Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve Rocking With The Worst Music Videos EVER

This guy wants to invade your space. Or something.  
This time of year, we tend to get the best and worst of everything in the ending year listicles.

I've decided to do something slightly different, only because I'm a sadistic, horrible person who wants to torture people, including myself.

I've found some of the worst music videos EVER. Hey, sometimes pain is fun.

Music videos are still super popular, but now everyone watches them on YouTube, since MTV hasn't played music videos in eons.

All this accumulation of music videos over more than three decades means we have TONS of candidates for worst ever. Let's start with one titled, appropriately enough, "Worst Music Video Ever."

It's a charming little Swedish ditty:



It's nice to see that everyone in the above video found ways to enjoy Quaaludes. The dancing talent is lacking, to say the least, but they sure do like they are enjoying themselves.

Love the hair style and the studly unbuttoned white shirt on the guy lead singer, too.  What a, um, hottie.  Ladies, calm down please. Oh, you're fleeing the room and not swooning over this guy.

My mistake.

The next video is much more spectacular than the previous one. This might be my favorite. It's got   everything going for it: Cheap effects that could give viewers epileptic fits, talentless musicians, bad singing and the most cringe-inducing lyrics imaginable.

"I vant to be your space invader." the guy with the interesting mustache uniforms us in a Russian accent.

Invade somebody else's space, please.

On the bright side, I think the angry looking woman with the pink hair in the video was the inspiration for Lady Gaga. Thank goodness Lady Gaga seems much happier than the woman in this video.

Then again, I bet Lady Gaga would be EXTREMELY unhappy if she was forced to perform in this video. She's probably smart to stick with Tony Bennett.

Here's our Russian hotties:




A music video cliche involves motorcycles and hot, hot babes.  This next one's got it.

Watch how she swings those killer hips! Yowza! We got it here in this video, so get up and DANCE!!!:




Next, this one must have been popular with somebody, since it got a zillion hits. It's a young lady named Rebecca Black singing "Friday."

It's perfect! An indulged teenager singing through an awful version of Autotune.

And the deep, thoughtful lyrics! Here's a sample:

"It's Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everbody's lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend.

AND...

"Partyin' partyin' Yeah!
Partyin' partyin' Yeah!
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin' forward to the weekend."




At least she has a sense of humor about it.  More than two years after the song and video came out, Black released a video in which she mocks herself while watching the "Friday" video. Still, she says it was worth it.

I'm sure it did, since it somehow made her a boatload of money.

Finally, we harken back to the Golden Age of music videos, to the 1980s, with a video, or at least a song that you are probably familiar with.

I had to dredge it up. It's "You Spin Me Round" by Dead or Alive. The lead singer is a cheap knockoff of androgynous Boy George from Culture Club's heyday. He vamps like Madonna with a really, really bad hangover.

And his soaring, "I want your Looo--uh-uh-uh OVVV!!!!!"  sounds to me like Howard Stern imitating Luciano Pavarotti gargling.

Here's to starting New Years on a sour but hilarious note.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bully Bad Cops In New York Assault Dancing Prankster Because They Can

Prankster is caught dancing near cops. Cops are
not amused, so they assault him. And will
probably get away with it.  
The other day I complained about some of New York's finest really overreacting to protesters calling for reforms in some police practices.

After all, since they are part of government, and this is democracy, they shouldn't be immune from criticism, like some of the spokes people of the police unions seem to think.

Some cops, a minority of them to be sure, are so arrogant they think they are above everything.

The latest example: A prankster named Alexander Bok took up a challenge by comedian and talk show host Ellen Degeneres to dance behind unsuspecting people to see what their reaction is when they discovered what was going on.

Bok did this behind a couple of New York City police officers and the cops got all abusive. Calling him names, and trying to come up with things to arrest Bok for, even though he didn't do anything illegal.

Eventually, six police officers accumulated around Bok. Like we need six police officers to yell at a guy for dancing near them? What a terrible threat a goofy dancer is!

Frustrated they couldn't arrest him they tell him to take "a fucking walk" then shove Bok to the ground. That's assault. But cops, at least some of them in New York, and probably elsewhere, think they are above the law.

They're goons, plain and simple.

Look, I get it. Cops have a difficult, dangerous job. And a few asshats, people much worse than the cops in Bok's video, seem to think hurting or killing cops is the solution to reports of police abuse.

And the cops in New York are understandably on edge because of that jerk that ambushed and killed two of them earlier this month.  I can see why they wanted to make sure Bok was not a threat. Asking him what he was doing is OK.

But you'd think, once the cops realized Bok was just goofing, to let it go and get on with their jobs.

The cops in the video are totally not helping their cause if they think they can convince us we shouldn't criticize them.  Bullying only increases resentment. Don't they train you to de-escalate tension whenever possible so somebody doesn't get hurt? Including the police?

If they keep this up, maybe people will start to be afraid to call the cops when there's trouble. Or is that what they want, somehow?

Some people in the comments section of the YouTube video said Bok shouldn't have danced near the cops, because he should have known they might turn into assholes.

But that's the point. The cops are not above the law. So I'm glad Bok did this and somebody got it on film. I'm glad the video is going viral. I bet, or at least Ellen Degeneres features it on her show pretty soon.

The more people know about the bad cops out there among the good ones, the more likely the scummy cops can get weeded out and the good ones can go about their work.

If there's more to this video in which Bok threatened or assaulted the cops and that was edited out the video, I'll update this. But I don't think Bok did that.

Here's the video, in which people react well enough to his dancing, until he encounters the jerky cops.

Is Your Dog Depressed When You Leave For A Few Hours

Mike the Intern leaves for work, in this dog's eye
view of his departure. The dog is inconsolable
after Mike leaves. 
A guy who identified himself as "Mike the Intern" on YouTube recently decided to attach a GoPro camera to his dog to see what the puppy did when he leaves him alone at home.

The results, predictably, are sad. After Mike leaves, the dog frantically goes back and forth between the door and windows, looking for Mike.

Then the dog gives up, finds a pile of Mike's clothes to smell, and howls and weeps over the "fact" that Mike is never coming back, and the dog's loyal companion is gone forever. The betrayal!

Mike says he never wants to leave the dog again.

But really, I think Mike can relax, as long as he doesn't leave his dog alone for an entire eight or ten hour day.

The dog probably settled down after the video ended. That part is probably not show in the video which you can see at the bottom of this post.

I kind of have a sense of what happens with dogs when we leave them.

Sometimes, Jeff goes to work, then I leave, but not really. Instead, I'll end up working in the yard and hear what goes on in the house.

The two dogs are inconsolable at first. Jackson, the younger, small dog is the most heartrending. He howls as if suffering intensely, alone to die of thirst in starvation in the cold, lonely house.

But later, things calm down, and I'll sometimes sneak in or peek in the window to see what's going on.

By this time, Tonks and Jackson are either sleeping peacefully, or exploring the house to see and smell what has changed since yesterday, or they're playing with their toys, or they're by the window watching birds fly by or trucks rumble by the house out on the road.

It turns out the behavior I see in Tonks and Jackson is pretty typical for dogs, much to my relief. Mike's dog is probably the same.

Dogs love human companionship, especially if their human companions are kind and feed them and like to play with them. So when the dog's human leaves, it's heartbreaking for the dog.

But then they recover, and go about their day. Of course, they're very relieved to see you come home, which is why we get a boisterous greeting when you do get back home. "You're back! I thought you were gone forever! But you're back! Oh joy! Let's play! Can I have some food? Now?  Wait, let's go outside and play first!

 If you leave every day at 8 a.m. and come home at, say 2 p.m., the dog will miss you while you're gone, but not as much as you leave for a longer period of time.

If you go away for an extended period of time, days, weeks or months, the dog might go through a grieving period, but adjust. But the dog will be especially happy when you return home. They're creatures of habit.

Some dogs get separation anxiety, but for the most part, it's fine to leave your dogs alone for a little while, provided they're in a safe place. But I still feel guilty as hell when I leave my two "kids."

The following video makes me feel a bit more guilty:

Monday, December 29, 2014

End Of Year Time Waster: 2014's Best News Bloopers

During a nasty southern California brush fire, a reporter
asked the shirtless guy about evacuations. The shirtless
guy asked the reporter out on a date. (She declined)  
Television news is often done live. And there's a LOT of television news outlets around the world.

Which leaves ample opportunity for news bloopers.

So, we present the best of the world's best bloopers.

You can pick out your favorites. Mine include the man on the street responding to a question about how he likes the winter weather.

His response: "It's the Justin Bieber of seasons. It's kind of cute and exciting when it first starts out, but now it's a bit obnoxious and should just stay in Canada."

There's the interview with the guy who hosted a HUGE rave at his house that drew lots of cops and the reporter asks him to explain himself. Pointing to an unconscious kid on the floor, he says, "I didn't make this kid pass out on my floor."
The audio failed in this newscast but the anchor
still managed to get a dig in at the competition.  

I like the Fox News reporter who, while reporting on college basketball said it was part of the NAACP. Uh, no.

There's lots of mishaps involving swear words and falls into water. There's the two men with, shall we say, opposing viewpoints who get into it near the end of the video.

And the video concludes with a delicious newscast with audio problems.

Again you can pick your favorites. There's so many.

Here's the video:

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cops' Oversensitivity To Criticism Rolls On, Making Our Eyes Roll

Cops turn their backs on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
as the mayor eulogies slain cop Rafael Ramos.  
Over the weekend, cops in New York turned their backs to the city's mayor, Bill de Blasio, gave a eulogy for NYPD officer Rafael Ramos, who, along with Officer Wenjian Liu, were murdered in cold blood by a deranged guy with a beef against the police.

Earlier this month,  Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins wore a shirt during pre-game warmups that read, "Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford III."

The shirt was in reference to a kid with a toy gun that looked like a real one who was recently shot dead by Cleveland Police, and a Walmart shopper who was holding an air gun (but not menacing anyone.)

And predictably, some of the police union spokespeople practically had strokes being upset over some pretty mild protests.Judging from the reaction by the police union in Cleveland, you'd think Hawkins bombed police headquarters or something.

In the case of de Blasio, police union officials say the mayor has "blood on his hands" for even suggesting there could be some police re-training to prevent deaths like that of Ed Garner, who died in an apparent chokehold during an arrest by the NYPD.

A grand jury declined to indict an officer involved in Garner's death, prompting protests and calls for reform or retraining by de Blasio.

In New York, the pushback from police is at least understandable, since two officers were senselessly murdered. But still, showing such disrespect at a funeral to me is over the top. Especially since de Blasio isn't exactly out there saying all cops are scum.

He's just saying that there might be a problem if people are dying in violent encounters with police over relatively minor crimes.

I don't have any trouble whatsoever with police reacting to, or criticizing news of deaths at the hands of police. It just that some of these protests, particularly the one over Hawkins in Cleveland are really over the top.
The local police union in Cleveland, Ohio
reacted with over-the-top outrage
when Cleveland Browns wide receiver
Andrew Hawkins wore this protest warm
up shirt before a recent NFL game.  

Police Patrolman Union President Jeff Follmer quickly sent out the following statement:

"It's pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law. They should stick to what they know beest on the field. The Cleveland Police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology."

Well, then.

As usual with this kind of fake outrage over a protest like Hawkins' there's some intellectual fallacies here.

"They should stick to what they know best on the field."

So what you're saying is since Hawkins is a football player, he should offer opinions only about football and nothing else?  So does Jeff Follmer have no opinions other than those that have something to do with policing?

I also saw no evidence that Hawkins denies that police protect and serve the Cleveland Browns stadium, so where did Follmer get that?

Anyway, no apology was forthcoming. The Cleveland Browns organization and the NFL said the police are free to express their opinions, and players like Hawkins can express theirs, as long as they do it in a responsible manner.

Then Hawkins unintentionally made the police union guy look incredibly stupid when Hawkins eloquently explained his protest and his shirt to ESPN after the game.

Hawkins basically said a call for justice should not offend or disrespect anybody, that he respects every police officer who "protects and serves all of us with honesty, integrity and the right way."

"My wearing the t-shirt was a stance against wrong individuals doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons to innocent people."

He went on to say that his mother taught him as a youngster the unfortunately reality was there are bad police officers scattered among all the good ones.

Hawkins says he gets it that officers must make snap decisions under difficult circumstances, that it can't always work out perfectly and it's a hard situation to be in.

"But if the wrong decision is made, based on pre-conceived notions or the wrong motives, I believe there should be consequence."

Then there's this Hawkins said that goes to the heart of the matter, something Follmer doesn't seem to understand:

"I have a two year old little boy. The same two year old little boy that everyone said was cute when I jokingly threw him out of the house earlier this year. That little boy is my entire world. And the Number One reason for me wearing the T-shirt was the thought of what happened to Tamir Rice happening to my little Austin scares the living hell out of me. 

And my heart was broken for the parent of Tamir and John Crawford knowing they had to live that nightmare of a reality. So, like I said, I made the conscious decision to wear the T-shirt."

Well, then.

And when I say "Well, then." I mean it in a totally different way than when I was mocking Follmer.

Hawkins thoughtful comments are why people are up in arms over police shootings. As if that wasn't obvious.

All this publicity over police shootings have officers feeling under siege. That includes the good officers who really do protect and serve, who are thoughtful, who are professional, who find ways to somehow show grace under life and death pressure.

But criticizing, or just raising questions over why so many black people seem to die at the hands of white police officers isn't indicting every police officer in the nation. I also think these questions are actually good for all police officers.

Wouldn't they want to weed out the bad cops and promote the good ones? Maybe instead of whining, the police unions who get the vapors and are ready to faint at the slightest criticism can offer their own ideas for reform.

It seems like police and other other law enforcement have been pretty unscathed by public scrutiny over the years and maybe that's made some of them think they are above the law, which is ironic.

Or maybe a few of them don't want things to change, and think maybe it's OK if some black people get killed on the streets at the hands of white officers.

Some of the police union leaders/squawkers doth protest too much. If you overreact that much to some people practicing their First Amendment rights, maybe you're trying to squelch the attention that could lead to reforms.

I really hope that's not what's going on.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Winter, Spring..It Keeps Changing Within Minutes. I'm Confused

I found some lettuce growing in my garden
today. A little weird for northern Vermont at
the end of December.  
A couple weeks ago, we had an epic snowstorm where I live in St. Albans, Vermont.

Snowstorms are de rigueur in a Vermont December, of course.

This one was different. Instead of the nice, powdery, fluffy snow we're used to in Vermont, this was a wet slush coming down from the skies.

It had the consistency of wet cement. That wet cement snapped zillions of trees and cut power to a lot of people who live here. Some people had no power for a week.

With that snow, which piled up to about 16 inches deep in my yard, I figured winter was here to stay. At least until March.

Fast forward to the day or two after Christmas. Today.

It's been above freezing for a week, and daytime temperatures have gotten as high as the 50s.

Today, my yard looked like it normally does in the beginning of November. Or early April. Spring! 

And yes, I was weeding my garden today. In Vermont.
Go figure.  
So I acted like it was the beginning of November. Or April.

I finally got around to raking the autumn leaves. I weeded the garden. I found some tasty lettuce in the garden.  

I worked in a light jacket. I worked up a sweat.

At the end of December. When I should be freezing my tush off.

It's just strange that lately in Vermont, and here's the latest example, we don't have consistent seasons anymore.

Winter no longer last months. It hits for a week, goes away, comes back, goes away, comes back, etc. from October to May.

January comes in April, and April comes at the end of December. No wonder I'm confused. 
It was too wintry in November to get my autumn
raking done, but it was pleasantly warm at the end
of December, today, so I finally worked on it.  

I enjoyed the break from winter the past couple of days. Winter is my least favorite season.

But with the weather patterns lately, I just don't know what I'm supposed to be doing.

Should I be weeding and harvesting the garden on December 27, when normally at this time of year I'd be heading off into the mountains, with a couple feet of snow underfoot, to spend the day snowshoeing?

I guess I'll garden today, and postpone my snowshoeing expeditions to Memorial Day, when we'll probably get tons of snow. 


The Annual Stupid "I Hate My Christmas Gifts" Parade

Little snots who hate their Christmas gifts
because they're, well, snotty.  
The ever snarky Gawker has this fun Christmas and post-holiday feature in which they somehow find Tweets and other social media messages from jerks, often teens who can't quite get into the holiday spirit in terms of gift giving and such.

Here are of few of my favorites:

"Irelandmac" informs us:

"Hate the fact my parents don't let me pick out my own clothes because I end up pretending to like everything I get."

I'm sure you're an awesome fashionista, Irelandmac. Tell everyone not get you anything for Christmas next year. You're on your own, kid.

"Plaidxluke" tells us:

"I hate when parents say, 'I buy your food and put clothes on your back' like you were the only one who chose to have a kid shut ur fucking mouth."

Yeah, Plaidxluke, I kinda wish your parents chose not to have you, so we at least agree on that.

Another more anonymous Tweet says: "I'm sad bc my parents won't buy me a new phone, i hate them."

Someone didn't get a jacket like this and
had a meltdown. Poor baby.  
Yeah, I'm sad that you exist and I'm glad you don't have a new phone, so now you won't be able to call or text anyone with your stupid complaints.

Someone else on Twitter got gifts, apparently, but not the ones she wanted.

She was mad, too! At least judging from this all caps message: "DIDN'T GET A PAULS BOUTIQUE JACKET!!!  WORST CHRISTMAS EVER I HATE MY PARENTS

Girl, have you actually LOOKED at Paul's Boutique jackets? With their giant logos splayed across the ugly material on these items?  What are you, a Project Runway reject?

I hope you didn't get any of these kids  something for Christmas. Better check their Twitter feed to make sure they're not jerks like this.



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Darlene Love Christmas Eve Tradition After All!

Darlene Love on Letterman, clockwise from upper left,
1986, 1993, 2010, 2013. Image from Vanity Fair 
Back on Saturday, I gave you my annual Darlene Love "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" greeting earlier than usual.

I did that because it was the last time she'd do her holiday tradition of singing that song on Letterman, and I wanted to celebrate that milestone in the moment

David Letterman is retiring in 2015, so it looks like Darlene Love won't be singing that signature Christmas song on future holidays.

But, realizing it is totally, totally, IMPOSSIBLE to O.D. on Darlene Love, I'll give you this supercut video of Darlene Love performing the song on Letterman over the past 30 years.

Because who in this world could not be in love with Darlene Love?  And if you can't, indulge me. Because as far as I'm concerned, her version of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" is The. Best. Holiday. Song. EVER.

Merry Christmas, everyone!!

Here's the supercut video:

Don't Bring Huge Mallet, Grenades Or Suitcases Full Of Pot On Your Next Plane Trip, Please

Sorry, a mallet like this one found at the Burlington, Vermont
airport is not allowed aboard commercial planes.  
Lots of us are traveling this time of year, and you'd think nobody would need a reminder not to bring weapons onto planes, but apparently, they do.

Gizmodo cataloged some of the items the TSA confiscated over the past year, and there are some doozies in the list.

In Hawaii, they found a cannon barrel. In Anchorage the found a can of bear deterrent.

For those grizzly bear attacks that always seem to happen on the redeye between Anchorage and Los Angeles apparently.

One of my favorites was an "F-bomb" found in Milwaukee. It appears to be a gag gift, a round thing with a fuse, like a cartoon bomb, with a metal letter "F" attached to it.

Cute. And confiscated by the TSA.

Another favorite of mine was found right down the road from at the Burlington, Vermont airport. It was a gigantic very old wooden mallet, but a very big, heavy one. I guess such a mallet is useful if you want to bash the head in of the person in front of you when he declines his seat backward too much.
This "F-bomb" was also
not allowed on a flight.  


Knives and razors have been found inside a hairbrush, a lipstick case and a Scooby Doo doll. I never realized Scooby Doo was so violent.

Ruh, roh, Raggie!

I'm also unclear on how 81 pounds of marijuana in a suitcase would have gone unnoticed, but stranger things have happened.

Even airline employees get into the act. The Associated Press reported that five people, including a Delta Airlines baggage handler, were recently arrested for trafficking guns from Atlanta to the New York City area.

Of course we should say the guy is now a former Delta baggage handler.

So kiddies, no bombs on the planes, OK? And no bear deterrent. Because grizzly bears are not permitted to board aircraft.


.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Supercut Senior Version Of "Turn Down For What" Video MUCH Better Than Original

Seniors grooving to "Turn Down The What"  
Maybe I'm a little obsessed here, but yesterday I offered you a funny supercut of dads dancing to, or at least trying to dance, to the Bruno Mars song "Uptown Funk"   

On the same YouTube channel, we also have an even better supercut, this time it's senior citizens grooving to the song "Turn Down For What," by DJ Snake and Lil Jon

I know none of the older people in the video were actually dancing to "Turn Down For What" but I love how they are all enjoying the party. No matter what kind of music they were really listening to. Good for them!

Here it is, with more, even stranger stuff below that:



When I found the video of the seniors doing "Turn Down For What," I decided to look up the original video for the song by DJ Snake and Lil Jon. After all, I like the song. The tune is a little strange, but it's totally catchy.

Maybe I shouldn't have looked up the video. It IS fascinating. But also, um, different. I don't know how I missed it when it came out in March

The original "Turn Down For What" video is NSFW, might offend a number of people, is twisted, disturbing, sexually charged in a sick way to say the least, and probably something that your grandma might not want to watch. (But maybe she would, who knows?)

Frankly, I'd much rather party with the older people in the supercut video in the top of this post than with the scary people in the original "Turn Down For What" video by DJ Snake and Lil Jon.

So in the interest in full disclosure, and to please the fans of the bizarre out there. (like me!) here's the original version of "Turn Down For What."

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dads Can't Dance. Usually

One of the "talented" dancer dads.  
Mashable featured a fun video today of dads trying to dance.

Middle aged men, in general, can't dance. I'm a middle aged man, I know. I try, Oh, Lord I try, but I'm no Gene Kelly, that's for sure.

Some of my favorites in the video, below, are the guy in the black socks grooving while sitting in a park with a highly embarrassed kid.

I also love the button down executive looking type trying to dance with a young girl in a pretty green dress.

And watch the bald buy in the background in a stadium when a guy in front of him tries to dance.

Not sure what the guy on the right is doing, but the guys
on the left seem unimpressed 
At least that's what I think he's doing. It could be something worse, I don't know.

More power to them. They're all having fun, and are uninhibited, and that's a VERY good thing.

Maybe my standards are low, but some of the dad dancers in the video are actually pretty good, in my opinion.

Not many of them, but a few of them. I especially like the brief glimpse of the guy on a treadmill.  

I do like how they set all of this supercut to Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk."

You be the judge of the talent.  Here's the video:


"Layaway Angels" One Of Few Nice Things About Christmas Shopping Season

Happily, "Layaway Angels" have been striking coast to
coast this holiday season.  
Today, as we scramble to get our last Christmas gifts purchased, I'm going to stand up and salute Layaway Angels.

Layaway Angels are people who have a pretty decent stash of money. They walk into places like Walmart or Kmart and hand over a check to the layaway department.

What they're doing is paying off everybody's layaway stash. Or, if they don't have that much money to donate, they just pay off the layaway of a few strangers they don't know.

Just because.

Layaways scare me.  For the uninitiated, if you don't have a lot of money but want to buy something as a Christmas gift, you select your merchandise, and bring it to the layaway department in your favorite department or discount store.

You put in a down payment, pay a layaway fee, then make weekly, biweekly or monthly payments until the balance is paid off. Once you've paid everything, you grab your merchandise and go.

Apparently layaways started in the 1930s, when everyone (well, almost everyone) was suffering from the effects of the Great Depression. People tried anything they could including the installment plans associated with layaways, to get their consumer goods.

Credit cards pretty much did away with layaways, since people could just charge their purchases. But the Great Recession, starting in 2008, brought back the layaway, just as the Great Depression gave birth to it.

People couldn't get credit cards, so they went the layaway route.

The problem with layaways is, if you can't pay off your purchase, you don't get the item. You do get refunded, but stores often keep a portion of the proceeds. Which means people who couldn't pay lose.

That's one of the beauties of layaway angels.  A certain percentage of people won't pay off their layaways. And pretty much everybody else who can is strapped for cash. So the layaway angels really put people's minds at ease for Christmas,

Which is precisely what you want during this stressful time of year.

So it's great that there's been a flurry of "Layaway Angels" this year. According PennLive.com somebody know only as "Santa B" plunked down $50,000 in a Pennsylvania Walmart to pay off a bunch of layaways.

Other layaway angels have struck in Tennessee, West Virginia, Boston and elsewhere, says Consumerist. 

Various media outlets have reported layaway angels in almost every state.

The layaway angel trend seems to have started in 2011 and had been building since. 

You can participate, too. People who don't have thousands of dollars running around can also anonymously go into a store and just pay off one stranger's layaway debt, maybe $100 or $200 and remain anonymous if they choose.

In nearly every case, the person acting as a layaway angel has refused to be publicly identified, which makes it even better.

I salute these layaway angels and wish them a totally happy holiday season. Because they deserve it.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Stupid School News: School Finds Stupidest, Cruelest Possible Way To Punish Blind Kid

A school took away this blind kid needs to get
around and replaced it with a swimming pool noodle.
Just to be cruel, I think.  
Dakota Nafzinger, 8, of the Kansas City area is blind, and uses a cane to help him get around.

Like all eight year olds, he sometimes misbehaves. Though this isn't proven, school officials said he hit somebody with the cane.

If true, yeah, Dakota needed to be disciplined. But school officials decided on the most boneheaded solution possible: They took away his cane and gave him one of those swimming pool noodles to use as a substitute cane.

I guess the "logic," if you can call it that, is that if he hit somebody with a foam swimming pool noodle, he wouldn't hurt anyone since swimming pool noodles are in part design to hit other people with, I suppose.

Of course, a solid cane is how Dakota gets around, so giving him a humiliating noodle, and forcing him into danger and further humiliation from falls and other dangers is mystifying.

Did whoever decided to do this think whatever Dakota might have done wrong makes him deserve injury? Why are they setting up a situation where he might get bullied? Whatever happened to detention?

Of course, this pool noodle incident caused a big public outcry and the school hastily gave Dakota back his regular cane amid the horrible PR.

The North Kansas City School District issued a public apology.

My guess is the higher ups at the school were just as appalled by this as the general public was. It was likely some lower level employee who decided to impose his or her brand of "justice" discipline.

There's a minority of people in authority positions, be they teachers, cops, district attorneys, corporate bosses, politicians, who do this sort of thing. They're psychopaths, or maybe they were bullied as kids and this is their way of achieving vengeance, or they delight in being cruel.

Instead of meting out discipline as necessary and in appropriate dimensions, they think long and hard, it seems, on how best to endanger and humiliate others, just for the sport of it.

They're kind of like the mustache-twisting villains from bad melodramas. They'd be pathetically funny if they weren't so damaging to people.

It seems like schools attract psychopaths, judging from all the weird punishments and excessive discipline seen in some cases. Which must make it hard not only for the kids, but the vast majority of educators, who just want what's good for kids.

I hope the North Kansas City School District determines out who the psychopath was in Dakota's case and fire him or her.

The psychopathic minority among authority figures gives them all a bad name.  And nobody has quite figured out to deal with these awful people. Because if you punish them, they'll turn their wrath on you.

Apparently, it's not easy to deal with, or avoid or get around a psychopath. Which unfortunately means we're going to hear about more outrageous incidents, like the swimming pool noodle for the blind kid.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Breaking With Tradition, I Give You Darlene Love's Christmas Song Early This Year

Darlene Love belts out "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"
during her final holiday appearance on "Late Night With
David Letterman last night.  
I've made a tradition over the last several years on this here blog thingy of posting on Christmas Eve, Darlene Love's annual appearance on "Late Night With David Letterman" to sing "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home.)"

This year, I'm doing it a few days earlier than usual because last night, Love gave the final performance of the song she'll ever do on Letterman.

That's because Letterman is retiring from his show next year No Letterman show, no Darlene Love appearance in 2015.

I guess it's fitting that I'm fiddling with tradition this year as this is an odd, maybe a little bittersweet Christmas for me this year anyway.

My husband Jeff is simultaneously home and not home for Christmas this year. By that I mean he went home to his side of the family in South Dakota for Christmas because we both thought it would be best if he went, since his dad passed away earlier this year.  The family should be together for the holiday.

Meanwhile, I'm staying in Vermont. I didn't spend Christmas with my side of the family last year, and we think it would be best if I spent the holiday with the Sutkoski clan in the Green Mountain State.

We're staying in touch, of course, and both sides of the family will visit each other via Skype or Facetime on Christmas Day, so it's all good. Any chance to see the Moderegers/Stengles et al and get the families together, even through technology, is a nice holiday gift indeed.

So, I'm dedicating this year's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" to Jeff, as he is and isn't home, but always in my heart.

Here's the awesome Darlene Love video:

Friday, December 19, 2014

"People Are Awesome" Video Of 2014 Incredible Things You Can't Do

A still from the 2014 "People Are Awesome video  
There's a series of videos on YouTube under the "People Are Awesome" banner which shows a variety of athletes doing incredible stuff that would kill most people.

Or at least deeply embarrass them if they made a mistake.

The "People Are Awesome" People have just released a year end video featuring what I guess are their favorite athletes and stunt people.

Feel inspired, or defeated because you can't do the stuff in the following video, but either way, it's a totally fun watch:

Texas Plumber NOT A Terrorist, But Terrorists Using His Old Truck

A Texas plumber discovered an old truck he'd traded
in is now being used by Islamic terrorists in Syria.  
Let's be clear: Mark Oberholtzer is a fine, upstanding Texan. By all accounts a proud American.

He's owned Mark-1 Plumbing in Texas City, Texas for 32 years. People like him and his work in the plumbing and contracting business. Lots of five star reviews of Mark-1 Plumbing out there.

A few people, idiots, actually, now think Oberholtzer is sympathetic to those horrible ISIS Islamic militants in Syria.

Why? Because there's a photo that originated on Twitter floating around out there of one of his trucks, with the Mark-1 Plumbing logo clearly displayed, being used by the militants with an anti-aircraft gun in the truck's bed.

Don't worry, Oberholtzer is not giving material support to the terrorists. He, and everybody who knows him wants to make clear he did not give or sell his truck to terrorists.

Somehow, after he traded in the truck three years ago to an AutoNation dealership, the vehicle ended up in the hands of terrorists. 

Oberholtzer says that usually, when he trades in one of his old work trucks, he removes the logo from the vehicles. This time he didn't because he assumed AutoNation would. But they didn't.

So now, in Syria, unfortunate victims of ISIS terrorists can see an advertisement for Mark-1 Plumbing before they are hurt or killed by the violent morons.

Nobody knows how the truck ended up in Syria, but it was auctioned off after Oberholtzer traded it in, and it probably went through a few owners before winding up in Syria.

Oberholtzer says he's gotten thousands of calls about the truck in Syria. He says some people have threatened him because they think he's supporting the terrorists with this truck.

Of course the people criticizing or threatening Oberholtzer are some of the world's biggest idiots.

He told television station KHOU:

"We have a secretary here, she's scared to death. We all have families. We don't want no problems."

 Luckily, there's a major backlash against the people unfairly targeting Oberholtzer and his business. You can see that nice, welcome backlash on the Mark-1 Plumbing Facebook page. 

In a way, it's free advertising, because some people are saying they want to have Mark 1 Plumbing fix their leaking pipes or whatever. Just to support the guy.

Hell, I'd have him do my plumbing, too. But I don't think Oberholtzer wants to travel from Texas to Vermont to look at the drip, drip in my basement.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Angry Animal Of The Week Award

This sheep has just about had ENOUGH  
For no reason other than laughs, we give you another random video.

This one is a sheep who is the most ornery in the world, attacking passersby in some town somewhere.

There are few details available about where or why this happened, but it's entertaining if you want cartharsis to get rid of a bad mood.

Here you go:


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cats Hate Christmas, Too, Apparently

Cats like to kill Christmas trees, apparently.  
We set up our Christmas tree, finally, last evening.

Luckily we have dogs, not cats. The dogs are curious about the tree, but I don't detect any hostility from the dogs toward the tree. v

Cats, on the other hand, are a completely different story. It seems like every time I turn around I hear of somebody's cat deciding the Christmas tree is not proper household decor. So they attack it.

Or at the very least, regard a Christmas tree as an enormous kitty toy, just for them.

Want proof? Watch this video of feline Christmas destruction. Especially if you want a bit of a laugh:


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ugly Christmas Sweaters, Charlie Brown Trees Are A Thing This Year, Apparently

This guy is a major trendsetter
this Christmas season.  
I guess it's a trend I can embrace.

The Big Things at Christmas this year, at least two of them anyway, are hideous Christmas sweaters and Charlie Brown trees.

I like to think it's a rebellion against the societal demands that you MUST make Christmas elaborate, absolutely perfect and way, way over your budget.

If you don't do these things, you are an absolute scumbag, at least in the eyes of the marketers who want you to spend, spend SPEND at Christmas.

Ever notice that after every Christmas season, retailers are "disappointed" in sales. You didn't give them enough of your hard earned money, you morons!

Thoughtful but inexpensive gifts and activities need not apply, apparently.

But then there are the people armed with seasonal sweaters with badly rendered reindeer sewed on, and annoying jingle bells ringing with your every move as you gather around the half dead, listing Christmas tree.

Out in Fort Collins, Colorado, somebody found a way to capitalize on the anti-perfection Christmas movement by opening an ugly Christmas sweater thrift store. 

According to Consumerist and CBS Denver, Ugly Christmas Sweaters, or UCS's, are big sellers, says Nancy Agnew, the owner of the store.

"When the store opened it had 4,000 sweaters in stock, with prices ranging from the very modest $3 up to $43, reports CBS Denver. The owner says she's now selling about 150 sweaters every day.

She got the idea after working at another thrift store and seeing that people really, really liked buying UCSs. So she planned this sumer, washed and hot glue-gunned stuff, then opened up in the fall. She has plans to expand to Denver and Boulder, to spread the ugly joy there."

Oh, great, I see a nationwide UCS empire starting here.

Maybe we'll all be required to don we now our ugly apparel every Christmas season. That could be another reason to dread the holidays.

If that's the case, you can drown your sorrows in the weak glow of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

Those, too are a hot commodity.   
This little guy is a trendsetter, too, with his
somewhat unsuccessful little Christmas tree.  


For those unfamiliar with the concept, Charlie Brown Christmas trees are from the Charlie Brown Christmas special, in which Charlie obtains a tree that is not exactly the most beautiful in the world as he disastrously tries to free himself from a holiday funk.

NPR also got a big response when they put out a call to listeners for some of the most impressively bad Charlie Brown trees.

People have quite a history of bad holiday trees, apparently. Not as bad as a battered pink plastic one I saw in a window recently, but you get the idea.

I guess we should just embrace the tacky. It's more fun than trying to be Martha Stewart all the time. Makes you less crabby, too, being tacky and not perfect.

My husband Jeff and me have taken the tacky tack, at least to an extent.


At recent Yankee swap Christmas parties we offered gifts of a squeezable Minion from "Despicable Me" and Hello Kitty and Duck Dynasty Chia Pets.

Really, have yourself a tasteless little Christmas. It's more fun that way.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tidy Elephant Keeps African Safari Lodge Neat And Clean

Tidy elephant in South Africa being tidy.  
Surveillance video at the Thornhill Safari Lodge in South Africa caught an elephant there just trying to keep the place tidy.

The elephant, who was just hanging out, noticed that people had missed the trash can and left papers are other garbage on the grounds.

The elephant took care of that in a hurry.

The elephant turns out to be an unwitting salesperson for the place. Now I want to go and check out all the animals there.

Maybe I should also hire this guy or gal (not sure which) to tidy up around my house, too.

Here's the fun video:


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Performances That Are Different Than The Usual Boring Stuff

A fun Christmas performance  
Hat tip to my husband Jeff Modereger who found this unique performance of the "Hallelujah Chorus"

It was done by a group of high school students acting as monks who had taken a vow of silence but still had to present a Christmas show.

The video was first uploaded to YouTube about six years ago, but it's getting renewed notice lately.

Jeff got this from a site called faithtap.com which has a variety of fun and inspiration videos to waste time with if you're not in the mood for controversy or negativity.

There's another video of the "Hallelujah Chorus" on the site that was done as a flash mob at a shopping mall that's worth watching, too.

So I'll give you both. First, the "monks" then the shopping mall for your holiday enjoyment.




Saturday, December 13, 2014

Eat More Kale! Thankfully Wins Over Chick-fil-A Bullying and Stupidity

Bo Miller-Moore and his "Eat More Kale" t-shirts
and products. He just won a stupid fight with  Chick-fil-A.  
According to the Associated Press reporter Wilson Ring, Bo Miller-Moore has every right to distribute his t-shirts and other material with the phrase "Eat More Kale.

The idiotic people at the fast food chain Chick-fil-A thought the general public was more idiotic they they are.

Chick-fil-A fought Miller-Moore's "Eat More Kale" schtick because they argued people would confuse that with the fast food chain's slogan "eat mor chikin."

I was rooting for Miller-Moore of Vermont right along, partly because he knows how to spell the word "more" and could probably manage the spelling of the word "chicken," too. He sure knows how to spell "kale" correctly

Plus this was a classic David vs Goliath battle.  And I'm not sure how people would confuse eating kale vs. eating bad chicken.

Muller-Moore thanked his Vermont supports this week for their support, and there was a lot of support.  Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin threw his strong support behind him during the battle with Chick-fil-A, and a number of lawyers worked for him pro bono.

 Shumlin said:

"The message is out: Don't mess with Vermont. And don't mess with Bo.....This isn't just a win for the little guy who stands up to a corporate bully; it a win for our state. In Vermont, we care about whats in our food, who grows it and where it comes from. "

 The help worked. It initially appeared as if the U.S. Patent Office would rule agains Muller-Moore and his kale. But nope:

"I'd like to think that maybe some persistence and polite defiance, you know, and proving to them that we were in it for the long haul," he said. "If it took us a decade, we're going to fight for a decade," he said.

Chick-fil-A, in fighting Muller-Moore cited 30 examples of other businesses who tried to use "eat more.." phrases and backed down when the stupid chicken chain giant objected.

But I think they never had a case. These other 30 outfits understandably didn't feel like using lawyers and money to combat Chick-fil-A's bullying and moronic marketing.

I'm having kale for breakfast today, I think. Just to celebrate the win against Chick-fil-A. And I can't imagine myself EVER eating at Chick-fil-A.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Don't Jerk And Drive In South Dakota

This seems to be a little insulting: My in-laws have been told not to "jerk and drive."
The South Dakota road (and sexual?) safety hashtag

The Modereger clan lives largely in South Dakota, and actually, they were among all South Dakota state residents who were recently told to not "jerk and drive."

Before we go on, South Dakota authorities tell us to get our minds out of the gutter. See, "don't jerk and drive" is not really a message to not, um, have fun with yourself while you're driving, though that's strongly discouraged too.

Television station KMTV in Omaha, Nebraska says what South Dakota state road safety officials are trying to say is to not jerk the steering wheel while you're driving on icy winter South Dakota roads - and presumably any road anywhere that has snow or ice on it.

Says a South Dakota public service announcement:

"Should your tire leave a snowy or icy road, resist the urge to jerk the steering wheel. Over correcting only results in chaos. Besides, nobody likes a jerker."

The South Dakota director of Public Safety says he's aware of the campaign's double meaning. He says South Dakota drivers should keep their cars out of the ditch and their minds out of the gutter.

So take THAT, you people driving across South Dakota in the winter!

However, someone with the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety says the campaign has outperformed previous ones and has reached the demographic of young men, which is hard to reach, says KMTV.

So actually, in a way, the state is keeping its mind in the gutter, because they know young men sometimes have their minds there, too, apparently.

Well, as long as we keep their cars out of the ditch, I guess that's fine.

However, we now have some sad late breaking news, The Argus Leader newspaper in Sioux Falls, South Dakota is now reporting the state is going to pull the "Don't Jerk and Drive" campaign. 

I guess some state lawjerkers, er, lawmakers, were upset with the ad campaign

According to the Argus Leader:

"Before the cancellation, state Rep. Mike Verchio was planning on calling (highway safety director Lee) Axdahl before the Transportation Committee next month to 'explain why they would do something like that.'"

Like why isn't obvious to Verchio, a Republican from Hill City, South Dakota. But Verchio said his constitutents were upset by "Don't Jerk and Drive"

The ad campaign was successful, as anything strange like this would be.

State authorities said more than 16,000 people saw the campaign, with its #Don'tJerkAndDrive hashtag, and this public safety campaign outperformed previous ones by a ratio of 25 to 1.

Outperformed, get it?

OK, time to get my mind out of the gutter. I'll stop being a jerk now.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

World's Worst Attempt To Get Out Of A Parking Lot

"Calgary's Worst Driver" backs into a red car
during an epic struggle to get out of what should
be an easy parking lot.  
OK, I get it. Some people don't have a good spatial sense, so getting out of tight spots with their cars can be a challenge.

But really? REALLY??

Watch the video, below, of some moron trying to get out of a snowy parking lot in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Yeah, it's snowy, there's other cars around, but you can't manage this. And you get a driver's license, HOW?!?

Police are investigating this, says the Calgary Sun, because the driver backed into a red car. Plus, the driver is clearly stupid.

Authorities later caught up with the woman driving the SUV and gave her a $115 ticket for unsafe backing. I think they should just take her license away ---- forever.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Walking On Water In Slovakia

The view a hiker in Slovenia had of his feet as
he walked across a frozen lake with incredibly clear ice.  n
I kind of like the old joke that Jesus probably DID walk on water, but it was probably also winter.

Some trekkers in Slovakia found the joke to be almost true when they encountered a frozen lake in the High Tatras Mountains of Slovakia

The lake water, and the ice that formed in the deepening winter chill, is so clear that the hikers really looked like they were walking on water.

I'd be a bit nervous walking on that ice: It's so clear, I'd worry it was my imagination and once I realized it was water and not ice, I'd plunge through.

Kind of like the Coyote after the Roadrunner in the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour who doesn't start falling after he's run off the edge of the cliff until after he realizes he has run off the edge of the cliff. 

Here's the brief but really cool video, taken by one of the hikers as he pointed the camera down at his feet as he gingerly walked on the ice on this frozen lake:

"All I Want For Christmas" In Every Style Imaginable

For December silliness, listen to this guy to
a bad Christmas song in 20 styles. Just because.  
It snowed hard last night around my home in St. Albans, Vermont,  which puts me a bit in the Christmas spirit, I guess.

So, I'll post this weird video of a guy doing Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" in 20 highly variable styles.

Take your pick! Maybe something like Billy Joel? Nat King Cole? The heavy metal stylings of Ronnie James Dio?  I especially liked the Depeche Mode version.

Here's the video for your snowed in silliness:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I'm Greatly Relieved That Raju The Elephant Won't Have To Go Back To The Awful Guy Who Tortured Her

Raju the rescued elephant recovering at a wildlife refuge this
summer. An Indian court ruled he won't have to go back
to his abusive former "owner."  
I've never met him, but I've been terribly worried about Raju over the past several months.

Raju is an elephant living in India who was treated with terrible cruelty by his "owner" over the course of nearly five decades.

Back in July, an animal protection group called Wildlife SOS rescued Raju from his owner.

He'd been captured as a baby and spent about five decades in spiked shackles, being forced to work as a begging elephant, says the Huffington Post.

I don't know how a human being could do this for so long to a beautiful and intelligent animal like Raju, but it happened.

When Wildlife SOS rescued him earlier this year, a video of the rescue went viral because Raju could be seen crying with relief as the rescuers brought him what was probably the first act of kindness she'd seen in his entire life.

"'The vet and our team came with fruits and just started speaking softly to him, and to reassure him that we were there to help, and it was at that time that tears flooed down his face,' Nikki Sharp, the executive director of Wildlife SOS-USA told The Huffington Post, adding, 'They've done a lot of elephant rescues and the fact the tears were just coming down...he was weeping. It was an emotional moment and everyone was more motivated to get him on the truck and to safety.'

 The reason why I was worried is because, according to the Huffington Post,  it looked as if Raju's rescue would be short-lived. Her former "owner" sued to get her back, so Raju would live out her days in those shackles, begging and making that creepy guy money.

The previous owner was only named as a "Mr. Shahid," and he said the elephant was his. But the group that rescued Raju says Shadid was unspeakably cruel to the elephant, and besides, he had no papers proving he is the rightful owner.

But last week, an Indian court ruled that Shadid has no right to the elephant, and is charged with illegally obtaining him, says the Telegraph UK. 

So Raju will stay at the refuge where Wildlife SOS brought him.

In August, Wildlife SOS reported that Raju has been doing wonderfully at the refuge. He loves to play in the water, he is spoiled with buckets of foods, and he has even made some female friends.

Below, is a video, partly filmed the night Raju was rescued.

My favorite part of the video is when the gentle but determined man cutting the rusty, sharp chains off of Raju tells him, with conviction, "You'll never have to wear these again."

I'm so glad that promise came true.

Watch:





Watch What Happens When You Dump Lots Of Plastic Balls On An Escalator

Maybe not the safest thing to do, but pretty fun, anyway.  
Here's a couple guys who maybe don't do much for pedestrian safety, but had a novel idea.

They dumped a whole bunch of little plastic balls on an escalator to see what would happen.

The result is pretty fascinating: The balls try to roll down the stairs, but the escalator is going up, so many of the balls stay on the escalator, bouncing up and down as the escalator moves.

It's sort of a perpetual motion machine.

The video was released more than two years ago but has lately gone viral. It popped up on the Web site BoingBoing recently, via JWZ

Here's' the fun video:

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Little Girl Dances On A Subway Platform, And Makes 1 Million+ People Happy

A little girl in pink and a gruff sounding musician
caused some magic on a New York subway platform
and the incident is now the subject of a happy viral video.  
Several days ago, a guy played a cover of the Grateful Dead song "Me & My Uncle" at the subway platform, Bedford Avenue Station, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.

A little girl in pink liked the music so much she started dancing. And started a mini-dance party in the process.

A dual called Coyote and Crow were responsible for the music. In this case, "Coyote" sang, and "Crow" video'd the proceedings.

The gleefulness in the girl wearing pink, and several others who started dancing is so infectious. No wonder the video has gone so viral.

Here is is, to make a gloomy winter Monday morning that much brighter:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

"Gangnam Style" Kinda, Sorta Broke YouTube

The world has collectively watched this guy 2.1 billion times
Today's earworm attack news: Psy's "Gangnam Style" almost broke YouTube.

Or at least their system of counting how many times a video has been viewed.

Inexplicably, the "Gangnam" video was viewed more than 2 billion times, and YouTube had to make some quick readjustments to accommodate all those views, says the BBC. 

YouTube used a 32-bit integer, a unit to represent data in computer architecture, and under that system, the most views a YouTube video could get was 2,147,483,647.

One would think a video featuring a pudgy Korean pop star would not be watched more that 2.1 billion times, but one would be wrong.

Now that YouTube has fixed its view counter so that even the most obsessed people on the planet can watch the same video over and over again for the next 60 years,  the most any video could be watched is 9,223,372,036,814,775,808 times.

How's that for precision?

I really hope we don't all watch "Gangnam Style" 9.2 quintillion times.

The BBC has also noted that the world has collectively wasted more than 16,000 years watching "Gangnam Style" instead of doing something more productive, like curing cancer, ending terrorism or stopping the discussion of Kim Kardashian's butt on the Internet.

Anyway, Psy fans, watch "Gangnam Style" until you drop. You probably won't break YouTube's view counter again. We can all breathe a sigh of relief on that one.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Which Travel Woe Would You Rather Encounter

Would you rather encounter this fog on an afternoon's drive
 
Driving home from work this afternoon, I encountered dense fog and slightly slippery highways in northwestern Vermont.

It was a bit of a pain, trying to peer through the fog and making sure I wasn't going to slam into anything hidden within the murk.

I suppose that was better, though, than what travelers along I-78 in Union Township, New Jersey, encountered.

I don't have a lot of details about Union Township, but it does look pretty icky to me.

Or would this scene in Union
Township, N.J. be more to
your liking. 
So, between the two photos in this post, the dense fog near St. Albans, Vermont and the dense smoke and fire near Union Township, New Jersey, which would you pick?

I feel kind of lucky that I only had to deal with the fog in Vermont.