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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Who said "You have to be smarter than the aaaverage bear." ?

No, that’s not a typo… that’s an inflection. It’s the way Yogi Bear would have said it to BooBoo Bear after outwitting the forest ranger to steal yet another picnic basket in the old Hanna-Barbara Saturday morning cartoon. If you can hear him say it in your mind the way he said it then, you are probably 40-ish plus… and good for you.

 Well anyhow, Yogi lives! No, not the cartoon bear, but Yellow-Yellow, the 125 lb black bear in the Adirondacks. This bear, so named because of its two yellow identifier tags in one ear, has figured out how to crack the latest, updated, unopenable bear safe that campers, hikers, etc. use in ursine areas to keep food safe from foraging bears.

 In field tests, the bear safe has survived rigorous zoo testing and 1,000 lb grizzly attacks in Yellowstone and was certified impenetrable.

Enter little Yellow-Yellow.

 The safe is designed so well that it takes two separate simultaneous push-clicks and twists to open… something even some humans had trouble mastering. But when Yellow-Yellow smelled the food, she figured it out. Holding the ‘safe’ between her legs, she used both paws to ‘push-click’… twice, while twisting the lid with her mouth. Bingo!

 And if you think that isn’t something, then this will blow your mind: she taught other bears to do it too.

 What do you think of that, BooBoo?

There are 5,200 medical journals published in the U.S. Today!

They range from “Applied Immunohistochemistry & Molecular Morphogrphy (really) to Gut,” says Melinda Beck, Wall Street Journal’s health reporter, as she muses about their research findings.

 And the reason this is interesting? Because Ms Beck suggests 5,200 is not enough. “I think there should be two more…Duh! for findings that never seemed to be in doubt in the first place, and  Huh? for those whose usefulness remains obscure, at least to lay readers.

 “Duh!’s first issue could include findings such as these:

  •  Toddlers become irritable when prevented from taking naps.
  • Cats make humans do what they want by purring.
  • TV crime dramas inaccurately portray violent crime in America
  • People with high IQs make wise economic decisions.

 Huh?’s first issue could contain these-head scratchers:

  • Men are better than women at hammering in the dark.
  • Young orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos laugh when tickled.
  • Neither alcohol (in him) nor makeup (in her) affect a man’s ability to guess a woman’s age.
  • The more abundant the hair, the greater the tendency to collect belly-button lint.”

 Really, it’s an interesting article in which these studies are held as important… which may or may not be the case. I always thought the greatest mystic doctors hold is that… “We know stuff you don’t.” So how is one going to retain that aura if there aren’t thousands of findings to read about and interesting tidbits to drop in a timely manner?

 “Actually, Mr. Jones, your enormous quantity of belly-button lint is because you are so, er, manly hirsute… be proud, not worried. And by the way, Jones, don’t tickle your orangutan or he may pop you one. And don’t believe everything you see on TV. Now, go home and hammer in the dark, then take two aspirins and call me in the morning. That will be $79 dollars.”

 “Thank you, Doctor... you are so knowing. Just send the bill to my insurance company.”

Monday, July 20, 2009

We shouldn't give credit cards to young people...

...they are so irresponsible. Take 22-year-old Josh Muszynski of Vermont, for example... Visa slapped him a $15 overdraft fee because he overspent his credit limit when he charged $23 quadrillion ($23,148,855.308,184,500 to be exact) at a Mobil gas station in his neighborhood. That Josh... he is such a loose spender.

Think as he might, Josh couldn't recall what he bought for that price, which is 2,007 times the size of our national debt. Maybe Europe, on pump 4, he mused.

When he, in a panic, called Visa, he was told that if he paid his balance in 15 days, Visa would drop the overdraft charge. Kidding. What Visa did say is, "Whoopee! We made our budget this month." Kidding again. What Visa really said is "Huh?" It hadn't notice the slight error.

In a statement, Visa explained that the glitch affected "fewer that 13,000 prepaid transactions" as the result of a "temporary programming error... which caused some transactions to be inaccurately posted to a small number of Visa prepaid accounts."

Oh. That explains everything.

I'll see you in court

Way back when most of the people on this earth weren't born yet... like 60 years ago, a guy sued the manufacturer of his lawn mower because he fell while holding the damn thing above his head while trying to trim his hedges with it. His stupid effort cost him a leg. He contended it wasn't his fault... the mower maker was at fault because the operating instructions didn't say he couldn't.

We all laughed, but he got the final laugh when a jury of his peers (i.e. people just like him) upheld his claim and he was awarded lots and lots of money. This was the start of the era of the lawsuits that say, 'you may be stupid but we've got you covered.'

That is why the lady who burned herself with McDonald's hot coffee that sloshed from the cup held between her legs while driving in shorts, is a millionaire. And that is why there are almost no diving boards or skating rinks in America today... lawsuits that reward the stupid.

In New York, a teen, paying no attention while walking, fell into an open manhole as she was texting a friend on her cell phone. It was a five-foot fall and she did come away with a few scrapes and bruises. But, says her mother, the city must compensate her for the trauma of landing in a sewer. "Oh my God, it was putrid," said mom. "One of her sneakers is still down there."

And, going global, a Polish woman vacationing with her family, is suing an Egyptian hotel because, she says, her 13-year-old daughter got pregnant from what must have been a stray sperm in the pool. The mother is adamant that her daughter didn't meet any boys on the vacation so it had to be the pool... or, mom, the toilet seat.

Where is the logic that says we have to insure the stupid for their own stupid actions? Doesn't anyone take responsibility for what they do anymore?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

If an atheist-dyslexic believes there is no Dog...

... what does an agnostic-dyslexic believe? Actually, he/she believes it's an open question... there may or may not be a Dog, but faith is another matter.

This question came up at The Coffee Scene after I read USAToday's story about Camp Quest, a summer camp for children of atheists and other non-believers. At Camp Quest, saying grace before meals is strictly optional. (Well duh!)

The camp "encourages critical thinking, such as (a game) called Evolution and learning about 'freethinking heroes' such as Isaac Asimov." One of the songs (really) sung around the campfire sounds familiar... but I can't quite place it:

Twinkle, twinkle little star;
You're a ball of gas that's very far;
32 light years in the sky;
10 parsecs, which is really high.

Maybe if you hummed a few bars...

Everyone should know how to complete a sentence, right?

Well, you'd think so, anyhow... especially if you are well educated.

How come then that Keith Pound, a New York businessman convicted of bilking an insurance company for $450 million, can't? He was sentenced to 740 years in prison and died before he could finish his sentence. (It makes Bernie Madoff's 150-year sentence seem like a walk in the park.)

Another swindler, Norman Schmidt, is serving 330 years.

But the king of the run-on sentences is Pound's partner in crime, Shalam Weiss. He is serving 845 years. Hmm... with good behavior, he should be out before June, 2909. That would make him older that Mathusela if he can finish his sentence.

So why do judges mete out such long sentences in the first place? Maybe for impact which is a big morale booster for the bilked, or to put the parole option out far enough that it won't make a difference. All I know is that the older one gets, the faster time seems to fly. Why, 845 years to Weiss might just seem like a hundred or so. I guess they call that a 'win-win' situation.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Well, I guess I blew that one

Where was I when a '0ne-in-a-hundred-year' opportunity came knocking? Asleep at the switch, that's where... or just plain asleep. How about you? Wild parties in celebration? Drunken 'end of the world' stupors? Giddiness, tears of joy?

You see, yesterday, July 8th, at 34.56 seconds after midnight, it was precisely 12:34.56 7/8/9 and it just blew right by me.

Oh, never mind. Someone just told me that it happened just after noon as well.

Department of Duh

Who among us can say that America's Funniest Videos isn't a good window to our incredible stupidness? But then again, who can say that a good blow to the crotch, sliding into a tree, jumping off a house or having the cutest pet in the whole world isn't worth our 15 minutes?

Well, here's an inside tip on how to get into the fame fastlane... hint: think trampoline. In 2008, there were 104,752 trampoline-related injuries... more that in volleyball, wrestling and diving combined.... more than Peoria, Illinois! How's that for fun? And me... I've been wasting my time riding skateboards and roller-blading. Will I never learn?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

An ugly rumor...

I heard an ugly rumor today, July 7th. Somebody told me that Michael Jackson died. In fact, the dirty liar said with a straight face, he died June 25th... almost two weeks ago. If that is true, wouldn't we have heard about it by now? You would think the media might make small mention of it.

OK... so I did know. Is there anyone on this planet who didn't? Today I heard an NBC announcer say this was probably the biggest death ever in terms of people watching and caring... more than one billion will be watching this funeral... almost 20 percent of the world population.

Now Michael (as I affectionately call him) is a world figure... and arguably one of its most talented and charismatic when performing. He is a cult figure perhaps deserving of that ranking... talented, troubled, eccentric, weird, etc. But is he worth 80-percent of the news for weeks/months after his death? The media says yes. The public says yes. So who am I to argue.

In fact, a Toronto Argonaut player of the Canadian Football League was penalized 30-yards, an almost unheard of penalty, for pretending to lie in a casket after a touchdown, as a '"tribute to Michael Jackson." Whoa Nellie!

What I do cry for, however, is perspective. MJ (no, not the baskeball player) is huge... but I don't want him greater that the soldier who gives his life for me, the parent who sacrifices everything for a child, the stranger who donates a kidney for a person in need... you get the idea. The 'lesser heros' are really pretty special and their loss mostly unsung (literally and figuratively). Almost all of those 'lesser heros' had it harder than the talented and rich MJ... And they paid a price that is no less than, a sadness no less sad than, a loss no less profound than the King of Pop. And they are all desperately missed by those who know and love them, and appreciated by all.

Everyone has a place in this world... but some seem to have a higher place than others just because of fame. Remember... it only seems that way. It wasn't my rule that each of us has only one death... but none of these deaths is more special from any other... one is one. Amen.