Thursday, July 24, 2014

Way Too Overly Sensitive Workers Get People Thrown Out of Donut Shop, Plane

A mother and her four year old son
are banned from this doughnut shop
because her kid asked a too personal question.  
Gawker had two stories yesterday on how overly sensitive workers got people thrown out of a donut shop and a plane.  

In the first instance, a four year old boy named Justin Otero asked a woman in a donut shop if she was pregnant. The woman in question was not expecting.

Justin's mother, Rebecca Denham, said she was mortified and profusely apologized to the woman. The woman accepted the apology and all was good.

Or not.

According to television station WSFB when Justin and his mother went to the donut shop the next day they were told to get out, because Justin is "rude" Denham said, relating what the store manager said. She tried to explain the situation, but to no avail.

After the "pregnant" incident, Denham said she explained to her son that while curiosity is a good thing, he shouldn't ask such personal questions of strangers. He "sort of" gets it, says Denham, which is a good start.

If anyone should be offended here, it's the not pregnant woman. But she shrugged it off. If the donut shop bans everyone who commits a social faux pas, then there will be a lot of unsold donuts going stale on the store's shelves.

Next, we go to a Southwest Airlines flight, where Duff Watson and his two daughters were trying to get from Denver to Minneapolis.

Watson was unhappy with a gate agent and Tweeted his displeasure with "Kimberly." Apparently, Kimberly saw the Tweet and had Watson and the daughters kicked off the flight as a "security risk."

They were allowed back on after Kimberly made Watson delete the Tweet.  (Watson says he now regrets backing down and should have retained the Tweet.

Here's the "security threat" in question:

As you can see, Watson didn't exactly threaten to blow up the plane.

Southwest later apologized to Watson, but Watson is pissed and said he won't fly Southwest anymore.

Maybe Kimberly shouldn't have been so sensitive. Her job is no doubt hard, but she just made it a lot harder by causing a Federal Production over a Tweeted insult.

That is, if she still has a job. Southwest probably isn't too keen on the PR problem.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dog Launches Formerly Homeless Guy's Thriving Arts Career

John Dolan and his buddy and artistic muse George
Photo by David Levene for The Guardian  
John Dolan, in his early 40s, was a homeless heroin addict in Britain.

Somebody sold him a charming dog named George for the price of a can of beer.

Dolan and George quickly became close buddies, and Dolan realized unless he got his act straightened out, he'd go to prison, lose George and God know what would happen to George.

Dolan recognized having a dog companion is great, but also a responsibility, so he had to take responsibility.

So Dolan began drawing sketches of George, and his surroundings in London. The sketches really are quite good.

One of John Dolan's sketches of George.  
According to The Guardian newspaper, a guy named Richard Howard Griffin saw Dolan and his sketches. He thought they were quite good, too. Howard Griffin is into street art and is a gallery owner.

He put on an exhibition of Dolan's drawings last fall.

The exhibition turned out to be a sellout, a second one just opened. The sketches often sell for more than $5,000 apiece, according to the Huffington Post. 

Dolan is releasing a memoir, called "John and George: The Dog Who Changed My Life"

Dolan told the Guardian George was his lifesaver: "I feel like he's a guardian angel. If it hadn't been for him, I'd have never picked up my pen."

Dolan said he knows he has to be careful. Now that all this money is rolling in, he could slide back into heroin use. He can afford it.

Or, actually, Dolan says he can't. Yes, he's got the money for the drugs, but he's also got George. And he can't let him down. So he's staying clean.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Weird Creationist Guy Says Space Exploration Waste Of Time Because Aliens On Other Planets Are Doomed To Hell

I wonder if it's a sin that Ken Ham
doesn't seem to use his God-given gift
of intellectual curiosity.  
I don't know about you, but I always get a bit of a thrill when astronomers find something way out in space that's cool.

More planets, more strange places, even parts of the universe that could support intelligent life.  

Ken Ham doesn't get such a thrill. Maybe because his world doesn't support intelligent life.

He's that famous creationist who says God created the world something like 6,000 years ago, that evolution doesn't exist. He notably debated Bill Nye (the science guy) on this subject not long ago, and from my perspective, it didn't go well for Ham.

But Ham is back! He's got an op-ed, timed the other day for the 45th anniversary of the moon landing He said space exploration is a complete waste of money and time.

Especially since space aliens probably don't exist, and if they do, they're damned to hell.

He writes: "Of course, secularists are desperate to find life in outer space, as they believe that they would provide evidence that life can evolve in different locations and given the supposed right conditions!"

The exclamation point is Ham's.  He's flabbergasted that anyone would have any curiosity about anything going on beyond Ham's tiny little fundamentalist Christian world.

Ham goes on:

"And I do believer there can't be other intelligent beings in outer space  because of the meaning of the gospel....You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam's sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam's sin, but because they are not Adam's descendants, they can't have salvation."

I'm confused by so much of this, I'm afraid. First of all, I've always wondered why some people thing God is such a control freak and a passive-aggressive guilt tripper that when this Adam guy supposedly screwed up once, it's everybody else's fault as well.

Even if Adam was there and improperly ate the apple, you and I weren't there. We had nothing to do with it. So don't tell me I'm a sinner, at least for that reason.

It's probably good that space aliens are not descendants of Adam and Eve. The only way Adam and Eve could have propogated the human race is through incest.

That's one reason evolution works better for me. (The more important reason is science seems to have more evidence on its side)

Ham also throws in some lines that are slightly off topic, but still reflect his deep, deep lack of intellectual curiosity. I have to wonder if some people who are that into extreme religion use it as crutch so they don't have to think.

Anyway, there's this gem:

"The Earth was created for human life. And the sun and moon were created for signs and our season - and to declare the glory of God."

Well, yes, the Earth, the sun and the moon are pretty impressive. But so are the zillions of stars and planets and other known and unknown objects in the universe. Don't all those things declare the glory of God, too?

Here's more: "Many secularists want to discover alien life hoping that aliens can answer the deepest questions of life. 'Where did we come from?' and 'What is the purpose and meaning of life?' But such people are ignoring the revelation from the infinite God behind the whole universe. The Creator has told us where we came from: 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.'  And He told us what life's purpose is 'Fear God and keep his commandments'

What do I know? Maybe there is a God who created the whole universe.  And for that matter set in motion evolution. If that's true, there's a truly impressive God right there, let me tell ya.

But are purpose in life is to "fear God and keep his commandments."  Life is to be feared? No boldly going where no man has gone before?

I like to think God, if there is one,  wants us to go boldly where no man has gone before. Might bring him closer to him, for all I know.

As Salon points out, the most infuriating thing about Ham is he thinks all the answers are in the Bible, or at least his interpretation of it. His world does not extend beyond that book.

He has no intellectual curiosity at all. He'll never ask why about anything, which is totally sad. Even worse, other people buy his argument and they won't ask questions as well.

Which begs the point: If there is a God, why did he give us the ability to be curious, to ask questions, to explore? Why bother if if God doesn't want us to use these skills.

Look, believe what you want. Don't be that curious if you don't want to. Find all the easy answers through religion. It's your right. Go for it.  But leave me out of it.

Salon goes on to quote Neil deGrasse Tyson, who caused a great stir earlier this year with his series "Cosmos : A Spacetime Odyssey."

In it, Tyson said: "It's OK not to know all the answers....It's better to admit our ignorance, than to believe answers that might be wrong. Pretending to know everything closes the door to finding out what's really there."

Ham his closed his door tight. And if you shut the door to your own curiosity, your life becomes stilted, meaningless, and in my view, not what God intended.

My favorite type of kid are those youngsters, maybe four or five years old, who constantly pester you with "Why?" questions. About everything.

When those kids do that, it makes me feel like the kids are alright.

Ham, sadly, is not.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Best Video Release Yet in Weird Al Yankovic's Video Week

Weird Al Yankovic released a video each day for the past week of song parodies, including a grammar lesson set to Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and a study in tackiness to Pharrell's "Happy"
A still from Weird Al Yankovic's crazy and
hilarious "Lame Claim to Fame"  video

The best one came out yesterday. It's fun because it skewers all those people in social media who name drop.

The slightest brush with celebrity makes people go gaga if they drank at the same bar Lady Gaga did back in 2011. Or something.

This Weird Al release is called "Lame Claim to Fame"

We get lines like "I threw up in an elevator next to Christian Slater," or "I have a car that used to belong to Cuba Gooding Jr.'s uncle" and "A friend of mine in high school had jury duty with Art Garfunkle"

You get the point. Who really cares if you once walked down the same street Kim Kardashian did ten years ago?

Even better, the tune Weird Al Yankovic uses for this parody is a lot like Southern Culture On The Skids' song "Camel Walk"

I LOVE Southern Culture on the Skids. I'll skip describing whether I've ever been in close proximity to them, in honor of Weird Al Yankovic's video.

Here's the stop action madness of "Lame Claim to Fame" Enjoy!

"Charlie Da Dog" Helps Baby Load Up On Toys

Charlie Da Dog gives a baby back his toy, and then some.  
OK, I'm a little obsessed with cute dog videos lately, but I can't resist this one.

The set up is that Charlie the beagle, or better known to "Charlie Da Dog" takes a toy from the baby.

(The family is Polish, and I love how the dog is known as "da dog" because people with Polish accents pronounce "the" as "da." Reminds me of my upbringing in a town with a lot of Poles.)

Anyway, the baby starts crying when Charlie takes the toy. Charlie feels bad so he piles toys on to the baby. The premise of the video is that Charlie is apologetic for taking the toy, but I think Charlie has just been trained to do what he does.

But the true scenario doesn't matter that much. The baby and the dog are still cute, and Charlie is clearly smart and talented.  It's no wonder the video has gone totally viral.

By the way, Charlie has a Facebook page you can check out as well.

So for your Monday morning smile, here's the video:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Thailand Mobile Phone, And Burger King Ad Violate Rule That Ads Must Be Bad And Irritating

How does the dad in this Thailand mobile
phone ad manage this crying baby?  
As I occasionally do in this blog, I try to give positive reinforcement to those few awesome advertisters that (thankfully) violate what seems to be a code of conduct for television commercials.

That code dictates that all advertising must be stupid, irritating, talent-free, must insult our intelligence and show no creativity.

Today, I give kudos to the Thailand mobile phone company DTAC, and Burger King, who released a couple good ads recently.

As if to demonstrate the public craves compelling advertising, both the mobile phone ad and the Burger King advertisement videos have gone viral.

What's different about this Whopper?
Watch the ad below and find out. 
I don't expect much from ads, and that's OK. The point of them is to convince us to buy a product, so you can't necessarily get to incredible film making like in the movie Citizen Kane or something.

But there's room for emotion and camera work and a good script in a short format like advertising, and the Thailand DTAC mobile phone ad, from the agency Y&R does that.   

It shows a young dad struggling with a crying infant while his wife shops at a grocery store. He calls her for help on the spiffy mobile home that's in the ad.

The ad nicely demonstrates how wonderful the phone is, but includes an awesome note about what the phone CAN'T replace. Watch the phone ad, as it's wonderful, then below that, we get into the very good Burger King ad.

Here's the phone ad:

The Burger King ad was only shown locally around San Francisco around the time of the city's recent gay pride celebration. But Burger King meant for the ad to be seen on line around the world.

In the ad, made by the agency David, Miami, Pride participants and other city residents, presumably not actors but actual people, stop at a San Francisco Burger King and asked if they want to try a Burger King Pride Whopper.

The Burger King workers don't give customers much information about what might be different about the Pride Whoppers, but the people who try the burger quickly figure out what is different, and what is not different about the burger.

Very nice. Watch:

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Eww: "Mannequin" Was Dead Body

In the EWWWW!!!  department today, we have news of a couple Florida guys who were cleaning out a house who cut down a mannequin hanging in a garage and brought it to the dump.  
The house garage in Spring Hill, Florida in
which a "fake mummy" cleaners removed
was a real, and dead, human body.  

The problem was, the "mannequin" was actually a real human body. A real dead one, says the AP.

Police said the body was that of a 33-year old Spring Hill, Florida man who had committed suicide a few weeks ago.

Police said the body was in a "state of decomposition similar to mummification."

Israel Lopez and Adam Hines, the guys who took the body to the landfill, had thought the former renters in the house had played a Halloween-type hoax on them.

The two guys aren't facing any charges, but I bet they are SO, SO freaked out.  The pair have so far not offered any comment. None needed, really.

Incredibly, this is the second time in the past several months that a dead body in Florida was mistaken for a mannequin, according to the AP:

"In St. Petersburg, the body of a 96-year-old woman who jumped to her death was mistaken for an April Fool's prank and thrown in an apartment complex Dumpster. The overnight clerk who removed the body was fired," says the AP.

So if you're ever in Florida and think you see a fake stunt mummy, don't touch, please. You might get more than you bargained for.