Thursday, April 30, 2009

Attack of the sweet tooth

Let this be a lesson to you. Seriously, this story could contain a good tip for crime prevention, at least if you end up being victimized by a similar assailant. But, honestly, how many crooks out there are just going to steal jelly beans?

That's exactly what happened in northwestern Pennsylvania, as a homeowner discovered that they had been robbed. The only thing in the entire house that was even touched? The jelly beans on the dining room table. Nothing else in the house was even moved, let alone stolen.

It's strange crimes like this that lead the police baffled as to a potential cause behind it. Sure, there are a number of different possibilities, like an individual that just loves jelly beans but has to sneak them away from the glare of a spouse, or maybe it was someone who was just broken up about the Flyers being knocked out of the playoffs, and decided that they needed to get jelly beans from someone else's house. Or there could be even more bizarre reasons as to why this person decided to go through this course of action. There also could be a more reasonable explanation, like someone else in the household eating the beans without telling their housemates, or maybe an animal getting onto the table when they weren't supposed to.

Still, if you're the type of person to steal jelly beans from someone's dining room, here's a tip. Go to some place that sells candy. Seriously, just a couple of bucks will get you a decent-sized bag.

And you won't run the risk that they might be spiced.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Out of the will

People are always cautious with their last will and testament. After all, they want to make sure that whatever they pass on to their next of kin will be appreciated. Alternately, they want to make sure that their relatives know that the cat really was the most important thing, and that's why it gets the classic Mustang and the house. Either way, something is being passed on, even if that something is just a crippling feeling of discontent.

But it isn't always the case that an inheritance is passed on. Want advice for the quickest way to get yourself removed from a will? Try killing a grandparent.

Yeah, that's what we thought, too. Not really the best idea. Especially given that the guy didn't succeed, thereby ensuring that his grandmother still has time to amend her will. We're fairly certain that she'll be making that appointment as soon as she can.

The cat didn't even do anything, and it's totally going to come out ahead.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Just no stopping

Two stories, but only because we just really have to say something about the first one.

Seriously, people, stop. We sat by when a musical was made of The Evil Dead. We even didn't argue too much when we heard about the musical Spiderman. But we just have to draw a line somewhere, don't we? Oh, wait. Apparently not.

Alright, now that we've got that out of our systems, it seems as though stopping just isn't in our cultural language. After all, the one thing previously guaranteed to put an end to further conversation is now being sidestepped. No, we're not talking about sharing political viewpoints with a group that you know is opposed to them. We're talking about death. That's right, folks. More and more companies are actually cashing in on the notion that, after someone has passed on, they're going to want to keep in contact with people. Or that people are going to want to be reminded electronically about Uncle Bob, even years after the funeral.

In many ways, this is a nice way of allowing people to leave a lasting legacy, and share stories that may not have been shared during their lifetime. We all know people who keep certain experiences close to the vest, and this could be a way for them to get some of those tales out, without having to see the impact on others. And it also allows an easier way for family to continue showing a remembrance.

Of course, given the option, we'd almost like to see this technology stretched even further. How about setting up time-delayed messages? With the right people, this could lead to potential humor down the road. Just so long as they avoid trying to "tweet" their way through death.

"13:26. Decomposing some more."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of April 20, 2009

This week started out with a special day for far too many college kids (and other like-minded citizens), had Earth Day tucked into the middle, and is looking to end just like every other week, with a Friday dangled out there. Such is April, we guess. So we're going to move on to our awards for this week.

Shoot the Vote Award
Have you ever been so frustrated with elected officials that you've thought about shooting them, but didn't want the messy legal issues to deal with afterwards? Well, a couple of Czech artists have given you an answer. Naturally, any pictures of Cheney are rigged to fire back.

A Cop Made Me Do It Award
Red light cameras. Legislators (seem to) love them, because they are a good way to bring in revenue through traffic offenses. People (seem to) hate them, because it takes out a human element. Well, what about when a human traffic officer waves you through a red light, and you still get a ticket? Either SkyNet has some bugs to work out, or it has decided to bankrupt us, instead of sending killer robots.

Pay Up Or, Um Award
We've all heard the expression about squeezing blood from a stone. Well, a Wisconsin apartment company is looking to squeeze blood, or a couple of months rent, from a murder victim. The argument is that the victim didn't give thirty days advance notice of his departure. You know, we're fairly certain that, if he could have given thirty days notice, he just might not be behind on his rent right now. And, if he pays, we're moving to the Canadian Rockies.

Marriage on the Clock Award
Leave it to a forward thinker in Australia to propose a new way of dealing with marriage. The argument? Since so many marriages end in divorce, why not set up a time-limit for marriage itself, one that can be renewed if the parties so choose? Celebrities are already rebelling against the notion, with many saying that they couldn't be expected to maintain any sort of commitment for five years.

Living in a (Slightly Less) Material World Award
A recent study has been done, detailing what Americans view as "necessities". Shockingly, many items are being considered necessary by fewer individuals, prompting some to say that it could be a sign that America is shifting away from the heavily materialistic society that we've been in. Or, you know, it could be the economic collapse which is forcing people to choose between lunch for a week or a new pair of shoes.

Small Town Saturday Night Award
We have to give this award to Iowa, because the state, hot on the heels of legalizing gay marriage, is now considering allowing gas stations and convenience stores to sell hard liquor. This move might also make it easier for people to deal with the whole gay marriage thing.

Fight For Your Right to Study Award
What sounds like a good time to most college students? A good party, probably at a house. What sounded like a good time to a bunch of students in Tennessee? A good party, held at a library. Well, in all honesty, the students never even got into the library, as they were stopped by police first. Someone should have told them that the next "Twilight" book hasn't even been finished yet.

And that wraps up our awards for yet another week. We'll see you next week, for the run-up to May. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A loophole

Ever since same-sex marriages started getting legalized across the country, people have been looking for ways to stop them. For proof of that, just look at California. But sometimes, the state that decided to allow same-sex marriages isn't willing to go that extra step for the opponents, and won't even consider a new law banning them.

That's where loopholes come into play. And, since Iowa was the most recent state to legalize the unions, people have been trying to find those loopholes. In fact, just recently, politicians in the state recently had to remind county clerks to process the paperwork, in spite of their potential religious objections.

Well, leave it to a judge to find a loophole that just might work. Instead of deciding to not perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples, the judge has decided that he just isn't going to perform any marriages.

In some ways, we kind of support his line of thinking. And, to be completely fair, the judge did admit to having reservations towards performing heterosexual marriages even before the ruling came to pass. And, while the legalization of same-sex marriages may have spurred him to make his decision, it isn't the only factor. At least he isn't trying to grant services to one group, and deny those same services to another group, one that's supposedly protected from such discrimination.

On the other hand, we wonder how much of a ripple effect this will cause, and if it will actually serve to further the argument that homosexuals are ruining the concept of marriage. To be clear, we don't believe that for one bit, but there are plenty of people that do. If the fall-out from these decisions ends up being that nobody will perform the marriage ceremonies anymore because they object to one or the other group, then that doesn't come close to solving the problem, either. It would be nice if there could be one statute, across the board, regardless of orientation, religion, political affiliation and the like, but that unfortunately isn't the case. Personal politics and beliefs play too much into what are ostensibly government functions.

Which is a shame. After all, Sulu deserves wedded bliss, too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Too many options

Some days, we're just blessed with too many stories for us to whittle it down to one. Either that, or we're just scattered and unfocused enough to want to share that conundrum with others. That's what eventually got our awards postings off the ground, and it comes into play today, as well. That's right. This little introductory paragraph wasn't just spouting off meaningless nothings. It was actually setting the stage.

Take, for example, this story. Our first thought is that the guy inside actually failed his initiative roll, but got the benefit of a surprise round. True, he apparently lost initiative to a bathroom mirror or something, but, well, the sneakiest enemies are the ones we don't expect. Seriously, though, what would lead a person to bringing their battle ax, dagger, and sword to a motel with them, let alone then throw said items at the police? If your answer was a convention, then you might just have missed the second part of the question.

Of course, if the man had been engaging in his activity near this couple, he probably wouldn't have had to worry about the police (or, as he saw them, "city guard") showing up at all. Sure, we understand that time is at a premium, and people's lives are so busy that sometimes a little time with a loved one becomes a precious commodity. But still, to see gang symbols, hear gunshots, and then go ahead with your initial plans of making out in a car? That just seems a little self-absorbed. And we didn't even know that Paris Hilton was visiting Seattle recently. Yeah, a bit of a cheap shot, but it had to be made.

