abject failure

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Best Spammer “Name” Ever

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

“Lazarus Nielsen”

Now That’s an Error Message!

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

badass error

Stuff People Give Out at Food Drives

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Spent several hours going door to door with my son’s Cub Scout pack this morning collecting canned goods for the San Francisco Food Bank. Among the items received for donation:

  • A jar of “Goober Grape” PB&J combo
  • A bottle of Trader Joe’s Thai curry sauce
  • Multiple 12-packs of Coca-Cola
  • Bag of dried lentils from a bulk bin
  • Jelly (expired)
  • A frozen “Claim Jumper” apple pie
  • Individual snack packets of Annie’s organic Bunny Grahams
  • Boxes of frozen stuffing (thawed, rank, very expired)
  • A canned ham (these still exist!)

Why “New York Times Bestseller” Means Nothing

Monday, November 5th, 2012

What does it take to get on the New York Times Best Seller list? A lot of money, that’s all. Here’s how publishers looking to cash in on those golden words do it. The secret: “bulk sales” — where a few bookstores receive massive orders driven by a small number of buyers. The NYT now reveals the reporting of bulk orders in the footnotes of its listings.

In related news, it’s true: Nothing is sacred.

Columbine at 13

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Everything you remember about Columbine is wrong. A new book out reminds of what really went down. One interesting tidbit from this page:

Myth #5. There were no warning signs that could have prevented the Columbine massacre.

Truth: Other parents had complained about Eric Harris, multiple times. Both Eric and Dylan had been arrested before. Thirteen months before the shooting, investigators discovered evidence that Eric was building pipe bombs. Dozens of pages of obscene threats on the internet were also documented. The sheriff’s department covered up the initial evidence that signaled the threat.

The Shoulders of Giants

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

The worst thing is thinking of an idea for an awesome blog post during the night, then forgetting it completely by the time you wake up.


Thursday, July 19th, 2012

In the history of air travel, has a flight ever become undelayed? I think not.

These Kids Today

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Amazed to see the army kids headed into middle school this morning… about half with a Starbucks cup in hand.

One Two Three Four

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

This is what I’m reminded of when all the students doing jumping jacks at my kids’ karate class.

iy9Etpp5tpyB0.gif (GIF Image, 466 × 331 pixels).

I Really Do Understand

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

It can be hard to remember everyone’s email address, but can you at least remember your own email address when you fill out a form or even email something to yourself? Is it that hard?

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.