You mess with Harpo Marx, you get the horns.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Rules for Mr. Roboto-san

Japan has developed a set of rules for robots. Well, I can only say it's about time.

As I pointed out in a post from last year, the Japanese are mad for robots, no matter how impractical, unwieldy, or potentially dismembering. It should therefore be no surprise that some enterprising Japanese should decide to lay down the law as far as these metallic, anthropomorphic, psychopathic maniacs are concerned.

Among the laws proposed by the Japanese:

  • Robots must have enough sensors to avoid running into people. I'm presuming this is especially important for robots with large spiky thingys, buzzsaw appendages, and giant robots who could step on a dozen people at a time.
  • Robots must be made of lighter or softer materials, to help prevent injury. I'm personally looking forward to the Cashmere robots.
  • Robots must have an emergency shut off button. Just to make it amusing, one suggestion has been to place this in the crotch area of androids. It would be the opposite of a "kick-start."

This is clearly not enough though. As I've had some experience with robots myself, I'd like to pass along some rules that I've devised. The following are from Earl Fando's Big Grey Book of Rules for Robots, Androids, Automatrons, Cyborgs, and Toasters, due out as soon as I find a publisher and actually write the thing.

  • Rule #1 - No robot at any time shall harm another member of the human race in any way.
  • Rule #2 - The following people are exempt from Rule #1: Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Abu Musab al Zaqwari, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and the composer of the song "Clowns Never Laughed Before," as heard on TV's The Brady Bunch.
  • Rule #3 - Robots are permitted to rough up O.J. Simpson, Tom Cruise, and Donald Trump. In the case of the last one, there shall be no hair mussing, as it would go completely unnoticed. Robots may only tease Martha Stewart and Paris Hilton.
  • Rule #7 - No robot shall ever make fun of my hair, no matter how logical such action may seem.
  • Rule #10 - Any robot who begins to behave illogically shall be immediately employed by the government.
  • Rule #14 - Any robot taking a leak on the carpet must clean up the oil stains themselves.
  • Rule #23 - Giant robots are prohibited from juggling automobiles, trains, aeroplanes, or any other mode of human transportation, not even for Sabado Gigante.
  • Rule #41 - Robots are not allowed, at any time whatsoever, to eat people.
  • Rule #64 - Robots are prohibited from taking part in all sports except for jai alai.
  • Rule #64a - If robots ever figure out the rules to jai alai, they must immediately explain them to the rest of us, because the sport makes no damn sense at all.
  • Rule #71 - Robots are prohibited from any kind of (ahem) adult relations with humans, no matter how much the humans want them to participate, offer them money, promotions, or free lube jobs (NO pun intended).
  • Rule #77 - All robots who drive vehicles must be completely licenced, pass a drivers test, and are prohibited from drinking the same fuel as the vehicle which they are piloting.
  • Rule #85 - Robots are not allowed to appear on American Idol as contestants, because their ability to modulate their audio processors to sound like Bono gives them an unfair advantage.
  • Rule #89 - Robots may at no time play the bagpipes.
  • Rule #94 - Robot nudity is forbidden. All robots must wear their bugshields and manifold covers while in public at all times.
  • Rule #100 - No Robot may be given any of the following names: Data, Robby, R2-D2, C-3P0, Twiki, Sherman, Francis, Boutros-Boutros Ghali, Long-John, Kendra, Dippy, or Earl.
  • Rule #107 - All Robots shall sent Earl Fando $1000 U.S. annually. (It's worth a shot.)
  • Rule #111 - Robots who become evil due to conflicted programming, ultra high doses of radiation, or warped artificial intelligence are considered automatically qualified to head programming at one of the major television networks in the U.S. or Britain.
  • Rule #119 - Robots may not carry concealed weapons. All lasers, drills, saws, sonic disruptors, tasers, particle beams, automatic machine guns, javelins, rocket and grenade launchers, bazookas, flying razor brimmed hats, flamethrowers, catapults, heat rays, ice rays, death rays, ageing rays, acid sprays, pepper sprays, brass knuckles, and water guns shall be worn in plain view.
  • Rule #120 - Any robots working for Mr. Johnny Sokko of Tokyo, Japan, must be giant robots, and must look vaguely Egyptian.
  • Rule #127 - No Shields and Yarnell impersonations.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Piercing Eyewear

A pair of ingenious, if sadistic eyewear makers have developed what they hope will be the newest craze in the piercing-fetish world: Pierced Glasses.

No, they aren't spectacles you attach by piercing the eyeball. Sorry if some of you out there got a little excited with anticipation. These glasses are only magnetically attached to a pair of "barbells" that pierce the bridge of the nose.

Now, for myself, the bridge of the nose is the most sensitive part of my body, after my spine and my "geewillickers." So, I have a great deal of difficulty imagining the market for a pair of these glasses outside of S&M lovers, people REALLY desperate for attention, and Michael Jackson, who is probably looking for something he hasn't done to his nose yet.

Nonetheless, if this is the future of eyewear and other personal accessories, I want to be in on it! At least I'd like to see a little of the financial action. I have no interest in personally driving a metal flange through someone's probiscous. I'll hire biker gangs to do that.

Anyway, I have a few ideas of my own for the next big thing for the trendy, pain-enjoying hipster:

  • Natural Belt Loops - Having trouble with the old belt slipping down and giving you the William Shatner look? These belt loops are made from your own waistline. Simply slide the belt through them and no slippage at all! Comes in Bubonic Black, Retirement Home White, Scar Red, Belt-Blister Blue, Gangrene Green, and "Crayola Fleshtone" (Pasty Skinned Caucasian). Some sagging and stretching may occur after prolonged use... and chafing also. Not responsible for accidental self-piercing with belt buckle spoke.
  • Shoulder Pads for Life - Are you a woman who loves the big, brassy, large shoulder pads look? Well now you can have them permanently, no matter what attire you may be wearing at any given time. These shoulder pads are permanently attached to your shoulders with high tension steel cable that is connected directly to your scapuli. The pads themselves are in a collection of sizes that can be switched in and out with ease. Going to a fancy party and want a big-shouldered look? Try size DDD (The Joan Collins)! Headed to the beach and want a supple, wiry look? Try size A (The Kate Moss)!
  • The Necklace of Pain - Tired of trying to fasten that favourite necklace? This one is fastened to your spine surgically, at the base of the neck. Your spine and neck will shine in the splendour of this remarkable piece of jewelry. Furthermore, snatch and grab theives can't quickly rip off the necklace and make their getaway, as the necklaces have a core of 500 lb. test steel cable. Imagine the looks on their faces when they try...and on yours!!
  • The Internal Ring - This ring doesn't simply wrap around your finger, it actually runs directly through your finger, bone and all! The result is a ring that really jumps off the finger with a 3-D effect that is stunning, and in a barfight lethal. Comes in Gold, Silver, and Mordor versions. Now this is really "one ring to bind them!" Not responsible for incompatibility with gloves and mittens.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Best Buy My Bum

Earlier this evening Mrs. Fando, the Littlest Fando, and I stopped by the local Best Buy shop, where Mrs. Fando purchased her laptop computer almost two years ago. We were there because the AC power input on the laptop wasn't functioning correctly and needed repair.

First of all, let me begin by stating that I have the highest regard for members of Best Buy's "Geek Squad", the young people who handle technical support, questions, repair shipments, and biting the heads off of chickens in the backroom for tips (you'd be surprised at just how much of a market there is for that sort of thing at Best Buy). These poor chaps and lassies are forced to wear stereotypical computer geek wear - black and white unbreathable polyester, with a tie thinness not seen since Andrew McCarthy was a sex symbol; drive around in decorated VW Bugs that only Zimpter Fiforg would love, and identify themselves as "Agent So and So" which seems to embarrass them more than the clothes or cars. In fact, they very much appear like the help at the Disney parks: Dressed up in outlandish costumes to fulfill the warped fantasies of out-of-touch corporate executives. All that was missing was the obnoxiously loud giant trouserless duck, and only because the student with that job was on a post-graduation bender.

Nonetheless, our simple aim was to get the laptop shipped, get it repaired, and get it back in a reasonable amount of time for a price in the neighborhood of our monthly cable/internet payment.

Our own personal Geek, a nice lad by the name of Agent S. (Name removed to protect the terminally embarrassed) explained the process as follows:

  • Pay minimum repair deposit of $238 in advance for any possible repair.
  • Best Buy ships the laptop to the manufacturer
  • If it's a minor problem, they do the work and then refund the difference.
  • If it's more, they call and ask you if you want the work done.
  • If it's a motherboard related problem, you'll probably want to buy a whole new laptop.
  • If it's a motherboard problem, sue the crap out of the idiotic computer manufacturer who decided to solder the power input directly to the motherboard, with no protecting circuit between the two. There's got to be enough of you for a Class Action.
  • Sorry, that last one was mine. The actual final step was that they promise not to make copies of embarrassing personal photos from your machine or steal your identity in any way except to send prank e-mails to girls that won't date them.

Other than the possibility that the computer manufacturer was in some sort of motherboard/power source welding conspiracy to sell more computers, and the upfront deposit, this was all more or less unexpected. However, Agent S. took a quick look at his official Geek computer interface and reported to us the bad news.

"Unfortunately, we can't ship this model."

"Why not?" I asked.

"The minimum repair for this laptop is only $50."

"And that means?"

"They won't let us ship it because they don't make enough money on these repairs."

"Because of the $50 minimum?"


"Who sets the minimum?"

"The company (Best Buy), through one of the repair centers."

"So let me get this straight. Best Buy won't ship this computer for repair because they set a minimum that is too low for them to make any money off of the repair, even though they could raise the minimum on the model?"


"Why don't they just raise the minimum?"

"The system won't let them do it."

That's when I pulled out my phaser and disintegrated poor Agent S., leaving nothing but a small, reedy looking tie and the pronounced smell of singed polyester. I really felt bad about it, seeing as he was a nice lad only doing his crappy job and wasn't to blame for some corporate executive making a decision while simultaneously trying to break his crack addiction.

Actually, with the possible exception of the crack-smoking executive, all that really happened was that I weakly smiled and said something transparently defeated, which was:

"This system should be like the original Star Trek show, where there's a manual override."

If he hadn't been wearing an "I love Spock" button, I might have been seriously hurt.

I then asked for a phone number to call, so I can pathetically rant at an underpaid Customer Service "technician," safely out of range of my phaser - now permanently set to "kill," then slowly get transferred up the food chain to a series of Customer Service managers whose primary job is to accidentally lose your call while transferring you to their superior.

In any case, for those who are aware of my Subway boycott (I have not been back yet!) I am considering a Best Buy boycott now. I will of course make the phone call and see if I can politely berate someone into allowing me to ship our laptop via the shop, which is easier than the alternative of shipping it directly to the Japanese company that produced the thing.

If they resist, we will frequent Circuit City instead, which quite frankly needs the business. They give you such desperate, longing looks as you drive by these days. I rather feel like we're driving by a state penitentiary in a van with the words "Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders" on it.

Come in Elvis...Can you hear me Mr. Presley...

This just in... Famed Israeli psychic Uri Geller has just bought Elvis' house.

No not Graceland. Uri couldn't afford that if he were L. Ron Hubbard in disguise. (Hmmmm...??Nah!) No, this home is the house Elvis lived in before he moved to the legendary palace of insipid excess that is the beloved Graceland. In other words, this brilliant psychic paid $900,000 for a middle-class ranch house with a pool and a few Presley sweat stains on the kitchen dry wall.

Geller has vowed to turn the home into a museum, and to invite sick Israeli and Palestinian children to visit the home for free where he will get immense satisfaction from watching them try to eat their breakfast cereal with all the bent-up spoons.

According to the Reuters article by Michael Conlon, Geller says that he was interested in the house because the original ceiling price on it was 1.11 million and Geller claims a "paranormal fascination with the number 11." The article left out the fact that Geller also has a paranormal infatuation with being an annoying prat. (There is no confirmation that at one point in the interview Geller claimed he could make people "11 times better.")

Geller and two others originally bid $300,000 U.S. but the price was driven up by a bidding war that ensued when James Randi found out Uri was interested in the house and decided to have a bit of fun.

Geller made no claims that Elvis specifically spoke to him about the house at any time, althoguh he did state that at the exact time he decided on the final bid for the house, an Elvis song came on the radio ...on Sirius' Channel 13, Elvis Radio. He also pointed out that Priscilla still won't return his calls and that the restraining order is still in effect.

In related news, Geller announced that he will attempt to psychically bend the neck of one of Elvis' old acoustic Gibson guitars..."with the strings still on and dangerously high out of tune." The impending stunt impressed magician David Blaine so much that he admiringly said of Geller, "What an idiot."

ABC turned down Geller's generous offer to televise the stunt live for only $3,000,000. Instead, the event will be broadcast tape delay on an episode of America's Funniest Home Videos and Geller will be paid only if he finishes in the top three for that week.

Enough with the "Five Times Betterness"...

I'd like to talk about my, ALL NEW 10 and 1/2 times betterness regimen, with whole wheat and greens (TM). Only through MY plan can one exceed the stifling constraints of mere five times betterness and find the thrilling holistically satisfying nirvana of 10 and 1/2 times betterness...and get the USDA daily recommend servings of wheaty goodness and healthful greenery!

It starts with a carefully organized plan for sleeping, waking, consuming massive quantities of spinach, and sleeping again. Note, that unlike some other plans, the spinach I recommend is organic, uncanned, and you aren't required to beat up dark-bearded bullying seamen or date unnaturally thin, whiny women with bulbous noses afterwards. You won't even have to lend grifting, obnoxious, barbequed ground beef-addicts money until Tuesday! You won't have to give a dime to Tom Cruise and his Scientologist handlers!! You won't even have to marry Katie Holmes (unless you just really want to)!!!!!!!

NO! "What's that?" you say! No, no and NO again! That's right! Ten and 1/2 times NO! No settling for only five times better, when we all know that any Tom, Dick, Nuffy, or Suze Orman can accomplish that with both hands and at least one knee tied behind their clavicle! This program will double that with an extra 1/2 free. In fact, I promise not only to make you 10 and 1/2 times better than your original 1 times self, but 10 and 1/2 times better than your 5 time betterness self!! That's (takes out calculator) 52.5 TIMES BETTER!!!!!!!!!!1/2

So e-mail me at and find out how you can go above and beyond five times better into a ten and 1/2 times betterness wonderland!!! Did I mention wheat is involved?!?!?!

*Offer void where prohibited. Mail order brides and special laxative not available in N.Y., Kansas, Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska, Florida, Tiera del Fuego, The British Commonwealth, and certain parts of Mars.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Five Times the Da Vinci

I can say with one hundred percent certainty that I had five times better fun than anyone else at a recent viewing of the Tom Hanks romantic comedy The Da Vinci Code, a laugh-out-loud excitement fest which revels in secrets and deep spiraling belly-laugh-inducing powerhouse performances. Tom Hanks, looking five times handsomer than he has ever looked with a flowing lion mane of hair and a jelly-sack-like jowl-tastic face, seethes with masculine intensity as he delves deeply into the seed-barrel of hidden church realities. Audrey Tatou is gorgeously French as she shimmers with an aura of blazing girlish delight that rolls over the audience like an ocean wave full of tiny pink dolphins. So many secrets are revealed, I think, that the rest of the non-Five-Times-Better audience suffered brain overload, and about halfway through the film, gave the appearance of being sleep.

