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The Farsider

March 20, 2014

 

Bill Mattos, Editor and Publisher <bilmat@comcast.net>
Leroy Pyle, Webmaster <leroypyle@sjpba.net>

 

The Farsider is an independent publication that is not affiliated with the San Jose Police Benevolent
Assn. The SJPBA has allowed the Farsider to be included on its web site solely for the convenience
of the retired San Jose Police community. The content of this newsletter does not represent or reflect
the views of the San Jose Police Benevolent Association's Board of Directors or its membership.


 

WELCOME HOME, GUYS...

Yes, Monday was St. Patrick's Day, which means we are three days late, but no matter. We still want to share with you the amazing talent of four of our finest who just returned from wowing the crowds in Ireland with their song and dance number. Even though Chaplain Bridgen, Larry Reuter, Steve Windisch, Jr. and Neal Wilson are suffering from jet lag, we talked them into performing one more time for their peeps. That's you. Click on the link below and put your hands together in a warm welcome for the PBA Irish Quartet who just returned last night from Dublin.

 
 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oxcKxLMz44&feature=youtu.be 

 

 

PENSION NEWS 

The count on Mayor Reed is now 0 and 2. First, Kamala Harris told him the language on the proposed constitutional amendment would have to be changed, then a judge upheld Harris' opinion. This is the story according to last Friday's paper… 

California Pension Reform Initiative Scrapped for 2014 in Big Defeat for San Jose Mayor

—Judge maintains Reed, proponents failed to prove bias—

By Mike Rosenberg
<mrosenberg@mercurynews.com>
Mercury News — March 14, 2014

SAN JOSE -- Mayor Chuck Reed on Friday abandoned plans for a November statewide pension reform initiative that had drawn national attention, handing a victory to unions that had made fighting the plan a top priority.

Reed maintained that he and a handful of other city leaders across California who had joined him in support would continue to pursue the proposed constitutional amendment for 2016. He blamed an unfavorable ballot summary from the attorney general and the upcoming mid-April deadline for qualifying a November initiative for the delay.

But many doubt the initiative will be any more viable in two years. Reed struggled to raise the millions of dollars needed to hire signature gatherers, while unions mounted an aggressive campaign to defeat it, even enlisting dozens of other California mayors to line up against it.

"I think the best opportunity was this year, and obviously the money wasn't there, and that has to be the principal reason he backed off," said Terry Christensen, a San Jose State professor emeritus of political science who has advised labor-backed candidates. "There are people around the country who can write those checks, but it's interesting that they haven't come forward yet."

Earlier efforts to secure statewide pension reforms at the ballot box in 2012 also collapsed after advocates encountered difficulty raising the funds needed to gather qualifying signatures.

"We're taking on the political machine that's the most powerful force in California," Reed said of organized labor. "You have to expect that they're going to mount an aggressive campaign at every step of the way."

What's more, Reed will be out of office at the end of this year and has indicated no plans to continue his political career, lowering his stature on the statewide political stage and his ability to reach a broad public audience.

While there was no independent polling on the measure, Reed maintained private surveys indicated support in the two-thirds range, while union critics proclaimed their own research showed little public enthusiasm.

Reed, a fiscally conservative Democrat, gained national recognition and the enmity of the government unions that bankroll his party when he won passage in 2012 of a San Jose measure reducing pensions for new city hires and making current employees either pay more for their retirement or choose a less-generous plan.

He has since traveled the state and to the nation's capital advocating changes to government pensions, the soaring costs of which have sucked up funds for municipal services and contributed to a handful of city bankruptcies.

But city unions sued to overturn Reed's Measure B, and a judge in December blocked the key provision that would make current city workers pay more toward their pensions, citing a series of earlier rulings that effectively guarantee government workers the same or better retirement plan throughout their careers.

Even before that ruling, Reed began gathering support for the statewide initiative that would change that doctrine, allowing elected officials to negotiate pension reductions as long as they applied only to employees' future years on the job. Reed complained that Attorney General Kamala Harris' ballot summary failed to make that distinction, suggesting instead that it would broadly "eliminate" pension protections for police, firefighters and teachers. A judge Friday ruled the summary wording was fair.

But public employee unions said the measure might be dead for 2016, as well.

"We continue to believe that the bargaining table -- not the ballot box -- is the proper place to address the budget challenges facing our communities and state," David Low, chairman of the union opposition group, Californians for Retirement Security, said in a statement. "California's teachers, firefighters, school bus drivers, nurses and other public employees remain committed to working to ensure that our public pension systems are healthy and provide the retirement security we have earned."
 

• • • • •


Of all the media sources available, the last one we expected to see cover Mayor Reed and the pension issue was this one sent in by Mike Roberts (the cop, not the doc). It's from Aljazeera America. We are providing you with the headline, byline and photo. For the article you will need to click on the link below the Aljazeera logo. There also are a couple of comments from other readers below the story...

San Jose’s Pension Woes: Are Bad Investments to Blame?

—The city has invested nearly half of its employees’ retirement in high-risk investments like hedge funds—

by Matthew Cunningham-Cook
Aljazeera America — March 14, 2014

 

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who championed a
ballot initiative to cut pensions for public employees. 

 

<http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/3/14/san-jose-pensionreform.html>

 

~ ~ ~

 

Comments about the Aljazeera article...

From Ken Hawkes: I'm not a huge fan of Aljazeera, but this is a revelation. They have a far better and more concise take on the problem than I have seen yet. Raises the question of exactly who has profited by looting the system." —Ken

~ ~ ~


From Dan Katz: "Interesting analysis (from a surprising source) on CSJ retirement fund investments and the replacement of elected officials with "financial experts" on the boards. Keep in mind the largest financial backer of Mayor Reed's statewide pension effort was hedge-fund billionaire John Arnold. This San Jose "Inside" column from 10/02/13 sums up the John Arnold funding connection:

<http://tinyurl.com/o7a7d6p>

And this lengthy Rolling Stone article from 9/26/13 goes in-depth on the hedge fund/pension reform connection and discusses John Arnold (profanity alert for our more genteel readers):
 

<http://m.rollingstone.com/politics/news/looting-the-pension-funds-20130926>


 

POA UPDATES



March 14th

Reed Abandons 2014 State Pension Initiative

Today, a Superior Court Judge dealt a lethal blow to Chuck Reed's attempt to take his disastrous San Jose pension carnival act to the rest of California. The Judge ruled against Reed's attempt to remove the fair and accurate ballot Title and Summary assigned by the Attorney General to his ill conceived pension initiative scheme. Reed wanted to replace the fair and accurate description of his measure with words he cooked up that would have deceived the voters. The Judge said no and now Reed has announced that he will not pursue a November 2014 statewide pension initiative.

Unfortunately, we must put up with several more months of his tenure as Mayor of San Jose. Read the story here: (Story is under the "Pension News" column above.)  


Don't let Sam, Madison, Pier or Rose continue where Mayor Reed leaves off. Do your part and help Dave Cortese fix San Jose.

(Click the link below)

<http://cortesecampaign.com/contribute-2/>

 



March 15th

SJPOA was part of the coalition that fought Chuck Reed, exposed his lies, and ensured that his statewide pension stealing initiative is dead.  But our work is not done-We must not wake up on June 4th and see this headline:

Herrera and Liccardo make November runoff for Mayor, or Nguyen and Oliverio make November runoff for Mayor or Liccardo and Nguyen make November runoff for Mayor.
 
It takes money to help Dave Cortese get his message out to voters.  He will be attacked because he will put public safety first and he needs the resources to fight back.  Join the over 100 San Jose Police Officers that have put their money where their mouths are and contributed to Dave Cortese for Mayor.
 


 
Click on the link below:
 
http://cortesecampaign.com/contribute-2/


The next fundraising deadline is March 17th. Hold the City Councilmembers accountable for what they have done to San Jose. Contribute now online or drop a check off at the POA made out to: DAVE CORTESE FOR MAYOR
 



March 18th

The Daily Fetch
(article)




Did Councilmember Khamis try to game the system?

<http://tinyurl.com/lgjlng8>

~ ~ ~
 
NBC Bay Area (video)

Will the new downtown foot patrol be around after the Mayoral election?




<http://tinyurl.com/myhgs35>

~ ~ ~

San Jose Inside (article)

Why can't Councilmember Khamis keep his story straight.




<http://tinyurl.com/kxvomfc> 

 


WEEKLY POLL

As we go to press, there is the possibility that debris found yesterday
in the Indian Ocean west of Australia may be from Flight 370.

 

Last Week's Poll Results
*


For the most recent Rasmussen Reports releases, click here:
<http://www.rasmussenreports.com/older_content/home/top_stories/most_recent_articles>

 
 

MAIL CALL

March 18th

Bill:

Here’s something for Mail Call:

If you came on after 1960 you probably don’t remember any of these “sort-of-senior semi-senile” old guys, so this is only for the REAL old-timers — however many of you are out there! I had the pleasure of getting together with T.B. (Tommy) Lyons, Mel Soong, Arno Zeisnitz and our wives at our place at Ko Olina last week. Tommy, from the then Territory of Hawaii, was hired in 1954. Mel, also out of Hawaii, Arno, who emigrated from Germany at the end of World War II, and me from less exotic Bakersfield, were all hired in 1956. Within a couple of years Tommy and Mel returned to Hawaii where Tommy is now still going strong as an insurance agent and Mel is a retired judge. Arno also left, going to U.S. Customs, where he worked all over the world. He is now retired and continuing to travel extensively. I am now half-time on Oahu and the Zeisnitz’s were passing through, so we thought it was an opportune time for a reunion.



L-R: Bob Allen, T.B. Lyons, Arno Zeisnitz and Mel Soong

A lot of memories were shared at the table, some confused and most exaggerated, of our beginnings at the San Jose Police Department nearly 60 years ago, when the City Hall was located downtown at Park and Market — before it moved away from downtown — just so it subsequently could be moved back downtown. The entire police department, including the city switchboard, police and fire communications, the drunk tank, booking and the city jail were all crowded into that basement with access through a tunnel.

We talked about walking First or Market Street on midnights and checking in on call boxes scattered around downtown. We recalled the Tower Bar, the old bus depot, eating in the back room of Fior d’Italia, and waiting for the paddy wagon to pick up prisoners at 9 South Market. We remembered midnight shifts with only five cars working after 3:00 A.M. and sometimes no sergeant. Cars did not have air conditioning, and some did not have heaters. Most sirens had their own electric motors, but some still rubbed against the fan belt. And the real jail, sheriff’s office and court house were all on First Street across from St. James Park.

After lunch, Tommy and Mel took up their ukuleles and serenaded us with some Hawaiian songs. We had such a good time that we got together again at the Elks’ Club at Waikiki on the next Thursday evening. We resumed where we had left off (less the music) and spent the evening asking, “Do you remember?” and “What ever happened to...?” We all agreed that we couldn’t find our way around San Jose today with a map in one hand and a GPS in the other, but the San Jose we remember was a wonderful town with a great police department, and our time there was one of the highlights of our lives.

Aloha,

Bob Allen
<allens1009@aol.com>

I can be eliminated from remembering all but you, Robert as I was a high school senior at James Lick in 1960. But Leroy and I can both remember the smell of orchids and the Hawaiian air during the years each of our dads were stationed at Pearl in the mid-1950s. Aloha back to you and the other “sort-of-senior semi-senile” old guys.


 

LET'S SEND CHAPLAIN BRIDGEN OFF IN STYLE…

To receive the form below in an email so you can print it, send a request to
<bilmat@comcast.net>.



 

AB 1637: COULD YOU ENDORSE THIS BILL?

For the past three years I have traveled to Sacramento in support of legislation to put an identifier of "Veteran" on the drivers license of Veterans that request them through DMV. Twice I have testified before the various committees in the State Assembly. Three years in a row this legislation has died in committee because of budgetary considerations.

This year's bill, AB 1637, is different, and the budget issue has been addressed.  We're hoping that this will make the difference and we will see this vital piece of legislation move forward and become law. Currently, 47 other states already have similar laws.

The following is a partial list of why this bill should be passed:

1. Community policing is a fact in today's law enforcement culture. Knowing when a Vet is in front of an officer can and does result in better outcomes and improved community relations.

2. Many of the counties in the state now have Veterans Courts. A "Veteran's" license would help get more eligible Veterans into these courts. Net result is lowered rates of recidivism. Last year in our Vets Court (Santa Clara County) our rate of recidivism was only 10%. Far below the state average.

3. We have found in Santa Clara County that identifying Vets in the field can and does result in increased federal funding. thereby easing the financial burden on the state and local governments. This is done through referrals to programs through the VA and Vet Centers.

4. There is also the benefit to the Veterans themselves. It is a practical way to show some pride and at the same time make available discounts offered to Veterans by retail stores and restaurants.

5.  For some Vets this would be the only source of government ID that would positively identify them as a Veteran.
 
As I travel the state I see more and more fake Vets trying to take advantage of the generosity of citizens by playing on their sympathies. This would make available a valid way to separate the fakes from our men and women who went in harms way for our very freedoms.
 
If you have any questions please call Amy from Assemblyman Frazier's office at the number below.

Thank you all for all that you have done and continue to do for our Veterans and the communities that we all live in!

Warmest Regards,

Dave Walker
<davethreewits@sbcglobal.net>

~ ~ ~

Hi Dave,
 
As discussed, I have attached the press release and the support letter from the Town of Danville for a template. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can send you that may be useful, and thank you again for your help on this!
 
Best,
Amy
 
Amy Warshauer
Office of Assemblymember Jim Frazier, District 11
916-319-2645

 

IT WAS…

Last week we published a class photo from Horace Mann Elementary School dating back to 1944 and challenged you I.D. the kid on the far right end of the second row…

Of all the guesses we received, only one correctly identified the kid as Chuck Blackmore. The retiree with the amazing memory wrote…

"Could it be Chuck Blackmore? His family home was North 17th, which would have been within the correct boundaries of the Horace Mann school district. Family home was "way out" on No 17th, almost to the Bayshore, next to either Mission or Vestal, and next door to Sgt. John Collins who ran the K9 unit." —Bob Moir

The source of the photo was Harold "Hal" Burks, a classmate of Chuck's who is fifth from the right on the top row (the tall kid). Hal posted the photo on Ivan Comelli's "Vintage San Jose Police" Facebook page. Not recognizing Hal's name, I emailed him and inquired if he was affiliated with the SJPD and/or aware that Chuck's father was the second longest reigning San Jose Police Chief in the history of the Dept.? He wrote back:

"Bill, I had met the father. I was a rather wild youth, although not by today’s standard. He gave me some council that served me well and hooked me up with the YMCA and Mr. Campbell. I was in good shape from there. I joined the Air Force at 15 and went on to form a Masonry business in San Jose 1956, then retired from the business in 1980 and moved to Medford, OR in 1983 to be closer to my daughters. We now live if Beaverton Oregon for the same reason. My very best to you and Chuck". —Hal

 

TIP OF THE WEEK

If you like using those energy saving CFL bulbs that contain mercury and give off less light than their incandescent cousins, good for you. I don't.

 

Call me old fashioned, but I prefer the bulbs I grew up with. Problem is, the nannies in Washington made it illegal to manufacture the incandescent bulbs in the popular 60, 75 and 100 watt sizes after Jan. 1st of this year. All that's available for purchase is the existing supply, and people have been buying up and hoarding all they can find. You won't see them at Lowes, Home Depot, Costco or any retail outlets. But...here's the tip: Amazon still has them and will continue to sell them until their existing supply dries up. Two weeks ago I purchased four dozen of each wattage and, believe it or not, all 154 bulbs arrived intact; nary a one was broken. Why so many? I'm thinking they might be good for bartering when the U.S. dollar takes a dump in the not-too-distant future. Below are the prices I paid. And that's your tip of the week.



GE 60-watt 48-pack $39

GE 75-watt 48-pack $35

GE 100-watt 48-pack $55



    

THE BEST OF THE LATE NITE JOKES
     
March 13 through March 18

President Obama went shopping at The Gap here in New York City. He ended up buying a sweater for each of his daughters, and a workout jacket for the first lady. You know, because whenever someone visits New York the one souvenir people really want is something from The Gap.

It’s been very tense between Russia and us recently. In fact, lawmakers in Russia have started a petition to get the U.S. kicked out of this year's World Cup. Or they could just take the easier route and wait until we lose in the first round to literally any other country.

A family called the police because their cat cornered them in a bedroom. They would've climbed out the window but their hamster was blocking the way.

Keith Richards just announced that he is working on a new children’s book. It’s called “Oh, the Places You’ll Wake Up.”

The crisis in Ukraine still has people worried. Today John McCain led a group of senators there to get a firsthand look. When they landed, McCain said, “This is a disaster, these people are living like animals!” And then someone said, “We have a layover — this is LaGuardia Airport.”

Things are moving quickly over there. Crimea is now holding a vote on whether to join Russia, but the ballot doesn’t have an option for voting against the plan — it lets people vote for joining Russia now, or down the road. When asked where he got the idea, Vladimir Putin said, “iTunes user agreement.”

A judge in New Jersey ruled that women can keep their husbands and boyfriends out of the delivery room while they are in labor. When asked if they'd mind leaving the room, husbands and boyfriends were already gone.

Best Buy will start selling solar panels in an effort to promote energy conservation. Best Buy says you can find the panels right next to the 300 flat-screen TVs they leave on all day.

The situation in Ukraine keeps getting more tense. And now Vladimir Putin has moved 10,000 troops to the Russian-Ukrainian border. Russia says its troops are there only for a training exercise. When asked what they're training for, Russian officials said, “Invading Ukraine.”

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg apparently called President Obama directly to complain about NSA and how it spies on ordinary Americans. That’s right, the guy who runs Facebook got mad at the NSA for spying on people. Talk about the pot unfriending the kettle!

Zuckerberg criticized the NSA and called the government a threat to the Internet. Then he went back to running a website where you list everyone you've ever met, every place you’ve been, every place you’re going, what you had eat, your ex-girlfriends and your ex-boyfriends, which bands you like...

This week the White House said the economy is continuing to pick up steam, but then went on to say that the unemployment rate is still “unacceptably high.” Incidentally, being unacceptably high is also a big reason many people are unemployed.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Thanks to all the fans who wished me a happy holiday, thank you to the people who visited New York to celebrate, and most of all, thank you for leaving your TV on NBC before you passed out.

St. Patrick’s Day is a huge deal here in New York City. Two million people turned out today for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It’s the one parade where the horses are the ones that have to watch where they step.

A new poll found that two-thirds of Americans are following the situation in Ukraine, which is impressive. Usually, you can't find two-thirds of Americans who are following the situation in America.

Yesterday, in a highly debated election, 95 percent of Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Yeah, 95 percent voted to join Russia. Even Kim Jong Un said, "Yeah, right."

Things have gotten very tense between the U.S. and Russia. In fact, during a speech today Vladimir Putin criticized the U.S. for thinking it's “always right.” Then he went back to organizing an election where you can't vote “No.”

The White House revealed that more than 5 million people have now signed up for Obamacare, thanks to the administration's recent push. They said, “And if 5 million signed up, that means at least 50 million tried to sign up.”

This week RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said the GOP still isn't where it needs to be to win the White House in 2016. Yeah, it's not where it should be — kind of like the letters in “Reince Priebus."

Researchers in China have developed these things called “smart tags” that stick to containers and change color when food has gone bad. That's in addition to that other thing that changes color when food goes bad — food.

Today President Obama went shopping at The Gap. There hasn't been so much security at The Gap since the time Lindsey Lohan showed up.

Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are back together. Finally, Obama makes good on a campaign promise.

Sylvester Stallone is on the program tonight. I haven't seen Sylvester Stallone since we fought in "Rocky V."

They have now made Stallone's "Rocky" into a Broadway musical. It's getting such great early notice that they're already working on another one. I think the second one is "Rambo Get Your Gun."

Pope Francis is the hip Pope. He is celebrating his first anniversary of being Pope. He refers to Lent as "March Madness." That is how wacky he gets.

Yesterday Washington had a big power outage. And I thought: Well, wait a minute, I think the Obama administration has been without power the entire second term.

It was so dark in Washington that when the power went out the only thing that was glowing what John Boehner's face.

As soon as the lights in Washington went out, Senator John McCain tried to clap them back on.

The average American citizen — you hear the statistic all the time — works six months out of the year for the government. That's how difficult the taxes are in this country. We work six months out of the year. Government employees don't even do that.

I had to switch accountants because for years on this guy's advice I was sending my money to the Caymans. Sounds good, right? Well, I just found out a month ago that it's Phil and Arlene Cayman.

First lady Michelle Obama now has blond highlights in her hair. In fact, her hair has a higher approval rating than her husband.

Michelle Obama added some highlights in her hair. And I know a lot of you are thinking, "Gee, I wish this show had some highlights."

The Internet turns 25 today. Whatever you do, don't send it an e-card. Even the World Wide Web hates e-cards.

The Internet revolutionized man's ability to sell useless crap.

The Web has changed our lives. In the old days you actually had to go to the mall and watch old people fall down escalators in person.

A lot of the information is wrong on the Web. For example, on the IMDB website it says I'm 51 years old — which is ridiculous!

What a fantastic ovation from the studio audience. You guys have clearly never been here before.

A new study says Americans spent a record $56 billion on their pets last year. That may sound like a lot but think about what you get in return. You get the unconditional love of dogs, the exotic beauty of a tropical fish, and whatever a cat gives you — disdain, I guess.

Every year reality TV gets more extreme. Back in the old days, married couples on shows slept in separate beds. But "The Brady Bunch" were hooking up with each other in real life. They should have called it "All in the Family.”

Albert Einstein wrote a manuscript that was lost for 83 years. Larry King found it in an old pair of jeans.

The newly found manuscript revealed Einstein didn't believe in the big bang theory, which says the universe is constantly expanding. He theorized a steady state that keeps constant by adding elementary particles. I have no idea what I'm talking about. That's why Einstein was a genius and I'm a creepy man who tells jokes in the middle of the night.

The most famous scientist today is Bill Nye, the Science Guy. I think all scientists should have rhyming names, like "Double Trouble Edward Hubble," "Full Throttle Aristotle," and "Sure Winner B.F. Skinner."

I had a big weekend and my throat is very scratchy. I sound the way Irish people are going to sound tomorrow.

Some American cities go all out for St. Patrick's Day. In Chicago they dye the river green. In Boston everyone wears green. In Colorado, they smoke the green. Then someone tells them it's St. Patrick's Day.

Some people say St. Patrick's Day contributes to national stereotypes. Well, I don't want to do that. Take it from me, not everyone in Ireland gets falling-down drunk every day. You're thinking of Australia.

Filmmakers are hoping Pope Francis will watch the new movie "Noah." That must be really frustrating, I mean, for people in the theater. Can you imagine sitting behind the Pope's giant hat?

Let's name the Pope's favorite movies. There's "Holy Ghost Busters." "Dude, Where's My Cardinal?" "Sistine Candles." "Amen in Black." "Live and Let Diocese." "A Pew Good Men." And "How to Train Your Deacon."

The movie "Noah" is an adaptation from the Bible, of course. For some of you young people, the Bible is like a long papery tweet from God.

In the middle of his latest speech, the president of Colombia wet his pants. I was going to show it here but it makes me sad. I mean, I thought OUR president was having trouble with leaks.

We're here from Austin, Texas. I stand before you half man, half brisket.

You know you've been in Austin too long when you start randomly finding rib bones in your pockets, which I did tonight.

I can't button my suit. I can't fit in my clothes anymore because of this place.

This is our fourth of five nights broadcasting from Austin, Texas, during the South by Southwest festival. I had to get a bigger shirt because my shirts don't fit anymore. In Texas, pork is considered a condiment.

We'll get a visit from Lady Gaga. She didn't bring the meat dress or the giant egg. She didn't want to be turned into a giant breakfast taco.

I haven't seen this many hipsters in one place since I took a home pickling class at an artesian cheese shop.

People have been selling fake parking spaces. They charge people to park in spots that they have no ownership of. Here's a tip to avoid becoming a victim of this fraud. If you find a parking space during the festival, it's a scam.

We've been broadcasting from Austin all week, and I'm sad to say this is our last night here. I would cry but my tear ducts are clogged with queso right now.

We head home and then on Monday I'm going on "The Biggest Loser" to work some of this weight off. You know it's a good trip when you have to request a seat belt extender for your flight back.

Austinites are some of the kindest, most welcoming people unless your name is Rick Perry, in which case they will boo you until you go away. I also learned that pickles are served with ribs so you feel like you've eaten something green. I learned that if you follow a man with a beard he will lead you to a panel discussion on increasing your social media presence.

Willie Nelson is here with us tonight. Willie is America's second-oldest stoner, right behind Betty White.

There was a small earthquake here this morning. Scariest thing about an earthquake is that when it starts you have no idea how intense it's going to get or how long it's going to last. It's like when your mother tells you a story.

We had some earthquake damage at my house. Two bottles of lotion fell over and we had to wait two hours for the maid to get there to put them back.

Here's a little-known fact. The Richter scale measures the number of local news anchors who dive under their desks.

Yet another video surfaced that showed what appeared to be a drunken Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. When he promised to stop drinking, obviously that didn't include St. Patrick's Day. Or Mardi Gras or Father's Day or Cinco de Mayo.

Transportation officials released a study that shows that over the last 10 years the percentage of Californians who drive has dropped 12 percent, while the percentage who walk, bike, or take public transit has doubled to 22 percent. So get ready for a bunch of Schwinn-by shootings, I guess.

If I see a guy on a bike in L.A., I immediately assume he got a DUI and they took his car away.

Whenever I see somebody walking in L.A., unless they're wearing yoga pants I assume they're in trouble.

The only time I walk in L.A. is when I forgot where I parked.

New reports show that the Crimean vote to join Russia on Sunday did not include an option for “no.” There were only two boxes on the ballot, one for “yes,” and one for “murder my family.”

It looks like Obamacare will miss its enrollment goal of 7 million people by March 31, as only 4 million have signed up so far. Republicans haven’t been this excited since the invention of khakis.

The World Wide Web turned 25 years old today. And everyone who still calls it the World Wide Web turned 50.

The world’s longest-serving ice cream man is retiring after 50 years. He plans to spend the rest of his life trying to get that song out of his head.

This week Pope Francis is celebrating his first anniversary as Pope, and he tweeted to his 3.7 million followers “Please pray for me.” I was a little surprised that he hashtagged it, “so hung over.”

A man is claiming that he was badly injured after falling off a gigantic tongue slide used on the stage for Miley Cyrus’ tour. He’s now suing the company that built the slide for "twerkman’s comp."

Researchers have discovered the first Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil inside the Arctic Circle. The T. Rex apparently froze to death because he couldn’t button his jacket with those little arms.

The Obama administration announced it is going to require colleges and vocational schools to demonstrate that they are properly preparing students for jobs after college. So don’t be surprised if your chemistry class tomorrow is all about how to make a cappuccino.

A model is suing Playboy after something went wrong with a stunt where someone hit a golf ball off her butt. Even worse, it was a photo shoot for an article about feminism.

A man in Pakistan broke a world record after he smashed 155 walnuts with his head in under a minute. This talent earned him the nickname “the idiot.”

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, when we commemorate the time St. Patrick drove all the alcoholics out of New Jersey and into Manhattan.

On Saturday, Los Angeles subway workers unearthed prehistoric fossils that are at least 2 million years old. Scientists could tell the fossils were indigenous to L.A. because they were each found clutching a head shot and a smoothie.

A professor at Virginia Tech claims he can turn wood chips into food. However, still no luck with kale.

Vladimir Putin signed a treaty this morning that formally absorbs Crimea into the Russian Federation. So if you felt bad because you didn’t know where Crimea was, don’t worry, it’s gone.

Vice President Biden said today that the U.S. is considering sending troops to the Baltic states bordering Russia. According to Biden, the Baltic states are the territories located just past Boardwalk and Park Place.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said today that the 2014 midterms will be a victory for Republicans thanks to Obamacare. Coincidentally, “Reince Priebus” sounds like something that might be covered under Obamacare.


 

WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN LEGEND UPDATE AS OF MARCH 15, 2014

The facts behind the legends, information and
misinformation that has or may show up in your inbox

New Articles

• Conspiracy theory claims Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was made to disappear so one party could gain control of a multiple-owned patent.
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/conspiracy/malaysiapatent.asp>

• E-mail phishing scam poses as notifications from NICE about blood test results.
<http://www.snopes.com/fraud/phishing/nice.asp>

• Do Red Bull and other brands of energy drink contain bull semen?
<http://www.snopes.com/food/ingredient/bullsemen.asp>

• Conspiracy theory claims the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad sabotaged Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/conspiracy/malaysia.asp>

• Is the killer Volat-Araneus 'flying spider' due to migrate to the UK this year?
<http://www.snopes.com/photos/bugs/wingedspider.asp>

• Can a home pregnancy test really detect testicular cancer?
<http://www.snopes.com/medical/disease/pregnancytest.asp>

• Links posted on Facebook supposedly point to a video of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
<http://www.snopes.com/computer/facebook/malaysia.asp>

• Photograph purportedly shows missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
<http://www.snopes.com/photos/airplane/malaysia.asp>

• Did George Zimmerman accidentally shoot and kill himself while loading a gun?
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/satire/zimmermandead.asp>

• The snouted 'pigfish' -- real animal or another fauxto?
<http://www.snopes.com/photos/animals/pigfish.asp>

• Legend not for the squeamish: Did former New York Mets outfielder Kevin Mitchell cut the head off his girlfriend's cat with a knife?
<http://www.snopes.com/sports/baseball/mitchell.asp>

• The 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web prompts renewed interest in the claim that former Vice-President Al Gore once claimed he 'invented' the Internet.
<http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp>

• Celebrity death hoax claims Chumlee from Pawn Stars has died of a heart attack.
<http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/hoaxes/chumlee.asp>

• Is Chipotle offering '100% free food' through 20 March 2014 via an online coupon?
<http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/nothing/chipotle.asp>

• Are 'Facebook companies' contributing money towards the medical care of a 9-year-old rape victim every time a message is shared?
<http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/medical/gangrape.asp>

• A phishing scam is being spread via purported 'stop list' notifications from various airlines.
<http://www.snopes.com/fraud/phishing/stoplist.asp>

• Epitaph on headstone in Montreal cemetery forms an unflattering acrostic.
<http://www.snopes.com/photos/signs/headstone.asp>

• Editorial reportedly penned by former Czech president Vaclav Klaus criticizes those who voted for Barack Obama.
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/pragerzeitungon.asp>

• Is gospel singer Marvin Sapp linked to the disappearance of Dr. Teleka Patrick?
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/crime/patrick.asp>

• Did a 200-million-year old dinosaur egg recently hatch in a Berlin museum?
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/satire/dinosaur.asp>

• Did psychologist B.F. Skinner raise his daughter in a 'Skinner box,' experiments on her and prompting her to commit suicide later in life?
<http://www.snopes.com/science/skinner.asp>

• Don't forget to visit our Daily Snopes page for a collection of odd news stories from around the world!
<http://www.snopes.com/daily/>


Worth a Second Look

• Customers attempt to avoid financial transactions totaling $6.66.
<http://www.snopes.com/religion/666bill.asp>


Still Haunting the Inbox

• Check out our 25 Hottest Urban Legends list to keep abreast of what's circulating in the on-line world.
<http://www.snopes.com/info/top25uls.asp>


Fraud Afoot

• Visit our Top Scams page for a list of schemes commonly used by crooks to separate the unwary from their money.
<http://www.snopes.com/fraud/topscams.asp>


 

THE LIGHTER SIDE & OTHER ODDS AND ENDS



Large or Full Screen recommended for YouTube videos.


