Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I worked at K-Mart the summer before I went to college. Looking back on it, it was a very good learning experience for me. I stocked the shelves in the toy, paper goods and snack departments. I've never done anything so easy. All I had to do was look around for blank spots and write down a stock number on my little notepad. I would get a bunch of numbers on the pad and then go to the backroom and pull cartons of stock. I bring the stuff back on a cart and put in on the shelves where it was supposed to go. Pretty easy. My manager thought I was genius because I learned how to do this in a day.

Well, I guess this was not easy for a lot of people. First of all, you had to write down the numbers and then you had to find the stuff in the back. All the stuff in the back was numbered to match the stock numbers, some people were thrown by this. Also, you had to open up boxes without a knife. I hated this, but I guess other people who worked at the DesPlaines K-Mart couldn't be be trusted with knives. They must have been stressed trying to write down the numbers or find the stuff in the back or something. Here was lesson #1 --People who can't count probably shouldn't have knifes. I also learned lesson #2 -- You can open boxes with Bic Pens.

The other things I learned were mainly about the people who shopped at K-mart. They didn't like their children, or at least didn't care if anyone stole them. A lot of people would just drop their kids in the toy department and let them make a mess. They didn't worry because someone like me would probably catch the kids who climbed the shelves and put back all the toys they took out. I guess I should have learned that it's okay to let other people watch my kids -- most other people are nice.

I also learned that some people do really weird stuff in public and aren't even ashamed. A woman pooped on the floor in the towel section one day. She wasn't happy that she couldn't bargin on the prices. She just squatted there in her sari and walked away when she was done. I guess she figured that the stupid college-bound kid who told her that $3.97 was the price deserved to pick up after her.

I also saw a very drunken couple ride bikes around the store at night. They humilated their little boy by acting so weird, but they didn't care. The manager controlled this craziness, while I talked to the little boy who was so ashamed and angry that his parents were weird and had forgotten his birthday. I wonder how that kid turned out, maybe I should have stolen that one.

I'm glad I only worked there one summer. They offered me a college deal, because I was so good at my job and because I showed up everyday and left without stealing stuff. I turned them down, the whole place depressed me, mostly the K-mart shoppers and the guys you could trust with knives.

I read a neat essay on K-mart that made me think about this today. Check it out on Core77. The author, Kate Bingaman has her own blog, Obsessive Consumption which is worth reading.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Sometimes I think I have the world on my shoulders. Then I see a picture like this and thank God, I don't.

For more pictures of 3rd world ingenuity and freckless vehicle overload see Ezprezzo.com

Monday, March 20, 2006


A couple of years ago, when I first starting wasting considerable time on the Internet, I came across this site. This is a place where people can post their secrets, on anonyomous postcards. There are many interesting or dark secrets here along with stunningly insightful artwork.

Some of the secrets make me very sad, but there is the definate possibility that they are unreal. Thinking that makes me feel better.

There is now a Post Secret book which has some the best images. Also, one morning I caught a bit of MTV, when they were playing actual videos, and saw the secrets featured as part of a video.

This site demonstrates the reach of the web, it makes the very public, very private and could be offering extremely fake items at extremely geniune ones. In all, it makes you think and distracts you from the work at hand.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Ever wonder where the taxes go?

Here is a visual representation of where our tax money goes. I would paste it in, but as you will see, it's too large of a graphic. I was amazed by the research that went into this, as well as the creative visual presentation.

I don't really question the relative amount of money that goes to defense, because as I see it, that is the primary reason there are governments at all. If we are going to have armed forces they ought to have the best stuff available. Also, defense and commerce are about all that the Constitution outlined for the US government to handle.

Real Life Simpsons

I got this by way of my daughter.

Have you ever wondered what a real-life British version of The Simpsons would look like. Well, worry no more.

UTube is a site worth watching. Anyone can post a video there and freely share it. I've had a lot of fun on that site, watching the craziness, as well as the truly creative. Here are a few more:

Brokeback to the Future
Hooked on a Feeling

This site, and other like it are supreme time wasters, but what can I say, I like to waste time.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Fighting the bull, one memo at a time

Having worked in large corporations for over 10 years, I have learned to accept the bull---- phrases that are rife in most memos. After all that 'return on investment', 'synergistic' and 'best practice' verbage -- it is sometimes hard to get any real meaning out of anything.

But wait, now there is a tool -- the Bullfighter

Here is what the Consumerist says:
Dear Corporate Executives — please learn how to write. Having initially been a greasy, protoplasmic ooze poured into the mold of a stiff, starched suit, then imbued — Golem-like — with the spark of meaningless corporate business speak, you soulless automatons never seem to realize how meaningless phrases like "maximize initiatives" and "establish paradigm, COB" are to those of us who sprang forth from human loins.

Inhuman though you may be, your only means of expressing yourselves being Powerpoint presentations and the occasional "Booyeah!", we don't really expect you to figure out how to relate to an actual person by yourselves. But luckily, Bullfighter is here to help you with the task.

Bullfighter is a plug-in for Microsoft Office that operates like a spell checker. But instead of scanning your documents for typos and spelling mistakes, it scans your documents for corporate bullshit and suggests more human alternatives appropriately. ...
Fight the Bull: Bullfighter (Thanks, Lifehacker!)

Okay, now I just need to find a way to sneak this onto computers of the HR department.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Movie Start Times -- a theory

As I mentioned earlier, I hate how movies are scheduled at the Multiplex. My favorite theater has 30 screens, but only a couple of start times. There is a mad scramble at 6:45 to 7:15 in the parking lot and concession stand.

I had wondered why the theaters are all doing it. My new theory is: it stops screen jumpers, those cheap people who pay once and go to a couple of movies. If only they could get a couple of those nerdy ushers to check tickets.....

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cloud Appreciation Society

There really is something for everyone. The Cloud Appreciation Society relishes the clouds that pass over us and seeks to encourage their appreciation.
We think that they are Nature’s poetry,
and the most egalitarian of her displays, since
everyone can have a fantastic view of them

There are some great pictures here and many words celebrating the most ordinary of wonders.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Painter of Light

Oh, my God some dirt on the world's worst artist, Thomas Kincaid.

From the LA Times:

"When I got saved, God became my art agent," he said in a 2004 video biography, genteel in tone and rich in the themes of faith and family values that have helped win him legions of fans, albeit few among art critics.

But some former Kinkade employees, gallery operators and others contend that the Painter of Light has a decidedly dark side.

Besides create horrible art, he likes to urinate in public.... you've got to read this one.

Coyotes on the prowl

A while back, my co-workers spotted a coyote trotting around the pond behind the library. It was lanky and ran with a gait totally unlike a dog. I kind of felt sorry for it as it circled the pond, looking at all the ducks and geese amassed in its center. A week after that, I nearly hit a coyote right behind the local hospital. It trotted across the road with something in its mouth -- I'm glad I don't know what.

Now Smithsonian magazine has a short article on the newly urbanized coyotes, it's worth a quick read. We also have a ton of hawks in my neighborhood --- I wonder if they are coming back too.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Although it may seem old news by now, the cartoon controversy which has raged across the world really hit home with me. I was shocked at the riots, most especially since the cartoons were orginally published in September and all the rage began in January. That seems to hint at some co-ordination behind the rioting, especially the prevalence of Danish flags in remote spots. I wouldn't know where to get a Danish flag here in my town.

But as disturbing as the actual rioting was, I find the near silence of the US press more disturbing. Here is a ready made case to defend freedom of the press, and what happens, no mainstream network or paper publishes the cartoons. CNN went so far as to pixel blurr them, in deference to Muslim sensibilities. This is the same media which has shown the "Piss Christ" and other anti-Catholic images in the past. I didn't like that artwork, but I would never protest the right of the press to display it (though I might urge a little better taste).

I don't think the mainline US journalists really believe in the First Amendment. Sure, they talk about it when it comes to pornography and anti-Christian stuff, but not when it means taking a real stand. At one time most journalists believed that the pen was mightier than the sword, but we may want to revise that to "the crayon is mightier than the sword". It's the cartoonist who took a stand. Check out these that I found via Little Green Footballs.