Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tragic Police Shooting Death Leads To Of All Things, Kids Able To Have Lunch

Philando Castile was shot and killed by a Minnesota
police office in 2016. Castile was school nutrition
supervisor. A fund in his name is now paying off
childrens' school lunch debt. 
A guy named Philando Castile worked in a school cafeteria as a school nutrition supervisor.  Sometimes, he'd dip into his own pockets to help kids who couldn't afford lunch.

Castile was killed by a police office during a 2016 traffic stop, which of course meant the world lost a generous, kind guy, the type of person we all need.

As is pretty much always the case when a police officer shoots a black person, the police officer was acquited of criminal charge. Which compounds the tragedy.

When a good person dies, people often try to turn the tragedy into something good. And Castile's death has led to exactly that.

According to CNN, a charity run in Castile's name has wiped out the lunch debt of every student in all 56 schools in the St. Paul Public Schools district in Minnesota.

"That means that no parent of the 37,000 kids who eat meals at school need worry about how to pay that overdue debt," according to a fundraising page for the charity Philando Feeds the Children.

I'm going to stop right here for a second and get on my soap box. I get it that school districts everywhere are strapped for cash and can't afford to pay for school lunches. Somebody has to pay for them.

However, I have an immense problem with all those schools who punish the kids because their parents either can't pay for the school meals or won't.

In many schools, when there's lunch debt, the kids involved often just get a lame, cold sandwich while their friends get full meals.

That's an insidious practice that's become known as "lunch shaming." It's terrible to deny a kid a decent lunch. It's also terrible to shame a kid by giving him or her something substandard in front of all their friends. I thought schools discouraged bullying. All this does is encourage it.

In St. Paul, Minnesota, the Philando Feeds The Children fund goes beyond rescuing kids from food bullying by the school district.

CNN says student parents or caregivers cannot submit paperwork to request free or reduced-price lunches (based on income and need) unless the kids' lunch debt is retired.

Which leads to a never-ending cycle. The kids' lunch fund keeps going deeper and deeper into debt, so it becomes more impossible for the kids' parents to pay off the debt. Some parents acrue as much as $1,000 in debt.

Which means the kids will never, ever get decent food.  They can't pay the debt, so they can't apply for free or reduced cost lunches. That's the way it works in today's America. If you're poor, you need to be punished. Whether or not it's your fault.

It looks like when he was alive, Castile understood this. So do the people donating to this cause. There's a lot of bad things in this world, but at least some good can come of it, at least sometimes.

As of about a week ago, the Philando fund stood at over $107,000, which really, really surpassed its goal of $5,000, CNN says.

"Philando is STILL reaching into his pocket, and helping a kid out," the charity wrote in a social media post recently.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Amazon Echo Is Laughing Creepily At Us

Is the random laughter coming from Amazon Echo's
Alexa a sign that she's turned evil and murderous?
I'm glad I read the NPR article I'm about to cite before Alexa, the voice on my and everybody else's  Amazon Echo could scare the daylights out of me.

Apparently, Alexa has been breaking out in creepy laughter for no apparent reason.

Here's how NPR describes the typical scenario, kind of like a teaser for a horror movie:

"Late at night, in the gathered shadows of your bedroom, you may have heard it. Or, perhaps you heard it over breakfast with your family in the kitchen, the sound rising unbidden from over your shoulder in a corner of the room you had thought - and now, desperately wish - to be empty. 

Laughter. Quick, inhuman laughter."

Normally, to get Alexa to talk and give you information, you have to say the name Alexa and ask your question. Example: "Alexa: How old is Alex Trebek?" (For the record, Alexa tells me Trebek is 77 years old.)

If you don't ask Alexa any questions, she's supposed to keep her mouth shut.

But she's into the laughter lately, freaking out lots of people.   Some people have said when they hear that Alexa laugh it is "time to move" and "the scariest shit I've ever heard."

You can rig up an Amazon Echo to turn your lights on and off. One person wrote on Reddit: "I was trying to turn off some lights and they kept turning back on. After the third request, Alexa stopped responding and instead did an evil laugh."

On Twitter, a guy named Gavin Hightower wrote: "Lying in bed about to fall asleep with Alexa on my Amazon Echo Dot lets out a very loud and creepy laugh....there's a good chance I get murdered tonight."

Amazon explains that sometimes the Amazon Echo mistakenly hears the command, "Alexa, laugh" and does.

I can't imagine a random bump in the night sounds like "Alexa, laugh" but what do I know?

Or are there creepy people wandering around outside and tellling Alexa to laugh from outside the house. Or have they broken in? Yikes!

Amazon said it's working on a fix in which the Echo won't respond to the command "Alexa, laugh." If you really want Alexa to laugh, you'll have to say, "Alexa, can you laugh?"

And in that case, Alexa will respond, "Sure, I can laugh," followed by laughter.

Still, I think this whole thing means we should be paging Steven King.  He's done horror books about inanimate objects before. Think "Christine."

Imagine the fun King could have with Alexa going murderous on people?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Brazen Thieves In Ireland Go Over Top To Loot Store

Remains of an Irish supermarket after looters stole an
excavator during a snowstorm, knocked the building
down and looted it. 
There was a big snowstorm in Ireland last week, and some thieves really got brazen during the event.

They stole an excavtator from a snow removal crew, demolished a supermarket, and then went into the wreckage to loot the merchandise.


Video of the event is at the bottom of this post.

According to The Guardian, eight men have been charged with theft, burglary and trespassing after going on the rampage amid Ireland's worst snowstorm in decades.

The theory these guys apparently had was emergency services were stretched thin because of the storm, so maybe they wouldn't notice the supermarket being torn down and looted.

The Guardian says this group also looted a second supermarket and vandalised and destroyed several cars. We're not sure why a snowstorm would inspire this, but whatever.

Here's the video:

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Show Doesn't Go On, At Least For This Actor

David Neese led Wisconsin Police on a chase
after telling them he couldn't be arrested right
away because he had to perform in the play
"Noises Off." That didn't go over well. 
The show must go on, they say in the theater world. But it didn't go on for a very dumb Wisconsin.

According to Fox 6 in Wisconsin, David Neese, 61, of Sheboygan, Wisconsin was in a production of "Noises Off" in the Calumet County Community Theater.

He was on his way last month to one of the performances recently when Sheboygan County Sheriff's Deputies pulled him over.

The deputy quickly realized Neese was wanted for theft and wanted to take him into custody. But Neese told the deputy he couldn't be arrested at that moment because, well, the show must go on.

I don't know if THE show went on, but A show went on. He said he had to perform in the play and will be arrested later. Neese took off in his car, chased by the deputy. Neese stopped, but then floored it again.

Which, of course led to a whole bunch more charges against Neese. And there's a viral and embarassing for Neese video of the police chase. The video is at the bottom of this post.

So, alas, Neese never did appear in that Sunday performance of "Noises Off."   Presumably, an understudy filled in.

A Calamut County Community Theater board member confirmed to Fox 6 that Neese never showed up for Sunday's performance, but didn't know why until the reporter told them.

"Noises Off," by the way, is a hilarious farce about the cast of a failing theatrical production who falls into chaos, infighting and all kinds of confusion.

It gets worse for Neese, so "Noises Off" has nothing on his life. Neese is, or at least was, a district sales manager for the local paper, The Sheboygan Press.

Neese has a bit of a checkered past, anyway. Sheboygan.com said he received probation in 2014 or pawning church hand bells, of all things,  worth $10,000. He told authories he sold the bells on EBay.

Hope he has remaining revenue from that sale to pay for his court costs.

Here's the stupid video of Neese and the chase:

Sunday, February 25, 2018

To Make You Happy: Elephants Greet New Arrival

Last year, a baby elephant had been orphaned, but rescuers found it and brought it to an animal sanctuary.

The little elephant lost its family, but judging from the goings on in the video you'll see below, the kid is in good hands with a new family, which rushed to greet him.

True, the video is several months old, having been uploaded in May. But when you need good news, old news is both good news, and refreshing news.

Here's the video:

Thursday, February 22, 2018

"Black Panther" Opens To Boffo Reviews And Big Crowds, But Racists VERY Unhappy

It seems like everybody loves the new film "Black Panther,"
that is except a small group of pathetic little white supremacists.
The superhero movie "Black Panther"  is setting box office records for an opening week.  Critics LOVE the movie. I haven't seen it yet, but I will. It sounds terrific.  

However, this being the United States, the racists are trying to spoil the party. They always do. They very often fail, of course, so it makes it fun to mock these morons.

Still, it's incredibly disgusting we have to live with these white supremacists idiots. And I'm being understated when I say it like that.

It's important to check in with these odious morons, though, remind ourselves that we always must keep our guard up, and always resist the Nazis among us.

These scumbags started with Rotten Tomatoes reviews. They tried to make the "Black Panther" reviews really negative. I'll get into that first, then tell you even something worse.

Rotten Tomatoes is the online web site in which you, yes, you, can review movies. In general, Rotten Tomatoes is a fairly good indication of how much or little the general public likes a particular film.  That makes it a not bad guide to help you decide which movie you're going to see tonight.

Most Rotten Tomatoes critics, including the professional ones, thought "Black Panther" was terrific. In fact, it got the highest Rotten Tomatoes score for any superhero film.   As of Thursday, "Black Panther had a very nice 77 percent viewer approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Which means the racists failed again. They're so stupid.

As reported by CNN and numerous other media outlets, there was a move among the white supremacists among us.

Notice how the white supremacists tried to be cute. "Black Panther" is a Marvel Comic franchise. A lot of other popular movies come from the DC Comics franchise. The racists tried to spin this as just a friendly rivalry between Marvel and DC fans.

That element was probably in there, but I haven't heard of other organized movements on Facebook or elsewhere to discredit a superhero movie because of a comic book franchise competition.

As CNN says: "But given that "Black Panther" has an all-black cast and the storyline includes themes of race, many saw the move as more nefarious thatn just a friendly rivalry."

Then, of course it got worse.  As numerous outlets like Vox and  Huffington Post reported:

"Since Thursday, numerous false reports have bubbled up on social media claiming that white viewers were physically attacked by black fans at showings of the movie. Twitter and Facebook users have been taking images from unrelated incidents and reposting them, falsely claiming that they are photos of themselves or loved ones after racially motivated attacks."

I'm not sure of the purpose of these social media postings, other that to stir up the basest base of racists and Nazis, and to dupe the most gullible. And only the very most gullible, apparently.

The photos white people supposedly "beaten" by African-Americans at "Black Panther" showings come from such strange places and its so easy to trace them to their original, non-fake news sources.

One of them was a previously widely distributed photo of Rob Porter's ex-wife with a black eye.  Porter, you might recall, is the White House aide recently forced out of a job because of history with abuse of women.

Another fake photo was a still from the show "The Walking Dead." Another was a stock photo of a bloody paper towel.

The best revenge against this tiny army of small minded racists is how well "Black Panther" is doing at the box office.

As of Thursday, "Black Panther" is raking in the dough at the box office, and is destined to be one of the most lucrative movies on record, says Variety and many other media reports.

I'm sure almost everyone who goes to see "Black Panther" is not thinking about sticking it to the white supremacists. But in this context, it's still wicked fun to see this movie's popularity surge.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Worse Eight Hour Flight Ever

Worst flight ever? This kid apparently screamed like a demon
during an entire eight hour flight this past summer from
Germany to New Jersey. He also climbed over
everything, including sometimes, passengers. 
Everybody's got stories of their Worst Flight Ever.

I think the people on an eight hour flight from Germany to New Jersey have one of the best stories.

A kid screamed like a demon during the entire flight. it really does sound like a horror movie. You can watch the video at the bottom of this post if you don't believe me.

This happened in August, but is getting more traction on line now.  The video tag line says the incident unfolded because the kid was addicted to technology and couldn't always have it, but I think more was going on.

This kid has problems. Screaming like that for a full eight hours? And climbing all over the seats and even people? Geesh!

Yes, we should be sympathetic to children who might have some sort of mental illness, but this still had to be The Worst for the rest of the people on the plane. I honestly don't know if the parents could have done their parenting job better, or that the kid might have autism or something else that made him uncontrollable.

This is only my opinion, but judging from the video, it didn't help that the mom seemed to try only half-heartedly to get the boy under control.  On some flights, I've had to deal with slightly unruly kids from time to time, but this is so out of control. My sympathies to the people who had to go through this.

Here's the video: