"The only blog we have to fear is blog itself."

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Man gets 5-10 years for stealing syrup:
A man convicted of stealing maple syrup has been sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison.

Stephen R. Bain, 53, was formally accused of possessing stolen syrup and possession of marijuana.
What the hell kind of concoction is this fellow brewing? Some sort of new, gooey street drug, or simply preparing for the inevitable munchie/craving for flapjacks?

Oh, wait. This was no petty larceny...
Bain was charged with taking syrup from Dwight Miller's store in Dummerston after police learned that 900 pounds, or 75 gallons, of syrup had been sold by Bain to a farm in New Hampshire for $1,300.
900 lbs. of maple syrup?? I can only imagine those frantic phone calls to find a fence for these stolen goods!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Vision of the Web, Had It Stayed Within "Walled Gardens" 

So Wal-Mart started their own social-networking website for kids:
Desperate to appeal to teens with something other than pencils and backpacks during the crucial back-to-school season, Wal-Mart is launching a highly sanitized, controlled and rather unhip site at walmart.com/schoolyourway. Teens are invited to create their own page, "show it to the world and win some fab prizes," including a chance to have their videos appear in a Wal-Mart TV commercial.


The site is an attempt at closing the trend gap Wal-Mart now faces as Target wins more teen-apparel dollars. But if Wal-Mart thought it could win over Amy Kandel, 14, of Columbus, Ohio, it was wrong. "Some of the kids looked like they were trying to be supercool, but they weren't at all, and they were just being kind of weird," she said. "Are these real kids?"

Nor did it impress Pete Hughes, 18. "It just seemed kind of corny to me," he said.

Wal-Mart declined to comment.
This site is one of the most bizarre, ham-handed attempts at appealing to the youth market I think I've ever seen (outside of the '60s, anyway).

One of the front page's "hot pages" is ostensibly by an ordinary tween girl, but has a video of herself which is clearly professionally made and offers the following personal description, a nightmarish mashup of teenspeak and ad-agencyese:
Shopping will be my number ONE hobby this fall. I am going to be the most fashionable teen at school! I'll be on the lookout for the latest fashions. From leggings to layers, to boots and flats, big belts, and headbands! I'll be looking for it all! Layering is SO IN right now. Hobo bags are also in style. OH! And big sunglasses! WHOO!! I don't know where to stop! With all of the new clothes I'll be getting, the kids at school will be begging me for fashion tips!
Or here's another "user," supposedly a kid named Tyler:
Although summer is fun for relaxing, sun, swimming and travel, I always look forward to heading back to school in the fall. Back to school is always a time where I get excited to see my friends and shop for new clothes. My friends and I like to shop for back to school clothes together, and check out the new fall fashions. School My Way is trying not to be a follower. Mixing student council with academics. Cheerleading with drama. Finding the blend between what I want to do and who I am. Finding my stride.
Yes! Life should really be all about finding one's "inner copywriter" and dreaming of growing up and winning a Clio.

Hmmm, but I know what you're asking at this stage. Do they have TOTALLY AMAZING prizes for users? Well, let's check their FAQ page...
There’s tons of fun stuff to keep you entertained! Check out the latest fashion trends and make your own personalized page for a chance to win amazing prizes from Sony®!


We’re talking awesome Sony® stuff from laptops to High Def Camcorders and all the gear that comes with them! We’ve also got another prize package that will really give you the celeb treatment: A trip for 2 to LA that includes spending money and a chance to meet some pretty impressive people in the industry of your choice!
Oooh, I've been DYING to meet someone "impressive" in the Import/Export industry!! OMG!!

Their FAQ also includes this exchange:
The guys from Wal-Mart and Sony® teamed up to bring you all the sweet stuff you’ll find on the HUB!
Damn, how do their skulls even hold in all that sweet, sweet geniusness! I'd assume their heads would just explode, if they weren't all wearing tightly-fitted men's Dale Earnhardt, Jr. comfortable, yet durable, cotton cap, only $7 now on clearance, with bold colors and contrast piping.

The Quibblers 

According to Nya Uh: An Excruciatingly Detailed History of The Quibbler's Society by Wilton D. Hagenberger, Quibbler's Knob is the historic location where the Quibblers Society meets each third month for their monthly meetings.

Stephen Austrich, one of the earliest and most famous of the Quibblers, used to loudly question why "monthly meetings" where being held quarterly. The other Quibblers would shout him down, calling Austrich a "mere nitpicker"--a strong rebuke within Quibbler circles, as the Nitpickers were crosstown rivals to the Quibblers with similar Bylaws but greatly inferior hats.

Each July, the Quibblers would hold their Initiation Rites at Quibbler's Knob. To keep away curiosity-seekers, newspapermen, and novelty vendors, the exact date of the Rites was a closely held secret, although a casual query of any local townsperson would find the appointed time readily available.

Despite the penalty of "toe removal" mandated in the Bylaws for all serious transgressions, most Quibblers were known to noisily clear their throats and declare without preamble things like "Sorry, my lad, I'd like to go fishing with you next Thursday but I've got these damned Quibblers Rites to attend." Some Quibblers would, in a bid to impress neighbors, mail out cards inscribed with "Please do not call
on me Thursday, July 11th, at 7PM. I will be attending Secret Initiation Rites and will be unavailable."

When confronted about these gross violations of the secrecy mandate by an exasperated Quibbler Sergeant-at-Arms, charged with upholding the Bylaws and meting out Justice as prescribed therein, the other Quibblers would simply remind him of his mortal fear of toes due to a horrible childhood sandal accident and he would flee to the nearest
water closet to make sure his specially-knitted individual toe-covers had not slipped off and exposed what he tremblingly referred to as the "shame digits" to each other.

Gathered together for the Initiation Rites at Quibbler's Knob, the assembled Quibblers would begin their ceremony just before dusk. A hush would fall over the group, resplendent in their multi-hued robes reflecting the fading glory of the brilliant evening sun, and, at the appointed time, would argue vehemently over who got to speak first during the ceremony.

That point settled, and after the return of the Sergeant-at-Arms from a quick check of his shame digits, the Rites would begin, much to the delight of the nearby curiosity-seekers and newspapermen who had been haggling over novelties from vendors during the preceeding argument.

The Rites would begin with the Lighting of Candles, followed by the Naming of Names, and then continue with what the Quibblers called "General Bitching."

It is at this point that the ceremony was nearly always interrupted by rock-throwing from a contigent of Nitpickers who had heard about the ceremony from a littered "Please Do Not Call on Me" card and had spruced up their inferior hatwear with fierce plumes to crash Quibbler's Knob while chanting "Rumble! Rumble!" in low voices.

Following the Rumble, and after any wounds were attended to, the new Quibblers were considered duly inducted into the group, were taught the Secret Handshake and the Even More Secret Hacking Cough, and a round of novelties was purchased from the nearby vendors for the fresh Quibblers by their beaming elders.


Sheesh, you just get a little bit busy, and next thing you know you haven't blogged in a month.

What's up with that?

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