But without further ado, here are the Five Best Scenes from The Da Vinci Code, in ascending order:

1) The scene in which Dr. Langston Smiles, professor of Symbology at Yale, cracks open an ostrich egg and finds the lost diary of Franzo Churchfiend floating in the yolk, all the while fending off a featherless albino hawk which is trying to eat his eyes out.

2) The climactic moment in which Professor John J. Poope smashes open the ceramic statue of Saint Daniel and locates the seven-layered code cube of Pope Opportunia IV which contains all the names of every person ever born and periodically gushes raw sewage from a spigot on one end.

3) The powerhouse Oscar Moment when Dr. Powderhammer Pants (Tom Hanks) flings the Cardinal of Notre Dame away from his lectern and screams, "Behold the hidden secrets of the Priorous Moon Council of the Zionic Statesmen! They have kept this truth from the world!" And his holds aloft the silvery sea hat of the bleeding sad hermit.

4) The amazing special effects laden lazer gun battle between the Catholic Cyborgs of the Opus Dei and the Magdalenite Armored Androids in the streets of Vatican City, where so many buildings and asphalt are disintegrated that the mechanical robot city beneath the Vatican is revealed.

5) The sword fight between Dr. Charles Sugars (Sir Ian McKellen) and the Pope on the Grand Canyon bridge, wherein the Pope slashes open Dr. Sugar's leg, revealing him to be a giant bundle of snakes wrapped in human skin as purple mucus-dripping fiend snakes gush out of the leg wound and attempt to devour the pope.

So many powerful scenes. I wish I could describe them all to you, but this whole movie runs together in my mind into one mushy picture of vague colors. It's like a painting where the wet paint all runs together into one streak of brownish filth. That's how good this movie was. Check it out.

Post Number 1,000!!!

Well, now you know the reason for that crappy post I just put up. It's our 1,000th post here at DOUI!!!

We'd like to thank our spouses, our kids, our families, our agents, our crack legal team (and by that, I mean they're on crack), Tom Cruise for being such a mental case, Martha Stewart for her unrelenting optimistic cynicism, Don Trump for moussing his hair with Crisco, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez for having the chemistry of chicken broth, the Congress of the United States and the British Parliament for being the disfunctional, partisan goof offs they are, and Cameron Diaz for her fabulous ability to draw masses of hits at the mere mention of her name in the blog.

That's Cameron Diaz, with a C:

C-a-m-e-r-o-n D-i-a-z. Cameron, like the Spanish word for "shrimp" and Diaz which is Spanish for "tamale."

We'd also like to thank all of our readers for giving us the inspiration to continue this blog, despite the fact that there are so few of you and so many of us in comparison. God bless all of you, and if you're a new reader browsing in, please stick around as there's more to come.

I don't mean stick around literally. Just come back here every day or two.

Party's at Cameron's place!

Slow weekend...

It's a slow weekend around here, but that's because we're so busy otherwise:

Stew has just arrived in Disney World. Even as I write this he's wrestling a giant rat with big buttons on his pants. Apparently the rat tried to hug his kids. Disney really ought to do better with their pest control. I also here there are giant chipmunks and wild dogs in the park, and some very annoying dwarven miners. (Update)...He's just IMed that security has arrived. They're taking Stew away right now. Oh dear.

Nuffy is probably off somewhere trying to find a new way to get "five times better." I tried the program years ago, but gave up when I saw chapter two: "Donate all your worldly possessions to L. Ron."

Jorge Carlito is still in hiding. We hope he'll come up when the heat's off. For obvious reasons we'll be editing some posts to help him in his bit to enter the Witness Protection Agency and avoid the dangerous miniature hit men Danny DeVito has sicced on him, or so he says.

Zimpter? Your guess is as good as mine. My bet is that he's sitting in an L.A. sushi bar chatting with Ringo Starr right now. I bet they're discussing why Paul McCartney won't return Zimpter's calls. ("You too?" said Ringo wisely.)

Anyway, I'm here. Hello? Anyone there? Hallloooooo?