Tuesday, June 28, 2005

 

One Tough Senior...

What do you think about when you think of your grandfather? In my case, a rather large man smelling strongly of beer pursuing me (in fun) around the kitchen table.

My other grandfather enjoyed a smoke right up until his death at 98. He outlived two wives and was still riding his push-bike to the pub in his 80s.

But these two kindly fellows had nothing on this guy from Kenya.

Grandfather kills leopard with his hands

NAIROBI (Reuters) - A 73-year-old Kenyan grandfather reached into the mouth of an attacking leopard and tore out its tongue to kill it, authorities said Wednesday.

Peasant farmer Daniel M'Mburugu was tending to his potato and bean crops in a rural area near Mount Kenya when the leopard charged out of the long grass and leapt on him.

M'Mburugu had a machete in one hand but dropped that to thrust his fist down the leopard's mouth. He gradually managed to pull out the animal's tongue, leaving it in its death-throes.

"It let out a blood-curdling snarl that made the birds stop chirping," he told the daily Standard newspaper of how the leopard came at him and knocked him over.

The leopard sank its teeth into the farmer's wrist and mauled him with its claws. "A voice, which must have come from God, whispered to me to drop the panga (machete) and thrust my hand in its wide open mouth. I obeyed," M'Mburugu said.

As the leopard was dying, a neighbor heard the screams and arrived to finish it off with a machete.

M'Mburugu was toasted as a hero in his village Kihato after the incident earlier this month. He was also given free hospital treatment by astonished local authorities.

"This guy is very lucky to be alive," Kenya Wildlife Service official Connie Maina told Reuters, confirming details of the incident.


Friday, June 24, 2005

 

Truth Much Stranger than Fiction

Have you seen the film Catch Me If You Can?

It brings together two of the most insufferable movie stars of all time, Tom Hanks and Leo De Crapio, in the tale of Frank Abagnale, an international con-man. Abagnale later went straight and made a lot of money out of his story.

But just as no American serial-killer even approaches the record of Britain's Harold Shipman, neither can the amateur Abagnale hope to compete with British conman Robert Freegard.

Freegard was working as a barman in an agricultural college when he started pretending to some of the students that he was a secret agent investigating suspected terrorism there. He managed to "recruit" them, and get them to carry out all sorts of bizarre exercises, as well as robbing them of large amounts of cash.

And then it got even weirder.

Read on

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

 

Big Brother

In the UK, where gun and violent crime is out of control, a large amount of law enforcement's time is tied up with managing the revenue from Speed Cameras.

See various links.....

Here

Here

And Here

And one showing how the law works in the UK when a police officer is caught speeding

The way speed cameras work is simple. Your elderly mother will be driving home and might be doing 34 MPH in a 30 limit. She will pass one of these cameras which will digitally capture her license plate number, and the computer will automatically send her a thirty pound ($60) fine in the mail. Four of these and she will lose her license.

They also use human-operated cameras to spy on motorists on town centres. Put a wheel over the white line into a bus-only lane to avoid a pot-hole, and if some creep is watching, count on a $200 fine coming through your letterbox in a couple of weeks.

After 60 years of state Socialism, the British people accept this. They basically just lie down and let big brother walk all over them. Amazingly some motorists even support cameras, which are a blatant method whereby the Government adds to the $80BN they already extract from motorists via, for example, the 73% fuel tax which makes gas $6 a gallon.

So anyway, you'll never hear a British politician speaking out; and as I said, even on UK motoring forums, you'll get people defending cameras. So I just feel glad to have left the UK, and quite honestly, just laugh at what a once proud nation will put up with.

Meanwhile, other governments of a similar persuasion to London are also finding electronic motorist surveillance to be a great revenue-raiser. The Chinese, for example. They actually don't tell you when you have triggered a camera, it is the driver's responsibility to keep in touch with the DMV in Beijing or wherever.

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese vegetable peddler has asked a Beijing court to overturn police fines totaling more than a year's pay after he made the exact same illegal turn 105 times, state media said Sunday.

Du Baoliang was captured making the illegal turn past a no-entry sign on his way from home to his vegetable stall by a hidden camera, part of a network set up to automatically record traffic violations, reports said.

Du, 40, was unaware of the violations until he went to the traffic management office and was told he owed 10,500 yuan ($1,270) -- more than the 9,422 yuan average annual per capita income for urban residents, reports said.

Du paid the fines, but then sued to get his money back and a further 3,000 yuan in compensation for lost vegetable sales while fighting the case, the Xinhua Daily Telegraph said.

He argues that traffic officials hold some responsibility for failing to notify him that he had broken the law early on.

"Of course I do want to win the case even though I was cited 105 times. If I had received any advice at an early date I would not have done it 105 times," the Beijing News quoted Du as saying.

"The traffic management office is also responsible for their mistake," Du said.

Beijing's Xicheng District People's Court agreed to hear the case, the Xinhua Daily Telegraph said.

The hidden camera system, which requires drivers to check their own records at the traffic management office or by a toll call, has become the subject of media scorn and a target of complaints from drivers.

Another repeat offender, surnamed Tian, has been fined more than 20,000 yuan for 97 speeding tickets in less than one year, but has yet to be notified, the Legal Daily said.



I wonder how long it will be until this system gains popularity in Britain? I'm sure the British politburo is happy to know their ideas are being seized on and developed by other governments with large quantities of peasants to be exploited.

Monday, June 20, 2005

 

No "Green Zone" in London

I was amused to see the following story in the London Times today.

Everybody knows DHL the international courier firm. DHL even offer a service to Baghdad.

But, they are refusing to deliver to certain areas of London, because it is too dangerous.

So much for 50 years of caring, sharing Socialism!

We dare deliver to Iraq, but Canning Town is out
By Joanna Bale
PARTS of Britain’s inner cities are so plagued by gangs of teenage criminals that a leading parcel company will not deliver there.

DHL was one of the first companies to set up in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein, but in Britain there are temporary no-go areas where its couriers will not venture.

Recently blacklisted areas include the Canning Town and Custom House areas of East London. Residents were told that they had to collect their packages because of the risk of couriers being attacked. Alan Craig, a councillor, said: “Gangs of kids with hooded tops are a huge bane on the lives of local residents.”

Matthew Zamoyski, a DHL spokesman, said: “These (Iraq and Britain) are very different cases. There are local security arrangements applicable in every country.”

Local service centre managers had a responsibility to safeguard their employees. “It’s a case of the manager talking to his driver and saying how do you feel about this?,” Mr Zamoyski said.

“He might say it’s getting a bit hairy out there and a decision might be made that it’s not safe.

“Mostly, it has been a case of threatening behaviour or people surrounding the vehicle and making life difficult.”

Attempts to steal parcels and DHL vehicles were also encountered.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

 
Over at Steve Eck's blog he mentions that after 20 years of feuding, Pink Floyd are going to play a couple of songs at Bob Geldof's "Live 8" concert in aid of the poor in Africa. (Or maybe Geldof's going to buy AK47's for the Zimbabweans being terrorised out of their homes by Mugabe's thugs as part of "Operation clean up the trash" - they'd sure appreciate it!)

Although I am from the UK and a rock fan I have to admit I am fairly unfamiliar with the music of Pink Floyd. The only song I really know is "We don't need no education" which struck me as shockingly anarchic when I first heard it as a private schoolboy in 1979.

It's ironic, really, as Pink Floyd all went to private school as well, and are, I suspect, shrewd businessmen first and musicians second... I knew the Pink Floyd drummer, Nick Mason, as the owner of the first Ferrari F40 in the UK back in 1988. It was the first road car capable of over 200 MPH. So much for no education!

So anyway I got hold of the "Echoes" album, a sort of "greatest hits", which had some interesting tracks with names like "Astronomy Domine" and the intriguingly titled "Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun".

My overall impression was that I would have enjoyed it more if it were playing in the background, and I was twenty years younger, drunk, alone with a chick, and possibly stoned as well.

As a 40 year old married father of one with another on the way, I have to say, and I know this will upset the fanatical Floyd types out there, I just kept remembering scenes from the movie Spinal Tap.

I think I'll stick to AC/DC, Motorhead and Deep Purple if I need to relive my youth.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

 

Jackson Verdict

So finally the circus is over, the performers are leaving town, and the tents are being removed from the lawn. Thank goodness for that. I personally had hoped Jackson would be locked up, so we wouldn't have to suffer a comeback tour.

Some people claim his wealth and fame helped his acquittal. He could certainly afford a top-notch defense team, which would be far out of the reach of an 'ordinary' defendant.

But nobody can say the state's case was marred by an inexperienced prosecutor or lack of resources.

On the contrary, DA Tom Sneddon, a strong moral figure and father of nine, spent millions of dollars and had 37 years of experience as a prosecutor to draw upon at the culmination of his 12-year personal crusade to bring Jackson down. In the end he gave it everything he and the California taxpayers had, and he lost.

Monday, June 13, 2005

 

Speechless

For a while after Geoff's death, news reports stopped having much effect on me. I know I'm coming to terms with it now, because I just saw something from the London Evening Standard that made me (a) despair, and (b) feel very glad that my family lives in the USA where although you may not believe it, the courts still aim to protect law-abiding citizens from vicious criminals.


Park killer has sentence reduced
13 June 2005

A paranoid schizophrenic who killed a former banker in a vicious knife attack has had his minimum sentence cut by half.

John Barrett repeatedly stabbed 50-year-old Denis Finnegan with a kitchen knife after ambushing him as he cycled through Richmond Park, south-west London. He was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Old Bailey in March after pleading guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Sentencing him, Judge Anthony Scott-Gall said he would have to serve at least 15-and-a-half years before he would be considered for release on licence. But it is understood that the judge reviewed the tariff and brought the case back to court for a private hearing within 28 days, where he cut it to seven years.

(Link)


So, in London, 2005, you can viciously stab a stranger to death as he innocently enjoys a bike ride, and you will be eligible for parole in seven years.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

 

Not Much Activity

I haven't blogged much of late. A few weeks ago a good friend of mine died at the ridiculously early age of 56 from a heart attack.

Geoff was somebody I worked with at various times over the past ten years. I had a great deal of respect for him, as did everybody who knew him. He was one of the few scrupulously honest businessmen I have ever met. He kept a small business going through good times and bad for nearly twenty years.

Often when you go to a funeral, you hear the eulogies and wonder if you're in the right funeral. In Geoff's case, although people gave it their best, no words were adequate to do justice to the kind of businessman, father and friend he was.

So I count myself very lucky to have known him, and to have benefited from his wise counsel.

When I've had time to let all this sink in, normal blogging will be resumed!

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