Thursday, April 30, 2009

Saving the Incompetent From Themselves

As a way of illustrating what a litigious society we have become, the winner of 12th Wacky Warning Labels contest has been announced by the Foundation for Fair and Civil Justice. Now, if you're thinking that warning labels are always necessary and that the information that they contain is vital to the well being of the user of the product, you need to put on a helmet and have a seat. The rationale behind many product warnings (in convenient label form accompanied by the Black Box of Doom) is so that the company can avoid frivolous lawsuits when some moron has an accidental mishap with a product (like catching your teeth on the net of a basketball hoop and then suing the net manufacturer because there was no warning that the net could cause him damage to his teeth. For reals.) or when some moron misuses the product in ways that were obviously never the intended use of the product. Things like blow drying your hair whilst still in the tub or whilst taking a shower. Not a good idea. Seems pretty obvious that it's not a good idea. Yet there is always a warning label on the cord that tells you not to use it around water. Who do they think is using this product? Aquaman? The Little Mermaid? (The label also says, "WARN CHILDREN OF THE DANGER OF DEATH BY ELECTRIC SHOCK!" What? Like instead of a bedtime story?)

A one Bob Dorigo Jones was the one who had originally conceived of the idea of the contest to highlight just how whacked things have become in terms of...well, in terms of everything, really. Whacked-ness is everywhere. :::: sigh ::::

Previous winners have included little gems such as my personal favorite: AVOID DEATH. I like it because that's not so much of a warning as it is a way of life, really. First thing I think of every morning when I get up? That's right. Avoid death. Periodically throughout the day? Yep, avoid death. In most situations, first and foremost on my mind is 'avoid death'. It's really my motto for longer living (and so far, so good).

DO NOT IRON WHILE WEARING SHIRT. I've been late before (hell, I'm late right now), but I've never been so late that I've been ironing my clothes as I'm wearing them. Who is that for?

NOT INTENDED FOR HIGHWAY USE (That warning would be fine if it weren't for a 13-inch wheel on a wheelbarrow.)

DO NOT PUT ANY PERSON IN THIS WASHER (Whew! For a minute there, I was worried it was going to say something about not putting animals in there either. Fortunately, it did not and Fido's bath is still a go!)

CAUTION: RISK OF FIRE (Again, a fine warning label, if it weren't on a fireplace log.)


So these stupid warning labels are unfortunately nothing new. But getting back to this year, there's a whole slew of new ones! Counting backwards to the winner, we'll start with the 4th place label on a small, 1” x 4” LCD panel which warns: DO NOT EAT THE LCD PANEL. Right. What CAN I eat?

Third place was a tie between what would appear to be a somewhat dangerous cereal bowl needing the warning label: ALWAYS USE THIS PRODUCT WITH ADULT SUPERVISION. And a bag of what are described as being "livestock castration rings" (Please don't ask because I cannot even imagine! All I know is that I am glad that I'm not someone who has to purchase and use something like that.) which bear the warning: FOR ANIMAL USE ONLY.

OK, hold on. First of all, the bowl. WTH? Is it like a trough? A bucket? What exactly is the adult supposed to be supervising when the bowl is being used? Is it aflame? Do flares shoot out of it? Is there some sort of spinning blade attached? Oh, I've got it! Small parts! Small parts! Does it have small parts? Everything with a 'small part' has that warning! Caution: Contains small parts!! (Yes, I KNOW it contains small parts. It's a SMALL product! The LARGE parts wouldn't fit in the SMALL product, you dimwit. But thanks for the warning.)

But then the castration rings. I'm under the impression that men in general are quite fond of their own manhood. They love their grundle more than life itself on some most all days. Thus, my confusion as to why it would need to be made clear that the castration rings (for the purpose of a dictoffofme) are ONLY for animals. Most grundle loving men would shudder and cringe at just such a thought. How necessary is that warning? Is health care in this country THAT unaffordable that people have resorted to home castration methods? Is castration so common that it's now being done in people's homes?

Second place went to the label found on an instruction guide for a a wart-removal product. It is questionable to me as to how the consumer for which said warning is intended for is ever going to know about the warning, which reads: DO NOT USE IF YOU CANNOT SEE CLEARLY TO READ THE INFORMATION IN THE INFORMATION BOOKLET. Yeah, but I!...You just!....It's right!...If I can't read!...And you!...But the!.....Oh, for cryin' out loud, what is wrong with people?

But this year's winner is a warning label on a product called the Off Road Commode. The concept is that it is a toilet seat which is design to fit into a trailer hitch in order to give the user some degree of comfort (not so much privacy though) when nature calls when one is presumably "off road". The warning label is NOT FOR USE ON MOVING VEHICLES. Wait. What?

I swear. Behold!

Correct. Not for use on moving vehicle. So if you were thinking that you could empty your bladder and or colon whilst sitting on this puppy cruising down the highway at a 65 mile per hour rate of speed, well, you'll be sorely disappointed to learn that isn't safe and you shouldn't do that. WTH?! The website for this product asks the question that I was asking: Who is using the Off Road Commode? They give the answers that I just simply did not have (which is why I was asking the question). According to them, those people would be:

Game Wardens
Workers in rural areas
Family members who have everything!

Look, just because your Uncle Bob has everything, doesn't mean he's going to want to take a dump behind his pickup truck, OK? Nowhere that I have seen does it indicate what you're supposed to do with the steaming pile of excrement when you've finished using said commode. While I don't need specific details, I would think that someone interested in this product might also be interested in that as well. After all, it attaches to the trailer hitch of your vehicle. That would seem to indicate that it's in a rather close proximity to either a) foot traffic or b) other people, neither of which seem like appropriate accessories for this product, or for this sort of activity. Now, if you WERE allowed to use it on a moving vehicle, well then! THAT would take care of that little problem, wouldn't it? Of course, it might cause an entirely new set of problems due to the drivers behind you on the freeway passing out when they saw what was going on.

So this is what we've become. Excellent. Are you happy? You! Teeth in the net guy who got $50,000! Are you happy that you've contributed to this element of society and it now seems to be a permanent fixture? Man, 'Land of Opportunity', I'd say! Whoever came up with that sure wasn't sh**ting, was he? And even if he was, you can bet he wasn't doing it on the Off Road Commode on a moving vehicle, that's for sure!

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Random Thoughts du Jour

A few random thoughts....

There's going to be "Ocotmom - The Musical". I know, I know. People clearly have no shame. It's hard to say who is at a lower level, Octomom herself or the folks doing the musical. And according to, the group putting on the shenanigans would be Cabaret Voltaire and they're currently looking for someone to play the role of OctoNutJob! Here's what they want:

Female, Mid 20’s - mid 30’s. Funny, whimsical, but not too charactery. (Not too charactery?! Have you SEEN her lately? OK, maybe I'm thinking cartoon charactery, but still.) She should be able to command authority, play broad range of facial expressions (expressions that will convey emotions such as "Eight?" "I'm not on welfare" and "I'm not a celebrity, but make sure you take pictures of my good side."), plus physical comedy. Sketch and improv experience a plus. Likable, energetic and at the same time able to be emotionally expressive and believable (and at the same time, un-believable). Can handle musical theatre and pop styles a plus. Actress who can move (including the ability to dodge questions left and right).

My only question is this: If you pay $20 to go see this thing, well....OK, I have two questions. The first one is: If you pay $20 to go see this thing, can I have all of the rest of your money? My second question is if you go to see this thing and you're in one of the front few rows, is it going to be like a Gallagher performance where everyone has to wear rain coats and plastic ponchos to protect themselves from flying debris?
Meanwhile, elsewhere in my brain.....

I've heard more than one news outlet report that the difficult economy is driving people to commit suicide. Really? Wow. I certainly hope I don't get that! That'd be horrible. I don't want to commit suicide! Oh, wait. That's right. I don't have to worry about that because it doesn't happen! Seriously. Last night, she compared Adam Lambert to Michael Phelps. She said that every week "'s like watching the Olympics and you're our Michael Phelps." Huh. Funny. I don't remember seeing Adam Lambert up there with a bong. Oh, wait. That's right. Paula probably had it.

Sunday on Celebrity Apprentice, Melissa Rivers, daughter of Joan, was fired by The Donald. Mother Joan didn't care for that too much and embarked on an amusing rant directed at Annie Duke and Brande Roderick. Among the myriad of insults that she hurled were gems such as, "I met your people in Las Vegas. None of them have last names. You’re a poker player. A poker player! That’s beyond white trash. Poker players are trash, darling, trash." Um, perhaps Joan is unaware that Annie Duke has won millions of dollars and a World Series of Poker bracelet playing poker. Not too many white trash folks can claim that. (Oh, she also compared her to Hitler. Again with the Hitler! Just to review, comparing Hitler and anyone else? NOT the same.)

Bonus Celebrity Apprentice: As Joan and her daughter, the newly ousted Melissa, were in the elevator (presumably to take them straight down to hell) as the doors were closing and in a show of excellent sportsmanship, not to mention CLASS, Melissa Rivers shouted, "Lying f**king whores." Huh. Apple. Tree. Stay classy, Rivers girls.

Meanwhile, over in New York, a 747 plane followed by two F-16 fighters did a flyby of downtown office buildings and the Statue of Liberty in Manhattan on Monday, sparking a panic amongst office workers (can you blame them?). Turns out there was no need to panic, it was just a White House photo-op in order to get pictures of Air Force One in front of some US landmarks. The problem was that no one was notified that this was going to be occurring, which accounted for the panicked deja vu reaction of practically everyone in the vicinity. And all of this at the low, low cost of only $328,835! First of all, I don't know who could possibly be so stupid that they would schedule this stunt and not tell anyone in New York about it. But aside from that, we live in the world of Photoshop. If you want pictures of Air Force One in front of the Statue of Liberty, then do it....from your computer! Cut and paste the Statue in the background and voila! Air Force One in front of the Statue of Liberty! Yep, your tax dollars hard at work, folks.

The swine flu thing is something to be concerned about, but I've learned that there's something to be even more concerned about. A different disease (not cancer) has killed 13,000 people in this country alone since January. So far, the swine flu has killed zero people in this country. The other disease? That's right...regular flu. Holy crap! The regular ol' flu kills around 36,000 people here in the US every year. That's like 100 people a day! Why aren't we talking about that ALL THE TIME?

A one Megan McAllister, the fiance of alleged Craigslist Killer, a one Philip Markoff, had been sticking to her belief/fantasy that his arrest had all been a terrible mistake and that he wasn't the one responsible for killing at least one woman and also for robbing at least one prostitute. She even issued a statement about a week ago denouncing the arrest and proclaiming that she still loved the guy and still planned to marry him in August. Now that's some loyalty right there. But lately, it seemed as if she was wavering on that loyalty. Hard to say what might have made her waver on that belief. Maybe it was the gun that they found inside of a hollowed out copy of Gray's Anatomy in his apartment. Perhaps the video surveillance tape with a guy on it that looks remarkably like Mr. Markoff. Or it could have been the victim's underwear that were also in his apartment. Regardless, the band that had been booked for their wedding is suddenly available on that date! Imagine! Of course, that still doesn't mean that she thinks he did it or anything. It just means that she's realized that he will likely be busy on that particular date and it would be best to wait until he has an opening in his calendar. Or an opening in the bars on the windows that he can crawl out of because that's going to be about the only way he'll be attending any wedding in the near future. Or in the far future.

I think that should do it for now. Cleared out a little space in my brain to make room for new and exciting bits of minutiae and mundane information. Stay tuned, won't ye?

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jackass Blogger v. Miss California

Wow. I didn't think I had it in me. I didn't think I had anything left with which to discuss the whole gay marriage debate turned debacle. Apparently, I DO have something left! Thanks to Perez Hilton. Jackass.

If you are so blissfully unaware of current events that you've missed all of the flack over Miss USA Pageant contestant Miss California Carrie Prejean's (Whew! That's one hell of a moniker that gal has there!) answer to blogger Perez Hilton's question about gay marriage, well, I envy you. I'd like to be so unaware. Unfortunately, I am not. :::sigh:::

Here's the scoop: A one "openly homosexual blogger" Perez Hilton somehow managed to weasel his way into being a judge for Miss USA. How that is possible, I'm not quite sure. I don't know what the qualifications are for being a Miss USA judge, but I can't imagine that they're very difficult standards. Regardless of that however, I still highly doubt he'd be qualified. (He seems to be operating on the brain power equivalent to that of a turnip.)

Then it came to be Miss California's turn in the Answer The Question part of the pageant. (What that has to do with anything is completely beyond me. Answering questions has nothing to do with parading around in a lovely little white bikini, does it? It does not. Only if the question is something like, "Are you going to take that off?" would it be relevant. But to ask them their views on world peace and puppies does not exactly clarify the relationship between the two.) And by the "luck of the draw", Perez Hilton's name was drawn from the mandatory pageant fishbowl that is used whenever there's a drawing. (Sadly, there are never any fish in the fish bowl. An aspect of the drawing which, if used properly, could be a huge ratings grab!) The question that the openly gay and even more openly obnoxious celebrity blogger asked was as follows:

"Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not."

OK, well, did you hear the sound of gun safeties being unlocked, because that was a loaded question if I've ever heard one. Just wait. Wait for her response before you answer that. Behold!

"Well, I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same sex marriage or opposite marriage. And, you know what? In my country and in my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there. But that's how I was raised and that's how...I think that it should be between a man and a woman. Thank you."

Oh, dear God. Here it comes. As you can imagine, Senor Hilton didn't like that answer very much. HOW much he didn't like it wasn't all that clear until he posted a video on his website after the pageant was over. In the video, he made the following statement (which is only a portion of his rant): "She gave the worst answer in pageant history. She got booed. I think that was the first time in Miss USA ever that a contestant has been booed. She lost not because she doesn't believe in gay marriage. Miss California lost because she is a dumb bitch."

You jackass.

So because she didn't agree with you about gay marriage, she's a dumb bitch? Apparently, according to him, yes, she is. He would have rather her give an answer that was ambiguous or, at the very least, in support of something that she clearly does not believe in. From the way that she gave her answer, it appears to me that isn't gay people that she is against. She doesn't seem to have a problem with the people themselves. But she is against the whole gay marriage deal. I'm more OK with that viewpoint than I am with those who just hate gay people for being gay.

He also said that "She gave an awful, awful answer which alienated so many people and Miss California, Miss USA, she doesn't alienate, she unites, she inspires. I am so disappointed in Miss California in representing my country, not because she doesn't inspire gay marriage but because she doesn't unite." Um, what?

Really? Miss California unites? Inspires? WHO? Who does she do those things for? I could not tell you the name of ONE single Miss California EVER and I grew up here! In fact, the ONLY Miss whoever I could name would be Vanessa Williams and that's only because she had her precious crown taken away because there were nude pictures of her out there somewhere that no one had ever seen! THAT I remember! But only for the nudity! Otherwise, I wouldn't have had a clue as to who she was either.

But those were not the only words of wisdom from one Perez Hilton. No, there were more! (I know! Joy!) These words come in the form of the response he gave when asked during an interview with MSNBC if he had apologized for his above stated comments. Hilton (whose real name is Mario Armando Lavandeira. Wow. Lavandeira? He never had a chance, did he?) responded with: "I don't apologize....I'm going to stand by what I said just like she's standing by what she said. And I called her the 'b' word, and hey, I was thinking the 'c' word." OK then. That's a bit clearer. Man, you're a jackass.

That's real respectful of you there, Not-So-Super Mario.

I was under the impression that any and/or all of the Miss Wherevers are Good Lord, she's hot.supposed to 'represent' something. Their state, their country, their county, whatever. Their job is to represent wherever it is that they're from and to look pretty. (And good Lord, does Miss California look pretty! Holy crap, how come she can't win based solely on the white bikini alone? If I had been a judge and seen that, I would have stood up and announced, "She wins! The rest of you can go now! She's the winner! Welcome!" In fact, let's just keep seeing more of that white bikini shot, shall we? That should calm things down a bit. In some ways.) So if she's 'representing' California, then her answer (unfortunately) represents California, as the majority of voters decided last November to pass Proposition 8 and declare that a marriage is between a man and a woman.

And one of theIf those are real, they're spectacular. reasons that Proposition 8 passed was because of people like YOU, Mario. Jackasses like you who were vitriolic toward those who disagreed with you. People like you who spewed your hatred of anything and anyone who was in disagreement with you were one of the reasons why Prop 8 passed. People like you who insisted that anyone who was against gay marriage was a bigot. And other folks got really tired of hearing that. Folks like Miss California who didn't have anything against gay people themselves, but who were not comfortable redefining what a marriage is. And folks who felt that way but were on the fence as to how to vote on it were easily persuaded to vote FOR Prop 8 after repeatedly hearing asinine statements from people such as you, Senor.

Super Mario wanted Miss California to give a more politically correct
response. He wanted her to say something ambiguous regardless as to whether or not she actually believed what she said. I find that sad. Sad that he would think that and sad that he has a brain the size of a walnut that would allow him to think that. I don't care who you are or what your position in life is, I would rather you be honest and have some integrity that to lie because it's what people want to hear. Even if you're an ass. If you're an ass and you're honest about the fact that you are, in fact, an ass, then at least I can respect you for being an ass and admitting it instead of being an ass and denying it.

I wonder if that's what he would like our politicians to do. Would he just prefer that they blow smoke up our ass (actually, given his orientation, he'd probably enjoy that. But I digress...) and tell us what we want to hear in order to get elected and then just go about and do what they really want to do when they're in office? I don't think that's a very good idea. Seems...horribly misguided.

Really, the biggest tragedy in all of this is that the funniest part of her answer was totally missed by everyone. Come on! 'Opposite marriage'? That's hilarious! That should be the focus of all of this discussion, not what her answer was! Gay marriage and opposite marriage! That's just funny. I hate it when perfectly good humor goes to waste. This whole thing has been such a debacle, it makes me long for the days of the Miss Teen USA Pageant and pretty little Miss South Carolina's response to the question she was posed.

Why? Why can't those moments come back? We were such a happier people during the days of things such as, um, the Iraq and the South Africa and such as.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Shaken By Rejection

Over there in the parallel universe that is everything Apple, there is the App Store where one can download a variety of apps ranging from the incredibly mundane all the way to the completely useless. Oh, and with a useful one thrown in now and again. The majority of these apps are created by a third party not otherwise affiliated with Apple. They write their apps and submit them to Apple for approval for sale in the App store. For the most part, Apple approves the vast majority of submitted apps. No one knows what their criteria is because Apple operates under a veil of secrecy similar to that of the CIA only without all of the leaked memos. Occasionally, however, an app will get by and make it into the store only to evoke horror and outrage amongst those sitting around scanning the App Store for horror and outrage.

The latest app to catch the eyes of the outraged horror scanners was something called Baby Shaker. According to ABC News, the description reads: "See how long you can endure his or her adorable cries before you just have to find a way to quiet the baby down!" Um, wut? Yep, that's the GAME. See, then what happens is that the "users shake the iPhone to stop the crying until Xs appear on the eyes of the baby." All of that so-not-tasteless fun for the low, low price of just 99 cents! Well, until Apple pulled the app from the store and apologized to anyone who was or who might have been offended.

OK, at first I kind of thought that there might have been a bit of overreaction to this. After all, it's a game, yes? Well, yes, but not a good one! I guess I thought it would have been some sort of cartoon rendition of the baby. Not so much. No, it looked more like the little adorable Gerber baby that I've NEVER wanted to shake. Behold!

Yeah, see, that's just creepy. And odd that someone would come up with such a thing. I mean, congratulations to the person for having a marketable skill, but my God, man, can't you use it for something else?

Then I was r
eminded of other apps that made it into the App Store (and a few that did not) that were rejected by Apple after the expression of horror and outrage by the folks of the same name. One of those was the "I Am Rich" app. All this piece of crap consisted of was a picture of a glowing red ruby in the middle of the screen. The description read: "The red icon on your iPhone or iPod Touch always reminds you (and others when you show it to them) that you were able to afford this. ... It's a work of art with no hidden function at all." All of that pretentiousness for the low, low price of only $999.99! For reals. And if you're shocked by that, you're going to pass out when I tell you that eight morons actually paid for and downloaded it. (There's a name for people like that. It's a name probably not appropriate for this venue, but let's just say that it would be the same name as a fairly popular nickname for folks named Richards.)

Of course, since that went over so well and received a bunch of publicity
(because isn't that what the news outlets are supposed to report on?) someone else had to make an "I Am Poor" app. All that one did was show a picture of some Top Ramen, macaroni and cheese and tuna fish. No word on how much it cost, but it was rejected by Apple before making it into the App Store. (And really, how much sense does that make anyway? You're going to have an app that says "I Am Poor" on your six hundred dollar phone? Spare me.)

There was the inexplicable rejection of the "Obama Trampoline" game, where you choose your politicians from either Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, or a pants-less Bill Clinton and then have them jump on a trampoline in the Oval Office. Apple claimed it was rejected because " ridiculed public officials." Well, YES! Of course it does! Public ridicule is part of being a politician! It's nothing new! (It's also the rationale behind why you can't have the Shoe Throwing app or the Freedom Time app, which counts down the time until the Bush administration was officially over.) However, I deem this rejection inexplicable because there IS an app called "Pocket Arnold" featuring various sound bites and clips of words and phrases said by the Governator of California himself. It's sort of like a make your own crank call factory. No word on whether or not the Governator is wearing pants and Apple did not explain itself. Because it's the king of everything.

And I cannot for the life of me imagine why in the world Apple would reject an iBoobs app! It's just like what it sounds like it is. A pair of very full breasts, clad in a bikini top, appear on your iPhone screen and when you shake the screen you shake them as well! It's pure genius, I tell you! But Apple didn't call it pure genius. They called it an app with "inappropriate sexual content", not to mention "obscene, pornographic, offensive, or defamatory content." Huh. And all of that even knowing that the breasts were not even real, rather they were computer generated. (I've gotta get me some computer generated breasts. You know, in case I need a spare or something.) And if you must see for this civilization ruiner, there's a video over yonder on YouTube that you can check out by clicking the handy link there.

There's also Slasher, an app which featured a picture of a bloody knife on your iPhone screen and when you moved your arm in a way as to simulate a stabbing motion, the app would play the "horror sound". I can only imagine that the "horror sound" is similar to that which I have dubbed the "pay attention music". It's those ominous two notes every five to ten seconds or so. Dun-dunn. Dun-dunn. But for all I know, it could just be someone screaming (probably one of those horror and outrage folks). The reasoning given for not having this gem in the App Store was the same reason for not having iBoobs in the App Store. That reason being, of course, that Apple is a bit holier than thou on occasion, apparently.

So if all of those apps are inappropriate for the Apple App Store, you have to be wondering what IS appropriate? I'll tell you what's appropriate. Farting apps. That's correct. Apps that simulate human flatulence are HUGE at the App Store. There are no less than FIFTY such apps (and yet only ONE way to actually BE flatulent. Go figure.) iFart Mobile (I swear!) has been downloaded over 13,000 times by December 23, 2008 at the tune (no pun intended, I swear) of $0.99 each. With Apple taking a 30% cut, the creators of iFart Mobile netted around $9,198 according to Venture Beat Digital Media. But wait! There's more! On Christmas Day, 2008, there were almost 40,000 downloads of the Fart Machine, netting those folks close to $30 grand! For an app that makes your phone sound like it's farting! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Well, OK then. Good to know we live in a world where baby shaking simulators are not OK. Not sure about the world we live in where we flock to download flatulence replications by the tens of thousands. Definitely sure that I need to get myself an iPhone or an iPod Touch relatively soon, however, as I hear that there are a myriad of apps which simulate cow bells, fake lighters (for fake concerts, I'm assuming), dice rollers, coin flippers and a virtual level (so you'll never be anywhere and not know if a surface is perfectly flat). As I'm sure you know, one can never have too many cowbells. Flatulence simulators, yes. Clanging bovine neck devices? Never.

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