Flags of the world, graded

I love design, I love criticism, and I especially love sarcastic antipodean humour. So this site that gives letter grades to all the flags of the world according to arbitrary but hilarious criteria is just about perfect for me. The patriot in me was disappointed by Australia’s C score, but the maths geek in me had to chuckle at this one:

World Flags Graded

UPDATE: At this other cool site, you can vote on your favourite flags “Hot or Not” style, and see the hottest and not hottest flags others have voted on.

Lurni your furni

Secrets of The IKEA Naming System revealed. I cannot express how much I love knowing things like this:

Upholstered furniture, coffee tables, rattan furniture, bookshelves, media storage, doorknobs: Swedish placenames (for example: Klippan)
Beds, wardrobes, hall furniture: Norwegian place names

Dining tables and chairs: Finnish place names

Bookcase ranges: Occupations

Bathroom articles: Scandinavian lakes, rivers and bays

You have to read the whole list. Quite a nice blog on naming and branding overall.

(Sorry, by the way, for the radio silence. And happy new year.)

They get letters, too, apparently

Though it is not nice to make fun of people with serious reality-interface problems, that is more or less our founding principle here at Famous and Nonfamous Strangers. Over the years people have shared with me lots of crazy letters, but here’s something I’ve never seen before (detailed at Ars Technica)… a hand-written petition of Federal Court seeking $5 Billion-with-a-B from Google!

handwritten petition

To wit, Mr. Jayne has filed suit against Google and its founders for supposed “crimes against humanity,” aiding terrorism, and putting his personal safety at risk. The Pennsylvania man filed the suit on Tuesday with a federal court, and asks for $5 billion in damages. That’s right: five billion dollars.

What’s the problem? The handwritten statement of the claim, seen by Ars Technica (online here), sums up the main charge: “I, Dylan Stephen Jayne, plaintiff, has [sic] a social security number that when the social security number is turned upside down in its entirety it is a scrambled code that does spell the name Google®.”

Apparently he’s upset (something of an understatement) that details of an arrest on public drunkenness and resisting arrest are searchable on the site. And that has led him to a number of other rather more nefarious conclusions. Of course now if you search for “Dylan Jayne,” you get piles of posts poking fun at him. That’s just the way the world works now–the village idiot now has a global (“blogal?”) village to call home. And from the image above, we all have his home address! That’s something these crazy rants, letters and legal filings have in common — the paranoid individual always manages to disclose much more personal information than they should, to the effect that lots of strangers really DO know where they live. Perhaps it’s a kind of wish fulfillment. (Consider it entirely fulfilled here!)

What worries me is not his particularly conspiracy theory, but the danger that this particular brand of mental illness might spread — if we all went nuts over the embarrassing tidbits that search engines index, we’d all be well and truly around the bend. You might hold out hope that God will forgive you, but you must always remember that Google never forgets.

Not “Yellow”-Bellied

I know that I should be writing about how happy I am that Karl Rove is leaving–but isn’t it obvious? Instead, I had to share this. I kinda love this woman.

Karaoke singer attacked after starting song
Woman punches man on stage

It could have been the Coldplay song “Yellow” that upset the patron of a Wallingford neighborhood bar. Or perhaps it was the karaoke singer who belted it out.

Employees at Changes, on North 45th Street, said they don’t know, but the ensuing melee just past 1 a.m. Thursday was one unlike anything seen at the bar before.

As soon as the man on stage started singing about the stars in his best Chris Martin impersonation, the woman reportedly said: “Oh, no, not that song. I can’t stand that song!”

Witnesses said her distaste for Coldplay quickly took a violent turn, and she leaped at the would-be crooner, shouting expletives and telling him that his singing “sucked,” while expressing the same opinion of the song, according to a Seattle police report.

She pushed the man and punched him, all in an effort to stop his singing.

Other patrons went to the singer’s aid and hauled the 21-year-old woman outside.

“It took three or four of us to hold her down,” said Robert Willmette, one of the bartenders at Changes.

The woman, Willmette said, “went crazy” when she got outside, punching him twice in the face, and throwing blows at the others gathered around her.

But the person who drew most of the music critic’s ire was an off-duty Seattle police officer. The off-duty officer identified herself as a cop, gave her badge number and had another patron call 911 to request help for an officer.

The response was fast and overwhelming, with both patrol officers and Gang Unit detectives converging on the normally tame neighborhood bar.

“They blocked the whole street off,” Willmette said.

According to the police report, the woman’s rage only grew when the uniformed officers arrived.

The officers took the woman, whom Willmette described as “a little hippie girl,” to the ground, but she was still able to head butt the off-duty officer several times before she was handcuffed.

After treatment for injuries she suffered in the scuffle, the woman was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of assault. She was also held on a warrant issued for a previous theft charge.

The off-duty officer also went to the hospital, for treatment of several cuts, scrapes and bruises.

Later Thursday morning, bar employees were shaking their heads over the woman’s bizarre behavior.

According to the night bartender’s notes, she had just one drink — a single shot of Jägermeister.

She didn’t appear to be one of the regulars who flock to the bar for its karaoke nights on Sundays and Wednesdays.

Most are regulars who come for the pleasure of the singing, and the police are rarely needed.

“She was just crazy,” Willmette said.



The trailer for the upcoming movie Hot Rod reminded me of the sketch “Shitscared” from the old Late Show series that aired in Australia in the early 90’s. I found this clip on YouTube, and I’d bet that these 6 minutes are funnier than the entire movie. Enjoy.

Now I understand Pearl Jam

Anyone who’s ever ridden in my car and been subjected to my mix CDs know’s I love Pearl Jam. But this guy’s take on the lyrics to Yellow Ledbetter is just hilarious:

Pearl Jam is famous for not releasing official lyrics to their songs. Fansites take up the cause, but they’re subject to interpretation of Eddie’s luscious, gravelly voice, which isn’t always crystal clear. I suspect that’s often deliberate, and in fact he’s famous for singing Yellow Ledbetter with differing lyrics at each concert. In fact, I think that’s one of the reasons I like Pearl Jam: with each new listen, I often pick up a new nuance or lyrical turn in the lyrics I’d missed before. I still remember when I figured out the line “All the rusted signs we ignore throughout out lives, choosing the shiny ones instead” which remains one of my favourite PJ lines. Some songs I listen to over and over to the point where I’ve figured out all the lines (I’m looking at you, Love Boat Captain), but at that point the magic seems to diminish.

But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to Yellow Ledbetter again without thinking of Mr Potato Head.

Make me fries…