Sunday, August 31, 2014

Faux Winooski, Vermont Bacon "Controversy" And The Outrage Industry

This tongue in cheek sign in Winooski, Vermont
and its removal triggered another national false controversy.  
The people of the fine, funky little city of Winooski, Vermont, close to where I live, are confused these days.  

I don't blame them. A mild criticism, posted online, followed by a quiet, polite response from the business in question, has blown up into a national controversy, because there are so many people out there who aren't happy unless they are totally enraged to the point they practically want to kill somebody.

To recap, as the weekly Vermont newspaper Seven Days does: There's a restaurant in Winooski called Sneakers Bistro. It's been there forever. Very popular. And the guy who owns it, Marc Dysinger, is very involved in the community, putting in time and money to make the city, a small town really, a better place.

One of the things he does is maintain a community garden near a heavily traveled part of town. He put up a goofy sign along the road that semi-advertised his restaurant. It read: "Yield For Sneakers Bacon"

A woman who described herself as a vegan and part of a household where some Muslims live, politely objected to the sign. She wrote in a community online forum that the sign could be slightly offensive to some people who have religious or other aversions to bacon.

Maybe she was slightly oversensitive, but who cares? Dysinger, just trying to be a nice guy and figuring the sign wasn't exactly crucial to his restaurant's marketing, took the sign down.

No big deal. Nobody had made any demands, just a simple request. You can still order all the bacon you want at Sneakers Bistro. The city itself had no role in this. Anybody who lives in Winooski can still buy bacon and eat it. Nobody cares.

Certainly, pretty much nobody in Winooski even noticed this incident, much less cared about it.


But the Outrage Industry will have none of that. The Outrage Industry in this nation noticed this kindly gesture by a restaurant owner  and discovered some red meat, so to speak,  to go after.

Judging from the online vitriol all over the place, you'd think Muslim terrorists and radical vegans have the fine upstanding American citizens of Winooski in chains, and are getting ready to torture them.

Most of the comments from the Outrage Industry are full of nasty swear words and the like.

None of the comments seem to even get what this was all about. Here's one: "Stop pandering to Muslims. This is still America! WE llike our democracy served with a side of bacon!!!!"

Um, OK. Then go eat your bacon. Like I said, you can even do it in Winooski!

Dysinger took down the restaurant's Facebook page, since the Outrage Industry took it over. Before he did, he posted this totally sensible note: "We are here to serve people BREAKFAST, not politics. We removed the sign that wa slocated on public property as a gesture of respect for our diverse community. There were also concerns raised about safety. Removing it was not a difficult decision. We still love bacon. We still love eggs. Please have the political conversation elsewhere."

But the Outrage Industry is not going to back down and stop having its "fun" because the target of the vitriol had the gall to be reasonable. So the nasty, and illogical comments kept coming:

"Stop caving to Muslim demands. We are Americans. We need to stand for our rights."

Again, um, OK. Can someone explain to me which rights are threatened here. The woman who objected to the sign used her First Amendment rights to free speech. The restaurant owner exercised the right to advertise his business in the manner that best suited him. He obvious maintains the right to operate his restaurant. And we all have the right to go to Sneakers Bistro, or not go, and eat bacon, or not eat bacon.

The theme through all the comments against the restaurant is by taking down an innocuous, ineffective advertising sign, the restaurant owner is bowing to the demands of heathen Muslims to take away our First Amendment rights. And our bacon. And in the process somehow destroy America.

Here's another idiot comment: "Gutless spineless pukes. Anyone eating at this cesspool of a food establishment may as well join the rest of the jihadists trying to destroy the nation from within. May their faces and bodies be burned and seared with boiling bacon grease."

So the only way to save America is to plaster the entire landscape with giant signs singing the praises of bacon? (This message brought to you by the National Pork Producers Council. Not really, but the idea is fun.)

Look, all these morons having a conniption over this have the First Amendment, free speech right to do so.  Just like the proprietors of Sneakers Bistro have the right to put out a sign, or not put out a sign.

But I have the First Amendment right to call bullshit on it. Because all this is, is part of the business model for the right wing media, from Fox on down to Breitbart.

These outlets seize on what are, to be honest, nice but boring stories of neighborliness in small cities like Winooski, and turn them into dog whistle catch phrases to rile the audience. You know, Muslims were involved (they're all terrorists, if you believe the extreme right wing world) They're out to destroy America from within by taking away our bacon, or something.

All this prompts clicks on websites and comments and ignorant discussions, which are all great from the right wing media's bottom line and business plan.

And although they didn't plan it this way, the outrage generated by the right wing spills over to create stories and clickbait for the mainstream and left wing media, thereby helping their bottom line. And yes, that makes me part of the problem, if there is one, because I'm writing about this, too.

So yeah, be outraged that the restauranteur took down his sign. And be outraged that people are outraged that the retauranteur took down his sign.

Meanwhile, I think I'll just drive down to Sneaker's Bistro, and have myself a nice breakfast. One that includes bacon.


 
Gutless, spineless, pukes. Anyone eating at this cesspool of a food establishment may as well join the rest of the jihadists trying to destroy this nation from within. May their faces and bodies be burned and seared with boiling bacon grease!"


Friday, August 29, 2014

Sweet Karma Against Florida Lemonade Stand Foe

In this photo from the  Tampa Bay Times,
T.J Guerrero prepares to sell more lemonade.  
Remember that guy I wrote about the other day who has been fighting tooth and nail against a neighborhood kid's lemonade stand?    

Well, karma has reared its head against the grumpy neighbor, named Doug Wilkey.

As I reported the other day, quoting the Tampa Bay Times, the zoning regulators took a look at the lemonade stand and decided no rules were broken. The lemonade sales can continue.

However, in an update by the Tampa Bay Times, the zoning people in Dunedin Florida found problems with Wilkey. Turns out he's allegedly running a business out of his home without a permit. 

Which means his efforts to go after the kid with the lemonade backfired right onto him.

According to the Tampa Bay Times:

"A tipster contacted the city and pointed officials toward records that show Wilkey, as recently as March, listed his Patricia Avenue home as the principal business address for Bayport Financial Services. 

Planning Director Greg Rice said officials were drafting a letter notifying Wilkey, 61, that all companies operating in the city require a business tax license, which  osts about $45 a year, and that home-based business owners must sign an affidavit agreeing to follow special rules."

It's been a terrible week for Wilkey, because his dislike for the lemonade stand went totally viral, and public opinion is solidly against him. "Grumpy" is one of the most common, and nicest words I've seen this week to describe Wilkey.

Meanwhile, all this publicity is GREAT for T.J.Guerrero, the 12-year-old who operates the stand. Because of all the news lots of people have either bought lemonade from him or donated money.

He took his mother out to dinner with some of the extra proceeds. His mom is setting up a college fund with some of the windfall, and some of it will be donated to charity the Tampa Bay Times says.


Online Store Practically Threatens To Break The Knees Of Customers Who Complain

A scummy online retailer threatened this woman
Thankfully, she's fighting back.  
Consumerist, that web site full of stories about retail and service businesses that don't quite understand the concept of customer service, has really topped itself this time.

They're telling us about an outfit called OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com which has a terms of service rule demanding customers not even threaten to complain about it, or they'll pay, pay, pay and pay. 

That's a new level of ridiculous, and probably unenforceable tyrannical terms of service rules.

Here's the "best" part of OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com's rules:

"You agree not to file any complaint, chargeback, claim, dispute, or make any public foru post, review, Better Business Bureau complaint, social media post, or any public statement regarding the order, our website or any issue regarding your order, for any reason, with this 90 day period, or to threaten to do so within the 90 day period, or it is a breach of the terms of sale, creating liability for damages in the aount of $250, plus any additional fees, damages, both consequential and incidental, calculated on an ongoing basis."

That's right, even if you casually threaten to post something whiny about OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com on Facebook,  or something,  and not even bother to post the complaint, they'll still go after you for $250.

This goes beyond some of the other ridiculous terms of service I've written about.   At least those tried to collect only when somebody actually complained, and one of these businesses backed down when the publicity hit, saying the rules were just a joke. 

Unlike some other outrageous terms of service fine print from other companies, this one from OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com apparently isn't a joke or an empty threat to make people think twice about complaining.

OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com went after a Wisconsin customer, Cindy Cox who was unhappy with them.

Says Consumerist: "The company told her in an email that not only would she be hit for the $250 penalty but that her account would be sent to a collections agency, which would 'put a negative mart on your credit for 7 years and will also result in calls to your home and/or work."

They also threatened her with further billing on an hourly basis. The customer said she had the right to contact her credit card company about the purchase, and these jerks responded that she now owed them unspecified monetary "damages" above and beyond the $250.

The customer also got a threatening email that read in part: "You are playing games with the wrong people and have made a very bad mistake given the legally binding contract we have in place. One we have successfully enforced on many individuals, the same we will do with you."

Gawd, this is worse than a plot line in "The Sopranos."

I have no idea wither OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com has actually gone after people like they said they have, but boy is this company stupid.

You know inevitably one of the customers the company abused would go to the media, or the media would find out, as happened here. This negative publicity can't be helping this bad outfit.

Plus, as they often do in cases like this, Public Citizen is helping the customer sue OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com, which will only drag out the misery for the company, and maybe with any luck, drive them out of business.

Scumbags that they are.

Says Public Citizen: 

"The lawsuit asks the court to declare that Cox doers not owe Accessory Outlet a debt because the terms of sale were hidden on its website, are unreasonably favorable to Accessory Outlet and were never presented to or accepted by Cox when she made her purchase."

I'm not a lawyer, but it sure seems to be Public Citizen and their client have a strong case.

Here's more evidence of how bad OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com is, according to Consumerist.  The company  claims to have endorsements from the Better Business Bureau and Angie's List. However, both organizations say uh-uh.

The Better Business Bureau actually gives Accessort Outlet an "F" rating, and Angie's List doesn't give them any props, because they have no reviews of this outfit to begin with, Consumerists says.

So I think this might be the beginning of the end for OnlineAccessoryOutlet.com, which would be a very good thing, based on what I'm reading about them.

That might be happening already. I couldn't get into their Web site Friday morning. An error message said their site was "undergoing maintenance."





Thursday, August 28, 2014

Puppy Gets Head Stuck In Tire. Love The Name Rescuers Gave Him

Firefighters struggle to free a puppy stuck
in a tire. The dog was later named "Lugnut"  
There were some tense moments for a fire crew in Houston, Texas recently, when a frantic person came to the station with a dog.

The black lab mix's head was hopeless stuck in a tire, says Click2Houston.

The worst part of the story is the dog was found, stuck in the tire, abandoned in a trash heap. Thank goodness the Good Samaritan noticed the poor pup and sought help at the fire station.

And I want to smite the person who left the dog there.

Firefighters tried the tried and true soap and water to get the dog unstuck. That didn't work. They tried sawing the dog out of the metal part of the tire he was stuck in, but the saw frightened the puppy too much.

They then tried the Jaws of Life, that mechanism that gets people out of car wrecks they've been trapped in. That did the trick. The pub is on his way to a full recovery.

And the firefighters couldn't resist giving the dog an approrpriate name. He's now known as Lugnut.

Watch the rescue video:




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

For Once, Town Does NOT Crack Down On Lemonade Stand

T.J. Guerrero sells lemonade in Dunedin, Florida,
which has opted not to crack down on him. Photo
by Jim  Damaske, Tampa Bay Times.  
I've seen a lot of weird news about crackdowns on lemonade stands and such in recent years, as towns decide that lemonade stands are apparently criminal enterprises that will destroy their communities. Or something.  

So I have to congratulate the community of Dunedin, Florida, for letting a kid named T.J. Guerrero, 12, sell his lemonade in peace, despite vigorous and persistent objections from a grumpy, mean neighbor, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The Times says this about the cranky neighbor:

"Doug Wilkey contends that the Palm Harbor Middle School student's year round operation is an 'illegal business' that causes excessive traffic, noise, trash, illegal parking and other probles that reduce his property values.

'Please help me regain my quiet home and neighborhood,' Wilkey, 61, wrote.

So far, Dunedin, Florida town officials have not done as Wilkey has wished, probably figuring it's just a lemonade stand, and also thinking about the wave of negative publicity if they shut the kid down.

"'We're not inthe business of trying to regulate kids like that; nor do we want to do any code enforcement like that,' said Dunedin planning and development director Greg Rice. 'We are not out there trying to put lemonade stands out of business.'"

Which is a nice switch. Because there does seem to have been a nationwide crackdown on lemonade stands by municipalities in the last several years. As far back as 2011, Forbes magazine had a rundown of the various kids' lemonade stands shut down by mean old zoning and code officials. 

The Forbes article called the shut downs "inexplicable" and I agree. It seems many of the code enforcement actions seemed to be an effort by cash strapped cities to collect fees and fines by whatever means and amounts necessary.

Hence the fines and bills that amounted to as much as $500 for parents of kids who tried to sell lemonade.

There's even a Lemonade Freedom web site, fighting back against police and municipal efforts to rid their communities of the "scourge" of lemonade stands. The tag line on the Web site is "Because selling lemonade is not a crime."

So it's refreshing to say the least that Dunedin, Florida is resisting calls to shut down one lowly lemonade stand in the town.

Still, Wilkey is persistent. He's tried saying the lemonade stand attracts misbehaving kids who throw rocks and debris and spew profanity, that they might kill somebody selling contaminated lemonade, and that his neighborhood is not zoned for business.

But authories have not found evidence of lemonade stand misdeeds. A sheriff deputy has been out a couple times. He polled other neighbors, who all said they were fine with the lemonade stand. So at last report, you can still get your lemonade from T.J. Guerrero in Dunedin, Forida.

The lemonade stand might disappear in a couple years, though, when Guerrero will turn 14. At that point, he says, he'll be old enough to work as a bagger at a nearby supermarket, which might be more lucrative for him.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Marrying The "Least Fashionable Guy" On The Planet Was An Excellent Idea

My husband Jeff greets our niece, Poppy
last Christmas in Yankton, South Dakota.  
Happy Anniversary to my husband, Jeff Modereger!!

We got married exactly two years ago today, on August 26, 2012.

Marrying Jeff was by far the best decision I ever made for a billion different reasons. But I have a disclosure to make about him. Frankly, he's one of the least "with it" guys on the planet.

By that I mean, to him, not everything in life is a financial transaction.

It seems that nowadays, so many people will do something only if they personally gain from it.  Gain financially, gain in prestige. Doing something because it's the right thing to do is totally passe.

Not for Jeff. Nope. He actually thinks he should support and love people because they deserve it, not because any support he offers will make him rich. Can you believe that, in this day in age?

This is how ridiculous he can get: He's a college professor, and when any of his students show interest in the subject at hand and want to learn more, if the student needs support, advice, or a pep talk, he's there, willing to help out any way he can.

When any of his students show success, he's proud. Never mind his students' success doesn't make him a celebrity, or a rich guy, or anything like that.  He does it because it's the right thing.
Our dog Jackson leads Jeff on a walk
while we were out looking at fall
foliage last October in
Bakersfield, Vermont.  

Family is really important to Jeff. He'll move mountains to help them. He relishes the chance to visit with them. He loves telling stories of family lore.

Yeah, I know.  We're all supposed to be go-getters, with no time for family. Thankfully, Jeff never got that memo.

Home life with him is the same thing. All kinds of little things. He notes what kinds of cereal, cookies, drinks, food I like and he goes out of his way to get it when he's out grocery shopping. The dinners he cooks are always excellent.

I told him he should take his talent and win on "Chopped" or one of those Food Channel competitions, and win a fortune, but he says he just wants to make me happy.  And he does.

Jeff doesn't tolerate cruelty, dishonesty, shady deals or meanness. Especially against people, or animals who are most vulnerable. Maybe his kindness is as unfashionable as a 1970s powder blue polyester suit, but that kindness sure looks great on Jeff.

Unfortunately, Jeff's dad passed away recently.

His dad, Don Modereger, was a successful businessman in Yankton, South Dakota. His success meant he lived in a nice house and wasn't really wanting for anything.  (It didn't hurt that Jeff's mom, Lois Modereger, worked really hard with the business, her family and community too.)

But Don Modereger and the rest of the family didn't --and don't -- live extravagantly. That's largely because he gave back to the community, donating time and money to those who didn't have as much as he did.  Don Modereger was thoughtful, and kind, and gregarious. Jeff's like that too.

Jeff eulogized his dad, and talked about how his father thought it was important to support your neighbors, your community, people who could use a helping hand.   Jeff said his father brought people together, and made Yankton a better place, and that is his father's biggest and best legacy.  
Jeff shares a moment with his mom, Lois
Modereger, in Yankton, South Dakota
earlier this year.  

Jeff actually said this in public!! Jeff was actually saying profits and money aren't the most important thing in the world!  That being a decent human being is the most important thing a person can do.

How retro!!

It's funny. I constantly hear so many of his current and former students talk about how much they appreciate Jeff for all his help and support over the years. They tell him his help made them the success they are.  They love him, and think the world of him.

At his father's memorial service in South Dakota, so many people showed up to remember him that it caused a traffic jam outside the funeral home.

Don Modereger's friendliness and generosity and humor,  the kind of template Jeff uses to live his own life, seems to have gotten a huge reception in Yankton and the rest of the world.

As for me, I guess I'm out of step, too.  I don't care that Jeff doesn't have a ruthless bone in his body. That he's not going to step on anybody else to get ahead. That he actually cares how people are doing. That he thinks about other people's perspective before acting. That he's kind, and generous and funny as hell.

Maybe Jeff is on to something.  Maybe he isn't so retro. Maybe Jeff's so called old fashioned approach to life is actually fashion forward. Something everyone wants to, or should emulate.

Jeff makes me suspect that maybe the "Get Ahead At Any Cost" ethos that is the way we're "supposed" to act in this modern world is a sham.  Maybe he's actually a trend setter. I sure hope so.

I do know Jeff's attitude makes me less cynical of the world around me.  With him around, I'm that much less suspicious the world is out to scam me. There are perfect, decent people in the world. Jeff proves that to me every day by being one.

There are a zillion reasons why I love Jeff. His sense of humor, his love, his looks, his intelligence, his quick wit.

But after two years of marriage, the thing I love most about Jeff is how he is slowly changing me, day by day. I watch how he lives, his sense of morals and his decency.  Believe me, I'm taking notes as I watch him, and try to absorb it.

And that's why I think the "unfashionable" Jeff Modereger is actually maybe the most chic person in the world.  I hope everyone adopts Jeff's "look."

I know I'm trying it on for size. It's a good fit.

So Jeff, Happy Anniversary, and I pray for many, many more years together. I'm so lucky!!!



Monday, August 25, 2014

At Least The California Napa Earthquake Improved Skateboarding

Skateboarding on earthquake damaged
streets in California. 
I hate to make light of a disaster like Sunday's earthquake in Napa Valley, California, the one that injured dozens of people and caused such widespread damage.

But there was one teeny, tiny bright side to the quake.

The tremors buckled a lot of streets in the area. On one street, the newly heaved and crooked pavement provided an excellent new skate park for boarders.

Watch:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Great, But Hideous, Illegal And Mean Business Idea: Steal Library Books; Sell 'Em Online

Police say they hope to soon
  catch the moron stealing books
from libraries and selling them
on the Internet  
Here's a business idea for people who have no sense of morals or decency, and don't like little obstructions like breaking the law.  

Some idiot in Pennsylvania has been stealing books from libraries, then selling them online, says Consumerist and CBS Pittsburgh.

CBS Pittsburgh reported at least $6,000 in popular and bestselling books had been stolen from the Cooper Siegel Library in Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania.

The books are apparently being sold over the Internet, says CBS Pittsburgh.

The thief has apparently figured out how to bypass library security.

Nothing like denying people the ability to read the books they want from the library if it means fun and profit, no?  Not if there's money to be made.

The thief is a special kind of jerk. If we're all lucky, maybe he's allergic to the ink in the books and will get very sick.

I  can dream, can't I?

Wouldn't people who buy the stolen books online know they were stolen online? Not necessarily, says Consumerist: 

"Libraries get rid of excess and no longer popular books all the time. Sometimes they're sold in book sales, sometimes recycled, sometimes given away. If the thief has a stamp that says 'DISCARDED' and stamped up the stolen books with it, as libraries do when they purge their collections, no customers would suspect anything.

Library books usually contain concealed magnetic or RFID anti-theft devices, and the thief is either removing these or leaving through an alternate exit."

 The good news is police say they think they know who's stealing the books and hope to arrest him soon. The guy reportedly already has a pretty substantial criminal record.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Another Touching, Awesome Ad from Thailand Of All Places

Will these two young men bully or help the protagonist
in a compelling life insurance ad for Thailand?  
For some reason, advertisers in Thailand know how to pull heartstrings and pull off a great advertisement.

In this one, for a life insurnance company, we follow the story of a young man, who, on the surface, isn't the greatest guitar player and performer in the world.

But the backstory pulls you in, and it's beautiful.

Thai Life Insurance has put out a series of these well made, tearjerky ads for several  years now, according to AdWeek. 

Here's the ad that manages to tell a compelling story, for once:

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Unique Enough Take On Tired "Happy" Makes Me Happy About 5the Song Again

A still from a very awesome fan video
of Pharrell's "Happy" in American Sign Language.
Pharrell Williams' "Happy" is a good enough song, I definitely like it.

Or liked it, until the radio stations and every other media played it approximately 9,978,459,320,347,413 times per hour.

So I got sick of it.

But the song gets great new life in this video from the participants at Mark Seven's Deaf Film Camp in Old Forge, New York.  They do "Happy" in American Sign Language.

The camp offers film making classes and opportunities to make fils to deaf and hearing impaired youths.

And doing "Happy" through sign language makes it so infectious. I love it.  So does Pharrell Williams, judging from comments he posted on Facebook. 

Here's the very happy, fun video, that's totally going viral:


Thursday, August 21, 2014

I Love The Ferguson Police. Maybe.

Are the police in Ferguson overdressed here?
Photo by Jeff Roberson, Associated Press.  
Yep, that's right, I think the police out there in trouble Ferguson are  totally boffo. They've done us all an enormous favor.  

Or, they, and other police officials down there, are rapidly pushing this nation toward a crisis, I'm not sure yet.

No, I don't like that police in Ferguson shot an unarmed black teenager. No, I don't like that they played dress up, pretended to be soldiers with ridiculous amount of gear, and military trucks and gear.  I don't appreciate them arresting journalists who are trying to tell us what's going on.

I don't like that the police are trampling First Amendment rights. Or telling people "I will fucking kill you" for the high crime of walking down the street.  Or telling a CNN producer to get out because those "niggers" might do anything. 

The reason I love the job police in Ferguson are doing is because they've finally got us talking about whether arming local police to the teeth with hard core battle weapons is a good idea. They've got us talking about how our rights to peaceable assembly and speech are threatened by goons who say they are trying to keep the peace.

Police in Ferguson have us talking about race, crime, rights, poverty, freedom. I have no idea if all the talking we're doing because of Ferguson will improve things, but it's better than silence.

Look, I get it. Ferguson is complicated. There are a few criminals, looters, violent offenders, and jerks amid the hundreds, or thousands of peaceful protestors that have been out every night in Ferguson.

You've got to control the creeps, arrest them, put them away, but at what price? Isn't there a better way than to also treat everybody who lives in and near Ferguson like they are terrorists?

WAR GAME ARE FUN!

They brought the dogs out in Ferguson. Photo
by David Carson, St. Louis Post Dispatch  
We can start by police nationwide, who are taking advantage of federal giveaways to receive enought high tech arms to make Vladimir Putin blush.

Do we really want local cops to constantly act like third rate actors making some sort of lowbrow military Rambo movie? Yeah, in extreme events, some of this stuff might come in handy. But once in a blue moon. Do we really need entire invading armies to execute basic search warrants?

The juxtaposition of peaceful protests and police so pimped up in military gear it looks like they're in a knock down, drag out battle in Baghdad is disturbing to say the least.

The Economist has a good summary of how Congress, awash in military hardware campaign cash, perpetuate this extreme militarization of what used to be the nice police on foot patrol in your neighborhood.  

"In this as with so much else in American governance, it starts with federal cash. Every year Congress passes the National Defense Authorization Act, which sets out the Defense Department's budget and expenditures. The version passed in 1990, in the wake of the sharp rise in drug related violence, allowed the Defense Department to transfer military gear and weapons to local police departments if the were deemed "suitable for counter-drug activities. 

"....The American Civil Liberties Union found that the value of military equipment used by American police departments has risen from $1 million in 1990 to $450 million in 2013."

Apparently, defense contractors weren't making enough money off of wars overseas. The bottom line would get even better if they encouraged police to declare war on us. The shareholders must be so excited. 

 U.S. News and World Report has a pretty good take on this point: 

"Have no doubt, police in the United States are militarizing, and in many communities, particularly those of color, the message is being received loud and clear: 'You are the enemy, ' writes Tom Nolan, a 27-year veteran of the Boston Police Department and professor at SUNY Plattsburgh, in an op-ed that appeared in DefenseOne in June, more than a month before the Ferguson riots.

Is that what police in this country really want? That we are their enemy? That is truly scary. 

FIRST AMENDMENT

I also love the police efforts to detain and shut up journalists covering the unrest. Yeah, like THAT'S going to work.

Lord knows some journalists are jerks, too, bloviating about nonsense and puffing up their over inflated talking head egos even more. But the truth is, most journalists, imperfect as they are,  just want to tell us what's going on. They want to make us understand the deal. And the have the First Amendment right to do so.

Apparently, the cops in Ferguson think the First Amendment is bullshit, and reporters should just shut up and regurgitate their happy little press releases.  I hope the national conversation about this crisis eventually convinces them otherwise. But I'm not totally optimistic on that one.

At least Ferguson has gotten so much attention, and drawn so many journalists, that police in Ferguson have ended up playing whack-a-mole. They detain three or so journalist to shut them up, and 30 journalists come in to yak and yell about journalists being detained.

I guess police in Ferguson police haven't figured out how to control the entire media like China has, which is a good thing.

And by the way, you Second Amendment enthusiasts. Where were you when they were trampling the First Amendment? I bet you'd be howling in the streets if the police trashed the Second Amendment as badly as the First. Aren't all the Constitutional Amendments important?

Who knows if the reaction to Ferguson will improve things in this country? At least we can count on minor victories.

The cop that told peaceful citizens and journalists to leave or "I will fucking kill you" has been reassigned away from Ferguson. (When asked for his name the "I KEEL YOU" cop said "Go Fuck Yourself" so I guess that's his unusual name)

I don't know how the rest of the Ferguson story will play out. I don't know if police will back away from arming themselves to the teeth.  I wonder if anyone will be held accountable for trashing Constitutional rights.

But something better change, dammit.

to

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wanted Man Rear Ends Detective's Car, Making Arrest Painful But Easy

In image from KREM-TV, cops arrest a guy
who made looking for him easy, but painful 
If you have arrest warrants out on you, it's probably best just to turn yourself in and let justice run its course.  

But if you insist on staying on the lam, it's best to be careful driving.

KREM in Spokane, Washington said a guy wanted for driving and domestic violence offenses slammed into the back of an unmarked car being driven by a police detective.

The slightly injured detective, though limping, processed the scene and made the arrest. Then he was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

And maybe when and if our bad driver gets out of jail, he'll take driving lessons so this won't happen again.

(Hat tip to Talking Points Memo)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Poker Player Looks TOTALLY Bummed About Winning $15 Million

Daniel Colman shows his, um, excitement
at winning $15 million in the World Series of Poker.  
Daniel Colman recently won $15 million in the World Series of Poker.   

To state the obvious, you need an excellent poker face to win that game. So Colman did that well, for sure.

Apparently, though, he can't lose that poker face. Or, worse, judging by the expression on his face, winning $15 million is a bummer, kind of like getting a parking ticket or finding out you need new brake pads on your car.

Maybe he was thinking about the IRS and all the money they're going to take from the winnings. I don't know if he's married, but maybe he wondered if he should have signed a prenup.

A lot of people were pretty annoyed with this guy. I guess because it does seem odd that he wouldn't get too happy about winning.

And geez, being suddenly that rich, you might throw a bone to the media, the sponsors and hangers on  that were there for the big win.   More than a few people were as bummed as Colman apparently was, since the poker faced poker winner wasn't exactly media friendly.

The Las Vegas Sun had a good summary of this:

"Channeling a petulant child, Colman had to be persuaded to pose with the winning and bracelet most poker players spend their whole lives fighting toward. Caesars Entertainment executives and ESPN officials got their way with that one, but Colman would spare no more satisfaction.

He turned down every request, even with the giant sports network that will air six hours documenting his victory starting later this month, to talk about outlasting 41 other players over the last three days."

I dunno. Maybe he had a stomach ache. Or his girlfriend broke up with him. Or Lady Gaga's hit "Poker Face" had become an annoying earworm for him and he couldn't get rid of it.

We'll never know, since Colman's not talking. Yeah, I know, his personal life is none of our business, but he certainly does conjur up enough curiosity that we want to ask more questions of him, not fewer.

The guy does smile sometimes. I went to Google images and found plenty of pictures of Colman with a grin on his face.  Just goes to prove that a day in which you win $15 million can still be a bad day.

In any event, I extend either my congratulations or condolences, or maybe both, to Colman for the joy, or misery, or winning the $15 million in the poker event.

Here's the video in which he seems vaguely disappointed in what most of us would regard as just a perfect turn of events:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dash Cam Vid: Crash, Enormous Explosion, Then Watch What Truck Driver Did

The explosion that almost killed a grandmother
and granddaughter, except for the actions of a truck driver.  
From Jalopnik, we have an amazing dash cam video from a truck in Mississippi (in the video below, the time stamp is wrong, it happened in recent days)

Up ahead, a Lincoln Town Car t-bones tractor trailer, which explodes and engulfs the Town Car in flames.

The truck driver whose dash cam is rolling gets out with an itty bitty fire extinguisher, but runs to the flaming car anyway.

He suppresses the flames barely enough to get a woman with a broken leg out of the car, and her one year old granddaughter.

The baby is pretty much fine, the grandmother is in the hospital nursing the broken leg, but it's amazing anyone survived this.

Watch this incredible drama:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

New Mayor Of Minnesota Town Is More Furry Than Usual

Duke being inaugurated as maor of Cormorant, Minn.  
Congratulations go out to Duke, a seven year old dog who was just elected mayor of the fine town of Cormorant, Minnesota.  

It's not exactly the biggest town around. The twelve residents there each paid a dollar to vote, and Duke defeated a guy named Richard Sherbrook, said CBS Local in Minneapolis. 

Duke's salary won't bust the town's budget. A local pet supply store is donating a year's worth of kibbles to pay for Duke's services.

According to the Huffington Post, Duke is not the first non-human mayor in American history. A cat named Stubbs has mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, for the past 17 years, says the Huffington Post.  

My dog Jackson had an unsuccessful run for U.S. President in 2012, but was defeated by Barack Obama as he sought re-election to a second term.




Saturday, August 16, 2014

Crime School: Don't Call Cops, Or Sue Your Victims. Will Just Make Things Worse

She might have PTSD, but it's probably because
of her stupidity, and NOT because she's a (fake)
bank robbery victim, says cops.  
Just because I like the dark side, I sometimes offer pro tips to criminals to make their "jobs" easier and I'm doing that today.  

Here goes: It probably doesn't help to call the cops on your victim, or sue them.

I'll give you two case studies. One was in Seattle recently, when a woman called the cops and said a man was following and harassing her.

Sounds like a good reason to call the cops, right?

It turns out the man was annoyed with the woman for stealing his smart phone. When she and her companion stole it, the victim objected and was assaulted because of his objections. The woman's doofus companion ran off, and the woman called the cops to complain about the "harassment",  says television station KOMO in Seattle. 

Trouble was, our cops first noticed the man in question had a number of cuts and bruises. Secondly, the cops found the victim's phone on our Dumb Criminal Of the Week.

Gee how did that happen?  Yeah, so the woman got in trouble for stealing and (surprise!) drug possession.  Police said she had three grams of crack with her. Which might have been impairing her judgement  bit, I don't know.

The second case study involves somebody named Aurora Barrera, of Downey, California, who used to work at Bank of America.

According to Bloomberg News:

"Barrera said that two men held her hostage and forced her to wear a bomb for the robbery in September, 2012. She said they made her remove money from the bank vault and place it outside the building, according to yesterday's statement. Authorities later determined the bomb was fake."

Barrera said she suffered post traumatic stress syndrome from the incident, and collected $45,537 in disability benefits and medical expenses from Bank of America's insurer.

It turns out she was in on the whole thing with the bank robbers, which lead us to this fun quote from the Bloomberg article:

"'It's shocking to think that Barrera, a trusted financial institution manager, would be a co-conspirator in a bank robbery and staged kidnapping, and then have the audacity to file a bogus workers' comp claim for traumatic stress and believe she could get away with it,' said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones."

Yes, it looks our bank manager Barrera flunked Crime 101, but has plenty of time to take the class over, since it's lookin glike she might spend the next nine years in jail.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Guy Who Created Pop Up Ads Says He Wasn't Trying To Annoy You And Apoloigize

A programmer is really, really, really sorry
for accidentally forcing popup ads on us.  
The guy who is largely responsible for those totally annoying pop up ads that interrupt EVERYTHING on line, even if you use things like Adblock, is really, really sorry for all this.

Ethan Zuckerman said he was tasked some years ago with finding way for advertisers to put some space between what they were trying to sell stuff on the web page that really wasn't a good match for what they were trying to peddle.

"Specifically, we came up with it when a major car company freaked out that they'd bought a banner ad on a page that celebrated anal sex," Zuckerman said in an article in The Atlantic. (I got this via Consumerist)

Of course, advertisers ran with this, knowing it would be totally intrusive. The theory, which I have yet to find a good explanation for, is if they really annoy and piss us off, we'll buy their product.

Searching all over the place, I have not found any logical explanation as to why I'd want to buy something from someone who angered me, and whether there are actually people out there who would buy things because the advertiser totallly got them steamed.

I guess it's wishful thinking on their part.  Sort of a stalker mentality. Some advertisers thing if they keep pursuing us, to the ends of the Earth, we'll see the error of our ways and fall in love with them.

Meanwhile, we're filing restraining orders. Too bad we can't file restraining orders against most of the people who produce the most awful ads.

But I suppose I'll forgive Zuckerman, since he really didn't intent to sow these awful Internet pop up weeds.

One more pop up ad, though, and I'll pop that advertiser in the face, just you wait.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I Want To Run Into THIS Guy Next Time I'm Stuck At The Airport

This guy sure knows how to lift the
gloominess of airport terminals.  
My new favorite person is Maan Hamadeh.

I'll be in airports today. I find terminals terminally gloomy. So I wish I could take Hamadeh with me. Here's why:

He's from Lebanon, was traveling and recently ended up waiting at an airport in Prague.

According to the Daily Star of Lebanon, Hamadeh describes what happened:

"I spent 12 days in Europe without playing music, so I missed playing and became very excited about it....While we were looking for the gate to board our next flight, my friend stopped me and he pointed toward a piano, and so like a baby who has found his mother after getting lost, I ran to it."

Which made the whole scene in the Prague airport so much better. Hamadeh played various versions of
Beethoven's "Fur Elise" (you'll recognize it when you hear it) and part of the score from the movie "Titanic"

As you can see in the viral video below, you wish every airport gate had a piano player. It makes unpleasant terminals so much better. For proof, watch the face of the woman in the blue shirt behind Hamadeh in the video:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sadly, SNL Alum/Tea Party Crazy Victoria Jackson Won't Be Williamson County Commissioner

Sadly, Victoria Jackson will not become Williamson
County, Tennessee Commissioner.  
Sad news out of Tennessee last week when we learned Victoria Jackson will not become a county commissioner in Williamson County.   

Instead, two definitely conservative, but rather sane incumbents won re-election. That's no fun!

Jackson, after a short, mystifying stint on Saturday Night Live several years back, has become an, um, colorful political activist.

And her sense of style! You can see it in the photo that accompanies this post.

I think where she got hung up is she was the nuts and bolts of the important job of Williamson County Commissioner. When she was asked how she would manage traffic congestion in the county, she said she opposed Common Core and Agenda 21, which are apparently socialist/communist assaults against the fine citizens of America. 

Common Core is a controversial, but fairly dense federal education policy. Agenda 21 is a bland, voluntary United Nations policy on sustainable development.

But Jackson says they're plots to take away all of our freedoms, so what do I know?

Jackson warned the fine citizens of Williamson County that the evil Agenda 21 was on their doorstep.  There are proposals to build a bike path or two in the county, which is Agenda 21's insidious first step to take away everybody's private property. Or something like that.

Jackson does have unique opinions. Here's a partial summary from the Oh No They Didn't blog:

"She has strummed a ukulele while harmonizing Muslims 'like beheadings and pedophile weddings.' Even Bill O'Reilly laughed at her when she compared Barack Obama to 'Castro in Cuba or the guy in China, or Saddam Hussein.' She has declared, in a protest of a gay kiss on Glee, that homosexual children need to "pray the gay away' amd that there's a spiritual war in America.'"  

Well, then. I guess Jackson won't lead Williamson County in praying the gay away or protesting Muslim weddings with her ukulele.

That's a good thing, but still, the spectacle of Jackson being in public office would have been a lot funnier than anything Saturday Night Live ever produced. Wouldn't it be great if Jackson and Sarah Palin teamed up? I think Jackson should be a regular on Palin's TV network

Jackson's political career is short circuited for now, but her classic campaign ads live on. They're such fine pieces of art.

You have to watch it over and over. The guy in the "Nashville Tea Party" t-shirt waving the American flag definitely adds to this film classic:

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Here's Some Television Ads Improved With A Little Editing

Some television ads, edited and tweak for improvement. 
BoingBoing pointed out an outfit called r/CommercialCuts which takes familiar television commercials, and tweaks them a little through the power of judicious editing.  

Some sick minds there, but hilarious.

As BoingBoing notes, Digg has some excellent samples of r/CommercialCuts work. Here are two I know you'll like, if you're a sick puppy like me:  

One is a revamped Princess Cruise ad:



And you know that charming Jif Peanut Butter commercial where the kid makes his own lunch before heading off to school? That's not all he made:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

One Restaurant Owner's Response To Minimum Wage Increase: Screw The Waitstaff

One restaurant chain's solution
to a minimum wage increase?
Stiff the waitstaff.  
Out in Minnesota, they've just increased the minimum wage to $8 an hour.  That's a good thing. Minimum wages have scarcely gone up over the past decade, and why should workers live in poverty?

And why should we taxpayers pay for their public assistance when their employers should be paying them, not us?

However, some business owners, especially some people who operate restaurants, are not thrilled by this.

Of course, they're passing along the added cost to consumers, which is what a business owner normally does when expenses go up.

The worst response to the price increase came from the owner of a chain of eight Minneapolis-area restaurants who will put a fee on credit card payments by customers that would deduct about 2 percent of a server's tip.

I know that's not much, but imagine what it's doing for morale. Hey the waitstaff gets a government mandated pay raise? Let's just take it away by imposing this fee and essentially deducting your pay.

As Consumerist notes, this is all perfectly legal, but I wouldn't want to work for the loser who decided to do this.  Probably good wait staff will seek employment elsewhere, leaving the incompetent ones at this chain of restaurants. I wouldn't want to eat there.

Another restaurant is  being criticized for putting a "minimum wage fee" on the bottom of each bill a customer gets.

Yeah, it reflects a bit of a pissy attitude. He could have just increased the price of some of the restaurant's offerings a little bit. But, again, he's just passing the added cost on to the consumer, and making them aware of why there is a price increase.

It's certainly not as bad as taking away a little bit of the wait staff's tips because you're pissed off at the government for increasing the minimum wage.

However, I would have just upped the price of entrees and put a sign in the restaurant or in the menu explaining why.

Maybe some customers would be happy to see their waiter getting paid enough to live on.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Women "Buck" Trends In Criminal Assault

This is a novel weapon to use
in an assault  
Today's crime news takes us to Cromwell Township, Pennsylvania, for a distinctly rural type of assault.          

According to PennLive, two women were arguing. It got physical, so they assaulted each other with a taxidermy deer head. With antlers. 

PennLive says Stacy Varner, 47, and Glenda Snyder, 64, both face charges of simple assault.

Police did not say why the two women were fighting, but my guess it was over hunting skills. Or the relative merits of using deer heads as interior decor.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Oops: Putin Was NOT Target of Poopy Sanction By Angry Bird

See that bit of bird poop on Vladimir Putin's shoulder?
Totally fake. Somebody photoshopped into a video. 
Remember that video the other day I posted of Vladimir Putin giving a speech and bird pooped on  his suit?

Turns out it was totally fake. I and a lot of news organizations and bloggers got taken.

Britain's Independent was able to prove that somebody who is pretty damn skillful at altering videos inserted the bird poop from the sky.  

So it turns out Putin was not the victim of targeted sanctioning from a bird.

So oh, well.

I still think Putin is creepy, and wouldn't mind if a bird really did poop on him.

One can only dream.

Watermelon Fight!!

The screen sot is blurry, but it tries to show
two watermelon vendors getting wayyy too angry
Sometimes, rivalrys between two similar businesses can get tense.

Sometimes, too tense.

In China, a watermelon vendor was angered by another vendor who pulled up to his neighborhood daily on a three wheel motorcycle to also sell watermelons.

Resentment between the two watermelon salesmen grew and grew (probably in large part because the guy with the motorcycle was unlicensed.

The whole thing blew up into this ugly scene of flying watermelons and fists. I don't know whether to be horrified or amused:


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Insurance Company Pays $21,000 In Loose Change; Instantly Mocked Worldwide

Andres Carrasco says an insurance company paid the
$21,000 it owed him with loose change.  
Another day, another self inflicted PR disaster for one business.  

This time, it's the Adriana's Insurance Services Inc. of Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

According to NBC Los Angeles, a man named Andres Carrasco, 73,  reached a settlement in a lawsuit against the insurance company.

Carrasio said he had been assaulted by one of Adriana's Insurance employees, sued, then settled.

So, recently, the insurance company ponied up $21,000 to Carrasco by delivering it as loose change -- quarter, nickels, dimes, pennies in buckets, says NBC Los Angeles.

Seems awfully juvenile for an insurance agency, doesn't it? Or maybe it's just me.

Already, Adriana's is being mercelessly mocked on Yelp and other social media and review sites, so their little game probably is costing them TONS of business.

This comes a day after news broke that a Hudson, N.Y. inn had a policy that said wedding parties whose guests stayed at the inn and then wrote a negative review faced a $500 fine from the inn. 

Amid a social media storm, the owners of the inn said the policy had been put on their Web site as a joke, they forgot to take it down, and some employees mistakenly enforced the policy if it were real.

The inn's policy is gone.

But we don't know what's going on with Adriana's yet. They told NBC they aren't commenting to the media. At least not yet.

The change came in five gallon buckets and it took eight Adriana's employees to deliver them. Carrasco said he can't even lift one of the buckets of change because of a recent hernia operation.

Another side question I have is, where the hell did the insurance agency get $21,000 in coins. And don't the employees there have anything better to do than collect all that change, put it in buckets and deliver it to Mr. Carrasco?

So, if you need an insurance agency, and you might have to get a settle with them, don't go with Adriana's. Unless you have a lot of room to store loose change. And are a frequent visitor to vending machines.

Playing Lourde's "Royals" On A Trombone Until The Cows Come Home

Derek Klingenberg has a rapt audience
as he plays pop hits on his trombone.  
Derek Klingenberg often has to bring his cattle in from the prairie.  

It's a big job, but he's made it easy.

He sits on a rickety lawn chair, whips out his trombone, and plays that overplayed Lourde hit "Royals."

It works. He plays until the cows come home, literally. Not surprisingly, the video has gone totally viral and has been seen on a lot of those morning news shows as fun and fluff.

It's a totally charming video, among a lot of videos the farmer/musician has.

But watch him to the Lourde trick with the trombone. The cows seem to like it:  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Crazy Guy With Crazy Radio Show Says Obama Luring Kids From Central America as Child Soldiers

At least Alex Jones' conspiracy theories are entertaining  
There's a lot of theories and opinions about how President Obama is handling the flood of kids coming from Central America, and causing a refugee crisis in the U.S.

The most novel theory is that Obama is recruiting these kids as child soldiers who will take our guns and freedom away.

Um, right.

The guy who gives us this is Alex Jones, somebody I'm usually loathe to give attention to

He's usually given to telling us that the government is causing weather disasters to control us. and that awful things like the 9/11 attacks and the Boston Marathon bombing were "false flag" operations conducted by the U.S government to take our rights away, or something.

But his latest theory is so over the top I couldn't resist repeating it, just for laughs and giggles.

According to Jones, his buddy William Gheen,  Obama is recruiting all these kids from Central America and when they get here, he gives them Obamacare and Obamaphones, whatever those are.

That ingratiates them to Obama, and lets him build up a secret child army, like some tin pot African dictator. This army of vicious children will take all our guns and freedoms away.

Of course, I doubt even Jones believes this wacko theory, or many of the others on his scary Web site, infowars.com

As Salon noted not long ago, Jones peddles these ideas to a gullible audience and makes bundles of money from the enterprise. He's a conspiracy entrepreneur

The only really scary part for me, is how many people read and watch Jones just to laugh at the conspiracies, and home many people actually believe every word Jones says?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hotel Stops At NOTHING To Stop Bad Reviews; Imposes $500 Fines If Your Friends Hate The Place

An angry chill has descended on
the Union Street Guest House
in Hudson, NY and it has nothing
to do with winter weather.  
UPDATE: To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Union Street Guest House has rescinded its policy of fining people for negative reviews on Yelp and other online rating sites.

The owners said the whole thing was put on the web site years ago as a joke and never taken down.

Uh, right, whatever.  Now I wonder if they will ever recover from the shitstorm they created for themselves:

PREVIOUS DISCUSSION: The owners of New York State inn have discovered the obvious: If you have a draconian policy against negative reviews, you're going to get LOTS of negative reviews.

A place called the Union Street Guest House in Hudson, NY tells people that if you have a wedding in the area, and your guests stay at Union Street Guest House in Hudson,  then write a negative review about the place, you're subject to a $500 fine for each negative review, says the inn's owners

Here, let's have the inn itself explain the situation to you themselves, in all their pretentious, horrible glory:

"Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our Inn, your friends and families may not. This is due to the fact that your guests may not understand what we offer --therefore we expect you to explain that to them."

Yes, the EXPECT you to explain that to them. Like little children. To stay at this inn, apparently you have to be as pretentious as the owners.

Anyway, the inn's verbiage goes on:

"USGH and Hudson are historic. The builders here are old (but restored). Our bathrooms and kitchens are designed to look old in an artistic "vintage" way. Our furniture is mostly hip, period furniture that you would see in many design magazines. (although comfortable and functional-obvious all beds are brand new.) 

If your guests are looking for a Marriott type hotel, they may not like it here."

I already don't like it there and I haven't seen the place. The hip period furniture, as they put it, might be cool, or maybe they got them at a third rate garage sale in Schenectady, for all I know.

Do the bathrooms look old in a charming way, or are the toilets tilted, leaking and so full of rust you can establish an iron mine in the bathroom?

So here's the bottom line:

"If you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any Internet site, you agree to a $500 fine for each negative review."

And who decides if the review is actually negative?  If someone wrote, "The place was awesome, but my only complaint was one chair was slightly uncomfortable," does that earn a $500 fine?

The bigger question is, why would anyone want to stay at this inn with the policy in place? I'd be terrified one of my wedding guests would write something negative just for fun, and I'd be out $500.

Who wants to take that risk?

The inn generously (HA!) says it will rescind the fine if the review is taken off line.

As I noted, the best way to generate negative reviews is to whine that you don't want negative reviews and try to make people pay ridiculous amounts of money if they do.

I've got an idea! Why doesn't the Union Street Guest House ensure the place is comfortable and the staff is nice? I bet that would put the kabosh on negative reviews a lot faster than a fine of any dollar amount.

With news of their ridiculous fine rattling so fast around the Internet, Yelp is now rife with people saying terrible things about the Union Street Guest House. Some are kinda funny, too.

Here's one:

"Feel the power of the Internet
While you are getting wrecked
Hope it drills some sense into you
Coz this is going to be a long day for you."

Here's another good one:

"This place is actually kind of decent. Derek, who was working the front desk, had pee stains on his trousers, but I'm only deducting one star because it wasn't immediately clear whether the pee was his or someone else's.

Plus the vintage bed clothes gave me herbes, but I'm looking at that as a positive because it's one more way of getting out of having sex with my husband while his dorky cousin  Ben Reiter looks on.

There was also a super sweet chaise lounge in our room, though it smelled a touch musty. Every negative had a corresponding positive, and vice versa, hence three stars. Would I stay here again? Yes, if Derek paid me to, like last time."

Most of the hue and cry on Yelp is more along the lines of the inn taking people's free speech away, but  that only applies to the government. However, there might be a grey area on speech involving public accommodations, so we have to see if there's any lawsuits, or threats of any.

Hudson, NY has revived in recent years and now it seems like it's a great place to visit. I just might do so. But I'm sure I'll find great accommodations other than the Union Street Guest House.

Bad Monday: Putin Is Pooped And A Plane Potty Mouth

For those of you who Don't Like Mondays, here's a post with three videos that will make you feel like you have company. Or more likely, that you're having a better day than some other folks.

The first video brings us to Russia, where the country's president, Vladimir Putin, was giving a speech commemorating World War I.  As he spoke, a bird apparently decided to give its opinion of our dear old friend Vladimir.

I guess with the whole Ukraine thing, targeted sanctions against Putin are coming from all directions:



Next, we have a video shot by Mike Irving aboard a plane set for takeoff, although he documents a bit of a delay.

It seems a woman is having a very, very, very bad day, to the point where her trip is not going to go as far as the one for everybody else on the plane.

When watching this video, careful it's NSFW. Or kids. The woman puts new meaning into the term "potty mouth"

Extra props to Irving to catching the priceless looks on the faces of a mother and her young daughter toward the end of the video:



Finally, if you just don't like Mondays, and need more, here's the Boomtown Rats doing their thing from 1979: