Category Archives: Perspectives

Jackass of the Day Award, Vol. V

Rapraeger gave false positives on mammograms because she was too lazy to do things "the right way" (Dream in Demon)

Rapraeger gave false positives on mammograms because she was too lazy to do things “the right way” (Dream in Demon)

It’s been awhile since I recognized someone as the Jackass of the Day—despite there being no shortage of daily candidates—but today I read about someone who clearly earned this honor: 33-year-old Rachael Rapraeger, a former hospital technician at Perry Hospital in Georgia.

In 2010, Rapraeger accepted a deal and pleaded guilty to 10 counts of reckless conduct and one count of felony computer forgery—all because she got caught manipulating the mammogram records of nearly 1,300 patients. Basically, Rapraeger told ten patients their results were negative when, in actuality, she never had them verified by a physician. And now, two of those women are dead.

One of Rapraeger’s victims who lived—Sharon Holmes—had a mammogram in December 2009 and was told that her results were negative. Two months later, however, she learned that she not only had breast cancer, but that it had also spread to her lymph nodes. Fortunately, her cancer has been in remission for three years, but she still had some harsh words for Rapraeger.

“I’m not a name on a piece of paper,” Holmes told local news station WMAZ. “I’m a person.”

Houston County Superior Judge Katherine Lumsden echoed this sentiment in court when she told Rapraeger that she “played Russian roulette with the lives of essentially a thousand women in [her] community.”

Because of her negligence—and laziness, for that matter—Rapraeger could spend up to six months in prison. She also received ten years of probation and a $12,500 fine—and she can’t work in the health care field for at least ten years, either.

Personally, this seems like a small price to pay for doing something so careless—and for doing something that ultimately resulted in the deaths of several patients. After all, being given accurate results could have identified the cancer early enough to begin treatment faster, which obviously could have changed things for these poor women. Instead, they’re dead while Rapraeger lives.

Easily the worst Easter eggs ever given (WWBT NBC-12)

Easily the worst Easter eggs ever given (WWBT NBC-12)

So congratulations, Rachael Rapraeger. You are the Jackass of the Day and likely have been for a long, long time. Sorry it’s taken me so long to recognize you for it.

I also want to offer runner-up awards to the individuals from the West End of Henrico, Virginia who decided to celebrate Easter in racist fashion this year. For whatever reason, they decided to leave Easter eggs on people’s lawns with ridiculous messages attached. One read “Diversity = White Genocide” and claimed that “immigration and forced assimilation of non-Whites into our lands is genocide.” A few even included links to different, and presumably racist, websites, although I have no idea what they were.

Nevertheless, these folks certainly seem to qualify as jackasses, so congratulations to you idiots, too! Enjoy your all-white celebration!

Reality Round-Up: Loose Ends

Time to tie up some loose ends (Excess Baggage)

Time to tie up some loose ends (Excess Baggage)

Last week and over the weekend, I ran across a number of news stories worthy of mention on Gnostic Bent. Granted, I could probably drag each of these out as individual posts, but in the name of efficiency, I instead present them in whip-a-round form. Some of them are funny while others are disturbing, but one thing is certain: they are all interesting in their own way. I hope you enjoy them despite their subject matter… or perhaps even learn something along the way. I know that I did.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: The Lunchbox Laboratory in Seattle came under fire recently for an advertisement depicting Jesus Christ with a blunt in his hand. For those of you unfamiliar with this term, a blunt is basically a marijuana joint rolled in cigar paper—the so-called “weapon of choice” for Snoop Lion and countless others. The ad was designed to promote a two-for-one Easter special on the restaurant’s signature dish, the Burger of the Gods. Since Easter fell on April 20th this year—or 420, as it is known and celebrated by potheads all over the world—the restaurant added the blunt and has gotten all sorts of publicity as a result. Of course, Easter falls on April 5th next year, so the odds of Jesus reappearing with a blunt are relatively slim… unless these dates converge again!

