Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 162 - March 2014



The inquest into the death of my good pal Derek 'The Amazing Mr' Smith took place on Friday 21st February in Bridport, Dorset.  The coroner Mr Nicholls said whilst recording an open verdict in to the death,: “One of the matters which the inquest needs to address is whether Mr Smith deliberately took his own life.  For that conclusion to be recorded the evidence has to be such that the coroner is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt.  Having looked at the evidence in this case, I am going to return an open verdict because I am not satisfied on the evidence I have before me that Mr Smith intended to take his own life.”  And with that the proceedings were closed.  Previously Derek's good friend Annette Woolley was asked various questions that in no way pertained to the death and the policeman at the scene was asked stupid questions like "How long did it take Ms Woolley to run back to her car?"  There was evidence from one doctor who had treated Derek 12 months previously and he reported that Derek was not depressed at that time.  The doctor who only two days before Derek's death had prescribed Paroxetine, and who by the way at the time joked that he shouldn't prescribe Paroxetine for sleeping problems or he might be in the same boat as the doctor who prescribed sleeping tablets for Michael Jackson, was not called.  When Ms Woolley at the end asked the coroner why the doctor who prescribed Paroxetine was not called he refused to answer on the grounds that the inquest was now closed.  Derek had visited the doctor because of sleepless nights caused by the toothache and the doctor had apparently, according to Annette, prescribed Paroxetine to help him sleep, having previously prescribed Seroxat - both drugs with dangerous side effects.  The local paper later reported that Derek had walked those cliffs in the previous weeks considering suicide, which was an absolute fabrication probably designed to attract sales and make the story just a little bit more juicy.


Frankly the whole thing has a nasty smell of a cover-up by the coroner to protect the doctor.




Might there be Masonic links do you think?


The Dorset Echo reported thus...........

The body of popular musician Derek Roger Smith was found at the foot of West Bay cliffs last December.

An inquest heard that the 65-year-old had a history of depression and had been suffering severe pain following dental surgery.

He was taking prescribed drugs and over-the-counter painkillers, his partner Annette Woolley said.

She told the inquest that Mr Smith confided in her he had been to the cliffs several times with the intention of committing suicide in the weeks leading up to his death.

She said he had been taking paroxetine – a drug used to treat depression – and this concerned her because of its links to suicidal thoughts.

On a visit to the GP, Mr Smith was told to stop taking the drug immediately, she said.

But no evidence was presented to the inquest from any GP about the drugs Mr Smith had been taking.

Mrs Woolley told assistant coroner for Dorset Stephen Nicholls she wanted to know why.

The inquest heard that Mr Smith’s brother had worked on paroxetine during its development, and ‘even then’ the link to suicide was known.

He said he was ‘questioning why someone who was obviously unbalanced was prescribed this particular medication’.

Although the inquest heard that Mr Smith had attended a mental health course earlier in the year, no further evidence was presented about his medical history or the drugs he had been given.

Mrs Woolley described how she awoke on the morning of Sunday, December 8 to find Mr Smith missing.

She drove to West Bay because of what he had told her about the attempts to take his own life.

Upon arrival, she found an ambulance and a police car and told them she thought the body which had been discovered by a walker at the foot of East Cliff was Mr Smith.

A post mortem later found Mr Smith had suffered multiple injuries.

Recording an open verdict in to the death, Mr Nicholls said: “One of the matters which the inquest needs to address is whether Mr Smith deliberately took his own life.

“For that conclusion to be recorded the evidence has to be such that the coroner is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt.

“Having looked at the evidence in this case, I am going to return an open verdict because I am not satisfied on the evidence I have before me that Mr Smith intended to take his own life.

Mr Smith was a well-known musician and comedian who went by the name of The Amazing Mr Smith

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Smith’s daughter Rosie said she would be making further enquiries as to why no evidence was presented about the drugs prescribed to her father.


So we who were his friends are still left wondering (a) why Derek was prescribed two drugs that encouraged suicide and (b) why the doctor who prescribed the drugs wasn't even called to explain why he had deemed paroxetine to be sensible to prescribe in the first place.  And if you think you've discovered an oxymoron in the evidence regarding Derek's discussion with Annette that he was contemplating suicide let me emphasize that only took place 24 hours before his death shortly after he started taking the drug and had absolutely nothing to do with the walks Derek took daily which covered many hills, lanes and valleys of Dorset.


If you look on Google for Paroxetine you will find the following. 


Paroxetine hydrochloride is used to treat a variety of mental health problems. It is thought that Paroxetine hydrochloride increases the activity and levels of certain chemicals in the brain. This can improve symptoms such as depression and anxiety.  Some people who take Paroxetine hydrochloride may find that it intensifies depression and suicidal feelings in the early stages of treatment. These people have an increased risk of self-harm or suicide in the early stages of taking Paroxetine hydrochloride.  As Paroxetine hydrochloride starts to work these risks decrease.






And so it was I lost one very close friend in December and then the world lost another very good friend when Pete Seeger finally succumbed to old age (94) in January.  I like to think Pete was my friend because I was able to phone him if I needed help at any time and he was always there with helpful comments and humorous quips.  For some reason he deemed me knowledgeable enough to help him with his book "Where have all the flowers gone" and you will find my name at the front of the book in the credits.  Of course realistically he had many, many friends a good deal closer than I.  Following his death the television programme  'Democracy Now' showed some previous recent footage of Pete when he went into the studio.  I fully covered Pete's life in the February Ramblings, but if you have time you will be intrigued I know if you watch the following links.



Pete Seeger interview


"If you don't grow - you die

Well isn't it true then that the quicker you grow the sooner you die?"



I've received many lovely letters from friends from all over, including a young man in Brazil I've certainly never met, and a copy of a postcard Pete sent to Ronald Cohen in Indiana only 14 days before he died in which Pete states he was trying to learn Shakespeare's 65th sonnet!  I guess the man just never stopped.  If I've not thanked you personally already please accept this somewhat belated thank you offered now.  Your many comments on how much you like the Ramblings are very much appreciated.  But I'll do my best to upset some of you before the year is out I have no doubt.  The letters follow in their normal slot.



Fixture List for Kimber's Men and Joe Stead



Mar 5th (KM) The Puzzle Hall, Hollins Mill Lane, Sowerby Bridge.

Mar 6th (KM) The Wetherby Whaler, 18 Market Place, Wetherby.  12.30pm

Mar 21st (KM) Churchdown Village Hall, Gloucestershire.

Mar 22nd (KM)The YZone, Hill Street, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, HR9 7AD

Mar 29th (KM) Bankfield Museum, Halifax. 2pm

Apr 4th (KM) Cliffords Mesne Village Hall, Gloucestershire

Apr 5th (KM) Westbury Parish Hall, Gloucestershire

Apr 20th (Joe) Gosport Folk Festival

Apr 21st (Joe) Gosport Folk Festival

Apr 24th (Joe) Brixham Theatre, New Road, Brixham, Devon - Paul Robeson
Apr 26th (Joe) Bradford Day of Dance at 5pm Life and Times of Pete Seeger

May 2nd (KM) Chepstow Castle Inn, 12 Bridge Street, Chepstow.

May 3rd (KM) The Birds Nest (originally the Oxford Arms) Deptford.

May 4th (KM) Sweeps Festival, Rochester

May 5th (KM) Sweeps Festival, Rochester

May 17th (KM) Charlbury Village Hall, Oxfordshire.

Jun 27th (KM) Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, Portsoy

Jun 28th (KM) Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, Portsoy

Jun 29th (KM) Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, Portsoy

Jul 4th (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival

Jul 5th (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival

Jul 6th (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival

Jul 12th (KM) Helmsley Art Centre

Aug 29th (KM) Stradbally Hall, Stradbally, Co. Laois, Ireland - Provisional

Aug 30th (KM) Stradbally Hall, Stradbally, Co. Laois, Ireland - Provisional

Aug 31st (KM) Stradbally Hall, Stradbally, Co. Laois, Ireland - Provisional

Sep 5th (KM) The Theatre, 2 Spring Street, Chipping Norton, OXON, OX7 5NL

Sep 6th (KM) Greenwich Tall Ships Festival - Provisional

Sep 7th (KM) Greenwich Tall Ships Festival - Provisional

Oct 3rd (KM) Portmagee Festival - Provisional

Oct 4th (KM) Portmagee Festival - Provisional

Oct 5th (KM) Portmagee Festival - Provisional

Oct 10th (KM) Harwich Festival of the sea

Oct 11th (KM) Harwich Festival of the sea

Oct 12th (KM) Harwich Festival of the sea

Oct 24th (KM) Lichfield Folk Festival

Nov 21st (KM) Lancashire Touring Scheme - Provisional

Nov 22nd (KM) Lancashire Touring Scheme - Provisional

Nov 23rd (KM) Lancashire Touring Scheme - Provisional  Lindsey Wilson 01254-674777

Dec 6th (KM) The Workshop, Back Victoria Street, Halifax. HX1 5SU




May 15th (KM) The David Hall, South Petherton







Hi Joe, 

Just a quicky to express my sorrow at Pete's passing and hoping you're not too upset at the loss of your 'hero'. 

It's been dawning on me for a while what a great honour it was to have performed with Pete on his home turf and I take this opportunity to thank you before I forget again.  He really was a great man and the world is a lesser place for his passing. 

Keep singing his songs, Joe, in any sort if tuning or timing!!!


Neil Kimber xxx


Dear Joe

Sorry to hear your hero and friend Pete Seeger has died.  You are having a tough time of it lately

John Bromley



Nice one's amazing how many hearts and lives he touched around the world.

Hope you are doing well...though I am glad to see you are still "rambling" around.

You know every now and again I think back to that benefit we did with you and Pete for Rosalie Sorrels at Bodles Opera House.

Well, my friend, keep on.

Jon Stein Hootenanny Cafe NY.



Dear Joe,

Thanks so much for sending me "The Ramblings of an old Codger".  It is the most detailed obituary of Pete that I have read.   I also listened to your song about Pete on YouTube. It brought a smile to my face, and a tear to my eyes. 


Pete had an enormous influence on my life, starting from the time I  first heard and sang Weavers' songs at summer camp in the 1950's.  I was part of the radical civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960's.  After a group of us from Brown University were arrested at the Pentagon demonstration in 1967, I asked Pete to sing a benefit concert to raise money to pay back students from whom we borrowed money for our fines.  The concert also was to benefit a group I knew in  Mississippi.  Pete played the concert and charged us the royal sum of $100. Those of us who were there will never forget it.


After college I became a community organizer and helped build a powerful organization of poor people - part of the National Welfare Rights Organization - in Rhode Island.   If I had been a better organizer I would have kept doing it, but I became a lawyer instead.  I moved to West Virginia and spent over 30 years representing poor and working people. I was particularly involved in representing coal miners who had become disabled by black lung disease. In 2008, sponsored by the United Mine Workers of America,  I was appointed as a Commissioner at the Federal Mine Safety and Health Commission (which is why my email address is It is a position of some power, and I try to do some good. 


Throughout all of it Pete has been an inspiration -- his commitment to justice, his courage and his optimism.  It is easy to become depressed fighting against always superior odds, and it is easy to become cynical seeing the duplicity of the wealthy and powerful, as well as the weakness of so many liberals. Pete never gave up the struggle and he never gave up hope for a better future.  At a time when raw individualism has become such a powerful ideology, Pete continued to demonstrate the power of community.  (In all of this, he was like another mentor of mine, the people's historian Howard Zinn.)


So thank you again for bringing Pete Seeger a little closer. And yes, I would like to continue receiving your Ramblings - one old Codger to another. 


Keep the faith. 


Bob Cohen. - Philadelphia.

(Robert F . Cohen Jr.)




Mr. Stead,

Thank you so much for this wonderful newsletter. I cannot wait to read it later tonight after I finish studying. If you find time, please check out my folk-inspired rock band Emily's Army. A lot of Seeger's philosophical influence can be found in the lyrics. here is the link to our song "war"-->

I quite enjoyed your song and I am very glad I happened upon your music and ramblings.


Cole Becker USA.




Hi Joe-

When my clock radio switched on this morning and I heard NPR retelling the life of Pete Seeger, I knew he had passed and I thought of you. You have spoken often of your friend in such an affectionate and glowing manner I'm sure this news is heartbreaking. Please accept our condolences. Our best wishes are with the Seeger family, friends and fans.

Thanks for the Ramblings. I read them "cover to cover" regularly. This one is very special.

Kindest regards,

Chuck Dube

Amherst, MA




Oh, well, I don't know exactly why I'm contacting you. I guess that is just to share with you how amazing I find these opportunities of the modern world. I'm a young 18 years old brazilian boy who happens to love Pete Seegers' music (and that's how I found your e-mail, on youtube), a fellow who was famous back in the 60's but brought to my attention through the internet on the 21st century. It's really wonderful to think about how easy it is to get in touch with someone who actually knew one of my favorite singers.

I can tell you for sure that the kind of music I enjoy is not knowed or liked by other people in my country, and I, as a true folk lover (and I am) am, at the same time, worried about the fact that I don't see any "new Pete Segeers" coming around but glad that I can easily have access to these old songs. It's actually weird how a important part of my life folk music has become, since I have my earphones on everytime that's possible, listening to it. Not only Pete Segeers' but Clancy Bros. and Tommy Makem, PP&M, Dylan, Joan Baez, The Dubliners, and many others.

I may look like a fool but I do indeed find just absolutely amazing that I'm able to contact you, people nowadays doesn't seem to care about this kind of things.

Although I listen to many folk singers I have to tell you that I've never stumbled upon any song of yours before, but listened to some on your website now and they are really nice. If it does not bother you, what do you have to talk to me about Pete?

Sorry by any misspelled word, english is my second language.

Thank you,

Luan C. ThumsBrazil !!!!



Dear Joe,

Thank you for sharing with me your eulogy/obituary for Pete Seeger?

The first record album I owned was a gift, in 1963--We Shall Overcome. I still have it.

I learned about Pete, saw him perform when he was here in Minneapolis a decade later.

I respect Pete Seeger greatly.

Peace to you, and condolences on the passing of your friend and colleague.

Ellen Lipschultz - USA.



Hey Joe -

Hope this gets to you (not sure of the address).

Just had to commiserate a bit over our loss of Pete Seeger. I'm 57, been a radio personality (currently playing oldies in Memphis) since age 12 - and seldom has any music ever touched me the way Pete Seeger and The Weavers DO! Saw their documentary on PBS over 30 years ago and that spark is a FIRE nowadays..;-) Shed tears as credits rolled seeing our beloved Lee Hays had died right after Carnegie Hall concert. And not one for hero worship, but Lee Hayes and Pete Seeger are the gifts that will forever keep on giving. As Emerson said: "The years teach what the days will never know."

A great man, self-effacing and more interested in living his principles than gaining vast wealth from them. His life was a statement that said right wing fascism can never prevail over the human spirit. He gave our lives both melody and the harmony; everyone knows his songs, whether they know they are by him or not.

Glad that YOU - a Living Part of this Musical Light, are still here to share. Thanks for posting on YouTube and Thanks for all you did with this inspiring chapter in our lives!

Willie B - USA.



Dear Joe,
Thank you very much for your biography of Pete Seeger which told a lot of his life.

And I also listened to your song about him, a very good song with a comprehensive text of Pete's life in five verses, a nice melody and some weird chords.

Thank the Lord that he cares about Pete, you and me

Best wishes


Bernd Arnold





Hey Joe,


My name is Gytis Garsys and I am a student at the University of Florida.


I've been watching Pete Seeger videos all morning since I heard about his death. "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" was one of the first songs I ever learned when I was a toddler. I saw your video for "Garden Song (Inch by Inch)" and that you said you knew him and had written an obituary/eulogy. If you don't mind sending it my way, I would love to read it.



Gytis Garsys - Florida




The world weeps. Here is a postcard I received from Pete last week. It is about my new co-edited book THE PETE SEEGER READER (Oxford UP), which has a lot of fresh details about Pete's amazing life. Unfortunately, my co-editor Jim Capaldi, who long ran the Pete Seeger website, died in December just as the book was being released. Which is what Pete refers to at the bottom of his postcard (hard to read). Perhaps you can use your bio. of Pete somewhere else.

Ron Cohen - Indiana







And today you proved exactly why your Ramblings had to continue. Thanks for that wonderful write up about Pete. He is a world treasure that only comes along ever so often. Wasn’t that a time, eh?


John McGlinchy - Philadelphia





Thank you for your message and my sincere apologies for taking so long to reply. It has been a challenge to keep up and make ends meet. Fortunately I'm used to it.

I'm sure this is a sad day for you with the news of Pete's passing. He is a treasure and will be sorely missed. He kept an important light burning in the world. It won't go out but it won't burn as brightly either.

I couldn't get the song file to play on my handheld but will try again later from my laptop. I have a brutal schedule the next several weeks so it may take a bit of time. I did read the lyrics and it's a beautiful and well written tribute to Pete and his comrades. Well done my friend. I'm honored that you'd go to the trouble to share that with me.

You're the right man for the job regarding Pete's obit. And your ramblings have important cultural and folk historical context from what I can tell.

Might be best to hold off on putting me on the mailing list. I'm buried alive in email every day as it is and it'll get lost in the shuffle. Sad, but true. I spent the first and last hours of most days digging my way out of my inbox. Not exactly the path of wandering and music I started out on as a 17 year old heading out into the world on a large adventure. Big fish, indeed.

All the best to you my friend.

God Bless Pete Seeger!
Don Conoscenti - USA.


can be empty because you can't see him
Or you c
Don Conoscenti []an be full of the love that you shared

Thanks Joe,


I was looking forward to your news letter, now that is a first, when I heard the news of Pete Seeger`s passing


Lots to celebrate in a full life and a great influence on the British folk scene.


The music will live on, he gave us many great tunes elegant in their simplicity with words that could be understood universally.




Nigel Hinton



Joe ,

You're privileged to say you were Pete's friend.

I feel privileged just to know of him.

Deepest condolences to all.

Martin Mullaney




You can shed tears that he is gone
Or you can smile because he has lived


You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left


Your heart can be empty because you can't see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared


You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday


You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on


You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.


You can shed tears that he is gone

Well! I didn't realise that "Ramblings " would be a superb biography, thank you for that magnificent piece!

Dawn Skye

r you can open your eyes and see all that he has left

Your heart can be empty because you can't see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared
Dear Joe,

Mourning and grieving the farewell of Pete Seeger, I come across your offer at you tube, and so I would like to read your eulogy.

The youth, students and peace movements in Germany gathered around "We shall overcome", "Where have all the flowers gone" and "Last night I had the strangest dream".

Also I appreciate Petes version of "Die Gedanken sind frei".

Not to forget "The last train to Nuremberg".

Thank you, Pete Seeger.

Best wishes from Nuremberg.

Dr. Bernd Arnold
Waechterstraße 15
90489 Nürnberg

rn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

Hi Joe,

Very much enjoyed your informative & personal obit on Pete Seeger. The Guardian one, on line, is very good too.

It seems, like you, he touched many people throughout his life to help make their lives more understandable.

Hope all’s well.

Sue Head




can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Hi Joe,
I fell behind on emails and what a blessing I found this now ... Pete's death has left such a hole in our community, and I suffered from pulmonary embolism/deep vein thrombosis, as well. Lucky we're both alive, eh? Living to tell the tale ...
What a great performer you are, enjoyed the introduction as much as the song. Thank you for sending it ... I'll put it in my "saved" folder and let you know if I do it.
By the way, my grandparents came from Lanchashire (listening to the Knocker-upper man right now). Actually, related to Alice Nutter who was hanged at Pendle Hill. I wrote about it ...
Anyway, keep in touch and thank you again.
Glad we both kept our health.
Anne Hills (American folksinger) Bethlehem Pa




Many thanks for a cracking evening at Kempley. Nice small (packed), friendly venue, which I think suits Kimber's Men's informal approach, especially their ability to connect with an audience.

I thought the audience really warmed up and produced some good participation. While I missed the pipes of your garlic-eating member (and noted the lack of "NorthWest Passage"), the four of you produced another memorable evening. My party had a wonderful time.

Many thanks again. Pleas pass my thanks to the others, and keep on!

Mark Venn


You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember him and only that he is gone

 I would encourage you to consider the word “pedophile,” especially in the context in which you used it. I would never give a pass to someone taking sexual advantage of a young person, but there is a world of difference between a man who diddles children and one who pursues physically mature pre-adults. Application of the word pedophile to both either places an unearned stigma on the latter or lessens the sting of the word when it is properly used in reference to the former.


I don’t rightly know what to call a fellow who chases school girls (meaning 15+ sexually mature females), but pedophile doesn’t quite hit the mark for me.


I had read of the Jimmy Saville matter, but not of the others you mention.  This problem with false/poorly supported accusations is not, however, limited to the UK.  Here in America the Justice Department (there’s an oxymoron for you) recently issued guidance to universities that accusations of sexual assault should only have to meet a “preponderance of evidence” and not a “beyond reasonable doubt” standard.  As a result, many not-so-famous young men, even after the local police investigate and find no basis for arrest, are facing kangaroo courts at their school where, without access to counsel, being able to call witness, being allowed to enter evidence, or given the right to confront their accuser, they are being found “guilty” of sexual assault and booted out with no refund of tuition, their reputation shredded with no future prospect.  Little wonder that 60%+ of higher degrees in the US are now awarded to women.  Why put yourself in the crosshairs?


I know I can be a bit pedantic, but one serious gripe of mine is the erosion of specificity in language.  For example, years ago after a released sexual predator abducted, raped, and killed a young girl in his neighborhood people thought it was a good idea to make convicted rapists and pedophiles register so the average citizen could check to see if one of these folks lived nearby.  Ignoring any civil liberty issues in that, the real problem was when folks thought it was a good idea to expand this to other sexual offenders, with the result that today a 19 year-old who gets caught doing the deed with a 16 year-old will be classified and registered as a sexual offender and limited in where he can live and work for the rest of his life.  Likewise, there are young folks arrested for streaking who have also been required to register.  It’s a farce.


I trust you read my first paragraph in the friendly way in which it was meant.  I may not always agree with what you have to say, but it always cheers me to find a surprise “letter” in my otherwise business-centered mailbox.



David Henry USA.

Technical Advisor

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.






Texting Elderly


An elderly couple had just learned how to send text messages on their cellphones.  The wife was a romantic type, and the husband was more of a no-nonsense guy.


One afternoon the wife went out to meet a friend for coffee.  She decided to send her husband a romantic text message, so she wrote: "If you are sleeping, send me your dreams. If you are laughing, send me your smile. If you are eating, send me a bite. If you are drinking, send me a sip. If you are crying, send me your tears. I love you."


The husband text back to her: "I'm using the bathroom.

Please advise."







David Cameron was out walking his dog with Nick Clegg when they decided to stop and have a drink outside the pub.


After 20 minutes a guy walks out of the pub, kneels beside the dog, lifts up it's tail and stares at it with a look of confusion.


"What the hell do you think your doing" says David Cameron, to which the man replies;


"My mate just told me there was a dog outside with 2 arseholes"






A pharmacist walked into his shop to find a man leaning against the wall.

"What's wrong with him?", he asked his assistant.

"He came in for cough syrup, but I couldn't find any so I gave him a box of laxatives."

"You idiot" said the chemist, "You can't treat a cough with laxatives."

"Of course you can" the assistant replied,  "Look at him........he won't cough now!!"






Finally a few snippets of rather old American news!


When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.


A man who shovelled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.


After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride.  He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't  discovered for 3 days.


An American teenager is in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before


he was hit.


A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, 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...$15.
(If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?)


Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly.  He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.


As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher.  Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes, officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from."


The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in YpsilantiMichigan, at 5 A.M., 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.


When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motor homes sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.



Keep smiling, keep singing.



Joe Stead.


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