Monthly Archives: March 2014

Jackass of the Day Award, Vol. IV

White doing his one-finger salute before spinning out of control (WFLA)

White doing his one-finger salute before spinning out of control (WFLA)

Under normal circumstances, the Jackass of the Day Award would be assigned to someone who acted completely ridiculous or did something extremely stupid today. And I’m sure there is no shortage of candidates in today’s news headlines. However, I feel obligated to mention someone who clearly earned the award last week and deserves the proper recognition: 33-year-old Jeffrey Travis White of Tampa, Florida.

Last Monday, White was traveling down State Route 41 in his pickup truck—driving in the left lane usually reserved for faster traffic—and got behind a woman he felt was moving much too slow. Rather than passing her and going about his business, though, White decided to tailgate her car for miles.

From what I understand, the slow driver in question was actually doing just over 50 mph in a 45-mph zone. Granted, this isn’t speeding by very much, but she was moving faster than most. Too bad it wasn’t fast enough for Mr. White.

In a classic road rage move, White eventually decided to pass the woman, cruised by her and then slowed down so he was driving beside her. As the woman filmed him with her cell phone camera, White flipped her the bird—extending his middle finger to signal his disgust in her driving skills—and proceeded to speed past her.

And in the immortal words of John Lennon, that’s when “instant karma” snuck up and bit White in the ass.

Moments after passing the woman’s car—and because the road was wet and slippery—White’s truck suddenly spun out of control and crashed in a ditch on the opposite side of the road. As you might imagine, this pleased the target of his road rage, who laughed as she passed him and uttered something like “that’s what you get.”

See for yourself by going HERE.

A more formal photo of White... from jail! (WFLA)

A more formal photo of White… from jail! (WFLA)

“Honestly, looking back, I feel kind of bad for laughing,” she said later. “But at the same time, it’s kind of funny.”

Of course, she received just as much criticism for using her cell phone while driving as White did for being a jackass on the road, but you can’t please everyone.

After the crash, White fled the scene and returned home, where authorities found him a short time later—his license plate could be seen in the video, after all. He was arrested for reckless driving, failure to wear a seatbelt and fleeing the scene of an accident. And even though you may agree that the woman filming the video was also driving recklessly, the police thanked her nonetheless for reporting White’s bad behavior.

“None of us are good drivers,” she told reporters recently. “We all have our problems. Maybe this is his opportunity for growth. Maybe he can use this as a learning tool and not go off the rails next time.”

I certainly hope so, but for now, please congratulate Jeffrey White on being the Jackass of the Day! I only hope he doesn’t try for a second award soon!

Choose Respect

"Respect: Lead the Way" won Best All Around in the Choose Respect Poster Contest! (Drew Nanouk)

“Respect: Lead the Way” won Best All Around in the Choose Respect Poster Contest! (Drew Nanouk)

Rape isn’t something I hear about very often, but it came up several times this week and simply cannot be ignored.

The first time I heard it mentioned was in conjunction with some FBI crime data that showed Alaska as having the highest per capita rate of reported rape in the nation. According to 2012 data, “an estimated 80 rapes are reported in Alaska for every 100,000 people”—roughly three times the national average and seven times the rate in New Jersey—and “59% [of Alaskan women report that they] have experienced sexual or intimate partner violence… and nearly four in ten have been raped or sexually assaulted.”

These statistics are mind-blowing and disturbing, to say the least. Fortunately, people in more than 170 Alaskan communities have decided to mobilize this week and to hold “Choose Respect” rallies in honor of the victims and survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence. And their message is clear: “Silence is the poison that lets rape and sexual violence continue… enough is enough.”

Rape appeared for a second time this week when Brazil’s Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA) released a study with some controversial—and frightening—results.

According to IPEA, more than 65% of Brazilians believe (or partially believe) that “if dressed provocatively, women deserve to be attacked and raped.” What’s more, nearly 59% agreed that “if women knew how to behave, there would be less rape.” As shocking as these statistics are, they become even more so when you consider 66.5% of the survey pool were, in fact, women. How crazy is that?

In an effort to bring attention to these horrifying facts—and to start the conversation on a more global scale—Brazilian women immediately took to social media to share their outrage. A Facebook event has been created and many Brazilian women have started posting semi-nude pictures online under the hashtag #NaoMerecoSerEstuprada, or #IDon’tDeserveToBeRaped. Most of these photos show the women topless—and covering their breasts—with this hashtag prominently displayed somewhere on their bodies—like this one, for instance:

No one deserves to be raped (#NaoMerecoSerEstuprada)

No one deserves to be raped (#NaoMerecoSerEstuprada)

Since rape has come up so much this week—and since I stand united with everyone interested in bringing an end to sexual violence (and violence in general, for that matter)—I now offer the Gnostic Bent contribution to the “Choose Respect” Initiative… with some Brazilian flair to show my support for the women of that great nation… and all the nations of the world.

End violence and choose respect... or I may be forced to use this (Pin It)

End violence and choose respect… or I may be forced to use this (Pin It)

Be good to each other.

Double Take, Vol. XV

Ted's rubber-sniffing habit first reared its ugly head at the company picnic's annual mountain bike race (Perfectly Timed Photos)

Ted’s rubber-sniffing habit first reared its ugly head at the company picnic’s annual mountain bike race (Perfectly Timed Photos)

Double Take, Vol. XIV

This is the point where Pam realized there was no way in hell she was winning this diving competition (Perfectly Timed Photos)

This is the point when Pam realized there was no way in hell she was winning this diving competition (Perfectly Timed Photos)

Defeating the Purpose

Thompson and Ford... the unhappy couple (Spartanburg Co. Detention Center)

Thompson and Ford… the unhappy couple (Spartanburg Co. Detention Center)

On Monday night, deputies in Spartanburg, South Carolina responded to a call about a domestic disturbance at the apartment of 22-year-old Sheelah Thompson and her boyfriend, 23-year-old Tyler Ford. The disturbance was actually a fight that broke out between the couple as they were watching a movie.

According to the latest reports, Ford starting asking Thompson questions about their relationship and when she wouldn’t respond—and only shrugged him off—he hit her on the foot and cheek. She walked outside and Ford asked her to come back inside so the neighbors wouldn’t call the police, but when she refused, he slammed the door and locked her out. Eventually, he opened the door to let Thompson back in, but she then returned the favor and started hitting him.

Then she stabbed him with a box cutter.

By the time the cops arrived, Thompson had a noticeable bump on her forehead, while Ford had a deep gash in his forearm. Thompson claimed that Ford strangled her, threatened to kill her and even struck their infant daughter several times on the legs because she was crying. They were both arrested and charged with criminal domestic violence—Ford’s second such offense—but this isn’t what I found most interesting about this story.

What is interesting, however, is the weapon Ford used to attack Thompson: the book he was given when he started to attend anger management classes after his last charge!

Now if that doesn’t defeat the purpose of anger management, I don’t know what does!

The Glass-Breaking Ghost?

You break it, you buy it, ghost! (WMUR-9)

You break it, you buy it, ghost! (WMUR-9)

Is it possible that ghosts really do exist?

This is the question being asked by many after some recent surveillance footage from the Ellacoya Country Store in Gilford, New Hampshire showed a glass object mysteriously slide across a countertop, fall to the ground and shatter… and there was no one around at the time, which increases the “freakiness factor” of this unusual event.

Take a look for yourself by going HERE.

Store employee Heidi Boyd was working in the shop when this unexplained incident happened, but she was in a completely different room and only returned to the front to investigate what she thought was accidental breakage by a customer.

“I heard this big bang and crash,” she recounted later. “I walked around and looked and [the glass object] was on the floor.”

Store owner Steve Buzzola wasn’t all that surprised by the news, though, since paranormal activity has occurred there in the past.

“We’ve had a couple of incidents where people had their shoulders pulled,” he said. Of course, mysterious body sensations are much different from “paranormal property damages,” so I’m sure this event now tops his list of weird happenings at the store.

Fortunately—and according to comments posted to the store’s Facebook page—ghost hunters… I mean, paranormal investigators (pardon my political incorrectness)…will soon investigate the incident. And no, I’m not referring to the Ghostbusters, even though these folks can’t be that far off.

Do I believe this footage proves the existence of ghosts? Certainly not, but I’m pretty skeptical about the so-called “spirit world” and will likely remain that way until I see a ghost for myself. These things always turn out to be some kind of elaborate hoax or prank, so I fully expect the same will be true this time.

It is kind of spooky, though…

Bieber Ego “Off the Charts”

You're not as cool and brooding as you think, Biebs (Instagram)

You’re not as cool and brooding as you think, Biebs (Instagram)

To say that bratty pop star Justin Bieber has worn out his welcome with me—and countless others—would be an understatement. No matter what he does, where he goes, what he says or what he posts online, the media simply cannot get enough of him and, unfortunately, this means we all have to suffer as a result.

Thanks to Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes for taking a break from the spotlight, by the way. All I’ve heard recently is that Lohan will appear as a guest star on the April 14th episode of CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, while Bynes seems to be getting her life back together. And trust me… this is all I need to know given their excessive media saturation these last few years.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for Justin.

Bieber’s latest ego-driven exploits involve some images he recently posted to his Instagram account. The first shows him in a white t-shirt with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth as he gazes off into the distance—his rather large and presumably expensive watch in the forefront.

The second image—which Bieber obviously emulated in his own photo—is of actor and cult icon James Dean. And in his own photo’s caption, Bieber makes his intentions very clear: “This is James Dean inspired. Don’t ask me if I smoke ciggys cuz I don’t.”

James Dean knew "cool" (Getty Images)

James Dean knew “cool” (Getty Images)

Maybe not, but you smoke weed like it’s going out of style and have been known to toss eggs at neighbors’ homes. And don’t even get me started on all the jackass behavior in the deposition video leaked by TMZ earlier this month—the one where he was asked about one of his bodyguards allegedly beating up a photographer. That made it crystal clear just how arrogant, disrespectful and entitled “Biebs” really is… even though it seems to have had little effect on his fan base (i.e. prepubescent tweens who likely don’t know any better).

Of course, there could be a connection between Justin Bieber and James Dean later. I know this sounds terrible, but Dean died tragically in an automobile accident at the age of 24. And if Bieber doesn’t shape up soon, there is always a chance he could go down the same road, in a manner of speaking. If this happens, though, I know one thing that will be different: Bieber will never be a cult icon like James Dean.

After all—and as they say in the Highlander film franchise—“there can be only one.” And that “one” ain’t you, Justin. I can promise you that.

Another Theory for Flight 370

Before Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: A Brief History of Disappearing Planes| Death, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, History, Science and Technology

Wreckage from Air France Flight 447 (Forca Aerea Brasiliera/Getty Images)

It’s been more than two weeks since Oceanic Airlines Flight 815… sorry, I mean Malaysia Airlines Flight 370… vanished without a trace somewhere in the neighborhood of the Indian Ocean. And there has been no shortage of theories attempting to explain what happened to the Boeing 777, its 227 passengers and 12 crew members.

Check out The Plane Truth to read about some of the most popular ones.

For weeks, search planes, rescue teams and other experts have scoured the area and used satellite imagery to try and spot debris, the overwhelming thought being that the plane crashed somewhere in the ocean after drifting off course for several hours. A few unusual objects have been spotted in the Indian Ocean—along the trajectory the plane is thought to have taken—but thus far, none of them have yielded any results.

The latest “sighting” comes from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which claims that a surveillance plane spotted two objects in a remote spot of the Indian Ocean that could be related to Flight 370. One is a “grey or green circular object” and the other is “an orange rectangular object.” An Australian navy ship is steaming towards the spot as we speak to investigate. And according to Colleen Keller, a senior analyst with the defense contractor that eventually found Air France Flight 447—which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 and took more than two years to recover—this latest discovery has her cautiously optimistic.

“The fact that it’s got color is really intriguing,” she said of the newly discovered objects. “But I’ve got to caution everybody, there’s a lot of junk out there.”

Malaysia Airlines Crash: How Often Do Planes Go Missing?

Chinese students hold a vigil for Flight 370’s missing passengers (Associated Press)

Malaysia’s Prime Minister is scheduled to make a statement later this morning, so by then we may know more about these new objects and whether or not they came from the missing flight. Of course, I would like to offer one more theory about Flight 370—one that I doubt will be very popular, but that someone should point out as this mystery continues—and I offer it in the form of a question: What if Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 doesn’t exist at all?

I know this may seem a bit “out there,” but given all the crazy conspiracy theories and other explanations for a plane that disappeared without a trace, you have to admit that it’s at least possible. In fact, it could even be used to explain some other events in our world, most notably Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea. After all, what better way to distract other world governments while you swoop in and steal a piece of Ukraine? Granted, the international community has been paying close attention to Russia and President Putin—even going so far as to impose sanctions against them—but Crimea still managed to fall while the rest of us have been pouring over satellite images and listening to theories proposed by people as unqualified to make them as Hole lead singer Courtney Love!

With any luck, though, these new discoveries will finally put this theory—and the multitude of others—to rest, but I certainly wouldn’t get my hopes up. The disappearance of Flight 370 is quite the mystery—and it could remain as such for years to come.

UPDATE: In a press conference this afternoon, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that based on the latest data, it is safe to conclude that Flight 370 went down in a remote part of the Indian Ocean. All the details have not yet been released, but since the Malaysian government is communicating this to victims’ families, it seems to be legitimate. My heart certainly goes out to those who lost loved ones in this terrible and mysterious tragedy.

Double Take, Vol. XIII

Kids aren't the only ones who find amusement parks pleasurable... (Perfectly Timed Photos)

Kids aren’t the only ones who find amusement parks pleasurable… (Perfectly Timed Photos)

WTF Friday

My sentiments exactly... (WTF Foundation)

My sentiments exactly… (WTF Foundation)

According to the Urban Dictionary, the acronym “WTF” stands for the World Taekwondo Federation, but anyone familiar with Internet abbreviations—or Internet slang—knows it can stand for something else, too: What the f—k?

Admit it. You’ve used WTF before—maybe not as often as LOL (laughing out loud), OMG (oh my God) or NP (no problem), but I’m sure it’s worked its way onto the screens of any computer-savvy readers in the crowd.

I won’t lie—I’ve used WTF myself from time to time online, but these days I find it working its way into my “real life” even more. It’s pretty common for the question WTF stands for to cross my mind, especially as I’m reading news stories and looking for new blogging material. People do some crazy shit—as you know—and even though I am not easily shocked or offended, I can’t help but thinking WTF when I read about some of their exploits.

And let me tell you, today is a WTF kind of day if ever there was one. But don’t take my word for it. Check out some of the stories that left me scratching my head and see if you agree that WTF Friday is in full effect. Of this, I’m sure there will be little doubt.

Fussell went to prison in the buff (Arlington PD)

Fussell went to prison in the buff (Arlington PD)

Arlington, Virginia: 26-year-old Maura Fussell of Reston, Virginia is facing charges of public drunkenness and indecent exposure after she decided to visit her husband in Arlington County Jail… while drunk and naked! Officers aren’t sure if she arrived naked or stripped once she arrived, but she was apparently so hammered that when they offered to call her a cab or to let her sleepover in a jail cell, she chose the latter. Fortunately, she and her husband were released the next day, but Fussell will soon have her day in court. I only hope she wears a business suit instead of her birthday suit!

Atlanta, Georgia: Darriuos Mathis is on trial for allegedly kidnapping a 24-year-old woman at gunpoint as she was leaving a CVS drug store two years ago, forcing her to take cash out of numerous ATMs and sexually assaulting her. However, his defense team is arguing that the sex was consensual for two reasons. First, they point to the fact that the victim gave Mathis her telephone number, despite her claim this was done out of sheer terror. But it’s their second reason that brings on a WTF moment: they claim the sex was consensual since their client is so good looking. If that doesn’t take the proverbial cake, I don’t know what does!

Do not show this man your feet, ladies! (Lincolnton PD)

Do not show this man your feet, ladies! (Lincolnton PD)

Lincolnton, North Carolina: Police in my neck of the woods are on the lookout for a man who has apparently sucked the toes of several Wal-Mart shoppers recently. At one store, he claimed to be a podiatry student and persuaded a woman to take off her shoes. As he was helping her try on some different pairs—presumably to find shoes better suited to her feet—the man suddenly stuck her foot in his mouth and started sucking on her toes. He did the same thing at a store 15 miles away, only this time he said he was conducting a survey on the feet of different races and nationalities. Honestly, I don’t know what draws more of a WTF: the fact that this guy is sucking strangers’ toes or the fact they’re so accepting of his bullshit explanations!

Hauser may be cute, but she's no veterinarian! (Huffington Post)

Hauser may be cute, but she’s no veterinarian! (Huffington Post)

Winter Haven, Florida: The WTF in this next story stems not from stupid behavior, but from stupidity in general. And the proud recipient of this honor is Candace Hauser, a 31-year-old woman who now faces charges of aggravated animal cruelty. In early March, the owner of a pregnant dog visited Hauser because she claimed she could perform an emergency C-section on her mastiff and deliver her puppies safely. Sadly, this was not the case. Despite having no veterinary experience whatsoever, Hauser operated on the dog without anesthesia, delivered ten puppies and then closed the dog’s wound… with regular household glue! Needless to say, the poor mastiff died on the way home and Hauser was arrested, booked and released on bail a short time later. WTF?

Santa Rosa, Argentina: Although this story is clearly WTF material, I can’t help but feel saddened by the loss of someone in a country I consider to be a second home. 39-year-old Sonia Perez Llanzon passed away on March 6th after doing something doctors still find incredibly shocking: she tried to augment her own breasts by injecting them with Vaseline petroleum jelly. Shortly after the injections, she started to have difficulty breathing and went to the hospital. As it turned out, the Vaseline entered Llanzon’s bloodstream and caused blood clots that eventually travelled to her lungs. She died of a pulmonary embolism roughly a month later. Personally, I don’t know what else to say but WTF since Sonia was obviously beautiful without enhanced breasts. It truly is a shame… and I have no idea what she could have been thinking.

Llanzon paid the ultimate price for her vanity (Facebook)

Llanzon paid the ultimate price for her vanity (Facebook)

Gaineseville, Florida: Police in Florida just released a very cartoonish sketch of a man they believe is responsible for urinating on several women. In February, four incidents were reported of a man coming up behind women and peeing on them. A fifth incident occurred this month and, since then, three more women have come forward. In other words, there’s a man pissing all over Florida, so women down there better watch their backs… literally!

Cops having sex with hookers? And this is allowed? (Associated Press)

Cops having sex with hookers? And this is allowed? (Associated Press)

Honolulu, Hawaii: Our final WTF story comes from the “Big Island” of Hawaii and has the potential to make your jaw drop like it did mine. Apparently, Honolulu police officers have asked lawmakers to keep an exemption in the state law that allows officers to—get this—have sex with prostitutes during investigations! They claim they need this protection in order to make arrests, but critics warn that doing so could victimize sex workers, some of whom may have been forced into this way of life. WTF? I’m sorry, but if cops want to bang hookers, they should have to pay for the privilege like everybody else!

Now tell me it’s not WTF Friday

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