Monday, December 31, 2007

The Year End - Part Four

Well, here we are. It's the final day of 2007, and we're looking ahead to 2008. The past year has definitely been an interesting one, and we expect no less out of the upcoming calendar. This is a time to refresh, restart, and rededicate, or just to look at everything with new eyes. And that's why we present, in our humble opinion...

The Top 12 Months

12. August
August is often viewed by many as being one of the more troublesome months. It gets very hot, there are no real good holidays, and school is right around the corner. But it holds some charm. After all, what other month can lead quite so easily to experimentation with eggs and sidewalks?

11. April
We don't really have anything against April. We actually like the month in general. But that clever little rhyme about "April showers" exists for a reason. The month is wet, both because the ground is thawing, and because the sky keeps opening up. But hey, it gets off to a great start.

10. October
Autumn is in full swing, and Halloween is waiting. It must be October, when the air turns a few degrees cooler, and hot apple cider starts seeming like a really good idea.

9. June
There's not a lot going on in June, but it's such a nice, slow transition into the summer months that we just couldn't place it anywhere else on the list. If only it could get a good holiday of its own, instead of riding the coattails of "Christmas in July".

8. May
People that get their summers off from work or school tend to look forward to May with great anticipation. We look forward to knowing that the summer movie season, complete with numerous disappointments, is right around the corner.

7. September
Why does September rank just above May? Well, they've got similar holidays, and common weather patterns. So what sets September apart? All those people who were being smarmy after getting the summer off are definitely back to work or class.

6. November
Hey, Thanksgiving alone would help tip this month forward. However, the encroachment of Christmas and the overabundance of football promotions, coupled with it being an election month, kept it just out of the top 5.

5. December
The month of giving (or, in many places, taking) ranks firmly at number 5 for us. It's got brisk winds, crisp temperatures, loads of holiday cheer, and people wishing their fellow people well. It's also got crippling credit card bills and post-holiday depression, but we won't hold those too much against them.

4. October
The month so nice we ranked it twice. What can we say? We really love Halloween.

3. July
Americans get to celebrate Independence Day. The rest of the world gets to wonder why Americans celebrate their independence with things that are reminiscent of bombs exploding. Sounds like a good second-runner-up to us.

2. March
The month that features St. Patrick's Day (and sometimes Easter) is firmly in second place, if only because it shows just what people can do when they don't let a little thing like Prohibition or religious persecution get in the way of a good time.

1. January
It's the first month of the year for a reason. When January hits, everyone gets a fresh slate, full of 365 (plus a little extra) within which to make entirely new mistakes, friends, and experiences. Besides, what other month gets to start out with a huge world-wide party?

You may think that we missed February. We didn't. We know that February is just a few weeks, masquerading as an actual month. So it automatically doesn't qualify.

Well, folks, that wraps up our year here at the Coffee-Soaked Mind. We hope you've had a great 2007, and we'll see you in 2008! Stay safe out there.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Year End - Part Three

Welcome to Friday. Enjoy it, because it's the last one that we get in 2007. Our regular readers know that Friday is the day where we usually reach into a grab bag of news stories, for our awards. Well, we're changing things up a bit today, but we're looking to ourselves for inspiration. And, instead of one top ten list, we're going to put together two top five lists. You know, for a little variety.

Top Five Awards Shows We'd Like to See

5. The Unis
We could take this in multiple different directions, but we've decided that it really should be an awards show devoted entirely to people who wear unitards, ride unicycles, or do other things where one works just as well as two. Our idea for the trophy? How about a unicorn?

4. The Bummies
No, this wouldn't be an awards show for the best homeless, or even the best homeless outreach. We're thinking that, since so much of our culture obsesses over people's backsides, why not have awards for them? Who wouldn't want to walk away with "Best Supporting Bum"? Besides, calling it the Bummies would give it a little bit of British class.

3. The Grampies
We've got the Grammy Awards already, so why not have a similar awards show? The benefit of the Grampies is that they could be devoted entirely to artists well past their prime who embarrassed themselves the least over the previous year. Naturally, Aerosmith is never eligible.

2. The Greasies
Isn't it time that we became a little less health-conscious in this country? We would love to see an awards show where the best greasy spoon diners across the country were awarded for their dedication to all things lard.

1. The Panties
Yes, this awards show would be exactly what you expect it to be. Maybe if prizes were given out to celebretards for actually wearing underwear, we could get more of them to do it. Suggestions for the gift basket include gift certificates to Victoria's Secret and instructions explaining how to get out of a car while wearing a skirt.

And now, The Top Five New Reality Show Concepts We Might Watch

5. Pirates vs. Ninjas
It's been an Internet sensation (by which we mean that everyone has heard of the concept at least once) for a few years, so isn't it time that network television contacted actual pirates and actual ninjas to face off in battle? Add some D-list celebrities (anyone who's been featured on a VH1 reality show should work) for an added level of fun. And yes, by fun, we mean splattery carnage-type fun.

4. Extreme Head Injury Hour
Japanese game shows are weird. That's why, when they get repackaged for American audiences, we often don't see the full competition. Instead, we just get a glimpse into the overarching concept, while seeing some of the more impressive spills. So why not put together an hour of programming that's devoted entirely to head trauma? It can't be any worse than people screaming at briefcases for an hour.

3. Ad-off
We view this as a potential for the political season. Candidates take their best campaign commercials, and then display them during one set block of time. The viewers at home get to call in to vote for which commercial they prefer, with the losers never being given air time again. As an added bonus, it would be a way for people to actually vote for a candidate without leaving their houses.

2. Celebrity Survivor
Let's up the ante on this one a little more, too. Instead of just using celebrities, let the public vote on the celebrities we're most tired of. Then strand them on a desert island, give them a 50/50 chance for survival, and tell them that there will be cameras capturing their every move. As a final master stroke, don't actually hook the cameras up to anything, thereby allowing us to be rid of people like Paris Hilton for awhile without her possibly appearing on our television.

1. American Idol Gladiators
America votes for their next singing sensation. The catch? The singers also need to battle past athletes that make professional wrestlers look serious, all in hopes of reaching the Eliminator. In the end, we'll all learn that our next American Idol is also the last person we want to run into in a dark alley. And just think what this could have done for Clay Aiken.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Year End - Part Two

Welcome to day two. Sometimes, we choose to forget that, at our core, we're a news blog. Sure, we like to make fun of the stories that we find, and we sometimes poke a little too much at certain subjects. But, once you wade through the sarcasm and the jokes, you discover that we really are here to help people learn about what's going on in the world.

Doing this, of course, there will always be days like today, where a news item is so shocking and carries such impact that we know it will be covered by others as fully as possible. We don't try to shy away from these events, but we also know that we would do a disservice to not even give a nod. We won't mention specifics, but we will acknowledge the events. And we will use the importance of the news as our guideline for today's list.

Top Ten Headlines We'd Love to See in 2008

10. Voter apathy at all time low
It would be nice to think that this next election cycle, voters will turn out in droves, so that there could be an actual candidate who could claim a majority, as opposed to those who win based off of the majority that vote. And yet, even with the stark polarization of politics for the last decade or so, there are literally millions of potential voters who shy away from the polls, because of either a lack of information, or a lack of belief in the system. There are ways to fix this, we're positive, but those solutions seem to be years away.

9. No celebrity arrests
Wouldn't it be lovely for an entire year to go by without a single celebrity arrested for drug use/abuse, reckless driving, child endangerment, or any of the other multitudes of things we've seen them arrested for? Of course, if they don't get arrested, what on earth can The National Enquirer or Star possibly cover?

8. United States no longer world's protector
With this, we're not saying that the US shouldn't have a role in helping the global community reach new levels of peace. What we are saying is that it would be nice for the United States to stop acting as sheriff, judge, jury, executioner, and embittered loved one all at the same time in every corner of the planet. Of course, given that position that we've put ourselves in globally for decades, the impact of us taking such a stance any time soon would be more harmful than helpful.

7. Middle East achieves lasting peace accord
This is a total pipe dream. Too many people with clashing extremist views in too confined of an area will keep the region boiling and surging. As long as there are more than two nations in the Middle East, there will most likely be conflict. And yes, this is exacerbated by the involvement of other nations.

6. Steroids legalized for professional athletes
We don't actually advocate the usage of these performance-enhancing drugs, especially to help someone cheat at a game that pays them more for 15 minutes than the average worker sees in a year. However, it's become fairly obvious that steroid usage is wide-spread, and isn't going away. Instead of trying to figure out exactly who cheated and how they affected the game, let everyone cheat to once again balance the playing field. Give them the choice, and educate them on the risks, and stop making Congress deal with it.

5. Writer's strike ends; Scripted television stronger than ever
We would love to see the WGA strike end, largely because we really do feel for the writers who are struggling. As a side benefit to this strike ending, we could theoretically see a greater demand for scripted television, forcing reality programming to fall by the wayside. Hey, we can dream, can't we?

4. Oscars clock in under 2 hours
Admittedly, this dream headline doesn't really mesh with the one just above it. But there's only so many forced jokes and uncomfortable pairings that we can take in one night. Condense the show to under 2 hours, remove most of the banter between presenters (or, gasp, let the host be the presenter), and save the extreme self-congratulation for the SAG awards.

3. "American Idol" gets no viewers
Everyone that watched this show regularly complained that the show was a mockery of itself last year with the success of Sanjaya. Prove it by not tuning in. Oh, and for those who will still watch, here's a quick preview. Randy will say nothing of any importance, Paula will be incoherent, and Simon will verbally emasculate every single performer, so that he can bathe in their tears.

2. Christmas Season starts in mid-to-late November
We love the holidays. We're just a little tired of seeing them encroach on other months. At this point, we half-expect to see Santa Claus holding a flag for Labor Day.

1. "Insert Name of Stupid or Foolish Incident Here"
Alright. This one actually has a really good potential for coming true. After all, there will never be a lack of headlines such as "Man Attempts to Outrun Police While on Segway", or "Thief Sues After Broken Glass Cuts Foot". And we wouldn't have it any other way. After all, if those headlines didn't exist, then what would we have to make fun of?

Oh, that's right. There will always be soundbites.

And that wraps up Day Two in our collection of lists. We'll be skipping our weekly awards tomorrow, of course, to continue our collection of lists, but we'll see if we can't throw a bone out to our readers in some way. After all, if it wasn't for you, we would just be writing to ourselves.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Year End - Part One

Well, folks, it's that time of year again. The time where the Web becomes flush with lists of all sorts. Most of them are looks back at the previous calendar. A few others are looks ahead. And then there's always that group of sites that compose a list with an attempt to remain relevant, even while pushing aside their normal content.

But not us. Sure, we're bowing to the pressure of the end of December, and we'll be spending the next week or so concocting lists. But that doesn't mean that we're going to try to be relevant. For further proof, just keep reading.

Top Ten Websites We Hope To Never See
There are a lot of websites out there, with a ton of content that we never truly expected to see the light of day. There are even more sites that are copy-cats, taking a tried and true platform and trying to twist it to their own perspective. Here, we've taken some time to compile a list of sites that we hope won't ever surface. If they already exist, we're glad that we haven't found them. If they get created because of this, well, don't blame us. We're just the messengers.

10. MeTube
Sure, there are more than a few ways to share videos online, but none are quite as popular as YouTube. Still, imagine a website where all you can watch are online videos of one person. Just one individual, over and over again, naturally with that "hilarious" clip of the party where a table got broken. It would be like watching vacation videos, only without any sense of purpose.

9. We Told You So
Few things do smarmy quite as well as the Web. But will we ever reach a point where an entire website is devoted to people saying that they knew more than you? Of course, it could launch an entirely new form of bullying (previously only seen on playgrounds and FOXNews).

8. The Secret Life of Dust
Oh wow. A webcam set up to watch one area. An area that never, ever gets dusted. We could finally learn the secrets hidden within dust bunnies. And yes, we're yawning a bit at the concept, too.

7. Ant-astic!
This one could actually go hand-in-hand with TSLoD, except focusing on ants. Great for researchers too squeamish to get into the field, but, well, for the rest of us? It's freakin' ants.

6. The Wit and Wisdom of Sherri Shepherd
She doesn't know if the world is flat, what "B.C." means, or why she shouldn't hit her children in public. She's a co-host on The View. And there could be an entire web page devoted to her wisdom. It would look a lot like the blue screen of death, but more annoying and vapid.

5. Digest-o-Cam
We're not sure if this would be a camera from inside of a stomach, or just footage of the end result. Either way, we want to see this even less than we want to see a Carrot Top career revival.

4. Spell-checking the Web
Actually, this one isn't a half-bad idea, but we'd be afraid of landing there ourselves. The concept? A group of people with nothing better to do search through websites for misspellings, and then post corrected versions of the sites on their page. They would never run out of potential content.

3. "How to..." by OJ Simpson
Think of all the things you could learn. Better yet, don't think about all the things you could learn from O.J. and focus instead on finishing that grocery list. It's a better usage of time.

2. Sumo Wrestlers Jumping on Trampolines
Certain people shouldn't ever be on a trampoline. And, if they ever are, there shouldn't be video proof of these events. An entire website devoted to actual sumo wrestlers on trampolines would just be frightening. Not because of the wrestlers... we fear for the trampolines.

1. Dick Cheney's LOL Cats
Alright. We admit that this one is partially listed here because we're a little tired of seeing pictures of cats (or other animals) with horrible captions. We also admit that a couple of them are amusing. But would anyone really want to see an kitten inside of a stomach, complete with the caption, "Gastric juices? Do not want!" or "Invisible heart"? We don't think so.

Come back tomorrow, to see what other lists we can create, as we continue to succumb to Yearendlistitis.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of December 17, 2007

Well, it's the end of the week for us, and that means that we're here with another round of the Coffee-Soaked Awards. Given that it's been a short week for us, we'll just get this ball rolling. Especially given the high likelihood of not being able to make a return until next Wednesday. So let's get started.

You Give Up the Crown Award
Last year, Time magazine declared "You" the person of the year, for many reasons, not the least of which was a sad marketing ploy and an attempt to seem edgy. This year, they've actually chosen a person to receive the title, and that person is Vladimir Putin. Time was quick to make note that the selection was not an endorsement of any sort, but merely a "clear-eyed recognition of the world as it is", and, obviously, Putin is a high-level power. Meanwhile, You has retreated to a dismal corner, realizing that it didn't do much other than munch on Doritos and stare at video screens during their year, feats made even paler by Putin's ability to direct Russia back to a world power, all while maintaining his physique.

Should Have Broken the Mold Award
Jamie Lynn Spears, the little sister of Britney, seemed like she was going to take a different route than her older sibling. In her effort to set herself apart as different from her sister, she appeared on Nickelodeon (as opposed to Britney's Disney), and, instead of waiting for a couple of sham marriages, she's announced that she's pregnant. At 16. The mother of the two Spears girls was originally going to have a book on parenting released, but the book has been delayed, presumably to quickly remove chapters discussing children and sex.

Prepare for the Oral Exam Award
There are many different ways to earn extra credit in math class. There are even more ways to offer said extra credit. And, of course, there's at least one good way to make your offer that could result in prison time. Thankfully, the teacher didn't later insist on a cram session.

Pray for the Pavement Award
When looking for a scenic getaway in 2008, might we suggest taking a trip on a supposed "Holy Highway"? That highway, Interstate 35, runs from Minnesota to Texas, and has been proclaimed as being a holy area by a group of evangelical Christians, who go so far as to claim that the road was prophesied in the book of Isaiah and its status is part of incidents such as the bridge collapse and the JFK assassination. Opponents to the concept feel that those praying for the highway could do more good by feeding the hungry or helping the homeless. Still others are keeping quiet about Route 66.

I Saw Mommy Groping Santa Claus Award
A Connecticut Santa got a little more than he bargained for when a 33-year-old woman sat on his lap, groped him, and then hobbled away on her crutches. While there are many cases of May-December romances, this is kind of ridiculous. After all, that's why they have Santa's Helpers around.

Baby, It's Cold Outside Award
We've mocked science a few times in the past (we can't really help it. Sometimes they make it so darned easy). Recently, however, thanks to science, we now know definitively whether or not a tongue will stick to a flagpole, and why. They are now delving into the mystery of whether or not you really will shoot your eye out with a BB gun.

You May Now Flush the Bride's Gown Award
We know that weddings are expensive. We know that, for a lot of people, they end up buying one item that they'll never wear again, whether it's the dress, a suit, or that special pair of underwear that ends up bringing back memories of an ill-advised romp in the coat room. A wedding in Times Square (specifically in a Times Square restroom) was performed, cutting costs on the space, all while the bride was resplendent in a dress made of toilet paper. This may become the first bridal gown in history to be used multiple times, but only for one wedding and/or costume party.

Your Security is Too Dangerous Award
A Rugby woman who has been victimized in the past by burglars thought that she could take some precautions to prevent further break-ins. Unfortunately, she was told by the police to not put up additional security, because it could harm the criminals. Instead of things like barbed wire and a security gate, the police suggested the use of alarms, all while handing her a manual full of crime-fighting tips. In related news, it's only a matter of time before a dark figure makes their way through Rugby at night, a masked vigilante armed only with their wit, guile, and trusty burglar alarms.

And that wraps up our awards for this week, and our standard postings for this year. Oh, we've got some more ideas up our sleeves, but, as we mentioned last week, the week before we begin 2008 will be marked by our personal take on the blogging tradition (and VH1 tradition) of Top Lists. But don't worry. We can't possible make those normal. Happy Holidays, and we'll catch you next week. Stay safe out there.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

CEOs are real people, too?

Welcome to a special MythBusters-themed installment of the CSM! Jamie and Adam can't be here today, largely because we're fairly certain that they don't even know we exist, but we are going to take some inspiration from them in discussing today's news story.

The first "myth" that we're going to examine is whether or not CEOs are paid too much money.

Well, we would do some experiments here, in order to come to a good conclusion, but we're just going to skip ahead to the results. And, in most cases, our myth is proven, which we're sure shocks just a couple of people out there. True, there are top executives who are paid exactly appropriately for their workload, the type of business that they run, etc. But there are also those who proceed to rake in large profits and larger stock options, while their employees struggle to make ends meet. So yes, in many cases, saying that CEOs get paid too much money is akin to saying that the government passes laws.

Now that we've cleared the air with that, let's move on to our next myth. The subject of our second "myth", and the root story for our post today, is that there are actually CEOs out there who agree that top executives get paid too much.

This is where it gets interesting. In a recent study, almost two-thirds of CEOs polled believe that their own compensation is too high. Naturally, this is lower than the number of average employees who feel the same thing, but that fact that over half admitted to it in an online poll definitely shines some interesting light onto the whole issue. In fact, the numbers could be used by executives to claim that they are actually burdened by how much money they get paid, and if only they could truly experience at least one month of living paycheck to paycheck. But no, they are merely cogs in the machine, who have been forced to accept lavish gifts, high wages, and inflated stock options merely because of their titles.

Of course, we can't expect that any of these CEOs who have claimed to feel overcompensated to adjust and correct their own wages accordingly. If asked, they would probably claim that they were beholden to whatever their particular board of directors decided their wages should be. And, we think it's safe to assume, if their compensation was brought back into line with what the majority would deem "appropriate", a fair number of them just might depart for greener pastures.

There are also those cynics out there who would believe that CEOs would answer this poll in such a way to help them look better in the eyes of the average worker, without actually meaning what they claimed. Of course, the curtain of anonymity keeps any true motives from being discovered.

And that's exactly why we will refer to this "myth" as plausible. It's not like the myth revolved around whether politicians will voluntarily accept less pay.

That's been categorically busted a number of times.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Well, nobody likes Monday

The last time we made mention of a family deciding to name a child something, only to see them stopped by their local governments, we were detailing the story of young "4real". And, well, there's just no good reason that the parents should have been allowed to follow through with their wishes, although their second choice, "Superman", wasn't much better. If only that family had lived in Italy, where they wouldn't have needed to worry about an alternate name. It would have been chosen for them.

After all, that's what happened to an Italian couple who were looking to name their child "Friday". Because, in Italy, when the courts feel that the name chosen could lead to a lifetime of teasing, possible difficulties in establishing friendships, and a potential lawsuit from an American chain restaurant, it's clear that neither the wishes of the parents nor the opinion of the baptising priest should play into it. The boy's new name? Gregory, as he was born on the feast day for the Saint. And we all know that there's no possible way for people to make fun of the name "Gregory" (and yes, we happen to know some very nice Gregory's, but that's besides the point).

Given that the Italian courts were able to do this to young Friday, is there a chance that such powers could come across the pond? More specifically, could the Hollywood elite (who seem to have an addiction to naming their children some of the most bizarre names possible) be affected by such a ruling? As the couple themselves point out, the chances of this name-change happening to a richer, more famous family are fairly slim, but we can hold out hope. After all, we were a little off-kilter when we heard names like Apple (Paltrow), Audio Science (Sossamon), and Alcamy (Henricksen), and we're actively fearful as to what the newest babies being born into Hollywood will be named. Of course, after Nic Cage's child, Kal-El, there are few names that could reach the same levels of bizarre and nerdy, so there's a small comfort.

It really could have been worse. The couple could have named their child Sunday. And since we know that everyone rests on Sunday....

Yeah, we're a little ashamed we went there, too.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The war at home

Here in America, we find ourselves at war all the time. If we're not engaged in something like the War in Iraq, then we're fighting a Cold War. In lieu of that (or when it stops holding our full interest), we begin the War on Drugs. And then, of course, in the last few years, we've had the War on Christmas, which, while we can't be sure, probably involves shooting dreidels and pagan stars at images of Santa and the Nativity Scene.

Naturally, these little "Wars" are propagated so that we can continue to feel as though there's something being done, even when there doesn't need to be. After all, we don't really think there's much danger of Christmas being eradicated, and we know that drugs will still be around no matter how long we fight that battle. Given the nature behind a lot of these little, less important (and theoretically less fatal) wars, it should come as no surprise to anyone that politicians and talking heads generally have a hand in helping spread the message about how we need to mobilize. And who better to fill that gap between the two disparate groups than former White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow. After all, if it wasn't for the Snowjob, we wouldn't be aware that we are currently embroiled in a "War on God".

Wait. Wait just a minute. A war on God? Seriously? Does Tony Snow (or anyone else for that matter) truly believe that America as a whole is in danger of eradicating the Judeo-Christian deity? Or that we're a couple of unbaptised children away from the entire religion being erased from our day-to-day lives? While we admit that it's been awhile since we perused the Bible, we're fairly certain that only two entities can ever actually participate in a war on God. Those two concepts? Satan and the Antichrist. That's about it. Never mind that, if you believe that God had a hand in your creation, and the creation of everyone else, and that He then imparted free will to us, it was obviously so that we could make choices such as these, determining how our belief and faith made the most sense and the most personal impact.

What could possibly be next? A "War on Stupidity"? Oh, wait... we need politicians, and, with the writer's strike ongoing, someone has to be willing to appear in our reality television programming.

But hey, at least we're not hunting Nessie.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of December 10, 2007

Welcome to another Friday. This week has seen people across much of the nation experience a deep freeze, while here at the CSM we've been working on developing potential new slogans. What can we say? We're used to the cold, and it just gets our brains working. But enough about the cold... we've got awards to dish out.

Working Overtime Award
There have been a lot of criticisms of government over the last few years, especially with regards to the vacation schedules that they hold themselves to. Well, partially in a way to stymie GDub, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is contemplating the idea of keeping Senate open over their usual Christmas-New Year break (which extends until almost February in most years). Reid has recently been spotted with a small dog wearing antlers, and rumors abound that there may be a way to make his heart grow.

A Red-Suit Wearing Grinch Award
Speaking of Grinches, it appears that there may be more out there than just Sen. Reid. Someone has been responding to some of the letters delivered to Canada's "Santa" with nasty letters. The content of the letters is unknown, but we do note that Billy Bob Thornton hasn't been seen in awhile. And yes, this is a surefire way to get put onto a naughty list.

That's Exactly What We Needed Award
Continuing our semi-Christmas theme, are you still looking for the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list? Well, there's not a lot of help this year, but in a few years, you too may be able to purchase your very own cloned glow-in-the-dark cat. There is hope that causing the mutation will help with repairing genetic defects in humans eventually. Meanwhile, these cats are not allowed to play the favorite game of felines the world over, which is, of course, tripping people in the dark of night.

It's Like Shooting Plastic Fish Award
Who knew that there was a competition in Australia to see who could throw a fish the furthest? Alright, put your hands down, everyone that watches way too much ESPN17. Well, it turns out that, in an effort to go green, the fish are being replaced with replicas. Hopefully the use of replicas will not deter people who enjoy grabbing something slimy with both hands, only to see how far they can hurl it. This should also allow more people to eat at the post-toss fish fry.

Stay in the Car, and Ignore the Pole Award
What's the best way to keep your child from finding out that you work as an exotic dancer? If you suggested leaving the kid in the car while you buy costume pieces at Target, you're wrong. After all, it could easily lead to the police finding the child and a charge of child neglect. Our only question? Since when did Target sell stripper costumes (outside of Halloween)?

Um, Ouch Award
There are many dangers involved with public urination. Some of those dangers revolve around electric fences or charged rail tracks. Others roam towards embarrassment. But it's certainly uncommon to find that a puppy has decided to use you as a chew toy while you're trying to void your bladder. We're fairly certain that the man involved in the incident will check all holes for small animals in the future.

Stick the First Amendment Up Your Award
It seems like challenges to the concept of free speech pop upon a semi-regular basis. However, we never thought that we'd see someone facing charges for swearing. Especially when said swearing, while loud, was also happening within the confines of their own home. Besides, the woman was swearing at an overflowing toilet, and who hasn't done that at least once? Heck, sometimes we swear at the toilet just because it gives us a laugh.

And that wraps up our awards for this week. Unlike the Senate, we're definitely taking a vacation, so look for the awards next week on Thursday, as we take a bit of a break starting on Friday. And the following week we'll be here with our Top Lists. If you missed last year's, we promise that this year's will be mostly different. We'll see you on Monday. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Warning: May Contain Sarcasm

As a society, partially due to our overwhelming desire to sue people for damages regardless of whether or not we knew of the danger (we recall the coffee lawsuit), we have become infatuated with warning labels. It seems like every time we turn around, a new warning label is being created, ranging from the logical to the insane. After all, did we really need to be given a heads-up that our coffee may be hot? And, thanks to California, we now know that people there have found that drinking paint may be hazardous to our health.

Thankfully, there is a Wacky Warning Label Contest that's been happening recently, to help illustrate some of the bizarre warning labels that people discover. This year's winner, placed on a small tractor, is the simple and sublime "Danger: Avoid Death". Well, heck, if we hadn't been warned that we should avoid death, we might go out of our way to pursue it. Thank goodness there's a warning label.

Some of the other top selections included instructions for a t-shirt iron-on suggesting that people not iron the shirt while it's being worn, or a helpful suggestion to not place a baby inside of a storage bag for a stroller. Meanwhile, we're just wondering where the warning label trend will reach its conclusion.

For instance, is it too ridiculous to believe that we may see warning labels on ladders stating, "Caution: Ladder Will Take You Off Ground"? Or how about a warning for a telephone reading, "Warning: May Lead to Offensive Conversations"? Or how about our personal favorite potential warning label, reserved for CBS programming, "Danger: May Cause Severe Drowsiness".

Of course, if we continue in this vein, it will really only be a matter of time before we see a warning label attached to the Presidential podium, with the statement, "Warning: May Cause Drastic Shift in World's Perceptions". That's a warning label whose time has come.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fighting the good fight

People will have multiple reactions to seeing a crime in progress. Some will step in to try to stop the events from unfolding, others will contact the police and attempt to maintain visual contact, and still more will turn their heads and continue on their way, not wanting to get involved. Of those that directly step in, they have their own reasons. While many may come from some sort of law enforcement background, there are those who simply want to help out a fellow human being in need. And, of course, let's not discount those among us who would rather spend their days as costumed vigilantes.

But another, more interesting reason for stopping a crime might just be because you want to see how it will look on YouTube.

That's pretty much the reasoning behind why a New Jersey Dunkin' Donuts clerk smashed a mug against a robber's head. He wasn't concerned about the loss of money, be he certainly didn't want to be caught on the store surveillance camera turning tail and hiding in the back room. In fact, he even believes that releasing the video on YouTube will help show the robber who's boss. After all, why else would he say, "There are only a few videos like that on YouTube now, so mine's going to be the best"?

Some people may say that simply stopping the thief from getting away with more than the $90 he did secure should be thanks enough for the donut-seller, but those people obviously have forgotten about the lure of online video sharing. When people are more than willing to make complete fools of themselves and distribute the video online (something previously only done with the hopes of monetary compensation from America's Funniest Home Videos), it's actually somewhat refreshing to know that, once the police have finished with the tape, we'll be able to watch an act of heroism, even if said act was coming from a place lacking total altruism.

Perhaps this could lead YouTube in a different direction. Instead of watching people in pain or humiliation, we may be able to turn to that web site and find examples of some of the goodness that lurks within so many human spirits. If that happens, there's really only one thing we can possibly say to that.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Go think about what you've done

Often, it feels as though we've gotten lazy. When we look overseas for a story that's just right for us, we tend to find our vision straying directly towards Germany. And why not? They've got a wealth of crazy over there, and, well, sometimes we take our schadenfreude by viewing the country that invented the term. If Germany falls by the wayside, we tend to look at England, enthralled with their crisp dialect.

But not today. Today, we find ourselves turning our sights to Wales (yes, we know it's almost England, but it counts, darnit), and the exploits of a certain shoplifter there. Well, to be honest, it's not so much about what this said shoplifter did, as it is about what the judicial system did to him. After all, with 71 previous convictions, he pretty much did what comes naturally, although the beer in the pants was a nice flourish to round out attempt number 72.

However, when it came time for sentencing, local magistrates near Shotton, North Wales decided that there was still a chance for the man to turn his life around, and suspended his sentence.

That speaks to a certain level of trust within the Welsh magistrate. Or, possibly, it speaks to a very convincing plea from the shoplifter himself. After all, in many areas of the US, some sort of a "three strikes" rule exists. For this man, he's looking at the prospect of 73 strikes leading to a modicum of jail time.

Heck, the only other people who get to make the same mistakes over 70 times and not receive more than a slap on the wrist are politicians.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A reason to fear, and a reason to hope

We know that there may be a fair number of our readers that never got the chance to see Idiocracy, a recent film about, for lack of a better term, the dumbing down of America (one can assume that the rest of the world is along for the ride, too, but we only see America). This isn't horribly surprising, as the film was relatively buried, and is slowly working its way towards cult status (oddly, the same type of progression that director Mike Judge's previous film, Office Space, followed).

What is surprising (although it probably shouldn't be) is that FOX, the studio that made a point of backing the film only to later bury its chances at the box office, is now working with Redux Beverages (the makers of Cocaine) to produce a new energy drink. That's right, folks. Before long, you too will be able to drink Brawndo and "win at yelling".

We won't go into the details of the film, least of all the portions about Brawndo, but we do have to wonder somewhat about the thought process behind this. After all, creating a product off of a movie isn't new. Creating a product that is heralded in said movie as being one of the reasons behind the steady downfall of civilization seems like either the most brilliant, or the most foolish, marketing ploy in the history of commercialism. Either way, we can rest easy with the knowledge that our thirst can be mutilated. After all, "It's got electrolytes."

But there is hope. According to scientists, our brains actually have a way to help filter information such as the creation of Brawndo, Paris Hilton, and Regis Philbin out of our subconscious. Linked to memory, a sort of "irrelevance filter" exists, helping to weed out distractions and allowing us to focus on more of the important elements of life. If only E! and VH1 had the same sort of filters.

Meanwhile, we're pretty happy that they haven't found an irreverence filter. If they do, we're out of a job.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of December 3, 2007

Welcome in from the cold. Winter came with a fury to the Upper Midwest, and, we would guess, other portions of the nation as well. With the new developments of cold and snow, at least where we've got our fingers curled around our coffee mugs, we're looking for reasons to stay inside and huddle underneath blankets. Not that we're finding a whole lot, but we're looking. So while we continue to look, let's get these awards going.

We're Not Gonna Protest Award
Well, we can't be certain that there won't be protests, but we are certain that certain reviews of The Golden Compass have taken some of the wind out of their sails. But that's what happens when Christian writers review a movie based on a book written by a noted atheist and give it good markings. Our suspicion is that, in the few frames Nicole Kidman's face actually moves, you can see an image of the Virgin Mary.

Don't Know Much About History Award
Some people really don't understand higher level concepts, which is just fine. There are plenty of concepts that we don't really get, either. But when you're a talking head (admittedly, for "The View"), you should probably take a moment to study up on the concept of B.C. Thankfully, not many people with a firm grip on reality watch "The View" anyway, so there's little danger of such misconceptions being spread.

All The News That Fits Award
News is coming to us that Gennifer Flowers (once a mistress of Bill Clinton's) is considering voting for Hillary in the upcoming election. She is even quoted as wanting to "support (her) own gender". Given her intimate knowledge of the Clintons, it's.... wait. Wait, we just can't do it. How the heck did this become news?

Less on the Truth, but a Lot of Swearing Award
When you are thinking of what gift to get your potentially-criminally-minded teenager this year (and seriously, aren't they a little criminally-minded?), consider getting them an mp3 player with a record feature. Why? Because one teen recorded an interrogation, to later play back during a trial where the detective claimed to have never questioned the suspect. Lt. Frank Drebin was unavailable for comment. Other recordings on the player? Selections by "The Killers" and "Black Rebel Motorcycle Club".

I'll Clear My Own Drive Way Award
It seems like stories involving strange happenings with vehicles will never reach an end. There are the people who attempt to outrun the police in their tractors. There's the folks who try to have sex with bicycles. And then there's the guy who decided to carjack a snow plow. No reason was given as to why the attempt was made, although we think it may have been a misguided attempt to secure a new Zamboni for the local ice rink.

Stay Classy Award
Most thieves wear sweatshirts, baggy pants, and some sort of unflattering head wear, all the better to disguise their identities. Not this thief, who showed up to steal watches in Los Angeles while wearing a tuxedo. The thief later complained that the watches had no fun gadgets, and that his martini was stirred.

Maybe We Should *hic* Do More Research Award
Oh, the troubles of choosing a mascot, and a logo. Plenty of schools have recently run afoul of Native American tribes, for their somewhat racially slanted imagery. Other organizations have tried to be somewhat weather-centric in their naming. And then there are the teams that stick with concepts (listen, we're fans, here, but Minnesota Wild? What exactly is a Wild? It's an adjective, although it can also be a noun) just to stay safe. But Killian Middle School in Lewisville, TX chose to be bold, and designed a logo that seems strangely influenced by Killian's Irish Red. The school is now considering whether or not to change their logo, with new ideas of a harp or a crown being looked into.

And that does it for our awards this week. We'll see you next week, provided we thaw ourselves out enough to type. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Seemed like a good idea...

Yesterday we talked about Santa, and his habits. Today, we turn our attention to people's yard decorations, including one family in Louisiana that decided to try and stir the pot a little.

See, they weren't content to simply let their house be yet another holiday-themed monstrosity, with blinking lights, garish plastic scenes, and a serious lack of tongue-in-cheek nature. So they took matters into their own hands, and crafted some special decorations, using wooden cutouts.

The decorations have caused a bit of an uproar though. It seems that people aren't all that keen on the idea of Santa taking aim at Rudolph with a rifle.

While the family wanted to try and different take on the Christmas season, others don't necessarily feel that way. Apparently, the thought of Santa slaying his own reindeer, especially the "most famous reindeer of all", brings something other than holiday cheer to mind. Never mind that perhaps the jolly old elf might be intrigued by the taste of venison.

Of course, from our perspective, the most glaring problem with the decoration is not the rifle-toting Santa. It's not even the severe lack of white powder on the ground (flour will do in a pinch, for you home decorators out there). It's the concept that Santa may be gunning down Rudolph. Sure, Mr. Claus is not one to enjoy sharing the spotlight, which is why months before Christmas, we're met with his image, and not images of the concept that the holiday was created for. But we just can't see him having that fragile of an ego that he'd be willing to eliminate the only hope he has of seeing his way through dense clouds and snow storms during his appointed rounds.

Now Comet or Prancer, on the other hand. Those two are just dead weight on the team.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Giving Santa the pink slip

Today's story is actually a follow-up to a previous story that we chose not to cover. After all, we pretty much figured that a large portion of the blogging world would end up covering (and mocking endlessly) the concept of Australian Santas being told to say "Ha ha ha" instead of "Ho ho ho", out of a fear of offending women (specifically those that might in some cases be referred to by such a two-word moniker). Well, the first fall-out from this ruling has happened, at least according to the Santa in question.

That's right. According to news coming out of Australia, a Santa in Canberra was fired, ostensibly for saying "Ho ho ho", and for singing Christmas carols to children. Understandably, the company that has let Santa go is claiming that it had more to do with the costumers attitude than his holiday spirit.

Still, the overall ruling, and the possibility that the man was later fired for doing what Santa has done for decades (if not longer) raises some interesting questions. After all, it's not like the slang for "whore" is a new word to anyone speaking English. And, well, if Santa isn't allowed to sing Christmas carols (a fair number of which mention him by name), then who on Earth is? It's not like we've got people lined up to dress like Jesus and sing "What Child is This?". And nobody makes figgy pudding anymore.

So, while we can't begin to determine the exact reasons behind this particular Santa being giving the old heave-ho (or would that be heave-ha now?), we can suggest that possibly restricting this Jolly Old Elf in such a way might be fairly nonsensical. After all, if you're worried about Santa Claus offending people, then maybe the first thing you should look at is the proliferation of his image starting around August. That's far more offensive than an off-key rendition of "Jolly Old St. Nick" or a couple of mentions of "ho".

Even with all of this, we're left with one final question. When Santa's fired, is it really more of a red slip?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Science to the rescue!

Alright. We don't really want to make a habit of this, but the last two days have provided us with stories that we just couldn't pass up. Unfortunately, once again, our chosen target is the scientific community.

Look, before you get up in arms about all the good things that scientists have done for us, we want it to be clear that we don't dispute any of that for a moment. We greatly appreciate all of the good things that they've given us, from cleaner air to softer clothes to better tasting hamburgers. But when they discover that caffeine isn't as effective as sleep, as they did in yesterday's story, we start to wonder if maybe there aren't better things for them to research. Obviously, after today's story, they still haven't found those better things.

But judge for yourselves. After all, maybe it really is important that science has helped us discover that teenage passengers are distracting, especially to teenage drivers.

Really, there's just no way that we could have possibly seen the end result of such a study (alright, we wouldn't have been able to guess at the numbers to help prove the research, but we knew the concept in advance). Aside from having ever seen teenagers, let alone teenagers without direct adult supervision, how could one possibly postulate that, perhaps, a penchant for horseplay and/or cell-phone shenanigans could lead to a distracted young driver. Especially given that said driver would only be in his first couple of years behind the wheel, and a bit rambunctious themselves without adult supervision to reign in their actions.

We're starting to wonder if, possibly, our ideas are being taken seriously, instead of jokes as they are meant to be. If that's the case, then we might want to suggest that a study be conducted regarding how people perceive things such as sarcasm, irony, and social commentary. Thankfully, it's not like they did research to show that divorce is bad for the environment.

Oh, they did, did they?

Alright. We're going to go back to bed. Wake us up when science stops being so irrelevant.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Say it ain't so

Those wacky scientists. They get paid all kinds of money to research a wealth of different things, ranging all over the place in importance. But a recent study was conducted with some results that could be seen as surprising only to those people who also believe that the world is not flat but inverted, or that the oxygen is toxic to the human respiratory system.

Yep. If it wasn't for scientists, we never would have discovered that taking a nap is more refreshing than drinking regular coffee. We also never would have known that both are better at keeping people alert than drinking something without caffeine.

Thanks, science! We were really confused on that one. We could have sworn that, if we wanted to be at our most alert and upbeat, we should actually avoid sleep, and start injecting caffeine directly into our veins. Heck, we also thought that blending doughnuts into a thick sugary shake would provide the desired result.

What's next? Are we going to discover that towels and warm areas are good for people that are cold and wet, and work much better than standing around in air conditioning? How about sunglasses not being as effective as closing your eyes when light is too bright in your general vicinity? And what about the concept that being awake will actually help you get more done than being asleep?

Boy, science, with tough questions like these, we expect that you'll probably be up all night long, trying to figure out which one to tackle. But remember, thanks to you, we now know that getting some sleep will be better for mental alertness than drinking coffee. And where would we be without results like these?

Now, if you don't mind us, we're headed to Starbucks.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of November 26, 2007

Well, we've done it. Collectively, as a society, we've reached the final day in November, 2007. Which, of course, means that there are really only 11 shopping months left until the election, and, at this rate, 13 until we see the campaign trail light up again. And what better way to celebrate the upcoming month of December than with some awards? So let's get rolling!

That's What I Call Hard-Hitting Coverage Award
Bill O'Reilly. The man. The media sensation. The mold that Stephen Colbert broke out of. The only person responsible enough to interview Alf. Just look at the schedule for yourselves, and you can see that O'Reilly will have the puppet from the 80's as a guest tonight, as his own little kiss-off to November. It'll be nice to see two puppets squaring off, and we can bet that Alf will actually admit to his love of kittens for breakfast.

The Four (Irregular) Heartbeats Award
Speaking of eating kittens, we of course have to mention that VP "Darth" Cheney was treated with an electrical shock this past week to fix an irregular heartbeat. The doctors were quoted after the procedure as loudly proclaiming, "It's alive! Our creation is alive!" No word yet on mobs of villagers armed with pitchforks and torches.

Talk About Reality TV Award
In an unlikely case of strange coincidences, a Mafia boss in Sicily was arrested while watching a television show about the arrest of a Mafia boss. The newly arrested boss is now hoping to find "Prison Break" broadcasts on televisions near his jail cell. Meanwhile, Paris Hilton has decided to stop watching, "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?", largely because she just couldn't understand the first question. Us? We're waiting for the first celebrity episodes of "American Gladiators"...

At Least They Aren't Overreacting Award
What would you do if a teacher took a poll of their students to name a teddy bear, and then settled on the name of your favorite religious figure? If you're like Muslims in Sudan, then you'll get said teacher arrested, deported, threatened with a caning, and you'll still parade through the streets calling for her death. It's a really good thing that she didn't name the teddy bear "Cthulhu", thereby forcing Lovecraftians to drink absinthe and develop dementia.

But I Wanted to Watch "The Office" Award
When two people are trying to watch the same television, fights can happen. Generally, these fights are usually solely verbal, and the exchange is over before the first commercial break. Every once in a while, people will retreat to separate areas of the house, in order to choose their own programming. Even more rare are times where someone gets stabbed for changing the channel. The morale of the story? Don't mess with old ladies watching "The Price is Right".

Naughty List All the Way Award
Yesterday we talked about celebrities that landed on children's perceptions of Santa's "Naughty List". A new addition to this list would have to be US Surgeon General Steven Galson, who says that Santa is too fat to be a good role model. After all, a healthy physique should be a key trait that children look up to, and they definitely shouldn't focus on things like generosity. Mrs. Claus has already switched to a low-carb diet, and the reindeer are looking into gym memberships.

Some Guys Have All the Luck Award
And, sadly, this guy isn't one of them. Years after being immortalized as the victim of police brutality, Rodney King has made headlines again, this time as a shooting victim. Police did note that King seemed intoxicated when they arrived to check in on him following the 911 phone call. This, of course, makes good sense to us, because, if you've just been shot, there's a good chance you may want a drink. Especially if you're just trying to "get along".

Can You Hurry Up With That Money? I've Got to Get Home Award
You don't often expect to hear of a robber who still follows their parents rules. And yet, that's exactly what happened with an 18-year-old from Indiana, who robbed a dozen businesses for a total of around $10,000, but never missed church, and was always home before curfew. After all, as the teen stated, "Her rules, her house," apparently missing the concept that, while his mother may be upset that he crept into the house at 1:45am, she's probably going to have a few more issues with him serving jail time due to his extracurricular activities. No word yet as to how long of apron strings he plans on getting her for Christmas.

And that wraps up our awards for another week, and, well, another month. We'll be back in December, provided that we can dig ourselves out of the upcoming snowstorm.
Oh, and we're getting geared up for our end-of-year posting already. Once again, we'll be looking to abandon our standard daily postings with lists. Have an idea for a list you'd like to see? Drop us a line, and let us know. We've got some ideas brewing, but we're curious to see what you're thinking. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

From the mouths of babes

People always say that kids really do say the darnedest things, even if Bill Cosby stole all of the thunder behind such a thought a few years back. And sometimes, when asked questions, children truly will give insights that adults should probably listen to. After all, most children haven't had the time to develop anywhere near as cynical and jaded of a world view (especially with regards to their fellow humans) as most adults, and can thus view events with a much more objective eye.

Which is exactly why we should listen to children when they start talking about compiling "Naughty or Nice" lists for Santa, and place celebrities accordingly. Especially when the two "naughtiest" on the list are Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

That's right. One person who's famous for basically having been born into the right family and then sleeping her way even higher up the ladder, and another who started out as a miniature Disney princess, before having her own questionable sexual encounters and then proving that she has no business being a mother (or a driver, for that matter). In fact, when both names beat out perennial bad guys like Darth Vader and The Grinch (how can you be worse than someone who actually stole Christmas?), you just have to admire the clear vision that these kids brought to the survey.

The saddest part about all of this? There's a really good chance that both Spears and the Parisite will decide to latch onto this concept of "naughtiness", and use it to thrust themselves even further into a spotlight that should be no longer theirs. We can just picture Britney wearing a "sexy Santa outfit" (look for these next year at Halloween). And we can imagine that Paris would probably find time to make a video featuring her and some candy canes.

And don't even get us started on what the two would do to poor Rudolph...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On the fast track

There are plenty of things that a person could do to help ensure a certain lack of consideration from others. Kicking puppies randomly while walking down the street is amongst them, as is proclaiming loudly to have finally gotten yourself into rehab, only to later be photographed (or videotaped) partaking in the random drugs you were going to rehab for. Of course, the second one really only applies once you've achieved fame, but you get what we're saying.

Another sure fire way to be treated even more poorly by others would be to solidify your path towards eternal damnation (provided, of course, that your religion adheres to those tenets). And that's just what some thieves in Germany did when they decided to attend mass merely to steal a 300-year-old Bible. Oh, and they made off with the contents of a collection box, too.

Of course, now a large burden does fall onto these particular scofflaws. After all, it's not like you can easily move a highly recognizable ancient book, as even the pastor for the church pointed out. It's fairly unlikely that a book collector wouldn't be aware of a theft as major as this, thereby making them a good mark to take in the purloined papers. As for the thieves themselves, it is possible that they could repent, receive forgiveness, and cleanse the dark marks from their eternal souls. It's also entirely possible that, being the type of people to steal from a religious center, they will embark on other thefts, possibly even going so far as to push little old ladies down while they cross the street. In fact, we're fairly certain that they have impure thoughts about other people's spouses, as well.

If only there was some kind of book that they could read to enlighten them as to how wrong their actions were. Perhaps something with a bit of a cliff-hanger ending...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Always check the couch

We've all forgotten to bring items that we need with us. How many of us have gone on a trip, only to realize that we didn't bring enough changes of clothes, even though we know we set out plenty? Or how about heading out to a bar, and realizing that you forgot your ID? And we've all, at one point or another, forgotten to leave the house with necessary keys, either for work, the car, or our storage facilities downtown.

But how many of us can ever say that because we forgot something, someone else ended up under arrest? Our guess is not many, but that number recently went up by one.

For this, we really have to thank a German police officer, who was demonstrating how easy it would be to arrest someone to a class full of six- and seven-year-olds. In fact, it's so easy that, once the officer had handcuffed the teacher (to cheers from the students, mind you), he realized that he'd forgotten the keys to his cuffs, and was forced to call back-up to arrive with a spare set. The real prize for this story? The teacher didn't notice that something was amiss until the second officer arrived. We guess that the radio call for help didn't set off any alarms.

Given our own sometimes spotty memories, we actually feel for the poor officer. Not only did he forget his keys, but then he had to endure the heckling of young children as their teacher was released. They must have thought that a field trip was imminent (or at least a day of movie-watching with a lackadaisical substitute).

Of course, we also try to keep our easily forgettable things in easily searched (and frequently viewed) places. After all, who amongst us has never lost something in a couch cushion, ranging from keys to loose change (and possibly Jimmy Hoffa, but no evidence can be found for that). That's why we tend to check those places vigorously. Saves us the trouble of having to put together some sort of hanging spot for these items, and it keeps others from having to bail us out in our times of need.

Oh, and for those playing at home, we can't be certain, but we're guessing that the teacher was under "arrest" for longer than Lindsey Lohan was in jail. Just a hunch.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Can you hear my alarm now?

Ah, the cellular telephone. Ever since its inception, it has provided an ever-increasing amount of assistance to people looking to keep in touch while being largely on-the-go. New features have been added, ranging from simple things such as caller ID and call waiting to mp3 playback and full Internet browsing potential. But another new feature, currently only being packaged for Verizon phones, is sure to provoke interest.

After all, how can you not be curious about a phone that blares an alarm when 911 is dialed?

Yes, you read that correctly. And while there are plenty of times where an alarm during a 911 call can actually prove beneficial, there are other times, such as the example highlighted behind the link, where the one thing you want is silence. Especially when in the middle of an emergency call.

But don't worry. After all, the only reason Verizon is even claiming to be doing this is due to a ruling by the FCC. Ok, more specifically due to a ruling that Verizon misinterpreted, but still. They're hearts are in the right place, right? And it's that kind of giving nature that's surely behind Verizon's decision to charge 911 operators more for their services. Naturally, when one is looking at the safety and assistance provided by emergency operators, any company would (and should) focus on its bottom line above all else.

So our hats go off to Verizon, and their new ways of thinking about 911 phone service. Why, if they can only maintain their current way of thinking, then emergency calls may soon only come from those members of society wealthy enough to afford it, and self-important enough to not mind an extra alarm drawing attention to themselves. You know, celebutards.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The cat (nap) burglar

Happy Friday, everyone. Normally, on Fridays we feature our awards, but this week, partially in light of Thanksgiving yesterday, and partially in light of the new theme for the site (which we're still probably going to tweak a bit, but it's moving in a good direction, in our humble opinions), we're just going to hit on a little story that caught out eye. And by caught our eye, we of course do mean that we thought we could poke a little fun.

Anyways, we definitely get when people need to rest. And we understand that there are certain professions that are a little more taxing on the mind and body, thereby requiring more sleep than other jobs. But while it's bad to fall asleep at work when you're doing data entry, imagine how much worse it can possibly be when you're breaking and entering.

That's right, folks. After stealing a couple of pieces of jewelry, our Bosnian thief decided that the couch looked pretty darned comfortable, stretched himself out, and grabbed a quick nap. So it isn't as though he was narcoleptic, although that would've been a better excuse. Maybe he'd just had too much turkey and stuffing, and he needed to just take a breather. Either way, the man was discovered by the homeowner, still resting peacefully.

In an odd turn of events, the burglar had already sat down in a love seat and a recliner, before declaring the couch to be "just right". He also reported a strange craving for porridge.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Looking on the Sunny Side (Up)

Most traffic accidents have almost no humor to them. After all, it's not often that a truck full of industrial glue cracks open, spilling its contents out into what will surely be an almost cartoonish puddle. We don't hear stories about a cargo of Superballs spilling, causing the rubber projectiles to bounce merrily across the highway. And we don't often learn about an accident where someone crashed into a painting that looked like a continuation of the road. When we do, it's sadly unfunny.

No, traffic accidents generally are times of sadness, where a little levity could really help the situation. Unfortunately for all of us, this much-sought-after levity is burying its own head in sorrow over the incidents that have occurred.

And that's exactly why a truck loaded with literally tons of eggs overturning and spilling its cargo is something we need to cling to. Especially given that nobody was hurt in the process (well, except for the eggs, but, as they say, you can't make an omelet...). We're fairly certain that the highway patrol scrambled (Hah!) to get to the accident as quickly as they could.

Alright. We apologize for that last sentence. We just couldn't help ourselves. After all, with the current strike in Hollywood, we're fairly certain that humor akin to what we just wrote above will become the dominant force on the airwaves. After all, reality television hosts aren't known for their quick wit, biting delivery, or jokes fresher than the Reagan Administration. So we succumbed. We're sorry.

We're just going to think about the cartoon potential for a mess of egg spilling across a road. We can just picture the hilarious antics of people as they try and make their way across to the other side, legs slipping and sliding this way and that. In fact, we're even pretty sure that, once the sun struck the eggs, a scene similar to one from the old Ringo Starr movie "Caveman" was witnessed.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, to everyone out there celebrating it. We'll catch you on the flip side.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

More popular than Crazy Frog

It's catchy, brief, and is becoming one of the most frequently downloaded ringtones in recent history. No, we're not talking about the new Britney Spears single, or even Paul McCartney's newest release.

We're talking about the king of Spain telling Hugo Chavez to "shut up".

Not since GDub dropped some uncouth language to Tony Blair has there been the comments of a head of state spread with such speed. Admittedly, King Juan Carlos gave his royal order to Chavez after Chavez had declared the former Spanish Prime Minister a "fascist", but that alone cannot even begin to explain why this simple phrase has become so popular on Razrs around the globe.

But the marketing machine seeking to profit off of the moment isn't stopping at just a ringtone. Mugs and t-shirts are also available, and, before long, we expect to see jeweled mouse pads for those "hard-to-shop-for" Chavez-haters.

Why, in the face of all of this crass commercialism (which Chavez would hate, mind you), it's hard to imagine why King Juan Carlos doesn't go around dropping more tidbits like this groundbreaking one. Eventually, he could even compile a "Greatest Hits" album, naturally featuring "Shut Up" in a prime location. Add to it a bonus DVD of GDub's greatest inappropriate fondles, and you've got a sure-fire money-maker.

Heck, a politician hasn't been able to stir up this much economic interest since FDR called Hitler a "pansy", and then threatened to get out of his wheelchair to teach the diminutive Fuhrer "a thing or two".

Monday, November 19, 2007

So good it's criminal

We've all experienced hunger pangs. Many of us have gone through times in our lives where the hunger is so strong, it's almost physically crippling. In times like those, we're so sure of our own imminent starvation that we're willing to take desperate measures, just to survive. And thus, White Castle is able to stay in business.

Meanwhile, Ruben Manzano of Santa Barbara, CA has his own way of handling those extreme hunger situations. Recently, when he found himself craving a meal after a long night of drinking, he decided that he'd just cook for himself. From the kitchen of a nearby Carl's Jr.

Police arrived at the scene, and found Manzano's shoes, shirt and the food that he'd been trying to prepare. He was found a short time later by a K-9 unit, undoubtedly given extra assistance by the aroma of Carl's Jr. wafting from Manzano himself. Nothing appeared to have been stolen, save the food, but Manzano was arrested for burglary simply for breaking in.

Of course, we sit back and look at this story and we just wonder about a few things. The first question we have, naturally, is why Manzano left behind his shoes and shirt. Perhaps he took the "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service" thing a little too seriously, and decided that, since he'd already broken in to the restaurant, why not engage in a little more disorderly conduct. Of course, we then suspect his conscience caught up to him, and instead of getting dressed, he merely left the food behind.

Our second question, and one that may be a little more pressing, is just how will Carl's Jr. capitalize on this? After all, this is the hamburger franchise that decided to exploit Paris Hilton's natural, um, talents in an attempt to boost burger sales, notably forgetting that the filming was the first time Hilton had ever allowed a burger to touch her lips (we'll leave the joke about meat to our audience). Given that, we really think that they should try to work an ad campaign out of this incident. Perhaps a slogan like, "Carl's Jr. Breaking the laws of taste," would work. Or, perhaps they can simply use the title for this post.

After all, it's gotta be better than their "Flat Buns" campaign.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of November 12, 2007

Welcome to another Friday, the last one before we accept that it's the Christmas shopping season. We've had a short week here, due to vacations and family, but we're ready with another rollicking adventure through the news. Of course, we're also ready for a good cold turkey sandwich, but we've gotta wait until next week for the best kind of those. So let's get these awards rolling!

Is It Hot in Here, Or Is It Just the Fire? Award
It's getting tougher to be a fireman in China, and to enjoy your job while you're at it. Why is that? Well, China just imposed a new series of restrictions, including a ban on accepting "sexual services" as bribes. This new decision certainly makes it seem less likely that firefighters and their clientele will be part of a happy ending.

You're Just Delusional Award
Some people can deny their nerdosity or geekitude with good reason. For example, people would be hard pressed to call Barry Bonds a nerd (although that might have something to do with the whole steroid thing). Meanwhile, others, such as French mathlete Alexis Lemaire can proclaim their lack of nerdiness from every mountain, and it will surely fall on deaf ears. It probably didn't help Lemaire's case when he stated that he couldn't possibly be a nerd, given that he once went on a date with a girl who refused to dress as either a Ferengi or as Princess Leia.

Abraca-Sued Award
Some people will go to the ends of the earth to try and solve their infertility problems. A man from Cyprus went to a local woman for a cure involving an egg, a spoon, a nail, pubic hair, and underpants. He is now suing her for sorcery, which is illegal in Cyprus. Oh, where is the Masked Magician now, to show us all the secrets behind this trick?

Wanted Dead or Alive Award
Mexican drug traffickers raided a police station to recover the body of a fallen comrade recently, presumably so that they wouldn't have to identify themselves when they identified the body. The man had died in a helicopter accident, along with a second, unrecovered body. No word on whether the traffickers plan on a traditional burial, cremation, or the standard "stuff him full of cocaine and claim ignorance at customs" route.

Today, Class, We'll Discuss Anatomy Award
A substitute teacher in Bibb County, GA, had an interesting way of keeping her classes attention. During the fourth grade class, the substitute began to strip, and was undressed from the waist down. After another teacher was informed by some students, the substitute was found to be unresponsive, leading to the belief that she may have been on some sort of medication. According to students in the class, it was the most awesomest day of math class ever. The district has suggested that she not try to substitute again, but she's already made plans to fill in down at the local strip club.

Those ARE Friendly Skies Award
Remember the flyer who was asked to change clothing on a Southwest Airlines flight, because her outfit was too revealing? If only they could have seen the future, where she decided that she would pose naked for Playboy. Oh, wait. We're pretty sure that everyone who heard about that story (and the trauma that Kyla Ebbert went through for the shame of being asked to change her clothes) could have figured out exactly where this was heading. We're just surprised that she went with something relatively classy. We were expecting Hustler all the way.

Just a Jerk Pt. One Award
We really don't have anything funny to say about this next story. All we have to say is, "Stop stealing from Toys for Tots. Jerk."

Just a Jerk Pt. Two Award
And from one jerk to another. We mentioned Barry Bonds before. Did we mention that he recently got indicted? Not for actually doing the drugs, but for lying about the whole situation in court. Oddly enough, when pressed for more information, Bonds could only respond by saying, "If I did it, it really depends on what your definition of steroid use is."

And that wraps up our awards for this week. We'll be back next week, as we inch closer to that wonderful prize of turkey, stuffing, and far too much pumpkin pie than is healthy. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Shouting "Fire!" at a crowded border crossing

For many years, there has been a cooperative agreement between the United States and our neighbors to the north, Canada. This agreement has involved any number of things, such as sharing sports leagues, mocking each other over the relative value of currency, assisting with emergencies, and an active comedian import/export trade. And things have worked smoothly, for the most part (admittedly, a hitch in things came a few years back in September, but we offered to purchase more syrup and watch more hockey, and everything was okay again), up until a recent incident.

While rushing to assist the United States with a fire in upstate New York, a Canadian firefighting team was stopped. At the border. To check their paperwork.

So let's take a moment to make sure that we understand exactly what's happening. While we can't do anything to keep people from crossing our borders to the south (short of erecting some chain-link fencing, and encouraging people with guns to go for long walks), we actively stop emergency response teams from Canada? Are we concerned that they're going to come here, help fight our fires, and then talk at great lengths about the glories of curling? Are we afraid that after helping our own firefighters, they're then going to brag about fatback? Maybe we're concerned that they're going to reclaim Mike Myers and Jim Carrey (actually, at this point, Canada can have them back whenever they want. We'll even toss in Dane Cook).

We can understand the desire for heightened security, especially in this permanently orange-threat world. But said security shouldn't be near its highest efficiency when dealing with emergency personnel.

After all, if they can't stop Toronto fans or the import of Molson Ice, what can they do?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Take your daughter to strike day

What is the one group that can connect celebrities and children, putting them on a relative par with each other? If you said the Hollywood writers, then you're absolutely correct!

Before you start thinking that we here at the Coffee-Soaked Mind have completely lost it, we just want to point out that the writers declared today as a "Bring-Your-Kids" day, and they're currently planning a "Bring-a-Star" day tomorrow. Of course, people will still argue that this won't actually help solve the strike, but it is a completely logical ploy, when taken from the perspective of deciding which writer has the cutest and/or most precocious children. It will also be a good time to see which writers have clout with the actors that they're busy scribbling lines for. Obviously, if you're able to pull someone with decent amounts of fame, then you know you're an a-list writer. If all you can get is Horatio Sanz or Star Jones, well, then it might be time to look into a career writing jingles for Pringles (and yes, folks, that kind of rhyme just comes naturally to us).

Of course, this whole thing could really end up backfiring. For example, bringing children to the picket line could help engender sympathy for the poor writers, and might even encourage the studios to end the strike more quickly, but it could also lead to studios deciding that they've found a new wealth of "talent" for the next generation of shows like "Two and a Half Men", and they could merely be negotiating to create the next Fred Savage. And the notion of bringing stars to the picket lines will only serve to draw paparazzi, and underscore the fact that the writers are toiling for a group of people who would fawn over their own reflections, if only it would just snap a picture.

Naturally, we both support and fear this planning by the writers. However, given their long history of cliches and hackeneyed storylines, it should come as no major shock that they're using tactics such as cute children and guest star cameos during the month of sweeps.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of November 5, 2007

Welcome back to another Friday, and another round of our much-beloved (at least by us) awards for the week. Things have been interesting here, as always, as we watch the number of Halloween and ghost related stories dwindle, while Christmas (and the obligatory War on Christmas) stories increase. Meanwhile, we're just setting our sights a couple of weeks ahead, when turkey takes up the majority of our minds. But, to help tide us over, let's get some awards going, shall we?

Everybody's a Comedian Award
First there was The Daily Show (okay, first there was Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, but we're trying to be like goldfish right now). Then there was The Colbert Report. Now, Huffington Post is getting into the comedy game. The look and feel is kind of like The Onion, if only that venerable comedy paper relied on people who just think they're witty to do the writing. Still, we can't really bash them too much. Odds are that they'll give us material.

If You Don't Vote, What's the Record? Award
Recently, Michael Mukasey was confirmed by the Senate, despite fears about his strong connections to the White House. Oddly absent from the voting, even though they disputed the selection? Some of the Democratic front-runners. What were we saying yesterday about Americans making bad political decisions?

So THAT's What You Mean by "Checks and Balances" Award
In the meantime, Congress also took the opportunity this week to actually hold the President accountable for something that they believed in, but he didn't like, handing him his first veto override on a water resources bill. Rumors of the Constitution's death have obviously been overstated, although it still looks pale and weak. Kind of like the dollar.

Zoom Zoom Zoom Award
We've all had experiences where we forget our keys, or our wallets. Some of us have even gone to a gas station, and then accidentally forgotten to pay. But how many people have ever forgotten their car behind, after paying for that full tank? The man responsible claims to have forgotten other things as well, such as his anniversary, his wife's name, and the entire career of Jay Mohr.

Grin and Bare It Award
During an appeal hearing for a flashing conviction, a German man decided to take drastic action. That action? He stripped off his clothes in the courtroom. When asked later, he admitted that he could only muster a small defense, and even that wouldn't last if Bea Arthur was brought in for questioning.

Family Values Award
Some jobs understand when something important comes up in your personal life, such as a birth or a funeral. The Minnesota Vikings (proud owners of, um, not much, really) are not so kind, as they proceeded to fine one of their wide receivers for attending his own grandmother's funeral. If only he could have planned it better, and scheduled for the funeral for the post season. He wouldn't have missed any games that way.

Tastes Like Money Award
With all of the lead-contaminated products out there, it was probably only a matter of time before we learned about another one. The victim this time? Poker chips, which, contrary to popular belief, should not be ingested, no matter how much dip you put on them. Some of the highest lead content was found in chips used at Las Vegas casinos. Hey, if people in casinos want to put the chips in their mouths, don't warn them about anything dangerous. After all, do you have any idea how hard it is to get retirement sweat off of your teeth?

I'm a Joker, I'm a Toker Award
A shocking study has found that pop music contains references to substance abuse. Even more shocking, country music comes in second place, with rap leading the pack by far at a rate of almost three out of every four songs holding a reference. Oh, if only we could go back to a simpler time, with the music of The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and the Doobie Brothers.

And that wraps up our awards for this week. We may be hit or miss next week, as we take a trip to visit some of our nation's hot spots, but we'll definitely see you next Friday.

Aw heck, who are we kidding? We'll definitely be around by Thursday. Stay safe out there!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

This should probably be more shocking

We've all seen a large variety of different polls going around, especially as of late. There have been polls asking people about their favorite political candidate, favorite web sites (not that we'd stoop to shameless plugging here), even polls to gauge just how much people prefer chocolate to peanut butter. But a recently released poll has given us results that we're not horribly surprised by.

A recent Pew Survey found that fewer than 60% of Americans actually trust the political wisdom of their fellow countrymen. In other words, we simply don't believe that we're politically savvy enough to make the right decisions when the time comes.

That should be frightening, and yet it seems fairly run-of-the-mill to us. After all, we've witnessed with our own eyes just how prone people in this country are to making snap (and poor) judgements regarding politicians. After all, we lived through the stewardship of Governor Jesse Ventura.

Of course, one of the reasons that this poll doesn't really surprise us is the polarized nature of political discourse at present. With the Red/Blue divide amongst states, and within, it's completely natural to expect that people espousing one particular political belief will be unable to trust the opposing group to make wise decisions. Then there's always the people who are confident that their own political party is full of insanity and poor choices, but we're not here to point fingers at Joe Lieberman.

Maybe one of the causes behind this poor decision making, and the lack of faith in the average American making well-informed decisions is the nature of the information being provided to us. After all, if we can't get the politicians to actually admit to any of their stances on an issue, how are we supposed to be savvy enough to make the right choices? And, if we're forced to rely on talking heads like Bill O'Reilly, Keith Olbermann, or Wolf Blitzer, how can we possibly wade through the slanted diatribes to come to any sort of justifiable conclusion?

This is why we propose that, after the Writer's Guild of America strike is over, we actively work to convince television pundits (and perhaps political speechwriters) to go on a strike of their own. It would at least help cut back on the garbage being strewn around.

Who knows? It might actually lead to more answers, and a better informed electorate. And how on earth could that be a bad thing?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

No good here

No, no, we're not using that subject line as a reference for the debates in the House of Representatives regarding VP "Vader" Cheney. Instead, we're talking about some very high earners, and the feelings that they have towards the American dollar. This is being prompted by the realization that, apparently, our money is no good with a number of them, the latest being Gisele Bundchen.

While it's true that Bundchen isn't alone in her refusal to be paid in American dollars, she is the only one that we're aware of who makes their living by parading around wearing a bra and panties most of the time. Sure, she's attractive. After all, she's a supermodel. But for the actual work that she does, her declaration that she would rather be paid in currency that isn't currently floundering seems a bit, well, ugly. After all, if you had to walk around in your underwear, and got paid millions to do so, would you really be concerned whether you were losing a few cents per dollar (which admittedly adds up when you hit the millions range)? At least the others mentioned in our linked article actually had to do something more than be blessed with good genetics to earn their fortunes.

Of course, this list of the already exceedingly wealthy is quick to point out that the dollar will continue to flounder because of the number of Americans living well beyond their means. Never mind the number of people worldwide being paid in American dollars at levels far beyond their needs. Not saying that it would necessarily fix everything, but if every celebrity found their earnings cut by 10%, it might actually help rescue our currency.

But, well, we certainly can't be too hasty. After all, we all do need to live more within our means. We can't continue to rack up our debts. And, shucks, if that means that we can't continue to see American companies dish out millions to celebrities while paying upwards of hundreds to their standard employees, then so be it.

Or maybe we'll just move to Canada. After all, their buck currently has more bang.