Friday, October 31, 2014

Worst Halloween Crime News: A Telletubbie Break-In

How would you feel if this broke into
your house in the middle of the night?  
In the latest case of Halloween depravity, a Telletubbie broke into a Pennsylvania house, took leftover Chinese food from a refrigerator and dumped it into something called a "man purse."

The Teletubbie is better known as Terez S. Owens, 20, a Lehigh University student from Florida (of course, Florida, where else).

He faces a criminal mischief and disorderly conduct charge, says Lehigh Valley Live. 

The victim of the break in at first declined to press charges, but I imagine there is something disconcerting about a big yellow Teletubbie bursting into your house and dumping Chinese food into your purse or whatever.

Local police reassure us that "Not that many teletubbies get arrested."

Phew!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Champlain Valley Sunsets Are Awesome This Time Of Year

This time of year, sunsets in Vermont's Champlain Valley can be awesome.

In the late fall and early winter, the sky is often cloudy, but a sliver of clear skies forms over the lake, or near the western horizon close to the Adirondack Mountains in New York.

The result is that the setting sun will blast the clouds with a last shot of intense light before disappearing.

And you get what you see in these photos that I took Wednesday evening in St. Albans, Vermont.

(Scroll down to see them all)





























Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Homeless Guy Sees Piano On Sidewalk; Plays It: Result: Beauty

Maybe he doesn't look like he belongs in
Symphony Hall, but this guy can sure play the piano.  
There's been a mini-trend, especially in Canada, of arts groups placing old pianos in public places in cities and inviting people to stop and play them.

Such is the case in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where a homeless guy named Ryan stumbled upon one of the pianos in a park and started playing.

An organization called #OpenPianoYeg put the pianos in the streets. Founder David Rauch told the CBC: "I want really great people to play. I want really bad people to play,"

I do like the idea of putting random pianos in public places. I think they can be soothing, given the right circumstances.

Ryan apparently never had piano lessons, he's just able to play.

He also proves that you never know where you'll find talent.

See and hear for yourself:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another Amazing OK Go Video: Fun With Umbrellas This Time

An image from OK Go's latest music video for "I
Won't Let You Down."  
The group OK Go set the standard for innovative, amazing music videos back in 2010 with their Rube Goldberg inspired video for the song "This Too Shall Pass."   

They've since put out other amazing videos, including all kinds of creative uses for things, including cars that make music when driven recklessly in a certain way.  

Frankly, I'm not a huge fan of OK Go's music.

It's OK, which I suppose fits the name of the band. But their viral videos go way beyond OK and becomes truly inspiring. The members of OK Go are THE masters of amazing viral music videos. 

"This Too Shall Pass" has had more than 45 million hits on YouTube, so yeah, they are really, really viral.

I have a particular soft spot for OK Go teaming up with the Muppets for the Muppet theme song, even if the official video keeps having these little pop up messages promoting videos I have no desire to see.

Now they've got a new one, with the song. "I Won't Let You Down."   Interesting use of little scooters, and young Asian women dancing in formation. Especially as viewed from a drone.

The highlight of the video builds up toward the end, with an aerial view of a whole bunch of people opening and closing umbrellas.

It looks like it's computer generated, but it's all great synchronization, in part shot from a drone droning overhead.

Sounds dull, but it's totally not, especially as the video builds toward its ending.  It's pretty awesome.

Watch:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Over The Top Halloween House Gives Us A Bohemian Rhapsody Scare

Talk about over the top Halloween decor!  
You see a lot more Halloween decorations on and around houses than you used to years ago.

I guess people have really gotten into it.

But nobody can top the owner of a Naperville, Illinois home for Halloween enthusiasm. For the past few years, they've had epic light shows set to music.

This year's is the most spectacular yet.  Trick or treaters are being greeted by a Bohemian Rhapsody holiday scare on a grand scale.

Hat tip to my sister Lynn for alerting me to this. Watch and be afraid. Very afraid. Or at least amused:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Looking Back At This Year's Vermont Fall Foliage

Near Fairfield, Vermont.  
Fall foliage season is all but kaput in Vermont for the season.

There's still a few splashes of nice color, of course, especially in the warmer valleys and right in the heart of towns, cities and villages, where it tends to be a bit milder.

But stick season is upon us, that time of year before the snow but when the trees are all bare, all the leaves are brown and the sky is gray, and you want to go for a walk on an (almost) winters day. (Thanks, Momas and Papas!)

Near Bakersfield,
It was a great season here in Vermont, though. The foliage lasted a long time, because we didn't have a lot of wind and rain and hard frosts.

There were a a lot of sunny, warm days, and a slightly dry August and September seemed to bring out the reds and deep oranges in the trees when October came around.

As I always do, I'll post a few photos of what I came up with for images from this year's season. I'm fascinated by low evening sunlight, dark clouds and bright foliage, so we went heavy on that this year.

Enjoy! (Scroll down to see 'em all)


St. Albans, Vermont.























Pine needles and leaves floating on water,
 West Rutland Vermont 

You Can't Sweep The Floor When There's A Dog Around

A dog "helping' with an attempted clean sweep.  
Ever try cleaning the house with the "help" of Fido?  

Then I'm sure you can relate to the video, below. You might not get much done, but you will have fun not getting much done.

Watch:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Stupid Guy Wants To Secede From U.S.; Create Anti-Gay Nation Called Reagan

A bizarre man named Douglas MacKinnon
would carve out a new, conservative country
from the southern U.S. and maybe
call the new nation "Reagan" after his hero.  
I don't know whether to laugh out loud or get deep chills from the idea making the rounds by a guy named Douglas MacKinnon.

He thinks it will be a swell idea of southern states secede from the union and form a new country called "Reagan."

He's got a whole book out on the subject called "The Secessionist States of America: The Blueprint for Creating A Traditional Values Country...Now."

Yes, I know this has been tried before with tragic results, but maybe MacKinnon thinks two times is the charm.

Besides, that little matter called the Civil War in the 1860s was the North's fault, anyway, MacKinnon says, according to Right Wing Watch. 

He said greedy Northerners like President Lincoln "waged an illegal war that was in fact not declared against the South after the South basically did what we're talkin sbout in this book now in terms of peacefully, legally and constitutionally leaving the union."

Yeah, I know. Slavery is such a traditional value.

It's a bit odd that MacKinnon gets his inspiration for his new nation, called Reagan, from Abraham Lincoln, given he was a commie pinko who held the nation together despite the Civil War.

MacKinnon quotes Honest Abe to give his rationale for his new nation. "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it."

I guess he thinks a good reason to overthrow the government is because not everyone votes Republican like he does.

In MacKinnon's view, the real problem with the current state of affairs is The Gays. It's always The Gays. You can't even discriminate against or insult The Gays anymore without being forced to bake cakes for them or tell the world what great football players, it seems.

MacKinnon's solution is to secede and form a country where it's OK to Hate The Gays. That'll teach 'em!

To form his new country of Reagan, MacKinnon would start with the supposedly conservative strong holds of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

You'd think he'd include Texas, but probably not, he says,  because of all those icky brown people from Mexico coming over the border. Traditional values are white, not Hispanic, you understand.

I'm not sure what he'd do with South Beach in Florida, what with all those hideous Gays, Hispanics and Liberals. And aren't there gay bars in Atlanta? What would he do with those?  

There hasn't been uniform praise for MacKinnon's book on Amazon's customer review page.

Here's a bit of sarcasm  from somebody calling himself "Better Than Jesus," pretending to be a big fan of MacKinnon and his book: 

"As a frothing desperate, impotent, fat self-righteous 40 year old infant with a world view so simplistic it might as well have been drawn in crayon, I am constantly on the lookout for shrieking noise that confirms the divisive lunacy on which I base my sense of self.

I felt the first stirrings of an ideological erection when I read about how climate change is a communist conspiracy, and even gained some small sense of priapic emotion from wallowing in contrived paranoid fantasies about black presidents and birth certificates, but have never been able to truly achieve the climax of faux-conservative gibbering that I, and my wife-sister craved."

MacKinnon said he worked with people from Special Ops, intelligence, the military and constitutional law to gather information for his book. 

Which makes me wonder if MacKinnon wants to start some type of war to get his dream country of Reagan. This is where I spit out my Diet Coke, stop laughing at him and get my little chill.

Have you read Margaret Atwood's scary 1998 novel "The Handmaid's Tale"? It's about a future ultra conservative nation carved out from America through a civil war. In it, women are used just as vessels to create children, and to serve the household. The book explores all kinds of other extreme right wing fantasies, kind of like MacKinnon's dreaming up.

So yea, MacKinnon is a lunatic, and his proposal won't go anywhere. But to think there are quite a few people out there who agree with him is unsettling to say the least. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Gunning For The National Anthem. Literally.

Gunning for a melody: You can play a song by
shooting at these targets.  
Here's a loaded blog post, I guess both literally and figuratively.

The video at the bottom of this post shows a guy playing "The Star Spangled Banner" by shooting at targets that have different musical tones when they are hit by bullets.

I have to admit the guy's a damn good shot to pull this off.

Of course, the loaded part is, first of all the gun is loaded. Second of all, is, boy, are people going to have different reactions to this! The gun enthusiasts will say YEAH! Second Amendment, baby!!

Some of the people less enthusiastic about guns will roll their eyes at the mix of patriotism and guns.

Of course, as BoingBoing notes, you can do other songs as well, with revamped lyrics like this Smokey Robinson parody:

If you feel like lovin' guns
If you're independent
I second that amendment.

For those of you who love both guns and music, you're in luck!  You can buy these musical targets from MusicalTargets.com.

As they business tagline says: Your source for armory harmony!

The targets are labeled with the notes, say "C" or "D" and you can shoot out a song with the targets at your own practice range.

Just be sure to set this up where it's legal to shoot guns, and nobody will get hurt by a bullet in case you miss. Hey, nobody's perfect.

A Major 8 Chime Set costs just $249 and a full Double Major 16 Deluxe Set, pictured in this blog post, goes for the low, low price of $600. Operators are standing by! (Not really, but you can go to their Web site.)

Without further ado, I present you the explosive gun shot National Anthem.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Totally Horrible Woman Defaces Nature, Thinks It's Art

Casey Nocket's horrible "artwork"
in Yosemite National Park.  
Today on Gawker, I read about my new least favorite person in the world, Casey Nocket. 

I'd never heard of her until today, either. But she's apparently been traveling the nation, to some of our most beautiful national parks. She paints these horrible ugly pieces of "artwork" on rocks on scenic locations, which I guess in her mind is "improving" the look of nature.

Modern Hiker first brought news of the Wrath of Nocket to the public:

"According to her Instagram feed, Nocket has been traveling quite extensively - she has photos tagged from all over the West, including stops in Carrizo Plain National Monument, Sequoia, Bryce, Zion, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Grand Canyon, Canyonlands, Rocky Mountain and Joshua Tree National Parks."  

The only good thing about the obnoxious Casey Nocket is, she's in trouble big time. More from Modern Hiker:

"..... what Ms. Nocket is doing will not only get her some likes on Instagram, but will most likely result in a few felony vandalism charges once the Park Service catches up with her. And since, like most modern park vandals, she left a rich social media trail, it will likely only be a matter of time before that happens. Reddit already appears to be on the case."

Given the very negative attention to this, plus Nocket's apparent sudden awareness that she could be facing jail time, she took down her Instagram, Tumblr and other social media accounts.

Like that would do any good. All the right people have already seen your social media bragging, Casey, so you're screwed.

As I write this, the most recent post on the Reddit thread concerning this case is from a guy named Steve Yu, an investigator at Yosemite National Park.
More hideousness left behind by
Casey Nocket.  

He tells everyone thanks for the info, he's on the case. Yu does ask that Nocket be afforded due process, meaning we shouldn't harass her, which is fair enough.

Already, Nocket's Tumblr account is reactivated, but I agree with Modern Hiker that it has been taken over by an Internet troll who is baiting people, and Nocket is not in the picture.

Still, let's state the obvious: Nocket is a narcisstic, self-entitled, moronic horrible person who thinks what she does is soooooo much better than what nature has to offer.

I notice she did her "artwork" in acrylic paint, which is awfully hard to get rid of.

Let's get real, Casey. Even if your artwork was legal, it sucks. And why the hell do you think we'd rather see your "creepytings" drawings, as you call them, than the beauty of our national parks.

Yeah, right, Casey, you're the most glorious person on the planet.

I hope you spent lots and lots of years in prison, and then you're made to scrub and scrub and scrub all the rocks clean in the middle of 100 degree midsummer heat waves.

You're pathetic, Casey Nocket.

Two Homeowners Lose Homes To Crime, Bureaucracy? Why Must THEY Fix The Mess?

Creepy criminals "stole" Jennifer Merin's house
through deed fraud, and she's having terrible
trouble getting it back.  
Two items in the news recently made me ask an obvious question:

When somebody does something incredibly stupid or criminal and forces the sale of a house that was not meant to be sold, why is it the real, legit homeowner who has to clean up the mess?  

Here's the first case:

A grifter faked a deed and moved into a house in Queens that isn't his, and settled in, says the New York Post. 

The real owner of the house found out about this pretty quickly, but now it's become a struggle to evict this jerk from the house.

You'd think that as soon as everyone figured out that the grifter, Darrell Beatty, 49, and his sons, Darrell Kash Beatty, 25 and DeShaun Beatty, 22 faked the deed, it would be a simple matter of kicking them out and letting the real owner, Jennifer Morin back in.

But this crime happened in February and Morin is still struggling to get the creeps out, says the Post.

The illegal trio have stolen and/or trashed family heirlooms, such as photos, a circa-1920 bed frame, vintage suitcases and classic television sets.

Merin first figured out this was going on when the February water bill arrived, but not until May, and there was a huge spike in water usage on the bill.

She called the cops when she went to the house to find these jerks living there.  But police said nobody answered the door when they showed up, so they told her to take the matter to court.

The fake deed said Beatty bought the place from somebody named Edith Moore, but Merin's family never heard of such a person.

The Post tried to call Beatty for an explanation, but obviously he wasn't going to talk to any snooping reporters.  A reporter tried to talk to one of the sons at the house, but he refused and sicced a pit bull on the questioner.

Says the Post: "A Finance source said the case is being jointly investigated by the Queens District Attorney's office and the city sheriff, and that it 'could be part of a larger ring' of deed scammers.'

Beatty has not been charged."

Um, why has it taken so long to investigate, since the paper trail is right there and obvious, and why hasn't Beatty been charged?

You'd think it would be quick and easy to get Merin back into her house, but you'd think wrong apparently.

Since the case is still under investigation, Merin has little choice but to conduct eviction proceedings.

A judge approved the eviction earlier this year, but Beatty now claims "health problems" so the eviction was delayed.

Oh, come ON! Who cares if he has health problems? (I doubt he really does.) He committed a crime, he needs to go. His dopey sons can take care of Beatty's so-called 'health problems."

The city of New York has beefed up scrutiny of deed transfers and trained staff to flag discrepencies to detect fraud.

At least 100 deeds involving 300 properties are now being investigated as possible frauds. Which means there might be 100 Jennifer Merins out there in New York also getting screwed by criminals who are basically stealing houses.

By the way, judging from the photo in the New York Post, Merin isn't exactly the youngest lady in the world. Even more reason to be outraged. Let's torture an old woman through bureaucracy! What fun!

Jeez!

The second case of epic housing screw ups was in Norcross, Georgia.  
Xui Lui and her four year old daughter almost
lost their condo because she didn't pay a tax
bill the city never sent her.  

There, a woman named Xui Lui almost lost the condo where she lives with her four year old daughter. Seems she never paid a $95 tax bill a few years ago, so the city auctioned off the house.

And why didn't she pay this bill? She never knew the bill existed, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  

The city kept sending the bill to a nonexistent address, and the bill kept coming back to City Hall. Had she been aware of the bill, she would have paid it.

All of Lui's other, more expensive tax bills went to the correct address and she paid them all on time, and in full, so it's not like she was blowing this off.

She didn't know they were auctioning off her condo because she never received notice that it was happening. Next thing Liu knew, the house wasn't hers anymore and she was being evicted.

Luckily, reporters got wind of this, and the city of Norcross, under pain of really bad publicity, had to fix this. But of course they had to take the condo away from the people who thought they bought a condo, which must have been awkward and infuriating to them.

They are making Liu pay a $300 late fee on the tax bill. I guess the greedy city decided that due to their "largesse" of owning up to their horrible mess-up, they have to make Liu pay some how.

You'd think they'd waive the fee given the fear and worry they inflicted on Liu, but uh-uh. Gotta get that revenue no matter what.

I have a suggestion for the city of Norcross. If you're going to auction off somebody's house, maybe you can tell them in advance? In person? And maybe get tax bill addresses right?



  

 m 
Modal Trigger
Jennifer Merin looks at some of her possessions that were dumped in her garage of her family home.Photo: Helayne Seidman
A Finance source said that the case is being jointly investigated by the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the city sheriff and that it “could be part of a larger ring” of deed scammers.
Beatty has not been charged.
he extraordinary theft has jolted city bureaucrats.
“That case is what changed the dynamic in the Department of Finance of how we process deed transfers,” city Sheriff Joseph Fucito, whose office executes evictions and probes deed fraud, told The Post.
For years, filing a fake deed transfer was easy. The legal documents can be found online, filled out with only basic details, then stamped by a notary public.
“The old policy was designed to be customer friendly. It’s very hard to be customer friendly and super vigilant at the same time,” Fucito said.
Since the Merin case, staffers have been retrained to flag discrepancies, such as unusually low sale prices or suspect businesses, and personal information is checked against previously filed city records.
City property owners can also sign up for a new Finance Department service that alerts them if a change is made to their deed.
Since June, the new policies have red-flagged more than 500 deed transfers. While many were found to contain legitimate filing errors, at least 100 deeds impacting 300 properties are now being investigated as possible frauds, Fucito said.
Often they involve crooked attorneys and title companies, he said.
“We want to stem the tide of fraudulent filings,” the sheriff said.
With the criminal probe ongoing, Merin has little recourse but to try to evict the Beattys in court.
After Darrell Beatty failed to appear in August, a judge approved an eviction, but it was stayed last week when Beatty claimed he had health problems.
He is due back in Queens Housing Court on Tuesday.
In court documents, Darrell Beatty says he rented the house from a “Khalid Moore,” with an option to buy, and that he paid $10,000 in rent to Moore.
On Friday, The Post confronted DeShaun Beatty outside the house. He refused to answer questions, walked in and shut the door, ordering his pit bull to guard the entrance.
Through the windows, the living and dining rooms appeared mostly bare, with a few sections of modern sofas and a nearly empty bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon sitting on a shelf.
A four-tiered Baccarat crystal chandelier that Merin said had been hanging in the living room was gone.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Scary Shooting At Canada's Parliament Building

A street being cordoned off in Ottawa this morning.  
In a story now unfolding, shots were fired in and around Canada's Parliament building in Ottawa.   

I don't picture Canada as a hot spot for this kind of crime or even possibly a terror attack, but these things can happen anywhere, unfortunately.

People in Ottawa near Parliament Hill have been told to stay off the streets and away from windows.

This is just two days after a soldier in Quebec was killed and another injured in a hit and run incident that the government says was a terror attack perpetrated by a jerk who had embraced radical Islam.   

Here's a scary video, taken by a Globe and Mail reporter, of an exchange of gunfire in the Parliament building:

Another GREAT Use For Raid Bee And Wasp Killer

Works great on
convenience store
robbers, too!  
I don't usually don't do too many product endorsements in this blog, but I'll make an exception: Raid wasp and hornet killer works great.    

I've had good success with it with the wasp next that keep appearing in my toolshed. But a woman in Pennsylvania found another great use for the product, though the makers of Raid probably don't recommend this.

According to television station WJAC in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a woman walked into the CSI Coalfield Mini Market  in Berlin, Pennsylvania and demanded that store clerk Annabelle Miller hand over all the cash in the register.

Miller wasn't particularly in the mood to hand over the money, but what was she going to do? She wasn't sure if the robber was armed, and Miller herself didn't have a gun or anything like this.

But she wanted to get rid of the robber anyway. Miller had a can of Raid wasp and hornet killer on the counter, and apparently she figured since it worked on annoying wasps, she could try it on annoying robbers.

I'm happy to report Raid wasp and hornet killer works great on ridding stores of annoying robbers. Miller sprayed the robber in the face, who fled, without cash.

In the brief video you see at the bottom of this post, you can see how casually Miller sprayed the Raid. "Oh, a slighly annoying wasp. Maybe I should get rid of it."

Raid wasp and hornet killer is kind of toxic, (Duh! It kills wasps) so the warning label on the can urges you to try not to get the stuff on you. So the robber is probably pretty sick.

The Material Safety Data Sheet said the product can cause drying or defatting of skin, irritation to the skin, nose, throat and respiratory tract, and aspiration into the lungs can cause severe health effects.

According to WJAC: "Miller described the woman as having a deep voice, long brown hair and thick eyebrows. She said she wouldn't be surprised if the woman also has some burns on her face."

Police also suggest that store clerks not fight back the way Miller did, because said clerks can get shot and all by nasty robbers. But in this case it worked.

Wasp season is over where I live in Vermont, so I thought I don't need Raid wasp and hornet killer for awhile. But I think I'll pick up a can of it at the store today, in case somebody breaks into the house.

Here's the spray video from the store:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

They're Rioting Over Pumpkins?

These people are rioting because they got drunk
at a Keene N.H. pumpkin festival.  
The Philly.com headline said it best:

"It's the Great Pumpkin Riot of 2014, Charlie Brown!"

Yep, you might have heard about that big riot this past weekend in Keene, N.H. at the annual pumpkin festival in town.   Something like 30 people were hurt, and 84 arrested, says the Boston Globe.

People threw full beer bottles, liquor bottles, rocks and pumpkins at police and each other.

Police responded with tear gas, riot gear and arrests.  All this at a friggin' pumpkin festival!

Most of the rioter were white college age students. You know how that demographic just LOVES social media, so they posted their derring-do on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Of course, police are combing over these social media sites like pre-teen girls searching for every bit of info and gossip on pop music sensation One Direction. Of course, police are looking for rioters to arrest, not teeny bopper singing groups.

It's safe to say last year's Pumpkin Fest went better that the one last weekend.  For one thing, the 2013 version featured no riots. And in 2013, they set a world record by having 30,851 carved and lighted jack-o-lanterns at one place at one time.

This year, they might have been trying to set the world record for most beer bottles thrown at police.

These people in Ferguson, Missouri are rioting
because an unarmed black teenager was
shot to death by a cop.  
Or the most people stuffed into one backyard. By one estimate there were 4,000 people or so in the yard, and thats the place where the trouble seems to have started.  

Talking Points Memo, citing lots of Tweets out there, also brought up some biting differences in perspective surrounding the white rioters of Keene and the black rioters of Ferguson, Missouri back in August.

One person Tweeted unrest in Ferguson was brought on by the shooting of an unarmed black teenager, while the disturbances in Keene came about because of the availability of pumpkins (not to mention booze.)

Another meme going around shows photos of black demonstrators in Ferguson as "thugs," "animals" and "destroying their community" while the white rioters in Keene are merely "rowdy," "mischievous" and "booze filled revelers."

Wesley Lowery Tweeted: "Don't these people have jobs? Where are the white fathers? What will end this corrosive culture of violence?!"

He has a point: I don't like people rioting for any reason. It just doesn't advance the cause. Any cause. It just turns people off.  And the morons that looted and burned businesses in Ferguson are just plain scum.

But there does seem to be a racial divide between reasons behind the riots

Blacks seem to riot when unarmed African-American teenagers are shot, when too many people say the "N" word too many times, when blatant discrimination gets to be too much.

Whites tend to riot when their favorite sports team loses, or win their sports team wins, or they want to let off steam after a surfing competition, or the want to (pumpkin) spice up a Jack 'O Lantern festival.
At least some very nice Keene State College students
volunteered to clean up the mess the day
after riots at the town's pumpkin festival.  

Another embarrassing thing is maybe, at least in this one incident, all us anti-militarization types might have been mistaken when we said local police don't need to be armed to the teeth like a huge army.

They still don't, in my opinion, but the Great Keene Pumpkin Riot of '14 put a chink in that argument.

I guess Keene Police are having the last laugh. A month or so ago, Stephen Colbert mocked Keene for getting all kinds of riot gear, maybe in case trouble broke out at the pumpkin festival.

Back in September, Colbert mocked: "Keene, N.H. obtained a surplus $286,000 BearCat armored vehicle, which they said they needed...since Keene currently hosts several large public functions to include an annual pumpkin festival."

One bright note:  The Boston Globe reported that Keene State College students returned to the scene Sunday to clean up the mess, which is nice.

I'm just glad nobody rioted because they were upset that their mess had been cleaned up.

Huge Flames, Dense Smoke, Explosions. No Worries, I'll Go In There And Get The Guy

The entire city of Fresno, California is looking
for the man in the blue Dodgers cap who
dashed into a flaming house and
carried a 73 year old man to safety.  
UPDATE:

The guy who rescued the man from this fire has been found. His name is Thomas Artiago, and the man he rescued have been reunited, says KFSN in Fresno.

KFSN reports Artiago "remains humble about the experience, saying he wasn't acting bravely or even courageously. He just acted.

'It was just an instinct, you know,' he said. 'Instinct, you see someone and help out people.'""

 PREVIOUS DISCUSSION:

Authorities are on the lookout for a guy who took something precious from a California home.

They're not going to arrest him, or charge him with any crimes. They just want to find the right person to thank.

The "thing" this guy took from the house was a 73 year old man who was on oxygen.

The house was flaming, big time, and filled with dense smoke. Explosions rattled around inside. The fire department wasn't there yet. 

You'll see it in the video at the bottom of this post, but nobody dared go into that conflagration to get the poor guy out. It was super hot. The explosions weren't helping. But some guy in a Dodgers cap raced in and got the man.

A dramatic video shot by a woman named Beth Lederach, who was driving by, saw the smoke, called 911 and then started filming.

"The rescuer appeared to have 'come out of nowhere,' Lederach said. 'He just calmly walked right in there and came walking right back out with this guy,'" says the Fresno Bee. 
Police believed the rescuer stopped by a hospital after the incident to be treated for smoke inhalation. Then he disappeared.

The 73 year old guy, Robert Wells is going to be OK, too. He suffered from smoke inhalation, which isn't exactly too surprising. But he's on the mend.

"I wasn't going fast enough, so a guy picked me up and carried me out there. He was kind of in a half run," Wells told television station KFSN. 

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart, that I made it out," Wells told KFSN, hoping the rescuer was watching.

Here's the dramatic video:

Monday, October 20, 2014

How To Move A Couch From A Third Floor Apartment

A novel way to move a couch.  
What a pain in the neck!

It's moving day and you have to get the huge sofa out of a third floor apartment. The stairs are creaky and narrow and probably unsafe.

What to you do?

Here's the solution in the video, below:


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Video: Arctic Fox Brutally Attacks Man!!

Watch what a fox like this one does to his victim.  
The headline from the blog Nothing To Do With Arbroath says it all: Watch the "vicious Arctic fox attempt to eat man alive!!  

Spoiler: You will certainly NOT be grossed out or horrified if you watch this video:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Woman Jailed For Heinous Crime Of Not Maintaining Her Lawn Adequately

Does this messy yard mean the homeowner
should go to jail? A Tennessee city thinks so.  
The property and landscaping Nazis continue to run amok.

My evidence? A woman in Lenoir City, Tennessee was jailed because she did not keep up with her yardwork, says television station WVLT in Knoxville. 

Karen Holloway was initially sentenced to five days in jail but a judge "generously" reduced it to six hours.

She'd been cited by Lenoir City officials who first gave her a warning, but then, when the lawn wasn't cleaned up to their satisfaction, sentenced her to jail.

WVLT quotes Holloway:

"'With my husband going to school and working full time, me with my job, with one vehicle, we were trying our best,' she said.

Holloway, who has two kids still at homes, says she'll be the first to admit this yard needed some attention. But she feels the city has gone too far by imposing jail time." 

Ya think? Sure,  it's a bit annoying to see your neighbors bushes and trees overgrown, as Holloway admits. You want the neighborhood to look nice, but jeez, is putting a person in jail for a sloppy yard the best use of resources in the fine community of Lenoir City?

Apparently, Judge Terry Vann thought so, but he's not talking to the press to elaborate on that point. Code enforcement and police aren't talking about this either.

Maybe they're embarrassed?

Holloway has a reasonable question: "Why would you put me in jail with child molesters, and people who've done real crimes, because I haven't maintained my yard?"

"I feel like I'm being bullied."

I'm a gardener, and judging from the photos taken when Holloway was cited, this property didn't seem like a total disaster to me.  It was indeed messy. The lawn needed mowing, a lot of vines needed to be removed from the house and the shrubs needed tons of trimming and shaping,  but I've frequently seen much worse, and I've cleaned up much worse.

I bet I could have gotten the property in fine shape in one afternoon.

If the city was that worried about how messy the Holloway yard was, they could have saved a lot of money and angst by hiring some teenager to clean up the property. True, Holloway could have done the same, but still, jail time? She could have spent the time in jail doing her landscaping.

As is often the case with these lawn care crises, Holloway says she didn't really get due process. She said she was never read her rights nor told she could have a lawyer with her.

Holloway offered to do five days of community service, but the judge was insistent on jail. Six hours it was. "This opens a floodgate to everybody in Lenoir city being put in jail for silly things," she said.

There have been a surprising number of people who reacted hysterically to perceived violations of what Were Supposed To Do with our property.

Last year, the idiotic city of Miami Shores, Fla. made homeowners remove a meticulously maintained vegetable garden from their front lawn because apparently bland expanses of lawn is much more interesting, useful and beautiful than gardens.

Two years ago, a homeowner's association in Denver went ballistic because a three year old girl drew pictures with chalk on a sidewalk. Because people had to put up with the artwork until the next rainstorm, which probably arrived the next day. Oh, the suffering!

And on and on it goes.

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Guy Named L'eto Does Impossible Things With His Body When He Dances.

I don't know how this guy, named L'eto, can
move his body the way he does.  
There was a big hip hop event in Amsterdam back in August called Summer Dance Forever.   

It was a big ta-do for the hip hop world.  Among the many events were dance competitions, and a lot of people just KILLED it out there with their moves.

But nobody can beat a guy named L'eto, who you can watch in the video, below. A lot of the video looks like stop action, but from everything I can tell, it's all real, with L'eto actually managing to give us optical illusions with his body

I haven't been able to find out much about L'eto on line, but GAWD I hope we see more of him in the future. He's amazing. Even if the dance moves and the music aren't your style, it's mesmerizing.

And if the video at the bottom of this post isn't enough, here's a web site with more of his videos. 

Watch the video to see for yourself.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Somebody Stole 18 Tons of Crisco. I'm Trying To Solve The Crime

 
Somebody really, really wants to grease the skids. Or set a world's record in making bisquits or pies or something.  

I say that because, according to the St. Petersburg Tribune, somebody stole 18 tons of Crisco.

According to the article, somebody stole a tractor trailer containing 36,000 pounds of the stuff. The truck had been parked in St. Petersburg. Where it is now is a mystery.

I'm here to help, though!

I did a little digging around and St. Petersburg Police are free to use the theories I have outlined below to nab their Crisco culprit.

I saw one web site where they listed a whole bunch of alternative uses for Crisco, so maybe the people who stole the stuff saw the same info on line.

One suggestion is use Crisco on candle molds. My conspiracy theory is Yankee Candle stole the truck full of Crisco to help with production of its Christmas product line.

You can also use Crisco to remove lipstick stains from clothes. Maybe a posse of men who were cheating on their wives stole the truck to get the lipstick off their shirt collars, you know, the ones left there by their mistresses.

Apparently, you can also use Crisco to make face paint makeup. Just use two tablespoons of corn starch, one tablespoon of Crisco and add food coloring. Maybe a weird gang of creepy clowns that have been stalking the streets of Bakersfield, California stole the Crisco for their makeup.

Worth a call to Bakersfield Police, maybe?

Crisco is also handy if you want to remove gum that's stuck in your hair. Here's a thought: Perhaps some gum chewing heavy metal bands have had some nasty mishaps lately and needed a little Crisco help?

One more use for Crisco is to smear it on your snow shovel, so the snow slides right off instead of sticking to it. Amid fears of another rough winter, maybe some hardware stores are pre-smearing snow shovels with Crisco as an added enticement for people to buy them.

Anyway, those are my leading theories as to what happened. St. Petersburg Police investigators are free to contact me if they have questions.

I'm just trying to take a bite out of crime, dontcha see?

I Have No Idea How Driver Survived This Worst. Crash. Ever.

A still from the dash cam video. And this
is only the first impact in the crash. Yikes!  
A dash cam video has emerged from Belgium which shows a Ford Focus zipping across a bunch of highway lanes to reach an exit the driver wanted to reach.

It ended very, very badly, given all the trucks around.  The car violently hit a semi, and another semi then ran the remnants of the car over.

Amazingly, the driver survived, according to the web site Carscoops. 

Carscoops said the Belgian news station HLN interviewed the driver, who broke two vertebrae, shattered her hand and went into a coma after the crash. She is now reported to be "recovering exceptionally well."

I never say people deserve to suffer such injuries, and the driver of this car didn't. But still, GAWD was she stupid to drive the way she was.

I also feel sorry for the truck driver who had the dash cam video running. I bet he was sure the crash killed the woman in the car.

When she fully recovers and gets another car to drive, I bet she'll be a LOT more careful when entering and exiting highways.  I think we can all learn that lesson from watching the video.

Here's the extremely scary video.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

N.H. Man Thinks Candidate Will Lose Because She Is "Ugly As Sin"

Steve Vaillancourt thinks Marlinda Garcia is hot. Sigh.
 
Call me naive, but I think most of us vote for candidates for office based on how closely their views match ours.

But New Hampshire State Rep. Steve Vaillancourt has other ideas. He really believes it's a beauty contest. A literal one.

Two women are vying for a seat in New Hampshire's Second Congressional District: Republican Marlinda Garcia and Democrat Annie Kuster.

In his NH Insider Blog, Vaillancourt chose the creepiest way possible to describe why he thinks Garcia will win and Kuster will lose.

Here's what he says:

"In New Hampshire's second congressional district, if I may be so bold as to speak the truth, Republican Marilinda Garcia is one of the mot (sic) attractive women on the political scene anywhere, not so attractive as to be intimindating, (sic) but truly attractive." 

He goes on to talk about Garcia's Democratic opponent.

"Let's be honest. Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is as ugly as sin? And I hope I haven't offended sin."

Alrighty, then. I guess this election is settled. At least if this were the Miss America pageant and Vaillancourt was the judge.

I don't think Vaillancourt has the hots for Garcia, because he's openly gay. He just seems to be creepy, mysogynist and catty.

As I understand it, here's Vaillancourt's rules for women considering a career in politics:

Be attractive, but not so attractive as to scare away horny men.

If you're not attractive, immediately give up politics and live out the rest of your life in a cave in the remotest areas of New Hampshire's White Mountains. 

To determine whether you are attractive or not, submit your photo to Vaillancourt, since he's apparently the ultimate judge in these matters.

The Huffington Post reports that to her credit, Garcia said she doesn't exactly take kindly to Vaillancourt's analysis, as it's sexist and all. Says Garcia:

"State Rep. Vaillancourt's recent comments about Rep. Ann Kuster are sexist and have absolutely no place in political discourse. Both Rep. Kuster and I have experienced this unfortunate reality of being a woman in politics. I hope that as time moves forward and more female candidates run for political office around the country, people will focus on the content of our ideas rather than what we wear and how we look."

Good luck with that, Marilinda.  With the large numbers of women in politics these days, I'm still stunned by how many people praise or criticize these politicians' looks, rather than praise or criticize their viewpoints.

For instance, there's lots to praise or criticize Hillary Clinton about, but to this day I keep hearing about her supposedly unattractive pantsuits, as if that matters when she's discussing Middle Eastern diplomacy.

And I recall talking to a few guys back in 2008 who said they were voting for McCain/Palin over Obama because Sarah Palin was quote, unquote, "hot."

By contrast, too bad Palin's brain is so cold, due to it's lack of intellectual firepower.

For what it's worth, Manchester, New Hampshire television station WMUR says latest polls give a slight edge to Garcia over Kuster. But the race is close between Garcia, a Tea Party favorite, and incumbent Democrat Kuster.

My guess is New Hampshire voters will decide based on the two candidates' politics, despite the um, helpful, guidance from Vaillancourt.