Friday, December 21, 2012

News From the UK

I find the UK news sources to have all sorts of fascinating stories and news every day.

Here are some of interest:

This could be a very exciting cancer breakthrough: Trojan horse therapy completely eliminates cancer in mice

It might have been made by a different company however
French actor Gerard Depardieu moved to Belgium because of France's ridiculously high tax rate

Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu, 1 Oct 12
Oh! You have my tax bill! Merci!
If your IQ is around 60, you are a carrot

You are nothing more than a root vegetable
Actress Sharon Stone on surviving a brain hemorrhage (who knew?)

Stone is set: Sharon is back in starring roles
Because it's Sharon Stone
Apple Store employees gone wild

Destroyed: An alleged former Apple store employee sent in this photograph of a smashed iPad, allegedly taken after the device was intentionally smashed for fun
Don't worry sir, it's under warranty
How to prevent a sexual assault without using chili powder (you can't make this stuff up!!)
Chilli powder
Makes a great rape deterrent
A list of Christmas songs drivers love to hate

Dec 2012: 10 most irritating festive songs: Slade
Wouldn't everything by this band be something to hate?
25 tips to help you live to 100

Woman with Birthday Cake
It was all the twice a week thing that did it for me!

Botched stem cell facelift has woman growing bones in her eyes

Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman "race". In tuxedos.

Too cool for school: Russell was looking very laid back as he sported some sunglasses
Er, you might wanna train a bit Russ

Where can you buy a classic three bird roast in London? Well, the answer is right here!

Just like a turkducken

Thursday, December 20, 2012

You are an unbelievably stupid man, aren't you?

What a surprise, more and more celebrities continue to make complete jackasses out of themselves in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy:

Really? One can only hope??? There's some twisted logic.
Apparently Joyce Carol Oates and Marg Helgenberger (who makes her living doing violent movies and TV shows) feel that more violence, especially to NRA members will enlighten them about gun control.

Marg Helgenberger
This movie is


But that's ok, because it's make believe.

Joyce Carol Oates - writer of boring novels
So boring in fact there's a song called Joyce Carol Oates Is A Boring Old Biddy

"You are an unbelievably stupid man, aren't you?"

Then we have CNN's Piers Morgan, who apparently fancies himself as the moral compass of the free world did himself no favors by resorting to calling a guest on his show an idiot. While interviewing the executive director of Gun Owners of America, Larry Pratt, Morgan couldn't hold his tongue.

Pratt: (Through Morgan shouting incoherently) Your murder rate is lower than ours, that is true. Your violent crime rate is higher than ours as is the violent crime rate in Australia. America is not the wild west that you are depicting. We only have the problem in our cities and unhappily in our schools, where people like you have been able to have laws put on the books that keep people from being able to defend themselves. I honestly don't understand why you would rather have people be victims of a crime than be able to defend themselves. It's incomprehensible.

Morgan: You're an unbelievably stupid man, aren't you?

Pratt: It seems to me that you are morally obtuse.

Correction, Mr. Pratt, Morgan is the incredibly stupid man here, but you were obviously trying to keep the discussion civil. Morgan chose to get on his high horse and act like a jackass.

This is the problem: if you say you are in favor of private citizens owning guns, then in the eyes of people like Morgan you support killing children. There is no rational discussion, no give and take, you are a potential killer who can come unglued at any moment.

Through his blather and indignation Morgan completely missed this the point that Pratt was trying to make.

This little bit of information published in Morgan's home country The Daily Mirror reinforces the point Pratt was trying to make. In an article titled The most violent country in Europe: Britain is also worse than South Africa and U.S.  published July 2, 2009, the chart below illustrated how the UK ranks number one with the highest number of violent crimes per 100,000 residents.

league of shame

And to top it all off, Morgan showed more class with this witty Tweet:

Please try to understand the point that people like Larry Pratt and responsible gun owners are imploring people like Oates, Helgenberger, and Morgan just cannot seem to comprehend:

It is not guns, it is people

Even if you take away all firearms do they really believe that violent crimes are going to disappear? This is what Pratt was trying to say to Morgan, the violent crime rate in the UK is higher than anywhere else in the world.

What happened at Sandy Hook and in Aurora Colorado are incomprehensible, but please don't ever kid yourself for one minute that the persons who committed these heinous acts would have not either done them or killed less because guns can kill many on the spot. 

The maniac in Colorado rigged his apartment with explosives. What makes anyone think someone as twisted as him wouldn't have blown up the theater if he didn't have access to guns?

And to put a finer point on it, what would have stopped him from obtaining the firearms he wanted illegally if he was so bent on doing what he ultimately did?

The answer: NOTHING.

You can call us idiots and morons but you are not helping your case when you cannot present your views professionally. Piers Morgan is a phony of the highest order.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sandy Hook - The Most Obvious Question

The shootings in Sandy Hook Connecticut are a national nightmare.

The unimaginable horror of 6 and 7 year old children and school teachers being gunned down while in school is something we never, ever hope to experience again.

My first reaction to anything such as this is to always wait until we get the facts before we start talking about prevention.

Our only hope is to understand how and why this happened and hopefully we can find a solution to prevent events like this from happening again.

The first place to look for many is guns and weapons. Many feel they are easily obtained and are the root cause of all of these acts of violence.

In any case of violence, it is the person not the means that is the problem.

People drive drunk every day and cause deaths and damage yet we do not hear an outcry for banning cars. Alcohol is part of the issue in that equation and look what happened with prohibition in the 1920's.

What makes anyone think banning firearms will fare any better? I would bet that even more firearms would be in the hands of those who wouldn't be able to get them legally under our present laws. The underground market for firearms and weaponry would explode and include arms that are not available legally. Remove the laws and what you will have is unfettered access to whatever someone could afford.

This is going to make things better? I seriously doubt it.

Note: The person who killed these people (as well as any others who have committed these acts) will not be mentioned by name in this space. He will be referred to as CT  - Connecticut

Now that we are starting to get information about the background of CT, maybe we can now begin to understand how this happened.

And of course, the biggest question like any other senseless act of violence, is why.

The first and most important question out of all is this:

If CT was unstable, and his mother was increasingly having difficulties with him, how did he get access to her weapons and ammunition?

We are now learning that CT's mother was a "prepper". For those of you who aren't familiar with what and who preppers are, they are simply those who believe that there will be chaos and collapse at some point in the near future and a preparing for the worst. Like anything, being prepared for the worst is not the craziest notion.

She stockpiled food and water because she believed that the world is headed for an economic collapse which would lead to anarchy. She also stockpiled weapons and ammunition.

From what I've read, she was also an avid gun collector/enthusiast and taught both of her sons to shoot. Again, nothing wrong with that, there are plenty of responsible gun owners and enthusiasts who have learned from their parents and teach their kids.

Any responsible gun owner knows that you cannot, not should not, let children have access to weapons and ammunition. Especially a child (though technically an adult as he was 20) with issues as it appears that CT has been described to have had.

Some accounts in the news have quoted friends of CT's mother saying she was losing him. I've seen people in the news quoted as saying she was a responsible gun owner who was very careful with her firearms. If this was the case, and we need to know how CT got his hands on those guns and all that ammunition.

The following excerpts are from a blog called The Anarchist Soccer Mom. This woman also has a child who has exhibited behavior that is potentially dangerous.

There is no more powerful testimony about this issue than someone who lives with a child that has the potential to commit acts of violence beyond what most children exhibit.
I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.
A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to.
I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me.
Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.
At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he’s in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He’s in a good mood most of the time. But when he’s not, watch out. And it’s impossible to predict what will set him off.
I am sharing this story because I am XXXXX's mother. I am XXXXX's and XXXXX's mother. I am XXXXX's mother. I am XXXXX's mother. I am XXXXX's other. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.
 No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”
I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.
 Please, do yourself a favor and read the entire story here.

Here is a CNN interview with Liza Long, the author of the blog above.

We cannot conceive of these acts because we do not process thoughts as the people who commit these acts do.  We cannot understand these acts of violence and our initial reaction is to somehow stop these any way we can. Restricting the rights of law abiding citizens is not how we accomplish that goal.

Understanding what makes this happen is the key.

When incidents like this occur, the first thing most people say is that "the world is getting worse".

That's not the case, "the world" has always been a dangerous place anywhere you go. There has actually been no increase in mass shootings. More here.

Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota Department of Corrections who has written a history of mass murders in America, said that while mass shootings rose between the 1960s and the 1990s, they actually dropped in the 2000s. And mass killings actually reached their peak in 1929, according to his data. He estimates that there were 32 in the 1980s, 42 in the 1990s and 26 in the first decade of the century.
Chances of being killed in a mass shooting, he says, are probably no greater than being struck by lightning.
Still, he understands the public perception — and extensive media coverage — when mass shootings occur in places like malls and schools. “There is this feeling that could have been me. It makes it so much more frightening.”

In closing, rest in peace those whose lives were cut short by another who we simply cannot understand how or why he decided to do what he did. Here's hoping someday soon we can recognize the warning signs and avert these tragedies.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Roundup

Killer Turkeys On The Loose
The oh so politically correct town of Brookline MA has been terrorized with aggressive turkeys attacking residents. They can't figure out what to do with them.

They actually created a graph showing how many calls the Brookline Police have received this year:

Must be more vegetarians living there this November

Hey Brookline, here's a solution:
Oneida Heavy Gauge Commercial Carbon Steel Roasting Pan with Rack
Approximate Roasting Times for Stuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight
6 to 8 pounds3 to 3-1/2 hours
8 to 12 pounds3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours
12 to 16 pounds4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours
16 to 20 pounds5-1/2 to 6 hours
20 to 24 pounds6 to 6-1/2 hours
Approximate Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight
6 to 8 pounds2-1/2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds3 to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds4 to 5 hours
16 to 20 pounds5 to 5-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds5-1/2 to 6 hours

WWII London Blitz Interactive Website
Amazing website that shows where and how many bombs were dropped on London by the Nazis from October 7, 1940 to June 6 1942. Amazing and sobering.

Not So Funny Now
The poor woman who was fooled by a DJ pretending to be Queen Elizabeth calling the hospital where her pregnant granddaughter in law, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has committed suicide.

You Don't Deliver The Goods, I'm Calling The Cops
This guy felt he was shorted by 10 minutes by a prostitute, so he called the cops. So they arrested him.

Nevada Senator Dirty Harry Reid compares the Republican Party to the New York Jets.

Nice Headbutt
Former New England Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel forgot he doesn't play any longer.

Alan Sepinwall is the MAN
If you watch any series on TV and don't know who Alan Sepinwall is, let me do you a huge favor and introduce you. I found him when I was watching The Sopranos when he was writing for the Newark Star-Ledger. (The newspaper you see Tony Soprano get in his driveway) Since then, Alan has his own website on Hitfix called What's Alan Watching? His weekly reviews of Boardwalk Empire are must reading as they were for the Sopranos.

The Sopranos Pine Barrens episode.

Anyway, Sepinwall has written a book and though I don't follow many of the shows he writes about, this excerpt from the book about the Sopranos deals with the Russian gangster and his take (as well as series creator David Chase) on the controversial ending. Great stuff as always!

My take on the Sopranos ending:

Since the show was mainly viewed through the prism of Tony Soprano's perspective, the abrupt ending was to me like one of those pay binoculars that you see at tourist sites. The quarter ran out and that was it.

And finally, today marks the 71st Anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Betty McIntosh wrote first hand about the attack but her article was never published because editors felt it was too graphic. 71 years later you can read what she witnessed.

Here is President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's speech from December 8, 1941 in its entirety.

RIP to all the souls who were lost that day.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Crazy stuff from around the world (in case you missed it)

Whoops, we bulldozed the building. Sorry.

Oh, you meant to clean up the mansion

Star Wars geeks are building a life size Millennium Falcon

RIP to the world's oldest and tallest women (no they weren't the same person)

The world's tallest woman - Yao Defen
Yes, she was big

Detroit City Councilwoman wants her payback

The guys at Gas Monkey Garage have been getting over on the American Chopper guys

Then they did this video which is hilarious

Any article that leads with "French men are not as fertile as they used to be" can lead to so many jokes.

Yeah, but you're shooting BLANKS mon ami

Aaaaand Finally
Super Fraud raises 42 MILLION dollars to run for the US Senate and runs a deficit

Yep, she's gonna clean up Washington and work for the middle class

Even after raising a whopping $42 million for her Senate race this year - more than any other congressional candidate in the country – the senator-elect from Massachusetts told her supporters that her campaign does not have enough cash to pay its bills.

In an e-mail, the Harvard Law professor - considered one of the nation’s preeminent scholars of American debt - asked for donations to help her wash away the red ink.

Warren did not say how much debt she needs to pay down, but blamed the shortfall in part on the thousands of volunteers who flocked to her campaign, saying “that meant even more last-minute coffee and pizza.”
“One of the results of our embarrassment of riches was, well I’ll come out and say it - we ended up with a little bit of debt,” Warren wrote. “Everyone, we need a little more money to pay off our final bills. Can you help one more time?

Bet all those millionaires and billionaires are quaking in their boots.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bob Costas Makes An Amazing Assumption

In the wake of Saturday's murder-suicide by National Football League Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jevon Belcher, self-righteous, self-important, Hall of Fame asshat Bob Costas descended from the heavens to pontificate and enlighten us unwashed with his oh so sorely needed commentary.

Costas took to the air at halftime during NBC's Sunday Night Football broadcast to give his opinion to a nation holding its collective breath awaiting his judgement on the situation.

Quoting Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock, Costas made what is probably the most ludicrous statement that anyone can make about this tragedy:

"If Jevon Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."

Here's what Whitlock wrote in his column:

How many young people have to die senselessly? How many lives have to be ruined before we realize the right to bear arms doesn’t protect us from a government equipped with stealth bombers, predator drones, tanks and nuclear weapons?
Our current gun culture simply ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead.
In the coming days, Belcher’s actions will be analyzed through the lens of concussions and head injuries. Who knows? Maybe brain damage triggered his violent overreaction to a fight with his girlfriend. What I believe is, if he didn’t possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.
 If Costas and Whitlock really believe that Mr. Belcher and Ms. Perkins would still be alive if Belcher did not have a gun, then there is no hope for these two or anyone else who shares that belief.

Whatever it was that drove a 25 year old professional athlete to kill his 22 year old girlfriend, the mother of his 3 month old child, was not going to be avoided had he not had access to a gun.

For both Whitlock and Costas to make this ludicrous assumption that this wouldn't have happened if Belcher didn't have a gun, is incredibly irresponsible.

Whitlock and Costas are both national pundits who have a platform to air their opinions. All well and good until what is an opinion becomes a statement of fact, then that is beyond reason. Especially given these reckless statements they've both made are based on flimsy assumptions playing on emotions and political leanings.

OJ Simpson or whoever you want to believe killed Nicole Brown Simpson  and Ronald Goldman in 1994, used a knife.

If someone wants to kill someone whether it's premeditated or in the heat of the moment, they will find the means.

Blaming access to a firearm is simply a copout. It's so easy to pontificate about guns and the number of murders committed every year.

Whether you're pro or anti gun, you cannot make a statement that someone would still be alive if they only didn't have a gun.

They've tried to ban guns in Chicago and that doesn't seem to be working out too well.

Here is a list of gun homicides by nation as it relates to gun ownership throughout the world. Interestingly, the United States has the highest ownership rate, but is ranked 28th in firearm murder rate.

The same day, an employee of the NFL's Cleveland Browns also committed suicide at the team's headquarters. Isn't it ironic that this is not getting the attention that the shooting has. For one, nobody else was killed (which is a good thing), the other is that this person was a club employee, not a professional athlete.

Eric Eucker, the Browns groundskeeper will soon be forgotten and likely never mentioned when Jevon Belcher's name is brought up. How ironic that both men committed suicide on the same day at their respective team's headquarters.

What's so different about them other than the fact that one is a highly skilled, highly paid professional athlete?

Eucker hung himself.

Funny how Costas and Whitlock had nothing to say about this incident.

Imagine if Eric Eucker didn't have access to any rope or whatever he used to hang himself...