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Our Chaplain Historical Society The Farsider


The Farsider

August 8, 2013


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.



Police Data Specialist II
I.D. No. 479N
Born Aug. 4, 1940
Hired March 29, 1981
Retired July 7, 2001
Died July 13, 2013

The following message was forwarded to us by Joan Lockwood, who is responsible for the San Jose Retired Employees Assn. newsletter. <http://www.sjrea.org/index.html>

Dear SJ Retirement Association,

I obtained your email address from Jiselle Holcom to whom I mailed a remembrance notice regarding my mother, Charlotte Smith. She worked for the City of San Jose PD for many years.

I'm sad to report that she passed away on July 13, 2013. Below is a notice of her bio and obituary, which I hope you can share in your newsletter.

Attached is a picture of her as well. Since she worked there so long, I believe from the '70s to the late '90s, I hope you can print a brief remembrance of her in your newsletter.

Charlotte lived here in Oregon for the last ten years, so her obituary was published up here, not in San Jose. I just wanted to get this message out to anyone in the City of San Jose who might have known and worked with her.

Thank you for your attention to this. Kindest regards,

Karen Smith (Charlotte's Daughter)

The Obituary:

Charlotte Smith


Charlotte Ann Smith, daughter of the late Francis and Lois (Mains) LaMontagne and loving mother of Karen and Emily, and grandmother of Mary Lujan and Lucy Sanders, passed peacefully at home in the presence of her family on July 13, 2013.

She was soft spoken and enjoyed musicals, puzzles, and mystery novels. Though her life was tumultuous towards the end with her failing health, she lived with strength and reserve. Peaceful evenings at home brought her solace, as did spending time with her family.

Born and raised in Dorchester outside of Boston MA, she moved to the San Jose, CA area in 1970, where she lived and worked until moving to Portland, OR to be with her daughters in 2003. Before retiring, she devoted many years of service to her employment at the San Jose Police Department.

Her eldest granddaughter Mary shared her love of ‘oldies’ music. Her younger granddaughter Lucy referred to her as Sharma (a combination of Charlotte and Grandma). She spent 7 years at Calaroga Terrace, where some of her friends affectionately called her “Toughie.”

She is loved and missed.

Services were held in Portland on Aug. 3rd.



Craig Shuey sent in link to an Aug. 5th article from the CalPensions website in which the headline reads:

"Can San Jose Cut Pensions of Current Workers?"

The article can be read by clicking on this link: <http://calpensions.com/> If the story doesn't immediately appear, look for it under "Recent Posts" on the right side of the page.



"Enough is enough" is the feeling of numerous San Jose cops who have worked so many overtime hours that it's having a negative effect on their home lives. This story from last Sunday's paper illustrates the point...

Police Struggling to Fill Overtime

—Saturday homicide took place where resources stretched—

By Tracey Kaplan
Mercury News — Aug. 4, 2013

SAN JOSE — A 19-year-old female college student was shot and killed early Saturday in the downtown core by a bullet fired at someone else. The slaying by an unknown assailant occurred at a time when police had to fill all the downtown overtime shifts with tired officers because not a single other officer volunteered to work the extra hours. The overtime problem was not a factor in the death of the innocent bystander, the city’s 30th homicide of the year, nor will it affect the investigation, police said.

But the new unwillingness of overtaxed officers to work extra hours for more money is a troubling sign. The short-handed department has come to rely extremely heavily on such volunteers to cover crucial beats such as gang suppression, the airport and general patrol, as well as the downtown entertainment zone when the bars close. It was near closing time when the student was shot while riding in the passenger seat of a friend’s car near South Second and East San Salvador streets, Sgt. Jason Dwyer said. Police said they didn’t know if the 1:19 a.m. incident was gang-related. But sources familiar with the investigation stressed that the student was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The driver, a 21-year-old man, was uninjured. He is not a suspect. The name of the victim had not been released as of late Saturday.

The department on Friday night had called for about 20 to 25 volunteers whose 10-hour shifts ended about 12:30 or 1 a.m. Saturday to work an extra two hours. When no one volunteered — the first time that has happened — it turned to “mandatory holdovers,” ordering officers to work the “EZ’’ or Entertainment Zone patrol, said Jim Unland, president of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association.

The problem in that zone was expected to continue early Sunday. A few officers who work Saturday volunteered to stay through the early morning hours on Sunday, but the department will have to force about 20 more to take the shifts, Unland said. The union president said officers normally welcome overtime to help pay for their children’s college tuition or fund vacations. But, he said, there’s a limit.

“They have to get time to be with their families and to recharge,’’ Unland said.

“There’s just more time than there are officers to fill it,’’ he added, referring to the city-wide problem. “And it’s only going to get worse as officers get more and more tired.”

Currently, about 392 officers are assigned to patrol the city, compared to about 600 in the past, according to the union. Rising pension costs have led to severe cutbacks in pay and benefits, driving about 70 officers a year in the past two years to leave the department, compared with about eight a year in the past. Unland denied that the union orchestrated the overtime refusal. But he blamed the city for the cutbacks that are forcing the department to backfill with overtime.

“This should come as no surprise to our missing-in-action city leadership,” he said. “An organization can only run short-staffed for so long before even the most fit and dedicated officers get run down and can no longer work the massive amounts of overtime needed to try and keep a lid on crime.”

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed thanked the officers for working overtime.

“We know they’re working extra, and we know they’re tired,’’ Reed said. “They’ve done a good job.”

But he blamed the shortage of officers on skyrocketing police pension costs, saying they’ve cost the city $100 million in the past 10 years. At its peak, the department had about 1,400 officers. Today, it has fewer than 1,110. Reed said about 45 or so new officers have joined the San Jose force this month, with another group set to enter the police academy in September.

~ ~ ~

There also was this item of interest from last Sunday's paper that appeared in the I.A. column. It shows that the SJPOA Vanguard does seem to get around...

Summary of Police Tactic Disturbs Some Groups

Mercury News — Aug. 4, 2013

There’s an age-old police tactic to help ensure that confessions don’t get thrown out of court. Nudge the suspect to pen an apology letter that can be used to counteract accusations that the confession was coerced.

The July newsletter of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association (the Vanguard) outlined this tactic in such frank detail that it disturbed civil rights groups who view it as pushing the boundaries of acceptable interrogation.

The newsletter was proffered by a pair of veteran officers — Detective Enrique Garcia and Lt. Paul Francois — who also run a police consultation firm on the side. It offered helpful tips such as “sell the letter as a means of showing remorse” and tell a suspect that those who came before have also done it, citing those techniques as staples of sales professionals.

While interrogators should stop short of prodding a suspect into writing an apology, it suggested telling a suspect the letter won’t make it into the police report, and leaving the suspect alone in a room to reinforce the letter’s voluntary status.

J.J. Kapp, acting assistant public defender for Santa Clara County, called the tactic old hat — but he sees how it might worry some.

“That does offend a lot of people, especially when a client is very unsophisticated,” Kapp said. He added that the newsletter “takes the cloak off” of “the idea that this is something the client or subject wanted to do.”

Still, Kapp acknowledged it’s within legal bounds since police are allowed to use deception. Undercover work would be mighty difficult otherwise.

“This is not a trick,” SJPOA President Jim Unland said. “By the time you’re getting to an apology letter, you’ve presented enough evidence to show you’ve got the goods. I would think at some point they would look and go, ‘the guy’s guilty, it’s a good thing officers caught him.’ ”

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This was sent out yesterday to all POA members whose e-mail address are on file with the Assn.

Aug. 7th

Homicides Continue to Climb in San Jose


San Jose police call attention to stretched
resources as city celebrates National Night Out




Last Week's Poll Results

For the most recent Rasmussen Reports releases, click here:



Aug. 1st

Larry Fernsworth sent in the photo of the Narcotics Unit taken in 1974 mentioning LAPD Sgt. Lynn Leeds, so I thought I would add the names of the other officers.  Having been assigned to the unit for four years, I agree with Nails that it was great to be a member of that unit. They were super guys to work with, and we had excellent leadership under Lt. Arnold Bertotti.

Front row, L-R: Mike Mendez, Bob Grant, Mike Schembri, D. Avila, Dan Gutierrez, Tony Ranada and Lew Smith. Back row, L-R: Jim Roth, Terry Boone, Anton Erickson, LAPD Sgt. Lynn Leeds, Larry Fernsworth, Harry Stangle, Pat Dwyer, Craig Buckhout and Russ Jones.

Keep up the great work; it is really appreciated by us old guys!

Bob Grant
Chandler, AZ

Messages also were received from Russ Jones and Pat Dwyer that echoed the comments about what a privilege it was to work with this group of guys.

• • • • •

Aug. 4th


Since little of a historical nature regarding SJPD members gets past you, this may have already crossed your desk. I tried checking back issues of the Farsider and found nothing, so I'm passing this along just in case:

While diggin' around in cyberspace I came across a San Jose Mercury News article about a 1953 event. What is of interest is that the one of the ping pong balls containing $50 was recovered by a Mrs. Miceli, mother of a Mike Miceli, age 6 at the time, with brothers Wally and Mark. Can't be anyone other than the same Mike Miceli who went on to SJPD and has since retired.

(From the San Jose Mercury News, Aug. 7, 1953)

"Crowds estimated at up to 70,000 blackened a five-block area in downtown San Jose yesterday noon as a low-flying helicopter sprayed more than 500 golden ping pong balls, containing $640, on the densely packed throng."

A promotion of the San Jose Mercury and News and the city's downtown merchants was front-page news for no reason other than a lot of people turned out on a weekday at noon for a chance to catch one of 502 balls — two containing vouchers for $50, and the rest containing $1 or $5 bills.

The "Dollars from the Sky" stunt, a tie-in with downtown merchants' Dollar Days sale, closed five blocks of South First Street as an open helicopter usually used for crop dusting made several passes.

Police Chief Ray Blackmore was quoted as calling it the largest crowd in San Jose history, but the article then went on to clarify that he meant the densest crowd for any five-block area of San Jose. The crowd was reportedly well-behaved, with the extent of the hooliganism being college students climbing atop marquees to grab errant balls.

"First to bring in one of the $50 balls was Mrs. Frank Miceli of San Jose. It landed on the sidewalk on First Street near San Carlos. 'I yelled when I opened the ball and saw what it was,' she declared. With her three sons, Wallace, 9, Mike, 6, and Mark, 5, she hustled right over to the Mercury and News to collect her $50.

'What am I going to do with the money? Well, I'm going to take the boys home, and then I'm coming right back downtown and spend it!'"

The other $50 winner was Jacob Gabaldon, identified as a chauffeur at the Veterans Hospital in Livermore. He said he caught the ball on the bounce at First and San Fernando.

• • • • •

For those unaware, retiree Bill Silva has owned a couple of jet aircraft, the latest of which he keeps at the airport in Hollister. To be clear, this item Bill sent in has nothing to do with the recent Asiana crash at SFO as it involved a South Korean airline, and the aircraft was a Boeing 777 manufactured in Seattle. It may, however, make you think twice before you board a Chinese airline...

Aug. 5th

Hi Bill,
I had to forward this to you. As you know, if there is so much as a small "nick" in any U.S. military or civilian aircraft jet turbine blade, the aircraft would be grounded until the faulty blade was replaced and inspected. Before I bought my Mig several years ago I looked at a Chinese surplus offering from a broker. It looked good enough, but upon closer examination, most of the reversed engineering that was done to copy the Russian originals were just plain horrible. I ended up purchasing one built in Poland that was built and licensed by the Ruskie government and the Mig aircraft factory. Matter of fact, the Pols did such a great job of building them that they ended up getting a multi-year contract that spanned 15 years. Based on the following article and photo, you will never catch me flying on a Chinese airline.

Bill (Silva)

~ ~ ~

A pilot for a Chinese carrier requested permission and landed at FRA (Frankfurt , Germany ) for an unscheduled refueling stop. The reason soon became apparent to the local hired ground crew: The Number 3 engine had been shut down previously because of excessive vibration, and because it didn't look too good. It had apparently been no problem for the guys on the ground back in China as they took some sturdy straps and wrapped them around two of the fan blades and the structures behind, thus stopping any unwanted wind-milling (engine spinning by itself due to airflow passing thru the blades during flight) and associated uncomfortable vibration caused by the sub-optimal fan.

Note that the straps are seat-belts. How resourceful. After the Chinese ground crew made the "repairs," off they went into the wild blue yonder with another revenue-making flight on only three engines!  With the increased fuel consumption, however, they got a bit low on fuel and had to set it down at the closest airport which was FRA for a quick refill.

That's when the problems started. The Germans, who are kind of picky about this stuff, inspected the malfunctioning engine and immediately grounded the aircraft. (Besides the seat-belts, notice the Appalling condition of the fan blades themselves.)  The Chinese airline operator had to send a chunk of money to get the first engine replaced, which took about 10 days. The German repair contractor decided to do some impromptu inspection work on the other engines, none of which looked all that great either. The result: a total of 3 engines were eventually changed on the plane before it was permitted to fly over German airspace again.


• • • • •


Aug. 6th


Life is good here in Nevada. Just snapped this picture after breakfast of the Vegas Clan...

Bob Beams, Bruce Toney, Bob Serpico and Charlie Roy

Tom Brewer (tbop23@aol.com>

Thanks, Brother Brewer. It's good to see Charlie looking fit and in apparent good physical health. Why he's hanging with you guys, however, might make some wonder about the retired lieutenant's 'mental' health. (My bad.)



What you need to know about this is that Madison Nguyen is San Jose's Vice Mayor, and that it appears she has a political relationship with Tam Truong, a San Jose cop who recently created a private security service called TAPS. Truong also ran an unsuccessful campaign to win a seat on the San Jose City Council in 2012. This article was posted on the Protect San Jose website on Aug. 4th...


Does Madison Nguyen Believe Private Security is the Answer?

By SJPOA President Jim Unland

According to The Daily Fetch — click here to read the article and the evidence: <http://tinyurl.com/krwejf9> — it appears that Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen is promoting the private security company of her protégé and losing city council candidate Tam Truong as an answer to the increasing level of crime in San Jose neighborhoods.

Mr. Truong, a San Jose Police Officer, ran unsuccessfully against Councilmember Kansen Chu in 2012, and according to the Daily Fetch article, is promoting his company’s services to neighborhoods.

It is unfortunate that Ms. Nguyen and Mr. Truong are not advocating for city leadership to utilize the $96 million dollars in general fund reserves to offer police officers a pay-raise and restore the hundreds of officers who have left the force.

It is also unfortunate that Madison and Truong don’t disclose to residents that it does not matter if a private security guard or a resident calls 911, the same response protocol is followed. The bottom line is that there are not enough police officers to respond now, and it does not matter who is placing the call.

According to The Daily Fetch, this coming week TAPS will be pitching its service to one Willow Glen neighborhood that has gotten fed up and frustrated with the rise in crime. San Jose Police Officers share their frustration and hope that Vice-Mayor Nguyen is not traveling down the path of privatizing police services in San Jose, especially a service that will benefit one of her family friends.

To access this article on the Protect San Jose website and add a comment, click on this link:



Memories of Alviso

History is always in the making, and the words "remember when..." are used more and more as we grow older. Good times and bad times haunt our memory, and I'd like to share one of those memories.

Back in 1968 there was an outpost and newly annexed city called Alviso, the history of which was mixed with tales of vice and corruption. Old Alviso was on pier pilings that extended into the east bay portion of the San Francisco Bay. It was once the California State Capital, but only for one day before it was moved down the road to San Jose, which is credited with being California's first state capital.

As a new recruit at the time I was assigned to Alviso on the swing shift. The closest fill unit was B-1, the downtown unit, and B-9 to the northeast. Fill time was at best a Code 3 run of fifteen minutes.

From the garage at police headquarters I would head north on 1st St. past the Hyatt House, then continue north. Apricot orchards lined the road for miles. There was a bar off to the right as I approached Hwy 9 (now Hwy 237). The bar was off to the right and tucked back away from traffic. As a new officer, I was unaware that most of the calls I would receive would be at this bar. I soon discovered they would be.


There was one road leading into Alviso and one leading out. The small community was rife with criminals of all kinds. In contrast, Alviso had a marina and a yacht club. At low tide the inlet was mud; at high tide a boat could sail into San Francisco Bay and all the way to Sacramento. There was also an old pickle factory where hippies would build concrete sailing boats. The highlight of Alviso was Val's Restaurant, where Val enjoyed having police officers come in the kitchen door and choose a course off a full dinner menu. The cost of a great meal was a few minutes of conversation and the knowledge that, if needed, I would be there as soon as possible. Across from Val's was a small motel complex that offered an hourly room rate for customers who had something other than a night's sleep on their mind.

There were very few calls for service during a routine shift. Most problems were handled by the residents. I dealt mostly with fights and drunk calls. Even so, arrests were few and far between. As the make-believe chief of Alviso I was, for the most part, the judge and jury of most of the calls. John Calderon was the real former chief of Alviso. When the community was annexed and became an official part of San Jose in 1968, John instantly became a San Jose police officer.

On some occasions I would make a run to the Hyatt House at 1st and Bayshore for a discounted meal. The Hyatt had something Alviso didn't: donuts.

Alviso had flood gates leading from the downtown area to the San Francisco Bay. When excessive rainfall caused the town to flood, the gates were opened which allowed the floor water to flow into the Bay at low tide. All in all, Alviso was a self-contained town. If a comparison was to be made, Alviso would be akin to Dodge City or Tombstone from the old west.

As a "somewhat" cop" and a person who enjoyed different things and a variety of people I was a good fit for Alviso. While other officers were chasing bad guys I was more like "Baghdad Charlie" when I worked the town.

The good ol' days have come and gone. Alviso is now a Federal Game Reserve. The water tower, the brick pickle factory and the concrete boats are gone. What is left of what once was has become an outhouse of sorts for the thousands of seagulls that frequent the City of San Jose's landfill dump just to the west.

Change is a constant. Sometimes it's good; sometimes it's not. For my part, I was glad to be a part of the old Alviso when it was a sanctuary filled with free spirits and great people. The Alviso of old may be gone, but it will always be part of my heart and mind.



To view it, click on the link below, then on the image of the Vanguard to download the file to your desktop, then double-click on the desktop icon to open the newsletter. Hard copes of the Vanguard are in the mail and will be received by POA members soon.




Aug. 6th


Camp Hoosegow is next weekend, August 17-18th. Please sign up no later than this Friday, August 9th so that we have an accurate count for food, drinks, etc. The cost is $20.00 per family.


• SJPOA Chaplaincy Tournament is Monday, September 9th at Eagle Ridge Golf Course. Please join the fun and support the Chaplaincy Program, if you plan to play, please don't delay, sign up today! We need counts ASAP for the golf course and Tee prizes.

• We have FREE tickets to the Stanford vs. San Jose State football game on Saturday September 7th at Stanford. If you are interested in going to the game, email Joanne and she will let you know when you can pick up your tickets. We need a count on how many tickets our members are requesting by August 15th.


• The organizers of the PGA TOUR golf tournament, held at the CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, California, October 9-13, 2013, have contacted us to let us know about a special promotion for local police officers. For all SJPD: buy one ticket to the tournament, get a second ticket free. Please contact Joanne if interested.

Email <joanne@sjpoa.com>
Phone: (408) 298-1133



Our retired San Jose cop-turned-firefighter-turned NFL referee finished his annual summer camp last week and is back on the gridiron. He and his crew are working today's pre-season Denver at San Francisco game that starts at 6 p.m. on KPIX Channel 5. Bill will also be working the Monday (Aug. 19th) Pittsburgh at Washington game to be broadcast on ESPN. Further updates will be forthcoming.



Alternative Title:

"Stirring Things Up"

By Dave Scannell

While talking to a friend the other day we got into the subject of karma. As he put it, karma is the balancing act of the universe, kind of like action vs. reaction. Better put: action, the result of that action, the reaction to that, reaction to that and so forth, until it eventually dissipates. Most things in life, of course, have no karmic affects one way or another. A person goes to the store, smiles at the checker, pays the bill and leaves. There would be no effects to that action; everything would pretty much stay the same.

Whether they realize it or not, cops see real life karma all the time. A criminal commits a crime (action), the police make an arrest, a trial is held and the criminal goes to jail (result). The criminal does the time and the karmic debt is paid. In theory, the criminal's slate is clean and a fresh start can begin.

Everyone has heard the cliché "actions have consequences." Many people believe we all live in one big recycling machine where we keep coming back over and over until we get it right. Think Bill Murray and "Ground Hog Day." What goes around comes around.

My friend said, "Now, let's expand karma a little and see what happens." What if some horrendous act (action) does not get resolved in one lifetime. What happens then?

Case in point: San Jose, Calif., November 1933. If you read your local history you would find newspapers and radio media back then covering the story about Brooke Hart, a handsome young man who was heir to the Hart's Department Store fortune. The author has direct knowledge from family members that students and people who knew Brooke Hart all said that he was "simply a nice guy," "a great guy," and carried not a whiff of arrogance due to his social status. He was known by his friends and acquaintances by the nickname "Brookie." He was kidnapped on the afternoon of the 9th while walking to his car and a ransom was demanded.

To keep this short, two men were arrested for the crime after Hart was found murdered: Thomas Thurmond and John "Jack" Holmes." They were being held in the County Jail which, at the time, was located directly across from St. James Park. The police interrogated Thurmond and sweated him out until he confessed to having tied Hart up with wire, then threw him off the San Mateo Bridge into the San Francisco Bay. He also implicated Holmes.

The San Jose community was outraged as word of the crime spread throughout the state. Shortly after midnight on Nov. 27th, thousands of people had gathered in the park across from the jail. It didn't take long before the mob whipped itself into a frenzy and stormed the jail. After the deputies were overwhelmed the mob beat and dragged Thurmond and Holmes out of the jail and into the park across the street.

Thurmond had been knocked out by the blows from the mob, and was barely conscious by the time he was lynched. Holmes, however, fought back hard and with fury. He kicked and squirmed and cursed wildly to the end. The mob had broken both of his arms by the time a rope was placed securely around his neck, stripped him naked and hung him from a branch of an elm tree, after which some of the people in the mob lit matches and burned the bottom of his feet.

As I said, this is the short version of what took place in the infamous Lynching at St. James Park in the early 1930s.

For more information, click on the "Historical" link on the PBA home page, then on the "Hart Murder" link — or you can click on this Wikipedia link:

My friend went on: No one claims to know what happened to all those souls who participated in the lynchings as they have long passed on. But there is one 'possibility' that cannot be ignored as to what took place next: They all came back, the good, the bad, the doomed, everyone close to the scene. And not only did they come back, but there is a good chance they may have gotten together again.  When situations like this get set in motion no telling what can happen. Strange things get stirred up, and carried forward. A sure bet is that none of their souls would have 'rested in peace'. When they arrived back on earth, the leftover anguish, hatred and fiery disturbance from the frenzied pitch at the park that night in 1933 may very well still been alive and active.

Fast-forward to the mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado on July 20, 2012 and the midnight showing of the movie "The Dark Knight Rises." A gunman wearing dark clothing shoots and kills 12 people and injures 70 others. The name of the shooter was James Holmes. Could this be the same Holmes who had been hanged and burned from that elm tree in San Jose  in 1933? Could he have come back to exact karmic revenged on the same people who were, back then, the frenzied mob from St. James Park? On that day in July in a Colorado theater, did the "dark knight" rise up and seek revenge for the deeds committed in 1933? Did Holmes come back to punish and haunt, and warn us of the dangers of what goes around will come back and take its due. In 2012 was James Holmes unconsciously and ignorantly trying to express the universal law of balancing the scales from the past? Action, consequences, reaction, reaction. Insanity? A mad man? A kook? Or was it karma from the past playing out in our time?

My friend finished, "You might think this is a fairytale story of sorts, but it is not. In a mysterious way this is precisely how it works. It could not be otherwise. The universe seeks a balance. That's how karma works in the larger game. In the long view your sayings can still hold true: What goes around, certainly comes around. Deep tissue issues need to be cleared, and this goes for nations, groups and in a person's private life. No one can really understand all the secret working and manifestations of karma, but sometimes just a little knowledge can possibly save you. Study the many facets of this evolutionary process you call what goes around, comes around, and you will see. Go ahead. Contemplate it for a while."

If nothing else, I learned to reflect from this story. I can't say whether my friend is right or absurdly off base. What I can say is that it gave me a reason for some contemplation.

~ ~ ~

Reincarnation aside, Dave's submission prompted me to look for an old news reel video regarding the St. James Park Lynching and...voilá:




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

New Articles

• A list of "Communist Rules for Revolution" supposedly discovered by Allied forces in Germany in 1919.

• Teacher imparts a lesson in the value of freedom by having veterans return her students' desks.

• Are natural blonds likely to be extinct within 200 years?

• Video clip purportedly shows a Swedish policeman dancing on the job.

• Opinion piece by Frosty Wooldridge about the political and economic decline of Detroit.

• Young man tries to distract his date's parents from his dinnertime faux pas by inadvertently calling their attention to an even more embarrassing situation.

• Rumor claims a man was blinded for life when his contact lenses fused to his eyes while he was barbecuing.

• Spoof article resurrects the 'Obamacare requires that everyone be implanted with microchips' rumor.

• Does all live music played anywhere in the U.S. now require a permit from the Department of Homeland Security?

• Do Pampers brand Dry Max diapers commonly cause severe diaper rash and chemical burns on infants?

• Don't forget to visit our Daily Snopes page for a collection of odd news stories from around the world!

Worth a Second Look

• In the process of attempting to get rid of a gopher, did a trio of school custodians blow up their shack and get carried away on stretchers while the gopher remained unscathed?

Still Haunting the Inbox

• Check out our 25 Hottest Urban Legends list to keep abreast of what's circulating in the on-line world.

Fraud Afoot

• Visit our Top Scams page for a list of schemes commonly used by crooks to separate the unwary from their money.



Select Large or Full Screen on the lower right of the first YouTube video...

• • • • •

One might not expect a Korean, a Hispanic and a New Yorker who met on-line a few weeks earlier to appear in front of a live audience for the first time on America's Got Talent and amaze everyone, including the judges. But that's what happened in this clip sent in by Alice Murphy (5 Mins.)


• • • • •

For those of you interested, here is a computer animation and reconstruction of the Asiana Flight 214 crash at SFO, along with the actual radio transmissions. The blue image shows how the pilots of the Boeing 777 should have landed the aircraft. (1 Min.)


• • • • •

Speaking of iffy landings in which passengers would do well to bring along an extra pair of dry pants, check out this one in Peru. Asiana pilots need not apply. (2 Mins.)


• • • • •

You have no doubt heard of Storm Chasers. Here's a new rush for adrenalin junkies who think of themselves as Flash Flood Chasers. The footage was shot in Utah. (5 Mins.)


• • • • •

Jim Silvers says this short video shows the easiest way to test an AA battery if you don't have a voltmeter handy. He also claims he tried it and that it actually works. See what you can learn from reading the Farsider? (2 Mins.)


• • • • •

We had no idea that Bob (the PBA Sgt. at Arms) Moir could be so cruel to the country's collegiate football players and their universities until this list showed up in our inbox a few days ago...

~ ~ ~

Ohio State's Urban Meyer on one of his players: "He doesn't know the meaning of the word fear. In fact, I just saw his grades and he doesn't know the meaning of a lot of words."

~ ~ ~

Why do Tennessee fans wear orange? So they can dress that way for the game on Saturday, go hunting on Sunday, and pick up trash on Monday.

~ ~ ~

What does the average Alabama player get on his SATs? Drool.

~ ~ ~

How many Michigan freshmen football players does it take to change a light bulb None. That's a sophomore course.

~ ~ ~

How did the Georgia football player die from drinking milk? The cow fell on him.

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Two West Virginia football players were walking in the woods. One of them said, "Look, a dead bird." The other looked up in the sky and said, "Where?"

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A University of Cincinnati football player was almost killed yesterday in a tragic horseback-riding accident. He fell from a horse and was nearly trampled to death. Luckily, the manager of the WalMart came out and unplugged the horse.

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What do you say to a University of Miami Hurricane football player dressed in a three-piece suit? " "Will the defendant please rise."

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If three Florida State football players are in the same car, who is driving? The police officer.

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How can you tell if an Auburn football player has a girlfriend? There's tobacco juice on both sides of the pickup truck.

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What do you get when you put 32 Arkansas cheerleaders in one room? A full set of teeth.

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University of Michigan Coach Brady Hoke is going to dress only half of his players for the game this week; the other half will have to dress themselves.

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How is the Indiana football team like an opossum? They play dead at home and get killed on the road.

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Why did the Nebraska linebacker steal a police car? He saw "911" on the side and thought it was a Porsche.

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How do you get a former Illinois football player off your porch? Pay him for the pizza.

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Tom Macris says that after watching this clip, he plans to stay retired because he's savvy enough to realize this could be him if he took on a part-time job as a convenience store clerk. (2 Mins.)


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If you are a speed freak (we're talking about Bonneville, not Meth) you may be interested in watching this film sent in by Don Hale. If you do choose to view it, get comfortable because it's longer than what we usually pass along in the Farsider. (25 Mins.)


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Is the U.S. under undeclared martial law? That's the theme of this compilation video received from Bob Kosovilka. (Keep an eye on the sky, Robert. There may be a drone with your name on it as retribution for sending us this clip.) (11 Mins.)


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Want to test fire the world's largest caliber rifle? Go ahead, just be aware that each round will cost you about forty-bucks. (4 Mins.)


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Paul Salerno says this clip of a toddler stuck behind a couch is too good not to pass along. We tend to agree. (3 Mins.)


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Ever heard of the Boogie-Woogie Twins? A friend back in Michigan has and thought he would share their performance with the rest of us who are familiar with this classic American style of music. (3 Mins.)


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Want to build a Big Mac at home? It's the sauce that's the secret of source, and this executive chef of Mickey D's shows you how to make it, as well as the burger itself. (3 Mins.)



P.S. Travel the world and this is what you can expect a Big Mac will cost you at McDonald's...

New York City: $3.29
Buenos Aires: $1.58 (4.80 Argentine pesos)
Johannesburg: $2.30 (13.95 rand)
London: $3.61 (1.94 pounds)
Moscow: $1.78 (48 rubles)
Paris: $4.09 (3.20 euros)
Shanghai: $1.31 (10.50 renminbi)
Tel Aviv: $3.50 (15.50 shekels)
Tokyo: $2.26 (250 yen)

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As special recipes go, here's a website that shows you how to make a variety of sauces and dishes ranging alphabetically from Applebee's to Wendy's. (The McDonald's sauce recipe appears to be a facsimile of the one above.)


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The Italian Chocolate Magic Trick

Received from Paul Salerno

An Irishman and an Italian entered a chocolate store. As they were busy looking, the Irishman stole three chocolate bars and placed them in his pocket. When they left the store, the Irishman said to the Italian, "Man I'm the best thief. I stole three chocolate bars and no one saw me. You can't beat that."

The Italian said, "You want to see something better? Let's go back to the shop and I'll show you real stealing."

So they went to the counter and the Italian said to the shopkeeper, "Do you want to see an amazing magic trick?"

Curious, the shopkeeper replied, "Yes."

The Italian said "Give me one chocolate bar."

The shopkeeper gave him one, and the Italian ate it.

The Italian asked for a second bar, and he gobbled it down as well.

Then the Italian asked for a third, and finished that one too.

The shopkeeper asked, "Where's the magic?"

The Italian replied, "Check in my friend's pocket, and you'll find all three chocolate bars."


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Want to see how workers at the old Nummi plant here in Fremont assemble the Tesla Model S? A simple click of the mouse will show you. Regardless of what you think of the all-electric sedan, the build process is quite impressive. (5 Mins.)


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Back by popular demand is this video of what the Hubble telescope saw when it was pointed at nothing. If this doesn't convince you that life must exist (or have existed) elsewhere in the universe, nothing will. (4 Mins.)



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Get out the sunscreen and prepare to don your asbestos underwear, everyone, because it looks like we're about to get hammered from up above. Why? Because NASA says the Sun's magnetic field is about to flip, according to this story received from Tom Macris. You say you don't have any asbestos underwear? Try Amazon. They sell everything.


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Want to take a new 13-question Pew Research quiz to see how much you know about science and technology? Sure you do, but you're going to have to ace it if you want to beat Charlie Blackmore and me. If you do score 100 percent, take a bow. Only 7 percent of the population gets all 13 questions correct.  I missed the question that asked "What gas makes up most of the Earth's atmosphere." And no, I did not choose "oxygen." Chuck didn't say which one he missed. Good luck!


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With all the turmoil going on in our country and most of the rest of the world, we thought it fitting that we conclude this week's Farsider with a feel-good item like this one. It's a video clip of two Otters holding hands (flippers?). Is this true love or what? (2 Mins.)


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Pic of the Week

Tip for single guys: If a lady friend asks to borrow your car and
you hand her your keys, DO NOT tell her it needs quart of oil...



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