Two online discussions started by parents concerned about their sons' sexuality:
I'm not sure if the latter letter from the concerned parent is satire or beyond satire. Any opinions?
On May 21, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California dismissed a complaint filed by a woman who said she had purchased "Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries" because she believed "crunchberries" were real fruit. The plaintiff, Janine Sugawara, alleged that she had only recently learned to her dismay that said "berries" were in fact simply brightly-colored cereal balls, and that although the product did contain some strawberry fruit concentrate, it was not otherwise redeemed by fruit. She sued, on behalf of herself and all similarly situated consumers who also apparently believed that there are fields somewhere in our land thronged by crunchberry bushes.
Cap'n According to the complaint, Sugawara and other consumers were misled not only by the use of the word "berries" in the name, but also by the front of the box, which features the product's namesake, Cap'n Crunch, aggressively "thrusting a spoonful of 'Crunchberries' at the prospective buyer." Plaintiff claimed that this message was reinforced by other marketing representing the product as a "combination of Crunch biscuits and colorful red, purple, teal and green berries." Yet in actuality, the product contained "no berries of any kind." Plaintiff brought claims for fraud, breach of warranty, and our notorious and ever-popular California Unfair Competition Law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act.
Judge Morrison England Jr. dismissed the case, stating:
[W]hile the challenged packaging contains the word "berries" it does so only in conjunction with the descriptive term "crunch." This Court is not aware of, nor has Plaintiff alleged the existence of, any actual fruit referred to as a "crunchberry." Furthermore, the "Crunchberries" depicted on the [box] are round, crunchy, brightly-colored cereal balls, and the [box] clearly states both that the Product contains "sweetened corn & oat cereal" and that the cereal is "enlarged to show texture." Thus, a reasonable consumer would not be deceived into believing that the Product in the instant case contained a fruit that does not exist. . . . So far as this Court has been made aware, there is no such fruit growing in the wild or occurring naturally in any part of the world.
The judge noted a precedent in which the plaintiff's lawyers were unsuccessful in a complaint that Froot Loops did not contain real fruit.
From the April 18, 2009, Guardian:
A British team sets sail tomorrow from Plymouth to attempt the first ever carbon-neutral crossing of the Greenland ice cap.
The physiotherapist Richard Spink, landscape gardener Raoul Surcouf and skipper Ben Stoddart hope to complete a three-week, 2,000-mile crossing of the north Atlantic to the port of Nuuk on the west coast of Greenland....
"Expeditions often achieve impressive objectives and carry out vital research, but few take into account their environmental impacts," said Surcouf, 40, from London. "By making our expedition carbon-neutral, we wanted to show that it is possible to visit incredible places and preserve them for future generations."
The expedition boat, a 40-foot Island Packet yacht, has been fitted with a wind generator and solar panels to reduce reliance on the battery and motor. Much of the expedition food has been donated by FareShare, a charity that collects out-of-date but edible food that would otherwise end up in landfill and distributes it to vulnerable people across the country.
From the May 5, 2009, Guardian:
The British crew of a polar expedition have been rescued after their yacht was caught in a hurricane-force storm and capsized three times in towering north Atlantic swells....
Their relief was tinged with a sense of irony as the rescue craft sent by Falmouth coastguard was the Overseas Yellowstone, a 113,000-tonne oil tanker....
In a statement from the tanker after the rescue, [expedition member Richard] Spink said: "We regret to inform you that the CNE Greenland expedition 2009 has been abandoned due to repeated, irreparable storm damage to our sailing vessel Fleur; in the north Atlantic we experienced some of the harshest conditions known, over a period of 36 hours, with winds gusting hurricane force 12. At 10.00hrs on 1st May 2009 the decision was made that the risk to our own personal safety was too great to continue and a rescue was co-ordinated with Falmouth coastguard. The team are now safely and ironically aboard the oil tanker Overseas Yellowstone."
From the Associated Press via Suzanne Abbot:
Ready to flex their pecs and strike a pose, bodybuilders at the Belgian championships scattered when doping officials showed up.
After a spate of positive doping tests in recent years in Belgium, the event had been moved across the Dutch border to Vlissingen for the weekend competition.
"They must have felt safe out there," doping official Hans Cooman told the Associated Press on Monday.
But Cooman and two colleagues got the necessary papers to check the tournament in the Netherlands. And when they identified themselves just before the event — with the 20 bodybuilders weighing in and preparing themselves — the testers drew quite a response.
The bodybuilders got up and left, preferring to quit rather than submit to doping tests. Some grabbed their gear and headed straight out the door....
Minutes before the start of the championships, before even one gleaming pose was on display, organizers had no option but to tell a few hundred fans that had come to the Arsenaal theater that there was not point in staying.
Now Cooman and his colleagues will report the case to the disciplinary committee, which will have to decide whether the bodybuilders can be punished because they refused to be tested.
A man who refused to give his name at the NABBA Belgium bodybuilding federation could not explain why the competitors had suddenly rushed off and would not discuss the matter.
I can't help thinking how great it would have been if I had been in that competition and won by default.
From The Daily Mail:
Prison officer Walter Schmidt wanted to give his colleagues' children a taste of what their mums and dads get up to at work while showing them around a Florida jail.
So to make the youngsters' experience all the more realistic as they toured Franklin Correctional Institution during the lock-up's 'Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day', he decided to zap them with his 50,000-volt stun gun.
The jolt sent at least two of them sprawling to the floor, crying out in pain and clutching at agonising burns on their arms. One child ended up in hospital.
But 37-year-old Schmidt told officials who later fired him that he had only been trying to show the children - whose parents all work at the jail near Tallahassee - what a typical day involves while handling unruly inmates.
'It wasn't intended to be malicious, but educational,' he explained to the St Petersburg Times.
'The big shock came when I got fired.'
The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists, according to a new survey.
More than half of people who attend services at least once a week -- 54 percent -- said the use of torture against suspected terrorists is "often" or "sometimes" justified. Only 42 percent of people who "seldom or never" go to services agreed, according to the analysis released Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
White evangelical Protestants were the religious group most likely to say torture is often or sometimes justified -- more than six in 10 supported it. People unaffiliated with any religious organization were least likely to back it. Only four in 10 of them did....
Now it's clear to me why atheists are the least trusted group in America.
Instead of "quiet as a mouse", Keith said "quiet as a ninja mouse."
Instead of "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride", I said:
- "Always an aunt, never a mother."
- "Always a pig, never bacon."
See more of our warped sayings.
Other suggestions always welcome.
The Washington Post has just published a story accusing executives at Chrysler Financial of turning down a $750 million government loan because they "didn't want to abide by new federal limits on pay," and instead opted for more expensive private sector financing, "adding to the burdens of the already fragile automaker and its financing company."
The so-called National Organization for Marriage issued a strange ad against legalizing same-sex marriage:
While Human Rights Campaign has issued a rebuttal of the ad's claims, the ad has more effectively been countered by a number of ridiculous videos, including the original ad's audition tapes, clips of which can be seen with Rachel Maddow's entertaining commentary 2:08 into the below clip from her show:
My favorite parody is Stephen Colbert's:
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|The Colbert Coalition's Anti-Gay Marriage Ad|
I think it's encouraging that acceptance of same-sex marriage has grown so much that its opponents have to argue against specious consequences rather than against gay marriage itself.
Update: The April 19 New York Times had a great op-ed column by Frank Rich, entitled The Bigots' Last Hurrah:
What would happen if you crossed that creepy 1960s horror classic "The Village of the Damned" with the Broadway staple "A Chorus Line"? You don’t need to use your imagination. It’s there waiting for you on YouTube under the title "Gathering Storm": a 60-second ad presenting homosexuality as a national threat second only to terrorism....
Far from terrifying anyone, "Gathering Storm" has become, unsurprisingly, an Internet camp classic. On YouTube the original video must compete with countless homemade parodies it has inspired since first turning up some 10 days ago. None may top Stephen Colbert’s on Thursday night, in which lightning from "the homo storm" strikes an Arkansas teacher, turning him gay. A "New Jersey pastor" whose church has been "turned into an Abercrombie & Fitch" declares that he likes gay people, "but only as hilarious best friends in TV and movies"....
What gives the ad its symbolic significance is not just that it’s idiotic but that its release was the only loud protest anywhere in America to the news that same-sex marriage had been legalized in Iowa and Vermont. If it advances any message, it’s mainly that homophobic activism is ever more depopulated and isolated as well as brain-dead....
It is justice, not a storm, that is gathering. Only those who have spread the poisons of bigotry and fear have any reason to be afraid.
When Dean Health System in Madison, Wisconsin announced last week that it "planned to 'immediately' lay off 90 employees," it wasn't kidding around. One of them was a nurse who was pulled out of surgery to be told the news.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel doesn't say if she then returned to finish attending the surgery, but Dean Health admitted to the paper that interrupting her during her job just to give her the news "violated medical protocol." We guess her manager had a long list to get through.