Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Shark Feeding Frenzy View From A Drone: Glad I Wasn't in Water!

In a view from a drone, sharks devour the carcass
of a humpback whale as tourist watch from small boats.  
When sharks are hungry, watch out!

Nothing can demonstrate that more than drone footage taken last week of 70 tiger sharks involved in a feeding frenzy on a dead whale in Shark Bay, Australia.

According to CNET, the sharks were tearing apart the carcass of a humpback whale as tourists in small boats watched the action.

It was filmed by Eco Abrolhos cruises, which had the tourists out in the water.

Eco Abrolos notes that the sharks were so close that people on the boats could reach out and touch the sharks, but that probably wasn't a good idea. Tiger sharks eat people, too.

Cruise operator Joe Cox said the sharks "were very docile and very well fed, we counted around 70 tiger sharks of all shapes and sizes."

Yeah, I bet those sharks were really well fed. '

Watch the video below, unless you are squeamish about blood flowing into otherwise pretty tropical turquoise water:

Monday, May 30, 2016

A Town In Vermont Remembers Veterans, A Cemetery And My Dad

The Whipple Hollow Cemetery in West Rutland, Vermont
looking immaculate thanks to the hard work of many
town residents. Thanks to Ken and Jean Heleba for photo.  
Years ago, my dad, Red Sutkoski, restored an old cemetery in a remote corner of his hometown of West Rutland, Vermont.

He loved his projects, and the outdoors, so he spent a lot of time at the cemetery, clearing TONS of brush, trying to prop up old gravestones, planting flowers and erecting a flag pole at the Whipple Hollow Cemetery.

It was a huge project. People stepped forward to help him by excavating rocks and debris, donating flowers, and doing whatever it took to make the cemetery whole again.

Red's project - and the town's great help with it - caused quite a little stir, garnering publicity from the Associated Press and the Boston Globe, among others.  Dad had a great sense of history, and remembering the dead was important to him.

He thought that we all build on the shoulders of the people who came before him and us, so we need to honor everyone who came before us, and remember the contributions they made. ,

Now dad has passed on, having slipped away at the age of 95 back in January.

A couple months after dad died, I stopped by the Whipple Hollow Cemetery. People had been trying to take care of it the best they could. Somebody had been mowing the grass. Some weeds had been pulled here and there.

But Red in his later years couldn't handle the big jobs. The woods was beginning to encroach again into the grave sites, wild grapevine was attacking everything at the cemetery and tall weeds rattled against the gravestones in the cold March wind.

The Whipple Hollow Cemetery was beginning to look sad again.

My dad, Red Sutkoski, at the West Rutland
World War II Memorial unveiling last August 
April 24, which would have been my dad's 96th birthday, was a sunny, pleasantly cool day. Me, my siblings, our husbands and partners and nephews, I think there were eight of us, went to the Whipple Hollow Cemetery to do a needed cleanup.

We got a lot done. We removed piles of broken branches and grapevine and stuffed it into the woods, hiding the mess. We raked away tons of leaves and weeds. We didn't get the whole cemetery done, but it definitely looked better.

And Red was smiling down on us. Because the cemetery he'd worked on brought the family together that day.

We laughed and enjoyed ourselves as we worked and visited and joked with each other as we cleaned up the cemetery on that bright April afternoon.

It's exactly what Red would have wanted on his birthday.

Come to find out the whole town of West Rutland, it seems, is also thinking about the Whipple Hollow Cemetery.

Forgive me, here, because I don't know the names of most of the people who have been helping, but I do know the town has the cemetery's back. And the backs of all those who came before them.

I know Stanley Dziubek has been up there at Whipple Hollow, clearing a LOT of brush and grapevine that we missed earlier, and doing a ton of other work. My sister Laurie tells me a nice woman in West Rutland who has donated flowers to dad for the Whipple Hollow Cemetery in the past, has done so again.

People raised a flag on the cemetery flag poll, and planted American flags at gravesites.

Today is Memorial Day, when we remember the veterans who served our country and thank them for their incredible service (Red was a veteran, too!)

People from West Rutland have been called "Stone peggers," a legacy of marble quarry labor riots back in the 1930s.

Metaphorically, West Rutlanders have been embracing the grave stones at Whipple Hollow Cemetery.  They remember the importance of the past, and the people who lived in those days.

Like my dad, Westsiders know they've built their lives on the shoulders who came before them, like those buried back in the 19th century in this cemetery.

They're remembering the veterans who served. They're remember my dad, which is an honor for the Sutkoski family. They're remembering the people who built West Rutland, They're honoring the way people in this rugged little town help each other out, and honor memories.

Want more proof? Just check out the amazing World War II memorial in front of the West Rutland Town Hall. That was another major community-wide undertaking that drew in the whole town.

The unveiling of that memorial last August was one of the final  public events my father went to, and as a World War II veteran, he told me how humbled and proud he was of the way West Rutland remembered its veterans.

I guess you could call the warmth and giving and remembrance as seen at the Whipple Hollow Cemetery a new form of being a "stone pegger."

I'm proud to be a West Rutland Stonepegger.


Is Kay Jewelers Stealing Diamonds From Customer?

Do some employees of Kay jewelers steal, or
at least do incredibly clumsy work?
A growing drumbeat says yes. 
Every kiss begins with cubic zirconia, apparently.

CBS Money Watch has a disturbing story about allegations that Kay Jewelers is taking expensive diamonds and gems from jewelry people bring in for servicing and replacing them with chief knockoffs.

Aimee Picchi (a fellow Vermonter!) writes that a number of people have reported the thefts. There's even a Boycott Kay Jewelers Facebook page. 

The Facebook page consists mostly of people complaining of shoddy work on jewelry at Kay's and other chain jewelers owned by parent company Signet Jewelers.

CBS Money Watch cites a report in BuzzFeed News about one woman, Chrissy Clarius, who took her $4,300 engagement ring to Kay Jewelers every six months as part of their gemstone guarantee program.

When nobody could find the diamond's certification number at one trip to Kay's, Clarius grew suspicious, took her ring to another jeweler and found the diamond had been replaced by moissanite, a cheap stone.

I really hope employees at Kay's are not stealing diamonds. According to CBS Money Watch, Kay released a statement saying they have "rigorous processes in place to help ensure this won't happen." The jewelry chain said it is "actively reviewing this issue."

BuzzFeed News also reports Kay is facing an onslaught of consumer complaints from people who bring in their jewelry for repairs and get them back looking worse than before the repair.

To me, all this sounds like a retail chain cutting corners with inexperienced workers, cheap goods and crappy customer service, all in the name of maximizing profits.

Like many (but not all!) companies, I suspect Kay is burning themselves with short term, quarter-by-quarter thinking. That sometimes temporarily results in ever increasing profits.

That is, until consumers get the memo on how people think the stores are crappy. Then there's a cascading series of financial troubles that can bring down these types of retailers. I noticed Picchi cited stock prices falling as much as 11 percent last week due to disappointing earnings for Signet Jewelers

The CEOs and top mucky-mucks tend to come out of this type of situation with huge bank accounts from their sky high executive pay, leaving a trail of unemployed former workers, angry customers and angry shareholders when things go south.

There outta be a law....



Sunday, May 29, 2016

Characters Are The Best Part Of Vermont City Marathon

One of many Vermont City Marathon
participants who did a hot 26.2 miles
wearing a tutu.  
It was too hot to work this morning, so I went down into Burlington to watch the tail end of the Vermont City Marathon.

It was too hot to run, too. Race organizers ultimately pulled the plug on the race four hours into it, obviously before everyone had crossed the finish line. The heat had grown too dangerous.

No kidding. I did notice too many ambulances screaming away from the race course toward the hospital on the hill.

Wouldn't you know after a cool spring, midsummer heat and humidity blasted into northern Vermont just in time for the marathon

Still, I'm glad I got to see part of the marathon, and the best part of it. Oh sure, it's thrilling to see who actually wins.

But I preferred my vantage point  where the runners were straggling behind a bit, They knew going into the race they weren't going to win. But they wanted to make it an experience.

Something on their bucket list.

Plus, some of these slightly slower runners turn everything into a celebration. Why not play dress up, or do something a bit entertaining? These are the people I like.

Looks terribly hot under that big
hat as this runner made his
way through 80 degree weather and high humidity


For some reason tutus are a big style trend among marathon runners. I saw a lot of 'em.

Some of the spectators got into the spirit, too. They held up funny signs, or did funny things. On street, a woman held a Sponge Bob Square Pants puppet to urge the runners on.

This post consists of some of my favorite quick snapshots I took during the race. Keep scrolling down. Some of the photos are down below this verbiage.

Click on the pics to make them bigger and easier to see.

Even when something is grueling, like running 26.2 miles in dangerous heat, or at least trying to, people made the best of it



Hmmm. Another tutu.



To get the needed encouragement
run with a t-shirt that will get a reactionA 


I spotted this colorful
character running the marathon  


Spongebob Square Pants offered
encouragement to runners  

A spectator hoses down an overheated
Vermont City Marathon participant 
Maybe this guy was watching the race too
close to the municipal sewage treatment plant?  
I liked this pair of runners 


Friday, May 27, 2016

Dr. Henry Heimlich, Who Invented Heimlich Maneuver, Uses Heimlich Maneuver To Save Friend

Dr. Henry Heimlich, who invented the Heimlich maneuver
to rescue people who are choking, finally got the chance to
try it himself at age 96. He saved the life of an 87 year old woman.  
Dr. Henry Heimlich saved countless lives, no doubt about it.

You recognize his last name.

He invented the Heimlich maneuver, where you basically grab a choking person from behind and compress their abdomen to make them cough up whatever is choking them, thereby saving the choking person's life. 

Dr. Heimlich is now 96 years old and lives in a Cincinnati, Ohio assisted living facility, but he's still doing pretty well.  

Recently, in the dining room, an 87-year-old woman at a dinner table at the facility started choking on a piece of hamburger that got stuck in her throat.

Heimlich rushed over, performed the manuever that made him famous, and the hamburger dislodged from the woman's throat.

She's just fine now, thank you.

Who knows how many thousands of lives Heimlich saved when he invented and broadcast his method. But it was the first time he had the chance to try it himself.

I'm so glad he did -- successfully - before he died so now he understands how gratifying it must be to save another person's life, up close and personal.

"That moment was very important to me. I knew about all the lives my maneuver has saved over the years and I have demonstrated it so many times, but here, for the first time, was someone sitting right next to me who was about to die," Heimlich told The Guardian newspaper. 

The woman, Patty Ris, wrote Heimlich a note, saying, "God put me in this seat next to you," reported the Cincinnati Enquirer. 

Heimlich and Ris shared a celebratory dinner together the next night. No choking was involved.

Heimlich is still fit for his age, swimming three or four times a week at the center's swimming pool and making frequent excursions out to see the symphony and other cultural events.

Still, let's face it. He's 96 years old. Not some 20 year old athletic stud. Which proves that anybody can learn and use the Heimlich maneuver.  

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wacko Oregon Land Takeover Guys Say They Want Their Gun Rights Back While In Prison

One of this year's Oregon standoff guys,
Ryan Bundy is in jail and says that, among
other things, he's mad that his right to
have a gun with him has been taken away.  
Remember those idiots who took over that Oregon wildlife refuge earlier this year?

They are, of course, in jail, awaiting trial in connection with that messy case.

The group, led by the ever-esteeemed ringleaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy, are threatening to sue, saying their Constitutional rights are being withheld from them while awaiting trial.

Most of it is the typical whines: They're not letting us into the library enough, they're not giving us certain clothes so they can practice their Mormon religion, they're not letting the group meet with each other to strategize, blah, blah, blah.

But a statement in a great article from Oregon Public Radio telling us what Ryan Bundy had to say caught my eye:

"My rights are being violated. My right to right life is being violated. All of my First Amendment rights are being violated. My right to freedom of religion is being violated....... My Second Amendment rights are being violated. I never waived that right. My Fourth Amendment rights are being violated."

Well, first of all, if you're reading this, you see an example of Ryan Bundy exercising his First Amendment right to free speech. Since he's still alive, his right to life is being honored.

The real wild one is Ryan Bundy saying that his Second Amendment rights are being violated. That's the gun rights amendment. So, he should have the right to have his guns with him while he's in jail?

What could go wrong?




Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Texas Story About Horses Comforting Dying Veteran Shows Healing Power of Animals

Gravely ill veteran Roberto Gonzalez is comforted
by one of his horses at a Texas VA hospital
Photo by Lupe Hernandez 
Like everyone else, I was moved by the story that went viral yesterday about the horses that were brought to a Texas Veterans Administration hospital to comfort a dying Vietnam veteran.

Roberto Gonzalez, now 71, was shot and left paralyzed during the war, but went on to become a successful horse trainer in Texas.

In recent months, Gonzalez' health failed and it became apparent he might die soon.

Gonzalez' wife, Rosario, said the horses were her husband's heart and soul, and he had to see them one last time.

So, the horses, Sugar and Ringo, were brought to the Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital in San Antonio.

One result of that visit was the touching viral photography you see in this post.

"Horses are his life....When the horse came up to him he actually opened his eyes," Rosario said of her husband's reaction to the visit. "They came up to him and I think they were actually kissing him."

It's interesting that often, in our time of need, or when we want comfort, we turn to our pets, and they turn to us. And each other.

I know when either me or my husband are not feeling well, our dogs get close to us, and keep a watch out for us. They also stay close to each other when one of them is not feeling well.

They know what's going on. And I really do think on some level they want to help. And they do.

The horses in Texas and the people that brought them there and the hospital that allowed this all treated a U.S. veteran with the respect and love he deserved.

I just hope that all veterans get the same kind of respect.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Beard, A Graduation And Stubborness Make A Big Mess in Amite, Louisiana

Amite, Louisiana High School valedictorian was
not allowed to participate in graduation ceremony or give his
speech because he refused the principal's
demands to shave his goatee. 
Andrew Jones was the valedictorian of Amite High School in Louisiana, having earned straight A's and academic and athletic scholarships to college.

Yet, he wasn't allowed to march in his graduation or give his valedictorian speech.

Why?

Because he has a bit of a beard. More of a goatee, really.

I'm not sure how a little facial hair could possibly get in the way of academic success and a graduation ceremony, but people are weird, as we all know.

School administrators said no facial hair is allowed on students at the school. Jones, and a few others were told by the Amite High School principal just before the graduation that they could not have beards. They must shave.

Jones refused to do so. Yeah, I know, stubborn kid.

But really. His faint beard doesn't seem to be the most important issue in the world.

And the school's position was undermined because, although the no beard policy is supposedly always in effect, lots of photos show students at Amite High School all year with facial hair, as television station WVUE reports. 

There was never any enforcement of the no facial hair rule all year. Why the sudden demand for freshly shaved faces at graduation, after a full academic year of bearded male students? The Amite High School principal isn't talking.

But he did force Jones out of the graduation ceremony, so no speech, not proud moment of getting a diploma as beaming relatives watched.

Because a beard - and the high school principals' inflated sense of authority - squashed that idea.   No facial hair at this school, no siree. Facial hair is MUCH more important an issue than academics, let me tell ya.

I'm sure the principal of the high school is proud that he is leading the charge to make all men clean shaven.

Jones is black and most of the Amite High School administration is white, so people are raising the idea of racism.

It's possible. An uppity black kid in a rural Southern town being valedictorian instead of a "more deserving" white kid?  I can see how people with bigoted minds might think that way.

I really hope I'm wrong about that. We can't know for sure. I do know the NAACP is getting involved with this. 

Meanwhile, the whole thing has caused a national uproar and is a big trending topic on Facebook.

All because of a bit of stubborness from a smart kid. And a lot of juvenile pettiness from one stupid high school principal.

I hope the principal is enjoying all this sudden negative publicity.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Tarantulas On A Plane. Really!

How'd you like this guy to be your seat mate
on your next airline flight?  
Both real life and fictional airline flights are fraught, let me tell you.

I've recently written about the impossibly long lines created by TSA staff shortages and incompetence combined with a do-nothing Congress.  

We have idiotic movies, like Snakes On A Plane, which certainly sounds unpleasant.

Now we've just had a real life drama that's even worse than the aforementioned movie.

Tarantulas on a plane!

Makes me look forward to some upcoming flights I'm taking in June.

According to The Guardian newspaper, two huge tranantulas got loose in the passenger cabin on an April flight from the Dominican Republic to Montreal, Quebec Canada.

Understandably, the incident had passengers screaming and standing on their seats, and flight attendants urging everyone to keep their ankles covered.

Yeah, a lot of good that would do for the women on the flight wearing skirts or dresses.

Let's allow Catherine Moreau of Quebec tell her in-flight story, as related by Radio Canada:

"I was wearing a skirt and a spider crawled up my leg...,...It was during a meal. My husband managed to catch the spider in a plastic container, but it wriggled its legs out. My daughter was crying, she was in shock."

Yeah, I bet!

Especially since they're so huge.

The Guardian and Radio Canada said that a Montreal entomologist, Etienne Normandin said the type of spider on the plane is roughly four to eight inches long and has fangs that can be nearly an inch long.

The bad news, Normandin said, is this type of spider is quite aggressive. The good news, I suppose, is the venom in these spiders isn't especially potent.

Great. I'm sure everybody who was on the plane was just overjoyed with that news.

The tarantulas were on the plane in the first place because probably some idiot hid them in their carry on luggage and they escaped.

Apparently, there is a market for these things and the mystery passenger who brought them on board probably intended to sell them in the Montreal area.

Tarantulas as pets? No thanks. I'll just keep my two furry non-aggressive, happy and not scary dogs, thanks.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Jewelry Store Heist Goes Awry Because Burglars Dumb

Inept burglars struggle with their watch store
heist near Stockholm, Sweden.  
Somebody filmed two dumb criminals break into a watch retailer in Sweden and the resulting video is an essay in incompetence.

The two take forever to break in and start loading the loot from the Klockmaster store in suburban Stockholm.

One tries to fire a gun to be a tough guy, but it jams. They struggle with the big bag and their little getaway scooter, which they have trouble starting.

They managed to get out of the mall, but were soon apprehended.

I don't know if it was smart for the guy to film the burglars, what with the gun and all, but the whole heist is something, let me tell ya.

H/T BoingBoing.

Here's the video:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Lousiana Lawmaker Introduces Legislation To Ensure Strippers Are Young And Fit

As a "joke" about overregulation, Louisiana
House of Reps member Kenny Havard proposed
legislation banning strippers who are
over 28 years old or weigh more than 160
pounds. Yeah, the guy's icky. 
Most of us have found ourselves steaming over some injustice and we mutter, "There ought to be a law...."

Well, Kenny Havard did just that, and -- What luck! --- he's a lawmaker. He's a Republican member of the Louisiana state legislature.  

This week, he briefly introduced an amendment that would require strippers to be at or under the age of 28 and weigh less than 160 pounds.

That would rid the world of old, ugly strippers, Huzzahhh!

If your first thought was why in the world would a politician be that concerned about strippers when there's so many other pressing issues, join the club.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Louisiana legislature was considering a bill that would raise the age at which you could be employed as a stripper from 18 to 21.

The concern is the younger women are being exploited, possibly by human traffickers, so they want to raise the age limit.

It looks like the bill will pass both the Louisiana House and Senate, and it appears the governor of that fine state will sign the measure.

The law will not include Havard's amendment, though. Mostly because idea is so icky. And that Havard would introduce such an amendment makes him icky.

"I've never been more repulsed to be part of" the House of Representatives, said Rep. Julie Stokes R-Kenner, as quoted in the Times-Picayune.

I suppose he would want to go from strip club to strip club as an "inspector" to make sure the strippers are sufficiently beautiful, to his eyes anyway.

Havard said he introduced the amendment as a kind of "joke" to protest government overregulation.

Oh, OK.

He also said criticism of his amendment was political correctness and he won't apologize for it.

Still, Havard was unsuccessful. Next time you skulk around the strip clubs of New Orleans, there's a chance some of the strippers will be over 28 years old.

I'm sure you'll survive.





Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Justin Timberlake Already Gave Us Summer Anthem 2016

Justin Timberlake in his "Can't Stop The Feeling"
music video. The song shot to Number One already 
The pop song that you will always associated with the summer of 2016 is already out.

You know those songs. The big hit of the summer, the breezy fun pop fluff that you can't get out of your head when you remember the beach trip or vacation that summer.

This time, it's Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop The Feeling"  It's a confectionary piece of glee and freedom.

It's not deep. It's not breaking new ground. But gawd that song is catchy! As Slate noted, "Can't Stop The Feeling" is the 2016 version of "Happy"

"Can't Stop The Feeling" has already debuted at Number 1 on Billboard's Hot 100, so you know you're going to hear this song a lot for a long time.

This Justin Timberlake song is from the upcoming DreamWorks animated film "Trolls"

Many of you will get sick of it. Some of you already are.

But kudos to Justin Timberlake for putting out nice Summer of 2016 anthem. Good work by him!

The goofy video, with clips of regular everyday people dancing (they're actors, not everyday people) has already racked up 3 million hits after just two days on YouTube.

Here's the video, but to watch, you'll probably start with a black screen and will have to click "Watch on YouTube"

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

TSA Harming U.S. Economy Like The Terrorists Would

Long TSA lines at Denver's airport recentlh.  
One of the goals of terrorists who want to attack the Good Ole USA is to disrupt our economy.

After all, spectacular attacks, cyber attacks or just the fear generated by terrorists deflate our economy.

The cost of attacks, the problems with travel, the problems with security are all a drag on commerce.

If I didn't know better, I'd now think the terrorists have hired out the TSA to harm the U.S. economy.

I know, I know, the TSA is meant to enhance our security, not mess it up.

But the huge lines at airports generated by various Congressional and TSA bureaucratic failures mean the economy is going to be harmed, at least a bit.

I'll admit the TSA doesn't mean to harm the United States, at least I don't think so, I worry they are causing harm.

As the New York Times reported earlier this month:

"A combination of fewer Transportation Security Administration screeners, tighter budgets, new checkpoint procedures and growing numbers of passengers is already creating a mess at airports around the country.

While federal security officials say they are hiring and training hundreds of additional screening officers, matters are not expected to improve anytime soon.

Airline and airport officials have said they fear that the current slowdown will last through the year and could cause a summer travel meltdown when more than 220 million passengers are expected tto fly during the peak travel months of July and August."

Already, we've gotten numerous reports of three-hour waits at TSA lines.

These lines are already disrupting business. The Tiimes article quoted Ben Cheever, a support engineer for a cybersecurity firm, who missed a flight despite showing up more than two hours ahead of his scheduled departure from Seattle recently.

"It was the most miserable business trip I ever had," he said.

American Airlines says slower security lines are causing flight delays and forcing them to rebook passengers. I'm seldom sympathetic toward airlines, but these delays and rebookings are certainly costing airlines money.

Airport managers are fuming, too. One example was on March 25 when 600 people missed flights at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina because an inadequate number of TSA screeners caused waits of three hours or more.

It keeps getting worse. USA Today reported at least 450 people stranded overnight at Chicago's O'Hare airport because of hours long security  lines.

There's plenty of blame to go around. Working for the TSA is a thankless job, what with the lack of training, poor morale, low pay while the muckymucks get big bonuses, nasty passengers and such. People are quitting the TSA in droves.

Congress won't appropriate enough money for the TSA to do its job. Airlines are saddling us with fees, so more people are carrying bags aboard planes to avoid paying checked luggage fees, which slows everything down.

Perhaps the airlines could perhaps ease checked baggage fees? That's too much to ask for.

We, the public screw it up, too, by either accidentally or on purpose trying to bring stuff on board planes that we're not supposed to. Everytime they find something we have that's wrong, it slows the works down.

Airports like the one in San Francisco and Phoenix have kicked out or are considering, kicking out the TSA in favor of private contractors.

As BoingBoing points out, that's maybe even worse, because private contractors are not held accountable for incidents like when their agents damage or steal passengers' possessions.

It amazes me that the TSA, Congress, airlines and everyone else can't -  or more likely won't -- get their acts together.

There are worse things that can happen to a person than get stuck in a long security line. I get that.

But in claiming to prevent the problems associated with terrorism by causing things that terrorists want -- disruption -- is a little weird.

I'm not optimistic the TSA, Congress or whoever is in charge will fix this problem.

It's just another of a million examples of our dysfunctional government.

No matter so many voters are so angry and frustrated. And there's nothing we can do about it, which makes me sad.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dark, Hilarious Humor From Matt Donaher On Your Sunday

Comedian Matt Donaher kills it on Conan O'Brien  
I found this clip of standup comedian Matt Donaher from a recent Conan O'Brien show.

Watch it at the bottom of this post, it's wild. The routine is all goofy one liners, in the tradition of Steven Wright.

Donaher is a bit darker and creepier, though, which I like.  (When you watch the clip, remember it's NSFW)  

One of Donaher's best lines:  "The most important thing to remember when committing a murder-suicide is the order."

Yeah, dark. But funny as hell.

Here's the clip:

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Video Offers Scary New Reason To Hate Rush Hour Traffic

Image from a video of a truck overturning on the Tappan Zee
Bridge in New York Friday. That black car
that looks like it is going to get squashed by the
truck wasn't hit.  
A dash cammer gave us yet another reason to hate the morning rush hour.

The motorist was commuting on New York's Tappan Zee Bridge when a tractor trailer truck carrying a lot of scrap metal tipped over next to and in front of him.

Wicked scary moment, as you'll see in the video below. Luckily, nobody got hurt. A few cars got hit by flying debris, but damage wasn't too bad. 

All lanes of the bridge were closed due to the overturned truck, metal debris all over the road and concrete barriers that were pushed out of place.

Traffic was backed up for hours.

The truck's suspension system apparently failed, causing the crash.

Here's the video:

Friday, May 13, 2016

Billboard From "Funeral Home" Brilliantly Goes After People Who Text And Drive

This billboard from the "Wathan Funeral Home" in
Toronto is causing a stir.  
I guess the Wathan Funeral Home in the Toronto area needs to drum up business.

They have a giant billboard on a major highway there that says "Text And Drive."

Texting and driving is one of the best ways to get you, or somebody else killed, so there's that.

Actually, the Wathan Funeral Home doesn't really exist. The "Text and Drive" billboard is a clever, if dark PSA  to tell all those idiots out there to stop friggin texting and driving, dammit!

It's one of my pet peeves. Maybe my biggest. All the time, on the road, their heads are down, they're swerving all over the road, or not stopping at red lights, or not going at green lights, because of the all important texts they have to send.

In my darkest moments, I think people who text and drive deserve to die, as long as they don't hurt anybody else.

After all, if you text and drive, that means you don't give a crap about anybody else. "Who cares if somebody dies. This text to my girlfriend is more important than your life,"  seems to be the thought process of those who text and drive.

Maybe if texters and drivers were brought up on murder or attempted murder charges when they cause a crash, that would teach them a lesson.

Anyway, my hostile view of texters and drivers is the same one that inspired the "Text and Drive" billboard from the fictitious Wathan Funeral Home.

The funeral home, as noted, doesn't exist, but it does have a website. 

If you go to it, you get this message:

"If you're here, you've probably seen our "Text and Drive" billboard. And if you have, you probably came to this website to tell us what horrible people we are for running an ad like that. And you'd be right.

It's a horrible thing for a funeral home to do. But we're not a funeral home.

We're just trying to get Canadians to stop texting and driving, which is projected to kill more people in Ontario this year than drinking and driving. That's right. More. And while most people wouldn't even think about drinking and driving, over half of Ontario's drivers admit to reading texts behind the wheel.

That's more than half of the drivers on the road today risking their lives, their passengers' lives and the lives of fellow motorists and pedestrians.

Which should make you even madder than our billboard did."

It sure does!

The PSA is from the Montreal ad agency St. John St., in partnership with Cieslok Media, says AdWeek.  

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Domino's Pizza Saves A Life, So Sometimes Its OK When Companies Keep Tabs On Us

In this electronic age, you know that every place you shop, especially on line, has the goods on you.

The types of things you like. When you order. Some of your other habits.

It's just the way things are nowadays.

This all sounds just a little creepy, but in one case, it saved a life.

According to television station KOIN in Portland, Oregon, employees of a Domino's Pizza in Salem, Oregon recently noticed that a guy named Kirk Alexander hadn't ordered anything from them in 11 days.

That was strange, because Alexander usually ordered something online rom that Domino's almost every day.

The Domino's manager sent a delivery person to Alexander's house because they were all worried about him.

The driver found the lights and TV on in Alexander's house, but nobody answered the door when he repeatedly knocked. Domino's also tried calling Alexander, but the call went straight to voicemail.

Now really worried, the Domino's delivery guy called paramedics, who found Alexander unconscios on the floor, having apparently suffered a stroke.

He's now recovering in the hospital.

Yes, Domino's delivers. In this case, in a surprising and good way.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Dogs Have Happy Time With Play Tunnel

A video of two dogs at a play tunnel has gone
viral for good reason. It's fun! 
Time is short to post a blog today, so I'm just going to leave you with a couple of dogs and their adventures with a play tunnel.

The video was shot by Matt Buckmaster when he brought his Italian greyhound Penelope to the K9 Fun Zone in Seattle.

He uploaded it to Facebook, and has been viewed 1.5 million times.

No wonder.  It's a happy video, so it's good to watch especially if you want to cure a foul mood:

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Doing Math On A Plane Can Get You Pegged As A Terrorist

Guido Menzio is a briliant economist and mathematician,
but not a terrorist, despite his habit of doing
math equations of airline flights.  
I'm not particularly good at math, and in fact I'm terrified of advanced equations.

Still, math does not, um, equate to terrorism,.

Except for one paranoid woman aboard a recent airline flight who decided that the professorial guy next to her scribbling math equations just had to be a terrorist.

Why else would a guy intently work on complicated math equations unless he was a terrorist plotting to blow up the plane?

Because if you're doing math equations, the next step is to build a bomb and set it off, right?  Never mind you can't just build a bomb out of nothing but math equations, but whatever.

This guy really had to be a terrorist because he had olive colored skin, had dark curly hair and spoke with a foreign accent.

Everybody who is not lily white is a terrorist, right?

At least that's what one really weird, paranoid woman apparently thought. She delayed a flight from Philadelphia to Syracuse the other day for two hours because she reported the guy next to her as a terrorist.

The guy doing math.

As Catherine Rampell in the Washington Post writes, the woman saw Something.

"That Something she'd seen had been her seatmate's cryptic notes, scrawled in a script she didn't recognize. Maybe it was code, or some foreign lettering, possibly the details of a plot to destroy the dozens of innocent lives aboard American Airlines Flight 3930.

She may have felt it her duty to alert the authorities just to be safe. The curly-haired man was, the agent informed him politely, suspected of terrorism."

It turns out the "terrorist" doing math is Guido Menzio, a brilliant Ivy League economist and among many other awards, was declared the best Italian economist under age 40, says the Washington Post.

He was doing math as part of his focus on search theory, which is too technical to get into here.

It seems that anything anybody does now is suspicious.

I'm afraid I'm going to get kicked off a flight soon for my behavior. On flights, I sometimes read books. Not on a Kindle or something like that, but a physical book. Nobody does that anymore. That's suspicious.

Plus, I'm a hopeless weather geek. If I have a window seat and see some particularly interesting clouds, I'll sometimes snap a photo of them with my smart phone. Taking pictures aboard a plane?

Terrorist!

Luckily I'm white, so Paranoid America won't suspect me as much as some Italian mathematician, who has darker skin.

For his part, Menzio told the Washington Post he was treated respectfully through the whole thing, but he is troubled by the ignorance of his fellow passenger, and a rigid security protocol that stops everything for often no reason, and relies on people who are clueless.

The Paranoid Woman didn't reboard the flight, safe in the knowledge the mathematics didn't kill her.

Or anybody else.

Lesson learned: Don't do math on a plane.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Sweet Animated Short Film "The Present" Is Absolute Joy

A cute animated puppy in the short film "The Present"
is stealing millions of hearts, including mine.  
Yesterday, CBS Sunday Morning featured a short film that I absolutely love and want to share.

Apparently, so do a lot of other people, for good reason.

The animated short film is called "The Present" and starts with a boy playing video games, and his mom arriving home to bring him a cardboard box containing a gift.

At first, the boy hates the gift, which is a cute puppy.

Intense animal lovers like me will wince at what happens next, as the boy harshly shoves the puppy away as the little dog turns out to be quote, unquote, imperfect.

But keep watching as the film's messages of persistence, positive attitudes and solidarity unfold.

"The Present" was created by Jacob Frey and Markus Kranzler in 2014 as a graduation project while they were students at Filmakademie Baden-Werttemberg in Ludwisburg, Germany, says SFGate.com

At last count, "The Present" has won something like 60 international awards in several countries.

The great work on "The Present" certainly didn't hurt Frey and Kranzler. They now work at Walt Disney and Pixar, respectively.

Here's the video:

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Boaty McBoatface Won't Explore and Study The Arctic

Unfortunately, this research veseel won't really
be named Boaty McBoatface 
Never conduct an online poll when you want to name something.

That's something the United Kingdom science ministry learned after they put out the poll to name the new $200 million (actual pounds convert) polar research ship.

As you might have heard a month or two ago, the winning name on the island poll was Boaty McBoatface.  

Which really isn't the most dignified name for a serious polar research operation.

The Boaty McBoatface idea came from former BBC presenter James Hand, who proposed the silly name, notes ArsTechnica. 

The idea went viral and the there you go.

However, British scientists with the Natural Environment Research Council decided it was best to renege on the idea of Boaty McBoatface, which is too bad.

On the bright side, they decided to name the boat RRS Sir David Attenborough, named for the famed British naturalist. Also on the bright side, Sir David Attenborough did get votes on the online poll, but it wasn't the winner.

More bright sides: Although the research vessel won't be named Boaty McBoatface, remotely controlled underwater vehicles will be given that name.

As ArsTechnica says, I hope they paint a dorky cartoon face on these underwater vessels. That'll scare the hell out of any submarine life up there in the Arctic.

Sir David Attenborough said he was honored the boat was named after him and certainly bears no ill will for partisans of Boaty McBoatface.

"I am truly honored by this naming decision and hope that everyone who suggested a name will feel just as inspired to follow the ship's progress as it explores our polar regions. I have been privileged to explore the world's deepest oceans alongside amazing teams of researchers, and with this new polar research ship they will be able to go further and discover more than ever before."

Maybe a U.S. research ship could be named Boaty McBoatface instead.

After all, the Boaty McBoatface crisis won very valuable publicity for the National Environmental Research Council. 

It never hurts to be silly. Even if you're a scientist.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Security Camera Catches Home Burning In Fort McMurray Cataclysm

Screen shot of security camera from inside a home
being destroyed by the Fort McMurray, Canada
wildfire disaster, that's still ongoing. 
I've been writing about that terrible wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada on my sister blog, Matt's Weather Rapport, but a video from that fire deserves a look here, too.

The video is a security camera inside a Fort McMurray home. Its occupants had fled 20 minutes before the video starts as the wildfire bore down on the neighborhood.

The couple that lived in the home is safe, but sadly their home, like many, many others in Fort McMurray, are gone.

Homeowners James and Candace O'Reilly watched the video of their home being destroyed on an iPhone as they fled the fire.

The escape was harrowing enough. They were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic as everyone fled. Hot embers rained down on the truck and camper they were towing.

The couple felt terrible that there was no time for them to save the clownfish you see in the tank, and important papers and photographs, and ashes of Candace O'Reilly's late father.

The video shows the fire just outside the windows, then breaking through. It happens very fast.

It's also a good instruction to not try to stay behind to save your home in a wildfire like this. The people who lived there would have died had they tried to stay and fight.

Here's the video:

 

Friday, May 6, 2016

It Must Be Terrible To Be Ted Cruz

Everybody hates this guy  
I suddenly have just the teeniest, tiniest bit of sympathy for Ted Cruz.

It's miniscule, but it's there.

It seems everybody hates, HATES Ted Cruz. This is probably not fair, but when I Googled "Ted Cruz hated" I got 20,600,000 results.

Think about it. All we've heard in the news for months is how much everybody hates Ted Cruz. I'm sure he's heard it, too.

His presidential campaign collapsed in a heap Tuesday in Indiana, and the end was a mess. Donald Trump managed to get into Cruz's head just by repeating the bullcrap from the National Enquirer about Cruz's dad somehow being involved with the JFK assassination.

Even Cruz's erstwhile, brief running mate Carly Fiorina fell off a stage, which seemed like an omen a day or two before the Indiana vote. Cruz also accidentally punched his wife while hugging one of his very few supporters the other night.

Cruz was hated in college. There's an interesting article in Slate written by a person who remembers what a slog it was to be in a debate club with Cruz.

"Most of my memories of debating Ted Cruz involve being hollered at," writes Dahlia Lithwick.

As a young lawyer, In the Senate people hated him.  Didn't former House Speaker John Boehner just call Cruz "Lucifer in the flesh"? 

Senator Lindsey Graham said: "If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you."

Congressman Peter King of New York said he would take cyanide if Cruz won the nomination.

Not exactly loving words.

Almost all politicians are rejected by voters from time to time. You need an amazingly thick skin to get into that line of work.

But the word "hate" comes up so often when people are talking about Cruz, and he must be aware of it. This has to sting.

Lithwick, in Slate, sees the same "qualities" in Cruz now as she saw in the college debate gatherings:

"Watching Cruz's halting rise and crushing fall on the campaign trail this season, I've seen so many of the same behaviors: the canned absolutists lines, the just-add-water-outrage machine the too-loud, too-much quality that thrums through every venue until your face hurts."

Politico suggests that maybe Cruz likes to be hated:

"He wants to be hated. He draws strength from the attention it delivers and he has sought the hatred of others since high school......"

"From the view inside Cruz's skull, once you get people to like you, your job has only begun. Additional acts of kindness, consideration and fairness must be extended or your likability will fade into the background.

But hatred is a much more efficient use of emotional energy. Often, a single does of malice can seal the impression among most people that you're a terminal prick. By acquiring as his enemies the Washington political establishment, Cruz figures he can inherit their enemies and the 2016 campaign has proved him right. Nobody until Cruz had the stomach to build his political foundation on a bedrock of loathing."

This obviously was written before Cruz's campaign crashed and burned.

So now what?  If Politico is right, then being the most hated person in the room didn't get Cruz very far.

Does being hated hurt Cruz emotionally? What is it like to have everybody say they hate you. It has to be crushing.

It would be for me and you, but for Cruz, I have no idea.

It all makes you want to give poor Ted Cruz a teddy bear to hug.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Viral Abandoned Dog Photo Has Happy Ending

This heartrending photo of a dog cruelly abandoned
on a London bus went viral.  
A photo went viral last week showing a Staffordshire Bull Terrier abandoned on a London bus.

The dog looked so dejected at being abandoned.  I'm sure a few people who saw the photo shed a few tears. How could anybody just leave such a wonderful dog on the bus to fend for itself?

You can see the photo here, near the top of this post.

What would prompt such cruelty?

The good news is the dog, named Boston, was not abandoned by his human family. He might have been kidnapped and abandoned by his kidnappers, but that's quite another thing.

Plus, bus company employees took good care of Boston while everything was sorted out. And the publicity associated with the viral photo ensured Boston came back home.

Last Thursday Boston's owner, Paulina Rybak, took him outside like she always does to do his business and he just disappeared.

Boston, having been likely abandoned on
the bus by dognappers, is now back home
and looking much happier. As are his human companions
Boston had never run off before, so Paulina and her two kids, Filip, 8, ad Zofia, 3 were distraught. The family worried they'd never seen Boston again, especially as the days ticked by with no sign of him.

The suspicion is kidnapping because the bus driver who found Boston abandoned on his rig also vaguely recalls the dog getting on the bus with two men.

Sounds like the two men might have grabbed Boston, then decided not to hang on to him.

The bus driver said Boston was very scared when he found him, and he and other staff did their best to comfort him.

Rybak went to the town council and animal shelters and other places looking for Boston, but no luck.

Then the photo went viral, and Rybak spotted the picture of Boston on the bus on the Evening Standard web site.   

The family has since been reunited, Boston is back home in good health, and all is well.

Sometimes the internet can be a horrible place. But sometimes, it's wonderful when it helps dogs like Boston and his human companions.

H/T Nothing To Do With Arborath

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

This Ad Is Why Many Republicans Loathe Donald Trump

Connor Edldridge, a Democrat, is running for
U.S. Senate from Arkansas. He just
gave a early view of how Democrats
will use Donald Trump to
go after Republican opponents  
I've never heard of Connor Eldridge.

Eldridge, a Democrat, is apparently a former U.S. attorney running for a U.S. Senate seat from Arkansas.

I haven't researched Eldridge, so I have on idea if he'd be an awesome U.S. Senator or a jerk.

But he's released a campaign ad which illustrates perfectly why many Repubicans are terrified of the idea that Donald Trump will probably win the Republican nomination.

Trump took Indiana last night, Ted Cruz dropped out, so it's pretty much a guarantee Trump will be the Republican presidential nominee.

The Eldridge ad, which in my opinion is incredibly effective, is at the bottom of this post.

Republicans understandably don't want to lose control of the U.S. Senate. Especially if Hillary Clinton or (long shot) Bernie Sanders becomes president.

Just one reason for their fear is that Clinton or Sanders, along with a Democratic Senate, will almost surely appoint a relatively liberal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In his campaign ad, Eldridge easily ties Trump, very brutally, to the billionaire's misogyny. The implication is that being that a cad like Trump is just horrible for women.

Eldridge helpfully points out in his ad that as a federal prosecutor, he's gone after people accused of domestic violence and sexual harassment.

Eldridge also points out his Republican challenger, just might support Trump in the general election.

Conservative pundit Erick Erickson (did I mention he's really really conservative?) commented on Eldridge's ad this way.

"This is brutal. This is exactly what you can expect throughout the country in the general election. This is the ad for the Democratic challenger in Arkansas and provides a helpful roadmap to other Democrats on how they are going to take back the Senate."

I almost never agree with Erickson. Here, though, he's spot on.

Many Republicans are no friends of women, what with their attacks on Planned Parenthood, opposition to equal pay and other issues. But at least most politicians know enough to be respectful to huge constituencies, unlike Trump.

Women make up a little more than half of all voters, so you'd think they'd consider that.

This also crystalizes why I am both fearful and hopeful of Trump. Fearful that he'd somehow actually win and hopeful that he'll inadvertently roll back the worst of Republican or conservative weirdness.

You definitely can't paint all Republicans with the same brush you do with Trump. But Trump's ickiness might rub off on other Republicans, whether those other Republicans deserve it or not.

Here's the ad. (H/T Joe My God)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Ohio Police Department Allows Doves To Commandeer Cruiser For Best Possible Reason

Mourning doves have set up a nest with two eggs at the
base of the windshield of a Parma, Ohio police crusiers.
The nesting doves are enjoying full protection from
Parma police offices.   
I love the population boom of birds I see bere in tbe northern climes this time of year.

Which is why I have to congratulate the Parma, Ohio, police department.

A pair of mourning doves decided to set up a nest at the base of a windshield on a backup cruiser parked in the department's lot.

Police could have shooed the doves away, destroyed the nest and moved on with protecting the citizens in the fine city of Parma.

But this was a backup cruiser and Parma police had all the tools they needed to protect and serve. They could live without the spare cruiser for awhile and make do with what they had.

Really. Why not protect and serve the doves?

While two eggs are awaiting hatching at the base of the windshield, Parma officers sealed off the parked cruiser with police tape and traffic construction barrels, says television station Fox 8 in Cleveland.

Who says police tape is only for crime scenes?

Police officers have set up an umbrella over the nest to keep it dry, left a container of water out for the birds to drink and have even dug up worms from a nearby muddy lawn to feed the mourniing doves.

"Our officers are human beings just like anyone else. We care for all lives human and animal," said Lt. Kevin Riley of the Parma Police Department. They want to make sure the doves and their young are well taken care of, according to Fox 8.

By the way, the Parma Police Department names the dove mom Gerty for some reason.

Works for me!

And congratulations to the soon-to-be mourning dove parents.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Australian River Bursts Into Flames

A river ablaze in Australia due to methane seeps. Some blame
nearby fracking operations, while others say this
is naturally occuring.  
I thought rivers that caught fire were a legacy of intense 1960s and 1970s pollution. Remember the Cuyahoga River in Ohio burning way back in the late 1960s.

It turns out, a river was just set on fire in Australia.

Last month, an Australian MP named Jeremy Buckingham went up the Condamine River in Queensland, came up to a area where methane was bubbling up, and set the river ablaze.

The video is at the bottom of this post.

Buckingham, a member of the Green Party, blamed the seeping methane and the fact he was able to set the river on fire on fracking nearby.

CBC News reports Buckingham said a nearby coal gas seam, or CGS, operation is to blame. In the video, he says, "This area has been drilled with thousands of CSG wells and fracked. This river for kilimeters is bubblilng with gas and now it's on fire."

Buckingham and the Green Party are trying to ban fracking in Australia.

CBC says there have been reports of methane seeps in the Condamine River since 2012

A scientific analysis firm said there could be a number of reasons for the methane bubbling. It could be the fracking or other similar activities, or it could be caused by drought and the recharging of acqufers after floods.

Coals is near the earth's surface in the area, so it's easy for gases to rise to the surface from the coal seams.

For its part the local coal and fracking companies say that they are not to blame, that naturally occuring gas seeps occur and can be lit on fire, but they pose no threat to the public.

In any event, burning rivers are probably not a good thing.

Here's the video:

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Always Bad When Pace Vehicle Stalls At A Bicycle Race

Here's what happened this weekend when a pace motorcycle stalled at a big bicycle race, the Red Hook Criterium in Brooklyn, New York.

Lots of unhappy racers, I'm sure:


Here's another view

Lawmakers, Police Still Wayyyy Too Interested In Who's In The Restroom With Them

It seems to be coming to this these days.  
Despite howls of protests from sane people, state lawmakers and conservative activists in states like North Carolina and Alabama are much, much too interested in who's in public restrooms with them.

Don't you think that's just a little weird?

I don't know about you, but if I must visit a public restroom to powder my nose or whatever, I am sooo not interested in the other people there.

They may be perfectly nice people, but under the circumstances, I don't want to say hi, I don't want them to say hi, I want no eye contact, no words, nothing.

You do your thing and I'll do mine. And let's all make sure that we make it so we have no chance of seeing what you or I are doing.

I know the people who are much more interested than I about who's in the public restroom with them say they worry about guys dressing up as gals and then molesting the women using said public restroom.

Never mind that doesn't tend to happen, and sexual assault or molestation is already illegal in the states where lawmakers and conservatives are way too interested in who's in the rest room with them.

Fox New's Megyn Kelly, questioning North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory on that states bathroom law, stated the obvious. "Typically male molesters are heterosexual, and if they want to sneak into a bathroom, they'll do it. but 90 percent of the cases, molestation happens with someone you know. So what is the fear with the transgender situation in the bathrooms?"

The answer that McCrory gave wasn't this, but I bet he was thinking he doesn't like transgendered people in restrooms because such people to his mind are icky or something.

Isn't it ickier, though, to have a guy with a beard, who was born a woman but now very much a man, to be forced to go into the womens room?

Or somebody like Caitlyn Jenner, who used to be a guy and is now very much a woman, be forced to hang out with the guys at the urinal?

Somebody's ickiness meter is broken, I think.

Some "conservative"' politicians are oddly
obsessed with who's using which bathroom where.
I think they need a therapist.  
The odious city council in Oxford, Alabama would go so far as to arrest people who they think are the wrong gender going into the wrong public restroom.

The Oxford City Council members ought to worry much more about their spelling and grammar than who's sharing the bathroom with them.

I'll quote their new bathroom law verbatim, but add  a (sic) whenever we spot a mistake.

"....citizens have a right to quite (sic) solicitude (sic) and to be secure from embarrassment and unwanted intrusion into their privacy while utilizing multiple occupancy bathroom and changing facilities by members of the opposite biological sex."

Quite solicitude, huh?  So people go into public restrooms to emphatically express concern about someone's health and happiness, if I'm reading the definition of solicitude correctly.

I'd hate to share a restroom with any member of the Oxford Alabama City Council because I don't want anybody to enthusiastically worry about my health and happiness while I'm doing my business in a public facility.

The Oxford Alabama ordinance also mentions that "single sex public facilities are places of increased venerability (sic) and present the potential for crimes against individuals utilizing those facilities..." 

What? People are more worthy of respect due to their age, dignity and character when they go into public restrooms? Well, that's what the definition of 'venerability" is.

In any event, what seems to be going on is weird people, i.e. conservative, freaking out politicians, are trying to pass laws preventing people from anybody who is not just like them from sharing a public restroom.

Again, this obsession seems awfully unhealthy for me.

It's gotten to the point, with these odd laws, maybe, that women can't even use the womens room if they don't look sufficiently ladylike.

There's a viral video out there (see it at the bottom of the post) of a lesbian woman being kicked out of a restroom because she strikes the cops kicking her out as too masculine.

Apparently the way she was dressed and her hair style made it not readily apparent to the cops whether she was indeed a woman.

The cops here were literally the fashion police.

Makeup, lovely long hair and high heels only, ladies!  No baggy hip hop style clothing that hides your gender! No boyish hairstyles!

So now that's another thing on our plate we have to worry about.  Because of weirdo politicians' scary obsessions, it seems we need to bring our birth certificates with us to the restrooms.

All this seems like it might lead to citizen vigilantes, who, as Slate puts it, "in which empowered busybodies take it upon themselves to judge who is male or female based on appearance and alert the authorities to difference danger when it arises.

 If you don't like what people look like as compared to their birth certificates, I guess transgendered people will have to pee out in the middle of the restaurant, stadium, mall or wherever they are when they have to go.

Will the perverts obsessed by who's going to the restrooms get really turned on by that, too?

I really think the oddballs passing these laws really need some serious therapy.