Bird Haiku

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 10:02 am

The damnable crows
Contaminate our bird bath
With stale Wonder Bread.


More Phun With Phlash

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 6:29 pm

This is a hilarious, hyperbolic illustration of the dangers of loosening privacy protection laws. I stumbled across it while perusing Albino Black Sheep. Almost too plausible to be funny.

Words Excape Me….

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:25 am

Our friends Sara and Gary were passing by a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Store today when they saw a large, bald white man wearing suspenders get out of his car and stroll into the store. The license plate holder on his car read, “Ax Me About Ebonics!”

I have absolutely no comment regarding this. My brain has officially been fried. *bzzt*


Stand By….

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:44 am

This has been a bad week for blog entries, sorry about that. We’ve been preparing for the arrival of our new bundle of joy….ha, no, gawd no, stop even thinking it. A good friend of ours is moving in with us, and we’ve been getting his quarters together downstairs. That’s left precious little time to complain about people’s driving habits, comment about something I heard on Marketplace, or even to wax poetic on the exciting developments in the hot dog/hot dog bun arena.

One thing I would like to briefly mention is the interesting variety of birds we’re getting in our yard this Spring. If you haven’t checked out Birdie Cam lately, you ought to do so. We’ve got quite a population of Red Crossbills hanging out on the feeders. We’ve also spotted a couple of Black-Headed Grosbeaks and a Rufous Hummingbird, which is quite surprising since the Anna’s are so territorial and tend to keep competitors away.

I’m simply amazed, because we’ve never seen any of these species in our yard before. They’re all fairly common to the Puget Sound region, but we’ve never been host to any ourselves (Margaret says she’s seen a Rufous once or twice, but she lies. She also tells me she sees bats when they clearly aren’t there….more on that some other time). Maybe it has to do with the funky Winter we had, changing their migration patterns or something. I dunno. All I know is I’m really enjoying the spectacle. If this keeps up, I may have to pick up more feeders….and more birdie cams.

UPDATE: Add a mated pair of Evening Grosbeaks to the list of new birds we’ve seen at our feeder. I love the male’s bright yellow “Ming The Merciless” eyebrows!


Credit Card Frauds

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 2:37 pm

Here’s one that has really gotten up my ass lately. (And though I’ve never been there myself, judging from the condition of former tenants, you do not want to go there. And neither should we.)

So you check your mailbox, and among the bills, DVDs from NetFlix and landscaping company fliers illicitly added to the box by an employee of the company, are any number of loan solicitations; credit cards, home equity, major-organ-as-collateral, you name it. You sort them into the “shred” pile, but one or more of them seem to contain actual credit cards. “What the fuck,” you say to yourself, “are these idiots sending me credit cards for? I don’t bank with these assholes. I have half a mind to call them up and scream at their front-line phone drones.” You rip open the envelope and out falls….a fake credit card, in the name of John Smith, with a credit card number of 0000-0000-0000-0000, and a letter offering to hook you up with one of their real, usurious credit cards.

Sometimes the accompanying letter isn’t even about credit cards. It may be about home equity lines of credit, or wholesale office supplies. I even got one from Geico Insurance: it presented itself as a “Quick Quote Card”. Oh, thank God! Without that card, how ever would I manage to get an insurance quote from an insurance company? Thanks, Mister Lizard!

Now, it should be painfully obvious what the intended function of these kredit kards (i.e., fake credit cards, like spelling “crab” with a “K”) is. They are not a visual aid to show the prospective customer what a credit card looks like. Say what you will about the intelligence of the average mailing-address holder in this country, I think most of them know a credit card when they see one. No, the sole reason that companies insert these little decoys into their mass mailings is to keep the recipient from reflexively tossing (or hopefully shredding) the damn thing on sight, unopened. You feel that rectilinear zone of resistance through the thin paper skin of the envelope, and you’re hosed; you have to open it. Even if your shredder is capable of chewing the kard up along with rest of the envelope’s contents, you have to look to make sure. Maybe an identity thief applied for a credit card in your name and the company sent it to the correct address; maybe your significant other is doing business with this lender and forgot to tell you; maybe the company in question really did send you a credit card, unsolicited, and now you have to call up to cancel the card and question the lineage of the operator who has the misfortune to answer your call. But the one thing you can’t do is ignore it.

And that is the point at which they try to exploit you, hoping that radon gas or stray EMR or diesel fumes from a passing truck will momentarily impair your judgement, causing you to say to yourself, “why, come to think of it, I would like a $50,000.00 line of credit at 22% interest!”

I’m sure the large lenders and other companies using this tactic researched it thoroughly in advance, asking focus groups of consumers whether they would be more or less likely to open an envelope if it appeared to contain a credit-card-sized object. Pity they probably failed to ask the next logical question: whether consumers receiving such a letter, upon discovering that it was a fake, would be more or less likely to want to burn down the houses where the CEOs of the companies in question reside, murder their families, and discard the bodies in shallow bogs where they would be gnawed on by marsh rats and used as bluebottle fly hatcheries.

I wish I had the time, energy and cojones to send back one of their postage paid “reply-to” envelopes filled with a fine white powder and a credit-card-sized note reading “WEAPONIZED ANTHRAX”. Then, when Homeland Security interrogators asked me why I had done such a thing, I would tell them that I had only intended to let the company know I was not interested in availing myself of their generous offer, but was afraid they would ignore the letter without something else enclosed to peak their interest.


May The Neologism Be With You

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:10 pm

Here’s one I came up with just today.

Antergy: a condition in which the total quality or effect of something is ultimately less than the sum of its parts.

Star Wars Episode 1 would be an excellent example. Thirty gajillion dollars + a star-studded cast + all the CG a person could eat = pfleh!

Addendum: Sort of on the same topic, I heard the phenomena surrounding the most recent Star Wars film referred to today as, “Nerdi Gras”. That’s just too cool. 😀


Bad Karma, No Biscuit!

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:13 pm

I’m trying a new anti-comment-spam plugin called Spam Karma, and I’m not sure if I’m going to keep it. It’s very thorough—almost fascist—but it also seems to jump the gun once in a while. My friend Val got her comment modded because her employer uses some sort of proxy scheme that Spam Karma didn’t like.

Anywho, if you have any problems posting comments, please drop me a line at my usual address. If Spam Karma tarpits more than one or two bona fide comments I’ll probably deactivate it.


Hydrodynamics, Plumbing And Religion

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:37 pm

Well, everyone’s abuzz over the recent flap about Newsweek’s article concerning desecration of the Koran by US interrogators at Guantanamo.

I’m not going to pontificate about how incredibly, incredibly stupid Michael Isikoff was to run with a story this explosive without getting coroboration from more than one source. The whole story ain’t out yet—if it ever will be—and there’s already plenty of this sort of chaff choking the blogosphere.

No, I’m writing this entry to posit a single premise, to let you know why I took this story with a grain of salt from the get-go.

I checked with three different online booksellers, getting the info on seven different versions of the Koran, in a multitude of formats and dimensions. The average number of pages among these seven versions was a hair over 582.5.

Would someone like to tell me how interrogators managed to flush a book of this magnitude down a toilet?

What, did they delegate a PFC to stand over a john and tear out page after page and flush them individually? Presuming that a state-of-the-art military toilet refills its tank every 30 seconds, that’s still a bit more than 4.85 hours of continuous flushing. Even assuming this was the case, how did the crapper in question not get terminally stopped up after the first sura? Was this the quick-dissolving kind of holy book, specially constructed for use in marine heads and motor homes? Or do government toilets include some sort of turbocharged “Dispos-All”-type unit, designed to pulverize American waste products into an even-more-indistinguishable mess, in order to prevent toilet-centric espionage?

The story—this portion of it, anyway—has an overly melodramatic feel to it, like someone overreached by just a bit in trying to tart it up for public consumption….and outrage. “And then, and then the guy took a Koran and, he uh, he put it on a toilet! No! No, he flushed it down the toilet!

I can certainly imagine interrogators using tactics and acts considered blasphemous by devout Muslims in order to provoke a response; this certainly isn’t the first time such allegations have surfaced, often from much better sources. (And I’m not quite sure where I stand on that issue, though I tend to lean towards the position that such tactics are acceptable—if they accomplish the objective of getting the prisoner to talk. There is evidence to suggest that they do not.)

But personal suspicions and convictions aside, I simply cannot believe that it is possible to flush a 582.5-page book, sacred or profane, hardbound or paperback, whole or in pieces, down a toilet, unless the Gitmo offers restroom facilities for the use of migrating baleen whales.


Mouthwash Haiku

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 10:01 pm

Inspired by a spontaneous exclamation from my wife:

Just which idiot
Thought that Citrus Listerine
Would be a good thing?


Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 6:04 pm

I’ve spent today upgrading my blog to WordPress 1.5, and I’m still debugging it. If anyone has any problems, please let me know. We know you have your choice in blogs, and we appreciate your patronage.


More TV Ruminations

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 3:36 pm

If you own a television and watch things moving around on the screen after about 7 at night, you’ve probably seen the most recent spot for Bailey’s Irish Cream, which takes place at a “zero gravity bar”. The bartender accidentally knocks over a bottle, and globules of yummy Irish Cream begin bouncing all over the place, to the delight of the customers.

The first fifty times I saw this ad, I could not for the life of me figure out why on earth the management at Bailey’s approved it, or even why an advertising exec would allow the ad to survive the storyboard phase. It seemed to offer nothing to further the usual messages of alcohol advertisement: none of the guys looked particularly virile, the women weren’t wearing bikinis or slinky cocktail dresses or hanging on their boyfriends’ every word, there were no race cars or fighter jets or booze bottles ejaculating into glasses. Not only was it drab and uninteresting by advertising standards—let alone alcohol advertising standards—the CG and wire effects must have made it fairly costly as well. WTF?

It finally hit me a couple of days ago. It’s fairly subtle, as these things go. In the last five or ten seconds of the ad, a gently undulating blob of Bailey’s achieves a sort of equilibrium, floating high above the floor of the bar, near the center of the room. A girl launches off of one wall, intent on taking the blob down. A couple of other quick scenes pass, and another girl is seen approaching the same blob of booze from the other side of the room, eyes fixed, mouth smiling and slightly open.

Oh, thank goodness. For a while there I was afraid that this Bailey’s ad was utterly devoid of time-tested content. What a relief to discover it contains imagery linking consumption of Bailey’s to girls making out with each other.


Phun With Phlash

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 12:02 pm

If you haven’t yet seen the winner of MoveOn PAC’s contest to set an argument against the privatization of a portion of Social Security to Flash animation, well, then, by golly, you ought to. Here it is.

Thanks to my Dad for sending me the link. You da patriarch!


Perspective Is Everything

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 6:20 pm

Margaret recently saw a billboard for a newish hoopty-do “Living Community” in the area calling itself “Lipoma Estates”. I assume this is somebody’s surname, and that they did not just pull the name outta their butts, thinking it sounded all sophistimacated ‘n all. Whatever the origin, some advance research might have been in order.

For those not married to a doctor, a lipoma is a benign fatty tumor. Which is just about the perfect name for a sprawl of crackerbox houses starting in the high 400k’s just because they are situated next to a golf course. 😉



Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 7:24 am

Our friends Susan and Will turned us on to FUH2.com last night. Oh, GAWD, did the Universe need this site! Go check ’em out. Now, dammit! I’ll wait.


More Fun With Licenses

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 12:11 pm

Folks who know me well know that my typical reaction to the term “politically correct” is anything from a smirk to a scream. I think these are two of the dirtiest words in the English language, overused by the comfortable to scoff at things they don’t understand, or employed in such ridiculously hyperbolic situations as to render them meaningless.

That being said, I have to admit that I’m tempted to use the term in conjunction with a recent development here in the Evergreen State. A driver here recently received a note from our Department of Motor Vehicles requesting that she come in to discuss a complaint made against her vanity license plate. The offensive phrase in question? “JOHN316“.

I’m not posting this entry to ponder the dangers of political correctness, the debate over the double-edged sword of intolerance, or the collapse of representative government. If I were, I’d have probably put this in the “Rants” section. (Although I do wish someone would have the delicious sense of irony to have a vanity plate that read, “MATHW66“) No, my reason for posting this story has solely to do with my first reaction upon hearing this news.

Maybe the person filing the grievance, I thought to myself, felt the license was a violation of the separation of church and plate. 😛


Doing Something Stupid In The Name Of Doing Something

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 7:37 am

The Senate is currently reviewing the REAL ID Act, already passed by the House. It would require state licensing authorities to obtain 4 to 6 pieces of identification from every person who requests a driver’s license, and to research every one of these pieces to insure that they are genuine.

Of course, no one is saying where the states are supposed to come up with the Congressional Budget Office’s projected cost of over $450 million for this program.

The money, however, is the least of it to me. How is it that some Republicans can say with a straight face, “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns”, and then turn around and assert that making driver’s licenses hard for people to legally obtain will keep Al Qaeda from getting them? Perhaps it’s been a while since many members of our House of Representatives were in college, but having myself been in a position to observe the behavior of college students in their natural habitat, I can tell you that securing a fake driver’s license isn’t that big a deal. If thousands of frat boys can do it every year, what’s to stop a well-funded extremist group?

And while we’re on the subject, how will enforcement and deterrence be handled? Will possession of a fake ID suddenly become a matter of national security? Will the Department of Homeland Security begin sweeping the watering holes that surround our college campuses, gathering up the overprivileged-but-underaged and carting them off to the Gitmo for questioning and possible indefinite internment?

Hmm. How odd. I’ve gone and ranted about something until it starts sounding like a good idea.


Random Cathode-Ray-Poisoning-Induced TV Musings

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:59 pm

Firstly, I’d just like to give a shout out to whomever it may be at Microsoft who so enjoys Birdie Cam that they’re streaming it 24/7. Seriously, I’m honored! 🙂

Anywho, on with the brain farts. Margaret and I were watching the Food Network program Unwrapped this evening. For those who have children/lives/taste and don’t spend their evenings suckling the Glass Teat, Unwrapped is a show that goes “behind the scenes” of various food products to give you some information on their history, methods of production, etc. It’s hosted by a goofily cheerful dude named Marc Summers. Off-topic, I’ve been looking at this guy’s face for a couple of years now, trying to figure out what’s wrong with it. A few months back it hit me: I think Summers has the classic physiognomy of someone with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: the sort of flattened face, the wide separation between the eyes, the underformed frenulum. This is apropos of nothing, and certainly not meant to be a joke, just an observation.

Ooookay, one brain fart down, one to go….

So anyway, Unwrapped is a decent show—where else are you going to see an industrial macaroni-making machine at work?—but it sometimes degrades into plain old advertising puff pieces. Not that I expect hard-hitting, muckraking journalism from Food Network, but the product-placement can get pretty thick at times. A sure-fire warning sign is when they cut to a shot of someone speaking knowingly about some or another commercial foodstuff—say, chocolate-dipped roofing nails—and the description displayed at the bottom of the screen identifies the person as, “John Winklebean—Chocolate-Dipped Roofing Nail Authority”. This means that the person is an employee of the Spike-Tastic Chocolate-Dipped Roofing Nail Company of Marietta, Georgia, and that the next stop on our televisual journey is their production floor. This pattern is repeated time and time again.

Really, I don’t have my knickers in a twist over this. I just find it amusing. But I do wish that, just once, some rogoue technician would sneak a different caption onto the character generator, labeling the so-called “Authority” as “John Winklebean—Vat-Grown Corporate Talking Head”, or something like that.


Another Cool Name For A Business

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 1:14 pm

I want to open up a day-care center to look after the housecats of wealthy professionals. I’ll call it….are you ready?….Purr Diem.

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