Archive for December, 2010

Fails, Wins and Yikes! of 2010

December 31, 2010

Here’s a nice time waster for the New Year’s weekend:

A trio of videos, looking back at some people goofing up, getting extremely lucky, or showing unusual skill in 2010. Note, parts of all three videos have loud, painful, and miserable music, so watch the volume control.

First, we might as well get the screw ups out of the way. Thrills, chills and spills here. Mostly spills. And assorted morons. We can all vote for our favorites, but in the fail video that’s next, I particularly like the snowmobile at minute 1:12; the piano at 6:38 and the wedding photographer at 8:06:

Next, we have the winners. Some in the video to me aren’t winners, like the very first clip in the video of a motorist intentionally splashing a pedestrian and the pervert in the grocery store later in the video. But a lot of them are cool. My favorites are the kid at 0:45, the grandmother at 2:21, the gymnast at 4:54 and the guy in the wheelchair at 5:50.

Last, but not least, we have those lucky souls who had the gods smiling on them in a few sometimes dicey situations: My favories are the guy near the car crash at 1:00, the avalanche at 3;18 and the bus crash at 4:01

What are your favorite ones in these clips? Or do you have others?

 

 

The Happy New Year Penguin

December 31, 2010

I just couldn’t resist posting this video on New Year’s Eve. It’s new, from a zoo in Japan, which shows a joyful penguin.

What makes it perfect is the Auld Lang Syne song in the background, the falling snow and the other penguins standing around, seemingly saying, “What got into him?”

The video is guaranteed to make you smile, and I hope 2011 makes you as happy as the little penguin in the vid:

Weather Wars?

December 31, 2010

The latest hot trend: Using bad winter weather to screw over people. Hand it to the New York City Department of Sanitation and the airlines to take this concept to an art level.

News surfaced yesterday that New York City’s inept efforts to clear the city’s streets of snow from that blizzard Sunday and Monday might have been intentionally bad.

A girl walks past an abandoned snowplow in Brooklyn, N.Y. after last week’s big snowstorm in New York City in this inmage from the New York Daily News.

The New York Post and other news outlets said the city’s sanitation department intentionally ignored snowbound streets, did a lousy job of clearing those they did go through, damaged equipment and worked slooowwwwly because they were annoyed by budget cutbacks.

Now, I can sort of see the logic, as loathesome as this stunt is. Mayors are routinely blamed, and sometimes drummed out of office, when a snowstorm unnecessarily paralyzes their city.

Since New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been doing the budget cutting, I can see how the sanitation workers want to get rid of him.

But these santation workers, if they are guilty of this job slow down, maybe could use a few tiny little lessons in public relations.

Now the whole city is really, really P.O’d at the sanitation workers, thereby evaporating any hope of public opposition to budget cuts and layoffs in the sanitation department.

I’m sure half the city’s residents are saying, “Screw ’em. Fire the whole bunch of them.” Way to go sanitation workers! New York City will now get rid of you guys and hire Rico’s Plowing Service of Bayonne, New Jersey or some damn outfit  to clear the city streets.

The New York sanitation department is already on people’s hate list, what with that  viral video of the sanitation worker wrecking cars, and the death threats to the guy who shot the video.

Makes it hard to feel sorry for the sanitation workers, no?

I suppose the people who organized the work slowdown didn’t intend for the public and political leaders to find out about it, but jeez, with that many people involved, somebody would narc.

So, if there’s any sanitation workers from New York who will now need jobs plowing snow, I’m not hiring you to clear my driveway, that’s for sure. I’d rather stay snowed in. Maybe Rico’s is hiring.

Then there’s the airlines. No, they didn’t do any intentional job slow downs, that I know of, to gum up the flights after Sunday and Monday’s blizzard. But notice the airlines crumble for weeks after every winter storm, like the one earlier this month in Europe, and now today in the Midwest.

Surprise! It snows in the winter. Who’d a thunk?

The happy scene at JFK airport in New York this past week after the snowstorm cancelled and otherwise screwed up thousands of flights.

I get it that it’s unsafe to fly in a storm, and there will obviously be flight cancellations, delays and inconvenience to go around during nasty storms.

The airline industry, however, has taken a talent for making a bad situation worse to a whole new level.

Let’s strand people out in a plane on the tarmac in the cold with little food for 10 hours!  Let’s make people stand in line for three hours, only to not give them any information once they get to the front of the line! Let’s really annoy the crowds stuck in the terminal by sending out a clueless employee to give nonsensical blather! Let’s make sure people can’t get through to us on the phone! And let’s charge you hundreds or thousands of dollars to be abused by us for days on end!

Makes you want to strand the CEOs of the major airlines at the Minsk, Siberia airport for the month of January after the terminal’s heating system has been shut off.

According to the Washington Post, airlines cut staff and flights so much during the recession, they left no resources to deal with problems, like weather.

True, airlines must make a profit to survive, but it seems they know we have to fly, so they can treat us however they want. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would be going ballistic if airlines treated cattle the way they treat people.

It turns out a big part of the problem at JFK airport  in New York was things were screwed up because employees couldn’t get to work, according to CNN. The problem? New York sanitation worker’s temper tantrum meant they didn’t clear streets where JFK workers lived, so that totally bolloxed the airport.

Why? Because New York the sanitation department failed to clear New York streets because they were having that temper tantrum over  budget cutbacks, as noted above, so the employees couldn’t get to work.

In any event, what I’m surprised about is how calm and rational the victims of these organizations are. Yes, there was yelling and screaming and anger, but I’m conpletely bewildered that there were no riots.

God knows I don’t advocate violence. But I wish there was a nonviolent way to really stick it to the airlines and the other outfits that treat us with such disdain.

Any ideas, readers?

Dumb Woman Rams Cops With Camaro

December 30, 2010

Well, I knew the crown of the dumbest person with a motor vehicle would move to another person quickly.

Earlier this week, I highlighted the city sanitation department moron with the stuck snow clearing equipment in New York City taking idiocy to new heights by repeatedly hitting an SUV. That video sure went viral.

By the way, the guy who took the New York video is now in hiding because he’s gotten death threats from the moron’s sympathizers who object to people objecting to the sanitation worker being a moron. Isn’t life grand?

Anyway, now we have a woman in a Camaro who seems a bit displeased with a nice police officer sitting in his cruiser behind her. Watch what happens:

According to the San Jose Mercury News in California, the car’s driver, Tina Puccini-Perez, 52, of San Francisco faces a felony assault charge for her shenanigans.

Unfortunately the police have not revealed the most pressing question in this whole mid-December incident in Burlingame, California: Why did our Tina do this? Inquiring minds want to know.

Last we hears, she was being held in jail, lacking $50,00o bail.

On the bright side, Ms. Tina Puccini-Perez’s video is sure to go viral. Congratulations Tina! Another star is born.

Greta The Plant’s Spunk

December 30, 2010

Greta had an outburst of energy the past couple weeks.

Greta is a plant that has struggled constantly since I obtained it at least half a dozen years ago.

The ever-struggling Greta the plant has launched into a frenzied outburst of blooms in the past couple of weeks.

A normal person would have gotten rid of Greta years ago because she  is spindly, leaves die, and  can never seem to get her act together.

But Greta has so much spunk I can’t bear to let her go.

Greta was named by Emily Stone, a reporter who used to work with me at the Burlington Free Press years ago. Her family sent it to her and it was beautiful. But one winter night, Emily left Greta too close to a window, and she was frostbitten,

Emily named the plant Greta, because the name seemed to suggest both grace and pluck.  Greta kept rallying, but never quite obtained the glory she had when she first appeared.

Emily left for another job and bequeathed Greta to me. The same pattern continued. Greta would seem to gain energy, then her leaves would wither and die.

It’s not as if I kill every plant I touch. My other houseplants seem to be doing fine, and the flowers, shrubs and such I plant outdoors for the most part seem to hang in there swimmingly.

Greta’s stubborn and mercurial, though. Her last decent rally came this summer, when I left her out on our sunny back deck for a few months. She grew a few new branches and some green leaves.

I took Greta inside in September when it started getting colder. She started to fail again. As if taking a cue from the turning leaves outside, Greta’s leaves turned brown and crispy and fell off. Healthy green leaves remained at the end of her branches, but she looked skeletal.

My last ditch plan for Greta was to cut her way back, leaving little stumps from which to grow new branches, There were a few new green shoots near her base, so I thought the plan would work.

But as I was preparing to cut, I noticed several flower buds. They multiplied over the course of a couple weeks, blooming into what you see in the picture in this post, taken today.

Greta still looks spindly, but I’ll let her joy her holiday gush of color until the flowers inevitably wilt.

Then I’ll try the major surgery I contemplated last month. After all Greta’s been through, I hope she survives, and finally, once and for all flourishes.

Vermont: The Smarty-Pants State?

December 29, 2010

According to a chart I found on One Blog Off the Grid, via Fast Company, Vermont is the smartest state in the nation.

Given the fact I’m a Vermonter and not the sharpest knife in the drawer, plus the fact I meet people here that are dumber than me, I wonder about that designation.

Are we Vermonters smart, or do we just fake it?

The  chart looks pretty tongue-in-cheek anyway. It shows what each state in the nation does best, and what some states do best aren’t necessarily anything to be proud of, if these things are even true.

West Virginia, for instance, is tops in toothlessness.  Nevada doesn’t sound like a fun place, since it has a trifecta of Number One designations: The state has the most teen pregnancies, highest foreclosure rate and highest rate of meth use in the nation.

Ah yes, pregnant, homeless teens on meth. Sounds a bit grim to me.

Vermont’s smartest designation appears to come from a 2006 study that shows the state’s public schools are pretty high quality with reasonable class sizes.

I dunno.  There are smart people here in Vermont, of course, but plenty of dumb bunnies, too. Like the clerk in the convenience store the other day who wouldn’t sell me a soda because she was too busy yelling at a coworker for stealing her boyfriend.

Anyway, I’ll accept that we in Vermont are a bunch of geniuses, until somebody tells us I’m wrong. My guess that news will come within 30 seconds of posting this blog.

Rescuing This Calf Was A Breeze

December 28, 2010

The problem: A calf is stuck out in the middle of an Oklahoma pond, on thin ice.

If the ice breaks, which is likely, the calf drowns.

In this photo from SkyNews9 in Oklahoma, the station's helicopter pilot sets off to rescue the calf on a frozen pond. Winds from the rotors did the trick.

The solution: SkyNews9 television chopper pilot Mason Dunn heads off to the pond, lowers the chopper close to the pond, and blasts the calf ashore with the wind from the copter’s blades. Easy: The calf, propelled by the wind, skittered onto shore, unharmed. Ah. A happy ending.

Watch for yourself, it’s fun:

Does Elton John’s Kid Have Too Many Names?

December 28, 2010

It’s a slow news day, so I have nothing too momentous to offer, but there is one crisis brewing:

And that is: Does Elton John’s new kid have too many names?

Elton John and his husband, David Furnish are the proud parents of a new son, born Christmas Day.

First of all, congratuations to Sir Elton John and his husband, David Furnish on the Christmas arrival of their new son, born to a surrogate mother.

The kid’s name is Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, or ZJLFJ for our purposes here.

I worry about the kid. Oh, I know Sir Elton and David Furnish will be loving, doting parents and  ZJLFJ will do fine in that regard.  But how in the world will ZJLFJ get on in the world with so many names?

There is no room on forms, and especially on on line order forms, to fit such a name. I suppose he can do what I did, and shorten his name to ZJLFJ. But how do you pronouce it?  “Zijlfij”

Doesn’t roll right off the tongue, does it? Sounds like a very drunk guy saying “Fix my zipper.”

Also, people don’t have patience nowadays. So ZJLFJ will have trouble when introducing himself. Picture it. “I’m Zachary Jackson Levon Fur….” and by then people will be drifting out of the room or sound asleep. Poor ZJLFJ will have no friends.

I see one of ZJLFJ’s names is Levon, which could be a reference to one of my favorite Elton John songs. 

As an aside, a lyric to the song “Levon” goes: “He was born a pauper to a pawn on a Christmas Day, when the New York Times said God is dead.”

Luckily, ZJLFJ will not be a pauper because Elton is filthy rich,  and he’s nobody’s  pawn. And I read the New York Times on Christmas Day and there was no mention in the paper of God being dead.

Anyway, if Sir Elton named ZJLFJ with some of his songs in mind. He could have gotten way to carried away. Thank goodness cooler heads prevailed.

I looked up Elton John’s long list of songs over more than three decades. A lot of them referenced people. So if Sir Elton went with his greatest hits theme in naming the poor kid, he would have been called Daniel Bennie Skyline Pigeon Grimsby Gulliver Hercules Island Girl Nikita Rocket Man Roy Rogers Scarecrow Sweet Painted Lady Bitch Tiny Dancer St. Peter Furnish-John.

That name  really would have been a tragedy

Anyway, I’m probably worrying about nothing. I’m sure Elton John and David Furnish will come up with a nice short nickname for their son, something the kid will be proud of and easy to use.

As long as the kid doesn’t get inspiration from Elton’s hit list and call himself “Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding.”

Blizzard Bonehead Award

December 28, 2010

Every major storm has its top bonehead. Last year, a Washington DC cop freaked out at a simple snowball fight and drew a gun.

This year, just after the Boxing Day Blizzard in New York City, a video surfaced of sanitation workers with a stuck street grader absolutely botching the job of freeing it from the snow, and wrecking a Ford Explorer in the process. In the video below, you’ll find you just can’t believe how dumb this guy is.

In the comments section of the video on YouTube, there is some drama. Somebody purporting to be the operator of the grader that trashed the Explorer chimed in. He said as idiotic as it seemed, they accomplished the job of freeing the grader from the snowbank so why is everybody complaining?  Besides, the city would take care of the damage so who cares?

Said the guy who is the operator of the grader “Don’t go around name calling when we’re out here after leaving our homes and families to clean up so you’re stupid ass can go about your miserable life.”
Uh dude? Cleaning up after a snowstorm is hard work, but it’s your job. And  I think it’s possible to do without wrecking other people’s cars. And it’s the city taxpayers that have to pay for the damage. 

If this guy loses his job, I sure won’t hire him to clear my driveway after a snowstorm.

Other city sanitation workers also weighed in, and were not winning friends with their comments. Said one “It’s only a (expletive deleted) car.”

Another: “(Expletive deleted) you (expletive deleted) with your cameras.”

Frankly, I think employees of the NYC sanitation department could use some lessons in public relations.

No word yet on whether the higher ups in New York have identified the offending sanitation worker,  and what they will do with him. I suspect with the bad press, he will be fired. We’ll see.  I’ll update this post as warranted.

Amazing Boxing Day Blizzard Time Lapse

December 27, 2010

Somewhere on the East Coast, somebody put out a clock, and a camera, and took this great, great time lapse of the blizzard that struck yesterday and last night. Not quite sure where this was, but they had a LOT of snow.

I love how they had to keep moving the clock because the snow kept burying it.

Check it out; so cool: