abject failure

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You Can Only Blame Yourself

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

For the second time in a year, a motorist has been ticketed in South Carolina for displaying a replica of testicles on a vehicle.

Another testicle ticket written in South Carolina  – Weird News – The Charleston Gazette

Baa Ram Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

29 pigs is one too many.

Judge: Florence Gruber must offload pigs from Paulsboro home | NJ.com.

Debt Collectors Reach New Lows

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

There is no occupation I dislike more than the debt collector. Here’s another reason to hate them.

Hospital patients waiting in an emergency room or convalescing after surgery are being confronted by an unexpected visitor: a debt collector at bedside.

This and other aggressive tactics by one of the nation’s largest collectors of medical debts, Accretive Health, were revealed on Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general, raising concerns that such practices have become common at hospitals across the country.

The tactics, like embedding debt collectors as employees in emergency rooms and demanding that patients pay before receiving treatment, were outlined in hundreds of company documents released by the attorney general. And they cast a spotlight on the increasingly desperate strategies among hospitals to recoup payments as their unpaid debts mount.

Anger Management

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Just off the phone with a debt collector for Providian who literally screamed at me: “Why don’t you pay your debts!?”

Only problem: I’ve never had an account with Providian. Wrong Chris Null.

Say What?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

My collected works can be bought for $41, it seems.

(Please do not buy this.)

Spam Headline of the Day

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

From “Chase”: “You have an uncornfirm payment.”

I wonder if it’s legit?

“The first thing they told me was, ‘Leave your cats and get out.’”

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

In a story full of great quotes, that was perhaps the greatest.

RIP Trade Shows, 2012

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

With Microsoft abandoning the event (it’s hard to blame them; the company has launched anything new at CES for years), I have a sinking suspicion that this January’s CES will be my last. Ah well… the timing has always been horrible (who wants to announce new products in January?) and the really big news gets leaked in advance anyway to the major blogging outlets. I think CES actually began its death a few years ago when Apple announced the original iPhone in San Francisco, hundreds of miles away, reminding everyone that location and physical presence at an event no longer means much of anything at all.

CES, I’ll mourn you the same way I mourned Comdex, Networld+Interop, and all those other big computer shows that used to be matters of mandatory attendance.

This Is How Hoarders Get Their Start

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Yes, that’s a kids’ shampoo bottle.

Fact Checking the Cadillac World Thorium Fuel

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

I’m writing about this here simply because I have nowhere else to put it: In the course of writing about alternate energy sources for autos, I’ve found (what looks rather obvious from the outset) that the much-reported-upon nuclear-powered “World Thorium Fuel” vehicle from GM is not a real concept vehicle but merely a 3D rendering from this fellow.

Somehow numerous outlets have convinced themselves that the “WTF” (red flag, IMHO) was “unveiled” at a 2009 auto show, that a laser-and-thorium-powered car was “introduced” at said show, and that it means that “nuclear cars [are] not science fiction any more” (that from a New York Times contributor!).

They’ve all been duped.

It’s just amazing how reportage feeds upon itself. It’s like a game of telephone. In the beginning someone probably noted that a guy that’s really good with computers mocked up a highly implausible Cadillac. Somewhere along the way the facts got lost, and by the time it hit the mainstream the WTF was a real prototype that you could tool around with and which would last for 100 years without a fill-up. I have no idea how the detail about the Chicago Auto Show came into the picture, but hey, what’s a good lie without something that sounds legitimate to back it up?

Here’s what Cadillac said in response to my query, just for the record:

We did not produce that concept. It was rendered by a freelance designer as a creative/visionary exercise. I don’t have a lot of details on the how’s and why’s of its creation….it just sort of appeared.  We’re pleased that our Art & Science design was inspirational…..but outside of that, we don’t really have a view on it.

And Nowhere to Go

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Pretty much where we were five years ago… and the trend is bleak. Sigh.

I’m Never Clicking on Anything Again

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Yesterday I fell prey to my first phishing attack in years. I caught it a minute after I clicked the link and provided my Twitter account info, but the damage was already done. It took nearly an hour to change all the relevant passwords. Had it been a more “secure” password that got compromised it would have been an all-weekend experience. Joy.

Reminder to self and everyone else: No matter who sends you the email, even if it’s your best friend in the world, and no matter how funny they say you looked in “this photo,” do not click the link!

A Thin Line Between Love and Hate

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Approaching the bar between the 75-degree, all-sun South Bay and the 58-degree, rain-and-fog City of San Francisco. Like passing through an invisible barrier of ugly weather.

The Definition of Winning

Monday, May 30th, 2011

A selection of Senior High School Pictures

Municipal Serendipity

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Apparently from Glen Park Festival

20110502-012505.jpg

Show Me “ALLIGATOR!”

Monday, February 14th, 2011

It’s been Family Feud mania here for a couple of weeks (blame the iPad game), but nothing the kids have done approaches the awesomeness of this clip.

The Mails

Monday, January 31st, 2011

This just appeared in my mailbox today. I live in San Francisco.

(click for large version/punch line)

More Lactose Please

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Man was not made to consume this much cheese in this little time.

Young Lust

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Scene: Virgin America flight from SFO to Las Vegas. I’m on the aisle.

Young Fight Attendent (to lady in window seat): What would you like to drink?

Lady in Window Seat: Water.

YFA (to wannabe hipster in middle seat): Something to drink?

Wannabe Hipster in Middle Seat (lecherous look): What’s up?

YFA: Excuse me?

WHIMS: What’s up?

YFA: I’m sorry?

WHIMS: Whassuuuuuuuuuuuupppppppppppp?

YFA: Would you like something to drink, sir?

WHIMS (utterly defeated that his come-on failed): Water.

Aaaaaand… Scene.

Sometimes It Sucks to Be Tall

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

From the Ottawa Sun

A seven-year-old giraffe featured on a British television drama was struck and killed by lightning in South Africa Monday.

Hamley is not the first giraffe to be struck by lightning.

In 1996, lightning reportedly struck and killed a 5.5-metre tall giraffe that was standing on a hill in the Rhino and Lion Reserve in northeastern South Africa. A year later, its mate was struck and killed by lightning.