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Monday, February 23, 2009

Puppy survives 200ft quarry fall


Cliff where Dotty fell
Dotty fell 200ft (60.6m) over a cliff and into a flooded quarry after chasing a bird

A puppy survived after plunging more than 200ft (60.6m) over a cliff into a flooded quarry.

The cocker spaniel called Dotty was chasing a bird near her owner's home in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, when she tumbled over the edge.

The seven-month-old pet bounced off the cliff face three times before hitting the icy water at an estimated 50mph.

But luckily a sub-aqua team were diving in the quarry, saw her splash landing and helped her.

One of the group swam over and lifted Dotty to safety before they gave her oxygen from their tanks. Moments later her tail was wagging.

Dotty the dog and owner Keli Beamon
For about three days she walked round with an astonished look on her face but she was soon back to normal
Keli Beamon, Dottie's owner

Owner Keli Beamon, 45, who could only watch as Dotty fell, climbed down into the quarry expecting to find her pet had been killed by the fall.

But instead Dotty leapt into her arms unscathed.

Keli, 45, said: "She must be the luckiest dog in the world - it's a miracle she survived.

"The fall alone should have killed her - and entering the water at that speed must have been like hitting a brick wall.

"I couldn't believe it when I found her on all fours with her tail wagging."

Physiotherapist Keli was walking Dotty across fields near her home when the dog chased after a bird.

"She must have been looking up and the ground suddenly disappeared from under her feet," she said.

"I peered over the cliff edge and I was expecting to see her splattered on a rock below.

"But then I could see her in the arms of one of the divers 200ft below."

Dotty the dog
Rescuers were amazed Dotty made such a quick recovery

She added: "One of the divers said he saw her hit the cliff three times on the way down. And they said she had gone 10ft under the surface of the water.

"She was very cold because the water was just two degrees but she escaped without a scratch.

"For about three days she walked round with an astonished look on her face but she was soon back to normal."

Diving group leader Terry Birtles said: "She is one lucky dog - I don't know how a dog could survive a fall like that.

"We got her out of the water and she was in shock but there was no sign of any physical damage.

"We brought her round with some oxygen and wrapped her in a blanket.

"But we were all amazed she made such a quick recovery."

Original here

Colbert's Name Arrives to Woo Famous Falcon

By JOHN BOITNOTT

Getty Images

Writer/talk show host Stephen Colbert accepts the Outstanding Writing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Program award for "The Colbert Report" during the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre on September 21, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

Stephen Colbert should forget about his long-running feud with Al Gore over Grammy and other awards. After all, has anyone named a peregrine falcon after the former Vice-President?

Colbert is also clearly the king of all animal namesakes. A bird, a reptile and an insect have been named after the Comedy Central Host. Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream have even named an ice cream flavor after him.

Now - one of Colbert's namesakes has come to San Jose to woo a famous falcon.

Falcon fans have dubbed the newest male peregrine falcon living atop San Jose City Hall “Esteban Colbert” after the star of “The Colbert Report.”

The San Jose City Hall Peregrine Falcons became reality show superstars more than two years ago when staff opened up the birds' rooftop nesting box to worldwide viewers of the FalconCam.

In the third "season" of her ongoing reality show, falcon mother Clara has another new man in her life and, based on field reports, is expected to soon make him a father.

Clara has quite a history with the males.

As it became apparent that last year’s tiercel (male falcon) Carlos was not returning for a second season, falcon fans have been watching the FalconCam to see if a new beau would attempt to woo Clara.

“I’m delighted that Esteban Colbert appeared at City Hall this week, and that he and Clara are hitting it off,” said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who press reports have noted is an avid fan of “The Colbert Report.” “Like the City Hall falcons, the original Colbert has proven that with primitive instincts and sharp talons, anyone can survive in modern society.”

Carlos and Clara had three chicks in 2008, while the previous year Clara and her first mate Jose Fernando had three as well.

Peregrine Falcons, regarded as the fastest animal in the world with a recorded speed of up to 240 mph, had only two mating pairs remaining in the California wild in 1970.

Today, due in large part to extraordinary conservation work by the UC Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group, there are more than 250 nesting pairs, including those at San Jose City Hall.

Who is this Stephen Colbert guy I keep hearing about?

Stephen Colbert is a writer and comedian who began his career in Chicago Improvisational Comedy.

A correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” from 1997, Colbert became host of “The Colbert Report” in 2005.

Colbert has received a series of top honors, including being named one of the most influential people by both New York and Time magazines.

The FalconCam can be viewed online on the City of San Jose Web site at www.sanjoseca.gov or on the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group

Original here

Socks, the Clintons' White House Cat, Dies

By KASEY JONES Associated Press Writer

Socks, the White House cat during the Clinton administration who waged war on Buddy the pup, has died. He was around 18.

Photo: The Clinton's family cat is reportedly losing its battle with cancer.
In this 1994 file photo, Socks the cat peers over the podium in the White House briefing room. First... Expand
(Marcy Nighswander/AP Photo)
More Photos

Socks had lived with Bill Clinton's secretary, Betty Currie, in Hollywood, Md., since the Clintons left the White House in early 2001.

Currie confirmed Socks' death Friday evening and said she was "heartbroken." She did not give details, referring calls to the Clinton Foundation office.

The foundation released a statement from the Clintons:

"Socks brought much happiness to Chelsea and us over the years, and enjoyment to kids and cat lovers everywhere. We're grateful for those memories, and we especially want to thank our good friend, Betty Currie, for taking such loving care of Socks for so many years."

Socks had reached his late teens — an advanced age for a cat — when reports surfaced in late 2008 that he had cancer and Currie had ruled out invasive efforts to prolong his life.

"It's not a happy prognosis," presidential historian Barry Landau, a friend of Currie's, said at the time.

Socks was what feline-lovers call a tuxedo cat — mostly black with white down the front and belly and on his feet, suggesting a fashionable dandy in a black satin evening jacket with a snowy shirt peeping out. He had markings that looked a bit like a mustache and goatee.

Chelsea Clinton's pet first appeared in the news in November 1992 after then-Gov. Bill Clinton won the presidency and the family was the still in the governor's mansion in Little Rock, Ark. Socks became an early symbol of privacy-vs.-media in the Clinton era when photographers got a little aggressive as he took a stroll outside.

Life changed for Socks in the White House, when his easy access to the out-of-doors was necessarily curtailed. One official conceded that, yes, Socks was on a leash while outside.

Things took a turn for the worse in late 1997, when then-puppy Buddy, a chocolate retriever, arrived. Relations between Socks and Buddy were cool from the beginning.

"I'm trying to work that out," Clinton joked at the time. "It's going to take a while. It's kind of like peace in Ireland or the Middle East."

A few weeks later, in early 1998, the two pets had an encounter on the South Lawn. "A very agitated Buddy approached the cat and began barking as the president restrained him with a green leash," The Associated Press reported. "Socks, hair raised high, stood his ground until Clinton and Buddy made their exit to the Oval Office."

But their pairing enchanted pet lovers, especially children. In 1998, then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton put out a book of children's letters to the two pets in "Dear Socks, Dear Buddy."

"Can you please send me a picture and a paw print," one youngster wrote Socks. "Do you have fleas? I think my cat has fleas."

In the book, the first lady wrote she had been taking daughter Chelsea to a piano lesson in spring 1991 when they spotted two kittens in the music teacher's front yard. "The black one with white paws — Socks — jumped right into (Chelsea's) arms," she wrote.

After the Clintons left in early 2001, Socks moved in with Currie. Buddy, meanwhile, made the move with the Clintons to Chappaqua, N.Y., but he was struck and killed by a car the following year.

Socks continued to live quietly with Currie, sometimes making appearances at programs held by pet welfare groups. Landau said Socks enjoyed sitting in the sun and that Currie doted on him, cooking him special chicken dinners.

Coincidentally, the White House cat in the Bush era, India, died Jan. 4 at 18, just weeks before Bush left office. Bush daughter Barbara, then 9, named the shorthaired black cat after former Texas Rangers player Ruben Sierra, nicknamed El Indio.

Like Socks, India had to share the White House with the canine side: the Bushes' Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley, who were immortalized in Internet videos.

Original here

'Steve Irwin' boarded, police seize 'kill' video

By Anne Mather

Steve Irwin returns to Hobart / Sam Rosewarne
Home ... the Steve Irwin is welcomed to Hobart shortly before police boarded / Picture: Sam Rosewarne
  • Log book, video confiscated by police
  • Video shows whale "being shot seven times"
  • Activists hope they end up in court

POLICE boarded the anti-whaling ship Steve Irwin when it arrived in Hobart last night and confiscated the ship's log book and video footage.

The film depicts some of the most dramatic whale-killing scenes ever seen, crew on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship told Hobart's Mercury.

Tasmanian crew member Andrew Perry said the video footage was harrowing because the Japanese whalers had become more brazen by the end of the hunting season and for the first time slaughtered a whale in full view of the Steve Irwin.

Mr Perry said the footage, taken from the ship's helicopter, showed a whaler's explosive-tipped harpoon piercing a whale. "The whale was then pulled alongside the (Japanese) boat and it was shot seven times with a shotgun."

He said the helicopter crew, filming for TV documentary show Animal Planet, then saw the whale thrashing and could hear it screaming.

Original here

Awww… Twitter helps you make friends with Shaq

by John Biggs

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So you don’t like Twitter, huh? Lots of pablum, not much content? No real human-to-human connectedness? Well you’re wrong, Mr. Ludd, because Twitter helped two guys meet Shaq.

Jesse Bearden was following The Real Shaq on Twitter and saw that he was at a diner near his office. Instead of saying “Twitter is not a uniter, it is an egocasting system designed for infantile neophiliacs who have little to offer the world except search engine optimization snake oil and web marketing consulting,” Jesse and his buddy went down to the diner and saw Le Shaq sitting in a booth getting his feed on.

They did a few passes and then Shaq twittered:

I feel twitterers around me, r there any twitterers in 5 n diner wit me, say somethin

The Force is strong with this one! Long story short, they sat down with Shaq, had some pictures taken, and found out that Mr. O’Neal was a great guy with a genuine interest in gadgetry.

“Of course” he said, “Pull up a seat” The behemoth slid over and patted the booth next to him. As I pulled out my phone to take a picture he snatched it out of my hand and inspected it.

“What’s this got? Windows Mobile?”
“Um… yeah”

So before you go off half-cocked saying Shaq is using the service for what amounts to free publicity in the nerdy emo irony circuit a la Mr. T, remember that Shaq is just a boy, sitting in front of two boys, asking them to accept his direct messages.

Original here

18 Students Are Suspended as Protest at N.Y.U. Ends

Yana Paskova for The New York Times
Clara Green, right, an N.Y.U. senior, at a rally held in Washington Square Park on Friday in support of a protest by students

By COLIN MOYNIHAN

A protest by New York University students seeking negotiations with school officials over financial and academic issues ended Friday after almost 40 hours, with students leaving a dining room that had been barricaded and a school spokesman announcing the suspensions of 18 of the participants pending a disciplinary review.

About two dozen students were still involved in the protest when security guards removed barricades made of tables and chairs in the late morning and swept into a third-floor dining room inside the Kimmel student center, said Banu Quadir, 21, a senior who participated in the demonstration.

Ms. Quadir said that those inside the room were photographed and asked to present identification and that school officials distributed letters to N.Y.U. students that stated, “You are suspended from, and classified as a persona non grata at New York University.”

Shortly after 1 p.m., several dozen students rallied across the street from the student center to acknowledge the protest.

Among them was Ms. Quadir, who said that about two dozen students inside the dining room awoke on Friday morning to find that electricity and their wireless Internet had been cut off.

John Beckman, an N.Y.U. spokesman, said, “From the outset, the university made clear to the protesters that they were violating the university rules and engaging in improper activity.”

He said that students had broken a lock on a door leading to a balcony that they had been forbidden to use and that a security guard had been injured on Thursday when a group of students who wanted to join the protest forced their way into the dining room.

After about 70 students took over the dining room on Wednesday night, they created a Web site (takebacknyu.com), where they listed demands, including a thorough annual reporting of the university’s operating budget, expenditures and endowment. They also asked that the university provide 13 scholarships a year to students from the Gaza Strip and allow graduate teaching assistants to unionize.

Some of the students who had been suspended said they would continue their campaign.

“We are fighting for transparency,” said Drew Phillips, a junior majoring in philosophy. “What we need right now is the support of everybody.”

Original here

It worked! Unemployed engineer who resorted to sandwich board advertisement by motorway lands a job

By Andrew Levy

An unemployed Briton who resorted to standing at a busy motorway junction advertising for work on a sandwich board has secured a job.

Engineer Jason Fruen, 39, took the drastic action after being made redundant five months ago.

Every day from 5.30am, the father-of-one had been standing for four hours at Junction 9 of the M60 by the huge Trafford Park industrial estate in Manchester, wearing a hoarding advertising his quest.

After his plight was publicised, Mr Fruen received a call inviting him to attend an interview with a firm in Trafford Park. And now his desperate attempts have paid off.

Jason Fruen with sandwich board

Fast track: Jason Fruen advertises his skills on a sandwich board beside the M60

'I've actually had a company offer me a position. I've had to have an interview and they've offered me a position,' Mr Fruen told BBC Radio 5 Live.

After losing his job as a maintenance engineer last September, he spent just one day there with his sandwich board before he was given a temporary job by the boss of a local company.

‘The guy told me frankly that he didn’t actually have a vacant position but that anyone prepared to do what I was doing deserved a chance,’ said Mr Fruen.

‘He was good enough to give me two and a half months work but last week he said he’d have to let me go.’

So, with a seven-year-old daughter, Cleo, who lives with her mother, and a £627-a-month mortgage to pay on his three-bedroom semi in nearby Little Hulton, he picked up his sandwich board again.

Jobseeker with billboard in New York during the Great Depression

Bad old days: A jobseeker adopts the same strategy in New York during the Great Depression

'In September I was made redundant and I got some seasonal work, a company in Manchester... They give me some work to get me through the Christmas period. That finished on last Friday.

'I got that job using this board and I've used it again.'

Mr Fruen will finalise the terms and conditions of his new job on Monday.

'I think we're going to see a lot more people adopting this way of looking for work,' he said.

'I've still got a mortgage to pay, that's why I was out there doing it. I've still got the cost of living and my bills to pay and I needed a job to do it.'

Mr Fruen's reminder of today's recession had echoes of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

His unashamed stunt is similar to the pre-war unemployed who desperately walked the streets of American cities with signs around their necks appealing for work.

Mr Fruen said the weekly visit to the JobCentre would be nowhere near enough to get himself back into work.

Fast approaching the age of 40, he decided that more drastic action was needed – that he would have to hit the road.

‘People have told me what I’m doing goes back to the 1930s but I hadn’t realised,’ he said. ‘My idea was just to advertise myself to as many people as possible. It’s one
of those needs must things.

‘There are jobs out there but the problem is there’s 50 or 60 people going for each one.’

Often seen waving back to motorists who sound their horns in support, Mr Fruen said yesterday: ‘I’m full of beans every morning and there are little things that keep you going.

‘People toot their horns and give me thumbs up signs and someone came over this morning and gave me a pot of tea and a sandwich.’

He added: ‘I’ve never been one to sign on. It’s just a discipline that I’ve got. And anyway Jobseeker’s Allowance of £60 or £70 a week is no good when you’ve got a mortgage.’

Mr Fruen's attitude has struck a chord with British Chambers of Commerce spokesman Sam Turvey.

He said yesterday: ‘British businesses and workers are having to show a real fighting spirit during this recession.’

Mr Fruen left school at 16 and went to work for a recycling firm where he was given one day off a week and studied for a City & Guilds in engineering.

He has subsequently worked for various firms and had a spell self-employed. Over the past seven years he has maintained high-speed packing machinery, earning more than £20,000 a year.

When he was made redundant last year he had two jobs lined up, again looking after packing machinery, but failed the medicals because he is slightly asthmatic and the job involves working with chemicals.

Original here

Facebook Won't Let You Remove Dead Relative's Page, Per "Policy"

By Ben Popken

UPDATE: Facebook Agrees To Take Down Dead Relative's Page. Facebook thinks it knows better than the sister of the deceased journalist Bill Bemister about what to do with his Facebook page. Stephanie Bemister sent them a copy of his death certificate and asked it get taken down for privacy and respect purposes. Unlike every other single social networking site she dealt with, Facebook said no. They have a better idea. Stephanie's letter inside...

Dear Ben,

It is great that organizations such as yours have such an impact for consumers. Please accept my heartfelt thanks for all you do.

I have a problem which has not been mentioned so far and I have to say I am heartbroken, angry and am lost for words.

My brother, William Bemister, died very suddenly mid November. He lived in Oxford, England. I went to the UK to hold a service for my brother who was divorced and lived on his own. However, if anyone believed he was just another single, and lonely middle-aged man with no friends or family to speak of, this was far from the truth. He was a successful Nazi hunter, Emmy award winning investigative journalist with thousands of contacts all over the world. He was about to start filming his next documentary, 'Admissible Evidence.'

He had a Facebook page. The day before he died he promised me he would accept me on his friends list. We spoke on the phone two, three times a week. And were very close even though thousands of miles apart. Also on his friends list were my two daughters, his nieces. He only knew, personally, three other women, the rest of his friends were strangers he met through Facebook Oxford links.

The dilemma I had was that he had posted a lot of personal information such as phone number, company website, email address. If you have ever lost someone you will appreciate that when someone dies you need to have this information removed quickly for several reasons: for security purposes, to stop strangers incessantly phoning and emailing the deceased and the worst of all, the sheer grief of dealing with hundreds of people who believe he is still alive and need to be informed of his death. It just made sense to remove his membership.

I emailed their 'privacy' division, attached a copy of his death certificate and asked them politely to remove his membership. Facebook refused with the following comment:

"Per our policy for deceased users, we have memorialized this person's account. This removes certain more sensitive information and sets privacy so that only confirmed friends can see the profile or find the person in search. The Wall remains so that friends and family can leave posts in remembrance."

Facebook is the only group social site that has refused to remove his membership. I am sickened by them. My two daughters are heartbroken as his face still remains on their own member's page. They will not delete him off their own pages or we will never know when or how his site will be deleted. There are strangers in his membership list who can write whatever they wish on his Wall and I, his next of kin and sister, cannot even view his page. It is horrible. How can Facebook be so insensitive to the wishes of a deceased member's family? I have never in my life felt so betrayed, angry and sickened.

What do they think they are doing? What if a teen dies for example. Parents are rarely invited onto their child's friends' list. Can you imagine what a parent would feel if they received such an inexplicable email from this company?

I have spoken to a number of advocate groups. They all say the same thing. They have never heard of such a thing, think it's disgraceful and suggest I would probably have more luck writing to Mark Zuckerberg a personal letter. If this issue is not common now, it will become a serious problem in the future as Internet users find that they have no rights over deceased family members.

Please help.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Bemister
Seattle, WA

Wow. Sounds like something a company that thinks it owns its users' content would do. While the policy is surely a well-intentioned "default" move, if the family requests for it to be taken down that request should be honored. If Stephanie is the estate's executor, it's not just ethics, but the law.

Original here

Seattle man accused of sinking his own yacht

By Mayra Cuevas-Nazario

(CNN) -- A Seattle man has been charged with insurance fraud for allegedly sinking his own yacht because of "financial pressure and frustration with the maintenance" of the vessel, authorities said.

The Jubilee sank in Puget Sound Bay last year.

The Jubilee sank in Puget Sound Bay last year.

On March 22, 2008, Brian Lewis, 50, scuttled the Jubilee in the Puget Sound Bay, then rowed a borrowed dinghy back to shore, according to court documents filed in February by prosecutors in King County, Washington.

Later that day, Lewis boarded a flight to take him to his job in Kodiak, Alaska, as a petty officer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to court documents.

Three days later, Lewis filled an insurance claim with USAA Insurance reporting the Jubilee sank accidentally "due to unknown causes."

However, due to environmental concerns, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources salvaged the vessel at a cost to the state of $2,866.

An inspection found a hole was drilled into the bottom of the Jubilee, and that two main engine sea strainers appeared to have been broken with a hammer.

"The vessel appeared to have been deliberately sunk," authorities said in their probable cause affidavit.

Confronted by investigators, Lewis admitted he intentionally sunk his vessel, saying the financial strain "caused him extreme anxiety and frustration."

Lewis told investigators "the engine trouble he experienced caused him to lose his temper. In his rage, he smashed the sea strainers with a hammer and drilled the hole to sink the vessel," the affidavit said.

"[He] wanted to clarify that his motive for sinking the vessel was anger and frustration, not greed," it added.

Prior to its sinking, the Jubilee had been listed for sale with Mahina Yachts for $28,500.

Jack Bateman, a broker with Mahina, remembers the Jubilee as a "beautiful" 1967 Chris Craft Cavalier. He said the Mahina has only seen this type of case one other time in its 30 years of operation.

"This is a very rare, not common occurrence" he says. Bateman added that Mahina has yet to see any real distress sales due to the bad economy.

The King County Prosecutor's Office has charged Lewis with making a fraudulent insurance claim.

Lewis filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2004. Messages left for him were not returned.

Original here

Shortlist of six of the nation's strangest book titles revealed

By Richard Alleyne

 Shortlist of six of the nation's strangest book titles revealed
Baboon Metaphysics by Dorothy Dorothy L Cheney and Robert M Seyfarth and Strip and Knit with Style by Mark Hordyszynski

In fact with names such as Curbside Consultation of the Colon and Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring, it is a wonder they will sell at all.

But they have been picked by The Bookseller Magazine for a shortlist of the strangest book titles published this year.

Previous winners of the accolade, run by The Bookseller magazine, include Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality, How to Avoid Huge Ships and Highlights in the History of Concrete.

Horace Bent, from the magazine said: "In this, the 31st year of the prestigious award, never have I found it so problematic to pick a shortlist of just six.

"At a time when the economic climate is forbidding and cost-cutting companies are ten-a-penny, I'm proud to report that the British publishing industry has remained as stubborn in the face of change as ever.

"Given the economic gloom, I would not have blamed publishers if they'd decided to slash their lists. But it gives me great pleasure to report that diversity lives!"

Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year was devised in 1978 by Bruce Robertson from The Diagram Group, the illustrators, when he was bored at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Sales Analyst at The Bookseller, Philip Stone said: "We received a huge number of entries this year and the debate was furious as to which would be included on the shortlist. Six seems such a cruelly low number given titles such as Excrement in the Late Middle Ages and All Dogs Have ADHD were rejected.

"We also had to exclude a few titles because they were published before 2008 - Monumental Beginnings: Archaeology of the N4 Sligo Inner Relief Road and one of my personal favourites, Sketches of Hull Authors. The latter was first published back in 1879, but thanks to "print on demand" - the wonderful saviour of "out of print" books - you can still purchase copies to this day."

The winner of the 2008 award will be chosen by an internet vote at http://www.thebookseller.com and will be announced on March 27, 2009.

The shortlisted titles are:

* Baboon Metaphysics by Dorothy Dorothy L Cheney and Robert M Seyfarth (University of Chicago Press)

* Curbside Consultation of the Colon by Brooks D Cash (SLACK Incorporated)

* The Large Sieve and its Applications by Emmanuel Kowalski (Cambridge University Press)

* Strip and Knit with Style by Mark Hordyszynski (C&T)

* Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring by Lietai Yang (Woodhead)

* The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais by Professor Philip M Parker (Icon Group International)

Original here

A Little Video Comedy

Humor is everywhere if you just look. I decided to have my friends at Flinch Studios, the folks who do our in arena Mavs videos put together a timely parody of the FreeCreditReport.com commercials. Enjoy !


Original here

5 lies told by college Freshmen on Spring Break

March is right around the corner and for many campuses that means Spring Break. For a lot of students the next few weeks will be etched into their memories for the rest of their lives. Don’t believe me? When you’re done reading, take a moment to call your dad and ask him “did you ever do any crazy shit on spring break?” Hopefully you’ve got ‘unlimited talk’ on your calling plan.

So while you’re guzzling alcohol, doing drugs, and having unprotected sex with strangers, do a good deed this year by taking a Freshmen under your wing - Spotting them is pretty easy.

I’m from Zeta Beta Tau (guy talking to guys) - We get hammered like every single night so coming down here is like another day at the office for me, nah mean?

The Truth - Hes never been in a fraternity, nor has he ever pledged. He really wanted to, but taking care of his pet turtle had priorities. You can either call him out by extending your arm to perform the secret hand shake, or just play along like you believe him.

turtle2ef3

I’m a Junior (guy talking to girls) - Ya one more year in that shit hole and I’m done. Hopefully I’ll regrow some of the brain cells I lost in these last 3 years of getting ripped. I’m sure you ladies know what I’m talkin bout’.

The Truth - As a Freshmen hes been to a total of three parties thus far. All of them took place at TGI Fridays.

tgifridays

I’m studying to be a musician (guy talking to girls) - I’m in like a band so I decided to take some audio courses, which are a total breeze.

The Truth - This is not a complete lie. He is taking an audio course but its for video game soundtracks. Sadly, he doesn’t know that many females find “audio designer” to be a more appealing title than “In a band.”

band-simpsons-2008-piece-international-band-beijing-summer-olympics-2008

Not sure what my GPA is (guy talking to girls) - I barley even go to class anymore, but I sold some weed to three of my professors so I should be fine.

The Truth - Hes pulling a 3.9 GPA. It would be a 4.0 but last semester he participated in a Call of Duty tournament during the week. The result was a B- on a test the following morning (he had been up all night, jacked up on Mountain Dew).

call-of-duty-4

I don’t have a boyfriend (girl talking to guys) - I was seeing this guy *hiccup* but not anymore…LETS PARRR *hiccup* TY!

The Truth - Four hours ago she was talking to her boyfriend from the hotel room. The call ended with “Miss you honey bear, can’t wait to see you.” Three gigantic margaritas later she’ll be doing body shots and swapping spit with guys shes never even talked to. While her boyfriend is in his dorm playing Xbox, she’ll be working a joystick of her own.

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Original here

Why Microsoft Will Never Be Cool (And Should Stop Trying)


By: Michael Swaim

In a move that shocked only those people who haven’t operated a personal computer in 20 years, Microsoft recently announced that they’d be “lightly borrowing” the Mac Store concept by launching their own chain of trendy mall-bound retail boutiques. They hope this will give them a more direct line of communication with their consumers, create a concrete relationship with the public and provide opportunities for public relations interface and a slick, coherent new image. You know, all the things it did for Apple.

But in case any Microsoft executives read this blog, I feel it’s my duty to inform them of two facts.

1. It won’t.
2. That’s okay.

Let’s back up. I think the best way to explain why the Microsoft stores are going to be a laughable failure is to answer the age-old debate between PCs and Macs. And here’s the answer, as disappointing as frothing fanboys may find it: they’re just different. Both have a place in the market, and they’ll make money as long as they stick to their rightful domain.

Macintosh is elitist. That’s its thing. That elitism may come in the form of family-friendly machines with bright colors and giant buttons, but it’s still an elitism, simply because of the level of image involved. Buying a Mac has become “a lifestyle choice,” from the Apple sticker on the rear window of your Prius to the black turtleneck guarding you against the fog of a Northern California morning.

And that elitism is built right into the machine. Apple’s slogan is “It just works,” but it could as well be “Hopefully it just works, because if it doesn’t you don’t have a lot of options.” They’ve gotten better since the Linux makeover but, by and large, if my Mac breaks down, I tend to just drop it from my balcony and order another.

The point is, Macintosh doesn’t have time to let you fiddle around with their insides; they’re too busy innovating. Also making out with Pixar.

Meanwhile, Microsoft represents the ultimate in computing populism. Buying a PC and loading up Windows says nothing whatsoever about your lifestyle beyond “I live and work in the 21st century.”

And by not cultivating any sort of coherent image, and copying other companies’ innovations with a ruthless efficiency that would make Edison proud, Microsoft has saved time better spent haphazardly licensing third-party companies to make their products and patching the shit out of their buggy software.

There’s a lot more to be said about how that’s only an oversimplification and how this one guy totally overclocked his G5 and it has a steampunk brass casing and meanwhile this other guy super-glued his PC case shut and was like “what?”, but the history of the two companies bears out that when they stick to their respective domains, there’s plenty of money to go around for both.

When Mac tried to copy Microsoft for a change and license their OS to third-party companies (yes, that happened), they nearly went bankrupt. That’s when Steve Jobs came back, put “i” in front of everything and made them trendier and more exclusive than ever.

Part of that process was opening an upscale boutique, part of it was innovating the shit out of some stuff (mp3 players, phones, what have yous), and part of it was developing the mythos that at the Mac offices, everyone rides razor scooters around with the Incredible family and somehow this updates Jaguar.

And guess what? Times are good again in the land of Mac.

But this strategy just won’t work for the PC, and to convince you of that (let’s be honest; I’m talking to you, Bill), here are a list of key changes Microsoft will have to incorporate into their storefront to stay true to the Windows image if they want to compete with the Mac stores.

Storefront

  • Mac Store: Large windows that remind you of nothing so much as a high-end Manhattan fashion boutique house oversized white posters featuring designer-colored boxes of digital wonder. You aren’t sure how they work, but you know they’re everything you need to make your life whole again.
  • Microsoft Store: The storefront seems to be constructed out of unopened Windows, Vista boxes mortared together and, as you watch, employees rotate the featured products just in time for the new ones to become obsolete.
  • Interior

  • Mac Store: Eight products sit on a glossy table. You have plenty of time to play with each, developing brief but significant relationships while you wait for your lunch break from the Sbarro’s to end.
  • Microsoft Store: A sprawling labyrinth of thousands of products threaten to topple from perches dozens of feet overhead. You jog through quadrants 1-6, scanning desperately for the tiny widget you need to fix your computer, but can find only slightly different versions of it. The helpful in-store map kiosk seems to be busy self-updating, so you blunder ahead aimlessly into the dark of another aisle. Then the Minotaur is upon you.
  • Support

  • Mac Store: A concierge will set up an appointment for you at the Genius Bar, where a 21-year-old with a lip piercing will take you on a journey of self-discovery and wonder, leading you down a dock of dreams and imparting upon you the wisdom of the ages. If your Applecare is still active, that is. If it’s not, you’re basically fucked. Also, sometimes the term “Genius” seems to be applied sarcastically.
  • Microsoft Store: A blind guide will lead you down a winding stone staircase and into the Geek Pit, where a gaggle of hissing men in tucked-in dressed shirts and jeans will wipe Cheetos off their hands, then paw over your computer and tell you how you could totally “up your modifier” by throwing a second processor in there, picking up some fans, and maybe RAIDing the internals. There’s also a guy biting the heads off chickens, but that was part of a misunderstanding at the employment office.
  • Games Section

  • Mac Store: The new iPhone has solitaire on it.
  • Microsoft Store: There is one.
  • You

  • Mac Store: You leave the store feeling hipper than you have all week, and breathe a sigh of deep contentment as you pop your earbuds in and rock some U2 all the way to a Starbucks latte.
  • Microsoft Store: As you re-emerge, staggering and dazed by the unfamiliar light of the sun, you turn back one last time, reveling in your survival. So basically, the same as when you leave a Fry’s.
  • See? All you’ve really got going for you is the games thing and, frankly, paying for a series of giant warehouses and staff just to sell games you don’t own the rights to isn’t going to pay the mortgage on your hollowed out mountain.

    If you absolutely must have a retail chain, you’ve got to pare down, stick to your strengths. I guess what I’m saying is, open an arcade. Now there’s a business model that’s timely as ever. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Fallout 3 to play on my Virtual PC.

    Original here

    8 Humiliating Japanese Ads Starring Oscar Nominees

    By Cole Gamble


    Oscar-nominated actors are the most dignified members of our species. They play the serious roles that inspire us and hold a special place of reverence in our culture.

    But not in Japan. In a country where demoralization is the national pastime, our revered actors, Academy Award nominees and winners both, sell their own dignity for a paycheck because they assume we Americans will never see it.

    But thanks to the Internet, we can celebrate their shame any time we want.

    #8.
    Sean Connery - Biogurt

    Sean takes a leisurely drive in the country with his nightmare rabbit-puppet-friend on route to his country house, which happens to be an enormous carton of yogurt.

    It makes sense that they went with Connery, since the product he's pitching here is called "Biogurt," a word that when we say it sounds like the noise you might make if someone asked you what you ate, and you tried to say the word yogurt while at the same time vomiting all over your shoes. Really, their only option was to get the only man who can make any word sound like the world's manliest lion purring in post-coital bliss. Or they could have renamed the product.

    As an aside, Connery once worked on a movie with Lana Turner. Her boyfriend, famed tough guy gangster Johnny Stompanato, believed they were having an affair. Johnny stormed onto the set and pointed a gun at Connery, only to have Connery take the gun from Stompanato and twist his wrist until he relented.

    Now watch this ad again, and appreciate what a multi-faceted man Sean Connery is.

    #7.
    Brad Pitt - Edwin Jeans

    In America, when we want to sell a product with ass, we just point the camera at the ass. Apparently, the Japanese need to be told to look at said ass.

    Here, Brad's giving a marketing lesson to this group of Japanese pedestrians. "Brad Pitt's ass in Edwin Jeans. Do you like?" Brad asks, employing an Italian accent, because half-assed Italian accents are the international language.

    "Look at ass!" Brad demands. "Look at famous ass in jeans! Buy jeans!!!"

    "Oh," speaks up one Japanese spectator, "you want us to buy that brand of jeans. Fine, perhaps you could tell me about their superior durability."

    "Ass in Jeans!" Brad insists.

    "Hmm," says another bystander, "are you saying we should buy these jeans because they are a great value, priced well below their competitors?"

    "ASS JEANS!"

    "He's rubbing his ass," says another. "He must be telling us these jeans are really comfortable too."

    "Mamma Mia! ASSSSSSSSSSJEANSSSSSSSSSS!"

    The Japanese bystanders all smile, believing this screaming man is dangerous.

    #6.
    Nicolas Cage- Sankyo

    Nicolas Cage does not have an agent.

    We're not going to blame the Japanese for the oddity of this ad. We believe this is all Nic Cage; just Cage being Cage. We imagine it went something like this:

    Cage: Alright guys, I got this whole thing worked out. We start with me as a cowboy.

    Japanese Ad Exec: Excuse me? I am honored you have agreed to endorse our product, but do you even know what product we're selling?

    Cage: Hush, you're interrupting my process. So anyway, I'm a cowboy decked out in silk. A real frilly, silky cowboy with the rootin' tootins and all that stuff. Then I come upon some aliens.

    Japanese Ad Exec: Aliens?

    Cage: Aliens made of balls. And at first I'm all like, "What in tarnation?!" We're gonna fight, right? Intergalactic war. No! Instead we dance. They shake their balls and do their alien shuffle dance and I'm all like, "giddy up!"

    Japanese Ad Exec: I'm afraid I don't-

    Cage: I know what you're sayin', "Hey, Nicky Cage, all this silky cowboy and alien balls and dancin' sounds real faggy. But that's when we hit 'em with the switcharoo. I totally butch it up at the end by head butting the head ball alien guy, right in the ball!

    Japanese Ad Exec: Uh, thank you for your creative input, but we only have one day to shoot and don't have any of those things.

    Cage: No worries, I already filmed it.

    Japanese Ad Exec: You what?

    Cage: (galloping away on a stick horse) Yahoo! Giddy up! Whaoooo!

    #5.
    Dennis Hopper - Tsumura

    Dennis loves rubber duckies and forgot he's not in a David Lynch movie.

    We defy anyone to figure out what Dennis is selling in this ad. We think the only thing he's selling is crazy, in which case this is the most perfect alignment of celebrity endorser and product ever. Dennis Hopper guzzles crazy like a Hummer guzzles gasoline; like Amy Winehouse guzzles... well, gasoline.

    Dennis tells a fellow, "I want to show you something." (NOTE: If Dennis Hopper ever asks to show you something, do not follow him to a second location). What does Dennis have to reveal? A rubber duckie and a bizarre bath time practice of getting hopped up on inhalants and mercilessly screaming at the duck.

    Then he asks the fellow what his favorite beer is. The man answers "Pabst Blue Ribbon" and Dennis just looks at his feet.

    #4.
    Harrison Ford - Kirin Beer

    When you have created two of cinema's most enduring characters in Indiana Jones and Han Solo, what do you do next? If you're Harrison Ford, you brush up on your mime work.

    Harrison's just kicking it in a towel with a sweaty Japanese guy, as he is wont to do anytime he's got a free moment. Harrison wonders aloud, and in Japanese, if he could have a Kirin Japanese Lager.

    Through the magic of pantomime, his swarthy sauna mate creates a fresh, cold beer out of thin air. So convinced is he with this piece of theatrical wizardry, Harrison reaches out with a "glass" to take part in the imaginary beer.

    But even dream beer cannot compete with the superior flavor of Kirin Beer, so the two dash out to replenish their dehydrated selves with refreshing alcohol. Yeah, it's pretty disheartening to see Han Solo pimp beer, but we think it's safe to say we'd rather Harrison did a million more Kirin beer commercials than the last Indiana Jones movie.

    #3.
    John Travolta - Tokyo Drink

    In Japan, John Travolta is a master of karate, jazzercise and headbands.

    Travolta belongs to an athletic club made entirely of light where all five members workout rhythmically to the same song over and over about a guy contemplating date rape. When Travolta turns and says the name of the product he is either doing history's twitchiest version of "the snake" dance move, or being attacked from below like the girl at the beginning of Jaws.

    We didn't think it was possible, but this commercial is more 80s than the actual 80s.

    #2.
    Paul Neman - Maxwell Blendy Coffee

    Fuck up somebody's birthday? Paul Newman will put his hand over his mouth like he is an audeince member at the Def Comedy Jam. Fear not, he will be struck by an idea so ingenious that it overpowers his entire body. Sadly, his idea turns out to be to drink Japanese instant "Blendy" coffee and repeatedly point at you.

    Oh Paul. Poor dearly departed Paul. Did you ever think all those years of building a towering, sterling reputation would be undone by something called a "YouTube?" What's with all the pointing? Is it a cocky Shooter McGavin point? If so, it seems unwarranted. Or is it a threatening Hulk Hogan point, meant to convey that some ass-kicking is going to take place later?

    Also, who the hell is he pointing at? Is it shot from the point of view of one of the dinner guests, or is Paul just pointing at some camera that only he can see? Either way, everyone else at the party must be fucking terrified. They could have taken the product pitch out of this ad and presented it as a piece of experimental cinema at Cannes. Film scholars would still be debating these questions today.

    #1.
    Sylvester Stallone - Ito Ham/Bayern Sausage

    Two-time Oscar nominee Sylvester Stallone (what, you forgot Rocky?) materializes in a thick of flowers to invade an innocent family's home and demand pork.

    This ad is actually based on an old Japanese proverb:

    "One day a man made of beef jerky dressed in white linen will rise from the fields of cornflowers. You will accept him into your house. He will bring a gift. The gift will be ham. You will not refuse his ham gift. He will force you and your family to watch him eat the ham. Do not speak directly to him or your soul will be sucked away to the Land of Wind and Tears. Should you successfully appease this spirit, he will leave a handful of teeth on your bathroom sink." Yeah, Japanese proverbs suck.

    But Japanese ham companies would be silly to pay a known star like Sly all that money and not cash in on his famous personas. And really, who better to sell ham than Rambo and Rocky?

    When Rambo came back from the war, he brought the war with him. The war for delicious ham! Rambo murders many foreign people. Then he runs down a beach and dreams of ham. In the second half of the spot we catch up with Rocky who, as everybody knows, beats the snot out of people. Now Rocky implores us to enjoy that snot on succulent Ito Ham.

    But if you thought Sylvester is a one trick ham pony, you severely underestimate Sly's range. He can sell sausage too.

    When Sly goes golfing, he thinks of nothing but waterfalls of sausage. That sound of forking sausage will officially haunt our dreams indefinitely.

    Original here