December 02, 2007

Life Imitates "The Abyss"

In The Abyss, Ed Harris, after an argument with his (IIRC) semi-estranged wife Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, takes off his wedding ring in disgust and tries to flush it down the toilet. In mid-flush, he changes his mind and fishes the ring out of the loo. In a later scene, when an automatic watertight door is about to trap him fatally, he jams his hand in the gap as the door closes. The ring keeps the door from closing all the way, and he's able to pry it open and escape.

It's not exactly the same thing, but...

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Donnie Register has a new reason to be thankful he's married — police say his wedding band deflected a bullet and probably saved his life.

Two men walked into Register's shop at The Antique Market on Saturday and asked to see a coin collection, police Sgt. Jeffery Scott said.

When Register retrieved the collection, one of the men pulled a gun and demanded money. A shot was fired as Register threw up his left hand, and his wedding ring deflected the bullet, police said.

Posted by Chris at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

July 15, 2007

Life Imitates How I Met Your Mother

Episode 2ALH05, Aldrin's Justice:

Ted's Office

The firm is about to unveil a design for a skyscraper to a big client, and Druthers is very excited about it. Druthers unveils it to the client, and the client automatically announces that the building is a penis. Everybody in the office knows it looks like a penis but Druthers, who did not see it at all. The client refuses to build a penis, and asks for other ideas. Druthers doesn't have any ready. The client is anger, and decides to leave. Ted stops him, and shows him his design.

San Diego, last week:

SAN DIEGO — The developer said his design for a 40-story resident tower proposed as a gateway to downtown San Diego looks like a flower. A city consultant said it looks like a giant phallus.

"With its rounded forms and swelling of the uppermost floors...this building structure is very phallic," wrote Gwynne Pugh, a Santa Monica architect hired by the downtown redevelopment agency to review building designs.

Update: Deidre Woodward of Luxist has much more, including a picture so you can decide for yourself.


Posted by Chris at 03:20 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Life Imitates...

February 20, 2007

Life Imitates The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

In the HHGG trilogy (specifically, in Restaurant), the rock band Disaster Area makes an appearance. It is said about them that

Disaster Area are generally represented as not only the loudest rock band in all of time and space, but "in fact the loudest noise of any kind at all." No small claim to live up to, but when you've destroyed not merely lives, or cultures, or civilizations, but actual planets with your performance, I suppose that you can strut about a bit.

. . .

Afficianados of the band report that optimum listening pleasure is to be dervied from deep inside large concrete bunkers, at an optimum distance from the massive stage of thirty-seven miles. Some have reportedly set up closer, but no reliable witnesses have ever been found.

And these Michigan Tech students are just the guys to set up their Marshall column:

Seeking to becoming kings of university's annual snow statue building contest, a few zany students crafted a monstrous snow horn, fully equipped with tweeters, mid-range drivers, and subwoofers. The horn was unfortunately disqualified from the competition due to using "materials other than snow," but how can you not hand over a gold medal to a team that braved the freezing cold in order to craft a 20,000-watt megaphone? You heard right, powering this immense array of drivers were nine Behringer EP2500s and a Crown XLS602, and while we've no way of confirming, we have every reason to believe that folks have "called to complain from miles away."


Posted by Chris at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

February 07, 2007

Life Imitates There's Something About Mary

Presented without further comment - Bull sperm hair treatment:

A hairdresser is offering clients a new conditioning treatment made out of bull's semen.

The 45-minute treatment costs £55 and uses semen from Aberdeen Angus bulls on a farm in Cheshire.

. . .

Salon owner Hari Salem said: "I have been searching for an organic product with a lot of protein because that is what hair is made of and lacks when it is dry.

"The semen is refrigerated before use and doesn't smell. It leaves your hair looking wonderfully soft and thick."

Posted by Chris at 03:58 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Life Imitates...

January 13, 2007

Life Imitates Spiderman

Spidey sense is on its way! From Engadget via BoingBoing - Tactile display could convey signals on soldiers' backs:

. . . a new vibrating vest could give "body language" an entirely new meaning. Joining the air-conditioned and insulating renditions, this snazzy vest features a "tactile display" on the back, which is created by 16 small vibrating motors that are connected to an internal wireless control unit. The jacket "writes symbols and messages on its wearer's back," and while the actual writing resembles Braille more than text, it can supposedly be used to "send important commands to soldiers or firefighters, warning them of imminent danger when ordinary radios cannot be used."

So does my spidey-sense detect danger to my groin, or is my "tactile display" just happy to see me?

Posted by Chris at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

Life Imitates Minority Report, The Sequel To The Sequel

(Previously on Life Imitates Minority Report: workspace / sick sticks and pre-crime)

Remember how Tom Cruise's character got personal greetings and extreeeeeemely targeted ads whenever he walked into a store? Turns out that MINI USA likes that idea so much, they're rolling it out right now:

The idea is simple, first give MINI USA some irreverent information about yourself (nothing too personal). Then MINI USA then sends out a special keyfob (4-6 weeks after sign-up) that identifies you to each of the Motorboards you pass. When the boards detect that you are about the drive by, they deliver a personal message based on the information you originally gave.

Of course, I'm expecting a near-zero-day hack that will make the billboards say FAR more interesting things...

[From /. via Engadget]

Posted by Chris at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

January 04, 2007

Art Imitates, Well, Art

Supreme Irony Alert: A large scuplture intended to show how fragile the earth is instead showed how fragile it itself was:

A million-dollar stone sculpture, intended to remind future generations of the Earth's fragility, made its point a bit early - just three months after its unveiling, it collapsed.

The 175-ton "Spaceship Earth" lay in ruins at Kennesaw State University after mysteriously falling to pieces last week.

The engraved phrase "our fragile craft" was still visible amid the debris.

. . .

The Finnish-born sculptor, who goes by the name Eino, had called the work "Spaceship Earth" to honor environmentalist David Brower, a leader of the Sierra Club. It depicted a bronze figure of Brower standing atop the globe. The founders of California-based PowerBar had paid for the $1 million sculpture.

"How can stone collapse by itself?" Eino asked. "I'm devastated."

He said he used a resin made specially for stone, worked with an engineer and was assured that the globe would stay in one piece.

Eino, who lived in Georgia in the late 1990s and now lives outside Las Vegas, vowed to restore "Spaceship Earth" to its former glory, with structural modifications. Rebuilding will start as early as next month, he said.

"I want to rebuild it and build it stronger than ever," Eino said. "It has to be made safe."

Rebuild it, blah blah blah, make it better than it was, yada yada yada, and it'll end up costing SIX million in the end.

Posted by Chris at 05:48 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

December 15, 2006

Life Imitates A Dozen Comedians On Bob & Tom

There was a time about a month and a half ago where it seemed like every third comedian to appear on Bob & Tom would make a joke about hiring illegal immigrants to help build the border fence. It appears that somebody actually has that in their business plan:

A fence-building company in Southern California agrees to pay nearly $5 million in fines for hiring illegal immigrants. Two executives from the company may also serve jail time. The Golden State Fence Company's work includes some of the border fence between San Diego and Mexico.

. . .

Golden State Fence built millions of dollars' worth of fencing around homes, offices, and military bases. Its president and one of its Southern California managers will pay fines totaling $300,000. The government is also recommending jail time for Melvin Kay and Michael McLaughlin, probably about six months.

The irony here would be if they were jailed inside a fence their own company built.

Posted by Chris at 02:37 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Life Imitates...

December 05, 2006

Life Imitates Donny

In three episodes of Just Shoot Me, David Cross played Donnie, a guy who pretended to be mentally disabled after falling out of a tree. Ten years previously. I would say he's the inspiration for today's hero, but it appears this dude has been faking retardation for so long that it may be the other way around. From via Drudge:

TACOMA, Wash. -- For nearly 20 years -- ever since Pete Costello was 8 -- his mother has collected disability benefits on his behalf.

In meetings with Social Security officials and psychologists, he appeared mentally retarded and unable to communicate. His mother insisted he couldn't read or write, shower, take care of himself or drive a car.

But now prosecutors said it was all a huge fraud, and they have video of Costello contesting a traffic ticket to prove it.

"He's like any other person trying to get out of a traffic ticket," Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Barbosa said Tuesday.

Pete and Rosie Marie Costello were indicted in September on charges of conspiracy to defraud the government and Social Security fraud, and the case was unsealed Tuesday. The Vancouver pair were scheduled to appear in federal court in Tacoma on Tuesday.

. . .

The indictment accuses Costello of faking -- or at least exaggerating -- retardation since August 1997, because that is what prosecutors are confident they can prove, Barbosa said. But the pair first received benefits 10 years before that.

And I'd like to note here that one of the depressing things about being a blogger with an audience approaching zero is that you can stop posting for two weeks without explanation - and nobody notices.

Posted by Chris at 09:54 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Life Imitates...

September 14, 2006

Life Imitates The Bionic Woman

The Washington Post reports that a woman has been fitted with a bionic arm:

The first time Claudia Mitchell peeled a banana one-handed, she cried.

It was several months after she lost her left arm at the shoulder in a motorcycle accident. She used her feet to hold the banana and peeled it with her right hand. She felt like a monkey.
. . .
Mitchell, who lives in Ellicott City, is the fourth person -- and first woman -- to receive a "bionic" arm, which allows her to control parts of the device by her thoughts alone. The device, designed by physicians and engineers at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, works by detecting the movements of a chest muscle that has been rewired to the stumps of nerves that once went to her now-missing limb.

[H/T Engadget]

Posted by Chris at 05:13 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

August 16, 2006

Life Imitates Snakes On A Plane

White Trash Wednesday

Snakes In A Trailer:

A man was arrested Monday after deputies found 35 dead reptiles and dozens more malnourished and living in his camper, authorities said.

Craig Thomas Zoodsma, 50, was charged with 35 felonies for the death of the animals and 41 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

Deputies found 35 snakes, three lizards and three turtles still living, but underfed and badly dehydrated, the Pensacola News Journal reported for Tuesday's editions.
I guess this is the male White Trash equivalent of 'crazy lady with 85 cats living in her house,' the key difference is that all the cats tend to still be alive.

It's White Trash Wednesday! Take the whole tour:


Posted by Chris at 12:00 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Life Imitates...

August 15, 2006

Life Imitates Jurassic Park...

Man screws with Nature again, just because he can:

Descendents of the woolly mammoth could once more walk the earth, new research suggests.

Scientists have found that frozen sperm taken from dead animals can be used to produce offspring.

If they could also get sperm from animals that have spent millions of years encased in ice, this suggests it might even be possible to create a modern-day version of once-extinct species.

In the case of the woolly mammoth - several of which have been found preserved in ice - this would mean impregnating its closest living relative, a female Indian elephant, to produce new offspring.
Mammoth steaks, baby. I can hardly wait.

Posted by Chris at 04:32 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

August 01, 2006

Life Imitates The Tin Man...

Dale Brown's 1999 novel The Tin Man describes a futuristic armored suit that is designed to remain flexible under normal wear but stiffen when hit by a projectile.

Slashdot is reporting that a company will start selling 'liquid armor' next year. Liquid Armor The New Bulletproof Vest:

kjh1 writes "Armor Holdings Inc. plans to start selling their 'liquid armor' next year. The new armor, originally envisioned to be spread on like peanut butter, is instead sprayed onto Kevlar in ultrathin coats. From the article: 'it's a mix of polyethylene glycol, a polymer found in laxatives and other consumer products, and nanobits of silica, or purified sand. Together they produce a "sheer-thickening liquid" that stiffens instantly into a shield when hit hard by an object. It reverts to its liquid state just as fast when the energy from the projectile dissipates.'"

Spiffy. Incidentally, life also (sorta) imitates Lyndon Hardy's Master of the Five Magics here, since that book had a magical cage whose bars stiffened proportionally to the robustness of the tool used against them (and was eventually defeated by using a magically-dull ceremonial dagger previously thought useless by its owner).


Posted by Chris at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

July 05, 2006

Life Imitates Iron Chef: Battle Long Pig

My Iron Chef parody: here.

Yesterday in England: 'Cannibal' raider bites pieces from pensioner

A pensioner was brutally attacked in his home by a 'crazed cannibal' who ate his thumb and bit chunks from his face and body, it emerged last night.

Douglas Morgan, 75, is recovering in hospital with his wife Valerie at his bedside after the apparently random and vicious attack which left him unconscious and covered in blood.

The elderly couple were getting ready for bed when they heard a someone climbing through a window they had left open in the heat-wave. Mr Morgan went downstairs to investigate.

. . .

By the time the police arrived, Mr Morgan had lost consciousness from pain and shock. Officers had to pull the man away and use CS spray to subdue him.

The moral of the story: get central air conditioning. [H/T Drudge]

Posted by Chris at 04:38 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

June 05, 2006

Life Mirrors "First Baptist Bar And Grill"

Tim Wilson's First Baptist Bar And Grill is about a church that holds services in a bar while its burnt-down edifice is being rebuilt. This Ananova story is about a church converted into a bar - and how the former pastor got thrown out of it:

A minister has been ejected from a nightclub in a former church where he used to preach.

The Rev Bob Brown thought he would be on safe ground collecting for charity in Aberdeen's Soul Bar, reports the Scotsman.

But minutes after getting permission to enter from one member of staff, he was thrown out by a manager who had not been consulted.

Mr Brown, the brother of the former Scotland manager Craig Brown, said: "I thought it was quite ironic that we were asked to leave.

"The old pulpit is still in the building and I used to stand behind it and preach when the building was a church.

Posted by Chris at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

April 26, 2006

Life Imitates A Bad Redneck Joke

White Trash Wednesday

Old joke:

What's the last thing a dumb redneck says before he dies?

"Hey, y'all, watch this!"

Maybe this guy didn't die, but it wasn't for lack of trying:

FORT PAYNE, Ala. -- A Georgia man was hospitalized after jumping from the side of Alabama's DeSoto Falls and plunging 150 feet before hitting the water.

The leap wasn't a suicide attempt since several witnesses reported that prior to the plunge, the man yelled, "Watch this."

Tim Whitehead, superintendent of DeSoto State Park, said 23-year-old Jason Carter of Trion, Georgia, jumped from the east side of the canyon around 3 p.m. Monday. He was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee, after rescue personnel spent three hours removing him from the canyon. Carter, who was treated for a back injury, was reported to be in stable condition yesterday.

It's White Trash Wednesday! Take the whole tour:


Posted by Chris at 06:10 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Life Imitates...

March 24, 2006

Life Imitates Minority Report, Again

The great Ron White, when describing his arrest for being "Drunk. In. PUB-lick.", said:

I wasn't drunk in Public. I was drunk in a bar. They THREW me into Public.

Turns out that's a distinction without a difference in Texas now. From Reuters via Bob & Tom:

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) - Texas has begun sending undercover agents into bars to arrest drinkers for being drunk, a spokeswoman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said on Wednesday.

The first sting operation was conducted recently in a Dallas suburb where agents infiltrated 36 bars and arrested 30 people for public intoxication, said the commission's Carolyn Beck.

Being in a bar does not exempt one from the state laws against public drunkenness, Beck said.
Due to the way the laws in Texas are written, a bar is actually considered a public place for the purposes of determining public intoxication, so it appears Beck has the law on her side, not that that makes it just or anything.

The 'Department of Precrime' part comes in because they're arresting people for something they might do:

The goal, she said, was to detain drunks before they leave a bar and go do something dangerous like drive a car.

"We feel that the only way we're going to get at the drunk driving problem and the problem of people hurting each other while drunk is by crackdowns like this," she said.

"There are a lot of dangerous and stupid things people do when they're intoxicated, other than get behind the wheel of a car," Beck said. "People walk out into traffic and get run over, people jump off of balconies trying to reach a swimming pool and miss."
So they want to arrest drunks, in bars, before they actually do anything wrong (note that I didn't say 'illegal,' I said 'wrong').

The logical extension of this position is that the only thing stopping the excise police from reaching into your home and dragging your drunken ass to the county lockup is that pesky Fourth Amendment.

Update: Swanky Conservative came up with the Minority Report reference before I did, but I swear I thought of the same connection on my own. Given the brouhaha over The M Zone's hilarious Wonderlic Test parody appearing without attribution on Colin Cowherd's ESPN Radio show, I thought it important to point that out.

Update: The policy is now under review. All hail the blogosphere!

Posted by Chris at 11:59 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Life Imitates...

February 28, 2006

Life Imitates Family Circus

The Family Circus comic strip occasionally featured the universal fall guy "Not Me!", whom the kids (especially Billy) blamed from everything from a broken lamp to mud tracked into the house.

Well, it looks like he's at it again:

The mystery deepened Monday in the case of the puzzling crash last week of a $1-million Ferrari Enzo on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

. . .

Detectives have been trying for nearly a week to sort out what exactly happened last Tuesday morning when [Swedish game machine entrepreneur Stefan] Eriksson's Enzo — one of only 400 ever made — smashed into a telephone pole, totaling the car. Eriksson told deputies that he was the passenger and that a man he knew only as "Dietrich" was behind the wheel. But detectives have been openly skeptical of the story, noting that Eriksson had a bloody lip and that the only blood they found in the car was on the driver's-side air bag. [emphasis added]

So now it can be told - Not Me's real name is Dietrich!

