Friday Fun Random Post

It’s Friday! Woo-hoo! That means the weekend is upon us… better yet, that means only two days until football comes back! Rejoice and kick back with these random images!

First, we have Gemma Atkinson! Pardon me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard:

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Hey, does anyone remember this “video game” from the late 70s or early 80s:

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I saw a picture of the game online, and it brought back a flood of memories. I had that game, and I used to play it for hours. I love pointless nostalgia!

Here’s a picture of Jenna Fischer looking cute as a button on the set of The Office:

Jenna Fischer Office Christmas

And lastly… because it never gets old, here’s one more pic from the Cowboys\Steelers game last Sunday, at the point of the Steelers’ victory:

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Fighting back against Monster

Monster Cable Products is a company which makes a brand of cables called Monster Cable. You’ve probably seen their products at big box retailers like Best Buy and Circuit City. Hell, you’ve probably gotten the hard-sell about them from a Best Buy salesman. And no wonder – the cables are a quality product, but are outrageously overpriced for what they are. The big box retailers make an obscene amount of profit from them, and thus will resort to scare tactics to sell them: “Oh yeah, those Sony HDTVs will explode on you if you don’t use a Monster brand cable!”

I personally hate Monster cables, and it’s not just because they have the nerve to sell a $2 cable for $150. No, I hate Monster because the company will seemingly sue anyone that uses the word “Monster” in their name. I could understand the legal action if a company was in the cable or electronics accessory business, but Monster Cable has threatened legal action against anyone with Monster in their name, such as:

Monster Garage (a car show on the Discovery Channel)
Monster Energy Drink
Snow Monsters (a children’s skiing group)
MonsterVintage (a small used clothing store)
Monsters, Inc.
, a Disney animated film
“Monsters of the Midway”, a nickname of the Chicago Bears that dates to the 1940s.
The “Monster seats” at Boston’s Fenway Park
Monster.com, an employment website
Monster Mini Golf

Look, I understand how trademarks work. You have to defend their use, or else you’d lose the rights to that trademark. That’s why the legal departments at Xerox and Kimberley-Clark send letters to DJs and TV reporters reminding them to use the terms “photocopy” and “tissue” instead of “Xerox” or “Kleenex”. But Monster is a company gone mad. And now you can do something about it! This post at Consumerist.com has contact links for Monster’s CEO where you can tell him to stop wasting his time (and taxpayer money in the court system) by ending Monster’s ridiculous trademark campaign!

R.I.P. Bettie Page

From the L.A. Times:

Bettie Page, the brunet pinup queen with a shoulder-length pageboy hairdo and kitschy bangs whose saucy photos helped usher in the sexual revolution of the 1960s, has died. She was 85.

Page, whose later life was marked by depression, violent mood swings and several years in a state mental institution, died Thursday night at Kindred Hospital in Los Angeles, where she had been on life support since suffering a heart attack Dec. 2, according to her agent, Mark Roesler.

It’s a sad day. 🙁

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The Year We Almost Died

The “Cold War” was a state of undeclared war that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union from the end of World War II until the collapse of Russia’s Communist government in the early 1990s. Unlike a “hot” war, where two sides are actively shooting at each other, the “cold” war was all about readiness, posturing, and brinksmanship. If the Soviets came out with a new tank, the US would develop a missile that could pierce its armor. If the US came out with a submarine that was much quieter than its predecessors, the Soviet Union would develop better sonar for detecting it. If the Soviets sent $10 million worth of arms to a tribe in Africa, the US would send $20 million worth of arms to a competing tribe.

The Cold War was breathtakingly expensive and affected almost every country on earth. Although the US and Soviets never directly went to war, the Cold War did get awfully “warm” at times. In 1983, in fact, the world came to the very brink of a nuclear holocaust. Twice. And for that, you can blame Able Archer.

It all started with the 1980 US presidential election. President Carter (and Presidents Ford and Nixon before him) had pursued a policy of détente – a relaxing of tensions – between the US and the Soviet Union. Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan actively rejected détente. Reagan felt that the previous administrations – Carter’s, especially – had used détente as an excuse to cut military spending. He felt that the United States could not negotiate with the Soviets with a weakened military. He called it “Peace Through Strength”, and it terrified the Soviets.

Continue reading “The Year We Almost Died”

R.I.P. Jan Kemp

Jan Kemp, a notorious figure in Georgia sports history, died this past Friday. She was 59.

Infamous among UGA football fans, Kemp was a University of Georgia professor who blew the whistle on the school’s preferential treatment of student athletes. Fired for refusing to pass athletes in her classes, People magazine hailed her as “a hero of the 80s” for filing a lawsuit against the university in 1986 in order to get her job back.

The trial brought many of UGA’s unseemly practices to light, especially an infamous tape recording of remedial studies director Leroy Ervin saying that “I know for a fact that these kids would not be here if it were not for their utility to the institution… They are used as a kind of raw material in the production of some goods to be sold as whatever product, and they get nothing in return”.

Such revelations about a university producing functionally illiterate athletes led to the resignation of longtime university president Fred Davison. They also led to a million jokes from Georgia Tech fans, as well as a humorous “UGA Athletes’ Exam” that was chain-faxed thousands of times in the Atlanta area.

Reforms were immediately instituted at UGA and across the NCAA as a result of Kemp’s lawsuit – which she won. She was awarded $2.58 million, although this was later reduced to $1.1 million. Kemp, although a pariah that was often verbally assaulted by UGA football fans who blamed her for the program’s later difficulties, refused to leave her Athens home. Indeed, she lived there until around six months ago, when a combination of a broken hip and Alzheimer’s Disease forced her to move to a nursing home.

Q. What did the average UGA football player get on his SAT?
A. Drool

God bless, Jan!

The ACC Champio.. zzzzz

This is a picture from the first quarter of the ACC Championship game in Tampa this past weekend:

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Although the ACC’s official attendance number was 53,927, you can clearly see that the “real number” was far lower than that. The ACC officially acknowledged that BC and Virginia Tech sold less than 5,000 of their 20,000 allotted tickets… yet somehow they come up with 53,927… when “less than 20,000” would be more realistic. Word is that the game was such a snoozer that scalpers were actually giving tickets away outside the gates. And no, I don’t mean “giving them away” as in selling a 50-yard line seat for $10… I’m talking about actually giving them away, as in “here… no one wants these… you can have them for free!”

That’s friggin pathetic! The SEC Championship, held at the Georgia Dome this weekend, was like a bowl game unto itself. Meanwhile, fewer people show up for the ACC Championship than a regular season game at perennial football powerhouse University of Delaware.

Australia vs. Kiddie Porn

99.99% of the human population is deeply offended by child pornography. But, as the United States Supreme Court ruled in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, child pornography is bad because it exploits children, not because there’s something inherently illegal about being a pedophile. In its judgment, the Court ruled that Congress’ only mandate was to prevent the exploitation of children, and that it could not ban “virtual” kiddie porn, like cartoons, computer-generated pornography, or images where children’s faces have been photoshopped onto otherwise legal adult pornography. In other words, if children aren’t involved, then it’s not child pornography, and therefore it’s not illegal.

Things are quite different in Australia, however… as New South Wales resident Alan John McEwan found out. McEwan was somehow busted for having a collection of images which featured characters from The Simpsons – especially kids Bart and Lisa – engaging in sexual acts. He was taken to Parramatta Local Court and found guilty of possession of child pornography in February of this year. And, this morning, the New South Wales Supreme Court upheld McEwan’s conviction… for child pornography… for having cartoons of Simpsons characters having sex.

Look, I’m not going to defend pedophiles here. I’m as kinky as the next guy, but you’ve gotta draw the line somewhere, and sex with children is absolutely out of bounds. However, simply being a pedophile is not a crime, nor should it be until a pedophile actually acts on it. So this ruling simply baffles me. McEwan had drawings of fictional cartoon characters on his computer.

While I appreciate that the justices were probably trying to “do the right thing”, you should really read their ruling for the tortured logic it contains.

R.I.P. Sunny von Bulow

Martha “Sunny” von Bulow, the wealthy American heiress who was the subject of the 1990 film Reversal of Fortune, has died after spending 28 years in a coma. She was 76.

The only daughter of utilities magnate George Crawford, Martha Crawford inherited millions of dollars after her father’s untimely death when she was four. She married His Serene Highness Prince Alfred of Auersperg in 1957. They had two children before divorcing in 1965. A year later, Sunny married Claus von Bulow, then an aide to billionaire oil man J. Paul Getty. The two had a daughter, Cosima Iona von Bülow, who was born in 1967.

By 1980, tensions had begun to mount in Sunny and Claus’ marriage. In April of that year, Sunny slipped into a coma, which was attributed to reactive hypoglycemia. At a Christmas celebration with her family on December 21, 1980, Sunny appeared disoriented and confused. Given her reputation as a heavy drinker and pill popper, her family put her to bed. The next morning, however, it was apparent that she had something far more serious than a hangover. She was rushed to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with brain damage severe enough to leave her in a coma.

Continue reading “R.I.P. Sunny von Bulow”