What is one of the illusions of life?

"One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. No man has learned anything rightly, until he knows that every day is Doomsday."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his book Works and Days

Five people who tried to fake their own deaths (two with canoes)

It may work when Bugs Bunny fakes his death, but...

After hearing bad news about his ex-girlfriend, James Nash, 25, set his apartment on fire and got his friend to call his landlady and tell her he was dead. He was arrested for arson and sentenced to three years in jail.
Arson and fake death>>

To avoid appearing in court on a gun charge, Benjamin E. Brown Jr., 36, had his brother give a copy of a fake death certificate to a probation officer saying he had been fatally shot. But there was no original death certificate, the file number was wrong, and there was no police or funeral home record. Mr. Brown was sentenced to 27 months in prison.
Fatal shooting fake death>>

Gandaruban Subramaniam fled Singapore to escape creditors and settled in Sri Lanka, where he obtained a death certificate saying he died in a civil war shoot-out in 1987. He and his family claimed almost $250,000 in insurance money. He and his family were caught. He was sentenced to three years in jail.
Civil war shoot-out fake death>>

John Darwin, a former prison officer, vanished in 2002 and was thought drowned after his damaged canoe was found. He lived for a time next to his family home, where he crawled through a hole in the wall to meet his wife. In 2007, he reappeared at a police station and said he could not remember the missing five years. His wife said he planned his disappearance to pay off debts with life insurance. He and his wife were sentenced to over six years imprisonment for various frauds. The BBC made a drama about the case called "Canoe Man."
Canoe Man fake death>>

Marcus Schrenker, 38, was in trouble with his wealth management business. So Mr. Schrenker took off in a small plane, called in a distress call, then parachuted out of the plane, which crashed 200 miles away. He fled on a previously hidden motorcycle, resurfaced and said he was in a canoe accident, fled again and was caught in a tent at a campground with a self-inflicted wound. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison on securities fraud charges.
Crashed airplane fake death>>

Daisies tease male flies with promises of wild insect sex... but only use them for pollination

Meh. Flies couldn’t care less about these daisies.

Flies look at these daisies, but they don’t touch.
(In scientific terms, they give the flowers a
"sly inspection glance.")

These daisies are fly pornography –
so flies fornicate frantically.

It’s known that about 30% of orchids practice sexual deception. The orchid flower impersonates a female insect, and lures male insects (specifically ants, flies, bees and wasps) that are looking for sex. The male insects then go from orchid to orchid, spreading the pollen and pollinating all the orchids they visit.

Scientists recently discovered that certain daisies also use the same method to deceive insects. The flowering part of the daisy has petal markings that look like female insect wings, which fools flies into trying to mate with the markings.

Real fly on the right. Sexy fake female fly on the left.

Can't get enough? Here's a fly sex video. ("Oh, those scientists!")

- Daisies deceive sex-crazed flies into pollinating>>
- Desirable daisies lure male flies with offer of sex>>
- Floral Mimicry Enhances Pollen Export: The Evolution of Pollination by Sexual Deceit Outside of the Orchidaceae, The American Naturalist>>

Undercover panties used for secret surveillance

Forget-me-not panties

This underwear contains a tracking device that will surreptitiously monitor the wearer:
"Forget-me-not panties will help protect the women in your life!

These panties will monitor the location of your daughter, wife or girlfriend 24 hours a day, and can even monitor their heart rate and body temperature.

Based on pioneering research developed by the U.S. military at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), we have brought this revolutionary technology, previously only available to the military, to you!

These "panties" can trace the exact location of your woman and send the information, via satellite, to your cell phone, PDA, and PC simultaneously! Use our patented mapping system, pantyMap®, to find the exact location of your loved one 24 hours a day.

The technology is embedded into a piece of fabric so seamlessly she will never know it's there!"
 Forget-me-not panties>>

What's a divine punishment for liars?

 Some people get their torments in hell.

Others are said to be afflicted by an ironic punishment on earth:
“One of the divine punishments for too much lying is that Allah makes the liar afflicted with forgetfulness.”
- Attributed to Ja`far as-Sadiq in the book Wasael ush-Shia.

Deceptive "trick plays" in football

This is a stupid melon-headed play, not a trick play.

This deceptive trick play in football is called “wrong ball.”

The quarterback pretends that something is wrong with the football, so he walks towards the coach on the sidelines holding up the ball. He hopes to deceive the defense into not tackling him by stopping the game for some sort of "problem" with the game. When the quarterback has gotten far enough away from the defensive players on the opposing team, he runs towards the goal.

Some think the “wrong ball” trick play is fair game and within the rules, and others think it’s an illegal play or, at the very least, unsportsmanlike, especially when the players are young kids. Others say that those youngsters will never forget the fundamental rule that when the ball is picked up, it’s time to tackle.

This kind of deception could be called "pretending to step outside the game." The football players are deceived because they think the rules of the game don't apply because the game isn't still happening, and that the quarterback was able to stop the game. But unless the quarterback calls a time out, he can't stop the game. He merely pretends to stop the game.

On a professional and college level, they run a different type of trick play, where players are deceived into thinking one type of play is going to happen, but another happens instead.

This was a college football game, with Notre Dame playing at Michigan State. The game was in overtime. The Michigan State Spartans seemed to be setting up to kick a field goal, which would have forced the game to go into a second overtime. Instead, they pulled off a fake play, called “Little Giants,” and won the game.

But even the “wrong ball” trick play isn’t always successful. Sometimes an individual doesn’t follow the crowd and isn’t fooled by the ruse. That player's head is still in the game, and doesn't get conned into thinking the game has somehow been put on hold. (Warning - loud music track. You might want to mute the sound on this video.)

Catch Daniel Radcliffe in a deceptive act

The circumstance surrounding this photo of 
Daniel Radcliffe, star of the Harry Potter movies, 
are obscure.

Yet Daniel Radcliffe does get beheaded by guillotine on the British game show QI, hosted by Stephen Fry.

How to detect liars with holiday cookies

Actress and comedian Amy Sedaris explains how 
to detect liars at work by using the cookie subterfuge 
in this video from "The Colbert Report."


A quote about the scrupulously honest man

The man with character sells the right kind of needle.
"It is possible that the scrupulously honest man may not grow rich so fast as the unscrupulous and dishonest one; but success will be of a truer kind, earned without fraud or injustice. And even though a man should for a time be unsuccessful, still he must be honest; better to lose all and save character. For character is itself a fortune."
- Samuel Smiles in his book Self-Help; with Illustrations of Character and Conduct (1859)

I also had to include the following paragraph, which was the paragraph directly before the above quote. I like his colorful descriptions, especially of frauds selling "needles without eyes."
"Although common honesty is still happily in the ascendant amongst common people, and the general business community of England is still sound at heart, putting their honest character into their respective callings, - there are unhappily, as there have been in all times, but too many instances of flagrant dishonesty and fraud, exhibited by the unscrupulous, the over-speculative, and the intensely selfish in their haste to be rich. There are tradesmen who adulterate, contractors who "scamp," manufacturers who give us shoddy instead of wool, "dressing" instead of cotton, cast-iron tools instead of steel, needles without eyes, razors made only "to sell," and swindled fabrics in many shapes. But these we must hold to be the exceptional cases, of low-minded and grasping men, who, though they may gain wealth which they probably cannot enjoy, will never gain an honest character, nor secure that without which wealth is nothing - a heart at peace. "The rogue cozened not me, but his own conscience," said Bishop Latimer of a cutler who made him pay twopence for a knife not worth a penny. Money, earned by screwing, cheating, and overreaching, may for a time dazzle the eyes of the unthinking; but the bubbles blown by unscrupulous rogues, when full-blown, usually glitter only to burst. The Sadleirs, Dean Pauls, and Redpaths, for the most part, come to a sad end even in this world; and though the successful swindles of others may not be "found out," and the gains of their roguery may remain with them, it will be as a curse and not as a blessing."

“I need help, grandma. I'm scared. I need money.”

Her grandson was in trouble.

It started when Gayla Reid got a phone call.

The voice said “Hi, Grandma” and she said “Hello Brody.”

Brody was her only grandson. Brody was scared. He was in jail in Red Rock, Canada and had been there all night. He said he was in Canada for a funeral and that night went out with some stupid friends of his and got arrested because they had drugs in their car. He begged her not to tell anyone, and he said he’d explain the whole thing to his parents when he got back.

He told her a policeman would call in ten minutes with all the details.

In ten minutes, a policeman with a Canadian accent called. The officer said it was complicated to raise bail for her grandson because the situation crossed international borders, so they would have to use an international bail bondsman. He said one company in London and another in Australia might work. He put her on hold for a minute and then returned.

He said the bail bondsman in Australia would take care of it and they needed $5,600.

Mrs. Reid wasn't stupid. She thought something didn't sound right, and asked the officer if this was some kind of scam. But he reassured her. He gave her his badge number and his supervisor’s phone number and told her to call his supervisor to verify.

Mrs. Reid was going to call her grandson directly on his cell phone, but the officer said they had taken his cell phone away.

Her husband went to the bank to withdraw the money. But before they sent it, Mrs. Reid went online and searched for the Canadian police department. The phone number the officer gave her didn't match.

Then she saw a news article about a “Granny Scam.”

It explained how con artists call grandmothers and pretend to be their grandchildren, then scam them out of money because the kids are in some kind of trouble.

And the trouble can only be solved by wiring money.

The victims think they would never be stupid enough to get scammed, but as Mrs. Reid said:
"When your grandson is involved your heartstrings and your heart gets involved.”
After her husband got back home, she told him to redeposit the money.

Then she called her grandson.

He was sitting safely at home on his couch in Albuquerque.

Phone scam preys on a Grandma's love, KRQE News 13, Albuquerque>>
Emergency or "Grandparent" Scam, Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre>>

How do you detect cheating on exams?

"I'm sorry, Dave, you aren't allowed to cheat on your exam."

Caveon, an independent test security company, uses statistics to detect cheaters:
"...Caveon says its analysis of answer sheets is the most sophisticated to date. In addition to looking for copying, its computers... hunt for illogical patterns, like test-takers who did better on harder questions than easy ones. That can be a sign of advance knowledge of part of a test.

The computers also look for unusually large score gains from a previous test by a student or class. They also count the number of erasures on answer sheets, which in some cases can be evidence that teachers or administrators tampered with a test.

When the anomalies are highly unlikely — their random occurrence, for example, is greater than one in one million — Caveon flags the tests for further investigation by school administrators."
Cheaters Find an Adversary in Technology, The New York Times>>

Where do they get the deceptive ideas for the TV spy show Burn Notice?

Burn Notice - The spy’s mom Madeline, his best buddy Sam, 
spy Michael Westen, and his ex-girlfriend Fiona.

One of the latest TV shows on deception is Burn Notice. It’s another update of the old Mission Impossible TV series where a team of spies deceives and cons the bad guys without relying on more brutal methods (such as, I don't know, assassination?)

In the show, a spy named Michael Westen is “burned” - forcibly retired - from his spy agency. The show has two main plot lines: in one, Mr. Westen tries to discover who “burned” him, and in the other, he works with his friends to help others out of jams using the deceptive skills he learned as a spy.

So where does the show get their ideas on deception?

Series creator and writer Matt Nix says:
“Our primary source is the consulting producer on the show, Michael Wilson, who worked in intelligence and sort of around these things over the course of his career and can give us a lot of stuff. We also read a lot of books and source material and stuff like that. We even talk to law enforcement.

In a roundabout way, we end up drawing on any arena where you can find interesting technique related to deception. We’ve gotten things from undercover narcotics officers.  We’ve gotten things from the ATF.  We’ve gotten things from folks at the actual CIA, all over the place and reading tons of books.  Foreign intelligence agencies tend to be really useful, so histories of particularly the intelligence agencies like the KGB or the Mossad or the agencies that do the more hardcore, devious stuff and certainly the Soviet Union don’t have to worry about a judiciary that’s going to come down really hard on them so the pallet is a little bid broader. I’d say on a day to day basis, we talk to Michael Wilson a lot but we also do a lot of other research.”
Does anyone worry about what the show might teach others? Mr. Nix says it’s all about discretion, and intent:
“I suppose that Burn Notice might be the occasion for someone to realize that it is possible to make a particular kind of homemade explosive, right? But all we will ever teach is something like Vaseline or brake fluid happen to be major components. We didn’t get into the specifics. The bottom line is, if anybody really wanted to do anything, they would still have to do so much research. Well, start with an engineering degree. I feel like we’re on pretty safe ground. Moreover, [we use] stuff that exists in the world and that is scary, and that is bad, but Michael Westen is taking those things and using them on behalf of the good guys. That's what people respond to about the show. It’s a kind of a reversal.”
What’s interesting is that much of this deceptive information is available in books and articles – it’s not secret. And it’s okay to use these deceptive techniques because they’re used by the good guys to hurt the bad guys. I imagine if the show was called “The Terrorist’s Handbook” and the main character was named Mohamed and went to a mosque, there would be a lot more scrutiny, wouldn’t there?

A jihadist "Burn Notice" was not considered.

Burn Notice, USA Network>>
Burn Notice, Wikipedia>>
Interview on Nice Girls TV>>
Interview on Deadline>>

The ball prank that explains a deceptive principle

If you take the left road, you can't also take the right road.
That's also how your brain works.

This Decoy Exercise Ball Prank video prank uses a simple rule of deception. First, you must divert your victim's attention away, and then...


How to make falsehood more successful

Even a broken watch is right twice a day.

"Falsehood is never so successful as when she baits her hook with truth, and that no opinions so fatally mislead us, as those that are not wholly wrong, as no timepieces so effectually deceive the wearer as those that are sometimes right."

- Charles Caleb Colton in Lacon: or, Many things in few words : addressed to those who think, Volume 2

The charming art prank on an 80-year-old woman

The 15-foot-tall intruder arrived in the middle 
of the night on Donna Coughlin's front lawn.
"I opened up the curtain and I looked and I thought, 'What is that?' I absolutely couldn't believe it. And then I went to the front door and opened the front door... and this was like 1:30 in the morning, so then I thought I'm going to call the police and I thought well that's probably a pretty stupid thing to do... anyway I did, anyhow, called the police (laughs) and they came out... two cars no less!"
A box attached to the base had words cut from a magazine spelling out: "We hope u enjoy this thing." It was signed with the letters PS.

But this isn't the first time something strange has been left on the front lawn of the house she's lived in for 53 years.

The giant bug of 1987

Donna Coughlin first had a sculpture put on her lawn 23 years ago, in 1987, by artist and trickster Mark Guilbeau, a University of Colorado master of fine arts graduate. It was a giant bug. When she caught him taking it apart weeks later, he invited her to campus for tea and to view the sculpture.

"So now I'm keeping watch at night to see who I'm going to catch this time, to come and pick this little gem up...'

Sculpture's mysterious appearance in Boulder yard has echoes of past - Boulder Daily Camera>>

The bow-legged optical illusion

"Appearance to the contrary, these legs are perfectly straight."
This optical illusion is from a 1913 "Popular Mechanics" 
magazine. (Click to enlarge.)

Do not give gifts to those you cannot trust

When the Norse God Odin gives you advice, 
you might want to listen.

Odin gives the character Loddfafnir his Solomon-like advice on ethics and morality in the poem Hávamál. Here he explains the value of deceiving your enemies:
"Know - if you have a friend in whom you have sure confidence and wish to make use of him, you ought to exchange ideas and gifts with him and go to see him often. If you have another in whom you have no confidence and yet will make use of him, you ought to address him with fair words but crafty heart and repay treachery with lies."
Odin is a realist - only give gifts and exchange ideas with those you trust. If you don't have confidence in someone, speak nicely to them, but make sure you lie.

The above quote is found in a book called The Gift, a study of gift-giving by Marcel Maus. The quote is originally from a collection of 13th Century books of Norse mythology called Edda.

Some scholars believe that some of our Christmas traditions can be traced to Odin, such as placing stockings by the fireplace to be filled with gifts, Santa's full beard, and his flying reindeer (which, in Odins's case, was a leaping 8-legged horse.)

The "Ghost of Christmas Presents" confronts 
Scrooge in the 1951 version of "A Christmas Carol."
This is the best filmed version of the tale.

I found the Odin quote and references in a book called Scams and Sweeteners: a Sociology of Fraud by Masahiro Ogino.
Read more of the Germanic myth: Hávamál - The Words of Odin the High One, Germanic Myths, Legends, and Sagas by Professor D. L. Ashliman>>

"...once you're boned, what's left to create the illusion?"

Mae West in the film "Go West, Young Man."
"My advice to those who think they have to take off their clothes to be a star is, once you're boned, what's left to create the illusion? Let em wonder. I never believed in giving them too much of me."
From the book On Sex, Health and E.S.P. by Mae West.

Salvador Dalí was a fan. He painted her in his "Visage of Mae West."

 The optical illusion of Mae West on canvas.

Dalí also recreated his painting of her for the Dalí Theatre and Museum in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain.

The optical illusion of Mae West in 3D.

Here's a video of the Mae West Room, with nose fireplace, eye paintings, lips sofa and hair curtains.

Almost every fraud is a very old fraud

 The Neanderthal Man... WHAT primitive passions... 
WHAT mad desires drove him on...? 
He held them all in the grip of deadly terror... 
nothing could keep him from the money he claimed as his own!

"The man who is admired for the ingenuity of his larceny is almost always rediscovering some earlier form of fraud. The basic forms are all known, have all been practiced. The manners of capitalism improve. The morals may not."

- John Kenneth Galbraith

Illusions with fake bread (this bread is not real)

 A photograph of sliced bread on a poster.

Fake white "prop" bread made of polyfoam material.

Bread made into slippers.

The "loaf toaster" - where slices of bread can be toasted 
inside a toaster that looks like a loaf of bread. 
(It's likely this is a Photoshopped creation and 
not a real product.)

Bread molded to look like human heads. 

A quote by the Buddhist human head bread-maker: 
"People should not accept everything on face value and be quick to judge situations or other people. My bread artwork looks gruesome and repulsive, but inside is the soft textured bread and sweet surprises that are totally opposite of what people see... 

Mealtimes are a good time for people to reflect because they are free of other distractions and Buddha wanted us all to contemplate every situation and see the beauty of everything he created.”

Women, strengthen your relationship by letting your man cheat

Australian Holly Hill has a solution to infidelity.

She believes the solution to cheating and adultery is to make it more acceptable:
"It's better to walk the dog on a leash than let it escape through an unseen hole in the back fence."
Holly Hill (not her real name) is the author of a book that details her time as a mistress. She says:
"I think that cheating men are normal... Monogamous men are heroes. Monogamy does have a place in relationships, but not on the long-term. Men are hard-wired to betray women on the long-term."
After she was dumped by a married boyfriend, she placed an ad looking for sugardaddies who would support her in return for companionship and sex.

(She was 39 years old, but lied and said she was 35.)

At first she thought she wasn't a prostitute, but later she realized of course she was.

Ms. Hill, with a degree in psychology and her year-long experience as a mistress, says she's only saying out loud what most of us know is true:
"Men need to get their rocks off... If a woman crosses her legs for any length of time and doesn't arrange some sort of alternative for her man, he is going to cheat on her."
She and her boyfriend use "negotiated infidelity" as part of their relationship, where they set boundaries on what they can and cannot do with other lovers.

Ms. Hill believes if more couples practiced this type of open cheating, there would be less heartache from hidden cheating.

'Sugarbabe' favors negotiated infidelity, CNN>>

"Operation Rotten Tomato" catches fraud in the food industry

 Frederick Scott Salyer is one bad tomato.

A former owner of a tomato company is in big trouble. He ran a company called SK Foods that processed tomatoes for use in other foods. Since the tomato paste business is fiercely competitive, he found an edge by cheating.

He's charged with bribing food companies to buy his products, mislabeling regular products as organic, and selling products with a one-year shelf life that were three-years old.

When someone in the company complained, Mr. Salyer said:
“You can take the ethics book and shove it…We have always manipulated inventory and will continue to. We will lie to anyone outside the circle, but not to each other.”
The FBI discovered that when SK Foods could not keep up with demand, they mislabeled old as new and regular as organic. As Mr. Salyer said:
"You can solve all your problems with a label printer."
Mr. Salyer left for Europe, but when he returned to the U.S. he was arrested. After eight months in jail, he made bail.

His company went bankrupt and was sold.

Prosecutors are worried that Mr. Salyer will flee the country:
"In late 2009, as his attorney was engaged in discussions with the government, the defendant used nominee bank accounts to move millions of dollars to Andorra and, removing all doubt as to his intentions, put a deposit down on a residence in that country while simultaneously emailing a specialized company for assistance to obtain residency in Andorra.*"
 (*a small country bordered by Spain and France)

The capital of the principality of Andorra,
Andorra la Vella is finely situated on the Gran Valira river.

- Operation Rotten Tomato - Fraud in the Food Industry, FBI>>
- Tomato king Frederick Scott Salyer's journey from boardroom to jail cell, Los Angeles Times>>
- Tomato king Salyer leaves jail after bail is raised, Sacramento Bee>>
- To learn lots about the tomato business, read Rotten Tomatoes - Scandal strikes the tomato-paste industry, Slate>>

Telling the truth about me is unfair

Samuel Langhorne Clemens

"I don't mind what the opposition say of me so long as they don't tell the truth about me. But when they descend to telling the truth about me I consider that this is taking an unfair advantage."

- Mark Twain

The deception of Arthur Rex Crane, ex-POW

Arthur "Rex" Crane, the deceptive Australian POW.

Arthur "Rex" Crane, 84 years old, had fought the Japanese in World War II starting when he was 15 years old. He was part of a volunteer force which conducted guerrilla operations. When he was captured, he was tortured and beaten with bamboo sticks and crucified with four-inch nails.

Years later, he rose to become national president of the Australian Ex Prisoners of War Association, where he spent decades lobbying on behalf of veterans.

Except... he had never served in the military. His whole story was a lie.

In 2009, military historian Lynette Silver heard him deliver a speech, Afterward, she said:
"I'd done so much work that I knew the names of everybody and I knew he wasn't one of them."
He had fraudulently received over $460,000 in war pension and disability payments. But that was not the reason for his lies.

Mr. Crane began his deception in the 1960s when he met prisoners of war at a bar and admired their stories. He wanted to be friends, so he made up his own story, and later did research so he could get the details right.

As the judge said to him before ordering him to repay the money and sentencing him to 6 months in jail:
"The motivation for your deception was not greed but need in the sense of achieving and maintaining hero status... It was a case of fantasy and deception which got totally out of control."
- Fake POW to spend time behind bars in Qld, Sydney Morning Herald>>
- Fake Australian prisoner of war claimed £442,000 in pension payments, The Telegraph>>

"How can I help being a humbug?" said the Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 
by L. Frank Baum, with pictures 
by W.W. Denslow, 1900.

This chapter occurs right after the wizard has been exposed as a fake. Still, the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and Lion want what they were promised. That's when the wizard performs, as the chapter title states, "the magic art of the great humbug." And it is real magic, even if we see it for what it really is. Yet in the last paragraph, the wizard realizes the limitations of his magic.

Chapter 16 - The Magic Art 
of the Great Humbug

Next morning the Scarecrow said to his friends:

"Congratulate me. I am going to Oz to get my brains at last. When I return I shall be as other men are."

"I have always liked you as you were," said Dorothy simply.

"It is kind of you to like a Scarecrow," he replied. "But surely you will think more of me when you hear the splendid thoughts my new brain is going to turn out." Then he said good-bye to them all in a cheerful voice and went to the Throne Room, where he rapped upon the door.

"Come in," said Oz.

The Scarecrow went in and found the little man sitting down by the window, engaged in deep thought.

"I have come for my brains," remarked the Scarecrow, a little uneasily.

"Oh, yes; sit down in that chair, please," replied Oz. "You must excuse me for taking your head off, but I shall have to do it in order to put your brains in their proper place."

"That's all right," said the Scarecrow. "You are quite welcome to take my head off, as long as it will be a better one when you put it on again."

"So the Wizard unfastened his head..."

So the Wizard unfastened his head and emptied out the straw. Then he entered the back room and took up a measure of bran, which he mixed with a great many pins and needles. Having shaken them together thoroughly, he filled the top of the Scarecrow's head with the mixture and stuffed the rest of the space with straw, to hold it in place.

When he had fastened the Scarecrow's head on his body again he said to him, "Hereafter you will be a great man, for I have given you a lot of bran-new brains."

The Scarecrow was both pleased and proud at the fulfillment of his greatest wish, and having thanked Oz warmly he went back to his friends.

Dorothy looked at him curiously. His head was quite bulged out at the top with brains.

"How do you feel?" she asked.

"I feel wise indeed," he answered earnestly. "When I get used to my brains I shall know everything."

"Why are those needles and pins sticking out of your head?" asked the Tin Woodman.

"That is proof that he is sharp," remarked the Lion.

"Well, I must go to Oz and get my heart," said the Woodman. So he walked to the Throne Room and knocked at the door.

"Come in," called Oz, and the Woodman entered and said, "I have come for my heart."

"Very well," answered the little man. "But I shall have to cut a hole in your breast, so I can put your heart in the right place. I hope it won't hurt you."

"Oh, no," answered the Woodman. "I shall not feel it at all."

So Oz brought a pair of tinsmith's shears and cut a small, square hole in the left side of the Tin Woodman's breast. Then, going to a chest of drawers, he took out a pretty heart, made entirely of silk and stuffed with sawdust.

"Isn't it a beauty?" he asked.

"But is it a kind heart?"

"It is, indeed!" replied the Woodman, who was greatly pleased. "But is it a kind heart?"

"Oh, very!" answered Oz. He put the heart in the Woodman's breast and then replaced the square of tin, soldering it neatly together where it had been cut.

"There," said he; "now you have a heart that any man might be proud of. I'm sorry I had to put a patch on your breast, but it really couldn't be helped."

"Never mind the patch," exclaimed the happy Woodman. "I am very grateful to you, and shall never forget your kindness."

"Don't speak of it," replied Oz.

Then the Tin Woodman went back to his friends, who wished him every joy on account of his good fortune.

The Lion now walked to the Throne Room and knocked at the door.

"Come in," said Oz.

"I have come for my courage."

"I have come for my courage," announced the Lion, entering the room.

"Very well," answered the little man; "I will get it for you."

He went to a cupboard and reaching up to a high shelf took down a square green bottle, the contents of which he poured into a green-gold dish, beautifully carved. Placing this before the Cowardly Lion, who sniffed at it as if he did not like it, the Wizard said:


"What is it?" asked the Lion.

"Well," answered Oz, "if it were inside of you, it would be courage. You know, of course, that courage is always inside one; so that this really cannot be called courage until you have swallowed it. Therefore I advise you to drink it as soon as possible."
The Lion hesitated no longer, but drank till the dish was empty.

"How do you feel now?" asked Oz.

"Full of courage," replied the Lion, who went joyfully back to his friends to tell them of his good fortune.

Oz, left to himself, smiled to think of his success in giving the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman and the Lion exactly what they thought they wanted. "How can I help being a humbug," he said, "when all these people make me do things that everybody knows can't be done? It was easy to make the Scarecrow and the Lion and the Woodman happy, because they imagined I could do anything. But it will take more than imagination to carry Dorothy back to Kansas, and I'm sure I don't know how it can be done."

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Rare Book and Special Collections Division at The Library of Congress>>

How to profit from killing without murder - the funeral home scam

You can more easily scam the dead 
if there's nobody dead to begin with.

Dear Fraudy:

I work at my family’s mortuary and we’re having hard times. How can I make sure the business doesn’t fail? - John “Mortician” Adams
Dear John,

What you need to do is defraud insurance companies.

Since you work in the industry, you know that when someone dies and they can’t afford to pay for their funeral and burial expenses, you can use a “financial assignment company” to advance cash for their expenses.

Of course, later you collect the money from the dead person’s life insurance policy.

Get your family together and create a fake person. Let’s call him “Jim Davis.” Take out a life insurance policy for Mr. Davis and name some of your own relatives as his beneficiaries.

Then "kill" Mr. Davis.

Use your computer to make fake death documents for Mr. Davis. You’ll definitely need his death certificate with a forged doctor’s signature. It helps to have a notary in the family to notarize any fake papers.

Now write up two bills for his mortuary and funeral expenses. Make sure he has two lavish funerals. Only the best for Mr. Davis.

Send each of those bills to two different assignment companies.

Now you’ll get insurance money assigned to the funeral home for burial expenses without having to actually perform any services. (And you’ll get it twice!)

One of my clients actually buried a casket and had a fake funeral, but I don’t recommend this option. What if someone gets suspicious and tries to dig up the casket?

I recommend cremation and ash spreading over the ocean, which covers all fraudulent sins. (And you can bill for even more!)

Make sure you fill the coffin with a mannequin and dead cow parts so nobody at the crematorium gets suspicious.

And whatever you do, don’t go crazy with all that money. Put it back into the business and you’ll live free to scam another day.

- Your scam-man, "Fraudy"
- Fake Funerals, Empty Caskets - A Different Kind of Scam, FBI>>
- In $1.2 Million Fraud Plot, Four Women Invented A Man Then Killed Him Off, Talking Points Memo>>
- At-Need Insurance Assignment as a Financial Solution, Funeral Business Advisor>>

The Santa holiday prank-prank

  There is an obscene message in this photo.
UK News: A disgruntled employee, fired by Harrods from his job as the toy department’s Father Christmas, took revenge last night in spectacular style.

Gaining access to a maintenance control room, Lloyd Hudson, 35, from Ilford, Essex, was able to locate the chart and corresponding switches for Harrods’ 10,000 external lights.

Barracading himself in, Hudson disabled the correct lights until he could spell out his feelings to Harrods bosses and Christmas shoppers alike. He was removed by security guards after an hour-long stand-off, then handed over to police.

“He had drunk the best part of two bottles of whisky,” said a spokesperson for the iconic London store, “and it’s that kind of behaviour that got him the sack in the first place.” Hudson has since been released on police bail.

Knightsbridge visitors were stunned.

“Honestly, I am disgusted, ” said Irene Rider, 59, from Gary, Indiana. “I was with my grandchildren. We had just gotten off the bus. I said ‘look everybody’ and pointed up to the lights – but you know what the lights said? They said f**k off. And that is not an appropriate message for a child.  At least not at Christmastime.”
This amusing story about a Santa revenge prank was spread throughout the world. Except for one thing - it was a prank about a prank. There was no disgruntled Lloyd Hudson who drank two bottles of booze. He did not flick the switches on the holiday lights. The photograph is a fake. Harrod's external lights did not spell an obscene message.

The clue is in the last line of the story, part of a phony quote, which is also the punchline: know what the lights said? They said f**k off. And that is not an appropriate message for a child. At least not at Christmastime.”
So f**k off is an appropriate message to a child if it's not Christmastime?

Did people spread this news story thinking it was real, or did they know it was a gag and send it anyway? Or did the photo get detached from the story, and prank all by itself?

As Mr. Hudson said: "Merry f**king Christmas!"

‘Bad Santa’ sends message to Harrods>> The Poke>>

Magician Doug Henning on "The Muppet Show"

"Anything the mind can conceive is possible. 
Nothing is impossible. All you have to do is look 
within and you can realize your fondest dreams. 
I would like to wish each one of you 
all of life's wonders and a joyful 
age of enlightenment." 
- Doug Henning (1947 - 2000)

The magician Doug Henning took many classic magic tricks and added his whimsical touches. Here he shows his version of "The Dancing Handkerchief," a trick invented in the late 19th century that has been presented in many ways, including as a serious demonstration of spiritualism.

Mr. Henning's performing strengths were his irony-free, elfin personality, his coupling of magic and positive thinking, and his complete joy in performing. In this clip, it's not so much about the deception of magic or how it's done - after all, he is performing with a small frog puppet - but the idea that if something as impossible as dancing handkerchiefs is possible, then many other things might also be possible.


The black and white Santa illusion

I wonder if it's just as powerful an illusion if seen in real life?

This Santa at San Francisco's 2010 Santacon appears in black and white, and no it's not Photoshop, it's a custom gray costume, gray wig and Kryolan body paint.

Desaturated Santa, My Modern Met>>

Groucho Marx's test for honesty

"There is one way to find out if a man is honest; ask him! If he says yes you know he's crooked."

- Groucho Marx

Can you guess the ages of these girl models?

How old are these young models?

I was doing a Google image search when I ran across this site in Russia called Fashionbank that connects models and photographers.

Can you tell the age of each model without seeing her face, or is the rest of the photo deceiving you into thinking she's older?  Is the girl in the photo 16, 12, 10, 5, or 4 years old?


Fashion bank>>