October 2010 - Posts

This week's "Now THAT'S chutzpah!" Award goes to…Justice Paul Wooten.

Never heard of him? We hadn't either. But he's burned into our brains now. This judge heard a most unusual case recently, in which a 4-year-old girl was accused of running down an older woman while racing on her bike – which, by the way, had training wheels.

Wooten ruled earlier this month that this poor little girl can be sued. Yep. Sued.

In April 2009, Juliet Breitman and Jacob Kohn, both 4 at the time, were racing their bicycles, with training wheels, along a sidewalk. Their mothers looked on nearby. During their race, the kids hit Claire Menagh, 87, as she was walking. Apparently, training wheels are much more streamlined than when we were kids, because the hit was bad enough to cause Menagh to need surgery. She died three weeks later.

The woman's estate sued the children and their mothers, claiming negligence. Although the boy's mother didn't contest the suit, the girl's mother did, saying her child was too young to be held liable for negligence. Heck, the kid probably can't even say negligence. 

So, Wooten has ruled the girl can be sued. And so she will be. Poor kid.

We feel sorry for the kid and her family. We do not, however, feel sorry for this heartless judge or the family of the old dead broad. Who would have the heart to sue a little girl for an accident like this? Oy vey…

Wooten…we hope Juliet grows up to become a champion motocross racer. That kind of bike wouldn't need training wheels…and it would most definitely sting if she should say...run it across a judge's bench...

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Want to get Delta Airlines' attention? Tweet the words "Delta sucks." 

It will work. Trust us.

In a control room, with big monitors on the wall streaming social media commentary related to airlines, Delta has hired and housed customer service agents who hunt for traveler complaints, which they seek to solve as soon as possible.

Wouldn't want those complaints to go viral. It's the airline's way of nipping things in the bud. In the words of Barney Fife, "Nip it, nip it, nip it."

They actually have a computer program that searches for the words "Delta sucks" as well as other Delta-related verbiage. There's also screens showing how Delta's flights are operating. When bad weather creates delays and missed connections, all the monitors go nuts, as do the Twitter feeds. 

That's when the Delta Tweet Fleet (our name, not Delta's) goes into action. When customers express their anger or displeasure in the form of a tweet, the Fleet makes sure the problem is solved, often before the customer lands at his or her destination (if in flight), and often by bending the airline's rules.

Delta is hoping to avoid embarrassing viral black eyes, like the time musician Dave Carroll made a YouTube video titled, "United Breaks Guitars." The video has been viewed more than 9.4 million times. More recently, there was the incident with Hollywood director Kevin Smith, who tweeted after being removed from a crowded Southwest Airlines flight because of his ample backside.

Bottom line? Delta is attempting to amp up customer service, thereby amping up customer satisfaction, thereby increasing their bottom line. 

Other airlines are arguing that there is danger in delivering more generous solutions to customers who tweet over customers who dial in or type. Most carriers say their social media response teams can deliver faster answers, but they should be the same answers you'd get if you called or e-mailed.

But Delta isn't swayed by the critics. The airline maintains that if their customers receive better, um, tweetment, they'll keep flying Delta.

We'll see. 

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Anti-aging ice cream. 

The headline that such a product was in the works appeared on the Web sites of Allure Magazine and Fox New York. Saggy women everywhere rejoiced.

The so-called news emanated from a deal that consumer products giant Unilever signed with a Silicon Valley company called Ampere Life Sciences. Unilever released a statement that said the two companies were going to work together to unlock the "core biology" of aging, using Ampere's technology to build products containing antioxidants. Details were not provided.

But somehow, those media outlets got the idea that anti-aging ice cream was an idea being explored by Unilever. Probably because Unilever also owns Ben & Jerry's. The whole thing went viral in minutes. 

But an anti-aging ice cream. We seriously doubt it. 

Think about it. Ben & Jerry's ice cream, for the most part, has high fat content. Why, Chunky Monkey alone contains 10 grams of saturated fat in just half a cup. That's 50 percent of the daily recommended intake of fat. It's also high in cholesterol; 65 milligrams in that same serving. 

So…a diet that high in fat and cholesterol means that anti-aging products are, well, superfluous. 

Company spokespersons for each company either said such speculation was not worth comment or they refused to comment. This indicates there's a whole lotta nothing going on here. 

If you truly want to fend off the aging process, don't hold your breath for this frozen treat. As Ben and Jerry themselves said, their ice cream brings "joy for the belly and soul."

We checked the label. It says nothing about fending off Father Time. Sorry.

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A 62-year-old Ecuadorean man napped his way to a $1,400 paycheck in what was billed as Spain's first siesta championship.

Last Saturday, Pedro Sorio Lopez slept for 17 minutes, soundly but loudly. His snoring registered 70 decibels, which earned him extra points, enough to defeat the runner-up, who slept for 18 minutes.

The contest was organized by the National Association of Friends of the Siesta, and was sponsored by a shopping mall in Madrid's working class Carabanchel district. The purpose was to promote a revival of nap time, which has been so associated with Spain. Many feel the tradition of taking a siesta is vanishing because of the pressure of modern times.

Each of the 360 sleepers that participated in the even got  just one shot at achieving "nap-dom," and prizes were given for snoring, odd sleeping positions and wearing striking pajamas. Contestants were given 20 minutes to lie down on couches and were timed by a doctor with a pulse-measuring device to determine how much actual time they each spent sleeping. 

Less than 30 percent of the contestants were able to nod off, since there were so many distractions at the crowded mall. 

So…everyone naps. Animals nap. Humans nap…experts say we're all wired to nap. Naps improve mood, creativity, memory function and heart health. We all know it's good for us, and we miss the days when we could take an afternoon siesta every day. But the problem is, in our opinion, that we've forgotten how to nap. So here are some suggestions.

First of all, it's normal to feel sleepy in the afternoon. That's how we're wired. Every 24 hours, we have two periods of intense sleepiness. It happens to everyone; we are hardwired to nap.

Naps can provide different benefits, depending on how long you nap. A short nap of even 20 minutes will enhance alertness and concentration, mood and coordination. A nap of 90 minutes will get you into slow wave and REM sleep, which enhances creativity. 

If you sleep more than 45 minutes, but not longer than 90 minutes, you'll wake up in the middle of a slow-wave cycle and be groggy. Many people hate taking naps for this reason. Twenty-minute cat naps are better for most people.

Find a nice, dark place where you can lie down. It takes about 50 percent longer to fall asleep sitting up. Remember that white noise can help you sleep. Turn on a fan or invest in one of those ambient noise machines.

Don't nap too close to bedtime, or you won't be able to fall asleep later. Figure out when your in-built sleepy window is – that time in the afternoon when you naturally get sleepy each day – and try to nap then.

Last, but not least, get rid of anything in your life that would prevent you from napping, including all distractions, friends, family members or that pesky job. 

Just kidding. But do try to get away for about 20 minutes and at least relax. You'll feel 100 percent refreshed and ready to tackle whatever comes your way. And you may even win a prize.

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For many people, Halloween is a time to dress up in costumes, go trick or treating, attend parties and eat yummy treats. These events also provide opportunities to provide nutritious snacks, get some physical activity in and focus on safety. Here are some tips to be sure you have a SAFE HALLOWEEN.

S: Swords, knives and similar costumer accessories should be short, soft and flexible.

A: Avoid trick or treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

F: Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

E: Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

H: Hold a flashlight while trick or treating to help you see and others see you.

A: Always test makeup in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent skin and eye irritation.

L: Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks whenever possible.

L: Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.

O: Only walk on sidewalks or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

W: Wear masks that fit well, as well as costumes and shoes, to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.

E: Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats unless you know the cook well.

E: Enter homes only if you are with a trusted adult. Otherwise, stay outside.

N: Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant consumes.

If you are expecting trick or treaters, or party guests, provide healthy treats, like small packs of raisins, trail mix or pretzels. For party guests, offer fruits, vegetables and cheeses.

Use party games and trick or treat time as an opportunity for kids to get in their daily 60-minute dose of physical activity. Be sure walking areas and stairs are well lit and free of obstacles.

Keep candle-lit jack o'lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of small children and pets, and never leave them unattended.

Drivers should be aware of children running around in neighborhoods, and should drive even slower than the recommended speed limit. Be aware that children may attempt to cross in unmarked areas, and may be wearing dark or hard-to-see clothing, so use extra caution and go extra slow.

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Halloween is just a few days away, and folks are heading in droves to their local pumpkin patch to pick up a gourd to carve up all scary-like for the big night. But there's a pumpkin in Wisconsin that will require more than just your basic little carving kit you pick up at Walmart.

Chris and Amy Stevens of New Richmond, Wis. showed up at the Stillwater Harvest Festival in Stillwater, Minn. with a pumpkin that weighed in at a whopping 1,810.5 pounds, 85 pounds heavier than the biggest pumpkin last year. Their pumpkin was so large that it was recognized by Guinness Book of World Records. 

The previous record for the world's larges pumpkin was 1,725 pounds, grown by Christy Harp of Massillon, Ohio.

The pumpkin, and its growers, made a stop in New York to receive the Guinness recognition, and to make a guest appearance on "Live with Regis and Kelly." The pumpkin will be on display at the New York Botanical Garden through Nov. 1. And yes, it will be carved. No word yet as to how it will be carved.

Meanwhile, the largest pumpkin pie, weighing in at 3,699 pounds, was baked in New Bremen, Ohio on Sept. 25, breaking the town's old record of 2,020 pounds. The pie measures 20 feet in diameter, and was the star attraction at the town's Pumpkin Festival.

The pie contained 1,212 pounds of canned pumpkin, 2,796 eggs, 109 gallons of evaporated milk, 525 pounds of sugar, 7 pounds of salt and 14.5 pounds of cinnamon.

Wow. That's some great pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

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Okay…we have officially heard it all now. There are vegetable butchers in New York City. Yep. Vegetable butchers. Apparently, there are enough people in that area that are too lazy to cut up their own veggies, that it's become necessary to create this new vocation.

Jennifer Rubell is the head veggie chopper, and has a whole staff of them at Eataly, an up-scale food emporium in NYC. She says she's just like a bartender, in that customers ask her what to do with weird veggies. There's no alcohol involved though. Except when the whole concept of veggie butchers came into existence.

Apparently, Rubell and the owner of Eataly, famous chef Mario Batali, got the idea while enjoying a few bottles of wine. The idea came up, Rubell said, around midnight. So…let's get this straight…this pair sat down, had a few dozen glasses of wine each and had this conversation…

Rubell: You know…the world is suuuch a bootiful place. It real-ly is. 

Batali: You're right. It's all so…beautiful. (Wipes away tears with the puffy part of his chef's hat)

Rubell: And you know what makessss it even more bootiful? Vegetables. Yeah. Vege-ta-bles. Green ones…red ones…purple ones…yellow ones…even those with the funny pink dots…like those over there…

Batali: More peoples should eat veggies. And drink more wine. 

Rubell: But peoples don't like to cut up the veg…wait…what was I saying? Oh yeah…people don't like to cuddup the veggies they buy.

Batali: Dude! You should be a vegetable butcher! 

Rubell: Yeah…I can do that…hand me those pink carrots over there…

You get the idea. Rubell did say she is thrilled to be able to invent a profession. It works this way…you pick out your veggies there at Eataly, and they'll cut them up for you, free of charge. They'll even explain what the weird-looking ones are and how to cook them.

We suppose this isn't a bad idea, educationally speaking, but the thought of people being too lazy to cut up their own veggies is appalling. But if the worst thing that happens is that more people eat their veggies, then we suppose it's a good thing. 

In September, the Centers for Disease Control released a nationwide study that showed that only 26 percent of American adults eat the suggested three or more servings of vegetables every day. Maybe Rubell and her staff can help.

"If you look at how much time it takes you to cook anything, it's the cutting and prep work," she said, adding that their services save you the time, so that you can just get straight to the fun part: cooking. 

Rubell said she sees herself as a "voice for the veggies." Or maybe, after she's just cracked open another bottle, she hears the voices of the veggies. 

Either way, if it helps America eat better and live healthier, what the heck? Why not have vegetable butchers in every supermarket in America? We'll get on board.

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The U.S. Department of State issued a travel alert for Europe on Oct. 3, which has had little coverage in the media. The alert notifies Americans living or traveling on the continent of the potential for terrorist attacks, and is effective through January 2011.

According to U.S. and European intelligence, "al-Qa'ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks." Past targets for violence, including subway and rail systems, aviation and maritime services and tourist infrastructure, are considered likely future targets. The alert encourages travelers to be aware of their surroundings and be "fastidious about taking safety precautions."

Duh. There's always a chance of a terrorist attack at any given time. And travelers going anywhere should be "fastidious" about being careful.

But officials also said they aren't telling Americans to stay away from Europe. This is just an alert, they say, advising people of possible incidents. The State Department says a more acute threat would be called a "travel warning," which "means business," which addresses prolonged conditions of intense violence.

What muddies the waters here is that these alerts are downright confusing. There was no alert preceding the bombings in London or Madrid, but there was one after the Icelandic ash cloud. Alerts such as this one are not an exact science. It's all about the uncertainty.

The fact is, there is always a threat of terrorist attacks, just like there's always a chance of bad weather. While this alert is certainly vague – as most alerts are – it would be prudent to be prepared – fastidiously careful.

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Apparently, teenagers have a lot to talk about. And they prefer the text message as their communications media.

A Nielsen study shows that teens send an average of six texts an hour for every hour they are awake – that adds up to 3,339 texts a month. The ones doing the most texting are from 13 to 17 years of age, and are females. 

When do teens text? The question should be, when don't they text. Teens send text messages late at night, when they're supposed to be sleeping. They send them between and even in classes. They do it in restaurants and on the bus. They even do it while driving, a huge no-no.

Teenagers text so much that doctors and psychologists are beginning to get worried. These medical and mental experts say the outcome of all these thumb workouts may be anxiety, distraction in school, falling grades, repetitive stress injury and sleep deprivation.

Although there is no conclusive data, since the texting explosion among teens is relatively a new thing, it is clear why they do it. A teen is deluged with constant communication, and the pressure to answer immediately is high. Add to that a strong interest in what's going on with your peers, and a high level of anxiety about being left out of the loop and you can see how the number of texts has grown to sky-high amounts. 

Concerned parents who plan to cut their teens' texting, whether partially or completely, should be prepared for some serious eyeball rolling. Teens who are punished for excessive texting often feel they are being punished for something their parents are just as guilty of doing. 

And here's the twist: kids who see their parents constantly texting don't get upset that Mom and Dad are texting – they get upset because Mom and Dad aren't paying enough attention to them. Teenagers still need their parents to pay attention to them, even though they'd never admit it. 

So even though your kid texts her friends 20 or so times a day, she's still going to get upset if you're on your BlackBerry when she comes out of soccer practice. She wants to see you there, completely there, for her.

Perhaps the message here is that a teen who constantly texts is doing the very same thing for her friends that she wants you to do…she's constantly in communication with them, there for them 24/7. In her own way, your teenager may be telling you just what she needs.

So put down the phone, both of you, and spend a little old fashioned quality time together as part of a technology holiday. You may find yourself saying, at the end of the day, "OMG, ROFLOL."

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Everybody's concerned with the environment these days. With Halloween just around the corner, even candy companies are under pressure to go green.

The major brands, Hershey's, Mars, Nestle and Godiva aren't bio-friendly; only Theo Chocolate and Endangered Species Chocolate get two very green thumbs up. 

Parents are encouraged to look for "sustainable" candy to pass out this year, and asked to choose candies that don't use unethical ingredients that are grown using unsustainable methods. Many candy companies have made efforts that are't exactly, well, an effort. In other words, if they can commit to utilize a large amount of responsibly-sourced chocolate without putting forth any effort, well then, by gum, they'll go green.

So this started us to thinking…are there ways we could go green that wouldn't really require any effort. Here's what we came up with.

Wasting water and releasing harmful chemicals back into the environment are big no-no's. So we decided that our first step will be to eat all of our meals over the sink. We also plan to drink straight from the bottle as well…milk, orange juice, apple juice…whatever. And we will recycle the bottles when we've drained them.

Americans bathe a lot. We're downright bath crazy. But we don't have to bathe every single day. A couple of times a week is sufficient to keep you healthy. 

It takes about 3 gallons of water to flush a toilet. So, we say, if it's yellow, let it mellow. Don't flush every time you go and you'll save 3 gallons of water per pit stop.

You can also save water by doing laundry less. You can wear your clothes two or three times before you need to wash them. We recommend waiting until they start to itch. That's the sure sign they're ready for laundering.

For men, the stubbly-faced look is in. Women, on the other hand, face a negative stereotype if they go unshaven. But we say, throw away the razor, save the planet. A little long hair in the pits is just a girl's way of saying, "I love you Mother Earth."

There's a lot of pressure on a woman to wear makeup. And, at times, it's certainly necessary, like when you're going for a job interview, on a date or for a night out. Or when you just don't feel like scaring small children. But for a trip to the post office or grocery store, you don't have to pile on the Maybelline. 

A lot of trees are killed to make tissues just to wipe our snotty noses. If we used handkerchiefs instead, just think of all the trees we'd save. We'd be carrying around a mucus-filled cloth…but we'd be saving the planet.

And last, but not least, we say get rid of the perfumes, deodorants, aftershaves and colognes. They contain harsh chemicals and packaging waste. Let yourself stink, as nature and God intended. This reduces chemicals and waste. If you experience a decrease in friends, try using an all-natural deodorant. 

These things may not be politically correct, and they may be gross, but getting a little gross is worth it to save our planet. Always ask yourself: What would nature do?

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This month brings special attention to cancer awareness, and organizations all over the country are holding events aimed at raising awareness and encouraging women to be proactive when it comes cancer and their health.

But cancer is a disease that knows no boundaries, and pointing the finger at one type of cancer isn't enough. We can all give our money and time to raise both awareness and provide for research and care for cancer patients, but there's nothing like connecting with one person who's dealing with cancer firsthand to make it oh, so real.

For several years now, MTV has hosted a reality competition featuring its young stars in various competitions, with the end prize being a boat-load of money. We've watched them compete, we've watched them fight, we've watched them fall in love, and we've watched them get sent home. One of those competitors is a fierce young woman named Diem Brown.

Brown found out she had ovarian cancer at 23, just before she was set to begin filming with MTV. She'd just finished college, and was landing those fabulous first-time jobs in the entertainment industry, and the MTV gig was the icing on the cake. And then she heard the "C-word." It was made even more difficult by the fact that Brown had lost her mother to the disease as well.

Determined to not let cancer have the upper hand, Brown plunged into the competition, and her cancer treatments. She became a standout on the show not because she had the loudest mouth or was the fiercest competitor, but because she showed a level of courage seldom seen in her generation.

During her treatment, Brown felt alone, and faced financial and emotional hardships, but she didn't know how to ask for help. The struggles she faced led her to create a community where patients facing any type of illness or recovery would have a place to turn to for support from friends, family and even strangers. Brown's vision became MedGift.

MedGift is a social network community unlike any you've seen. It allows patients, and those who care about them, to share updates on their health and care. MedGift is also a health registry that allows loved ones a place to provide things a patient may need, including prayers or a simple phone call to help with medical expenses.

The site includes a gift registry that provides an online listing of the things a patient needs to assist them during their treatment and recovery. The registry includes three sections: Needs, Wants and Wishes.

The Needs section allows patients to request assistance with medical bills related to their treatment and recovery. At some MedGift-affiliated health care facilities, supporters can submit credit card payments and have them posted against the patient's account through the MedGift site.

The Wants section is for listing the items that could be purchased for the patient using a gift card, such as a new wig, magazine subscriptions or a grocery card.

The Wishes section is for listing things a patient might request like prayers, transportation help, pet sitting, help with kids, shopping assistance, visits, or a personal note or letter. 

Today, Brown is an established broadcast professional, and a Sky Showbiz and Fox Entertainment reporter. She continues to encourage those dealing with cancer to hang in there and fight. And she urges the rest of us to "celebrate loved ones through medical misfortunes."

What better way is there to bring awareness than to help those dealing with it day by day?

We couldn't think of one, either. Check out the Web site at www.medgift.com.

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We've spotted some really funny headlines lately, and decided to chronicle some of the more entertaining ones. Keep in mind, these are actual headlines that appeared in newspapers all over the country.

• Police arrest everyone on February 22nd

• Royals to get a taste of Angels' Colon

• Federal agents raid gun shop, find weapons

• Skywalkers in Korea cross Han solo

• Missippi's literacy program shows improvement

• Man executed after long speech

• Chick accuses some of her male colleagues of sexism

• Statistics show that teen pregnancy drops off significantly after age 25

• Threat disrupts plans to meet about threats

• Man accused of killing lawyer receives new attorney

• Hooker named Lay Person of the Year

• Psychics predict world didn't end yesterday

• Killer sentenced to die for second time in 10 years

• Two convicts evade noose, jury hung

• Kids make nutritious snacks

• Miners refuse to work after death

• Milk drinkers are turning to powder

• Grandmother of eight makes hole in one

• William Kelly was fed secretary

• Quarter of a million Chinese live on water

• Farmer bill dies in house

• Autos killing 110 a day; let's resolve to do better

• If strike isn't settled quickly, it may last a while

• War dims hope for peace

• Child's death ruins couple's holiday

• Something went wrong in jet crash, experts say

• Death causes loneliness, feeling of isolation

When newspapers make mistakes, they are supposed to publish an apology. Unfortunately, many don't ever do so, refusing to admit they're wrong. Some do. And the results are hysterical. 

For example, The Derby Abbey Community News published the following: "We apologize for the error in the last edition, in which we stated that 'Mr. Fred Nicolme is a defective in the police force.' This was a typographical error. We meant, of course, that Mr Nicolme is a detective in the police farce."

Perhaps the most read and funniest among the goofy news stories is the one with the headline, "Man bites dog." And yes, it really happened. Here's the story, as it appeared.

It's often said if a dog bites a man it's not news, but if a man bites a dog, you've got a story. Well, here is that story.

West Haven, Conn. Officer Scott Bloom was on patrol with his K-9, Onyx, near the Rite Aid on Elm Street when he noticed Roderick Lewis walking toward him. Lewis yelled out, "I need a bag of dust," referring to angel dust or PCP, according to police.

Lewis, 23, walked toward the officer and reached into his waistband, police said, and the officer grabbed Lewis' arms and told him to stop. That's when Lewis punched Bloom in the face.

Onyx jumped from Bloom's cruiser and attacked the suspect, latching onto his leg. But then Lewis did his own chomping, biting into the dog's side, police said. Lewis didn't let go until the officer was able to pull him off the dog.

Lewis was charged with assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct and cruelty to animals. Bloom and Onyx were treated for their injuries.

Just goes to show you that truth is stranger than fiction. You just can't make this stuff up.

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Facebook co-founder Sean Parker has given $100,000 to back a proposal to legalize marijuana in California. 

Parker's donation was reported in Proposition 19 campaign finance filings this week, but he's not the first donor with ties to Facebook. Dustin Moskovitz, also a co-founder, gave $20,000 to the campaign, and has contributed $70,000 overall. 

Parker is played by Justin Timberlake in the "The Social Network," in theaters now, which tells the story of how the social networking giant came to be. Parker developed Napster, the music-sharing software that gave the recording industry the willies  way back when, before he hooked up with Mark Zuckerberg, who is now the brains behind the Book of Face.

Neither Parker nor Moskovitz is still employed with Facebook. It's not a stretch to figure out why.

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This week's "Now THAT'S chutzpah!" award has to be given to two different parties, but in a strange way related.

The first has to go to Kody Brown and his three wives and fiancee for thinking they can "shine a positive light" on polygamy and not get negative attention.

Brown and his brood are starring in the new TLC series "Sister Wives." The 41-year-old  advertising salesman, his three wives, fiancee, her three children and his 13 children, all call Lehi, Utah home. They had hoped the peek into their lives would help broaden the public's understanding of their lifestyle and of plural families in general.

But all that broadening led to an investigation by the Lehi Police Department, the second recipient of this week's award. According to official police reports, the Browns are being investigated as to "whether the family is violating bigamy laws in plain view on cable television."

Let's see, polygamy is against the law. The Browns signed up for a television show so that people would see polygamists live out their polygamist lifestyle…on TV. Yep. Good luck with figuring that one out, LPD.

There are an estimated 38,000 self-described fundamentalist Mormons who continue to believe and/or practice polygamy in the United States, and they believe it brings exaltation in heaven. The Mormon church, however, excommunicates members who are found to be engaged in the practice, which was disavowed by the church in 1890 as part of a push for Utah's statehood.

When Brown was considering whether to do the show, he went to his church for its blessing, but the church's community leader said ixnay on the owshay. Why? Because the law squarely outlaws bigamy and he felt the church wouldn't want that kind of heat. 

Brown still chose to sign up, but he says it bothers him that even though he feels his family is normal, he can't tell anyone about his "normal" family. 

But isn't that exactly what you're doing, Mr. Brown?

You can't have it both ways…you're either publicly a polygamist or you're a secret one. It doesn't work both ways. For thinking it does, we give you half of this week's award.

And for some very astute investigative police work, we give the other half to the LPD.

We're sure the people in Lehi feel much safer knowing you guys are looking out for them.

Posted by bulldog | with no comments
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Fifty years ago this week, Americans first fell in love with the quirkiest bunch of folks ever to stop by a courthouse – the characters who called fictional Mayberry, N.C. home and Andy Taylor their sheriff.

Taylor was played by North Carolina native Andy Griffith, and the show managed to dispense Southern charm each week without poking fun. And America is still eating it up.

The show has been in syndication almost ever since it went off the air in the 1960s. The Andy Griffith Show first aired Oct. 3, 1960, and got so-so reviews from critics. But people loved the homespun humor and good family values the show spewed forth each week. 

Griffith played a comedic hayseed in the first episode, the one which gave the back story of how his Aunt Bea came to live with Taylor, who was a widower, and his young son, Opie. But Griffith's character soon became the straight man to his deputy, Barney Fife, and the rest of the town's crazy crew.

There were many memorable episodes of The Andy Griffith Show…the one with those horrible pickles Aunt Bea made…the one where Opie found the baby birds…the one where Rafe Hollister sings…there are so many, it would be difficult to pick a favorite. But we'll give it a shot…

Our favorite episode is the one entitled, "Andy on Trial." In this one, Andy has to travel to Raleigh to arrest noted newspaper publisher J. Howard Jackson and bring him back to Mayberry, to appear before the justice of the peace (also Andy) for a speeding ticket he had received two weeks before. Jackson had received the summons, and tossed it aside. 

So with his lawyer, a very upset Jackson returns to Mayberry to appear before Andy. He pleads guilty, and is fined $15. Jackson gets even more irate when he realizes he drove all that distance for a measly $15 fine – so he vows to get even with Andy.

Jackson orders one of his reporters to go to Mayberry and dig up all the dirt she can find on Andy, and twist it into a tabloid-type article about the sheriff, designed to destroy his reputation.

The reporter travels to Mayberry and poses as a college student, and she sweet talks Barney into giving her some dirt on Andy. When the article appears, Andy finds himself facing a misconduct hearing, with the state's main witness against him being Barney.

When Barney takes the stand, he makes it clear he never intended to hurt his friend, and gives a heart-felt monologue about his best buddy. Barney learns that it's more important to be aware of the needs of others, like Andy, than to place so much importance on running a "taut ship."

Barney's final thought on the matter was a simple one, and one we can all learn from. That was always the thing about the show – there was always a lesson in it. It wasn't overdone…it wasn't preachy. It was just simple, homespun and honest.

Oh yeah…Barney's thought: "When you're dealing with people, you do a whole lot better if you go not so much by the book, but by the heart."

Well, said, Deputy Fife. Well said.

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