That was a different Friday afternoon.

SCRAMBLE

So Bob and his dog Stain got run over by a garbage truck today. Literally, like in a MAD Magazine cartoon.

I found this out because I was reading in the patio when my phone said “DING” and the message was a Facebook update. A few of my friends I have set to text me when they update. Bob’s one of them. His update was, basically: “Stain and I hit by truck. No phone. At home. Bloody mess. HALP”

I zipped over there to find them both bloody and shocked. A garbage truck had essentially parked on Stain’s front paws and he was licking them mournfully. Bob was a bit of a scratch and dent himself. The kitchen looked, as Bob put it, “like Charlie Manson came over for lunch.”

So far, so good. Remains to be seen how badly Stain’s paw is injured. Bob appears intact.

This is an example of the power of the Internet, though. With no minutes left on his prepaid phone, the $200 netbook plus some neighbor’s wifi plus facebook plus text alerts meant that several people immediately saw an alarm. Daniel turned around and biked back from Seal Beach on that alarm, I went across town here, and half a dozen other people immediately responded.

Here’s to a fast healing dog.

SEARSFAIL

I got this email from Sears today:

WHOOPS! The email we sent you Monday had the wrong TV offer in it! We are not offering a Panasonic 54″ class 1080p 600Hz plasma HDTV for $399.99. We apologize for this mistake and assure you that we are taking every step to make sure it doesn?t happen again.

The offer that we currently have is a Panasonic 54″ class 1080p 600Hz plasma HDTV for $1099.99.

Some Thad or Tad or Katie or Caitlin “Email Blast Coordinator” didn’t enhance revenue today.

Annals of Commerce: Holiday Specials

My project this season is to collect the weirdest holiday sales pitches, i.e., the ones that have to stretch the most to associate themselves with any of the possible Fall and Winter holidays. So far I have:

  • Buddhist teacher selling “holiday” cards to somehow assist children in African country
  • “Celebrate and give thanks all week in EverQuest® with 25% Bonus Station Cashâ„¢ and Increased faction hits all around Norrath!”
  • Ham radio tree ornaments from the American Radio Relay League.

Please drop any good ones you find in the comments. I’m sure there will be some winners.

Gruntfish, fang frogs, and microbears

From Chuck Shepherd’s News of the Weird today:

Among the species discovered recently in Papua New Guinea were tiny bear-like creatures, frogs with fangs, fish that grunt, kangaroos that live in trees, and what is probably the world’s largest rat (with no fear of humans). Scientists from Britain, the United States, and Papua New Guinea announced the findings in September, among more than 40 new species from a jungle habitat a half-mile deep inside the centuries-dormant Mount Bosavi volcano crater. [The Guardian (London), 9-7-09]

A Veterans Day Toast

This Veterans Day I offer a toast to my Uncle Richard. He was a very young soldier in 1943 when he was called upon to invade Sicily and fight the Nazis there.

On average everyone in his unit was killed three times, so 300% casualties. It’s not clear how he survived, although he has a great debt to an older sergeant who looked after him. A lot of things in life have been more difficult than they should have been since then.

Since that time he has maintained a continuous, loyal, and upright middle finger at any kind of authority, without exception. He’s a photographer and painter and retired from teaching. I believe he was something of a thorn in the side of university administrators during his career.

Uncle Dick, I’m sorry for the unholy amount of suffering you had to endure, and I salute you for being a model of rebellion and creative success. Bottoms up!

Vocabulary of the day, courtesy Bob

Whiskey Car (n). A car which has been operated by a heavy drinker for some time. A particular damage pattern identifies a Whiskey Car. There will be parking lot dents, small ones with a bit of paint from another car or a pole. A distinctive pattern of impacts will be seen on the top of the fenders or bumpers due to angry car-whacking, for example with a pool cue or a hand tool. The inside of the car will smell vaguely bad, similar to the tobacco and old alcohol aroma of its owner at the end of the evening. Any keyhole will be scratched from impaired attempts to get the key in.

The whiskey car is immediately identifiable by observant people who’ve spent time in bars.