Posts Tagged ‘WTF’

Without having set foot inside you know it’s going to be pricey by virtue of its location—smack dab in downtown Phoenix. Big, modern, high-rise of condominiums called The Summit; twenty floors of upwardly mobile luxury.

street level view of The Summit in downtown Phoenix

The Summit at street level

Back in 2004 these babies started at $300,000 for the smallest unit and went up to $1.2 million for the better-than-sex suites.

I don’t follow real estate close enough to have any idea how well this project turned out, but I know there is some kind of pending litigation on the property. But with lots of speculative investment back in 2004-2005 and Wall Street hitting the flush lever on the economy, things likely ain’t so sweet as they thought.

Chase Field from The Summit

Chase Field — you can almost touch it from your balcony!

Nice enough building though, close to two major sports venues—US Airways Center, home to the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, and MLB’s Diamondbacks home Chase Field, restaurants, and downtown (if you happen to work near there). Our downtown isn’t exactly what I would call “vibrant” but it’s not completely derelict either.

Given all the eyeballs that might potentially be upon it you might think the marketing effort would be crisp and persuasive.

Eh . . . not entirely.

As I walked by on the east side of the building I noticed a large sign placed prominently in the window to entice the young and affluent to step inside and look around. Here’s the sign (lots of reflections in the glass so you you have give it a good looking at):

Marketing sign in large window at The Summit in downtown Phoenix

You can have it all — except spellcheck

Did you catch it?

It stands out like a booger on a white shirt. At once repugnant and mesmerizing in its sheer scope of dumbass.

The placard reads “Have it all in Downtown. An Urban lifestyle in the heart of Phoenix.” I’ll let you drink in the last line. It’s hard to see, but here’s a slightly enhanced selection of it:

Detail of sign misspelling

"Were you can have it all"

F’n amazing!

You’d think, somebody in marketing would have proofed these before telling the printer to proceed.Then again, maybe they did.

My conclusion?

It would seem these folks perhaps suffer from few headaches. You know the saying . . . “No brains, no headache.”
drooling Homer Simpson - no brains, no headache


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Jesus playing football with a child
Rant Ahead!

Unless you’ve been under a rock the last few years, or haven’t followed any form of media whatsoever, then you probably have at least heard the name of Micheal Vick—an NFL star player who was convicted for dog fighting. Ring a bell now?

This little tirade is not about all that stuff . . . however, keep that little nugget in the back of your mind because it indirectly relates to the followig soapbox bluster.

There is an organization named the Southeastern Virginia Arts Association (SEVAA). These folks have publicly stated they are holding a fundraiser to (and here’s where the fun begins!) “honor” Michael Vick. Is that great or what! But wait, it gets better!

They are honoring him because they feel he epitomizes the word “hero.”

A Quick Digression

In a post I wrote just over two years ago (If We Could Be Super) I stated the following:

We love our heroes because they showcase all that’s good about ourselves. I believe the majority of us are innately good and we want to believe in the ultimate good of humanity.

A few months later I posted Of Admiration & Noble Qualities, in which I elaborated upon ‘heroism’ as a construct:

When you read or hear the word hero the immediate thing that likely comes to mind is probably the hero of comic book or movie variety: Superman, Batman, Capt. Jack Sparrow, Robin Hood, Luke Skywalker, etc. . . . But true heroes are not those who punch, shoot, pummel, vaporize or otherwise vanquish their enemies in the name of fulfilling a storyline. They are genuinely men and women of profound moral convictions.

The main gist of the post was to draw the defining line between ‘hero’ and ‘idol’. I made the assertion that heroes are people to admire, people of noble qualities.

Please take a moment and absorb that. Or better yet, take a few minutes and revisit those two posts. I’ll wait . . .

Back To Our Evolving Rant

If you read my blog then I take a measure of comfort in the idea that I don’t need to completely flesh out the subtext for you. I can sum it up in a tidy little statement and move along—the SEVAA is going to honor a convicted dog killer.

Okay, I purposely embellished that a little bit . . . sorta.

Michael Vick did do his time. He completed his sentence as the law dictated. By most accounts he is genuinely remorseful for what he did and is truly working to put it behind him. I give him credit for that. He played very well for the Philadelphia Eagles last season, and the NFL awarded him Comeback of the Year. He actually had to earn his spot on the team when he returned from prison, it wasn’t handed to him. I’m not defending him, just setting the facts out there in the interest of fairness.

As I said, the Vick conviction/past is not the underlying story here. A mere three words bridge the preceding story and the one to come: honor and convicted felon.

This is a good point to introduce you to SEVAA president Michael Muhammad. What Mr. Muhammad lacks in knowledge he more than makes up for in chutzpah, good ol’ big-time American balls. You see, the SEVAA are intensely proud of their fundraiser and its namesake. In a press release, the group says it chose Vick because of his “resilience in overcoming obstacles” and becoming “a true example of life success for all to emulate.”

[imagine your favorite cricket chirp here — make it two, to heighten (or dull) the drama]

Clearly they left out the part that tells the story of how Vick’s circumstances were not something life dealt to him; they were a choice he made and paid the price for. The “obstacle” was of his own doing. But I guess that’s the fast track to heroism these days.

And This One Time, At Band Camp . . .

Surely, if you have any sense of my tendency for wordiness you realize I haven’t arrived at the true sticking point yet. A car won’t overheat until it gets good and warmed up, right? It doesn’t blow right away; Yellowstone’s Old Faithful even takes a while to build up pressure before unloading.

Mr. Muhammad must have been poked a few times with the media stick because he felt compelled to justify his organization’s honoree selection as follows:

People talk about Michael Vick as a convicted felon, well so was Jesus Christ, yet he was able to do things above and beyond the naysayers to the point that we all recognize him today as Lord and Savior.

Forget that the structure of that sentence is mangled to the point of roadkill. That’s the least of my annoyances. Allow me to go to the opposite extreme and say that I’m not all uppity about a reference to Jesus. For Christ’s sake, John Lennon said the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, and they made out alright.

The Honorable President Michael Muhammad gets this so very wrong from a factual, and empirical, perspective. That really punches my card. But the real kick to the groin is yet to come. Let’s cover a little history here, shall we?

Through The Hostile Sands Of Time

Around 5-6 A.D. a delegation was sent to Caesar Augustus in Rome fervently requesting that Rome annex Judea to the empire. Judea had long been under Rome’s domination, but it wasn’t officially part of the empire. Judea was a critical piece of Middle Eastern real estate as it sat smack dab between Syria and Egypt. A burgeoning Roman empire meant lots of soldiers and citizens to feed, and with three grain crops a year coming out of Egypt the mighty Augustus couldn’t afford to let Persia (modern day Iran) muck things up by conquering Judea. So he annexed it.

What followed, as part of the annexation process, was a census. This is where Joseph and Mary come into the picture. You all know this part of the story.

Around 35-36 A.D. a man name Pontius Pilate was made provincial governor of the region. As is customary during the week of Passover he traveled into Jerusalem with a small contigent of Roman soldiers to make sure the various ethnic factions didn’t get out of control. He was just about done for the week when the Sanhedrin showed up demanding that Pilate take mortal action against Jesus.

Shut The F*** Up!Yoo hoo, Mr. Muhammad . . . I understand what you are trying to achieve here, but you’re completely wrong in referring to Jesus as a convicted felon. Get your damn facts right, lest you earn the ever-popular Have-A-Cup badge of Honor—’cause I know you’re really into the whole ‘honor’ thing.

I’ll help you out here, since apparently nobody in your group grasps the biblical enormity of your stupidity: Pilate himself tells the crowd that Jesus had commited no crime whatsoever under Roman law, and since the locals are the ones who asked to be placed under Roman law then Jesus was clearly innocent. Pilate requests to be shown proof that the man had broken the law. I won’t keep you in suspense: no proof was given.

Fact 1: Under Roman law, Jesus Christ had broken no law, given not the least offense. Ergo, he was definitively not a felon.

The Sanhedrin tried pulling the blasephemy card—they had met amongst themselves and declared him guilty of such charges. Again, Pilate reminded them that blasephemy was not a crime under Roman law. The council insisted that they could not put him to death themselves, only Rome could. For the Jewish people to do so would be to commit murder, which would violate Roman law.

Fact 2: Even Jesus hates the Yankees!. Woops . . . how did that get in there. What I meant to say was even though Jesus wasn’t a Roman citizen he had certain individual protections under its laws.

Someone in the crowd yells “He goes around calling himself King of the Jews!” The Sanhedrin nod and pat one another on the back, telling Pilate this is treason, which is an act punishable by death under Roman law. They threaten to notify Caesar Tiberius of Pilate’s refusal to mete out proper punishment on treason charges if he didn’t comply with their demands.

Understand that Tiberius has been likened to Joseph Stalin based on his level of paranoia of those around him. Tiberius would swiftly execute any governor who was weak on treason. So Pilate was sensibly concerned. But he remained absolutely convinced of Jesus’ innocence. He sent one of his staff off to find a loophole, something he could use to get himself and Jesus off the hook.

Fact 3: Jesus was a teacher. In case you can’t wrap your feeble mind around the concept allow me to clear it up for you: he was a tee-chur. For the record (and future reference) so were Socrate, Budhha, and Confuscious. All teachers, all figures who have had almost incalcuable impacts on the history of mankind. Not a one of them wrote a book, believe it or not. Nor did they play football. Imagine that. Now look at those four names again—those might be better suited to be honored as “heroes.” I’m sure Virginia has a large number of military vets who have served our country who would equally qualify for such honors. But they’re not famous. I get it.

The only thing Jesus did was show up the Pharisees. In their absence he would preach at masses. The difference was that people began to listen to Jesus and even follow him; he had a certain Gallilean je ne sais quois. The more people followed him the more the Sadducees and Pharisees took notice. They viewed him as a political and ecumenical threat to their very existence. Try as they might they couldn’t pin anything truly criminal on him. Best they could do was shoot the moon with the treason charge.

Eventually Pilate’s officer returned with just the loophole he needed; an obscure tradition wherein the governor could pardon one prisoner per year during the feast of Passover. But by this time the crowd had been whipped into a cold-blooded frenzy and clamored for the true convicted felon, Barrabas. Vick wasn’t near the crinimal Barrabas was, I’ll grant you that, Mr. Muhammad.

Fact 4: The Jewish rabble collected before Pontius Pilate unanimously chose Barrabas—the real convicted felon—to be released by Pilate. Pilate never convicted Jesus of any crime. To be sure I am clear I shall repeat myself again: Jesus was not convicted of a crime by Roman authority; he was sacrificed by his own people. That does not satisfy the definition for “convicted felon” Mr. Muhammad.

Pilate had Jesus flogged to try and quell the crowd’s blood lust. It was accepted at the time that forty lashes with a whip would likely be fatal, so Pilate sentenced him to 39 lashes. When Pilate asked Jesus to respond to the charge of treason the bible tells us he asked “Are you the king of the Jews?” Different books give different answers, but Jesus in essence replies “If you say I am.” Pilate desperately wanted to help Jesus, but after the crowd chose to have Barrabas pardoned his hands were tied. The general practice of crucifixion was the only option Pilate had.

The View From 33,000 Dollars
(you thought I was going to say “feet” didn’t you)

What the hell does thirty-three large have to do with any of this? Funny you should ask.

Turns out the good (if not entirely brilliant) folks of the SEVAA held a little soiree, the Afr’am Festival, about a year ago, and hired out police officers and Sheriff’s deputies to provide security. They still owe these gentlemen, you guessed it, $33,000. They’re banking on the $100-a-plate fundraiser to be a huge success so they can pay the officers back. I’m not against holding a fundraiser to pay down your debts. Not at all. But I am completely against the offensive manner in which they approached this one.

The SEVAA invoked (via mouthpiece Muhammad) Jesus in analogy to Vick. As if that weren’t distasteful enough, Rhodes Scholar Muhammad slanders a beloved figure like Jesus Christ, and for what . . . $33,000?

I have publicly stated before my stance on organized religion—it’s not my thing but I understand it works wonders for some people. I’m amazingly comfortable with that. I prefer to carry my faith and belief with me instead of strapping on the dogma and almost draconian constraints of a ruling theological body. Having said that, even I wouldn’t be so stupid as to slight an iconic figure like Christ. You can make fun of most any other iconography you like, from Mickey Mouse to Bugs Bunny, Charlie Chaplin to Charlie Sheen, Tiger Woods to Tony the Tiger, but you don’t mess with figures which have done more to spread a positive message and assist mankind in not eradicating itself over differences of opinion.

Jesus, people . . . think before you say something stupid!

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Dear Cox Communications,

As a long-time customer I feel it is my duty to question how effectively you have used all the money I have paid you. I, and the rest of your customers, have seen my monthly bill rise more than $30 per month is less than five years, so I would presume it would be for such things as technology upgrades to benefit your customer base.

Of course there have been all the investment costs and tax increases which you have never hesitated to pass on to us. After all, you must keep gas in all those vans and trucks so your technicians can arrive late for their three-hour-window appointments.

All the corporate greed aside, I was much affronted today when I called about my bill. The lady who took my call was nice enough, and she answered my question promptly and efficiently. I wasn’t offended by her at all.

I am personally offended by your blatant pandering to those of us who are not American. It’s subtle, I’ll grant you that.

See, when I called, I got the usual automated phone tree. That much I expected. What I didn’t expect was this:

“If you wish to conduct your call in English, press 1.”

Are you fucking kidding me?

You are a company operating in America. You’re not even an international conglomerate. You are an American company. Guess what language we speak here? Since you apparently haven’t any damn clue let me help you: We speak English here.

Understand, I have no problem with those companies who outright prompt, in Spanish, to press 1 or 2 to conduct the call in Spanish. But to ask me to conduct the call in the language of the country you are operating in is incredibly offensive–that is, if you’re an American.

If you’re a staunch Obama Socialist Progressive, please wait in line and a representative will ignore you unless you contributed to the election campaign.

The next time I’m in the market for internet service I may very likely look to your competition. I can depend on you to raise my rates to keep your profits up, but I can’t depend on you to know that English is our primary language.

So why the hell I’m bothering to complain about it in writing is beyond me. Chances are good you pay your lawyers to read. Do they speak English?

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Family reunion poke-n-go

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Engineering and Bio-technology research students at the Rochester Institute of Technology have been working collaboratively on an adhesive that can be applied as a viscous swatch over burns or wounds and act as both bandage and dissolving healing agent. “Think of it as biological, or human-friendly, post-it note band aids,” said William Whyse, project lead and tenured research professor at RIT.

“We’ve been having great success the last couple years in being able to apply the solution to porous materials and retaining its adhesivness,” Whyse added, whom student proteges call “Slick Willy.” The problem with most adhesives is they bond too well to human skin, but don’t provide any way of using absorption to deliver medicine to wounds or burns, and removing them proves painful to the victims. Professor Whyse insists that making such a ‘liquid bandage’ would be akin “to killing two birds with one stone.”

As it turns out, having such a young, energetic, and creative team of students working on such materials can lend itself to what the Greek historian Thucydides called “the imponderables.” Every so often man, time, and perfect setting meet and the outcome is predictable only to those who know the plan going in.

This is where our story takes just such an unplanned turn.

One of the senior students, a three-year veteran of the project, is suspected of pulling off the prank. His name has been withheld, but his nickname is befitting: The Joker. His alleged roommate, Jerry Riggs, is well acquainted with the Joker’s talents. “The guy has an insane IQ, and, like, a party quotient to match,” he asserted.”This wasn’t his best work, but it was friggin’ hilarious,” he added.

RIT’s administration is tight-lipped about the incident, stating only that they are pursuing an academic investigation into the matter. The incident involved skillfully applying a thin veneer of the latest batch of research material to a roll of toilet paper, which was then quietly placed in the womens bathroom during a recent student gathering. All insiders to the prank were told to have camera (or camera phone) at the ready throughout the night. A participant who wanted to remain anonymous stepped forward to add a little color to the story.

“About two hours into the party we started to get antsy,” he said, “we began brain storming ways to get women into the restroom.” Several options had been suggested, when Fate stepped in to assist. “About the time we were considering a run to the corner drugstore for some laxative chocolates, she came out of the bathroom and into our hearts,” he half sang, holding his palm over his chest.

Is my slip showing?

One of ‘the crew’ had been in what was deemed by the project team as the PPP—the perfect proof placement, so he was able to get a crystal clear “proof” shot. Professor Whyse helpfully added that the students are taught from Day One that proof is the crucible of scientific advancement. “They were all about proving the material’s efficacy.”

Outwardly, the institution is embarassed by the collegiate monkeyshines, but within the department they are elated at the positive test results.

The woman in the photo, described as “smoking hot” by the entire team, was not available for comment.

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Forty-two dollars!

I winced at the price marker affixed just above the pallet of blister-packed Fusion razor cartidges. I felt like I was being sodomized, and without so much as being kissed first.

See, I used to use Excel blades. They were $25 for 20 blade cartridges—a much more reasonable sum to accept. Wouldn’t you know it, Costco doesn’t have them anymore.

So I stood there bending over, no lubricant to speak of, for the sake of fresh razor blades.

Maybe Obama could float me a taxpayer-funded loan so I could afford these newer blades. But then I suppose I’m not big enough to not fail. I’m a little nobody who can submerge without a trace. I’m an American citizen, marginalized to the point of invisibility. The only reason I get a bonus is because I give the government more tax dollars throughout the year than I should—so they’re kind enough to give it back after they’ve made some interest on it.

When I was about 18, I worked with a guy named Ray, a no-nonsense kinda guy with a true blue-collar sense of humor. We’d get to talking about the cost of this or that, or the way certain business matters were handled, and he’d often wind up saying “I like intercourse, but I wanna be in on it.” I was still somewhat impressionable, so that always stuck with me.

I believe the more contemporary equivalent would be “Kiss me before you f*** me.” At least lie to me so I think you care.

Forty-two dollars! For sixteen cartridges!

Hey Gillette . . . I like intercourse , but, well you know . . .

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From the Picayune Democrat-Republic Bugle Times

"SOTP" painted on streetThe last decade has provided plenty of grist for the anti-Equal Employment Opportunity mill. States have been applying pressure to the federal government to perform an in-depth investigation into hiring practices used to fill mandated quotas.
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At issue, say the states, is the upswing in safety related incidents involving employees on state payrolls who provide signage for motorists. “It’s one thing to make a mistake. We all do,” asserts Stan “The Man” Bettencourt, of Intercourse, Pennsylvania. “But to allow these transgressions to continue poses a true threat to public safety, and for what — to satisfy the number of morons the federal government says we have to hire to remain in compliance with the law? Hell, we legally send them to Congress all the time.” As of press tijme, the Times has been unable to obtain any additional remarks from Bettencourt personally, having instead been directed to speak with his legal counsel.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has maintained, and in fact continues to track, a database containing all submitted references to such public displays of illiteracy. Peggy Spangler, co-counsel for the Responsible and Equitable Treatment of Associated Real Disabilities Society states “while the mistakes happen they are typically corrected. I don’t think the current outcry is warranted.” Richard Head, former Democratic legislator for California, disagrees entirely. “She’s a known hussy and profligate liar,” he alleged. “Look who she represents. Need I say more?”

A source who wished to remain anonymous provided this thought, however: “They may be stupid, drooling, even imbecilic, but stupid people need love and jobs too.”

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