Thursday, April 2, 2009

Woman 'Trapped' In Car Gets Help From 911

KISSIMMEE -- A woman who thought she was locked inside her car got some help from a calm Kissimmee 911 dispatcher Tuesday.

“My car will not start, I'm locked inside my car. I cannot open my car. I can't get the windows down,” the caller said. “Nothing electrical works. And it's getting very hot in here and I'm not feeling well. And I need some help.”

The dispatcher told the woman she should be “able to pull the lock up on the door even if it’s electrical.”

The caller began by saying she tried that, but a second later she was able to unlock the door.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Man shoots television after DTV tantrum

A Missouri man is charged with unlawful use of a firearm, after peppering his T-V with bullets.

Police responded to a home in Joplin Wednesday after reports of shots being fired inside.

The 70 year old homeowner was angry that he had lost his cable, and was unable to get his new DTV converter to work properly.

After a brief standoff, the man was taken into custody. His wife told officers the suspect had been drinking.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Quebecois Black community: "Nous désapprouvons votre shennanigans"

Radio-Canada and the producers of the French-language broadcaster's popular New Year's Eve special are defending the show amid allegations that certain skits were insulting and racist.

The annual special Bye Bye is one of the most-watched television events of the year in Quebec, drawing four million viewers on Dec. 31.

The program, which aired on Radio-Canada, parodied everything from the U.S. election to Quebec's top news events of the year.

However, one skit in particular went too far, according to some members of Quebec's black community.

The skit involved a fake interview between U.S. president-elect Barack Obama and a news anchor who confuses him with the popular Quebec entertainer Gregory Charles. When corrected, the anchor tells viewers that all black people look alike. He goes on to say that viewers at home shouldn't worry about Obama stealing their purses, but he might steal their television sets.

"Radio-Canada recognizes that the edition this year contained elements that may not have been to everyone's taste," read a statement from Radio-Canada.

By Tuesday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission had received 28 complaints about the show. The CRTC said the content of the complaints is confidential.

Dan Phillip of the Black Coalition said the skit went too far.

"Firstly, it's totally racist," Phillip told Le Journal de Montreal. "Radio-Canada has also demonstrated a lack of sensitivity and respect towards the black community."

The program verged on racism, said Michael Farkus, the director of the community organization Youth in Motion in the Montreal neighbourhood of Little Burgundy, home to much of the city's English-speaking black community. He said the skit was one part of an entire program that was in bad taste.

"The whole show was really low. That particular sketch was despicable," Farkus told CBC Radio.

Farkus said the producers, Véronique Cloutier's production company Novem, should not be allowed back next year.

In a statement, Radio-Canada defended the program and its decision to put the writing in the hands of the Novem team.

The writers, said the statement, are behind some of Quebec's most popular television programs, including CA and Les Bougon.

"As a democratic institution in the service of culture, Radio-Canada has a principal of respecting the freedom of its creative teams who contribute to its dramatic and variety programming," said the statement.


1980's Wendy's Training Video

Porn industry seeks federal bailout

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Another major American industry is asking for assistance as the global financial crisis continues: Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis said Wednesday they will request that Congress allocate $5 billion for a bailout of the adult entertainment industry.

“The take here is that everyone and their mother want to be bailed out from the banks to the big three,” said Owen Moogan, spokesman for Larry Flynt. “The porn industry has been hurt by the downturn like everyone else and they are going to ask for the $5 billion. Is it the most serious thing in the world? Is it going to make the lives of Americans better if it happens? It is not for them to determine.”

Francis said in a statement that “the US government should actively support the adult industry's survival and growth, just as it feels the need to support any other industry cherished by the American people."

“We should be delivering [the request] by the end of today to our congressmen and [Secretary of the Treasury Henry] Paulson asking for this $5 billion dollar bailout,” he told CNN Wednesday.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Studies Show Dogs Have Sense Of Fairness (

Studies Show Dogs Have Sense Of Fairness

WASHINGTON - No fair! What parent hasn't heard that from a child who thinks another youngster got more of something? Well, it turns out dogs can react the same way. Ask them to do a trick and they'll give it a try. For a reward, sausage say, they'll happily keep at it. But if one dog gets no reward, and then sees another get sausage for doing the same trick, just try to get the first one to do it again. Indeed, he may even turn away and refuse to look at you.

Dogs, like people and monkeys, seem to have a sense of fairness.

"Animals react to inequity," said Friederike Range of the University of Vienna, Austria, who led a team of researchers testing animals at the school's Clever Dog Lab. "To avoid stress, we should try to avoid treating them differently."

Similar responses have been seen in monkeys.

Range said she wasn't surprised at the dogs reaction, since wolves are known to cooperate with one another and appear to be sensitive to each other. Modern dogs are descended from wolves.

Next, she said, will be experiments to test how dogs and wolves work together. "Among other questions, we will investigate how differences in emotions influence cooperative abilities," she said via e-mail.

In the reward experiments reported in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Range and colleagues experimented with dogs that understood the command "paw," to place their paw in the hand of a researcher. It's the same game as teaching a dog to "shake hands."

Those that refused at the start - and one border collie that insisted on trying to herd other dogs - were removed. That left 29 dogs to be tested in varying pairs.

The dogs sat side-by-side with an experimenter in front of them. In front of the experimenter was a divided food bowl with pieces of sausage on one side and brown bread on the other.

The dogs were asked to shake hands and each could see what reward the other received.

When one dog got a reward and the other didn't, the unrewarded animal stopped playing.

When both got a reward all was well.

One thing that did surprise the researchers was that - unlike primates - the dogs didn't seem to care whether the reward was sausage or bread.

Possibly, they suggested, the presence of a reward was so important it obscured any preference. Other possibilities, they said, are that daily training with their owners overrides a preference, or that the social condition of working next to a partner increased their motivation regardless of which reward they got.

And the dogs never rejected the food, something that primates had done when they thought the reward was unfair.

The dogs, the researchers said, "were not willing to pay a cost by rejecting unfair offers."

Clive Wynne, an associate professor in the psychology department of the University of Florida, isn't so sure the experiment measures the animals reaction to fairness.

"What it means is individuals are responding negatively to being treated less well," he said in a telephone interview.

But the researchers didn't do a control test that had been done in monkey studies, Wynne said, in which a preferred reward was visible but not given to anyone. In that case the monkeys went on strike because they could see the better reward but got something lesser.

Range responded, however, that her team did indeed do that control test as well as others in which food was moved or held in the hand but not given to the dog being tested.

In dogs, Wynne noted, the quality of reward didn't seem to matter, so the test only worked when they got no reward at all.

However, Wynne added, there is "no doubt in my mind that dogs are very, very sensitive to what people are doing and are very smart."

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, November 28, 2008

China Blasts Guns N' Roses

China's ruling Communist Party is outraged at the newest Guns N' Roses album, calling it a "venomous attack" on the Chinese nation.

The album, called Chinese Democracy, was delayed since recording started in 1994, and will most likely not be legally sold in China. But downloads are tough to police, hence the strong rhetoric.

A Communist Party's newspaper, Global Times, published an article entitled "American band releases album venomously attacking China," and claimed that unidentified Chinese Internet users believe the album to be part of a plot by some in the West to "grasp and control the world using democracy as a pawn."

The article adds that the album "turns its spear point on China."

As an example of its apparent subversive qualities, the record's title track refers to the Falun Gong meditation practice, that was abolished by China and dubbed an "evil cult", and warns "if your Great Wall rocks blame yourself," no doubt referring to China's authoritarian government.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sarah Palin Hates Verbs

This may surprise you, but the cringe which adds hundreds of irreversible wrinkles to your face when you hear Sarah Palin speak doesn't come from her inane policy proposals. (Or not totally.) For the most part, it comes from witnessing Palin desecrate our most precious resource: verbs.

Remember verbs? They're the valuable action words which come between subjects. They're awesome! They tell you exactly what happened and when. But Sarah Palin hates verbs. She twists them, snips them, and hides them from us. The result is a tangle of decontextualized ideas and dizzying logic collapsing in onto itself. When you are confronted with the sentences of Sarah Palin, you are confronted with the abyss. Like so:

Not necessarily this, as it's been proposed, has to pass or we're going to find ourselves in another Great Depression. But, there has got to be action—bipartisan effort—Congress not pointing fingers at one another but finding the solution to this, taking action, and being serious about the reforms on Wall Street that are needed.


He's also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he's been talking about - the need to reform government.

So much hostility against verbs! It almost seems personal, like she was once raped by a verb and found the entire ordeal—which perhaps included having to pay for her own Strunk and White kit to clean things up—so unpleasant that she vowed to spend the rest of her days eradicating the cursed parts of speech. But there's a much more likely explanation.

Palin belongs to a not-so-secret order of mercenaries who have been staging a ruthless 20-year war against grammar: TV newscasters. Palin had a stint as a TV sportscaster in 1988, and it's fair to assume that the gritty, cut-throat newsrooms of Alaska inculcated in Palin the lethal art of obfuscation.

You are surely familiar with this linguistic genocide. In order to keep the content fresh and urgent, TV newscasters gut the tenses from headlines the way experienced hunters gut moose. Past, present, and future all melt together so that everything sounds like an up-to-the-minute exclusive. Here's an example from an NBC News transcript: "Less resilient, local business. Dwight's concession stand, in the family three generations. Sales this summer off 75 percent."

Here's one from grammar's Archangel of Death Lou Dobbs: "Top government officials today adding their voices to the call for Americans to remain vigilant."

See where this is going? Not a verb to be heard. The only sound is the shudder of a thousand English teachers.

Your turn again, Sarah: "I know that John McCain will do that and I, as his vice president, families we are blessed with that vote of the American people and are elected to serve and are sworn in on January 20, that will be our top priority is to defend the American people."

Yes! Just like that.

So she's adamantly pro-gerund, you say. In the scheme of things, is it really that big a deal? Indeed. In fact, it's far more nefarious than you might imagine. It all speaks to her emphasis on the visceral over the cerebral, sensation over reason, emotion over thought, the immediate over the past. It reveals her murderous disdain for context and nuance.

George Orwell, the patron saint of political rhetoric, made it very clear: "...[I]f thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better."

We should know better. Let's hope we do.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ed McMahon: Rapper

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Ed McMahon has an unexpected new job title: rapper.

The 85-year-old former "Tonight Show" sidekick will star in two viral rap videos for, a financial Web site owned by credit bureau Experian.

The videos feature McMahon wearing a tracksuit, being chauffeured around Los Angeles in a Cadillac Escalade golf cart and waxing lyrical about his very public financial troubles.

"I knew I could sing the blues, but I didn't know I could rap," McMahon said Wednesday.

The videos will appear online in October.

Charles Harris,'s vice president of strategic marketing, said the company sought out McMahon to star in the humorous spots after seeing him openly discuss his finances on "Larry King Live." Harris said McMahon represents "a man who is taking charge."

In the first video, McMahon -- who once pitched the American Family Publishing sweepstakes -- and a bodyguard are cruising through a neighborhood looking for sweepstakes winners to ask for some money back, but McMahon doesn't actually go through with it. In the second spot, McMahon dons a new suit after undergoing a financial and emotional makeover.

"When I retired, I was famous," McMahon raps in the video. "I had money and glory/I bought a house for 6 mill/I thought nothing could touch me/Until my credit went south, and debt started to crunch me/Next thing I know, instead of playing gin rummy, I was scrambling just to make ends meet/It wasn't funny."

After being joined by two scantily clad women, McMahon continues: "Got a bump from the media chumps, but that was temporary/Wife with bad credit was scary, so I got wise/I may have fallen, but I got back up/Now I'm back on the attack, like a ninja swinging nunchucks/I told the haters, 'Go on, take a hike'/It's my show now, and I can do what I like."

McMahon said he spent one day in the studio recording the rap. He said he hopes his participation will inspire viewers to learn from his mistakes and become more aware about their finances.

When asked if he would consider releasing a full-length rap album, McMahon said: "Not immediately."

In June, the former "Star Search" host revealed he was fighting foreclosure after falling $644,000 behind on mortgage payments on his Beverly Hills home. Last month, he agreed to a deal with a private buyer.

McMahon said Wednesday the deal has not been completed, and he's not sure what he and his wife, Patricia, will do after the sale.

"We're in this together," said McMahon. "We're a team. We're going to solve it together. We're going to work this out. I'm very optimistic. I'm an old Marine. I've been in two wars and have 85 combat missions under my belt. I've got a background of looking for the good stuff, going for the best way. My wife is with me 100 percent."

It's not the first job for McMahon following his money problems. In July, the former "Tonight Show" sidekick reprised his role as pitchman with commercial segments alongside talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

One of the spots featured McMahon teaching Kimmel how to sell a product. Another had the duo preparing for a road trip to Mexico.

Last week, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that McMahon's lawsuit against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and two physicians he claims failed to properly diagnose and repair his broken neck laid out adequate legal ground to pursue claims that include negligence, elder abuse, battery, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Brother Says He Was Stabbed Over Hot Pocket

SOUTH BEND – A 20-year-old man told police he was stabbed by his younger brother Sunday night after a fight broke out over a Hot Pocket.

St. Joseph County police were called to an apartment in the 3600 block of Generations Drive just after 7 p.m. Sunday, where they found a man bleeding from a cut on his side.

Although the man was initially uncooperative with police, he admitted that he got into a fight with his 18-year-old brother over the microwave sandwich.

The victim told police the two began fighting over who got to eat the Hot Pocket, pushing and grappling with each other into a hallway. He said his younger brother then grabbed a steak knife off the kitchen counter and stabbed at his brother, cutting him on his left side.

Police said the victim was able wrestle the knife away from his brother, who then left on foot.

Officers searched the area with a police dog, but were unable to locate him.

The man was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, where he was treated and released

WSBT - South Bend, Indiana

Thursday, September 18, 2008


It's a timeless story: Boy attends political convention, boy meets "beautiful woman" at RNC party, boy takes woman back to hotel, boy gets date rape-drugged, boy wakes up with $50k worth of jewelry and electronics missing. And if you think the story is somehow funny because the boy in question happens to be the kind of person who thinks bragging about war is a laughing matter, shame on you. There are plenty of other reasons it's funny.

Every "That's what she said" from The Office

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