Friday, March 30, 2007

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of March 26, 2007

Welcome back, everyone. This week has featured insanely warm temperatures across much of the country, followed by huge storms that unleashed nature's fury. Even with that, we're going to have to say that the month of March is about to slink out link a lamb, since it's hard to compete with the beginning of the month and the multiple blizzards experienced in the US. Thankfully, we can rest assured that the news will never be truly lamb-like, so let's get this week's awards underway.

Milk Chocolate Savior Award
This award goes out to Cosimo Cavallaro, who regularly creates art out of foodstuffs, for his recent sculpture, depicting a naked Jesus on the cross. The sculpture is made out of 200 lbs. of chocolate. It is unsure as of yet as to the exact reasoning behind the Catholic League's proposed boycott, whether it's the material used, or the depiction of Jesus as being naked. All we know is that his milkshake brings all the saved to the yard.

Stay on Target Award
The White House proved once again this week that they will stand by an embattled and beleagured decision, no matter what anyone says. Along with the declaration that GDub will veto any bill proposing a timetable for departure from Iraq, the President is standing behind Alberto Gonzales, the suddenly more-controversial-than-before attorney general. We're pretty sure that, at this rate, GDub and Cheney will remain in the White House through the summer of 2010, denying the election results of 2008.

The Prettiest Homeless Ever Award
News reaches us today that, for the second time in four years, the Miss America Pageant has been booted out of their palatial network home. If they can't find a new network to air the pageant by next year, where on earth will the American public be able to view the spectacle, other than in homemade mash-ups of Baywatch, Deal or No Deal, Ladies Night on American Idol, and random movies shown after 10pm on Cinemax?

Um.... Award
Seriously, we don't really have anything to say about this. What's next, Condi Rice doing a country album?

Insurance Card, Manual, AAAH!!! Award
We give this award out to the Richard Houston and Roseanne Burks, to help celebrate the return of their missing four-foot boa constrictor, Sammy. Apparently, Sammy grew bored while waiting for Houston and Burks to return from a video store, and decided to crawl around inside the car. He was discovered in the glove compartment after a second renter returned the borrowed car to a Budget rental office. This also marks the first time that Houston has actually had his serpent out while in his car. Samuel Jackson has already agreed to appear in a film based on the event.

A Routine Award
We have to give this to the "gin and tonic" bandit of Bloomington, IN, for successfully skipping out on dining bills four weeks straight before getting caught the fifth time. Of course, each time was the same restaurant, with the same order, at the same time on Wednesdays. Rumor has it that the man was surprised that they were able to figure out what he had been doing, largely because he was in Bloomington, IN. We're still trying to figure out just how high he had to be each time to forget that Bloomington has more than just that one O'Charley's restaurant.

Brilliant! Award
This goes out to the Williamette Week, for consulting scientists and other "experts" (no, Shane McGowan was not asked onto the panel) on the subject of whether the order of your drinks affects your chances of a hangover the next morning. Of course, the scientists trot out old maxims, like, "It matters how much you drink," or other crazy talk involving tannins and wine. We'll be doing our own experiments on this subject this weekend, but we're willing to bet that one of the surest ways of staving off a hangover has nothing to do with the order the drinks are taken in, but the amount that is recycled out to the porcelain throne.

Behold the Power of Prayer Award
Or the lack thereof, as researchers recently found that prayer had little to no effect on the success of heart bypass surgery. In fact, those that knew they were being prayed for had a higher chance to develop complications. In other news, other things that don't aid the success of heart bypass surgery include cheese, using rubber novelty scalpels, or being operated on by television doctors.

Looking for a Sacrificial Lamb Award
We're saddened by this week's news of the Iranian capture of 15 British sailors, and the repeated apologies, real or forced, that have been carried across the airwaves. While there are attempts to bring the sailors back through diplomacy, Jon Stewart took a moment to point out on The Daily Show that, while Iraq may be showcasing some weaknesses towards America as a nation builder, "we're still top-notch nation unbuilders". Here's hoping that Iran stops this course of action BEFORE GDub shows that his exit strategy is just to invade the next nation over. We, of course, hope the best for the sailors and their safe return.

Well, that brings our awards to a close. We're sorry to end with such a serious note, but darnit, we think this is something that's important, and nobody wants to see the current war extend into the neighboring countries. But hey, if you want, you can always go back and read about the chocolate Messiah again, if it helps. We'll be back next week, to see what kind of havoc April Fools' Day has played on the country. Until then, stay safe out there.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

What about the Zipper?

This one comes from the homestate. We try not to focus too much on Minnesota, because, well, there is a bunch of land (and people) across this country that don't have any connection. And yet, there are times where our local stories just beg for the type of posting that we can put together. Today, we have found just such a story.

While states focus on big issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and smoking bans, there are times when a legislator just needs to cut loose. When they need to assemble a bill to honor something, if for no reason other than the sheer joy of claiming it as their own. When these times come, you can easily hear elected officials rejoicing over the complexities of the polka, or expounding on the subtle flavors found in a good blueberry muffin, all in the attempt to make said item an "official state" item. And here in Minnesota, amidst potential tax increases and transportation bills, we hear that State Rep. Patti Fritz (DFL-Faribault) is attempting to get the venerable Tilt-a-Whirl declared the "official state amusement park ride".

At first, we think of this concept, and we wonder on the need for such a thing. And then we remember that, while some of us bask in our moments of glory anonymously behind our keyboards, and others live out their dreams by appearing on reality television, there are simpler folks, who simply want their town to receive credit for the creation of a nauseau-inducing amusement park ride. And while Fritz has attached her name to plenty of other pieces of legislature, we're willing to bet that none give her quite the butterflies (or sommersaults) in her stomach that making the Tilt-a-Whirl official will provide.

With that being said, we heartily embrace other states to join in, and declare their own amusement park rides. Just think, the Gravitron for Wisconsin, the American Eagle for Illinois, the subway for New York, and Paris Hilton for California. Why, even Washington, D.C. can get into the fun, with the Electoral College.

Now, if you don't mind us, we're going to go eat some blueberry muffins, have some milk, look at a few Norway Pine trees, contemplate a Honeycrisp apple, and go for a ride on a Tilt-a-Whirl.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

An anti-talent contest

If you've been anywhere near a television, the Internet, or one of the millions upon millions of viewers who adhere themselves to American Idol every week, you've no doubt heard the complaints. One of the contestants, picked by many as the worst ever participant in the televised talent show, somehow keeps sticking around. Admittedly, a good portion of this is due to Howard Stern and Vote For The Worst, who have both picked Sanjaya Malakar, he of the flowing tresses and questionable vocal skill, but that can't be the only reason he's still around. It's even gotten to the point where people are starting to whisper in hushed tones, "What happens if he wins? Does that destroy AI, and the faith that we, as Americans, can put into our reality television?"

Over here at the CSM, we find it a little ridiculous that people are postulating that a Sanjaya win could mean the end of credibility for the ratings powerhouse. Truth be told, we find it a little ridiculous that a talent show like this (or, even worse, So You Think You Can Dance?) can be considered a ratings powerhouse, but that's neither here nor there. On the subject of credibility, we could understand if the program was anything more than a televised popularity contest, but it's not. And, every once in awhile, the geeky kid with the faux-hawk and the nails-on-a-chalkboard voice comes out on top. Want proof? Reread the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Besides, the notion of something like AI having any credibility to lose is a bit of a laugh, anyways. True, it has produced award winners like Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson. Except that Jennifer Hudson won her award by following a different path, actually having been voted off of AI during her stint. And remember how we (as the American consumer) were expected to choke down Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, and Kelly Clarkson for a few years? The only one with any real modicum of success was Clarkson, and she got it by abandoning the styles that Idol had groomed her for. And don't even get us stated on the whole Taylor Hicks/Katherine McPhee thing from last year. Yeah, we've got a McPheever... but we took some DayQuil, and are feeling much better.

When a program claims to be about supporting the best in talent, and yet every year forces its audience to sit through not one, not two, but three WEEKS of "audition" footage, showcasing just about every single bad (and/or crazy) singer, while barely even allowing glimpses of the gifted performers, you've lost some credibility. When people show up in costumes to the auditions because they know they've just increased their chances of getting highlighted on something other than According to Jim, you've failed as a brand maker. When the decision is left in the hands of the American public, as opposed to people who actually understand music (come on, folks... Kelly Osbourne had a brief musical career because people recognized her family line, and yet Common Rotation can't get radio play), the country as a whole has shot themselves in the foot. And when a website like VFTW pops up, and draws as much support as it does, you know you've crossed over into unintentional comedy.

We can't even take the hunger strike girl seriously.

Honestly, we didn't expect to spend this much time discussing American Idol over the course of a full year, let alone in one day. And yet we were compelled to drink the Kool-Aid, and join with the millions of other bloggers who have already given their opinion (and will simply recycle those posts again next week, should Sanjaya stick around). So we say, by all means, support those you feel do the worst job. Vote loudly and often for the people who have no business actually receiving your vote. And when the inevitable demise of American Idol comes, be prepared to wave a torch around the funeral pyre, but be aware that you may have also helped usher in a new era of bad script writing to fill the void left behind.

After all, if it works for the American political system, why can't it work for American Idol?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How could this backfire?

We understand that some animals are picky eaters. In these instances, quite often a new food is mixed with the old, in an attempt to get the pet to try the new diet. Over time, the old food is pulled out of the mixture, and the animal is, often, none the wiser that its diet has been changed.
When the old food replacement theory doesn't work, then there's always the concept of adding other flavorings through spices and/or gravies. Again, the combination of flavors can get the pet to fixate on a new food, and achieve the intended diet change.

Or, you could always demonstrate to your dog how good the food is by making sure they see you eating and enjoying it yourself.

That was the method Elaine Larabie of Ottawa used to get her dog to start eating a new dogfood. When Larabie's dog started eating, she, to her credit, stopped. Of course, as this is a story for the CSM, the food that Larabie purchased was later part of the large-scale North America recall of pet foods. The dog required veterinary care, and Larabie was hospitalized for, amonst other things, loss of appetite and foaming at the mouth, and lab tests were run to see what else may be lingering. To their credit, Iams (the company behind the food) admitted that that she had purchased from the tainted product, and is paying her medical bills.

We do view this as something of a tragic tale. Not quite along the lines of Oedipus Rex, largely because nobody skewered their eyeballs, but fairly tragic in its own right. A woman, attempting to do what she believed was best for her pet, decided that she would set a good example. Said example ended up biting back on her when she looked like she'd developed rabies. A more heartless person would simply laugh at the notion, but we do feel sorry for her.

We'd also like to point out that, with the recent pet food recall and the troubles of Wolfgang Puck's Oscar party, it seems that food is currently getting something of a bad name. If this keeps up, we can hope that a few years will pass, and Al Gore will release a new documentary, "An Inconvenient Hunger", explaining how bad preservatives and over-cooking really are for people. This will, naturally, be followed by a movie featuring animated penguins engaging in the slow food movement.

Okay, we just scared ourselves a bit. We'll be back tomorrow, after we gorge ourselves on Twinkies and frozen pizza.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Hey baby, wanna get high?

Every once in awhile, during the course of a relationship, things start to become fairly tepid in the lovemaking department. It is a part of the natural cycle, where the initial excitement has been replaced with comfort, and it can lead to not being quite as into the groove as you previously had been. Many couples resort to trying ways to spice up their love lives. A good portion of the time, doing something a bit more risky than normal just that once can keep the couple going with renewed interest for quite some time. After all, there has to be a reason why handcuffs aren't just for the police anymore.

A radio station out of Frinton, England, is getting into the spirit of things, and they're doing it by holding a contest. The contest is asking for couple who have grown old together in "a suitably disgraceful manner". A winning couple will be selected by a panel of judges, flown to Atlanta, GA, and then sent up in a private jet equipped with champagne and a bed. So yes, ladies and gentlemen, the winners of this contest will be (almost) guaranteed entry into the "Mile High Club".

Now we here at the CSM can get behind a few concepts easily. We will always support free beverages, be they coffee, soda, or alcohol. Of course, these should depend on time of day, but that's a discussion for neither here nor now. We are adamant that television programs should continue to have scripts, and rely on casts, as opposed to any chucklehead that wants to embarass themselves for "reality programming". And we will heartily cheer any contest that features, as a prize, the opportunity to act like a couple of bunnies, whether it's in the air or on the ground (or in the backseat of a Camaro). So on that level, we applaud the radio station for even thinking of such a contest.

But we do have some questions. Our first question is thus; are they going to be checking the validity of these stories? And if so, how? It could be seen as an opportunity for a clever (and creative) couple to embellish how dreary their love lives are for a free flight. Secondly; why was Atlanta chosen? Was the city picked simply because the notion of having sex within its physical borders would view the prize as more of a punishment, while other, more romantic cities (Paris, Vienna, Cleveland) might not have had the same effect? And third; isn't part of the implication behind the "Mile High Club" that, not only were you on a plane while making the beast with two backs, but that you were also stuck in a small plane lavatory, trying not to be overhead by the other passengers or the flight attendants? These are serious questions, and we want answers.

Instead of investigating this story ourselves, of course, we figure we'll just pay attention to Ralph Fiennes and Northwest Airlines employees. By watching them, we just may get the answers we crave.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of March 19, 2007

Spring is in the air, the birds are starting to return from their winter vacations (and a couple of them are sporting nice tans), and the clouds are starting to spit rain as opposed to snow. Our particular corner of the world is being refreshed, even if we can still see lumps of dirt-colored snow lingering. But, just because spring is here and it's a time of rebirth, don't expect that the news world is going to behave in a similar fashion. And, quite honestly, we wouldn't have it any other way. Because as long as the news continues to be as it has been, we'll be able to continue providing posts like these. So let's get this show on the road.

A Report With Teeth Award
We give this award to the team of Costas Efthimiou and Sohang Gandi, for writing up a paper to conclude that vampires simply don't exist, using math. We also give recognition to Clive Thompson of Collision Detection, for applying, admittedly with tongue firmly planted in cheek, that, under the premise of, say, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there could be, at most 512 vampires, providing that the slayer was able to do a sufficient job per night of keeping the bloodsuckers in check. The math has yet to apply to other parasites, such as the celebutards who keep appearing to suck away a little more of the common man's will to live with every passing moment.

Missing the Comet Award
Not many of us really remember the Heaven's Gate mass suicide from ten years ago. And yet, the LA Weekly has released an interview conducted with Rio DiAngelo, also known as the sole survivor. In part of the interview, DiAngelo explains that there was good reason behind his leaving the rest of the group while they went along their merry Hale-Bopping way. Um, Mr. DiAngleo, just a thought, but could the reason be that you realized that dying to catch a ride from a spaceship hidden behind a comment was a little bit bizarre? No word yet on whether other forgotten flash-in-the-pans, such as Scott Baio, are also planning on resurfacing.

Blame the Editors Award
When Tom DeLay appeard on Hardball with Chris Matthews, he was called out for referring to Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX) as being "drunk with ambition", he immediately denied it. He continued to deny the phrase, even while Matthews pointed out the passage in DeLay's new book. Um, Tom, either you didn't write the book, or that particular passage was written while being "drunk on whiskey". Just a thought.

Blotting Out the Sun Award
A man in Japan was recently arrested for shooting at the apartment building across the street from his house. His reasoning behind the shooting? The building was blocking his sunlight, and he didn't think that the building managers were taking his complaints seriously. Little did he know that the apartment was actually built as a joint venture between C. Montgomery Burns and Lex Luthor, as the two experiment with new ways to cripple their enemies and harness the sun for themselves.

Look, Frank, Red Cheese Award
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and UC-Santa Barbara have teamed together and brought full-color vision to mice, a development that could lead to helping humans who are color-blind, or who have had brain injuries. More importantly, the mice will now be able to truly enjoy Tom & Jerry cartoons, finally seeing the colors as they were meant to be presented, and bringing a deeper understanding of the subtleties presented within.

A Pill for Everything Award
We give this award to the creators of the new pill that will cause cows and other methane-producing animals to be less, well, gassy. The pill, coupled with a specific diet, will convert the methane into glucose, providing a health benefit to the animals. It will also work to help slow the progress of global warming. No word yet on whether McDonald's and Taco Bell have any plans of altering their menus to counteract the benefits brought about by this pill. We also wouldn't be surprised to see Tom Arnold act as a spokesperson for the drug.

Mr. and Mrs. Award
Recent trends seem to indicate that more and more men are willing to take their wives' last name as their own. This should come as little surprise, as we've also seen a trend recently, culminating with K-Fed, of more and more men willing to take their wives' incomes.

Well, that closes out our awards for this week. The world may have taken a little time to recover from St. Patrick's Day, but it seems to have rounded things out beautifully. We'll be back next week to help usher the month of March away, and slide into April with a song in our hearts. The song may be something chilling and dirge-like, but it'll be a song. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Willing to be he's not OCD

Sri Lankan police missed a prime opportunity recently for a case of life imitating art. Seems that a Buddhist monk who had applied for a job as the assistant superintendent of police was turned down, because he refused to wear anything other than the traditional saffron-colored robes. Perhaps the monk should've tried to emulate Tony Shaloub's character from the USA Network program. It might've led to better results.

Of course, a part of us completely understand the reasoning behind the Sri Lankan police turning the monk down due to his wardrobe choices. After all, police work generally requires a great deal of physical activity, and the uniform alone can be a deterrent to crime. Plus, when you're wearing robes, where on earth would you put your sidearm? There's not really a convenient place for a belt, and a shoulder holster would just look odd.

Still, we can't help but think that the police missed the boat on this one. Instead of turning the monk away, they should've worked harder to find more monks interested in police work. They could have then assembled them into one of the leanest (both figuratively and literally) crime prevention units the world has ever seen. Imagine a group of twenty men, all in saffron robes, being called in to support a SWAT team during a riot. Now add your knowledge about monks from pop culture, and realize just how deadly the group could be. After all, if television and movies have taught us anything, it's that even one monk is more than a match for a large group of people attacking him, simply through his martial-arts prowess.

Of course, if the Sri Lankan police are going to discriminate against this bald Buddhist for his choice of robes over uniforms, one has to wonder if other countries also stop certain practitioners from participating in law enforcement. We're specifically thinking about Japan, and we're curious to see if they allow the fabled ninja to become police. Our guess would have to be a no, not because of the uniform, or the fact that they keep pulling that prank where they appear directly behind their captain during a briefing. We're guessing that the ninja are excluded simply because, to them, all force is lethal force.

No word yet as to whether the Sri Lankan monk later gathered together club soda and a clean, pressed handkerchief to remove some stray fingerprinting ink from his robes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Home-schooled sex education

The world is full of lessons. Lessons that can be passed on from parent to child, teacher to student, employer to desk monkey. And while many of these lessons can be passed on through all of these means of conveyance, there are some lessons that should be kept from certain channels. For example, a teacher shouldn't have to explain the lessons of adoption to a student. An employer should not have to tell their employee that fire is hot and burns hurt. And a parent should never, ever teach their child about sex through demonstration. And yet, that's exactly what a woman from Rhode Island did with regards to her 9-year-old daughter.

Now before you get beyond disturbed by this concept, just remember that this is the CSM, and it just might get worse. The worse in this case comes from the fact that the daughter watched as her mother and her mother's boyfriend had sex while she was watching. The couple pled guilty to the charges, and were sentenced to three-years probation, after the little girl told her father what was happening.

In all honesty, we have to admit that this is a better option that forcing the girl to participate in the act itself. Still, we can't help but wonder what would possess someone to have sex with their child present. Is there some sort of a worksheet involved? Are there pictures that have to be matched up with phrases like "Missionary" and "Reverse Cowgirl"? Or was this really all a part of a larger scheme to teach the young girl about cleanliness.

Now, we don't want to be labeled as prudish. We are quite far from it, and, given the option, we would rather see children watching sexually graphic scenes on film, instead of violence and death. Still, we're pretty certain that a 9-year-old just isn't quite ready to understand why Mommy's suddenly screaming for all that "Daddy" can give her. Unless, of course, that 9-year-old is the daughter of someone like Jenna Jameson, or Paris Hilton. By that age, those kids will already be more familiar with sex and sexual terminology than most college freshmen.

Of course, throughout our read of this entire news story, we couldn't help but remember the sex-ed scene from "Monty Python's Meaning of Life". And maybe, just maybe, the parents in our story are engaging in a similar disconnected running commentary about what exactly is happening, in order to bring more light to the subject.

Or the kid's going to turn out to be the next Traci Lords. It could really go either way.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Say it ain't so

The steroid scandal raging through the professional sporting world keeps claiming more victims. While some of the past names tied to the scandal have ranged from Jose Canseco to allegations against Barry Bonds, before spiraling straight back to Canseco, a new sport is seeing some of it's stars pulled into the fray. That sport, or sports entertainment, if you will, is professional wrestling.

We know what you all must be thinking. How on earth could anyone ever assume that WWE Superstars could ever step into such a tawdry realm, allowing their bodies to be pushed to preposterous levels through the use of drugs? How will we ever have faith in these athletes, who have inspired so many for so long, now that we know the sham behind the physiques? Why does that suddenly explain how someone can be knocked unconscious with a chair, only to, mere moments later, find the will to defeat their opponent in stunning fashion?

Of course, this IS the world of professional wrestling we're talking about. The sport is practically synonymous with overhyped (and overpumped) body builders with a penchant for wanting to take some aggression out on each other in a homoerotic way. These are the men who have put in as many hours in the gym as Schwarzenegger did in his prime, and have more acting chops in their little finger than Stallone has in his entire furrowed brow. And yes, this is an organization which has brought more participants back from the dead (both in the retirement and in the voodoo senses) more times than you can shake a syringe at. So the notion that some professional wrestlers may feel the need to get a little juiced up before getting into that steel cage match shouldn't really strike anyone as much of a surprise.

Perhaps it's actually a sign that the steroid story is running out of steam, and good new villains. After all, with many of the names previously mentioned, they've either outright admitted it, or they've thumbed their nose at the notion in some of the most arrogant ways possible. By lumping members of the WWE into the mix, the controversy can gather a new crowd. In fact, it may only be a matter of time before we see Randy Orton and Kurt Angle in a tag-team match against Jason Giambi and Mark McGwire, with the winner receiving an acquittal from Judge Vince McMahon.

Heck, if they work fast, they could get the storyline hammered out before SummerSlam.

Monday, March 19, 2007

We are Siamese if you don't please

A woman in Flushing, MI, has just learned the hard way that her precious Siamese cat may actually be worth close to $123,000. At least, he darned well better be after a bite victim sued successfully for $122,400 after the cat's displeasure led to an infection. Jean Toney had, naturally, warned people apparently unfamiliar with Siamese that her cat may possibly bite, and one poor (although, not for long) victim didn't heed the warning. The real kicker? The victim is Toney's brother, Michael Sabo.

It should be noted that Sabo did first attempt to get Toney's insurance company to pay at least a part of the damages, largely because he was forced to spend three weeks in the hospital after the bite. It should also be noted that, when the insurance provider turned down the claim, Sabo had "no choice but to sue", according to his lawyer. Needless to say, this has led to a strained relationship between Toney and Sabo.

Of course there's a strain between the two. After all, we know what it's like to have siblings. We know how easily sometimes said siblings can get on your nerves. We also understand that revenge plays itself out by getting on your siblings nerves, sometimes without planning it. And finally, we understand that Siamese, because of the inbreeding to keep them "pure-blooded", are one of the most insane breeds of cats to ever strut their way around a home. They have a tendency to make other cats seem a little needy. And, well, Siamese will claw, scratch, and/or bite anyone who happens to look at the mirror sideways.

Like we said, they're nuts.

Still, we can't imagine suing any family member over an animal bite, unless said animal was the pet hippopotamus we've heard Uncle Teddy has somewhere. This was a cat bite, and, while an infection did occur, there are other was of handling such incidents. After all, unless there are some other problems in the familial relationship, there's gotta be a better way to handle this situation, especially when you knew that there was a chance that you'd get bitten by the devil-creature. One suggestion is showing up for every Thanksgiving dinner for turkey, beer, and profuse scratching yourself during the Dallas Cowboys game.

It should also be noted that Toney is planning on keeping the cat. Obviously, to her, the $122,000 price tag, coupled with the potential loss of contact with her brother, is a small price to pay. Although, looking at this whole thing, it's possible that the loss of contact with Sabo could actually be a good thing, and well worth the financial hit. In fact, we've heard that the cat has already received requests from the Jackson family to put "hits" on family members. The Hatfields and the McCoys have considered it, but feel that adding cats is just going one step too far.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of March 12, 2007

Welcome to St. Patrick's Weekend. The Irish in us have already had a few drinks, but don't worry, we'll be keeping that particular part of ourselves tucked away until tonight, when it's more socially acceptable. The rest of us have been downing the coffee just to keep pace, and we're ready to get the awards underway. So let's get the ball rolling, shall we?

Do You Have a License For That Dress Award
An Australian woman was recently arrested for attempting to smuggle wildlife, specifically fish, from Asia. Sharon Naismith thought it would be a good idea to hide the fish in specially made pockets on the inside of her skirt. Customs found her when they heard a "flipping" noise coming from the skirt. Oddly enough, nobody noticed that she was also busy smuggling assorted woodland creatures in her blouse.

I Am the Promiser Award
GDub has changed slightly, from being the "Decider" to being the "Prognosticator". The President has promised that, not only will the GOP retake both houses of Congress, but that they'll also place one of their own inside the White House in 2008. Sadly for the President, he got his messages confused, and was merely being told that there would be an elephant at the White House in 2008, for a birthday party.

Better Late Than Never Award
We give this award to the Walt Disney Co., for the news that an upcoming feature, "The Frog Princess", will feature Disney's first-ever black princess. No word yet on whether the character will be voiced by Jennifer Hudson or Beyonce Knowles, in their continuing fight to see which can be the actual black princess. Queen Latifah seems a shoe-in for a maternal role. With a black princess, Disney can now focus on other socially relevant topics, by casting Sean Hayes as a princess of his very own.

You Have the Right to Have Mommy Present Award
Police in Baltimore are really taking a crime crackdown seriously, and they proved that nobody is above the law. The police recently arrested, cuffed, and "scared" a 7-year-old who was riding a dirtbike on a public sidewalk. The dirtbike was later confiscated. Meanwhile, the police completely overlooked a 10-year-old threatening a 6-year-old for their lunch money.

Beam Us Up Award
We give this award to the Scottish town of Linlithgow, for taking it upon themselves to ensure that even the fictitious get the respect they are due. The town is currently undertaking building a memorial for Montgomery Scott, the crotchety engineer of Star Trek fame. To show support, geeks worldwide are planning on extending their "no showers" rule until either the monument is completed, or the date the "Scotty" would have been born. We're fairly surprised that the committee has not yet claimed that they "canna do it."

Milking it For All It's Worth Award
News this week reaches us that it's possible Anna Nicole Smith was murdered. Anyone who was precogniscent regarding the news coverage already can use the word "justifiable" as their defense.

A Parade For Us Award
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, we bring you the news of the world's shortest St. Patrick's Day parade, which takes place in Dripsey, County Cork, Ireland. The parade, which reverses course every year, is a mere 100 yards long. Rumor has it that the parade was originally meant to be longer, but it only took a standard Irishman 100 yards to drink 10 pints.

And that rounds our awards out for this week. We're off to hit the streets, watching as people dress up like little men in green suits. And then there's always the St. Patrick's Day festivities. We encourage everyone to have fun, and tilt one back for us. We'll be doing the same for you. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mary Jane found on MySpace

Over here at the CSM, we're starting to feel like we've been picking on Wisconsin a little much recently. It certainly seems like the Dairy State has earned more than its fair share of our attention as of late, although we do have our defences as to why.

1) It's the state where we started out as little Cola-Soaked Minds, and it's always safe to pick on your home.
2) We now live in the Gopher State, and it's something of an obligation to pick on your neighbors. If you want proof, just ask Germany, circa 1940.
3) Some Wisconsinites have done some really dumb things as of late, and there's nothing we like better than someone doing something stupid.

That being said, it should come as no surprise that today brings us yet another Wisconsin story, coupled with the fact that a fair number of people who use computers have proven themselves to be lacking sufficient intelligence to actually operate the machines. We're not just talking about the people who rely on "leet speek" or anything like that. No, we're looking at people who put incriminating pictures on the internet.

A wise person once told us, "If there is a picture of your ass, there's a picture of your ass on the internet." The follow-up adage, as Moua Yang of Sheboygan, WI can attest to, is "If there's a picture of your homegrown pot plants on the internet, there's a picture of your homegrown pot plants discovered by the police." While the police were not specifically looking for information to make a drug bust, they had been using the internet (and sites like MySpace) as a tool into discovering who was behind some gang-related activities. When the cops made the connection to Yang, and discovered the pictures, hilarity ensued, so long as by hilarity you mean criminal charges.

Now we fully admit that we've done some fairly stupid things in our own time, and we're pretty confident that at least one picture and/or story from said exploits has ended up somewhere on the internet. But how intelligent does one have to be to put photos that could lead to criminal charges on their own site? After all, if your friends put pictures of you like that online, it could be passed off as a fairly mean-spirited (but possibly still funny) prank, kind of like on the British version of The Office. If you do it yourself, it makes you a prime candidate for Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? And, as we all know, even 5th graders know enough to keep their pot pictures in shoeboxes underneath their beds, as opposed to plastering them onto MySpace.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

So it's not quite good behavior

24-year-old Sampson Sor Siriporn, a Thai drug dealer currently serving her prison sentence, has an interesting opportunity before her. When she enters the boxing ring next month against Japanese-born Ayaka Miyano, she'll be fighting for the WBC light-flyweight title. She'll also be finding out if she can knockout the remainder of her jail time.

If Siriporn wins the title, she's a free woman, granted early parole.

The Thai woman started boxing to forget about her crimes, and has gathered so much attention and well-wishes from her fellow prisoners, that the corrections department is more than comfortable with the idea of letting her out of jail early. This could mark one of the few times where a prisoner was released because of fighting.

Of course, this sort of deal seems fairly foreign to many Americans, where we still use an outdated system for getting released on parole. You know, the tired old "good behavior" line, for prisoners who don't plan a prison break, offer to wash the warden's boots with your own toothbrush, and don't complain when your cellmate thinks that the two of you should share your jumpsuits. If Siriporn wins the title and her freedom, there may be sweeping parole reforms across this land of ours, where prisoners would be offered parole for not planning prison breaks, washing the warden's boots with their cellmates toothbrushes, and offering to handstitch a new jumpsuit from the napkins in the prison cafeteria.

Ultimately, Siriporn has the chance to prove that she's rehabilitated herself from her criminal ways, and she will show this by engaging in a violent ballet, with fists flying, as she attempts to knock another woman unconscious. Somewhere, Mike Tyson is bemoaning the fact that such opportunities have never fallen to him, swearing that he could also beat a woman senseless. And, even though he sounds like the love child of Michael Jackson and Mickey Mouse on too much helium, we're still a little afraid of the guy. Not because he likes to eat his opponents (just ask ol' "Nibbled Ear" Holyfield), but because of the tribal tattoo on his face. Anyone willing to do that to themselves just might make Manson (take your pick between Charlie and Marilyn) seem sane.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Well, at least he had bus fare

You know that you've pulled off a major shocker of a crime when you can make a couple of quick stops AFTER you're finished, and then leave on a city bus. That's exactly what a bank robber did in Minneapolis Monday afternoon. After he'd robbed a Wells Fargo, he decided to make a stop at a liquor store and a sandwich shop before getting on a city bus. The strangest thing out of all of this is that he was able to escape capture, even with making his extra purchases.

Sure, we could take a moment to fault the police for not being able to grab the suspect anytime before he was able to board one of the lightning-quick city buses that all major metropolitan areas have, but we're pretty sure that just about everywhere else that picks up this story is going to do that. Instead, we're going to focus our attention on the bank robber himself. Really, sir, just in case you're reading this, we want to ask something. And yes, this is in light of the fact that you got away with it.

Our question to you is, "What on earth were you thinking?" Seriously, how do you decide to rob a bank, and THEN realize that you need an ice-cold forty to go along with the sandwich you're suddenly craving. To top it off, why would you even plan such a crime when your best (perhaps only) means of escape rely on you being able to find exact change to pay your fare, while hordes of others, some most certainly unwashed and talking to themselves, mill about you in a flagrant attempt to sit next to the one available hottie.

Honestly. There are simple ways of doing things. There is an order to the planet. For example, do not put your shoes on before you try to pull on your pants. Do not stick a knife into a peanut butter jar without first removing the lid. And never ever commit a crime of any magnitude and then decide that you just desperately need to get lunch and some beer. True, maybe this whole plan was concocted while on a marijuana buzz, and the munchies just set in, but still, there's got to be common sense somewhere.

Now, before anyone jumps on our case, we're not advocating crime by any means. We don't want to see people start trying to use anything we've said here as justification for illegal actions (however you justify your legal ones is fine by us). But we would like to see people be a little more intelligent about what they do. After all, just because you got away with something, that doesn't make it right.

A quick tip for the cops. Start casing the local restaurants around this particular bank. Because quite obviously, your bank robber has a hunger that cannot be tamed, nor can it be held off until he makes it to a safehouse. And if you spot someone wandering into a Subway that fits your description, and he offers to pay with a $100 bill, he might be your guy. Just make sure that there isn't a bus stop nearby.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Did you put "felony charge" on the list?

Students in Laredo, TX experienced a bit of a shock over their recent scavenger hunt. When the cars pulled into an empty lot to drop off their loot, they were met by the police, who arrested them for theft and for engaging in "organized criminal activity".

Here at the CSM, we simply shake our heads in sadness. Not over the notion that a bunch of high school were arrested for gathering things like road signs together for their individual lists. No, we're saddened that, in the grand history of scavenger hunting, these students have delivered a black mark. After all, who amongst us has not participated in some sort of a search mission, to find the prescribed list of goods, only to enter into a break-neck race down to the wire with the only other time to be able to find the much desired Obi Wan Pez dispenser.

And therein lies the problem. The students in Laredo didn't fall on the old scavenger hunt stand-bys. They ignored the wisdom and experience of the generations who had scavengered before them, and had put together lists that included items that were fun and/or silly, as opposed to items that would require breaking certain laws to obtain. They also scoffed at the notion of using something as prevalent as a digital camera in order to have pictures of their teams taken in front of a giant phallus. Oh no, these Laredo students needed the phallus itself.

Ok, we honestly don't know what types of items these kids were told to acquire. Although, from the article, we can guess that whoever was the ultimate recipient of the loot was getting prepared to deck out their dorm room in the most ass-kicking way possible. After all, what can you do with ten stop signs? You can plaster your wall in a bright red-and-white pattern, and claim it as avant garde art.

And if that doesn't work, then claim temporary insanity. If you've ever participated in a scavenger hunt, that claim is rock-solid.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of March 5, 2007

Welcome to Friday, gentle readers. We're here, to bring you our weekly round-up of a whole bunch of stories that we wanted to poke fun at. The week itself certainly brought its fair share of the bizarre to our eyes (who can forget Chuck Norris, huh?) and, well, today is no different. So let's get this ball rolling, shall we?

Somebody's Watching Me Award
This award is given to the FBI. As it turns out, the Federal Bureau of Investigation used the Patriot Act improperly, and, in some cases, illegally, to dig up information on potential suspects. They also underreported how often they received forcibly gained data from businesses. The audit that discovered this also discovered that there was no intentional wrong-doing, but that the results were troubling nonetheless. It certainly explains why an Agent Smith keeps calling for us, and referring to us by the name, "Mr. Anderson."

Six-Shooters for All Award
The US Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C. overturned a gun ban for the city, supporting gun advocates' stance that the ban violated their Second Amendment rights. The ban had previously been upheld by stating that the "right to bear arms" didn't apply to individuals, which the Court of Appeals disagreed with. The ruling was met with a 21-gun salute, all of which came from the very itchy trigger finger of one Tony Wannamaker.

Secular Currency Award
A printing error on a number of the newest dollar coins has confused the US Mint. The new coins are meant to be printed with the words "In God We Trust", "E Pluribus Unum", and the mint stamp and year on the outside edge, but a number of coins have been found to be missing those pieces. In related news, godless heathens across the country have gone on dollar-coin spending sprees, thankful to finally have currency that doesn't burn their blasphemous flesh.

And it Burns, Burns, Burns Award
First rule of thumb: Don't watch movies like "Jackass" while drunk. Second rule of thumb: Don't proceed to try to emulate any of the stunts seen. Addendum to second rule: Especially if it means lighting part of your genitalia on fire. These simple rules weren't followed by Jared Anderson of Wisconsin, and it resulted in his visit to a hospital, while his friend, Randall Peterson, who actually did the lighting, could face criminal charges. Witnesses curse their lack of video cameras, claiming, "It would've made a bitchin' YouTube video, dude."

Geekiest Mailbox Ever Award
The United States Post Office is getting set to take part in the 30th anniversary of the Star Wars movies by unveiling new mailboxes. No word yet as to whether the mailbox will deliver obvious curses in adorable beeps and whirring noises.

Auto-erotic Award
There's this guy, see? And he's English. And he likes sex with cars. Yup. Insert your own "lube-job" joke here... we know there are a ton of them.

Latin Flavor Award
President Bush is currently making a swing through Latin America, to dispel rumors that he, and America as a whole, have ignored the poverty and other assorted problems experienced in the countries. Bush, in response to previous difficulties in establishing ties with Latin American nations, was quoted as saying, "I'm not the least bit discouraged by past failures". Bush went on to comment that, with as frequently as he eats at Taco Bell while listening to Tito Puente, it was inconceivable to imagine people claiming he ignores Latin America. Elsewhere, the Vice President dined on tabby.

Well, that wraps up our awards for this week. The weather's getting lovely, and we're getting ourselves ready for the upcoming celebration of all things Irish. Of course, like most Americans, we'll be doing this by drinking green beer until our eyes are crossed. One week to go... time to stock up on the dye. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Foul? I'll show you a foul!

Let's pretend for a moment that you're watching a indoor soccer match. You've got the team that you're cheering for, and you watch as a member of the opposing team commits a foul against one of your players. The fouled player could very well be related to you somehow. What do you do?

Ok, got your answer? Now let's pretend that you're watching a bunch of 8-year-olds playing in this soccer game. How do you react now?

Well, a 42-year-old man in Germany decided that the officials weren't doing enough by simply waving their little yellow and/or red cards around when fouls were commited. He decided to charge the field and deliver a karate kick to the antagonist, before being pounced on by other spectators who quickly rushed the field to stop further violence. The child suffered some bruises and grazes, while the man suffered a severe blow to his ego, by realizing that his karate kick did nothing more than graze an 8-year-old. Of course, to show that the 42-year-old isn't the only one with a less-than-substantial grasp on reality, the police aren't sure yet if he should be charged over the incident.

Ultimately, something like this can really only happen in a country where soccer has a rabid following. In the United States, we just can't get ourselves that worked up over some children kicking a ball around a field. Heck, we can barely get excited over grown adults with years of experience doing it. Although it is somewhat comforting to see that insane (potential) relatives are not simply an American thing. We may have a larger portion of that particular pie, but at least we can rest easy knowing that Germany has at least one.

And, being that this is the CSM, we've even found a bright side to this whole story, aside from the fact that the child wasn't seriously injured. If the German man had actually been Chuck Norris in some clever disguise, the poor child would've suffered far worse than bruises and scrapes. In fact, with one well-placed roundhouse kick, Chuck Norris could've sent reverberations through the family's bloodlines, causing even his great-great-grandparents to wink out of existence, or at least induce splitting headaches all the way down the maternal line.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

When good fantasy creatures turn bad

At the CSM, we're pretty sure that when Robert Boyd, of Broadlands in Carrickfergus, Ireland was arrested for robbery, the last thing the police were expecting was for him to come forward and declare that he was an elf named Beho at the time. Check that, a female elf named Beho. Although it certainly made the wig make a little more sense.

While Boyd denies that the robbery actually took place, he did admit that he may have "blurred that line between reality and fantasy" while involved in his Shadowrun role-playing game. Boyd also went on to say that he himself was not personally responsible for any crime that may have been committed, but accepted that perhaps Beho had meant to carry out the plans, securing herself some new lacy undergarments.

So he "may have" blurred the line? The 45-year-old Irish Boyd, who receives regular psychiatric treatment, firmly believed that he was a female elf in a futuristic world. He went on to believe that he was a "shaman" in the game world, and that Beho carried a small Japanese sword as a weapon (in reality, he is accused of robbing the lingerie store at knife-point). Heck, we're willing to buy into the notion that Boyd even went so far as to believe that when he, as Beho, was done stealing bras to make herself feel pretty, she returned to her home inside of a tree to make cookies and crackers for children worldwide.

Ultimately, one of the points made in the article actually doesn't surprise us. Apparently, Boyd told the defense counsel that the game was being played within his "small social circle". And, well, quite honestly, when a 45-year-old man firmly believes that he is a magic-using elf with a tanto and uses that alter-ego as proof that he didn't rob the lingerie store, we have no choice but to accept that his social circle must be quite small indeed.

Of course, it could have been worse. Not only could Beho have stolen the undergarments, but she could've brought along her allies. And, as we all know, there's just no way for a troll to fit into a camisole without some serious help.

It's not like Boyd is the only delusional one, though. If anything, he's lumped up with a number of cities in Vermont, who seem to believe that the vote of their towns really matters.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Truth and fiction

Say it isn't so. Please tell us that all will be well, and that the news we've read today is just a horrible horrible fabrication. We can't allow ourselves to believe that there are falsehoods being spread around the series of tubes we call the Internet, least of all at the bastion of truth and research, Wikipedia. Please, Essjay, tell us that all will be well.

Okay, now that we've gotten the histrionics out of the way, we can move on to the story. As it turns out, Essjay, one of the most prolific editors Wikipedia had, was not simply using his powers of editing and conflict resolution for good. Oh no, Essjay took a piece of the truth into his hands and disfigured it, until it resembled what he wanted people to see. In other words, the man lied lied LIED about who he was when filling out his online profile. Sure, he claims that he created the persona of a tenured professor of religion as a way to keep others from portraying him in the online world, but it all seems to be a very tenuous explanation for a site that purports itself to be as truthful as possible.

Of course, this type of news shouldn't really come as much of a surprise. After all, Stephen Colbert coined the phrase "wikiality", meaning reality by the popular vote, largely due to the fact that Wikipedia did seem to have some level of popularity contest towards getting entries approved and disseminated. During that time, Colbert even challenged his viewers to insert him into random Wikipedia articles, something which has, theoretically, been rectified. And yet the basic nature of Wikipedia, with a small team of editors and a global population of submitters, can still lead to stretching of the truth, or opinions being presented as fact.

When someone has a specific background to qualify as an expert on a subject, it's difficult to not want to take their perspectives at face value. When you learn that someone merely created the perception, and used that perception to make their opinions carry more weight, it's hard not to think of them like one would Frank Abagnale. When you don't know that they're an imposter, you can accept what they say. When you find out the truth, you suddenly wonder if they ever really loved you in the first place, and you really need to get that gemstone appraised for proof of value.

Of course, with the anonymity of the internet, people are bound to continue to make false credentials for themselves, and to use those credentials to support their views. It makes for good reading, and good drama when the truth is finally unveiled. Still, when a professor of religion edits things about Justin Timberlake, purging information he "knew to be false", one should question. When Stephen Colbert's fan can accomplish the goal he set out for them, even for an hour, one should keep an open mind towards these things. When the world continues to believe that the mission was accomplished despite the continuing insurgency, one should take reality with a liberal dash of hard liquor.

And that's why we here, at the CSM claim to be exactly what we are. We're slightly bitter, snarky, hopefully humorous worker drones who happen to find something interesting within the news of the world, and hope to be able to cast it all in a new light. Sure, it won't lead to Leonardo DiCaprio playing us in a movie of our lives, but we can sleep a lot better knowing that such a concept isn't even possible.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Howl at the moon

Those in the know would assure you that Fond du Lac, WI was a fairly sleepy little town, surely without too much in the realm of strange happenings. Those out of the loop would assume just about the same thing, with the possible suspicion that people have towards any small town in the Upper Midwest. But nobody could've ever guessed that Fond du Lac would be home to an appearance by a werewolf, let alone one that had been in prison only a few days earlier.

The "werewolf" was apprehended by police after breaking into the home of a woman who had allowed him to stay at her place while he secured himself a more permanent home. Upon his arrest, Robert Marsh told the police of his lycanthropic nature, and also told them about his ability to change shapes.

Naturally, this brings out our curiousity here at the CSM. What are the chances that a werewolf would be found in Wisconsin? Well, with the resurgence in the wolf population, we suppose that there could be a chance that a lycanthrope had tucked itself with the rest of their lupine brothers, even being able to sneak its way to landing a bite on the poor, unsuspecting Marsh. But when did this incident occur? When did he contract the disease? These questions are left unanswered, and we can only surmise a few reasons as to why.

The first reason we stumble across is that the Fond du Lac County Jail was actually working with the US Army and the DNR to create a super-soldier that was a wolf/human hybrid. However, due to a natural (or is it supernatural) aversion to silver, this experiment was deemed a failure, and the test subjects were released from their captivity. Another theory that we've come up with is that Marsh was in all actuality participating in a live-action role-playing game, and he merely thought that the police were other gamers. Unfortunately for Marsh, he didn't notice when they made it very clear that they were "out of character". Finally, there's a chance that Marsh took in a very unfortunate and ill-timed viewing of Teen Wolf, and, combined with the lunar eclipse, decided that he was just like Michael J. Fox. Perhaps if he hadn't been arrested when he was, there would've been a thrilling moment where our werewolf captured the hearts of the school, and his lady love.

Or maybe, and we admit we're going out on a limb here, maybe Robert Marsh was just a little bit off mentally, and that his declaration of his own werewolfiness was merely a way to try and secure himself a private kennel, er, um, cell.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of February 26, 2007

This week, we saw the end of February, and the beginning of March. Two months gone from 2007, people, and we've still got a long way to go. Thankfully, we can always comfort ourselves knowing that people just recently elected to public office are already hitting the campaign trail, making us wonder just how hard it really is to govern.
We also witnessed the Upper Midwest dig itself out from one severe winter storm just in time for "Ol' Bushy Browed" Scorsese to finally get his statue, while "Ol' Fat Suit" Murphy was shunned. Of course, March declared it would arrive like a pissed-off snow lion, and a second huge dumping of white powdery stuff blanketed the Upper Midwest for the second time in less than a week (it should be noted that the white powdery stuff is actual snow, just in case some celebrity-types were thinking it might be a more expensive, glamorous, sinus-eating substance). So while we are lulled with the sound of scraping shovels and sputtering snowblowers, let's get these awards underway.

Sorry About the Invasion Award
This goes to the Swiss Army, and their popular knives, for accidentally invading the small principality of Liechtenstein. The infantry had wandered into the territory about a mile before returning to Switzerland upon discovery of their mistake. Officials in Switzerland blame the mistake on the insistence of Liechtenstein to not dye their soil a bright orange to make it stand out, like it does on maps.

We'll Get Right On That Award
Recently, GDub was speaking to victims of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast region. He proceeded to deliver the assurance, "the federal government still knows you exist," as a way to acknowledge the continuing problems. He later engaged in heavy drinking with top Cabinet members, as a way to eradicate the painful knowledge of Hurricane Katrina survivors from the federal governments memory banks.

Top of the World, Ma Award
This award goes to Fred Gregor, who sat atop a 72-foot pole in an attempt to overturn a pending jail sentence. Gregor sat on the pole for 10 days, until his wife bravely put herself on the line, and sent up topless photos of herself inside his lunch pail. This should be considered a historic event, as a man took himself out of a treacherous position because of female nudity. There are also rumors that Gregor only climbed the pole in the first place to be able to see down his wife's top.

Getting Around To It Award
The nation of Peru has recently decided that they need to start a punctuality campaign, to attempt to drive tardiness out of the nation. Of course, the press conference to kick off the campaign started a half-hour late. We're pretty sure there's a joke in there, but we'll cover it later.

Do You Swear to Bark the Truth Award
When you're the chief of police for a city, it has to be a little difficult to swallow when someone decides to challenge your authority. It has to be even more difficult when the challenge to your authority comes in the form of claiming you lied on your job application, especially with regards to your criminal justice degree. The icing on the cake? Having a police dog called in as a witness, because they also have a degree... from the same school. Thankfully for the police chief, his transcripts show that he did far better in the oral exams than the dog did.

Cardigans for All Award
A group in Washington state has decided to protest the US Navy's plans to use dolphins to help guard a submarine base in the cold Pacific Northwest waters by knitting sweaters for the animals. Naturally, the biggest concern is not how to knit dolphin sweaters with appropriately garish designs, but whether or not the sweaters will shrink in the water, causing the dolphins to develop poor body images. Bill Cosby could not be reached for comment.

Making the Wait Award
How do you make the wait at the post office shorter? Do you make self-service easier? Do you add more staff to help assist customers? If you're at the Watson Post Office in Fort Worth, you simply remove the clocks. Just another example of the government removing evidence of the problem, instead of actually fixing the problem. Next up, expect the DMV to take away those helpful "Now Serving #" signs, letting you know that, even though only three people are ahead of you, seventeen numbers have to go past before you can get assistance.

That wraps up our awards for this week. Our weekend plans involve creating over-sized snow angels, complete with coffee cups and snarky sayings, while digging out forts and rediscovering how exactly to build a sustainable tunnel system with only a shovel and a pick. Come back next week, as we discover if, just like human weathermen, the groundhog of a month ago was completely off its prediction. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

It all started with "Slug Bug"

Parents have enthralled their children with road games for generations. The reason being, of course, to keep the kids occupied and (relatively) quiet while the parents are driving, cutting down on the potential need for lines such as "Do you want me to come back there?" or "Don't make me turn this car around." These games, by and large, are visual recognition, ranging from seeing who can spot the most license plates from different states, or how many red cars with hot blondes have driven past while Dad ogled out the window.

Over time, as children aged and stopped being as responsive to the notion of being told "Good job for seeing more birds than your brother", the games took on a new rewards system, which quite often involved being able to punch the other player when they didn't spot something as quickly as you did. While this was easy when spotting VW Beatles or cars with a burnt-out headlight, it certainly became trickier when the game of "Spot the Fake Mustache Wearing Celebrity" was introduced.

Thankfully, the state of Ohio is thinking about introducing a new element to their roadways, under the guise of increased safety. The state is considering a plan to deliver fluorescent green license plates to identify convicted sex-offenders. Other states already use specially colored plates to label convicted drunk drivers, and Ohio feels that this is the next logical step towards improving the safety of the roadways.

Of course, this plan has its opponents, who are eager to point out that the license plate would stigmatize anyone who drove the offending vehicle. They don't feel it would be fair to the offender's spouse or children, let alone the police officer who may have to commandeer the vehicle in order to engage in high-speed pursuit. But really, the plan's enemies seem to be missing the point.

People have grown tired of simple games like "Slug Bug". They want to move on to "Skunk Drunk" and "Sex Offender Finger Bender", where they can take their outrage over the crimes of the plate owners against their friends in a playful way. If this plan goes off without a hitch, we can all one day be able to identify everyone around us and make judgements over our desire to ever speak to them, simply based off of the color of their license plate.

Here at the CSM, we still make our decisions based off of the ringtones from their cellphones. Sure, it may be just as shallow, but there's only so much credit we can give someone when their ringtone is the latest song from Justin Timberlake.