Sunday, December 31, 2017

Just Because We Need It: Dog Gets Great Gift, Everyone Happy

Cash, left, meets his new, young best buddy Jennings
at Christmas, making everyone happy 
It's been a trying 2017 to say the least, so the last post of this year, or at least something close to the last post, should go like this one. Just ot make us feel better.

In Ortonville, Michigan, Cash, a 12-year-old Golden Retriever, also had a bad 2017. His best friend, a fellow dog in the household named Rosie, passed away.

Cash mourned. He was getting older and this was too much. He lost all his energy after Rosie's death, and pretty much slept close to 23 hours a day.

That is until Christmas. Cash's human companion, Marie Ahonen, decided Cash needed a new companion to get him back to his old self.

It was a Christmas present: "It'll be our Christmas present to our family - that was our first thought. Then it just kind of piqued in my mind that this will be Cash's present," Ahonen said.

The idea worked. "(Cash) just got so excited and his paws were going a million miles an hour and I'm so excited, like this is what he needed," Ahonen said.

The gift for Cash was a Golden Retriever puppy. In the video,  Marie's husband, Jay, brings in a box and Cash immediately knows something cool is inside. Cash opens the box, and there's the puppy.

Cash immediately came back to life. The puppy looks confused at first, but then at the end decides he's game.

The puppy's name is Jennings (named after Waylon) At last report. Cash and Jennings were gettin along famously, and Cash was indeed back to his old, pre-2017 self

Let's hope the same for the rest of us.

Here's the fun, cute video:

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Annual Google Search Video Reflects An Exhausting 2017

This wonderful woman was among the many iconic people
featured in Google's annual searches of the year video.
At the end of each year Google releases a sort of year-in-review video of top news events and top search subjects during the prior 12 months.

This year's Google search video which is at the bottom of this post, is surprisingly emotional, at least to me.

I guess 2017 was even more trying than I thought, what with the constant political upheaval; endless string of disasters; scandals, sexual and otherwise; and more encouragingly, a sharp uptick in citizen activism.

It seems we had only the Great Eclipse of 2017 to distract us from all the messes we endured.

The year was surely reflected in some of our most frequent Google searches:

"How far do North Korean missiles go?" 
"How do wildfires start?"
"How to help flood victims"
"How to be a strong woman."
"How to make a protest sign."
"How to run for office."
"How to be fearless."

I think we all want to know the answer to that last Google search on the list you just read.

I like how toward the end of the video, Google tries to encourage to keep going, keep doing what's right, as other people in the video's closing half minute or so do.

I wish everyone a calm and happy 2018, and I hope we all find the best answer to the last and most poignant Google search question in the video you are about to see: "How to move forward."

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

News Bloopers Of 2017 A Good Time Waster To Close Out The Year

As is always the case on live news programs, things go
wrong, like this uninvited furry guest on a news program. 
At the end of December, I always welcome the inevitable video, which is the Top News Bloopers Of the Year.

I'm a news junkie, so I watch and read up on current events a lot. Much of the news is presented on live TV, which can always be dangerous.

You have missed cues, unprepared reporters, unanticipated gliches and eyewitness interviews that go awry when the interviewees themselves go seriously awry.

Some bloopers get famous intantaneously, like when the Weather Channel was trying to film the implosion of a sports stadium in Atlanta and a bus got in the way at just the wrong moment.

Eyewitness interviews are the most dangerous. You'll see in the video the most obnoxious one is a little brat at a fireworks retailer. A local reporter, who is also the television station's meteorologist, tries to ask him, "What's the best fireworks to buy?" Innocuous question.

But the little shit replies angrily, "Wouldn't you like to know, weather boy."  Insulting, yes. But I think the reporter/meteorologist got the last laugh in that the kid is now exposed to the world as a real worthless jerk. Ha!

Here's the video. It's 15 minutes long, but worth it. Also NSFW, but why would you be watching a 15-minute time waster at work?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Addams Family Dance To The Ramones, Making Everything Right In The World

The website Open Culture gave us this little gem recently: It's the 1960s television sitcom version of the Addams Family dancing to the Ramones'  classic "Blitzkrieg Bop." I know, I know, it didn't really happen, the Ramones song was just dubbed over some Addams Family scenes.

But this is delightful. You HAVE to watch the video:

The Addams Family dancing Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones from Gabriel Magallon on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Our Yearly Tradition: Darlene Love Gives Us "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"

Darlene Love (left)  performs "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"
with Fantasia in this year's installment of a Christmas tradition.
We have to do our yearly Christmas Eve tradition today: Darlene Love singing "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home.)"

It's my favorite Christmas season song, mostly because it's not sticky sweet saccharine like most holiday songs, which are awful.

Most of them are so sentimental and icky that you go into a diabetic coma if you hear just 10 seconds of them. ("I'll Be Home For Christmas.") Or they're so deliriously happy that you wonder what kind of drug they're taking ("Santa Claus Is Coming To Town") Or they're so stupid and odious they make you want to throw up. ("Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer")

Not "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," popularized by Darlene Love. Musically it's an uplifting, take me to church melody. The lyrics are bittersweet. The emotional complexity of the song, at least compared to almost all other holiday songs, makes this one work

For 29 years, Darlene Love made it a tradition to sing this tune on David Letterman's show. Click on this mashup of her years on David Letterman for proof that Darlene Love sure isn't losing any of her glorious power as the hears go bh.

However, Letterman went off the air. So "The View" took it over, and now they're in their third year. Of course, as always, you will see and hear this year's video of her performance at the bottom of this post.

This year, Darlene Love got some help from Fantasia, the awesome R&B singer.

Love and her song have become such a national Christmas tradition that she's turned up elsewhere, too. Click on this link for a fun video of Darlene Love performing the song on "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon" in which Love, Fallon, The Roots and Anna Kendrick perform the song accompanied by child classroom instruments, which is a regular feature on this show. It's a bit tinny but surprisingly good.

Without further delay, here's this year's Darlene Love's Christmas performance, with the fantastic Fantasia from this year. Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Woman Gets The BEST Help Decorating Her Christmas Tree

I'm sure you have your holiday decorating done by now, given that it's just two days before Christmas.

Next year,  however, you ought to plan on hiring this woman's helper. She got her Christmas tree decorated in flash, thanks to her handy helper. Watch:

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Google Translate Really Improves Christmas Songs

Christmas carols are MUCH better after having been run
through Google Translate a couple times. 
A fun trend on YouTube and elsewhere is to use Google Translate and convert song words in English to some other language and back to English again, with hilarious results.  

Tis the season, so here's a couple videos that will let you know what I'm talking about, using holiday music. They're great time wasters, and I must say, the Google Translate versions of Christmas songs are a vast improvement over the original.

The first video is by Malinda Kathleen Reese. She uploaded it to YouTube a couple years ago, but it's still a great find.  (In a none-holiday moment, check out Reese's Google Translate version of Adele's hit "Hello." It's worth it. Even the Defense Secretary is involved. (Watch and listen to it, you'll see.)

She has a great voice, but the translations to the songs are hilarious. My favorite part is one of the songs gets into Saudi Arabian monetary policy. Who knew Saudi Arabian financial rules make sentimental holiday wishes. After this video, I got another one, below this:

Next, we have a very recent episode of Jimmy Fallon teaming up with Rebel Wilson to do Google Translate versions of other Christmas songs. In "Deck the Halls," we learn that ancient sparrows fight with Carol. (I don't know who Carol is or why the old sparrows are mad at her.)

Oh, and "Walking In A Winter Wonderland" becomes much better, with an awesome new name: "I Ran Through The Land Of Cold Unknowns"  Here it is:

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Update: Awful Pit Bull Ban In Montreal Has Been Ditched

Izzy, pictured here, and other pit bulls are once again
welcome in Montreal, after a new mayor overturned
a bad breed-specific ordinance enacted last year. 
Sometimes, elections bring welcome changes.

Montreal has a new mayor, and that new mayor's administration has lifted a year-old stupid municipal ordinance banning pit bulls.

The ordinance was put in place after an understandable outrage: a woman was mauled to death by a dog that happened to be a pit bull.

Rather than tightening restrictions on all dogs deemed dangerous, the city passed a law that pretty much banned all pit bulls from the city. This raised the threat of euthanizing perfect good, safe pit bulls were part of peoples' families, and exiling others away from their forever homes.

The new mayoral administration just pulled the plug on the pit bull ban, saying Montreal should be a welcoming city for all pet owners. The city still has tight restrictions on dogs deemed dangerous, which makes perfect sense. Breed-specific laws don't, though, so I'm glad Montreal listened to the SPCA on this one.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

2017 Wildlife Comedy Awards Delight As Always

"Laughing Dormouse" by Andrea Zampatti. Looks like
this little guy is having a GREAT time. 
I've highlighted the annual Wildlife Comedy Awards in the past, but I cannot resist focusing on them again, because they are such a delightful distraction from the ills of the world.

The awards go to nature photographers who find usually inadvertent, but hilarious moments amont wild animals.

This year's winners don't disappoint. Go to this link to see this year's winners, and the winners from past years.  It's SO worth the browse.

Meanwhile, see, below, a couple more of this year's wildlife triumphs. Click on the images to make them bigger and easier to see.

"Monkey Escape" by Katy Laveck-Foster. A very fun
outing on a motorbike, it looks like. 
"Mudskippers Got Talent" by Daniel Trim. Not sure if these
frogs are in a televised talent competition or they just heard
something Donald Trump said. 

"WTF" by George Cathcart. These California seals look like
they've been watching too much Fox News

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Proof That I'm Right: Christmas Music Drives Us Crazy

There's a good reason why the Grinch loathed listening
to all those Christmas songs from the Whos down in Whoville.
I've always disliked most Christmas music.

Mostly because of its repetitiveness. How many times can you hear "Deck The Halls" before you deck the spacy store clerk in the mall?

A lot of us started hearing Christmas music everywhere starting in early November. Now that's less than two weeks before the actual holiday, we are Fed. Up. Most of us, anyway.

As CBS News and plenty of other news outlets reported recently, British clinical psychologist Linda Blair say listening to too much Christmas music, especially when it starts so early, stresses us out.

The incessant Christmas music, from which there is no escape, reminds us every minute of our waking hours that we have all this stuff to do to get ready for the holidays. Because, as every retail advertiser and every Christmas TV special reminds us, if we don't make the holiday absolutely perfect and the the most memorable event ever, we are abject failures.

Why wouldn't we be stressed under those circumstances?

Can you imagine the life of that spacey mall store clerk, the one you want to deck? She's probably spacey and out of it because she's been force to listen to that godforsaken Christmas music since October. Blair, the clinical psychiatrist, sympathizes with those mall workers. They struggle to tune out that awful "music."

"You're simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you're hearing," she said.

And what about the rest of us? We don't have it as bad as Spacey Mall Store Clerk, but we are all subject to this torture. We've seen Christmas decorations in stores as early as September, and the stores have been feeding us holiday "music" over the PA systems since early November, or even before that.

The Tampa Bay Times reported in November that one of the worst offenders, Best Buy, started playing Christmas music on October 22. That's before I even started to think about Halloween.

On a positive note, the Tampa Bay Times said some retailers have had a sense of mercy lately, interspersing Christmas music even now with non-holiday selections, to give us all a sense of relief.

Look, some holiday music is OK. But none of it's OK to pressure us to buy, buy, buy! Retailers are desperate. Desperation is unattraction, and makes us less likely to help those desperate retailers.

So give us a break, all you online and brick and mortar stores, and maybe we'll become a bit less Grinchy and give you a break. Try it!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

NSFW Citizen Journalist's House Fire Report Leads Her To Great Journalistic Scoop

Citizen journalist Rhoda Young, reporting on Facebook Live
from a Norfolk, Virginia house fire. gets a journalistic
scoop and reports it very colorfully. 
As a former journalist, I still revel in scoops - the uncovering of  a blockbuster fact or facts that nobody else has and presenting that new information for the world to see.

Rhoda Young recently had one of those moments.

As far as I can tell, Young is not a terribly experienced journalist. She's just a person who likes to tell others what's going on in her town.

So she sprang into action (with her husband as cameraman) when a house in her hometown of Norfolk, Virginia recently erupted into flames.

Young took to Facebook Live to give her full reports. In local journalism, raging house fires like the one Young encountered are given prominent display and are viewed, read, and clicked on by many people in the community. It's big news.

OK, Young isn't the best at maintaining her journalistic composure. She dropped a couple of big F-bombs when part of the burning house she was reporting on collapsed. But that's OK. We can all handle that.

Young does have a good journalist's curiosity and she does know the right way to ask questions, so she started asking questions and observing some interesting things when she spotted a man sitting on the grass across the street from the blazing house. The man was sipping on a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

She asks the man, "Is that your house?"

He said. "Yes"

"Oh, God bless you," Young replied. Then quick with the followup question:  "Lemme ask you this: How did it catch on fire? Were you home?"

The man said something unclear, but it sounded like he said he wasn't home with the blaze began.  He indicated he discovered the fire when he came back from the store, where he purchased his PBR.
Donald Stricker is charged with arson, in large
part to citizen journalist Rhoda Young's
colorful Facebook Live reporting from the scene.

A few minutes later, Young, undeterred, took a closer look at the man, who tried to wave her away. She noticed he had minor burns, and some of his hair was singed off. Turning to her Facebook Live camera, she delivered the scoop: The man was lying, he was there when the fire started, and did he set the fire?

Or as she put it, "I now discovered, his motherfuckin' hair was on he was right there when the fire started, and he's got a six pack of goddamn PBR. Now I gotta figure out how he started that goddamn fire."

Again, not the way your Eyewitless (ha) News team from your local television station would have put it, but she got the message across.

Then, on camera, she tells a fire official: "I did an investigation on the fire and I know how it started."

The fire official initially dismissed Young, as they were busy dealing with the fire. Young accepted that, as she could see the firefighters were pretty busy. She briefly points the camera at the guy, who tried to wave her away again.

Young then reports on camera:  "Once again, that's the homeowner, drunk as a motherfucka, He burnt down the whole fuckin' house."

That's not how I or any other "real" journalist would report on an incident like this, but her style is what would be going through mine and every other journalists' head. We all wish - just a little bit - we could explain the situation like Young did.

Authorities at the scene, at the behest of Young, did turn their attention to the man, and Young captured, on camera, the man being arrested on arson charges. immediately suspected the same. And Young pointed the camera at the man, named Donald William Stricker III as we was arrested, handcuffed and charged with the burning of an occupied dwelling.

Awesome scoop Rhoda: Here's the highlight reel of Young's reporting. Again, it's NSFW, but it is so worth the watch, especially if your yearning for a local TV news report that tells it like it really is, bluntly:

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Anti-Trump Social Media Junkies Are Getting Scary Pro-Trump Robocalls

It's still unclear if this organization had anything to do with
robocalls threatening people who critcized Donald Trump
on social media. 
Gizmodo earlier this month reported on yet another dark side of social media and the internet.

Some people who are active on social media and are not Donald Trump fans have been getting weird, kind of threatening robocalls on their phones from what appears to be the pro-Trump crowd.

Nobody is quite sure if all this is a joke, a real threat, a harmless prank or just more social media bullcrap. But I have to admit it's unnerving.

Luckily, evidence is pointing toward the "harmless prank" theory, but the fact that this can be done is probably giving the evil alt right ideas even as I write this.

The robocalls warn the anti-Trumpsters to stop making "negative and derogatory posts about President Trump," said Brett Vanderbrook, who was driving for Uber when he got the call a few weeks back.

After Gizmodo first published the story, several readers said they recognized the voice in the recording as being from Ownage Pranks, a service that places automated prank calls. "Citizens for Trump" is a prank offered by the service, says Gizmodo, but the trouble is there is a real organization called "Citizens for Trump" that really are just that and active.

Gizmodo, and pretty much nobody else, is sure whether the real Citizens for Trump is behind these robocalls.

They are kind of cartoonishly scary. Here's part of the script:

A man's voice comes on. "We've been monitoring some of your posts and it does seem that you've beem making some rather negative comments about President Trump. Is that correct?"

Then there's a pause as if the voice is waiting for an answer. Then it continues: "Listen, we're going to have to ask you to lay off on the negative and derogatory posts about President Trump, OK?" Then another pause, then more: "What's your problem, anyway? Don't you want to make America great again? Well, you've been warned. We'll be keeping an eye on you. Have a nice day."

It doesn't sound like a lot of people have received this robocall, but it is chilling, even if meant as a joke.

They say Big Brother is watching you. So is obnoxious brother, apparently.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Debbie Harry And Joan Jett REALLY Let Us Have It With New Tune/Video

Joan Jett and Debbie Harry deliver an apocalyptic newcast
in a dark and funny video for the new Blondie tune "Doom or Destiny"
Blondie, with Debbie Harry of course, and Joan Jett have teamed up in a startling, but darkly funny video for Blondie's song "Doom or Destiny" and it's totally worth the watch. Especially since Harry and Jett have lost none of their considerable mojo over the decades.

In the video, Harry and Jett are off-kilter news anchors. The pair, as Rolling Stone puts it, "tease a series of foreboding headlines, referencing global warming, Russian election meddling, nuclear war and President Trump's 'grab 'em by the pussy comment from the leaked Access Hollywood tape."

Rolling Stone continues: "Harry said she wanted the video to comment on 'the bizarre state of media and news in the current 'idocracy' by addressing issues like 'environmental collapse, fossil fuels, bee population decline, global warming, sexism, patriarchy, Trump and Russia, feminishm, consumerism, the marketing of war and more.'"

Yes, that's a dark vision. And the video has that dark vision. It's not for bright and cheery Pollyannas. But those Pollyannas would be missing out if they didn't watch the "Doom or Destiny" video.

Harry, age 72, and Jett, 59, are still the no-holds-barred women they've alway been, thank goodness. In the video, they are disgusted, world weary and fuming as these two "news co-anchors" deal with dinasour men rejoicing amid money,  a Trumpesque orange sock puppet screaming "Fake News!" vapid fragrance commercials, a weather segment that forecasts, among other things, seven plagues and thermonuclear winter, and a report by Harry regarding global warming, "Hot as fxxxing hell"

You have to watch the video several times to catch all the very quick jokes and dark humor throughout the piece.

The song "Doom or Destiny" itself is at once catchy, dark, cynical, driving and some of the best work I've heard from Blondie, Harry and Jett I've heard in years.

Here's the video, which is not really NSFW, if you dare. It's so worth it.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Stupid YouTuber Cements Head In Microwave: Creative, Near-Fatal Idiocy

This idiot cemented his head inside a microwave oven,
apparently for fun and profit. A near Darwin Awards winner.
This report has been going around the Internet thingy, but I like Diggs' take on it. Here's their headline:

"Idiot YouTuber Cements His Head Inside Microwave, Deeply Annoyed Firemen Have To Free Him."

The saddest part is this headline is totally accurate and true.

Digg has the details about the exploits of this moron, known on YouTube as TGFBro. His real name is Jay Swingler. Or, feel free to call him moron, like I do.

It started whe TGF Bro's Jay Swingler filled a microwave with something called Polyfilla. deciding this would be a really cool and lucrative YouTube stunt.

According to the manufacturer, Polyfilla is a "ready to use filler excellent for filling small cracks, dents and fine imperfectios to ensure the ultimate smooth surface prior to painting."

This might be obvious to everyone except the morons in over at TGF Bros, but Polyfilla is not meant to trap your head inside a microwave. I'm not entirely sure why anyone would want to trap their head in a cement-filled microwave oven, even for fun and profit, but what do I know? These idiots apparently do profit handsomely from their stunts.

But it is free advertising for Polyfilla:  Swingler proved Polyfilla hardens fast and nicely, and is difficult to dislodge. Somehow, I still don't envision Polyfilla using these idiots as their spokesmodels in advertising.

Inevitably, in this stunt things went (surprise!) awry. Swingler's friends, with mounting panic, tried to free this guy from the Polyfilla filled microwave. There was a rudimentary breathing tube, otherwise the Darwin Awards candidate would have died pretty quickly.

Finally, the West Midlands Fire Service in England was called in to complete the rescue. You can hear the sigh in the voice of whoever had to write the public statement for the West Midlands Fire Service:

"It took nearly an hour to free him. All the group was very apologetic, but this was clearly a call-out which might have prevented us from helpig someone else in genuine, accidental need."

Which indicates if the West Midlands Fire Service had their druthers, they'd have gladly dropped this Polyfilla rescue in favor of some elder gentleman having a heart attack somewhere. I totally agree with that.

Honestly, if you can make a buck or two putting silly stunts on YouTube, go for it. But you'd think there are limits. Apparently not. To make matters worse, Swingler put out a subsequent video whining about the online abuse he took for this stunt.

 I'm reluctant to put this video up, because I kinda don't want to help them benefit from it. But in the interest of full disclosure, if you can stand it, here's the video of this whole stupid incident:

Monday, December 4, 2017

Proof The GOP Wants The Poor To Just Shut Up And DIe Already

GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch seems to think children who
need government funded health insurance should
stop being so lazy and get a job, dammit. 
The tax scam bill the Republican Senate passed last week is proof enough that the GOP, taking orders from their ultra rich donors, want to transfer all wealth to the 1% and take it all away from the lower and middle class.

They want us all to be serfs, essentially.

Two quotes from two Senators pretty much prove it to my mind, as they insist anyone not rich like themselves are just lazy jerks who want to sit on their butts and take government money so they can booze it up and gamble. This includes children, apparently.

Here's Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who was explaining that we can afford a trillion dollar deficit to give tax breaks to the wealthy, but we can't afford the to pay for the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP:

"I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won't help themselves, won't lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything."

Got that kids? If you're 10 years old and sick and your parents are poor, get yourself a f*$&ing job you lazy ass bum. Don't do things like go to school to better your future and help around the house. Just go make sub-minimum wages in some dangerous factory like kids had to do a century ago.

You owe it to your billionaire overloards to do that. So get to work!
GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley thinks everybody with modest
incomes is poor because they spend all their money
on booze and sex, rather than say, groceries or housing

Then we have GOP Sen. Charles Grassley, explaining why we have to get rid of the estate tax, which only makes the wealthy wealthier and has no effect on the rest of us:

"I think not have the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing - as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it's on booze or women or movies," Grassley told the Des Moines Register.

Yep. The reason why the single mom making minimum wage at McDonald's has not amassed a fortune and become a millionaire at least is because she's squandering her pay on cheap vodka, sex and probably porn movies.

Grassley seems to be suggesting that no low and middle class people are spending what little money they've got on things like groceries, putting a roof over their head, things like that.

To the GOP, we're all selfish as hell and not worth the time of day. We apparently owe the trillionaire class whatever pittance we have. Hand it over, I guess.

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing — as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies,” Grassley told the Des Moines Register i