August 21, 2014
Mattos, Editor and Publisher
Leroy Pyle, Webmaster
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
FUNERAL MASS FOR EVELYN CAVA SET FOR TOMORROW (FRI.) IN CAYUCOS,
Mercury News included this obit on Evelyn Cava, whose passing we initially
covered in the June 19th Farsider. Click
to review it
April 1927 - June 2014
(Long-time Sunnyvale resident)
Funeral mass will be
held Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 at 11:00am, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 360 Park
Ave., Cayucos, CA. Reception to follow at the church. Condolences and memories
may be made by clicking
THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF THE CITY AND SJPD
Many cops will likely look at last
week's officer-involved shooting that was covered in Friday and Saturday's paper
as "suicide by police." This is the story from Saturday's paper...
Shooting by Police Ignites Public Debate
—Mental health questions linger in death of woman holding drill—
Mercury News — Aug. 16, 2014
SAN JOSE — Cars and heavy trucks rushed along Blossom Hill Road on Friday
morning, passing the scene like they do every day.
A piece of police tape here and there; a bouquet of flowers laid down in front
of the home. These were the only signs that 24 hours earlier, a 19-year-old
woman was shot and killed by police after making threats to her family and
claiming to have a sub machine gun, revealed afterward to be a cordless drill.
Little additional clarity has surfaced about the Thursday morning shooting in
front of a duplex off Playa Del Rey. San Jose police said they were not
releasing any more details about the department’s second officer-involved
shooting this year until Monday at the earliest.
The death of the woman, whose identity has not been publicly released, also
reignited discussion about how the dwindling availability of mental-health
services has meant police officers are increasingly the first to respond to
mental-health crises. Outcry over the shooting was steady in social media, with
many wondering whether police had to shoot the woman. In Thursday’s case, the
woman who was shot reportedly had bipolar disorder, called 911 and told
emergency dispatchers that she had an Uzi and was going to shoot her family when
in fact no one else was home. “This pattern is not going to stop unless we
create the solutions for it,” said Raj Jayadev, coordinator of the
social-advocacy and media collective Silicon Valley De-Bug. “It’s on more than
just police. It’s on us as a city. It’s on mental-health providers, elected
officials and community advocates.” According to the California Peace Officers
Standards and Training commission, as much as 15 percent of police calls in
California involve a reported mental illness, and one estimate says 40 percent
of officer involved shootings in the state involve a mental health crisis. Each
year in Santa Clara County, police dispatchers field 4,000 calls involving
It’s why local law-enforcement experts and medical leaders are pushing for more
police officers to undergo what is known as Crisis Intervention Team training, a
state curriculum that gets them versed in various types of mental illnesses, so
that they can better de-escalate potentially violent situations while minimizing
harm. The officer who fired the fatal shot Thursday, 13-year department veteran
Wakana Okuma, was CIT certified. SJPD has one of the highest rates in the Bay
Area of officers who have undergone the training, at 37 percent. But the fact
that even a CIT-trained officer chose to use deadly force — Okuma was the only
one of about five officers at the scene to shoot — is indicative of how rapid
and unpredictable these kinds of circumstances can be, police advocates say.
“Each situation is unique. Time didn’t allow them to go down different
approaches,” said Sgt. Jim Unland, president of the San Jose Police Officers’
According to police and multiple witnesses — some of whom captured the encounter
on cellphone video — the woman emerged from her home with an item in each hand,
and at some point dropped one of the items on a grassy berm. But she kept a
large black item — which would turn out to be the drill — in one hand and
continued walking toward the officers in defiance of their orders. As she got
close to Wakuma, the officer fired a single shot, hitting the woman. She later
died at the hospital.
Neighbor Thien Nguyen, a 22-year-old San Jose State student, said he looked out
the window in the immediate aftermath of the shooting and saw the drill.
“I thought it was a gun at first,” Nguyen said. “This is really unfortunate.”
Unland contends that by the time police were called, with the weapons threat
ingrained in officers’ minds, de-escalation had to take a back seat to what was
believed to be people in danger.
“We’re not the people you call for treatment. We’re the people you call when
treatment isn’t being used or utilized,” he said. “As our society cuts back on
services that used to be provided, more and more the only service left to call
is the police.”
• • • • •
If the City is in a
financial crunch, it could probably raise some dough by selling motorcycles and
desks once used by detectives that are no longer in use. This story from last
Sunday's paper explains. Not to beat the proverbial dead horse, but aren't you
glad you were part of the SJPD that was and not part of the Dept. that is?
Back On the Beat — Even for Veteran Cops
Mercury News — Aug. 17, 2014
SAN JOSE — Seasoned detectives quelling rowdy bar crowds. Tactical team officers
directing traffic around car accidents. Motor officers off their bikes and
walking the streets.
A lot of veteran San Jose police officers are back doing what they did when they
were rookies, filling gaps in the understaffed patrol division, which police
brass have deemed the lifeblood of the force.
It’s the new identity of the San Jose Police Department, which is funneling
resources into routine patrols and emergency response at the expense of the
vice, electronic crimes, gang and other special units. The proactive work of
those special units helped distinguish the department among its big-city peers
and is credited for the trumpeted years in the mid-2000s when San Jose was
regularly named the safest large city in the country.
“It will be more of a reactive police department,” Assistant Chief Eddie Garcia
said. “When a business starts losing staffing, they need to concentrate on that
initial thing they provide. Ours is the uniformed patrol force, answering that
911 call for service. We’re going to have to sacrifice some things and, quite
frankly, moving forward, we’re going to have to sacrifice quite a few things.”
particular set of internal department figures bears that out. In 2007, before an
exodus of officers amid pay cuts and a still running political battle over
pension and disability benefits, officers processed 9,830 suspects at police
headquarters rather than county jail, a figure generally used to benchmark
proactive arrests. In 2013, that number dropped to 1,788. Overall arrests have
dropped over the same period, but it’s telling that in 2007 these
“self-initiated” arrests accounted for 27 percent of the total of 36,172, and
dropped to less than 10 percent of the 18,314 total arrests in 2013.
A steady decrease in the national crime rate — about 5 percent last year,
according to FBI figures — might explain some of that decline. But department
insiders say it largely boils down to fewer working officers in each city
district, with emergency calls eating into time that might otherwise be spent on
investigation or crime prevention.
The focus on emergency response also has translated into sluggish response to
burglary calls and dwindling traffic enforcement. Prostitution and drug dealing
are stopped less often because the Metro special-enforcement team once dedicated
to those issues is instead helping curb gang violence. The rapid proliferation
of suburban illegal marijuana grows remains unchecked, surfacing only when grow
houses catch fire and threaten neighborhoods.
From a peak of more than 1,400 sworn officers in 2008, there are now just over
1,000, with about 900 available for full duty. About half are assigned to
patrol, which is still short of the 492-officer prescribed minimum for patrols
citywide. The shortage is made up in overtime shifts and reassigning officers
from other divisions. Such specialties as missing-persons and robberies merged,
while others, including auto theft, became one- or two-man units. Only four
detectives work financial crimes, an 80percent reduction, against a backdrop of
rising property crimes statewide.
That was a sore point for Cambrian resident Lily Leiby, whose home-security
system caught clear video of a man breaking into her home Aug. 3. But like many
burglary victims, she was initially told her case was likely just being added to
“They said unless we would’ve caught him right there and then, they don’t
investigate this much,” Leiby said. “We had the same experience two years ago.
It’s why we’re so frustrated.”
She got rare good news though, when dogged work by an off-duty sergeant led to
an arrest later in the week.
Recently, special-operations officers, such as those in the Mobile Emergency
Response Group and Equipment unit — SJPD’s SWAT equivalent — were pulled into
monthly patrols, and the department is considering eliminating the motorcycle
unit and reassigning its 12 day-to-day officers.
Some question whether allowing patrol to cannibalize all others is the right
tactic, including Dennis Kenney, a professor at New York’s John Jay College of
Criminal Justice and an expert in police-training procedures.
“Just maintaining patrol is probably not an advisable approach,” he said.
“There’s a point of diminishing returns, a tipping point with patrol where you
have too few people.”
He alluded to other departments in the country addressing similar shortfalls by
turning to analytics-based policing — concentrating officers on high-crime
areas, but leaving safer areas thinly patrolled. SJPD’s situation, he said,
provides a rare chance to fully re-evaluate each service’s importance.
“They need to spend a lot of time thinking about, ‘Is it worth doing?’ ” he
The cultural shift away from specialties has been a factor in many SJPD
departures, which have averaged more than 100 the past three years.
“Opportunities that people came to this department to do don’t exist anymore,”
said Kirk Wilson, a 22-year veteran who left SJPD in June.
Wilson, who worked five years in the defunct high tech crime unit, was one of
four specialized officers who left for jobs as investigators with the Santa
Clara District Attorney’s Office. That included Patricia Jaime, a social
worker-turned-cop who worked in the sexual-assault and crime-scene units,
veteran gang investigator Clayton Le, and Internet crimes detective Chris
“I hope our departure sheds light on what’s happening,” Harden said. “We’re
speaking with our feet.”
The loss of that kind of knowledge and experience translates into unsolved
crimes, says retired Capt. Tom Brewer, who formed the department’s Metro
special-enforcement unit in the late 1990s by merging the narcotics and street
crimes teams. Brewer says it takes years working a beat to effectively thwart
recurring crime issues, citing gangs as an example.
“A crime can go down and one cop’s knowledge of a little tattoo, and they know
who did it. You can’t have good street enforcement without that
institutionalized knowledge,” he said, adding that it could take “decades” to
Well-chronicled political struggles have largely driven SJPD’s transformation:
City Hall-led initiatives to rein in spiraling pension and disability costs were
met with fierce resistance by the police union, and embittered officers left in
droves. The union blames city leaders for decimating the police force, while
city reformers accuse the union of running a fear campaign and driving away
applicants. Both sides now hope to hire more cops. But the rebuilding effort hit
an obstacle this month when the council could not muster enough votes to propose
sales tax increases that could have been used for those hires.
Much of the hoped growth hinges on an ambitious recruiting plan: to field three
police academies a year of at least 50 cadets each. The current class has 24
cadets, a historic low. Police officials expect future classes will approach the
Garcia says he’s optimistic, and inspired by the tireless work being done by
officers in tenuous circumstances.
“Nobody answers the bell more often than the men and women in this department,”
he said. “You put aside all the issues, and still, nothing beats the job itself
as an SJPD officer.”
• • • • •
This item is from the I.A. Column in last Sunday's Mercury News...
SJPD Upset After Agency Posts Out-of-use Cruiser
For nearly a week, an empty San Jose Police Department squad car was parked
along Third Street downtown as a decoy to keep crooks from ransacking the
recently shuttered San Jose Repertory Theatre. It’s a common deterrent practice.
That is, when police do it. In this instance, it appears that the city’s Public
Works Department, on its own, grabbed a decommissioned patrol cruiser and
plopped it next to the storied venue that went dark earlier this summer because
Making matters worse, the vacant car had a spare key inside. And, depending on
who you ask, it might have been unlocked, making it very vulnerable to anyone
interested in a ticket-free driving experience.
SJPD brass were left in the dark about the move and, as soon as they found out
Monday, it was put back in a city yard. Police officials noted that the move
could have caused them some troubles.
“We understand all too well that a police vehicle falling in the hands of the
wrong person could pose problems for the Police Department, and the city, for
that matter,” police spokesman Officer Albert Morales said. “Fortunately for us,
the vehicle wasn’t taken. There has to be better communication amongst city
departments to ensure anytime police equipment is used, there is notification of
our chain of command.”
Officials from the city, which maintains the police fleet, admitted to faulty
communication with police.
“The coordination was not done well,” city spokesman David Vossbrink said. “The
intentions were certainly good, but it was a mistake that we acknowledge.”
Vossbrink insists the car was locked, an assertion police sources challenge. The
vehicle, however, had been gutted of its police equipment and any weapons before
it was put out for guard duty.
The following was in response to Doug
Zwemke's list of world-wide threats. (Another great idea that went over like a
phart in church.)
The number 1 threat? Liccardo as Mayor. Donate and volunteer for Cortese today.
• • • • •
I recently heard about the SJPD doing away with the motor unit. Very
disheartening. I understand and have been following thru the Farsider the many
problems and ongoing rift between the SJPOA and the City administration,
especially the mayor and his cohorts. Very similar to our federal government.
Money! Where did it go? How much has city hall spent on projects like the new
city hall and the new airport, and probably a lot I'm not aware of. I understand
the need for units to handle calls, but can't motor units be used for that
purpose, especially the heavy traffic I see when I visit San Jose? They can get
to an emergency a lot faster than a patrol car.
I have a long history with SJPD motors. I went on bikes in 1969 and stayed on
until 1988 when a disability had me on light duty performing backgrounds for a
year. My disability retirement wasn't from motorcycle injuries but mostly from
violent physical battles. As the city grew I always thought we should increase
the motor squad, but instead we started a horse unit. Yes, the horse unit was
impressive, but we could have used about 10 more bikes instead. I often wondered
how much actual street time a horse unit had out of one day's work after roll
call. The horse has to be prepared, then loaded up in a trailer and transported.
Then unloaded and do whatever, then get loaded up again and transported back to
the stables and dressed down. Along with that was the training and workouts.
I've many memories about motors, some of which cannot be told, which is true
about any special unit. I can't think of the Traffic Unit without mentioning the
Municipal Motorcycle Officers of California [MMOC] somewhere down the line as I
When I was new on motors the Motor Sgt. at briefing one day made a big talk
about writing more tickets. An old timer, Dick Erickson stated, "All that means
is the city treasurer called the chief and told him the general fund was running
low." I asked him why and Dick told me the fines the city received from traffic
tickets went into the City's general fund. Kind of makes sense.
Some administrators had little regard for the motor unit. Some didn't know quite
how to handle the members of the unit. When the college protest/riots began a
call was put out for volunteers to form a unit to deal with the protestors and
to meet at the armory on Hedding. The Sgt. setting this up formed us up and was
surprised when he saw about 16 pairs of motorcycle boots and a few radar
officers out of about 44 officers. I think we went up a notch or two in his
One time there was a little race type riot at the high school in the Mt.
Pleasant district. At the time we had training on Trimble road near the CHP
office. We could hear the call for additional units on the radio so Sgt.
Longaker said we'd respond. Soon 16 Harleys pulled up at the school and parked
side by side. About 40 or more arrests were made and motor officers were
responsible for half of them.
Earlier I mentioned MMOC, which is comprised of past and present PD riders
throughout the state. We were known locally the PD for our BBQs, steak and
Cioppino Feeds. We had one helluva committee and we had fun doing it. We had a
strong relationship with the late Don Lima and because of that we did the BBQs
for the $25 a plate Christmas in July thrown downtown.
When the first Police Olympics were held in San Jose back in the 70's, Sgt.
Gisburne had us do the BBQ for over 900 attendees at the park near Kaiser
Hospital in Santa Clara. Then, when the first ever World Police and Fire games
came to San Jose, good ole Sgt Gisburne asked us to do the meals. Think about
the logistics of feeding over 6000 people over a five day period. One meal at
one location and two at another. One meal was Western, one was Mexican and one
was Italian. Gisburne was a hard task master.
I could go on and on because what I've said so far is only the tip of the
iceberg. The best part of it all now are the good memories.
