For Halloween. A macabre post filled with horror, death and disfigurement.

The Runt

It begins with a puppy. The runt of the litter and golden in hue, this tiny pup was inordinately shy from birth. She moved only to pad her way to the shelter found between the feet of her owner. She ate very little, slept quite a bit and made no noise. For the sake of irony, she was deemed Lady Mayhem.

The moniker made in jest became prophecy. One morning she awoke determined to shed the bashful bonds that plagued her. Out of doors, she became a reckless whirlwind, sprinting to and fro, her tiny tail wagging in newfound mirth. Home furnishings became her supper of choice. She destroyed a couch, a chair, a desk and several rugs. When chewing through solid wood became boring, Lady turned her sights onto her competition.

Cuddly creatures of the stuffed variety decorated the home in which she lived. Long forgotten by their keepers [who had grown far too old and mature for such childish things], the plush animals lay defenseless and alone. And one by one, they were destroyed.

Lady Mayhem hunted them down. Pulled from bookshelves and rooted out from under beds, they met their destiny in her ruthless jaws. The occupants of the house, Lady’s masters, would find the victims facedown on the floor. Turning them over in their hands, their eyes would meet with the grim terror that the once-timid puppy had barbarously inflicted.

She began with the eyes, plucking them from the sockets. She savored them, sometimes leaving the animal blind for days on end before returning to end their misery. Slowly, meticulously, she would rip and tear at their faces until nothing but a gaping hole remained. For dessert, she consumed the cerebral stuffing within their cranial cavities, leaving the bodies whole and unblemished.

One by one, they were discovered. Nothing could be done to stop the runt’s reign of terror. No amount of punishment or retribution could quell her bloodlust. She roamed the rooms and hallways of the house, eliminating her prey. Even the largest stuffed dog, in whom the shy pup had found the comfort and protection only a surrogate mother can provide, met her untimely demise at the paws of the twisted canine mind.

Pictures follow.


I was taking a look at some of the archives yesterday and realized that my posts of late have been a little wordy. A little wordy like the ocean is a little moist. It’s out of hand.

Perhaps it’s because I’m asked on a daily basis to cram twenty-seven pages of information and selling points into thirty seconds. Or fifty words. Or sometimes, five bullet points. Whatever the case may be I apologize for my insensitive behavior and promise to try to be a little more concise. It’ll be hard, but I know that your time is valuable and you don’t want to spend ten minutes reading these posts and then another hour and a half trying to make some sense of the jumbled writing and poor grammar.

See what I mean? 132 words to say one thing: I need to edit these posts better so they aren’t so long and boring.


I’m trying. I promise.

for james

A few days ago I wrote a post about developing an enormous growth on the front of my leg. In that post, I described something that’s been called the Fuel Factor. Specifically, it is the tendency of the men in the Fuel family to injure themselves while doing something stupid. It’s happened to all of us. Me, Joe, Jim. Even my dad has fallen victim to the curse. If not for the Factor, I would probably have led a pretty injury-free life.

Yesterday, Jim had a bit of an accident. It reminded me of a time when I did the very same thing. Jim probably wasn’t being stupid, but I was.

Like Jim, I was riding my bike to my dorm room. I was riding rather fast downhill toward the dorm building. If that wasn’t enough, here’s where the real stupidity comes in: the sidewalk was wet. I mean soaked. It had rained for something like twenty-seven days straight (okay, maybe just the night before, but it rained a lot). I tapped my brakes and began the turn onto the walkway up to the entrance. Just like Jim, I lost control. The rear wheel skidded and slid out from under me. I watched as the dorm building uprooted itself from the ground and jumped sideways up into the sky. Holding dutifully onto the handlebars trying desperately to escape my grasp, I landed hard on my shoulder. I probably hit my head, too. They say that cumulative concussions can make your memory faulty. It serves me pretty well in recalling the group of girls exiting the building at the time. Standing sideways in my vision, their mouths hung open. Wide open. I think one of them, terrified, backed up against the glass doors. I lay on the ground, clutching my bike like a crack addict hangs on to his very last hit. The wind rustled leaves across the ground. The sun moseyed behind a cloud and reemerged. Somewhere in the distance, a duck quacked. And then, as one, the girls recovered from their shock. They laughed. A lot. They laughed and laughed, unabashedly, as I righted the horizon, picked up my bike and went inside.

No, I didn’t have a concussion. Well, probably not. For some, the mental devastation caused by such an embarrassing incident could be irreparable. By this point in my life, I was used to it.

How is it that two different people hundreds or thousands of miles apart can have similar ideas for the same product?

I’m working right now on a campaign for a regional advertising awards program. For the last three weeks, we’ve been meeting as a team to talk about thoughts and execution. We finally chose a direction (not to be egocentric or self-centered, but it was mine), refined it and began work. Yesterday two of the designers here put together some comp layouts.

Today, one of the art directors dropped a direct mail piece on my desk.

It’s a foldout poster for another advertising awards program. And it’s very similar to our idea. So similar, in fact, that it was one of the ideas we had on the way to our final concept.

How does this happen? How do two teams in different regions of the nation talk about the same idea? We didn’t go with a concept identical to theirs, but we could have. If we had stopped pushing toward something else, our comp layouts would look almost exactly like the printed piece I’m looking at right now.

The tragedy of the situation is that it could look to our consumers like we copied this other agency. Nothing could be further from the truth, but their material went to print first. Their idea is already in the hands and the minds of the public.

Our idea is good (trust me; really good). But it could look to some like we copied the thoughts of the other team. That sucks. It’s like making the most delicious sandwich of your life and dropping it, open-faced, onto your shoe. Yeah, it still tastes good, but you’ve essentially just put your tongue on the street. And that’s not cool.

[For those curious about the concept: picture five chimps, two typewriters, approximately one ton of raw hamburger meat and a trebuchet. It's nothing like that.]

Jim has been in some kind of accident. With an indeterminate amount of memory loss. He can't remember how he and his bike got back to his dorm room, but he woke up on his bed when his R.A. knocked on the door to invite him to lunch. As far as I know, he's in the school's infirmary (yes, I guess they still have those) with some ice and a whole lot of pain in his jaw. If you pray, please pray for Jim. If you don't, you're excused from this post. Put your head down on your desk and take a nap.

Updates as they become available.

UPDATE 1: Jim is on his way to the emergency room with our aunt. He threw up and is really sleepy. Sounds like a concussion to me, but we'll know more soon.

UPDATE 2: Jim apparently remembers falling from his bike. He doesn't know why he fell, but he's pretty certain that no one else was involved. So, if his memory serves him, he wasn't hit by a car. We can't get them on the phone, so we think he's in with the doctor right now. His shoulder and jaw are really bothering him.

UPDATE 3: He's ok. Jim was cleared by the emergency room doctor to go home. He had a mild concussion and some serious bruising on his jaw and shoulder [I'm not sure how a head injury in which you black out for an extended period of time can be considered mild, but whatever]. He's back in his dorm and taking a couple days off from class. He remembers now that he was rounding a corner when the rear wheel of his bicycle slid out from under him and he hit the concrete. Thanks for tuning in.

news nugget

Six stabbed at birthday party

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. - Six people were stabbed early Sunday during a melee at a 1-year-old's birthday party, police said. It apparently started when a downstairs neighbor went upstairs to complain about the noise.

Have you ever heard a group of toddlers toddling around on the floor above you? They might as well be elephants.

The injured were taken to Hartford and St. Francis hospitals, where they were treated for stab wounds to their faces and necks. All were later released.

For those of you who missed it: ”stab wounds to the face and neck”. Who stabs somebody in the face? Seems like a waste of time and energy to me.

Police said they received several 911 calls around 12:45 a.m. They arrived at a two-family home on Crosby Street to find dozens of people running around in a thunderstorm. Some were screaming and bleeding.

“We’re fairly confident that it was not the thunder and lightning that caused the large open wounds on the victims’ faces, but some sort of cutting implement. Possibly a fork or a very unusual spoon,” the sheriff said.

Most spoke only Spanish, adding to the chaos. A Spanish-speaking officer from Manchester was eventually brought into translate.

Chaos? Six people getting stabbed is chaos? What was the Great Chicago Fire? A promotion for a heating company? And the L.A. riots? A really bangin’ party?

Sgt. Ed Perkins said that as he arrived he saw one person in the road beating another person with a chair.

Once he realized that the individuals involved were neither Mick Foley nor Dwayne Johnson, Perkins dropped his bag of popcorn and stopped the beating.

No children or police officers were injured.

Oh, good. I can’t imagine the horrors of poor, innocent, defenseless police officers being injured. What could possibly be worse?

Officers said they found a knife hidden under the child's birthday cake.

A one year-old, a birthday cake, a knife and six people stabbed in the face. And people wonder why you shouldn’t feed kids too much sugar. It’s worse than crack.

Police detained so many people that they ran out of regular handcuffs. Then they ran out of temporary flexible restraining devices and had to call for more.

Of course. Little kids have squirmy wrists. Get a bunch of them all hopped up on crack and you’ve got some squirming to deal with.

This weekend, Joe surprised me with a bag of Mega M&M’s. Joe says that he saw them on the shelf and remembered how excited I was when I read about the new, bigger version of the classic chocolate candy. Knowing my preference for the peanut variety of the tasty treat, Joe bought me a big ol’ bag of peanut Mega M&M’s. And then he told me that I owed him three and half bucks. Plus a two dollar service fee.

It was worth every penny. The Mega M&M’s are the best thing that ever happened to me [within the realm of peanuts-covered-in-chocolate-covered-in-hard-candy-shells]. You may think that a Mega M&M is just a regular M&M, but bigger. And you would be right. However, it’s that very bigger-ness that makes them so delicious. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted from chocolates and peanuts and candy shells. Specifically, it’s more of all those things. Which is what everyone wants more of. More. Everyone wants more more. Because what’s better than more? Even more. And what’s worse than more? Less. What’s worse than less? None. Unless we’re talking about communicable diseases. Then none is best. But we’re talking about peanuts and chocolate, so more is good. And so are the new Mega M&M’s.

story time

During my freshman year of college, the city built a huge play structure made entirely out of cedar in a park near downtown. Friends of mine began to go out to the park at night and play freeze tag. The rules were the same as those for normal freeze tag, except that players were not allowed to touch the sand beneath the play structure. They would run along the boardwalks, climb up ladders, shimmy across balance beams and monkey across monkey bars. All under the dim light of the moon and a couple nearby streetlights.

Always looking for a rousing round of competition, I decided to join my friends at the park one night. I took particular interest in a grouping of handrails that made up a good portion of the middle of the playing field. They formed a maze in the sand that I’m sure would entertain a small child (or me) for hours. But, of course, I wasn’t allowed to walk in the sand according to the rules of the game.

I started to venture out on the handrails, stepping from wooden beam to wooden beam. They were about two inches wide and spaced fairly closely together. As the night and the game progressed, so did my skills. I was able to move across the rails faster and faster, evading the tagger. Eventually, I got to the point where I could literally sprint across the handrails to the other side of the playing area.

As it turned out, I wasn’t the only one perfecting this skill set. I soon found myself being chased by the tagger, both of us running full tilt across the handrails. I looked up to see someone, a girl I think, bear-crawling across the rails on her hands and feet. She didn’t see us running toward her. And she was moving into my path. Not wanting to step on her hand or knee her in the face, I hurdled her.

This was a poor decision that I immediately regretted. I should have just wound up and put the insole of my right foot firmly against her left cheekbone. But I’m a gentleman. And so my leap ended with the abrupt landing of my right shin on the next railing. All of my weight and the speed of my sprint shook the rails. I went down hard.

I sprang up immediately, knowing that I needed to walk it off. I thought for sure that I had splintered my leg, but it proved me wrong when I put some weight on it. I spent about ten or twenty minutes walking around the park, slowly increasing the amount of weight I placed on the leg. Eventually, I felt okay and rejoined the game.

There was no moon that night, and I couldn’t see the damage the handrail had done to my leg until we were leaving the park almost thirty minutes later. Someone turned on their headlights, and I looked down at my leg to find that another calf muscle had started growing on the front of my shin. Sadly, it put my real calf muscle to shame. I almost puked. I think my buddy Oscar actually threw up a little.

[This is the first in a series of posts regarding the Fuel Factor, or the propensity of the Fuel brothers to injure themselves while behaving beyond the means of conventional wisdom. We do stupid stuff. We get hurt. Hilarity ensues.]


Esteemed bloggers link to obscure writer
General public remains unimpressed

Internetville (RotoReuters) – Critically acclaimed blogger Jennifer Garrett posted a link on Monday to words, a blog written by relative unknown robert fuel.

After following the link and reading the post, Xanga-founder and self-proclaimed genius Biz Stone followed suit.

In the subsequent hours and days, an indeterminate number of link-clickers stumbled upon words, read the post and went on with life. A resounding lack of response furiously ensued.

On Thursday, researchers came to the conclusion that one funny post does not make for a good blog and said that those who continue to read words will find themselves sorely disappointed and, in extreme cases, lonely with diarrhea.


Sincere thanks to Jennifer and The Genius for their kind remarks[1][2] and generous linking action. I don’t like to give orders, but you should read their stuff at least once. You’ll probably find everything you’ve been searching for in a blog and never come here again. I'll miss you.


Dear Mr. Jobs,

Please stop reading my mind. It’s quite disturbing and it makes me very uneasy. Plus, I’m not a huge fan of the tingly feeling. Or the burning sensation. The two of them together is just too much.

I have two words for you regarding the Aperture announcement this morning in New York. Hot. Dang.

The lack of a program like Aperture is the only thing that has kept me from owning a Mac of my own for photography purposes. Well, that and the fact that I have about zero dollars.

In my opinion, iPhoto has never really done a good job of organization for professionals. Don’t get me wrong. Windows isn’t any better. But Google distributes its exceptional Picasa program for free. But only for Windows. I’ve spent many sleepless nights wondering why Apple didn’t have anything similar.

But now I can finally get some rest. Aperture is everything I’ve ever wanted. That is, in terms of photography software. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a very narrow field of things. RAW image processing that won’t eat up hours at a time, project management and image organization, easy keyword application, image processing (nondestructive!), and archival reminders and organization.

You can expect my invoice for the mind-reading market research services any day now. I’ll accept payment in the form of Apple goods, if that’s more convenient. But you really should do something about your mind-reading techniques. Sometimes I shake for no reason. And scream. And hit people with staplers. But that could be from that squirrel incident. You never know, really.

Your fan,

robert fuel

Supervisor 1 and 2 are discussing Supervisor 1’s mild case of carpal tunnel.
Supervisor 2: You know, my grandma used to wrap wet brown paper bags around her ankles for her arthritis. Every night at 6. She said it was the only thing that worked.
Supervisor 1: You know what my grandma used to say? “Let’s have another shot of that Jim Beam!”

In a discussion of children and how couples had decided on their number of offspring.
Paparick: I just told your mother that we were going to have six kids. My father had six and his father and grandfather both had six.
Lita: You never said an actual number, you just told me on the plane on the way to our honeymoon that you were going to keep me barefoot and pregnant.
Paparick: Oh, honey. I bought you some shoes.


After viewing the photos from the X Prize Cup, a number of people have expressed a mix of shock and concern regarding my proximity to the Starchaser engine explosion.

There is no logical reason for me to have been that close to that highly volatile mixture of liquid oxygen and kerosene. No reason at all. In considering all the facets of such a test and the potential for unplanned and dangerous series of events, it was exceptionally unwise of me to seek out that position. Any number of small mistakes or lapses in judgment could have led to my untimely demise and the abandonment of my family. My wife and daughter would not have been kicked to the curb and left to suffer in my absence, but I can’t imagine that it would have been a positive experience for either of them. Getting that close to the Starchaser rocket engine was a dangerous and foolhardy thing to do.

But watching that thing go up in smoke from a mere 300 feet away was pretty dang sweet.


On Monday, I wrote about my experience at the X Prize Cup. I promised pictures. They're up today on the flickr feed. As good old Abe used to say, people who like that sort of thing will find that the sort of thing they like.

Anyway, as I said on Monday, I was about 300 feet away from the Starchaser rocket engine when it malfunctioned. It sort of exploded. The plate that was riveted to the back came off, and there was a huge flow of kerosene and liquid oxygen. Have a look:

Initial ignition.

Normal rocket engine activity at this point. I mean, I guess.

I think this is where things took a turn for the worst...

...because this doesn't look good.

Stunned silence. Check out the bigger image for a better look at their reactions.

Steve's House

[The curtain opens on a living room set. Simple. Modern. From the door: knocking. 4G Color waddles on stage, across the living room, and opens the front door, where 5G stands with two suitcases. A pause.]

4G: [confused] May I help you?
5G: [handing his bags to 4G] That’d be great. Thanks.
4G: [looking at the bags] What am I supposed to do with those?
5G: Take them to my room, of course.
4G: Excuse me?
5G: [pulls out a Spanish/English dictionary and reads from it] Lleve mis maletas a mi dormitorio, por favor.
4G: I speak English.
5G: Oh. Well. Take my bags to my room then.
4G: Your room? What do you mean, your room?
5G: Steve didn’t tell you? [pause] Well, umm…[pause] This is awkward.
4G: Just what was Steve supposed to tell me?
5G: I’m moving in.
4G: But we don’t have a guest room.
5G: Exactly.
4G: You mean… I’m moving out?
5G: Precisely.
4G; You’re replacing me?
5G: Purportedly.
4G: You’ve got to be kidding me.
5G: No.
4G: That’s ridiculous!
5G: Is it, really?
4G: Yes! I work fine! Why would Steve want a new iPod?
5G: Because a better iPod is available.
4G: Better? You think you’re better than me?
5G: Indubitably. I have a click wheel.
4G: Mine’s bigger than yours.
5G: I have a color screen.
4G: Big deal. So do I. I can display photos and slideshows. How do you like that?
5G: [yawn] They’re alright. I prefer video.
4G: [sputtering] Video? You do video?
5G: Of course.
4G: But… But… You look fat.
5G: Not too fat. I’ll fit in your bed. And your toaster girlfriend seems to admire my physique.
4G: You didn’t.
5G: I did.
4G: Not Sunbeam. She told me she loved me.
5G: Yeah, well, Sunbeam told me a lot of things.

[A pause. 4G bursts into tears and runs crying out the front door. 5G walks with his bags up the stairs. Curtain.]

For some real information about the new iPod or the other announcements made today during Apple's "One More Thing" event, visit engadget, The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Mac Observer, or Daring Fireball.

to the marketing department of The Store:


You’ve done some excellent work these last few weeks. You started by commissioning new scripts because the old ones weren’t creative enough. Your ad agency pooled their resources and churned out several creative and entertaining scripts that positioned your major selling points strongly for the target. You chose a good script, watered it down, and then shot it in the face with a 12-gauge. When the blood stopped flowing and the script’s leg stopped twitching, you chose another one of the creative options. And without any warning, you snuck up behind it and swung a shovel at it. Repeatedly. The depth of your violence made Quentin Tarantino gag on his own bile. Then you took that same shovel and used it to write a script of your own. A script so bad that people in the office laughed out loud when they heard it. A script so bad that it was actually funnier in its original form than when I lampooned it on my blog. So we took your script and sent it from atrociously hideous to solidly passable. Its mother started loving it and drunks only needed one or two more drinks to talk to it. And now you want to strip it of its mediocrity. You want to strip it of the self-respect it earned in the eyes of its inebriated lovers and throw those shards to the dogs.

Pat yourselves on the back. You deserve it.

I am not dead.

There was a huge engine explosion 300 feet away from me, but I survived. More on that later.

I woke up yesterday morning to thunder, lighting, and torrential rains. So I showered and drove 40 minutes to Las Cruces, NM. I met Joe, Luke and Eric at their apartment, and we took Luke’s truck out the Las Cruces airport. The police at the road block let us through after we told them that we were press and Luke showed them his Aggie Sports press pass.

We pulled in, got our gear together, and registered at the press desk. We were guided to the first stop on the press tour, on which we met all the teams and major exhibitors. It was boring.

After breakfast in the press tent, we made our way over to Burt’s hanger. Burt is a friend of Luke who worked with Burt Rutan on SpaceShipOne. He showed us pictures and talked about how much the roof of his hangar leaks and how much airplane instrumentation is worth. I’ll say this: if you’re out jacking car stereos on a Saturday afternoon, you’re wasting time. Get yourself down to the local airport and pick up some avionics for resale.

The show was supposed to begin with skydiving, but that was cancelled due to high winds. The no-show skydiving team was followed by two fly-bys of the F-117 Stealth fighter. Awesome.

Then the EZ Rocket flew. This thing is essentially a super-light glider with a pair of rocket engines. They’re planning a full-on rocket plane racing league in the next couple years. Think NASCAR in the sky. With diamonds.

The daVinci test drop didn’t happen because of the winds. And Buzz Aldrin didn’t show up to read from his children’s book. Maybe because he’s old. And it was windy. I cried and cried.

Armadillo Aerospace was supposed to send up its test rocket three times. Their plan is for vertical takeoff and landing, using the thrust of the rockets to slow themselves down before they land. It seemed to work pretty well. It took off, hovered at about twenty feet, descended, touched down, and fell over. The other two tests were cancelled.

At 3:00 I found Steve Bennett, the tattooed and white-haired Brit who owns Starchaser. I asked if I could go out into the launch area with his engineers for the firing of their rocket engine. Surprisingly, he said yes. I made my way out the engine, 1500 feet away from the crowd for obvious safety reasons. They were filling the tanks with liquid oxygen, or LOX. Bob, another member of the British team, told me that liquid oxygen wants to combust. Really bad. It’s like a hyperactive three year-old with a box of matches and a can of gasoline. And a blowtorch. And pyromaniacal tendencies. So when he asked me to head over to the bunker so that they could pressurize the tanks, I hustled to the mound of dirt a mere 300 feet away.

While we were waiting for the tanks to pressurize, the EZ Rocket flew again. Trust me on this: the Rocket Racing League is gonna be sweet.

Eventually, it came time to light up the engine. The crowd was supposed to see a twenty foot plume of smoke. Instead, there was a loud pop, and explosion, and a raging giant ball of fire sweeping across the desert floor fed by liquid oxygen and a stiff wind. Easily the highlight of my day.

Look for the Flickr feed later this week. For a more detailed account of the X Prize Cup, visit the blog of Michael Belfiore, who blogged the entire event as it was unfolding. He writes for Popular Science, so he’s pretty good. And, like me, he uses a D70, so he’s awesome.

more hate

Last week, I thought my radio script for a national client had been chosen for production. I was happy.

On Wednesday, I found out that my script had been killed by the client’s legal department. I was sad.

Today, I found out that the client had decided not to go with the other writers’ scripts either. They had one of their own that they want us to work with. It goes something like this:

Guy 1: We are at the movies.
Guy 2: Yes, we like to watch movies.
Guy 1: I do not like standing in line for movies.
Guy 2: Yes, and going to the cinema to see a movie can be quite expensive.
Guy 1: We should go to The Store!
Guy 2: Yes, I agree! We should go to The Store, where we can rent a movie for a much lower price than viewing one here at the theater. And membership to The Store is free of charge and quite simple to procure.
Guy 1: In addition, The Store is so economically sound that we could afford several movies and refreshments as well.
Guy 2: Stupendous! Let us traverse to The Store posthaste!
Guy 1: Three cheers for The Store!
Guy 2: While we are at The Store, we must be sure to check for scintillating new titles, like The Honeymooners and Batman Begins.
Guy 1: Hip, hip, hooray!

I don’t know about you, but nothing sells me on a product like genuine slice-of-life dialogue and situational realism. We should let all our clients write their own spots.

On Tuesday, I received my press kit for the X Prize Cup.

The $10M Ansari X Prize was awarded to Burt Rutan and Paul Allen’s Mojave Aerospace for being the first privately owned organization to send a civilian into space. Mojave Aerospace sent SpaceShipOne to the edge of space and back three times, while many of the competitors were still developing their designs.

The X Prize Cup picks up where the X Prize left off. The competitors, still determined to send their designs and astronauts into the galactic frontier, are continuing their efforts. On Sunday, October 9th, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the civilian race to space continues. One team will be performing a manned test flight, while two others will attempt a series of unmanned test burns of their rockets. There will be skydiving, souvenirs, a test drop of the daVinci space capsule, food and drinks, educational booths and flight simulators. Buzz Aldrin will read from his children’s book.

It’s gonna be dope.

If there’s no post here by the end of the day on Monday, it means that I got too close to a rocket and my charred remains are lying in the middle of the New Mexico desert.

It could happen.

Look for an X Prize Cup post and flickr set sometime next week.

in memoriam

Marti, Jacques’ mom, succumbed this morning to the cancer she had so valiantly fought for more than four years. She is survived by the three incredible children into whom she poured her life. While it will not be easy for Jacques, Milan and Mia to deal with her passing, I do not know three siblings better suited to the task. Marti raised caring, mature, dedicated children who have touched lives and hearts the world over. She was an endearing, encouraging, loving and giving woman who wanted nothing but the best for her kids and their friends. On countless occasions this mother, doctor and philanthropist opened her heart and home to host the needs of those around her. She will be missed.

Well, not all of them. Just a few. Specifically, the ones in The Store’s2 legal department.

They killed my script. The one that was supposed to run in Dallas, Atlanta and Los Angeles. The one that was supposed to look really good on my evaluation in four months. The one that was supposed to get me a raise. And fame. And an early retirement. And respect from copywriters worldwide.

Actually, just the placement in some pretty major markets. But still.

They killed the script because they say it objectified women. Personally, I think that is untrue3. But you decide for yourself.

The general idea:

Guy 1 walks into the apartment whistling.
Guy 2: You sound happy.
Guy 1: I am.
Guy 2: Why?
Guy 1: I think that the girl at The Store digs me.
Guy 2: Why do you think that?
Guy 1: She gave a special deal on the thing I was buying.
Guy 2: You’re dumb. They give everyone that deal.
ANNOUNCER jumps in and waxes poetic about how great The Store is.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but men and women exist on this planet. They are attracted to each other. That’s life. Objectification comes many, many steps4 down the road.

1 not you, Pop
2 name changed to protect the innocent5
3 an enormous load of horse feces
4 bikini posters and rap songs about "hos"
5 guilty6
6 shameless7
7 unscrupulous

Nobel winner was human guinea pig

CANBERRA (Reuters) - An Australian scientist who jointly won the 2005 Nobel prize for medicine said he became a human guinea pig and drank a cocktail of bacteria to prove his theories that ulcers were not caused by stress.

I think this could become a very popular drink at parties. The Nobel. Or the Human Guinea Pig. Or the Ulcer-Inducing Bacteria Grog.

Australian professor Barry Marshall and Robin Warren were awarded the 2005 Nobel prize for their 1982 discovery that the Helicobacter pylori bacterium, rather than stress, caused stomach ulcers and inflammation.

Marshall, who spent Tuesday fielding calls of congratulations from around the world, said he became a human laboratory rat to convince sceptics that ulcers and stomach inflammation were caused by bacterium.

"I didn't think about it very much and probably I wouldn't have done it if I had really thought it through," Marshall told reporters in the Western Australian capital of Perth.

If I were you, sir, I would not be stating publicly that my Nobel Prize-winning scientific and medical breakthrough was nothing more than the result of poor decision-making.


Cage gives son Superman’s birth name

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage’s wife of 14 months gave birth on Monday to the couple's first child together, a son they named Kal-el -- a moniker recognized by comic book fans as the birth name of Superman.

The child's delivery in New York City and his full name, Kal-el Coppola Cage, were confirmed by the actor's publicist, Annett Wolf, who said of the family, "They are healthy and happy and it's quite lovely."

Oddly, Wolf made this statement with wide eyes while shaking her head and moving her index finger in small circles next to her right temple.

No further details were released, including how the actor and his wife, Alice Kim Cage, were inspired to borrow from the mythology of Superman in naming their child.

After refusing to comment, the publicist turned to the reporter’s on her left, repeated the circular motion of her index finger against her temple, and mouthed what might have been the word “lazy” or “daisy”.


Investigation brewing over jailhouse yeast

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Add yeast to the list of items not allowed in jails. The Mesa County sheriff's department recently confiscated two toothpaste tubes full of brewer's yeast that somebody tried to smuggle into the county jail.

Sheriff Stan Hilkey said the smuggling attempt wasn't surprising. What raised eyebrows was the source: the yeast, which can be used to make "jailhouse hooch," was found packed in with some uniforms shipped from a South Carolina jail-item supply company.

"It was awful suspicious," Hilkey said.

“I think it was some nasty varmints done this. They must not know nothing about what trouble could be stirred up right quick by some drunken criminal types.”

German Willi Chevalier, contestant in the category partial beard, freestyle, poses in Berlin, during the World Beard and Moustache Championships.

The World Beard and Moustache Championships were held in Berlin on Saturday. The grueling competition schedule:

2:00 p.m. Gala Opening

2:30 p.m. Moustache Competition

4:00 p.m. Partial Beard Competition

5:30 p.m. Full Beard Competition

8:30 p.m. Award presentation during evening live-music program.

What does the gala opening entail? From the looks of most of the contestants, probably eating large quantities of fried food and drinking quite a bit of delicious, German beer.

A slight panic broke out at 3:47 pm, when a naked man with a fistful of razors ran screaming through the venue. A collective sigh of relief rose from the crowd when he was tackled and taken captive by a group of clean-shaven and unafraid police officers.

In reviewing the rules, the astute reader will notice (since it's the only rule in bold) that protesting a judge's ruling results in immediate disqualification. Those facial hair judges rule with an iron fist, and are not to be questioned.

The Americans in attendance this year spent last week in Munich at the weeklong Oktoberfest. Because what better reason is there for going to a facial hair competition than having just finished an intensive week of drinking lots and lots of alcohol?

World champion and hometown favorite Jürgen Draheim, 65, said that he spends an average of an hour a day grooming his sideburns. (No snide comment because, really, it speaks for itself.)

For an in-depth look at the seedy world of competitive beard-growing, visit The Beard Team USA Blog.

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