Saturday, November 29, 2008

What Have We Become?

Black Friday was the final day on this earth for Jdimytai Damour, a 34 year old temporary maintenance worker at a Wal Mart store on Long Island.

When Damour went to work that morning at the Valley Stream location, little did he know that savage American shoppers would break down the front doors and trample the life from his body in their quest to snag discounted consumer electronics. Four others, include a woman who was eight months pregnant, were injured.

Wal Mart is expressing their regret while claiming that they anticipated a large turnout and supplemented the normal security contingent with additional staff, including third-party personnel. Nassau county police disagree, observing that the crowds were out of control and that Wal Mart seemed woefully unprepared.

Wal Mart has spent years marketing their Black Friday sales, opening the doors early to fan the flames of the false scarcity that they have created into a all-consuming inferno of greedy and selfish shopping. Consumers have been more than willing to be used as tinder in this sociological backdraft, punching and wrestling for the last X-Box standing or whatever trinket we've been led to believe is so valuable that we can disregard every moral or religious lesson we've ever learned.

When people are willing to begin lining up outside of retail stores at 3 AM in order to be at the tip of the mob spear when the doors are unlocked, we officially become part of the problem. Do I blame Wal Mart, and Best Buy, and the other merchants who are part of the macabre holiday tradition? I do, but the question then needs to be asked: Are they simply responding to the customer demand, or did they create the monster that they now nourish?

If we stopped lining up and pouring through the vestibules like starving refugees seeking an ounce of rice in the Sudan, these retailers would stop offering this tradition in a New York minute. While they may have been the creator, like Frankenstein, we have been reduced to the ugly, misunderstood monster walking stiff-legged through strip centers and shopping malls with blank stares and Starbucks cups, determined to snuff out the meaning of December holidays, regardless of religious affiliation, family upbringing, or common decency.

Who needs peace on earth, goodwill toward men when there are only five Garmin GPS devices available for $99?

Update: cross-posted to my Daily Kos diary.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Worst Christmas Card Ever

I feel bad for the dog.

Grandma Got a Mac

From Married To The Sea

Vajayjay Hero

It's a shame that this is fake, because Vajayjay Hero is the sort of game that could actually make me sit down and spend time trying to learn a multiple-axis game controller.

I guess the theory behind this Guitar Hero mock-up / rip off is to bring your gamer dexterity to bear in an effort to please a woman in ways the typical gamer has absolutely no chance of implementing in their non-virtual life. It does make spending time in your parent's basement a bit more palatable. Or so I hear.

There's no backstory that explains how you suddenly ended up with a bajingo in your face, but I think I could get past that.

Pimp Your Poo

From the "10 Gifts We Don't Want" list, I'd say that this one is at the bottom of my stocking.

The purpose of these little gold pills is to put some sparkle and shine in your doody. Rock on.

Wouldn't you be the talk of the clinic if you took a couple of these babies right before your next scheduled colonoscopy?

Happy Thanksgiving from Rahm Emanuel

From Gawker

Straight Up Chess

I was always fascinated (thanks, Spock) with the multi-tiered chess board from the original Star Trek series.

The Straight Up chess set seems like a nice transition from horizontal chess to future chess.
You can bolt this to the wall and play a game against anyone who happens to pass by. You make your move, then mark it as the "Last Move", and the next time your opponent(s) stop by, they can do the same.

This would be most excellent in an office setting or as a way to torture your son Fauntleroy. Oh, and better's art!

The State of Things

If you're looking for a good example of presidential transition, I would say that MSNBC's chyron, circled below, says it all.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Game Face

Want to know what you look like when playing video games? Photographer Robbie Cooper has made a video. It's especially strange around the 1 minute mark.

Multi-Functional Sticky Tape

If you're into the whole tape thing, this might be something that floats your boat.

The sticky tape, in addition to holding together your latest UPS return box, can also be used as a calendar, an organizer, even a planner.

The package comes with two tape rolls - one roll for days and one roll for dates. You even get a handy marker.


The US Auto Industry

I've written a couple of times about the current problems in Detroit, Bailing Out GM, The $70 Per Hour Lie, and several other posts. There's been something bothering me about this whole bailout thing that has led to come down somewhere in the middle between giving them the money they want and letting them slide into bankruptcy.

I keep hearing that the three Detroit automakers are too interconnected in the US economy to allow them to fail, that the downstream impacts of unemployment, parts suppliers going under, support industries failing, and so on mean that unless the bailout goes through, car manufacturing in the US vanishes.

That's misleading, because there are quite a few auto makers doing quite well here, as Peter Klein writes in his column In Praise of the US Auto Industry:

The proposed bailout of GM, Ford, and Chrysler overlooks an important fact. The US has one of the most vibrant, dynamic, and efficient automobile industries in the world. It produces several million cars, trucks, and SUVs per year, employing (in 2006) 402,800 Americans at an average salary of $63,358. That’s vehicle assembly alone; the rest of the supply chain employs even more people and generates more income. It’s an industry to be proud of. Its products are among the best in the world. Their names are Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes, Hyundai, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Subaru.

Klein posits that the real danger of a Detroit bailout is what it could do to the all-important manufacturing base in this country: "...the US is one of the the world’s largest recipient of Foreign Direct Investment and that an auto industry bailout would surely reduce the flow of FDI, at the expense of the US economy. “Ironically, proponents of a bailout say saving Detroit is necessary to protect the U.S. manufacturing base. But too many such bailouts could erode the number of manufacturers willing to invest here.”"

So essentially the real damage to the US could be the bailout itself, which could be a killer for free trade. That would last a lot longer than having an economy readjust to operate without three dinosaur companies cranking out the wrong kind of cars.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hot Topic

From Nothing Nice to Say.

Mystery Piano

File this under "what the heck?"

Harwich, MA police are investigating a mysterious, working piano that was found in the woods, the bench pushed back like someone was about to sit and play.

Since it took several officers to load the piano into a vehicle to remove it, one would guess that it also took several people to move the piano into the woods in the first place.

What was the reason? Was it a joke? An impromptu concert? The ghost of Liberace?

If you think you know the answer, please leave it in the comments.

Ride the Express

Where do you fit on the Douchebag Express?

Sexist Ads From The Past

It's always good to take a look back at how women were portrayed in print advertising. If you'd like some more excellent examples, click here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rose Bowl Bound

With a 49-18 win over Michigan State, the Penn State Nittany Lions have again risen to the top of the Big Ten conference and will be headed to Pasadena for the January 1 match up against the Pac-10 conference champion.

One possible opponent for the Lions is Oregon State, which might not be a bad match up, even though they lost handily to Penn State earlier this season.

Joe Paterno is scheduled for off-season hip replacement surgery, and he currently has no contract to return to coach the Lions next year, although after 59 years at the university and headed into a top-tier BCS bowl appearance, Paterno could probably dictate the terms of his next deal.

It will be good to see Joe and his boys in the California sunshine again. Here's to his six decades of coaching excellence.

Bacon Hater


Do you like Wikipedia but hate having to plow through all those facts?

Navigate on over to Dickipedia, the central repository for people who would be considered, well, dicks.

Seems to be the obligatory listing of politicians and business leaders, who are the low-hanging berries of this twig-centric site, but there are a number of really shocking entries.

Like your Mom.

Your mom
(various birth dates) is the woman who gave birth to you; the person who nurtured you, changed your diapers, raised you, supported you, instilled in you a moral and ethical center; is the proud, beaming parent who loves you more than life itself; and a dick.

She would be very disappointed if she knew you were reading this.

World's Worst Recipe Book

When I first saw a recipe book called Natural Harvest, I thought "ok, probably another in a series of gluten-free, sugar-free, taste-free tomes to file under the category of "if it tastes like crap then it must be good for you"".

I was in the right area, but the wrong exit.

Natural Harvest
has a subtitle: A Collection of Semen Based Recipes.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Semen is not only nutritious, but it also has a wonderful texture and amazing cooking properties. Like fine wine and cheeses, the taste of semen is complex and dynamic. Semen is inexpensive to produce and is commonly available in many, if not most, homes and restaurants. Despite all of these positive qualities, semen remains neglected as a food. This book hopes to change that. Once you overcome any initial hesitation, you will be surprised to learn how wonderful semen is in the kitchen. Semen is an exciting ingredient that can give every dish you make an interesting twist. If you are a passionate cook and are not afraid to experiment with new ingredients - you will love this cook book!

Here I thought my struggle in the "pure vanilla vs. imitation vanilla" battle was important. Heck no. The semen vs. no semen war has now become a priority for me.

To my wife, I say this: There had better be no semen in my food, if for no other reason than the fact that I'm typically your sous chef, and if you aren't getting it from me, then we have a bigger problem than the recipe.

I've also decided never to eat out again.

The $70 Per Hour Lie

brownsox writes at the Daily Kos about one of the stats being floated in the "save the automakers" discourse that's misleading at best, and more likely just plain false.

The statistic in question is that autoworkers make $70 per hour. brownsox posits that even if true, what's so wrong about blue-collar workers making a good living, and why is $70 per hour out of line in a company where the CEO makes $11,000 per hour?

He quotes an article by Jonathan Cohn, who explains the misleading math:

But then what's the source of that $70 hourly figure? It didn't come out of thin air. Analysts came up with it by including the cost of all employer-provided benefits--namely, health insurance and pensions--and then dividing by the number of workers. The result, they found, was that benefits for Big Three cost about $42 per hour, per employee. Add that to the wages--again, $24 per hour--and you get the $70 figure. Voila.

Except ... notice something weird about this calculation? It's not as if each active worker is getting health benefits and pensions worth $42 per hour. That would come to nearly twice his or her wages. (Talk about gold-plated coverage!) Instead, each active worker is getting benefits equal only to a fraction of that--probably around $10 per hour, according to estimates from the International Motor Vehicle Program. The number only gets to $70 an hour if you include the cost of benefits for retirees--in other words, the cost of benefits for other people.

So it would seem that once again, people have decided to stretch the truth in order to advance their position, which means that they must believe that their position is not supportable by facts. That should tell us all everything we need to know.

"Butt Bandit" Nabbed

Police in Valentine, Nebraska (pop. 2,650 - salute!) believe they have nabbed the perp who has been greasing up his but-tocks and pressing them against windows throughout the small burg.

Sometimes using lotion, other times petroleum jelly, the 35 year old male suspect had been the scourge of Valentine, a town known for having people from around the world mail Valentine's Day cards to them so they can be post-marked with "Valentine" on the envelope. If that's the main industry, I can see why there's some extra time to press the flesh.

The suspect, while caught in the act, has not yet been charged, which seems somewhat confusing. Perhaps police are arranging a cheeky lineup or dusting for additional prints, since there was concern that copycat imprinters had begun to make their rounds.

One interesting note is that the window stamping halted during the fall and winter months, which seems to be related more to self-preservation than a fear of George Costanza-like shrinkage.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Every day is Talk Like a Pirate day if you're sailing off the coast of Africa.

These aren't
the fun pirates, with cool hats, salty wenches, and scurvy dogs, ya bilge rats. The modern day pirates are hijacking oil supertankers and holding them for ransom.

Various navies are churning to the area to send these bastards to Davy Jones locker.

If you'd like some real-time reports via a Google Maps type interface on what these Cap'n Jacks are up to, check out the live piracy map maintained by the International Maritime Bureau.
You can click on the little push pins and get the gory details. Arrrrr.

Not Good


When Don King comes back...

Candied Pig

Another installment of sweet, sweet bacon...literally! Candy coated!

Arrrr, matey....

Me salty dog be havin' a peg leg.


Leave it to the Japanese to give us bottled water in a can.

Freaky Dog Play


Those of you who remember when John Madden worked for CBS Sports and served as the color analyst on one of the Thanksgiving football games each year will recall his fascination with the turducken...a chicken stuffed inside a duck that was then crammed inside of a turkey and cooked long enough to still be disgusting but not bacterially lethal.

I believe we have outdone Mr. Madden...BOOM! Take that putrid poultry and wrap it in...BACON!

Don't visit Bacon Today for more info if you really look forward to your annual turkey fest, because this will kill your desire in a gravy-choked heartbeat.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Would You Shop Here?

Life of a Geek

Anyone who thinks they're a vampire is retarded

Tech Support

My wife should stop complaining about her home tech support. It could be worse.

Neck Care


So Sad

Where's the Outrage? There isn't any.

Markos from DailyKos was on MSNBC talking about Joe Lieberman and the change demanded by progressives. I guess his approach sort of defeats those who claim that "liberal bloggers" are frothing at the mouth in anger.

1001 Rules For My Unborn Son

This is a pretty interesting (and evolving) blog that has become a repository for words of wisdom about life. Some are more wise than others.

Here's some examples:

270. Stand up to bullies. You’ll only have to do it once.
269. If you’ve made your point, stop talking.
268. Watch your language at the ballgame.

This will be on my list of sites to check on a regular basis. Mostly because I'm a sucker for this sort of thing.

Rules for my unborn son

Detroit Bailout


More Shame

With all the layoffs and bankruptcies going on, coupled with what seems to be a bottomless pit of incompetent CEOs who are still making millions, and a $750 billion bailout package that doesn't appear to be working, what's our next step?

Hamilton Nolan, writing at Gawker, has a good suggestion. We need more shame.

In Japan, CEOs take shame seriously. They're expected to work late, dedicate their entire lives to the good of a company, and try to ensure that they don't work their employees to the point of suicide. And when Japanese CEOs make mistakes, they're expected to make a big show of tearily flogging themselves in public (figuratively). But here in America? CEOs get to screw up as bad as they want and walk away with millions, with nary a tear nor a nice tip to the bellhop on the way out the door.

Nolan surmises that CEOs in America are more than willing to trade a pile of sweet, sweet cash for public scorn any old day, and he's right. I'm guessing most of us would, too. In the past the media has written stories about the salary packages, golden parachutes, and ludicrous perks, and the execs have laughed all the way to the bank.

Our only remaining option is public shaming, the type that's involuntary and dreaded. Maybe even throw some rotten fruit at them. Let dogs pee on their shoes. Whatever it takes.

Let's start a grassroots effort here. It might not work, but it would be a good outlet for our frustration.

That's some bad hat, Harry

I have some challenges follicle-wise, and as I've gotten older, I've taken to wearing some hats, not necessarily to be stylish, more to ward off melanoma in the summer and ice dome in the winter.

That said, I'm not uptight about my baldness - it's only hair. Some people might feel differently.

Enter the flair hair visor.

Perch this baby on the top of your head, and there's no such thing as a bad hair day. Of course, passers-by may thump you on the noggin with a stick, believing they are saving your life by killing that pesky muskrat that's attacked you, but no one said fashion was easy or safe.

Where People Stand

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Freaky Japanese Piggy Bank

Dream Girl Assassin

Stupid Is as Stupid Does, Sir

They just don't get it. Even Forrest Gump could have figured this out.

You're on your way to Washington to beg for $25 billion to shore up your faltering auto manufacturing businesses. The eyes of the world will be on you. It's been a rough twenty years, because you've failed to adapt to a changing market.

Earlier giveaways to corporate executives and labor unions with no thought of sustainability have left your industry crippled. The credit squeeze has exacerbated the downward spiral of new car sales, pressing down on the accelerator right after record gasoline prices drove American's away from purchasing high-end, low mileage SUVs that were your profit centers.

So what do you do? Fly private jets to the hearings.

"There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they're going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses," Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York, told the chief executive officers of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.

Corporate heads often take private aircraft for "security reasons", but they weren't flying to Iran. They were traveling beggers. And spending $20,000 on a private jet trip instead of dropping $500 on a round-trip commercial carrier tells us all we need to know about these guys.

We've seen it before - AIG holding outings in lavish surroundings after their bailout. Ken Lay from Enron throwing decadent parties while his company crashed and his employee's retirement savings burned.

It's hard to imagine just how detached corporate executives have become. Thankfully, there's proof all around us.

Just Start Bailing

Gay Marriage

Douchebags Have Rights?

A Las Vegas man (hereafter referred to as "DB") has sued the author of a picture book called Hot Chicks with Douchebags.

Claiming that he has been unfairly branded a "douchebag" in the book, DB has filed a libel lawsuit against the volume's author and publisher. Michael Minelli, a 27-year-old club promoter, claims that the inclusion of his photograph in the book has subjected him to "hatred, contempt, and humiliation" and has resulted in "friends, acquaintances, coworkers, employees, and strangers alike" calling him a "douchebag."

You make the call.
The website is here.

This falls under the Streisand Effect, so named because once you make a stink about it, millions more know of your situation than would have if you just kept your mouth shut. DB might well not be a DB (unlikely, but possible), but people the world over now associate him with feminine hygiene products. Smooth move, DB.

Location is Everything

The American Family Association has a boffo Christmas decoration!

I can see a huge demand for this, especially down south and in areas that voted overwhelmingly for McCain/Palin.

I'm just sayin'.

Monty Python's Revenge

Bad Excuse #28

They certainly aren't building them any smarter.

Some dude took a pic of his junk with his iPhone (no zoom lens?) and emailed it to his girlfriend. No big deal - until his wife found out.

What's a low-down cheating dog to do? Blame it on Apple!

The best excuse Mr. Nard-cam could put together was that he took the picture (eww) but never sent it to anyone. He even claimed that he stopped by the ironically named Apple Genius Bar, where an Apple spokesman let him know that this very thing was a known glitch.

As he explained to his spouse, Apple confirmed that iPhone photos sometimes, for no good reason, automatically attached themselves to email addresses and appeared in the sent folder, even though no email was actually sent.

His wife was a tad suspicious and posted the problem in an online Apple support forum. Unfortunately, the only technical glitch is the one she married.