Don't Make Me Laugh

Dec. 9, 2004
Our December Editorial Column, because it falls at the onset of the Holiday Season, does not dwell on any weighty issues of the day.

Don't make me laugh

View other Ron
Khol editorials

View Ron's Blog and comment on this article on the Machine Design Forums.

Instead, it is given over to topics of a light or whimsical nature. Be advised, however, that I know I will never be the last comic standing. That much said, here goes.

  • In a multiple-choice examination given to people applying for jobs as airport security screeners, one question asked why it is important to screen bags for improvised explosive devices. One of the choices for an answer was: "The ticking timer could worry other passengers."
  • A group of Spanish-speaking men in Atlanta set up a network of churches that appeared to be Roman Catholic. People who looked like priests conducted Mass, heard confessions, and offered Communion. It turned out that the churches had no connection whatsoever with the Vatican or the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta. The fake priests duped congregants, most of whom were Hispanic immigrants, into believing they were in Roman Catholic churches when, in fact, they were not in any officially recognized religious institution.
  • The government of Haiti has sanctioned voodoo as a religion, giving voodoo priests the legal authority to perform baptisms and marriages. Two-thirds of Haiti's 8 million people practice voodoo.
  • In 2001, officials of the Philip Morris Co. in the Czech Republic commissioned a study by Arthur D. Little International to find out whether or not cigarette smoking is economically detrimental to the country. The consultants concluded that cigarette smoking isn't a drain on the budget because the government saves money on health care, pensions, and housing when smokers die prematurely. The study found that in 1999 the Czech government had a net gain of $147 million from smoking and called the cost savings from the early death of smokers one of the positive effects of cigarette consumption.
  • To attract women to an online gambling site proposed by Harrah's Entertainment Inc., graphics were planned not to depict the usual slot machines, sexy girls, or views of the Las Vegas Strip. Instead, the site would emphasize feminine colors and games that involve popping bubbles or clicking on bingo cards. The site would be promoted at grocery-store checkout counters and ads on the horoscope pages of newspapers.
  • A Zimbabwean bus driver transporting 20 mental patients to a hospital made an unauthorized stop so he could grab a few quick drinks at a bar. During the stop, the patients all left the bus and wandered away. Not wanting to admit his transgression, the bus driver drove to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone there a free ride. He then delivered his passengers to the mental hospital and told the staff that the patients were excitable and delusional, prone to telling bizarre fantasies. It took authorities three days to discover the deception.
  • Earlier this year, the fire department of Niles, Ohio, raced to a blazing house. However, when the firemen arrived on the scene, they discovered that the house was not in Niles but instead was in the neighboring community of Weathersfield. Niles does not have a mutual-aid agreement with Weathersfield, so the firemen made no attempt to put out the blaze. They simply stood and watched the house burn.
  • Two rabbits were kept for demonstration purposes in a high-school science classroom in Plant City, Ohio. When the rabbits become sickly and appeared not likely to survive, the teacher beat them to death with a shovel in full view of the class. She then asked the students to help her bury the animals.
  • AmeriDebt Inc., a company that promoted itself as providing credit counseling to people having money problems, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

-- Ronald Khol, Editor
Send feedback to MDeditor @

Sponsored Recommendations

From concept to consumption: Optimizing success in food and beverage

April 9, 2024
Identifying opportunities and solutions for plant floor optimization has never been easier. Download our visual guide to quickly and efficiently pinpoint areas for operational...

A closer look at modern design considerations for food and beverage

April 9, 2024
With new and changing safety and hygiene regulations at top of mind, its easy to understand how other crucial aspects of machine design can get pushed aside. Our whitepaper explores...

Cybersecurity and the Medical Manufacturing Industry

April 9, 2024
Learn about medical manufacturing cybersecurity risks, costs, and threats as well as effective cybersecurity strategies and essential solutions.

Condition Monitoring for Energy and Utilities Assets

April 9, 2024
Condition monitoring is an essential element of asset management in the energy and utilities industry. The American oil and gas, water and wastewater, and electrical grid sectors...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!