Sunday, September 30, 2012

Confronting Bullies Often Reverses the Hate

Two stories I saw recently illustrate how confronting bullies works. At least sometimes.

The first instance could have turned out like a version of "Carrie,".the Stephen King novel and subsequent movie about how mean kids set up a girl they disliked as a joke homecoming queen, with incredible grisly results.
Michigan homecoming queen Whitney Kropp

In the Michigan case, there was no blood, no teleportation, no insane mothers,  no fires, no weirdness, no deaths, like in "Carrie." Things worked out much better than that in Whitney Kropp's town of West Branch, Michigan,

 Kropp, 16,  was picked by classmates as homecoming queen. Sounds nice, until it turned out that she was pranked by bullies. They picked her as queen not so she could actually be the centerpiece of the homecoming, but as an excuse to harass her, according to NBC News.

"I felt like I wasn't worthy. Why even be part of this community, this world, if I'm just going to be tossed around like basically a piece of trash," Kropp asked.

Then the tide turned. Eventually, the joke was on the bullies. Kropp's friends and supporters decided if she was going to be homecoming queen, she was going to be a legitimate one, and a glorious one at that.

Friends and people in town rallied around her, people donated hairstyling, a dress, dinner, etc., her boyfriend happily took her to the homecoming dance and Kropp was a damn good homecoming queen, by all accounts. 

And I bet the people who started the "joke" really felt like idiots after all this.   Talk about a backfire. The whole incident proves that if enough people confront a bully, things can turn out for the best.

A second, even better example of this came  when sombody posted on Reddit a photo of a Sikh woman with facial hair, in an effort to ridicule her appearance. 

Siks do not alter their bodies because their religion teaches them that their bodies are a perfect gift from God and ought not be altered. 

The Sikh woman who was the target of the somewhat snarky photographer and the haters who posted nasty stuff about her saw all this on Reddit. In a display of strength and graces, she responded thusly, as reported by The Daily What:
Balpreet Kaur

"Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture. ... I'm not embarrased or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positve] that this picture is getting because, it's who I am.

Yes, I'm a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women.

However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body - it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn't reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. ...

My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it?

When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. ...

I appreciate all of the comments here, both positive and less positive because I've gotten a better understanding of myself and others from this."

I do not think I've ever read a more impressive response to bullying than this.  Kaur appears from the picture to be a young woman, so the world is likely to benefit from her wisdom for decades to come.

The photographer who took the picture of Balpreet Kaur and posted it on Reddit saw Kaur's message.  Humanity wins again. Here was his response:

"I know that this post ISN'T a funny post but I felt the need to apologize to the Sikhs, Balpreet, and anyone else I offended when I posted that picture. Put simply it was stupid. Making fun of people is funny to some but incredibly degrading to the people you're making fun of. It was an incredibly rude, judgmental, and ignorant thing to post. ...

I've read more about the Sikh faith and it was actually really interesting. It makes a whole lot of sense to work on having a legacy and not worrying about what you look like. I made that post for stupid internet points and I was ignorant.

So reddit I'm sorry for being an a**hole and for giving you negative publicity. Balpreet, I'm sorry for being a closed minded individual. You are a much better person than I am Sikhs, I'm sorry for insulting your culture and way of life. Balpreet's
faith in what she believes is astounding ."

A lot of people who are mean or bully surely don't stop and think about the humanity of the people they're targeting. It's easy to go down that route. The words, pictures, videos and images you see on line are abstractions. I know I don't always see through that to understand the people involved have lives, emotions, feelings, contributions to make, hurt moments to heal, joy to share.

To me, it's actually OK sometimes to criticize, pick on somebody who willfully does something stupid, mean, close minded or destructive. I do it all the time. Almost all of us do. Yet, it's also useful to offer the people we don't like a chance to redeem themselves.

It's even more important to let people who don't deserve the hate to let themselves shine, as Kropp and especially Kaur did.

Meanwhile, I found a riveting account on on how a man and his family were terrorized by an Internet troll, an assault that included death threats. It's a really good read, so go for it.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Portland Trailblazer Really Is One With His Remarkable Story

I don't usually read the sports pages and I'm not usually particularly interested in new members of the NBA's Portland Trailblazers, but I stumbled upon one of the best examples of sportswriting I've ever seen. And a related video that is guaranteed to make you weepy.

Reading and watching are both worth it.
Portland Trailblazer Meyer Leonard

The Oregonian's John Canzano' wrote about Meyer Leonard, drafted in the first round by the Trailblazers. It could have been a routine, boring sports story. But Leonard has an amazing, if sad past, which he has clearly overcome.

Leonard's brother Bailey is a Marine, and the siblings are as close as any siblings can be. The brothers' father died when they were young. They suffered through poverty.

Leonard went about his business of launching a basketball career while worried sick about Bailey, whose life was in danger as he fought in Afghanistan.   I won't go into it further, just read Canzano's article.  Even if you never read the sports page,  read that. 

They say love conquers all. And I guess the love between two brothers is proof of that.

When you're done reading, watch the video below, put together by John Canzano. In it, Meyer Leonard is a the basketball court, in March, in Champagen, Illinois. It looks like he's practicing.   Watch what happens when a certain visitor stops by to congratulate him.

Friday, September 28, 2012

9/11 Teacher Loves Trauma, Hates Nuance

I guess in some circles, the theory goes that  the best way to teach kids their history lesson is by traumatizing them.

If the report is right from earlier this month, on the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy,  an El Paso teacher forced fourth graders to draw disturbing images of the 9/11 attack,

The teacher apparently told the students to make the artwork nice and graphic and disturbing.
One of the disturbing pics fourth graders in
El Paso were made to draw by their teacher
Image is from television station KFOX.

Hey, just draw pictures of buildings burning, people trapped, people leaping to their deaths, evil terrorists laughing at the carnage. A nice sober way to learn about the awful events of that day, right?

That'll teach them to remember the terrorist attack.  And develop a nice sense of incoherent hate, instead of targeting the anger against the world's dangerous terrorists.

Just put the youngsters in the shoes of the people who had to jump from the buildings as they were engulfed in flames, then fell.

And then tell them the kiddies this:    "The Afghans did this because they hate all of us and want to kill us all,"

A parent, Ivie Gremillion, said she can't understand why the fourth graders just couldn't have gotten a straight forward lesson on the day.

Television station KFOX reported a few days after the incident the unnamed teacher is now on paid administrative leave.

While Gremillion said she was outraged by the assignment, she certainly wants her daughter to learn everything she can about 9/11 as it was an important part of American history.  She just wants it all to be age appropriate, and put in perspective.

Gremillion especially wants kids to understand that while the terrorists who did this were pure evil, certainly not everyone in Afghanistan wants us dead. Like everywhere else, there are good people and bad people in Afghanistan.

Her attitude was pretty nuanced and healthy about the whole situation, which surely will bother the pundits, and probably the teacher,  who insist we all look at things as purely black or purely white. If one Afghan Muslin is a terrorist, they all are, I guess the thinking goes.

And the mother's attitude will surely annoy the wackos who insist that everything having anything to do with Islam is horrible and must die.

There's a lot of talk about how "indoctrinating" kids in schools with political agendas is a bad idea. Fine. Give 'em the facts, and the opposing viewpoints, as long as they make sense. And let the kids learn on their own what is right, what is true, and what is false and what is wrong.

But all that would make the kiddies think critically and ask questions. You know, get well-informed and intelligent.

Or are some groups and ideologues too scared to allow smart people to question their worldview?  

Traffic Hazard: Wet roads, Iffy Drivers, Lightning from Above

Here's quite a dashcam vid taken on a Russian highway on a rainy day not long ago.

The SUV driver ahead of the cam is going along, minding his own business, seeming to drive just fine, unlike many Russian motorists.

Then Wham!. No, it wasn't one of those crazy collisions that are staple of Russian YouTube videos. This one was meteorological, of all things. Turns out nobody got hurt, but still. Watch the cool vid:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tasteless, Tacky Tweeter Twit Apologies to Baltimore Ravens

Katie Moody, that woman I wrote about the other day who Tweeted an incredible tacky, hurtful message to Baltimore Ravens receiver Torrey Smith.has apologized.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Moody now "profoundly regrets" the Tweet that caused the uproar.
Katie Moody of Baltimore is very sorry she was
 a scumbag on Twitter Sunday.

Smith played in Sunday's game despite the fact his younger brother died in a motorcycle accident hours earlier. He dedicated his impressive performance in the game to his brother. The Ravens won the game against the New England Patriots.

Moody, a Patriots fan, was not happy. She Tweeted this charming comment: "Hey, Smith. How about you call your bro and tell him about your wi---ohhh, wait. @toosoon"

This, understandably did not go over well, and Moody endured a sh!tstorm of hate toward her. Understandably. People also called for her firing at her job at John Hopkins School of Medicine.

No word if that's going to happen.  In any event,  Moody is very regretful now. Not sure if it's because of the criticism, or she realized she was very, very wrong, or both. But for the record, her statement is this:

"I profoundly regret my thoughtless, tasteless, and completely inappropriate comment, and I deeply lament the pain that it has caused. I would like to apologize to Torrey Smith, his family, friends, and everyone who was distressed by what I said. I should have been offering sympathy and compassion for such a terrible and heart-breaking loss. I set high standards for myself as a person and as a fan, and I fell short of these standards. This was a horrible lapse in judgment that I will always regret. I am truly sorry."

That's a marked contrast to her initial reaction to the criticism in the hours after she Tweeted. She had said that everybody is doing it, so apparently it isn't a big deal. She has since had a change of heart, apparently.

Look, I have no idea of Moody is normally a scumbag or just had one scumbag moment in an otherwise life of decency. I don't know her. But I bet she's going to be incredibly careful on social media from now on.

No word yet, either on whether there's a public reaction from Smith. He doesn't owe us any reaction, of course. We just extend our condolences to Smith and his family.

Thursday Dog Tricks, For No Other Reason Than Deligh

I stumbled upon this video of Elee, a Shiba Inu (a breed I'd never heard of) performing some tricks. The dog is smart and amazing.

I have no other agenda for posting this other than Elee is a lot of fun, and I'm all for any excuse to smile. So smile along with me as you watch this:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Careful When Ripping Up $100 Bills, Walmart!

If this lawsuit turns out to have its facts straight, the folks at a San Antonio Walmart better be a little more careful in the future. And be able to tell the difference between fake $100 bills and the real deal.

According to the lawsuit, a woman named Julia Garcia pulled out a $100 bill to pay for some purchases. The cashier didn't even bother checking to see if it was fake. Said clerk just decided it was fake, ripped it in half, and had Garcia detained as a crook.

Garcia, maybe foolishly, produced another $100 bill to prove that her cash was legit and store personnel quickly ripped that one up, too, without checking its authenticity.

Guess what, kiddies! The $100 bills were completely real and legit and store staffers could have easily tested them to determine that. Most major retailers have little readers that can scan money to determine its legitimacy.

A cop finally came and sorted out the matter. Garcia said she was humiliated and detained for hours. The cop basically rescued her, saying she did nothing wrong and was free to leave.  The cop also told Walmart to give Garcia back her $200. The store manager kept digging the hole deeper by trying to give Gracia back the ripped bills.

No dice, said the cop. They had to give her undamaged money. So there.

These Walmart people were kind of cynical, don't you think? Anyone paying with a $100 bill is automatically using counterfeit money, not the real deal?  Yeah, check the bills. Trust but verify, in the immortal words of Ronald Reagan.

This whole incident  makes me nervous about ever go to a Walmart. What else is considered suspicious? Should I wear certain clothes,  maybe take fashion tips from the hilarious but sad web site "People of Walmart? Only problem is, I don't have clothes like that.  And I won't fashion my hair into a mullet.

Do I need to have the "right" credit or debit card?  Should I pay for my purchase only with $1 bills, dimes and nickels, even if my purchase amounts to something like $200?  What should my mannerisms be in a Walmart?

Walmart is getting a lot of bad press lately anyway. There was another story about how a woman wrote a $48 check to Walmart. The check bounced, and she was subsequently told to pay $280 or spend a year in jail.

Seems DA's have been using some companies that have sprung up that use District Attorney letterheads to threaten people who don't pay their bills.  Prosecutors say they have their hands full so they oursource these small cases.

Of course this woman should have been more careful and had the funds to cover the check. And she is responsible for paying Walmart the $48.  But I wonder if outsourcing bounced check prosecutions to private companies, some of whom might not care much as to whether the person is guilty of bouncing checks or not, is a good idea

And do these private companies prove that the parties are indeed guilty of wrongdoing? Who IS responsible for figuring out whether people owe cash?  And do they all use legal means to collect?  And who gets the money once it's collected?  I'd like to know more about the checks and balances on this one.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Russian Truck Driver's Wild Windshield Escape

Here in Vermont, we had two tragic car crashes over the past day or so in which the young drivers, neither wearing seat belts, and both apparently speeding, died as a result of the collisions.

No doubt seat belts save lives. I would have been killed in a crash with a tractor trailer a dozen years ago had I not been wearing a seat belt. So buckle up!

I'm reluctant to post the video, below, that's been rattling around the blogs today, because I don't want to be seen as making light of the two Vermont deaths.

But the dash cam video of a nasty truck collision in Russia does show a very lucky guy who was not wearing a seat belt. He's definitely an exception to the rule, but I guess it wasn't this guy's time. Watch:

Twitter Hate Post Against Football Player Makes Baltimore Woman Most Hated

Oh, the perils of getting too wrapped up in your fandom, too wrapped up in your Twitter account, too......despicable.

A woman named Katie Moody is probably the most hated woman in Baltimore now and rightly so.
Supposedly, this woman sent the most vile Tweet
about a Baltimore Ravens player whose brother died.

See, she's a New England Patriots fan and was upset that her beloved Patriots lost to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday. (And yes, I'm aware there were some questionable calls in the game by the substitute refs.)

Ravens receiver Torrey Smith played well, for 127 yards and two touchdowns. This despite the fact is younger brother died in a motorcycle accident hours earlier. He apparently dedicated the game to his lost brother.

I don't know how anybody could play football at a time like that, but there's no rules for grieving. You gotta get through it however you can and that's what Smith seems to be doing. I know everyone extends their condolences to him.

Except our buddy Katie.  Unless it was some hacker that did this, she saw fit to Tweet: "Hey, Smith. How about you call your bro and tell him about your wi---ohhh, wait. @toosoon"

Hint: If you need to use the hashtag "too soon" it probably is. Shut up, already, Katie.

Her Twitter account is open only to invitees, so it's impossible for me to find out what other pearls of wisdom our Katie has.

I think the problem here is that too many people feel like they have to be super provocative on social media to be noticed. Which is true. But what they forget is the words you write are not an abstraction. Real people read what you say. And are affected by what you write. A lot of people lose sight of that.

The people who react to the stupid things you write also react rashly. So you get this endless loop of hate that goes and goes until everyone is exhausted.

Blacksportsonline reported that Katie initially defended her Tweet, to the tune of "Everybody is doing it," which I guess makes it  fine in her mind. She later sort of apologized for the Tweet as everybody piled on her.

According to the Daily What, Katie is a senior administrator at John Hopkins School of Medicine. At least for now.  There apparently is some public pressure on John Hopkins to fire her. We'll see if there's grounds for that, and if so, whether it happens.

Here's what John Hopkins spokesman Dennis O'Shea had to say, according to the Baltimore Sun:

 “Our deepest sympathies are with Torrey Smith and his family. The social media comment that made light of the Smith family’s loss represented the thoughts of one individual. It does not in any way represent the Johns Hopkins community.”
When asked whether or not Moody would face any disciplinary actions for her social media comments, O’Shea responded: “I don’t think we really have anything to say on this subject other than what I sent you.”

I'm sure there will be updates to this story.

Monday, September 24, 2012

News Tidbits to Make Fiction Writers Commit Suicide

Lots of news tidbits in the past week or so proved the adage that truth is stranger than fiction. And if you want to write a novel about weirdness, it's hopeless. You can't outdo reality.

One well publicized case Friday was the guy who held a hostage in a Pittsburgh building and would only negotiate with cops, or talk to anyone, via Facebook.

Limbaugh has interesting new theories on
human sexuality
What, did he have to "friend" the chief hostage negotiator? Hit "like" when the cops didn't storm the building right away? Instagram smiling pictures of himself and his hostages?

Then there was a woman in Texas who was arrested for child endangerment for the high crime of letting her kids play outside. A neighbor apparently called police because she didn't see anyone watching the kids, but the mother was indeed out there, sitting on a lawn chair and keeping an eye on things.

But don't you know nowadays if you're a parent you're supposed to hover like a helicopter inches from your kids at all times. They are not to make up their own games, use their own imagination, make decisions for themselves or have the temerity to wander more than one foot away. Independent thinking is for losers! You must control and make the decisions on what the kids do at ALL TIMES.

The woman spent 18 hours in jail for her "crime." Now, in a terribly unsurprising development, she's suing.

If she wins, maybe she can hook up with billionaire Richard Branson. Branson wants to colonize Mars within two decades, according to CBS. It will probably be expensive to live there, so winning a lawsuit might help.

I dunno. I'm not sure Mars is that attractive. The pictures coming from Curiosity, that robot we sent to Mars to study the plante are lovely, in their own way. But it seems awfully dusty and cold up there. No trees, either, which is a bummer. And I like playing with perennials in my garden, and I don't know what frost zone Mars is in.  So I'll skip that, I guess.
This looks like a nice place to live, right? Richard Branson
wants to colonize Mars

On the other hand, moving to Mars would probably get me away from Rush Limbaugh, who came up with one of his, uh, best theories in the past week. He says men's penis size has on average gotten smaller in the past few decades and his dreaded "feminazis" are to blame. I'm not sure how, considering researchers blame the problem on obesity, smoking, stress and environmental pollutants. But if Limbaugh says it's so, it is, right?

Of course, maybe he was referring to just his own dick, which really is TMI, even if his dick is much less than too much.

There's an upside, so to speak, regarding Limbaugh's newfound expertise on all things penile. As The Frisky notes, "rush limbaugh small penis" is going to be a delightful Google search for the forseeable future.

A man in New York is thankful that the small dicked but otherwise hefty Limbaugh was not on the futon mattress that fell 30 stories and landed on him.

The college student was knocked unconscious, but recovered and suffered no serious injuries. And luckily, there was a handy futon mattress right there, for passersby to put the guy on to recover at the scene while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

Since there's apparently so many extra futons down there in New York, maybe Branson can use them to take to Mars for his settlement up there. Just a thought.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Is This Pig Our Newest Superhero?

The video in this post has been all over the Internet, but I can't resist putting it here, too.

It's a brief drama in which a baby goat gets stuck in the water at a petting zoo, panics and starts to drown. Things look dire until...... Never fear! Super Pig is here!!!!

I can easily imagine the superhero music swelling in the background as the pig saves the day. In the video, I love the purposeful waddle of the swimming pig approaching the goat. Cute, heroic and funny all at the same time.

Of course, some people, me included, are wondering why onlookers waited for the pig to make the rescue instead of just doing it themselves, Some conspiracy theorist types think this was staged, but it seems real enough. And it does have a happy ending.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Icky People Doing Icky Things: Crime News Gets Disgusting

I never resist turning this blog into something especially tawdry and I found some really icky things to get things going.

Oh, I know you're not going to skip over this. Everybody loves train wrecks, so you'll read.
David Viens looking somber after his
arrest for cooking his wife's dead body. Yuck!

The first bit of disgusting news comes from a murder trial in which a restaurant owner is accused of killing his wife.

So far, so routine, as far as murders go. But the allegation is that to ditch the body, he slowly cooked her for four days.  Ewwww!!!   He then disposed some of the body in a grease drain and some in the trash, according to the allegations.

It's unclear why David Veins chose to dispose of the body this way. I guess he thought it would be harder to trace? I don't know, I have no expertise in murder victim disposal.  He might have been right: Authorities have never found the body.

Veins said he hid his wife's skull in his mother's attic, but a search there turned up nada, police said.
Still, if I was the mother, I'd move to an undisclosed location.

As Steve Martin,  looking on the bright side in a Tweet, said, "Sometimes lawyers give good advice, Chef who cooked dead wife won't testify in his defense." 

Though Viens didn't buy that. He tried to fire his lawyer during the trial, but the judge said no.

In any event, best not to eat at Viens' California restaurant called Thyme Comtemporary Cafe. Avoid the stir fry, particularly.

The second super tawdry case starts out gross and just keeps getting worse and worse.  A Florida man is accused of bestiality with a donkey.  Too much exposure to "Hee-Haw" episodes as a kid maybe?

The accused, Carlos Romero, 21, a farmhand from Ocala area, said Florida's anti bestiality laws are backwards and ought to be repealed.
Carlos Romero NOT looking somber after his arrest for
having, ahem, relations with a donkey.

But he used the occasion of his arrest to lobby against anti bestiality laws.

I don't see Florida legislators getting on that bandwagon anytime soon, do you?

Romero says he preferred the 21 month old minature donkey, named Doodles, because he is not a people person.

I'll say! But this arrest makes things convenient, because people won't want to hang out with Romero, either. So he can not be a people person safe in the knowledge that people won't bother him. 

On the other hand, Romero won't be getting near any farms anytime soon, so his sex life is sure to suffer. Which of course is good news for us and the entire animal kingdom.

Romero told a judge that he wants his donkey back, but the judge wisely decided against it. Said donkey has probably fled as far as possible away from Ocala, Florida.

There's a (Puppy) App for That

There's an app for that, including a lot of silly ones for people who like dogs.

Sample of the puppy text messaging app

Using the app, you can send a text message using puppies as letters in the message.

Of course it's silly and unnecessary and ridiculous, but so many things in life are.

Don't worry, you won't be abusing puppies to send an OMG message about the latest exploits of Lindsay Lohan. Instead, the text takes pics of puppies, and forms then into the letters in your message.

This is probably a little too cute for many people, sometimes me included, but it's still kinda fun if you love dogs.

No word yet on whether you can pick your favorite breed of puppy, or mix and match breeds in this app. 

Would be start-up geeks might want to start working on that.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to Make a Really Big Earthquake Fun

The aftermath of a horrible 8.0 earthquake in China.
Huge earthquakes, you know, those 8 Point Somethings on the Ritcher scale that level whole cities,  are NOT fun.

But, in the name of earthquake preparedness, some people in Oregon are putting people in a simulator that lets people know what a huge earthquake feels like.

The nice thing is, the simulator doesn't have 30 story buildings caving in, so it's fine. The point of the simulator is to let people know what a strong earthquake feels like, so it can get through to them that they really need to batten down the hatches in their houses so things don't fly all over the place.

My question, judging from the video in the link, is would any building stay up in that?

But the earthquake simulator ride does seem like fun, so at least we have that. I think they should have one of those at the fairs in Vermont next year, even if we don't get big earthquakes here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Trampoline Dog!

Spotted on Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish as a Mental Health break from the usual politics on his site, we have Sullivan's suggestion on what to do if you have a dog but don't have time to play fetch.

Seem this dog found a fun way to entertain himself.  Go to the trampoline store nearest you and try it. Love the look on the dog's face.

Maybe PetSmart should sell trampolines. See for yourself:

Swiss Building Turns Into Art by Closing, Opening Windows

This video has been making the rounds on this Internet thingy all day, but I like it enough to show it here, too.

Students in the 11-story University of Health Sciences building in Lausanne, Switzerland  had wayyyyyyy too much time in their hands and did a stop motion video of them opening and closing windows and shutters on their building. The opening and closing of windows and shutters formed sort of a human analog display.

This is the brainchild of artist Guillaume Reymond and Trivial Mass Productions, I'm told. But it's so entertaining and worth the watch:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Quality Body Shop in Roanoke Is Best in the World

If you ever happen to be in the Roanoke, Virginia area and thinking about fixing that ding in your car door, you MUST stop by Quality Auto Paint & Body.

By all accounts, they do a great job, but the really reason to go is the guy who runs the place, Richard Heneger Jr.
Richard Heneger, left, fixed Jordan Addison's car after
a homophobic vandalism spree, on the Ellen show.

He was on the Ellen Degeneres Show recently because of how he reacted to a sad local news story.

Seems an area college student, Jordan Addison, who is gay, had his car repeatedly vandalized with homophobic slurs by some scumbag who I don't believe has been caught yet. They scratched the words  "die" and "fag"on his car, smashed out the windshield and did other damage in at least three attacks over a few months.

Heneger heard the story on the news, and rang up Addison and asked him to bring the car into his shop so he could have a look. Heneger and Addison didn't know each other, but Heneger said he felt like he had to do something.

So, he took Addison's car and did about $10,000 worth of repairs, free of charge.

All this got the attention of Degeneres, who had Addison and Heneger on her show this month. For added oomph, Cover Girl, the cosmetics company Degeneres does ads for, gave each man $25,000 for their good deed.

I don't know if the whack job who vandalized Addison's car in the first place is even aware of the outpouring of support. But I do like how the moron wanted to make things worse for Addison, just because of his or her ignorant world view. Instead, things are better for Addison and Heneger than before.


Here's the clip from Ellen's show:

This isn't the first time Heneger did something big for somebody. One of his best buddies, Jason Clary, asked Heneger to store his dilapitated pickup truck on the Quality Auto Paint and Body while he was serving in Afghanistan.

While Clary was gone, Heneger and a bunch of his friends in the auto body world completely repaired and tricked out Clary's truck to the point of complete awesomeness. 

So, I'll do what Ellen did, and just keep plugging Quality Auto Paint and Body.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Glinda the GPS Goddess Tried to Murder Jeff and Me.

Jeff and I decided on a weekend getaway to Cape Cod, and he had his trusty GPS to get us there.

Now, I'm not used to those things, relying on my usual stone age paper maps to get me there, so the woman's voice on the GPS was unnerving to say the least.

But, I went along with it, and named her Glinda P. Salzmann, because the name just seemed to fit the voice.

Frankly, Glinda is insecure and erratic. She kept interrupting to inform us in her cold, rather sarcastic, vaguely European accented voice: "Recalculating your route due to traffic conditions."

All I could say is "You keep working, honey, but try to do it quietly, will ya?"

But she was undeterred.   She was really going at it while we were stuck in a traffic jam at a construction zone east of Lebanon, N.H.  "Stop recalculating and find us a way out of this standstill," I told Glinda.

I could almost hear Glinda sigh with irritation at me. "Recalculating your route due to traffic conditions," Glinda replied, then fell silent.

She perked up once we finally got out of the traffic jam and started  recalculating incessantly.

"Shut up!" I yelled at Glinda after the 1,578,673rd recalculation in 10 miles.

"Recalculating your route due to traffic conditions," Glinda replied gleefully.

Is there medication for OCD? Because Glinda sure needs it.

Glinda's directions were pretty reliable, if a little, well, indirect. She probably felt bad about getting us into that traffic standstill  in New Hampshire. She didn't want to admit fault, but she went out of her way to get us out of the way of Boston traffic. So she led us on  a circuitous route west of  Boston to access the Cape.

Vermont to Cape Cod via Dubuque, Iowa, anyone?

I don't think Glinda thought we appreciated her much, and let us know it. While we were speeding along  amid the cars and trucks whizzing along  I-93 in Peabody,  Mass., Glinda, out of the blue, said, "Make a U-Turn, now!"  Had we done that, we would have slammed into a Coca-Cola delivery truck, then some jersey barriers in full view of bored office workers in a by-the-numbers suburban worker bee complex next to the highway.

"Glinda, if you kill Jeff and me,  you die along with us, you know," I warned.

"Recalculating your route due to traffic conditions," Glinda replied. I swear she also stifled a wicked laugh.

We finally entered the town of Hyannis on the lower Cape, where our hotel was. When we were near the lodgings, Glinda insisted we turn left at the light. The light was red, so we had to stop. "Turn left at the light!" she prodded.

"But there's oncoming traffic and the light is red," I pleaded.

"Turn left at the light," Glinda commanded.

OK, now I knew Glinda was trying to kill us.

We made it alive to the hotel, since the traffic light turned green just in time, before Glina could manage to push the Jeep through the red light into the busy traffic on Main Street in Hyannis.

 But I didn't sleep well. I knew Glinda was still in Jeff's Jeep, and there was no telling what she was plotting.

Next morning, we got up for a trip out to Truro for a wedding.

Glinda greeted us with "Recalculating your route due to traffic conditions."

Good morning to you, too, Glinda!

Glinda was especially testy as we headed out to Truro. "Prepare to turn right," Glinda said. Jeff complied, slowing down the Jeep to get ready for the heralded right turn.

"Prepare to turn right," Glinda snapped.

"I know, I know, shut up," I said. "We're slowing down, what more do you want, Glinda?"

"Prepare to turn right," Glinda repeated through gritted teeth. I think I then heard her whsiper, "Prepare to die, you two morons."

On the trip back to the hotel from the wedding,  we unplugged Glinda.  We figured we'd rather get hopelessly lost in a Cape Cod salt marsh at night than risk Glinda's possibly deadly wrath.

Heading back north toward home Sunday afternoon, Jeff packed Glinda the GPS away and  turned on his Sirius satellite radio for some music. A DJ with a familiar voice came on: "Welcome to a wonderful afternoon of music. I'm your host, Glinda."

We shut off the radio and drove home in silence.

Noah's Pre-Flood Failure

On a church sign, somewhere. I say  Hallelujah!

Cape Cod Weekend Photos

Living in northwest Vermont, I haven't seen the ocean in nearly two years, since I don't have easy access to the coast.
Sunset in a small harbor in Truro, Mass. on Cape
Cod Saturday evening.

So when Jeff suggested we go to Cape Cod for a wedding of one of his past students, I was all for it.

The wedding was at a yacht club in Truro.  Everybody there was very nice, very wonderful. And they were even patient with me when I excused myself periodically to take some photos. I couldn't resist.

I loved how the light kept changing throughout the beautiful, warm day on the Cape. We also went through several art galleries over the weekend, and I was struck by how many painters were inspired by the same views I saw.

I can't blame these artists at all. It's gorgeous down there.
A few light clouds in a blue sky over
Truro, Mass. Saturday. 

A few of the photos I took are in this post.
A small harbor in Truro, Mass. as the light fades
Saturday evening. 
Tristan and Bethany, having just
gotten married, enjoy a moment
in Truro, Mass. Saturday. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A $290 Brown Paper Bag To Make You the Top Fashionista

Hat tip to brother in law David Jenne for alerting me to this one. A designer has come up with a handbag that looks like a crumpled brown paper bag because..... it IS a crumpled brown paper bag! And it's available for the low low discount price of $290!!

Operators are standing by!!! Or not.

Who needs to go to Dollar Discount for a supply of paper bags when you can spend a good chunk of your mortgage payment on a brown paper bag?
You, too can have this brown paper bag
for the low, low price of $290!

Of course the designer, Jil Sander,  has added a special protective layer for the bag, to it holds together. It has drawstrings, ventilation holes and other design elements.

The handbag is this year's perfect accessory for your hot night out in Skid Row, drinking bottles of Colt 45 from this beautiful work of art.

I suppose the reinforcements the designer has put into the bag are good, because I find brown paper bags pretty impractical. They rip easily. If any food in there has condensation, the paper bag gets wet and falls apart.

I'm sure it would be embarrasing for a fashionable woman breezily strutting down the street with her brown paper bag handbag and have all her lipstick and eyeliner fall all over the sidewalk.

But that could be part of the charm of this powerhouse fashion statement. End a night out on the town gloriously, decorated by the soggy, fragmented remains of a brown paper bag stuck to the glitter on your Versace cocktail dress.

W Magazine raved, calling the bag "perfectly in sync with the fashion house's minimalist role."

Still. What would you carry in this brown paper bag handbag? Pet rocks is my guess.

Or, as Jenna Sauers in Jezebel asked, "Does Jil Sander sell a bag I can barf in, too?"

Now there's an idea.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Vermont Park Ninjas?

You never know what you're going to see when walking around Burlington, Vermont. In a park Thursday in the city:, I photographed these strange ninjas. It was unclear what they were doing, but I figured I'd better keep walking after snapping a quick pic. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fun With Spiders and Lava

Dancing spiders and lava on ice, oh my!

In one of my random, mindless Internet wanderings lately, I found two very, well, random videos that entertained me.

The first was a nature video of something called a peacock spider. The male peacock spider is brightly colored and does a fun little dance when it's horny and wants to get it on with a female. More information than you'd ever want to know about it is in this scientific paper.

The spider looks like he's starring in a bad music video, but since it's done by a spider, it's cute, not obnoxious. Give it a watch, it gets good a short ways into it, maybe a minute:

Then there was this strange little experiment to see what happens when you dump molten lava on a bed of ice. The lava takes on the look of a living, breathing, oozing fire breathing black monster. It would be perfect footage for a horror movie. But again, entertaining in a strange way.

Verrnont's Nelson Wows on "The Voice," Follows Familiar, Fun Story Arc.

Watching the auditions on the singing contest  "The Voice" last night, I was again struck by how I'm such a sucker for the prime reality show talent contest cliche: The unlikely story arc.  An awesome Vermonter, Nicolle Nelson, was the story's focal point Wednesday.
Burlington, Vermont's Nicolle Nelson wows 'em
on the singing contest show "The Voice."

Ever since the success of Susan Boyle on "Britain's Got Talent," the shows all highlight people who at first glance look like they're Not Ready For Prime Time, and are reaching for the stars when they really shouldn't.

That all plays to the dreamer urge in most of us humans. We want to get beyond the humdrum, and do something spectacular. These shows allow us to live that fantasy vicariously through the performers.

Of course these singers Nail It, the audience goes wild, the judges swoon and another star is born. Not all of these wonder contestants make it through, of course, as some mess up, or are truly not ready for prime time, or they just had a bad night.

Here in Vermont, we're celebrating Nicolle Nelson of Burlington, described on the show as a Vermont "bohemian." I don't know about that, but that gal can sing.

Nelson doesn't exactly fit the story line as somebody who one would initially think shouldn't be on stage. She's pretty poised. The show positioned her as a woman in obscurity from remote Vermont, just to ensure the story arc holds. And they put her on at the end of the show, because they always do that with this type of singer, to make people leave happy and want to tune in next week.

But no matter. Watch her thrill the judges and everyone else with her version of "Hallelujah."

We Vermonters will surely be watching Nelson's progress on The Voice. She has a great shot of winning it all. Good for her!

Even the people who don't win do very well, obviously. Susan Boyle came in second in that fateful season of "Britain's Got Talent," after all.

I thrill to the performances of these unknowns who appear on these show, or elsewhere. They're all over YouTube, too.

Another  recent one really grabbed me. A kind of little guy showed up on the British version of The X Factor during their audition show recently.  The guy, Jahmene Douglas, wore a sort of too-tight, gray Pee Wee Herman suit, and looked awkward, as scripted in these shows.

Then he channeled Etta James. Was incredible. Watch:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Twin Joys: Weather Porn and 1960 Cars

I found a video today that happily pushes at least two of my buttons. It offers weather porn and views of cars from the very late 1950s to around 1960.

Today is the anniversary of Hurricane Donna, a nasty one that swept the East Coast from Florida to Maine in 1960. The Web site Gothamist had a YouTube video, taken from a home video of flooding from Hurricane Donna in Rockaway, Queens. Then-16 year old Joseph Horton filmed the storm with an 8 mm camera.

The flooding is pretty interesting, at least from this weather geek's perspective. But I LOVE the cars. They are HUGE boats. Too bad they didn't float in the flood. The vehicles have these huge wings, enormous, stylized designs and are just so elaborate. Nothing streamlined and compact like the stuff we drive nowadays, no sir!

The video also plays to my affinity to anything connected to the early 1960s. Bad storm, big cars, the start of a big decade. I'm in heaven. Watch!

Future Historical Footnote Hugs Obama, Has Busy Week

Scott Van Duzer is that muscular, hunky pizza shop owner who gave President Obama that great big, feet off the ground bear hug the other day. I'm sure you saw it on the news.
The now famous Van Duzer/Obama bear hug

Like everyone who splashes onto the national stage in one of those weird moments, he's having one of those weeks to write home to ma about.

It's been mostly positive for him, since he seems to be a reasonable, well adjusted if exuberant kind of guy. Some of these flashes in the pan get shellacked by the press for being, well, dumb. And for not remembering to step off stage when their 15 minutes of fame are up. Joe the Plumber, anyone?

Not that it's been all great. Van Duzer said he's a Republican but voted for Democrat Obama in 2008 and plans to vote for him again this year. So some of the hard core Republican base took to Yelp to say how awful Van Duzer's Big Apple Pizza joint is. 

Typical troll comment on Yelp: "I cringe at the thought even of eating at this Big Crapple Pizza. Knowing O'Hussain was there totally creeps it out for me."

Clever review. Bet it took that troll all night to come up with that zinger, huh?

Most of the comments talked about how dreadful the food allegedly is, but I bet 99.9 percent of the people who posted negative comments never ate there. They just hate Obama, and now by extensiion, Van Duzer.

I have no clue if the restaurant is any good, because I've never eaten there,  but really. It's a bad restaurant because Van Duzer's politics doesn't match theirs? Moderate Republicans make bad pizza but Tea Party Republicans make delicious pizza?

In any event, there was a counterinsurgency on Yelp by Democrats who say the restaurant is great. Again, that makes no sense. Democrat pizza is better than Republican pizza? How can you tell? But, whatever.

If I based my decisions on which stores and restaurants to visit based on whether I totally agree with their politics, I wouldn't be able to go anywhere. And it would be an awfuyl lot of work to figure out which store matches my politics the best. Who needs that?

Anyway, Van Duzer says both Democrats and Republicans are welcome in his restaurant, as they are any business, really. And he thinks getting so wrapped up in politics is the wrong way to go.

“There’s no middle line anymore, and that’s exactly what’s wrong with our country right now," he told Politico.
One good thing that's come out of this is the attention has made donations to  Van Duzer's charitable foundation go way up. The foundation helps families who are hit by unexpected crises, like a kid's critcal illness.

Look for Van Duzer in a Trivial Pursuit game in about ten years.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

When Buying Meth, Dial Carefully.

Aaron Templeton was looking to buy some meth. But he learned a lesson in careless cell phone dialing. He accidentally called a random narcotics cops, according to television stations KXLY and KBOI.

Hasn't he ever heard the phrase: "Operators are standing by, but dial careful."
Aaron Templeton rang up a narc cop when
shopping for meth, police said.

The narcotics cop played right along, no doubt enjoying his easy day at the office.

Right before his arrest, as the narcotics cop drove up to complete the sale  arrest, an unsuspecting Templeton uttered these famous last words: "That's weird. A cop just pulled up on me, so what's up with that?"

Um, it wasn't so weird. Just a cop showing up to make yet another arrest, and to add one Aaron Templeton to the already incredibly long list of stupid criminals. Congratulations, Aaron!

"Payback" on a 50th Birthday

Maybe I spoke too soon the other day when I said turning 50 is no big deal.
The dreaded banner placed across my driveway Sunday.

It turns out it can be a big deal when certain people in your life comically make it one.

Exhibit A is the vandalism that occured at my house in St. Albans, Vermont on Sunday as a way to mark my birthday.

As you can see by the pictures, my sister and brother in law, Lynn and Dave, seriously changed the look of my house while I was away for a few hours. 

Those Burma Shave signs along the road in front of my house encouraged people to honk for my birthday. They surely did.  It sounded like Midtown Manhattan at rush hour on a day when demonstrators are blocking streets.

A banner strung between two trees at the entrance of my driveway made things clear enough.  Sort of gave my property the the look of an Emergency Stock Reduction Sale at some mattress discounter.
The scene along the road in front of my house Sunday.

It got worse inside the house.

My loving husband Jeff claimed to have "forgotten" to lock the door to the house when he left for awhile Sunday morning, allowing Lynn and Dave to enter and do their handiwork. (Note to burglars: This is the only time I can remember Jeff neglecting to lock the doors.)

 The back deck railing was lined with 50 beer bottles.  Jeff said I could do my yard work out back and sing "50 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" and guzzle as I do so.

Can you imagine what I'd be like as I get down below 40 bottles? As Jeff said, he'd have to say to one of the dogs, "Your dad's passed out again. Go get him for me, will ya?"

Jeff got home when Lynn and David went into my office to really cause a stir. Again, Jeff pleaded ignorance. "I had to vacuum the floor and didn't hear a thing. They closed the door to your office and I didn't even realize they were there."
My back deck had been seriously altered by the 50 bottles
of beer placed there. 


The office was a tangle of streamers and it was covered by dozens upon dozens of Post It Notes. There were post it notes noting my birthday on the soles of my sneakers that were left in the office. Photographs on the walls were covered. I opened my laptop and found Post It notes advertising the fake web site.

Lynn and Dave brought steaks, veggies and a great chocolate cake to ease the sting of the vandalism.

We'd gotten used to the honking horns on the road as we talked, but then we heard HOOONK!! SCREECH!! Thud! out there.

Did our signs cause an accident?

Luckily for my homeowner's policy, the signs had nothing to do with it. One of my neighbors slowed down to turn into his driveway. The guy following the neighbor slowed down. The gal following the guy did not. THUD!
My home office got a little more, um, festive

The car crash produced  no serious injuries, and the hoopla from the fine St. Albans Police, Fire and Rescue response soon subsided.

All the vandalism, Lynn explained to me, was payback for similar defacing I've done to her property on some of her birthdays.

This war is going to escalate, let me tell you!

Monday morning, I frantically removed the beer bottles from the deck, lest the neighbors worry. The task almost made me late for work.  "Sorry I'm late boss. There were dozens of beer bottles scattered around my deck and I had to clean them up."

That would have impressed the supervisors, I'm sure.

At least I'm in beer for a long, long time.  And thanks everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes. They'll keep me going for the next 50 years.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Late Summer Vermont Storm Chase

Usually by now in Vermont, severe thunderstorm season is over, and so is my bizarre hobby of pursuing said storms in my truck.

But a big cold front hit the East Coast Saturday, causing widespread storms and even dropping a couple of tornadoes on Queens and Brooklyn.

Nothing that dramatic here in Vermont, but the squall line did create a good blast of wind, if just for a few minutes.

It wasn't the wildest storm of the summer, but as you can see from the video, at least it was semi-dramatic in Charlotte, Vermont, near the ferry dock along Lake Champlain. The wind and the rain in the video will probably have to tide me over until the next severe thunderstorm season, which will start in the spring.

I'll guess I'll have to transition to snow/ice videos soon. Here's the the Charlotte squall line video for your enjoyment:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I'm Turning 50 and Didn't Get the Memo

I'm supposed to be horribly depressed this weekend, I'm told.

I guess I didn't get the memo, as I'm chipper as usual.

See, I turned 50 today, and therefore, my life is supposedly over and I should crawl into a closet and die just like all self-respecting middle aged men allegedly do as a matter of course.

But closets are boring. And there's a lot of guys my age and older who have just begun to really live. So don't ruin our party, OK, pal?

I don't disparaging anyone who's upset or depressed or disappointed by the arrival of a 50th birthday. Who am I to dictate how we're supposed to feel, when we've all had different life experiences, trajectories, health, outlook and taste.

Which is exactly my point. The stereotype is at my age, I'm supposed to have a raging midlife crisis right now at this minute. Or else.

Sorry to disappoint you, but.....

True, there's been some major transitions in my life lately. I got married a couple weeks ago, so that's a biggie, to understate the obvious. One of the worst reasons to get married is to beat a ticking clock, to get married just because you want to check that off your list before you die.

Luckily, my marriage had nothing to do with a midlife crisis. The right guy and the right time came along, and there you go. The whole thing was just inevitable.

Besides, if I'm supposed to be upset by turning 50, exactly what am I supposed to do about it?  Repeal the laws of mathematics? 

Like everyone who is aging, some things have gotten better with me over the past few decades, and a few have gotten worse. I'm still healthy and vigorous, but I don't have the stamina I did 20 years ago. But I can work a little harder to improve that.

I care less about what people think of me now. No, I don't want to be impolite or rude or arrogant. It's just that if somebody has a rule they expect me to follow and I think the rule is incredibly stupid, I'm less likely to follow it. So tough.

My sister Lynn, who's a tiny bit older than me said so far, her 50s are her best decade. I see little reason to dispute her on that.

I worry that the advice for guys like me turning 50 probably backfires more often than not.  I found these hilarious tidbits on an earnest Ehow post on how to help the man in your life who is traumatized by turning 50.

---Throw a party and invite his friends who are older than 50 to remind him all his buddies are aging, too.   Oh great. The end of the world. All my friends will die in five minutes so I will be both old AND alone.

---Assure hm he's doing fine. A little patronizing, don't you think? Kind of like a waiter calling an elderly woman in a restaurant "young lady."

---Encourage him to get heatlhy and see a doctor. Wait a minute! I thought you said our 50 year old is doing fine? Now you're saying he's collapsing from age before your eyes?

---Dissuade him from making impulsive, expensive purchases. Yeah, you don't want him to waste money on himself. He needs to save it so you get a bigger inheritance when he finally kicks the bucket, right?

The bottom line is most of us turning 50 are doing fine, thank you very much. So, I'll just have my usual day and get on with the rest of my life, which of course I'm looking forward to.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Family Fued Fails are Fun

When asked to think quickly, sometimes we fail spectacularly.

So I have a dollop, just a dollop, of sympathy for the people in the video below. They're all contestants on "Family Feud" who must quickly give guesses to poll answers.  You know, the top answers to a question like "Animals with names containing three letters."

One person answers that question with this response: "Alligator"

Another person, when asked to name a yellow fruit, says "Orange."

Something that comes with a summer storm: "Snow. "

Name something in your house you'd yell at if it suddenly stopped working: "Your spouse."

So, for a few time wasting minutes, watch a funny compilation of bad, really bad, Family Feud answers.  Maybe the show wasn't so awful after all.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

RIP Joe South, Known Most for "Games People Play"

Joe South has died at age 72.

A lot of you never heard of him, of course. But he was a big singer/songwriter whose heyday was in the 1960s and 1970s.
An old picture of Joe South

There's one song by South in particular I've always liked, and I think about from time to time. It's called "Games People Play."  I first heard it when it came out in 1969 and I was a wee lad of  7.

Often songs I loved when I was little became awful when I was an adult, or vice versa. But this one stuck with me.

Some lyrics of "Games People Play" have extra resonance now, in this political season and in these times when so many people are telling us their god is better than our god.

Here's two examples of the song's lyrics to show you what I mean:

"Oh the games people play now
 Every night and every day now
Never meaning what they say now
Never saying what they mean"

"People walking up to you 
Singing glory hallelulia 
And they're trying to sock it to you In the name of the Lord."

Sad to say, I guess times didn't change all that much in the four decades since South wrote that song, huh?
Here's the song/video to jog your memory

Go Away, Joey Buttafuoco!

I'm all for book publishing, but a new memoir by Joey Buttafuoco has to be the most unnecessary potential new publication to come along in ages.

Buttafuuoco, as only afficiandos of 1980s and early 1990s tackiness and trashiness remember, is the guy who had the affair with then-17 Amy Fisher, you know, the "Long Island Lolita."
He won't go away. Joey Buttafuoco plans a book!

The ever helpful Fisher decided to help her affair along by going to Buttafuoco's house and shooting his wife, Mary Jo in the face, thereby getting rid of her forever, Mary Jo failed to do her part by surviving the shooting.

Buttafuoco now says he's penning a book called "Closure" that's telling his side of the tale, as if anybody cares, according to TMZ. 

Yeah, that's a reason to go on living. Wait around for Joey's hot new book. Sigh.

Buttafuoco puts on his halo as he explains his reasoning for writing the book: "It's time for all of us to move on. My book is closure for everyone and our respected families. It's time."

Uh, Joey? It was time to move on decades ago. What hubris! I'm going to have the last word and close this. Never mind that for most people, this episode closed eons ago.

I'm always fascinated by the number of people who, when caught in something tawdry, milk it for all it's worth. I get the need to make money, but a lot of these people seem to celebrate their awfulness, as if it's something to be proud of. "I'm weird and icky so I deserve to make lots of money because I am weird and icky."

Our beloved Amy Fisher has also made a career of this mess.  She wrote a book or two about the shooting and everything else surrounding it. I didn't read it, but I'm sure it was a literary masterpiece.

She later got involved a bit in the pornography industry. Time to pay the bills, I guess.

I guess the only part of the economy that's doing great is the weird and icky industry.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Duck Family Causes Worldwide Heart Attack Epidemic

Somebody captured a video of a mother duck and several ducklings crossing a very busy freeway near Toronto.  Watching the video induces a sure heart attack, so be warned, even if you know the outcome of the duck crossing. (It's ultimately good, if harrowing)

Imagine the heart attacks among the motorists on the freeway encountering the ducks. You don't want to run over something so cute, but you don't want to swerve across three lanes of traffic and cause a 100 car, fiery pileup, either.

In any event, watch the video if you dare. Just consider this a public service to maintain full employment among the world's cardiologists.

Rick Rolled By Mad Men

I found this strange video on YouTube which had to take a lot of needless work. Somebody pieced together one-word clips from the show "Mad Men" to string together Rick Astley's 1987 hit "Never Gonna Give You Up."

Essentially, we've been Rick Rolled by Mad Men.

For those unfamilar with the term, "rick rolled" means to trick people into clicking on a link that takes them to the chirpy "Never Gonna Give You Up. " It also means to play the sticky sweet song at highly inappropriate moments. Rick rolling quickly became an Internet cliche.

To make this Mad Men Rick Roll video, it must have taken months to comb through episodes of the show to find the words and edit them. At least the show is good. But I hope whoever made this video  was paid well. It had to be incredibly tedious to put it together.

At least the video itself isn't tedious, but it is an acquired taste. See for yourself:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

August: Another Month of Fails.

Every month (almost, anyway) I post a video compilation of people failing, just for fun.

A pattern immediately emerges each month. Most people caught on camera doing stupid things are doing so while skateboarding, riding a bike or performing an attempted physical derring do.

 Hey guys (and it's almost always guys), don't you know that the most common last words uttered by mankind are "Hey, watch this"

 Maybe you can write me off as a coward for not ever doing strange and wild tricks on a skateboard or bike. But I'm also sitting here blissfully free of broken bones and road rash. Sometimes it pays to be a wimp, I guess.

In any event, now is the time to feel superior by watching this clip of various people almost surely much dumber than you are.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Torture the Enemy With This Video!

I'm opposed to torture, but if we were to start violating the Geneva Convention big time and tormenting people to death, I've found the perfect instrument to do it.

It's got all the elements to send people off the deep end. Weird noises, a squeaky singing voice, a bad ukelele, terrible production values, stupidity, a person who thinks she's a celebrity and is not, and especially, whackadoodle politics.  Watch the video below as long as you can to see how much endurance you have.

So, courtesy of the, here is (drum roll.....) Victoria Jackson singing about the communist in the White House!!!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Gays are Causing Horrible Hurricanes!!

The gays did it. Again.

That awful Hurricane Isaac which caused so much damage on the Gulf Coast, was all the fault of  gay people, at least according to some whackadoodle "religious" pundits.

You see, New Orleans is holding it's "Southern Decadence" gay festival this weekend. The city was also hosting the yearly event back in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina stopped it when it practically leveled the Crescent City.

The "logic" is that the hurricanes are God's way of punishing New Orleans for putting up with those sinful gays.

Never mind that Southern Decadence is largely held in the New Orleans French Quarter, which mostly escaped damage from Isaac. And I looked at Entergy's Web site today. They're the big power company down there in Louisiana. Almost the whole area around New Orleans had no electricity, but the lights were on and the refrigerators were humming quite nicely in the French Quarter, thank you very much.

And from what I understand, Southern Decadence will go on this weekend, as scheduled. If God tried to stop the event, he's being a bit ineffectual, don't you think?

If God really wanted to punish "the gays" why did he cause such awful flooding in Plaquemines Parish and Slidell and other Louisiana cities and towns? After all, the people from those communities were just trying to live their lives. I'm sure they have no influence over Southern Decadence. Why punish them?

Stephen Colbert actually had the best "explanation" as to why hurricanes happen and why gay people cause them. Said he:   "Hurricanes form from rising moisture created by hot steamy man action aboard a gay Caribbean cruise. When that sin gets high enough it makes the angels cry and those tears fall to earth in the form of massive precipitation because homosexuals are a vital part of the water cycle." That's why the gay symbol is a rainbow!"

I'm sure Colbert's thesis is coming to a fundamentalist science school curriculum soon.