Archive for the 'Stuff You Need to Know' Category

Out of Character

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

For me, that is.

A heartwarming story for you.

Now, back to making fun of creationists and stuff.

Unto Us This Day a Child is Born

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

And she looks just like her dad or her mom or maybe some combination of the two.

Hard to say really, what with there not being any photos yet.

C’mon, dude dad, get with the program!

And welcome, Lily Frances!

The Tornado Gods Grow Angry!

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Apparently the regular sacrifice of trailer parks to our tornadic overlords is no longer pleasing in their sight:

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — A trail of uprooted and broken trees, downed utility lines, peeled-off roofs and collapsed brick walls marked the path of a tornado that tore through downtown Atlanta.

The National Weather Service confirmed late Saturday morning that an EF-2 tornado with winds up to 130 mph struck the city Friday night.

Best wishes to the people of Atlanta. Being from Alabama, I spent many a weekend in Hotlanta while growing up.

Blogger Michael Demmons was out of town at the time; he reports that both he and his house are safe.

To make matters worse, the Mississippi State vs Alabama SEC tourney game was able to resume play after the all-clear, with Alabama losing 69-67.

You Know What I Hate?

Monday, March 10th, 2008

I hate when two stainless steel dinner forks get their tines entangled and, as you work them apart, there’s this grating, shiny* sensation. Makes my teeth ache.

I also hate the way it feels when you smooth a bed sheet with the flat of your bare hand. Oh, and the way it sounds. Hate it. Makes me cringe.

Yeah, like you’re not weird in any way or somethin’.

* Honestly, that’s about the only way I can describe it. Feel free to do better, though.

Wow and Hubba Hubba: A Fitness Story

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

Up until today, I was pretty proud of the 20lbs I have managed to lose through a combination of near-daily workouts (weights and cardio) combined with calling my mistress, Fat Tire, and telling her I couldn’t see her as often any more. She wept, they always do, but – hey, baby, that’s just how it’s got to be.

But Jennifer Marnell… crikey… wow.

Granted, I was only knocking on the door of 200lbs when I decided a change was in order, so my weight loss would not be as dramatic as that of Jennifer Marnell (although it sure doesn’t stop me from now looking in the mirror and being pleased to see muscles that once were considered buried by the sands – or, well, lipids – of time, lost forever more).

She should serve as an inspiration to many. Sure, there are some people, hobbled by genetics or disease, who will never, despite how hard they work, get their bodies to be truly fit.

However, for the bulk of us (and especially the bulky of us), we choose to look the way we do. Every time we choose to sit on our ass and watch television, eat a wing and drink a beer, we’re accepting the consequences of our actions, even though several months or years later we’ll stand looking in the mirror and pretend to be stumped at how we got to look this way.

I already had my moment, and that was enough for me.

Sorry, got distracted there for a moment from my main point: hubba hubba.

Credit Card Fraud Alert

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

When I got my most recent credit card statement, I noticed a small – yet unrecognized – charge for $9.87 on it. It was for a company called

A quick visit to their site showed what appears to be a subscription stock photography site, although it’s very light on details, and to find out any more you have to sign up and pay for access.

Anyway, I naturally called the bank and had them dispute the charge. They did. Easy.

However, something didn’t sit quite right with me, so I started Googling about for more information… and came across this.

Several people mentioning how they, too, had seen $9.87 charges from showing up on their credit cards in the last two months.

Ladies and gents, welcome to the wonderful land of credit card fraud.

Also of interest is that the domain name for was only registered in November, 2007. The fraud appears to have begun shortly thereafter.

Now, I’ve no idea if the people behind are the crooks, setting up a front company to process small charges on the cards of thousands (small charge x thousands = big money). It just struck me as an odd string of events.

Probably something best left to the FTC to figure out through an investigation, should they be interested in conducting one.

In the meantime, I have contacted my bank again to have my card account canceled.

Anyway, just a warning to everyone to be checking their statements for the magical numer $9.87 from a new web-company of which they have never heard.

Note: Reading further, it appears that the company names “” and “Alkay Services LLC” are also showing up with fraudulent charges, primarily on Chase credit cards (and just because it doesn’t say Chase in big and bold, doesn’t mean it isn’t; for example, United Mileage Plus is run by Chase).

