Tag Archives: Humour

I hate error messages

Because they are generally unhelpful and/or stupid.

Yes I know the connection to my computer was lost because I turned it off forgetting that the movie I was watching was streaming from the said computer.

Make sure your computer is turned on: I just told you I turned it off. It was a mistake, an accident.

Connected to your network: There’s nothing wrong with the network. I turned the computer off.

And is running media sharing software: Dude! I was just watching a movie. Do you think that would have been possible without running media sharing?

Error messages suck.

Jesse James and the bawdy bootjack

I am currently reading The assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford and on page 144 of the paperback edition the following passage grabbed my attention:

Jesse ripped off the paper and the box flap and with childish astonishment withdrew a black, ironworked model of a salacious naked woman, her arms crossed beneath her head, her legs lewdly cloven and lifted.”It’s a bawdy bootjack,” Bob said.
“I wished I owned one a thousand times.”

“Well. Now you do.”

Jesse stroked the woman’s round breasts with his thumb and blushed as he smiled. “I love Christmas.”

“I can see that.”

He imitated shame. “But I don’t have anything for you! I never dreamed-”

“Your friendship is plenty.”

Charley slunk in from the kitchen and then warily approached Jesse to examine the articulation of the ironwork. He asked his brother, “What is it?”

“It’s a bawdy bootjack,” he said.

“It’s something I’ll cherish always,” said Jesse.

“Then we both have something to cherish,” said Bob.

I understand what “bawdy” means and I know what a “bootjack” is, yet the association of both words stroke me as funny and funny it was because a Google search turned up nothing. After doing a little research, a friend of mine, James, pointed me in the direction of Naughty Nellie and although the item seemed to perfectly match the description from the book there was only one problem, she wasn’t naked.

Now call me crazy, but I was really obsessing on the problem and decided to email the author Ron Hansen:

This might come out of left field but on page 144 of the paperback edition of “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” you are referring to a bawdy bootjack and how Jesse wished he “owned one a thousand times”

Your description looks very similar to a Naughty Nellie so my question is this, and I know it might seem a little strange and I feel weird asking but do you mean a bootjack that’s like a Naughty Nellie but actually naked or is it one of those iron cast Naughty Nellie without paint that could possibly pass as naked?

A day later I received the following:

Dear Vince,

I saw it in a museum ages ago. An iron, naked, female figurine with her legs spread and painted black that was used to grip the heels of boots and was in fact called by the museum a “bawdy bootjack.” Naughty Nellie sounds like a variation on same.

Good reading!

Ron Hansen

Now, I’ve been doing some further research and a little bit of thinking. Naughty Nellie was extremely popular throughout the 19 century and I was even able to find a photo of a nude version on an auction site:

Which leads me to believe that one, the expression “bawdy bootjack” was “made up” by the museum Ron Hansen visited and two that it was indeed a naked version of Naughty Nellie.If you stumbled on this post, the odds are you’ve been reading The Assassination of Jesse James and were wondering the same thing. Then I don’t feel so crazy.

What are they smoking? (CNN Shirt Edition)

As I am compulsively refreshing the CNN homepage like I do every day, I suddenly notice there’s a new icon next to some headlines in the “Latest News” section (it’s the one to the right of the headline).It looks like the letter T but upon closer inspection more like a T Shirt. Why would a T Shirt icon sit next to selective headlines at cnn.com? For CNN headline shirts of course!

At that point I distinctly remember hearing the exclamation “Brilliant!” from that Guinness commercial. I mean seriously CNN headline T Shirts? Who would want to wear that?

Let me just give you a concrete example to get an understanding of how bad it is. The first shirt available was “DUI Gizmo might’ve been wrong 2 years” and here is what it looks like

The next is “Principal sets up drug sting on student”… WTF! So now here I am, obsessively refreshing the T shirt’s homepage to see how low this can possibly go. Nothing too appalling so far, but on the other hand nothing I would even remotely consider wearing.

Since I had questions, well I’m not sure I had actual questions but I was puzzled I went to the FAQs section and was pleased to find answers to such pressing questions as”How can I share my shirts on Facebook?” or “I took my CNN shirt on vacation and I have great pictures. Where can I send them?” Since I don’t expect that part of the CNN site to be up for very much longer, I’ll go ahead and post the whole thing:

Frequently Asked Questions about CNN Shirts.Thank you for your interest in CNN Shirts. With CNN Shirts you can wear the news. If you have any issues or questions regarding CNN Shirts please read the answers to the frequently asked questions below.


What are the minimum computer specifications required to use CNN Shirts?


  • Microsoft Windows®: 98SE, 2000, Millennium Edition, XP Home Edition, or XP Professional
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5, Netscape Navigator 7, Firefox 1 or Opera 7.51
  • 128 megabytes (MB) of RAM
  • Broadband Internet connection or access to a high-speed network
  • Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher resolution


  • Mac OSX
  • Safari 1.2, Firefox 1 or Opera 7.51
  • 256 megabytes (MB) of RAM
  • Broadband Internet connection or access to a high-speed network
  • Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher resolution

How do I get a CNN Shirt?

To get your own CNN Shirt please visit CNN.com. In the latest news section you will see a series of headlines with little t-shirt icons next to them. Click the icon that accompanies your desired headline. You will then be able to preview your shirt and proceed to checkout.

How long are headlines available for?

Headlines that can bought as shirts are only available as long as the headline stays in the latest news section.

How can I share my shirts on Facebook?

When you purchase shirts from the CNN Shirt store you will see “Share on Facebook” links that accompany all purchased headlines in your receipt page. When you click the share button the headline you purchased shows up in your news and mini feed.

What kind of shirts are headlines printed on?

CNN Shirt uses high quality American Apparel t-shirts. Please visit americanapparel.net for more information.


What colors are CNN Shirts available in?

Currently CNN Shirts come in gray, white, or black.

What is the little timestamp on my shirt?

The little timestamp on your shirt is denotes the date and time your headline was created.
I took my CNN shirt on vacation and I have great pictures. Where can I send them?

Please upload any photos of you wearing a CNN Shirt to www.ireport.com/tshirt. Your photo will be considered for future contests, and our CNN Shirt photo archive.

CNN Shirt Store:

My CNN Shirt has not arrived yet. Who can I talk to?

Please take up any billing or shipping inquiries with Spreadshirt, our vendor partner. Please use their provided contact form and be sure to include your order confirmation number.

How much is a CNN Shirt?

Currently CNN Shirts are priced at $15.00 US. This price does not include tax or shipping costs.

Where can I redeem a coupon for a CNN Shirt?

If you have a coupon for CNN Shirts, redeem it for discounts and free shirts at the CNN Shirt store. Pick a headline that you want to purchase from CNN.com, customize it and proceed to checkout. In the checkout phase there is a coupon code field that you can enter your code into. Your coupon code is printed on your discount card, or in your discount email. Please remember that all codes expire on 12/31/08 at 12:00 am EST.

How can I track my CNN Shirt order?

All order tracking is done through Spreadshirt, our vendor partner. Orders can be tracked by logging into Spreadshirt and using the order tracking system, or by following the order confirmation links in your purchase confirmation email. For any other inquiries please contact spreadshirt directly

I might eat my words but I’ll make a prediction. Two things will either happen with this:1. Someone at CNN will realize how terrible an idea this is and shut down the service but if it stays long enough I predict

2. We will get a T Shirt along the lines of “20 bodies found floating near Bahamas” and then CNN will shut down the service.

What are they smoking?

Don’t get me wrong, I like nerdy news just like the next nerd but that’s not what I go to CNN.com for. So imagine my surprise when this made the headline for a good couple of hours today:

Commodore 64? To quote Jimmy Kimmel “How is this news?” Wasn’t there anything else going on? Any update on the bombing in Paris yesterday? The CIA destroying tapes of interrogations back in ’05?

That’s when I directed my attention to to the “latest news” section on the right hand side.

Clinton dumps Celine for Big Head Todd? Video
Bio-fuels send German beer prices rising Video
Ideal stocking stuffer: rhino poop
Freud hanging from building spurs 911 calls Video

And lets not forget “Canoe Man reportedly tried to buy Catamaran”. What’s next? “Hang glider Man tried to buy 747”?

What the hell is going on over there?