Posts belonging to Category What the heck?

The Big Giant Head

I’m currently ensconced in a hotel in Kearney, MO for the evening and plan to complete my trip tomorrow.  I drove up through Gilmer and East Texas into Oklahoma and Missouri (here’s the route). 

The Indian Nation Turnpike was nice and scenic (not to mention fast at 75MPH and with very little traffic), but by far the most interesting site of the day was the giant Bo Pilgrim head just outside of Pittsburg, TX.  You absolutely must click that link to see the picture.  There is no description I could give it that would do it justice, other than to say that it’s even more creepy in real life.

In The Strangest Places

Everything counts in large amounts.—Depeche Mode

I was on a conference call this morning where a director-level executive was giving a presentation and I was kind of surprised when he included the above quote.  Pop culture is infusing itself into the strangest places these days.

And for those of us who survived the 80’s, here’s the video:

Not While I’m Around!

A student teacher in St. Cloud, MN has left a training program at a local high school because some scum sucking student threatened to kill his service dog:

A St. Cloud State University student in a teacher-training program at Technical High School left the school in late April because he says he feared for the safety of his service dog.

The school district calls it a misunderstanding, and officials there say they hoped Tyler Hurd, a 23-year-old junior from Mahtomedi who aspires to teach special education, would continue his training in the district.

Hurd said a student threatened to kill his service dog named Emmitt. (emphasis added)  The black lab is trained to protect Hurd when he has seizures.

The threat came from a Somali student who is Muslim (emphasis added), according to Hurd, St. Cloud State and school district officials.

The Muslim faith, which is the dominant faith of Somali immigrants, forbids the touching of dogs.

To be honest, I like dogs more than I do most people.  Regardless, though, this sort of thing is simply unacceptable in our secular society.  I don’t give a rat’s ass about his religion and what he thinks of dogs.  It’s not acceptable to harm a dog or even to threaten to do so.  My immediate reaction if this had been one of my dogs would have been to tell this scum sucking piece of crap that I’d gut him like a fish if he so much as looked cross-eyed at either of them.

I’ve always thought that how a person reacts to dogs tells you a lot about their character.  In this case, I can think nothing good about someone who would threaten to kill a dog because of religion.  Such a person does not belong in America…

And now, to alleviate the bad taste left by that article, and to lower my blood pressure, I give you dog pictures…

Via Rachel Lucas.

Too High… Can’t Breathe….

As someone with acrophobia, this video was almost as bad as actually being there:

In fact, I had to stop when the cameraman walked across the pipe.  Perhaps one of you can watch and tell me how it ends…

Via Xavier.

Don’t wanna wind up dead or bald…

The inside of my head is a strange and mysterious place, and sometimes I surprise myself by what may pop up, unbidden, from the murky depths.  Today, out of the blue, the song “Mr. Custer” popped in.  I have no idea what triggered it, but now it’s stuck in my head.

I went looking on YouTube for a copy to share, and eventually found this one.  But if you should search YouTube, don’t pick the first copy unless you want to get subjected to anti-Bush/anti-war propaganda (i.e. some dingleberry hijacked this song to make a point about “stay[ing] the course”).

Irregularly Folded Feminine Undergarments

I occasionally get forwarded emails about things that just aren’t so (imagine that!).  The latest was one that said you should refuse acceptance of the new $1 Presidential coin because it omitted the phrase “In God We Trust.” 

It turns out that a few seconds of research (i.e. looking at the U.S. Mint’s website) would show this to be untrue.

Instead of being on the front or back, they’ve “incused” the phrase on the edge.  I suppose, in fairness, I should mention that some coins were initially released without the lettering on the edges.  But this was simply the result of a mistake, not some sinister conspiracy to remove God from the United States.

Of course, there are other valid reasons to not want a dollar coin.  I don’t know about this new coin, since I haven’t held one, but it will have to be significantly different from the old dollar coin (which was easily mistaken for a quarter by feel) before I’d accept it.  And I don’t particularly like having a ton of change in my pocket.  Dollar bills are convenient and light in weight.  And I don’t know if it’s just me, but the George Washington coin is kind of creepy.  smirk

Anyhow, the whole “In God We Trust” non-issue is definitely no reason to get your panties in a wad.

Don’t Seem To Have Your Heart In It…

That Career Builder Super Bowl “heart” commercial is just plain disturbing.  It crossed the line from cute and right over into creepy (not to mention that I’d hate to have to explain it to any really small children that might be watching and who may have nightmares later).

Updated with link to video of the commercial thanks to Paul in the comments.

Trust No One

This situation is why I don’t like to let anyone auto-renew or auto-bill to my bank account.  In this instance I’m using a credit card, which offers more protection.

We are currently aware of some billing inaccuracies which we will be resolving later today. All of these issues will be resolved, and any billing errors corrected. We sincerely apologize for any hassle this has created.

– UPDATE Tue Jan 15 04:13:17 PST 2008 –

The problem has been found and corrected. We are currently going through all erroneously charged accounts and refunding money. Stay tuned for further updates.

– UPDATE Tue Jan 15 07:25:16 PST 2008 –

Scripts are still running to correct the original problem. Last night, this guy ran a standard billing cycle to clean up stragglers from 2007. Unfortunately, the biller was run for 2008 (December 31st, 2008 to be exact). This caused everyone to be billed as if today was 2008-12-31, wreaking the havoc that we are so sorry you had to be put through.

The reason I noticed was that I got an “automatic rebill” notice this morning for my hosting account, which was weird, since the account normally renews in April.  But what really caught my eye was that it billed me TWICE:

We have the last payment on this account to be $1.99 on 2008-01-15 04:40:27.  (Ed: I think this is a dividend payment, as I didn’t pay them anything myself.)
Since then the following charges have been made to the account, which you have just paid for:

      2008-05-01 - $287.40 for “Code Warrior” through 2009-04-30.
      2008-05-01 - $287.40 for “Code Warrior” through 2009-04-30.

For full information on your previous balance please visit:
< Panel Invoice subtab >


Amount: $534.54
Credit card: *XXXX (ex XX/YY)
Payment code: #######


Charges on your credit card bill will be from “”.

It was only after I tried to contact billing that I realized that there must have been a site-wide screwup.  The email got bounced as undeliverable due to “too many connections.”  Which is understandable, considering that a lot of people were using debit cards linked to their checking accounts, and a lot of these people woke up to overdraft fees and bounced checks this morning because of the unexpected charges; others had their hosting accounts suspended for “past due” balances if they didn’t have any automatic form of payment on file.  As of this moment, there are 576 angry comments on the above post, and the number keeps growing. 

This comment shows some of the pain that can come from unexpected charges of this sort:

As a (until now) happy customer of dreamhost this mistake is extreme anger inducing. I have been charged for a full year right before my mortgage payment for the month cleared… making my mortgage payment check bounce.

lets see:
$119.40 yearly hosting fee
$50 bounced check fee
$100 missed mortgage payment fee
30 day late on my credit record (which kills my refinancing hopes for this year)



While I’ve been fairly indulgent of Dreamhost’s failures over the years because they offer inexpensive hosting with lots of features, this sort of billing screwup isn’t something that I can so easily overlook.  It either reflects a lack of appropriate financial controls, or an overly cavalier attitude towards the billing process.  Either way, I am strongly considering removing my credit card information from their system and doing all renewals manually. 

If it’s this easy to screw something up by accident, imagine what someone with ill-intent could accomplish.  So I would suggest to Dreamhost that they not only need to fix the problem, but they will need to go above and beyond a simple fix to reassure customers and to regain lost trust.  That would include:

  • Compensation for any and all fees or costs incurred due to the erroneous billing (i.e. returned check fees, overdraft fees, etc)
  • A public audit of their billing processes, with a published report to all customers of the outcome.
  • A published plan that lists, item-for-item, fixes for all issues identified in the audit.

Updated after first publish to add quote from comment thread on DreamHost Status.

Cows From Heaven?

I meant to comment on this incident a couple of days ago, but forgot at the time. 

Charles and Linda Everson were driving back to their hotel when their minivan was struck by a falling object – a 600-pound cow. The Eversons were unhurt but the cow, which had fallen off a cliff, had to be euthanized.

The year-old cow fell about 200 feet from the cliff and landed on the hood of the couple’s minivan, causing heavy damage.

A Chelan County fire chief, Arnold Baker, said the couple missed being killed by a matter of inches in the accident Sunday on a highway near Manson.

Can you imagine?  You’re just driving along, minding your own business and suddenly BLAM there’s a cow on the hood of your car.

It doesn’t matter how defensively you drive, I don’t know that there’s any way to prepare for this sort of eventuality.  Sometimes the universe is simply perverse.

Evolution Of Stupidity

I’ve been using the Scrubbing Bubbles automatic shower cleaner for a while.  While it seems a bit expensive, it also seems to help keep things cleaner, which is a plus considering my usual cleaning habits (I employ a service to come in every two weeks, otherwise nothing would get done).

I couldn’t help but notice over the past few months how the warning label on the refill bottles has changed.  Initially, all of the instructions and warnings were on the back side of the front label, which meant you had to read them through the bottle.  A couple of months ago they added a fairly plain printed label to the other side (the one you end up staring at as you shower) that included information about not replacing the batteries when the unit was still wet.

It’s the last iteration of the label that really got my attention, though.  It’s very colorful and matches their overall branding strategy (it has their logo, etc).  But what really stood out to me was this particular warning:  Not a body wash.

I’d really love to know the back story behind that one.  What kind of doofus uses a shower cleaner as a body wash?