Sunday, February 8, 2009

OMG! They Hacked Our Sign!

There seems to be a new "trend" or "pastime" that's been going on recently. I don't know what it's called (if it has a specific, kitschy kind of name, I haven't heard it yet. But I'm sure some moron will come up with one and I'll be sick of it by noon.), but whatever it is, it's pretty darn funny.

You know those electronic signs that they have on the highway when there is construction going on? The signs tell you there's "Road Work Ahead" or "Left Lane Closed". (They should probably say "Your Tax Dollars Were Overspent For This Project", but I digress.) And whenever the damn signs are on, for some reason, people feel the need to slow down to almost a crawl so that they can see what the sign says. I don't know why all the slowness needs to happen. It's usually three or four words. Besides, since when do these people (the slow-downers) ever pay attention to anything else that they're doing when driving? They're too busy yammering up a storm on their cell phone while they shave and read the morning paper during their commute, but if there's an electronic sign message, well by God, they have to slow right down because God forbid if they miss that! Please.

Those signs have a little box in the back of them with a little keyboard device so that the construction guys (or the official sign message composer dude) can type in what they want the sign to say. It's your basic electronic message board. The old EMB. That's right. Sometimes the keyboard part is locked. Other times it isn't. It's the times it isn't when "pranksters" have taken it upon themselves to change the message appearing on the sign. Hilarity has then ensued. Behold! Highway hilarity!

Whoever thought of that....I love them. That's awesome. Nazi zombies, nice touch! You hear about zombies once in a while, but not so much those of the Nazi persuasion, so nice job! Very funny. What else ya got? Behold! What else they got!

Again, whomever is responsible....I love them.

Now, I know that some folks are complaining about these pranks, calling them "dangerous" and "distracting". Dangerous? Eh, only if the sign used to say "Watch out for that tree" or something like that. Things like "Left Lane Closed Ahead" that's important and could cause a problem if people didn't know that. But being as how they're likely to slow down to read the sign in the first place, they shouldn't have much of a problem merging.

Because I do realize that something like this could (technically) cause a hazardous situation I, of course, can't condone nor endorse such behavior. (But as I alluded to previously, there are a lot of things that contribute to a "hazardous situation" on the highway and I'm thinking that a sign warning of Nazi zombies might be the least of those things. Come on! I was almost sideswiped the other day by some chick who obviously didn't see that I was already in the lane where she wanted to be because she was busy eating her Chinese food with chopsticks as she drove! These folks are worried about a sign warning of zombies? Please.) However, I most certainly can think it's funny as hell. And I do! And the one below is my absolute favorite. Not a lot of things cause me to literally LOL, but the one below did. (Actually, it's not the actual sign. But it is what it said.) Down in Lubbock, Texas, someone composed the following alert for passing drivers:

I don't even know WHY I find that so funny. "OMG! The British R Coming!" That's hilarious. Nice work, chaps! Nice work. When asked how this happened, "...a statement from Austin Bridge & Road says someone "with a questionable sense of humor" accessed the password on the message." Personally, I don't think that there's much of a question that that was funny! And as far as accessing the password, I don't know how they would do that! (Psst! I did a little bit of research. Usually the password is something like DOTS. Pass it on!) Nope. No clue about that. None.

What I also find mildly amusing is how the story was wrote on the AP Wire (and which was then distributed to media outlets who saw absolutely nothing wrong with the copy because the standards of modern journalism have dropped so low that my cat could put out a news feed that would be deemed acceptable by today's journalistic standards and I don't even have a cat! But again, I digress.). It reads, "LUBBOCK, Texas – A hacked electronic highway sign in Lubbock carried an international message not seen much in centuries on this side of the pond. The sign Friday briefly flashed: "OMG The British R coming. They R watching you." KCBD-TV reported the electronic sign was in a construction area in southwest Lubbock."

Oh, you think? Do you think that the "international message" hasn't been "seen much" on the electronic signs for the past few centuries because there weren't any electronic signs when the British WERE coming?! You morons. On top of that, the message wasn't "seen" in the first place! The dough heads over there running start off their story with the line I quoted above and then they end their story with: "According to legend, "The British are coming!" was the warning shouted out by Paul Revere on his midnight ride in April 1775 to alert American patriots that British troops were moving out of Boston to arrest their leaders. The warnings delivered by Revere and other riders allowed the American militia to rally to repel the British in the first battles of the American Revolution." Not seen. Shouted. SHOUTED!

Hey! guys! OMG! The British R coming! RUN!! Run far away!! Hurry! It's the British! (Maybe that'll get rid of 'em.)

I'm liking the alternative electronic highway sign message. A break in the routine is nice once in a while. And if it could be something that is useful as well as amusing, then it would be like getting a bonus. I'm thinking something like this:

Or perhaps something like this:

Subtle reminders about the reasons why we stress. Like this:

I just realized why I find this so funny and why I like it so much. There's no profanity. Whoever the geniuses (geniuii??) were that changed the sign(s), they could have wrote anything. And lately, it seems that "anything" always involves the F-word or something about someone's Mama or their race, sex, gender, orientation or anything else that you can't get fired from a job for being. Almost always. If the sign had read "Left Lane Closed For F***ing" or "Please Merge Into Your Mama" I don't think that would be as funny to me because I'm reading it now and it's not funny. But "OMG! The British R coming!" In Texas?! That's genius. Pure, unadulterated genius. And hilarious. Not questionably hilarious. Hilarious. Nice job, vigilante sign changer dudes. Nice job.

(Side note: I found it odd that I couldn't find a photo of the actual sign down there in Lubbock. It's one thing to read about it, but it adds an extra dimension of humor when you see it. The folks over there at Atom Smasher have several different sign generators where you can write your own message for a variety of different signs, so I did. Other examples are shown below. It's an excellent little resource.)

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