Category Archives: Weird

But He’s “Likable”

Obama hits all-time lows:

Obama’s woes are not limited to honesty and his managerial skills. Fifty-six percent say he is not a person they admire, and an equal number say he does not agree with them on important issues. Fifty-six percent also say he does not inspire confidence, and 53% don’t view him as a strong and decisive leader. All of those figures are all-time records for Obama in CNN polling.

OK, so they don’t agree with him, they don’t believe or trust him, they don’t think he’s competent, they don’t admire him, or think him a strong and decisive leader. But they like him.

I don’t know how to explain this cognitive dissonance except it’s the last bastion of the fear of being thought a racist.

Sexually Predatory Cetaceans

Sometimes they can love you to death.

There’s an underwater hotel down in Florida for divers, with windows. They had to put curtains on them, because guests were complaining about the dolphins watching them engaged in amorous activity.

[Update a few minutes later]

You should read all. It’s quite an interesting article on Delphinadae behavior in human history.

Zombies Versus Animals

Don’t worry, wildlife would kick undead ass:

…zombies are essentially walking carrion, and Mother Nature doesn’t let anything go to waste.

Yup.

[Update a few minutes later]

It’s really worth a read:

North America’s large mammal predators would be more than a match for zombies. We have two bear species, brown (or grizzly) and black bears. Male brown bears can weigh in at 1,000 pounds. They are not afraid of humans. They can deliver a bite of 1200 pounds per square inch and have long, sharp claws designed to rip open logs and flip boulders in search of insects and other small critters to eat. They would easily tear apart rotting zombie flesh. Black bears are much smaller and typically run from humans, but even a black bear, when approached or cornered, would make short work of a zombie. Both bear species have an incredible sense of smell and both love to eat carrion, so even if zombies didn’t approach them, the bears eventually would learn that these walking bags of flesh make good eating.

Like black bears, gray wolves are very shy of humans and typically run away at the first sight of us. Nor are they strangers to scavenging. They’d soon take advantage of the easy pickings presented by lumbering zombies. Coyotes are far less shy than wolves and can happily live alongside humans, including in the heart of our cities. These intelligent canids would quickly learn that they could take down zombies one by one, especially the eastern populations of coyote, which are larger and bolder due to past interbreeding with wolves and domestic dogs.

Though I’d point out that it they think black bears are shy around humans, they’ve never run across one in Alaska. They’re very aggressive up there — Alaskans seem to fear them more than grizzlies, which will generally leave you alone if you don’t surprise them. I suspect it’s because they’re much less used to humans, with the low population density. It’s almost like they’re a different species from the lower forty nine. Alaska would be a particularly gruesome place to be walking dead. The moose alone would make quick work of them.

Amazon Local, Los Angeles Edition

Every day, I get offers for: acting classes, teeth whitening, massage packages with reflexology and aromatherapy, microdermabrasion facials, tanning salons, exfoliation…

It’s like they’re trying to live down to the expectations of the rest of the country.

[Update a few minutes later]

Are you the kind of person likely to be suckered into a conversation with a Twitter-bot?

I’m not.

The President’s Auto Insurance

One of the most amusingly stupid categories of spam I get is emails about how “Congress passed a bill” or “The president signed a law” resulting in lower auto insurance or (as they often idiotically say) “driving” rates. They sometimes try to tie it into current events. Here are two nutty subject lines today:

“President’s G8 Summit Meeting Yields Lower Auto Ins. For All,”

and

“Following meet with Putin, President announces lower auto ins. for all.”

Sadly, there are enough idiots out there that this probably does work. Until we come up with some cost for emailing, spam will persist.

Holy Chilole

I like me some chiles, but these people are nuts:

Mr. Bosland claims to have broken the two million Scoville mark in February 2012 with his Trinidad Moruga Scorpion. That is the same strength as police-grade pepper spray — a substance no sensible person would let travel through his digestive tract. Mr. Bosland hasn’t yet submitted paperwork to Guinness for the official record, and his claim really burns up Mr. de Wit, who insists his pepper is still the hottest. Only chemical chromatography that measures several samples for their average level of capsaicin, the chemical that gives peppers their bite, can establish a record claim. But Mr. Scott, one of the few people on Earth who has tasted both varieties, says the Moruga Scorpion is clearly hotter.

I used to grow habaneros on the patio (and I still have a container of dried ones, years old, to spice up a chili), but I hadn’t realized that they were now growing peppers in the mega-Scoville range.

The New Civility

Yeah, that national conversation about guns is coming along just fine:

Eddie Maxwell sent a mass email to state legislators at 10:54 p.m. on Jan. 27, warning them that even attempting to introduce a gun control bill was, in his opinion, a violation of state law.

Mitchell responded from his public, ALHouse.gov email account at 11:59 p.m., telling Maxwell: “Your folk never used all this sheit (sic) to protect my folk from your slave-holding, murdering, adulterous, baby-raping, incestuous, snaggle-toothed, backward-a**ed, inbreed (sic), imported criminal-minded kin folk.”

“That’s not the type of reply I expect to receive from a state legislator,” Maxwell replied on Feb. 11.

Obviously his expectations are too high.

Amazon Advantage

So, I’ve been trying to set up a page for my book at Amazon. So far, color me very unimpressed.

The Advantage site has a form to fill out with book description, author bio, and three reviews. It very clearly states:

You don’t need to use HTML to fill out the edit boxes below – just type normally. However, if you’d like to use advanced formatting, you may use HTML to indicate breaks, boldface or italics.
<P> = a paragraph break <BR> = a line break
<b> </b> = boldface <i> </i> = italics.
Example: The <b>quick</b> brown fox <i>jumped over</i> the lazy dog.<BR>

Well, I kind of like paragraphs. Call me crazy, but that’s just how I roll. So I put in some <p>s, and bolded the names of the reviewers.

When I saved my work, it didn’t display the HTML properly, instead showing the code. Moreover, it had removed the second two reviews, and attributed the first one to the second reviewer.

I scratched my head, and went back int to edit, reinserting the other two reviews, and straightening out the reviewer names. I hit “View” and got exactly the same thing. HTML still in the code, no graf breaks, and the second two reviews disappeared, with the wrong reviewer name on the first.

I send a complaint to Amazon (via a web form, so I have no record of it, unless I had the foresight to copy it somewhere, which I didn’t). Here is the response:

Dear Vendor,

I apologize for the inconvenience caused.

Please be informed that when you update any information using update item content and then click submit button, everything will get disappear. However please be informed that the same will appear on the website in 5-7 days.

I request you to update the information without using HTML tags.

As you have the limit to add only 3 reviews, I request you to write back to us with the reviews that you wish to add and we will do the needful.

Thank you for selling with Amazon,

Sowjanya Reddy T.
Member Services
Amazon.com Advantage

So, they can’t show me what the page is actually going to look like until it goes live, and despite the fact that they clearly invite me to use HTML, they then request that I not do so. Which means that I can’t do so much as break paragraphs.

I’m kind of gobsmacked. I mean, this is fricking’ Amazon.

Auto Insurance Spam

Every day my inbox (or rather, my spam box) is flooded with spam telling me about how “auto rates” are going down (presumably it means insurance, though the word is often not mentioned). Usually, the subject is something like “The president has passed a new law reducing your rates,” or “Washington has passed a new law…”

Well, today, I got my first Pope auto-rate spam:

Subject: New Pope Equals Lower Auto Rates? Yes – See Why.

– – – – New Pope Announcement Has Major Impact On Your Auto Rates – – – –

The new pontiff – Francis The 1st is already having a dramatic impact on auto rates. Did you know the month a new pope is elected is always the safest month to drive of the year? This is why major auto insurers have come together to lower auto rates to $3.75/month for drivers who sign up during the month of March who reside in low-risk driving zip codes

See if your area qualifies for the new rates by visiting the link below and entering your zip code. Should you qualify, expect your rates to drop and budget accordingly.

Needless to say, I didn’t click on the link below, but you have to give them marks for creativity in coming up with idiot bait.

Josh Earnest

Am I the only one struck by the almost Dickensian poetry of that name for a White House spokesperson? Particular as it seem oxymoronic. Are we supposed to use the first, or last name as a guide to the veracity of statements made? Given the many absurd statements coming out of this White House, particularly lately, I’m going to go with the former.