At last, we have a Buffalo Wild Wings in Eugene / Springfield, or! Here is the yelp.com page:


Click the picture below to read the chat log in full size. Note how the girl keeps repeating the same standard phrases that she clearly has cached somewhere. Then suddenly she’s had enough… (Good thing, I was about to give up when she finally cracked)


Rebecca Gilbert (4/29/2011 2:22:08 PM): hey u there?

Me (4/29/2011 2:47:49 PM): yes why

Rebecca Gilbert (4/29/2011 2:47:59 PM):  hey

Me (4/29/2011 2:48:03 PM): ?

Rebecca Gilbert (4/29/2011 2:48:14 PM): whats up, I found your screename on a member directory of social sites..not sure which one cause it bundles them all together lol

Me (4/29/2011 2:48:22 PM): And…?

Rebecca Gilbert (4/29/2011 2:48:29 PM): i am bored at home…and this usually leads to bad things haha

Me (4/29/2011 2:48:39 PM): Well are you a lesbian?

Rebecca Gilbert (4/29/2011 2:48:46 PM): im bisexual, i love to lick pussy and i love to suck dick

Me (4/29/2011 2:49:15 PM): So when comes the link to your website where viewers have to pay?

Rebecca Gilbert (4/29/2011 2:49:20 PM): trust me babe, I have been a member with MyYahooCam chat for a long time and know exactly how the site works..u don’t have to pay if u accept my invite. I have a premium membership with them. Click the “Verify” button the bottom left so you can verify that your 18 years old

Me (4/29/2011 2:50:03 PM): Why don’t you get some Pell grants and use the money to go to college, or community college? Seems like a more valuable use of your time.

Rebecca Gilbert (4/29/2011 2:50:14 PM): well…i kinda have a fetish for being on camera, do you like to cam at all??

Me (4/29/2011 2:50:38 PM): I like to “cam” with professors that I am doing a teleconference with, yes.

Rebecca Gilbert (4/29/2011 2:50:47 PM): have you ever used MyRandomCam? its a free site that uses yahoo cam to let us chat live and do whatever we want without anyone seeing hehe..

Me (4/29/2011 2:51:13 PM): No I’m fairly certain that is not on my university’s approved list of teleconferencing media

Rebecca Gilbert (4/29/2011 2:51:16 PM): its http://twurl.nl/bnpz0p click the just click the “Verify” button on the bottom left…its 100% free to join you only need a credit card to verify that you are over 18 ;p

Me (4/29/2011 2:51:29 PM): Will it let me show powerpoints?

Rebecca Gilbert (4/29/2011 2:51:29 PM): here, click this, this is my link on there http://twurl.nl/eas02b

Me (4/29/2011 2:52:39 PM): Have you considered getting a tattoo of Freud? It would eb appropriate to your profession.

Rebecca Gilbert (4/29/2011 2:52:47 PM): go there and my video will load, just click the “Verify” button on the bottom left…its 100% free to join you only need a credit card to verify that you are over 18 ;p

Me (4/29/2011 2:52:48 PM): Especially if it is a tattoo of your father.

Rebecca Gilbert (4/29/2011 2:52:58 PM): i love the site cause its streams fast in real-time… fill out your info, its freek?

Me (4/29/2011 2:53:31 PM): Freud’s works are also free online in German, but you can illegally download the English translations if you don’t read German. I recommend James Strachey’s translations.

Rebecca Gilbert (4/29/2011 2:53:32 PM): yes babe the credit card is for age verification, for me to be a premium member and give you free access they have to know your over 18 just click the “verify” button on the bottom left of the screen to verify that your over 18

Me (4/29/2011 2:55:02 PM): Since you’re fond of streaming media, I would also suggest checking YouTube for recorded lectures on Freud, and there’s a great video on LAcanian thoguht as well.

Rebecca Gilbert (4/29/2011 2:55:12 PM): 24/f/Houston

Me (4/29/2011 2:55:40 PM): Oh, well then you automatically qualify for free Pell grants. I hear that U. of Texas is excellent

Rebecca Gilbert (4/29/2011 2:55:44 PM): yes babe the credit card is for age verification, for me to be a premium member and give you free access they have to know your over 18 just click the “verify” button on the bottom left of the screen to verify that your over 18

Me (4/29/2011 2:57:25 PM): I’m concerned about your repeated speech. Freud might suggest that this is evidence of repressed trauma resurfacing, which would be quite common in your line of work.

Rebecca Gilbert (4/29/2011 2:57:32 PM): Like a transformer robot?? what the hell are u talking about?

Me (4/29/2011 2:57:42 PM): hahahahaha

Miley Cyrus Sexy Picture Party in the USA

American scholarship has long neglected the significance of popular music as an index of cultural development amongst the 12-18 year old age group. My close reading of Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” will examine the transformative power of pop music as it is represented in the intradiegetic dialog of the narrator of this anthem, as well as the ways in which young people in America negotiate the dichotomy within the notion of Americanism.

I hopped off the plane at LAX

with a dream and my cardigan

welcome to the land of fame excess, (woah)

am I gonna fit in?

The first paragraph of “Party in the USA” hails the arrival of a country girl in the urban setting of Los Angeles. Her expectations are immediately challenged as she self-consciously reflects on her choice of apparel: Will a cardigan seem provincial in a city that is predominantly sunny, and does the word ‘cardigan’ in itself not sound archaic? The protagonist struggles with anxiety about the possibility of failure and fears she may be ostracized from the community if she is unable to rapidly conform to the cultural norms of SoCal The exclamation “woah”, a signifier of shock, suggests a possible moment of traumatic confrontation with the divergence between her dreams and the reality of having to adjust to a different culture.

Jumped in the cab,

Here I am for the first time

Look to my right and I see the Hollywood sign

This is all so crazy

Everybody seems so famous

The protagonist observes the iconic sign of Hollywood culture with a sense of culture shock. In spite of her undoubtedly extensive study of Western America, she is insufficiently prepared to embrace the now ubiquitous signs of celebrity culture. By projecting her inferiority complex on bystanders, she re-affirms her intimidating image of Los Angeles as a class-oriented society to which one can only gain entrance by means of cultural status.

My tummys turnin and I’m feelin kinda home sick

Too much pressure and I’m nervous,

That’s when the taxi man turned on the radio

and a Jay Z song was on

and the Jay Z song was on

and the Jay Z song was on

The narrative mood shifts and the listener is offered a phenomenological account of the clash between the protagonist’s ideal image and her realization of the diverging reality. Though the scene is clearly fictional and not a representative account of the average teenage experience, her anxieties can be read as emblematic of the way young people in America negotiate their own capabilities and imperfections in the face of excessive demands to conform to norms established within celebrity culture. Our protagonist’s physical response suggest the strong interconnectedness between physical or mental well-being and exterior appearance, especially in impressionable youths. However, the tension between two extremes is resolved when she breaks the class barrier and connects to the working class realm of the taxi driver, for whom this celebrity culture is mediated through the radio, as it had once been for our protagonist back in Tennessee.

Get to the club in my taxi cab

Everybody’s lookin at me now

Like “who’s that chick, thats rockin’ kicks?

She gotta be from out of town”

So hard with my girls not around me

Its definitely not a Nashville party

Cause’ all I see are stilletos

I guess I never got the memo

Feel like hoppin’ on a flight (on a flight)

Back to my hometown tonight (town tonight)

Something stops me everytime (everytime)

The DJ plays my song and I feel alright!

Upon arrival we once again witness a radical change in our protagonist who is identified as an outsider on the basis of her ‘Kicks’, a symbol of the way the American south embraces low-culture and the athletic ideal in spite of its own reluctance to exercise and combat obesity. Her Nike’s are misplaced in a sea of stiletto’s. The protagonist identifies the differences between adolescence in the south and in Los Angeles: This is definitely not a Nashville party. Her social rank within her own American subculture is devalued in this second representation of Americanism, and she is concerned that she “never got the memo”, that is, that in spite of a visually mediated understanding of the urban culture of Los Angeles, she never received a verbal description of its varying norms and values. Yet just as she is about to resign herself to her seemingly inferior status, and return to the rural setting of her childhood, she once more witnesses the transformative power of art. The DJ establishes a common ground for participation and inclusion by playing the music that unites both cultures.

The song shows itself to be highly self-reflexive, as its meta-references to popular music suggest its own inclusion in this transformative art. The title of the song, which seems somewhat alienated from its subject matter, is actually a brilliant reference to the way this transformative art unifies American subcultures. Thus we see how the American youth negotiates cultural difference through the medium of art, perhaps in compensation of the waning influence of religion, or perhaps establishing an entirely new understanding of the idea of a “nation” on the basis of cultural distribution.

Edit: Before more naive commenters reply saying they don’t believe me and have complete faith in Amazon, check out this CNN link with a story by a U. of Washington Prof. of Law about this exact double pricing problem, with an ADMISSION from Amazon that they engage in these practices.

So this morning I visited Amazon.com to check out the price of a watch I’ve been considering buying. I quickly found it, but was not ready yet to pay quite as much as Amazon quoted. To the internets I went! When I ran a price check on Google’ s shopping search, and rankest the results from lowest->highest price, Amazon came up first. But wait a second, that was not the same price I had just been quoted on the Amazon website…. Compare:

Amazon search result for Seiko

Google search result for the same Seiko SRKZ88 watch

So of course, I clicked the results. But what did I get on the actual Amazon page? The same old higher price. Then, suddenly, I remembered reading an article, many years ago, about Amazon offering two different prices at the same moment to two different customers, for no apparent reason. While I had assumed that scandal had long since made Amazon change this strange practice, I suddenly became a little suspicious.

So I opened Internet Explorer, in which I was not logged into Amazon.com as an Amazon Prime member, unlike in Google’s Chrome browser. And I searched again. You won’t believe what I found. Here are the unaltered results of two pages loaded within seconds of each other, on the same computer, from the same vendor on Amazon. On the left side I am logged in as a Prime member. (Note: “Prime means you pay a significant yearly fee ($79) to get free 2nd day shipping all year) On the right side I am not logged into Amazon at all. See for yourself!

Amazon Prime Price Scam (Click to enlarge)

And when I did a little Googling, I discovered that this is in fact a common practice. So while Prime customers pay a significant yearly fee to get free or discounted shipping, apparently Amazon.com secretly changes prices of items for Prime customers on a regular basis. And it gets worse. Since other bloggers encounter numerous replies that claim that they forgot to calculate in shipping/vendor differences and such, I’m including such a calculation right away to illustrate my point:

My $6 higher Prime price still gets me 2-day shipping, unlike the cheaper listing. However, when I checked the cost of 2-day shipping for the non-Prime item, I discovered that it was only $3.69 extra! So not only am I throwing away an annual $79 fee to be a Prime member, I am even paying several dollars MORE for the “item + 2-day shipping” than a non-member is.

Conclusion: As an Amazon Prime member, you are actually paying an annual fee to be allowed to pay MORE for “item + 2-day shipping” than any non-member would be paying! This is a serious pricing/advertising scam. I intend to file a complaint for a complete refund of my Amazon Prime membership for the three years I’ve had it, and I suggest that you do the same.

PS: Check out these pages to see that this price scam is not an isolated incident. Or check for yourself if you’re a Prime member!

Eszter Hargittai’s Blog

Mike’s Crime & Federalism Blog

Offensive bottles from Herbal Essences

The bottles in question with Herbal Essences' demeaning "jokes".

This morning, as I stood in the shower and grabbed my neon orange bottle of nectarine-scented Herbal Essences shampoo, I discovered something rather shocking:

Each bottle contains an “Herbalhead” joke question that can be matched with the answer on the conditioner bottle.

All good and well: who wouldn’t like more entertainment in the shower? So I read my bottle, which asked me what gem could improve your love life. Curious, I picked up the similarly orange conditioner bottle to discover the matching answer: Diamonds.

Uh… Wait… what?? Are my shampoo and conditioner actually suggesting that most women would prostitute themselves for diamonds? That men just need to buy an expensive gem for a women to get laid? Wow, Herbal Essences, just… wow.

How could anyone at a major corporation, that presumably puts extensive thought into designing and marketing their product, possibly think that such demeaning and juvenile jokes are acceptable and even ‘funny’? In this day and age? Absolutely shocking. You better hope that only kids bother to read them.

And I’m not even going to start on the nudists-volleyball joke that suggests that all nudist are oversexed perverts. I’m simply done with Herbal Essences.

Oh and a piece of advice to Herbal essences: Fire your incompetent designer before more women notice the back of your shampoo bottles.

Visited US States Map from TravelBlog

Get your own Visited US States Map from Travel Blog

“Brace for Impact”


Passengers stand on the wings of the Hudson crash plane

Passengers stand on the wings of the Hudson crash plane



“Brace for Impact” 

Composed and focused, the pilot instructed the passengers of US Airways Flight 1549 to get ready for their impending plane crash. Within seconds, the plane would crash into the Hudson River, but for once, all passengers would survive.

I’m sure you have all seen the remarkable photo of the survivors standing on the wing of the airplane, a nearly biblical image of men and women appearing to stand on water. (Certainly an image that will remain in my mind’s eye for a long time to come.) The event has been called miraculous, but ever-the-atheist, I dislike using this word, and would prefer to credit the skills and calm reactions of the captain and his crew. Passengers report that they remained quiet, and simply watched their fate unfold. One passenger had sufficient possession of his faculties to remember switching on his phone. Perhaps the GPS signal would help others locate his dead body. 

But they did not die. Each and every one survived. And I have learned something fascinating from their reports. I had always assumed that these situations would raise mass hysteria, and that the frenzy would only end with death. In fact, in an earlier blog post on the most recent Batman movie, The Dark Knight, I criticized the movie’s portrayal of the reaction of a large group of people in the face of impending death. I was convinced that people would panic, scream and run around frantically like headless chickens. Now I know that I was wrong.


A map of the path and landing site of the Hudson plane crash, Flight 1549

A map of the path and landing site of the Hudson plane crash, Flight 1549