Archive for the 'Humor' Category

Duuuh Scientific Study of the Day

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Excess weight gain during pregnancy linked to bigger babies

Mothers who gain more weight than recommended during their pregnancies tend to have babies with higher birth weights than normal. But medical researchers haven’t known whether it’s the expectant mother’s weight gain or perhaps her genes that influence how much her baby will weigh.

From “White Coat Notes” in the Boston Globe Aug.6

Well, duuh. If you ingest enough calories to gain 50 pounds, your baby is going to get his or her share of them. You’re connected, remember? What really blows the mind is that the Dowbrigade spent much of one career (we have had several) doing research into birthweights in various environments within the developing world, all places where LOW birthweights were the blight to be obliterated and the whole concept that birthweights could be too HIGH was non-sensical. Even here in the US, when we were little, back somewhere in the past century, people bragged about how much their babies weighed. Fat babies were GOOD. Future NFLers. How times have changed.

DNA Determines Dork Destiny

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For Crime, Is Anatomy Destiny?

http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/0/77/599289-beagle_large.jpgPoverty, greed, anger, jealousy, pride, revenge. These are the usual suspects when it comes to discussing the causes of crime. In recent years, however, economists have started to investigate a different explanation for criminal activity: physical attributes.

A small band of economists has been studying how height, weight and beauty affect the likelihood of committing — or being convicted of — a crime. Looking at records from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, they have found evidence that shorter men are 20 to 30 percent more likely to end up in prison than their taller counterparts, and that obesity and physical attractiveness are linked to crime.

from the New York Times

OK, so just because of an abnormally high concentration of short, ugly fat guys in prison over the past 200 years, we can conclude that being an unattractive dwarf leads to a life of crime, or at least a propensity to crime, or at the very least a propensity for getting caught, convicted and sent to prison for a crime. No wonder Danny Devito was so convincing as the Penguin.

Actually, the Dowbrigade has been working on a research project of his own over the past several years which would fit into this category of sociological speculation. After rigorous field research and biometric measurement, we have determined that short, overweight and physically unattractive individuals are statistically overrepresented among the MIT student body. The clear conclusion is that these physical traits increase the danger that a given individual will develop into a genius.

Our methodology was impeccable.  In a classic double-blind study, subjects were shown mixed sets of photos of the MIT freshman class and the freshman class at the Barbizon School of Modeling. When asked which photos showed individuals they would like to meet in a mosh pit, subjects overwhelmingly chose the Barbizon students.  However, when asked which photos represented individuals who were also geniuses, the subjects also identified the Barbizon group.

To insure experimental integrity, both the subjects and the questioners were recruited from the Perkins School for the Blind in nearby Watertown, guarenteeing impartiality. Of course, the results should not be construed as supporting biological determinism. Clearly, not all short, chubby pug-uglies end up at MIT. Some, like Quasimodo, feel the call of the cloisters.

Birth Tourism

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http://media.collegepublisher.com/media/paper404/stills/qmon9sgi.jpgBirth tourism is the phenomena of babies convincing their mothers to travel to the US pre-partum so that they can be US citizens, as well as take advantage of our swell pay-if-you-want medical system. A recent ABC News article says:

Thousands of legal immigrants, who do not permanently reside in the United States but give birth here, have given their children the gift of citizenship, which the U.S. grants to anyone born on its soil.

The number of U.S. births to non-resident mothers rose 53 percent between 2000 and 2006, according to the most recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

What they fail to mention until the 14th paragraph that “[o]f the 4,273,225 live births in the United States in 2006, the most recent data gathered by the National Center for Health Statistics, 7,670 were children born to mothers who said they do not live here,” That works out to 0.17% of all live births in 2006. Big deal.

Actually, we are surprised that the numbers aren’t much higher.  It sounds like a good deal to us.  We may just take out ads in major dailies in megacities like Mumbai and Sao Paulo offering birth tourism tours and services.  Out of 20 million residents there ought to be a few fools gullible enough to think that in a few years a US passport is going to be anything more than a blue badge of cowardice and a neon sign flashing “kidnap me”.

All the World’s aTwitter

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Discussing logistical matters on Twitter is simply going to attract unnecessary attention of the government and other detractors. This is why most such discussions take place on secure private platforms like e-mail or instant-messaging….Thus, Iran’s regime is quite knowledgeable about social media. Perhaps we should not read too much into the government’s reluctance – or, some have argued, inability – to ban tools like Twitter. The reasons for these may be much more banal: These tools are simply too useful as sources of intelligence about what is happening in the country. Not only do they help the Iran government to follow the events closely (as well as to understand the perception of the government’s actions) in every single locality with an Internet connection, they also help it to understand the connections between various activists and their supporters in the West. From the intelligence-gathering perspective, Twitter has been a gift from heaven.

Evgeny Morozov in Boston Globe

It occurs to the Dowbrigade that our previous posting, arguing that there is nothing inherently beneficent or liberating in the digital revolution, was a bit one-sided. It argued that the internet was just a new tool that could be used to ends both enlightened and nefarious, by the full gamut of human wielders. However, as we used to say in our salad days, the mark of true intelligence is the ability to simultaneously entertain irreconcilably contradictory concepts. So let us consider the flip side.

As someone undoubtedly noted (the unattributed quote is in my head and Google won’t help) the Power of the Printing Press accrues mostly to those who own one, which used to be a pretty rarified slice of humanity.  The paradigm-busting characteristic of the digital revolution is putting that power in the hands of a significant proportion of the world’s population.

Recent events in Iran seem to argue for the status quo quashing potential of digital tools, as Twitter, blogs (Iran has the most blogs in the Muslim world) and general wiredness of the population seems to be a crucial factor in the most serious opposition to the rule of the Ayatollas since the Islamic Revolution thirty years ago. The majority of the current population of Iran never knew the Shah and grew up on the Internet. Surely that makes governing 66 million people according to a set of laws from the 9th century a bit of a challenge.

Yet, as Evgeny Morozov noted in the Globe, quoted above, the Ayatollas and Revolutionary Guard know how to use computers as well, and we are currently seeing a pretty virulent counter-attack on the ground and in cyberspace on the part of the Iranian authorities. Perhaps, rather than a stairway to freedom, the web is just another battlefield for the age old struggle between – who? The authorities and the rebels?  The ins and the outs?  The ensconced elders and the upstart youth? Good and evil?

At any rate, it appears Twitter is here to stay, for better or worse. And we finally get it.  After a couple of years of dismissing it as digital telegrams for twits, the currently vogue term “microblogging” helped me wrap my head around it.  But it’s not “micro” exactly, more like “mobile”. The distinguishing characteristic of Twitter is that it can be, and is usually, done from a cell phone.

Blogging, of course, is usually done from a computer.  It is a ruminative, contemplative occupation, best accomplished alone, in a quiet, controlled environment, like the Dowbrigades Electronic Command Center, with its multiple screens connected to all manner of digital information, rats-nest of cables which Norma Yvonne constantly threatens to cut and throw out, super-comfortable Ikea suspended chair and easy access to refrigerator, restroom and sleeping facilities.  Hence the iconic image of the unshaven, pajama-clad blogger burning the midnight oil. Many bloggers are comfortably into middle age.

Twitter, however, is a youngster’s game. It is out and around, not stogily baracaded in a basement bunker. It is done on iPhones and Blackberrys, in short frantic bursts, on the scene, furitively in crowds and meetings, on the fly, in the moment, and as such captures a different aspect of the cutting edge and a different slice of daily life than blogs. It produces different kinds of insights and thrills.

For example, this Twitter-related story came into the Dowbrigade Command Center this morning:

TORONTO (AP) – Police have charged the tour manager of the Black Eyed Peas with assault after he allegedly gave celebrity blogger Perez Hilton a black eye outside a Toronto nightclub.  Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, complained about the incident on the microblogging site Twitter. He tweeted at 4 a.m.: “I am bleeding. Please, I need to file a police report. No joke.”

from the Associated Press

The Dowbrigade thinks he will stick to blogging. Actually leaving the Command Center is becoming increasingly dangerous. No joke.

Last Word on the Millionth Word

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On Wednesday, a Texas-based media consulting firm announced the birth of the millionth English word, which arrived on June 10, 2009, at 10:22 a.m., Stratford-on-Avon time.

The lucky lexeme? “Web 2.0,” which edged out “slumdog,” “octomom” and “N00b,” a disparaging term for video game newbies.

Language experts, when asked for comment, found themselves reaching for other words, some of them unprintable.

“It’s bushwa, fraud, hokum,” said Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley.

Grant Barrett, a lexicographer and co-founder of the online dictionary Wordnik.com, said: “It’s a sham. It’s a hoax. It’s fake. It’s not real.”

Indeed, it’s hard to find scholars who react with anything less than blunt outrage at the headline-garnering “Million-Word March,” which was begun in 2003 by Paul JJ Payack, the president and chief word analyst of Global Language Monitor. They point to the frequently revised predictions of the fateful word’s arrival, perhaps to coincide with the publication of his book about the project. They question the validity of the algorithm used to pinpoint when a word crossed the threshold of 25,000 geographically scattered uses — something they say even Google could not come up with.

Mr. Payack defended himself, conceding that the announcement of the millionth word was just an “estimate.” But he insisted it was still significant.

“English has an amazing ability to accept new words, generated from every corner of the world, and that’s a fascinating concept that should be acknowledged,” he said.

True enough, say linguists, who with all the computer firepower they use these days are hardly word mavens trying to keep techie barbarians out of the sacred precincts of Dr. Johnson. The question of how to count words — and just why English-speakers love to hear about their unusually weird and variegated lexicon — opens up fundamental issues about just what English, and a word, is.

English is definitely big. The Oxford English Dictionary lists about 600,000 words (mostly drawn from written sources), with more than 1,000 added annually. Merriam-Webster’s estimates that there are about a million words in English, give or take a quarter-million — far more than the 500,000-plus claimed by the runner-up, Mandarin Chinese, and the 100,000-odd words of French.

But the idea of an “English word” is inherently fuzzy. How do you count compound words like “hot dog” or infinitely expandable ones like “great-great-great-great-aunt?” What about foreign loan words? Terms for chemical compounds (roughly 84 million) or insect species (roughly one million)? The slang terms that wink in and out of existence without ever making it into print?

Our fascination with the vastness of English, Mr. Nunberg said, springs from a kind of linguistic imperialism — a feeling that “our dictionaries are bigger than their dictionaries.” But this doesn’t really make us any richer linguistically, he contended.

“It’s not like the French are impoverished because they have fewer fish names than we do,” he said.

Indeed, some linguists argue that our obsession with the odd profusion of English misses what is really distinctive about the language: its grammar.

Lots of languages have a mixed-up lexicon, but few have English’s hybrid structure, said John McWhorter, a linguist at the Manhattan Institute. English grammar “has been bastardized by Celtic and then beaten up by Vikings, who made it simpler than it would otherwise be,” he said. “We are speaking a bastard and beaten tongue with a very unusual grammatical history.”

But try getting anyone interested in a story about that.

from the New York Times

Actually, the Dowbrigade is fascinated by the history of the English Language, having taught it at the Peruvian National University. It is worth remembering that before the aforementioned linguistic assault and battery, English was a hard-luck refugee dialect of low German surrounded and mutated by Celtic and Latin, and that afterward it was raped and pillaged by French, which kept it in idiomatic surfdom for 400 years.

A Pitcher’s Worth a Million Words

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shakespeare-seriously-noob.jpgAustin, Texas June 10, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor today announced that Web 2.0 has bested Jai Ho, N00b and Slumdog as the 1,000,000th English word or phrase. added to the codex of fourteen hundred-year-old language. Web 2.0 is a technical term meaning the next generation of World Wide Web products and services. It has crossed from technical jargon into far wider circulation in the last six months

from The Language Monitor

Technically, is “Web 2.0″ a word? Isn’t it a phrase or a version? The reason that English has more words than any other language (at least according to English-speaking linguists), is that a) it historically and compulsively steals the best words from all of the other languages it comes into contact with, like schadenfreude and tutti frutti, and b) because it makes it so gosh darned easy to make up new words out of thin air! The English, pedantic though they may be, and unlike the French and Spanish, have no Royal Academy of English to decree what is or is not an “official” word. It is a Darwinian jungle of a language, where words subject themselves to a merciless usage-based survival of the fittest. But in the final analysis, any fool can invent a new English word.

The Dowbrigade attempted to fill a void in Shakespeare’s voluminous lexicon when, at the tender age of 16, he coined the term “spastik” /spaz-tÉEk/, to describe the desire to get high, reasoning analagously that if you want drink you are thirsty, if you want food you are hungry, but if you want to get high, you are spastik.

It is uncertain if the term spastik ever reached beyond our little gang of juvenile delinquents in Upstate New York. We think we may have heard it in a rap song back in the 80′s, and once in a smokey reggae bar in Cambridgeport, but it was never clear enough to be sure. Perhaps The Global Language Monitor will never feature it on their web site, but it certainly seems more wordly than “Web 2.0″.

Multidimensional Preposition

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WHAAAAAT? Bailed Out Bank Of America Paying Consumers To See Hollywood Film

This is unbelievable. Though I suppose it was just a matter of time before the Hollywood moguls figured out a way to get their hands on some of that U.S. government bailout money, albeit indirectly. But why in the world are American taxpayers helping foot the bill to promote a big-budget 3-D DreamWorks Animation movie? Well, it appears the reason is because the president of the Jeffrey Katzenberg-led Hollywood animation studio just happens to be Bank of America’s former Vice Chairman and CFO.

Bank of America was helping families to see Monsters vs Aliens in 3-D rather than 2-D at no additional cost when it starts playing in theaters on Friday, March 27th. (The promotion is here.)

from Deadline Hollywood

What a difference a preposition can make! We read that headline (Bank of America Paying Consumers to See Hollywood Film) and decided we could see the film 20 or 30 times, depending on how much they were paying. Times are tough.

Imagine our chagrin when we realized they were just paying FOR consumers to see the movie, not actually paying them money. Ah, well, its still a nice way to try out the latest in 3D technology for the still usurous 2D prices.

Although the web site says its for BofA clients, all you need to get the upgrade is an email address.

NYTimes reports 33-year orgasm!

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An interesting article appeared in yesterday’s New York Times on life at the San Francisco sex commune One Taste Urban Retreat Center. Even the venerable Grey Lady is showing a little cleavege in these dark days for print journalism…

MS. DAEDONE’S inspiration and mentor as a sex guru was Ray Vetterlein, who achieved fame of sorts in sex circles by claiming to lengthen the average female orgasm to 20 minutes.

Mr. Vetterlein, now in his 80s, was inspired by Lafayette Morehouse, a controversial 40-year-old community still in existence in suburban Lafayette, Calif., that has been conducting public demonstrations of a woman in orgasm since 1976.

We know that woman! In fact, if she is indeed who we think she is, we were largely responsible for that original orgasm back in ’76. Us, a bottle of Roher 714s, Merck flake and a pair of snakeskin boots…..

Robots can be mush-brained, too

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Meet Gordon, probably the world’s first robot controlled exclusively by living brain tissue.

Stitched together from cultured rat neurons, Gordon’s primitive grey matter was designed at the University of Reading by scientists who unveiled the neuron-powered machine on Wednesday.

Their groundbreaking experiments explore the vanishing boundary between natural and artificial intelligence, and could shed light on the fundamental building blocks of memory and learning, one of the lead researchers told AFP.

from Breitbart.com

Some days our brain feels as though its been stitched together. These developments raise a number of interesting questions. Will a robot with an organic brain be an android? Will organic carbon-based computers replace inorganic silicon-based ones? Will organic processors be susceptible to sunspots, moon tides, or seasonal affective disorder? Won’t upkeep be messy?

Mercedes High-Bred Announced

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mercedes
The automotive world is abuzz over the latest entry into the hybrid auto market, the Mercedes Benz High-Bred. Available this fall in Sedan, Sportster and SUV version, the High-Bred reportedly gets over 75 miles per gallon of petrol on the highway.

The move is seen as a response to the runaway success of the Toyota Prius.

“Obviously, energy efficient cars are the wave of the future,” according to Otto von Schwineherter, director of corporate confabulation at Mercedes, “but going green needn’t mean you have to forgo a superior driving experience.”

He added, “There are many unsatisfied customers walking around with serious cases of Priapism.”

Boston Rules and Resistance is Futile

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mvp2.pngYesterday the Dowbrigade and his son and cameraman Gabriel joined half a million other Boston sports fans to celebrate the latest World Championship by a local sports team. Yawn. Then we stopped for Brazilian Bar-B-Q on the way home. Ho hum.

How jaded we have become, here in the Hub! Somehow life seems empty if one of the local teams isn’t playing for a cup, or trophy, or title. What we have here is a unique and unprecedented confluence of statistical, psychic and socio-cultural factors, bringing championships to Boston by the bandwagon.

We have already taken credit for the Major Mojo behind this run of competitive success. However, it occurs to us that most people may not be aware of how deep and widespread this reign of triumph currently is.

For example, how many readers are aware that the Walpole, MA Little League team was declared the default 2007 Little League World Series winner, due to the retroactive age-related disqualifications of players from the Macon, Georgia and Osaka, Japan teams which finished ahead of them?

And how about the news that the Boston team at the National Conference of Mayors won the annual City Government Softball Tournament final 17-6 after cleanup hitter Tom Tom Menino pointed to the left field wall, mumbled something unintelligible and smashed the crap out of an 0-2 knuckleball from Michael Bloomberg.

While the “Big Three” of Celtics, Patriots and Red Sox grab all the headlines, true sports fans are aware that there are other champions in town. The New England Revolution have been to the MLS finals three years in a row, earning the unfortunate sobrioquet “Buffalo Bills of the MLS”.

But further down the food chain of professional sports, who knew that the Boston Tea Bags recently finished first in the Gay Para Olympics. Or that the Boston Bonsais of the Professional Flower Arranging League last year won the Bouquet Bowl?It is a shame only the Bay Windows weekly rag reported that the Boston Stylistics captured the American Stylists 2008 Coiff-Off held recently in Las Vegas. They Blow!

Among female competitors, local teams at the top of their respective sports include the Boston Ballbreakers of the Womens Amateur Rugby Association and the New England Nannies who recently triumphed in the World Child Care Olympics in Manchester, England.

And who could forget the Boston Blueballs, who traveled to Fugloysund, Norway for the Competitive Ice-Swimming Team Championship and won! Go Blueballs!

But Boston’s good fortune has not been limited to nominal grown-ups. Our many excellent college teams have also been bringing home titles at a rate that has the laurel leaves falling faster than foliage in the fall. Why, just during the past academic year, MIT took home both the US Collegiate Chess Championship and the NCAA Robot Rhythmic Gymnastics Cup. In between Harvard won the Super-Ego Bowl.

Speaking of bowls, BC triumphed in the 2008 GE College Bowl as well as the Champs Sports Bowl, and Northeastern staggered home with the 2008 Beer Pong title. Brandeis took the team title at the Maccabee Games and a Bentley won the Paris-Dakar Road Rally. In a major upset, BU won the Division 3 Football Championship, even though they haven’t had a football team for ten years.

Flipping through the cable lineup we also note that New Englanders have been on a competitive reality show tear, having recently won America’s Top Model, Celebrity Chef Cookoff, American Idle (a slacker spin-off), Dancing with the Stars, Big Brother, I Survived a Japanese Game Show, America Gladiator, The Great Race, Fear Factor, Top Design, America’s Got Talent, The Biggest Loser and The Apprentice.

The popularity of Boston has been noted and rewarded by a plethora of national publications and professional associations which have recently named our fair city, among other things, America’s Voted Most Livable City, Best Sports Bars, Top Singles Scene, Best Managed City, Most Scenic Urban Area, Best Educated City, Best Junk Food, Most Interesting Eccentrics, America’s Friendliest Citizens and, in an incredible coup, Best Weather in the Continental United States.

In addition to a continuing cavalcade of championships, we can look forward to an accelerating parade of world-class events. Boston has been recently selected to host the 2010 Miss Universe Pageant, the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2020 World Cup. In 2012 both the Democrats and the Republicans plan to have their nominating conventions here.

So enjoy it while it lasts, boys and girls, but be ready to relocate for a while. When the party ends, there’ll be the devil to pay. Balancing the karmic books can be a bitch.

Watch the video we shot yesterday

Mercy Killing

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The call came in on Sunday morning, interrupting the time honored ritual of newspapers, coffee and pastries in bed. The unfamiliar female voice asked in halting, heavily accented English, “Is you Michol?” It turned out to be a friend of a distant cousin of Norma Yvonne, who claimed she knew us when we lived in Guayaquil, and who now, apparently, resided in Orlando.

I vaguely remembered her. Short, dark and sweet, a description that could apply to 90% of Ecuadorian women. Married to a guy called “el Chino”, ten years ago they ran the snack bar on the campus of the Holy Spirit University, where the Dowbrigade was head of the English Department and Norma Yvonne was the University Registrar. In Ecuador, anyone with slanty or squinty eyes is called “Chino”.

In the intervening decade, el Chino died and Mercy moved to Florida, where she met a Gringo, got married, and now is thinking of moving back to Ecuador. She ran on and on, in Spanish, telling me her life story.

We thought, “Why is she telling me all of this?”

We said, “Would you like to talk to Norma?”

Meanwhile, Norma, who was traipsing around the apartment in a devastating crepe sun dress, was vigorously shaking her head and wagging her finger in the international gesture for “I’m not here!”

“No, actually,” stammered Mercy, “I wanted to talk to you. Or rather, I want you to talk to my husband. Since he’s a Gringo, and you’re a Gringo, I thought maybe you could talk to him and tell him about Ecuador.” She sounded strangely desperate.

We thought, “She wants to take him back to Ecuador but he’s scared of the jungle diseases and savage tortoises. We should hang up.”

We said, “I’d be happy to speak to him. Put him on.”

Best to bite the bullet and get it over with a quickly as possible, we figured. Misanthropic in general, the Dowbrigade regards talking to people he doesn’t know on the phone at the behest of relatives he barely knows as one rung above taking cold calls from script-reading Mongolians at dinnertime.

But Mercilessly, Mercy went on. “He’s really a very nice person. Although everybody probably says that about their husbands.”

We thought, “Why is she apologizing for him already? I haven’t heard anything bad yet.”

We said, “I’m sure Eva Braun thought Hitler was a wonderful fellow.”
She said, “Excuse me?”

We thought, “What am I doing? She probably thinks I’m talking about people we know in Guayaquil. The last thing we want to be doing on a Sunday morning is discussing the personal life of Adolph Hitler with this woman!”

We said, “Never mind. Let me talk to your husband.”

When we finally got him on the line, we got right to the point. “Mercy tells us you are thinking of relocating to Ecuador. What can I tell you about?”

“I was mostly interested in the job possibilities down there, and the cost of living. Stuff like that.”

“Well, the job possibilities depend on the particular area in which you want to work. What field are you in?”

“Actually, I have experience in many different fields. As my Grandfather used to say, a jack of all trades and master of none, ha ha.”

We thought, “Loser.”

We said, “That’s really useful. Where are you working now, if you don’t mind my asking, and what kind of work do you plan to look for in Guayaquil?”

He said, “Law Enforcement”

We thought, “Security guard”

We said, “We can’t really recommend public law enforcement as a profession in South America. They don’t receive much in the way of salaries and subsist on bribes and extortion. A lot of them make a little extra on the side working nights with the death squads. There isn’t a lot of job security, though – a lot of them end up in jail, the ones that don’t get shot because the drug gangs are much better armed.”

He didn’t say anything, which we took as encouragement to continue on.

“Of course, there is always a market for private security and bodyguards. Especially right now, since the big kidnapping gangs from Colombia have started to branch out across the border into Ecuador. Those guys are really savage, they usually cut off the victims left hand and send it to the family to show they are serious. If you don’t pay, they cut off the head and send that. Just about everyone with money has a few bodyguards with them at all times these days. Most millionaires keep a few guards at home as well, since the big gangs sometimes attack their mansions with battering rams to smash the steel doors and heavy automatic weapons to discourage resistance. There are usually a lot of openings since turnover is high. Are you good with a gun?”

“Wow,” he sounded stunned, “I didn’t realize things were so out of control down there.”

“Yeah, well, there are a lot of guns and violence, but the people really like Americans, and the cost of living is quite reasonable. You can rent a house for $400 or $500, and you can’t spend $20 in a good restaurant, unless you drink.”

“Sounds like you’d need a drink, once in a while.”

“Too true, but you’ve got to be careful because the muggers can smell the booze a block off and congregate like piranhas smelling blood in the water.”

“Well, thanks for the info. I’ll put Mercy back on.”

“Not necessary. Tell her to call back some evening. We’re sure Norma would LOVE to hear from her.”