Sunday, December 29, 2019

An, Um, Novel And Incredible Stupid Arguement Against Interracial Marriage

Dave Daubenmire, easily one of the dumbest people in America
Almost everybody got over interracial marriages many decades ago. I mean, really, who cares, right?

There are a few particularly ignorant holdouts, however.  They are there principally so that we can mock and laugh at them. I've got a doozy for you.

According to the Friendly Atheist, via Right Wing Watchone of these losers is some idiot named Dave Daubenmire, who claims to be a "Christian" pastor.  He said he recently took his daughter to the zoo, which proved to him that interracial marriage is wrong. Here's his "logic."

"You don't see eagles marrying buzzards, do you?" he said.

As is obvious to everybody except the extremely dumb and racist Daubenmire, eagles and buzzards are different species.  Plus, to be Captain Obvious, wild animals don't get married.  Animals of the same species mate, but last I checked, eagles and buzzards and other animals don't get a marriage license from the town clerk then go down to the courthouse to tie the knot.

But whatever.

Segregation is A-OK according to Daubenmire, too.  At the zoo aquarium, the guy that runs it keeps certain fish out of the tank because those certain fish would eat all the other fish.

Hmm. I have not heard of one human interracial couple in which the one partner eats the other. But I guess that's besides the point.

The idiot Daubenmire has said many, many spectacularly dumb things in the past. He says, for example, masturbation is gay sex because you are having sexual contact with someone of the same gender. He says, really oddly, that "big business" is using fetal tissue in food supplements, additives and sweeteners.

I'm writing all this as a public service: The next time you are feeling stupid or ignorant, remember you have nothing on Dumb Daubenmire.

Friday, December 27, 2019

"Meth: We're On It" Still A Big Talker In South Dakota

This very unfortunate drug awareness ad is still the talk of
South Dakota, to their chagrin.
I'm in South Dakota this week, and one thing I notice is people are still talking about the state's "Meth:  We're On It" campaign.

This caused a nationwide stir a month ago, when the state of South Dakota released its meth drug awareness campaign.

The campaign shows photos of iconic or typical South Dakota-type people with a tagline: "Meth: We're On It."

This naturally made South Dakota a nationwide butt of jokes, but the governor here, Kris Noem, says the campaign is working.

"The mission of the campaign is to raise awareness - to get people talking about how they can e part of the solution and not just the problem," Noem told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader last month.

Noem said the meth campaign, which cost something like $449,000 is a "bold, innovative effort like the nation has never before seen."

I suppose that last statement is true.

That $449,000 price tag seems high, and that prompted the predictable jokes. "The ad agency spent $1,000 on the PSA campaign and $448,000 on meth," wrote @MatthewHekerman on Twitter.

Another twitter denizen, Ian Boudreau (@iboudreau) suggested other ideas "Meth: It's What's for Dinner," "Where's the Meth" and "Meth: The Other White Drug."

According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, businesses are capitalizing on this, so that's good.

A bicycle business called Spoke-n Spor-did an ad with the tag line Bikes; We're On It with a photo of a grinning mountain biker in what looks like the Badlands.

Somebody in Minnesota cooked up this idea
for a Meth ad as a companion to South Dakota's.
Even the cheap beer Natural Light tweeted a slogan "Natural Light: We're On It" which to me would be almost as bad as being on meth.

A t-shirt company is offering shirts that say "South Dakota is apparently on meth" and "Don't meth with South Dakota."

I don't know what it is about South Dakota. This isn't the first time the state came up with an ad with a questionable double entendre.

Back in 2014, wintry South Dakota was worried about motorists making unsafe, abrupt moves on icy roads. So, the catch phrase was "Don't Jerk And Drive." Yes, they meant don't jerk the steering wheel.  But really?

Also, in 2015, South Dakota promoted itself as a place to live and work because, at least unlike Mars, there is air in South Dakota. (It's true! I'm in South Dakota as I write this and I am having absolutely no trouble breathing. There is indeed air here!)

The way things are going, I can't wait to see what the next South Dakota slogan will be.  Whoever comes up with it, I'm guessing meth - they'll be on it.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

My Annual Darlene Love Christmas Greeting

Darlene Love and Jason Derulo perform this year's "Christmas (Baby
Please Come Home." on "The View"
Every year, because Christmas is the season of tradition, I do my annual Darlene Love Christmas greeting.

Here's the recap: My favorite holiday song is Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) made famous by Darlene Love way back in 1963.

She sang it every year from 1986 and 2014 on the David Letterman show. When that went off the air   she moved to "The View."

It's now nice every year when Darlene Love comes on that show and puts a temporary end to the hosts' constant bickering.

This Christmas  is a bit different for me than recent ones.  Usually, I have to stay in Vermont while my husband travels to South Dakota to be with family.  Normally, I can't go, as since I work for a retailer, I have to stay to the bitter end at Christmas. No holiday trips to South Dakota for me!

Except this year. A generous boss at work gave me some time off, so I've joined husband Jeff in South Dakota this year. So it's beautiful chaos for me as numerous in-laws, nieces, nephews wander in and out. And I'm with my husband, so I don't have to whine about baby, please come home.

Of course, this means I'm not with family in Vermont, so you can't have everything.

On "The View" this year Darlene Love was joined by Jason Derulo for this year's rendition. Here you go and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Hallmark Channel Steps In It, Then Chases The Money

You might have heard the kerfuffle earlier this month about the icky sweet Hallmark Channel getting into a not-so-sweet mess over its short-lived ban over an LGBTQ-friendly advertisement, and the howls of controversy that followed.  

The controversy has since settled down. Still, it was a textbook case about how corporations ought to be in tune with public opinion, and basic fairness when they make some decisions.

The Hallmark Channel is in its prime season right now, with movies with the same, frankly tired theme.

A woman or a man is cynical about Christmas. The couple meet, don't get along at first, fall in love, and everything becomes so romantic and sentimental with the intention of driving the audience into happy holiday cheers.

That's not my style, but then again, a lot of people love it. More power to them! I endorse anything that brings people joy.

But here's the joyless part.

An outfit called One Million Moms, basically a wholly owned subidiary of the American Family Association, was hugely upset when they saw an ad on the Hallmark Channel of a same-gender couple, two women, in a wedding ad by Zola.

"One Million Moms is asking once again or Hallmark to stay true to its family friendly roots that so many families have grown to love, and to keep sex and sexual conduct - incluing the promotion of homosexualithy - out of its programming."

Though, apparently, One Million Moms seemed perfectly fine with straight couples kissing, but whatever.

Even worse, One Million Moms cited the Bible, Romans1:18-32, which suggests we should just kill all the gays:

"Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die."

OK, we should note that One Million Moms probably does not consist of one million real moms. Whatever this organization is, they basically boycott everything that doesn't adhere to Christian fundamentalists' White Jesus perspective.

One wag on Twitter suggested that One Millon Moms is just 20 Karens.

At least according to GLAAD, an LGBTQ support organization,  One Million Moms is basically just one annoying woman. Jeremy Hooper writes:

"It is basically One Meddling Mom with an agenda, and no company should be giving her the credence she so desperately craves.

Her name is Monica Cole. I the decade that I have been aware of One Millio Moms, she is quite literally the only staff member I have ever heard anyone name. She is the one and only person who appears on their petitions, as well as the one and only person who speaks for them to the media. She is the mom. Her. Solo. One Person, supposedly representing one."

Hallmark officials, thinking that "one million moms" were pissed off about the lesbian wedding ad, pulled the plug on it.

Of course the problem with that was, more than a million people for sure, including me, were pissed off at Hallmark for being bigoted, or least appearing to be.   News of this broke on a December midmonth Saturday.

By that Sunday night, facing a furious backlash, Hallmark just as furiously backpeddled. As Buzzfeed News and many other media outlets reported, Mike Perry, president and CEO of Hallmark Cards said the company was "truly sorry" for the brief ad shutdown.

"The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we've seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused. Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused."

Hallmark also said it would work with GLAAD to better represent ethe LGBTQ community.

The abrupt reversal, I'm sorry to say, was probably not some newfound sense of fairness, but one of money. Hallmark quickly realized that the people who objected to Zola lesbian wedding ads airing on the network was far smaller than the number of people pissed off by the decision.

Which has better revenue potential? A few religious zealots or a huge bunch of basically fair minded consumers?

I'm not saying this is really wrong. It is the free market. People can choose to patronize or not patronize any business for any reason (unless it goes to the extreme of violating hate laws).

Corporations must always sort of thread the needle to figure out how not to annoy its customers, because they want to keep them.  Hallmark did not thread the needle, and a public relations fiasco resulted.

In the end, Hallmark managed to mostly recover.  Zola said they would resume advertising with Hallmark, other advertisers stuck with them, and the outrage over the Hallmark Channel's initial has waned.

All the more reason to research outfits that are attacking you to see if there is any bite behind the bark.  In the case of One Million Moms, the bark had nothing behind it. Oh well. Let other conpanies beware!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Fake SNL Macy's Ad Nails What We Hate About Christmas, Especially When There's Children

Things aren't nearly this happy in a fake Macy's Christmas ad
from Saturday Night Live that gives us a dose of reality in the
midst of all the fake Christmas cheer. 
I'm a bah hum-bug kinda guy during the Christmas season, so I really get irritated by those chirpy-voiced ads on TV from those retailers announcing their holiday sales specials.

Most of the narrators sound like they are offering a sippy cup to their toddlers.

I don't know why they're offering me things in that tone of voice. I'm not a toddler and I like to think I'm more mature, smarter and more experienced than a toddler.

But who knows?

Now, Saturday Night Live hasn't been very great this year, but this week, they did a fake commercial from Macy's that is just perfect.

The sippy cup voiced actress touts the latest clothing offerings from the retailer. The first few seconds of the video offer the standard offerings for the adults. You'd easily mistake it for a real Macy's Christmas ad.

Then the bulk of the rest of the ad gets into those cute childrens' outfits that will ultimately be worn by not-so-cute children. And their exasperated parents have to deal with it. Which causes all kinds of stress, such as public embarrassment, hatred toward kids and marital discord, all things that are NOT supposed to happen at Christmas, according to the marketers.

Sample ad copy from this video, which is so like real life:

"All month long, we're taking 25% off boys' merino wool sweaters that won't fit over his head," the sippy cup narrator states.  The video shows a fed-up dad trying to put the sweater on his squirmy young son. "If you'd stop squirming, it would be on already!," the blandly handsome dad hisses at the kid.

As we all know, the stress of Christmas brings all these on more than any other time of year. So yeah, bah-humbug!

I think the video, at least in one sense, brings us the true feeling of Christmas, or at least the aspect of it in which society demands that everything be perfect and happy, but we can't quite live up to reality.

I think a lot of people agree. The video had 4.3 million views within less than 48 hours of when it was posted.

It's a great video for everybody. But I imagine it's fantastic for parents of young children. Watch and enjoy and feel the catharsis:

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Everybody Is Flushing Trump's Toilet Talk Down The Um, Toilet

I'm going to go against my better judgement here and talk about toilets.

Donald Trump made the same mistake when he discussed this plumbing feature last week.  It's old news now, but worth revisiting.

To wit, he said as Vox and just about everybody else reported:

"'People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times as opposed to once. They end up using more water,' Trump said, complaining that water flow in other fixtures has slowed to a trickle. 'You can't wash your hands practically, there's so little water comes out of the faucet, and the end result is you leave the faucet on and it takes you much longer to wash your hands, you end up using the same amount of water.'"

Let's set aside for a moment that you'd think the president has bigger things to worry about than low-flow toilets.  I guess he's against regulations that make toilets use less water.  Maybe he poops a lot more than you and me.  Some people call him a shithead, so there's that.

Although early models of low flow toilets did seem problematic to us non-shitheads, as far as I'm concerned they fixed the problem.

So if I, and I presume most people need just one flush per poop, what is Trump pooping that requires 15 flushes to go away?  I really don't want to think about it, but still.

As usual, Twitter came to the rescue with this crisis.

One of my favorite tweets in response to all this was the following:

To be fair to the POTUS, it's hard to get the whole Constitution and Bill of Rights down in one flush.

 Referencing Trump's recent mysterious Saturday trip to the Walter Reed Medical Center: 

Now we know why he went to Walter Reed

Maybe some corruption is involved? 

Christ… Was he trying to flush his tax returns?

And finally, here's a good diagnosis: 

Wow! Proof he's full of sh*t!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Don't Let Your Dog Drive. You'll Get Dizzy

A man in the foreground tries to figure out what to do as a dog in the
car drives backwards in circles around a Florida cup-de-sac.
Police eventually stopped the car, and the dog, named Max,
was miraculously not charged with reckless driving. 
I do love this report from Florida that came out last month.

A dog decided to go for a drive.  Maybe the dog wanted to be a little mavericky, too.

A Port St. Lucie man arrived home one day and left his dog Max temporarily the car while he ran into the house for a minute.

Police said:

"The dog named Max accidentally hit the shifter into reverse causing the car to circle the cul-de-sac, leaving the owner locked out of the car.....As the car circled the cup-de-sac, it struck and damaged a mailbox."

I guess police in Port St. Lucie are pretty mellow and understanding.  They entered the code on the key pad of the door and managed to stop the car.

Max, who was not wearing a seat belt, wasn't hurt and wasn't issued a citation, despite the obvious dangerous driving and lack of a seat belt. I guess dogs get a pass, which I can understan.

 Here's a video from Good Morning America:

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Bad 1970s Disco Song Has Even Worse Dancing, But It's Hilarious

The three members of the Silver Convention struggling to get through
their dance moves in their song, "Fly, Robin Fly" back in
the 1970s. I'd have my back to the audience too because I dance
as badly as they do. But they had spunk! 
There was a disco song in 1975 called "Fly, Robin, Fly," which was about as lightweight and inconsequential as you can get.

The song was stupid, and had nothing to it, but it was rather catchy regardless, so it was a hit.  (It doesn't take much, sometimes).

This song was done in the days before so-called official videos, but people did make music videos anyway.

"Fly, Robin, Fly" was performed by three hapless women called Silver Convention. As you can see in the video below their dance skills were, um.....let's just say they could have used a little more practice.

Especially since the dance moves weren't exactly of the calibre you might find on "So You Think You Can Dance."

I especially like the woman on the left, who seems to keep glancing over at her cohorts to confirm whether she was making the right moves, or whether she was out of step. She needn't have. They were all way off. And they often looked confused, which adds to the fun. They certainly would have been buzzed off of "American's Got Talent" if it existed in those days.

But they probably wouldn't have been kicked off "The Gong Show," which DID exist in that era, so there's that

And the attempt at flinging around their hair was cool, too.  Here's the video, just for laughs:

Monday, December 2, 2019

Mr. Rogers' Widow Gets The Best Surprise On A Hospital Visit

Newborns at a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania childrens'
hospital got dressed up like Mr. Rogers on
World Kindness Day back in November
OK, time for a little sweetness.

Back in November, the widow of Mr. Rogers was invited to visit a Pittsburgh womens' hospital as part of World Kindness Day.

Mr. Rogers was among the kindest people the world has even know, so the visit seemed appropriate.

Mrs. Rogers was led into the nursery, where newborns relaxed and recovered after entering this world.  What Mrs. Rogers found hand to be quite familiar to her, and would make us all go "Awwwwwww."

All the newborn  were dressed in red cardigans, little ties, comfortable pants and sneakers.  I guess that was the perfect way to dress for Pittsburgh's newest neighbors.

As anyone who knows and loves Mr. Rogers knows, that's how he was dressed as he greeted us at each episode, when it was always a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

The mom of one of the newborns said she watched Mr. Rogers as a kid and his message of kindness and acceptance stuck with her.

She and her husband said those are the values they want to instill in their newborn daughter. I guess Mr. Rogers' legacy lives on, huh?

Here's a nice news clip of the event from CBS Pittsburgh:

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Time To Revive The Blog!!

I blow off steam by gardening and writing silly things like this blog
The willow tree on my property decided to blow off steam on
November 1 by falling over and crushing my husband's Jeep.
We all have our ways, dont we?
I've had a long hiatus from this here blog thingy because I just got too busy. I know that sounds like an excuse, and it is, but there you go.  Hard to believe the last post here was on July 4.

It's been an active few months, both with work and lots of stuff to do outside of work.  It involves lots of garden work, lots of extra time spent at my other job as we went through a systems upgrade, fun things like Jeff's retirement, parties to honor that and a hot air balloon trip.  

There were a few minor disasters along the way, like a storm a few weeks back that toppled my beloved willow tree onto Jeff's Jeep, crushing that vehicle beyond repair. The same storm cut off electrical and cable service, and heat to our house, briefly, so there's that.

Now that winter has set in early, it's time to jump in the saddle again. I don't know where this will lead, and frankly, I do this blog just as a release, because I like to write, even if I'm sometimes not good at it. And to vent. And to expose both really good and really bad ideas to whoever reads this.

Good ideas need to be celebrated, and bad ideas need to see the light of day so that maybe people won't repeat them.  I know that humans have an unlimited capacity to be dumb, so I am a bit of a pollyanna when it comes to trying to shame people into stop being stupid. Besides, I'm perfectly capable of being totally idiotic, too. That's life, I guess.

Sometimes, while watching the news over the past few months while I was blowing off this blog, I sort of missed blowing off steam here in this blog thingy. But for most of my hiatus, the weather was warm and pleasant. I have lots of gardens to enjoy. So I would always cool off, both physically and mentally, among the flowers, plants, shrubs and other plants I'm lucky enough to have on my property.

Sometimes, when I am writing, I can do a quick throwaway piece that just shows off a social media meme, a funny video, or one of the zillions of quirky people this good Earth holds. Sometimes, when I have the time, especially on a cold winter day when all I want to do is hibernate inside, I do a deeper dive, which has its own pleasures.

I'm not a great writer. My brain is weird, though, which is actually a benefit.  I do hope some people get a bit of pleasure, or at least some type of emotion when I write something and you see it, like here.  If not, thanks for indulging me and allowing me to blow off steam.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

"New" Freddie Mercury Song Is Out; Song Discovered From 1985

Freddie Mercury belts out "Time Waits For No One" in a
previously unreleased song and video. Proves why he
was such a vocal powerhouse. 
The great Freddie Mercury passed away in 1991 but I, along with millions of other people, can't get enough of him.

Believe it or not, there's a "new" tune out there by Freddie Mercury called "Time Waits For No One." and it is a gem.  According to USA Today, singer and producer Dave Cark recorded Mercury performing a version of the song called "Time" for a sci-fi rock musical.

The song had all kinds of production, some would save over production, with big percussions ad all kinds of backup vocals. That song was released and peaked at number 32 on the UK music charts in 1985.

However, Clark had Mercury record a different version of the song accompanied only by piano. That's what's being released now as "Time Waits For No One."

Clark re-discovered "Time Waits For No One" last year, but decided to wait to release it.  He'd been looking for the master and video for more than a decade, but searches of recording studio failed to turn the up, says NPR.  Then, miraculously they were found in 2017.

By then, the Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" was coming out, and Clark didn't want to compete with that, reports USA Today. 

So he waited to release it

As you can see and hear in the video below, you don't need any big production values when it comes to Mercury. Just let him sing. You can also see is familiar, unique mannerisms as he performs.

And what a performance!

Here's the song and video:

Sunday, June 30, 2019

My Favorite Pride Month Song Is "Sinful"

A scene from the rather dark song and video which is actually
my favorite Pride Month anthem.
It's Pride Month, and it's a big tadoo for the LGBTQ community, of which I'm a part.

Everything in life seems to have a soundtrack and this is no different. Lots of songs and anthems and hits fit.  Click on the hyperlinks to all these examples to enjoy the music videos. It's worth it.

There's many dozens of diverse examples of great Pride anthems in all kinds of genres. Awesome ones include the sad, haunting "Smalltown Boy," the 1984 hit by the Bronski Beat. There's the joyous, boisterous 2011 anthem "Born This Way," by Lady Gaga.

"Follow Your Arrow," the country hit by the amazing songwriter Kasey Musgraves doesn't get too explicit about gay pride, but the message is crystal clear in this terrific song. "When the straight and narrow gets a little too straight."

You of course CAN NOT  skip Madonna's "Vogue" or Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors."  And just because it's Cher, you can pick something like "Believe."

You'd think this gay weather geek blogger's favorite Pride Month anthem would be the goofy, fun and exhilarating "It's Raining Men," by The Weather Girls. Close, but not quite.

I have to agree with the Joe.My.God blog guy that the best Pride anthem, at least in my opinion is "It's A Sin" by the Pet Shop Boys. It's a lot darker than a lot of songs I've listed, but I like the dark side of music.

Now, I'm not bashing the Catholic religion, but I was raised in that church and guilt is a big part of it. And also my impression was you could not necessarily be who you are and still adhere to the conservative church.

The protagonist in "It's A Sin" goes over everything he supposed to be ashamed about himself over, but the song makes it clear that he has nothing to be ashamed about, but perhaps others do. I also love the imagery in the music video.

Here's the "It's A Sin" video. Enjoy it and Pride Month:

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

German Town Goes On Beer Buying Spree To Annoy Neo-Nazis

Residents of Ostritz, Germany are seen here buying up all the beer
at the town's supermarket so an influx of Nazis at a right-wing
festival wouldn't be able to buy any. 
The area around Ostritz in the Saxony area of Germany is dealing with the Shield and Sword rock music festival, a favored gathering for neo-Nazis and other like-minded creeps.

The only thing worse than a Nazi is a drunk Nazi, so people in Ostritz had that in mind when they came up with an "evil" plan.

A court had earlier ruled that booze would be banned inside the event, so Ostritz residents figured the Nazis would buy their beer in town on the way to the festival.

So, residents raided the local supermarket and bought every last bit of beer in there before the festival-going right wing assholes couldn't get any.

Double bonus: Townspeople could down a nice cold one or two while holding their own peaceful demonstration agains the Neo-Nazis. It's a win-win.

No word from the Nazi creeps if they were unduly thirsty during the festival. Poor babies.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Tanya Tucker Teams Up With Brandi Carlile; Results Are Magical

The awesome Tanya Tucker will drop her first album in 17 years
 coming August 23. The first single from the album is out, and
it really bodes well for the rest of the album
The great Tanya Tucker made a big splash at the recent CMT awards show when she and Brandi Carlile teamed up to perform the iconic Tucker song "Delta Dawn."

It's terrific seeing Tanya Tucker on stage again. And she rocks that pink hair look!

There had to be an ulterior motive for her appearance at the CMT's. And there was. Tucker is promoting her first album since 2002.

The new album is produced by Carlile and Shooter Jennings.

Carlile is the best songwriter in the world today, at least in my opinion and that of so many other people, so that bodes well for the rest of the new Tucker album.

Shooter Jennings is also a top-rate songwriter with a great pedigree - he's the son of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter.

The new Tucker album, "While I'm Livin'" is due to drop on August 23. The first single from the album, called "The Wheels of Laredo" is out now.

The song was written by Carlile and Tim and Phil Hanseroth. (The Hanseroth twin brothers are the two tall, talented bald guys you see in Carlile's band.)

The video, which is a work of art on its own, was directed by Myriam Santos.

Here's the song and video of Tanya Tucker's "The Wheels of Laredo". You're going to love it.

Monday, June 10, 2019

"Love Calls Back" Ad During Tonys Telecast Has People Weeping

A scene from the Verizon/Pflag ad "Love Call Back."
Last night, during the Tony Awards on television, Verizon, the telecommunications giant, and Pflag, a advocacy group for the LGBTQ community, aired an ad that had many weeping, including me.

The ad, calls "Up To Speed," or "Love Calls Back," featured young LGBTQ people who were estranged from parents or other loved ones.

The conversations when these youths came out of the closet to their families went badly, so there was little or no communication after that.  

Everybody hurt because of these situations, obviously.

In the ad, Verizon and Pflag arranged do-overs for these initial conversations. Parents, brothers and others who initially had reacted badly to their kids' orientation since the first bad conversation had time to think about it, and had come to realize there really wasn't anything wrong with their LGBTQ kids, and that they still loved them.

The ad is a nice bit of hope for people who are estranged, and I hope it encourages more do-over calls to reunite people.  The whole thing, of course, is timed to coincide with June, which is Pride Month.

I fully realize that not all families have such happy endings. Some LGBTQ youth and adults remain estranged from stubborn, ignorant parents forever, which is sad to say the least.

I was lucky when I came out. My father immediately supported me. My mother reacted extremely harshly and negatively, but eventually came around. It took a little work, but she did it.

The video is below.  The first 1:40 of the video explains what it does. After that Kleenex alert!  It is a weeper, but worth watching:

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Big Pharma Gouging Gets Even More Infuriating With New Site "Correction."

Mallinkrodt CEO Mark Trudeau. Getting rich off by endangering
infants by price gouging anti-seizure meds. Nice. 
Gizmodo, a news, technology and science website, recently ran an incredibly infuriating article about a company called Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.

This outfit bought another pharmaceutical company called Questcor in 2014.

Anyway, Gizmodo reported that Questcor and Mallinkrodt increased the price for a drug called Acthar from "just $40 in 2000 to over $40,000 today, despite the fact that Acthar has been o the market since 1952."

Acthar is a medication that helps prevent seizures, especially in infants, so it's kind of an important drug.  Mallinckrodt rakes in about $1 billion annually from the now overpriced Acthar, said Gizmodo, citing a CNN report.

When I read that, I thought that can't be true. That's just a ridiculous price increase that nobody would dare try.

It turned out the article wasn't entirely true. Mallinckrodt sent Gizmodo an email, demanding a retraction to an error in the story. Gizmodo obliged. Here's the mea culpa that Gizmodo ran:

"Correction: This article originally stated that the price of Acthar had gone 'from just $40 in 2000 to over $40,000 today.' A spokesperson for Mallinckrodt emailed to request a correction that Acthar actually costs $38,892 today. Gizmodo regrets the error. We also regret that every last one of these guys isn't in prison yet."

Yep, Mallinckrodt was upset, not that they increased the price of a necessary drug by nearly 100,000 percent within two decades. It's that Gizmodo ever so slightly exaggerated the cost of the drug.

As if bilking people to to the tune of $40,000 is beyond the pale but doing the same for a mere $38,892 is not.  No wonder the Gizmodo correction was so snarky.

Drug companies executives do deserve to rot in jail. The Gizmodo article accurately pointed out this:

"Curiously, there's a drug called Synacthen that's identical to Acthar and sells for just $33 in Canada. So why isn't Synacthen available in the U.S.? Because Mallinckrodt bought the U.S.rights to Synacthen and simply doesn't make it available to American consumers."

Because Mallinckrodt figures infants who are injured or die from seizures because medicines are too expensive are definitely worth the profits.

The Gizmodo article explained the Mallinckridt expects to pay a $15.4 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice because of allegations that Quester bribed doctors and their staff to prescribe the super expensive medication.

Yeah, to you and me, $15.4 million seems like a lot of money to you and me. But remember, Mallinckrodt makes $1 billion a year from Acthar alone. It's comparable to the "pain" I would experience if I got a $5 parking ticket.

If this whole thing was just one isolated incident to piss you off, that would be one thing. But the news has been filled with news of Big Pharma boosting prices to sky high levels for fun and especially profit.

It doesn't matter that these new sky high prices are literally killing people. You've heard the stories. Insulin prices have soared, for example. Type 1 diabetics were paying an average of $5,705 in 2016, almost twice as much as just four years earlier. Insulin prices have spiraled in the three years since.

According to USA Today, the Senate Finance Committe told insulin makers to detail their price increases. One vial of Eli Lilly's Humalog went from $35 in 2001 to $234 in 2015. Between 2013 and this year, Nordisk's insulin went from $289 to $540.

The price got so high that diabetics started to ration their insulin. That killed many of them.  These deaths are worth if for the millions these pharma executives are raking in, apparently.  I guess they found a way to literally get away with murder.

The Pharma industry has guaranteed their profits through blocking competition, herculean efforts to confuse patients so they don't understand how much drugs really cost, notes a U.S. News and World Report.

All in the name of profits. We've gotten so dystopian that we just accept this as normal, when people should be marching in front of these evil Big Pharma companies with pitchforks and torches.

I hope there's a special place in hell for these pharma and insurance executives who think it's OK to literally kill people so they can suck up even more millions of dollars.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Florida Weirdness Continues As Usual. Alligators And People Uphold The State's Reputation.

Florida is famous for its weird news, of couse.  Half of the time, the weirdness involves alligators.

I've got three examples. I'm sure there are dozens of examples, but three is all I have the energy for.

So let's go: Even routine traffic stops are practically never routine.'

Take one case last month in which a car blew through a stop sign in Punta Gorda, Florida.

One of the standard questions the police ask you during traffic stops is whether you have anything else on you. The cop wants to make sure there aren't any dangerous guns or other weapons in case things go south during the traffic stop.  

The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office said Ariel Machan-Le Quire, 25, answered that she did. Ariel told police she and her companion had been collecting snakes and frogs beneath a nearby overpass. OK. Then she pulled a live, foot-long alligator out of her yoga pants.

The pair were warned against blowing through stop signs, and the state Fish and Wildlife agency was called in to investigate. Possibly in that order. In Florida, hiding alligators in yoga pants could well be as common as people blowing through stop signs.

She and her companion were cited for violating the bag limit on reptile collecting, which is regulated.

The alligator and all the other animals the couple found were released back into the wild.

The next alligator crisis came last month when police in Clearwater, Florida responded to a report of a home break-in.

Homeowner Mary Wischhusen heard a crash in her kitchen around 3:30 a.m. one morning and discovered the burglar in her kitchen. She retreated to a bedroom and called 911.

When police got there, they found the home had indeed been broken into, and the perp was still there. It was a ten-foot-long alligator, and it had broken into the house through a low window.

Ten police officers and two trappers spent two hours trying to coax the alligator out of Wischhusen's kitchen. Her only regret is the alligator toppled a wine case, smashing all the bottles of red wine inside. It was the good stuff, she said.

Nobody is sure why the alligator targeted Wischhusen's house. My theory is it likes red wine.

Finally, this week, a Gainsville, Florida couple decided it would be a nice idea to have a picnic on the shores of a lake.

Then an alligator decided to join the party. The couple wisely retreated, so the alligator came up and helped itself to a block of cheese, salami, half a watermelon and an entire bowl of guacamole. 

Luckily, the alligator was full after that, so instead of eating the picnicking couple, the little monster went back down to the lake.

For now, anyway.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Bad Spring For Vermont Covered Bridges And Stupid Truck Drivers

The extensively damaged covered bridge in Lyndon, Vermont.
An oversized truck barreled through the bridge in May. 
This spring was not good for Vermont's famed covered bridges. Two idiotic truckers made sure that was the case.

Back on May 16, a moronic truck driver blasted through the Millers Run bridge, built in 1878 in Lyndonville, breaking angled roof supports, damaging two main vertical beams and shattering parts of the bridge's north side.  

Police said the driver told them she was making a delivery and GPS directions said to go across the covered bridge.

As if GPS were God and she couldn't tell the truck was bigger than the bridge.

As a side note, I guess that's why truckers continually get stuck on the narrow winding Smugglers Notch pass on Route 108 in Vermont. Numerous signs tell trucks not to go up, but GPS says go, so they go. Human-created warnings be damned.

Engineering studies are going on now to figure out how to fix the bridge. The trucking company whose driver is responsible for the damage looks like they will pay for the damage.

As you can see by the video at the bottom of this post, the truck driver cruised on through, wrecking the bridge and then kept right on going, as if that was the normal thing to do.  The truck driver, Jolene Godfrey, 43, of White River Junction, was on a delivery run for Upper Valley Produce.

Just a day or two after the bridge in Lyndon was trashed another truck driver trashed another Vermont covered bridge, this one in West Woodstock. 

The truck, with a trailer carrying equipment exceed the bridge's height limit and damaged the interior of it. At least this time, the truck driver owned up to it, stopped immediately and cooperated with police.

All this is nothing new.

Last summer, another trucker damaged the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge over the Connecticut River on the Vermont-New Hampshire border.

Once again, it was GPS. Nizeyimana Silas, 31 at the time of Nashua, New Hampshire, drove through the bridge, which has a posted nine foot, two inch clearance, according to the Valley News. The truck is three feet taller than that.

Cornish Police Chief Doug Hackett had to tell the Valley News the obvious: "Following your GPS doesn't mean you don't have to follow posted signs. You can't use the GPS as an excuse.... At some point, you have to look at the road, look at the signs, look at what's going on around you."

Please, folks. Stop relying on your GPS. It lies to you.

Here's the video of the Lyndon bridge being damaged by the oblivious trucker:

Monday, June 3, 2019

I'm Not A Cat Guy, But I'm Still Really Mourning Grumpy Cat

Grumpy Cat died last month at the age of 7. 
The big, sad news of the past month is that Grumpy Cat passed away back in mid-May at the age of 7.

She was a celebrity, and word of her passing was all over the news, seemingly almost to the level of press coverage at the deaths of Michael Jackson and Princess Di.

And no wonder. Grumpy Cat was the ultimate internet celebrity, becoming one of the most popular memes out there.

She went to the SXSW festival in 2013 and people lined up around the block to take selfies with Grumpy Cat. She was probably the hottest celebrity at the star-studded event.

Grumpy Cat did have a thrilling life, making appearances on television shows and ball games. She went to Broadway to visit the cast of "Cats," --- obviously!

Grumpy Cat also "wrote" a bestselling book called "Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book."

As NPR reported:

"The Grumpy Cat book promised to 'put any bad mood in perspective' - and that seems to be a main source of the mourning and tributes that were triggered by the unexpected and unwelcome news that one of the worlds most adorable grouches is no longer with us. 

'I loved the cat,' one fan wrote, 'I find the absolute pleasure of meeting her once and I will never forget it. I will never forget the first time I saw her face! I learned much from her an deeply saddened and devastated to hear of her passing.'"

This fame was all because Grumpy Cat was a relatable meme. I'm not really into internet memes, but this one fit my occasional moods perfectly. Same with everybody else. Grumpy Cat made it OK to not be relentlessly cheerful all the time, as long as you didn't let the grumpiness harden into hate or deep gloom.

Even President Obama, during a speech, did an imitation of Grumpy Cat while mocking some negative acting Republicans.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Vermont City Marathon Scenes

Runners make their way up "Heartbreak Hill,"
which to most of us is Battery Street
in Burlington. The  Taiko Drummers helped
push people up the hill
I briefly had time to check in last Sunday - yes a week ago - for the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, Vermont.

There's always a few scenes and moments that are pretty cool.

Any one person will miss most of the quirky momets, but everybody will catch at least some. This post has just a few photos of the scenes, just for fun.

Dude with a huge
beard runs in
the marathon.

Runners make their way down Pine Street
in Burlington Sunday during the
Vermont City Marathon
Dude caught running the marathon barefoot 
A spectator and his dog watch the marathon
proceedings in Burlington this past

Monday, May 13, 2019

Doris Day Passes Away At Age 97

I have been temporarily far too busy to post on this here blog thingy lately. I hope to post more soon.

For now, though, I should mark the passing today of the great Doris Day, who passed away today at age 97.  As the loving obits all note, she really had a full, busy life of talent.

I'll save these good tributes for the experts. I'll just mark her passing with this tribute: A video of Doris Day and her famous song Que Sera Sera

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Manila Earthquake Creates Waterfall From Skyscraper Rooftop Pool

Water cascades off the side of a Manila skyscraper as an earthquake
sloshed water out of a rooftop swimming pool. 
Two strong earthquakes in the Philippines this week unfortunately killed at least 16 people and caused quite a bit of damage.

The stronger of the two quakes on Monday was centered just 50 miles from the Philippines capital of Manila. High rises swayed and panicked workers fled from buildings.

One big highrise has a rooftop pool. In an earthquake the swaying from side to side on top of a skyscraper is bigger than at the base.

So the quake sent pool water cascading over the side of the building like a waterfall.

The video, below, is pretty dramatic.


Monday, April 22, 2019

Baby Elephant Makes Me Want This Man's Job

Dan Daeng was trying to paint a fence.
Khunsuk the baby elephant would have
none of it. It was time to play!
At the Mae-Sa Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand, keeper Dan Daeng, 20, was trying to be productive. He was hard at work trying to get a fence painted.

Khunsuk would have none of it. Khunsuk is a one year old baby elephant who thinks all work and no play makes Dan a dull boy.   

So, Khunsuk tried to put a stop to Dan's work. He tried slapping Dan with his trunk to get him to play. He tried tapping on his leg. Dan ignored Khunsuk. There was work to do! But Khunsuk said, no, and ruffled Dan's hair.

It was all over. Fence painting was done. Time to play. The resulting video, below, makes me really wish I had Dan Daeng's job.

Or, at least I could hav Khunsuk the baby elephant over to my house for awhile so we could play in the yard.


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

This Casually Dressed Dad Will End Up On America's Got Talent, Or Something

A rather buff dad in a football shirt and shorts looks like he wanted to entertain his smiling young daughter at Disney World.

Justin Gigliello belts out "Ave Maria" during a visit to Disney
World with his young daughter. 
The dad, named Justin Gigliello was at Disney World with his young daughter.

He posted the video on Twitter, and wrote: "I just wanted to share this video for a Disney experience! We just went to Disney World ast week and my daughter asked the pianist at the Grand Floridian if I could sing while he played."

The pianist agreed and began playing the Franz Schubert masterpiece Ave Maria and Gigliello began singing it. Beautifully.

The best part besides the singing is the proud look on the face of the young daughter as her father performed.

Naturally, the clip has gone viral. I'm also sure that producers from shows like "America's Got Talent" are beating down Gigliello's door trying to get him on these shows.

Here's the video: