Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A pumpkin is a pumpkin is a taxable item

In most states across the country, food items are considered tax-exempt. Given that one must eat if they hope to survive, this makes a lot of sense. But what happens when food items become known more for their decorative purposes than for their nutritional content?

Such is the case of many members of the squash family, most notably the pumpkin. The state of Iowa, deciding to settle the matter once and for all, has declared that pumpkins can be taxed, although a tax exemption is available for those looking to eat them, provided they fill out the appropriate forms.

Of course, many people feel as though they've been subjected to a horrible trick this Halloween, when all they were looking to do is treat their neighborhoods to a glowing orange orb, carved into intricate patterns (or, at least, the semblance of a toothy grin). Given that there are a fair number of people who carve the pumpkins for decoration, and proceed to use the pumpkin innards for various foodstuffs, we can imagine that a lot of tax-exemption forms may be getting filled out this year.

Naturally, Iowa tax collectors will be resistant to changing back, especially given that they believe that the predominant usage of pumpkins is for jack-o-lanterns. Never mind all of the other uses of pumpkins, ranging from pie to roasted seeds to extra color for streets and sidewalks.

Actually, come to think of it, maybe it's best that Iowa is taxing the pumpkin. Maybe they should consider taxing some other essentials, as well, such as whipped cream and eggs. After all, when you're young and celebrating Halloween in Iowa, what else is there to do than make foodstuffs into decorations?

It's not like you're sticking lead in your mouth.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Costumes? We don't need no stinking costumes

When we think about our childhood, especially at this time of year, we find ourselves remembering school-sponsored celebrations of the various holidays. We recall students being encouraged to bring each other gifts for Christmas or cards for Valentine's Day. We look back with some admitted confusion as to the children that brought neckties to Election Day (especially since, at that age, we really had no idea why the blue necktie kids didn't like the red necktie kids). And, of course, we have fond memories of Halloween, which has long been our favorite holiday, and the tradition of children dressing in costume for their day of classes.

Sadly, it appears that a high school in Long Island, NY, is the latest to join the ranks of schools banning costumes, due to the wardrobe choices of three senior girls during last year's festivities. And what did the young women dress as? Captain Underpants.

Now, for those of you in our audience who aren't familiar with the good Captain (or are just a little more familiar with Captain Morgan, instead), Captain Underpants is a comic book character aimed at children. Naturally, his costuming consists of a pair of underpants, and a red cape. Wanting to remain true to the nature of the character, the girls dressed in beige leotards, nude stockings, and wore white briefs and red capes to bring C.U. to life. Admittedly, a much more female version of life, but life nonetheless.

And this is where the principal felt that his personal principles were violated. A comic book character parading around in his underwear? Sure, it's a little risque, but that he could handle. Three women in their final year of schooling? Wearing the bare minimum before running around in their bare minimums? That's where the principal drew the line, and that's why he's made the decision that allowing costumes is too big of a distraction.

Of course, we here at the CSM don't completely agree. The biggest reason why? The women were wearing full body coverings (albeit ones that made them appear to be wearing little more than underwear and a cape). This automatically puts them into a category separating them from so many other women their age. After all, as we went over yesterday, the costume options for women (and, apparently, young girls) are severely limited into the realm of "What can look as slutty as possible, exposing cleavage, midriffs, and copious amounts of leg and ass?". Given that these girls created costumes that, admittedly, may have been tight, but still kept things covered, we actually think that some credit should be given.

After all, how much more difficult would it have been for them to have paraded around the school as Captain Thong and the Bustier Twins?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Dead tired

Sometimes, all you want to do after a long night of revelry is to get on a bus, catch a quick snooze, and head home. During the month of October, part of that ritual, for many, includes washing off make-up used to help bring a costume to life, or, in some cases, death. For every princess or cat costume that's worn, there are at least twice as many zombies, vampires, or other undead creatures roaming the streets.

Of course, dressing as the dead can lead to special situations, such as possibly being confused for a murder victim. That's exactly what happened to a German man riding a train. He had been out celebrating Halloween as a zombie, and when he boarded the train and shut his eyes for a bit of a catnap, his fellow passengers mistook him for an actual corpse. The drunken slumber from Hamburg to Bad Segeburg caused some questions, and when the police eventually arrived, the man was told that he could continue his trip, but only after he'd washed off his make-up.

Honestly, we're fairly surprised that this is one of the first instances of a mix-up due to zombies. After all, the fascination with the walking dead has been around for awhile, and it's only been building to a feverish pitch. Think of the numbers of "Zombie Pub Crawls" taking place in major cities. Recall all of the zombie movies that have been coming out to theatres. Remember that Keanu Reeves is still asked to act. There are simply zombies everywhere, and, while this particular reveler took his undead appearance around Halloween, he's somewhat outside of the norm. After all, it's apparently much more fun and interesting to wander around as the walking dead in June than it is in October.

Of course, it could have been worse. The zombie on our train could have been any one of a number of college-aged women, many of which decide that Halloween costumes are simply taking something fairly innocuous and making it into something slutty. If that had been the case, we may not have had a question of murder, but instead, a question of, "How much?"

Friday, October 26, 2007

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of October 22, 2007

Welcome back, everyone. It's Friday, which means that it's time for us to bring out our awards for another week. As we draw nearer to our favorite holiday, we're hoping to see an upswing in stories about it, but thus far we've made do with stories about politicians and gay wizards. Let's see what the awards hold for us, shall we?

He's Going the Distance Award
It's embarrassing when someone is able to outrun the police. It's even more embarrassing when the person doing it is driving around in a go-kart. After a 3-mile chase, a German teen was able to duck into a secluded garage, and the police lost the trail, but found him later. The police also noted that the go-kart, for a number of reasons, was able to handle corners better than their cruisers. The teen in question is expected to spend the winter growing a mullet so that he can compete in NASCAR next year.

You'd Think They'd Check His Wallet Award
A recently deceased man suffered a great indignity, when authorities in Albania cut his fingers off for identification purposes. Of course, the man was carrying his identity papers, but they weren't quite good enough to confirm the ID, and to clear up some nagging issues with regards to evidence. Meanwhile, the drummer from Def Leppard has cancelled all plans to visit the country, on account of only having half of his identity with him.

There's Kinky, and Then There's... Um.... Award
We all know that people have sex with a wide variety of things. Oftentimes, this is due to certain fetishes that the people have. And yet, this is the first time we've heard about someone having sex with a bicycle. The man in question has now been placed onto a sex offender's list, and has been discouraged from living within 300 feet of any Schwinn store. No word on whether the bicycle has sought counselling for it's own trauma. It has voluntarily given up its banana seat and basket, feeling that it was dressing in too provocative of a fashion.

When Gay Marriage is a Crime Award
It seems that with gay marriage being outlawed across much of the country, it really will only be criminals participating in gay marriage. Corrections officers in Florida are now under fire for allowing a lesbian wedding to take place between two of the inmates. Naturally, the guards merely thought they were shooting a scene for a new Cinemax movie.

The Name Game Award
Apparently, when it comes to casual sex, men are more likely to go after women named Kelly, while women seem prone to pursue men named Lee. This coming from an online poll with 1,000 respondents. No reason was given for any of the name choices. Conspicuously absent from the list? Blah, and It's-Morning-Get-Out. Hey-You fell just shy of the top ten.

Can We Keep Him? Award
When stringing up fake webbing for your Halloween display, perhaps think about keeping it a safe distance off of the ground. Unless, that is, you're looking to capture the neighborhood children, as a couple in Central Florida accidentally did. The boy had been winding the webbing around his shoulders before it ended up catching at his throat, nearly choking him to death. The only words heard from the boy while he was in the webbing were very faint cries of, "Help me. Help meeeeeeee."

Wildfires Make Us Sleepy Award
Okay, not us. We're pretty wide awake through this whole thing, and we don't even live near California. But this disaster has had a soporific effect on VPCheney, who just can't keep his eyes open during a meeting about the relief effort. In Darth Dick's defense, his supply of kittens has been drastically cut down, because they were causing a strange heart condition. In medical circles, it's known as a pulse.

Alcohol. The Cause of So Many Problems Award
Sometimes, you wake up in the morning, and you decide that you're going to live today to the fullest. For many, that means embracing opportunities to truly enjoy life, all while trying to remain somewhat safe about what's being done. For one man, a Steven J. King, he decided to go for broke with traffic violations. Driving with an open container, expired license plates, no insurance, and an unrestrained toddler, all while heading the wrong way down the highway, King may have piled up more violations in one trip than most drivers will their entire lives. Add in the lack of a seat belt, and we may have the drunk driving champion on our hands. By all accounts, it was far scarier than The Tommyknockers, although not quite on par with Misery.

And that wraps up our awards for another week. Come back next week, as we celebrate the most haunting day of the year (that's right, folks... November 2 is right around the corner). We'll see you on the flip side. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

That tattoo's a little, well...

Earlier this week, we found ourselves going off on a bit of a tangent, due to the recent announcement from JK Rowling that Dumbledore, that venerable and yet still entirely fictional character, was gay. The world shook, rainbows were celebrated, and the Christian Right had another reason to hate the book series.

Things were a bit more mundane for Paul Croft, of Nottingham, until his coworkers remembered about his tattoo. Said tattoo? The wizened face of suddenly flaming wizard Albus Dumbledore, next to a scroll bearing the names of Croft's children. Given that Croft is a factory worker, one can assume that the conversations thrown his way by his coworkers were of a kind and congenial nature, possibly ranging from highlights of the football match to what movies Croft was hoping to see.

Or, perhaps, his coworkers proceeded to make commentary alluding that Croft, like the imaginary persona tattooed on his back, might be homosexual. Yeah, that sounds more like factory workers.

Alright, let's just clear the air on this. First off, again, as people keep forgetting, Dumbledore is not a real person. He is the creation of a literary mind, and, as such, his sexual orientation should truly be a non-issue. In other words, we should view his being gay in much the same way we view Elton John's. Sure, it may be there, but it doesn't really affect us, and it's not a huge surprise anyway. And while Rowling's announcement may change the nature of some fan-fictions out there, it could also open up a door for an entirely new realm, which crude references to a wand-fight.

Secondly, getting a tattoo of a gay character, with the possible exception of Happy McGaypants, does not make the person getting said tattoo in any way homosexual. Especially if the person received the tattoo prior to the orientation being completely known. Do you call people with Doogie Howser tattoos gay because NPH has come out of the closet? No, you call them foolish for getting a tattoo from a 1980's television show.

Third, getting tattoo period of anything, again with the possible exception of Happy McGaypants, does not make ANYONE gay. You could cover your entire body with nothing but rainbows, drag queens, appletinis, and kd Lang, and none of those things will make you gay. The only thing that will is engaging in sexual practice with people of your own gender. Enough said.

So we here at the CSM give credit to Mr. Croft. Not only did you have the balls to get a tattoo of a Harry Potter character for your daughters, not only did you get it across your back, but you also are willing to stand up and keep the artwork, not caring that Dumbledore really wishes that Malfoy would call him.

Come on, people. It's not like he got himself a tramp stamp.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


A couple of barmaids in Pinjarra, Australia, recently pleaded guilty to certain crimes. One of the barmaids admitted to baring her breasts to customers on more than one occasion, while the other was fined for hanging spoons from the exposed nipples. Naturally, in many societies, a woman exposing her breasts in public is seen as a bad thing (unless, of course, you've paid a $20 cover and have a pocket full of small bills to use as a "tip"), so this whole thing seems fairly commonplace.

That is, of course, until you learn that the barmaid who dropped her top also used her breasts to crush beer cans.

While we're as big of fans of breasts as the next blog (okay, maybe not as much as some, but definitely more than others), we wouldn't have even given this story a second (or third) look if it hadn't been for the extra little detail. Sure, exposed breasts are one thing. But using secondary sexual traits as a tool for recycling purposes? That's where the story entered into our realm.

Think about it for a second. Aren't the breasts a fairly sensitive area? Therefore, wouldn't crushing a metal can, even a soft metal like aluminum, cause a fair amount of pain? To us, it seems akin to using male genitalia to hammer in a nail. Sure, it may work for the job, but it's really not the best tool available. Did this barmaid not have feet, preferably with good, hard-soled shoes?

Or was this trick something she was doing to raise tips? After all, how often do you think the average person gets to see something like this? We're betting once, maybe twice in a lifetime (more if you watch Japanese game shows). And maybe she had developed a technique to minimize cuts, allowing her to squeeze the cans between her breasts without causing undue pain.

But the spoons? Unless they were a sad attempt at creating pasties, we really have no idea how they even got themselves involved in the first place.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

When the going gets tough...

The tough used to wander into red light districts to blow off some steam. Of course, by tough, we mean the police in Brussels, who have recently received a letter ordering them to no longer visit bars, brothels, or massage parlors while on duty. They are apparently still allowed to visit bakeries, but that's part of the package when you enter into law enforcement. After all, good coffee doesn't drink itself.

For the record, as a police spokesman has said, there is no evidence to show that any police officers were engaging in these activities while on the clock, but the letter itself has been confirmed to be real. And why not? After all, part of the purpose is to get the police in Belgium to be viewed with more respect, and, if they are being model citizens, it's a lot easier to respect them. Sure, for a while the rumors of police visiting brothels for more seizure than search may hound them for a while, but eventually, when you can't buy an officer his favorite shot as an excuse to play with his gun, public perceptions will change.

Meanwhile, someone who got some help changing their own perspective recently was a teenager at the Beijing Zoo. After having snuck into the zoo itself, he proceeded to leap into the panda cage. After all, he said it best when he said, "I'm not afraid of a panda, I know karate." Of course, he also said it pretty well when he was screaming, "Oh for the love of all that's holy, get this freaking panda off of my leg! It hurts worse than watching a Jim Belushi movie!".

Here's a tip for the kids out there. Just because you know karate, doesn't mean that you can take on a panda. Any panda you've seen in the movies has been docile, trained, and getting it's butt kicked by Bruce Lee or Jason Statham, and both of those guys are freaks of nature when it comes to getting into tough jams. As for becoming a police officer, remember that, unless you're Simon Pegg, wearing the uniform is not an excuse to get girls and beer. At least, not while you're on duty.

And finally, because we know some of you have been wondering, what ever happened to Judge McSuing-for-Millions-Over-Pants-along? Turns out, he probably won't be a judge for much longer.

But it's okay. He knows karate.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Why weren't there rainbow scarves?

So we went away for the weekend, enjoyed some time doing what we do when we're outside the long arm of the Internet, and we come back to a shocking revelation. An announcement so profound, it's guaranteed to shock much of the world to the core. At least, we can only assume that this particular "outing" will have that effect, the way the media's covering it. After all, when someone as well-known and loved has their sexuality brought out into the open, it's bound to cause tremors.

Of course, people have speculated for years if this individual was gay or not. And yet, the shrouds of secrecy have kept their true selves hidden until finally, on this very special day, we all learned the truth.

Albus Dumbledore was in love with men.

Wait. Wait just a minute. We could kind of understand people clamoring over the books themselves, and the media coverage that came with anything that could bridge generations and encourage literacy at the same time. But to learn that a fictional character (sorry to break it to some of you Potter-fiends out there, but none of them are actually real) was gay, and, especially, to learn it from the author after she's left that particular world behind her? That's what passes as news? It's probably a good thing that the wildfires in California didn't happen Saturday, or they'd already be relegated to an inside page, possibly next to an ad about Serta mattresses.

Sure, we can respect Rowling's decisions to do what she will with the characters that she created. But this particular moment seems like a shameless attention grab more than anything else. And, well, it's not like Rowling or her books really need help getting attention. Think of it this way. Would any of you care to find out that Sam Malone from Cheers was actually a homosexual? No. And why is that?

That's right. Because the story of Cheers is over. And so is the story of Harry Potter (well, except for the movies, but you can bet that you won't see Dumbledore presented any differently in the upcoming films). Calling this character gay could have actually been a good thing for helping people gain more tolerance, but there are better ways to handle it. After all, as others have already pointed out, if Rowling felt this strongly about her character's sexuality, why wasn't it made clear within the books themselves?

Of course, it could all be far worse. He could have been from Philadelphia.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of October 15, 2007

Welcome back to another round of the Coffee-Soaked Awards. We've been dealing with dreary weather and dreary spirits all week long, so it's time to try and pick things up with a little pomp and circumstance. Unfortunately, we're fresh out of pomp, and our circumstance is on back order, so we're going to have to make do with sarcasm and commentary instead. Let's get rolling, shall we?

Blue Diamonds My Ass Award
We've all heard strange reasons as to why we did certain things. In fact, many of us have come up with some pretty bizarre reasons in our day. And yet, when it comes to trying to break into a car while not wearing pants, what could you possibly blame? How about a leprechaun? That's just what Kim Leblanc did, before later admitting drug use. Which was a complete shock. We just thought he was hopped up on green clovers and red balloons.

Affable Blokes Award
For most Europeans, their image of other Europeans goes up when they actually meet and chat for a while. But the better that citizens of the EU got to know the British, the less appealing they found them. Of course, there's a chance that the results were skewed by a rugby game between France and England, especially given the large number of French participants. We prefer to think that the poll was influenced instead by years of British dentistry.

Maybe a Different Vehicle Award
When making an escape from a crime scene, don't do what German construction worker did. When the time came for him to flee the scene, he jumped into his waiting vehicle and started the engine. Of his cement truck. Needless to say, police stopped him after a few hundred yards. Meanwhile, OJ Simpson is wondering why he didn't bring a skid loader with him on his last excursion.

Aw, That Trick Never Works Award
Police made a daring raid on a warehouse in Las Vegas recently, as part of an ongoing investigation (we'd be more specific, but the police are being vague). The warehouse owner? David Copperfield, renowned illusionist. Rumor has it that the police are looking for whatever Copperfield has used to get supermodels to be interested in him. We're waiting for the next trick, where a judge pulls a subpoena out of a hat.

Moving on Up Award
What would you do if you returned from a long vacation, only to find that new people were living in your house? That's exactly what happened to Kim Ledford, who returned from an extended absence to find her house occupied by burglars. And here we thought that those kinds of hilarious situations could only be found on quality programs like "Two and a Half Men" or "Cavemen". Quick note for the burglars? If you stay more than a couple of hours, you're doing it wrong.

Um, Duh Award
Straight from scientists who like to prove things we all already know, a new survey lets us know that new mothers feel that having a baby has ruined their social lives. Shockingly, suddenly having to care for a newborn might mean less time spent out at bars, with friends, or really doing much of any activity previously found fun. The survey goes on to let us know that M&Ms won't melt in your hand, and that dogs are generally found with four legs and a tail.

Death From Above Award
Sometimes a squirrel harvests nuts for the winter. Other times, it chews on a power cable, lights on fire, plummets towards a parked car, and causes the vehicle to blow up. Oddly enough, the news story feels the need to inform readers that the squirrel is dead, which seems a rather obvious statement given that it blew up a car with its own flaming body. After all, they haven't created fire-proof saboteur squirrels yet. Or have they.... Bullwinkle has been unreachable for comment on this flying rodent.

And Then There Were Still A Lot Award
News has reached us this week that one of the many Presidential hopefuls is seriously thinking about waving the white flag of surrender, thereby removing one hurdle from everyone else's path. That candidate? Sam Brownback. Analysts say the move will aid Romney and Huckabee, which only makes sense because they have one fewer opponent to defeat now. Meanwhile, Fred Thompson has begun to explore the possibilities of researching contemplation over whether or not he should pull out of the race as well. Knowing him, we can expect an announcement on that issue sometime in 2010.

And that wraps up our awards for this week. We'll be back next week, hopefully a little less rainy, with that crisp fall feeling in our lungs. Besides, we're starting to seriously jones for some apple cider. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fire sale! Homeowner must go!

After yesterday's rant, it's nice to get back to the business of finding articles that can be made fun of. And, well, we had our hands full making our decision. The final toss-up came down to a story loosely tied to Lucky Charms, or the story we're actually going to talk about. But don't worry. The news that we pass over today will be included in our round-up tomorrow.

Back to the news at hand, it seems that David Davidson of Texarkana had his own ideas about how to fight the fire that was burning down his house. His plan? Grab the firefighters hoses and interfere with the trained professionals. The plan worked so well that Davidson was arrested by the police, prior to the blaze being extinguished.

Described as "a fire waiting to happen" by Fire Battalion Chief James Ragsdale, the buildings were apparently brimming with combustible materials, and no fewer than eight vehicles were scattered around the premises. The fire started in a packed storage building, before moving on to the house, which, from all accounts, could have used a good cleaning before the smoke damage and the soot.

In fact, it's entirely possible that Davidson was merely trying to remove some of the clutter from his life, and was only trying to slow down the firefighters to help eradicate some of the pictures taken over the years at various birthday parties. It's also possible that Davidson viewed the house burning as being a positive thing, forcing him to move forward with his life, away from whatever demons had plagued him.

Or he's a crazy person, saw the fire, thought he saw the Virgin Mary dancing on a matzo ball, and decided that the firefighters needed to stop. After all, the last thing any of us need to see is Mary in a wet t-shirt contest.

What? She's over 2000 years old, people.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

If it looks like a lame duck, and sounds like a warmonger...

Recently, GDub has let it be known that he is putting his foot down over this whole "Iran might be working towards nuclear weapons" thing. And by putting his foot down, we mean that he's informed world leaders that, if they want to avoid World War III, they should do everything they can to keep Iran from achieving their goals. After all, "we've got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel", and we all know how strong the US investment in Israel is.

Now, before people start getting jumpy, we are by no means advocating the obliteration of any country, regardless of their personal history, or our own nation's ties to them. But we look at the statements that our President made, and we can't help but think that it doesn't really look like a person giving a kind "heads up" to the rest of the world as a warning.

No, it looks like a threat.

True, this current President has blustered his way through difficult times. And we certainly wouldn't want to have been anywhere near his shoes on that fateful day in September of 2001. By the same token, where many world leaders have since realized that perhaps their current course of action isn't the most advisable, the current Decider is steadfastly refusing to accept any intelligence that proves him wrong. To make a statement letting world leaders know that, should Iran get nuclear weapons, World War III is right around the corner sounds more like a threat from inside of our borders, as opposed to a concern about those on the outside.

Of course, time will tell. Should Iran achieve their goals, we can't be certain that they won't use those weapons on Israel, or another ally of ours. We also can't be certain that they aren't currently researching nuclear potential simply for energy purposes. What we can be certain of is that we currently have a Commander in Chief who is more willing to approach a potential enemy with guns drawn than with paper, pencil, and words. Once an attack is made, all bets are off. Before there's even a chance? It seems like negotiations should at least be attempted.

The only other thing we can be certain of is that the new crop of politicians riding throughout the country trying to gain support to become the new President aren't much better. In fact, out of all those who have announced their candidacy, the only one who can be considered a breath of any kind of air is a comedian by trade.

The really sad thing is that Stephen Colbert probably has some of the best ideas with regards to how to actually govern out of the whole group. And he's going to end up losing. Twice.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It's not brain surgery

Wow. We just came to the realization that yesterday we missed out on participating in "Blog Action Day". Apparently, blogs all across the Internet devoted themselves to talking about environmental issues. Given what we do, we could have tied ourselves in by mocking the Nobel Peace Prize given to Al Gore, but, really, the Nobel committee already mocked themselves enough by handing the award over to the grandfather of the Internet. So our work was done before we got there.

Today's story, oddly enough, actually does carry a bit of an impact on the environment, or at least it did for a local setting in Vienna. After all, a body forgotten for 9 days by the doctor who registered the death caused a bit of air pollution to disturb the neighbors. That's right. The doctor forgot to call a crew to remove the corpse, assuming that the paramedics would handle it. For their part, the paramedics thought that someone with a medical degree and a fancy stethoscope would remember to call a simple clean-up crew.

Of course, we shouldn't be so quick to judge. After all, we can only imagine that the doctor in question had already had a long day of forgetting things. We expect that he forgot to drop his son off at the bus stop, forgot to remove his keys from his ignition, spaced out a bit when he was supposed to be taking a clamp out of a patient, and totally blanked on removing that bad kidney. By the time he got to the body, his brain was so full of things he'd forgotten to do, that he just couldn't manage to cram any sort of memory inside of there, and instead thought that maybe the neighbors would like to buy extra air fresheners.

Naturally, the doctor has yet to forget a golf game, which patients have yet to be billed, and the lyrics to "Achy Breaky Heart". That darn song just never goes away.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The negative doesn't accentuate the positive

Kids these days. Not only do they not know the fun that can truly be had with lead toys, not only are they expected to get laptops for their homework assignments, not only are they one of the reasons that we can come up with as to why Perez Hilton still has legions of sycophantic fans, but now we learn that making fun of them won't actually work to achieve the opposite result.

Don't believe us? We're not the ones that did the study showing that teasing kids about their weight won't encourage them to get thinner. That was within the realm of the University of Minnesota, who studied teenagers for five years to gather their results. Not only did they find unhealthy habits (such as binge eating and purging) to be just as prevalent among the overweight as among the thin, but those that were teased about their weight were twice as likely to be overweight at the end of the study.

This seems to fly in the face of all the teaching (although maybe teaching is the wrong word) that we gained while in our own formative years. After all, who among us has heard a gym teacher bemoaning about a kid being "too fat" to do certain activities? Who was told that they just weren't tough enough or smart enough for certain classes? Now we learn that, instead of teasing, being pushy, and overall trying to make people feel bad about their negative features, we should ease off, be more encouraging, and not worry too much.

In fact, given these new ideas, we're going to take them into the political arena. For example, we no longer will call Hillary Clinton "too mannish to win". We'll instead say that she's "full of masculine energy." Fred Thompson is not "dull", he's "pleasantly calming". And GDub isn't an "idiot". He's just an "over-achiever surrounded by mental giants."

Cheney still eats kittens, though. There's just no way to sugar-coat that one.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of October 8, 2007

Welcome back for another round of the Coffee-Soaked Awards. We've had a busy week here, getting ourselves geared up for the looming holiday. No, not Christmas, Halloween. We still believe that Christmas never advertises itself before Thanksgiving, at which point we're in a turkey-coma and we're ignoring all the commercials anyway. We've also been enjoying the return of hockey across this great land of ours, and, here in the land of too many lakes to count, we've gotten off to a good start. Speaking of good starts, let's get these awards underway, shall we?

Pow-Pow-Powerwheels Award
Kids these days. They just have no idea about what we had to go through when we were their age. For example, how many of you were able to drive onto the highway when you were three? Admittedly, the kid was in a toy car, and was lucky to avoid any accidents, but at least he followed the traffic laws (except for that minor little detail about not being able to drive until you get your license around 16). Next up for the three-year-old? He's heard cool things about "parking", and wants to give that a shot.

What, No Child Seat? Award
Moving on from a small child behind the wheel to a small child outside of the vehicle entirely. The problem? His mother was driving at the time, and dangling him out the window. Needless to say, she was a little drunk at the time. Looking at the included mugshot makes me think that she just watched Howie Mandel do that trick he does with the latex glove. Oh, if only this story had come out while Britney still had her kids. We could have had a copycat driver.

Thou Shalt Not Punch an Officer of the Law Award
Continuing our theme of drivers and bad choices, a drunk driver in Mexico found himself behind bars after he decided to punch the officer who pulled him over. Of course, the driver was a priest. No word on whether or not he was following the teachings of the little known "Book of Arthur", where you can find the passage, "And lo, the Lord our GOD struck down the law enforcer, due to the tequila he had imbibed."

Pass the *hic* Medication Award
We're going to wrap up our triumvirate of tales about alcohol with a story that shows it's not always a bad thing. In fact, vodka (and other spirits) kept a man alive after he drank a poisonous substance. He has since recovered completely, and wonders why he has a craving for peanuts. Meanwhile, the entire nation of Ireland is wondering why they didn't think of it first.

Worst Mustache Rides Ever Award
Some people, when they get into fights, blame everything from drinking to a bad break-up to just really disliking the other guy's shirt. But not Charles Law. No, Charles Law's confrontations can often be boiled down to offense taken over jokes. About his mustache. Now if only we could figure out which train tracks he tied the girl to, we'd be able to move on to more moose and squirrel stories.

Fake News Loses Award
This award is in honor of the FCC fines against Comcast, for allowing one of their news channels to air "fake news". Naturally, this affects organizations that insert fake news stories along with legitimate stories. Do you hear that, FOXNews?

Fake News Wins Award
Fresh on the heels of his rousing interview with, um, himself, Stephen Colbert made an admission to Larry King. That admission? That he may at some point actually consider running for President, and that, if he did, he would seek the nomination from both parties, and also volleyed the idea of a state-by-state run. Even from a man who calls himself "deeply, deeply weird", this makes a good deal of sense. It would certainly be more interesting than hearing months and months of debates over issues, and waiting to see just how long it'll be before Fred Thompson or Dennis Kucinich fall asleep at the lectern.

Finally, a Use for Cats Award
In the tradition well-established by nightly news, we're going to end our awards tonight with a human, or is that feline, interest story. A man in China who had adopted a homeless cat a few months back took the pet with him to buy a lottery ticket. When the cat walked across the keyboard, Wang felt confident he'd wasted his money. The end result? The cat accidentally stepped on the winning numbers. What does this mean for Wang, aside from lottery winnings? It means that he can keep "homeless cat" off of his menu for a while longer. The cat, meanwhile, still refuses to acknowledge Wang when he returns home from work.

And that wraps up our awards for this week. We'll be back next week, with just as bizarre of stories. After all, in this world, there's just no way to stop the crazy. Especially when a 6-year-old can get fined for drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. We'll see you on the flip side. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

This is the way the world ends... with a survey

A survey conducted in Great Britain to mark the release of Steven Sivell's "Clock Cuckoo Land" followed the main premise of the novel. The novel uses an impending cataclysmic event as a metaphor for what's currently happening to humanity. The survey, conducted by Ziji Publishing, asked Britons what they would do if they knew that an asteroid was coming in an hour to eradicate their lives.

Not horribly surprisingly, over half of those surveyed said that they would spend the time connecting with loved ones, either in person or over the phone. This makes perfect sense, as one of the things that humans are always searching for is the elusive concept of closure, and, with only an hour to live, people would want to try and achieve some sort of closure with those that they care about. That, and who better to spend your last hour of life with than those that you spent so many other hours with.

Some of the other results are more interesting. Only 3% would turn to prayer, with only three times as many polled saying that they would actively pursue sexual gratification. 13% would take the time to set out a lawn chair, sit down with a cocktail and some music, and watch the apocalypse as it arrives.

The most interesting group? To us here at the CSM, we find the 2% who decided that they would loot to be the most intriguing. Not only are they showing an admirable sense of faith in their own ability to survive, but they also are willing to spend the last hour of their lives going from location to location, looking for the best looting deals. After all, when most of the planet's been wiped out, the most important thing for anyone remaining is just how nice their TV is, and whether or not they're wearing the latest fall fashions.

Course, if we were asked, we would have thrown off the whole curve. With only an hour to live, we'd engage in outdoor sex, so we could watch our impending doom, all while praying on the phone to our loved ones.

This is also why we don't get asked what type of popcorn we would prefer at movie theaters.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Thou shalt not poke fun at stories involving religion

Man, are we ever glad that our subject line for today didn't get tucked in as the Eleventh Commandment, because, if it had, we would be completely screwed. For some reason today, religion has jumped out at us, forcing us to look at two stories revolving around systems of faith.

First up, the story of a woman going to court to discuss the custody of her children. At least, that's what she thought she was there for. As it turns out, the discussion turned towards her religious beliefs, including a long discussion about "the mark of the beast", before the court decided to award custody to her ex-husband. In fact, 41 of the 65 pages of the transcripts of the case detail religious discussion.

The scary thing here is that it's not like the woman was part of a fringe religious cult, bent on raising children simply for the purpose of brainwashing them later (that's what politics is for). It's also not like she was actively engaging in human sacrifice, or anything else that might have seriously endangered her children. She was just a Seventh-Day Adventist.

Maybe that's the catch. Maybe the judge felt that the children were at risk of being confused, because they went to church on Saturdays instead of Sundays. Why, it's all clear to us now. In fact, we'd say it's striking us like a vision of the Virgin Mary, but it's been awhile since we've had a muffin to eat.

Of course, when it comes to a bizarre news story revolving (at least slightly), one of the stranger we've seen is about a thief in Singapore. When it came time to replace his worn, ratty old Bible, he simply ignored the commandment that says, "Thou shalt not steal", and took a new one. Yes, you read that right. The thief stole one of the few books in existence that specifically tells you not to steal. He was consequently sentenced to four months in prison. However, through the kindness of his heart, the judge also gifted the thief with a new Bible, and then quickly admonished him to actually read the book.

Only in Singapore. If that story had happened in America, the man would've either been deprived of his children, or elected to public office. He certainly wouldn't have received a free Bible for his troubles. After all, those can only be gotten on college campuses.

And people say we aren't a religious nation.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Two great stories that taste great together

When we found these two stories, we just couldn't help but believe that they were linked somehow. After all, one is a prime example of excellence in stupidity, whereas the other showcases bad taste to one of the highest levels. Not following? It's okay, we think we lost ourselves somewhere in there, too.

Anyways, the first story that we discovered was that Coors and Miller Brewing are planning on merging their businesses, to better compete against Budweiser. The two companies also believe that joining forces will help them in the struggle against wine and imported beers. After all, more and more American drinkers are finding solace in a bottle of fermented grape juice, or tipping back a pint of a barley pop from foreign soil, than ever before, and the people behind Coors and Miller just know that if they can put their two frothy heads together, they might be able to start stemming that tide.

What they fail to realize, and what more and more Americans are beginning to learn, is that domestic beers, or at least the major domestic beers, have about as much flavor as a wrung-out dish towel. People are shifting to wine and imports because, well, if they wanted to drink something that tasted like a by-product of drinking beer, they'd just pick up a bottle of Fresca. Plus, they're ignoring the downside of this merger, which may very well be fewer beer commercials. And, well, the most enjoyable product of these companies has long been the clever advertisements they've used to convince people that sometimes, flavor isn't even a pauper in the court.

In the second story we discovered today, we learned a valuable lesson. That lesson? If you've got a $1M bill, don't try to get it cashed. Okay, that part kind of comes as a bit of a "Duh" moment. The real key lesson? Once you've been told that you can't get $999,999.45 in change for that package of M&Ms, don't pick up a price scanner gun to try to shoot the clerk with. What are you going to end up doing, ringing them up for $9.95 plus tax? Of course, refusing to give the police any sort of identification when they show up to arrest you is just icing on top of this crazy cake.

Who knows? Maybe the guy was so distraught over the Coors/Miller merger that he did the only thing he could think of. And after trying to finish off the whole six-pack of bad beer, he then thought he'd get change.

Monday, October 08, 2007

And it burns burns burns

Music has a way of making us all move. It can make us dance, or convince us to slow down. It can make us smile, or bring us to tears. Every once in awhile, it lights our pants on fire.

Okay, so it wasn't music per se that did that. It was the iPod Nano that Danny Williams was carrying in his pocket, but a fire in the pants was still the end result. While it's not known exactly what led to the blaze, it is clear that Williams was lucky to only suffer superficial burns. It's also unclear if Williams had to, as the article so delicately puts it, "evacuate the burning pants".

Of course, aside from the burning genitals, the other big concern that Williams had was that he might be mistaken for a terrorist, given that his pants went up in a blaze of Apple-y glory in the middle of an airport. "If TSA had come by and seen me smoking, they could have honestly thought I was a terrorist," Williams said, because, obviously, if someone is burning from their crotch, the first thought that airport security is going to have is, "Hey, that guys a terrorist!". Well, okay, they might think that. But if you're suicide bombing your own genitals, then you just might be the worst terrorist ever.

While we can't imagine the pain involved (well, okay, we kind of can, except not to our nether regions), we certainly can feel sympathy towards Mr. Williams. After all, he was simply trying to listen to his tunes, which probably included "Ring of Fire", "Fire Water Burn", and Prodigy's "Firestarter", when suddenly his pants were ablaze and smoke got in his eyes.

We can almost picture the new iPod marketing campaign now... "Nano. It's so hot, it burns."

Friday, October 05, 2007

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of October 1, 2007

Welcome back, everybody. We're ready to roll with another round of Coffee-Soaked Awards, the only weekly awards that have been around longer than Larry Craig's guilty plea (okay, that last part may or may not be true). And, like the guilty plea, we won't be getting overturned at any point in the foreseeable future. So now that we've started out on such tenuous footing, let's get the awards underway.

Maybe it's the Implied Subject Matter Award
When it comes to delivering computer viruses around the world, one of the surest ways of getting them to spread is to claim that they're actually naked photos of Angelina Jolie, or another famous actress. It's apparently somewhat shocking that virus creators have found a sure-fire way to spread their work. In other news, people will click on anything that claims to be naked celebrities.

She Blinded Me With Bizarre Science Award
Everyone knows about the Nobel Prize. How many people know about it's slightly sillier cousin, the Ig Nobel Prize? Well, before Agent PBerry tossed this article our way, we had no idea that people could be rewarded for testing Viagra on hamsters, or for determining why sheets and skin wrinkle. This is great news for anyone who planned on finding out just what the effects of downloading too many porn movies would be, or for those studying the gag reflex of people dating Paris Hilton.

That Might Not Stop the Bullying Award
A Jacksonville, FL mother decided that she'd had enough of her son getting bullied when she picked him from the bus stop. To stop the activity, the mother brandished a pistol, and said, "You can all get some of this." The mother's actions were classified as "irresponsible", largely because she was doing it in Florida, and not in the middle of Hollywood.

Grab the Duct Tape, Jimmy Award
Meanwhile, in Cobb County, Georgia, the Magistrate Court determined that there would be no criminal charges against school employees who silenced talkative children by taping their mouths shut. With this news story, sales of tape will likely go through the roof. Meanwhile, the GOP is planning to use a similar tactic with regards to Larry Craig.

When Good Toys Go Bad Award
When customs officials in Australia opened a package that they suspected contained drugs, they were rewarded, not just with almost 10.5 ounces of ecstasy, but also with a shiny, drug-addled Mr. Potato Head. This certainly explains the weird facial expressions of the starchy star. My Little Pony couldn't be reached for contact regarding their alleged methamphetamine labs. Again, thanks to PBerry for passing this along to us.

That Painting Looks Like Ass Award
A high school art teacher in Virginia is currently suing his former employers after they fired him, for violating his First Amendment rights. Why was he fired? The school learned that he was moonlighting (no pun intended) as an artist who creates paintings using his butt, and other portions of his anatomy. We still like his work better than Thomas Kinkade's.

Worst Pastry Ever Award
Speaking of, ahem, butts, a woman in Pennsylvania is probably regretting how she used hers. After all, she was arrested after having stashed a doughnut down the back of her pants. She also had an outstanding bench warrant, so it's not like the doughnut was the only thing that got her. We're just really going to hope that she avoided a long john with sprinkles.

Depends On What Your Definition of Torture Is Award
Finally, today, we turn our sites to our illustrious leader, GDub. While defending his administration's decisions regarding gathering information from prisoners, the President steadfastly declared, "This government does not torture people." Oh no, Mr. President? Then what do you call two years of active campaigning, beginning as soon as the new terms of office have started? If that's not torture, we're not sure what is.

Well, that wraps up our awards. We'd linger a bit longer, but we don't want the RIAA to start wondering if we've ever used Kazaa. And we certainly don't want PETA to crack down on us like they have on Britney (seriously, PETA, you're picking on the wrong starletard). Have a good week, and watch a couple of hockey games on us. We'll see you later. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Looks like someone won't be celebrating Boss' Day

We've all heard of road-rage. After all, in America, it's almost impossible to get through an entire week of work without hearing a story about someone getting angry while behind the wheel. There are even a few other categories of "rage" that we're familiar with. For example, "local-sports-team-rage", where people hurl beer cans at the television because of how the hometown team has fared. There's also "how-many-times-do-I-have-to-tell-you-rage", which is fairly self-explanatory. And, of course, everyone is familiar with "DMV-rage", which happens while waiting three hours at the DMV for a simple piece of paper.

Meanwhile, a Japanese worker recently experienced a form of rage that's a bit outside of our national perspective. His rage? "Gift-rage".

That's right. The worker, following a Japanese tradition where gifts are given to important business contacts, gave his employer a box of sweets, in thanks for having landed the job. The employer, partially due to the long, busy schedules of many in Japan, did not take the time to open the gift. The worker, who later claimed that "(He wished) the company president had cared a little more," proceeded to smash 22 computers in the office.

While we've all been in similar situations, where a gift that we've given to someone has gone either unopened or unappreciated, we here at the CSM would like to think that it's not a common thing to decide to destroy property over the perceived slight. By the same token, if the worker had purchased a particularly expensive box of sweets, and was perhaps hoping to maybe be regifted a piece to help stave off a low blood sugar situation, then perhaps he would have a reverse-Twinkie-defense on his hands.

As for the charge of obstructing business with force, we simply can't shake the image of the employee stopping transactions by pushing people down.

In the meantime, we're going to be extra careful about opening every gift we ever receive. We'd hate for someone to take a truncheon anywhere near our stuff. That's $47.95 we'll never be able to replace.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

My wife doesn't want me to get married

There are plenty of groups that allow, or even encourage, polygamy. Whether it's a cultural or religious thing, people having many spouses has been common throughout human history. Over time, changes have been made to the institution, in some ways minimizing the existence. Other changes have only helped to help polygamy spread.

In Indonesia, where polygamy is legal, a case was recently brought before the court to attempt to make polygamy easier. Muhammad Insa, who was petitioning the case, argued that the current rules regarding polygamy were too restrictive.

Namely, he didn't think that permission should be gotten from previous wives before taking more. The courts didn't agree.

In some ways, Insa made sense. Because of the rules, he claims that a large number of "marriages" never get registered, thereby depriving the children of those unions of things like inheritence. Meanwhile, the main argument presented by the court was that, according to the tenets of Islam, multiple marriages are allowed, as long as the wives are all treated fairly.

Which makes us wonder. Specifically, we wonder about why many men are interested in polygamy at all? After all, it's difficult enough for most men to live with only one woman for the rest of their lives, as is clearly evidenced by the growing divorce rate. Why would men want to have multiple spouses, with their own sets of problems and issues, thereby making the remainder of life exponentially more confusing. After all, relationships are difficult, and the answer is almost never going to be bringing a third (or fourth or fifth) person into the tangled mess.

Unless all of these men are looking at polygamy from a strictly sexual standpoint. If that's the case, then they've already forgotten that, at least stereotypically, sex tends to slow down (if not stop altogether) with marriage. The sole exception to that being Hollywood marriages, but those only exist to share profits from the inevitable sex tapes.

And really, when you think about it, do these guys really need to forget to put the seat down with more than one wife?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Screws here... get your screws here

A German factory worker thought he'd stumbled on a brilliant money-making scheme. No, he didn't start randomly emailing people in foreign countries, asking for their help transferring funds. He also didn't offer to put together puzzles, for those with bad spatial recognition skills. Instead, he sold screws.

Not like that, people. He sold screws that he'd been stealing from his employers. The man was apparently stealing thousands of screws per night, only to auction them away over the Internet.

This is absolutely shocking to us, for a number of reasons. One, we just find it difficult that he was able to get away with thousands of screws every night he worked for at least two years. Two, we never would have expected that you could possibly auction off screws, but, well, we guess eBay has proven that one man's junk is another man's treasure. Following that premise, one man's stolen tools are another man's needed birdhouse requirements.

Of course, the police in this whole situation weren't much help, as they only started tracking the thief after, "In the end, it became obvious that screws were being sold for much less than they usually cost."

And there you have it. If this had been a book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it could have been titled "The Cheap Screws". A feature film version could star Britney and the Parisite.