They Let The Crazy People Out Today.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi folks.

It’s Black Friday.

This is the day they let the crazy people out.

They wrestle and fight and tug

and roll around on the floor hitting each other

in a frenzy of greed and stupidity. 

It’s fun to watch, but I’m staying at home.

How about you?

If you want to know why then have

a look at these videos and photos.

Enjoy and be safe.

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A shopper is restrained on the ground by security staff in the car park of an Asda store in Bristol.

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The Poor Suckers!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It’s an unwritten rule that the more power you give bureaucrats the stupider the regulations they come up with.

The European Union is a prime example. The bureaucrats there have already decided that our bananas shouldn’t be too straight, or our cucumbers too bent. Their scientists have even declared that there was no proof that drinking water helped with dehydration. (Yes, they really did!)

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These examples give you an idea just how intrusive and how dumb these people are.

Unfortunately they are in a position to issue these stupid regulations and to have them enforced by an even stupider team of morons who spend their worthless lives checking to make sure that rules that should never have been passed are adhered to.

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And it just keeps going.

There are new wattage rules for light bulbs, and televisions, and washing machines, and refrigerators. And within the past few days the poor vacuum cleaner has come under attack.

They’ve decided that vacuum cleaners that use more than 1600 watts can no longer be sold in stores in the EU, nor manufactured in EU plants. And the wattage is to be reduced even further during the next two years to a paltry 900 watts.

I don’t know whether the term “poor suckers” is being applied to these weak powered machines or the citizens of the EU who have to put up with such endless nonsense!

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Next on the bureaucrat’s hit list are lawn mowers, mobile phones, hair dryers, kettles, in fact just about everything they can think of interfering with.

Strangely, though, the one thing they never ever consider in their quest to reduce energy consumption is to cut the numbers in the EU Parliament along with their tens of thousands of support staff.

Or maybe it’s not so strange at all!

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Cheers! It’s The End For Cliff Clavin!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I know Cliff Clavin, the Cheers character played by John Ratzenberger for many years, was only a pretend mailman but if Jeff Bezos gets his way – and he usually does – then mailmen will have a lot less to do.

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Cliff used to drone on in Cheers and bore everyone in the bar, but in the future jobs like his are to be taken over by drones.

The military applications are well known, but instead of delivering a few pounds of high explosives to an unsuspecting terrorist, drone technology, which was legalized for commercial use last year (2012), is being developed by Bezos and his team to deliver Amazon products by air right to your front door in about 30 minutes.

We’re entering the realms of science fiction here. And if it were anyone else but Bezos you might be forgiven for dismissing the idea. But he thinks big, and thanks to the success of Amazon he has the big bucks to make it happen.

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If it is real and it does happen, personally I think its great! An application for this technology other than the usual powers-that-be crap of using it to kill and spy on us.

Amazon says that, “From a technology point of view, we’ll be ready to enter commercial operations as soon as the necessary regulations are in place.”

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working on rules for unmanned aerial vehicles. They’ll take their time as always, but eventually it will happen.

So in a few years time seeing Amazon drones in the air may well be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today.

Here’s a taste of the future for you.                                           

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May The Fourth Be With You – And This Time I Mean It!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I remember on this day last year starting out with great intentions of doing a Star Wars based post in tribute the day that has become known to many as ‘Star Wars Day’ because of the pun on the memorable phrase coined in the movie series “May the force be with you”.

Unfortunately I failed miserably last year because the post ended up as one about a guy who had built himself a really cool looking laser gun based on the phasers from Star Trek, not Star Wars. (Here’s the link if you missed it –  click here)

So time to make amends.

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Taken together the Star Wars series of movies has to be one of the most watched and highest grossing ever in the history of the cinema, if not THE greatest. The original 1977 movie itself has been estimated to have taken $2,710,800,000 in today’s inflation adjusted terms.

On top of that it has spawned a plethora of merchandising material from t-shirts to robots to gadgets to almost everything that could be seen in the movies themselves, and then some!

Top of everyone’s list has to be a lightsabre – I have never met anyone who has seen Star Wars who didn’t want to be the proud owner of a light sabre, including me.

From the first time you saw the flash of light and heard that ‘hummm’, way back in 1977, in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s bungalow, even though you didn’t really know what it was, you still knew you wanted one – needed one!

Well for a bit north of $100 now you can own one, the Star Wars Force FX Lightsaber! It has the light, it has the sound, and it looks the part – well almost.

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From the sublime, however, we also have the ridiculous.

Somewhere out there is that great Universe you just know that at least one moron has subjected their poor dog to the indignity of a Star Wars suit. Poor mutt, even the look on its face says it all.

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And there are lots of other stuff in between, including these

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Finally, an interesting little piece of trivia that would just as easily have taken its place in one of my ‘Did you know factoids’. 

Star Wars fans were not the first to introduce the line “May the fourth be with you”. When the recently deceased Margaret Thatcher was elected Britain’s first female Prime Minister on May 4, 1979, her party placed an advertisement in The London Evening News that said “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations.” This reading of the line has also been recorded in the UK Parliament’s Hansard.

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It’s Black Friday, Shop ‘Til You Drop

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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They call it Black Friday nowadays. It could just as easily have been Red Friday or Purple Friday or Green Friday or Any-Color-You-Like Friday. But the marketing men called it Black Friday and we’re stuck with it.

This is the day when people queue up for hours in the hope of getting something they don’t really need at a discount price they can’t really afford. And sometimes they lose their minds and fight and trample on each other for the dubious privilege.

Ah, the dumbing down of the dumb and the dumber!

When I say dumb and dumber don’t just think I am talking about the uneducated. Not in the least. Some of those for whom schooling was anathema have a lot more street savvy than most, something they have learned in what is sometimes known as the school of hard knocks – in other words, life!

I have learned that idiots come in all shapes and sizes and with all forms of learning and skills. There are smart football players and there are dumb ones. There are smart doctors and there are dumb ones. There are even smart academics and there are the well educated fools who may be exam passing machines but who haven’t the common sense to go to the local store and buy a loaf of bread.

A friend of mine, let’s call him Fred, was a guy like that. He had degrees by the yard, undergraduate, master’s degrees and even a PhD. I suppose I should have called him Dr Fred.

Academically he was brilliant. And a great teacher of academic subjects. He traveled the world and lectured in various schools and colleges to great acclaim.

But Fred hadn’t the common sense of a gnat when it came to commerce. All his life he bought things far too dear but always thought that he had bought them cheap. He was a car salesman’s dream customer, manna from heaven for a realtor, and bread and butter – and chocolate cake with icing – for any shopkeeper selling computing or electronic gear.   

The reason Fred comes to mind today is that he was also one of the idiots who would queue up half the night for a sale bargain, particularly where rare books were concerned. Fred was an avid collector.

Every year our local University bookstore held a one day sale where most of their books were discounted by at least 10 or 20 percent, but where one in particular was discounted by a massive amount, at least by half and sometimes by even more.

One year Fred spotted a book he had been after that was in the sale. It had been reduced from $500 to little over $100 and Fred was determined to have it.

So he spent the night and day before the sale getting as much sleep as he could. Then he made a flask of coffee and a few sandwiches, got a sleeping bag and set off confidently about 3 am in the morning to go to the bookstore to camp out until it opened.  

When he got to the store there was no one around, in fact nothing at all on the street, except for a large cardboard box sitting at the entrance to the shop. Fred quickly surmised that it was extra stock that had been delivered after hours for the sale.

He rolled out his sleeping bag, climbed inside it and settled down for the night. It was about this time of the year and cold, but not freezing or anything too extreme. He was comfortable enough.

The time passed slowly as it usually does at night when you aren’t able to get to sleep or when you are nervously anticipating some event that will happen in the morning. Four o’clock and five o’clock came and went, and at around six o’clock Fred ate his sandwiches and drank his coffee. He was very content. Just another couple of hours to go and the book would be his.  

By seven-thirty it was just beginning to get light. Traffic had started to move along the main streets as people began to make their way to work. The side street where the bookshop was however was still deserted, apart from Fred and the big cardboard box.

And then about ten minutes before eight the staff of the bookstore started to arrive. They smiled at Fred as they walked past and opened the door of the store. They switched the lights on and closed the doors again. Fred knew that they would open them again soon, when they had got themselves organized. Just a few more minutes he thought. Fred stood up and rolled up his sleeping bag, ready to enter the store.

That was when he heard the alarm. It wasn’t very loud and at first Fred thought it was coming from another street nearby. It wasn’t. Then he thought it was coming from inside the bookstore, possibly part of their security system. But it wasn’t that either. And then, before he could think up any other possibilities the alarm stopped just as suddenly as it had started.

Then to Fred’s complete and utter amazement the flaps of the cardboard box flew open and a head came out. It was a young man and as he got to his feet and stretched his arms he looked over at Fred and said, “Morning. You here for the book sale too?”

It was a classic ‘WTF’ moment. But Fred was having trouble grasping what had just happened and he couldn’t get any words from his brain to his lips. So he just stood there, mouth slightly open, trying desperately to piece together what was happening in front of him.

“I’ve done this before,” the young man said cheerfully to Fred. “Best place to be on a cold night is inside a cardboard box. Those old homeless guys know a thing or two I can tell you.”

This time words started to come to Fred. “Were you… did you… have you been… were you in that thing all night?” he eventually spluttered the question out.

“Sure thing,” the young man replied. “Had to get that first edition of..” and he named the book that Fred had his heart set on. “There’s only the one copy, you know.”

Fred did know, boy did he know. But it never occurred to him that someone else might know the value of the book or that they might want it too. It never occurred to him to look at the cardboard box, even though he had been there beside it for most of the night. And it certainly never occurred to him that there might be somebody inside it!

“FFS!” Fred exclaimed, more to himself than anyone else. He didn’t say another word after that. He didn’t go into the bookstore either. He turned and walked away, still not entirely sure, I think, what had just happened.    

 

As for me, you wont get me near a shop tomorrow, bargains or not. If you are going shopping then good luck, this might be what you are letting yourself in for.

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CLASSIFIED: For Your Eyes Only

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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In the dark ages before the inter web and things like Ebay and CraigsList  newspaper classified ads used to be the way to try to raise a bit of extra cash by selling off things you didn’t need, or to advertise for things you wanted. They still exist although not nearly so popular as they used to be.

As with Ebay etc., you can find almost everything advertised in them, even the oddest things that either give you a ‘WTF’ moment or just make you laugh – sometimes both.  

Here is a short selection for your enjoyment.

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The Most Evil Cat In The World

”Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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As I’ve said before on this blog, I’m a doggie person, but I know that there are a lot of people out there who like cats. However, I don’t think any of them could have liked the cat that is the subject of this post.

It happed a few years ago when a colleague and myself were on a business trip that included a visit to a small town in West Virginia. It was a lovely little town, called Rednecksville (I won’t tell you it’s real name so as to protect the guilty), full of lovely, very friendly and hospitable people.

During the time we happened to be there they held a local fair come flea market where people from the town and the surrounding countryside would gather. Some set up stalls to sell their home crafted goods, others, like myself just went along to see what was on offer and perhaps buy a few trinkets as gifts. 

But, whilst the experience itself was enjoyable, the items that were on sale left a whole lot to be desired. They were quite unbelievably crudely made.

There was a guy with what I think were supposed to bird nesting boxes and/or feeders, but they looked more like an old plank of wood with a bit of drain pipe nailed to it. (It looked like that because that’s what it was, lol)

Other stalls were selling home made jewelry in what you could only call primitive style.

And yet more had bits of metal junk.

Surprisingly one of the junk stalls seemed to be doing good business, selling big rusty nuts and bolts and bits of chain and so forth. On second thoughts perhaps not so surprisingly since this was a largely rural community and new uses can always be found for stuff like that.

I smiled quietly to myself as I wondered if the bird box guy had been a customer of this stall the last time they had the fair.

At another stall a woman was selling some stuffed toys/animals she had very obviously made herself. None of them were good, but some were just downright awful.

For some reason best known to himself my colleague chose to buy a stuffed cat for his wife. He was getting on in years and had been married a long time, but in all those years he never had any idea about women or what they would like – and that was especially so in regard to his wife, although in his defense I have to say that she didn’t seem to like anything he did very much.

To my utter amazement he choose the most unusual stuffed cat I have ever seen. It wasn’t that it looked ugly as such, or that it was badly made. This thing looked pure evil. And no matter where you would be standing it always seemed to be looking right at you, or through you.

It was terrible, horrendous, occultish. If Steven King had been there he’d have written a book about it for sure. If Vincent Price had been holding it in some horror movie set it might have looked more acceptable. Or if we had been in Haiti, I could have understood it if it was supposed to be some voodoo ritual piece. But this was right in the middle of good old evangelical Christian Bible Belt America. This was no place for the cat from hell.  

“What do you think?” he asked, proudly showing me his new purchase.

“I hate it!” I told him in no uncertain terms. “What the hell did you buy that thing for?”

He seemed rather miffed.

He must have been more miffed when he got it home. Needless to say his wife hated it. Wouldn’t give it house room at all. And I’m sure she made her feelings very clear to him, as she usually did about almost everything.  

So he gave it to his daughter. 

She hated it. Didn’t want it near her house either.

So he gave it to his daughter-in-law. 

She hated it. She was actually scared out of her wits by it.

So he gave it to his grand-daughter. 

She hated it. Started to cry, I believe.

So he put in the trunk of the car and brought it to his office the next day. 

His secretary hated it, too. Wouldn’t have it near the office.  

So back in the trunk it went.

Eventually he must have got to hate it too because it disappeared never to be seen again.

And the weirdest bit of all….

I photographed him with it when he bought it and I would have attached it to this blog post except for one thing – the photo is nowhere to be found!

That was one weird cat!