Saturday, January 31, 2015

Guy Tattoos His Kids Doodles On His Arm; Much Cooler Than You'd Expect

Kids' artwork, and Keith Anderson's arm.
Looking for ideas for a tattoo?

If you've got a kid who likes to draw, maybe look to the tike as inspiration.

That's what Keith Anderson of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada did, says Buzzfeed

His son draws a picture, and then dad goes and has the exact image of the kid's artwork done on his right arm.

Photographer Chance Faulkner stumbled upon this guy and took some photos. Pretty sweet!

"I have had three different artists tattoo these drawings over the years....Recently my son was there with me and he did some of the tattooing himself. He loves it," said Anderson.

Anderson said he'll keep getting tattoos based on his son's artwork until the kid doesn't want to do it anymore.  
Another example of the kids drawing, and Anderson's arm. 

If he runs out of room on one arm, he'll either ask the kid to start drawing smaller or go on to the other arm. Or something.

Anderson said nobody had heard of using a child's doodles for tattoos, so he decided to go for it.

Personally, I like the bond this must help create between father and son. Way to go Keith Anderson!

Satan Is Everywhere! In Monster Energy Drinks! In Texas Muslim Press Conference!

Christine Weick, accurately called a "banshee"
by the Dallas Morning News, grabs a microphone
away from a guy and yells during Texas Muslim
Day in Austin this past week. Photo by
Jay Janner, Austin American-Statesman.  
Back in November, I told you about a woman with a unique perspective who informed us that all evidence suggests that Monster energy drinks are an instrument of the devil.

She went on in great detail on this subject in a YouTube video that went viral. 

We all had a nice chuckle over that a couple months ago.  

Now she's back, that attention hog, disrupting a Texas press conference in the past week that dared to suggest not all Muslims are murderous terrorists who are  Satan personified.

According to Raw Story and numerous other outlets, Christine Weick was one of the noisy, obnoxious protestors at a Texas Muslim Capitol Day celebration in Austin this past Thursday.

She had the nerve to wrest the microphone away from a speaker and shout: "I proclaim the name of the Lord Jesus Christ over the capitol of Texas! I stand against Islam and the false prophet!

Way to go, Christine. I'm sure God is real proud of a random crazy lady disrupting a press conference in the middle of Texas.

By the way, Raw Story notes that Weick wasn't the only person unhinged in Texas last Thursday because Muslims dared to show up in public.

State Rep. Molly White, a Republican from the fine community of Belton, Texas, wasn't in her office, but left a message saying she'd left an Israel flag on her reception desk (for some reason) and that any Muslim who showed up in her office had to "renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws."

Never mind that most Muslims in the United States actually do renounce terrorism and consider themselves American.

The Dallas Morning News has the perfect quote from a Muslim who was at the rally Christine and her fellow jerks disrupted:

"'The problem that even the lawmakers have - they don't know Muslims,' said Mustafaa Carroll, executive director of CAIR Texas. 'And anytime anything happens anywhere in the world, they're asking Muslims to denounce something they had nothing to do with. If you want a denunciation, ask those people who did it."

Like if a Christian commits a murder somewhere, should we expect our friend Christine to immediately go on television to denounce it?

Naw.  She's been really too busy saving Our Nation from Muslims. Or sharia law. Or something.

Raw Story reports that Weick said Muslims wanted to impose sharia law on the United States but they would be stopped if we yelled at them.

Well, Christine is quite the yeller, as we learned in Austin, so there's that. She goes on:

"Once they get that established, we're all going to be wearing hijabs....Women, come on, do you want this oppression coming upon you? Keep your intolerance - or keep your tolerance going. Keep it going. Keep your complacency, or you will have it."

Riiiight.

The Dallas Morning News also had a blunt editorial about Christine and her little friends:

"The Muslim visitors' rights to peaceful assembly - one of five rights enshrined in the First Amendment - was violated by a small group of morons. Hair flying, one banshee seized the microphone and shrieked nonsense revealing irrational fears more than anything."

Sorry Christine, but I have to agree. Your First Amendment rights don't trump others' And you are a real banshee.

Look, I get it. There are horrible so-called Islamic terrorists out there and they mean to do real harm to us.  And maybe I shouldn't be picking on a lady who might have some mental health issues. (I don't know. I'm not a psychiatrist.)

What really gets my goat is activists and certain media outlets. (Are you reading, Fox News?) that play on this crazy notion that if there are some Muslim terrorists out there, then ALL Muslims are terrorists.

The media who promote this notion are really in it for the eyeballs on the Internet, the ad revenue, to make money.

Nothing wrong with making money. News organizations and other media have to make money and have to attract viewers and readers. No problem there at all.

Sometimes, though, they cross the line from being provocative to make money to doing real damage to society by creating hate on false grounds. By purposefully trying to alienate peaceful Muslims through their antics, they're taking away the potential for peaceful Muslims to help us do more to combat terrorism.

In some cases, when you insult somebody enough, they're going to do exactly what you don't want them to do.

I'm not asking for these "activist media" Islamophobe outlets to shut up. Free speech, after all. They can say what they want. They have the right to.

But if they don't think about the damage they are doing, and obscuring the real problems (and potential solutions) to terrorism, it's up to the rest of us to speak up.

Which I'm doing in my very small way now.

Are you listening, Christine?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Watch This Guy With One Arm, No Left Shoulder And A Bad Lung Shame You At The Gym

Luke Ericson is an amazing athlete, despite having been
born with no left arm or shoulder.  
You probably wouldn't expect much, physically, out of a guy missing his left arm and left shoulder, and who has an underdeveloped left lung, AND was diagnosed as a kid with type one diabetes.  And he's got scoliosis.

But your expectations would be totally wrong in the case of Luke Ericson, who is suddenly going viral on the Internet.

It helped that he put a video on YouTube this past Monday that explains everything. It's at the bottom of this post.

The guy is FIT, to put it mildly, and he can outdo just about anybody with a workout.  He's a wicked badass.

I just love noting these kinds of people, people like Ericson, if only to get me off my butt. Maybe other people, too.

Ericson's gotten the added notice lately, and has the new video online because he and his friend filmmaker Andrew Rizer, started a Kickstarter campaign so they can make a short film about Ericson's preparation for something called the Wodapalooza Fitness Festival in Miami.

The Kickstarter campaign reached its monetary goal, unsurprisingly.

Ericson is already a regular at Crossfit competitions, and also wiles away some of his days doing such "sedentary" things as rock climbing, surfing and swimming.  He was born with the condition that left him missing the left arm, shoulder and part of his lung.

Here's a choice quote from him from his Kickstarter page:

"As a child I had always insisted on doing everything myself and never taking the easy way out......If I want something bad enough, I'll find a way to make it happen."

I guess he pretty much has, huh?

Ericson's got a message for you. Yes, you. And me:

"There is lots of people, lots with different, whether it's physical disabilities or confidence issues and internal angst, that use it as an excuse for them not to do something, whether that be fitness or a job or a hobby they love, or a relationship they don't pursue.

They let all these different fears stop them from doing something. Just don't. Don't let anything or anyone stop you from being happy."

So there.

Now watch his video:

The White Guy Or Guys Who Harassed Native American Kids In South Dakota Not So Smug Now

Native American kids were recently verbally abused
and had beer sprayed at them by idiots in a skybox at
this Rapid City hockey game recently. Police
are hunting the idiots down now.  
It must be wonderful to be a smug white drunk guy.

You're on top of the world, aren't you? You're better than everybody else, aren't you?

Especially those Native American kids you see below you, from your perch in the skybox as you watch a hockey game in a Rapid City, South Dakota arena.

What are those awful Native American kids doing here, anyway, you wonder. They don't belong here. This is only for white people. Native American kids show stay on the reservation.

So you tell them, through your drunken beer addled brain. "Go back to the reservation," you yell. 

You see the kids and their chaperones are getting visibly upset. Good, you think. They don't deserve to have a nice evening out at a hockey game. That's only for white people, isn't it? Especially white men like yourself.

Thank goodness there's plenty of beer. The beer distributor Eagle Sales of the Black Hills owns this skybox. This is good. There's so much beer you can pour some of it on those awful Native American kids down below and keep yelling at them to go back to the reservation.

Finally, they do. They all get up and leave. And they're upset. Good. Only white people like you deserve to have fun, don't you?  The Native American kids going back to the reservation. Where they can live in poverty like they're supposed to.

Us white guys are kings. They're our slaves. And you don't want to hear they were here before you were, huh? You're the big He-man conquerer, aren't you, the guy pouring beer on innocent kids and heaping abuse on them.

Oh, look at that. Tribal leaders, and the parents of the kids you yelled at and poured beer on during the hockey game demand a meeting, and justice, with Rapid City city leaders.

The leaders grant the meeting. Probably just to humor them and for PR, you think. The meeting last for three hours. Why did the white city leaders of Rapid City waste so much time on these stupid Native Americans, you think.

Afterwards, Rapid City's police chief emerges from the meeting. He looks pissed. He's a white guy, so you probably think he's pissed at those stupid Native Americans for wasting so much of his time when he could be drinking beer at a hockey game. And tossing some of it on these stupid Native Americans.

The police chief, Karl Jegeris is pissed alright. At YOU, white guy or guys who tortured these kids at the hockey game.

Jegeris has this to say:

"We're going to be looking at assault. We're going to look at the hate crimes statutes. We will look at the child abuse statutes. And we, will look at any other relevant statutes," he says.

Yes, the police chief is looking for you, stupid white guy or guys with the beer, so he can charge you with child abuse, or assault, or a hate crime.

You wonder what the world has come to. Charging you with a crime for being a good 'ol American, the place that is the land exclusively for white people, especially ignorant white men like you.

You find out the Native American kids were at the  hockey game in the first place because they were being rewarded for studying hard. Behaving. Trying to get ahead in this world.

What right to they have to study, to get ahead? They'll take jobs away from dumb white men like you. Because you're too stupid to hold down a job, at least compared to these bright Native American kids.

That's why you hate them so much, isn't it?  Deep down inside, you know they have a lot more going for them than you. So you do anything to keep them down, to demoralize them, to make them want to give up.

It seemed to work at first, didn't it? The parents of the Native American kids were on TV, tearfully explaining how upsetting this was for the kids.

But now others in the community are reaching out to these Native American kids. Many of these community members are white, and are being nice to these kids. You probably think these nice white people are traitors, being nice to the Native American kids who you think belong in abject poverty on the reservation.

Even the guy who owns the skybox at the hockey arena is apologizing for your behavior. You begin to think he's some sort of traitor, too.

And now, white guy or guys, the police know who you are, and will come to arrest you, too. Your name will be all over the papers, and on line. You'll get an onslaught of hate messages.

You think you're being beaten down by political correctness. "What is this country coming to", you wonder. "Why am I suddenly the victim?", you wonder. I'm supposed to be on top. I'm a white guy, you think.

Well, actually there are a lot of white guys and gals on top. The ones that won't beat others down because of racism, like yours. You don't think you are a bigot, but most other people think you are.

And you really are. The rest of us can't wait to see you arrested, to see who you are, to see how you react the world, which was once the way you want it to be, is changing.

Have another beer. You'll need it. Because they don't serve beer in jail.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dropkick Murphys Dropkick Scott Walker Over Use Of Their Song

In hindsight, Scott Walker should have done a bit
of research on these guys, the Dropkick Murphys before
using one of their songs at a political rally.  
Word to the wise:

If you're a politician who wants to use a popular song at campaign rallies, it's probably worth it to check if the band who made the song popular in the first place is at least sort of on the same page as you.  

But, politicians often don't do that. The latest case among many involve the Irish-American punk band the Dropkick Murphys and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

According to Salon and numerous other media outlets, Walker played the Dropkick Murphys song "I'm Shipping Up To Boston," which is a cover of a Woodie Guthrie song, as he took the stage at last weekend's Iowa Freedom Summit.

Members of the Dropkick Murphys were not amused. They Tweeted at Walker's official and personal accounts this message: "Please stop using our music in any way... we literally hate you!!! Love, Dropkick Murphys."

Walker and the Dropkick Murphys make a poor match anyway, something that someone on Walker's staff should have looked into.

The band has been very and publicly supportive of workers and union rights. Walker pretty much trashed collective bargaining for Wisconsin public workers back in 2012, so he's not exactly a friend of labor unions.

So I can see why the Dropkick Murphys aren't all that happy.

I'm completely mystified as to why Walker would use the song anyway. It seems a little rough for a conservative political rally, and the lyrics don't seem to advance anyone's political agenda. Here's a good chunk of the song's lyrics.

I'm a sailor peg
And I've lost my leg
Climbing up the top sails
I lost my leg.

I'm shipping up to Boston....
....to find my wooden leg"

Yeah, I don't get it either.

Politicians often hijack songs, and it often ends badly. The Hollywood Reporter not long ago listed some of the offenders.

John McCain is really on the Top 40 Hit List, as it were.  In 2008, McCain used a number of John Mellencamp songs, even though a very quick Google search would reveal Mellencamp's politics is a total mismatch of McCain's

Walker has used Mellencamp songs, and continued to use them even though the singer told him to stop.

Sarah Palin had a knickname in high school, "Barracuda." When she was introduced as McCain's running mate in 2008, they played the song "Barracuda" by Heart. Seemed appropriate on the surface, but the Wilson sisters, who make up the core of Heart, were very unhappy.

The song "Barracuda" is about ruthless record label executives. Maybe Palin wants to be a ruthless record label executive? Nah, she'd probably quit after a month.

Singer/songwriter Jackson Browne is a well known liberal, as practically everyone knows, so it's puzzling as to why the Ohio Republican Party used part of Browne's song "Running On Empty" in a TV commercial for McCain.

Of course, as we know now, it was McCain's campaign that was running on empty.

Democrats get into these spats with singers and songwriters, too. Sam Moore asked Barack Obama to stop using "Hold On, I'm Coming" and Cyndi Lauper asked Obama to stop using "True Colors" during his re-election campaign against Mitt Romney.

"Mr Romney can discredit himself without the use of my work," Lauper said, according to Daily Kos. 

Obama ended up complying with both requests. Moore and Lauper remained supporters of Obama's candidacy, so I guess it ended well enough there.

One of the more intriguing music spats involved Wisconsin Rep. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan versus Twisted Sister and Rage Against the Machine, the Daily Kos said.

Maybe Ryan was trying to appear accessible to younger Republicans or something, but jeez.

Rage guitarist Tom Morello slammed Ryan in an editorial:

"Paul Ryan's love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades. Charles Manson loved the Beatles but didn't understand them. Governor Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen, but doesn't understand him. And Paul Ryan is clueless about his favorite band, Rage Against the Machine."

".....his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage."

Well, that's an even more impressive takedown than the Dropkick Murphys vs. Scott Walker.

Politicians are awash in campaign donation money, so I've got a suggestion. Why don't they pay their minions to write songs for them instead of just relying on the American Top 40 Countdown?

Because a politician just picking songs off the radio always seems to end badly.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Another Amazing Superbowl Commercial; This One Not Cute But WOW!!

This morning, I posted about the new Budweiser/Clydesdale/puppy Superbowl ad that was all lovey dovey and cute and adorable and fun.  

A still from one of the most effective ads I've seen.  
This evening, I found another ad scheduled to run during the Superbowl. This one is NOT all lovey dove and cute and adorable and fun.

It's incredibly powerful, even though it consists of only two people talking. And you don't even see them during the entire one-minute ad.

The ad doesn't sell a product. But it possibly the most effective ad on the subject I've seen.  I've decided not to give you a spoiler as to what it's about.

But you'll want to watch it. It's important.

Budweiser's New Superbowl Commercial Awesomely Brings Back The Puppy

In the 2015 Budweiser Superbowl ad, we find our
puppy has gotten himself in a lot of trouble.
But you know it ends well.  
Budweiser this morning released their 2015 Superbowl Clydesdale horse commercial and brought the puppy back, like the one we fell in love with in the 2014 commercial.   

This one is the same kind of heart-tugging cuteness, lovey-dovey story about the loyalty among the puppy, the horses and the good looking guy who takes care of them all.

Watch the ad at the bottom of this post.

I love this new ad.

In this one, the curious puppy, looking for adventure, gets more than he bargained for.  A bit scary for very little kids, but it's OK, it all works out in the end, as you would predict.

Much better than GoDaddy's horrible attempt at a doggie commercial.

Like the brand new 2015 Budweiser puppy/Clydesdale ad, the dog accidentally finds itself far from home, but finds his way back. Unlike the new Budweiser/puppy/Clydesdale ad, it ends cruelly, not in a warm, satisfying way.

The public outcry led GoDaddy to pull the ad. 

The GoDaddy ad was even worse than their usual women-objectifying trash, which public pressure finally ended.

The ad agency for Budweiser must be loving this GoDaddy mess, since it brings even more positive attention to the Budweiser Superbowl ad

Anyway, I'm not a real fan of Budweiser beer, as I live in the Land Of Many Awesome Microbrews, better known as Vermont.

I also shouldn't like these Budweiser Superbowl commercials, they're so cliched, really. But my heart melts each time. I'm too much of an animal lover, I guess.

I really think you and a zillion other people will like this new Budweiser ad, too. Watch and judge for yourself:


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Why Dogs Are Awesome: This One "Saves" Human Companion From Water

A video floating around this week shows a guy taking a dip in some small pond somewhere while his dog relaxes on the shore.

The man decides to float face down in the water momentarily, just to relax.

That was alarming to the dog, to say the least. Watch what happens. It is awesome!


The Best Snow Day School Closing Announcement EVER, By Far

Matt Glendinning, left, the Head of Moses Brown School
in Providence, Rhode Island announces school is closed
for the blizzard in the best possible way while
a puzzled school administrator looks on.  
Thousands of schools throughout New England are closed today as the Blizzard of 2015 rages on.

Most people probably got a text message, or a robocall or heard an announcement on the radio that their school was closed.  

But the experience was quite different at the Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island, a college prep Quaker day school for kids in nursery school through Grade 12.

The school's communication director, Adam Olenn and Head of School Matt Glendinning found the BEST EVER way yesterday to tell students and their parents that school would not be in session today.

It's musical! It feels like Broadway! It's based on "Let It Go" from "Frozen"!

In the video, Glendinning is only lip syncing. The song was actually performed by Justin Peters, the school's choral director, in a sound studio prior to the video being shot,  according to WBUR in Boston.  

The participants produced the video well in advance of any forecasts for storms, knowing that eventually, Moses Brown would have to call a school day. Olenn said he wrote the lyrics in 15 minutes.

When Moses Brown administrators on Sunday heard weather forecasts of the blizzard bearing down on New England, the had their golden chance to release the snow day video, says WBUR.

The lyrics are great in their own simple way.

"The snow glows white on Route 95.
not a tire track to be seen.
We could make you come to school
but tht would just be mean. 

It is really quite a production. And it is the most awesome thing ever. Watch the whole thing and you'll wish Glendinning would come to your school to annouce a snow day

Watch and enjoy!

Monday, January 26, 2015

School Bus Lights Freak Out Religious Woman

A Tennessee woman says she sees signs of Satan
in these school bus brake lights.  
In this year's first classic case of over-reacting, a woman in Tennessee is totally, TOTALLY upset over some brake lights she saw on the back of a school bus.

To her, the lights looked like a pentagram, an upside down star that looked like the sign of the devil.

Is it SATAN?!?!?

No it's just regular school bus brakes lights designed in such a way so that devilishly inattentive motorists see them and don't smash into a bus load of kids.

But this woman is having none of it, says WMC Action News 5 in Tennessee.

"Anyone who fears a God if not God and Jesus Christ should be outraged," said the woman, describing the school bus brake lights.

The woman's over-reaction resulted in a bigger over-reaction. The woman who is afraid of the school bus lights doesn't want her name used in news reports because she's gotten death threats over her comments.

Really?

Actually, I totally believe the woman (about the death threats, not about the Satanic brake lights).

I mean, Jeez! Yeah, the lady is stupid for believing that Satan lives in random school bus brake lights, but does she really deserve the death penalty for being, um, a little eccentric?

I know most of the death threats came from low life Internet trolls who are too physically and mentally weak to actually do the violence, but did the trolls even think of what they were suggesting?

