Saturday, May 31, 2014

Compilation Fail Video Shows How Many Ways CrossFit Can Kill You

OK, to be fair, maybe not everyone in this video was doing CrossFit, but most were.

CrossFit is all the rage in fitness circles, but sometimes, it's better, safer and healthier to curl up on the couch with Cheez-Its and Mountain Dew, rather than do what these people are doing:

Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday SQUEE! Cute Alert: Bear Cub Wrestling Match

I didn't feel like putting much effort into a blog post first thing this Friday morning so I'll let these bear cubs do all the work.  We all need a bit of cuteness and wrestling to end the week:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Introducing Tonks, The Cute Blonde Who Moved In With Us This Week

For those who follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know we adopted another dog, named Tonks the other day.  
Tonks explores her new home with Jeff, Jackson and me
after she arrived Sunday, while Jackson keeps
a protective eye on her in the distance.  

Tonks joins Jackson the Cocker Spaniel, who has lived with Jeff and me for three years at our St. Albans, Vermont home.

Jackson's a very social little guy, and we thought he'd want a companion for those moments when Jeff and I were too busy to play tug of war with Jackson. The tug of war game with his toys is a 24/7 obsession with him.

About a month ago, we learned of a Vermont couple, Emily and John, who have been the human companions for Tonks for seven years, since she was a puppy.

The couple now has two very young kids. Good kids, but young ones who want to play with the dog but are too young to understand that even gentle, friendly souls like Tonks don't always like to be constantly poked and prodded and groped.  

Emily and John reluctantly concluded it would be better for Tonks to live somewhere else.

Jeff and Jackson and me were in the running to adopt Tonks. Jeff was out of town in early May, but Jackson and I agreed to meet one day with Emily and Tonks at a dog park nearby.

I have to say Jackson is a good little salesman. At the meeting, Jackson behaved in his usual way, greeting Tonks with friendliness, while at the same time doing his best not to be overbearing.  Tonks and Jackson went to other dogs to say hi, played with each other, went their seperate ways and then played with each other again as Emily and I talked.

Jackson and Tonks acted like old friends, even though they'd just met.  A very good sign indeed.

You could tell right away Tonks was well cared for. Beyond a healthy appearance, she seemed at ease with both people and other dogs. You could see both curiosity and confidence in Tonks' big eyes. A very good sign.

A couple weeks later we heard from Emily. Would we like to adopt Tonks?

Tonks had already melted my heart. Jackson seemed to want this to happen too. Jeff was all for it.

It was to be.

Tonks arrived at our house last Sunday. I was at work, so I wasn't there, but Jeff and Jackson greeted her. Jeff and John chatted for awhile about Tonks and the care she'll need and the handoff came.

Jeff was smart enough to let Tonks watch John drive away, so there might be some connnection that he left, and didn't just disappear into thin air. We hoped at some level Tonks understood what was going on, that although things were changing in a confusing way, she'd continue to be loved and protected as she always had been.

It turns out Tonks is a brave, adaptable girl. Don't let those blond curls and her shy, quiet demeanor fool you. She's a tough cookie.

True, Tonks had a lot to get used to. The first day she was here with us, she barked quite a bit. The sounds outside were different than her old home. It was disorienting and scary.

Trucks rumbled by on the road. Birds flitted from tree to tree just outside the door.  A motorcycle roared to life at the house across the street. Kids played two houses up the road. The barking was inevitable.

Tonks, though, was immediately affectionate with us. I quickly discovered she likes simultaneous chest and back rubs. She went back and forth between Jeff and me, finding reassurance in our eyes.  We kept telling her she's a good girl, and giving her neck rubs. She seemed like she was starting to feel at home.

As I watched TV Sunday evening, I was gratified to find Tonks curled up at my feet, falling comforably to sleep.

I was happy to see Tonks is naturally curious, but not so brave as to wander off completely on her own, which is a good combination. She scoped out the yard on her first day here, stopping from time to time to take refuge from the hot sun under the shade of our willow tree, just as Jackson often does.

Tonks thinks her new brother Jackson is crazy. Tonks is right. Jackson growls and yelps and laughs as we play our usual tug of war game with John Boehner, which is the name of one of his favorite toys.  Tonks looks on, bemused.

But the two dogs are already sharing nicely. They sleep in each others' beds, play with each others toys, try to sample each others' food.

Tonks barks less and less as she gets used to the sounds swirling around outside the house. The other day, we had to bring Tonks and Jackson to doggie day care while Jeff and I worked.

That went well, too.

Barb, who runs the place, said she enjoyed watching what happened. Jackson spent the day showing Tonks the ropes at day care, explaining as dogs only can how things work, how to interact with other dogs there, how to follow the rules.

Barb reports Tonks is a quick study, but we knew that already.

Tonks is already settling into our routine. Like Jackson, she's excited when Jeff and I get up in the morning. It takes us humans a little while to wake up. Jackson and Tonks are always raring to go.

If Jeff and I have to deal with alarm clocks, Jackson and Tonks are the perfect type.

Our household is a little bigger now that Tonks lives with us.  But she adds even more joy to the place than we already had.

Welcome home, Tonks.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Plays Of The Day: Awesome Baby Catch: Not So Awesome First Pitch

Two moments have been in the news this week: One was an amazing catch, one was a not so amazing throw.

I love this video of a guy in China who saw a baby teetering on a second floor window ledge during a torrential thunderstorm. The guy positioned himself, the baby fell, and the guy played amazing outfielder of sorts catching a life and death pop fly.

He caught the kid and everything was OK. Watch:

On the opposite side, we have 50 Cent throwing out first pitch at a New York Mets ball game yesterday.

Not so successful, if you ask me, but hey, 50 Cent never claimed to be much of a ball player.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Worst Would-Be Politician Ever Calls Calif. Shooting Victims "Cowering Bitches"

Some politicians pride themselves in being outspoken.  Sometimes that really is a good thing.
On the bright side, Internet troll Todd Kincannon
doesn't appear to have much of a future
in Republican political activism.  

Often, it's not.

There's a guy in South Carolina named Todd Kincannon who apparently has the word "former" in front of all the state Republican jobs he's had.

He's some sort of "activist."  But nobody can stand him or his "activism" so he's gone nowhere with any sort of political career.

So he's fulfilling his life long dream of being an Internet troll, I guess.

He's a Tea Party guy, which is OK, I suppose. But he's also a delusional nutcase who is probably the only person in the world who thinks his ideas make sense. And that he shouldn't get criticized for saying the most outlandish, stupid things.

Kincannon set some sort of record this week when he Tweeted a response to that shooting rampage out in California that left seven people dead, including the mentally ill gunman.

Said Kincannon:  "No idea how my son will die, but I know it won't be cowering like a bitch at UC Santa Barbara. Any son of mine would have been shooting back."

Yeah, I'm sure the relatives of the dead, who were just out minding their own business, are thrilled to hear their loved ones referred to as "cowering bitches."

Responding to Kincannon (loose cannon?) Republican operative and PR guy Frank Luntz decided he had to Tweet what should have been the obvious. "Pro tip (emphasis on Pro) Don't refer to mass shooting victims as bitches."

True, if you want to appeal to the electorate, you might want to act like you are, you know, sane?

Kincannon doesn't think so. He told Luntz "Pussies like you is why we keep losing elections."

No, whack jobs like Kincannon are why Republicans keep losing elections.

There are a lot of conservative people out there, and Republican ideas appeal to a lot of them.  But the weirdos are the ones that get all the attention. Kincannon is the kind of guy that sends people running and screaming away from Republicans.

But he'll never get that. Smug little twerp that he is.

Kincannon thinks he's a comedian, too. When a woman names Gina critcized him on Twitter, he responded. "Gina. Is that short for vagina?"

Yeah, that's a real knee slapper.

Still, I predict a very short and unsuccessful political career for Kincannon. Yes, he has his core of ardent supporters, I'm sure.

But that rustling you hear is the sound of Republicans nationwide understandably putting as much distance between themselves and Kincannon as possible.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Totally Awesome Dance Projection Video To Start Your Monday Right

Today's demonstration of people who do things better than you is this dancer, working with projections, to give you a really awesome dance performance interacting with projections

Really awesome:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Worst Planning Ever: Huge Electric Transmission Tower In Middle Of Highway

Have you ever rolled your eyes at local planners, who allow, say, a Walmart or an noisy amusement park next to a sleepy residential neighborhood?  
Cars make their way around an electric pylon in the
middle of a Chinese highway.  

That's nothing compared to a place in Henan Province, China where poor planning has been taken to a whole new level. A road developer planned a route right across the path of a major electric transmission line.

As a result, a huge pylon is right in the middle of the road.

It's totally unclear why they didn't just move the road a little bit when the road developer realized the pylon would be there. (The electric line and pylon have been there since 2007, the road is brand new.)

The only cryptic news I could find about this is the electric company and the road developer are in negotiations to resolve the issue. Um, wouldn't it have been better to figure this out while the road was still in design stages? Just a thought.

Traffic now swerves around the pylon, and there's really no protection around it. People could smash right into it if they're not paying attention to their driving.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Pentatonix Puts Awesome New Twist On A Dance Track

OK, the song, to my mind, is just OK at first listen. A dance track, pretty decent grooves. It would certainly work in any decent dance club.  
They've been done up in some strange makeuAdd caption

But then you realize the band is the a capella group Pentatonix.

All the seemingly computerized, synthesizer, synthetic sounds you hear, that are standard for dance tracks, don't come from any machines or electronics at all.

It's all human voices. Yep. Completely a capella. Which turns the standard dance track "Love Again" into something really cool.

The members of Pentatonix met a few years ago, just 24 hours before their auditon on NBC's "The Sing Off," an a capella music competiton.

They ended up winning Season 3 of that show and have gone on to fame and fortune.

The video for Love Again is below. Yeah, the makeup is a little weird and those who aren't fans of dance music might be forgiven for feeling like they've been unwittingly taken to a club.

But remember, no electronics. Just voices. Really, really cool:

Friday, May 23, 2014

105 Year Old Man FINALLY Getting Recognition For Saving 669 Kids From Nazis

Congratulations go out this week to Sir Nicholas Winton of Britain, who this week, celebrated his 105th birthday.
About 6,000 people worldwide owe their lives
 to Sir Nicholas Winton due to his actions just
before World War II.   

He is also getting ready to accept the Order of the White Lion, which is the highest honor of the Czech Republic.

You probably never heard of Winton.

Toward the end of 1938, he was a stockbroker in London and decided to take his vacation to Czechoslovakia where the Nazis had invaded and refugees were trying to get out.

Parents, especially were struggling to get their Jewish kids to safety.

Winton decided to help, placing ads seeking foster families, engaging in a little bribery and fun and games with paperwork, that kind of thing. The result is 669 children who would have faced certain death from the Nazis escaped due to Winton's efforts.

His work went largely unnoticed until 1988, when the BBC did a little research, then aired a show in which Winton was reunited with a number of the people he saved.

Lately, there's been more attention brought to Winton's efforts. The venerable CBS program 60 Minutes recently did a feature on him. 

There was recently also a big 105th birthday bash for Winton, at which many of the offspring of the children he saved showed up to wish him well and thank him. According to the Guardian, about 6,000 people in the world owe their lives to Winton for his actions before World War II.

On a side note, his story could make for a TERRIFIC movie.

"If it's not impossible, then it can be done," Winton has famously said.

Here's that video from the 1988 BBC show that reunited Winton with some of the people he saved. Kleenex alert for this one:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mom Doesn't Let Her Kid Play In Traffic

Do NOT play near traffic!  
In British Columbia, Canada, recently, a mom was not too pleased when her kid decided it would be fun to play on the roadway near traffic.

Watch how this mama bear deals with the situation. Awesome!!!    

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Florida Lawmaker Somehow Concluded New Common Core Education Standards Will Make Your Kids Gay

The U.S. Education Department is pushing new standards for our kiddies called "Common Core" 
Florida Rep. Charles Van Zant says Common Core
education standards will turn all the kids gay. EEK!  

It's been the cause of a lot of debate, pro and con, and I won't bore you with the details of that argument here.

Except for one novel objection raised by Florida State Rep. Charles Van Zant, who said Common Core will turn all our kids gay, according to Think Progress.

Van Zant says Common Core will "attract every one of your children to become as homosexual as they possibly can."

He doesn't explain exactly how Common Core will do that, but if Van Zant says it will, who are we to argue?

I took a cursory tour of the U.S. Department of Education's Web site on Common Core and didn't see any enticements for children to become gay, but maybe it's all in code that only children can understand, and Van Zant has sleuthed it out.

Van Zant has a lot of things figured out anyway. As Gawker noted, people who are worried about the world running out of gas and oil supplies are stupid, because God will give us an ample supply.

 "If we ran out, I certainly believe he could make some more," Van Zant said. Maybe Exxon/Mobil should hire God to run their oil and gas exploration unit.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Two Views Of My Yard: Two Months Ago And Today

I just did this conparison on Facebook, but Facebook crops photos oddly. So I'll do it again on a blog post:

Which do you like better. The view of my backyard on March 24 or today?

Click on the images to make them bigger and easier to see.

Monday, May 19, 2014

An Oregon Judge's Gay Marriage Ruling Is Almost Old Hat, His Written Rationale Takes Eloquence To A New Level

U.S District Court Judge Michael McShane's
 ruling in favor of gay marriage in Oregon
was Constitutionally sound, but the eloquence
of his ruling was the best part.  
Today, U.S. District Court judge Michael J. McShane ruled that Oregon's ban on same gender marriages is unconstitutional.  

Which isn't a surprise, since a slew of judges have ruled in recent months that such bans violate the Constitution's guarantees of equal protection.

The Oregon ruling today means gay marriages started there today. Nice to see Oregon join the fold.

How McShane ended his written ruling, dated today, is something to behold, however. I have never seen anyone explain it better:

"My decision will not be the final word on this subject, but on this issue of marriage, I am struck more by our similarities than our differences. I believe that if we can look for a moment past gender and sexuality, we can see in these plaintiffs nothng more or less than our own families.

Families who would expect our Constitution to protect, if not exalt, in equal measure. With discernment we see not shadows lurking in closets or the stereotypes of what was once believed; rather, we see families committed to the common purpose of love, devotion and service to the greater community.

Where will this all lead? I know that many suggest we are going down a slippery slope that will have no moral boundaries. To those who truly harbor such fears, I can only say this: Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other...and rise."


World's Most Obnoxious Person Occupies Intersection of Celebrity and Web Hits.

Unlike in many media outlets, I'm not going to name the person I'm about to describe. I know you will be able to find his name in the links, go ahead and click on them, but don't follow any links to any web site associated with this moron.

Here's why: The idiot, described very generously as a "Ukranian journalist" but is really just a loser, makes a game of going to all these Red Carpet Events world wide to be obnoxious with famous people.

He does it for attention and possibly lucrative web hits. And that's why I dislike him so much. It just doensn't seem like an honest day of work to me, and he literally molests people to "earn" his fame and fortune.
The idiot who is the subject of this post
is dragged away after harassing America Ferrera
at Cannes last week.  

The latest bit was when he crawled up into the long flowing dress worn by America Ferrera last week at the Cannes Film Festival. Just a total pervert move.

He's stormed the stage when Adele was winning a Grammy a couple years back, and has tried to grab and kiss the likes of Will Smith, Bradley Cooper and Leonard DeCaprio over the years.

Gawd knows how he gets into these venues all the time. They keep giving him press credentials, but oh well.

Yes, I know celebrities put themselves out to the public, so they should expect a certain loss of privacy and should realized they'll get more scrutiny than the average person.

And yes, it's good to have a sense of humor, a sense of mocking around celebrities. It's fun to pop a few ego bubbles from time to time.

But that doesn't give anybody the license to be a pervert, for fun or profit or any other reason.

They call this guy a prankster. That implies merry. He needs another, negative word to describe him. Obnoxious doesn't do it justice.

And somebody should find a "prank' that teaches him a real lesson.

I'm being a scold and I know it. But this guy is a prime example of the level of commerce in many corners of the Internet.

I'm not sure I like a world where obnoxiousness is a valuable commodity.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

We Think You're Being Sued for $2,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

A guy in New York is basically suing everybody for more money that exists on the earth.
This won't be enough money to cover damages
if Anton Purisima wins his lawsuit.  

The amount he is seeking is two octillion gigadollars, which is a 2 followed by 36 zeros, says the Web site Lowering The Bar.   

Anton Purisima's lawsuit is hard to follow, but it seems to target everybody in the world, including you.

 But it appears to focus on the city of New York, a baker, two hospitals, Kmart and a "Latina" dog owner, according to the Huffington post. 

He is seeking damages for "civil rights violations, personal injury, discrimination on national origin, retailiation, harassment, fraud, attempted murder, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and conspiracy to defraud," says the New York Post. 

The Post says it's sort of unclear what the actions were that caused all these grievances, but it appears part of the problem is a dog nipped his finger, which drew a little blood, and a Chinese couple took an "unauthorized" photo of him.

So get ready to pay up! Just by reading about Purisima like you just did, you surely inflicted "emotional distress" on him.

Although somehow, I think the lawsuit will get thrown out by a judge.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

All Dogs (And People) Deserve To Roll Around In the Green Grass

Jackson the Cocker Spaniel tells us to
stop and roll in the grass, and smell
the spring air.  
Here in northwestern Vermont, Thursday evening brought us perfect spring weather. The sun was out, the sky was a deep blue.

The air had the first hint of summertime warmth and a strong, steady breeze made the air invigorating, and kept the black flies to a minimum.

In other words, I had to get busy, busy, busy with the gardening, the landscaping, the yard care. Pronto.

Jackson the Cocker Spaniel would have none of that. He ordered me to go outside with him, pointed at the new green grass, and said he must lie down in it.

And stay there.

Yep. The dog told me to Sit! Stay!

I complied, but was antsy at first. But soon I watched Jackson rolling around in the grass, and then face the wind. His nose twitched in a thousand different directions at once, absorbing every scent in the gusts.

Soon, I found myself doing the same thing. Just enjoying the different fragrances that flew past me in the breeze. The musky smell of the daffodils. The organic tone of the nearby forest coming to life. The season's first sweet hint of lilac.

I felt myself truly relaxing for the first time in days during this busy season.

Jackson the Cocker Spaniel was right as always. We're lucky to have the opportunity to enjoy moments like this, so enjoy them, dammit!

Which made a video I came across yesterday all the more poignant. It was another one of those beagle rescue videos from the Beagle Freedom Project that have been circulating around the past few years.

The beagles had been kept in cages all their lives for medical and beauty product testing. The video shows the beagles experiencing sunshine and green grass for the first time in their lives.

These are the moments Jackson, me, and most of the rest of us take for granted. That the beagles in the video, at first terrified of the brightness and the soft ground, waited so long to enjoy that is disgusting.

I can arguably see the need to test medical procedures on animals, but lipstick and eye shadow? Please.

Soon, the beagles in the video come to life, and discovered what Jackson the Cocker Spaniel already knows and what Jackson had to remind me of the other day.

To have a truly productive life, you need to stop and have "unproductive" moments of springtime bliss.

That means rolling around in the grass from time to time, and literally stopping to smell the roses.

Here's the beagle video, I told you about, but warning: Kleenex alert!!

EMT Voguing Video Might Be Fake, But Fun Anyway

I don't know if the video is fake or not, but this
EMT driver sure seems to be having fun
to the music. Add caption
There's a viral video circulating of an EMT driving an ambulance while voguing to a Rhianna song.

I smell a fake, frankly. It's set up too perfectly, the image is too clear and this kind of thing is not typically released, unless it's associated with some sort of advertisement or prank.

But still, the video is fun, even if it doesn't look like it's safe.

Assuming the EMT doesn't get hurt in the crash he'll surely cause if he keeps up this behavior, somebody will need his services soon.

In a odd sort of way, it is fun to see somebody be taken in so completely by a tune, even if it's dangerous or fake.

Watch and judge for yourself:

Friday, May 16, 2014

News Anchor Learns Of Friend's Suicide While Reading TelePrompter On Air

My heart goes out to Lee Chingua, a television anchor for Next TV News in Taiwan, who quite possibly had the worst, saddest and most public bad day on the job.
This news anchor in Taiwan learned of her
friend's suicide as she read a TelePrompter
during a newscas. Add caption

She was reading the news off a TelePrompter for a television audience when the scrolling words revealed the breaking news that Taiwanese reporter Erich Shih of CtaTV was found dead of an apparent suicide. 

Chingua was a close friend of Shih. When we learn the news that somebody close to us has died, we want the moment to be private. We want to absorb the huge loss alone, or with a few loved ones near us.

Chingua had to absorb the news while reading the news to a national audience. And somehow she had to remain professional and composed.

Someho, she did it. I don't know how. The words are in Taiwanese, and you can't understand them, but you can see her heart breaking as she reads the news.  (You can click on "cc" at the bottom of the video to get subtitles in English. )

I hope she was taken off the air right after this broadcast, and given the privacy and love she needs.

Her professionalism, though, is incredible. Watch:

Thursday, May 15, 2014

ANOTHER "Got Talent" Winning Moment: British Boys Battle Bullies

In my never ending obsession with those TV talent shows, especially the "Got Talent" franchise that seems to be in every country, I bring you a new, new favorite of mine.
Bars and Melody on "Britain's Got Talent."  
The two teen boys, who call themselves Bars and Melody, changed the lyrics Faith Evans and Twista's "Hope" to make it a powerful anti-bullying statement on "Britain's Got Talent."

Their appearance on the show made for an awesome moment and even melted Simon Cowell's cold, cold heart.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Unrest Over Asparagus In Wisconsin

Via Jim Romenesko, we've gotten word that there is ill will among people near Janesville, Wisconsin, some of whom are picking wild asparagus, some of whom are not.

But anyway, judging from the news from the Gazette Xtra in Janesville, things aren't pretty. (Click on the image to make it bigger and easier to read)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Overreaction Of the Week: Bearded Drag Queen is "End of Europe"; Michael Sam in Interracial Relationship! Gasp!

The other day, while writing in this here blog thing the happiness I felt about Michael Sam being picked up by the St. Louis Rams, and Conchita Wurst, the bearded drag queen from Austria who won the Eurovision international singing contest, I knew there'd be a backlash.
Some Russians think Conchita Wurst is
"the end of Europe." Really?  

I also knew some of the backlash would be over the top. The winner of the Wayyyyyy Over The Top Award goes to Vladimir Zhirinovsky. 

Yeah, I hadn't heard of him until today, either, but he's one of those wackadoodle Russian politicians who spend their time being super homophobic.

What our Vladimir said was laugh out loud classic. Here's his reaction to Wurst and her singing victory:

"There's no limit to our outrage. It's the end of Europe. It has turned wild. They don't have men and women any more. They have 'it.' Fifty years ago the Soviet army occupied Austria. We made a mistake in freeing Austria. We should have stayed."

Well, then. Where do we begin.

Let's start with "It's the end of Europe." Really? No offense to Conchita Wurst, but I don't think she has much control over the fate of Europe. Don't get me wrong. I listened to her sing. She's good. Very talented. And winning Eurovision is a big deal. Especially for her.

But honestly, Eurovision is a singing contest, not a battle for Europe.

Vladimir: Here's a paper bag. Breathe into it. Stop hyperventilating.

I also honestly don't know if a 50 year Soviet occupation of Austria would have prevented the existence of Conchita Wurst.

However, I'd certainly would rather watch Conchita Wurst and her beard and listen to her sing day in and day out than hear about the zillions of fatal human rights abuses the Soviets would have continued to inflict on its occupied states to this day.
Is this football player flaunting his sexual
orientation in an interracial way?  

A lot of people are also quite upset with Michael Sam, the black, gay athlete who was seen worldwide on TV kissing his white boyfriend after learning he'd been selected to play for the St. Louis Rams 

Never mind that a kiss like that is something would expect out of a committed couple in a situation like that.

I get it that people are a little queasy with PDA, especially when they haven't seen a gay couple involved. Also, some people are totally upset because not only is this a gay couple, but, GASP! an interracial one as well.

Two strikes against them!

Get over it, people

I love the Tweet Joe Jervis of the JoeMyGod blog has been circulating. It shows a black NFL player kissing a white woman, presumably his girlfriend or wife.

Jervis, tongue firmly in cheek, notes how that black football player is flaunting his sexual orientation in an interracial kiss.

My favorite Tweets about the Michael Sam situation come from some guys who wondered how they are going to explain Michael Sam to their kids, because, weirdly, Michael Sam has two first names.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Channeling Hitchcock's "The Birds" In Channelview, Texas

A lot of us remember that hideously scary movie, "The Birds," that Hitchcock classic in which our feathered friends get decidedly unfriendly.  
Is there a real life sequel to Hitchcock's "The Birds"
brewing in Channelview, Texas?  

In Channelview, Texas recently, it seems some birds there are channeling Hitchcock.

A group of birds attaced trucker Benny Hines as he walked across a parking lot at the Chrome Shop in Channelview, says television station KVUE in Austin. 

The birds knocked Hines to the ground, knocked him unconscious, knocked a tooth out.

The birds also attacked another unfortunate soul at the Chrome Shop, but he was uninjured. The theory is the birds were protecting a young offspring there who hadn't learned to fly yet.

That's a pleasant theory, and also probably true, but my dark side wants to believe that Hitchcock is turning birds evil from beyond the grave.

Judge for yourself. Here's the video of the bird carnage in Channelview:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Great Big Gay Weekend Unfolds

Twitter was, um Atwitter Saturday night with these three facts repeated ad nauseum in hundreds of 140-character or less missives:
Michael Sam, with his boyfriend, being told
Saturday that he is being drafted by the NFL team
St. Louis Rams.

1. A bearded drag queen singer named Conchita Wurst won Eurovision, the enormous, premier annual song competition in Europe. She's quite good.

2. Two lesbians got married in Arkansas Saturday, complete with a valid Arkansas State marriage license, thanks to a judge's ruling on Friday

3. The NFL team St. Louis Rams drafted Michael Sam, the openly gay football player. When Sam got the news he kissed his boyfriend, and the pair playfully smashed cake into each others' faces.

Needless to say, few of us, including Yours Truly, never thought we'd see any of these things happen, much less all in one bright Saturday in May.

It sure does leave me in a cheerful mood, though.

Bearded drag queens, Arkansas lesbians and gay football players might or might not be your cup of tea, but the message to the LGBTQ community is clear: You've come a long way, baby.

The world still isn't perfect for gay people, but it is slowly becoming more fair.

There will always be a virulent anti-gay crowd, still paranoid that any time a gay person gets married, or keeps a job, or adopts the kid, the Apocalpyse Is Upon Us.  So far, the sky hasn't fallen, so I think we're safe.

This anti gay crowd has long seen the writing on the wall, which is why they seem to have been getting more shrill and unhinged in their opposition to gay rights.
This couple got married in Arkansas Saturday.  

The news from Saturday will probably really put them over the edge.

I have mixed emotions about that fact. Of course I have a terminal case of schadenfreude, that sense of guilty pleasure over people not having a good time, so I'll indulge in that for awhile.

I'm sure the religious right, and probably Fox News, is depressed, angry and distraught at the moment.

On the other hand, when some people are ideologically backed into a corner, they lash out like a trapped animal. I worry that the drumbeat of great news for the gay community will increase gay bashings, as a few yahoos take matters into their own hands, thinking they're "saving the world" when they're just being idiots.

Other nations see what's going on and are joining the gay bashing wagon, too. These national leaders trying to distract their populace from their own incompetence or mendacity by exploiting anti-gay hate for their own self-preservation.

That's why Vladimir Putin in Russia has been pushing anti-gay laws. And why Brunei wants to put gay people to death via stoning.  And why Uganda is pretty much doing the same thing, pushed along by the odious American anti-gay activist Scott Lively. 

But you've got to be brave. That's how Conchita Wurst the bearded drag queen, our happy married lesbians in Arkansas and Michael Sam got what they wanted and deserve.

For the rest of us, it encourages to seek and win our own little victories.

Which is always an awesome thing

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Saturday Fun: Random Bird Grooves To Daft Punk

To get your juices flowing on a Saturday morning I have a random video of a random bird on a random street grooving very nicely to Daft Punk's "Something About You."

You're welcome:

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mass. DOT: "Use Ya Blinkah!"

Massachusetts has a perfectly sensible in law in which motorists, when the change lanes on the state's highways, must use a turn signal to tell everybody what they're going to do.  

The law is widely ignored, perhaps confirming the stereotype that Massachusetts drivers are perhaps a wee bit aggressive and hazardous.

According to WCVB, Massachusetts police issued 4,967 citations to drivers who failed to signal.

The DOT put up electronic signs recently reminding motorists of the law. Police and the DOT hope speaking Massachusetts drivers' language might help.

"Use Yah Blinkah."

Works for me.

You Think The Shout Fest TV "News" Shows In The U.S. Are Obnoxious? Try Jordan

A television "news" show in Jordan  
I never watch those so-called news panel shows on the networks like Fox and CNN. It's just a bunch of (usually) middle aged and old white men shouting at each other so you don't know what they're saying.

You don't exactly learn anything about the news of the day on these shows, do you?

At least it's not as bad as it apparently is in Jordan, where there are TV shout fests similar to the ones in America. Except the Jordanians take it to a whole new level.

Watch the video below for proof. They're speaking in a foreign language, but believe me, you don't have to understand what is being said:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cars Stuck In Traffic, Sinkhole Opens Beneath Them

At least one motorist stuck in a traffic jam in a Tyuman, Russia, about 1,600 east of Moscow, almost dealt with disaster recently.  

Yeah, jams are frustrating, but they are infuriating when the road starts to collapse beneath you and the other cars will Just. Not. Move. Out. Of. The. Way.

At the last second the cars did move, saving the day. But SCARY!


ANOTHER Person Having A Worse Day Than You: Tree Cutter

In our continuing series showing people having worse days than you, we bring you this (non-  professional) tree cutter whose latest victim is not happy being the latest victim.  

Note: Reports are the guy was not seriously injured.

Here's the video:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sarah McLachlan Can't Bear To Watch That Tragic ASPCA Ad Featuring Her Song, Either.

I get such a frustrating jumble of emotions at just the thought of that ASPCA commercial.
Sarah McLachlan in that emotionally painful
ASPCA ad. Even she says she can't bear to
watch it, no matter how admirable the fundraising goals.  

You know the one. As you hear Sarah McLachlan's sang song "Angel" play, we're subjected to abused and lonely dogs and cats who just need you to adopt them into your warm, loving, safe home. 

(If you don't want to become a puddle of emotion, don't click on the above link to the ad)

Like millions of other people, especially animal lovers, the second the commercial starts, I change the channel. I can't bear to subject myself to those sad, beautiful and deserving animals.

Then I get angry. That TV ad is so manipulative.  How dare the ASPCA play on my emotions with such a blunt instrument to get my donations?

Then I feel guilty. Of course the ASPCA is trying to manipulate me. That's Advertising 101. We're supposed to be manipulated into doing what the advertiser wants. That's effective advertising.

Let's face it. No matter what we feel about the ad, we can't blame the dogs and cats that need our help. Of course, we can't give all our money to the ASPCA and we can't take in every pet that needs a good home.

Which leaves us frustrated.

All these jumbles of emotion are what make us change the channel when the ad comes on. Actually, I don't think the ASPCA is particularly worried that we change the channel, come to think of it. Just the act of having to do that gets us thinking about them, and the dogs and cats that need help.

The ad does its job without us even having to watch it.

That means it's a helluva effective commercial.  According to the New York Times, the ad raised $30 million for the ASPCA in just the first two years after it began airing in early 2007.

Which brings us to Sarah McLachlan.  (Her new album is out this week!)

McLachlan, too, says she changes the channel when the ad comes on, as it's too much to bear. 

To me, that gives us permission to change the channel. The important thing is we do what we can to keep animals safe and protected and loved.

If you and I do that, I'll declare us all off the hook.

Alabama Justice Ray Moore Says America For Christians Only

If you're not a Christian, you don't belong in Alabama Chief Justice Ray Moore's America.
Alabama judge Ray Moore has some interesting
theories on government and theology.  

If you think you have rights, think again, says this, um, deep Constitutional thinker.

According to Raw Story:

"He declared that the First Amendment only applies to Christians because 'Buddha didn't create us, Mohammed didn't create us, it was the God of the Holy Scriptures' who created us."

I'm confused here. I thought the founding fathers of the United States created the Constitution and the First Amendment, not God. Yeah, they might have believed in God, but I didn't think any kind of deity spent time micromanaging the formation of nations.

And what does a document establishing the ground rules of a new nation have to do with which God might or might not have created us?

Moore goes on and clarifies. "They didn't bring the Koran over on the pilgrim ship.....Let's get real, let's go back and learn our history. Let's stop playing games."

Um, so if there was not a Koran on the Mayflower, that automatically means non-Christians can't have First Amendment rights?  Even though the Constitution came much more than a century after the Mayflower? Wow, you are confusing, Judge Moore!

Finally, Moore tells us the "pursuit of happiness" can only be obtained by following God's law, because "you can't be happy unless you follow God's law, and if you follow God's law, you can't help but be happy."

I don't know exactly what "God's law" is, but if it means being as stupid and full of non-sequiturs as Moore seems to be, I can't imagine being happy.

If Moore wants to be truly happy, it sounds like he needs to establish a theocracy type of government somewhere for stupid people.

On Neptune, perhaps?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Guy Dances To the OCD Beat For YouTube

I must have a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder, since, just on a lark, I've been taking a photo of the same spot in my yard in St. Albans Vermont every day since mid-March.
This guy did the same dance routine every day for 100 days
and video'd it. Just because.  

I'm documenting on how the scene changes from the depths of winter to high summer.  (I've got to figure out how to change that series of still photos into a video.)

Anyway, somebody else has taken this type of OCD to new heights. He did the same dance routine in his room daily for 100 days and recorded the whole series on a GoPro camera.

It's strangely entertaining, though, so I have to give him that.

Watch and judge for yourself:

These Military Guy/Dog Reunions Get Me Every Time. Here's A New Best One

I love watching those military guy/dog reunion videos that are all over YouTube.  
Cila and Army veteran Jason Bos reunite at
Chicago's O'Hare airport last week.  

Now, there's a very nice new one that is among the best.

Retired Army Sgt. Jason Bos' most trusted partner when he was deployed to Iraq was Cila, the bomb sniffing dog.

Bos retired two years ago because of a back injury and figured, very sadly, he'd never see Cila, his best buddy, ever again.

It's obvious the two missed each other over those past two years.

Recently, however, it was Cila's turn to retire. Her handler posted that news on Facebook, and Bos saw that he could adopt Cila.

Well, that seemed like an easy enough decision.

Last week, Bos and Cila had their reunion at Chicago's O'Hare airport. It's unclear from the video who was happier about the reunion, Bos or Cila, so I'll let you judge when you see the beautiful video, below.

Note also that within a minute, Bos and Cila fell into their old habits, which seem to include lots of belly rubs for Cila.

Bos said the two will retire to their home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where yes, Cila will be allowed ot hang out on the couch.

Watch the video but especially for dog lovers, I do have to issue a major Kleenex alert:

Monday, May 5, 2014

You're Having A Better Monday Than This Guy

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down, so says the song, and it's drizzly out there as I wake up this Monday morning.

But, I'll have a decent day and you will too, I hope.

Better than the unfortunate scooter driver in Taiwan in the video below. He collided with a car, then, well, watch. No word on his condition, but I hope he recovers quickly.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Conservative Parents Go To Great Lengths To Prevent Anybody From Reading A Book They Hate, Fail Spectacularly

I never know whether to laugh or cry at ultra-conservative parents, who, when they object to a book that goes against their beliefs, try to prevent anybody from reading it.
A few conservative parents in Idaho tried to get
people to stop reading this book. The move
backfired spectacularly, as expected.  

Such was the case recently in a school district in Idaho, where the parents succeeded in getting the young adult novel "Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian," by Sherman Alexie off the school's reading lists and, says the Idaho Statesman. 

The book is popular among teens and critics and won a National Book Award.

However some of the parents in Meridian, Idaho say the well-acclaimed novel has problems such as language "we do not speak in our home," that it has "references to masturbation, and is "anti-Christian."


Now, I don't have a huge problem if a parent does not want their kid to bring home a particular book and read it.  Denying the kid a book might help stunt their intellect or craving for knowledge a bit, but parents do have the right to determine which reading material is in their home.

But I have a real problem with these parents trying to stop everyone else from reading it.  (The solution here would have been to get students to read another book if parents objected to this one.)

These censorship efforts usually backfire, though, and this one did, too. First of all, news media attention to this issue increased interest in the book.

Then, a local bookshop, Rediscovered Books, started a crowdfunding campaign to buy a book for each of the 350 kids who had signed a petition to keep the novel on the reading list. The campaign raised $3,400, enough money to pull this off, says the website Death and Taxes. 

From there, local kids and the bookstore began giving away copies of the novel to anyone who wanted it.

You go kids!!

When the ultra-conservative parents heard these kids were out there giving the book away, well, the horror! They called the cops on the kids to put a stop to that business.

Hilarious, I know.

Only trouble was, the cops didn't shut down the book giveaway because the kids weren't breaking any laws or causing any trouble. They do have the First Amendment right to peaceably hand out books and literature.

The police basically told the bookish kids to have a nice day, then left.

On top of that, the book's publisher sent the kids another 350 copies of the book. Another book giveway is planned, and any of the Meridian kids who still want to read the novel can go to Rediscovered Books and pick up their free copy.

The bottom line is, as always, the parents who didn't want anybody to read the book because it would somehow poison kids' minds managed, through their actions, to get a LOT of people to read the book.

The author, Sherman Alexie, should think about hiring these parents as his publicity director.

And maybe it's time I read that book, too.

"Human Chair" Cesar Larios Saves The Day For Elderly Woman In Stuck Elevator

Kudos go out to Cesar Larios, who works for College Hunks moving company in Tampa, Florida.
 Cesar Larios becomes a human chair for
Rita Young in a stuck elevator recently.  

The elevator broke at the Grand Court Senior Living complex in Tampa. Larios was in the elevator on a moving job. Rita Young, 79, was in the elevator, too.

Problem is, Young can't stand up for any extended period of time. And there tends to be no chairs in elevators. Even stuck ones.

So Larios improvised. He got down on his hand and knees and told Young to sit on his back. He became the Human Chair.

"Bless his heart. 'I could hold you for a least up to an hour,' he said." in a report by CNN's Jeannie Moos.

I also like the fact that we can have a headline involving "Florida Man" and not have it involve somebody doing sick and weird and criminal.

The headline for this incident is fittingly odd for Florida, but nice for a change:  "Florida Man Becomes Human Chair for Elderly Woman."

The elevator was fixed after a little while and nobody was the worse for wear.

Larios got a lot of attention for this when a photo of the incident went viral. And good for him for thinking on his feet hands and knees and giving Young a break.

Watch the Jeannie Moos report. It's fun:

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Bunch Of People Got Food Poisoning At A Food Safety Meeting

Last month, there was a U.S. food safety summit in Maryland where people from the government and the food industry came together to discuss how to make food safer, and less likely to make us sick.
Apparently, you need to avoid food safety
conferences if you want to avoid food

The only problem was, many of the people who ate lunch at the food safety summit came down with food poisoning. 

As many as 400 of the 1,300 people who attended the conference got sick.

Health officials are still trying to determine which food at the conference made people ill.

The food service provider, Centerplate, was cited for one minor violation, so it doesn't exactly look as if  Typhoid Mary was the lead cook at the ill-fated food summit.

The bottom line: If you don't want to get sick from food, don't go to a food safety conference.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Russian School Custodian Makes Awesome Snow Art

I know many of us don't want to think about snow after a long, cold winter has finally ended, but this is too good to pass up.  
Russian school custodia Seymon Bukharin made
this snow art in a school yard with just a broom.  

Huffington Post recently featured photos of what a Russian school custodian named Seymon Bukharin did with just a broom after snowfalls.

He'd go out into the school yard and make beautiful art by sweeping snow away just so.

Maybe I'll hire him to clear snow from my yard next winter.

More snow art by Seymon Bukharin  

One more.  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Judge Says Woman Should Lose Home Because She Forgot $6.30 Tax Bill

A judge in Pennsylvania has decided a widow should lose her home because she didn't pay $6.30 in unpaid interest on a tax bill.  
Eileen Battisti might get kicked out of her
house because she didn't notice and didn't pay
 a $6.30 tax bill.  

Hey, they sent Eileen Battisti the bill. She should have noticed it. There are consequences for not paying the bill, the judge seems to say, ignoring his own lack of a sense of proportion.

As the lawyers involve note, yes, on a strictly legal basis, the tax authority can take the home because the woman didn't pay the $6.30.

But you'd think a little humanity would work itself in. Maybe make her pay double, or triple or even ten times that $6.30 as punishment.

According to the Associated Press:

"Joe Askcar, Beaver County's chief solicitor, said the judge got the decision right, based on the law.

'The county never wants to see anybody lose their home, but at the same time, the tax sale law, the tax real estate law, doesn't give a whole lot of room for error, either,' Askar said."

Yeah, and I'm sure nobody in the Beaver County tax department has EVER made a $6.30 error. And if somebody there DID make a $6.30 error, they were fired, right? Or better yet, taken to a back alley, beaten, then shot to death, right?

Because the punishment has to fit the crime, right?

The decision was described as right, based on the law. Why is the law so harsh and stupid? Why do tax authorities seem so intent on wanting to seize property on technicalities?  If the law is so off kilter, why isn't anyone moving to change it?

As for Battisti, she said her husband handled the paperwork for the property's taxes until he died in 2004.

"It's bad - she had some hard times, I guess her husband kind of took care of a lot of that stuff," Askar said. "It seemed that she was having a hard time coping with the loss of her husband -and that just made it set in a little more."

I wonder how much money the county tax bureau there in Pennsylvania has spent on legal costs for this case?  How many thousands of dollars over $6.30?

I know they'll make a killing if they succeed in seizing Battisti's house. But she's appealing the decision against her, and the legal fees will keep spiraling up.

But I guess tax authorities in Beaver County, Pennsylvania get their jollies out of kicking widows out of their houses and into the streets.

Gives them a sense of power, I guess.