Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Machines Behaving Badly

There've been a couple distressing reports out in the midwest recently about machines behaving badly.

The first account is of a 37 year old homeless man who was rummaging through a bin behind an Oak Park, Illinois supermarket and got compacted along with the cardboard boxes.

The second is more recent and it goes to support the theory that sometimes paybacks are sudden, severe and all out of proportion to the offense.

It seems that two women in Lansing, Michigan (one of whom was the late Tyree Monique Tate) decided to cap off an afternoon of boosting merch by a trip to the local TJ Maxx, where they treated a security man to some pepper spray for having the impertinence to suggest that they should pay for things they want, rather than stealing them.

Making a hasty exit from the premises, the duo repaired to the premises of a nearby Goodwill industries store to conceal themselves, and apparently the decedent Tyree Monique Tate hid out in the compactor and became TyrMonqTat when someone threw the switch. Apologists would likely suggest that the machine did exactly what it was designed for.

All of which proves yet again, as Raymond Chandler opined "Listen, kid: Crime is a sucker's road, and it leads to the gutter, the prison and the grave."

Photo credit Sanitech.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Neville Chamberlain: Alive And Well At the Amethyst Initiative

We're reliably informed that something called the Amethyst Initiative has managed to sign up a number of college presidents eager to kowtow to an army of militant drunks.

"What?" you say, "college presidents doing something important besides migrating from job to job like a bunch of disloyal, money grubbing locusts? Thinking about the Big Issues? Brilliant!"

Hold your horses for a minute, Sparky.

The inartfully yclept initiative is an effort to get the national drinking age lowered from 21 to 18, on the somewhat dubious premise that this will serve to limit college binge drinking among the studenti and there will therefore be peace and justice.

Were truth in advertising enforced, this could be described as the Caving In To Campus Disorder/Drunken Bum Initiative. A more appropriate symbol would be a stinking drunk person vomiting in a wastebasket while hurling a brick at police.

Apparently this notion is the brainchild of John McCardell, former president of Middlebury College. He recites that the law is routinely evaded (true) and that the people that it is aimed at believe it is unfair, unjust, discriminatory and a downright shame-all of which is true, but beside the point. People in the habit or routinely disobeying the law always see consequences for their actions as a gross imposition. Also, if you believe that drunken affrays should be the norm in every college town across the nation then you're on board with the Amethyst Initiative. And it's also germane if you figure that college presidents need more time to sit on their asses instead of getting out in front and enforcing reasonable rules of conduct on campus and in campustown.

John, here's what you're going to get if you succeed. These are the people you want to turn loose on the rest of us.

Joanne Glasser, prez of Bradley University in the great state of Illinois is not joining forces with the amethystas. She disagrees with the muddleheaded notion that lowering the drinking age will make anyone safer.

Here's what she said, and it's worth reiterating:

"Based on the tragic and untimely alcohol-related deaths of two Bradley students last year, I recognize more than others the very serious consequences of this proposal. Rather than spending our time trying to lower the drinking age, universities should be focusing our attention on programs and activities that address both the responsible use of alcohol and a reduction in the misuse and abuse of alcohol on our respective campuses."

You know, I have an idea. How about the Obey the Rules or Get Your Ass Gone Initiative?

The premise is simple. There are rules, you're expected to behave like an adult on campus and follow them, and if you don't, out you go. Make your own way in the world.

I'd be glad to host it if somebody like A-B or Jack Daniels funds the project.

I mean, who could be against expecting people to obey the rules that were in place when they applied to Booshwah State University, for heaven's sake.

All of which raises an interesting and important question.

Who's paying for the Amethyst Initiative?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What does this man know that you don't, part 2.

This is Ahmed Belgasem, who finished dead last in the recently concluded men's cycling road race in the Beijing Olympics. Mr. Belgasem, representing the hopes and dreams of the great nation of Libya, thus claimed the Lanterne Rouge. We are reliably informed of these facts by a lady of the country of unimpeachable reputation, an oracle really, who hangs her hat here. Give ear, o ye multitude.

The point is, when the road is hot, the ride is long, and life looks like a bad dream in technicolor, determination and grit is what brings you home-not star quality, great legs, a pretty face or any number of artful chemical dodges.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

News You Can Use, Part 2.

Agencie France Presse reports this day that guests at a fine hotel in Japan were treated to grapes. "Grapes" you say?
Well, that bunch of grapes sold for about $910 at present rates of exchange which means that for each Ruby Roman grape you paid thirty bucks.

News You Can Use From Switzerland's Zentrum Paul Klee

I couldn't make this up if I tried, folks.

It seems that a gust of wind swept a displayed piece of art from outside the Paul Klee Centre in Switzerland. The displayed artwork was a piece entitled Complex Shit done by Paul McCarthy, an American artiste, and it was a giant inflatable pile of dog crap.

The wind carried the artwork away, knocking over power lines and breaking windows before it came to rest a couple hundred yards away.

Photo courtesy Zentrum Paul Klee