I was 12 years old when I learned that being
buried alive wasn’t a regular part of family life.
I was 12 years old when I learned that being
I was 12 years old when I learned that being
buried alive wasn’t a regular part of family life.
When I first heard the word “microwave”
I thought they where talking about a small beach.
My return was met with unbridled enthusiasm by Thomas. He produced a forgotten world record to get my interest rolling.
“On July 2, 1973, Julie Kravets became recognized as the world’s first woman to use her mouth as a food processor. She could slice, dice, mince, knead, chop and puree with her magic jaws. What did her husband say about her talent? ‘It’s exciting kissing her while she’s dicing carrots!'”
The matter concerning how to present these records to the public was still unresolved. I approached Thomas to say that I was thinking of writing a book when he announced, “I am leaving for Brazil.”
“Okay,” I said, “but what about the project?”
“It’s in your hands.” He paused, then said, “But don’t write a book.”
He must have been reading my mind. “Why not?!”
“We must film a movie about it! Do you think we could get Brad Pitt to star?” With that he ran out of the room and headed for Brazil.
Two weeks after his departure, Thomas sent me a telegram. “COME DOWN IMMEDIATELY!” I called him in Brazil.
“I got your tele-” I started to say but he interrupted.
“Then why aren’t you on a plane down here already?!”
“Because I’m trying to organize the world records. And, besides, I don’t know why you’re in Brazil and nor do I want to go there.”
“I’m trying to sell some property that’s been in my family for generations. The money will be needed to pay Brad Pitt when he stars in our movie.”
“You have property in Brazil?” You never knew what Thomas would say.
“Yes. I own the Amazon River,” he said.
“How could you possibly own the Amazon River?!”
“That’s just what the Brazilian authorities said to me. So I showed them my deed, and they still didn’t believe me. So when are you coming down?”
“Look, Thomas. I don’t know how I could help you. Besides, even if you do own the Amazon River and could sell it, I don’t think Brad Pitt is going to star in your movie.”
“Yes he is. I spoke to his agent and got a call from Brad asking about a start date. I told him that I was still organizing the material and he said that he wants to be included in that process. He’ll be calling you soon.”
“What?” I said, meekly.
“And you know what? He’s as annoying as you are, always concerned about the details. I told him, don’t worry! We’ll get it done. And he wants a part for Angelina in the movie. I don’t know though. I don’t think she’s box-office material anymore.
“Anyway, I want you to bring me down some Amazon River papers I have in my safe. Do it today!”
I grabbed the papers and hopped a plane. When I arrived I found Thomas imprisoned for abusive behavior. The police let me bail him out on the condition that we both left the country immediately.
The return flight was filled with arguments. Thomas was still screaming at Brazil and I was shouting at Thomas. When we were over Florida, the airline stewardesses strapped parachutes on us and we were tossed out over the Everglades. Arriving home, I got back to work.
“Alexander Ludworthy, a geologist, made the world’s most unusual discovery when he, on an expedition in Antarctica, unearthed a Neanderthal man dressed in a 3 piece suit holding a brief case. It was further reported that the man’s tie did not match the color of his suit.”
I felt that I was making progress. I even started writing the first draft of the movie screenplay. (Brad Pitt did call, making suggestions.) I presented my efforts to Thomas but he pushed them aside complaining of an illness. Unbeknownst to us, it would be only a matter of months for him.
The end of the year approached and so did my first draft. Thomas reviewed it and wondered why there were no “gladiator-type” of scenes. I answered, “Maybe because there are no “gladiator-type” of world records?”
“Then make one up! There’s gotta be a scene with Brad Pitt chopping off somebody’s head!”
I tried to be polite, due to his illness, but his erratic behavior eventually wore me down. I took a break and left for a month. Upon my return, Thomas threw me out for another month, complaining that he refused to work with a man who didn’t look like Brad Pitt. After another month, he asked me to return.
We resumed work on the screenplay. With daily calls from Brad Pitt demanding more scenes for Angelina, and Thomas actively resisting, the pressure was on. I could hear screaming matches from them and I was stuck in the middle.
When the screenplay neared completion, rehearsals had started. Thomas was flying out to Hollywood on a weekly basis to confront Brad Pitt about the “Angelina problem”. At one point I heard Thomas had approached Bruce Willis to star, but Bruce was committed to another project at the time.
Everything seemed perfect when, without warning, Thomas passed away. We both underestimated the severity of his illness. At this point, everything evaporated. Brad Pitt pulled out, and no one else in Hollywood was interested.
The wake and funeral for Thomas were swift as I was “almost” the only one attending. I don’t understand the connection, but Steven Spielberg showed up for the wake.
It took a few months but eventually I got back to work. Thomas left everything to me – the world records, all of his property which included the Amazon River. I returned to my original plan, to write a book on the subject. I did receive one call from Martin Scorcese but it never went anywhere.
“George Peters developed the world’s first line of ‘gasoline clothes’. Produced in a variety of styles and colors, ranging from suits to dresses to blue jeans, these clothes can power a car. ‘So if you ever run out of gas on the highway,’ Mr. Peters said, ‘you simply take off your shirt, put it in the gas tank and drive off.'”
I can’t wait for the book!
A world record represents an achievement of superiority. Questing for one deserves praise. Forgotten ones should be remembered.
My first discovery came while thumbing through the magazine “Glue*Magic”, May 1962. There was a picture and story of Vernon Helmtswat, the world’s most-glued man. Vernon was shown gluing himself to the bottom of a jet plane moments before take off.
My interest was born when I met Thomas Swielzel, the forgotten champion of forgotten world records. Thomas was a loner, and for good reason. People were uncomfortable around a man who dry-cleaned his fruits and vegetables instead of washing them. Not me.
We met in a coffee shop. He was dressed in a grey suit complimented by a grey complexion. He began the conversation. “I know that I may sound like a dreamer, but I have a theory. The theory is, is that our planet earth has another small planet circling it at a distance of about 250,000 miles.”
“Are you talking about the moon?” I asked.
“WHAT? he cried. “Do you mean somebody has discovered it before me?! There goes another Nobel Prize!”
Thomas stormed out and it was 6 months before I saw him again.
I was at a flea market when I spotted a crowd of people listening to someone. Curious, I approached. It was Thomas.
“And may I remind you,” he said, “Edward Corbon holds the record for forgetting what he looks like. Mr. Corbin has been shown many pictures of himself but everytime he looks in the mirror, he says the same thing, ‘Hello, Mr. President.'”
Inspired, my search for those elusive records began anew. I searched bookstores and laundromats. It was tough going. Finally I found something in an old newspaper.
“Yesterday, Howard Muller captured a world record by becoming the first man ever to make future predictions and have 98% of them come true. Mr. Muller claims that he can predict the future if he is within 5 feet of a goat. ‘It has something to do with the aura surrounding our two species,’ he was quoted saying. ‘When they combine it enables me to see into the future!'” A photo showed Mr. Muller and a goat in Las Vegas playing cards.
My search continued but it was difficult. Relief came when I spotted an ad in a magazine. Thomas would be sponsoring a talk on “Forgotten World Records”.
I attended. Only I attended. He had an audience of just one. Me. He didn’t seem to notice though, carrying on as if all 250 sears were occupied. And he was fascinating!
“Lawrence Canaby holds the world record for disappearing socks in the Bermuda Triangle,” he said. “A fisherman by trade, Mr. Canaby has traveled the area thousands of times with his socks vanishing on each trip.”
“LuAnne Kramer hold the record as the world’s most misidentified woman. For years, thousands of people have mistaken her some somebody else with the biggest error coming when a supermarket shopper grabbed Mrs. Kramer thinking she was a loaf of bread.”
At the end of the conference Thomas gave me the key to his house. “I know that you are fascinated by this subject,” he said. “Go to my house and search. I have hundreds of boxes all containing these forgotten records! And while you’re there, paint the living room. I like the color blue. It needs a fresh coat.”
I was in heaven. Or at least, I thought that I was.
To be continued…
(Read this article written by John Cleese from Monty Python on a friend’s FB post and thought it was hilarious. Wanted to share…)
And now for something completely written by John Cleese.
ALERTS TO THREATS IN 2013 EUROPE
From JOHN CLEESE
The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Syria and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.
The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.
The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France ‘s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.
Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”
The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose.”
Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels ..
The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.
Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be right, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is cancelled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the last final escalation level.
British writer, actor, and tall person
And as a final thought – Greece is collapsing, the Iranians are getting aggressive, and Rome is in disarray. Welcome back to 430 BC.
Life is too short…
Lawrence Canaby holds the “dubious” record for
vanishing socks in the Bermuda Triangle.
A cruise ship captain, Mr. Canaby has sailed
through the Triangle thousands of times
with his socks disappearing* on each trip.
*They vanish while he is wearing them.
(A crew member suggested that he simply stop wearing socks.
When he did, his underwear then vanished.)
I was fired from my job for combing my hair all day.
I told my boss, I thought that WAS my job.
I bought my dog a pen & pencil set for Christmas.
Now he’s writing love letters to my wife.
Ronald Cambridge, Jr.
Mr. & Mrs. Ronald Cambridge
112 Common Grounds Way
Boston, Massachusetts 02112
Dear Mother and Father,
My first year of school has ended and it was an exciting time of learning and discovery. My only problem has been the language. They claim to speak English here but I don’t know what they are saying.
I’ve been quite active on campus. I’ve joined the chess club, but the rules are different here. I have to give my opponent a $100 every time I move my bishop and $200 if I don’t. I wanted to join the French club but they wouldn’t accept me because I wasn’t German. (That really confused me.) I tried my hand at sports and joined the tennis team but it was very difficult hitting the ball while skydiving.
Now the reason for my letter. With summer approaching, I am in need of employment. It’s difficult finding a job since I don’t speak the language but a friend did suggest that I be a gigolo. That sounded like a good idea so I applied at a local police station. I was arrested and threatened with deportation. They finally let me go when I explained that in my country, gigolo meant “police officer”. I was given a very strange look and released.
Which leads me back to my problem, working. I did find a part-time job, I was elected to Parliament, but it doesn’t pay much. Apparently the job of Prime Minister is taken so that’s out of the question.
I tried again looking for work as a gigolo, asking this very pretty lady for advice, but her brother was offended so he tied me to the roof of his car and drove all over London. I screamed for help but only got strange looks since they don’t understand English here.
Anyway, I’ve decided instead to return home for the summer break. I purchased a rowboat and will be using that for transportation. Looking forward to seeing the both of you soon.
Your Loving Son,