August 29, 2011
Hurricane Irene – Epilogue
For those of you who followed our live blog over the weekend, you have our thanks and gratitude for your well wishes and support. It’s hard not knowing where your next full iPad charge is going to come from, or finding yourself desperately scrambling in the dark for something, anything, that will let you know how long it takes for beer to get warm in a closed refrigerator.
While Planet Moron HQ continues to be without power, that has less to do with the widespread swath of destruction brought on by the fury of Hurricane Irene (or as we like to call it around here, “Really Bad Storm Irene” and more to do with the fact that an old tree finally fell over on some power lines down the street. (As one of the neighborhood dog walkers told me this morning, "I thought everyone had their power back on.")
They are making important progress on repairs, however, having already begun work on marking the area off with yellow tape. And that was all just in the first 36 hours, so we fully expect to have power in time for the holiday. Not Labor Day, probably more like Thanksgiving.
Regarding rainfall totals, based on our “How Much Water Collected in The Passenger Foot Well of our ’97 Grand Cherokee” gauge, it was “a lot.”
As you can see, there is still quite a bit of dampness, and this was after we'd already bailed out the initial 3/8 of an inch. Usually, we expect no more than a quarter inch of water after a storm.
Truly, we are blessed.
We are also relieved to report that cannibalism did not break out in the New York Mercantile Exchange as first feared, nor did hurricane-spawned zombies roam the streets of Queens (those were just Mets fans), but that was almost certainly due to Mayor Bloomberg’s superb preparations in advance of the storm and not the fact that the storm fell somewhat short of expectations.
Finally, no account of a natural disaster would be complete without first blaming it on global warming, followed by the requisite juxtaposition of images of both destruction and rebirth, illustrating that beauty and/or life endures even in the face of great blah blah blah.
We hope to return to our regularly scheduled snark by tomorrow.
August 27, 2011
Hurricane Irene - Live Blog
I'll keep adding updates as long as I can, knowing that this very well may be the only record that survives the approaching calamity, and by "only record" I mean other than the millions of tweets and Facebook entries and thousands of independent news reports.
Saturday, 11:17 AM: Earlier this morning we went to the local farmer's market and were almost brought to tears by the courage and determination of our fellow citizens who, in the face of the looming danger, somehow found the will and perseverance to procure for their families basic survival necessities, such as cave-aged artisan cheeses, organic free range chicken eggs, and fresh-picked arugula.
Even now, as the first lashing waves of light drizzle descend upon the region, I can see our neighbors making final preparations, probably the most important of which is ensuring that the lawn gets mowed.
That's how you know it's going to be a bad one. Who knows how long it might be before FEMA can get lawn care companies in here.
Saturday, 11:56 AM: As I sit here drinking the iced latte I bought earlier at the farmer's market, I wonder, will this be the last iced latte I ever have? This weekend? It might be. It might be.
Saturday, 12:21 PM: We see on the news that New York City is shutting down all mass transit systems and its airports due to the approaching storm.
The last hurricane to hit the Big Apple was Gloria in 1985, which made landfall on Long Island, causing damage consistent with a category 3 storm. I lived there at the time, but this was back when New York was a bit tougher, when it was more likely you'd come across a dominatrix walking through Times Square than a Disney character. (Come to think of it, back then, you could have run into a dominatrix dressed like a Disney character.) Rather than being left stranded in my apartment with no way to get around, I just hopped on the Staten Island Ferry to work.
But like they say, better safe cowering in a fetal position than sorry!
Saturday, 1:39 PM: Despite the storm, Mrs. Moron had something "important" to take care of. In fact, I received a mysterious text message a short time ago that read, "target acquired."
Saturday, 1:40 PM: Correction: The text message read, "acuiring some things at Target." Okay, that's not as mysterious.
Saturday, 4:17 PM: As a storm approaches, it's usually a good idea to check up on your disaster emergency preparedness kit. I cracked ours open a short while ago.
Now that I think about it, the disaster I was preparing for was the coming zombie Apocalypse. Kind of wishing I'd tossed a couple of batteries in there too.
Saturday, 6:31 PM: The wind and rain has been picking up so I decided it was time to get the dogs out before it got worse, taking special care to avoid standing underneath large trees. Let's just say that when they wrote the song of John Henry, they did not have him dying "with a pooper scooper in his hand."
Saturday, 6:40 PM: You know what really messes up your shot at an emmy for courageous reporting in the face of unfathomable danger? When, while out in the unfathomable danger, you are surrounded by residents who feel un-endangered enough that one drops his shorts while you're on live TV. Yeah, that's just not helpful.
Saturday, 9:00 PM: Excuse me for the absence, but we were huddling together with fellow neighbors fearing for our lives. Okay, we went over to a neighbor's house for dinner, fearing we'd run out of beer.
Sunday, 12:22 AM: Our local government here in Arlington County has set up a helpful "Irene-cam" for residents curious as to the current conditions outside, a service for which we are grateful as otherwise we'd have to get up from the computer and look out the window.
Sunday, 1:03 AM: Disaster management professionals have long understood the important role hysteria plays in any crisis. Doing his part, New York City Mayor Bloomberg is warning city residents that it's too late to run:
This is only common sense as the edge of Irene has brought to New York winds that are not tropical storm strength. It is not clear whether the mayor plans on making it standard city policy to keep all eight million resident indoors when it rains.
Sunday, 10:25 AM: We survived the night, but not without losing power and Internet. We're living like animals! If animals had an iPad.
June 27, 2011
Out to Lunch, Back in Seven
Days, that is.
There might be some light blogging as we've already run out of gin. Then again, we're buying more gin.
April 17, 2011
What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing on a Stamp Like This?
The Post Office this week was forced to admit an embarrassing mistake when it was discovered that its stamp commemorating the iconic Statue of Liberty which has welcomed huddled masses yearning to breathe free from its perch in New York Harbor for the past 125 years, had instead a picture of a fake Statue of Liberty that has welcomed Midwestern gamblers yearning for an inside straight from its perch near the breakfast buffet at the New York New York Casino in Las Vegas for the past 14 years.
While the mix up was not intentional, the Post Office is sticking by its decision noting,
“We still love the stamp design and would have selected this photograph anyway.”
Given this attitude, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that this is not the only time the Post Office has used the wrong picture on a stamp. We have since learned the following commemorative stamps are also not what they seem:
The flowers depicted on the “Wedding Roses” stamp are unfortunately not real wedding roses. The Post Office has admitted that they had been part of an Easter breakfast promotion swiped off a display table in the lobby of a Cracker Barrel in Waldorf, Maryland. The Post Office defended its action noting that the eggs had been runny.
While intended to honor the memory of actor Gregory Peck, in a cost-cutting move the Post Office decided to skip using a photography service and instead substituted a picture of Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe’s Great Uncle Alvin. The Post Office explained its decision with a statement that read in part, “Close enough.”
The stamp designed to celebrate the lunar New Year was supposed to include a picture of kumquats, which are eaten for good luck and are given as special gifts. The stamp instead depicts Wild Arum, a poisonous berry native to Europe. When informed of the error, the Post Office noted that “it’s not even an American holiday,” and besides, “no one eats stamps.”
In an effort to pay proper respect to “Latin Music Legends,” the Post Office issued a series of commemorative stamps recognizing the greats of the genre. However, due to some confusion at the printing plant, the stamp intended to honor Celia Cruz, instead used a depiction of Top Chef contestant Carla Hall. When made aware of the error, Post Office officials pointed out that Ms. Hall “makes a mean chicken pot pie.”
A stamp issued in celebration of Kansas achieving statehood accidentally depicted an artist’s conception of the state of Indiana. In response to a reporter’s question about the resulting outrage from the proud citizens of Kansas, a Post Office spokesperson noted, “Tomato, tomahto.”
March 26, 2011
WEEKEND PICTORIAL – Nissan Leaf Swag Edition – 3/26/2011
An acquaintance of Planet Moron came into town last weekend to take a test drive of the all-electric Nissan Leaf.
Okay, it was a distant family member.
Fine, fine, it was my brother. As they say, you can’t choose your relatives, and it’s a lot harder to hide from them than you think.
The test drive was part of a marketing campaign sponsored by the automaker and my “brother” (just saying we’ve never conducted actual genetic testing) thoughtfully brought home one of the promotional items they were handing out.
“Oh, a bracelet,” you’re probably saying.
This is not a bracelet.
“It’s a statement”
A statement of what? That you are the kind of person who likes to wear old car tires on your wrist.
Also, that you support a zero-emissions future in which everything is made of recycled stuff that has already been made. This is also known as a “zero-growth” future.
Welcome to the revolution! Innovation for the planet. Innovation for all!
What? Too Soviet?
Upon close examination, I noticed that one side of the bracelet points out that the Nissan Leaf has zero emissions.
And if that wasn’t clear enough, the other side said it was “100% electric.”
And just in case potential customers were still puzzling over the true implications of being zero emissions and 100% electric, their brains starved for nutrients as a result of their zero-emissions diet, yet another side attempted to drive the point home: “no gas.”
I can only imagine the conversations the marketing department had with focus groups that resulted in this approach:
Marketing Rep.: The Nissan Leaf is a zero emissions vehicle.
Potential Customer: How can that be?
Marketing Rep.: It’s 100% electric!
Potential Customer: But what about the gas?
Marketing Rep.: It doesn’t use gas, it’s a zero emissions vehicle.
Potential Customer: But doesn’t gas produce emissions?
Marketing Rep.: It doesn’t use gas.
Potential Customer: Then what kind of fuel does it use?
Marketing Rep.: It’s 100% electric.
Potential Customer: What about the other 100%? Is that gas?
Marketing Rep.: There is no "other" 100%.
Potential Customer: But then it can't be 100% electric if it uses gas.
Marketing Rep.: It doesn't use gas, okay?! No gas! No gas! No gas!
Potential Customer: Wait, are you saying it doesn’t use gas?
Marketing Rep.: Someone get those bracelet guys on the phone, we need to talk.
So, what did my brother (if that's his real relation) think of the car? “It was pretty nice,” he said, proving that after years of hard work, Nissan has finally perfected the process by which they can manufacture a Nissan Versa with one-third the range for only three times the price.
Think of all the jobs that’s going to create!
February 06, 2011
You Lose Some, You Win Some
It should come as no surprise to anyone who appreciates quality writing that Planet Moron was not chosen as a finalist for a 2011 Weblog Awards in either the political or humor categories.
Looking back, it’s really our own fault. Based on a careful review of the humor finalists we realized we were missing the one key element they were looking for.
Being a woman.
We plan on working on that for next year.
Of course, this should not deter you from voting for a winner. In the “Best Weblog About Politics” category you can choose from any number of entries, from liberal blogs to slightly more liberal blogs, to Politico, which isn’t actually a blog but at least is still liberal.
Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to blame our exclusion on gender and/or political bias, the Science category includes “Watts Up With That,” a global warming skeptics blog that is both thoughtful and well-written.
So maybe we’ll work on those things too.
On the upside, we won a local contest for best alternative county tax decal.
As we like to say around here (now, anyway):
"Think Globally, Win Locally."
We are hoping to parlay this victory into bigger and better things, perhaps a spelling bee or a celebrity lookalike gourd contest.
February 02, 2011
2011 Washington DC Auto Show
As we’ve chronicled in this blog over the years, the Washington DC Auto Show has been a celebration of the wide variety of ways we can eliminate the automobile, whether it was displaying the very latest in mass transit alternatives, a crushed automobile, or a video greeting visitors with a cheery message about diminishing fossil fuels,
So imagine my surprise when I was greeted with this on the cover of the program:
See cars? Any cars, even ones with gasoline engines? And have fun? It would be like the nuns at your Catholic school telling you to take the day off, get drunk, and see if you can’t score a little action on the side.
Now, this being Washington, I was naturally first greeted with the alternative fuel section that devoted a fair amount of space to a display put together by the Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington, DC., an “organization of electric vehicle owners, hobbyists, educators and enthusiasts dedicated to promoting the use of electric vehicles (EV's) as an environmental and energy alternative.”
That’s very high-minded, but this guy who converted his Fiero to electric?
It probably wasn’t the planet he was trying to save.
Once we got past the vehicles that run on clean, environmentally friendly farm lobbyist payoffs and plug-ins that get their batteries charged from windmills powered by the beating wings of unicorns, we got into the meat of the show:
The Sham Wow Booth.
Okay, so it was a Sham Wow imitator, still, we were disappointed that we were too early to see a demonstration of a single Camelback Chamois absorb the equivalent of a Smart Car. (Which isn’t too impressive when you consider that a couple of sheets of Bounty could probably mop up a Smart Car.) Incidentally, naming a vehicle a “Smart Car” always struck us as sort of trying too hard. It would be like our naming Planet Moron “Funny Blog.” It still wouldn’t be any good.
Remember back when trash cans didn’t require instructions?
Let’s pop this baby open and see what’s under the hood!
Check out those plastic covers. I gotta get a set of those for my ride!
Is that what’s really under there? Eeeuuuwwwww.
Given Washington’s current obsession with windmills, electric vehicles, and passenger rail travel, having an honest “Back to the Past” Original DeLorean seemed totally appropriate.
Having an old guy in a suit tout the latest Cadillacs made perfect sense.
Having a leggy blonde in knee-high boots tout whatever car that is also made perfect sense. We guess. Also, we don’t care.
While we are broadly a fan of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland, we have no idea why they would have this ghastly brown leather interior.
Oh, yeah, that’s right.
For all our griping, this year’s Washington DC Auto Show gave us hope for the future of the automobile.
Or, maybe not.
Regardless, the Washington Auto Show, running through this weekend, is always worth the trip. Get the latest news here.
Hey, you know what? Maybe you should skip the latest news and just go see the cars.
January 30, 2011
Weekend Pictorial – Our Cups Runneth Over… With Guilt! – 01/30/2011
All We Wanted Was a Cup With Coffee
This cup, not unlike that annoying girl in your art history class, has a cause. And not just any cause, but a cause supported by a celebrity!
And what if you don’t purchase a celebrity-designed coffee cup to help 7-11 support celebrity causes?
What, you like cancer?
Hey, a Used Coffee Sleeve!
This “ecotainer” coffee sleeve is made of 100% recycled fiber 60% of which is considered “post-consumer.” What is “pre-consumer" fiber then? It’s not exactly recycled, it's just the stuff industries have left over after they’ve made something else.
For the record, we have long been ardent supporters of cycling.
Paying Too Much, One Cup at a Time
Yet another ecotainer we came across this past week informs us that we are "making a difference - one cup at a time."
What if you, too, would like to be "making a difference - one cup at a time?"
Unless you want to hear from Internationl Paper's trademark lawyers, we suggest you find some other way to make a difference.
We're thinking, "one spork at a time."
January 23, 2011
Weekend Pictorial – Scrapple Edition – 01/23/2011
What kind of Christmas present comes wrapped in butcher paper?
If you said "a Christmas goose," you haven’t been paying attention.
We speak, of course, of scrapple, this particular gift coming from an older brother.
Having a slab of fresh scrapple straight from the butcher allows you to get a real close look at it.
This is not necessarily a good thing. See those dark spots? You don’t want to know what those are. And those lighter colored tan things? You don’t want to know what those are either. Let’s just say if you’ve never gone to a diner and asked what their unskinned pork jowl special-of-the-day is, you don’t want to delve too deeply into the the makeup of scrapple.
So what to do? Slice it up and brown it in butter.
Sure, you could slice up the Federal Register and brown it in butter and make it pretty appetizing, but there is something about the taste and texture of scrapple fried to a nice crisp brown. There are many ways to eat scrapple, but I prefer to eat it like waffles and pancakes, on a plate with syrup. Not a bad meal for a cold Sunday morning.
Speaking of which, it’s really cold in Washington DC.
January 16, 2011
WEEKEND PICTORIAL – Key West Edition – 1/16/2011
The Hobgoblin of Small Minds
This is a photo from last year’s trip to Key West:
And here is a photo from this year’s trip. Same airport bar. Same airport drink.
You can say “rut” but we prefer “reliable.”
The Difference a Year Makes
From last year’s trip, apparently closed for business:
And the same place this year:
This is an outdoor bar a couple doors down from the famous Green Parrot that in the past several years has been “The Meteor Grill,” “something else I can’t remember,” “The Meteor Grill” again, boarded up, and now “”Bobalus.” Actual text exchange when I sent this picture to my wife:
Mrs. Moron: I want to own Bobalus.
Me: You’ll probably get your chance.
How Do You Spell Class?
Speaking of the Green Parrot, one of my favorite bars anywhere, the men’s room provides a conveniently placed ashtray with the urinal.
Bet you won’t find that at a Ritz Carlton.
Just Like Daddy
And lest you think I completely abandoned my family, I took time out from drinking at the Green Parrot to go shopping at the Green Parrot store 30 feet away for my young son.
I’m thinking, “Father of the Year.”
PS: Your chance to waste time nominating us for a 2011 Weblog Award we'll never win ends tonight at 10:oo PM. Don't miss this chance to claim for yourself a small piece of our failure!