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A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan for a client. He was told that the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to property offered as collateral. The title dated back to 1803, and he had to spend three months running it down. After sending the information to FHA, he got this reply: "We received your letter today enclosing application for loan for your client, supported by abstract of title. Let us compliment you on the able manner in which you prepared and presented the application. However, you have not cleared the title before the year 1802, and therefore, before final approval can be accorded the application, it will be necessary that the title be cleared back of that year."
Annoyed, the lawyer replied: "Your letter regarding titles in Case No. 189156 received. I note that you wish titles extended further back than I have presented them. I was unaware that any educated man in the world failed to know that Louisiana was purchased from France in 1803. The title to the land was acquired by France by right of conquest from Spain. The land came into possession of Spain by right of discovery made in 1492 by a sailor 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 I might say, as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope for the voyage before she sold her jewels to help Columbus. Now the Pope, as you know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, made the world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that He also made that part of the world called Louisiana, and I hope to hell you are satisfied."
These story is about a woman who used to work with a friend of mine; I'll call her Cathy.
One day Cathy came to work all excited because she had tickets to see Billy Joel. The only problem was that her seats were far from the stage and she was worried she wouldn't be able to see anything. To solve this problem, a colleague kindly offered to lend her his binoculars. The day after the concert, Cathy came to work and returned the binoculars saying she thought there was something wrong with them because, "they made everything look smaller."
A side note: When he told this latter story to a friend of ours, the friend's response was, "I'm sorry, but that's just not credible. Even a Rhesus monkey would have turned the binoculars around eventually."
Early in the moring on Oct. 30, a man described by the New York Daily News as a "career criminal" was apprehended in the middle of a burglary at an upscale Fire Island, NY, home. The residents had arisen to check out noises in the house but found no one. However, in the vicinity of a closet door, they heard flatulence and discovered Richard Magpiong, 56, hiding in a closet. They held him until police arrived. -- News of the Weird
My cousin is not the brightest. Ok, she's downright dumb. Some say its because she's blond, but I know some pretty smart blondes. She's just one of those people where the lights are on, but no ones home; if you get my drift. Anyway, she gets on this plane for New York and sits down in first class. The stewardess tells her she can't sit there, she'd have to move back to the seat her ticket was for -- economy class. My cousin refused. She said, "I'm sitting here, I'm not moving til I get to New York!" No matter what anyone would say to her, she would not budge. Always telling them "I'm sitting here, I'm not moving til I get to New York!" .She was determined to stay right where she was. Finally the captain came over and whispered in her ear. It was how fast my cousin gathered up her things and ran for her economy seat. Bewildered, the stewardess asked the captain what he said. "Oh," I just told her " first class, doesnt go to New York."
Ten years ago, I overheard a conversation among a group of executives' secretaries at a major corporation. They were trying to figure out what 40% of a certain value was. The value was 100.
A German paper (the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" -- serious stuff, rather like the Washington Post) reported that when, during the opening ceremony of the recent Olympics, the team from Georgia (the former Soviet Union state) entered the stadium, there was a *LOT* of cheering and applause.
Apparently many thought the US state of Georgia had a team of its own.
This is a true story that occurred in my office today. The mainframe computer in our office had to be serviced, so we were told not to log into the computer until we were informed otherwise.
That was just before lunch.
At around 2 p.m., the guy who maintains the system went around and noticed that no one was working, and asked one of my co-workers why no one had logged on yet. She told him that we were all waiting for a verbal OK to log on.
He replied, "But I sent everyone an e-mail saying it was okay to log on!"
>From an internal memo sent by the mail room at the company where I am a contractor:
"... notify the Mail Center via email if you have moved, changed your name, or ceased working here."
About our local fire department: A transformer burned out on my property, and set the pole on fire. I did the 911 thing, and the Keystone Firemen showed up. Well, they debated about 3-5 minutes on how best to put it out. I watched in astonishment as they unreeled the water hoses. Now, I'm no novice to fire fighting -- I went through all the requisite Navy classes on fire fighting, not to mention C-B-R classes. I asked them just what the heck they were doing.
"Putting out the fire!" came the equally astonished reply.
"But, you don't use water to put out an electrical fire. Any five-year-old can tell you that."
"Sure," came the reply, "but the pole is made out of wood!"
I kid you not. They let loose with the 3-inch hose and I ran like the wind in the *opposite* direction.
On a high school band trip to Dallas, this flute player kept getting agitated every time the bus would change lanes while speeding down the interstate. Finally, she asked her boyfriend why they put those plastic reflectors on the road between the lanes. The noise they were making when the bus passed over them were driving her crazy. Her boyfriend told her that they were there so that blind people could drive.
She believed it. To this day, I don't know if she ever found out any differently.
This story is about my brother's ex brother-in-law, a typical dumb-as-a-fence-post-but-good-looking-and-charming ne'er do well. Back when my brother was still married, and thus I had no choice but to occasionally come into contact with this fellow -- we'll call him Eddie -- I was starting to have a glimmer of hope for him. He had actually held a job for several months as a driver for a waste-hauling company in New York City. One day, back at the company's scrap yard, Eddie and some of his apparently equally-gifted colleagues were trying to figure out how to get the quarters out of some NYC parking meter heads they had come across. Eddie had the brilliant idea of using the back hoe to smash the meters open. So, while his buddy operated the back hoe, Eddie held one of the meter heads IN HIS HAND while the other guy tried to smash it open with the back hoe. Fortunately, Eddie lost ONLY two fingers. He did lose his job though, and then squandered the settlement his lawyer got him (over $100,000) because the employer didn't have a warning sign on the back hoe.
The person in question is third-year uni student, so one would assume he has at least some vestige of a brain. Anyway, the battery in his car goes flat, so he asks a friend of his to give him a jump start. Nothing out of the ordinary there. When I spoke to him, he said he was off to buy a new battery for his car, as that one had gone flat. The funny part was that this was the *fourth* new battery he had bought (and was going to buy his fifth), and had yet to figure out that something was definitely wrong with the *car* -- or himself, I'm not sure which.
Years ago when I was in the navy, I was an instructor at a nuclear power training unit where sailors went to learn the operation and maintenance of nuclear propulsion plants. Since a ship at sea will pitch and roll, level indicators on important tanks are compensated for the ship's attitude, to prevent the indicated level from bouncing all over the place as the liquid splashes around.
One day I was giving a trainee a "checkout" on a system that included an attitude-compensated level indicator. When asked to describe the level indication, he said it was compensated for altitude. I asked him to repeat what he'd just said and he said it again: the level indication was compensated for altitude.
Playing along, I asked, "Through what range of altitude is this compensation effective?" He pondered it a bit and said that the book hadn't mentioned anything about the range of the altitude compensation.
"Well," I said, "take a guess. How high above sea level would you ever expect the ship to get?" His intense concentration was obvious but he still didn't get it. I told him he'd better go back and read that chapter again -- and perhaps think about the whole concept of altitude compensation.
He returned later, quite red-faced.
In Organic Chemistry at Pomona College, grading was very straightforward: 13 tests (one a week), take your best 10 scores, add in your lab grade. 90% was an A, 80% a B, etc. No curve; everyone could get an A if they did well enough. As the only history major in a class filled with pre-meds, I drew some comments, but none more serious or funny than when the final grades were posted. I earned a B, and one pre-med who had received a lesser grade complained that my presence in the class was costing her a shot at medical school. ;-)
I was grateful that someone who couldn't figure out a non-curved grading system didn't deserve to make life-and-death decisions.
[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.
[Hickory Daily Record, 12-21-92] Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton, North Carolina, 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.
This is a true story according to a recent issue of Road and Track Magazine: When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motorhome parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find an ill man curled up next to a motorhome near spilled sewage. a police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his hose into the motorhome`s sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he's ever had.
(From the "San Jose Mercury News," May 17, 1989:)
"David St. John, 37, was the victim last week of what police say was a terrible mistake.
The two Hayward police officers used their batons to hit St. John, who they didn't realize was blind, after mistaking his collapsible cane for an illegal martial arts weapon, said Lt. Mitchell Penn, the police department's internal affairs officer.
'It was a very regrettable incident,' Penn said Tuesday. 'But from what I've seen so far it's not a case of overzealous officers. They had no idea he was blind--they were extremely upset when they found out.'
Field training officer Eric Ristram said St. John placed in his pants pocket what appeared to be a nunchaku, a martial arts weapon consisting of two round sticks of wood connect by a chain.
The officers thought the man could see their uniforms so they didn't identify themselves when they told St. John to hand over the contents of his pockets.
St. John said later he thought he was about to be mugged."
Sign in a gas station: Coke -- 49 cents. Two for a dollar.
I was signing the receipt for my credit card purchase when the clerk noticed that I had never signed my name on the back of the credit card. She informed me that she could not complete the transaction unless the card was signed. When I asked why, she explained that it was necessary to compare the signature on the credit card with the signature I just signed on the receipt. So I signed the credit card in front of her. She carefully compared that signature to the one I signed on the receipt. As luck would have it, they matched.
At a grocery store in San Jose, they have new credit card/bank card readers at the checkout stands. If you don't know how to orient your card to swipe it through the reader, the checkout person will say, "Strip down, face toward me." [editor's Note: Am I wrong, or is this just asking for trouble?]
A customer at a sub shop ordered "a small soda." The owner responded, "I'm sorry, sir, but we don't have small, just medium and large." (Both cost 99 cents.) The kicker came when the customer, a rather well-dressed business type, disappointedly said, "Okay, I guess I'll just have to have the medium then."
After interviewing a particularly short-spoken job candidate, I described the person to my boss as rather monosyllabic. My boss said, "Really? Where is Monosyllabia?"
Thinking that he was just kidding, I played along and said that it was just south of Elbonia. He replied, "Oh, you mean over by Croatia?"
An actual tip from page 16 of the HP "Environmental, Health & Safety Handbook for Employees.": "Blink your eyelids periodically to lubricate your eyes."
I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the Deer Crossing sign on our road. The reason: Many deer were being hit by cars and he no longer wanted them to cross there.
My neighbor works in the operations department in the central office of a large bank. Employees in the field call him when they have problems with their computers. One night he got a call from a woman in one of the branch banks who had this question: "I've got smoke coming from the back of my terminal. Do you guys have a fire downtown?"
I was sitting in my science class, when the teacher commented that the next day would be the shortest day of the year. My lab partner became visibly excited, cheering and clapping. I explained to her that the amount of daylight changes, not the actual amount of time. Needless to say, she was very disappointed.
My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the individual behind the counter for "minimal lettuce." He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg.
de.fen.es.tra.tion n [de- + L fenestra window] 1620 : a throwing of a person or thing out of a window
Patt Morrison, California Dateline; Snapshots of life in the Golden State; Made-for-Campaign Caper Gets Double Exposure; Home Edition., Los Angeles Times, 09-02-1994, pp A-3.
"The defenestration of Moscow: Idaho will not dignify with an answer--that is, file a response to--a $940,000 claim by a young San Jose man and his parents. The former student at the University of Idaho in Moscow, who was hurt when he `mooned' other students and fell out a window, argued in a lawsuit that the university was negligent for, among other failings, not warning students of the risks associated with upper-story dorm windows. Surely there's something in the student handbook about gravity and open windows, next to the warning about blow-dryers in the bathtub."
South African Health - Pelonomi Hospital
Date: 26 July 1996 10:08
"Cleaner Polishes Off Patients." from (Cape Times, 6/13/96)
"For several months, our nurses have been baffled to find a dead patient in the same bed every Friday morning" a spokeswoman for the Pelonomi Hospital (Free State, South Africa) told reporters. "There was no apparent cause for any of the deaths, and extensive checks on the air conditioning system, and a search for possible bacterial infection, failed to reveal any clues." "However, further inquiries have now revealed the cause of these deaths. It seems that every Friday morning a cleaner would enter the ward, remove the plug that powered the patient's life support system, plug her floor polisher into the vacant socket, then go about her business. When she had finished her chores, she would plug the life support machine back in and leave, unaware that the patient was now dead. She could not, after all, hear the screams and eventual death rattle over the whirring of her polisher.
"We are sorry, and have sent a strong letter to the cleaner in question. Further, the Free State Health and Welfare Department is arranging for an electrician to fit an extra socket, so there should be no repetition of this incident. The enquiry is now closed."
A co-worker was telling us about her sister who was coming to visit her for the holidays. Someone asked how old her sister was, at which she paused, thought for a bit, and then answered, "She's half as old as I am, that's how I always remember."
So someone else (okay, it was me) said, "That's neat... So every year that you age, she only ages half a year?" My co-worker thought about that, and then said, "Oh, yeah, I guess it only works on even years."
A woman at our interactive advertising agency recently returned from maternity leave, and sent the following e-mail:
"Whoever used the milk in the small plastic container that was in the refrigerator yesterday, please do NOT own up to it. I would find it forever difficult to meet your gaze across a cafeteria table whilst having a discussion about java applets or brand identity.
"Just be aware that that milk was EXPRESSLY for my son, if you get my drift. I will label these things from now on, but if you found your coffee tasted just a little bit special, you might think of calling your mom and telling her you love her."
[Times of London] A thief who sneaked into a hospital was scarred for life when he tried to get a suntan. After evading security staff at Odstock Hospital in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and helping himself to doctors' paging devices, the thief spotted a vertical sunbed. He walked into the unit and removed his clothes for a 45-minute tan. However, the high-voltage UV machine at the hospital, which is renowned for its treatment of burns victims, has a maximum dosage of ten seconds. After lying on the bed for almost 300 times the recommended maximum time the man was covered in blisters. Hours later, when the pain of the burns became unbearable, he went to Southampton General Hospital, 20 miles away, in Hampshire. Staff became suspicious because he was wearing a doctor's coat. After tending his wounds they called the police. Southampton police said: "This man broke into Odstock and decided he fancied a quick suntan. Doctors say he is going to be scarred for life."
Last month there was a feature on the local news where two kids were in a car inhaling butane. Well, one of the guys decided that he needed a cigarette ...... the fumes caught fire, melting their clothes to their skin.
Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz gave himself five-inch-long welts in March when he tried to iron his polo shirt while wearing it. I've ironed that way five or six times," he said, "and never had it happen."
"Dave" of Anniston, Alabama, was injured recently after he attempted to replace a tube-like fuse in his Chevy pickup with a 22-caliber rifle bullet (used because it was a perfect fit). However, when electricity heated the bullet, it went off and shot him in the knee.
A few years ago, an alternative newspaper in Phoenix, Arizona ran a story several pages long with pictures and everything about a concert featuring the reunited Beatles (with Julian standing in for
John.) The concert was to be on the shore of a lake, with the audience floating on the lake in truck inner tubes. It was a joke, but hundreds of people called to buy tickets and many were outraged
when they learned that they had been duped.
One day I came home from work to find my blonde housemate, Bridgette, in the kitchen trying to make Minute Rice. (Bridgette worked at a grocery store in the deli, and typically ate her meals at work, because she never learned to cook.) She had a pot of water boiling, and my nested measuring cups (separate measuring cups for 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup and 1 cup that fit inside each other) in her hand, and was reading the instructions on the back of the box. Then she put the rice and measuring cups away and poured out the boiling water and started to leave the kitchen.
I asked her what was wrong, and she said, "I can't make that. It says to use 2/3 of a cup of rice, and you don't have a 2/3 measuring cup."
Incredulous, I asked her why she didn't just use the 1/3 cup twice, and she actually said, "Gee, I didn't think of that!"
Our class was having a discussion about vegetarians. Olivia, being classified as Level II Stupid, gave her thoughts on the matter:
"Well, I think it's good that they eat vegetables. I mean, it's not like they're alive or anything. They don't GROW and stuff."
We tried to explain to her that vegetables are plants and that plants DO grow, etc.
She replied with, "Well, it's not like they have cells!"
Poor, poor Olivia.
You must understand that this is the same person who believes that someone could decapitate her finger.
While working at IBM in Palo Alto, California, I had the opportunity to work with co-op students from Stanford University; they would work part-time for the experience and receive a grade, as well. Most of the students were relatively intelligent (after all, they were in Stanford).
As a pretty active guy, I used to arrange ski trips for a group of our co-workers. On one such trip, I was riding the ski lift with one of the co-op students. Now this girl wrote some pretty good code -- good logic, well thought out, etc.
While going up the hill, the chairlift stops (someone probably fell while loading or unloading). While hanging around waiting for the lift to get moving again, my chair mate looks up at the string of chairs going the other way (the empties on the return) and asks, "Oh, they stop both sides of the lift if something happens?"
I believe this guy qualifies for at *least* Level II status.
My roommate and I are moving from one apartment to another while at school. Naturally, we need boxes -- so we stop in to the local K-Mart.
We go up to the customer service desk and ask if they have any boxes. The manager on duty calls back to the storage room and tells the guy, "Look and see if we have any boxes."
So we start to wait. We're on a moderately tight schedule, so after about five minutes (which seemed like 30), we tell the manager that we have to go -- when her phone rings. It's the guy from the back. He tells the manger that, YES, they do have boxes. Nice.
She tells him, "Well, then bring them up *here*."
After another 15 minutes, filled with idle chatter between the manager and ourselves, the guy comes down the isle with a dolly FILLED with boxes. Big boxes, little boxes -- woo hoo! Anyway, he apologizes for the delay, and asks if he should help us carry them out.
We say, no, they're just boxes, we can handle it.
I try to lift about 5 of them ... uummphhh!
I try to lift ONE ... and it's full. I am NOT making this up. I shake the box (gingerly), and ask the guy, "Do these have *merchandise* in them?"
And, I swear, he shrugs and says, "Mmmm ... I dunno."
THEN, he offers to go get *more* boxes for us.
After nearly choking to death trying to stifle our laughter, my roommate and I alerted the manager to the situation, and she quickly had the guy take the boxes BACK.
We ended up just using a truck.
I was working in a scrap yard in Southern England during summer vacation at engineering university. I used to work on repairing construction equipment.
One afternoon, I was taking apart a piling hammer that had some very large bolts holding it together. On of the nuts had corroded on to the bolt; to free it I started heating the nut with an oxy-acetylene torch.
As I was doing this, one of the dimmest apprentices I have ever known came along. He asked me what I was doing. I patiently explained that if I heated the nut it would grow larger and release its grip on the bolt so I could then remove it.
"So things get larger when they get hot do they?" he asked.
Suddenly, an idea flashed into my mind (I know not from where).
"Yes," I said, "that's why days are longer in summer and shorter in winter."
There was a long pause, then his face cleared.
"You know I always wondered about that," he said.
This happened to the sister of a friend of mine; she works as a lab technician at a pathology lab. Apparently a label had come off one of the samples that she was supposed to test, so she spent the morning trying to determine the vital statistics of the sample (e.g., name, sex, age of patient etc). She managed to find out most
of the info except for the sex of the patient. The name was of no help -- it was one of those unisex names like Chris or Pat.
She finally determined the sex when, several hours later, someone pointed out that the vial contained a sperm sample.
The really scary thing is that she is now married, and thus could start breeding really soon.
Last month, a man I know purchased a used car. He paid for it with his AMEX. Reasoning? Amex doesn't charge any interest, saving him serious money.
I got a call from him a few days ago -- it seems he got the statement in the mail....
... That reminds me of an Italian girl who arrived in England over the summer -- I say girl, she's in her early twenties -- who asked in all seriousness if the people in London learned English *after* they'd starting speaking Italian, or before.
The answer that "they learned it from birth" met with incredulity until the way languages worked was carefully explained to her.
A Chinese teenager who smoked 100 cigarettes at one sitting for a bet won the wager but lost his life. The 19 year-old construction worker in Tianjin, called Wu, had just finished his 5th pack of Peony brand cigarettes when he went pale and collapsed. "The attending doctor determined that Mr. Wu died of a heart attack brought on by excessive inhalation of cigarette smoke and acute nicotine poisoning," said the Jin Wan Bao newspaper. Wu and a friend devised the wager to cure their boredom, investigators were told.
A new video store opened near me, so I joined and rented some movies. This place does everything on paper: they wrote me a receipt with the names of my movies, and I got a copy, and they kept a copy.
When I went to return the movies, they laboriously searched through a stack of handwritten receipts until they found mine, and checked off my movies. Being the computer kind of guy that I am, I pointed out that they should sort the receipt pile by membership number, making the search much quicker.
"Why?" asked the clerk. "People don't come in the store in membership number order."
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