Monday, March 31, 2008

Like a stack of dimes

For as long as people have recorded history, and probably dating back long before that, there have been members of our society that have tried to find ways to get things that they want without the full cost. From the thieves who break into stores in the night to the person who "accidentally" scratches a display model to knock a couple hundred dollars off the price, there have been plenty of people who understand the term "deal" better than they comprehend "fair value". Or, at least, there have been people who are searching for the deal more often than not, and, obviously, a number of them have resorted to illegal (or at least dishonest) means.

Of course, for many, these little schemes backfire, sometimes in big ways. Even when the idea seems so clever at the outset. Take, for example, the idea of paying for things with fake stacks of dimes. Now, it should be noted that, at least in this case, the stacks were actually stacks of pennies, sandwiched between two shiny ten-cent pieces. And the total "purchase" was right around $21.

Being who we are, you just have to know that the story didn't end there. Of course not. After all, this incident happened in 1990, and if it had ended there, we'd barely even know about it. But when the man suspected of using the false stacks got arrested recently for disorderly conduct and had his earlier offense returned to the light, it started picking up coverage. When we found out the original bond that the man had been asked to pay, we just had to grab it.

After all, who would've known that the price for buying $21 worth of stuff with mostly pennies (that the clerk thought were dimes) was a $1M bond? Certainly not us.

Now some of you are probably thinking what we're thinking. Maybe, with the way the economy has been looking as of late, the number can be justified somewhat through inflation. Oh, no, gentle reader. That $1M to keep the man out of jail? That was what was imposed at the time of the original crime. Apparently, in 1990, $21 was worth $1M.

We're just thankful that the guy wasn't trying to get pants back from a dry cleaner, otherwise who knows how high his bail would have been?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of March 24, 2008

Well, folks, here we are, about to bid a fond farewell to the month of March. Of course, before we can do that, we have to make it through another few days full of chances for rain or snow (oh, who are we kidding? It will snow) before we can enter fully into April. And, of course, the theme for this April could very easily be "more of the same". It's certainly looking that way for the Race to the White House. Which is why we're here, trying to shake things up a bit with our awards. Let's get rolling, shall we?

Ogg is ROFLMAO. Now Ogg Smash Award
For the longest time, people have held onto the belief that Neanderthals were incapable of speaking. Well, those people may have to come to a realization. Turns out, according to archaeological research, not only could Neanderthals speak, but they were actually fairly chatty, and even showed a penchant for body decoration. Of course, none of this means that they speak in the same way as modern humans in the slightest. And, suddenly, there's an explanation for Perez Hilton and "leet speak".

Fast as Lightning Award
Often, when planning on committing a crime, it's important to find out who (or what) your victim will be. Take, for example, the case of a trio of people who attempted to mug a man in Florida. Thinking they had an unsuspecting victim on their hands, they pulled a gun, only to find themselves face-to-face with a tae kwon do expert. The robbery was averted when one of the assailants was kicked in the face, and the other two ran. The intended victim was later spotted running up ladders, over tables, and fighting a gang of masked criminals, who all decided to approach one at a time.

Go About Your Business Award
Apparently, if you're operating a strip club in Texas, there is a specific list of things that can get you closed down, at least for a while. While it seems odd that there would be a list, it seems even more strange that allowing a 12-year-old to strip at your club is missing from said list. The authorities are looking into whether anyone in management knew that the girl was 12. We're not certain, but stripping to "Hannah Montana" might have been a clue.

Defending the Border Award
Recent news reaches us that, soon, there will be 2000+ troops patrolling the US-Mexico border. This is great news, because GDub has been pushing for a border patrol for-- what? Oh, the troops are Mexico's troops? Works just as well. We fully expect that, in a few week's time, that troop of 1000 soldiers will do their jobs well. And, in another month, we hope that the 500 remaining get reinforcements.

Best Field Trip Ever Award
A group of Essex students is getting ready to embark on a trip to Amsterdam. During that trip, they will be learning about Anne Frank, getting information on how the Dutch handle discipline, and possibly even checking out the harbor. Oh, and there's a planned visit to the red light district. Shockingly, taxpayers who are, in part, funding this trip, are expressing some anger. If only there was a place that they could go to maybe, we don't know, mellow out or something, man.

I'm Loving It Award
How do four teenagers get arrested in a Yonkers McDonald's? Well, if you guessed "dance in their underwear, and then beat up the manager that asks them to stop", you win a Happy Meal prize. Or the satisfaction of getting the question right. It's definitely better than getting beat up by someone wearing their underwear.

Set Your Clocks Award
The WWF is sponsoring a global event that might raise a little awareness. A number of cities across the planet are celebrating an "Earth Hour" by turning out lights at 8:00pm. Individuals are being encouraged to participate as well. The last time that the WWF was part of a massive "lights-out" campaign like this, The Undertaker went on to win the heavyweight title.

They Like Us Award
For a while, now, there has been a perceived divide between the Mainstream Media (MSM) and the blogosphere (blogosphere). There have been accusations that the blogosphere is only able to exist by lifting stories already found by the MSM. As it turns out, members of the MSM turn to the blogosphere more often than people would have liked to admit. Finally, another explanation for Perez Hilton.

Well, that wraps up our awards for this week. We'll be back next week to usher in April. In the meantime, we'll be working on keeping ourselves dry with the impending chance for rain (again, who are we kidding, it'll be snow). Stay safe out there.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The art of self-defense

Ah, insurance companies. For many people, it seems as though they exist to charge a monthly (or at least annual) fee, all in the hopes of not actually needing to give any of that money back to help out the people covered. Sure, having insurance can lead to lower costs, some people argue, but why do I need it when I never use it?

Some people just don't get it. After all, the insurance industry isn't simply out to take fees from people and then decide through their own complicated ways who receives compensation for something they might cover. Oh, no. They also give out helpful advice. Look at the health insurance industry that encourages people to work out. How about the auto insurance industry, which recommends safe driving? And don't forget about the home insurance industry, which practically punishes you if you live in a more dangerous part of town.

And don't think that such advice is found solely within the United States. Why, just recently, an insurance company in China refused to compensate a man after having received dog bites. The reason why? "If (he) had learned a martial art like karate (he) would have avoided the problem."

Well now, that just makes a lot of sense, really. After all, when people are training in the ancient (and spiritual) martial arts, they're obviously planning on needing to use said training in case of angry animals. Sure, they may practice on other people (and the occasional blocks of wood and/or bricks), but that doesn't mean that they aren't preparing to handle a four-legged foe.

At this point, we half-expect to find out that this Chinese company also has an answer for people injured in car accidents. "If you had learned how to drive a car made entirely of rubber, you would have avoided the problem." And, with the right bounce, you could avoid most of traffic, as well.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Timing is key

So many things in our day-to-day lives come down to good timing. Whether it be avoiding a traffic jam on the way to work, or just happening to get to the microwave before someone else reheats salmon, timing is crucial. When timing is thrown off for one reason or another, the results can be dangerous. For further proof of this, just look back the Super Bowl, and think of New England.

Another example of the timing not quite working can be found in the story of a Georgia-Pacific, Corp. tissue mill. After all, the building recently caught fire, forcing firefighters to spend three hours putting out the blaze. Why do we say that the timing was off?

The building is scheduled for demolition.

On the outside, this may actually have seen like a cosmic joining of purposes. After all, if the building has to come down anyway, why not let fire take it out. Doing so could certainly save on costs, even if it wouldn't carry the excitement of an implosion. But remember that, once a building is properly prepared to be demolished, people are all clear of it. Sure, someone has to set the charges, but they should be safe before the button is pushed. Not so in the case of a fire. And really, in cases like this, the human cost does have to be weighed.

On the plus side, the three-hour fire has probably weakened the structure considerably, which should make the demolition easier. And, with the chance of some workers remaining home due to smoke inhalation, we could even argue that there's a smaller risk for injury. Even so, we almost wonder if the Georgia-Pacific people were cursing their luck, wishing that the fire could have come a month or so later.

But hey, it could be worse. They could have tried to steal a car within view of a police-reporter interview. Or they could be trying to stop a program to phase out incandescent light bulbs.

So, you know, they can't hang their heads too much.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

People are losing

Alright, so anyone that considers themselves to be a regular reader is probably not shocked by the title for today. After all, we tend to spotlight some of the worst representations of our society, and, when we're not talking about politicians, we focus on just your run of the mill genius in moron's clothing.

But today is slightly different. Today, mankind is beaten in both of our stories. Ostensibly, members of our species are being beaten by themselves, and their own foolishness. But we've read the stories. We know the truth. In both examples, man is beaten by an outside force. First gophers, and then his own shadow.

Oh, what halcyon days these truly are for Man. When trying to assert our authority over the animal realm (or, over the creation of a light being cast upon us), we have people walking amongst us that have proven they can fail. And fail spectacularly.

Take the gopher story, for instance. A pair of men, trying to keep the animals from tearing up more of their land, used a device that floods the animals dens with propane and fire. So, naturally, when a hole is found that isn't quite deep enough, common sense would dictate perhaps not using the tool. But not these two stalwart protectors. They decided to continue trying to blast out the smaller animals, and ended up causing almost $200,000 in damages with their uncontained fire. Oh, and nevermind that burning ban in the area they decided to use "The Rodenator".

And that, really, should have been the tipping point right there, people. They were using a device called "The Rodenator". We half expect it to have the words, "I'll be back" scrawled in squirrel on its side. It's like a Baconator, only without the fun of having bacon. Not even Bill Murray had this much bad luck with a furry trespasser.

But before you herald these two for their "accomplishments", we do need to point out our second story. Sure, burning down a bunch of prairie to try and eliminate a couple of gophers is one thing. Getting your condominiums to completely evacuate because of shots fired is another. Especially when the shots are being fired at a shadow.

The people involved in this shooting claimed that they were shot at first. You know, by shadow bullets. It's a good thing that there wasn't a giant shadow butterfly (or worse, a shadow Doberman) nearby, otherwise who knows what else these two might have done. And imagine the carnage if they'd been using blinking Christmas lights. Although it does prove the need for good, all-around track lighting.

Ah yes, folks. That smell you're sniffing right now? That's the smell of millions of brain cells trying to rub together, hoping to create that one little spark that would be enough to keep their host from doing something foolish. And that other smell? That's those same brain cells dying everytime that someone shoots their shadow.

Or, you know, makes claims about a trip to Bosnia.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Maybe it was just practice

It is fairly common for people to take their work home with them. After all, at the end of the day, there is usually plenty of work leftover on the desk, and, in order to have something approximating a clean start for the next day, many people take a few pieces to work on in their private time. Not that they couldn't use the break from work; they just tend to choose to continue to focus their energies on similar tasks to what they spent 8+ hours per day doing.

Naturally, some professions are better suited to the concept of taking your work home. After all, designers, IT consultants, musicians, plumbers, and protesters can all get something job-related accomplished while sitting on their own couch. Emergency personnel can hope that they won't need their work experiences in the home setting, but, well, sometimes things happen.

And sometimes, things are caused to happen. Such is the case of a firefighter who was fired after she lit her father's house on fire. Now, she's petitioning to get her job back, and she's got lawyers using the buzz-word of the day.

"Constitutional rights".

That's right, folks. The firefighter's lawyer is claiming that being fired violated her constitutional rights, and that they didn't have evidence to uphold the firing. Never mind that she admitted to setting the blaze. And definitely never mind that, if someone's job is putting out fires, the last thing they should be doing in their free time is setting new ones. Least of all for a suicide attempt.

The scary thing is that she just might win this case, and be allowed to go back to work. Sure, she's the first female firefighter (selling sea shells by the sea shore) in the history of Erie, PA. True, there were no charges filed. But still, if she admitted to lighting a fire, that would seem to disqualify her from the position of "firefighter". After all, policemen are generally arrested if they commit crimes, doctors can get sued (and fired) over people getting sick, and politicians are ousted if they're found to tell the truth too frequently. Why shouldn't a firefighter who does something the exact opposite of their job description be allowed to continue?

And where on earth does it give any sort of rights about lighting fires in the Constitution? Did we miss that somewhere in the 2nd Amendment? Is it truly the right to bear arms and become an arsonist? Or are they going to try and get some sort of freedom of speech argument going here?

It could only have been worse if she'd also borrowed the hook-and-ladder truck for daring raids, a la Animal House. Of course, then it would also have been hilarious.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of March 17, 2008

Hello again, everyone, and welcome back for another round of awards. What a week this has been, opening up with green beer and closing out with a white-out (at least, in the Upper Midwest). That's right. Even though spring has ostensibly arrived, we're looking out our windows at a snowstorm. Just like the Easters of old. Anyway, let's move on to the awards, shall we?

Heck, No, We Won't Go Award
Madison Square Garden. A venerable establishment, full of history and thrilling performances. And, apparently, homophobic crowd cheers. Especially during hockey season. Of course, the least welcoming thing about going to MSG for a hockey game? Knowing that you'll have to watch the New York Rangers play.

But She Seemed So Sane Award
By now, everyone has heard about Heather Mills, and her windfall of a few million dollars for having married the correct Beatle. Many have probably heard about her anger towards Sir Paul the Walrus, for his willingness to fly first class while daughter Beatrice sits in coach. So, when Heather turned the other leg and did what she accused the Walrus of doing? Hmm.... And we were pretty sure that she couldn't be more two-faced if her name was Harvey Dent.

Follow the Flow Award
Remember last week when we mentioned the woman stuck to the toilet? Turns out that it all may end up hurting her boyfriend, too. He is charged with mistreatment of a dependant adult. Well, obviously, if she had truly been Depend-ant, she wouldn't have been stuck to the toilet in the first place. But that other issues to light, and, well, we're just going to back away slowly and give a courtesy flush.

Awfully White of Them Award
Alright, who didn't see this one coming? It turns out that the least politically correct phrase from this past year was *drum roll please* the one uttered by Don Imus. Yes, the one that cost him his job. The one where "nappy" wasn't a cutesy way of describing a mid-afternoon activity. And, of course, by recognizing it, we're now all forced to spend at least another week being reminded of its existence. Besides, it's not like Imus has any right to call anyone else "nappy-headed". Okay, maybe Phil Spector. But that's it.

Jesus Brings Us Eggs Award
We still don't really understand the connection between eggs and crucifixion, but maybe everything will be made clearer by this story about the dangers behind decorating and hiding eggs. Wait! That's it! They're both hazardous to our health! Our thank goodness that got cleared up. Now back to waiting for the zombie apocalypse. Or is that bad, too?

No Further Questions Award
When is a sexual assault suspect not able to stand trial? When he's been dead for a month. The suspect, 91, had been previously convicted of sexual assault, and a trial for a new case was just beginning to get started. And yes, we do believe that a Viagra joke writes itself on this one.

Worst Getaway Vehicle Ever Award
All right. We've all heard the stereotypes about cops. No, not the handlebar mustache thing. The donut thing. Even if it is just a joke, what would make some guys think that stealing a donut van would be a good idea? In a sweet conclusion, the bakery donated the donuts to the officers who helped recover the van. In the meantime, their new "Time to Steal the Donuts" ad campaign is being reanalyzed.

First Sign of the Apocalypse Award
We all know that FOXNews has a very definite political slant. Any network that allows Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter both to have regular airtime should admit to their leanings. Which is why we're so shocked to hear about FOXNews anchors upset over Obama-bashing. Is this a fox in sheep's clothing, or an attempt to get in good while they still can? Only time (and plenty of exposes about how sexy is too sexy) will tell.

And, knowing that the world has taken one step closer to ending, we'll wrap up our awards for this week. We'll see you next week, with more springlike weather (we hope). Stay safe out there.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Really addicted to "Lost"

Some people viewed the Writer's Strike as a dark day (or series of days) in their television viewing. Not only were they not going to get much in the way of new scripted content, but there was a fair chance that repeats would be in low circulation. And don't even get us started on the glut of reality TV that flooded the airwaves.

And yet, when you compare it to what a Pennsylvania family went through a few years back, suddenly it doesn't seem like a big deal that you couldn't catch a new episode of "Numb3rs" at it's regularly scheduled time. After all, there probably weren't a lot of people who were shot for turning the television off. In fact, with the recent programming, leaving the set off might have resulted in spontaneous applause, purchases of dinner, and promises of a good back rub.

So, largely because we've never even come close to reaching that level of dedication to an inanimate object (although we do harbor sweet feelings towards our coffee maker), we have to wonder what exactly could have spurred such an action. Obviously, there were previously existing conditions, but we can't examine those. Okay, we probably could, but that might take a little more time than we've got, and we'd definitely have to be away from our coffee maker.

What could have lead to this turn of events? Was the husband trying to watch an exciting finish in the Big Brother house? Was there a lot of excitement built up over a special guest appearance on "According to Jim"? Was he finally going to learn from the "Mythbusters" about lighting farts on fire? Perhaps some crazy combination of all three?

Maybe, just maybe, the man was so attached to television that he was trying to reenact some of his favorite shows from the past. Obviously, though, he forgot that he was neither a cartoon, nor in front of a live studio audience.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You can't be serious

Well, it's the Holy Week, at least for Christianity. That's why there were two St. Patrick's Days over this past weekend, and why, we assume, we see a story like the one we're looking at today. And, well, we normally have science to thank for these types of articles, but science and the church don't always get along that great. So looks like today's thanks go out to the big G, and all their followers here on the terrestrial plane.

Okay, so the warning didn't come from the church. After all, they don't really approve of people reenacting pieces of the Passion during this week (or, really, any time). And yet, if it wasn't for the church, we probably wouldn't see people flogging themselves, or others willing to get crucified to show their dedication and religious fervor. And, without those events, we certainly wouldn't have heard health officials in the Philippines point out the inherent health risks involved in those activities.

That's right, folks. For those of you who are just catching up to the subject of life, we got to learn today that being crucified could be hazardous to your health. Whew. Thank heavens that someone put that out there. We were fairly certain that whipping the flesh from your back was a good thing, and we thought that pounding nails into your skin was just a harmless way to pass an afternoon. Guess we can now put those things up there with bathing in acid and eating at McDonald's.

Of course, this will not deter people from reenacting the Passion to atone for their own sins, but, hopefully, it will lead to people being a bit safer about the whole thing. After all, the last thing that we'd want to see is someone getting hurt because of all of this self-mutilation.

For our part, we'll perform our own penance by eating Taco Bell. Seems just about as dangerous.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A price for everything

Today, we learned of a man looking to make a fresh start. Completely. In light of a recent divorce, he's decided that he wants to start over. To help facilitate this, he's putting his entire life up for sale on eBay.

For those of you that are wondering, according to the article, yes, this is the man's entire life. His friends, his job, his house, his random kitchy decorations. The estimated value of the auction is a little shy of $400,000.

On one hand, this will definitely help the man get a fresh start. He'll be beginning his new life (admittedly a good 40-some years after most people do) with nothing but the skin on his back and the smile he can muster. On the other hand, selling everything for that price does beg the question of what the exact value of the individual things are. For instance, with many houses selling for at least a quarter of the total "value", we have to start making assumptions about the man's job and, more harshly, the man's friends.

Of course, it's entirely possible that the friends were the ones who (either directly or indirectly) led to the divorce in the first place. That might explain why the price isn't higher.

The ultimate question, though, is not whether a person can put a price on the things that they have surrounded themselves with for a good portion of their life. That question has already been answered, and the going rate is $400K. The real question is what if nobody thinks that your life isn't worth what you claim it is?

Fresh on the heels of a divorce, that question could lead to a spiral of drug abuse, crime, or voluntarily watching a Hannah Montana marathon. And nobody wants that.

Monday, March 17, 2008

No good deed

Welcome to St. Patrick's Day. We could spend today talking about stories of green beer, or excessive drinking, or any number of other SP-related news. But, well, we figure that everyone out there already has better stories than any we could find. So, instead, we're going to talk about doing good deeds.

Take, for example, the good deed of keeping a bus full of elementary school children safe after the driver hits their head and loses control. That's exactly what a 15-year-old girl did, after she realized that she wasn't feeling well, and, instead of getting off her bus at the school, decided to stay on board while the bus completed its route, waiting to be dropped off back at home. And the reward for the girl who may have saved the lives of a group of children?

How about detention?

That's right. After becoming a hero, the girl found herself in trouble with school officials. Sure, she saved a bunch of elementary school kids, but did she think about how she was violating school policy on being sick from school? After all, she certainly didn't follow the rules that they'd put down for such things. If only she'd had the presence of mind to alert the officials in the proper way.

Seriously, though, it seems like certain actions should result in a school turning a blind eye to a relatively minor offense. Sure, she was sick from school that day. And sure, she didn't alert them properly. But, come on people. She was willing (and able) to stop a more serious accident from happening. Isn't that worth maybe missing a day? At the very least, can we see into making sure that she doesn't have to take any pop quizzes anytime soon?

Of course, it could be worse. She could be a paramedic that sues the people they've been called to help.

Just gives you a warm feeling, doesn't it?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of March 10, 2008

Good afternoon. We hope that everyone has been enjoying the past week, and we especially hope that you've taken advantage of Pi Day. If nothing else, go around in circles for a little while, and consider it a good start. Speaking of circles, let's get our awards started, shall we? We'll even pretend that the winners will receive little round medals.

Sounds Like a Politician Award
Hillary Clinton has been touting her experience on the campaign trail. Now, a former counsel for Bill Clinton is saying that her experience isn't quite what she's built it up to be. He even went so far as to say that her statements are "misleading". Tough words, there. Naturally, we're shocked that any politician would ever twist words to their own advantage. It just seems outside of the realm of the ordinary. Speaking of which...

Fabio in Fatigues Award
Our president, the Great Decider, GDub, the man who declared "Mission Accomplished" a few years early, is showcasing his own talent for words. In recent statements regarding Afghanistan, GDub stated he was "a little envious" of troops serving there, calling the mission "romantic". It was later learned that the President is envious of the troops in the same way that VPCheney is envious of those with hearts and circulatory systems; neither one truly understands what the party they envy is experiencing.

When You've Gotta Go Award
How many times have you found yourself sitting on the toilet for a bit longer than you expected, possibly due to the fatal combination of Taco Johns for lunch and Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs for dinner? How many times have you wished for a good book, to try to take your mind off of things? How often have you pondered what it would be like to sit there for two years? Never on that last one, huh? Well, that puts you a leg up on a Kansas woman, who simply didn't want to leave the restroom. When she finally agreed to leave (at the request of authorities who had been called because "something was wrong"), it was discovered that her skin had actually fused to the seat. And yes, she's bound to become the butt of jokes for at least a few months.

Up, Up, and Oh Crap Award
It seems like people are always trying to find new ways to propose marriage to their loved ones. From hiring a mariachi band to getting plastered on the JumboTron at your favorite sporting event to dropping the ring in a glass of champagne, there are a multitude of different ways to go about asking. One way that might get discouraged in the future is placing the ring inside of a helium balloon. Why do we say discouraged? Ask the guy who watched his ring float away. The man's parents are also now planning on tying the ribbon for the next balloon around the man's wrist, and threatening to not get him any more if he loses this one, too.

Hard-Hitting News Award
There have been plenty of stories about New York Governor Spitzer (or "Client 9") and his alleged mistress. Leave it to CNN to uncover one of the juiciest stories. That's right, the 24-hour cable news network found out that the escort has *gasp* changed her MySpace and Facebook profiles. Because that's never been done by anyone who suddenly achieved fame, either through good or bad means. Meanwhile, Wolf Blitzer's beard keeps sending us "friend requests", but we just don't know it all that well. That, and we're disturbed by the party pictures.

It's a Small World Award
The theme song for the title of our award will hopefully not hold too much meaning for people, if Disney follows through with a potential plan. The theme-park giant is apparently considering creating an adult-oriented park, just north of Animal Kingdom. Let's just say that we're already a little worried about a possible "Sword in the Stone" ride.

Banks, Barns, What's the Difference? Award
Some people have a severe distrust of financial institutions, deciding to stash their money somewhere within their house. In return for a lack of interest, they get a much quicker access to their funds. An Ethiopian farmer recently learned that, if given the choice between his mattress and a haystack, maybe he should use the mattress. After all, it's less likely that his money would get eaten by rats while there. Interestingly enough, the farmer had originally put his money in the haystack to protect it in case his house ever caught fire. You know, because hay isn't flammable.

Live and Let Die Award
A bar in Milford, MA was recently turned down in their pursuit of an adult entertainment license. The reason being? The bar is too close to a residential area. Specifically, the bar is too close to the "residential" cemetery. Look, if your cemetery is also a residential area, either you've got an overabundance of goths, or you're looking at a zombie problem. Either way, maybe a few strippers isn't so bad.

Well, with that talk of strippers, we're wrapping things up for the week. We hope that you have a good weekend, enjoying the warmer temperatures and the flowing green beer (seriously, though, stay away from the green beer and drink something it's natural color), and we'll see you on Tuesday. Sure, we MIGHT get back for Monday, but, thanks to the church, we get to celebrate St. Patrick's Day twice. Stay safe out there!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I fought the law

Long-time regular readers will remember the trial of the pants. After all, the story was good enough, and it popped up frequently enough, that we got to make it something of a running joke here for awhile. While we're certain that we still haven't found a story to quite take the place of the multimillion dollar pants, we're thinking that the $600,000 grape is definitely worthwhile.

And yes, you read that correctly. A lone grape, skin and all, squished into the shoes of a lawyer, and worth $600,000 (give or take). But, before that lawyer came along, the grape was practically worthless, especially given its later value. How did it rise to such inflated heights?

It caused the lawyer to slip, injure himself, and sue Marks & Spencer. After all, the grape had been theirs to begin with. The high price tag came specifically due to the lawyer tearing a quadricep and suffering "adverse psychological effects", damaging not only his business, but his tennis game.

Wait. "Adverse psychological effects"? Did the lawyer suddenly start freaking out at every Fruit of the Loom commercial with the guy in the grape suit? Did he sob uncontrollably at a grape stomp? Was he unable to watch reruns of "Grape Ape"? Or did he start collecting grapes, merely to skin them in some sort of a diabolical, and yet entirely bizarre, revenge scheme?

With reactions like that, it's no wonder that the lawyer couldn't keep his practice running at the same high levels. And, really, it's no wonder that he lost the case, and had to pay the nearly $40,000 court fees.

Let's hope for better luck for the student suing his teacher for waking him up. At least there are no grapes involved.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Gearing up for the holiday

You can tell that people are gearing up for St. Patrick's Day. Large quantities of green clothing are being thrown into the wash, and people are preparing their stomachs for the combination of corned beef, cabbage, and green beer. That, and the bizarre factor is definitely kicking up with regards to drinking stories.

Take, for example, the woman that decided that she was too drunk, and therefore needed to get a designated driver. A good decision on her part, to start with. However, her driver was also a bit intoxicated. The real problem? The DD was the woman's 14-year-old daughter.

After all, nothing says love quite like drinking between parents and children. Especially when those children are far too young to drink legally. Of course, the daughter repaid that love by overturning the car and injuring both herself and her mother.

Then, of course, comes the story about the Austin Park Police officer who resigned after being found guilty of drinking on the job. What tipped off his supervisors? How about the fact that a homeless person noticed the smell of alcohol? When the portion of society stereotypically known for panhandling to get enough change to buy a bottle of Christian Brothers brandy calls you out for your drinking, you may have a bit of a problem.

So what do we learn from these stories, especially in preparation for this upcoming weekend? Well, we learn to hide our drinking from the homeless. That's fairly key. At the very least, they could get jealous of the ability to freely purchase alcohol, and it could result in losing your job. The other lesson?

Please, don't let your kids drink and drive. Not until they're at least old enough to get a license of their own.

Note: Neither of these rules apply if your last name is "Spears".

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Just sit right back

Alright, so this might be an old story to some of the folks out there, but, well, we just found out about it. Probably because it had to do with a little-known individual. After all, nobody ever watched Gilligan's Island, so there's no chance that anyone should be familiar with the actress that played Mary Ann.

Wait. You're familiar with this person? Really? Well, were you aware of what she did back in October, 2007? You know, with the marijuana and all?

You were? Hmm, and you know about the six-month unsupervised probation, too. Well, smarty, if you knew all these things, were you surprised? Because, while we may have been out of the loop on this one, we weren't shocked, really.

Look at it this way. The woman is known for one role. Admittedly, that's more than a lot of people ever get known for, but she had to have hopes and dreams that would make her more than just Mary Ann to the world. And yet, when she was forced to reprise the role on 1980's sitcoms (and sell her original costume), you have to wonder. When you see that half of her GI cast members have gone to the great Minnow in the sky for the obligatory three millennium tour, you should stop being shocked that, at 69, she's willing to engage in the kind of dangerous and potentially habit-forming activities found only amongst those ranging from 13-97 in age (and we know that not all those kids have glaucoma).

So, while this story may be old, it's certainly new to us, and there's plenty for the whole family to enjoy. Besides, it was a nice break from all the "Spitzer? I barely paid her" stories swimming around out there.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Surprised? Not us

What's the first thing you think of when you hear about a 50-year-old man hiring an escort to "have fun"? If you're anything like us, the thought was "ew" (and yes, we'll have that thought when we're 50 ourselves). Now, what if the man didn't have a much needed tool, and the escort volunteered to get some from her car? Anyone who didn't think she'd take the money and leave, well, you haven't been reading enough of our articles.

But that's not where the story ends. After all, if that was all that had happened, we wouldn't know about it, would we. That's where we learn that the man, after making a number of phone calls to the escort herself, decided to inform a local newspaper and the police about what had happened.

So let's get this right. You order an escort to, um, help you with a little something. She arrives, but you forgot to pick up raincoats for your pal. She takes your money, and then offers to go to her car for the condoms. After the shame of paying an escort and having her basically rob you (after all, she got your money, but you didn't get any service), you only compound your error by letting others know? And you do it because you're worried that she might be doing this to other customers? While it's definitely an honorable position to take (looking out for your fellow sex-deprived man), we're not so sure it's the brightest position to take. After all, by informing the police, you admit to your own plans to break the law. True, you didn't actually commit the deed, but you were definitely a couple of steps beyond the simple planning stage for the crime.

Of course, it could all be worse. Your prostitution ties could surface while you're a governor.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of March 3, 2008

Friday has once again come around the corner and jumped out at us with its fright mask. Of course, Friday wasn't the only thing that's been lurking around here at the beginning of March, as it seems like winter wants to remain for awhile, too. One thing that is gone, of course, is the football career of a Mississippi boy. But we're not a sports blog, so we're going to move onto our awards.

Public Opinion Award
Some polls are done to confirm exactly what people already thought. Some polls are done to completely contradict everything we've ever known. Polls about the media tend to fall into that first category, like the recent poll showing that fewer than half of all Americans trust the media. Interestingly, radio gets more trust than all other sources of news. And yet, this is the same country that trusts FOX to find it the next greatest pop star ever. Who knew?

Would That Be a Birdie, Then? Award
You'd think that, after all the outcry about the footage of the Marine and the puppy, people would be a little more careful around animals and cameras. Apparently, that just doesn't hold true when you're a golfer trying to film an educational video, and a hawk is making noise nearby. The golfer could find himself behind bars for his attack via 9-iron. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods would have simply bounced the ball onto the bird's back, watched as it flew towards the pin, and then connected with it telepathically, causing it to drop the ball into the hole. Or something. Golf claps abound.

Need to See How She Handles Award
When is a test drive more like grand theft auto (the crime, not the video game)? When you take the car on a 2,000 mile trip. The man, who topped the old record for longest test drive by six times, was eventually pulled over after he failed to pay for gas. Burt Reynolds and the rest of the Cannonball Runners were nowhere to be seen, having already sped along to the next checkpoint.

Silly Red Sox. Steroids are For Kids Award
New Jersey lawmakers are tired of seeing overly successful child athletes. To help combat this, they are looking to pass a law encouraging steroid testing for children as young as twelve. Other things that they're doing to keep child athletes from taking the Bonds Road to Celebrity? Encouraging them to ice skate, and forcing them to live in New Jersey.

Counting the Minutes Award
New research puts to bed some of the misconceptions about just what exactly the duration for intercourse is. Apparently, according to sex experts, the best sex takes between 7 and 13 minutes. Men everywhere have been seen celebrating, knowing now that they only need to change the clocks five minutes ahead, instead of the previously believed 20.

I Is a Gradjuit Award
We thought we'd heard it all. And then we learned that we were so very far from the truth. What clued us in? How about the fact that a student sued the school board because they allowed him to graduate, despite his third-grade reading level. The student, who was enrolled in an individualized plan, graduated, something his attorney thinks should never have happened. Someone needs to let this kid know about all of the celebrities with the same reading level. And no, we're not talking about Paris or Britney. They never made it past first-grade level...

F & A, Man, F & A Award
Looking for a place to raise the kids, and keep them away from bad language? Well, you could turn off the cable television, but that's not going to stop the little ones from hearing Old Man "Blue Streak" McCurdy screaming at his flowers. Instead, why not move to South Pasadena, where you can rest easy knowing that, at least for one week out of the year, they are a "cuss-free" zone. The remaining 51 weeks, the residents sounds like sailors on leave, so maybe it's not the best idea, after all. All we can really say? Good f'ing luck.

That wraps up our awards for this week. We'll be back next week, ramping up things in anticipation of St. Patrick's Day (which gets to be celebrated twice, thanks to the Church). We'll see you then, swimming in green liquid. And we don't just mean the Mississippi. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A punishment worse than death

So we were going to write a story about men doing housework. Specifically, how the notion of men doing housework generally leads to them getting more sex. After all, we have something of a vested interest in a story like that.

But, in our dedication to bring some of the strangest news to you, our readers, and, while bringing said news, trying to fill it with a little levity, we instead need to relate a story from France. It's a short story, all about a mayor, and his overflowing cemetery.

Outside of the village of Sarpourenx, there is a cemetery. This cemetery has been around for quite some time, and, as such, has reached more than its capacity. Now, if you were the mayor of this village, what would you do? Would you perhaps try to take a new piece of the countryside to expand your burial grounds?

Or would you tell the residents of your village that they aren't allowed to die? Even more to the point, if they do die, would you then punish them severely?

Admittedly, the mayor of this town did try to expand the cemetery, but he was denied the ability. Faced with little choice, he took the measure that he did, hoping for some sort of positive outcome. And, well, obviously, when you ban your citizens from dying, the only possible positive outcome is that they will all suddenly become immortal. After all, they wouldn't want to get fined for receiving termination from the job called "living".

And it's not even that nobody can die in the town. It's that those people who don't already HAVE a plot are not allowed to die. If you had purchased a plot, then by all means, shuffle away. If you hadn't, however, get ready to strap on a sword and fight other immortals. After all, there can be only one.

Through this whole thing, we admittedly find ourselves curious. What sort of punishment could possibly be worse than dying?

Wait. We've got it. The dead are forced to spend eternity watching "Hannah Montana", without kids of their own to justify it, all while sitting next to Parisite. And all of the singing will be done by Milli Vanilli. And we don't mean the studio performers, either.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Jump through the hoops

The Race for the Presidency (or, as we like to call it, Who's Bossing Who Now?) is heating up, especially after yesterday's results. HC was able to stave off the Obamanation for another few contests at least, setting the stage for a long, slow, and potentially painful nomination process. If things continue along these lines, there will barely be any time for the Democrats to run nationwide attack ads against the GOP nominee. By the same token, John "I Ate Grass and Fingernails" McCain, (henceforth referred to as Grampa MC) can't really start launching his own attacks against the donkeys, because, well, he can't be certain which one will come out ahead.

But Grampa MC did have something big happen in the last two days. Actually, two big things. First, Huckabee-the-Halfabee dropped from the campaign, a sign that even the man created by Stephen Colbert (who was created by Conan O'Brien, who was created by Jon Stewart, who was created by... um... well... Dave Chapelle and Jim Brewer?) can bow to the reality that he'd already lost, and it was no longer purposeful to keep chasing the brass ring. As for the second glowing moment?

He finally got the endorsement he'd been looking for. No, not Depends. We have no proof that he's incontinent. The endorsement he got came from GDub himself.

Whew. That was a close one. For awhile there, we really were wondering who the Decider might choose to back. Would it be the surprise comeback effort of Romney (who, admittedly, didn't even try to stage a comeback)? Would it be Ron Paul (beloved for his wacky belief that he actually had a shot)? Would the President just flip a coin, and end up endorsing the Lincoln Memorial?

No. GDub, not wanting to make the same mistake as Mother Superior (for reference, look up the lyrics to "Happiness is a Warm Gun"... you'll be glad you did), simply decided to wait until it was clear that he was picking the best horse to run the race. In fact, he waited until he picked the only horse still in the race that actually had a chance of finishing. And, as long as that race is for the GOP nomination, we're pretty certain that Grampa MC will be able to finish.

People have said in the past that the President has been too quick to make decisions, and that he hasn't looked at all of the important information before voicing his beliefs on a subject. Never let it be said that he was anything less than prudent in the Great White House Race 2008. He waited until the dust had settled, and picked the candidate that he felt the best about.

He picked the only one left.

Way to go, GDub. That's kind of like picking the Giants to beat the Patriots in the Superbowl, but doing it two weeks after the fact.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Keeping abreast of the trial

There are plenty of reasons to overturn a guilty verdict. Most often, new evidence comes to light, thereby exonerating the defendant. Every once in awhile, someone else will come forward and admit to the crime. And, of course, there's always the chance that the verdict can be changed due to faulty management of the case.

But how often do you hear about someone having their conviction overturned based off of the evidence that was available at the time? Even more to the point, how often does it revolve around the body of the defendant?

That's exactly what happened to a Japanese model, who was convicted a year ago of property damage related to a break-in at a man's apartment. The man claimed that she broke in and caused the destruction because he was with another woman. The defense claimed then, and reasserted their claim after a year, that there was no way possible for the model to have committed the crime.

After all, her breasts wouldn't have fit through the hole.

It may have taken a year, but the verdict was finally overturned, when actual measurements were taken, and it was proven that the woman would not have been able to fit her 44-inch bust through the opening provided. The bikini model stated that she used to hate her body, but has found not only career success, but now has found an exoneration all because of her proportions.

The model was quoted after the case as saying, "The judges were very good-mannered as they showed no expressions on their faces. I guess they're well-trained." It's entirely possible that the judges were also busy thinking about anime, the only other place in Japan where one can regularly see women of those proportions (and beyond).

This story just goes to show that, while it can often be troubling to stick out amongst your peers, sometimes having a little extra can go a long way to getting you off.

Either way, we're fairly certain that this model has gained more than a handful of supporters and fans since the trial. We wonder if she'll milk it for all it's worth.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Putting kids in the corner

Ah, the birthday party. Especially at a young age, the birthday party is something of a right of passage. After all, it's not only proving that you are mature enough to have guests, but also showcasing your own popularity by displaying exactly how many people like you well enough to venture into a ball pit with you. Especially during our youths, we try to portray ourselves as being slightly older, and wanting to participate in activities that make us seem more mature. The older we physically get, the more we want to recapture the lost youth that we once had. This is exactly why places like Chuck E. Cheese can be seen as venues for birthdays for both young and old alike.

Of course, it's never a good sign when the kids at the arcade are the more adult members of a birthday party. It's an even worse sign when a fight breaks out, between two mothers, all over a basketball arcade game.

During the middle of the birthday party, the kids were playing, as children are prone to doing. A 9-year-old wanted to play the same game that a 13-year-old was playing, got tired of waiting for his turn, and made some comments. The mothers, having their own "conversation" at this time, saw words spill over into punches, with the older boy's mother hitting the younger boy's mother in the side of the head.

See, this is exactly why people need to be more careful. Sure, animatronic rodents playing "music" can be fun for the whole family to enjoy, but those same rodents can stoke a fire of hatred within the bellies of those who are unprepared to face their beady metallic eyes. Add to that the bleeping of video games, the bright lights, and the fact that every parent seems to truly believe that their child is far more deserving (and less likely to do something wrong) than another person's child, and you've got a recipe for disaster.

Coincidentally, that recipe for disaster also generally includes pepperoni. As a police officer said, "I don't even know if they finished their pizza." Were that only the case, officer. Those fists were thrown with Chuck's full gastric assault already in hand.

Could have been worse, though. One of them could have had a spork.