Going back to the guy with the weapons, it's probably good that he passed out in a bathroom, as opposed to outside of this hospital. Either way, he would have had to get an ambulance called for him. See, apparently, the hospital staff was concerned about why the person had collapsed, but not concerned enough to check on it themselves. True, they don't really have mobile monitoring devices, but it wouldn't seem like much of a stretch to expect that trained medical professionals would have been able to get a gurney, lift the patient onto it, and bring them into the hospital. Instead, they relied on security guards who had taken a couple of First Responder courses. Never mind that the hospital may actually have had some idea why the man collapsed. After all, he was wearing a patient's gown at the time.

The overall lesson behind all of this? If you really need to get angry while carrying an ax, make sure you've got a high Dexterity. Otherwise it could just get weird.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

You look different

Plenty of people dread their class reunions. There's just something about the notion of going back to see a whole bunch of people that you spent years and years with, knowing that you didn't really have much in common then and that you might have even less in common now. Sure, it can be interesting to see how people have grown, and learn which ones really did exactly what everyone expected they would, but that's kind of what Facebook is for, isn't it?

Anyway, because of that reluctance, many people won't go to a reunion, or at least won't go until they have something they can brag about. One woman took that avoidance an extra step and decided to send someone else in her place. That someone else? A stripper.

Admittedly, the stripper was sent partially as a prank. The other piece to the puzzle? The entire thing was also being filmed for a documentary. In fact, the other alumni knew that there was a documentary being shot, but not the one that they were aware of. After all, it's kind of difficult to hide that much equipment.

It helped that the woman being impersonated had a good back-up story that could have led to the differing appearance. Without that story, there would have been much more reliance on the idea of cosmetic surgery for surgery's sake (admittedly, not a huge stretch for someone who's trying to get her former classmates to think she's become a stripper). And, for the most part, people either didn't seem to notice the difference, or didn't care.

In fact, we're going to take that to heart. For our next class reunion, we're totally sending Metallica. Nobody will believe it isn't us.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Advantage: Sandwich

Crazy things happen all of the time. In fact, it seems like not a single day passes that doesn't feature some sort of bizarre happening. Many of those happenings can at least be explained away through one reason or another (as a general rule, a good number of them can be attributed to excess drinking). But sometimes, even the most obvious of explanations can't really bring the whole picture to light.

Take the case of a woman who came home to find a strange man sitting in her kitchen eating a meal he'd prepared. Oh, and he was wearing tennis attire, complete with a racket. The woman did call the police on the man, but it wasn't until after he'd made "bizarre, irrational statements" to her.

Right. Because we certainly would have followed the same course. Or, you know, we would have called the cops just seeing the stranger eating food in our kitchen, wearing tennis clothes. True, it's possible that the man wandered over from a match at a nearby court, but it's also possible that he's simply looking for another victim in his quest to become the "Tennis Racket Killer". While not many killers would take the time to fix up a meal prior to their "work", we just wouldn't want to take any chances. Besides, they could be one of those dashing types that you see all over the place in movies and on television.

For us, one of the real kickers to the story has to be the final line, possibly explaining why the man did what he did. "It appears he has some mental health issues." Seems fairly obvious to us, but, well, we guess that sometimes these things need to be said.

But honestly? Saying that this guy had "some mental health issues" seems much like saying that Michael Jackson "has had a little plastic surgery".

Friday, April 17, 2009

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of April 13, 2009

The weather is turning, winter sports are entering their playoff stretches, and people are obsessing over the President's choice in dogs. Are there any better signs that spring has truly sprung across the country? Just like flowers, we've got awards springing up out of the ground, so let's get started.

Raising the Bar Award
For a long time, if a teacher was going to do something wrong with their students, it was going to be sexual in nature. A Baltimore teacher decided to take things one step beyond, and has been charged with producing crack cocaine. Her students have been categorized as being "energetic", and her classroom is often spotless.

Jusht Pull Over Anywhere Award
Many people, at one point in their life or another, will get behind the wheel of a car when they really shouldn't. Sometimes the bad decisions are just due to tiredness, and other times, they're due to having imbibed a substance that impairs judgement. So we have to commend the subject of this story for not drinking and driving. Unfortunately, they lose that commendation for being drunk while trying to teach someone how to drive. That certainly explains the poor marks on driving tests for "willing to stop at a bar".

Gangster With a Heart of Gold Award
We all know about Al Capone, the hard-nosed, cutthroat gangster, willing to sacrifice anyone that stood in the way of his crime sprees. But how many of us know about Al Capone the songwriter? Given that his song is being recorded, we fully expect to hear versions from Clay Aiken, Michael Bolton, and a hip-hop rendition by Jay-Z within the next couple of years.

Hot Hot Hot Award
Remember a while back, when an elderly woman sued McDonald's because their coffee was hot? Now imagine that someone is suing over similar circumstances, but they're doing it over a product that they heated themselves. That's the case of a woman suing a beauty manufacturer for the burns she incurred removing their body wax from the microwave. No mention of whether or not the woman also plans on suing Dairy Queen because her Dilly Bars got cold in the freezer.

Splish Splash Award
How many times have you fantasized about waking up to find a young, naked stranger in your hot tub? How many times have those fantasies included the notion that the stranger was passed out from drinking too much? The homeowner was quoted as calling it a "pretty hard way to wake up". We're fairly certain that being woken up by police while you're naked in a hot tub would also qualify. We also fully expect that the porn industry is going to work to take that quote and make a series of films about it. Probably involving some sort of milk delivery.

Religion vs. Responsibility Award
Remember a little bit ago when the state of Iowa made it clear that same-sex marriage was legal? Yeah, as it turns out, even though it's been legalized, there may be county clerks deciding not to sign the certificates, because it goes against their religious beliefs. If only there was some sort of statute describing ways to keep government and religion apart from each other.

And that wraps up our awards for this week. We'll see you next time, as we step further into a (relatively) shower-less April.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Work on your excuses

Have you ever tried to explain away something you did, except the excuse doesn't actually make it any better? This seems to happen to all of us at least once in our lives, but sometimes, it's just a bit more awkward than it is at other times. Like when you explain that you couldn't make it into work because you had an interview somewhere else. Or how about when you skip out on a family dinner, but your excuse is that you have to take the dog for a walk?

Still, one thing we do know is that it's generally a good idea to at least make sure you understand common definitions. That way, when you get arrested for drunk driving, you can't try and fight the DUI charge because you weren't drunk. You were stoned, instead.

Admittedly, the person accused of doing just that in our story is a mere 18 years of age, and therefore might have been trying to avoid getting another fine for drinking while under 21, but to claim that he was stoned and therefore wasn't guilty of DUI is just foolish. Last we checked, DUI stands for "Driving Under the Influence". Sure, it may be implied that the "influence" mentioned is the influence of alcohol, but plenty of police take a more liberal view. Heck, sometimes if you're hopped up on Vicodin and Dr. Pepper, that'll be enough for the cops to pull you over and write up the ticket.

Oh, one other thing. When you're accused of one crime, don't try and beg out of it by admitting to a different one. At least, not with the minor offenses. It really is just a lose-lose situation at that point.

At least wait until you've got a bigger charge in front of you...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Floating a holiday

When is Columbus Day not Columbus Day? When it runs afoul of students at a prestigious New England university.

That's right, folks. An Ivy League school has recently decided that Columbus Day should no longer be observed. Well, maybe that's not quite right. It's still being observed, it just isn't being called Columbus Day by the university anymore. It's now just another "Fall Weekend".

We totally get the moral indignation. Heck, we've sort of built this entire blog around indignation, so we're totally on the same page. But to stop referring to the day as Columbus Day just seems so, well, strange. Sure, we can get behind the concept that you aren't happy with his treatment of the indigenous people of the continent. We can even agree with the potential anger over his claims that he discovered the New Land, despite piles of evidence to the contrary.

But how many people that have holidays named after them have similar stories? How many were perfect angels, never doing wrong? Columbus may not have been the best person, but there's no denying that he was able to accomplish something that few had even dared to try before. Sure, it would have been nice if, instead of seeing the native people as barbarians he had invited them to his table as equals, but, well, given the Euro-centric worldview at the time, it's no surprise that he made the choices he made.

What's next? Is Independence Day going to be rechristened "Summer Weekend"?

And what's wrong with the term "Autumn", anyway?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happily ever after

Here we sit, the day after Easter. Because of the recent holiday, we have to admit that there's a strong urge to talk about a recent appearance by one JC, apparently deciding to show his face on a maple leaf found a few years back by a Massachusetts woman. Well, it was either JC or Bob Marley, depending on who you ask.

But how often do you see stories about a religious figure appearing in some every day object? It just seems so commonplace. Instead, we found a story talking about a recent study in happiness, especially as it pertains to married individuals versus the unmarried section of the public. According to the study, married people are much happier.

But we didn't pack up our tools quite yet, as we're fairly certain that we found at least one couple that won't really fit with the study. By that token, though, how many 8-year-olds really are ready for the commitment of marriage, especially to someone almost 50? If only they could have taken this scenario to the courts, and get it overturned.

Oh wait. They did. The Saudi Arabian court system decided that the marriage, which was orchestrated to help pay off some debts, was perfectly legal. But there is a saving grace. Once the girl hits puberty, she can look towards getting a divorce. Because, even if it turns out to be a happy marriage, waiting until the girl becomes a moody teenager for her to make such a decision is guaranteed to have great repercussions.

Seriously, though, it just seems hard to believe that any court out there would decide that a marriage to an 8-year-old is legal and should be upheld. Sure, it's a different society, and they have some different values when it comes to things, but it would seem like protecting children would be some sort of through-line. Especially when the marriage only happened because the girl's father was trying to pay off his debts.

Thankfully, the girl's mother is looking to fight this marriage at every step. This isn't just a case of a crazy mother-in-law, by a long shot. Her child was basically sold, and was sold at such a young age that this could do serious damage to her development.

We don't even want to think about what kind of person would want a child bride. We really thought that such fascination had faded along with things like the crossbow and the Black Plague.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of April 6, 2009

Here we sit, comfortably soaking up the early April sunshine. Well, okay, so we're inside, away from windows, and looking towards the door because we've heard that it's a lovely day outside, but, for a blogger, that's kind of the same thing, right? Anyway, we've got a pile of awards to throw your way, so let's get moving on them, shall we?

You Don't Call Enough Award
Maybe we have this award's title backwards. An Austrian mother has recently been fined 360 Euros for calling her son too much. How much is too much, in this case? How about upwards of 49 times per day for the last two years? You know, sometimes it's just easier (and wiser) to go ahead and answer the phone.

Putting in Overtime Award
We understand. Some people really love their work, and they'll take every opportunity to take part in what they enjoy. Of course, unless you're a police officer, the last place you should probably think about doing a little extra work is at the police station. This goes double if you're a stripper arrested for DUI. At least wait until you get into court, to see if you can sway a jury as well as your hips.

Good Parenting Award
Actually, again, we're using an opposite title for the headline. After all, most people don't call 911 because their kids won't listen. Most people also don't make such calls while intoxicated, but why not kill two birds with one stone? In the kids defense, it's very difficult to understand someone who's slurring their way through another can of Coors Light.

William Tell-All Award
If your first thought to impress someone is to pull out a bow and arrows, you might be living in the wrong era. If your second thought is to shoot arrows at your neighbors house, well, you might be living in the wrong mindset. If you do it all "for giggles", you might not have a firm grip on sanity. If we were the woman or the police, we definitely would have wanted to know who "Giggles" was.

A Green Nursery Award
Often, babies are given whole bedrooms. While this will come in handy as they get older and graduate to a full-sized bed, while they're still very tiny, a whole room can seem like extra usable space. Even if you think you've got the space, that doesn't mean you should grow marijuana in the baby's room. Sure, it might help them sleep, but they're totally going to get the munchies later, which could be awkward, especially if they're still breast-feeding.

A Touchy Engagement Award
Sometimes, arguing that you have an "exuberant sex life" can actually pay off. Take the case of an Alaska man, who was charged with assault after holding his girlfriend at knife-point during a sexual encounter. Turns out, he's being sentenced only to time served, and is now in plans to get married to the same girl. Oddly enough, the couple is registered for multiple knife sets, and boxes of bandages.

Happy Easter Award
In honor of this Sunday's holiday, celebrated many ways, we highlight the story of a few Florida police officers who decided to get into the holiday spirit. Of course, they did so by throwing eggs at prostitutes, but everyone has their own ways to celebrate, we guess. The police officers received written warnings, but will probably rise again within three days time.

And that wraps up our awards for this week. We'll be back next week, as we prepare to deal with the headaches of tax day. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Beware of hanging plants

Public safety. It's a big thing, and it only gets bigger as population densities continue to grow. After all, who wants to be walking down the street with potential danger lurking around every corner and under every sign.

Of course, people have taken their search for safety to an extreme. For proof of that, all you need to do is look at some of the crazy warning labels that are placed on different items. While some of the warnings are helpful to everyone, the rest look as though they were created because some people using the devices just didn't have the common sense required when operating such tools. Why else would there be warnings on paint canisters to not drink them, or labels telling people to not cut through power lines with a chain saw?

Well, for awhile now, the United Kingdom has decided that they need to keep competing with the United States for crazy safety precautions, and they may have just pulled into a lead that cannot be eclipsed. All they had to do was have a Welsh town ban hanging flower baskets because of the danger they pose.

Sure, in some ways, that makes a lot of sense. The baskets could get caught on something, or hit people in the heads, or just cause turmoil on a really windy day. But the reason that the baskets are being banned? They might be too dangerous to water.

Um, really? So there's not any sort of devices that exist to get the water from a lower point to a higher point, possibly using the water pressure itself to propel the liquid to that higher level? Right, so a hose is out. Well, what about attaching a long handle to the hose, so that it can be raised to the level of the basket, and the water can trickle out at that rate? Apparently that won't fly, either. And don't even think of suggesting letting the baskets be watered from above, perhaps by a person on a higher floor.

Unless these baskets are being hung twenty or thirty feet in the air (in which case, sure, ban them, because it's kinda silly to put a basket of flowers that far out of people's eyesight), there should really be easy ways to go about watering them, without a risk to the people involved in such a project. Besides, it's probably not the actual act of watering that's causing the danger.

It's probably the use of ladders. That's why the warning label cautions against standing at, or near, the top step.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Didn't see that coming

There are certain names that tend to be associated with certain activities. Comic books mine this for stories all the time. Need proof? Look no further than Lex Luthor, who shares a name and desire for power with Alexander the Great. That alone is a fairly convincing argument towards the power of names.

Which is why, when you run a business, coming up with a name is a critical step. A good name can help make your business successful. A bad one could be putting a curse of sorts onto yourself, and keep you from ever breaking even on the endeavor.

Even when you pick a good name, it might be a good idea to brush up on your history, just in case. It might have helped a restaurant named "Al Capone" not get in trouble for tax evasion.

Listen, we get that the name had a good ring to it. We also totally understand the desire to try and establish yourself. But when you name yourself after one of the greatest criminals of all time, and one that got caught because he was being dodgy on his own taxes, it might be a good idea to make sure that you're taking care of your own. After all, the opportunity for irony alone might be enough to get the IRS to look at you a little more closely.

Heck, we don't even suggest letting women named Bonnie date men named Clyde. We strongly encourage people with the last name Borden to avoid calling a daughter Elizabeth. And it probably isn't a good idea for anyone named Hitler to suggest camping.

Just to be safe, we also encourage people to avoid the name Keanu. Sometimes it's better to be safe.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

High marks

By now, we've probably all heard stories about teachers becoming frustrated due to different restrictions imposed on them, sometimes by their school boards, and sometimes by parents unwilling to accept that their child isn't perfect in every way. Reports are released on a semi-regular basis detailing how children are being coddled, given higher grades than they deserve, or, in extreme cases, not even being corrected on their mistakes all in the effort to not hurt their fragile egos. While these cases are certainly severe, we really commend any school district (and teachers) that go to lengths to ensure that the students are learning, being graded, and not being protected excessively. Yes, it's a harsh world, and sometimes, that world requires that people learn some basic math and grammar.

Well, it looks like Ontario, Canada is jumping on board with this concept, as they're starting to go after private schools in the province. Why target the private schools, which, at least stereotypically, hold students to a higher standard? Because these schools are giving higher grades than they should, sometimes for as little as a paycheck.

Honestly, we're a little torn on this issue. While we definitely think that children (or parents) shouldn't be able to purchase grades, and, largely, that seems to be what Ontario is cracking down on, it also seems to fly in the face of something that many adults have been forced to accept over their own years; money and privilege make life easier. While we don't agree with it, allowing the wealthier students to buy better grades may actually deliver a longer-term life lesson to the poorer students that don't have the same opportunities. Again, this isn't something we agree with, but we can't deny that it exists throughout our society.

Don't believe us? Try and defend the position of Paris Hilton and other celebutards as famous individuals. They aren't famous because of anything that they've done (well, they didn't start out that way). They became famous because they have money, and, with money comes opportunities. If Paris had just been a vapid girl from your high school making a bland sex tape, nobody would have cared. Because she's from a wealthy family, she was able to take the "scandal" and turn it into something where the public (apparently) keeps begging for information about her. And she's only one example among many.

So let people buy their grades. If actual studies and intelligence will matter in the long run, then a purchased grade now won't really make much of a difference. If not, well, there's not a whole lot that can be done to stem the tide at this point.

Just ask the Hiltons.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Busy busy busy

Everyone seems to be running short on time these days. Maybe it's the economy, and everyone is scrambling to try and take on multiple jobs to make ends meet, or just plain rushing from site to site trying to land a job. Maybe it's just poor scheduling, as people find themselves saddled with too many activities and not enough time in the day to do them. Or maybe it's just some sort of cosmic force, slowly stealing minutes and hours from each of us, while we idly sit by and let it happen.

Yeah, we didn't really think it was the last one, either. But, because people are busier, it's forcing people to multitask. Sure, it can be a less effective way to get things done, and it could actually take longer to do multiple things at once than it would have taken to do them all individually, but at least you can get that profound sense of not accomplishing anything on multiple projects.

Except for an Australian woman who found a way to multitask well. Not that we suggest everyone rush out and follow in her footsteps. After all, not everyone has the dedication (or body parts) necessary to go out, get drunk, drive, and breast feed their baby at the same time.

True, parts of that system happened before the true feat, but the simple fact that she decided that being drunk and behind the wheel seemed like a great time for Junior to have lunch shows some levels of impaired thinking. You know, unless that's just how they do it in Australia.

Heck, the only people who can get away with anything close to that in America are celebrities, and everyone knows that they buy their children once their past the whole breastfeeding stage.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of March 30, 2009

Well, here we are, enjoying the beginnings of April. March decided to play a little joke on us at the end of the month, then we got fooled on Wednesday as well, but today we're definitely feeling stimulated. And all that just because of changes in the weather. Ah, spring. Looks like our awards are peeking their heads up out of the ground, as well.

Captain Obvious Award
You can tell it's a slow news day when outlets resort to reporting the obvious. Take, for example, the story that, due to rain, the roads will be wet. Sure, the story gets into more detail than that, but man, that headline just spoils all of the plot twists. We're expecting to hear later in the summer that, due to increased temperatures, people are warmer and seeking air conditioning more often than they did in February.

Bad Chef Award
So maybe making a simple sandwich doesn't really qualify someone for the title of "chef". Attacking someone with a knife because you didn't like how they made the sandwich doesn't qualify someone for the title of "sane". Apparently the cheese was placed improperly on the sandwich, causing the man to fly into a rage. Given that the man attacked his fiancee over the meal, it should come as no surprise that he may soon find himself standing alone.

IMduhB Award
Aspiring filmmakers are often willing to go to extravagant lengths to get their films made. But it certainly isn't often that they go out of their way to commit a crime. Some more helpful tips for people... if you actually want credit and recognition for your YouTube short, affix credits. If your short might get you arrested, seriously, leave the credits off. Unless you can get a good foley editor.

Insert Foot Award
Generally, when there is mention of a foot being stuck, people don't tend to think it's actually happened. And yet, a burglar found his crime foiled because he couldn't get his foot out of the door, after kicking it in. We're fairly certain that, at trial, the man will mention having his head stuck somewhere, as well.

Free as a Bird Award
Sometimes, saying that you're sorry is enough. After escaping from prison, you'll probably need a better excuse. That's the excuse used by an inmate who planned to meet with a pen-pal. Oh yeah, and he got caught in a mud bog, and struggled for twenty minutes to get out. If only prisons had some sort of system where, during certain times, you could have guests see you. You know, something like what hospitals have for patients, without the free-flowing morphine.

Car Pooling Award
Man, is it ever embarrassing to get pulled over for speeding, and have the police ask you about the dead body in the passenger seat. Guess some people just really don't like waiting in traffic.

And that wraps up our awards for this week. We'll be back next week, with congratulations for Iowa, and potential stories about how Iowa is now one of the three states that is ushering in the Apocalypse (yeah, like a cornfield would harbor the Antichrist). Stay safe out there.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


It's no secret that we love stories that involve criminals. After all, once the story has hit the news, it's probably because there's been a fairly key (and simply avoided) mistake made, and, well, that's just the price that some people have to pay for trying to lead a life of crime. Of course, we're fairly certain that the people involved in these stories can't really say that the did more than lead at most a few weeks of crime, since they have a need to get themselves caught.

Take, for example, a woman attempting to steal over a thousand dollars worth of groceries and other merchandise from a St. Louis store. If only she'd checked to see which automatic doors she was going towards.

That's part of the danger that's inherent in approaching a crime in any store with specifically marked "Entrance" and "Exit" doors. Sure, you could try and plan ahead of time, to make sure that you're using the correct door when you need to make your escape, but we assume that there's probably a moment, in the thick of the crime, where you're so caught up in the activity that any previous planning would go for naught. Of course, we're also fairly certain that plenty of people would have been able to recover quickly enough to try the other doors, but, not knowing the layout, we can't go making too many assumptions. And it's not like the woman just chose the location for her offense incredibly poorly.

Unlike the Utah teenager who decided that he just had to spray paint something, and chose a police car. To make things even better, the police cars were parked at the police station. Apparently the kid involved just didn't put together the likelihood that maybe a cop would generally be fairly close to his squad car. While it's true that he showed some wisdom by not choosing a doughnut shop, he couldn't have picked a much worse second option.

Maybe these two should get together. In the future, he can just tag exit doors, and she can follow along like a bloodhound. It would be a match made in the courtroom of Judge Judy.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Fool me once, fool me twice

So we're pregnant. But don't tell our spouses that. Besides, we just got married so that we can break up. Or is it the other way around? Oh yeah, and the blog is going to become very Religious Right starting tomorrow.

Such is the life of anyone having any sort of interpersonal communications on April 1st. Every year, people see jokes, pranks, and outright lies being thrown around, simply for the purpose of shouting out a big, "Ha ha! Gotcha, sucker!" to their friends and associates. And every year, people make a bigger deal than they should out of the pranks that they fell victim to, and vow to get revenge by one-upping everyone the next year.

And that's part of the problem. People want to be better than others, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to fool people into falling for a trick. Now, some pranks are more easily spotted than others, but a well-formed one has an air of believability around it. Which is why the first paragraph today is something nobody would fall for. Just not pregnant... sorry.

Anyway, April Fool's brings out some of the best in people, utilizing their intelligence and cleverness to create a joke, and some of the worst in people, as they either intentionally look to sucker people in without regard for their feelings, or they react so negatively to the fact that they got suckered that it tears friendships apart.

Look, deciding to do something for April Fool's is a gigantic risk. Are you going to fall flat on your face? Are you going to lose friends out of the deal, whether you should or not? Is your joke going to go down in the history of April Fool's jokes, either positively or negatively? And how do you handle the fallout, after pulling off your stunt?

Of course, a large part of any April Fool's joke is working comedy into it. Part of what will make the joke work or not is your chosen audience, naturally. Some jokes will work better with certain people than they will with others. Some people will react much more strongly when the reveal happens. And some people just won't care. Unfortunately, you can't just ask your friends if they like Dane Cook or Demetri Martin before you start your prank (well, you can, but it's just a weird question to throw out there).

Just an opinion here, but one way to make a successful joke is to try and craft one that will leave everyone happy at the end. That includes the victims. You may think your joke was successful if you can pull the wool over their eyes and cry, "Gotcha", but if anyone isn't laughing (or able to see the humor) at the end of it, you may be working under a different definition of success than we are. Then again, that may be exactly what you were going for.

Now, this may seem hypocritical, given the nature of most of our posts, but we try and keep things somewhat good-natured in our posts. We'd like to think that, if the actual subjects read us, they would see the humor we're aiming for, and accept the ridiculous that we've inserted. If not (and it has happened), we pull the entry, offer an apology, and move on. We know we can't please all of the people, but we're trying to keep anyone from getting offended by whatever we say. And one way we try and do that is by not trying to make ourselves out to be leaps and bounds smarter than the subjects, simply because we have more information (well, with the exception of drug runners who decide to get involved in traffic violations. That's just stupid). After all, if you go out of your way to prove that you're smarter than someone, didn't you just sort of prove the exact opposite?

All that being said, we support people trying to pull of pranks and jokes today. We also support people trying to pull of pranks and jokes other days of the year. We think it might help lighten things up a bit (even if we can't generally plan them ourselves). But we'd like to see pranks and jokes that are less on the "gotcha" factor, and more focused on the "everyone can laugh about the ridiculous thing" factor.

Who knows? It might actually end up being fun, too.