If everybody deserved to die because they said stupid things, then the trolls who issued the fatwa of sorts against School Bus Brake Light Lady deserve to die, too. Actually, if stupid comments deserve the death penalty, practically everyone on the planet would be dead.

Everybody says stupid things, including yours truly.

So let's all have a nice little chuckle over School Bus Brake Light Lady, then we'll hope the designers of school bus brake lights worry more about childrens' safety than imaginary devils in vehicle electronic components.

Then we can move on an nobody dies.

Unless a distracted nut drives into the back of a school bus to kill the devil in the brake lights.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Idiot Who Made Bomb Threats Against Airlines "Did It For Lulz"

From Buzzfeed: Part of the Twitter exchange between
Internet Troll "Zortic" and Delta Airlines Saturday.  
If media reports turn out to be true, some idiot made bomb threats against two airliners on Saturday "for the lulz"  

The word "lulz" for those not up on Internet jargon, is a plural form of LOL, for laughing out loud.

Yep, our bomb threat guy did it for the laughs.

Just when you thought Internet trolling could not possibly get any worse, it did.

The Internet troll who did this, via Twitter, will be having LOTS of lulz, I'm sure, when the FBI catches up to him or her.

And they will. It's fairly easy to figure out who is on Twitter when law enforcement really wants to know.

According to Reuters and just about every other news source, Delta Air Flight 1156 from Portland, Ore. and Southwest Flight 2492 from Milwaukee were both en route to Atlanta Saturday when somebody on Twitter names Zortic started the "fun."

Buzzfeed captured the whole Twitter exchange between Zortic and the airlines. 

Zortic sent a message via Twitter to @DeltaAssist: "I have a bomb on one of your planes but I forgot which one when I left the airport. Can you help me find it?"

Well, right there you can tell it's just a troll being incredibly stupid. But airlines do have to take threats seriously. Just because of the off-chance there could be a mad bomber around

NORAD dispatched two F-16 fighter jets to escort the two airliners to Atlanta. Investigators scoured the planes, re-screened the passengers and found no bomb.

But look at the trouble and money and resources "Zortic" caused, all in the name of "Lulz"

At the end of his little game, Zortic had one last message on his now-deleted Twitter account, taunting people to raid him. "I'm a God. Completely untouchable and I challenge @FBI @CIA @NSA to actually get off their asses."

Oh, I'm sure these agencies are off their asses, Zortic. They just like to make arrests on their own terms. You'll see.

I've seen quite a few creative suggestions on how to punish Zortic, you know, just for the lulz. The best is to leave him in an un-airconditioned cargo hold in the sun all day in a plane parked on the tarmac at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta on the hottest, most humid day of the year.

If they do that punishment for Zortic, can we have a live web feed of it please? Just for the lulz?

I keep saying there needs to be more aggressive prosecution of the most abusive Internet trolls to set an example. You can use existing laws barring threats, stalking, that sort of thing, to punish these idiots.

I hesitated before writing this post, because I don't want to give the trolls the attention they crave. But instead of pretending they don't exist, it's probably better to advocate punishment for the worst offenders. Maybe then they'll shut up already.

Not The Safest Way To Roast A Marshmallow: Using A Volcano

From Caters News. A guy roasts marshmallows and drinks
a beer on the edge of a volcano. Not too smart, in my opinion.  
It's kind of fun for some people to roast marshmallows over a campfire.

Some people MUST do things differently,  however, so we have a guy on video here who trekked to Vanuatu, way out in the South Pacific, climbed up to the edge of a boiling lava lake on a volcano and roasted marshmallows.

He didn't seem to be wearing protective gear, just shorts and a t-shirt.

And I have to wonder how stable the edge of the cliff he was on. If it broke, he'd go down into the volcano, and let's just say more would be roasted than a marshmallow.

I definitely the guy's smarts and sanity, and I'm not advocating anyone repeat what he's doing.

For what it's worth, though, have a watch. If you're in a particularly chilly part of the world, at least the images of boiling lava might warm you up a bit:


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Poor Marital Communication Part II: This One's Fun And Works Out Well

For the second time in two days, I found a case where
 a woman returns home to find her husband made some
rather substantial changes to their home while she was gone.
In this case, nobody was particularly upset.  
Yesterday, I wrote about the guy who is the WORST EVER at marital communication.  

He's the guy who tore down the house he lived in with his wife, who owned the house. He didn't bother to mention to her ahead of time that he planned to do it.

 This did not end well.

Today, I found another example of an extreme lack of marital communication, but this one is much more positive.

In this new one,  the wife had gone away on errands for a good part of the day, much like the women whose husband tore down the house.

In this case, the husband, named Roman Atwood, stayed home with the kids, and when his wife called to check in during the day, Atwood said they were doing nothing special at home.

Atwood wasn't exactly being totally honest with his wife on this one.  Things weren't actually that boring at home.

Atwood is known for his prank videos, so you know things might not go as expected.

When the wife got home, she found her house radically different than when she left it. (kinda like the woman whose house got torn down by her husband.)

In this new case, however, they still have a place to live, and I have the distinct feeling that there is very, VERY little marital discord going on here. Plus the kids probably think he's the world's coolest dad.

Watch:

Friday, January 23, 2015

Marital Bliss: Guy Razes House; Neglects To Mention It To Wife

James Rhein is in trouble with a lot of people
for tearing down his house without first telling
anyone he was going to do it, including his wife.  
At the Marital Bliss lab here at Matt of All Trades we ran into one story that illustrates that maybe, just maybe, communication is essential in a successful marriage.

Then what do we know?  Because the guy in the following tale seems to think everything is just peachy.

James Rhein decided to tear down the house he shared with his wife, Diane Andryshak last Monday because the foundation needed too much work and he decided he wanted to start over.

In what might be a weakness in the couple's marriage communication channels, Rhein tore down the house, with all their stuff in it, without mentioning to his wife he was going to do that. 

Surprise! She was upset when she showed up and found that the house was gone.

Rhein doesn't seem to be all that talented in the communication department anyway. You do need permits for a big job like tearing down a house, and he did not obtain them.

He said he tried to get a permit Monday to take down the house, but government offices were closed due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

"So I took it down, that's it," NBC New York quoted him as saying. 

He couldn't wait just one more day to get a permit? The offices reopened Tuesday. Impatient little jerk.
The area of debris between these two houses
was the house owned by James Rhein's wife.
He tore it down without first mentioning to
her he was going to do it.  

Let's get back to the lack of communication with the wife, or lack thereof.  Why didn't Rhein tell her he was going to take the house down?

"I tried calling her, she didn't answer the phone," Rhein said.

Um, you couldn't leave a message and wait for her to return it?

Most married people, when contemplating something major like tearing down your house, have a little discussion with their spouse, at least, before moving forward.

Not to gloat, but something as simple as me burning my brush pile tomorrow, was a topic of discussion between me and my husband before I went ahead and got the burn permit.

Note that I got a permit from the town, unlike Rhein and his house. And I'm not even doing anything to my house.

By the way, ownership of the house was under Rhein's wife's name, not him, so it should have been her final decision on what to do with the building.

Rhein acknowledged his wife was initially upset, but he said, "But she's over it now... We're good. I'm a good husband, what can I tell you?"  

I think you're tellling us you're either delusional or a liar.  Judging from news report, I don't think his wife is over it, either.

Andryshak (the wife) said she's still in shock, given that all her medications, her possessions, etc were destroyed. Rhein didn't take anything out.

He says everything's replaceable. She said not everything.

Rhein is facing felony charges for not getting permits for the demolition, but I think that's the least of his problems.  Somehow I think his wife will have the last word on this. She'll communicate with Rhein all right.

In court, I bet.

He was behind in paying mortgage payments. Maybe he wanted to stick it to the bank? His wife said she was unaware of any financial problems that big.

Can this marriage be saved?

We at the Marital Bliss lab at Matt of All Trades don't think so. Many marriages can survive difficulties with communication, but Rhein's trouble with this issue takes it to a whole new level.

He's a First Class Dick. Our advice to his wife?

Run, Diane Run! Stay away from him. Except in court, where you should take him to the cleaners and get a nice big fat divorce settlement.

The CBS New York report on this is priceless. Watch:



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Richard Dawkins Reads "Love Letters" (Read Nasty E-Mails) To Him, Hilariously

Image of Richard Dawkins as he reads the "love letters"
or more accurately, hate mail from people claiming
to be Christians. They'r e probably just trolls.  
Richard Dawkins, the noted evolutionary biologist, author and outspoken atheist, doesn't exactly have a fan base among evangelicals and fundamentalist Christians.

This week, he appeared on YouTube reading the "love letters" from people who purport to be Christians, who believe God created the world a few thousand years ago and that evolution is bullshit.

Oh, and they really, REALLY hate Dawkins' atheism.

Granted, most of the letters are probably from trolls and not honest-to-goodness Christians. At least let's hope so.

My goodness, the profanity from some of these "Christians!" The F-bombs and other insults made me blush, and that's saying something!

But Dawkins' reading of these "love letters" is laugh out loud hilarious, especially with the deadpan delivery and dignified British accent as he reads the anything-but-dignified notes.

You have to admit some of the letters wishing ill of Dawkins are creative:

"I hope you are sodomized by satanic monkeys in hell."

Another letter ends "You fuckety fuck. God bless."

"Your famed intelligence is nothing more than the fart of God."

"Dawkins needs to be killed in a plane crash or a flame thrower accident."

Again, the video of him reading is totally, totally NSFW because of all the swear words. In fact it's not suitable for you if you can't handle a barrage of really nasty words.

But watch the video, and you'll crack up at least as much as I did:

Spectacular Video Of Mexican Volcano Erupting

Watch this Mexican volcano explode dramatically in
the video at the bottom of this post.  
A volcano in Mexico erupted Wednesday and a webcam caught the incredible explosion.

Let's just say we should all be glad nobody was near the Colima volcano when it exploded at about 9:13 a.m. local time Wednesday morning, says Mashable. 

The ash cloud went 13,000 feet into the sky. Luckily winds were blowing the ash away from populated areas, including Puerto Vallarta in southwestern Mexico.

There have been no reports of injuries or serious damage with this. Authorities have been keeping people away from the volcano.

As if anybody in their right minds would want to go near it.

The volcano has been erupting repeatedly in recent weeks, but this was the biggest explosion on Colima during its current round of eruptions.

Experts say Colima will probably continue erupting in the coming days and weeks.

This video of Wednesday's eruption is a good reason to stay away from it, but be totally wowed by it.

Watch:

This Guy Seems Happy

Winter doldrums got you down?

Maybe this guy at the String Festival,  bluegrass event in Oregon last summer could help cheer you up and warm you up.

He seems happy enough:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Stupid Facebook Commenters Unsure Of Difference Between Latin Language and Latin America

This is Latin America. Very few people in this region
speak the ancient Roman language of Latin.
Just to clear up the obvious, stupid confusion.  
WCAX-TV in Vermont recently ran a minor little feature about an 8th grader in the state who thought it would be a nice idea to have a state motto in Latin.

There's already an English language one, but why not celebrate with a Latin language one, too?

So she came up with "Stella quarter decimal fulgeat," for "May the 14th Star Shine Bright."

A state lawmaker, Joe Benning, thought he'd honor the kid by introducing a bill establishing the Latin Motto.

It's one of those things all legislatures do, these little student-inspired bills that aren't important but educational.

They don't take much time from more pressing duties, it's a feel good celebration, and it it also is meant to make constituents feel all warm and fuzzy.

What could go wrong?

Plenty. According to the Vermont Political Observer, the article was flooded with TONS of angry comments when WCAX posted it on its Facebook page.  

Worse, a frightening number of people are incredibly clueless: In their minds a Latin motto is just another example of those heathen Hispanics illegally crossing over the border, invading us and taking over our culture.

Get it? They don't understand the difference between Latin the old Roman language, and Latin America, the place where many Hispanics come from.

Yeah, I know.  Forehead slap.

Really! Below are some of the comments Vermont Political Observer noted.  Go to their site to see the whole list. I'm glad VPO also noted the commenters names, to call them out in their ignorance.

These are some of my "favorites":

--- Dorothy Lynn Lepisto: "I thought Vermont was American not Latin? Does any Latin places have American mottos?

--- Norman Flanders: "What next Arab motto??"

--- Ken P. Hahn: "How about 'go back south of the boarder (sic)'"

--- Lori Olds: "I thought this was USA why are they trying to make Americans aliens"

--- Chris Ferro: "That's a BIG NO if you life in the United States YOU need to learn ENGLISH!!"

--- Kurtis Jones: "No cause vt ain't no Latino area (whole sentence sic) Leave the motto alone."

--- Ken Curtis: "Just when I felt our represenatives (sic) could not possibly get any dumber, they come up with this..get real...this is the USA not some Moslim (sic) or Mexican country... stop given (sic) in to these people...."

I'm really starting to get sick of writing "(sic)" over and over again, but what can you do in this situation?

Here's a couple more comments on that WCAX article. What the hell. I'm having fun.

--- Kristen Wright "thats (sic) un (sic) called for this is the usa." (sic)

---Kelley Dawley: "How do you say idiotic senator in spanish. (sic) I'd settle for deport illegals in spanish (sic) as a back up motto."

--- Heather Chase: "Seriously?? Last time I checked..real vermonters (sic) were speaking English, NOT LATIN...good god (sic)"

Geez, I wish some of the people who commented on this article could get a grip on the English language.

Or as one other, slightly more sane put it as she commented to WCAX via Facebook: "I do hope the State House looks at this thread and realizes there are serious flaws in our state education system."  

Ya think?!?

Joe Benning, the lawmaker who introduce the Latin motto bill, was philosophical:

"I figure this is a good opportunity for my now ninth grader to learn how to respond to such attacks with fortitude and grace. I hope to be meeting with her and her parents this weekend to continue the educational experience."

Hey, at least our ninth grader seems to know the difference between Latin, the ancient language and Latin America, the region on the globe.

That's a start.

John Boehner Was Highlight Of Obama's State Of The Union Address

John Boehner looking either unhappy or ill
during Obama's State of the Union s
speech last night.  
I know I'm focusing on the trivial, but I'll let the experts pick apart Barack Obama's State Of The Union speech.  

What I was really fascinated with was House Speaker John Boehner in the background. The facial expressions were priceless.

Was he constipated? Was he having Budweiser burps? Was he about to projectile vomit on national television?

Boehner's perpetually orange complexion didn't help either, especially as compared to the very pale Vice President Joe Biden seated next to Boehner.

People say it's just a tan, natural or otherwise, but gawd, which sun does he expose himself to?

Here's a Huffington Post mashup of Boehner's best facial expressions during last night's State Of The Union

Watch and pick your favorite!



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

U.S. Attorney General Tells Corrupt Towns/Cops To Stop Stealing Stuff

A few, but certainly not all police departments
and prosecutors basically steal money
through "civil forfeiture" to fund their departments 
If you or I stood on some rural road somewhere, forced a passing motorist to give us his money, we'd be arrested and locked up for robbery.

However, a few corrupt police departments and towns and prosecutors have been doing just that, all perfectly legal.

Or at least they say it's perfectly legal.

Basically, a lot of them seize property and money for fun and profit, mostly profit, without any attempt at due process. Many of the seizures are from people who are innocent.

It's called civil forfeiture. I'd have no problem with this if someone were convicted of a crime, and their ill-begotten assets were sold and divied up between prosecutors, police departments and other government agencies.

But the key word here is convicted. Corrupt prosecutors and law enforcement agencies are seizing money and property from people all the time without these people even having been charged with a crime, much less convicted of one.

You'd think this would be unconstitutional, but people seem to be getting away with it.

Finally this past week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is kinda, sort of putting a halt to that sort of thing. But it's been really out of hand and Holder's actions only go so far.

One of the bests primers on this robbery by cop and prosecutor racket came last September when the Washington Post had a lengthy article about what I might call a seizure police-industrial complex, in which police just basically steal money from unsuspecting motorist.

--THE SCAM

Let's get into the infuriating Washington Post article. 

It all started in the aftermath of the September, 2001 terrorist attacks, in which local police were encouraged to focus more on searching suspicious people, drugs and other iffy activities they come across.

But then it morphed. According to the Post:

"......the spread of an aggressive brand of policing that has spurred the seizure of hundreds of millions of dollars in cash from motorists and others not charged with crimes.......Thousands of people have been forced to fight legal battles that can last more than a year to get their money back."

It gets worse:

"Behind the rise in seizures is a little-known cottage industry of private police training firms that teach the techniques of 'highway interdiction' to departments across the country.

"One of those firms created a private intelligence network known as Black Asphalt Electronic Networking and Notification System that enabled police nationwide to share detailed reports about American motorists. - criminals and the innocent alike - including their Social Security numbers, addresses, and identfying tattoos, as well as hunches about which drivers to stop."

Some federal and state officials shave warned this network is probably unconstitutional, but Constitution, Schmonstitution when there's money to be made, or more accurately put, stolen.

"A thriving subculture of road offices on the network now compete to see who can seize the most ash and contraband, describing their exploits in the network's chat rooms and sharing 'trophy shots' of money and drugs. Some police advocate highway interdiction as a way of raising revenue for cash strapped municipalities."

And here's a damning quote in the Washington Post article:

"All of our home towns are sitting on a tax-liberating gold mine," Deputy Ron Hain of Kane County, Illinois wrote in a self-published book under a psedonym. Hain is a marketing specalist for Desert Snow, a leading interdiction training form based in Guthrie Oklahoma, whose founder also created Black Asphalt."

I thought prosecutors and cops were in the law enforcement business, not an extortion racket.

The Post said there have been nearly 62,000 cash seizures made on highways and elsewhere since September, 2001 without search warrants or indictments. A total of $2.5 billion was collected, and state and local agencies were able to keep $1.7 billion of that.

So again, no warrants, no court trials, no due process. Police just took money from people because they thought they were guilty. Or pretended to think they were guilty.

This money and property seizure crime spree, as I like to describe it, has been going on for years, with or without that Black Asphalt intelligence gathering crap.

Some examples:

Back in 2009, Wayne County, Michigan forced a woman named Krista Vaughn to pay $1,400 to get her car back, which had been seized by police after they mistook the woman's co-worker in the car for a prostitute. No charges were filed, but she still had to pay, said the Detroit News. 

It turns out Wayne County regularly did this sort of thing, collecting up to $8 million a year, often in cases in which nobody was charged with a crime, the Detroit News said.

Tellingly, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy would only provide a written statement saying 'If people are soliciting prostitutes, selling drugs or otherwise profiting from criminal activity, as prosecutors we have the right under the law to forfeit property.'

Notice that jerk Worthy (with the totally unworthy last name) didn't even address all the cases of innocent people, and she was far too much of a total wimp to be interviewed.

Back in 2011, authorities try to take a Tewksbury, Mass. motel worth $1 million away from its owners, Russ Caswell and his family, said the Institute for Justice, who helped defend the family. The try by prosecutors and police to seize the property came about because over 14 years, authorities made 15 drug arrests at the motel. During that time, more than 200,000 people stayed at the hotel.

The Caswells were never accused of participating in any crimes, or turning a blind eye to crimes. In fact, everyone acknowledges, the Caswells fully cooperated with police during investigations.

But, probably for the profit motive, police and prosecutors tried to seize the motel.

Thankfully, in 2013, a federal judge put a stop to the forfeiture and let the Caswells keep their property. The judge said police and prosecutors grossly exaggerated the evidence and had no authority to seize the property.

People can fight back, but that takes lawyers, time, legal expertise, and money, assuming they have any left after the cops stole their cash. Even when people fight back and are successful, the damage is done.

Like the people the Post cited:

--A 55 year old Chinese American stopped for speeding on Interstate 10 in Alabama had with him $75,000 raised by relatives so he could buy a restaurant. The dirty cops seized the money, and by the time he got it back, it was way too late for the restaurant deal.

---Mandrel Stuart, 35, said police took $17,550 from him during a minor traffic stop in Fairfax, Virginia. He turned down a settlement offer from the government for half the money because he didnt do anything wrong other than a minor traffic problem so what right did they have to take his money.

Stuart too the case to a jury and won, 'natch, but he lost his business. That's because he couldn't pay overhead after the cops stole the $17,550 from him.

The police will say they didn't steal it, but how else can you describe it?  It's just as bad as if police robbed a bank.

--HONEST COPS, PROSECUTORS

Not all police departments, prosecutors and local governments are in on this racket. Many refuse to participate, citing Constitutional, legal and ethical concerns.

The Washington Post quoted this guy:

"Those laws were meant to take a guy out for selling $1 million in cocaine or who was trying to launder large amounts of money," said Mark Overton, the police chief in Bal Harbor, Fla,. who once oversaw a federal drug task force in South Florida. "It was never meant for a street cop to take a few thousand dollars from a driver by the side of the road."

State law enforcement officials in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and other places backed away from this Black Asphalt idiocy because of Constitutional worries, the Post said

Finally, as I mentioned, one of the other good cops in this saga stepped in. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, is stepping down soon, but he's been taking a flurry of actions against some unconstitutional crap.

Holder's move doesn't go all the way in stopping this "legal" crime syndicate. But it's a start. Holder said police departments can no longer do this civil forfeiture thing unless it's related to a specific warrant or charge.

It might have been better had Holder limited to forfeiture to cases in which there was a criminal conviction, but like I said, it's a start.

I get it. All police departments and prosecutors' offices need adequate funding to truly go after the bad guys and gals.

But it doesn't exactly raise confidence in the criminal justice system when cops and prosecutors steal money to get the funds to arrest people who steal money.

The Least Mature, Least Sober Guide To Tonight's State Of The Union

I know, I know, President Obama's State of the Union Address tonight is wicked important.

I'll pay attention to it, for sure.

But I also have to be totally immature about it.

So click on the image in this post to make it bigger and more readable.

It's the State of the Union drinking game.

I probably won't be participating. The game looks too grueling, and I don't have enough money to buy the large quantitites of booze you'd probably need to participate.

Even if I substituted water for alcohol with this game, I'd be up all night going to the bathroom.

I don't know how anyone can survive it. Please don't drive home after playing this game. I'm hung over just thinking about it.

Maybe I should just forward the State of the Union drinking game to John Boehner and be done with it.

Have political fun tonight, everyone!

Monday, January 19, 2015

More Fails From 2014 (Can't Get Enough)

Like everything else in this post, this doesn't end well.  
Stumbled upon more of the viral fails of 2014 in this compilation. I noticed most of them have to do with human stupidity, no surprise there.

People definitely need a primer in the laws of physics.

I was also pleased to see many are weather related. Weather causes lots of fails, doesn't it?

Here you go, or your Monday time waster:

Someday Your Car Might Be Taken Over By Hackers

Imagine this:
Will hackers remotely be able to cause wrecks
by this by taking control of cars'
computer systems?  

You're zooming down a highway in lots of traffic, doing the speed limit of 65 mph.

All of a sudden, your brakes don't work. Your car speeds up even though you have your foot off the gas. The steering wheel swings back and forth wildly, sending you all over the road.

Worse, this is happening to the cars around you. There's a big pileup and lots of people die.

I know that's the plot of some bad science fiction/action movie, but it's a worse-case scenario of what could perhaps happen in the future, at least according to a Vox article called "The Next Frontier in Hacking: Your Car."

Cars are increasingly equipped with super duper navigation, and will integrate with cellphones wonderfully, and will have more and more self driving capabilities, says Vox.

There's already a LOT of computer stuff in cars, and they're starting to become prone to hacking.  Most of the computer components in the past have been internal, but they're increasingly being connected to the greater outside Internet, and that trend will probably just keep accelerating.

You can only hack into these cars if you had physical access to them, just as you would need physical access to cut the brake lines or steal the battery or something.

But already, cars are starting to become hackable without ever getting near the thing.

Says Vox about one Universityof California study of an unnamed late model car:

"They found it was alarmingly vulnerable to external attack.

In one attack, they created a malicious music file that, if played on the car's stereo, would let hackers gain control of the car's computer systems. In another, they demonstrated that they could hack into the diagnostic equipment used by auto mechanics using its wifi connection, and from there install malicious software onto vehicles being serviced."

Some of this is dangerous and not deadly. Hackers would be able to listen in on conversations going on in the car, or disable the locking system, making it super easy to steal the car.

Hackers are already close to being able to take control of cars, or are already there.  From a scary article from Forbes about how researchers showing they ways cars like a Ford Escape and Toyota Prius  can be hacked:

"As I drove their vehicles for more than an hour (Charlie) Miller and (Chris) Valasek showed that they've reverse-engineered enough of the software of the Escape and the Toyota Prius (both the 2010 model) to demonstrate a range of nasty surprises: Everything from annoyances like uncontrollably blasting the horn to serious hazards like slamming on the Prius' brakes at high speeds.

They sent commands from their laptops that killed power steering, spoofed the GPS and made pathological liars out of speedometers and odometers.

Finally, they directed me out to a country road, where Valasek showed that he could violently jerk the Prius' steering at any speed, threatening to send us into a cornfield or a head-on collision. 'Imagine you're driving down a highway at 80,' Valesek says. 'You're going into the car next to yoi or into oncoming traffic. That's going to be bad times.'"

Notice the cars in the above passage were 2010 models. I can only imagine new model cars, like, say my new 2015 Toyota Tacoma could be hacked even more readily or extensively.

The danger of getting yourself killed by a hacker is of course the biggest worry. But there are also fraud worries. They can adjust the odometer. They could also probably alter the computer to hide the fact the used car you're buying has been in a wreck or a flood in the past.

And what if your car is hacked, you steer into a car carrying a family. How do you prove you weren't at fault?

There haven't been many hacks of cars yet, Vox explains, because each model of car has custom software that changes year to year. So you can't get widespread hacks, and it's harder to catch up with the changes.

PCs and smartphones are easier to hack hecause they all have standard operating systems, Windows, Android or iOS. So a single piece of malware can screw up millions of devices, says Vox. Plus, PCs and smartphones are connected to the Internet much more than cars are.

But as automakers keep upping the ante on the sophistication of car systems, the more likely they'll be hooked up to the Internet, and run on more hackable Android, Windows or iOS systems.

Says Vox:

"In the next year or two, most car manufacturers are going to support Android Audio and Apple's Carpay - standards that allow smartphones to control a cars dashboard touchscreen display. These interfaces could provide another potential route for hacking."

Vox said automakers need to do comprehensive security audits of the cars' software as part of a vehicle's safety testing process.

But that's hard to do since the auto manufacturers can't even look at source codes.  Vox says "suppliers consider this proprietary information and guard it closely."

OK suppliers, what's more important? Keeping people safe or making bundles of money?

Oh, right. Making bundles of money.

We hope the the Society of Automotive Engineers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration go forward with new standards for cyber security in vehicles.

Meanwhile, Miller and Valasek, the guys in the Forbes article above, have a good idea, according to Wired:

"The hacker duo has created a prototype of an intrusion detection system for cars - a $150 device that plugs directly into a vehicle's network to monitor and block suspicious commands."

Nice idea, and it would help, but I bet it could get hacked, too.

To be fair, some car manufacturers are starting to get on board with security.

According to CNN Money, Ford hardware has built-in firewalls that stop malicious tampering, and the company has a team of hackers that are always looking for weaknesses.

Toyota has a similar "good guy and gal" hacking team. Also, says CNN Money, "Toyota embeds security chips in the tiny computers throughout the car, narrowing how they communicate and lessening the chance of outsider interference."

Which makes me feel a little better about my new Toyota Tacoma.

Still, all this stuff in cars makes me nervous. I guess it boils down to our increasing lack of ability to control things. I actually resent even simple things, like car windows that roll down electronically, instead of with a crank.

If the electrical system malfunctions and I have to get out, how do I do it? Should I just carry a crowbar in the truck always, just in case?

Now we have all these computer systems. Convenient and fun, yes. I'm no Luddite. But I still have misgivings about all this, since for me, the point of driving a vehicle is to get from Point A to Point B, not be entertained by glitzy bells and whistles.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Random Cuteness: Adorable White Ermine Play Peek-A-Boo In A Tree

This video is burning up the Internet because it's so cute. It's a snow white ermine, which is a form of weasel, popping in and out of a rotten tree trunk.

It does sound that cute, but watch. (You'll have to click on the "Watch on YouTube" sentence when you want to play it in order to watch the video)

 Cueing the "Ahhhhs" now

Alabama School Kids To Fight Armed Intruders By Throwing Canned Food At Gunmen?

Most of us see these as a source of nutrition
or something to donate to the food shelf. A school
in Alabama thinks these are weapons school kids
can use against a school shooter.  
School shootings are right up there as the biggest tragedies this nation has faced.

One school in Alabama though, has taken the fear of such attacks to a ridiculous level. But at least there will be snacks.

W.F. Burns Middle School Principal Priscilla Holley in Valley, Alabama has instructed kids to bring canned food items to school, says television station WHNT.

Then, if a gunman barges into the school, the kids could throw their cans of food at the intruder, stunning him or even knocking him out until police arrive.

What could go wrong? The kids with the cans would be heroes.

Of course, I'm not sure a thrown can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup is much of a match for bullets, but the school district is going with this.

In a letter to parents reminding them to give their kids the weaponized food cans to bring to school, Holley wrote, "The canned food item will give the students a sense of empowerment to protect themselves and will make them feel more secure in case an intruder enters the classroom."

I'm all for teaching students to feel empowered, but I'm not sure the midst of a school shooting incident is the right moment for such lessons.

Maybe the kids should just get the hell out of there if they can when somebody with a gun shows up. The empowerment lessons can come later.

And if somebody pointed a gun at me and threatened to shoot, I'm not sure I'd feel that much more secure if I had a can of tuna to throw at him.

To be fair, the Alabama can throwing idea is part of a broader program called ALICE, for "Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate."

The ALICE program is used in a lot of schools, and much of it makes sense. It's good to have some sort of plan and training in case the worst happens.

Although a quick look at the ALICE, I didn't see anything about throwing cans at intruders, though.

I certainly hope there's never a school shooting in Valley, Alabama, or anywhere for that matter.

But let's just use the canned food for dinner, or for donating to your local food shelf.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dover, Delaware Police Officer Out Swifts Taylor Swift With "Shake It Off"

UPDATE: Taylor Swift like this guy:

Admit it. Like me, a lot of you probably like Taylor Swift's current big hit "Shake It Off."
Believe it or not, the guy on the left in this
photo can out Taylor Swift Taylor Swift.  

However, a big, burly officer with the Dover, Delaware Police Department recently put in an EPIC performance of "Shake If Off" while he patrolled the city.

The guy, so far only identified as "Officer Davis," has got the moves down perfectly.

I think Taylor Swift needs to hire this guy immediately to put him in her shows.

As it is, news organizations are already clammoring for more on this story. The video has gone totally viral.

The Dover Police Department only posted the video on its Facebook page Friday morning, and less than 24 hours later, had received nearly 400,000 views

See for yourself. It will totally brighten your day:

Boy 6 and 3/4 Years Old, Asks Neil deGrasse Tyson "What Is Meaning Of Life?" Answer Beyond Perfect

It turns ou Neil deGrasse Tyson knows what
the meaning of life is.  
Scientist and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson gets some really tough questions while out on speaker tours.

Really tough.

But he seems to answer the queries just fine. More than fine.

Like the other night in Boston, when a kid named Jack, age 6 and 3/4, asked Tyson, "What is the meaning of life?"

Watch the video at the bottom of this post for Tyson's perfect answer, but here's a spoiler, in the form of part of Tyson's response:

"People ask that question on the assumption that meaning is something you can look for....'Here's the meaning. I've been looking for it.' It doesn't consider the possibility that meaning in life is something you create. 

You manufacture it for yourself and for others. Did I learn something that I didn't know yesterday, bringing me a little closer to knowing all that can be known in the universe?

To learn is to become closer to nature and to learn how things work gives you power to influence events. It gives you power to help people who might need it, power to help yourself, to shape a trajectory."

Tyson then urged Jack to jump in puddles, to pull out all the pots and pans in the house and bang on them with spoons. Jack's parents might object, but Tyson said he was overriding them and giving Jack his permission, because jumping in puddles and banging on pots are ways kids explore and learn.

It's a habit, Tyson said, that people should carry with them all their lives.  Tyson said he considers a day in which he didn't learn something as a day wasted.

Which makes me glad I stumbled upon the video, below, because I learned something today. You will, too.  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Ezra Frech, 9, Cool Kid Who's The BEST Antidote To Scumbags

Athlete and motivational speaker
Ezra Frech, age 9.  
People who watch Ellen, which of course is Ellen Degeneres' talk show, know she likes to interview cool kids.  

I stumbled upon one of those interviews today, and I think he's my favorite of all the Ellen kid interviews I've seen or heard about.

His name is Ezra Frech, and he's nine years old.

Initially, when you watch the interview, you think the incredibly remarkable thing about him is he's this really, REALLY good athlete, despite having had one leg amputated and two fingers on one of his hands.

(One of those fingers is a former toe, taken by doctors to help him out when they amputated his leg.)

Then you realize what a great interview he is. He's just so interesting and inspiration and smart.

Degeneres, during the interview, said Ezra should be a motivational speaker. Ezra said he already does that.  He's got a whole organization around that called Team Ezra. 

Can't say I'm surprised there.

The impressive thing about this kid is not what's going on physically with him. It's his brain. Poised, smart way, way beyond his years, wise, philosophical, polite, engaging - what's not to love?

I get so worn down by the scumbuckets I always read about in the news, and the ignorant scumbuckets I often feature in this blog.

So it's a HUGE breath of fresh air when I find out about some kid like Ezra Frech.

The kids are alright. Ezra demonstrates it. Want proof? Watch Ellen Degeneres interview Ezra Frech: