Brother, Can You Spare A Penny?

I wrote this a long time ago, somewhere around the turn of the millennium. I’ve modernized the pop culture references, but otherwise it’s unchanged. With the news that Canada is phasing out the penny, it seemed appropriate to bring back.

This May Be A Clue

It may not be, as most people think, a penny. A penny is a monetary unit equaling 1/100th of a dollar, which means in the economic world about as much as a pair of jumper cables means to a platypus. Pennies are a useless abomination of financial theory and were done away with some years ago due to their complete and utter ineffectiveness in modern civilization. The object may be, in fact, a clue.

This happened because the world powers became quite tired of listening to the people complain of the sheer absurdity of the penny. When threatened with being taken out of power and forced to work in retail, they realized the penny was, in essence, worthless. It was therefore abolished, and the heads of state strove to give the citizens of the world something they really wanted. After the subsequent inventions of electric socks and the gin and tonic, certain leaders decided that it was time to take their now somewhat happy people out of the confused condition that makes reality TV, QR codes and anything to do with Twilight so popular. To do this, they would have to bring the public up to speed with life forms more intellectually advanced, like the pygmy marmoset, duck billed platypus, or (in some cases) rocks. And so the idea of giving humanity a clue was born.

A daunting task, but one that was accomplished with the cunning and true genius afforded to those who like cheese.

The trick wasn’t so much making the clue, but distribution. After all, handing out a clue or two to every person in the general populace is a monumental task. So a committee was formed to find the easiest and most cost effective way to deliver clues to the masses. Weeks of deliberation and planning went for naught, as one single decision could not be reached. The top two ideas had to be discarded due to the possibility of catastrophic physical injury and the extinction of the puffin, respectively. Finally, after a particularly grueling and laborious meeting involving the “accidental” death of the committee chairperson, it was suggested that all the old penny presses be put back to use for the production of clues. In the interest of cost effectiveness, original penny designs would be left on the clues for a “retro” feel.

There was much rejoicing. The plan was initiated immediately. Unfortunately, the people were so damn clueless that when the clue was introduced everyone just assumed pennies were back. Thus people failed to see the true clue potential and treated them as actual pennies, meaning they were discarded in “Take One Give One” dishes or just randomly tossed aside. The end result was that no one ever held on to a clue long enough for it to take effect. To make matters worse, since the populace was under the impression the penny had returned, all old pennies that had accumulated in mugs, jugs or whatnot over the years were inadvertently brought back into circulation. This made finding a clue even harder. Attempts to market real clues with sex failed because no one ever had a clue in that department anyway.

So the next time you don’t know what’s going on, try digging through that old mug on your desk or in the ashtray of your car. Grab some copper colored goodness. Rub it against your forehead or body part of choice. Maybe you’ll get some insight.

You don’t have to be clueless. You just have to find one.

Luck of the Irish

A conquered nation that nearly had their culture eradicated, endured a famine that sent hundreds of thousands fleeing to another country where they were treated as sub-class citizens and thoroughly mocked, only to have that image become accepted as a caricature once a year?

Yeah, like winning the lottery, that one.

Just a note from the ether

While at the deli, one of the workers casually commented on how polite I was (despite the tone of my online presence, in meat-space I’m usually courteous, especially to those who work in the service industry*). Before I could say anything, the guy behind me piped in with “That’s just good Southern upbringing.”

Now, I wasn’t raised in the South and have no discernible accent that would imply regionalism. It’s not a big deal, but for some ungodly reason I turned, smiled nciely and said, “I’m not from the South, but I guess you can get good upbringing anywhere.”

As the words were coming out of my mouth, I knew it was a mistake. The man stiffened, gave me a weird look and asked if I was “one of them damn Yankees coming down here to steal the jobs**.”

Good Southern upbringing, indeed.

 

* It seems that service industry people get treated like crap 90% of the time regardless of how polite or professional they are. This isn’t just servers and bartenders, pretty much all service industry folks. So next time you’re at the supermarket, smile when you say “hello” to the cashier and when done, say “thank you” to the cashier and the bagger. Takes two seconds.

** One, Florida’s unemployment rate is just under 10%. Two, I’ve lived here over 13 years. Three, really?

Some Thoughts on Mechanizing the Homeless

I wonder if the “people as wireless hotspot” debate would be as heated if they had used interns instead of homeless.

If you do not know, while at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, marketing agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty found some down and out folks, gave them next to nothing ($20 a day plus tips), and sent them out as walking billboards where they gave away wireless access for donations. From the New York Times:

BBH Labs, the innovation unit of the international marketing agency BBH, outfitted 13 volunteers from a homeless shelter with the devices, business cards and T-shirts bearing their names: “I’m Clarence, a 4G Hotspot.”

A lot of people are up in arms about this, and they have a point. But if they had done it to a person in college, who was earning credit while working for the company, would there be an outrage?

I think not. I think people would find it clever and amusing.

Here is where they went wrong: they only paid them $20. Interns are used to be doing “inhumane” (no, this was not inhumane), “degrading” (ok, fair) and “exploitive” (bulls-eye) tasks. But instead of going the free route, they gave pittance to people who could really use the money.

Instead, why didn’t they pay them $150? Or $200? This, to me, seems like a fair wage to walk around and provide a service. Helps cover beverages and dealing with all the various personalities all vying for a signal. $200 for a days work isn’t that bad and could actually help out.

No, it’s not a solution to the homeless problem. At all. But it seems to me BBH Labs had a pretty decent idea with poor execution. No one would have blinked if interns were used. And if you gave the “homeless hotspots” a decent amount of money, most people complaining would ask how they could get that deal.

This is the part where I make jokes about companies turning those on the street into cyborgs, who join with the AI Overlords in dominion of Earth and the ramifications thereof, but I’m at work so you can fill that part in yourselves.

The Rules of Web Club

1st RULE: You do not blog about WEB CLUB.

2nd RULE: You DO NOT bog about WEB CLUB, even if it is through a sock puppet account with masked IP address.

3rd RULE: If you get a DNS or proxy error, server crash the coding is done.

4th RULE: Only one developer to a site.

5th RULE: One site at a time.

6th RULE: No shirts, no shoes.

7th RULE: Coding will go on as long as it has to.

8th RULE: If this is your first night at WEB CLUB, you HAVE to code.

You need advice? I got your advice RIGHT HERE.

Well, if I was a medical professional, the first thing I’d ask is “where on your body the rash is located?” After all, depending on the physical locale and pathology of the rash would help determine the cause, type and cure.

I, however, am not a medical professional and assume all rashes are the result of severe stress coupled with infestation by Tyrannosaurus Dust Mites*. The mites are common throughout not only North America, but six of the seven continents. They only place they cannot survive is South America**.

Exposure to the Tyrannosaurus Dust Mites can come through a variety of means, the most common for males being masturbation. During climax, the contraction of muscles from the sexual organs help move the mites into the body. Once inside, it’s like Grand Central station – they can go anywhere.

The most common form of exposure for the females is going to the bathroom in groups. How does that work? SCIENCE!

The rash develops as  stress levels increase. This provides erratic electrical impulses which affect the Tyrannosaurus Dust Mites in a way similar to how THC affects the human mind.

Basically, you become munchies.

The most effective way to rid yourself of the mites is the Asteroid Method. Simply take an orange and place it in the freezer over night. Once frozen, throw the solid citrus projectile at the effected area. The combination of cataclysmic impact and Vitamin C renders most Tyrannosaurus Dust Mites inert. The surviving mites then retire to Boca.

Watching Armageddon during the procedure isn’t mandatory, but it can’t hurt.

Hope that helps. If symptoms persist, consult that guy in Ybor who licks feet. I’d like to hear his take on the whole thing.

 

* Small, fearsome creatures roughly twice the size of your average dust particle. Once they bore into the skin, the Tyrannosaurus Dust Mite asexually reproduces and forms an inbred colony akin to a trailer park of deposed English Royalty in the Ozarks. This colony will continue to spread, eating your flesh from the inside out. However, in a truly ironic twist of evolution, the saliva of the Tyrannosaurus Dust Mite actually regenerates human flesh, ensuring a healthy food supply until the mites fuck themselves into oblivion. The rash is actually regrowing of skin.

** South America has been off-limits to the human population since 1837, when a zombie outbreak was coupled with the production of heroin. So yeah, flesh-eating creatures exist there, but they lack motivation and  move slooooow, maaaaaan.

 

Septembeard: The Shavening

For the Septembeard challenge The Weird Beard Bastardos raised $1096 for prostate cancer research. Of that, just shy of $500 came in that last 3 days.

You guys rule. We’ll have to kick it up a notch for next year.

As promised, my head is now shaved.  So betthearm.com and Asher Industries is proud to present: THE SHAVENING.

I tried to get the photos on here, but WordPress was being cunty, so now we have a brand new Flickr account. Bask in the baldness!

 

This one may need explanation

Posted this to Twitter:

It is a semi-true story. Many moons ago while still in Uncle Sam’s prickly embrace, I was stationed at a small base in the high desert of California (the base has long since closed). On Halloween night a co-worker was on call, which basically meant if a crappy job popped up, he would have to do it. Nine out of ten times this meant things like cleaning out storm drains so basements wouldn’t flood or various other scut work.

This time the call was a bit different.

A child on the base hospital passed. Nobody was sure why. An autopsy was required, but the only facility capable of doing so was a couple hundred miles away across the desert. So my friend was tasked with driving the little corpse, alone on Halloween night, to the larger medical facility.

Yes, many WHAT THE FUCK’s were uttered that night.

However, turns out they had a change of heart and airlifted the little bugger to the other facility, so he never had to do The Drive of Doom. Which is good, because there was no way that kid wasn’t reanimating and eating my friend.

Gave us a creepy story, though. Feel free to expound in your own minds.