Posted by Chris at 04:48 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

February 21, 2006

Life Imitates Minority Report

First there's the workspace where Tom Cruise analyzes the evidence. Hypnotic. [H/T American Digest]

I loved it. It was much better than Cats. I'm going to see it again and again...

Second, are we close to MR's sick sticks?

Posted by Chris at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

February 20, 2006

Life Imitates Futurama

That's Head In A Jar(tm) brand, patent pending. Accept no substitutes.

Posted by Chris at 12:44 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Life Imitates...

December 20, 2005

Life Imitates The Terminal

This morning started off pretty normally: I drove to the office, showed my badge to the guards, scanned it at the door to the workout room to get in there, did my workout, showered, and dressed.

Then things kind of went off the rails. I realized that I'd left my wallet at home, and that threw me for a loop enough that I forgot my coat in my locker when I left the workout room. I passed the guards' desk a few moments later on the way to my cube, and the guard asked what happened to my badge.

D'oh! I'd left it in my coat pocket.

No problem, I'll show them my driver's license and sign for a temporary badge.

That's a pretty neat trick FOR A GUY WITHOUT HIS WALLET!

No problem, I'll just drive home and find my wallet. A minor inconvienience, but nothing serious.


It was about this time that I realized I was in the same predicament as Viktor Navorski (loosely based on the true story of Merhan Karimi Nasseri). Fortunately, a few moments later a co-worker with workout room privileges came into the building and I was able to get him to bring me my coat.

Posted by Chris at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

November 28, 2005

Life Imitates CSI: Miami, Again

Last time it was Money Plane; this time it's Nailed:

A woman, who was just about to sign her divorce papers, is found shot to death with a nail gun in her soon-to-be ex-husband's new home.

Dateline Nevada City, CA:

NEVADA CITY, Calif. -- A California man has been charged with murdering his estranged wife by shooting her in the head with a nail gun.

Richard Williams was arrested Friday after spending five weeks in a hospital for nail gun wounds to his chest and abdomen. [emphasis added]
It was supposed to be a murder-suicide, but it appears that Williams had some problems aiming the nail gun when it was pointed his way. Funny how that works.

But I think the best part of the story is the fact that he was arrested after spending five weeks in the hospital recovering. Why? Money, baby:

Officials said Williams wasn't arrested immediately after the October 22 incident because Nevada County would have been at least partly responsible for his hospital bills. Instead, guards were stationed outside his hospital room 24 hours a day, waiting for him to recover.
Justice ain't cheap.

Posted by Chris at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

November 10, 2005

Life Imitates Nietzsche

Comedian Mark Klein was on Bob & Tom yesterday morning, and the topic of conversation turned to the importance for women to get annual gynocological checkups. Klein had this to say:

The greatest practical joke I ever heard in my life was a young lady comic friend of mine who would put a glass eye up in there before the exam, just so something would look back for a change.
Which immediately made me think of Nietzsche:
When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.

Posted by Chris at 07:35 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

October 19, 2005

My Life Imitates A Weird Al Song

Fifteen years ago today, I got my fifteen minutes of fame. Actually, since Jeopardy! episodes run 30 minutes, I got somebody else's fifteen minutes as well (whoever you are, sorry about that).

How'd I do?

Note that I didn't say "I got three other people's fifteen minutes," or "five other people's," etc., etc. I also fulfilled the stereotype of "engineer who doesn't know dick about literature." Also, Sara Cox has me to thank for $17,400 of her $61,201 in winnings.

Posted by Chris at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

October 05, 2005

Life Imitates 'Dukes Of Hazzard'

White Trash Wednesday

Welcome back to White Trash Wednesday, or as I call it, "Life In Northeast Indiana:"

Fort Wayne police were called to 6400 W. Jefferson Blvd. at 6:34 p.m. Friday in the parking lot in front of the Cap-N-Cork store, a police report said.

Witnesses told police that Marsha Strutz drove into a field next to the parking lot and then drove up a hill with enough speed that she went airborne and landed on top of another vehicle in the parking lot at Covington Plaza, the report said.

Strutz, 57, of Winter Field Run, then hit three other parked vehicles before a wheel fell off her car, the report said.
Something tells me that seeing her in a pair of Daisy Dukes would not be a good thing.

I don't need to mention this, but I add it for completeness:

Police arrested Strutz on two counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, one count of felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated by a controlled substance, the report said. She was no longer in police custody Sunday night.

This is the third time Strutz has been charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated in the last year in Allen County, the report said.

It's White Trash Wednesday! Take the whole tour:

Posted by Chris at 08:17 AM | Comments (1)
Category: White Trash Wednesday

August 25, 2005

Life Imitates Fight Club

The first rule of assassinating inconvienient foreign dictators is - you do not talk about assassinating inconvienient foreign dictators!

Posted by Chris at 08:13 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Life Imitates...

August 11, 2005

Life Imitates Man Of The House

In Man Of The House, Tommy Lee Jones plays a Texas Ranger assigned to protect the UT cheerleading squad after they witness a murder.

Last Wednesday, some Michigan high school cheerleaders witnessed a hit-and-run accident in Ann Arbor and quickly devised a cheer to help them remember the perp's plate number:

Members of the Lincoln High School varsity cheerleading squad from the neighboring community of Augusta Township helped Ann Arbor police find the 30-year-old man by chanting the license plate number until they arrived.

"I knew I was going to not remember it because there was too much going on," coach Patricia Clark told NBC's "Today" show on Monday. "So, when I ran down the street and got the plate number, I yelled to the girls, 'remember this.' "

According to police reports, the man's truck hit the back of a car stopped at the traffic light near University of Michigan's campus on Wednesday. The impact forced that car into another vehicle, which then hit another one.

. . .

"The coach just said it and we were saying it over and over, and then it just turned into a big chant since we kept repeating it," said Kimmie Ostrowski, a senior captain for the team who also appeared on the "Today" show.

Give me a 'P!'
Give me a 'E!'
Give me a 'N!'
Give me a 'C!'
Give me a 'I!'
Give me a 'L!'
What's it spell? Something nobody's carrying with them!

Posted by Chris at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

August 09, 2005

Life Imitates The Amazing Race

As I mentioned in the previous entry, Game Show Network is replaying all seasons of The Amazing Race. Tonight they showed the season 3 episode known to hardcore fans as Dieselgate, where four teams hosed up their 4X4s by refueling with unleaded when the vehicles were designed for diesel.

Well, that's a mistake anybody can make, even if the vehicle in question is a $125M yacht:

LONDON (AFP) - Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovitch was left fuming after the wrong sort of fuel was pumped into his luxury family yacht, forcing him to re-arrange his summer holiday, a report said.

The Russian-born tycoon was said to be "disappointed" after the fuel mix-up involving his 72-million pound (100-million euro, 125-million dollar) yacht the Pelorus, while it was docked in Malta to prepare for his family holidays last month.

Any motorist who has put diesel instead of petrol into a car will know the feeling -- although not the cost of the error -- filling up Pelorus' tank costs 120,000 pounds, and cleaning up the mess could cost at least one million pounds.

[Warning - TARfan inside joke ahead]

Good thing Ian wasn't the guy driving the yacht - he would just have drained the fuel tanks right into the ocean.

[H/T Fark]

Posted by Chris at 10:33 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

July 27, 2005

Life Imitates 'Animal House'

Flounder: I can't believe I threw up in front of Dean Wormer.
Boon: Face it, Kent, you threw up on Dean Wormer.
The Local6 love continues, with this story about a Kansas high schooler hurling on his Spanish teacher (and how exactly do you say 'blow chunks' in Spanish, anyway?):
The teen vomited on the teacher on the last day of classes at Olathe Northwest High School, outside Kansas City.

The boy's lawyer said his client had been nervous about his final exams but other students testified he'd planned it in advance. The teacher said he felt "sort of stunned" when it happened, and notes the student was failing his class.

He was convicted of battery. His sentence?

[he] will spend the next four months cleaning up after people who throw up in a police car.

A judge said Tuesday at sentencing that he considered the incident an assault on the dignity of all teachers.

Posted by Chris at 11:15 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Life Imitates...

June 01, 2005

If That Doesn't Work, Threaten To Shoot Yourself In The Head

Life Imitates Madhouse in this incident in Geneva, Illinois:

GENEVA, Il. - Dean Craig, 46, is charged with felony arson after setting his own house on fire. Craig reportedly committed the act in order to get two stubborn house guests to leave.

According to authorities, Craig asked his two house guests to leave and threatened to burn the house down if they didn't. When the two nuisance guests refused, Craig poured alcohol on the floor of the home and ignited it.

Posted by Chris at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

March 24, 2005

Life Imitates 'CSI: Miami'

CSI:Miami episode 317 - Money Plane:

Someone uses a laser light to blind a pilot and bring down a jet, which carries $1.2 billion in checks to be delivered to banks on the eastern seaboard. The crime scene evidence reveals a victim, a young fundraising socialite, who was inside the plane

(via Drudge) A New Jersey man faces trial for allegedly blinding an airline pilot:

NEWARK, N.J. - A man accused of pointing a green laser beam at a small passenger jet, temporarily blinding the pilot and co-pilot, was indicted Wednesday under the federal anti-terror Patriot Act.

David W. Banach, who claimed he was looking at stars with his daughter, also was accused of lying to the FBI about the Dec. 29 incident in which the jet's windshield and cabin were hit three times with a beam as the plane approached Teterboro Airport. [emphasis added]
You know what they say - once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is enemy action.

There was no word as to whether David Caruso was seen standing in the back of the courtroom with his hands on his hips.

Posted by Chris at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)
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February 08, 2005

Life Imitates Bad '70s Pop

A tale of star-crossed - or should I say, star-recrossed - lovers:

Separated for several months, boredom and chance briefly re-united Bakr Melhem and his wife Sanaa in an Internet chat room, the official Petra news agency said.

Bakr, who passed himself off as Adnan, fell head over heels for Sanaa, who signed off as Jamila (beautiful) and described herself as a cultured, unmarried woman -- a devout Muslim whose hobby was reading, Petra said.

Cyber love blossomed between the pair for three months and soon they were making wedding plans. To pledge their troth in person, they agreed to meet in the flesh near a bus depot in the town of Zarqa, northeast of Amman.

The shock of finding out their true identities was too much for the pair.

Upon seeing Sanaa-alias-Jamila, Bakr-alias-Adnan turned white and screamed at the top of his lungs: "You are divorced, divorced, divorced" -- the traditional manner of officially ending a marriage in Islam.

No no no! That's not how it's supposed to end - this is how it's supposed to end (cue Wayne's World-style wavy dissolve: "deedeleedoop deedeleedoop deedeleedoop"):

So I waited with high hopes
And she walked in the place
I knew her smile in an instant
I knew the curve of her face
It was my own lovely lady
And she said, "Oh it's you."
Then we laughed for a moment
And I said, "I never knew."

That you like Pina Coladas
Getting caught in the rain
And the feel of the ocean
And the taste of champagne
If you'd like making love at midnight
In the dunes of the Cape
You're the lady I've looked for
Come with me and escape

Posted by Chris at 05:23 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Life Imitates...

January 26, 2005

Life Imitates 24, Again

This season of 24 opened with (literally - it was in the first ten minutes of episode one) the bad guys parking a pickup truck on railroad tracks to cause a passenger train derailment which would allow them to steal the macguffin from a passenger on that train.

Today's LA commuter train derailment was apparently caused by someone parking his Jeep on the tracks:

The smash occurred when a train struck a 4x4 vehicle at a crossing, derailing and "side-swiping" an oncoming train at 6am local time (2pm GMT).
. . .
Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca said authorities were speaking to the driver of the vehicle.

"It didn't appear that the vehicle had stalled," he said. "It appears that it was deliberately placed there."
And why was that?
Reports suggested that the driver had second thoughts about a suicide bid, leaving his vehicle at the last minute.
So instead of dying himself, he's now facing nine counts of (at the very least) manslaughter, which ought to to be good for a room upgrade at the Westin Pelican Bay.

Posted by Chris at 04:02 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Dangerous Stupidity

January 25, 2005

Life Imitates "Good News, Bad News, Really Bad News"

The good news: You're contending for the win late in the Buick Invitational, and you just chipped in from the fringe...
The bad news: ...and scored a bogey...
The REALLY bad news: ...because your sand wedge eagle attempt from 95 yards away bounced out of the cup and landed in the water.

Posted by Chris at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

Life Imitates 24

The plot macguffin on this season of 24 is a device that lets the user take over nuclear power plants remotely.

About four hours before the macguffin was revealed last night, the Fermi II nuclear power plant near Detroit started leaking coolant at the rate of 50 gallons per minute.

Posted by Chris at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

January 20, 2005

Life Imitates Urban Legends

OK, so it ain't quite the 'I woke up in a bathtub full of ice and one kidney was gone' legend, but it's close:

A German professor who went on a dream holiday to Costa Rica woke up in an airport departure lounge to find his leg had been amputated.

The professor said he had gone to see a doctor at a hospital in San Jose because his left foot was swollen.

He said: "An aspirin usually did the trick. I have had the problem before - it was nothing serious - just something caused by my diabetes.

"When I got to the hospital they put me on a bed and I heard the word amputate. I tried to protest, but before I knew it they had given me drugs to black me out, and when I woke up I was at the departure lounge.

"My suitcases were by my side - and then I realised my leg was missing. I couldn't move, and when I checked my wallet I found that £200 had been taken out and replaced with a receipt for the amputation.

. . .

After the operation, Prof Jurisch collapsed and was taken to a private clinic where he was diagnosed with blood poisoning.
What a ripoff. I would have done it for $100 plus gas for my chain saw.

Posted by Chris at 12:54 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Life Imitates...

January 19, 2005

Life Imitates My Opinion

So what do you do if you're a garbageman and you see this on a public plaza?

Art or Trash?

Yeah, I'd throw it in the back of the truck too. Unfortunately, that's the incorrect answer, and some sanitation workers in Frankfurt, Germany, have to take art appreciation classes because they did the same thing:

To the dustmen of Frankfurt, they were a mess that needed to be cleared from the streets of their spotless city. The yellow plastic sheets were swiftly scooped up, crushed and burned.

But the diligence of the rubbish collectors was little consolation to the city's prestigious art academy, which is now ruing the loss of an important work. [?!?!? - ed.]

Unknown to the binmen, the sheets were part of a city-wide exhibition of modern sculpture by Michael Beutler, a graduate of Frankfurt's Städel art school.

[Anyone? Anyone? Beutler? -ed.]

Thirty of the dustmen are now being sent to modern art classes to try to ensure that the same mistake never happens again.

. . .

The monthly "Check Your Art Sense" lessons, which start on Sunday, will involve the dustmen being shown two pictures: one from the museum's permanent exhibition and another lesser-known work from the archive. Then they will be asked to discuss the differences between them.
I can picture the class discussion already...

Dieter: Now who can tell me ze difference between zese two pieces?
Hans: Ja, I know zis. Ze vun on ze left vuld fit in vun standard veeled bin; ze uzer vuld need a #3 Dumpster.

Posted by Chris at 02:20 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Damn, That's Funny

April 29, 2004

Life Imitates Monty Python

Another quick hitter: saw this story via Drudge about robotic traffic cones that can deploy themselves to block traffic lanes:

Herds of robotic traffic cones could soon be swarming onto a highway, closing down lanes and slowing the traffic.

The new road markers have been developed by Shane Farritor, a roboticist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in a bid to help reduce the $100 billion per year that the Department of Transportation estimates is lost to the US economy through accidents and delays caused by highway lane closures.

The self-propelled markers take the form of robotic three-wheeled bases for the brightly coloured barrels that are set out to demarcate road repair zones. Farritor says they can open and close traffic lanes faster and more safely than humans.
I read that and immediately thought of the Python bit where ...
[Voice Over] And on the road too, vicious gangs of keep left signs.

Film: two keep-left signs attack a vicar.
Illustrated thusly:
Two keep-left signs attack a vicar

Posted by Chris at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...

October 06, 2003

Life Imitates Up In Smoke

As if just having a meth lab wasn't dangerous enough, these Einsteins in my hometown added all the dangers inherent in a motor vehicle:

"Deputy finds meth lab in moving motor home

WATSON TWP -- Two men were arrested Saturday, Sept. 20, after Allegan County sheriff's deputies pulled over their motor home and discovered a methamphetamine lab inside.

Deputy Dave LaBonte stopped the motor home about 10:30 p.m. and noticed a strange odor as he approached. Deputy David Holmes arrived to assist LaBonte. Shortly thereafter, two of the suspects attempted to flee into the woods. The deputies captured one, but the other escaped. During investigation of the vehicle, an active meth lab was discovered and the driver and passenger were arrested and taken to the Allegan County Jail."

--Allegan County News (Allegan, Michigan), Sept. 25, 2003, p. 7

Posted by Chris at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Dangerous Stupidity

September 19, 2003


You all know what today is, right?

More from the Life Imitates Art department: I'm listening to Crisis Four by Andy McNab (who, incidentally, knows whereof he writes), and I'm just now at the part where the main character is doing a pirate cruise re-enactment with his ward. The reader (Clive Mantle) does an excellent job, and his characterization of the bosun is ideally suited to today.

Posted by Chris at 08:41 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Life Imitates...