April 1st is dangerous for the credulous on the Internet

It’s that day again. The day of pranks and mischief where everyone tries to pull one over on you. Tech companies in particular really seem to enjoy this day and go to extra lengths to put forth almost believable fake products.

Companies like nVidia and their new R.O.N. AI Personal Assistant for Gamers:

I could totally use one of these for the RageConverter™ technology alone. The Troll Destroyer would also be nice.

Then there’s Newegg with their announcement of their entry into hardware production with their first CPU for gamers that continues the current trend of putting RGB lighting on everything. The Newegg iBrite RGB CPU:

It’s not clear how you’re supposed to see the RGB lights once you put a heatsink on it, but the specs of this processor more than make up for it: Cores: 100 — Threads: 200 — DDR5 RAM support: Sure, probably — Base clock: 1.4 PHz — Overclock capable, but doing so might create a small black hole inside your CPU (and void your warranty).

ThinkGeek goes all out for April 1st with a number of fake products that are often things people would really want. So much so that in the past they’ve actually turned some of them into real things you can buy. This year they’re “offering” up the Burned Bread Toaster by Banksy for the low low price of $1,370,000.00, the Flame Jam Hoop for all your Boomshakalaka needs, the Captain Marvel Universal Pager for a mere 1¢ (with $9.99/month 2-year service contract), the Roomby: Kirby Robot Vacuum that’ll suck your carpets clean, the Marvel Thor Mighty Mjolnir Mailbox because your mail is worthy, a Motion-Controlled Mimic Package to stop those porch pirates, the NERF Nuke to end all those NERF gun wars once and for all, the Power Wheels Desert Drifters so your kids can live out their Mad Max dreams, and — my personal favorite — the Bean Bag Onesie for all you lazy millennials out there.

Logitech has given in to demands to rename Wireless Mice to a more appropriate mammal considering that they lack “tails.” Announce they will now be called Hamsters:

Google is excited to introduce their newest product: Google Tulip! Decoding the language of flowers has been a decades-long challenge. But that changes today. Thanks to great advancements in artificial intelligence, Google Assistant on phones and Google Home is now able to understand tulips, allowing translation between Tulipish and dozens of human languages.

If you want to try for yourself, set your Google Assistant on your phone or smart speaker to the English language and say “Talk to Tulip Translator”. Yes, they went through the trouble to add this to the Google AI. I tried it. It works. This is some serious above and beyond for the sake of a joke.

Gotta admit, the amount of work some of these companies put into their pranks is impressive and I do look forward to this each year. However, I can imagine that for some folks the day is a nightmare.

Wow! You really can order anything from Amazon.

Did you know you can buy mannequins on Amazon.com? I didn’t until I read a follow up news article about the guy who is protesting a city order to lower the height of his fence. I suppose I should explain how this particular revelation came to me and why I give a shit.

So this guy by the name of Jason Windus in Santa Rosa, California built a six-foot fence around his yard so that he could let his dogs outside without them running all over hell’s half-acre, but he lives on a corner lot and his city has an ordinance that says you can’t have a fence that blocks the view of drivers at an intersection and one of his neighbors complained so he had to lower part of his fence to 36 inches. It’s probably worth mentioning that this wasn’t a chain-link fence but a wooden slat fence, hence the obstructing the view of drivers issue.

Dude’s pissed so he did what any red blooded American would do to protest government overreach and busybody neighbors: He set up a Naked Mannequin Garden Party in his yard:

Then things took a dramatic turn overnight as someone(s) in the neighborhood stole two of the naked mannequins from Windus protest scene!

Late Wednesday night, Windus heard what he thought was “some kids having fun” outside his house on Peterson Lane. Those revelers, he believes, made off with a mannequin who’d been outfitted with a blond wig, leopard print eye mask and nothing else.

The following morning, a second female mannequin was missing. In their haste to get away, the thieves apparently jostled the life-like figure, whose right leg fell off. The wayward limb spent the night on the sidewalk.

Source: The Press Democrat

What kind of America do we live in where a man can’t have a Naked Mannequin Garden Party without some of the guests being kidnapped?? (Mannequinnapped?)

So all of that led me to this article at the Sacramento Bee titled: “Man orders more naked protesters from Amazon as thieves snatch two of his mannequins.”

Windus blames the thefts on the city order to lower part of his fence to 36 inches, KGO reported. He had outfitted a mannequin with an army-style helmet to serve as a guard, but that apparently failed to deter the thieves, Windus said.

Despite the mannequins gone missing in action, Windus says he’s not giving up on his protest, The Press Democrat reports. He replaced the lost partiers with three other mannequins he had in storage, and has ordered two more from Amazon.

Source: The SACRAMENTO Bee

My first thought was “What the shit?? You can buy mannequins on Amazon?!?” Whereupon I immediately went to Amazon and searched for “mannequin” and — HOLY SHIT! — not only do they have them, BUT THEY’RE CHEAP TOO! $50 for a complete mannequin?? I may have to start my own garden party!

This is relevant to my interests because of Ralph. Ralph is my Security Mannequin. I picked him up way back when I did a stint as a part-time retail worker at a Meijer store for a second job in my early 20’s. They were going to toss him into a dumpster and I stepped in and gave him a proper home. It’s got to be at least 30 years now that he’s been a constant presence in the background of my life. When I moved into the apartment in Canton back in 1998 he sat on the half-wall that separated the stairway up from the front door from the living room area. He wears one of my old Les’s Place BBS t-shirts and one of my many hats. His job there was to stare with dead eyes down the stairs and startle folks coming up from the front door, which he did often.

*Knock Knock*

“Maintenance… GASP!!”

These days he sits on the bar in the basement wondering when someone is going to pour him a goddamn drink. Amazingly enough, in all this time, I’ve never taken a direct picture of him. I have tons of pictures where parts of him are visible in the background, but the best I can do is this heavily cropped shot from the Christmas before last:

Still wearing the same shirt that hasn’t been washed since it was put on him.

As you can see, Ralph lacks arms and, more importantly, anything below the waist. That hasn’t stopped him from loyally guarding my home from intruders by lurking in the background and being a little creepy. I would really like to have at least gotten him some arms by now, but I’ve never taken the time to actually do so. I’ve also thought about trying to find him a female companion and, thanks to Amazon, that reality is within reach! Why, I could have a whole mannequin army now!

Now that I think about it, my wife might object to that idea so I guess it’ll have to wait. The world is safe from my legions of fiberglass minions… for now. In the meantime I’ll have to take a proper picture of Ralph when I get home tonight.

I may never take advantage of Amazon’s offerings of cheap mannequins, but the fact that I could is somewhat amazing to me. When I stop to really think about it, this probably shouldn’t be so surprising to me. I’m sure this has been a possibility for a long, long time. I mean, you’ve been able to buy a 50 gallon drum of lube from Amazon for years now, so why wouldn’t you be able to buy a mannequin? (I just know that search query is going to cause no end of amusing emails from Amazon on “things you might be interested in!”) The only reason I didn’t know about it before was because it never occurred to me to search for it. All these years of loneliness for Ralph and all I had to do was check on Amazon.

Sterling Heights, MI would really like you to stop calling their new sculpture “The Golden Butthole.”

One county over from where I live here in Southeast Michigan is the city of Sterling Heights. Apparently this past January they completed a sculpture in the median of M59/Hall road near Lakeside Mall to commemorate what they call the “Golden Corridor” because it has a shit ton of businesses along it. The sculpture is of a big golden ring and below is a picture of it.

It’s your typical, innocuous, modern sculpture the likes of which dot various public lands in any number of midwestern cities. So, naturally, someone dubbed it “The Golden Butthole of Macomb County” and set up a Facebook page on its behalf. Much to the annoyance of the city council of Sterling Heights the name has stuck. So they’ve set out to do something about it!

Namely, they’re holding an official Name The Golden Corridor Icon contest on their Facebook page — because the saga of Boaty McBoatface has apparently taught no one anything — and are giving away a crap load of gift cards to local businesses to the winner.

Hey! Have you noticed anything new lately on Hall Road?

Kidding, kidding. Of course you have! And while we prefer to keep things PG around here, we have heard of the golden ring icon’s… unsavory nickname. (Do you all kiss your mom with that mouth?)

The City of Sterling Heights is launching an OFFICIAL NAMING CONTEST for the golden ring icon — and we have some pretty fun incentives for the winners! Businesses along the Golden Corridor have donated more than $1,000 in gift cards to be given away to the winner of the contest! Be a part of history and help us name the golden ring icon. Because, like it or not, this thing ain’t going anywhere, people.

So far it’s not going too well. The majority of comments consist either of people saying it already has a name or that it’s a WASTE OF TAXPAYER MONEY AND YOU SUCK! Or it’s a lot of variations on Golden Butthole such as Gilded Anus and The Golden Cornhole Corridor. One guy by the name of Scott commented “Petition to move the Joe Louis fist to the Golden Butthole”, but someone over on The Golden Butthole of Macomb County Facebook page was way ahead of him with this Photoshop:

Photoshop image by Jeffrey Birkett.

Wonder what it would be like to fly through a Golden Butthole? Dougie Mac has you covered:

The total cost of the sculpture, along with two smaller welcome signs that have small versions of the sculpture, and electrical work for lighting came out to around $442,500. Sterling Heights is the fourth largest city in Michigan so it’s probably not a huge knock to their budget even if some residents think the money would’ve been better spent elsewhere.

To be fair, butthole is not the first thing that came to my mind when I saw it and there are certainly worse pieces of public art to be found in various cities. Canton, which is right next door to where I live in Westland, has tons of sculptures on corners along Ford road all of which I think are probably worth more as scrap metal than as suburban beautification, but I’m not an art critic either. The Mayor of Sterling Heights, Michael Taylor, is hopeful that this rebranding will help draw attention and boost businesses and attract new residents.

At least he’s right about it drawing attention.

French people try to say difficult English words.

I have become quite the fan of YouTube videos over the past couple of years. At this very moment I am subscribed to over 302 different channels and, ever since we cut the cord, flipping through YouTube videos after dinner has replaced flipping through channels on Cable TV. There’s a lot of good content out there and when watched through the YouTube app on our Roku the commercials are few and infrequent. One of my favorites is The Try Channel where Irish folks try foods and drinks from other parts of the world. As a result, YouTube sometimes recommends other similar videos.

Like this one where French folks attempt to say difficult English words:

To be fair, I often have a hard time with that last word. Thankfully, I don’t have occasion to use it very often. This goes all the way back to 2017 because sometimes YouTube takes awhile to get around to recommending some things.

Best Sports Bowl ad.

I used to watch the Super Bowl for the ads, but thanks to the Internet I don’t have to anymore. This is especially good as many of them aren’t that great, but this one for Amazon Alexa? Yeah, it made me laugh.

Funny, but it probably won’t get me to buy an Alexa when I already have two Google Home Minis in the house.

The only other ad I found interesting was a short one for the upcoming Captain Marvel movie, but I won’t bother including that here.

Shocking new study says most Americans don’t make it past 11AM before cursing!

I’m a man of few vices. I don’t smoke, do drugs, and hardly ever drink alcohol. Sex was a bit of a vice in my younger years, but it’s arguably not much of one now. Eating too much and cussin’ are the only vices I tend to partake in these days and I have plenty of company on both counts.

In fact, according to what I am sure was a rigorous scientific study by the researchers at, uh, 9Round Kickbox Fitness most Americans utter their first curse word by 10:54AM. To which I say, “Pfft! Amateurs!

Dude looks pissed. Or constipated. Hard to tell with stock photos. Either way I bet he’s swearing up a storm.

According to their survey, the reason 1 in 4 Americans can’t get past 9AM without dropping an F-bomb or two, is STRESS:

What the @#$%! Americans can’t get through the day without cursing — NYPost.com

[…] financial worry to be the biggest cause of stress and frustration among Americans (56 percent).

Followed by such time-honored stress-contributors like not getting enough sleep (36 percent), health concerns (35 percent) and work (30 percent).

But some Americans are stressed and frustrated about things that one might not expect.

For instance, one in ten (9 percent) listed the environment as a source of stress and frustration for them and four percent actually said the national deficit stresses them out. A curious three percent said they’ve been stressed about the national deficit within the past week.

The bar is low, as even something as mundane as slow wifi is enough to send 52 percent of Americans into a tizzy of frustration.

Let me just say right here, stress is the least of the reasons I cuss. Sometimes I just fucking feel like it.

Sure, I don’t shy away from swearing up a storm when I’m stressed and frustrated — you just have to watch me play Call of Duty multiplayer for a short time to see that truth borne out — but being upset about something is not a requirement. For me, cuss words are much like parsley on a fancy dinner plate: Totally unnecessary, but a nice garnish to fucking drive a point home.

Out of curiosity, why did the folks at 9Round Kickbox Fitness feel the need to get all scientifical about why people swear?

“People of all ages face stress every day and it can be difficult to find effective and healthy ways to cope,” said Shannon Hudson, CEO and founder of 9Round Kickbox Fitness. “While listening to music or watching TV can be relaxing, one of the best ways to reduce tension is through regular exercise because it improves both physical health and overall well-being. When you are physically and mentally strong, you are better equipped to handle life’s frustrations.”

[…] “We understand busy schedules and limited time constraints that’s why at 9Round we don’t offer set class times,” added Shannon. “Members are welcome to complete our 30-minute kickboxing circuit on their own schedule and get a great, stress-relieving workout seven days a week. Our workouts change daily and you can burn up to 500 calories each session.”

Ah ha! It’s a fucking sales pitch! Feeling stressed? Cussin’ at your kids too goddamned much? Come down to 9Round and learn to KICK THE SHIT OUT OF STRESS!!

They even made a sweet as hell infographic for the article so the folks at the New York Post could pretend they were engaging in real journalism instead of a big ad disguised as journalism which I’m sure they didn’t receive any compensation for from the folks at 9Round Kickbox Fitness. It’s a damned good thing we have companies like 9Round looking out for our moral well being by giving us a way to avoid swearing like a sailor the next time the WiFi goes down.

Unless, you know, you really fucking want to.

SEB Musical Interlude: Jonathan Coulton’s “First of May”

If you’ve not heard this before — I’m pretty sure I post this when I remember it — you may want to wear headphones or wait till you get home. It’s a tad NSFW:

And now another musical interlude.

Ladies and gentlemen, Luciano Rosso:

 

Big breasted mannequins looking for good homes.

Retired electrician Mike Martin was a dedicated hobbyist and collector. What he collected were old department store mannequins which he restored and, um, enhanced. Specifically, he gave them boob jobs and then dressed them in various fashions and gave them names. Mike recently passed away and his amazingly tolerant wife is selling off his collection of 60 big breasted mannequins to anyone willing to take them:

Stingl: Retired electrician created mass of mannequins

“Some people are making fun of it online. But everybody collects something,” said Rich Ranft of Beloit Auction & Realty and a longtime neighbor of the Martins.

“Whenever he heard there was a mannequin for sale, he’d go get it. They had a small Ford or whatever it was, and he would strap them to the top or put them in the backseat, wherever he could put them,” Rich said.

Then Mike would rely on his skill in automotive body work to repair and paint the figures. He used Bondo, the fix for rusted-out fenders, to augment the mannequins’ breasts until they were the size of cantaloupes.

“If you’ve seen them, obviously you can tell he was very into big-busted women, to say the least,” Mike’s daughter, Lisa Erspamer of Wauwatosa, said with a laugh.

Here’s a sample of his work:

bbmannequins

If nothing else you have to admire his skill at making those breasts look like they were there from the beginning.

The news article linked above has quite a few more pictures if you’re curious. Mike was devoted to his unusual hobby:

Mike and Maxine granted an interview to the Beloit Daily News in 2007. They said the collection began about 10 years earlier. Mike said he preferred the hobby to watching television. He became an expert on the history of mannequins and could tell you where and when each one was made.

Each restoration took four or five days, Mike told reporter Julie Becker. Some were made to look like celebrities such as Sophia Loren, Rita Hayworth and Elvira. Maxine said she was glad to see her husband busy, though he rarely asked for her fashion advice.

Now the natural inclination would be to make fun of this fellow for buying old mannequins and enlarging their breasts before dressing them up, but I find him to be a bit of a kindred spirit. Over the years I’ve collected clocks and hats and various anime related crap and otter figurines and video games and other total wastes of time and money. Hell, in some circles I’m sure Mike Martin would be considered an artist of sorts which is more than can be said for any of the stuff I’ve collected over the years. His family appears to have been tolerant of his quirky obsession and he clearly wasn’t harming anyone. If it brought a little bit of happiness into his life then all the better.

If you think owning one of these might bring a little happiness into your life then you’ll be happy to know the online auction runs for a couple more days yet, though you’ll have to drive to Beloit, WI to pick it up as they won’t ship them. Outfits and accessories will be shipped if you wish. Just imagine how one of these tastefully posed in your living room or den would act as a conversation starter at your next party!

Spotted at the local Meijer store.

ballerinabatman