2010

Airport teargas box

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Arlanda airport, Stockholm—When I first saw this box from a distance, I took it to be some sort of dispenser. As in, get your…

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How pickpockets take advantage of natural distractions

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LONDON—Anthony Powell hovered on the fringes of Princess Diana’s funeral, lifting wallets from the handbags and pockets of devastated mourners. Princess Diana’s funeral! He…

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Japanese Breakfast

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“Burning condition salmon” on the breakfast buffet in our Tokyo hotel. I guess we might call it “blackened.” Good for an early morning smile.

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How pickpockets use razor blades

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A Close Shave, or, Honey, There’s a Hole in my Handbag Archil Zantaradze keeps a razor blade in his mouth the way someone else…

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A thief at the theater

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On a trip to London, Diane Breitman went to see the hit musical Mamma Mia at Prince Edward’s Theatre in Soho. She had seat…

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Hotel Oddity #12

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Pasted onto our Reykjavik hotel bathroom tiles: Yes, we came out of the shower quite rancid-smelling—and the fragrance lasts. I imagine the locals: “You…

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Hotel room security lapses

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When you check into a hotel and are handed a key to a room that turns out to be already occupied, you have to…

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Masked man “swapped boarding pass”?

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No reports expand on the claim that this ballsy Asian impostor “swapped boarding passes with a U.S. citizen and passenger who was born in…

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“Needed the money—sorry”

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I’m happy to report a bag theft that ended with a smile. Jay and Lyn Smith, of Tallahassee, took their 18-year-old son on his…

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On touring

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Bob and I are presently touring. It’s just three weeks across Canada—nothing long or exotic. We’re not roughing it, either. Well…15 cities in 21…

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Publicly accusing hotels of theft

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Before a lengthy stay in a certain hotel in Italy this summer, I searched for reviews of it online. Among the raves on TripAdvisor,…

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Just For Laughs Comedy Tour of Canada

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Today is the third day of a three-week tour across Canada with Just For Laughs. This is a blast, and very different from my…

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Spilled secrets

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I guess I spoke too soon and too much about our documentary project. I held back information, but not enough. Our producer has asked…

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Raising antennas

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Coming down. Feels strange trying to write ordinary blog stuff after all the excitement covered in my previous 22 posts. As Bob and I…

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Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—21

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Denouement. None of us wanted to leave the park. After the demos, the dinner, and the as-yet-untold experience on the buses, after the conversation,…

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Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—20

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Bob gets cold feet. Overnight, reality began to percolate and bubble over the exhilaration of yesterday’s thieves’ challenge. By morning it was clear to…

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Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—19

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Dinner with thieves, again. But wait— there’s more! The day isn’t done. And though we want nothing more than to sit and process our…

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Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—18

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Dinner with thieves, continued. Carafes of white wine land on the table. I join Andy and Lou and have beer. Among much laughter, the…

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Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—17

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Dinner with thieves. It’s 3:00. The film crew’s still perfecting camera angles, lighting, and table arrangements. I’ve taken my seat as requested, so cameras…

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Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—16

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Anticipation. Frank has RSVPed by email, with enthusiasm. But what about the others? Will they come to our dinner? I wonder about the restaurant…

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Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—15

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Thieves find us, more. It was a big day for us, and for the whole documentary team. The lowlifers stealing Bob’s wallet, finding Marc…

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Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—14

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Thieves find us, continued. We’re not looking for pickpockets; just busy filming pickup shots on the bus for the documentary, when known thieves Marc…

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Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—13

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Thieves find us. “Police, police! She took my wallet!” That’s Bob screaming at ear-splitting volume. Not his usual reaction to pickpocketing! Usually, he turns…

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Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—12

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We may have caused a divorce. Or maybe a murder. Though it’s unclear who might have killed whom. As a research expedition, the whole…

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Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—11

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On making a documentary. As I said, you’d think a documentary is just a camera following the action—but the action must be lit and…

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Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—10

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Day Two, Meeting with Thieves. It rained. We stood waiting in the drizzle in a park behind some kiddie carnival rides, pretty certain they…

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Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—9

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Thiefhunting, Day One, still more. This is an old-fashioned town, lightly touched by the 21st century. Vendors ply the streets like the horse-and-buggy days…

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Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—8

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Thiefhunting, Day One, more. We’ve been standing in the tiny coffee bar more than an hour, speaking loudly. Eventually, the owner throws us out….

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Bob Arno and Bambi in a den of thieves—7

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Thiefhunting, Day One, continued. Bob and I were on a high, having found a talented pickpocket team on the first bus ride of our…

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Den of thieves, outtakes

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Thiefhunting day one is not over. Not by far! Days have passed, however; things have happened and plans have been made. In order not…

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