Thursday, June 30, 2005

Battle of the Signs

A week after we moved in to our new house, a sign went up on what we thought was a vacant service station on the corner. On the bright side, it's now much easier to find the turn to the house. Before the new signage, I had to remember to turn left at the third Pepsi sign on a bar after the freeway offramp, right before the elephant at the Putt-Putt. Now, I just remember to turn at the sign for the alleged "gentleman's club."

Rumor has it that the entertainment in this establishment features exposed mammary glands, and as you might expect, this has upset a few people. The epicenter of the protests seems to be the Catholic church about two miles down the highway. Their main tactics seem to be picketing Friday and Saturday nights (they bring folding lawn chairs), and putting up messages on the sign outside their church. They changed the reader board today to read "Child molestation is an illness, and topless bars help the virus."

Whether or not that particular claim has merit, I'm guessing that no one on the Sign Message Committee there took a second to think that, at this particular moment, a Catholic church might not exactly have the moral high ground in a discussion of what promotes child molestation. The establishment's proprietors glommed on to this last weekend with their counterprotest sign, "Priests molest children" staked into the parking lot planter.

It's pretty much like watching the fox and the weasel argue over who raids the henhouse. Sure, the irony is amusing, but it doesn't do anything to keep the chickens safe.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Sarcasm Alert

Isn't it nice that we've gotten to a point in American race relations that the flashpoint is that a hoity-toity French boutique wouldn't let Oprah in to shop after hours? Not long ago, the major race-based injustices were actual crimes, not the inability for a rich woman to get overpriced jewelry from a closed store in a foreign country.

Speech Tonight

I've set the TiVo for the President's speech tonight. At the moment, I have it set for CNN, but I'll change to C-Span if I can find it in their schedule.

I'm looking for one thing in his speech tonight. All I want is some sort of assurance that, somewhere in the bowels of the administration, they have some intention of eventually withdrawing from Iraq. Right now, I'm not convinced they do, and I just want to be told I am wrong. I know we'll never weasel a date out of them, or even a broad time frame, but can't he at least tell us that we aren't going to be over there forever?

On a fundamental level, I find it distasteful that my standards have sunk so low. Used to be that in wars, the public knew what the overall objective was. Creation of a government independent of the (former) colonial mother country, conquering territory, quashing a rebellion, defeating a dictator, etc. However noble or ignoble the purpose for the war was, there was some collective agreement as to the sign that the war's objective had been accomplished. This time around, I've given up knowing for myself what that sign is, and I'm resigned to knowing that the commanders know what it is and intend to stop when, whatever that is, it happens. It might also be nice to know that they are pursuing the eventual accomplishment of the objective, but let's not expect too much here.

No wonder I'm having a harder time than usual getting worked up about Independence Day.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Slender Walk Tip

As some of you already know, I've gone to the Other Side and am now making phone calls. I'd like to clarify that I am not a telemarketer or a solicitor of any kind. I make appointments for someone else to meet with people. Sure, this distinction is lost on a lot of people when they answer the phone. Also, I rarely cold-call. Most of the people I call have requested some information from the company.

Which brings me to my point for the day. If you initiate contact with a business to get information about their products or services, just assume that they intend to use any information you give them. Most businesses have neither the time nor the inclination to collect your contact information just for the sheer joy they get from having it. If you give them your address, assume you will be put on their mailing list. If you provide a phone number, assume they will give you a follow up call. If you give an email address, expect an email or two from them. In short, if you do not want people to call you, don't give them your phone number. Just because there is a line for something, that does not mean that you have to put something on that line.

Okay. Rant over.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

In Other Irony-Laden News

In the final two paragraphs of this article in the Men's Health section of the New York Times, we find the irony of the week: bemoaning that non-pharmaceutical treatments for premature ejaculation take too long.



I've upped the unofficial bunny count to four. Tonight, I saw two juveniles nibbling at the spots I missed with the lawnmower. Before tonight, I've only seen one juvenile at a time, but apparently there are at least two. Since we are talking about rabbits here, I'm not surprised to find out there are more than I first thought.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

In the News

A 28-year-old woman is suing a radio station in Lexington, Kentucky, after the "100 Grand" prize she won by being the 10th caller turned out to be a Nestle's 100 Grand candy bar. The station later offered her $5,000 (presumably in addition to said candy bar), but she is having none of it. She is quoted in the article as saying "Nobody would watch and listen for two hours for a candy bar." Yes, and on the other hand, no radio station would fork over 1,000 Benjamins to a person for just listening to the radio for a couple hours. I seem to recall the contests for anything more valuable than a pair of concert tickets tend to be rather involved. In one of my former radio station markets, there was a three-stage contest just for a set of patio furniture. The car they gave away each summer, worth maybe half of what this woman expected to win, required a three-month commitment to listening to the station to pass all stages of the contest.

The article also states:

Before her family went to sleep that night, Gill says, she promised her children — ages 1, 5 and 11 — that they'd have a minivan, a shopping spree, a savings account and a home with a back yard.

"What hurts me is they were going to get me in front of my children, all dressed up, and hand me a candy bar, after all those promises I made to them," she told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "You just don't do that to people."

Again, as much as I want to feel for this woman for having been taken in by a radio contest, I can't help wondering how she thinks $100,000 will buy a minivan, home with back yard, and a shopping spree with enough left over for a savings account.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Not Making This Up

Browsing the "Gifts and Flowers/For the Pet" category over at, I found several dog leashes, pet carriers, puppy treats...and a clarinet.

Granted, when I was first learning the clarinet in the fifth grade, my father compared it rather unfavorably to a goose call, so there is an argument to be made that a beginner's clarinet may be animal-related merchandise. However, to my knowledge, woodwinds are generally not considered pet supplies. However, I will defer to any musicians out there (ahem, you know who you are) to correct me if I am mistaken.

I'm Back Again

Sorry for ignoring you all lately. Sometimes, earning a living has to take priority over funny stuff on the internet. However, in good news, I quit the time-sucking, energy-sapping, spirit-crushing job in favor of something slightly less spirit-crushing with much better (and shorter) hours. For instance, today, I put in a full day's work in just over an hour. This should leave me with more time for other projects, including the blog and a few things I will tell you more about later.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

This Day in History

On this day in 1778, the American forces took back Philadelphia from the British, thus paving the way for the Philly cheesesteak pizza.

Remember when cheeesteaks were sandwiches and caesars were salads?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Stupid eBay Tricks

There are currently 14 Darth Vader "Who's Your Daddy?" posters up on eBay. It's more fun to get your poster by seeing the movie. Keeps getting better every time we see it.

Doubtless, there are hundreds of other people hoarding their posters in hopes of fetching a nice chunk of change after the promo is over. A message to them: ain't going to happen. There are too many of you out there hoarding for your stashes to be worth much of anything. Having a collection is nice, but investments are why they invented the Roth IRA.

Marketing genius

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith has been out in theaters for a month, and this weekend is up against the opening of the latest Batman movie, another potential summer blockbuster aimed squarely at the comic book/sci-fi crowd. How is Star Wars to compete for the geek box office dollar against what is probably its stiffest competition for fanboys and fangirls of the summer? By pretending to ignore Batman while offering an exclusive promo over the weekend in honor of Father's Day (happy Father's Day, Dad). See Star Wars at participating theaters this weekend and you can get this free poster featuring "Cinema's most notorious patriarch" with the phrase "Who's Your Daddy?" It really is a neat addition to any Star Wars art collection, or if you just like offbeat wall coverings. It's certainly worth the price of admission. LucasFilm's marketing division is really playing up that this poster will never be available except to ticket-buyers this weekend, and the artwork will never appear in another American Episode III poster. The art on the Vader/Who's Your Daddy t-shirt isn't nearly as nice.

And, yes, we'll be going tonight. I bought the tickets and got the poster yesterday. This only makes three times we've seen Episode III since it opened.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Don't Go There

Dressing one's puppy up is bad enough, but the pet slave Leia costume...that's just plain wrong on several levels.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Warning: Massive Time Suck

If you know what is good for you, you will not click this link and definitely will not download the Descartes Enigma or Descartes Rainbow games. If you ever want to see your loved ones again, you will not start playing those games.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Bull in a China Shop

Yesterday at work they set me to washing several thousand dollars worth of bone china tea sets.

When a blog entry starts like that, you can guarantee the tale does not end well. Actually, it does not even begin well. In short, I now hold the store's land speed record for fastest breakage of china, though not the most expensive breakage incident. The fourth thing I picked up, a $35 green saucer, flew right out of my hand and slammed edge-on into a metal mixing bowl, taking a hefty chip out of the side of the saucer.

This is why I own Melmac dishes.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Chew on This

Tomorrow, 1,365 days will have passed since September 11, 2001. Why, you ask, is this food for ponderage? That is the same amount of time that elapsed between Pearl Harbor and the unconditional surrender of Japan.

No comment. Just think about that.

Sunday Drivers

One of the difficult things about moving all around the country is getting used to the way people drive in different places. In Omaha, Nebraska, they used what I called the "Nebraska turn." An accepted method of executing an unprotected left turn there was to inch one's car into the middle of the intersection, wait for the light cycle, and run the red. Here in Ohio, speed limits are completely irrelevant. People will go 10 miles under or 10 miles over, but never right on.

GMAC gave a mock written driver's exam to drivers around the country, and one in 10 failed, which extrapolates out to about 20 million people on the road who have no idea what they are doing there. Oregon drivers ranked #1 with an average score of 89%, and only 1-3% failed the test. Granted, that may just mean most know when they are violating traffic laws.

Some states I know some of you will be interested in:
Washington: 2
Delaware: 3-way tie for 35
California: 43
The full list of rankings is here.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Still Here

I know I haven't been posting much around here lately. Unfortunately, I'm allocating most of my time to a few paying projects, notably a new full time job, leaving less time to probe the internet for bloggable items. I'll try to keep up with the posting better. My new job is with an outfit I can best describe as a combination specialty coffee roaster and gourmet food store. Though we will brew lattes, etc, the focus is on a really great cup of coffee, which bears no resemblance to a venti triple half-caf skinny extra whip mocha. We're so snobby about our coffee, we order it in English and drink it black.

Here's one for the "That takes chutzpah" file. On my first day of work, a high school kid came in inquiring about potential summer employment. The manager brushed her off with something about not hiring under-18-year-olds because the store also sells alcohol. That is true, as is the fact that the store does not generally hire summer help anyway. However, the big strike against her is that she came in to a gourmet coffee roaster carrying some sort of Starbucks beverage. That's roughly equivalent to going to Chanel for a job wearing the latest trends from Target. They don't hold it against me that I still brew Starbucks coffee in the morning at home, only because I'm drinking through the eight pounds I bought before I knew any better.