A quote which holds true for most System Safety practitioners is:  "I the willing, led by the ignorant, am doing the impossible, for the ungrateful. I have done so much for so long with so little that I am now highly qualified to do anything with nothing"

Always remember: Once you get people laughing, they’re listening... and once they are listening, you can tell them almost anything.

Please select a category from the boxes below, or click above to minimise all.

When it comes to pilots interaction with flight managment systems, a pilot is heard to have commented: "I know that I am not in the loop, but I'm not exaclty out of the loop.  It's more like I am flying alongside the loop"

Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death ..I Shall Fear No Evil. For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing!
 - Sign over the entrance to the old SR-71 operating base Kadena, Japan.

You've never been lost until you've been lost at Mach 3.
 - Paul F. Crickmore - test pilot

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.

There are more planes in the ocean than submarines in the sky.
 - From an old carrier sailor

If the wings are traveling faster than the fuselage, it's probably a helicopter -- and therefore, unsafe

When one engine fails on a twin-engine airplane you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash.

Without ammunition, the USAF would be just another expensive flying club. 

Progress in airline flying: now a flight attendant can get a pilot pregnant.

Airspeed, altitude and brains. Two are always needed to successfully complete the flight.

A smooth landing is mostly luck; two in a row is all luck; three in a row is prevarication.

I remember when sex was safe and flying was dangerous.

Flashlights are tubular metal containers kept in a flight bag for the purpose
of storing dead batteries!

When a flight is proceeding incredibly well, something was forgotten.

Just remember, if you crash because of weather, your funeral will be held on a sunny day.

The Piper Cub is the safest airplane in the world; it can just barely kill you.
-Attributed to Max Stanley, Northrop test pilot

A pilot who doesn't have any fear probably isn't flying his plane to its maximum.
-Jon McBride, astronaut

If an airplane is still in one piece, don't cheat on it; ride the bastard down.
- Ernest K. Gann, author & aviator

Never fly in the same cockpit with someone braver than you.

There is no reason to fly through a thunderstorm in peacetime.

The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and, a good bowel movement. The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities in life where you get to experience all three at the same time.
- sign over squadron ops desk at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 1970.

If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's about to.

Basic Flying Rules:  Try to stay in the middle of the air. Do not go near the edges of it.  The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea, trees and interstellar space. It is much more difficult to fly there.

You know that your landing gear is up and locked when it takes full power to taxi to the terminal.

 The three most useless things in aviation [M.Stiles, Typhoon Airworthiness Engineer]:   The fuel in the bowser, the runway behind you and the sky above you.

When I was in the pub I heard a couple of drinkers saying that they wouldn't feel safe on an aircraft if they knew the pilot was a woman.  What a pair of sexists.
I mean, it's not as if she'd have to reverse the  thing!

I met an experienced safety engineer the other day and made the mistake of wishing him luck with a particularly challenging safety review.  His curt response:  "It's not about luck - its about evidence!"  
- Duane Kritzinger

Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those the authorityies off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.
- Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

We have no effective screening method to make sure pilots are sane.
- Dr Herbert Haynes, FAA 

A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
- Douglas Adams 

68% of probabilities and statistics are made up on the spot
- source unknown 

Prevention is better than cure; avoidance is better than cleaning up.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.
- John Kenneth Galbraith

Work expands to fill the time available for its completion - Prof C. Northcote Parkinson

Peter’s Principle states that in any organisation people tend to rise to the level of their incompetence. 
Consider the term "Expert":   “x” is an unknown quantity, “spert” is a drip under pressure
There’s been a marked increase in BFO’s ( Bits Falling Off) recently.
 - A (not surprisingly) anonymous engineer.

Signs You Might Be a System Safety Geek - by Terry Hardy

·          You have books on accidents and disasters prominently displayed in your home.

·          You are proud that you know the meaning of all the fault tree symbols, even the obscure ones.

·          You think of Swiss Cheese primarily as an accident model, not a food.

·          And my personal favorite:    You have to keep explaining the difference between occupational safety and System Safety when people ask what you do for a living.

The origin of the following humorous encounters is unknown


Tower: "Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock, 6 miles!"
Delta 351: "Give us another hint! We have digital watches!"


