Monday, May 01, 2006

Prankster group invades Best Buy

Photo by Chad Nicholson

From "Whether your gadget-buying experiences at Best Buy have been pleasure or pain (ours have tended towards the latter), you're probably familiar with the uniform their employees wear: royal blue shirt, khaki pants, black shoes. New York-based prankster group Improv Everywhere decided that for their latest mission, they'd get about fifty of their operatives to dress like Best Buy sales staff and invade the Chelsea branch. Customers were confused, some sales staff were supportive while others got upset, and predictably both management and security went apoplectic. IE Agent Firth's conversation with one agitated Best Buy staffer:

"I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
"You're kicking me out?"
"No, I'm not saying that."
"Ok, then I can stay?"
"You're not buying anything."
"I'm waiting for my friend, just watching TV while I wait."
"I'm asking you to leave.""Are you kicking me out?"
This repeated in various versions until eventually he conceded with, "Fine, just do what you have to do." Agent Todd also overheard him add, "Have fun," as he walked away.

Lots of photos, videos and stories from the Best Buy mission operatives on their site, as well as links to previous pranks, our all-time favorite of which is Even Better Than The Real Thing.

Mission: Best Buy [Improv Everywhere, via The Morning News]
Improv Everywhere Best Buy [crnphoto on Flickr]

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Brother, can you spare $200,000?

   If you can afford this bus, then you probably shouldn't have it, is my point of view. It should either be sent to the Smithsonian or "miracled" to the next hippie that shuffles by on their way to the organic foods co-op.
   Named "Sugar Magnolia" by the Dead, it was fifth in the tour caravan
from 1967 to 1985 and the site, reportedly, of many after show parties. (Ya Think?)
   If you don't think you can afford the bus, you could just pick up another poignant piece of memorabilia like the online Golden Palace casino did. They bought four of Jerry's toilets. Weird, even if it was for charity.
   Also disturbing are the licensing of Jerry's name to a new line of herbal teas, and the presence of dead sound boards on iTunes for $12.99 per show. Also slightly anachronistic, but something I would use if I wasn't able to create my own mobile phone ringtones, is this site which offers a hell of a lot of Grateful Dead ringtones.
   In related news, you should check out Why Psychedelic Music Makes Me Think of Guns by Bart Schaneman in the Portland Mercury. He talks about grabbing a rifle when he hears hippie music. What a dick. So I sent the following letter to the editor of the Mercury.

Why violent editorials make me think of fuckheads

Deep breath. Count to 10.

Okay, I understand free speech, but why would you run a commentary where a guy admits that psychedelic music makes him want to kill people? "Why Psychedelic Music Makes Me Think of Guns" By Bart Schaneman" Do you think he was reaching for a rifle to do anything other than kill another human being? Even metaphorically? Do those who maintain the values of a peaceful era of non-violent protest, and who are sometimes admittedly hedonistic and detached from reality deserve death? Nice job letting the "kill the hippies" crowd get their voice out. Excellent way to be progressive. What's next, why Morrisey makes me want bash gays with my skateboard? Why Cristian Music makes me want to kill pregnant teens?

Fuck you and your fucking lack of editorial judgement,

Print that you piece of shit,

Chad Richins
Albany, Oregon

A little strong. Might even undermine my point a bit, but damn it felt good.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Bush wants line-item veto tool to reduce government waste

Looking slightly haggard in his fifth year as Caliph of the Western Capitalist Suyndicate, American President George Bush announced yesterday that he will introduce legislation to congress that would increase yet again the powers of the executive branch of the United States government.
   At a routine Washington swearing-in ceremony, Bush said he expects this version of the long sought-after presidential pen power will pass muster with congress and the newly re-oriented Supreme Court.
   In a stunning affront to decency, Bush, whose decisions have cost the country billions upon billions of dollars in the last five years, reportedly said the line-item veto proposal would help “reduce wasteful spending, reduce the budget deficit and ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.”
   Incredibly, as soon as Bush spoke those words, a juvenile marmot emerged from the presidents mouth, stole away the president's microphone and, in a deep, other-worldly voice, began to foresage the end of the world in an obscure Aramiac dialect. One scholarly translation of the marmot's rant, published today, reads in part " who elect devils to be your voices will in the end earn the suffering of eternal vexation..." Another passage may have been a reference to 80s pop icon Debbie Gibson, but the mysterious marmot escaped secret service agents and is still at large.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Coming Storm

So, like my friend Tim, I'm going about the business of living and enjoying life in the 21st Century, but with one eye on the horizon for a significant crisis which could be looming in our future. When world events turn, they can turn fast - see Serbia, 1914 and Poland, 1939 - or they can turn slow, like temperature rising under the allegorical frog in a beaker of water. So to prepare for the next global storm, even a potential storm, one has to imagine what forces could come into play. From my perspective, I'm imagining not a sweeping conflict or acute economic crisis, but a ratcheting of economic pressure on all the world's inhabitants except the very wealthy. Perhaps during my lifetime I can only expect to see a doubling of gasoline prices, food prices, housing prices...but perhaps it could be a quick snap that suddenly means no transportation, no food delivery, and no electricity.

So if anything like that happened, it would be good, I think, to have some land and a little house that is as close to self sufficient as can be. Like a little 1910 farm plot, I think. Horses for plow power, chickens for food, wells for water, tallow candles for light, trees and tools to build furniture and musical instruments.... This is a huge topic, and I have to get off to work in the cube farm, but today I have been researching the cheapest building methods I can find, and I just sent for some pricing on a hand-operated press that produces Compressed Earthen Blocks for construction of walls. You can see what I mean at, or look up CEB construction. Most use 5 to 10 percent cement, but I think with a good supply of clay that wouldn't be necessary, especially if cement is not available. Todays CEBs are made to interlock so that mortar is only needed on the courses close ot he ground for waterproofing. Inside a structure would be stuccoed and whitewashed or similarly treated for a southwestern look, but with compressed blocks, even the wet climate in Oregon would be no problem.

More on this later...

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Reality Olympics

Tim mentioned on his blog recently that the Olympics are a bit farcical since it is basically the richest countries in the world showing off what they can do with massive leisure time. I agree, and to even the field, I propose we include events that third-world countries are great at. Like the Survive on 150 Calories Per-Day for 10 Years event. Or the Endure 200 years of Colonization Marathon. The Skating on the Brink of Starvation would be a crowd favorite and the African Biathalon, where lucky participants will drag a plastic jug of dirty water for 15 miles while shooting a Kalashnikov at marauding bands of Arab murderers.

Why can't these countries just pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and play the capitalism game like the rest of us? Sure, we or other countries colonized and demoralized them for decades if not centuries, and sure, we plundered their resources, discouraged their language and religion, supported nasty dictators and corrupt regimes, but why can't they just stand up when our foot is still on their necks? Maybe they need to rely on human bondage and exploitation like we did to rise to be the foremost economic engine on the planet?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Chris' Response to Super Sports entry

I missed this in my inbox before I sent the last call for respones....

[edited for length, but great perspective. I expected Chris to chime in with a fun, crazy
send-up of the whole issue, but he provided a fans-eye view, which is great]

Howdy Chad,
I read you and Tim's Super Bowl blogs. I'm not a blogger, as I was not, at one time, a disk golfer [? - chad] but I think you hit on some interesting points. I grew up in a place where there was not a professional football team any where close. So, I have never had the opportunity to form an allegience to a Football team. My college team was never that great and I always thought that the best(and cheapest) seats were at home. I was able to form a connection with the one professional sports team that did exist in my home town and became a devoted fan. Each of the two straight years that I watched the Utah Jazz make their way to the finals, I was on a month long high. Just counting the hours until the next playoff game. Watching these games in Alaska in mixed company, I was actually involved in brawls that were the result of passionate fans having objecting view points on different calls and plays. This was great!
I loved feeling so much a part of a team, just as a fan. I actually felt I could will them good energy and perhaps even sort of pray for them in a sense. Even Though Jordan stopped the Jazz both championship bids. (everyone knows he pushed off on Russel to get open on that last
second winning shot) [hell yeah, he did - chad] I derived an immense amount of pleasure from these contests. I imagine if I had grown up in Seattle or Pittsburgh, I would have gotten a lot more out of the Super Bowl than I did. Super Bowl Sunday is like another holiday to me, a holiday in which we celebrate the importance of spending time with good friends, eating good food, enjoying the excitement of a good contest and laughing at our own silly commercial culture. I could care less how much those money those athletes make or how blond that commercial chick's hair is.

If You Win, You Win

Following the thread here, and appreciating Doc for his comments. With more great opposing viewpoints like that we could have some real fun on these blogs. I think I got you on points today though, Doc.

First, big schools who win big games do get TV revenue and indeed may help buoy academic programs at those schools, but small schools (read: most schools) are forced to try to compete, often at the expense of academics.

Athletic spending grows as academic funds dry up - USA Today 2-18-2004

As far as your statement, Doc, "Do you think if there was no NFL, that all the kids in America would be playing sandlot football all the time? Probably not."

And being very smart-assed and satirical here, but I'm glad mass-mega-national sports came along in the last 50 years to give children the motivation to play sports, which they had been doing in some form for thousands of years.

In addition, I think pro athletes are very, very poor role models in general, except for rare players with respect and civic-mindedness like David Robinson. I think the Rasheed Wallaces of the pro ranks often lead children to throw away plans for a real, sustainable, satisfying life in favor of a shot at a dream that even 98 percent of college athletes fail at, according to one source.

I'm with you on the giant shuffleboard, I mean curling. That shit is dope, yo. It may be that it has been the only Olympic sport on when I get home from work, but I like it a lot. Here's a page on curling terminology. Link


Response to Super Sports blog entry

This is a response from my buddy John "Doc" Peery of Sac-Town, CA. to the last entry.

"I think you are ignoring the benefit of college sports in promoting the image of the school, generating revenue for recruiting, and fostering school spirit. I may be wrong but I think most of the football programs in the US college system are self supporting and I think they also generate enough revenue to pay for the less popular sports programs, which wouldn't exist otherwise. So they don't take money away from academics - and I don't think money is the whole problem in academics anyway, but that is another debate.

"I think you also ignore how the pro sports give kids athletic motivation. Do you think if there was no NFL, that all the kids in America would be playing sandlot football all the time? Probably not. It is the role models, and I use that term loosely, that give kids something to shoot for. Watching pro sports, in all their overhyped glory drives us all to want to do something physical. It is our own fault if we choose not to.

"Aside from that, I was totally bored and unimpressed with the superbowl. It was so anticlimactic.

What about the Olympics? I love the olympics. I am obsessed. I've watched every minute of coverage so far. Yeah Tivo. I am looking for a place to get into Curling, but it is hard to find a place to go for that. Too bad most of our athletes are such prima donnas though. I still love it. I almost cry every time I see us on the podium with the national anthem playing.



Sunday, February 19, 2006

Super Sports?

On Tim's blog, he recently expressed apathy about the outcome of the Super Bowl, and I'd have to agree, I think. I have gone back and forth on this a bit, because I do see that sports bring some joy into people's lives. But what I have decided is that the focus should be on sports participation, sportsmanship and mature sports appreciation. I get more of a kick out of city league softball than from watching the best NFL or MLB players in the world. I also, of course, get more exercise. I think the frenzied mass fanaticism of national football or whatever leads to bad sportsmanship and its just so commercialized I can't enjoy it anymore. Watching the Syuper bowl this year, I also realized something about commercials. My friend Candice was groaning about a commercial with a big-breasted brunette losing her shirt strap, and I initially thought she was being overly sensitive because these images are ideals, like the guys on the field, who are bigger and more muscular than I am, but I don't care. But then I thought if it was reversed and the commercials were all about muscular guys flexing their muscles and women going goo goo for them, I might find it pretty disgusting and feel like my society was ignoring the beauty of the normal person. So there's that also. But I think I'm even over the whole Beavers vs Ducks thing. It's all just taking away money from academics and I think I will be focusing on getting money for education for the rest of my life. So that's quite a lot of mixed-up issues, but that's where I'm at.