CNN noted for diligent efforts to ignore journalism protocol

CNN parody

MAD magazine’s latest issue, titled “The 20 Dumbest People, Events and Things of 2014” includes the above graphic, which focuses on CNN’s relentless – and some might argue, mindless – coverage of Flight 370, the Malaysia Airlines flight which disappeared on March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

In the wake of the disaster, CNN proceeded to devote hundreds of hours hypothesizing about the fate of the flight, filling air with random speculation, countless “experts,” many of whom really had little to offer viewers other than the fact that they had no idea what happened, and a number of truly bizarre theories.

Among “lowlights“: A CNN anchor asking a former U.S. Department of Transportation inspector general if a black hole might have sucked the plane out of the sky; and the idea that something “supernatural” happened to the flight.

Yes, other networks didn’t acquit themselves much better in their coverage of Flight 370, but CNN certainly seemed most desperate to make a silk purse out of sow’s ear.

Expect more of the same when the one-year anniversary of the flight’s disappearance rolls around in three months.

(HT: jimromenesko.com)

Yemeni man takes himself out of ‘Father of the Year’ competition

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While there were many times my own parents likely felt the need to, as they say, “drop the bomb” on me during my formative years, they were on the whole quite subdued in their response to my youthful antics.

The same cannot be said for a Yemeni father who recently attempted to end his sons’ disobedience by tossing two grenades at them when they were at his house.

Earlier this month, according to police, the unidentified father, age 70, ran out of patience with his sons’ failure to abide by his instructions.

“After exhausting many methods of discipline, the father decided to bomb them,” according to gulfnews.com.

Shortly after his sons entered his house in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a, the father threw the grenades in.

Hand grenade: Generally not effective as means to discipline children.

Hand grenade: Generally not effective as means to discipline children.

According to the Yemeni ministry of interior’s official website, the sons, aged 22 and 30, suffered shrapnel wounds in their legs, and were being treated in a hospital in the capital.

Police arrested the dad.

Among the many troubling questions raised by this account – besides the fact that someone would attempt to use an explosive device as a form of disciple:

Who throws grenades into his own house? Just how easy is it to procure explosives in Yemen? What other forms of discipline did the father attempt before turning to the tried and trusted hand grenade?

Hopefully the dysfunctional clan will have things patched up by the time Ramadan rolls around next summer.

11-year-old me on why ancient man steered clear of Office Depot

Lunar_eclipse_April_15_2014_California_Alfredo_Garcia_Jr1

Word is we had a lunar eclipse down our way early this morning. The event offered me an opportunity to recall how utterly obtuse I was 40 years or so ago.

Last night, as I dropped my girls off at their mother’s house, we discussed the eclipse. They explained how they were considering getting up around 5 a.m. to view the unusual celestial occurrence. They had a basic understanding of what caused the event and were excited to see it.

As I drove home, I recalled that when I was the age of my youngest daughter, 11, I not only didn’t understand what an eclipse was, I was utterly unfamiliar with the word. As evidence, I can recall the first time I heard about the concept of an eclipse.

My mother was attempting to explain that people can be afraid of that which they do not understand and was describing how ancient societies were often very superstitious and fearful of rare phenomena. Among things that confused and frightened prehistoric people, she explained, were eclipses.

As I was unacquainted with the word, and not a particularly bright 11-year old, my ears only caught the second part of the word, “clips,” and my mind immediately wandered to “paper clips.”

With an ignorant arrogance not unknown among 11-year-old boys, I immediately thought, “Wow, what a bunch of morons – afraid of paper clips! Ha! Ha! Ha!” Mind you, I wasn’t confident enough in this anthropological assessment to voice this view to my mother; I simply sat there in smug, silent awe that a group of people could be afraid of office supplies.

Sure, paper clips could be exasperating when they got all looped together, and they could cause some really agony if the end of one got under a fingernail, but any society that was afraid of paper clips must have been a pretty pathetic one, I reasoned.

Looking back, I don’t know at what point I finally learned what an eclipse actually was, or at what point I realized what it was my mother had been talking about, but some years later I made the connection that I’d been off base – way off base.

Needless to say, my girls – who are a bit wiser and certainly more intuitive than their father was at their age – always get a chuckle out of that story. And there’s certainly no shortage of similar tales for me to regale them with. I guess that’s one of the few benefits of having been a dense kid.

(Top: Lunar eclipse seen earlier this year. Not pictured: Paper clip.)

Amazon.com: Saving us from ourselves, one cartoon at a time

tom and jerryMedia outlets are reporting that Amazon Prime Instant Video is warning subscribers who view old Tom and Jerry cartoons that the venerable series may depict scenes of “racial prejudice.”

The cartoons, produced between 1940 and 1957, are being tagged by Amazon for its depiction of a black maid and for the use of blackface in some episodes.

Tom and Jerry: The Complete Second Volume is accompanied by this warning: “Tom and Jerry shorts may depict some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society. Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today.”

Amazon’s warning says such prejudice was once “commonplace” in US society, according to the BBC.

The warning was attacked as “empty-headed” by sociology professor Frank Furedi of the University of Kent, who said it was a form of a “false piousness” and a type of censorship which “seems to be sweeping cultural life.”

“We’re reading history backwards, judging people in the past by our values,” Furedi said.

Tom and Jerry was a longtime mainstay on American and British children’s programming, and can still be seen today.

However, it does seem rather difficult to believe that there’s a need to attach a warning to a children’s cartoon that identifies the stereotyping of blacks as wrong. Blackface is pretty much accepted as verboten in our culture today and has been for several decades.

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It ain’t a party til someone gets naked, busts out windows

windows

Further evidence that people who get naked in public aren’t the sort of folks you want to see naked in public.

Over the weekend, Tina Robinson, 40, of Anderson, SC, was charged with criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature after deputies were alerted that a naked woman was allegedly busting out vehicle windows.

Authorities said the incident stemmed from a domestic incident.

Deputies said a 54-year-old man claimed he and Robinson, his wife, had been arguing about her “being on dope and being gone for days” when she punched him and then went after him with a knife that she ended up plunging into the wall near him, according to WYFF.com.

When she learned he had called 911, Robinson punched out a window of their house and the windows of their vehicle before departing.

Witnesses told deputies a naked female was later seen busting out windows in the neighborhood and had visible injuries.

Anderson was taken into custody after K-9 units were called in to locate her.

Methinks there may be bigger issues here than public nudity and a few broken car windows.

(HT: Waldo Lydecker’s Journal.)

Starbucks: The more you know, and all that …

I don’t drink Starbucks for one singular reason: I don’t drink coffee.

I had a half a cup when I was 11 years old and it tasted like boiled tar – or at least what I assumed boiled tar would taste like – even when heavily dosed with sugar and cream, and I’ve never had an urge to repeat the experience.

That said, I can say with certainty that neither me nor my wallet are the Starbucks’ type.

The one time I did stop into the local store and asked for a Coke, I was told in a snotty tone by a 20-something “barista,” who had with more piercings than I cared to count, that “We don’t served carbonated beverages here.”

He said it in a tone as though I’d requested an omelette made from the eggs of the last two California condors remaining on Earth.

I will confess that I’m not certain what Starbucks’ customer training entails, but I suspect shaming and self-righteousness are key components.

(HT: VisibleFriends.net)

Designer dorm rooms: Another trend we can do without

My first reaction when I saw the Washington Post’s story on “designer dorm rooms” was that the piece underscored a trend that did not exist. It’s not unheard of for big-time newspapers such as the Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times to take unusual occurrences and blow them up in to full-fledged trends, in a bid to get ahead of the curve.

Alas, after reading the story, and hearing and seeing repeated examples of increasingly large numbers of materialistic minded high school- and college-age youth, fed by cues from their parents, I have no doubt the story is all too true.

According to the Post, one of the latest (obnoxious) trends is hiring a professional decorator to transform dorm rooms into “cozy retreats.”

“The average dorm room — even at some of the most elite colleges and universities — is not only tiny but also ugly: white paint, standard-issue furniture, fluorescent lighting and nothing that requires nails in the walls,” according to the publication. “It’s a challenge for many millennials who have never shared a bedroom or bath and aren’t accustomed to roommates or going without.

“Helicopter parents are not inclined to drop their darlings at the dorm entrance with two suitcases and cheerfully wave goodbye,” the Post added. “Instead, they’re turning to their own interior designers or professional organizers …”

Two thoughts come to mind: When I left for college, I loaded up my 1963 Chevy pickup, which was 20 years old at the time, and I drove myself to college four hours away. My dad bought me a good set of craftsman tools, my parents wished me good luck and that was it.

When I transferred to a school across the country two years later, I drove the same pickup more than 3,000 miles by myself. After a week on the road, I called them from Kalamazoo, Mich., to let them know I was fine. I contacted them when I made it to my final destination. They couldn’t have been any less “helicopter-ish,” for which I’m eternally grateful.

Point No 2: If my parents had come in and redecorated my room with some outlandishly expensive decor, I would have been the laughingstock of the dorm, and rightfully so.

Of course, I arrived at college with little more than a few beer posters, a couple of baseball pennants and a clock radio. That I, a guy, had a dearth of items to “decorate” my dorm room wasn’t surprising then, nor would it be today, apparently.

According to the Post, the upscale dorm room trend appears to almost entirely a female phenomenon, “fueled by social media and increasingly sophisticated marketing to college students.”

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