Odds & Ends from Weird but Wonderful from the Sunday Times
Dead? You’re fired . . .
Two game wardens have launched a company that will turn cremation ashes into ammunition. Holy Smoke, founded by Thad Holmes and Clem Parnell, says it has already had inquiries from soldiers and police officers who would like their remains put into shell cases and rifle cartridges.
“People take ashes and spread them across lakes or forests or throw them in rivers, and nobody thinks twice about that. This is no different,” said Holmes, who estimates that a pound of ashes will fill 250 shotgun cartridges.
As the Alabama company’s website promises: “Now you can have the peace of mind that you can continue to protect your home and family even after you are gone.”
Invisible beggar cleans up
A beggar has seen a boom in business after declaring himself invisible. Nemanja Petrovic was so fed up after being shunned by passers-by in Subotica, Serbia, that he gave up his spot, leaving just his cap, shoes and a sign reading: “Invisible Beggar”.
“When I returned I was astonished to find a crowd and my cap full of money,” said Petrovic, 42. “Now I just put down the sign, and a pair of shoes as a prop, and wait for the donations to roll in while I have a coffee over the road.”
Have a merry redundancy
Hallmark, the greetings card company, has spotted an opportunity in America’s rising unemployment — greetings messages for the jobless. The company has issued a range of eight cards, including one with the following message: “Don’t think of it as losing your job — think of it as a time-out between stupid bosses.”
A Hallmark spokesman explained: “We know these job-loss captions are not going to be the strongest performers, but they are meant to meet a relevant and niche consumer need.”
Gourmet gets metal fatigue
A stuntman who entertained crowds by eating scrap has decided to retire after choking on a bicycle pedal. Branko Crnogorac, 80, claims he’s eaten 12,000 forks, 2,000 spoons, 2,600 plates, 6,000 LPs and 25,000 light bulbs during a career of 60 years. But he’s giving up after a friend bet he couldn’t eat his own bicycle within three days.
“After years of eating everything I’ve realised my digestive system isn’t as strong as it used to be, said Crnogorac, from Apatin, Serbia. “I almost died. Doctors found 2kg of assorted ironware in my stomach, including two gold rings. It was a wake-up call.”
Which bright spark...?
Electricity officials have denied making a mistake by putting poles along the centre of a road in Wuhan, China: they say it’s the road, not the poles, that is in the wrong place.
“Our power lines are just where they should be,” said an official. “It’s the road that has moved, not us.”
A grandmother has had “do not resuscitate” tattooed on her chest to ensure doctors don’t revive her if she falls seriously ill. And just in case Joy Tomkins is slumped on her front when disaster strikes, she has had “PTO” tattooed on her back.
“When my time comes I don’t want to end up half dead,” said Tomkins, 81, of Downham Market, Norfolk. “I want to be fully dead.”
No leg to stand on
Two security guards have been sacked after attaching an electronic tag to an offender’s false leg. Christopher Lowcock, 29, of Rochdale, foiled staff at the G4S security firm by wrapping his prosthetic limb in a bandage. One guard fitted the tag and another checked it. Both failed to notice that the leg could be removed.
Growing Old Together
There are lingering questions deep in our heart of hearts: will we grow old alone, feeling useless? Will we, too, be parked in one of those ghettoes for the old that we call retirement homes? Will we end our lives in the dark night of dementia?
….. It is up to us to develop the good ideas that are flourishing all over the world, such as `cafes of the ages' which enable different generations to come together, or social housing which would bring together young couples with small children and retired people. It is well known how much elderly people enjoy contact with the very young. I was convinced of this the day I saw a young woman bring her six-month-old baby and lay it on her grandfather's bed, as he lay dying in the hospital. I saw this old man, with his sad, lost expression, sit up, his face illuminated by a beautiful smile as joy filled his heart.
An American girlfriend told me that, in one shopping mall in the US, there is a public space where parents can leave their babies while they do their shopping. The young children are cared for by elderly volunteers, assisted by a qualified pediatric nurse., It is easy to imagine the reciprocal benefits of such contacts.
I do not think we truly realise how much we have lost as a result of the sociological changes of the last few decades. Contact between grandparents and grandchildren occurred naturally in the era of extended families living under the same roof. Today, different age groups have become compartmentalized. How badly things have deteriorated, to create a situation where we have to appeal to an association in order to establish affectionate links between the generations!
Jerome, a young political science student whom I met recently while visiting friends, told me that he was lodging with an eighty-five-year-old lady, in a large apartment in the Latin Quarter, under the French government's 'One roof, two generations' scheme. This scheme is supported by the students at his school, who drew up the charter for the tenancy agreement, which is based upon a mutual agreement to abide by the policies of discretion, respect, trust, and tolerance. In return for his presence, and for small services such as changing light bulbs and carrying up bottles of water, he is comfortably lodged in a bedroom with a connected bathroom. Three times a week, he spends the evening with this old lady, the widow of a law professor, who is very cultured but very lonely, for she has no children. Sometimes she takes him to a restaurant, but mostly they have dinner at home and listen to music or watch a film together. Sharing these moments of relaxation with a young man stimulates her. She feels younger. As for him, he is learning a great deal from her, for she has travelled extensively, and tells him humorous anecdotes about her adventures.
(Source: The Warmth of the Heart prevents your body from Rusting – Marie de Hennezel)