Sorry, America: You’re Still Kind of Racist

Let me make one thing clear before getting into this story: I am not anti-America.  I think America can (and should) stand for good in this world, however, I also believe that parts of it are absolutely not doing that.  I am, alternatively, pro-people; I believe in universal human rights – like having the freedoms of speech and mobility, as well as the right to a due process if accused of some crime, and the right to unbiased decisions based on race, creed or sexual orientation.  These last rights, however, are still regularly being ignored and, despite the fact that equality is at an all-time high in not only North America, but the world (though I’m not blind to the lengths we as a species still need to go), sexual and racial biases, even segregation, continue to persist.

While it may not only be America that is guilty of these egregious missteps in relation to what is becoming more and more socially acceptable and normal, it is America that is in the spotlight.

First, the issue – a high school in Wilcox county, Georgia, holds annually two proms: one for the black students, and one for the white students.  This high school, however, has not broken any civil rights laws as these proms are funded by the parents and students within the school, thereby making them hosts of the events, and thereby responsible for their message.  The school, however, does condone these segregated dances, and has some form of input as to their running.

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1950s or Wilcox County, Georgia, this afternoon?  You decide.

The reason that this is only now in the media’s spotlight is because several students at this school, specifically four girls who are best friends (of which two are white, and two of African-American descent), have taken it upon themselves to raise the money for the school’s first integrated prom.  This means that, until the year 2013, no student, parent, or educational/governmental group in the area has made any kind of serious effort to put on a prom that would see all students get to attend the same dance, regardless of race or creed.  Furthermore, the school also holds separate homecoming events for each race.

“We are all friends,” one of the girls told the local press.  “That’s just kind of not right that we can’t go to prom together.”

Now, I’m not a doctor.  I’m also not a rocket scientist, civil rights expert, or law-maker, but when a few 16 year old girls are the only people making rational statements to the press about the right or wrongness of separating students by race, and in the year 2013 mind you, it may be time to reevaluate your whole approach to life.  Look around, Georgia… America… times have changed and (holy shit) it’s about time you did too.

If at this point you’re asking yourself why some sort of protest hasn’t happened, here’s your answer: last year, when a bi-racial student attempted to attend the white-only prom, police were called in to ask him to leave the premises.  In the school’s own lame attempt to unify this school, however, this year they have decided that there will be only one prom king and one prom queen – thought it won’t really make a difference as the Queen is a black student and the King is a white student, so they’ll never have a dance together and were not even allowed to be photographed together for the school yearbook.

If you aren’t disgusted yet, this:  the four girls who have bravely taken on the task of holding this integrated prom have run into some problems along the way… the girls, after putting posters up in the halls for the integrated prom have actually had “people ripping them down at the school” probably out of a fear of change or just because whythefucknot.

Is it time for a country-wide standard on these types of issues?  I hesitate, as well, to use the word “issues” because, really, why is it even an issue at all?  Just when you think we, as a people, have grown up, have found some common sense, or otherwise changed for the better, you stumble upon a story like this and it feels like maybe we deserve to be blind-sided by a continent-sized asteroid.

As far as I’m concerned the focus should be on whether this segregation is right-or-wrong on the whole, and the answer, I think, is fairly black and white.

(Pun intended.)

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April FOOLED: Airline’s Pay-By-Weight Policy is NO JOKE

Standing in the check-in line at an airport, contemplating excess baggage fees and what we might get gouged should we be over a single percentage of a kilo is a common occurrence.  Often, and unintentional help from sizeable people either next to us in line or on the plane itself, people wonder why it is that the passenger’s weight isn’t taken into account when these excess baggage fees are levied – if I’m over by 2 kilos on my carry-on, but the man behind me is 40 kilos heavier in weight and 1 kilo light on his bag, why am I the only one paying?  Where’s the justice?

While it would be officially late had it actually been intended as an April Fool’s joke, Samoa Air‘s “world first” pay-by-weight policy is, in fact, not intended to be any semblance of a joke.  “Airlines,” points out Samoa Air’s big boss Chris Langton, “run on weight,” and smaller aircraft demand “less variance” in the weight of passengers.

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I may or may not have just completely filled the toilet.  Saw-rayyy.

In 2011, Air New Zealand offered a similar, though true prank on April 1st that was actually a total joke.  Does this type of pricing model bother you?  Is it a benefit?  While New Zealand’s 3 News has reported that the inventive method of ticketing may not actually save you that much money, you can be the judge for yourself by calculating you own weight/cost.  Prices range from $0.50 to $2.oo a kilogram (2.20lbs), though are dependent on the route you travel.  Also, you’ll probably need to be in the southern hemisphere and living near New Zealand to make any use of this – get on it, Kiwis!!

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Ontario’s ‘Social Farter’ Campaign Takes Aim at So-Called ‘Social Smokers’

We all have that friend – the so-called ‘social‘ smoker, someone who only typically lights up on weekends or while drinking; they insist that they are, in fact, not actually a smoker, probably because they don’t want to be associated with the yellow nails/teeth and mentally-tangible stench that accompanies such a label.  Ontario’s Health Minister, however, has done the rest of society a favour by calling these people out on their horseshit stance by running a new campaign entitled Quit the Denial.

The campaign focusses on a direct comparison between farting and smoking, and even creates what they term a social-farter, someone who farts only around friends, at parties, and to, and I quote, “break the ice.”

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Either that’s a really good fart, or her ass just took a drag on a wicked ciggy!

“Well it’s true that I fart,” begins the girl in the ad, “but I wouldn’t call myself a farter,” she says as if there’s a terrible stigma attached to the phrase.”

“I’m a social farter.”

In what is perhaps the best line from the advert, and the most potent mockery of social smoking, the girl quietly admits that she will use farting as a way to meet a new guy.  The ad cuts away to her asking a fellow party-goer if he’d “like to go outside for a fart.”  The man replies with restrained enthusiasm: yes.

Check out the ad below – pass it on to your “social smoking” friends and let them know one thing: that social smoking is just as ridiculous as social farting… and both stink.

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Fresh Out of Jail? Have a Steak – Then a Massive Heart Attack!

Thursday afternoon a man named David Ranta, convicted in the 1990 killing of a Brooklyn Rabbi (named Chaskel Werzberger), and having already served 23 out of the 37 years he was sentenced, was released into the wild (or freedom, whatever you’d like to call it) after it was found that he had been wrongfully accused of the crime.  In a shining testament to the power of justice in America, Ranta was convicted on the strength of a 13-year-old witness who had been coached by detectives to pick him out of a lineup despite the fact that no physical evidence existed to tie him to the crime (shooting Rabbi Werzberger in the head after a bungled jewel heist).

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Prosecutors are required, by law, to laugh at the convicted person(s) upon sentences of 30 years or greater.

Upon his release, Ranta was quoted as saying he was “overwhelmed” (no shit) and felt like he was “under water, swimming,” which would suggest that Ranta did not at all work on his analogies while locked up.  He then went out for a steak dinner and, according to his sister, began to feel ill afterwards, suffering a serious heart attack later that evening.

“The accumulated trauma of being falsely convicted and incarcerated for 23 years,” said Ranta’s lawyer Pierre Sussman, in a quote from the Daily News, “coupled with the intense emotions experienced surrounding his release, has had a profound impact on his health.”  Ranta is, however, in good spirits having survived the heart attack and plans to relax and reconnect with his family now that he’s free to do so.  Oh, and sue the city of New York and their police departments – that too.

The now-deceased actual killer, whose name has not been released, has been identified as such by his widow – you know, now that he will never have the chance to face the Big Apple’s brand of justice which, let’s face it, likely would have erroneously put him away for a couple of hours for spitting on the sidewalk.

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Aussie MMA Announcer Can’t Stop Talking About His Anus

Endearing.  Interesting.  Mysterious.  Sexy.  These are the ways people describe foreign accents; North American women often swoon over the prospect of being hit on by a British or Australian man, that is, before they get called the dreaded C-word (in that effervescent way only a Brit or Aussie can deliver such a word).

Ignoring the colourful language, accents often give way to certain phrases sounding like something else entirely; for instance, ‘raise up lights’ sounds just like Australian ‘razor blades,’ and ‘good eye might’ is, obviously, an easy way to accidentally say ‘g’day mate,’ though we wonder why anyone would ever use the phrase good eye might.

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Nevermind.

In any case, sometimes the provider of the hilarity is completely unaware of what they’re saying and why it’s hilarious.  Enter Australian announcer Michael Schiavello doing his best work in last Friday’s fight between Danny Mainus and Zac Chavez.  Mainus, throughout the might, is referred to by Schiavello as what sounds like ‘my anus,’ lending itself perfectly to phrases commonly used in MMA broadcasting, such as ‘cut,’ ‘bleeding,’ and ‘getting pounded from behind with the ferocity of a velociraptor.  Enough talk: enjoy a compilation of the best moments from the fight below.

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Two Stumps, One Gun: Double Amputee Shoots Wal-Mart Employee

Saturday afternoon at a Wal-Mart in Anchorage, Alaska, would not, admittedly, be the most exciting time to shop for household goods;  that is, unless, you were shopping at the Wal-Mart in Anchorage Alaska this Saturday afternoon when a man with two amputated legs, and who was driving a motorized shopping cart shot a Wal-Mart employee in the stomach over a dispute regarding his service dog.

Daniel Pirtle, 45, was told he could not have his service dog, apparently just a puppy, in the store without any type of restraint (the dog was not on a leash).  While being escorted to the door, Pirtle reportedly shot the Wal-Mart employee, Jason Mahi, in the stomach and attempted to flee the scene in the motorized shopping cart.  Police, I think obviously, ambushed him and removed his prosthetic legs before he made it too far (and so he couldn’t make it any further), and arrested him, holding him on a $50 000 cash-only bail.  The dog has been taken by a separate Anchorage officer for care and snuggles.

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I don’t always wear a shirt, but when I do I’m killing living creatures.

Why or how pictures of this man in these contexts would be allowed to turn up by whomever he’s being represented by is a mystery to me; unless, of course, he is being represented by his friend and confidant ZZ Top, seen at right of the second picture above.  Ugh, American gun laws; where are the terrible t-shirt and webcam pic laws, I ask you?  WHERE ARE THEY?!

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(Sort of) Friday’s Tweet Trends 03/16-17/13

Each Friday (or shortly thereafter, on occassion) I’ll be analyzing Twitter’s tweet trends as after a busy week people, generally, like to take to the internet to bitch, moan, or commentate on world goings-on.  Here are your tweet trends for Friday and Saturday, March 16th and 17th:

#36MillionBeliebers  –  In keeping with one of Twitter’s seemingly inescapable functions, updating the world on everything Justin Bieber and doing so absolutely constantly, today we’re regaled with the news that the Biebs’ fandom has now reached 36 million people.  For reference, that’s more than the population of Canada and 207 other countries individual populations.  I think I’m going to be sick.

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When Bieber releases a so-called ‘Best of’ album, they’ll have Charles’ permission to die.

#IKnowImNotTheOnlyOneWho – While a little long for a hashtag trend, this one provides a great opportunity to reveal to the world just how strange we, as a species, truly are.  Highlights from this week include running away from the dark, sniffing books, and the very real need for a sarcastic font.

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Snape won’t admit he’s done those things until he’s sure they aren’t being sarcastic.

#NothingFeelsBetterThan - In the everlasting words of Bart Simpson, ‘if it feels good, do it.’  Top tweeters in this category include the hilarious Not a Cop, the unintentionally hilarious Deer Hunting and, of course, the infallible Darth Vader.  In true redneck fashion, Deer Hunting expresses their joy of shooting large animals and then watching them scamper off and die a slow, agonizing death, while Darth quotes one of his favourite movies and NoNarkHere does something inappropriate with some mary-jane.

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Now to find some deer-hunter-hunting droids.

Happy / St. Patrick’s Day -  Delaying this past week’s Tweet Trends post allowed me include St. Patrick’s day postings in a timely fashion (that is, a day late rather than a week late!).  Tweets today included a misconception about snakes in Ireland, some bitterness over Cinco de Mayo, Darth Vader looking for the dark side, and Iron Man’s JARVIS playing a prank on Stark himself.  Here are the tweet-o-sphere’s best efforts!

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Your call – have your clothes dyed green, or get mailed a box full of snakes.

That’s it for this week, folks – see you in seven (or so) days with next week’s tweet-trends!

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Would-be iPad Thief Forgets to Turn off ‘Photostream’ – Hilarity Ensues.

With technology developing leaps and bounds over itself in matters of months it’s no surprise, perhaps, that stealing another person’s gadget is becoming harder and harder as well.  As most people know, iPhones now come with the feature to find themselves via any computer with internet access so long as the “find iPhone” switch is toggled ‘on’ in your settings.  This goes for iPads and iPods too as well as several other non-Apple related devices.

Suppose, however, that you lost a device that had the ‘find’ option turned off – or that the person who took your toy had a good thief’s common sense to turn off that feature; what then?  Well, when Allen Engstrom (of Little Rock, Arkansas) left his iPad on an airplane in February he was soon to find this out; the person that stole his iPad (stole used here because his name and contact information is physically etched into the back of his iPad and has thus far been ignored by the beneficially of his forgetfulness) began taking photos with her new toy which, ultimately, were uploaded his his Apple ID’s photo stream automatically, becoming available on his phone, computer, and iPod instantly.  When Engstrom realized what was happening, and just how hilarious the situation was becoming, he began posting the photos to Facebook for commentary and any information that might lead to contacting the woman for the retrieval of his iPad.

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This is the face of a criminal mastermind.

Even though the posts have yet to yield a direct connecting the the thief, Engstrom has apparently been contacted by someone with ‘information’ to share.  Here’s hoping the evil genius behind this crafty iPad heist is brought to justice – and at the very least for that shirt.

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mmmHmmm, I dun stole this iPad, derrrrrr.

…. and that hair.

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Fictional Pepsi MAX Commercial Sees Jeff Gordon Punk Car Dealer

Just a day or two ago a new video/commercial from Pepsi hit the internet airwaves featuring NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon in disguise at a car dealership.  The premise is this:  Gordon, a mild-mannered, mini-van-driving, middle-aged man is on the car lot to look at getting something new.  When he spots a Camaro and the dealer sets his sights on his, Gordon’s Mike responds sheepishly, saying he doesn’t think he could handle the kind of power the Camaro is packing.  Regardless, and as the video and his entire career suggets, he can most definitely handle himself behind the wheel of any car.

What has people talking, however, is the fact that this is not a real punking at all – the whole thing (obviously) was staged, primarily for the safety of all those involved, and it’s all just a clever advert for Pepsi MAX.

While I think you’d have to be pretty gullible to believe something like this would actually happen – especially at the hands of a major corporation who would stand to lose a lot if public opinion turned – it’s fun to entertain the notion.  Further proof as to the video’s ‘fake’ quality is as listed below:

  1. The Camaro has ’09′ on the front windshield when, in actuality, the car wasn’t produced until 2010.
  2. There are no actual shots of Gordon driving the car during the crazy stunt work
  3. Reportedly, the Camaro has no cupholder where Gordon places his tricked-out can of Pepsi MAX
  4. The video was produced by Will Ferrell’s Gifted You, a part of his Funny or Die brand
  5. Stunt work has already been confirmed to have been done by fellow racer Brad Noffsinger

Despite the whole video being an elaborate ruse, it is quite entertaining and I’ve no problem with companies ‘faking’ non-fiction commercials or videos for the sake of hilarity.  Truth be told, they may be better off going this route as the ad-monster takes on a life of its own when fake/real speculation kicks into overdrive.

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It was either Pepsi MAX or ‘to catch a predator.’

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Google Glass for St. Paddy’s Day: Now you can RECORD being a drunk Asshole!

21318With St. Patrick’s day just around the corner and the recent release of Google Glass (or limited release or whatever the hell they’re calling it as, apparently, you can write an essay to Google as to just why you’re deserving enough to buy one of the few pairs of Google Glass that are on sale to the public… or something), mischief is bound to happen – at least, mischief by those rich or nerdy enough to get their hands on the product.

Over at the YouTube Stuntbear channel, however, they’ve taken it upon themselves to simulate the hilarity (and eventual hilarious tragedy) that could ensue on a St. Paddy’s day outing while outfitted with the ‘glass’ system (and whilst being a complete and total drunken asshole).  Kudos to the Stuntbear team for making the hilarious video, seen below:

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