphol's urinals would pass inspection in an operating room. But nobody notices. What everybody does notice is that each urinal has a fly in it. Look harder, and the fly turns into the black outline of a fly, etched into the porcelain.

"It improves the aim," says Aad Kieboom. "If a man sees a fly, he aims at it." Mr. Kieboom, an economist, directs Schiphol's own building expansion. His staff conducted fly-in-urinal trials and found that etchings reduce spillage by 80%. The Dutch will transfer the technology to New York.

"We will put flies in the urinals -- yes," Jan Jansen says in a back office at the Arrivals Building. He is the new Dutch general manager, the boss as of noon today. "It gives a guy something to think about. That's the perfect example of process control."

Bricklayer's Report...

NOTE: This is purported to be a bricklayer's accident report that was printed in the newsletter of the English equivalent of the Workers' Compensation Board. In fact, Steven Ward of Brunel University, London, wrote me to say that this is an urban legend. This seems to be the consensus. Rev. David Thompson wrote to say: "This is an expanded version of a story told by the British humorist, Gerard Hoffnung."

"Dear Sir:

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block #3 of the accident reporting form. I put "Poor Planning" as the cause of my accident. You asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the following details will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-storey building. When I completed my work, I found I had some bricks left over which when weighed later were found to weigh 240 lbs.

Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley which was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went down and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 240 lbs of bricks. You will note on the accident reporting form that my weight is 135 lbs.

Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collarbone, as listed in Section 3, accidentreporting form.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley which I mentioned in Paragraph 2 of this correspondence. Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience.

At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground-and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs.

I refer you again to my weight. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth and severe lacerations of my legs and lower body.

Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked.

I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in pain, unable to move and watching the empty barrel six stories above me, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope."

Strange United States Laws...

Console yourself with these real standing laws from around the United States of America that nobody pays attention to either.

1. It is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle.

1. Community leaders passed an ordinance that makes it illegal for anyone to try and stop a child from playfully jumping over puddles of water.

1. You can be stopped by the police for biking over 65 miles per hour.
2. You are not allowed to walk across a street on your hands.

1. Women may be fined for falling asleep under a hair dryer, as can the salon owner.
2. A special law prohibits unmarried women from parachuting on Sunday or she shall risk arrest, fine, and/or jailing.
3. If an elephant is left tied to a parking meter, the parking fee has to be paid just as it would for a vehicle.
4. In Sarasota it is illegal to sing in a public place while attired in a swimsuit.
5. Men may not be seen publicly in any kind of strapless gown.

1. It is illegal for anyone to give lighted cigars to dogs, cats, and other domesticated animal kept as pets.

1. Bathing is prohibited during the winter.
2. Citizens are not allowed to attend a movie house or theater nor ride in a public streetcar within at least four hours after eating garlic. (a law that makes sense)

1. Kisses may last for as much as, but no more than, five minutes.

1. By law, anyone who has been drinking is "sober" until he or she "cannot hold onto the ground."
2. It is illegal to transport an ice cream cone in your pocket.

1. It is illegal to rob a bank and then shoot at the bank teller with a water pistol.
2. Biting someone with your natural teeth is "simple assault," while biting someone with your false teeth is "aggravated assault."

1. Mourners at a wake may not eat more than three sandwiches.
2. Snoring is prohibited unless all bedroom windows are closed and securely locked.
3. An old ordinance declares goatees illegal unless you first pay a special license fee for the privilege of wearing one in public.

Stupid Product Warning Labels...

On the "CycleAware" helmet-mounted mirror:
"Remember: Objects in the mirror are actually behind you."

On a large folding cardboard sunshade for car windscreens:
"Do not attempt to operate vehicle with sunshade in place."

On a car lock which loops around both the clutch pedal and the steering wheel:
"Warning - Remove lock before driving."

In the instructions for a Korean kitchen knife:
"Keep out of children."

On a packet of juggling balls:
"This product contains small granules under 3 millimeters. Not suitable for children under the age of 14 years in Europe or 8 years in the USA."

On a packet of Nytol sleeping tablets:
"Warning: may cause drowsiness."

On a packet of peanuts served on an internal flight in China (written in both English and Chinese):
"Open packet and eat contents."

On 500g packets of Sainsbury's peanuts:
"Contains nuts."

Seen on a camera:
"This camera only works when there is a film inside."

On a bottle of flavored milk drink:
"After opening, keep upright."

On a Rowenta iron:
"Warning! Never iron clothes on the body!"

On a can of windscreen de-icing spray:
"Spray works in sub-zero temperatures."

On a can of insect spray:
"Kills all kinds of insects! Warning: this spray is harmful to bees."

A different brand of insect spray:
"Kills flies, wasps, mosquitoes, midges, and other flying insects. Not tested on animals."

On an ocean buoy for determining the position of submarines:
"Protect from seawater."

On a Halloween Batman costume:
"This cape does not give the wearer the ability to fly."

On Sears hairdryer:
"Do not use while sleeping."
(Gee, that's the only time I have to work on my hair!)

On a bag of Fritos:
"You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside."
(The shoplifter special!)

On a bar of Dial soap:
"Directions: Use like regular soap."
(and that would be how?)

On some Swann frozen dinners:
"Serving suggestion: Defrost."
(But it's *just* a suggestion!)

On a hotel provided shower cap in a box:
"Fits one head."
(The big one or the little one?)

On Tesco's Tiramisu dessert (printed on bottom of the box):
"Do not turn upside down."
(Too late! You lose!)

On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding:
"Product will be hot after heating."
(Are you sure??? Let's experiment.)

On Boot's Children's cough medicine:
"Do not drive car or operate machinery."
(We could do a lot to reduce the rate of construction accidents if we just kept those 5 year old off those fork lifts.)

On a Swedish chainsaw:
"Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals."
(What is this, a home castration kit?)

On a child's superman costume:
"Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly."
(That's right, destroy a universal childhood fantasy!)

Bizarre Death...

At the 1994 annual awards dinner given for Forensic Science, AAFS President Dr. Don Harper Mills astounded his audience with the legal complications of a bizarre death. Here is the story:

On March 23, 1994 the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and concluded that he died from a shotgun wound to the head. Mr. Opus had jumped from the top of a ten story building intending to commit suicide. He left a note to that effect indicating his despondency. As he fell past the ninth floor his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast passing through a window which killed him instantly. Neither the shooter nor the decedent was aware that a safety net had been installed just below at the eighth floor level to protect some building workers and that Ronald Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide the way he had planned.

"Ordinarily," Dr. Mills continued, "A person who sets out to commit suicide and ultimately succeeds even though the mechanism might not be what he intended" is still defined as committing suicide. That Mr. Opus was shot on the way to certain death nine stories below at street level that probably would not have been successful because of the safety net, caused the medical examiner to feel that he had a homicide on his hands.

The room on the ninth floor whence the shotgun blast emanated was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing vigorously, and he was threatening her with a shotgun. The man was so upset that when he pulled the trigger he completely missed his wife and the pellets went through the window striking Mister Opus.

When one intends to kill subject A but kills subject B in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of subject B. When confronted with the murder charge the old man and his wife were both adamant. They both said they thought the shotgun was unloaded. The old man said it was his long standing habit to threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder her. Therefore the killing of Mr. Opus appeared to be an accident; that is, the gun had been accidentally loaded.

The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's son loading the shotgun about six weeks prior to the fatal accident. It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son's financial support and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would shoot his mother. The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.

Now comes the exquisite twist. Further investigation revealed that the son was in fact Ronald Opus. He had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother's murder. This led him to jump off the ten story building on March 23rd, only to be killed by a shotgun blast passing through the ninth story window. The son had actually murdered himself so the medical examiner closed the case as a suicide. Very tidy of him.

(Allegedly a true story from Associated Press, by Kurt Westervelt)

Quayle Quotes...

The original introduction to these quotes is not mine but is as as follows: "These are some of former vice president Dan Quayle's most famous foibles. I know he is yesterday's news, but I I just had to run them. The fact that this guy could have lead the free world kills me. Pay attention all of you college students, your parents weren't lying when they told you that you could be president if you wanted."

"I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn't study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people."

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."

"Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child."

"Welcome to President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and my fellow astronauts."

"Mars is essentially in the same orbit... Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe."

"What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is."

"The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. I mean in this century's history. But we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century."

"I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy — but that could change."

"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared'."

"May our nation continue to be the beakon of hope to the world." — The Quayles' 1989 Christmas card.

"Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things."

"We don't want to go back to tomorrow, we want to go forward."

"I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future."

"The future will be better tomorrow."

"We're going to have the best-educated American people in the world."

"People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history."

"I stand by all the misstatements that I've made."

"We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe."

"I am not part of the problem. I am a Republican."

"I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix."

"A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls."

"When I have been asked during these last weeks who caused the riots and the killing in L.A., my answer has been direct and simple: Who is to blame for the riots? The rioters are to blame. Who is to blame for the killings? The killers are to blame."

"Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it."

"Murphy Brown is doing better than I am. At least she knows she still has a job next year."

"We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur."

"For NASA, space is still a high priority."

"Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children."

