Friday Funny – Sizzurp Edition

22 03 2013

Ok – we realize that we’re taking a bit of editorial liberty with this one, and kicking someone while they’re down. It’s definitely a bit of Schadenfreude.

Evidently hip hop artist Lil’ Wayne was recently hospitalized for effects suffered from drinking too much “Sizzurp” – a cocktail of cough syrup with Codeine combined with certain other things – like Jolly Rancher hard candies and Xanex.

Here’s a choice quote from the L.A. Times article:

“Another source told US Weekly that Lil Wayne’s health problems could stem from his use of a popular drink combining cough syrup with codeine and other ingredients. ‘He drank too much Sizzurp to get a better high. He needs rehab, but he’s not close to death or anything. He’s fine and just coming down off the high.’ ”

In other articles it was stated that, as an opiate, Codeine can be as addictive as other drugs in that class, like heroin. And the detox effects can be fatal.

So perhaps none of this is exactly “Friday Funny” material, except in a kind of mean way. But, peep the image below from the LA Times – they have started inserting these ridiculous polls on EVERY news item. According to the poll of readers at the time we took the screen shot, a full 20% of readers would drink Sizzurp.



Friday Funny – Bonus Anderson Cooper Doppelganger Edition

26 10 2012

Racing to the Red Light’s Editor in Chief spotted this gem yesterday on CNN. 

At first, he suspected that he was experiencing a flashback or something:


Turns out, the AC on the right in the image above is actually Univision newsman Jorgo Ramos. 

You can check it out for yourself here.  Warning: political content behind that link!  😉

Space Shuttle Endeavour – Overland Journey in L.A.

12 10 2012


Racing to the Red Light was on-location in Westchester earlier this morning, to bear witness to the orbital vehicle Endeavour sitting in the parking lot behind Bed Bath & Beyond.

(How many times is that likely to happen again?)

Today, the retired Space Shuttle Endeavour begins its two-day trek across western Los Angeles from LAX to the California Science Center near USC in south central L.A.

The scenes in the street were quite surreal. What a treat to see a piece of humankind’s finest scientific and engineering accomplishments in such a pedestrian setting.




The crowd was big and getting a lot bigger while we were there.  It will be a madhouse by the time we publish this post.  Tons of media onhand as well.





The on-camera talent people stood out in stark contrast to all the other people nerds gathered nearby:







Friday Funny – Brony

20 07 2012


Today we have perhaps our finest Friday Funny to date: The Brony.

We just found out about this phenomenon yesterday thanks to our keeper of all things pop culture bizarre, our East San Gabriel Valley bureau chief.

People younger than 40 probably remember the popular children’s franchise, My Little Pony. It was a classic cartoon/toy retail success, with the feedback loop of the cartoon inspiring the toys (small, colorful plastic ponies with wild hair colors), and the toys helping to popularize the show.

Being of the male persuasion, I can’t say that I was a big fan, but my female contemporaries certainly were.

The franchize has been revived as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. And this time, in addition to little girls, the show’s producers found an unlikely secondary fanbase: Bronies.

Wikipedia defines Bronies as “older fans, typically males from 18 to 35” who may or may not watch the show “ironically.”


Evidently birthed on 4Chan (a message board notable for spawning other incredible memes such as LOLcats, “Chocolate Rain,” and others, as well as the Project Chanology protest against Scientology, and for being a gathering place for the hacktivist group Anonymous), the meme picked up momentum and developed into a movement in its own right.

The Bronies’ self-adopted mascot character from the show is a mentally challenged pony who initially didn’t have a name, as she was a background filler character. Wikipedia notes,

“In the first episode, a background pegasus pony is shown in one scene with a cross-eyed stare, the result of an overlooked animator’s joke.  The 4chan boards quickly dubbed the character “Derpy Hooves” and created a more detailed personality for her despite having minimal on-screen time. Faust responded to the fans, and the production team has kept the “Derpy” character with the cross-eyed look starting with “Feeling Pinkie Keen”, where the team incorporated her into a slapstick sight gag.  The character has since become a mascot of the fandom.”



You’ve gotta love the caption on Wikipedia for the image above:

” “Derpy” (right) is berated by Rainbow Dash (left) from the episode “The Last Roundup”. Though appearing on the show before as part of sight gags, this episode as initially aired stated her name stated and gave her speaking lines. Some portions of the fandom felt her appearance and actions were negative reflections of mentally disabled persons, and Hasbro altered subsequent airing that removed her name, altered the voice, and reduced the degree to which “Derpy’s” eyes crossed.”

Lest one believe that this is an internet-only fad driven by faceless crazies on 4Chan, we present perhaps one of the oddest fan conventions you could possibly attend:  BronyCon.


Notice that the presumably full-grown man in the right side of the foreground in the image above is sporting a pony tail on the seat of his jeans.

Who could resist the urge to mingle with like-minded people like this?


As you can see, there are as many female weirdos as male ones, including this chick:


Apparently Derpy has inspired another class of memes centered around the retarded pronunciation of random words.  You have to read some of them multiple times in order to understand them, if they can be understood at all. Here are some examples:



Let’s face it – there has to be a few of these guys who are thinking this:


Racing to the Red Light

17 07 2012


The following BOMBSHELL announcement from your friends here at RttRL is brought to you by a Google search on our blog’s name.

An Austin-based musician named James McMurtry has a song named … Racing to the Red Light!

I’m not a huge country music fan, but I like it!

Please listen to James’s music, and buy his stuff!  🙂

Bath Salts – no, not “bath salts”

25 06 2012


I recently read an interesting post over at MediaBistro on the topic of “bath salts.”

I must admit that I was confused when I first heard the report of some drug-crazed wacko in Miami who apparently chewed the face off of another similarly intoxicated homeless man, before police shot him dead. The other guy survived, sans face.

Various media sources referred to the fact that the deranged face eater was high on a drug called “bath salts.”  Indeed, there was some speculation in the media as to whether this was some kind of new drug (it is, I’ve since seen it described as being similar to synthetic cocaine), or if those nice smelling little jars of bath crystals could actually be smoked and turned one into a depraved psychopath.

The MediaBistro article says that companies in the actual bath salts industry are being maligned by the illicit drug’s unfortunate nickname. 

Incredibly, one company has received calls requesting the drug, rather than the bathing crystals!

I’d personally stay away from the drug. I read that it is similar to cocaine in some ways, but makes one prone to extreme paranoia and violence – never a good combination, but especially not when you’re not in the same reality as everyone else around you.

As Ray Manseric, keyboardist for the legendary rock band The Doors once said, “stay away from the white powder drugs, kids!”

Remote Control Flying Cat

5 06 2012

Yes, this is real!  As in, this is an actual, deceased pet cat that was stuffed by a taxidermist and then built into a remote control quad copter – a helicopter type aircraft with four smaller rotors.

I spotted this on the L.A. Times website but I have since seen it elsewhere and even heard a bit on NPR about it this morning.

The builder is a Dutch artist who was also the cat’s owner. The cat was called Orville (as in Wright), and he is posthumously called the Orvillecopter:


Check out the test flight:

I’m not exactly sure how to feel about this one. Certainly it is unique!  And kind of funny.  And of course morbid/unsettling. 

Sylvester Stallone – Immortal?

31 05 2012

Our Los Angeles bureau chief recently brought this to our attention.

Apparently there have been rumors circulating that actor Sylvester Stallone may well be a vampire, or some kind of immortal being, because there is a character in a 500-year old painting in the Vatican that bears an uncanny resemblance to the star of the Rocky movies:


The Rise of Facebook

18 05 2012


It is no secret that today Facebook became a publicly traded company with an initial public offering on the NASDAQ stock market.  The IPO is expected to raise around $5 billion.

Today I happened upon a couple of interesting articles that are kind of related to the Facebook phenomenon.

The first is an article from the L.A. Times, about an elderly actress and former Playboy Playmate, Yvette Vickers, was recently found dead in her home. The state of her corpse, described as “mummified” in the Times piece, leads forensics types to believe that she had been dead for months – possibly as long as a year – before a curious neighbor broke into the house and made the discovery.


Among other details mentioned were that an electric space heater was “still on” and so was her computer. She was evidently active on Facebook prior to her death.

Another article I read this morning was a lengthy (and well-worth the read) article in The Atlantic that spoke of the Vickers case in the context of loneliness in modern society. Essentially, the article entitled “Is Facebook making us lonely?” suggests that this aged Playmate made phone calls to “distant fans who had found her through fan conventions and Internet sites” but not to any close family or friends.

The article goes on to discuss “the Internet paradox”, the concept that describes the “contradiction between an increased opportunity to connect and a lack of human contact.” This is the heart of the piece – technology has enabled a much larger degree of connectivity among people, but the connections are shallow, impermanent and do nothing to decrease Facebook users’ sense of loneliness.


There are lots of interesting statistics cited in the article, including:

* in 1950, less than 10% of American households contained only one person; in 2010 that number is up to 27%

* 35% of adults over 45 were “chronically” lonely, up from 20% a decade earlier

* in the late 1940s, there were around 2500 clinical psychologists, 30,000 social workers and less than 500 family and marriage counselors in the U.S. Today, rose numbers are around 77,000 clinical psychologists, 192,000 clinical social workers, 400,000 nonclinical social workers, 50,000 marriage and family counselors, 105,000 mental-health therapists,etc.

The article astutely surmised that “The majority of patients in therapy do not warrant a psychiatric diagnosis. This raft of psychic servants is helping us through what used to be called regular problems. We have outsourced the work of everyday caring.”

There have been several studies over the years, many precedeing Facebook’s widespread popularity, stating this theory of the Internet paradox. More recently an Australian study showed that Facebook users were less likely to be close to family members, and that Facebook usage tended to exacerbate narcissistic tendencies.

The results of such studies have gotten to the point of almost becoming ad nauseum. And yet people still cling to their smartphones and Facebook accounts like modern day life preservers.

The next time you have a quiet moment, standing in line at the grocery store, or in an elevator, or anywhere when silence or waiting occurs, look around at people around you. How many people are playing with their phones? Are you? Look around the next time you are stuck in gridlock – or even moving – traffic. I promise you that the car in the next lane with a huge gap in between it and the car in front of them is being drive ln (or not) by someone who is playing with their phone.

I try to stay away from editorializing too much on RttRL here, but today is a big day for Facebook and I felt that this is relevant to the conversation. This was the third-largest IPO of an American company, behind Visa and Enel (an energy company). Unlike these other two companies, Facebook’s product is also its consumers – the users of the service are the product being sold. They are sold quite unashamedly to advertisers and data miners who use the information that people freely offer up to create behavioral models that are used to predict all manner of things from brand preference to creditworthiness.

I digress from the original point – does Facebook cause loneliness? I agree with the Atlantic article’s conclusion, which is “not necessarily” – it can serve to decrease or increase a user’s sense of isolation, connection or loneliness, but it does not cause these things on its own. Like any tool, it does what you ask it to do – and sometimes you get more than you bargained for.

I predict that Facebook will decline over the course of the next decade or so. Its killer will be something else, the next great thing. I think the real genius of Facebook was its early exclusivity (it was only for currently enrolled college students once upon a time, remember?). Now that almost everyone who has Internet access is on Facebook, it has lost a lot of its cool factor.

Now it is primarily an outlet for people’s narcissistic, self-promotional (posting pictures and “witty” quotes and observations) and voyeuristic (viewing all of your “friends” posts and pictures) tendencies.

Friday Funny: Remote Control Superhero!

20 04 2012

I must admit, if I saw this thing flying around, I would probably conclude that I was experiencing some kind of flashback.

This guy sells plans to build your very own, FLYING remote control superhero.

You have to see it to believe it. I believe it is made of a type of foam.