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.

SOPA and PIPA are dead, for now

Color me impressed! I'm usually cynical about protests actually accomplishing anything, but it looks like this one did for at least a little while. Certainly the issue isn't going to go away and there is an argument to be made that some form of legislation is needed, but SOPA/PIPA wasn't the right approach. #seb #politics #SOPA #protests

Embedded Link

Internet wins: SOPA and PIPA both shelved
Just hours after Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) announced he was delaying a vote on the PROTECT IP Act, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the sponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act, followed suit and announced he would be delaying consideration of the companion legislation.

“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy," Smith said. "It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem…

Google+: Reshared 2 times
Google+: View post on Google+

The MPAA is crying about websites going dark being an abuse of power?

It's nothing compared to what the MPAA, RIAA, and other media companies will do with SOPA and PIPA if they pass. Hell, they're already abusing the hell out of the DMCA take down rules and YouTube's automated infringement system. Imagine if they suddenly gained the ability to have any website anywhere yanked from the net just based on an accusation of infringement whether real or imagined. #seb #MPAA #SOPA #Protests #Politics #Copyright

Reshared post from +Chris Guanche

The sheer mendacity of this is amazing, especially coming from a former U.S. Senator.

Embedded Link

The MPAA Says Blackout Protests Are an Abuse of Power
Tomorrow huge sites like Wikipedia and Reddit will "blackout" in protest of SOPA, and the MPAA doesn't like the behavior of these "technology business interests"one bit.
The statement comes down from …

If you wish to follow all the SOPA stuff on the web today, Google makes it easy

#seb #SOPA #Protests

Reshared post from +Vic Gundotra

The #sopa stream is flowing fast tonight.
https://plus.google.com/s/SOPA/posts

Embedded Link

Google+ stream: SOPA
See the latest about SOPA and find people who share your interests. Google+ search streams bring you updates from your circles, public Google+ posts and news from around the web.

Democrats have their share of nutcases. Protest group attempts to levitate Denver Mint.

Crazy comes in all political persuasions, this is important to remember. Sometimes it’s Christians praying for lower gas prices and sometimes it’s hippie protesters trying to levitate a Federal Mint:

Anti-war protesters put a cap on their second day of rallies and marches during the Democratic National Convention Monday with a decidedly unconventional stop outside the Denver Mint. The event, which was organized by umbrella protest group Recreate 68, drew a small crowd of about 50 people armed with “magic mojo” they hoped would enable them to levitate the Mint building to shake out its loose change using nothing but the collective power of their minds.

Turns out, it was just wishful thinking.

Well duh. “Magic mojo” is just as effective as the “power of prayer.” That is to say, it isn’t effective at all. Not that they didn’t give it a good try:

When asked if he thought the crowd would actually be able to levitate the Mint, protester Jeff Burk answered “with any luck.”

Recreate 68 gathered the group on the outskirts of the Mint facing a cordon of riot police. Group co-founder Mark Cohen, wearing a red velvet wizard costume, began a chant of “Peace, Love and Justice,” interspersed with cries of “Peace, shalom.” A man calling himself the Yippie Pie Man, who has attended every Recreate 68 protest so far, used a megaphone to lead the crowd in the chants and also to appeal to bystanders.

“Don’t be a spectator,” he implored, “join the spectacle!”

For those more interested in a concrete reason to try raising the Mint and liberating it of its change, others in the group were happy to provide a few.

“We need to free the $50 million (inside the Mint) for the people who are starving, we need this money, we need to distribute this wealth,” shouted Kenneth Sanchez, who stood at the front of the protest group, wearing a red bandanna around his face.

Recreate 68 even threw plastic quarters into the crowd, perhaps hoping to preempt the real money that they soon hoped would be covering the block.

“Take money from the war, give it back to the poor,” shouted the crowd, joining hands to form a small half circle that spilled out into the street.

While I agree with the sentiment that the war is a huge waste of money that could be better spent on social projects, this sort of silliness isn’t going to accomplish much outside of getting people, like me, to laugh at them.

And when you think about it seriously it’s probably best for these idiots that this stunt didn’t work. Could you imagine what would happen if a bunch of yahoos managed to literally levitate a Federal Mint and shake it till all the money fell out? Do they really think they’d be allowed to scoop it all up and give it to the poor? No, they’d be shot with tranquillizer darts and carted off to either rot in prison or some government lab for experimentation. There’s no way in hell people with that kind of power would be allowed to roam free. You think the Bush Administration doesn’t respect your rights now, just wait until you demonstrate a real paranormal ability. Fortunately for these nutcases such abilities only exist in comics and movies.

The true power of peace and love, alas, is in giving people the warm fuzzies which will sometimes make them act a little more decently towards one another. That’s about it, though sometimes that’s enough and still worth striving for. If we could manage that much then levitating Federal Mints wouldn’t be necessary.