Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Live Tweeting The World's WORST Person On An Airplane

"Nadia" creating a flight from hell.  
Congratulations this morning go out to Ryan Case, an editor for the hit television show "Modern Family" who survived a four hour flight with the world's worst person.

Even better, she live-Tweeted the whole thing, and reading her string of Tweets is just perfect for a good Tuesday laugh.

Other than the fact that "Nadia," the World's Worst Person, was drunk and racist and loud and picking fights and narcisstic and everything else that could be wrong with a person, she was fine.

Hat tip to Mashable for collecting the Tweets. Just click on this link to Mashable, and scroll down and enjoy the Tweets. I won't give more away, because Case's Tweets are too perfect to do any spoilers.

The Tweets are comedy genius though.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Scary Video: Watch Bicyclist Almost Get Smushed By Car, Truck

Watch what happens in this scary traffic crash.  
I don't know if this guy was lucky or unlucky, but a surveillance camera in Russia captured a collision between a truck and a car at an intersection.

A bicyclists passing through at the time comes inches from being run over by both vehicles. Talk about threading the needle!

Watch this guy's escape:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Highway Traffic Jam Leads To Awesome Highway Jam Session

The world's most fun traffic jam, on I-76
near King of Prussia, Pa. last weekend.  
Last Saturday, a car crash brought traffic on Interstate 76 near King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania to a standstill.  

Annoying traffic jams happen all the time, so this bit of news would be unremarkable, except for what happen next.

Meteorologist Justin Berk was among those caught in the traffic jam. The tie-up lasted so long people started getting out of their cars, maybe out of boredom, to commiserate, or for some air.

Berk said he met two musicians, David Gettes and Paul Downie from the Trinidad North Steel Drums, who were probably going to miss the gig they were headed to, because of this traffic jam.

Berk sets the scene in a blog item he posted after the traffic jam:

"I saw an opportunity for some fun and glad I was able to convince them to break out their instruments right there on the highway. It didn't take much to reach the same conclusion that it would make a lot of people happy and pass the time better than just being frustrated.

With all due respect to the people involved in the crash, we felt bad, but there was nothing we could do about it."

The fun video of the incident is below. It looked like an awesome party. And I like how people who surely had never met before this seemed to be getting along wonderfully.

Note toward the end of the video when traffic started moving again that people were disappointed the party ended and they had to get back in their cars.

Next time I get caught in a traffic tie-up, I hope it's this fun.

Here's the video:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Dramatic Video: Hikers Caught On Volcano During Deadly Eruption

Ash from an abruptly erupting Japanese volcano
closes in on hikers Saturday.  
UPDATE: Sadly, word has spread since I wrote this post Saturday morning that about 30 hikers died when they were overtaken by ash on the slopes of this volcano.

Very sad, indeed.


The Japanese volcano Mount Ontake erupted today, and some people were too close when it belched a massive cloud of ash.

At least eight people have been injured, according to media reports, some of them hikers on the mountain when it blew.

Here's a video of hikers on the volcano trying to escape as the enormous ash cloud mushrooms toward them:

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Binky Bandit Terrorizes Oklahoma

Surveillance photo shows the
"binky bandit" with his pacifier in Oklahoma.  
Police in Oklahoma are searching for the "Binky Bandit," an armed carjacker who committed the crime with a pacifier in his mouth.

According to television station KFOR, police seemed pretty incredulous:

"The unusual part about this case, as you can see from the photos, the suspect has a pacifier in his mout while committing thsi crime, said Oklahoma City Police Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow.

The victim cooperated with the pacifier sucking suspect by handing over his money and his car keys.

That allowed the suspect to speed away."

The binky is the most interesting part of this crime, but judging from the KFOR report, the whole incident is a total mess.

"When our crews came to the street where the victim lives, we discovered a blood trail in the driveway of the victim's home. The blood drops started two doors away."

The night before a car slammed into a vacant home on the street where the suspect lives, the driver sped away, and two bloodied men casually walked down the street as if nothing happened.

We're not sure why all this transpired, but it is possible Binky Bandit was somehow involved. KFOR also says the victim in the carjacking has a lengthy criminal past as well, but there's no evidence the victim has a binky.

The suspect might have the pacifier, says News9 in Oklahoma, because people who take hallucinogenic drugs sometimes use binkies to keep from grinding their teeth.

Since there's no telling what a person on hallucinogenic drugs will do, here's my advice. If a guy sucking on a pacifier tries to rob you, just do what he says so he gets out of there as quickly as possible.

And I guess you should lock up your baby's pacifier so these kinds of creeps won't steal them. Or something.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Retailers Already Planning To Be Basically Open All Day Thanksgiving For Your Shopping Pleasure

Looking way ahead to Thanksgiving, this
is what we have to look forward to.  
It's the end of September, which means if you haven't gotten SUPER Excited about Christmas shopping yet, you're way too late, at least in the minds of our fine nation's retailers.

And if you're already waiting anxiously for the big Black Friday sales stampede the day after Thanksgiving take note: Black Friday has now been rescheduled to Thanksgiving Day.

Throw away that turkey and march off to the mall like everyone else! Even more so than last year.

The Wall Street Journal reports that retailers plan to open even earlier on Thanksgiving than last year, or stay open all day.

And, they'll start hammering us with Christmas sale ads earlier, too, like any day now.

All this is because retailers want to punish us for not buying enough of their crappy products so far this year.

Revenue isn't so great, so they want to hammer us on Thanksgiving.

Says the Wall Street Journal:

"Retailers are struggling to boost sales, and the bottom line. Most consumers in the middle see little, if any, wage growth. The back to school selling season is shaping up to be the worst since 2009, says Craig Johnson the president of the consulting firm Custom Growth Partners."

The Journal also says holiday sales are forecast to rise about 3.5 percent over last year. Not enough to keep retailers happy. Clearly, we're not spending our nonexistent money to do our duty and keep these lousy stores, and their corporate parents, awash in cash like apparently we're supposed to.

So, they'll punish us by demanding we abandon our families and our dinners to go shopping. Worse, they're punishing their low wage employees by making them work on Thanksgiving. That, while the upper management, marketers, etc who decided to open stores on Thanksgiving surely sit down for a leisurely turkey dinner on the holiday.

I also think, as do many observers, including some quoted in the Wall Street Journal, that if retailers have everybody shop on Thanksgiving, they won't go out in December. So they won't get ahead.

But I'm sure these store chains will be happy to ruin Thanksgiving as much as they ruin an otherwise nice Christmas season.

Then again, there's a lot of people out there who LOVE to shop, no matter what. Friends. family?  Go away!! There's a Big Sale at Walmart!!!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

You Think Your Dog Won't Go Anywhere When Home Alone? Watch This

This doggy's bored, so........ 
Dogs get bored sitting at home when you're not around.

So they want to go where the action is.

Watch this video if you think your dog is just sleeping the day away while you're off running errands or whatever.

One dog's family couldn't figure out how the dog kept leaving until they set up a security camera.

Smart doggy....ESCAPE!!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Do Armed Creeps In Wisconsin Want To Scare Democratic Voters Away From The Polls?

A few supporters of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
might be trying to intimidate backers of
his Democratic opponent into not voting. 
If reports on left-leaning Talking Points Memo and Capital Times are true, here's a really disturbing bit of news out of Wisconsin:

An armed militia group apparently wants to harass people who are voting against Republican Scott Walker.

Back in 2012, there was a big petition drive to kick Walker out of office because of his political actions, especially his move to limit collective bargaining rights for state employees.

Walker ultimately survived the recall effort and now he's running for re-election.  Polls show a close race between Walker and Democrat Mary Walker.

The list of people who signed the recall petition back in 2012 is public record, and the so-called militia group Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia are using that to intimidate people who would vote against Walker this coming November, according to Talking Points Memo and Capital Times. 

The militia was able to figure out some of the people who signed the petition against Walker have warrants for things like being in arrears on taxes or other arrest warrants. They plan to follow these voters home and also report them to the authorities.

Here's what some of their Facebook exchanges, which have since been taken down:

"Some will be heading to some of Milwaukee, Racine and Beloit's worst areas. We will be armed with a list of people to look for at each location."

OK, they're armed with a list of people, that's not so bad, right?

That's not the only thing they plan to be armed with, though.

"'We prefer our people be armed,'" reads a Facebook post by Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia."

True, they're worried about being in supposedly bad neighborhoods, but I suspect personal protection isn't the only thing at work here.

It'll get people thinking: "Guys with guns following me? Maybe I shouldn't vote."  That seems to be the intent.

Of course, people aren't taking very kindly to all these threats. Another Facebook page popped up, one in which people could vent about the Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia.

Here's one of the milder comments: "If you have to terrorize voters into staying home, then you've already lost."

True, that.

Of course, all this talk from the alleged Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia might not even be serious. Maybe it's a small group of people just yanking the public's chain.

But this is still dangerous. The people behind this militia, or whatever it is are making noises about threats now, because word gets out before the election. Maybe it will cause some Democrats to stay home, helping out Walker.

Even talking about threatening voters ought to stop. Let Walker win or lose on his own merits.

I hope Walker denounces these efforts to intimidate voters. Everyone, Democrat, Republican or whatever, should vote without some fascist creeps lurking in the background.

It's amazing how a few people who call themselves proud, patriotic Americans are anything but.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Budweiser's Anti-Drunk Driving PSA Enough To Make Dog Owners Cry

A cute scene from Budweiser's anti-drunken driving
public service announcement  
Budweiser, the giant maker of beer, feels compelled from time to time to release a public service announcement noting that their beer is GREAT! (to some people anyway), but you don't want to have too much of it at once.

You know, drunken driving. You don't want to   go out on the road schnockered and then hurt or kill somebody. Or yourself. Think of the people waiting for you at home.

Or, your doggie companion waiting for you at home.

At the end of this post, you will find the tug-at-your-heartstrings Budweiser Don't Drive Drunk, Dog Loving PSA, called "Friends Are Waiting."

It comes complete with cuteness, a wimpering worrying dog, a good message, and, in the end, relief and happiness.

It's totally worth the watch. And definitely worth remembering next time you buy a six pack of Budweiser, or your favorite microbrew:

Cannabis And F-Bomb Included In On-Air Reporter's Quitting Moment

Now former reporter Charlo Greene at the KTVA
studios in Alaska during happier times.  
You see a lot of churn in local television news personalities. They come, they go, you always see departures and new faces.  

Normally, this happens smoothly and in a friendly manner.

The last night on air for a reporter or anchor includes a brief, heartfelt goodbye, and the new guy or gal that comes in is welcomed with smiles.

Charlo Greene, a reporter at KTVA in Alaska broke that mold over the weekend, complete with NSFW language and very much of a surprise disclosure.

She left her job in epic fashion during the 10 p.m. Sunday newscast by declaring herself the owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club and saying "Fuck it, I quit" during a live newscast. 

According to the Independent UK:

"Having grown weary of reporting the news, Greene told viewers she would instead be putting all her energy into the fight to legalize marijuana in the state, having previously reported on the Alaska Cannabis Club without mentioning her connection to it."

Of course, reporting on an organization without disclosing your ties to it is a huge journalistic no-no. In fact, a journalist should not report on anything at all if he or she has close ties to the subject at hand, disclosure or not. 

So Greene probably would have been fired or at least severely reprimanded had that come out before she quit.  

Still, she certainly had a dramatic flair with her departure from KTVA. Burned a few bridges, too, but she probably went out and burned a joint to celebrate afterward, so all is good.

I feel sorry for the main news anchor who was left sitting there after Greene's on air F-bomb.  The anchor understandably looked really mad, and stammered, "We apologize for that," tried to cut to a commercial break, but couldn't, so went on with the news. 

It was awkward, to say the least. 

A message on the KTVA web site this morning apologies for Greene's outburst. 

Heres the video:

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Newspapers Want You To Pay Extra For Papers That Have LOTS Of Advertising

Newspapers might charge
you extra for those big, fat
Black Friday editions
the day after Thanksgiving 
Lord knows the newspaper industry is going through some tough times and they need to cut expenses and gain revenue as much as they can.

Newspapers are laying off staffers left and right. (I was one of those victims of newspaper layoffs in the summer of 2013, but I'm not feeling so much like a victim at this point.)

But the following seems like too much:

Those of you who are still getting print newspapers delivered to your door might be in for a surprise on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

Newspapers on Black Friday are usually stuffed with tons and tons and TONS of advertising, inserts and flyers to get you all set for the Christmas shopping season.

A number of newspapers, says media watcher Jim Romenesko, will charge you extra for the paper with all the extra advertising. They're calling these fat, advertising stuffed papers, "premium issues"

Oooh! Premium! We all want to get charged extra for all
those extra ads the newspapers are making extra money on.

Let's get this straight:  Newspapers get a needed extra revenue boost at Thanksgiving through many advertisers. And readers now get to pay extra for the privilege of pawing through all those advertisements to see if they can find any nuggets of news in those newspapers.

The logic from the newspapers is you get all these nice wonderful coupons from advertisers, so you save money, if you go shopping at the advertisers' stores.  The newspapers are trying to grab that money back from you for their own bottom line.

Granted, we're not talking a lot of money for newspaper subscribers here. Maybe a couple bucks.

But this extra charge for "premium papers" has the potential to drive readers away. The point of all those advertisers advertising is to catch the eyeballs of readers. But if those readers are driven away, there's no eyeballs, hence no reason to advertise in the paper.

Next Thanksgiving, maybe these advertisers will find somewhere else to tell us all about their wild, wonderful Christmas season deals, rather than your local paper. So less revenue comes in. There's more layoffs. Less news, less advertising, and the newspapers' downward spiral continues.

It makes you wonder whether newspapers so desperate they are trying to commit suicide?

To me, this is more evidence that journalism will survive, but many print newspapers, and their parent media companies, might not.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Vermont Man Saves, Promotes Apple Varieties That Actually Taste Good

Ezekiel Goodband of the Scott Farm in
Dummerston, Vermont is saving heirloom
apple varieties, thank goodness.  
NPR last week had a great profile of a guy named  Ezekiel Goodband, the apple orchard manager of Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont.   

He's fighting a (possibly winning) battle to stamp out those huge, perfect, beautifully red, but hideous tasting apples that are basically all you can buy in most supermarkets nowadays.

According to The Atlantic, Red Delicious has been the variety of apples most likely to appear on supermarket shelves in recent decades.

The problem with Red Delicious is they taste the opposite of delicious. They're gross.

Red Delicious became all about marketing, and not about how the fruit actually tasted.  They stayed pretty even after traveling across the country. They enticed people with their perfection as they languished on supermarket shelves.

The Atlantic discussed this with Tom Burford, 79, author of "Apples of North America."

"By the time selective breeding had taken its toll, according to Burford, a few big nurseries controlled the market, planting decisions were made from the remove of boardrooms, and consumers didn't have many varieties to choose from. The Red Delicious became 'the largest compost-maker in the country,' he said, as shoppers bought the apples and threw them away."

Red Delicious tastes as good as cardboard that's been sitting at the municipal landfill for a couple weeks. But who cares if large scale agribusiness can make lots of money by foisting this poor excuse for an apple on us, and giving us no tasty alternatives?

Goodband, the apple guy from Dummerston, Vermont,  is going backward in time to bring us the awesome apples our ancestors used to eat.  He has the gall to want to provide tasty fruit, even if it can only come in limited quantities.

His timing might be very good, as people are finally rejecting Red Delicious in America. (Growers are passing them off to foreign markets, and forcing these awful apples on unsuspecting people in Asia)

The apples Goodband breeds might be ugly, or spotted, or visually iffy, so maybe they're not great if you want to market a beautiful supermarket display of inedible apples.

However, these heirloom apples apparently taste AWESOME. After hearing the NPR story, I want to drive down to Dummerston and sample the apples on the Scott Farm.

Too bad Dummerston is on the exact opposite side of Vermont from me so it's a three hour drive. But knowing the organic, traditional, old fashioned foodie type experimentation a lot of Vermont farmers are into, I bet I can find something approximating the Scott Farm close to me.

I'll sure try.

Judging from the NPR report, Goodban seems like a really interesting guy. Says NPR:

"He's spent decades carefully grafting and tending historic varieties - some of which date back hundreds of years."

".....Goodband is helping to preserve historic varieties like the Knobbed Russet that have been handed down over the centuries. Like farmers for generations before him, he painstakingly collected cuttings and grafted them to root stock. That's the only way to do it, to keep the exact DNA of these apples alive.

'It's sort of like a chain letter, and I like that connection,' he says."

I'll also let Goodband and NPR explain why it's important to keep these heirloom apple varieties around.

".....He's not interested in apples designed to travel well for long distances. His is small-batch agriculture, sold locally. His apples cost more than conventional fruit, but Goodban only growns fruit that delights him.

'I've got to be dazzled,' he says, and, he wants his customers to be dazzled, too.

He hopes to reintroduce people to fruit that customers might remember their grandparents growing. Or to introduce them for the first time to fruit that doesn't make it to stores because it doesn't shop well or because it is only at its peak for a week or two. This, he says, is the experience he's looking for.

'When I give people one of these apples, they'll come back next week and say, 'Oh, that was the best apple I've ever had in my life. I didn't know apples could taste like that."

Maybe, just maybe, Goodband might help rid the world of the scourge named Red Delicious.

Then maybe we can start on other produce in grocery stores that's pretty, but disgusting to eat. Wouldn't that be cool.

Cat Probably Used Eight Of Nine Lives in Canadian Building Fire

A woman tried to retrieve Sylvester
after he escaped a raging fire and building collapse
An arson fire in Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada left 25 people homeless and destroyed the building.

A totally sad story, but I love one glimmer of good news that literally emerged from the collapsing
wreckage of the destroyed building.

The fire had gone on for hours. Finally, the whole building collapsed.

At the end of the cacaphony of the collapse, a cat ran out of the destroyed building. It has apparently been trapped in the building, and somehow survived the fire.

The collapse miraculously didn't kill the cat, but instead creating an opening for the cat to run. It was all caught on the amazing video at the bottom of the post.

The cat, named Sylvester, was taken to a veterinarian and treated for smoke inhalation, but is recovering and has been reunited with his owner.

Sylvester will probably be avoiding fires and loud noises for awhile.

Here's the video:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Florida Man Who Was Bummed About Moving In With Parents Now Won't Have To: Going To Jai

Good news! This guy won't have
to move in with his parents after all
because now he is going to jail.  
Frederick Wenzel IV, 28, of Deltona, Florida was really bummed out because financial circumstances meant he had to move back in with his parents.

No self-respecting man really wants to do that, unless it's to help ailing parents.

Wenzel was frustrated by the situation, says the Daytona Beach News Journal, so he had to let off some steam.

He chose to do that by getting drunk and firing rounds from his AK-47 into the air in his neighborhood at around 5:30 in the morning.

Well, at least he didn't hurt anybody.

And all this shooting led to some good news, of sorts, for Wenzel.

He no longer will be living with his parents, since Wenzel is now charged with six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. That means he will be living in jail, not with his parents.

I wonder which he thinks is worse?

At last report he was at the Volusia County, Florida Branch Jail without bail. So he might be there awhile.

Let us know how the accommodations are, will ya, Frederick?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Happy Puppies Swimming: Photos You HAVE To See

An underwater puppy. Photo by Seth Casteel.  
A photographer named Seth Casteel has a book out that you HAVE to see.

He took underwater photographs of puppies swimming in a pool, often for the first time.  

This is a follow up to a book two years ago that was almost as charming called "Underwater Dogs." That one had adult dogs swimming.

The puppies, of course, are even cuter than the adults. I love how Castell captured the sense of wonder as the puppies experienced the fun of swimming.

Don't worry. The puppies were never endangered by this project. They were taught to swim, and were monitored closely so they didn't get into any kind of trouble while in the water. And it looks like they all had fun, so everything is good.

Once the puppies are comfortble with the idea of swimming, Casteel let's them go at it, and he goes underwater with a waterproof camera and fires away to get these photos.
A very happy underwater puppy, photographed by
Seth Casteel.  

As in "Underwater Dogs," the book "Underwater Puppies" used a lot of dogs rescued from shelters.

"I thought, 'Hey, let's use some incredible adoptable puppy ambassadors just to show people how terrific these little guys are,'" Casteel told NPR's David Greene.

Casteel has long been an advocate of adopting dogs who need homes. He's photographed lots of shelter dogs to make them look appealing to would-be human companions and to advertise the benefits of adopting dogs.

Casteel also has a good take on why puppies are so appealing:

Yet another underwater puppy. 
"You know, puppies lift our spirits. They don't care who you are, what you've been doing, where you're going, they just want to love you and they just want to be your friend. And I think that's always going to make us feel good."    

You can buy "Underwater Puppies through Casteel's Web site, or your favorite book retailer. You can also see lots more underwater puppies, underwater dogs and other great photography at his Web site.

Hat tip to my sister Lynn for alerting me to these swimming puppies.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Do Schools Really Need Army Tanks?

The San Diego School District is ready for
trouble.  They have a tank much like this
ready to, I don't know, invade their own schools.  
Kids these days.

You need an elite military operation to keep them under control.

That's what you'd think, anyway, by recent revelations that schools are buying enough military hardware to make Vladimir Putin blush.

A prime example is the 18-ton mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle, or MRAP,  that the San Diego Unified School District recently bought.

You know, because of all those improvised explosive devices those snotty nosed kids are always leaving strewn around.

And Bonus! The MRAP was government surplus, so the San Diego Unified School district got this behemoth for the low, low price of $5,000, says KPBS, the San Diego area public radio station.

What a deal!

According to KPBS, San Diego Unified School District Police Chief Ruben Littlejohn said the MRAP is not at ALL militaristic. Oh no, not at all.

He said weapons were removed from the MRAP and replaced with medical supplies, teddy bears and other comforts in case there is an emergency at one of the district's schools.

Because the best way to help an injured or scared little kid is to blast through with an army tank. Sorry. I mean a pretty MRAP.

I'm glad this is coming to light, because it's all so silly and maybe we can get somebody to put a stop to this.

There's at least one sane San Diego School Trustee, Scott Barnett who says the tank, sorry, warm fuzzy MRAP is a huge waste and mistake. 

Meanwhile, we learn that the Los Angeles school district has invested in grenade launchers says the Los Angeles Times.

 Oh joy!

The school district also has automatic weapons and a tank just like San Diego, says the L.A. Times.  The school district says they have no intention of using the grenade launchers on students, say, when they start a food fight in the cafeteria.

I'm don't think I'm that reassured.

They just have the grenade launchers on hand in case the police department wants to borrow them. Um, then why don't you just give them to the police?  It would just eliminate the middle man during an emergency.

Talking Points Memo says a lot of school districts are getting military hardware from the Pentagon. School districts in Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada and Utah have received military equipment.

One school district in Edinburg, Texas has a full SWAT team ready to go.

Maybe all this military stuff is at the ready in case the Student Council declares independence and the school districts want to put down the rebellion?

Look, I get it. School administrators across the nation are understandably freaked out by school shootings like that awful one in Newtown, Connecticut back in 2012.  They want to be ready in case something really bad happens.

Will kids feel more secure, though, if they feel like they're in an armed camp, primed for war, instead of a school?  Will some troubled kid see all this military hardware and declare his own war, with his own gun?

I know it's harder, and much more uncertain, to discourage violence, or at least flag the right person to prevent anyone from picking up a gun at a school and opening fire.  In the worst case scenario, if a school shooting starts, will the military gear actually help?

I wonder if we should be teaching kids that we're perpetually on a war footing, and they ought to be afraid, too.

Teaching kids to be afraid all through life cows them, and discourages them from exploring, thinking, trying things, taking risks.

Or maybe these war-ready school districts WANT people to grow up to be easily controlled, obedient and never think for themselves?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Let's Join The Blue Angels In Flight

Let's join this Blue Angel guy on a wild flight.  
In what has to be the coolest video of the month, let's get into the cockpit of the Blue Angels and enjoy the flight.  

The video makes me want to sign up to be one of their pilots, but then again, I can barely manage the half hour drive down Interstate 89 from St. Albans to Burlington, Vermont.

So we'll just enjoy this video together and deal with this vicariously.

Just don't get motion sickness, OK?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Teen Does Typical Teen Dumb Thing; Pennsylvania Wants To Jail Him For Two Years.

This dumb teenager being dumb with
a statue in Pennsylvania might be locked up
for 2 years for being dumb.  
I swear, all 14 year olds do at least one incredibly dumb thing in the year they're at that age.

So it was in Pennsylvania recently when one 14 year old kid, decided it would be a Stupendously Brilliant idea to simulate oral sex with a statue of Jesus. (The kid was shirtless, but at least he kept his pants on.)

Then he posted photos of this exploit on Facebook.  Just to make everything worse.

What he did was insulting, not funny, and surely infuriating to the religious types out there. I'd punish him. Maybe pick up trash, write a well-researched essay on respecting people's property and religious affiliation, and tell him he's a jerk.

But I wouldn't send him to jail for two year. That seems a wee bit harsh for a stupid moment by a 14 year old.  If we sent every 14 year old to jail for being stupid here and there, we'd have to build a LOT more jails.

Yet according to Mother Jones, Pennsylvania wants to lock our 14 year old up in a juvenile detention facility for two years because of his misdeed.

He's charged with, according to Mother Jones "desecration of a venerated object, invoking a 1972 Pennsylvania statute that criminalizes 'defacing, damaging, polluting or otherwise physically mistreating  in a way the actor knows will outrage the sensibilities of person likely to observe or discover the action."

Mother Jones says an organization called Truth Wins Out, an LBGT advocacy organization, says the law is unconstitutional because it violates the establishment clause: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

They're also appealing on free speech grounds.

However, if Congress ever passed a law against being stupid, there'd be a lot of people in jail. Including, a dare say, most members of Congress.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Facebook Post Turns Misunderstanding Into Ridiculous False Outrage

Demonstrators at a Michigan gas station
inadvertently protesting an incident that didn't happen.  
We have a little bit of a parable from Michigan today.

People are up and arms and protesting a gas station because someone on Facebook said the store clerk, of Middle Eastern descent, would not sell gasoline to an American serviceman.

Such an incident would of course be an outrage. How dare anyone disrespect someone who has risked his or her life and served our country! I'd be pissed, too.

The only problem is, the gas station didn't refuse to sell gas to our military guy.

It all started with a Facebook post from the military guy's wife, according to the web site MLive

It read as follows. (The Flint Journal had to file a Freedom of Information Act demand to police to get it. The Facebook post had been deleted.)

"Jason had to report to army reserves yesterday, on his way home he stopped to get gas, a drink and some jerky. When he went into the gas station, and got to the counter, the Arabic man looked at Jason, then his uniformand told him 'we don't serve gas here.'"

It turns out the clerk would have loved to sell the military guy gasoline. But he wanted Premium gas, and the station was pretty much out of it. So no sale, since the gas didn't exist, at least not at this particular business.

The owner said there was probably a misunderstanding. The clerk speaks with an accent, and the clerk and the would-be customer probably didn't understand each other. So the story morphed into an account of one of these Evil Muslims disrespecting America. Or something.

Snopes.com says Jason's wife said in a subsequent post that she wanted the original one deleted to the television station to where she posted it, that she didn't get the full story from her husband, and it turned out they were just out of Premium.

But once you start something on the Internet, however unintentionally, it's next to impossible to get rid of it. Especially when people have an agenda. To eradicate those Evil Muslims. Or something.

So the misinformation spread like wildfire on the Web, and drowned out any attempts at spreading accurate information about what happened.

Some of the reaction was just incredibly violent. Someone on Facebook suggested burning the gas station to the ground.  Guys with guns (all the better to advocate for open carry) protested at the gas station. The people who owned it and work there are understandably afraid.

And people are digging in, refusing to believe there was a misunderstanding. On the MLive page, a typical comment was like this one:

"I'm not buying that excuse. This store owner has bit off more than he could chew... and this was the best he could come up with. My opinion."

A lot of people also were outraged, OUTRAGED at the store clerk's English skills.  You know. Those Evil Muslims. Or something.

They're demanding he learn English. Actually the clerk does speak English, but it's tough to lose your accent even years after moving from your home country.

Frankly, had the gas station clerk or owner been white, not Middle Eastern, this probably would not have gotten so out of control. But it fits the narrative of some people, who believe all Muslims are terrorists and out to get America.

Yes, some Muslims ARE terrorists and out to get America. (See: Third beheading by Islamic extremists yesterday)

Just like some Christians want to kill the gays, subjugate woman and establish a theocracy. But most Christians are totally reasonable. And so are most Muslims.

But that doesn't matter. A misunderstanding fit the narrative. You know. Evil Muslims. Or something. So a stupid moment of communications failure that could happen to anyone turns life miserable for the owners of a gas station.

And a woman who momentarily didn't get what her husband was saying, which again, could happen to anyone, feels terrible that this is happening. And no matter how she, the media, the gas station owners and everyone else try to set the record straight, the original, incorrect narrative thrives.

Because of the Evil Muslims. Or something.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Today's Time Waster: "99 Red Balloons" Played On Red Balloons

A novel take on "99 Red Balloons"  
The oddball 1980s anti-nuke hit, "99 Red Balloons" gets new life in this video when a guy cranks out the melody of the song using only red balloons.

Hmmm. Should I go out and take red balloon music lessons so I can gain my fame and fortune?

Maybe not.

Here's the bizarre, but strangely entertaining video:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Surely, Woman Now Becoming Hugely Embarrassed Over Her Viral Road Rage Rant

The now-famous Hawaii road rage lady
does her, um, performance.  
As road rage videos go, this one's a doozy.

A woman in Hawaii was rather perturbed that a pickup truck driver cut her off. (though the truck driver denies this)

To give her the benefit of the doubt, it is irritating to be cut off. But most people, when cut off in traffic, take a deep breath, stew for a few minutes and move on with their lives

Not this "lady". No sir. The guy in the pickup truck recorded her epic rant. It is a work to behold, though I'll warn you now, the language makes the video at the bottom of this post totally, totally NSFW.

"Fuck off, you fat ass," is one of the more polite things she says to the guy in the truck.

The guy in the truck spews out a few F-bombs, too, but at this point in the woman's rant, you can't blame him.

The woman in the video, identified as Kimberly Ong, also seems incredibly fascinated by pickup truck guy's physical appearance. I don't know what he looks like, but Kimberly uses the word "fatty" a lot.

The sad and scary thing about this video is the kid in the car. Before she proceeds with her F-bomb laden rant, she veers, screeches, brakes and swerves wildly, in an attempt to frighten the guy in the truck, I guess.

She complains that he almost caused a crash, and meanwhile she nearly causes several other crashes on the busy street.

With. Her. Kid. In. The. Car.

I'm sure the F-bombs are great for the kid, too. You get a glimpse of him and it really is the picture of misery.

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, police have opened a felony investigation against Ong, because it looks like she hit Arakaki, or at least tried to. She certainly reached into his vehicle.

"Police have classified the case as first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, which is a Class B felony," says the Star-Advertiser. 

You'd think at this point, with the infamy of her making a fool of herself, and a possible felony hanging over her head, and a possible intervention by child protective services, Ong would be groveling with apologies.

But you'd be thinking incorrectly. She sort of regrets the language, but not much else about the incident, judging from a report on television station KITV.  

"I was super, super angry. I really was angry.....And of course he was taunting me somewhat. So, that obviously made me even more angry. I'm not the most happy about it. But I could have probably chose some better words to use. I was upset and it's apparent. I don't totally 100 percent regret it."

Kim, Kim, Kim. (Can I call you Kim? Just don't call me fatty.) So the only thing you regret, Kim,  is the F-bombs? And you don't totally regret it? Do you realize how much danger you put your kid in? What if the guy in the truck was even crazier than you, and had a gun, not just a camera phone?

And do you always get that mad when somebody does something slightly irritating? Kids do irritating things all the time. Do you go off on your kid like you did on the guy in the truck?  Maybe it's time for anger management therapy.

Now I'm glad I don't live in beautiful Hawaii.  I'd hate to tick off Kimberly Ong. She's got the rage heard round the world.

Here's the video. Again, it's NSFW. (Hat tip to Jalopnik for this story)

California (Thankfully) Disparages Nondisparagement Clauses

A new California law would outlaw over the top
non-disparagement clauses like this one.  
Kudos to California, which just passed a law making it illegal for companies to have so called disparagement clauses

The clauses companies try to use so they can   shut you up or fine you for lots of money if you have the gall to complain about their shabby products or services.

This was becoming a real problem. Still is, in fact.

Outfits like KlearGear and Accessory Outlet got HUGE bad publicity this year over these disparagement clauses, because they fined people and tried to ruin their credit ratings over relatively mild on-line criticisms.

You'd think the bad publicity and the public outcry and derision against companies like these would make them change their ways. After all, who in their right mind would want to do business with them if they are practically extortionists?

But customer service seemed not to be in their business plans, so lawmakers, at least in California, had to step in.

According to TechDirt, the new California law makes it illegal to prevent a "a consumer's right to make any statement regarding the seller or lessor or its employees or agents, or concerning the goods and services."

It's also now illegal in California to try to collect fines or penalties from a customer who criticizes a company.

The first violaton would cost a compnay $2,500 and "flagrant" violations could run up to $10,000.

TechDirt points out one problem with the otherwise good California law: It's sometimes awfully hard to track down the scumbags behind the scummy outfits that would go after someone financially who complains about shoddy products or services.

Says TechDirt:

".....there's more than a few companies combining crappy service with hefty fines that don't seem to actually exist outside of a Mailboxes Etc. address. Laws are tough to enforce when you can't find anyone to hold accountable. The worst part is that by the time most consumers discover they're dealing with a company that will charge them for negative reviews, these companies already have their credit card information and can start adding these charges to their balances."

The bottom line: It's up to us as consumers, and the media, to find out which companies have these ridiculous non-disparagement clauses and go after them.

Plus, it would be nice if there were a federal law similar to California's which would cover consumers nationwide.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dogs Show Us A Thing Or Two About Teamwork

These dogs sure know how to work together.  
Here's two bulldogs confronted with a project: Retrieve the tire from the bottom of the pool.    

One of them couldn't manage it on his own, but there's always teamwork.  A buddy is always willing to help out.

Watch this fun video, especially if you're a dog lover:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

One Legged Dancer Does It MUCH Better Than You

Here's a random video, posted in August, of a breakdancer with one leg. Um, he's beyond pretty good.

I couldn't immediately find anything on line that identifies him or whether he does this for a living.

But he should.  Scroll down a bit to watch the vid:

Accused Bank Robber Has The Most, Um, Interesting Tattoos

Shawn Lee Canfield, 25, is accused of robbing a Merced, California bank.

Police responding to the robbery said they caught up with him as he was stuffing money down his pants nearby, says ABC 30 Action News in Fresno.  

He was taken to a police station, where more money fell out of his pants.

The television station also says the bank teller was taken to the spot where Canfield was, and she positively identified him. Which couldn't have been too hard, given the tattoos.

Which is by far the most fascinating aspect of this case. Just look at his mug shot in this post and be in awe.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lesbian Couple FINALLY Get To Marry After 72 Years Together

Vivian Boyack and Alice Dubes getting married
in Davenport, Iowa Saturday. Photo by Thomas Geyer  
A big shout out and congratulations to Vivian Boyack and Alice Dubes who got married in Davenport, Iowa last weekend.

They probably broke the record for the longest courtship before a marriage. Boyack, 91, and Dubes, 90, have been together for 72 years, says the Quad City Times. 

I'm sure the happy couple would have gotten married many years ago, but of course gay marriage has only recently become legal.

Still, it's nice to see the couple finally tied the knot at the First Christian Church in Davenport.

According to the Quad City Times:

"Surrounded by family and a small group of close friends, the two held hands as the Rev. Linda Hunsaker told the couple that, 'This is a celebration of something that should have happened a very long time ago.'"

More from the Times about the couple:

"Over the years, the two have traveled to all 50 states, all the provines of Canada and to England twice. 

'We've had a good time,' Dubes said. Boyack added it takes a lot of love and work to keep a relationship going for 72 years."

Here's hoping the couple have many more happy years together.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Neil Young Helps Us Celebrate Tonight's Harvest Moon

The full harvest moon is about to rise over my home state of Vermont this evening.

The sky is totally clear, so we'll get a gorgeous view of it.

They call it the harvest moon for obvious reasons. It's the harvest season. You can go out and gather your fruits and veggies by the light of the moon, I suppose.

The harvest moon puts me in a romantic mood, so to complete the idea, here's the video to Neil Young's very sweet song "Harvest Moon."

I dedicate it, of course, to my husband Jeff Modereger.

Here it is:

Bizarre Weirdos Of The Day: Guys Sprayed Deer Urine On Walmart Merchandise Because It's Fun

Dody Hudson and Jon Ohlman are accused of
spraying deer urine on merchandise
in an Oklahoma Walmart.  
This week's bizarre weirdos of the week are Cody Hudson, 18 and Jon Ohlman, 24, of Oklahoma, who, for reasons unknown, sprayed doe urine on merchandise in an Owasso, Oklahoma Walmart.

Fox 23 and other Oklahoma media outlets don't have information on why the pair did this. But now they're in trouble. They're out on bail, but due back in court September 15.

I guess we can only speculate why they did this.

Maybe they were bored? If so, I have to hand it to them for creativity.

It's the first time I've ever heard of someone who is trying to liven up the day, slapping their palm against their forehead and saying: "I know! Let's spray doe urine on stuff at the Walmart! It will be so much fun!

Why did they have doe urine? It's normally used by deer hunters to camoflauge their own scent, but why was it important for Hudson and Ohlman to have it at Walmart?

Walmart isn't necessarily the most loved business in America. Did they target Walmart for a particular reason. Speaking of targets, I guess we're lucky they didn't go to a Target store, too.

We do know Hudson and Ohlman did about $2,800 in damage to the store. And Walmart had the good sense to pull the urine soaked items off the shelves, and are guaranteed never to try to sell them.

I do have advice for Hudson and Ohlman, whose parents must be SO proud of the nationwide media attention they're getting. Next time you're bored, maybe just go deer hunting with your doe urine.

Nicest Kid In The World Spotted At Fenway Park

The Boston Red Sox are woeful this year, placed firmly in last place in the American League East. 
Charming everyone, especially the woman in back of him,
a boy named Ryan hands a foul ball to the girl
behind him at Fenway Park in Boston Friday.  

But, at least some of the fans are really polite.

NESN, the New England Sports Network,  has a nice video of a ball girl picking up a foul ball and handing it to a 12-year old boy in the stands during a game Friday.

The boy immediately hands the ball to the little girl behind him.

He's either an incredibly nice kid or he wants to go out on a date with the girl. Since he's only 12, the verdict is he's probably just a very good young man, named Ryan.

When you watch the video, below, note that the kid handed the ball to the girl with no hesitation, and no prompting from any parents.

(By the way, if you want to see a fun compilation of foul ball catches in various stadiums, click here.)

A bit after Friday's Fenway Park incident, a NESN reporter interviewed Ryan. "I've seen people do it before and I thought it's a nice thing....and it's good to make people happy."

NESN gave Ryan a gift bag that contained a couple baseballs and other goodies. One of the items in the gift bag was a bracelet, which he also gave to the girl behind him.

So all and all, it was a good night at Fenway Park. Oh, and the Red Sox managed to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays, 9-8.

Here's the great video.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Wild Volcano Video. Island Goes BOOM!

This erupting volcano certainly knows how to provide some drama  
A volcano has been erupting in Papua, New Guinea, and as you can imagine, it has drama.

Phil McNamara, an Australian tourist, was on a boat with a bunch of people when the volcano blew.  He shot the video.

When you watch the video, below, you will see why it has gone viral.

Check out what the initial explosion does to the clouds overhead, then wait for the BOOM.

Really cool!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Would You Ride In This Bus In Malta?

The steering wheel in this bus detaches while
the vehicle goes through traffic. But everybody
thought it was funny so I guess it's OK.  
Here's a random video of a bus driver in Malta who seems to be doing just fine driving through traffic, despite some rather scary difficulties with the steering wheel.

I would have gotten off the bus immediately, but none of the passengers seemed particularly worried either.

It was even a source of amusement when the bus driver, still moving through traffic, lifts the steering wheel off the console and shows it off to a passing truck driver. Yikes!

I guess Malta is a mellow place.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Burlington, Vermont Bike Race Was Intense, Photogenic

The Green Mountain Stage Race was held over the Labor Day weekend in Vermont.

It involves insanely fit people on bicycles riding as fast as possible up and down the steep hills of Vermont, amid bright sunshine and summer humidity high enough to melt a Florida alligator.

The race culminates in the Dealer.com Criterium, in which our intrepid racers zip around the narrow streets of Burlington, Vermont.

It looks scary if you're participating, but it sure is fun to watch. So I did. And took a few photos.

These guys sure do look intense. They're in it to win it. Scroll down to see all the photos.

Arizona Beach Ball Hater Is Probably In Hiding Now

A kid gives the guy next to him (in backward blue ball cap)
 a big thumbs down after the guy destroyed a
beach ball that was bouncing around the stands.  
A video showing a football fan destroying a beach ball that had been bouncing around a stadium went viral yesterday.  

Now the guy who smushed the beach ball is facing the wrath of the Internet.

The back story: Last week at a college football season opener in Arizona, fans batted a beach ball around the stands, something that happens a lot at events like that. It's harmless, festive fun.

But this guy would have none of that. No fun beach balls while he's trying to watch the game!. So he stomped the beach ball and tossed it away, and congratulated himself by applauding his own deed.

This was all caught on video, and the reviews of this guy are brutal. The Bleacher Report called him a "no-good, cargo-short-wearing schlub, and he must be brought to justice."

I'm sure people have figured out who he is went viral, so he will be publicly humiliated. Granted, bursting a beach ball is not a High Crime Against Humanity, so even though the guy is a jerk, he probably doesn't deserve the world's wrath.

But is fun in a weird way to point and laugh at the moron who apparently hates fun.

Here's the video:

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Weirdest Russian Dashcam Video EVER

The characters inside this van in a still from
a dash cam video are itching for a fight.
Watch what happens when they get out.  n
If you've never in an idle moment searched YouTube for Russian dash cam videos, you ought to. It's a whole different world behind the wheel of a car in Russia.

Russia is full of stupid car crashes, stupid drivers, violence, fights, wreckage, road rage and, occasionally, a strange bit of kindness.

Everybody has a dash cam in Russia, what with unsafe roads, unsafe drivers, insurance fraud and corruption. People need the videos to prove their case.

One Russian dash cam video that recently came out that I'm sharing with you here is almost certainly a fake, or some sort of set up, or joke, and doesn't reflect reality.  But I'll post it anyway because it's so, um, different.

It involves a car that cut off a van, and road rage erupts. It's so bizarre and funny and off the charts you have to watch it to get your Wednesday laugh.

Here it is

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Firefighters REALLY Complete Their Job In Baytown, Texas

Firefighters in Baytown, Texas
finish mowing the lawn of
 a heart attack victim. Photo
 by Ashley Odom Chandler,
 via Facebook.  
Firefighters in Baytown, Texas recently responded to the home of a 65 year old man who suffered a heart attack while mowing his lawn.  

The paramedics treated him and rushed the man off to the hospital. So good! They did their job completely and professionally.

However, the firefighters believed they still had work to do at the scene of the emergency.

They returned, finished mowing the lawn, put the mower in the garage when they were done, locked the garage door and left a note tellling the man's wife to contact them if she needed them for anything else  says ABC 13 in Houston. 

Sadly, the 65-year old's heart attack was massive. Despite the firefighters' efforts and that of the doctors at the hospital, the guy died.

Still, I really have to give kudos to the Baytown Fire Department.  Talk about being community minded! Not surprisingly, they are getting major praise from Baytown residents.

Up here where I live in St. Albans, Vermont, I really do love our fire and rescue services. They're terrific.

But if any firefighter in Baytown is looking to relocate, I definitely invite them to apply for a job in our town.

I'd love to have them.

Or maybe I should just move to the fine city of Baytown, Texas.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Don't Brag To Police If You Were Doing 185 MPH On Your Motorcycle

Now that he's been arrest, this guy might not
be as proud of what police said was his
bragging about doing 185 mph on his
motorcycle. He faces various charges.  
Here's a pro tip for all you speed demons out on the highways.

If the cops stop you for doing 127 mph down the Interstate on your motorcycle, don't brag to the nice police officer that you were actually doing 185 mph before the police noticed.

This did happen recently in New Hampshire, says Gawker and the Associated Press. 

The admission by David J. Fries, 31, about his speed, after one New Hampshire State Trooper clocked him going 127 mph, another saw him crash into a guardrail and run away, and after several officers spend an hour chasing him through the woods and such near the Interstate.

Fries didn't have a good night. He was also injured in the crash, and by the police dog that also caught up with him.

Police also said they found a hyperdermic needle, smoking pipe and crack cocaine on Fries, which might help explain why he was screwing around on his motorcycle like that.

The drug revelation prompted one commenter on Gawker to note:

"With all that drug paraphernalia, he was probably going 185 mph before he got on his motorcycle."

According to the AP, a trooper spotted 31-year-old David J. Fries going 127 mph on Interstate 93 at about 2:45 a.m. on Saturday. Another trooper saw Fries crash into a guardrail after he exited the interstate, at which point he led officers on an hourlong foot chase.
Fries was caught with the aid of a police dog, and treated for injuries both from the crash and the dog.
Police said Fries, who had in his possession a hypodermic needle, smoking pipe, and crack cocaine, allegedly told them he got up to 185 mph before exiting the interstate.
He is being held on a $30,000 bail.