Wednesday, March 4, 2015

You'll Never Guess What Police Found In A Container Marked "Not Weed"

This container is labeled, "Not Weed" but.... 
Police arrested a 21 year old kid in Nebraska for DUI and found an interesting container in the car he was in.

It used to contain Land O Lakes sour cream, but that's not what was in it when police discovered the 16-ounce plastic tub.

Somebody, presumably the guy driving the car, used a black marking pen to label the container "Not Weed," according to The Smoking Gun. 

You'll never guess what police found in the Land O Lakes tub.

Oh, you're so smart! It was weed! You, and local police are so clever at unraveling this type of ruse.

Jordan Meier, 21, was busted for DUI.

To be fair, Meier probably doubted police would figure out what was in the container if they found it. Asked why the container was labeled the way it was, Meier told police, "I don't know... I thought I was being funny. Inside joke with myself, I suppose....never thinking it would be confiscated," according to The Smoking Gun.

Will Curt Schilling Start Welcome Trend In Outing The Worst Trolls?

 Curt Schilling and his daughter Gabby discuss
the cyberbulling she experienced, and the
response to it by Curt Schilling on "Good Morning America"  
Congratulations to Curt Schilling, former Red Sox baseball great and current ESPN analyst, who has been getting tremendous Internet buzz the past couple of days for outing some terrible online trolls who attacked his daughter.

At least two of the trolls are learning that we indeed have freedom of speech, but there are always consequences to exercising that freedom.

If you're an awful person saying awful things, there's a chance awful things might happen to you.

The background:

The other day, Schilling Tweeted an innocuous congratulations to his daughter Gabby, because he'd just learned she'd be pitching for the Salve Regina University Seahawks next year.

Nice, but it shouldn't be a big deal. A proud dad celebrating his successful daughter. What's wrong with that?

Well, as is seemingly always the case, the trolls attacked.  The gleefully Tweeted very disgusting sexual and perverted insults against Gabby Schilling or gawd knows why.  Just wildly horrible jerks, I guess.

Curt Schilling decided to ignore the advice about ignoring the trolls and unloaded on them in his blog with a just perfect and aggressive flair. Don't mess with a dad whose daughter ahs been insulted.

The best part of Curt Schilling's blog post, and the part that's gotten the most attention, is how he outed a couple of the trolls who tweeted such awful things about his daughter.   He figured out exactly who they were, and identified them by name in his blog.

First, Schilling said this:

"Now let me emphasize again... I was a jock my whole life. I played sports my whole life. Baseball since I was 5 until I retired at 41. I know clubhouses, I lived in a dorm. I get it. Guys will be guys. Guys will say dumb crap, often. But I can't ever remember, drunk, in a clubhouse, with best friends, with anyone, ever speaking like this to someone."

Schilling outed one of the trolls as Adam Nagel, who went to Brookdale Community College and was a DJ on the college's radio station.

Schillling had this to say about Nagel: "You don't think this isn't going to be a nice compilation that will show up every single time this idiot is googled the rest of his life? What happens when a potential woman he's after googles and reads this?"

Well, aside from having a hard time getting dates, Nagel's time at Brookdale Community College appears to be over.
This person has been identified in media reports
 as Adam Nagel, one of at least two people
Curt Schilling tracked down as cyberbullies
against his daughter, Gabby Schilling.  

On its Facebook page, Brookdale posted this:

"Students and community members have rightfuly expressed concerns regarding recent social media comments made by a Brookdale student. 

The Twitter comments by this student are unacceptable and clearly violated the standards of conduct that are expected of all Brookdale students."

Though they didn't mention him by name, Brookdale officials said on the Facebook post that the student had been suspended, further disciplinary action would be taken, and Brookdale Police are also investigating the matter.

Brookdale also apologized to Gabby Schilling and said her accomplishments should be celebrated and "not clouded by offensive comments."

Most of the comments on Brookdale's Facebook page were supportive of the college, and urged officials to fully follow through on their discipline.

Then there's the other guy Schilling outed. He wrote:

"The other clown? He's VP of the Theta Xi fraternity at Montclair State University. I gotta believe if Theta Xi is cool with a VP of one of their chapters acting like this I'd preer to have no one I know in it. Also, does anyone attending Montclair State University have a student handbook? If so, can you pass it along because I am pretty sure there are about 90 violations in this idiot's Tweets."

This idiot is named Sean MacDonald. He actually recently graduated from Montclair State University so college officials really can't do anything about him. MacDonald recently started a job as a part-time ticket seller for the New York Yankees, but the Yankees quickly fired him when Schilling's blog post came out.

MacDonald's former fraternity isn't amused, either, saying "......inappropriate and offensive tweets that were posted by an alumnus of Theta Xi Fraternity. We agree wholeheartedly that cyber-bullying is unacceptable and should not be tolerated."

Predictably, neither Nagel nor MacDonald have responded to media requests for comments, says 

Schilling says he knows the identity of some of the other trolls, and is considering legal action against them. However, several law experts said it might be difficult to bring criminal charges, because the troll comments didn't represent "true threats" that are likely to be carried out, says the Asbury Park Press of New Jersey.

Judging from the current Internet zeitgeist, most people seem pretty supportive of Schilling. Some are questioning why he's being so harsh on people who were supposedly only joking.

It's true pretty much everyone, including yours truly, has said moronic things in social media. We delete them, we explain them, we apologize for them and move on. But most of the stupid things we say on Facebook or Twitter or whatever reflect a momentary bout of ignorance, sarcasm, anger.

That's really not so bad and we shouldn't face severe criticism or life-long consequences for our little on-line mistakes.

Schilling points out that the trolls he outed went well beyond a bit of ignorance or posting something rashly.

"A mistake is tweeting once and saying, 'damn, I'm an idiot' and taking it down. These guys? They're making conscious choices to cyberbully an amazing and beautiful young woman in the Internet, and none of them know by the way, because they don't like her dad or they somehow think saying words you can teach a 5 year old is tough? Cool? Bad ass? Something I am missing? 

My right hand to God I promise all of you that tweeted that stuff, the friendsd around you saying, 'dude that's hilarious' and 'OMG that's awesome'? Those people? Inside they're actually thinking, 'what an ass#$!Q' and 'holy crap what a piece of trash,' no matter what they say to your face.'"

And the First Amendment?  As I noted, the government really can't prevent you from saying what you want. But they can stop you from making threats. The First Amendment also doesn't prevent employers, educators, friends and everyone else from shunning you because you are so awful.

It's time more Internet trolls learn this lesson, and Schilling is definitely helping with this process.

Schilling retired from playing baseball years ago, but he's still hitting at least metaphorical home runs. He definitely hit a grand slam with this blog post. Congratulations, Curt!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

YouTube's 10th Anniversary Is Surprising Trip Down Memory Lane

Possibly the most iconic YouTube video
Leave Britney Alone!  
It almost feels like YouTube has been around forever, but it's only ten years now

I'm a total addict with YouTube. I watch it more than television.

It's a great time waster when I don't feel like doing anything, or I want to procrastinate, or I just want to see how strange and wonderful and awful and gorgeous and creative and (rarely) bland the world and its humans are.

There's a tenth anniverary video of the highlights of YouTube over the past decade. Each snippet of the video lasts barely a second, but click on this hyperlink to see the entire list of the YouTube moments you liked or loathed. 

It's probably impossible to include all the best, most viral, most controversial videos out there, but they tried. I'm sure you can add yours.

Susan Boyle auditions for Britain's Got Talent,
setting off a YouTube viral frenzy about
five years ago. 
A number of them are music videos. MTV hasn't had music videos for years, so YouTube is now the go to place for popular music videos, or people who do covers of popular songs.

It reminds me of how quickly things change. One of my favorite videos, one that made this 10-year compilation, is Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance". It's weird and scary and wonderful and perplexing and crazy and odd. Which is perfect for me.

That video only came out about five years ago, but already, Lady Gaga has moved on to expertly singing torh songs, ballads and Broadway hits. At least for now.

The homeless guy with the golden radio voice
went viral on YouTube a few years ago. With all the
attention, he's certainly not homeless now.  
Then there's the world debut of Susan Boyle. That was just six years ago, when the dowdy, awkward woman stunned everybody with her vocal briliance. That video now has more than 65 million views.

Other rags to riches stories, or undiscovered talent came to us, and are in this compilation, too. Remember the homeless guy with the golden radio voice? He's there too. So is the amazing "Pumped Up Kicks/Dubstep" guy    

Some of the videos are instant classics, something that everyone remembers, like in previous media eras, when the world instantly recalls, to cite both the frivolous and the devastating, the I Love Lucy chocolate factory episode, or Winston Churchill's "Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself" or the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center. 

The baby laughing gleefully as his
father rips up a job application rejection
letter is one of the best ultra-viral
YouTube videos of the past decade. 
Here, on YouTube, we have the silly, the interesting and the serious touchstones.

Perhaps the most famous is the wailing, distraught guy, mascara streaming down his face with his tears as he screamed at us to "Leave Britney Alone!," when the pop star was having a well-publicized meltdown.

Others were almost as famous, like  the VW Darth Vader ad, and the two baby twins seeming to have an intelligent conversation made of baby babble, and the baby laughing hysterically as his dad rips up a job application rejection letter. 

There was history, of course, like Obama's 2008 election and the 2011 Japanese tsunami, and the Boston Marathon bombing. 

I'm sure we'll have other viral videos taking over our lives any minute now. Or other media. Vine, those six-second video snippets, are already starting to becoming cultural icons.  

As Sonny and Cher once sang, back in the dinosaur age when anything online wasn't really even the stuff of science fiction yet, the beat goes on. 

Two Year Old's Version Of National Anthem Not Soaring, But Beautiful Nonetheless

Trent Harris, age 2 and a half, sings the National
Anthem recently at a New Jersey high school
basketball game.  
At many sporting events, it seems singers try to outdo each other with ever more soaring versions of the Star Spangled Banner. 

It's become kind of like a televised singing competition. Blow the house down with blowtorch vocals or something.  

So it was refreshing, at the start of a recent high school basketball game, that quite another type of singer did his version of the "Star Spangled Banner."

As the Huffington Post notes, Trent Harris might not have hit all the right notes, and maybe he struggled with a couple bits of the lyrics. But that's OK. He's only 2 years old.

That's right. It's probably the youngest age at which I've ever heard the Star Spangled Banner performed. 

Trent's mother said he likes to listen to her sing the anthem before bedtime, so he's pretty familiar with it now. That might sound strange, but Trent's dad is a football player with the Cincinnati Bengals, so the anthem, which starts every NFL game, is a connection to his dad.

Trent didn't practice much before the performance, but as you'll see, below, that's OK. It worked.

I love how he pronounces "glare" and "air" in the part of the Star Spangled Banner that refers to the rockets red glare. 

There was a backup plan in case Trent got cold feet or was too nervous, but he handled the task of singing before the game like an old pro.

Next up: He'll be a competitor on "The Voice" or something.

Watch Trent's awesome rendition of the National Anthem:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Flaming Russian Guy Leaps Off Tall Building Into Snowbank, Another Takes Mento/Diet Coke Bath Just Because

Here is out flaming stuntman jumping off a tall
Russian building on his way down to a snowbank
on the ground. He lived, but probably killed
some of the few brain cells he had to begin with.  
There's always crazy people out there.

Like the stuntman you'll see in this post.

For no discernable reason, other than maybe just to get it off his bucket list, some guy in Russia stood on the roof of a multistory building, set himself on fire. He jumped off the building and landed in a snowbank.

He survived, which is good, but looks the worse for wear, frankly.

But he recovered. He told a small gathering near the snowbank where he landed, "I felt on top of the severity of life."

No, I don't know what that means, either.

For what it's worth, here's his video. Don't try this at home, kiddies!

Speaking of stupid stunts, we have a bonus one for you. Lots of people know if you mix Coca Cola with Mentos candies you get a lot of fizz.

So some guy in this viral video strapped a whole bunch of Mentos to his body and took a bath in Coca-Cola. Just because.

It's not as spectacular as I hoped this would be, but it's fun to see the mess he makes. And to ponder why the hell he did this.

I hope you find more productive things to do with your day. Here's our Mentos and Coke guy:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Favorite Sportscaster Strikes Again, This Time Taking On Texas Racism

WFAA-TV sportscaster Dale Hansen brilliantly
unpacks what's behind a racist moment during
a high school basketball game in a Texas suburb  
I rarely pay attention to sports in Texas. I don't search out sports anchors on Texas television stations.

With the exception of Dale Hansen. The sports desk chief at WFAA-TV in Dallas is brilliant.

I first saw him in action a little over a year ago, when football player Michael Sam came out as gay.

Hansen, a gruff white-haired no-nonsense type of guy, had a perfect reaction to people who were appalled that a football player was gay.

Basically he wondered how men who assault women, drive drunk and kill other people on the road, are caught with prostitutes in hotel rooms and that type of thing are welcome in the NFL, but a guy who says he loves another man goes too far.

Hansen said this in conservative Texas, by the way.

Our sportscaster Hansen is back again. This time, a high school basketball game in suburban Flower Mound, Texas featured teenagers holding two signs next to each other as their school faced off against a predominately black team.

One sign said "White." The other said "Power."


Hansen was back on WFAA last week with another excellent rant over this one. As Talking Points Memo noted, he blasted prents in Flower Mound who said the signs were just an accidental paring of signs alongside each other.

He remembed as a kid growing up in Iowa, his father would always call black people the n-word, but still spoke highly of a black family in the town that everyone knew and liked. He said his mind was twisted by his father's casual dismissal of African-Americans, and parents in Flower Mound were doing the same.

"Kids have to be taught to hate it's our parents and grandparents, and our teachers and coaches, too, who teach us to hate....Kids become the product of that environment. I was. And they are.

"I changed and they can, too. But not if we try to defend what you cannot defend and not if we stay silent and think taking their signs away is doing enough.

"the world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them," Hansen concluded, quoting Albert Einstein.

Predictably, the comments section of the YouTube video of Hansen's editorial is full of racist, ignorant comments, but at least there are some thoughtful ones, too.

I'm also happy when sportscasters like Hansen focus on the ethics and morals of people in sports. A lot of people look up to athletes as role models. That's a cliche, but a true one. So they ought to be held to some sort of standard.

When Hansen finished his on-air discussion, one of the other anchors said Hanson was sure to end up with a very full email in box. I'm sure that's true.

Somehow, I doubt Hansen will mind all that much.

Here's the video, totally worth watching:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sweet Local News Story: Elderly Embrace Old Songs; Make Us Feel Good

A 99-year-old woman enjoys some music
and memories at an Atlanta, Georiga assisting
living facility in a WXIA-TV news piece.  
Often, on a slow new day, local TV stations fill time with stories that aren't all that important, just fluff.  Sometimes these stories are kinda boring, frankly.

Sometimes, though, when they're done right, those "fluff" stories are actually pretty amazing.

WXIA in Atlanta recently put together a feature on a music therapist who works with the elderly in an assisted living facility.

That doesn't sound like a big deal, but the producers edited and reported the piece in such a way that it was quite moving.

You'll see in the video at the bottom of this post how WXIA mixed interviews, images of the elderly enjoying the music, and flashes of the mementos they cling onto as they remember these old songs.

"Music memories last longer than other memories," said John Abel, the music therapist featured in the WXIA piece.

It's true. I bet you agree with me that some songs you heard in your youth, even tunes that aren't even really that good, evoke strong memories. Usually they're memories that have nothing to do with the song, but that's OK.

For some reason, the song "Rhiannon"by Fleetwood Mac  is my current earworm and it makes me think of a glorious spring hike I took in 1976, when the song was a hit. No rhyme or reason to the memory, it just is.

I'm sure everyone reading has this experience.

As the WXIA piece shows, sometimes these musical memories are absolutely poignant and beautiful.

At WXIA, one of the news anchors actually started weeping a bit when the piece ended (this is included in the video below), because it reminded him of his own father.

Without further ado, watch the piece. It's very nice: