Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Firefighters REALLY Complete Their Job In Baytown, Texas

Firefighters in Baytown, Texas
finish mowing the lawn of
 a heart attack victim. Photo
 by Ashley Odom Chandler,
 via Facebook.  
Firefighters in Baytown, Texas recently responded to the home of a 65 year old man who suffered a heart attack while mowing his lawn.  

The paramedics treated him and rushed the man off to the hospital. So good! They did their job completely and professionally.

However, the firefighters believed they still had work to do at the scene of the emergency.

They returned, finished mowing the lawn, put the mower in the garage when they were done, locked the garage door and left a note tellling the man's wife to contact them if she needed them for anything else  says ABC 13 in Houston. 

Sadly, the 65-year old's heart attack was massive. Despite the firefighters' efforts and that of the doctors at the hospital, the guy died.

Still, I really have to give kudos to the Baytown Fire Department.  Talk about being community minded! Not surprisingly, they are getting major praise from Baytown residents.

Up here where I live in St. Albans, Vermont, I really do love our fire and rescue services. They're terrific.

But if any firefighter in Baytown is looking to relocate, I definitely invite them to apply for a job in our town.

I'd love to have them.

Or maybe I should just move to the fine city of Baytown, Texas.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Don't Brag To Police If You Were Doing 185 MPH On Your Motorcycle

Now that he's been arrest, this guy might not
be as proud of what police said was his
bragging about doing 185 mph on his
motorcycle. He faces various charges.  
Here's a pro tip for all you speed demons out on the highways.

If the cops stop you for doing 127 mph down the Interstate on your motorcycle, don't brag to the nice police officer that you were actually doing 185 mph before the police noticed.

This did happen recently in New Hampshire, says Gawker and the Associated Press. 

The admission by David J. Fries, 31, about his speed, after one New Hampshire State Trooper clocked him going 127 mph, another saw him crash into a guardrail and run away, and after several officers spend an hour chasing him through the woods and such near the Interstate.

Fries didn't have a good night. He was also injured in the crash, and by the police dog that also caught up with him.

Police also said they found a hyperdermic needle, smoking pipe and crack cocaine on Fries, which might help explain why he was screwing around on his motorcycle like that.

The drug revelation prompted one commenter on Gawker to note:

"With all that drug paraphernalia, he was probably going 185 mph before he got on his motorcycle."

According to the AP, a trooper spotted 31-year-old David J. Fries going 127 mph on Interstate 93 at about 2:45 a.m. on Saturday. Another trooper saw Fries crash into a guardrail after he exited the interstate, at which point he led officers on an hourlong foot chase.
Fries was caught with the aid of a police dog, and treated for injuries both from the crash and the dog.
Police said Fries, who had in his possession a hypodermic needle, smoking pipe, and crack cocaine, allegedly told them he got up to 185 mph before exiting the interstate.
He is being held on a $30,000 bail.

A Bulldog Plays Peekaboo

For no particular reason, I'm posting this brief video of a bulldog playing peekaboo. Only because it's funny.

And it's Labor Day, which means we should waste time and not work and watch videos like this.  

The video was posted to YouTube more than a year and a half ago, but for some reason it's going viral just now.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Faux Winooski, Vermont Bacon "Controversy" And The Outrage Industry

This tongue in cheek sign in Winooski, Vermont
and its removal triggered another national false controversy.  
The people of the fine, funky little city of Winooski, Vermont, close to where I live, are confused these days.  

I don't blame them. A mild criticism, posted online, followed by a quiet, polite response from the business in question, has blown up into a national controversy, because there are so many people out there who aren't happy unless they are totally enraged to the point they practically want to kill somebody.

To recap, as the weekly Vermont newspaper Seven Days does: There's a restaurant in Winooski called Sneakers Bistro. It's been there forever. Very popular. And the guy who owns it, Marc Dysinger, is very involved in the community, putting in time and money to make the city, a small town really, a better place.

One of the things he does is maintain a community garden near a heavily traveled part of town. He put up a goofy sign along the road that semi-advertised his restaurant. It read: "Yield For Sneakers Bacon"

A woman who described herself as a vegan and part of a household where some Muslims live, politely objected to the sign. She wrote in a community online forum that the sign could be slightly offensive to some people who have religious or other aversions to bacon.

Maybe she was slightly oversensitive, but who cares? Dysinger, just trying to be a nice guy and figuring the sign wasn't exactly crucial to his restaurant's marketing, took the sign down.

No big deal. Nobody had made any demands, just a simple request. You can still order all the bacon you want at Sneakers Bistro. The city itself had no role in this. Anybody who lives in Winooski can still buy bacon and eat it. Nobody cares.

Certainly, pretty much nobody in Winooski even noticed this incident, much less cared about it.

But the Outrage Industry will have none of that. The Outrage Industry in this nation noticed this kindly gesture by a restaurant owner  and discovered some red meat, so to speak,  to go after.

Judging from the online vitriol all over the place, you'd think Muslim terrorists and radical vegans have the fine upstanding American citizens of Winooski in chains, and are getting ready to torture them.

Most of the comments from the Outrage Industry are full of nasty swear words and the like.

None of the comments seem to even get what this was all about. Here's one: "Stop pandering to Muslims. This is still America! WE llike our democracy served with a side of bacon!!!!"

Um, OK. Then go eat your bacon. Like I said, you can even do it in Winooski!

Dysinger took down the restaurant's Facebook page, since the Outrage Industry took it over. Before he did, he posted this totally sensible note: "We are here to serve people BREAKFAST, not politics. We removed the sign that wa slocated on public property as a gesture of respect for our diverse community. There were also concerns raised about safety. Removing it was not a difficult decision. We still love bacon. We still love eggs. Please have the political conversation elsewhere."

But the Outrage Industry is not going to back down and stop having its "fun" because the target of the vitriol had the gall to be reasonable. So the nasty, and illogical comments kept coming:

"Stop caving to Muslim demands. We are Americans. We need to stand for our rights."

Again, um, OK. Can someone explain to me which rights are threatened here. The woman who objected to the sign used her First Amendment rights to free speech. The restaurant owner exercised the right to advertise his business in the manner that best suited him. He obvious maintains the right to operate his restaurant. And we all have the right to go to Sneakers Bistro, or not go, and eat bacon, or not eat bacon.

The theme through all the comments against the restaurant is by taking down an innocuous, ineffective advertising sign, the restaurant owner is bowing to the demands of heathen Muslims to take away our First Amendment rights. And our bacon. And in the process somehow destroy America.

Here's another idiot comment: "Gutless spineless pukes. Anyone eating at this cesspool of a food establishment may as well join the rest of the jihadists trying to destroy the nation from within. May their faces and bodies be burned and seared with boiling bacon grease."

So the only way to save America is to plaster the entire landscape with giant signs singing the praises of bacon? (This message brought to you by the National Pork Producers Council. Not really, but the idea is fun.)

Look, all these morons having a conniption over this have the First Amendment, free speech right to do so.  Just like the proprietors of Sneakers Bistro have the right to put out a sign, or not put out a sign.

But I have the First Amendment right to call bullshit on it. Because all this is, is part of the business model for the right wing media, from Fox on down to Breitbart.

These outlets seize on what are, to be honest, nice but boring stories of neighborliness in small cities like Winooski, and turn them into dog whistle catch phrases to rile the audience. You know, Muslims were involved (they're all terrorists, if you believe the extreme right wing world) They're out to destroy America from within by taking away our bacon, or something.

All this prompts clicks on websites and comments and ignorant discussions, which are all great from the right wing media's bottom line and business plan.

And although they didn't plan it this way, the outrage generated by the right wing spills over to create stories and clickbait for the mainstream and left wing media, thereby helping their bottom line. And yes, that makes me part of the problem, if there is one, because I'm writing about this, too.

So yeah, be outraged that the restauranteur took down his sign. And be outraged that people are outraged that the retauranteur took down his sign.

Meanwhile, I think I'll just drive down to Sneaker's Bistro, and have myself a nice breakfast. One that includes bacon.

Gutless, spineless, pukes. Anyone eating at this cesspool of a food establishment may as well join the rest of the jihadists trying to destroy this nation from within. May their faces and bodies be burned and seared with boiling bacon grease!"

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sweet Karma Against Florida Lemonade Stand Foe

In this photo from the  Tampa Bay Times,
T.J Guerrero prepares to sell more lemonade.  
Remember that guy I wrote about the other day who has been fighting tooth and nail against a neighborhood kid's lemonade stand?    

Well, karma has reared its head against the grumpy neighbor, named Doug Wilkey.

As I reported the other day, quoting the Tampa Bay Times, the zoning regulators took a look at the lemonade stand and decided no rules were broken. The lemonade sales can continue.

However, in an update by the Tampa Bay Times, the zoning people in Dunedin Florida found problems with Wilkey. Turns out he's allegedly running a business out of his home without a permit. 

Which means his efforts to go after the kid with the lemonade backfired right onto him.

According to the Tampa Bay Times:

"A tipster contacted the city and pointed officials toward records that show Wilkey, as recently as March, listed his Patricia Avenue home as the principal business address for Bayport Financial Services. 

Planning Director Greg Rice said officials were drafting a letter notifying Wilkey, 61, that all companies operating in the city require a business tax license, which  osts about $45 a year, and that home-based business owners must sign an affidavit agreeing to follow special rules."

It's been a terrible week for Wilkey, because his dislike for the lemonade stand went totally viral, and public opinion is solidly against him. "Grumpy" is one of the most common, and nicest words I've seen this week to describe Wilkey.

Meanwhile, all this publicity is GREAT for T.J.Guerrero, the 12-year-old who operates the stand. Because of all the news lots of people have either bought lemonade from him or donated money.

He took his mother out to dinner with some of the extra proceeds. His mom is setting up a college fund with some of the windfall, and some of it will be donated to charity the Tampa Bay Times says.

Online Store Practically Threatens To Break The Knees Of Customers Who Complain

A scummy online retailer threatened this woman
Thankfully, she's fighting back.  
Consumerist, that web site full of stories about retail and service businesses that don't quite understand the concept of customer service, has really topped itself this time.

They're telling us about an outfit called OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com which has a terms of service rule demanding customers not even threaten to complain about it, or they'll pay, pay, pay and pay. 

That's a new level of ridiculous, and probably unenforceable tyrannical terms of service rules.

Here's the "best" part of OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com's rules:

"You agree not to file any complaint, chargeback, claim, dispute, or make any public foru post, review, Better Business Bureau complaint, social media post, or any public statement regarding the order, our website or any issue regarding your order, for any reason, with this 90 day period, or to threaten to do so within the 90 day period, or it is a breach of the terms of sale, creating liability for damages in the aount of $250, plus any additional fees, damages, both consequential and incidental, calculated on an ongoing basis."

That's right, even if you casually threaten to post something whiny about OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com on Facebook,  or something,  and not even bother to post the complaint, they'll still go after you for $250.

This goes beyond some of the other ridiculous terms of service I've written about.   At least those tried to collect only when somebody actually complained, and one of these businesses backed down when the publicity hit, saying the rules were just a joke. 

Unlike some other outrageous terms of service fine print from other companies, this one from OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com apparently isn't a joke or an empty threat to make people think twice about complaining.

OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com went after a Wisconsin customer, Cindy Cox who was unhappy with them.

Says Consumerist: "The company told her in an email that not only would she be hit for the $250 penalty but that her account would be sent to a collections agency, which would 'put a negative mart on your credit for 7 years and will also result in calls to your home and/or work."

They also threatened her with further billing on an hourly basis. The customer said she had the right to contact her credit card company about the purchase, and these jerks responded that she now owed them unspecified monetary "damages" above and beyond the $250.

The customer also got a threatening email that read in part: "You are playing games with the wrong people and have made a very bad mistake given the legally binding contract we have in place. One we have successfully enforced on many individuals, the same we will do with you."

Gawd, this is worse than a plot line in "The Sopranos."

I have no idea wither OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com has actually gone after people like they said they have, but boy is this company stupid.

You know inevitably one of the customers the company abused would go to the media, or the media would find out, as happened here. This negative publicity can't be helping this bad outfit.

Plus, as they often do in cases like this, Public Citizen is helping the customer sue OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com, which will only drag out the misery for the company, and maybe with any luck, drive them out of business.

Scumbags that they are.

Says Public Citizen: 

"The lawsuit asks the court to declare that Cox doers not owe Accessory Outlet a debt because the terms of sale were hidden on its website, are unreasonably favorable to Accessory Outlet and were never presented to or accepted by Cox when she made her purchase."

I'm not a lawyer, but it sure seems to be Public Citizen and their client have a strong case.

Here's more evidence of how bad OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com is, according to Consumerist.  The company  claims to have endorsements from the Better Business Bureau and Angie's List. However, both organizations say uh-uh.

The Better Business Bureau actually gives Accessort Outlet an "F" rating, and Angie's List doesn't give them any props, because they have no reviews of this outfit to begin with, Consumerists says.

So I think this might be the beginning of the end for OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com, which would be a very good thing, based on what I'm reading about them.

That might be happening already. I couldn't get into their Web site Friday morning. An error message said their site was "undergoing maintenance."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Puppy Gets Head Stuck In Tire. Love The Name Rescuers Gave Him

Firefighters struggle to free a puppy stuck
in a tire. The dog was later named "Lugnut"  
There were some tense moments for a fire crew in Houston, Texas recently, when a frantic person came to the station with a dog.

The black lab mix's head was hopeless stuck in a tire, says Click2Houston.

The worst part of the story is the dog was found, stuck in the tire, abandoned in a trash heap. Thank goodness the Good Samaritan noticed the poor pup and sought help at the fire station.

And I want to smite the person who left the dog there.

Firefighters tried the tried and true soap and water to get the dog unstuck. That didn't work. They tried sawing the dog out of the metal part of the tire he was stuck in, but the saw frightened the puppy too much.

They then tried the Jaws of Life, that mechanism that gets people out of car wrecks they've been trapped in. That did the trick. The pub is on his way to a full recovery.

And the firefighters couldn't resist giving the dog an approrpriate name. He's now known as Lugnut.

Watch the rescue video: