Thursday, May 31, 2018

Surprise Double Proposal Adds Needed Joy To The Air

The video in this post has gone viral, and so you might have seen it, but since it's so joyous and so much fun, it's worth putting in this here blog thingy.

Two years ago, Jessa Gillaspie and Becky McCabe went on their first date at the Memphis Zoo's Zoo Brew event.

The pair fell in love and the rest is history.

When they recently heard the Zoo Brew event was happening again, they decided to go, with the friends they were with the first time.

McCabe thought the outing at the zoo would be the perfect time to propose marriage to Gillaspie. So she did so. Only Gillaspie had a bit of a surprise waiting for McCabe.


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

High School Students Ordered To Smile All The Time - Or ELSE

Bert from Sesame Street would not do well in the Northern Lebanon School
District in Pennsylvania. 
My nominee for the most Orwellian high school in the nation goes to the Northern Lebanon School District in Pennsylvania.

Students there are required to smile at all times while in the hallways between classes, or else they get in trouble. If they don't, they must go to the guidance counselor to discuss their "problems" or get detention.  

So you're not allowed in the school to show any normal emotion other than benign (fake) happiness.

No anxiety over an upcoming tough test. No thoughtful contemplation over which colleges to apply. No anger or grief over the latest school shooting elsewhere in the nation. No thoughts of regrets over the argument with  Dad this morning over smart phone use.

Any normal thing like that is grounds for counseling or detention. It's just bizarre.

Meanwhile, according to the Lebanon Daily News in Pennsylvania, some parents are complaining that bullying incidents are being ignored by administrators. My guess is because the school district has some obsession with turning the school into some Stepford Wives perfect world.

Several teachers told the Lebanon Daily News said the smiling thing isn't a written rule in the school, Assistant Principal Benjamin Wenger has been enforcing this smiling "regulation."  I guess the fake smiling is more important than dealing with the real bullying in this school district.

After the "forced smiles" article came out, North Lebanon School District Superintendent Erik Bentzel denied that there is a "must smile" rule, but I suspect that's PR in the wake of the embarrassing news coverage.

So, if you ever go to this school for a visit, smile! You're on Orwellian camera!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Guy Clings To Free Housing At Parents House; Alex Jones Gets Him Out, DIscusses Nose Jobs

Michael Rotondo is being evicted from his parents' house, but
he is getting some help from some highly unlikely sources.
Talk about having no sense of personal pride!

As we learned in incessant news coverage this week, a 30-year-old guy in New York State really made a splash by refusing to leave his parents' house.

Mostly because it's free lodging and he really doesn't want to give up the great deal.  For the record, I moved out of my parents' house late - when I was 23 - but I did so with no prodding form my parents. I decided on my own.

Not like most adults who, you know, go out and get a job, find an apartment, pay the rent and otherwise support themselves like normal people.

I don't oppose people living with their parents if they do so for the right reasons.  Some adults live with their parents for years or decades. But most people who live with their parents assist them with health issues, or pay the bills, or generally stay helpful and productive. That's what normal people do.

Apparently, though, Michael Rotondo is not normal people.

Still,the great lengths he went to in attempts to prevent his parents from evicting him show a commitment to hard work. It just would have been easier, and more effective for him, to put that energy into finding an independent place to live.

Speaking of hard work, Rotondo's parents went through a lot of efforts get this bozo out of their house. It started in earnest in February, when Rodondo's parents wrote him this missive. (I guess face to face conversations weren't working.)

"After a discussion with your Mother, we have decided you must leave this house immediately. You have 14 days to vacate You will not be allowed to return. We will take whatever actions are necessary to enforce this decision."

First of all, when your parents write such a strongly worded note, it's past the time to move out.

However, the parents' note didn't work. So they gave their son another note on March 15, demanding he move out. No movement.

On March 20, the parents tried another tack: They offered him $1,100 to help with moving expenses, and also offered advice. The advice was sensible enough, in my opinion. It's what normal people would think of in this situation, but as I said, Rotondo doesn't seem very normal to me.

The advice included:

--- Organize the things you need for work and to manage an apartment.
--- A reminder that "there are jobs available for those with a poor work history like you Get one - you have to work!"
---  Also: "Sell the other things you have that have any significant value (e.g. stereo, some tools, etc.) This is especially true for any weapons you may have. You need the money and will have no place for the stuff."

Wait, what? Weapons? Yikes! I know little of this guy, but what little I know makes me a little nervous about him having weapons. But I guess that's another story.

It turns out the judge quickly decided with the parents, and Rotondo needs to move out, pronto. But our ever persistent protagonist says he will appeal the judge's decision.

On the bright side, the online cam site  CamSoda offered Rotondo a paying gig in its "LifeStream" program, TMZ reports.

As TMZ points out, CamSoda is apparently a site where porn stars to online camming, but to our great relief, Rotondo will remain clothed if he takes the gig. The job pays $1,000 a month for six months.

The whole thing got even more bizarre if you can believe it on Thursday, when Rotondo appeared on wacko conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' InfoWars show. Jones gave Rotondo a check for $3,000 to move out of his parents' house.

A high point in the Jones/Rotondo conversation is when Jones asks if he's going to use the $3,000 to get a nose job.

"I don't think so," Rotondo said. "I like my nose the way it is."

As Vice continues this story, Jones, obsessed with noses, apparently, tells Rotondo he like his "noble nose" and that his wife's nose is so big she gets mistaken for a Jew, but he he also likes her nose a lot, so much so that he'd divorce her if she ever got a nose job.

Jones apparently meant the $3,000 check and the interview as a pep talk to encouage Rotondo's independence, but the interview, as we would expect from Jones, stayed weird.

Jones worried that Rotondo came off as "autistic" in other TV interviews, and warned him that he should move out of his parents' house immediately or risk being taken control of by "globalists."

In the end, I have to agree with Vice that Jones, for once in his life, actually sounded sensible at times.

Jones told Rotondo: "I think you should go back, no matter what your parents have done to you, and say, 'Thank you for life and I appreciate you and I'm going to figure out how to make money and be a part of society.'....From then, if you can do those basics, the big ideas will come.'"

How about that? Decent fatherly advice from one of the world's biggest wackos!  Black is white  and day is night now, I guess.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Stupid People, Stupid Rules Fascinate Me

Every once in awhile in this blog thingy, I like to highlight stupid people or stupid things, or stupid people following stupid rules.

I've got a couple more. Both are about how technology makes us jump through the dumbest hoops.

In Florida, a woman named Marci Robin was buying a Fiat 500X at a West Palm Beach, Florida dealership.

As we all know, when you buy a car, you have to sign a bunch of papers, and Robin was furiously signing away as she drew closer to driving away in her Fiat.

Then she came upon a weird one, to say the least. You know that one you see on line, where you have to check a box to demonstrate that "I Am Not A Robot."

She had to check the box as she was signing the papers. Yes, the real life, Marci Robin. Who by all accounts is not a robot. Who was sitting in that West Palm Beach Florida dealership. Right across from the sales associate who was feeding her the papers to sign, says Jalopnik.

Says Robin: "The sales guy was handing me paper after paper with a brief explanation of what each one was for, and he handed me that page - with literally nothing on it - and just matter-of-factly said, 'And this one is to ensure you're not a robot.'" 

Jason Torchinsky of Jalopnik called the dealership and asked if this was all real. Yep. The dealership has to print out the papers to sign from a website, one that has the "I Am Not A Robot" reCAPTCHA security thingy to somehow prove the website visitor is not a robot.

When they print out the paperwork, the salesperson said. "It's not about us. In order to print the next one, you have to check that. So we print it out, and the customer checks that when we do."

It still sounds really strange. Torchinsky asked the salesperson if a robot came into the dealership with a Social Security number and a valid ID, would they sell that robot a car?

Yes. As the salesperson sort of explained. "You never know. They have that girl Alexa, and she can talk and make phone calls and stuff."

Meanwhile, a South Carolina teenager graduated from high school and his mom threw a party for him.  

Why not? Jacob Koscinski is a really smart kid. He graduated summa cum laude, so that means his grades were awesome. The mom, Cara Kosinski, ordered a cake from the local Publix Supermarket with the words "summa cum laude" on it.

When they got the cake back, it read, "Congrats Jacob! Summa  ---- Laude Class of 2018."

Yep, Publix censored that word, thinking of its "dirty", sexual connotation. Cara Kosinski shared a photo of the censored cake on Facebook. "I seriously couldn't make this crap up!!!!! Funny - not funny."

Jacob said he was humiliated because people were laughing at the censorship and he had to explain to  elderly relatives why other people were laughing.

When she ordered the cake, Koscinski took the time to write in the special instructions box of the online order that Summa Cum Laude was a Latin term for high academic honor and was not profane. It means "with the highest distinction," according to the Huffington Post, via the Washington Post. 

Publix explained that the online box where customers enter cake inscriptions is very temperamental.

The Washington Post said Public offered to make another cake, but Koscinski declined because Jacob only graduated once. The store refunded the $70 she spent on the cake and gave her a store gift card.

A Publix spokeswoman said the situation has been addressed, so the computer won't censor things that ought not to be censored or if it is, will be checked to make sure nothing stupid happens.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

AP Reporter Barred From EPA Meeting In Yet Another Screw Up

Scott Pruitt's EPA is apparently worried about what the Associated Press
and CNN would report on them today. So they barred them. 
The EPA held a summit today on hazardous groundwater contamination. As always with this kind of meeting, journalists wanted to cover it. It's news.

The AP journalist who was barred asked to talk to an EPA spokesman about the situation.

Instead, a security guard forcibly kicked her out of the building, grabbing her by the shoulders and pushing her out. Pretty thuggish, doncha think?

The Trump administration isn't really into the niceties of open and transparent government, so I'm really not surprised this happened. But did the folks at the EPA really think that reporter, and journalists in general, would just shrug and say, "Oh, OK."

So there's yet another unnecessary outcry this afternoon.

"The Environmental Protection Agency's selective barring of news organizations, including the AP, from covering today's meeting is alarming and a direct threat to the public's right to know about what is happening inside their government......It is particularly distressing that any journalist trying to cover an event in the public interest would be forcibly removed," said AP Executive Editor Sally Buzbee.

So, the EPA tried to backtrack, saying the room was small, only a limited number of people could fit in, yada, yada, yada. Of course they could have easily scheduled this in a bigger room, and why did they specifically boot out the  AP and CNN from this meeting? Was something going to be said that would be particularly galling?

The EPA said they'd let reporters into the afternoon session. So they probably changed the agenda so nothing controversial will be said.

It's the PR Trump administration, of course. Hide the truth, and promote some fake news.

By the way, this whole thing has a Vermont connection. Pruitt and his EPA were caught in emails showing the agency tried to interfere and hide stuff in a critical study of the groundwater contaminants, which include some groundwater pollution around Bennington, Vermont.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Racist Ranting Anti-Spanish Creepy Lawyer Gets Awesome Mariachi Party

Aaron Schlossberg, whose vile racist rant went viral, has a very,
very bad week because everybody is hating on him. Good!
I've heard a few people say that maybe we're piling up too hard on Aaron Schlossberg.

Schlossberg is that icky New York lawyer in that viral video ranting against a couple of people because they were speaking in Spanish to each other in public.

Imagine! Hearing someone speak a language other than English in New York City of all places!


Well, that video has everybody thinking Schlossberg is a piece of crap, and they're right. And he's had a rough few days because of it. Hounded by the press, his landlord kicking his law office to the curb, everybody hating on him.

It's been suggested it's time to lay off him. However, Schlossberg was exercising his free speech, in a particularly odious way, when he ranted at those people for gawd knows why. And people are exercising their free speech when they're callilng Schlossberg out on his stupidity.

Incidentally, Schlossberg seems to have a habit of ranting at "foreigners" or whatever, so he's finally getting his comeuppance.

And I have to say, some of the protests have been pretty damn fun. I don't know why he just doesn't participate. Yesterday, there was a mariachi party in front of Schlossberg's apartment building. (In a nice touch, whoever manages that building flew a Mexican flag on its roof.)

I also hear the tacos served at the mariachi party/protest in front of Schlossberg's apartment building were delicious.

I'm sure Schlossberg has gotten death threats, which is completely wrong and shouldn't happen. But these simultaneously light hearted and serious protests against Schlossberg are just perfect. And should continue.

Here's a clip of the mariachi event in front of his building yesterday:

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Jerk Shatters Glass Table All Over My Road, Shrugs, Keeps Driving

This isn't the actual glass on my road, but some idiot had a glass deck table
fall off his truck trailer on my road. Then he left it there, glass covering
both lanes of the road. Idiot.
I'm writing a note here to the jerk last night who left a "gift" on the road I live on, Fairfield Hill Road, otherwise known as Route 36 here in St. Albans.

Dear Idiot in the dark pickup truck towing the trailer: I was outdoors in my gardens on a lovely spring evening last night when I heard what sounded like a nasty crash. I didn't know what caused the noise at that moment, but I saw you. 

The crashing noise happened. Something had obviously fallen out of the trailer you were towing. You heard the noise, because you slowed down quite a bit. But then, and I could see you in the driver's side window, you sort of shrugged, hit the gas and took off up the hill.

Then I noticed the other cars slowing down and stopping. I went out to the road to have a look. Glinting in the sun was all kinds of shattered glass glinting on the pavement in the setting sun all over busy Fairfield Hill Road.

Yep, you had your nice outdoor glass table. It fell off the back of your trailer. Hey, accidents happen. I can't really knock you for that, although you should have secured things better. Things have fallen out of my truck bed when I'm hauling things, too. It's embarrasing.

But at least I stop and pick up whatever fell out of my truck. You kept going, leaving motorists to drive over all that broken glass. I wonder if you caused any flat tires, if any.

You don't care, though, do you? You messed up, and made it our problem. You can't take responsibility for your own mistakes, can you?

I went down there with a push broom and started trying to sweep the glass off the road. Kind of a hard job, because the glass pieces were everywhere, covering a huge part of the road. A woman in sandals called police, who called the fire department, to try to help get the glass off the road.

Me, the woman and my neighbor who happened to be driving up the road just after this happened took turns with the push broom while waiting for police. I directed traffic around the glass as best I could when I wasn't sweeping.

All this hassle, because you're stupid and selfish, Mr. Idiot who dropped the glass table. Maybe you didn't stop because you were drunk? Try explaining the table to the cop while your speech is slurred. I don't know if you'd been drinking but it's a possibility, isn't it?

I know what's going to happen next. You're probably going to commit insurance fraud. After all, that table was expensive, and you never got to use it.

You'll tell the insurance company that you bought this nice new table for your deck. It was wonderful, until the "thieves stole it."

Things are always being dropped off vehicles along my road, so you're not the only one who's into this behavior, Mr. Idiot Glass Table Dropper.

I'm constantly picking up big debris in front of my house, and paying the disposal costs. Because it's the new American Way, isn't it? Make a mistake or do something stupid, and make somebody else pay for it.

So, Mr. Idiot Glass Table Dropper, I hope your nice deck where you planned to put that table collapses completely. Like tomorrow.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

All-Star SNL Trump Spoof Cold Opening Unfortunately Like Fake News

Last night's Saturday Night Live had an epic sketch in which Stormy Daniels
played....Stormy Daniels, Alec Baldwin was Donald Trump and Ben Stiller
was Michael Cohen. Other stars rounded out the Trump saga
cast of characters 
Saturday Night Live pulled out all the stops last night in its cold opening, with an all-star cast spoofing the tangled web that is the Trump administration.

The cold opening was funny, of course, in a pathetic, icky way, but it kind of felt like some sort of real -life re-enactment.

The entire cast of creepy characters is in this sketch. Martin Short plays Dr. Harold Bernstein, the bonkers Trump physician who says (in real life, not the sketch!) his offices were raided by Trump henchmen.

Ben Stiller plays the beleaguered attorney Michael Cohen. Andy Bryant has a brief appearance as Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Kate McKinnon does it again, transforming into Rudy Giuliani. Alec Baldwin's Trump character in the sketch calls Giuliani the greatest legal mind since "My Cousin Vinny."

Scarlett Johansson makes an appearance as the cool smooth operator Ivanka Trump, while Jimmy Fallon is with her as the wimpy nerdy Jared Kushner.

Like I said, an all-star cast.

Stormy Daniels is played by........ the real Stormy Daniels!

Alec Baldwin's Trump asks Daniels: "What do you need for this to all go away?"

"A resignation," Daniels replies to hoots from the audience.

Daniels adds: "I know you don't believe in climate change, but a storms a comin' baby."

Here's the video. Like I said, funny but probably a real life re-enactment:

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Recycled, Frozen Adventurer's Toes Going To Yukon Bar

Nick Griffiths lost some toes in a frigid Yukon endurance race back in
February, but his digits live on in a bar cocktail. (ewww!)
I'm all for recycling. Why make the world's refuse problem even worse? Just re-use stuff.

However, anything can be taken to a bit of an extreme, and I think Nick Griffiths is doing just that.

Griffiths was one of several people who ended up hospitalized from injuries suffered in extreme cold while competing in the long distance backcountry Yukon Arctic Ultra race in February.  

The race - your choice between 100 miles or 300 miles was run amid temperatures of around 40 below. No wonder several people got frostbite.

Griffiths was among them. He had three toes amputated due to severe frostbite. But what to do with the discarded toes?

The answer: Give them to the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon, home of the infamous Sourtoe Cocktail, reports CBC in Canada.

The cocktail has a simple, but, to me at least, an unappetizing recipe: It's a shot of whiskey with a real human digit bobbing in the glass. Yep, somebody's toe or finger.


Griffiths said the Downtown Hotel contacted him and said, "Can we have them if you're not going to need them anymore?"

The hotel needs the toes in reserve in case they lose them themselves. Once, a customer stole a toe, and another time, a customer swallowed a toe for a $500 fee. (Dawson Hotel policy is there's a $500 fine for swallowing a toe.)

So if you ever go up to Dawson, Yukon, there's an interesting cocktail waiting for you up there.

Or not.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Monetary Evil: Curing People Of Deadly Diseases Bad For Revenue, Says Goldman Sachs

An example of how we seem to priortize making money over all else, screw morality, Goldman Sachs is warning companies not to come up with cures for deadly diseases, because that's not a good moneymaking business model.

As CNBC and other news outlets report, Goldman Sachs analysts, in a report called "The Genome Revolution" asked "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?"

The answer to Goldman Sachs, apparently, is no.

Here's an excerpt from the report: "The potential to deliver 'one shot cures' is one of the most attractive aspects of gene therapy, genetically-engineered cell therapy and gene editing. However, such treatments offer a very different outlook with regard to recurring revenue versus chronic therapies.......While the proposition carries tremendous value for patients and society, it could represent a challenge for genome medicine developers looking for sustained cash flow."

In other words, better to let people die slow, painful deaths while draining their bank accounts with expensive treatments, than just partly draining their bank accounts while allowing people to go on living.

Goldman Sachs cites a hepatitis C treatment from Gilean Sciences, which achieves a cure rate of more than 90 percent. The company came out with a handy dandy new Hep C cure whose sales peaked at $12.5 billion in 2015. Those profits have been falling ever since, because so many people have been cured of the disease that there's not as many remaining left to treat.

Also, if you don't have hepatitis C, you're not going to transmit it to other people, which is bad for business. Says the Goldman Sachs report: "In the case of infectious diseases such as hepatitis C, curing existing patients also decreases the number of carriers able to transmit the virus to new patients, thus the incident pool also declines"

Moral of the story, in Goldman Sachs world: Make sure Hep C is chronic, so people keep paying for treatments, and make sure it spreads to other people, keeping the revenue stream alive, even as people die and/or go bankrupt.

It also turns out that non-infectious diseases like cancer are a bit more profitable because there's always going to be people coming down with cancer. It's not an infectious disease, so "the potential for a cure poses less risk to the sustainability of a franchise."

The takeaway here is that since big financial companies like Goldman Sachs seem to be our overlords these days, scientists should stop finding cures for diseases, especially genetic cures that have the potential of stopping a disease via one major innoculation.

Many American businesses depend on millions of people suffering from chronic, incurable, expensive diseases, and you commie scientists and doctors better not interfere with that business model!