Archive for the ‘Absurd But True’ Category

True Life: I Dress Up as Cookie Monster for Tourists

April 11, 2013

cookieNEW YORK, NY – If you’ve been groped by Super Mario lately or yelled at by an anti-Semitic Elmo, chances are you know too well the spread of costumed characters in and around Times Square. Once upon a time, the area was populated by thieves, hustlers, and sexual deviants. Today it is populated by thieves, hustlers, and sexual deviants wearing knock-off Sesame Street costumes.

In the past few years their ranks have grown, unchecked by copyright infringement or local law enforcement, who mostly stay clear. But then you get the flare-ups. Most recently one of these performers, dressed as Cookie Monster, allegedly accosted a tourist and her young son after they did not tip him for the photograph they’d taken. Aside from the fact that this is just not the way a character beloved by children the world over should behave, it raises questions about freedom of speech and entrepreneurial rights. Should these seemingly deranged men (trust me, they are all men) be allowed to perform?

Keep reading!

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In Russia, ambulances are taxis and opportunity is everywhere

March 27, 2013

ambulance-in-russia

MOSCOW, Russia — Let’s say you’re an entrepreneur trying to make it in Moscow. You drive the city streets everyday, motoring from one gig to another. You marvel at the congestion you see: the traffic, at a standstill. The commuters, aggravated at delays creating unwanted friction in their offices and home lives. These streets you drive are paved with frustration, yes. But maybe they’re also paved…with opportunity?

Enter: AMBULANCE-TAXI. For just about 6,000 rubles (or $200) an hour, wealthy Russians looking to sidestep the misery of their daily commute can hail a cab of a very different make and, aided by the handy siren system and normal citizens’ reaction to what they perceive as an emergency, get to work on time. And in style!

One of these vehicles, spotted by law enforcement on a recent patrol, was described as having an interior “fitted out like a high-class limousine.” Imagine the care that went into that job! First the ambulance had to be bought, probably from a friend of your cousin. Then retrofitted with plush leather and bulk variety packs of Fritos chips. Top it off with a classy website (I couldn’t find one) and you’ve got an operation of stealth and refinement to put the KGB to shame.

You never escape the question “what would you do if you had unlimited money?” As a kid, the answer’s easy: a pool made of ice cream, maybe a 300″ TV that plays only episodes of Spongebob. Later, more altruistic, you imagine buying every family in the world their own water filtration system. But then you get to be asshole-rich, actually achieving some modified version of unlimited money. And you use it to fool Russia’s lower classes into thinking you’re being hospitalized while you get to work quicker than usual.

Don’t ever change, Russia. You’re the beating heart of my idealized comedy world.

Fake Suburban Prison Makes Us All Feel Like We’re in a Much Larger, Existential Prison

April 16, 2012
Photo by Andy Holzman, Los Angeles Daily News

In the West Hills area of Los Angeles right now stands a house surrounded by chain link fence and razor wire, a makeshift guard tower on the premises, looking to all passersby like a prison. A man in an orange jumpsuit often pumps iron in the yard, attended by guards. Signs warn of electric shocks to those who touch the fence. There have even been protests outside, some broken up by police. The scene has all the trappings of an honest-to-God penal institution.

But wait a second — home-owned and/or -converted prisons don’t yet exist! That’s not a thing! I’m starting to wonder if this is more like-

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The McCrazy Files: The Hamburglar of Augusta, ME

March 27, 2012

You know what I’m going to miss most about Lifting Fog? Beautiful crap like this.

Just before dusk on Sunday evening, the sun shedding its last rays on what had been a stunning spring day, a family pulled into the drive-thru of an Augusta McDonald’s. They were eager for burgers and fries and maybe Shamrock Shakes, too, if the kids had done especially well at their soccer game. (“We’ll see!” Dad responded when they all pleaded from the backseat.) Fast food was a fun treat, a once-in-a-while meal. What the hey — it had been a great afternoon.

The family was hungry, and ordered quickly. Dad drove to the next window. “What do you think might happen on ‘Once Upon a Time’ tonight?” Mom asked. They had a few minutes before the dedicated kitchen staff would have everything ready. But before that final transaction could take place…before McNuggets could be placed in appropriate hand…CHAOS.

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…On the Other Hand, We All Need a Major Time-Out

November 29, 2011

The holiday shopping season (as distinct from the shopping-less “holiday season,” which is about stupid things like “family”) has two faces. One is the wacky, Schwarzenegger-punching-a-reindeer side:

And then there’s this:

Across the country last Friday, competitive shoppers of all stripes braved cold, sleep deprivation, and any sense of personal pride to bust down the doors of big box commerce. In this case “bust down” can be used literally, as Friday was BLACK Friday: the one day a year where doors are obstacles, shopping carts weapons, and your only allegiance to an Old Testament, dual-core processor God. It’s a fun party!

That is until an older man dies of a heart attack and a crazy lady pepper-sprays 20 people in the faceAt most parties you dread the moment the cops arrive, but on Black Friday you keep asking when they’ll show up. You’re down on Wall Street and on college campuses roughing up peaceful activists? We could REALLY USE YOU IN ALL THE WAL-MARTS.

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What’s the Deal with Chick-fil-A?

September 23, 2011

While our up-to-the-minute fast food coverage at Lifting Fog is usually burger-focused — with a special eye toward “consumer insanity” — every so often we like to put down the beef and examine some other industry staples, i.e. tacos or chicken. Today’s story is not about tacos.

On Thursday morning a brand new Chick-fil-A restaurant opened in Hollywood, USA — only the seventh franchise in the Los Angeles area, and a gleaming beacon of hope to chicken lovers who also happen to be Lakers fans. Coupons good for a year’s worth of free chicken sweetened the deal for the nearly 200 people waiting in line, who started camping out Wednesday morning. Asked what they would do with 365 days of chicken sandwiches, customers could only point to the nearest hospital and say “food.” It was that kind of crowd.

But back to the question at hand: why’s everyone losing their freakin’ minds? The coupon component makes sense — they’re coupons; it’s free food. Understood! But the sandwiches themselves…I mean correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t they sell the same basic item at McDonald’s? Wendy’s? Etc.? Five Guys is a chain to go nuts over. WAWA is a chain to go nuts over. But Chick-fil-A seems an underwhelming star to hitch your wagon to.

…And that’s forgetting entirely about the SECOND reading of the question, which is that lost in all the chicken excitement is some pretty unsavory news: Chick-fil-A, for whatever reason, is REALLY NOT A FAN OF GAYS.

Keep reading!

“Coning”: A National Concern

September 15, 2011

I’ll take it as inconclusive proof of having maybe growed my ass up that I was unaware until just a few minutes ago of this latest prank craze to squeeze through the American youth pipeline, “Coning,” which entails 1) buying a drive-through ice cream cone from McDonald’s then 2) grabbing the dessert by the ice cream, not the cone, while 3) the employee handing it to you stands there befuddled. If it sounds like something your Philly Blunts-smoking cousin who’s big into car modding might do, that’s because it is.

What?! It doesn’t even make sense as a prank. YOU’RE the one out an ice cream cone. YOU’RE the one with sticky fingers. Maybe the cashier gives you that “whuuuh?” look you clearly crave, but you’re just as likely to have the poor employee (rightfully) yell at you for being such an annoying ass. If a prank’s object is pulling one over on the other party, then coning barely satisfies the not-that-stringent requirements of the word! You guys are doing it ALL WRONG.

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Checking In on the Very Real ‘Candyland’ Movie

May 24, 2011

There was a time not long ago, say 2008, when despite the continued existence of goodness assassin Michael Bay, jokes about Hollywood’s creative bankruptcy were still sort of funny. I mean, they wouldn’t really make a Candyland movie. No way! Even the least artistically-minded schlock-king in Hollywood (read: whoever made Beverly Hills Chihuahua, a name I refuse to look up) would turn up his nose at the prospect of “adapting” a board game designed for three- and four-year-olds, with characters like “Lord Licorice,” into a movie of ANY stripe. It’s too dumb; spits on the graves of cinema’s pioneers with maybe too much malice. Three years ago, we could still laugh at the utter ridiculousness of the possibility. Hahahahaha!

The time for laughter is OVER. Candyland is now a very real movie, being written with very real words. Rapture false alarms be damned, we are clearly in for a very real End of Days.

The Apocalypse illuminated, after the jump!

The McCrazy Files: Panama City Beach Bonanza

March 30, 2011

Let’s cut right to the heart of the issue: when a company tells you you can “have it your way,” they’re really just bringing this kind of shit on themselves. Last Thursday a Burger King in Panama City Beach, FL saw its life flash before its eyes when a young woman, upset that her drive-thru order wasn’t filled correctly, basically incited a Spartacus-level uprising against its employees. After descending, in bikini, on the register to demand satisfaction, she proceeded to 1) climb on the counter 2) slap someone or something and 3) get her hands on a water jug, which she then threw. That last part of course being everyone else’s cue to join in. Individual events are sort of hazy, which you’ll see below, but the craziness is CRYSTAL CLEAR.

There are now just about…600 days until the world is slated to end, which makes this latest addition to the McCrazy Files right on schedule. Thanks for taking your responsibilities seriously, everyone!

2010 Vancouver Olympics: Not Boring! (Part Four)

February 25, 2010

8) Evgeni Plushenko Knows The Truth

I don’t know much about Figure Skating. If judging were up to me, athletes would all be graded on song selection (the girl who skated to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme last night would have won) and number of smiles. It is really a good thing I am not a judge! Still, I’m tuned in enough to generally understand what’s going on. I can see the moves. I get that there’s a yin and yang balance between grace and innovation; can spot the difference between a skater executing his program with consistency and one looking to “raise the game.” I know an American from a Russian program. On the ice, I can tell Evan Lysacek and Evgeni Plushenko apart.

But off the ice is so much easier, because one of them is dark-haired and modest and the other one is TOTALLY CRAZY.

Find out how after the jump!