Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sorry, Rhode Island Is Nothing Like Iceland

A Rhode Island tourism video had a skateboard
doing his moved near a really cool building, but
the building is not in Rhode Island, but in
Reykajavik, Iceland. Ooops.  
I've been to Rhode Island and it's a nice little state to visit, trust me.

I've never been to Iceland, but I'm told it's a wonderful, beautiful place to visit. I want to go.

However, it would be hard to confuse Iceland with Rhode Island, but a consultant for the Rhode Island tourism office did just that.  

According to the Associated Press, Rhode Island tourism unveiled a spiffy new video showing the wonders of visiting the tiny New England state on your next vacation.

Says the AP:

"The video's intro features a skateboarder outside a glass building and has a narrator saying, 'Imagine a place that feels like home but holds enough uniqueness that you're never bored.'"

Sounds great, but the glass building in question is the Harpa concert hall and conference center in Reykjavik, Iceland, and not something in Rhode Island.

The mistake was quickly caught by eagle-eyed people on social media who apparently have been to Iceland.

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, which released the errant video, said a local firm that was tasked with editing the video were told to use only images taken in Rhode Island.

Somebody there goofed, and accidently used images from elsewhere.

The video, which cost $22,000 to make, was promptly yanked and set up for a do-over, though the cost of the work will be on the editing company and not the state of Rhode Island.

The Associated Press had a better suggestion.

Maybe they could have kept the video and just touted the gorgeous wonders of "Rhode Iceland."

Petition For Guns At GOP Convention Was Satire, But Lots Of People Thought It Was Good Idea Anyway

This petition on to allow open carry guns
at this summer's GOP convention in Cleveland
was fake, but it raised some provocative questions.  
A number of Republicans favor open carry laws, in which you can carry your gun around no matter where you are.

So why not allow open carry at the GOP convention this summer in Cleveland.

What could go wrong?

A petition calling for just that garnered more than 51,000 signatures before the Secret Service shut the idea down.  

I guess a convention center that promises to be full on angry, argumentive people fighting over Donald Trump isn't considered a great place to bring guns.

The petition turned out to be fake, anyway. I suspected as much when I read its flowery language.

An excerpt:

"Without the right to protect themselves, those at the Quicken Loans Arena will be sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers, criminals or others who wish to threaten the American way of life."

Yep. Bring a gun to a political convention and America is saved!!

The petition was the brainchild of some guy named Jim, who goes by the handle Hyperrationalist on Twitter, according to The Hill.

As The Hill reports:

"Jim said he published the petition to call attention to what he sees as a discrepency in Republicans' position on gun rights.

He said if GOP candidates were actually against gun-free zones like they claimed, they would support the allowing of open carry at the convention.

If the rest of us get to have law-abiding citizens protecting us with guns at restaurants and schools, Jim added, then why shouldn't Republicans have it at their convention?"

Of course, with Donald Trump raising the idea of "riots" if he is denied the GOP nomination, guns at the convention could get pretty interesting.

Now that the Secret Service had decreed no guns at the convention, will Republicans rebel against their tyranny?

I doubt it, but it's an interesting question nonetheless.

Look, I'm not anti-gun. Are you a law-abiding sane person who likes to hunt, target shoot or think a gun offers you protection? Then enjoy your guns! It's your right.

It's also probably unfair to compare open carry at say, some restaurant to open carry at the volatile GOP convention.

But this whole things raises some good questions. When and where is open carry a good idea? A bad idea? Should there be any regulation on it? Or, to you Second Amendment absolutists: Should guns be anywhere and everywhere?

Including at an important  but controversial major political event where passions flare?

You decide.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Most Cheerful Hostage Ever

Ben Innes, right, smiles in a selfie while being held
hostage by the guy next to him during a plane
hijacking drama in Cyprus Tuesday.  
A plane hijacking thankfully ended peacefully last week after a guy named Sief Eldin Mustafa hijacked what should have been an EgyptAir domestic flight and took it to Cyprus.

Mustafa said he had an explosive belt, but it was fake, thank goodness. It turned out Mustafa wasn't really a terrorist.

He apparently thought the hijacking would be a cool way to win back his estranged wife.

Reports are she was not impressed. They won't get back together and Mustafa is in a heap of legal trouble, as you can imagine.

My favorite/not so favorite guy in this whole drama, though was a guy named Ben Innes, 26, a British man who was aboard the plane and was among the last to be released.

He managed to talk Mustafa and getting a selfie during the drama. And there's the viral photo, that you see in this post. It shows a glum looking Mustafa next to a beaming Innes, who, rather than looking like a hostage and a crime victim, beaming like he won a million dollars.

Innes works for an oil and waste management company based in Aberdeen, Scotland but with offices in Alexandria, Egypt.

He told The Sun:

"I'm not sure why I did it, I just threw caution to the wind while trying to stay cheerful in the face of adversity.

I figured if his bomb was real I'd nothing to lose anyway, so I took a chance to get a closer look at it.

I got one of the cabin crew to translate for me and asked him if I could do a selfie with him. He just shrug OK, so I stood by him and smiled for the camera while a stewardess did the snap. It has to be the best selfie ever."

I'll say, especially since everything ended as well as it did. Nobody got hurt, and we have a fun photo.

However, security experts say what Innes did was stupid, and I buy that, too.  Also, I probably would have been a bit too frightened, and trying too hard to make myself look invisible to the hijacker to get a selfie.

The worst thing you can do is agitate a criminal.

I guess nowadays, though, no matter what situation you find yourself in, it didn't happen unless you took a selfie of it.

I get it that Innes was trying to lighten the mood, but, I dunno

As Scott Simon editorialized on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday:

"It's hard not to wonder why someone would pose for a smiling selfie with a hijacker, instead of, say, the highly professional flight attendants who worked to keep the passengers from harm. Is it just because the hijacker was famous, no matter what hideous thing he did to become so for a few minutes in the minute of the news cycle?"

As Simon intimated, in some respects Innes is still a hostage and might be for life. That selfie he took with the hijacker will follow him for life.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Adele, Not That One, Dances With Springsteen, So Now There's Two Adeles I Love

Bruce Springsteen gives his mother a hug after
dancing with her at one of his concerts this week.  
A fixture at Bruce Springsteen concerts is when he dances with a fetching woman from the audience, sometimes to "Dancing In the Dark," sometimes to another song.

So it was at a concert this week that he danced with a woman pulled from the audience.

Only this time, it was his mom, named Adele, who is 88 years old.   Which means there are two Adeles in the music world I adore.

There's THAT Adele, the emotional British singer with the incredible voice, and this Adele, who raised what became a Rock God and who still knows how to have fun at age 88

Here's the very fun video of Springsteen and Springsteen dancing to the song "Ramrod"

North Carolina Hates Me, No, I Won't Go Back There

Because of North Carolina' lawmakers' and
governor's stupidity, this dude would legally
have to use womens bathrooms and
locker rooms. Makes sense, right?
4/5/15 UPDATE:

The Associated Press this morning is reporting that PayPal has canceled plans to build an operations center in Charlotte, North Carolina because of the state's new pro-bigotry law.

The PayPal center would have created 400 jobs in the Charlotte area.

This is the first major company to make good on its threat to bail out of North Carolina because of their anti-LGBT law, that the governor signed last month.

Meanwhile, says the AP, Braeburn Pharmaceuticals is re-evaluating an earlier decision to build a $20 million center in the state.

That project would create about 50 jobs, each with a salary of over $75,000 a  year.

Lionsgate has opted to abandon the idea of filming a pilot for a new comedy in North Carolina and will do so in Canada instead. Several companies have also pulled out of a major interior design show in North Carolina.

The anti-LGBT lawmakers in North Carolina are surely saying they're putting "morality" ahead of money, but what's the morality in harming a segment of the population, while simultaneously denying economic opportunity and jobs to both straight and gay North Carolinians?


I've been to North Carolina, and it's a beautiful state. From the Atlantic shores of the Outer Banks to the Great Smokey Mountains, it has a lot to offer.

Too bad its legislature and governor are so intellectually and morally ugly.

Earlier this year, the city of Charlotte, North Carolina passed an anti-discrimination ordinance that protected gay and transgender people.

The North Carolina legislator and its odioius governor, Pat McCrory, panicked over this and called together an emergency (and expensive) special legislative session to put a stop to Charlotte, tad burn it!

Basically, the new law bars any municipality from enacting ordinances that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The legislation basically allows businesses the right to refuse to serve customers based on the owner's religious beliefs. 

As is always the case when these types of laws come up, the legislation centered on panic over bathrooms.

Charlotte's nullified ordinance, along with existing local ordinances and state laws across the nation,  allow transgender people to use public bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

The bigots that came up with laws like North Carolina's say that would allow men to go into womens' bathrooms by pretending they are women so they could sexually assault innocent women and children.

Or something.

First of all, there are no reported instances of these transgender rights ordinances and laws encouraging sexual assaults. Furthermore, last time I checked, sexual assault is illegal everywhere, including in North Carolina.

And if some guy is intent on ignoring the law and committing a rape, do you think he would be stopped by North Carolina's stupidity?

Also, check out the photo of the dude at the top of this post. It's a photo that went viral. He's transgender, definitely a guy now. Would McCrory want this guy sharing a public bathroom with his wife? Would the idiots in the North Carolina legislature want him barging in on their daughters locker room at the gym?

Under their law, he'd have to.

The dude in question, James Sheffield, Tweeted his photo when the law was signed and it went viral. It's jokey but Sheffield isn't really laughing that hard.

"It's super funny to think about some bearded hillbilly in a stall next to the governor's wife while she clutches her pearls," he said.

However, Sheffield said this would happen:

"The more likely scenario would be that I take a road trip through North Carolina - which I do often - stop at a gas station and try use the rest room..... I can follow the law and go into the women's room in a state that's a Stand Your Ground state with a very liberal open carry law, and if I do that, are women gonna stop me and ask me if I'm trans? 

Or are they just going to shoot me because they think I really am a predator because all they see is some bearded buy walking into the women's room?"

Sheffield just nailed it. The law is all about making life dangerous, or at least more difficult for LGBT people because McCrory and the legislature just don't like dem perverts!

McCrory is trying to tell us the law is about "etiquette," that men shouldn't use women's bathrooms and women shouldn't use men's bathrooms. "All of a sudden through poltical correctness we're throwing away basic etiquette," he told NBC.

So, basic etiquette is telling men they must use the ladies room because their birth certificate says they were born female? I wonder what the Emily Post Institute has to say about that.

McCrory says the uproar over the law is the child of "left wind activists groups" who are threatening local businesses and pressuring them into saying they don't like the law. "There is politicallly correct blackmail being directed toward somw of our businessess... They are caught in a very coordinated political theater."

Oh, right. I'm sure the politically correct left wing pressured North Carolina's largest newspaper, to blast McCrory.

The Charlotte Observer pulled no punches in its editorial. It read, in part:

"It was, in the end, about a 21st century governor who joined a short, tragic list of 20th century governors. You know at least some of these names, probably: Wallace, Faubus, Barnett. They were men who fed our worst impulses, men who rallied citizens against citizens, instead o leading their states forward.

This is what Pat McCrory did Wednesday, in just 12 hours. I wasn't the stand in the schoolhosue door. It was a spring past the bathroom door and straight into the South's dark, bigoted past."

Was it the political left that prompted the conservative governors of South Dakota and more recently Georgia to veto similar legislation, despite the pressure from religious onservatives not to do so?

Republican Presidential Ted Cruz had a hissy fit over the Georgia governor's veto, which tells us what kind of awful president he would be, as if we didn't know already

And what about the North Carolina Attorney General, who's running for governor of North Carolina and wants to replace McCrory? He said today he's not going to defend the state against a lawsuit that says, most likely very accurately, that the new law in North Carolina is unconstitutional.

By the way, if you're so proud of this law, McCrory, why did you and your cronies in the legislature ram this law through with little or no advance warning, with not time for public debate, no time for the public to weigh in?

I guess you don't like democracy. Who appointed you king, anyway?

The law focuses on transgendered people more than anything else. But it's a swipe at all LGBT people.

North Carolina says "we don't want your kind here." North Carolina is apparently for straight people only.

Fine. I won't go there. And neither should anyone who opposes bigotry. Because bigots may only go to North Carolina now, Gov. McCrory has regally decided.

Donald Trump Is A High School Mean Girl

Donald Trump is really a high
school mean girl.  
With the help of an odd YouTube video, I finally figured out what Donald Trump is.

He's a high school mean girl.

You remember them. The self-entitled princesses, the "popular" ones that everybody always hated but we all had to pretend to adore.

Mean girls are experts at the backstabbing, gossipy, dismissive remarks. They're all attitude and no substance.

That's what Trump is. (H/T Washington Post)

For proof, watch and laugh at the video below, in which high school mean girls read mean Tweets that Trump has actually put out there on social media.

Do we really want a dumb high school mean girl running the country? You decide:

Monday, March 28, 2016

Lousy, Selfish Parents Turn Easter Egg Hunts Into Nightmares For Children

Incredibly idiotic, self-absorbed and moronic parents
 ruined a children's Easter Egg hunt in
Connecticut over the weekend. There was trouble
at a similar event in Vermont, too.  
PEZ decided it would be fun to hold an Easter egg hunt over the weekend near their Connecticut museum

It turned out to be a bad, bad idea.

Because some parents can be real selfish idiots.

To make sure their precious darlings got the prize eggs before anyone else, and to make sure other kids went without so their offspring could, some parents rushed the fields with the eggs before they were opened, and ignored staff instructions to wait, says the Hartford Courant.

There was also similar trouble at another Easter egg hunt here where I live in Vermont.

At the Connecticut event at Pez, it turned into chaos as a result, and ultimately canceled. Thanks for ruining Easter, jerky parents!

Here's the Facebook statement from PEZ:

"Unfortunately, people whose to enter the first field prior to anyone from PEZ staff starting the activity. The crowd moved to the second field, waited for only a couple of minutes and proceeded to rush the field without being directed to do so and before the posted time.

Due to the actions of a few, the good intent (of the event) was quickly turned into a mess. I would like to seriously apologize to each of our guests, this was not something created to frustrate or make people angry."

One parent said her kid got a bloody nose because another parent pushed him to the ground so their kid could get the candy or whatever. Another kid's Easter basket was broken in the rush, says the Hartford Courant.

The Courant quoted one parent, Sandra Laviana-Aitken, who wrote on Facebook: "......human greed took over. People foret what it is like to be nice and patient and share all things they obviously were not teaching their children."

Another witness, Nicole Simmons, said, according to the Courant, "Even in the few minutes we were there, you could see the crowd of people almost like a swarm covering the field and just everywhere with no regard that there were other people, children and cars around them."

Yet another woman said parents were letting their uncontrolled children pick up eggs prior to the start. Then when the event started all the parents rushed in and were picking up the eggs."

Nice example you set for your kiddies, you adult jerks. Just grab all you can and leave everyone in the lurch. If there's rules to the game, ignore them.

Your children are going to be really special adults. They'll probably end up embezzling money from some charity because they were taught to grab everything they can and rules are stupid, and who cares if somebody else gets screwed over.

Some parents complained that the PEZ event got out of control because there wasn't enough staff and security there. Yeah, but you'd think a simple family Easter egg hunt wouldn't require deploying the National Guard and Army Rangers to keep the peace.

But I guess I'm mistaken.

At Wilson Castle in Proctor, Vermont, that other Easter egg hunt turned ugly when something like 1,200 people showed up and lines got long.  By all accounts, the event was poorly organized.

According to multiple media sources, people became annoyed by long lines and a lack of organization, and as the police report said, there were "multiple irate parents."

In this image from WCAX-TV a guy who became belligerent
at a Proctor, Vermont Easter egg hunt flees from the cop who tried to
arrest him. A probably unimpressed kid in the foreground looks on.  
One jerk in particular got more and more belligerent, and the State Police showed up.

He made loud threats, demanded a refund, and then escalated things further. He fought verbally with a cop, who tried to arrest him, Vermont State Police said.

The guy ran, the police used pepper spray to calm him down, and he was booked.

Police had to chase the guy on foot for a short distance, and had to pepper spray him to get him under control.

Jack Thurston of NECN reported the pepper sprayed and arrested guy is Michael Cuthbertson, 34, of Newbury, Vermont. He was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

He pleaded innocent to the charges and told NECN that "everything went haywire" during the incident.

"I never tried to hurt anybody. I never planned on hurting anybody.....I do believe these charges are trumped up and highly overrated, Cuthbertson said in the NECN interview.

Cuthberton told NECN he's not a bad person, but wanted his money back so he could something more meaningful with his kid with the $20 he spent at Wilson Castle.

The Proctor event's organizer, Party OutFitters apologized for the event and promised refunds to ticket holders who didn't get in.

Man Loses Leg While Blowing Up Stuff With Tannerite, Which Is Apparently A Thing

In this fuzzy photo, the guy holding the gun is about to lose
one of his legs by shooting a lawm mower packed
with Tannerite. Shrapnel sheared off one of his legs
below the knee.  
Today, we're on the "Hold my beer, Watch This!" beat, in which people, almost always guys do something stupid, usually involving guns, explosions, beer, bad planning or some combination of the above.

This time we go to Georgia, where we learn a 32 year old guy lost one of his legs below the knee in an accident. Frankly, a dopey accident, though I still feel bad the guy was injured so badly.

Apparently, something called Tannerite is a thing. It's perfectly legal to buy. It's made up of a couple chemicals that are fairly safe, except when you fire a high speed object into it, like a bullet.

Then it explodes dramatically. Good Ole boys seem to like to fire guns into objects loaded up with tannerite, because they make fun explosions. Dangerous ones, too.

So it was in Walton County, Georgia recently when some guys decided it would be fun to shoot a riding mower loaded with three pounds of Tannerite.

The inevitable happened. David Thomas Presley, 32, shot the mower, it exploded, and a piece of shrapnel blased off the lower half of one of his legs, says the Athens (Georgia) Banner-Herald.

The Walton County Sheriff's office felt compelled to put the following message on their Facebook page. The sheriff's office was being Captain Obvious, but I guess you have to be nowadays.

Here's the Facebook message about Tannerite:

"Yes, it is legal and no, we can't make people stop doing it. But why folks, just why?.....Please adhere to the warnings and use this dangerous material with caution or maybe consider other less dangerous hobbies."

