Monthly Archives: February 2009

Just Some Pictures

I’m catching up on edits from non-paid events and such. Things are a little slow for me business-wise right now, but I do have some engagements that are still being edited at the moment.

Anyhoo, here are some fun little shots from the past several weeks…

(click on the pictures to go to their Flickr page)

From Harrison’s 4th Birthday Party (with Rayleigh):

Harry's Fourth

Lincoln

Kayla

From the night of a youth rally:

(no crazy Photoshop work here; just a ton of black lights in Springhill)

Black Light Teeth

From the L1FT Valentine’s Banquet:

And some random shot of brother-in-law:

Going out with Style!

(NOTE) – This blog post by no means attempts to trivialize death. Please don’t misinterpret this poor blogger’s intentions.

I’ve had this blog post laid out for several months now after Baron Carson sent me this link: List of Unusual Deaths.

Death is a very, very difficult thing to wrap our minds around. Nothing causes more agony, confusion, regret, and anger than death.

We all have questions about how we’re going to go. Will I live a long life and die of old age? Will I be taken by a horrible disease? Will I die in a tragic car accident or plane crash?

These are morbid questions, but we all think them from time to time. We all want to know if we’ll “go out with dignity,” or if we’ll do it with a bit of flare (often involving less dignity).

The following people (taken from the linked article) chose flare…

430 BC: Empedocles, Pre-Socratic philosopher, secretly jumped into an active volcano (Mt. Etna). According to Diogenes Laërtius, this was to convince the people of his time that he had been taken up by the gods on Olympus.

Lesson: When you think you’re sealing your place in history, you might actually be sealing your place on Wikipedia’s List of Unusual Deaths page.

Also, couldn’t you have just moved?

207 BC: Chrysippus, a Greek stoic philosopher, is believed to have died of laughter after watching his drunk donkey attempt to eat figs.

Lesson: Don’t get animals drunk unless you are prepared to reap the consequences.

Also, videotape it so you can put it on YouTube.

64 – 67: St Peter was executed by the Romans. According to legend, he asked not to be crucified in the normal way, but was instead executed on an inverted cross. He said he was not worthy to be crucified in the same way as was Jesus.

Lesson: Peter might have been loud, brass, and opinionated, but he also had great respect for his Savior. Thumbs up to “The Rock (apostle, not the wrestler).”

892: Sigurd the Mighty of Orkney strapped the head of a defeated foe to his leg, the tooth of which grazed against him as he rode his horse, causing the infection which killed him.

Lesson: The untold part of the story is that Sigurd didn’t die until after he had arrived back home and tossed his enemy’s head into a crowd, where they kicked the ball around and celebrated.

Amazingly enough, this was (according to the sports documentary The History of Football (Soccer)) the beginning of the Kirkwall Ba Game, which some regard as a precursor to the modern game of soccer.

1556: Humayun, a Mughal emperor, was descending from the roof of his library after observing Venus, when he heard the mu’azaan, or call to prayer. Humayun’s practice was to bow his knee when he heard the azaan, and when he did his foot caught the folds of his garment, causing him to fall down several flights. He died 3 days later of the injuries at the age of 47.

Lesson: Other bad places to randomly kneel for prayer include train tracks, black asphalt during a Louisiana summer, and tightropes.

1649: Sir Arthur Aston, Royalist commander of the garrison during the Siege of Drogheda, was beaten to death with his own wooden leg, which the Parliamentarian soldiers thought concealed golden coins.

Lesson: he should have actually put gold coins in there. Maybe they wouldn’t have gotten so angry.

1771: Adolf Frederick, king of Sweden, died of digestion problems on 12 February 1771 after having consumed a meal consisting of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring and champagne, topped off with 14 servings of his favourite dessert: semla served in a bowl of hot milk. He is thus remembered by Swedish schoolchildren as “the king who ate himself to death.”

Lesson: One dessert will suffice. Two pieces of cake, maximum.

1862: Jim Creighton, baseball player, died when he swung a bat too hard and ruptured his bladder.

Lesson: Should’ve used steroids instead. Alex Rodriguez did it, and he was an MVP.

1923: Martha Mansfield, an American film actress, died after sustaining severe burns on the set of the film The Warrens of Virginia after a smoker’s match, tossed by a cast member, ignited her Civil War costume of hoopskirts and ruffles.

Lesson: Smoking kills (in so many ways). Also, Civil War-era big skirts were ridiculous enough; this just makes it worse..

1927: Isadora Duncan, dancer, died of accidental strangulation and broken neck when one of the long scarves she was known for caught on the wheel of a car in which she was a passenger.

Lesson: if you’re going to develop a vain trademark, make sure it doesn’t “flow.”

Also, I wonder if some idiot blamed the driver?

1932: Peg Entwistle, actress, leapt to her death from the “H” of the Hollywood Sign, following her perceived rejection from the industry for which the sign stood.

The day after her death, a letter arrived from the Beverly Hills Playhouse, in which she was offered the lead role in a play about a woman driven to suicide.

Lesson: A lack of patience can kill you…while also providing one of the most ironic deaths in history.

1941: Sherwood Anderson, writer, swallowed a toothpick at a party and then died of peritonitis.

Lesson: Toothpicks do not make you look cool. They also are not meant to be swallowed.

Also, please don’t name your kid after Robin Hood’s home.

1963: Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, sat down in the middle of a busy intersection in Saigon, covered himself in gasoline, and lit himself on fire, burning himself to death. Đức was protesting President Ngô Đình Diệm’s administration for oppressing the Buddhist religion.

Lesson: Suicide apparently > killing a cow.

Any questions?

1978: Kurt Gödel, the Austrian/American mathematician, died of starvation when his wife was hospitalized. Gödel suffered from extreme paranoia and refused to eat food prepared by anyone else. He was 65 pounds (approx. 30 kg) when he died. His death certificate reported that he died of “malnutrition and inanition caused by personality disturbance” in Princeton Hospital on January 14, 1978.

Lesson: Cinnamon Toast Crunch will not kill you. They’re actually quite good.

1981: Kenji Urada, a Japanese factory worker was killed by a malfunctioning robot he was working on at a Kawasaki plant in Japan. The robot’s arm pushed him into a grinding machine, killing him.

Lesson: Robots are out to kill us. Stop making them!

1998: Every player on the visiting soccer team at a game in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was struck by a fork bolt of lightning, killing them all instantly.</blockquote



Lesson: The whole “home field advantage” thing is true.

Believe it.

2005: Lee Seung Seop, a 28-year-old South Korean, collapsed of fatigue and died after playing the videogame StarCraft online for almost 50 consecutive hours in an Internet cafe.

Lesson: He should’ve spent more XP on leveling up his “stamina” points.

2007: Surinder Singh Bajwa, the Deputy Mayor of Delhi, India, was kicked by a Rhesus Macaque monkey at his home and fell from a first floor balcony, suffering serious head injuries. He later died from his injuries.

Lesson: If this week’s news wasn’t enough to prove to you that monkeys (and apes) don’t make good pets, then perhaps this helps.

2008: Gerald Mellin, a U.K. businessman, committed suicide by tying one end of a rope around his neck and the other to a tree. He then hopped into his Aston Martin DB7 and drove down a main road in Swansea until the rope decapitated him. He supposedly did this as an act of revenge against his ex-wife for leaving him.

Lesson: I guess he showed her who’s boss, eh?

2008: James Mason, of Chardon, Ohio, died of heart failure after his wife exercised him to death in a public swimming pool. Christine Newton-John (born John Vallandingham) was seen on video tape pulling Mason around the pool and preventing him from getting out of the water 43 times. Newton-John (who had changed her name following gender reassignment surgery) has plead guilty to reckless homicide.

Lesson: Guys, don’t date a “woman” who was born a man. There clearly might be some issues there.

Seriously.

Life is short enough already, people. Don’t make it shorter by doing something stupid.

Cherish your loved ones, and live every day as if it’s your last. Also, pretend you’re sick whenever your soccer team has an away game.

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“Why Are There School?”

Not depressed enough about how badly the public school system is failing our beautiful country?

Click here.

Horrible, but hilarious.

New Yorkers: $500,000 (per year) Poverty

The New York Times ran this article last Friday: Trying to Live on 500k in New York City.

After this wretched, socialistic bail-out passes (and it will), President Obama wants to set the maximum annual salary for banking executives whose companies accept bail-out money at $500,000 per year.

The linked article declares that $500,000 per year in New York City is a laughable notion.

Excerpts:

Few are playing sad cellos over the fate of such folk, especially since the collapse of the institutions they run has yielded untold financial pain. But in New York, where a new study from the Center for an Urban Future, a nonprofit research group in Manhattan, estimates it takes $123,322 to enjoy the same middle-class life as someone earning $50,000 in Houston, extricating oneself from steep bills can be difficult.

Here’s a great idea: base your business in a different, more cost-effective city. Ditch New York.

Houston sounds like a great idea.

Barbara Corcoran, a real estate executive, said that most well-to-do families take at least two vacations a year, a winter trip to the sun and a spring trip to the ski slopes.

Total minimum cost: $16,000.

Except for trips to visit my wife’s family and going to religious conferences, my wife and I have spent three days total in three years on out of town “vacations.”

Cry me a river, random un-named banking executive.

A modest three-bedroom apartment, she said, which was purchased for $1.5 million, not the top of the market at all, carries a monthly mortgage of about $8,000 and a co-op maintenance fee of $8,000 a month. Total cost: $192,000.

Three-bedroom apartments in New York City? That’s like a 10-bedroom apartment here in NW Louisiana. I feel no pity.

A summer house in Southampton that cost $4 million, again not the top of the market, carries annual mortgage payments of $240,000.

Here’s an amazing thought: give up your snooty little summer home.

Many top executives have cars and drivers. A chauffeur’s pay is between $75,000 and $125,000 a year, the higher end for former police officers who can double as bodyguards, said a limousine driver who spoke anonymously because he does not want to alienate his society customers.

The chauffeur/bodyguard is only going to make $125,000 a year? How are THEY going to survive in New York?

A personal trainer at $80 an hour three times a week comes to about $12,000 a year.

How about you MOTIVATE YOURSELF to run in Central Park several times a week, and do your push-ups in your bedroom? Moron.

The work in the gym pays off when one must don a formal gown for a charity gala. “Going to those parties,” said David Patrick Columbia, who is the editor of the New York Social Diary (newyorksocialdiary.com), “a woman can spend $10,000 or $15,000 on a dress. If she goes to three or four of those a year, she’s not going to wear the same dress.”

Total cost for three gowns: about $35,000.

I can’t even find much to laugh about here. $15,000 for a dress?

How about, SKIP THE GALA and give that $35,000 directly to the charities without sitting around tables eating caviar (the price of which could ALSO be donated) with your hoity toity friends?

Nanny: $45,000.

IF the woman in the relationship is not also working, why doesn’t she change the kids’ diapers herself? $45,000 saved! I must be Dave Ramsey.

The total costs here, which do not include a lot of things, like kennels for the dog when the family is away, summer camp, spas and other grooming for the human members of the family, donations to charity, and frozen hot chocolates at Serendipity, are $790,750, which would require about a $1.6-million salary to compensate for taxes. Give or take a few score thousand of dollars.

Where to begin?

Out of curiosity, are those the same spas where AIG executives racked up a $440,000 bill immediately after receiving federal aid?

Does this money buy a chief executive stockholders might prize, a well-to-do man with a certain sureness of stride, something that might be lost if the executive were crowding onto the PATH train every morning at Journal Square, his newspaper splayed against the back of a stranger’s head?

If I were the stranger whose head was being “splayed against” by an ultra-rich jerk’s newspaper, I might punch him in his shiny teeth, so I can kind of see the point here.

“People inherently understand that if they are going to get ahead in whatever corporate culture they are involved in, they need to take on the appurtenances of what defines that culture,” she said. “So if you are in a culture where spending a lot of money is a sign of success, it’s like the same thing that goes back to high school peer pressure. It’s about fitting in.”

Ohhhhh, now I see the point. We want our banking executives to be on the same level as high schoolers.

How did I miss that?

ATTENTION: I’m all in favor of capitalism. If you study hard, work hard, and succeed, you should be rewarded. If you’re irresponsible with your company, approve limitless toxic mortgages, and generally drive your company into the ground, THEN IT SHOULD FAIL, and you should be out of a job.

If you plead for a government bail-out (which shouldn’t even be an option), then you should accept whatever conditions are laid out by the government, which just might include reining back your lavish lifestyle.

You might even have to settle for a $1,000 dress.

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Eyemasters + Vizio + Hulu = Weird

Adjust your creepometer to 11, and read the following article from Telegraph.co.uk: “Televisions ‘to be fitted in contact lenses within ten years'”

The sets would be powered by the viewer’s body heat, according to Ian Pearson, a so-called “futurologist” who has advised leading companies including BT on new technologies.

Mr Pearson told the Daily Mail he believed that channels could be changed by voice command or via a wave of the hand.

In other words, on Super Bowl Sunday, your pastor could be preaching a message while 90% of the males in the audience will be shuffling in their seats, giggling at commercials, and jumping up and screaming in celebration…all while attending church.

If you go to a Pentecostal church, as I do, this might not seem so out of place, but I’m sure some of our Catholic friends would be telling stories of their neighbor Karl, who lept into the air and screamed, “Yes! THANK YOU, GOD!” during the Eucharist.

Later on in the article, things just get kind of weird…

Meanwhile “emotional viewing” could be another development in television technology, according to a report commissioned by the technology retailer Comet.

A “digital tattoo” fitted to the viewer would pick up on the feelings of characters on screen and create impulses causing them to feel the same way.

The development could see James Bond fans become able feel the thrill of a high-speed car chase or sports fans allowed to share the joy of elated players, it said.

“We could even get to the point where we’ll be able to immerse ourselves in a football game, making it feel like you’re running alongside your favourite player or berating the ref,” the report added.

Frickin’ frightening, if you ask me. But wait…

Miriam Rayman, of the Future Laboratory consultancy, which compiled the report, said the basic technology needed for the developments already existed.

She said: “The technology is getting smaller and smaller and people are trying to work out how to make it more immersible. They are trying to bring it closer and closer to the eye.”

You know how everyone has to freeze and help someone search for their contact when it falls on the ground…

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Rod Blah-blah-vich on Letterman

I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen Rod Blagojevich (shamed governor of Illinois) and thought, “Man…I really wish someone would punch him right in the tooth.”

Well, I still doubt it will happen, but at least Letterman took a few verbal swings at him:

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Kid on Drugs

I’ve been up trying to find some new material for L1FT tomorrow, but I keep running into hilarious videos to show.

Some kid, after a little trip to the dentist.

Internet Awesomeness

Several Internet memes have really taken off…and have been driven into the ground. But some of them just keep on being funny, like LOLcats, Rickrolling (okay, maybe not funny), and of course…the FAIL Blog (calling Nathaniel Hurst to the blog, please).

Here are some recent FAIL blog entries that I wanted to share…

Go to FAILblog.org

This one is kind of wrong, so I’m not pointing out the humor…I’m just sharing.

Go to FAILblog.org

Go to FAILblog.org

Go to FAILblog.org

Go to FAILblog.org

Go to FAILblog.org

Go to FAILblog.org

Go to FAILblog.org

Go to FAILblog.org

Go to FAILblog.org

Go to FAILblog.org

Go to FAILblog.org

Go to FAILblog.org

I’m not exactly sure what the idea was behind this one…

Do You Still Believe?

The story of the Beijing Olympics was not the opening ceremonies which featured over 15,000 Chinese performers working perfectly in sync (especially the syncing of lips) and costing over $100,000,000.

It wasn’t the Free Tibet protests, to which the Chinese government reacted aggressively despite their insistence that there would be zones set up for the demonstrations. The focus wasn’t Usain Bolt’s amazing 100m and 200m record-breaking sprints. It wasn’t on the smog in Beijing that forced at least one athlete to drop out of the Games due to asthmatic issues.

No, the focus of the 2008 Olympic Games was on Michael Fred Phelps.

Sports Illustrated’s illustrious Sportsman of the Year award went to Phelps; the identity of the recipient was never in doubt. The swimmer pulled in an unprecedented eight gold medals, breaking the world record in each event (including the relays), prompting the previous record holder for most medals, Mark Spitz, to declare, “It goes to show you that not only is this guy the greatest swimmer of all time and the greatest Olympian of all time, he’s maybe the greatest athlete of all time. He’s the greatest racer who ever walked the planet.”

The media fawned over Phelps, noting his apparent willingness to interact and play with children after practices. When questioned about possible doping to enhance his performance in the Olympics, Phelps pointed out that he had signed up for Project Believe, which takes those who volunteered and submits them to addition testing, beyond what is required by World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines. Phelps has been called a “solitary man” with a “rigid focus,” “kind-hearted” and “incredibly invested in the success of the people he cares about.”

This guy is competitive, enormously gifted, driven, and by golly, he’s American (also known as ‘Mericun). The United States press and public could find no wrong in Michael Phelps.


In the past few hours, the sporting world has experienced a bit of a shock…

Phelps bong

According to sources reporting to News of the World, Michael Phelps is the man in the above picture, almost certainly taking a hit from a bong.

THIS is the astonishing picture which could destroy the career of the greatest competitor in Olympic history.

In our exclusive photo Michael Phelps, who won a record EIGHT gold medals for swimming at the Beijing games last summer, draws from a bong.

And after sporting chiefs announced laws which mean four-year bans for drug-taking, Phelps’ dreams of adding to his overall 14 gold medal tally at the 2012 games in London could already be OVER.

Over three years away, Phelps’ dreams of matching his Beijing accomplishments at the 2012 Olympics in London are quite possibly finished. Our hero has not only fallen, but been described as loud, obnoxious, and seemingly at home with a bong in his hands.

[UPDATE] – It appears drug testing only eliminates a player from competition for four years during testing periods. 2012 is still on for Phelps.

Our hero has fallen.

The media (both American and international) has an alarming tendency to build our rising stars up with fanfare, and document their often rapid declines with barely-sustainable glee. Britney Spears, Kobe Bryant, Lindsay Lohan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush are but a handful among the thousands that have been crushed by the media, every aspect of their lives criticized and mocked. We most often highlight their mistakes, sometimes deservedly (but not necessarily rightfully) so.

American has often called itself a nation that is quick to forgive. Perhaps, but we never forget. We also must admit to enjoying the trampling of a public figure underneath our collective feet.

But at what cost is this being done?

Michael Phelps has messed up, period. This is a crucial time of his life, and how he reacts to this fiasco is entirely up to him, but how we react is up to us. Even if he is banned from the 2012 London Olympics, would we still cheer on his return in 2016, hoping beyond hope that our fallen star could rise again?

I’m not sure, but despite Phelps’ mistake, and despite the fact that he could currently be called a questionable role model for young people everywhere at this moment, I’m concerned about the way we treat our celebrities.

These are people. They all have their hurts, their aches, and their weaknesses. We are not expected to be lenient towards wrongdoing, nor are we obligated to agree with the positions and lifestyles these people take.

But shouldn’t we at least remember there is always a human behind the headline?

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