The cops knocked on another door last night and guess who answered? If you said Johnny Manziel, the pride of Texas, you’d be right, although the odds were pretty much stacked in your favor. Something like 67% of all police calls these days involve the ubiquitously undisciplined (soon to be ex-?) Cleveland Browns quarterback.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to watch a guy shovel money into a shredder, or turn gold into compost, Johnny Football gives you the chance. I simply cannot recall a situation where someone with such promise has so methodically thrown away wealth that folks were literally scrambling over each other to deliver. The only thing he is squandering faster than his future is the goodwill of the people–rich, powerful people who don’t enjoy having noses thumbed in their direction, and who sign his checks. Not only that, but he could have owned Cleveland (like the Steelers do!), a city so desperate for even the promise of success that his inevitably slow development would have been patiently accepted. They’re dying for a hero in Browns’ country.
I’m forced to wonder if he’ll be so cavalier when he’s drawing $32,850 as an assistant football coach at some Division 2 college way out in the sweaty part of Missouri.
For the past three years, The Weather Channel has adopted a widely criticized advertising strategy of giving names to winter storms. They’re not doing it to make you safer, or even to make it simpler to take about storms. What they want to do is get you talking about these storms and, more importantly, clicking on links to their web pages. Why? Because no respectable meteorological organization uses, or even acknowledges, those names. So, when you hear that a winter storm called Lovemuffin is “bearing down on the east coast,” for example, then google “Lovemuffin” you’re going to end up at a Weather Channel site–or a cooperating site that is financially connected to the Weather Channel. Heck, they register these names as proprietary. In essence, they’ve found a way to “own” the news.
In the mean time, it is difficult to know, without carefully inspecting every weather report for its sourcing, just how we should react. Is there really a horrifying, dangerous storm on the way, or is a media outlet just trying to keep their ratings up? And then, when that turns out to be the case, when do we pay the price after so much crying wolf, when will we become so immune to the hysteria that we fail to heed the warning–and how many will pay the price?
A number of websites and media outlets are busily covering the story of fortunate lovers and now viral stars of the hour Arika Stovall and Hunter Hanks, whose unlikely survival of a brutal, high speed one vehicle accident has been described in outlets like CNN, Fox News, and others as “heartwarming,” “touching,” and “miraculous.”
It seems to me that that the true miracle is that Mr. Hanks who, according to Ms. Stovall, was careening down the highway at 85 miles an hour in a pickup truck, didn’t maim or kill any other innocent folks who were driving around them.
“Three seconds. That’s how long we had from the moment we drifted off the road until the truck hit the pilar (sic) at 85mph. In three seconds Hunter had to handle a situation that would either kill us immediately or save our lives. He keeps beating himself up for my pain but he saved my life.”
Yep, heroic. But according to Ms. Stovall, her beau had help. Supernatural help.
“I’m overwhelmed at how little damage was done to Hunter and I in a wreck that should have chopped our bodies in half. I’m in awe of the presence of God in this entire situation. Every part of this experience we went through points directly to Him. The way God helped Hunter to respond exactly the way he did behind the wheel, spinning the truck exactly where it should have to be able to smash into the pilar directly in the middle of me and Hunter so we were both untouched…that doesn’t just happen. God doesn’t throw protection around like that for no reason”
It seems to me that a truly wise god would have tapped the brakes once or twice before the apparently reckless Mr. Hunter lost control of his vehicle and plowed into an bridge abutment, or maybe spoken to him, in a thundering voice, “Yo, asshat–slow the hell down. What’s the hurry? You’re going to hurt someone.”
And for Ms. Stovall I offer continued good luck: this douchebag nearly killed you once, let’s hope he doesn’t do better at it the next time.
Stupid Headlines that show up in my news aggregator, and maybe even other Stupid Stuff that I find–a new tradition I talked about here. Who knows? No one knows–it’s a big, damn mystery. But the world is brimming with Stupid, and I’m setting out to document it and share it with you on days that I can’t think of anything worthwhile or positive to write about.
The Apple Watch Sold Out In Under 6 Hours
—So, while we know a sucker is born every minute, people will soon be able to count just how many suckers that is while simultaneously pinning fruitcake recipes on Pinterest and making up hopelessly nonsensical hashtags. As if the congenitally self-absorbed, on the street and on mass transit, aren’t annoying enough, now we’ll have to put up with an army of douchebags talking into their jacket sleeves like a bunch of melodramatic secret service agents.
It is a tragedy that I will, forever, associate this abomination with one of the most wonderful human beings ever to walk the planet, but when I first heard of a Apple developing a wrist phone/whatever-else-it-does I immediately thought of Dorothy Parker’s timeless quote, “What fresh hell is this?”
Thoreau once said that “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.” Imagine if that poor, brilliant SOB had experienced some sort of strange future dream full of hipsters, tech geeks, and–gods help us–investment professionals mumbling into their shirt cuffs? He’d have hurt somebody, or he’d have hurt himself. Hear me now: I will never own one of these. Of course, I misplaced my non-smart cell phone two weeks ago and I’m just now thinking that I might oughta look around the house for it.
I spent a few summers working in the tourist industry in Wyoming a few centuries ago, and I’m looking forward to taking my kids there to see the sights and meet some of my great co-workers for a reunion this summer. It’s good to see some things haven’t changed–like killer nachos and tourists doing really, really stupid things that could–and inevitably do–get them killed. Bison attacks are perhaps the most ridiculous–in almot all cases, the 1500lb+ animals are standing around, like cows, chomping on grass, while tourists get closer and closer and closer. The bison snort, their nostrils flare, they scuff the ground with their hooves…and the lady with the camera says “get a little closer….”
I’m curious. What parts of this are unclear? Anybody? (Note the blood on the bison’s horn, and the splatter from the touron’s thigh–a nice, subtle, artistic touch, I think.) When I was young, these were handed out to everyone who entered the park–unless I’m wrong, strong english reading skills aren’t required to get the gist.
It was almost a good day Sunday–we looked up friends from Pittsburgh and met them at the Beaver County Maple Festival (story and pictures to follow–maybe) and had a great time. On the way home, fat on stacks of buckwheat pancakes and fresh, warm maple syrup, we decided to check out some terra incognita by driving down along the Beaver River and heading home–eastward–via the town of New Brighton and on the Zelienople, PA. Now, I can’t tell you how much it pleases me to have a town called Zelienople that is closer to my house than it is to the Parthenon. Of course, I live right up the road from Homer City, PA–which is named after the Greek poet, not the Simpsons patriarch, so I should be more jaded.
New Brighton seems to be connected to another town, Rochester, perhaps with the river creating the the difference, but it wasn’t easy to figure out–we saw a bunch of signs that said we were in one or the other, and signs in what we took to be Rochester for places like “Brighton Terrace” and “Brighton Garden” or whatever, but wherever the hell we were it looked much more promising than a lot of the old industrial towns that line Westsylvania’s bountiful, clean, recovered rivers–they’re clearly put some effort into the downtown, with newer sidewalks, nice facades on the stores, and decorative fences–think wrought iron–where old buildings had obviously died that hid the empty space but allowed one to look through towards the river.
The trouble came when we tried to get out of the damned place. We needed to get from Point A to Point B, but our paper road map lacked the detail we needed, and as far as a navigation system, well, I’ll be damned if I’ll let a machine tell me where to go. My friend Ken has one–his wife calls it “the other woman”–but not me. I’ve seen The Matrix. It’s a slippery slope, you know? One minute you’re trying to get Siri to say something stupid, the next she’s got you sucking gruel and living in a tank of goo, charging her batteries.
So, we had to follow the signs, which led us on the insane path outlined above (blue) that led us to turn left, then right, the left, cross the river, turn left again, do a 180 turn on a ramp, cross the river again on a second bridge one block downsteam from the first bridge, and so on. With apologies for language, it was simply the most fucked-up traffic routing I’ve ever seen in my life. The path shown in black would have been the most direct–but no chance on that.
At one point, where the red and blue lines split, we were actually one block from where we wanted to be, but no–we had to cross the river, go under an underpass, do a 180, merge onto a second bridge. The purple line indicates where they could have sent us–from either side of that line one can easily look across down the block and see where one had been 6 minutes ago (yes, these routes were liberally scattered with traffic lights). Agh!
One of my favorite books of all time is Bill Bryson’s The Lost Continent–it’s about this geeky, intellectual, hilarious guy who spends a year driving around the country making fun of people–especially himself–and just about everything else. You’ll want to buy this book right away–in fact, just take a moment right now…..
Bryson would have loved this non-sensical SNAFU-ery–there’s either an underlying political reason for the route (cities wanting traffic to go through both of their communities? but for what? subsidies? bragging rights? speed traps?) or maybe it was the only way they could pay for the second, newer, uglier, more modern bridge–of the local officials just said screw it and let the PennDOT engineers (may they burn in hell) design the traffic flow from their cushy offices in some Harrisburg industrial park. Or maybe it was just a really, really incredible practical joke?
Either way, if I’m an investor or businesswoman (look at me and my gender equity, kiddos) and I come to this town I’m immediately thinking about what’s going to happen to all the trucks coming and going from my factory all day–or all the large German luxury cars coming and going from my white collar-whatever office. Trucks could vanish forever. Smarmy executives could leave for 4-hour golf course lunches and never show up at the club. Either way, I’m out of there.
And I’m not going back myself until Siri puts one of those big kung fu plugs in the back of my head.
I love to tell stories with words and images, often with a darkly magical twist. While speculative fiction & dissecting pop culture are my primary passions, I also work with clients & brands by assisting with content creation, editing, marketing & design.