Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Blog Break

This blog will be on hiatus while I fly to Boulder, Colo. to solve the JonBenet Ramsey killing.

(Like I could do any worse. )

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

ReBait and Switch

If you’re anything like me, you prefer not to deal with rebates. Of course, that’s what “they” are banking on: the inconvenience factor. Forget Fear Factor. Navigating the maze of UPC codes, proofs of purchase, original dated cash register receipts, and enclosing your baptismal certificate signed by the Pope is much more entertaining.

From TheWiz.Com:
The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating complaints about rebate
practices since 1998. "Rebates are a headache," says Michael Dershowitz, senior
attorney in the division of advertising practices for the FTC. "Frustrating for consumers and frustrating for us."

In five years, the FTC has taken action against a relatively small number of offenders. They include Iomega, Memorex disk producer Memtek Products,
scanner maker UMAX Technologies and Okidata, all for nondelivery of rebates. It
dinged Philips Electronics, Office Depot and Value America for late delivery. was cited for deceptive advertising that promised free Internet service
with computer purchases without explaining that a three-year contract was

Problem is, if you want the darn dollars off, you have to play the game. So when it came to an $18 dollar rebate on my camera memory from SanDisk, I jumped through each and every hoop. Or so I thought.

As promised, eight weeks later I received correspondence from SanDisk. It just wasn’t the check I was hoping for. It was a postcard telling me that my request had been denied due to “purchase outside of the offer time frame”. What!? I don’t think so.

I went back to my file where I had stashed copious copies of every last bit of documentation on this stupid offer. I then picked up the phone and called the 888 number for “questions on your claim”. After listening to eight boring choices (none of which promised a live operator, they were all things like ‘visit our website’ or press 3 for our address…) I started pounding the 0 key. I recall reading once that there was actually routing software designed to gauge how upset a customer was by how rapidly and long they pressed the keys. I certainly hoped I sounded aggressive enough. I also hope they have a recording going to pick up my comments to their recorded comments, as I always editorialize on the way to an operator.

“Emillio” took my call. At least that’s how he identified himself. I wondered if he had a big calendar with “Name O’The Day” on it. You know, like hurricanes. They just give out these names so they can track when you called. Who did you speak with? Robert? Hmmm. Well, he told you to wait two weeks and it hasn’t been that long yet. I suggest you call back in another eight days. My name is Alfonso…

Emillio asked for my address and name. I explained I received a notice that I had been rejected. Then I gave him the little ID number at the bottom of the postcard in .05 Helvetica. Well, that sure sped things up. Not only was I irate, but irate and prepared.

Emillio asked when I bought my product. Oh, no you don’t! If I say June, you say expired in May…
I have my receipt right here, I said. Why don’t you tell me the dates of the offer?

Oh, suddenly Emillio said he was sorry there was a mistake and he was issuing the rebate RIGHT THEN. Yeah, right. Check is in the mail. Honest. The conversation didn’t go any further. He never asked for dates again nor did he provide one. It was all a scam betting that most people would toss the postcard and take their word for it. As for ever seeing the money, I’m quite skeptical. I’ll believe it when the check clears…

And if I don’t hear from them soon, expect an “I Hate SanDisk” site to popup on line. You know, just like Trutech. Because everyone knows
Trutech sucks.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Are You Surprised?

I don't know about you, but I saw this coming a mile away...

BOULDER, Colo. -- Prosecutors abruptly dropped their case Monday against John Mark Karr in the slaying of JonBenet Ramsey, saying DNA tests failed to put him at
the crime scene despite his insistence he sexually assaulted and strangled the 6-year-old beauty queen.

Just a week and a half after Karr's arrest in Thailand was seen as a remarkable break in the sensational, decade-old case, prosecutors suggested in court papers that he was just a man with a twisted fascination with JonBenet who confessed to a crime he didn't commit.

I thought this was ridiculous, especially when it came out that he was fascinated with the case, said he picked the victim up from school, and family placed him away from the scene of the crime on the date in question, etc., etc.

However, the fact that he had a three-part name did get my hopes up, just a little.

So now we're stuck with Michael Jackson syndrome. We know he's guilty of a lot of bad stuff, we just haven't pinned anything on him yet...

P.S. I was going to link to a game here, one where you played hangman on-line with the names of serial killers. I tried it out, guessing first an A, then an E. (then clicked an X to see if you would get a little hangman icon, but no.) Became very upset when I realized I was supposed to be spelling "Charles Manson". Hate to burst their bubble, but Manson was NOT a serial killer. In fact, there's no evidence he ever killed anyone, just his (insane ranting) bragging that he killed a man. Charlie sent others to kill. He's in prison for life because some idiot parents never had the "If someone tells you to jump off a bridge, are you going to do it?" talk with their kids.

Not Too Bright

Not like I thought the military was going to be mentally taxing, except in a Catch-22 kind of way, but the news that the worst and the dullest have a chance to be an "Army of One" is kind of disheartening.

-- At a time when the Defense Department is calling for "the best and the
brightest" to fight today's unconventional wars, the Army is signing up
thousands of low-scoring recruits, who historically have performed less well, to
meet its recruiting goals.

Only two years ago, the Army accepted fewer
than 500 of these recruits, who scored below the 31st percentile on the Armed
Forces Qualification Test given all recruits. Those scores put them in Category
IV, the lowest the military can accept.

When the fiscal year ends next
month, the Army will have enlisted 3,200 Category IV recruits, Army officials
said. That amounts to 4 percent of the 80,000 volunteers the Army will enlist
this year. Last year, amid widespread recruiting difficulties, the Army accepted
2,900 Category IV recruits.

30th Percentile?

Purely Patriotic (and desperate to get published)

Imagine you are an editor at Harper Collins publishing. You need to sign a hot new talented writer to boost your bottom line. Do you option the disgruntled Midwestern gal who rants about the evils of development and how much tinfoil her spouse uses? Or the patriot who joined the military in her forties and gets deployed to Iraq? Yep. That's exactly what I'm thinking.

Fortunately, the military has now upped the enlistment age to 42! Yes, that would be the answer to life, the universe and everything. I'd even have to do fewer sit-ups than my twenty-something counterparts. Whew!

Here's a story about a mom who joined with her daughter.

You go mom!

Can't wait for that recruiting officer to ask for a birth certificate and I flash my AARP card...

No Snakes in a Theater!

Jackson hobnobbing with extra

Not true is the rumor that some live diamondback rattlesnakes were let loose in a Phoenix theater during a showing of SOAP.

Here's some
excellent commentary.
Would snakes get in under the S-s-s-s-senior discount?
But even reptiles buying tickets couldn't help s-s-s-sagging box office recipts.

Are you sick of the snake theme yet? Because I'm not.

Snake on an Engine Block!

This is
This is gross.
This is the same model car I drive.
This is like the twelve thousandth tie-in to Snakes on a Plane I've done this month.
I sure hope there's a new Godzilla movie or something coming out soon so I can focus on another movie reptile.
Til then: "I Need a Life! the all-SOAP-all-the-time-blog."

You're Demoted!

Poor Pluto. I really thought you were a planet. Guess you're just a dwarf.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Jealousy About a Book!

JAB? Not as impressive as SOAP, but just as enraging. Seems some people can get the stupidest ideas published, while talented hacks like myself blog away unrewarded. It's enough to make you want to enclose an asp with your next coverletter.

Sterling Jumps on 'Snakes' Bandwagon
by Rachel Deahl

The marketing team at Sterling Publishers can see book-to-film connections in places most of us could not. They've proven this with their new unlikely tie-in,
Snakes on a Sudoku. The August 18 spin on the titular Japanese puzzle game connects ever-so-loosely to this weekend's box office winner, Snake on a Plane, by featuring Sudoku grids with diagonally connected boxes, or "snakes," slithering through the standard game board. (Or, as the house's marketing copy describes it, "replaces the traditional 3x3 squares with deadly s-s-s-s-snakes.")

The idea for the title, which went to press for 40,000 copies and has, according to Sterling director of library and specialty marketing, Chris Vaccari, sold 1,000 copies in its first three days on the market, grew out of a joke conceived by one of the house's editors.

Francis Heaney, who wound up editing Snakes on a Sudoku, said she posted a snake-filled Sudoku grid on her blog "as a lark" on March 27. Inspired by the buzz the New Line feature was drumming up in the blogosphere—the movie's kitschy title
coupled with its so-stupid-its-funny premise (in which deadly snakes are left on
a plane to do away with a witness on board) created a pre-release frenzy—Heaney
was caught off guard when her pop culture prank received a "great response."
Then, after her "lark" got a mention in an April 14 Entertainment Weekly cover
story about the film and its unexpected online fan base, Heaney and her colleagues started thinking more seriously about doing a book of snake Sudokus.

"I suggestedÂ…that we could do a book of them, but thought it would be tight to
get it out before the movie." Deadlines be damned, because Sterling managed to
scrape together a licensing deal and enough snake-filled Sudokus to get their
unusual addition to the SOAP (that's the invented acronym of the title, to you
non fans) frenzy in front of readers in just enough time.

Kate: Keep Your Hands Off My Owen

It's going to be you and me in a back alley without any help from Dupree, got it?

Snakes in a Suburb!

Now here's a poor creature in need of some serious PR work: The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. Not the most cuddly creature to promote, but one that is very endangered and in
need of assistance. These innocent reptiles have been killed in droves despite the fact that they pose little threat to humans.

The eastern massasauga rattlesnake, experts say, is not just a part of the
state's prairie heritage, but an important link in a balanced food chain. They
eat mice and voles, and are eaten by herons, hawks and other snakes. Their
decline, biologists argue, is a signal of problems in the wetlands that filter
and store floodwater and provide habitat for other animals.

The numbers are so small that a particularly harsh winter could push the snake beyond recovery, said Joe Kath, endangered species project manager for the Illinois
Department of Natural Resources.

Here's a great site that contains video and audio clips of the eastern massasauga rattlesnake.

Snakes in a Basement!

Now here's some real stories abut real snakes that need our help. The first is abut some friendly fox snakes who need a place to spend the winter. They are more than welcome to check out my barn or basement! I'll try to keep the cat away.

The owners have long tolerated this annual scene, reminiscent of something Indiana Jones would confront in one of his adventures. But rapid urbanization in the area means the house could very well be sold and torn down, leaving the snakes nowhere to go to keep from freezing.

"One good bulldozer would destroy the whole population," said Michael Corn,
a herpetologist who has spent 10 years studying the approximately 200 snakes
that visit the house. He says it's time the reptiles stop being squatters and
start being homeowners.Corn, the retired dean of the biology department at the
College of Lake County, is working with environmental groups to raise enough
money to essentially buy the house for the snakes.

They don't give an address for donations, but I'm sure I can hunt one down. Sounds as if the house is on the same road as Gurnee Mills Mall, a favorite hangout of mine. It won't be long until developers want an IKEA there, or another Super Wal-Mart. Saving snakes is not silly at all. I admire Corn and others who are trying to rescue these beautiful creatures.

"They're such nice snakes," Corn said, describing them as "friendly." They grow as long as 4 feet, often are found in wet prairies and prey on rodents by
constricting them. The snakes, which are tan with brown blotches, are common in
Illinois and not dangerous.


Fearing that the snakes' winter haven was in danger, Corn tried to persuade
the Forest Preserve District to buy the house and turn it into an educational
center. The district's land acquisition committee discussed buying it, but it
wasn't "able to reach any kind of agreement with the owners," said spokesman
Andy Kimmel.

The couple paid $105,000 in 1996 for the house, which included 1.3 acres,
according to records from the Lake County recorder of deeds office and the
county planning office. In January 2003, the couple listed the house and another
lot, a total of 2.24 acres, for $663,800, according to a real estate agency.
They took it off the market in September 2004, but Corn fears the land is still
ripe for development.

Steve Barg, executive director of Liberty Prairie Conservancy, a Lake County non-profit organization dedicated to land preservation, wants to save the house and the surrounding land. He said he has contacted several foundations but hasn't been able to come up with the money to buy it at market value."Snakes have the hardest time dealing with development," said Nathan Aaberg, the group's development director.

Barg is concerned that if the house is demolished and the land is developed, the snakes may try to cross Grand Avenue in search of a new winter den. Roads are a "death trap" for snakes, he said.Championing snakes isn't a popular cause, but Corn said finding a permanent winter home for the fox snake population in Fourth Lake Fen is worth the effort.

"They're the biggest snake in this area," he said. "If we remove a species
like this ... pretty soon we don't have a marsh. I think it's a little chunk
that's important to the ecology of the marsh."

Although Corn said he's not optimistic about the house's future, he has
some hope. He keeps buying lottery tickets and told his wife that if he wins,
the first thing he's going to do is buy the house to save the snakes."I know
that sort of sounds silly," he said. "But hey, why not?"

The Bandwagon is Full!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

High Noon

For the last time, I am not your Pooky-Wookums!

You're asking me to wait an hour to find out if
I'm going to be packing a blue bag or a green one.
I say it's too long to wait! I won't do it!

Kane will be a hungry man in half an hour and nobody's gonna do anything about it.

So…Al brings home this shiny new navy blue lunch bag, you know, the cooler type made of nylon with a spiffy zippered pocket in the front with insulated lining. It has a company logo on it from the place he works; they give them out each year at the company picnic. Looking at his well-worn green one, I figure the sensible thing to do is toss the old beat-up rag in the garbage and let him start using the new one.

But wait. I’ve lived with this man too long to do the sensible thing. I know the old one cannot be discarded without a fight. In the mood for some verbal sparing, I walk into the living room and hold the two bags aloft.

“I’m going to get rid of the green since you have this nice new blue one.”
“No! You can’t.”
“Why not?”
“Because everyone else will be using the blue ones, and I won’t be able to find mine in the cooler.”
“I can fix that,” I say, reaching for a black permanent marker. “I’ll just write Pooky-Wookums on this one. Then everyone will know it’s yours.”

I took the blue one to work today. It’s much nicer than the crappy ones my work gives out.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Geeks in a Theater!

Apparently some bloggers left their desks long enough to attend the movie Snakes on a Plane, as evidenced by the weekend box office results that made the flick number one. Cornered by a reporter while trying to sneak out a side exit, one nerd said, “Whew! That was a long time to be away from my laptop. Thank goodness it was dark and you weren’t supposed to talk to the person next to you.”

Although the movie should turn a profit, it performed far below expectations. From AP:

...the campy Samuel L. Jackson thriller did not meet the lofty expectations
created by an underground swell of excitement fueled by numerous Web sites
containing fan-generated trailers and gushing reviews.

The studio expected the film to top $20 million, although it wasn't quite
sure if or how the Internet frenzy would translate into box-office

"It was one of those things where for three months we were trying to catch
up with the Internet on this picture," New Line head of distribution David
Tuckerman said. "We were never sure where it was going to go. It just was
disappointing. We thought it would do better."

Internet backers of the film's premise were emboldened when New Line
responded to their complaints about the movie not being violent enough. The
studio shot several new scenes to satisfy demand for more shock value.

In the end, the movie may have suffered from too much attention.

"People started to take the Internet buzz a little bit too seriously," said
Lew Harris, editorial director for, which is owned by The Walt Disney

"The buzz starts feeding on itself. People then start thinking this is
appealing to a larger audience than it was."

For a movie to open with $30 million or more - as was expected by some -
"you need a pretty mainstream audience as opposed to the fanboys buzzing about
it on the Web," Harris said.

Hmmm. Is that my blog's problem? Suffering from too much attention? Hardly.

Who’s Left?

The legendary rock band The Who has embarked on a world tour. Well, half the Who. The half that’s apparently running out of money. Ok, the live half.

A Million Little Surface Flaws?

Went to Arlington Park racetrack to see the Arlington Million, Beverly D and Secretariat States as part of their International Festival of Racing. Had a nice time, I enjoy watching the horses. None were hurt the day I was there! What has caused 26 Thoroughbred deaths this season? Bad luck? Bad track surface? Greed? No one is sure why so many horses have died this year at the track, but it is suspicious… I’ll work on a conspiracy theory and get back to you.

Got a green T-Shirt supposedly dyed with grass from the turf track. Yeah, right. Better not bleed all over my other laundry. Jockey legend
Jerry Bailey was on hand to sign it! He was promoting his new book, but I wanted the shirt more. Speaking of books…

Some things I’ve read/heard lately include
The Rule of Four. Hated it! Yawn. What was the fuss here? At least in the Da Vinci Code there was suspense, like a serial hero who gets in peril and you have to come back next week to see how he escapes harm. Was Four better written? Perhaps, but I really didn’t care. It was more a story of Ivy League College life rather than intrigue. Two thumbs down.

A Perfect Mess Get this for your coworker with the piles of paperwork cascading out of their cubicle. Better yet, if that’s you, buy it for all your co-workers who seem to think color-coordinated hanging file folders solve everything. Two Staplers Up! I mean, if I could find any in this chaos...

As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl Read this for content, it’s a chilling account of how you can’t believe the current ‘expert’ psychologist’s opinion. Focuses on the perennial question of Nature vs. Nurture and how little academic publishing is challenged. Two, er, well, never mind.

Clementine A wonderfully honest look at life through the eyes of a young girl who is both big sister and big trouble. Laugh-out-loud funny! Aimed at seven-year-olds, this book is entertaining for all ages. Two Cartwheels Up! Or, over. Whatever.

The Wee Free Men If you, like me, are still weepy over the loss of Douglas Adams, look no further! I enjoy Pratchett on audio in order to appreciate the dialects he gives his characters. Tiffany Aching is one of the best role models for young women I've ever encountered and the laughs are non-stop. Love the philosophy as well. Two Sheep up the mountain! Now listening to:
Hat Full of Sky.

Harry Potter V How do these books just keep getting better? Rowling is a genius. Two Wands up! Way up.

Triassic, Jurassic, Cutlery…

So it’s come down to this: wiggling a spoonful of peas in front of a lizard. Just who domesticated whom here? I’ve always contended my bearded dragons Puffy and Flame (pictured) couldn’t survive one night in the wilderness without a big pink hand to feed them. However, I must admit to causing the problem by trying to entice them to eat by hand-feeding. It seems we all enjoy it. Watermelon? Yes. Lime? No. Got a dirty look on the lime. But they ate a lemon once, with no qualms. Green Beans? Yes. Yellow Squash? Not so much.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Fore-gone Conclusion

Now, intellectually I know there is a cable TV channel devoted to absolutely everything, but for some reason I was still surprised to learn that there’s an all-golf network. My in-laws are avid golfers. Make that rabid golfers. These lucky retirees have the means to commute between Illinois and Texas in order to golf year round. I don’t mean it’s a hobby. I mean every day. Every. Single. Day. So it comes as no shock that they are equally committed to following their favorite golfers on TV. I just figured they watched the network telecasts on the weekends. No. Turns out they have a golf channel. Golf 24/7? C’mon! Now if they wanted really good golf programming, they’d set up hidden cameras at a public golf course and do a blooper show…Or at least an under water cam…No, wait, the “desert storm” cam in the bunker!

I don’t care to play golf. I care even less to watch it. So of course, the first thing out of my mouth is, “Can we switch over to the Paint Drying channel?”

Bob Villa, in that ‘golf announcer’ whisper: “Now,
Ted, he’s going to do a coat of latex on the knotty pine. You’ll notice right
away how fast that Eggshell White sets up…Oooh! (Groans and gasps from the
galley) A bubble!”*

Promo Voice Over: And don’t forget later
tonight, Celebrity Stripping! Pamela Anderson takes a heat gun to peeling
wrought-iron furniture at eleven!

*Amazing. I wrote this before searching for the photo, and found it right away! But I still can't find a link between Saddam Hussein and al Quaeda. Hmm.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Snakes on a Trail!

Snake on a Saturn!

I wish I could find a link to the great Reptiles magazine article about the new internet/movie sensation (ok, overhyped flop) Snakes on a Plane. It answered the question “what snakes were used” in the making of the movie and had lots of other fun tidbits, like how Jackson’s agent wouldn’t let him come in any contact with the snakes. Fire that agent! I love snakes. For anyone who can obtain a September 2006 edition of the magazine, it’s worth a look. Most snakes used were corn, rat, milk, king and garter snakes. Also filmed were an albino cobra, diamondback rattlesnake and some pythons. Nearly 500 in all. Rubber snakes were used as ‘stunt doubles’ to be stamped on and killed, and computer generated snakes used for special effects.

While rollerblading Sunday, I saw a little garter snake sunning himself on the trail. I moved him off the pavement, as he was sure to be run over by a bicycle. I know he probably crawled right back on the trail after I left, but the thought was there. I caught a whiff of ‘cricket’ smell as I released him in the tall grass, and I’m guessing that was the diet of a baby snake.

Nice time to find out those Wet Naps I carry had turned to dry crusty fossils in my fanny pack. They can put a man on the moon (or so they say…) but they can’t make a moist towelette that keeps? Great. So now I’m spilling my last precious drops of Evian on the desiccated wipe in the hopes of reconstituting ‘lemony freshness’. I didn’t even get
Lemony Snicket. At the next rest stop I dumped the useless wipes and empty water bottle.

Back in the day, I used to keep the water bottle and refill it. Even ran it through the dishwasher! Then filled it 1/3 and froze it! Yep. Amazing I’m still here to type this. Then someone clued me in as to how those bottles would dissipate carcinogens after being heated and reused. Yummy. Any good I was doing my body by exercising was being negated by the deadly plastic toxin molecules.

Now, before I get thousands of rebuttals saying plastic drinking bottles are safe,* I just want to point out how every manufacturer on earth pays lobbyists millions of dollars to make sure pregnant women eat tuna and nuclear power continues to collide near you. In fact, there’s a big case in my area where a cluster of rare brain tumors are being linked to some manufactures who illegally polluted. Even the county health department helped cover it up. Will they admit it? Of course not. Will the victims win? Of course not. The companies are telling them: Brain Cancer? It’s all in your head! When their corporate lawyers are done, the victims will have a judgment against them for libel. If any are still alive by the time this gets to a judge.

Yes, it’s a crap shoot as to what exactly is going to kill you. The bottom line is mankind has poisoned the Earth, and in our infinite and ongoing wisdom we are not long for this planet. Let’s just hope we get wiped out before we colonize any other innocent satellites.

Cheaper by the Dozen?

Speaking of satellites… Love the news coming out of the seven-member “planet definition committee” of the International Astronomical Union meeting in Paris last month. They debated the question: how many planets are in our solar system? It took them about a day and half to agree on the definition of a planet and categorize them. Wow! Can we hire these guys to bring peace to the Middle East? Chair the next big project at work? A day and a half, and they decide the fate of the solar system? Cool! Bet they even had time for some Uranus jokes.

Ok, so it’s not a done deal. A vote by astronomers around the world is needed Aug 24 in Prague. By then, we should have charges the Russian voter was bribed, the English astronomer was just voting however the American astronomer voted, and the other planets will refuse to recognize Charon’s right to exist.

Makes me wonder how the weather on 2003 UB is this time of orbit.

*yes, I read snopes. I still think lots of things are covered up.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

No Speed Racer, No!

Vince Vaughn wanted to play Racer X in a live-action adaptation of the Japanese cartoon series Speed Racer? Yuck. Racer X was everything Vince is not: calm, cool, mature… Confidential to Jen: Ditch this loser. Unless you’re looking to double date this weekend and need to find someone for his slacker buddy Owen Wilson. Then call me.

Unfriendly Skies

After hearing about the evil terrorist plot foiled in Great Britain, I must admit the thought of flying is not appealing. The next time I want to go to California I’ll do something safer, like hitchhike.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a car that does 0 to 60 ($) in under 18 gallons!

So I’m at the gas station yesterday (With the RSX) and this tattooed guy in his 20’s yells out “I Love You” to me as his buddy drives them away in a junky old white sedan. “So buy my gas!” I yell back. No such luck. They didn’t return. Nothing says serious commitment like a tank of Super Plus.

I’m in the grocery store and there’s this big sale on fruit. So here’s this white trash couple picking out nectarines to place in their heaping cart while the woman chops on a baseball-sized peach. I wanted to go up and say to her, “Are you just going to have them weigh you at the checkout?” but they looked too scary. I mean, a grape, OK. A peach? No.

Oliver Sponge? Heard there’s nary a conspiracy in the new 9/11 film by Oliver “getting soft and sensitive in my old age” Stone. Boring! I’m not going. Now Snakes on a Plane… That’s got some potential. I can see me and Louise laughing though that one and yelling out, “That’s not poisonous!” or “Snakes don’t do that!”, etc. Why didn’t they use any spitting cobras? Now there’s a fun reptile to provoke!

Forget Snakes on a Plane. How about a movie "Al Qaeda on a Plane?" Now that’s scary. Let’s face it, we’re still sitting ducks as many other countries don’t do checks or could be sympathetic to terrorist causes. I don’t want to see carry-on bags outlawed. That’s just letting those terrorists win!

Monday, August 07, 2006

One More

More Barney Pictures

Feed You Later, Alligator

Ok, as the "woman with half a raw chicken in her purse" I can certainly understand the temptation to feed wild animals, but this article points out how it is in the best interest of wildlife that humans restrain the urge to get them addicted to Big Macs.

Jeffrey Bush, 43, of Fort Lauderdale, learned the hard way. Officers said
they caught him tossing a fish to Crusty on Friday morning.
"I wasn't really trying to feed the dumb animal," Bush said. "I was just throwing
stuff at him to get him to move, and one of those things happened to be a
Bush will have to argue his case in court.

The article doesn't mention if he's related to the president, so I'll just use my imagination.

Puppys For Sale

I certainly hope the household that had this sign out front uses any proceeds from canine sales towards a spelling and grammar class.
One can only hope.

The Perfect Pickerel

The next day the guys went fishing again while the gals went into Windsor to shop. We hit three shopping centers and I’m sure the Queen will be sending me a thank you card. (Ok, not the Queen. Just kidding. The Prime Minister.) Anyhoo, I’m sure Canada was glad to be rid of all those pesky souvenir magnets and key chains, not to mention all the short ladies clothing they couldn’t unload otherwise. All in all, a good haul.

Sunrise saw us setting sail in the wee hours, once again in search of the elusive Walleye Pike, or as the Canadians know it, the Pickerel. Capt. Roger heard on the radio that the other fishermen in the area were using orange lures with good results, so we all selected something orange and set our worms adrift. Hours ticked by. The “Fish Finder” on board reported plenty of activity, but whatever it was, they weren’t interested in our hooks.

Now, usually in this type of situation, I grow restless and begin trying every lure in the box. 30 minutes on white. 30 minutes on green. 30 minutes on yellow… and so on. Finally in frustration I reach for the Ugly Lure. That’s the least appealing (in my eyes) item in the tackle box. The one I really wouldn’t mind losing in the weeds. I figure if I hate it, fish must love it. But not today. I held fast.

Mr. Right suggested I try an orange spinner. I have orange, I said through clenched teeth. It was orange and green, with a bit of black spotting, making it look leopard. It would work. Leave me alone!

Around eleven, Capt. Roger started reeling them in left and right. He left us in the dust with an impressive array of Pickerel, Bass and Sheep Heads. Ok, so that last one is a junk fish, but at least he was getting bites. After all, it was his boat. No wonder he was so good at it.

All of a sudden I got a hit! A big one, it seemed! I triumphantly brought on board a 22”, 4 lb. Pickerel! Whoo Hoo!
Unfortunately, Capt. Roger landed a slightly bigger one shortly thereafter. But I beat Mr. Right! And that’s all that really mattered!

I also learned one of the biggest secrets of fishing…hold the fish close to the camera and when the picture is taken, it will look much bigger. It works!

Yum. Nothing like eating fresh fish mere hours after catching it. The next morning, we left super early and headed back to the bridge. As usual, the guard on the American side was much snottier than his Canadian counterpart. Trust me, there’s no place to hide WMD’s in a Vette. I barely had enough room for my new purchases.

Speaking of… on the way home we needed a quart of oil. You know, the stuff I used to pay 99 cents for. Since we had used the quarts we brought (yes, the engine needs rebuilding) I ran into a gas station to buy one. $5!!!! FIVE BUCKS! For one lousy quart of oil!! The whole incident gives new meaning to the term highway robbery!!!!

On the way back we drove through Chicago. I think it was Chicago. Looked pretty post-apocalyptic to me. Not exactly the pretty night skyline you can see from the lake. This looked like a bombed-out section of Baghdad. Talk about “don’t break down, don’t break down, don’t break down”…

So that was my exciting summer vacation. Everyone else I’ve spoken to has gone to Europe. As soon as I can pay to have the car shipped overseas, I’m there!

I Auto Know

Seems love for one’s automobile is slipping a bit in this time of high gas prices. Not terribly much if you ask me, but the AP seems to be making a fuss. Slow news day, I guess.

Of those who love driving, 21 percent said it’s relaxing or time to be alone.

I agree! Best part of my day is my drive to work.

Of those who hate driving, 23 percent cited traffic and congestion.


14 percent said other drivers.


3 percent said gas prices.

Oh, yeah.

A mere 31 percent report their cars have their own personalities.

Of course they do!

7 percent said a person’s car reveals the most about what someone is like. (54 percent said their home, and 24 percent voted for clothing).

It’s the car!!

Cookin up a Storm!

Instant Pudding
Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding? Yes, you read that right! I found this awesome recipie for rice pudding in a crock pot! It looked easy enough for even me. ¾ cup rice, 3 cups milk, ¾ cup sugar, dash of salt, cinnamon. 3 ½ hours on high. How simple! Next time, I’ll stir it frequently. The directions didn’t say that. Still scraping that pot…

Ain’t Nuthin’ But a Hound Dog


Ok, what part of having a dog guard a bunch of priceless stuffed animals sounds like a good idea? Apparently somebody didn’t think this one through…

Poor Barney the guard dog let his natural propensity to chew small stuffed toys override his vigorous Night Watch Dog training. Fortunately for Barney, he doesn’t live in China… have you heard what they are doing there? What is with that country? Forget their lousy records on human rights, they can’t even treat dogs with civility. I’ve long been critical of America having any diplomatic or trade relations with China, and if you need any proof,
just read on.

China has long hated dogs. Mao made dog ownership illegal. (And you thought the Communist Party’s official endorsement of atheism and banning of religion a tad harsh? Ha!) This has softened since his death, but fanaticism is always a cheap excuse away. The latest excuse? Three reports of humans dying of rabies. (Now let me guess – the humans caught it from bats, or from human bites, right?) Well what better reason than rabies to order the slaughter of 50,000 dogs?
So what if they could start an education and vacination program? Beating dogs to death in front of their owners is so much more fun.
Hmmm... 3 humans, 50,000 dogs? I'll take the dogs, thank you.

Nice folks, eh? Remember that the next time you see a Made in China label. Especially on coats. They have been known to use
dog fur on coat hoods. Be sure you have a good command of the language when ordering in restaurants…

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Help Wanted

Dear Fidel,

I'm hurt. Really.

Sure, I understand not wanting to upset the family and all, but your brother?

Yes, Raul's been there for you through the years, but you and I both know who's really qualified to be running Cuba.


I'm a natural dictator and look great in khaki. I have lots of dubious military medals* ala al-Gaddafi to perk up any olive drab ensemble.

I don't smoke though.

I hope that won't be a problem.

*I'm especially proud of my Sardonic Star for sarcasm above and beyond the call of duty, and then there's the Purple Heart for self-pity...

Friends like these..

And these nice gentlemen posted Mel's bail...

Hollywood Stars Speak Out in Support of Mel!

You know, like Nick Nolte, Robert Downey Jr., Tatum O'Neil, Lindsay Lohan...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sounds Fishy

Baros Splenden

I think the heat wave has broken here, much to the delight of my friends and coworkers. Seems the folks at work have a new nickname for me, Bakey. (I like to bask and bake in the heat, thus Bake-ee).

Indy the weather fish predicted the storm that broke the heatwave. After the untimely demise of Nemo, I went to Evil Mart and bought Indy. I buy tropical fish at mass-market outlets because I figure if the neglect there hasn’t killed them, not much else will. I can’t tell you how many precious pampered professional aquarium store fish have bit the dust 72 hours after purchase. You know, right after their little ‘warranty’ has elapsed.

Anyhoo, I named him Indy as he’s an attractive indigo blue and it was the weekend of the Indianapolis 500. Soon I realized he was barometrically-tuned to exhibit frisky behavior before a big storm. As my friend Martha pointed out, he’s an Indi-cator fish. Ha! Cute.

Passion of the Inebriated

Dear Mel,

sorry I ever enjoyed Braveheart and Road Warrior*, not to mention far too many Lethal Weapon installments.

Did you really wonder why Spielberg never returned your calls?

*I mean one and two. Thunderdome was really stupid. And to imagine that Tina Turner said she preferred those types of over-the-top silly roles and turned down The Color Purple!!!

(More great images from Originaldo