Saturday, August 19, 2006

Stupid Stuff Saturday

LAS VEGAS, NV - City officials have made it illegal to sleep within 500 feet of urine or feces, but the city attorney says the new law was passed by mistake and won't be enforced. The new ordinance makes it illegal to "knowingly establish" sleeping quarters near defecation unless that "deposit" is made in an appropriate sanitary facility. It was passed unanimously by the Las Vegas City Council as part of a bill making it a misdemeanor to go to the bathroom in public. City Attorney Brad Jerbic says the council will consider a revised version of the ordinance that shortens the distance between sleeper and deposits.
Geez, now I'll have to find a room! I've been putting off a vacation in Las Vegas, but now I know that they're taking the "What Happens in Vegas" theme seriously, I will consider going - so to speak ... but only if they shorten the distance between mine and urine.

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. - Workers at Angiano's gourmet chocolate company, Bodega Chocolates, discovered under a vat a 2-inch-tall column of chocolate drippings that they believe bears a striking resemblance to the Virgin Mary.
Oy. It seems like we go through this junk every three months. It's supposed to be the 21st Century, but we continue to be mired in superstition, supernatural nonsense and voodoo. Regular readers will remember that the last one was that ridiculous Easter egg that some crook tried to sell on Ebay. Meanwhile, this one looks like something I could be sleeping next to in Las Vegas.

Now, we'll see how Satan works...

In this photo provided by the Kenosha Police Department, co-workers, police and firefighters try to help Darmin Garcia, an employee of a Kenosha company that supplies chocolate ingredients, out of a 110 degree vat of dark chocolate at Debelis Corp. in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Friday, Aug. 18, 2006. Darmin Garcia, 21, slipped into the bubbling hot chocolate and was stuck for two hours early Friday morning.
Where's your Messiah now, Darmin? I guess his biggest mistake was not dripping the chocolate on himself, rather than choosing to drop himself in. By the way, what's all the junk in the vat?

Finally, a little shot at my least-favorite entertainment phemomenon by one of my least favorite entertainers...
Justin Timberlake offered a Cowell-esque critique of reigning American Idol champ Taylor Hicks in a new interview, noting the gray-haired crooner "can't carry a tune in a bucket."
"If he has any skeletons whatsoever, if God forbid, he's gay, and all these people in Mississippi who voted for him are like, 'Oh, my God, I voted for a queer!'" -- Timberlake, the native Tennessean, expressing compassion toward the under-pressure "guy who won," as well as a certain distrust of the Idol audience.
Well ... There's the pot calling the kettle gay.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Self-Esteem Friday

Wichita, KS - Some brainiac in Kansas (of all places [sorry Pam]) aced the SAT with a perfect 2400 score. He tells us that if students want to do better on the test, they can go to the official College Board website and sign up for the "Question of the Day" which will come to your e-mail inbox, as if you need that kind of pressure in your life. Here's today's question:

The Official SAT

Question of the Day

Part of the following sentence is underlined; beneath the sentence are five ways of phrasing the underlined material. Select the option that produces the best sentence. If you think the original phrasing produces a better sentence than any of the alternatives, select choice 1.

Warmer coastal air and water has accelerated melting in Antarctica’s ice shelves and increased the flow of glaciers into the sea.

  1. has accelerated melting in Antarctica’s
  2. has accelerated Antarctica’s melting
  3. having accelerated the melting of Antarctica’s
  4. accelerated Antarctica’s melting
  5. have accelerated the melting of Antarctica’s
Here's little smarty pants' advice for doing well on the exam: "I found out there's not a secret formula. Obviously, you have to pay attention in classes, take classes that are going to teach you what you need to know — that sort of thing." Thanks, Einstein.
So, what is the correct answer? I wonder if Al Gore knows?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

No Unsightly Panty Lines

Jessica Biel arrives for the premiere of "The Illusionist" in New York on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2006.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

News You Can't Use

WASHINGTON -- They are a secret little known outside the news and public relations businesses. "Video news releases”, or VNRs, often look like real television news reports, and you may well have seen one without even knowing it. Now the government is taking a closer look. VNRs often use actors to play reporters, and are produced by businesses or groups trying to get their messages out. The Federal Communications Commission is asking 77 TV stations about their use of VNRs, which critics label "fake news”.
The feds acted after complaints that some stations may have been running the video releases without telling viewers who paid for them. Media experts said some stations like the VNRs because they're essentially free, pre-packaged stories that fill air time.
Great. Now, what do we do about Fox News?
Count the number of times your local newscast does a story that is a direct advertisement for a show that is coming on their network affiliate that evening. Is this news? So often, local news is little more than a shill for the network - to whom they are beholden - and not really news at all. Fires, traffic, bad weather forecasts and local sports qualifies as news, along with an ersatz story about the premiere of "Dancing With the Stars" or the two-hour world premiere of "Big Brother". If that qualifies as news, what's the harm with a little VNR?
I'm sure the local news directors have no idea that they are doing anything wrong. Why? Because the system is corrupted beyond recognition [FUBAR] and, like the prison colony at French Guiana, there is no escape.

Driving Miss Crazy

TRENTON, NJ - New Jersey Attorney General Zulima Farber resigned on Tuesday after a special prosecutor concluded that she violated her department's code of ethics in going to the aid of her boyfriend at a traffic stop in May. She had long come under attack for her own driving record, which includes 15 tickets, three license suspensions and two bench warrants since 1979.
As anyone who drives knows, driving is a skill that not everyone possesses in equal degrees. The trouble is, almost everyone has to drive, so whether you are any good at it or not has nothing to do with your level of participation.
When I was in high school, I tried tennis, but soon found out that I stunk at it. The racket stayed in the closet, and I went about trying to find something that I was better at than chasing fuzzy little balls around [insert joke here]. The fact that I was a lousy tennis player was only a danger to me and the fence behind me.
Driving, however, is another matter.
In issues of public safety, it falls on the government to keep certain individuals off the road in the interest of society. With all of Zulima’s infractions, she (and others like her) shouldn’t be on the road, yet they continue to drive. It’s just common sense – which seems to be lacking in such instances.
We have no trouble taking drunk drivers off the road, so why should someone who drives like that (evidently sober) be allowed to continue? After a reasonable amount of time, it should be obvious to everyone that driving isn’t a good idea for the driver, their insurance company or others around them. Imposing temporary restrictions on people like her do not offer a long-term solution. They have poor motor skills [pun intended] and need to be relieved of their driving privilege so that people can feel secure on the road.
I think it’s about time we took a tougher stance on the bad drivers of the world and made them realize that walking or public transportation are their best options.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Is There a Problem?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three quarters of Americans can correctly identify two of Show White's seven dwarfs while only a quarter can name two Supreme Court Justices, according to a poll on pop culture released on Monday.
Just over 60 percent of respondents were able to name Bart as Homer's son on the television show "The Simpsons," while only 20.5 percent were able to name one of the ancient Greek poet Homer's epic poems, "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey."
Asked what planet Superman was from, 60 percent named the fictional planet Krypton, while only 37 percent knew that Mercury is the planet closest to the sun.
Respondents were far more familiar with the Three Stooges -- Larry, Curly and Moe -- than the three branches of the U.S. government -- judicial, executive and legislative. Seventy-four percent identified the former, 42 percent the latter.
I really don't see what the issue is here.
Are we supposed to be appalled that people don't know history and literature, and are instead knowledgeable about things to which they are exposed on a daily basis? They are paying attention to things to which they are constantly exposed. When is the last time "The Iliad" was released to a thousand movie theaters, or a Supreme Court justice appeared on television?
I guess I'm supposed to weep for the intelligence of the general public, but instead I think that people are aware of their surroundings. Popular TV, movies and modern culture are important to people. Isn't that what we are sold on a daily basis?
If you want us to know about the inner workings of our government, make it interesting and convince us that it matters - otherwise, move out of the way, "The Simpson's" is on three times a day.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Random Thoughts on Sunday

"World Trade Center," Oliver Stone' new film about the September 11 attacks, managed a No. 3 finish at the box office. The better-than-expected tally included $19 million in weekend tickets sales alone, landing "World Trade Center" in third place at the North American box office for the Friday-through-Sunday period. Will Ferrell's race car comedy "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," from Sony Pictures Entertainment, returned to the top of the box office with $23 million in its second weekend, raising its cumulative total to $91.2 million.
The big surprise here, I guess, is that a goofy comedy did better than the serious dramatic story. To me, it proves that, for the most part, people want to be entertained. There isn't a person old enough to go to the movies that doesn't remember the horrible events of Sept. 11, 2001. I don't know what revelations Stone could have brought to the film that we don't already know - and don't particularly want to re-live right now. We know the police, fire and first-responders were heroes that day. I don't know what a movie could tell me that I don't already remember. Meanwhile, goofy-ass Ferrell keeps us entertained and takes our minds off the relevant issues of the day - which is what movies are supposed to do.
While watching the Phillies today (speaking of horrible events not worth re-living) I noticed a guy in the stands who caught a home run ball. He was wearing a t-shirt that proclaimed "DALLAS SUCKS - T.O. SWALLOWS" referring to Terrell Owens. What I don't understand is why someone would wear a shirt with something like that printed on it to an event where not only were there about 40,000 people, but among them, children who may not think it was particularly funny. I guess there's no accounting for tastes. In a world of a million t-shirts, why would someone choose something like that to wear in public?
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Americans are carrying a lot of excess weight and desperately want to slim down. No, not their waistlines -- in the size of their homes. The average home size went from 1,500 square feet in 1970 to more than 2,400 square feet in 2005. During the same period, the average household size declined, from 3.11 to 2.59.
It's about time that the great excess came to a grinding halt. What were people thinking? Were they trying to keep up with their affluent friends, showing off or just being stupid? In my area of the world, the homes that are being built are more appropriate for the Brady Bunch than a 3-person family. Meanwhile, more storage facilities are being built to house the accumulated junk that these museum homes cannot hold. More junk - more space - fewer people - skyrocketing energy costs and higher property taxes. What's wrong with this picture?
WASHINGTON - Air travelers were handed new rules Sunday, given permission to carry small amounts of liquid nonprescription medicine onto a plane and instructed to remove their shoes during security checks. On Saturday, the TSA added mascara to the list of banned items, which includes baby teethers with gel or liquid inside, children's toys with gel inside and gel candles. Homeland Security' Secretary Michael Chertoff' reassured people things would only go so far.
"I don't see us moving to a total ban on hand baggage at this point," he told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.
Why not? A total ban on hand baggage seems like a viable solution to me. Check all your luggage and walk onto the plane with nothing that you can't carry in your pockets or purse. What ... we can't take a little version of our luggage on the plane to inconvenience passengers? Why, whatever will we stow in the overhead compartment? How about nothing. People taking "Gilligan's Island" 2-hour flights get on the plane with a carry-on bag? The TV news this weekend was filled with stories about long lines at airports. Perhaps it's time we did away with the notion that we are entitled to a carry-on bag. What's the point, anyway?
Before you start whining about your "inalienable rights", consider that we may also be entitled to board an airplane that won't blow up over the Atlantic Ocean. That would make me feel a lot better than a bag with an extra t-shirt and some toiletries.

As Seen on TV

Are you feeling like your life isn't what it should be? All you need is a little insomnia and you can square-up your meaningless existence by doing nothing more than turning on your television. Right there on the TV at 4:00am is the answer to whatever problem you may be facing. Most of them involve doing little or nothing to get something. Sounds too good to be true? Get your credit card ready and change your life.
"Make Amazing Part-Time Income", they proclaim. Create profitable trading opportunities in the Forex Market. I'm not sure I want to know what the Forex Market is, but it appears to be profitable. It sounds like a place where they sell condoms.
Can't get financing for that car you want? All-Approved Auto Finance. No one is turned down. It's probably followed by All-Approved Auto Repo.
Got smelly air in your home, apartment or trailer? The Oreck air cleaner is your answer. It sure looked clean on the TV.
Out of shape? Bowflex. They even manage to make exercise look easy.
Can't sleep (how'd they know?) The Amazing Sleep Number Bed. Sleeping - now that's easy! There's lots of amazing stuff at 4:00am.
Hey ... wait a minute ... if I'm sleeping, I'll miss out on these incredible opportunities.
Bald? (wow - these guys are mind readers) Join the Hair Club. Ya gotta love a club, but I don't know where the meetings are. If there's hairy guys, I know I'm in the wrong room.
"Put your computer to work". I didn't stick around for that one. I like my computer the way it is. Plus, I figure if I put my computer to work, it will need all the junk they're advertising to fight the stress of the working world. Take it easy, computer.
It took a little time, but I did manage to stumble across a penis enlargement ad. A couple of porn actresses in a make-believe talk show format telling America that all we need to do is take a pill and "that particular area" will grow. Nice. Porn actors and they can't say the word penis.
Results not typical. You may not experience the same results.
Russ Dalbey's Insider Secrets for Winning Real Estate. Why would Russ tell me his secrets? Wouldn't he want to keep them to himself? Besides, they're not secrets now anyway.
"Miracle Cures They Don't Want You to Know". Awwww ... c'mon, just tell me one. Is there a cure for being gullible?
Luma Tweeze Lighted Tweezers. Who needs lighted tweezers? Certainly not anyone in the Hair Club. They're a $60 value for only $9.99. I say, if they sell for ten bucks, then they're a ten dollar value, but I'm sleepy because I have a crappy mattress, I'm bald and I have a lazy computer.
Then, finally, on the very last channel is the Holy Grail of late-night ads.
Girls Gone Wild. Those nutty girls! They even have their own helicopter.
Where's my credit card?