Thursday, December 25, 2008

Story Flashback: This is why I cannot write fiction

The day before yesterday a woman called the police appalled and feeling violated because one of her neighbors, who all hate her, drugged and castrated her favorite horse.

An officer responded and, after a very un-CSI-like investigation determined that, and I mention now that this is a completely true story, the horse had not been violated but instead was very cold.

The junk just disappears inside the body cavity apparently

No wonder those guys can run so fast. I could too if I could raise and lock my “landing gear” away.

You never see a grandfather clock running down the street

Something to consider.



Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snow Removal Jobs, Vampires Need Not Apply

From KNXV-TV Phoenix, AZ

Iowa city uses garlic salt to melt snow and ice

Reported by: Associated Press
Last Update: 12/18 3:49 am

No, it's not Pizza Street -- but it smelled like it.

Road crews in a Des Moines, Iowa, suburb used garlic salt to melt snow and ice after a storm this week.

The spicy road treatment was donated by Tone Brothers, a company headquartered in the area.

The spice company says the nine tons of garlic salt would have ended up in a landfill.

Public Works Administrator Al Olson the says the city mixed the garlic salt with regular road salt and it works just fine.

He adds some members of the road crew said using the spicy mixture made them a little hungry.

From the DeMoines Register

Story of garlic salt on Ankeny's roads is national hit


That Ankeny’s road crews were sprinkling the streets with smelly, expired garlic salt that was donated to the city instead of dumped in a landfill was too much for media to resist.

The story with a simple moral and a funny twist has been carried by major newspapers and bantered about on television and radio stations coast to coast, ever since word got out that Tone’s Spices of Ankeny donated nine tons of garlic salt to be used on city streets, not on your neighbor’s mashed potatoes.

Public Works Administrator Al Olson has been a popular guy, giving six or seven interviews that have picked up nationally.

“It’s crazy – just crazy,” Olson said, recalling the friends and family who have heard his interviews in New York, Texas and California. “It’s been such a feel-good thing. It’s amazing the different takes the news stations have had around the country. … Some of them are just hilarious.”

The list of media to carry the story includes USA Today, The Los Angles Times, “Good Morning America” and National Public Radio.

photo: Lawry's

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dear Mr Jobs,

On behalf of 911 operators everywhere I wish to congratulate you on the wildly popular and successful iPhone.

This lovely device is not only easy to use normally but it affords the owner the option of dialing 911 with their buttocks more easily than other cell phones. Blackberry owners have some similar problems but the numbers of ass-dialed calls from iPhones are increasing.

Not only can one use the internet, listen to music, and make phone calls from a single device but one can also have a nice surprise conversation with me or one of my ilk. A conversation which will go something like this:

iPhoner: Hello?

911: Hi, this is the 911 operator, your phone called 911. Is there an emergency?

iPhoner: I didn’t call 911.

911: Actually, yes, your phone called 911.

iPhoner: But I didn’t call 911.

911: It’s not a problem if you accidentally called us, we just need to make sure you are okay.

iPhoner: But it wasn’t me.

911: is your phone number XXX-XXXX ?

iPhoner: yes…

911: and did you order sweet and sour sauce with your 10 piece McNuggets?

iPhoner: you heard that?

911: and a Diet Coke

iPhoner: Wow, I guess I did call. I must have bumped it. Imagine that…

911: Indeed. So you are okay, you don’t need the police, fire department, or paramedics?

iPhoner: No. But thank you for calling. You people do a great job.

911: Why thank you. Have a nice day.

Next call:

911: 911, what’s the location of your emergency?

a different iPhoner: (background noise and voice talking to her friend Becky about some other girl’s big butt)

911: (slightly more testily) 911, what’s the location of your emergency?

iPhoner: (more background, laughter. Probably some good natured swearing.)

911: (initiating the loud screechy TDD tones to no avail)

911 sighs and hangs up. Re-dials

iPhoner: Hello?

911: Hi, this is the 911 operator, your phone called 911. Is there an emergency?

iPhoner: I didn’t call 911.

iPhone pic from

Stress reduction picture:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Invasion of the Alien Jellyfish

!! Shock Horror !!

Perhaps due to my recent mauling by sea-life at the Atlanta Aquarium or perhaps due to the fact I’m been reading a lot of H.P. Lovecraft lately, I find this story upsetting.

Fri Dec 12, 6:16 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Huge swarms of stinging jellyfish and similar slimy animals are ruining beaches in Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean, Australia and elsewhere, U.S. researchers reported on Friday.

The report says 150 million people are exposed to jellyfish globally every year, with 500,000 people stung in the Chesapeake Bay, off the U.S. Atlantic Coast, alone.

Another 200,000 are stung every year in Florida, and 10,000 are stung in Australia by the deadly Portuguese man-of-war, according to the report, a broad review of jellyfish research.

The report, available on the Internet at, says the Black Sea's fishing and tourism industries have lost $350 million because of a proliferation of comb jelly fish.

The report says more than 1,000 fist-sized comb jellies can be found in a cubic yard (meter) of Black Sea water during a bloom.

They eat the eggs of fish and compete with them for food, wiping out the livelihoods of fishermen, according to the report.

And it says a third of the total weight of all life in California's Monterey Bay is made up of jellyfish.

Human activities that could be making things nice for jellyfish include pollution, climate change, introductions of non-native species, overfishing and building artificial structures such as oil and gas rigs.

Creatures called salps cover up to 38,600 square miles (100,000 sq km) of the North Atlantic in a regular phenomenon called the New York Bight, but researchers quoted in the report said this one may be a natural cycle.

"There is clear, clean evidence that certain types of human-caused environmental stresses are triggering jellyfish swarms in some locations," William Hamner of the University of California Los Angeles says in the report.

These include pollution-induced "dead zones", higher water temperatures and the spread of alien jellyfish species by shipping.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox, editing by Philip Barbara)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thank You Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich

For making our Governor, Sarah “Skinny G” Palin, look like a lily-white rocket scientist.

Keep up the newsworthy behavior.

Love and Kisses,

The People of Alaska

p.s. to Skinny G: don’t get any ideas.

Monday, December 01, 2008

With Two Get Eggroll

While walking the dog Thanksgiving evening about 8pm I found a cell phone on the street.

I tried to not find the phone. I saw it and walked right past it. I have a fear of commitment and I knew that picking up that phone entailed a commitment.

Yet if I lost my phone I would want someone to let me know before it got run over by a vehicle or used in a criminal manner. Losing a phone is a monumental inconvenience and can be costly. My wife lost her phone and it cost a sizeable amount to replace it because our wireless company doesn’t give you a cut rate on a phone other than at the initial signing of the several-year commitment. Bastards.

I wanted to return the phone to the person who lost it. I want to do the right thing. I believe people are essential kind and good. So I picked up the phone. It’s not a Blackberry or iPhone but it’s a decent metallic pink Samsung phone. It’s a female’s phone. There’s a chivalry issue.

But I’m Eric and I don’t talk to strangers. Should I take it to work the next day? It’s safer to have someone pick it up at the Po-Po than my house. What if this is some kind of crazy bait-phone. Okay, doubtful. So I need to call them that night.

Being a devoted husband I exercise the only acceptable option: I say “Hey honey, would you like to figure out who this belongs to?”

Kelli calls the speed dial labeled “home” and leaves a message to call us.

Crap. That means someone is going to calls us. Luckily we have contingency plans for this sort of thing in place. Kelli talks on the phone and I’ll actually meet face to face with the folks. It’s a win-win.

But jeez, who knows when they are going to call. I just got home from a 12 hour shift. A 12 hour shift on Thanksgiving. Think: carb-coma. I just want to go to bed. Whaaaaaaa.

Yet very soon a grateful woman called Kelli and said it was her phone and she would be back en route from nearby to pick it up. Excellent. This will end soon.

As I’m waiting for the owner to arrive I have another series of thoughts.

Wow, I wonder if they’ll reward me with money. That would be sweet. But I couldn’t accept money, it being an act of chivalry and good will and all on Thanksgiving. So I’ll politely decline the money, protesting that it was just the right thing to do and being extremely magnanimous.

There’s no magnanimity like calculated magnanimity.

By this point the dog wanted to go out again so I bundled up to take her. Just as I opened the door to walk out, the phone owner’s car pulled up. Bonus! I stowed the dog back inside and walked onto the porch with the phone.

A man walked up to me as his wife waited in the car. I held the phone out to him. I could see gratitude in his eyes.

Then he handed me a plastic grocery bag and said “These are egg rolls. My wife is Korean.”


I don’t want stranger-danger food but, unlike money, I can’t refuse it. That would be rude of me. Imagine that, me being rude while trying to do the right thing. I can’t believe this.

Luckily he didn’t want to have a conversation any more than I wanted one. He grabbed the phone, handed me the egg rolls, and jumped back into the car. His wife rolls down her window and as they started to leave she yelled a “thank you!”

I waved and said “no problem, happy Thanksgiving!”

Then I walked into the house and dumped the eggrolls into the trash before taking my dog out for the walk.

We were thankful not to discover lost property on that trip.