Staples now sells an “ultimate travel bag” online for $2 billion dollars is now selling an “ultimate travel bag” for the low low price of two billion dollars.

$2 billion, 147 million, 483 thousand, 647 dollars and 99 cents to be exact.


Ultimate Travel Bag!

Ultimate Travel Bag!


Wow. They’re not joking around when they whip out the “ultimate” label for something!

What’s mildly freaky is that I have apparently ordered this item before since it is showing up in “My Previously Ordered Items”, but there’s no photo available of what it looks like.

Either I’ve been “flashy thinged” by the Men In Black, or someone at needs to run some database maintenance ASAP.

A South Texas Gift Shop

This last week I’ve been on the road, traveling all over deeeeeep south Texas as part of my job.

Earlier today I pulled into a small off-the-highway gas station to refuel the company car. Nobody was around, so I figured I would go into the store itself and grab a coffee, some water, a protein bar, and maybe an energy drink for the rest of the trip back home.

The store was charming. The staff said “howdy” as I walked in, the floors and tables were spotless, and the snack section didn’t have any dust on the products.

So far, so good!

But as I was walking out, I saw this in the “gift” section.


South Texas Gift Shop 01

South Texas Gift Shop 01


Um…. ok. This is a… cowboy. And he’s… on his back. And he’s… ah… well… he’s…

OK, I have no idea. None. Zero. Clueless Maximus.

The more I looked directly at it, the more disturbing it became. I did see a little tag on his chest and I moved closer to see if it had something to explain the intention of this… pose.

“Add charm and delight to your home with this timeless keepsake. This premium collectible reminds us that imagination is limitless and dreams are forever. Leaving a vibrant reminder that life is what you make of it with the rich imaginative palette of our creative spirits.”


South Texas Gift Shop 02

South Texas Gift Shop 02



But wait. It gets worse. Much, much, much worse.

On a adjacent table in the gift area was this…


South Texas Gift Shop 03

South Texas Gift Shop 03


A horse.

The cowboy. Had. A matching. Horse.

I was laughing for about 20 minutes after I left and was back on the highway. And to this moment, I still have no idea what those… things were designed for.

For the record, I don’t ever want to know.

#OccupyMonopoly game rules

Here’s the semi-official #OccupyMonopoly game rules. Apply at your own peril.

When one player has over three complete property “sets” (EX: Boardwalk and Park Place, Mediterranean and Baltic Avenue, etc.), they are designated as “the 1%”. All other players become “the 99%.”

Any member of the 99% may build temporary houses on any of the 1%’s property without the 1%’s permission.

Building a temporary house costs 1/2 a normal home’s construction cost for that space, and the token must be placed upside down on the game board beside any of the 1%’s existing structures.

Rent fees for any player landing on an “occupied” space is 1/2 the standard rate while the 99% is occupying a 1%’s space.

The 1% may only remove/evict one of the 99%’s homes on their property in any one of three ways : #1 when their own token passes GO and they collect $200 #2 if they pay $400 to the bank to forcibly evict one 99% structure or #3: if a 99% will trade a structure to get out of jail. (see next rule)

When a 99% player who has built a structure on a 1% property lands on or passes the “jail/just visiting” combo space, they must roll the dice a second time. A 6 or less means they have been arrested and MUST go to jail. (A 7 or higher means they can move on.) A 99% player must remain in jail for a number of turns based on a single dice roll by the 1% player. (EX: If the 1% player rolls a 5, the 99% player must stay in jail for 5 turns). However a 99% player may completely bypass jail time if they remove their own structure from a 1% property.

Play continues until the 1% surrenders their monopoly, the 99% are all jailed at the same time, or the players all quit and play another game.

Surprise cat calming secret

So long story short, my gorgeous wife and I have been adopted by two cats. They’re charming and pretty as any of those storybook kitties, and we really are quite fond of them. The problem is that they’re brothers. Most of the time, they’re fine together. Peas in a Pod. Steak and Potatoes. Dairy and Queen. You get the idea.

But then, every so often, there’s a massive tremor in the force, and you can practically hear the “LEEEEEEETS GET READY TO RUUUUMMMBBLLLEEEEE” announcement.

The fight is ON, and they go At. It. Hard.

The dogs said to just kick both of their asses over the fence and be done with it, but I decided to look at a pet store and see if there was anything that could calm them down when they’re together.

Typical Cat Book

Typical Cat Book


Looking in the “holy crap how much is this?!?” isle of the pet store, I found this little green bottle. “Calm Down. Calms nerves and stressed cats.” it said right on the front. Sounds good, I thought!


Calm down Front

Calm down Front


So I flipped the bottle around to see what the magic ingredients were. Let’s see… Llex de Luthor… no, wait, it says in English off to the side “English Holly”. No idea. “Impatiens”. No idea. “Rock Rose”. No idea. “Star of Bethlehem”. That’s a med? Freaky. Aaaaannnd finally…..


Calm Down Back

Calm Down Back


Sweet Baby Buddha! Alcohol?!? 13% ALCOHOL?!?

Oh yeah! This is just effin’ PERFECT! Give the fighting cats some hooch! Slamming liquor always makes people calm down and talk out their problems!

Here’s what I see going down : Mr. Tinkles* puts the pimpalicious “where-my-money-at?” smack down on his brother when he’s drunk on this stuff. Eventually, he becomes a category 4P cat : Pickled, Purring, Pissy, and Punchy! Before he knows it, he’s on his back most of the day and night, giving full belly rubs to complete strangers for money to buy hooch! One day, the bitter irony of chugging MAD DOG 20/20 finally hits him like a ton of kitty litter. The formerly happy housecat finally joins the local chapter of HAAACK. (Hairball And Alcoholics Anonymous’ Cat Kingdom).

“Hello. I’m Mr. Tinkles.* And I’m an alcoholic.”

Sad times, indeed.

Plus, that little bottle was something like $20. (That’s probably the main reason I put it back come to think of it.) After all, a bottle of Jack is still around $15, right? I gotta save money where I can in this economy!

* NOTE : My cat’s name is NOT “Mr. Tinkles”. Just wanted to point that out for the record.

** NOTE #2 : No, I’m not going to give any of our cats Jack Daniels. That’s still too expensive. I just wanted to point that out for the record as well.

My latest ridiculous D-grade movie idea : NHCP and the 97%!

I made a reply post on a big social blog that sounded like a crap fringe movie idea. After thinkig about it, I decided to re-post it here with a little more bondo-level kinds of detail. This nutty “D-grade” movie idea of mine that has no basis in reality whatsoever. As a matter of fact, you might need some boots to wade through this drek.

Here’s the premise… suddenly, in the not so distant future, something like 97% of the United States population gets violently active in the reformation process. (Maybe 98%. Maybe 99%. I haven’t got that specific yet.)

Did I mention this is a really bad satire? And you may need some boot-like accessories to proceed?

Anyhow, the “surface” reason for this 97% uprising is that they’re demanding change, but the big surprise plot twist is that the origin of the movement is nothing but a massive old-school Soviet sleeper cell that got activated!


This plot twist is based on the presumption that all the “evils” of capitalism that happened (quite suddenly) in the previous decade leading up to the uprising were actually caused by former KGB-like stealth operatives who were under orders to rise to prominence inside the capitalist system and cause financial chaos when they reached a high enough position.

The core conflict in the movie is a country-level ongoing chess match between Mikhail Gorbachevisky and Vladimir Putins (I think that’s what I’ll call their characters. I haven’t got that specific yet).

See, when the deep-cover CIA operative Mikhail Gorbachevisky succeeded in collapsing the Soviet Union, the former head of the KGB-like agency Vladimir Putins swore revenge. Putins was hardcore Communist, and he also knew Gorbachevisky was CIA, but he didn’t have enough proof to nail him until the USSR was beyond the tipping point. Plus, since Gorbachevisky caused the reformation to become “organic” over time, Putins couldn’t bring himself to attack his own countrymen since they were just victims of Gorbachevisky’s plot.

Right before everything shut down, and feeling highly responsible for not ousting Gorbachev in time, Putins called a few hundred of his KGB-like agency together and gave them two last standing orders. First: Divide the billions in the Russian banks among themselves since it would be better to seed the money among the motherland’s last true patriots than lose it to the oncoming wave of capitalism. Second: Every agent is assigned a profession to master in the US and to go over as deep-cover “sleeper” agents. Once each agent rose to a high level-status in their chosen field, they were to cause financial or cultural chaos!!!

DUN DUN…..wait, I did that already.

Putins would stay behind, marshal his own forces to re-take the motherland very quietly, and prepare for the counter-attack.

When the sleeper operatives arrived in the US, some reached prominence in their profession faster then others. All were still focused on the goal of making the US population sick of capitalism through subtle (and not so subtle) maneuvers. Propaganda movies. Purposefully destroying parts of the economic system. Songs raging against the unfairness of a 200+ year old system. Stuff like that!

Once enough propaganda was out in the mainstream, it was just a matter of time before the US reached a tipping point, just like Russia did under Gorbachevisky’s plan!

Once the 97% (or 98% or 99%) of the population got up in arms, and Putins secured his base of power in the motherland, the move to the conversion to communism begins! People rise up “organically”, and some random KGB-like agent “checks in” when the riots are in progress to make sure things move along as planned!

Lots of violence. Michael Bay slow-mo explodey stuff. “Hunt for Red October” swoon music. Expensive hijinks ensue!

The day after parts of the US votes pinko, Putins will then “officially” assume power in the motherland, go full-stabby on any remaining capitalist resistance, and announce the formation of NHCP – the Northern Hemisphere’s Communist Party! China, Russia, Cuba, North Korea and the US would all be on the same team. The payback is now complete!

DUN DUN… dammit, I did it again.

Extra cheeseball ending! The movie closes with Gorbachevisky laughing in a dark room while watching the news of the NHCP. He walks through a stadium-sized warehouse full of computers and thousands of people while lighting a cigar. As Gorbachevisky opens a door outside, you can see a massive “Russian Victory Day Parade” collection of military vehicles and CGI “that ain’t real” armored tech. The flag of India is flying in the background.

“My turn!” he says.

DUN DUN…. ahhh forget it.

Like I said, “D” grade material. Completely nuts. No basis in reality whatsoever. Completely missing the big picture. Mocking the contributions of thousands for a quick buck. Trivializing a serious movement for personal financial gain.

I sound like a screenwriter already!

Call me Hollywood!

UPDATE: OK, this is from a big-time RW website, but the there’s photos of someone stealing my idea!!! (Click to jump there.)

When you're Marchin' in Memphis!

When you're Marchin' in Memphis!


And in Oakland? Ginormous banners? No! Not yet! I haven’t finished my first draft!


Wave your flag in the air like you just don't care

Wave your flag in the air like you just don't care

And there’s a website?! An official communist website that supports a 97%-like thing?!?!? Inconceivable!!

And now New York Post reporters are stealing my idea!! Unreal!

Et tu, Yahoo? Dammit!

@RT_com, a Russian news agency on twitter, is the best source of the #occupy and #OWS movement? And all of their retweets are from female-only reporters, some of whom just happen to be in the US? Nuts! I hadn’t thought of that!

Wait, some of the protesters actually conference with supporters in Northern Afghanistan? Oh come on!! No one is going to believe something that….. oh, there’s photos?

OWS standing by!

OWS standing by!


To top it off, now there’s news about my idea on newsbusters??

That’s it. I’m suing everyone!

I can sue for something I haven’t written yet, right?


UPDATE #2: Publicly replying to some recent direct-to-me comments in no particular order :

  1. Yes, I’m actually very aware some serious changes need to be made to the US government. But Communism? No. Hell no. Hell’s rotten busted bells no.
  2. Yes, I know the 99% has real issues and concerns. I do think they need to be a lot more coherent and focused, though. I think if they get a “for dummies” message out, more people will take them seriously. Right now, no clear message means the mainstream mom-and-pop kind in BFE do not know what this massive group of angry people want aside from what they are told by their local media. I think that is going to continue polarizing people in the non-occupied cities as time goes on, and won’t end well (long term) if it continues on that path.
  3. Yes, I know the 99% isn’t secretly managed by communists. They’re a real group. I do think they are occasionally occupied themselves with a few members of the loony-tunes brigade. I’m also well aware there’s card carrying members of the neighborhood asylum on the both left and the right of the political spectrum.
  4. You dislike the movement? Fine. But I think everyone should give major, major respect to the occupy movement for their non-violent resistance regardless of whether you agree with their protest/viewpoints or not.
  5. Yes, I know these photos and news articles are only a minority of what the Occupy movement is. I added them to give weight to my crap movie idea.
  6. Did I say I disagreed or agreed with the occupy movement? Nope. Neither. I’m a hardcore political centrist. No labels for me. I’ll make fun of everyone I think is acting a fool. And I think both parties need a massive kick in the ass.
  7. Yes, I know it’s a horrible movie idea. I went maximum-cheese on purpose. Seriously.

Advanced phone scam call – YellowPages for $499

I got a fairly advanced phone scam call at work today!

The call started with a female representative from “the YellowPages” with a very thick Indian accent. She said this call was in reference to the cancellation of our online Yellow Pages advertisement.

Right off the bat, I knew this was a scam because I’ve never ever advertised online with Yellow Pages.

A “copier ink” phone scam had already crossed my path late last year. A “supervisor” from a “copier ink” company called me and demanded payment of $499 for ink an employee ordered from one of our store locations. If I couldn’t pay the $499, $250 would be acceptable.

When I told them to get stuffed, the “supervisor” then played back a recording of the employee saying “YES” to the salesman’s prompts on whether he was authorized to order ink and “YES” to the final $499 amount.

I knew the employee’s “yes” replies were a cut-and-paste job because they sounded like they were part of a larger conversation. There was a continuing breath after the workers’ “yes” replies and not a period-ending kind of breath. It’s the difference in hearing a “yes” as in “Yes I like coffee” and just a flat “Yes.”

I also knew for a fact this particular employee the “copier ink” supervisor named in the recording doesn’t speak one word of English. OK, maybe one or two words. But a full sentence? A conversation? Hell no.

Once I mentioned that little linguistic tidbit to the “copier ink” supervisor, he quickly decided “all charges will be waived this time. Thank you. Goodbye.”

With all that in mind, I didn’t want to waste my time navigating a “yes” minefield with this “yellow pages” call, so I said “We are not interested in any offers at this time. Please remove us from your phone list immediately.”

CLICK. I hung up.

That should have been the end of it.

But noooooooo.

The “yellow pages” woman called back!

YP: “Sir! I was calling you back to confirm the cancellation of the Yellow Pages.”

ME: “We are not interested in any offers at this time. Please remove us from your phone list immediately.”

CLICK. I hung up again.

2 minutes later?

YP: “Sir! I was calling you back to confirm the cancellation of the Yellow Pages. You must speak with our supervisor department to approve the cancellation or you will be auto-renewed!”

Fine. Playtime it is.

ME: “I am not interested in any offers at this time. We do not wish to renew anything.”

YP: “Sir! You must accept the cancellation of the contract.”

I didn’t say anything.

After a brief pause, the Yellow Pages woman continued.

YP: “Sir? You are having a final invoice of $499. This will be sent to the address of (GIVES THE WRONG ADDRESS) of your company.”

$499? Hmmmm.

I didn’t say anything and let her continue.

YP: “Can you confirm this is indeed the address of your company?”

ME: “If you did business with us, you have our address on file.”

I heard her ask someone something in the background. After a brief pause, she continued.

YP: “If you are having a problem with this bill, you must please be using the number provided from the cancellation department and the invoice number to be contesting this bill. I am going to transfer you now sir…”

ME: “No. I refuse to accept any bills. We have no service with you.”


YP: “You MUST say YES sir. To answer in anything not affirmative with the supervisor will cause the cancellation paperwork to not be sent! You are aware there is a bill invoice due, yes?”

ME: “Send the cancellation paperwork. Cancel the contract.”

YP: “Sir! You must agree to the cancellation!”

ME: (PAUSE) “Cancel our account.”

YP: “Sir! You must be agreeing to the cancellation with the supervisor! I am transferring you now!”

After a moment on hold, I got a male “Yellow Pages Supervisor”, but with a similar thick Indian accent.

YPS: “Hello. Are you wishing to cancel your account with us?”

ME: “Cancel our account.”


They hung up on me! No hesitation at all!

I thought that would finally be the end of it.

But noooooooooo.

3 minutes later, the same female “Yellow Pages” agent called me back!

YP: “Sir! You must accept the cancellation of the contract with an affirmative. Would you like to be getting the cancellation number from the supervisor so we may cancel your account?”

ME: (after a brief pause to think about how to make a YES sentence without a YES) “Send the cancellation paperwork. I will not answer an affirmative when I am uncertain of the question or if I know the question being asked is a lie.”

YP: (after a moment of hushed conversation with someone) “Sir! I am with the yellow pages! The yellow pages! I wish you to say yes when I transfer you that you are aware of the $499 bill. Then if there is a problem you can contest the bill with the phone number that will be provided with the cancellation number!”

ME: “I do not accept this bill. I do not accept your proposal.”

YP: “You must accept the cancellation! I have been advising you of the $499 due. When they ask if you are aware of the bill, you are to say you are aware of this to be processing the cancellation. You can always contest this bill with the phone number they will be providing you. Please hold while I transfer you!”

After a moment, I got the same male “Yellow Pages Supervisor” with the thick accent.

YPS: “Hello. I am with the customer cancelation department. Are you aware there is a balance of $499 on the account sir?”

ME: “News to me! Who are you?”

YPS: “Sir. Are you aware of the pending balance due on your account?”

ME: “Explain it to me. Why am I getting charged?”


Once again, the “Yellow Pages Supervisor” hung up on me!

Some collections department!

I was somewhat amused and annoyed at this point. On the one hand, they were completely wasting my time and I honestly have a hundred other things to do. On the other hand, I was having a little bit of fun trying my damnedest not to say YES to questions that were very YES based.

About 3 minutes later… the phone rang again!

Same. Damn. Rep.

YP: “Sir! I need you to proceed with the cancellation! You must answer that you are aware of the balance for the cancelation to continue! This is the last time I will be calling you! The last time! You must agree to the cancellation to receive your cancellation paperwork in the mail!”

ME: “I am not aware of any balance. I will not accept any bill. Send the cancellation notice. Cancel our account.”

YP: “Sir! Sir! Sir! Will you agree to the cancellation?”

ME: “Cancel our account.”

YP: “Sir! Will you agree to the cancellation of your account with Yellow Pages?”

ME: “Cancel our account.”

There was a pause and a LOT of muffled conversation in the background.

YP: “Sir, I am going to be transferring you to the supervisor. I have advised you of the balance due which you must confirm with the supervisor. I have advised you of the balance! You must answer in the YES that you are indeed aware of the balance.”

I didn’t say anything.

YP: “I am transferring you now!”

After a moment, I got a very different male “Yellow Pages Supervisor”, but with a similar thick accent as all the others.

YPS: “Hello. I am the supervisor with the Yellow Pages customer cancellation department. Are you aware there is a balance of $499 on the account?”

ME: “Nope!”

YPS: “The previous agent did not explain the balance to you?”

ME: “Nope! Can you explain it? Why do I owe $499? For what service?”


And that was the last time they called.

I actually think I learned something from all of this.

First, it’s actually difficult not to say YES in a conversation when you are given questions purposefully designed to elicit a YES response. Linguistic manipulation can be profitable, especially when it’s recorded for use later on.

And second? There’s a bunch of punk-ass scumbags out there wanting to steal $499 from you. (But $250 would be acceptable!)