Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Truth Comes Out

Thought Number One:  The Ties to the Tin Man

For my regular readers, you are aware that I am currently living in Kansas.  It isn't as bad as many of you might imagine.  OR...depending on the quality of your imagination, maybe it is. Either way, after 21 moves, this is where I landed (for now) and I rather like it here.

Is this how people  think Kansas looks?

A picture of Kansas without a tornado in the sky.

I think a certain movie and it's implications on how people view Kansas is interesting (bizarre).  The Chamber of Commerce reports that the NUMBER ONE question they are asked by people not familiar with Kansas is "Is it anything like the Wizard of Oz?"  I find this incredulous that people are that...I am struggling for a word...but stupid comes to mind.

The  original book written by L. Frank Baum, came off the presses on May 17th, 1900.  Over the years it was mostly equated as a children's book but  there have been numerous theories that take alternate views.
One of the more prevalent theories being that the book was a satirical writing taking aim at the politics of the time. L. Frank Baum's mother-in-law, a suffragette of the era, Matilda Joslyn Gage, encouraged him to write his stories down.  In every one of Baum's stories the protagonist was female. There are a number of veiled references in the books to the author's views on feminism.

As for me, I think it is a cute story. Upon a recent visit to the OZ Museum,...yes, there is one and ...yes I went there,....I am sure there were under lying messages within the books but for me...they are just fun stories.

Which...or should I say "witch" brings me to the point of my post today....having some fun with the "Wizard of Oz:.  Frankly, it's my duty, as a Kansan, to work the Oz theme into my blog on a regular basis. So far I have done a pretty good job of it.

My latest "pull out an Oz theme"....came as a result of me following a blog challenge.  Nickey and Mike over at the blog We Work For Cheese, started a 30 Day Photography Challenge.  I don't tend to join in photography challenges as I prefer to use clip art and drawings to illustrate most of my posts.  I do, however, post various graphics in their comment section from time to time,  to tie into "whatever they are photographing that day".

A few days ago, the theme was "Steel".  After giving it some thought...very little actually, I came up with the idea of this:

Thought Number Two: My version of "When Dorothy Met the Tin Man".

As Dorothy approached the forest clearing,
The faintest squeaking, she kept hearing.
Following the barely whispered "squeeaakk", 
She left her path to take a peek.

At the base of a ponderous tree,
a rusting man she came to see, 
I kid you not!..I do not lie*
a rusting metal-man, she spied.

*OK, just to be clear..I do lie.  I lie like a rug but in this case...I am, totally, telling the truth.

Dorothy, being extremely bright,
quickly sized up the Tin Man's plight.
Within her purse, she had oils and potions.
Kansas girls carry tons of lotions.*

*Sorry, again, I have to clarify.  We carry a crap load of skin cream as Kansas girls hands are like sandpaper.  

Within moments of Dorothy's care,
 the Tin Man's words spewed into the air.
"What the HELL?" The metal man cried.
"What kind of idiot altered my hide???"

A much better choice over  tin would be brass!
The tinsmith obviously had his head up his ass.
Even monkeys get brass for their balls, so I'm told.*
Getting less than monkey balls seems rather cold.

*Cold as in the old adage, Freezing the balls off a brass monkey.

He could of used steel, if he he had half a brain.
The galvanized type would have withstood the rain.
The stainless type would have remained ever shiny.
The joker that did this, had his head up his hiney!

I know you are doubting this version, I'm telling.
But it's the truth...the Tin Man was yelling.
Yelling obscenities and words that were BAD.
Years standing rusted had left him quite mad.

The movie cleaned it up nicely, to make it PG.
It's all about ratings, I am sure you can see.
The smithy got sued for his poor choice of tin.
The Gold Man is now sporting the results of his win.*

*The current skin he is 24 carat...Tin/Gold Man's Personal Injury lawyer did a great job.

If you don't believe my version of this be sure to contact the Gold Man.

I would tell you to have the witch verify it but alas, she can't take your calls.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

At What Cost?

Normally, on Friday, I try to find a few obscure news articles that you might not be familiar with.  I realize, this is getting more and more difficult to do,  as the media seeks out every speck of ridiculous news and then..... every nugget of nonsense gets You Tubed, Tweeted, or Facebooked. quicker than you can say "Did you hear about....?"   This week though, I am writing about a story, that in all likelihood, you all have heard about.  This story wasn't relegated to the back page.

Everything Has a Price

A 20 year old Brazilian woman, Catarina Migliorini has auctioned off her virginity online. Yes, you read that right.  She Ebayed her  "soon to be deflowered" virginity to the highest bidder.

If your name is on this list, I have lost all respect for you.

The winner of the auction is a Japanese man known as "Natsu" with a winning bid of $780K. He beat out 5 other bidders on the last day of the auction, after a bidding war ran the bids up from $199,0000. (Are we at all curious what the hell is wrong with Natsu?)

 Catarina says she is going to be giving 90 percent of the money to a charity but the auction organizer, Justin Sisely, who planned this questionable event says he is skeptical.  Justin is a Australian filmmaker that is also filming a documentary related to the auction.  The auction and documentary aren't a solo endeavor for Catarina.   Justin illitcited a male counterpart, who  auctioned off his virginity as well.  Alex Stepanov's end bid wasn't  nearly as impressive, however.  His highest bidder was a Brazilian woman known as Nene B. with a $3000.00 bid.

Catarina gets quite defensive when people regard this auction as a form of prostitution.  Catarina, speaking to Folha newspaper said, "I look at this as a business." (To be fair to all prostitutes, they probably consider what they do "as a business" as well.) Catarina went on to say, " I have the opportunity to travel, to be part of a movie and get a bonus. If you only do it once in your life then you are not a prostitute, just like if you take one amazing photograph it does not automatically make you a photographer."

For the movie, the actual sex act will not be filmed and rules have been laid out.  One of the rules states:
"To ensure that the encounter is as tasteful as possible, sex toys are not allowed".  (Can you even believe the word TASTEFUL is being used in this story??)

Reporter Cheryl P. has lots of questions of Catarina  .BTW...I took poetic license with the spelling of Twat.
Part of me is pretty sure that this is one of the signs of the apocalypse and the other part of me as lots of questions. All of me is totally creeped out!!!!

Maybe Money Does Grow on Trees ...or Broccoli Plants

A Woodstock, Illinois man says the $150,000 in cash he found in his garden last year generated two competing claims for the money.
 Wayne Sabaj, who discovered the cash in his McHenry County broccoli garden last year, said the cash would have become his if no one had claimed it by Oct. 1, but authorities said a Naperville liquor store robbed of about $150,000 in 2010 filed a petition to claim the money, as did Sabaj's 87-year-old neighbor, WGN-TV, Chicago, reported Wednesday.

Both claims were filed two days before the deadline, authorities said.
Lawyers for Sabaj's neighbor, Dolores Johnson, said the woman suffers from memory problems and does not remember what happened to the money she has been collecting for several years. Johnson's daughter said she believes her mother threw the cash into Sabaj's yard.

Robert Burke, Sabaj's attorney, said he believes the cash was drug money that fell from a sea plane spotted over the Fox River shortly before his client made the discovery.

Is anyone else having a problem with Sabaj's attorney? Is he trying to get some drug traffickers to come forward as well to claim that it is theirs? Personally,  I would think  this a fine time to start yelling "finders keepers,  losers weepers!"  The older neighbor can't remember if it's hers, the liquor store was robbed but how do they know if the garden money is THEIR money? Maybe...just maybe...  Any money growing in my garden is mine.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

This week in Kansas City a Samurai robbed a Churches Fried Chicken restaurant.  What made this theft somewhat interesting,  is the guy that waited patiently to order his chicken dinner. No pushy people in line at this robbery.

If I would have been the guy behind the counter, I would of backed up....out of reach of the sword.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Whatcha Y'all Doin' Down There

Thought Number One:  The Texas Drawl

As a former Texan, I feel justified in asking my Texas friends, ex- neighbors, and those of you that referred to me as a Yankee upon my arrival to your fair state,  "Exactly, what the Hell is goin' on down there?"

The first thing that concerns me or if I am talking Texan,  "chaps my ass" was hearing about an ongoing study that concluded that the Texas drawl is going away.  Part of what makes Texas ...TEXAS, is the slow...ever so slow... pronunciation of the  words such as howdy and y'all.

Wouldn't  Texas be less Texan if the words fire and far weren't  pronounced exactly the same way?  (BTW, they would both be pronounced fharr)  Would life go on as we know it if  the phrase "That dog don't hunt" was said with a Midwestern accent?  OMG, the thought of it makes me more than a little queasy.
The University of Texas has been working on this study since 2008. One of the major conclusions from the Texas English Project  is the fact that the  infusion of people that aren't native to Texas, that are now residing there,  are tainting the drawl.

As I was one of the "outsiders" that made my way into Texas, I shouldn't  cast aspersions on those folks diluting  the drawl, but in my defense, at least I had a Southern accent of sorts.  Therefore,  it could be said that the 7 years I lived in Dallas, I did less damage to the "twang" than others are doing. Having spent my youth in the South, I already spoke Southern albeit not one of the dialects that are spoken in Texas.

I did have a certain advantage over others though as I had at least a basic understanding of "Southern". For example: When the locals would say that the neighbors two doors down were just "sorry SOBs", I already knew they didn't mean the neighbors were remorseful, they meant those sorry SOBs were worthless. 

But not all is lost.   According to the study, if you want to hear the true Texas "twang" (and who wouldn't want to hear it?), you could travel to Johnson County or Wise County. In some areas there are still very distinct Texan accents. (meaning it is less tainted by transient speech patterns)

I tried to draw cowboy boots on fair-going Cheryl P. ....turns out I can't draw decent boots.
Obviously My ability to draw must not be Texas friendly.

I hate to see any of  the regional dialects disappear.  You might remember a post that  I did about my own accent, called  Do I Talk Funny? You don't remember it???  Frankly I'm shocked but whatever.... In that post, I talked about the very strong accent that I picked up while living with my grandparents in Arkansas as a kid.  By the time I was twelve and moved North, the damage was done.(at least as far as my undecipherable speech pattern was concerned). The transition to living in Illinois was a tough one. Speaking a language that no one could understand proved to be a challenge.  The truth of the matter, however, is that the people around Chicago, had an accent that I couldn't understand either.  Plus...they talk really fast.

So back to the point of the Texas English Project.  After all is said and done,  the very unique accents that were once prevalent in various regions of the country, are becoming diluted as people have become more transient and national broadcasting has  further influenced speech.  The study did conclude, though, that there will still be regional differences. Those differences may be less and less distinctive.

I tend to love the regional accents.  Whether we are talking about the South, East, North or West...I love to hear the distinctive sounds of how people talk. I hope we never come to the point when every one's speech sounds the same.

Thought Number Two:   RIP...For Now

The iconic animated figure known as "Big Tex," which has greeted visitors of the State Fair of Texas for 60 years, was destroyed by fire on Friday.  Yes, the big 52 foot tall, cowboy went down in flames.

Fair representative Sue Gooding said the blaze started inside Big Tex Friday morning on the fairgrounds in South Dallas, ahead of the event's closing weekend.  She said white smoke began billowing from the neck and head area of Big Tex before the flames erupted.

Did people yell "Fharr, Fharr????

"There is definitely electrical in the working of Big Tex … to provide movement of the mouth and head," Gooding said. "It would not surprise me if it did happen – if it did start with electrical."

According to Bill Bragg, who voices Big Tex from a PA system in a nearby trailer, it was "business as usual" before the blaze broke out. "Tex was talking perfectly. A beautiful day at Fair Park. And they knocked on the door and they said, 'There's smoke coming out of Big Tex.' I went out. I investigated. I unplugged all of my equipment in the travel trailer, so I could isolate myself from the statue for safety reasons," Bragg said.
One fair  goer said smoke gave way to fire that quickly engulfed Big Tex. "The flames dropped down and hit his pants, and once they hit his pants, he just went up in flames," the man said.

"Tex went down talking," Bragg said.

The young Big Tex

The Obituary for Big Tex

  • 1949 --Erected as a 52-foot-tall "Santa Claus" on Nov. 10th, 1949, in Kerens to bolster the town's Christmas shopping.

  • 1950 -- Transported 60 miles to Dallas and sold to the State Fair of Texas for $750.

  • 1952 -- Transformed and unveiled as a giant cowboy named "Big Tex" and made its debut in late October as the official symbol of the State Fair of Texas. 

  •  1953 -- Speaks for the first time. Over the years, six men have provided the voice for Big Tex, which says "Howdy, folks!" about 60 times a day during the fair.

  • 1997 -- Original body was rebuilt on a cage-like frame made of 4,200 feet of steel rods.

  • 2000 -- Upgraded with body movements, waving to fair goers as they passed by to the Midway.

  • 2002 -- Turns 50, gets an all-new wardrobe and a new voice.

  • 2012 -- Destroyed in fire. Fair officials vow to rebuild icon for 2013.

I'll be back!

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Man Oh Man

The men are the clear winners this week as far as being in the "weird" news stories.  As I scouted about the Internet looking for "all that is odd", it quickly became evident that the ladies were somewhat sparse.  Now, to be clear, I am not saying that the woman aren't as odd as the men but they seem to be in hiding this week.

A Man With a Plan

Ninety-six year old Ramjit Raghay, has reportedly has become the oldest man to father a child...again. This is the 2nd son born to Ramjit and his wife in recent years.  On the event of the birth of his first son, who is now 2, he broke the world's record for being the oldest father. With the birth of his 2nd son, he broke his own record. 

Proud new father at 96 years old

Ramajit and his 52 year old wife, Shakuntala Devi gave birth to a healthy baby boy on October 5th according to the Times of India.

According to Ramajit, he didn't use performance enhancers, he just prayed to God to complete his family.

Living well past the average life expectancy of men in India which is  63.2 years, he credits his longevity to eating lots of butter, milk, green vegetables,  and almonds. He also, said that he was mostly (mostly...does that even count?) celibate prior to meeting Devi 10 years ago. He did say that he doesn't plan on having more children.

This guy has some powerful prayers. Being a new daddy at 96....or is that an old daddy at quite a record for sure. I did find it interesting that all the reports about this was in deference to Ramajit breaking a world record and his wife got barely a nod.  I suspect her job in this might of been the more difficult of the two.  Maybe having a baby at 52 doesn't break any world records but doesn't she, at least, deserve an "honorable mention".  Fist- bump to you Shakuntala Devi.

 A Romantic Dinner for Two in Full View

I did find one story that had both a man and a woman but  the man seemed to be the one that took over the bulk of the story.  In most of the reports the woman was never mentioned.

A couple who decided to have sex atop an outdoor table at a Florida restaurant--in full view of families dining nearby--avoided criminal charges because witnesses declined Monday night to provide statements to police.
The centerpieces at this restaurant are very avante garde.

The manager of Paddy Murphy's, an Orlando eatery, summoned cops after he "was notified by several patrons that a couple was having sex on a table in view of minor children," according to an Orlando Police Department report.

Tom Murphy told officers that he approached the couple early Monday evening and told them to stop. But the man, identified by cops as Jeremie Calo, responded, "She can't get up at this time." Calo, 32, was referring to his unidentified companion.  (She was later identified as Tiffani Lynn Barganier...and I wouldn't want you to be left out of all this publicity...notoriety...insanity.)

Murphy told police that he directed Calo to "Compose yourself, pay your tab or I'll call the police." Calo, however, signed his check "NO" and then scuffled with a restaurant employee when he tried to leave without paying.
Murphy and the worker restrained Calo until the arrival of cops, who arrested Calo for defrauding an innkeeper. Not paying the $101.00 tab, is what the charges stem from.  No charges for having sex on the table as none of the witnesses chose to make statements.

Interesting that you can get in trouble for not paying your tab but you don't get in trouble for having sex on the table in front of the other patrons.  Perhaps, the other diners just figured it was a dinner and a show.

Men, Don't Be Naive

  A German drinks firm has launched a range of spirits which has been poured over the breasts of a naked model prior to bottling. Really!

G-Spirits sells bottles of rum, whisky and vodka which has been poured over the boobs of voluptuous models before being collected in a special glass basin.

It's claimed the odd process adds to the flavour of the drinks, though the firm are keen to stress they conform to food and hygiene requirements. Medical personnel are also present to verify everything is in order.

A spokesperson for G-Spirits said: "To create the perfect taste we let every single drop of our spirits run over the breasts of a special woman, one whose characteristics we saw reflected in the liquor.

This is the ad to entice you to buy their booby booze: do you know if the person really looks like this? I suppose, it is possible if you are the kind of person that wants liquor that has been poured over naked chests, maybe it wouldn't matter if the chest looked more like this.

AND what exactly does the "G" in G-Spirits stand for???? Gullible...perhaps?

Naked Men Causing Controversy

The Leopold Museum, a  institution that displays modern art in Vienna, Austria is due to open an exhibit on October 19th called Nackte Manner.  (Naked Men) 

The advertising campaign leading up to the big event, however, has hit a snag.  The locals don't like the advertising surrounding the upcoming event. 

 According to the Daily Mail, the museum's decision to advertise the show with giant versions of some of the works has not been received too well.

One of the artworks by Austrian Photographer, Isle Haider, called Mr. Big placed outside the museum has been drawing a lot of attention as it depicts a nude man reclining on one elbow.
Do you see something wrong in this picture?
Since the uproar began the museum covered his private parts.
They cited it was for "safety reasons".  
We have had many complaints, Klaus Pokorny, a spokesman for the museum said.  We have had some threats from people saying they will deface Mr. Big's image. (deface isn't the word I would use, probably something closer to castrate) 

According to a statement on the museum web site, the exhibition offers a revolutionary perspective on the human body. It goes on to say that the show is long overdue on the diverse and changing depictions of naked men.

The exhibition, featuring more than 300 images will run until January 28 2013.

Without trying to reduce myself to using humor that would/should belong to a 12 year old, let me just point out that the museum is the one that named the huge poster "Mr. Big".  I, also didn't have a spokesman by the name of Pokorny (Poke Horny) say the the exhibit was long overdue.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Was She Crazy, Quirky, or Misunderstood?

Big news on the "reenactment" front...for those of you that are into reenacting things. What? You don't get thrills by participating in historical events of yesteryear? OK...  Normally, I can't say that my interests  lie in that area either.  I have not once attended a Civil War reenactment as I am pretty clear how the story ends. 

Still, I couldn't help but notice a news clip about the retrials being held to determine if Mary Todd Lincoln was or was not insane. The sold out event was sponsored by the  Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. They have put together a prestigious panel of real-life judges, lawyers, doctors and assorted experts to weigh in on both the judicial process and the determination of sanity related to Mary Todd Lincoln's first trial.

Thought Number One: Was Mary Todd Lincoln Crazy?

Can we all agree, how great we all look in our hats???

There is a dedicated web site that covered the proceedings aptly named,  Was Mary Lincoln Crazy?. I found numerous others, though, that gave more background information.  ( why ....yes...I do realize that I am a nerd....thank you for asking!!)

So here in 2012 a group of judges, lawyers, mental health professionals, and audience participants confab to decide if the 1875 jury got it wrong when after a whole ten minutes of deliberation  the verdict came back:

"We, the undersigned jurors in the case of Mary Todd Lincoln, having heard the evidence in the case, are satisfied that said Mary Todd Lincoln is insane, and is a fit person to be sent to a state hospital for the insane..." (jury verdict on May 19, 1875).

I gather that the purpose of the retrial was not only to shed light on what changes have evolved in the perception of mental illness, but also, to educate the public as to differences in today's legal process.

Mary Todd Lincoln's case incorporated a number of issues including limited women's rights, biases, and public perceptions.  Even after 137 years historians are still divided on if she was insane or if she was railroaded by a kangaroo court. 

The events that might of contributed to her behavior and  led  to her being tried.
  • She lost three of her four sons and had bouts of serious depression.
  • All through her husband's presidency she had been scrutinized and vilified.
  • She was holding her husband hand at the theatre as he was assassinated. 
  • She had suffered a serious head injury in a carriage accident.
  • There were on-going rumors of her husband being unfaithful with Anne Rutledge.
  • She had a number of irrational fears including fear of being alone, fire, and poverty.
  • She relied extensively on mediums and attended seances regularly to communicate with her deceased family members.
  • She wavered between extravagant spending sprees and at other times she hoarded money such as sewing money into the lining of her clothing.
 One of the final straws that led Robert, her sole remaining son, to have her committed was when she went to New York City and arranged with merchants to try to sell her old clothes.  This became a huge scandal. This act of desperation to acquire money to pay down her debts became infamous.  ( a couple of web sites that give additional  insight to some of these events  are Mary Todd Lincoln Research Site and Mary Todd Lincoln ) 

As to the actual trial, Mary did not realize that a public trial awaited her, and was forcibly taken to the courthouse on May 19, 1875, by Leonard Swett, a lawyer who knew both Robert and her late husband.  Isaac Arnold, a family friend who reluctantly became her defense attorney, did not contest the case, and allowed 17 witnesses to testify to her unstable condition, while not calling any witnesses of his own. During the trial, Robert testified, "I have no doubt my mother is insane. She has long been a source of great anxiety to me." On the same day of her being brought to court, she was tried and sentenced to be committed to a state institution for the insane. She was allowed, however, to be admitted into a private institution in Batavia, Illinois.

How scandalous in 1875!
Today we would call that a consignment store.

Thought Number Two:  The Retrials Sided with Mary

Both the retrials found that by today's laws, that she would not have been involuntarily committed. There are no clear answers as to what her real emotional or physical health was.  There has long been speculation that she suffered from a bi-polar disorder and clinical depression.  Of course, she might of just been eccentric. 
No matter, what her issues were, it is clear that she did not get a fair trial.



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