Italian Tripe Insults My Intelligence

English: A restaurant in Treviso, Italy.

Not the same ristorante, but you get the point…  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the tripe picture in my last post, you surely must have known that I’d return to the topic.

When I think of tripe, I think of a dinner I had on my tour of Italy.  The tour company arranged for the group to occupy a little ristorante that would have been really romantic if I had been there with a horny female friend.  The food was excellent and we were all having some great conversations with the people at our tables.

Enter the tour guide.  He asks us to quiet down and listen to the opera singers that will be performing for us.  I’m no opera aficionado, but the singers were reasonably good even if I and most of the the others would have preferred to chat.

And then it finally happened.

The opera singers pulled a CD of themselves from their pockets and started prancing from table to table asking if anyone would like to purchase a copy.  By the time they reached my table, they were looking incredibly annoyed when no one raised their hand.

Moral of the story:  If you’re trying to sell products by associating them with a memorable moment, don’t destroy the moment.  People aren’t always stupid.

Stupid Parents Insult My Intelligence

I’m sure you’ve all have seen parents who remain clueless about their teenage children.  And then these well informed adults want to lecture you on their brilliant parenting strategies!  Or, if you’re a teenager, maybe you’ve had to live through a few parenting mishaps yourself.

So here we go with another top 10 list.  This time, it’s the ten dumbest things parents can do or say to their teenagers.  And I promise to write something more intelligent tomorrow…

Bring Your Own

(Photo credit: Chiot’s Run)

10: They try to offer a helpful weight loss tip: “Drinking and driving is also illegal if you’re guzzling a soft drink or milkshake.”

Detective John Kimble and O'Hara in the classr...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

9: They assume that everything teenagers need to know about sex can be learned from the movies.  Specifically, Kindergarten Cop.

“Boys have a penis.  Girls have a vagina.”

Ron Paul

(Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

8: They always assume that their teenager shares all of their deepest political convictions.  Always.  “These whippersnappers can’t think for themselves.”

White Board | 219/365

(Photo credit: mfhiatt)

7: They inform their teenager that Algebra is necessary to understand Harry Potter’s spellbook.

Beavis as The Great Cornholio.

Beavis as The Great Cornholio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6: They try to be cool.  For example, they imitate Beavis in public.

Facebook logo

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5: They attempt reverse psychology: “Reading Facebook is more educational than reading a paperback book.”

Acne vulgaris

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4: They are always encouraging.  “Those zits make you look really cute and everyone at school will think so too.”

Oktoberfest dirndl

(Photo credit: 24oranges.nl)

3: They bring their teenagers to Germany every summer but don’t let them drink beer, even under parental supervision.  Not even once.  Even though it’s legal there.  (Author’s note: the teenagers know that drinking German beer ultimately leads to successful careers in engineering.  It works for the Germans, doesn’t it?)

DSC_0117

(Photo credit: juan tan kwon)

2: They make themselves useful: “I’m chaperoning your prom because I want you to have every opportunity to enjoy the evening.”

Slide11: They search their teenager’s bedroom for dirty magazines.

Inconsistent Statistics Insult My Intelligence

English: Histogram of sepal widths for Iris ve...

These statistics make a frown face. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently visited a blog that had over 750 followers and fewer than 350 page views.

I assume the blogger must think we’re all really stupid.  This person most likely included an exaggerated follower count in the Follow Blog widget’s text section.  It’s not that hard to do.

But let’s look at some other possibilities.

1- This person has lots of friends and family (or perhaps Facebook friends) who promised to read his stuff and never did.  If this is the case, the blogger needs to find some real friends.

2- If the blogger has been around long enough to amass so many hundreds of empty followers (you know… salespeople and others who click “follow” from the WordPress Reader without looking at the blog) and has only garnered 300-something page views, the blogger may need to rethink how he presents his blog.

3- The blogger may need to repeat kindergarten.  A five-year-old can figure out that 750 is more than 350.

4- The blogger may need to think bigger.  If you’re going to fake the number of followers you have, why not go higher?  It’s not like he had any credibility left to lose.

5- The blogger may have entered a fake 350 hit count several years ago when he started the blog and then he forgot it was still there.  If this is the case, how sad that someone thought 350 would be impressive.

6- The blogger may need to advertise on my blog.  Given his expert grasp of statistics, I’m sure I can develop a pricing plan that maximizes my profit and his pleasure.

Justin Bieber Insults My Intelligence

English: Justin Bieber at the Sentul Internati...

This is not the image of mental health. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mental health is…

…not wanting to see the newly released nude photographs of Justin Bieber.

…wondering why those nude photos were featured as an important news story.

…understanding why they were featured but not understanding why people would care more about that than about anything that could legitimately be called “news.”

…understanding how people’s priorities became misplaced but wishing they hadn’t been.

…not understanding why anyone would get naked to perform for their grandmother.

…not understanding why anyone would get naked to perform for their grandmother.  (This one deserved to be repeated.)

…wishing it had been Betty White instead of Justin Bieber because she probably would have thrown in a really funny joke.

…realizing that Betty White’s grandmother is probably dead by now.

…being thankful not to have any late-teenage daughters right about now.

…not being like Justin Bieber.

…being thankful to not be like Justin Bieber.

…ending this post right now because “Justin Bieber naked” is the last thing I wanted to write about for the Weekly Writing Challenge.

Spam Insults My Intelligence

The last few Saturdays have been pretty slow around here, so I’m doing a cheaper post than usual.  Although almost everyone does a “guess what idiotic search term led to my blog” post, I do not plan on being that predictable.  This blog is a place for new and different ideas about stupidity.

Stupidity is contagious

(Photo credit: AJC1)

Therefore, I am going to make fun of spam messages in a way that’s new and different (according to me).  Because I’m special and unique.  And because it’s Saturday.

You see, it’s not surprising when someone finds your blog with a search term like “Barack Obama’s toupee with manatee and iceberg sandcastle.”  What’s funny is that a spammer thinks you’ll be interested in “Barack Obama’s toupee with manatee and iceberg sandcastle.”  Especially if they’re selling pills.

So, without further ado, here are some of the ridiculous things spammers of my blog think I’d enjoy:

The user named “homecoming dresses at Kohl’s” left this on my “Bad Sonnet” post because bloggers obviously need a sophisticated introduction to basic computer use:

“Emoticons are becoming a cultural icon of their own kind. With this fun, and often corky graphics recipients possess the ability to comprehend the sender’s mental states thoroughly via chat and instant messenger services literally at any given time. Th…”

Does Kohl’s even sell homecoming dresses?  And may I assume that this spammer suddenly realized how idiotic the message was?  I mean, something had to motivate the ellipsis.  Maybe it (the spammer) realized that it had forgotten to continue selling its product in the spam message.

And then my iTunes post inspired a spam response from fattyliverhelp dot com.  If I had written a post about French goose products or the geese that produce them, I could understand this one.  Well, I suppose goose may be tasty with apple…

I’ll skip over the sexually themed spam (because no one’s interested in sex) and move straight into “how to get rid of acne.”  Here’s what that spammer tried to post:

“Potato is highly efficient cure for how
to get rid of acne. However, some patients suffering from certain types
of brain cancers.”

I thought spammers usually tried to sell products they can make a decent profit off of.  Potatoes don’t seem to qualify.  The phrasing of this also seems to indicate that potatoes don’t cure brain cancer; in other words, a spam message is accurate for once.  The implied linkage of acne and brain cancer might have scared me if I were in high school, though.

And then there’s my personal favorite.  The author is “How To Woo a Man Back | Find Love Today.”  This might be relatively normal spam if it weren’t advertising online resources for lesbians.

Moral of the story: there isn’t one.  However, if you find a picture of Barack Obama’s toupee with iceberg and sandcastle, please keep it to yourself.

Bad City Planning Insults My Intelligence

You may already be familiar with Big Ben, but that’s not the most amazing clock around.  Among those I’ve seen, the best would have to be the 13th century Zytglogge in Bern, Switzerland:

glogge

That was the astronomical clock; a larger clock face towers above; however, tourist souvenirs only reproduce this colorful part, so it’s really the only one that counts to most people.  Since I’m (fortunately) not most people, you get to see the entire Glogge:

gloggebig
Although Prague also has a great astronomical clock on display, the Zytglogge stands as a unique artistic masterpiece.  Moreover, it is centrally located in Bern’s old town, the whole of which appears on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites.  So I know exactly what you’re thinking…

“That’s the perfect place to put a youth hostel.”

That’s right, you’ll find a hostel right next to the Zytglogge.  What a masterpiece of bad city planning!  They took an important site and put a bunch of 20-somethings (who often don’t know how to cook well) and a kitchen in it.  20-somethings can also be somewhat less than observant of smoking prohibitions when the urge strikes.

I stayed in the hostel and found it convenient and comfortable as hostels go.  But I was afraid to cook anything because giant ants swarmed all over the duvet covers and made me lose my appetite.

Um… no.  The duvet ants were rather cute as ants go.  Instead, the problem rested in the hostel’s fully justified caution at the first sign of fire.  If the smoke alarm goes off, they immediately send a truck and you have to pay for it.  The cost ain’t cheap, so I ate a lot of boiled sausage while I was there.

School Spirit Insults My Intelligence

I did my undergraduate work in an honors program at a large public university and I can’t complain about the experience.  However, the school’s culture emphasized its sports teams.  I’ve never been much of a sports fan but the great thing about a huge college is that it accommodates a wide variety of people.  Of course, that wide variety of people is supposed to spend its money on football tickets (and college-branded t-shirts and hoodies and caps and vanity license plates and flags and giant spongy pointing hands and umbrellas and oversize insulated mugs and shotglasses) and then fill the generously sized stadium.

The insulated mugs are for coffee, of course.  It helps you stay awake through the entire football game.  However, some of us didn’t center our college experience around a beverage of choice and the university had to cater to us too.

Maryland Terrapins beat Wake Forest - College ...

(Photo credit: Mrs. Gemstone)

And so the university offered over a dozen summer orientation sessions and I attended the one for honors students.  And in addition to the academic information and campus tour, the program included an introduction to school spirit.  The orientation leaders, as part of an evening performance, gathered on stage to mock our school’s athletic rivals one by one and they eventually came to the highly selective school with strong engineering programs.  So one orientation leader stepped forward and, pretending to be a student from that school, started squawking “physics, math, and chemistry!  I got 3000 on the SAT.”  Again and again and again.

Let’s see how many things we can find wrong with that:

1-  They were making fun of smart people at an orientation program directed at smart people.  Of course, the audience’s school spirit skyrocketed as a result.

2- They were implicitly denigrating the quality of education our college offers, which is significant because their audience didn’t choose the college because of its football team.  (Before you get angry about that comment, research has shown that a football team’s successful season correlates with an increase in applications for enrollment the following year.)

3- They were implying that athletes and sports fans are stupid.  That’s not a very nice thing to say about athletes.  (I already established in point 2 that at least some sports fans lack intelligence.)

And, as though to demonstrate against the stereotype of smart people possessing fewer social skills than “normal” people, we did not boo our orientation leaders off the stage, throw food at them, or otherwise mock them for their cluelessness.

At least not to their faces.

Common Sense Insults My Intelligence

pathThe first time I went to Switzerland, I wanted to hike high up in the mountains.  I was staying in Interlaken, an easy jumping off point for the Jungfrau-Aletsch area, and I had a map of its trails.  I soon discovered that I could join the skiers on a bus and then catch a ski lift into the clouds; then, I could presumably have a nice leisurely walk downhill.

Being from a warm-weather place, I failed to recognize a few important details:

1- Tourists are given the same map during summer and winter and this was the end of winter season.  Especially in the higher altitudes, the paths you can hike in summer aren’t clear of snow.  While in the mountains, I saw a few cross-country skiers but no other hikers.

2- Even if there’s a path, one does not simply hike down a mountain.  One hikes down and then the road winds upwards for a time before you can descend again.

3- When “hiking” down an incline on a snowy path, you run and hope to stay upright until you reach a place where you can slide to a stop.  Comfortably or not.

4- When hiking up an incline on a mountain path, you notice the altitude.  The air’s a lot thinner up there and you get winded faster.

5- “Hmmm… I see snow falling from the mountain peaks.  Avalanche?  If I’m buried, they’ll never find me.” Since then, I’ve learned that you’re supposed to carry search and rescue insurance if you go up there.  If you’re traveling alone, I suppose you should also inform someone of your whereabouts.  Since I’m not dead, you can probably tell that no snow crashed down on me.

6- Since it was the end of winter, the temperatures did not stay below freezing for long.  That means the snow softened as the day progressed.  Eventually, my legs would sink into the snow up to my knees whenever I took a step and I was crawling by the time I reached a train station.   So this is why snow shoes were invented…

I did make it through after having descended at least a half kilometer in altitude.   Although the experience was far from ideal, seeing my photos from that day always makes me nostalgic.  Unlike the slog of applying for job after job like I do now, the views were amazing and the scenery constantly changed.  It was also relaxing in an odd sort of way.

Kentucky Insults My Intelligence

Welcome to Kentucky (Where Education Pays)

(Photo credit: jbcurio)

I used to drive through Kentucky regularly and I always got a laugh from the highway signs welcoming visitors to the state:

Welcome to Kentucky

Where education pays

As far as I could tell, they were trying to tell me one of two things:

1- Kentucky has more education than everyone thinks.

2- The people in Kentucky are really ignorant, so an educated person who moves there is guaranteed a high salary.

Don’t get me wrong.  I live in the South and I like it here.  I just think that certain parts of the region aren’t too good at expressing what they are… and what they aren’t.

With that in mind, Kentucky finally got rid of the signs several years ago and replaced them with this:

Kentucky

(Photo credit: davebarger)

According to kentucky.gov, the slogan “unbridled spirit” means:

“Kentucky is a place where spirits are free to soar and big dreams can be fulfilled. We relish competition and cherish our champions for their willingness to push beyond conventional boundaries to reach new heights of success.”

Kentucky’s PR firm needed a lot of education to come up with that explanation.   I thought “unbridled spirit” meant “we praise Jesus here.”

If you’re going to insert religion into state matters, at least be honest about it.

Telemarketers Insult My Intelligence

You call three, four, five times a day.  I never pick up the phone for you, and your message is always prerecorded.  You’re not quite selling your product, just trying to find people who will agree to have one of your representatives call them at a later time.  It’s “free,” and I only have to speak the word yes.

telemarketing

(Photo credit: Stitch)

I am not a cruel person.  I will not request a representative and proceed to tell her how seductive her voice is, how much I’d like to meet her for a drink and a nightcap, and how I’d make her feel.  Telemarketers are critters too and you deserve the humane treatment we afford squirrels, chipmunks, and other such creatures.  (See?  I’m being morally just by not urging people to treat your kind like houseflies or cockroaches or fire ants.)

I wish you were as courteous as I am.  You make my phone ring at all hours of the day and it quickly gets annoying.  Do you think I will accept your services (much less pay for anything from you) if you just woke me up or interrupted something important?  The other telemarketers are obnoxious for calling and not leaving a message.  You’re just stupid because you leave the same message over and over again.  I know you called at 9:05, at 10:48, at 1:45, at 4:50, and at 8:30.  You annoyed me five times today, and plenty of times yesterday, the day before, the day before, and so on.  Do you think this creates a positive impression?  And, after so many failed calls, do you really think you’ll get what you don’t deserve?

You remind me of my ex-girlfriend.  I think you two could become great friends, so here’s her phone number and you can give her a call or sixteen.

Goodreads Recommendation Requests Sometimes Insult My Intelligence

Books in the Douglasville, Georgia Borders store.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love Goodreads.  The website is such a simple and brilliant idea.  You bring people together, let them create a list of books they’ve loved and hated, and give them a page where they can request book recommendations from their fellow website users.  (There are other things on the site, but that’s not of concern to me at the moment.)
You might be wondering what problem I could possibly find with that.  So far, I have found none.  However, the requests people make sometimes reveal a lot more about the person than is intended.  If I might paraphrase a recommendation request I’ve seen:

Can anyone recommend a romance novel in which the male protagonist has to overcome many obstacles before finally getting the girl and living happily ever after with her?  The book should also be suspenseful.

Hmmmmm.  I understand that sometimes you’re in the mood to read a particular type of book.  In spite of that, the requesting person is (vaguely) outlining a desired plot and determining in advance what the ending should be.  I know that some people can’t live without their Disney-esque happy endings, but how can a book be suspenseful if you’ve already chosen that book based on how it turns out?

If the person were looking for Shakespeare or something substantially artistic or otherwise well-crafted, it might be fascinating to see how the chosen plot is carried through; I could understand such a request.   I’d still question how much suspense would result, but I’d understand it.

And then there’s this:

I want to read Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.

For requests like this, it’s pretty easy to suggest something.  Of course, I’m thinking of the “Hooked on Phonics” workbook.  Maybe these people couldn’t understand the instructions because their reading skills need help.  Or maybe they’re announcing that they’ve graduated to grown up books.

And another:

I can’t remember the name of the book but I read it in high school.  The main character was a young blond woman and she fell in love with her knight in shining armor, and then they moved far away where they opened a bakery.  Does anyone know the name of this book?

This resembles the first offending request type, but it tends to garner fewer responses.  If the request were targeting a well known book, one would hope that the requester could find the information on their own; instead, these descriptions resemble a million others.  Since these are presumably not well known books, there’s probably a good reason why the requester can’t remember information such as such as the title, author, or uniquely identifying details that hundreds of other books don’t share.  Odds are, the book was crap.  Or maybe the requester was stoned the first time around.

One final request type:

I’d like to read a book from Japan.

Oh, where to begin?  Would this person like a romance novel, war memoir, classic No drama, haiku collection, or maybe something else?  A book’s origin alone will not determine whether you like it.  Not much in Japan is so overwhelmingly Japanese that its Japanese-ness (Japanicity?) overwhelms every other aspect of the book.  Is bibliostereotyping a word?  On the other hand, I suppose I shouldn’t be so hard on someone who realizes that Japan creates more things than cars, electronics, and anime.  This person already belongs to the smartest 5% of the population.

Nevertheless, it’s always encouraging to see people choosing to read instead of watch TV, no matter what book they choose.  I shudder to think what the average TV addict’s Goodreads requests would look like:

Can anyone recommend a good DVD insert?

That request will surely be brought to you by the same people who want to know what issue of Playboy has the best articles.

Improbable Lawsuits Insult My Intelligence

I’m not going to waste your time with a lengthy exposition on overly cautious warning labels.  We”re all so used to seeing companies perform the necessary CYA that it insults my intelligence when people expect me to still be surprised to see it.

People are stupid and they act stupidly and then they get hurt.  After that, they sue manufacturers, restaurants, etc. for not warning them against what they did.  This is nothing new.

Today, I bring you something a little different.  Take a look at this:

Tajin

This stuff tastes great on steak.

This is a seasoning for meat, packaged in a typical spice bottle.  Beneath where it says “Low Sodium,” you can see that it only rates one flame out of four.  This stuff is not spicy at all; it tastes more like lime than anything else.  Now look at the writing on the lid: “this is not a candy.”  Candy?  That’s random.  How does anyone get this stuff mixed up with candy?

Oh, I know, it’s the highly visible “low sodium” marking on the label or the word “seasoning” in large lettering right above.  Candy is almost always low in sodium, so this must be candy, right?

But then, in case the lettering on the lid wasn’t enough to protect you and your children (from what, exactly?), the warning is repeated on the back label.

Tajin reverse

Here we go again.

So, the warning is important enough to print twice, but it’s sufficiently unimportant that they put it after the ingredient list and a couple of other details. Additionally, we can deduce that this product, because it isn’t spicy, would not cause a lawsuit even if some kid tried to eat it like candy.

From a legal perspective, “this is not eye drops” would seem like a less laughable warning label.

They must think we’re beyond stupid.

Or maybe they’re sadistic.  Or maybe they have really bad lawyers.  Or both.  This other product has no warning on it, not even on the box it came in:

Three flames out of four, so this must be candy.

Three flames out of four, so this must be candy.

Now please, everyone, don’t go feeding this to your toddler just so you can try to win a multimillion dollar lawsuit.  That toddler will choose your nursing home one day.