Monday, November 30, 2009


Doomed! That's what we are. Doomed! We are now at the mercy of TV network and cable executives to do the right thing in order to prevent every day life from turning into a potential reality show stunt. That isn't the sort of scenario I was prepared for. Invasion by those from a foreign land? Sure. The bullying pulpit of religious extremists? Absolutely. But how can one prepare to hope that someone who it notoriously known for doing the opposite of the right thing to do the right thing at a time when it's needed most? No one can prepare for that.

Here's the story: By now, you have inevitably heard of a one Michaele Salahi and a one Tareq Salahi. (You can pronounce those any way you'd like, I'm not going to stop you.) They are the couple who inexplicably were able to attend President Barry's State Dinner without an invite or without being on the guest list. That's right. They crashed the White House dinner party. Normally, I am in favor of various stunts which expose the incompetency of various organizations. But in a stunt that had the potential to make the phrase "President Nancy Pelosi" a reality, I'm not so impressed.

See, these two jokers didn't just crash the party. They shook hands with President Barry. They were right next to that other guy, what's his name? Right. Vice President Biden. They were right there with President Barry and Joey Veep. (I'm still working on a catchy nickname for Joe Biden. So far I've ruled out Veepy Joe, but bear with me. It could take a while.) Now, I don't know much about anthrax or any of those other biological weapons, but if they were using their sneaky powers for evil instead of asshattery, couldn't they have very easily anthraxed ol' President Barry and that Joe guy right there on the spot? I think they could have! And then where would we be? That's right! President Nancy Pelosi. God help us all. (You want to be scared even more than that? You know who is FOURTH in line for the Presidency? That's right. Robert Byrd! The barely conscious, semi-aware, 182-year old Robert Byrd! Good Lord...)

How these two ass clowns were able to make in into the party is inexplicable. It is completely without splick. Oh, and how did the world find out about it? Do you think that the Secret Service realized their own mistake on their own? No, of course not. The world found out about it because these two ass clowns posted the photos on freaking Facebook, for cryin' out loud! See, this Michaele Salahi, yeah, she is auditioning for the Bravo reality show The Real Housewives of DC. Shocking, I know. I guess that having "White House Gate Crasher" on your resume is a plus in that situation? I can't imagine.

Of course, initially the Secret Service denied that it was a problem and according to a one Ed Donovan, a spokesman for the Secret Service, "It's important to note that they went through all the security screenings - the magnetometer screening - just like all the other guests did...And, Obama and others under Secret Service protection had their usual security details with them at the dinner." Um, what now? Clearly they did not go through all of the security screenings, otherwise the one that showed that they weren't on the list would have prevented this! And it's good to know that President Barry and others had their security detail with them during this security breach and still had no idea what was going on. HOW does that help the situation to tell us that?! It doesn't seem to!

Since then, the Secret Service has retracted their audacity and admitted that they blew it. According to the huffy folks over there at The Huffington Post, "Director Mark Sullivan told the AP that his agency failed to verify whether the couple was invited to the party and expressed his deep concern and embarrassment. He went on to say that measures have been taken to ensure this will not happen again." There are also being criminal charges considered against the pair.

Now, I can't say that I support them being charged criminally. After all, they were allowed in. That's hardly trespassing. If you go to someone's house and they open the door and you say, "Can I come in?" and they say, "You betcha" (I'm apparently envisioning Sarah Palin's house in this example) are you trespassing? I don't think you are. The Secret Service might be annoyed with these folks, but they hardly have grounds for a case. And that's and opinion coming from someone who is not a lawyer, doesn't play one on TV and didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. I have watched a lot of Law and Order, however.

I am SO dying to know what they said to get in. I am also SO afraid it's going to be something like, "Yuh-HUH! We are SO invited to this, dude!"

But back to the doom. What do you think these assclowns are doing now? That's right, they're preparing to make the rounds on the talk show circuit. Oh, but they're not satisfied with just having their faces on TV for ten minutes. No, they want to be paid an amount of money that is rumored to be mid six figures. These guys want $500,000 at least to appear on talk shows. Are you kidding me?

Do you see the dilemma? These network execs are going to want this interview. People are going to be pissed off if they pay them that much for it. But I guarantee you, someone will. Some sleazy network out there is going to do it. And when they do, be prepared for the onslaught of gate crashers at every public event that every public official is attending. Real life will be turned into an episode of Jackass.

I can understand wanting the interview, but seriously, what do you think that you're going to learn from an interview that the public doesn't already know? I can't imagine anything. If currently they are considering criminal charges, I highly doubt that the lawyers that these folks have hired (and don't kid yourself; they have plenty of lawyers on this one) are going to allow them to speak about anything that anyone wants to know. If they haven't already explained what it was that they said to get into the Presidential wing-ding, I don't know that they're going to be talking about it on some national TV show. I can see them sitting there and talking about things that we already know, but I cannot fathom how they could have any new information to share with us that their lawyers would allow.

Any network that pays these sleazebags a dime for what they did is simply encouraging breaching national security for monetary profit. And seriously, do you really think that your little interview with these two is going to propel your ratings into the next stratosphere? I can't imagine that it would. I can't imagine that paying $500,000+ for an interview would net you a profit that would make it worth it. It's just economically impossible.

Anyone who says that this was just a "harmless prank" is a moron. It's only a "harmless prank" because nothing happened, you moron. The potential for disaster was HUGE. I mean HUGE. Must I say it again? President Nancy Pelosi. God help us....

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Photographic Lapses in National Security

In my previous post, I rambled on about the inexplicable (again, without splick) lapse of security over yonder there at the White House when two assclowns were able to just waltz on into President Barry's State Dinner, sans being on the guest list and sans being guests. I have realized that I don't think I was able to do justice just exactly how close these people came to the President and ol' what's his name, the Vice President. (Biden! Dammit! I've gotta remember that. Biden!) They schmoozed it up with damn near everyone that they could come in contact with. Let's take a gander at how the Secret Service, whose salaries are paid for with our tax dollars, does their job, shall we? (Oh, also, those State dinners? Yeah, those are paid for with tax dollars as well. You and I helped foot the bill for this sucker. I can't wait to see who we invited!)

Well, this makes sense. We invited a one Arun K. Singh who is the Indian Ambassador to the United States. I'm guessing that's how he introduces himself, but I'm wondering how the crashers introduced themselves? "Hi! We'!"

Here are the Salahis with Adrian Fenty, the mayor of Washington, DC. Too bad it wasn't Marion Barry. That would have really got that party started.

Here are the Salahis with Ar Rahman. He's the fellow who wrote that catchy little Jai Ho song for that little movie Slumdog Millionaire. Jai ho, indeed, my friends. Jai ho, indeed.

Here they are with Chief of Staff and notorious user of foul language, Rahm Emanuel. Say, is Rahm part elf? How tall is he? No wonder he swears all of the time. How else is he going to get people to notice him? He's like a little gnome.

I'm not sure where Tareq was when Michaele had her photo taken with Indra Nooyi, the chairwoman of PepsiCo. Look at how close she was to the leader of the company which produces the second most popular soft drink in America! If you enjoy your Pepsi and you didn't think this breach of security was serious, think again! Had things gone horribly awry and gotten a little anthrax-y, y'all might have been drinking Coke!

Egads! It's Michaele with Katie Couric! She endangered the CBS Evening News! Oh, wait. The CBS Evening News already was endangered. Never mind. False alarm. Carry on.

In the above caption, please replace "Katie Couric" with "Robin Roberts" and please replace "CBS Evening News" with "ABC's Good Morning America". Now you're with me.

Here's Michaele, again sans Tareq, with some happy Marines. They might not have looked so happy if his round, jolly self was inserted in there.

But now, on to the good stuff! Here's Michaele practically humping Joe Biden's leg. (You can't tell from this angle, but Joe's tail is really wagging!)

I'm assuming that after the above pose is when Tareq came running over.

And finally, the man of the hour, President Barry (standing next to Indian President Singh) cluelessly meets and greets the gate crashers. See? It's here, right here, that they could have anthrax-ed him and we would have been looking at President Nancy Pelosi before dessert. I shudder at the thought

I find it interesting that in all of the poses where these two asshats are together, they are always standing next to each other instead of flanking the important person's sides. I thought that whenever a couple of people met someone important and had their photo taken with them, I thought that they always split up and each one got a side. Not these two. They're always right next to each other. They're probably sit on the same side of a booth when they go out to eat, too. I've never understood people like that. Never understood 'em.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

This Bat Does Not Cause Death

Forget about all of the signs that you've been told will signal the end of civilization as we know it. Whether they be rising oceans, searing heat from the sun, the earth opening up and swallowing us whole, all of those would be preferable to how we're really going to meet our doom. With ridiculous lawsuits.

A society cannot sustain itself with the continuing trend of people suing on grounds that are asinine but yet winning said ridiculous lawsuits. From the fine folks over there at USA Today, we learn of yet another injustice in the asinine lawsuit department. It would seem that over there in Helena, Montana, a jury felt it necessary to award $850,000 to a family to compensate for the death of their son during a baseball game back in 2003. They found judgment against the make of the bat. That's right. The jury found that the "maker of Louisville Slugger baseball bats failed to adequately warn about the dangers the product can pose." Wait. What now?

Back in 2003, a one Brandon Patch was pitching in an American Legion baseball game in Helena. The bats that were being used were Louisville Slugger aluminum baseball bats. Brandon threw a pitch and the batter hit the ball. The ball was a line drive straight at Brandon, striking him in the head and causing an injury from which he would die only hours later. That, in and of itself, is a heartbreaking tragedy and my sincere condolences go out to his entire family and all of his friends.

That being said, how is it exactly that the manufacturer of the bat is responsible for his tragic death? Well, according to the lawyers (who will have a certain spot in hell, I'm fairly sure of that) "...aluminum baseball bats are dangerous because they cause the baseball to travel at a greater speed." They contended that Brandon "...did not have enough time to react to the ball being struck before it hit him in the head." Um, clearly that was the case. But what isn't so clear is how this is the fault of the manufacturer of the bat.

Mind you, "...the jury also decided the product was not defective." But what the jury did decide was that the aluminum bat "...posed a threat without an adequate warning label." Are you kidding me?!

Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, but what, pray tell, would you like the warning label to say? "This bat is meant to hit baseballs and if they hit you it's going to hurt and you could die?" Do people not KNOW that? I mean, do people not KNOW that subjectively? I don't think for one second that every player that takes to a baseball field is thinking in the back of their mind, "This could be it for me." In fact, I'm going to guess and say that NEVER happens. You know WHY that never happens? Because this, my friends, was, stay with me here, an accident.

Accidents happen. I know that sounds cold and calloused in this situation, but it's true. Accidents happen. All sorts of accidents happen. But just because they happen and because you're overwrought with grief, that doesn't mean that you're going to look around and find someone to blame. What if the kid had fallen out of a tree and landed on his dome? Are the parents going to sue the company that manufactures the seeds that the tree had grown from? What if the packets of seeds didn't have a warning label that stated "This product can grow into a full blown tree and if you climb in and fall out and land on your noggin, you could croak." (I'm paraphrasing, of course. I have no experience in writing warning labels.) No, of course you wouldn't because that would be what? Silly, that is correct.

If I were on that jury and this is what it came down to (warning labels or no warning labels), in order for me to side with the family I would have to believe that there should be a warning label on an aluminum bat that said a ball hit with said bat would travel faster than that hit with a wooden bat and that my reaction time to said ball would be lessened. Furthermore, I would have to believe that if there WAS a warning label, that it would have been sufficient enough for my child to NOT have played ball and gotten hurt. I don't think that's the case at all. Nor do I think it would be the case.

Seriously, you tell me. If you had a kid (or maybe you do have a kid. Better you than me, though.) and they wanted to play ball and they brought home their aluminum bat and you looked at it and saw the ridiculous warning that I gave an example of above, would you then jump to your feet (I'm assuming you're relaxing before all of the alarming stuff goes on) and tell your kid that there was NO way in hell that you were going to let him play with an aluminum baseball bat because it might hit a ball faster? Yeah, I don't think you're going to say that. Mainly I say that because I'm assuming in my above scenario that you're actually going to read the warning label on a baseball bat if there was one. You're not. Don't kid yourself. You're not.

This is ridiculous and I would like to speak with every member on that jury and ask them what they were thinking. I can guess what they were thinking, though. They were likely thinking about the emotional aspect of this case and I get that. Losing your child to an accident is horrible, I agree. But just because there is an accident, it doesn't mean that there is someone to blame. This accident could have happened with a wooden bat. Then what? Are you going to sue for not having a warning period on the wooden bat that says you could get hurt? It's a BAT. I would think that you understand that playing with a BAT could always have some aspect of the chance of getting hurt. Again, I repeat, it's a BAT.

Just remember, in the future, if you see a baseball bat with a warning on it to the effect of "Serious injury, even death, may occur with the use of this product" you'll know where it came from. It is at that point that I will be happy to share with you my designs for my walled off compound and my instructions for how to dig a moat and the proper care and feeding of alligators for said moat. You're going to be that much closer to wanting to keep the heck away from this overly litigious society that can never accept that which is without blame. Trust me. It's a lot safer in here being away from people who think that the makers of a bat are responsible for a kid getting hit in the head with a ball. Much, much safer.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Do Not Buy

Thanksgiving (or, as some of you refer to it, Thursday) is over and it's time to think about Christmas shopping, right? Oh, Good Lord, now? Yes (apparently), now. But here's a little twist. Instead of talking about everything that everyone is clamoring to buy for Christmas, let's chat about some of the things that I'm hoping you'll avoid buying for Christmas. Now, you're going to have to pay attention because some are cleverly marketed to make you think either a) you really want this item or b) it's really cool and someone else will want this item. Neither of those things are true. Both are blatantly false. Lies. They're also known as lies. And the products below are also known as crap.

Here we have the first item to avoid buying this Christmas. Like Spider-Man? Like the beach? Well now you can have the best of both worlds with a beach going Spider-Man! Behold!

Oh, what the hell is that?! That, of course, is Spider-Man at the beach. See, he has his Spidey arms all exposed to maximize his tan (Watch out for melanoma, Spider-Man! Use sunblock, Spider-Man!), but they have left him with his Spidey gloves minus the fingers. That's a head scratcher even for me to come up with a reason as to why it is. But he also has his Spidey beach ball, his Spidey ball cap AND just in case someone is drowning and Pam Anderson or David Hasselhoff isn't around, he has one of those plastic orange things that we always saw them running with on Baywatch, but never actually saw them used. (NO one knows what the heck they do anyway. Do they work? Do they not? No one has ever tried them to find out!)

That little gem is brought to us by a company called Toy Biz which is apparently the toy division of Marvel Entertainment. It would appear, judging from Beach Spidey there, that in order to be an employee of Toy Biz, you must smoke incredible amount of marijuana each day at work, in or out of your cubicle. (I'm also guessing that they have a very lax policy on wearing pants as well, but that's an entirely different post.)

But wait! Beach Time Spidey not for you?! Prefer something a little more rugged? A little more adventurous? Something sans beach ball, perhaps? Well, the, maybe Safari Spider-Man is for you! Behold!

Good Lord, it keeps getting worse, doesn't it? It would appear that Safari Spidey has inadvertently bumped into some voodoo tribe deep within his jungle adventures and ended up with a shrunken head the size of a thimble! What happened Spider-Man?! What happened to your head?! Safari Spidey comes with a field camera, a safari hat for his teeny, tiny little noggin there, and "safari gear". I don't know what "safari gear" is, I only know that Spider-Man should not be having any of it!

And to round out the Stupid Spidey Trifecta, if you've got him at the beach and you've got him in the jungle, of course the next completely unnatural and absolutely hysterical outfit to have him in would be that of a firefighter! Behold!

OK, after seeing that I'm guessing they just give new hires at Toy Biz a big ol' joint to blaze down the first hour that they're on the job. Firefighter, Spidey? Are you kidding me? Shouldn't he be using his Spidey ability to scale the walls of that inferno and save some folks from a crispy, crispy doom instead of aiming his hose somewhere? The caption should be "Having been at the beach and thus missing all of the excitement on September 11, 2001, Spider-Man shows up on September 12, really jealous and ready for action!"
I have just realized during my search for all of the Spidey idiocy, that there is a whole line of ridiculous Spider-Man action figures. I cannot mock them all in this one post, as that would leave me no time to do justice to other hidden nuggets of glee such as this item:

That would be what is called Lightning Reaction Extreme. That's right. Not just your regular ol' Lightning Reaction! No, this one is extreme. Personally, I think the whole 'game' is a bit extreme. Here's the way it works: Everyone grabs one of those trigger looking things there and gets ready for loads of fun! It would seem that the game starts and music plays. While the music is playing, there is an illuminated red light in the center of the thing. When the music stops and the light turns to green, you're supposed to hit your trigger as fast as you can. Speed is important in this game as if you are not the fastest one and do not hit your trigger first, you receive an electrical shock via your controller! What the hell?!

It says on the box that it is not suitable for persons under the age of 15. See, I had no idea that there was a cut-off for the appropriate age to be shocked by a game that you're playing! What about people with pacemakers?! How suitable is it for them? What about the elderly? Suitable? I think not! I'm thinking that a minimum age to play this thing should be the least of people's concerns. But as I was reeling over this game, I came to realize that there are a whole slew of games out there that will shock you if you do it too slow, too fast or too wrong. There's Shock Ball: The Shocking Hot Potato Game. Don't forget the Shocking Memory Game, which kind of looks like that Simon game from the 80s, but only if Simon were on crack and living in the ghetto. And what party parlor wouldn't be complete without an edition of Shocking Arm Wrestling? That's right. Put on the gloves, lay down the shock pads and have at it! According to the description over there at Amazon, this game "...will make sure your opponent knows he is the loser by giving an electrical shock." Have the rules for arm wrestling become so complicated that we no longer know when it is that we have lost? I was very well aware that when my arm hit the table, I had lost. I didn't need a jolt of electricity to run through by body in order to drive that point home. My arm on the table was sufficient, thanks.

But not all toys are as shocking as the ones above. (Yes, yes, pun intended, but I'm not proud of it.) If, for some reason that I cannot imagine, your child is interested in, but just too darn young to bone and prepare their own fish, here's a fish prep toy for just such an occasion!

I'm told that cooking toys are very popular these days. I'm looking at that fish there and I'm having a hard time believing either a) that that's true, or b) that that's really a toy. And say, what's with the little squid there? Is it so the little ones can be pretending to bone salmon steaks and make calamari at the same time? Seems a bit complex, but what do I know? I'm not the one with the fish prep toy!

If you're afraid that your little one is going to have dreams of success that are just too much for them, perhaps bringing them back down to earth with their very own little cleaning trolley. Behold!

What the what? A cleaning trolley? Trolley? Is that the right word? Or are we just using that because "cart" is offensive to some jackass? I think 'trolley' and I think streetcars, San Francisco, Rice-A-Roni, etc. I don't think 'cleaning lady' when I hear 'trolley'. Aside from that, this toy seems to have everything you'd need to play janitor all the live long day. It has a broom, a mop, a disinfectant squirter, a slop bucket, all the amenities to provide your little one with hours upon hours of enjoyment by simulating backbreaking work that will barely pay minimum wage with no benefits. And judging from the back of the package, I'm guessing that you're not going to find a "Made in U.S.A." label on this item. The back reads, collectively (and I'm not correcting for spelling, punctuation, or capitalization either. What you're reading is verbatim.):

"completely new to come in to market! top!

the best toys for the children and have a good time and keep you so clever!

Let us cleaning!"

I'm thinking maybe not so much "Let us cleaning!" and maybe a little bit more of "Let us counting!" as the front of the box says 11 pieces and the back of the box says 20 pieces. Also, this toy boasts a label that says "Girls Only". I don't know if that's the brand/label of the toy company that makes this disaster or if it intended as some sort of a guide, but if I was the type of person who got offended (and I'm not) that would do it.

And it wouldn't be a Christmas shopping season if I didn't include at least one highly inappropriate item to steer clear of. From the category of "What were they thinking?" I give to you (and consider it a gift that you have to keep) the Rad Repeatin' Tarzan. Behold!

OK, that doesn't look so bad, but you haven't seen him in action yet. Keep in mind, however, that something with the word 'rad' in the title is not going to be good. Clearly, the folks who came up with this name were not thinking things through. Oh, but if it was only just the name that they hadn't thought through enough. The video below should be enough to get across why you'll want to avoid this like the plague this year.

Uh-huh. I see. seems like Tarzan doesn't need Jane anymore. Either that or it's how Tarzan passes the time since Jane left him (probably for Safari Spidey). Whatever the scenario over there in the jungle, don't buy Rad Repeatin' Tarzan for your youngsters. Or your oldsters. Or any -sters. (And that includes oysters! No reason they should have to put up with that! Good Lord....)

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Friday, November 27, 2009

The Curious Case of Black Friday

Here's to hoping that everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. And if you didn't celebrate Thanksgiving, here's to hoping that you had a happy Thursday.

I've long been fascinated by this whole Black Friday dealio. You know what it is. It's the thing where businesses have great deals on select items and those deals either start on or are only good on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The thing that they don't tell you is that most of the time, the item that you want will likely be in the quanitity of ONE at the store that you're going to. I'm not so sure the purpose of that strategy. I guess it's to hope that you buy a bunch of other crap while you're there, but does that really happen? I mean, if I'm lined up outside of somewhere all night long (and I would be, mind you, I'm just saying) and I get inside (and don't get trampled in the process) and some old biddy manages to swipe the last one out of my hands my knocking me in the kneecaps with her cane, I don't know that I'm going to be doing any more shopping at that moment. Actually, in that particular scenario, I don't know if I'm going to be doing much more walking either, but I really don't know about doing any more shopping. I think I'd probably be going home and going back to bed.

Seriously, how good are the deals? I've scoped out the flyers and I have found very few items that would actually be worth considering standing in line for. Not for sure worth standing IN the line, but worth considering it, for sure. Best Buy has a Nikon Coolpix camera for $180 down from $300. That's a pretty good deal. I think Wal-Mart had a $32" LCD TV for $258 or something like that. That's a smokin' deal. Are they both in-line-all-night-smokin'-deals? Ehhh.

Now, Best Buy opens at 5am. Wal-Mart was already open on Thanksgiving, so I don't know how that's going to work. Toys R Us opens at midnight. Seriously, who are you people who wait in line all night long to get these things? Is it really that good of a deal? I've looked at the prices for hundreds of items and I can only cite TWO that MIGHT be worth a trip to the store an hour before it opens. Standing in line all night? Unless they're giving out money, I don't think so.

I might swing by my local Best Buy and my local Target and Toys R Us and see what the line situation is. Mind you, I just inhaled a pile of turkey (I tend to write these things the night before) and that tryptophan is kicking in and I'm a little tired. If I can muster up enough interest to get up and go for a little drive, I'll take a few pictures and post them upon return. (Who am I kidding? I'll get 'em up when I'm up tomorrow.) I'm interested in what sort of people are hanging out at what sort of stores all night long. Now, I'm guessing they're the kind of people that I don't want anywhere near me, which is why I'm thankful that my camera has an 18x zoom lens in it. But I'm also guessing that they're the kind of people that I'm going to be really curious about.

If you end up participating in an all night sit-in-line fest, I'd love to hear about it. And if I'm missing out on some great deal somewhere, I'd love to hear about that too. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go try to sneak another hunk of turkey before they start serving pie. Mmmm....pie.

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