Thursday, October 30, 2008

What is a Wyng?

And is it special that it is boneless?

I recognize that some companies come up with clever names for products by changing good spelling or using phonetic spelling. Some of the time this is good, usually it is pointless. Sometimes it is a detriment to society. I will not buy “chicken fryz.” I taught school children who cannot spell “fries” because of stupid people trying to look original.

I do like to eat chicken, though. Some time ago, a brilliant salesperson came up with the idea to market chicken wings to people and was successful. Let’s face it, what value do the wings have? It is only a tiny bit of meat and hard to get to. Yet people now intentionally buy them. Check out this picture:

Not bad. I’d eat them, though I probably wouldn’t buy them. I would buy something with more meat. Now look at this one:

What value is added by putting a y instead of an i?

I’m not crazy about calling the product, “any’tizers,” but I understand it as marketing and trademarking and so forth. “Wyngs” is just stupid. My IQ dropped just looking at the package.

Check out The Perplexicon for more useless, horrifying, and perplexing spellings on packaged food.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Capitalize Your Names, People!

In this election season, I have seen many dumb things candidates do. (Or many dumb candidates, whichever.)

I already exposed Randy Neatherlin. Since then, I did the responsible thing and looked up what he stands for. I even e-mailed him to ask for an explanation, but I never got a response.

Anyway, Mr. Neatherlin’s poster problem is one of misused (or abused) and poorly thought-out style. These next two people are worse. They are at least different. I drive past these signs regularly and finally got around to criticizing them on this blog.

Here are the pictures:

What nit-wit decided that capitalizing names is passé?

Notice Mr. Faulk’s sign. He only included his last name, which means some idiot might think “Elect” is his first name or “State” is his last name. Clearly the sign-maker knows how to use the shift key since the small print contains capital letters.

Now look at Ms. Smeall’s sign. She bothered to capitalize her given name, but decided her family is made up of losers so she didn’t capitalize her family name. At least, that is my working theory. Perhaps they decided her first name would fit better if they used a small s for the last name.

Or perhaps both these people are foolish and don’t deserve to be in office.

I will, of course, look up what they stand for before voting, but the inability to use basic capitalization makes me question their abilities.

I Can Screw Up Too

In fairness to the people I mock, I need to chastise myself.

I found out last year that I have a slight case of dyslexia or lysdexia (whichever). I hadn’t known this growing up, though it explains a lot. I frequently make small errors when writing quickly, and I often invert numbers when copying them. Of course, since I know I do those things, I have become skilled at checking my work and looking up what I don’t know.

Anyway, I signed up to substitute teach in a particular district a short time ago. I have subbed several times—but they were jobs I went hunting for. The sub system never called me. I didn’t worry because I actually subbed every day I wanted to… until today. This morning I checked and it turns out I had inverted two numbers on the phone number I provided. I now fixed it.

It isn’t a public mistake, but since I make fun of others, I need to self-report too.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

You Decide, 2008: Halloween Edition

Which costume is more frightening?

You decide. Vote with your comments. Be polite, though.

Here is one more, though the person portrayed isn’t in the presidential elections… anymore.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Satire can be a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, many people don't have the mental capacity and/or experience and background to understand it.

This is an exceptionally well crafted bit of satire. Read and enjoy. Whatever your own political leanings, you will have to admit the satire is great.

Credit where it is due: I found this post from 20 Out of 10.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Not Stupid at All

I had the chance last week to substitute teach in my old high school. Most of my teachers have moved on, but I did find two of them still there. They remembered me too. I am hard to forget.

I saw my physics teacher. He could have retired several years ago, but loves his job and is very good at it. He was teacher of the year last year. I loved his class. He made it very enjoyable. I didn't do my homework and got a C, but I loved the class.

I also talked with my math teacher. He was great too. I had him for three years. I always knew what to expect. He is good and it seems he changes little. Some of my favorite posters are still on the walls in the same spots.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Just Plain Stupid

I love The "Bolg" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks. It is a great site with many good pictures of bad punctuation.

I saw this today:

The quotation misuse is bad enough. I particularly find the lower-case i in DAViD to be dumb. Whoever made the sign should be forced to repeat elementary school.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Don’t Mess with a WaSP

The Washington State Patrol (WSP) aka “WaSP” does a great job helping people and stopping bad guys. We should always give them proper respect and support.

They also pull people over for speeding.

I fear them sometimes. That said, I am also cautious and rarely excessively speed.

Most people are the same way. Of course, you always have people who will drive very fast and get caught. I was caught once speeding too much. I was guilty of speeding. I knew it. The officer was professional about it. I paid the ticket without protest—or, with only minor grumbling to myself and with no challenge to the ticket.

We all know we can get caught in a speed trap. If we get caught, we pay the ticket and we’re done with it.

We should also know that if you see a WaSP driving along the road you DON’T PASS IT!

I was driving home a couple days ago when I saw a patrol car along the side of the freeway. He had clearly just finished giving a ticket to someone. I was driving along at the flow of traffic: about three miles an hour over the limit. The flow slowed as we passed the officer. The WaSP pulled out a few cars behind me. I figured I hadn’t done anything, but made sure I kept a one mile an hour below the limit, so did the other cars around me… except one.

This guy was coming up quickly in the fast land. He must have noticed the WaSP pulling out since he pulled in front of me and slowed down, but not too much. The officer passed the three people behind me and also me and turned into the lane behind the speeder, who was still going a good three or four miles an hour over the limit. (He did slow down a bit after that.)

I felt sorry for the guy at first, but we went about two miles like that with no problems. I figured the guy was lucky and we would continue for however many miles it took for the WaSP to pull off.

…And then the driver did something that surely lowered his IQ at least a dozen points and lost him my sympathy.

He must have decided the officer was not after him. He changed back into the fast lane, sped up, and passed the car in front of him. If the officer wasn’t going to pull him over before, that bone-headed move cinched it.

So kids, the lesson for today: Never speed up when a police officer is behind you.

I bet he got in even more trouble for pulling over to the left instead of to the right shoulder.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This Just Seems Wrong

I just love the Cake Wrecks blog. It is very well done and great to read. I had my camera with me at Safeway about a week ago and took a couple pictures of cakes. Then I saw the cakes I am posting here. I took the pictures and have seen others since then; I got pictures of those also.

Here is the first picture I took:

It is a cute enough idea. I know my daughters would like it. They love Cinderella. I thought the frosting looked a little off. Do you also notice that the plastic ledge of Cinderella’s torso (for lack of a better name to call it) shows? It seems you get half a Cinderella doll and a small cake. My first problem is with the doll. What are you supposed to do with half a doll after the cake is gone? I also find the coloring of the frosting disturbing. I have another problem with the cake, but I’ll get to it later.

In any case, I thought the cake wasn’t too bad for what it was… until I saw this one:

It is still half a doll and a tiny cake, but it is so much better than the previous one.

Check out the Tinkerbell cake as well. It does have a whole doll, though I don’t care for the green flower stem and leaves.

Finally, here are some Barbie cakes that, I believe, actually have a whole doll with the tiny cake. I think these ones are really well done. I found them at Top Foods.

Now I will get to my problem with these cakes. (Actually, I also have a problem with the price-to-cake ratio, but that might be me being cheep.) My problem is with the idea. The eatable part of the cake is the dress. So what does that say? Do you really want to eat the dress off a cake? And this is for children? I am a little disturbed with the concept of stripping Disney figures to celebrate a birthday party.

That just seems wrong to me.

Update: I put all this together and then found that today’s cake at Cake Wrecks is also a doll cake, though it is Halloween-themed. I almost didn’t post this for that reason. I don’t want to compete with Cake Wrecks. That site is so much better than this. Check it out.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What is the Value of One Who Grants a Lease?

I will admit that spelling has never been my strong point. I also make occasional typos. However, I am well aware of my short-comings and always have someone check my work. Most of the stupid actions and writings I see could be avoided with a little fact-checking.

That said, there are also words and grammar rules that should be so well known that there should never be a mistake. This is especially true if the mistake was made by a professional company.

Take this next sign, for example:

It is a nice looking sign, but has a couple of problems. First, take a look at the last line.

As I said, I am not a great speller, but “lesser” is a common word. “Lessor” is a word most people wouldn’t consider a word. In fact, when you type it into Word, it comes up as an error. Also, this mistake must have passed several people since it was professionally printed. Someone paid for the mistake and then put it up without noticing.

The word “lessor” means one who grants a lease. I suppose if you buy one, you can get another free if you plan to rent it. What is the value of a lessor? I suppose that depends on the person. If I feel I am getting a good deal and really want the thing in question, the lessor would likely have a high value. If I feel I am being ripped off and have no choice and am getting a bad deal, I would likely value the lessor less.

Also, check out the misused quotation marks. What are they trying to hide? I’ll leave that interpretation to others. The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks does a great job exposing misused quotation marks. Check it out.

Update: Someone pointed out that there are only three of the pots left. How did it happen that they have an odd number? How do you get one free when there is only one left?


I think headlines should always be checked for double meanings. I have several Jay Leno books with the headlines he features on his show. You would think people would be more careful after so many years of being made fun of on late-night television. I also remember the headline when my plane was delayed twenty-three hours coming back from England fifteen years ago. It read, “Jumbo Passengers Delayed.” I wish I had kept a copy of it.

This morning I happened to check the news headlines on my phone. I thought the following headline was funny.

“Study: Middle-Age Women Driving Up U.S. Suicide Rate”

Be assured, I don’t find it funny that people are killing themselves. It turns out the article is about the statistic that more middle-aged women are committing suicide. There is no humor in that.

When I looked at the headline, I thought maybe it was the middle-aged women who are driving others to commit suicide. That, also, isn’t funny, but the misinterpretation, I find, is funny. Or maybe I just saw it too early in the morning.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another Reason I Don’t Shop at Fred Meyer

The biggest reason, of course, is that most of the things I buy can be purchased for less at other stores.

I don’t particularly like Fred Meyer. I make no secret of it. In fact, I’m happy to tell anyone who asks. I suppose I ought to get over it. The store in Lacey was always rude to me when I was in high school. I felt like everyone was watching me, and they treated me like a worthless degenerate each time I was in the store. In fairness, I occasionally overheard some of my classmates at school mention shoplifting from the store; nevertheless, I never did anything but buy stuff the way I should.

My wife says I can get therapy.

I have been to the store many times since I was a teenager, and they do treat me well now. I will also magnanimously admit they often have good deals on a few items and usually have a good price for milk.

The past aside, I went into a Fred Meyer store and saw this:

Kroger, incidentally, is the Fred Meyer store brand.

Capitalization errors are too common as it is. But, really, who doesn’t know to capitalize America. That is the kind of thing you expect from dumb students who think capitalization doesn’t matter and from people who hate our country.

I taught many students who honestly think capitalization doesn’t matter. I will grant that there are times when aesthetics lead a company or publisher to use no caps or all caps. I assume that is what happened here. But who was ignorant or hateful enough to fail to spot that not capitalizing America would make the company look dumb.

Did you also notice they capitalized the company name but not America?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Great Teachers

There is nothing two digit IQ about this.

I went to the library a couple days ago. As I was walking into the library, I saw a person I almost recognized, but wasn’t sure. I started talking to him, which I don’t usually do when I don’t recall who someone is.

It turns out it was my fourth grade teacher. I haven’t seen him in more years than I care to think about.

I credit my fourth grade teacher with my love of reading.

I had a chance to tell him that. It was a great experience I find myself at a loss to adequately put to words.

I had a similar opportunity a few years ago to talk with my ninth grade teacher; I credit him with my ability to write correctly.

I credit my sixth grade teacher with a love of writing. I haven’t had a chance to see him, yet. I should make the attempt.

If you can, look up your old teachers and tell them how great an influence they had on you. Of course, if you didn’t like them, let it go.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Some People are too Ignorant to Vote

I realize there are a lot of people who disagree with my politics. I disagree with theirs. There are also a lot of people who I feel are being misled and who I feel are misleading. These people are at least trying to be informed. They have a right to vote.

Some people are extremely ignorant when there is no need to be.

I also know the case can be made for some people on both sides. I am posting a clip I found that shows people who are too ignorant to vote. I believe if you looked, you could find these people on both sides. (In other words, this post is not about any specific politics, it is about ignorance.)

This clip is of an interview someone did where they asked Obama supporters if they agreed with McCain’s policies—except they claimed the policies are Obama’s. Sure enough, these ignorant supporters agreed with all the policies since they believed the policies were policies of their own candidate. Evidently, there was one McCain supporter they interviewed who was ignorant of those policies too. (That part of the interview wasn’t on the clip I found.) I can understand a certain amount of ignorance on some specific topics, but what really showed these people’s ignorance was that each of them didn’t even know who the vice presidential candidates are!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Technically, I Suppose, Free Speech Doesn’t Need to Make Sense.

I’m all for free speech. I’m also happy to give others the right to put stickers and signs on their cars… Then I saw this. I was lucky to have my camera with me.

(I did edit the picture, but only enough to smudge the license number.)

Could someone please tell me what his is supposed to mean? I don’t know if it is for or against religion. I have read it several times and find it incomprehensible.

Someone feels strongly enough about her (it was a woman who got out of the car) message to attach permanently an enormous sign to the back of her car.

This message is mind-boggling. Usually when someone writes something difficult to understand, you can at least get the gist of what it is. I taught public school for three years. I have read thousands of students’ essays and paragraphs. I have never seen one as idiotic—and I have seen some really bad ones.

I wonder how many accidents have been caused by people reading this and becoming so confused they forget to follow safe driving practices.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Who Would Buy This Garbage?

Would you buy this?

That seems to me like a reasonable question. This is a piece of junk. It is ugly. But that isn’t why I submit it as the work of someone who isn’t playing with a full deck. Before I get to my reason, I will tell you where this comes from and show you a picture of it. Sorry the picture isn’t so great; I had a very limited time to take it.

My niece goes to preschool. Her school is doing fundraising in the traditional style: offer parents and relatives high-priced junk and guilt them into buying it.

This picture comes from the catalogue of garbage--I mean items--to choose from. My wife actually spotted it; I glanced through the catalogue and found little of interest and nothing reasonably priced. My wife looked a little closer because she falls for the if-you-don’t-buy-something-you-clearly-don’t-love-the-preschooler-and-by-extention-all-kids guilt trip. (In other words, my wife is so loving, she will buy junk if it will support someone she loves.) Fortunately, my sister-in-law told my wife not to worry about it.

Someone was paid good money to develop this hideous thing. Somehow in whatever process is used to market products, no one seems to have looked at the writing. Likewise, I wonder why the company who set up the catalogue didn’t laugh and reject this item because of the writing.

We learn early in elementary school to capitalize the first letter of a sentence. Later, we learn to capitalize the main words of a title.

Who teaches people to keep the first word lower-case and then capitalize all the other words?

I’m not sure the line break is in the best place, either. I also think the sentence is odd. However, these last two things are opinions. It is the bad capitalization that earns this product a place on this blog.

At least they put a period at the end of the sentence. (I am assuming they did intend it to be a sentence.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Less Than a Dollar

I saw this sign in a Department of Health building in Olympia, Washington. Take a look:

Do you see the problem?

How much per pound do potatoes and cantaloupe cost?

Ninety-nine cents?

Look closely.

You would think someone working for a State agency would know the difference between a dollar sign and a cents sign. Sure, enough, the person who made this sign knows there is a difference. Clearly, this person does not know how to apply the difference.

One of my earliest school memories where I remember actual words said comes from second grade. I had learned in one lesson about the cents sign. In a math lesson later—I specifically remember what happened—I wrote out an answer with a dollar sign and a decimal point. I then remembered the cents sign. I erased the dollar sign and wrote a cents sign after the number (the answer was less than a dollar). However, I left the decimal point. My teacher saw what I had done and told me about the error. I didn’t understand her, but she told me I would in a few years. I remembered the exchange, and did understand what the teacher was talking about a couple years later.

I made the mistake in second grade. I would assume anyone making a chart like this would not make the mistake. Or, a least, a co-worker would point it out before it had been up long enough for people to see it.

I would also like to know what someone was thinking with the exclamation points. Did they say, “I want to show how inflated the price is, so if one exclamation is good, four should be great!!!!”

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

You are Not One of Us

I really don’t want this to be a political blog. Honestly. Yet the politicians—who you would think should know better—keep making themselves look stupid.

Here is a picture of an actual political sign I found along the side of the road. If the candidate did not come up with it on his own, he must have at least approved it.

“I M 1 of U”!?

You, Randy Neatherlin, are not one of us.

The sign might seem like a new, original, and even clever idea at first glance, but when you think about it, this is a really boneheaded move.

Does this guy really think he’ll get more votes by looking like a high school flunky?

Please don’t get me wrong. There is a place for the short-cut writing used on this political poster. The place for it is text-messaging on the phone when you are in a hurry.

Is it really that hard to include an extra five letters?

Do you think someone will see the sign and say, “Oh, I see this guy can write in a short format; he is clearly the best person for the job.”? Do you think someone would say, “I, too, always write that way when I have no need to.”?

I taught school for three years. I was constantly fighting (figuratively) students to write well and write correctly. I taught them that things like grammar, syntax, punctuation, and spelling actually matter. Then idiots like this guy toss in a stunt like this and these young people see it and actually believe that is, if not the way is supposed to be, then at least not wrong.

I also find the capitalization strange. This sign is capitalized as if it were a title—doubtless they thought it would be easier to read that way. It strikes me as false. Someone who was writing a quick text message would not go to the trouble of capitalizing some letters and not others.

No sir, you are not one of us. I find this to be an incredibly huge lack of good judgment. A guy who thinks this poster is a clever idea is not worth voting for. If I decide his opponent is not worth voting for either, I simply won’t vote for that office. (Let’s face it, in Washington State if you don’t live in Seattle or King County, your vote never really matters anyway—not that that stops me from voting.)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Why Schools are Seen as Biased

I had no intention of making my first post political. I still don’t. This is put forth not as politics—I’ll let others do that—it is put forth as an example of stupidity. I would be writing this same post if the same action were taken for the other side. Someone who surely has at least a Master’s degree decided to go and make him or herself look like an idiot. No, it is worse: this person makes every educator in the state look like biased and stupid. As you read this, don’t take it from a political standpoint; read it from a logical standpoint.

I read a news article a few days ago about the Virginia Education Association sending out an e-mail telling teachers to wear blue to show support for Barack Obama.

Here is a link to an article about this:

Here is a link to a PDF file that contains the e-mail in question:

I have three years public school teaching experience in Washington State. I have taken an Ed Law class for my certificate, and another as part of a Master’s degree in teaching.

I heard some people suggest that this is illegal. I want to stress that (at least for Washington State and I believe everywhere) this is not illegal.

This is stupid.

Teachers do not leave their constitutional rights at the door when they enter a school building. They can support whatever political position they want to. Teachers can even wear political pins in class, as long as they are reasonable in size and there is no un-due attention drawn thereto. So if teachers want to wear a certain color to support a particular individual, they can. However, teachers cannot use school materials, supplies, or time to promote any political point. Also, the best teachers avoid anything that could be seen as promoting any specific political point. Why would a good teacher want to potentially turn away a student that may not agree with them? As a teacher, I was always extra careful about anything with politics.

In saying the school district did nothing illegal, I am also assuming the students were not told ahead of time or on that day that all these teachers in blue were supporting Senator Obama. Also, the articles I read have made it clear that the teachers were to encourage students to register to vote, but not encourage them to any particular person.

With the assumptions made above, I am taking the teacher’s union at its word. I will leave it to political blogs to judge intent. Even assuming the union is not trying to influence students a certain way, the action is idiotic.

Now, to why this is so stupid.

Schools in general are seen as liberal, teachers as well. I could go on about the reasons for the perception, but that goes beyond my point. I have seen first hand that this perception is not true for individuals any more than other places. It is true that Democrats tend to promise more to teachers than Republicans, so the various unions tend (to use a mild word for it) to support Democrats.

I have worked with many teachers who support all sorts of different political positions. However, the perception that most teachers are liberal is also believed by teachers. When I did my student teaching, my mentor teacher was a Republican. She didn’t tell anyone and I didn’t know it for most of my time with her. She was afraid other teachers would look down on her. She is not unique. Most teachers avoid talking about politics until they are very comfortable with the people with whom they are speaking.

I can imagine how exposed a teacher would feel if everyone else wore blue and that teacher did not. Suddenly that teacher would be very obvious. The teacher would be singled out and everyone would know that teacher was different. Some teachers would probably wear the blue to avoid trouble. It is stupid to set up a day where teachers suddenly have to be pitted against each other or go against their beliefs to keep the peace.

It is also stupid for the union to encourage this wearing of blue because the reason for it will always get to the public. If the person responsible did not know it would become public, that person does not deserve a grade school diploma, not to mention making policy for a teacher’s union. What was the person thinking? Can you imagine the brainstorming session? “Alright, let’s come up with something that will make the public think we are even more liberal than they already think we are, and thereby we can possibly put any bond and levy votes at risk.”

I was shocked when I read about this policy. I know people who would think up such idiotic stunts, but I would expect someone with common sense to stop the idea before it was implemented.

Plus, wouldn’t a bunch of people in blue look like Smurfs?