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Reality Round-Up: Strange Days

Guilty or not guilty? Hernandez claims the latter (NESN)

Guilty or not guilty? Hernandez claims the latter (NESN)

Strange days are upon us, ladies and gentlemen. And once again, the barometer of the news has illuminated craziness all over our great nation. Rather than bore you with lots of exposition, let’s launch right into this edition of the Reality Round-Up. Things are strange all over and, I’m sad to say, getting stranger by the minute. Read on and I have no doubt you will agree.

NORTH ATTLEBORO, MASSACHUSETTS

Have you ever told a lie so many times that eventually, you started to believe it yourself?

Apparently, this is what’s happening with former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is currently being held without bail for the murder of Odin Lloyd this past June. Despite all kinds of damning evidence linking him to the crime—including tire treads at the murder scene that match his car, eyewitness accounts that place Hernandez and Lloyd together the night he was killed, and surveillance video showing Hernandez armed with a gun on the night of the killing—he still pleaded not guilty on Friday of first-degree murder.

Is it safe to assume this former professional athlete is in denial or what?

Propellers killed Pirozek (The Original Greenwich Diva)

Propellers killed Pirozek (The Original Greenwich Diva)

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

Roman Pirozek of Queens was a remote control enthusiast. His proudest RC possession was a helicopter, which he flew and enjoyed as often as he could.

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the bizarre on Thursday afternoon when the remote-controlled helicopter Pirozek was flying swooped down and hit him in the head. According to several different sources, the helicopter’s blades took off the top of its operator’s head. The 19-year-old was pronounced dead on arrival by paramedics a short time later.

As freakishly tragic as this story is, at least Pirozek died doing something he loved. Granted, this is a small silver lining to an otherwise dark cloud, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA

This next story is strange only because it seems like something that could have easily been prevented, but instead resulted in more tragedy.

On Tuesday, the body of 19-year-old Benedict College student Ayaanah Gibson was found in her dorm room. Based on the latest reports, Gibson was 32 months pregnant and delivered a stillborn fetus sometime last weekend. Complications during the birth must have caused her to hemorrhage because she apparently bled to death, according to the Richland County Coroner’s Office.

I work at a small college and it’s very hard for me to understand how someone couldn’t have at least stumbled across Gibson as she lay bleeding in her room. Didn’t she have a roommate staying with her? Weren’t other students present who could have helped, maybe even a Resident Advisor?

Gibson met a tragic end (boahay.vn)

Gibson met a tragic end (boahay.vn)

Saying goodbye to your kids when they leave for college is hard enough. You have to trust that college officials, staff and other employees will care for the children you love so dearly, while also allowing them to grow and develop into knowledgeable and productive adults. But when that goodbye ends up being the last you ever share with your offspring, I can’t even imagine the sorrow and despair to follow.

Please pray for the Gibson family during this difficult time if you are so inclined. In one weekend, they lost both a child and a grandchild, and no one deserves to feel that kind of pain.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Schools made the news again in L.A. when 13 school employees were arrested for stealing books and selling them to Corey Frederick, a book buyer from Long Beach. In turn, Frederick sold them online—for a huge profit, I’m sure—and even sold some back to the schools from whence they came!

Among those arrested for participating in the two-year scheme—which took at least 7,000 textbooks out of the hands of children in four of Los Angeles’ poorest districts—were a warehouse supervisor, several office workers and even a few librarians. Together, they stole books in subjects ranging from physics, anatomy and physiology to language arts, economics and literature. Bribes from Frederick netted them anywhere from $600 to $45,000 or more—and he allegedly spent more than $200,000 before his little caper came to an end.

Stealing textbooks for profit is just plain wrong (friendsofppl.org)

Stealing textbooks for profit is just plain wrong (friendsofppl.org)

The charges against these clearly deranged and greedy school employees include accepting bribes and embezzlement. Frederick himself is facing 13 and 12 counts of each, respectively. Granted, this may not seem strange enough to warrant inclusion in the Reality Round-Up, at least not until you consider what happened next.

Of the 13 suspects implicated in this case, 12 have pleaded not guilty. Yeah… as if.

This brings to mind something I saw in a movie once. There was a line of people standing there—they may have been students or military cadets, but it didn’t come from Taps. Great movie, by the way. Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn, Tom Cruise in one of his early film roles. It’s a keeper.

At any rate, the leader of the group asked for a volunteer to step forward. But before anyone could do so, all but one of the people in line stepped back instead, leaving one unsuspecting person “holding the bag.”

Twelve of the thirteen book thieves pleaded not guilty? That poor bastard in the 13th slot is looking pretty damned guilty right about now!

NATIONWIDE

Our last story can’t be connected to one particular city, state or area because it is literally happening everywhere. I suppose if you weren’t limited to only the physical world, though, you could say it exists collectively online—most notably on that well-known “Internet classifieds” website known as Craigslist.

And gentlemen, you better watch your backs.

Believe it or not, but some women have been selling their positive pregnancy tests online for no other purpose than deception, Check out how one of the pee-coated, EPT test sellers put it:

“Wanna get your boyfriend to finally pop the question? Play a trick on Mom, Dad or one of your friends? I really don’t care what you use it for.”

Yes, for the low, low price of only $20 or $30, you can fool your man into leaving his independence behind and settling into a life built on a lie… a lie he’ll undoubtedly discover when you don’t gain weight or give birth to anything a short time later.

Someone might be running a two-for-one special! (Chronicles of Conception)

Someone might be running a two-for-one special! (Chronicles of Conception)

Might I suggest spending your money on something a bit more reasonable instead… like some sexy lingerie that might entice him to impregnate you for real, perhaps? Granted, this won’t work with “Mom and Dad,” but I’m sure you’ll think of something.

Strange days are surely upon us, dear readers. Of course, those that aren’t strange seem far less common, so maybe the next Reality Round-Up will focus on just that: news stories that simply aren’t that out of the ordinary.

Sounds boring to me, but you never know…

Celebrities do good

Russell Brand Arthur Premier

Celebrities get a bad rap.

It doesn’t help that the news media always seems to focus on the most annoying of the bunch.

Lindsay Lohan gets hammered and crashes her car into a telephone pole.

Kim Kardashian tweets a new bikini shot of herself and accidentally reveals a nipple.

Justin Bieber prefers Pepsi to Coke and blondes to brunettes.

Who the hell cares?

Fortunately, not all celebrities are cut from the same cloth. Some are even cooler and more down-to-earth in reality than they are in film or television or pop culture. Take Russell Brand, for instance.

Two weeks ago, Brand encountered a shirtless, homeless man in Los Angeles, gave him a shirt and some water, and even drove him to an Alcoholics Anonymous class. This was quite a meaningful gesture considering Brand himself is a recovering alcoholic and frequent AA attendee.

But he didn’t stop there.

The Huffington Post just reported that yesterday, Brand was seen escorting a group of displaced people to breakfast near his west Hollywood home. He could have tossed them a few bucks or even called the police to remove them from his property, but instead Brand opted to feed them.

I love it when celebrities give something back or do something heroic for strangers. And Russell Brand isn’t the only “superstar” with such a good heart.

Tom Cruise December 2008

When he isn’t jumping on couches, practicing Scientology or breaking up with Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise plays the role of real-life hero. He once rescued two car accident victims on an L.A. freeway and waited with them until help arrived. Then there was the time Cruise saved two young boys who got pinned against the wall at one of his movie premieres.

No matter where he is or what he’s doing, Tom Cruise is always ready to spring into action to help his fellow man. I think we can let him slide on the whole Scientology thing, can’t we?

Sean, All the King's Men Premiere

Sean Penn is another celebrity hero, despite being labeled as a “bad boy” early in his career. Regardless of the natural disaster, Penn finds a way to get involved and make a difference. He used a small boat to rescue hundreds of people after Hurricane Katrina. And in 2010, Penn traveled to Haiti to aid in the recovery of earthquake victims.

Bad boy, my ass. Sounds like a very good boy to me.

English: Harrison Ford at the Cannes film fest...

Harrison Ford was also in Haiti, only he was flying a helicopter and airlifting victims to safety. I always heard that my childhood idol, the man behind Han Solo and Indiana Jones, was kind of an ass in reality. A friend of mine once claimed that he witnessed Ford behaving badly in public, so I worried he might be a self-centered, arrogant jerk.

Granted, he might be. But Ford is also a hero, and not just for the Haiti thing. In the past, he has rescued stranded hikers and missing Boy Scouts.

If he wants to be an ass, so be it. I think he’s earned the right.

Celebrities get a bad rap. But if all celebs were like the ones mentioned here, I bet that would change really quickly.

Russell, Tom, Sean and Harrison… I salute you.

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