Tower: "TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees."
TWA 2341: "Centre, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?"
Tower: "Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?"


From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue: "I'm bored!"
Ground Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!"
Unknown aircraft: "I said I was bored, not stupid!"


O'Hare Approach Control to a 747: "United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o'clock, three miles, Eastbound."
United 329: "Approach, I've always wanted to say this... I've got the little Fokker in sight."


A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight. While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked: "What was your last known position?"
Student: "When I was number one for takeoff."


A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down.
San Jose Tower noted: "American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are not able, take the Guadeloupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport."


There's a story about the military pilot calling for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter was running "a bit peaked". Air Traffic Control told the fighter jock that he was number two, behind a B-52 that had one engine shut down. "Ah," the fighter pilot remarked, "The dreaded seven-engine approach."


A Pan Am 727 flight, waiting for start clearance in Munich, overheard the following:
Lufthansa (in German): "Ground, what is our start clearance time?"
Ground (in English): "If you want an answer you must speak in English."
Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?"
Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): "Because you lost the bloody war!"


Tower: "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on frequency 124.7"
Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way, after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway."
Tower: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff behind Eastern 702, contact Departure on frequency 124.7. Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?"
BR Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern... we've already notified our caterers."


One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee.

Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said, "What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?"

The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with a real zinger:
"I made it out of DC-8 parts. Another landing like yours and I'll have enough parts for another one."


The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206.

Speedbird 206: "Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of active runway."
Ground: "Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven." The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.
Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"
Speedbird 206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now."
Ground (with quite arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?"
Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark, and I didn't land."


While taxiing at London's Gatwick Airport, the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727.

An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming: "US Air 2771, where the hell are you going?! I told you to turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right there. I know it's difficult for you to tell the difference between C and D, but get it right!"

Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically: "God! Now you've screwed everything up! It'll take forever to sort this out! You stay right there and don't move till I tell you to! You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour, and I want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you! You got that, US Air 2771?"

"Yes, ma'am," the humbled crew responded.

Naturally, the ground control communications frequency fell terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller in her current state of mind.

Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was definitely running high.

Just then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone, asking: "Wasn't I married to you once?"

You might be a REAL Aircraft Engineer if....

1. You've ever slept on the concrete under a wing (or on the wing itself).
2. You've ever said, "Oh yes sir, it's supposed to look like that."
3. You've ever sucked oxy to cure a hangover.
4. You know what AVTUR tastes like.
5. You've ever used a black chinagraph pencil to fix an overworn tire.
6. You have a better "c" store in the pockets of your overalls than the supply system.
7. You've ever used a piece of lockwire as a toothpick.
8. You've ever had to say, "My boots are still black!" (or ever spray-painted them black).
9. You refer to a pilot as a "control-stick actuator" or "seat/stick interface."
10. You've ever been told to "pump up the windsock, or go get a bucket of prop wash, a yard of flightline, a left-handed screw driver, a North bearing, a bottle of K-9P or a can of striped paint."
11. You've ever worked a 14-hour shift on an aircraft that isn't flying the next day.
12. You've ever said, "as long as she starts every other try you'll be fine sir."
13. You believe the aircraft has a soul.
14. You talk to the aircraft (often in a not-so-nice way).
15. You've ever said, "That nav light burned out after launch."
16. You've ever used a chock as a hammer.
17. The only thing you know about any city is where the good bars are.
18. You know more about your co-workers than you do about your own family.
19. You've ever looked for pictures of "your" aircraft in aviation books.
20. You can't figure out why Engineering officers exist.
21. You ever wished the pilot would just say, "Great aircraft, nothing wrong with it!"
22. You take it as a badge of honour to be just called "a Det Hound."
23. You relieve yourself more often outdoors than indoors.
24. You can't comprehend why everyone doesn't want to be a Techie.
25. You think everyone who isn't a Techie is a poof.
26. You can sleep anywhere, anytime, but as soon as the engines shut down you are wide-awake.
27. You've ever stood on chocks to keep your feet dry.
28. You've used lockwire to clean a fingernail.
29. You've wiped leaks immediately prior to crew show.
30. You've worn someone else's hat to the mess.
31. All you care about is the flying program and your days off.
32. You've wondered where they keep finding the idiots that keep making up stupid rules.
33. You've ever had to de-fuel an aircraft an hour after refuelling it.
34. You tell the aircrew "It'll do a trip".
35. You triple check the seat pins before you get in.
36. You've ever wondered why a jet engine makes no noise when you stand behind it.
37. You know all the hiding places on the aircraft for duty frees.
38. You've handed the hangar keys over to the day shift as you're going home.
39. You've held a cover over the jet exhaust while it's started to stop the engine spinning the wrong way.
40. You've watched a tool / screw disappear behind a panel at 2.00 a.m.
41. You've had to change three boxes to find one that works.
42. You've had a tow bar drop on your foot when the tractor pulls away before you're ready.
43. You've stood in the rain for half an hour while the aircraft is on hold.
44. Fitted a No fault found box to find it still f***ed.
45. You build a small boat from bits from supply and call it " C Stores".
46. You really wonder about the ejection seat when you're upside down in the cockpit doing a loose article check.
47. You cheer at midnight when the last aircraft lands and is U/S along with the rest of the squadron.
48. You meet the aircrew with a pickaxe handle and convince them the aircraft isn't really U/S.
49. You've sat on a running jet engine that's fed and pushed by a bowser full of fuel to clear snow and ice, and wondered about health and safety.
50. You know what burnt seabird smells like, and the mess it makes when it's hit a jet at hundreds of miles per hour
51. You've had to tell the backseater that no radar display is the expected performance in O F F mode.
52. You know what 3 phase feels like.
53. You've just spent 2 hours with your arms above your head in a nose wheel well locating a bolt through 3 P-clips and two spacers only to realise you forgot the washer.
54. You've had to explain to the engine chief why you want the other engine out because you f****d up and mis-diagnosed which co-ax coupler was knackered.
55. You've found yourself crucified in trap 3 of the crew room bogs with a broomstick through the arms of your overalls.
56. Remember the blade antennas underneath conveniently located to gouge your back?
57. The headset/microphone that always goes u/s between the line hut and the aircraft?
58. The early start to prep the aircraft to find the first wave has been cancelled.
59. The houchins that are always parked so the power cable to the aircraft is 6" short.
60. Being amazed after leaving the RAF to find that tea and coffee can be drunk hot.
61. Plastic pin extractors have a use design life of once.
62. Wires are routed by the aircraft manufacturer to break in the most inaccesible place to repair them.
63. You wash your hands with almost surgeon-like attention to detail before you pee, never mind eat.
64. You carry random items of equipment or tools for no valid reason other than to avoid getting stitched for the really crap jobs
65. You become familiar with all the characters from kids cartoons and daytime soap operas.
66. You can end up playing different hands/corners in the same card/board game depending on workload
67. You could recite from memory the reference numbers of LRUs but needed to write your girlfriends phone number down
68. You can still remember the LRU reference numbers after 20 years but can’t remember the girlfriend.
69. Winning at "uckers" becomes the most important thing you do that day.
70. You have a favourite broom with your name on for hangar sweeping.
71. It was months before you realised there was actually a handle to wind hangar doors open with.
72. AVTUR is not really suitable for your Zippo.
73. Your overalls are held together with stitched on squadron badges from detachments.
74. You never know how films end due to scramble starts.
75. You look forward to exercises 'cos there'll be "babys heads" on the menu.
76. You quickly discover why your trade badge is a fistful of lightning bolts.
77. When locking up, ground equipment in the hangar moves once the lights are out.
78. Marked walkways on the aircraft are the only parts without boot marks.
79. You spot that Luke Skywalker's X-wing fighter uses the same boarding ladder as the Phantom.
80. You can never watch a film / TV programme with aircraft in without picking holes in it.
81. Grub screws are not designed to be used more than once.
82. The manufacturers of 'captive' nuts and screws are all liars.
83 Fill your morning with attempts to find anything to do to avoid the daily hangar sweep or MT DIs.
84 Know the perils of handbrake turns in landrovers.
85 Be commonly aware of just how big an aeroplane you can tow with a landrover whilst on detachment.
86 On detachment, being able to quickly identify which ‘gizzits’ you are going to nick.
87 On detachment, being the first to succeed in the hire vehicle endurance testing (major component failure only).
88 Know instinctively (without the need for a watch) when it is supper time, particularly if you are a scaly.
89 Never stop thinking about the next avpin ignition experiment (hangar donkey definitely the best!!).
90 Pre-occupying yourself (and the plumbers) with knowing exactly what the ‘death rattle’ of the bang seat is.
91 Honing your ‘first to the DCS’ skills on see-in.
92. Praying that you are not ‘on task’ whilst flying to det location.
93. IZAL toilet paper works better if you screw it up first then open it out again.
94. You learn how to build a bar room cannon out of empty beer cans, bodge tape, lighter fluid and a tennis ball.
95. You learn all the verses to "Eskimo Nell".
96. You go on late night "SAS" raids to the squadron next door to rob LRUs to fix your aircraft.
97. You always have a squadron 'zap' on you in case a visiting aircraft presents itself.
98. You carry a safety razor to squadron 'do's' in case someone falls asleep.
99. Call outs on standby always happen after midnight and at the weekend.
100. The boot of your car has at least 1 tin of swarfega, 1 blue roll, 1 roll of bodge tape and 1 tin of MEK or Trike.
101. You spend the first hour of every shift slagging off t'other shift'.
102. You can run through a cockpit switch check faster than the aircrew.
103. Glycerine from leaking ear defenders does not constitue hair gel.
104. The aircraft you're seeing off / seeing in is always furthest away.
105. You know a Christmas Tree is not just a festive decoration
106. You’ve made fairy lights out of red instrument lighting and a spare 28v battery
107. The most natural position to assemble anything, even your kids christmas toys, means being upside down with the lights out.
108. You know what chickenshit is and what it is used for
109. When you're found drinking with armourers
110. When you know where and how hard to hit the starter motor to get a Phantom going
111. When you can tell the fuel load by slapping the drop tank
112. When you know more about engines than you do your own trade
113. When you humour the navigator by agreeing with his trouble shooting of the system
114. When being part of the RHAG party has nothing to do with student week
115. When sunrise is part of your daily routine
116. When walking along the icy spine of an aircraft to remove the Pitot covers doesn't phase you
117. When your cold weather gloves are a fire hazard
118. When your overalls can stand alone
119. When your overalls become a fire hazard!
120. When you find bald spots over the scars in your head caused by lower radio aerials
121. When closing time at the local gets too close to shift start.
122. When swapping live missiles between "Q" aircraft is routine.


After every flight, pilots fill out a form, called a "gripesheet," which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.Here are some maintenance complaints  submitted by pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers.  (origin unknown)

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what friction locks are for.

P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny. (I love this one!)
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

And the best one for last..................
P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget
Pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget

(Extracted from a Daedalian Foundation Newsletter)


Another good month. In all, a total of 35 accidents were reported, only six of  which were avoidable. These represented a marked improvement over the month of  November during which 84 accidents occurred, of which 23 were avoidable. This  improvement, no doubt, is the result of experienced pilots with over 100 hours  in the air forming the backbone of all the units.


1. Avoidable accidents this last month:

a. The pilot of a Shorthorn, with over 7 hours of experience, seriously  damaged the undercarriage on landing. He had failed to land at as fast a speed  as possible as recommended in the Aviation Pocket Handbook.

b. A B.E.2 stalled and crashed during an artillery exercise. The pilot had  been struck on the head by the semaphore of his observer who was signalling to  the gunners.

c. Another pilot in a B.E.2 failed to get airborne. By an error of judgment,  he was attempting to fly at mid-day instead of at the recommended best lift  periods, which are just after dawn and just before sunset.

d. A Longhorn pilot lost control and crashed in a bog near Chipping-Sedbury. An error of skill on the part of the pilot in not being able to control a  machine with a wide speed band of 10 MPH between top speed and stalling speed.

e. While low flying in a Shorthorn the pilot crashed into the top deck of a  horse drawn bus near Stonehenge.

f. A B.E.2 pilot was seen to be attempting a banked turn at a constant height  before he crashed. A grave error by an experienced pilot.

2. There were 29 unavoidable accidents from which the following are  selected:

a. The top wing of a Camel fell off due to fatigue failure of the flying wires. A successful emergency landing was carried out.

b. Sixteen B.E.2s and 9 Shorthorns had complete engine failures. A marked  improvement over November's fatigue.

c. Pigeons destroyed a Camel and 2 Longhorns after mid-air strikes.


Accidents during the last three months of 1917 cost 317 pounds, 10 shillings, sixpence, money down the drain and sufficient to buy new gaiters and spurs for each and every pilot and observer in the Service.


No.1 Brief: No. 912 Squadron, 3 December 1917, Aircraft type B.E. 2C, No. XY 678, Total solo -- 4.0, Pilot Lt. J. Smyth-Worthington, Solo in type -- 1.10.

The pilot of this flying machine attempted to maintain his altitude in a turn  at 2,500 feet. This resulted in the aeroplane entering an unprecedented  manoeuvre, entailing a considerable loss of height. Even with full power applied and the control column fully back, the pilot was unable to regain control. However, upon climbing from the cockpit onto the lower mainplane, the pilot managed to correct the machines altitude, and by skillful manipulation
of the flying wires successfully side-slipped into a nearby meadow.
Remarks: Although, through inexperience, this pilot allowed his aeroplane to enter an unusual attitude, his resourcefulness in eventually landing without damage has earned him a unit citation. R.F.C. Lundsford-Magnus is
investigating the strange behaviour of this aircraft.

No. 2 Brief: No. 847 Squadron, 19 December 1917, Aircraft type Spotter Balloon J17983, Total solo 107.00. Pilot Capt. D. Lavendar, Solo in type 32.10.

Captain Lavendar of the Hussars, a balloon observer, unfortunately allowed the spike of his full-dress helmet to impinge against the envelope of his balloon. There was a violent explosion and the balloon carried out a series of
fantastic and uncontrollable manoeuvres, whilst rapidly emptying itself of gas. The pilot was thrown clear and escaped injury as he was lucky enough to land on his helmet.
Remarks: This pilot was flying in full-dress uniform because he was the Officer of the Day. In consequence it has been recommended that pilots will not fly during periods of duty as Officer of the Day. Captain Lavendar has
subsequently requested an exchange posting to the Patroville Alps, a well known mule unit of the Basques.

No. 3 Brief: Summary of No. 43 Brief, dated October 1917.
Major W. deKitkag-Watney's Nieuport Scout was extensively damaged when it failed to become airborne. The original Court of Inquiry found that the primary cause of the accident was carelessness and poor airmanship on the part of a very experienced pilot. The Commandant General, however, not being wholly  convinced that Major de Kitkag-Watney could be guilty of so culpable a mistake ordered that the Court should be re-convened. After extensive inquiries and lengthy discussions with the Meteorological Officer and Astronomer Royal, the
Court came to the conclusion that the pilot unfortunately was authorised to fly his aircraft on a day when there was absolutely no lift in the air and therefore could not be held responsible for the accident. The Court wishes to
take this opportunity to extend its congratulations to Major de Kitkag-Watney  on his reprieve and also on his engagement to the Commandant General's daughter, which was announced shortly before the accident.


Horizontal turns. To take a turn the pilot should always remember to sit upright, otherwise he will increase the banking of the aeroplane. He should NEVER lean over.

Crash precautions: Every pilot should understand the serious consequences of trying to turn with the engine off. It is much safer to crash into a house when going forward than to sideslip or stall a machine with engine troubles.

Seat Belts:  Passengers should always use safety belts, as the pilot may start stunting without warning. Never release the belt while in the air, or when nosed down to land.

Engine noises. Upon the detection of a knock, grind, rattle or squeak, the engine should be at once stopped. Knocking or grinding accompanied by a squeak indicates binding and a lack of lubricant.


The First Marine Air Wing had this write-up in their Safety publication:

"Wing Tips: It was conceded by all that the pilot had accomplished a brilliant piece of work in landing his disabled machine without damage under the circumstances. It is not with intent to reflect less credit upon his airmanship, but it must be noted that he is a well experienced aviator with over 40 total hours in the air, embracing a wide variety of machines, and this was his seventh forced landing due to complete failure of the engine. It was doubly unfortunate that upon alighting from his machine he missed the catwalk on the lower airfoil and plunged both legs through the fabric, straddling a rib, from which he received a grievous personal injury. Some thought should be
devoted to a means of identifying wing-traversing catwalks to assist aviators in disembarking from their various machines


  • SOCIALISM: You have 2 cows; you give one to your neighbour.
  • COMMUNISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk.
  • FASCISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and sells you some milk.
  • BUREAUCRACY: You have 2 cows. The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away . . .
  • SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.
  • TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.
  • AN AMERICAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.
  • A FRENCH CORPORATION: You have two cows. You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.
  • A JAPANESE CORPORATION: You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'cowkimon' and market it worldwide.
  • A GERMAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.
  • AN ITALIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows, but you don't know where they are. You decide to have lunch.
  • A RUSSIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.
  • A SWISS CORPORATION: You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.
  • CHINESE CORPORATION: You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity, and execute the newsman who reported the real situation.
  • AN INDIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You worship them.
  • IRAQI CORPORATION: Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of a Democracy. . . .
  • WELSH CORPORATION: You have two cows. The one on the left looks very attractive.
  • AUSTRALIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. Business seems pretty good. You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate
  • A BRITISH CORPORATION: You have two cows. The Government says you have to buy a licence to milk them, but first you have to do a risk assessment, which only the government Quango is allowed to carry out. They charge you 5 times the cost of doing it. They find that the three legged stool is a risk under health and safety legislation. You have to buy the EC approved 5 legged stool that is designed to support a milk maid of up to 250 kilos. However, the stool exceeds EC weight lifting limits for workers by 4 kilos, which just happens to be the weight of the fifth leg. To shift the stool from one cow to the other you therefore need a special (EC approved) trolley. The new stool and trolley are so expensive that you have to mortgage one of the cows to pay for them and pay for the mandatory training course you must take to get your licence to milk the cows. You sell your milk to the supermarket chain that pays you next to nothing for it, and then they sell it.


1. DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against that freshly painted part you were drying.
2. WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar calluses in about the time it takes you to say, "SH**!!!"
3. ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age 4. PLIERS: Used to round off hexagonal bolt heads.
5. HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle: It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.
6. VICE GRIP PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.
7. OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for setting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside a wheel hub you're trying to get the bearing race out of.
8. WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or 1/2 socket you've been searching for the last 15 minutes.
9. HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new disk brake pads, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.
10. EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 4X4: Used to attempt to lever an automobile upward off a hydraulic jack handle.
11. TWEEZERS: A tool for removing splinters of wood, especially Douglas fir.
12. TELEPHONE: Tool for calling your neighbour to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack.
13. GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for removing dog feces from your boots.
14. E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool that snaps off in bolt holes and is ten times harder than any known drill bit.
15. TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST: A handy tool for testing the tensile strength of bolts and fuel lines you forgot to disconnect.
16. CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large motor mount prying tool that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end without the handle.
18. LEAD LAMP: The home builder's own tanning booth. Sometimes called drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin," which is not otherwise found under cars at night. Health benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105-mm howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading.
19. PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the lids of old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and squirt oil on your shirt; can also be used, as the name implies, to round off the interiors of Phillips screw heads.  
20. AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to an Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty bolts last tightened 70 years ago by someone at Ford, and rounds them off or twists them off.

21. PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50p part.
22. HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to cut hoses 1/2 inch too short.
23. HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer now-a-days is used as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive parts not far from the object we are trying to hit.
24. MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing upholstered items, chrome-plated metal, plastic parts and the other hand not holding the knife.

It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.

Learn from other's mistakes - you won't live long enough to make all your own.
Aircraft prove that God exists [click to see Al Murray video]
You know what the trouble about real life is? ........There's no danger music   [Jim Carrey in "The Cable Guy"]