Some of the following tips and tricks might be useful – but some are kind of criminal…
- If you want people to stop letting their dog poop on your lawn, don’t put up a “no dogs allowed” sign or a “please pick up your dog’s poop” sign. Put up a “Lawn Recently Treated with Toxic Pesticides”.
- When I was 16, a friend and I created a website with fake reviews of concerts in the Washington, DC area that we didn’t actually go to. Once we had built it up to our satisfaction, we used it as credentials to gain backstage access to a huge DC area music festival three years in a row.
- My dad would keep an orange vest and an orange flag in his car when we would go to sporting events. After the game, when the lot was full of angry drunk drivers, even getting someone to let you in was a real pain in the … My dad would have me or my brother jump out with the vest and flag and stop traffic, so he could get in the line. Then we would jump back in the car.
- Need new tires? Rent a car with the same bolt pattern and swap the wheels.
- In order to be a good liar, you need to convince everyone that you are a bad liar.
- If you have to bury a body, do it vertically, satellites look for 6 ft long holes and mark them for investigation, also, bury the body under a dead dog, sniffer dogs will mark that spot and when they dig it up and find the dog, they will mark it as a false positive and move on.
- When meeting someone, tell them you are twice as far away from them as you actually are, and are willing to meet halfway, I.e. a block away from where you currently are.
- To dominate someone in a conversation stare at their forehead questionably.
- I used to keep a cup from McDonald’s in my car at all times and whenever I was driving and wanted some soda I would just walk into any MacDonald’s and refill my cup. I did this for weeks.
- Want to eavesdrop on someone? AirPods have a “Live Listen” feature that turns your iPhone into a microphone. Leave your phone charging in the room you want to snoop in on and listen in remotely.
- If you’re stuck on an annoying call, put your phone on airplane mode instead of hanging up. The other person will see “call failed” instead of “call ended”.
- When I was going to college I would walk over to Whole Foods and get some of their most expensive grass-fed bone-in rib eye steaks from the meat counter. The butcher would wrap them up and slap a price tag on them. If I was getting meat for a BBQ this was sometimes upwards of 200 bucks. Then I would walk over to the bulk grains, put the meat on the scale, and hit print for something like oats. I’d cover the existing label on the meat with my much cheaper oats label, and proceed to self-check-out. It would ask you to scan the Barcode, and then place the item in the basket. Got a bunch of meat for the price of oats.
- Need a new windshield because yours is cracked? Find a gravel-hauling company, scope out their truck routes, get behind one, and then claim gravel fell off their truck and damaged your windshield.
- If you’re hungry and it’s between 6 am-8 am you can get free continental breakfast from pretty much any hotel you walk into. It helps if it’s busy.
- When I know I’m going to be late for something, I’ll call ahead and tell whomever I’m meeting that I was just pulled over for speeding. Thus giving myself an excuse for being late, and demonstrating my commitment to whatever it is I’m late for. It usually works pretty well.
- When career hunting, flagging Craigslist posts as spam after applying, or taking down flyers for a position (like at a college campus). cuts down on the competition.
- The clearance rack in the store, I hear those markdown labels can roll right off if you master the technique. They remain quite sticky. You can stick them on top of the standard ticket barcode.
- If your girlfriend has an annoying friend you want her to stop being friends with, just casually mention how pretty she is.
- I once got a parking ticket and instead of paying it I dipped it in water, crumpled it up, and had my girlfriend bring it to the police station a week later saying she found it on the street. I went online to see if the citation was still there and it was gone.
- It’s very awkward to say no. If you go to a fast food place for example and you simply lie and say that there was a Big Mac missing from your order during lunch rush and that your receipt got thrown away with your meal, they’ll give you another one.
- If you want free parking, find a garage that makes you take a ticket to keep track of how long you’ve been there. When you leave, instead of giving the machine the original ticket you took, go get a new one and give that one to the machine. You’ll only be charged for like 5 minutes of parking, which is usually free.
- Want free parking near your college campus? Find an older person who lives near campus and doesn’t drive & befriend them.
- If you have a significant unexplained employment gap that is hurting your resume claim that you were providing full-time end-of-life care for a grandparent (or other older relative).
- Buy clothes at Goodwill and sell them to Plato’s closet.
- Call up your TV provider, and tell them you want to stop using them. To keep your business they will offer extra channels. When the channels run out, repeat the process. I have had NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV for 3 years straight now for free.
- When buying something on Craigslist, I use my spam email to lowball the seller by a lot, then I use my regular email to give a reasonable offer that is still a good amount under the asking price. I almost always have my offer accepted.
- If you’re renting and make a mark on the wall, change the date on your phone, and take a picture to show it was like that when you moved in.
- When lying, always include something slightly embarrassing, or something that makes you look bad, as part of your story. It’s not only going to disarm their skepticism (admitting to something embarrassing gives an impression of humility), but even if they remain skeptical, they’ll be left wondering why you would make something up that you’d rather keep secret if it were true.
- Struggling to write a CV or can’t get a particular job? Post fake job offerings on recruitment websites for that position you’re interested in and watch the CVs/resumes pour in, which you can then copy for your own advantage.
- Don’t call into work “sick”. Call in saying that you have “family problems”. That’s the end of the discussion.
- You can take as many mini bottles through TSA as will fit in a quart-sized plastic bag. They are like $1.50 at the liquor store, compared to $7 on the plane, or even save them and refill them at home for even cheaper. Ask the flight attendant for the whole can and a cup of ice. Make sure to mix them in your drink when the flight attendant isn’t looking, as this is against FAA regulations. Put the empty minis back into your bag and not the seat pocket.
- If you’re doing something you shouldn’t, confidence is key. You can just walk out of a store holding what you stole and be fine if you know how to act (and have a basic knowledge of how the store works.) Bonus: trespass with an orange safety jacket, nobody questions the orange safety jacket.
- If you ever go to a country concert, wear something that implies you are in the military… you won’t pay for a drink the whole night.
- Looking to buy a car? Search the obituary for the phone number and call. They could be looking to liquidate assets quickly and sell cheaply.
- Always book your hotel room with the prefix of Doctor. When the morning crew pre-assigns rooms for that day’s arrivals, they are likely to put you in a nicer room to avoid an unhappy pretentious Doctor gossiping about being next to the elevator.
- The first trick I learned in the FBI: If you’re on a stakeout and you want someone to stop looking at you or think you’re not looking at them – pick your nose. They immediately turn away and think you’re just some jerk picking his nose.
- Want to steal something in a secure building? Buy a wheelchair and put crap in your lap (the cardboard boxes for paper reems work well and can be gotten for free). Roll up to the door behind someone and they’ll hold the door for you. No need for a key card.
- Need flowers for your significant other? Cemeteries have you covered.
- Put clear skateboard grip tape over your license plates. Yes, people will be able to read it easily, but, cameras that flash (speed cameras) will only get a bright blur.
- You can pretty much go anywhere in a hospital if you’re carrying delivery food and an invoice.
- Have a large, “professional-looking” camera. Get a bright vest that says “press” on it. Make an ID. Go to town. Almost free access anywhere.
- At a crowded bar, and can’t get a seat? Go up to the hottest woman there, and hit on her. She’ll leave in disgust, and you can take her seat.
- If you swear on automated voice systems, it can get you a human to talk to you instead.
- If your boss asks you to do a shift on your day off, just tell them that you’re drunk. They can’t legally allow you to come to work if you’re intoxicated.
Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do ya?
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing “Hallelujah”
Your faith was strong, but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew ya
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Baby, I’ve been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
There was a time you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool ya
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the lord of song
With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah
You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what’s it to ya?
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah
- change a diaper,
- plan an invasion,
- butcher a hog,
- conn a ship,
- design a building,
- write a sonnet,
- balance accounts,
- build a wall,
- set a bone,
- comfort the dying,
- take orders,
- give orders,
- act alone,
- solve equations,
- analyze a new problem,
- pitch manure,
- program a computer,
- cook a tasty meal,
- fight efficiently, and
- die gallantly.
Specialization is for insects.
Robert A. Heinlein
About Lazarus Long
|To Sail Beyond the Sunset
|Robert A. Heinlein
|Oldest member of the human race
|Woodrow Wilson Smith
Captain Aaron Sheffield
Proscribed Prisoner No. 83M2742
Mr. Justice Lenox
Dr. Lafayette ‘Lafe’ Hubert
Corporal Ted Bronson
His Serenity Seraphim the Younger, Supreme High Priest of the One God in All His Aspects and Arbiter Below and Above.
|actor, musician, beggar, farmer, priest, pilot, politician, con artist, gambler, doctor, lawyer, banker, merchant, soldier, electronics technician, mechanic, restaurateur, investor, bordello manager, and slave.
|Lapis Lazuli, Lorelei Lee (XX-parity clones), as well as many others unnamed.
Growing up in Germany in the 60s, every boy worth his salt would read the stories of Karl May The school library had a full set of his travel stories – somewhere around 70 – and I believe, I read them all. Many of my schoolmates must have also been worth their salt, because books were often out and you had to wait and visit the library often, to get the book you hadn’t read yet.
One story (maybe several – I don’t completely remember) played in the Llano Estacado. It was described as a big, flat, and featureless area in America. Water was hard to come by and it was dangerous to reach the few and far between watering holes.
To assist, stakes had been set along the path to guide the traveler, therefore llano estacado – the staked plane. Sandstorms often made the crossing even more dangerous, but even in a storm the two to three-meter high stakes would guide a trek. (Yes, even more than a century ago, Germans used the metric system.)
The stories were adventure stories, so they needed villains. They enter the Llano Estacados as gangsters that pull out a series of stakes and set them in a direction leading into the void instead of to the next watering hole. The poor traveler following those stakes ended up in the middle of the dry desert and died of thirst – only to be robbed by the gangsters without any danger to them – because they knew where the watering hole was and had plenty of water for themselves.
I do not remember how the story’s hero, Old Shatterhand, dealt with the hoodlums but, knowing Karl May, it was most likely that they were punished by the wrath of god.
Even if I don’t remember the outcome of the story, I do remember the Llano Estacado after so many decades. It made a strong impression on that young teenager, who, at that time, never imagined that he once would cross that Llano himself. Today I helped to plan a trip to Llano, Texas, and I decided that it really is time to research that good old Llano Estacado.
And – as you see in the picture above – the stakes are still there, just a bit taller and now with wires connecting their tops – – I can only imagine preventing hooligans from re-staking them to misguide the traveler. – – Oh, yes, and the paths are paved now!
1. Only in America…….
can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.
2. Only in America…….
are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink.
3. Only in America…..
do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store
to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.
4. Only in America…….
do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.
5. Only in America…….
do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.
6. Only in America…….
do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless
junk in the garage.
7. Only in America…….
do we use answering machines to screen calls and then have call waiting so we
won’t miss a call from someone we didn’t want to talk to in the first place.
8. Only in America…..
do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.
9. Only in America……
do we use the word ‘politics’ to describe the process so well:
‘Poli’ in Latin meaning ‘many’ and ‘tics’ meaning ‘bloodsucking creatures’.
10. Only in America……
do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.
- Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?
- Why women can’t put on mascara with their mouths closed?
- Why don’t you ever see the headline “Psychic Wins Lottery”?
- Why is “abbreviated” such a long word?
- Why is it that doctors call what they do “practice”?
- Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
- Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
- Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
- Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?
- When dog food is new and improved tasting, who tests it?
- Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
- Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?
- You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? – Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!
- Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?
- Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?
- If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?
- If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?
(You may listen to the story below, read it – if you can – or emerse yourself completely by listening and reading along…)
In the early 60s (of the last century) my parents bought a little vacation retreat in Spain some 80 kilometers down the coast from Barcelona. My dad really wanted it partially because it was sold as an investment to make money. Looking back, it might have been the leading edge of the wave of today’s timeshares. Mom thought it was a scam and had written off the FIVE-THOUSAND Marks (!) – a huge investment for my parents at that time when the monthly mortgage for their house was one hundred and twenty-seven marks.
But it turned out to be real, and my parents got themselves a ‘bungalow’ 1700 km away from home. That was quite a trip at a time when only Germany had its Autobahn, but there were no other freeways in France and Spain on the way to ‘Torredembarra’ to speak of.
I spend quality time there on several occasions – I considered it my second home. Took my first big love there right after we met and took her there shortly before she dumped me.
Then I took my next big love, occasionally she was a bit jealous because she was not the first one there with me, but it all turned out OK because the last ever trip to Spain, before we left Europe altogether for a new adventure in the new world, was with her as my wife. It was a surprise visit to my parents who now spend several months at a time in a better climate than the one in the middle of Germany.
My wife and I had gotten caught up in a cult in the good old US of A. My entanglement only lasted about a year, but it cost me my marriage and the poor wife is still in there as far as I know. Escaping the cult, with my tail between my legs, I went home to my parents – at least I wanted to, but when I was just breaking all the bridges with the cult behind me I received a letter (yes, that was a thing) from my parents, that they were about to get on the way to Spain.
So, no going back to my parents! The alternative was to go to the parents-in-law, who still loved me and whom I still loved, and who were probably were not quite aware of the circumstances that had developed in California.
Just getting out of a cult, finances were rather tight, but to my credit, I have to say that I never was one of those cult members who immediately gave everything to the guru. I still had my Ford LTD station wagon, safely (or so I thought) parked in the public parking of the cult, and I had maintained my own bank account with some green-bucks. Still, I got the cheapest flight to Europe. $225 on People Express to Amsterdam. All went well getting into Shiphol, but I had not considered that there would be a problem to rent a car to cross the border from Holland to Germany. The only viable solution I found was to take a Lufthansa flight from Shiphol to Hannover, about 330 km for nearly the same price as the flight from LA to Amsterdam.
In Hannover, I could rent a car and so I finally arrived at my in-laws, disillusioned by the cult, with many broken dreams, without my wife, and a really bad case of athletes foot from the cult’s community showers.
During the three weeks it took me to bring back my feet to good health, I built myself up emotionally, started to make plans for the future, and got ready to finally visit my parents.
In Bielefeld, I got on the train to Spain – on the Train to Spain – hmm, that rhymes!
Flying was not really an option, as at that time – the later part of the 80s – cheap city-to-city flights had not been invented, and Lufthansa to Barcelona would have strained my resources too much. So, it was two days of rocking and shaking trains, only sometimes with a seat all for myself, but also sometimes curling up on my suitcase in the gangway connection between two cars, in an attempt to get some shut-eye.
After many different trains at many different railway stations, I finally got off at the train station in Torredembarra, Spain. I invested a few Pesetas for a taxi ride to my parents’ bungalow. I only knew how to get there but did not know any address, so I had to tell the driver, left here, then right, then left again, and so on. I really never knew the official address of the house, but it had a number – later photos indicated that it was something like 35 II, and the street something like ‘Clara del Sol’. But my Spanish was good enough for ‘a la izquierda’ and ‘a la derecha’.
It was quite some surprise – they imagined me in California, in fact, had sent a letter there a few weeks ago, and waiting for an answer, and there this guy gets out of a cab in front of their house in a little cul-de-sac.
And that should be my last time in Spain in that little bungalow. Eventually, I made it back to California and rebuild my life, something that might deserve a few other stories.
A few years after these events, my parents sold the little house but some good memories stayed with me. With the advent of Google Maps and street view, I tried a few times to re-trace my way from the train station to our little sanctuary, but there were so many changes that I did not recognize the area anymore and just could not find that little cul-de-sac.
Until – yesterday! A little village a bit off the coast, and as such mostly left alone by tourists in the initial waves of German vacationers, had been our place of choice for shopping for groceries and wine. Pobla de Montornes itself was also unrecognizable for me on Street View, but the road connecting Pobla and Torredembarra was there and not likely changed during the last forty years, so I – virtually – drove this road from Pobla down towards the coast. I knew that I had to take a turn left to get to our little street, but all the streets going left looked unfamiliar, and I had tried in the past to just follow them but always had ended up in completely unfamiliar territory.
Again – until yesterday! I must have dismissed that left turn-off previously, but following it this time, things looked more familiar. And – suddenly – I stood in front of ‘our bungalow’. Sure, a garage had been added, the fence had been upgraded, the street number had changed, and vegetation was totally different, but it was undoubtedly ‘our house’.
The Google car even caught an older couple in the yard, which could have been my parents, but aren’t. Should they have been reborn, they would be much younger, and I don’t think they would go back to the place that made them work really hard initially.
In order to never ever lose that location, I put it on the internet, because nothing ever gets lost on the internet.