April 10th, 2005

Pushing Daisies - Make This Stuff Up

Livejournal can conquer the world





click on the above map (on the portions where there is land) and then click on "instructions" to get the html code to place in a journal entry (then the map will be give points to livejournal.com).

If you don't know what this map is, it is Referrer Risk.

Let me allow pabsungenis to tell you about it:

Ever play Referrer Risk? It is (or should I say WAS) a fun game where websites competed against each other to, literally, conquer the world. A dynamic map was displayed, and as users clicked on the map, pixels would change color to denote that that portion of the world had been "conquered" by the particular website.

However, not that long ago, one message board in the Netherlands, "off-topic.nl" took the call to "conquer the world" too literally. They not only made a concerted effort to turn the entire world purple (the color representing them) but they watch the map regularly, and if anyone starts taking over sizeable portions, they pounce four or five users at a time to wipe them out. It's completely killed the game, and most of the sites that had Referrer Risk on them took it off.

Well, everyone needs to sleep. So, this morning, this is what everyone in the Netherlands who went to that message board saw:



Then I got to thinking. Between all of us on LJ, we outnumber these obsessive Netherlands people, so let's teach them a lesson. If a click comes from any journal, it will be credited to LiveJournal as a whole, so we can really make a dent.

SO,

If you have an LJ of your own, copy and paste that HTML into an entry on your journal and pass the word along. And when you have some time to waste, click on the map a few hundred times, and let's see if we can't reclaim the world for LJ.
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Pushing Daisies - Make This Stuff Up

Another Reason Why BEST BUY SUCKS! (thanks to <lj user="pabsungenis" for pointing this out)

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-md.olesker08mar08,1,76004.column?coll=bal-local-columnists&ctrack=1&cset=true

(Registration is required, but the password for it at Bug Me Not works.)

A tale of customer service, justice and currency as funny as a $2 bill

Michael Olesker


PUT YOURSELF in Mike Bolesta's place. On the morning of Feb. 20, he buys a new radio-CD player for his 17-year-old son Christopher's car. He pays the $114 installation charge with 57 crisp new $2 bills, which, when last observed, were still considered legitimate currency in the United States proper. The $2 bills are Bolesta's idea of payment, and his little comic protest, too.

For this, Bolesta, Baltimore County resident, innocent citizen, owner of Capital City Student Tours, finds himself under arrest.

Finds himself, in front of a store full of customers at the Best Buy on York Road in Lutherville, locked into handcuffs and leg irons.

Finds himself transported to the Baltimore County lockup in Cockeysville, where he's handcuffed to a pole for three hours while the U.S. Secret Service is called into the case.

Have a nice day, Mike.

"Humiliating," the 57-year old Bolesta was saying now. "I am 6 feet 5 inches tall, and I felt like 8 inches high. To be handcuffed, to have all those people looking on, to be cuffed to a pole -- and to know you haven't done anything wrong. And me, with a brother, Joe, who spent 33 years on the city police force. It was humiliating."

What we have here, besides humiliation, is a sense of caution resulting in screw-ups all around.

"When I bought the stereo player," Bolesta explains, "the technician said it'd fit perfectly into my son's dashboard. But it didn't. So they called back and said they had another model that would fit perfectly, and it was cheaper. We got a $67 refund, which was fine. As long as it fit, that's all.

"So we go back and pay for it, and they tell us to go around front with our receipt and pick up the difference in the cost. I ask about installation charges. They said, 'No installation charge, because of the mix-up. Our mistake, no charge.' Swell.

"But then, the next day, I get a call at home. They're telling me, 'If you don't come in and pay the installation fee, we're calling the police.' Jeez, where did we go from them admitting a mistake to suddenly calling the police? So I say, 'Fine, I'll be in tomorrow.' But, overnight, I'm starting to steam a little. It's not the money -- it's the threat. So I thought, I'll count out a few $2 bills."

He has lots and lots of them.

With his Capital City Student Tours, he arranges class trips for school kids around the country traveling to large East Coast cities, including Baltimore. He's been doing this for the last 18 years. He makes all the arrangements: hotels, meals, entertainment. And it's part of his schtick that, when Bolesta hands out meal money to students, he does it in $2 bills, which he picks up from his regular bank, Sun Trust.

"The kids don't see that many $2 bills, so they think this is the greatest thing in the world," Bolesta says. "They don't want to spend 'em. They want to save 'em. I've been doing this since I started the company. So I'm thinking, 'I'll stage my little comic protest. I'll pay the $114 with $2 bills.'"

At Best Buy, they may have perceived the protest -- but did not sense the comic aspect of 57 $2 bills.

"I'm just here to pay the bill," Bolesta says he told a cashier. "She looked at the $2 bills and told me, 'I don't have to take these if I don't want to.' I said, 'If you don't, I'm leaving. I've tried to pay my bill twice. You don't want these bills, you can sue me.' So she took the money. Like she's doing me a favor."

He remembers the cashier marking each bill with a pen. Then other store personnel began to gather, a few of them asking, "Are these real?"

"Of course they are," Bolesta said. "They're legal tender."

A Best Buy manager refused comment last week. But, according to a Baltimore County police arrest report, suspicions were roused when an employee noticed some smearing of ink. So the cops were called in. One officer noticed the bills ran in sequential order.

"I told them, 'I'm a tour operator. I've got thousands of these bills. I get them from my bank. You got a problem, call the bank,'" Bolesta says. "I'm sitting there in a chair. The store's full of people watching this. All of a sudden, he's standing me up and handcuffing me behind my back, telling me, 'We have to do this until we get it straightened out.'

"Meanwhile, everybody's looking at me. I've lived here 18 years. I'm hoping my kids don't walk in and see this. And I'm saying, 'I can't believe you're doing this. I'm paying with legal American money.'"

Bolesta was then taken to the county police lockup in Cockeysville, where he sat handcuffed to a pole and in leg irons while the Secret Service was called in.

"At this point," he says, "I'm a mass murderer."

Finally, Secret Service agent Leigh Turner arrived, examined the bills and said they were legitimate, adding, according to the police report, "Sometimes ink on money can smear."

This will be important news to all concerned.

For Baltimore County police, said spokesman Bill Toohey, "It's a sign that we're all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world."

The other day, one of Bolesta's sons needed a few bucks. Bolesta pulled out his wallet and "whipped out a couple of $2 bills. But my son turned away. He said he doesn't want 'em any more."

He's seen where such money can lead.


Copyright ? 2005, The Baltimore Sun
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Pushing Daisies - Make This Stuff Up

I've got until August for this, but I want to start looking for suggestions now...

I've had an idea for a mix CD for a while. I want to give it to Maia when she turns three.

I want music that says "we love you and want you to be happy. Be true to yourself and reach for your dreams" It should be all family friendly, of course...

So far:

Eurythmics - Beautiful Child
Kermit The Frog - Bein' Green
Mama Cass - Make Your Own Kind of Music
New Seekers - Free To Be You and Me
Prozzak - Be As

What would you suggest?
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