So I'm sure, then, what to make of all the nazi and swastika stuff that you can buy on Etsy. Has Etsy made the editorial decision that nazis and swastikas are less offensive that the Washington Redkins? Or is Etsy just incompetent at enforcing its listing guidelines?
*In the interest of full disclosure, I am either 1/64 or 1/128 Native American, depending upon which family genealogy you believe. Although this makes me more Native American that noted Native American U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, I am not a registered member of any tribe and I do not really self-identify as a Native American. I like that part of my heritage, but it does not significantly affect my world view.
So if you travel to London and fall ill and slip into a coma, you might wake up in 25 years to a world in which you can smoke weed all over the place, but you have to buy your Marlboros from a sketchy drug dealer in a dark alley. And the signs in liquor stores would read "No one under the age of 39 may purchase cigarettes" and if you are 38, you are just screwed. You can't even buy them on your next birthday.
I got this message posted on my Facebook wall this week:
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE This year October has 5 Mondays, 5 Tuesdays and 5 Wednesdays. This happens once every 823 years. This is called Money Bags. So Share this at your wall and money will arrive within 4 days!
Reality is a bit more boring. Here's reality:
October 2012 is interesting because it has only 4 weekends, but it has 5 Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Amazingly, this happens, on average, only once every seven years. It hasn't happened since 2007. It won't happen again until 2018.
Oh, and it's been 4 days, and the guy who posted it hasn't said anything about winning the lotto or anything, so I think it might not have worked.
You see, since October always has 31 days, and a week always has seven days, October will always have five Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday every time the month begins on a Monday. This year, October 1st fell on a Monday. This happens, on average, every seven years, not every 823 years. It doesn't happen every seven years evenly, howeve. Because of leap years, the pattern (except over the turn of each century that does not conclude a millenium) is for it to happen after 6, 5, 6 and 11 years. After 2018, it won't happen again until 2029.
You might enjoy the patterns that we saw in 2010 a little more. In 2010, the month begins on Friday, so October will have five Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays instead. Sadly, that pattern is on the 11 years now, so you won't see it again until 2021. Of course, if you like having all day to get ready for trick-or-treating, and you don't want the kids to have to do it on a school night, 2015 will be a great October. That one starts on a Thurday, which means Halloween is on Saturday. Call that month Candy Bags.
if you got convicted of a sex offense or two, which of course, has to be reported to the State Bar, and you didn't bother reporting it to the State Bar, and you are trying to stretch your legal career as far as you can until they notice it, breaking out radio ads to become quasi-famous as a "loan modification attorney" and then pissing people off by preying on them when they are most vulnerable, and leaving large numbers of your clients dissatisfied is not the way to do it. Some of them are going to figure out that you are a sex offender, and some of them are going to report it, and then you are going to be in a world of shit.
What has Barack Obama done to deserve a Nobel Peace Prize?
Increase troop levels in Afghanistan?
Remove peacekeeping forces in Iraq?
Talk about nuclear disarmament without actually making progress toward it?
Promise to close a POW camp without actually doing it?
Apologize for the U.S. being a bad country from 2001 to 2009?
Wish for better relations between Israel and Palestine?
Let Iran build The Bomb?
Let North Korea test long-range missiles without consequence?
Invite a policeman and the black professor he arrested to the White House for a beer?
Help South America get an Olympiad?
Kill (almost) a boatload of pirates?
Mention Darfur a few times?
Give good speeches?
Bomb the moon?
Not be George W. Bush?
Good grief, he hadn't even been president for two weeks when he got nominated. I know he talks a good talk about world peace, but so do most beauty pageant winners. That's not Nobel Prize caliber achievement. Giving Barack Obama a Nobel Peace Prize at this stage in his presidency is the peace equivalent of giving a scientist a Nobel Prize in Physics for declaring that he is going to invent a teleportation device.
Here is the news story about how a kid supposedly got "attacked" by Tigger at Disney World.
With all due respect to the normal moms and dads everywhere, big deal. The kid was taken to the hospital? Why? Did he break his ankle on the way out? Because that tiny tap was nothing. God help this little puss if he ever gets in a fight at school; and if his school is anything like mine was, the attention is a sure bang guarantee that he's going to get his ass beat up twice a week until the other kids get bored with it. “Disney’s supposed to be a safe place,” said the father. True, but it's suposed to be safe for the hardworking kids in that stuffy costume who are entitled to earn a living without some cock-smiley brat pulling on the back of their suits.
Or, for a sharper point of view, check this:
Oh, what I wouldn't give to be on the inevitable jury....
My daughter wrote a very candid letter to Santa, which was kept highly confidential until such time as it entered Santa's hands. When her real Santa opened it, the secret was revealed. My daughter maintains a secret candy stash. She plans to expand it with her loot from Santa. We'll let it happen. But by God, sometime this week, we will hunt down and expose that secret candy stash.
Arg! And be glad that thar be folks who observe such things, else your favorite tune, "Yo ho, yo ho, a Pirate's Life For Me" would sound something like this:
Hooray, Hooray, I Prefer Piracy as a Profession
We steal, steal, go through things, and steal, Finish your drink happy fellow, hooray. We relocate people and hold them against their will, molest, and pollute Finish your drink happy fellow, hooray.
We demand protection money and steal, we steal and steal, Finish your drink happy fellow, hooray. Create wanton destruction, steal from our employers, and will even go so far as to take vehicles which do not belong to us, Finish your drink happy fellow, hooray.
Hooray, hooray, I prefer piracy as a profession.
We prepare to set things on fire, burn them a little, burn them completely, and set them on fire, Finish your drink happy fellow, hooray. We completely burn down cities and look scary, Finish your drink happy fellow, hooray.
We're friends of Alfalfa and untrustworthy, we are bad guys and jacks Finish your drink happy fellow, hooray. We're mythological creatures from the underworld and have dark wool, we're a spoiled picnic food, Finish your drink happy fellow, hooray.
We ask for money for nothing and are generally held in low esteem and are irresponsible people without honor, Finish your drink happy fellow, hooray. And yet our parents still love us for some inexplicable reason Finish your drink happy fellow, hooray.
We rolled into work on Thursday around 9:30 a.m., by which time it is usually packed and impossible to find a good spot to park. But the lot was half empty. It couldn't be Revenge of the Sith, could it? Well, maybe. We do work in a "technology center" and they did sell $50 million worth of tickets on Thursday. It was just as empty yesterday.
I'm not sure, because there have been three moving trucks in the parking lot since Monday, and we might have simply lost a tenant. But if the lot is back to normal next Thursday, I'll know it was just Star Wars geeks playing hookey.
Though I once was, I am no longer superstitious. Still, I pay attention to superstitious things, like paraskevidekatriaphobia. Today, of course, is Friday the 13th, the day we all fear because there were 13 people at the Last Supper, and witches like to meet on Fridays, and they like groups of 13, including the devil, and the dark Norse goddess Freya usually met with her evil friends on Friday the 13th, and of course, that was the day that began the 1307 persecution of the Knights Templar by the French crown (and I'm a bit of a fan of Jacques de Molay). Last year, Hurricane Charlie ripped a few new holes in Florida on Friday the 13th. This year, the day started off as the worst day in 45 years for New England serial murderers, but that didn't really concern me.
Now, however, it's 9:00 a.m., and my day is off to a lousy start. First, my daughter was upset because I didn't sign a permission slip for something about which I want to know more. So I tried to talk to the teacher this morning, hoping to find out that my concerns are unfounded. Unfortunately, the teacher wasn't in today. His mother had a heart attack and he is at the hospital.
Next, I had a somewhat important court appearance in Los Angeles. Sadly, the judge had to take his wife to the hospital, and we checked in only to find that the whole matter was going to be put over a month because the judge couldn't take the bench today.
So my day is off to an unlucky start. But it's been a lot more unlucky for the people I've been scheduled to meet. I'm already starting to worry about the client who is supposed to come in a 2:00 p.m. At the rate we're going, his kid's school is going to blow up or something.
"I know you all are smart enough to get into Berkeley, but someone took my laptop and I didn't back up my shit, so I am going to try to bluff you into thinking that we have photos, eyewitnesses and transponder data that will reveal the thief's identity. The thief will then be hunted by the Microsoft, the NIH (whatever that is), FBI, the SEC, Federal Marshals and God only knows who else, and he will be sent into prison forever, where his anus will be stretched beyond belief by a bunch of well-endowed criminals. The only way to save yourself is to turn the thing in before I leave for my next business trip, which, coincidentally, is when I desperately need the data that was on my stolen laptop."
Bullshit. 15 minutes? Microsoft never moves that fast. Bullshit. Bullshit. Yeah, right. He must think these kids are stupid. Ooooo. Serious petty theft time. Ironically? Oh, the irony! Tasteful? Did he say tasteful? What is a "partial image?" Oh, shut up already. If the evidence is so strong, just bust the guy.
Update: Berkeley trimmed the meltdown off the official realtime video. You can, however, listen to the professor on an mp3 available here. No definitive word on whether he will send the RIAA out to your house if you listen. If you know how to use torrents, you can download the video here. A mp4 quicktime link here might work, too.
Updated Update: Here's the complete and desperate transcript:
"Thanks Gary. Uh, I have a message for one person in this audience. I'm sorry the rest of you have to sit through this. Uh, as you know, my computer was stolen in my last lecture. Um, the thief, uh, clearly wanted to betray everyone's trust, and was after the exam.
The thief was smart not to plug the computer into the campus network. But the thief was not smart enough to do three things: he was not smart enough to immediately remove Windows. I installed the same version of Windows on another computer. Within fifteen minutes, the people in Redmond, Washington were very interested to know why it was that the same version of Windows was being, uh, signaled to them from two different computers.
The thief also did not inactivate either the wireless card or the transponder that's in that computer. Within about an hour, there was a signal from various places on campus. That's allowed us to track exactly where that computer went, ev, every time it was turned on.
I'm not particularly concerned about the computer. But, the thief, who thought he was only stealing an exam, is presently, uh, we think, probably still in possession of three different kinds of data, any one of which can send this man, this young boy, actually, to federal prison -- not a good place for a young boy to be.
You are in possession of data from a hundred million dollar trial, sponsored by the NIH, for which I'm a consultant. This involves some of the largest companies on the planet. The NIH investigates these things through the FBI. They have been identified; they've been notified about this problem.
You are in possession of trade secrets from a Fortune 1000 biotech company -- the largest one in the country -- which I consult for. Uh, the Federal Trade Communication is very interested in this. Federal marshals are the people who handle that.
You are in possession of proprietary data from a pre-public company planning an IPO. The Securities and Exchange Commission is very interested in this and I don't even know what branch of law enforcement they use.
Your academic career is about to come to an end. You are facing very serious charges, with the probability of very serious time. At this point, there's very little that anybody can do for you. The one thing that you can do for yourself is to somehow prove that the integrity of the data which you possess has not been corrupted, or copied. Ironically, I am the only person on the planet that can come to your aid, because I am the only person that can tell whether the data that was on that computer are still on that computer. You will have to find a way of hoping that if you've copied anything you can prove that you have only one copy of whatever was made.
I am tied up all this afternoon; I am out of town all of next week. You have until 11:55 to return the computer, and whatever copies you've made, to my office, because I'm the only hope you've got of staying out of deeper trouble than you or any student that I've ever known has, ed, ever been in.
I apologize to the rest of you to have to bring up this tasteful matter, but I will point out, though we have a partial image of this person, we have two eyewitnesses, with the transponder data, we're going to get this person. Thank you."
Would you hire this man as a consultant on your pre-IPO assignment or your hundred million dollar lawsuit? I wouldn't. He's not even smart enough to hang onto his laptop.
Further Thoughts: I am considering sending an email to him at email@example.com to confess to him that: "I am the thief. I'm sorry that I caused you to get into trouble for violating your Windows license by installing the same version twice. I hope you don't get fined the full $7,500. I threw the laptop away, just to be safe, once I had made about 630 copies (okay, honestly, it was 631) of the pre-IPO data (thanks for the stock tip, by the way), the trade secrets (which actually weren't that interesting) and the lawsuit data (which I am told I could sell to the opposing party for one million dollars). Good luck finding the homeless guy who probably, we think, has the transponder and the laptop by now. Oh, and I'm considering telling the police about the fourth kind of data on your machine that could send a boy like me to prison -- that certain type of poorly-encrypted video and still images I found on it. And you know exactly what I'm talking about, don't you? So let's just both shut the hell up before it gets on both of our permanent records."
Update to the Updated Update: ABC was running a story on this, but they pulled it. Why? I don't know. But the funniest thing I've seen since the actual video is this quote by Rines himself. "Facts just aren't that important," says Jasper Rine, professor of genetics in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. Somehow, I can picture him saying that.
A self-described "devout Baptist" couple bought a copy of "The Pajama Game" at a Safeway supermarket and got more than they bargained for. When they popped their new disc in their DVD player, instead of Doris Day, they saw an Italian sex film.
Devout Christians that they are, they knew that they needed to return the DVD to the store to inform them of the mix-up, to get their money back, and to make sure no one else was subjected to the shocking mix-up. So they did so immediately. Well, maybe not immediately.
I didn't know this before, but it turns out that "devout Baptists" are not supposed to view pornographic material unless they are able to invoke the "I couldn't believe the wicked things those fornicators were doing on my own television set" exception. So go ahead and rent those adult videos, folks, because if you can't believe it, it's not a sin.
In Canada, reluctant crusader Daryl Clark has made it safe for masturbators to abuse themselves in the privacy of their own homes. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that masturbation in one's own home is not a public offense, because the living room of one's private home was not a place to which the public has access "as of right or by invitation, express or implied."
That, in and of itself, is somewhat amusing. But to be thoroughly amused, you need to read more of the the story. For example, who was the offended, complaining party? How blatant was the monkey-spanker? How did this offense comes to pass?
It all started when Clark's unidentified neighbors noticed some movement in Clark's living room. Thinking it was their business to investigate further, the wife moved to another room for a better view, then called her husband over, and they two of them "watched Clark for up to 15 minutes from the privacy of their darkened bedroom." They "took care to avoid being seen," peering out from underneath their lowered blinds. They then used binoculars and a telescope to get a better view, and tried, unsuccessfully, to videotape Clark, because they were "understandably concerned." They then called police.
From the street, the cop could only see Clark from the neck up. From the neighbour's bedroom, he could only see Clark from the belly up. His naughty junk was only visible once the officer shone his flashlight in Clark's window at close range. Clark was then arrested, charged and convicted, resulting in the successful appeal.
Two questions remain unanswered. First, if these people were so offended, why didn't they avert their eyes? At the very least, they shouldn't have stared for so long, with binoculars, a telescope and video camera. Second, how long does Mr. Clark take to spank it?
I missed about half of the early January storms that smacked the OC with about a year and a half of rain in 15 days, but it was still fairly impressive. Southern California is now decorated with white mountaintops, the air is clean, and the storms have passed, with nothing new on the horizon.
A few days ago, we had afternoon highs in the low 90s. Today, it will only get into the 70s, but it's clear and beautiful. A great day for a quick drive to Mount Baldy or Big Bear for a little snow skiing, or a quick drive to the beach for a little surfing.
The forecast for Irvine today and tonight is "high winds." Last night, when I hit the sack, it was as calm as could be. Then, around 5 a.m., the house shook and I heard stuff flying around in the backyard. I looked out the window and saw the trees leaning hard to the south. But before I could get downstairs to secure anything at risk of blowing away, the winds stopped. And they've remained calm all day.
Tonight, I take no chances. The cabana is all the way to the edge of the retaining wall, the umbrellas are down, the spa is covered and the dog is going into the garage.
Last night's freak hail and thunderstorm brought the snow level way down here in Orange County. Here is a photograph of the hills behind my house. The summit gets snow once or twice a year. The snow level almost never drops below my sightline, though.
The winds got up to about 61 mph, enough to topple some pretty good-sized trees.
When I was a young boy, I remember believing all sorts of crazy stuff. There was a secret cave in Fuji's canyon in suburban La Mirada. (not) There was a crazy serial killer living in the hills, just off the road in Turnbull Canyon between Whittier and Puente Hills. (not) There was a monster living in Laguna Lake in Fullerton that could chomp your foot off in one bite. (yep) That last one was completely true, apparently. I can't believe it.
Equally shocking in a different way is the story today of the arrest made in the shooting deaths of two cafe patrons in Westminster last week. It turns out, a waitress they had offended had some gang member come to kill the offenders.
Now, crazy Vietnamese drivers are not the only reasons to avoid Little Saigon.
The good thing about my camera phone is that I always have a camera. So, for example, if Stevie Wonder walks by, I can snap a quick shot.
The bad thing about my camera phone is that, especially under artificial lighting, the shot is likely to be of such poor quality that you have to take my word for it that the fuzzy blob on the left side of the photo is Stevie Wonder.
In a related story, I saw Stevie Wonder last weekend.
The most serious issue facing us today is the "F" word ["Kerry's foul mouth," Letters, July 1; "Cheney the bully," Letters, June 30]? Both Vice President Dick Cheney and presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry were caught using it in front of a newsman.
When my child was young, he used to play with the neighbor kid down the street. We didn't let them play together after we heard the neighbor kid use the "F" word. We didn't want our child to pick up such language.
Is the "F" word the reason that France, Germany and other countries didn't send troops to Iraq, because of our leaders' potty mouths and the countries' not wanting their troops to pick it up?
Maxx C. Harris
If this was satire, kudos to Maxx. He pointed out the absurdity of people who make way too much out of "shocking" language like the F word that people learn as preschoolers and carry with them into adulthood.
But some people really do think this way, and something tells me that Mr. Harris really does think the F word is our biggest problem. If so, perhaps he should start worrying about something a little more fucking important.
Britney Spears has had a series of Hebrew symbols etched into the back of her neck in an act of devotion to Kabbalah. Reports say, however, that she should get her money back. The symbols are gibberish.
The line between funny and gross is a fine one. Take a joke too far, and it might degenerate into something that's just plain gross. Whether the line crossed is fine or blurry, I think I know it when I see it. Example: Sitting in a chair and farting is funny; blaming the dog, even funnier; but crapping your pants is just plain gross.
Every once in a while, though, something gross can evolve into something funny, as the aforementioned stoner reminded me. A while back, I was standing before a urinal, looking at a wooden rail about eye level, that was half-covered with boogers all the way across. Nasty ones, with roots and stuff. Gross.
So, then, this clearly underaged drunk, who cannot handle his beer, stumbles up to the urinal beside me. Using peripheral vision, I notice this guy wobbling and then leaning his forehead up against the rail. Luckily, I heard no squishing sound, or I would have barfed.
But that fellow was not as stupid or disgusting as that Cambodian man who cut off his penis this week after four hungry spirits appeared in a dream demanding food. To borrow a phrase from a lawyer I recently argued against before the Fourth District Court of Appeal, "I...I don't know where to begin."
Local police say Soun Ney initially told the spirits to go away and "waved his penis at them in defiance."
That was mistake number one. You want to wave something in defiance? Start with a gun. No gun? Try some other weapon, a knife or stick maybe. None of those? Go with the fist. The penis is the weapon of last resort. There is a reason it is a cliché to say that someone left you "holding nothing but your dick in your hand," and that reason is not because the dick scares evil spirits off the property.
"Devils, I don't have any chicken or duck for you," he reportedly announced, "if you want to eat anything, you can eat my penis."
Those were mistakes two and three. He should have lied. "Devils, I have some delicious chickens out back. Take them." That would have been much smarter. But even if he didn't want to lie, he should have first offered a somewhat less useful body part. Maybe the appendix. Do spirits know how to take an appendix out safely? If so, let them have it. Failing that, offer a finger or two from the hand you don't use to write. Or maybe a toe, or even a couple of toes. But not the penis.
After the spirits agreed to eat his penis, Ney cut it off with a butcher's knife.
That was mistake number four. Cambodian schools teach (or so I would hope) that, after the demons in your dreams accept your offer of an edible penis, but before you actually remove the penis, you should always demand some verification that they are real and will still be there when you are awake. Better yet, you should ask for a demonstration of their power.
What if all they could do is howl at you and make chills run up your spine? That's not worth losing a penis, is it? If it was me, I'd put on a jacket and tell them to howl away.
No sooner do I start thinking that Cambodians must be much more stupid than us brilliant Americans, than I learn that American Airlines Flight 1304 from Ft. Myers to Dallas was canceled last Friday, due to delays caused by a bomb-sniffing dog search prompted by a tip from a psychic. A psychic? They're kidding, right? It's April Fool's Day, isn't it? The purported psychic's call was "unusual," conceded Doug Perkins, local administrator for the TSA, "but in these times, we can't ignore anything. We want to take the appropriate measures."
The next thing you know, the Feds will be flying to San Antonio, searching the basement of the Alamo for WMDs.
Why do people ever believe psychics? Has there ever been a psychic who offered useful information in advance? (And I'm not impressed by anyone who "predicted" that Saddam would hire French attorneys) If so, who? I didn't see any video footage of psychics warning people to stay out of New York on September 11. Did you? Where the hell was John Edward on September 10? The answer, of course, is "off somewhere thinking up complete bullshit."
On the way home from the office tonight, I flew like the wind. From the driveway to the freeway, every light was green for me. I even had one light turn red, for about 10 seconds, then change its mind and turn green before I got to the corner. That seemed unusual, so I glanced in my rearview mirror, which was turned toward the empty child safety seat behind me. After I adjusted the mirror, I saw that a fire engine was about 100 yards behind me, operating one of those signal changing devices.