Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hilarious Rhubarb Theft Video Is Like a Drug-Induced Monty Python Skit

From somewhere in Iowa, via Gawker, we present you this dispute over an alleged theft of some rhubarb from an Iowa neighborhood.

Such negative vibes! Such weird voices! Such language!  I have never heard a person use the word "bitch" so often.

And why does everybody have such a weird voice. I suspect this video is some sort of fake, done by actors. But if it isn't, there sure are some strange towns in Iowa.

I don't know what to make of this. Monty Python meets John Waters?

The best description of what goes on in the video is at dlisted, so that's a fun read, too.

I almost feel guilty laughing at the expense of the people in this neighborhood, but I can't help it. You'll laugh, too. I promise.

Note: NSFW

Government Distractions: Enforcing Unenforceable Laws, Praying on Social Issues At Electric Utility Board

A couple strange little news items demonstrate how even the best, and the worst for that matter, of public officials sometimes lose their focus and get into things that aren't exactly productive.
East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid
Gautreaux, III  had deputies
troll for gays to prosecute
under invalid laws, say critics

A weird one came out of Baton Rouge, where undercover sheriffs go to a park, where they pick up gay guys, invite them to their apartment, then charge the poor guys under sodomy laws that the U.S. Supreme Court said are void, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate

The courts have all ruled that consensual sexual acts between adults done in private are legal.

But laws that ban such things as oral or anal sex (sorry to get so graphic) are still on the books in some states, either because legislatures understandably haven't gotten around to erasing them, or less understandably, some lawmakers want the laws in place, even though they can't be.

If the law is still on the books, but invalid and unenforceable, that seems to be no barrier for the sheriff's department:

From the Advocate article:

"Casey Rayborn Hicks, a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, denied that investigators had been misapplying the anti-sodomy law, which remains among the state's criminal statutes.

"This is the law that is currently on the Louisiana books, and the sheriff is charged with enfofcing the laws passed by our Louisiana Legislature," Hicks said. "Whether the law is valid is something for the courts to determine, but the sheriff will enforce the laws that are enacted."

Um, the courts have already determined whether the law is valid. And it isn't. The local district attorney, Hillar Moore III knows that. That's why he hasn't followed through on prosecuting any of the victims of the sheriff's gay witch hunt. Moore says no crime had been committed, so he can't prosecute.

Makes sense, no?

Can't the fine sheriff deputies around Baton Rouge go around finding crimes that are actually crimes to solve? Do most people, while, say, getting robbed in a bad neighborhood,  care if two guys are getting it on in some apartment somewhere?

Of course, these sheriff deputies might be closeted and enjoy these little excursions, but their possible sexual hangups are really none of my business.

As a shitstorm erupted around the Baton Rouge sheriffs, they started taking a somewhat more conciliatory tone on their Facebook page.  ....

"The goal of our statement was to express our intent to the public, which was to keep the parks safe. We admit, however, the approach needs to change. We are not making excuses, simply stating that we want to learn from this, make changes and move forward. We will be working with all branches of government to find a better solution for keeping our parks safe. Thanks for the input.

Keeping the parks safe from what, exactly? Any sexual acts that might have happened were in private residences, not parks. And I love earlier statements that said they were trying to protect children. Maybe children ought to be protected from the East Baton Rouge sheriff's office.

And I bet you want to move forward.

Meanwhile, the Alabama  Public Service Commission, which is supposed to manage utilities and utility rates, recently opened the meeting with a prayer that seemed to have little do do with electric bills. 

"God, we've taken you out of our schools, we've taken you out of our prayers, we've murdered your children, we've said it's OK to have same-sex marriage. God, we have sinned. And we ask once again that you'll forgive us for our sins."

Of course, the fine members of the Alabama Public Service Commission are all entitled to their opinions, as is the preacher who led the prayer and anybody else who goes to their meetings.

But I wonder if the prayer had much to do with the task at hand. Will gay marriage in some parts of the country make God so angry that he'll raise electric bills for Alabama residents, overruling the Alabama Public Service Commission in the process?

Will abortions in, say, New York, make the power go out in Birmingham or Montgomery?

Maybe the Alabama Public Service Commission should just pray that no atheists come to their meetings to complain about their electric bill.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Extremely Scary Tornado Video Out of Italy, Of All Places

As you know, I love weather porn, defined as videos or images of really bad storms or really horrible weather that ads some excitement to the day.
A tornado touching down near Milan, Italy

There was an odd outbreak of tornadoes near Milan, Italy, of all places yesterday. It seems everybody in and near Milan shoots videos, so there's lots of images of the storms.

My favorite and scariest one is a view out of a corner office window as a tornado comes through.

The person who shot the video is lucky. The windows could have easily shattered and high speed broken glass and debris could have shredded the poor guy.

As you watch the video, notice at the end it cuts off abruptly. It's clear he thought he was in danger and fled. He was right. But he survived to give us a very unique view out of his office window on a day that turned out to be anything but dull.

If you ever get a tornado, don't try this at home, OK?

Watch and be amazed, as you will be even if you're not that into weather porn.

(EDITORS NOTE: Person who took the original video, which I posted here 8 a.m July 30, was taken down. I replaced it with an RT tornado report that includes most of the orginal video.)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Even Bald Eagles Can Be Undignified Sometimes

Hey, every creature gets hungry, and all of us who do get hungry aren't necessarily at our best behavior when we do get the munchies.

This was demonstrated earlier this year in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, judging from the video in this post.

Somebody left a big box of fish in the back of their pickup truck in a wintry, barren parking lot up there in Dutch Harbor. Some bald eagles discovered the cache.



Never Bring A Baseball Bat To A Gun Store Robbery

Some guy in Portland, Oregon named Derrick Mosley has apparently never heard the cliche, "Never bring a knife to a gunfight."
This guy brought a baseball bat to
a would-be gun fight. Didn't go well for him.

Well, he did bring a baseball bat, and, as it turns out, a knife to the gun shop he wanted to rob, says television station KPTV. 

Predictably to everyone except Mosley, the robbery didn't go very well. The gun shop owner, again, predictably, pointed a loaded gun at Moseley, who by this time had picked up a handgun on the display at the shop to bolster his arsenal.

Once again, predictably, the gun Moseley picked up was not loaded.

The gun shop owner held Mosley at gun point until police arrived and arrested him. He'll have plenty of time to think about how to commit future crimes. May I suggest taking a class called Gunfights 101?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Airport Therapy Dogs Are Biggest Necessity For Air Travelers

I don't know about you, but I totally suck at air travel.

It's not that I'm afraid of flying. Once I get off the ground, I'm fine. It's airport terminals I'm terrified of and frustrated by.
Airport comfort dogs at work.  

Things always go wrong there. Flights are cancelled and delayed. It's crowded. It's easy to get lost. All that taking off your shoes and putting them on for security, making sure your paper work and boarding passes are in order is annoying.

The complex web of airline fees is more complicated for me than if I had to single handedly straighten out all pan-African debt.

it's just too much for this ADD-adled brain. I need a calming influence.

Which is why I was delighted by the news I heard earlier this summer that some airports are hiring therapy dogs to calm the rattled nerves of fed up air travelers like me.

The dogs are there, once you go through security, wagging their tales and looking for a quick neck rub. How can your frazzled nerves turn to butter over that.

The people that run these airport therapy dog services are careful and trained to avoid people who are allergic to dogs, or fearful of them. The comfort dogs and their handlers  know to be utterly polite when somebody does not want to deal with a dog. We're not all dog people, hard is that is to believe.

Only a handful of airports have comfort dogs for people in terminals now. There needs to be more.

I kind of wish the Federal Aviation Administration would require the comfort dogs at all airports.

Huge Landslide Hits Car, Occupants Shrug

Here's a bit of dramatic video from China in which an ENORMOUS landslide that includes mega-boulders rain down on a car.

The best part: The four people who were in the car at the time are fine. Glad to hear that!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Bank That Foreclosed On Wrong Ohio House, Took Stuff And Just Shrugged Is Now About To Regret It

The news hit this week that a bank in Ohio which was foreclosing on a house sent a team to the wrong building and hauled out all the owner's stuff, sold it, threw it in the trash and gave it away, according to television station WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio.

The woman, Katie Barrett wanted $18,000 from the First National Bank of Wellston  so she could replace the stuff the bank's team took and, according to the television station, the bank president essentially told her to go pound sand.
Katie Barrett points out her house emptied improperly
by a bank which got the wrong address.  

"He got very firm with me and said, 'We're not paying you retail here, that's just the way it is'.... I did not tell them to come in my house and me an offer. they took my stuff and I want it back," WBNS quoted Barrett as saying.

As several commenters noted in response to the story on the WBNS web page, how is she supposed to replace her items without paying retail?

Since WBNS broke the news, this story has been burning up this Internet thingamajig here. It has all the perfect elements of outrage that have been simmering over big corporations, banks, and all those big outfits.

We've been getting a drumbeat of these kinds of stories.  Apparently, screw ups like what happened to Barrett happen more than you think.

Like how Bank of America is alleged to have really messed around with foreclosure refinancing, screwing over people,  including military personnel, according to news reports.

The perception is that these Big Guys, Big Corporations can do these things because they can. The idea is  there's one set of rules for the big guys, like the banks, and another set of rules for the rest of us.

People see that the sheriff didn't investigate the bank for stealing all the stuff (actually having their minions do it). The sheriff appeared to think this was a civil, not criminal matter. But people believe that the big guys can get away with anything.

The dismissive tone of the bank president, as related by Barrett, also feeds into the frustration that the 1 percent have a "Let Them Eat Cake" attitude toward everyone else.

I wonder if the Big Boys like these banks and big time politicians worry that the rest of us will rebel.  This could be my conspiracy-oriented mind, but there seemed to be an inordinate worry about the Occupy movement one or two years ago among government authorities and police. Which, in the belief of many people, act at the behest of the Big Boys.

But who knows?

As I said, this particular case will probably get resolved, because I don't see how this bank can withstand the social media pressure. Already, Daily Kos has started a petitiion to ask the bank to pay Barrett back and set things right.

No word yet if the bank will budge.

But I wonder if this incident will add to the simmering pile of anger in America over the real or perceived abuse of power by some of the 1 percent.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Best EVER Time Lapse Of A Big Thunderstorm

Time lapse videos are all the rage on YouTube nowadays.

Thunderstorms have been the dominant weather news in the country this summer, as they spark epic flash floods, the lightning starts epic forest fires and we deal with lots of rain and lightning, both here in Vermont and in most of the rest of the country this year.

Combine the two, and you can get some awesome videos, especially if you are a weather geek, a camera geek and a video geek.

A recent storm in Madison, Wisconsin was captured on a rooftop at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As the notes on the YouTube video say, note the clouds going in different directions near the beginning of the video, which seems to indicate volatile weather. And as the storm reaches peak intensity, watch that lightning.

So very cool!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Florida Man" Is Probably My Favorite Twitter Friend

My favorite person I'm following on Twitter these days is Florida Man.

Florida Man is a superhero, the guy who is always in the news doing something completely bizarre in the Sunshine State.
Here's a picture of Florida Man
from his Twitter feed. Nice face

For the uninitiated, Florida seems to be the world's epicenter of bizarre news. We know it as the land of hanging chads, face eaters, manatee-riding women and hapless alligator wrestlers, among other oddities.

Florida Man is really an amalgamation of all the men in Florida who ended up on news web sites, newly famous for being spectacularly clueless.

I'm not sure exactly why Florida is the Weird News Capitol Of The World. It's pretty populated, so the more people you have the more wackos you'll find. But that doesn't explain everything...

The Florida Man Twitter account gathers up many of the headlines of the guy's exploits. You can detect some constant characteristics of the guy if you scroll through Florida Man's Tweets.

All of these, and every post on Florida Man's Twitter feed are stuff that really happened and were really in the news.  

Florida Man is always looking for something new and interesting to do. Some examples:

     "Florida Man Arrested For Setting Clothes On Fire at TJ Maxx."

     "Florida Man Wakes Up in Hotel Room With No Memory and Can Only Speak Swedish"

We all know it's hot and humid in Florida. Which means Florida Man HATES wearing clothes. I offer these examples:

       "Florida Man Sips Beer And Wanders Naked Through Neighborhood. Says He Didn't Know He Had No Clothes On."

       "Police Find Florida Man Naked, Revving Motorbike In Front Yard."

      "Florida Man Strips Naked at 7-Eleven, Tells Cops "I Am A Monkey."

      "Florida Man's Naked Bomb Threat Shuts Down Caloosahatchee Bridge."

(Editor's note: Florida Man could not have picked a better name for a bridge to threaten)

Florida Man can always be relied upon to find novel ways of finding transportation. Who needs a car?

         "Florida Man Rode Stolen 9-Foot Purple Chicken Statue Hitched to Pickup Truck."

         "Florida Man Posts Video Of Himself Riding White Shark"

Sometimes Florida Man combines crime and transportation:

        "Florida Man Charged With DUI After Running Over Woman With Golf Cart."

          "Florida Man Tries to Tow Stolen Lawnmower Away On Back of Bicycle."

      "Florida Man Slashes Love Rival's Electric Wheelchair, Flees on Pink Bicycle."

Florida Man has a temper, and has been known to get into fights:

        "Florida Man Arrested After Fight Over How To Make Kool-Aid."

         "Florida Man Tries to Kill Cousin For Not Inviting Him To 2-Year-Old's Birthday Party."

         "Florida Man Chased Neighbor With Machete For Stealing His Favorite Chicken"

           "Florida Man Stabs Brother Over Missing Mac and Cheese."
Sometimes he combines religion with violence. I mean, who doesn't?

            "Florida Man Uses Bible To Set SUV On Fire."

Finally, Florida Man is a bit of a sexual pervert. OK, a big time sexual pervert:
        "Loophole Means Florida Man Won't Be Charged For Sexual Acts With 3-Legged Dog."

         "Florida Man Says It's His Constitutional Right To Rape A Donkey"

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

City Council Meetings Are Just Like Epic Summer Blockbuster Movies!

A lot of people think city council meetings are boring.

They drone on about recreation budgets, street repairs, sewer facility upgrades. What's the charm or excitement in that?

Well, the Whitehorse, Yukon City Council begs to differ. You can watch their derring-do up there in northwestern Canada every Monday at 7:30 p.m. on Community Cable 9.

As an aside, I love how the Whitehouse web site home page has the following announcement: "Government and agencies to participate in operation Nanook"

If you haven't already abandoned reading this post to book your next flight to Whitehorse to watch the City Council in action, this ad will get you moving. The excitement! The intrigue! They've got my heart palpitating already:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Amazing Video: Mama Bear Rescues Two Cubs That Had Gone Over Waterfall

I so want to go to Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska.
Bears at Katmai Park in Alaska. 

The park has "bear cams" deployed along some of its water ways so that you can watch bears doing what bears do along the river.

From those bear cams comes an amazing video came out recently that shows a number of bears on a beautiful looking stretch of river called Katmai Brook Falls.

The video shows a mother bear fishing near the falls when suddenly her two cubs get swept over the falls and into a torrent. Mama bear leaps over the falls to rescue her young. Another bear tries grab at one of the cubs but Mama quickly shuts the other bear down with a quick snap, and goes back to rescuing the cubs.

So that you don't worry, the video has a happy ending. But you HAVE to watch it. It's so cool. Here it is:

Thank Goodness We Didn't Hire THIS Organist For Our Wedding

I can't believe it's been almost a year since Jeff and I got married.

I'm happy to report I'm still immensely enjoying married life.

Maybe a bit of the reason for the contentment is we got off on the right foot. The ceremony was beautiful, I must say, thanks to Jeff's planning and design work. (He also has this nice habit of making the house look beautiful too, but that's another story)

Anyway, we didn't go the traditional route in the marriage. For instance, we didn't do the cliched "Wedding March" that you always hear on church organs in every wedding.

Which is a great thing if you consider the organist at the wedding in the video below. The musicianship is hilariously painful:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A New Sport: Shooting Down Drones!

A lot of people don't trust drones, I get that. It would be annoying them having fly over our yards, spying on us doing whatever we do in the privacy of our yards.
Drones are in our future. Is drone hunting in our future, too?

But I'm dubious about a proposed ordinance in a tiny Colorado town. The town of Deer Trail want to issue drone hunting licenses for people who want to shoot down drones belonging to the U.S. gummit.

Maybe it's becauseI don't trust anybody, but I don't think this is such a good idea. You shoot a drone and it blows up or crashes. What does it land on? Probably Deer Trail, Colorado.

I also think the gun hunting for drones would bring a scary element to the fine community of Deer Trail. Yes, there are plenty of Second Amendment fans, libertarians and such that would probably be OK, hunting these drones safely.

But a significant subset of these activists are, how do we put this delicately? Total apeshit wackos.  Do you really want everybody with a huge arsenal and pea sized brains and balls to come to your town and  start firing guns into the air?

Bullets don't keep going up forever, you know.

Assuming anyone hits a U.S. government-owned drone, you'd think that somebody in the government might be a little annoyed by that. Yes, you might not be afraid of the gummit, but they still can put you in jail. So be prepared for that.

What if the drones are witnesses, too. Most of them have cameras. Even if shot down, I bet they could recover them and see who shot at them.

The FAA even weighed recently, warning people not to shoot down drones because, among other things, what if something gets hit by the falling wreckage?

The FAA says shooting a drone carries the same penalties as shooting at a manned aircraft.

The guy who dreamed up the Deer Trail proposed ordinance scoffed, saying the FAA doesn't have the right to make laws.

Um, true, but they have the right to enforce them.

So, we'll have to wait and see how this drone hunting thing goes. I don't think it's the start of a trend, though.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Another Storm in Vermont, More Dramatic Photographs

The endless parade of big, destructive thunderstorms plaguing Vermont this summer continued last night as another squall line came through, tossing down God knows how many trees and power lines as it roared across the northern half of the state last night.
As clouds began to gather, it gave the atmospher a tropical
feel as people got the last of their fishing in.  

It seems the power companies are always out untangling their fallen lines, chain saws are constantly buzzing and everybody is always shoring up the roads washing out in the downpours.

Last evening, I was at St. Albans Bay, on Lake Champlain in northern Vermont when the storms came through.

The blast of clouds, wind and lightning didn't cause much damage around St. Albans, but it sure made for some great photos.
Ahead of the storm the sun's rays struggled
against the oncoming dark clouds 

The shelf cloud in front of the storm looks like Jaws
ready to eat the bay.  
The storm gets closer, the sky gets darker

The shelf cloud visible as the storm approached and a sign the storm would pack a punch,  was something to behold.

The roiling storm clouds take over the sky.

The storm takes over. I run inside.

The storm doesn't last long, and the sky gets
peaceful again at sunset.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Schoep, Dog Made Famous in Beautiful Water Photo Last Year, Has Died

Sad news to report that the subject of a gorgeous photograph that pretty much everybody saw when it went viral last year died yesterday.
The famous photo of Schoep and John Unger. Photo by
Hannah Stonehouse Hudson. 

Schoep the dog passed away at the age of 20.

You remember the picture, that you see in this post here. His owner, John Unger, would take Schoep out into the cool waters of Lake Superior in the summer to relieve Schoep's arthritis.

The photo shows more clearly than any other I've seen the exquisite relationship between dog and human.

According to the Northlands Newscenter of Wisconsin, Unger posted this message on his Facebook page yesterday:

"I Breathe But I Can't Catch My Breath. Schoep passed yesterday. More information in the days ahead."  The photo accompanying the post showed a single dog's paw print in the sand on a beach.

I can relate. One of my dogs died in late May, and you really can't catch my breath. I only had Bailey for a year. Imagine Unger's pain, since he and Schoep had been pals for many, many years.

Judging by John and Schoep's Facebook page, the end came suddenly and unexpectedly, as posts through July 15 indicated the two were having a nice summer walking along the beaches of Lake Superior or taking dips in the water.

A very nice photo apparently taken July 14 shows Schoep contentedly dozing off amid some wildflowers under a beautiful blue summer sky.

If it's any comfort, Unger should be congratulated by all of us for showing us the beauty of love and companionship. Kudos to Hannah Stonehouse Hudson for shooting and sharing the photo, too.

So, thanks Schoep and John. I hope Mr. Unger knows he and Schoep made the world a better place. That doesn't bring Schoep back, but I hope it's some comfort.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Peak Summer Flowers in Vermont

As I occasionally do, I'll wander through my flowers in the gardens around my St. Albans, Vermont house and take a few photos. Here are some of the latest:

As always click on the images to get a larger view of them, if you'd like.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Manly Vermont Man Fishes in Manly Way, Video Goes Viral In A Manly Way

It's nice to see a YouTube video by someone here in Vermont go viral, and it's doubly nice to see one that ensures we are keeping Vermont weird.

The video in question shows a Vermonter named Douglas Owen, looks like he lives around Morrisville, according to my research,  catching a fish for dinner. Sounds routine enough. Lots of people fish.

This guy doesn't use a fishing pole, though. Watch how he catches his trout: More commentary by me below the video, if you can stand it.

Yes, he caught the fish with his bare hands.

The video has been up for maybe a little more than a week, and as of late Tuesday afternoon already had nearly 700,000 views. It's among the most viral of Vermont based videos.

Owen sure has a sense of humor. Responding to comments on his video,  he said his wife "was not impressed 'cause I do this stuff all the time."

Some commenters said he faked the whole thing, or staged it but he said the trout was not in a cage or trap, was not hidden anywhere else and was not dead before he grabbed it.

The video was done in "first take, no real script, no editing; not smart enough."

As for his physique, which many commenters thought was masculine and sexy and made him look like a real manly man (I tend to agree) Owen said "Belly is real, developed in Vermont, USA"

Some of the comments left by people below his YouTube video are fun, too.


"I was always wondering what Santa does 364 days a year. Now we've got the answer. He rocks."

"This guy needs to teach a fishing lesson. DAMN!"

"Poseidon, are you?"

Monday, July 15, 2013

Two Rescues, One And A Half Happy Endings

Checking the weird news sites this morning, we have word of two rescues. One was creative and successful, the other was just the right thing to do, but ended badly for the rescuer.
This boat was dead in the water and going to
go over the falls when a helicopter crew thought
"wind: and pushed the boat ashore with
the breeze from their rotor

In Norway, a boat's engine failed after the vessel hit some rocks. The current was taking the boat toward a dam spillway, and things looked mighty grim for the boat's two occupants. They were doomed to go over what amounted to a chaotic, deadly falls at the dam.

Luckily for the boaters, a police helicopter was nearby. No, it wasn't a traditional rescue. They didn't have ropes and such to hoist the boaters up onto the helicopter.

The helicopter did have rotors, of course. So the enterprising rescuers used the wind generated by the rotors to blow the boat safely onto shore. Hey, it wasn't traditional, but it worked.

Here's the video to show how it all worked:

Meanwhile, in Ontario, Canada, a Walmart employee on her way into the store to begin her shift said she saw a man lock a dog in a car on a hot, sunny day. She waited a few minutes, but when the guy didn't come back for awhile, she called police to rescue the dog.

The dog is fine, it turns out. The Walmart employee, Carla Cheney, not so much

The Walmart employee said she was fired that day for not following protocol and calling the cops for the hot dog.
This woman said she was fired from
Walmart after calling police to rescue a dog
locked in a customer's  car on a hot day.  

Walmart counters that Cheney got fired for other reasons.

Based on the articles on this, it seems although they didn't come right out in say it,  the problem was Cheney was rude to the customer. I guess you have to be nice to everybody when working in retail.

Even when they're killing their innocent dogs.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Taking A Ride In a Mudslide, And A Tornadic Pikes Peak. Weather Drama in Colorado

I drove through lots of flash flooding here in Vermont over the past month and a half, but luckily did not drive in deep water, or accidentally encounter water that was too deep.

Or if I did encounter flooding that looked unsafe, I turned around and found another way to get where I was going.
This is a view of a car being swept away by a Colorado
mudslide. Watch video below to see what it looked
like from inside the car.  

Out in Colorado, though, the flash flood water came up way too fast for a guy in his car to get out of the way.

It was on a mountain road, near the site of a really bad forest fire last year.

When it rained, it swept all kinds of mud and black debris from the fire onto the road. That's why the flowing water you will see in the video is black.

This guy somehow managed to somewhat calmly narrate from inside the car as the black flash flood sweeps him along.

It ended OK, though. His car's trashed, but he's fine. Watch:

Meanwhile, way up above 14,000 feet at Pike's Peak. Colorado, you'd think you'd be out of Tornado Alley. You'd be wrong, judging from the video by LaRae Gallant shot this weekend.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Foxes On Trampolines, Giant Tire Hula Hoops. It's The Weekend

Since it's the weekend and time to play, I present you two examples of how to do it.

In the first video, some foxes came down from the woods somewhere and discovered a trampoline.  They quickly figured out how to have fun:

Next, we encounter a gentleman who wanted to hula hoop. But he didn't have one handy.

So, he tried the next best thing. He found a 100 pound tractor tire, and just used that as a hula hoop. Why not, right?

So, whether you bounce on the trampoline or hula hoop this weekend, hope you have a great time

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Don't Be So Literal! "Drive Your Message Home" Bus Drives Into Home

A bus with an advertisement that read in part, "Drive Your Message Home," did just that, driving into a Masschusetts home recently. 
The literal bus hits a home 

Eight people were hurt and the house was pretty much destroyed. Luckily the injuries weren't serious.

I think the bus driver shouldn't have taken the advertising on the bus so literally.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Advertising VIa Subway Window Vibrations?

I'm betting this is a hoax or some sort of marketing student project, but I found a truly disturbing idea on line:
Some people think Flo from the Progressive
Insurance ads is annoying. Will she
broadcast from a subway window near you?

They'd transmit advertising into your head via the vibrations you get from a subway window as the train clatters down the tracks.

Here's the thinking, hoax or not: A lot of commuters are tired and lean their heads against subway windows in an attempt to take a nap or just rest. The window vibrates with the motion of the train, of course.

Why not harness the vibrations to form an advertisement that only you can hear via the window vibrations?  Because we all want to hear more, more, more, more advertising, right?

Yeah, right.

Here's the allegedly promotional YouTube video of the idea:

In a world where advertising just permeates everything, do we really need this from desperate marketers?

I've never understood how so many of the people in the advertising world think if they annoy us, we'll buy their product.

There are innovative advertisements out there that I see and hear occasionally that are cool, and actually make me pay attention to what they're trying to sell.

But the vast majority of ads are stupid, with people yelling at us to buy stuff, or talking to us like we're toddlers, or using the most basic, stupid attempts at humor. And the repetition!

They annoy us, we're told, because the annoying ads get into our brains and linger, increasing the recognition of the brand in question.

That's true, we do think of the brand when their advertising annoys us, but being pissed off about a company's ad doesn't want to make me do business with them. If their ad is that bad, their product must be worse, is my line of thinking.

Maybe the advertisers are just completely clueless about how to sell their stuff, as David Pogue suggested in the New York Times. 

Overall, it's interesing, though, that in a Google search, I could find no information, at least in a cursory search, of why advertisers think annoying their audience is effective and sell products.

So I guess we'll have to deal with the spread of advertisers trying to make our lives miserable. It has really spread online. It could spread to subway windows, if the news I mention above is not a hoax.

What's next. Will advertising executives break into our houses at 2 a.m. to sing bad versions of product jingles?  If that ever happens, I'd certainly embrace the Second Amendment more, that's for sure.
Charlie LeDuff, a reporter I've written about before, has quite a flair for reporting the news. It's not "just the facts, ma'am," no sir.
Reporter Charlie LeDuff  

He'll advocate for people that have been screwed, but does it in a sort of comical outrage that is often highly entertaining.

It's OK to be entertaining in journalism. It makes you remember what they're talking about, and maybe get people interested in fixing the injustice that's in the news.

One of his reports, made almost a year ago, actually for Fox 2 television news in Detroit,  is about how it takes police four hours to respond to a burglary report.

Yeah, he could have said "A Detroit woman waited four hours for police, blah, blah, blah," and called it a day.

Oh, but not Charlie LeDuff. He gets SO into the story. Luckily, the burglary victim was willing to play along and had a good sense of humor about everything.

Anyway, the video below shows how a television news report ought to be done, as presented by the weird and wonderful Charlie LeDuff.

And if you don't get enough of this one, here's a playlist of some of LeDuff's best reports. 

Even if you don't care a whit about police response times in Detroit, you do have to watch this video:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Amazing Aerial Photo of Trail of Hail Left By Big Storm

In a photo by pilot Daryl Frank, a streak of hail
is left behind by a thunderstorm in Alberta 
Santa Rosa, New Mexico recently found itself getting a lot of weather publicity after a storm left it covered by more than a foot of hail,  making it look like they'd had an enormous July 4 weekend snowstorm.

But I  found an even more spectacular  photo on,'s Facebook page, showing an  aerial view of farmland in Alberta, Canada after a hailstorm.

The photo was apparently take by a Catp. Daryl Frank of Jazz Aviation. The path of the hail streak resembles that left by a tornado. But instead of wind destruction, you get this bizarre streak of white in otherwise green agricultural lands.

(Click on the photo to make it bigger and get a better view)

But I imagine the crops under all that hail didn't fare too well. That hail had to be intense to leave an accumulation like that.

Here's a video of what the hail storm looked like while it was in progress. Yikes!

Automatic Ball Fetching Gadget called iFetch For People Who Have Dogs, Don't Deserve Them

Like most dogs,  my Jackson loves to interrupt us when he thinks we're getting too serious. He'll insist we play with him until we're all happy and tired.

Jackson's always right, of course. A play break at any time is a good mental health strategy. This is as it should be.
The iFetch, a device that throws balls for
dogs so you don't have to.  

Many times, the game involves fetching a toy, wrestling Jackson for the toy, chasing Jackson around to retrieve the toy. It can be exhausting, but it's always fun.  

Some people find all this play with dogs inconvenient or tiresome, however. For those people there's what I believe a new, disheartening gadget  for sale on line.

It's called iFetch, a device that throws a ball for a dog to play with so you don't have to. 

Of course, Fido must be trained to put the ball back in iFetch for it to be thrown again, but to me, that's the least of its problems.

The thing also looks a bit like a bizarre little toilet, but I'll let that little problem go, too.

Here's the issue: Why do you have a dog if you won't play with him or her? Granted nobody can always drop everything and devote every waking minute to keeping the dog happy and occupied. But jeez, taking five minutes out of your busy day now and again to engage the dog -- How hard is that?

Of course, I don't know what goes on inside the mind of a dog, but I'd bet my next paycheck that part of the appeal of playing for a dog is interacting with another being. That could be another dog, or a person.

I know my Jackson seems much happier when there are other dogs or people around. That seems true for most dogs. That's why so many of them get separation anxiety when left alone too much.

I'm sure many dogs would happily chase a ball thrown by a machine like iFetch.  But they'd be more happy if a person threw it.
Jackson the cocker spaniel playing
with a stick last winter. I don't know how
many times I threw that damn stick (happily)  for him

And doesn't throwing a ball for a dog to chase make people happy, too?  Many times, Jackson has "told" me I must play with him, now.

Sometimes, I don't feel like playing with him.  I'm in a bad mood. But I do it anyway, figuring it's not Jackson's fault that I'm in a crummy state of mind.

Within minutes, after Jackson has run around and I have too, I'm in a better mood. Jackson's a cheap psychotherapist, let me tell you. Instead of forking over big bucks to a psychiatrist, I just pay Jackson in dog good and doggy snacks.

Almost every dog is a good psychotherapist. So, while iFetch is a great idea, I don't know how far it will go. Just give us a battered old tennis ball, and humans like me will have the firepower to launch the ball and send our dogs gleefully running.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Devo Drummer Dies: Wearing A Flower Pot In His Honor

I just heard the news that Alan Myers, the drummer for that very unsual early 1980s band Devo recently died at the age of 58.

Devo is the band probably most famous for the song "Whip It,"
The band Devo recently lost their drummer to cancer.  

Devo was one of those bands that I loved back when I was in high school and college. They, like Talking Heads, Patti Smith and the B-52s, cast me as a bit of a weirdo when everybody except me was listening to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and, if you were a teeny bopper, Bay City Rollers or something like that.

I just loved Devo's eccentricity. As you can see in the video below, they appear to be wearing flower pots as hats. That was a bit of a trademark for them.

Even when they did a remake, you knew they'd make it their own. Just check out Devo's version of the Rolling Stone's "Can't Get No Satisfaction" if you want proof.

I looked up the Whip It video and it's insane, of course. Which means I love it. It hasn't gotten old with age.

Especially nice, and a good tribute to Myers, comes at the very end of the "Whip It" video. The mom in the video weighs on his antics:  "Oh, that Alan!"

Here's that Whip It video. It will brighten your day:


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Scenes From A Vermont Flood

For more than a month now, torrents of rain have been pouring onto Vermont. There's been repeated, damaging floods.
The storm clouds roll in at around 1 p.m. on
the Fourth of July

Even those that have not experienced any flood damage are suffering. Crops are drowning. Mosquitoes are thriving. People are sick of being wet.

On the Fourth of July, one of the worst storms yet in this episode of rainy weather swept into northern Vermont, and we had another, yes, another flash flood. It's getting old. The photos in this post are scenes from this Vermont flood.

The heavy rain quickly overwhelms roads, in this case, i
in Jericho, Vermont.  

 This four foot deep swimming
pool in Richmond, Vermont
was overwhelmed by

Residents of Jericho try to
control the effects of flowing
water and mudslides  

This road in Jericho is closed for
a long time.

After doing their damage, the
thunderstorms depart, glowing in
the Fourth of July sunset.  

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Maybe He Should Have Tried Death Metal: World's Angriest Guitar Player

A recently found a video that's been circulating around the web for a year now, but it's worth bringing up.

It's billed as "The Angriest Guitar Player Ever" and I cannot dispute that. No, not at all.
A screen capture from Angriest Guitar Player video.  

It's a guy named the Treeman, from Liverpool, England, trying to learn the chords of a new song and not succeeding.

It would have made sense for him to step back and wait until he calmed down before resuming, but again, that would have made sense. And made for a boring video. So we get to see a hell of a temper tantrum.

On the one hand, it is fun to watch a person go into full on melt down. But it is a little mean, I admit, spreading the guy's bad moment for all the world to see. So it is with mixed emotions that I present him. Though he did seem to allow the video to get on YouTube.

The video is a hilarious instruction of how ridiculous we look when we are angry and frustrated. Warning, language is NSFW and not good for super sensitive ears:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bad Idea Of The Week: Pork Laced Bullets To Send Muslims To Hell. Or Something

This has to be one of the ugliest and stupidest things I've read in a long time.

An ammunition manufacturer is selling pork laced bullets. 

Why, you ask? Well, you can shoot Muslims with them, and the contact with pork will make them go straight to hell, according to this deeply offensive company.

According to the company, the ammo is a "peaceful and natural deterrent to radical Islam."
The incredibly offensive pork bullets  

I'm not sure how shooting somebody with a bullet, pork laced or not, is "peaceful and natural," but what do I know?

All this is pretty offensive, as you've already figured out, but just for the record, here's their advertising spiel:

"With Jihawg Ammo, ou don't just kill an Islamist terrorist, you also send him to hell. That should give would0-be martyrs something to think about before they launch an attack. If it ever becomes necessary to defend yourself and those around you our ammo works on two levels."

A lot has been written on what a completely odious thing these bullets are, so I'll let that go. I'll just ridicule the bullet maker instead, since they don't seem to command our respect.

But I have some practical questions about this.

Suppose you somehow need these bullets in a hurry because you suspect some  marauding Muslims in your neighborhood (Never mind most Muslims don't "maraud" and are certainly unlikely to do so in your neighborhood)

By the time you get your bullets in your gun, it'll probably be too late to do anything about it. Unless you always keep pork-laced bullets in your firearm, which is another issue.

Also, you should always keep your guns and ammunition locked in a safe place, but the pork bullets add another dimension. I imagine dogs and other animals trying to get at them for a taste. Wouldn't that be dangerous, if Fido literally bites the bullet?

Also, I have almost no expertise on all things Muslim, but yeah, maybe they're not allowed to voluntarily consume pork. But if they are somehow injected with pork against their will, via bullet or otherwise, it's not their fault. Wouldn't they be given a pass by Allah or something?

Somebody smarter than me has to tell me what the score is there.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Messes: Worst Jackson Pollock Moment EVER. And The Attack Of The Killer Suds

I hate dropping crumbs, spilling my drink or tracking mud into the house. I'm a messy guy.

But I can console myself in realizing I could have made bigger messes than the usual trail of sloppiness I leave behind me.
The aftermath of a crash involving lots and lots
of spilled paint. Photo from KOMO. Click
on the photo for a better view.

I've got two good examples.

The first is a car crash. Car crashes almost always make messes, what with the twisted metal, broken glass, pieces of plastic that fall of the car.

It makes an even bigger mess, as someone in Belfair, Washington State found out recently, when you're hauling a whole bunch of paint cans in your car and you accidentally drive off the road, according to television station KOMO. 

KOKO reports the driver had minor injuries. And lots of paint. His equally paint soaked dog was in the car with him. The pooch wasn't hurt, and neighbors brought the dog to their house for a very good hosing off.

I think if I ever need paint, I'll have it delivered to my house, thank you. But the wreckage of the car could become sort of a Jackson Pollock type work of art, don't you think?

The second messy incident happened in Tokyo, and made a neighborhood look like it had just been hit by a big snowstorm. Which is odd for this time of year in notoriously hot, humid Tokyo.

It seems someone threw 40 liters of soap down a drain on the thirteenth floor of an office tower. The soap gurgled its way down to the street level sewer, got agitated so more and became so aerated there was an eruption of dense soap bubbles that had to be shoveled out of the way.

I've seen snowbanks along city sidewalks, but sudsbanks?  Watch the video to see what I mean:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Watch Disabled Military Veteran Lawmaker DESTROY Military Disability Cheater

In a You Get 'Em video that I found totally stirring, there's a story and video circulating of U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, encountering a guy she's none too happy with during a recent Congressional hearing.

Duckworth, a veteran who suffered disabling injuries in Iraq, was participating in hearings on veterans benefits scams and abuses, was questioning Brulio Castillo, a government contractor who is accused of seeking contracts by playing up his military-related disabilities.
U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, ripped
apart an allegedly scammy government
contractor in a video that is a sight to behold  

He hurt his foot playing football for a military prep school while a teenager, according to reports.

To gain favor for a government contract,  Castillo is said to have written this about his injuries

"These are the crosses that I bear due to my service to our great country and I would do it again to protect this great country."

Duckworth wasn't buying it.

From Gawker:

"I'm so glad you would be willing to ply football in prep school again to protect this great country," Duckworth responded. "Shame on you, Mr. Castillo. Shame on you. You may not have broken any laws...but you certainly broke the trust of this great nation. You broke the trust of veterans.

Iraq and Afghanistan veterans right now are waiting an average of 237 days for an initial disability rating. It is because of people like you are who are gaming the system are adding to that backlog that young men and women who are suffering from post-traumatic stress, who are missing limbs, cannot get the compensation and the help that they need."

It is so great seeing someone totally destroy a probably scammer like this.

As Gawker notes, you have to watch the whole video of Duckworth dismantling this guy. It is a work of art. Watch: