Saturday, June 28, 2008

I have a theory...

A story has been rolling around the media this week about a University of Colorado research study linking bumper stickers (and window signs and bobbleheads and other decorative gewgaws, collectively called "territory markers") to dangerous driving behavior.

Drivers who put stickers on their cars, the study says, are more likely to drive aggressively, lose their temper, and/or succumb to "road rage". The more stickers they put on their cars, the more likely they are to behave badly, and the worse they behave when they do lose it.

And it does not matter what the stickers actually say. Left or right, secular or religious, "honor student" or "I spayed my dog" all indicate that the drivers feel more possessive of the "personal space" surrounding their vehicles.

My own theory is that the more bumper stickers the driver puts on his car, the more likely the aggregate message will be politically liberal. Here in the city of Atlanta, of course, most voters are Democrats, therefore most bumper stickers are for liberal causes, so anecdotal evidence would seem to confirm the theory--

But it would be unwise to take that as anything resembling proof.

Copy of fav_0004Still, when I see this car--

Well, I drive cautiously until he's out of sight.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I dreamt of something bigger

No, your eyes do not deceive you. That is a six-foot-tall, anatomically correct sock monkey.

No trick photography was involved, and no actual sock monkeys were harmed in the production of this masterpiece.

See Verkstad, via Erin O'Brien.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

How to fill time on the news

From's Best of the Web:
  • Many Hollywood Celebrities Rally Behind Obama (Reuters)
  • Actors' Strike Could Hurt Mass. Movie Biz (Boston Herald)
  • PETA Slams Jessica Simpson for 'Real Girls Eat Meat' T-Shirt (
  • Menus With Fancy Font Can Mean Fancy Prices: Study (Reuters)
  • Locked Door Thwarts Robber (Mobile Press-Register)
Recently flagged as "Obvious" by readers of
I'll take "The Flippin' Obvious" for $100, Alex...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The consummate professional

What does it mean to be a professional actor?

It means that you give it everything you've got, even when you're giving it to a felt-tip pen.

Can you imagine any other actor (that is, any other actor who didn't really need the money) throwing himself into this with such gusto?

The gayness of Charles Nelson Reilly was perhaps the worst-kept secret in Hollywood. He was told it would keep him from getting work. Some weeks you could spin the dial and Reilly was on every channel at the same time. Thank God he was gay, or it would have been All Charles Nelson Reilly, All The Time.

(Saw the clip at Mark Evanier's News From Me.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Degrees of unhappiness

In the news business, and especially in the newspaper business, each season brings a collection of evergreen story topics. January sees polar-bear swims and Martin Luther King day. In February, it's valentines and groundhogs. And so on.

We seem to be seeing a new summertime theme: College graduates utterly unprepared for the Real World, astounded that their sparkling new degrees, acquired through undeniable hard work and at appalling expense, have not translated into fulfilling yet lucrative positions.
Chronic financial instability weighs on philosophy major
[Scranton Times Tribune]

“I’ve been working since I was 15 and I still have nothing,” said Ms. Pollack, 28. “It seems like that’s always the situation, even when I have a job. I have no money because I’m giving it to everybody else.”

A student of philosophy, she is frustrated by the domineering hold the greenback has, but resigned to the task at hand — to find a way to make a livable income and one day rise above the stacks of bills to enjoy an existence free from worry over the smallest everyday expenses.
I've commented on this phenomenon before, of course. Instead of making fun of this newest example (I really don't have the heart), I'll just say what I've said before:

The blame lies with the student herself, and with her advisors. My own journalism school advisor told me that my intended minor subject (art) would not help me find a job, and all but made me change it to political science, a subject I hated then and hate now. (I didn't really want to be a reporter: I wanted to work in production. I wanted to make the newspaper look better.)

I would suggest that philosophy advisors, distateful as it may be (not to mention running counter to your self-interest), ask your students how they expect to make money with a degree in philosophy. You can't make 'em act on it, but you can at least put the question in their heads. They trust you, and they don't deserve to be rudely surprised the day after commencement.

Sometimes it's too easy

In Corio, Victoria AU, a man texted a video of himself masturbating to a woman while she was at the police station in the process of filing a complaint against him.

I know, "stupid criminal" stories are all too common, and often untrue, but this one is so far over the top I had to pass it along. In addition, it appealed to me because it's a form of self-incrimination that wasn't possible, say, five years ago.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Not what you're picturing

closet girl 01 Originally uploaded by eley88
I thought of this image when I saw this story. I mean, any healthy red-blooded man who thinks about finding a Japanese woman in his closet is naturally going to think of a woman who looks like this. "Please don't turn me in," she'll say breathily, as if this is The X-Rated Diary of Anne Frank. "I'll do anything..."
Japan man discovers woman living in his closet
[Reuters / Yahoo]

A Japanese man who was mystified when food kept disappearing from his kitchen, set up a hidden camera and found an unknown woman living secretly in his closet, Japanese media said Friday.

The 57-year-old unemployed man of Fukuoka in southern Japan called police Wednesday when the camera sent pictures to his mobile phone of an intruder in his home while he was out on Wednesday, the Asahi newspaper said on its Website.

Officers rushed to the house and found a 58-year-old unemployed woman hiding in an unused closet, where she had secreted a mattress and plastic drink bottles, the Asahi said. Police suspect she may have been there for several months, the paper said.
An unused closet? What kind of home has one of those?

(I hope she won't mind me using her picture this way...)