Update: Looks like ProPhotosLand has everything the same as PicturesJungle, except for the name and the contact info. Curious.

Update 2: More discussion, with additional company names being used for the fraud.

Update 3: I have filed a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center. If you’re a victim, you should do the same ASAP.

Update 4: Yet more details on this scam.

Update 5: Just read on a message board that one person discovered the thieves were trying to open new credit card accounts in his name. Time to pull my credit reports I guess.

Update 6: Another lesson learned – if you get hit with this scam, be sure to report the charge as fraudulent and not just a disputed charge. This will (should?) ensure a charge back is sent to the scammers, hitting them in their merchant account. I just called Chase and they confirmed that when I reported the need to cancel my cards, they upgraded the charge to fraudulent automatically.

Did Sean Connery Kidnap Madeleine McCann?

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

…this sketch of a possible suspect points that way!

(Or, well, not, but I found the resemblance something worthy of a post, for some reason).

(I’m still not convinced the parents didn’t play a role, but that’s what the police and courts are for, so there you go).

(O.J. is innocent!)

Class Action Money Back Guarantee

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

If you’ve recently received a letter informing you that you’re entitled to a class action settlement of credit card fees charged on overseas purchases in the last decade, it’s legitimate.

They really should make it look less like random junk mail, as I came close to ripping mine in half and throwing it away. However, I will instead be taking the straightforward $25 refund since I no longer have any reliable record of what we might have bought during our several trips to the UK (aside from pub grub and lots and lots of real ale).

As the article says, it’s entirely possible that some low-life phishing scam-humping jerk will try to capitalize on this with fake offers, but some phone calls or Googling should let you know if yours is safe to send in.

Update: I went to the website mentioned in the mailing, entered my refund code, and was presented with my own name and address. No request of any personal information at all. Just so you know.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow…

Thursday, December 28th, 2006


DENVER, Colorado (AP) — New Year’s travelers jammed the Denver airport Thursday, trying to get out of town ahead of a snowstorm that threatened to close runways and gum up the nation’s busy holiday travel season for the second time in a week.

The storm was expected to dump up to 16 inches of snow on the Denver area overnight, a week after a pre-Christmas blizzard shut the airport for more than two days.

They’re also saying that a second wave of snow Friday night could dump another 10 to 20 inches by Saturday afternoon.

My city, Thornton, seems to have a jump on things. I’m sitting at my desk watching two earth movers plow the streets, piling five-foot berms of old snow and ice on each side of the road.

It’s going to be another long couple of days indoors, I think.

On the bright side, I won’t have to worry about my lawn getting enough water during the dry winter. On the other hand, I may not even see my lawn again until sometime in April.

Mystery, Me

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

It would appear that Walter has tagged me with a blog meme in which I am supposed to tell you five things you don’t know about me. Alas, if it were to be five things that no one knows about me, they’d no longer be skeletons in the closet, so let’s just go with five things most people don’t know (or care to know, as the case may be).

  1. In seventh grade, I was a participant in the Duke University Talent Identification Program. It let me take the college-prep SAT to see how I would score against college-bound juniors and seniors taking the same test. I beat more than 60% of them. I’m not sure if this means I was a really smart seventh grader or if a lot of people got socially promoted all through high school.

  2. In junior high school, I was once carrying contraband as part of the Brewbaker Junior High softcore porn exchange underground and – reaching into my backpack, without looking, for a textbook – I instead pulled out an issue of Playboy, sent it airborne, and let it land with a pornographic “spap!” on my desk. Thankfully, only one of my friends saw it and I quickly returned it to the comfort and safety of my Eastpak.

    This would not have happened if our booby-underground had relied on magazines wrapped in condoms and stuffed into this orifice or that. However, I suspect the discomfort and doctor’s bills would have drawn undue attention.

  3. I have been involved with women from Canada, Peru, Finland, and England. This makes me an international Romeo, except for all those other aspects about me that don’t.

  4. My friends and I make music, some of it very bad, some of it almost tolerable, and we’ve gone under such names as “Dodgy Lesbian Girl” and “Autistic Zoo,” neither of which is bound to endear us to certain segments of the hearing population.

  5. I inadvertently taught my wee Fiona the phrase “piss off.” Whoops.
Everybody happy now?