"The American people would not want to know of any misquotes that Dan Quayle may or may not make."

"We're all capable of mistakes, but I do not care to enlighten you on the mistakes we may or may not have made."

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."

"[It's] time for the human race to enter the solar system."

McDonald's Job Application...

It is rumored that this an actual job application someone submitted to McDonald's... and further rumored that they hired him! But Greg Bulmash set me straight. He says, "[It was] never submitted at McD's, at least not by the guy whose name is on it. I'm him and I wrote it as a joke for a humor web site I used to run. See for the backstory."

1. NAME: Greg Bulmash

2. DESIRED POSITION: Reclining. Ha ha. But seriously, whatever's available. If I was in a position to be picky, I wouldn't be applying here in the first place.

3. DESIRED SALARY: $185,000 a year plus stock options and a Michael Ovitz style severance package. If that's not possible, make an offer and we can haggle.


5. LAST POSITION HELD: Target for middle management hostility.

6. SALARY: Less than I'm worth.

7. MOST NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT: My incredible collection of stolen pens and post-it notes.



10. PREFERRED HOURS: 1:30-3:30 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

11. DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL SKILLS?: Yes, but they're better suited to a more intimate environment.

12. MAY WE CONTACT YOUR CURRENT EMPLOYER?: If I had one, would I be here?


14. DO YOU HAVE A CAR?: I think the more appropriate question here would be "Do you have a car that runs?"

15. HAVE YOU RECEIVED ANY SPECIAL AWARDS OR RECOGNITION?: I may already be a winner of the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.

16. DO YOU SMOKE?: Only when set on fire.

17. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE DOING IN FIVE YEARS?: Living in the Bahamas with a fabulously wealthy super model who thinks I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread. Actually, I'd like to be doing that now.


19. SIGN HERE: Scorpio with Libra rising.

Could I Get a Mortgage?

Ever deal with FHA?

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer three months to track down.

After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply (actual letter): "Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows (actual letter):

"Your letter regarding title in Case No. 189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 194 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by the U.S. from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application.

"For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U. S. ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the then reigning monarch, Isabella. The good queen, being a pious woman and careful about titles, almost as much as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to fund Columbus' expedition.

"Now the Pope, as I'm sure you know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that He also made that part of the world called Louisiana. He, therefore, would be the owner of origin. I hope ... you find His original claim to be satisfactory.

"Now, may we have our ... loan?"

They got it.

Darwin Awards, 1998...

[Form more Darwin Awards, go to]

Once again it is time to start thinking about casting your vote for the 1998 Darwin Award winner! As you may already know, the Darwin Awards are for those nominees who contribute to the gene pool by dying in spectacularly stupid ways before they breed (thankfully).

The 1998 nominees are:

NOMINEE No.1 [San Jose Mercury News]:

An unidentified man, using a shotgun like a club to break a former girlfriend's windshield, accidentally shot himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing a hole in his gut.

NOMINEE No.2: [Kalamazoo Gazette]

James Burns, 34, (a mechanic) of Alamo, Mich., was killed in March as he was trying to repair what police described as a "farm-type truck." Burns got a friend to drive the truck on a highway while Burns hung underneath so that he could ascertain the source of a troubling noise. Burns' clothes caught on something, however, and the other man found Burns "wrapped in the drive shaft."

NOMINEE No.3: [Hickory Daily Record]

Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton, N.C., when, awakening to the sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed, he reached for the phone but grabbed instead a Smith & Wesson .38 Special, which discharged when he drew it to his ear.

NOMINEE No.4: [UPI, Toronto]

Police said a lawyer, demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper, crashed through a pane with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police spokesman said Gary Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the building's windows to visiting law students. Hoy previously had conducted demonstrations of window strength according to police reports. Peter Lawyers, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best and brightest" members of the 200-man association.

NOMINEE No.5: [Bloomburg News Service]

A terrible diet and room with no ventilation are being blamed for the death of a man who was killed by his own gas. There was no mark on his body but an autopsy showed large amounts of methane gas in his system. His diet had consisted primarily of beans and cabbage (and a couple of other things). It was just the right combination of foods. It appears that the man died in his sleep from breathing the poisonous cloud that was hanging over his bed. Had he been outside or had his windows been opened, it wouldn't have been fatal. But the man was shut up in his near airtight bedroom. According to the article, "He was a big man with a huge capacity for creating this deadly gas." Three of the rescuers got sick and one was hospitalized.

NOMINEE No.6: [The News of the Weird.]

Michael Anderson Godwin made News of the Weird posthumously. He had spent several years awaiting South Carolina's electric chair on a murder conviction before having his sentence reduced to life in prison. Whilst sitting on a metal toilet in his cell and attempting to fix his small TV set, he bit into a wire and was electrocuted.

NOMINEE NO.7: ["The Indianapolis Star"]

A Jay County man using a cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a muzzle loader was killed Monday night when the weapon discharged in his face, sheriff's investigators said. Gregory David Pryor, 19, died in his parents' rural Dunkirk home about 11:30 p.m. investigators said Pryor was cleaning a .54-caliber muzzleloader that had not been firing properly. He was using the lighter to look into the barrel when the gunpowder ignited.

NOMINEE No.8: [AP, St. Louis]

Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being disorderly in a St. Louis market. When the clerk threatened to call police, Puelo grabbed a hot dog, shoved it in his mouth, and walked out without paying for it. Police found him unconscious in front of the store. Paramedics removed the six-inch wiener from his throat, where it had choked him to death.

NOMINEE No.9: [Unknown]

To poacher Marino Malerba, who shot a stag standing above him on an overhanging rock--and was killed instantly when it fell on him.

NOMINEE No.10: [Associated Press,Kincaid, W. VA]

A man at a party popped a blasting cap into his mouth and bit down, triggering an explosion that blew off his lips, teeth and tongue, State Police said Wednesday. Jerry Stromyer, 24, of Kincaid, bit the blasting cap as a prank during a party late Tuesday night, said Cpl M.D. Payne. "Another man had it in an aquarium, hooked to a battery, and was trying explode it," Payne said. "It wouldn't go off and this guy said, 'I'll show you how to set it off.'"

NOMINEE No.11: [Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario]

A man cleaning a Birdfeeder on the balcony of his condominium apartment in this Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories to his death. Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheeled chair when the accident occurred, said Inspector D'Arcy Honer of the Peel Regional Police. "It appears the chair moved and he went over the balcony," Honer said.

NOMINEE No.12: [UPI, Portland, OR]

Doctors at Portland's University Hospital said Wednesday an Oregon man shot through the skull by a hunting arrow is lucky to be alive, and will be released soon from the hospital. Tony Roberts, 25, lost his right eye during an initiation into a men's rafting club, Mountain Men Anonymous, in Grants Pass, OR. A friend tried to shoot a beer can off his head, but the arrow entered Robert's right eye. Doctors said had the arrow gone 1 millimeter to the left, major blood vessel would have cut and Roberts would have died instantly. Neurosurgeon Dr. Johnny Delashaw at the University Hospital in Portland said the arrow went through 8 to 10 inches of brain, with the tip protruding at the rear of his skull, yet somehow managed to miss all major blood vessels. Delashaw also said that if Robert had tried to pull the arrow out he surely would have killed himself. Roberts admitted afterwards he and his friends had been drinking that afternoon. Said Roberts, "I feel so dumb about this."

NOMINEE No.13 The Calgary Sun Saturday, December 28, 1996 VANCOUVER (CP)

A man arguing over a love triangle accidentally shot himself in the groin, taking off his testicles and part of his penis. Police said the man was waving a .357 Magnum revolver around during the shouting match early yesterday, but when he stuffed it back in his pants, the gun went off. Police were called to the hospital after the man in his 20s was brought in by friends. Charges are pending against the victim, who is expected to survive.

And finally:

NOMINEE No.14: [Arkansas Democrat Gazette]

Two local men were seriously injured when their pick-up truck left the road and struck a tree near Cotton Patch on State Highway 38 early Monday morning. Woodruff County deputy Dovey Snyder reported the accident shortly after midnight Monday. Thurston Poole, 33, of Des Arc, and Billy Ray Wallis, 38, of Little Rock, are listed in serious condition at Baptist Medical Center. The accident occurred as the two men were returning to Des Arc after a frog gigging trip. On an overcast Sunday night, Poole's pick-up truck headlights malfunctioned. The two men concluded that the headlight fuse on the older model truck had burned out. As a replacement fuse was not available, Wallis noticed that the bullet from his pistol fit perfectly into the fuse box next to the steering wheel column. Upon inserting the bullet, the headlights again began to operate properly, and the two men proceeded on east-bound toward the White River bridge. After travelling approximately twenty miles and just before crossing the river, the bullet apparently overheated, discharged and struck Poole in the right testicle. The vehicle swerved sharply to the right exiting the pavement and striking a tree. Poole suffered only minor cuts and abrasions from the accident, but will require surgery to repair the other wound. Wallis sustained a broken clavicle and was treated and released. "Thank God we weren't on that bridge when Thurston shot his balls off or we might both be dead," stated Wallis. "I've been a trooper for ten years in this part of the world, but this is a first for me. I can't believe that those two would admit how this accident happened", said Snyder. Upon being notified of the wreck, Lavinia, Poole's wife, asked how many frogs the boys had caught and did anyone get them from the truck.

