Uh-oh... Bummer!

Blunders from around the world

A woman were declared dead by a doctor after being found frozen stiff in her unheated caravan in -15 degrees Celsius. The orderly were about to roll her into the mortuary in a hospital in Ontario, Canada, when they heard a gasp. It was the "dead" woman, who later came by without any harm.

- Pacific Rural Press

The clairvoyance-evening Thursday 4. december at 19.00 has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.
- East Kent Times

A golfplayer in Livermore, California, played a ball through the window in a plane which were about to land at the local airport. It hit the pilot in the head, but he managed to land the plane safely.

Shortly after he was elected, the american president Calvin Coolidge invited some friends from the country to dinner in the White House. As they felt quite lost in such splendid surroundings, they mimiced every movement Coolidge did. When the president poured half of his coffee on a plate, they did the same. He added cream and sugar, and they did the same. Then the president put the plate on the floor to his cat.

A quarter of a million demonstrantors gathered together in Washington in 1978 to celebrate the Sun-day, in support of non-polluting solar energy. They left behind 10 acres of ankle-deep garbage.

Lew Grade, later known as the international film- and TV-magnate Lord Grade, visited once a thetre in London where he watched a play he meant would be a success. After the play he ran behind the stage, congratulated the actors and promised to make them stars if they would sign a contract with him. He also promised to double their pay.
The two actors were enthusiastic about the offer, and Grade asked about who their current agent was. "Lew Grade!" they answered.

The East-German swimmer Sylvia Ester set a world record at 100-meter with 57.9 seconds - but the convention-management refused to accept it because she swam naked.

All meat in this window is from local peasants, put to death here.
- Sign in a butcher shop in Somerset

A 22 year old man from Los Angeles put in a contact ad in a magazine, where he described himself as a lonely Romeo in search for a girl who would join him on a holiday to South America. The happy Julie who answered the ad, turned out to be his own mother, who were a widow.

The 1996 Darwin Awards

You may recall 1995's Darwin Award winner--the man who found out moments before making a 300 mph dent in an Arizona cliff that the JATO (jet assisted take off) unit he had strapped to his car could not be turned off once it was turned on.

Darwin Awards are (by definition) granted posthumously. This citation is bestowed upon (the remains of) that individual, who through single-minded self-sacrifice, has done the most to remove undesirable elements from the human gene pool.

The 1996 nominees are:

San Jose Mercury News -- An unidentified man, using a shotgun like a club to break a former girlfriend's windshield, accidentally shot himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing a hole in his stomach.

Hickory Daily Record -- Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton, N.C., when, awakening to the sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed, he reached for the phone but grabbed instead a Smith & Wesson .38 Special, which discharged when he drew it to his ear.

Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario -- Man slips, falls 23 stories to his death. A man cleaning a bird feeder on his balcony of his condominium apartment in this Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories to his death, police said Monday. Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheeled chair Sunday when the accident occurred, said Inspector Arcy Honer of the Peel regional police. It appears the chair moved and he went over the balcony, Honer said. One of those freak accidents. No foul play is suspected.

UPI, Toronto -- Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through through a pane with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police spokesman said Garry Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the oronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the building's windows to visiting law students. Hoy previously had conducted demonstrations of window strength according to police reports. Peter Lauwers, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was one of the best and brightest members of the 200-man association.

AP, Cairo, Egypt, 31 Aug 1995 Cairo, Egypt (AP) -- Six people drowned Monday while trying to rescue a chicken that had fallen into a well in southern Egypt. An 18-year-old farmer was the first to descend into the 60-foot well. He drowned, apparently after an undercurrent in the water pulled him down, police said. His sister and two brothers, none of whom could swim well, went in one by one to help him, but also drowned. Two elderly farmers then came to help, but they apparently were pulled by the same undercurrent. The bodies of the six were later pulled out of the well in the village of Nazlat Imara, 240 miles south of Cairo. The chicken was also pulled out. It survived.

Additional competitors who just missed being Darwin nominees: Times of London - A thief who sneaked into a hospital was scarred for life when he tried to get a suntan. After evading security staff at Odstock Hospital in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and helping himself to a doctor's paging device, the thief spotted a vertical sunbed. He walked into the unit and removed his clothes for a 45-minute tan. However, the high-voltage UV machine at the hospital, which is used for the treatment of burn victims, has a maximum dosage of 10 seconds. After lying on the bed for almost 300 times the recommended maximum time, the man was covered in blisters. Hours later, when the pain of the burns became unbearable, he went to Southampton General Hospital, 20 miles away, in Hampshire. Staff became suspicious because he was wearing a doctor's coat. After tending his wounds they called the police. Southampton police said: This man broke into Odstock and decided he fancied a quick suntan. Doctors say he is going to be scarred for life.

45 year-old Amy Brasher was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, after a mechanic reported to police that 18 packages of marijuana were packed in the engine compartment of the car which she had brought to the shop for an oil change. According to police, Brasher later said that she hadn't realized that the mechanic would have to raise the hood to change the oil.

Portsmouth, R.I.Police charged Gregory Rosa, 25, with a string of vending machine robberies in January when he fled from officers when they spotted him loitering around a vending machine.

Karen Lee Joachimi, 20, was arrested in Lake City, Florida, for robbery of a Howard Johnson's motel. She was armed with only an electric chainsaw, which was not plugged in.

The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 7:50 am, flashed a gun and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.

In case you've forgotten the 1995 competition, some of the nominees were: James Burns, 34, of Alamo, Mich., was killed in March as he was trying to repair what police described as a farm-type truck. Burns got a friend to drive the truck on a highway while Burns hung underneath so that he could ascertain the source of a troubling noise. Burns's clothes caught on something, however, and the other man found Burns wrapped in the drive shaft.

Kalamazoo Gazette - Same thing up here in Michigan. Seems some poor fella thought it would be a good idea to move a downed wire from his car. Newspaper reports it took a full minute of neighbors whacking away at him with a 2x4 to free their freshly fried friend from the fatal flashing.

Bowling Green, Ohio, student Robert Ricketts, 19, had his head bloodied when he was struck by a Conrail train. He told police he was trying to see how close to the moving train he could place his head without getting hit.

In Wesley Chapel, Florida, Joseph Aaron, 20, was hit in the leg with fragments of the bullet he fired at the exhaust pipe of his car. When repairing the car, he needed to bore a hole in the pipe. When he couldn't find a drill, he tried to shoot a hole in it.

Find more Darwin Awards at the official website: http://www.darwinawards.com

True Advertising Translation Stories:

1. Coors put its slogan, "Turn it loose," into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer from diarrhea".

2. Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick", a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the "manure stick".

3. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.

4. In Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "finger-lickin' good" came out as "eat your fingers off".

5. The American slogan for Salem cigarettes, "Salem -- Feeling Free", was translated into the Japanese market as "When smoking Salem, you will feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty".

6. When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the beautiful Caucasian baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the label of what's inside, since most people can't read English.

7. Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.

8. An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of "I saw the Pope" (el Papa), the shirts read "I saw the potato" (la papa).

9. In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into "Schweppes Toilet Water".

10. Pepsi's "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave", in Chinese.

11. We all know about GM's Chevy Nova meaning "it won't go" in Spanish markets, but did you know that Ford had a similar problem in Brazil with the Pinto? Pinto was Brazilian slang for "tiny male genitals". Ford renamed the automobile Corcel, meaning, "horse".

12. Hunt-Wesson introduced Big John products in French Canada as Gros Jos. Later they found out that in slang it means "big breasts".

13. Frank Perdue's chicken slogan, "it takes a strong man to make a tender chicken" was translated into Spanish as "it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate".

14. When Parker Pen marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, "it won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you". Instead, the company thought that the word "embarazar" (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant".

15. The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as "Ke-kou-ke-la", meaning "Bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax", depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent "ko-kou-ko-le", translating into "happiness in the mouth".

16. Three years ago, during a trip to Indiana, my folks decided to show off their new "real" Mexican restaurant named Chi-chi's. Upon seeing the name on the marquee, my partner started to laugh. My folks asked him why he was laughing, and he explained that in Mexican Spanish, "chi-chi's" literally means "titties." (My folks - who are Baptists - were not amused; but they didn't go back to that restaurant, either!

17. Probably the most famous of all is John Kennedy's announcement to the people of Berlin, "Ich bin ein Berliner!" JFK thought he said, "I am a citizen of Berlin!" What he *really* said was, "I am a jelly doughnut!" ("Berliner" is German for "jelly doughnut".)

18. My favorite one: my wife and I had some friends from England visit us a few years back. Their teenage daughter got a huge laugh from the name of an airline back then: The Trump Shuttle (Donald Trump's airline). They said in England, "Trump" translated into "fart"!

19. No wonder Macs are the best selling computer in Japan, Microsoft’s Windows '95 ad slogan, translated into Japanese: "If you don't know where you want to go, we'll make sure you get taken."

If you find some blunders in newspapers or whereever, please send them to me so I can include them here.