Thursday, April 29, 2010

"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."


Something about this creeps me out a little. (Hint: it's not the part about the giant rabbit.)

From the Today Show:
Things are hopping in Worcester, England. First, one of its residents had herself surgically transformed into curvaceous cartoon character Jessica Rabbit. Then, one of her pet bunnies officially became the world’s most humongous rabbit.

...But he's no house bunny. Edwards travels with Darius, trading on his enormous size and her own Jessica Rabbit proportions. Although the blonde Edwards dressed casually for TODAY, when she makes appearances with Darius, she dons a flowing red wig, pulls on elbow-length purple gloves, climbs up on platform shoes with stiletto heels, and pours herself into a tight, red sequined dress split up to here, with a neckline that plunges down to there.

It's a look that last year cost her $16,000 in plastic surgery bills to achieve, but it's apparently been worth it. Still, as stunning a picture as Edwards presents, Darius is the star, which makes her hopping mad. "Darius is now on tour all over the world. He's bringing out a book for children. You know, I'm quite jealous," Edwards said with mock annoyance. "He's actually taken over me. I'm a professional model, and he's having more fame than me. It's not fair."

She emphasized that Darius is not fat. He's just enormous. "Darius is very healthy. He has lots and lots of exercise and a very good, balanced diet," Edwards said. "He's King Darius. He’s a very famous bunny. He’s a celebrity."

Then, in case anyone failed to notice, she added, "He’s a very big boy."

Oh, dear.
(Note: these pictures aren't from the Today Show appearance.)

Observations:
  1. Do kids today even get the Roger Rabbit reference? That movie came out twenty years ago, and it's not exactly a household name like others in the animated Disney canon.

  2. Wouldn't the whole effect be more cohesive if the rabbit was named Roger?

  3. I'm comfortable with a certain amount of animal-related eccentricities. I mean, I've been known to put costumes on the cats (an activity perhaps more accurately described as "torturing the cats"), and I watch the Puppy Bowl every Super Bowl Sunday and squeal at the kitten halftime show. But getting plastic surgery to look like a cartoon character that likes the same animal you do? I don't think so. I don't plan on getting surgery to look like Elmyra from "Tiny Toons" because I like to chase my cats around the house, thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.


In this day and age, I find it delightfully quaint to receive spam via the fax machine. That's one source of spam I'd never even considered before I started working at my current place of employment. Oh, sure, I was used to spam in my inbox, and junk mail in my mailbox, and the occasional telemarketing call in the evening...but junk faxes? Who knew such a ridiculous thing even existed?

Granted, my previous jobs afforded me little opportunity to mingle much with fax machines. My lines of work never required a lot of faxing, and I came into the workforce shortly after the ascendance of e-mail, I guess, so faxing seemed sort of...unnecessary. All of the documents I needed to move around went by e-mail or regular mail, and fax machines were so persnickety by comparison. It just seemed (and still seems) like a waste of time to go fussing around with them unless there's no way around it. "Which way should the papers be laying?" "Do I have to dial the area code first?" "'PC Load Letter?' What the @#$! does that mean?"

The faxed spam we receive almost always falls into one of three categories:

  1. Hot deals from (alleged) travel agencies ("3 nights in Cancun for $279!!!!!");
  2. Advertisements from (probably fictitious) health insurance companies; and
  3. "Work from home and make BIG MONEY!" stuff.
Noticeably absent from our junk faxes? Advertisements for male enhancement drugs.

When I first started working here, whenever I'd pull a spam fax out of the machine, I'd diligently call the "call if you don't want us to fax you anymore" number listed on each message. A magic robot on the other end of the line would answer, ask for our fax number, and assure me that we'd be removed from their list "shortly." Well, I've been working here for over four years now, and we're still getting junk faxes from the same outfits that were sending them in 2006, so I've got a sneaking suspicion that the magic robot pulled a fast one on me. It probably sits there all day, waiting for rubes like me to phone in just to confirm that yes, we're still getting their messages, and one of these days we're going to cave and order up a whole bunch of health insurance and plane tickets to the Bahamas.

While the faxed spam is a little annoying (not to mention wasteful, from a paper standpoint), for some reason I find it far less annoying than most other forms of spam. Unlike telemarketing calls, they don't require me to do the "I want to hang up but I don't want to be rude because of that time I was a telemarketer for four days and I felt like my soul was being sucked out of my body" dance with the poor dope on the other end of the line. It wastes less paper than junk mail (no return envelopes, pledge cards, or address labels to shred), and junk faxes pose no threat to the security of my e-mail (or of filling up my inbox while I'm on vacation).

Faxing is so...20th century. Most spammers nowadays don't take the time to send something so time- and resource-consuming; it seems old-fashioned compared to sending out a million e-mails, doesn't it? If the e-mail spammers are emblematic of our age, then the fax spammers are relics of a different time, a simpler time. I'll bet the fax spammers have excellent penmanship, and are always sure to mail their friends and loved ones thank-you notes after they receive a card or gift for a special occasion. They meticulously write on the backs of their photographs so they know where and when they took them, and who's in them, and they always send duplicates along to their friends. They hold doors open for people walking behind them, and when their dogs do their business on their evening walks, they always have a plastic bag handy to pick up after them. When they talk about the state of spam these days, they throw up their hands in disgust and mutter about how the kids today, they take no pride in their work.

Monday, April 26, 2010

If you're going to advertise your design firm on the bottom of your product...


...you may want to go to the trouble of spellchecking the final draft.


Spellcheck, people.  Spellcheck.


Police blotter.


Monday, 5:04 P.M.: Report of tough-looking fox, possibly with mange, hanging around house.

Monday, 7:11 P.M.: Report of kids putting vehicle in ditch, last seen walking to Walmart.

Friday, 10:16 P.M.: Vandalism report; 3 boys piled firewood in the driveway to the school in Glidden during a school dance.

Friday, 10:36 P.M.: Harassment report - subject continually ringing doorbell.

Saturday, 12:48 P.M.: Suspicious activity; someone left bags of food in their yard and left a message on their phone she can't understand.

Saturday, 11:22 P.M.: Request to help Mexicans who are lost. Update: Ambulance requested for extremely intoxicated male. The other male decided to walk to hospital.

Sunday, 2:30 P.M.: Report of attempt to hit roommate with a pipe.


Friday, April 16, 2010

"Fool all your friends!"


"Fool all your friends!"

The Moustache Machine!

If you've got 75 cents, they've got a piece of fake hair with your name on it!

(County Market, Ashland, 4.16.2010)



Thursday, April 15, 2010

Police blotter.


Sunday, 10:08 A.M.: Report of mailbox & Evergreen Shopper box damaged by smelt put in them.

Sunday, 2:22 P.M.: Request to talk to patient at hospital who got angry when doctor wouldn't fill a prescription and later called the hospital and swore at nurse about the doctor.

Tuesday, 8:16 A.M.: 85-year-old woman called and reported she had a skunk in a live trap and needed help disposing of it; was referred to DNR.

Thursday, 11:09 A.M.: Suspicious activity; report of someone being in the house, removed something from the bathroom, and then placed it in their mailbox.

Thursday, 11:50 P.M.: Accident, turkey vs. truck, reportable damage to the hood.

Friday, 12:26 P.M.: Report of old refrigerator on side of road - subject worried about kids getting into same.

Saturday, 9:56 A.M.: Report of a beaver in yard causing a disturbance. Update: Subject advised to let beaver leave area on its own accord. Beaver was later reported back in lake.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What's in my bag?


What's in my bag.

- seven peppermint Life Savers
- tape measure
- tweezers
- Lactaid
- gum
- Blistex lip balm
- face wipe sheets
- Tide-to-Go stain pen
- rarely-used cell phone
- hand sanitizer (alcohol-free)
- wristwatch
- a bottle of Aleve
- cherry Life Savers
- an old tin of mints with Ralph Wiggum on the lid
- Montana keychain (home/car/etc. keys)
- pirate keychain from Elizabeth & Peter (work keys)
- dental floss
- pens and Post-It notes
- $2.62 in change
- nail clippers
- wallet I got from Georgia when she lived in Brazil, circa 1996ish
- black writing notebook
- three cocktail swords


Monday, April 12, 2010

Sustaining VISTA.


There are two cool proposals floating around Washington, D.C. right now that could have a great impact on AmeriCorps. One is a bill that would (finally!) eliminate taxation of the education awards AmeriCorps members receive when they complete their service. The other proposal would allow VISTA alumni aged 55 and older to transfer their education awards to their kids, grandkids or foster children. Both of these would be a huge boost to AmeriCorps and to national service in general - to learn more, visit Sustaining VISTA and find out how you can contact your representatives and the Corporation for National & Community Service to express your support.

-----------------------------

Dear Congressman Obey:

I'm writing in support of H.R. 1596 - the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Tax Relief Act of 2009. I think passing this bill would be a huge boost to AmeriCorps, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), and to national service in general.

I grew up here in northern Wisconsin and after graduating from college in Duluth, Minnesota, I felt inspired to join AmeriCorps. I moved halfway across the country and served as a VISTA in Helena, Montana for two years. They were truly two of the best years of my life; I learned more from my involvement in VISTA than I did in four years of college, hands-down. The spirit and energy of the dozens of VISTAs I worked with across the state was astounding; we truly came from all walks of life, but one thing we all had in common was that spark that made us want to give something back.

When I completed my second year of VISTA service, I decided to use the two education awards I'd received to pay off the last of my student loans. It felt great to get those loans paid off; however, when tax time rolled around, the taxes I had to pay on my education awards were a huge financial burden. I knew the education awards would be counted as taxable income, as did all the VISTAs I worked with, since the Corporation for National and Community Service includes information about that in its training programs; but when you're coming off a year (or more) of living at the poverty line, it's really difficult to put aside money for much of anything, let alone to pay taxes on your (fiscal) reward for your volunteer service.

Ending taxation of the education awards would be such a great gesture to AmeriCorps members finishing their service. It seems like if we can offer tax breaks to multi-million dollar corporations for their efforts at being good public stewards, we should be able to offer that same benefit to regular citizens who devote a year or more of their lives to volunteering for the public good, too. I urge you to support this bill, and I thank you for your time.


Saturday, April 03, 2010

"Sorry about the lamb cake!"


When your name is Mary, you get used to the "Mary had a little lamb" stuff pretty early on. (Ditto to the "Mary, Mary, quite contrary," the "Mary, Mary, where you going to?" and the Run-DMC variation, "Mary, Mary, why you buggin'?"). I imagine it's much the same for people named Georgie, Peter, and Humpty. But when your name is Mary, and you're born in the early spring, and your birthday rather frequently falls on the same weekend as Easter...the lamb stuff really gets taken to a whole new level.

In short: I have eaten lamb-shaped cakes for well over half of my 31 birthdays.

"Not another lamb cake!"

16th birthday, 1995.

But the thing is, I love the lamb cakes. They're ridiculous, and covered in coconut, and often surrounded by jelly beans. Coconut! Jelly beans! How could I not love the lamb cakes? So this year, after a long lamb cake drought, my mother decided she'd make one in honor of my birthday landing on yet another Easter weekend.

I woke up this morning and found this laying on the kitchen counter:

"Sorry about the lamb cake!"

That didn't sound promising. And when I opened the pantry door, I discovered what the card was alluding to:

The lamb cake.

Apparently, when my mom got up this morning to head to work, she opened the cupboard door and found the lamb's head lying on the floor. It would appear that the cake wasn't as structurally-sound as it had appeared last night. She said she picked up the head, dusted it off, and tried to artfully stick it back onto the body.

Fortunately, the lamb cake still tastes fabulous, despite its accidental beheading. Coconut fixes everything.



Friday, April 02, 2010

Thanks for reminding me when my own birthday is, Hotmail.


How helpful.


Possible target audiences for this service:

1. People who have amnesia.
2. People who have Alzheimer's.
3. Recently re-activated super secret agents who woke up having no idea who they are (i.e., Jason Bourne).