I promise there will be no JLaw pictures in this edition of WTF…..
1) Last Friday (11/22) I spotted this headline in the NYDN that said, “Hawaii state senator says ‘Aloha’ to using sledgehammer to fight homelessness.”
Seems the politico, Tom Brower, was fed up with trying to pass laws that were being proposed to “clean up” the
streets of the district he represents. So, he literally took to the streets to enact his own form of affirmative interaction that was aimed at the homeless people who called the streets their home. Specifically, he targeted their shopping carts that were on the streets in order to stage his own unique brand of clean-up ops.
What he would do is go out searching for the seemingly ubiquitous shopping carts that many homeless peeps can be seen pushing around various American metropolises. Carts that generally contain almost all of these folks personal belongings as well as other useful stuff, like redeemable bottles, that they might pick up throughout their daily roaming.
Seems he would take along a sledgehammer, and, when he would find one of these carts he would go all Yosemite Sam-like and heft the sledge skyward, and, then down with force to smash the dratted and dreaded shopping cart to smithereens. In the process, he would also smithereenize any possessions that were within the shopping cart.
But, now Brower said he was putting an end to the practice because “The point that I was trying to make has been made… (and) It’s time to put down the sledgehammer.”
His logic previously was that since he was tired of telling people that he was passing laws that would clean up the streets and were for the public’s own good and having no obvious results, he deemed that he should go out and “…find abandoned junk, specifically shopping carts, and… remove them.” He added that he was only creating a “… situation where those carts can’t be pushed around the city… I think it’s a good thing.”
Brower had embarked on the unusual campaign about two weeks ago and had destroyed about 30 carts.
He said he typically searched for unattended ones and never took a cart directly from the hands of a homeless person.
Well, damn, ain’t that mighty white of him, eh?
So, this elected official thought it was just fine, in fact, it seems as if he thought it was his duty, responsibility, to go out and do some addled brained, one-man posse frontier-like justice action against the evil shopping carts. I mean he had to protect all the citizens of his voting district from this scourge that obviously would have a deleterious effect on the ideal, and idyllic, life of the good people of Hawaii as well as being an affront and danger to the American way of life.
What I would like to know is who died and made this clown emperor of the universe, who evidently has the right to go around deciding what is, or is not, trash, or, what some downtrodden individual can have or not have. I mean, yeah, some people are homeless because they chose that way of life (for why, I have no clue) or because they made poor life choices (drugs, alcohol, bad marriages, etc…). But, then some people are homeless because of some very unfortunate circumstances (lost jobs, illness, bad marriages, etc…). However, the overall reality is that all of these people have no home, nowhere to go, and essentially carry, or push, as the case may be, their belongings wherever they go because to not do so would result in those few precious items being stolen or mistaken for something not very useful and tossed into a nearby garbage bin.
But, then some yahoo comes along, and, because he is offended by the appearance of these just barely subsisting folks, or, at the image of them pushing the sum total of their lives’ around in shopping carts, he feels that as soon as he finds one “unattended” he can just go around indiscriminately smashing it, and, in the process, its contents into nothingness.
I wonder if the good people of his district realized they elected someone to be judge, jury and executioner who has the need to go out administering whatever loose cannon posse justice he thinks fits the bill.
No concern about the inhumanity of his actions or the person affected, just get the look of those bedraggled things off his damn streets. After all, if you can’t see it then it must not exist, right? If the streets look clean then there must be no poverty and everything must be hunk dory, right? That’s how to solve the Hawaiian homeless problem.
Considering that Hawaii has one of the largest incidence of homeless throughout the 50 US states, somehow, I don’t think Brower has a very realistic approach. Just my opinion… but… it’s not very realistic.
Some people don’t want help and there is nothing to be done about those folks except place them where they can do no harm. If, that means some of those folks are to be imprisoned for certain criminal activity, then fine, do it. If others need psychological help and need to go to a mental health facility; then just get it done and place them in those facilities. But, others are there, out on the streets, through no fault of their own, and, they need help; not obstructionist, stupid and ignorant solutions that do nothing to address the real problem of joblessness, poverty and individuals rights to exist with whatever small amount of dignity that is at their disposal… which may be nothing more than a shopping cart that holds everything that these folks hold dear to their hearts.
Brower should have been arrested, in my opinion, for assault, threatening or the destruction of private property.
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
“What is more tragic than to see a person who has risen to the disciplined heights of tough-mindedness but has at the same time sunk to the passionless depths of hard-heartedness?”
― Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love
If you have been reading WTF for any length of time you may have noticed that I often quote Martin Luther King, Jr. … And, while I admit, he may have had some defects in his overall character and he may have committed some personal indiscretions, I see him as quite an admirable person whose philosophy of life and whose opinions on many of society’s social injustices mirror my own philosophy and opinions. Simply put, I see MLK Jr. as one of the few people I admire greatly, and, in my opinion, who is a hero.
2) I don’t care what side of the issue you may be on when it comes down to the issue of gun control and how guns may, or may not, be involved in tragedies such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders, the fact of the matter is, it’s not an occurrence that deserves to be disrespected. Yet, in my opinion, that is exactly what some dumbass gamer ex-patriot living in Australia by the name of Ryan Jake Lambournan has done by creating a sad twisted sick crude game called “The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary” which lets a player simulate the a massacre that left 20 first-graders and 7 adults dead.
According to newspaper articles, the game allows a player to collect a loaded gun and then shoot his mother before going on a rampage at a school. Several websites have made the right decision to shut the game down, but Richard Blumenthal, the senior senator from Connecticut, thinks it should be simply banned from the intent altogether. I happen to agree with that sentiment.
Lambournan, however, says via a message embedded in the video, that in 2007 he created a game called “Vtech Rampage” about the Virginia Tech shootings (which, in and of itself, was sick enough!) and that since then he has been asked by “… fans of ‘Vtech’ to make more games of just about every mass shooting that’s gotten media coverage… All these massacres don’t seem to have any … effect on legislation. Here we are nearly a year after the Sandy Hook shooting … and absolutely nothing positive has come out of it.”
Can someone tell me what the fuck does the lack of any so-called gun laws, or any other type of laws for that matter, being created, or not created, have to do with the fact that this puke has created a game that glorifies killing? And, a game that does not just glorify killing but it glorifies the killing of children.
What the hell, lets create a game where we can kill Jews next… or blacks… or gays… or any other group because after all there are many anti-bias laws on the books that are supposed to address the senseless attacks on, or, the killing of, members of all these groups yet bias attacks continue to occur. So, we obviously need more videos that depict the attacking or murdering of any, or all, of these groups of people in our society. I mean, isn’t it obvious, the laws are ineffective and some good old video games should get the message across about the senseless passing of laws that don’t really work to stop senseless killing?
That is insane. And, Lambournan’s videos are insane, too!
Donna Soto, a Stratford mom whose late daughter, Victoria, 27, was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal for shielding her students from the gunfire during the rampage, told the Connecticut Post that “It’s absolutely disgusting that somebody thinks this is funny. We’re all suffering. All the families are suffering. We’re coming up on December. My daughter’s birthday just passed. It just adds insult to the suffering that we’re dealing with. It’s just incomprehensible that someone would think this kind of thing is wanted.”
Yet Lambournan has taken to twitter and said, “The liberals don’t like me because I’ve disrespected the dead. The conservatives don’t like me because of the gun control message. And the trolls don’t like me because it wasn’t edgy enough.”
And the Connecticut Post reported that “… it boggles the mind of a reasonable person” that someone would create and place this abhorrent game on the internet. So much so that even a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, called the simulation of the Sandy Hook massacre “reprehensible.”
Yep, the NRA even agrees with the so-called “liberals” who be hating on his video game.
The Post goes on to say that “Speech needs to be free. But as with any freedom, it needs to be exercised responsibly. And this game may be protected speech. But we can still call it what it is: vile.”
3) Now ya’ll know my opinion about organized religion… I tend to go with the opinion that it is truly the opiate of the people…however, I am really getting royally impressed with this dude Pope Francis.
An article in today’s (11/26) NYDN says Pope Francis has just said that unfettered capitalism has created “a new tyranny” and an “idolatry of money” and that “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.”
Booya, Pope Frankie… you are the man!
All of this came out in his first major speech, aka “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel). The speech (epistle?) essentially amounts to an elucidation of his platform as the pontiff of the Catholic Church.
Francis, 76, also said, “I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security” and “As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.”
As I said, I am impressed…
And, while I might not agree with all that this particular Pope represents, I do respect the message and the import of the man’s words and intent, and, can only hope they have some indent on the issue of poverty and hunger in this damn world.
4) File this under karma can be a bitch … but it is fair: Last Thursday (11/21) I caught this little piece that was sort of buried in the middle pages of the Daily News and it just made me smile: “Toys “R” US reduces price of A-Rod figurines from $15.95 to $1.00”
Yep, that’s a negative market correction of 93.7%.
Sometimes justice comes in ways that you least expect it to appear and while ARod probably got paid a lump sum for the use of his image, one can only hope that any money he was to get, somehow, someway, was tied to the sales of the figurine… and, that he is now, on some level, feeling the pain in his pocketbook. And, if not, then maybe it’s just a good old karmic haymaker to the ego.
Because, it doesn’t take much to see that this don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world (Thanks, Humphrey!) but in my world it would warm the cockles of my soul to know that when some dumbass do shit on the sport I love that they will get theirs in the end.
And, as the article states: “… in the business world, sometimes demand grabs supply by the lapels and beats him with a claw hammer. (And) That’s what appears to be happening in this instance. As always, when adults misbehave, it’s the durable-good profit margins that suffer the most.”
Just, let it be so…let it be…
5) Speaking of karma… I also saw this little piece over the weekend: Beyoncé banned from Pyramids”
Now, as a little matter of full disclosure, this guy, Zahi Hawass, that I am about to bring into the conversation, has his own history (Hawass lost his job during the uprising in Egypt in 2011 and has been accused of corruption over alleged smuggling of antiquities) and isn’t always held in the highest esteem by some folks, but, none the less, he is regarded as an expert in the field of Egyptian antiquities, and, called, by some, Egypt’s Indiana Jones… and, as such, is a person who should be given at least a modicum of respect. So, when Hawass was, in a manner of speaking, disrespected by having to wait for Beyoncé to appear for a 3:00 pm meeting for a tour of Egypt’s ancient tombs, he told her “You have to say ‘I’m sorry I’m late'”.
But, it seems Beyoncé obviously did not agree as no apology was forthcoming.
Hawass then says that he brought along a photographer,as did Beyoncé, as well as a body guard. And, when Hawass’ picture taker started to shoot some film, the body guard said “… Stop! I am the one who says yes or no, not you.”
At which point, Hawass says he, more or less, told Beyoncé and her bodyguard to stuff it up their asses and get the fuck off his lawn. Ok, he really said “… in that case since you almost hit my photographer and you are not polite, out! I am not giving you the privilege of having you on my tour.”
Look, rich and famous people may think they have power and get what they want simply because they are rich and famous, but, sometimes that stuff don’t float. And, I am not sure what Beyoncé’s side of this little tale is, but, a quickie news flash: When in Rome you damn well better cotton to doing as the Romans do, or, you just might get a ticket on a fast plane right out the door.
So listen up, honey, this ain’t New York City, it ain’t even Houston, and, you ain’t the queen bee of anything in some folk’s world. And, when you are visiting in someone else’s neighborhood you act with respect and understand that the rules ain’t yours to dictate. That’s just plain old common sense, and, the reality of life in the universe.
6) And, on Sunday (11/24) I saw that McDonald’s was saying that the McRib won’t be available nationwide this year.
It seems the fast-food mega-chain says it’s up to local franchises whether they offer the pork sandwich or not. That’s a change from the past three years, when McDonald’s had put the McRib on the national menu as a way to boost sales in the back half of the year, but, it is a return to the days when the sandwich was first offered as a regional-only offering. A McDonald’s spokesperson, said the company had “other national priorities” this year… like its promotion of its new Mighty Wings.
Now, the fact that the McRib might not be available in your area may make some of you peeps weep tears of sorrow. But, for those that can get the McRib, and, will gladly fork over their hard earned dollars to get one, maybe, you should be careful what you wish for.
Why is that? Have you ever considered exactly what the McRib is made of?
In the words of one Dirty Harry: “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do you…?”
First, how many ingredients are in a McRib? MacDonald’s advertises it as a sandwich that consists of pork, onions, and pickle slices slathered in barbecue sauce and laid out on a bun. But the truth is, there are roughly 70 ingredients in the sandwich when you consider what the bun, and, the stuff inside the bun, actually contain.
The bun alone contains 34 ingredients and among those ingredients are chemicals like ammonium sulfate, polysorbate 80, and azodicarbonamide which is “a flour-bleaching agent most commonly used in the manufacture of foamed plastics like gym mats and the soles of shoes.” Azodicarbonamide is banned in Europe and Australia, it has been shown to cause asthma and skin irritation, and is considered to be a risk to human life by the World Health Organization. And, the ammonium sulfate used in the McRib bun? It is also used in fire extinguisher powder and flame-proofing agents, according to the International Plant Nutrition Institute.
The patty? Well that is a matter of some discussion. Some folks say it is made of pig innards and plenty of salt, which is sometimes referred to as a restructured meat product. Restructured pork meat includes pig bits like tripe, heart, and scalded stomach which are cooked and blended with salt and water to extract salt-soluble proteins, which act as a kind of glue that helps bind the reshaped meat together.
McDonalds, on the other hand, says that the McRib absolutely does not contain “restructured meat” … but is made from simple ground pork and that no tripe, heart, stomach, offal or similar parts are used. Some independent sources also report that the process of making the McRib doesn’t appear to include anything unusual.
One investigative reporter who was allowed into a MacDonald’s processing plant said pork “… starts off in a vat on a pallet, which is then hoisted up in the air and dumped into the grinder, where it comes out as normal-looking ground pork — as you’d see in any supermarket, but in a giant pile.”
Full disclosure: The McRib’s pork isn’t quite 100 percent pork, because the supplier of the pork adds water and a mixture of seasonings, which is salt, pepper, sage, rosemary extract and dextrose. Also contained in the pork are the preservatives BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), propyl gallate, and citric acid.
While citric acid is safe, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recommends that consumer’s should avoid BHA and propyl gallate. While, the Food and Drug Administration permits the use of BHA in food, its parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, says that BHA is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” BHA is often used with propyl gallate to prevent fats and oils from spoiling. CSPI says that propyl gallate may be an endocrine disruptor and needs to be better studied.
Workers then take that ground pork and insert it into the next machine which is the shaper of the final product… the McRib. Here it goes into molds that ultimately produce a rib-shaped pork patty, which get a misting of water, and, then are flash frozen.
Either way, restructured meat or processed pork, it is still a mishmash of mixed-up low grade pork.
Then, there is the matter of the barbecue sauce. After water, the main ingredient in the sauce is high-fructose corn syrup (which most nutritionsits say should be severly limited). Also, add in some Xanthan gum, (which is generally deemed safe but it has caused problems in infants); Sodium benzoate (it can cause allergic reactions in some folks); some kind of unspecified caramel color (some of which when it is produced with certain other substances, such as ammonia, can be carcinogenic) and beet powder (gotta get red from some place and just be glad it ain’t from Red dye 40 or FD&C Red 40).
And, of course there are the pickles, which contain polysorbate 80, potassium sorbate, alum and calcium chloride. All of which are considered to be “safe”.
So how bad/unhealthy is the McRib? 500 calories; 980 milligrams of sodium (about half a day’s worth) and 26 grams of fat of which 10 grams are saturated fat (also half a day’s worth).
So, the bottom line is forewarned is forearmed and eat at your own risk… but me? I stick to the dollar menu when I go to any of these places (Burger King is my main junk food haven), and, I do so very, very infrequently… and, usually I go for cheeseburgers and fries.
7) Heard about the “Knockout Game” yet? It’s a sad and sordid piece of stupidity making the rounds of NYC these days. Essentially it consists of some dumbass going up to some poor innocent person walking by, and then sucker punching that person, with the object being to take out the victim with one punch.
Recently, a dude in Brooklyn got cold cocked by someone who he says he heard the supposed puncher boasting to his friends that he could take out a person with a punch just before he got punched. The victim was able to flag down passing police, who hustled him into their patrol car, and, then drove around the area where the guy spotted his attacker, who was then arrested.
According to the police report, the arrested guy, one Amrit Marajh, 28, had just left a bar with four friends and was talking about boxing when the knockout game came up. Marajh is said to have boasted he could do it, i.e., take out someone with just one punch. The report goes on to say that the group told Marajh “You can’t do that”, but, as the group was passing by the victim, Marajh “allegedly” said, “Yes I can, I’ll do it to this guy right now!” And, he punched the victim smack dab in his face, leaving him nastily bruised.
Marajh was hit with misdemeanor assault, menacing and harassment charges and was released after posting $750 bail. Hate crime charges weren’t filed. Why a hate crime? The punched was Jewish, and, the puncher was black. But, it was determined that the victim being Jewish had not a thing to do with his being picked out for the dumbass game.
Now, of course, somehow in this mess of bullshit, a certain Rev. Al Sharpton had to poke his nose into all of it… Now to be fair, although I feel Sharpton has caused trouble where none should have been, I also feel he has done plenty of good by being in the forefront of some very volatile issues… and, this time was one of his good moments. Sharpton spoke out against the “knockout game” attacks and said that “If someone was running around talking about knocking out blacks, we would not be silent… We cannot be silent (when Jewish people are attacked either).”
Sharpton said he is also speaking to celebrities about doing public service announcements to denounce the attacks.
You go, Al baby….
8) All you baby boomers, like me, want to feel really old? No? Well, the heck with ya’ll, I am gonna make ya’ll feel old anyway … Mull
this little factoid around in your gray matter: “Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger is set to become a great-grandfather early next year.”
Yep, his daughter Jade told The Sunday Times that her daughter, Assisi, expects to give birth in several months. Jade does says that she does not expect Jagger to slow down now that he’s set to become a great-grandfather. In fact, it’s already established that his Mickness should be dressed in spandex and bounding around on a stage sometime next year as the Stones plan to tour Australia.
9) The New York Daily News asked the question over the weekend: “What ever happened to diplomacy?”
Seems a UK Member of Parliament, Nadine Dorries, lashed out at a reporter for the U.K.’s Sunday Mirror for asking why her daughter could work as her personal secretary even though she lives 89 miles from Dorries’ closest office.
What did she say that was so undiplomatic? Try this on for size: “Be seen within a mile of my daughters and I will nail your balls to the floor … using your own front teeth. Do you get that?”
Yep, that was her exact words on Twitter. Curious though, it has since been removed so don’t look for it.
All I got to say is “Ouch!”
10) Gonna do the Black Friday mambo this week in search of big bargains? Or, maybe you’ll just do the Cyber Monday chair thingy and sit in front of your computer and away from the hustle and bustle of the maddening crowds….
I mean, after all this is the time to stock up on some of those things you’ve been wanting, or, for gifts for those that are near and dear, right?
Ever wonder how these peeps can afford to do that? Simply put, because that item that is now on sale for more than 40% off at $39.99 was never meant to sell at its $68 starting price. It was designed with the discount built in.
Here’s how it works, according to one industry consultant describing an item sold at a major retailer. A supplier sells a item to a retailer for roughly $14.50. The suggested retail price is $50, which gives the retailer, roughly, a 70% markup. A few of the items sell at that price, but more sell at the first markdown, which, say is $44.99, and, then the bulk sell at a final discount price of, maybe, $21.99. That ultimately will result in an average unit retail price of $28, and, gives the store about a 45% gross margin on the product.
Hold that thought…
There once was a man who was born in Bethel, Connecticut, by the name of Phineas Taylor Barnum, aka PT Barnum. PT in his storied life was a small-business owner, founded a weekly newspaper, was a politician who served two terms in the Connecticut legislature and at one point was the mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut where he worked to improve the water supply, bring gas lighting to streets, and, enforce liquor and prostitution laws, as well as being instrumental in founding Bridgeport Hospital, one of two major hospitals still standing in Bridgeport.
But, probably the thing that PT was most renowned for was his entertainment career, first with a troupe called “Barnum’s Grand Scientific and Musical Theater,” and, then by buying an enterprise called Scudder’s American Museum which he renamed after himself, i.e., the Barnum Museum. But, it was his “P. T. Barnum’s Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome,” which eventually became the Barnum and Bailey Circus, and, then the Ringling, Barnum and Bailey circus, that most people probably know his name.
So, why is PT germane to this conversation? Because, PT said “Advertising is to a genuine article what manure is to land, – it largely increases the product” and “Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the taste of the American public”.
Just pointing out the obvious is all…
10A: Remember that promise at the beginning of today’s WTF? Well… I am keeping my word, no JLaw… try this instead… I have always appreciated the simplistic beauty of this lady… and in my opinion ARod was a dope for dumping her but she was very lucky he did so…
And, last, but, not least… it’s nearly turkey day, so, Happy Thanksgiving… and here are some thoughts …
If you’re gonna eat like the 1% and drink like the 99% …. Don’t Drive!
Take some time out to be thankful for what you do have, instead of worrying about what you don’t have…
And, if you can give something back… many places serve Thanksgiving dinners to the poor and the homeless and a donation of slightly over two bucks will feed one person… so… if, you can give a little…
Bottom line, have a good day of giving thanks and eating with family and friends and maybe some football, too… and maybe say a prayer for, or, take a moment to think of, those that can’t be at your table …
And one last thought …
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