When sickies go too far ...

: Colin writes: "Some 20 odd years ago, we had employed a young man. After he worked for us for some months, we found he was having quite a number of sick days. We had spoken to him about this and he had various explanations. A week or so later, he didn't turn up for work again.

A few days later, he turned up at lunchtime with a young child and explained that his wife had died. He went into details of a genetic ailment that a brother of hers had also died from. My wife sent flowers and a condolence card to his address. When he turned up for his pay, my wife had bought the young child some clothes and we had a whip around the staff for him. He left with his pay and his gifts and we never heard from him again. Some years later we received a phone call from a government department checking whether he had worked for us. They asked why he had left and I told them his wife had died and he had to look after the young child. The woman I was talking to said: 'Oh no - his wife left him because a bunch of flowers and a condolence card arrived at her address'."

Closed, except when it's opened: "How's this for stupidity?" asks Louis. "I worked on a 350,000-tonne Exxon-Mobil tanker a few years ago and this sign was on one of the doors: 'This door must remain closed at all times (but may be opened momentarily for access).' Well, Duh!"


Lord of the males: A reader admits she has never much liked The Lord of the Rings. "As a female, it always seemed like it wasn't for me." The LOTR Project, which explores Middle-earth through statistics, explains the male/female demographics. "Based on characters from The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and the posthumously published works including The Silmarillion, only 19 per cent of the total number of characters are female, with the highest percentage among Valar, Maiar and Hobbits. The low number of females is not due to lack of females in Middle-earth but due to the fact that Tolkien did not describe many of them."

Blunt message on faulty machetes: The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Gerber Legendary Blades company of Portland, Oregon, announced a recall of Gerber machetes. According to the commission, the machetes might have a defect that could cause the handle to break, making the machete a "laceration hazard".
(Source: News of the Weird)

Every weekday we are going to add a little bit more Sideswipe, just for online readers. The best video clips and links - the smart, funny and curious finds. And best of all we have now opened up Sideswipe for comments. So go for it. But remember your manners.
Classic clip: This famous clip from the 80s shows the Austrian equivalent to the head of Fonterra demonstrating how to use their new wax/cardboard milk carton...

In the Papers: A 14-year-old girl has written in to a local newspaper to claim that same sex marriage will lead to a race of super ducks.... And mullet prejudice in Australia...

Taking the piss: Those familiar with TED talks (interesting live talks, arguably a little smug and elitist) will love the just-launched first instalment of the Onion's parody. Here is "Compost-Fueled Cars: Wouldn't That Be Great?"

Video: This German guy has a crack at cannon-balling into this frozen swimming pool... (NSFW language, obviously)