Fat chance of that. YouTube is full of videos of yeehaws blowing up things with Tannerite. And as noted in the Athens Banner-Herald, a Michigan man  blew something up with Tannerite and shrapnel tore off his leg, too.

I'm sure history will keep repeating itself with this stuff, too.

Here's a USA Today video report on the Georgia incident. A couple brief moments in the video aren't for the faint of heart.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

An Easter Holiday Performance LIke No Other. Spoiler Alert- Scary!

An Easter tragedy unfolded years ago on the
Lawrence Welk show 
Kudos to the Kitsch Bitsch for alerting us to this.

We have here an old clip from the Lawrence Welk show in which they were celebrating Easter one year. It featured pianist Jo Ann Castle doing an Easter ragtime.

But really, is its the stuff of nightmares. Are you scared of adult sized Easter bunnies like I am? Then this will frighten the pants off you.

Happy Easter to you, too!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Sad, Brief Visits To Fukushima Earthquake Nuclear Disaster Haunts

Five years ago, that epic earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster struck Japan.

Fukushima, the town where the nuclear plants basically imploded and leaked like crazy, was abandoned, perhaps never to be resettled. Or if it is, not for awhile.

People who lived there sometimes return for brief visits, but they have to try to move on with their lives the best they can.

Photojournalists Guillaume Bression and Carlos Ayesta have been periodically going to the Fukushima disaster zone to document the deteriorating, abandoned ruins.

In their latest release of photos, called "Retrace Our Steps," people who had fled returned to once familiar surroundings and posed as if they were doing what they would normally do before the disaster hit.

The photographers asked their subjects to act as normally as possible, and at least pretend to do what they would do if things were normal.

The photos in this post are examples of Ayesta and Bression's work. Click this link for more. 


"Ayesta and Bression asked that they sit how they would have years earlier, before the catastrophe, when daily life lumbered on as usual. It was a process, says Ayesta, of 'reconstituting normal life in chaos,' a 'life that will never be the same as before.'"  

Earlier, they photographed vegetation taking over everything in the post-apocalyptic landscape.

The photographs are haunting and terribly sad. There's something about images depicting normal life interrupted, destroyed and abandoned that send shivers down my spine.

H/T to Bored Panda for this. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

"Birdie Sanders" Got A Very Avian Endorsement In Portland Today

Bernie Sanders happily accepts the endorsement of a bird
that landed on his podium during a Portland, Oregon
stump speech today. Click on the photo to make it bigger,
you can see the sparrow on the left side of his podium. 
Presidential candidates will accept endorsements from practically any place they can get them, and Bernie Sanders is no exception.

As Sanders gave his stump speech in the big Moda Center in Portland, Oregon Friday, a small bird landed on his podium.

The incident became all the rage on social media and in the news, and inspired a top trending hashtag, #BirdieSanders

As you might expect, Sanders looked delighted and slightly bemused when the bird landed right in front of him, and the crowd went wild.

Always quick enough to see a political opportunity in front of him, Sanders said of his new friend, "I think there may be some symbolism here... I know it doesn't look like it, but that bird is really a dove asking us for world peace!", Sanders exclaimed.

Actually, it was a sparrow, as the Willamette Week pointed out, but who can complain about a sparrow of peace if a dove isn't available?

I also guess this could be considered an endorsement from the sparrow.

This is going to be mean of me to say, but I bet if the bird landed on the podium at a Donald Trump rally, he would have had security hustle it out of the stadium or have it killed. It would have taken attention away from The Donald.

The bird would have probably pooped on Ted Cruz.

Here's the fun video of the moment Sanders and the sparrow found common ground:

Colorado Struggles To Lift Crazy Ban On Rain Barrels

Trust me, rain barrels like this
one won't divert water from Colorado
farmers. Photo from Gardener's Supply.  
Rain barrels make TONS of sense for home gardeners.

Without them, water pours down onto your roof during storms, and gushes out of your drain pipes, and is wasted as it flows across your lawn, and maybe into the storm sewer or something.

Why not collect the rain in barrels, and use that water for your vegetables and flowers when the weather turns dry?  Lots of people do this.

But not in Colorado. Rain barrels are illegal. Lawmakers are trying to overturn the ban, but there's still, incredibly, opposition.

Some of this oppositon comes from Colorado State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, who chairs the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Commitee, according to the Durango Herald.

Sonnenberg worries rain barrels will disrupt the state's system whereby water rights are given to the first person to take water from an aquifer or river, whether or not they are close to that aquifer or river.

He figures that if homeowners collect water in rain barrels, the water won't end up in the aquifers for farmers to use.

Which is ridiculous. If a homeowner collects water in two rain barrels, they'll only get maybe 100 gallons of water. This is a tiny fraction of the amount of water that lands on roofs, driveways and such in a typical garden variety summer hunderstorm.

Even if everyone in a densely populated section of, say Denver or Boulder has a couple rain barrels, the amount of water being diverted from aquafers would pretty much be too small to measure.

A Colorado State University study said that in an average rainfall, about 8,000 gallons of water would fall on a lot with a home. Diverting 100 gallons of that is literally a drop in the bucket, especially if you consider how much water that same homeowner would waste by dragging out the hose or the sprinkler to wet down the perennials and the cucumber patch.

Still, Sonnenberg is paranoid about rain barrel owners stealing "his" rain or something

Support is building big time in the Colorado legislature to repeal the rain barrel ban, but Sonnenberg has some ideas to stymie things if the ban indeed goes away

The Durango Herald says Sonnenberg suggests requiring rain barrel users to register their barrels with the state and have local water providers replace water taken from rooftops.

In other words, open carry of guns might be OK, but openly using rain barrels is not. And imagine the nightmare of trying to figure out how much water each of thousands of rain barrel owners diverted to their flower pots and tomato plants.

Full disclosure: I work at a company called Gardener's Supply, which among a zillion other things, sells rain barrels. They are very popular with gardeners who want an eco-friendly way to keep their gardens green and beautiful and pretty.

Let's hope Colorado lawmakers overcome opposition like that coming from Sonneberg and get some rain barrels beneath rain gutters really soon.

Colorado gardens, and their tenders, will thank them.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz Enthusiastically Help With ISIS Marketing Campaign

This image is hyperbole, but still, Donald Trump is
doing quite a good job marketing ISIS recruitment.  
The world is reeling again from the latest outrage from ISIS and its supporter - this time that double bombing in Brussels that killed 31 people.

Once again, the story is a familiar arc. To most of us, the Brussels attack is a horrific outrage, a tragedy.

To radical so-called Muslims, it's a marketing campaign, and there are people in the United States, leading politicians and candidates mind you, that are making the marketing campaign all the more successful.

I know that calling these deadly attacks a marketing campaign is crass, but it kinda is. They're meant to stir up anti-Musllim sentiment in the West, which the extremists then use to say how awful the West is to Muslims so join us.

Some disillusioned people will go and join them, and more will perpetrate attacks, and the cycle goes on and on.

It's obviously not easy at all to counteract these "marketing" attacks. If it were, this would be done by now.

The Obama administration is probably not doing a perfect job at managing this, and of course his actions are open for scrutiny.

However, the likes of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are making the ISIS terrorist "ad campaign" of sorts all the more effective.

Trump and Cruz aren't intentionally helping ISIS, obviously. It's just that ehy are putting their own ambitions over our national interests. They know some voters want simple statements that exude American strength and toughness. Hysterics and bluster sells.

So Cruz tells us he wants police to "patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods," whatever that means.

Never mind that's unconstitutional, and police departments don't report to the President. Cruz, a Harvard law graduate, should know that and probably does, but that's besides the point when you're trying to become dictator, or president or whatever he wants.

Law and order guy Bill Bratton, the NYPD Police Commissioner, said it best: "We don't need a president that doesn't respect the values that form the foundation of this country. "

Bratton noted that 900 or so NYPD officers are Muslim. So they have to "patrol and secure" themselves?

Meanwhile, our favorite fascist blowhard, Donald Trump, is trying to outdo everybody on this one, and trying to take full advantage of Brussels to advance his campaign. It's all about him. And showing what a supposed tough guy he is.

It was the usual blather from Trump. Close the borders to Muslims, waterboard suspects, despite what the Geneva convention says, go after families of terrorists, even if they didn't do anything wrong, and blame Obama for everything.

As Mother Jones noted, Trump is unwittingly one of the worlds biggest ISIS boosters, doing everything in his power it seems, to make them stronger.

Says Mother Jones:

"........Terrorism expert Malcolm Nance, the head of the Terrorism Asymmetrics Project and a veteran of Navy intelligence, took Trump to taks for doing the propoganda work of ISIS.

'Good God, they're probably cutting videos of this right now,' Nance said on MSNBC about Trump's comments. 'Donald Trump right now is validating the cartoonish view that they tell their operatives...that America is a racist nation, xenophobic, anti-Muslim and that's why you must carry out terrorist attacks against them...It's irresponsible and needs to stop.'"

Don't count on it, Malcolm

National interest is besides the point for Trump.

And sure enough, just a couple days after Nance made that comment about ISIS making videos of Trump, it appears they have, according to The Hill.

So yeah, this blowharded stupidity and shrillness from Trump and Cruz must sound wonderful to their base, which probably isn't big enough anyway to get them through the general election. (We hope)

Trump and Cruz must sound awfully wonderful to ISIS terrorist recruits, too.

Watch This Car Fall From The Fourth Level Of A Parking Garage

Baltimore County, Maryland Police and Fire have just released surveillance footage of a car plunging off the fourth level of a Towson, Maryland parking garage on March 17.

The driver of the car said the vehicle lurched forward when she was trying to park there. Miraculously, she suffered only relatively minor injuries.

Body Stuffed In Trunk Was Just Dora The Explorer

A Dora the Explorer pillow like this one was mistaken
for a murdered body in an Alabama car trunk.  
Poice in Heflin Alabama got an alarming report from a person who saw a body stuffed into the trunk of a black Hyundai with Arkansas plates at a gas station in nearby Birmingham, reports.

The BOL went out! (For the innocent, BOL is Be On the Lookout) for the crime car heading east on Interstate 20.

Authorities spotted the car, police swarmed it, and ordered the family inside the car out. One of them was the criminal for sure, but it probably wasn't the child that had been in the back seat.

Police opened the trunk and expected the worst. And it was bad, but not like that. In the trunk was a body pillow and a Dora the Explorer pillow inside a garbage bag, says. 

A Dora the Explorer pillow is unfortunate, but at least nobody died.

Police said the way the pillows and garbage bag in the trunk were arranged, it was easy to understand why somebody might have thought it was a body.

The family who was in the car when it was pulled over won't be charged, of course. They did nothing wrong.  "The family was very understanding about how this could have happened. We were very relieved."

Better safe than sorry, right? So I can't blame whoever called the police to report the body.

And it was a nice distraction from the big sex scandal Alabama's governor finds himself in. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Adele's Tribute To Brussels Terrorist Victims A Must See

Adele sang in tribute to Brussels Tuesday evening in London. 
Adele, performing at a concert in London Tuesday, performed one of the loveliest tributes I've seen to an international tragedy.

Bringing up Tuesday's terrorist attack in Brussels, Adele asked the audience to turn on the smart phone torches so that the entire arena lit up with what amounted to thousands of candles.

Then she sang a gorgeous rendition of "Make You Feel My Love."

When the song concluded Adele told the audience, "I don't think I've ever actually been so moved in my life at one of my shows, that was just so beautiful.....Thank you very much for doing that....I think they heard us."


Here's a video of the moment:


Sonny And Cher Weirdness To Distract You From All The Bad Stuff

Sonny and Cher, in interesting outfits, perform
the strange ditty "Little Man" 
Some of the weirder moments of Sonny and Cher's heyday are making the rounds now, so I figure I'd distract you with a couple of those stunning performances.

Amazon Prime is currently running a television ad campaign that features a donkey, a doggy door (or donkey door) and Sonny and Cher's song "Little Man."

An original video for Little Man is really something to behold. You  have to love the prison uniform type uniform or something Sonny is wearing.

I also totally love the videographer's fixation with Cher's (unremarkable) shoes.

Kudos also to the lost looking young man in the tie and striped shirt in the audience who looks totally lost.

I guess the appeal to me is that I love 1970s kitsch and weirdness. If this post isn't enough to prove it, check out the one I did on the the classic 1972 hit "How Do You Do" by Mouth & MacNeil.

Once you're done watching "Little Man", (You'll probably have to click on the underlined "Watch on YouTube" to see it)  scroll down for another Sonny and Cher classic "A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done" because the song is even better!


Next, we have "A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done," which is certainly um, different.

Love the facial expressions on Sonny's face during this.

I gotta hand it to Sonny and Cher. Back in their day, they weren't afraid to add a goofy sense of odd humor to their repertoire, so good on them!

Here's "A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done" in all its 1972 glory!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Everything Is Probably Safer Than A Trump Rally

This is probably safer than a Trump rally.  
As we well know now, Donald Trump rallies are not for the faint of heart.

You can expect the occasional thrown punch, kick, Donald Trump insult and maybe worse at any of his rallies.  

Where can we go that's safer than a Trump Rally?

Twitter, as always, came to the rescue with the hashtag #SaferThanATrumpRally that offers helpful suggestions on what to do that's less dangerous if you fear injury at a Trump gathering.

Check out the hashtag, but for Tuesday's time waster, here's a few of my favorites activities I found under that hashtag that are definitely safer than Trump rallies. Some of them are a little "incorrect," but deal with it: :

--- Hiding In Anne Frank's attic
Working in this hole beneath a boulder propped
up with sticks is safer than a Trump rally.  

---  Drinking water in Flint, Michigan

--- Answering truthfully to the question, 'Do these jeans make me look fat?'

--- Wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt to a KKK rally

--- Drinks with Bill Cosby

---- Being second in command in North Korea.

---- Gas station sushi

---- Black Friday at Walmart

---- Handing over your complete browsing history to your parents.
A three hour cruise is probably safer than a
Trump rally.  

---- Family hunting parties with Sarah Palin  

---- A 1975 Ford Pinto

---- Gay Pride in Russia

---- A high speed joy ride in the back of a Baltimore Police van

--- Being the subject of a Kanye Twitter rant

I'll add my own, more innocent suggestion: Telling my dogs that I'm not feeding them dinner.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Buzz, The Honey Nut Cheerios Mascot Disappears In Canada. A Very Noble Reason Why

Buzz, the Honey Nut Cheerios mascot, has gone
missing from Canadian cereal boxes for a very
good cause.  
If you've ever eaten Honey Nut Cheerios, or at least seen their ads, you're familar with Buzz.

Depending on your perspective, he's either cute or a bit obnoxious. Buzz if the cartoon bee who banters with celebrity endorsers about how wonderful the cereal is. He's also a big fixture on boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios.

In Canada, however, Buzz has gone missing from the cereal boxes. There's just a white outline where Buzz is supposed to be on the packages.

Buzz's disappearance is for a great cause.

Bees -honeybees, not the cartoon versions - are disappearing from our ecosystem, brought down by insecticides, environmental degradation, development and other factors, mostly caused by humans.

You want lots and lots of bees buzzing around everywhere, because they pollinate crops, which means they actually grow and we can eat them. No bees, no food for us, basically.

People are thus trying to save the bees.

As AdWeek reports:

"'This is the first time in the brand's history we've taken Buzz off the box,' said Emma Eriksson, director of Marketing for General Mills Canada. 'One-third of the foods we depend on for our survival are made possible by natural pollination work that bees provide. '

With ongoing losses in bee populations being reported across Canada, we wanted to leverage our packaging to draw attention to this important cause and issue a call to action to Canadians to help lant 35 million wildflowers - one for every person in Canada.'"

The effort, details of which you should check out at BringBackThe, has a very good video explaining it more. It's at the bottom of this post.

The video begins with several clips of people rescuing various animals from a series of dire straights. The words, "Helping Is In Our Nature," appears in the clip. In the background, a chorus sings the 1980s Mr. Mister song "Broken Wings," with the lyrics, "Take, these broken wings, and learn to fly again...."

Then we get information about the bee population decline. "The bees need us. Join us in planting 35 million wildflowers."

The Canadian company  Vesey's Seeds, is helping with the effort to distribute flower seeds. I've dealt with Vesey's seeds by the way. Definitely a very good company. It's worth checking out their product line.

The site,  has a lot of great information on the bee population, and how to help pollinators. The advice it offers doesn't apply to  just Canada. It's great stuff for us Americans, too.

By the way, you really should plant flowers, wildflowers or any perennial or even annual that attracts honeybees. This isn't just a Canadian problem, but a worldwide one.

Buzz the Honey Nut Cheerios mascot, hasn't disappeared from American cereal boxes yet. But millions of honey bees have disappeared from the American landscape.

It's time we all help to bring them back. We rescue them, and in turn, they'll rescue us by ensuring we continue to have a full and rich food supply.

Here's the BringBackTheBees video:

Sunday, March 20, 2016

"I'm A Little Teapot" Bizarre Brief Video For Your Monday

Just because we need a little weirdness on a Monday, here's heavy metal drummer Joey Muha helping out with the children's classic "I'm A Little Teapot."

You're welcome.


Opera To Highway To Hell: A Fun Talent Video

Christina Ramos brought down the house with opera
and AC/DC's "Highway To Hell."
As I've said previously, every place in the universe has an "America's Got Talent" type franchise on television, including Pluto.  

Spain has one, and on "Spain's Got Talent," there was a particularly fun one that you can see below.

In it, a glamorous Christina Ramos appears on stage in a formal gown, and starts to do opera. She's quite good, and the judges seem smitten.

Suddenly, you hear a familar guitar riff. Is that AC/DC? Yep. Is there a mistake in the soundtrack?


The judges on "Spain's Got Talent" literally flip out
over Christina Ramos' opera and AC/DC 
Ramos suddently rips off her gown to reveal a skin tight rock n' roll outfit and she tears up the stage singing that AC/DC classic "Highway To Hell."

Ramos owns the stage, and the song. She has an perfect, awesome rock n roll voice. I don't even particularly like the song "Highway to Hell" until I heard her sing it. Ramos' version kills.   

The Spain's Got Talent judges, and the audience, are besides themselves with joy at this performance. Ramos gets the coveted "golden buzzer" which advances her more rapidly through the competition.  

You'll love this performance. It put me in a great mood, and it will you, too:

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Woman Gets Cochlear Implant. REALLY Likes What She Hears From Her Boyfriend

Andrea Diaz just got a cochlear implant and she can hear
again. Her boyfriend, Kevin, takes advantage of
the situation and asks Andrea an important question.  
Ok, every once in awhile I like those Kleenex Alert videos and there's a great one at the bottom of the post.  

Several years ago, the woman in the video, Andrea Diaz  lost her hearing in an accident.

She finally got a cochlear implant, and she, her doctor, her boyfriend and her mother are in the doctor's office at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The doctor turns it on to see if it works.

It does!   Diaz hears. She cries tears of joy. Predictably, and nicely, her mother says she loves her.

She cries some more.

Then her boyfriend, Kevin Peakman, pipes in. He's got a question for her.

Spoiler alert: Diaz's answer to her boyfriend's question is "Yes."

Here's the sweet video to make you cry:

Quote, Unquote "Religious" Shyster Bilks People Out Of Millions, Must Repay

Benjamin Rogovy is the latest shyster to prey on
people's religious beliefs to bilk them.  
Benjamin Rogovy didn't have a prayer defending his fraudulent prayer business.

And thus falls another crook using religion to rip off gullible believers.

Rogovy bilked about 125,000 people across the nation out of more than $7 million, says Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

According to Raw Story:

"Rogovy's  websites, and offered to pray for desperate English and Spanish speakers if they paid between $9 and $35 for the service.

The testimonials were glowing. Pastor John Carlson prayed for them and God delivered on their prayers. A healthy baby. A negative HIV test. A winning lottery ticket. The senior pastor at the Christian Prayer Center (CPC) saved homes from foreclosure and put cancer into remission.

Except of course they didn't."

Well, duh!

"I believe in the power of prayer........What I do not believe in and what I will not tolerate is unlawful businesses that prey upon people - taking advantage of their faith or their need for help - in order to make a quick buck," said Ferguson, the state's attorney, according to Raw Story.

It's good that Rogovy is getting the book thrown at him. He's been ordered to repay his victims, and attorney costs and $1 million in civil penalties if he doesn't comply with the order to pay up.

I doubt anyone will see the money. My guess is Rogovy spent the cash. But at least he's been exposed, at least for now.

The track record of other "religious" scammers, though, is he'll be back to bilk the gullible and the desperate.

After all, we have these so-called prosperty pastors who get people to believe that they should give these pastors lots of money, and in turn God will rain cash down on these scam victims. People fall for this, and these scammers know it.

The prosperity pastors get in trouble some time, but they always eventually come back for more. 

In Rogovy's case, he set up a couple of websites in which people paid repeatedly to have fake pastors say prayers for them. Because I'm sure God will bestow blessings on suffering people if only they pay for them through the web site. (Order today!!)

Rogovy, along with the rest of the religion scammers, will get a special place in hell for their misdeeds.   They just don't know it yet.


Weirdest Live Interview: Woman In Background Just Goes Away

What happened to the woman under the purple arrow?
It's a big mystery taking over the Internet.  
I'll start off by saying this could be some weird editing hoax, but maybe not

I don't know what the explanation is, but SportsCenter was interviewing some athlete in some airport somewhere.

The interview, the location, and the subject of the interview isn't important.

What is important, or at least weird, is the fate of the woman in the background to the left of the interview subject in the background.

As you can see, in the repeat video below, the woman in the background is pointed out with a purple arrow.

Another woman walks in front of the woman in question. That second woman keeps walking, and when she gets out of the way, that first woman is gone. Just GONE!!

Where did she go? Hiding behind the chairs or other stuff in the room suddenly? Swept up in an alien abduction. Or just a clever editing trick? Nobody knows.

Here's the video:

Friday, March 18, 2016

Did You Know You're Supposed to Hire A "Vacation Photographer" For Your Next Trip

Me and my husband Jeff on a brief getaway in a
blueberry patch a couple years ago. The photo
was NOT taken by a professional, it was a quickie
snapshot. But it did the job just fine. 
We all do it:

When we go on vacation, we take lots and lots of photos. At least most of us do.

Practically everybody has a smart phone, and the photographic images they make are usually pretty good.

However, apparently people who are into conspicuous consumpton believe that no vacation is complete unless you hire a vacation photographer to tail you.

Yes, you can hire your own paparazzi to follow you around.

According to Conde Nast Traveler, people are asking expert photographers to set up professional shoots to make the vacationers look perfect for the inevitable Instagram and Facebook shots.

True, some resorts have long had photographers on duty to take good photos of their guests. But some vacationers want their memories better than everybody else, or at least more slickly produced, than everybody else.

Conde Nast Traveler quoted Tricia Keffer, a Florida-based photographer who said she started getting requests to photograph families taking their Florida vacations nearly 20 years ago. Now, it's a full time gig called Tricia & Co Family Vacation Photographers.

She follows vacationers around the major tourist hubs of Florida, and goes to places like Paris occasionally, reports Conde Nast Traveler.

Vacation photography packages through Keffer's firm start at $350.  That, of course, is a good price for a photographer of Keffer's caliber, but still, it adds to the cost of an already expensive vacation, doesn't it?

If you want to hire a vacation photographer, go right ahead, but for me, it's a little ostentatious. Especially since I'd rather be enjoying the sites, sounds, people and experiences of wherever I'm visiting rather than posing for glossy photos.

I'd rather just take a grainy selfie to remember the moment in Vacationland and move on. Besides, does everything have to be professionally documented? Or documented at all?

Why not just enjoy the moment you're having, and let that nice memory reside in your brain for the rest of your life rather than fuss with staging, posing, lighting and all that to be one of the Beautiful People in one of the Beautiful Destinations?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Here's A Devilish Little Leprechaun To Celebrate St. Patrick's Day With

Meet Rockwell Lawrence, aka a naughty Leprechaun, who seems to be causing quite a bit of trouble this St. Patrick's Day.

The six month old's dad, Alan, (proprietor of TheDadBlog) through the miracles of photography and photoshop shows us what the bad little Irish guy has been up to so far on St. Patrick's Day.

Don't worry, the house, and especially the dog are OK. Photoshop, as noted.

You can seen more photos of this at Bored Panda, to make your green Irish eyes laugh even more.

Beneath the series of pics in this post, (below) scroll all the way to the bottomo to be sure and watch the YouTube slide show of little Rockwell both at Christmas and at St. Patrick's Day.

Fighting Local Laws And Prosecutors Who Still Want To Draw Blood From Stones

Guess what? If you throw somebody in jail for
not paying a fine, they aren't going to earn the money
to pay the fine while behind bars.
You's think that would be obvious.  
You'd think they wouldn't have to do this, but the U.S. Justice Department had to remind some state and local governments that it's probably unconstitutional to jail people who can't pay their fines.

Debtor prisons were outlawed many, many years ago, and sending people to prison for an inability to pay fines more often than not violates federal law.

I'm not quite sure how jailing somebody would make them pay fines anyway. You can't go out and get a job to pay your fines if you're sitting in jail.

Maybe the jurisdictions that do this kind of thing believe that if you threaten somebody with fines, they'll get off their lazy ass and get a job.

Might work in theory, but if the person in question hasn't any job skills, or nobody will hire him or her because of a criminal record, or they're disabled, or there are simply no jobs to be had locally, I have no idea how these people would make money.

Of course, we have to draw the distinction between people who can't pay and people who won't pay.

I'm sure there are people who just refuse to pay fines, and you can jail that type of person. But shouldn't someone make a determination about whether they can pay?

The Department of Justice letter was prompted in part by Ferguson, Missouri, which, as we all know, isn't exactly a shining example of racial harmony. There's classism at work here, too.

The DOJ said the Ferguson municipal court "does not act as a neutral arbiter of the law." and "primarily uses it judicial authority as the means to compel the payment of fines and fees that advance the city's financial interests"

That ,the DOJ said, violats the Fourteenth Amendment's due process and equal protection requirements.

And, unfortunately, Ferguson was far from the only municipality pulling this stunt.

The DOJ knows this. As noted in the Washington Post, Lisa Foster and Vanita Gupta, both officials with the department wrote in a letter that went out to all 50 state judicial systems:

"Individuals may confront escalating debt; face repeated, unnecessary incarceration for nonpayment despite posing no danger to the community; lose their jobs and become trapped in cycles of poverty that can be nearly impossible to escape. .......

Furthermore, in addition to being  unlawful, to the extent that these practices are geared not toward addressing public safety, but rather toward raising revenue, they can cast doubt on the impartiality of the tribunal and erode trust between local governments and their consitituents."

There are alternatives to incarcerating people who can't pay their fines, but those aren't revenue generators. You can extend the time period during which they can pay the debt, make the take traffic or public safety classes or do community service.

You want to hold people responsible, after all, but it's amazing that trying to make people do the impossible is well, impossible.  

The insidious thing, at least from the perspective of those of us who are able to pay our fines when we incur them, is that, as the DOJ letter notes, we lose confidence in the wisdom and fairness of the legal system.

That would only encourage more people to break laws. Why obey laws imposed on us by stupid, corrupt people? goes the thinking.

But to some people, I guess if you perceive somebody as a freeloader, you make it impossible for them to recover. Not sure what this accomplishes, but I'm sure it makes the people who make these laws, and support them, feel good.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, lawmakers there finally repealed a law that prevented people who were convicted of drug offenses to ever receive food assistance again.

Yeah, whoever came up with the original idea is brilliant. When they get out of jail and are trying to get back on their feet, let's cut off their access to food so that they steal and go back to jail at taxpayer expense.

Um, Yay?

The Georgia rule change is reasonable enough. You can get food assistance after jail if you are eligible, if you don't commit a new crime and if you fully comply with any probation restrictions you have.

Makes sense to me.

What doesn't make sense is there are still six states that ban food assistance for drug offenders, even if those offenses took place many years ago.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

I Finally Figured Out That Donald Trump Is Like An Evil Rip Taylor

Rip Taylor portrayed an angry clown
is his comedy schtick. Is Donald Trump a
mean version of this?  
I'm going to start this post by apologizing profusely, in advance, to comedian Rip Taylor.

He's been around for decades. His schtick is the guy who is burned out from a career being the happy guy.

He angrily instead of gleefully throws confetti, (Taylor is known as the :King of Confetti") and his jokes are hilarious, bitter complaints about what's going on around him.

Rip Taylor is the angry showman, dressed flamboyantly, but mockingly pretends to be not enjoying life.  The whole thing is a little much, but it's funny, and he's built a long career on it. Good work, Rip Taylor!

I bring all this up because I've finally figured out what Donald Trump is all about. He's an evil Rip Taylor, but Trump's flamboyant anger is real and contagious, not a harmless act like Taylor's.

Instead of Taylor's confetti, he throws money around. Instead of acting like he's frustrated with an audience for not laughing at his jokes, Trump wants people to beat up dissenters who don't like his schtick.

As part of the act, Taylor dresses in ridiculous clothes, and wears a blonde wig. I don't know what's going on with Trump's hair, but you get the idea.

Rip Taylor is a showman, his act a frivolous, it's full of bad puns, fun distraction and completely harmless.
Maybe this guy should have been a bad comedian
instead of a bad politician  

Trump is a showman, spewing bad and dangerous policy ideas instead of puns. His act is a frivolous, not so fun distraction, but he's somehow gotten a lot of fans who vote for him. And take him seriously.

I get it that Trumpeters, as his fans and voters are called, are pissed off at the way politics works and want a change. Who wouldn't be? But Trump?

Rip Taylor's act is of someone who is frustrated and wants a change and is always complaining. He's negative. .He goes about it all wrong. But it's a comedy act, so it's OK.

Trump always complains about a litany of people and perceived problems. He's negative. Never offering real plans for solutions. Just unfocused anger about  walls on the Mexican border, all Muslims are bad, the economy sucks, etc. etc. Trump goes about it all wrong, and it's turned very serious. He raises the spector of fascism.

I can see why Rip Taylor has a lot of fans. His act is full of laughs.

We should also be laughing at and mocking Trump, the showman huckster that he is. Instead, he's turning into something that can really damage this country. I know Trumpeters vehemently disagree with me, but there you go.

Here's a clip of Rip Taylor: As you watch, you can, in your head, turn the schtick into a Trump speech.

Again, profuse apologies to Rip Taylor. But I just had to make the comparison.