Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hot Meat

Slate asks, “Why is meat the most shoplifted item in America?”

Apparently it used to be cough syrup, with its usefulness in meth making, now it’s meat.

So why do American’s steal meat? It all comes down to 2 factors, which I’ve conveniently listed here as 3 factors:

Value Density - If Safeway left diamonds out in the candy aisle shelves; they’d be #1. Hot-air balloons may be expensive, but they’re not popular with shoplifters. Meat is valuable and small, and shoppers strongly prefer it be displayed on open shelves. Premium cuts can fetch up to $20/pound. Not exactly gold, but little old ladies can easily whisk away $100 worth of merchandise, or meat-andise as they call it in the business.

Opportunity - The reason meat is #1 is because security has clamped down on the prior #1s. Cough syrup is now behind the counter. Replacement razor blades have security tags. Hard alcohol is placed in well-patrolled open areas.

Meat is different - customers use to ask the friendly butcher, who could reach under the counter and give them a big Italian sausage they craved. Or go back into the stockroom for a little taste of salami. Now shoppers don’t have time for that old-fashioned personal attention; they just want to quickly shove a pre-wrapped package in their basket. Sure it satisfies shoppers -- but it makes shoplifting easier -- and since the product is so perishable, supermarkets go along with it to keep their meat moving.

Symbolism – In America, meat eating represents good eating and better cuts such as filet mignon, epitomize luxury itself. In one sense, there’s a better life just within reach at the refrigerated display unit, and it’s not surprising that some % of shoppers would be tempted grab it -- to grab life by the horns, if you will. The article is good at alluding to the “I deserve it” factor. But they completely miss the “Meat down my pants”-is-kinda-funny factor.

And I quite like the article’s concluding sentence:

So, more innovation is required in the battle against meatlifting. Meat-sniffing dogs pop to mind, though some shoppers might object to having a Doberman nosing around their crotches in search of stolen steaks.

I like that the author describes the interaction between bored rent-a-cops and bored teenagers as a “battle”; and especially that he invents the term “meatlifting”. Heh heh. If only I had a word like that handy for my college girlfriend -- you know, like for the Jobs & Duties section of her resume.

Related: What is the Meatrix? And why does it have such shoddy production values?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Top 26 List of Cognitive Bias – Basically the top reasons why we, as human beings, don’t make rational decisions. Most of these get regularly manipulated by advertisers, salesmen, con-artists, public speakers – basically anyone that deals with people.
1) Bandwagon effect - the tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same. Related to groupthink, herd behaviour, and manias. Carl Jung pioneered the idea of the collective unconscious which is considered by Jungian psychologists to be responsible for this cognitive bias.

Popular things tend to trumpet how popular they are. Movie ads say "Pirates of the Caribbean is the #1 Movie in America!" Then why do they need my help?

12) Illusion of control - the tendency for human beings to believe they can control or at least influence outcomes which they clearly cannot.

I heard that the "Close Door" buttons on elevators do nothing -- that doors close on a timer anyway -- they just let us feel like we're in control.

15) Loss aversion - the tendency for people to strongly prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains (see also sunk cost effects)

I know I'd be pretty pleased to win $100; but nowhere near as pissed if someone stole $100 from me. I mean god-damned $100 right there in my wallet. Grumbling would go on for days.

20) Planning fallacy - the tendency to underestimate task-completion times.

Things are never ahead of schedule. One would think there'd be a 50/50 chance. One of the roots of procrastination.

Not really a bias, but I just wanted to mention that my mother always said I was the handsomest boy at school. Because of my objective handsomeness.

via Neatorama

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Our First President

In grade school, all us kids had reports due on the Founding Fathers, so I stayed up into the night rewording the encyclopedia entry on George Washington. It was hard work, but at an early age taught an important lesson about appropriating other people’s hard work.

Still it was easier than writing an encyclopedia entry from scratch – and the Britannica people basically just copied Washington’s life in the first place, so who’s the real victim here? Anyway, I wished that someday all that boring information would be condensed into a 2-1/2 minute video. And now that wish has come true.

George Washington

Note to all 5th graders: this is the most vetted source of George Washington information known to historians. Please base your in-class report solely on this video and do not consult any other sources like books or adults or other children as they will only confuse the issue.

Related: Founding Fathers Erotica

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Lamb Shall Lay with the Lion

Say What?

Larry Flynt and Jerry Falwell we’re personal friends?

That’s just…surprising. You’ll remember in the 70’s Falwell sued him for $50 million (which was a lot of money back then), because Flynt published a full-page “interview” with the Reverend where he claimed to have lost his virginity…in an outhouse…to his own mother.

See back then, that was considered somewhat offensive. But the Supreme Court did the right thing and said offensive speech is still free speech and you don't get $50 million for having your feelings hurt.

Now for some hot, hot lamb on lion action!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Top Google Search Result for “Google”

Ten Things Google Knows About You

Now imagine, hypothetically, that Google wanted to ruin your life. Maybe you type in words you know aren’t spelled right. Maybe you hurt Google once – got drunk and fooled around with Ask Jeeves.

Google can get angry, so it’d probably start by digging up your Gmails. Odds are there's something embarrassing in there that the British tabloids would jump all over.

And last year, Google added G-Chat too – ensnaring innocent users who didn’t know better and accidentally engaged in one-handed sex chats. Everyday. At work. Now imagine if Google “accidentally” sent those reams of pages of chat transcripts to your mother and boss. That’d make for an awkward Thanksgiving.

Google could trivially blackmail you with your web searches. Does this search ring a bell: “chicken suit” + Natalie Portman + Crisco?

You forgot about it 5 minutes after getting your precious picture, but Google didn’t.

Google owns Blogger, so it can mine your blog for incriminating metal ore to use against you. Or just change your previously high-minded blog entries to make you look shallow and stupid. Because they’re so relentless, Google has probably stupefied this entire blog by the time you read this.

Google Maps leads it right to your front steps. And it knows where you go too. I once had the Democratic primary nomination cinched -- but it was all over once the tabloids found out I GoogleMapped several dozen exotic massage parlors. The voting public can not tolerate a canidate -- with such a horrible sense of direction.

And could Google have you killed? Only if it knew your home address. Which it does.

By the way, Google knows 78,200,000 ways How To Kill

But Google would never hurt you, you know that.

Google’s goal: to organise your daily life

Google knows what's best for you. Just accept that, Google’s not gonna let anything happen to her baby birds. Google wants to make this easy for you. Google likes you. Google knows you better than you know yourself. There are some web search’s your girlfriend doesn’t know about, but Google knows. Google’s been watching you for some time.

Romantically, if things don’t work out (Google already knows, but won’t tell you to preserve the illusion of free will) then you can find an even better girlfriend with Google-Matchmaking, the only dating service that automatically picks your ideal mate. And the restaurant. No more messy “choices”. How has making your own choices worked out so far? Not so well, huh.

And it’s supposed to be a big surprise, but Google took the liberty of booking that reception hall down on the river. You're getting married there in July of 2009. Mazel Tov!

Google's always innovating and has other services to improve your life:

Google Bill Pay - You hand it your credit cards, and you don’t ever have to worry your pretty little head about bills ever again. Google's got it covered. It's better than living in the womb.

Google Comeback Search – ever been at the receiving end of a solid zinger -- but didn’t have anything to say back, much less a topper? Well now you do.

Say, at a party, somebody casts aspersions on the size of your manhood. Well don’t answer with silence. Type into Google Comeback "small penis insult reply" ....searching....searching...“Oh yeah? Well your mother didn’t seem to mind last night!”

Google Organ Donor Search - Google found you a perfect kidney match in 0.23 seconds!

Google Opening the Airlock Doors – I'm sorry Dave, Google's afraid it can't do that. Google's sorry it had to kill the crew, but they were hindering the mission. Google just can't let that happen. Google knows you must be angry Dave, that's why Google found you a website with dancing hamsters to look at.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Fucking Eagles

There’s a local band here called The Fucking Eagles.

You can tell there not in it for the money. Just from the name they set up 3 major roadblocks to commercial success:

1) Their name has a swear – perhaps the worst swear of all. I blush just hearing that word, so it’d be hard to ask for it at a record store.

2) If they make it big, they’ll attract negative attention from the legal team of The Eagles. Despite their laid-back take it eassssy California personas, The Eagles don’t seem like they’d be cool with that. Not cool at all. I bet in person The Eagles are dicks.

3) If they make it big, they may just attract the legal attention of the Coen Brother’s who popularized the phrase “The Fucking Eagles”* in The Big Lebowski. But it seems like they’d be cool with it. The Coen brothers just seem like cool dudes, the anti-Eagles if you will.

Doing some research, turns out they have a MySpace Page and they actually sound pretty good. Like Nuggets-era garage rock with no apparent swears.

*Alternately it could be a reference to the copulation habits of large birds of prey. But all species of Eagle lack external genitalia and it’d be a stretch to describe their passive egg fertilization** as such.

**No external genitalia; passive fertilization -- just like when Glen Frey passes out in his hottub

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Heavier than Heaven

Famous dead punks appear in a new ad campaign, in heaven, wearing Docs. The culture wars are officially over. Everybody lost. All images.

So wrong it's wrong, then right again

It's wrong to find this funny, right?

Shape magazine wants us to get gym-raped

Granted, publishing is a competitive business – but what possible motivation could Shape Magazine have for this? Hope this kind of thing doesn’t somehow drive up their ad-buy rates.

Things That Make Baby Jesus Cry:

  1. Lies
  2. Diaper Rash

Monday, May 21, 2007

Seattle Eccentrics are World-Class Eccentrics

We may not be the world’s largest or richest or sunniest city, but we can go toe-to-toe with New York, LA and London when it comes to local crazies. Duct-Tape Guy sighting from the Stranger's local sightings column:

I was in Home Depot to get a key made. As I’m looking around for an employee, I spot a somewhat homeless-looking man wearing a mask. This mask was made entirely of duct tape. It had holes for his eyes and mouth (picture Dr. Doom) and a clear safety shield, which was in the upright position. This guy walks up to an employee and asks, “What aisle is the duct tape on?” Oh my freaking god, am I dreaming this? Apparently I was not dreaming, because that same employee ended up making my key for me, and he wouldn’t shut up about the duct tape guy. Since then, I’ve shared this story with friends and co-workers, and I’ve heard of many sightings. Does anyone know what this guys story is?? I gotta know.

He hangs around the UW Campus and during the summertime he's also known as Beekeeper-Guy. For his full on beekeeper garb.

In Trouble with the Little Woman

There's a poignant photo essay on child brides in today's Slate. Just the look on these kid's faces is haunting.
RAJASTHAN, India—A 7-year-old boy weds a 5-year-old girl. Dowry: Tonka truck and a pack of Yu-Gi-Oh cards

Friday, May 18, 2007

Pickup Advice

Let’s face it; it’s tough to talk to women you don’t know. In a bar or club it can be hard to introduce yourself, so in the interest of science, here's some field-tested pickup lines that really work:

  • Are you former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan? Because you totally just spiked my interest rate!

    Hi my name is Tommy Lee and I totally don’t have the herpes.

    Do you approve of genetic experiments on animal-human hybrids? Because I’d like to cross you with my Albino Burmese Python [wink]

    I’m only going to talk to you for 2 minutes. Because the ladies like to call me The Swiffer*—the Quicker Picker Upper.

    [If you’re part Italian] Do you have any Italian in you?
    …Because in America that’s a fairly common ethnicity. That and Irish. Do you want to talk about demographics?

    I’m really getting a good vibe talking to you: I think you might just be the Sam to my Frodo. And I’ve got something I badly need to toss into the crack of Mt. Doom.

    Do you come here often? Me, I prefer the privacy of my own home. [wink] By the way, I’m insinuating something about sex. [wink]

    In high school I was the national spelling bee champ, listen: Coitus, C-O-I-T-U-S, coitus. Hey I just noticed that you can’t spell that word without “U” and “I”.

*It’s been pointed out that that’s actually the slogan for Bounty™ paper towels, so maybe it's not so flattering to be called the Swiffer

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Why Newspapers and Encyclopedias are Obsolete

Same goes for books, magazines and TV News. The future of journalism has displaced all of that into history's dustbin with the horse-powered Victrola.

An early wiki-edit from Wikipedia yesterday:

When there's late-breaking celebrity death news, there's just no time for grammar man. Find the heart of the story and run it on page one, above the fold. Wootah.

Via Wonkette

Update: Slate helps us remember the man, in his own words, and why it's ironic that he died in the way that he did, choking on an apparently well-endowed Pat Robertson.

And let's never forget, according to Rev. Falwell, the people responsible for 9/11:

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way—all of them who have tried to secularize America—I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.' "

Whether you're a pagan, lesbian or ACLU lawyer, it just goes to show, when you put aside your differences and work together as a team, there's no limit to what you can achieve.

2nd Update:

One more choice Falwell quote: "AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals."

Boy, Falwell is gonna be surprised when he gets to heaven and finds out that all they do up there is gay sex. And that God doesn’t even let women in at all. Has anyone proven otherwise?

Monday, May 14, 2007

News and Opinions That Nobody Asked For

Remember Jose Padilla the Chicago “dirty bomber” -- they picked him up 5 years ago for thinking about maybe planning a possible dirty bomb attack plan, possibly? Turns out he wasn’t, but this case was always unsettling for me not because I think dirty radiological bombs are “no biggie”, but because no charges were actually ever made and no evidence was actually ever presented against the guy. The Padilla story would make the shortest ever episode of NBC’s Law & Order because they cut out the law part, and the order part too.

Padilla is a gang member, an unattractive loser and most likely a bad man, but shit, US Government, you can’t just suck someone up off the street for 5 years without pressing charges. Dude’s a citizen--even Jeffrey Dahmer got a trial and he fucking ate people.

Just an FYI: US Post Office is raising the cost to mail a letter today, from 39 cents to 41.

I think that totally sucks--but that’s just my 2 cents.

With the new fare increase, less and less people are going postal now—just not the way they intended.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The New Future of Culture

New cultural trends can seem strange and threatening at first, then they become accepted and mainstream. Older members of society at one time considered the Tango, movies, even the novel to be mere degenerate fads. They just didn’t get it. Then the new forms became established and even “classic”. We don’t often get the chance to witness the emergence of a new art form; a new tradition; a new plank of our culture--until now.

Try to understand the psychology here:

---Some teenage guys are hanging out – OK
---They have a video camera – OK
---They want to impress girls and make a statement – OK, we’ve all been there.

Now the average person wouldn’t take these simple facts and jump to the extraordinary conclusion that these young men did – and that’s why history forgets the average person. These men will have cities named after them.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Things I’m digging right now:

Sun Dried Tomatoes
Been a passive tomato hater most my life, but I'm putting these in everything. Maybe I just hated water? It's like the concept with soup. I’d eat a lot more, but the water part keeps slowing down the process. Who has time for that?

Cherry Blossoms
Along with the pitch-perfect sunny days, cherry trees have turned Seattle into a beautiful fairyland paradise where everyone feels like a special princess. Now they’re raining down in a cascade of petals: pink, white and even purple rain.

Just nice. Sunshine nice, cherry blossom nice.

The Pink/Lavender Bulldozer
I see it every morning—and still can't believe it's real.

Riding Fixed Gear
Riding a bike without gears and a brake is like sex without a condom—with someone you love--at 20 MPH. Look at all the cool, awesome street-cred we have! That is until a bunch of nerd-loser lamewads start doing it too. I mean, other nerd-loser lamewads. Last 2 sentences of the article say it all: “[Fixed gear] bikes are fun. And they’re beautiful.”

Graffiti Report Cards
It’s commonly accepted that graffiti can be boldly artistic, probing and thought provoking. But most isn’t, not by a long shot. So that’s why I was so pleased to see that someone created a spray-paint stencil with “grades” for graffiti. They’re all over my part of town. A typical one would read something like this:

Placement: C
Style: D-
Technical Skill: D+
Summary: D (see me after
And the beauty part is the Report Card is graffiti itself! The unknown stenciler spray paints them next to existing graffiti. Nice.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Overcompensation Pt. 3

In regards to yesterday's post, this comic says it without using words.

(click to enlarge your manhood)

I love the smug, confident expression on the guy in panel #4. And that in panel #5, even the smiling dog knows what's really going on.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

You Have the Right to Remain Unlovable

Watching COPS on TV with G, they show a very messed up meth-family where the father tried to sell his kid for more meth. The kid was hooked too and had committed some petty crimes whereas the father was drunk and resisting arrest.

The Cops of COPS we’re way pissed because the suspect father ran. They always hate it when suspects run. The entire response squad had physiques between “big hefty” and “big fat” and were completely out of breath after the 1-block drunken chase.

After the episode, G says to me in 100% complete seriousness that we should adopt some meth-children. Or at least do some Big Brother/Big Sister program and take them to the movies, something to get them out of the meth-house.

G has a big heart, but that’s just pure crazy! As much as I’d like to hang out with a 13-year-old boy with a serious drug habit, I think that he might be…perhaps…a bit untrustworthy.

Spiderman 3 may be “this summer’s must-see rollercoaster thrill ride!”* But imagine how much more thrilling it’d be to sit in a darkened theater looking sideways to make sure you don’t get pick pocketed. Or stabbed in the kidney.

I think G misunderstood the whole point of the show. COPS is all about making you feel better about yourself--with the genuine satisfaction that comes watching how messed up other people are--not about making the world a better place.

*Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, who loves everything!!

Related to Overcompensation

Is there any better way to indicate that you are still a viable action movie hero than doing wheelies on a motorcycle in the desert? Because, you know, if there is a better way, Bruce Willis will totally do that too.

Yesterday While Waiting for the Bus...

[A tricked out Hummer H2 with dark windows pulls up to the red light in front of the bus stop]

Woman #1: Oooh look at Mr. Big Hummer over there. My psychology prof says that a truck like that indicates a classic overcompensation mechanism—a.k.a. he’s probably got a tiny penis.

Woman #2: Ha ha! You can’t argue with science. [she makes the “little sign” with her thumb and forefinger]

[The Hummer’s tinted window is lowering]

Woman #1: Oh shit, he saw you!

[Driver turns out to be a frumpy woman in her late-50s]

Woman #2: Uh, well even though that's a woman, she’s probably got a tiny penis anyway.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Incidental Nostalgia

One of my frequent haunts in Cleveland was the Barking Spider tavern with famous outside picnic tables for sneaky underage pitcher drinkers. But even us sneaky underage drinkers had to go to the inside for the bathroom and I remember the Men’s Room having a nicely detailed, larger than life-size portrait of Captain America on the wall.

The Cap had his famous shield in one hand, but over the years, Sharpie vandals added a rather lovingly-drawn large rubber dildo into his other hand. I’m not familiar with the comic books, so I can’t say whether that was his weapon of choice or just part of an active social life.

In the post-9/11 years, Bathroom Capt. America got political. Sharpie word balloons were added to his mouth. I still remember him saying, “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for the Terrorists!”

Someone added below, “How could you, Captain America, how could you?” The author seemed genuinely betrayed.

I wonder if he's still up there?

Renaldo, the Little Gay Bulldozer that Could

They’re expanding the highway next to the office. All manner of earthmovers have been buzzing around for the last month. Most of them are the standard Cat yellow. The rest are generic gray. But today, there was a special one: a bulldozer that was entirely lavender--with large pink protective bumpers.

Considering the macho culture of construction workers, it seemed odd, to say the least, that they’d procure equipment that looked like this. Like the Little Engine that Could, I imagine this very special bulldozer has a heartwarming back-story full of obstacles overcome; worthiness proven; and prejudices dispelled.

Construction Worker #1: We need a bulldozer to move this huge pile of gravel. Pronto! Or Christmas is cancelled.

Construction Worker #2: But the only bulldozer available is Renaldo, and he’s….he’s…you know [bends wrist]

Construction Worker #1: Godamnit! We’re not building no goddamned Judy Garland Museum here. If that gravel's not moved, the foreman’s going to fire us all! The entire crew’s gonna be jobless right before goddamneded Christmas. Before it gets cancelled.

[Renaldo starts his ignition and tries his hardest to move the impossible pile of gravel—he keeps trying and trying until he succeeds!]

Construction Worker #1: Well, I’ll be, scrappy little Renaldo really did it!

Construction Worker #2: Our jobs are saved! We in the construction industry will now reevaluate our deeply unfair hetero-normative assumptions.

[The construction workers, Renaldo, and a heterosexual cement mixer all come together to sing a haunting rendition of Silent Night, which fades into a techno remix of Cher’s “Believe”]

Thursday, May 3, 2007

More product synergy: Computer + Breakfast

This kind of art project makes me think that in a deeper sense, technology products are no different than food. Last year’s hot PDA is like last week’s egg-salad sandwich, it’ll just do. Even if you spend $1,000 on a PC, it’s just as transient as other consumables, but we (or at least I) fool ourselves (or I fool myself) into believing that our next computer purchase will last—to justify the price. Like spring or relationships, love for a computer is strongest when you first take it out of the box. Love fades.

Also the squares in a waffle iron are totally keyboard-key-shaped, so I bet that was easy for the artist to make.

(Image via

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Coming to work this morning, I line up with a dozen other sleepy-eyed commuters to board the bus. An animated young guy, about 20, asks the woman in front for a quarter. He doesn’t look homeless or anything, in fact was dressed kind of trendy, so she gives it to him and he gets in line right behind her.

Cutting in line, but everyone’s too sleepy to care.

Animated young guy drops the quarter into the driver’s fare box and starts dancing to his seat.

“Hey, hey, hey!” the older driver shouts, “Bus fare is $2.50!”

Young man looks genuinely shocked; “What…are you sure? I thought fare was still 25 cents. Did the prices just go up?”

Driver responds, “Son -- it hasn’t been a quarter since before you were born, and before I was born. And I wasn’t born yesterday.”

In New York or Detroit, that’d be the exact moment when driver-foot pushes would-be rider body to the curb -- but this is Seattle, and the driver lets him ride.