In death as in life, timing is everything…

(NewsCore) – COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. — A Minnesota woman won $15,000 in the lottery a month after she died, with her husband left surprised as he did not know she even played, KARE-TV reported Saturday.

Ginny McCauley, of Cottage Grove, Minn., died of cancer in November, but two friends she played the lottery with for 30 years continued to buy a ticket.

via Minn. Woman Wins Lottery After Dying.

Ideally you should try to win the lotto before you die, but I suppose it’s a nice parting gift to those you’re leaving behind. I know I wouldn’t be upset to leave behind a winning ticket when I finally shuffle off this mortal coil. Just the same I’d rather get it beforehand and try to prove the cliche that money can’t buy you happiness.

Kudos to her lotto partners for sharing the winnings with her widowed husband as they had no legal obligation to do so.

“Touchdown Jesus” statue torched by God.

If you’ve ever traveled I-75 through Ohio in the past six years then you’ve probably passed by the Solid Rock Church which is famous for a 62-foot tall statue of Jesus that faces the freeway. This is what it looks like:

Pic of Touchdown Jesus Statue

And the Lord saw the touchdown and it was good!

Or rather I should say, that is what it used to look like. Apparently God got sick of staring at such a tacky looking statue and decided to lay a little Biblical wrath upon it:

MONROE — Charred remnants remained this morning, June 15, of the large Jesus statue iconic to Interstate 75 that was destroyed following an apparent lightning strike during a thunderstorm late Monday night.

The Lawrence Bishop Music Theater at Solid Rock Church on Union Road endured smoke damage, according to officials. Damages to the King of Kings statue and the theater were estimated to be around $700,000, said Monroe Fire Chief Mark Neu.

No one was injured in the blaze.

Pic of Touchdown Jesus on fire.

I bet he never thought he'd prefer being nailed to a tree.

Now, if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering how the fuck a statue burns. It must be some honest-to-God kind of miracle, right? Well, not quite:

Since its completion in 2004, the statue, which appeared to come out of a pond in front of the nondenominational megachurch, was known by multiple nicknames, including “Touchdown Jesus” because the arms and hands were raised upward. It also was known as “Big Butter Jesus” after comedian Heywood Banks referred to it as such and created a song about the statue, which he performed on radio’s popular “The Bob and Tom Show.”

The statue was constructed of wood and styrofoam over a steel framework that was anchored in concrete and covered with a fiberglass mat and resin exterior, according to the church. It was slated to undergo renovations this summer.

Yeah, that shit will burn pretty easily even with a thin fiberglass coating over it. My mistake was thinking it was made out of traditional statue material like plaster or marble or cement. Shit that doesn’t burn. Apparently it cost $250,000 to build, which seems a tad ridiculous considering how cheaply it was made and how tacky it was, but I’m no art critic so what the hell do I know. The cost of the damages to the statue and the amphitheater behind it are estimated to be around $700,000.

OK, so a statue of a mythical figure made out of easily combustible materials gets struck by lightening and burns to the ground isn’t really all that interesting to me. Sure, there’s some humor to be found in an image of a God being destroyed by what would be called an act-of-God, but irony of this sort is pretty easy. What really interests me in this story is the response of some of the believers. Like these two guys:

Also gathered along Union Road were Franklin twins and storm chasers Levi and Seth Walsh, who said they were out in the thunderstorm when they heard about the fire through a Facebook update.

“It sent goosebumps through my whole body because I am a believer,” said Levi Walsh, 29. “Of all the things that could have been struck, I just think that that would be protected. … It’s something that’s not supposed to happen, Jesus burning,” he said. “I had to see it with my own eyes.”

I can’t believe Jesus was struck,” said his brother, who noted the giant Hustler Hollywood sign for the adult store across the street was untouched. “It’s the last thing I expected to happen.”

You’d think that perhaps this would clue these two in that there is no God. Or, if there is, that he’s much different than what they imagine him to be. Apparently he really doesn’t like cheap statues of himself, but finds stores selling porn right across the street from his supposed house of worship to be quite tolerable. Not surprising when you consider that Jesus spent a fair amount of time hanging out with prostitutes.

But this won’t do anything to change their minds. They’ll sit around for awhile and wonder what the church could have done to have God torch the graven image of himself. Perhaps they’ll find something they can latch onto as a rationalization for it and then they’ll put it our of their minds altogether. No, it’ll take more than some simple irony to change their minds.

Story sent in by a whole lot of people all at once. You guys were all over this one.

15-year-old girl recovering from SUV accident is hit by an SUV, in her bedroom.

I don’t believe in God, but if I did I’d have to say that he must have something against this poor girl:

Shannon Broome, 15, of Jacksonville, Florida, was home in bed recovering from a deadly SUV accident when an SUV plowed through the wall of her bedroom just after midnight Tuesday morning and pinned her against a wall, re-breaking the same leg that was shattered in a June accident that killed four of her friends. Broome [pictured] also suffered a broken pelvis, broken wrist and multiple broken ribs in Tuesday’s accident, according to her family’s attorney, Eric Block.

The driver of the SUV, 19-year-old Jacksonville resident Steven Nicholas Bryant, was allegedly looking at his cell phone when he veered off the road and plowed through a chain-link fence before hitting the house, according to the Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office report. Bryant has been cited for careless driving.

Cue Alanis Morissette.

God does exist and he has a twisted sense of humor.

I provide the following news item as proof of that statement:

Roman Hahslinger, a police spokesman, said: “He was a very religious man and had been scared when he was trapped in the lift and had prayed for release.

“A short while later he was pulled out of the elevator and he went straight to the church to thank God.

“He seems to have embraced a stone pillar on which the stone altar was perched and it fell on him, killing him instantly.

OK, maybe I still don’t believe God exists even with such astonishing proof, but you gotta love the irony of this event. Either that or God can’t stand suck-ups.

Irony Defined: Skin sanitizer recalled due to bacterial contamination.

If you’ve got any skin sanitizer products produced by Clarcon Biological Chemistry Laboratory Inc. of Roy, Utah then you may want to throw them out. Seems the FDA has issued a warning that the products are contaminated with bacteria:

Analyses of several samples of over-the-counter topical antimicrobial skin sanitizer and skin protectant products revealed high levels of various bacteria, including some associated with unsanitary conditions, according to the agency. Some of these bacteria can cause opportunistic infections of the skin and underlying tissues and could result in medical or surgical attention as well as permanent damage.

Examples of products that should be discarded include Citrushield Lotion, Dermasentials DermaBarrier, Dermassentials by Clarcon, Antimicrobial Hand Sanitizer, Iron Fist Barrier Hand Treatment, Skin Shield Restaurant, Skin Shield Industrial, Skin Shield Beauty Salon Lotion, Total Skin Care Beauty and Total Skin Care Work.

The FDA said its findings, following a recent inspection of the Clarcon facility, are particularly concerning because the products are promoted as antimicrobial agents that claim to treat open wounds and damaged skin and protect against various infectious diseases. The inspection uncovered serious deviations from FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practice requirements, the agency said.

Looking at the Clarcon Labs website it doesn’t take long to see these people are selling bullshit products. Take, for example, this description of their Citrushield Lotion:

The CitruShield solution has been developed by professional dermatologists with the purpose of protecting your skin while healing and moisturizing at the same time.  The solution protects the skin by first acting as a Anti-Microbial killing 99.9999 percent of not only germs but, bacteria like MRSA, C-Dif, staphs, gram positive and negative bacteria, germs, salmonella, ecoli, parasites, fungus, molds, and viruses continuously with only one application meaning you don’t need to keep re-applying until your skin exfoliates or until you use harsh soaps.

OK right off the bat we’ve got ridiculous claims and buzzword bingo going on. The 99.9999% claim is pure hype and is clearly false considering the FDA’s findings. I love the bit about how it kills “not only germs but, bacteria…”. Bacteria are microorganisms a.k.a. germs, but that doesn’t stop them from mentioning “gram positive and negative bacteria” later, which is a distinction only meaningful to microbiologists. (If you’re curious, most of the bacteria that are pathogenic in humans are gram negative but there’s a handful that are gram positive.) Then they mention germs again in case you missed it the first time. Germs are, by their very nature, parasites so it seems a little redundant to use that term. The claim that you don’t need to reapply it until your skin exfoliates is odd as you’re constantly exfoliating so how would you know you’ve exfoliated too much and need to reapply?

Additionally CitruShield repells caustic substancers like dirt, grease, oil, glue, paint, acids*, fibers, resins, inks, chemicals, and all similar products out of the skin’s pores; making it possible to remove these substances off of your skin with just a couple drops of water and rubbing your hands together creating friction then rinsing. Finally, as a moisturizer it repairs the acid mantel of your skin and relieves the problems of eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. It sounds impossible but it’s real, just try it and you’ll see how easy it is to keep your hands healthy and clean by using this gentle product.

Since when is dirt caustic? Or grease, oil, fibers, inks, or paint? Some acids and resins, sure, but “chemicals” is a very broad term. In the next sentence it sounds like they suggest washing your hands to get rid of these substances which makes one wonder why you’d need their product. If CitruShield “repells” [sic] acid out of the skin’s pores then how does it repair the skin’s acid mantle?  Not to mention the fact that the only references I can find to the skin’s acid mantle are from questionable dermatology products. It also doesn’t help that they misspell the word as “mantle” which is something you have over your fireplace.

As for the claims that it “relieves the problems of eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.” Well, dermatitis is a very broad term that covers all manner of skin inflammations including eczema, which is ALSO a very broad term, so having both in the same sentence is redundancy for sake of sounding impressive. Moisturizing your skin is a common treatment for a number of different forms of dermatitis, including psoriasis, so if the product actually moisturizes then it may help, but then so would any brand of hand moisturizer. Though the implication in the breathless ad-copy suggests it’s more akin to a cure than just a relief from symptoms.

That was just the first paragraph on that page and the more you read the more the aroma of bullshit will start to invade your nostrils. They go on to suggest that you should use this product in place of standard soap and water in part because “its base is biological and can be killed by using other chemicals” and it’s “better than a regular antibacterial soap, because if your skin is damaged from using other hand cleansers, this product will promote healing of cracks and cuts on your hands.” They don’t bother to mention how it accomplishes all this, you just have to take their word for it. Oh, and the word of the people giving testimonials. You gotta have testimonials for a product like this and, of course, they’re all amazed at how good it is.

And that little asterisk they put next to the word acid in the first paragraph? It points to the following disclaimer:

*There are many types of Acids that are designed to perform certain functions.  Some more caustic and dangerous than others, some that produce extreme gases that can cause illness and even death.  Additionally, each person has different chemistry and can react differently to acids and its gases and should be very careful how they deal with acid.  In as much that Clarcon is not sure how a certain type of acid may be used and in what format nor are they aware of the physical chemistry of each individual it is recommended that you research the type of acid you will be using and how and understand your chemistry and still take precautions against the use of acid.  The miss application of CitruShield or the “wearing off’” of CitruShield could leave you exposed to the effects of acid; therefore Clarcon Biological Chemistry Labs assume no responsibility for injuries that may occur when someone may be exposed to acid as there are too many variables that can take place when dealing with acids and/or improper application of CitruShield.

SEB Translation: If you spread CitruShield all over your naked body and then go swimming in a vat of hydrochloric acid, don’t come crying to us. The fact that you’re stupid enough to buy our products tells us you might be stupid enough to try such a stunt and then sue us.

Kmart starts selling abstinence promoting pants and then lies about it.

This is pretty funny. Several blogs I read have been commenting on a new line of girl’s crop pants available at Kmart that have the slogan True Love Waits silk screened on them. People who, like me, are skeptical that a slogan on pants is going to do much to keep teens from having sex are either annoyed or, in my case, mildly amused. Conservative types, particularly those who support abstinence only sex ed, are much more enthusiastic about them.

The folks at The Buzz Blog contacted Kmart about the pants and were told that the pants weren’t meant for abstinence:

A spokeswoman for Sears Holdings Corp., which owns Kmart, told The Buzz the pants have absolutely nothing to do with taking any kind of position, either way, on abstinence. “It was not associated with any group or any cause,” said Amy Dimond. “It was just a graphic put on the pants.”

Piper & Blue, Kmart’s private label brand, designed the sweatpants as part of its summer collection that hit stores in late April.

Although the pants were not designed to make a statement, Dimond admitted that “there may be some (customers) who made the (abstinence association), but it was not the intention.”

Well, OK, except that the ad copy right on the page selling the pants says, and I quote, “Bold abstinence screen print”. I also found this customer review pretty damned amusing:

“i got these because i think the message is great and also the colors are great too but the elastic ankle cuffs are a little too small. now im worried that my chubby ankles and pro-abstinence stance are not compatible. would recommend to a friend that had smaller ankles, and also was not allergic to the yellow dye.”

Remember kids, if you have fat ankles they may be incompatible with a pro-abstinence stance. Try sitting instead. Preferably with your legs closed.

Honestly, I could give a shit if people want to sell pants with pro-abstinence messages on them. If nothing else it makes for a potentially delicious irony when some young woman wears them after getting pregnant because she didn’t bother to use any birth control. I just don’t understand why Kmart decided to offer pants with a pro-abstinence message and then felt they had to lie about it.

The last day at the old job.

It’s funny how the last day on a job you’re about to resign from ends up being somewhat bittersweet even if the job wasn’t all that great to begin with. At least it seems that way if you’ve got a halfway decent working relationship with your coworkers, which I somehow managed to develop in the almost year that I was there. Most of the team joined me for a farewell lunch today at a local Hooters and we had a good time making jokes and eating food for a bit longer than the standard lunch hour. It’s not that I’ll miss the job itself, but the people I worked with who were a good bunch overall. At the same time I’m still excited about the potential the new job holds and look forward to heading in on Monday afternoon. But for now I’m going to relax and enjoy the weekend.

A small bit of irony arrived in my inbox a couple of hours after I got home from work. The company I was contracted to was Hewlett Packard—via a Massachusetts based contract house named TCML, a company I don’t recommend—and I think I mentioned awhile back that they had announced they would be direct hiring some of the team. I put in an application and ended up not being chosen to join HP, which was fine because the new job came along right about the time they decided not to hire me. I’ve known for a week or so that I didn’t make the grade so it was with some amusement that I received an email from HP today saying:

Dear Les,

Thank you for applying for the position of Field Support Engineer, requisition # 206136. After careful consideration, we regret to inform you that we will not be pursuing your application on this occasion.

I had to laugh cause I already knew this. It seemed a silly bit of redundancy considering that I’ve known about it for awhile now and had just quit to go to a different job. Though I suppose it’s nice to get official confirmation of my not getting hired in at HP.

Unintelligently De-lined

I promise the title’s pun is the unfunniest thing about this story. 

There is a rich, deep kind of irony that must be shared. I’m blogging this from the Apple store in the Mall of America, because I’m too amused to want to wait until I get back to my hotel room.

I went to attend a screening of the creationist propaganda movie, Expelled, a few minutes ago. Well, I tried … but I was Expelled! It was kind of weird — I was standing in line, hadn’t even gotten to the point where I had to sign in and show ID, and a policeman pulled me out of line and told me I could not go in.

I’m still laughing though. You don’t know how hilarious this is. Not only is it the extreme hypocrisy of being expelled from their Expelled movie, but there’s another layer of amusement. Deep, belly laugh funny. Yeah, I’d be rolling around on the floor right now, if I weren’t so dang dignified.

The real surprise is in the full posting: Expelled! at Pharyngula.

Read more: here and here and even here.

President Bush: Clearly delusional and built to stay that way.

Today’s bit of President Bush failing to recognize irony when he’s giving a speech comes from the recent CPAC event.

Bush: “Peace And Prosperity” At Stake In Election – Politics on The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — President Bush, rallying conservatives for a battle against Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, says “prosperity and peace” are at stake in the upcoming election for his successor.

“We have had good debates and soon we will have a nominee who will carry the conservative banner into this election and beyond,” Bush said in prepared remarks of a speech he was to give Friday to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“Prosperity and peace are in the balance,” the president said in speech excerpts the White House released on Thursday night. “So with confidence in our vision and faith in our values, let us go forward … fight for victory … and keep the White House in 2008.”

The man responsible for five years of war started under false pretenses and an ever burgeoning and record breaking deficit has the gall to imply that if a Democrat wins the election then peace and prosperity will be in danger? My irony meter doth asplode!

Texas Baptists show they don’t understand the word “interfaith.”

The folks who run the evangelical megachurch named Hyde Park Baptist Church in Texas may want to invest in a couple of dictionaries as it’s clear that they don’t understand the meaning of the words “interfaith” or “tolerance” and need to look them up. They had originally agreed to host the Austin Area Interreligious Ministries’ annual Thanksgiving celebration only to back out at the last minute when they suddenly realized, despite having been told in advance, that there would be non-Christians, particularly Muslims, participating:

Organizers had booked the gymnasium at the Quarries in July and made the interfaith aspect clear to Quarries staff at that time, said Simone Talma Flowers, Interreligious Ministries’ interim director.

Several Muslim groups were acting as this year’s hosts for the event. Kent Jennings, associate pastor of administration at Hyde Park, released a statement Thursday that said church leaders received a postcard about the service Monday and only then realized that it “was not a Christian oriented event.”

The postcard also “promised space for Muslim Maghrib prayer and revealed that the event was co-hosted by the Central Texas Muslimaat, the Forum of Muslims for Unity, and the Institute of Interfaith Dialog,” according to Hyde Park’s statement.

“Although individuals from all faiths are welcome to worship with us at Hyde Park Baptist Church, the church cannot provide space for the practice of these non-Christian religions on church property,” the statement said.

Kent Jennings then added, without the slightest hint he recognized the irony in doing so, the following statement:

“Hyde Park Baptist Church hopes that the AAIM and the community of faith will understand and be tolerant of our church’s beliefs that have resulted in this decision.”

SEB Translation: PLEASE BE TOLERANT OF OUR INTOLERANCE FOR WE ARE DUMBASSES WHO DON’T KNOW WHAT INTERFAITH MEANS!

For awhile there it appeared as though the group wouldn’t be able to locate another host for the gathering, but a Jewish synagogue stepped up to show the Baptists what asses they were being:

With hundreds of people expected to attend and only a few days to find another site, Muslim organizer Shams Siddiqi said they couldn’t find another facility. That’s when leaders at Congregation Beth Israel, Austin’s largest synagogue, offered to host the celebration.

“Symbolically, that’s a very good thing,” Siddiqi said of the joint Jewish-Muslim endeavor.

Of Hyde Park’s decision, he said it was “unfortunate that people still feel this way in this day and age.”

Well they are evangelicals so it probably shouldn’t be a big surprise. It’s not like they shouldn’t have known ahead of time as this is only the 23rd year that this event has taken place. As one person in the news item asks, is that what Jesus would have done?