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Work in the media? Struggle with statistics? Stan's irreverent (and often irrelevant) review of the latest media reports, news and gossip may not help at all... Stan the Statistician

Stan # 12: From the Institute of Management (UK)… 16 June 1998


If at first you do succeed, try to hide your astonishment; if at first you don't succeed, re-define success.

Problem solving:

A consultant is a man sent in after battle to bayonet the wounded.


Great, but plagarism is faster.


They say that hard work never killed anyone, but why take chances. (But who are 'they'? - Stan)

A final batch of entrants for the Darwin Award - for those souls who selflessly remove themselves from the gene pool:

A failed pilot who floated to 11,000 feet above Los Angeles on a garden chair suspended by 45 weather balloons. A lawyer who constantly hurled himself at his skyscraper office window to prove its strength. The final time, he went right through. An engineer who embedded himself in a cliff after strapping on a solid fuel rocket normally used to give an extra boost to military aircraft.

Aircrew on a British Airways Concorde leaving New York were alarmed when two explosions were heard on the flight deck. Urgent safety checks failed to locate the source until the senior engineer opened his briefcase and found two burst bags of non-altitude proof crisps (chips to my US readers).

President Clinton caused offence to a Romanian delegation when they presented him with their symbolic national flag. It has a hole in the middle representing the hated communist star which was torn out during the 1989 uprising. In his thank you letter, the President conveyed his gratitude for 'your gift of a poncho'.

Dining at New York's latest theme restaurant can be a painful experience, even before you get the bill. The La Nouvelle, in Chelsea, is designed like a sado-masochistic dungeon. The gimmick doesn't end there. Diners can eat from a dog bowl at the feet of a whip-weilding mistress, hang from a pair of leather handcuffs on the ceiling or enjoy a quick beating between courses for $20. Waiters double as slaves and deliver the bill between their teeth. Table for two sir? Will that be spanking or non-spanking?

According to the California Poultry Association, aircraft windscreens are tested by firing dead chickens at them. Apparently, the US Federal Aviation Administration has a special 'chicken gun' which shoots fowls like bullets. When British Rail experts heard about the gun, they asked if they could borrow it to test the windscreen of a new high speed train. But when they loaded the chicken and fired, the ballistic bird shattered the toughened glass, went through the engineer's chair, broke an instrument panel and embedded itself on the back wall of the cab. The British were stunned and asked the FAA to recheck the test to see where they had gone wrong. The FAA replied with a brief sentence, "Next time use a thawed chicken." So, now we can add to wrong kind of snow and leaves on the line, wrong kind of chickens.

Lawrence Tervit, 46, wasn't worried when he was turned away from the ferry port of Calais (France) because he didn't have enough money for the fare. He walked south to Sangatte, found a wooden pallet on the quayside and, inspired by tales of Thor Heyerdahl aboard the Kon-Tiki, paddled on the makeshift raft towards Dover (England) - a distance of some 26 miles or so. It took him some 30 hours to do ten miles, drifting into the shipping lanes used by 600 vessels before the alarm was raised by a yacht. He was rescued suffering from hypothermia and shock.

"Walk off your Christmas dinner," advised a well meaning Countryside Project Guided Walks leaflet, "with a bracing walk over the famous White Cliffs of Dover."

From a Cunard PR handout - "The line of famous faces waiting to board the QE2 gets longer every day."

From the Liverpool Daily Post (sorry chaps!) - "Ford Grandad 2.9 Ghia '89."

From the Grantham Journal (sorry again) - "In a letter printed in the July 25 issue, Mr Edward Pimlott apparently described himself as a 'pillock of the community'. This was our error. Mr. Pimlott described himself as a pillar of the community. We apologise for any embarrassment caused."

The Icari Grill in Lisbon describes its veal kebab as, "Prick for two people".

Check in again at my desk soon!

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