my bad

The internet at the office was disconnected today. So, I'm late. I know. I'm sorry. Here's some news.

Man goes on murderous rampage in tax office

BELGRADE (Reuters) - After twice receiving a tax bill, an enraged Serb stormed the tax office, started shooting and tried to set the tax chief and the building on fire, Serb media reported Friday.

"We can't imagine why anyone would do such a thing. I mean, why would anyone be mad at the people who take their hard-earned cash without so much as a passing apology?" stunned officials wondered.

Nebojsa Miladinovic, a saw-mill owner in his fifties, tried for days to convince tax officials in the central town of Gornji Milanovac he had paid his 192,200 dinar ($2,794) bill. They said he had not, sent the bill again and blocked his bank account.

After arguing his case Thursday, Miladinovic returned, doused tax chief Gojko Stefanovic and the office files with petrol, shot at computers and yelled "I was ripped off."

Yes, sir. Yes you were.

Two people were injured in the melee and parts of the office caught fire, with panicked staff escaping through the windows.

Police arrested Miladinovic, whom neighbors described as a hard worker who never made trouble. Witnesses said he even paid for parking his car in front of the tax office before the rampage.

Several witnesses report that Miladinovic was humming show tunes. They also said that he was very polite, doing his best to keep the maniacal laughter to a tolerable volume.

more Jim

Check out Jim, who's still in Hong Kong. The rest of the team is nearly bursting with fresh-faced enthusiasm to be downtown in one of the world's largest cities. They're overcome with the wonder of their surroundings. The lure of the exotic beckons to them. Jim, surrounded by the teeming masses and immersed in foreign culture, is wondering if that little restaurant down the street could serve him a decent slice of pizza pie. Or maybe he's just wondering if they've got a clean toilet.

For more analysis on the pictures coming from the team, look at these. He really is enormous.

it's a lockbox

My grandfather is old.

Now that you've had some time to let that sink in, you'll understand why he needed heart surgery. And a few weeks ago, he went to California to have his surgery done. He and my grandmother drove out there, he had his surgery, and they flew back after his recovery time.

When my grandmother was wondering out loud about how to get the car home, my little brother Joe volunteered to go pick it up. Last weekend, he flew out there and spent the weekend on a whirlwind tour of southern California's beaches, wine, and women, sparking a legendary tale that will be passed down from generation to generation of gas station attendants and bowling alley shoe cleaners.

Actually, he ate sushi with my aunt and uncle. And watched his friend play Tiger Woods Golf. And then he drove the car back home.

When Joe returned the car to our grandparents, they compensated him with a generous sum of cash money for his troubles. And instead of rushing out to buy insane amounts of food or clothing or edible clothing, Joe bought an Xbox. And gave it to me. Just so we could meet up on Xbox live and play Halo2.

Thanks, Joe. You are far too kind.

not good

Bad ideas for a natural gas company advertising campaign:

Natural Gas. It's awesome. And natural.
Pilot light turned off all night + spark from your fridge = giant raging fireball!
We add the smell so you know that you're breathing poison!
You probably won't be maimed and killed in an explosion! That rarely happens.
It's a major source of indoor air pollution!
You'll hardly notice when you die in your sleep!
If you start throwing up, head to the hospital! It's probably not too late!
If it ignites, you can watch your home and dreams burn to the ground!
Natural Gas. Because it burns. Really hot.
Now with more exploding potential!
Because you can't blame arson-related insurance fraud on electricity, silly!

Couple threatens woman with Antichrist spawn

PALERMO, Italy (Reuters) - An Italian couple stole 50,000 euros from a woman in the Sicilian city of Palermo after convincing her they were vampires who would impregnate her with the son of the Anti-Christ if she did not pay them.

Nothing ruins your life like giving birth to the son of the Antichrist. I mean, how's that gonna look on your dating resume? "No, really. It's over between us. He just refused to put the toilet seat down. What a jerk."

Disneyland kills Lady and the Tramp's the Tramp

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Dozens of stray dogs roaming around the new Walt Disney theme park in Hong Kong have been rounded up and put down as the company prepares to open the park in September, a newspaper said Monday.

"Sure, he was great in the movie, and it grossed us a couple million dollars, but he just wouldn't stop drinking out of the toilet. And 101 dalmations are a lot harder to take care of than you would think. I mean, there's poo everywhere."

Although the Post said the figure was around 40, Disney said it did not know how many dogs had been put down.

"Because, frankly, we don't care. At all. Buy all our DVDs, kids!"

Well, the Tour De France is two rides away from over, with the final ride taking place on Sunday in Paris on through the Champs Elysee. And it looks like Lance is just about to wrap it up and take home his seventh consecutive Tour victory. He's won the Tour more times than any individual in history, and if he retains his nearly three minute lead, he'll just increase his margin on the record. In an interview after today's race, Lance determined that he's got about ""five more hours in my career as a cyclist. I'm not terribly sad about that." You wouldn't be too torn up, either, if you had won cycling's most prestigious events more times than anyone in history and had spent more time on a bicycle seat than in a bed.

The thing that really struck me this year is that the Tour is not just a bunch of guys racing. It's actually a team sport. Lance's team was formed not because they're all good buddies and they like to hang out while pushing their bodies to the limit of human endurance. Those guys are there to help Lance win. There are strategies. And battle plans. And fierce battle royales. With chains and knives and baseball bats (not really... no weapons allowed... expect teeth... and fingernails... and shards of broken plastic water bottles...). And this is bicycle racing. Like little kids do. The Tour even has a white jersey that is awarded every day for the most combative rider. That's right. The guy who can best utilize his punching and kicking and biting and water bottle shanking skills while not falling off the bike takes home a prize, too. And it's white, so you can see all the opponent blood he collects on the next ride through the beautiful French countryside.


At church last Sunday, a friend of mine told me that she had heard from Jim, my little brother who's in Hong Kong right now. She proceeded to tell me about a story that he had told her. It goes like this.

A couple days ago, Jim and the guys were unable to enter their apartment through traditional means (you know: key in lock, turn knob, open door). Someone had locked the keys inside, and no duplicate set could be obtained. Jim, being the valiant young stud that he is, volunteered to take the less traditional, more petty criminal-like approach to the apartment entry procedure. He went into the building next door and climbed the stairs up two stories to the roof. Without concern for his own safety or stylish clothing, he jumped the five to twenty-five foot gap between the seven story buildings (versions of this story differ here... apparently, the reception on a phone call from Hong Kong isn't that great) and landed on the roof of his apartment building. Successful in his Spiderman-like urban jungle success, he turned to celebrate. As you may know, Hong Kong is quite humid, and precipitatious buildup had accumulated on the roof's edge and Jim took a little tumble twenty-eight stories to the ground below.

I got an email from Jim this morning. It turns out that the story I heard from our friend was nothing more than exaggerated lies. Jim was climbing the building itself, grabbed onto a ledge about ten feet up, and slipped off because of some rain. I think I like the other version better.

Today in 1969, the Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the
first men to walk on the Moon. With the breathtakingly desolate surface of the moon set before him and the expanse of the galaxy pressing in, Neil descended the ladder of lunar lander. And, on the brink of one of the biggest moments in history, he forgot his lines. "How did it go again? Something about a monkey... or a man... mankind... maybe it had something to do with cars... Oh, shoot, everybody's looking at me... Um, that's one small step for dudes, one giant leap on a great big trampoline."

In honor of line-flubbing, poop-in-your-space-pants stage fright, check out Google Moon.

Make sure you zoom all the way in.


bad news

My little brother Jim, who's in Hong Kong with his youth group right now, had a basketball game today. Or yesterday. On Monday, but it's over. Stupid international date line.

Anyway, their contact over there arranged for them to play a game against a local high school. Jim's group has six basketball-able men. They were to scheduled to play against the school's JV and varsity teams. Combined. The game would consist of 4 ten-minute quarters.

Obviously, Team USA stood very little chance. They did manage to maintain the lead for the first three quarters, but exhaustion set in, and Team China outran them in the fourth. When your bench is one man deep, and theirs is about 25 deep, you've either got to be insanely talented and fit or taking performance enhancing drugs. Multiple performance enhancing drugs. Mostly illegal ones.

Jim writes at the end of his post-game summary:
So I just hope that you will allow us to come back to America. I really want to ask for your forgiveness and mercy. I hope that we have not shamed you too much. Please take us back.

While I hate to see the good ol' red, white and blue lose to a country where the median height is about five foot short (they had to kick out Yao Ming 'cause he kept stepping on people), I guess we can forgive you, Jim. Come on home anytime you want. Just make sure you bring me back some of those sweet, cheap grey market goods. Like, anything Nikon and/or cool.


Title: Leg
Artist: Robert Fuel
Medium: Eraser Clay
Inspiration: Meeting-induced boredom

Check out the realistic toes and life-like blue/black swirl flesh tones.

El Paso- A man was brutally slain while crossing the street at a downtown crosswalk this afternoon.
Although few details can be confirmed, it is widely believed that Robert Fuel was crossing the street during his lunch break when a 1988 Isuzu Trooper ignored the crosswalk sign at the intersection and accelerated into Fuel, rendering him paralyzed and/or unconscious.
State troopers believe that as many as sixty-three more cars and trucks plowed over Fuel as motorists continued to ignore the crosswalk and the man lying immobilized in the middle.
Tragedy struck when three emergency workers, who had stopped on the side of the road when they spotted the red smear, were also hit and killed in the crosswalk by a city bus while they were attempting to determine what had become of Fuel's lips.
In his own defense, the driver of the bus said, "It's not my fault. How am I supposed to read the sign if it's in Canadian? This is Texas, and those stick figures clearly weren't wearing cowboy hats or boots."
Eventually, police were able to put road blocks into place to stop traffic while the slain rescue workers were loaded into ambulances, and Fuel was shovelled into a sandwich bag by workers from the city's sanitation department.
City officials are stumped as to how a Canadian crosswalk sign might have been installed at the intersection, but vow to look into the matter as soon as possible within the next three to five years.

NASA cancels Discovery launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - A fuel gauge that mistakenly read empty instead of full forced NASA to call off Wednesday's launch of Discovery on the first shuttle flight since the Columbia disaster 2 1/2 years ago. The space agency's chief said the mission is off until at least Monday.
The decision to scrub the launch came with less than 2 1/2 hours to go, while the seven astronauts were boarding the spacecraft for their journey to the international space station. Up until then, a thunderstorm over the launch site appeared to be the only potential obstacle to liftoff.

Mission Control to Discovery Crew: C'mon, guys. It's just a little thunderstorm. Some big boom-sounds and a little lightning. What is there to be afraid of? It's not like you're sitting on 77,000 pounds of liquid hyrdrogen or anything. I mean, what's the worst that could happen? Honestly.

"It's not a setback at all. We're fine if we go anytime in the launch window," Griffin said. "We had one mission for the Defense Department that scrubbed 14 times. This is nothing!"

Moments later, Griffin was bound and gagged by a swift-moving team from the National Security Agency. Witnesses overheard one of them say something about national secrecy, loose lips, and sinking ships as they loaded Griffin into the black van before it sped away from the scene.

NASA said it appeared that the sensor was showing a low fuel level, even though the tank was full with 535,000 gallons of super-cold liquid hydrogen and oxygen.

Astronaut: (tapping on the fuel gauge) Dang it! This always happens when I'm on my way to pick up a girl who agreed to go out with me because she's impressed that I'm an astronaut and even though I'm slightly more nerdy and much less buff than she imagined an astronaut would be, I'm going to space and that's pretty cool. (tap. tap. tap.)

And lastly:

Space Shuttle Discovery astronauts ride back past Launch Pad 39B at Cape Canaveral, Wednesday, July 13, 2005 after today's launch was scrubbed.

They go to the moon in a $1.3 billion dollar shuttle, and ride home in a 1978 Winnebago (with shiny aluminum siding to give it that authentic "space age" feel).

Hurricane victims assess damage. Again.

PENSACOLA, Fla. - Residents along the Gulf Coast, where Hurricane Dennis made landfall Sunday packing wind up to 120 mph, returned to their homes Monday to discover missing roofs and walls and belongings strewn about.
Just down the road, Caryn and Mike Martino stood at the base of their 13-foot-high deck — all that remains of their two story home. They had just finished replacing a roof damaged by Ivan, but had not yet moved in. The couple will wait a while before showing pictures of the wreckage to their two young children.
"We'll tell them daddy will make it bigger this round. Bigger and better and stronger," said Caryn Martino, who clutched a composition book with "Dennis" written on the cover. She has a similar book for Ivan filled with insurance claim numbers, government phone listings and other storm-related information.

Year after year, the state of Florida is pummelled by hurricanes and tropical storms. Year after year, people flee their homes in panic, return days later, and mourn the loss of nearly everything they own. And year after year, they put their lives back together and decide, "You know, it's really not that bad. It's just a little wind and a little rain and a little 'oh no, my roof is being torn off my house and my couch and dog and arm just flew out the gaping hole.' I think I'll stay. You just can't beat the mild winters, communities of old people, and the sunshine that's only sporadically interrupted by national-disaster storms."

If there is any unquestionable sign of lunacy, it is that people continue to choose to live in a place that is decimated on a regular basis by winds that could rend the nose from your face.

Something happens to me when the beep sounds at the end of an answering machine message. In that split second, my brain is completely emptied of it contents. It doesn't matter how prepared I am for the phone call, or even if I know that I'll be leaving a message. That beep goes off and I forget everything. I forget who I called and why I called them. I forget the date and don't really know if it's even night or day. I can't remember how I dialed the phone number or how I got the handset next to my ear. I forget how to use my mouth when speaking. I forget my name and the civilization I live in. I usually do remember that I need to speak, though, and so I always leave a bumbling, incoherent, spit-strewn message. Usually, this is the point in correspondence at which the other party realizes that my IQ lies far below the national average and begins to treat me like a small child. Which is fine. Sometimes I get candy.

it's carpet


At We're Not Afraid, people from around the world are stepping forward to show their love and support for the citizens of England.

No posts on the bombing in London before this because, frankly, I didn't know what to say.

It may be hard to believe, but this daily paper has confirmed through a number of unnamed but reliable sources that men love motorcycles.

This just in: leading scientists speculate that men may also enjoy fried food, fast cars, shooting things, burning stuff, pooping, and power tools.

Woman and bull injured in Pamplona

A Canadian woman was trampled and a bull lost its horn as hundreds of daredevils hurtled through Pamplona with six half-ton bulls in pursuit at the first full day of Spain's San Fermin fiesta Thursday.

Women rarely run and for years were forbidden from doing so but this year 19-year-old Canadian Alexandra Popovska, risked her skin."The whole herd went over her and trod on her," a hospital spokeswoman said, but added her injuries were not serious.

She only suffered a minor concussion, a broken nose, several puncture wounds, and an assortment of broken bones. She'll be fine in six months or so. The bull may never recover. Especially if they make it a steak.

While many of the dense crowd of runners are there for the first time, some, like Jean Louis Desperies from Dax, France, comes back year after year.

"It's a passion," the 50-year-old said, after running for his 10th year. "All life's suffering is left behind."

"Well, you know, because that lady who got trampled fell down in front of me. After I stepped on her face on my way by, her suffering was behind me."

Sleepwalking teen brought down from crane

A teenage sleepwalker was rescued after being found fast asleep 130 feet up on the arm of a crane, police said Wednesday.

The teen-ager, who has not been named, had climbed up the crane and walked across a narrow metal beam while fast asleep during the incident, which happened on June 25.

It is believed the teen-ager had walked out unnoticed from her home near the site in Dulwich, southeast London.

Her parents could not be reached, but a mysterious note was found on the kitchen counter, reading, "Our daughter is a 'sleepwalker.' She sometimes wanders about while we're asleep. We have no idea where she goes, and we would never slip sedatives into her dinner and leave her on top of a crane. Ever."

She was brought down in a hydraulic lift after a two-hour rescue operation.

"Police and London Fire Brigade attended and the woman was brought down from the crane at around 4 a.m. and taken to hospital for precautionary checks," a police spokeswoman said.

Precautionary checks are pretty standard in a case like this. You know, just in case she was dropped during the rescue operation and nobody noticed.

it's a green screen

The Tour De France has held my fascination since childhood. I have some very fond memories of watching the Tour on Sundays with my dad. Specifically, I remember laying on the floor, leaning against the couch, cheering Greg LeMond to victory. So it's with great interest that I will track the Tour this year, with the hope that Lance can ride his way to victory yet again. To commemorate the start of the Tour, I give you now a first-day summary from contributing reporter, Dad Fuel (also known as Anonymous in the comment field).

Tour de France
Day 1
Day One is an 11-mile time trial. Lance Armstrong placed second. He was only 2 seconds off the winning time. He passed Jan Ulrich, who started one minute ahead of Lance. That means Lance beat Jan by more than one minute in the space of a 20-minute race. Of course, Jan wore a pink jersey. He always wears a pink jersey. For six years, he has showed up at the Tour de France in a pink jersey. You'd think that by now he would have figured it out: Pink is for Pansies. That's why they both start with P.

*For those of you who have no idea why it is Ulrich's wardrobe being critiqued, Ulrich has been Armstrong's stiffest, most consistent competition at the Tour de France for the past six years. And every year for the last six, he has lost to Armstrong. Pansy.

On this day in 1776, the thirteen British colonies on this side of the Atlantic raised their collective fist and shook it at a nation whose armies spanned the globe and crushed without pity or remorse anyone and everyone who so much as mocked their teatime traditions. The rich and the poor of those meager pockets of population proceeded to fight tooth and nail for every inch of the ground they worked. They bled for their children and grandchildren. And they died for the freedom of a nation of people whom they would never meet. Because our freedom was worth it to them. Our churches and schools, our libraries and car dealerships, our homes and businesses were worth their lives. Their sacrifice determined the landscape of our society. Their legacy deserves our respect and gratitude.

Attention ladies:
Unless your dog is holding your wallet and keys in its mouth, it is not a purse. Just because it's small enough to carry with you everywhere, it doesn't mean that you should carry it everywhere. In fact, you should leave it at home. And because a dog that small should not count as a dog, you should leave it there without food or water. Or protection from predators.

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All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited without proper consent.