And they'll be even jumpier after they get the coffee

Policestarbucks In what may go down as the worst idea ever, the Rancho Cordova police have started pulling over random drivers who are not breaking the law to give them $5 Starbucks gift cards — all under the guise of spreading 'Christmas spirit.'

It sounds like one of the Improv Everywhere pranks that starts out with good intentions and ends up creeping out the person being 'given a good time.' Just wait until a guy with a trunk full of pot stomps on the gas when he sees a cop on his tail, setting off a dangerous high-speed chase. Merry Christmas!

(Photo by Ed Giles)

Posted by Charles Star on December 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2)

What I did this summer...

My last post on the Stay Free blog was over 2 months ago. Yikes. I have reappeared. This summer has been a busy one. I'll be posting more in the coming days but one of the things I did this summer was close all the McDonalds in Manhattan (with some help)...

Our prank is easily repeatable and the script and other resources are on my site under Ronald's Crisis..

P.S. I posted this on YouTube yesterday - my first video on YouTube - and within two hours got my favorite comment ever: "fake"

Posted by Steve Lambert on October 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

My New Favorite Thing: Shredding Scissors

Ae416ed44c63339b5821101e94e09045 I'm almost embarrassed at the level of excitement a $15 pair of scissors brought our household, but these shredding scissors have fascinated my wife and I since we bought a pair (quintuplet?) in December. (My wife is kind of a nut for cutting things up and reassembling them.) These 5-bladed scissors come from Japan, are relatively inexpensive, human powered, and... I swear, will cause you to open and close them repeatedly while marveling at the movement of the blades, like you were Jeff Bridges in Starman. (See also: 9-bladed!) 

Posted by Steve Lambert on July 11, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Beer Goes With Everything

Drunk_fighting A study by the Cardiff University Violence and Society Research Group found that the price of beer correlates with the number of violence-related injuries.

A follow-up study should be done to check birth rates against a nine-month delay of beer prices.

(Via MindHacks)

Posted by Charles Star on April 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Soup to Power

Soup to Nutz is, without question, among the worst daily strips in the country. It is the sort of comic where "No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night" is a punchline that you can look for in roughly 2009 (and probably in 2005). It will follow a middle panel in which the characters stare at each other blankly.

So imagine my surprise when I saw today's comic:


Soup to Nutz: Changing minds one hamfisted punchline at a time.

Posted by Charles Star on July 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Goodbye to 390 Butler (part I)

For the past several years I've been pasting postcards, news clips, photos, and other detritus on my bathroom walls; nearly every inch has been covered. But when I started preparing to move a couple of weeks ago, I found myself taking items off the wall - and thinking about where they came from. So instead of just trashing my carefully acquired refuse, I thought I'd scan in a few images and tell you about 'em. Here we go...

Enoughalready_1 Sean Tejaratchi, the genius graphic designer behind Craphound, once gave me a bunch of postcards he made for Stella Marrs. This was my favorite. More recently, he designed Negativland's No Business CD. Rumor has it that he's now touching up photos for a porn magazine in California.

Mysteryproducts Heidi Cody, another artist from the Illegal Art Exhibit, put this together. Hours of fun!

For Stay Free #16, back in 1999, I was aching to do a parody of the Gap's "Khaki Swings" campaign. I didn't have much of an idea for it, though; all I knew is that I wanted the photo to have blood and khakis. After Noah Scalin took this shot of my buddy Molly Aboud, we were standing around with a few friends wondering what else we could do.... and someone suggested the suicide pun, which ended up becoming the back cover.



Perhaps the most interesting thing about this ad is that some people didn't realize it was a parody. A co-worker even congratulated me for getting a Gap ad in Stay Free! (and, no, she wasn't kidding) I realized that's because people often don't consciously process advertisements; they recognize the image reflexively and assume they know what they've seen.

And here are a couple of photos of my dad. The puppy in the first one is the dog that was on the cover of Stay Free! #22 (my brother's broken mini-Pinscher). In the other, my dad is wearing the kilt he borrowed from his brother. I think this photo makes him look like a character in a Chris Ware story.



And this kinda thing never gets old...


That's all for now. I'll post a few more later...

Posted by carrie on January 12, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

My Rejection Line discovery

I recently interviewed social networking guru (and friend of Stay Free!) Jonah Peretti for the upcoming issue of the magazine. In doing background research, I came across the website for Jonah's Rejection Line, a phone number he and his sister Chelsea set up that you can give out to people who hit on you, to get them to go away (212-479-7990). The answering messages are pretty funny... but the reason I'm bringing this up is because one section of the site has recordings that people who have been rejected leave on on the voicemail. And there's one message in particular - an inscrutable rant by an angry suitor - that really struck me. When I heard it I thought, "Where have I heard that voice before?" And then it hit me - Victor the Budgie! (See conversations like this one.)

Posted by carrie on December 17, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Another disaster waiting to happen


News outlets report that ex-FEMA Director Michael Brown is starting a disaster-preparedness firm. One supposes his first bit of advice might be something like: don't hire an incompetent asshole with no relevant experience in disaster-preparedness.

In other news, convicted pedophile priest Paul Shanley is opening a day care center. (ba-dum-bump)

Posted by Damian on November 25, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Six Things One Should Know About Dressed Dogs

I've ended up on some weird mailing lists in my time but this email (below) tops them all. It's from an email series called PicturePeople which, from what I gather, consists of found photographs and text. And that's really all I have to say about it.



Six Things One Should Know About Dressed Dogs

1. dog dress is a form of communication. It carries nonverbal messages to its audience com-posed of peers and other species that are inaccessible to their human companions.

2. dog dress represents dog values of identity with a particular peer or species group, and at the same time expresses a need to be different from other dogs and species (i.e. cats, parakeets, rats, etc.)

3. dog dress differences symbolize a need for autonomy. Dogs, not their owners, strive for independence.

4. dog dress as different from human dress is a relatively recent historical phenomenon. Pre-vious to the 1950's the dress of dogs mimicked human fashions.

5. dog dress of the present appears to have a historical connection with the dog clothing of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Fashions styles manifest a cyclical nature. What is new and apparently original dress to one generation has its derivation in the past (though there were times when dogs were not dressed at all!).

6. dog dress of the present is influenced by the media. The recent development of animal food commercials demonstrates the powerful effect clothing of animal film stars has on dog audiences.

Remember that clothing is a language, a nonverbal system of communication that through its symbols conveys much about the wearer to the viewer. Before dogs bark at one another, their clothing makes a statement that expresses their sex, age, class, occupation, origin and personality, as well as what they are or what they want to be at a particular moment. Consult Donna Haraway's Companion Species Manifesto (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2003) for further information.

Posted by carrie on October 19, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Pillsbury porn

Pillsbury hot dogs looks like penises!My buddy Becky Ebenkamp told me about me this awesome cover on a Pillsbury Halloween-recipe book. "Hojo's Times Square may be gone," she writes, "but its clam-plate-orgy-style subliminal advertising technique is still going strong!" (Thanks, Beck!)

Posted by carrie on October 18, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (5)