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There’s nothing like a waspish lawyer. People are rebuilding New Orleans after the hurricane damage, with the assistance of loans from the US Federal Housing Authority.
A lawyer who applied for a loan on behalf of his client had it turned down because he had traced back title to the property only to 1803.
His response: “Your letter regarding title has been received. I note you wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the present application.
“I was unaware any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know Louisiana was purchased by the United States from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application.
“For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to US ownership was held by France, which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Queen Isabella.
“The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus’s expedition. Now the pope, as I’m sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world.
“Therefore I believe it is safe to presume God also made the part of the world called Louisiana. God therefore would be the owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it and the FHA. I hope you find God’s original claim to be satisfactory. Now may we have our loan?”
The loan was approved.
WHO SHOULD I encounter in the La Bella Street Shelter for the Over-40s the other evening but my old shipmate, Captain Allen Brink, recently returned from London where he attended the river pageant on the Thames in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee.
Allen, who is a member of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners and a Freeman of the City of London, watched the pageant from HQS Wellington, a ship moored on the Thames. Wellington is headquarters of the master mariners and on the day they enjoyed a “roast hog” lunch and a few glasses of XXX.
And then suddenly realisation dawned. As I myself watched the river pageant on the telly, I had thought for a fleeting instant that I spotted a familiar face. I presumed it was Old Father Thames, that gargoyle on the Embankment near the Tower of London.
But now I realise it must have been the beaming visage of Captain Brink, master mariner.
Splice the mainbrace!
Maths made easy
HERE are some maths conversions that make sense:
l Ratio of an igloo’s circumference to its diameter – Eskimo pi.
l 2 000 pounds of Chinese soup – won ton.
l One millionth of a mouthwash – one microscope.
l Time between slipping on a peel and hitting the ground – one bananosecond.
l Time it takes to sail 220 yards at one nautical mile/hour – Knotfurlong.
l Half a large intestine – one semicolon.
l 1 000 000 aches – 1 megahurt.
l Basic unit of laryngitis – one hoarsepower.
LAST week we discussed the way we can sometimes go through life saddled with misconceptions.
Reader Rose Mason says her misconception in her younger days involved ice cream.
The ice cream packs were labelled “Roomys”, so she always asked at the tea room for “Roomies” ice cream, her favourite brand.
He: “Happy birthday, darling. You said you’d like to be eight again so here’s a box of chocolates and your favourite candy.
“I’ve booked at Adventure World for the rollercoaster, the wall of death and some other rides. Then we’ll go to the movies and have Cokes and popcorn. What do you think?”
She: “I meant my dress size, you idiot!”
Never explain – your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway. – Elbert Hubbard