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Posts tagged ‘dumbass’

Ain’t Never Gonna Learn …

I’ve got a question for you – what do you think it’s gonna take before the celebutards of Tinseltown figure out that the rules of society apply to them too? Does one of them have to die before they get it?

Britney … Lindsey … Snooki … Tara … Paris … the list of the young and dumb of Hollywood is long and – thanks to reality TV – getting longer all the time. And quite frankly, some of them aren’t all that young any more – but they don’t seem to be getting any smarter with age. This week, however, real reality jumped up and bitch-slapped a pair of paparazzi favs right upside the head.

Remember when we saw a tearful Paris Hilton taken away in cuffs to serve what turned out to be a couple of weeks in the slammer back in 2007? Remember her interview with Larry King shortly after release, telling the world how this would be a “new beginning” as she began her new life of charity work?

Riiiight.

Hilton was back in court on Monday, this time to plead guilty to cocain possession in Las Vegas. She avoided jail, but was saddled with probabion, community service and a fine. It’s worth noting that she was initially stopped by the Vegas police after they detected cannibis smoke rolling out the window of her vehicle – not a month after being stopped in Italy for cannibis possession.

Those who watched the vapid blonde in court noted that she moved through the court as if on the catwalk, and that she didn’t seem to be impressed by the seriousness of the situation. Yesterday, however, she may have gotten a taste of the predicament she has gotten herself into.

Hilton and her sister Nicky flew to Japan to promote their fashion and fragrance lines when Paris was stopped by Japanese Customs agents. Apparently, they don’t take lightly to convicted felons in Japan – and that’s exactly what Hilton is now. After grilling her for several hours and forcing her to wait overnight at an airport hotel for a decision, she was denied entrance and forced to return home.

And then there’s Lindsay Lohan.

Lohan has been in and out of court more times than most judges in the last few years. Beginning in 2007, she’s had a string of instances where drugs and booze and cars have mixed in bad ways, resulting in several arrests and one memorable 84-minute jail term. Much like Paris, however, she’s learning that your past does indeed follow you. When she failed a couple of drug tests recently she was ordered to appear in front of the judge from her most recent conviction, who is expected to revoke her parole and toss her in the slammer – this time for real.

I’m not going to try to say either of these girls had a real “career” to worry about, but both are feeling the effects – and limitations – on their lives by the results of their actions. So far, it’s all been relatively harmless and somewhat laughable, but at what point do we stop laughing? What will it take for these two – and the others acting just as stupidily irresponsible without quite so much spotlight – to grow up and act normal? Does someone have to die? Oh, that’s right – someone already did.

Not so long ago, Brittany Murphy was another out of control party girl, part of the same Tinseltown posse as Paris. in fact, MadTV did a hilarious spoof of the Powerpuff Girls in which Brittany, Paris and Tara Reid starred as the “Powerslut Girls” who saved the day by wringing the alcohol out of one girl and lighting it by rubbing together the stick-like legs of another. All funny stuff – until Brittany was found dead last year from what included an “accidental overdose of prescription medications“. Call it what you want, but it was the past catching up with her.

While the passionate speeches of Paris Hilton after her jail-time were obviously faked, there is some indication that Lohan may actually appreciate the dangerous position she finds herself in, and may be sincere in her desire to get the help she obviously needs. We can only hope so …

And It Comes With A Commemorative Full-Body Shoehorn …

I am one of those rare people who actually enjoys air travel – stick me in a window seat with my iPod and I’m good to go coast-to-coast. Sure, the cheap-screw nickel-and-dime-to-death policies of the airlines are an irritation, but I bring my own snacks and water bottle, so I’m just fine. But some ideas are so irritating that they even get to me …

An Italian company is introducing a new airline seat that would decrease the space needed for each passenger. Current airline seats leave between 30 and 32 inches between each row of seats, but the SkyRider seat would decrease that to 23 by using a design that is best compared to that of a horse saddle. Users maintain a semi-standing position that is more upright than a traditional airline seat, decreasing the knee room required for each row.

“The SkyRider has been designed and engineered to offer the possibility to even further reduce ticket prices while still maintaining profitability,” the site said.

The SkyRider was designed for shorter flights. The company compares the forward seating position to that of a motor-scooter rider or horseback rider.

“For flights anywhere from one to possibly even up to three hours … this would be comfortable seating,” Dominique Menoud, Aviointeriors director general, told USAToday. “The seat … is like a saddle. Cowboys ride eight hours on their horses during the day and still feel comfortable in the saddle.”

This strikes me as an example of a product that was designed by someone who had no intention of ever using them. Beyond the basic fact that a lot of the people who fly are more than 23 inches wide, one can’t help but wonder how the hell you get out of this torture rig in the case of an emergency. The FAA has yet to approve them (surprise!), but I’ll bet those cheap bastards at RyanAir are already salivating at the thought of a saddle-filled fleet.

I can just see what’s next … replacing the seatback entertainment with a mini-urinal – after all, you’ll be close enough and you’re already assuming the position …

Lock ‘Em Up!

As I was driving to work this morning, the local news radio station was a-twitter with a breaking story about planned street closures today in Century City, and the impact they will have on famously bad LA traffic. Road closures are nothing new to Angelinos … potholes, rockslides and broken water mains all take their toll on commute times. But this one is different … very different.

Apparently, sixteen janitors are being laid off from buildings in the area and the local unions are planning to protest. Things are tough all over, so I find it hard to understand what makes this group so unique, but hey – it’s their right to protest. But these folks are taking it a step further, by planning to block traffic to raise awareness of their plight. What’s more, they’ve notified the police of their intent, who are assigning officers to work the protest – hence, the advance notifications that the radio was reporting.

Look, there’s a famous saying – your rights end where my rights begin. I respect your right to protest, and understand your desire to attract attention to your issue. But you have no right whatsoever to interfere with the daily activites of the thousands of commuters who would otherwise use the streets you plan to block. The minute you do that, whatever sympathy I might have for your cause goes right out the window.

The protest organizers have indicated that they are willing to be arrested to make their point. I suggest the LAPD accomodate their wishes – before they step off the curb in front of traffic.

Lindsay Lohan Goes Down!

No, it’s not what you think it is, nor is it an offhand plug of Lohan’s rumored appearance in an upcoming Linda Lovelace biopic – an appearance that is suddenly much less likely to occur.

The former teen actress, “singer”, “entrepreneur” and whatever else she thinks might make her a buck, has been on probation for a number of run-ins with the law – drugs, DUI, assault – for a couple of years now. She’s under instructions to stay away from alcohol and attend AA classes, but like so many of her “Young Hollywood” cronies she plays it fast and loose with rules, convince that they somehow don’t apply to her. Until now, she’s gotten away with it.

Until now.

Having run out of excuses and judicial patience, on July 6th Lohan was sentenced to 90 days in jail and another 90 in a rehab facility; yesterday, she turned herself in and was let off in handcuffs. This is not her first experience with incarceration; recall that in 2007 she served 84 minutes of a 1-day sentence for cocaine and alcohol violations. It was violations of the probation resulting from this earlier conviction that caught up with her this time.

There are those who will claim 90 days is too harsh for what might be seen as minor traffic and narcotic offenses, and they might be right, if this was still about those offenses – but it’s not. This is about respect for the law. The minute the judge told Lohan what she needed to do to stay out of jail and Lohan agreed to those conditions, that’s all that mattered. She made an agreement with the judge, she violated that agreement, and now she pays the price.

Truth be told, she’ll probably spend less than a month of her sentence in the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood – you know how Sheriff Lee Baca loves to release prisoners then cry about his budget, particularly when there are cameras available. Hopefully it’ll be long enough for her – and her Hollywood Brat Pack cronies – to get the message: The law applies to everyone.

But I doubt it …

Don’t Be Stupid, Stupid …

I’m not in the sports prediction business, but I think there’s pretty good chance the Lakers will win tonight’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals, and be crowned champions of the basketball world.  A much easier prediction to make is that if the first one comes true, a large number of people will be rioting in the streets outside Staples Center, with one or more being crowned Dumbass of the Day.

I’ve never completely understood why it is that people riot when they win.  I get the whole righteous indignation leading to urban violence – Rodney King or Watts or May Day or any number of other injustices leave people angry and frustrated, and that rock at their feet seems like a pretty good release.   But how exactly is it that what ought to be a joyous celebration –  wisely monitored by the authorities – becomes a reason to smash and loot?

Back in the day, Staples Center stood out among the blighted region immediately south of Downtown LA.  There were abandoned buildings surrounding the place, and a huge parking lot on the north side.  People could still get onery, but they had to walk a pretty good distance before they ran into anything of substance, and one hoped that the frustration level was mitigated by the exercise.   In spite of that, when the Lakers won the title in 2000, looters destroyed a pair of police cars and damaged 70 other vehicles.

Now, however, Staples is the centerpiece of the “LA Live” complex.  New restaurants and upscale businesses surround the place, and that parking lot is now the Nokia Theatre – there’s a whole lot to break these days.  After last year’s victory, a crowd of knuckleheads got rowdy outside Staples, starting fires and throwing rocks – and that was with the game having been in Orlando.

As you might imagine, the police presence will be pretty significant tonight.  LAPD Chief Charlie Beck plans on having 4 to 5 times the number of police on hand this year compared to last, and the LA County Sheriff has several hundred deputies on call should backup be required. 

The eyes of the media world will be on LA tonight – for once, let’s not embarass ourselves.

Hey, Darwin Awards – Save Room For This Guy

As someone who is not terribly adventurous in my own life, I have a grudging respect for anyone who’s willing to take a risk for something they believe in. But there’s a fine line between risk taker and dumbass, and sometimes it’s hard to tell on which side of the line someone falls.

I will confess to being a fan of the animated movies from Pixar, and I was there on opening day for their last film, “Up” – the story of a man who chases adventure by flying to South America with his house suspended under a huge bundle of colorful helium balloons. Most of us left the theater entertained and uplifted, but without any particular desire to re-enact Carl Fredricksen’s feat. Apparently, that can’t be said for Jonathan Trappe of Raleigh, North Carolina, who has taken the idea to a new level by drifting across the English Channel in a balloon-equipped wicker chair.

The 36-year-old dangled beneath 54 balloons for more than four hours to complete the 22-mile journey, taking off from Ashford in Kent and landing near Dunkirk in northern France.

His destination was a little less picturesque than Mr Fredricksen’s Paradise Falls  –  he was forced to crash land in a cabbage patch after the wind blew him off course, to the bemusement of French gendarmes.

We’ve talked about cluster ballooning before, including the event to which most point as the genesis of the concept – the ill-advised flight of Larry Walters back in 1982. I always figured it was something that happened after a little too much purple drank, but the number of enthusiasts has grown over the years, along with the professionalism of the rigs in which they fly. There are even websites dedicated to the sport, although the following quote found on one of them sums up the state of things pretty well:

With half a dozen pilots worldwide, cluster ballooning remains something between an extreme sport and a personal eccentricity, for the moment.

Without people willing to take risks, our species would still be standing on the beach, wondering what was over the horizon, and stuck on the ground, watching the birds soar with envy. But there’s a big difference between a trained, prepared adventurer like Steve Fossett and someone with a wild hair up their ass and a dream. After all, Icarus had a dream, too, and he learned the hard way what happens when you’re not as prepared as you think you are. Hopefully, Trappe and his fellow cluster balloonists aren’t on a similar trajectory.

And Down He Goes!

There’s a lot of … um, discussion … this morning after a fan was tasered last light in Philadelphia for running out onto the field during a Phillies game. Getting liquored up, jumping the fence and running around like an idiot is a proud if questionable tradition at baseball games, but this is the first time in my memory that this particular method was used to subdue the fan. The crowd really let the cops have it for taking down the kid, but considering it’s Philly, they might just as well have been giving it to the fan for his massive failure.

Most of the noise is being made by two groups of folks.  On one side, you have those who feel it was an excessive use of force, questioning if the use of a non-lethal but still dangerous weapon such as a Taser was really necessary (and suggesting that it was only the girth and relative corpulence of the officer in question that required its use).  The other side would point out that we live in a world where people park bombs in Times Square and remind us of Tom Gamboa, the base coach for the Royals who was beaten by fans during a 2002 game in Chicago.

Personally, I think it was probably a little heavy-handed, but if you put yourself in a position like that you have no idea what kind of crap you’re gonna get into.  This is what happens when we have  a generation that was raised thinking that paparazzi tabloids are news, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan are role models, and reality TV is a career path.  Frankly, the dumbass is lucky it wasn’t a football game, or someone might have gone Terry Tate on his ass …

If It Had A Verizon Logo, I’d Already Be In Line …

Let’s say you work for Apple. Pretty cool to start with, but you can top it – you work with the uber-secret new toys Steve Jobs loves to surprise the world with. Not only do you get to play with the new cool stuff, but once in a very rare while you actually get to field test it. And then you leave the iPhone prototype in a bar

Unfortunately for one soon-to-be-ex-Apple employee, that’s exactly how the folks at Gizmodo ended up with what they believe is the working prototype for the next generation iPhone.  A “source” found what seemed to just be a typical iPhone in a bar and, unable to find the owner, took it home.  Only after discovering the case was a fake and a totally new kind of iPhone was inside did he realize something was different.  Eventually, the phone made it to the rabid hands of Gizmodo, who promptly disassembled it.

As you might expect, it runs the new iPhone 4.0 software that was recently announced. It also comes with a chat camera facing the user to go with the normal opposite side picture-taking variety (which also seems to be upgraded as well).  Most intriguing, though, is that the design of the phone itself – which has remained relatively unchanged since the beginning – has undergone a makeover:

At first sight, this new iPhone’s industrial design seems so different from the previous two generations that it could be discarded as just a provisional case. Even while the finish is so perfect that it feels right out of the factory, some of the design language elements that are common to all Apple products are not there. Gone is the flushed screen glass against the metal rim. Gone is the single volume button, replaced by two separate ones. Gone is the seamless rim, and gone are the tapered, curved surfaces.

Despite that, however, this design is not a departure. Not when you frame it with the rest of the Apple product line. It’s all the contrary: This new iPhone gets back to the simplicity of the iMac and the iPad. In fact, you can argue that the current iPhone 3GS—with its shiny chrome rim and excessively curved back—is out of place compared to the hard edges and Dieter-Ramish utilitarianism of the iMac and the iPad. Next to the iPad, for example, the new iPhone makes sense. It has the same feeling, the same functional simplicity.

So, much as some pundits have called the iPad an oversized iPhone, now it’s the iPhone that will be called an undersized iPad … :-) Personally, I like the new design – I was never that happy with the rounded back of the iPhone … it just seemed to want to slip out of your hand like a slivered bar of soap. Interesting stuff, and if nothing else it’s good to see the folks in Cupertino aren’t remaining static in the face of the Droid challenge. It’s good to be king, but uneasy rests the crown …

UPDATE:  Now Gizmodo has ratted out the Apple engineer in question – a guy by the name of Gray Powell.  They give more details on how the phone was lost, and the guy is even participating in the comments on the thread, which is one of those things that makes alarm bells go off for me.  Not sure what to think now … truly lost prototype or ultimate underground advertising … guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

Good Riddance

The next domino in the corporate failure of once-iconic car maker General Motors has fallen, as it was announced today that the Hummer brand will be ended.  A deal was thought to be in the works with a Chinese heavy equipment manufacturer, but the apparent collapse of that deal has sealed Hummer’s fate.

While I was sorry to see the earlier end of GM’s Pontiac and Saturn brands, I’m not gonna miss Hummer in the least.  Whereas Pontiac carried history and Saturn represented change, all Hummer stands for is excess.  Born in the chest-thumping days following the original Iraq War, the initial Hummer H1 was a civilian version of the HMMV “Humvee” that gained much fame in the desert sands.  Large, loud, and with no place on civilian highways, the H1 was nonetheless popular with the “big ego, small penis” crowd.  Originally built by AM General, the folks who built the original Humvees for the military, the brand was bought by General Motors and expanded.

I can remember trying unsuccessfully to stifle a giggle the first time I saw the Hummer H2.  Downsized to more closely match the SUVs that were becoming popular at the time, it was literally the worst of both worlds.  It was boxy to try and resemble the H1 (and included embossed replicas of the some of the H1 features no longer needed in a smaller vehicle), but that cost the H1 valuable cargo space.  I figured they’d jumped the shark when I saw a crash test on an H2 that showed it had the suvivability of a ball of tin foil, but it was the even smaller H3 and a pickup version of the H2 that set the stage for failure.  In a time when intelligent people are looking to hybrids and electric vehicles as the future, the Hummer is as dated as leg warmers and spandex pants.

It’s important to note that while the Hummer brand is gone, the HMMV goes right on, as GM owns no part of AM General.  From now on, the only folks with Humvees are the ones who’ve earned them …

The Joke’s On Them

Shh … here that sound? It’s Johnny Carson spinning in his grave …

It’s hard to believe, but it was not that long ago that NBC was the leading broadcast television network in America.  My, how the peacock has moulted.  Nowhere is the lack of vision at the network so obvious as in their handling of Jay Leno and the iconic late night vehicle “The Tonight Show”.  It’s quickly turning into a classic example of how not to handle the succession of leadership – or leadership in general.

Throughout its long history, the Tonight show has seen old hosts go and new ones come.  Most people remember the classy way Johnny Carson departed nearly 20 years ago to make way for Jay Leno, and assumed there’d be something similar when Leno’s time came.  Behind the scenes, things were not nearly so smooth.  When Carson left, NBC has more hosts than timeslots, and when Leno was given the Tonight Show, David Letterman (who at that time followed Carson) bolted to CBS and direct competition with Leno.  No doubt fearing a similarly messy future, NBC promised Letterman’s replacement – Conan O’Brian – the Tonight Show slot once Leno retired.  They even went so far as to identify the point five years in the future when that transition would occur.  Apparently, thought, Leno either didn’t get the memo or simply didn’t sign off on it.

Last fall, as the five-year window approached closure, Leno began to grumble about leaving, indicating that he was being pushed out the door rather than retiring.  He even intimated that once he was off “Tonight”, he might bolt to another network and continue his late-night career.  Suddenly, NBC once again found themselves with an embarassment of riches.

We all know the old fable of the dog with two bones, and what happened to him.  Actually, I guess everyone knows the story other than NBC’s Jeff Zucker, who wanted to keep both bones.  His genius move?  Scrap the expensive, unwatchable 10PM lineup and give the slot to Jay!  It’s perfect, he must have thought – we get old Tonight Show followed by the new Tonight Show!

Well, that worked about as well as you might imagine.  Leno bombed at 10, angering affiliates who lost their vital viewer lead-in to their local newscasts.  Conan, meanwhile, who was a tenuous fit at best for the Tonight Show, lost all the Leno fans who simply got to sleep a little earlier now.

For those wondering how long the experiment – and the pain – would last, the answer is apparently February.  Multiple sources are reporting that Leno’s show has been cancelled and will be off the schedule once NBC ends their coverage of the Winter Olympics.  O’Brian, meanwhile, was asked to accept having the Tonight show pushed back a half-hour to make room for a new half-hour Leno show at 11:30 and suggested NBC go pound sand, claiming he was “defending the franchise”.  NBC looks like fools, Leno looks like an ungrateful bully, and O’Brian looks for a new network.

What amazes me is that whoever owns NBC/Universal/General Electric/Comcast, or whatever they are, will allow the good soldier O’Brian to be shown the door while Zucker and Leno both keep their jobs.

More to follow, no doubt …