Wednesday, August 16, 2017

No, The Eclipse Won't Poison Your Food And Won't Mean You're About To Die

If you haven't heard that a total solar eclipse is going to cross the United States on Monday you really have been living under a rock.
No weird space aliens or anything are going to
get you during the eclipse, so relax

Everyone who has seen such an eclipse says it's just an amazing experience as the darkness descends. It is otherworldly, and probably for some a little scary. That's understandable.

What isn't quite as understandable is the beliefs some people still hold about eclipses. NASA felt compelled to put out a fact sheet to debunk some popular theories as to what might happen.

For one, you won't go blind during the eclipse, unless you insist on looking directly at the sun as the eclipse unfolds.  Some people apparently think blindness happens just if you're in the path of it, ignoring all the people who remained just fine and eagle-eyed after they experienced an eclipse.

Then there are wackier notions. An eclipse is really just a shadow. The moon gets in the way of the sun, so you can't see it, and things go dark. It's that simple.

So, no, there won't be any strange, dangerous radioactive or cosmic rays killing us, poisoning our food if you prepare it during an eclipse, or killing your fetus if you are pregnant. So fix that sandwich during the eclipse and if you're a mother-to-be, go out and look at the event. Your kid is going to be fine.

I can understand that in ancient times, before we understood what eclipses are, that people would think the world is ending, or that something bad was about to happen. After all, who'd expect to be out on a sunny day and then the  sun suddenly decides to gradually fade to black. Pretty weird, huh?

Still, a few people nowadays have a bad experience shortly after an eclipse and think the celestial event caused it. When really the bad experience was just random bad luck.

So no, if you get sick after the eclipse, it's probably because you used spoiled mayonnaise when you made that sandwich during the eclipse.

Eclipse paths are random, and some areas over time have seen them more often than others. Here in Vermont, the last total eclipse hit parts of the state in 1932. A total eclipse is scheduled for northern Vermont in 2024.

Which means a corner of northeastern Vermont will have seen a total eclipse twice within a century.

However, as I listened to VPR yesterday, I learned the poor city of Rutland, Vermont keeps missing the path of total eclipse.

Rutland last had a total eclipse in the 1300s and won't have one again until the 2300s. So about 1,000 years.

Sorry, Rutvegas.

Monday, August 14, 2017

1940s Anti-Fascist PSA's Getting New Attention After Charlottesville

A 1940s-era anti-fascist PSA has become
newly relevant, unfortunately.
Back in the 1940s, as Nazis tried to take over the world, the U.S. government released a bunch of public service announcements and films denouncing fascists.  

Made sense then.

Makes sense now, especially after Charlottesville and when we have a president that pretty much gives a wink and a nod to the Nazis and white supremacists who caused death and heartache over the weekend.

There's a 17-minute version of the film you can see by clicking on this link from The Atlantic. 

There's another video, below, that's a more streamlined version of this very relevant clip.

In both versions of the film, we hear words from a blustery fascist American politician that we are now hearing some version of today:

"I see negroes holding jobs that belong to me and you. Now, I ask you, if we allow this thing to go on, what's going to happen to us real Americans?"

The loudmouth then blames blacks, Catholics, Freemasons and immigrants for the nation's problems.

In the clip, a young man is almost persuaded by the rhetoric until the idiot speaker mentions Freemasons, as he's one.

Then a man with an eastern European accent - an immigrant from Hungary who became an American citizen - schools the younger man on just how dangerous this rhetoric is.

The clip should be required viewing for all of us. Here it is:

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Charlottesville: When White Supremacists/Nazis Snowflakes Turn Violent

A striking image from Charlottesville today: A black
cop trying to keep the peace while racists and the
KKK rally behind him.
It's a horrible day in Charlottesville, Virginia as a bunch of white supremacists and Nazis descended into town, and as of 1 p.m., there had already been violent clashes between these turds and counter-protesters.

Many of the so called white nationalists (read complete ass wipes) are toting guns, so it'll be a miracle if nobody gets killed.

I'm technically a target of theirs, too. Yeah, I'm a white guy, but I'm also gay. Last I heard, some of these jerks were chanting "Fuck you, faggots," at counter protestors. 

The Nazis that descended on Charlottesville last night with torches was a nice touch, too. Nothing like a good old revival of the violent KKK to cheer things up, right?

It does take two to tango, and if there is violence and fights, it's the fault of both the KKK types and the counter protesters.

However, the white supremacists are the aggressors here, and the stupidest people are the ones that think they'll get their way through violence and intimidation. Exhibit A of this stupidity is on full display in Charlottesville today.

And everybody, please start calling them the alt.right. They're not cool, like alt.country or alt.whatever hipster trend is out there.

Call them what they are: white supremacists, Nazis, horrible people, whatever.

Meanwhile, we set a low bar for President Trump, so given that low bar, I have to appreciate Trump for condemning the violence today.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has understandably declared a state of emergency in Charlottesville, so that the state can aid in keeping the level of violence down.

Even if Virginia and police manage to keep injuries and destruction to a minimum, that doesn't solve the bigger problem.

We all hear about terrorism perpetrated by Muslims, in America and abroad.

But so far, it seems we Americans have more to fear from white supremacists terrorists than Muslim extremists.

In June, we learned from The Nation Institute's Investigative Fund and The Center for Investigative Reporting's Reveal that most terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between January, 2008 and the end of 2016 where perpetrated by right wing extremists.

The problem is when a Muslim does something hateful, it's called terrorism by politicians and many members of the media. When a white guy does something similar, it's dismissed as just a lone nutcase.

But the database we got in June shows that 115 of the 201 terrorist attacks cited in the report were carries out by right wing extremists. This includes people like the supremacists, militias and "sovereign citizens."

Another 63 cases were done by Islamic extremists, and 19 were from left wing extremists, wuch as ecoterrorists and animal rights militants.

So when you hear ultra conservative snowflakes whine that they're being terrorized by maurading liberals, don't believe it.

The white supremacists can be violent, no doubt about that. But oppressed? Don't think so, bud.  Maybe get smarter, shut your trap when you want to spout hate speech and mind your own business and then you'll be more successful in life.

The reason nobody is hiring you is not because there's a big affirmative action thing going on. They won't hire you because you're a complete turd.

Still, complainers gotta complain. One incident crystallizes this. According to Gizmodo, idiot white guy Richard Spencer, en route to the Charlottesville shindig, said he stopped at a restaurant but they wouldn't serve him. He says it was based on his viewpoints, that he was being treated like African Americans attempting to go to lunch counters in the 1960s.

But the real reason why the restaurant wouldn't serve Spencer is because at the time he stopped by, the eatery wasn't serving anybody. It was morning, and they don't open until 5 p.m. The place was closed.

Restaurants tend not to serve would-be patrons when they are closed, dude.

Anyway, here's hoping the white supremacists in Charlottesville display their extreme dimwittedness today for all the world to see, all the while avoiding this devolve into violence.

However, as I write this, I just learned a car slammed into a crowd of people protesting against the white supremacists, and there are multiple injuries.

Let's all work together to call out all the white supremacists, expose them to harsh daylight of reason, and watch them wither away.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I like Minions, But Stephen Miller Is The Worst Yet. Thanks, John Oliver

John Oliver's right. The odious Stephen Miller is
really an evil minion.
I'm a fan of the minions from the "Despicable Me" franchise.  

You know what they are: Those googly-eyed cartoon characters that resemble yellow pills and get in all sorts of trouble.

Now I have to re-think my fandom, thanks to John Oliver.

Stephen Miller, the odious, self-absorbed evil Trump aide, really, really looks like a minion, John Oliver points out.

He's right.

Check out this clip of Oliver, which ends inexplicably with footage of an enthusiastic Seattle gardener, I guess to sweeten the bad taste in your mouth left my Minion Miller.

Watch:

Saturday, August 5, 2017

What If Obama Said What Trump Said?

I hear this a lot: 
This Obama impersonator said things Trump actually said
on Real Time With Bill Maher last night.
The result was jarring

Republicans keep their mouths shut when Donald Trump says something outrageous, but imagine if Barack Obama said the same things. They'd go ballistic.

Bill Maher went with that last night by hiring an Obama impersonator to say some of the things Trump said. It's jarring. But fun.

Here ya go:


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Solar Eclipse Of The Heart

Lots of people are getting excited about the big solar eclipse that will cross the nation diagonally from Oregon to South Carolina on August 21.

Most of the rest of us, including us here in Vermont, will see a nice partial eclipse, which will be cool.

To get in the spirit of the event, we have a great parody of Bonnie Tyler's 1983 classic and odd music video of her song "Total Eclipse of the Heart."

This time, though, we get an odd, but fun video, "Solar Eclipse Of The Heart." Totally worth the watch:

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mooch And Trump Conduct The Hubris Symphony

UPDATE: New York Times says Scaramucci already OUT as communications direction. Was only named 10 days ago. That was quick! 

PREVIOUS DISCUSSION:

In case you haven't seen it, somebody at the Daily Show notices that new former White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci and Donald Trump, both New York douchebags, also have the same hand gestures while talking.

As the title of this post suggests, watch the two of them conduct their national disaster.

Here's the video:


Friday, July 28, 2017

Dog Gets Beautiful Sendoff, Military Honors For Service To U.S.

Cena and Lance Cpl. Jeffrey DeYoung. Cena, a brave military
bomb sniffing dog, died this week and was given complete
military honors.
I'll start right off that this post has a high Kleenex alert, so get your tissue ready for this one.

We all know that us Americans must really take care to honor our military veterans. It's a cliche, I know,  but an important one. 

This week, proper honors went to a veteran named Cena.

Cena was a bomb-sniffing dog during combat in Iraq, serving honorably and bravely with Lance Cpl Jeffrey DeYoung of Muskegon, Michigan.

According to MLive:

"During that time, DeYoung carried Cena across rivers. Cena kept DeYoung warm during cold desert nights. DeYoung threw his body over Cena's while under heavy fire from the Taliban. And when DeYoung lost seven friends during the course of three weeks, Cena was there to comfort him."

Except for a four year separation, when DeYoung was redeployed separately from Cena, they've pretty much always been together. DeYoung says the companionship has lasted all of his adult life.

For the past three years, Cena and DeYoung were back home in Michigan, still the tightest of military buddies. True brothers in arms.

Recently, Cena, age 10, was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. This tight bond between Cena and DeYoung would have to end, at least in this physical world. Cena had to be euthanized.

Here's what DeYoung wrote on Facebook the day before Cena passed.

"Words cannot convey what I'm feeling and thinking. I want to run away and not face what I must do. But he needs me to be strong and set him free. He has blessed my life with love and admiring.

Because of him, I got to have a family. Because of him, I was able to live. May God forgive me for what I do tomorrow. And may the Lord greet you with open arms and a nice ear scratch.

Goodnight my friend, goodnight my brother. May you rest your head tonight knowing how loved you are and how dearly you will be missed."

In the last of countless acts of kindness DeYoung showed toward Cena, he made sure the dog was given full military honors at a ceremony in Michigan this week.

Cena went for a last ride in an open Jeep so he could feel the wind on his face one last time. Then, Cena and DeYoung boarded the USS LST 393. Cena was euthanized and Taps was played.

Hundreds of mourners turned out to the ceremony.

I think I speak for millions to thank Cena and DeYoung for their service. 

Here's the video:


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Guy Barely Escapes Death At The Hands Of Molten Steel Snake

In this scree shot, a guy comes inches from death
from a ribbon of molten steel shooting out
of equipment at a steel factory. Yikes!
Sometimes, in steel plants, a bit of molten steel gets caught on rollers.

This causes more molten steel coming from the furnace to burst out in the form of a long snake like ribbon of hot melted steel that can go anywhere.

Of course, if you're hit by something like this, you're dead.

Watch how close this guy came from dying a really horrible death. It's from December, 2016

H/T Boingboing:

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Say What You Want, Extreme Wacko Right Wing Is Imaginative

Liz Crokin has some, um, interesting theories about
the Democratic National Committee.
The people that brought us "Pizzagate" have an even wilder theory now, and boy is it entertaining.

And they're winning the competition to come up with the most far-fetched theories possible.

Pizzagate was the theory early this year that to the wackos, indicated by John Podesta e-mails, that the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton were running a child sex ring out of the basement of a Washington DC pizzeria.

Among the other nonsensical parts of this story, the pizzeria doesn't even have a basement.

But, whatever.

Now, they've gone further with their theory of the evils of the Democratic party.

Here's the scoop, as Right Wing Watch tells us:

"Right-wing columinst, commentator and conspiracy theorist Liz Crokin is fully committed to the conspiracy theory that there is a massive global satanic pedophile ring run by high-ranking government officials, powerful business executives and celebrities which regularly engages in the ritual sexual abuse and murder of children."

Right Wing Watch goes on:

"Crokin said that the average person simply cannot comprehend the fact that 'one third of the government' is part of a satanic Illuminati cult that sexually abuses, kills and eats children, but 'that's what these people do.'"

She said all this does seem unbelievable, but the John Podesta emails prove that it's happening. Crokin does not explain how those Podesta emails prove it, but whatever.

It's actually hard to follow how all this grew into Pizzagate and beyond, but this how Crokin's "logic" apparently works. 

The Democratic National Committee emails were hacked during the 2016 campaign, and this included emails to and from Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta.

Many of the emails were innocuous and referred to dinner plans, sometimes involving pizza.

Somehow, Crokin and the other right wing wackos decided the word "pizza," particularly the phrase "cheese pizza" was code for "child pornography" since both phrases have the same first letters in their words.

Podesta also communicated with the owner of that Washington DC pizzeria, so the conspiracy was born.

Yeah, I don't get it either.

A lot of other people apparently "get" it, though, as YouTube videos of this theory and social media posts got lots of followers who apparently believe this shit. A guy even traveled up from South Carolilna and opened fire on the pizzeria to stop the child sex ring.

If that many people are that stupid and that gullible, God save us.




Monday, July 24, 2017

Wild Road Crash, Explosion: Miraculously, No Serious Injuries

Check out this video of a terrible crash between two trucks on a Chinese highway.

The explosion was so intense that windows broke in nearby buildings.

The incredible thing is nobody got killed.

Watch:

Friday, July 21, 2017

Florida Man (Of Course!) Shoots Utility Truck Tires Because Who Knows Why

An image taken from a cell phone video shows Jorge Jove,
64, shooting utility trucks in front of his house for
reasons only he seems to know. 
Some utility trucks, parked legally on a Hialeah, Florida street, came under assault the other day because some guy who lives there didn't like them parked in the neighborhood.

As you can see in the remarkable video below, the guy, age 64, opens fire on the tires and radiator of at least one of the trucks.

Guy seemed to be having a bad day.

According to NBC Miami, one of the AT&T utility workers was trapped in the bucket above the truck while another shot cell phone footage while waiting for police to arrive.

Says NBC Miami: "The suspect, identified as Jorge Jove, reloaded his weapon several times, police said. Moments later, officers arrived at the home....and took Jove into custody."

According to an arrest report, Jove told detectives he went 'bananas' and shot at the tires and trucks to stop them from leaving. 

'He just lost his mind for a moment. We don't know what the deal is with him,' said Hialeah Police Detective Carl Zogby."

We don't know either. If Jove didn't want the trucks there, why did he shoot them to make them stay?

Anyway, logic doesn't apply here, does it?

Here's the video:


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Guys Too Nonchalant About Volcano Blowing Up Next To Them

A couple of guys were setting up a GoPro camera on the edge of a volcano on Vanuatu, a Pacific Island, when the volcano decided to explosively erupt.

I think the guy setting up the camera in the video was a bit too relaxed about the flying chunks of lava flying around him.

What do you think? Watch the video and decide:

Monday, July 17, 2017

Don't Take Selfies in Expensive Art Galleries

The video in this post has been kicking around for a couple days but I just can't resist it.

A woman at an art gallery in Los Angeles thought it would be a wonderful idea to take a selfie against a backdrop of expensive art sitting atop a series of pedestals.

You know what happens next. She screws it up and the pedestals fall like dominoes. She caused $200,000 in damage to the artwork.

It's her fault, of course, but in hindsight, with all that expensive art, the gallery probably should have stabilized the pedestals better so they wouldn't fall over so easily.

As is always the case with this type of story, especially when the camera angle is lined up so perfectly, it's possible this was all a stunt. 

Who knows?

Here's the video:


Friday, July 14, 2017

Cringe-Worthy 1950s Song Proves There Has Always Been Bad Music

April Stevens had a cringe-worthy
song in 1959
Just for variety, I sometime switch over to the 1950s music channel on Sirius when I'm out driving around in my truck.

Back in the '50s, people had a lot of fun with their voices and music and subject matter that you don't see today. Think do-wop. Think The Coasters. That type of thing.

For proof, however, that our current era doesn't have a lock on bad music, sometimes the 1950s station plays some clunkers.

There was one I'd never heard before and had me laughing out loud.

It's called "Teach Me, Tiger." by April Stevens. (No, I'd never heard of her, either.)

In the song, she's trying to be Marilyn Monroe with mixed success, to say the least. In "Teach Me Tiger," she breathlessly, passionately asks her beau to teach her the ways of love.

Stevens tries to suggestively sigh and moan, but it sounds like someone with emphysema trying to blow into a microphone, which isn't terribly sexy to me. But what to I know?

I'm sure April Stevens was a fine musician. But, I dunno, this one doesn't work.

So, for a laugh, or torture or both, here's "Teach Me, Tiger" by April Stevens:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Fake News In The Near Future Will Be Scarier Than You Thought

Researchers have made convincing videos of Barack Obama
saying things he said years ago and inserting them into new
clips. It's a matter of time before fake news people can
make it look like people are saying things they never did. 
Donald Trump always yells about fake news when there's coverage that doesn't flatter him.

Maybe he's got a thin skin. But maybe he's ahead of his time.

In a scary story, Gizmodo had a report on research that uses machines to learn the facial movements of people and then render real looking lip movements for any piece of audio.

In other words, people with this program can make videos of anyone saying anything they want. You can see how easy it would be to make a convincing fake news clip of somebody saying something they really didn't.

How will we really know what's true and what's not.

According to the Gizmodo report,  researchers at the University of Washington developed the method to study the facial movements - in this case of Barack Obama. They were able to make it look like things he said when he was a law student were just said recently.

From there, it's easy to insert words and sentences into a video of Obama, or anybody else talking, and literally put words in their mouths.

What's worse, this techology is getting better and better, less and less expensive and easier and easier to use.

Which makes it a matter of time that anybody, even some teenager in a basement, can make a sophisticated fake news clip.

 Of course, this technology would not only be applied to news clips, to make it look like politicians and candidates were saying things they really didn't.  This could be applied to any video clip.

As Gizmodo put it: 

"If you thought fake-looking news websites were a problem, just imagine what a completely fake police body cam could do."

Scary indeed.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Install A New Roof, Get An AR-15

This guy owns a roofing company and, if you live
in Alabama, will give you a free AR-15 if you
let his company replace your roof.
My house needs a new roof and we've been talking with roofers about styles, costs, bids, etc.

Strangely, not one of these roofers has offered us an AR-15 if we go with them.

It would be different, apparently, if we lived in Alabama.

A strange ad has gone batshit viral in which a hot looking redneck guy who owns Digital Roofing Innovations offers up the gun in his ad.

Undercutting his macho, hillbilly image is the tiny star-patterened short shorts he's wearing. I'll admit that though the ad is painful to watch,  the guy in the ad, Zack Blenkinsopp has a physique that's easy on the eyes.

You can watch the ad at the bottom of this post. In it, he gets out of a car, demands a beer, he opens the can and it suds all over his face. Then he gives back the can to someone off camera and demands the empty not be recycled because "recycling's stupid."

Then he calls "rifle" and catches the AR-15, and offers his pitch for the free rifle if you get a roof job from his outfit.

"Some of you might be sittng there saying, 'Man this sounds like a gimmick.' A gimmick, you say? Well, I'm a gosh darn Navy veteran, active duty eight and a half years. My roofing company's not a gimmick and this baby's not either. It's here to protect you and your family."

"Donald Trump says make America great again. I say make America gun again. MAGA!" 

Well, OK. I guess it would be fine to have the AR-15 to, I don't know, prevent someone from stealing your brand new roof.

Everybody is rolling their eyes at this ad, but I'm sure Blenkinsopp is having the last laugh. According to Al.com,  Blenkinsopp has a digital marketing background. He put the ad on Facebook, and pretty soon the thing went totally viral, so it seems he knew what he was doing.

Blenkinsopp assured Al.com that although he's all rednecky in the ad, but he and his business partner are are well-traveled, educated guys who have open minds.

For those of you just dying for an AR-15 if you get a roof job, the promotion is only available to Alabama residents. But if you don't want an AR-15, they'll instead give you a pistol, a hunting rifle, or a gift card to an indoor range.

And by the way, you have to go through all the hoops to get the guns legally. The roofing company will give you a voucher, then you take the voucher and go to a gun store. That way you get your AR-15 legally.

Here's the ad:


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Macklemore's Grandma Makes The Best Music Video

Macklemore, and his grandmother, age 100, live it up
in the video for his new song "Glorious."
I'm not crazy about Macklemore's new song, "Glorious."  

It's not a diss on Macklemore and his funny, odd brand of music. Just not my cup of tea.

Although his most famous song, "Thrift Shop" was pretty fun. And Macklemore's gay friendly and kind "One Love" was pretty inspiring.

This new Macklemore song is good, but not my favorite of the year. Just my personal taste.

However, the music video for the new song is just glorious. Which is lucky, since the name of the song is "Glorious."

In the music video, Macklemore surprises his grandmother with a visit on her 100th birthday. (She's really his grandmother, and she's really 100.)

BoingBoing describes the video as follows:

"He then drives the new centenarian (in a badass gold Cadillac El Dorado convertible, no less) to a karaoke bar, a thrift store (naturally) the local grocery store (where they race motorized shopping carts) and other stops along the way. All over town, they have good old-fashioned fun, and cause a bit of trouble.

When they get back to her house, he's got more surprises waiting for her, including strippers and a giant birthday cake."

So yeah, this is a feel good video. Macklemore really seems like a decent guy. And good for Macklemore for finding the right person - his centenarian grandma - to make the perfect music video.

Watch:

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

NPR Unwittingly Provides More Proof Some Trump Supporters Are Really Stupid

NPR tweeted out the Declaration of Independence on
the Fourth of July and some Trumpsters got confused
On the Fourth of July, NPR thought it would be a cool idea to tweet out the Declaration of Independence.

Actually not a bad idea. If 1776 had Twitter, I'm guessing the Founding Fathers might have tweeted out the declaration.

Turns out some easily confused Trump supporters didn't get what NPR was doing. But of course.

One person decided NPR had been "hacked like crazy." Another person reacted to the NPR tweets this way: "So NPR is calling for revolution. Interesting way to condone the violence while trying to sound "patriotic."

Here's the part of the Declaration of Independence that seemed to irk some Trump supporters: "A Prince whose character is thus marked by ever act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the rule of a free people."

Hmmm.

"This is why you're going to get defunded," a Trumpster named Darren Mills tweeted in response to NPR.

Yet another confused person dismissed NPR's Declaration of Independence as this: "Propaganda. Is that all you know how? Try supporting a man who wants to do something about the injustice in this country."

I suppose we could all support the country if we figured out what the Declaration of Independence actually is.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Product Safety Commission Blows Up Mannequins In Disturbing 4th of July Video

Mean girls? Nope, just the Consumer Products Safety
Commission using mannequins to demonstrate
the risks of 4th of July fireworks. 
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission wants you to have a safe 4th of July.

Fireworks are part of the celebration, and too many people blow off their hands or worse during celebrations.

By the way, you could have guessed this but the vast majority of people who are injured by fireworks are teenage boys.

Go figure.

The CPSC put out a video that I can't decide whether is disturbing or funny. Or maybe both.

They blew up mannequins to show how dangerous fireworks can be.

Be safer than these mannequins!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Neil Young's Call For Resistance

Just in time for the Fourth of July, Neil Young has brought us an anthem for the times.

It's called "Children of Destiny" and gives us a timely reminder about patriotism, freedom and resisting those who would take it all away.

Cool song

Watch and listen:

Saturday, July 1, 2017

NASA Is Kidnapping Children, Taking Them To Mars

Alex Jones informs us that NASA is kidnapping children
and turning them into slaves on Mars
Lost amid the hubbub over Donald Trump's insulting tweets to Mika Brzezinski was the breaking news that NASA is kidnapping children, taking them to Mars and making them slaves there. 

Yeah, that story sounds just a wee bit unbelievable, but Alex Jones says it's happening, so it must be true.

You might remember Alex Jones, who is fast becoming one of my favorite punching bags.

He's the blowhard from the conspiracy web site InfoWars who tells us the government is putting something in the water to make frogs gay, the Sandy Hook massacre never happened, and Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring out of the basement of a Washington DC pizzeria.

You might think none of these things are true, but our Dear President is a big fan and even wants to give Alex Jones press credentials, so I guess we got to believe this stuff.

On his show Thursday, Jones welcomed "CIA insider" Robert David Steele who informed us, "We actually believe that there is a colony on Mars that is populated by children who were kidnapped and sent into space on a 20-year ride.... So that once they get to Mars they have no alternative but to be slaves on the Mars colony."

It was unclear from Jones' show why NASA is kidnapping children and sending them to Mars, but Jones, naturally is a believer. Jones said every time a probe is pointed in the direction of Mars, NASA shuts if off. Or something like that.

It gets worse. NASA is killing some of the children and using their blood and bone marrow as a sort of growth hormone. Again, we're not sure why.

As you might expect, NASA denies the allegations.  A NASA spokesman said, "There's only one stupid rumor on the internet? Now that's news."

Thursday, June 29, 2017

So Hard To Pick Wildest Donald Trump Related Weirdness

On the right is the fake Time magazine cover from
March 1, 2009 on display at Trump golf resorts.
On the left is the actual Time magazine cover
from March 2, 2009 
Another day, another moment of Trump and/or his minions being weird.

This morning's was one of the oddest and most idiotic. 

In case you haven't already heard, our Tweeter In Chief tweeted that "Morning Joe" host Mika Brzezinski was "bleeding from a face lift" during a New Years visit to Mar-a-Lago.  

Trump always gets crude with women he doesn't like, which is most of them.  And Brzezinski is clearly no fan of Trump, so there's that.

We've long known that Trump's M.O. is to push back harder against anybody who pushes against him, but we also know he has such a childish way of doing it. Which is what we got today.

"Look, I don't think that the president's ever been someone who gets attacked and doesn't push back...There have been an outrageous number of personal attacks, not just to him but to frankly everyone around him.... This is a president who fights fire with fire and certainly will not be allowed to be bullied by liberal media or liberal elites in Hollywood or anywhere else," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. 

Anyway, Trump always dismisses facts reported in the media as "fake news" which leads me to my favorite Trump-related stupidity of the week.

Apparently, some of Trump's golf resorts have had fake news displayed on the walls. When this was reported this week, Trump complained about fake news about the fake news at his golf resorts.

Confused yet? Trump has that effect on people.

The golf resort fake news involved framed images of the cover of Time magazine dated March 1, 2009, with a big photo of Trump and headlines like "The Apprentice' is  television smash!' and another headline in all caps, "Trump is hitting on all fronts...even TV!"

This Time magazine cover is a fake, and a poorly done one at that. First of all, Time never has headlines with all caps and exclamation points. Time is too sober for that.

In any event, there was never a March 1, 2009 edition of Time magazine. There was an edition of Time magazine on March 2, 2009, but that one never mentions Trump and had actress Kate Winslet on the cover.

The Boston Globe said the Trump organization had no comment on how it came to have fake news on the walls of Trump's golf resorts even when he's always whining about "fake news."

Trump did complain that the Washington Post was giving us fake news because it had a report of the fake Time magazine covers at the golf courses.

As for Time magazine, the publication has asked the Trump resorts to take down the fake magazine covers. No word yet on whether they're complying.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Some Countries Have Much Cooler Leaders Than Others

Once again, I am jealous of Canada.

Here is a photo of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the weekend, at a Pride parade, wearing rainbow socks, high-fiving a little girl dressed as Wonder Woman.

Bet you won't see Donald Trump doing anything like this, or even doing anything fun, the damn sourpuss.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Another Example Of Why You Should Not Road Rage

A stupid road rage incident caught on camera injured
an elderly man who was not involved in the road rage
The video in this post was captured on a California freeway recently.

In it, we see a motorcyclist and a car going at it. The motorcyclist kicks the car, which then intentionally swerves into the motorcycle.

The motorcyclist somehow stays upright, but the car goes out of control, swerves across some lanes of traffic and collides with a pickup truck, overturning it.

The occupant of the pickup truck was injured, and of course that person was the only innocent party in that collision.

The motorcyclist took off, and has not been found yet, though police are looking for him. The driver of the sedan involved in causing the crash has not been charged yet, mostly because police want to talk to the motorcyclist first bfore deciding what to do.

Here's the video:


Friday, June 23, 2017

Whirling Gorilla Is Just What You Need To Improve Your Mood

This video went totally viral today.  

It's Zola the gorilla having a blast in a kiddie pool at the Dallas Zoo. Looks like he's breakdancing.

I'm showing you the one without sound effects, but it's also fun to watch the other one in which Zola is choregraphed to the song "Maniac" from the movie "Flashdance."

For the purests, like me, here's the version without a soundtrack.

Enjoy!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Boy George Has Great New Take On YMCA

Boy George does a terrific, quieter version of the Village
People classic "Y.M.C.A"
I know, I know, you're all sick of that Village People ditty "Y.M.C.A"

It's a staple at every bad wedding reception, and karaoke bar you've ever seen.

And aren't you tired of forming the letters YMCA with your arms?

"Y.M.C.A" was, however, a daring - for the era, anyway - of acceptance toward LGBTQ people everywhere.

Was the Y.M.C.A. of the Village People's imagination a wholesome place for young men to grow up? Or a gay nirvana? Or both? Probably both.

"They have everything for young men to enjoy
You can hang out with all the boys."

As The Daily Telegraph notes, Boy George started thinking about marriage equality, and other issues like mental health and youth unemployment when he was approached by the Y.M.C.A. to do a cover of the song.

At first, Boy George said no way. But he got to thinking about it, and thought it would resonate.

It does. He does a toned-down, quieter version of "Y.M.C.A." and it's actually pretty terrific.

Judge for yourself:

 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tale Of Rabid Raccoon And Murderous Vegetarian Jogger Wows Journalism World.

A Bangor, Maine Daily News article about a rabid
raccoon attacking a jogger is a literary masterpiece.
By all accounts Bangor (Maine) Daily News reporter Alex Acquisto hit it out of the ballpark recently when she wrote a local story about a jogger being attacked by a rabid raccoon.

Rabid raccoons happen all the time but the first two paragraphs of Acquisto's excellently-written piece is something I will always cherish:  

Here it is:

HOPE, Maine - While jogging on a familiar, overgrown wooded trail near her home on a recent warm afternoon, Rachel Borch thought to herself, 'what a beautiful day.'

Little did she know she was about to be attacked by a rabid raccoon she would end up killing with her bare hands."

The story goes on to tell us about our normally mild-mannered vegetarian jogger drowning the offending raccoon in a puddle.

It's a grim but absolutely glorious read, so you ought to get past the survey you have to answer at the Bangor Daily News and read Acquisto's article.

Bangor Daily News reporter Alex Acquisto proved herself
as one of the best writers and journalists out there.
The raccoon bit Borch on the thumb and wouldn't let go. "Imagine the Tasmanian devil," Borch told Acquisto.

Acquisto's article has sentences like this: "Connecting the dots quickly, Borch, then on her knees, dragged the still biting raccoon, which was scratching frantically at her hands and arms, into the puddle."

In any event, Acquisto's story went viral. Esquire magazine called it "a literary masterpiece."  Someone else tweeted that the lede of her story belongs in every journalism textbook.

By the way, Esquire's analysis of Acquisto's piece is also very much worth a read.

For the record, Acquisto tells us Borch has had rabies and tetanus shots and is doing well.

Even better, a journalistic, literary star is born.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Be An International Citizen By Buying House In 2 Countries: Vermont/Quebec

This apartment building straddles the U.S./Canadian
border in Vermont and Quebec. If you want it, it's for sale. 
Imagine waking up in Canada walking just a few feet to the bathroom to brush your teeth in the United States.

You can do that if you buy a 3,000 square foot apartment house in the fine village of Beebe Plain,  Vermont.  The same house is also in Stanstead, Quebec, Canada.  (Beebe Plain is a village within the town of Derby Line, Vermont.)  

Confused? Don't be. It's a rare building that straddles the international border Vermont and Quebec. The building is for sale for a low, low price of $109,000, but it's a major fixer-upper that probably needs three times that much money to renovate.

Plus, there's the whole international border thing. Border officials, especially on the United States side, have gotten a lot more pickier over the years about who crosses the border and when and why.

"In the day it wa a normal and natural thing,' Brian DuMoulin told the Associated Press. He grew up in this house. When he was a kid, nobody thought twice about crossing the border over and over again in one day. "Now it stresses everybody out," DuMoulin said.

This is the state of affairs now in Beebe Plain, Vermont/Stanstead, Quebec, according to the AP:

"Residential streets that used to be open were blocked by gates. The back doors of an apartment building straddling the border iin Derby Line village have been locked shut. The street next to the Haskell Free Library and the Opera House, deliberately built in both countries, is blocked by flower pots, although Canadians are still allowed to wak ot the library's U.S. entrance without going through a border post."

Plus, as you can imagine, border agents might be suspicious of people who want to move into the apartment house that staddles the border. (The current owners are in their 70s and inherited the building, but now want to move to Ontario to be closer to their grandchildren.)

The apartment building, currently vacant while it awaits a buyer, is monitored.

Border agents try to know the people who live in the house and let them move back and forth across the border if they stay in the house or its tiny yard. So no need to show your passport if you really, really have to urgently move from the kitchen in the United States to the bathroom in Canada.

Despite the renovation costs and the border stickiness, several would-be buyers have expressed interest in the building. So if you want it, better hurry up and make an offer.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Week Before Alex Jones NBC Interview, Everybody Up In Arms

NBC is set to air Megyn Kelly's interview with this nut
case, Alex Jones on Sunday, triggering a debate on whether
we should give destructive people like this additional exposure. 
To understate the matter, Alex Jones is a big fat nutcase.

He's the impresario of InfoWars, an oddly popular conspiracy theory media empire whose fans seem to include Donald Trump.  

Normally, I wouldn't waste my time filling this blog thingy with Alex Jones stuff, except to laugh at him and mock him, which I have occasionally done.

But everybody's talking about him this week because an NBC interview of him by Megyn Kelly will run on Father's Day.

Jones is famous for, among other things, saying the Sept 11 terrorist attacks were an inside job and the Sandy Hook school shooting, which took the lives of 26 people, mostly young kids,  was fake.

I get the instinct to not give the likes of Jones the national showcase NBC and Kelly offers.

But as Entertainment Weekly notes:

"Kelly herself actually responded to the criticism. When someone tweeted at her that the coverage risks legitimizing Jones and his conspiracies, Kelly responded that Jones has already been legitimized by President Donald Trump, who appeared on Jones' show as a candidate back in December, 2014 and recently granted InfoWars a White House press credential.

'Many don't know him, our job is 2 shine a light,' Kelly tweeted."

So I'll reserve judgement on the interview until I see and hear it.  Then again, I'm not sure I want to listen to anything Alex Jones says, so I'll probably end up skipping it.

The truly scary thing is that a whack job like Jones has been legitimized by the President, who can't seem to handle the concept that fake is not the same thing as true.

Predictably, Jones melted down after his interview with Kelly in a way that would make Trump proud. Jones is a real student of Trump's methods, that's for sure!

As Media Matters reports, here's what Jones is thinking after being interviewed by Kelly, if you can stand it:

"Jones is now suggesting Kelly is aligned with the 'New World Order' globalist conspiracy theory, complaining that she is producing 'fake news' and declaring that she is 'not feminine' but is 'cold, robotic, dead.'"

Alrighty then!

Will Megyn Kelly's interview make America really rebel against Alex Jones, who has made a career of harassing, and encouraging his moron followers, to threaten people who are the subject ofJones' bizarro world view?

Or, will the interview give Jones a wider platform, when he's really just a bug who should be ignored as it crawls back under its rock?

Who knows?

In any event, advertisers are fleeing NBC and its planned Alex Jones interview. Kelly and NBC are getting hammered on social media, and Kelly was dropped from a Sandy Hook fundraiser.

Maybe all this criticism is justified, but we really ought to be constantly piling on that creep Alex Jones.

 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Dangerous Rescue of Two Bucks Stuck Together Amid Tangled Barbed Wire

I video is going viral of two deer bucks who got their antlers entangled with each other and in a bunch of barbed wires.

Two farmers found the problem and conducted a dangerous rescue with wire cutters.

Here's the dramatic video:

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Bulldog Really Is Into This Horror Movie

I really can't watch horror movies. My dreams afterwards are too vivid.

But in this viral video, watch this bulldog get really into a horror movie as the scene in the film gets more and more intense.

The people who uploaded the video said the dog, named Kaleesi, loves watching horror movies and tries to protect potential victims in the films. Kaleesi is especially vocal when children are endangered.

Pretty wild:


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Another Reason To Hate The Computerization Of Cars: Ransomware

Is ransomware in your car next?
A lot of us live in fear of  ransomware

You've probably heard of it. Hackers get into your computer and shut it down, deny you access to all your files, unless you pay a ransom to the hackers.

Often, if you get hit by ransomware, it's because you opened a safe looking email attachment, a fake email you thought was from a friend, and you're screwed.

Technically, that's partly your fault for not being careful, but we all get scammed every once in awhile, and fooled into doing something you thought was innocent. The scammers are crafty.

Now, there's other ransomware to worry about. As Consumer Reports tells us, the threat is in your car.

Says Consumer Reports:

"The reason cars are such inviting targets for ransomware hacjers is that they're increasingly computerized. And as automakers have transferred more and more functions to processors, they've neglected to install the same levels of security found in other modern devices - such as phones and laptops.

'Once you connect the car to the internet, the entire vehicle becomes a threat surface. If the auto industry doesn't adapt, we'll continue to see mistakes and potential vulnerabilities for things like ransomware to take place,' said Craig Hurst, executive director of the Future of Automotic Security Technology."

There's much more interesting things to read about this topic at in the Consumer Reports article.

One thing they don't get into, though, is this:  Unlike your laptop or phone, you don't get to install the hacking safety features in your car. The automaker does.

But if your car should get hacked one day and you get a demand for ransomware, I guarantee the car companies will not be held responsible.

It'll be all on you, because big corporations have all the rights these days, not you.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Comey Testimony Will Be Must-See TV; Groups Try To Discredit Him, Though

Oh, joy! Another train wreck. Donald Trump
says he's going to live tweet the Comey hearings.
You know Donald Trump and his minions are extremely frightened by former FBI Director James Comey's expected Thursday testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

If the Trumpsters had little to worry about, they'd let him testify without comment safe in the knowledge they did anything wrong, so there would be no awful bombshells or worse.

We have no idea whether Comey will drop any of these bombshells and  make Trump's already crippled, incompetent and deranged presidency any worse with new revelations of how the Trump campaign did or did not collude with the Russians.

The signs are, though, they are scared shitless. That's because Trump's tried and true attempts at defanging his "enemies" is to erode their credibility. Whether these attempts to do so will involve any truth telling or not remains to be seen.

I'm not counting on the truth, though.

Trump has reportedly said he will live tweet the Comey hearings, which will be an interesting side show. I'm sure anything that Comey says that The Donald doesn't like will be met with the usual fact-free responses and charges that will make Trump look dumber than he already is, except of course to his shrinking core base of true believers.

Donald Trump always gets in trouble with his tweets. He thinks the tweets help him get his message out, but they just destroy his credibility, as if the credility could be ruined any further.

Just this week, Trump has made a diplomatic crisis worse among several Mideastern countries by sending inflammatory tweets that are completely at odds with what his foreign policy team has been doing.

He's undermined his efforts to overturn his wannabe ban on Muslim countries in the courts with tweets that totally undermine his legal case.

And Trump picked a completely unnecessary fight with the mayor of London, England after last weekend's terrorist attack there, instead of just sending his condolences and moving on.

As the Guardian editorialized:

"How long can we keep watching this endless car crash that is Donald Trump's presidency? The world has pressing problems to solve, from climate change to global terrorism, but instead of contributing resources and wisdom from the United States, Trump relentlessly gets in the way of solutions and exacerbates problems, all the while turning our shared tragedies into his own spectacles."

And he's got helpers, and his tiny group of fans will "help' Trump during Thursday's Comey hearings.

The Associated Press is reporting a group called the Great America Alliance will air television ads Thursday calling Comey, as Trump did, a "showboat" who "put politics over protecting America" even as "terror attacks were on the rise."

Sure, you can debate Comey's past job performance, but a substance-free negative ad in Trump's behalf proves he never stopped campaigning. He'll never be a real president.

As the president drags the United States and the rest of the world down with it, we still have too many Congressional Republican who will stand by Trump in the off-chance of getting their small, cruel agendas made into law.

That's where the real blame is. Too many members of the GOP have elevated their careers over the national interest.

And that's even more narcisstic than even Trump's enormous ego.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Terrorists Don't Understand They're Making Us Embrace More Of What They Hate

Defiance: Crowds at a London vigil Sunday, basically
telling terrorists to piss offf.
UPDATE: See John Oliver take on this below the video of the guy reacting to the attacks.

Oliver cites this guy and notes that he returned to the restaurant to pay his bill and leave the staff a tip.

I agree with John that this guy is out on the town in London tonight guzzling gin and toniscs and  flirting with every handsome guy he sees.

PREVIOUS DISCUSSION:  According to the Islamic jihadists that conduct those awful and stupid and tragic terrorist attacks, like the one in London over the weekend, is that their efforts are backfiring spectacularly.

The extremists think that fun, and music and independent women and free expression and independent thought are all items that must be wiped from the face of the Earth.

Very few people think this way, of course, which is why there are (thank goodness!) relatively few terrorists.

One attack is too many, but the fact that this kind of thing doesn't go on every hour is a sign that the numbers of whacked out jihadists are small.

Jihadists tried to shut down free spirited teen girls by bombing an Ariana Grande concert? Pfft. Grande goes ahead and hosts another mega-concert in Manchester, England, where the original bombing took place.  The concert raised tons of money for bombin victims.

The headline in The Guardian was "Manchester Uplifted By Ariana Grande's Colossal Empathy."

By that we mean, the defiance is not devoid of real emotion and hurt for the victims of the attacks. Want a sample? Just check out Grande's rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" she sang near the conclusion of the benefit concert.

The jihadists apparently hate joy more than anything, so the videos that surfaced of police officers gleefully dancing with youths at the Manchester concert last night must have galled them terribly.

Boo-hoo.

Frankly, the only person I see cowering in the face of these terrorists is Donald Trump, who gets all alarmist, probably for imagined political gain, when something like London happens. He just ends up looking shrill and fearful. What a snowflake!

My favorite reaction to the London tragedy is this guy, in the BBC interview below. He's got it just right. Let's hope the rest of us follow his lead.



John Oliver's take on why Britain is not "reeling."

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Donald Trump Loses It More Than Ever On Twitter

Donald Trump is the world's most obnoxious tweeter, we know that.

And what's with the millions of Twitter bots that he or one of his minions appears to have purchased. (You can purchase fake Twitter followers to make it look like you have a lot more followers than you do.)

Anyway, this tweet from The Donald went up early this morning, and stayed up for a few hours. Don't know where he was going with this:

If you click on the copy of the tweet I've put in this post to make it bigger and easier to read, Trump gave us this bit of profound wisdom: "Despite the constate negative press, covfefe."

Not sure what "covfefe" means, but I'm sure we can come up with some good definitions, right?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Was Trump Operating A Disco In The White House? No, But The Idea Is Fun

What was the deal with the red lights in the White House
windows Sunday night?
In a web cam that's always trained on the White House, there was a bit of a spectacle Sunday night.

It looked like there was a red strobe light going off in the second floor residence of the White House.

You could see the flashing lights in two of the windows.  

What was going on?

As always, social media had a lot of fun with this.

Michael Hicks wrote on Twitter, "Everybody relax. The flashing red lights coming from inside the White House are just a simple code being transmitted to Russian overseers."

Trey Lucas speculated: "Looks like a rave, where are my globe sticks?"

Another theory: "He probably pulled the fire alarm because his Diet Coke button didn't work."

The real explanation for the lights was much more tame, as real explanations tend to be.  Due to a medical emergency unrelated to the White House, a DC ambulance was parked on a street nearby for 17 minutes.

What people saw in those windows was the lights of the ambulance reflected in the White House windows.

Oh. Too bad. Wish the other theories were true, as they'd be more fun.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

New Music Videos For Old Elton John Classics Are Awesome

A scene from the brilliant new music video for the
Elton John classic, "Rocket Man."
The early hits in Elton John's extensive, awesome, Captain Fantastic music catalog came before music videos were a thing.  

As Rolling Stone reports, Sir Elton John and his lyricists Bernie Taupin rectified that situation by working with YouTube for a global competition to get music videos up for three great, iconic early 1970s hits:

The songs are "Bennie And The Jets," "Tiny Dancer" and "Rocket Man."

John and Taupin revealed the winning videos recently at the Cannes Film Festival recently. The videos are awesome and are viewable below. (You might have to click on "Watch on YouTube" to actually seem them.

All the videos are awesome, but I'll show them below ranking them from my least favorite to favorite. (Although my least favorite one is pretty awesome.)

The first one is "Bennie and the Jets"

In this one, Director Jack Whitley and choreographer Laura Brownhill, imagine the protagonist in the song, Bennie, forming the members of the Jets, her band. Rolling Stone says the pair were inspired by Busby Berkeley's old Hollywood musicals and "Metropolis," the memorable 1927 Fritz Lang movie.


The second video is for "Tiny Dancer." I have to say this is one of my favorite road songs and every time I hear it, I have an image of me driving around on a sunny, gorgeous spring afternoon.

In this video, Director Max Weiland creates a series of compelling mini-stories of eclectic people in Los Angeles driving around and singing along to "Tiny Dancer." You only get glimpses of all these people, but you really end up caring about them by the end of the video, and want to know more about them.



The best video, in my opinion, is Majid Adin's animated video for "Rocket Man."

I totally agree with Rolling Stone's review of this video:

"(Adin) brilliantly re-contextualizes Taupin's lyrics about a lonely astronaut with a visual tale that draws on his past experience as an Iranian refugee traveling to England.......Taupin's words take on a more melancholy spin in this vivid setting, particularly the line, 'I think it's gonna be a long, long time,' repeated as the protagonist dwells on his uncertain future."

I could not take my eyes off this "Rocket Man" video and I want to watch it again and again:

Friday, May 26, 2017

You Can't Get Two Same-Flavor Scoops of Ben & Jerry's In Australia Until There's Same Sex Marriage

 
Do you want two scoops of the same flavor of Ben & Jerry's ice cream in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney or anywhere else in Australia?  

You're out of luck, at least for now.

Australia is struggling with the question to allow same-sex marraige (the country is behind the times on this issue).

Activists there are bucking for same-sex marriage, and the reason for the Ben & Jerry's ban is part of that effort.

NBC News says that Ben & Jerry's declared that "love comes in all flavors" and in protest of Australia's lack of same sex marriage, they're banning ice cream cones with one flavor of ice cream.

You want two scoops? You must have two flavors.

Vermont-based Ben & Jerry's said the point of the scoop protest is to get people to imagine "how furious you would be if you were told you were not allowed to marry the person you love.

So, we are banning two scoops of the same flavor and encouragig our fans to contact their MPs to tell them that the time has come - make marriage equality equal."

For the uninitiated, "MP" stands for "member of parliament."

Polls indicate a majority of Australians support same sex marriage.

NBC said last November, the national Senate rejected a national referendum on same-sex marriage. Both liberals and sympathetic conservatives said the vote would have been just a delaying tactic.

Parliament could just change the law and allow same sex marriage.

The Ben & Jerry's scoop protest won't have a huge impact: There are only 26 Bem & Jerry's outlets in the entire country of Australia.