.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

things that just are

Friday, February 25, 2005

Lost and Found

1972 Crash Survivor's Wallet Recovered

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) -- One of 16 survivors of a 1972 Andes plane crash made famous by a book and movie has gotten his wallet and jacket back 32 years after leaving them in the mountain snows.

Eduardo Strauch, who survived 72 days in high mountain snows, received the aged wallet, drivers license and other personal items Wednesday, a week after they were found in the Andes by a mountain climber.

Strauch, now a 57-year-old architect and father of five, was aboard a flight with fellow rugby players, relatives and friends when their plane crashed high in the Andes on Oct. 12, 1972.

'Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors' by Piers Paul Read publicized the story with accounts of how survivors ate flesh from some of the victims to survive. The story was later dramatized in a Hollywood movie.

A Mexican hiker chanced upon the items just yards from the site where the plane went down.

The hiker passed the items on to a local hotelier took who gave them to Alvaro Mangino, another Uruguayan who survived the flight and happened to be in western Argentina at that time. Mangino delivered to Strauch.

'This is just a feeling that's impossible to describe,' Strauch told The Associated Press on Thursday. 'It's incredible, amazing that this episode continues to speak for itself.'"

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Sprint deadbeats dial wrong number

From Engadget:

You know what happens when you have a phone number that’s only one digit off from the number for Sprint’s collections department? You get a lot of deadbeats calling up some random dude in Massachusetts begging him to not disconnect their service. Stewart Woodworth says he’s logged something like 8,000 misdialed calls from Sprint customers over the past 2 1/2 years, and after Sprint refused to change their number he recorded an outgoing message on his voicemail that says: “Pay your Sprint bill or your service will be shut off. It’s that simple. If you don’t pay your Sprint bill, you might as well take your Sprint phone and throw it in the trash. Even a person with your limited intelligence should be able to figure that out. Go ahead – write a check. Hang up the phone, write a check, jerk.” Which resulted in pretty much everyone calling Sprint’s main line to complain about how rude the collections department’s outgoing message is.

Full article: A WXYZ ABC7 in Detroit investigative report.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

No More Pre-Approved Credit Card Offers

Every day your mailbox may contain an interesting offer of pre-approved credit or insurance. These offers give you numerous choices and opportunities. However, while millions of Americans welcome these choices, others prefer not to receive such offers.

Your rights as a consumer include the ability to 'Opt-Out', which prevents consumer credit reporting companies from using your credit file information for pre-approved offers of credit or insurance. The consumer credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion, want to help companies give American consumers the choices they want. This choice includes the right to say, 'Please don't send me these offers'. That's why the four consumer credit reporting companies have developed this website.

Opt-out now

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Hallmark Fumbles Hallmark Holiday

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Hallmark Cards, one of the world's best-known makers of greetings cards, apologized to its clients on Wednesday for problems they experienced trying to access its Web site on Valentine's Day.

An army of love-struck Internet users seeking to pick up or send Hallmark electronic cards on Feb. 14 was turned away from the company's site, which was off-line for a large part of the day.

'We thought we were ready to handle a huge amount of traffic on Valentine's Day. Obviously, we thought wrong,' Hallmark wrote in an email to clients, saying the Web site was flooded by double the expected traffic.

'We cringe at the disappointment we caused to some of you,' the company said.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Celtics can play at your home court
BOSTON -- Ever want the Boston Celtics to play on your basketball court? How about host your very own rock concert for 20,000 fans?

Well, now you can -- sort of.

The owner of the formerly named FleetCenter is offering the arena's naming rights on a day-to-day basis to the highest bidder of an online auction until a new corporate sponsor can be found.

More than a dozen auctions for dates starting with Feb. 16 began Thursday on eBay. People also can place bids on the FleetCenter Web site.

Marketing specialists have estimated the value of FleetCenter's naming rights at more than $4 million a year, or nearly $11,000 per day.

Proceeds from the deals will go to a charity supported by the arena's owner, Delaware North Cos.

The FleetCenter name became obsolete when Bank of America acquired FleetBoston Financial Corp. for $48 billion last year, and the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank agreed to give up the arena naming rights as part of the deal. Delaware North has been identifying possible corporate candidates for a long-term deal.

The home of the Celtics and the NHL's Boston Bruins could carry the names of the bidder, a loved one or a business.

Richard Krezwick, president and chief executive of Delaware North, offered his own suggestion: The Rollie Krezwick Center, in honor of the executive's dog, a wheaten terrier.

''He's a big sports fan,'' Krezwick said. ''He watches hockey religiously.''

Bidders will not be required to include ''Center'' in the building name, and the arena will approve all names provided they're ''rated G,'' Krezwick said.

Winning bidders won't get to change the arena's large exterior signs but will be able to see their chosen names on the arena's Web site and its Jumbotron video screen."

From Chicago Sun Times

Why Your Pointy Haired Boss Is A Mathematical Certainty

Thursday, February 10, 2005

You There, at the Computer: Pay Attention
Great article in NY Times about paying attention.
But in the era of e-mail, instant messaging, Googling, e-commerce and iTunes, potential distractions while seated at a computer are not only ever-present but very enticing. Distracting oneself used to consist of sharpening a half-dozen pencils or lighting a cigarette. Today, there is a universe of diversions to buy, hear, watch and forward, which makes focusing on a task all the more challenging.

Read more

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Bore Me
The best email forwards. Updated monthly.

American tosses pillows off most domestic flights

Airline pillows are soon coming off most of American Airlines' domestic flights to cut costs.
Estimated savings: $375,000 a year. American is hoping most passengers won't care that pillows are gone.

Some great quotes from the article:
'I have never used pillows on American or any other carrier,' says James Espy, president of a Christopher, Ill.-based company that makes Christmas decorations. 'Have you looked at these specimens? How often are they cleaned?'

Washington-based frequent flier David Blanchard says he'll never substitute a blanket for a pillow because airplane blankets collect germs, too. 'I can't tell you how many times I've seen people wrap their feet in them,' he says.

To read the entire article.
How happy are you?

FCC Complaints
From Yahoo!:
If Janet Jackson's Super Bowl transgression was titillating the audience, then Paul McCartney's was boring the audience, according to viewers who lodged email complaints with the Federal Communications Commission in the wake of Sunday's big game.

A year after the FCC logged more than 500,000 complaints over Jackson's exposed breast at the Super Bowl halftime show, the governmental watchdog had received exactly two complaints by Monday afternoon over McCartney's fully clothed set.

In both cases, viewers complained of being 'bored' by McCartney's 12-minute, four-song showcase of Beatles and Wings classics, including 'Hey, Jude,' FCC spokeswoman Rosemary Kimball said Monday.

Boring or not (and some TV writers did not disagree with that assessment), McCartney's performance was heavily TiVo'd, registering 5 percent more viewers than last year's Jackson fiasco, according to the replay-device company, and heavily watched.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

It just keeps on getting better:
Google Maps

Monday, February 07, 2005

How To Fold a Shirt
No, really!

Via LifeHacker

Thursday, February 03, 2005

'Crazy' Bear No Longer for Sale?
Mental-health advocates said that Vermont Teddy Bear has agreed to stop selling its "Crazy for You" bear, which wears a straitjacket (embroidered with a red heart) and has commitment papers. The company told the Associated Press that mental-health advocates were being "a little bit inaccurate," but declined to comment further. The bear was no longer available on its Web site this afternoon.

State lawmakers, Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, mental-health officials and private citizens had protested for weeks against the bear, which sold for $69.95. Company officials have met with mental-health advocates to discuss the bear and have been soliciting public commentary about it, but they recently had pledged to sell the bear through Valentine's Day. On its Web site, the company described the bear as "a great gift for someone you're crazy about." The bear's "commitment report" said: "Can't Eat, Can't Sleep, My Heart's Racing. Diagnosis -- Crazy for You!" "Trust us," the company said on the site. "She'll go nuts over this Bear!"

From the WSJ Evening Wrap

How to Cut...

A great tutorial on all different fruits and vegetables

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

As seen on MTV

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Unwitting Coffee Model Wins Millions
The man whose face graced Taster's Choice labels for several years sure looked happy -- eyes partially closed, mouth perched just above the rim of a cup, frozen in a half-smile of satisfaction. But he didn't know how happy he could be until last week, when a California jury gave him $15.6 million. The man, former model Russell Christoff, was photographed by Taster's Choice parent Nestle in 1986, but was led to believe that the session wouldn't be used. In a drug store 16 years later, though, Mr. Christoff saw himself gracing the label of a jar of the instant coffee, leading to a lawsuit.

The company had started using his image in Canada in 1986. Eventually, he was unwittingly selling coffee in the U.S., Japan and elsewhere. He rejected Nestle's $100,000 settlement offer, and then Nestle rejected his $8.5 million offer, a move the company might come to regret, considering the jury award, which the company plans to appeal.

Mr. Christoff explained to the Associated Press why it took him so long to realize he'd been modeling for Taster's Choice for years: "I don't buy Taster's Choice," he told the AP. "I do beans."

From the WSJ Evening Report

Fodors: How to Pack Almost Any Bag

From Lifehack

Learn Yiddish
An educational recitation from the bestselling parody "Yiddish with Dick and Jane"

Road Rage
Road Rage Flip Book Cards.

VW files complaint against makers of "suicide bomber" ad

Volkswagen has filed criminal charges against the makers of a viral video which has been circulating online in recent weeks. In the ad, a hapless suicide car-bomber blows himself up -- but leaves his VW Polo intact.

Britain's Media Guardian magazine reported the 20-second spot was produced by a London-based advertising duo known as Lee and Dan, who were given 40,000 British pounds, $75,000, and access to the lastest Polo model to do the shoot. The two apologized for offending people but refused to identify themselves. Reuters noted that under German law, charges can be filed against unknown persons, obliging authorities to track down the perpetrators.

The ad – which plays on the VW Polo's tagline "small but tough" – shows a man in fatigues and a Middle Eastern keffiyeh getting in his Polo and driving to the front of a sidewalk cafe. Still in the driver's seat, he detonates a bomb belt. A flash appears inside the car, but the vehicle does not explode. Then comes the strapline: "Polo. Small but tough."

In a statement, Lee and Dan said, "The ad got out accidentally and has spread like wildfire. It wasn't meant for public consumption. We think the spot reflects what people see in the news everyday, and in this instance the car is the hero that protects innocent people from someone with very bad intentions. We're sorry if the ad has caused any offense."

Link to the video

From Boing Boing