Tuesday June 8, 2021’s Smile of the Day: Car Theft

On this Day:

In 1896, the first car theft occurred.  Baron de Zuylen’s Peugeot is stolen by his mechanic in Paris, France.

Motor vehicle theft (also called car theft and, in the United States, grand theft auto) is the criminal act of stealing or attempting to steal a motor vehicle. Nationwide in the United States in 2012, there were an estimated 721,053 motor vehicle thefts, or approximately 229.7 motor vehicles stolen for every 100,000 inhabitants. Property losses due to motor vehicle theft in 2012 were estimated at $4.3 billion. 15,037 cars with comprehensive insurance were stolen in Germany in 2018 alone. This evens out to one stolen car every 35 minutes. Car thieves caused losses of 298 million euros (per Wikipedia).

The RCMP reports that each year, automobile thefts cost Canadians close to $1 billion, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (“IBC”). This can be broken down to $542 million for insurers to fix or replace stolen vehicles, $250 million in police, health care and court system costs, and the rest for correctional services. The IBC states: An experienced thief can steal a car in as little as 30 seconds.

Furthermore, on average, a car is stolen every seven minutes in Canada. It’s estimated that about 40 people die and 65 people are injured as a direct result of auto theft every year.

In B.C., a unit was created to deal specifically with auto theft. Twenty-two specialized police auto theft investigators from seven police forces in the Greater Vancouver area, including the RCMP, make up the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT).

IMPACT uses bait cars — cars that are owned by the police and are intended to be stolen — to track the location, speed and direction of travel of the vehicle by police dispatchers. The dispatcher co-ordinates the police response and disables the car with the click of a mouse, which allows for the quick arrest of the thieves.

The RCMP recommends that you don’t do the following: leave spare keys in the car or leave spare keys in visible spots in your home, leave the car running, leave any purses, backpacks or other items unattended in the vehicle — even in the trunk. Make sure the vehicle has an immobilizer. If it doesn’t, consider having one installed or using an anti-theft device (per https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/gazette/auto-theft). 

First, a Story:

My car got stolen yesterday.

I thought of calling the cops but then realized it was better not to call them and let the car thief take care of the dead bodies in the trunk.

Second, a Song:

Mylène Jeanne Gautier (French: born 12 September 1961), known professionally as Mylène Farmer, is a French singer, songwriter, occasional actress, writer, and entrepreneur. Having sold more than 30 million records in France, she is among the most successful recording artists of all-time in that country. She holds the record for the most number one hit singles in the French charts, with twenty one to date – eight of which were consecutive.

Born in Pierrefonds, Canada to French parents, the family soon relocated to Chaville, near Paris, where Farmer pursued a career in modelling and acting. She later gained prominence as a recording artist with the release of her first single “Maman a tort” in 1986. In 1988, she released her second studio album, Ainsi soit je…, which sold 1.5 million copies in France. The album spawned Farmer’s first number one on the French singles chart, “Pourvu qu’elles soient douces”. The follow-up, L’Autre…, sold two million copies, becoming Farmer’s best-selling album to date. Its lead single, “Désenchantée”, became the most successful single of Farmer, and is often described as her signature song.

Departing from the synth-pop and Europop soundscape of her first albums, Farmer reinvented her musical style with the release of her fourth studio album, Anamorphosée, in 1995. Recorded in the United States, the album features more live instrumentation and shows rock and R&B-oriented influences. Her fifth studio album, Innamoramento, was released in 1999, featuring more techno influences. Farmer promoted the album by embarking on the Mylenium Tour, visiting four countries over 42 shows. In the second part of the 2000s, Farmer continued exploring a range of genres on her albums, namely acoustic pop music on Avant que l’ombre… and electronica on Point de suture.

In 2010, Farmer released her eighth studio album, Bleu noir. The album marked Farmer’s return to the dark synth-pop and Europop production of her first albums. The lead single, “Oui mais… non”, sold over 170.000 copies in France. In 2015, Farmer’s tenth studio album, Interstellaires, debuted at number one in France, preceded by the lead single “Stolen Car”, a duet with Sting, which reached the number one position on the French singles chart in September 2015. Her latest studio album, Désobéissance, was released in 2018, debuting at number one and selling over 265,000 copies.

In addition to her music career, Farmer also worked as a songwriter for French singer Alizée, while also being responsible for her image and public appearances. Her debut single, “Moi… Lolita”, written by Farmer, reached number one in several countries in Europe, and peaked at number nine on the UK Singles Chart in February 2002. She made her film debut in 1994, starring in Giorgino, and in 2018, she starred in the English-language horror film Ghostland.

Throughout her career, Farmer has broken a number of records. She is the best-selling French singer since 1984, has a record number of diamond records, and she is the only artist to have obtained a diamond album in four consecutive decades. Selling over two million copies, her 2001 greatest hits album Les Mots is the highest-selling compilation album by a French recording artist.

Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner CBE (born 2 October 1951), known as Sting, is an English musician and actor. He was the principal songwriter, lead singer, and bassist for new wave rock band the Police from 1977 to 1984. He launched a solo career in 1985, and has included elements of rock, jazz, reggae, classical, new-age, and worldbeat in his music.

As a solo musician and a member of the Police, Sting has received 17 Grammy Awards: he won Song of the Year for “Every Breath You Take”, three Brit Awards, including Best British Male Artist in 1994 and Outstanding Contribution in 2002, a Golden Globe, an Emmy and four nominations for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. In 2019, he received a BMI Award for “Every Breath You Take” becoming the most-played song in radio history. In 2002, Sting received the Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Police in 2003. In 2000, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for recording. In 2003, Sting received a CBE from Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace for services to music. He was made a Kennedy Center Honoree at the White House in 2014, and was awarded the Polar Music Prize in 2017.

With the Police, Sting became one of the world’s best-selling music artists. Solo and with the Police combined, he has sold over 100 million records. In 2006, Paste ranked him 62nd of the 100 best living songwriters. He was 63rd of VH1’s 100 greatest artists of rock, and 80th of Q magazine’s 100 greatest musical stars of the 20th century. He has collaborated with other musicians on songs such as “Money for Nothing” with Dire Straits, “Rise & Fall” with Craig David, “All for Love” with Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart, “You Will Be My Ain True Love” with Alison Krauss, and introduced the North African music genre raï to Western audiences through the hit song “Desert Rose” with Cheb Mami. In 2018, he released the album 44/876, a collaboration with Jamaican musician Shaggy, which won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 2019.

“Stolen Car (Take Me Dancing)” is a song by Sting, released as the third single from his album Sacred Love on 26 April 2004. It topped the Dance Club Songs chart in the United States in August 2004.

“Stolen Car (Take Me Dancing)” was covered by French singer, Mylène Farmer. She recorded it as a duet with Sting and added lyrics in French. The song was titled just “Stolen Car” and released as the first single from Farmers album, Interstellaires (2015). It topped the chart in France, Belgium, Wallonia and also reached number one on the Dance Club Songs in the United States (per Wikipedia).

Here is Mylène Farmer and Sting performing “Stolen Car (Take Me Dancing)”.  I hope you enjoy this!


Thought for the Day:

“Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.” – Oscar Wilde

Further to the John Denver Smile, Eric H. O’Dell of Surrey, BC, Canada writes:

“I love his music”

Russ Waugh of Siglavik, Manitoba, Canada writes:

“Great story, about a fantastic entertainer, too bad he had the crash.  Stay safe  Russ”


Have a great day!

Dave & Colleen

© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky

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