A while back, I started assigning Jackass of the Day awards to people in the news who either did something stupid or said something stupid. And trust me when I tell you that today’s recipient may be more deserving of this title than anyone I have featured here before.
Today’s award winner is none other than Pastor Steven Anderson of Tempe, Arizona’s Faithful Word Baptist Church.
In a sermon delivered late last month, Anderson cited Leviticus 18:22 and offered his final solution for ending HIV/AIDS. He explained that homosexuals are “filled with disease because of the judgment of God,” and things took a more ignorant turn as he continued:
“Anybody who’s a homo or bi—it’s all the same category—sodomite is what the Bible would call them… it was right there in the Bible all along… it’s curable right there… if you executed the homos like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant.”
Basically, Anderson claimed “we [could] have an AIDS-free world by Christmas” if we “executed” all gay people. See for yourself by going HERE.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t “thou shalt not kill” one of the Ten Commandments? And weren’t they supposedly handed down by God and delivered by Moses? I’m no Biblical authority, but I do remember something about this from Sunday school.
Of course, Anderson is the same jackass who once argued for women to remain silent in church. “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection,” he said in a prior sermon. “But I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man.”
Obviously, this guy has some issues. And he also has an award. Congratulations on being our Jackass of the Day… if not Jackass of the Millennium!
Since 2009, the University of Warwick men’s rowing team has produced a naked calendar to raise money for cancer research and support. And in 2013, the women’s rowing team decided to join them, only their experience wasn’t quite as positive.
For whatever reason, the team’s Facebook page started receiving complaints from prudes everywhere, but it never caused any serious problems—until last week, that is.
Because “some people” found the 2014 images of gorgeous, naked women doing rowing-type things offensive—and I have no idea who those people might be, aside from a bunch of buzz kills—Facebook deleted the team’s page last week. However, the page for the naked men’s rowing team was allowed to remain untouched, a fact that upset many female rowers, including calendar organizer Sophie Bell.
“Facebook has unpublished our page a few times since we created it, due to what it deemed ‘inappropriate images,’” Bell said recently.
Fellow rower Frankie Salzano also could not understand the ban. “We have worked hard to create a tasteful and artistic calendar in which the girls’ bodies are strategically covered,” she told The Huffington Post. “The photographs we feel are an accurate representation of an athletic female body, something to be celebrated and not shunned, especially because there are Facebook pages that are degrading to the female form.”
I could not agree more, Frankie. And fortunately, Facebook finally came around and lifted the ban last Friday morning. Of course, all of this begs the question:
If Facebook gives my information to third-party vendors, experiments on me and other users without our permission, and then permits “man ass” over young, naked women, why the hell do I still have an account there?
By now, we all realize the dangers our children face. There are active shooters in schools, bullies, drugs, sex predators and countless other threats to our kids’ lives, and it seems as if no one… and no where… is safe anymore.
Unfortunately, contemporary life isn’t all that safe for parents, either, who face unique dangers of their own. Some are self-inflicted, of course, and some even involve their own children. One thing is for certain, though: parents all over the world are in peril.
See for yourself.
Last Wednesday evening, 16-year-old Mitchell Simon of Liberty Township, Ohio—an honor student with no criminal record—posted this status on his Facebook page: “I’m so pissed at everything I’m boutta be wreckless.” A few hours later, he tied his parents’ bedroom door shut, lit a fire outside it, stole his father’s car and took off.
Fortunately, Mitchell’s parents survived the unexpected attack, but they were both very much the worse for wear. Perry Simon, 50, had to jump from the second floor window and broke both of his legs. And Sharon Simon, 56, escaped with the help of deputies and fire crews, but inhaled quite a bit of smoke in the process. They were both transported to a nearby hospital and should fully recover.
Their son, on the other hand, won’t be so lucky. He has been charged with one count of aggravated arson and two counts of attempted murder. Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones is even planning to press for him to be tried as an adult, especially since detailed and premeditated murder plans were recovered from his home—complete with drawings and diagrams, as I understand. If convicted, Mitchell could be going away for a long, long time… or worse, since capital punishment is still legal in Ohio.
If you’re noticing a pattern in the media of seemingly well-balanced, innocent teenagers suddenly snapping, that’s because it continues to grow with each passing day. I’m not sure what—or who—is to blame, but something tells me parents aren’t always as guiltless as they seem. Consider this next story from Bogota, Colombia.
Margarita de Jesus Zapata Moreno, 45—a mother of 14 with one hell of a long name—was arrested this week for allegedly prostituting 12 of her daughters and selling their virginity to older men for as little as $160 a pop… pun intended.
Although Zapata denies the accusations, police believe that she started selling each daughter as soon as they turned 12 years old. One of her daughters was even impregnated and gave birth to a baby boy when she was only 14!
It’s pretty sick, if you ask me. And who among us would really be surprised if one of these abused girls suddenly lashed out and started killing people? In the ongoing debate over nature versus nurture—which focuses on whether we gain our physical and behavioral traits genetically or through our personal life experiences—I tend to lean towards nurture. Yes, there are things we get genetically from our parents and relatives—pattern baldness, down’s syndrome and a host of others—but I still believe the people we become is largely determined by the experiences we have and the lessons we learn from others.
Parents, of course, are at the top of this list—those who are actually involved in their children’s lives, I mean. We all know there are deadbeats all over the place, and when I hear about them, I am reminded of a quote I heard some time ago: “Any fool can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a dad.” The same could apply to parents in general, if you ask me—any fool can be a parent, but it takes a good person to be a mom or a dad.
This seems reasonable, but what happens when the parents are good people, only they aren’t allowed to be with their children?
The Soza family of Miami, Florida has been asking themselves this same question recently. Last week, Ronald Soza took his kids—Cesia, 17, and Ronald Jr., 14—to school and dropped them off as he had so many times before. Only this time when he returned home, he had some unexpected visitors: U.S. Immigration agents.
You see, Ronald is an undocumented immigrant from Nicaragua who has been living with another family—the Sandigos—while he works to support his family. Unfortunately, his wife and the kids’ mother—Marisela—was deported more than five years ago. Ronald will be joining her soon.
Now two kids who are American citizens—both having been born in this country and doomed to “mixed status” with their parents, who could be deported and taken from them at any moment—are all alone and may face foster care and even separation from one another. For now, at least, they remain with the Sandigo family in Miami. I only hope they can stay there until our government finally addresses immigration issues and finds a realistic solution to situations like theirs.
In 1989—as part of D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince—rapper and actor Will Smith won a Grammy for the single “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” Today—and because of people like Zapata, the virginity peddler—this still rings true, but I can say this: parents are starting to understand a lot more. And given the dangers that await them in the world—even those coming from within their own families—the timing couldn’t be better… and the need could not be greater, either.
Last Friday—as these Boy Scout leaders were exploring Goblin Valley State Park with their troops—Taylor decided one particular rock posed a danger to visitors and did something he would soon regret: he leaned into it and pushed it over.
Like most of the rocks at the park, this one was balancing on a stone pedestal formed by millions of years of moving water and blowing dust. Unfortunately, it took Taylor only a few minutes to destroy what it took Mother Nature so long to create. And since defacing anything in a state park is against the law, both Taylor and Hall face charges that could eventually land them in jail.
What is especially ridiculous about this incident is that Hall filmed the whole thing while singing the song “Wiggle It, Just a Little Bit.” Then he posted the video to Facebook, making it especially easy for investigators to identify the culprits.
Hall could even be heard confessing to the crime in the background: “We have now modified Goblin Valley, a new Goblin Valley exists. That’s crazy that it was held up just by that little bit of dirt. Some little kid was about ready to walk down here and die and Glenn saved his life by getting the boulder out of the way. So it’s all about saving lives here at Goblin Valley. Saving lives. That’s what we’re all about.”
Although this may be true—which to me seems more like an excuse for bad behavior—the fact is that a “goblin” (rock) has never rolled off its pedestal, at least not in the 22 years since the current deputy director of Utah State Parks and Recreation has been on the job.
In other words, it looks as if Hall’s bullshit excuse will garner little to no sympathy from the authorities. Of course, people around the Internet were quick to chime in and share their opinions. Few comments were more timely and poignant, however, than those coming from someone known only as DrcOffee. I’ll end this article with his final thoughts on the matter:
“This video kinda sums up the human race,” the mysterious commenter wrote. “At the end of the day we are all just like these idiots. Just a bunch of idiots pushing meaningless boulders around for a ‘good’ reason or just for shits and giggles.”
I couldn’t agree more… even though I’m certain to be one of these idiots, too!
“You will pay.”
That was the message sent by 18-year-old Isabella Guzman to her mother—47-year-old Yun-Mi Hoy—through Facebook last Wednesday in Centennial, Colorado. And this just one day after an argument with her mom ended with Isabella spitting in her face and storming out of the house.
No one knew the cause of Isabella’s rebellious behavior—many credited it to the growing pains all teenagers experience—but Hoy was worried. She called the police and told them her daughter “had threatened to harm her,” so officers spoke with Isabella and told her Hoy could throw her out if her bad behavior continued.
Though this seemed to help, Hoy took no chances and reached out to Robert Guzman—her ex-husband and Isabella’s father—who immediately came to speak with his daughter.
“We sat down in the backyard… and I started to talk to her about the respect that people should have for their parents,” Guzman said later. “I thought that I made progress, but obviously it didn’t do nothing.”
What it did—judging from what happened next—was set Isabella off. Apparently all of the lecturing from parents and police lit some kind of fuse deep within the rebellious teen. And when she exploded, there was only one person in her path: her mother.
Ryan Hoy, Isabella’s stepfather, was downstairs Wednesday evening, enjoying some dinner while his wife prepared for a shower upstairs.
Suddenly, he heard some strange thumping sounds coming from above him, followed by the faint sound of his wife calling his name.
Ryan rushed upstairs and could hear the shower running, but when he tried to open the bathroom door, he discovered it was blocked. He tried to nudge it open, but felt something—or someone—pushing back against him. Just before the door closed and locked, he caught a glimpse of the person responsible.
It was Isabella.
Blood started to pool under the bathroom door, so Ryan scrambled for his cell phone and dialed 911. After telling the operator that his wife was being attacked, he rushed back upstairs and heard his wife whisper “Jehovah” just as the bathroom door opened.
Out walked Isabella, covered in blood and with the knife still in hand, arm resting at her side. In complete silence and with a blank stare on her face, the young killer walked past her stepfather, down the stairs and out of the house.
Ryan immediately rushed to his wife and followed the dispatcher’s CPR instructions, but it was too late. Her throat had been slashed and she simply lost too much blood.
An autopsy would later reveal that Hoy had been stabbed 79 times in the face and neck… by her own daughter, no less.
Late Thursday morning, someone noticed a body in a car parked in a garage on South Parker Road. Police investigated and discovered a number of items they believed to be connected to the homicide. A K-9 team was called in and a short time later, Isabella walked out of the garage and right into the hands of the authorities.
She is currently being held in Arapahoe County Jail.
No one knows what drove Isabella Guzman to brutally murder her mother—not even the close family members who knew her best. She had been sent to live with her father for a time at age seven—mostly to give her mom a break from the constant arguing—but Isabella eventually returned.
And what daughter hasn’t argued with her mother, especially during the turbulence of her teenage years?
Of course, rebelling against a parent and hacking them to death in the family bathroom are two very different things. Maybe psychologists and psychiatrists can determine why Isabella chose such a drastic response—a response that effectively ended two lives. And maybe then we can prevent a senseless tragedy like this from ever happening again.
If you were to ask, I bet most people would say that class reunions—whether high school or college—were a waste of time. That’s generally what I hear anytime the subject is broached. And I have never heard anyone get excited at the prospect of attending, even in the case of five-year reunions, which to me seem close enough to graduation to still be fun.
I didn’t attend mine, of course, but that’s because (a) the person in charge of organizing the event “dropped the ball” or (b) the reunion got tossed in with some alumni event. And since I discard most of the mailings arriving from my alma maters (the majority of which involve fundraising, which is of no interest to a person with limited resources… I have to eat, after all)—I still don’t know the truth. Maybe I did miss the damn thing.
Anyway, I was recently invited to a reunion of sorts—it was actually a cookout during alumni weekend at the college where I work—and decided to really get into it, especially given my previous reunion misgivings. Sure, I never actually went to this school, much less graduated from it, but I certainly felt like an honorary graduate.
You see, I used to work—and party—with a lot of these folks. We waited tables together, bartended together or met up through mutual friends at “off-campus gatherings”—which is a nice way of saying that we did some crazy you-know-what when we were younger. I even work with some graduates now, since many alums return to campus in staff, faculty or administrative roles later. This means I know people who graduated in nearly every decade since the 1960s, not to mention grads from a good number of years throughout.
And since I myself was not a graduate—and it was in this context that most attendees would likely view each other (digging through their college memories to place names with faces)—I could travel relatively incognito. Some of my best friends would know me immediately. Former acquaintances would remember me vaguely, but hopefully in a positive way. And others wouldn’t know me at all… but I would probably know them.
It sounded like fun to me.
Prior to the cookout, I joined a Facebook page for the event and started monitoring it to see who was planning to come. Told you I was getting into it. On this page, I could also see who might attend, who might not, and who was too freaking lazy to respond to the one-click, yea-or-nay invitation they received.
Odd that people can find time to update their FB status, tell me about their latest bowel movement and how it resembled Justin Bieber with his old haircut, post pictures of the nasty meal they’re about to choke down and still miss an invitation to their class reunion. Some people’s priorities are so out-of-whack that I weep for the future.
It looked like a lot of my old friends were planning to come, so I found myself getting pretty excited and reminisced about some of the “trouble” we got into back in the day—I set off “trouble” because nothing we did was very serious, at least not from a legal perspective. Damn it. I’ve probably said too much already. Sorry, pals.
My Internet wanderings also led me on a search to see what other people thought about class reunions. I didn’t dig very deep, but the best I could find were surveys from 1961 asking people when their reunion should be held, or some such question.
Incidentally, the answer seems to be August or July, which apparently represent the national averages for reunion planning (21% and 23% respectively). I found that on my reunion search, too. Thanks, ReunionAnnouncements.com!
The day of the big cookout finally came and throughout the morning and afternoon, pictures of alumni on the local scene kept popping up on Facebook. There they were at a local restaurant, tossing back shots and trading stories about the old days. Or watching some athletic event, maybe one they played when they were here as students. Either way, it looked like plenty of people made the trip. And since the band playing the event also had connections to the college—the lead singer was a graduate, if I’m not mistaken—it promised to be a fun time for all.
And in many ways, it was.
I made it to the cookout in the late afternoon to find it pretty vacant, but steadily picking up. There was plenty of food and free beer to be had—and I took advantage of them both, in courteous moderation, of course—but being a staff member definitely put a damper on things, or so I thought initially.
Then I remembered that most of the attendees—myself included—were older, had kids and just couldn’t sustain a late-night throw-down anyway. Most of us could still drink effectively, mind you. Some things never change. We just couldn’t get hammered, get wild and get up the next morning with no regard for consequences.
A few people brought their families with them, for goodness sake.
So that was kind of a downer, but only in terms of making us all long for our lost youth. It was nice to remember some of the things we did, to address some of the drama we created and to get past old grudges and misunderstandings. Sure, there was still some bad blood here and there, but that’s certainly to be expected.
Another down side to class reunions that I hear people mention is all the judging and showboating that goes on as former classmates try to impress each other with their savvy business achievements… or ridicule the people with shorter, less impressive resumes, which probably happens more often. This may be true—as I said, I have very little frame of reference here. But that certainly wasn’t the case at this cookout reunion. In fact, I would have to say that the opposite was true.
For whatever reason, people I hadn’t seen in years—and even some I’d never met before—opened up their hearts and shared their personal stories and struggles with me. And I returned the “favor” by sharing a few of my own, which normally makes them feel a whole lot better. It was definitely nice and I had the opportunity to add a few new friends in the process. And not Facebook friends, either. Real friends in tangible reality.
What a novel concept!
Another upside to this great event—and one I would hesitate to mention if I possessed any sort of internal filter, which I don’t—were the beautiful young ladies in attendance. Yes, we had all aged a little and picked up a few pounds and wrinkles along the way. And yes, most would refer to us as middle-aged, a term I very much dislike at the start of my forty-second year, but I can live with that. And judging from some of the beautiful women I saw and spoke with, time had treated them just fine. Beauty is beauty at any age, right?
Of course, most (if not all) of them are married with loving husbands and beautiful kids, so the “hook ups” of the past are but a distant memory. Even if they weren’t, the parties die down around eight o’clock anyway. And though I really show my age when I say this, I don’t know anyone who can stay up past ten, at least not if they’re parents. There simply isn’t time to hook up anymore, and in some ways, it’s a real shame.
It’s probably a lot safer this way, no doubt, but it’s hardly more fun.
All in all, though, I have to admit that my first pseudo class reunion was fun, albeit it very laid-back. All the components for a good time were there: good food, fellowship, reminiscing, networking, activities for kids, music, beer and wine, a free taxi service. And it was a good time, despite ending so early and reminding us all that regardless of how fond our memories are, we can never go back to being the people we were back then.
Memories will just have to be enough.