Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ketchup bottles don't even *have* an expiration date

I never thought that ketchup could go bad. I mean, they don’t put an expiration date on it, and it consists of pretty much just water, salt and tomatoes. So needled to say when I woke up at 2:30 yesterday morning with a case of food poisoning, I was somewhat surprised. At first I thought it was part of a larger condiment conspiracy, trying to exact revenge for my taking so long to accept condiments into my life. In fact, there are still a number of condiments I still avoid that probably harbor a grudge because of it (e.g. mayo, mustard, relish) and would relish the thought of exacting vomitous revenge at 4 in the morning.

If you’ve never had food poisoning – be glad. It’s not just the sick-to-your stomach part, but how your stomach then proceeds to punish you by talking to all its friends and convincing them to also punish you for making the stomach feel bad. Mind you, the stomach knows a lot of important people: pretty much every muscle in your body, your lungs, your inner ear, you name it. And they gang up on you the whole of the next day so that you have to leave work early, go home and sleep for four hours, and then read the new Harry Potter book for another three hours (I know, they are so cruel…). The nice thing though is that the day following you feel perfectly normal, like I do today. But I know that my stomach is still looking at me warningly, and that some back corner of the refrigerator the GF’s mustard is trying to convince the salsa to switch sides. I live in fear.

On a side note, I heard a really good comment on NPR this morning on the ridiculous issue of pharmacists refusing to dispense birth-control or emergency contraception. One guy wrote in and pretty much captured how I feel about it in a very simple, yet elegant way. He wrote (to paraphrase, as I don’t remember the whole quote word-for-word) “I’m a vegetarian who happens to work in a sandwich shop. If I were to refuse to dispense beef, chicken, or any other ingredient on the menu with a sandwich ordered by a particular customer on the moral grounds that it violates my personal beliefs, my employment would be terminated. Why is this not also true for pharmacists?”. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Screw architecture, I'm going home

A real estate developer has just announced that they want to build a 120 story condo/hotel skyscraper in Chicago. That’s exactly what we need – more condos. Personally, I think the whole thing might be some sort of guerilla marketing for the developer’s other buildings. This is because the building itself is not only a huge phallic symbol (as all skyscrapers are, to one extent or another) but that it’s shaped like a giant screw. Let’s break down what they are trying to say with this design:

  1. “This is our way of screwing over everybody who bought a condo in Chicago in the last three years – ensuring nobody will be able to sell theirs for the next three while all these are on the market”
  2. “We just built the biggest terrorist target ever! So buy a condo here and you’re screwed!”
  3. “Who needs stairs? We turned the whole building into a tornado slide, capable of evacuating the entire building in 30 seconds as folks climb out their windows and corkscrew around the building to the ground.”
  4. “Auntie Em! Auntie Em! It’s a twister!” or, alternatively, “Designed to lure storm chasers downtown from the suburbs”

In the end, I hope that this project fails to actually happen. Sure, it would be neat to have the world’s largest building in Chicago again. But it’s not worth the hassle and not worth the fact that it’d no doubt hurt the resale value of my condo.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Oh crap, I'm an inadvertant pornographer

Well it appears that Yahoo has indexed my most recent posts. The unfortunate thing about this is that I'm now the #9 result for searches involving the phrase "Debra Lafave yummy". Traffic has gone through the roof. I haven't seen this much since I was sorta-slashdotted back in April with the Salty Virgin Mary episode. But the worst part is the summary that comes up with my entry:

"... First up: the story of Debra Lafave, America's latest entrant in the "crazy but hot women who seduce ... place – turning otherwise moist and yummy cake into a sopping wet semi ..."

Reading this makes even *me* feel dirty. It reads like I'm some sort of smut peddler. Which is so not the case. If I were I'd be making way more money from this blog than I actually am (current take YTD = $0).

This doesn't even begin to address the issue of "Why in the heck are so many people searching on Yahoo for 'Debra Lafave yummy' anyway?". I mean, it's not like it's something that would come up in everyday conversation around the watercooler. I can't think of how that phrase could even be used in a sentence properly. Now I'm all curious to figure out where the phrase came from. But I'm a little nervous to research it to any detail. God only knows what some of those other links lead to. From the looks of things it's stuff that appeals to the likes of moist pastry fetishists. Eewww!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Even Microsoft Word can spell "Lollapalooza"

After two days of sitting around in mind-stifling heat and humidity, I am pleased to say that I survived Lollapalooza 2005.

Day 1 (Saturday):
This is the day we got in for free because we volunteered to work in the box office. This day sucked for a number of reasons. We arrived a little later than we had planned but were there in plenty of time to see Brian Jonestown Massacre (one of the bands we wanted to see). Sadly, BTM sucked. The GF told me that all of their concerts either have onstage fights break out among band members or consist of fun and cool pop-style music. Neither of them happened, it was basically an hour of the lead singer trying to taunt Dashboard Confessional over on the other stage and extended rambling jam sessions of pseudo-phishlike jam-band stylings. Urgh. Once that was over we had to head over to check in and spent the next four hours being herded around the box office tent that was way overstaffed. Let’s consider this folks, people are paying $67 to see the shows that day, the gates open at noon-ish, and you still staff 20 people to work in the ticket office from 5:00 to 9:00? WTF? It was four hours of mind-numbing dullness, punctuated by the staff’s offering up of their table scraps off their kraft table. Once it was done, they didn’t even say thank you. It was a good thing that the GF was there for me to talk to, otherwise I would have gone insane. I could rant more about this (particularly the total inefficiency of their wristband distribution and inventory method) but it would probably bore anyone else to death.

Day 2 (Sunday):
Mercifully, day two of the concert was much better. We got there on time, and were able to see some really good shows. Perry Ferrell’s new band Satellite Party was very good. Then we went over to the side stage to see a sorta-funk band called Soulive (very fun) and watch a participatory drumming and “earthharp” group that the GF described as “totally someone who’d play at Burning Man”. After that we headed back over to the main field for Arcade Fire – who was the best show of the day. If you haven’t seen or head of them - check them out on iTunes immediately. Their music is great, but live they are even better. There are about 10 people in the group, and 4-5 of them play three different instruments at various points in the set (including french horn, which they called “freedom horn” all afternoon, making me giggle multiple times). By the time they were done and we headed over to see Spoon, it was about 835 degrees outside, so we hid out under some shade and rehydrated whil listening to them from the side of the stage. Then we split time between Dandy Warhols and The Killers before wrapping up with Death Cab for Cutie and heading back.

The good, the bad, the ugly:
Good – Arcade Fire, Satellite Party, fried Ravioli at the Riva food tent, smoothies from the Maui Wowie trailer, cooling buses, the GF’s uncanny ability to get us to within 30 feet of the stage regardless of what time we showed up, Neutrogena sunscreen, hats, the GF’s camel-bak backpack, bikini tops.
Bad – Brian Jonestown Massacre, $3.00 water, 105 degree heat, the sticky combo of sunscreen and sweat that covered my body with slime like a wacky wall-walker, anyone who yelled “Free Bird” at any act, the porta-potty in the box-office tent (stankariffic), the crew of Front Office Tickets who treated us like 8 year old indentured servants.
Ugly – The amount of back hair and belly hair visible, the hairy guy with his tighty-whitey’s hiked up higher than his shorts and no shirt, 35 year old frat boys wearing frat party t-shirts, men with both exposed hip-bones and large beer bellies.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The ABC's of ALOA, Booth Babes, and Catfights

Before I start, I saw a video clip this morning that made me ask "Why aren't they both beating the crap out of the boyfriend instead of each other?". This is why I don't sleep around like a man-whore, people get hurt.

This afternoon I get to enjoy one of the more entertaining parts of my job – going to a trade show. For those of you who have never been to one, they are virtual smorgasboards of free promotional giveaway toys, pushy sales guys, and crazy demonstration presentations. This show is for the Associated Locksmith’s of America (ALOA) and promises to be a hardcore, old school trade show. Lots of security equipment, padlocks, funky locksets for doors, CCTV stuff, lock picks, and the like. Yee-haw.

Naturally, going to trade shows also means dealing with “booth girls”. For those of you who aren’t familiar, almost every company who sets up a booth at a show brings along their most attractive female employee to work the booth. They often work in sales, and for the most part do usually know what they are talking about. The other option for companies at the show is to hire in “outside help” – professional booth girls. Once I went to a show where a company had hired Hooters Girls to run a little mini-golf putt putt competition for free t-shirts. These girls usually don’t know anything about what the company is selling, they are bait - pure and simple - and are there just to get you within reach of the company's sales reps' tendrils.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have a reputation of being a notorious flirt with booth girls. Frankly, I just think I’m being my normal self but my old boss gave me no end of grief about how booth girls flirt with me constantly. When I say it’s their job to flirt with anyone in a five foot radius of the booth, she pooh-poohed me and said that I clearly have the super power of “enchanting booth girls with my overwhelming charisma”. When I say I’m just making charitable conversation because they must be interacting with dull people all day, she just rolled her eyes and shook her head. This will be my first show attended with my new boss, so we’ll see what he thinks.

In other news this weekend, I’m going to be spending most of it outside at Lollapalooza, which is down to one show in downtown Chicago. A kajillion good bands are playing though, and the GF will be around to keep me entertained. But it’s supposed to be 102 degrees on Sunday and humid, so I may be dead by Monday. Still, it’s Lollapalooza, so I’m sure I’ll have all sorts of great stories to share come Monday.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Don't just stand there, bust a move!

No matter where you sit with respect to the latest Supreme Court nominee, you’ve got to love that kid of his. Apparently, during Tuesday’s “Leak? What leak?” primetime press conference to announce the nomination, Robert’s eldest broke out his best moves for the white house press corps:

What is it with kids and dancing? Even when they are teeny tiny toddlers, all it takes is a good beat and they are ready to kick it like baby Swayzes (“Nobody puts me in a corner!”). Even better, as those of you who have ever attended a wedding reception where kids are in attendance, they have no shame whatsoever about their ability. They just run out and hop around like penguins on speed.

When I was younger for example, a friend of mine at the time and I used to hang out by the church where my dad worked and bust out dance moves for passing cars. No music, no real dance training (or even practice, for that matter), and no talent whatsoever. In retrospect, I’m not sure what we were doing or why we were dancing* but we did it anyway. So I think it’s awesome that other kids out there today still do it. If the kid needs to dance – let ‘im.

More ironic is that the framers of the constitution probably would have wholly disapproved of the sort of dancing that lil’ Roberts was busting out. And, if the nominee is indeed an “originalist”, eventually a ruling will come down the pike that forbids dancing in any form other than what existed in 1776 such as waltzes or polonaises**. And you thought Footloose could never happen in real life…

* Maybe the first signs of my love of the stage? More likely another manifestation of my already well-developed-at-the-time love of attention…

** At least it will come once all those pesky "living constitutionalists" die off or retire

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Last night on Queer Eye, they did this guy who’s a foster dad for about 500 kids. Great story, but as with every week, they then tried to tailor their Queer Eye Hip Tips to the whole parents with kids genre. Jai then suggested to parents that they have their kids keep a journal to help them sort through all the craziness in their lives. A great idea, but then he suggested that they use these things “called blogs” as their journal. Sure Jai, that’s where I would want my (proverbial) kids recording all their most intimate details about their life – on a public forum that anyone with Google can find. Way to make every child molester in America’s day, Jai! Not to mention that most kids are way more savvy about searching on the web, and could probably find the blogs of their friends and enemies, in order to gather valuable intelligence useful in all sorts of youthful hi-jinks like extortion, bribery, and slander! Suddenly I’m totally questioning how savvy he is about “lifestyle” issues. The curtain has been pulled back.

Since this post has started off being about blogging in general, I was going to write about my idea that Doogie Howser was possibly the first blogger ever. However, as I was searching for examples of random entries of his (figuring that someone on the interweb* must have enough time to watch all the episodes and log all the entries in all their abstract-random-no-way-he’ll-recall-what-he’s-talking-about-in-five-years glory) I discovered that everyone has had this idea, including Wil Wheaton. So I guess I’m not as clever or original as I thought I was**.

The one good thing about it is I actually read a little of the Wil Wheaton blog and it doesn’t suck. I’ll need to read more of it before I draw any conclusions about where he sits in my hierarchy of blog preferences. Nowhere near as good as Alien Loves Predator, but better than what you’re reading now, probably.

* This is one of the GF’s terms that I’ve totally assimilated. I think it’s cool, but I can’t take credit for coining it.
** If I was that clever or original I would have coined “interweb”.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

These guys make Ally McBeal look like Perry Mason

In today’s gleaning of current events - more evidence that lawyers are silly, silly creatures!

First up: the story of
Debra Lafave, America’s latest entrant in the “crazy but hot women who seduce teenage boys” fad that’s sweeping the nation (see also: Pamela Smart, Mary Kay Letourneau). Apparently, she seduced her 14 year old student and is now facing prison time. She’s now going to plead insanity (apparently using the “But she’s so hot! Why else would she boink a 14 year old instead of just hitting the bars?” defense) because the plea deal she was negotiating fell through – they wanted her to serve too much time in prison. The public statement made by the lawyer to explain this went as follows: “To place an attractive young woman in that kind of hell hole is like putting a piece of raw meat in with the lions…I’m not sure she would survive”.

So, wait a minute…you’re saying that if she was ugly, she would be fine with being thrown into prison. But since she’s attractive, America should be worried about her well-being in prison? Well, naturally that makes sense. Sheesh, is this why so many pretty people think they can get away with everything? (Another great example
here from our friends at Waiter Rant – the “Because I’m Pretty?” entry)

Up next in crazy lawyer comments news: Colin Ferrell is apparently just as stupid as the rest of Hollywood. He has apparently filed a lawsuit against an ex-girlfriend to stop her from distributing a sex tape they made, claiming that releasing the tape “would irreparably harm Ferrell’s reputation and career”.

Ooooohhhh, where to begin? First, after all the celebrity sex tapes that have popped up (e.g. Pamela and Tommy, Paris Hilton, Eve, Pamela and Brett Michaels, Gina Lee Nolin, and so on, and so on, and so on) why would anyone (much less a celebrity) allow a camera in the bedroom anymore? Second, how does having a sex tape harm Colin Ferrell’s reputation? Given his penchant for bad-boy living, doesn’t the tape enhance said reputation? And finally as for his career, I think his lawyers will have a hard time arguing that Paris Hilton’s career was damaged when her tape surfaced…hmmm…maybe this is why all the Hollywood celebs are making them these days. In that case maybe this is only the beginning. Maybe the sex tape is replacing the casting couch as the self-promotional tool for up-and comers in Hollywood. I can see it now…

“Well, we’ve been here all day gentlemen and I think we’ve got a strong cast built up for Schindler’s List II. We just have to cast the love interest for Shindler’s young son Cody, the brooding young industrialist scion trying to make a difference in society while maintaining his playboy lifestyle. Now we’ve narrowed it down to Glenn Close, Diane Lane, Jodie Foster, and Paris Hilton….”

“Before you go any farther Steve, I think I speak for everyone at the table when I say this is a no brainer. Paris Hilton’s sex tape was far and above the best of any of those candidates, I say the part is hers!”

[Murmurs of agreement]

“Well, you make a good point Chase. Sounds like we’ve got a winner here, who wants cocktails?”


Monday, July 18, 2005

Stamp out sloppy drooly cake!

I’m back, yay. G-ma’s party was a good time; lots of cake and punch and ice cream. In fact we had so much ice cream that the aunts were essentially getting upset at my cousins for not forcing it on more people. The aunts totally wanted the ice cream to be standard equipment on all cake transactions, whereas my cousins, being nice people, wanted to offer it as an option. In general I tended to be more on the cousin’s side. After all, what if you don’t like ice cream? Then it just gets all melty and drooly and floods your place – turning otherwise moist and yummy cake into a sopping wet semi-solid. And heaven help us if someone was lactose intolerant. So kudos to the cousins for standing their ground!

Also I discovered that one of my cousins is engaged to her long-time boyfriend (who is a peach of a guy, BTW). This was doubly exciting for me because I’m hopeful that it will give the aunts something to distract them from the fact that I’m still not married for at least a year. Early readings however, indicate that it may do nothing but encourage them to tease me even more, since this cousin is younger than I am – so I’ve been “lapped” so to speak. …on the bright side I’ve become very adept at changing the subject, which is a good thing. I know they are just giving me grief, they love the GF but they love teasing me even more.

The side effect of going out of town this weekend is that I still don’t own my copy of the new Harry Potter book. Every issue since the 3rd one I’ve had a copy on the opening day, and then spent the rest of the day sitting on my couch, reading. Sometimes I’d read for up to six hours straight with neither food nor water (waste of time). So my dilemma is how to avoid any of the media hype until I can get my hands on a copy and read it myself. I hate how the media is so prone to spoilers these days, and I don’t want my reading enjoyment to be spoiled. I guess I’ll have to pick up a copy tonight after the gym. I hear someone dies in this one. I wonder if she kills everyone off and replaces all the characters with their bizarro-versions? I read an article positing that there’s some sort of sexual tension between Dumbledore and McGonagall which is ridiculous silliness in its highest form (aside: also silly is that Microsoft Word has both Dumbledore and McGonagall in its spell-check).

Friday, July 15, 2005

Spending some Q.T. with the fam

This afternoon I’m leaving right after work to drive out to Des Moines for my grandma’s 80th birthday party. It’s going to be an entire weekend of tons of family, way too much food, and lots of time in the car by myself. Thank heavens for iPods.

For those of you who have known me for a while, you probably know very little about what I do at work on a day-to-day basis. Today, I actually have something that I can show you. We had a problem with our receiving departments returning some hinges with round corners because they were not measuring them correctly. So I had to make a little drawing to show how to measure the radius of a rounded corner hinge.

Isn’t it beautiful? And I only used freehand and Microsoft Paint. I’m almost as proud of this as my friend T.Bo is of his new baby. Of course, I don’t think he actually reads this blog. But I still think that’s funny.

Hopefully, I’ll have all sorts of exciting stories to share on Monday after I get back from the B-day fiesta. I doubt any of them will involve grandma, but who knows? If she starts doing shots anything’s possible, I suppose.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Worth a thousand words

Okay, okay, so I took a day off. Sorry about that, but really, if my missing a day is the reason for all the stress in your life, you’re living a pretty good life.

One of the advantages of having a Yahoo! email account is that you get to do a quick glance-over of the news when you log in. The news section is actually pretty good, but my favorite part is the “Most Popular” tab, where you can see the stories and pictures being viewed the most, emailed the most, and which ones are “most recommended” by readers. I love it because it’s such a succinct daily measure of the current American pop-culture Zeitgeist. And since it’s always being updated by whatever people are viewing at the time you get to see what Americans prioritize.

But over the last few months that I’ve been paying attention, I’ve noticed several things that are always popular, and that therefore probably say something about the readers. At any time, on the list of most popular photos, there will be at least two pictures of hot women, one picture of someone acting stupid, 2-3 pictures of animals acting cute, and at least one celebrity. Certain events are also exceedingly popular: fashion shows (especially when nipples are visible), beach volleyball (
for some reason), and the birth of baby animals in zoos.

Sometimes I want to write my own captions though. I think I could be more descriptive or interesting than the dull bits the current writers put together. For example:

“Bush Spokesbull describes plan for America’s Working Poor”

“Scandal rocks CBS Television’s ‘INXS: Rock Star’ when Chucky the Koala lost this week allegedly due to hackers shutting down the entire Australian phone system. Millions of wombats claim disenfranchisement and demand a re-vote.”

“An unidentified US Marshal is shown taking Wilbur the Pig into custody earlier today after a warrant was issued for his arrest. A grand jury investigation has shown that his come-from-behind victory in the state fair livestock competition was in part due to what investigators are calling ‘outside interference’. Fraud charges are pending”.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Plus, the humidity is making my hair all frizzy

I’m coming to you live today from Elmhurst, IL – reporting the latest on the devastating remnants of Hurricane Dennis that are currently lashing the north coast with winds up to 14 miles per hour and a blinding drizzle that has sent unprepared residents scurrying for shelter.

“It’s ridiculous how there was no warning whatsoever,” said one resident of Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, “you think there’d be some sort of notice when a hurricane hits Illinois. I nearly forgot my umbrella at home, I mean, it’s not like I really need it I suppose but still, what if all the drizzle collects on the leaves of trees and then forms big splotchy drops of water that hit me on the head? What then? Where is your precious color-coded homeland security warning system then, huh? HUH!?!”

But really, in weather catastrophes like this, it’s the children and small animals who suffer. Think of how all the kids at Six Flags in Gurnee will have to wait a whole 5 more seconds to get strapped into Superman The Ride while their mom dries off their seat. Imagine the cries of the Lincoln Park Trixies who will have to go an entire day without laying out to sun themselves on the beach! Think of all the migratory birds who will have to waste an entire day waiting out the stor…oh, wait…they just left. Still, oh the humanity!

Well, now that’s over I think I’m pretty much qualified to work on the Weather Channel now. All I have to do is sit here and wait for the call from their recruitment director. Look for me as a maternity replacement on TWC soon!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Me boy be an honor roll student in Davy Jones' Locker!

On the way into work this morning I found myself following a red pickup truck with a variety of decals and stickers in the back window. Pretty standard collection of stuff, but it revealed a lot about the person inside.

  • Sticker #1 = Marines Logo
  • Sticker #2 = Pirate flag (skull and crossbones)
  • Sticker #3 = Jesus fish

So, what you are trying to tell the world is that you are a marine, and therefore are big and tough. You also seem to imply that you are a pirate, and therefore I should drive carefully and quickly around you for fear of being boarded and having all my booty plundered. This would seem to be in agreement with the first sticker, since one would expect that pirates would be big and tough (and also seagoing).

The third sticker though, throws everything out of order. It would imply that before boarding any of your fellow drivers, you always ask yourself “What would Jesus pillage?” which seems neither very Christian nor very big and tough. Therefore, logically, one of the stickers must be out of place. Are you a big and tough pirate (ignore the Jesus one), a red-state poster child (ignore the pirate one), or a swashbuckling but kind-hearted buccaneer – a la the Dread Pirate Roberts (ignore the Marines one)?

Well? Which is it? Make up your mind people!!!*

* Naturally, when I passed the truck, I saw that it was being driven by a mousy little lady in her mid-40’s. So presumably she either bought the truck like that or she carjacked the original owner and stole his truck (which would put her in the big-and-tough-pirate category, I suppose).

Friday, July 08, 2005

It's back!

Finally, the site I posted about way months ago is back on-line after being slashdotted. Check it out. Crazy huh? I wonder why he only seems to do black people...

Note: The URL looks weird because it appears the guy is using a mirroring service due to getting so much traffic from slashdot. It won't hurt you.

I'd imagine penguins to be bitter little creatures

I found a new toy for the blog yesterday (it's amazing how quick some of this html can be coded into the templates)! Anyway, my new "weatherpixie" will tell you what the weather's like in Chi-town. I picked this one because she's the cutest and totally hardcore - this is what she wears at the south pole! I know! She's awesome! Standing out there in -99 degree weather (farenheit) in just a loosely hooded jacket and jeans! And she's not even shivering! Man, I'd be totally smitten if the GF weren't around.

Come to think of it, what time zone is the south pole on? Does daylight savings time even matter if there's no daylight to save in the first place? Does time itself even matter when it's dark all day and nothing's on television? Can people at the south pole get satellite TV from geosynchronous satellites? Can penguins carry knives? What happens if they declared war on the scientists in the middle of winter? When a scientist sneaks out in the night to pee and nobody sees him, is the snow still yellow?

Man, there's so much I don't know about polar exploration...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Mom, can I go on the syphilis slip-n-slide?

Aw shoot. Looks like the abn-moral majority got the best of Gilbert, MN’s latest tourism idea. I’m sad to see that it isn’t going to happen. Not because I particularly was planning on going to Whorehouse Days, but more because I think that it’s a cute idea. Plus the contests they were going to have were totally original. I mean – a four poster bed race? Prettiest Madam contest? See-who-can-slide-the-bug-of-beer-the-farthest-on-a-bar contest? Those would all be priceless. Obviously, these sorts of games would immediately become exhibition sports in the next X-games competition.

But no, the thought of all that income flowing into the city’s coffers was too much for some folks, and the promptly tromped the organizers out of town with a procedural roadblock. Just wait until next year! We’ll have even bigger whores! Faster beds! Slipperier beer!* I wonder whether this is going to be a new trend – where communities with questionable pasts and bad economies dig them up and turn them into a festival for fun and community tourism:

  • Salem, MA** - “Burn the Witch-Fest”
  • Little Rock, AR – “Separate But Equal-Fest”
  • Flint, MI – “Pets or Meat Days”
  • South Central Los Angeles, CA – “Race Riot Days”
  • Three Mile Island, PA – “Meltdown Downtown Fair”
  • Wounded Knee, SD – “Government Cheese Days and Free Blanket Giveaway”

Of course, I’m sure that not all these communities will jump at these suggestions. But hey, just my little contribution for economic development.

* Interestingly, you can combine these three adjectives with any of these three nouns, and Whorehouse Days sounds just as fun, albeit for different reasons…
** Note that while Salem does have the “
Festival of the Dead” that’s more just a big Halloween party and is careful to avoid the going into the whole witch trial thing in any detail

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Damn this brilliant, yet defective brain!

If you've never had a migraine headache, consider yourself lucky. I woke up this morning with a little bit of a stiff neck, but I figured it was just from sleeping funny. So I went to work and had just tucked into my weekly half-breakfast burrito (ahhh, makes Wednesdays worth living) when I started to go blind. Like many folks who get migraines, I start off with an "aura" with is the headaches way of saying "Hi there, remember me? I'm going to ruin the entire rest of your day, but before I do that I'm going to make you think about how much that's going to suck by making you hallucinate for an hour! Wheeee!"

I have drugs, and visit my neurologist every year or so, but I don't think the drugs really do anything. I used to be a believer in the whole "cup of coffee cure" to help speed up relief, but once I read that migraines aren't actually caused by vasoconstriction I think the placebo effect stopped. So now I'm just screwed whenever I get one. So I ended up going home and sleeping for 4 hours or so. By then it was too late to go back into work, so I went back to bed. A whole day wasted, and which probably guaranteed that I will have to go into work Saturday. Blech.

This really makes me wish that I could get a "do over" on a day. I don't really need one *every* day. I think they should be like vacation days, where you get a certain amount every year, which you can use whenever you need to. This led me to think up the top 5 days in my life that I would have used a "do over" on if I had them:
  • The week of my last year at bible camp - yep, every day. It's the week that the pretty girl pretended to like me in order to get her friends to dump mud on me, the week I got into my one and only fight (I lost, badly), the week I was publicly humiliated in front of the whole camp during skit day, and the week I said the cruelest thing I've said to another person (which resulted in the public humiliation, which I admittedly deserved). Whoever thought bible camp was harmless never reckoned with junior high kids' particular brand of evil.
  • The day I asked Laura Sommer out in ninth grade. She said no, obviously - otherwise this would be on a different list. In retrospect, I can understand why, I was a complete weirdo and I was moving to a different town in, like, three weeks. But we could've worked it out!
  • The day I got caught shoplifting. Damn little debbies and their irresistible deliciousness!
  • The day my pant leg got caught in my bike chain and I had to take them off and run back to my grandma's house in my little kid tighty-whiteys.
  • The day I hit the neighbor girl with the bowie knife when she wouldn't move out of in front of the hay bale. I still can't believe I didn't get arrested or grounded. We eventually became pretty good friends, but that one day was pretty uncomfortable.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Patriotism = I omit parts = Mars, it I opt*

While out and about town this weekend I found myself in a bar where there was a baseball game on television (I know – what are the odds?). Between innings, of course, the cameras pan around the crowd looking for cute kids, hot women, and people holding up various signs that either sport witty sayings or some sort of patriotic saying. Then, at the next bar, the GF pointed out an ad in The Onion promoting versions of the now-ubiquitous magnetic ribbons that were, to put it delicately, somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

The first point was raised when I saw someone holding a sign that read “God bless our troops!”. My question for the other folks at the table was what do you think people would do if you brought a sign to the ballpark that read “Allah bless our troops!” instead? Between the four of us, we pretty much agreed that whoever made the sign would be drawn and quartered by an angry mob. It’s so depressing.

But the new magnets made me feel better. We aren’t 100% sure, but we think they are real. Anyway, instead of the usual claptrap about loving America, they say things like:

  • My magnet can beat up your magnet
  • Supporting America since 9/11/01
  • I support our troops more than you do

There’s more, but I can’t remember them off the top of my head. Maybe the GF will remind me of the other ones later and I’ll post them as a comment.

Similarly, there’s a site where you can get custom-made magnets with the saying of your choice! They even post the latest orders – my favorites (At the time of this posting) are:


I'm totally tempted to get one of the custom ones ("Save Ferris" is particularly tempting) but I'm afraid it'd be so popular that it'd either get stolen by another jealous pop-culture geek or magnet-napped in a fit of rage by some ignoramus who didn't get the joke.

* = This is obviously how Bush came up with the idea to go back to Mars. Obviously, he's making policy decisions using the Anagram Server.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Reduce, reuse, and recycle, people!

Okay, I’m as much a fan of recycling as much as the next guy, but isn’t this taking things to a bit of an extreme? There are two points about this program that I find particularly entertaining:

  • They only want tails from squirrels that have been “harvested for the table”. This is in theory a good thing, preventing teams of professional squirrel harvesters from heading out in gangs, flushing herds of squirrels ahead of them while shooting indiscriminately into the mass of panicked rodents. Then the harvesters go back and take only the tails, leaving the rest of the body to rot in the midday sun in a scene reminiscent of the buffalo hunts of the mid to late 1800’s (somewhere, an Indian is crying). By limiting it to those who eat squirrel, one would guess they are interested only in getting tails from people in Appalachia and the deep south. And what’s with the word “harvested”? It makes it sound as if somewhere in West Virginia there are vast squirrel orchards, where millions of squirrels grow on trees (or do you think they grow underground like potatoes?). I bet there’s a big influx of migrant workers who come in every year to help with the harvest…

  • At the bottom, there’s a little note on the limited need for white tail deer tails. So “if you have more than 250 of them, please let us know and we will send a purchase order for the number we can use”. My question – WHO WOULD EVER HAVE THAT MANY WHITE TAIL DEER TAILS? I would hope that if anyone did take them up on that offer they would send out the ASPCA or PETA because someone is obviously running through the forest cutting the tails off of random deer out of spite in a desperate attempt to make their fortune selling them to bait companies.

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