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Tag Archives: humour

184. Deadly Dough

In San Diego the sun beat down mercilessly on every available surface, metal  singed fingers and waves of air rose off of the tarmac. Outside of a small shop there was a car parked, from inside came a muffled bang, no-one outside noticed. The figure inside the car reached up cautiously to the back of its skull then collapsed limply.

Over time the people passing in and out of the shop noticed the slumped figure with her eyes closed and windows rolled up. The figure was one Lisa Burnett, a 23 year-old blonde-haired figure who was now by some contrivance of circumstance inert in the front of a rapidly heating car. Eventually one person who had been in the shop for over an hour became concerned and carefully approached the car.

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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Articles

 

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173. The Great Rolling Hotel and the Sahara

Subsaharan Africa is an inhospitable place at best, life maintains a tenuous grasp on that hot and arid landscape. It has long presented a great challenge to travelers, expeditionaries and nomads alike. Crossing  the Sahara even today is quite an undertaking. In 1969 humanity first set its footprints into the lunar dust, in the Shara another frontier was being broken. Overshadowed by the moon landing but still deserving of its own plaudits. For in 1969, humanity also first crossed the Sahara, in a bus. Well I say bus, really it is more than that. Not so technically advanced as the space shuttle but something equally as novel. It was ROTEL.

ROTEL is a simple concept from Germany, a hotel on wheels. Check in, tour the world then check out. To this day ROTEL still runs, operating tens of buses visiting over 150 countries. Touring from Baghdad, Bali, Scandinavia, the Arctic circle to just about any other country. For over 40 years ROTEL has provided the lazy explorer with the world. All in relative comfort, not decadence but at least from a position most unique. Where else after all, does the room itself take you to your destination?

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Posted by on July 12, 2011 in Articles, Trivia

 

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53. Stealing Charlie Chaplin

25th December 1977, Charlie Chaplin died at the age of 88 after a life of moving people to hysterical laughter. However his fame came at a price and others still wanted in.

On 2 March 1978, the coffin, with Charlie Chaplin still inside, was dug up and hidden away by a pair of Eastern European political refugees. A few weeks after the theft they unveiled their plan. The dead Charlie Chaplin was their hostage, and they had ransom demands.

They called Charlie Chaplin’s widow and family, demanding 600,000 Swiss Francs for the safe return of his body, otherwise he would remain forever hidden. They then sent the family a photograph of the coffin being buried in a corn patch as proof that they had the coffin.

Oona, Chaplin’s widow, refused to even consider the ransom, and only continued conversations with the thieves in cooperation with the police. Mainly the talking was done by her lawyer who spent most of the time negotiating with the criminals, eventually succeeding in getting the ransom down from 600,000 Swidd Francs 250,000(approximately $300,000).

By this time the police had set two traps for the grave robbers and had been unsuccessful, but using the phone lines they managed to track the approximate location of the call and stationed 100 policemen to keep an eye on 200 public telephones. The trap was too difficult to elude for the until recently employed Polish mechanic. His accomplice and he were caught, the location of the coffin given and the coffin was recovered.

The men were sentenced to 7 and a half years in prison for a combination of extortion and ‘disturbing the peace of the dead‘. Charlie Chaplin’s family were of course happy to get him back, they then reburied him a bit deeper, beneath concrete 2m thick. Probably wise.

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2011 in Articles, Trivia

 

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