Thursday, October 29, 2009

Poisoned candy turns out to be a Halloween myth

From the St. Petersburg Times:

You've heard the advice before: Check your kid's candy bucket after going trick-or-treating. Throw away any homemade goodies. Sometimes hospitals even offer to X-ray the candy just to make sure there isn't a needle in that Snickers bar.

This advice turns out to be the ultimate Halloween prank, a horror that has never happened, not once, in the history of Halloween, according to a researcher who has studied reports of Halloween mischief dating back to the 1950s.

It also turns out that the incident that my mom always pointed to - the one involving tainted Pixy Stix - was also not an incident of tampering.

The best-known case of Halloween candy tampering came in 1974, when Texas dad Ronald Clark O'Bryan killed his son by lacing his Pixy Stix with cyanide to claim $20,000 in life insurance. Before that, a Detroit 5-year-old died in 1970 after eating heroin supposedly hidden in his Halloween candy. It turned out the boy had simply gotten into his uncle's stash.

Google Should Make Apple Beg For Maps Navigation?

From TechCrunch, via Matt:

When Google announced what is clearly the best car navigation application on any mobile today, it didn’t just take a swipe at GPS navigation companies such as Garmin and TomTom. It took a swipe at Apple.

Beyond the advanced features of the Google Maps Navigation app (voice search, crowdsourced traffic data, Street View navigation), what makes the app noteworthy is that it launched on Google’s own Android phones first rather than on the iPhone. By doing so, Google is putting Apple on notice that it is no longer reserving its best apps for the iPhone.

So let me get this straight... Google, who now makes cell phone software, is supposed to be expected to port its products to the iPhone first, before making it available on its own platform? Ridiculous. It's completely reasonable that a company design for its own platform and port it to another later. It's doing the same with Chrome, although it released it for the PC before the Mac to get the PC geeks - the ones who would most easily switch to their forthcoming Chrome OS and evangelize for it - excited. Apple did the same with iTunes and Safari.

This is but the latest sign of a growing rift between Apple and Google. A couple years ago, when the iPhone first launched, Google and Apple had a strong partnership. At the time, Google CEO Eric Schmidt described the relationship as so close that it was akin to merging “without merging. Each company should do the absolutely best thing they can do every time.” Google supposedly didn’t need to creat its own phone, because it could simply create software for the iPhone. And, in fact, some of the best apps on the iPhone—Mail, Maps, YouTube, Search—were developed by Google.

Only two years later, Apple and Google no longer have such a cozy relationship. A new Android phone is now launching every other week, it seems. Feeling the competitive threat, Apple started blocking Google apps such as Google Voice and Latitude from getting on the iPhone, and Schmidt stepped down from Apple’s board (although there were also other reasons for that having to do with antitrust scrutiny).

First of all, Google isn't creating it's own phone. It's creating a software platform for mobile devices that phone carriers are using increasingly to power their phones (which is also increasingly the shortfall of Android phones.) Google is a software company. All they're doing is what they do. At least, so far, they've had the good sense to stick to that. Hopefully, they've learned something from Microsoft's mistakes. It's very tough to be Apple - that is, to make beautiful hardware and great software. Most companies have a tough enough time doing one or the other. But if there's one company that could do it - it would probably be Google. I'm just sayin'.

Also, Apple didn't block the Google apps because they were Google apps. It's been well documented that Apple had a problem with the UI in the Google apps and the way they changed the navigation scheme to mimic core functions of the iPhone OS in a non-iPhoney way. They've blocked thousands of other apps for doing the same thing.

And as noted, Schmidt stepped down under anti-trust pressure, not because of a rift with Apple.

So Apple starts to back away from letting Google take over the iPhone with all the best apps by rejecting them. And now we have Google’s response: a big middle finger. If Apple is going to make it hard to get on the iPhone, then Google will stop giving Apple its best apps first and use them to make its own Android platform more appealing.

Let's keep in mind here the timeline. Google develops and releases Android. Then a year later, the Google Voice app is rejected. It was Google who gave the finger first by developing Android. But they wanted in on the action. It's understandable. I'm not saying it's a tit-for-tat thing - I don't think it is - but let's be honest about how things really went down. The timeline is important.

And let's also keep in mind that the Google Voice app was rejected following Google using it's own API calls in its Google Search app for the iPhone. Google did it because it was Google and I think Apple was looking closer at their apps the next time around for any shenanigans. Apple took a lot of heat for approving an app using private APIs that other developers didn't have access to.

Apple is in a terrible position here because the future of mobile apps are Web apps, and Google excels at making those. Apple needs Google, it’s most dangerous competitor in the mobile Web market, to keep building apps for the iPhone. Google would be foolish not to since the iPhone still has the largest reach of any modern Web phone. But it will no longer be a priority.

Let's just be honest here. Everyone needs Google. Everything on every platform is built around Google these days, which I find dangerous and is why I'm not all over the Google bandwagon like a lot of people.

The sad thing is that Apple has been here before—with Microsoft. In the late 1990s, Apple had to beg Microsoft to keep building Office for Macs. Now it may be in the same position with Google. There may be more than 85,000 apps in the App Store, but it is only a handful which actually drive purchases. If Google Maps Navigation becomes one of those types of killer apps, Apple might need to do some begging first before Google goes through effort to make it for the iPhone.

Only a handful drive purchases? Has the author bothered to check out an Apple earnings report? Watch a keynote, maybe? People are buying apps like water. And most of the paid apps are games, which have nothing to do with Google.

Apple doesn't need to grovel at Google's feet. They are strategic partners, both of whom make a similar product, but with differences. Just like Apple and Microsoft. As of this morning, you can still but Microsoft Office for the Mac. Microsoft doesn't kill Office for the Mac because they make money - a lot of money - by making it. And so it goes with Google. They make a ton of money from the iPhone platform, but from search, not from selling software.

And as for Apple and Microsoft in the '90s... Apple had to get in bed with Microsoft because at the time it was its only hope. The perceived animosity between the two companies - at the time - was mostly generated by Apple users, and the hard-core users at that. The real reason Apple went to Microsoft was because it needed a quick infusion of cash while it got back on its feet. Back then, it made pretty crappy, unpopular products with a dwindling market share. That argument can't be made for the iPhone.

Awesome Magazine Cover

By far, one of the best, most beautiful images I've seen in a long time. Fun, too.

From the New Yorker.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why I Decided Not To Be A Professional Cartoonist

Quote of the Day...

A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.

- Benjamin Franklin

"Goofing Off" Often Leads To The Best Ideas

From Harvard Business Publishing:

In an early episode of the excellent TV series Mad Men, agency partner Roger Sterling walks into creative director Don Draper's office to find Don gazing off into space.

"I'll never get used to the fact that most of the time it looks like you're doing nothing," Sterling quips.

Sterling should take comfort in the fact that our best creative work is done in times of reflection and idleness. Studies have shown that the wandering mind is more likely to have a "Eureka!" moment of clarity and creativity. Taking breaks and zoning out from everyday tasks gives our brains time to do a kind of long-term, big-picture thinking that immediate engagement with bosses and clients and email and meetings does not.

I've been trying to explain this to my boss for years to no avail. People who aren't creatives just don't get it. But its absolutely true.

Star Wars: Trench Run

I rarely pay for iPhone apps, but this is one I am definitely going to purchase.

Relive the pivotal moments of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope on your iPhone or iPod Touch in Star Wars: Trench Run, a brand new game launching soon. Developed by Infrared5 and distributed by THQ Wireless Inc., Trench Run lets you skim the surface of the Death Star trenches as you seek to target a small thermal exhaust port less than two meters wide. Can you reenact the shot heard 'round the galaxy? Is the Force with you?

Trench Run uses simple motion controls and realistic game play to put you in the action. Tilt your iPhone or iPod touch to maneuver your X-wing. Tap one side of the screen to fire weapons, and tap the other to call on the power of the Force, which slows the action down allowing you more control. The game features two main play scenarios -- flying in the trench, and dogfighting with TIE fighters high above the Death Star surface.


Microsoft Shocked 'Family Guy' Humor Includes Incest, Holocaust Jokes

Microsoft has pulled the plug on its previously-announced deal with Fox to imbed Windows 7 references into The Family Guy.

From Advertising Age:

NEW YORK ( -- Turns out Seth MacFarlane isn't PC enough to be a PC. Microsoft was set to sponsor a prime time special by the "Family Guy" creator as part of its Windows 7 media blitz, but was somehow surprised when the typically MacFarlane-esque fare didn't exactly "fit with the Windows brand."

Variety reports that three days after crowing about its new Seth MacFarlane deal to the world, it pulled the plug after getting a look at the content, which included "riffs on deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest," the company pulled out of the project.

How anyone could get caught off-guard by the kind of humor on Family Guy, which has been around for years?

"Holy crap! You mean there's potty humor on there??? Maybe we should have watched some back-episodes of the show before we built our marketing campaign around it!!!"


SHSU's Bearkat Democrats protest Bush policies

From the Houstonian:

Clean up your mess! This is the message that the Bearkat Democrats wanted to send to Congressman Brady by bringing gifts of mops and buckets to his office last Thursday, Oct. 22.

This event was spurred by a speech given by President Obama on Oct. 16 that called for Republicans to "grab a mop" and help clean up the mess that was created by the Bush Administration.

All over the nation, college Democrat chapters bonded together in this call to action, totaling 14 chapters. SHSU and UT were the only colleges in Texas who took part in this event.

"We did it to a larger scale than any other group in the country," noted Scudder.

1. Why in the world are you still protesting the Bush Administration a full year after he was voted out of office?

2. Only the SHSU and UT Democrats participated because, in a stunning display of clarity and good judgement, every other College Democrat chapter in the state realized how foolish they would appear and elected to sit out.

3. THIS was a larger scale than any other protest in the country???? Six morons with mops? And it made news???? Jesus Christ, help us all.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Which Religion Should I Follow?

Thanks to Matt.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mobile Phone Use Linked to Brain Tumors

From the Daily Express:

LONG-term mobile phone users could face a higher risk of developing cancer in later life, according to a decade-long study.

The report, to be published later this year, has reportedly found that heavy mobile use is linked to brain tumours.

The survey of 12,800 people in 13 countries has been overseen by the World Health Organisation.

That's the third reason now for caution in ubiquitous cell phone use. It's not going to kill mankind, like reason number one, but still a good one.

This seems akin to smoking. You know it's bad for you in the long run, but can you stop doing it?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ballmer on the Today Show

A couple of quick thoughts:

Oops. That's a MacBook Pro on the screen in the background.

"Hundreds of millions of users" of Vista???? Really? If it was that big a success, Microsoft wouldn't have wet all over themselves trying to get Windows 7 out the door as fast as they could or play down Vista as much.

And is it just me, or was there no real talk about any real features or actual reasons for anyone to , you know, actually upgrade to Windows 7? The touchscreen PC is cool, but what's new that would make my grandma's life easier by using Windows 7?

A missed opportunity by Steve Ballmer.

Happy Upgrading, Windows Users...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Note to Small Businesses and Vendors...

Nothing says "I'm an unprofessional, small-time hack" like giving out an AOL address as your business e-mail.

Seriously. Man up.

The History of Political Correctness in Three Parts

This documentary is fascinating. It runs a little less than 30 minutes total. But explains a lot of things that I never knew or realized about Marxism and political correctness. After watching the video, it's easy to connect the dots to the constituents and groups of of the modern Democrat party and "Liberals" in general..

I guess what's troubling most about the video is that all these things were done - and introduced into society and education - very deliberately and just how insidiously rampant they are today.

The Battle of the Piney Woods Moves to Houston

From the Houstonian:

The second oldest rivalry in Texas will have a new home next season as the Battle of Piney Woods will be moving to Reliant Stadium next year.

Sam Houston State University, Stephen F. Austin University and Lone Star Sports and Entertainment have come to terms on a four year contract for an unspecified amount of money.

This is an odd move and a genius move. Having the game in Reliant Stadium seems odd because it's such a big venue. The crowd is going to seem ridiculously small in such a large stadium.

On the other hand, from a marketing perspective, this is a genius move. The vast majority of the students at Sam Houston State come from the Houston area and SHSU still has the perception that it's only slightly better than a junior college. But stepping up its game and by presenting a more big-time, big-school image it might raise Sam Houston's perception and elevate its status - in the NCAA, in the minds of potential students and in the local media.

It worked very well for Texas State.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

U.S. to Order Steep Pay Cuts at Firms That Got Most Aid

From the New York Times:

Responding to the growing furor over the paychecks of
executives at companies that received billions of dollars in
federal bailouts, the Obama administration will order the
companies that received the most aid to deeply slash the
compensation to their highest paid executives, an official
involved in the decision said on Wednesday.

This administration gets more and more brazen every day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Take It Back. I Hate You, Apple.

Apple today introduced a new, larger, redesigned iMac, a redesigned MacBook, a new Magic Mouse, a new hardware remote, a new Time Capsule, a new Airport Extreme and a new Mac Mini.

Am I chapped that I just bought an iMac last month and that a new iMac with 3-inch larger screen, quad-core processors (instead of duo-core) and more storage and RAM would cost roughly the same amount that I paid? Am I miffed that the 24-inch model I bought isn't even an option any more and that a new duo-core iMac with the same specs, except a larger screen, is actually cheaper than what I bought?

Am I hacked off that I bought said iMac because the Mac Mini I have been using for the past three years just wouldn't cut the mustard on the video projects I've been doing lately and that a new, faster Mac Mini might have done the job without me having to completely reconfigure my drive and device setup?

Am I? huh? Thanks for asking.

Actually, no. I'm thrilled with my iMac. The 24-inch screen is a lot larger than I expected it to be on my desk. It's almost too big, in fact. I don't think the new, larger model would fit. That, and I knew that Apple would probably refresh its hardware lineup in October. They always do in preparation for the holiday season. No - I wanted the model I got. Moore's Law being what it is, I knew that new hardware couldn't be too far around the corner. You can't wait on the latest. you'd never buy anything!

That, and I'm done with first-version hardware for awhile. If I've learned anything from buying Apple hardware, it's that the first version is usually somewhat crippled, only to be updated with new technology or better feature within a few months. It was that way with my Blue & White G3 in 1999. It was that way with my Titanium Powerbook in 2001. It was true of the first iPhone in 2007. It was true of the MacBook Air. And I suspect it will be true of these new machines. My money is on Blu-Ray drives in January as the update, but there will probably be more.

No, I'm mucho happy with my new iMac.

The only thing from today's announcement that I'm really lusting over is the new Magic Mouse. Now that looks sweet.

I take it back again, Apple. Ignore the title of this post. I love you again. Hugs and kisses from Destructo.

Happy Birthday, Matt

Happy birthday to my buddy, Matt. Today is his 34th birthday! I looked it up on the internet, and the appropriate gift for someone turning 21 is alcohol. 26 is leather. 29 is camping gear. Know what 34 is?


It's dancing cats.

Happy birthday, Matt!

Dancing Cats - The most popular videos are a click away

Yell Leaders Are Dorks, Too

All of them, apparently...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fried Luxo, Jr.

Destructo's New Mac Sets Apple Sales Record

From AppleInsider:

Apple said Monday that fourth-quarter profits rose more than 46 percent to 1.67 billion, or $1.82 per diluted share, on sales of $9.87 billion for the three-month period ended September 26, 2009.

Apple sold 3.05 million Macintosh computers during the quarter, representing a 17 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter.

As the owner of a shiny, brand-spankin' new iMac - you're welcome, Apple. I love you, too.

Back from the Future

Matt baited me with this story at Fox News, knowing that I can't resist anything involving either Back to the Future or time travel...

Scientists claim the giant atom-smashing Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is being jinxed from the future to save the world.

In a bizarre sci-fi theory, Danish physicist Dr Holger Bech Nielsen and Dr Masao Ninomiya from Japan claim nature is trying to prevent the LHC from finding the elusive Higgs boson. Called the "God particle," the theoretical boson could explain the origins of mass in the universe — if physicists can find the darn thing.

The scientists say their math proves nature will "ripple backward through time" to stop the LHC before it can create the God particle, like a time traveller who goes back in time to kill his grandfather.

"While it is a paradox to go back in time and kill your grandfather, physicists agree there is no paradox if you go back in time and save him from being hit by a bus," Dannis Overbye wrote in the New York Times.

Fascinating. So someone - or something (or maybe God Himself) is trying to stop humanity from destroying itself. Not by global warming, not by nuclear weapons, not by disease or plague or pandemic - but by sucking itself into a self-created black hole.

Which begs the question... if humanity (and therefore the Earth itself) IS destroyed by a black hole, then who will be left in the future to try to save us?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Signs, Signs Everywhere Signs

Seen tonight in League City, Texas

This sign is funny by itself. They put up a sign telling people not to put up signs.

But then in a sheer brilliant display of government "do as we say, not as we do-ism", there's this:


That's right. There's a sign on either side.

Friday, October 16, 2009

What the Hell is Wrong With Texas?

From the New York Times:

On Thursday morning, took another step in its effort to bring instant gratification to its customers, introducing a new “Local Express Delivery Option.” If an eligible item is ordered before 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. (depending on the city) Amazon will have it delivered on the same day. To start out, the e-commerce giant is rolling out the service in seven cities - New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Las Vegas and Seattle. (With Chicago, Indianapolis and Phoenix to come soon).

Last time I checked, the fourth largest city in the U.S. was still in Texas, as is the seventh, ninth, 16th, 19th and 21st largest cities.

I get pretty damn tired of places like Baltimore (18th), Las Vegas (29th) and Indianapolis (12th) getting stuff, such as Pepsi Throwback, before cities in Texas. Companies act as if cities in Texas don't exist -or worse - that we don't matter.

Welcome to Destructoville, Kids

A special shout out to an unnamed pre-Ap class that may or may not be in the San Antonio area whose teacher may or may not be using Destructoville, specifically my "Climate Change" article from yesterday, as a part of her lesson plans.

Kudos to Mrs. B on being the coolest teacher ever.

Kids, bonus points if you work the name "T-Bone" into your answers somewhere.

Welcome to Destructoville. Stick around. Look around. Have a little fun. Try the veal. Tip your waitress. But STAY OFF MY LAWN!!!!!

Is Barack Obama Jesus Christ?


And - notice the poster in the background?

Seen it anywhere before, boys and girls? Once again, Destructo is on the cutting edge.

Obama's Iconography

I disagree with him somewhat. I think the DNC logo is amateurish and poorly rendered. Other than that, he's spot on. I posted about Obama's iconography during the campaign. So far, my observations seem to be holding up.

Quote of the Day...

"If you would not be forgotten
As soon as you are dead and rotten
Either write something worth reading
Or do things worth the writing."

-Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Do Your Part For Climate Change

As part of Blog Action Day, I'd like to officially encourage you to do some things you're probably not doing already:
• recycle
• pick up your trash
• get outside more
• ride your bike or go for a walk
• be a good neighbor
• meet your neighbor
• help the elderly
• be patriotic
• use a trash can instead of the sidewalk or my front lawn
• hug your kids and spend a little time with them
• turn off the TV
• eat real honest-to-God sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup
• read a book

and, perhaps most importantly,

• get involved in your own life.

Most of those things are things that any good Boy Scout knows to do. Basically, unplug yourself and be a part of the world around you. Live the way your grandparents lived. Live a more simple life.

Forget the propaganda about global warming. It's crap and junk science. The kind of climate change I'm talking about is the climate around you - your family, your friends, your kids, your neighbors, your community and yourself. You want to make a difference in the world? That's the way to do it. Make your own personal ecosystem better.

Every town could be Mayberry if only the people who live there expect more of themselves and their neighbors. Hold each other accountable, and don't be afraid to take someone to task for something they do wrong. Have pride in yourself and your community. Be respectful. Be tolerant. No one is perfect, but giving up and refusing to even try to be a decent person is unacceptable. It's also, unfortunately, widely accepted in today's world. The "who am I to criticize what they're doing" mentality that has crept into our society in the past forty years or so is a prime culprit for what suddenly went wrong with our culture and our society. When people didn't allow just anything to go in their communities there was less crime, less pollution and more community.

And be aware. Be aware of what's being shoved down your throat every day. The prime culprit is the government, whether it be local municipalities, the civic association, the state legislative body, or the federal government. Every day, we're being told that we can't do this or we're being told exactly how we have to do that. Our liberties and our rights are being stripped from us in tiny bites. We swallow each bite and are force-fed the next bit. We look back twenty years and realize we've eaten half an elephant. Before we know it, it will be the whole thing.

So on this Blog Action Day, don't try to cram some agenda down someone's throat (and don't swallow someone else's agenda, either). Quit trying to force people to be or do things they aren't. Instead, look in the mirror and try to make the world a better, cleaner place. People are basically good, and I believe that most people want to be good, decent people. Don't try to change the whole world all at once. Start with your world and lead by being a role model and a positive example. It doesn't take long to make a real difference in the local, national and world climate that way.

Now, give me my damn Nobel peace prize.

Quote of the Day...

"One week from today, Microsoft will try to shake the stink of Vista."

-Ken Ray

Happy Blog Action Day

It's Blog Action Day.

According to the Blog Action Day website:
"Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Blog Action Day 2009 will be one of the largest-ever social change events on the web."

So I'm going to be posting about global warming a little later on today. Start popping the popcorn now.

More Rush

And while we're on the subject...

The correct pronunciation of Alex Lifeson's last name (his stage name) is "life-sun," not "leaf-sun." It's a near-literal translation of his real last name, Zivojinovich, which means "son of life."

The Pronunciation of "Best Drummer of All Time"

I've often - and recently - had heated conversations with friends about the pronunciation of the last name of Neil Peart, the legendary drummer for the rock band Rush.

I've had friends swear to me that it's pronounced "pert." I've actually heard him (in a Rockline interview) pronounce it "peert."

And once again, arguing with James about all things Superman, Sammy Bearkat or Rush turns out to be a bad idea.

According to both Wikipedia and to Neil himself - on video no less - it is, indeed "Peert."

I Love PSAs with a Sense of Humor

I thought it was just a funny spoof until the very end. She-cat. Hilarious!!!

Kellogg to Brand Corn Flakes with Frickin' LASERs!!!

From Advertising Age:

Kellogg Co. is introducing new technology in the U.K. that allows it to burn its famous signature onto individual cereal flakes by using lasers.

The technology, which was developed in Britain, is being used in a trial to stamp out imitation cereals -- which Kellogg calls "fake flakes" -- by branding Corn Flakes with the company logo.

Helen Lyons, lead food technologist at Kellogg, said in a statement, "There has been an increase in the number of [private labels] trying to capitalize on the popularity of Kellogg's corn flakes. We want shoppers to be under absolutely no illusion that Kellogg's does not make cereal for anyone else. We're constantly looking at new ways to reaffirm this, and giving our golden flakes of corn an official stamp of approval could be the answer."

Yeah... but it's till just corn flakes! If your corn flakes taste just like your competitors, but they sell theirs at a cheaper price, you've got a problem. There are some things that people just aren't going to pay extra for, and adding expense to your product for additional (unnecessary) branding is a horrible idea. People might pay for a gimmick once, but if it has no bearing on the taste or the quality of the product, they're not going to buy it again.

I can hear Kellogg's market share hitting the floor already.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Message from Xbox Live

Received from Xbox Live today:

Dear Destructo,

We are contacting you because we have been unable to charge your credit card for your Xbox Live 12 mo. Gold Membership service(s) being billed to you through Microsoft Online Services. The following credit card is the current payment method on your billing account:

Credit card type: XXXXXXX

To avoid an interruption of your services or to reactivate suspended service(s), please provide a valid credit card and a current expiration date. If payment is due for other Microsoft services purchased with the above card, those services may also be affected.

To check pricing details, and to confirm your account information and payment options, go to:
If you have already resolved this issue, please disregard this notice and accept our thanks.

Thank you for using Microsoft Online Services.

Xbox LIVE Team

Dear Xbox Live,

I tried contacting you, but your shitty website just ran me around in circles. So now it's this.

Suck it.



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New York Eagle Scout Suspended From School for 20 Days for Keeping Pocketknife in Car

From FoxNews:

Matthew Whalen, a senior at Lansingburgh Senior High School, says he follows the Boy Scout motto and is always prepared, stocking his car with a sleeping bag, water, a ready-to-eat meal — and the knife, which was given to him by his grandfather, a police chief in a nearby town.

But Lansingburgh High has a zero-tolerance policy, and when school officials discovered that Whalen kept his knife locked in his car, he says, they suspended him for five days — and then tacked on an additional 15 after a hearing.

Cripes. If there's anyone I want carrying a knife, it's Boy Scout, and even more so - an Eagle Scout!

What kills me is that the knife never even left his car. It's not as if he was walking around school with a Bowie knife looking for something to skin. It's not as if he had a sawed-off shotgun in his front seat and got it out at lunch to show his pals.

And that they felt the need to tack on an extra 15 days of suspension is unconscionable. Heads on the school board and in the front office of that school need to roll over this one.

Follow the link above and read the full story. It will make your blood boil. It turns out it was a 2-inch knife, and a police officer who was consulted by the school said that he hadn't broken any laws.

As a former scout myself, Destructo is standing with you in solidarity, brother. And for the record: zero-tolerance policies are bullshit.

The Great Pumpkin Shortage Is Coming!!!!

Forget Ammunition, Canned Food and Gasoline - Stock Up On Canned Pumpkin! That's where the true value this fall will be. There's a pumpkin shortage on, and that's bad news for fall fun. But worst of all - and nearing mind-blowingly cataclysmic circumstances is...

From the Washington Times:

Another fall symbol, the pumpkin pie, may take a hit by Thanksgiving. Last year's weak harvest in Illinois, which leads the nation's pumpkin industry, has led to a shortage of canned pumpkin.

Shoppers reported that they could scarcely find canned pumpkin on the shelves of grocery stores in the past few months. Roz O'Hearn, a spokeswoman for Nestle SA, the parent company of canned-pumpkin leader Libby's, said help is on the way.

"If you looked [during] the last few months, canned pumpkin was not on the store shelves," Ms. O'Hearn said. "There were a lot of weather issues with last year's harvest which left us without a surplus."

...which means that any canned pumpkin you find is going to skyrocket in price.

Who are you going to believe? Good old trusty Destructo or some chick who hangs out in pumpkin patches waiting for the great pumpkin? Forget porkbellies. Buy pumpkin!!!!!!!

Senator Snowe, a Republican, Backs Health Care Bill

From the New York Times:

Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine indicated that she would support the Finance Committee health care bill, although she withheld support for future versions of the legislation. She is the only Republican senator to have voiced support for the bill.

This is neither surprising or news because:
1. Olympia Snow is a RINO (Republican in Name Only) and wow. So ONE Republican in Congress supported the bill. That hardly makes this bill bi-partisan.
2. Everyone knows how she's going to vote, anyway. Nine times out of ten it's with the Democrats. I saw this one coming since 2004.

She went on to say “Is this bill all that I want? Far from it,” Ms. Snowe declared. “Is it all that it can be? Far from it. But when history calls, history calls.”

So you don't like the bill? Then don't vote for it, you [insert Tim Clarkson's favorite derogatory phrase here]!!!!! Work to get the bill you want passed. Don't settle. Don't compromise on absolute shit just for the sake of getting something passed.

And what, exactly, does "when history calls, history calls" mean? I think we've learned from electing Barack Obama that it's ill-advised to do something n a national level just for the sake of saying that you did it? Is it ever okay to do something just so you can say you did it? For the sake of history? Climbing a mountain? Yes. Riding the MS150? Absolutely? Ramming government healthcare down the throats of the American public and therefor stripping of of yet more choice and freedom?

Use Windows to Access Your Bank Online at Your Own Risk

From the Washington Post:

An investigative series I've been writing about organized cyber crime gangs stealing millions of dollars from small to mid-sized businesses has generated more than a few responses from business owners who were concerned about how best to protect themselves from this type of fraud.

The simplest, most cost-effective answer I know of? Don't use Microsoft Windows when accessing your bank account online.

I do not offer this recommendation lightly (and at the end of this column you'll find a link to another column wherein I explain an easy-to-use alternative). But I have interviewed dozens of victim companies that lost anywhere from $10,000 to $500,000 dollars because of a single malware infection. I have heard stories worthy of a screenplay about the myriad ways cyber crooks are evading nearly every security obstacle the banks put in their way.

But regardless of the methods used by the bank or the crooks, all of the attacks shared a single, undeniable common denominator: They succeeded because the bad guys were able to plant malicious software that gave them complete control over the victim's Windows computer.

Why is the operating system important? Virtually all of the data-stealing malware in circulation today is built to attack Windows systems, and will simply fail to run on non-Windows computers. Also, the Windows-based malware employed in each of these recent online attacks against businesses was so sophisticated that it made it extremely difficult for banks to tell the difference between a transaction initiated by their customers and a transfer set in motion by hackers who had hijacked that customer's PC.

Yet another reason to use a Mac.

This Halloween, Make Trick-or Treaters Poop Their Pants

Forget cheesy yard tombstones, evil cackling pop-up witches, or ghosts that fly down from on top of the porch. Todd Harrison has put dual 110-decibel automobile horns inside his jack-'o-lantern, which features a cute red button nose and buck-toothed smile to throw people off from how diabolical it truly is. And here's the really wicked part: The horn is on a delay. Pushing the button causes the eyes to light up immediately, so the little tykes think, "Hey, neat, a pumpkin with light-up eyes," and then go on about their tyke-y business, at least for a few seconds before the dual 110-decibel automobile horns go off and leave them traumatized for life. Genius! Video and photos here.

Thanks to Matt for sending this.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Making Memories

While waiting to go on the field for Sammy's birthday at halftime, I turned around and saw Kayci standing at the railing in the stands watching. So I went up and got her and brought her down on the field with me. We watched the marching band performance up close and she got to see her old man go out on the field from field level. She really seemed to enjoy it. I hope she did.

Friday, October 9, 2009

WTF of the Century

From the new York times:

Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

The U.S. president Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize
"for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international
diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," the Nobel
Foundation said in Sweden on Friday.

My head may very well explode of this collossal display of absolute horse shit. 

Full opinion to come once I can see straight again. 

Monday, October 5, 2009

My new favorite expression

"tits up"

I heard Gordon Ramsay say it last week on Hell's Kitchen, and I've heard and read it a couple of additional times since then.

According to

A word used to describe something that has broken or someone who is dead

Quote of the Day...

"The AT&T rule of thumb is this: If the first, second, or third customer service rep can't help you, the fifth, tenth, or twentieth might."

-Erica Sadun at TUAW

Open Letter to the Houston Texans

Dear Texans,

Congratulations on your decisive victory over the Oakland Raiders yesterday. But you suck.

What makes me say you suck, you wonder? Coaching, execution, play calling, consistency. You name it.

First, coaching. As I blogged during the game, late in the fourth quarter and up by a 23 point lead, matt Schaub was still in the game. This is the same Matt Schaub who has been somewhat injury-prone during his career. This is the same Matt Schaub who is still nursing a tender ankle. We all wince and pray and watch through our fingers every time he scrambles, praying that somebody doesn't land on his ankle and put him out for the season. Seriously, coach. Pull him in a victory that big. He should have been benched at the end of the third quarter and Grossman sent in. Matt played a decent game, but not great. What would've happened if he had been injured on the final series of a blowout game? Fans would've been demanding heads to roll.

Second, execution. I saw several defensive plays that should have resulted in either a sack or in an interception. Mario is doing well. Cushing is tearing it up. But.that's. about. it. As I was discussing yesterday with my buddy, Johnny, during the game, when the defense shows up to play we usually win. They showed up yesterday. Make that happen every week, will you? And please work with your defensive guys on catching. I can think of at least three occasions yesterday when, if they had been able to catch an easy ball, the play would have been a turnover.

Next, play calling. Why on God's green Earth were we still running passing plays in the fourth quarter with a 23 point lead? Run the ball. Run the clock.

And finally, consistency. If the Texans I saw yesterday would show up every week, we would be a playoff team, no doubts. The problem is that the team only seems to play well every other week. And even then, the offense only seems to play half the game. Their play during the second half of games is almost non-existent. They seem to have simply run out of gas. Some stamina training might be in order. Or ore substitutions. Who knows? That's not my job - it's yours. Do it, already.

Oh, and one more thing... Pink????? Pink gloves? Pink hats? Pink shoes? I know it's October and it's breast cancer awareness month. I get that. But for God's sake, this is a man's sport. Know your audience. Seeing big, burly guys down on the field sporting pink is just wrong. Period. I can't imagine such a thing happening twenty years ago. I can't imagine players submitting to it. A small pink ribbon on the helmet or on the uniform should suffice. Man up. And hocking that gear on your website is shameful.


P.S. - Quit winning on weeks when my buddy Johnny and I don't watch the game together. I need a football buddy, and if our wives start catching on to the pattern that seems to be emerging, they might not let us out to play at each other's houses anymore.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Poor coaching.

Fourth quarter. Texans leading the Raiders 29-6.

Why on earth is Matt Schaub still in the game???

This is what watching football is all about.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rainy days and bluegrass music

Obama urges spirit of compromise on healthcare

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama called on the U.S. Congress on Saturday to be willing to compromise on a plan to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system now that a key Senate committee has wrapped up work on its proposal.

I bet he did. Urging compromise is a desperate tactic of someone who is losing.

Note to Republicans and blue dog Democrats: if you give in, compromise for the sake of "getting along" and shove government health care down our throats, be prepared for a firestorm the likes of which hasn't been seen since 1776. You just THOUGHT you got an earful from a beligerant citizenry at the town hall meetings.

Further note to politicians: quit "fixing" things. Everything you touch turns to crap. Get out of our damn lives. Secure the borders, run the wars and, well, that's it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy October

October... may favorite month of the year.