May 18, 2008

Kung Fu in action

In April, in response to a man wielding an ax and demanding the contents of his cash register, the owner of Sam's Cigars in Vista, Calif., grabbed his wife and dashed out the front door, locking the man inside, where he made pleading gestures through the window until police arrived. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 4-16-08]

The next week in a suburb of Tampa, Fla., cafe owner Agustin De Jesus was asleep for the night in a back room but awakened by a break-in. He noticed that the thief had parked his SUV by the back door with the engine running for a quick getaway, so De Jesus hopped in, drove away and called police, who arrested Leonard Levy, 55, who is a candidate for life in prison based on his long record. [St. Petersburg Times, 4-22-08]

And the opposite, our technology

Brad Adams, 52, crashed his charter bus (carrying two dozen high school softball players, who had to be sent to a hospital) into a pedestrian bridge in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum in April (bus: 11 feet, 8 inches high; bridge, 9 feet, 0 inches). Adams said he missed warning signs because he was busy following the navigation system. [Seattle Times, 4-17-08]

Five days after that, in King's Lynn, England, a Streamline taxi minibus had to be pulled from the River Nar after the driver, who said he was obediently following the navigation system instructions, drove straight into the water. [Lynn News, 4-23-08]

To an outsider, US instructions, of any kind on any subject, always seem to be aimed at an audience only just above the vegetable level, some kind of brain damaged quadriplegic, perhaps, and it could always happen that some scholarly and knowledgeable American – the place is full of them – says “Hey you think it was easy dumbing them down to this level? We’ve been at it for years.” and start reeling off the multiple methods of dumbing down the proles from (and probably before) the laws in the good ole south prescribing years of imprisonment for anyone who taught slaves to read and write. Hasn’t happened so far.

Just in case anyone should doubt the accuracy of this comment, here are some warning labels which you can check for yourself on the Michigan Law Suit Abuse Watch Web site:

Label on baby stroller – “Remove child before folding.”

Label on hair dryer – “Never use hair dryer while sleeping”

Label on carpenter’s electric drill – “This product is not intended for use as a dental drill.”

Label on bottle of drain cleaner – “If you do not understand, or cannot read, all directions, cautions and warnings, do not use this product.”

Label on laser printer cartridge – “Do not eat toner.”

Any where else in the world the person who spilled their just purchased cup of coffee on themselves would be ashamed of their own clumsiness and probably keep quiet about it. In the USA, as a recent law suit for millions of dollars illustrates, the coffee spiller can sue the cafĂ© for making the coffee too hot and not putting a warning label on it “This coffee is hot.” The reason seems clear – the US graduates ten lawyers for every one engineer (Japan graduates ten engineers for every lawyer) and Uncle Sam doesn’t like to see unemployment.

America’s wet dreams appear to result from the long sojourn in male cowboy frontiers, and male gold mining rushes, the absence of a wholesome family and clan life, and the consequent value of ladies of the night, and of girls with big tits. Delicious though these are, it’s time to grow up.

In June, the Oklahoma attorney general petitioned the state Supreme Court to remove District Judge Donald D. Thompson of Sapulpa based on recurring complaints that he used, during trials and other proceedings, under his robe, a pump device for enhancing masturbation, in view of court personnel, who complained of the "whooshing" noise the gadget made. News of the Weird, 7/18/04

Technical: - Ode to Spell Checker

Eye halve a spelling checker
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marks four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My checker tolled me sew.

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