Sunday, May 31, 2015

Your Smart Phone Will Save Your Life. Or Kill You

This iPhone took a bullet to save
a British man's life.  
Your iPhone or whatever device you have is apparently also a bulletproof vest or a flamethrower, based on a news item and a viral video.

According to Business Insider UK, in October, 2014, a 25 year old man approached a gang of teenagers who had shut off the water supply to his apartment block in Cheshire, England.

During the ensuing argument, one of the teens pulled out a sawed off shotgun and shot the 25 year old in the abdoman. Says police:

"Fortunately, the victim's mobile phoe took the brunt of the shot and as a result of this, he survived. This is remarkable - had that phone not been in his pocket at that time he woud undoubtably have died."

A teenager has been found guilty of attempted murder and will be sentenced this coming July. The gunshot victim is OK. But he had to buy a new iPhone to replace the one that took the  bullet.

On the other hand, never stab your smart phone battery with a knife. Unless you like fireworks. There's some viral videos circulating that purport to show what happens when you do.

Here's an example. Yikes!!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Marselis Parsons, Vermont's Walter Cronkite, Dies; One More Great Old School Journalist Gone

Marselis Parsons, the Walter Cronkite of Vermont
has passed away, and now even fewer of the
great old school Vermont journalists are left standing.  
Here in Vermont this week, we're mourning the loss of a guy named Marselis Parsons, who was widely regarded as the Walter Cronkite of Vermont.

Every evening for a quarter century, ending in 2009, Vermonters settled down to watch the Channel 3 news on WCAX, and there was Parsons, in just-the-facts-mode, reviewing the day's events in the Green Mountain State.

Vermont isn't always exactly a hotbed of breaking news, Bernie Sander's formal presidential campaign kickoff this week notwithstanding.

"Div" as Parsons was called, had an hour to fill, including the sports and weather, of course, but as anchor and news director, was always able - nightly - to make our gloriously weird state understandable.

Parsons delivered the news in a steady, deadpan voice, never seeming to break his evenhandedness or show emotion. Except of course when his mentor, WCAX anchor Mickey Gallagher, died suddenly, while at work at WCAX in 1984, and Parsons had to report that news.

He was an institution, having spent 40 years at WCAX, as a reporter, then anchor, then filing occasional stories in retirement

Parsons was as far removed as possible from the  "bubble headed bleach blonde, who comes on at 5, who can tell you about the plane crash with a gleam in her eye," as Don Henley famously indicted in his song "Dirty Laundry."

Parsons could sure as hell tell you about the plane crash, but he told you why the plane crash mattered, who it affected, and how such a thing could be prevented from happening again. He followed the stories to the end.

If it took five years for the plane crash investigation to end, by God at the end of five years, there was Parsons reporting on the outcome of that probe.

According to Michael Donoghue, writing in the Burlington Free Press:

"'I'm not crazy about being anchor,' he once told the Burlington Free Press. 'Most stations hire Ken and Barbie dolls.'

He wanted newshounds in his newsroom.

'Most of these reporters aren't going to win a beauty contest. But I think they are good reporters, he said once, pointing at his newsroom."

Makes you want to rid your cable news stations of all those perky blondes reciting a script instead of reporting the news, doesn't it?

 I thought it was fitting that  Donoghue of the Burlington Free Press -  another giant of Vermont journalism -  wrote the definitive news obit about Parsons.

Donoghue, along with Parsons, are, or were, the last of the old school Vermont journalists. The kind I'll miss the most when they're gone or retired.

Oh, sure, I'm a fan just like the rest of the world of the way news is done now. Disasters become visual "weather porn" on the nightly news, and the important parts of those stories are buried.

I enjoy watching the smarmy news satire of Jon Stewart and John Oliver. I'll even indulge in the news-free, facts are stupid conservatism of Fox News

I also accept that it's a different journalism world, where reporters are judged by the number of Twitter followers they have, or the number of Facebook comments they get.

There's nothing wrong with being entertaining and engaging. Any journalist wants to be that, as they should. However, news isn't always a popularity contest. Sometimes news is not candy, to be happily consumed. Sometimes it's medicine we have to take, to  understand the world around us.

That seems like a statement from Captain Obvious, but I'm not sure anymore.

I was in Vermont journalism for more than 20 years, until the Burlington Free Press let me go in 2013. I understood, and they understood. Journalism had changed, and I wasn't sure I fully bought into the change. Both me and the Free Press knew it was time for me to go.

Parsons (and Donoghue, for that matter) stayed put. Stayed committed. Stayed on the story.

Parsons could have jumped ship and moved up the journalistic ladder to bigger markets, but he stayed in Vermont. That's where his commitment was.

In the Free Press, Donoghue writes:

"(Parsons) was happy being in Vermont, where there was easy access to politicians, judges and other newsmakers.

Parsons loved chasing hard news. When the city of Burlington experienced a large number of arson fires in the 1970s, Parsons, after finishing the 11 p.m. newscast, joined reporters and other media outlets hanging out at the police station trading war stories and waiting for the alarms.

He became an auxillary firefighter for the city of Burlington and sometimes would sleep over at the fire station. His blue Fiat convertible had an emergency red light to help him get to scenes quicker."

Nowadays, trading war stories and hanging out at the police station is no way to get more Twitter followers nowadays. But it's surely the best way to get the most compelling news.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin summed it all up as he reacted to news that Parsons, 70, had died.

 "We lost a legend - the Walter Cronkite of Vermont," the governor said.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

One Of The Best Final Jeopardy Answers Ever

This guy had the best ever wrong answer on "Jeopardy."  n
The other night, on "Jeopardy" the final Jeopardy catagory was "Hymns" and Alex Trebek in his usual grim way, read the question.

One of the contestants got the answer wrong, but his incorrect answer was so great they should have given it to him anyway. And I want to go to the church he attends.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Sean, "The Dancing Man" Gets The Big Party, And The Girls

"Dancing Man" Sean O'Brien gets down
at the Avalon nightclub in Hollywood
over the weekend. Photo from Reuters.  
Dancing Man got his dance party over the weekend.

Back in March I wrote about a guy named Sean, who was cyberbullied by idiots on the social media site 4chan for having the audacity to dance and have a good time while overweight.

Apparently, in the twisted world of some 4chan and other social media fans, you have to be about 20 years and have a perfect body to have a good time in a nightclub. Or anywhere for that matter.

So the 4chan bullies posted a unflattering pics of him, including one of him looking understandably sad as these idiots laughed at him.

As expected, Sean O'Brien got the last laugh over the weekend.  After the cyberbulling, other groups of people on social media, including an activist named Cassandra Fairbanks of the Free Thought Project, hunted Sean down and announced a big dance party would be organized for him.

That party happened this weekend at Avalon, THE iconic nightclub in Hollywood. Moby, arguably the world's top DJ, kept the music going.

The nightclub was full of beautiful people, and by that I don't necessarily mean fashion models.

Before he got to the party, O'Brien made an appearance on The Today show, where he spoke of the good people of the world who outnumber the cyberbullies.

The Today Show also surprised O'Brien by having him meet Meghan Trainor, who's song "All About That Bass"  a 2014 smash hit and a catchy tune about the being proud and sexy no matter who you are.
Dancing Man with Megan Trainor on The Today Show. 

Sample lyric:

"Yeah, it's pretty clear, I ain't no size two
But I can shake it, shake it, like I'm supposed to do."

So, O'Brien did the same, shaking it with Trainor on The Today Show, and dancing up a storm at Avalon, just like he was supposed to do.

Because if you wanna have fun, you gotta have fun.

The event was also designed to raise awareness of bullying and so called fat shaming, and as a rebuke against these bullies.

As far as I know, nobody has tracked down the 4chan bullies that started this whole thing off with O'Brien.

But I bet O'Brien had a MUCH better weekend than the bullies who originally tormented him.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Bored Man Drives Through His House For Fun

The scene after a guy drove his truck through his
house, because it seemed like the thing to do at the time.  
A man in Georgia had an angry phone call with with his wife.

He was also unemployed and bored.

So he did what anybody would do in that situation and drove his truck through his house.

OK, maybe most people wouldn't do that. But you're not John Paul Jones Jr of Senoia, Georgia.

"I don't know. It was just one of those spur of the moment crazy things," Jones shrugged, according to WGCL CBS 46 in Atlanta. 

He's a contractor, so he's making his own repairs to his house. Which means he's technically working, but who is paying him?

The good news is his truck still works despite having been driven through the house

Police came to the scene, but Jones is facing no charges. It's perfectly legal to drive your own truck through your own house, apparently.

I wonder how impressed his (soon to be former?) wife is with this guy.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Moronic Motorists Everywhere: Watch This Jerk In Germany

The fire truck is in a hurry. So what
does the idiot in the green car do? Watch.  
Everybody who knows me is probably sick of me complaining about the minority of motorists out there who find new and creative ways to be incredibly stupid and incredible jerks.

I guess this is an international problem.

Watch how idiotic the person in the green car in this video is as a fire truck that's obviously in a hurry for some emergency comes upon the moron.

As an aside, I like German fire truck sirens more than American fire truck sirens.

Can anybody be that oblivious, or passively-aggressively this mean?:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Store Clerk Offers Hilarious Play By Play Of Inept Robber In Her Store

The sales clerk, right, takes her time loading
cigarettes into a bag the robber, at left wants.  
The video in this post has understandably gone viral.

It's surveillance footage of a store robbery in Salt Lake City, Utah.  

Yeah, yeah, I know, there's LOTS of footage out there of store robberies.

But in this case, the woman who was robbed offers a helpful play by play narrative of what's going on the video, which makes it so much fun.

The security button she kept pushing didn't work, so the cops didn't show up during the long, drawn out incident. (Pro tip for robbers: If you don't want to get caught,  make your heist clean and quick: Get your stuff and get out.)

Police did manage to catch the dufus robber five minutes after he left the store. (The clerk got the robber's license plate number, as the leisurely pace of the getaway allowed her to write it down.)

Authorities said the robber Marc Kammerman, 41, and an accomplice, Manmeet Bhatia, 22, were found hiding in a car in a car wash. Police were immediately suspicious of the car in the car wash since it was pouring rain at that moment.

Here's the video:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

You Stil Have A Chance To Own A Giant Catsup Bottle

This giant catsup bottle in Collinsville, Illinois
can be yours. It's for sale. Head down there now
to make a down payment!  
Catsup with those fries?

You could have a lot of it, or the illusion of a lot of catsup anyway, if you buy a certain bit of real estate in Collinsville, Illinois.

The world's largest catsup bottle is up for sale, and it could be yours!

It's been for sale for almost a year, but so far there's been no takers, says KMOX in St. Louis.

The 170-foot tall catsup bottle, really a big water tower, and the surrounding property, went up for sale last year, but unbelievably, nobody seems to want a giant bottle of catsup.

A guy named Mike Gassmann, better known as "Big Tomato" is the lead cheerleader for the big catsup bottle's preservation. "It appeals to everybody from the catsup scene who put catsup on their breakfast cereal, to historic preservationists and architects, to people who actually collect photos of water towers," he told KMOX last year.

People put catsup on their breakfast cereal? Ewww!!!

Big Tomato goes on to say that the catsup bottle is Collinsville's Arch or Eiffel Tower.

Or something like that.

The catsup bottle has another practical use in Collinsville. It makes it easy for out of towners to get directions, said Collinsville marchant Mary Davis, according to KMOX.

"You tell people if you're going to meet somewhere, 'Hey, I'll meet you down the hill at the Catsup bottle,' or  'Come up the hill, go to the Catsup bottle and make a left.'"

The bottle is on the National Register of Historic Places, but that's no guarantee it will be saved if no buyers are found.

Rumors circulated last year that the people with Oscar Mayer Weinermobile were interested in the Catsup bottle (What a partnership!) but that's come to naught.

So, if you want a HUGE Catsup bottle,  head to Collinsville, Illinois and start negotiating!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Outrage: Elderly, Sick Man Has To Dial 911 Just To Get Food To Live On

 Clarence Blackmon, an elderly cancer patient,
had to call 911 to get groceries because
 the rehab center he was at discharged him
and left him to his own devices. Assholes.  n
The following story has been presented in the media as a heartwarming story, but I'm outraged by it.

An elderly man, weak with prostate cancer, was discharged from a hospital and sent home. Great! He's recovering with the help of family and visiting nurses and plenty of follow up care from the hospital.

Just kidding!

He was dumped into the house and left to his own devices and was physically incapable of getting any food. The man got so desperate that he called 911 and asked someone there to buy him groceries.

"What i need is someone to get to the grocery store and bring me food, because I need to eat something. Whatever you can do to help. I can't do anything. I can't go anywhere. I can't get out of my damn chair," Clarence Blackmon told 911 dispatcher Marilyn Hinson, according to the Huffington Post. 

Click on this sentence to listen to the tough 911 call Blackmon placed

Luckily, the 911 operators didn't tell him that they were only for emergencies and tell him to go away. Hinson  recognized this was an emergency.  Hinson's supervisor entered Blackmon's name into the computer and learned he was ill and had no family in the area. Blackmon's wife died in 2011.

They also discovered Blackmon had withered away to 115 pounds in large part because he was unable to get food for himself.

Hinson went to Blackmon's house with officers from the Fayetteville, North Carolina Police Department to deliver groceries. They also made sure that Blackmon would get follow up care and help.

That's the heartwarming part.

Here's why I'm outraged, though. It appears as if the hospital just discharged Blackmon without making sure he would get the help for follow up treatment. What, was the old guy unprofitable now? Maybe used up his insurance or something? Groceries don't make pharmaceutical companies profitable like pills do, was that the problem?

According to the Inquisitor and ABC News, the private treatment and rehabiliitation center that discharged Blackmon never bothered to contact the North Carolina Department of Social Services, as they should have.

The DSS is now involved, helping Blackmon, and an outpouring of donations because of news reports about this incident are going to Blackmon and others who need help.  (He's donating the extra food he can't keep to the Salvation Army.)

Still, my blood is boiling. Does this rehabilitation hospital and others in the country just dump people out on the street when they're done with them, figuring they'll just die a quiet death and stop bothering everyone for shrieks?

I hope the people who did this to Blackmon at the hospital are punished BIG TIME. It's also time for investigation on how other hospitals and rehab centers discharge people who can't fend for themselves.

Now there's a good story idea for you journalists and muckrakers out there.

Friday, May 15, 2015

George Orwell Should Have Worried More About Business Than Government

A California woman is suing her former
employer because she said her boss
monitored her 24/7 through the
workplace management app Xora. 
Talk about an overbearing boss! And a creepy one, if a story about a lawsuit that recently appeared in Ars Technica is true. 

The woman sying, Myma Arias, was fired from her job for the money transfer service Intermex, after disabling an app called Xora from her company-issued iPhone because it traced her every move.

It could tell where her car was going, how fast she was driving, how long she was at a given location, pretty much everything.

Arias said she had no problem with the app running while she was on duty working as a sales executive for the company.

After all, it's pretty reasonable for a boss to make sure the employee is meeting with the people she's supposed to meet with, was driving safely and working,  and not just hanging out at the nail spa or something like that.

The problem Arias said she had is that her boss, John Stubits, monitored Arias and coworkers while they were not on the job.  He could spy on her 24 hours a day.

Part of her lawsuit reads as follows, says Ars Technica. "Plantiff expressed that she had no problem with the app's GPS function during work hrs but she objected to the monitoring of her location during non-work hours and complained to Stubits tht this was an invasion of her privacy. She likened the app to a prisoner's ankle bracelet and informed Stubits that his actions were illegal. Stubits replied that she should tolerate the illegal intrusion."

You have to wonder why Stubits, the boss, was so interested in his employees' off work activities. Was it away to make them feel like they should be working when they are off the clock? Or is Stubits a creepy pervert who wants to know everything about his workers?

Whatever is going on, I think we should all be rebelling against this kind of corporate spying on its employees, just as we should rebel against blanket spying by the government against its own citizens.

Of course, employers have the right to fire employees whose activities on personal time are way over the line.

In Toronto recently, an engineer with a firm was fired after he enthusiastically supported, on camera, another bro who participated in a vulgar, misogynistic insult against a female television reporter, a quote, unquote joke that's gotten popular on social media.

Where I live in Vermont, a Vermont State Police trooper was forced to resign after his superiors caught wind of offensive posts he put up on Facebook.

So yes, there are circumstances where your private life, which isn't so private nowadays, can get you fired. Often justifiably so.

But where does the boss cross the line? Certainly, they shouldnt have the right to spy on your every move. Why should bossman care if you kick back with a beer while watching the game on Saturday afternoon? Or get randy with your spouse on Friday night?

I'm hoping the boss that was monitoring his employees' every move, and is the subject of that lawsuit, gets fired himself.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Man Faces Charges For Saving Dog Because Dog Owner Is Horrible.

A bystander captured Michael Hammons
smashing out a car window to rescue
 a dog in a hot car. The car's owner insisted
he be arrested.  
No good deed goes unpunished. Especially when there are jerks and morons around.

U.S. Army veteran Michael Hammons was outside an Athens, Georgia shopping center when he spotted a dog in distress inside a hot car with the windows rolled up.

The dog was going to die of the heat, he knew.

With time running out for the dog, He did what any self respective person would do and smashed out a window in the car and rescued the pup, says the Athens Herald-Banner.

Hammons' reward? He was arrested.

The woman who owned the car was outraged that Hammons broke the window to her precious Ford Mustang. She insisted that police press charges against him, so authorities had no other choice but to arrest him.

"We didn't want to charge him, but he told us he broke the windows and when you hav a victim there saying she wants hi charge, we had no other choice," said Chief Deputy Lee Weems, according to television station WAGA in Atlanta. 

In some states, laws shield people from arrest if they, in good faith, break a car window to rescue a dog. Georgia law allows you to break a car window to save a person, but the law doesn't cover pets.

The woman, who owns the dog and the Ford Mustang is Elantra Cunningham, 22. She was issued a citation for improper animal care.

I have no idea why they didn't take that dog away from her. Permanently. Anyone stupid enough to leave a dog in a hot car in a parking lot on a summery day has no business having a dog.

Reports are that the woman said she only left the dog in the car for a few minutes, but witnesses including Hammons said it was definitely longer than that.

Judging from the account in the Athens Banner-Herald, it does seem like it was longer than a few minutes. People had been standing outside the car, contemplating what to do. One of them had called the sheriff, who hadn't arrived yet.

Hammons broke the car window, took the dog to a shady area and gave it water. All this before Cunningham emerged from her happy little shopping spree.

Hammons told WAGA that despite the arrest and the fact he would be responsible for paying for repairs to the stupid Ford Mustang, he'd act the same if he had to do it all over again, which of course is totally cool.

"I knew there'd be consequences, but it didn't matter. Glass, they make new glass every day, but they could never replace that dog."

Hammons has PTSD and all this attention is negatively affected him, says his wife.

As you might expect, social media lit up with praise for Hammons and darts and arrows for Cunningham. There's reportedly a GoFundMe page set up for Hammons to help him pay for the car window and any legal expenses he incurs.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Prom Season Brings Out Great Kids, And A Few Lousy Adults

Alabama teen Joy Webb picked her grandfather, James Drain,
to take to the prom because Drain never had
the chance to go to his prom when he was in high school 
Every year I like the stories of teenagers doing something special for that springtime high school rite: The prom.

So it is this year, with quite a few great examples. We have Drew Holm of Indiana, who took his great grandmother, Katie Keith to the prom because she is, in his words, "the prettiest woman."

Then there's the great story of Joy Webb, an Alabama 17 year old, who learned her grandfather, James Drain, 80, never had the opportunity to go to his high school prom, so Joy took James to hers. 

Then there's Ben Moser, the star quarterback at his high school in Pennsylvania, who remembered back when he was in fourth grade that he promised to take his friend, Mary Lapkowicz, who has Down's Syndrome, to the prom when they were high school seniors.

So, Moser took Kapkowicz to the prom this year and a good time was had by all, of course.

I'm glad we have these kids to hold up as examples of how to behave gallantly. Especially since some adults have really fallen short.

Young women like to wear glamorous, sexy dresses to proms, as well they should. It's a celebration.

A few school administrators are a bit too focused on students' bodies.

We have the case of Alexus Miller Wigfall, a student at Harrisburg High School in Pennsylvania, who was kicked out of the prom for a dress some idiot thought was too revealing, or, apparently, the school administrator thought the girl was too fat to be at a prom.

Wigfall said the school administrator told her, "You have more boobs that other girls...The other girls have less to show."
To the mind of one Michigan school administrator
Mireya Briceno is a flashing naked girl, basically,
because of the cut of her prom dress. Seems
fine to me, but what to I know?  

A similar thing happened to Mireya Briceno in Michigan, where some school jerky adult thought the cut of her unusual but fun prom dress showed a bit too much skin around the middle.

By the way, the news articles showed pictures of both young women in their dresses.  I'm highly confused about how the school principals and such could say they were indecent.

Adminstrators at a Louisiana high school wanted to ban female, openly gay honors student from wearing a tuxedo at her prom because the clothes were the wrong "gender."  Hey, at least she's well covered up with the tux, what's the school complaining about, then?

I think some adults have been staring at teens' clothing a wee bit too much.

So, we have a case of the kids acting like kind, responsible adults and adults acting like perverted teenagers gawking and shaming people over how they quite reasonably dress.

Maybe we should reverse who's in charge.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Jerk With Pinnochio Tattoo In Worst Possible Place Banned From Airline Flight

Tom Washington and part of his, um,
interesting Pinocchio tattoo.  
It seems like everybody has tattoos these days

Some of the tattoos are really awesome and creative. Others, not so much.

Then there's Tom Washington, 22, a British guy who was kicked off a flight and banned frm the airline for life for showing his, um, creative tattoo to other passengers aboard a recent flight.

That tattoo of Pinocchio , as the Grimsley Telegraph in England delicately puts it, is "located in his pubic area."

You'll never guess what the tattoo of Pinocchio's nose is on Washington.

Let's really not go there.

It didn't help that Washington is the life of the party, of sorts. Not a party I'd necessarily want to go to, but a party guy nonetheless.

He and about 20 of his friends boarded the flight dressed as female flight attendants.

Here's how Washington described the scene as the May 1 flight got ready to take off.

"I got up up but because my jacket was too tight, it exposed my chest which I had covered with a bra." 

How considerate!

He goes on about the next moment, when the flight crew typical gives the pre-flight safety speech:

"I then proceeded to 'help' the cabin staff with the talk using a sex toy. There were some old men on the plane as well and they were a laugh. The lads mentioned I had a tattoo of Pinocchio which I showed them and that was the point when the manager took my passport."

Yeah, the flight crew was probably afraid of what Washington would do next. God forbid if somebody on the plane started talking and not telling the truth.

I wonder (not obsessively!) if Washington has a sexual fetish with that tattoo. Can you hear him with some gal or guy, depending on his sexual orientation: "Oh, baby, lie to me, just don't tell me the truth, I'll lie to you, too. Oh yes, more lies, yes, yes, YES!!!"

I also hope I'm never anywhere near Washington when the Eurythmics song "Would I Lie To You" starts playing.

This guy should also stay away from politicans, too. Especially American ones.

And of course, we'd likely hear this sentence uttered by somebody meeting this guy: "Are you lying to me or are you just happy to see me?"

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Couple Thinks Good Parenting Involves Bribing Kids With Pot and Cocaine

Police say these parents gave their teen
daughters drugs for doing their chores
and doing well in school. This all
happened in Florida, of course. 
Let's face it: Almost every parent has resorted to bribery to get their kids to do what they want.

"OK, Johnny, if you clean up your room you get a nice big ice cream cone."  

Or something like that.

According to The Smoking Gun, a Florida couple went in a little further with the bribery trick.

Why is it always Floridians who do strange things?

Anyway, The Smoking Gun says mom Joey Mudd gave their teenage daughters, ages 13 and 14 for jobs well done when they cleaned their rooms.

Bonus: The pot probably mellowed the girls out, too. No more shreiking about potential boyfriends. Then again, pot isn't exactly healthy for a kid, and pot is illegal for kids everywhere so I can see why the mom is in trouble with the law on this one.

Apparenty, dad Chad Mudd took this even beyond the level of mom. He gave the cocaine. It was a lovely dad/daughters outing: The trio snorting cocaine in dad's truck. Wonderful.

Needless to say, the parents were jailed, though mom at last report was out on bail. The kids are being cared for by a relative, who is such a hard ass that the relative is not providing the teen girls with drugs, booze or anything else like that.

Imagine that. Having to clean your room without a nice bong hit afterwards.

I'm also thinking the Mudds won't get a contract to write a book about novel parenting skills.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

How Not To Manage A Parking Lot

Bet you're glad you weren't stuck behind this person. Talk about lack of spatial ability!

(Mute the sound, though. The music is obnoxious.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fear In Texas: The Great U.S. Invasion Of 2015!! EEEK!!!

A U.S. military map for the Jade Helm
military exercise in the American Southwest
this summer. Some paranoid Texans
think the government is going to
put them in concentration camps,
but probably not.  
Texans are bracing for an invasion of that great state by the U.S. military.

Um, yes, Texas is already part of the United States, like it or not, but some Tea Party and conspiratorial types are saying the military will invade anyway.

This all started from a long planned military exercise called Jade Helm 15.

Parts of the southwestern United States, including Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, will be stand-ins for rugged Middle Eastern terrain.

(As Gawker notes, they're using the Southwest for this exercise because you can't really train for a war against Iran inside Iran. They might object.)

The military exercise divides different areas of the Southwest into friendly and hostile areas, for the purposes of training. Texas is marked as "hostile"

That means, according to Tea Party kooks, that the military is going to take away everybody's guns, lock up the Christians, and, I don't know, make everybody get gay married or something.

A website called AllNewsPipeline has the scoop. It's on the Internet, so it has to be true. Here's what AllNewsPipeline tells us what's really going on:

"Numerous 'FEMA Domes' are being rushed to completion across the state of Texas in locations suchas Lumberton, Brownsville, Pancho Maples and Kingsville are raising alarms with many who view these structures as 'FEMA death domes' used to house insurgents following the red and blue list round up of gun owners, Christians and patriotic supporters of American and the U.S. Constitution."

The conspiracy wackadoodles say
Walmart is closing Texas stores to help
the government set up concentration camps.
Nope the stores are closing because they're
underperforming or need renovations.  
Adding fuel to the fire was the closure of six Walmarts in western Texas. And what do failed Walmarts have to do with the Great Invasion of 2015?

Walmart is saying the stores closed because nobody shopped there, or the stores need to be renovated, which sounds plausible.  But no! They're going to be detention camps for all them god fearin' Christuns being oppressed by that evil Muslim Jihadist Obama.

Or something like that.

All this Tea Party right wing conspiracy craziness would be good for just a chuckle, and then we would move on except for one thing:

People who should know better, who are in charge, are buying into this craziness. Or at least pandering to it.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he has told the Commander of the Texas State Guard to monitor the millitary training exercise, so that the U.S. government doesn't get any ideas and kill all the Texas Christians and take their guns. Or something.

Rest assured, says Gov. Abbott, that the Texas State Guard will ensure that Texans'  "safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed" by this evil U.S. invasion U.S. military exercise in the state.

The ever reliable Texas U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert also chimed in. He's always fun to listen to with his extreme rhetoric, and he doesn't disappoint here:

"This military practice has some concerned that the U.S. Army is preparing for modern-day martial law. Certainly, I can understand these concerns.

When leaders within the current administration believe that major threats to the country include those who support the Constitution, are military veterans or even 'cling to guns or religion,' patriotic Americans have reasons to be concerned."

 Of course U.S soldiers, the ones participating in the military exercise are patriotic American citizens. Isn't it kind of insulting to think these fine soldiers would set up concentration camps or something to detain and kill other Constitution loving Americans?

Yep, but oh well.

It's no secret a lot of Texans, with all those conservatives, don't like President Obama, which is totally fair enough. NPR quoted former Texas Lt. Gov David Dewhurst as saying, "Unfortunately, some Texans have projected their legitimate concerns about the competence and trustworthiness of President Barack Obama on these noble warriors. This must stop."

Don't count on it stopping, Mr. Dewhurst.

That's because there's money to be made. All these conspiracy organizations need a source of income. If the U.S. "invasion" of Texas doesn't happen, then these whackadoodle groups can say they "prevented" it, and if need be, do a money beg to take advantage of it.

And the Texas governor's pandering, and Gohmert's babble around all this is just being pro business, right? Keep that conspiracy industry going. Plus, throwing red meat to this constituency won't hurt in future elections.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Here's Why People Have Trouble Figuring Out The English Language

This guy struggles with spelling and grammar,
but hey, English is a difficult language.  
Here's an experiment for you-- hat tip from BoingBoing and Into the Shadows:

Put the word "only" between any two words in this sentence: "She told him that she loved him."

No matter where you put the word "only," the meaning of the sentence totally changes. And you wonder why people trying to learn English mangle their meaning so badly when they attempt to speak it?

This kind of situation recalls my other rants about English. Why can we have sunny days but not moony nights? Why aren't butterflies called flutter by? After all, that's what they do.

We can become overwhelmed or underwhelmed, but nobody is ever just whelmed.

It can get warmer and colder, but not damper or humider. We have the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh day of the month, for example, but not the twoth or threeth. Why?

I liked my father's attitude. When he ran a tavern years ago, he put up an intentionally incorrect sign that warned patrons about the dress code: "No bear feat" said the sign.

All this is why I don't understand rabid members of the grammar police. Yes, you should make an effort to use the English language and to write properly to be understood, but accidentally using "their" instead of "they're" in a hastily written email is not cause for the death penalty.

Oh, sure, I ridicule some of the bigger offenders, too, but I ignore small "word crimes."  You still have to laugh at angry protestors who called President Obama a "Half Breed Muslin" or another placard that read "Remember: Descent is the highest form of patriotic."  (sic)

Who knew the President was a fabric and you have to go down hill to be patriotic, not to mention grammatically incorrect?

I also liked the sign, "Repeel Congress." Yeah, it would be fun to peel that group.

Here's my answer to the word police. I'm going to lighten the mood by giving you Weird Al Yankovic's "Blurred Lines" parody, "Word Crimes"


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Kirstie Alley Closes Down George Washington Bridge? No, But......

Did Kirstie Alley shut down the George Washington
Bridge? Um, No, but a few readers of
the New York Times thought so.
Is Kirstie Alley a suspect in the New Jersey bridge scandal?

No, but bleary eyed, inattentive people on Saturday thought so. Or just people who can't spell.

The trouble started when the New York Times ran this headline: "Christie Alley Expected to Plead Guilty in George Washington Lane Closing Case."

The headline was a reference to accusations that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and/or his minions ordered the bridge closed one day in 2013 to screw over the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. That mayor wouldn't endorse Christie's re-election bid, so the theory is Christie or somebody in his administration ordered lanes closed on the bridge to totally gum up traffic in Fort Lee.

That would teach the Fort Lee mayor about following orders!

Anyway, the first couple of words in Saturday's New York Times headline either looks like "Kirstie Alley" or reminded people of the actress and comedian. 

My goodness! Kirstie Alley has the power to close a major metropolitan bridge?

Kirstie Alley, and not the Christie Ally, took to Twitter to 'fess up. 

"I TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY! You see, I bought a new ASTON Martin and wanted the whole freeway to myself to test drive," Kirstie tweeted.

She later tweeted that she was reveling in her power, the power to close down the bridge. But later, she tweeted, "I feel the fire of the witch hunt..ouch ouch ouch"

I don't know what Kirstie Alley, or the Christie Ally will do next. But beware, either one might close down a major highway bridge near you, so plan ahead!

Or you could just learn to read carefully.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Lazy Saturday: Cuteness Overdose With Baby And Puppy

Just because I'm lazy on this Saturday morning, I'm not putting much effort into this blog. Later, maybe.

Instead, I present you with more sleepiness. A puppy tries to guard a sleeping baby, but is a little overpowered by the baby's restfulness.

Here's your overdose of schmaltzy cuteness for the day: