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The World Wide Weird

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Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30th, 2009

You know your kids are getting older when their friends start pulling their Halloween costumes straight out of the headlines:

And no, that’s not my son.

(Hat tip: Lisa Rafal) 

Categories: Family Matters, The World Wide Weird | No Comments »

Arnold Flips the Legislature the Bird

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Fifty governors, but only Schwarzenegger can pull this off:

Seems like a pretty innocuous veto, until you read down the left-hand column of letters, that is. ;-)

(I had to scale the image down to make it fit on the blog. Click on the image itself (or click here to see a clearer version of the note).

Categories: Political Rantings, The World Wide Weird | 4 Comments »

Ikea Takes an Allen Wrench to its Branding

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

What could cheap furniture maker extraordinaire, Ikea, do that would create reactions like this?

“Ikea, stop the . . . madness!” – Tokyo

“Horrific!” – Dublin

“It’s a sad day” – Typophile Online Forum

“The . . . community feels betrayed. If a company like Ikea can make this mistake, you have to wonder who is going to lead . . . ” – Bucharest

“Words can’t describe my disgust. It’s a bit like using Lego to build a skyscraper, when steel is clearly a superior choice.” – Melbourne

“It’s like taking the family sedan off-road. It will sort of work, but ultimately gets bogged down” – London

What have they done? Have they made faulty furniture? Supported an unpopular political candidate? Employed child slave labor to write cryptic instructions in Swedish for unsuspecting American bargain hunters? What could Ikea have possibly done that would surpass the death of Ted Kennedy on Twitter’s Trending Topics page?!?

Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: The World Wide Weird | 4 Comments »

A Fool to Some of the People, All of the Time

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Time Magazine Poll:  Now that Walter Cronkite has passed on, who is America’s most trusted newscaster?

From which we learn: The most trustworthy man is the man who tells us upfront that he’s lying to us.


Categories: News and/or Media, The World Wide Weird | 2 Comments »

Two Funny Deaths…

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Yes, I know – it’s never funny when someone dies.

Except maybe this guy from two years ago.

And then there’s these two from this week:

Oscar Mayer Dies at 95

Oh, I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Wiener;
That is what he really used to be…

Man Falls Into Chocolate Vat; Dies

Oompa Loompa doompadee doo;
I’ve got a perfect puzzle for you.
Oompa Loompa doompadah dee;
If you are wise you’ll listen to me.

What do you do when your worker falls flat?
Tumbling into a chocolate vat?
Why didn’t he stay away from the side?
Then he would not have slipped and died!

(All covered with chocolate)

Oompa Loompa Doompadee Dah;
If you’ve good balance, you will go far.
You will live in happiness too
Like the Oompa Loompa doompadee do…

Categories: The World Wide Weird | 2 Comments »

Hugging Epidemic?

Friday, May 29th, 2009

From the New York Times’ Style section:

There is so much hugging at Pascack Hills High School in Montvale, N.J., that students have broken down the hugs by type:

There is the basic friend hug, probably the most popular, and the bear hug, of course. But now there is also the bear claw, when a boy embraces a girl awkwardly with his elbows poking out. There is the hug that starts with a high-five, then moves into a fist bump, followed by a slap on the back and an embrace. There’s the shake and lean; the hug from behind; and, the newest addition, the triple — any combination of three girls and boys hugging at once.

“We’re not afraid, we just get in and hug,” said Danny Schneider, a junior at the school, where hallway hugging began shortly after 7 a.m. on a recent morning as students arrived. “The guy friends, we don’t care. You just get right in there and jump in.”

There are romantic hugs, too, but that is not what these teenagers are talking about.

Which is, of course, followed by this:

A measure of how rapidly the ritual is spreading is that some students complain of peer pressure to hug to fit in. And schools from Hillsdale, N.J., to Bend, Ore., wary in a litigious era about sexual harassment or improper touching — or citing hallway clogging and late arrivals to class — have banned hugging or imposed a three-second rule.

That’s right, folks. A three-second rule for hugging. I’m guessing the school has hall monitors walking around with stop watches? Or maybe all clothing now requires a pressure-sensitive timer?

All of which leads to ridiculous paragraphs like these:

Comforting as the hug may be, principals across the country have clamped down. “Touching and physical contact is very dangerous territory,” said Noreen Hajinlian, the principal of George G. White School, a junior high school in Hillsdale, N.J., who banned hugging two years ago. “It was needless hugging — they are in the hallways before they go to class. It wasn’t a greeting. It was happening all day.”

But pro-hugging students say it is not a romantic or sexual gesture, simply the “hello” of their generation. “We like to get cozy,” said Katie Dea, an eighth grader at Claire Lilienthal Alternative School in San Francisco. “The high-five is, like, boring.”

Needless hugging? Pro-hugging students?

Wasn’t there a time, not that long ago, when we were concerned about students shooting each other in school? Wasn’t the big post-Monicagate topic in schools about whether oral sex was really sex?  Less than ten years on, and now “touching . . . is very dangerous?”

It’s become like a reality show: get through twelve years of school without getting arrested or sued for something, and you get to go to college.

(Hat tip: Anthony Campisi)

Categories: The World Wide Weird | No Comments »

Is it Real?

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

The Onion has a long history of classic headlines, such as Misbuttoned Coat Makes Perfectly Sane Woman Look Like Raving Lunatic and For Gay Couple, Fulfilling Lifelong Dream Of Marriage Not Worth Moving To Iowa.

Occasionally, one comes upon a real headline and figures it must have been from a wayward Onion story that escaped and found it’s way into a real newsfeed. Case in point:

London mayor shocked at ‘fat’ waxwork model
LONDON (AFP) – London mayor Boris Johnson vowed Tuesday to exercise more, after voicing shock at how fat he was as portrayed by a new waxwork model.

“It’s only when you see yourself in 3D res (three dimensions) you realise just how fat you are. I have got to get out and start jogging more,” he said, standing next to his wax lookalike at Madame Tussauds in London.

“I have to lose some weight. But it is a brilliant job they have done. It is an amazing, eerie, lifelike, spooky version of myself,” he added.

Apparently, someone needs to get Mayor Johnson a mirror. Or possibly a doctor. Perhaps a family member or close friend?

Categories: The World Wide Weird | No Comments »

Some Advice for President Obama

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

[You should not exercise] excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence. In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute. In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost [them] dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated.

Nor should we turn a blind eye to the fact that the spirit of free enterprise, including the principle of personal responsibility of businesspeople, investors, and shareholders for their decisions, is being eroded in the last few months. There is no reason to believe that we can achieve better results by shifting responsibility onto the state.”

In the longer run, [military Keynesianism] won’t solve the problem but will rather quell it temporarily. What it will do is squeeze huge financial and other resources from the economy instead of finding better and wiser uses for them.

We must assess the real situation and write off all hopeless debts and ‘bad’ assets. True, this will be an extremely painful and unpleasant process. Far from everyone can accept such measures, fearing for their capitalization, bonuses, or reputation. However, we would ‘conserve’ and prolong the crisis, unless we clean up our balance sheets.

The time for enlightenment has come. We must calmly, and without gloating, assess the root causes of this situation and try to peek into the future.

          - Vladimir Putin
          - Russian Prime Minister
          - World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland
          - April, 2009

Categories: Money Talk, The World Wide Weird | No Comments »

Colbert Nation launches into orbit

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

As disturbing as my last TV-related post was, this one really makes me smile.

Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s hilarious Colbert Report, has made a habit of asking his viewers to write in his name in a variety of public naming contests. To date, he’s managed to get a Hungarian bridge, a San Francisco Zoo-born eagle, a hockey team mascot, a species of trapdoor spider and a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor named after him.

His most recent target was the new node (i.e., room) on the International Space Station, which NASA has asked the public to name via on online poll. NASA’s suggestions were “Serenity,” “Legacy,” “Earthrise,” “Venture,” and the dreaded write-in vote. So enthusiastic are Colbert’s fans (which he has dubbed the “Colbert Nation”) that as of a few weeks ago, the write-in suggestion “Colbert” was beating it’s closest competitor (“Serenity”) by nearly 20,000 votes. NASA wisely reserved the right to ignore the poll results and pick an “appropriate” name, should they be unhappy with the public’s selection.

Well, as it turns out, after 1.2 million votes were cast, NASA went with “Tranquility,” one of the Top Ten suggestions in the poll, in honor of the upcoming 40th anniversary of Apollo 11′s historic moon landing at the Sea of Tranquility.

In a nod to Colbert Nation, though, NASA has dubbed a treadmill that will eventually reside in the new node the “‘Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill,” or C.O.L.B.E.R.T. for short. Astronaut Suni Williams made the announcement on “The Colbert Report,” two years after running the Boston Marathon in space on a station treadmill similar to COLBERT.

Incidentally, the logo on the left is the actual image posted on the actual NASA page announcing the name of the new space station node.

Kudos to Steven Colbert for keeping the public enthusiastic about the space program, and kudos to NASA for not taking itself so seriously as to ignore the taxpayers that fund their important research.

Categories: Primetime TV, The Future is Now, The World Wide Weird | 1 Comment »

The Official Blog Post of the New York Yankees

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

With the Yankees and the Mets sporting new stadiums this year, the opportunities for new sponsorship deals were numerous. Apparently, both teams took full advantage.

Some examples from the Yankees:

So, if you want to show your Yankee pride while you buy life insurance or pay your taxes, you have that option now.

The Mets are similarly opportunistic:

So, if you want to have a party, and serve pudding and fried dough, you can do it all while supporting your hometown boys from Flushing, Queens.

It gets better: both teams have official hospitals (Yankees: New York Presbyterian, Mets: Hospital For Special Surgery). Nathan’s is the Offical Hot Dog of the New York Yankees, and the Non-Kosher Hot Dog & French Fry of the New York Mets (one assumes the Mets no preference on kosher hot dogs and the Yankees don’t care what kind of french fry you eat…) The Yankees have Official Life Insurance (Met Life) and Official Health Insurance (Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield), and the Mets have Official Auto Insurance (Geico) and an Official X-Ray Equipment Provider (NY Imaging). So you can get sick and/or die as a Yankee fan, but if you crash your car or break a bone, you better be rooting for the Mets.

Oh, one more thing: Zales is the Official National Jewelry Retailer of the New York Yankees. The Mets have no Official Jewelry Retailer. I guess they don’t expect to be buying rings anytime soon.


Categories: New York, New York, Sports Talk, The World Wide Weird | 1 Comment »

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