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7.31.2007

The Yahoo Headlines Hall of Fame

I've seen so many gems lately on the Yahoo! homepage, that I've decided whenever I see a funny, strange, or otherwise incongruous headline, I'll post it.

Our first entry is this story:

Kurdish gangs emerge

in Nashville

Of all the places. Not Ankara or Istanbul. Nashville. What's next, Al-Qaeda in Columbus? Oh wait, they're already there.

I realize this headline isn't really funny, but it is strange. And just a little frightening.

Blogged with Flock

Oh, boy...

Just so you guys know, as of now, I support Ron Paul for President in 2008 (As a side note, he seems to have armies of bloggers that just look for his name and post comments on the articles mentioning him). The man himself seems nice, and I agree with almost everything the man says, but he has some pretty strange supporters.

Case in point
.

This blogger has commented on numerous posts portraying Rona Paul in a less than flattering light, saying such profundities as "RoN pAuL 4EvEr" and "gO rOn PaUl!" Ahem.

And then, there's his blog. "This," I say to myself, "must be in jest. It has to be in jest. The whole thing is rather funny, if a little sacrilegious. Nobody believes that crud." I somehow don't feel very reassured.

I have the entirely discouraging feeling that I am in a bandwagon with the Illuminati junkies, the "We didn't go to the moon" people, and the "The whole Universe is ruled by a giant wombat playing the banjo. Seriously, guys!" guys. Help!

Blogged with Flock

7.25.2007

Ha! Adblocked!

I still use Yahoo! Mail. Yes, I know all "truly" geeky people have Gmail, but I've had this address for years and I haven't yet had reason enough to make the switch. But that isn't the point of this posting.

So, recently, Yahoo! Mail made a few changes. They started providing unlimited storage, but they also incorporated ads into the mail page. Me and some other people I've talked to were kind of annoyed by this. If you're like my family and you use Yahoo as your ISP then you're already paying for the mail service, so why must they pester you with ads as well?

Well, I have found the solution: a Firefox browser extension called Adblock Plus. As you might expect, it blocks ads and it does it quite well. This is just another reason I recommend you use Firefox as your browser.

So now I don't see any more ads in my mailbox or any of the other sites I frequent. It's a great extension and it also speeds up loading time. Go check it out.

7.24.2007

A Petition for the Revocation of the Independence of the United States of America, and the Rebuttal

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, here's something I stumbled across on Facebook. It apparently started out as a chain letter (of course, the only good one, and I never get it. Figures.), and even has its own Snopes page. Here it is, in all its witty glory.

To the citizens of the United States of America, in the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories.

Except Utah, which she does not fancy.

Your new Prime Minister (The Right Honourable Gordon Brown MP, for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a Minister for America without the need for further elections.

The House of Representatives and the Senate will be disbanded.

A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up "aluminium." Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.

The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and 'neighbour'; skipping the letter 'U' is nothing more than laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters.

You will end your love affair with the letter 'Z' (pronounced 'zed' not 'zee') and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise."

You will learn that the suffix 'burgh' is pronounced 'burra' e.g. Edinburgh. You are welcome to re-spell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you can't cope with correct pronunciation.

Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up “vocabulary." Using the same thirty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "uhh", "like", and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.

Look up "interspersed."

There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show. If you're not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn't have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary, then you won't have to use bad language as often.

2. There is no such thing as "US English." We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize."

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn't that hard. English accents are not limited to cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier).

You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents --- Scottish dramas such as "Taggart" will no longer be broadcast with subtitles.

While we're talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is "Devon." If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become "shires" e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play English characters.

British sit-coms such as "Men Behaving Badly" or "Red Dwarf" will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience who can't cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness. Popular British films such as the Italian Job and the Wicker Man should never be remade.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen", but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American "football." There are other types of football such as Rugby, Aussie Rules & Gaelic football. However proper football - which will no longer be known as soccer, is the best known, most loved and most popular. What you refer to as American "football" is not a very good game.

The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays "American" football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football.

Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies).

We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens side by 2008.

You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played outside of North America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called "rounders," which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because we don't believe you are sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

8. The 4th of July is no longer a public holiday. The 2nd of November will be a new national holiday, but only in Britain. It will be called "Indecisive Day."

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap, and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.

All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call 'French fries' are not real chips. Fries aren't even French, they are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called "crisps." Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat.

Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling "beer" is not actually beer at all, it is lager . From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as "beer," and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager." The substances formerly known as "American Beer" will henceforth be referred to as "Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine," with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to as "Weak Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine." This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in the Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

13. From the 10th of November the UK will harmonise petrol (or "gasoline," as you will be permitted to keep calling it until the 1st of April) prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon -- get used to it).

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.

15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.

16. Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

Thank you for your co-operation.

Naturally, some people simply couldn't handle this and started a group demanding the opposite, the annexation of Britain by the United States. They are much less witty, but the humor will probably be more appreciated by Americans, so here it is.

To the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland:

We welcome your concern about our electoral process. It must be exciting for you to see a real Republic in action, even if from a distance. As always we’re amused by your quaint belief that you’re actually a world power. The sun never sets on the British Empire! Right-o chum!

However, we regretfully have to decline your offer for intervention. On the other hand, it would be amusing to see you try to enforce your new policy (for the 96.3% of you that seem to have forgotten that you have little to no real power). After much deliberation, we have decided to continue our tradition as the longest running democratic republic. It seems that switching to a monarchy is in fact considered a “backwards step” by the majority of the world.

To help you rise from your current anachronistic status, we have compiled a series of helpful suggestions that we hope you adopt:

1. Realize that language is an organic structure, and that you aren’t always correct in your pronunciation or spelling. Let’s use your “aluminium” example. Sir Humphrey Davy (an Englishman) invented the name “aluminum” (note spelling) for the metal. However, in common usage the name evolved into “aluminium” to match the naming convention of other elements. In 1925 the United States decided to switch back to the original spelling and pronunciation of the word, at which point we dominated the aluminum industry. We’d also like to point out that the process of actually producing aluminum was developed by an American and a Frenchman (not an Englishman).

However, we’d like to thank you for the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s an interesting collection, considering that over 10,000 of the words in the original edition were submitted by a crazy American civil-war veteran called Dr. William Charles Minor.

2. Learn to distinguish the American and Canadian accents, and then we’ll talk about the English and Australian accent issue.

3. Review your basic arithmetic. (Hint 100 – 98.85 = 1.15 and 100 – 97.85 = 2.15)

4. If you want English actors as good guys, then make your own movies. Don’t rely on us for your modern popular culture. We liked “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels”, “Trainspotting”, and “The Full Monty”. We’ve also heard good things about this “Billy Elliot”. But one good movie a year doesn’t exactly make a cultural powerhouse. However, you’re doing pretty well with music, so keep up the good work on that front.

5. It’s inefficient to have a national anthem that changes its title whenever your monarch dies. Let’s not forget that your national anthem has an extremely boring tune. We suggest switching to that Rule Brittania ditty, it’s toetapping. Or maybe Elton John could adapt “Candle In The Wind” again for you guys.

6. Improve at your national sport. Football? Soccer? This just in: United States gets fourth place in men’s soccer at the 2000 Summer Olympics. United Kingdom? Not even close. By the way, impressive showing at Euro 2000. You almost managed to get through the tournament without having your fans start an international incident.

7. Learn how to cook. England has some top notch candy. Salt ‘n’ Vinegar chips are quite yummy. However, there’s a reason why the best food in your country is Indian or Chinese. Your contributions to the culinary arts are soggy beans, warm beer, and spotted dick. Perhaps when you finally realize the French aren’t the spawn of satan they’ll teach you how to cook.

8. You’re doing a terrible job at understanding cars. The obvious error is that you drive on the wrong side of the road. A second problem is pricing, it’s cheaper to buy a car in Belgium and ship it to England than to buy a car in England. On the other hand, we like Jaguars and Aston Martins. That’s why we bought the companies.

9. We’ll tell you who killed JFK when you apologize for “Teletubbies”.

Thank you for your time. Yu can now return to watching bad Australian soap operas.

P.S. — Regarding WW2: You’re Welcome.

Needless to say, I spent the greater part of the afternoon rolling around in laughter at both of these lists, and thought you guys would like to see them. Feel free to comment on them. Where could we take this? We could revoke the Independence of numerous states, i.e. Canada, Mexico, France, etc. The fun will never cease!

7.09.2007

Albuquerque

We just took a left turn at Albuquerque. Yeah, I'm just kidding. Laugh now if you get the joke. Actually, we just left there having picked up the last of our group. We also took the opertunity to see some sites including the Atomic Museum.

Gas station stops

We're now in New Mexico. We just stopped in a place called Tumcumcari or something like that.

7.08.2007

On the Road...

Greetings from the road! We're currently somewhere in southern Oklahoma, on the freeway, all cramped up into one van. We've been entertaining ourselves by trying to get other drivers to wave at us. We're up to 57 cars and one semi. Hopefully we'll be sending more updates soon.

7.07.2007

Gone for a bit.

Josh and I are leaving early tomorrow for a trip to New Mexico so we probably won't be posting for about a week. It's not like we post that consistently anyway.

I've set up Blogger Mobile so I may try to post some updates and pictures from the road if possible. Perhaps now would be a good time for TJMK to set up to the plate and fill the void? But I doubt it. C'mon, man. It doesn't take that much...

Five Star Film


I'm something of a Pixar fanatic. I have like every one of their films so far and seen just about all of them in theaters. But sometimes I get concerned that their streak of awesome movies is going to end and they will finally make a bad film. Such was my fear with Ratatouille. Even though I have learned not to judge Pixar movies by their trailers, I was concerned after seeing the Ratatouille teaser before Cars last year. Disney's then-recent acquisition of the production studio also had me concerned. Had Disney corrupted Pixar so quickly? The answer is a resounding "no". They were to late to mess this one up. In fact, Ratatouille may be one of Pixar's best films ranking up there with Monsters, Inc., Toy Story, and the Incredibles.

The basic premise of the film is that a rat named Remy wants to become a chief in Paris. As a consequence, there is a lot of interaction between human and non-human characters in this film, more than any other Pixar film. I think that's why I was more conscience that I was watching a cartoon that with any of their other films. That's not a bad thing at all, though. Rather, it is a refreshing break from all of the usual summer action movies. It always feels pleasant and fun, but not in a sappy, feel-good way. This is a story that is heartfelt, funny, and generally applicable to all age groups. The plot doesn't need to be super complex because the characters stand on their own.

There is only one way to rate a film that is so culinary-centric: with stars. This one gets five.

Rating: