Writer's Caffe

December 21, 2009

The Free World

Filed under: Serious things (whatever) — amerkaj @ 6:30 pm
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The Free World

An original advertisement promotes the Free World as a teeth whitener, fashion accessory and family planning utility. Pictured is the McDonald’s family, father Time-Warner McDonald’s, mother Disney McDonald’s and sons Lockheed-Martin and Ralph. The family is shown enjoying all the Freedom they can afford.

I've got news for you. You are MINE now! You belong to ME!!!

~ Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Free World

There's a woman in the night/red, white, and blue/she's cookin up crack/to sell to you

~ Neil Young on Women in the Free World

Fuck the free world!

~ Eminem as B-Rabbit

The Free World™ is perhaps one of largest and most used social networking applications in existence. It was created in 1946 by the United States Government, the IMF, CIA, Disney and Time Warner. Entry into the Free World is free, hence the name, but users must agree to allow a large amount of their personal space to be put aside for advertising, sales, promotions, link exchanges, cold calling, sign boards, leaflets, inserts, flyers, pop-up windows, airships and singing telegrams.

The Free World™ is a division of The Known World ™ and is not to be confused with the Expensive World™, which is generally more fantastic than you could possibly dream of, but costs a fortune to get into. At the time of writing, the Free World has about 37 billion users and almost all of them complain about the telephone queuing system.

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Invention

The Free World was famously created by two social misfits, in the back of a garage, in 1946. John Maynard Keynes and Walter Disney used to enjoy spending their Saturday afternoons just “messing about with valves, concepts, wiring, economics and lightbulbs”, to use their own words.

Invented by accident

The story goes that when Keynes accidentally emptied pipe tobacco onto one of Walter’s pet hamsters, the unfortunate animal caught fire and began to run really fast inside its wheel, causing a lightbulb to turn on in the kitchen next door. Staring at the light, the duo realised that it should be possible to create a social system powered by electricity, planned economics, and a dancing mouse. They literally jumped around in circles on making this discovery – while the hamster celebrated by transforming into a small pile of hamster-shaped ashes.

Financial backing

As Keynes and Disney tried to gather support for their idea, they were largely met with ridicule, until one fateful day when they approached the United States Government for a demonstration. When Disney plugged the world in and all the lights came on, all the government officials went “ooooooohhhhh….” and “aaaaaaaahhhhhh….” in amazement, a reaction that is very rare for a government official. Soon afterwards, Keynes and Disney had the backing of the president and the army. And after that, no one ever laughed at them again.

Game Play

Users of the Free World compete with each other for items such as:

  • Trainers
  • Shopping coupons
  • Pop tarts
  • Furbies
  • Surround sound
  • Guns
  • Petrol
  • Mating rights
  • Used bus tickets
  • Plastic cups
  • Everything else

Each month, the user with the best pair of trainers wins a badge, the user with the most pop tarts is admitted to hospital and the user with the most guns changes all the rules to suit themselves.

Making Friends

This user carries a special notebook for writing all his new friends in.

Users also need to try and make as many friends as possible. On starting the game a user is given a free anorak with mittens attached to the sleeves by string, but no friends. Many users just take the anorak and spend the game eating happy meals at home while watching porn. Actually making friends requires an investment in trainers, iPods, hairstyles and cocktails, and there is always the ever-present risk of having everyone pointing at you and laughing and laughing until they are hoarse, and then going out with all their friends and laughing again, helplessly, while tears run down their cheeks.

Once some friends have been made, a user often wants to determine who their real friends are and who are not genuine. This can be done, for example, by going bankrupt and wandering around the streets begging for money. At that point, the free anorak suddenly becomes useful.

Some users develop lasting relationships which in turn fuels competition for more surround sound televisions and pop tarts.

Money

Despite the name, money is very important for playing the Free World. It is a strict rule of the application that money doesn’t grow on trees – unlike in the Expensive World, where it not only grows on trees, but often floats discreetly into the wallets of passers-by and makes them feel all fuzzy inside. On entry into the Free World many users expect that the money grows on trees, but in fact, a slight alteration in the small print by the IMF means that money actually grows in trees. Its just that the tree needs to be cut down, pulped, made into paper and be printed on before the money actually manifests itself. All of this, of course, costs money.

Administration

America is the undisputed operator of the Free World, and its current administrator, George Wallet Bush is always going on about how great the Free World is, and how he wants to make it even bigger and use even more advertising to pay for it all. Mr. Bush is distantly related to the tree family, and hence has lots of money. It also helps that he actually lives in the Expensive World where money grows on trees. He never uses the Free World, for fear of being shot, like Kennedy was when he accidentally drove into it. Bush prefers to talk to users via television, and he likes a simple direct approach of speaking, uncluttered by facts or truth, that appeals directly for the hearts of those who live free. If he can collect enough hearts, he’ll be able to open a new burger plant near his Premium Ranch and then sell the hearts back to their owners minced and with a special sauce

Advantages of the Free World

The main advantage of the Free World is that membership is free and open to all. Birth is the only qualification required. On being born into the Free World, a user is registered for a job, stamped, named and entered into a database for marketing, promotions and messages from interested companies or partners. They are then free to wander about the Free World at will, looking in shop windows, trying to find an apartment that doesn’t smell like fungus and eating out of the dustbins while looking for a friend.

The other main advantages of the Free World, according to its owners and operators, are that it is guaranteed to be free of Communists and very nearly free of terrorists. The owners of the Free World ensure that Communists and most terrorists are kept out of it by using various tried and tested procedures such as really big fences, asking people at airports if they are a terrorist, and thousands of nuclear warheads. Occasionally, a terrorist or two does sneak in and cause a nuisance, but most users just shrug their shoulders and carry on, since it’s free, after all.

Disadvantages of the Free World

Disney produced this DVD so that inhabitants of the Free World can get a glimpse of how fantastic everything is in the Expensive World – which is nice of them since most users will never actually get to live there.

The main disadvantage of the Free World is that it is not the Expensive World™. Entry into the Expensive World carries the same birth requirement but in addition to that costs about sixty million, five thousand and forty three dollars and sixty seven cents. Inhabitants of the Free World are permitted to watch the inhabitants of the Expensive World on TV, but this is not really advisable. As the famous Free World wit Rolf Harris once quipped: ”

The Free World
There is only one thing worse than eating a stale kebab, and that’s eating a stale kebab while watching some tanned millionaire kebab merchant roller skating around the deck of his 900 foot yacht.
The Free World

Relationship with the Expensive World

The border between the Free World and the Expensive World is six miles wide, nine miles deep and filled with sharks. Armed guards patrol the walls and huge spikes stick out of it at all angles. There is a heavily guarded tunnel formed from 2 golden arches under a mountain for allowing entry to those with enough money – or the lucky few that are allowed through for various medical experiments.

The odd anomaly

From time to time, elements of the Free World and Expensive World overlap. For example, a car from the Expensive World utilising an automatic warp drive function may find itself in the Free World by mistake. This has varied consequences ranging from minor abnormalities in the space-time continuum to large scale riots and military intervention. If the owner of the car carries an American Express card, he can order an immediate missile strike on anyone who touches his car. In the Expensive World, American Express does nicely.

The Free World in Modern Culture

The popular songsmith, Neil Young, wrote a song all about collecting rocks in the Free World, called “Rockin’ in the Free World“. Neil’s point is that rocks are laying around everywhere for free and no one needs to advertise them because nobody really has any use for a rock. But if we all just kept on “rockin'” – that is – collecting rocks in a big bag, then rocks would suddenly become expensive and we’d all be rich. No one listens to Neil, though, as he is a man far ahead of his, or indeed any, time.

December 16, 2009

Universal Truths

Filed under: Serious things (whatever) — amerkaj @ 10:04 am
Tags: , ,

1) Triangular sandwiches taste better than square ones.
2) At the end of every party there is always a girl crying.
3) One of the most awkward things that can happen in a pub is when your pint-to-toilet cycle gets synchronised with a complete stranger.
4) You’ve never quite sure whether it’s ok to eat green crisps.
5) Everyone who grew up in the 80’s has entered the digits 55378008 into a calculator.
6) Reading when you’re drunk is horrible.
7) Sharpening a pencil with a knife makes you feel really manly.
8) You’re never quite sure whether it’s against the law or not to have a fire in your back garden.
10) Nobody ever dares make cup-a-soup in a bowl.
11) You never know where to look when eating a banana.
12) Its impossible to describe the smell of a wet cat.
13) Prodding a fire with a stick makes you feel manly.
14) Rummaging in an overgrown garden will always turn up a bouncy ball.
15) You always feel a bit scared when stroking horses.
16) Everyone always remembers the day a dog ran into your school.
17) The most embarrassing thing you can do as schoolchild is to call your teacher mum or dad.
18) The smaller the monkey the more it looks like it would kill you at the
first given opportunity.
19) Some days you see lots of people on crutches.
20) Every bloke has at some stage while taking a pee flushed half way through and then raced against the flush.
21) Old women with mobile phones look wrong!
22) Its impossible to look cool whilst picking up a Frisbee.
23) Driving through a tunnel makes you feel excited.
24) You never ever run out of salt.
25) Old ladies can eat more than you think.
26) You can’t respect a man who carries a dog.
27) There’s no panic like the panic you momentarily feel when you’ve got your hand or head stuck in something.
28) No one knows the origins of their metal coat hangers.
29) Despite constant warning, you have never met anybody who has had their arm broken by a swan.
30) The most painful household incident is wearing socks and stepping on an upturned plug.
31) People who don’t drive slam car doors too hard
32) You’ve turned into your dad the day you put aside a thin piece of wood
specifically to stir paint with.
33) Everyone had an uncle who tried to steal their nose.
34) Bricks are horrible to carry.
35) In every plate of chips there is a bad chip.

Things I’ve learned on movies and TV.

Filed under: Serious things (whatever) — amerkaj @ 9:54 am
Tags: ,

1. The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there, and you can travel to any other part of the building you want without difficulty.
2. You’re very likely to survive any battle in any war unless you make the mistake of showing someone a picture of your sweetheart back home,
3. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it is not necessary to speak the language. A German accent will do.
4. A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds. That will finish in a sex scene.
5. If staying in a haunted house, women must investigate any strange noises in their most diaphaous underwear, which is just what they happened to be carrying with them at the time the car broke down.
6. If a large pane of glass is visible, someone will be thrown through it before long.
7. If someone says, “I’ll be right back”, they won’t.
8. Computer monitors never display a cursor on screen but always say: “Enter Password Now”.
9. It is not necessary to say hello or goodbye when beginning or ending phone conversations. And none of your friends have to knock when they come for a visit. In addition, every front door can be opened from the outside without having to use a key.
10. Even when driving down a perfectly straight road, it is necessary to turn the steering wheel vigorously from left to right every few moments.
11. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they’re going to go off.
12. A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.
13. If you decide to start dancing in the street everyone around you will automatically be able to mirror all the steps you come up with and hear the music in your head.
14. Police departments give their officers personality tests to make sure they are deliberately assigned a partner who is their total opposite.
15. When they are alone, all foreigners prefer to speak English to each other.
16. Any bullet from a handgun has enough force to throw a full-grown man ten feet back.
17. Characters will always find a parking space right in front of the building they’re going to even in a large metropolitan city where parking is basically impossible.
18. Characters at a bar or at a restaurant table will always get the attention of a server at the exact moment they need to order.
19. When a gift/present is given, the top is wrapped separately from the rest of the box and it lifts straight off so that there is never any ripping or fumbling with wrapping paper.
20. A chase scene on foot in a city always has a shot of one of the characters running into the street, nearly being hit by a car screeching to a halt at which point the driver flails his arm out the window and yells an expletive.
21. Anytime a character in an awful rush confronts another character curious about his predicament, the first one says, “There’s no time to explain,” and then explains anyway.
22. No matter how slow zombies walk they will always catch up.
23. The bad guy will always throw his gun at you to indicate he has run out of bullets.
24. A candle or table lamp can light a whole room and at night time, it’s blue.
25. If the main guy is in love with the main girl, he will always get her in the end, even if she’s married. If she is married, her husband will always say “oh well, if it makes you happy”… and he’ll never go to beat the crap out of the other guy.
26. If you are in a film, it is easy for you to master the skill of controling any vehicle you need, weather it be landing a plane, for example.
27. Everybody when needing a computer can type supper fast and never need to hit the space bar!
28. Computers never freeze or crash, unlike in the real world.
29. The computers have super duper graphics programes which can zoom into blurs in fotos to make them super clear!
30. The best way to get laid is to put on some slow jazz music.
31. Everytime the “hero” is sneeking into the bad guy’s room, checking secret files on the computer:
1a. The password is already typed in.
1b. The password is very simple.
2. There appears a very slow bar saying “copying”, “deleting” or “printing” and it is finished just before the bad guy, the security guard or the mexican cleaner comes in.
3. In addition to your non-booting computer, they are also turned off in a flash.
4. All the characters, even the blonde bimbo’s put in to lure us to the cinema, became all-knowing super-mega-nerds once behind a computer. They always know what to do and how to avoid things.
32. Good guys never panic, they stay cool at point black range, and bluff their way out with the “you could surely use me in your plan” crap.
33. Heavy guns, for example on helicopters, cause cosmetic damage to the hero’s transport, but one bullet makes the chopper blow up.
34. Text appearing on a computer monitor appears letter by letter and making a sound as if it was produced by a typewriter.
35. You can find whatever you want on the net in a matter of seconds.
36. If in a battle scene a bad guy actually manages to shoot a good guy, the good guy’s friend has the time to listen to his friend’s dying speech. Once dead, the friend stands up and shoots the correct bad guy (amongst a whole host of bad guys). The bad guy has apparently been sitting around just waiting to be shot!!
37. No Australian movie is complete without one of this:
1. A Kangaroo.
2. A Boomerang.
3. Ayers Rock.
4. A Koala.
5. All of the above.
38. When someone uses a TV remote it makes a clicking sound that is impossible to replicate by existing remotes.
39. When gunfire erupts in public places and cops respond instantly to it, they’re usally killed by the first shots.
40. When gunfire erupts in public, where there are no cops, they take forever to arrive, but they can still chase the gunmen.
41. Detectives can watch a drug deal (carried out furtively in a shop doorway) go down from a distance of five yards away by the simple expedient of sitting in a car with a newspaper raised to eye level.
42. Cats always make a noise. If someone is creeping into a house and is momentarily scared by a cat, it always has to meow before running off.
43. A woman being chased by a murderer will always fall over, either because she’s running in stilettos or is ridiculously clumsy.
44. Serial killers never just die… they will remain still for ages so that the hero is fooled and walks right past them… at which point the killer grabs their ankle and then keeps fighting.
45. It is possible to drive safely for long periods with your head turned completely away from the road ahead, either in conversation or looking at a map.
46. People brush their teeth before eating breakfast but not afterwards, at which point they run out the door with a piece of toast in their mouth.
47. Aussie accents in American films always sound like a mix of Cockney, South African and New Zealander. And they say things like “Streuth!” and “Blimey!”
48. The bad guy’s sexy girl will try to seduce the good guy, then when that fails will beat him up using martial arts. That while wearing skintight leather, lycra and stilettos.
49. Women can never find their car keys while being pursued by a killer. Once they do find them, it takes them ages to fumble the keys
into the ignition, giving the killer enough time to reach the car and pound on the window.
50. Somehow cars take several turns of the key to start but only when someone is chasing you.
51. Every bad guy knows how to tie really complicated knots… which somehow the good guy manages to untie.
52. A person investigating strange noises in their house always finds that the lights don’t work, then stumble around in the dark rather than getting a torch. At least one of the noises they hear will turn out to be made by a cat.
53. When a cat eats a fish, it leaves the skeleton perfectly reserved and intact.
54. Dogs always bark at ghosts.
55. Vicious guard dogs can be easily distracted with a piece of steak.
56. Mice can somehow fashion a perfectly semi-circular entrance to their dwelling.
57. A small goat is capable of propelling a fully grown man through the air by butting him in the ass with it’s horns.
58. Many animals, when they consume alcohol, will take on human drunken characteristics, usually to the sound of a trombone being played.
59. Anytime a person is expecting a bad guy to jump out at them, often they’ll sigh in relief when it’s just the cat, or the wind, or a tree branch against the window. But as soon as they let their guard down and laugh at their “silliness”, they’re going to be attacked by the bad guy that really was there after all.
60. When someone puts a baby down to bed, that baby coos and smiles, and then just goes right off to sleep. It’s amazing.
61. If someone jumps off a bridge into a river, lake, etcetera, the water will always be deep enough to keep them from getting hurt. But when a bad guy falls from a river, he/she’s good as gone.
62. Police officers never wait for back-up.
63. The only time people do say hello on the telephone is when it turns to be the bad guy on the other end of line calling to torment them.
64. Bad things usually happen to women who are alone in the house on stormy nights.
65. If you are driving somewhere on any other route other than a city roadway, you will probably have that road all to yourself and will not pass or be passed by another vehicle.
66. In the movies everyone seems to have some odd “L shaped” sheets on their beds able to cover a woman up to her neck and her partner up to his waste.
67. Being around a bomb causes time to slow down.
68. Bad guys die instantly, good guys die slowly.
69. When the good guy is being attacked by a gang, they will run at him one at a time while the rest stay (in the case of ninjas, dance) around in a menacing manner, allowing him to kick all of their asses by the time the scene is over.
70. Most of police investigations will require at least one visit to a strip club.
71. You can jump from a tall building and land on mattresses, a pile of boxes, or a dumpster full of garbage and, though you might groan and be a little slow getting up, you will not sustain any serious injury.
72. It’s very easy to fool the security guards at highly top secret government institutions.
73. It’s very easy for a computer hacker to break a security code and find just the information he’s looking for in less than a minute.
74. If you’re a criminal mastermind, you cannot just shoot the hero in the back, you have to tie him up and wait for some diabolical machine to finish the hero off and you can’t wait around to make sure it works, which allows the hero a chance to escape, which he always does because apparently no bad guy ever got his knot tying badge in the boy scouts.
75. When an ugly girl takes off her glasses, gets a haircut, and puts on nice clothes she is suddenly very hot.
76. No matter who you are calling, no matter what time you are making the call, the person you’re calling will always answer the phone, usually after only one or two rings. Of course, this assumes you aren’t running from a killer while trying to make a call on a cell phone, in which case there is a 100% chance that either the battery will be dead or you won’t be able to get a signal.
77. Whenever you put on a seatbelt, you will get into an accident.
78. The good guy always has the cooler cell phone.
79. If you chase someone through a park you will never step in dog poop or chewing gum, but you will always step on someone’s picnic.
78. No matter how crowded the bar is, there are always extra stools available right in front of a bartender who is just standing there waiting for someone to order.
80. People who oversleep and get woken up by phone calls go straight to work without making the bed, but when they get home at night, their bed is made.
81. People in movies rarely have to shave, and whenever a guy does shave, he will be interrupted while half finished, and will wipe the remaining shaving cream off with a towel. Of course, even the part he didn’t get to shave will be perfectly smooth.
82. When a good guy enters a house, he/she will avoid every shot of machine gun fire while killing a lot of bad guys. He/she doesn’t need to reload his pistol until he runs out of ammo, which coincidentially happens when the main bad guy appears, at which point he fights him/her hand to hand.
83. In battle, a normal peon soldier is shot with one bullet and instantly drops dead to the ground, while the protagonist in said battle can be shot in various places by multiple shooters, and survive with a few bandages and a cast.
84. It doesn’t matter who you call, if they choose not to answer their phone you will get their voicemail in less than 1.5 rings.
85. A devious villain will immediately shoot a non-important character whenever needed without hesitation. However when he finally has the chance to kill the hero seeking to craft his doom, he will undoubtedly hold a firearm trained on said protagonist for at least 90 seconds while performing a well-written soliliquoy. This delay is all the hero needs to escape.
86. When a woman is being pursued by a scary serial killer that she knows is in her house, she will always run upstairs instead of out of the house.
87. You can break into any house or door with a credit card.
88. The bad guy will always tell the good guy every detail about his masterplan instead of just shooting him.
89. Whenever a guy and a girl hop into a bed together in three seconds the girl will start moaning and will be close to climaxing. Plus the guy will always put a minimal effort, after all she will still be screaming and moaning away.
90. When someone has stopped breathing and has no pulse, simply breathing into her mouth twice and looking extremely distressed while screaming “DON’T YOU DIE ON ME!” will bring her back to life immediately.
91. In a TV episode where someone will probaly die, there’s always an extra character that no one has ever seen before to kill him.
92. Aliens will always have more advanced techonology than us.
93. When you turn on the tv, the news will always be on.
94. People never obey warnings.
95. There’s always a corrupt police officer.
96. Movie theatres and drive-ins only show classic horror movies.
98. If you meet a member of the opposite sex, and you both hate each other… don’t worry… you’ll eventually fall in love with each other.
99. Major disasters always happen in New York.
100. The President is always very considerate and well-spoken. Not to mention he always is able to fly a jet fighter when needed.

December 9, 2009

7 Strangest Wars

Filed under: Serious things (whatever) — amerkaj @ 3:29 pm

7 Strangest Wars

The Anglo-Zanzibar War: the shortest war in history, only 40 minutes long

Fought between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar on 27 August 1896, the conflict lasted approximately 40 minutes, making it the shortest war in history. The immediate cause of the war was the death of the pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini and the subsequent succession of Sultan Khalid bin Barghash. The British authorities preferred Hamud bin Muhammed as Sultan. In accordance with a treaty signed in 1886, a condition for accession to the sultancy was that the candidate obtain the permission of the British Consul, and Khalid had not fulfilled this requirement. The British considered this a casus belli and sent an ultimatum to Khalid demanding that he order his forces to stand down and leave the palace. In response, Khalid called up his palace guard and barricaded himself inside the palace.

The ultimatum expired at 09:00 on 27 August, by which time the British had gathered three cruisers, two gunships, 150 marines and sailors and 900 Zanzibaris in the harbour area. A bombardment which was opened at 09:02 setthe palace on fire and disabled the defending artillery. The flag at the palace was shot down and fire ceased at 09:40. The Sultan’s forces sustained roughly 500 casualties, while only one British sailor was injured.

The Pig War: triggered by the shooting of a pig

The Pig War was a confrontation in 1859 between American and British authorities over the boundary between the United States and British North America. The specific area in dispute was the San Juan Islands, which lie between Vancouver Island and the North American mainland. The Pig War, so called because it was triggered by the shooting of a pig, is also called the Pig Episode, the Pig and Potato War, the San Juan Boundary Dispute or the Northwestern Boundary Dispute. The pig was the only “casualty” ofthe war, making the conflict essentially bloodless.

Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ War: lasted over 335 years with no casualties

The Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ War (1651–1986) was a war between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly (located off the southwest coast of the United Kingdom). It is said to have been extended by the lack of a peace treaty for 335 years without a single shot being fired, which would make it one of the world’s longest wars andthe war with the fewest casualties. Despite the uncertain validity of the declaration of war, peace was finally declared in 1986.

Moldovan-Transdniestrian War: where both sides’ officers would drink together during the nights and fight during the days

After the Soviet Union collapsed, two-thirds of Moldova wanted closer ties with Romania and neighbors to the west. But the area of the country to the east of the Dniestr river wanted to stay close to Ukraine and Russia. War broke out, and the east split to form Transdniestria, which remains unrecognized by the world.

When Moldova and Transdniestria started fighting, it was a weird war. The local military called it the Drunken War, as officers of the combatants met every night to have a drink together. They went away in the morning and opened fire on each other. At night, they got together again to drink for those they had met with the previous night and who they had killed.

Emu War: how Australia lost a war against birds

The Emu War, also known as The Great Emu War, was a week-long military operation undertaken in Australia in November 1932 to address public concern over the number of emus said to be running amuck in the Campion district of Western Australia. The emus were responding to a long, hot summer, which caused shortages of food and water. The “war” was conducted under the command of Major Meredith of the Royal Australian Artillery, commanding a force of soldiers armed with two Lewis machine guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition. But shooting blindly into a group of birds which can run up to 50 km/h (30 mph) did not brought the expected results. The birds simply ran away even after being hit by a machine gun round.

Over the course of a week or so, only a handful of the estimated 20,000 birds were actually killed. Major Meredith – the Australian commander in the “Emu war” – was astonished and famously compared the emus to Zulus. After a few days the Defence Minister ordered a withdrawal. And thus the “Emu War” ended in a military defeat for Australia.

The Football War: started with a football game

The Football War (La guerra del fútbol, in Spanish), also known as the 100-hours War, was a five-day war fought by El Salvador and Honduras in 1969. It was caused by political conflicts between Hondurans and Salvadorans, namely issues concerning immigration from El Salvador to Honduras. These existing tensions between the two countries coincided with the inflamed rioting during the secondNorth American qualifying round for the 1970 FIFA World Cup; on 14 July 1969, the Salvadoran army launched an attack against Honduras. The Organization of American States negotiated a cease-fire which took effect on 20 July, with the Salvadoran troops withdrawn in early August. El Salvador ended up going to the 1970 FIFA World Cup1970 FIFA World Cup, where they failed to advance from the Group Stage.

War of 1812: caused by faulty telegraphic communications

Also called Mr. Madison’s War, the War of 1812 was in many ways the strangest war in United States history. It could well be named the War of Faulty Communication. Two days before war was declared, the British government stated that it would repeal the laws which were the chief reason for fighting. If there had been telegraphic communication with Europe,the war might well have been avoided.

The chief United States complaint against the British was interference with shipping. But New England, the great shipping section of the United States, bitterly opposed the idea of going to war. The demand for war came chiefly from the West and South.

It is strange also that the war, fought for freedom of the seas, began with the invasion of Canada. In addition, the treaty of peace that ended the war settled none of the issues over which it had supposedly been fought. Finally, both sides claimed victory in the War of 1812, and it becomes clear that the whole struggle was a confused mass of contradictions.

15 Failed Predictions about the Future

Filed under: Serious things (whatever) — amerkaj @ 3:18 pm

15 Failed Predictions about the Future

“It will be years –not in my time– before a woman will become Prime Minister.”
–Margaret Thatcher, October 26th, 1969.

She became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom only 10 years after saying that, holding her chair from 1979 to 1990. But she wasn’t all that wrong since she is the only woman to have held this post. Maybe she should have added the word “again.”

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
–Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

It may sound ridiculous now, but the prediction was actually true for about ten years after it was made. Almost every forecaster would settle for a ten year limit on the testing of their forecasts. Of course, by the 1980s and the advent of the PC, such a statement looked plain daft.

“That virus [HIV] is a pussycat.”
–Dr. Peter Duesberg, molecular-biology professor at U.C. Berkeley, 1988,

By 2006, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and the World Health Organization estimated that AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since it was first recognized on December 1, 1981.

“Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.”
–Associates of Edwin L. Drake refusing his suggestion to drill for oil in 1859.

Only one hundred fifty years passed by since the first attempt to dig out oil from the ground met such contempt, and now the whole world is trying to look for unimaginable places to satiate the thirst for money that is propelled and sustained on this black gold.

“A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.”
–New York Times, 1936.

10 years later, in 1946, the first American-built rocket to leave the earth’s atmosphere was launched from White Sands, attaining 50 miles of altitude.

“Reagan doesn’t have that presidential look.”
–United Artists Executive, rejecting Reagan as lead in 1964 film The Best Man

Before becoming the 40th President of the United States in 1981, Ronald Reagan pursued an acting career, but spent the majority of his Hollywood career in the “B film” division. In 1964 he was rejected for a part in a movie with presidential candidate theme due to “not having the presidential look”.

“The singer [Mick Jagger] will have to go; the BBC won’t like him.”
— First Rolling Stones manager Eric Easton to his partner after watching them perform.

We can only wonder what Sir Michael Philip “Mick” Jagger, Golden Globe, Grammy Award-winning English singer-songwriter, rock musician and occasional actor, has to say about it now.

“Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.”
–Dr Dionysys Larder (1793-1859)

It may sound impossible to Dr Larder, professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy at the University College London back in the 1800, but in 1939 the first high speed train went from Milan to Florence at 165 km/h (102.5 mph). Thankfully no one died. Nowadays these trains go at 200 km/h (125 mph) and faster.

“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”
–Lord Kelvin, 1895.

This was said by Lord Kelvin (British mathematician and physicist, president of the British Royal Society) only eight years before brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright took their home-built flyer to the sandy dunes of Kitty Hawk, cranked up the engine, and took off into the history books.

“There will never be a bigger plane built.”
–A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin engine plane that holds ten people.

What would this engineer say if he saw the current largest passenger plane on earth, the Airbus A380? The Airbus A380 has 50% more floor space than arch rival Boeing’s 747 Jumbo, with room for duty-free shops, restaurants and even a sauna, and can provide site for up to 853 people.

“Taking the best left-handed pitcher in baseball and converting him into a right fielder is one of the dumbest things I ever heard.”
— Tris Speaker, baseball hall of famer, talking about Babe Ruth, 1919.

Ruth has been named the greatest baseball player in history in various surveys and rankings, and his home run hitting prowess made him a larger than life figure in the “Roaring Twenties”. He became the first player to hit 60 home runs in one season (1927), a record which stood for 34 years until broken by Roger Maris in 1961. Ruth’s lifetime total of 714 home runs at his retirement in 1935 was a record for 39 years, until broken by Hank Aaron in 1974.

“Ours has been the first [expedition], and doubtless to be the last, to visit this profitless locality.”
—- Lt. Joseph Ives, after visiting the Grand Canyon in 1861.

More than a century later, five million people annually visit this “profitless locality,” by car, foot, air, and on the Colorado River itself.

“If excessive smoking actually plays a role in the production of lung cancer, it seems to be a minor one.”
–W.C. Heuper, National Cancer Institute, 1954.

In 1964 the United States Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health began suggesting the relationship between smoking and cancer, which confirmed its suggestions 20 years later in the 1980s. Nowadays, it’s well known that long-term exposure to tobacco smoke is the most common causes of lung cancer.

“You better get secretarial work or get married.”
–Emmeline Snively, advising would-be model Marilyn Monroe in 1944.

In 1944, Marilyn Monroe was discovered by a photographer who encouraged her to apply to The Blue Book modeling agency. She was told by Snively, director of the Modelling Agency that she should became a secretary, besides they were looking for models with lighter hair. So Marilyn dyed her brunette hair to a golden blonde. She finally signed a contract with the agency. And of course, became Blue Book’s most successful model.

“Read my lips: No new taxes.”
–George Bush, 1988.

That pledge was the centerpiece of Bush’s acceptance address, written by speechwriter Peggy Noonan, for his party’s nomination at the 1988 Republican National Convention. It was a strong, decisive, bold statement, and you don’t need a history degree to see where this is going. As presidents sometimes must, Bush raised taxes. His words were used against him by then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton in a devastating attack ad during the 1992 presidential campaign.

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