Thursday, January 31, 2019

Are You Ready To Be Emotionally Manipulated, Er, I Mean Watch Super Bowl Ads?

A scene from "The Most Manipulative Super Bowl Ad Ever"
I admit I get into this every year around this time:  The Super Bowl ads appear, and you have all these images that tug at your heart strings, like the soldiers coming home, the Budweiser Clydesdale horses saving the day, or whatever.

I get sucked into all this, and I end up liking some of these ads. And sharing them. Which of course is what the sponsors of these ads want us to do.

I'll probably get so taken in by these ads I will end up sharing them with you in this here blog thingy. But oh, well.

Stephen Colbert has gotten us ready for this onslaught by airing an ad he and his team invented, called the "The Most Emotionally Manipulative Super Bowl Ad Ever." It's got everything: America, homecomings, puppies, tragedy, pride, warmth, people on the job, dedicated people. And of course the corporate product at the end.

To prepare yourself for the Super Bowl ad season, here's the clip from The Late Show With Stephen Colbert:

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Most Canadian Possible Highway Wreck: Hockey Game Breaks Out Amid Stopped Traffic

Cars on Highway 40 northeast of Montreal were caught for hours
behind a highway wreck. This being Canada, the obvious thing
that happened was a hockey game broke out on the
icy highway while people waited for the wreck to be cleared.
A couple days ago, Highway 40  in Quebec was terribly icy. Not surprisingly, a 40 to 50 car pileup occurred on the icy road about 25 miles northeast of Montreal.

Of course, I won't make light of that. Several people were hurt, thankfully none seriously. And hundreds of cars were trapped on the highway for hours, until the wrecks were cleaned up.

However, I do have to make light of one aspect of this crash.

This being Canada, people made the best of the situation in the most Canadian way possible. The highway really did resemble a skating rink, so people trapped in their cars dragged out their hockey sticks and play began on the rink, er, Highway 40. 

They tell us to have an emergency kit in our car during the winter. You know, things like blankets, a shovel, snacks, a weather radio, that kind of thing. If this is any indication, a Canadian car winter emergency kit consists of hockey sticks and a couple of pucks.

Here's a quick recap video of the game.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Randy Rainbow's Newest Video Has Him Channeling How "Chicago" Relates To Trump

Randy Rainbow dropped his latest video today. Enjoy
this version of "Cell Block Tango."
As always, when Randy Rainbow comes up with a new parody video, I have to note the occasion, which is what I'm doing today.

This might be his best one yet, which is saying something. It's a version of "Cell Block Tango" from "Chicago."

Rainbow's version is "The Donald Trump Cell Block Tango."   You should probably see and hear the Chicago "Cell Block Tango" for reference first, then go on to Randy Rainbow's take.

Unlike a list of men the women in Chicago's "Cell Block Tango" knocked off, Rainbow gives us a who's who of Trump sycophants who are now in trouble, or soon to be in trouble. It's a long list and it's a wonder Rainbow managed to edit things down for his video.

Rainbow knows the Trump list is long, so he has a subtitle to his video "Part One, Probably."

Rainbow does get his digs in, like when he notes Roger Stone was "indicted on multiple counts, including lying, obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lacking basic fashion sense."

You'll have to see and hear the rest. Some of the visuals in the video are priceless.

Here ya go!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

"Jumper Cable Jam" Is Delightful Result Of Chance Neighborhood Meeting; You Will Smile

A random woman named Cleopatra walked by some musicians
jamming on an Oakland, California stoop.
The result was glorious. 
I love it when random, inconsequential moments turn into an alchemy that puts us all in a good mood.

Such was the case this month in Oakland, California. The ingredients to what happened are no big deal.

A couple members of a musical group called Milk For The Angry were on a front stoop, just jamming with their instruments.

A car on the street broke down, and somebody went to get jumper cables to get the vehicle running again. A woman named Cleopatra walked by.  From what I can gather, she was bringing popcorn and ice cream to her brother. Those jumper cables were also on her mind. Then she took notice of the musicians on the stoop.

Cleopatra joined in, and the rest is glorious history. I just LOVE Cleopatra. Watch, and you will, too:

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Gillette Ad On "Toxic Masculinity" Is Still Annoying Some Snowflakes

A scene from the Gillette ad that takes on "toxic masculinity"
I'm still not sure why so many (mostly conservative)
viewers hate it. 
That Gillette ad that hooks itself up with the Me Too movement and criticizes "toxic masculinity" has been out for a couple weeks now and some men - and a few women - are still pissed off at it.

The way some guys see it, the ad was meant to make all men feel bad about themselves.

I've seen the ad a few times now, and I'm still at a loss as to how this ad is offensive to guys.

It seems to call out the worst among us, and offer up the best of us as an antidote. It encourages us to be the best we can. You'd think that wouldn't be too controversial, but whatever.

I'm a gay guy, so there's some people who would probably say I have no right, or at least no knowledge of what "masculine" is.  But men of any orientation can be masculine.

The Gillette ad to me is a throwback. It seems to illustrate what I was taught masculine meant decades ago when I was a kid.

A "real" man, I was taught, stands up for himself and others who are unfairly targeted. Masculinity is all about being respectful to others without letting other people disrespect you. A masculine man is a class act, ready to help out others in need, but is never a chump.

Masculine men stand up for what they believe, in word and deed. They don't try to disempower others, thinking that somehow builds them up. They don't lie, cheat or try to game the system.  Masculine men are not bullies. They love to win, but only if the fight is fair.

A masculine man can be physically powerful, but that muscle isn't entirely necessary. The masculine man expresses his power by intervening in a situation that is wrong. A masculine man is brave, willing to promote an unpopular stand, if he thinks it's right.

A straight masculine man of course wants to have relationships with women. But this masculine man backs off when she says no. It's the right thing to do, and it's a matter of pride to be a mensch.

This is all stuff I learned from my father when I was growing up. I married a man who has all these traits, which is why I know I married well.

All that seems to be the theme of the Gillette ad.

Then how is it making men "feel bad" about themselves, as the critics claim? I see no evidence that the ad is trying to insult all men.

"If Gillette made a commercial predicated on women being bad & this is how they can all do better....the same radical feminists loving this ad would go nuts," Piers Morgan tweeted.

Oh Piers, where does it say in the ad that all men are bad? Come on, I'm waiting.

Karol Markowicz in the New York Post complained the ad tells us men are "universal aggressors and rapists" and that we need to "stop insulting men."

No, we only insult the men who are jerks.

The theme I kept seeing in the Gillette criticism is was somehow calling out men for being men. Which is the real insult to men. Do most men really want to be the worst they could be, not the best?  Some of these critics doth protest too much.

I get it that Gillette put the ad out in part to get people to talk about the brand and maybe be inspired to pick up some of their products. Even if some snowflake-y people boycott the firm. Gillette wants to sell stuff, everybody knows that.

Gillette isn't always practicing what they preach, either, as The Today show points out. There is sort of a "pink tax" on products like razors marketed toward women that cost more, even though these products are identical to what men pay for basically the same products.

The ad is probably a logical extension of the "Me Too" movement. I guess they were trying to say that men can be allies in that movement. That's not such a bad thing

For what it's worth, here's the Gillette ad so you can see it again:

Friday, January 18, 2019

Want A Beer At Applebee's Buy The Small Size. Here's Why

Somebody posted a video that shows how restaurants use different shaped glasses to make us think we're getting a lot more to drink in large sizes than small.

At Applebee's the people in the video ordered a small beer and a large beer. They drank the small beer. Then they poured the contents of the large beer into the smaller glass. When the small glass was full, there was barely anything at all in the large glass.

I'm guessing a lot of other restaurants do this, too. Watch and see for yourself:

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Hurting The Wrong People? Trumpsters Don't Want To Be Collateral Damage

A percentage (not all) of Trump supporters seem to like him because his
presidency his hurting (nonwhite) people they don't like
and that makes these supports happy.
A quote from a New York Times article last week from a woman who has been affected by the government shutdown has hit a lot of nerves, including my own.

The Florida Panhandle is pretty conservative. Trump territory. The Times interviewed a woman named Crystal Minton, a secretary at a local federal prison.

She's not happy about the pain caused by the government shutdown, as she is going without a paycheck for the duration. 

This is what she told the Times, regarding Trump: "I voted for him and he's the one who's doing this....I thought he was going to do good things. He's not hurting the people he needs to be hurting."

Got that?

I can't paint all Trump voters with the same brush. Not all are racist. Not all are hurtful. But this quote sums up why I'm disgusted by a fair number of Trump supporters.

A lot of them think the whole point of his presidency is to hurt people. Trump's not good at many things, but he's good at hurting people, or at least trying to. Notice how Minton regards hurting people as "good things."

Of course, the people Minton thinks Trump ought to be hurting are not white people like her. Nope,

Or as Vox puts it:

"Making America great again, in her mind, involves inflicting pain....This is what makes Trumpism work. This is the dark heart of our political movement. Even people who are tremendously vulnerable themselves, like Crystal Minton, support Trump because of his capacity to inflict pain on others they detest."

Perhaps Adam Serwer, writing in The Atlantic, put it even more succinctly, describing Trumpsters' belief that their and America's birthright is straight, white Christian men:

"(Trumps) only real, authentic pleasure is in cruelty. It is that cruelty, and the delight it brings them that binds his most ardent supporters to him, in shared scorn for those they hate and fear: immigrants, black voters, feminists and treasonous white men who empathize with any of those would steal their birthright. The president's ability to execute that cruelty through word and deed makes them euphoric. It makes them feel happy, it makes them feel united. And as long as he  makes them feel that way, they will let him get away with anything, no matter what it costs them."

Trump is a grifter, and he'll never hesitate to hurt anyone if it's expedient to him. Still, I have a feeling that Minton, the woman who said Trump is hurting "the wrong people" will ultimately stick by the president.

For now at least, the white, straight, cruel folks feel emboldened. Rep. Steven King of Iowa touts white supremacy and pretty much gets away with it, even with a backlash against him.

YouTube is now full of videos showing people being unabashedly racist toward blacks who have the gall to walk into their own apartment building, have a barbecue, go swimming at the neighborhood pool, park their car, or show up for work.

True. there's a backlash against the racist idiots in these videos, but still, they persist.

It's unclear whether the hate wing of the Trump crowd will go away, or get worse, or just be the unfortunately background noise of American life and politics.

I do believe this old cliche is true: "Hate destroys the vessel that carries it."

Those who embrace the hateful aspects of Trump do so at their own peril. There will be karma.  Maybe that karma has already started.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Now It's A Fight: Government Shutdown Blocks New Craft Beers

Vermont has a LOT of craft breweries, and the government shutdown
is preventing them all from rolling out new brews. This is
a problem nationwide because of the Washington stupidity. 
This week, I learned of a new, terrible effect of the long partial federal government shutdown.

Breweries, including all of Vermont's many craft breweries can't release new beers to the public.

There's an obscure federal agency called the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) that must approve all new beers and their labels before they can be sold.  It's an arm of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

This agency is shut down. It's a bit of a crisis for breweries because now is the time of year they prepare to release their summer beers. That's a big marketing push, and if breweries can't release the summer stuff, they can't sell it, and we can't try it.

Yes, I know this is a much smaller crisis than the fact that hundreds of thousands of workers are not getting paid and face potential financial ruin. It's also not as important that public safety is compromised, and unsupervised national parks are being trashed by legions of idiots.

Brewers are saying if the government reopens this week, they might be able to get their summer products on store shelves in May. A little late, but still OK. If the government is shut down longer than that, it might be August before those new summer beers hit the shelves. At that point, why bother?

Even when or if the federal bureau opens, there's going to be a big backlog of new beer applications they're going to have to deal with.

This won't just hurt breweries, Rob Burns of Night Shift Brewing in Everett, Massachusetts told NBC  News. "Business is really so unpredictable and fragile and things that are completely out of control can have a big impact,"

The business model for most craft breweries is to constantly churn out new, innovative beers people love to try, notes Esquire. The government shutdown is, well, shutting down that tap. Craft Brewing in the United States is now a $76 billion industry. This will not be good.

This is particularly bad in Vermont, which is sort of the Napa Valley of craft beers. The Vermont Brewers Association says as of 2017, says the industry in the state has an overall economic impact of $378.2 million. Of that, $126.7 million is direct to tourism, and the industry accounts for $107.8 million in labor income.

Vermont has 11.49 breweries per capita, which is first in the nation.

A shorter government shutdown in 2013 had Vermont brewers pulling out their hair, VPR reported at the time. It has to be much worse now.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Randy Rainbow's Latest: He Takes On Trump's Wall

Randy Rainbow is back with another parody song and video, called
"There's Nothing Like A Wall."
Our latest installment of the Randy Rainbow video series takes on Donald Trump's border wall.

To the tune of "There's Nothing Like A Dame" from Rodger and Hammerstein's 1949 classic "South Pacific," Rainbow takes us on a tour of what Trump gets, such as badgered, booed and heckled coast to coast, but he doesn't have his wall.

Sample lyric: "There is nothing like an unnecessary 2,000 mile barrier that says hey look at us world we're a bunch of mother***ing assholes."

As is almost always the case with his videos, Rainbow starts off with a news "interview," this time with Vice President, and as Rainbow puts it, "Ru Paul's Drag Race Season Three Finalist" Mike Pence, then launches into his tune.

Here's the video:

Monday, January 14, 2019

Bad 1958 TV Program Has Oddly Familar Trump Bad Guy

A character in a 1958 show "Trackdown" was named Walter Trump,
who was a con man trying to steal all the wealth from an Old West
town. The script has eerie similarities to the life of Donald
Trump, who some think is a con man. 
Some TV script writer in the 1950s seemed to be able to channel to 2018 when he wrote  an episode of a forgotten television show called "Trackdown."

The western ran on CBS from 1957 to 1959. An episode of "Trackdown" called "The End Of The World" aired on May 9, 1958.  It features a villain named Walter Trump. Video of this show is at the bottom of this post.

I'll let Quartz give you a thumbnail of the episode's story:

"Trump is a con man - we're talking about the show - who comes to ranger Gilman's town to warn people that the end of the world is nigh, and offering his services to prevent it. And how will 1958 TV con man Trump stop the end of the world? By building a wall, of course!"

The Trump in "Trackdown" also has a familiar cadence in his speech: "I am the only one....Trust me I can build a wall around your homes that nothing -nothing! will penetrate."

Townspeople in the show fell for the con hook, line and sinker.  The town judge tells Ranger Gilman "Trump sure is having his way."

The TV Trump also threatens to sue Texas Ranger Sheriff Hoby Gilman for daring to call Trump out on his con.

Despite most of the town falling for Trump's scam, Ranger Gilman eventually manages to arrest the 1958 TV Trump for what Gilman says is "grand theft, fraud - I think a jury would find it stealing."

I won't give away the ending. I don't like being a spoiler. You can watch the show.

No word yet if there will continue to be eerie parallels between the 1958 Trump and the current presidential version.

Here's the episode:

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Montana Senator Sets Us Straight On Government Shutdown

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) explains why everybody in
Washington, especially his colleagues, need to grow up, open
the government and deal with border security like adults
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana is a pretty common sense sort of guy

He has to be, given he's s Democrat from the red state of Montana.  Voters in Big Sky Country usually don't do well with people dishing bullcrap. Tester knows that.

Donald Trump really tried hard to get him unseated by his Republican challenger during the November, 2018 election, but it didn't work. Tester won re-election.

You might find clues as to why Tester won re-election from the video, below.

He explains in less than six minutes to his Senate colleagues why the Senate must lead, re-open the government and end this shutdown which has gone on for more than three weeks.

Tester is all for border security, but would like everybody to act like adults for a change and figure
out how best to accomplish that goal.

Here's his video, which is beginning to turn viral on social media. Totally worth the watch:

Friday, January 11, 2019

Florida Again: Woman Has Gross Way Of Ruining Kid's Birthday Party

Heather Carpenter of Florida, naturally, is accused of spreading
crap all over tables and grills at a park because a school principal
she hates planned a birthday party for her daughter at the
park later that day. 
A now presumably former substitute teacher in, yes, Florida apparently really hates the principal at the school where she worked. 

This idiot, Heather Carpenter showed up at Urfer Park in Sarasota County, Florida at 6:30 a.m. on December 1 and spread feces all over the wooden tables and grills at the pavilion in the park, says Fox 13 News in Tampa. 

The alleged reason: The principal at the school where she worked planned a birthday party for her daughter at the park. All the kids in the class were invited, including Carpenter's kid. But Carpenter was having some sort of dispute with the principal, so she decided to act like the shitty person she is.

The party had to be canceled, and the county had to replace all the tables and grills. They were too far gone to be cleaned. In all this cost the county $2,310, including labor costs. And the principal's poor kid didn't have her birthday party.

Lots of people use parks in a busy place like Sarasota County, and there's people milling about, even at 6:30 in the morning. One of them was a guy named Mike Hutchinson, who caught Carpenter doing this, spreading the crap around while wearing a surgical mask and blue rubber gloves.

She fled, but police later figured out who she, in part because of Hutchinson's description of her, and they arrested her. She faces felony criminal mischief and properth damage charges, Fox 13 says.

On the bright side, of sorts, she upheld Florida's reputation as a place where people go to commit weird, weird, crimes.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

"Megakota?" Latest Weird Move To Alter United States Map

A dumb petition is advocating that North and South
Dakota be merged into one state, called MegaKota. 
People are always coming up with daft ideas to alter the map of the United States.

The latest: Merge North Dakota and South Dakota into one big state, called "MegaKota."

Obviously, this idea will go nowhere, but that's not going to stop people from trying.

A petition was recently posted by Dillan Stewart of Fargo, North Dakota. This doesn't sound like a fully formed proposal, if you ask me. Stewart wrote: "I think itd (sic) be pretty cool to have a state called MegaKota so yeah.  oh (sic) yeah and then maybe Puerto Rico can be a state and we won't have to change our flag."

Uh, right.

As of late morning Thursday, the petition had nearly 7,000 signatures and it was increasing rapidly,   , so some people like this idea.  A few people think there's zero difference between North and South Dakota, so you might as well merge them. Still, people from both states would beg to differ on that assessment.

If MekaKota came into being, it would be the fourth largest state by land area, the 37th largest economy  and the sixth biggenst farm economy according to journalist David H. Montgomery.

My husband Jeff, originally from South Dakota, points out that "Megakota" is an insult to Native Americans in the region. After all "Dakota" refers to one of several tribes among the Sioux,  others being Lakota and Nakota.

"MegaKota"  to me sounds like a real slap in the face to these tribes.

There's been all kinds of weird merger or secession proposals around. One ballot proposal that might be in the works would make California secede from the union, a Calexit of sort.  Of course, nobody thinks that will get anywhere, either.

It looks like Russia was trying to encourage this, too. Which is something you'd kind of expect from Putin and his ilk.

Another harebrained scheme would split California into three parts - the northern third, coastal southern California and inland southern California. Why, I don't know.

There's also been a weak movement to have Texas secede from the union. That won't go anywhere either. The "logic" behind the Texas movement is the federal government is taking away too many rights for liberty loving Texans, or something like that.

And, wouldn't you know! Russia was trying to encourage Texas secession, too. 

No word yet on whether the Russians will sign on to "MegaKota. Probably not, because the Dakotas are not trying to split off from the Union.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Now I'm Afraid To Drive Under Large Interstate Highway Signs

A still from a dashcam video showing a large freeway sign
suddenly falling on a car in Melbourne, Australia. 
Those big green signs on Interstate Highways are a dime a dozen, pointing us to which exit gets us to which town, or whatever.

These signs are all over highways all over the world, including Australia. This week, on a pleasant summer day in Melbourne, Australia (it's summer down there, for those who don't know), a giant highway sign crashed down on a car taking a freeway exit.

The dashcam footage below shows the sign crushing the car. The worst damage to the car was on the right side. In Australia, like England, the driver's side is to the right.  Still, miraculously, the driver, a 53-year-old woman, was hospitalized with minor neck injuries overnight and is expected to make a full recovery.

No word yet on why the sign came down on a calm, windless day with no storms around, but now the prospect of one of these coming down is going to be just one more reason to be worried while driving down the Interstate.

Here's the video:

Why Did This Weirdo Lick A Doorbell For Three Hours?

This weirdo was caught on home security cameras licking a
doorbell for three hours. I'm sure when they catch this
guy some people will want to know why. 
This story has gone viral, and I can see why.

People in Salinas, California, and pretty much everywhere else are wondering why some weirdo was licking a doorbell on a pleasant looking house in that city.

The homeowners had installed video surveillance about a month ago. They weren't home when this happens, but they get alerts on their phone when there's a lot of activity at the house.

They reviewed the surveillance footage, and found this idiot licking the doorbell. For three hours.

The video went viral and this guy now has a nationwide reputation as being, well, EWWWWWW!!

Police said the images on the surveillance video were pretty damn clear, which helped lead them to Roberto Daniel Arroyo, 33, who is the alleged doorbell licker. He could face two misdemeanor charges of petty theft and prowling.

He didn't take anything except for an extension cord, which was later found at a nearby neighbor's house. Arroyo did apparently stop his doorbell licking long enough to take a pee on the front lawn.

The family that owns the house, as you might imagine, spent quite a bit of time cleaning the doorbell with antiseptic cleanser.

Here's the news video, with some footage of the oddball doorbell licker:

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

"Star Spangled Banner" Sounds Suspiciously Russian When Played In Minor Key

Comedian and musician Bill Bailey gives us an unsettling
take on "The Star Spangled Banner"
A comedian and musician named Bill Bailey has given us a rather startling musical oddity.

He likes to play around with musical scores, playing tunes intended to be played in a minor key in a major key instead. And he plays songs in major keys in minor keys.

There's a viral video floating about in which Bailey gives examples. The video is at the bottom of this post. At first he plays around with different snippets of songs, then gets to "The Star Spangled Banner," the United States National Anthem.

Like most national anthems, "The Star Spangled Banner" is meant to be played in a major key. As Bailey says, that makes them feel celebratory and uplifting.

He then tries "The Star Spangled Banner" in a minor key. The result is pretty unsettling, given the alleged deep ties between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, and the allegations Trump colluded with Russia to get elected.

Yep, in a minor key, the "Star Spangled Banner" sounds like, well, Russian!

Listen for yourself:

Sunday, January 6, 2019

One Of Those Guys Who Directs Airplanes Makes Job More Fun For Him, Pilots

It must get kind of boring being one of tbose guys or gals you see on airport tarmacs, directing planes to and from the gates and so forth.

One of those workers in Toronto, though, has made it more fun for himself, and those on departing and arriving flights. Watch:

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Why Do Some Trumpsters Hate Ocasio-Cortez Dancing?

Two images sure to upset a few people in the Trump crowd: Left image
is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a college dance video. Right image is'newly
seated Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez dancing outside her
congressional office door this week.
Conservatives tend to really hate newly seated member of Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

She's pretty darn liberal, so I can see why the Trump crowd wouldn't like her.  However, some of them had better come up with a better reason to oppose her than the following: It turns out, Ocasio-Cortez sometimes likes to dance.

It started this week when some nitwit on social media named AnonymousQ called Ocasio-Cortez a nitwit. Here's the quote from AnonymousQ, since deleted. "Here is America's favorite commie know it all acting like a clueless nitwit she is...High School video of 'Sandy' Ocasio-Cortez"

There was a link to a video showing her in a music video when she was in college, not high school, dancing on a roof with other people. She looks like she was having fun.

To their credit, most normal conservatives didn't give a damn whether Ocasio-Cortez likes to dance or not. But the Trumpy troll wing of the conservative movement pretty much though her dancing was as bad as if she was strangling babies.

To her credit, Ocasio-Cortez, didn't give a damn what people thought of her dancing. She did a brief jig outside her Congressional office door and also said,  "It is not normal for elected officials to have a reputation for dancing well, and I'm happy to be one."  

To the credit of most of the general public, most people either ignored this fake controversy or thought it was fun that Ocasio-Cortez was in that silly dance video.

I'm not quite sure why Ocasio-Cortez has been targeted as the Top Villian by some of the Trump crowd. True, she's a Democrat-Socialist, so that would understandably rile up the right wing.

But she's a freshman congresswoman, just now getting her feet wet in politics. She doesn't yield much power at all, at least not yet, so she's not much of a threat to conservatives.

I think there's two basic things going on.  I wish I remember who it was on Twitter who said that when a female politician is very serious, she is "unlikeable." When a female politician is outgoing and friendly, she's too frivolous to be taken seriously.

Male politiians don't seem to have this problem as much.

An even bigger issue is the the mood of many of the Trump supporters. They always seem angry to me. I don't know why. Up until this week, Trump and the Republicans controlled the Executive and Legislative branch. They're getting tons of federal judges appointed by Trump.

However, Trump and his supporters seem so negative. He's always insulting people. At rallies, his supporters keep yelling "Lock her up!" or scream at the "fake news media." The most rabid Trump fans are always snarling, always volcanic. It must be exhausting to be that angry all the time.

They never seem to have fun. Or experience joy. And they seem to resent anyone who is joyful.

Yeah, there are a lot of problems in this world, but can the Trump crowd not see any sunshine? Is their worldview always so dark? Why?

Maybe that's the real problem they're having with Ocasio-Cortez. I think she takes her politics seriously. But she also knows how to have fun. Some of the people in Trump world can't stand that exuberance.

As Trump himself might tweet: Sad!

Friday, January 4, 2019

New Hampshire City Not Sure About Name Of New Business

Pho is a delicious Vietnamese soup. Some people in New Hampshire
aren't pleased, though, with how Pho is used in the name
of a soon-to-be open restaurant in Keene. 
One of the tricks of opening a new business is coming up with a name for your enterprise.

You want it to be memorable, so you get name recognition. You don't want it to be too offensive, at least usually, and you want the business name to succinctly tell people what you're up to.

Owners of a new restaurant in Keene, New Hampshire thought they came up with the perfect moniker for their business.

It's a Vietnamese restaurant. They started with a play on the word "Pho" which is a Vietnamese soup. "Pho" is pronounced "fuh."  Remember, this restaurant is in Keene. The restaurant isn't open yet, but owners put up a sign saying it's coming. So the name of the restaurant?

"Pho Keene Great."

Yeah, I know what that sounds like and so do you.

According to the Associated Press, Keene City Manager Elizabeth Dragon said restaurant owner Isabelle Jolie didn't have permission to put up the sign, and it might run afoul of city regulations because it's intended to sound like profanity.

The restaurant owners put up a poll on Facebook asking people if they thought the name is offensive. Most respondents said it isn't.

The Facebook post read: "We liked the name because it's lighthearted and fun. It's a name that reflects Vietnam's national dish, comfort food and our most popular culinary product, pho."

Jolie and Dragon are scheduled to meet to figure this kerfuffle out. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Apparently, Washington DC Marriage Bureau Is Bad At Geography

This man, Gavin Clarkson, is from New Mexico.
A depressingly large number of people
apparently don't know New Mexico is
part of the United States. 
You might not be surprised, but a lot of people who should know better are remarkably bad at geography.

This is a story that is more than a month old, but it's still worth looking at, because it's an illustration of how bad we are at it.

According to the Las Cruces (NM) Sun News, a guy named Gavin Clarkson of Las Cruces, New Mexico went with his then-finance to Washington DC, because they wanted to get married there.  On November 20 they went to the DC Courts Marriage Bureau to apply for a marriage license.

This is something that should have been a mere formality.

Clarkson was required to show his driver's license as proof of his identity. Here's where it gets weird: The clerk at the DC Courts Marriage Bureau said that Clarkson ws a foreign citizen and that he would need to provide an international passport to get his marriage license, reports the Sun News.

Last I checked, New Mexico was one of the 50 states. It is clearly part of the United States of America, right?  It's also not breaking news. New Mexico has been a state since 1912.

The DC Courts Marriage Bureau apparently does not know that. The clerk summoned her supervisor, who confirmed that yep, Clarkson is a foreign citizen who needed his passport. Nobody in this office seemed aware that New Mexico is part of the United States.

Says the Las Cruces Sun News:

"'She thought New Mexico was a foreign country,' he said of the clerk. 'All the couples behind us waiting in line were laughing.'"

I guess the fact that those couples were laughing reassures us that some people know New Mexico is part of the United States.

Clarkson has lived in the United States all is life and English has always been his language. The clerk at the marriage bureau still just had to remark about how well Clarkson spoke English, considering that he is from a "foreign country."

His now-wife, Marina was confused by that, as you might expect. She is a U.S. citizen, but is originally from Argentina and speaks English with a slight accent.

The couple tried going to the marriage bureau the next day and luckily, found a clerk that knew New Mexico was in the United States. The marriage was on!

Apparently, people not knowing New Mexico is a state is a thing. New Mexico magazine reports on many people who encounter New Mexicans in other states who think the state is part of a foreign nation.

New Mexicans bring up things and places like Alburquerque, Santa Fe, Roswell and Los Alamos to prove the New Mexico is in the United States.

But there's one reference that always seems to convince doubters that New Mexico is a state. Just mention either Walter White, who was the lead character in "Breaking Bad" or the show itself.

"Breaking Bad" was set in New Mexico.

There is a lot of confusion across America about all kinds of places. I live in Vermont. Once, when I was in South Carolina, somebody asked, "Where you from, boy?"

"Vermont," I replied.

"VER-mont!! Ain't that part of Killington?"

To make it easy on everyone, I just said, "Yes."  At least the guy had heard of Killington, the ski area.

A lot of people when I'm traveling ask if Vermont is part of Canada. No, but I'm so far north in Vermont that I can see Canada from my house (true!). Does that count?

When I visiting another state in July in August, people sometimes ask me how much snow is on the ground back home in Vermont. As if the Green Mountain State is at the North Pole or something.

Clearly, it's going to take more than a few episodes of "Breaking Bad" to get Americans caught up on their geography, though.