D-Day classic: The most amazing lie in history

June 6, 2017

The Allies’ top-secret weapon.

How a chicken farmer, a pair of princesses, and 27 imaginary spies helped the Allies win World War II

Only one man in history was both awarded the Iron Cross for his service to Nazi Germany AND also made a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by King George VI. That man was Juan Pujol Garcia, a draft-dodging chicken farmer and failed businessman from Barcelona who decided during World War II to become a double agent in order to help the Allies defeat Hitler. Here is his amazing story, as recounted by Lucas Reilly in Mental Floss:

In the weeks leading up to D-day, Allied commanders had their best game faces on. “This operation is not being planned with any alternatives,” barked General Dwight D. Eisenhower. “This operation is planned as a victory, and that’s the way it’s going to be!” Indeed, more than 6,000 ships were ready to cruise across the English Channel to plant the first wave of two million troops on the white beaches of Normandy. Nearly 20,000 vehicles would crawl ashore as 13,000 planes dropped thousands of tons of explosives and thousands of paratroopers.

The sheer size of the invasion—it would be the largest in history—was staggering. But so were the stakes. With the first day’s casualty rate expected to reach 90 percent and the outcome of World War II hanging in the balance, the truth was that Eisenhower was riddled with doubt. He’d transformed into an anxious chimney, puffing four packs of cigarettes a day. Other Allied leaders felt equally unsure. “I see the tides running red with their blood,” Winston Churchill lamented. General George S. Patton privately complained of feeling “awfully restless.” Chief of the Imperial General Staff Alan Brooke was more blunt: “It won’t work,” he said. The day before the invasion, Eisenhower quietly penciled a note accepting blame in case he had to order retreat. When he watched the last of the 101st Airborne Division take off, the steely general started to cry.

They were worried for good reason. With so many troops and so much artillery swelling in England, it was impossible to keep the attack a secret. Hitler knew it was coming, and he’d been preparing a defense for months. Only one detail eluded him, and he was confident in a Nazi victory if he could figure it out—he needed to know where, exactly, the attack would happen. To make D-day a success, the Allies needed to keep him in the dark: They’d have to trick the Germans into thinking the real invasion was just a bluff, while making it seem like a major attack was imminent elsewhere. The task seemed impossible, but luckily, the British had a secret weapon: a short, young balding Spaniard. He was the king of con men, an amateur spy gone pro, the world’s sneakiest liar. He was also, of all things, a chicken farmer.

[story continues here]


Happy International Firefighters’ Day

May 4, 2017


To protect and serve

December 28, 2016

Most cops have heard just about every excuse imaginable for why someone was driving too fast, but I think this might have been a first — the driver didn’t know how to tie his necktie and needed to find someone to help him. Watch this cop go above and beyond the call of duty. 

(This happened in the town where I have lived for the past 39 years. Our cops are the best.)


Pinpricks of light amid the darkness

December 27, 2016

From ABC13 News.


Pinpricks of light amid the darkness

December 15, 2016


Pinpricks of light amid the darkness

December 1, 2016


From The Miami Herald.

When the repo man showed up, “Baby” lost her ride.

The little Pomeranian dog loved to curl up on 82-year-old Stanford Kipping’s lap when he and his wife Patty, 70, went for a drive. But in recent months a sharp increase in the cost of prescription medicine and other bills were more than a match for the couple’s fixed incomes. With several $95 a month car payments left unpaid on their 1998 Buick, the repo man, Jim Ford of Belleville, stopped his tow truck in front of their house. 

Ford, 41, ought to have turned into a cynical, bitter man, he said. After all, he had been shot at several times when repossessing vehicles, including once when he was lying on the ground hooking up a tow chain, and a man let fly with a rifle inches from his head.

“I never even saw him but I felt the flash and tasted gunpowder in my mouth,” Ford said. 

But Ford, co-owner of Illini Recovery Inc., is different. He said he knocks on doors to tell folks what’s going on and allow them a chance to remove personal items. “I may be getting soft in my old age, but you get more done with kindness,” he said.

Ford had met with the Kippings. In fact he tried to work out a deal with the bank for them to keep their car, but it was a no go. It was the hook for the Buick. 

“When I got home that night, I said to myself, ‘They are a real nice elderly couple. I gotta do something. I can’t just take their car,’ ” Ford said. 

Then he did something that surely broke the hard code of ethics for repo men; he decided that he would pay off the Kippings’ debt and return their car to their driveway.

[continue reading here]

Pinpricks of light amid the darkness

November 17, 2016


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