Saturday, July 30, 2016

When Newscasts Go Bad: Cringe At These Epic Bad Moments

Television news is usually done live, and live television can get dicey.

An on the job hazard for TV journalists are terrible cringe inducing moments that can wreck a career.

Remember, when you make a nasty mistake at work, there's not usually thousands of people watching you. On TV, it's different, as this fun compilation video demonstrates:


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hawk Is REALLY Into A Televisions Station Web Cam

A hawk in Lincoln, Nebraska checks out
 a television station web cam
Television stations across the nation all seem to have their weather cams up.

They're web cams perched on a prominent high spot in whatever city the television station is, to get a view of traffic, oncoming storms, etc.

The other day, people watching the KOLN web cam in Lincoln, Nebraska got a visit from a hawk who was very, very interested in getting its 15 minutes of fame.

Watch the video to your day brightener:

Watch This Ad And Be Very Afraid. Of Donald Trump

So this guy might get his hands on the nuclear code?  
The video at the bottom of this post is the kind of political ad we're going to have to get used to in the coming months.

This one, released at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday, is a good one, and is about as devasting an indictment of Donald Trump as you can get.

As Trump practically begged the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton's emails the other day, foreign policy experts were appalled.

Some of these experts aren't huge fans of Hillary, but they figure at least she's sane.

Sure, a Republican presidential candidate should relentlessly go after his Democratic opponent's record. But trying to enlist a foreign government, one that's pretty much an enemy of the United States to do the dirty work, makes me scared as to what kind of foreign policy Trump would have.

He's vindictive, and goes after his opponents without regard to consequence.

I don't always agree with Hillary Clinton, but she was right to remark Thursday night during her acceptance speech that Trump gets all huffy over a mean Tweet, so is he going to nuke, say, Germany if Angela Merkel looks at him the wrong way?

Hey, let's start a nuclear war!

Trump keeps saying we're unsafe and he'll make us all safe.

Um, really?

Let's just listen to these mostly Republican politicians, pundits and Defense Department gurus have to say. Note:

 The video from YouTube is "unlisted" meaning they discourage sharing it. I normally obey such directives, but since this is of national interest and has already been widely seen, there's no harm in showing it.

Watch:



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

USA Freedom Kids Just Got Screwed By Trump Like Everybody Else

Looks like the Trump campaign stiffed the
ever-popular U.S. Freedom Kids and is not
paying them for their viral performance at
one of his rallies.  
In January,  I feature a troupe of youngsters called USA Freedom Kids who gave a performance at Donald Trump rally that caused quite a stir and became a viral sensation.

The USA Freedom Kids performed, their, depending on your perspective, a cute, earnest or cringe-worthy song and dance called "Freedom's Call."

Trump was a big fan then.

Now, however, like almost everything else involving Donald Trump, the situation with the  USA Freedom Kids and Trump involves a lawsuit.

Who knows how it will work out, but there was apparently a series of verbal agreements involving the girls' performance that the dad of one of the performers, Jeff Popick, said were broken by the Trump campaign, says the Washington Post and other media outlets.

Popick had asked for $2,500 for the girl's performance. The Trump campaign counter-offered with a proposal to let the kids set up a table to pre-sell their albums and other merchandise.

Who knew these USA Freedom Kids thing was such a business!?

The campaign never did set up a table for them so they lost out.  Peptic paid for promotional material they never used and lost out on promotional time at what turned out to be the nonexistent table.

Later, says the Washington Post, the Trump campaign wanted, at the last minute just after he dropped out of the Fox News debate back in January.

Trump would go to an Iowa rally instead, and his campaign wanted the girls to perform there.

Says the Washington Post:

"With the promise that the exposure from the event would be 'huge,' Popick readily agreed and the kids and their parents packed up for a direct flight to Chicago and a long drive to Iowa. 

It wasn't to be. When the plane landed, Popick had a message from the campaign staffer indicating that thre was a change of plan."

The campaign allowed the girls and Popick to attend the rally, but were not allowed to talk to the media. Then they put them right next to the media area. Reporters all tried to ask questions, and Popick said he had to be like a jerk and tell them to buzz off, on orders of the Trump campaign.

Well, Trump's a jerk so I guess it fits that he wants everybody else around him to be a jerk, too.

Since then, Popick has been contacting the Trump campaign constantly trying to get paid. After all, Popick had to pay for the flights and travel to Iowa for the kids. Plus theres' that famous performance in Pensecola. Shouldn't the campaign pay them since they're the ones that origionally wanted them?

No deal. They're just blowing him off.

That's the Trump M.O., too. If he owes somebody money, either blow them off, or countersue the people trying to get paid.  Check out this exhaustive USA Today investigation of how cheap and irresponsible Trump is when it comes to paying people he hires.

So now, Popick is getting ready to sue the Trump campaign.

Incredibly, even after all this, Popick tells the Washington Post he is not sure whether he will support Trump for president.

Maybe, Popick says, he was bad to him, but perhaps he'll be good for the country.

With that reputation for stiffing people? I doubt it.

For those who want a refresher on the odd U.S. Freedom Kids performance last winter, here ya go!


Sarah Silverman Nails It: Bernie Or Busters ARE Ridiculous

Sarah Silverman was right. Get over yourselfs
Bernie or Busters!  
UPDATE:

I couldn't resist adding Seth Meyer's voice to this. Watch his video about the Bernie or Busters at the bottom of this post. It's totally worth it.

PREVIOUS DISCUSSION:

As always, it took a non-politician to get to the heart of the matter and it was comedian Sarah Silverman to the rescue Monday at the Democratic National Convention. 

Silverman, on stage with Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, had just explained that she had been a Bernie Sanders supporter, but now that Hillary Clinton is going to be the nominee, she would throw her support behind Clinton.

As had been the case all day the Bernie partisans would have none of it, and chanted for Bernie.

Rolling her eyes, Silverman said, in the most memorable line of a night full of marvelous speeches: "To the Bernie or Bust crowd, yuu're being ridiculous."

And they are.

Do they really think, as I've heard some put it, that it wouldn't make a difference whether we put Clinton or Trump in the White House because the system is corrupt?

Really?  Trump? The man who would build a wall along the Mexican border, ban Muslims from entering the country, seems to be buddy-buddy with the creepy Vladimir Putin, and is about as offensive as they come?

Trump, the man who is --- how do I put this delicately -- batshit insane?

The Bernie or Bust crowd says they don't want to choose the lesser of two evils, they don't want to choose any evil.

Well, neither do I. It's tough to hold your nose and vote for somebody you're not totally enthused about. But sometimes you have to be the adult in the room and choose, at least temporarily, the person who would do the least damage.

So buck up, dammit!

Sorry for the reality check. And this is reality, that need to keep Trump out. Even Bernie said yesterday that this is the real world and we have to deal with that.

If Hillary is as bad as you say she is, we'can throw her out in the next election. At least in four years, we probably wouldn't have destroyed what gains we've managed to make.  In four years, if Hillary is president, at least we won't all be living in poverty and looking at a White House with a giant gold "Trump" logo on the roof or something.

Maybe - and this is a dream - Michelle Obama would run in 2020. Based on what I heard from her incredible speech last night at the DNC, she'd be a damn good one.

Right now, 248 of 440 U.S. House of Representatives are Republican. So are 54 of 100 members of the U.S. Senate. And 31 of the nation's 50 governors. The GOP also controls 70 of 99 state legislative bodies.

And it doesn't matter to the Bernie or Busters if Republican Trump gets in?  I thought the Bernie or Busters were liberal, that they wanted things like a $15 minimum wage, less money in politics, equal rights for people of all religions, races and sexual orientations.

I guess not. The Bernie or Busters, I guess don't really think those things are important. Because if they keep Hillary out of the Oval Office, we'll get Trump, who will work with Republicans to screw us over even more.

As a gay man married to a great guy, I'm disillusioned with the Bernie or Busters. I thought you were on my side on this.  You'd just as soon let Trump end my marriage to make a point about Bernie. So I guess you don't give a damn about the Muslims, LGBT community and others you claim to care about

As usual, Bernie got it exactly right last night during his speech supporting Hillary:

"This election is about ending the 40-year decline of our middle class, the reality that 47 million men, women and children live in poverty........It is about understanding that if we do not transform our economy, our younger generation will likely have a lower standard of living than their parents....This election is about ending the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in our country."

Bernie has been saying that throughout his campaign. The widespread support for him has rightly been called the Bernie Revolution.

It's had an effect. We wouldn't be talking about these issues - Hillary wouldn't be talking about these issues - had it not been for Bernie.

The Democratic National Platform has language supporting a higher minimum wage and other issues Bernie talked and talked and talked about. So the Bernie people had an influence.

Bernie also keeps telling us it's not about him, it's about the ideas. So, he's sensible enough to tell us to keep pushing Hillary and the Democrats on these issues, advocate for them, and run for office to reverse the GOP dominance I referred to above.

The Bernie or Busters were demonstrating in the streets yesterday. That's a good thing, actually. We need people robustly taking advantage of the First Amendment to advocate for change.

Trump would pretty much do away with the First Amendment and the right to protest in the streets. I know, you think the Constitution is safe, but really, all it takes is one fascist like Trump to rip up the Constitution.

Then you would be arrested for demonstrating and critcizing him.  The media would be silenced on reporting on the nasty things he does.

Oh, I know, I know, the Mainstream Media didn't emphasize enough the underhandedness of the sleazy Debbie Wasserman Shultz, the now former head of the Democratic Partty, as she sought to undermine Sanders.

(Don't let the door hit you in the butt on your way out, Debbie!)

But at least we found out about it, and those awful emails they circulated about Bernie.

Under Trump, we'd largely lose a free press, as imperfect as it is. Which means we'd never find out what bad things he's doing to enrich himself and his cronies at our expense.

Yeah, Hillary ain't great. But get over it, Bernie or Busters.

You did good for the country by fighting so passionately for Bernie. He won't be president, but you changed things.

Don't undo what progress you made because you're in a snit.

Here's that Seth Meyers commentary, which echos what I said, but funnier:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Milo Yiannnopoulos Can Just Shut Up Now, Thank You

Tech guy, all around troll and jerk Milo Yiannopouos
is whining that Twitter finally kicked him out
because of his abusive Tweets and how he
encouraged others to attack people online.  
Poor Milo Yiannopoulos.

He's this weird guy, a former tech startup sort of guy who is gay and seems to hate gays, loves Donald Trump, and is more than a bit of an Internet troll who also has a somewhat shaky background in the tech industry.  

Last week, he launched a Twitter attack against Leslie Jones, the comedian and actor currently starring in the "Ghostbusters" reboot.

That part is unremarkable. People criticize and troll public figures such as actors and politicians on Twitter all the time.

What happened next turned into a big fight over free speech, and how awful you can get with your free speech before somebody tells you to shut up already. Twitter told Yiannopoulos to shut up already.

A lot of people cheered that move. Others didn't.

Yiannopoulos has got a great big posse of fans. A lot of them are trolls, and as Yiannopoulos egged them on, the trolls unleashed a huge and unrelenting racist and sexist attack on Jones, calling her a gorilla, saying she was the source of AIDS, you know, nice things like that.

The "problem" largely stems from Ghostbusters. The misgynistic trolls can't stand the fact the new movie has a female cast. And worse, Jones is African-American. Egads! On top of that, she's not a toothpick skinny supermodel with breast implants the size of watermelons. How dare she!

Also, female comedians are supposedly not funny, according to these idiots. (I'm sure my fellow fans of female comedians starting with Lucille Ball and Phyllis Diller going all the way up to today's Jones, Samantha Bee, Tina Fey and many others would beg to differ.).

In any event, Yiannopoulos and the followers he was encouraging  finally got so odious that Twitter permanently kicked him out, says BuzzFeed News.

"'People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter,'  a company spokesperson said in a statement provided to BuzzFeed News. 'But no on deserved to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rule prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others."

Yiannopoulos and his legions of follows  (almost 400,000 of them before Twitter suspended his account.) are crying foul, saying Twitter is suppressing free speech and squelching comments that don't adhere to a liberal, politically correct skew.

Yiannopoulous was quick to respond that it was just Twitter hating on conservatives. "With the cowardly suspension of my account, Twitter has confirmed itself as a safe space or Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter exremenists, but a no-go zone for conservatives."

Twitter does make its terms of service pretty clear. "You may not incite or engage in the targeted abuse or harassment of others" You could get kicked off Twitter if you incite others to harass another account or if the primary purpose of an account is to send abusive messages to others.

Twitter's terms of service do not say conservative opinions can't be held. There's tons of conservatism on Twitter, actually. Take a look if you don't believe me.

Still, Yiannopoulos said of his banishment: "This is the end for Twitter. Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message You're not welcome on Twitter."

First off all, Yiannopoulos is confusing Twitter with the government. The First Amendment says that the government cannot squelch free speech. Like it or not, a private company can.

Still, the more free speech the better, and it's always a good thing for social media and media in general allow a full-throated airing of diverse opinions.

I generally don't like it when any business or institution, say, cancels a speech because activists don't like the speaker's opinion.  But it's a different thing entirely when the speech becomes harassment. Would you want somebody constantly yelling on your front lawn that they want to kill you? Well you shouldn't be doing that on Twitter either.

If you don't like somebody, you can say so on Twitter. Just don't turn the dislike into threats and harassment. Look, I'm saying here that I don't like Yiannopoulos, and I bet Twitter won't throw me off. Especially since I don't want to see him suffer any harm and I DON'T  want armies of trolls attacking him online.

However, Yiannopoulos forgets that free speech has consequences. Free speech is a right and a responsibility.

When you start massively harassing a person, and get your friends to pile on, there's going to be pushback, and a lot of us will tell you to shut up already, just like Twitter did.

So quicherbitchin' Milo, and remember that just because you're yacking up a storm doesn't mean we have to listen. You don't deserve a special platform any more than the next guy.

Yiannopoulos isn't the first person to whine about not being guaranteed a free public forum to spew garbage and he won't be the last.

According to Tech Dirt, the odious Pamela Geller, she of her virulent, wildly wrong All Muslims Are Murdering Assholes activism, is suing the federal government, and by extention Facebook, I guess.

Pamela Geller is also demanding a guaranteed
platform on social media, but fuhgetaboutit
 n
Geller says that Facebook would take down her page somehow is wrong, and the federal Communications Decency Act violates the First Amendment because she says it enables censorship.

Says her lawsuit:  

"Denying a person or organization access to these important social media forums based on the content and viewpoint of the person's or organization's speech on matters of public concern is an effective way of silencing or censoring speech or depriving the person or organization of political influence and business opportunities."

But, again, the First Amendment bars the government from censoring people. All the Communications Decency Act does is allow private companies to take down content they deem "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable."

As noted, I do think major social media outfits like Facebook and Twitter have the responsibility to let people air controversial topics, and they do.  But legally, they can take stuff down. And if the content relentlessly harasses anybody, including Muslims and Jews like Geller, it should be taken down.

Still, we have First Amendment rights, but we don't have a right to use a private platform for whatever we want. Almost all businesses, including Twitter and Facebook, have their own ethics policy and are free to adhere to them, unless they discriminate against a whole class of people based on things like religious affiliation, gender and race.

As Tech Dirt states: "(Geller's) lawsuit is the legal equivalent of that idiot who claims that any company moderating content is violating the First Amendment."

But as we all know, there's a LOT of idiots on social media.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

We Found Something Good That Came Out Of The RNC

To a lot of us, the Republican National Convention was a depressing stew of bad politics, anger, hate, racial divides, lies, counter-lies, and just general unpleasantness.
Toddlers in a Cleveland fountain during the RNC
gave us a break from the overheated yacking around us. 

I can hope the upcoming week's Democratic National Convention will be better, but I'm sure it will have its share of ugliness, too.  

Desperate to find a good moment to come out of the Republican Convention in Cleveland, people are seizing on the photo you see in this post that was taken in the city's downtown.

There's a fountain and square there, and it was the scene of a lot of noisy demonstrations and arguments and heat, both meteorological and emotional. 

Two little girls who were there with their families met and played in the fountain. It was that simple, that everyday, and that......nice.  The girls created the perfect antidote to the dreadfulness around them. 

Apparently, we all needed the break these kids provided: The photo has gone totally viral. 

Too bad toddlers, who are blind to race, politics and such, so often grow out of it. They're taught bad lessons by adults, and we get the kind of divides we have in this country now. But at least we can learn lessons little ones are trying to get through our fat, stubborn heads.

The kids are alright.

Here's more details from the television station - WEWS-TV -   that took the photo:

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Boy And His Duck Are Best Buddies And Give Us A Needed Smile

Jonny and Nibbles hang out in the pool together.  
In a world filled with bad news, bad politicians and general negativity, I have to sometimes post something that makes me and hopefully other people get a quick smile.

This is one of those instances.  The mother of a California duck named Nibbles died before it hatched.

As The Dodo notes, Nibbles ended up imprinting on Jonny Toschi, now 10, as if the kid were Nibbles' parent. The arrangement created a beautiful friendship between boy and duck.

For more smiles watch the video at the bottom of the post when Nibbles sees that Jonny has gotten out of school and they can be together again.

There's a whole Facebook page featuring the Adventures of Jonny and Nibbles.

Awesome!  This is one duck dynasty I can enjoy.

Here's the video:


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Movie Songs Sometimes Suck. This One DEFINITELY Does Not

I've decided "Bad Seed Rising" by the band Bad Seed Rsing (confused yet?)
is one of my favorite movie theme songs.  
Sometimes songs from movies are great, others, not so much.

Many of the great ones are from James Bond films. Adele's "Skyfall" comes to mind, and there are many more.   

Another good one to my mind is from the James Bond-ish spoof "Spy," the Melissa McCarthy comedy that came out a year or two ago.

The song from "Spy" is "Bad Seed Rising" and the tune has the best attitude.  Confusingly, sort of, the name of the band is also Bad Seed Rising. They're pretty damn good, though.

"The girl ain't a good girl no more!"

Words to live by, for sure. 

Here's the music video, which contains scenes from "Spy"

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Lawn Industrial Complex Is Scamming You

Part of my big lawn in St. Albans, Vermont
It would look better with less grass andn
more flower beds, but I don't have time
to add flowers because I alwayus have to mow the lawn. 
I want a divorce from my lawn.

You should probably break up with your lawn, too.

I thought of this, again, the other evening as I struggled to mow my large lawn.

It's the very lawn I'm trying to at least partially eliminate in favor of perennial beds and vegetable gardens.

I spend so much time keeping the grass under control on the lawn by mowing it I don't actually have time to get rid of the lawn to put in the gardens so I theoretically wouldn't have to mow so much.

Talk about Sisyphus!

Like everyone else with a lawn, I'm a slave to it. And not a happy one.

Lawns are almost always wasted space. I think of the property surrounding a house as more "rooms" that can have personality, beauty, flair.

I'm slowly expanding perennial beds around my garden shed
outward into the lawn. You can see how I'm slowly digging
out the lawn on the outer edges of the flower beds
to get rid of all that lawn.  
An expansive lawn has all the charm of an empty warehouse.

Drive though some decent neighborhoods on a sunny, pleasant Saturday. The only people you see on lawns are the people who are mowing them. Other than that, the lawns are not used.

Meanwhile people are eating breakfast or lunch on the deck, or they've set up chairs in the flower garden and are relaxing with a cold drink.

There's kids on the playground equipment, but not on the expanse of grass,. Nearby, people are harvesting vegetables from the raised beds.

Lawns are OK if you're using them to play soccer or baseball or golf or something, but other than that, why do they exist?

To make lawn care companies make money.

Let's face it. Lawns are more lucrative than gardens. Sure, you have to buy tools and plants and seeds and decorations for the gardens. But once you have that stuff, it costs nothing to weed and maintain the garden, unless you hire somebody to do it for you.

But lawns are a constant expense. You have to keep buying gas to power the lawnmower. Lawn mowers are nosier, stinkier and more obnoxious than even Donald Trump.

Yes, you can get a push mower with no motor, but frankly, those are not practical unless you have a small lawn. Electric or battery powered lawn mowers aren't great either.

This used to be a steep, grassy hard-to-mow embankment
outside my St. Albans, Vermont house.
So I replaced the sod with a bunch of easy-to-care-for day lillies
and put in a rock wall to mark the base of the slope.  
Lawn mowers are expensive, and you have to maintain them and pay for repairs. By the way, a lawn mower operated for one hour is often as polluting as a car driven 200 miles. 

The lawn care companies - the Lawn Industrial Complex in my parlance - have successfully built a culture that dictates the "need" to have a perfect lawn.

Which, of course means you have to buy their mowers, fertilizers, weed killers - you name it.

They've crafted a narrative that a perfect, weed-free lawn is macho, and proves you are in control. A real man. ("Too bad, ladies with your frivolous flowers" is the sexist subtext to this lawn culture or advertising regime.)

Lawns aren't great for the environment, either. Especially if you use all the chemicals some of the lawn care companies insist you use to eliminate all weeds.  

As Brenda Cummings noted for NorthJersey.com  in 2013:

"Many of these chemicals leach into our ground water and run into our waterways, helping to make polluted runoff the single larges source of pollution nationwide. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizers causes eutrophication. (death from excessive algae grow) in rivers, lakes and ponds."

Yes, you're lawn is also ruining your trip to the beach. You don't have time to go to the beach anyway, because you have to mow, and all those fertilizers you use on your lawn turned the watera the beach to a gross, smelly algae slick anyway.

God forbid a dandelion ever blooms, which, by the way, has the potential to feed a badly needed pollinating bee.

We have been so forced to "require" a lawn that people routinely insist on having them in places where they shouldn't grow. Like the Desert Southwest.
Another perspective of the day lily
embankment outside my house with a perennial
garden under construction to the right.
That new perennial garden also used to be lawn.  

Sometimes, when people rebel against lawns, there's terrible push back. Many homeowners' associations require expansive (and expensive!) lawns, and even many municipalities do.

There are several cases in which homeowners got in trouble for growing well-maintained gardens in their front yards instead of stupid lawns.

In a recent case, a Florida couple is suing their town for a new zoning ordinance that bans front yard gardens.

The couple contends that, within reason, if you own property, you should do what you want with it, and a front yard garden is certainly within reason, as long as it's properly maintained.

I'm totally behind these homeowners!

Don't get me wrong. Having some lawn on your property is a good thing. Kids need places to run around. I know where I live our dogs want to romp on the grass, or roll in the coolness of the lawn on a hot day.

Plus lawns, if you limit them, are a good design element. They offer a break from the bushiness of flowers, shrubs and other things in the garden.  Or, a narrow corridor of lawn makes a good path through a garden.  There's definitely a place for lawns in any landscape layout.

It's just that we've been sold a bunch of malarkey that we all need expansive lawns with no other major features or variety to make it interesting.

Meanwhile, I guess I'll just drag that lawn mower back out and beat back that growing grass that, if I leave it alone, will hide what few perennial beds I've managed to plant.
.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michelle Obama's Speech About Hard Work And Honesty.

This photo has been flying around the Internet this morning
after Melania Trump plagarized parts of Michelle Obama's
2008 address at the Democratic National Convention. Ooops. 
Hoo Boy.

The Republican National Convention is NOT going that well.

All the headlines this morning are about Melania Trump's speech.

That was expected.

What I didn't expect was this morning's headlines to note that Melania said exactly what Michelle Obama said during the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Yep,  it seems Melania Trump plagarized Michelle Obama. And she plagiarized the section of Obama's speech that dealt with hard work and honesty.

Ahem.

Melanie Trump last night said that her parents told her that "you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promises; that you treat people with respect."

Actually, Michelle Obama, not Melanie's parents told her that.

Here's what Michelle Obama said during the 2008 Democratic National Convention:

"You work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect."

Hmmm, see any similarities between Michelle Obama in 2008 and Melania Trump in 2016?

Last night, Melania Trump went on to talk about children: "We want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."

In 2008, Michelle Obama said., "We want our children - and all children in this nation - to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."

OK, Melania changed a few words around, but, um.....

You'd think somebody would have vetted the speech and found the copycat lines. Or did the Trump campaign think nobody would notice?

Let's list some of the problems with this, just to spell it out to the Trump campaign:

1. People have such good memories. Especially of good speeches. Like Michelle Obama's.  Even Donald Trump himself tweeted in 2008 after Michelle finished: "Very good speech by @MichelleObama - and under great pressure - Dems should be proud!"

It was just as easy for everybody else to find Michelle's speech as it was for Melania to find it.

2. Melania's speech was given at the Republican National Convention. Michelle's speech was given at a Democratic convention, those commies!   Is the GOP going soft too and acting like those "horrible liberals?"

3. As noted, the lines Melania lifted were about honesty and hard work. Explain, please, how it is honest and hard working to copy and paste words from a speech given eight years ago.

Social media this morning is of course having an absolute joyous field day with this.

The big trending hashtag on Twitter this morning is #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes.

Two of my favorite are: "Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago."

And:

"I have a dream that one day this nation wil rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: Marry rich."

Of course, the Republican convention has already given us other related laughs.

Scott Baio, that famous actor (who the hell is he? Oh yeah, Joannie and Chachi) gave a speech in which he defined what America means. Said the Great Scott:  "It doesn't mean getting free stuff."

Yeah, like plagarized sections of Michelle Obama speeches.

Let's see, there's Antonio Sabato Jr., the former underwear model, stumping for Trump at the convention by tellling everyone who would listen that he "absolutely" believes Barack Obama is a Muslim.

Yeah, yeah, Antonio, put your pants on will ya?

At this point, I can't WAIT for Donald Trump's speech,  during which, in a stroke of originality, he will tell us "we have nothing to fear but fear itself and I'm going to make you very afraid," and "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for me." 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Wouldn't It Be Great If There Were Breaking Good News For Once

Bodies in the streets of Nice, France after
the latest in an unending series of terrorist attacks.  
Last night was the same old sad routine.

And to call the deaths of 84 people routine made the evening particularly sad.

As you well know by now, some scumbag drove a truck into a crowd in Nice, France who were out enjoying Bastille Day. 

Cue what happens with such hideous regularity now:

Networks broke in and gave updates. It was all Nice truck attack all the time on outlets like CNN and MSNBC.  It was the sad top topic on social media. Governments vowed vengeance, and we learned the stories of people who died while just living their lives and trying to enjoy the moment.

Mayhem and murder keeps happening  again and again and it's going to happen again and again. It's hard to stay positive in this kind of environment, isn't it?

I know this is fantasy, but wouldn't it be great if, just for once, some sort of shocking but wonderful breaking news came out of the blue?

Television stations would break into the mid-day game shows to breathlessly announce the news.

Wolf Blitzer and his CNN Situation Room would give us all the up to date news and rumors about how this Great Development just keeps getting better and better.

Rather than having somber and argumentive pundits give their take on what the latest tragedy means, they'd be forecasting the happy effects of this Great Breaking News.

People would be out on the streets celebrating. All you'd see on Facebook and Twitter is ecstatic reaction to the Great Breaking News. Wouldn't this be a great Top Trending Topic.

A smiling President Obama would hold an impromptu news conference, in which he announces this is the best day of his presidency and the United States would do everything in its power to ensure this Great Breaking News just keeps going and going.

Fantasy isn't reality, though.

The even sadder thing is I can't even imagine what my theoretical Great Breaking News would actually entail.

Depressingly, it's easy for me and everyone else to imagine the next terrorist attack. The guns, the bombs, the deaths, the bitter aftermath.

But what would the Great Breaking News look like? I can't even think of too many examples in history. Maybe the end of World War II? The moon landing?

The optimistic side of me wants to think that the reason the bad news dominates the airwaves is because things are basically good, and the bad is the exception. News is defined as something out of the ordinary happening. So a terrorist attack is out of the ordinary and an exception to the goodness maybe?

We also take comfort in the people who rush in to help the victims.

All that is well and good, but it doesn't feel like enough. What else can you do, though?

The darker side of me wants a little bit of torture against people like the idiot who drove the truck into the crowd in Nice, killing all those people.  I know torture is wrong and shouldn't be done.  I'm not talking about physical torture, though.

Most of the time, the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks are killed to stop them from doing further damage.

My idea of torturing the perpetrators is try to take them alive.  Meanwhile, videotape statements from victims and relatives of victims about the impact the attack had on them.  Get as many victims as you can who want to talk.

Then you put the perp in a cell forever. In that cell, 24/7 for years on end until the perp dies, you project the video of the victims' statements on all four walls of the cell, and play their words full volume. And just never stop

If it drives the terrorist in the cell insane, oh well. Let 'em suffer. The dark side of me says they deserve such awful mental pain.

Meanwhile, I keep longing for the Great Breaking Good News. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were some anti-terrorist cell that keeps launching "attacks" of wonderful goodness and kindness on an an unsuspecting population

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Gays And Lesbians Should Not Have Birthdays, Ohio Baker Decrees

Wedding cakes have become the odd cliche and the meme in the ongoing battle between members of the LGBT community and so called religious bakers who don't want to make wedding cakes for said couples, lest that be conscrued as endorsing gay marriage.

The law generally comes down on the side of "bake the damn cake,"  because bakeries are public businesses and accommodations.

Generally speaking, you can't refuse to bake a cake because the couple is black, so by extension, you can't deny the gay couple.

Of course, if I were to re-do my wedding day, I wouldn't want someone who hates me and my marriage to bake the cake. (Luckily, my 2012 wedding ceremony to Jeff was perfect, and so there's no need for a do-over.)

Still, the law isn't completely settled and the War Of The Gay Wedding Cakes drags on.

An Ohio baker has managed to take this one step further and decided not to bake a birthday cake for a lesbian because of her sexual orientation. Her "religious" objections to baking the cake were downright creepy.

We're talking a simple birthday cake here, not a wedding cake.

Candace Lowe of the Toledo, Ohio area is a newlywed whose new wife had a birthday just two weeks after their lovely wedding.  She decided to surprise her wife with a nice treat from Take The Cake bakery in Toledo, says television station WTVG in Toledo.

Lowe ordered the cake from the bakery without mentioning her sexual orientation. Why would she?  Pretty much nobody announces such personal information when they stop by a store to purchase something.

Most shopkeepers figure a customer has come into the shop and wants to give him money, so what the hell, treat the guy or gal nicely.

The owner of Take The Cake bakery then did something strange once Lowe left the store. She looked up Lowe on Facebook.

Now, that's weird. Why would a store owner  take the time to stalk somebody on Facebook? You'd think she would just get busy baking the cake or helping other customers.

So we've come to this. Some people object to background checks on people wanting to buy guns. Here we have a background check on somebody wanting to buy a birthday cake.

Weird.

Anyway, lo and behold on Facebook, there was Lowe, smiling in photographs of her recent wedding to her wife.

Uh-Oh.

The bakery owner send Lowe a text, in a very cutesy childlike font that said: "I'm sorry. I just realized your (sic) in a same-sex relationship and we do not do cakes for same-sex weddings or parties.... I'm so sorry I just wasn't aware of this exactly until I saw your page. Take care:)"

Yes, the baker put a smiley face emoticon at the end of her bizarre, hateful text message.  That'll make everything OK, right?

Uh, no.

Lowe, undestandably upset, posted the message from the bakery on her Facebook page. It went viral, naturally. WTVG picked up the story and people around the world saw the weird story of the baker who wouldn't make a birthday cake for a lesbian.

Dan Savage, the writer, sex advisor and gay activist, had this good nugget to say about so called Christians who would agree with our Toledo baker:

"But it's not just our weddings they object to - it's our existence. Refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding says, 'I don't think you people should be able to celebrate or solemnize your relationship because same-sex marriage is a sin.'

Refusing to bake a birthcake for a lesbian says 'I don't think your birth is something to celebrate because the world would be better off if you didn't exist.'"

This whole mess in Toledo will play out just like all the other disputes over gay wedding cakes and gay marriage licenses vs. evangelicals play out.

The owner of Take the Cake will get death threats. I never understand why people do that. Like sending a death threat will actually help the situation. Others will boycott the bakery, which is certainly a more understandable reaction.

Religious conservatives will howl in protest, saying we're taking away Christians' right to be Christian. (I guess refusing to bake a cake is a very Christian thing to do, and never mind nobody is taking away anybody's right to think gay people are awful.)

The religious right will probably launch a GoFundMe campaign to keep the bakery afloat, since so many people aren't shopping there anymore

The bakery's Facebook page is already chock full of people objecting to the owner's bigotry.

Then the whole thing will fade away and this little kerfuffle will be forgotten.

It probably should be forgotten eventually. But it's still a nice illustration of the bizarre lengths some people in society will go to practice their bigoted lifestyles and mindsets.









Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rufus Wainwright And 1,500 Magically Sing Cohen's "Halleujah

A crowd gathers in an abandoned Toronto
power plant recently to perform the
Leonard Cohen classic "Hallelujah"
I know, I know, I'm supposed to be sick of Leonard Cohen's classic song "Hallelujah."

After all, everybody and their brother have done it 

But it's a great song, no matter what.

Some people do it better than others, but I found a cool recent version of it.

In the video below, Rufus Wainwright leads 1,500 or so peoplein an abandoned Toronto power plant to do a version of "Hallelujah."

The acoustics in the decrepit industrial building are awesome, and the light coming from the half-shattered windows in the structure add a beautiful visual element to the video.

The video and song was organized by Choir!Choir!Choir! a drop-in weekly singing event in the Toronto area. (Actually, it's up to two nights a week now.)

Enjoy this version of the song in this viral video:

Monday, July 11, 2016

Worst Boss Ever Seeks Advice, Wants To Make Things Worse

I work for an employee owned company called Gardener's Supply in Vermont.

One of the worst bosses in the world just wrote
in for advice. My advice to her? Quit. 
I genuinely like to work there, and I'm not saying that to win Brownie Points from my supervisors.

Among my tasks is handling customer service issues and dealing with telephone sales.

We're expected to work hard there and be on top of things, but everybody from the CEO on down is totally fair about what they expect out of us, and it's a good atmosphere.

The supervisors are great.

I bring this up because I read about another call center/customer service operation that couldn't be more polar opposite than where I work.

There's a web site called Ask The Manager where people seek advice with workplace issues.

One manager wrote in with this note about an employee quit on the spot with no notice. Read what the manager writes and I'll bet you'll think the employee did the right thing, even though quitting without advance notice is almost always a no-no:

Here's a good chunk of what this manager wrote:

"One employee asked to come in two hours after start time due to her college graduation ceremony being that same day. (she was taking night classes part time in order to earn her degree.)

I was unable to grant her request because she was the employee with the lowest seniority and we need coverage for that day."

The manager told the employee if she could find somebody to sub for her, then coming in two hours late would be OK. Otherwise, no dice.

The manager said she could not make an exception for this employee, but admitted to making an exception for another employee because they had concert tickets and that involves a monetary cost.

And college doesn't involve a cost?

Anyway, the manager writes on:

"I told this team member that she could not start two hours late and that she would have to skip the ceremony. An hour later, she handed me her work ID and a list of all the times she had worked late/come in early/worked overtime for each and every one of her coworkers. Then she quit on the spot."

Hurray for that employee!

Especially when we learn the employee's back story from what turns out to be this hideous manager.

"She was raised in a few dozen foster homes and has no living family. She was homeless for a bit after she turned 18 and besides us she doesn't have anyone in her life that has ever had professional employment. This is the only job she had."

The manager tells us this not out of empathy, but because she's miffed this hard-working employee would leave like that and the manager would like to reach out and "counsel" the former employee that it's not cool to quit on the spot.

She writes:

"I'm a bit upset because she was my best employee by far. Her work was excellent, she never missed a day of work in the six years she worked here, and she was my go-to person for weekends and holidays.

Even though she doesn't work here any longer, I want to reach out and tell her that quitting without notice because she didn't get her way isn't exactly professional"

Frankly, I don't think the former employee needs much in the way of advice. The former employee's only mistake was not leaving that hideous workplace long before she did.

I hope that woman, with her college degree in hand, becomes the supervisor for the manager in this story.

Because karma's a bitch.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

This White Guy Has Questions About All Those Police Shootings

Police officers comfort each other at an Dallas
area hospital after a sniper killed five officefs
Thursday night during a Black Lives Matter
 demonstration. Photo by Ting Shen/
Dallas Morning News.  
Here we go again with the deaths of black men during encounters with cops.

Even worse was the violence we saw in Dallas Thursday night when that sniper opened fire on cops who were protecting peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstrators. Five officers died.

It just goes on and on in such a sickening fashion.

The whole week made no sense. All these good people dying for no good reason.

As is always the case in these too-often mass killings,  most of the nation was shocked, supportive, and wanted to help, but also felt helpless.

Unfortunately, again as always a few people took the tragedy as another opportunity to Not Help. There's always a few morons to make a situation worse. Thank goodness they're not in the majority.

As you no doubt heard on the news, this latest episode all started with  the deaths of two African-Americans during police calls this week. One in Baton Rouge, one near St. Paul, Minnesota.

Understandably, the nation erupted in protests because of this new batch of sorrowful shootings of African-Americans who were not doing much of anything wrong to begin with.  Black Lives Matter organized demonstrations in dozens of cities. The demonstrations were all largely peaceful.

I'm a totally naive white guy, so I hope somebody can answer some questions that came to my mind during this terrible week.

Question 1. Please explain and put in context and the reasons behind the all-too-frequent incidents of black males dying at the hands of white police officers.

I have found some facts that partly help, but still, it's all so unnerving.

We know from the Washington Post that nearly 1,000 people died in police involved shootings in 2015. Most of those shot were wielding weapons, were mentally ill or suicidal, or ran when officers told them to stop.

Four percent of those who died in police shootings during 2015 were unarmed black men, the Post says.

That doesn't sound like much until you realize, as the Washington Post did, that black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population but accounted for 40 percent of the unarmed men shot to death by police in 2015.

Says the Post:

"In the majority of cases in which police shot and killed a person who had attacked someone with a weapon or brandished a gun, the person who was shot was white. But a hugely disproportionate number -- three in five -- of those killed after exhibiting less threatening behavior were black or Hispanic."

OK, there's obviously some sort of racial problem going on here.

In the Minnesota case this week, the state's governor, Mark Dayton said:

"Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver and the passengers, were white?......I don't think it would have. So I'm forced to confront, and I think all of us in Minnesota are forced to confront, that this kind of racism exists."

Question 2. The officers involved in the deaths are not KKK white hood wearing cross burning bigots. But there seems to be some sort of terrible racism going on. What's up?

I have the displeasure of knowing a couple awful racists/bigots. I never hear even these asshats saying black guys ought to be hunted down and shot.

Which surely means police aren't hunting down and killing black men for sport. Were many of us white guys - some of whom became police officers - sort of semi-subconsciously instilled with the notion that African-Americans are somehow "scarier' and "more of a threat" than white guys?

Does that make some police officers more ready to shoot a black guy?  Regarding the death of Philando Castile last week in Minnesota, the lawyer for the cop (who is Latino) involved said he was reacting to the presence of Castile's gun rather than his race. (Castile had a conceal carry permit, and had the gun with him but did not threaten officers with it.)

Would the cop have reacted to such an extreme had Castile been white? Quite possibly, I think.

 If so, how do we erase this ingrained, perhaps rather involuntary racism? Or do a small minority of police officers just plain hate African Americans?

Beyond that, there almost alwasy seems to be acquitals when police officers get in trouble for causing a death. Fair justice or is something wrong with the judicial system too? I don't know, but it's worth asking.

Question 3: Is this issue with black men dying during encounters with cops a new thing, or has it always been going on?

Obviously, we've been hearing more and more about these shootings in recent years. But how long has this been going on? Decades? We probably weren't aware of these white cop on black man shootings until everybody suddenly had a smart phone with a camera in their pocket.

Castile's girlfriend posted the immediate aftermath live on Facebook, which ensured no corrupt cop could erase her video. (That sometimes happens, though I have no idea whether that would have happened in this case.)

Are all these cameras bringing a long-standing but "quiet" crisis to life?

Question 4: Isn't it possible to be both pro-cop and pro-Black Lives Matter?  I am.  So why do some people think the two ideas are mutually exclusive?

I'm stating the obvious here, but most cops are incredible people. It's an unbelievably tough, dangerous job, requiring life and death split second decisions.

Many police departments are excellent, but none are perfect. They're run by humans, after all. All cops are human, so they can  make mistakes.

Isn't pointing out that there are too many incidents in which white cops kill black men in a way supporting cops? Isn't that in part an effort to improve policing in the United States? Don't we all want our great police forces to be even better?

On The Daily Show the other night, Trevor Noah said it best:

"You know, the hardest part of having a conversation surrounding police shootings in America, it always feels like in America, it's like if you take a stand for something, you automatically are against something else....

"But with police shootings, it shouldn't have to work that way. For instance, if you're pro-Black Lives Matter, you're assumed to be anti-police, and if you're pro-police, than you surely hate black people. When in reality you can be pro-cop and pro-black, which is what we should all be."

Question 5: So why do some so-called leaders fan the flames of division when we have a terrible week like the one we just had?

As note, there are always asshats out there. The biggest meme among these idiots who are so-called political leaders is that Black Lives Matter wants all cops dead.

It seems like there's a competition among these merry band of asshats to outdo each other with their outrageousness.

Perhaps the winner of this sweepstakes was Texas Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick, who had this to say about the Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dallas that ended in that fatal sniper attack on the police who were protecting the protesters:

"All those protesters last night, they ran the other way expecting the men and women in blue to turn around and protect them. What hypocrites!"

In other words Patrick is so stupid he thinks that the demonstraters hate all cops and should just protect themselves. How the hell did he get to be lieutenant governor?

Another question for the top brass and union chiefs of all the cop shops around the country: When someone criticizes the actions of a particular police officer, will you please stop getting your panties in a wad and saying that these criticisms are attacks on each and every police officer out there?

Here's one response, as noted in the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

"'Gov. Dayton's extraordinary presumptive conclusion that the tragic incident in Falcon Heights was motivated by race is the height of political malfeasance that could lead to a miscarriage of justice, if not more violence,' Dennis Flaherty, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association said Friday."

Yeah, we don't know exactly what was in the officer's head, but Governor Dayton was right to at least consider some form of innate racism a possibility.

I have to repeat and emphasize police officers have incredibly tough jobs and sometimes have to make life or death decisions in milliseconds.  Mistakes are inevitable.

But it's the job of the citizenry, and investigators, to hold our public servants accountable. Did a particular officer do anything criminal? Or should we beef up training?

These aren't questions that indict every police officer in the country, many of whom do amazing work. Including on the behalf of racial minorities.  So, union bosses and police chiefs: Will you quit ordering us to stop asking questions already?

Question 6: Are we, the citizenry supporting the police enough through our tax dollars? If we're indeed stingy, do we share the blame?

 I know you get what you pay for. Is one reason for these police shootings inadequate training? Are some cops not adequately trained to handle highly charged situations when guns are around?

Do they also have training on how to deal with those subtle and not-so-subtle racial undercurrents that seem to stew in some (most? all?) jurisdictions?

That takes money.  And time. And commitment. Are politicians too ready to embrace trying to do things on the cheap and not pay for adequate training and policing? Are taxpayers, who understandably can't pay all of their income for services, also trying to get police services on the cheap?

Are we paying in the long term with lives so we can save a few bucks in the short term?

Friday, July 8, 2016

With All The Bad News, We Need This Fabulous Guy

This guy marching in a Pennsylania 4th of July
parade gives us some badly needed comic relief.  
The news is even more depressing than usual this week

I don't mean to minimize what's going on in the world and the nation. It's serious and we need to address it.

However, we also need some comic relief. Because as seriously as we need to take everything, we also need to relieve our brains from it all with some fun. For mental health.

So, I'll cue in this guy twirling a baton in a Fourth of July parade in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

I don't like to use the word "fabulous" with its connotation, but this time it works.

Where the gentleman lacks in finesse he more than makes up in terms of attitude.

And we need the joy this guy exudes:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Springsteen's Got A New Backup Singer. She's Four Years Old (Just One Concert, Though)

Bruce Springsteen recently got help singing
"Waiting On A Sunny Day" from, a four year
old girl duiring an Oslo, Norway concert  
Recently, the tireless rock star and top tour draw Bruce Springsteen was in Oslo, Norway, giving one of his epic performances.

He was singing "Waiting On A Sunny Day" when he spotted a particularly enthusiastic (and cute) fan in the audience.

What choice that Springsteen have? He had to invite the girl on the stage to help sing "Waiting On A Sunny Day."

The newly-formed duet singing together was an absolute delight

At the end of the song, Springsteen sent the girl back into the audience, but not before giving her his harmonica for a keepsake.

Watch:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Florida's "Treasure Coast" Is A Disgusting Goop Of Toxic Algae

The gross algae bloom in Florida. Photo
by Terry Spencer/AP 
Nobody's going in the water and everybody's pointing fingers of blame in Florida for something truly disgusting:

A soupy, icky, possibly toxic algae bloom is gumming up the shoreline at the peak and heat of summer.

As if alligators and unrelenting humidity weren't enough, now you can't go in the water.

Or even near it.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency because of the blue in southeast parts of the state.

And everybody's pointing fingers at each other in blame for the ickiness.

The algae is there because of polluted, phosphorus-laden water coming from Lake Okeechobee, about 35 miles away from the affected areas.

The governor says it's the federal government's fault for neglecting repairs to the lake's old dike system.

He could have a point, since the Army Corps of Engineers is inadequately funded for this type of thing. Plus, there was tons of rain in Florida this past winter and spring, so with their inadequate system, they had to release more tainted water from the lake than usual.

But lots of state officials have looked the other way as farming and other interests have dumped pollution and phosphorus in the Lake Okeechobee. Had they cracked down on that, this not have been such an issue.

As local public radio station WQCS noted, there was a deal in the works back in 2011 for the Florida Legislature to buy more land around Lake Okeechobee for water storage, but Governor Scott's administration came in and put an end to that idea.

So yeah, this might be Scott's fault, too.

Area residents say the algae smells so bad that they  have to stay indoors, and when they do go outside, some of them get watery eyes and respiratory problems.

Plus, wildlife is suffering, too, and some marine animals are probably dying because of the algae.

This kind of thing happens elsewhere due to poor pollution controls, mostly from agricultural, sewage treatment plant and industrial runoff.

There was a big algae bloom on Lake Erie last summer, which threatened Toledo, Ohio's drinking water supply.

Here where I live in Vermont, toxic and thick algae have lately made appearances in and around St. Albans Bay, which I  can see from my hillsice home, in the past few summers. That has caused swimming bans and warnings to keep children and pets away from the algae-slimed water.  It could hurt or kill them.

Of course, it's expensive to enact pollution controls that would prevent all this phosphorus and other bad stuff from getting into waters around Florida, the Great Lakes, Vermont and elsewhere.

But do we really want to spend our summers holding our noses and worried about our health because of all this algae in the water?

Heres an aerial view of the algae in Florida to give you an idea of the scope of the Algae From Hell



And he's a sad video of a manatee trapped in the algae goop and a family trying to hose it off to give it some relief. It's unclear if the manatee made it out of the algae and survived or not:

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

International Olympic Committee Is Hopeless Bunch Of Divas So Nobody Wants To Host The Games

Apparentlu, the International Olympic Committe consists
of a bunch of divas.  
We've heard the runup to this summer's Olympic Games in Rio are a mess

What with the zika virus, toxic pollution in the water, high crime, construction delays, corruption and a Brazilian government in disarray, things aren't looking too hopeful.

In the future, it would be nice if the Games were hosted in a nice, stable country, like Norway.

But Norway, who had considered bidding for the 2022 Olympic Games, is out. Part of it is people in Norway sensibly wondered whether it was a good idea to build a whole bunch of sporting venues that would be used for a couple weeks and largely abandoned.'

The International Olympic Committee didn't help their case with Norway because members of that panel are the worst divas in the world.

Yes, that's right. The committee blew with hilarious demands that would make the most narcisstic rock band or politician blush. Donald Trump wouldn't even go this far.

Here, according to Slate, is how Norway would have to treat the International Olympic Committee members if the 2022 event had occured in Norway:

--- They demand to meet the king prior to the opening ceremony. Afterwards, there shall be a cocktail reception. Drinks shall be paid for by the Royal Palace or the local organizing committee.

--- Separate lanes should be created on all roads where IOC members will travel, which are not to be used by regular people or public transportation.

--- A welcome greeting from the local Olympic boss and the hotel manager should be presented in IOC members' rooms, along with fruit and cakes of the season. (Seasonal fruit in Oslo in February is a challenge...)

----  The hotel bar at the hotel should extend its hours 'extra late' and the minibars must stock Coke products.

---  The IOC president shall be welcomed ceremoniously on the runway when he arrives.

--- The IOC members should have separate entrances and exits to and from the airport.

--- During the opening and closing ceremonies a fully stocked bar shall be available. During competition days, wine and beer will do at the stadium lounge.

--- IOC members shall be greeted with a smile when arriving at their hotel

--- Meeting rooms shall be kept at exactly 20 degrees Celsius at all times.

--- The hot food offered in the lounges at venues should be replaced at regular intervals, as IOC members might 'risk' have to east several meals at the same lounge during the Olympics.

Gosh, these demands are especially heavy on the booze, aren't they?  The International Olympic Committee seems to be an incredible gang of lushes.

It also turns out that many members of the International Olympic Committee are members of hereditary royal families from various countries, so of course they want to be treated at all times like super special kings and queens and fragile (but boozing!) princesses.

Really, between the expense of setting up the Olympics and the obnoxiousness of the Olympic Committee, nobody wants to host the games.

As Yahoo Sports notes, the 2022 games will either be held in Beijing, China, which is at least 120 miles from the nearest ski mountain, and Kazakhstan, which is well, Kazakhstan.

Other cities, like Oslo, keep taking themselves out of the running for the Olympics, especially in countries where the citizenry gets a say in the matter.

Krakow, Poland is out for winter, 2022, too. Boston said no to the summer Olympics in 2024.

No wonder the International Olympic Committee seems so intent on drinking so much. Nobody likes or wants them anymore.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Keep Dancing Orlando Gets Boost From Sheriffs Who Had To Deal With Pulse Nightclub Massacre

 
The best act of defiance against the homophobia and possible quote, unquote Islamic radical fundamentalism that fueled last month's Pulse nightclub massacre is Keep Dancing Orlando.

The catchphrase has turned into a rallying cry, a Twitter hashtag and a touchstone of rebellion against those not only kill people, but also kill the joy out of life.

The whole area around Orlando has adopted Whitney Houston's song "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and the accompanying hashtag #KeepOrlandoDancing in joyful defiance of the hate that culminated in the murder of 49 people who were out dancing that night in June at The Pulse nightclub.

I like how the Orange County Sheriff Department, which includes Orlando, got involved in this, with their own Keep Dancing Orlando video.

The sheriff's office Keep Dancing Orlando video opens with what looks like a press conference featuring "an important announcement by Sheriff Demings."

Sheriff Deming steps up to the podium and says: "We're here for an important announcement today. I wanna keep Orlando smiling. Keep dancing Orlando!"

Then he places a boom box on the podium and suddenly we hear Houston singing "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," and then we're treated to many scenes of Orlando County Sheriff personnel dancing.

Not all the personnel in that office are great dancers, but who cares? Joy stomps terror.

(H/T JoeMyGod for this story.)

The Sheriff Department video is at the bottom of this post. Definitely worth checking out.  

Here's the Orlando Sheriff's "Keep Dancing Orlando video

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Obnoxious Pickup Truck Drivers Still Blasting Out Clouds Of Smoke Because It's Fun! (Idiots)

Big trucks "rolling coal" emitting huge clouds
 of black smoke. Healthy and not adding
pollution to the atmosphere, right? 
There's one in every crowd. Or several.

Certain people on the road want to be more obnoxious than everyone else.

It's a competition, you see.

One bit of obnoxiousness that's been popular for a few years is a phenomenon called "rolling coal."

Young men, almost alll of them losers with very small dicks who are overcompensating, trick out their big he-man pickup trucks with a smoke stack and mechanical stuff that lets these morons trick the engine to need more fuel.

The result is a burst of black smoke that has bystanders choking on the fumes, other drivers blinded by the clouds, and these losers laughing hysterically. Because they're too stupid to laugh at anything else, I guess.

To get the very limited mentality of people who like to roll coal, all you have to do is go to the dialogue in a November, 2015 report from NPR member station KUNC in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Reporter Stephanie Paige Ogburn starts"

Ogburn: "If you've never heard of rolling coal, Jake Rogakis can explain it in one sentence."
Rogakis: "To roll coal is to pretty much just floor it and blow as much black smoke as you possibly can."
Ogburn: "Rogakis has tuned his diesel engine so that he can blow clouds of thick black smoke from his tailpipe on purpose."
Rogakis: "It's just fun. Like, go drive my truck. You'll have a blast, guaranteed."

Ogburn goes on to explain that Rogakis is one of about 100 guys hanging around a Fort Collins strip mall, mostly to compare notes on their big trucks and their rolling coal contraptions.

I really hope Fort Collins is so boring people are reduced to doing this, but my guess is the problem is not really Fort Collins, but these young guys without imagination.

Ogburn asked Brock Anderson and Cory Wiggins, who were in another group from Rogakis at that Fort Collins parking lot, why coal rolling is so popular.

Anderson: "I'm not sure. It's - you know, why do people do a lot of things, you know what I mean? It's 'cause everybody's doing it."
Wiggins: "You also get more power, and it's just something cool. Ladies like it."
Anderson: (laughing) "No, I don't know if women like that."
Wiggins: "No, all ladies love it."
Anderson: "No"

I'm with Brock here. Notice how delusional Cory is. He thinks he's such a lady killer with his black smoke and his presumably teeny tiny, um, anatomy.  By the way, Brock Anderson is fairly reasonable. Unlike some of his friends, he says he only does this out on the farm, with nobody around, so nobody gets a cloud of black smoke in their face.

My guess is most women, and most people for that matter, actually don't like rolling coal.  Guys, don't date the few women in the world who like rolling coal!

Anyway, let's go on.

Let's get back to our friend Jake Rogakis, who loves his rolling coal truck.

He says he doesn't envelop people in smoke, "Unless they, like do something to make me mad, cut me off."

There ya go, Jake. They cut you off, you blind them with smoke and have them crash into somebody else. Real considerate of you.

Rogakis, like many coal rollers, has a particular enmity against bicyclist. It seems all these guys with big trucks hate bicyclists.

"If you see a bike, you just can't help but to do it. No matter how many times you do it, every single time, you'll still get a smile on your face."

Yeah, blinding bicyclists in choking smoke and making them inhale potentially cancer causing and lung disease causing diesel particles is a real laff riot.

A bicycle tour group from Canada was recently the victim of some idiot repeatedly rolling coal with his big nasty truck in otherwise scenic north-central Vermont, says the Burlington Free Press.

One of the tour group members, Steven Fischer, said his group was blasted by the truck, then it came back.

"Ten minutes later it was my turn. The truck - at least I think it was the same one, but I can't be certain - pulled up beside me and unleashed another black cloud."

This, not surprisingly, is not the first time bicyclists in Vermont or elsewhere been tormented by those idiots rolling coal.

The Free Press quoted Phyl Newbeck of the Green Mountain Bicycle Club who said he's been blasted by these idiots.

By the way, if you were thinking this rolling coal stuff is illegal, it is. It violates the federal Clean Air Act. Plus federal and many state guidelines prohibit altering vehicle exhaust systems like the rolling coal boneheads do.

Of course, it's hard to catch all these idiots because you can't read the license plates through all that smoke.

So, we can only hope for karma for these small dicked diesel dumbasses. They deserve a good asthma attack, or a little bit of lung disease, maybe?

That's mean, but karma's tough, you know.

Here's a video of a motorist haveing to deal with some idiot "rolling coal" in Essex Junction, Vermont: