Monday, October 29, 2012

Unusual cell phone claims that make you say, 'huh?'

As is the case with many people these days, a cell phone has become as important as our body parts, especially the hands.  However, on occasion people misplace, lose or damage them to the point where a replacement is necessary. The in the UK recently released a list of "interesting" read: weird-ish, insurance claims that cell phone users insured with their company have used in order to get reimbursed. For example:

A farmer (agriculturalist is the word used in the piece - a farmer is a farmer is...) reported that he lost his iPhone 3GS while assisting a cow giving birth. This makes one - me - wonder if anyone within hearing range of the cow barn heard the digested or undigested as the case may be, phone, ringing in the middle of the night.

"Hello Penelope? Are you free for supper?" a caller might have left a message on the phone in the cow's stomach or wherever. Think of all the messages that were left and unanswered!
In any case, when he (the farmer) eventually retrieved it (no information supplied as to how this was achieved), it was too damaged to use and he claimed the loss on his insurance. Moving on...

A woman accidentally baked her Nokia 6303 inside a Victoria sponge cake. One wonders how the baker didn't notice a cell phone going round-and-round when blending the ingredients in a bowl. Perhaps if it had rung... But I digress.

For whatever reason and it boggles the mind (at least it does mine), an insurance claim was made by a female who used her phone as an adult toy - no further information available.

A couple dropped their phone in the ocean while re-enacting the scene from the Titanic. Perhaps - pure speculation - it slipped out of her/his hand during the scene where Jack yells, "I'm the King of the World!'. Go know.

Also making the Top 10 list of "interesting" claims ever made:

- a phone flushed down the toilet. This makes one (me again) wonder the reason for the phone being in this location
- phone snatched by a seagull. Seems that even seagulls are into cells.
- blasted by fireworks
-  stolen by monkeys
- dropped from a tree
- thrown at a boyfriend. Obviously, the person in question missed her/his target
- Worn out by 'intimate use'. Just wondering the attraction to use a phone for 'intimate use' moreover, note the terminology, "worn out.".

How is your cell phone doing?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Halloween story: SHE LIVES!

Wrote this short story a while back but bring it to the top of the list every Halloween. Reading it always makes me smile but hopefully it will leave you with a few shivers. If there's any lesson to be learned from it, it's be careful how you treat your fellow man...or whoever...


“Good enough to eat!” she snickered to herself, adjusting the pieces of raw fish on the platter filled to overflowing with a vast assortment of sushi. Opening her mouth slightly, a thick stream of saliva trickled down her chin landing squarely on top of the two centre pieces.

 “My compliments to the chef,” she said in a whisper, wiping her chin with a crisp white napkin and using a corner to remove the blob of white slime on the fish.

 Everything had to be perfect for the hungry theatre crowd that would soon descend upon the buffet like a swarming of bees.

 She removed the cork from the champagne bottles and inhaled the bouquet, prompting a memory of her favourite beverage at ziggurat. Home seemed like a far off memory, more difficult to access with each passing day but this was no time to fall back on reminiscences. Control and moderation were her guide words since all was in readiness for the next and hopefully final step.

 She was feeling quite isolated these days and memories of her former life were the only thing that kept her going. It was becoming increasingly difficult to repress the other side. Back home it would be her day of maturation and a week of celebration, but here there was still work left to be done.

 “For heaven’s sake put the champagne in an ice bucket,” a voice behind her ordered. “Haven’t we taught you anything? Honestly – your type…” his voice trailed off as he moved down the table, his white linen serviette slapping away invisible crumbs from the tablecloth.  “You call this silverware polished?” he demanded, wiping the fork tines with a napkin. Such a lackadaisical effort but what can one expect coming from…your type? Why we agreed to take you on I’ll never know but only a little while longer, though, thank goodness.”

 She felt something building in her chest that slowly moved up to her throat, along with a definite pulsation on the right side of her eye.

 “Ignore him,” one of the waiters whispered. “Their kind’ think they’re so smart but they’ll find out otherwise, very soon.”

 “Oh he knows exactly what he’s saying and those words are intentional to maximize their effect on me,” she responded, her gaze now focused directly on the source of her growing rage.

 “It’s not uncommon for them to address each other in that manner,” the waiter offered, attempting to distract her attention. “I think they call it…sarcasm…”

At that point she had stopped hearing anything and started moving forward slowly at first, picking up speed as she neared her target. He was sampling some of the dishes laid out on the table when she moved directly behind him.

 “Can’t any of you do anything right?” he bellowed, spitting liquid back into the soup tureen. “I’ve had it. Tomorrow I’m going to start proceedings to have you all removed. I try and do a good thing and…”

 At the point where she was almost on top of him he whirled around, his face contorted in fear with the sudden realization of what was happening. Her trajectory was slightly off that evening having forgotten to regenerate the night before. The head leader had cautioned them to adhere to a daily routine or rapid decline would ensue. The organizer didn’t see the six foot green-grey mass of glowing orange skin and flesh lunge in his direction until it was too late. In fact there wasn’t even enough time for a scream to escape from his throat.

 “The sushi could be a little off tonight,” she commented as the features on his face turned into a bloody mass, “and the roast beef is a little overcooked for my taste. Of course I prefer mine more on the very rare side…” she opined. “Now let me ask you something important. Do you think a Chablis or rosé would be better?”

 By the time the theatre crowd filed into the room, she had the glasses filled with champagne.  The drink fountain was a particular hit and speculation was rife as to the source of the unusual red tint to it.

 She removed the white linen serviette from her uniform pocket and folded it neatly, to be added to the rest of her earthly souvenirs.

 “Don’t think you’ll be needing this anymore, sweetheart,” she whispered, patting her now bulging stomach.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Some thoughts about blogs and blog readers

As a writer with diverse interests ranging from noting life and its peculiarities here in this Gimme a Break blog, sharing gardening angst in my Somewhat Complete GardenerNote to Myself, a rant blog; my painting - the canvas type - blog, not to leave out the Starting Over, the embryo of a romance soap opera with a story line that definitely showed promise but is languishing in cyberland, I have a lot to say or write about everthing. There are also a few more of lesser importance - the full count is seven in all - some of which have been abandoned temporarily due to waning interest on my part. Most likely I'll return from time-to-time and add material to keep them fresh.

"So - what's this all leading up to? Another of your 'poor li'l ole me' rants?"

The rationale behind the creation of the blogs, obviously, is to share my thoughts about subjects, which could be of relevance or at least some interest to web readers. Obviously, as a writer and given the multifarious (love that word!) options, the hope is that Web surfers would drop by and make one of them a regular habit. As a means to promote the blogs, I'm a twitterer or |Tweeter...whatever... in other words, I use Twitter to build up circulation. Really, it's a great tool and one that has brought me some new readers from all corners of the globe but there's still a long way to go in order for me to say I have a following. Not that I'm complaining about you wonderful people who have followed me from the start.

As a blog writer, it's important to keep abreast of what others are writing about and I enjoy reading people's take on life. Of particular interest is the number of blog followers that some contributors seem to attract. Okay. I'll admit the little green-eyed monster is at work here but numbers do say a lot.

For example, my busiest blog being this very one, has thirteen followers. My ego soared as each person added themself to my list, which in turn gave me the incentive to be on the lookout for material to share with everyone.  The next busiest blog in my A. Playwright's Rambling, covering the world of playwriting and the angst and frustration of getting one's play produced. It has attracted one follower and in turn I always mentally dedicate my writing to my sole follow-ee.

"Stop rambling and get to the point already!"

On average, the two top blogs get about fifty page views and more on a good subject, but depending on the interest level, they can be as low as fifteen. The largest numbers were posts relevant to the royal nuptials and my not receiving an invitation, how to act should one be in the company of royalty and another one covering every day etiquette and manners. People seem particularly interested in royalty and related matters. While seeking out the quirky side of life, I've noticed that some lucky bloggers manage to acquire thousands of page views and vast numbers of followers. This causes me to shake my head in wonder and awe as to how they accomplish this.

My twitter followers on the other hand, number in the mid 400-range. This means that 400 lucky people get pre-notification  when a new blog is posted. It also makes me wonder exactly who reads my literary offerings and which subjects they enjoy the most. Feedback is the key to creativity, readers! When it's all said and done, it's  a numbers game in the end, right?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The coffee and tea challenge

As mentioned often in previous blog posts and being a tea drinker, the only way to drink my beverage of choice is hot and in a china cup/mug.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Halloween - it's not just window dressing

Is it my imagination or is Halloween starting earlier every year? Seems to me that there are more temporary Halloween-related costume stores popping up in strip malls, indicating that this is still a growing market. Still, it is a fun holiday and one that is lucrative for the industry.

According to statistics on the site, there are 41 million potential trick-or-treaters accross the U.S.
- 85.78 million households will give out candy and other goodies
- would you believe that pet-owners shelled out $310 million dollars for pet outfits, $1 billion dollars on kids costumes and $1.21 billion in the adult costume sector.

According to the National Retail Federation, spending on Halloween costumes for pooches, and occasionally cats, is expected to hit a record $370 million this year, up nearly 20 percent from last year. Just as far as outfits for pets are concerned, do owners ask their pets what if any, costumes they prefer? Maybe they would prefer to go "as is." True dressed up dogs and cats are cute but then they (dogs and cats, iguanas, et al) don't particularly look like they're enjoying the experience. Wonder how snakes take to being in costume...or turtles...or bats for example...

Click through this collection of pictures of pets dressed in their Halloween finest and decide if they look happy. But I digress.

Fact-ually-speaking, the best city for walking and trick-or-treating according to Prevention magazine, is San Francisco, while the safest city according to Forbes, is Plano, Texas.

Once the tricking or treating is over, it's time to eat all those goodies, which are not so good health-wise but readers already know that. Right?

- the average American eats 1.2 pounds of Halloween candy. No indication if this includes dentists - just a thought.

Horror films are in during the bewitching season. The five highest grossing Halloween or horror films/franchises of all time are:
"Saw" - $415.9 million, "Friday the 13th" - $380.6 million, "A Nightmare on Elm Street" - $370.5 million, "Scream" - $332.7 million, "Halloween" - $308.5.

I'm a big fan of "Rocky Horror Picture Show", the movie, but never attended a Halloween midnight showing featuring attendees getting into the picture.

According to, the most popular Halloween songs as compiled by plays on radio (2010) were and coming in at #1, no surprise, is "Thriller" by Michael Jackson (one of my favorites), "Monster Mash" by Bobby 'Boris' Picket and the Crypt Kickers (try saying that fast after a few drinks), "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker, Jr, "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon, "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC, "A Nightmare on My Street" by D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult, "Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell, "Running With the Devil" by Van Halen, "Witchy Woman" by the Eagles.                                                                                

For a few laughs at people and pets celebrating the holiday in their own unique way, take a look at this Halloween compilation from America's Funniest Videos

Finally, in as far as growing and producing the biggest pumpkin, Ron Wallace of Greene, Rhode Island, grew an orange monster that weighed in at 2,009 pounds, making it the largest pumpkin in history and in addition, the largest fruit ever grown in the world. The pumpkin was weighed in at the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, MA last week. Wonder how many pumpkin pies one could make from that...

So what are you and your pet as the case may be, planning to dress up as for Halloween?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Still another 'duh" story that makes one shake one's head

Had to share this story that I came accross during my daily search for interesting (read: weird-ish) stories focusing on your ordinary people who for whatever reason, do - well - silly things. In this case, the man paid the ultimate price for his action.

For whatever reason, a guy decided to participate in a cockroach eating contest... Correction: a live cockroach eating contest in Deerfield Beach, Florida. The contest, and why anyone would even consider holding a competition of this nature is also questionable, attracted thirty paticipants who ate roaches and other insects in order to win the prize - wait for it - a python.

So this makes one - me - wonder why the sponsor of the competition, a pet store, would give a potentially dangerous reptile as a prize to people who may not even know anything about the raising and care of pythons. I mean, would you? But I digress.

The contestant who shall remain nameless, became ill very quickly after the contest ended and collapsed outside the store. He was transferred to a hospital and pronounced dead. Amazingly enough and according to the sheriff's office, no other contestants became ill. I dunno - maybe they had pre-pared for the contest by eating roaches at home. Go know!

In any case, the participants signed a waiver "“accepting responsibility for their participation in this unique and unorthodox contest.” To say the least! I've tried deceased chocolate-covered grasshoppers - at least I took a bite out of one - but perhaps it's just me, but live cockroaches are on my not appealing whatsoever list. How about anyone reading this?

According to the story, the bugs were consumed from an inventory of insects deemed safe and domestically raised in a controlled environment of food for reptiles. This statment says a lot in itself. Food for reptiles aren't necessarily good for some humans.

There is no information as to whether a winner was declared and if the prize winner took home the python.

For those with delicate stomachs, the above link features a large-ish photo of a cockroach.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Pickles to go

The arrival of autumn always evokes memories of the past and my grandfather's pickling finesse. Perhaps it was his Russian roots and the era in which he lived, when supermarkets and ready made products were still a century away to being available.

It was an accepted part of