Man chugs beer seasoned with live wrigglers, cigarette smoke and flaming hooch

In this unsourced video that hit Reddit’s front page this morning, a man who appears to be Chinese funnels a handful of wrigglers (minnows? eels? loaches?) into a bottle of beer, tops it with a flaming shot of hooch (baiju?) that he’s seasoned with a lungful of cigarette smoke, then impressively chugs it in a matter of seconds, all with an air of showmanship; it’s a video that combines self-abuse, animal cruelty, dubious intoxicants, and implausible biological feats.


Watch how to fix a dangerous traffic situation with a simple solution: duct tape

Cyclists in the Dutch city of Nijmegen had a traffic challenge in a popular part of town every day during rush hour. A small road for bikes at the busy Keizer Karelplein intersection was in constant chaos with heavy congestion, and bikers wanting to turn right were often forced off the main path, making it a dangerous turn. But a few creative citizens fixed the problem with a simple solution: duct tape.

Watch how they use the tape to make two lanes on the bike path, one with a straight arrow and one with an arrow pointing to the right. And more interestingly, watch how bikers obey the duct tape. Ahhh, order is restored.

In the YouTube comments, we find out that the folks who came up with this brilliantly simple solution ended up removing the tape for fear of pollution, but happily, the city of Nijmegen announced they will paint new traffic lines and arrows this week.


Bible predictions: talking pets, the Mark of the Beast, and an exploding pop star, in this week’s tabloids

The stars are “just like us,” we’re told every week by the delusionists at Us magazine. But this week the National Examiner goes a step further: “Queen Elizabeth: She’s Just Like Us!”

QEII is reportedly “addicted to McDonald’s,” loves to gamble, and “clips coupons to save cash.”
That’s the level of accuracy we’re seeing in much of this week’s tabloids, offering readers the chance to lose brain weight with a nearly fact-free diet.

“Proof!” screams the National Enquirer cover. “J. Edgar Hoover Ordered JFK Murder!” Coming a mere two weeks after the Enquirer claimed that it was the CIA who killed President Kennedy, while sister rag the Globe assured us it was the KGB behind the shooting, the report is based on a “top-secret memo” leaked after 54 years.

Only a couple of minor problems with this claim: 1) The Enquirer doesn’t have any memo; it’s supposedly “a copy of the missing telex . . . reproduced from memory” by a former FBI agent. 2) The alleged memo from FBI chief Hoover, sent five days before JFK’s assassination, warns of a “threat to assassinate President Kennedy in Dallas Texas . . . “But that’s not proof of Hoover ordering JFK’s murder – it’s an FBI chief advising field officers of a threat, at a time when the president was repeatedly being threatened. The Enquirer story is all smoke and broken mirrors.

Singer Olivia Newton-John’s fiancé Patrick McDermott went missing while on a fishing trip off the California coast in 2005, and the tabloids repeatedly claim to have found him alive, joined this week by the Enquirer, which reports that McDermott is “Back From The Dead!” Their evidence: a photo of a silver-haired shirtless man sitting at a park bench – an image supposedly found “hanging on a notice board at a rundown beach campsite” in Sayulita, Mexico. The photo could be of any middle-aged man, and the Enquirer wasn’t even there to snap the photo.

Why would the Enquirer be all the way down in Sayulita looking for photos of missing persons on campsite notice boards? The answer comes in another Enquirer story this week reporting that Prince Harry’s girlfriend Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas, “is hiding out in the remote Mexican Riviera town of Sayulita.” What are the odds? Is Sayulita the favored hide-out of everyone fleeing California? More likely: the Enquirer was in Mexico hunting for Thomas Markle, evidently failed because they have no new photos of him, and then decided to salvage the expense of the trip by uncovering “proof” that McDermott is still alive.

The Globe goes full Brothers Grimm with its cover story on “Hollywood’s Hottest Divorces,” which features Julia Roberts, Barbra Streisand and Jennifer Aniston all battling their husbands in a combined $875 million divorce war. Would it be churlish to point out that none of these three women have even left their husbands, let alone filed for divorce, or are battling over their fortunes – which you can be certain are protected under pre-nuptial contracts? It’s just a dystopian tabloid fairytale.

The fantasy continues in the Globe exclusive claiming that “crooked Hillary” Clinton has “spilled her guts to G-men” about husband Bill Clinton’s “role in a traitorous payola scam that saw 20 per cent of America’s uranium assets go to Russia.” Even if Hillary has questions to answer about her role in the sale of US uranium resources (approved by eight other regulatory bodies, in addition to her State department) it’s ludicrous to link Bill Clinton to any abuse of powers, because at that time he was a private citizen and held no governmental position. It’s just lazy Hillary-bashing. (Yes, Bill Clinton received a $500,000 speaking fee from Russian investment group Renaissance Capital in 2010, but that has long been public knowledge, and there is no evidence to suggest that Hillary intervened in any way in the uranium sale decision.)

Let’s not forget last week’s Globe cover story which claimed it would finally reveal JonBenet Ramsey’s “Real Killer,” only to offer a disappointing rehash of old reports, ending with the tease: “NEXT WEEK: WHAT REALLY HAPPENED!”

And here we are: It’s “next week” – so who killed child beauty pageant queen JonBenet? The Globe doesn’t tell us. It doesn’t even give us the faintest hint. But in an “explosive revelation” from “acclaimed private eye Bo Dietl,” the rag reveals: “The parents of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey DID NOT MURDER the kiddie beauty queen . . . “Say what?! Seriously, that’s their revelation. Globe readers should sue them for false advertising.

“Tired of the Lies” could be a reasonable response to this week’s tabloids, but it’s actually Us magazine’s cover headline for its story on actress Leah Remini’s “Battle to Destroy Scientology.” It’s a reasonable cult-bashing piece, but offers no new quotes from Remini, no new information, and looks like a feature they’ve held in a bottom drawer for months and finally pulled out when their planned cover story fell through at the last minute.

Still, it’s preferable to People magazine’s cover, declaring country singer and homophobic racist Blake Shelton as this year’s “Sexiest Man Alive!”

“I’ve been ugly my whole life,” Shelton tells the magazine, which clearly has no qualms about the sexual objectification of men. “I wouldn’t want my dog to have to see me naked. It’s like half-melted vanilla ice cream with little hairs stuck on it. That’s what I look like naked.” What could be sexier than that?

Fortunately we have the crack investigative squad at Us magazine to tell us that Katy Perry wore it best, country singer Kelsea Ballerina would “never be caught dead wearing Birkenstocks,” that Entertainment Tonight host Nancy O’Dell carries spare earrings, a first aid kit and chewing gum in her Clare V. bag, and that the stars are just like us: they read books, put gasoline in their cars, and buy doughnuts. Shocking, as ever.

But is the Queen really like us, despite her palaces, world class art collection, giant property portfolio, string of racehorses, and entourage of ladies in waiting, equerries, butlers, cooks, servants, grooms and gardeners ad infinitum, her Commonwealth of countries, and perks including global travel, and literally getting the Royal treatment wherever she goes? Of course not. Does the Queen secretly love McDonald’s, as the Examiner claims? Well, she actually owns a McDonald’s – it’s part of the Crown Estates that includes thousands of retail, industrial and agricultural properties, hotels, racecourses, and miles of shoreline. But has she ever eaten at her own McDonald’s? Never.

Does the Queen “love to gamble”? As the Examiner reports, HRH has won $8.8 million in prize money from owning winning racehorses – but that’s not quite the same as gambling. And does the Queen “clip coupons” to save money at the supermarket? It’s true that she’s on a budget, and shies away from ostentatious displays of egregious wealth, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find the Queen ever shopping for her own groceries. The closest she’ll get to a supermarket is if she cuts the red ribbon at a supermarket’s grand opening – and that’s a rarity.

That report is about as accurate as the Examiner story revealing the “Bible’s Shocking Secret Prophecies Coming True!”
Apparently the Bible predicted that Medicare will run out of money; inhaling alcohol-infused vapor will sweep the nation, new brain technology will allow cats and dogs to talk; Bill and Hillary Clinton will flee America to a country without a U.S. extradition treaty; a U.S. nuclear weapon will be stolen, the Mark of the Beast – 666 – will appear on the Washington Monument; and “a member of a successful music group will spontaneously burst into flames on stage.”

Clearly, there are chapters of the Bible I’ve been missing.

Onwards and downwards . . .


“Common knowledge” that Alabama GOP Sen. candidate Roy Moore dated teens

A former colleague of Roy Moore, the Alabama Senatorial candidate accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with teens, claims this behavior was “common knowledge.”

Via CBS:

“It was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls, everyone we knew thought it was weird,” former deputy district attorney Teresa Jones told CNN in comments aired Saturday. “We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall … but you really wouldn’t say anything to someone like that.”

CBS News has reached out to Jones for comment.

Jones, now a partner at the Syprett, Meshad, Resnick, Lieb, Dumbaugh, Jones, Krotec & Westheimer, P.A. law firm based in Sarasota, Florida, served as deputy district attorney for Etowah County, Alabama from 1982 to 1985, according to her firm’s website. Moore worked as a deputy district attorney in that office from 1977 to 1982. Before joining the DA’s office, Jones was the assistant city attorney for the city of Gadsden, Alabama, the county seat of Etowah County.

Jones’ comments come after an explosive Washington Post report in which four women say Moore pursued them sexually or romantically when they were in their teens. The youngest accuser, Leigh Corfman, said she was 14 and Moore was 32 when he sexually touched her.


Standing up by sitting down: the overlooked power of the sit-in

We are all familiar with the marquee protests in American history: the 1963 March on Washington, the 1969 anti-Vietnam War protest, and the 2017 post-inaugural Women’s March. This weekend in Los Angeles, the #MeTooMarch will be protesting the normalizing of rape culture. With the recent bizarre acceptance by many Republicans of Roy Moore, who has a well-sourced history of pedophilia, issue-responsive protests like this are growing more urgent, frequent, and necessary.

With all of this renewed activism in the U.S. and recent Democratic victories in off-year elections, it’s important to remember and learn from what has worked in the past. Brittany Shoot wrote a great piece in Atlas Obscura on an often overlooked but highly impactful protest that involved no marching at all. The fact that the protestors were disabled –some physically, some mentally – didn’t stop them from conducting the longest non-violent occupation of a federal building in United States history, the 504 Sit-In.

What they accomplished bettered millions of lives to this day. If you’re interested in understanding what it takes to effect major changes in policy, or get inspired to do something, this well-written piece about the 26-day long sit-in is worth a few minutes of your time:

(Read Brittany Shoot’s full article here)

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 included the little-noticed Section 504, which was based on the 1964 Civil Rights Act and mandated integration of people with disabilities into mainstream institutions. But the language was broad, only noting that “no qualified individual with a disability should, only by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” By 1977, disability rights activists weary of asking nicely for their civil rights, decided to move-into the HEW offices [Health, Education, and Welfare], that is.

“At that time in history, there was simply no access-no right to an education, no public transit. You couldn’t get into a library or city hall, much less a courtroom,” says 504 Sit-In participant, author, and disability rights advocate Corbett Joan O’Toole. She notes that as late as the 1970s, there were no federally mandated social services or agencies for individuals living with disabilities. If an individual wanted to hire an in-home attendant or interpreter, it had to happen through pre-existing social networks.

The interdependency of the group itself, along with the cooperation of other social justice groups, like The Black Panther Party, was significant and very relevant now:

O’Toole notes that people with disabilities-as well as people who are also part of other marginalized populations such as the LGBT community-are accustomed to the type of cooperative interdependence that was necessary for 504. The 100-plus occupiers and their attendants made the building their own almost immediately, draping a window air conditioning unit with a plastic tarp to create a makeshift refrigerator for medications and using the pay phones to communicate with loved ones and news media on the outside until the FBI cut the lines. There were daily consensus-driven committee meetings about everything from media strategy to how to respond to a bomb scare false alarm, in the event the FBI employed tactics to evacuate the building. “Disabled people are incredibly resourceful,” O’Toole says. “That is a commonly misunderstood and overlooked part of our history, and it led to the success of 504.”

“They [the Black Panther Party] understood what it meant to support a revolutionary movement that wasn’t just on the street with weapons,” O’Toole says, pointing to the Party’s groundbreaking Free Breakfast for Children initiative, which eventually served a reported 20,000 low-income children and influenced federal guidelines for free breakfast and lunch programs still vital in the nation’s public schools.

Under 504, nondiscrimination became a legal, fundamental right. Within months of the sit-in, noticeable changes began to take place in urban landscapes, in university classrooms, in the workplace, and in public spaces including libraries, courtrooms, and public transit. Cities instituted curb cuts from street to sidewalk. Federal buildings made adjustments to become accessible to all, including installing ramps and wider restroom stalls. Regulations instituted as a result of the success of 504, ushered in a new era of accessibility that led to the passage of Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990.

Image: Nathan Keirn


Good deal on my favorite cheap wallet: $6

This wallet doesn’t last forever. It eventually got a small tear on the side that holds credit cards. I fixed it with a small piece of duct tape and it’s been good for months. Everything else about it is perfect. I put my driver’s license in the clear window, fiat currency goes in the middle, and cards go in the outside pockets. It’s very thin and everything is easy to get to. It’s usually $7 or $8, but it’s on sale today on Amazon for $5.