Happy New Year 2015!

It’s a brand spanking new year! A time for hope, optimism, and resolutions to be better people that we’ll break before the month is over. I stopped making new year resolutions long ago because I’m a terrible person and have little hope of ever maintaining them, but when I did try to make promises I knew I couldn’t keep I’d often resolve to have a higher opinion of my fellow man.

Then I’d go on Twitter and see tweets like this:

And my resolution would be broken instantly. You can’t have a worldwide population of 7,285,099,800 (as of two seconds ago) and not have a few folks out there who are, to put it politely, clueless about certain things like the age of the world. In case you thought David was an isolated case, well, nope:

There’s tons more of these tweets out there and it’s clear that many of them are meant to be jokes or are simply attempts at getting retweeted for the attention it’ll garner them. (Some folks will take whatever Twitter fame they can get no matter how stupid it makes them look.) The ones I posted above I couldn’t confirm for certain weren’t jokes, but there wasn’t anything to indicate that they were. Indubitably there are certainly some folks out there who are this clueless and the fact that it’s often difficult to tell the jokers from the serious ones makes the number of folks who really think this is true uncomfortably large for maintaining faith in mankind.

In short, my cynicism is pumped up yet again. There’s a part of me that hopes that all of these folks are just yanking our collective chain and no one really thinks the Earth is a mere 2015 years old, but given how common lazy thinking is I’m sure that there are some out there who do. On the bright side, it gives me something to blog about in the new year.

Apparently Apple is now targeting the idiot demographic with their latest ads.

If you’ve been following along for any amount of time you already know I’m not a huge Apple fan, but that has more to do with the policies of the company than the quality of their products. The hardware is fine — it’s the same thing you’d get if you bought a Wintel box only with the price jacked way the hell up — and the OS works pretty well, if not quite as flawlessly as they’d have you believe.

For years Apple has hinted in subtle ways that they design their computers for the average person. I’ve often joked that their definition of average was “people who can’t tie their own shoes without drooling on themselves,” but my only evidence for that observation was their attempt to sell Macs with a single button mouse. The whole mouse was all one big button so you could flail at it wildly and still get it to do things.

That said, their ads have always suggested that you didn’t need to be a computer expert to use one of their computers, but for the most part they didn’t portray their customers as gibbering idiots with horribly misplaced priorities. Well, that’s all changed with their latest round of ads:

Ha ha! Isn’t that funny? Mr. Green is more worried about making birth announcements on his Mac than getting his wife to the hospital when she’s in the middle of labor. I’ll bet she’s real glad she married that winner!

I get that their tying to hype up their “Geniuses” that they have at their stores to help you figure out how the hell to use that fancy new Apple product you spent three times what you should have on even though it’s as user friendly as you can get without it actually reading your mind to do what you want. But did they have to make the customer he’s helping look like such a moron?

Then there’s this:

Happy Anniversary sweetheart! I hurriedly slapped this video together on my Mac using whatever the hell I had on hand with the help of an Apple employee who is probably contemplating suicide from dealing with idiots like myself all day long! Sure, I could have used the time to actually book us a nice restaurant or some other romantic evening out, but look at the effects I used! Isn’t the CP one awesome?

Not quite the gibbering idiot of the first ad, but still pretty pathetic. They certainly don’t make the life of an Apple “Genius” look all that appealing what with not being able to fly someplace without every idiot on the plane suddenly having a computer “emergency.” Or being able to sleep through the night without some asshole banging on his door for help on how to make photo cards.

The only way it could have been more overt is if they had plastered a big “Apple: Products for Stupid People” at the end of the commercial. It’s a move that risks alienating the non-idiots that love their products, but considering how huge the moron demographic is, could end up being a profitable one. Assuming, of course, that the idiots aren’t so stupid as to realize that Apple is trying to advertise to them.

Not to contribute to the stereotype of the “dumb blonde”, but…

Here’s a nice young woman trying very hard to figure out the answer to a very difficult math question: If you are driving 80 miles per hour how long does it take to travel 80 miles?

I’m sorry, but I had to share the pain. Throughout the video I had to wonder what it is she is very good at that allowed her husband to overlook this rather stunning lack of comprehension on her part. Perhaps she’s merely confused on this one topic and is actually surprisingly insightful when discussing, say, the finer points of football? Admittedly, my knee-jerk reaction was that this had to be a Poe, but the more I watched it the more convinced I became that is wasn’t.

However I am completely convinced that this response video from LoReeves…

…is definitely, 100% absolutely, without a doubt, a Poe. It simply has to be. My brain cannot accept that it isn’t without imploding on itself. Please, please, PLEASE, let this one be a Poe.

April Fools prank goes badly for local woman.

FacepalmI generally don’t care for commercial radio, but NPR has been on a Libya kick the past few days and I was, frankly, sick of hearing about it so today was one of those rare days that I voluntarily turned on a commercial station.

Just as I was pulling into a parking spot at work they had a lady call in about an April Fools prank she played on her husband that ended up backfiring on her. It seems her best friend is a lawyer so the two of them hatched a plan to present the lady’s husband with fake divorce papers as a joke for today. So the lawyer friend has the papers delivered to the husband at work and, naturally, he calls his wife to talk about it. The first words out of his mouth are “I’m glad you made the first move because I’ve felt this is a long time in coming.”

Oops.

The wife doesn’t actually want a divorce and hasn’t told her husband yet that it was just meant as a joke. She and her lawyer friend are freaking out because they don’t know what to do. So, naturally, she turns to a major pop radio station morning crew for advice. I mean, if the local radio DJ can’t solve your marital problems then who can?

Yeah, I think I’ll go back to listening about Libya on the way home.

SEB Safety Tip: Don’t try to clean your fireplace while you still have a fire in it.

Pic of bag head on fire.There are some things you’d think you wouldn’t have to tell people, but you’d be wrong:

COLORRADO SPRINGS, Colo.—A Colorado Springs man who tried to clean his natural-gas fireplace while it was still lit nearly roasted himself over an open fire. He was hospitalized with second-degree burns.

Colorado Springs fire authorities say the unnamed man received facial burns Thursday night after using an aerosol cleaner on the lit fireplace. Fire Lt. Tom Ruane tells The (Colorado Springs) Gazette that the aerosol cleaner produced “a big fireball.”

via Colo. man burned while cleaning lit fireplace – The Denver Post.

So remember kids: Be sure to turn off the gas fireplace and let it cool down before attempting to clean it. And you should probably use something that isn’t highly flammable itself to clean it with. If you’re not sure what you’re doing then perhaps it’s worth the expense to hire a professional chimney sweep.

Of course, if you’re as big a dumbass as this guy was then you’re probably not going to listen to this sage advice anyway.

U.K. woman dials emergency services to report stolen snowman.

Pic of a snowman thief.Over in the U.K. when you want to report a fire or a robbery you pick up the phone and dial 999 and are immediately connected to helpful personnel who will assist you with whatever the emergency happens to be.

And, just like here in America, they have to deal with the occasional idiotic call:

During the conversation she said: “There’s been a theft from outside my house.

“I haven’t been out to check on him for five hours but I went outside for a fag and he’s gone.”

When she was asked who had gone, the woman replied: “My snowman. I thought that with it being icy and there not being anybody about, he’d be safe.”

She was then asked whether it was an ornament, and answered: “No, a snowman made of snow, I made him myself.

“It ain’t a nice road but at the end of the day, you don’t expect someone to nick your snowman, you know what I mean?”

The operator then told her she had rung an emergency line and she should not be calling it to report the theft of a snowman.

Apparently the woman figured it was a theft worth reporting because she had used a couple of pound coins for the eyes and some silverware for the arms, but that’s still not really enough to justify the call especially when the emergency services are busy dealing with the fallout from inclement weather, which it was at the time.

Still, there’s something comforting in knowing that America isn’t the sole repository of the world’s idiots.

The play area of your local McDonald’s is not the place to masturbate while looking at porn.

There are certain things you would think would be obvious to most people. Things that people shouldn’t have to be told not to do. Things like looking at porn and masturbating while sitting in a McDonald’s PlayLand while children play nearby.

You’d think that should go without saying, but you’d be wrong:

Pic of Baumgartner

Pic in the dictionary entry for "bad judgement."

MADISON, Wis. — A 38-year-old man was arrested on Sunday for allegedly looking at pornographic images and fondling himself at a West Side McDonald’s.

Madison police said Michael Baumgartner, 38, of Madison, was arrested on suspicion of lewd and lascivious behavior and disorderly conduct at about 12:45 p.m. on Sunday.

Police said he was using his laptop to look at pornographic images in a McDonald’s play area on Odana Road while 15 to 20 children were playing.

Police said the suspect, who told police he has no children, admitted to exercising bad judgment.

Gee, ya think?

Look I enjoy spending a little time in porn-land on occasion myself, but I keep that sort of thing in the privacy of my own home. Not once has it ever crossed my mind that the meal I’m currently eating at whatever restaurant I happen to be in at the time would be vastly improved by a little self-massage while looking at naughty pictures on my laptop. Maybe I’m out of the ordinary in that regard, but I wouldn’t think so.

So for those of you out there who apparently need to be told this sort of thing: Don’t masturbate to porn at a restaurant. Go home and draw the shades first. The rest of us would be very appreciative of your courtesy in this regard.

Those newfangled manual door locks are a bitch!

We all get used to things working a particular way so it’s sometimes easy to forget the alternatives when things suddenly stop working. Take powered door locks on cars. How the hell did we ever unlock our car doors before we had that handy invention:

A woman called Kissimmee police to say she was locked inside her car at the Walgreen’s on John Young Parkway near Poinciana.

“My car will not start. I’m locked inside my car,” the unidentified woman said.

“Nothing electrical works. And it’s getting very hot in here, and I’m not feeling well.”

The dispatcher asked the woman if she was able to manually pull the lock up on the door.

The woman said she would try, and then, she said, “Yes, I got the door open.”

The news item is very brief and doesn’t mention the age of the person involved, but my first guess would be that they’re very old. But then I consider the fact that if they are fairly old then they’ve probably got some experience with standard manual door locks from back when they weren’t standard equipment on most cars. So maybe this person is just very young and somewhat stupid. Either way we’re glad to hear she got the door opened and will be able to go on to pollute the gene pool some more.

More importantly we’re suddenly struck with curiosity over what the hell “newfangled” actually means because it’s one of those words that we’ve used for most of our lives that we kinda know what it means from inference, but haven’t ever really read the definition for. * looks it up in online dictionary * Oh.

“People want the illusion of control.” Online psychics raking in the cash.

Fear makes people stupid. The fact that we re-elected George W. Bush is one form of proof for that theory and another is the fact that people worried about the stock market crash have been wasting money consulting online psychics:

While it doesn’t take a psychic to see that tough times lay ahead for the economy, online practitioners of the divination arts say they’re seeing a marked sift in the questions posed by their clientele, with anxious consumers increasingly asking what’s in store for them financially in the months ahead. Believers who normally seek psychics for advice on a cheating spouse are now asking whether a pink slip is in their future, and internet psychics across the board saw a spike in traffic in the days following the initial market crash.

The boom in superstition is a predicable response to troubling times, says Columbia Business School professor Gita Johar, who’s studied the phenomenon. “If the future is uncertain, people turn to psychics,” Johar says. Consumers tend to embrace the supernatural when confronted by stress, combined with uncertainty. “You have an illusion then that you can then control the outcome. People want the illusion of control.”

The problem with illusions, of course, is that they aren’t real. That doesn’t stop the psychic snake oil peddlers from charging you a hefty fee for it:

Spears is one of many self-described psychics, empaths and mediums who make a living giving online readings by instant message or phone on sites such as LivePerson.com and AT&T’s Keen.com. Spears performs readings by online chat for $2 to $3 a minute, and says that since September she’s been talking almost exclusively with Americans who are concerned about their economic futures.

“People ask if they are going to lose their house or if they are going to find a job soon, or am I going to be laid off,” says Spears,

“Usually I can give some time frames, and for some people, it is clearly ‘yes,’” Spears says. “I can tell them if another job is coming and a time frame for when they will get another job.”

Hourly rates for online psychics typically range from $100 to $1,000 per hour, but those steep rates haven’t seemed to deter the monetarily anxious from reaching out.

Another IM reader, Pure Empathy, says his business has soared since the economic downturn. He charges $2 a minute and says he gives away lots of free time.

“It’s really starting to pick up,” he says. “People are more depressed, and I can easily make $150 to $200 a day.”

“Finances are coming up a lot more lately,” he adds. “People want to know when their finances are going to get better. I tell them I don’t see it happening until middle of next year — we are going to have a long down period.”

The sad part is you don’t have to be a psychic to figure out things are going to be painful for awhile to come. All you have to do is pay attention to current events. What I find most amusing, though, is a lot of what these psychics are selling is just plain old common sense and they even admit as much:

All three say their job isn’t just about making future predictions, it’s also about giving good advice and listening to people’s concerns.

“I answer all of my questions using my cards or gifts, but I make sure to tell them to use common sense in spending, to not quit a job that is a sure pay until another job is secured, and to make sure to use a budget and stick to it as best they can,” Elliot says. “I also remind them that readings are entertainment and not a necessity, to keep in mind the things that are wants and the things that are needs.”

Sometimes people ask the obvious, according to Spears.

“Sometimes a person asks what does that person feel about me,” Spears says. “If he doesn’t call you in four weeks, that tells you other things are on his mind, and you are not it.”

Can you believe there are people out there who pay these charlatans for that? They don’t need a psychic, they need a swift kick in the ass.

Not to suggest that Sarah Palin appeals to stupid people, but…

… they could use a good spell checker:

Found in this Flickr stream.