Sunday, November 30, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
I really recommend you read the whole article here:
Once Revered, Komodo Dragons Turn Nasty
These locals have long viewed the dragons as a reincarnation of fellow kinsfolk, to be treated with reverence. (Awww!) But now, villagers say, the once-friendly dragons have turned into vicious man-eaters. Sad. And they blame policies drafted by American-funded environmentalists for this frightening turn of events.
“When I was growing up, I felt the dragons were my family,” says 55-year-old Hajji Faisal. “But today the dragons are angry with us, and see us as enemies.” The reason, he and many other villagers believe, is that environmentalists, in the name of preserving nature, have destroyed Komodo’s age-old symbiosis between dragon and man. (Sniff)
“We don’t want the Komodo dragon to be domesticated. It’s against natural balance,” said Widodo Ramono, policy director of the Nature Conservancy’s Indonesian branch and a former director of the country’s national park service. “We have to keep this conservation area for the purpose of wildlife. It is not for human beings.” Hmmm. Good point.
A year ago, a 9-year-old named Mansur was one such victim. The boy went to answer the call of nature behind a bush near his home in Kampung Komodo. In broad daylight, as terrified relatives looked on, a dragon lunged from his hideout, took a bite of the boy’s stomach and chest, and started crushing his skull.
Unlike in the U.S. and many other Western countries, park rangers here don’t routinely put down animals that develop a taste for human flesh. Good for them!
To the villagers in Komodo, the recent incidents provide clear evidence of an ominous change in reptile behavior. “I don’t blame the dragons for my boy’s death. I blame those who forbade us from following custom and feeding them,” said Jamain. “If it weren’t for them, my boy would still be alive.”
The boy “shouldn’t have crouched like a prey species in a place where dragons live,” said Marcus Matthews-Sawyer, tourism, marketing and communications director at Putri Naga Komodo. Oh come on!! Blame the victim, some more, would ya? I'm guessing there's no indoor plumbing alternative.
Dragon and man could coexist here in harmony in the past, Komodo park officials add, because at the time the area’s human population was a fraction of today’s size. So pass out birth control. Offer boat rides to another island. Play Survivor. Oh, wait, the lizards are...
I HATE it when somebody thinks up the perfect word or phrase, and that somebody is not me!
Thanks to Jalopnik, I will now steal the term "Carpocalypse Now"and pretend I made it up.
Personal examples of Carpocalypse?
The price of gas skyrocketing again before I can install a 50,000 gallon underground tank. Or cut a deal with some pirates.
The Illegality of selling human organs. Two Kidneys. One Corvette. There is so much wrong with this equation.
Watching an Aston Martin destroyed in a James Bond film. Why doesn't James just admit the car is the only love of his life that never let him down?
Automakers claiming 'corporate policy' dictates their executives must take private jets for 'security reasons'. Gee, wonder why they're so hated? Maybe they could walk out onto the production floor and ask that big burly guy with a wrench...
Oh, yeah, I needed to be out in that...
Yeah, I'm home today. Doing absolutely nothing. Why the day off from Retail Madness? The same reason an alcoholic calles New Year's Eve 'amateurs night' and stays home. I'm not even going to buy anything online Cyber Monday either. So there, major retailers. Start cooking up some REAL deals to get my discretionary dollars.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
One of my better efforts
The dreaded DTP : Bring a Dish to Pass
Now there's a phrase that strikes terror in the hearts of the cooking-impaired like myself!
Why is this some bizarre requirement for holiday gatherings? Why not just give $10 to the hostess and be done with it? Just mingling with a crowd is enough of a 'toll' in my book, but now we have to add an entry fee designed to expose my every inadequacy to experience this misery?
I've had quite a few failures over the years:
The time I brought a pretty (but empty) ceramic dish, figuring I was going to get sent home with a windfall of leftovers.
The time I tried to convince everyone that name-brand paper napkins with turkeys on them were a 'secret family recipe'.
The great Jello fiasco of '05
The not-so-hard boiled eggs of '97...
The list goes on. Why then, do the invites? Bottom Line: the only thing I'm thankful for is that Thanksgiving only comes once a year.
However - the notice tried to further tempt me into good behavior by noting if I signed up for paperless statements, I'd be entered into a drawing for a Toyota Prius. Ug.
Sure, that's environmentally responsible. But would I be seen in one? Not likely. Life is too short to drive ugly, low-performance vehicles. Sure, free is good. And who cares what lingers in the parking lot at China-mart? Well, I do. So I'd like to decrease my carbon footprint by recycling, reducing, resusing... all so I can keep driving high performance gas-guzzling truly cool machines.
It's all about tradeoffs.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Here’s some of the music I’ve been buying and what I think of it.
Queen + Paul Rodgers = The Cosmos Rocks
Um. No. No it doesn’t. As a rabid Queen fan (OK, in Junior High) I was hoping one of my favorite singers of all times, Paul Rodgers would bring something cool to this Freddie-less landscape. Personally, I’d pay to hear Paul read from the phone book, that’s how much I like his voice.
Perhaps that would have been more melodious. I mean, there are a few mediocre tracks here, but that does not a Queen album make. Besides, how the hell are they calling this Queen? Just because you can do something legally, doesn’t mean you should. I think the absent John Deacon is getting the last laugh here.
This music just doesn’t rock. I can tell Brian wrote most of the lyrics, but there is no credit on the songs, so there’s no proof. If this is where Brian wants to go, fine, but it’s not rock, and it’s not Queen. Roger(s), slap him, wouldja?
Since I’m never going to see my $11.88 again all I can hope is that Paul Rodgers was paid handsomely and the check cleared. C’mon, guys. Everyone here can do better.
Grade:C- Below Average.
Def Leppard The Sparkle Lounge
Actually, the Lep has listed Queen as a major influence for years and has included a nod or two to them in their lyrics over the years. Now it seems they have run out of their own ideas and decided to go all out and out Rhapsody the real McCoy.. and in spots here, they actually pull it off. This is no Hysteria, but that’s ok. They are trying to make new and inventive music and I can understand that.
Grade: B- More Pyromania, Less Copymania next time, OK?
Alanis Morissette Flavors of Entanglement
Grade: B- But that’s only because her other albums were so incredibly strong.
Coldplay Viva La Vida
Whitesnake Good to Be Bad
Ah… the Dr. Seuss of Rock and Roll. Dr. Seuss, as you may recall, was challenged to write a children’s book using a vocabulary of only 100 words. Voila! The iconic Cat in the Hat was born.
Coverdale and crew have been using the same old tired lyrics in song after song for centuries. Yet somehow, I keep coming back for more. More Coverdale, that is… If you thought listening to the phone book was silly, I’d pay just to see this guy stand on stage and flip his hair back a few times. And that voice!! Who cares it has nothing profound to say? You want conversation? Call Henry Kissinger. You want sex? Call David Coverdale. (I’d like to.)
Most songs on this album are pretty blah, but there are a few good ones, including Call On Me and A Fool in Love. Suspiciously, they added a second CD of live greatest hits. Even they didn’t think this would sell on its own.
Grade: C Try harder! But tour anyway. Please!
Nickelback Dark Horse
Grade: A- Not quite as strong as their last effort, but good. Chad, do something with that hair. Wavy is better.
You Are 100% Feminist
You are a total feminist. This doesn't mean you're a man hater (in fact, you may be a man).
You just think that men and women should be treated equally. It's a simple idea but somehow complicated for the world to put into action.
J.K. Rowling #1
Worth it, IMHO. But she has been getting drunk with power as of late: see her recent lawsuits and crazy demands for her upcoming title, Tales of Beedle the Bard.
James Patterson #2
Oh, Pul-eese. Further evidence of the dumbing down of America. Publishes more books in a year than I read. Often, with co-writers, so draw your own conclusions.
Stephen King #3
Worth it. You go, big guy. But feel free to cut the vacation with the grandkids short to surpass that Patterson hack.
Tom Clancy #4
Good. I don't begrudge him this slot, but not a top favorite of mine.
Danielle Steel #5
See Patterson, James.
People Prefer Cars That Look Angry, Dominant and Masculine
A new study suggests that people who find the Toyota Prius too friendly-looking are not alone, as most tend to prefer cars that look masculine, aggressive and dominating.
The research into pareidolia, or the tendency to see faces or human traits in inanimate objects, is being used to help automakers design better-selling cars. "If you get the wrong styling, you get problems," said a consultant.
A study that included 20 men and 20 women allowed participants to rate recent passenger car models on different trait scales. Study participants largely preferred models that ranked high in the "power" category, like the BMW 5 series.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The secret is out for one of the world's most recognizable lingerie brands, according to a potential class action lawsuit in which consumers claim they've experienced very uncomfortable symptoms, like rashes, hives and permanent scarring from Victoria's Secret bras. (ABC News)
May I point out that like every other item on the planet these bras are made in China??? Need I mention I own a drawer full? Including a brand new one I've washed, but not worn yet??! Dare I?
Ritter complains that the bras started to itch her after a couple of days and soon after the itchy turned into a full-fledged rash which them turned into painful welts and burns on her breasts. Ritter states that "I knew it had to be the bra. I had perfectly shaped burns where the cups were." She checked out the labels on the bras looking for any clues and noticed that these two new Victoria's Secret bras were made in China when her other older Victoria's Secret bras were made in India.
Suspicious how China has the most poisons, yet the largest population...hmmm. Those that do survive are going to be much stronger than us wimpy westerners and will soon over run the earth. Any day now. Any day now.
Bottom Line: Will formaldehyde preserve youthful-looking breasts?
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Bow before me and grovel, (formerly) mighty retailers, for I hold the power over your destiny…
Yep. Took a few years, but my displeasure with Circuit City has finally come to fruition:
Circuit City Stores Inc. is closing 155 of its more than 700 U.S. stores by Dec. 31.
It is laying off about 17 percent of its domestic work force, which could affect up to 7,300 people.
James A. Marcum, vice chairman and acting president and chief executive, called the decision to close stores "difficult, but necessary."
"Clearly, (Circuit City) is frantically working to keep itself alive," JP Morgan analyst Christopher Horvers wrote in a note to investors.
They could start by issuing me a formal apology and a 35% off coupon…
CC incurred my wrath with a little-publicized policy known as a restocking fee. Yep. Buy it on Monday, return it on Tuesday with a receipt and get hit with a 15% restocking fee.
Not. Or should I say, not if you’re me. The cowardly manager wouldn’t come up to the desk to bail out the minimum wage worker I was about to flog to death with my unsatisfactory Epson printer, but wisely waived the fee over the courtesy phone. I’ll give you courtesy.
I went home and wrote a scathing email to their headquarters and got back a form letter stating they were sorry I was dissatisfied, but since the manager resolved it, who cares?
I care! Just like I care Macy’s is not Marshall Fields!! As do a few others…
And don’t get me started on JC Penney-pinchers!! Another retailer that could be posting record profits after placing a nice new store along my route home from work.
It all began in late August… I had been a JCP card holder for a few months, and was quite unhappy with the drought of coupons. Every other day Kohl’s was thinking up new and exciting ways to make me buy yet another tablecloth, hat or turtle bath towel. So you can imagine my excitement to receive a coupon for 20% all regular and sale merchandise. It was palpable.
I spent hours in the store and tried on many dresses. I was so excited to see they had the biggest selection of dresses I had ever seen, and being the end of summer the sun dresses were on clearance. They even had petite sizes!! I made my selections at last, and headed for the checkout.
Envision my chagrin when I didn’t get the 20% off. The lines were long, and I knew better than to argue with the teenage boy at the register. I hiked all the way back to the rear of the store where Customer Service, Ignore could be found. A very surly woman informed me the items purchased did not qualify for the discount. What? The manager came up to confirm. You see, they explained, you bought things on Clearance. Clearance is not Sale. Nor Regular. What?!
Morons. Well, another store nearby honors coupons on all sale and clearance items, I observed pointedly. I guess I’ll shop there from now on, I finished.
I stormed home and wrote a scathing email to the How Did We Do Today address on my receipt. Oh, I let them have it!!
Guess what? For participating in their crappy little survey, I got a coupon!! For 25% off all merchandise, Sale, Regular or CLEARANCE!!!!
The very next day I went back. Same cranky lady was running the desk. She was having a heated conversation with a customer over the telephone. She was explaining (I bet it was at least the fifteenth time that day) that the customer’s receipt was not wrong, clearance items did not qualify. And yes, they would take that expensive bedding set back, if that was how she felt.
I waited forever, and I’ll bet most people in line were there for the same reason. Now the manager and two other frazzled employees were frantically trying to hold the beachhead.
With a smug smirk I approached the desk. “I’d like to return this dress.” She went over the transaction. “I’d like to buy it again with THIS coupon,” I said, upon completion. Oh, that look was priceless. She wanted to strangle me with the self-belt flowing from the sides of the dress. Through gritted teeth she said, “Let’s see, the dress has been marked down again since yesterday, and now with this coupon, I now owe you…”
Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! Think you can best me retail conglomerate? I think not! You will rue the day you pissed off the woman with a black belt in Shopping. When your profits dip low enough, you will beg me to come back. Just like Famously Uncomfortable Footwear.
I’ve given up on the white Sketchers. Something is inherently wrong with my pair, but wrapping the little toe on the left side with a band-aid seems to alleviate the problem, so hopefully I’ll be OK. Regardless, I just received a letter in the mail from FF explaining that although I didn’t earn enough ‘points’ for another Savings Certificate, they were sending me one anyways. But then my points were being reset to zero. Hmmm. Last coupon was $10. This one $5. Who cares? As long as I get a coupon, I don’t care what kind of games they are playing. I’ll look around there, and drop in at Just Sent Me 30% Off Anything Kohl’s. Then it’s over to 50% off any Regular priced item Michael’s and a quick (OK, they’re too humongous for quick) spin through $3 off your next visit Meijers. Oh, and Borders, if you want me to stop by, you’ve got exactly 12 hours to send me a coupon that makes it worth my while.
JC Penney? You’ve got a lot of apologizing to do. But it’s never too late. Never.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Al: You shouldn't buy them there. Those are probably from China and tainted.
Me: OK, fine. I won't buy any cups made north of the Mason - Dixon line.
(Full eight second pause)
Al: Ha! I get it.
Guess I'm just the Contact cold pill of comedy...
Thursday, November 06, 2008
I'm talking about the house on the highway. You know, the five acre parcel of Christmas lights as far as the eye can see? The ones keeping Santa's reindeer up at night?
Ok, They're pretty good about not lighting them up after January*, but to start November 5th? Are they nuts???
Although, I must admit, this year's addition of the animated roof display was a nice touch.
*yet large plastic snowmen, etc. aren't taken back inside until mid-May.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Little mix-up in the ER? Possibly,but my money's on Alien Virus.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
We Can't Predict Who You Voted For
According to our quiz, there's a 60% chance you voted for Obama.
But that means there's an 40% chance you voted for McCain.
You aren't very typical. You tend to be independent, and your vote is highly coveted.
While we can't predict how you voted, there's a good chance you voted for the winner!