Note to Robber: Learn How to Use Mask

March 10, 2011

Welcome back folks, to my recurring posts on helpful suggestions for criminals to ge through their exploits.

A still from a surveillance camera of a robber who couldn't get his act together

I’m going to revisit masks, which are key in preventing our stupid criminals from being identified by all those awful security cameras out there.

I talked about this back in January, when a Vermont bank robber, on the coldest day of the year, on the day it made the most sense to wear a ski mask, robbed the bank without said mask.

Pretty dumb, and he was arrested quickly.

Now we have a robber who could use some tips on dressing for a crime. The key is to put on your ski mask before the robbery, not during it. And be sure to use a mask that’s easy to put on and take off.

Struggling with a mask really interferes with the robbery, as this hilarious security cam video shows:

As you can see, our robber’s lack of preparedness makes it awfully easy for people to identify him.  Though so far, he hasn’t been caught.

By the way, the guy having trouble with the mask needs other help. According to media reports, he demanded money from the cash register, but the clerk said he couldn’t open it.

The clerk invited the robber to try opening the cash drawer himself, but he couldn’t do it. I think the clerk locked it and hid the key. The robber left the store empty handed. Except for the ski mask he couldn’t put  on.

Logic clearly wasn’t working here. Think about it, dear robber: The clerk says he can’t open the cash register. Then how does he make change for all  his non-robber customers?

Does the clerk demand exact change from the customers? If so where does he put the money.

Robber, I hate to think ill of people, but I think the clerk lied to you. How rude!

Anyway, better luck next time. Or, more likely, good luck in the slammer

Muslim Haters Defying Logic

March 9, 2011

If one apple is bad, the entire batch has to be thrown out, so goes the logic to today’s American politicians and activists.

Exhibit A is Muslims in the news this week. Timed around some hearings this week by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., we have groups who think every single Muslim on the planet is a terrorist.

In a still from a video, a bunch of idiots (background) yell insults at Muslims attending a dinner last month in Orange County, California

Dude, if that were true, we’d have a terrorist attack in every town in the nation every day. Don’t wish for that. Things are bad enough in the world already.

King will hold Congressional hearings this week on whether Muslims in the United States are being radicalized. He’s come under criticism for focusing just on Muslims, rather than all terrorist groups. Others say it’s good he’s examining the issue. In any event, he’s a Congressman and he can hold his hearings like them or not.

The hearings might be helping to galvanize some pretty idiotic Americans, who insist that all Muslims are terrorists and need to be kicked out of the country.

To me, the logic is like this. In my vegetable garden in the summer, there are weeds. I must get rid of the weeds to make the plants I want thrive, and leave everything else to grow.  Makes sense.

To these anti-Muslim protestors, there are weeds in the garden, so I must get rid of every plant in the garden, including the vegetables to have a successful garden.

Uh, no, I’d end up with a bare patch of mud.

Which seems to be what some protestors want in this country. True, a tiny proportion of American Muslims are terrorists or terrorists sympathizers, and we need to hammer away at that group until they’re gone for good. Terrorists deserve their own special, harsh hell.

But so do the most extreme Muslim haters.

Below is a vile video from last month in Orange County, California. It shows members  of a American-Muslim relief agency were holding a dinner.

The Muslims in the video are just minding their own business. But the crowd gets ugly. The protestors think somehow they’re protecting America, but they are the most un-American group I’ve seen. I wonder if we should somehow banish them instead. Watch:

The idiots in the protest, as you saw in the video, were yelling at the Muslims to go home. The Muslims live in California for the most part, so that wouldn’t exactly achieve the morons’ goal of ridding the United States of Muslims. But reality is a foreign concept to these morons.

Oops, can’t say the word “foreign” in front of that group, right?

And notice the city councilor saying her son is a Marine and wishes he would mow down some Muslims with his weaponry, just for fun.

Um, since when are death threats legal? I guess they are if you are a city councilor in some no name city.

Frankly, I almost think the likes of these people, and all those anti-Muslim extremists, are somehow in cahoots with the terrorists. What better way to recruit terrorists than to spout over the top, angry, nonsensical, inflammatory nonsense against Muslims?

Or maybe it’s just easier for them. It’s hard work picking out the handful of terrorists from the millions of peaceful, normal Muslims in this country. God forbid we do any hard work. Or thinking.

Because an empty garden devoid of anything good is just simpler to deal with, isn’t it?

More Vermont Snowstorm News

March 8, 2011

The day after a huge snowstorm is beautiful if the sun comes out, like it did today.

A downtown Burlington, Vermont restaurant is nearly hidden by mounds of snow awaiting removal. Yesterday's storm dumped 25.8 inches of snow on the city.

Up here in Vermont, we’re digging out from one of the biggest snowstorms in memory.  Most of the northern half of the state got between 20 and 30 inches of new snow.

Luckily, the blue skies and comfortable temperatures (for Vermont, anyway) are making it a little bit easier to shovel away the piles of snow.   It’s also dazzlingly bright out with all this snow. Sunglasses are a must.

The snow is melting a little bit in sunny corners, as the March sun is strong, compared to the weak rays of December. So there’s hope that the snow will eventually melt.

A handwritten sign on a piece of cardboard reads "Look up, look out" as a mass of snow on the roof over Nectars Restaurant in downtown Burlington, Vermont threatens to crash down on pedestrians on the sidewalk below.

There’s about two feet of snow on the ground at my house in St. Albans, Vermont, and in Burlington, and three to four feet in other towns away from Lake Champlain.

They’re worried about spring flooding, because there’s a lot of snow to melt, and we’re getting toward mid-March already.

Yes, I want to get rid of the snow, now that the excitement of the storm is fading. But maybe a big flood would be too much excitement so let’s go for a gradual meltdown for the rest of the month, shall we?

Cindi Lauper Cures Airport Jam

March 8, 2011

It’s happened to most of us. The airport is in chaos, flights are canceled, nobody is telling us what’s going on, we’re trapped, and everybody is mad.

Cyndi Lauper saved the day recently at an Argentinian airport.

Too bad Cindi Lauper isn’t in every airport. She was in one when the above mentioned situation happened in Buenos Ares recently. She calmed the crowd down with just one rendition of her signature “Girls Just What to Have Fun.”

I love her. I need my own personal Cindi Lauper to get through my frustrating days.

Give it a watch:

More On Vermont’s Record March Storm

March 8, 2011

It’s official. Today’s snowstorm in Burlington, Vermont was the largest March snowstorm in the city’s history.

Battery Street in Burlington, Vermont, usually full of cars, is full of snow but lacking in traffic as the snowstorm comes to an end.

It’s also now the third snowiest winter on record, so far, and more snow is in the forecast.

I thought I’d share more photos and videos of  the day, since I like weather porn so much. (Weather porn is pics and videos of storms. So don’t worry, no naked people in this post)

First video, below, is what it’s like to drive in a whiteout, as I did today.

Second one is Church Street in Burlington during a vain attempt to clear snow. Usually they get rid of all the snow on Church Street, which is a pedestrian mall.

Third video is a Burlington sidewalk plow getting hopelessly stuck.

Epic Snowstorm Slams Vermont

March 7, 2011

This was one of those snowstorms you tell your grandkids about

Except I’ll never have grandkid, but never mind.Visibility is low in today's snowstorm along the road in front of my St. Albans, Vermont home.

About two feet of snow dumped on us since yesterday, and things have basically fallen apart. A foot of snow is not that big a deal in Vermont. When you get to two feet, you really notice. Such a storm really changes your routine.

I shoveled for two hours today, just to get a narrow path out of my driveway that barely accommodated my truck. I will do a lot more shoveling this week.

This is what my truck looked like when I stepped outside my St. Albans, Vermont house this morning after nearly two feet of snow fell.

After I got out of my driveway, I drove to work, barely. Sometimes, I had to guess where the road was because of the whiteouts.

Burlington, Vermont really is a ghost town today. There’s a few intrepid people in cars out in the streets, but some of those cars are stuck. A few people are going to and fro on skis and snowshoes.

Downtown Burlington is shut down. All businesses are closed, and all but the main arteries have a foot of snow on them, at least. You can’t drive anywhere.

Here's what I looked like after shoveling my driveway for two hours in a blizzard this morning.

As regular readers know, I wasn’t looking forward to the snowstorm before it came. But now that it has turned out to be such a huge one, there’s some excitement, at least for now.

I love how such a big storm changes things so dramatically. Things stop. The world looks completely different when its buried in snow, and snowbanks seem to reach for the sky, like the damn Alps or something.

College Street in downtown Burlington just before noon today. The street is usually jammed with cars and people during the middle of the day. Not today.

Lately, we keep getting record-size snowstorms up here in Vermont. Eight of Burlington’s 20 biggest snowstorms over the past 120 years have occured since 2000. Three of Burlington’s five snowiest winters, including this one, have happened since 2000.

This might be related to global warming, believe it or not. A warmer world means more water vapor sits in the atmosphere. More water vapor makes stronger, wetter storms. The stronger wetter storms can still produce epic amount of snows. There you go.

This car and bike in downtown Burlington, Vermont Monday don't look like they're going anywhere anytime soon after a storm dumped two feet of snow on the city.

So, if trends continue, I’ll have to get used to epic snowstorms. Seems they come fast and furious.

I also loaded some videos I took of the storm on YouTube. You can see them below.

An Antidote to Westboro

March 6, 2011

You might have seen on the news last week that the disgusting Westboro Baptist Church won a Supreme Court victory.

Westboro is that small collection of uber-morons who go to funerals and other solemn events. They hold signs that say “God Hates Fags” and things like that and yell equally demonic, stupid things.

Patriot Guard Riders at a funeral. The group, consisting largely of veterans, drowns out the hating and hated Westboro Baptist Church at funerals and other solemn events.

The Supreme Court said the First Amendment gives them the right to do that.

A lot of people disagree with that court decision. I don’t. It was the right decision.

True, I detest Westboro, and I feel terrible  for the people victimized by those horrific “people” from Westboro. (I’m not sure they’re human)

But if some government agency starts telling us what we can and cannot say , where does it end? I would be thrilled if Westboro would shut up and go away to their own special hell, now if not sooner.

My larger point is all of our Constitutional rights have two side. Yes, we have these rights. The right to free speech. To worship as we choose. To own a gun.

Too many people forget the second half of these rights is responsibility. Responsibility is at least as important as rights.

Yeah, I know I sound like I’m telling you to eat your vegetables and wear your earmuffs. But sometimes you just gotta. If I sound like your mother, sue me.

We have the responsibility to drown out outfits like the Westboro jerks with our own voices. We have the responsibility to worship without knocking down some other religion that is not causing problems, but not our own theology. We have the responsibility to use our guns safely, and make sure nutcases who are going to open fire on crowd don’t have access to them.

In that spirit, I was happy to see a video of a group taking responsibility to counteract the Westboro Moron Club.

With permission from the families, the group called the Patriot Guard Riders show up at funerals where Westboro is picketing. They drown out the pinheads with motorcycles, music and prayer.

The Patriot Guard Riders is largely composed of veterans. They’ve been doing this good work for years.  The Riders do this voluntarily. Members say they figure they have the responsibility to help in these situations.


Another group, by the way, sometimes dresses as angels, and they use their big white angel wings to block the view of the Westboro jerks’ signs, as Romaine Patterson recently wrote in the Washington Post.

Watch the video (tip of the hat to Melinda Moulton via Facebook for reminding me of this group) to see the Patriot Guard Riders show how it ought to be done:



The Snow Goes, the Snow Comes, Drearily

March 6, 2011

With my growing list of things I must do outside to fix my yard  in St. Albans, Vermont and build up the landscaping, I was heartened by the rain and thawing that got rid of half my snow yesterday and last night.

I took this picture of my snowbound shed on Wednesday, before the thaw. I'm itching to repair and paint it, and landscape around it.

There’s enough bare patches out there to start get rid of unwanted brush, tidy up things, start prepping my derelict shed for a paintjob and some landscaping around it, and get ready for transforming the property in earnest.

There’s hope, yes?

Well, no. All the snow that briefly disappeared is coming back tonight, and then some, so it’s back to square one. We’re going to get eight to 12 inches of  heavy, wet, new snow.

March is the cruelest month. You get ready to go outside and attack your projects with gusto, only to be slapped in the face by a lingering Vermont winter.

By this morning the snow had retreated from around the shed. At this point, when the rain stops, I can begin work around it. But no such luck. A foot of snow is due tonight, delaying any kind of work.

So, I’ll wake up tomorrow back in my dreary winter routine. I’ll throw out my shoulder again clearing the driveway and hefting the snow onto huge piles. I’ll have to hack my way through the frozen snow and ice to get into my truck, and gingerly drive down the skating rink-like roads.

After the snow stops falling tomorrow,  I’ll look in vain for just a bit of warm sun to start the melting process over again. It’s going to take a long time to get rid of it, especially given the forecasts of continued cold weather and maybe another snowstorm Thursday.

Unlike the last two springs, the seasonal landscaping drive, both for myself and my clients, will get off to a very late start because of the snow.

I wonder if I can buy some napalm to get rid of the snow?

Gaga Not Gaga Over Gaga Milk.

March 5, 2011

In my never ending quest in search of the strangest pop culture news, I learn from CNN this morning that Lady Gaga is threatening to sue the London makers of Baby Gaga ice cream, which supposedly is made from breast milk.

A woman pretending to be Lady Gaga promotes Baby Gaga breast milk ice cream.

Lady Gaga says the name of the ice cream, and the fact that a waitress dressed like Lady Gaga served it, would mislead people into thinking the pop star endorses the product.

She doesn’t endorse it of course. Lady Gaga can be outlandish but even she has her limits.

Lady Gaga didn’t get into the ice cream’s ick factor like I immediately did. But she did say she worries the product is unsafe, it can spread hepatitis, and cause other problems. She doesn’t want to be associated with that.  If they change the name of the ice cream to something that doesn’t remind people of Lady Gaga, the singer said she’d be OK with it.

The ice cream maker, Matt O’Connor, says Lady Gaga’s allegation are “preposterous and outrageous.”

The real Lady Gaga, here promoting her hit song "Born This Way"

Well, there certainly are a lot of preposterous and outrageous things here. Breast milk? Why? The ice cream is a publicity stunt. In that regard, O’Connor is taking a page from Lady Gaga’s playbook. Gaga does do outrageous things to promote herself, which is fine. I guess O’Connor wants to join the “Out There” club.

Normally, celebrities who sue the makers of products that vaguely tie them to the produce annoy me. But here, I think Gaga has a point.   O’Connor is clearly riding on Lady Gaga’s coattails.

It’s not working for me. I am a big fan of Lady Gaga a lot, but I’m not going to touch that ice cream, whether Lady Gaga is involved or not. I also don’t want to think about breast milk and Lady Gaga while eating ice cream.

I’ll just stick to Ben and Jerry’s, thanks.

Temper Tantrum Woman Destroys Liquor Store Booze

March 5, 2011

Oh, I’m such a sucker for videos of people behaving badly in public.

Which brings us today to the Rite Buy Wine and Liquor store in Nyack, N.Y., where a woman apparently was upset because she was in a hurry and the clerks weren’t fast enough for her taste.

A still from the surveillance camera images of Mahogany Morrow, 31, trashing a liquor store.

So she stormed out of the place, deliberately knocking off $1,600 worth of booze from the shelvers on the way out. Watch:

Police tracked down Mahogany Morrow, 31, after the Feb. 23 incident.

Among the bottles she broke were some Johnnie Blue Label Scotch, which goes for $180 a bottle, according to local media.

So now our buddy Mahogany will live on in infamy on YouTube and elsewhere, joining the large and growing club of people who made total fools of themselves by having a temper tantrum.

When I found out her name the theme song from the 1970s movie “Mahogany” came to mind. (Yes, I have a weird mind)

The song lyrics go: “Do you know where you’re going to?
You’re going to jail, Mahogany!

Hey Mahogany: Was the fact you had to wait 40 seconds for a store clerk worth the public embarrassment and the possibly criminal charges you face?

Congratulations: You get the dufus award of the week, Mahogany!