Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm Not Just Famous, I'm "On the Side of a British Bus" Famous

Hey, if it says it on the side of a British bus, it must be true.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

High School Principal Rewrites School Song Because it's "Sexist"

Jeff Finstad, principal at Waupun High School in Waupun, Wis., had his school's fight song rewritten because he thought the word "fellow" was sexist.

Finstad changed the words after he realized the offending, sexist, female-oppressing term was in the song. Only after getting all students to pass the No Child Left Behind tests and passing all classes, and solving the school's funding issues, teen pregnancy, and dropout rate, of course.

He made the discovery after some of his students wanted to paint the words to the son on the gym wall, which included "Fight fellows, fight, fight, fight." So he nixed the plan until a student, junior Bridget Nickel, came up with a less offensive version that used gender-neutral terms, like "OMG" and "w00t."

So if he's so uptight about the word "fellow" (which makes me wonder what he feels about the word "fellowship" or if he'll throw a hissy if his students ever become "doctoral fellows"), what about "fight, fight, fight?" No concerns about the imagery of violence? No worries that this will cause fights to break out? I mean, if "fellow" is sexist, then surely urging people to fight is just a riot waiting to happen.

According to an AP story, the school's logo used to be a "W" for "Warriors," but they replaced it with something that looks like Marvin the Martian from Bugs Bunny. According to another blogger, they did it to distance themselves from the Native American mascot they previously had. (Post about halfway down the page.)

Either that, or they didn't like the 43rd president.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Phone It In Sunday: The Twitter Police

Are you on Twitter? Are you tired of people telling you that they just took the dog out, or that they had a salad for lunch? Or that they love their Cheetos?

Or worse, are you doing that yourself? Watch out, or the Twitter police may be busting down your door.

By the way, if you are on Twitter, you can follow me at Twitter.com/edeckers.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mass. City Cancels Ice Cream Fundraiser Because It's Not Healthy

From the "We Just Don't Get It" files:

Peabody, Mass. High School is canceling the students' ice cream social fundraiser, because the school district doesn't understand that people can just buy this stuff at the store. Or that there are stores that specialize in selling ice cream.

Students have a monthly ice cream social as a way to raise funds for school clubs, the student newspaper, sports teams, and local charities. They raise about $400 each month, but they'll have to find another way, since the dunderheaded administrators (who probably eat ice cream at home) have canceled the best possible, safest, most wholesome fundraising event a bunch of high school kids can put on month after month?

The school district says the school is in violation of state and federal wellness guidelines that apparently say ice cream should never, ever be eaten by children under any circumstances, whatsoever.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Toboggan Trip Diary Reveals Fun, Hallucinations

Toboggan Trip Diary Reveals Fun, Hallucinations

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

Several weeks ago, my family and I had the chance go with some friends and their kids to the Pokagon State Park Toboggan Run. This quarter-mile artificial hill looks like a bobsled run, but it's a straight-downhill run. This is a mini-diary of my day, and the five trips up and down the slope.

Trip #1 - We rented three sleds and dragged them 50 yards from the toboggan rental up to the run. Well, the others did. I hoisted mine by the rope and carried it. They're only 60 pounds or so. Not that heavy. The rental place were out of the 30 pound toboggans, but that's okay. They're not that heavy.

I can't understand why the kids are so lazy. Maybe this will be good for our kids. Show them what real work is like, and that a trip down the hill can be rewarding after a good, brisk walk up the quarter-mile hill.

Some people are actually getting their cars and driving down to the parking lot to drive the toboggans back up to the starting point. How lazy can you get? No wonder we're in such bad shape in this country. We're a bunch of wusses who can't be bothered to lug a toboggan up a short hill.

Great ride coming down. My first toboggan ride ever. It's a little bouncy on the back, and my face is a little cold from the wind chill, but it was big fun.

Trip #2 - Halfway up, I decided to give my arms a rest and drag the toboggan instead. No point in wearing out my shoulders. Need to pace myself so I can go for a few hours. The kids are sharing sled pulling duties, which is smart. Stopped by the toboggan shack. Thankfully they got some 30 pounders back, so that made the trip up much easier. Turns out they put plastic runners on the toboggans so people can drag them. Apparently, they just replace the worn-out runners.

Looks like the people who drive up are getting back at the same time as us walkers. We're just not using all the gas they are. Why waste money for convenience, especially when it doesn't save any time?

Another fun ride. I've been enjoying the kids' screams and laughter as we race down the hill. My face is a little cold, and I think there were some pits in the track, because it bounced me around. A lot.

Trip #3 - I'm glad we got these 30 pounders. My forearms are about to give out, and I got tired of whacking myself in the ankles pulling those big monsters up. My son hopped on the toboggan and wanted me to drag him back up the hill. I'm afraid I was a little sharp with him, so I made it up to him by letting him help pull. For a 6-year-old, he's got some good arm strength. Too bad he couldn't pull me back up.

Driving the toboggans back doesn't seem like such a dumb idea. I mean, if I work up a sweat out on this cold weather, I could get sick, couldn't I? I would hate to get everyone else in the family sick, just because I got sweaty and chilled.

I think the pits on the hill are getting bigger, because I was bounced pretty hard. Had to raise up on the seat to take a little of the pressure off, which hurt my shoulders. The kids love it though. My face is frozen.

Trip #4 - Some of the troops are grumbling about General Grant forcing us to march through these long winter nights to Fort Donelson. Each man is supposed to lug a supply sled behind him, but the loads are so heavy. Two men have collapsed from exhaustion and are left with the wounded. Grant accused them of laziness and threatened to shoot and then court-martial them, but the docs intervened. We don't bother maintaining formation because we're stumbling around from exhaustion.

My wife says I've been suffering from hallucinations. Complete nonsense of course. I'm fit as a fiddle, and we took Donelson in three days. But I definitely need to be concerned about getting sick. For the family's sake, of course. Drove Bill's mini-van down to the parking lot to take everyone back up. Sure it uses gas, but we've got our health to think of.

I swear, some of those bumps have turned into chasms so big, Robbie Knievel could do a TV special. I think my spine has compressed a few inches after the last ride down.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Window Guy Busted for, uh, Busting Windows?

I know the economy is bad, but if you're in the repair business, you don't go breaking things in order to create more business for yourself, because you're going to get caught.

That's what happened to Andrew Krogh, owner of AA Glass and Mirror, in Sacramento, Calif.

He was caught after a stakeout at a martial arts school that had been suffering broken windows for months. Students of the Cassio Werneck Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school were hiding in the area when the caught Krogh in the act. They held Krogh and alerted a sheriff's deputy, who is also a student at the school.

Krogh was found with a slingshot and ball bearings in his possession.

The school's landlord had spent at least $12,000 with Krogh over the last six months to fix 13 broken windows. Another of Krogh's clients said he had replaced three of her windows and doors earlier this year, after they had all been shot out or shattered.

According to a story on KXTV's News10 website, Krogh is being charged with six counts of felony vandalism.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

PETA Wants to Open Chicken Empathy Museum in Louisiana

PETA's getting themselves in the news again for more of their stupidity (or is that stu-peta-ty?)

Down in Farmerville, Louisiana, the old Pilgrim's Pride chicken processing plant is closing down, and Governor Bobby Jindal wanted to spend $20 million to help another company buy it.

So PETA said, "Ooh, ooh! We know. How about a 'Chicken Empathy museum?'"

Needless to say, Governor Jindal thought the idea was as dumb as a bag of Alabamans, and said no.

According to John Kelso's column in the American Statesman, PETA's plan would have included a kids' play area that looked like a chicken cage that showed the cramped living conditions are for chickens. (Never mind that chickens that are processed in processing plants aren't raised in cages. They're raised in open poultry buildings.)

Ashley Byrne, campaign coordinator for PETA, told Kelso that the museum would have an educational display highlighting facts about chickens.

"They're intelligent animals with mental capabilities that are comparable to cats, dogs and even primates," Byrne said. "In nature, mother hens cluck to their unborn chicks who chirp back from their shells."

Plus they're tasty when they're breaded and fried in hot oil.

But you wouldn't find anything like that at the Chicken Empathy Museum.

"Actually, we did plan to serve faux chickens, vegetarian chickens made from healthy plant protein in the museum restaurant, along with an array of other tasty vegetarian food," said Byrne, presumably with a straight face.

The only tasty vegetarian food I've found are the French fries I get with my hamburger. "Tasty," "vegetarian," and "food" are not three words I usually hear together, at least in that order.

Kelso made an interesting point:

One thing that drives me crazy is the way vegheads flock — pun intended — to nonmeat products that are balled up to look like meat, such as the Tofurky. If vegetarians are dead set against meat, how come they want to eat vegetables hand-formed to look like critters?

"That's probably just a matter of familiarity," Ashley told him.

I think PETA's just phoning it in now. A few years ago, they would have hurled red paint on people or proposed giving beer to kids.

Now they just want to give plush chickens to kids that say "I am not a nugget."

Come on, PETA, you're slowing down in your old age. A chicken empathy museum? Is that all you can come up with now? Less than ten years ago, you were asking the Green Bay Packers to change their name to the Pickers, or Fishkill, New York to change their name to Fishsave (even though "kill" is the Dutch word for "stream").

What happened to you guys? Are you going soft? Getting respectable? Going all corporate and nice on us? Where's the venom? Where's the eye-rolling audacity? Where's all the really moronic stuff that you used to do that gave humor columnists like me something to sink our teeth into and make fun of?

Ask AIG to change their name because it's the phonetic pronunciation of the result of poultry exploitation. Lobby to change the phrase, "bring home the bacon" to "bring home the organically-produced tofu," because bacon is made from pigs. Sponsor "No Pants Day" this summer in protest of people wearing leather belts.

Don't let me down, PETA.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Australian Netball Assoc. Bans Oranges. World says: What the Hell is Netball?

Britain has been earning a reputation as the nanny state because its various groups and companies have banned stupid stuff for lame reasons. But Australia is nipping at their heels after Netball Queensland banned oranges at games because it could possibly damage children's teeth.

According to a story in the Brisbane Courier-Mail, this seeminlgy out-of-hand decision has gotten Netball Queensland into a little hot water with the country's citrus growers, which affects 82 different netball associations around the Australian province. The nannies staff are concerned about high levels of oranges and the potential damage it could do.

Never mind the players could get the oranges at home.

"Most of our associations have banned oranges at half-time or are discouraging coaches from offering oranges," an unidentified Netball Queensland spokeswoman told the Courier-Mail.

But the Queensland Citrus Growers is up in arms. They were about to launch a campaign that promoted fruit at sporting events until Netball Queensland gave them a lemon. Now the QCG can't even make lemonade.

"I'd like to see medical research and evidence to prove fruit is unhealthy, particularly fresh citrus," Chris Simpson, a QCG spokesman said. "Citrus and kids' sport had been synonymous for generations."

So Netball Queensland's dietitian Kerry Leech wagged her finger and said it was the acidity, not a lack of health benefits.

"When players come off the court at halftime, they're generally a bit dehydrated and the worst thing for teeth in that environment is acid, because it erodes the enamel," Leech said. "So we're encouraging fluids to re-hydrate at half-time rather than eating half an orange."

Fluids like dihydrous oxide, no doubt.

Looks like Leech has never heard of the perils of dihydrous oxide.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Arizona state senator Linda Gray Insults Student via Email

Arizona state senator Linda Gray really put her foot in it when she emailed a high-school freshman about her poor writing skills, and said the girl would have trouble passing the AIMS language test and is a poor learner.

According to a story on AZCentral.com, Gray received an error-filled email from an unnamed girl at Sunnyslope High School in the Phoenix area.

The student wanted to know why lawmakers cut the state's education budget, but not any of their own. The story said it was "an unbroken string of sentences with no punctuation.

So Gray, helping to underscore why they should have raised the education budget rather than cut it, wrote to the student: "I have grave concerns on your ability to pass the AIMS language test," she wrote.

"Why didn't you take to (sic) time to write an e-mail with the proper punctuation? By your poorly written e-mail, your example tells me that all the money we have spent on your education shows a lack of learning on your part."

SNAP! That'll show all you young punks why you need to pay attention to class, and why you don't deserve the money we're spending on your education.

Right? Uhh, right?

I'll take "I Really Put My Foot In It" for $200, Alex.

Gray's errant "to" notwithstanding, her snotty email response ended up not only making the rounds at Sunnyslope High School, but it was picked up by a local TV station and the Daily Kos blog.

I'll take "I Really Put My Foot In It" to finish it out, Alex.

Turns out the girl whose intelligence Gray insulted has special needs, which was brought to Gray's attention by the girl's PE teacher.

Way to stay classy, Arizona state senator Linda Gray (R-Phoenix). Always nice to see someone like Senator Gray exemplifying the honor and concern for one's constituents that we have come to expect from most politicians.

Gray did email an apology back to the student, and invited her to shadow her at the Arizona state legislature. The student then asked Gray to accompany her for a day at Sunnyslope, which Gray has agreed to do.

Personally, I think the student has shown more class and honor than the politician who claims to represent her. I hope Senator Gray will learn a few things from her new young friend.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Phone It In Sunday: Dutch Insurance Commercial

Since my family is from Holland, I have a special place in my heart for Dutch television. When I would visit my grandmother in Den Haag (The Hague), we could always watch American television shows without the commercials, because they always appeared at the end. Most of Europe requires TV and radio license fees, which eliminates the need for commercials -- think PBS but with regular commercials, not "underwriting messages" -- which means they only play them at the end of shows for about 10 minutes, which gives you plenty of time to do something else.

One thing I always love about Dutch commercials is that you don't need to understand the language to understand the message. This is a commercial for a Dutch insurance company.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

That Family That's Arrested Together Stays Together

It had to be a banner day at the Hartford (Connecticut) Police Department. They arrested two people for shoplifting and got two more in the bargain.

According to a story in the Hartford Courant (official motto: we taste great on buns), Elizabeth Russell, 45, and her 13-year-old daughter were arrested for shoplifting. Elizabeth and her daughter were caught stealing clothes and jewelry at Kohl's Department Store in Hartford.

So, like a good husband, Daryll (yes, that's how they spelled it) Russell showed up at the police station to bail the two out, and was promptly arrested for violating the conditions of his probation for burglary and larceny in Cheshire, Conn.

Then, like a good son, Jonathan Russell showed up at the police station to bail the three out, and was promptly arrested for violating the conditions of his probation for larceny and motor vehicle case in Southington, Conn.

"I don't ever recall having four related people in lockup at the same time," Lt. Brian Mullins, told the Courant. "It's pretty unusual."

"They both said they were surprised when we told them of the warrants," Mullins said.

Everyone but Daryll was then able to post bail and were released. But he was forced to spend the night in jail, was arraigned the next day, and had bail set at $50,000.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

You've Got Something on Your Face

I made this at LOL News, part of the I Can Has Cheezburger site.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Some things don't need an explanation. . .

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Toronto's Tempest in a Coffee Cup

Toronto's Tempest in a Coffee Cup

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2009

How many people does it take to figure out how to dispose of paper cups?

If you're the city of Toronto, it takes six months for 40 people divided into five sub-committees to thoroughly examine the issue, followed by $50,000 worth of consultants' reports.

Consultant REPORTS? I could do it in two words.

"Recycle them."

Cost per word? $25,000. Oh sure, I can expand that to "You should recycle the cups" to increase the value of the report ($10,000 per word), but the net result is the same.

To be fair, Toronto is dealing with 350 million cups, but still 40 people divided into FIVE sub-committees? $50,000 of consulting reports?! I could get rid of that many cups by myself for $50,000, and it would take me ten minutes.

"Dear Montreal, Have I got a deal for you!"

In Toronto's defense, this is actually part of a larger problem they're dealing with. According to a story in the Toronto Star, they want to get packaging materials out of the garbage stream, and the biggest problem is the paper cups from the hundreds of coffee shops around Toronto and neighboring suburbs.

The city council turned to city employees to see if any of them had any suggestions. They gave recommendations like giving $.20 discounts to customers who bring in their own cups, coffee shops using porcelain and other reusable cups, and banning plastic lids altogether because the plastic contaminates paper recycling.

These seemed like common sense ideas, which is why they were immediately dismissed as implausible and untenable. After all, we can't have common sense in government, can we?

Plus, the Canadian takeout industry whined and complained to the Toronto city council, which gave in to the skin-flinty, penny-pinching whims of a few in order to sacrifice the many.

"Give a 20 cent discount to people who help lower our own costs? Heaven forfend, eh!"

I go to several local coffee shops that all give some sort of discount to people who bring in their own cups. One of my coffee shop owner friends told me that a cup typically costs him $.25, which eats into his profit, so if he can give a $.20 discount for a cup, he makes an extra nickel. Something tells me the Canadian takeout industry didn't think of that.

So the city council gave their 40 committee members and their five sub-committees until April. But then the $50,000 consultants were brought in, and the deadline was pushed back to June, because there are important things to consider when disposing of paper coffee cups. Things like consumers attitudes and behaviors (they litter), markets for recycled materials (there are), and health and safety concerns with customers using their own cups (there aren't). See, six more words at no extra charge.

Coffee shops are worried about customers bringing in dirty cups. They believe if the germy cups rub up against coffee dispensers, they could spread disease. And – get this – if customers got sick from drinking from a badly-cleaned porcelain cup, they could get blamed.

First, if a coffee shop does a bad job cleaning their own porcelain cup, they ARE to blame. Second, train baristas not to go smearing customers' cups on the spigots. If you're that concerned about it, rinse the cups out first or give the customers a Sani-Wipe and tell them to go to town.

It's like the time California restaurants tried to get exemptions from rolling statewide blackouts a few years ago, saying they might accidentally serve undercooked food to patrons during the blackouts. They ignored the fact that without power, they wouldn't be able to 1) cook the food, 2) see the food, or 3) run the cash register to sell the food.

Most coffee shops offer free or cheap refills. Do the baristas wash those cups when you ask for a refill? No, they just smear your filthy, disease-ridden cup on the spigot, transferring germs to and from everyone else's cups.

But Toronto is still facing a serious problem: what to do with 350 million cups each year for the next ten years? You could burn them, but the resulting smoke would block out the sun for weeks, making the place colder than it already is.

Whatever they do, it's going to take a lot of brain power and consultants, and I won't be surprised if they ask for at least another $100,000 to come up with an answer. Or for $10,000, I'd be happy to write their follow up report, and I'd even use a lot more words:

"No seriously, I mean it guys. You really really really should recycle the coffee cups."

Only $667 per word. Now that's a bargain.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Casino Reneges on "Winning" Slot Machine. Claims Malfunction

Pawel Kusznirewicz, Wasaga Beach, Ontario, is suing the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation for $45 million. Not because he lost. Because he won.

Kusznirewicz had played at the Innisfil casino with his wife on December 8, sinking about $60 on a slot machine called the Buccaneer. He made his last pull when the lights started flashing and sirens started wailing.

The video screen showed that he won $42.9 million. The casino management said he didn't. They said the machine had malfunctioned and said they weren't going to pay him one dime.

But to make up for the devastating loss of nearly $43 million, the manager gave him her business card for two free dinners in the casino restaurant. But then she realized that seemed pretty stingy, so she upped it to four free dinners.

Yeah, four dinners. That's just as good. Besides, they must be good meals, since each dinner is worth $10.725 million. ($2 million drinks not included.)

Needless to say, Kusznirewicz was extremely upset (maybe if they had given him six dinners, plus a free dessert), because there was no indication the machine was malfunctioning. The staff couldn't even show him any evidence that it was broken. But if it was broken, then why did they leave it on? Was it working until it finally paid out? Or did the OLG puposely allow a broken machine to be kept in play, assuming it wouldn't pay out in the first place?

Kusznirewicz said the OLG staff took some pictures of the machine, and then hid the evidence shut it off.

Kusznirewicz's lawsuit is for $45.9 million: the original $42.9 million, and then $1 million each for general damages, aggravated damages, and punitive damages.

If the OLG is smart, they'll offer to settle for half of what Kusznirewicz is asking for. But if Kusznirewicz is smarter, he'll hold out for all of it.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Since When Did Basketball Referees Get to Arrest People?

One of my big frustrations at the fairness of the universe is when stupid people get away with their stupidity, and don't have to face the consequences.

Of course, sometimes justice is served on a high school gymnasium floor.

Patrick Rempala, a 64-year-old Northwest Indiana man, threw a hissy fit at a high school basketball game, and got belligerent with referee Glen Fifeld. Rempala got into Fifield's face, and yelled "you suck!" He bumped Fifeld, pushed him when Fifeld tried to walk away, and then grabbed Fifeld's whistle lanyard and tried to choke him.

That's when things got interesting. Fifeld told Rempala he was under arrest for battery.

Because, you see, Fifeld is an Indiana state trooper. And if there's one thing you don't mess with in Indiana, it's a state trooper.

"You can't arrest me, you're a referee!" Rempala shrieked at Fifield.

Au contraire, my d-baggy friend. Refereein' is just his hobby; arresting jerkwads is his day job.

Fifeld wrestled the man to the floor, which I hope was all good and thunky. Once he realized Fifeld was, in fact, a cop, and he was now, in fact, an under-arrest-d-bag, Rempala whined, "That's not fair."

No, and neither is shoving a guy around because you don't like his refereeing. Because, in Rempala's defense, the other thing you don't mess with in Indiana is our basketball.

Rempala was arrested for battery and resisting arrest.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

200-Year Dead People Have Privacy Too?

Amateur genealogist David Shannon of Lexington, KY has a passion for old gravestones. The gravestones at the Old Union Christian Church Cemetery to be exact.

According to a story in the Lexington Herald-Leader, Shannon has been collecting the names, birth dates, and death dates on the tombstones, which date back to the early 1800s. Several of his relatives are there, so he has a familial interest in his new hobby.

And, since other people have ancestors buried there, he started collecting their information as well, even creating a website at OldUnionCemetery.com, posting the information of the 475 burials and a photograph of each stone.

"Once I got into it, I figured other people trying to find ancestors would find information in the cemetery helpful," he told the Herald-Leader.

However, the Old Union church board told Shannon he had to take the information down. They sent him a letter demanding he "cease publishing pictures of stones ... not part of your family because it is sharing family information without their consent."

The Reverend Scott Winkler said Shannon's collecting the dead people's information was an invasion of privacy.

"If you're going to publish other people's private information you need to get their permission," he told the Herald-Leader.

Uhh, you mean get permission from the dead people?

Apparently so. The very same permission they got from the same dead people for the book they're selling for $10 with all the tombstone information in it, but without the pictures.

Winkler said the difference between their book and Shannon's Web site is that the church board and congregation approved the book. They did not approve the Web site. However, Shannon said he should be allowed to publish the information, since it's a community service and

But Shannon felt he had a right to publish the information, because it is public information (you can get it from the Kentucky Department for Public Health). He also considered it a community service. Plus, a university law professor says information inscribed on a tombstone is also public.

"If something is in the public, and you haven't exercised any protection over it or (indicated) any desire to keep it within your own sphere, you can't tell others they can't have access to it," Mary Davis, a law professor at the University of Kentucky said.

She then spiked a law book on the floor, shouted "BOO-YAH!!", and high-fived Shannon.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

450-year Dead German Mathematician Gets Bill from Math-Stupid Government

Adam Ries, a German mathematician received a letter that required he pay his long-overdue television and radio license fees. (European countries require license fees for all TVs and radios, which pays for commercial-free stations.)

Problem was he's been dead for 450 years. I can't imagine what his license fee will be, but since TV has been around since the 1940s, I can imagine it won't be cheap.

According to a Reuters story, the broadcast fee collection office sent the bill to the last address they had on record for Ries, who bought the house in 1525. Four hundred years later, the house was turned into a math club, named in his honor.

"We received a letter saying 'To Mr Adam Ries' on it, with the request to pay his television and radio fees," club manager Annegret Muench told Reuters.

So Muench returned the letter to the collections office with a note that said Ries had died in 1559. But in typical German efficiency, the office sent a reminder to the dead algebra expert.

Now, I'm no Adam Ries, and algebra was never my best subject, but let's see if we can figure this out: A government agency, in typical government fashion, refuses to examine the facts presented to it, and sends a bill to a guy whose been dead for 450 years. Assuming the agency responsible does not employ the smartest people available, how many more bills will they send out before they finally realize their mistake?

Find for X.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Phone It In Sunday: Mother of All Funk Chords video

This is a video, found at Thru-You.com, made by editing genius Kutiman, who spliced and cuttogether all these different YouTube videos. It sounds like something you'd hear in a 1970s police movie or in a Quentin Tarantino flick.

This may possibly be way cooler than the Playing for Change: Stand By Me and Enter the Sandman on kazoo videos I posted a few months ago.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Christian Science Monitor Proposes Socialism

Apparently the Christian Science Monitor has gone socialist. Writing in a recent issue of the CSM, paid writer Jonathan Zimmerman believes university professors should write for newspapers.

For free.

Zimmerman, who teaches history and education at New York University – for money, presumably – says university professors used to write for their city's newspapers 100 years ago without getting any payment. So he sees nothing wrong with them doing it now.

Most professors, says Zimmerman, aren't paid for what they write now. Academic journals don't pay anything, and they only reach a few hundred people in their field. Newspapers, on the other hand, reach thousands of people, and the professors could do the writing so they could reach lots and lots of people.

(This seems to forget that professors write for academic journals as part of their job responsibility. They're not really doing it for free. They're already getting paid for it.)

This is the same dorm-room logic the music thieves employed during the Napster craze ("it's okay to steal music, because musicians really want fame, not money. So we're giving them fame.")

The problem is, professors' families can't eat fame. The bank doesn't accept "the good of society" for a mortgage payment. And the utility company will turn your heat off, no matter how many newspaper articles you hand them.

Never mind that the professors will push out the reporters who actually need to make a living from newspaper writing. Never mind that free labor will cause the layoffs of hundreds and thousands of professional journalists who are already in danger of losing their jobs.

The bigger problem is if you ask people to write for free, or for very little money, it hurts the efforts of those of us who actually try to earn a living from writing. Besides, cheap and free writers make Harlan Ellison angry. (See below.)

What would Zimmerman say if history enthusiasts and professional teachers volunteered to teach university classes for free, thus cheapening his value and worth to the university?

"Sorry, Professor Zimmerman. We've got some teachers who will do this for free, so we're going to let you go."

So does Zimmerman practice what he preaches? Was he paid for his column in CSM? If he's true to his beliefs, he turned down any offer of payment for his column. He's also publishing a book, Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory. Is he accepting payment for his book? Will it be given away for free? Is he declining any and all royalties for its sale?

If you want to write things for free, start a blog. Or, spend a large portion of your time writing for free and giving it away, and see if you suddenly decide your time, skills, and knowledge actually have value.


I've included the Harlan Ellison video for your enjoyment.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Wine vs. Beer: Spitting Is For Sissies

Wine vs. Beer: Spitting Is For Sissies

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2009

Erik is out of the office this week, so we are reprinting a column from 2004.

Spring is in the air, and a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of love. And that's fine for young men, but when you hit your 40s, your fancy turns to thoughts of beer.

At least mine do. There's just something about Spring that draws me outside, like a moth to a flame. But not just any flame. A flame with a comfortable camp chair and a cold beer where I can sit and watch the kids play in the yard.

And not just any beer either. I have a few important rules about the kind of beer I drink. I don't drink beer that has the words "Lite" or "Dry" in the name. I don't drink beer that advertises on the side of a race car. And I certainly do not drink beer whose name is preceded by "Hey, Billy Ray, can you throw me another. . ."

I enjoy good beer, but I'm very particular about what good beer is. I go to bars and restaurants that make their own beer, I attend beer festivals, and I've even made my own beer a few times. It wasn't very good, but I didn't die from drinking it.

I admit it. I'm a beer snob, although I prefer the term "enthusiast." To me, beer is more than just a watery drink to be chugged at a college party. It's a noble beverage that has inspired mankind throughout the centuries.

Benjamin Franklin said, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm said, "Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world," and he nearly did. And my literary hero, Dave Barry, once said, "Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."

And while these are all excellent sentiments, I think in Kaiser Wilhelm's case, he should have asked for guns instead, since Germany lost World War I in 1918.

As regular readers of this column know, I've been something of a wine enthusiast for a number of years. I've written columns and given speeches about wine tasting. And I've even collected a few important bottles.

But I'll never become a oenophile (pronounced ween-o-phile, as in "That guy is such a weenie!"). A oenophile is someone who drinks, loves, and collects wine. A oenophile will think about and worry over wine to the point of compulsive obsession. But these are actually admirable traits, because I feel the same way about beer.

But there is one thing that separates beer enthusiasts from weenie-philes. If you attend a "proper" wine tasting, watch the people who fancy themselves wine experts. They'll sniff delicately from their wine glass, take a dainty little sip, and then -- horror of horrors -- spit the wine out!

They don't spit it onto the floor, because that's gross, although it would make the tastings more interesting. They have special wine spitting buckets -- called "spit buckets" of all things -- where these weenies can spit without fear of being smacked in the head by their mothers.

The French call spitting wine "recracher," and they do it all the time. Of course, they've never won a military battle either, and I think that's more than just a coincidence.

This is where real beer enthusiasts draw the line. We will not, under any circumstance, spit out beer, even if I made it. Spitting is for sissies and weenies. It's actually considered a grave insult to spit out beer, and some people have been savagely beaten for doing it.

Okay, that's never happened, but it's just about that serious.

I'm happy to say I've never spit out wine either, even when it tasted as bad as the beer I made.

This past week, I was listening to "Whad'Ya Know," a show on public radio, and the host talked to some guy who claimed to be a beer enthusiast. The guy sounded perfectly sane and didn't mention alien abductions or overthrowing the government, so I was more than a little upset when the guy said he goes to beer tastings and spits his beer out!

"Beer tasters don't spit out their beer! That's for weenie-philes," I hollered at my radio. Unfortunately, the show is taped in Wisconsin, so I don't think he heard me. I can only hope that some more forgiving person will explain the error of the man's ways, and set him on the enlightened path to true beer appreciation.

Or at least whack him with an empty wine bottle.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) Goes Ballistic at Dulles Airport

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) either had amnesia or a case of the grumpies last week at Washington Dulles Airport, when he showed up 20 minutes late to catch his flight back to New Orleans.

Upon finding the gate closed, Vitter opened the door and set off a security alarm. An airline worker warned him that he wasn't allowed to enter the gate after it had been closed.

According to a Heard On the Hill story in Roll Call, Vitter unloaded on the airline worker with a "do you know who I am?!" rant that got pretty loud.

You've got to love politicians who puff up their chest with self-importance and believe their position gives them special privileges and exemption from the laws they've sworn to uphold (and in some cases, helped to pass).

"Sure, I know you," the employee should have said. "You're Senator David Vitter. The same Senator David Vitter whose phone number appeared on the D.C Madam's prostitution phone list. You're the same Senator David Vitter who reportedly paid $300 per hour to a hooker in the 1990s to the Canal Street Madam. The very same Senator David Vitter who will be facing porn star Stormy Daniels in next year's primary.

"Uhh, I think I'll walk."

What actually happened is that the employee said they would call security. According to HOH, Vitter hollered that the employee could call the police and their supervisors.

But after the employee left to find a security guard, Vitter held a press conference with his wife asking for forgiveness from his country and his family.

Oh wait, that's what he did after he was found to have paid prostitutes for sex.

What he actually did was run away to avoid getting into bigger trouble. There was no word whether he ever did make it back to Louisiana.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Florida Fish Tank Attack? At Least It's Not Hamburgers

You'd never think of attacking a friend with a fish tank and a beer bottle over $3, would you?

Of course not, that would be stupid. Which may explain why Daniel Winter, 26, of Florida attacked his friend, Shaun Nater, 30, with both implements.

According to a story on TampaBay.com, Winter had spent a quiet Monday evening at a strip club called Calendar Girls. A few minutes before midnight, Ashley Decicco, 18, and her boyfriend, Nater, picked him up and they ate a pleasant dinner at Burger King before going home.

(By the way, did you notice the age difference between Decicco and Nater? I'm just sayin'.)

As they drove home, Decicco asked Winter for 3 bucks to help defray gas costs. Fair enough. If you pick up a friend at a strip club, it's perfectly acceptable to ask for a little help with gas costs.

Winter, still full from Burger King and still. . . entertained by the strip club, said he couldn't come up with $3, because his rent was due.

According to the Pasco County Sheriff's report, the trio argued and Winter slapped Decicco while she was driving. So Nater turned around in his seat, and commenced to whuppin' Winter, while DeCicco was still driving.

That's when things got all tanky.

Winter grabbed the fish tank and started whaling on Nater with it. While Decicco was still driving.

But the tank just wasn't having the desired effect, so Winter grabbed up a beer bottle, and began hitting Nater in the head with it. While Decicco was still driving.

Then Nater took the bottle from Winter, and bashed Winter over the head with it several times until it broke. While Decicco was still driving.

Finally, after threatening to turn the car around if they didn't stay on their own sides of the car, Decicco pulled into a Denny's parking lot and called the police.

It's a good thing she didn't call the police from the car, because dialing and driving can be dangerous.

But hey, at least they were mature enough not to attack each other with hamburgers.

Past Florida food attack articles.

Two More Food Attacks in Florida
Third Sandwich Attack in Florida
Assault with a Burger, Food Related Assaults on the Rise

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Canadian Igloo Torn Down for Being a Fire Hazard

From the We Don't Understand Science files:

According to a story in the Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) Star-Phoenix, a Canadian property management company told Bruce Lunan to tear down a snow fort he had built in his apartment complex back yard because it posed a fire risk.

Lunan had checked with his power company, who told him there was no danger to have an igloo close to a power box. But the apartment management company told him no way

Bruce Lunan built a room from snow in the backyard of his apartment complex but was told it raised safety concerns.

The Canadian man even checked with his power company, who said it wasn't dangerous to have an igloo close to a power box.

But he was forced to relent two weeks later and pull down the structure, which had become a hit with local children.

According to the CKOM NewsTalk 650 AM website, Lunan has now been asked to move out of the condo he was renting.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Food Related Assault Epidemic Reaches Illinois, Man Throws Defective McGriddle at McD's Employee

The food-related attacks have finally left Florida and have hit Illinois. Peoria, to be exact.

This past Saturday, an unidentified man became violent and assaulted a McDonald's employee when his McGriddle sandwich didn't have an egg in it.

At 5:20 am, the man became irate when the sandwich didn't have the egg, so the woman in the window said she would correct the problem. However, he got angry when the driver behind him began honking at him to move.

That's when he threw the sandwich, and drove off like an immature coward with anger issues.

This attack comes just a few months after four different food-related attacks in Florida.

Past Florida food attack articles:

Two More Food Attacks in Florida
Third Sandwich Attack in Florida
Assault with a Burger, Food Related Assaults on the Rise

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Robby Slaughter Totally Looks Like. . .

Special Sunday-only post:

I like the TotallyLooksLike.com website, brought to us by the good folks at ICanHasCheezburger.com.

For the last several months that I've known my friend Robby Slaughter at Slaughter Development, I've thought he looks like someone else. And then it hit me:

Robby Slaughter totally looks like. . . Oscar Wilde!

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Font Conference Video from CollegeHumor.com

Another video for Phone It In Sunday (I've decided I'm only going to video posts on Sunday, since no one ever really shows up).

This is one of my favorite College Humor videos ever. As a font semi-geek, it cracks me up. I love this kind of esoteric humor.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

West Virginia Wants to Ban Barbie

Having solved the rampant unemployment, mortgage foreclosures, and other social ills that plague West-By-God-Virginia, state delegate Jeff Eldridge wants to ban Barbies on her 50th birthday.

This past Tuesday, Eldridge proposed a bill that would ban all sales of the 50-year-old doll in the state.

Eldridge says the toys place too much emphasis on physical beauty in the minds of young girls, which lessens the importance of intellectual and emotional development.

I see, so it's Barbie's fault, and NOT the poor school system, the celebrity-obsessed entertainment industry, crappy TV programming, and uninvolved parents that causes a girl to focus on physical beauty instead of school and friendships?

According to WSAZ NewsChannel 3, Eldridge knows the bill will get shot down, but says he introduced it because he wanted to get the conversation started about brains before beauty.

I'll let you make your own jokes about West Virginian politicians and brains. My cup overfloweth at the possibilities.

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Friday, March 06, 2009

British Earl Ordered to Take Out the Trash

British Earl Ordered to Take Out the Trash

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

When I lived in Indianapolis, every few days I would often find a couple pieces of trash pitched in my yard by passing motorists. I cleaned them up, and would silently curse the mouth-breathing jerkwads who treated the city streets as their own private trash can. (I also have a few choice words for people who pitch their still-lit cigarette butts out their car window, but that's for another, less family-friendly column.)

I often wished I could find whoever dropped the offending garbage, so I could mail it back to them. Postage due, of course.

But that's nothing compared to what the Earl of Iveagh, Arthur Edward Rory Guinness (yes, THAT Guinness), found on his property in Suffolk, England almost a decade ago: 1 million tires and 1,000 tons of shredded rubber.

The earl and his estate managers have spent all this time clearing away two-thirds of the tires, but now the local council is whining that this isn't good enough, so they're fining him £400,000 ($570,123) to fix a problem someone else caused. A problem he's already paying to solve. To make matters worse, the council idiots are even threatening to prosecute him.

The problem arises from the fact that although the tires were dumped by Timothy Williams a slimy, mouth-breathing businessman, British law says the land owner is responsible for cleaning up the mess.

British law also prevents the earl from dangling said businessman from the Millennial Ferris Wheel by his ankles. However, Williams was thrown in jail for two months in 2002 for several cases of tire dumping, although it wasn't clear whether that included the tires on the Earl's lands.

The earl's estate managers have turned two-thirds of the tires into a noise barrier near Royal Air Force base Lakenheath. The other tires have been turned into 3,300 bales big enough to cover a soccer field. The bales can be seen on Google Earth.

But the earl and his managers are not moving fast enough or spending enough of his own money to suit the St. Edmundsbury Council, so they've begun legal proceedings because the earl has violated an enforcement order they issued in 2004.

That's right. Some mouth-breathing jerkwad dumps a million tires on your property, and your city council ORDERS you to clean them up at your own expense, which you were already doing, and then starts legal proceedings because you're not doing it fast enough to suit them.

They remind me of a neighborhood association I once lived in where the association president had Nazi-like tendencies. He often sent nasty complaint letters to residents, nitpicking every little detail that didn't meet his approval. He was finally unseated when he tried to invade Russia.

(I once received a loud phone call from him after I sent a letter asking if I could build a weatherproof dome over my house so I could finish some of the cleanup he "demanded" I make. He angrily denied my dome request, of course.)

It's the council's ungrateful, short-sighted bureaucratic thinking that makes me glad I live in a country where you can sue the bejeezus out of anyone for being that annoying. Although if it wasn't for British bureaucrats, I would have run out of material 12 years ago.

"There are still 368,000 tyres left on the site and the original notice we issued stated that they all had to be removed by October 2006," a council spokesman whined to the London Daily Telegraph.

Unfortunately for the earl, British law prohibits hanging council members from Big Ben.

Jim Rudderham, the estate manager, told the Daily Telegraph they had been working hard to remove the remaining tires and had all the permits to be able to bale them and remove them.

"There were originally more than a million of them and it is an extremely time-consuming and expensive operation," said Rudderham. "We don't know yet what the final bill will be, but it will be well in excess of a quarter of a million pounds. ($354,359)."

"Like any form of fly-tipping (illegal dumping), it is the responsibility of the landowners to clear the mess up and unfortunately there is little chance of getting the company that originally dumped them to pay up," he said.

I don't know what kind of arcane British law makes it the land owner's financial and legal responsibility to clean up the mess of mouth-breathing jerkwads, but it's got to be one of the stupidest laws I've heard of.

Maybe they should ask for a weather-proof dome to allow them to work in bad weather. I've got some detailed plans around here somewhere.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Real news poll question: Is it a Good Idea to Marry a Serial Killer

I don't know who's dumber, an Australian woman who wants to marry a serial killer, or the online newspaper editor who asked the poll question: "Is it a good idea to marry a serial killer?"

Is it a good idea? Hell no, it's a bad idea. It's possibly the. Dumbest. Idea. Ever.

According to AdelaideNow, Bianca Roberts of Adelaide, Australia will marry the Snowtown serial killer James Vlassakis on September 2, even though he's not eligible for parole until 2025.

It goes without saying that one should not ever associate with, befriend, get to know on a first name basis, or hang out with a serial killer, let alone marry the guy.

Or, you'd think it goes without saying. But apparently, the AdelaideNow newspaper thought it needed saying, so they ran the. Stupidest. Quiz. Ever. (see, it emphasizes how stupid it is if I break it up into three one-word sentences).

The choices?

  • Yes - love transcends all boundaries

  • No - his crimes were monstrous

  • Who are we to judge?

  • Seems obvious enough, right? Wrong. As of 1:30 pm, EST on Wednesday, 1 day after the article was published, 2822 people had voted (including me). Here are the results:

    1078 people (38%) said "Yes, she should marry the guy who stuffed 12 bodies into barrels of acid."
    1302 people (46%) said "No, her life will be in danger!!!"
    442 people (15%) said, "Meh."

    Translation: 53% of Australians do not think marrying a serial killer is a bad idea.

    Oh well, I hope Mr. and Mrs. Vlassakis have a good wedding. I hear the honeymoon is to die for.

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    Wednesday, March 04, 2009

    I'm Not Just Famous, I'm MAPLE SYRUP Famous

    I'll be a judge this Saturday, March 7th, at the National Maple Syrup Festival in Medora, Indiana.

    Here's a description of the competition, from the Sweet Victory Bakeoff website:


    Sweet Victory Bake Off

    Two Divisions (Adult, Youth), Three Categories (Savory Main Dish, Dessert, Breakfast)

    Recipe Submission Deadline: February 23,2009
    Finalist Notification: February 26, 2009

    Judging to be held at the National Maple Syrup Festival. Finalists do not have to be present to win. The festival is located at Burton’s Maplewood Farm, 8121 W. County Rd. 75 South in Medora, IN 47260

    Tel: (812) 966-2168
    Fax: (812) 966-0231

    If you're heading down, be sure to stop by. And look for my writeup on an upcoming post on VisitIndiana.com.

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    The Problems with Skype

    I've been using Skype for nearly three years, even before we moved down to Indianapolis. It's a computer-based Voice Over I.P. phone system that lets you treat your computer like a phone. You purchase a phone number, a basic calling plan, and you're all set. The caller's voice comes from the speakers, and your internal mic picks up your voice.

    So I've been on a number of phone calls on my laptop, using earbuds and a microphone to have a private conversation. And sometimes, if I don't use them, a not-so-private conversation.

    I was sitting in the conference room at my employer's office yesterday when the phone on my computer rang. It was the vet's office, asking me about my dog, which my wife had brought in for some persistent diarrhea.

    Since I was alone, I hit the button to answer the call.

    "Hello?" I said.

    The vet introduced himself, said my wife had brought our dog in that morning, and could he ask a few questions. No one was around, and I didn't have the buds handy, so I said sure.

    "Did you see your dog's last bowel movement?" his voice boomed over my little MacBook speakers, suddenly louder than ever before.

    "Uh, sure?"

    "I'M SORRY?!" The speakers had gotten concert loud, like they were a set of Peavey's.

    "Yes, I did," I said a little louder.

    "What color was the bowel movement?" I hesitated. Could people hear us out in the main part of the office? Was I really just having a conversation about my dog's poo? And why couldn't he just say "poo" like everyone else?

    "Was it light or dark?" he added.

    "Light," I said.

    "What consistency was it?"

    "Huh?" Ewwwww. This wasn't something I went around considering.

    "Was it like a cow patty, or was it pretty loose."

    "Loose," I said, fairly quietly.


    "I said it was loose."

    "Well, we're probably going to want to do a fecal smear today."

    "You'll need to talk to my wife about that," I said, and gave him her cell phone number. I wasn't about to have a half-shouted discussion of fecal smears with my dog's vet.

    I clicked the button and disconnected the call. I poked my head to see if anyone had heard the conversation. Luck was with me, and no one had heard me. At least no one I could see. I was only thankful I wasn't in a coffee shop.

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    Tuesday, March 03, 2009

    RyanAir Calls Bloggers Idiots and Lunatics; Bloggers Switch Flights to All Other Airlines

    Irish low-budget/no-frills/crappy-service airline Ryanair called bloggers idiots and lunatics this past Wednesday after a customer pointed out some flaws in their website.

    In a fit of patriotic support, Dubliner Jason Roe was booking plane tickets on his home country's airline, when he thought he found a glitch in the system that allowed him to book free tickets. So to be helpful to the Irish airline, he wrote about it on his blog, and posted a message to Twitter:

    More Ryanair security issues http://tinyurl.com/cbgv7l
    8:35 AM Feb 28th from TweetDeck

    Not too surprisingly, other people tried to repeat what he had done, but without success. Roe later confirmed that he had made a mistake, and actually had to pay for the tickets to begin with.

    However, after being made aware of the possible security glitch, Ryanair sent him a nice, polite thank you email, with two free tickets as their show of appreciation for alerting them to the problem.

    Just kidding. You don't make the Laughing Stalk blog for that. You make the blog if you're a complete and utter idiot.

    What actually happened was a Ryanair staffer put a few a-hole responses on Roe's blog.

  • "You're an idiot and a liar!! fact is! you've opened one session then another and requested a page meant for a different session, you are so stupid you dont even know how you did it!"
  • (No, you are so stupid you don't even know what an apostrophe does.)

  • "Website is not perfect, Life is not perfect...If you would work in your pathetic life on a such big project in a such busy environment with so little resources, you would know that the most important is to have usual user behavior scenarios working rather than spending time on improbable and harmless things."

  • So, Roe traced the IP addresses of the postings straight to Ryanair headquarters in Dublin. Because as any idiot should know, there ain't no anonymity on "teh
    Interweb." Them pipes all lead somewhere, Chester.

    At least one other idiot didn't know that, because he confirmed said abuse to CNN.

    "Ryanair can confirm that a Ryanair staff member did engage in a blog discussion," said Stephen McNamara, Ryanair's Head of Communications. "It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy in corresponding with idiot bloggers and Ryanair can confirm that it won't be happening again. Lunatic bloggers can have the blog sphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel."

    No, your people are far too busy driving away customers, and generally being douchebags. Just remember that bloggers are travelers too.

    Stephen McNamara can be reached at 011-353-812-1598 and possibly mcnamaras@ryanair.com (this email is unconfirmed -- Erik). I urge you lunatic idiot bloggers out there to let Mr. McNamara know how you feel.

    "You can only imagine how many customers (Ryanair) could lose by treating them like this," Roe told CNN.

    "They treat their customers with contempt. We know that Ryanair doesn't put any store on customer relations," said Frances Tuke, spokesman of the Association of British Travel Agents. "This is the way Ryanair conducts its business. Their clear goal is to provide cheap flights but we don't believe this is the way to provide customer satisfaction. Our members don't do this -- their customers expect a high level of service."

    All I can say is Richard Branson's Virgin Air never treats their customers like this. That's why I'm proud to follow the guy on Twitter. It's also why I urge all Irish travelers to stop flying Ryanair.

    At least until Stephen "The Lunatic Idiot" McNamara is forbidden to speak to the press.

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    Monday, March 02, 2009

    Bionic Man Finds Wrapper in his Candy Bar, Smashes Hershey's

    A Tigard, Oregon man is making himself nuts, chomping at the bit to get sweet, velvety satisfaction against the Hershey company, and their apparent packaging shoddiness.

    Steve Austin – not the Six Million Dollar Man – was watching TV one night at 2 am, recovering from surgery, and chowing down on a Hershey's bar.

    According to the OregonLive.com blog, Austin noticed, as he was swallowing a bite of his chocolate, that there was something chunky in it.

    Notice, he found the chunky item in mid-swallow, not in mid-chew, or as he bit into it, but as. He. Was. Swallowing. It.

    "I started choking, and I was up, all alone - my mom was asleep - so it was pretty scary," Austin told Oregon Live. He dislodged the tasty morsel and found a piece of the wrapper baked into the bar.

    "I've got false teeth," said Austin. "Someone with real teeth probably could have chewed on through, but I couldn't get it down. And it shouldn't have been there in the first place. I choked so hard I busted a stitch."

    Austin saved the remaining candy, as well as the piece of label. He said he's worried that other tainted candy could be out there, causing a child to choke.

    Actually, I think most children will chew their food a couple more times, and will thus find inch-long hunks of wrapper in their candy.

    Austin has saved the candy, and wants to sue Hershey's. However – and this tells me how outrageous this guy's claim is – no lawyer is interested in taking the case.

    I've written about lawsuits filed by people who blinded themselves on a golf course, who weren't being named Homecoming Queen, or whose kids who were given a timeout at school.

    I can honestly say this is the first time I've written about lawyers who didn't want to take a case.

    Dude, if a lawyer won't take your case, you really need to give it up. Throw the candy bar away, and stick with Gummi Bears.

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    Sunday, March 01, 2009

    CollegeHumor.com Optical Illusion Girlfriend Video

    I was at a restaurant this weekend and my oldest daughter was fascinated by a kid's menu filled with optical illusions. I found this video and it cracked me up.

    (Yeah, I'm phoning it in today, but it's freakin' Sunday, and my web traffic drops to 10% of my weekday traffic, so it's not like anyone's around to notice. Check back with me on Monday. But, hey if you're here on Sunday, I really appreciate you. Thanks a lot for stopping by.)

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