Jesus as a pot smoker? (Lunchbox Laboratory)

Jesus as a pot smoker? (Lunchbox Laboratory)

HOMOSASSA, FLORIDA: Last Thursday, deputies in Citrus County, Florida arrested 24-year-old Cody Eugene Wygant after receiving a report that his 16-month-old son Daymeon had stopped breathing. Wygant was charged with third-degree murder and child neglect since his son was pronounced dead at Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center a short time later. And during his confession, Wygant explained exactly why he killed his young son: so he could concentrate on playing video games! Apparently, Daymeon was crying uncontrollably while Wygant was playing his Xbox, so he covered the boy’s nose and mouth for 3-4 minutes, put him in his playpen and covered him with blankets and other bedding to ensure he would never breathe fresh air again. When deputies found the child, he was blue and unresponsive—Wygant spent five hours playing games and watching reruns of the Fox television show “Fringe” before finally contacting the authorities. If nothing else, this reminds me of something I heard a long time ago: anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad. Obviously, Wygant belongs in this first group—not to mention jail!

OAK CREEK, WISCONSIN: Another guy who reached his breaking point and responded violently was 77-year-old Jack Lang of Oak Creek. The same day that Cody Eugene Wygant murdered his infant son, Lang used a .22-caliber pistol to kill his blind wife of 56 years, June Lang. As I understand it, she had been nagging him incessantly for weeks and “wouldn’t shut up,” so he approached her in the bedroom and told her he had a gun. Unfortunately, this had no effect and she continued to complain, so he shot her in the face and killed her. Police found her lifeless body near the bed and arrested Lang, who has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide and could face life in prison if convicted. Of course, he is 77 years old, so life may only be a few more years. At any rate, I hope this convinces spouses to stop nagging each other so much. Even decades of marriage may not be enough to save them otherwise.

Nag Jack Lang and you could pay the ultimate price (Fox News-11)

Nag Jack Lang and you could pay the ultimate price (Fox News-11)

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: Back to Seattle we go for 20-year-old Gabriel Galan Navarro, a young man charged with first-degree murder on Wednesday for killing his 20-year-old “live-in” girlfriend, Allison Leedy. According to the latest reports, Leedy was planning to end their three-year relationship and to attend college in California—and Navarro was “determined to prevent Allison and her family from realizing her dreams.” So Wednesday morning, he strangled Leedy to death and then sent a text to her family that read “She’s dead. I have the last laugh.” Navarro then phoned the police to confess—even lying and saying he had a booby trap of exploding gas in his apartment (which he didn’t)—and surrendered after officers broke windows to release the alleged gas. Now he sits in jail under $2 million bail, alive and well while the Leedy family mourns their tragic loss. I don’t know if Washington has the death penalty or not, but “an eye for an eye” seems perfectly suited to this case, at least in my opinion.

Sievers turns poop into cash! (CBS-2 Iowa)

Sievers turns poop into cash! (CBS-2 Iowa)

STOCKTON, IOWA: In order to end on a more positive note, we now travel to Scott County, Iowa and the farm of Bryan Sievers, a sixth-generation farmer who deals primarily with cattle. Beginning in September 2013—and after investing $7 million in the necessary technology—Sievers started converting cow manure into clean power for Alliant Energy. Basically, the poop from each cow falls through a slot in the floor, gets transferred to something called a digester, and then emits methane gas as it travels through a series of tanks and pipes. Each cow eats roughly 40 pounds of feed daily and, collectively, the cows produce enough methane to power 1,000 homes. Sievers uses the energy to power his farm and sells the rest back to the grid—a service that nets him roughly $24,000 a month from the energy company. Not bad for someone who shovels cow shit all day, huh?

This concludes today’s edition of the Reality Round-Up, but I’m sure it won’t be long until the next edition drops. After all, the news never stops, so why should I?

Thanks for reading and, as always, be good to each other…

End of the Hurricane

An imprisoned Carter in the late 1960s (Getty Images)

An imprisoned Carter in the late 1960s (Getty Images)

Here comes the story of the Hurricane,

The man the authorities came to blame

For something that he never done,

Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been

The champion of the world.

-  Bob Dylan, “Hurricane”

Farewell to Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the former boxer declared one of the best middleweight contenders by Ring magazine in 1963 and wrongly convicted three years later for a triple murder in New Jersey.

Carter spent 19 years in prison before his conviction was overturned by a federal judge in 1985 and he was released. And early Sunday morning, the 76-year-old passed away in Toronto of complications related to prostate cancer.

Like many of my American contemporaries, I likely heard of Rubin Carter in the 1975 Bob Dylan song “Hurricane,” but since I was only four years old at the time, it didn’t really register. This changed in 1999 with the release of the Denzel Washington film Hurricane, and from that point on I was a Rubin Carter fan.

Whether or not you believe Carter to be innocent or guilty, the fact is that he and his friend John Artis—who was with Carter on the night of the shootings and during his final moments alive—never got a fair trial. They accepted their sentences, however unjust, and Carter even served as executive director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Accused (AIDWYC) after being given his freedom.

Does that sound like something a guilty man would do? I don’t think so.

Carter with actor Denzel Washington and heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield (AP)

Carter with actor Denzel Washington and heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield (AP)

Carter went on to work as a motivational speaker and received two honorary Doctorates of Law—one from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, and the other from York University in Toronto. Both degrees recognized his work with the Innocence Project—an organization focusing on the exoneration of wrongly convicted people, primarily through DNA testing—as well as the AIDWYC. He even won the Abolition Award from the Death Penalty Focus group in 1996.

In other words, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter took whatever life threw at him—no matter how negative and unfair—and came out the other side to affect positive change and to help others. And for that he deserves our gratitude.

Rest easy, Rubin. And know that I will always replace could-a been with was in Bob Dylan’s song because you were a champion of the world… just not in boxing.

Double Take, Vol. XX

The world stands on the brink of war once again after UN officials discover North Korea's army has the power to levitate! (Perfectly Timed Photos)

The world stands on the brink of war once again after UN officials discover North Korea’s army has the power to levitate! (Perfectly Timed Photos)

Wasted

Andre Johnson: From Wu-Tang to Cut Thang (Go Metro)

Andre Johnson: From Wu-Tang to Cut Thang (Go Metro)

I realize this may sound terrible, but I read a few news stories today that were pretty disturbing—one involving someone who attempted suicide (in a very bizarre and painful way) and another involving someone who should probably give it a try soon. You may find that last bit rather harsh and unsettling, but I assure I only use it because I find this person’s actions so utterly reprehensible.

And who knows? In a moment, you might just agree with me.

First, however, I want to mention the poor bastard who attempted suicide, failed—thankfully—and now faces a host of other issues. He is none other than Andre Johnson (a.k.a. Christ Bearer), a rapper with the Wu-Tang affiliated group Northstar. Ever heard of him? Me neither, but his recent suicide attempt did make headlines… totally horrifying headlines, actually.

You see, Andre not only tried to take his own life by jumping out the second floor window of his North Hollywood apartment on Wednesday—which in retrospect doesn’t seem as if it would be all that effective. I mean, how high could it be? Seriously? Of course, this isn’t the disturbing part. What he did before he jumped is what had me cringing on the floor in the fetal position.

For no discernible reason, Andre cut off his own penis and then leaped out the window.

Police arrived a short time later to find the emasculated rapper lying facedown on the sidewalk with critical injuries. He was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and I can only assume that’s where he currently resides. Not many details have been released, but I do know he’s alive.

Other rappers on the scene assured police that drugs were not present and played no role in the penis-less diving incident, but many suspect that mental illness may have. Either way, Andre is lucky to be alive. His rap career may be over—Wu-Tang was quick to distance themselves from him… and I don’t know of many successful soprano rappers—but at least he’ll live to see another day.

Any chance the Wizard of Oz has an extra brain and heart to spare for Kimberley? (Facebook)

Any chance the Wizard of Oz has an extra heart and brain lying around? Kimberley could use them (Facebook)

Another person who’ll live to see another day—and perhaps shouldn’t—is 21-year-old Kimberley Davis of Port Fairy, Australia. She may be young and beautiful, but she’s also a living example of the expression what a waste.

On Monday, Davis pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and had to pay a hefty fine—punishment for an automobile collision she caused last September. Davis—an obviously spoiled brat with little to no regard for others—was driving and texting when she suddenly slammed into a bicyclist.

He suffered a spinal fracture, was told he may be paraplegic, underwent surgery and spent three months recovering in a spinal cage at Austin Hospital in Melbourne; she had her license suspended and had to cough up $4500, which to me seems like a small price to pay for such gross negligence. Of course, you will never convince Queen Davis of that. Just days after she ran this poor guy down, she had this to say to one of the responding officers:

I just don’t care because I’ve already been through a lot of bullshit and my car is, like, pretty expensive and now I have to fix it. I’m kind of pissed off that the cyclist has hit the side of my car. I don’t agree that people texting and driving could hit a cyclist. I wasn’t on my phone when I hit the cyclist.

Actually, police checked her phone records and discovered Davis used it 44 times before colliding with the cyclist. 44 times!

Can you feel me now?

Big Banging

The men of Big Bang always keep me laughing! (MidnaVocaloid/CBS)

The men of Big Bang always keep me laughing! (MidnaVocaloid/CBS)

I know that I’m a little behind since this news broke last month, but I want to give a quick “shout out” to the cast, writers and crew of arguably the best sitcom on television: The Big Bang Theory.

In March, CBS announced that it had renewed the popular comedy for three more years, effectively extending its life until 2017. Doing so actually made television history since TBBT became the first modern scripted program to be renewed for this length of time.

Granted, Comedy Central did the same for Tosh.0—which I suppose qualifies as a cable show rather than one on a major network—but let’s face it: Tosh.0 is no Big Bang Theory. I enjoy it, mind you, but I never wait for new episodes with the same excitement and anticipation as I do for Sheldon, Leonard, Penny and the rest of the Big Bang crowd.

So kudos, Big Bang, for making television history and—more importantly—thanks for providing us all with hilarious and intelligent entertainment. I know that I’ll be watching for the next three years… and perhaps even longer.

 

Double Take, Vol. XIX

Sticky Notes

The biggest scam ever perpetrated on humanity (Mobigloo)

The biggest scam ever perpetrated on humanity (Mobigloo)

The only thing they stick to is the pad they come on!

Tuesday Ticklers

This is the bone I aim to tickle today! (Peachey Keene)

This is the bone I aim to tickle today! (Peachey Keene)

At first glance, my title may seem rather inappropriate—maybe even sexual—but I assure you the tickling to be done involves only one body part: your funny bone. I haven’t been able to read today’s headlines, thanks to some early business I was forced to attend to, but yesterday provided me with plenty of humorous material. And with any luck, what follows will bring a smile to your face and maybe even produce a quiet chuckle or two.

Unfortunately, I am unable to embed videos in my blog, but check THIS out on YouTube. It shows a very drunk man trying desperately to get through a fence, yet failing at every turn. At least until a young boy shows him the way. If nothing else, this is proof positive that extreme drunkenness and problem-solving simply do not mix. Poor bastard.

Now consider this, especially if you plan to travel to Germany anytime soon or—better yet—if you’re there already: It was just reported that the German city of Munich—site of the 1972 Summer Olympics and the infamous massacre of Israeli athletes—has legalized public nudity by creating six “urban naked zones” around the city. Now those hindered by clothing can strip down and go about their daily business without fear of persecution.

Backpacks just became essential in Munich's nudity zones. Where else are you going to put your keys? (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

Backpacks just became essential in Munich’s nudity zones. Where else are you going to put your keys? (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

Of course, nudity is nothing new in Germany. The country’s first nude beach—Sylt—opened in 1920. And in 2012, Germans were named most likely to sunbathe nude by the travel website Expedia. I actually had the opportunity to visit Germany in the early 1990s, so I was able to confirm their love of nudity firsthand. Honestly, it wasn’t so much a love of nudity as a lack of shame. The German girls I met—and even the guys—were willing to strip almost anytime the mood struck them. And that’s one of the reasons I love the German people so much—they simply don’t give a shit about what others think and instead do what feels right.

And believe me… naked women from any country always feel right to me!

Our final tickling tale involves a rare medical condition—and by no means am I making light of this serious disorder—but its inherent humor is impossible for me to resist. It concerns Amanda Gryce, a 24-year-old woman suffering from Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD).

PGAD—formerly known as Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome—causes “spontaneous, persistent, and uncontrollable genital arousal in women, with or without orgasm or genital engorgement, unrelated to any feelings of sexual desire” (Wikipedia). In other words, those afflicted with this disorder can sometimes have tens or even hundreds of unprovoked orgasms each day.

Gryce has suffered from PGAD since the age of six and stays in a permanent state of sexual arousal. Each day, she has up to 50 uncontrolled orgasms and even the slightest vibrations can set her off—like hitting a bump in the road while driving or having her cell phone vibrate in her pocket. Fortunately, abstinence and regular physical therapy have reduced her symptoms, but she will likely never be rid of them completely.

Some women can't have orgasms, while others can't stop having them (Vanessa's Secrets/YouTube)

Some women can’t have orgasms, while others can’t stop having them (Vanessa’s Secrets/YouTube)

Or think of it this way—especially you gentlemen out there: If you ever wondered why some women never have orgasms, it might be because women like Gryce are hogging them all!

I’m kidding, of course. I truly hope this poor woman finds some peace. And we should give her boyfriend a hand for standing by her. Seriously… since abstinence is a big part of Gryce’s treatment, he’s probably going to need it!

The Blood Moon

Look for tonight's blood moon around 2-3 a.m. (Steve Margala/Astronomy for Beginners)

Look for tonight’s blood moon around 2-3 a.m. (Steve Margala/Astronomy for Beginners)

If there are any astronomy buffs in the crowd, then I’m sure you are all preparing for tonight’s lunar festivities—especially if you live in the Americas and don’t mind staying up until the wee hours of the morning.

Starting at around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, the first of four total lunar eclipses slated for 2014-2015 will begin, resulting in what is known as a Hunter’s Moon or—more commonly—a blood moon. The moon takes on this sanguine hue as it passes through Earth’s shadow, which has been described as being the color of a desert sunset.

In other words, it’s incredibly beautiful, provided you can stay up until 3 a.m. or so. That’s when the moon should be bloody as hell, but sadly, this effect will start to fade roughly an hour later.

The good news is that if you miss tonight’s blood moon, you will get three more chances to see it during what is known as a tetrad—a series of four consecutive lunar eclipses scheduled for April 15th and October 8th of 2014, as well as April 4th and September 28th of 2015. And believe me when I say that tetrads like these are incredibly rare. Some NASA experts equate them to drawing a four-of-a-kind in poker, which any poker player can tell you happens only once in a blue moon… or a red one, for that matter.

Of course, celestial events like blood moons can also lead to Biblical hysteria and prophecy-making… and this event is no exception considering the Book of Revelations 6:12-14 mentions the Hunter’s Moon specifically: “When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.”

Pastors Blitz and Hagee "prophesizing" (Calling the Roll/My Catbird Seat)

Pastors Blitz and Hagee “prophesizing” (Calling the Roll/My Catbird Seat)

Enter the Blood Moon Prophecy, an idea popularized by John Hagee and Mark Blitz, two Christian pastors. Blitz actually came up with this idea in 2008 and has been preaching that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will occur in 2015—this tetrad, in other words, signals the beginning of the end for humanity. Hagee brought Blitz’s ideas back into the spotlight when he published Four Blood Moons in 2013, only he viewed the tetrad as evidence of some major historical change to come—especially for Israel since tetrads always seem to coincide with important events in Jewish history.

Personally, I see tonight’s blood moon as nothing more than an interesting lunar event worth checking out if you’re awake when it happens. Since I consider myself to be an open-minded person, though, I suppose it’s at least possible it could mean something more—especially if Jesus appears once the tetrad ends on September 29, 2015!

At that point, I would probably be willing to reconsider my religious affiliation… or lack thereof…

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