Thursday, December 14, 2017

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

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

Rhoda Young recently had one of those moments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

He said. "Yes"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 4, 2017

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

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

They want us all to be serfs, essentially.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Be Glad This Wasp Nest Wasn't At Your House

This exterminator was engulfed in a cloud of angry wasps
as he got rid of a huge nest in a Louisiana shed.
An exterminator in Louisiana recently found the largest wasp nest he'd ever seen in a shed.

The homeowner had hired the exterminator to evict the wasps. The wasps were unhappy about the eviction.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Beekeeper Jude Varret set up his GoPro camera as he started work to evict the wasps, known as southern yellowjackets. This variety of insect is quite aggressive and their stings are quite painful.

The wasp nest was so huge that it engulfed tools and lawn furniture within the shed. Surprisingly the job took only 45 minutes to complete. Even more surprisingly, Varret was not stung even once. He said most of the time, he'll get stung once or twice while getting rid of wasp nests.

Here's the video, and a nightmare if you are afraid of bees and wasps:

Sunday, November 26, 2017

OK Go, Kings Of Wild Music Videos, Are At It Again

The band OK Go in front of a wall of 567 printers and lots
of paper for their latest complicated but fun music video. 
Every time the band OK Go releases a new music video, it ends up in this here blog thingy, because I always marvel at the creativity and how much work had to go into them. And I mean work.

OK Go first causes a sensation in 2010 with the video for their song "This Too Shall Pass," which involved an incredibly complicated Rube Goldberg setup.

They actually had an earlier song and music video, "Here It Goes Again" in  which they got incredibly creative with treadmills.

The band has also followed that up with a variety of other wild videos, including one that involves zero gravity, the video for "Upside Down And Inside Out.  Since I'm a dog lover, I really enjoyed "White Knuckles" which involved a lot of wonderful and talented trained dogs.

And they've teamed up with Pilobolus in the song. "All Is Not Lost."

Their latest video involves 567 printers and lots and LOTS of wasted paper. (which, we're told was all recycled.)

The song and music video is called "Obsession." OK Go's music videos are better than their music, in general, but this particular song is pretty catchy. The video itself, though, must have taken incredible organization skills on the part of the band and the crew. I'd also would have hated to be the person who had to create all those stacks of paper at around 2:25 or 2:30 into the video.

Here's the video. I hope it doesn't remind you too much of office clerical work: