Archive for the ‘What's Up With That?’ category

What’s Up With That? #86: The Cocaine Fairy delivers to the back door

October 6, 2010

I’ve heard some lame excuses in my time, but this one touches bottom.


In Manatee County, Florida, 25-year-old Raymond Stanley Roberts was pulled over by sheriff’s deputies in a routine traffic stop. When the officers smelled the familiar aroma of marijuana, they conducted a search of Roberts’s person. During the search, deputies discovered what appeared to be a small, soft package firmly ensconced between Roberts’s buttocks. This object proved to be a baggie filled with 4.5 ounces of cannabis.

Additional manual inspection of the suspect’s nether regions turned up yet another bag, this one containing 27 chunks of rock cocaine, weighing a total of 3.5 grams.

Confronted with the evidence, Roberts told the police:

“The white stuff is not mine, but the weed is.”

What say, Ray? Only some of the junk in your trunk is yours?

With this simple yet eloquent sentence, Roberts easily outstripped previous Lamest Excuse Ever recordholder Lindsay Lohan, who once famously denied that the cocaine that police found in her pants was hers, given that she was wearing someone else’s pants. I’m not sure how one would go about convincing the authorities that the buttocks upon which one was seated were someone else’s buttocks, but if it works, it works.

Apparently, it didn’t work for Mr. Roberts. He was charged with possession and is presently free on bail.

A word of advice, Ray…

Watch your (lower) back.

What’s Up With That? #85: Yes, Jacquelyn, there is a Santa Claus…

September 1, 2010

…but you are not he.

This weird tale comes to us straight out of the pages of EC Comics — or would, if EC Comics were still being published, and were based in Bakersfield, California.

The decomposing corpse of physician Jacquelyn Kotarac, MD, was found lodged in the chimney of her ex-boyfriend’s home, after the good doctor showed off her best impression of St. Nicholas on Christmas Eve.

This brainstorm came after Dr. Kotarac attempted unsuccessfully to break into Mr. Lucky’s bachelor pad last Wednesday evening, using a shovel as a battering ram. Kotarac then climbed onto the roof of the house using a ladder, and slid down the smokestack feet first, apparently unaware that the jolly fat man can only accomplish this task via the power of imagination.

Meanwhile, the ex-boyfriend slipped out the back door.

A woman who was weekend house-sitting for the absent Lothario discovered Dr. Kotarac’s remains on Saturday when she, as the Associated Press so delicately put it, “noticed a stench and fluids coming from the fireplace.”

Don’t jilted lovers just boil rabbits on the stove anymore?

Engineering consultant William Moodie, the ostensible target of Dr. Kotarac’s ardor, said of his departed paramour:

She made an unbelievable error in judgment and nobody understands why, and unfortunately she’s passed away. She had her issues — she had her demons — but I never lost my respect for her.

Issues? Dr. Kotarac makes Lisa Nowak — the infamous diaper-clad NASA astronaut who drove from Texas to Florida to assault her ex-lover’s new squeeze — seem positively sane by comparison.

Let this be a lesson to you medical students: Pay attention in anatomy class. Especially to the lectures on the limits of skeletal flexibility.

What’s Up With That? #84: Grave robbers

December 3, 2009

If ever there was an argument for the return of public flogging, this just might be it.

Last weekend, a family of four from nearby Sonoma — John and Susan Maloney and their two young children, an 8-year old son and 5-year-old daughter — were killed in a horrific automobile accident, when a 19-year-old NASCAR wannabe blazed through a red light at a speed in the neighborhood of 90 MPH and smashed into the family’s minivan.

The Maloneys were returning home from a Thanksgiving vacation in Hawaii.

Nothing much can be done about the offending driver, who also died shortly after the crash. But… check this out.

A couple of twentysomethings from down on the Peninsula heard the tragic news I’ve just described — the story was ubiquitous in the local media — and said to themselves, “Hey… since those people are dead, they won’t be using their stuff any more, right?”

They seized the opportunity. After making the 70-mile trek up to Sonoma, they emptied the Maloneys’ house of valuables, including the family’s second car, a 2006 Nissan 350Z.

As it happened, the female partner in this nefarious duo got busted in a routine traffic stop in San Mateo the day after the robbery. When the police discovered that Ms. Lowlife was driving on a suspended license, they searched her car, where they discovered one of Susan Maloney’s credit cards, as well as a Blu-Ray DVD player and other items stolen from the Maloney home.

The Maloneys’ purloined vehicle was later found parked in front of the criminal mastermind’s home, with her ex-con boyfriend at the wheel. Most, if not all, of the Maloneys’ property was recovered.

In the words of Sonoma Police Chief Bret Sackett, “This certainly was a new low for me and, I think, for everybody else investigating this case.”

Bonnie and Clyde are now cooling their felonious heels in the Sonoma County Jail.

I’m not a violent or vindictive guy. But if authorities decided it would be a good idea to paddle these two troglodytes’ backsides in the town square at high noon…

…they’d get no argument from me.

What’s Up With That? #83: Cap’n Jack bests Cap’n Swan… again

November 18, 2009

For the umpteenth consecutive year, the editorial staff of People Magazine has seen fit to deny me my rightful title of Sexiest Man Alive.

Instead, they picked Johnny Depp again.

This seems a rather pointless exercise. Most of the women I know already think Johnny Depp is, if not the Sexiest Man Alive, at least somewhere in the top ten. The same goes for George Clooney and Brad Pitt, who are the other two gents who’ve double-dipped People‘s loftiest honor.

Why not tell the world something they don’t yet know, People?

After all, I too can talk like a pirate.

Sigh. Maybe next year.

What’s Up With That? #82: Busted bridge

October 28, 2009

I’m not a structural engineer, but…

If the recently repaired chunk of the Bay Bridge can be taken out by a stiff wind, why should we have confidence that it could withstand a major earthquake — which is the reason they’re doing all of this work on the Bay Bridge in the first place?

Seems a mite iffy to me.

Side note: Don’t you just hate it when someone begins a critique with the disclaimer, “I’m not a [insert professional specialty here], but…”? Would you have you have mistaken me for a structural engineer if I hadn’t started this post by assuring you that I wasn’t?

Somehow, I think not.

What’s Up With That? #81: Dude, the chainsaw seems like overkill

August 24, 2009

If you live outside the greater San Francisco Bay Area, you might not have heard about the 17-year-old yahoo (no relation) who attempted to blow up a local high school this morning.

Armed with 1o pipe bombs strapped to a tactical vest, a two-foot samurai sword, and a chainsaw — just in case he decided to hack up some firewood in the midst of the mayhem, I guess — the former student at San Mateo’s Hillsdale High managed to avoid doing any harm or serious property damage, despite setting off a pair of his homemade firecrackers in a corridor.

Law enforcement descended on the school en masse, swiftly capturing the teenage suspect and hauling his stupid butt off to the hoosegow.

The school was evacuated for the remainder of the day. Classes are expected to resume tomorrow.

I went searching for the stereotypical quote in the afternoon stories on the local news sites. I didn’t have to look any further than the Chronicle:

“He was just a really quiet kid. Not many friends. He kept to himself,” said April De Guzman, who lives nearby and has known the suspect since middle school.

Didn’t you just know that someone was going to say those exact words?

Here’s an idea: We should proactively round up all the quiet, friendless loners in America, and lock them up somewhere. They’re the ones who always seem to be pulling these insane stunts.

I believe Alcatraz is available.

What’s Up With That? #80: Video killed the RadioShack

August 11, 2009

My long-ago former employer RadioShack (to illustrate how long ago it was that I worked for them, the name was still two discrete words back then) is rebranding itself as “The Shack.”

Aside from the potential conflicts with other businesses (the Joe’s Crab Shack restaurant chain comes immediately to mind) and celebrities (namely, a certain NBA center who recently joined the Cleveland Cavaliers), this seems like a silly idea to me. I get the fact that “radio” is an old-school communications medium that few in the iPod generation listen to anymore, but the whole notion of a company giving itself a pithy, street-sounding nickname is ridiculous.

Knowing, however, the lemming mentality of American corporations, I find myself wondering whether — if RadioShack… I mean… The Shack’s experiment proves successful — we’ll be seeing any of the following:

  • The Soft
  • The Buy
  • The Gamble
  • The Bucks
  • The Mart
  • The Get
  • The Motors
  • The Cola
  • The Cast

I’d come up with a few more, but I need to visit The Room.

What’s Up With That? #79: WWDBD? (What would Debby Boone do?)

June 23, 2009

Here’s a story I would never have expected to read while quaffing my morning java.

Joseph Brooks, the Oscar- and Golden Globe Award-winning songwriter responsible for one of the most insidious earworms ever composed — the saccharine Debby Boone megahit “You Light Up My Life” — has been indicted in New York City for allegedly raping or otherwise sexually assaulting 11 women. Nine of the victims were led to Brooks by way of his Craigslist ad seeking female actors to audition.

I’m certain that the Debster would not approve.

Brooks, who also wrote and directed the film based on his ubiquitous song, directed a handful of other forgettable movies since that 1977 blockbuster — most notably 1985’s Invitation to the Wedding, starring John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson. He also produced and served as musical director for the cult classic Eddie and the Cruisers.

In the late ’80s, Brooks composed the music and co-wrote the lyrics for the musical Metropolis, based on Fritz Lang’s seminal 1927 science fiction film. Apparently the phrase “do the robot” meant something different to Brooks than it meant to Lang.

In light of this and other recent front-page news, one theme rings clear:

When Craigslist calls, do not answer.

At least, not in person, by yourself. Take along backup. There’s safety in numbers.

Maybe see if Debby Boone will go with you.

What’s Up With That? #78: Crunch time

June 8, 2009

The current leader in Uncle Swan’s Moron of the Month Sweepstakes is Janine Sugawara of San Diego, who sued PepsiCo Inc. in federal court because the crunchberries in Cap’n Crunch cereal are not actual berries.

Ms. Sugawara’s lawsuit alleged that during the four years she purchased Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries, PepsiCo’s subsidiary Quaker Oats defrauded her by leading her to believe that crunchberries were really fruit. Imagine Janine’s shock when, after four years, she discovered that she was actually eating little balls of corn cereal flavored with strawberry concentrate.

In dismissing Sugawara’s suit, Judge Morrison C. England Jr. wrote:

This Court is not aware of, nor has Plaintiff alleged the existence of, any actual fruit referred to as a “crunchberry.” Furthermore, the “Crunchberries” depicted on the PDP are round, crunchy, brightly-colored cereal balls, and the PDP (principal display panel — legalese for “side of the cereal box”) clearly states both that the Product contains “sweetened corn and oat cereal” and that the cereal is “enlarged to show texture.” Thus, a reasonable consumer would not be deceived into believing that the Product in the instant case contained a fruit that does not exist.

Further, Judge England found:

Plaintiff claims Defendant expressly warranted that the Product contains berries. However, that simply is not the case. Defendant chose the moniker “Crunchberries” for its brightly colored cereal balls. As far as this Court has been made aware, there is no such fruit growing in the wild or occurring naturally in any part of the world. Furthermore, a reasonable consumer would have understood the Product packaging to expressly warrant only that the Product contained sweetened corn and oat cereal, which it did. Accordingly, Defendant did not promise Plaintiff that the Product contained fruit, nor did the Product contain anything other than that which was actually expressly warranted.

Crunchberries don’t grow in the wild? Say it ain’t so, Judge!

It’s people like Janine Sugawara — who previously sued Kellogg’s because Froot Loops do not contain actual “froot” — who make a mockery of the American legal system… which does not, in fact, need assistance in that regard.

Next on Sugawara’s hit list: Keebler cookies, which, come to find out, are baked in a factory, and not by elves with magic ovens in hollow trees.

What’s Up With That? #77: Teaching a pig to sing

May 27, 2009

Here’s an example of why the word “landlord” is synonymous in the minds of most people with “used car salesman” and “politician.”

We’ve lived as renters in the same house for the past 15 years. We love the place — obviously, since we’ve never felt compelled to move — but the management company that oversees the property doesn’t have a clue. Whenever we’ve needed something repaired around the property, it frequently takes repeated contact before we get any action, and when the management company finally does decide to send someone out, they’ve usually hired the least expensive (and thus, least competent) help.

A few weeks ago, the property managers hired a company to conduct a termite inspection. When the pest report was filed, the inspector identified about $10,000 in repairs — including several items we’ve reported to the management outfit previously, without response. So the management company sent three people — two of their own staffers, plus a general contractor — to assess the items in the report.

The guy who runs the management company still wasn’t satisfied after his people did their review. (Translated: They told him he actually needed to spend money.) He decided to come take a look for himself. He called to let me know that he would drop around at noon one day last week.

The noon hour came and went. So did the next couple of hours. Finally, the guy shows up at 3:30 — three and a half hours after his scheduled appointment. No call to let me know that he was running late, or to reschedule, or to verify that he was even still planning to show up.

For me, that’s a problem. I work from a home office, I’m here most of the time. However, due to the creative nature of my work, especially when I’m writing marketing copy or recording audio projects, interruptions are a challenge. If I’m expecting someone, I don’t get deeply into a project. For this reason, I lost three and a half hours of production time waiting for this guy to appear.

But, as I’ve indicated, this kind of ineptitude is par for the course with this outfit, so I let it go.

As the property manager was leaving, he told me that he would be bringing the owner of the house around to take a look on Tuesday of this week. He agreed to call and confirm a time, and on Monday, he phoned to say that they’d arrive sometime between 11:30 and 1:30.

On Tuesday, the specified time window came and went. As did the three hours following, right up until the moment that I needed to depart for chorus rehearsal. Again, no call from the property manager. Since he had come three and a half hours late the time before, I had every reason to expect that he would show up eventually.

But he didn’t.

This time, I didn’t let it go.

After a couple of exchanged messages over the next two days, I finally got the guy on the phone to express my displeasure. Not only did he not apologize for wasting my time, but he accused me of being “too sensitive” about the issue. As he put it, what difference did it make if he didn’t show up — late or simply not at all — if I was at home anyway? “You weren’t inconvenienced,” he said.

Never mind the fact that I put work on hold for two entire afternoons due to his lack of consideration. Never mind the fact that I might have had other things to do rather than hang out waiting for his incompetent self.

As the old saying goes: Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time, and annoys the pig.

We’ll see how the pig feels on the first of the month, when my rent check is attached to an invoice for the eight and a half hours of my time he wasted over the past week.