Lawyer Laughs... (from Disorder in the Court)

[There are several books with this title at; I do not know for sure sure which books these stories come from or I'd give it a better plug. However, the title most on taget is Richard Lederer, ed., Disorder in the Court: Legals Laughs, Court Jests, and Just Jokes culled from the Nation's Justice System.]

Just another mass mailing to my nearest and dearest who need a little humor in their lives and probably can find an attorney to forward this to! Some lawyer laughs from a little book called "Disorder in the Court." These are things people actually said in court, word for word.

Q: What is your date of birth?
A: July fifteenth.
Q: What year?
A: Every year.

Q: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
A: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

Q: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
A: Yes.
Q: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
A: I forget.
Q: You forget. Can you give us an example of something that you've forgotten?

Q: How old is your son, the one living with you.
A: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
Q: How long has he lived with you?
A: Forty-five years.

Q: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke that morning?
A: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
Q: And why did that upset you?
A: My name is Susan.

Q: And where was the location of the accident?
A: Approximately milepost 499.
Q: And where is milepost 499?
A: Probably between milepost 498 and 500.

Q: Sir, what is your IQ?
A: Well, I can see pretty well, I think.

Q: Did you blow your horn or anything?
A: After the accident?
Q: Before the accident.
A: Sure, I played for ten years. I even went to school for it.

Q: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo or the occult?
A: We both do.
Q: Voodoo?
A: We do.
Q: You do?
A: Yes, voodoo.

Q: Trooper, when you stopped the defendant, were your red and blue lights flashing?
A: Yes.
Q: Did the defendant say anything when she got out of her car?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What did she say?
A: What disco am I at?

Q: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?

Q: The youngest son, the twenty-year old, how old is he?

Q: Were you present when your picture was taken?

Q: Was it you or your younger brother who was killed in the war?

Q: Did he kill you?

Q: How far apart were the vehicles at the time of the collision?

Q: You were there until the time you left, is that true?

Q: How many times have you committed suicide?

Q: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
A: Yes.
Q: And what were you doing at that time?

Q: She had three children, right?
A: Yes.
Q: How many were boys?
A: None.
Q: Were there any girls?

Q: You say the stairs went down to the basement?
A: Yes.

Q: And these stairs, did they go up also?

Q: Mr. Slatery, you went on a rather elaborate honeymoon, didn't you?
A: I went to Europe, Sir.
Q: And you took your new wife?

Q: How was your first marriage terminated?
A: By death.
Q: And by whose death was it terminated?

Q: Can you describe the individual?
A: He was about medium height and had a beard.
Q: Was this a male, or a female?

Q: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.

Q: All your responses must be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
A: Oral.

Q: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
A: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
Q: And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?
A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy.

Q: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for breathing?
A: No.
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
A: No.
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?
A: It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.

The Exam Retake...

Introductory Chemistry at Duke has been taught for about a zillion years by Professor Bonk (really), and his course is semi-affectionately known as "Bonkistry". He has been around forever, so I wouldn't put it past him to come up with something like this.

Anyway, one year there were these two guys who were taking Chemistry and who did pretty well on all of the quizzes and the mid-terms and labs, etc., such that going into the final they had a solid A. These friends were so confident going into the final that the weekend before finals week (even though the Chem was on Monday), they decided to go up to U Virginia and party with some friends up there.

They did this and had a great time. However, with their hangovers and everything, they overslept all day Sunday and didn't make it back to Duke until early Monday morning. Rather than taking the final then, they found Professor Bonk after the final and explained to him they missed the final.

They told him that they went up to UVA for the weekend, and had planned to come back in time to study, but they'd had a flat tire on the way back, didn't have a spare and couldn't get help for a long time and so were late getting back to campus.

Bonk thought this over and then agreed they could make up the final on the following day. The two guys were elated, relieved and very proud of their story. So, they studied that night and went in the next day at the time Bonk had told them. He placed them in separate rooms, handed each of them a test booklet and told them to begin.

They looked at the first problem, which was something simple about molarity and solutions and was worth 5 points. "Cool" they thought," this is going to be easy".

They did that problem and then turned the page. They were unprepared, however, for what they saw on the next page... WHICH TIRE? (95 points)

The Historical Orgin of the Middle Finger Gesture...

Note: Steven Ward of Brunel University, London, wrote me to say that "The Historical Origin of the Middle Finger Gesture (MFG) is a bit muddled, you need the middle finger and index finger to fire a bow, the MFG is known in the UK, but we use the victory sign made popular by Churchill reversed, in a similar way." It struck me in response that the French might well consider it sufficient to remove just the middle finger. But what is really needed here is the time machine historian with a video camera to nail down the story.

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers. Without the middle finger, it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore be incapable of fighting in the future.

This famous weapon was made of the native English Yew tree and the act of drawing the longbow was known as "plucking the yew." Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French, saying, "See, we can still pluck yew! PLUCK YEW!"

Over the years, some 'folk etymologies' have grown up around this symbolic gesture. Since 'pluck yew' is rather difficult to say (like "pleasant mother, pheasant plucker", which is who you had to go to for the feathers used on the arrows for the longbow), the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodental fricative 'F', and thus the words often used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute are mistakenly thought to have something to do with an intimate encounter.

It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows that the symbolic gesture is known as "giving the bird".

The World's Easiest Quiz...

1. How long did the Hundred Years War last?

2. Which country makes Panama hats?

3. Where do we get catgut?

4. In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

5. What is a camel's hair brush made of?

6. The Canary Islands in the Atlantic are named after what animal?

7. What was King George VI's first name?

8. What color is the purple finch?

9. What country do Chinese gooseberries come from?

10. How long did the Thirty Years War last?


1. 116 years, from 1337 to 1453

2. Ecuador

3. From sheep and horses

4. November, since the Russian calendar was 13 days behind ours

5. Squirrel fur

6. The Latin name was Insularia Canaria - Island of the Dogs

7. Albert. He respected Queen Victoria's wish that no future King should be called Albert

8. Distinctly crimson

9. New Zealand

10. Thirty years, of course -- from 1618 to 1648

You did not bet any money on this, did you??

The Aging Process...

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than ten years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions. "How old are you?" "I'm four and a half." You're never 36 and a're four and a half going on 5.

You get into your teens; now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number. "How old are you?" "I'm gonna be 16." You could be 12, but you're gonna be 16. Eventually.

Then the great day of your life; you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony. You BECOME 21....Yes!!!!!

Then you turn 30. What happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk. He TURNED; we had to throw him out. What's wrong? What changed? You BECOME 21; you TURN 30.

Then you're PUSHING 40....stay over there. You REACH 50.

You BECOME 21; you TURN 30; You're PUSHING 40; you REACH 50; then you MAKE IT to 60.

By then you've built up so much speed, you HIT 70. After that, it's a day by day thing. You HIT Wednesday...

You get into your 80's; you HIT lunch, you HIT 4:30. My Grandmother won't even buy green bananas. "Well, it's an investment, you know, and maybe a bad one."

And it doesn't end there....

Into the 90's, you start going backwards. "I was JUST 92."

Then a strange thing happens; if you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I'm 100 and a half."

Happy aging!

Insurance Claim Excerpts...

Below are actual insurance claim form gaffes. These are the collection made by Norwich Union for their annual Christmas mag.

"I started to slow down but the traffic was more stationary than I thought."

"I pulled into a lay-by with smoke coming from under the bonnet. I realised the car was on fire so took my dog and smothered it with a blanket."

Q: Could either driver have done anything to avoid the accident?
A: Travelled by bus?

A Norwich Union customer collided with a cow. The questions and answers on the claim form were:
Q - What warning was given by you?
A - Horn
Q - What warning was given by the other party?
A - Moo

"I started to turn and it was at this point I noticed a camel and an elephant tethered at the verge. This distraction caused me to lose concentration and hit a bollard."

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

"I was going at about 70 or 80 mph when my girlfriend on the pillion reached over and grabbed my testicles so I lost control."

"I didn't think the speed limit applied after midnight"

"I knew the dog was possessive about the car but I would not have asked her to drive it if I had thought there was any risk."

Q: Do you engage in motorcycling, hunting or any other pastimes of a hazardous nature?
A: I Watch the Lottery Show and listen to Terry Wogan.

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

"Windscreen broken. Cause unknown. Probably Voodoo."

"The car in front hit the pedestrian but he got up so I hit him again."

"I had been driving for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident. I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and headed over the embankment."

"Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don't have."

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

"I thought my window was down, but I found out it wasn't when I put my head through it".

"I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way".

"A truck backed through my windshield into my wife's face".

"A pedestrian hit me and went under my car".

"The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him."

"In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole."

"I had been shopping for plants all day and was on my way home. As I reached

an intersection a hedge sprang up obscuring my vision and I did not see the other car."

"I was on my way to the doctor with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way causing me to have an accident.

"To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front I struck the pedestrian."

"My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle."

"An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car and vanished."

"I am sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him."

"The pedestrian had no idea which way to run, so I ran over him."

"I saw a slow-moving, sad faced old gentleman, as he bounced off the roof of my car."

"The indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth"

"I was thrown from the car as it left the road. I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows."

Journalistic Excellence...

Note: Steven Ward of Brunel University, London, wrote me to say that this piece comes from "The Journalistic Excellence" column in the bi-weekly UK magazine Private Eye's Colmanballs section.

Jon Snow: "In a sense, Deng Xiaoping's death was inevitable, wasn't it?"
Expert: "Er, yes." (Channel 4 News)

"As Phil De Glanville said, each game is unique, and this one is no different to any other." (John Sleightholme - BBC1)

"If England are going to win this match, they're going to have to score a goal." (Jimmy Hill - BBC)

"Beethoven, Kurtag, Charles Ives, Debussy - four very different names." (Presenter, BBC Proms, Radio 3)

"Cystitis is a living death, it really is. Nobody ever talks about it, but if I was faced with a choice between having my arms removed and getting cystitis, I'd wave goodbye to my arms quite happily." (Louise Wener (of Sleeper) in Q Magazine)

"Julian Dicks is everywhere. It's like they've got eleven Dicks on the field." (Metro Radio Sports Commentary)

Listener: "My most embarrassing moment was when my artificial leg fell off at the altar on my wedding day."
Simon Fanshawe: "How awful! Do you still have an artificial leg?" (Talk Radio)

Interviewer: "So did you see which train crashed into which train first?"
15-year-old: "No, they both ran into each other at the same time." (BBC Radio 4)

Presenter (to palaeontologist): "So what would happen if you mated the woolly mammoth with, say, an elephant?"
Expert: "Well in the same way that a horse and a donkey produce a mule, we'd get a sort of half-mammoth.
Presenter: "So it'd be like some sort of hairy gorilla?"
Expert: "Er, well yes, but elephant shaped, and with tusks." (GLR)

Kilroy-Silk: "Did you mean to get pregnant?"
Girl: "No. It was a cock-up."

Grand National winning jockey Mick Fitzgerald: "Sex is an anti-climax after that!"
Desmond Lynam: "Well, you gave the horse a wonderful ride, everyone saw that." (BBC)

Sports Quotes...

Senior Basketball player at University of Pittsburgh:
"I'm going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes."

Football commentator and former player Joe Theisman 1996:
"Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."

Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach:
"You guys line up alphabetically by height."

Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach:
"You guys pair up in groups of three, then line up in a circle."

Clemson recruit Ray Forsythe, who was ineligible as a freshman because of academic requirements:
"I play football. I'm not trying to be a professor. The tests don't seem to make sense to me, measuring your brain on stuff I haven't been through in school."

Boxing promoter Dan Duva on Mike Tyson hooking up again with Don King:
"Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton."

Stu Grimson, Chicago Blackhawk's left wing, explaining why he keeps a color photo of himself above his locker:
"That's so when I forget how to spell my name, I can still find my #%@# clothes."

Shaquille O'Neal on whether he had visited the Parthenon during his visit to Greece:
"I can't really remember the names of the clubs that we went to."

Shaquille O'Neal, on his lack of championship wins:
"I've won at every level, except college and pro."

1982-Chuck Nevitt, North Carolina State basketball player, explaining to Coach Jim Valvano why he appeared nervous at practice:
"My sister's expecting a baby, and I don't know if I'm going to be an aunt or an uncle."


I am a medical student currently doing a rotation in toxicology at the poison control center. Today, this woman called in very upset because she caught her little daughter eating ants. I quickly reassured her that the ants are not harmful and there would be no need to bring her daughter into the hospital. She calmed down, and at the end of the conversation happened to mention that she gave her daughter some ant poison to eat in order to kill the ants. I told her that she better bring her daughter in to the ER right away.

Seems that a year ago, some Boeing employees on the field decided to steal a life raft from one of the 747s. They were successful in getting it out of the plant and home. When they took it for a float on the Stilliguamish River, they were quite surprised by a coast guard helicopter that was homing in on the emergency locator that is activated when the raft is inflated. They are no longer employed there.

I worked for a while at a Wal-Mart store, selling sporting goods. As an employee of Wal-Mart you are sometimes required to make store-wide pages, e.g., "I have a customer in hardware who needs assistance at the paint counter." One night a tentative female voice came over the intercom system with the (I kid you not) following message: "I have a customer by the balls in toys who needs assistance."

A police officer had a perfect hiding place for watching for speeders. But one day, everyone was under the speed limit, the officer found the problem: A 10 year old boy was standing on the side of the road with a huge hand painted sign which said "RADAR TRAP AHEAD." A little more investigative work led the officer to the boy's accomplice, another boy about 100 yards beyond the radar trap with a sign reading "TIPS" and a bucket at his feet, full of change.

Stories Told to Travel Agents...

The following are actual stories told to travel agents....

A client called in inquiring about a package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked if it would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?

I got a call from a woman who wanted to go to Capetown. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information when she interrupted me with, "I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts." Without trying to make her look like the stupid one, I calmly explained, "Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa." Her

A secretary called in looking for hotel in Los Angeles. She gave me various names off a list, none of which I could find. I finally had her fax me the list. To my surprise, it was a list of hotels in New Orleans, Louisiana. She thought the LA stood for Los Angeles, and that New Orleans was a suburb of L.A. Worst of all, when I called her back, she was not even embarrassed.

A man called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that is not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state. He replied, "Don't lie to me. I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state."

I got a call from a man who asked, is it possible to see England from Canada? I said, "No." He said "but they look so close on the map."

Another man called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas. When I pulled up the reservation, I noticed he had a 1-hour layover in Dallas. When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, "I heard Dallas was a big airport, and I need a car to drive between the gates to save time."

A nice lady just called. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:20am and got into Chicago at 8:33am. I tried to explain that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she could not understand the concept of time zones. Finally I told her the plane went very fast, and she bought that.

A woman called and asked, "Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to who?" I said, 'No, why do you ask?' She replied, 'Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said FAT, and I'm overweight, is there any connection?" After putting her on hold for a minute while I looked into it I came back and explained the city code for Fresno is FAT, and that the airline was just putting a destination tag on her luggage.

I just got off the phone with a man who asked, "How do I know which plane to get on?" I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, "I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have numbers on them."

A woman called and said, "I need to fly to pepsi-cola on one of those computer planes." I asked if she meant to fly to Pensacola on a commuter plane. She said, "Yea, whatever."

Overheard in Court...

The following are statements made during court cases.

Judge: I know you, don't I?
Defendant: Uh, yes.
Judge: All right, tell me, how do I know you?
Defendant: Judge, do I have to tell you?
Judge: Of course, you might be obstructing justice not to tell me.
Defendant: Okay. I was your bookie.

From a defendant representing himself...
Defendant: Did you get a good look at me when I stole your purse?
Victim: Yes, I saw you clearly. You are the one who stole my purse.
Defendant: I should have shot you while I had the chance.

Judge: The charge here is theft of frozen chickens. Are you the defendant?
Defendant: No, sir, I'm the guy who stole the chickens.

Lawyer: How do you feel about defense attorneys?
Juror: I think they should all be drowned at birth.
Lawyer: Well, then, you are obviously biased for the prosecution.
Juror: That's not true. I think prosecutors should be drowned at birth, too.

Lawyer questioning his client on the witness stand...
Plaintiff's Lawyer: What doctor treated you for the injuries you sustained while at work?
Plaintiff: Dr. J.
Plaintiff's Lawyer: And what kind of physician is Dr. J?
Plaintiff: Well, I'm not sure, but I remember that you said he was a good plaintiff's doctor.

Judge: Is there any reason you could not serve as a juror in this case?
Juror: I don't want to be away from my job that long.
Judge: Can't they do without you at work?
Juror: Yes, but I don't want them to know it.

Lawyer: Tell us about the fight.
Witness: I didn't see no fight.
Lawyer: Well, tell us what you did see.
Witness: I went to a dance at the Turner house, and as the men swung around and changed partners, they would slap each other, and one fellow hit harder than the other one liked, and so the other one hit back and somebody pulled a knife and someone else drew a six-shooter and another guy came up with a rifle that had been hidden under a bed, and the air was filled with yelling and smoke and bullets.

Lawyer: You, too, were shot in the fracas?
Witness: No, sir, I was shot midway between the fracas and the navel.

Defendant: Judge, I want you to appoint me another lawyer.
Judge: And why is that?
Defendant: Because the Public Defender isn't interested in my case.
Judge (to Public Defender): Do you have any comments on the defendant's motion?
Public Defender: I'm sorry, Your Honor. I wasn't listening.

Judge: You are charged with habitual drunkenness. Have you anything to say
in your defense?
Defendant: Habitual thirstiness?

Judge: Please identify yourself for the record.
Defendant: Colonel Ebenezer Jackson.
Judge: What does the 'Colonel' stand for?
Defendant: Well, it's kinda like the 'Honorable' in front of your name. Not a damn thing.

NASA Comes to the Rescue...

(Allegedly A True Story)

NOTE: Rev. David Thompson writes to say: "Not true – British aircraft manufacturers were using (unfrozen) chickens to test cabin windows for years before any high-speed trains were designed. I saw the chicken-chucker at Handley-Page Ltd in 1966, but only got to examine the brand-new High-Speed Train at Old Oak Common locomotive depot in 1980 or thereabouts."

Scientists at NASA have developed a gun built specifically to launch dead chickens at the windshields of airliners, military jets and the space shuttle, all travelling at maximum velocity. The idea is to simulate the frequent incidents of collisions with airborne fowl to test the strength of the windshields. British engineers heard about the gun and were eager to test it on the windshields of their new high speed trains.

Arrangements were made. But when the gun was fired, the engineers stood shocked as the chicken hurtled out of the barrel, crashed into the shatterproof shield, smashed it to smithereens, crashed through the control console, snapped the engineer's backrest in two and embedded itself in the back wall of the cabin.

Horrified Britons sent NASA the disastrous results of the experiment, along with the designs of the windshield, and begged the U.S. scientists for suggestions.

NASA's response was just one sentence: "Thaw the chicken."

Smithsonian Curiosity...

The story behind the letter below is that there is this nutball in Newport,RI named Scott Williams who digs things out of his backyard and sends the stuff he finds to the Smithsonian Institute, labeling them with scientific names, insisting that they are  actual archaeological finds. This guy really exists and does this in his spare time!'s the actual response from the Smithsonian Institution. Bear this in mind next time you think you are challenged in your duty to respond to a difficult situation in writing.

Smithsonian Institute
207 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20078

Dear Mr. Williams:

Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labeled "93211-D,layer seven, next to the clothesline post...Hominid skull." We have given this specimen a careful and detailed examination, and regret to inform you that we disagree with your theory that it represents conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago. Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll, of the variety that one of our staff, who has small children, believes to be "Malibu Barbie." It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to contradiction with your findings. However, we do feel that there are a number of physical attributes of the specimen which might have tipped you off to its modern origin:

1. The material is molded plastic. Ancient hominid remains are typically fossilized bone.

2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9 cubic centimeters, well below the threshold of even the earliest identified proto-homonids.

3. The dentition pattern evident on the skull is more consistent with the common domesticated dog than it is with the ravenous man-eating Pliocene clams you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time.

This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypotheses you have submitted in your history with this institution, but the evidence seems to weigh rather heavily against it. Without going into too much detail, let us say that:

A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll that a dog has chewed on.

B. Clams don't have teeth.

It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your request to have the specimen carbon-dated. This is partially due to the heavy load our lab must bear in its normal operation, and partly due to carbon-dating's notorious inaccuracy in fossils of recent geologic record.

To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie dolls were produced prior to 1956AD, and carbon-dating is likely to produce wildly inaccurate results. Sadly, we must also deny your request that we approach the National Science Foundation Phylogeny Department with the concept of assigning your specimen the scientific name Australopithecus spiff-arino. Speaking personally, I, for one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance of your proposed taxonomy, but was ultimately voted down because the species name you selected was hyphenated, and didn't really sound like it might be Latin. However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this fascinating specimen to the museum. While it is undoubtedly not a Hominid fossil, it is, nonetheless, yet another riveting example of the great body of work you seem to accumulate here so effortlessly.

You should know that our Director has reserved a special shelf in his own office for the display of the specimens you have previously submitted to the Institution, and the entire staff speculates daily on what you will happen upon next in your digs at the site you have discovered in your Newport back yard.

We eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation's capital that you proposed in your last letter, and several of us are pressing the Director to pay for it. We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories surrounding the trans-positating fillifitation of ferrous metal in a structural matrix that makes the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex femur you recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty 9-mm Sears Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.

Yours in Science,

Harvey Rowe
Chief Curator-Antiquities

Will the Real Dummy Please Stand Up?!

AT&T fired President John Walter after nine months, saying he lacked "intellectual leadership". He received a $26 million severance package. Perhaps it's not Walter who's lacking intelligence.


With a Little Help from Our Friends!

Police in Oakland, California spent two hours attempting to subdue a gunman who had barricaded himself inside his home. After firing ten tear gas canisters, officers discovered that the man was standing beside them, shouting pleas to come out and give himself up.


What Was Plan B?

An Illinois man pretending to have a gun kidnapped a motorist and forced him to drive to two different automated teller machines. The kidnapper then proceeded to withdraw money from his own bank accounts.


These Nitwits Are Teaching Our Children?

A 9-year-old boy in Manassas, Virginia received a one-day suspension under his elementary school's drug policy last week - for Certs! Joey Hoeffer allegedly told a classmate that the mints would make him "jump higher."


A student in Belle, West Virginia was suspended for three days for giving a classmate a cough drop. School principal Forest Mann reiterated the school's "zero-tolerance" policy...not to be confused with the "zero-intelligence" policy.


Some Days, It Just Doesn't Pay to Gnaw Through the Straps

Fire investigators on Maui have determined the cause of a blaze that destroyed a $127,000 home last month - a short in the homeowner's newly installed fire prevention alarm system. "This is even worse than last year," said the distraught  homeowner, "when someone broke in and stole my new security system..."


For the Main Course

A man in Taormina, Italy was hospitalized after swallowing 46 teaspoons, 2 cigarette lighters, and a pair of salad tongs.


The Getaway

A man walked in to a Topeka, Kansas Kwik Shop, and asked for all the money in the cash drawer. Apparently, the take was too small, so he tied up the store clerk and worked the counter himself for three hours until police showed up and grabbed him.


Do-It-Yourself Brain Surgery?

In Ohio, an unidentified man in his late twenties walked into a police station with a 9-inch wire protruding from his forehead and calmly asked officers to give him an X-ray to help him find his brain, which he claimed had been stolen. Police were shocked to learn that the man had drilled a 6-inch deep hole in his skull with a Black & Decker power drill and had stuck the wire in to try and find the missing brain.


Have I Got a Deal for You!

More than 600 people in Italy wanted to ride in a spaceship badly enough to pay $10,000 apiece for the first tourist flight to Mars. According to the Italian police, the would-be space travelers were told to spend their "next vacation on Mars, amid the splendors of ruined temples and painted deserts. Ride a Martian camel from oasis to oasis and enjoy the incredible Martian sunsets. Explore mysterious canals and marvel at the views. Trips to the moon also available." Authorities believe that the con men running this scam made off with over six million dollars.


Too Well-Educated

In Medford, Oregon, a 27-year-old jobless man with an MBA blamed his college degree for his murder of three people. "There are too many business grads out there," he said. "If I had chosen another field, all this may not have happened."


Did I Say That?

Police in Los Angeles had good luck with a robbery suspect who just couldn't control himself during a lineup. When detectives asked each man in the lineup to repeat the words, "Give me all your money or I'll shoot," the man shouted, "That's not what I said!"


Ouch, That Smarts!

A bank robber in Virginia Beach got a nasty surprise when a dye pack designed to mark stolen money exploded in his Fruit-of-the-Looms. The robber apparently stuffed the loot down the front of his pants as he was running out the door. "He was seen hopping and jumping around," said police spokesman Mike Carey, "with an explosion taking place inside his pants." Police have the man's charred trousers in custody.


Are We Not Communicating?

A man spoke frantically into the phone, "My wife is pregnant and her contractions are only two minutes apart!" "Is this her first child?" the doctor asked. "No, you idiot!" the man shouted. "This is her husband!"


Not the Sharpest Knife in the Drawer!

In Modesto, CA, Steven Richard King was arrested for trying to hold up a Bank of America branch without a weapon. King used a thumb and a finger to simulate a gun, but unfortunately, he failed to keep his hand in his pocket. Hmmm...wonder what he uses for a knife?


Bush-isms from George Jr....

Surely there is something from the Democratic side to compete with the famous bloopers from Dan Quayle and George Bush, Jr.

"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"—Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000

"If the East Timorians decide to revolt, I'm sure I'll have a statement."—Quoted by Maureen Dowd in the New York Times, June 16, 1999

"I don't remember debates. I don't think we spent a lot of time debating it. Maybe we did, but I don't remember."—On discussions of the Vietnam War when he was an undergraduate at Yale, Washington Post, July 27, 1999

"The important question is, How many hands have I shaked?"—Answering a question about why he hasn't spent more time in New Hampshire, in the New York Times, Oct. 23, 1999

I read the newspaper."—In answer to a question about his reading habits, New Hampshire Republican Debate, Dec. 2, 1999

We must all hear the universal call to like your neighbor just like you like to be liked yourself."--Financial Times, Jan 14, 2000

"The administration I'll bring is a group of men and women who are focused on what's best for America, honest men and women, decent men and women, women who will see service to our country as a great privilege and who will not stain the house."—Des Moines Register debate, Iowa, Jan. 15, 2000

I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."—Greater Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000

This is Preservation Month. I appreciate preservation. It's what you do when you run for president. You gotta preserve."—Speaking during "Perseverance Month" at Fairgrounds Elementary School in Nashua, N.H. As quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Jan. 28, 2000

"Will the highways on the Internet become more few?"—Concord, N.H., Jan. 29, 2000

"Other Republican candidates may retort to personal attacks and negative ads."—Fund-raising letter from George W. Bush, quoted in the Washington Post, March 24, 2000

Pudding Guy: Cult Hero of the Frequent Flyers...

Mike Phillips, a civil engineer at UC-Davis, has become a cult hero in the obsessive subculture of people who collect frequent-flier miles by parlaying $3,150 worth of pudding into 1.2 million miles.

Oh, yeah - he's also going to claim an $815 tax write-off.

Last May, Phillips was pushing his shopping cart down the frozen-food aisle of his local supermarket when a promotion on a Healthy Choice frozen entree caught his eye: He could earn 500 miles for every 10 Universal Product Codes (bar codes) from Healthy Choice products he sent to the company by Dec.31. Even better: Any bar codes mailed by the end of the month would rack up double the mileage, or 1,000 miles for every 10 labels.

"I started doing the math, and I realized that this was a great deal," he said. "I wanted to take my family to Europe this summer, and this could be the way."

Frozen entrees were about $2 apiece, but a few aisles away Phillips found cans of Healthy Choice soups at 90 cents each. He filled his cart with them, and then headed to his local Grocery Outlet, a warehouse-style discount store. And there he hit the mother lode.

"They had individual servings of chocolate pudding for 25 cents apiece," he said. "And each serving had its own bar code on it. I did some more math and decided to escalate my plans."

Phillips cleaned the store out - bought every last cup of pudding in the warehouse. He then asked the manager for the addresses of all the other Grocery Outlets in the Central Valley and, with his mother-in-law riding shotgun in his van, spent a weekend scouring the shelves of every store from Davis to Fresno. "There were 10 stores in all," he said. "Luckily, most of them were right off the freeway."

He filled his garage to the rafters with chocolate pudding and stacked additional cases in his living room. But Phillips wasn't finished yet-he had the manager of his local Grocery Outlet order him 60 more cases. "A few days later I went out behind the store," he said, "and there were two whole pallets of chocolate pudding with my name on them."

All in all, he'd purchased 12,150 individual servings of pudding. Around this time, Phillips began to reveal his scheme to fellow readers of the Webflyer Web site (, where he posted an account under the name "Pudding Guy." Phillips' tale was met with skepticism, if not outright disbelief, until he uploaded photos of his haul. They're still there, at (

But then Pudding Guy discovered he had a problem on his hands: The deadline for earning double miles was quickly approaching, and there was simply no way Phillips and his wife could tear off all those bar codes in time. "I had to come up with something to do with all that pudding, fast" he said.

Phillips trucked the pudding to two local food banks and the Salvation Army, which agreed to tear off the bar codes in exchange for the food donation.

"We'd never seen anything like it," said Larry Hostetler, community relations director for the Sacramento Salvation Army. "We've gotten some big donations, but always from companies and institutions, not individual people."

Phillips got his bar codes in the mail in time to beat the deadline, and then held his breath. The promotion specifically said I could get the miles for any Healthy Choice product," he said. "But still, it seemed like there was a good chance they'd get me on some technicality."

But then packages - large packages - started arriving in the mail from Healthy Choice. In all, they contained 2,506 certificates, each good for 500 miles. That's 1,253,000 miles.

Under the terms of the promotion, Phillips could have the mileage posted in any airline account. He split 216,000 between his United, Delta and Northwest accounts and posted the rest--1,037,000 miles--to his American Airlines account.

By surpassing the million-mile mark, Pudding Guy now has AAdvantage Gold status for life, entitling him to a special reservations number, priority boarding, upgrades and bonus miles.

While we talked on the phone, Pudding Guy did a little math--as you might have noticed by now, he's very, very good at math--and figured out that scheme netted him enough miles for 31 round-trip coach tickets to Europe, or 42 tickets to Hawaii, or 21 tickets to Australia, or 50 tickets anywhere in the U.S.

"Wow - 31 trips to Europe for a little over $3,000," I said. "That's less than $100 a ticket."

"Oh, it's better than that," Phillips said. "Since I gave the pudding to charity I can take a tax write-off of $815. So that brings the cost of a ticket to Europe down to $75."

As it turns out, Pudding Guy didn't donate all his stash to the food banks. He kept about 100 servings for himself, and he's just about finished them. "Actually," he said, "I really like the stuff."

San Francisco Examiner

There Ought to be More Prospectuses Like This...

Note: the following is "Copyright 1998-2000, IPS Advisory, Inc., Fund Advisor. All rights reserved." Though I have not sought permission to include this here, this piece has been circulating on the internet for some time and I hope that the free plug makes everything OK.

Risks of Investing in IPS Millennium Fund


For investors or other interested parties who would like to request a prospectus or other information, please go to the Prospectus Web page, or contact Shareholder Services at 800.249.6927 or


Plain Language Risk Disclosure

First of all, stock prices are volatile. Well, duh. If you buy shares in a stock mutual fund, any stock mutual fund, your investment value will change every day. In a recession most fund shares will go down, day after day, week after week, month after month, until you are ready to tear your hair out, unless you've already gone bald from worry. It will insist on this even if Gandhi, Jefferson, John Lennon, Einstein, Merlin and Golda Meir all manage the thing. Stock markets show remarkably little respect for people or their reputations. Furthermore, if the fund has really been successful, you might be buying someone else's whopping gains when you invest, on which you may have to pay taxes for returns you didn't earn. Just try and find somewhere you don't, though. Dismal.

While the long-term bias in stock prices is upward, stocks enter a bear market with amazing regularity, about every 3 - 4 years. It goes with the territory. Expect it. Live with it. If you can't do that, go bury your money in a jar or put it in the bank and don't bother us about why your investment goes south sometimes or why water runs downhill. It's physics, man.

Aside from the mandatory boilerplate terrorizing above, there are risks that are specific to the IPS Millennium Fund you should understand better. Since most people don't read the Prospectus (this isn't aimed at you, of course, just all those other investors), we thought we'd try a more innovative way to scare you.

We buy scary stuff. You know, Internet stocks, small companies. These things go up and down like pogo sticks on steroids. We aren't a sector tech fund, we are a growth & income fund, but right now the Internet is where we think most of the value is. While we try to moderate the consequent volatility by buying electric utility companies, Real Estate Investment Trusts, banks and other widows-and-orphans stuff with big dividend yields, it doesn't always work. Even if we buy a lot of them. Sometimes we get killed anyway when Internet and other tech stocks take a particularly big hit. The "we" is actually a euphimism for you, got it?

We also get killed if interest rates go up, because that affects high dividend companies badly. Since rising interest rates affect everything badly, we could get killed even worse if the Fed raises rates, or the economy in general experiences higher interest rates beyond the control of those in control, or gets out of control. Whatever.

Many of the companies we buy are growing really fast. Like, 50% - 100% per year sales growth. Many of them also don't make any money, although they may be relatively large companies. That means they have silly valuations by traditional valuation techniques. We don't know what that means any more than you do, because we have never seen anything like the Internet before. So we might overpay for these companies, thinking we are really smart and can get away with it because they are growing so fast. It doesn't take a whole lot for these companies to drop 50% or more, because nobody else knows what they are worth either. Received Wisdom can turn on a dime in this business, and when that happens prices fall off a cliff.

Even if we were really smart and stole these companies, if their prices run way up we are still as vulnerable as if we were really dumb and paid that high a price for them to start with. If we sell them, you will get pretty irritated with us come tax time, so we try not to do any more of that than we have to. The pole of that strategy, though, is that if we are really successful, you will have a lot of downside risk in a recession or a bear market. Bummer.

Governments and politicians being what they are, they also tend to monkey with things. Sometimes it's good, sometimes not, but that's beside the point. Occasionally they take aim on an entire industry, like telecommunications or electricity power generation. Understandably, this makes folks jumpy. Jumpy people have a regrettable tendency to sell stuff until they calm down. Really jumpy folks sell lots of stuff, and some of it could be ours. If this line of thinking makes you jumpy too, then go see your banker. Bankers specialize in jumpy folks.

Finally, if you haven't already grabbed the phone and started yelling at your broker to sell our fund as fast as possible, you should understand the shifting sands of technology. It doesn't take billions of dollars to start a high tech company, like it did U.S. Steel or Ford Motor. Anybody can do it, and everybody does. Many of our companies are small, even though they dominate their market niche. It's much easier for a new technology to blow one of our companies out of the water than it was in the old days of canal, mining, railroad and steel companies.

Just so you know. Don't come crying to us if we lose all your money, and you wind up a Dumpster Dude or a Basket Lady rooting for aluminum cans in your old age.

Please e-mail us if we haven't scared you enough, and we'll try something else.


Copyright 1998-2000, IPS Advisory, Inc., Fund Advisor. All rights reserved.

A Fine Bunch...

Can you imagine working at this outfit. It has a little over 500 employees with the following statistics:

  • 29 have been accused of spousal abuse
  • 7 have been arrested for fraud
  • 19 have been accused of writing bad checks
  • 117 have bankrupted at least two businesses
  • 3 have been arrested for assault
  • 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
  • 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges
  • 8 have been arrested for shoplifting
  • 21 are current defendants in lawsuits
  • In 1998 alone, 84 were stopped for drunk driving

Yes, you guessed it. It's the 535 members of your United States Congress. The same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws designed to keep the rest of us in line.

Darwin Awards 2001

It's that time again! The awards this year are classic. These awards are given each year to bestow upon (the remains of) that individual who, through single-minded  self-sacrifice, has done the most to remove undesirable elements from the human gene pool. For more, see the amazing Darwin Awards site.


Goes to a San Anselmo, California man who  died when he hit a lift tower at the  Mammoth Mountain ski area while riding down  the slope on a foam pad. The 22-year-old David Hubal was pronounced dead at Central Mammoth Hospital. The accident occurred about 3a.m.,the Mono County Sheriff's department said. Hubal and his friends apparently had hiked up a ski run called Stump Alley and  undid some yellow foam protectors from lift towers, said Lt. Mike Donnelly of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department. The pads are used to protect skiers who might hit towers. The group apparently used the pads to slide down the ski slope and Hubal crashed into a tower. It has since been investigated and determined the tower he hit was the one with its pad removed.


Goes to Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being  disorderly in a St. Louis market.  When the clerk threatened to call the police, Puelo grabbed a hot dog, shoved it into his mouth and walked out without paying. Police found him unconscious in front of the store. Paramedics removed the  six-inch wiener from his throat where it had choked him to death.


Goes to poacher Marino Malerba of Spain, who shot a stag standing above him on an overhanging rock and was killed instantly when it fell on him.


"Man loses face at party." A man at a West Virginia  party (probably related to the winner last year, a man in Arkansas who used the .22 bullet to replace the fuse in his pickup truck) popped a blasting cap into  his mouth and bit down, triggering an explosion that blew off his lips, teeth, and tongue.  Jerry Stromyer, 24, of Kincaid, bit the blasting cap as a prank during the party late Tuesday night, said Cpl. M.D. Payne. "Another man had it in an  aquarium hooked to a battery and was trying to explode it." "It wouldn't go off and this guy said "I'll show you how to set it off'."  He put it into his mouth, bit down, and it blew all his teeth out and his lips and tongue off, Payne  said.  Stromyer was listed in guarded condition Wednesday with extensive facial injuries, according to a spokesperson at Charleston Area Medical Division. "I  just can't imagine anyone doing something like that,"  Payne said.


Doctors at Portland University Hospital said an Oregon man shot through the skull by a hunting arrow is lucky to be alive and will be released soon rom the hospital. Tony Roberts, 25, lost his right eye last weekend during an initiation into a men's rafting club, Mountain Men Anonymous (probably known now as Stupid Mountain Men Anonymous) in Grant's Pass, Oregon. A friend tried to shoot a beer can off his head, but the arrow entered Robert's right eye. Doctors said that had the arrow gone one millimeter to the left, a major blood vessel would have been cut and Roberts would have died instantly. Neurosurgeon Doctor Johnny Delashaw at the University Hospital in Portland said the arrow went through 8 to 10 inches of brain with the tip protruding at the rear of his skull, yet somehow managed to miss all major blood vessels. Delashaw also said that had Roberts tried to pull the arrow out on his own he surely would have killed himself. Roberts admitted afterwards that he and his friends had been drinking that afternoon. Said Roberts, "I feel so dumb about this."  No charges have been filed, but the Josephine County district attorney's office said the initiation stunt is under investigation.


(The late) John Pernicky and his friend, (the late) Sal Hawkins, of  the great state of Washington, decided to attend a local Metallica concert at the George Washington amphitheater. Having no tickets (but having had 18 beers between them), they thought it would be easy to "hop" over the nine foot fence and sneak into the show. They pulled their pickup truck over to the fence and the plan was for Mr. Pernicky, who was 100-pounds heavier than Mr. Hawkins) to hop the fence and then assist his friend over. Unfortunately for Mr. Pernicky, there was a 30-foot drop on the other side of the fence. Having  heaved himself over, he found himself crashing through a tree. His fall was abruptly halted (and broken, along with his arm) by a large branch that snagged  him by his shorts.  Dangling from the tree with a broken arm, he looked down and  saw some bushes below him. Possibly figuring the bushes would break his  fall, he removed his pocket knife and proceeded to cut away his shorts to free himself from the tree. Finally free, Mr. Pernicky crashed into holly bushes. The  sharp leaves scratched his ENTIRE body and now, without the protection of his shorts, a holly branch penetrated his rectum. To make matters worse, on landing, his pocket knife penetrated his thigh. Mr. Hawkins, seeing his friend in considerable pain and agony, threw him a rope to pull him to safety by tying the rope to the pickup truck and slowly driving away.  However, in his drunken haste/state, he put the truck into reverse and crashed through the fence landing on his friend and killing him. Police arrived to find the crashed pickup with its driver thrown 100 feet from the truck and dead at the scene from massive internal injuries. Upon moving the truck, they found John under it, half-naked, scratches on his body, a holly stick in his rectum, a knife in his thigh, and his shorts dangling from a tree branch 25 feet above him.

Congratulations, gentlemen, you win.

From the Australian Bureau of Statistics...

3 Australians die each year testing if a 9V battery works on their tongue.

142 Australians were injured in 1998 by not removing all the pins from new shirts.

58 Australians are injured each year by using sharp knives instead of screwdrivers.

31 Australians have died since 1996 by watering their Christmas tree while the fairy lights were plugged in.

19 Australians have died in the last 3 years by eating Christmas decorations they believed were chocolate.

Hospitals reported 4 broken arms last year after cracker pulling incidents.

101 Australians since 1997 have had to have broken parts of plastic toys pulled out of the soles of their feet.

18 Australians had serious burns in 1998 trying on a new jumper with a lit cigarette in their mouth.

A massive 543 Australians were admitted to casualty in the last two years after opening bottles of beer with their teeth or eye socket.

5 Australians were injured last year in accidents involving out of control Scalextric cars.

...and finally:

8 Australians cracked their skull in 1997 after falling asleep (passing out) while throwing up into the toilet.

Teacher or Educator

According to a news report, a certain private school in Victoria recently was faced with a unique problem. A number of girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom. That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night, the maintenance man would remove them and the next day the girls would put them back.

Finally, the principal decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man. She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night.

To demonstrate how difficult it was to clean the mirrors, she asked the maintenance man to clean the mirrors. He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it.

Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.

There are Teachers, and then there are Educators.

GM versus Microsoft...

At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with the technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating that if GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull over to the side of the road, close all the windows, shut off, the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Only one person at a time could use the car unless you bought "CarNT", but then you would have to buy more seats.

6. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive -- but would only run on five percent of the roads.

7. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "General Protection Fault" warning light.

8. New seats would force everyone to have the same sized butt.

9. The airbag system would ask "are you sure?" before deploying.

10. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

11. GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of Rand McNally road maps (Now a GM subsidiary), even though they neither need nor want them. Attempting to delete this option would immediately cause the cars' performance to diminish by 50% or more. Moreover, GM would become a target for investigation by the Justice Dept.

12. Every time GM introduced a new car, car buyers would have to learn to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

13. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn off! the engine.

Job Evaluations

It has been claimed that the following are excepts from genuine job evaluations.

1. I would not allow this employee to breed.

2. This associate is really not so much of a has-been, but more definitely a won't be.

3. Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap.

4. When she opens her mouth, it seems it is only to change whichever foot was previously there.

5. He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle.

6. This young lady has delusions of adequacy.

7. He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.

8. This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.

9. This employee should go far and the sooner he starts, the better.

10. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

11. Got into the gene pool when the lifeguard wasn't watching.

12. A room temperature IQ.

13. Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it together.

14. A gross ignoramus -- 144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus.

15. A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on.

16. A prime candidate for natural deselection.

17. Bright as Alaska in December.

18. One-celled organisms outscore him in IQ tests.

19. Donated his brain to science before he was done using it.

20. Fell out of the family tree.

21. Gates are down, lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming.

22. Has two brains: one is lost; the other is out looking for it.

3. He's so dense, light bends around him.

24. If brains were taxed, she'd get a refund.

25. If he were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week.

26. If you give him a penny for his thoughts, you'll get change.

27. If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean.

28. It's hard to believe he beat out 1,000,000 other sperm.

29. One neuron short of a synapse.

30. Some drink from the fountain of knowledge, he only gargled.

31. Takes him an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes.

32. Wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead.

33. Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.

34. His men would follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiosity.

Learning About Australia

Here are some of the classic questions that were actually asked of the Sydney Olympic Committee via their Web site, and the Aussie answers that go with them.

Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia? I have never seen it rain on TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)
A: Upwards, out of the ground, like the person who asked this question, who themselves will need watering if their IQ drops any lower.

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)
A: Depends on how much beer you've consumed.

Q: Which direction should I drive -- Perth to Darwin or Darwin to Perth - to avoid driving with the sun in my eyes? (Germany)
A: Excellent question, considering that the Olympics are being held in Sydney.

Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney -- can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, its' only three thousand miles, so you'll need to have started about a year ago to get there in time for this October.

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Australia? (Sweden)
A: And accomplish what?

Q: It is imperative that I find the names and addresses of places to contact for a stuffed porpoise. (Italy)
A: I'm not touching this one.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia? (UK)
A: Why bother? Use your fingers like the rest of us.

Q: Do you have perfume in Australia? (France)
A: No. Everybody stinks.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes. Gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia? (France)
A: Yes. At Christmas.

Q: Can I drive to the Great Barrier Reef? (Germany)
A: Sure, if your vehicle is amphibious.

Q: Are there killer bees in Australia? (Germany)
A: Not yet, but we'll see what we can do when you get here.

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? (USA)
A: What's this guy smoking, and where do I get some?

Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: Another blonde?

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: I love this one...there are no rattlesnakes in Australia.

Q: Which direction is North in Australia? (USA)
A: Face North and you should be about right.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Americans have long had considerable trouble distinguishing between Austria and Australia.

Q: Will I be able to speek English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first.

All Publicity is Good Publicity...

Nike now lets you personalize your shoes by submitting a word or phrase which they will stitch onto your shoes, under the swoosh. So Jonah Peretti filled out the form and sent them $50 to stitch "sweatshop" onto his shoes.

Here's the responses he got... fun and games with Nike. As one forwarder writes:
”This will now go round the world much farther and faster than any of the adverts they paid Michael Jordan more than the entire wage packet of all their sweatshop workers in the world to do...”

From: "Personalize, NIKE iD" <
To: "'Jonah H. Peretti'" <
Subject: RE: Your NIKE iD order o16468000

Your NIKE iD order was cancelled for one or more of the following reasons:
1) Your Personal iD contains another party's trademark or other intellectual property
2) Your Personal iD contains the name of an athlete or team we do not have the legal right to use
3) Your Personal iD was left blank. Did you not want any personalization?
4) Your Personal iD contains profanity or inappropriate slang, and besides, your mother would slap us.

If you wish to reorder your NIKE iD product with a new personalization please visit us again at

Thank you, NIKE iD

From: "Jonah H. Peretti" <
To: "Personalize, NIKE iD" <
Subject: RE: Your NIKE iD order o16468000


My order was cancelled but my personal NIKE iD does not violate any of the criteria outlined in your message. The Personal iD on my custom ZOOM XC USA running shoes was the word "sweatshop".

Sweatshop is not:
1) another's party's trademark,
2) the name of an athlete,
3) blank, or
4) profanity.

I choose the iD because I wanted to remember the toil and labor of the children that made my shoes. Could you please ship them to me immediately?

Thanks and Happy New Year,

Jonah Peretti

From: "Personalize, NIKE iD" <
To: "'Jonah H. Peretti'" <
Subject: RE: Your NIKE iD order o16468000

Dear NIKE iD Customer,

Your NIKE iD order was cancelled because the iD you have chosen contains, as stated in the previous e-mail correspondence, "inappropriate slang". If you wish to reorder your NIKE iD product with a new personalization please visit us again at

Thank you, NIKE iD


From: "Jonah H. Peretti" <
To: "Personalize, NIKE iD" <
Subject: RE: Your NIKE iD order o16468000

Dear NIKE iD,

Thank you for your quick response to my inquiry about my custom ZOOM XC USA running shoes. Although I commend you for your prompt customer service, I disagree with the claim that my personal iD was inappropriate slang. After consulting Webster's Dictionary, I discovered that "sweatshop" is in fact part of standard English, and not slang. The word means: "a shop or factory in which workers are employed for long hours at low wages and under unhealthy conditions" and its origin dates from 1892. So my personal iD does meet the criteria detailed in your first email.

Your web site advertises that the NIKE iD program is "about freedom to choose and freedom to express who you are." I share Nike's love of freedom and personal expression. The site also says that "If you want it done it yourself." I was thrilled to be able to build my own shoes, and my personal iD was offered as a small token of appreciation for the sweatshop workers poised to help me realize my vision. I hope that you will value my freedom of expression and reconsider your decision to reject my order.

Thank you,

Jonah Peretti


From: "Personalize, NIKE iD" <
To: "'Jonah H. Peretti'" <
Subject: RE: Your NIKE iD order o16468000

Dear NIKE iD Customer,

Regarding the rules for personalization it also states on the NIKE iD web site that "Nike reserves the right to cancel any personal iD up to 24 hours after it has been submitted". In addition, it further explains: "While we honor most personal iDs, we cannot honor every one. Some may be (or contain) other's trademarks, or the names of certain professional sports teams, athletes or celebrities that Nike does not have the right to use.

Others may contain material that we consider inappropriate or simply do not want to place on our products. Unfortunately, at times this obliges us to decline personal iDs that may otherwise seem unobjectionable. In any event, we will let you know if we decline your personal iD, and we will offer you the chance to submit another." With these rules in mind, we cannot accept your order as submitted. If you wish to reorder your NIKE iD product with a new personalization please visit us again at

Thank you, NIKE iD

From: "Jonah H. Peretti" <
To: "Personalize, NIKE iD" <
Subject: RE: Your NIKE iD order o16468000

Dear NIKE iD,

Thank you for the time and energy you have spent on my request. I have decided to order the shoes with a different iD, but I would like to make one small request. Could you please send me a color snapshot of the ten-year-old Vietnamese girl who makes my shoes?

Thanks, Jonah Peretti

<no response>

Life is a Test and You are Graded on a Curve

At age 4, success is... not peeing in your pants.

At age 12, success is... having friends.

At age 16, success is... having a driver's license.

At age 20, success is... having sex.

At age 35, success is... having money.

At age 50, success is... having money.

At age 60, success is... having sex.

At age 70, success is... having a driver's license.

At age 75, success is... having friends.

At age 80, success is... not peeing in your pants.

Ultimate Lawyer Tale

A Charlotte NC man having purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars then insured them against fire among other things. Within a month having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars and without yet having made even his first premium payment on the policy, the man filed a claim against the insurance company. In his claim, the man stated the cigars were lost "in a series of small fires."

The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason: that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion. The lawyer sued....and won!

In delivering the ruling the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The Judge stated nevertheless, that the man held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be "unacceptable fire," and was obligated to pay the claim.

Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000.00 to the man for his loss of the rare cigars lost in the "fires."


After the man cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON!!!! With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the man was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000.00 fine.

This is a true story and was the 1st place winner in the recent Criminal Lawyers Darwin Award Contest.

Courtroom Yiddish

In the heat of litigation, tempers often flare and lawyers sometimes have difficulty expressing their frustrations. When English fails, Yiddish may come to the rescue. So it happened that defense attorneys arguing in a recent summary judgment motion in federal court in Boston wrote, in a responsive pleading, "It is unfortunate that this Court must wade through the dreck of plaintiff's original and supplemental statement of undisputed facts."

The plaintiff's attorneys, not to be outdone, responded with a motion that could double as a primer on practical Yiddish for lawyers:

MONICA SANTIAGO, Plaintiff,  v. SHERWIN-WILLIAMS COMPANY, et al., Defendants.
* * * * *
Civ. No. 87-2799-T

Plaintiff, by her attorneys, hereby moves this Court pursuant to Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to strike as impertinent and scandalous the characterization of her factual submission as "dreck" on page 11 of Defendant's Rule 56.1 Supplemental Statement of Disputed Facts (a copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit A). As grounds therefore, plaintiff states:

1. For almost four years now, plaintiff and her attorneys have been subjected to the constant kvetching by defendants' counsel, who have made a big tsimmes about the quantity and quality of plaintiff's responses to discovery requests. This has been the source of much tsoris among plaintiff's counsel and a big megillah for the Court.

2. Now that plaintiff's counsel has, after much time and effort, provided defendants with a specific and comprehensive statement of plaintiff's claims and the factual basis thereof, defendants' counsel have the chutzpah to call it "dreck" and to urge the Court to ignore it.

3. Plaintiff moves that this language be stricken for several reasons.

First, we think it is impertinent to refer to the work of a fellow member of the bar of this Court with the Yiddish term "dreck" as it would be to use "the sibilant four-letter English word for excrement." Rosten, The Joys of Yiddish (Simon & Schuster, New York, NY 1968) p.103.

Second, defendants are in no position to deprecate plaintiff's counsel in view of the chozzerai which they have filed over the course of this litigation.

Finally, since not all of plaintiff's lawyers are yeshiva bochurs, defendants should not have assumed that they would all be conversant in Yiddish.  WHEREFORE, plaintiff prays that the Court put an end to the mishegos and strike "dreck."

The Value of Undies

Be careful what you wear (or don't wear), when working under your vehicle ... especially in public.

From the Morning Herald, Sydney Australia comes this story of a central west couple who drove their car to K-Mart only to have their car break down in the parking lot.

The man told his wife to carry on with the shopping while he fixed the car there in the lot.

The wife returned later to see a small group of people near the car. On closer inspection she saw a pair of male legs protruding from under the chassis. Although the man was in shorts, his lack of underpants turned his private parts into glaringly public ones.

Unable to stand the embarrassment she dutifully stepped forward, quickly put her hand UP his shorts and tucked everything back into place.

On regaining her feet she looked across the hood and found herself staring at her husband who was standing idly by.

The mechanic, however, had to have three stitches in his head.