He’s Baaaaack!

Clinging to the time-honored American tradition of grand re-entrances (and like a malevolent phantom lunging at you through your computer screen), I have returned. Didja miss me, huh?

Apologies for the disappearance but over the last few months I have been out touring my conspicuous act and feeding my inner hobo. Maybe you heard about that psychotic man who rode the Bus 2 Antarctica? Yeah [nonchalant hair toss], that was me. Or that intrepid explorer who snapped a picture of the super rare all-black penguin and sold it to all the British tabloids? Yeah, that was me too. And the guy who revolutionized Twitter? Well no, actually, that was Ashton Kutcher . . .

But yeah, I’m back from my epic journey to Antarctica with all kinds of fun facts, like the slowest way between any two points on a map and 101 effective toilet paper substitutes at all-night Peruvian truck stops. Boys and girls, ladies and gents! I have traveled the world and (drum roll) . . . hit all seven continents like a redneck hammering plastic gophers at the county fair. I have come full circle and who did I find waiting for me patiently at the dock, heavily lipsticked and with daisies in hand? Gadling: my dear sweet, doe-eyed darling Gadling.

So, kill the fatted calf and pull up a bean bag chair! Gadling’s prodigal son has come back to the fold, poised at my typewriter and ready to bang out nifty travel stories for your ongoing reading pleasure. Beware of good times ahead: it’s gonna be just like that book “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”, only so much trippier.

London pickpockets are giving the money back

Visitors to London may find that if they aren’t careful, they could wind up with some strange fingers in their pockets or purses. And while that’s nothing new, this time it might not be a bad thing. A group of former pick-pockets is working the streets of London this month, but instead of stealing money, they are giving it away to their unsuspecting “victims”.

The “put-pocketing” plan is being funded by a local broadband provider called TalkTalk and carried out by 20 former-pickpockets who want to make up for the wrongdoings of their pasts. Between July 1 and the end of the month, at least £100,000 will be given away, mostly in £5 and £20 increments, as a marketing promotion for the company. The covert deposits are taking place in busy areas like Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Oxford Circus and on the Tube. According to the Communications Director of TalkTalk, the areas where the money will be given out were strategically chosen “as we want to give the money to people who actually need it.”

While it would be nice to find an extra £20 note in my pocket at the end of the day, I think I’d stay vigilant. I’m sure there are still a number of unreformed pick-pockets out there who, if they get their hands into your bag, will not be kindly leaving you some cash. And now they have the perfect alibi if they get caught: “Of course I wasn’t stealing your wallet. I was giving you money!”

[via Reuters]