Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Search Continues

I hope all these search engine roads lead to Gnostic Bent! (Phil Bradley/Creative Commons)

After facing a one-day WordPress suspension and claiming I may stop blogging daily as a result—in yesterday’s post entitled Suspension Rescindedit now looks as if one more day will be added to my streak of twenty consecutive months. This happened because I started tooling around my blog statistics and for once focused on something I normally ignore: the search terms that lead readers to my site.

And let me tell you, some of them are pretty hilarious.

Since spreading joy and laughter is one of my blogging goals—as well as a good way of justifying my sarcastic, jackass-like tendencies—I thought it might be nice to share some of these terms with my readers… especially since you’re the ones actually entering these words and phrases into search engines.

Of course, I hope none of you take offense since I have no way of tracking who conducted these searches. If anything, it’s likely me who should be concerned since it’s my blog content that led people here.

Is it possible that I’m more demented than I originally thought?

Personally, I would answer in the affirmative, but take a look at what follows and see if you agree. I’m sure it will only reinforce what I already know… as if there were ever any doubt.

Despite being mentioned only a few times here, the top search term bringing readers to GB remains “Kim Kardashian.” Thanks, sister! (Getty Images)

The Fame Game

As you might imagine, celebrities and other newsworthy individuals top the list—Kim Kardashian holds the top spot among all search terms, but Jodi Arias is a close second. Other famous names include Selena Gomez—who I find terribly attractive even though I’m probably older than her parents—Casey Anthony and Amanda Knox, who dropped off for a time but jumped back into the fray after being convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher by an Italian court recently.

Great Britain’s royal family also appeared numerous times, but the most prevalent search terms related to them were royal nudity and Kate Middleton topless. I guess we can see where people’s priorities lie, huh?

dont think about it

Curiosity is nice, but enough weird questions already! (Jacob Botter)

Inquiring Minds

Also included among the search terms for Gnostic Bent were questions posed by some very inquisitive readers. Unfortunately, most of the answers they seek cannot be found on my blog—aside from can sperm help a sore throat?, which was answered in a previous post (and yes it can, even though I plan to stick with lozenges)—so I’ll do my best to address the others now:

  • Do men sympathize with girls not being able to pee standing up? I can’t speak for all men, of course, but I certainly sympathize. It’s not the mobility issue that concerns me, though (i.e. the need to find adequate facilities rather than just whipping out your wiener and spraying anywhere you see fit). It’s the fact that most toilet seats are disgusting and sitting on them frequently opens the door for rampant butt rash… not to mention all sorts of other germs and infections. Sorry about that, ladies, but at least women are less likely to coat the entire seat in urine, which is how most guys seem to roll.
  • What are the disadvantages of being a boy in Canada? Since I am unaware of any such disadvantages, I feel this question is better suited for a Canadian blogger. I would make a referral if I knew of any. My bad.
  • Can technology make a woman feel the pain of being hit in the balls? I certainly hope not since this is a pain I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Plus, creating a machine like this would undoubtedly lead to a childbirth machine for men… and I have absolutely no interest in that!
  • What are the disadvantages of sucking a man’s testicles? Fortunately, I have never experienced this—and have no plans to—but the most obvious disadvantage to me would be the need to floss pubic hair out of your teeth later. A shaved scrotum would obviously prevent this—provided there are men brave enough to run razor blades across it!

WTF?

Among the search terms I investigated were a handful that either made little or no sense to me, struck me as odd or scared the crap out of me. Here’s a quick rundown, which I hope you can figure out since I had very little luck in doing so: sparkly devil, pissed off, rectal exam, happiness bald—I am glad to know there are happy bald people in the world—kids handcuffed, poo cake/poo poo—for any scat fans in the bunch—urge to lick things, acid cow camel and snake eating human.

This last phrase was a little confusing since I couldn’t figure out who was eating who!

I hate to say it, but this pretty much represents the breadth of my childbirth knowledge (Getty Images)

Good Clean Fun

Sadly, I found only two search terms that classify as wholesome or even normal: freedom and childbirth. Most focused on my next major category, which should come as no surprise.

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

Yes, the overwhelming subject of most Gnostic Bent searches is everyone’s favorite: SEX. And I’m not just talking about typical search terms, either, even though they were clearly represented (sex, sex videos, upskirt and couples making love naked all made the list). Of course, I am a little confused how people could make love without being naked—at least partially—but to each, his own.

In general, sex-related search terms fell into a number of different categories. Here’s how I have them grouped up—and again, some of these terms made me laugh so hard that I almost crapped my pants:

  • Where’s the Beef? Man parts were well represented by terms like penis size does matter, lick dick and how to suck a penis. Sorry that I could offer no advice on these last two, but they seem rather self-explanatory. And most women I know learned through trial-and-error. It’s probably best to ask one of them for assistance.
  • From Behind. As a self-professed “ass man”—as well as a blogger known for posting images of women’s back sides on a regular basis—I wasn’t surprised by how many terms focused on this anatomical feature. However, the specificity of some of these terms caught me a little off guard: butt crack, booty line up, ghetto booty, bent ass, curvy ass—those two were kind of weird—her ass, her shitter—one of my friends substitutes the word dumper, which to me seems rather gross—and the most mind-boggling of all, ass found and found in her ass. It matters little, though, since I have never lost an ass and still consider them all to be “exit only.”
  • Topside. Coming in right behind… women’s behinds… were boobs in all their glory, even though the most popular search terms were limited primarily to the following : huge breasts, huge implants, huge bust and sexy nipples. I apologize to melon farmers and jug makers everywhere since their favorite words never appeared in my stats.
  • Down Under. Vaginas made the cut, but most of the related terms focused on camel toes—the public appearance of these private parts through tight clothing. Of course, some searched for early camel toes (those appearing throughout history, I suppose), camel’s toe (which may actually be the real thing–a dromedary’s digit) and my personal favorite, camo toe (those difficult to find because they blend into their surroundings). One person even added some Jerry McGuire-like flair and entered show me the toe into their search. I can only assume they meant camel toe since their search brought them here.
  • Water Sports. Anyone familiar with this phrase—in its sexual context, that is—knows it refers to urination as a means of arousal. Like it or not, but some people actually enjoy getting peed on. Fortunately, the water sports search terms on my blog fell under the category of skinny dipping: nude in pool and swimming in the buff. I did find the term penie wee wee, but that was the only true water sports reference… I think.
  • Getting Freaky. Whenever sex is involved—especially on the Internet—you can count on some freaky people searching for even freakier things. And I found no shortage of them among my search terms. Here’s a small sampling: barnyard porn, Siamese sex (which I can’t imagine is much different from sex in any other country), volleyball vagina (those covered in sand or willing to “spike” something, I guess), young jailbait (as opposed to the older variety), dog sex/women dog sex/sex with dogs (all disturbing in their own right) and another mind-boggler, sausage room gay. I can understand the connection, of course. I just didn’t know there was a special room for it.

Honestly, though, I could care less what search terms bring readers to Gnostic Bent—I’m just glad they’re here—but they sure keep things interesting, don’t you think?

Suspension Rescinded!

Gnostic Bent is back, baby! (Rohnert Park)

Anyone who has visited Gnostic Bent in the last few days likely knows my blog was temporarily suspended for violating WordPress’ terms of service. Fortunately—and quite obviously, since you’re here now—this suspension has been rescinded and for now, it looks as if GB is back in full force. Please allow me to explain.

Two days ago, I decided to get a jump on my daily blogging and wrote an article entitled Time to Quitwhich prior to this post was the lead article on my site. I never actually published the article—allowing it to sit in my draft folder for publication yesterday—but apparently I included a link that WP’s automated system flagged as troublesome. The good news is that the fine people from WP alerted me to this error, allowed me to correct it and published the post for me. Removing the link was all it took to bring Gnostic Bent back to life.

They even published my article to keep my streak of posting at least one article a day going, even though I’m now thinking about cutting myself some slack and downgrading my efforts a bit. Those of you who blog surely understand how difficult daily posting can be. And I’m sure any non-bloggers understand this, too. Hopefully, people will  continue reading despite having articles arrive every few days because honestly, I could use the break to focus on some other writing projects (like screenplays and such).

I promise not to neglect my readers, though, so please come back to visit again soon. And with any luck, having additional time to work on articles will make them more interesting. I can’t make any promises, though!

Time to Quit

The time to quit smoking has come again (Zakta)

I remember my first time smoking a cigarette like it was yesterday.

It happened when I was in high school, somewhere around 15 years of age. My friends and I were up to our usual antics—wandering through suburbia on our way to “roll a house” with toilet paper we bought at Safeway. I can’t remember who our target was since it happened so long ago—I’m now 42, so you do the math—but I will never forget the question my friend John asked when he saw me eyeballing his pack of Merit cigarettes.

“You want one?”

He held out the pack with one butt conveniently poking out from the others and, like a moron, I took it and accepted a light, as well. And the rest, as they say, is history.

A smart man would have refused and gone on his merry way. As I said, though, I was only 15, so my brain obviously wasn’t developed enough with regard to decision-making… or should I say good decision-making. And I have been smoking ever since—sometimes a pack a day and sometimes more—for nearly three decades.

I did quit for six months at two different times, but always returned to my tar-ridden friends, usually out of boredom. Of course, I may have been destined for smoking from a young age, but please know I only blame myself for the poor choices I’ve made.

When I was a young boy, my mother was a smoker. She wasn’t a heavy tobacco user, by any means, but I have clear memories of her lighting up in our old station wagon, especially after leaving the pool in the summertime. My brother and sister would immediately complain about the smell, but I always enjoyed it. And I’m sure this experience planted the seed for what would later become my most destructive habit.

What used to make me look cool now just makes me look stupid (Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

What used to make me look cool now just makes me look stupid (Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

Fortunately, my mother managed to quit smoking “cold turkey” and quickly joined the ranks of non-smokers who preach and nag others to follow suit. She would always say, “You won’t quit until you want to quit.” And for a long time, I agreed. Then I realized something my mother obviously overlooked. What if you don’t necessarily want to quit, but know that you need to?

This is the question I now face as I consider a third attempt at quitting. The first time I tried to kick the habit, I employed all the tools available to me at the time, from nicotine patches and gum to self-help tapes and books. Nothing worked and the first time I smelled a cigarette again, I got right back into it. My second attempt was slightly more successful and lasted a bit longer—this time using Chantix, the new smoking cessation kid on the block at that time—but since it gave me migraine headaches and may have eventually killed me (much faster than cigarettes, I might add), I failed again and returned to the nicotine treats.

And I have been smoking ever since, this time accepting the fact I may never successfully quit and giving myself over to the hacking, phlegm-producing loveliness that all chronic smokers experience. Represent, addicted brothers and sisters!

Seriously, though, the time for a third attempt at non-smoking is steadily approaching, largely due to two factors: my son and recent advances in smoking cessation technology.

As the father of a 6-year-old boy—one who has repeatedly asked me to quit smoking because “it’s bad for me” and “I could die from it”—I can longer think of consequences like emphysema and lung cancer as being relevant to me alone. Every drag I take from a cigarette moves me one step closer to death—and one step further from life with my son. And believe me, I want to be around for as much of his life as possible, preferring to grow old rather than adhering to my usual justification for smoking: “We all have to die of something.”

This is true, of course, but it doesn’t mean I should speed up the process, either. Choosing to smoke is like playing Russian roulette over and over again. You never know when you’ve smoked the cigarette that will ultimately kill you, so why take chances? After all, smoking is nothing more than gradual suicide. And to paraphrase Brad Pitt’s character from one of my favorite films—Ocean’s Eleven—I’m only suicidal in the morning. Most other times I consider myself to be reasonably well-adjusted, which I’m sure some who know me well would dispute.

Here’s hoping they keep their mouths shut, though. And you know who you are.

Blu eCigs are the latest weapon in the battle to quit smoking (Blu eCigs/Lorillard Technologies Inc)

Blu eCigs are the latest weapon in the battle to quit smoking (Blu eCigs/Lorillard Technologies Inc)

As if staying alive for my son wasn’t enough, I’m also considering another attempt at quitting because of the advances made in the field of smoking cessation recently—most notably the surge of electronic cigarettes on the market. Nicotine gum and patches are no longer the cutting edge, which is fine by me since I often found myself smoking while using these ineffective tools. Electronic cigarettes, on the other hand, not only target withdrawal symptoms by offering several different levels of nicotine inserts; they also help with the ritual of smoking—the experience of having something in your hand and mouth that seems like a cigarette, but does far less damage. And at this point in my smoking career, the ritual is about the only reason I smoke anymore.

By now, I’m sure my body has developed some kind of immunity to nicotine, since the same thing seems to have happened with caffeine. I can drink coffee all day long and still get to sleep. It doesn’t even energize me all that much anymore. Sad, I know, but this is the unfortunate consequence of long-term addiction to any substance… not that this is anything new, of course.

So here’s my plan: weed out traditional cigarettes, bring in electronic smokes and eventually kick them both completely. It won’t be easy and the chances of me becoming even more of an ass will increase exponentially with each passing day, but I have to try. My son is worth it and if quitting means spending more time with him, then I don’t really have a choice. This will happen soon, but first I have one more important task to complete: convincing my family members to spring for a Blu starter pack, preferably in time for my birthday in a few months.

No one said quitting would be cheap!

In Honor of Harold

Ramis in his early years (Second City)

Yesterday morning, the world lost a truly amazing talent, a comic genius and an all-around great person—actor, writer and director Harold Ramis—who passed away from complications resulting from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a condition he battled for years. He was 69 years old.

Many remember Ramis as the quirky and nerdy Dr. Egon Spengler from two of his best known films, Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II. Others remember him as the foil to Bill Murray in Stripes, another Ramis classic. But the man who appeared on-screen was only a small part of who Ramis really was— it was his off-screen success that truly changed the face of comedy.

Ramis’ journey to comic greatness began in the late 1960s and early 1970s. After working a variety of jobs—as a substitute school teacher, freelance writer for the Chicago Daily News and joke editor for Playboy magazine—he began studying and performing with Chicago’s Second City improvisational comedy troupe. Ramis left the troupe briefly and was replaced by another famous comedy performer—the great John Belushi—but returned in 1972 with friend and collaborator Bill Murray.

Together with Belushi, Murray and others—among them Christopher Guest and Gilda Radner—Ramis starred in The National Lampoon Show and eventually became a performer and head writer for SCTV, a direct competitor of another well-known comedy show, Saturday Night Live. And though acting would always have a place in his life, it was writing and directing that truly showcased Ramis’ talents.

Ramis with Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd in Ghostbusters (Columbia Pictures)

Among the films Ramis is best known for—aside from those already mentioned—are some of my favorite comedies of all time: National Lampoon’s Animal House, Groundhog Day, Meatballs, Back to School, Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation and Club Paradise, to name a few. And with a resume like that, how could he not be great?

Ramis’ long-time friend and colleague—Dan Aykroyd—reacted to the news of his death on Facebook: “Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my brilliant, gifted, funny friend, co-writer/performer and teacher Harold Ramis. May he now get the answers he was always seeking.” Steve Carell worked with Ramis on The Office and described him as “funny, gracious [and] kind-hearted,” all words that only scratch the surface of this great man and the joy he brought to so many.

Yes, Monday was a sad day for entertainment, but I feel an even deeper sense of loss since I grew up with Harold Ramis and his films. And I’m sure there are plenty of others who feel the same. It’s always sad to lose a great talent—especially one who brought laughter into the lives of so many—but it’s worse to lose a great human being… and that’s precisely what Harold Ramis was.

Rest in peace, my friend. I miss you already.

Abusing the Tool

Isn't it enough that cows provide milk, leather and beef? (News Limited)

Isn’t it enough that cows provide milk, leather and beef? (News Limited)

Believe it or not, but it isn’t easy being a guy.

For a comic take on the challenges my testosterone-fueled brothers and I face, check out what quickly became my most popular blog post to date, 10 Things That Suck About Being a Guy. Of course, what I’m writing about today is more serious in nature—a topic that can only be described as penile responsibility.

You see, all men—by virtue of being born male—come equipped with a special tool: the penis. Its primary uses involve procreation and urination—as well as recreation, I suppose—but it’s obvious that some of my brethren have no clue how to use theirs correctly.

In other words, they are ill-equipped in terms of using their tools correctly… and they embarrass our entire gender when their misguided antics get splashed across the headlines.

Take the following examples of poor penis management, for instance.

Tim Margis rivals Imelda Marcos in terms of loving shoes (River Forest Police Department)

Tim Margis rivals Imelda Marcos in terms of loving shoes (River Forest Police Department)

Kinky Cobbling

Tim Margis was the director of public safety for Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois until February 12th, when he admitted to some very disturbing behavior and was terminated. According to the police report, a female co-worker saw Margis walking out of her office one day while buttoning his pants and tightening his belt. She investigated and discovered he had left a gift inside one of her shoes… a very sticky and disgusting gift only men can create, if you know what I mean. And I know you do.

Needless to say, Concordia University fired Margis a short time later and authorities charged him with disorderly conduct and public indecency. And though he may never work in security again, at least this opens the door for Margis’ other passion: shoe shining!

You Could Go Blind… or Worse

Valentine’s Day was a lonely time for Jerome Carpenter, a teenager in Portland, Oregon who suffered from depression during this last romantic holiday. That afternoon, his mother called him down for lunch, but got concerned when an hour passed and he didn’t show. And Jerome was the kind of guy who loved to eat, so his mother suspected something was wrong and went to his room to investigate.

Jerome Carpenter took salami slapping to the extreme (Huzlers)

Jerome Carpenter took salami slapping to the extreme (Huzlers)

She found Jerome dead and in a very compromising position. Apparently, he had masturbated 56 consecutive times and subsequently died of a heart attack. Here’s how Officer Dean Marrow described the scene later:

“The young man was on his bed… his penis was detached from his body… it must have been so intense it just came off his body… we found his penis gripped in his left hand so tightly we couldn’t get it out… it was tragic.”

Yes it was. And it just goes to show that where masturbation is concerned, blindness and dehydration aren’t the only risks men run for excessive self-love.

Every Dog Has Its Day

The saying “every dog has its day” may be more than 450 years old—originating in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the early 1600s—but sometimes these days are not as good as one might expect. Such was the case for a dog in Louth, Lincolnshire recently—and the day he had is one that he and his owner will likely struggle to forget for a long, long time.

If you love your dog, then just give him a regular bone (Inside Naija)

If you love your dog, then just give him a regular bone (Inside Naija)

Police in Louth arrested 19-year-old Wayne Bryson after his girlfriend searched his cell phone and discovered a clip of him having sex with her bull terrier. Bryson admitted to the crime—claiming this was his first time humping man’s best friend (in the most bizarre role reversal ever)—and pleaded guilty to performing an act of sexual penetration with a dog. If convicted, he could spend as much as two years in jail. For now, however, Bryson was released on bail with one stipulation: he is not allowed to be alone with animals.

As if this even needed saying… freak…

Bovines are So Fine

Our final example of penile misuse comes from a farm in Herkimer County, New York. And I warn you that in terms of perversion, this one truly takes the cake.

A cattle farmer noticed that his cows seemed anxious and weren’t producing as much milk as they normally did, so he set up a hidden surveillance camera to see if he could get to the bottom of the mystery. Unfortunately, he soon learned that “getting to the bottom” of his cows was someone else’s concern, too.

As he was reviewing the surveillance video, the farmer noticed two men—Michael Jones and Reid Fontaine—who apparently loved bovines more than he did… and in a much more literal sense. While Jones filmed his accomplice, Fontaine attempted to have sex with several cows. Whether or not he was successful is another story, but his sexual exploits were enough to warrant a call to police, who soon arrested the men and charged them with misdemeanor sexual misconduct.

Cow lovers Jones and Fontaine (Huffington Post)

Cow lovers Jones and Fontaine (Huffington Post)

It’s obvious that both Jones and Fontaine will be punished for their actions, but having their pictures and disgusting crime plastered across every news site from here to Katmandu may be all the punishment they need. I certainly feel sorry for any family members who now have to deal with the bullshit this incident provided… or should I say cow shit?

Yes, being a guy can be tough, but the one overriding principle we should all learn from these stories is this: YOU control your penis. When it starts controlling you, though, then perhaps the best place to visit is a doctor’s office… rather than a local farm, I mean.

Heroic Humans: Go Forklift Yourself

Oh, how I hate it when my candy gets stuck! (Digital Trends)

Oh, how I hate it when my candy gets stuck! (Digital Trends)

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t dream of starting another blog series given how poorly some of the others have performed—most notably the Reality Round-Up, which many readers never warmed up to. But I’m impelled to do so now because every time I prowl the news sites or peruse printed publications for new ideas, I inevitably come across inspiring stories of fellow humans doing heroic things.

Granted, some of their exploits may not seem like heroic deeds—even in the eyes of the law—but they all serve to better humanity or to right some injustice in their own unique way, and for this I feel they deserve some recognition. Hopefully you will feel the same once you read this first installment of Heroic Humans!

Our first hero comes from the American Heartland of Milford, Iowa—a very small town known as the southern gateway to the Iowa Great Lakes. He is 27-year-old Robert McKevitt—a veteran of Kosovo and Afghanistan via the Army National Guard and formerly a forklift operator at Polaris Industries in Milford.

McKevitt was fired last October following an incident of “misconduct,” according to the official report. If you ask me, though, what he did not only cut through some bullshit we have all faced at one time or another, but also warranted congratulations, not termination. You be the judge.

On October 22nd of last year, McKevitt was working a shift at the plant and decided to visit the restroom. On his way there he spotted the vending machine, so he put in a dollar and attempted to purchase a Twix candy bar. Here is how he described what happened next:

“I don’t know why I decided I wanted a candy bar, but I did. So I put in a dollar and it spun like it was going to give out the candy bar, but it didn’t. It got hung up on the spiral thing that ejects the candy bar.”

Robert McKevitt and his daughter (CNN/Robert McKevitt)

Robert McKevitt and his daughter (CNN/Robert McKevitt)

Who among us hasn’t experienced this time and time again? And every time is more frustrating than the last, only McKevitt wasn’t going to take it any more.

“I tried shaking it by hand, but it didn’t do anything. Then I tried putting in another dollar and nothing happened,” McKevitt continued. “I could see the candy bar dangling and I was already having a rough day. My girlfriend was nine months’ pregnant and it was rough.”

And it was about to get rougher.

After spending several dollars on candy he never received—and shaking the vending machine furiously without producing the Twix—McKevitt employed a more powerful tool: his forklift!

Specific details depend on who’s describing the incident, but everyone seems to agree that McKevitt used his forklift to lift the vending machine several feet off the ground and then drop it—a procedure he repeated five or six times. He then moved the machine back into place and collected the two or three candy bars he managed to shake loose.

And that’s more-or-less what got him fired. A Polaris representative witnessed the incident, confronted McKevitt about taking candy bars he never saw him pay for, and reported him for misconduct.

“I was fired two days after my daughter … was born,” McKevitt said.

A short time later—and because of the added financial stress—McKevitt’s relationship with the mother of his child ended, he couldn’t make his rent and he was forced to move in with his brother. Polaris denied his request for unemployment, so McKevitt had to file an appeal with Iowa Workforce Development. Unfortunately, he never received the letter about his hearing and missed it, meaning his request for unemployment benefits was again denied.

“I had to take a job at Walmart making about half of what I was making at Polaris,” McKevitt said recently. “I’m making just under $9 an hour and before I was making about $16 an hour. This issue was blown way out of proportion.”

RTX15IOL

Seems reasonable to me… (Reuters/Tim Shaffer)

I couldn’t agree more, my friend. And I confess that using a forklift to knock loose a candy bar stuck in those annoying spirally things inside a vending machine appeals to me greatly. There were certainly times that I imagined putting my foot through the glass and letting everyone around me gorge for free… or perhaps shaking the machine so hard that it toppled over and spread free goodies all over the floor. Sadly, I never had the balls to actually do it, but McKevitt did.

Does he really deserve to be fired for it, though?

Not from where I’m sitting, Polaris!

A Stroke of Genius: Girl Scout Style!

Girl-scout-cookies

Lei collected cash hand-over-fist for her tasty treats (John Moore/Getty Images)

Anyone who has ever binged on the delicious and seasonal treats known as Girl Scout cookies understands that they pretty much sell themselves. That didn’t stop 13-year-old Danielle Lei of San Francisco from showing even more initiative and peddling her wares in the most obviously profitable of places, though.

On Monday, Danielle set up a stand outside the Green Cross medical marijuana dispensary and—as you might expect—business was booming.

Within 45 minutes, the young entrepreneur had to call her mother for backup cookies. Her entire supply sold out in only two hours… 117 boxes in all!

And at roughly $4-5 a box, Danielle cleared a pretty nice profit to support her organization.

Of course, a one-day haul of almost $500 is nice, but imagine if she sets up there every day. Pretty soon other Girl Scouts start infringing on her territory and the next thing you know, there’s a full-blown price war that sends costs crashing down… meaning more cheap cookies for the rest of us!

Hey, a guy can dream, right?

Sexy Sochi

Translation: Murder

The great American melting pot (AmericanWiki)

Last year, an organization known as the Violence Intervention Program filed a lawsuit against the New York Police Department alleging that they “deprived [six Latina women] of access to NYPD services” by denying them interpreters, despite their limited English proficiency.

“Not only does the NYPD fail to provide language assistance,” the lawsuit states. “It also degrades, ridicules and otherwise mistreats limited English proficient individuals who request interpreter services, actively demeaning them for their lack of English proficiency.”

Personally, this rings true since I’ve heard plenty of Americans complain about “foreigners” coming to America and making no effort to learn our language. Of course, I’m not aware of many Americans doing this when they move or travel to other countries, but that’s another issue altogether.

The lawsuit against the NYPD is still pending, but based on some recent developments, it now seems as if these allegations could be valid. Consider the case of Deisy Garcia and her two daughters, who were murdered on January 18th by her husband Miguel Mejia-Ramos.

Last May, Garcia filed a police report expressing fear that her husband might kill her and their two young daughters. Since Spanish was her native language, she filed her report in Spanish and believed police would follow up later. They never did.

Five months later—on November 27th—police responded to a call from Garcia’s home and were told that when her husband returned that morning, he threatened to kill her once again. As she did before, Garcia filed another report—also in Spanish—and described what happened like this: “At about 2:40 a.m. my husband came home and assaulted me… he pulled my hair and kicked me twice, then grabbed my phone. After he did that, I called the police, but he changed and ran out. Today in the morning, he was threatening me that he would take away my daughters.”

The following day—and likely because her May report was ignored—Garcia went to the police precinct to follow up and filed a formal complaint against her husband. Unfortunately, her claims never ended with an arrest; they ended in murder.

On January 18th, Mejia-Ramos returned home from a night of drinking, went through his wife’s phone and Facebook account, and discovered photographs of her with another man. In a rage, he grabbed a knife, found his wife in bed and stabbed her to death. He then went into his daughters’ bedroom, hugged and kissed them, and then murdered them as he begged for their forgiveness. Their lifeless bodies were discovered by Garcia’s uncle and cousin the following day, but Mejia-Ramos was nowhere to be found.

Garcia and her daughters (Facebook)

Garcia and her daughters (Facebook)

Three days later, police caught up with Mejia-Ramos in Schulenberg, Texas—a small town near the Mexican border—where he was presumably hoping to cross over and flee. Instead, he was transported back to New York and charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. If convicted—or should I say when he’s convicted—Mejia-Ramos could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Of course, it now seems as if these senseless killings could have been prevented… and it was the NYPD who failed to act. As it turns out, none of Garcia’s police reports were translated from Spanish to English, which means they were never reviewed and no action was ever taken to stop the domestic abuse that eventually led to her death and the deaths of her children.

“No one translated it and they just put it away or placed it into the system,” explained Roger Asmar, an attorney hired by Garcia’s family. “Three complaints were filed by Deisy, and none of the times she filed a complaint did police actually arrest Mr. Mejia. No one actually translated the text into English, so apparently no one looked into it.”

And now three innocent people are dead.

What is most bizarre about this situation—aside from the obvious bias against non-English speakers and the hypocrisy of referring to America as a “melting pot” while condemning foreigners who choose to come here (apparently forgetting it was foreigners who founded our great nation)—is the fact that the NYPD is equipped to handle language issues.

“The NYPD has more foreign-language-speaking officers than any police department in the country, including thousands of Spanish-speaking officers,” explained Nicholas Paolucci, a New York City Law Department spokesman. “Also, the NYPD has a corps of 19,000 members who can provide interpretation services in over 70 languages.”

Mejia-Ramos killed his wife and kids (Publinews)

Mejia-Ramos killed his wife and kids (Publinews)

Sadly, none of this helped Garcia or her daughters—two-year-old Daniela and one-year-old Yoselin. And even though NYPD officers are now being trained on how to translate and store incident reports in languages other than English, it’s definitely too little, too late for Garcia’s family.

“We’re thinking maybe we sue the police because this wasn’t just his [Mejia-Ramos’] fault, the authorities are also at fault,” Garcia’s mother said recently. “My daughter may be dead and can’t do anything in this case, but I want justice.”

I certainly hope she gets it, too. And with any luck, non-English-speaking people will get the consideration they deserve… and soon.

Tombstone Tech

Be sure to take your cell phone or tablet to the cemetery (Star Tribune)

Be sure to take your cell phone or tablet to the cemetery (Star Tribune)

Technology is everywhere and continues to advance at breakneck speed. And now it seems that even death can’t prevent us from “staying connected” online through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Yes, we may all end up as ghosts in the machine someday—and an Alabama-based company known as Memorysquare is already making this happen. Here’s how they describe themselves—and their innovative new service—on their website:

At Memorysquare we believe that the true value of what we do is found in helping pass on to future generations a life once lived. There is great healing that comes in remembering, reflecting and honoring a life. We provide a user-friendly platform that combines memorialization and technology that enables users of mobile devices to connect to this personalized tribute page while visiting the cemetery. Friends and family are able to post comments and even share content on popular social sites.

This is how it works: When you die and your remains are shipped to the cemetery for burial, your tombstone includes a QR code that links to a personalized memorial page—for a small, one-time fee, that is. The current price is $125 for a non-video tribute and $245 if you prefer video be included. Once registration has been completed—most likely by a family member, unless you’re proactive and want to register while you’re still breathing—a memorial site is launched that allows users to post obituaries, photos, videos and other information about the deceased (or soon-to-be deceased, whatever the case may be). Visitors to your grave can then use their mobile devices to read your QR code, link to your memorial site, learn more about your life and even contribute their own remembrances.

Who could influence hackers to use this technology for evil? Could it be... SATAN! (NBC/Getty Images)

Who could influence hackers to use this technology for evil? Could it be… SATAN! (NBC/Getty Images)

Pretty freaky, huh?

As I mentioned, this service is still new, so I have heard very little about their security protocols. I do wonder how something like this might be exploited by hackers, though—especially after falling victim to those Target hackers at Christmastime. QR codes link directly to individuals’ memorial sites, but they still have to be housed somewhere online… and there’s the rub. Hackers work in cyberspace, so I wouldn’t be surprised if someone visited a cemetery, scanned a tombstone QR code and suddenly found themselves at some porn site or worse… at the launch page for the Satanic Temple!

Stranger things have happened…

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