Friday, February 29, 2008

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of February 25, 2008

Welcome to Leap Day across this great calendar of ours. Obviously, this day doesn't really exist, or, at least, it doesn't most years, so we're going to dive right in, just in case something weird happens along the way.

Honest Dishonesty Award
In a shocking turn of events, it appears that the upcoming Russian election may be rigged by the Kremlin. We say shocking, because they aren't really denying that they're doing it. Ralph Nader has already prepared his "I didn't cost anyone this election" speech. Meanwhile, Clinton is taking notes.

Awkward Award
What could be worse than giving some hated enemies land, only to box them in with a border fence? We were about to ask Israel, and then an Israeli Defense Minister said that the Palestinians within the Gaza Strip may be about to bring a "holocaust" down on themselves. Yup. So, um... how about that local sports team, huh?

Not The Proper Way to "Lay the Floor" Award
An 18-year-old in Selkirkshire avoided getting registered as a sex offender after an incident where he engaged in a sexual act with pavement. The man was drunk, and, apparently, was going for more of a shock value, as opposed to a strictly sexual motivation. Oddly enough, similar thinking has been applied to Paris Hilton, and, even more so, to those that have dated the Parisite.

Homeless Round-Up Award
New Orleans recently tried to round-up large numbers of the city's homeless, in an attempt to clear underpasses. The problem? It's not illegal to live on the street in the city. The city is now looking at trying to pass a new law to handle the discrepancy. In the meantime, we expect to see the squirrel population of New Orleans continually held in check.

Stick With What You're Good At Award
A large number of us have found ourselves in vehicles when we've had a few too many to drink. Hopefully, the vast majority were not behind the wheel. And yet, we're fairly certain that there have been times in almost everyone's life where they were thinking, "I shouldn't be driving". A cab driver in Australia got to experience that thought twice. Within three hours. And got pulled over each time. And to think, he's still got a couple of weeks before St. Patrick's Day.

Don't Give Him Bad News Award
It should come as no surprise that GDub isn't necessarily the most up-to-date on current events. And yes, let's just ignore that he should really be briefed on everything early in the game. Still, when he's about to talk about the state of the economy, and he gets quizzed on the concept of $4/gallon gasoline, he should probably have a better response than, "I hadn't heard that". Hmm... the rumors of those gas prices must have come from the Democrats...

MILB Award
Japan just got a new oldest professional boxer, and she means business. The 44-year-old mother of two passed the tests, and became the oldest pro boxer, when the previous age champ (46) retired. Needless to say, her children stay off of the lawn, color within the lines, and are more than happy to wait until their father gets home.

Well, that wraps up our awards for this week. We'll see you next week, when the calendar stops throwing fake days at us. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Whatever happened to casing the joint?

Always remember, if you're serious about trying to become a criminal, and want to start with a robbery, make sure you do a little research beforehand. Otherwise, you could find yourself in the dire predicament that a couple of Australian thieves got into this week.

In our minds, this is how we imagine the exchange must have gone:

(Two machete-wielding, balaclava-wearing burglars burst into bar.)

BURGLAR 1: Get on the ground and give us your money!

(Interior door opens, leading to room packed with bikers).

BURGLAR 2: So, Paul Hogan's a great actor, huh?

After all, when you find that you've decided to rob a bar in the middle of a motorcycle gang's weekly meeting, wouldn't you change tune pretty quickly? The thieves did make an attempt to escape, but one was tackled and hogtied before the police arrived, and his accomplice didn't elude capture for long. Needless to say, the bikers themselves have said that the thieves picked the wrong night for a burglary.

Look, we don't give these little tips out because we're trying to encourage a life of crime from anyone. Sure, we do use criminals as some of our examples, but that's because it's generally easier to find crooks doing something foolhardy. So, in whatever your chosen field, please, take one piece of advice from us today.

Look around you, and try to plan ahead. It might help you avoid getting gang tackled.

Unless, y'know, that's the kind of thing that you're into.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Better late than never

Congratulations to the state of South Carolina! They are currently looking to pass a bill that would officially recognize the end of slavery!

Alright, before you jump to any sort of conclusions or attack us for this exact sort of misleading statement, read the article. Sure, it doesn't make things a whole lot clearer, but it does start to become more obvious that what SC is actually doing is looking to commemorate the unofficial end of slavery. Proposing a "Juneteenth" bill would stop the need to write a temporary proclamation every year, and it would be a chance to honor June 19th, 1855, when Union soldiers announced the end of the Civil War in Texas.

However, looking at the article itself, especially on a cursory glance, one can think that South Carolina is finally getting around to accepting that slavery is over. While we know that there are still people across this country who refuse to believe that the Confederacy lost (and still others who are practically keeping up the fight, or at least their own battle-readiness, to this day), we highly doubt that there are any who haven't gained an understanding that slavery is no more. Sure, civil rights are still being worked out, but you don't see slaves out on plantations anymore. And for anyone to think that a state would have held off accepting such a fact for over 150 years is a bit ludicrous.

And yet, the article lingers out there. Who knows, though. Maybe the writer was trying to phrase the article in such a way as to eliminate confusion, and a clever editor changed words to make it "flow" better. Maybe the author was ultimately confused as to exactly what was happening. Maybe they found themselves distracted by a kid with a Mohawk.

Could have been worse. They could have been working for FOX.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Excuse me, sir, you forgot something

Our regular readers will be well aware that we love articles that point out people being stupid. Whether those people are celebrities, politicians, or registered morons, we just love stupidity in others. And yet we hold a special place in our hearts for stupid criminals.

For example, we love when we hear stories about people trying to rob a place after they've turned in a (correctly filled-out) application. We chortle with joy at the notion of people deciding that they are going to outrun the police in their incredibly slow vehicles, such as tractors. And yet, we're somewhat surprised that we hadn't seen a story quite like this one. We've heard of the concept of mind over matter, but this is ridiculous.

Sure, there have been plenty of instances where people have been able to hold up locations with nothing more than a finger or a candy bar. The successful ones are smart enough to keep their lack of a weapon concealed in a jacket pocket, so that at least it could look like they aren't unarmed. Unfortunately, for the attempted thief in today's story, he just couldn't bring himself to keep his hands in his pockets, and aimed his loaded finger right at the clerk.

Of course, shortly after his arrest, the culprit proceeded to claim that someone else had forced him to make the burglary attempt, all while brandishing a weapon. Given what our star knows about weapons, we think it's entirely possible that the other party he was referring to was simply pointing two fingers, for the double-barrel effect.

Either that, or we've all got firearms on the ends of our wrists, and don't realize it. That would certainly explain the ticking we would hear whenever Bob Dole wasn't holding onto a pen.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Don't stop believing

How many of us remember 1992? Specifically, how many of us remember the presidential campaigns of '92, pitting the senior Bush against the male Clinton? Does anyone remember a certain write-in candidate? No? How about in '96, when said write-in candidate had an actual campaign, running against Pres. Clinton and Bob Dole? Hmm... maybe 2000, where, by many accounts, this man's candidacy cost Gore the election to GDub (honestly, if it comes down to being that close, Gore probably wasn't the best face to present anyway)?

Ah yes, now the face is becoming clearer. When we then recall that he launched another bid in '04, supposedly helping vault GDub to victory over Kerry (although, what we said about Gore holds doubly true for Kerry), we can't help but shake the grave image of Ralph Nader out of our collective brain pans.

And, just in time for another presidential election, guess who's coming to the party? That's right. Just in case you missed it, Nader has once again decided that he's going to run for the presidency. Needless to say, the Democrats are less thrilled than the GOP by this move, since they stand to lose the most voters to Nader and his campaign.

But we're going to step aside for a moment here. And Ralph? Come right over here. We need to have a little chat with you.

Okay. Look, Ralph, nobody denies that you've been able to do some very good things in the realm of safety. Nobody can argue that you've had an impact that has lasted longer than many politicians. But isn't it time that you settled down, picked up your toys, and played in your own field? In your earlier campaigns, the country was at least hungry for a third party that was viable. Now, you really just look like someone who's gotten hungrier for attention than Tom Cruise, without the crazy.

So please, Ralph. Think about things. You're right when you say, "If the Democrats can't landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up," but you aren't helping. For goodness sakes, Ralph, people in Minnesota voted for a professional wrestler. We don't need any more confusion.

Besides, you have a better chance of getting elected president of the PTA than the USA. And even they're a little unsure of your motives.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of February 18, 2008

Well folks, here we are again, watching Friday tick past us. We have moved steadily on from the love that flowed all over the place last week to a week that, in some ways, resembles the misgivings one has the morning after a fling. Sure, it was a fun way to spend a few hours, but is that really how you want to wake up every morning? Before too many of you can answer yes, we're going to get our awards started.

Sexy Beast Award
Of course, some of the big news this week has revolved around sex, which only seems fitting the week after we celebrate love. And the biggest sex story has to be John McCain, and his possible affair with a lobbyist. Part of us applauds the old guy for even having such a rumor flying around him, while part of us is more disgusted by the mere notion. We're pretty certain that it'd be like sleeping with your grandfather, only with a stronger sense of remorse.

We're Not Gonna Take It Award
Speaking of the McCain scandal, leave it to numerous conservative radio and television hosts to come out of the woodwork, slamming the New York Times for even writing such an article. The major affront to them is a lack of corroboration to the story, while still claiming that McCain isn't "conservative" enough. Good to know that FOXNews is going to start using "sources" and other people to back up their stories. Maybe they'll even take the next step, and hire "editors".

Research to the Rescue Award
Once again, Science has pulled through for us, as a recent study into why children play games has released its findings. While the scientists are still looking for deeper sociological and biological reasons as to why, it seems that children play because it's fun. Future studies intend to show that panhandlers beg because they like free money, and people have something to drink because they are thirsty.

At Least It Wasn't a Handicapped Spot Award
Sometimes, people make it a little too easy for the police. Take, for example, the recent story of the drunk driver who parked his car at the police station. The Canadian officers found the man inside the lobby, and promptly arrested him. By many accounts, the man thought he was at a doughnut shop, and was just looking for a little breakfast to soak up all the alcohol he'd imbibed.

Rocky Mountain High Award
Colorado is looking to be yet another state that has finally slipped the shackles of "blue laws", as they appear ready to allow liquor sales on Sundays. If the bill passes, residents of Denver will now be able to react, as opposed to prepare, for a crushing Broncos defeat. Meanwhile, Minnesota continues to stand fast with the, "C'mon, It's Too Cold To Go Outside on Sunday for Beer, Anyway" law.

We Feel Pretty Award
We knew it had to happen sooner or later. After the woman kicked off the plane for wearing too short of a skirt, we now have a story about two women who were treated poorly because they were "too pretty". Within the story itself, mention is made of the behavior of the two women, which was admittedly less than exemplary. The women also believe that the flight attendants may have been jealous, because, "nobody else on the plane looked like us except us". This could also be the script for "The Hottie & the Nottie 2: Soul Plane Boogaloo".

Just Queue It Award
When looking to rob a bank, most people want to just get in, grab the money, and get out in a rush. Not so for a thief in Florida, who waited patiently for his turn in line before demanding the money. And nobody believed Mom when she said that being polite would help us get places.

Alas, Poor Yor-*cough cough* Award
Across Minnesota, bars have been looking to clever ways to help out smokers, ever since a smoking ban went into effect. Mostly, the opening of patios with heaters has helped those needing a quick burn while enjoying their pint. A new loophole (which will probably be closed soon) is allowing smokers back in, as bars are hosting "theater nights" and referring to their patrons as actors. That's right, according to a law, performers are allowed to smoke during shows, so bars are utilizing the loophole to their own advantage. No wonder the last production we saw of "High School Musical" was so lackluster. Humphrey Bogart, Groucho Marx and Popeye could not be reached for comment.

And that wraps up our awards for this week. We'll see you next week, as we take the time to celebrate the extra day that February grants us this year. After that, of course, the annual guessing game that is March. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Not really hurting

Teenagers. They're always going around and doing, well, stuff. Some of that stuff is beneficial, as they have an energy and passion that can be unrivaled, when tapped into correctly. Some of that stuff is destructive, because that same energy and passion left unchecked can lead to negative results if not properly guided. Of course, teenagers tend to have a common gathering place outside of the schools. No, we're not talking about gas stations where they hope to find someone who will buy them cigarettes. We're talking about a different bastion of consumerism; the shopping mall.

Malls and teens have always enjoyed a tenuous relationship. On one hand, seemingly free money coupled with mass quantities of disposable goods seems like a match made in heaven. On the other, large gathering spaces without adequate supervision seems like a recipe for destruction. Many malls across the country have tried to accentuate the positive while curtailing the negative, enforcing curfews where teens need adult supervision after a certain time of day.

Take, for example, the Clearview Mall in Louisiana, which has started enforcing a "Parental Escort Policy". The terms of the policy state that anyone under 16 must be accompanied by someone who is at least 21, or they won't be allowed to stay in the mall. Of course, this wouldn't be America if the teens just sat down and accepted the policy. Instead, a group is planning a boycott of the mall itself, all due to the ruling.

We should point out quickly that the people that fall under such a policy are the ones who cannot drive themselves. Sure, mass transit may be one of the options, but, at least as far as Clearview Mall is concerned, gone are the days where parents drop their children off at the mall while Mommy and Daddy dash off to the casino for a night full of one-armed bandits and hot tub revelry (after all, why else would they try and dump the kids off knowing that they'll only spend their parents money?).

One of the students behind the boycott showed his generation's nimbleness, by posting a forum for the boycott on MySpace, but also their lack of information, by referring to the policy as a ban. Hate to break it to the kids, but a ban would say that nobody under 16 was allowed in the mall. Period. End of sentence. No chance for kids to come in with a drinking-age companion. They just wouldn't be allowed in. So, in all honesty, this really is a supervision policy.

The question is, will the boycott work? Sure, the mall has to be concerned about losing a potentially rich demographic, or at least one that spends freely because many of them aren't concerned with bills, rent, or child-support payments. The teens, on the other hand, will have to contend with finding a new place to loiter, possible (gasp!) even deciding to set new gathering areas in the outdoors, maybe in these new-fangled parks that we keep hearing about.

All we really know? The chances of there being a 7pm Hannah Montana concert at Clearview just got a lot slimmer.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

(In)sensitivity training

People will often say something that they don't truly mean. Plenty of times, racist or sexist comments will be made, many that are innocent and meant without any vitriol. However, due to heightened awareness on all sides, comments that ten years ago might have been met with little more than derision are now facing larger consequences. But we all understand that mistakes in speech can be made. So what about those among us that make such mistakes while serving in public office? And what about when those mistakes are compounded by more?

Such was the case with a Utah senator, who referred to a bill he was opposed to by saying "this baby is black." Sure, he could have meant something that was entirely without racial connotations, but it was his follow-ups that really made matters worse for him.

A meeting was scheduled with the NAACP, but the senator backed out when he learned that the meeting would be public. He referred to a storm of emails as a "hate lynch mob". And then, when he learned that he had managed to offend again (and, really, when one thinks about the usage of lynch mobs, doesn't one tend to think of a racial connotation?), he followed this up by saying, "How do I know what words I'm supposed to use in front of those people?" If he'd continued, he may very well have stumbled across the terms "tar baby", "Uncle Tom", or worse.

Look, we firmly believe that speech is a powerful tool, and we acknowledge the power of words. We'd also love to believe that people have a brain of their own, and that we don't need to police every little thing that gets said, simply because someone might be offended by the term. This is not detracting from the power of the words themselves, but it is merely pointing out that many people are just a little too thin-skinned to engage in conversation with.

That being said, a public official, elected by his constituents to represent them, who chooses to use such language in a completely careless way does need to get reprimanded, and, preferably, in a public setting. Why, we almost expect him to start talking about internment camps, and expressing his love for the Orient.

When celebrities are caught saying these things, we expect public outrage and open apologies. We crave these public shows, even if we never accept the individuals again (right, Michael Richards and Isaiah Washington?). So why should politicians be held to any different standard?

Oh, wait. Because more people voted for Sanjaya than GDub. Enough said.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Maybe he didn't have a costuming budget

There are few things that will ever seem as strange to do as videotaping yourself breaking into someone's house. Sure, it's a great home movie to show the family down the road, but have people learned nothing from all the kids that have been busted because of videos they posted on MySpace or Facebook? And yet, some people decide to go the extra step, and videotape themselves breaking into someone's home, all while wearing nothing but a thong and a smile.

Of course, with that sort of a wardrobe, there really isn't much of a way of hiding embarrassment, either.

To top it all off, the burglar in our story, who didn't just film himself gaining access, was thwarted in his efforts by the woman living in the house. While he ran away to a nearby group of trees, he left behind a crucial piece of evidence.

No, not the knife he was carrying. And, thankfully, not the thong that he was wearing. He left behind his video camera, which also had some family footage on the end of the tape.

Of course, it's entirely possible that the man wasn't simply trying to videotape himself in the middle of a crime. It could be that he was really an amateur porno director, one who casts themselves in the lead role, and he was hoping that, perhaps, the woman of the house would be a bit more receptive. Otherwise, we can think of little reason to parade around in a thong while training a camera on yourself.

If that was the case, just a quick word of advice for our thwarted assailant. There's a reason that the pizza guy or the repair man are recurring motifs in the industry.

For some reason, dollars never figure into the tip.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Way to step up

It's always nice when people give credit where credit is due. Take, for example, a group of parishioners in Texas who are just pleased as punch about one of their youth pastors. After all, said spiritual leader truly stepped up, accepted responsibility for his actions, and made his confessions to God.

Oh, yeah. And he confessed to the police. For a murder that he committed 12 years ago.

Members of the community are just so very glad that he confessed, and they don't want to see him arrested. Many are expressing forgiveness because, as one parishioner said, "the Bible says you just need to confess to God. Calvin took an extra step."

Well heck, if that's all it takes, why don't more criminals just get home at the end of the day and say something like, "Forgive me Father, but I have sinned. Today, I robbed a convenience store of their money and a condom. Tomorrow I may rob someone else"? Actually, a number of criminals may say that already, or something similar. We'll never truly know, because, well, are any of us the type to instinctively trust someone who admits to breaking laws?

To the congregation in Texas, here's something else that the Bible says. "Thou shalt not kill." Not "Thou shalt not kill, or at least thou shalt feel really bad about it after a decade has passed." And while it's very true that the youth pastor has probably changed his ways quite a bit since the killing, the number of people praising his responsible nature for stepping forward and admitting his crimes seem to be missing a point.

He waited over ten years. During that time, he was teaching children, and, well, could have possibly snapped and killed someone again. Good for him to come forward now, but to say that forcing him to spend jail time would be removing a mentor from the community seems a little off.

It's not like anyone is spending their days looking up to OJ now, right?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of February 11, 2008

Welcome to Friday, and welcome to the day after Valentine's Day. Yesterday had people all over the place feeling the love, and yes, by love we do mean expensive dinners at overcrowded restaurants coupled with a near-obligation to partake in a romantic comedy of some sort. Us, we kept our eyes on the news, as we always do. Let's get this love affair rolling.

See Joe Pander. Pander, Joe, Pander Award
Joe Lieberman. We actually long to return to a time when we didn't have a story about him within a given week, but the Democrat/Independent/Republican-panderer just keeps himself in the news. This week, we learned that Joe isn't all that opposed to waterboarding, because, well, it's "not like putting burning coals on people's bodies". Sure, he'd like some restraint exercised as to how frequently the technique is used, but he doesn't believe it to be torture. This same technique was called illegal earlier this week by the Justice Department. So it's nice to know that Joe is willing to stand by his views, no matter how wrong they are proven to be. Lieberman also is a fan of putting burning embers on people, because, well, embers aren't quite coals.

Drinking For Two Award
Just when you thought it couldn't possibly happen, a woman in her seventh month of pregnancy has been accused of hitting a bartender with a beer bottle. The reason why? The bar had decided that maybe it was time to cut her off. Well, obviously, nobody puts baby in a corner, or tells it that it's time to stop drinking. Ultrasounds also show the baby already equipped with a cooler and a novelty beer helmet.

Who You Gonna Call? Award
A team of sewer workers in Eastbourne, East Sussex, called in a ghostbuster to help them deal with a suspected zombie in the sewers. An investigation into the area proved nothing, suspecting that it could be just high electromagnetic levels, or it could be an actual haunting. Dan Aykroyd had no comment, but the zombie is quoted as saying, "Nnnhhhhhhhh."

Nicaraguan Patriots Award
It seemed inevitable. The New England Patriots were cruising to an undefeated season, and only the New York Giants stood in their way. So, naturally, t-shirt producers began churning out celebratory "19-0" shirts. And where are those shirts now? Nicaragua, the big recipient of the unwanted shirts. This move is both good and bad. Good, because it delivers clothing to a group of people that might not have had access to it on their own. Bad, because now these children may feel that they were lied to, and that true perfection is unattainable. Good thing a lot of those kids will grow up to play baseball.

Slow Down, You Move To Fast Award
News of a tragic 25-kid pile-up reached us, resulting in many trips to the hospital (or at least the nurse's station) for treatment of various owies. Wait a minute. A 25-kid pile-up? Whatever happened to "Watch where you're going"? If only they had posted a speed limit...

Pot, This is the Kettle Award
A prison psychologist has been cleared of charges after having had sex with a mentally ill inmate. The psychologist reportedly "plans to raise the baby boy with him if he's ever declared safe", making us wonder about her own sanity. Oh well, apparently, those that can, do. In prison. With crazy people. We'll keep our eyes out for recommendations for the prisoner's parole. Meanwhile, Sigmund Freud is still fondling his cigar.

Overtime Schmovertime Award
We all know what it's like to get to the end of our work shift and really feel the need to clock out. Not many of us understand that feeling when you're a good 60 miles away from your destination. And even fewer of us can possibly comprehend that feeling when you're driving a bus full of recent parolees. The driver's time had expired, and they had pulled over, letting the passengers know that another driver was on the way. Nicolas Cage was later seen smirking to himself, but the expression was probably unrelated.

Say Twenty "Our Fathers" and Thirty "Oh Gods" Award
A Florida church is about to propose a fairly radical concept. The church is set to challenge their married parishioners to have sex every day for 30 days, while asking the single ones to abstain for the same period of time. The pastor is looking to help parishioners develop new levels to their relationships. No word on whether or not swinger couples will be asked to select just one partner for the entire thirty days.

And, on that note about a little more physical kind of love, we're going to take our leave. We'll keep our eyes open, though, to see if the love for McCain and Obama continues to sweep through the country, or if Huckabee and Clinton can sweep us away at last call with the promise of an after-party. We'll see you next week. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Heckuva job

Boy, those FEMA people just can't seem to catch a break, especially when it comes to anything having to do with Hurricane Katrina. First, they get blamed for their slow response time, and their overall lack of planning when helping those struck by the disaster.

Now, it turns out that their trailers are no good.

People ravaged by Hurricane Katrina that were given temporary homes in FEMA trailers will be finding themselves relocated again, due to high levels of formaldehyde found present in the air. Turns out that the trailers weren't the best plan for long-term housing, and FEMA will be moving the families into mobile homes, which are better suited for a longer displacement. After all, they've got the word "home" in their name.

Of course, for people living in the trailers, this doesn't come as much of a shock. After all, for the last year, families have been getting moved at a fairly rapid rate, even though problems have existed for two years, and FEMA themselves denied any issue when presented with findings showcasing the environmental risk. It wasn't until a lawyer got a judge to force the issue that the government agency actually began testing, with some help from the CDC.

At least now that they've got proof that they can agree with, FEMA is making amends, and trying to get things moving in a positive direction for the affected families. It's not like they did the research, saw the results, and chose to blatantly ignore them.

Gaffes like that are saved for higher levels of government.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A case of "Buyer Beware"?

The Internet. A wonderful tool that has brought people from all walks of life together, uniting them through common purposes. Whether that purpose is pornography, celebrity gossip, making fun of others, or some combination of all three, the web definitely has a place for you. A place where everybody knows your name, or at least your clever screen alias. And sure, there are people who utilize the global online community for business purposes, but where's the fun in that?

Of course, that doesn't mean that you should be careful when going online for certain things. For example, when auctioning yourself off as a willing sex partner to multiple winners, it might be a good idea to keep things to the somewhat-less-anonymous bar scene. Or you could find yourself pregnant, and not know who the father is.

Take a moment to read the story again. It's alright, we'll still be here when you get back.

Alright, now that you've fully processed the article, we just have to take a moment to pause and question. Mainly, we're questioning exactly what this woman could have possibly been thinking. She put herself (and her sexual favors) up for auction, through a site that only required the screen names of the men involved. She then proceeded to follow through with the terms from her end (good to know that she wasn't going to, um, screw them out of their winnings) and, surprise surprise, got pregnant. Now she wants to know exactly who the guys were, but the site that ran the auction is standing by its confidentiality agreement.

So, to sum up, a woman sold herself to multiple men without knowing anything about them (other than the fact that they could win an auction and use a computer), and, now that she's pregnant, she at least wants to get access to a phone number. Never mind that she may never actually determine who the father of her child is, because, well, that could require a legal battle to get the men to agree to a paternity test.

Only in Europe. Honestly, if something like this happened in America, the odds on favorites would be that the woman in question was a celebutard, and that the father was a back-up dancer for somebody. Even if they weren't famous, you can bet that they'd be jumping at the chance to get their story told on tabloid television, hoping it would lead to a lucrative film contract (or at least a TV-movie about their "plight").

We do hope for the best for the woman in question, but we're thinking that her chances of determining paternity are about as good as Jesus getting struck by lightning.

Oh, that happened?

Well, then. Good luck, fellas!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Finger lickin' good

It really does seem like it was only a matter of time before it finally happened. And by "it", we of course mean Kentucky deciding to embrace KFC as the official state picnic food. The bill is specifically mentioning the original recipe introduced by Col. Sanders in 1940, but it will obviously be a boon to KFC and to those who like to feel that they are supporting their state by eating an official state designated meal.

Naming an official state picnic food seems fairly innocuous. It really doesn't seem possible for anyone to get upset about the idea. And yet, well, this is America, where people are willing to sue over a wide variety of things, and willing to protest or complain about an even wider variety. So could there possibly be a group out there who would take offense to fried chicken rising to such a prominent position in the Bluegrass State?

This should come as no surprise to anyone, but PETA has some issues with the concept. The animal rights group, who has established itself as being a few steps beyond "rational" when dealing with anything on an animal front, is fairly upset, with one of their representatives saying, "If the state legislature moves forward with this one, then they should change Kentucky's state bird from the cardinal to the debeaked, crippled, scalded, diseased, dead chicken," obviously missing the point. After all, it's not like Kentucky is declaring fried cardinal the official state picnic food.

While it's been fairly conclusively proven that many animals raised specifically for mass consumption (chickens, cows, hamsters for some folks) are raised in conditions that aren't necessarily the most conducive to long healthy life, it's also not like we're looking to pamper these creatures. After all, humans have long been omnivores, and, as our population (and waistline) has increased, we've gotten used to the idea of fairly docile sources of meat. So maybe the chicken isn't living in a posh roost. Neither are a good share of the rest of us.

And, when it comes to living situations that aren't conducive to long life, why doesn't PETA look at this couple from the Moscow State Circus. Where is his support group clamoring to get him assistance?

Oh, wait. That would have probably been his wife, until recently. Oops.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Let's get (meta-)physical

Today, we've found two different articles that don't seem to flow together. And yet, when we hear most people say the word "exorcise", it sounds a lot like people saying "exercise". So, with that tenuous thread, we're going to move forward with our post.

Anyways, first we're going to focus on the "exercise" portion of the program. Hope that if you ever find your car stuck in a ditch, you can do it near a gym, like a German motorist recently did. The reason why? You may get rescued by a group of body-builders.

Yes, you read that correctly. After the driver got stuck in the ditch, ten people working on their 300 physiques dropped their weights, hauled the car out in a matter of minutes, and then returned to their workouts. They were even treated to a free round of energy drinks by the grateful driver, who could have saved money by trying to thank them with beer. Of course, we first start wondering if these weight lifters used proper technique. Then we quickly shift to the realization that, if only one of them had been a competitor for "World's Strongest Man", the other nine would have been superfluous. And he could have gotten the car out with his teeth.

Moving on, it's not just exercise that's gaining popularity (and thankful drivers) in Europe. As it so happens, exorcism is seeing a resurgence, as well. In fact, the number of priests trained to perform the rite has increased dramatically, as the number of people being sabotaged by demons and ghosts has risen. In fact, a priest in Poland is planning an exorcism center, sort of a one-stop shop for ridding yourself of the devil's footprint. The center would also feature "in-patient" service, allowing the plagued to stay for a few days to get the help that they need.

Church officials believe that the need for trained exorcists has increased because more people are eschewing the church. So yes, before you ask, likely cases that might need exorcism include those who have left Catholicism for a "New Age" religion or the occult. After all, what better way to bring someone back into the flock than to accuse them of being plagued by demons. Other groups that could be likely candidates include practitioners of yoga, and people that could be considered Internet addicts.

If only there were a way to combine the two concepts we've covered. Some sort of "exorcism exercise" could be truly awesome. Just think about it. Become the person you want, both inside and out. Shed demons while shedding pounds. And, if you drive your car into a ditch, trust that someone (or, possibly, ten burly someones) will come along to help you out.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of February 4, 2008

Happy Friday, everybody! It's been a full week, what with Super Tuesday, candidates dropping out of the race, shuttles blasting off, and some furry animal poking its head out of the ground. Honestly, we were hoping for things to be a little more clear cut after Tuesday, just because we were looking forward to headlines proclaiming an "Obama-nation". Not that we're throwing our support, just that we giggle a little when we say that out loud. Besides, we wouldn't want to be like Obama Girl, with her music videos and her proclamations of love, and yet her lack of voting. But that's another story, and one that we're going to gloss over. With that said, let's get rolling.

From Super to Sub Award
Oh, Joe Liebermann. You've had your trials and your tribulations. We watched you parade around as a potential VP, then saw how quickly the tide could turn when you stood steadfast after smooching GDub. And now, we see that you've been hit with the "Zell Miller" ruling. But don't worry, Joe. You'll always be super in our minds. Super-conflicted, but super nonetheless.

Think of the Family Award
In an historic operation, literally dozens of people with mob connections were arrested earlier this week, both in New York and in Sicily. 30 people were arrested on the Italian island, with more than double that arrested in America. Amongst those arrested? John "Jackie Nose" D'Amico and Domenico "The Greaseball" Cefalu. No word on the status of Tony "Panties" Marino or Gino "Prone to Seizures" Aurello. New York also seen shouting, "In your face, Sicily!"

I Said, "Whoa!" Award
The image of a hearse being drawn by horses is both beautiful and somber. That is, until the horses stampede and drag the coffin around the cemetery. Benny Hill's body later seen fleeing at top speed, being chased by women in bikinis.

A Quiet Roommate Award
It seems like a story like this is found every once in a while. An elderly man in Bristol hasn't had a complaint about his roommate for the last five years. This is largely because the roommate has been dead for that long. The living resident never called the police, possibly due to mental health problems. On the up side, they never fought over whether to watch "Big Brother" or "Doctor Who".

Keep Off the Grass Award
In Florida, they really take their lawn care a bit more seriously than most states. If you need proof, just try and find another state where someone was killed after a dispute about the length of the grass. And here in Minnesota we thought it was bad when people don't shovel the walk. As for the Florida neighborhood, might we suggest Astroturf?

I Love Choco-... Oh Award
Science has once again decided to flex its muscles, as a lab in Texas, at the request of a television station, found ways to keep us all from enjoying our Valentine's Day chocolates this year. The lab discovered hair and insect parts in many of the chocolates. Sales for chocolate-covered ants will definitely be hurt by this report. As for us, we're still waiting for "Crunchy Frog" to become available.

Isn't It Ironic? Award
In an effort to help slow down major global climate change, people have begun resorting to biofuels such as ethanol. And yet, in a report published Thursday, biofuels actually cause more greenhouse gas emissions than standard fuels. This explains why Exxon has been laughing as they skip and sing their way to the bank.

Zap! Award
The Nebraska Supreme Court has recently found itself in line with many other states in America, as they have now ruled that the electric chair is "cruel and unusual punishment", and therefore must no longer be used. Of course, when compared to being forced to listen to Dr. Phil or trying to understand caucus logistics, the chair doesn't seem all that bad.

And that wraps up our awards for this week. We'll be back next week, possibly even with a look into candidate tax returns. Until then, we'll just keep looking ahead, trying to make our best guesses as to how things will turn out. We'll also be keeping our fingers crossed that the WGA strike may be over soon. Our television misses us. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Up, up, and up

Is there anything that medications can't do? Sure, some people will say that medication won't repair a broken marriage, and others will be hesitant to use medications as a primary source of income, but couldn't it just be that these people haven't tried the right pills?

And what exactly are the right pills? We used to believe that each situation and/or condition had its own required medication. We're beginning to find out that there may just be a wonder drug that works wonders, and no, we're not talking about aspirin.

We're talking about Cialis.

Why are we mentioning anti-impotence drugs? Because, apparently, Israeli fighter pilots may get anti-e.d. pills to help them combat dizziness caused by low oxygen levels while they combat enemies caused by building a wall around the Gaza Strip.

The pills have worked for climbers in higher altitudes, and Israeli army doctors think that the pilots could see similar results during their long exposures to thin air, making breathing much harder.

Of course, if these pills don't bring about the intended result, at least we can rest assured that the Israeli pilots will be steady and strong, possibly for hours at a time, during intense sessions. And if that doesn't provide us all with certain levels of comfort and joy, then we don't know what will.

We can hear the new tagline already... "Cialis. For when you need to go up and away."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

All in the definition

Part of the challenge facing teachers in our global society is how exactly to address certain topics, while keeping themselves out of trouble. Here in the United States, plenty of instructors are finding themselves teaching mainly to standardized tests, even skipping other pertinent information that could be useful in order to prepare the students best for the tests that they know will be given out. In other parts of the world, some teachers take their own tactic.

Take, for example, the Australian teacher who, at first, found himself under fire for an assignment, only to be cleared of wrong-doing and later promoted. His assignment?

He asked a group of 8-year-old students to answer the question, "Is Nudity and Pornography the same thing?" Of course, he encouraged the students to use the Internet as a valuable resource to come to their conclusions. After all, the Internet has plenty of material on both subjects.

That's where the "Oops" comes in. A number of the students viewed the homework assignment as an opportunity to download porn off of the Web. When questioned, the teacher stood by his assignment, pointing out that he merely intended the students to gather definitions, not to actually view the imagery. Of course, he also pointed out how important it is for children to understand the difference, and to learn about sexual health and awareness within a physical education curriculum. Complaints were lodged, the computers were cleansed, and the teacher was given a pass on his assignment.

Of course, part of the outrage comes from children being exposed to pornographic material, but, in today's modern world, it's almost impossible to shield people completely. Heck, most internet sites have at least a little implied pornography, if not blatant imagery. We've even talked about the frequency of celebrity nipple slips, and it's hard to avoid a comment here or there about various sexual acts.

Part of us wonders if this had come about because, for some reason, people are still more comfortable with children viewing violent acts, as opposed to sexual ones. While it's certainly true that children are often too immature to deal with the sexual ramifications, a good number of them can't quite separate when their favorite movie character gets into a fight. And yet the double standard still exists, where sex is taboo, but a good raucous gunfight is suitable for primetime entertainment.

If only it had gone the other way around. We might have been treated to images of celebrities fighting each other, as opposed to showing a severe distaste for undergarments.

"One Night In Paris" could have been an entirely different video.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Those bathrooms are killers

Wal-Mart has something of a bad reputation. Not only are the megastores practically synonymous with driving out smaller local shops while paying workers less than a livable wage, they are seen as the embodiment of evil for many. How any store that places its hunting equipment just a few aisles over from it's bicycles and toys could be seen as evil is beyond us, but, well, plenty of people seem to jump all over Wal-Mart when they're talking about the evils of consumerism and the corporate culture.

Take, for instance, a woman who wrote a letter to Wal-Mart. She's upset that she hasn't gotten a response yet. Of course, the letter was written shortly after an incident in August, and she wants to know why it took a janitor 9+ hours to find the body of her husband, but we can't expect that any major corporation is just going to freely hand that information over. Especially with the highly competitive nature of so many of these corporations.

Look at it this way. Wal-Mart doesn't blatantly explain how they can sell DVDs for $29, or TVs for a nickel. Sure, a lot of people can assume that it's a combination of substandard quality coupled with low wage overhead, but we can't be certain. When it comes to determining how a janitor could completely miss a dead body for so many hours, sure, one could guess that the root cause was a combination of lack of training and overall laziness (possibly caused by wage strife). And it's not like Wal-Mart is being considered responsible for the death itself. If they were, you can practically bet that some of these other "big box" stores would be crawling all over themselves to see which one could be responsible for the next corpse left undiscovered for a double shift.

Seriously? Wal-Mart isn't responding to this situation? What, are they afraid that they somehow might look worse than they already do? There's really only one way for that to happen.

They could hire the current administration in customer service positions.

Monday, February 04, 2008

And over here we have the Casanova

Marketing can be difficult. Not only do you have to come up with a clever way to convince people to buy things they probably don't need, but you also need to constantly be creating new ways of interacting with the world, at least for the consumers. Good marketing can put people at ease and make them feel good about their expenditures. Bad marketing can lead to riots and Gozer the Gozerian's rise.

Okay, maybe not. But bad marketing definitely can lead to complaints, and poor research by a marketing department often results directly in a poorly constructed campaign. Woolworths in Great Britain was recently reminded of that, all over a six-year-old girl's bed.

The problem with the child's bed? It carried the model name "Lolita".

That's right. The title character from the Nabokov story, the character practically synonymous with underage promiscuity (well, at least until Jamie Lynn Spears), the character who has been the subject of multiple movie treatments and a psychological diagnosis, was able to bestow her name onto a bed designed for a little girl, and, until they took the time to look on Wikipedia, the staff at Woolworth's didn't think anything of it.

While we can forgive the staff (somewhat) for not being familiar with the novel, we really have to wonder exactly what type of box their marketing department was kept in. After all, there should have been at least one person on their staff who had some sort of a faint recollection when the name "Lolita" was first bandied about, and that recollection should have prompted a web search, at the very least. Admittedly, when the issue was brought to their attention, the bed was quickly removed from their product line, so they do get some credit for acting quickly, but the entire situation could have (and should have) been avoided from the start.

What's next? Knives marketed under the name "Oedipus"? The "Ophelia" hot tub? And let's not forget the possibility of the "Arthur Dent" towel set.

Actually, that last one isn't such a bad idea.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of January 28

What a week this has been. We've seen presidential hopefuls becoming hopeless in the blink of an eye. We've seen candidates previously at each other's throats warmly embracing. We've seen the zombie of Ron Paul continue to shamble across the country, moaning something about delegates. And let's not forget celebrities and their shenanigans. So let's get our awards rolling.

Jai Guru Indeed Award
Next Monday, in honor of a number of anniversaries, NASA is planning on beaming the Beatles song "Across the Universe" quite literally across the universe. The song will be beamed out to Polaris, and even Sir Paul McCartney is excited about the prospect of having his music heard by extraterrestrial ears. Of course, if NASA wanted the song to be understood, they might have considered sending something that Ringo penned, instead.

Just a Little Pin Prick Award
An acupuncturist in Texas is trying for a second time to get licensed in the state. The trouble that she ran into the first time, and may run into the second time? She's legally blind. Given the fact that acupuncture requires very specific placement, it would seem to us that letting the blind poke you with pins would be akin to letting OJ Simpson give you anger management training.

Va-Va-Va-Voom Award
For many years, the only reason that men cared about women wearing lingerie was because, well, they thought it was being done solely to impress them. For many years, that theory worked, because many men have found themselves impressed by women in sexy undergarments. A graduate student (male, for those of you playing at home) recently determined that women also buy lingerie based off of what other women think. This explains so much about sorority pillow fights.

Let's Go to the Tape Award
Earlier this year, a scandal fell over a beloved American institution. This scandal is now being looked into by one of our senior senators, Arlen Specter (R-PA). That scandal, of course, was the sideline taping done by the New England Patriots early in the NFL season, and fact that the tapes have now been destroyed. While admitting that the revelations will have no bearing on major (or many minor) events working through the halls of government, he stressed the importance of the investigation, to renew the faith of the American people in the National Football League. Because nobody has plans for Sunday night.

Brother Can You Spare A Lawyer? Award
A panhandlers union in Ottawa, Ontario is preparing to sue the city over a fence put up around a bridge underpass, taking away a potential sleeping area from the city's homeless population. Yes, you read that correctly. A panhandlers union. What happens if they go on strike?

Nothing To See Here Award
Pam Anderson, known almost as well for her porn tapes and disastrous marriages as she is for her longtime role on "Baywatch" is set to appear at a Parisian nude revue. Anderson is planning on doing a striptease while atop a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Wait, wasn't that just a scene in "Barb Wire"? And yes, the French have already surrendered to fits of nausea.

How Many Delegates in Botswana? Award
The world is watching the upcoming presidential elections in the United States with great interest. This comes after eight years where the international view of the US has grown steadily poorer, and a number of countries are looking to see who becomes the new Commander in Chief in a hope that they can restore America to a credible position. This explains why there's been a large German push for President Hasselhoff.

Defending Our Borders Award
Let's hear it for the Department of Homeland Security! After years of difficulty establishing better controls at the United States border, they've made great strides in keeping illegals out. Of course, those new controls are at the US-Canada border, but hey, we'll take the little victories. Canada can keep their universal health care, low-cost medications and friendly citizens all to themselves. Can we establish more restrictions around Quebec?

Seemed Like a Bad Idea at the Time Award
A new debit card is offered by Reserve Solutions. Instead of draining your checking or savings account over time, this new card will allow the consumer to borrow directly against their 401(k). That sound you hear is your retirement melting away from $3 service fees.

And that wraps up our awards for this week. We'll be back next week, by which time we fully expect a new glut of celebrities to be either entering or leaving rehab. We also expect that, for at least a day and a half, the only news we'll see will be about some silly game played with an oblong ball. Stay safe out there.