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Short Stories

The Underwater Battle of the Champion


Shavarsh Karapetyan (born May 19, 1953 in Armenia) is a retired Soviet Armenian finswimmer, 11-time World Record holder, 17-time World Champion, 13-time European Champion and 7-time USSR Champion; additionally, he saved 20 lives when a trolleybus fell into the Yerevan reservoir.

Karapetyan, Honored Master of Sports of the USSR, ten-time fin-swimming World Record-breaker, is better known in the former USSR for one particular day of his life, September 16, 1976. On that day, training with his brother Kamo, also a fin-swimmer, by running alongside the Yerevan Lake, Karapetyan had just completed his usual distance of 20 km (12 mi) when he heard the sound of the crash and saw the sinking trolleybus which had gone out of control and fallen from the dam wall.

The trolleybus lay at the bottom of the reservoir some 25 metres (80 ft) offshore at a depth of 10 metres (33 ft). Karapetyan swam to it and, despite conditions of almost zero visibility, due to the silt rising from the bottom, broke the back window with his legs. The trolleybus was crowded, it carried 92 passengers and Karapetyan knew he had little time, spending some 30 to 35 seconds for each person he saved.

Karapetyan managed to rescue 20 people (he picked up more, but only 20 survived), but this ended his sports career: the combined effect of cold water and the multiple wounds he received (scratched by glass), left him unconscious for 45 days. Subsequent sepsis, due to the presence of raw sewage in the lake water, and lung complications preventing him from continuing his sports career.

Karapetyan’s achievement was not immediately recognized. All related photos were kept at the district attorney’s office and were only published two years later. He was awarded a medal «For Saving Drowning People in the Water» and the Order of the Badge of Honor. His name became a household name in the USSR on October 12, 1982, when one of the most popular newspaper at that time published an article on his feat, entitled «The Underwater Battle of the Champion». This publication revealed that he was the rescuer; and he received about 60,000 letters.

On February 19th, 1985, Shavarsh just happened to be near a burning building, that had people trapped inside. He rushed in and started pulling people out without a second thought. Once again, he was badly hurt (severe burns) and spent a long time in the hospital.

Karapetyan was later awarded a UNESCO “Fair Player” medal for his heroism.

A main belt asteroid, 3027 Shavarsh, discovered by Nikolai Chernykh, was named after him (approved by the MPC in September 1986).

Crowded room


Terror stalked the Ohio State University campus in 1977. Four female students were abducted, robbed, then raped.  Acting on a mysterious phone tip and a mug-shot identification by one victim, police in Columbus arrested William Milligan, 23. At first the suspect seemed like a classic young offender: physically abused as a child, cashiered from the Navy after one month, constantly in trouble with employers and police. That familiar portrait changed suddenly during a psychological exam. When a woman psychologist addressed Milligan as "Billy," he replied, "Billy's asleep. I'm David." It was the first strong clue that Milligan suffered from a rare and dangerous disorder: true multiple personality. 

Psychiatrist George T. Harding came to a startling conclusion: Milligan had fractured his psyche into ten "people," eight male and two female. Later on an additional 14 personalities, labeled "The Undesirables" were discovered. 

According to the psychiatrists, Milligan's personalities use different voice patterns and facial expressions, test at varying I.Q. levels, and turn out different kinds of artwork:

1. Billy Milligan is the core personality, guilty, suicidal and "asleep" for most of the past seven years. When Billy first has been summoned up, Milligan jumped off his chair and said, "Every time I come to, I'm in some kind of trouble. I wish I were dead."

2. Arthur is an extremely sophisticated and educated Englishman. An expert in science and medicine, with a focus on hematology. He is in "the spot"—that is, in charge of the shared body—during times that required intellectual thinking. Arthur is one of only two personalities who could classify a person in the group as an undesirable.

3. Ragen Vadascovinich is the "keeper of hate." His name comes from the words "rage again." Ragen describes himself as Yugoslavian, has a Slavic accent and can write and speak in Serbo-Croatian. He controls the spot in dangerous times and can designate group members as "undesirable." He admitted committing robbery in order to support "the family," but had no knowledge of the rapes.

4. Allen, 18, is a con man and a manipulator. He is the most common person to talk to the outside world. He plays the drums and paints portraits. Also the only right-handed self. He is the only personality that smokes cigarettes.

5. Tommy, 16, is the escape artist; he is often confused with Allen. He plays the tenor sax and is an electronics expert. He is also a painter, specializing in landscapes.

6. Danny, 14, a frightened and abused child who is afraid of people, especially men. He only paints still lifes, saying that this was because Chalmer, his stepfather, made him dig his own grave and buried him in it leaving only a hole for breathing. He may have made the call leading to Milligan's arrest. The police number was found on a pad next to Milligan's phone.

7. David, 8, is the "keeper of pain." He comes to the spot to take the pain of the others.

8. Christene, 3, was the one who would stand in the corner in school when "Billy" would get in trouble. She has dyslexia, but Arthur taught her to read and write. Ragen has a special bond with her.

9. Christopher, Christene's brother, plays the harmonica.

10. Adalana, 19, a lesbian, cooks and cleans house for the others, and writes poetry. Milligan's attorney claimed that Adalana had admitted to committing the rapes without the knowledge of Milligan or the other alters.

The other characters were labeled "undesirable" after breaking the rules laid down by Ragen and Arthur:

11. Phil is a thug and took part in planning some small time crimes. Has a Brooklyn accent. Marked due to him being a criminal.

12. Kevin is a criminal planner; he helped devise a plan to rob a drug store. Labeled also because he is a criminal.

13. Walter is Australian. He calls himself a big-game hunter and has an excellent sense of direction. Was often used as a spotter. He was labeled because he shot and killed a crow.

14. April only has thoughts about destroying Billy's stepfather. Declared an Undesirable when she convinced Ragen to kill Chalmer. Luckily though Arthur was able to talk him out of it at the last second.

15. Samuel is the Jewish person. He is the only one who believes in God. Was marked because he sold some of the other people's personal paintings.

16. Mark is the workhorse. He is often referred to as the zombie because he does nothing unless he is told, and will stare at walls when bored.

17. Steve is the impostor, he uses imitations for comedy. Steve never accepted that he was an MP. He was made to be undesirable because his comedy caused the family problems.

18. Lee is the prankster and his practical jokes normally get the family into trouble. He does not care about consequences for his actions. He was made an undesirable because one of his jokes put them into solitary confinement.

19. Jason is the pressure valve. He was used at the beginning to release tension for the family, but he caused them to get into too much trouble and was marked as an undesirable.

20. Bobby always dreams of leading some adventure or fixing some global crisis, but he has no ambitions and was labeled due to that fact.

21. Shawn, who is four and deaf, makes buzzing sounds so he can feel the vibration in his head. He was labeled an undesirable because there was no benefit from being deaf later on in life. (Even though he is an undesirable he was never cast into the shadows beyond the spot; he was just never allowed to take the spot.)

22. Martin is a snob, from New York. He wants things just handed over to him without earning them.

23. Timothy worked in a florist shop until he encountered a gay man who flirted with him. He went into his own world after that.

The Teacher, was by far the greatest milestone to helping Billy achieve fusion. He is the sum of all 23 people put together, and has almost total recall of all the other people's actions and thoughts.

Milligan's multiple personality, like others, is a desperate attempt to handle conflicting emotions by parceling them out to different "people" and is associated with a severely warped childhood. The illegitimate son of two Florida entertainers, Milligan was three when his father committed suicide. His stepfather physically abused his mother and sodomised young Milligan, threatening to bury him alive if he told. As a teen-ager in Ohio, Milligan fell into trances and walked the streets in a daze. He was incarcerated twice, once for rape, once for robbery, and failed at every job he had.

Instead of being prisoned, Milligan was pleaded an insanity defense and sent to a mental hospitals. In 1988, after ten years in a psychiatric hospital Milligan was recognized recovered and released.

He was the first person diagnosed with multiple personality disorder to raise such a defense.

truly deserved


Daniel Craig, the man who played James Bond in the newest offspring of the classic series has won Aston Martins for life. We’ve always known that it would be awesome to be James Bond, but this takes it to a whole new level. For Craig’s dedication to the series and his hard work, Aston Martin decided to give him a free pass to drive any of their car models any time he likes for the rest of his life.

Along with getting these free cars for the rest of his life, Craig also gets to test them on the track any time he fancies. Aston Martins’ top speeds are far beyond that which is legal on any road, so whenever he wants to push their limits he can contact the company and have them set up a track for him.

First class 


This happened on TAM airlines. A 50-something year old white woman arrived at her seat and saw that the passenger next to her was a black man. Visibly furious, she called the air hostess.

«What’s the problem, mam?» the hostess asked her.

«Can’t you see?» the lady said - «I was given a seat next to a black man. I can’t seat here next to him. You have to change my seat».

«Please, calm down, mam» - said the hostess - «Unfortunately, all the seats are occupied, but I’m still going to check if we have any».

The hostess left and returned some minutes later.

«Madam, as I told you, there isn’t any empty seat in this class - economy class.

But I spoke to the captain and he confirmed that there isn’t any empty seats in the economy class. We only have seats in the first class». And before the woman said anything, the hostess continued:

«Look, it is unusual for our company to allow a passenger from the economy class change to the first class. However, given the circumstances, the commandant thinks that it would be a scandal to make a passenger travel sat next to an unpleasant person».

And turning to the black man, the hostess said:

«Which means, sir, if you would be so nice to pack your handbag, we have reserved you a seat in the first class...»

And all the passengers nearby, who were shocked to see the scene started applauding, some standing on their feet».



I cdn’uolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg: the phaonmneel pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rseearch taem at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Typoglycemia is a neologism given to a purported recent discovery about the cognitive processes behind reading written text. The word appears to be a portmanteauof "typo", as in typographical error, and "hypoglycemia". It is an urban legend/Internet meme that appears to have an element of truth to it.

The legend, propagated by email and message boards, purportedly demonstrates that readers can understand the meaning of words in a sentence even when the interior letters of each word are scrambled. As long as all the necessary letters are present, and the first and last letters remain the same, readers appear to have little trouble reading the text.

In case you'd like to go far with this - here the typoglycemia generator.


Crunch Crum


George Crum invented the Potato Chip. According to sources, a customer said their french fries were too thick so, Crum, cooked the customer what he wanted by slicing potatoes paper-thin, over-frying them to a crisp, and seasoning them with an excessive amount of salt. He expected the customer to dislike them, but he actually loved them. The chips became popular, called "Saratoga chips" or "potato crunches". Crum opened his own restaurant in 1860 with profits he made selling his new chips.



Robert Lincoln the son of Abraham Lincoln, was waiting to board a crowded train when the train lurched forward and he fell between the platform and the body of the passenger car he was trying to board. But before harm came, he was seized by the collar and yanked to the platform. His rescuer was Edwin Booth the brother of the man that would soon kill President Lincoln.

Marlboro Man


The Marlboro Man is a figure used in tobacco advertising campaign for Marlboro cigarettes. In the United States, where the campaign originated, it was used from 1954 to 1999. The Marlboro Man was first conceived by Leo Burnett in 1954. The image involves a rugged cowboy or cowboys, in nature with only a cigarette. The advertisements were originally conceived as a way to popularize filtered cigarettes, which at the time were considered feminine.

Four men who claimed to have appeared in Marlboro-related advertisements—Wayne McLaren, David McLean, Dick Hammer and Eric Lawson — died of smoking-related diseases, thus earning Marlboro cigarettes, specifically Marlboro Reds, the nickname "Cowboy killers".McLaren testified in favor of anti-smoking legislation at the age of 51. During the time of McLaren's anti-smoking activism, Philip Morris denied that McLaren ever appeared in a Marlboro ad, a position it later amended to maintain that while he did appear in ads, he was not the Marlboro Man; Winfield held that title. In response, McLaren produced an affidavit from a talent agency that had represented him, along with a pay check stub, asserting he had been paid for work on a "Marlboro print" job. McLaren died before his 52nd birthday in 1992.

left or right


Some countries drive on the right and some countries drive on the left. The origin of this varies based on the time period and country, but primarily throughout history people used the “keep-left” rule.  It has only been very recently that the world has predominately switched to the “keep-right” rule.

The first archaeological evidence of type rule for a road, originates in the Roman Empire, as they built a lot of massive, well trafficked roads spanning Europe and thus would have needed to establish certain rules governing how people were to interact on the roads.   Archaeological evidence suggests it was common for the Romans to drive on the left side of the road.

The roads weren’t always very safe for travelers; meeting people coming the other way on the road was something best done defensively.  Historians then believe the keep-left rule was adopted because, on a horse, if you were right handed and you met some unsavory company on the road, you could draw your weapon, typically attached to your left side, with your right hand and bring it to bear quickly against the person who is going the opposite way of you on your right; all the while, controlling the reigns with your left hand.

This held across most of the Western World until the late 1700s.

Switching to a keep-right rulestarted with France: French Revolutionists didn’t want anything to do with anything that had ever been Pope decreed. Also, they didn’t want to use the same rule of the road the English used. Napoleon then spread this system throughout the countries he conquered.  Even after he was defeated, most of the countries he had conquered chose to continue with the keep-right system.

England never adopted this method primarily because massive wagons, as became common in the United States, didn’t work well on narrow streets which were common in London and other English cities.  England was also never conquered by Napoleon or later Germany.