Archive for the ‘Amazing and Interesting Stories’ Category

A self-serve gas law took effect in Oregon on Monday, and some Oregonians aren’t taking it well. House Bill 2482, which was signed into law last year, allows motorists to pump their own gas in nearly half of Oregon’s 36-counties. It seems that Oregon and New Jersey had long been the only two states in the U.S. to bar customers from pumping their own fuel. Anywho, like I said, folks are all freaking out about having to actually get out of their car and handle a dangerous and smelly gas pump and whatnot. Check out some of the social media comments:

“I don’t even know HOW to pump gas and I am 62, native Oregonian! I say NO THANKS! I don’t want to smell like gasoline!”

Uh, bro. You won’t. What, do you think you dip it out of a bucket with your hands?

“I’ve lived in this state all my life and I REFUSE to pump my own gas. This is a service only qualified people should perform. I will literally park at the pump and wait until someone pumps my gas.”

Yep. Couldn’t agree more. Because those gas station attendants undergo a stringent training course to learn the intricacies of operating the complicated gas pump. Like, you know, lifting it from the cradle, inserting it into the filler neck of your gas tank, and pulling the trigger thingy to pump the gas.*

*Trigger Thingy is actually the name. True story.

“I go to work at 5 in the morning. Not a lot of people at the gas pumps at that time in the morning. And yes, I will not feel safe pumping my own gas. Not to mention it’s freezing and rainy. So thank you to all who voted to change it. You have now taken away a nice luxury that most of us enjoyed.”

Awww. Again with the worries of safety and getting cold and wet. Are Oregonians really that soft? In Ohio we lick the access gas off our hands and get on with our day.

“Many people are not capable of knowing how to pump gas and the hazards of not doing it correctly. Besides I don’t want to go to work smelling of gas when I get it on my hands or clothes. I agree very bad idea.”

Seriously, do these people think folks are blowing up their cars on the regular in the 48 states where people pump their own freaking gas? Good God, man. On a related note . . .

“Yuck! Pumping my own fuel in freezing temperatures and handling a nasty ole fuel nozzle that 50 other people have touched that day (and who knows what cooties are on there), no thank you. It’s nice to not have to pump your own fuel.”

Son, do you realize how many objects you touch every day that 100 other people have touched? The answer is exactly 4,567. I looked it up. Seriously, are Oregonians that soft? Damn it Trump!

Note: You youngbloods out there won’t remember this, but when I was a kid you’d pull into a gas station, 3 or 4 guys in uniforms and ties would come running out, and not only would they pump your gas but they’d wash your windshield, check the air in your tires and give you a foot massage. OK, that last part wasn’t true but the rest is 100% accurate. Oh, and if you filled your tank they’d give you a dinnerware set or something. True damn story. 

See? I wouldn’t lie to ya.

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Remember that big story yesterday where we found out the US government has been investigating UFOs for years? Well, now we have some actual, real video of a goddamn UFO. Did you read what I just wrote? We have video of an alien spacecraft. Watch the video for yourself, man. That spaceship flies off like a damn bumblebee at the end. What the hell moves like that? An alien craft, that’s what. Seriously, the pilots witnessing this are just dumbstruck. I’ll tell you something else, folks – being able to fly like that means they have the technology to travel at the speed of light. Which means they can bend time. Which means they are probably bending time in space so they can’t be seen. Which means we are beyond screwed and we’re all gonna die soon because we would totally lose an intergalactic war. Hey, I’ve seen movies. Those alien transformer freaks don’t mess around. Meanwhile we’re still trying to put a person on Mars while these ETs are cruising from universe to universe like it ain’t no thang. It’s all over but the dying.

PS- The chances of us being alone are as infinitesimally small as the universe in exponentially big. That’s just science.

PPS- No way I’m getting captured either. Nobody’s probing me, man.

NY Times — In the $600-billion annual Defense Department budgets, the $22-million spent on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was almost impossible to find, which was exactly how the Pentagon wanted it.

For years, the program investigated reports of unidentified flying objects, according to Defense Department officials, interviews with program participants and records obtained by The New York Times. It was run by a military intelligence official, Luis Elizondo, on the fifth floor of the Pentagon’s C Ring, deep within the building’s maze.

The Defense Department has never before acknowledged the existence of the program. 

“Hmmm. Is it aliun or alien?”

Well, well, well. For years our government has denied that UFOs exist, yet all the while operating the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program deep within the bowels of the Pentagon. Guys just investigating aliens like you read about. And you just know they’ve found something and aren’t telling us. I guarantee they have photos of alien craft or maybe even have knowledge of aliens among us. Then again, I think they have to brief the president on this stuff, right? If so that really clouds the issue because you just know that upon hearing anything cool Trump would tweet about it within minutes. No way he could keep that knowledge to himself. Trump, man. Shoots out tweets like a 5th grader, except with poorer grammar.

PS- I’m sure you read my acclaimed blog titled Aliens Among Us. In it I laid out my theory that they’re here and living with us. We all know a couple. With that in mind, here are my top 5 possibilities of aliens living among us:

  1. Oprah. Of course Oprah’s an alien, except when they made her up to look like a humanoid they made her head too damn big, a dead giveaway. Clearly not human.
  2. Ryan Seacrest. You know how I’m certain he’s an alien? It’s those

    Seacrest, man.

    staring, soulless eyes. Chills, man.

  3. Tom Cruise. Come on man. He’s a Scientologist. They believe that a galactic being named Xenu brought billions of people from a “Galactic Confederacy” to earth in spaceships shaped like jet airplanes. Xenu then stacked the people around volcanoes and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. The people didn’t die though, they became spirits that have caused harm to humans for 75-million years now. Dead serious. Look it up. Anywho, alien. Duh.
  4. Steve Buscemi. Obvious choice, amirite? Please. Dude has eyes that bore right through you. And I’m pretty sure a young apprentice alien was in charge of his mouth. Just a poor effort there.
  5. Christopher Walken. Ever notice how he really tries to talk normally but struggles putting sentences together? Yeah, me too. And once again, the eyes give it away. Not only is Walken obviously an alien, he may actually be their leader. It’s definitely him or a former administrator at the school where I taught. Anyway, Walken? No brainer there.

Earlier this autumn, an asteroid named Oumuamua captured the attention of the scientific world when it was confirmed as the first known object from outside the solar system. Now, Breakthrough Listen wants to see if it’s the first sign of life beyond our planet.  On Wednesday, the $100 million project to detect potential evidence of extraterrestrials plans to use the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia to observe the asteroid across four radio bands for 10-hours. “Most likely it is of natural origin, but because it is so peculiar, we would like to check if it has any sign of artificial origin, such as radio emissions,” Avi Loeb, professor of astronomy at Harvard University and an adviser to Breakthrough Listen, told The Guardian. “If we do detect a signal that appears artificial in origin, we’ll know immediately. We don’t want to be sensational in any way, and we are very realistic about the chances this is artificial,” Yuri Milner, the Silicon Valley billionaire behind the Breakthrough Initiatives, told Scientific American. “But because this is a unique situation, we think mankind can afford 10 hours of observing time using the best equipment on the planet to check a low-probability hypothesis. Oumuamua’s unusual cigar shape ― 10 times longer than it is wide ― was also “the most likely architecture for an interstellar spacecraft since this would minimize friction and damage from interstellar gas and dust,” the organization said. However, “a natural origin is more likely.”

Well, hell. It’s happening. It’s really happening. A cigar-shaped alien spaceship is cruising by earth. Everybody stand really still and try to act inconspicuous. Maybe Oumuamua won’t see us. Seriously, everybody knows asteroids aren’t long and thin. They’re all jaggedy and whatnot. That’s just science. You know what is longer and than it is wide and flies through space? A damn alien spaceship, that’s what. Now excuse me while I take Sparky with me to my underground lair.

PS- My underground lair is fully stocked with Cheez-Its, Cheez Whiz, Wonder Bread and Rock Star Punch energy drinks. That’s all I need until Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal take care of these freaks.

PPS- Can you imagine what Trump would do if aliens landed in DC? He’d probably finish his round of golf in Florida and then fly to Russia to ask Putin to protect him.

PPPS- I lied in my first PS. I’d have some booze down there too.

You guys know how all these wild conspiracy theories interest me. JFK, the supposed death of Paul McCartney, hell, I even posted about cartoons and the movie Back to the Future predicting 9/11. And have I mentioned that Stevie Wonder may not be blind? Anywho, this stuff make compelling reading even if you’re 99% certain it isn’t true.

Still, there’s that 1%. That’s what makes it all fascinating.

Anyway, what you’re about to read and see may be the wildest, most outlandish theory of all – Elvis Presley was an extra in Home Alone.

Because of course he was.

There is a scene midway through the film, where Catherine O’Hara’s character is bartering with an airline employee over a ticket counter in a Scranton Airport. A bearded man in a sports coat and turtleneck hovers over her left shoulder, occasionally expressing his impatience with his body language. This man, many believe, is played by none other than The King himself. Let’s take a gander . . .

Huh. Well, Elvis grew a beard for the movie Charro back in the 60’s. Let us compare:

Damn, that is a close resemblance. But oh, there’s more.

Well, now I’m all shook up. Say no more. I’m convinced. I know suspicious minds won’t concur, but Elvis was in the movie Home Alone 13-years after his alleged “death.” Come on Elvis. Don’t be cruel. It’s now or never. It’s time for your big comeback.

Have a blue Christmas everybody!

PS- If you know that actor’s name please don’t tell me. Let me keep on believin’.

 

First, watch the video:

Wait. What just happened? That’s physically impossible. Dude floated back up like a damn ghost or something. That’s some supernatural shit right there, man. And the player from the Chiefs knew. Look at how he looked at Zay Jones. He was flabbergasted. Here’s what happened – Zay Jones forgot he was pretending to be human and acted exactly how an alien from God-knows-where would act. Hey, I wrote about these people recently. I ain’t dumb.

So batshit crazy Charles Manson died at 83 on Sunday after spending 46-years behind bars for the murders of Sharon Tate and six others. Welcome to hell, Charlie.

Anyway, the murders were absolutely terrifying, and if you’ve ever read the book “Helter Skelter” you’ll know why. Chills, man.

Manson, who was once labeled by Rolling Stone as “the most dangerous man alive”, won’t be missed by many. However, for “Breaking Bad” and “Malcom in the Middle” actor Bryan Cranston, the death of the madman caused him to recall a chilling childhood memory.

“Hearing Charles Manson was dead, I shuddered,” Cranston told radio host Dan Patrick. “I was within his grasp just 1-year before he committed the brutal murders in 1969.”

“I didn’t actually meet him,” Cranston said, but he explained he was in very close proximity to him. “Where I grew up in the San Fernando Valley there was an area called Santa Susana Pass that goes from one valley to another. In the middle of this pass was the Spahn Ranch, where they rented horses.”

Cranston went on to say that he and his cousin were renting horses when someone yelled, “Charlie’s on the hill!” People then took off on their horses.
Not knowing what was going on, Cranston and his cousin got on their horses and began riding. Then, about a half hour later, they saw a trail of horses coming toward them.

“In the middle of the pack was a guy holding the reins of the horse behind him,” Cranston recalled. “On the horse behind him was this little bearded guy with big, dead eyes and wild hair.”

The cousins passed Manson, looking at him, but Manson didn’t look over at them. They simply realized that must be the “Charlie” everyone was talking about.

It wasn’t until a year later, when they saw his picture in the paper after the murders, they realized that was the man they saw.

And that, my friends, was a close encounter of a terrifying kind.

Nature, man. Just full of surprises and doin’ it up big per usual. Surprise a minute and I love it. That said, see how many of these amazing facts:

  • A blue whale can make a fart bubble so big that a horse could fit inside it. On a related note, that would really suck for the horse.
  • Sloths poop about once a week and it is massive, up to 1/3 its body weight. Think Uncle Roger at Thanksgiving. Because they’re vulnerable to predators at this time, up to 50% of sloths deaths occur while they’re doing #2.
  • A female wallaby, while running from a predator, will toss her joey from her pouch to reduce her weight as well as to give her pursuer something to snack on. That’s cold, man.
  • Crows will remember individual human faces for their entire lives.
  • An armadillo’s armor is so thick that a bullet once bounced off it and hit the person who fired it. Karma to the max.
  • Female ferrets in heat will die if they don’t get laid.
  • Dolphins can identify humans by checking our skeleton structure through their sonar. They’ve also helped shipwrecked victims by fighting off sharks, because they’re badass.
  • Iceland has no mosquitos.
  • Baby elephants suck on their trunks for comfort, just like human babies suck on their thumbs.
  • Research has shown that dogs appreciate music and have their own musical preference. I know this to be true because my dog Sparky hates Taylor Swift.
  • Male giraffes court other males more often than females, and 94% of giraffe sex takes place between dudes.
  • Kinkajous have the ability to turn their feet around and run just as quickly backwards as they do forwards.
  • When male honey bees mate, their penises explode and they die. During the queens nuptial flight, she’ll have sex with about a dozen males and leave a trail of their dead, penisless corpses in her wake. How romantic.
  • Daddy Long Legs predate the dinosaurs.

See? Guarantee you didn’t know at least some of those. You’re welcome.

Progress can be a real pain in the ass, ya know? Especially when developers are constructing giant skyscrapers all up in your business and whatnot. And even though the big boys are throwing money at you left and right in an effort to get you to sell, sometimes folks just don’t wanna leave the old homestead. What follows are some of the most stubborn, hard-headed badasses that refused to cave in to big business. And you know what? You can’t help but respect them. Take a look:

Let’s start with Miss Edith Macefield, who refused to sell her humble abode even though she was offered a cool $1,000,000 for it. Fun fact: This house was the inspiration for the movie “Up”. Cool.

Next up we have some dude named Randal Acker. Randall refused to sell his little house in downtown Portland so they built a huge Portland State University Residence Hall around it. Crazy stuff.

Here’s a couple homeowners who stood strong as some jackass developers built around them. Doesn’t look like they have much of a backyard.

Check out this one in Melbourne, Australia. It was actually protected by the government so it was incorporated into the design of the new building. Crazy, man.

Here’s one from Guangzhou, where the authorities had to build the highway around some buildings because three families wouldn’t move. Impressive.

Finally, we have this gem. The house was a duplex in Toronto and one owner wanted to sell, the other not so much. Incredibly, this is the end result.

A nurse fleeing California’s raging wildfires said “neigh” to leaving her pony behind. Lauren Mesaros decided to drive away from the Tubbs Fire flames Monday with her pony, Stardust, in the backseat, after realizing the trailer she had could only fit two of her three horses, SF Gate reported.

“He actually walked right into the car like a dog would,” Mesaros said.
The quick-acting woman lured her steed in the back of her 2001 Honda Accord. Her sister-in-law posted a Facebook photo of the pony filling up the backseat, his snout fogging up the window, with the caption: “When Lauren has to evacuate her pony from Santa Rosa but no transport is available—you do what you have to do.”

Hell yes you do what you have to do, and what Lauren Mesaros had to do was get Stardust out of harms way as soon as possible. Honestly, look at that face –  no way you could leave that pony behind. And Stardust hopped right into the backseat. He knew what was up. Anyway, kudos Lauren Mesaros. Kudos indeed.

Everyone can fly, just not very well.

Passengers on a Bali-bound AirAsia flight say they were left terrified after their plane suddenly lost cabin pressure and dropped 20,000 feet shortly after take-off.

The flight from Perth to Bali with 145-people on board was forced to turn back only 25 minutes after take-off on Sunday morning. Flight QZ535 passengers described how they were ordered to adopt the brace position and use their oxygen masks, with some saying they thought they would die during the ordeal.

A technical problem caused the aircraft to plunge from 32,000 feet to 10,000 feet without warning. Passenger Claire skew told 7 News the passengers were terrified.

Wait. Your plane dropped from 32,000-feet to 10,000-feet and you thought you would die? That’s shocking.  I usually don’t start to panic until the plane gets to around 1000-feet. Even then, I wait to around 500-feet before I put down my peanuts and drink to start looking for the exit door. Come on, people of AirAsia Flight QZ535, have some poise. Geez.

PS- If you think I’d ever get on an airline called AirAsia you’re out of your gourd.  They probably inspect the planes once every 10-years.

So some bro named Tim Newton from Alaska woke up the other morning to an amazing sight – a family of lynx frolicking and rough-housing on his front porch. I have one reaction to this. I want a family of lynx frolicking and rough-housing on my front porch and I want it now!

[Click the pics, man!]

People Magazine: Mugsy the dog still lives in Severna Park, Md. Given the eerie events claimed by his owners, it’s surprising that Mugsy lives anywhere at all. On Oct. 27, they say, the 4-year-old Jack Russell terrier went to that cold, dread place that Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King have written about—and he has lived to wag the tail.

Mugsy’s brush with the beyond began about 3 P.M., when he was hit by a car outside Viola Tiszl’s house, where her boyfriend, Glenn Maloney, was taking care of their two children. “I picked Mugsy up,” says Maloney, 30, a restaurant worker, “but he died in my arms.”

Maloney told the children—Megan, 5, and Kevin, 3—to stay in the house. He carried the body to a corner of the wooded lot, dug a hole he estimates was three feet deep and buried him. “I know a dead dog when I see one,” says Maloney. “This one was real dead. He was not breathing. He had no heartbeat.”

Later that evening, after Viola got home from her job at a cable TV company, they took the children—including Raymond, 8, Viola’s son by her ex-husband—to view the grave. Megan said a prayer. They planned to put a wooden cross on the spot next morning. At 5:30 A.M., 14 hours after Mugsy’s interment, Glenn and Viola were awakened by scratching at the door. Glenn went to the door. “I couldn’t believe it,” he says. What he saw was the not-so-late Mugsy, with his “little tail wagging at 90 mph.”

“Mugsy was covered with dirt,” says Viola, 27, “and his eyes were bloodshot.” Incredibly, he seemed quite chipper otherwise. For a few days after the night of the living dog, Zeus, Viola’s German shepherd, gave Mugsy a wide berth. As for Mugsy himself, he is back chasing squirrels, digging for moles and eating the brains of small children who wander into his yard.

OK, I made that last part about brains up. Not gonna lie.

Anyway, wow. Just wow. That’s some Stephen King shit right there. I believe I’d have kept a close eye on old Mugsy for a couple days. Zeus the German Shepherd knew what was up. He sensed there might a little zombie action going on. “Kept a wide berth” indeed.

And hey, that Glenn Maloney sure has some nerve, right? “I know a dead dog when I see one.” Uh, Glen? No, you don’t. You don’t know a dead dog when you see one. You know, because that wasn’t a dead dog you saw. Bottom line, dogs? Don’t fall asleep around Glen. You might wake up buried 3-feet deep in the corner of a wooded lot.

And is anyone surprised the dog that came back to life was a Jack Russell? Little dudes are badass. My Sparky has whipped a coyote and brought a Doberman to its knees once. Being buried alive is like a walk in the park to those guys.

PS – What are the odds Glenn Maloney resented Mugsy’s awesomeness and used the accident as an excuse to get rid of him? If so, the dude had no idea who he was dealing with. Jacks, man. Takes more than being buried alive to kill them. Tough as nails.

Brazil: Marília and Matheus Pieroni were just beginning their tented São Paulo wedding ceremony when, instead of the bride herself, a stray dog who had wandered in from the storm outside marched down the aisle to the bridal chorus. The canine was removed as the young couple entered, but just as they prepared to read their vows, he returned – and laid down to sleep right on top of Marília’s veil. Some women may have gone into full Bridezilla mode at this point, but Marília insisted the pup be welcomed as an official guest, which he certainly was. “It was a very pleasant surprise for me, because I love animals,” Marília told The Dodo. As the night wound down, the newlyweds searched for their surprise acquaintance, but he had crept away unnoticed. Determined to take him in as their very own, a city-wide search commenced for the stray that stole everyone’s hearts. He was found and joined the newlyweds as their newest family member.

I have nothing to add to that, because it is AWESOME.

Rough indeed.

Theodore Roosevelt was an American statesman, author, explorer, soldier, and naturalist, who served as the 26th President of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He was also either the most daring, toughest SOB who ever lived or he was crazy as a loon. You be the judge. What follows are 11 of the wildest things my man TR ever did.

HE GOT SHOT IN THE CHEST AND PROCEEDED TO GIVE A 90-MINUTE SPEECH

Yep. That’s the shirt.

In October of 1912, Roosevelt was on the campaign trail stumping for the Bull Moose Party. During a speech in Milwaukee, he was shot in the chest by some crank named John Flammang Schrank. Because our man Teddy deduced that he was not coughing up blood, he elected to continue his speech, because hell yes he did. We’re talking about a man very familiar with the effects of gunshot wounds. He’d already shot and killed pretty much every animal on the planet (more on that later) and had watched men bleed out on the battlefield during his military service. Then he had the would-be assassin brought to him and told him “It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” Jesus that’s badass. Then, before he spoke, Roosevelt declared, “I was going to make a long speech, and there is a bullet… the bullet is in me now, so that I cannot make a very long speech, but I will try my best.” When people in the crowd questioned this he simply opened his jacket to show his blood-soaked shirt. 90-minutes later the speech ended.

And oh, by the way, Roosevelt carried the bullet in his chest for the rest of his life.

HE OVERCAME CHILDHOOD ILLNESS THROUGH SHEER FORCE OF WILL

When young Teddy Roosevelt would have asthma attacks, his father, Theodore Sr., would take him on carriage rides to force air into his lungs. And when young T.R.’s illnesses would prevent him from keeping up with other children his age, his father simply said to him: “You have the mind but you have not the body. You must make your body.” Young T.R.’s many health ailments would soon recede as he took up athletics, hiking, and hunting. Only Teddy R could fend off sickness without medicine and with only pure force of will. Teddy, man.

HE’S BASICALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR MODERN FOOTBALL AS WE KNOW IT

Football was once a bloody, brutal, potentially deadly sport. In 1904, there were 18 football related deaths and 159 serious injuries. On a related note, today’s players are wussy-like pansies of the highest order. Anywho, in order for the sport to survive, modern rules needed to be put in place. T.R. invited the head coaches of the top collegiate football teams to the White House on several occasions, strongly urging them to reconsider the rules of the game. He wrote at the time that his goal was not to emasculate the game – but simply to make it less lethal. By 1906, radical rule changes to the game of football were implemented.  “I believe in rough games and in rough, manly sports. I do not feel any particular sympathy for the person who gets battered about a good deal so long as it is not fatal.” Seems logical enough, amirite?

TEDDY AND HIS SON KILLED 512 ANIMALS IN ONE SAFARI

Listen, everyone knows I’m a big animal guy. No excuse for this bullshit. And turning an elephant’s foot into a trash can takes a special kind of crazy. If you ever take a tour of The Summer White House, Roosevelt’s Long Island home at Sagamore Hill, you will notice that it is full of such disgusting and sometimes wondrous animal trophies. Numerous elephant foot trash receptacles. A rhino foot pen holder. Bear and mountain lion rugs. Bison, moose, and deer wall ornaments. An elk hat rack. The North Room, at his estate on Long Island, is truly a spectacle to behold. Visit it. You will be amazed.

DURING HIS HONEYMOON HE SNUCK OUT TO CLIMB THE FREAKING MATTERHORN

Seriously. During his honeymoon. Dead serious. While a student at Harvard, Dr. Dudley Sargent had warned Roosevelt, who had been a sickly child that, because of a weak heart failure to lead a sedentary life could have fatal consequences. TR would have none of it. “Doctor, I’m going to do all the things you tell me not to do. If I’ve got to live the sort of life you have described, I don’t care how short it is.” A year after graduation, Roosevelt took time from his European honeymoon with wife Alice to scale the 15,000-foot Matterhorn.

HE ONCE STAYED UP 40-STRAIGHT HOURS TO WATCH 3-OUTLAWS HE’D CAPTURED

After his wife and mother died – on the same damn day – T.R. grieved in his own unique way: by leaving the city behind for the wild of the American West to become a cowboy, because what the hell else would you expect from him? He operated a cattle ranch in Little Missouri in the Dakotas for a few years, learning to ride, rope, and hunt. He worked alongside men who made him tougher, stating that they “took the snob out of him.” During his years in the West, he wrote several books on the subject, before returning home and running for office. Anyway, while living in North Dakota T.R. became a deputy sheriff, which by now should be in no way surprising. During this time, he once pursued three boat thieves through a frozen river. After capturing them, he personally took them to the town of Dickinson for trial rather than allow them to be hanged by vigilantes. On the journey, he watched them for 40-hours straight without sleep. Of course, he read Tolstoy to keep himself occupied. “I kept guard over the three prisoners, who were huddled into a sullen group some twenty yards off, just the right distance for the buckshot in the double-barrel.”  Bad. Ass.

HE HAD A HUGE TATTOO OF THE ROOSEVELT FAMILY CREST ON HIS CHEST

Yes kids, Teddy Roosevelt was the only US president who was inked up. That is all.

HE WENT ON AN UNCHARTED JOURNEY DOWN AN ANACONDA AND PIRANHA-INFESTED RIVER IN SOUTH AMERICA

Listen to this one – Accompanied by his son Kermit and famed explorer Colonel Candido Rondon, they set off on a journey down a river in South America known as the River of Doubt. Things were not going great, and by not going great I mean things were going horrifically wrong. They lost 5 of 7 canoes. They were in close vicinity to cannibalistic tribes. One sailor died in the rapids. Another was murdered by a crew member gone mad. Then, incredibly, things got worse. T.R. badly cut his leg trying cross the river in order to free two jammed canoes. His injury led to an infection, which led to a fever. Near death, he pleaded with his son to leave him behind to die, but Kermit refused. In the end, T.R. of course finished the journey, albeit 60-pounds lighter.

HE WAS BLINDED IN ONE EYE DURING A BOXING MATCH

Roosevelt’s love of boxing can be traced back to his Harvard roots, where he competed as a light heavyweight with moderate success. His exploits at Harvard were legendary. He continued to box he was the New York City Police Commissioner, the Governor of NY, and the President of the United States, because who the hell was going to tell Teddy Roosevelt he couldn’t? His last boxing match came in 1908, when a young military aide who had been invited to spar at the White House landed a devastating punch that dislocated Roosevelt’s left retina, leaving him mostly blind in that eye for life. Didn’t slow him down for a second.

HE GAVE HIS 9-YEAR OLD SON A WILD BADGER AS A PET. OH, AND ALSO A WILD HYENA

Annnnnd, there it is.

Because what else would Teddy Roosevelt give his son? Yessir, Archie was just 9-years old when his father decided it would be appropriate to give him a wild badger as a pet. Josiah the badger was supposedly quick to anger but had a “good heart” according to T.R. According to young Archie: “He bites legs sometimes, but he never bites faces.” Good to know! Other Roosevelt family pets included Bill the Lizard, a quintet guinea pigs named Admiral Dewey, Dr. Johnson, Bishop Doane, Fighting Bob Evans, and Father O’Grady, Maude the Pig, a blue macaw named Eli Yale, a hen Baron Spreckle, an owl because why not, a rabbit named Peter, Algonquin the family pony, and of course they had this – an actual wild hyena.

AT 58-YEARS OLD HE VOLUNTEERED TO LEAD A REGIMENT INTO WORLD WAR I

At the outbreak of World War I, the 58-year-old ex-president was eager to return to the front lines. If this surprises you then you haven’t been paying attention. Roosevelt vehemently lobbied President Woodrow Wilson to send him to France at the head of a 200,000-man expeditionary force. Around the country, supporters of the hero of San Juan Hill staged rallies of support, but Roosevelt would not get called to fight in the war that eventually claimed his son Quentin, who was killed in action when his plane was shot down over France in 1918. It’s a damn shame he was turned down, because I’m pretty sure the war would have ended a lot sooner.

So there ya go. And hey, I never even mentioned his exploits as leader of the legendary Rough Riders. Anyway, early 1900s? That was when men were men and Teddy Roosevelt was either batshit crazy or a bona-fide American badass. I’m thinking he was a little of the former and a lot of the latter.

In coaching there are a million things you do that have nothing to do with basketball, believe me. Here’s an example . . .

Last season after a game I got a Facebook message from the mother of a player at a school we’d just finished playing. She told me her mother had left her cell phone in the gym and wondered if I knew somebody who’d be at the school to look for it.

It was closing in on midnight and I knew nobody was there, so I told her I’d run up and look. Then, after giving me a general idea of where her mom had been sitting, she gave me her cell phone number so I could call and let her know if I found it.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the gym was that the bleachers were all pushed in against the wall. Just when I was getting ready to try and find the controller to pull them back out, I had an idea – call the woman back and have her call her mother’s cell phone. Boom. I’d know right where the phone was located. Perfect plan, right?

Except it wasn’t.

When I called to explain my plan, the lady said sure, no problem. Then, after hanging up I went to mid-court and listened.

Nothing.

At that point my phone rang, I answered, and was told by the woman that her mother’s phone was on vibrate.

Well, hell.

Guess I’d have to pull the bleachers out and do a grid by grid search of the east lower bleachers of Donald. E. Anderson Gymnasium, fondly known as “The Jigger.”

But wait. I had another idea.

I called the woman, who I was really beginning to feel close to by this time,  back and asked her to call again and let it ring. My plan was to go the middle of the pushed-in bleachers, put my ear up against them, and listen.

Sure enough, I felt and heard a faint vibration coming from close to the area I’d been told they were sitting. The sound got louder as I slowly worked my way towards it. When I got to the spot where I believed it was, it happened to be under the top row, so I didn’t even have to pull the bleachers out. Boom! I just reached under and there it was. However, the following conversation then ensued:

Me, happily: “Got it.”

Female Caller: “Jimmy?”

Me, flummoxed: “No, Dave. Coach Shoemaker. I have your mom’s phone.”

Caller: I’m Jimmy’s mom. Who are you again and why do you have Jimmy’s phone?”

Me, still not getting it: “No, you called me to find your mom’s phone. I found it.”

I swear I was still wondering why I wasn’t getting thanked profusely for finding somebody’s mother’s phone.

Caller: “I never called you. I called Jimmy’s phone and you answered. What’s going on? Where’s Jimmy?” 

It was probably the faint buzzing I heard in the background that caused my mind to engage and realize what had happened. There were two lost cell phones, dumbass. Rather than try and explain the madness, I simply told Jimmy’s mom he’d left his cell phone at a basketball game, told her how he could get it back, and hung up. I’m 99% sure she still had no idea what the hell was going on.

Sure enough, I then listened again using the same method and found the original phone, also under the top row.

What are the odds? Incredible really.

I answered the phone and thank God the original, and correct, mother was on the other end. Whew. At that point I expected a third mother to be on the other end.

In the end, everyone got their phone back so everyone was happy. All’s well that ends well I guess?

Note: That Jimmy must have a hell of a game, and I’m not talking sports. Had chicks texting him all night.

I recently went on a short trip and spent a few days on the east coast, just hanging out at some beaches and visiting friends. It was nice to see some folks I haven’t seen in awhile, and with all the turmoil going on in our country it was nice to get away for awhile.

In addition, something happened on the way home that sort of restored my faith in humanity.

I didn’t really think ahead, and at one point I found myself coming up to a toll booth in Virginia with about $3.00 in change in my car. Oh, I had my ATM card and a couple credit cards, but the sign at the booth clearly said “CASH ONLY.” Since this toll was $2.00, I was good to go. However, I was worried about any more tolls on this particular turnpike. Once I got off I could hit an ATM and withdraw some cash for the rest of my trip.

With this in mind as I rolled up to the window and I saw an older African American woman working the booth. Then, the following conversation took place:

“Can you tell me if there are any more tolls up ahead? I don’t have any more cash.”

“Well, where are you headed?”

“I’m going to Ohio.”

See, what I didn’t understand was that she was thinking I was worried about tolls all the way home, not just on this turnpike. At the time, however, that didn’t occur to me. She was thinking about my whole trip, and I was just thinking about this turnpike. I could always hit up a ATM, but she thought I was broke and would be facing more tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike.

As I was still clueless regarding what was happening, she reached back, grabbed her purse and tried to hand me two twenty dollar bills. As she did she said this:

“Here honey. This should be enough to get you home.”

Yep. Here was a total stranger that I’d met 2-minutes ago trying to give me enough money for gas and tolls to get home. Incredible. I’m not sure what folks at toll booths earn by the hour, but $40 is $40. Hell, It just about brought tears to my eyes. And by “just about” I mean “it did.”

I then quickly explained my situation and told her to keep her money, and I also told her what I thought of her amazingly generous gesture.

She just smiled and waved me off, telling me to have a safe trip home. It wasn’t a big deal to her, but damn did it make me feel good.

And I wonder. If she tried to do it for me, how often did she actually do it for others?

Every teacher I know has experienced tough classes, those groups that were a little more difficult than others. One particular year I had a really troublesome group, and to make matters worse I had them the last period of the day. Any teacher will tell you that having a demanding group of kids at the end of the day is never a good combination.

Anyway, one year I had one such group, and when I say they were bad I mean bad. I had to constantly stay on top of them or the class would spiral into total chaos. There were one or two boys in particular that the rest of the class sort of fed off of, and it was just a difficult group to deal with all-around.

The year I had this particular class I was teaching Social Studies, and for the few years prior I’d been a part of our local Junior Achievement program, where local business men or women would come in and teach a class once a week for 8-weeks. They’d be given a lesson plan from the Junior Achievement folks and apply their knowledge and experience in teaching the class. As luck would have it, the Junior Achievement class was assigned to my last period.

Uh-oh.

Whatever poor schmuck was assigned to my class was in for a terrifyingly enlightening experience. Hell, I had some problems with this group and I rarely had problems with any class. There was simply no way this could end well.

Could the situation get any worse? Turns out it could. The businessman assigned to my class turned out to be . . . wait for it . . . my 75-year old retired father.

Dad had been the Purchasing Manager at the Mead Corporation for many years, he’d been asked to take part, and the woman running the program thought it would be nice to assign him to my class.

Oh boy. All I could envision was a bunch of 8th grade heathens running roughshod over my poor father. He’d never taught a day in his life and he’d just been handed the worst group of kids I’d ever had as an educator. I mean, I knew my Mom was a badass teacher, but Dad? I was worried.

As for Dad, I tried to warn him but he just sort of chuckled and shrugged it off. I also mentioned to my class that my father would be their Junior Achievement teacher, and they too sort of chuckled and shrugged it off. Man, did I dread seeing Dad walk through my classroom door on that first day. Poor guy was being fed to the lions and he had no idea.

Well, the day finally arrived and as I let Dad into my classroom the kids were, unsurprisingly, laughing and joking as I introduced him. I raised my voice at them and implored them to settle down. And then, my father began to speak . . .

He spoke quietly as he addressed the class. He never implored them to quiet down, never asked them to please pay attention. Incredibly, one by one the kids stopped talking, and one by one they slowly turned around, watched, and listened. There was something about his bearing, his attitude, that had the class in rapt attention.

And I swear to God he never raised his voice once.

Incredibly, this continued for 8-straight classes. Dad had them in the palm of his hand, man. They respected him simply because of the way he carried himself and the way he treated them. And boy, did I learn a lot from watching him.

Sure, teachers can learn a lot from in-services, education classes, and other resources. But I also think a lot of good teachers are simply born with that ability to relate, and to connect, with students. That first day I learned that my father was one of those people.

And I also learned to never, ever underestimate my Dad.

In the 1770s, the states of Pennsylvania and Virginia laid claims and established control over areas that form parts of today’s Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Maryland. These claims would have been sorted by the Mason-Dixon Line that demarcated Pennsylvania from Maryland, but the survey was abandoned in 1767. In 1776, inspired by the ongoing Revolutionary War and fearing a civil war between both states, citizens of the disputed region declared independence and renamed the region “The Province And Government of Westsylvania.” Thereafter, they petitioned Congress to admit them as the 14th state of the Union. Congress ignored the petition, and the two states settled their border dispute in 1780. True story that I bet you did not know.

Back in my first stint as a high school coach we were playing a much larger school in a town 25-miles northwest of us. We were really good, they were really good, the place was packed, and it was a tight game throughout.

During the game I’d been up pacing back and forth as usual, and I was getting on the officials pretty good. That said, it wasn’t anything unusual. I’ve been way more emotional in other games.

Anyway, it was midway through the third quarter when something happened that I’d never experienced before and haven’t since. As I was walking from the end of our bench to midcourt, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around, expecting one of my players or managers to be standing there. Instead, what I saw was a policeman, albeit a very short one. Yep, he was just standing there looking right up in my face. Keep in mind the game was in progress and I hadn’t even received a technical foul. 

My first thought was “Why are you here?” My second thought was, “Get the hell out of here.” However, what I did was turn and walked away, at which point he grabbed my shoulder, and when I turned around he said this:

You need to settle down and take a seat.”

Incredulous, I looked around but there was no Athletic Director or school administrator in sight.  Hell, the game hadn’t even stopped so the referees were busy.

I was left to deal with the little dude myself.

I said, “You shouldn’t be out here. The officials are in charge of the game. I’m not breaking any laws. Go away.”

To which he wittily replied, “Sit down. Now.” I swear this happened, but sadly I have no audio. I do, however, have video, and what it shows is that little Barney Fyffe has his hand on his gun.

 

Had I noticed that little detail  I may not have said this:

“You have two choices. You can turn around and walk away or arrest me, because I’m not sitting down. This is a damn basketball game.”

Somehow, someway, and may I also say incredibly given his attitude, he stared at me for a second, then turned and walked out of the gym. And although I half-expected to see him out of the corner of my eye busting back through the door with an Uzi, he stayed there.

Good times.

Note: Incredibly, when I was AD it happened again, this time to an opposing coach at my school. I swear I felt like I was having flashbacks. This time I was there to go explain to the cop that he was out of line and escorted him off the floor. Amazing.

Life·Hack

– a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and daily activities in a more efficient way.

We’ve all read about life hacks, those helpful bits of advice aimed at making our lives easier. And although Life Hack is a fairly new term, the actual act of coming up with better ways of doing things is as old as man himself. Or herself. You get the gist.

Hell, as a Southern Ohioan I’ve seen cars with wooden bumpers, duct taped windshields and cooking smokers made from filing cabinets, so I can relate to redneck ingenuity as much as the next guy.

Anyway, this whole “life hack” thing reminded me of a guy I knew in college we called Muggs. Dude was always bending the rules, sometimes in minor ways, other times in major ways. I’ll give you three examples.

First off, the Muggs was cheap as hell. He was so tight that when he smiled his kneecaps moved. Anyway, he never tipped and would never pay for anything, including stamps. When sending a letter, he’d put the address he wanted the letter to go to as the return address, then put his address as the main address. Then he’d go uptown and drop his letter in the mailbox without a stamp, which would then be returned to the person in which he intended to receive it in the first place. Diabolical. Incredibly, it worked. Keep in mind the cost of a stamp was 13¢ back then. Good God.

As for me, I’d always been taught you shouldn’t mess with the federal government, so I didn’t.*

*If you don’t count the mailbox killing spree I went on in high school with my idiot friends. 

Another life hack Muggs’ wild imagination came up with was the in-car bar. Hear me out on this one, because it’s ingenious, wildly inappropriate and probably illegal. Muggs went to an auto parts store and bought a new windshield washer container for his car, the one that sits under the hood. He bought new tubes that take the cleaning fluid to the windshield as well. Then he installed the new container and redirected the tubes under the dash and through the air vents in his dashboard.

See where this is going yet?

Next, Muggs filled the container with whiskey, so whenever he wanted a drink he’d simply put a cup under the vent, hit the button that turns on the windshield wiper cleaner, and let the booze poor into his cup. If he got pulled over he just closed the vent. That’s wild, man. I remember that before he told us about this I always wondered why he had a cooler of ice in his front seat with nothing else in it.

Bottom line, Muggs was an evil genius. Hell, I’m pretty sure that’s so original there’s no law against it.

Muggs was also in a frat (pretty sure it wasn’t sanctioned or anything) that held a yearly raffle to raise money for “charity”, and by “charity” I mean a big end-of-the-year bash with a live band, booze and plenty of co-eds. Of course Muggs was in charge of the raffle. I remember guys selling chances to win a used car for $5, and they’d sell these tickets for months. Problem was, nobody ever saw anything other than a photo of the car, and every year the big winner was somebody’s uncle from Bardstown, Kentucky or somewhere. Every year at the party the winner would be announced by Muggs:

“And the winner is . . .  drumroll please . . .  Charlie Starkweather of Saluda, North Carolina! That’s my uncle! I’ll see that he gets his 1973 Lincoln Continental Town Car!”

I can’t say this with certainty but I’m pretty sure there was never a car and that the big raffle was 100% profit, minus the cost of buying the tickets.

Muggs, man. God knows how much he pocketed for himself.

As for me, I was taught my own little life hack a couple years ago when I tried to cancel a hotel room in a small coastal town at the last minute. Here’s my phone conversation:

“Hello, Blue Surf Hotel. Charlie speaking.”

“Hey Charlie. This is Dave Shoemaker. I made reservations for Thursday night but I need to cancel. Something’s come up.”

Note: I could have said I had an emergency but I never tempt fate, which may have then handed me an actual emergency just for spite. Fate can be a real bitch. Anyway . . .

“Sorry old buddy, but cancellations have to made 7-days in advance. I know it’s a pain in the butt but the owners here are really strict about it.”

It was apparent to me I was talking to an older gentleman, as he had a raspy, deep voice with a slow southern drawl. Dude sounded exactly like I’d expect Old Man River to sound. Anyhoo . . .

“Seven days? I just made reservations yesterday! That makes no sense.”

“I know, I know. They make no exceptions though. Very strict folks. I’m very sorry.”

At this point I’d just kissed $155.79 goodbye since they had my credit card number and all. But then . . .

“Why don’t you reschedule, old buddy? Maybe sometime in August?”

“Not sure why I’d do that, Charlie. I’ll be long gone by then. That would do me no good at all.”

“You sure? You could reschedule ya know.”

Now I’m a little exasperated.

“Charlie, don’t you get it? I won’t be anywhere near Ocracoke on August 15th. I don’t want to reschedule.”

“Well, I’d think about rescheduling anyway, for say, August 15th. Then if something comes up you could cancel. You know, as long as you did it at least 7-days in advance.”

Realization . . . slowly . . . sinks  . . . in. My skull is a little thick, ya know.

“You know, Charlie, that’s a good idea. I  think I will reschedule. Let’s say August 15th.”

And so I did. And I also cancelled on August 7th. Life hack, man. Thanks Charlie.

Have you heard of Juliane Koepcke? Because her story is absolutely mind-boggling.

Koepcke was a German Peruvian high school senior studying in Lima, intending to become a zoologist like her parents. On December 24th, 1971, the 17-year old and her mother, ornithologist Maria Koepcke, were traveling to meet with her father, biologist Hans-Wilhelm Koepcke, who was working in the city of Pucallpa. She had no idea what lie ahead.

The  commercial airliner she was in was struck by lightning during a severe thunderstorm and broke up, disintegrating at 10,000-feet in the freaking sky. Juliane spun toward the jungle and earth below still strapped into her seat row, which included 3-seats still attached together. She was in the middle row.

Miraculously, she survived the fall. She was seatbelted into her seat and thus somewhat shielded and cushioned, but it has also been theorized that the outer pair of seats on each side of her functioned like a parachute and slowed her fall. In addition, the impact may also have been lessened by thunderstorm updraft as well as the landing site’s thick rainforest foliage. So, the seat row, updraft and soft (relatively) landing saved her life.

Of the plane’s 92-passengers, all perished save for Juliane.

She passed out sometime after the plane broke apart, but she does remember spinning through the night sky and seeing the jungle hurtling towards her. When she woke up, she found that she had only a broken collarbone, a gash to her right arm, and a swollen shut right eye.

“I was definitely strapped in when I fell,” she said later. “It must have turned and buffered the crash, otherwise I wouldn’t have survived. After I landed my first thought was, ‘I just survived a plane crash.'”

Wearing only a sleeveless mini-dress and one shoe, she set out to make it back to civilization.

Her first priority was to find her mother who had been seated next to her, but her search was unsuccessful. She recalled that as the plane began breaking apart her mother had held her hand and said very calmly and simply:

“This is the end. It’s all over.”

She later found out her mother had initially survived the crash, but died from her injuries several days later.

For the next 9-days she wandered through the dense rainforest, and finally found a stream that she followed. Before she set off she’d found some sweets which were to become her only food. She waded through knee-high water downstream from the crash site, often relying on the survival principles her father had luckily taught her, one being that tracking downstream should eventually lead to civilization. The stream provided clean water and a natural path through the dense rainforest vegetation.

During the trip Juliane could not sleep at night because of insect bites, which eventually became infected. Finally, after the 9th day she found a boat moored near a shelter, and she utilized the boat’s fuel tank. Again relying on her father’s advice, Juliane poured gasoline on her wounds, which succeeded in removing thirty-five maggots from one arm. Tough chick, man.

At that point she waited for someone to return to the shelter or boat arrived. Amazingly, she didn’t take the boat. Her reasoning?

“I didn’t want to take the boat because I didn’t want to steal it.”

Yep, after surviving a 10,000-foot fall, breaking her collarbone, wandering through the jungle for 9-days on one shoe while being eaten alive by insects, Juliane Koepcke’s integrity was still intact.

Hours later, the Peruvian lumberjacks who used the shelter arrived and found her. At first they thought she was a water goddess but she explained what happened and they tended to her injuries and bug infestations. The next morning they took her via a seven-hour canoe ride down river to a lumber station. With the help of a local pilot, she was airlifted to a hospital in Pucallpa, where her astonished father awaited.

Incredible.

The crash and story of survival obviously took its toll, but considering what happened Juliane came out of the ordeal in great shape. In 2010, she said this:

“I had nightmares for a long time, for years, and of course the grief about my mother’s death and that of the other people came back again and again. The thought, ‘Why was I the only survivor?’ haunts me. It always will.”

Anyway, Juliane Koepcke? One badass lady.

 

Note 1: There’s a great story that was originally printed in the BBC News Magazine. Click here if you’re interested.

Note 2: Juliane also wrote a book entitled “When I Fell From the Sky.” I shall order it post-haste.

I’ll never forget the game. I was 19-years old. Bourneville, Ohio. June 4th, 1976. My parent’s basement. Suns at Celtics, 1976 NBA Finals, Game 5. Series tied 2-2. Triple overtime. Longest NBA game in history. Some of the most astounding, amazing, incredible moments ever witnessed on a basketball court. Referee Ritchie Powers attacked by a fan. The whole game is still vivid in my mind today, and it included a Garfield Heard shot that was later called “The Heard Shot Round the World.” I know, makes no sense but it doesn’t have to. Cool as hell. Basketball fans, do yourself a favor and watch the highlights. For you hardcore hoopsters, the entire game is on the second video. It’ll be the best 2-hours and 37-minutes you’ve spent in a long time, trust me.

But first, the highlights:

Here’s the entire game:

The following is a letter sent in 1869 from Robert E Lee to David McConuaghy, a civic leader in Gettysburg at the time who was working to get statues and monuments built honoring the battles.

Read that last line again:

“I think it wiser moreover not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife & to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered.”

In other words, why risk sparking those feelings of hatred again with monuments and statues? And here we are 148-years later, and the statues are doing exactly what Robert E. Lee said they’d do – igniting feelings from a long ago war.

Fascinating stuff.

Let’s begin with what may be the single greatest video on the internet right now. My comments follow . . .

First off, let’s get one thing out of the way. You can’t get much whiter than that dude, so he has to be happy about that. Secondly, you can’t be a white supremacist and wear your pants that low. You just can’t. That’s just copying the very folks you’re supposed to be supreme over. That’s lame, man. Bet he listens to Drake and Li’ Wayne too. Anyway, s-u-r-e it’s easy being a racist. You know, until you become separated from your fellow bigots and you’re being chased by some black guy with a stick. Then it gets real real fast, man. I mean, the little Eminem wannabe here couldn’t get that “uniform” off fast enough. But seriously, I had no idea the uniform of the white supremacists was a white polo and khakis. Not kidding, that’s the uniform. Isn’t that sort of lame? They look like the nerd that shows up to work on my laptop or something.

Anyway, bad look for the white supremacists, man. Guess their admission requirements are a little low?

PS- Can’t wait for the hate messages I’m sure to get from the Nazis. The over-under on grammar mistakes per message is 23.

Pure comedy.