The gate is open. Run free, critters, run free...


It's always good to start with something that will put a smile on your face, which is why we chose this ad for Renkeby, a Danish juice company.  It's short, so try not to blink. (45 Secs.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPPlNXEZunE>


• • • • •


Remember those little cars we would see at the circus from which several clowns would emerge? That's what we have here, except the car has no wheels and the clowns have been turned into Basset Hounds. Watch quick as the clip only lasts for... (34 Secs.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cG4CEr2aiSg>


• • • • •


This answers the age-old question that people have been asking for years: Does a baby hippo make a good house pet? (2 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B54Bl5b1AXw>


• • • • •


What are the odds that one of those GoPro video cameras that accidentally fell from an airplane would land in a pig pen and that a 200-pound slab of bacon would try to eat it? Seriously, what are the odds? (1 Min.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrxPuk0JefA>


• • • • •


Here's a useful device for the dog owner who wants to relax and watch TV while Fido gets his exercise. P.S. Don't waste your time and make or buy one if you own a cat, parrot or gerbil. It only works for dogs. (2 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTEMRo-IcGk>


• • • • •


This Russian clip about a kitten vs. a "scary thing" would be funny even without the dramatic music. The sound track is a bonus. (1 Min.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MqHN-4okZ4>


• • • • •


It's OK for the cat, but this owner's dog has been trained to stay off the bed. To see how well trained the dog was, the owner installed a nanny cam in the bedroom. Watch what happens. (2 Mins.)



<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D5bPLxU8U8>


• • • • •


The relationship between this kitten and a Boston Terrier goes beyond cute. In today's jargon, someone ought to tell them to "Get a room." (1 Min.)



<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0RLFgjHEJU>


• • • • •


Can the Critter's Corner include a story? Why not. Who's to tell us it can't?

According to our illustrious PBA president, a rancher spent $6,500 on a young registered Black Angus bull, but when he put him out with the herd he just ate grass and wouldn't even look at a cow.

The rancher was worried that he may have bought a bum steer, so he had the Vet come out and have a look at him. The vet said the bull was very healthy, but possibly just a little young, so he gave the rancher some 'pills' to feed the bull once a day.

To the rancher's surprise, the bull started to service the cows within two days, all of the cows! It even broke through the fence and bred with all of the neighbor's cows!

"He's like a machine," said the rancher. "I don't know what was in the pills, but they taste like peppermint."

 

The critters are now back in the yard and the gate has been shut...


Are we (the U.S.) following in the footsteps of France, which many say is becoming a social welfare state? This video received from Lumpy makes a good argument that we may be. Almost 50 percent of the U.S. population (49.1%) were living in a household receiving government benefits in the first quarter of 2011, and when that percentage exceeds 50 percent to any degree, we could very well be on a runaway train headed to a European-style welfare state.


If you choose to watch this video, keep in mind that it was produced by the conservative Christian Broadcasting Network. (5 Mins.)



French President Francois Hollande and President Obama

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVdVCNC9RZw>

 

• • • • •


Here is one more item that we found a little sobering: If you were born in the 1940s, the earth was populated by about 2.5 billion people (2 billion in the late '20s and 3 billion in 1960). This video was produced four years ago, in 2010, when the planet reached a population of 7 billion. Anyone care to join us in asking, "What's wrong with this picture?" (2 Mins.)



<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAIv15fWfHg>


• • • • •


Next time you are accused of having too much time on your hands, show them this video about the guy in San Francisco who built the city and the East Bay out of 100,000 toothpicks over a period of 35 years. (5 Mins.)



<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkATNTlTOqk>


• • • • •


Many countries have adopted their own version of Britain's Got Talent, just as we have here in the U.S. This clip is of a 14-year-old blind girl singing "You Raise Me Up" on Korea's Got Talent back in 2011. It wouldn't be a stretch to say she is reminiscent of another blind singer: Andre Bocelli. (3 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60QVFAvwLxo>


• • • • •


Of all the flashdance videos we have included over the past several years — and there have been about a dozen — this one that took place in a grocery store five years ago was one of the performances we somehow overlooked. We bad. (4 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnY59mDJ1gg>


• • • • •


"Welcome Home" is a new series being produced by Sleeping Dog Productions. It tells the story of Vietnam Veterans from all branches of the service and is scheduled for release on the 40th anniversary year of the end of the war in 2015 as a thank you and a long overdo welcome home to all Vietnam vets. (10 Mins.)



Russ Jones piloted one of these Huey's in the Vietnam war

<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-CTKFzWjjw&sns=em>


• • • • •


Of all the pranks we've seen and passed along in the Farsider from the creators of "Just for Laughs Gags," this one involves the most actors. (2 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNneIyKuL0w>


• • • • •
 

It's likely that the song accompanying this clip received from Bruce Morton was written specifically for these vintage film excerpts. The video is a compilation of car crashes from the early days of racing when seat belts and roll cages did not exist. Note: the clip is not for the faint of heart. (4 Mins.)



<http://vimeo.com/20247765>


• • • • •


Speaking of crashes, if you like NASCAR because of the action, Leroy says you are going to love watching this Saudi drifting exhibition on the Live Leak website. Why? Because they suck at it. (4 Mins.)



<http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=620_1341213161>


• • • • •


This 3-minute clip received from Paul Salerno has received over 3 million views, and even though it was nothing more than humorous video promoting a fictitious product, we heard that 2 million of the viewers have actually searched the Internet with the intent of buying a bottle of...



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF_nfazQaek>


• • • • •


There is, of course, a more socially accepted way to stop a child from crying and carrying on, as this 26-second clip points out…



<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfPLddbeEVo>


• • • • •
 

Serious language warning: I don't know about any of you, but I'm swearing off of McDonald's Chicken McNuggets until I am absolutely convinced they are not responsible for this rampage. Either turn your volume down or hold your hands over the ears of any kids who might be in the room. (2 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g-xB_n1RHw>



• • • • •


If you are one of those who like to watch pilots experience the "pucker factor" when they try to land airplanes in strong crosswind conditions, you should find this video of interest. Of the five "missed approaches" shown, three diverted to other airports and two "go arounds" landed successfully at this one. The video was shot at Birmingham Airport in England this past winter during record stormy conditions. (11 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P9OAng32F0>


• • • • •

 

Speaking of the airlines, take a few minutes and listen to this air traffic controller having a bad day at the JFK tower and you will understand why they get the big bucks. And why they develop ulcers and have nervous breakdowns sooner than most other workers. (11 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BMDkwfkXv0>


• • • • •

 

Are you familiar with the Leidenfrost Effect? No? Check this out and you will see how it causes water to run uphill. This is Science Friday arriving on Thursday. (4 Mins.)

 

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzKgnNGqxMw>

Did you watch it? Good. You can now take comfort in

knowing that The Duke isn't referring to you.

 

• • • • •


Ever wonder how the Army selects those who will stay behind the lines and cook the chow? The selection process begins when recruits are taught how to throw a grenade. (47 Secs.)



<http://www.wimp.com/combatduty/>


• • • • •


While we're on the subject of things that go boom, this website received from Don Hale includes a large number of highly-detailed declassified photos that show the loading of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan in 1945. But even with a high-speed Internet connection, the site will take a few minutes to load because of the number of photos and the relatively slow speed of the site's server, so be patient if you choose to view the once top secret photos.

"Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945 from the B-29 named the Enola Gay." Fat Man" was dropped over Nagasaki three days later from a B-29 named Bockscar. It was the second bomb that brought about the unconditional surrender of Japan which ended World War II.

<http://www.alternatewars.com/Bomb_Loading/Bomb_Guide.htm>

 

• • • • •


Did someone mention atomic bombs? If you want to see what one looks like when it's exploded underwater using a telephoto lens from over a mile away, this short 40-second clip will show you.



<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggH-ObiUWEE>


• • • • •


How to make Magic Mud from a potato is a fun project you can do with your grandkid(s). If nothing else, you'll wind up with some tasty hash browns. (4 Mins.)



<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0J4dRqg7CE>


• • • • •


Regular readers of the Farsider will recognize this guy from past years. He's a handyman who runs the RedGreen.com website. While none of you have manual windows in your cars and trucks, some people do, and those are the people who could benefit from this short 1-minute clip from Wimp.com.



<http://www.wimp.com/powerwindows/>


• • • • •


Granted, we don't know how many misses it took before this guy made all the shots in this video with a soccer ball. Even so, one has to wonder when he's going to show up in an NFL uniform. (4 Mins.)



<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4Jz4rRXj-c>


• • • • •


The trick pool shots in this video received from Paul Salerno are unbelievable. At least those in the first half of the clip. I don't recall seeing the tricks during the second half of the clip after the blonde hopped up onto the table. (5 Mins.)

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqziQX7eEv0>

 

• • • • •


Is this real or not? You be the judge. If you look at the nails that are apparently forming the image and the nail gun, the two don't appear to match. But the concept of using a nail gun to recreate the Mona Lisa is an interesting effect. (2 Mins.)



<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSNgd4PU7ZY>


• • • • •


Unlike the Mona Lisa rendering above, this image of Marilyn Monroe does in fact appear to have been created by a few dozen guys armed with paintball guns. (2 Mins.)



<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py5bsnxzikQ>


• • • • •


If this video about a Russian special forces counter-terror confidence drill received from Don Hale is factual, it provides hard evidence that these Russkies are insane and that it's best to avoid them at all costs. (6 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI01qKAqYts#t=150>


• • • • •


This amazing nature footage includes time lapse, slo-mo and macro photography as well as a fitting musical soundtrack. The downside is that it only lasts for 1 minute and 41 seconds.



<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5xZKYzMp4M>


• • • • •


Red Bull, Nike, GoPro and other companies have hired some of the world's most talented athletes to appear in their commercials, and this is an entry from Adidas. Behold one of the most talented paragliders you will ever see, courtesy of Chuck Blackmore. (5 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L62faWn-sa8>


• • • • •


The source of this final item is as much of a mystery as Malaysia Fight 370 as there are no titles or credits; the link will take you only to a Facebook URL (web address) with no identifiers. Nevertheless, the video is one of the most dynamic presentations we have seen in the recent past, and the mountain bike action is second only to the beautiful topography. With a nearly perfect musical soundtrack and several slo-mo excerpts, the 5 minutes and 51 second video is a must-see. Click on the link below we received from a half dozen readers and see if you don't agree. One more thing: The guys you will see in this video are certifiably nuts, which usually makes for enjoyable viewing. (6 Mins.)



<http://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=137735646386035>


• • • • •




C'ya



Pic of the Week:



If this makes no sense to you, watch the
opening of the TV classic, "Fantasy Island"


<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1x_QbVDlLbI>

   

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