Island Life by David Slack


Certifiably Ill

One is labouring under the burden of a cold, so instead of offering one's own insights, one will share the anecdotes of others this morning.

1. All politics is local

In 1874, Alfred Packer, having been enlisted to guide five homesteaders along the Mormon Trail into Colorado during a heavy winter, emerged from the San Juan Mountains - alone.
Packer was convicted of cannibalism and sentenced to hang by Judge Melville B. Gerry.

"Stand up, yah voracious man-eatin' sonofabitch, and receive your sentence!" the judge cried.

Thar were only seven Democrats in all of Hinsdale County and you ate five of them!"

2. Something to ponder over lunch at the Viaduct

The wit and lawyer William Travers once joined a group of people watching the end of a yacht race in Newport, Rhode Island.

As each boat crossed the finish line, the name of its owner was announced.

Informed that every man was a wealthy stockbroker, Travers gazed pensively at the flotilla.

"And where," he asked "are the customers' yachts?"

3. What have you declared on your driver's licence?

Michael Crichton's 1978 film Coma tells the tale of a young female doctor whose suspicions are raised by the large number of relatively healthy patients at her hospital who suffer from "complications" during simple operations and fall into comas. She learns that these patients are being shipped off to an "institute" which harvests their organs for sale on the black market.

In the year following the film's appearance, a kidney transplant surgeon at Ohio State University, noticed that cities across America were reporting drops as large as 60% in the number of organs being donated.

4. More on the gathering tide of Asian crime

Last week's Herald reported developments in a big drug case.

"Police said they still wanted to speak to Chen Chen, 25, who lives on Princes Wharf"

How embarrassed are they going to feel when someone explains it was "I'll meet you at Cin Cin or somewhere on Princes Wharf "

5. Even if I were not cold-addled I wouldn't bother with a Thribb for Pinochet.
Peter Cresswell quite reasonably proposes that other dreadful leaders of a more left-leaning persuasion also get their due when their time comes.

Fair enough. Nevertheless I propose that Pinochet be buried at sea in the most appropriate way, turfed overboard, hands and feet bound, from a helicopter out of sight of the coast.

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