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Neil Armstrong's MessageWhen Apollo Mission Astronaut Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, he not only gave his famous "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" statement, but followed it by several remarks, usual communication traffic between him, the other astronauts and Mission Control. Just before he re-entered the lander, however, he made the enigmatic remark "Good Luck Mr. Gorsky."
Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival Soviet Cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs. Over the years many people questioned Armstrong as to what the "Good Luck Mr. Gorsky" statement meant, but Armstrong always just smiled. Then, on July 5, 1995 in Tampa Bay, FL, while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26-year-old question to Armstrong. This time he finally responded. Mr. Gorsky had died, and so Neil Armstrong felt he could answer the question.
When he was a kid, he was playing baseball with a friend in the backyard. His friend hit a fly ball which landed in front of his neighbor's bedroom window. His neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Gorsky. As he leaned down to pick up the ball, young Armstrong heard Mrs.Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky. "Oral sex! You want oral sex?! You'll get oral sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!"
Based on an unoriginal email forwarded by Adrian Bowman, May 1997.
The AffairA married woman is having an affair. Whenever her lover comes over, she puts her nine year old son in the closet. One day the woman hears a car in the driveway and puts her lover in the closet, as well.
Inside the closet, the little boy says, "It's dark in here, isn't it?"
"Yes it is," the man replies
"You wanna buy a baseball?" the little boy asks.
"No thanks," the man replies.
"I think you do want to buy a baseball," the little extortionist continues.
"OK. How much?" the man replies after considering the position he is in.
"Twenty-five dollars," the little boy replies.
"TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS?!" the man repeats incredulously, but complies to protect his hidden position.
The following week, the lover is visiting the woman again when she hears a car in the driveway and, again, places her lover in the closet with her little boy.
"It's dark in here, isn't it?" the boy starts off.
"Yes it is," replies the man.
"Wanna buy a baseball glove?" the little boy asks.
"OK. How much?" the hiding lover responds, acknowledging his disadvantage.
"Fifty dollars," the boy replies and the transaction is completed.
The next weekend, the little boy's father says "Hey, son. Go get your ball and glove and we'll play some catch."
"I can't. I sold them," replies the little boy.
"How much did you get for them?" asks the father, expecting to hear the profit in terms of lizards and candy.
"Seventy-five dollars," the little boy says.
"SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS?! That's thievery! I'm taking you to the church right now. You must confess your sin and ask for forgiveness," the father explains as he hauls the child away.
At the church, the little boy goes into the confessional, draws the curtain, sits down, and says "It's dark in here, isn't it?"
"Don't you start that in here now," the priest says.
Based on an unoriginal email forwarded by firstname.lastname@example.org
Criminal StupiditySouth Carolina: A man walked into a local police station, dropped a bag of cocaine on the counter, informed the desk sergeant that it was substandard cut, and asked that the person who sold it to him be arrested immediately.
Indiana: A man walked up to a cashier at a grocery store and demanded all the money in the register. When the cashier handed him the loot, he fled leaving his wallet on the counter.
Germany: Oil of Ulay no longer turning the trick for her, a woman decided that she would bathe in the milk of a camel (a modern-day Cleopatra). So she stole a camel from the local zoo (where else can you find a camel when you need one?) and transported it back to her house -- whereupon she realized that the camel's name was ... "Otto." [She might not have gotten any milk from Otto, but she probably made a friend for life while trying.... ;-)
(Location Unknown): A man went into a drug store, pulled a gun, announced a robbery, and pulled a hefty-bag face mask over his head -- and realized that he'd forgotten to cut eye holes in the mask.
(Location Unknown): A man successfully broke into a bank after hours and stole -- are you ready for this? -- the bank's video camera. While it was recording. Remotely. (That is, the videotape recorder was located elsewhere in the bank, so he didn't get the videotape of himself stealing the camera. The police, however, did.)
North Carolina: A man successfully broke into a bank's basement through a street-level window, cutting himself up pretty badly in the process. He then realized that (1) he could not get to the money from where he was, (2) he could not climb back out the window through which he had entered, and (3) he was bleeding pretty badly. So he located a phone and dialed "911" for help...
Virginia: Two men in a pickup truck went to a new-home site to steal a refrigerator. Banging up walls, floors, etc., they snatched a refrigerator from one of the houses, and loaded it onto the pickup. The truck promptly got stuck in the mud, so these brain surgeons decided that the refrigerator was too heavy. Banging up more walls, floors, etc., they put the refrigerator BACK into the house, and returned to the pickup truck, only to realize that they locked the keys in the truck -- so they abandoned it.
(Location Unknown): A man walked into a Circle-K (a convenience store similar to a 7-11), put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled -- leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer? Fifteen dollars.
Florida: Dr. John Rende, a 38-year-old Florida dentist, agreed to allow two brothers to cut off a finger with an axe and claim it was an accident. He collected a $1.3 million lump-sum settlement from one brother's homeowners policy, and filed under his own disability policy as well. Rende used some of the money to buy a yacht, which he named "Minus One." He and the brothers pleaded guilty and are currently in jail....
Vernon, British Columbia: Raymond Cuthbert dropped by a drugstore to say that he and his accomplice would be back in 30 minutes to rob the place. On time for their appointment, they were arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Sao Paulo, Brazil: Psychiatrist Oscar Dominguez was listening to a patient talk about her sex life when he pulled out a gun and shot her to death. As he explained to the court, "I just couldn't take those nut cases anymore."
Rouen, France: Moments after robbing a bank, Jules Duprer jumped into a car, shouting, "Get away quick, before the cops come." He failed to notice that the car he was counting on to spirit him to safety was a police car.
These last two aren't criminals, per se, but have nonetheless attained such impressive heights of stupidity that they warrant inclusion here.
(Location Unknown): A gentleman awoke one cold morning and found that his car would not start; the problem was a frozen fuel line. No problem for Mr. Brilliant -- one need only warm up the gas, right? So he siphoned off the fuel, put it into a pot, took it into the kitchen and heated it up on the stove....
Washington, D.C.: In 1994, local businesses paid their quarterly tax payments using pre-printed address labels provided by the city. The unopened payments were returned to the senders, with the notation "Box closed for non-payment of rent." The city had failed to pay the $405 annual fee.
Based on an unoriginal email forwarded by Pauline Sinclair, October 1997.
Leola Starling of Ribrock, Tennesse, had a serious telephone problem. But unlike most people she did something about it.
The brand-new $10 million Ribrock Plaza Motel opened nearby and had acquired almost the same telephone number as Leola.
From the moment the motel opened, Leola was besieged by calls not for her. Since she had the same phone number for years, she felt that she had a case to persuade the motel management to change its number.
Naturally, the management refused claiming that it could not change its stationery.
The phone company was not helpful, either. A number was a number, and just because a customer was getting someone else's calls 24 hours a day didn't make it responsible. After her pleas fell on deaf ears, Leola decided to take matters into her own hands.
At 9 o'clock the phone rang. Someone from Memphis was calling the motel and asked for a room for the following Tuesday. Leoloa said, "No problem. How many nights?"
A few hours later Dallas checked in. A secretary wanted a suite with two bedrooms for a week. Emboldened, Leola said the Presidential Suite on the 10th floor was available for $600 a night. The secretary said that she would take it and asked if the hotel wanted a deposit. "No, that won't be necessary," Leola said. "We trust you."
The next day was a busy one for Leola. In the morning, she booked an electric appliance manufacturers' convention for Memorial Day weekend, a college prom and a reunion of the 82nd Airborne veterans from World War II.
She turned on her answering machine during lunchtime so that she could watch the O.J. Simpson trial, but her biggest challenge came in the afternoon when a mother called to book the ballroom for her daughter's wedding in June.
Leola assured the woman that it would be no problem and asked if she would be providing the flowers or did she want the hotel to take care of it. The mother said that she would prefer the hotel to handle the floral arrangements. Then the question of valet parking came up. Once again Leola was helpful. "There's no charge for valet parking, but we always recommend that the client tips the drivers."
Within a few months, the Ribrock Plaza Motel was a disaster area.
People kept showing up for weddings, bar mitzvahs, and Sweet Sixteen parties and were all told there were no such events.
Leola had her final revenge when she read in the local paper that the motel might go bankrupt. Her phone rang, and an executive from Marriott said, "We're prepared to offer you $200,000 for the motel."
Leola replied. "We'll take it, but only if you change the telephone number."
How I Got Into Heaven...Three men were standing in line to get into heaven one day. Apparently it had been a pretty busy day, though, so Peter had to tell the first one, "Heaven's getting pretty close to full today, and I've been asked to admit only people who have had particularly horrible deaths. So what's your story?"
So the first man replies: "Well, for a while I've suspected my wife has been cheating on me, so today I came home early to try to catch her red-handed. As I came into my 25th floor apartment, I could tell something was wrong, but all my searching around didn't reveal where this other guy could have been hiding. Finally, I went out to the balcony, and sure enough, there was this man hanging off the railing, 25 floors above ground! By now I was really mad, so I started beating on him and kicking him, but wouldn't you know it, he wouldn't fall off. So finally I went back into my apartment and got a hammer and starting hammering on his fingers. Of course, he couldn't stand that for long, so he let go and fell -- but even after 25 stories, he fell into the bushes, stunned but okay. I couldn't stand it anymore, so I ran into the kitchen, grabbed the fridge and threw it over the edge where it landed on him, killing him instantly. But all the stress and anger got to me, and I had a heart attack and died there on the balcony."
"That sounds like a pretty bad day to me," said Peter, and let the man in.
The second man comes up and Peter explains to him about heaven being full, and again asks for his story.
"It's been a very strange day. You see, I live on the 26th floor of my apartment building, and every morning I do my exercises out on my balcony. Well, this morning I must have slipped or something, because I fell over the edge. But I got lucky, and caught the railing of the balcony on the floor below me. I knew I couldn't hang on for very long, when suddenly this man burst out onto the balcony. I thought for sure I was saved, when he started beating on me and kicking me. I held on the best I could until he ran into the apartment and grabbed a hammer and started pounding on my hands. Finally I just let go, but again I got lucky and fell into the bushes below, stunned but all right. Just when I was thinking I was going to be okay, this refrigerator comes falling out of the sky and crushes me instantly, and now I'm here."
Once again, Peter had to concede that that sounded like a pretty horrible death.
The third man came to the front of the line, and again the whole process was repeated. Peter explained that heaven was full and asked for his story.
"Picture this," says the third man, "I'm hiding naked inside a refrigerator..."
Based on an unoriginal earwig forwarded by Sue Sinclair, April 1996.
Beware of the Guide Dog"We will not have him put down. Lucky is basically a damn good guide dog," Ernst Gerber, a dog trainer from Wuppertal told reporters. "He just needs a little brush-up on some elementary skills, that's all."
Gerber admitted to the press conference that Lucky, a German shepherd guide-dog for the blind, had so far been responsible for the deaths of all four of his previous owners.
"I admit it's not an impressive record on paper. He led his first owner in front of a bus, and the second off the end of a pier. He actually pushed his third owner off a railway platform just as the Cologne to Frankfurt express was approaching and he walked his fourth owner into heavy traffic, before abandoning him and running away to safety. But,apart from epileptic fits, he has a lovely temperament. And guide dogs are difficult to train these days."
Asked if Lucky's fifth owner would be told about his previous record, Gerber replied: "No. It would make them nervous, and would make Lucky nervous. And when Lucky gets nervous he's liable to do something silly."
Based on an unoriginal email forwarded by P Burbidge.
Strange Legal CaseAt the 1994 annual awards dinner given by the American Association for Forensic Science, AAFS President Don Harper Mills astounded his audience in San Diego with the legal complications of a bizarre death. Here is the story.
"On 23 March 1994, the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and concluded that he died from a shotgun wound of the head. The decedent had jumped from the top of a ten-story building intending to commit suicide (he left a note indicating his despondency). As he fell past the ninth floor, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast through a window, which killed him instantly. Neither the shooter nor the decedent was aware that a safety net had been erected at the eighth floor level to protect some window washers and that Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide anyway because of this."
"Ordinarily," Dr. Mills continued, "a person who sets out to commit suicide ultimately succeeds, even though the mechanism might not be what he intended."
That Opus was shot on the way to certain death nine stories below probably would not have changed his mode of death from suicide to homicide. But the fact that his suicidal intent would not have been successful caused the medical examiner to feel that he had homicide on his hands.
"The room on the ninth floor whence the shotgun blast emanated was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing and he was threatening her with the shotgun. He was so upset that, when he pulled the trigger, he completely missed his wife and the pellets went through the window striking Opus."
"When one intends to kill subject A but kills subject B in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of subject B. When confronted with this charge, the old man and his wife were both adamant that neither knew that the shotgun was loaded. The old man said it was his long-standing habit to threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder her - therefore, the killing of Opus appeared to be an accident. That is, the gun had been accidentally loaded."
"The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's son loading the shotgun approximately six weeks prior to the fatal incident. It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son's financial support and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would shoot his mother.
The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.
There was an exquisite twist.
"Further investigation revealed that the son [Ronald Opus] had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother's murder. This led him to jump off the ten-story building on March 23, only to be killed by a shotgun blast through a ninth story window.
"The medical examiner closed the case as a suicide."
Based on an unoriginal email forwarded by Robin Stevens, Feb 1997.
Iraqi Supergun?In rural Carbon County, PA, a group of men were drinking beer and discharging firearms from the rear deck of the home owned by Irving Michaels, age 27. The men were firing at a raccoon that was wandering by, but the beer apparently impaired their aim and, despite an estimated 35 shots being fired, the animal escaped into a 3 foot diameter drainage pipe some 100 feet away from Mr Michaels deck.
Determined to terminate the animal, Mr Michaels retrieved a can of gasoline and poured some down the pipe, intending to smoke the animal out. After several unsuccessful attempts to ignite the fuel, Michaels emptied the entire 5 gallon fuel can down the pipe and tried to ignite it again, to no avail. Not one to admit defeat by wildlife, the determined Mr Michaels proceeded to slide feet-first approximately 15 feet down the sloping pipe to toss the match. The subsequent rapidly expanding fireball propelled Mr Michaels back the way he had come, though at a much higher rate of speed. He exited the angled pipe "like a Polaris missile leaves a submarine," according to witness Joseph McFadden, 31. Mr Michaels was launched directly over his own home, right over the heads of his astonished friends, onto his front lawn.
In all, he traveled over 200 feet through the air. "There was a Doppler Effect to his scream as he flew over us," McFadden reported, "Followed by a loud thud." Amazingly, he suffered only minor injuries. "It was actually pretty cool," Michaels said, "Like when they shoot someone out of a cannon at the circus. I'd do it again if I was sure I wouldn't get hurt."
Based on an unoriginal email forwarded by Kamaljit Sihra, April 1998.
Livestock DemolitionTrue news by Chris Woolston, "The Billings (MT) Gazette", as reprinted in "The Missoulian", August 22, 1995:
Don Senn usually loves a good expolsion, but he didn't enjoy the fireworks he witnessed last week. Each time he flipped his detonator switch, he saw a flash, some smoke and a spray of putrid cow parts flying through the air.
Senn, a Forest Service explosives expert, detonated seven dead Herefords near Helena on Thursday. The Forest Service routinely explodes large animals -- usually intentionally -- but Senn's blasts stand out.
"It's very unusual to dispose of that many animals with explosives in one day," said District Ranger George Weldon.
The service had several reasons for blowing those cows to bits. The cows were part of a herd that died of arsenic poisoning several weeks ago after drinking from a tailings pond near an abandoned mine. The Forest Service is working to reclaim the mine site and has pledged to prevent any more accidental poisonings.
Fifteen of the poisoned cows received a backhoe burial, but the machine couldn't reach the other seven. After two weeks, the rotting, arsenic-tainted cows started to attract coyotes and bears.
Biologists weren't sure if the cows were toxic enough to kill a bear, but nobody wanted to take chances. And besides, in the words of Forest Service biologist Brent Costain, "those cows smelled to high heaven, and they were fairly close to a recreation area."
The next move was clear: Those cows needed to be detonated, and somebody needed to call Senn.
Senn, the lead blaster in the Helena district, has long maintained a close working relationship with explosives. He specializes in blasting rocks and stumps from the middle of trails, and now he is one of the elite experts in livestock demolition.
His technique: Grab a bundle of fireline cord, walk over to the animal, and gag at the smell. The cows were bloated and putrid. Their tongues were swollen, and magpies had pecked out their eyes.
"It was horrible. Disgusting." Senn said.
With assistance from biologist Quinn Carver, Senn would wrap the cord around a cow, a task that sometimes required rolling the animal on its side. Then, gasping for fresh air, Senn and Carver would run to the detonator switch 500 feet away. Each time Senn hit the switch, a cloud of smoke, dirt and cow parts filled the air, leaving only a crater behind.
"My last shot was pretty satisfying," Senn said. "I knew I was finished." "I wish I hadn't worn my boots," he said. "It took a couple of washings before I could get close to them again."
Senn generally prefers explosions to paperwork, but he'd rather stick to stumps and rocks. "I really don't like blasting animals," he said.
But there may be more exploding animals in his future. the Forest Service, as well as the Park Service, regularly detonates cows and horses that die in grizzly country, particularly if the carcass lies near a trail.
Not all large animal exlosions are intentional. Costain said an explosion near the Kootenai River went wrong in the early 1980s. Forest Sevice workers loaded explosives into a pond, hoping to blast out debris that ruined what used to be prime moose habitat.
Just as they hit the detonator, two moose wandered up to the pond and were blown sky high, Costain said. "We took a lot of flak for that one," he said.
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