A Driving Instructor's Blog

Funny

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Ben BardsleyYou have to laugh. Ben Bardsley, of Warrington, was having a pond built at his house, and while he was watching the work he was struck by a digger bucket and knocked into the pond. He claimed that the accident had caused damage to his neck and back, meaning he couldn’t lift weights anymore (he’s a bodybuilder and gym owner), and that it had also given him a fear of heights.

Reading into the story, it seems that if he’d have accepted the offer of £4,500 the insurance company had initially made, that would have been the end of it. He’d been involved in an accident, after all, and the claim was legitimate in that sense. But Bardsley was greedy, and wanted up to five times that amount, claiming extensive physical as well as psychological damage. That was when Aviva became suspicious and instructed lawyers to investigate further. Reading into it again, they didn’t have to investigate very much to flush him out.

They uncovered multiple photos he’d posted of himself lifting heavy weights in the gym after the accident. Best of all, he showed how badly vertigo – a fear of heights – had affected him by posting a video of himself going down the Verti-Go slide in Benidorm, which is 33 metres high, and you travel at 62mph down it. He even showed his muscles off to some kids at the bottom.

So, from having a guaranteed £4,500 pay-out, he’s now been stung with no pay-out – and an order to pay the £14,000 in legal costs.

I have little time for insurance scammers. Every time anyone has hit my car – or cars my ex-pupils have been driving – they have tried it on.

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Car goes bangWe’re near the end of 2019, and we have a last minute entry for the 2019 Darwin Awards.

A bloke in Halifax was parked up outside some shops and bars. He’d been spraying air freshener inside his car, and when he’d finished he decided to light a cigarette.

Although aerosol cans used to use non-flammable CFCs, these were banned because of the damage they were said to do to the Ozone Layer, and many modern air fresheners use compressed air as the propellent instead. But quite a few still don’t. Of those that don’t, they usually use liquefied propane or butane – both of which are used as heating gases because they burn. Consequently, the ejected aerosol from such an air freshener is flammable. Indeed, in an enclosed space, it is explosive. And our erstwhile Darwin candidate discovered this through practical application of these properties.

In the enclosed space of his car, with a high concentration of flammable gas present, as he struck his lighter or match the gas ignited and – in the enclosed environment – became explosive. It blew out his windows. Looking at the picture, it also nearly blew off the roof and all four doors. The explosion damaged the windows of nearby shops.

Luckily, he only sustained minor injuries, so we can admit that it is funny without upsetting anyone who matters.

Update 23/12/2019: It’s been in some of the newspapers today. He did sustain some burns, though I wouldn’t go as far as The Sun in describing them as “horrendous”.

But the funniest part is that in the photos he has a really surprised look on his face. I’m sure that will wear off in time.

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Your Wife Is Hot billboard adUntil recently, there was a billboard in Nottingham at the junction between Porchester Road and Woodborough Road which carried the ad shown above.

The owner of the company, Lee Davies, had seen the same sort of ad used in America – and if you Google it, they use it a lot – and decided to use the idea himself.

In most cases where it is used, they have an image of an attractive female, with the text “Your Wife Is Hot”, and some follow up stuff about getting the air-conditioning sorted out.

Davies ran the idea past his family (including females) and none of them found it offensive. Indeed, when it went up in July, he was getting people asking if he could do a male version, which he seemed prepared to do at some point. He’d paid for two months, and that would be setting him back at least £1,500 (probably more), and he almost certainly wanted to check the return on his investment.

At that time, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had received two complaints about it. Frankly, he could have put up a photo of a kitten and some prat would probably have complained. Also, quite frankly, if he had used a photo of a kitten and someone had complained, the ASA would still almost certainly have somehow concocted a reason to ban it. Which they have done now.

You see, the ASA has recently introduced rules about the use of gender stereotypes in advertising, so you can no longer advertise, say, a family-oriented product using a picture of a typical family (i.e. the kind everyone would recognise). If you even dare to suggest a family consists of a man and a woman with children, you’re pretty much dead meat. You can’t use white models without running the risk of being convicted of being non-inclusive, and if you try to play the game and put some of the allowed minority groups in it, you’ve then got to wrestle with how your depiction matches up with their perception of themselves. And since that roughly equates to “how long is a piece of string”, you’re basically screwed. Then there’s the matter of whether any females depicted are thin, fat, short, tall, pregnant… whichever you go for, the others will complain, so you’re screwed again.

Then there is the issue of being female in itself. There are several parallel universes running together here, because it’s perfectly OK for a woman to dress attractively (or even to the extent that she could be auditioning for an adult film role), but if a man dares to observe the fact… he’s dead meat, again. It’s apparently wrong for a man to ask a woman out anymore – or at least, it could easily turn into such a scenario if the woman decides she is “offended” and reports it. Which could happen anything up to 40 years later, if what I keep reading in the news is true. And if she does report it, the police will drop all their paperwork and cancel all their community meetings immediately, send a SWAT team out, possibly call in the BBC with helicopters and drones and stuff, then put on “extra patrols to reassure the public”. And ruin the rest of the guy’s life.

In a nutshell the world has gone mad, and the ASA are a bunch of morons.

There are thousands of adverts I find offensive one way or another. That bloody TUI ad with the whiny singing girl a couple of Christmases ago, for one. Anything with whistling for another. Anything with rap music of any kind in it. Anything with kids eating – especially when they’re wearing the food instead of getting it in their mouths, so pretty much anything with babies or toddlers. And don’t even get me started on how they try to show things that really shouldn’t be shown outside the baby-changing facilities in McDonalds, or the changing rooms in a clothes shop – especially when I’m having my dinner.

But I don’t complain. I just moan on the blog about them.

There’s nothing wrong with the ad, and the (now) 25 people who have complained should just either be totally ignored, or referred to a psychiatrist for the help they obviously need.

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Is it moving... or is it you?See if you can get your head around this one. And you’re not even drunk.

Well, I assume you’re not.

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Definition of illiteracyI’ve been noticing this for some time now. Previously reputable news agencies reporting on things solely sourced from Facebook or Twitter.

It might not be what you’d call “reputable” in the usual sense of the word, but it is nevertheless a newspaper and so you’d expect some journalistic skill on display, but the Daily Mirror has reported on a “bizarre” TV interview between Joanna Lumley and The Black Eyed Peas. I saw it as an MSN newsfeed and wondered what might have happened for it to be labelled as such.

Well, the short answer is: absolutely nothing.

Basically, the “bizarreness” is simply that… well, Joanna Lumley interviewed The Black Eyed Peas. That’s it. That’s the entire story. The whole thing can be summed up perfectly in those five words. Joanna Lumley interviewed The Black Eyed Peas.

The Mirror, though, manages to string it out to 200 words and three screenshots from the interview. Two shots show people sitting on a couch, and one is a mistimed capture of the back of two people’s heads. The extra words come from The Mirror’s copy-and-paste-from-Twitter department, where they duplicate five complete Tweets from certified idiots, each saying that the interview was “bizarre”. As far as I can tell, the only reason it is “bizarre” even to these morons is because… well, Joanna Lumley interviewed The Black Eyed Peas.

The BBC does this sort of thing now, too. It isn’t averse to creating entire articles based on Twitter or Facebook posts, and it doesn’t even correct the appalling grammar that is endemic to those things. It even includes them totally un-spellchecked in most “sensible” articles. It must save them a lot of time.

I wouldn’t click on a link to any story about The Black Eyed Peas purely based on their music. It simply isn’t my scene. But the word “bizarre” is clickbait, and clickbaiting is the latest journalistic tool of choice to get people to pages full of adverts. MSN’s newsfeeds do it all the time – take my advice, and never click on any link which says “you’ll never guess what happened next” or has the word “adorable” or “sponsored” in it. Because whatever did happen next will be as interesting as staring at a wall, and I think that “adorable” is the Facebook generation’s preferred way of referring to any juvenile animal with less than six legs doing what juvenile animals with less than six legs naturally do (which frequently equates to doing absolutely nothing). “Sponsored” is a combination of those two things higher up the page designed to get you to the ads quicker.

We’re doomed. DOOMED.

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I saw it on the TV earlier today. It’s another JML one (remember PediPaws and the Turbo Brush?) This time, it’s for Hollywood Pants – a lower-body garment that appears to be capable of the equivalent of turning a hippopotamus into a cheetah without the need for liposuction.

Take a look at the TV ad above. Now, I am a scientist by training, and I am aware of the Law of Conservation of Mass. Essentially, this says that matter can be neither created nor destroyed, but it can be rearranged. So my question is this.

When those women put those pants on, where does the fat actually go? Because it’s not inside the pants, that’s for sure.

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You know how I’m always going on about the prats I have share this planet with? How about this one?

He goes into a garage and tries to put £10 of fuel in his car. He overshoots by 3p, but he doesn’t want to break into another note, and the garage won’t let him off the 3p (he’s actually got the money, remember). So what does he do? He phones the Police on 999.

Better still is the fact that he’s now gone on to Reddit to ask how he can get the Police to remove the video because it’s gone sort of semi-viral. As you can imagine, he doesn’t have much support (incidentally, to some of the smart arses on Reddit, that doesn’t sound like a Nottingham accent – more like a Derby one).

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I had a pupil pass his test a few weeks ago, and when he handed his licence to the examiner at the end, she looked at his photo and said “bloody hell!”

He looked nothing like it.

It turned out that when he’d applied for his provisional licence, he’d accidentally ticked “use my passport photo” – which was fine, except that he’d had his passport for six years. So his licence photo had him when he was eleven years old!

I’d picked up on the visual difference when he first started lessons with me, but he hadn’t told me the full story. I hadn’t pursued it because I’m used to people of that age looking nothing like their licence photos (even down to hair colour being different between black and blonde, or with and without tattoos and face jewellery in some cases). I usually ask them how long they were in custody for when they had it taken – pointing out that my photos are the same, and that those photo booths must have a switch inside that can be set to “NORMAL-CRIMINAL”.

I made sure he took the licence and applied for his full entitlement himself, instead of the examiner doing it. I also explained how he had to keep the photo up to date in future – renewing it every 10 years… or if he had another full-face transplant in the meantime.

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