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Who were they? (Identifying subjects in 8 famous paintings)

March 3, 2010
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Art is a big part of world culture.  People are spending tens of millions of dollars on paintings by famous artists.  I knew many of the paintings by sight, and some of the figures depicted in the works are a huge part of pop culture.  So who were some of these people?  I decided to do a little research and see if I could come up with the answers for some of the most famous painting with semi-mysterious subjects.  The last two I couldn’t find proof of a specific person, so I took the most likely and logical theory.  Enjoy…

American Gothic

By Grant Wood

American Gothic is a famous painting that was created in 1930.  Wood entered the  painting in in a competition at the Art Institute of Chicago, winning the bronze medal. Since it came out at the onset of the Great Depression, it was viewed by many as a symbol of the steadfast American spirit. Many saw it as a struggling farmer and his wife who refuse to give up. The woman is actually Wood’s sister. The man, his dentist.

A Bar at the Folies-Bergere

By Édouard Manet

While not one of Manet’s more famous paintings, this work is still certainly recognizable.  It pictures a woman barmaid at it’s namesake, A Bar at the Folies-Bergere.  It is a café-concerts in  Paris, which is like a beer hall with music and circus acts.  The painting is most known for the look in the woman’s face.  She looks like a disgruntled employee.  I like it because it also depicts my favorite beer: Bass Ale.  As far as the woman, her name is Suzon, and she was actually a barmaid that worked at the bar. Read more…

The internet? Bah! (A look back at what one “expert” thought about the internet 15 years ago)

March 1, 2010

It’s difficult to imagine what life would be like without the internet.  The world practically runs on it nowadays.  Well, back in 1995 the outlook was a little grim according to some people.  For the casual user, there wasn’t a whole lot to go on.  It was still difficult to research a term paper or buy something.  But that has since changed. 

Circa 1995

A Newsweek columnist named Clifford Stoll wrote an article entitled The Internet? Bah! Why cyberspace isn’t, and never will be, nirvana.  He seemed to think that this whole internet fad was going to fizzle out pretty quick.  

Oh yeah, he totally looks like someone I would listen to. Seen any UFO's lately?

Again, I know back then the internet was still in it’s infancy.  But this article puts forth an incredible lack of foresight.  Especially coming from a very educated person. (He has a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona)  Let’s break down, piece by piece, what this expert thought about the internet a decade and a half ago.  Here we go… 

After two decades online, I’m perplexed. It’s not that I haven’t had a gas of a good time on the Internet. I’ve met great people and even caught a hacker or two. But today, I’m uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community. Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. 

Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works. 

If he would have just written the first paragraph and left it at that, Stoll may have been considered a visionary.  But instead, he calls it lunchmeat.  Online services haven’t totally replaced newspapers yet, but it’s picking them off one by one.  Moving on…

Consider today’s online world. The Usenet, a worldwide bulletin board, allows anyone to post messages across the nation. Your word gets out, leapfrogging editors and publishers. Every voice can be heard cheaply and instantly. The result? Every voice is heard. The cacophony more closely resembles citizens band radio, complete with handles, harassment, and anonymous threats. When most everyone shouts, few listen. How about electronic publishing? Try reading a book on disc. At best, it’s an unpleasant chore: the myopic glow of a clunky computer replaces the friendly pages of a book. And you can’t tote that laptop to the beach. Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet. Uh, sure. 

He says to consider the internet technology of that day.  Apparently, Stoll figures that technology had peaked and there was nowhere else to go.  Read more…

Itemization can be fun (interesting write-offs people have tried)

February 25, 2010

It’s getting close to tax time again.  You know, the part of the year when you officially commit a large percentage of your income to the government.  Usually the aim of most people is to pay as little tax as possible.  One way to accomplish this is to write off as many expenses as you can.  (Just so you don’t think I’m crazy as you read this post, they say write-off is supposed to be hyphenated when a noun and not when a verb.)  The more you write off, the less your taxable income and the less taxes you pay.  It sounds simple enough, right? 

Not all the time.  I have a degree in accounting and even though I’m not in the personal tax preparation business, I know it has to be hard to keep up with the constantly changing laws.  There was once an exotic dancer who wrote off her breast implants as a business purchase.  The IRS took her to court over it and lost.  Some write-offs are obvious, some are very questionable.  Here are a few stories of people who tried to write off some odd things.  Some were successful, some…  not so much.

Arson

A man in Pittsburgh decided it was time to do something else so he put his business up for sale.  For several years he kept in on the market hoping for a fair price.  It didn’t come.  Frustrated, he went to the dark side.  He hired a man to drop by late one night and burn the place down.  The arsonist did his job and the man collected $500,000 in insurance money.  He reported that on his taxes, which is all well and good, but he also wrote off a $10,000 “consultant” expense. 

Consulted right to the ground

When he was audited a few years later, it was discovered that the consultant expense was actually the fee that was paid to the arsonist.  They both went to jail. We’ll call this one a win and a loss.

Sperm

A man in New York tried to take the term “sperm donation” a little too far.  He was apparently a regular at the clinic and thought it should be considered a self-employment situation.  He wanted to take a  “depletion allowance”. 

Looks like someone was just depleted

While it may be a depleting act, the IRS did not agree.  No word on whether he later tried to claim the children conceived from his donations as dependents.

Ostriches

While you can’t depreciate yourself, you can depreciate those lower on the food chain.  A man in Louisiana wanted to depreciate his ostriches.  He cited the tax law that says Read more…

Wow! What are the odds of that? (The chances of random things)

February 23, 2010
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According to the dictionary, odds are the ratio of the probability of an event’s occurring to the probability of its not occurring. They’re very big in sports gambling. They even have betting odds on Super Bowl commercials. It often makes me wonder what the odds are on things in everyday life.  There is a chance that anything can happen. 

So what are the odds of something happening? I came across a site called the Book of Odds the other day. It has the odds of all sorts of different possibilities. There are several common ones, such as being struck by lightning (1 in 835,500) and being in a plane crash (1 in 10,790,000).  But there are also some lesser known probabilities.  These were a few of my favorite. 

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The odds an adult with a family income of less than $35,000 has ever had an ulcer: 1 in 10.85 ($100,000 or more: 1 in 21.13) 

They always say “Mo’ money, mo’ problems”.  While that may be true, if you have more money you’ll have less stress related health issues.  In fact, if you make six figures, your chance of getting an ulcer is half of someone making a third of that. 

Guess who suffers from more ulcers

To pour a little salt in the wound, higher wage earners have a better chance of having health insurance.  Sorry po’ folks.  You’re screwed either way.  Oh, wait.  I better start making more money. 

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The odds of an adult baseball fan pulls for the Yankees: 1 in 9.77 

Oh boy.  The world is going to hell in a handbasket.  1 in 10 baseball fans is a Yankee backer?  I almost cried when I read that. 

 

I’m not quite sure if I’d be more or less upset if it were the Red Sox instead.   I wonder what the probability of Yankee fans being douchebags.  Probably very likely.

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The odds of a man aged 25-44 has had no sexual partners in his lifetime: 1 in 35.71 

I’m still trying to decide if this one surprises me or not.  There are certainly examples of why this may be true. 

 

Also, people just don’t get out as much because they’re too busy playing World of Warcraft.  Read more…

Oh yeah, I built this. (My rookie attempt at carpentry)

February 19, 2010

I’m taking a one-post break from my snarky attempts at wit and sarcasm because I actually did something I’m very proud of.  My wife came across a site called Knock Off Wood and it kind of inspired my to take a shot at building a piece of furniture.  The site is published by a girl named Ana.  Why she doesn’t have her own show on FLN or something, I don’t know.  She is beautiful and builds things.  I would think a show with her would really take off.  She has a good way of explaining things and gives her directions in an easy to follow way.  And the majority of her designs are her version of pieces sold at furniture stores. (Hence, “Knock Off” Wood)  My first foray into furniture making was trying to make a table and bench sold at West Elm.

 

The table retails for $599 and the bench sells for $399.  I looked at the plans and headed down to Home Depot.  I picked up the 2×4’s, 2×6’s, 2×2’s, screws, stain, and polyurethane to make what I thought was going to be a throw away first attempt.  I was excited to finally get to use some of my tools that were starting to collect dust.  I started to build the frame and was pleased with the initial results.  I couldn’t believe I had actually made it perfectly square!  So after a couple hours, I had the frame together.

 

I completing the frame by attaching the supporting beams to the frame.  It really looks like a table.

 

Next, I put on the planks for the surface of the table.  Countersinking screws has never been so much fun. Read more…

Stimulate this! (A one year check-up on the federal stimulus plan)

February 17, 2010
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It’s exactly a year since the passing of the $787 million stimulus bill last February. It was promised to create new jobs and boost the economy into recovery. Whether or not it has succeeded is up for debate. The economy is a little better since then, but that could just be the normal cycle. Unemployment is down, but that could be from people who ran out of benefits. It’s anyone’s guess at this point. Looking back, it’s funny how many different stimulus “projects” were funded under this plan. Some are downright ridiculous.  Remember my post about inane earmarks in the annual budget?  These are almost as bad.

Always have a backup plan

About three flights a day depart and arrive at John Murtha airport in Pennsylvania.  It has a pretty little terminal and everything.  You would think its runways would be able to support it’s not-so-busy schedule.  Well, the authors of the stimulus bill thought otherwise.

 

In the plan, $800,000 went to this tiny airport to build another runway.  You know, what if two of those three flights are scheduled to arrive at the same time?  You can’t have them playing chicken.  Many blame this on a Pennsylvanian Democrat who made his name inserting earmarks.  What’s his name you ask?  The recently deceased John Murtha.  Interesting.  The best part is, this isn’t the first time money was spent on this airport when it should have gone somewhere else.  When asked if money is wasted at the airport, even the airport manager mentions the barely used $8 million radar system installed several years ago on the government’s dime.

The crap-o-meter is high on this one

Outside of the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state, the bunnies are apparently nuclear.  While that may be a story in itself, the point here revolves around their nuclear poop.  And all this time I thought bunnies were powered by Energizers or carrots.

Well, the stimulus bill paid for a $300,000 helicopter equipped with GPS to help locate the droppings for disposal.  They say it saves time over having people go over the 4000 hectares on foot.  That’s great and all, but isn’t it technically taking away jobs?

As if they don’t have enough money already

Microsoft is a big, rich corporation.  Bill Gates has lost a lot of personal wealth in the last few years and still has a bankroll bigger than the GNP of half the world’s countries.  You would think Read more…

Oh, what could have been… (the biggest products flops in history)

February 16, 2010

There is always someone, somewhere saying that they have created the next big thing.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  The dot-com boom was a good example of things that were supposed to be huge and ended up turning into massive money pits. While the ones that work really work, the ones that fail become more famous for that failure than any kind of advancement they may have been attempting to make.  Remember WebTV?  Neither do I.  My favorite was virtual reality.  I remember how people were telling me that everybody would be putting on VR helmets and looking like weird cybernerds.

It didn’t happen.  Since that wasn’t really a singular product, I couldn’t include it on this post.  I did find several things over the last few decades that were intensely hyped as world changers.  The only things they ended up changing was the “don’t do this” sections in marketing textbooks.

Dan and Dave

I put this one first because this really isn’t product, but an advertisment for one.  Dan O’Brien and Dave Johnson were America’s best decathaletes going into the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.  Reebok put on a massive advertising campaign starting with a Super Bowl commercial.  The commercial asked the public “Who is the better athlete – Dan or Dave?  To be settled in Barcelona…”

The campaign turned the previously little known athletes into household names that spring.  It was all going so well.  That is, until Dan failed to make the Olympic team after missing a pole vault in the trials.  (Although he did go on to win a gold in 1996)  Dave won a bronze in Barcelona, but the ad campaign went down in history as a lesson to not assume the future.

Segway

The Segway was definitely the biggest recent letdown.  The Segway is a two-wheeled, self balancing vehicle.  I remember reading about this product years before it came out and how it was going to change the entire thought of transportation.   Dean Kamen, the inventor, was very high on his new baby.  He said that Read more…

Call it in the air (4 historically significant decisions made by the flip of a coin)

February 9, 2010

The coin toss.  It’s a 50/50 chance.  Heads or tails.  They just did it in the Super Bowl to see who receives the opening kickoff.  They then spent more time explaining which side was heads and which side was tails than they did flipping the coin.  It seems to me it would have been much less complicated if they had just used a quarter.  Anyhow, the legal tender of any country can be doubly used as a decision maker for the more important parts of your life.  Which movie to see?  Flip a coin.  Beef or chicken?  Flip a coin.   Budweiser or Bass Ale?  Forget the coin, Budweiser is awful.  Scary Latin hitman trying to decide whether or not to kill somebody?  You know the drill.

Recently, Private Practice star Kate Walsh and her ex-husband tossed a coin to see who got to pick first when it came to dividing up their assets.  Who needs lawyers?  Big decisions have come down to heads or tails several times in the past.  Many of the results changed a little bit of history.  Here are the more notable occasions.

The day the music died

In February 1959, there was a major concert tour consisting of Richie Valens, Buddy Holly,  and J.P. Richardson, also known as “The Big Bopper”.   They were preparing to travel to the next site after they finished a show at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.  (I don’t know why it was called the Surf Ballroom.  There aren’t too many good sets rolling up on the beaches of Iowa. But I digress…)   Buddy Holly had chartered a plane out of Fargo, North Dakota to fly his band out after one of the buses broke down.  Richardson managed to get on the plane after pleading with Buddy Holly’s guitarist (Waylon Jennings) for his seat.  Holly’s other band member flipped a coin with Richie Valens to see who got the other seat.  Valens won.

The plane, taking off in a blinding snowstorm, crashed into a cornfield instantly killing Holly, Richardson, Valens, and the 21-year-old pilot.  It became known as the day the music died.

Green living or green beer?

In the Pacific northwest, there was a lot of land to decide what to do with.  Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy shared the deed on a 640 acre parcel that they foresaw as being a great place where people would want to live.  The only thing they disagreed on was the name.  Lovejoy wanted to name the plot after his hometown of Boston, Massachusetts, while Pettygrove was insistent on naming it after his roots in Portland, Maine.  After much discussion, they flipped a coin for it. Read more…

Dōmo arigatō misutā Robotto (7 strange robots among us)

February 4, 2010

At the recent Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, a man unveiled a lifelike female robot. The robot is, well, very anatomically correct. Her name is Roxxxy, and her inventor says “She doesn’t vacuum or cook, but she does almost everything else”.   Basically, for $7,000 you can have your very own sex robot.  If you want, you can read about all it does here.  I understand that there are a lot of lonely men out there, but this is ridiculous. Are we really becoming so socially inept that we need artificial women to pleasure us? I don’t care if her silicone skin stays warm, she has voice recognition software, and even has orgasms, I just can’t imagine that it’s anywhere close to the real thing.  It seems like you would need a little bit of necrophilia in you to enjoy sexual relations with this:  

He finally found something who makes him happy

I guess it was inevitable. There are robots that are built to do all sorts of things. (i.e. the Roomba)  Here are a few of the stranger ones.  

Robot camel jockey  

Camel racing has been around in the Middle East for thousands of years.  Only recently did people start to question the fact that boys as young as four were almost exclusively used as the jockeys for these races.  Since the slave jockey trade is not a big business in the area, a Qatar man developed a robot to guide the camels through the course.  

Who says technology has gone too far?

Despite being a little spooked at first, the camels seem to be OK with their aluminum riders.  They are controlled via a radio controlled unit operated by someone in an SUV following the race.   

Push the talking trash can  

Disney is always coming up with unique ideas, such as charging $72 for an entry ticket.  (Unbelievable.  But if people keep paying it, they’ll keep charging it.)  One thing they have at their p[arks in California and Florida is Push.  It’s a trash can controlled by a couple Disney employees that rolls around and interacts with customers, doing things like encouraging them to recycle.  

I wonder how they came up with the name?

I don’t know about you, but I would be pretty upset if I just vastly overpaid to get into a theme park and then get welcomed by a trash can.  Talk about adding insult to injury!  

The Trons  

The Trons are a a band of robots created by a man in New Zealand.  He even gave them names.  Ham plays rhythm guitar and sings, Wiggy plays lead guitar, Swamp is on the drums, and Fifi plays the keyboard after a failed attempt at bass guitar.  

Say what you want, they’re still better than Coldplay.  Read more…

And the award goes to… oh, who cares, nobody’s watching anyways (awards shows we could do without)

February 2, 2010
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So Beyonce and Taylor Swift cleaned up at the Grammys.  Are there really that many people who care anymore?  I’m not sure what it means about an awards show when I see more advertisements for programming critiquing the various fashion choices than I see for the show itself.  

And for some reason, they listen to this guy

I just don’t understand why there are so many awards shows.  I recently saw a recap of the SAG awards and it made me wonder what constitutes justifiable homicide.  The show is basically a bunch of rich, famous, shallow people telling each other how wonderful they are.  I don’t mind that they’re rich and famous and all that, but do they really need to televise them gloating in it?  It’s time to pare down the awards shows.  Their popularity peaked in the mid 90’s and rating have constantly been dropping ever since, so maybe they’ll start dropping on their own.  Hell, the Golden Globes were cancelled last year because of the writer’s strike.  I don’t think anybody really noticed.  Here are a few more awards shows that need to be Kevorkian-ized.  

    

MTV Video Music Awards  

  

Most ridiculous category: Quadruple threat award  

The most obvious reason for this one is the fact that the show gives awards for music videos, an art that the network essentially kicked to the curb years ago.  I can’t remember the last time I flipped by MTV and they were actually playing videos.  On top of that, the show has basically become an energy sucking bore.   

The only reason I even knew the show aired last year

It’s like they want to see how many lights they can cram into a building while thinking up an obviously scripted prank to pull on Eminem. (Which they inevitably will neither confirm or deny initially in hopes that it builds buzz for the show)  If you have to do stuff like that to get people to watch a show, it’s no longer working.  

    

MTV Movie Awards  

  

Most ridiculous category: Best sandwich (I’m serious.  Look it up.)  

Yes, MTV is doubled up here.  The movie awards were kind of a joke from the beginning.  I appreciate their early admittance of this with some of the crazy categories, but the joke has worn very thin.  

Amazingly, never nominated for best Kiss

I really don’t care what movie spoof MTV thinks is the best of the year, since they all pretty much suck at this point in time.  Is there anyone you know who would admit to seeing Meet The Spartans in the theater? Read more…

Unfortunately, there’s probably an app for that (useless iPhone applications)

January 29, 2010

The earthquake in Haiti was devastating. So many people killed and injured. There are inspiring stories coming out of it, like the woman pulled out of the church after five days. Then there was the documentarian stuck in the rubble for three days. It’s amazing he survived. He told officials that he was able to hold on because “I had my iPhone with me and I had a medical app on there, so I was able to look up treatment of excessive bleeding and compound fracture”.

It’s good that there are things for keeping people alive, but with untold thousands of choices there’s bound to be ridiculous options. Here are just a few of the more useless applications available.

Bubble wrap

Sure, everyone loves popping bubble wrap, right? I do. But I think most of it has to do with the fact that it’s actually bubble wrap. This app brings a virtual bubble wrap on your screen and you pop it (with the bubble wrap popping noise) by touching the circles. Maybe it’s just me, but wasn’t the whole fun of it squeezing the bubbles and the feel and sound of it?

Sim stapler

It’s a stapler on your screen.  You can staple virtual things together with your virtual stapler.  Enough said. Read more…

Look what I found! (5 treasures found among trash)

January 27, 2010
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A few weeks ago, a reverend at a Catholic university was looking for paper towels in a bathroom cabinet.  He didn’t find any towels, but what he did find will buy plenty extra.  He pulled out a frame with an etching in it.  He liked how it looked and put in on his wall.  Turns out, the etching is a Rembrandt and it could be worth about $100,000.  That’s not bad, but there are other valuable things found by people not looking for them.

Fix a hole in the wall DIY style

A man in Indiana stopped at a yard sale on his way home one day.  He bought a couple items of furniture and a painting he thought his wife would like.  The furniture went into the living room and the painting covered a hole in the wall.  A few years later he was playing an art-themed board game called Masterpiece.  He noticed that one of the cards featured a painting much like the one that was being used for home improvement.  He did a little extra research and discovered that the painting was an original by Martin Johnson Heade, a classical American still-life artist..

The painting was bought by a museum for $1.2 million.

Septuagenarian finds something older than she is

A 72-year-old California woman was cleaning out a section of her home when she came across an old baseball card with a team photo of the Cincinnati Red Stockings.  Not knowing what to do with it, she called a friend to help her list it on Ebay for $10.  When the friend came over to help, she convinced the woman to have it looked at by an expert.  Good move.  The expert identified it as a card from 1869 in near perfect condition.

Deciding to forego Ebay, the woman auctioned it off at Sotheby’s for over $75,000.

Forget the hammer!

A British farmer lost a hammer in one of his fields one day.  Rather than going to spend a few bucks to just buy a new one, the man borrowed a metal detector and set out to find his hammer.  Instead, he found Read more…

Pretty soon they’re going to start taxing taxes (some of the strangest tax laws on the books)

January 25, 2010

Being a resident of southern California, I’m used to paying exorbitant taxes for everything.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s the price I pay for more sunny days.  (In a bit of irony, when I was half done with this post I lost power for two hours and internet service for two days because of a massive thunderstorm and couple small tornados.  It also explains the length of time between posts.  But hey, it’s only one day out of 365, so I’ll take it.  OK, back on topic…)  But every year there are more and more taxes added to those I already pay.  All this while we have record budget shortfalls and furlough days for state employees.  Unfortunately, we’re not the only ones.  The governor of New York recently proposed adding $1 extra tax per pack of cigarettes.    

$20 more than yesterday

The feds and states seem like they’re just going to keep taxing us while spending out the kazoo.  I think California should just legalize marijuana and tax it.  I don’t smoke it, but I don’t really have a problem with it.  Imagine how much tax revenue that would bring in to the state.  Not to mention the relief on prison population.  With each inmate costing the state $50,000 per year, that’s quite a savings.  So there would be more income and less expenses.  Isn’t that how you’re supposed to run a business?  So that’s my suggestion.  Anyhoo, some places have really strange (and inane) taxes on things to try to raise revenue.  Here are some of them.   

Take-out tax   

In Washington D.C., it will cost you more to get your McMuffin from the drive through window than it would if you went inside.  Why?  Because any food that is considered “take-out” is hit with a little extra tax.  The city says that it goes to pay for the extra clean up for the trash thrown out car windows and such.   

Here you go. Now you'll be obese and overtaxed at the same time!

It might not be such a bad idea, though.  If you tax it high enough maybe it will entice people to get out of their cars and walk into the restaurant to help work off a couple of those 1,500 calories they’re about to consume.   

Porn Tax   

Yes, there is a state that adds a 10% tax on anything considered sexually explicit.  I’ll give you a chance to guess which state it is…    

If you take the fur off, is it still taxed?

Ok, times up.  If you said Florida, you’re wrong, but it was a good guess.  It’s Utah.  And the fact that it’s Utah makes me wonder what they consider sexually explicit.  I would hate to pay an extra 10% the next time I buy Read more…

Ouch, that hurt! Now give me lots of money (a sample of inane lawsuits)

January 20, 2010
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I live in Orange County and there has been a relatively big story lately about an accident that occurred in one of the local harbors.  The harbors here have several byways in the form of channels lined with docks and homes.  They are all “no-wake” zones and littered with low bridges.  A few months ago, a few morons left a bar, hopped into a speedboat, and proceeded to boat down one of these channels at high speed.  As they went under one of the bridges, the boat made it and the men didn’t.  I believe the accident killed two of them and seriously injured a third.  Now remember, all three men were very intoxicated and committed a felony just by driving the boat.  I usually don’t wish to speak ill of the recently deceased, but this case is Darwinesque.  

"Your honor, my vision was impeded by a can."

 Well, the families of the two men are suing the city for millions of dollars for failure to post a “low bridge” sign.  Unbelievable.  These idiots got drunk, got in a boat, went down a channel well above the posted speed limit, ran into a bridge, and it’s the city’s fault?  The sad thing is, they’ll probably just settle out of court and the families will have a bunch of money to help forget about the deaths of their loved ones.  Pitiful.  It seems to be the American way these days.  We have become such a litigious society that everyone is suing anyone for the most inane reasons.  Here are some of the most ridiculous examples. 

  

So much for truth in advertising 

In 1991, a Michigan man sued the large brewer for false advertising and mental anguish.  Citing a commercial in which two women come to life for a couple of Budweiser drinkers, he was angry that he wasn’t experiencing the same fantasy.  

Even if true, still not enough for me to drink a Budweiser

 Because he’s an idiot and tried to make this happen so often, he also sued for financial loss.  The case was dismissed by the judge. 

  

Maybe he really wanted to be rear-ended 

This one, also in Michigan, involves a 27 year old man who was the victim of a minor car accident.  Several years later, the man sued the person who hit him claiming that the accident changed his sexuality.  

"You idiot! Why don't you watch where you're going? By the way, do you work out?"

 You read that right.  He said that since the accident he was no longer Read more…

Depressed about Avatar? Not me! Here are other fictional worlds I would rather live in

January 18, 2010

There have been reports about people who watched Avatar and became so enamoured with the fictitious world of “Pandora” that they are slipping into depression and even having suicidal thoughts.  Why?  Because they want to live there.  I’ll let that sink in for a second… 

The chicks aren't even hot

So why would this happen?  I’ll let one of the people who left a comment on this Avatar Forum thread tell you about it. 

“Ever since I went to see ‘Avatar’ I have been depressed. Watching the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na’vi made me want to be one of them. I can’t stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers I got from it. I even contemplate suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora and the everything is the same as in ‘Avatar.’ ” 

Wow.  The only thing I can think of to say to this guy is maybe go ahead and see if that works, because I don’t want you in my world.  Avatar is a movie, period.  Being depressed about an impossibility doesn’t make any sense.  I’m not depressed because I will never win the affection of Sofia Vergara, so get over it!  A lot of the people on the thread mentioned how their detachment from nature was a big part of it.  If that’s the case, than maybe they should read this by Matt over at Country of Cretins.  He pretty much hits it spot on.  Anyways, why choose this movie to want to live in.  There are other movies that had great environments in which to exist.  They were much more fun and there aren’t that many blue lizard-looking people.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory 

I don’t remember how old I was when I first saw this movie, but I still love it to this day.  I like it much better than the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp one.  (Spare me the “it’s more like the book” stuff.  I don’t care.  I read the book.  If there’s going to be a chocolate factory, it should be fun and happy.)  Plus, I always wondered what an everlasting gobstopper tasted like. 

Purple velvet is acceptable and the chocolate is safe to drink

There is nothing I would like better that to walk down a path and be surrounded by things essentially made from sugar.  And then there’s the wise oompa-loompas.  They aren’t unionized and do whatever they’re told.  Sign me up. 

Who Framed Roger Rabbit 

Sure, it’s the 40’s.  No internet, no cell phones, no Lakers games.  But there is Jessica Rabbit.  I still watch Looney Tunes whenever I see it on.  How cool would it be to live next to Toon Town and be able to go party with Bugs Bunny and Homer Simpson while picking Read more…