ANNOUNCING THE POA'S GOLF TOURNEY TO BENEFIT THE CHAPLAINCY
Join us for the 7th Annual SJPOA Charitable Foundation's Chaplaincy Golf
Tournament on Tuesday, October 14th, at Cinnabar Hills Golf Club! All proceeds
will benefit the SJPD Chaplaincy Program. Please register as soon as possible so
that we can ensure a successful event.
for more information about the event.
to register, donate, or become a sponsor.
THE FERGUSON MESS
When I first saw
excerpt of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon calling for a "vigorous prosecution" of
Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, I assumed he misspoke and had intended to
say "vigorous investigation." But when that question was later posed to the
governor's press secretary, he stated that the governor stands by the original
statement, leading one to believe he is a piss-poor example of a state governor.
And then there is Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed who was credited with
this statement directed to St. Louis Prosecutor Robert McCulloch on Aug. 15th:
"If you should decide not to indict this police
officer, the rioting we witnessed this past week will seem like a picnic
compared to the havoc that will likely occur"
Support for Officer Darren Wilson
There's little question that Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson's life will never be
the same. Even if he escapes becoming an incarcerated victim of race baiters
like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the New Black Panthers, AG Eric Holder and even
some members of the mainstream media who see the violence and rioting as
excellent ratings (read money), the officer will likely have to go underground
in order to survive. I doubt we can count on AG Eric Holder paving the way for
him to be given a new identity and having access to the Federal Witness
A "Go Fund Me" page
has been established for Officer Wilson. Click
if you would like to show your support and contribute to the fund.
And you can click
if you want to read reviews about GoFundMe.
How does GoFundMe work? We've got that covered, too. Click
• • • • •
As a final note, we just received an update on the looting in Ferguson: The
following items were NOT stolen by the looters: Pens, pencils, résumé kits, work
boots, work gloves, work coveralls, and Father's Day cards.
THE BEST OF THE LATE NITE JOKES
Aug. 13th thru Aug. 18th
President Obama is apparently back on speaking terms with Turkish Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. I guess their disagreements over Israel have made their
relationship somewhat complicated. But not as complicated as the name, “Recep
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of “Field of Dreams,” the Iowa State Fair is
displaying a 200-pound butter sculpture of Kevin Costner. Or as Paula Deen put
it, “If you build it . . . I will come.”
Rick Perry is fueling speculation that he'll run in 2016 by visiting the Iowa
State Fair. Unfortunately, he hurt his chances by holding a two-hour
conversation with that butter sculpture of Kevin Costner.
People are still fighting about immigration. Congress is suing the president.
I'm not saying things are bad, but the Middle East just sent diplomats to
negotiate peace in OUR country.
The White House says President Obama won't make any major announcements during
his brief trip back to D.C. this weekend. Reporters said, “Isn't THAT an
Oh this isn’t good. The Secret Service just arrested 13 people in New Jersey who
were making counterfeit money. Which got worse when the counterfeiters said,
"Are you sure this isn't something a seven-dollar bill can't get me out of?"
This week a town in Minnesota elected a dog named Duke as its mayor. Yeah, they
elected a mayor that pees on the street, sleeps on the floor, and eats out of
the garbage. Then Toronto said, "Been there!”
A new poll found that Rob Ford has fallen into second place in the race for
Toronto mayor. Yeah, it’s bad news for Ford, and even worse news for my
George Clooney and his fiancée were apparently spotted this week tasting food
for their upcoming wedding. Yeah, food for George Clooney's wedding. Which
explains that one hors d'oevre: Flying pigs in a blanket. He’s getting married!
ABC will air a one-hour special that goes behind the scenes to show how the
movie “Frozen” was made. Yeah, they say it’s all part of their plan to ruin the
movie for kids.
Cinnabon is testing a concept store that will sell smaller cinnamon rolls. Yep,
they say it’s perfect for people who love kidding themselves. “I’m just gonna
grab one or eight of these little guys here.”
Texas Governor Rick Perry has been indicted after he threatened to veto funding
for a district attorney’s office unless she stepped down. He’s now the most
controversial governor in the country — which is why today he got a gift basket
from Chris Christie.
It looks like Rick Perry's chances in 2016 might be in trouble. Or as Hillary
put it, "One down, four more to go."
A survey found that 75 percent of Americans don't use up all their vacation
days. While the rest apparently loaned them to President Obama. He’s on vacation
Mr. T reported for jury duty in Chicago last week, but ultimately was not picked
for the trial. I guess prosecutors thought he'd show too much pity.
Hillary Clinton is returning to Iowa next month for the first time since her
failed presidential run in 2008. Hillary denies just being there for politics.
She said, “I love Iowa for their . . . OK, I'm running for president.”
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon apparently sent the National Guard to Ferguson
without letting the White House know first. When he heard he was left out of
such an important decision, Obama said, “Holy crap, I’ve been Bidened!”
Yesterday the Clippers' new owner, former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer,
promised fans that the team will win an NBA championship. He says he has a great
strategy for rebuilding the team — Control-Alt-Delete.
Yankee Stadium says it will start adding metal detectors as a way to beef up
security. And then they went back to selling beer and baseball bats to New
President Obama had to cut his vacation short two days to go back to Washington.
You know why? Vice President Joe Biden had locked himself out of the White
Obama was on a two-week break with his family and had to cut it short by two
days, had to go back to Washington. I'm thinking: you spend two weeks with your
family, you're going to need a two-day break. Am I right?
David Gregory, a longtime newsman over at NBC news, is no longer the host of
"Meet the Press." He took over for Tim Russert, and now they just booted him.
They just kicked him right out the door. He's following a trail I blazed at NBC.
David Gregory is being replaced by a guy named Chuck Todd, which indicates to me
that in order to host that program you have to have two first names.
How about Johnny Football? Anybody see Johnny Manziel for the Browns? I got
nothing against the kid but I saw him play last night. I think they ought to
change his name to "Johnny Bench."
Toward the end of the game, Johnny Manziel gave Washington the finger.
Coincidentally, that's Barack Obama's exit strategy from Washington.
Anthony Weiner is opening a restaurant. Honest to God, how many of you — other
than losing a bet, how many of you would go to have a meal at Anthony Weiner's
"Meet the Press" has fired host David Gregory and hired another guy, Chuck Todd,
to host. To me, if your name is Chuck Todd, it might as well be David Gregory.
Todd Chuck, Gregory David, it makes no difference. They're all interchangeable.
There's a luxury Middle Eastern airline that's going to start offering
first-class passengers a suite with bedrooms, a kitchenette, and shower. United
Airlines says you can enjoy the same amenities if you cancel your flight and
A 14-year-old Texas boy lived in a Wal-Mart for four days before he was
discovered. Employees got suspicious when they noticed something in a Wal-Mart
that was made in America.
The Kardashians are mad. They're outraged that they've been robbed three times
this year but the police haven't caught the culprits. Los Angeles police said if
only there was a video record of what goes on in the Kardashian home.
Yesterday a fight broke out between the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys
during a joint practice. Referees told them there's a proper way for NFL players
to settle their disputes. It's called murder.
Apple announced it will ban two toxic chemicals that are used in the production
of iPhones. In a related story, that iPhone in your pocket right now is made of
The Kardashians are outraged that they've been robbed three times this year but
the police have not caught the culprits. Kim Kardashian said, "We just want back
what's wrongfully ours. We didn't earn that money and we should get to keep it."
Kobe Bryant and Nike have teamed up to make a Beethoven-themed sneaker. They're
motto is "Play basketball like an 18th century deaf German."
Analysts say that President Obama has been ignoring Hillary Clinton's advice for
years — which is why we've yet to see him in a pantsuit.
In response to criticism of its treatment of killer whales, SeaWorld said it
will build them a larger habitat. When asked for comment, a killer whale said,
"Hey, you know what's a larger habitat? The ocean!"
In South America a tribe of Amazon Indians has made contact with the outside
world for the first time. The tribe was shocked by skyscrapers, cars, and that
"Grey's Anatomy" is still on the air.
Off the coast of Russia, a 200-year-old bottle of booze was found in a shipwreck
and it is still drinkable. Isn't that amazing? Of course in Russia everything is
still drinkable — antifreeze, you name it.
Yesterday Fox News medical expert Dr. Keith Ablow told viewers that Michelle
Obama needs to drop a few. So I think there's a good chance Michelle Obama is
going to drop Dr. Keith Ablow.
The Kardashians are refusing to start filming their 10th season until the people
who burglarized their homes over the past few months have been caught. So let
that be a message to those burglars. Stay hidden! Trust nobody! You're our only
Scientists at the University of Illinois think they may have found a way to stop
cancer cell growth using venom from bees, snakes, and scorpions. Because
apparently cancer cells stop growing when you're dead.
Steubenville High School in Ohio has allowed a newly released sex offender to
rejoin its football team just months after being released from jail. High
school? It sounds like he's ready for the NFL.
The Korean Aerospace Institute announced that their one and only astronaut
resigned for personal reasons. Now all he has to do is get back to Earth.
A woman was arrested at LaGuardia Airport this week after she was seen stealing
an iPad and iPhone. The women could be sentenced to as much as six months at
An Oregon man called Portland police Monday to report that traffic was being
held up by a chicken attempting to cross a road. Then on Tuesday, he called back
to report a priest and a rabbi walking into a bar.
WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN LEGEND UPDATE AS OF AUG. 16, 2014
The facts behind the legends, information and
misinformation that has or may show up in your inbox
•Rumors of a re-enactment of the
The Purge are afoot.
• A man's cell phone placed calls to his loved ones after his
• Various rumors about
and the Middle East.
• Offer of a spider under the skin video
users into a survey scam.
• Video purportedly shows 'goodbye' message recorded by
just prior to his suicide.
• Is the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
its name to the Obama Center?
• Did Latin pop star Thalia undergo rib removal
order to appear slimmer?
• Will the federal
program (SNAP) be discontinued in March 2015?
whose legendary Hollywood career spanned more than 70 years, has died at the age
• Anniversary of the tragic murder and
case of Ethan and Hannah Anderson prompts recirculation of a missing person
• Reports claim that
have been beheading children in Iraq and Syria.
• Update to reports that Trifexis brand
prevention tablets have caused the deaths of a large number of dogs.
• Was the artificial sweetener
originally developed as an ant poison?
• NASCAR champion
hit and killed a fellow driver on a race track.
• More Discovery Channel fiction about the existence of a monster
that attacks ships.
• A collection of statements reportedly made by
How accurate is it?
• More misinformation about the federal government's supposedly preventing
model car from being sold in the U.S. because the vehicle is too fuel-efficient.
• Israeli Prime Minister
response to an interviewer who questioned the proportionality of Israel's
• Don't forget to visit our
page for a collection of odd news stories from around the world!
Worth a Second Look
the actor originally chosen to play the role of Rick Blaine in Casablanca?
Still Haunting the Inbox
• Check out our 25 Hottest
list to keep abreast of what's circulating in the on-line world.
• Visit our
page for a list of schemes commonly used by crooks to separate the unwary from
THE LIGHTER SIDE & OTHER ODDS AND ENDS
Can it happen here?
video received from Alice Murphy and think about it. Having to deal with
thousands of gangs across the country is bad enough. Are we also going to have
to contend with Muslim gangs who will try to force the U.S. to adopt Sharia Law?
Are we going to follow in the footsteps of France, Britain, Belgium, and several
other European countries? Are we next? (5 Mins.)
• • • • •
Speaking of the Middle East, this is a geography quiz that is interesting,
informative and fun. At least that's how it is billed. Truth be told, it's all
three. It took a lot of guessing and errors on my part, but I timed myself and
managed to complete it in 9 minutes. Can you do better? I'll give you a head
start by letting you study the completed map below for as long as you like. When
you are ready to start the quiz, click
• • • • •
Don't put your thinking cap back on the hook yet. This Quick I.Q. Test was
received from nearly a dozen readers, indicating that it is (or has) going
viral. If you choose to test yourself, take your time because it is not easy.
to take the test and see if you can beat the score below. Good luck!
• • • • •
When it comes to unmitigated talent, there's little doubt in our mind that the
parents of each of
guys were delighted to learn that the $40K they each spent on their kid's
college education didn't go to waste. (2 Mins.)
• • • • •
video of a couple signing to the song "You're the One That I Want" almost makes
me want to learn sign language. The closest I can get to that skill is making
the letters "Y.M.C.A." to the song of a same title. By the way, if you're
thinking that if they are deaf, how can they hear the song? Turns out the blonde
is an ASL interpreter, and the guy (her fiance) learned sign language so they
could do song interpretations together. (3 Mins.)
The couple has their
own YouTube channel with additional videos like
one of them in bed singing "You've Got a Friend in Me." (2 Mins.)
you want to know more about them, click
• • • • •
Before you laugh at the poor military personnel in this
sent in by Alice Murphy, pause for a moment and think of how miserable and
embarrassed they felt after falling on their butts. Then you can laugh. (4 Mins.)
• • • • •
Civil War buffs will want to click
to view one the most expansive, highly-detailed photo collections of the war
that took more American lives than any other. Once the page loads, a click of
your mouse on any of the photos will enlarge it and provide a caption describing
the scene. Note that some of the images are quite graphic.
General George Meade with his staff at Culpeper, VA
• • • • •
This is an interesting
that shows how the Sun sees you. It may also convince you to use sunscreen when
that big ball of hydrogen and helium in the sky is shining down on you. (3 Mins.)
• • • • •
Seeing someone so rich they can afford a $2 million swimming pool is almost
enough to make me a Democrat. This is a
• • • • •
really the Top Ten Super Bowl Commercials of all time? We report, you decide.
• • • • •
Speaking of commercials, we can virtually guarantee that
is the most entertaining TV ad for Mickey D's Golden Arches you have ever seen.
It aired during the recent World Cup. (2 Mins)
• • • • •
This video from Bruce Morton is called "Best of Formula Offroad Extreme Hill
a pretty accurate title. (6 Mins.)
• • • • •
about the "Future of Golf" had such an impact on Mike Thompson that he was
virtually at a loss for words. His only comment was "OMG." (13 Mins.)
• • • • •
Ollie is a
cat who is far different than the many felines that called my place home over
the past 40 years. All they ever did was eat, sleep, poop and look at me with
contempt. (3 mins.)
• • • • •
Are you familiar with this
No? Check it out. (2 Mins.)
• • • • •
Speaking of cats,
is a short 37-second clip we're calling "Nice Kitty."
• • • • •
Last week's tip showed you how to core a head of lettuce in five seconds. This
week's tip will show you a very cool way to serve
• • • • •
display of swordsmanship something super human, or is it a trick? You decide. (3
• • • • •
should enjoy this never seen before footage of "The King" singing "Unchained
Melody" at a 1977 concert in Rapid City. (5 Mins.)
• • • • •
It's been a bad week both domestically and internationally, so let's conclude
this week's digital fishwrap on a high note with what I believe is another
extraterrestrial from an alien world posing as a young FEMALE from earth because
I refuse to believe that a little girl this young from our planet could have the
stage presence and talent to belt out a song like "You Raise Me Up" without
missing so much as a beat or a note. (Yes, that was an extraordinarily long
sentence for which I apologize.) Clues are sketchy, but it looks like the
performance originated on China's Got Talent or a similar show.
• • • • •
Pic of the Week
|This is the message box, using the