Friday, November 30, 2012

With Bear Spray and Twitter, Woman Nabs Package Thief

America's latest crime fighting superhero is a California photographer named Sonya Yu, who subdued a neighborhood criminal menance with bear spray, an oriental wooden samaurai sword called a bokken, and Twitter, according to the Sand Francisco Chronicle and several other news outlets.

The residents of a neighborhood around San Francisco were annoyed to say the least over thefts of delivered packages from their front stoops. Yu said she lost $1,500 in goods from  some moron on a bicycle, and neighbors on the street reported similar problems.  

Crime fighter extraordinaire Sonya Yu nabs
a thief creatively and hilariously
Yu, decided she'd had enough. She placed a bait package on her porch and waited with her arsenal.
for the thief to come around

Sure enough, here comes the guy on the bike. He saw her, and she took off in hot pursuit, waving the bokken and getting him good with at least half a cannister of the bear spray. The spray, used to ward off maurading bears, is not too dangerous, but stings like hell if you get any on you.

I'm not sure if there's too many bears in her San Francisco neighborhood, so I don't know why Yu had so much bear spray, but to each his or her own.

The guy got away from Yu, but soon police, spotting a guy in obvious pain and covered in orange bear spray, made an arrest.

Meanwhile Yu gave her neighbors the play-by-play on Twitter. One of Yu's initial Tweets stated: "I got him with the bear spray but he escaped."

A little later came this missive over Twitter from Yu: "I chased him with pepper spray & bokken, cops were cracking up when they arrived to see me & my weapons."

I'm sure the police are now considering consulting with Yu on the proper use of a bokken and bear spray, to add to the police department's crime fighting toolkit.

For the record, area cops said they discourage this kind of confrontation with criminals - you never know if they have a gun or something -- but it's perfectly within the rights of people like Yu to make citizens arrests.

Yu didn't quite come away unscathed. A little bear spray blew back on her. She Tweeted: "In related news, I hope none of you ever get bear sprayed because even back spray hurts."

Then she added in a subsequent Tweet: "Tho imagining how bad he's suffering (considering I emptied half a cannister of bear spray on him) makes me feel better."

So much better, in fact, that despite the day's excitement, she went ahead with plans to cook a nice gourmet dinner at her house for friends she'd invited over that evening. For the record, there was no bear meat or bear spray on the menu.

The suspect, Andy Aduha, 51,  is fighting back. He and his lawyer said he is the victim of entrapment, since the package Yu left on her stoop was fake. The lawyer said Yu's vigilantism was improper. 
Of course, he didn't have to grab the bait package. We'll see how that works out for Aduha in court.

In any event, somehow I think bear spray and maybe bokkens, will be on a lot of people's Christmas wish list this year.

Too Cute To Resist: Promo Video Has Bo Checking White House Decorations

I'm a bit of a bah-humbug type, and I often resist public relations promotions, but I thought the video the White House released of Bo the First Dog inspecting the White House decorations was cute enough to show.

Besides, a lot of people like holiday cuteness, and I want to oblige. 

Plus, Bo has a great personality, and he's fun to watch.

The video is slickly produced, and it must have taken a lot of time to get Bo to pose and walk right, so I'm hoping taxpayer money wasn't spent on this. But still, here's the adorable video anyway:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

For Your Man, For Christmas: Bacon Shaving Cream

OK, ladies, a public opinion poll for you: Would you be hot for a guy that smells like bacon?

I ask, because there is now shaving cream on the market that smells like bacon, and will make any guy who uses it smell like that, too.
Yes, you can smell like bacon by buying this bacon
aroma shaving cream.

J&D Foods out of Florida  has an, um, stunning array of bacon related products, and this is their latest brainchild. There's limited quantities, so it might have sold out already.

I do see some drawbacks to bacon shaving cream.   Imagine a guy who just used the stuff walking down the street. He'll attract a very hungry pack of dogs in no time, wouldn't he?  Yeah, nothing says "sexy" like a guy being torn apart by the a pack of coyotes that came down from the woods.

Woof.

J&D Foods, as I mentioned, has other bacon products to buy if bacon shaving cream isn't your thing. They have baconnaise, basically mayonnaise that tastes like bacon, bacon popcorn and bacon lip balm, so you taste bacon if you kiss somebody who uses the balm.

One of the most intriguing of their products is something called "mmmvelopes." They're envelopes, and you taste bacon if you lick them to seal them.

I bet pigs know to stay far, far, far, away from J&D Food's headquarters.

Slightly related fun fact: J&D's initial funding came from the $5,000 one of the owners won on America's Funniest Home Videos of his toddler son hitting a ball with a bat and striking the dad in the face with the ball.

Anyway, I do like bacon, but this bacon enterprise might be going too far. Or maybe I'm just being closed minded. I bet I could be a marketing developer for these guys.

How about having planes strafe garbage dumps with bacon-scented mist. That would reduce complaints from the neighbors.

Maybe spritzers can be attached to iPhones, tablets and laptops, and when you go to certain web sites, the device will give you a give you a little spray of bacon aroma.

Or we can genetically engineer roses, so they smell like bacon instead. How about bacon themed weddings, where the bride throws a bouquet of bacon at the female guests during the reception?

The possibilities are endless. Maybe there is a future in this bacon theme after all. 

Why Exercise is Dangerous

I'm sure many of us are trying to get a little extra exercise in to stave off the fat induced by all those holiday treats.

But, as part of my continuing quest for videos of people screwing up. (and I have no idea why I'm so obsessed with that) I present you how not to complete your exercise routine.  Seems like the victims in the video won't be exercising for awhile after these incidents

 It's great for a few laughs, for sure.

Musgraves' "Merry Go-Round" the Ultimate Country Music Gem

I can't get enough of a tune I've been hearing on country radio stations this fall called "Merry Go Round," by Kacey Musgraves.

Many people don't realize it, but some of the best, most literate, honest and wise songwriting is in country music. You just have to wade through a sea of rural American cliches to get to the good stuff.
Kasey Musgraves

And this might turn into my favorite country song ever. Pay attention, people who say they don't like country music. You'll love this one.

The song is disarming. Musgraves delivers "Merry Go Round" witha straight forward, calm, sweet but not saccharine voice. Further setting you up for the kill, the song plays on the variety of homonyms and themes associated with the word "Mary," And there's references to childrens' fables.

Then you pay attention to the lyrics and get this:

"Mama's hooked on Mary Kay
Brother's hooked on Mary Jane
And daddy's hooked on Mary two doors down.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary
We get bored so we get married
And just like dust we settle in this town

On this broken merry-go-round and round and round we go
Where it stops, nobody knows
And it ain't slowing down, this merry go round."

FWIW, here's the music video for the song. Love the old footage of suburbia. More thoughts below that:

 

It's brilliant how the lyrics describe the generations of ennui in small rural towns. Boy, have I seen it here in Vermont. People thing we're all a bunch of merry (that play on words again) hippies, eating our organic vegetables while grooving to Phish and being so loving and liberal and so damned sustainable.

But like probably other rural small town in the nation, we have our sad little towns, sad little neighborhoods of broken mobile homes, where people live their lives by rote, by habit, because some of them don't know any other way.

Many, maybe most of the people who live in these small towns without much money are genuinely happy, fulfilled and active. But certainly not everybody.

And Musgraves bluntly calls attention to that slice of life. Or existence. It's sad, of course, but it's also refreshing to hear a country song that diverges from the usual theme of how honest, faithful, perfect and wonderful everyone in rural America supposedly is.

A lot of people are comparing Musgraves to the awesome Miranda Lambert, who's probably country music's most accurate and creative chronicler of American life.

Sometimes this works out OK, and sometimes, as Musgraves knows, it does not. She ends the song with this killer lyric: 

Jack and Jill went up the hill
Jack burned out on booze and pills
And Mary had a little lamb
Mary just don't give a damn no more.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Today's Time Waster: Fun, Nasty Passive/Aggressive Notes From the Neighbors

I found this excellent time waster the other day. It's photos and texts of really strange, passive aggressive notes, usually left from one neighbor to another, often for a ridiculous dispute.

Passiveaggressivenotes.com is a hilarious window into what peeves people the most. The annoyances are often illogical. Or if they're actually vaguely logical, the notes take things to ridiculous heights. At least some of them are creative.

An example from
passiveaggressivenotes.com
I wasted some time on this site, too, and found these favorites:

Scrawled in red spray paint on a suburban garage door was this missive: "I don't have a meth lab (never, ever) Leave me alone!" 

Too bad, what's a neighborhood without a meth lab in somebody's garage.

Somebody moved into a neighborhood and posted this note: "1. We don't need any new friends. We have enough. Don't try to stop by for small talk. 2. Don't park in front of our property. 3. Keep your pets quiet and we'll all get along."

I bet there won't be any small talk at this person's house, but I bet there's LOTS of small talk among the rest of the neighbors about the new people on the block. At least they don't appear to have a meth lab.

Politics always enters the fray with these passive aggressive notes. Here's one, found on a car in a busy parking lot: "Dear Friend: Someone defaced your car with an Obama sticker. Just thought you should know. Hate to see you look like an idiot."

Yeah, you don't want to look like an idiot, like the idiot who left the idiot note.

Here's another political one from a Boy Scout canned food drive for the needy: "This is the last time I will donate anything to charity. It's Obama's problem, not mine."

So, Obama is supposed to donate canned goods to the local Boy Scout troop? I'm confused.

People who leave passive aggressive notes don't often like charity. Along the lines of the Boy Scout note, he's one from a fed up resident: "Please stop feeding the homeless in our neighborhood. You are doing harm to those of us who live here. Take it to your own back yard."

Personally, I'd rather people stop feeding the pigeons, but that's another story.


Bank Of America Says Dead Woman Must Tell Them She is Dead

I love to hate these stories, but it seems there's so many examples of company's "customer service" that gets so bureaucratic, out of whack, stupid and totally insane that there must be a competition among these companies on who can be most outrageous with customers.

A strong contender is Bank of America. A college kid's mom died, and it was up to him to tell mom's mortgage holder, that she was deceased and thus no longer able to pay the mortgage, and since he couldn't find the mortgage documents could they help?
/>
Could Bank of America help? Oh, that kid's a riot, isn't he?
 
Bank officials kept telling the kid, named Matt, that his dead mom would have to tell the bank she was dead before things could get straightened out, according to Consumerist. 

The kid, Matt was his name, thought sending Bank of America a copy of his mom's death certificate would straighten everything up. Boy is Matt naive! He actually thought doing something that made perfect sense would work! Ha!

Actually, according to Consumerist, he kept sending copies of the death certificate, but Bank of America kept losing them. Or so they said. I think they just threw them out, just to mess with the kid's head.

Even after they acknowledged they got the death certificate, on the fourth try, the bank told Matt his mom would still have to talk to them before the mortgage questions could be sorted out.

They also sent the account to collections to start harassing him to pay up until a sympathetic lawyer got him a ceast and desist order.

Last we heard, this case is still uresolved.

How could a bank, which is supposed to be full of smart people who really know how to manage money, be like this?  Do people just sit around and do nothing? Or do they feel like they have power, and can toy with this kid like a cat who's caught a mouse and is keeping it alive for awhile as a plaything before killing it?

I always hear stories like Matt and the Bank of America. Only bad publicity seems to fix things. I guess institutions play this game because they can.

It's not like everyone is like this. Matt said he had to settle things with his mom's other creditors, who ranged from OK, to, in the case of Chase and Capital One, quite helpful.  So it's not impossible to be, well, not impossible.

If everything the Consumerist said is true, I  hope the people at Bank of America who messed with this kid who was trying to mourn his mother are proud of themselves. Because nobody else is.



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Grinch of the Year Steals $2 Million in Salvation Army Toy Donations

That was fast.

We already have the winner of 2012's Grinch of the Year award. It goes to former Salvation Army of  Canada Warehouse Director David Rennie with stealing $2 million on donated toys, says the Toronto Star.

He and his cohorts allegedly resold the toys for his own personal profit.
David Rennie is accused of stealing $2 million in toys
from Salvation Army donations for needy kids.

The good news is many, but not all of the stolen toys were recovered, so the entire Christmas sleigh full of Salvation Army toys is not lost.

It's as if Rennie tried to figure out how many ways he could be both evil and hypocritcal. The Salvation Army is a Christian organization, and I'm sure the Bible doesn't say steal from the poor and enrich yourself big time. So I think he might have been violating some Biblical rules there somewhere, if he did what police said he did.

I'm sure his family and friends are so proud. I wonder what he bought with the proceeds of the toys he sold? I doubt he bought nicer toys for the needy children the Salvation Army was supposed to serve.

 I'm sure the Canadian justice system will proceed nicely with the alleged misdeeds. But what punishment would you like to see Rennie get?  I say make Rennie buy the most expensive toys available at FAO Schwarz and give them to the kids who would have missed out because of his misdeeds.

Overall, the Salvation Army is having a tough year. They're under increasing scrutiny, and might suffer a drop off in donations for the organization's anti-gay stance. Activists are urging people to put "vouchers" into the Salvation Army's trademark kettles saying they won't donate unless the Salvation Army is less discriminatory.

And in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a shopowner filed a noise complaint because the incessant bell ringing was driving her batty, according to Seacoastonline.

"I can't take it any more. I'm sick of it," said the shopowner. "It makes me hate Christmas."

The noise complaint went nowhere. The Salvation Army got a city permit to ring a bell there, so it's exempt from the noise ordinance, Portsmouth officials said.

Ring ring!

Vermont Now Fails at Winter

Here in northern Vermont yesterday, we had a typical late November morning. It was chilly, it snowed a little bit, and the roads got kind of icy.

This shouldn't be a big deal, but we've come to a point at which a critical mass of people have become too stupid to drive in the snow. Gridlock resulted. Over just an inch of snow. What is this, Atlanta?
A wet road, a snow flurry, and people panicked
themselves into this gridlock.

I'm willing to give a few people a pass. You can't afford snow tires? Well, OK, just do the best you can. Just moved to Vermont and you haven't figured out how to drive in the snow? OK, you'll learn.  But these types should only be in a tiny minority.

How do you explain the fact that enough people sped, spun and twirled their way on the roads to gum up the works completely. Most of these people have lived in Vermont for years. You haven't realized yet that winter happens here?

It's been getting worse here, year after year with incompetent winter drivers. I wonder what happened?  Did common sense go out the window? Did Congress pass a law in which we now must go 30 mph over the speed limit on glare ice while texting, putting on makeup, drinking coffee and eating Dunkin Donuts?

Because it seems that's what everybody is doing.

Well, actually, I'd imagine most people out there are still OK at driving in winter. Which means the dumb ones made thousands of us late for work, irritated, and broke, since we burned off tankfulls of gasoline just crawling along out there on the highway.

It's becoming an embarrassment, this winter incompetence. We Vermonters had a reputation as winter ready and tough, ready for any kind of cold season blast. I remember about two decades ago, a blizzard billed as "storm of the century" was considered "storm of the weekend" here in Vermont.

Now, we wilt like a petunia in Minsk in January at the first sign of a snow flurry. It's sad.

I know I'm going to be painted as a hypocrite when people read this, since it also has a brief video I took of the gridlock on a wet, non icy highway amid light, inconsequential snow flurries. But in my defense, the traffic was moving more slowly than the pace at which I usually walk, and I kept a big distance between my truck and the car in front of me.

Here's the vid:




It's going to be a long winter. Now I know when it snows, even if it's just the lightest flurry, I have to leave for work two hours before I'd normally need to because Dumb Winter Driver will spin out on the Interstate, clueless as to why going 100 mph through a snow squall is a bad idea. (Somebody in central Vermont actually did this Saturday, and was cited into court for reckless driving. Duh.)

Please, Dumb Winter Drivers: Don't drive all winter. Just hibernate. Or move to Florida. Please. We won't miss you. Trust us.

We have a couple of flurries going on outside now. It's snowing at a rate of about three snowflakes per hour. Which means people will panic, and it'll take me three hours to get home tonight, a trip that normally takes a half hour. Sigh.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I'm a Sucker for Dancing Videos Like This

I can never resist watching people who can dance like this. They're called Dragon House. It's four guys who excel at dubstep.

It's amazing how people can control their bodies so much that the whole thing looks fake. It isn't fake, but it almost would have been easier, you'd think, if they had just futzed around with video editing than learning to dance like this.

But their hard work is our gain. Watch the vid and enjoy this awesome performance that's really hitting big here on this Internet thingy.

How To Do it Wrong

Every time I'm flummoxed by something that should be easy to do, I take comfort by watching videos like the one in this post.

It features people who really, really don't get it.  Well, life is hard sometimes. Enjoy the spectacle of people doing it wrong, wrong, wrong.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Snow Squall, Then a Fiery Sky

Right before sunset in St. Albans, Vermont Saturday, we had a brief snow squall, a reminder that winter is starting just about now.

After the squall blew through, the setting sun lit up some ragged low clouds as cold, blue and black and gray clouds remind us just how cold it is getting in Vermont

The result is the photos in this post.

As always, click on the pics to see them in bigger and better versions.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

One Way to Stop Dogs, People From "Fertilizing" Your Lawn

Judging by the pic I snapped for this post, somebody in Burlington, Vermont was fed up with people letting dogs do their business on their front lawn.

The sign is certainly one way to let people know what they think.

Actually, the sign might be referring to humans "doing their business." Which of course is even worse.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Predictable Black Friday Violence Vile, Unexplanable

As predictable as it was disgusting, there were reports Friday across the nation of Black Friday violence, in which people rioted, fought, stampeded and otherwise behaved abysmally to grab the Christmas gifts they demanded.

Peace on earth, good will toward men? Not these morons.
A lovely Black Friday scene. Wish you were there?

I don't think there's a more shameful scene than people rioting in stores on the Friday after Christmas. I don't think any of the people who participate are nearly smart enough to have any self-awareness of how awful they are.

I poked around today looking for information on the psychology of Black Friday rioters and found precious little on the topic. It does seem there's an emptiness in these people that they try to self medicate by being the Top Dog in the holiday shopping wars.   If a few heads get smashed, so be it, I guess.

A Christian Science Monitor piece last year suggested the violence is desperation on the part of consumers and retailers to bust out of iffy economic times, come hell or high water.

Look, I know I've complained about people standing in long lines and struggling through clouds to attend the Black Friday festivities. It's not for me, but if you somehow enjoy that kind of thing, even if the deals aren't really as good as advertised, go for it.

The vast majority of people who partake in Black Friday are fine. They're mostly happy, or at least nonviolent. Almost all of them manage to avoid rioting.

The rioters? I hope they don't find what they're shopping for, and I hope the rest of their holiday season really, really sucks. They deserve no better.

Here's a happy little video of morons at a Wal-Mart this year:



The retailers that invite these riots are at least as disgusting as the actual rioters.. They create this onrush by appealing to the way our brains are wired. They create an atmosphere of scarcity by saying the deals are for an hour only, there's limited supplies, limit two per customer, yada, yada, yada.

And then the riots happen. So what if they're employees get trampled, punched, run over, injured, killed? The retailers' disdain for their employees is breathtaking. We have an associate in Aisle 3 killed by a mob? Get rid of the body and hire some other schmuck at minimum wage to face the homicidal mob. As long as we rake in the profits, who cares if a few people die in the process?

There's a lot of good in Christmas. But the Black Friday lunatics, and the retailers that enable them deserve something much worse than a lump of coal from Santa. They just need to crawl back under their disgusting rocks and leave us alone.


Fiona Apple Cancels Tour, Re: Awesome Dedication to Dog

Singer/Songwriter Fiona Apple has disappointed some fans because she has just canceled her South American tour.

While some people would think her reasoning is trivial, it's actually poignant and instructive to all of us, especially dog owners.
Fiona Apple

Apple said she canceled because her best friend, her 14-year-old pitbull Janet, is dying, and Apple said she wants to be there for Janet.

Apple explained herself in a four page letter she posted to Facebook, and it's a classic rendering of the age old question: When somebody lovingly adopts a dog in trouble and gives the pooch a nice, comfortable life, who benefits more, the adopter or adoptee?

As is often the case, it's hard to tell which won the most in Apple's case. The answer is probably both.

I certainly have new respect for Apple. I was never much of a fan of her music. She's definitely a hugely talented singer and songwriter, but her work just was never my cup of tea.

She had this to say about her own and Janet's perspective as the end approaches:

"I know that she's not sad about aging or dying. Animals have a survival instinct, but a sense of mortality and vanity, they do not. That’s why they are so much more present than people. But I know that she is coming close to point where she will stop being a dog, and instead, be part of everything. She’ll be in the wind, and in the soil, and the snow, and in me, wherever I go.
I just can't leave her now, please understand."

Apple' decision to postpone her tour seems to be a matter of priorities. Here she is again:

"I will not be the woman who puts her career ahead of love and friendship. I am the woman who stays home and bakes Tilapia for my dearest, oldest friend. And helps her be comfortable, and comforted, and safe, and important. Many of us these days, we dread the death of a loved one."

"It is the ugly truth of Life, that keeps us feeling terrified and alone. I wish we could also appreciate the time that lies right beside the end of time. I know that I will feel the most overwhelming knowledge of her, and of her life and of my love for her, in the last moments. I need to do my damnedest to be there for that. Because it will be the most beautiful, the most intense, the most enriching experience of life I've ever known. When she dies."

"So I am staying home, and I am listening to her snore and wheeze, and reveling in the swampiest, most awful breath that ever emanated from an angel. And I am asking for your blessing".

Well, Fiona, for what it's worth, you have my blessing, that's for sure.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Eric Dondero: Obama Hater's Lonely Life

A probably very lonely Eric
Dondero
A man named Eric Dondero has made a splash of himself in the news by announcing far and wide he will have nothing to do, ever, with anybody who voted for Barack Obama or whom he suspects voted for him.

"Everybody who voted for Obama is dead to me," Dondero says.  I've seen more rational temper tantrums among three year olds, but what do I know about childcare?

It's perfectly understandable that people who voted for Romney three weeks ago are still disappointed that their candidate lost. It's also perfectly understandable if they remain somewhat annoyed with people who didn't vote for Romney.

But talk about ruining your own life with your own temper tantrum! Dondero takes it to a new level.

He won't ever speak to his brother again, he vows, because said brother is a suspected Obama supporter. He won't talk to any coworkers who are Obama partisans, he won't work for any Democratic employer, would spit on the lawn of anybody who is a Democrat, would divorce his wife if he learned she was a Democrat, and won't speak to anyone unless their worldview matches his.

Phew! That has to be exhausting!

He'll spend so much time trying to avoid Democrats and Obama fans he'll have time for nothing else. What will he do if he goes into a store to buy something? Grill the owner on his or political leanings? That'll take forever. And what if the business owners keeps his political leanings close to his chest, just to avoid offending customers?

I'll bet his Thanksgiving day today will be lonely. Who would invite him over? Does anybody want a powder keg like Dondero at the table? What if someone lets slip that they don't think Obamacare is that bad?

So he'll sit along in his room, eating his Hungry Man turkey TV dinner. He can't even watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Many of the performers in the parade are probably liberal. And    Santa Claus, who makes his annual appearance in the parade, gives gifts. Isn't gift giving Obama-esque in Dondero's mind?

If Dondero is invited to a party, chances are there will be a Democrat there. Will he cause a scene big enough to offend the (Republican) host of the party?  Even the most hard core conservatives would find Dondero exhausting after awhile.

All this work Dondero created for himself will accomplish what, exactly? Somehow, I don't think Obama will resign because Dondero continues his temper tantrum. Life will go on, right past Dondero, whoever runs the country.

I know there are limits for everyone as to who they'll have conversations with. I probably wouldn't associate with, say, a white supremicist who burns crosses for a living. But really, writing off a bit over half the U.S. population over a presidential election?

Yep, Dondero sure is pissed. But the thing is, there's a fine line between anger and fear. Sometimes they're one in the same, and I think that's where Dondero is. Yeah, I'm playing armchair shrink here, but I wonder if he's afraid of exposing himself to ideas that he disagrees with. What if the person he disagrees with has a point? He'll have to change his world view a bit. Would that be too traumatic for him?

Like most people, I have conversations all the time with people whose political leanings I disagree with. Sometimes the conversation is a bit boring. Sometimes I find a talk with these people incredibly interesting and enlightening. Every once in awhile, they persuade me to think a little differently on a topic.

What that happens, the world doesn't end. I just end up a little smarter than I was before. And the problem with that is.... what, Mr Dondero?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Is Britain's Headbutting Cheese Toastie Fighter the Country's Worst and Laziest Man?

You can always count on Britain's Daily Mail to provide us with way to wordy, but highly entertaining news headlines that beg the reader to continue on to the article.

The latest is this: "Love Rat Dad of Nine Children to Eight Women Who Headbutted Ex-Girlfriend in Row Over Cheese Toastie Jailed For Just 20 Days."
Worl'd worst father? Keith MacDonald of Britain

Wow, this guy leads a complicated life. When he's not screwing around without protection, he's fighting or doing a messy job of eating a cheese toastie. I'm glad my life isn't that complex.

Actually, it gets worse. Subsequent reports indicate this guy, Keith McDonald, fathered 15 kids by 14 women, and doesn't really support any of them, according to the Mirror

Supposedly, two other women are pregnant by this (alleged!) loser.

Now, I know there are some highly unfunny issues here. Domestic violence, irresponsible parenthood, irrationality.

But you can't resist the complete awful train wreckiness of the guy. The girlfriend in the cheese toastie incident said she just "hoovered" the carpet when he got cheese toastie crumbs all over the place, and that's what started the latest fight.
He did get that 20 day sentence for the assault over the cheese toastie. What the hell is a cheese toastie anyway?

A larger issue: Hasn't this guy ever heard of a condom? I know he doesn't have much money, having spent all his cash on cheese toasties, but condoms aren't that expensive.  He tells reporters he doesn't want to "get the snip"

He also tells reporters: "I can't wear a condom. I just don't like it."

Well, I don't like you, either, Keith.

Ladies, if you want my opinion, you can do better than this guy. Anybody can do better than this guy. He's not even good looking, for gawd sakes!

He's unemployed, too, according to reports. The Mirror says he told them he doesn't want to get a job "because it gets boring."

Now, he's supposedly finally being investigated by the Child Support Agency. And shouldn't somebody be trying to get him to find a job? If he's got the energy to have all that sex, he's got the energy to work, even if the job is boring.

Then the unemployment benefits could instead go to somebody who really can't work over there in Britain. What a concept!

MacDonald, 25, has been well known in the British press for a few years now. It's shocking that nobody has cracked down on him.

I don't buy some conservatives' argument that everyone who gets any form of social welfare is a lazy bum, but this guy proves that a few, at least in Britain, certainly are pretty much worthless sloths, at least if the media reports about MacDonald are to be believed.

If I were a British taxpayer, I'd be at MacDonald's house, shaking him down for a partial refund on my taxes.

Too bad stupidity isn't a crime in Britain. If what all the tabloids say about MacDonald is true, he would get a life sentence.



$3,000 For a 75-Foot Ambulance Ride?

An 84 year old guy in California went to the doctor, saying he had a dizzy spell. His doctor figured the man needed an MRI, which was available in a hospital just 75 feet away from the doctor's office.

The elderly man didn't feel too bad, so he said he's walk next door to the hospital. Makes sense, right?

Uh-uh! The requirement was he needed to ride an ambulance to the hospital, and the trip would cost him $3,000.

The news is worse than the headline. It's not an isolated case of somebody trying to spectacularly rip off an old guy, but instead a bad example of the state of health care in the Grand Old US of A.
Would you pay $3,000 to be driven next door in this?

I don't have any answers here on how to solve this, but the whole set of circumstances is ridiculous.

They didn't want the guy to walk the 75 feet to the hospital because if he had another dizzy spell and keeled over, it might have been, in some lawyers' minds, the doctor's and the hospital's fault. They would have been sued, and that would be bad.

Also, the doctor said he didn't want to put his patient at risk.

The people responsible for the $3,000 ambulance bill say they know damn well a 75-foot ambulance trip did not set them back Three Grand. The problem is, a lot of people who get carted off to the hospital can't pay the subsequent ambulance bill. The money has to come from somewhere, so essentially, people who can afford ambulance trips subsidize the whole thing.

The guy's insurance paid for part of the ambulance ride, but he was still on the hook for more than half of it.

Once this whole thing caught the attention of the local media, the hospital waived the pricey hospital ride.

But this make me wonder. How much more are we paying extra for medical care than would normally be fair?  And how do we know if the price we pay is the going rate or inflated?  You can't easily comparison shop for say, emergency room treatment for car crash injuries.

I guess the only solution is to never get sick or hurt, and ignore any aches and pains. It's pretty clear to me why people avoid going to the doctor when they're sick, and wait until things get way out of control. They hope the problem goes away, rather than deal with the expense.

What's worse? Illness or bankruptcy? Seems like nowadays, we often have to choose between health and financial solvency. You can't have both.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thoughts on the Great Twinkie Crisis of 2012

The Great Twinkie Crisis of 2012 rolls on, and nobody is sure if the company that makes Twinkies and a bunch of other really bad for you stuff, Hostess, will stay in business, or whether somebody else will take over Twinkie production.

Like millions of deeply concerned Americans, I have many questions about this dire sitution. Among them:
Who knew this would become the biggest
crisis of 2012?

Could we raid all the old abandoned Cold War bomb shelters and take the Twinkies out of there and serve them to a desperate nation?  I'm sure they haven't spoiled yet. My colleague Aki Soga raises another point: If we remove Twinkies from Cold War bomb shelters, what will keep the radiation out of said bomb shelters?

What does Little Debbie think of this whole situation? Sure, she looks like a sweet, innocent girl, but I bet she did something underhanded to Hostess to increase her market share.  Never trust a 1930s or 1940s girl in a cute hat. They'll get you every time.
Was the underhanded Little Debbie involved
in the potential death of Twinkies?

If Hostess executives get in trouble for allegedly give themselves big fat pay raises when the company was going under, can they use the Twinkie defense and get off scott free?" For that matter, if union representatives made too many unreasonable wage and benefit demands, could they also use the Twinkie defense?

Will the fortunes of Dow Chemical plummet because, at least for now, they are not supplying Hostess with critical Twinkie ingredients?

Will the worst Twinkie hoarders be featured on the television show "Hoarders?" If so, will any of the hoarders kill the host of Hoarders for trying to eat one of their Twinkies?

If Twinkie production resumes, can we use Twinkies as sandbags to protect property from the next really bad storm?

Or, if Twinkie production resumes and the United States gets even more ticked off at Iran for possibly developing nuclear weapons, can we bomb Iran with millions of Twinkies so that everybody there gets so fat on them they will become incapable of making, moving or launching nuclear warheads?

Hostess makes Wonder Bread, too. If sales of Wonder Bread have been lackluster, could they rebrand Wonder Brand as a wonderful kitchen sponge? The bread is perhaps even a Quicker Picker Upper than Bounty.

If Hostess and Twinkies become just part of American history, will the Smithsonian build a Twinkie museum? If so who would guard the Twinkies without being tempted to eat them?

I'm sure readers here have other questions. If you are concerned like the rest of America, please feel free to post your urgent questions in the comments section.




Monday, November 19, 2012

Black Thankgiving Christmas Shopping Begins My Season of Woe

The stores are all flogging "Black Friday" shopping the day after Thanksgiving, and more and more of them are pushing "Black Thursday," trying to get people to put down their turkey drumsticks pronto on Thanksgiving and get shopping, NOW!

Everybody knows I hate, hate, hate, the whole Christmas demands that we shop until we drop. I'm not even sure why I have such a viceral contempt for the constant harping to buy, buy, buy.
Who in their right mind would want to be in this
crowd during the Thanksgiving holiday?

I guess it's because of my disdain for anything that smacks of desperation. The constant ads, the continual push to begin the so called shopping season earlier, the news reports that suggest it's our duty to shop ourselves off our own fiscal cliffs for the supposed good of the economy, really scream "desperation."

We're supposed to be happy about all this, too. The ads are feature the cloying jingle bells, smiles, warm fuzzies, all in the name of dictating that emotions other than glee are hereby banned.

That's another thing that drives me crazy about the Christmas shopping season. I'm generally a happy person, but I resent it when somebody else demands that I be happy. What right does anybody tell me how to feel?

The shopping frenzy is always a turn off, too. Every year, the news is the same. People trample each other dashing through the doors for the "door buster" sales. Door buster here being literal, since they always have to fix the doors people mow down to get at their flat screen TVs.

People fight, ripping the latest hot toys out of each other's hands, because if their kid doesn't get said hot toy, the world would end, supposedly. 

Even if you don't get caught in a riot and a cloud of pepper spray during the Black Thursday/Friday sales, do you really want to burn through three tanks of gas in the traffic jams on the way to the mall? No thanks.

And what about the people who have to work at the stores in all this madness? Especially on Thanksgiving, when they probably want to be with family. Sure, some want to work on Thanksgiving to collect a bit of extra money, but I'm not sure everybody wants to deal with bloated, nauseated and nausous customers. demanding the impossible.

The stores are also all laughing themselves to the bank.  Their Black Thursday and Friday sales have a few items with low, low prices, but all the other items have jacked up price tags. The retailers know people will spend an extra $100 while they think they're saving $5 on a some stupid video game.

Not everyone has my negative attitude toward Black Thursday/Friday, of course. Somebody arrived at a California Best Buy a week before the sale began to save money on flat screen TVs and such.  To me, if you can afford to camp in a Best Buy parking lot for a week and not work, you can afford full price for a flat screen TV.

Don't get me wrong. There's nothing inherently wrong with retailers trying to sell their stuff.  That's what they're supposed to do. Many people like the sales frenzy. It's a game, a hobby, a social experience, a way of life. More power to them. I just want to be left out of it.

 I also like giving Christmas gifts to people I like. There are aspects of shopping that can be kind of fun.  But like Christmas oveall, the demands of the retailer take something that is inherently a good idea, doing something nice for someone, and turning it into an ordeal that they demand we enjoy.

Yes, I know it's illegal to be negative during this season, but I will anyway: I want no part of Black Thursday and Black Friday. Pass the turkey and the gravy, please.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wildly Colorful "Inversion Sunset" in Vermont

In the late autumn and winter in Vermont, some of the best sunsets come when there's a weather inversion, which is relatively common in the cold season.
The colorful sunset southwest of St. Albans,
 Vermont Sunday evening

An inversion is when it's colder in the valleys than in the mountains, which is the opposite of the usual arrangement.

The pic in this post, taken late this Sunday afternoon, shows what happens sometimes during an inversion.

(As always, click on the pick to make it nice and big and get a good view)

The high thin clouds lit up by the setting sun are a sign of warm air moving in high up above us. It's hazy in the valleys: Smoke and moisture are trapped in the low spots by the warm air above.

At sunset, the high clouds and the haze combine to create a wonderful burst of color during what can be a blah time of year.

Gasoline + Woodpile = Bang! + Hilarity + Injury

In the next couple of weeks, I'll need to set fire to the brush pile in my yard. As always, I'll get a burn permit from the town, I'll do it on a day when it won't spread out of control, I'll have stuff ready to tone it down in case it gets out of hand, and most importantly, I'll set it alight in a completely opposite way than the guys in the video below.

Gawd, the guy couldn't even safely climb the wood pile to soak it in gasoline. Yes, gasoline.  Hey, what can possibly go wrong when you only dump five gallons of gasoline on the woodpile?

The inevitable happens when they strike a match. They survived, but they are future Darwin Award winners.

So watch the vid and gloat about how much smarter you are than they.

Friday, November 16, 2012

"Dumb Ways to Die" Video is Catchy and Cute, Really!

The video in this post started rocketing around this here Internet thing today. It's a public service announcement, apparently from an Austrailian metro/train outfit.

The message is grim enough: There are a lot of really, really stupid ways people can die, among them tangling with trains.
The agency McCann Melbourne created the PSA for tghe Melbourne Metro. Says John Mescall of McCann: “We’ve got people eating superglue, sticking forks in toasters and selling both their kidneys. But truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and we still couldn’t come up with dumber ways to die than driving around boomgates and all the other things people do to put themselves in harm’s way around trains. The aim of this campaign is to engage an audience that really doesn’t want to hear any kind of safety message – and we think dumb ways to die will.”

The woman singing an incredibly catchy song about the dumb ways to die has a charming sweet voice, which really helps this.

The best part of the video, though, are all the simple cartoon characters that meet grim, dumb ends. Some of the moments of their deaths would really be regarded in most cases as gruesome, but even the death scenes are incredibly cute. Really!

Watch the video. You'll be humming the song all day, and you'll want to buy the adorable cartoon characters who demonstrate how to die stupidly. Here it is:

Hello There Racists Tumblr: Don't Know What to Think

I don't know what to think of a new Tumblr site called "Hello There, Racists."

"Hello, There Racists" searches out and displays Tweets and other social media posts from people who write boneheaded racists screeds against President Obama and others. Some of the offending Tweets seem to be assassination threats against the president.  

The site displays the Tweets, of course, but also includes as many facts about these racists as they could find. this includes the URLs for their Twitter and Facebook accounts, where they live and work, a bit about their background, and usually photographs of these offenders.

The photos, of course, are easy enough to find, since they're included on the social media sites where they write their screeds.
This Pennsylvania youth
used a racial slur to describe the president
and is among the many featured in "Hello
There, Racists" on Tumblr.

It's all about public shaming, which seems to be a trend on line. And I have seriously mixed views on this.

Of course, I don't want to protect racists. If they post stupid stuff on social media, in a sense it's fair game for anybody to react to it. It's in the public domain, after all.

Even so,   there's probably varying degrees of culpability among the people featured on Hello There, Racists. Some of them likely are like that all the time, just complete, unredeemable jerks.

 But some probably posted stuff in a dumb moment, and for whatever reason didn't remove the statements when they came to their senses. Or did remove them, but the statements were captured before they removed. them.

Again, no excuse for being racists, but I wonder if the punishment will fit the crime in all cases.  It's such a wild card on how people will react to the boneheads featured in "Hello There, Racists."

There can be all sorts of reactions. Do all of the people in the Tumblr site deserve to lose their jobs? Maybe. Maybe not. What if someone harasses them after seeing them on "Hello There, Racists." What if somebody harasses their families? Assaults or kills any of the people featured? Their families?

Unlikely, but possible.

The Tumblr site does have a disclaimer urging people not to engage in violence. But the people most likely to engage in violence don't pay attention to such disclaimers

"Hello There Racists" proves my point that there are a lot of nutjobs out there on social media. So one kook posts a vile, racists statement, and then another kook kills the racists?

And what if people are falsely accused? Everything spreads so fast these days. Remember this week the voice behind the Muppet Elmo was widely reported to have had improper sex with an underage guy. Turns out the "underage guy" lied, and was an adult who was in a consensual relationship and finally recanted.

But how much damage has been done to what turns out to be an criminally innocent Elmo guy?

Along those lines, what happens if somebody featured on "Hello There, Racists," actually didn't make the statement that it looked like they did. Somebody could have hacked their account. Somebody could be pretending to be another person on line. The possibilities are endless.

I get a little worried about vigilante justice.

That said, looking through "Hello There, Racists" is morbidly fascinating, like viewing a train wreck in action. Some of the people whose pictures accompany their screeds look like the moronic bullies they probably are. But many others look normal, even sweet and innocent. Out of the mouths of babes, I guess.

I also wonder if this trend of outing people who make dumb comments on social media could get out of control. Everybody hates some opinion somewhere.

And as I said, there are a lot of crazies out there. It doesn't take many wackos to cause havoc.

What if somebody creates a Tumblr site attacking people, for, I don't know, liking chocolate chip cookies. If a small group of people really hate chocolate chip cookies, will they expose the chocolate chip lovers on a Tumblr or Facebook site, then go out and attack them?

Probably not over chocolate chip cookies. But you see my point. It's legitimate to criticize the viewpoints of racists, but when does attacking others' opinions become stupid or dangerous?

It's still a wild west on the web, I guess.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Free Advice: Don't Tell Secret Service You Want to Kill the Prez

Hat tip to Brian Drourr via Facebook for this little list of good advice, based on a news article Brian found about a tremendously stupid man in Florida:

1. Don't threaten the president's life. Even if you don't like him. Such threats are illegal and dumb.

2. Especially don't threaten the president on Facebook. Lots of people can read it. Including the Secret Service. The Secret Service really, really doesn't like threats on the president.

3. If the Secret Service sees your threat on Facebook and want to have a little chat with you, don't reinforce the threat when talking with the Secret Service by saying you want to "bitch slap him and beat the shit out of him."
Christopher Castillo allegedly made
threats to President Obama.

According to The Smoking Gun, a guy named Christopher Castillo, 28, of Melbourne, Florida did all of the above and now, not at all shockingly, he faces felony charges.

He was to be released, maybe, after they put a GPS device on him. Probably smart. Don't want him near the White House these days.

Florida Today reached Christopher's father, Frank, who said: “A lot of people say things on Facebook that they don’t mean, and I understand the Secret Service has to do what they have to do, it’s their job,” said Frank Castillo of Tyler, Texas. “I would imagine they would find some people out there that really are loose cannons. Christopher is not one of them.”

Except when talking to Secret Service agents, apparently.

I'm actually amazed by how many similar instances there have been lately of people putting out presidential threats on Twitter, Facebook and other media. Isn't the point of posting there a way to let a lot of people read about what you're thinking about? And that means pretty much anybody.

Was Castillo and his ilk surprised by Secret Service visits? Is the Secret Service hiring? I ask because they probably need a lot of people to follow up on all these threats.

There's probably just a quick spike in threats now because Obama won the election. I get it that people who voted for Romney are angry and upset by the outcome. Perfectly natural.

But for people who want a Republican in the White House, the best revenge is to vote that way the next time, even though some other Democrat, not Obama will run next time.

It's awfully hard to vote from jail, folks. Let logic be your guide, if that's possible in your limited brains, threat people.

My Two Boys, the Dogs, Play in the Sun

Lately, I haven't shown the two boys, as Jeff and I call Jackson, out black cocker spaniel, and Bailey, our, well, we think he's a Golden Retriever and Husky mix.

So they say hi to you all in photographs.
Bailey basks in the late autumn sun...

We had a nice afternoon recently on an Indian Summer type day in our St. Albans, Vermont yard.

Bailey, the older, wiser one, wandered around soberly in the late autumn sun, enjoying the smell of the outdoors while Jackson, the young 'un, rolled in the grass and leaves until he was disoriented, and chased birds and squirrels around the yard. You know, a dog's life

The two boys can teach us humans lessons on how to live a life.

(As aways, click on the pics to make them nice
and big.)
....while Jackson's ready for action
The wind and the aromas in the
air make Bailey happy
While Jackson's a bit disoriented from rolling around
in the leaves and grass for a long time. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Irony: Ironing as High Art

I found a video of what might be an for an iron, so your clothes can be totally wrinkle free. Hard to tell, if it's really an ad, though.

But watch the video as it's so cool. It shows a guy carefully ironing folds and creases into a plain white sheet to create beautiful if highly temporary artwork. Who knew ironing could be so gorgeous?

I'll think about that next time I have a laundry basket full of hopeless wrinkled shirts.

Here's the awesome video:


Drunk Biz Guy Flummuxed by Escalator of Life

There's plenty of videos out there in Internet land of people not quite grasping the concept of escalators, but I found one of the best ones yet, courtesy of the British tabloid The Sun.

We have an apparently drunk young man, decked out in a business suit, definitely looking the worse for wear, trying to go down the up escalator.

Many people ignore him. But I love the young redheaded woman who tries mightily to set the guy straight. She's polite and persistent, but can't convince the guy he's heading the wrong way. He can't even see to acknowledge her.

You have to admit, the guy is focused.

Finally, another, more burly rescuer arrives and gets the guy off the escalator. Geez, I'm exhausted from the cardio workout the drunk guy had.

Anyway, watch the video for a good laugh and for proof you are having a better day than some people.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Bronco Bama" Girl is Happy, Ariz. Romney Fan Less So

Before the election, I posted a short video of a little girl in Colorado named Abigael who was so fed up with the incessant election news that she was crying and distraught.

I'm happy to report that there's now video proof that Abigael has fully recovered from the election, and is happy that "Bronco Bama" as she calls the President, has won another four years in office.
Here's the very brief but very charming vid:
Frankly, I think President Obama should just go with "Bronco Bama" as his new name. Much more fun to say, and it could be the start of a new career as a rodeo star once the President's four years in office are up.

As for Abigael, her mother thanks everyone for the attention and calls her daughter brilliant, gorgeous and hilarious. Judging from the videos, Mom is exactly correct.

In less positive election fallout news, a woman in Arizona is in big trouble for running over her husband with her Jeep. This has to do with the election because the woman, Holly Solomon, was apparently angry with the husband for not voting on election day, according to ABC 15 in Arizona.

Specifically, the lack of a vote from hubby was just one less vote for Romney, so he somehow contributed to the Republican's election day loss and to her the country will now go to hell in a handbasket.

Obviously, logic wasn't ruling the day here, but it would have been nice if the woman had realized that Romney won Arizona big time, so that one missing vote from her husband didn't make a difference at all in the election outcome.

I am making a joke of this, but the serious part is the husband, Daniel Solomon was badly injured and was hospitalized in critical condition. Holly Solomon was reportedly six months pregnant at the time of the incident, says ABC 15.

Freedom Tower's Eerie Noise During Sandy

The area around the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan is obviously hallowed and haunted ground, given how many people died there in the 2001 terrorist attack.

So the sounds eminating from the site during Hurricane Sandy must have been especially spooky. The storm's gales roared through the unfinished top of the new Freedom Tower, emitting a haunting, ghostly noise.

You'd have to watch the brief video below to hear what I mean. It's indeed spooky.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Facepalm: Parking Company Blows Sandy Response

In the New York and New Jersey area, many businesses fell over themselves trying to help the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

And that's great. These business people showed real community spirit and were clearly motivated by a desire to help their neighbors.
Flooded cars in a Manhattan garage during Sandy

However, I imagine a small part of their helpful motivation was inspired by a desire for good PR. You want the public to have a good feeling about your company, and if you step up to the plate during a crisis, people are going to remember that.

That can only help a company's long term prospects for when the Sandy crisis is long over.

All of the above is basic common sense. I'm being Captain Obvious here. But it's amazing how some outfits don't get it. They try to make a profit in the short term, forgetting how their actions might long be remembered.

Exhibit A is a company called Central Parking Corp. According to Gawker and other news and blog outlets, Central Parking really screwed motorists during Superstorm Sandy, and so far are making no efforts to make things right.

During Sandy, a huge crane collapsed on a luxury highrise under construction on 57th Street in Manhattan. There the crane dangled for days, endangering the neighbor below. City officials sensibly evacuated the area until the crane was secured.

The evacuation meant that motorists couldn't get their cars out of a Central Parking garage until the neighborhood evacuation was lifted. When people were finally let back in, Central Parking told the motorists that they would be charged for the entire time their cars were in the lot, never mind that it was impossible for these car owners to retrieve them.  At least that's the story the motorists are telling.

So what if it wasn't the car owners' fault that they couldn't get their cars?  So, maybe Central Parking will make some money from all the extra days the cars were there, but the PR is going to be merciless on this one.

They also could have put a stop to this once it started. After initially imposing the charge for all those days, Central Parking could have reversed course, saying some flunky mistook company regulations and of course they wouldn't charge. But no dice.

In Lower Manhattan Central Parking had an underground garage. They locked the garage at 4 p.m. when the flood threat increased, meaning nobody could fetch their cars out of the garage when they got out of work an hour or so late.

Then the storm surge hit, flooding the garage to the ceiling and destroying the cars inside. Ones the owners could have retrieved ahead of the water.

And even if that was impossible, Central Parking was denying car owners access to their wrecked vehicles so they could file insurance claims.

The loss of a car, or even more trivial, a few hundred bucks in parking fees is nothing compared to what people who lost their houses in the storm are going through. But bad PR is bad PR.

Maybe Central Parking figured that there is no alternative for car owners. That they'll have to use their garages again no matter how much the motorists hate them.

But really, I have to wonder if Central Parking deserves to be in business.  Take their actions as how not to run a biz.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Misheard Lyrics Delight

Wandering aimlessly on the Internet the other night, I encountered some music video clips with text showing how lyrics are misheard.

I've noted others, too. In "Lucy With the Sky With Diamonds," the girl with kaleidescope eyes becomes the "girl with colitis goes by."
It's actually "Ghostbusters" but if you hear it
wrong, this is more fun

Makes sense, In the real world, you're more likely to meet a colitis victim than a person with kaleidescope eyes.

Creedence Clearwater Revival sang about the bad moon on the rise, which became "There's a bathroom on the right," which is definitely handy if nature calls.

And an Elton John song turns from someone "counting the head lights on the highway" counting the head lice on the highway, which seems much more tedious than the headlight counting.

Elton John songs seem to be misheard a lot. Lyrics to the song "Tiny Dancer" becomes "Hold me closer, Tony Danza."

No word on how Tony Danza feels about that.

Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets" has a lyric that goes,  "She's got electric boots, and a mohair suit." becomes "she's got electric boobs and a mole hair suit."

I'm not sure which of those two version of the lyrics make the least sense.

I remember when I was a kid mis-hearing Cher's "Dark Lady" who I thought had "plate glass magic" but who actually "played black magic."  Which is good, because playing with plate glass could be more dangerous with black magic. What if somebody gets cut?

What songs have you misheard, and how. While thinking about that, here's the video:


Friday, November 9, 2012

Autumn Progression in Vermont

During lunchtime during my workdays in Burlington, Vermont, I like to take a brief walk to clear my  head.

I pass by the same spot each time, and decided to whip out my iPhone every few days and document how autumn was passing, using one particular tree.

None of the photos are outstandingly artistic, to be honest, but putting them togther, it's fun to see the changes:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Disappointed Romney Fan's Hilarious Epic Drunken Rant is an Instant Classic

I can well understand how people who voted for Mitt Romney are angry and upset that he didn't win. It's a perfectly human reaction and Republicans are completely entitled to those emotions.

I also don't want to pick on anybody, OK, I don't want to pick on most people, who have some negative emotions about this election.

But I want to share a video of sorts that's been rocketing around the Web today of a Romney backer, Shelly Dankert, a blogger and conservative from Nebraska, who recorded herself on an amazingly HUGE rant while drinking her sorrows away election night.
Most of it is just a blank screen, but you hear her truly amazing, epic rant. It's the wildest reaction to anything since the infamous "Leave Britney Alone!!" video from 2007.

The most accurate quote in Dankrt's rant is this You want to call me unhinged! I'm totally F****** unhinged right now!!!! Yes, you are, Shelly.

Besides the histrionics, another facet of the video that makes it perfect is the sound of ice cubes clinking in her glass of booze.

If you're an Obama person, you'll find this video hysterically funny. Romney fans might feel the same way, or they'll regard it as a great way to get their frustrations out of their systems.

It's 24 minutes long (amazing she survived that long) so you can listen to it in bits and pieces. Be forewarned, this is totally NSFW. I don't think I've heard more F bombs in one rant ever.

I'm sure there will be a lot of parodies of this video, but for now, enjoy the original. It is beyond priceless, and you'll laugh out loud. I sure did. It's amazing how unfiltered rage can become high comedy. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Small Town Vt. Election Shows What's Right, Wrong About Politics

Like almost every journalist in the nation, I spent election day covering the outcome of the balloting.

The back bumper of a truck parked at a polling place,
Milton, Vermont election day 11/6/12
I stopped in the relatively small town of Milton, Vermont to check in on things there. I got a lesson on everything that's both wrong and right with the nation's political climate.

Most of it scene in Milton was standard issue election fare. Candidates stood next to the parking lot, holding campaign signs and greeting voters. Town residents said hi to each other as they came in and out of the municipal building, where the election was being held. A bake sale benefitted the town's upcoming 250th birthday celebration.

But in the middle of the parking lot was a jarring scene. A guy had parked his truck there, it's back bumper festooned with virulently anti-Obama stickers. Signs with grammatical and spelling errors also pointed out the man's hatred of Obama.

"Obama: Why Stupid People Shouldn't Vote," read one bumper sticker. A hand made sign read: "Warning: Obama may win the election but Americans will loose (sic) it all. Our country is being stolen."

The man put flyers under the windshield wipers of the voters' cars as they were inside casting ballot. The paper listed a lot of reasons why he thought we shouldn't have voted for Obama: "Deminished (sic) America's strengths. To make America more Acceptable to his Muslum (sic) brothers.

This man represents what's wrong with American politics. No, there was nothing wrong with people supporting Romney or Obama.  Many perfectly reasonable people thought Romney would make the best president, and many perfectly reasonable people thought Obama would be best.

The election turned out to be Obama's.

The problem came when all too often, the political discussion was hijacked by people like the angry man in the Milton, Vermont parking lot. There's people like him lurking on both the political right and left.

Rather than have a somewhat intelligent debate on whether Obama or Romney's approach was best, some people resort to these wild attacks not based on reality.

For the record: No, Obama is not some communist dictator set to completely control our lives. No, Romney was not some capitalist  gone amok intent on impoverishing us all so he could rake in billions. Both are smart guys with flaws like we all have, both sometimes self-serving, who had two starkly different visions of how America should move forward.

The Loopy Lous I guess have the right to spout their idiocy. But really, they're not helping. That's what's wrong with American politics. It just makes everybody angry. And until this election, I thought it maybe would turn people away from engaging in voting, in politics, in the country's future

But here's what's right with the way the election system: Almost everybody who came to vote in Milton either ignored the guy with the whacked out signs, or engaged in brief conversations with him, just to be polite.

Those voters calmly walked into the municipal building, calmly cast ballots and calmly walked out to go on with their days.

A Republican candidate for representative in the Vermont House campaigning at the Milton municipal building who wanted Romney to win made it clear to whoever would listen that he had no affiliation with the guy and all those weird signs.

John Cushing, the Milton Town Clerk, shrugged his shoulders and said the scene in the parking lot was just American free speech at work.

Maybe some of the wackos thought they would demoralize those they hated, and they wouldnt turn out to vote, and that would help them win.

Instead, there might have been a backlash. A small part of the reason many people voted, weighed in, was because they wanted their rational voices heard above the din of political insanity.

I took comfort that, despite all the attention paid to the loopy reactionaries, it turns out the vast majority of Americans, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, quietly made up their own minds, stayed away from the fireworks, soberly voted and hoped for the best.

Was Diane Sawyer Drunk?

Post-election speculation has swirled all over the place, and has landed, among other places on ABC's Diane Sawyer.

Was she nipping at the booze during the election coverage? She sure seemed like she was having fun, talking about magic milkshakes, lamenting the lack of music to introduce a new segment, and slurring words.

I don't want to be unfair. She might have been very tired. God knows she probably worked more than 24 hours straight. Or people just caught a couple iffy moments and cobbled together clips into funny YouTube videos.

Of course, 24-hour election coverage would certainly drive me to drink, so if she did imbibe, I'm not surprised.

I'm also sure plenty of Republicans are drinking heavily today. This election was not their moment.

Perhaps all this means that the election will prompt the nation's alcohol industry to lead the nation into a long, sustained and booming economic recovery.

Below is the clips of Sawyer on election night. You decide what was up with her.