Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's Funnier NOW

I just find it funny, is all. I don't know if it's the look on his face or the fact that the envisioned utopia that so many softheads had in mind when they were rallying for ol' Changey McOptimism hasn't quite materialized yet or what, but I find it really funny.

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Step Right Up and Throw Away Your Money!

I guess I'm a little slow. If I were a little faster on the uptake, perhaps I would have thought of this brilliant idea which totally exploits the adage "A fool and his money are soon parted."

At San Francisco International Airport (known for some reason as SFO. Why the "O"? Is it supposed to represent the globe since its the International Airport?) they have installed kiosks that will allow those who so choose to free themselves of the guilt that they carry around by flying around. Wait. What? Guilt? Whatkinda guilt?

The kinda guilt that you have when you fly because you're contributing to global warming by leaving carbon footprint! You know! That kind! Don't you feel guilty when you fly? (NO! But go on!) Well, pack your bags, 'cause you're going on a guilt trip!

Here's the theory: If you fly, you contribute to global warming by getting on that plane. God forbid that you do anything differently (such as not fly), so in order to make yourself feel good (no clue as to whether or not it actually does anything to help the environment) what you're supposed to want to do is to give money, someone and then you're supposed to trust (yes, trust) that they're going to use the money, do something that will help the environment.

In case that was too complicated, let me simplify: There is a machine that takes people's money that they willing put into it and they get nothing in return other than a warm and fuzzy feeling that they've created in their own mind. Is this a great country or what?!

So what's the average cost of being a fool and needing to part with some money? Let's find out, shall we? Of course there is a carbon footprint calculator at the kiosks for you to use. And if you're not at the kiosks (but want to get some sort of an idea as to how far you have to fly in order to lose X-amount of money should you choose to contribute to this project with absolutely no guarantee that your money will be spent for anything useful at all) you can use the handy calculator online to figure out how big of a sap you are how much it will cost you.

For instance, it says that if we take a long flight of 6,000 miles (round trip) that is allegedly using or burning or making 5,608 pounds of CO2 (aka carbon dioxide) that is equal to 2.543 tons and at $13.50 per ton our guilt can be absolved for a mere $34.34. I wonder what it would take to absolve their guilt? Oh, that's right. They likely have none.

Here's my first (but not my last) problem with this: The figure that they're using for a "ton" is 2204.6 pounds. That is not a ton. 2000 pounds is a ton in the US. 2204.6 is a metric ton. Metric? Since when does the US operate on the metric ton principle? I don't think we do! Oh, wait. Is it that damn "International Airport" designation again?! No, I'm guessing that it's that a metric ton is 204.6 pounds more than a US ton (or short ton) and that benefits them considerably. I noticed that we're not calculating the flight length in kilometers, why is that? Because they don't want to, that is correct.

They don't seem to give any sort of formula as to how they have calculated the amount of CO2 which they are claiming per flight. OK, they give a formula as to how to calculate how much money you can give them, no questions asked. But they don't give you a formula as to what was taken into consideration when determining the CO2 amount. How many people were on this plane? What kind of a plane was it? What direction was it flying? Was there a headwind? A tailwind? A side wind? (Is there a side wind? God, I hope not.) Does the plane use the same amount of fuel regardless as to the number of passengers? Do they take the size of the crew into consideration? (I mean how many crew members there are, not if they need to butter their sides to squeeze themselves down the aisle or not.) Shouldn't flights with more people on them cost you less money to throw away than flights with less people on them? Because with a whole boatload, er, planeload of people, all of the sinning can be split up over all of them, but if you only have two people on the plane, then you're going halfsies with the sin. Not good.

And what does your money go toward in order to absolve you from your guilt? Why, according to the website, it goes to the "...Garcia River Forest, a conservation-based forest management project located in Mendocino County, California." It goes on to tell us about that particular forest and how it is "...dominated by native Redwood and Douglas Fir trees that are remarkably resilient to pests, fire, and disease." Well if they're do damned resilient, why is it that money is needed for them? They seem to be doing just fine on their own. With me so far? Of the $13.50 per ton of CO2 that they're charging you, $12.00 of it goes to "...covering costs associated with locating, researching, and verifying high quality projects as well as the other general operating costs typically incurred by any organization." Wait a minute. How is it supporting the forest one minute and then going on to support a bunch of locating, researching and verifying? Wouldn't "researching" cover the "locating" and the "verifying"? You might notice it doesn't say that they're doing anything once they're done with all of the "researching". So they're just looking into stuff and you're supposed to pay for it. Sounds fair. Sure. And do tell, what "other general operating costs" might they they speaking of? Who knows?!?!

But here's the BEST part! According to Anthony Watts over there at Watts Up With That? (catchy) " can buy a ton of carbon offset on the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) for 20 cents. That’s about 60 times less than what you would pay at the SFO kiosk!" Behold!

Oh, for hell's sake. What?!?! And an article in the Times Online details how the "clean energy auditor" was suspended by the UN because they couldn't prove that they did anything or that if they did that they were qualified to do so.

Look, if you're going to feel that guilty about flying around that you need to just throw your money away, please don't throw it into a kiosk at SFO. Please throw it to me. I promise to detail every little thing that I do with it. Here, I can detail it right now just to save time.

  • I bought beer. Then I drank it. I don't remember much after that, but your money was already gone, so it's really a moo point.


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Happy Birthday, Dad.

If my Dad were around, today would have been his birthday. Come to think of it, around or not, it's still his birthday. Regardless, even though I am fully aware that he (likely) does not have a computer or the Internet, I'm still doing it this way.

Happy birthday, Dad.

We'll be having your usual birthday dinner tonight. No sense in missing out on that. I sure do wish you could be here for it. As far as everything else goes, since we chat all the time, I won't go into a ton of detail because you already know everything.

I sure do miss you and I wish you could come back.

Happy birthday, Dad.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Super Scooby Snack

Once again, we have the "creation" of a ridiculous food item. Fortunately, this time the item isn't vying for a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. The only food items that should be worthy of a Guinness certified World Record are those that are grown. Not those that are baked, not those that are put together, not those which would set a record that could easily be bested by simply adding an ingredient, none of those should qualify. Under my rules, there would be a World Record available for the World's Largest Pumpkin, but there would not be a World Record available for the World's Largest Pumpkin Pie. What's to stop someone from making a bigger pumpkin pie the next day? Not much, all they'd need is a bigger pie plate. You shouldn't be able to snag a world record simply by going shopping.

Even better is that his edible atrocity comes from England. It's like their little way of saying, "Suck it, United States! We can have coronary artery disease just as much as y'all do." (Though I will admit that I highly doubt the Brits have ever said "y'all".) I'm just glad that we won't have to hear from the US folks who always crawl out of their laboratories when news of some lard-laden treat becomes available, just to admonish those of us who eat anything other than dust and Chiclets.

According to the probably obese folks over there at Fox News, the folks across the pond at a take out restaurant aptly called the Jolly Fryer have created a burger seemingly inspired by one of the greatest eaters in all of cartoon history: Scooby Doo.

The "Super Scooby" is the creation of brothers (who are also co-owners of the Jolly Fryer) Spiros and Andreas Lomvardos and another gent who happens to be an employee, Karl Ford. As the story goes (and by "the story" I mean "the article over there at Fox News"), the three chaps were "...sitting at work on a dead quiet night" and "...saw an ad from a well-known burger chain." According to Spiros, they noticed "The burgers always look big in the ads — but they never look like that in real life." That's when "...we started discussing making our own big burger.”

Ford is apparently a man of little talk and lots of action as he went home that night, created his own behemoth concoction and took a photo of it. Behold, the Super Scooby!

Oh, sweet mother of God, what is that gloriousness? Hold onto your arteries. Here we go:
  • 4 quarter-pound beef patties
  • 12 onion rings
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • 8 slices of cheese
  • 6 slices of tomato
  • 2 sesame buns
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Lettuce
  • And a good slathering of mayonnaise.
I love me a good slathering. And a good slathering of mayonnaise is all the better. Let's all hail the genius of a one Karl Ford. After the photo shoot, the Lomvardos posted the photo on one of the walls of the restaurant. They say that they weren't really intending to sell the creature. Oh, right. They were just bragging? They're a restaurant! You think people aren't going to want that?! Of course they are! And they did!
Spiros must have read about the softheads in the US who always complain about how unhealthy something like this is because he did say, "“Obviously we wouldn’t recommend for someone to eat this every day. It’s not to be taken too seriously. It’s something that we would encourage on a special occasion for someone who wants to challenge themselves. It’s just a little bit of fun, really.” Brav-o, sir! Brav-o! My favorite part of that statement was the "obviously" because that's what I always think when something like this burbles up to the surface (probably in a vat of hot oil) in the US and the nutritionist Nazis come out in full force saying that if we eat that every day, we'll be dead by next Tuesday. Yes, we know that. Now please pipe down and pass the ketchup.

Here's the thing that is genius about Karl's burger: All of the ingredients go well with each other and there's not a lot of extra stuff and (here's the real genius) if you go light on the sauce and the mayonnaise, it won't be that big of a mess and is honestly, totally edible! NO problem! Look, I don't even eat beef and I think it looks fabulous! Hey. Wait a minute. I'm supposed to be against this sort of stuff. What am I doing lauding this man?! This creation?!

Oh, whew! I think I found just the thing to get me back on my cynical and disapproving track. According to the article, "If your stomach is strong enough to finish the burger, which comes with a side of traditional British chips, you even get a free Diet Coke to wash it all down with." Um, what? A Diet Coke?! THAT is what you're offering patrons who can eat a burger that measures 6-inches tall, weighs more than 3 pounds and weighs in at 2,645 calories, not to mention God only knows how much fat, sodium and cholesterol?!?! A bloody Diet Coke?!?! What is wrong with you people?! No cheap T-shirt?! No crappy bumper sticker?! No computer generated certificate that says "I finished an entire Super Scooby and all I got was this lousy piece of paper"? A Diet Coke?!?!

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Only 89 Days Left

Since it's near the end of September, that can only mean one thing (apparently). That's right! It's time for Christmas shopping!
Oh, sweet mother of God. What?!

Hey, I'm just the messenger! Don't kill the messenger! You want to be mad at someone? Try the toy companies! And not just for starting in on the whole Christmas shopping dealio in September, for cryin' out loud! You can get mad at them for other things as well. Things like having a white version of a toy/doll and also having a Hispanic version of the same toy/doll. Wait. What now?

Don't flip out! Look it up in Wikipedia.Now, I'm not saying that all toys/dolls should be white, OK? And I can't really say that when I was a kid that I didn't notice what color the toys/dolls that I played with were, but that's just because I'm white and the toys/dolls were white also most of the time. (Wait. What was Barbie's friend, Skipper? Was she black? No, that doesn't seem right. Who's the black Barbie? Christie? Then who in the hell is Malibu Stacie?) I mean, I really didn't notice if the dolls were white or black, nor did I care. But was that because I'm white or because I didn't care? I don't know. All I know is that this paragraph is my disclaimer to the whole "I don't like it" thing not being because I'm white and therefore a racist, OK? I'm not a racist. And Barack Obama is not a Muslim. (I always feel the need to throw that in whenever I can, but now I'm all confused. Where was I? Oh, right. The Hispanic dolls.)

So Fisher Price has a Little Mommy Sweet As Me doll. They market the one below as being "With Pink Jumpsuit and Brown Hair". That's fine. Behold!
OK, she looks like a miniaturized soccer mom. Does she come with a mini van? An SUV perhaps? Where is her Starbucks cup? Let me guess. Accessories sold separately? But Fisher Price also markets the Little Mommy Sweet as Me Hispanic Doll with Hot Pink Top with Jeans and Brown Shoes. Behold!

Does she have to be the "Hispanic" Doll? Why can't she just be the Little Mommy Sweet As Me Doll with Hot Pink Top with Jeans and Brown Shoes? How come the other doll isn't Little Mommy Sweet as Me White Honky Doll with Pink Jumpsuit and Brown Hair? (As long as I'm asking questions here, why does the Hispanic doll have that flowered fanny pack on her head?) Is it assumed that those who would purchase the Hispanic doll are really interested in all of the apparel that she comes with, while those who would purchase the white doll just need to know what color hair she has? We like shoes! We loooovvve shoes! But we don't get to know about the white doll's shoes. Sad.

Another question I have about this is how come Hispanic Doll looks like she just rolled out of bed while Honky Doll is fresh as a daisy?!
But wait! It gets even more ridiculous! Another Fisher Price product is the Little Mommy Baby Ah-Choo! Doll. According to the description: "Girls will love to squeeze the doll's tummy and watch her "sneeze", then help her get better with the interactive thermometer that checks her temperature, plus "medicine", measuring spoon and a box of tissues! Baby Ah-Choo Hispanic is bilingual too!" Great. So the kid snots all over you? Dandy. I'm renaming this doll. It's now the Little Mommy Ah-Choo Swine Flu Baby Doll. Behold!

Oh, but wait. What was that? "Baby Ah-Choo Hispanic is bilingual too!" It's a baby! They don't talk! What? They can sneeze in different languages now? I don't think that they can. But they can, seemingly, be transformed from one nationality to another. Behold, Baby Swine Flu, the Hispanic Version!

Great Scott! Baby Swine Flu is none other than the Sweet as Me Honky doll! It's like she's a superhero with a secret identity! All she needs now is a cape! (Heeeyyy! Maybe that's what was on the head of the Hispanic Sweet As Me doll!)

But do you see my point (kind of) here? Admit it! That's the same damn doll only one of them has a hair clip and the other one of them has a snazzy headband with a fashionable floral accessory. My point is that they're the damn same! You don't need to go off calling one of them Hispanic and one of them, well, you don't call the other one anything now, do you?! Tell me something about the doll that isn't bilingual. I don't know what phrases they say. I mean, they're supposed to be babies after all, I don't know why they're talking in the first place and if they are talking, shouldn't they also come with a little Oprah set? (You know, because they'd totally be on her show if they were babies and could talk.) Does the doll that is not bilingual say, "I don't speak Spanish."? It should, shouldn't it? Think about it.

I don't like this whole deal of having the Hispanic doll and the "other" doll for the reason pointed out when comparing the two dolls above. They're the same! People are the same! That's right! We're all people. I don't give a fat rat's ass if you're white or black or brown or purple or green. I do give a fat rat's ass as to whether or not you're a moron or not. But as for what color moron you are or are not? I could not care any less about that and I really don't think that I'm in the minority in that way of thinking.

If you're going to get all race-specific with toys or whatever else, all I'm asking is that you get race-specific with the white ones as well. If you're doing it with the Hispanic dolls and no one is complaining, then it must be fine, so why can't you do it with the white dolls as well? Does that thought make you uncomfortable? Listen, I'm the one theoretically advocating it here and it makes me uncomfortable! What say we don't label any of them of any race and see who gravitates toward what? We're smart. We'll figure out what we want to buy for ourselves without a label defining race playing into it. To answer the question, I'm pretty sure that we can all get along.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Our Cardboard President

President Barry and his lovely wife, the impeccably stylish Michelle Obama, are a very photogenic couple. That's a good thing for the leader of a country as vain as the United States. We like it when we're represented by a good looking chap (or chapette). I'd imagine other countries do as well. Like it when they are represented by a good looking leader, that is. But I've noticed that President Barry always has the same look when he's taking pictures with foreign leaders. He's like a cardboard cutout every single time and he looks exactly the same every single time!

Fortunately, the G20 is in town (and by "town" I mean "the United States") and that give us the perfect opportunity to observe President Barry's cardboard photogenic nature as well as it gives us a chance to see how the leaders and their spouses from other countries interact via photo ops with the Obamas. They seem to fall into three categories. There are the folks that are perfectly fine with having their picture snapped with Mr. and Mrs. Charisma. There are the folks that are seemingly not perfectly fine with the photo op. And then there are those who are OK with the photo op, but only because they seem to think that it gives them an opportunity to show either how chummy they (think they) are with the Obamas, or so they can show how much better than the Obamas they are. But through it all, President Barry? Looks the same, that is correct.

Here we have the President of the Republic of Cameroon, a one H.E. Paul Biya and his wife, Mrs. Chantal Biya. It would seem that Mrs. Chantal thinks rather highly of herself. She also seems to want to be one of the Supremes or something.
Here are the Obamas with the Prime Minister of Montenegro, one T.H. Milo Djukanovic and his wife, Mrs. Djukanovic. (That's all I've got. Last name: Djukanovic. First name: Mrs.) If Montenegro isn't ringing a bell, that's because it used to be part of Serbia until 2006. Judging from the demeanor or Mrs. Montenegro there, I'm guessing things are going OK over there since the Serbian exit. Probably still a little bomb-y on occasion, but they don't look like they're going to let it phase them much.

Next up, the Obamas with the President of the Union of the Comoros, a one H.E. Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi, and his wife, Mrs. Djoudi Hadjir. Why the different last names? I don't know either. But I don't appear to be the only one who is confused. The Mrs. there seems a bit concerned that Michelle Obama is so close to her. Either that or she's a bit concerned that President Barry is so close to her husband. Hmmm. I wonder how they roll over there in the Comoros?

Here is President Barry and Michelle with the folks from Armenia. I like the way that they have named their leader. Instead of President or Prime Minister or Grand Poobah, Armenia has chosen to go with the title of Permanent Representative. So here we have the Permanent Representative of Armenia to the United Nations, one H.E. Garen Nazarian and his wife, Mrs. Siranoush Nazarian. Behold!

Say, does the H.E. stand for something that I am unaware of? This is the third H.E. leader that we've run across here. If they were all from the same country, I might be able to attribute it to something like that, but they're not. I mean, seriously, H.E. isn't exactly an overly common set of initials. The only thing I can think of would maybe be His Excellency? I guess that would make the one guy whose first initials were T.E., The Excellency? Rather presumptuous of that guy if that were really the case, eh? Anyway, moving on!

Onto Brunei! Wow! I had no idea that Don King was one of the representatives for Brunei. What's that? That's not Don King? Whoa. Awkward. But in fact, that is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam, a one H.R.H. Prince Mohamed Bolkiah and H.R.H. Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah. What's with the repeating name there? Pengiran Anak, Pengiran Anak? Who needs seven names? He's just Prince Mohamed. What's her deal? Insecure much?

Here's the Prime Minister of Japan, a one H.E. Yukio Hatoyama and his new wife, Mrs. Miyuki "I traveled aboard a spaceship to Venus" Hatoyama. I think that this is the closest that President Barry has been to any of the other diplomats in all of these photos. He's probably trying to get close enough so that he can ask Yukio there what the deal is with his very pleasant, but seemingly whack-a-doo wifey.

Please welcome the linebacker Prime Minster of Tuvalu, a one T.H. Apisai Ielemia and his defensive linewife, Lady Ielemia. Behold!

The folks in the Solomon Islands seem to have more of a thing for elongated titles than those over there in Brunei. Please welcome (deep breath) the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development and Indigenous Affairs of Solomon Islands, (breathe again!) T.H. Fredrick Fono and his wife, Mrs. Helen A. Fono. Is there something wrong with introducing them as Fred and Helen from the Islands? Fred seems like a hoot. Helen seems wary of people in general, especially the guy with the camera.

I'm guessing that the reason that H.E. Ali Ahmed Jama Jangeli, who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Transitional Federal Government of the Somali Republic (good Lord, another long titler) looks so unhappy is because he must have realized that he forgot to take off his hat after his shift at the burger joint was over. But boy, his wife, Mrs. Jama (bless you and your short, short name, Mrs. Jama!), she seems to be having a great, great time in America. I'm sure their marriage is just constant bliss.

Apparently, the more Middle East-y we get, the more grumpy the leaders get. Look at the Emir of the State of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, and H.H. Sheikha Mozah Consort of His Highness The Emir of the State of Qatar. They're just angry folk is what they are. Angry and mustachioed. Never a good combination.

But look at President Barry in all of these photos when I put him next to himself. He's the same! He doesn't change! Even his feet are the same! Even his hand is the same! What's with his thumb? Can't he ever position that in some different direction? Michelle manages to move herself around! What the heck is wrong with President Barry that he can't do the same thing? It's not natural, I'm telling you. I find it rather unnerving.

I've only shown you a few of these cardboard cutout photo ops that President Barry has done since the whole G20 thing began on Thursday. There are over 130 photos of the Obamas with Mr. and Mrs. Other Country over at the White House Flickr photo stream. Yes, the White House has a Flickr photo stream. They're hip. They've told us so. Feel free to click the link above and check it out. But if you're hoping to catch President Barry in a different pose or looking like something with a pulse, you're going to be sorely disappointed.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, My Friend

On occasion, I use this blog as a podium for some personal prenouncements. The ol' PPP. Or P-cubed, if you'd prefer. In case you haven't guessed, this is one of those occasions.
Fortunately, the photos online were exact replicas of the color that it ended up being.
I need to say Happy Birthday to my most excellent friend. Folks, listen up. When I say that this is the kind of person whom you should model your friendships after, I mean it. She's awesome.

My personal favorite, the Tangerine Mixer.I find that it's difficult to meet individuals who are actually real, who are actually genuine. People who don't really have anything to hide and are pretty much OK with laying it all out in front of them are hard for me to come by. That's not to say that I don't encounter people like that, but it's to say that it's rare. At least it's rare for me. Then again, I don't get out much. (Such a pain to raise and lower the drawbridge to cross the moat which encircles my walled off compound which protects me from society.)

My second most personal favorite, the Boysenberry Mixer
But in my friend, I have truly met the most genuine individual I've ever known in my life. It's what makes our friendship easy as hell. It's also probably what makes it hard as hell sometimes (though I tend to make my own contributions on both fronts there as well), but the hard parts are far less frequent that the times that are easy.

And for just a touch of retro (not to mention a little bit of birthday confusion) we have the chrome food processor.Anyway, today is her birthday and I have to tell her Happy Birthday, so here goes:

Hey. You. I hope you enjoy your booty-filled bounty (or is it bounty-filled booty?) and that you'll be able to put it all to good use and that you'll be mixing things up real soon! Thank you so much for being such a good friend. You rule at being you. Happy Birthday. Dude.

You're caressing it again, aren't you?

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