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The Farsider

November 7, 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.



 

PENSION NEWS



Oct. 31st

Recently we have received numerous questions regarding the proposed Pension Reform Act of 2014. Many members are concerned about the proposed constitutional amendment and how it could affect their pension benefits. PORAC has provided us permission to share this legal analysis with you. We will keep you informed as developments occur. Click on the link below…

<http://tinyurl.com/mybk9gl>


 

POA UPDATES



Nov. 1st

NBC Bay Area News (video)

SJPD Recruitment Controversy Boomerangs (video)




<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Eh5Q2JVuKM&feature=youtu.be>




Nov. 6th

KTVU Channel 2 (video)

San Jose deploys detectives to try and cover patrol beats (video)




<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iJUJl5INYY>

~ ~ ~

The Daily Fetch (article)

Is Khamis a crybaby? (article)


<http://tinyurl.com/kby92st>

~ ~ ~

San Jose Inside (article)

Proposals for San Jose Police Substation, Academy Retention Under Scrutiny

<http://tinyurl.com/mqog95u>


 

THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF SAN JOSE AND THE SJPD

The SJPD was excoriated by an NBC Bay Area investigative report on last night's (Wed) 11 p.m. news using a silhouetted SJPD officer and disguising his voice. The report implied the Dept. and the City purposely changed the requirements for defining a "gang-related" homicide to show a 42.9 percent drop so far in 2013. And it didn't help that the station reported that no one from the Dept. or the City was willing to comment on the charge. Today's paper included a somewhat less critical story on the issue…

Gang Homicide Figures in Question

—Classification differences may account for drop—

By Mark Gomez and Robert Salonga
Mercury News — Nov. 7, 2013

SAN JOSE — San Jose police last month proudly announced that gang-related homicides had plunged 42.9 percent in the first nine months of this year. But it turns out, police don’t really know whether the number is accurate.

That’s because in trumpeting the drop from 14 gang homicides in 2012 to eight so far this year, officials failed to account for a shift in the way they classify such killings. Police officials acknowledged on Wednesday that as a result, their comparison was like comparing apples to oranges.

In fact, until a change made in June, there has been no set criteria for determining whether a homicide in San Jose was gang-related. The homicide division made such determinations based on the best information they had available. Earlier this year, the police brass decided to establish such criteria to provide more accurate, “objective” numbers, according to Sgt. Heather Randol.



San Jose police guard a house, far right, where a
victim was found shot in a gang-related incident.

Randol said the command staff decided that, in order to be considered gang-related, a homicide must meet criteria in California Penal Code Section 186.22, which covers participation in a criminal street gang. Using that measure, a gang-related homicide would have to involve a suspect who “willfully promotes, furthers, or assists” in any felonious criminal conduct by members of a criminal street gang with the purpose of furthering that gang.

“We wanted to ensure going forward we are painting the most accurate picture of gang violence in the city,” Randol said. “We wanted a guideline to follow. The guideline we are following is the penal code, which outlines a gang motivated crime.” She added: “Just because you have a validated gang member involved doesn’t mean it’s gang motivated, unless it meets that standard.” Randol said there is no change in the way the department classifies other gang-related violent crimes, which the department also said had dropped in the first nine months of the year. She agreed that because of the change in evaluating homicides, it’s not accurate to compare 2013 gang-related homicides against 2012 numbers. Randol said that’s why police placed an asterisk next to gang homicides for 2013 in a chart of gang-related violent crime statistics in an Oct. 26 news release and explained the change and that it went into effect in June. But the news release still pointed to the 42.9 percent decrease without explaining that a precise comparison between the two years could not be made because of the new standard.

Jim Unland, president of the San Jose Police Officer’s Association, called it a “shameful deception” and “deceitful behavior” that warrants investigation.

“They took credit for a 40 percent drop in gang-related homicides that we now know isn’t true,” Unland wrote in an email. “It matters to the residents of San Jose because it projects a false sense of security that San Jose has a handle on gang violence, when clearly that’s not true.”

Randol said the gang-related homicide tallies can and do change as cases are solved. For example, last month police made an arrest in a 2012 case and determined the homicide was gang-related, though it wasn’t previously categorized that way.

Police have not applied Section 186.22 against the 14 homicides from January through September of 2012.

“There probably are going to be some differences in numbers,” Randol said. “We want to move forward and focus on the open homicide investigations.”

Officer Albert Morales did say there were 19 gang-related homicides in 2012 and that county prosecutors filed gang enhancements in 14 of the cases. Prosecutors use 186.22 in determining whether to file gang enhancements.

The San Jose Police Department does not intend to re-evaluate the remaining five cases, according to authorities.

Randol said: “A more accurate reflection of the true gang-related homicides would have to wait until the end of 2014.”
 

• • • • •


A replacement has been chosen for City Manager Debra Figone who will be retiring in Dec. Here's the story as it appeared in yesterday's paper…

Shikada Named City Manager

—Council votes to promote No. 2 official and give him a $50,000 pay increase—

By Mike Rosenberg
<mrosenberg@mercurynews.com>
Mercury News — Nov. 6, 2013

SAN JOSE -- City Hall's No. 2 appointed official is moving up to the top spot and getting nearly a $50,000 raise along with it.

The San Jose City Council on Tuesday promoted Ed Shikada to be the next city manager. He will replace Deb Figone, who announced in September she would retire next month after six years on the job. Shikada, San Jose's assistant city manager since 2010, will oversee the city's $2.9 billion budget and become the boss of nearly 5,700 city employees.

Shikada, speaking in City Hall Tuesday, recounted growing up at a small town on Hawaii's Big Island where there were no traffic lights -- and noted that he now heads a city of a million people.

"It's been quite a ride," Shikada said.



San Jose City Council promoted
Ed Shikada to city manager on
Nov. 5, replacing Deb Figone,
who is retiring in December.

Shikada, 50, has worked in the city administration for the past 10 years. The Willow Glen resident previously worked at the city of Long Beach and Los Angeles County's transportation authority.

The City Council voted 8-3 to appoint Shikada, with Councilmen Ash Kalra, Xavier Campos and Donald Rocha going against the appointment.

Mayor Chuck Reed will depart next year and half of the other 10 City Council members will be either termed out or up for re-election.

Reed said the council considered appointing Shikada on an interim or acting basis to allow the next administration to choose their city manager, or hiring a search firm to spend months on a nationwide search.

But ultimately they thought the "best man for the job" was waiting in the wings and did not think the appointment would put the next council "in a box," Reed said. They gave Shikada a contract through July 2015, and it will renew unless the council wants to hire someone else.

"I do have a preference for promoting from within," Reed said. "He's been there through the tough times."

Both Reed and Shikada said the new city manager's top job will be building up the city's payroll now that revenues are bouncing back. The city staff dropped from 7,100 positions to about 5,300 during the Great Recession, before climbing to 5,655 currently. Shikada specifically mentioned the shrinking ranks at the police force as a big concern, as the cop union continues to fight city officials over pay and benefit packages.

With years of budget cuts starting to give way to better times, the new city manager has his sights set on beefing up the basic programs City Hall can offer its residents.

"From an economic standpoint, we seem to be on the right path," Shikada said. "At the same time essential city services are at a level none of us consider acceptable."

Shikada will make a salary of $250,000, up from his base pay of $201,146 last year, and his benefits package includes 25 vacation days per year, and six months of severance pay if he's fired.

Figone made a base salary of $227,975 last year but earned close to a quarter-million dollars when factoring in deferred compensation, a benefit Shikada will take in pay. Figone's total compensation, including pension contributions and other benefits, was nearly $394,502 last year.

Shikada, who is married to Ruth Shikada, a key city of Santa Clara official in charge of the new 49ers stadium, says he's not worried about his long-term prospects under a new regime. He chalks up the uncertainty to "the nature of the city manager profession," where turnover is often high as stresses build and new politicians are elected as their bosses.

Shikada takes over a unique City Hall. Typically big cities such as San Francisco are completely run by full-time elected politicians while appointed city managers lead smaller cities and report to part-time council members on big policy decisions. But San Jose has both a city manager that runs day-to-day business and a full-time mayor and council with more power than in small towns. The San Jose mayor's office recruits the city manager and a handful of top appointees who then must be approved by the council.

Figone, after starting the job in mid-2007, will hand the reins over to Shikada on Dec. 21. Of her replacement, Figone said in a statement: "He is a courageous leader and an effective manager with an entrepreneurial spirit, and I'm confident that Ed and our entire team will continue to accomplish great things for our city."
 

~ ~ ~
 

San Jose's next city manager:

Name: Ed Shikada, Age: 50

Originally from: Hawaii

Career: San Jose assistant city manager; City of Long Beach public works director, transportation manager; Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority congestion management program.

Education: Master of arts in architecture and urban planning from UCLA, bachelor of science in civil engineering from the University of Hawaii.

Lives in: Willow Glen with wife Ruth Shikada, a city of Santa Clara official.

 


WEEKLY POLL
 


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

This message was sent to Mike Ross from Mike Thompson with a cc to us. Mike was the author of last week's recollections that appeared in the History of the SJPD column….
 

Oct. 31st

Mike,

What an excellent recollection of the craziness that was San Jose in those days. Fortunately, we now look back on those times as the Golden Years compared to what the current officers are having to deal with today. In another two months I will have been retired for 19 years from the department, and I look back on my 30 years with many fond remembrances of fellow officers and incidents that I was involved in. I wish you a long, happy and healthy retirement.

Mike Thompson
<mbtkht@gmail.com>

• • • • •


The message below originated with Chuck Seaton, who sent it to several others that included Tom Cannell. He in turn sent it to others that included JET and Lumpy, both of whom forwarded it to us. It's about Brian McNamara (no relation to Joe), who worked as a San Jose cop in the 1970s before he resigned. There have been numerous stories over the years about Brian and a link to the CIA and assignments in South America, but they were mostly based on rumors.

Nov. 3rd

Hi Tom,

Brian died on Friday, Nov 1. His neighbor just called me. I visited him last month and he had just started on oxygen. He had a lung disease where fibers grow on the lung cells and prevent the transfer of oxygen. I think he was 74.

Sad day.

Charles Seaton
<artman1322@charter.net>

A check with our contact at Police Personnel failed to turn up a photo, badge number or any specific dates. It appears that Brian's records were purged several years ago. We'll keep a eye out for an obit in the Santa Cruz Sentinel and the Mercury News.

• • • • •
 

Nov. 5th

Hello Bill,

In response to Mayor Reed's open invitation to public employee unions to problem solve with Reed and his PRA 2014 backers I wrote this Letter to the Editor which was published in the Sacramento Bee. I have submitted many others of similar content to the Mercury News over the years, but for some reason they were never published.

Thanks to you and Leroy for all the hours you contribute to keep us retirees informed and entertained.

Dave Keneller
<keneller@aol.com>

~ ~ ~

 

Be wary of Mayor Reed's Pension Reform Act

Letter to the Editor
Sacramento Bee, Nov. 4, 2013


Re "To save jobs, unions should embrace reform" (Editorials, Nov. 4): Employee unions should be dubious of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed's disingenuous overture, considering his track record.

As a San Jose councilman, Reed voted for the pay and retirement raises he now denounces. As mayor, he refused to negotiate with his unions, hit the panic button, and championed Measure B - though warned by experts it was illegal (San Jose has spent $3 million defending Measure B).

Reed ignored reality to the city's long term detriment. Crime is up and police services are down. Police staffing is down 30 percent, as experienced officers and now academy recruits have fled the department for more competitive pay and benefits. Academies will never catch up. Now, in anticipation of Measure B losing in the courts, Reed wants new union dialogue and passage of the Pension Reform Act in 2014. Reed's invitation to unions seems hollow when considering his past actions and the motivations of the Pension Reform Act's financial backers.

-- David Keneller, Shingle Springs


Well said, Dave.    

• • • • •


This is an e-mail dialogue between Mike O'Connor and Jim Silvers…

Nov. 4th

Hi Jim,

Thought you might enjoy this one. This is my son Patrick flying the warm up act for the Blue Angels in 2011.

Mike
(O'Connor)

~ ~ ~

Wow! You must be very proud of him. Has this been forwarded to the Farsider. Is it OK if I do. It's kinda long, but maybe Bill can shorten it.

Jim (Silvers)

~ ~ ~

Hi Jim,

Never went to the Farsider because I was not sure how many people would be interested. I forwarded it to a few friends and those who knew him growing up. Feel free if you think it would entertain the rest of our group.

Patrick is just back from a tour in Afghanistan aboard the Nimitz and preparing for his next deployment in August of next year on the Carl Vinson. At this moment he is at NAS Fallon getting ready for his next adventure. His regular duty station is NAS LeMoore near Fresno.

Mike


~ ~ ~

Ed. — NAS Fallon (east of Reno) replaced NAS Miramar several years ago as the Navy's Top Gun School. This is the video that accompanied Mike's e-mail. The air show took placed in 2011 based on when it was posted to YouTube.(15 Mins)

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfgILe80GjM&feature=youtu.be>



 

THE HISTORY OF THE SJPD SHALL NOT BE FORGOTTEN

—An Encore Presentation—

rebleagle5@aol.com

Memory Lane While Working the Eastside of San Jose in the Early '80s

While assigned to the SJPD YSD (Gang) Unit in 1982 we worked District’s 3 (King & Story), 9 (Roeder & Monterey), 5 (Downtown) and 1 (King & Alum Rock) all together during our shifts. We were all rookies working in the hot spots of the city with no veterans of five years or more. We quickly noticed that your seniority got you out of this area during midnights and it was not the place to be very long. We worked midnights with Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays off. When we were selected for the YSD Unit we were grateful and thought we had died and gone to heaven while actually being allowed to work on the busy side of town. We took very little time off because of our commitment and loyalty to the team. Our Unit had a camaraderie and close ties to each other that helped all of us get through the ups and downs of what we faced each night. The adventures were many as we traveled around in a pack, not straying too far away from each other for our survival and safety. We were clueless rookies who were getting a crash course on policing on the streets of east San Jose.

Our favorite Eastside midnight watering holes were Winchell’s Donuts (Story & White), Denny’s (Capital & McLaughlin & Capital & Berryessa & Tully & Alvin), Coco’s (King & Tully), Tampico’s (Santa Clara & 24th), Burger Pit (White & Easthills), Larry’s Country Inn (Aborn & White & Capital & McKee), and Cindy’s (Capital Expwy & Snell). They were routinely visited because they were cop-friendly. At times, before we got started, we would come in early so we could go eat at places like the Bold Knight, Monterey Steak House, OJ’s, DiMaggio’s or the Mini Gourmet. We often skipped midnight briefings so we could go get a bite before we hit the streets on the east side of town.

Memories will last forever of repeatedly going to the same addresses on streets like Clyda, Mt. McKinley, Needles, Welch, Nordale, LaPorte, Dubert, Tami Lee, Crucero, Lanai, Fontaine, Bermuda, Terrilyn, Alum Rock, Jackson, Rigalleto, McKee, Owsley, Clemence, Carnelian, Audobon, Ocala, Galahad, Harbor, Poco, McCreery, Roeder, Snow, Tradewinds, Cinderella, Bambi, Forestdale, Jeannie, Knox and many others. We felt like we had an open invitation to provide police services to the problem children and gangsters. We became a wealth of intelligence and we soon got to know people by name and who they associated and rivaled with. Our blown up and magnified beat maps helped us quickly find streets but were soon not needed because we so frequently visited the same gangsters every night in the same locations.

The gang violence was notably increasing and spreading like wildfire across the City. Emulating Los Angeles gangster lifestyles was trendy and popular. Our gangsters made us laugh because they didn't have a clue about the history of gang culture or even why they hated others, but they claimed to be "bad ass!" The gangsters learned their warfare and hatred by watching repeated media sensationalism of gang violence and their activities. It was a badge of honor for a gang to get notoriety and recognition in the local papers or press. The gangsters were very proud and looking for trouble almost every evening and nighttime. They armed themselves with firearms and bizarre items they had made into homemade weapons. Many bloody confrontations were on-viewed, and when we settled the problem down the gang members routinely refused to speak to police while only telling us that their gang and them would take care of it. San Jose was known as the "PCP Capital of the World," which created bizarre behavior and violent confrontations on a nightly basis. East San Jose was the epicenter of the PCP and violence, and our teams were always in the thick of everything that happened.

There was total denial of the problem by most of the city which resulted in no funds being diverted towards intervention, prevention and suppression services. The mention of gang crime and gang life seemed to be taboo and a doomed curse if the city administration and department admitted to having a gang problem. Our SJPD was truly addressing the ever increasing gang violence in the city behind the scenes, but in the public forum they denied it being a gang problem while erroneously keeping to the company line of it being only a juvenile problem.

Gangsters were literally committing all kinds of crimes and using graffiti to list the gang monikers of the idiots who were there committing the crime. Tattoos were becoming popular and controlling a neighborhood or park was part of their mantra. The leaders were picked for their craziness and willingness to do harm to others. School smarts was not a prerequisite, but street smarts was a must for the shot-callers. They falsely recruited at risk kids from the barrio with a lure of claiming the gang was their family and the only ones capable of defending them was the gang itself. Gangsters were killing because of graffiti, turf wars, mad dogging, girls, wearing the wrong colors, an alleged act of disrespect or just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A badge of honor for a young gangster was holding a firearm or committing a violent crime in the name of the gangs. Their goals were either to be buried as a gangster or go to prison for the gang. The gangsters freely posed for gangster photos with our Polaroid cameras as long as we would give a picture to them as a reward. In a lot of ways, it was weird, but the more you would come down on the gangsters and always be around, the more street respect you would earn from them. They would clearly kill you if given the chance, but in a strange way respected you for being in the barrio with them. They all claimed to hate snitches/rats/informants, but it was almost to the person that all of them would be an informant at one moment in time with the right coaxing.

Memories of notable crime families that demanded our time and attention included the Laundry family, Pardo family, Fryman family and many others that kept us always in the hunt. The individuals we ran into often trying to kill or hurt SJPD Officers included Donnie Douglas, Karl and Ernest Laundry, Johnnie Walker and Brenda Mendez who controlled entire gangs who assaulted police on a routine basis. Because of the violence directed at SJPD on the Eastside we had several notable officer involved shootings.

On a nightly basis we drew our weapons in high risk incidents, self defense and to protect the public. We had apartment complex gangs and dopers that made upfront verbal claims that they were going to kill an SJPD officer who stepped foot on their turf. This pissed us off, and we were adamant that that was not going to happen in San Jose during our watch. Instead of staying clear, our YSD Unit, Special Operations Units, patrol units and detectives visited the areas on a regular basis while eventually sending everyone to jail, the hospital or both. We worked hard with everyone to get the gangsters evicted and displaced somewhere other San Jose.

I have memories of dumping out Budweiser beer by the gallons every night, foot chases, car chases, low riders and perimeters. We drove old outdated police cars because we were so hard on them while veterans and most patrol command staff were no where to be seen. Lieutenant Tom Perez was our YSD Commander and he was always good for a code 3 or code 20 event during a shift. On many occasions Lt Perez was the first on the scene to take care of business when a request for code 3 assistance was put out. Lt Perez had no problems getting dirty or getting involved. We often chuckled with each other about not letting Lt Perez go to a 415 party because he regularly initiated a code 3 fill request that resulted in hats and bats and many people being taken into custody. When those requests were put out it was refreshing and a good sound to hear the sirens and racing 440 engines coming to your rescue.

The traffic of cruisers kept the streets full until 3 to 5 a.m. in the morning. Bumper-to-bumper traffic packed the city streets and highways. The CHP command staff was always pissed at our diversions of directing the masses onto the freeways where they sometimes stopped and had a shootout or gang fights on their roadways. When CHP would call for code 3 assistance I remember their officers saying how cool it was to hear and watch the masses of SJPD police getting to the scene and taking control of the hostile circumstances. That was what we did, and the more of a cluster it was the better we were at doing our job.

We worked out before every shift to keep in shape for what we were expected to handle during our shift. We carried huge silver/gray Motorola hand-packs with no shoulder mike and had to turn the volume all the way up and put it to our ear to hear the radio traffic over the low rider sound systems on the boulevard. We routinely had roll calls over the police radio to make sure we were all accounted for and safe at that time. We had a helter-skelter way of handling chaotic and dangerous crime scenes. At times, because of the traffic and congestion, we couldn’t get across an intersection where fights and shots fired were occurring because it was so busy. Handling a multi-unit response incident or call for service was common for one officer to take the assignment and report on conditions.

We practiced shooting on a regular basis at the firing range in order to be prepared for that moment when things went south and firing our weapons would be needed. We carried mace that no one used because it affected officers more than it did the blasters. We were frequent visitors at bars like the Tropicana, Pot Belly, Place, Ottos, Chalice, 20 Grand Club and many more while working YSD. King and Story memories also included the Tropicana Shopping Center, Bonanza parking lot, 7-11, Shakeys Pizza, Adult Book Store and Prusch Park where we tried to keep the cruisers from congregating. There was absolutely no time to take a breath or relax during our shifts.

The public definitely got there pound of flesh out of us each and every night. We all respected fear and we saddled up every night because we had a greater need and priority than fear of taking care of business for the people and showing respect to our badge. We were a little bit of the featured television shows in those days including Adam 12, Dragnet, Untouchables, Car 54 and F-Troop all combined. We were goofy and always willing to hear a good police war story. On a regular basis we would get into physical confrontations that resembled the cage fighting of today or the World Wrestling Foundation matches. We used the few tools we were given to fight like the old carotid restraint, 16” baton, mace, handgun and Koga, but when altercations kept going we quickly adapted and took care of business. On very few occasions we were allowed to wear our jumpsuits which consisted of a mechanic's overalls with SJPD patches on the arms.

We all had a little John Wayne and Clint Eastwood in us for real. We weren't acting, and we were always running into the chaos and crisis as others were running away. The officers I worked with clearly had bravery and courage. We all had a love for the job and helping those who were being victimized or terrorized by others. We were the sheep dog looking over the flock and protecting those who could not or would not protect themselves. We all had funny characters, raw police talent, wit, courage, pride, heart, dependability and a willingness to lay our lives on the line for others. During these clusters we had our times of laughter and sadness, but we always kept an optimistic opinion that we were making a difference.

You see, over the years an SJPD officer earns their bones and the right to be comfortable when we achieve retirement. We paid our dues and deserve nothing but the best given to any profession. We never took handouts, we worked hard, we sacrificed and we never scammed the system. We were part of a generation at SJPD that earned the reputation of being the elite in law enforcement and earning the title of the “Safest Big City in America.”

To you who are with the SJPD now, stay unified and fight for what is rightfully owed to you. Never compromise because it is your family and yourself for who you are ultimately fighting for. Always stay united because the brotherhood/sisterhood we enjoy is second to no one's, and we deserve the so called Cadillac benefits that have been fought for in the past. As you can read, the past during my tenure was pretty dangerous and unstable in a different way than it is today. Before me, those same conditions existed and many stepped up to the plate to do the right things.

To all my friends and associates at SJPD, I wish you safety, protection and that by the will of God you stay safe and healthy while making it to retirement in one piece. On top of being good at what we do, it is always nice to have a little luck and the angels in Heaven looking down and protecting our brothers and sisters at the SJPD. Stay strong and cover each others butts, no matter what, you truly are working with a special agency called the SJPD!
 


 

MEYER WEED



Reed's Math Does Not Add Up
Oct. 30th

<http://meyerweed.blogspot.com/>


 

WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN LEGEND UPDATE AS OF NOV. 2,  2013

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

New Articles

• Message seeks help finding homes for several rescued horses in the Niagara Falls area that are in need of adoption.
<http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/niagarahorses.asp>

• George Thornton, the man who gained fame as the Oregon Department of Transportation highway engineer who blew a massive beached whale to smithereens, has passed away.
<http://www.snopes.com/critters/disposal/whale.asp>

• Actress' performance as Anne Frank is so bad that audience members yell, 'She's in the attic!'
<http://www.snopes.com/movies/actors/attic.asp>

• Is Facebook attempting to remove posted images of nativity scenes?
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/christmas/nativity.asp>

• Photograph of a Texas restaurant reveals the presence of a ghostly little girl.
<http://www.snopes.com/photos/supernatural/dinerghost.asp>

• Is the U.S. government opening gas stations to distribute free gasoline in poor neighborhoods?
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/satire/gasstations.asp>

• Everyone knows magician Harry Houdini died from a ruptured appendix caused by his being punched in the stomach on a dare. But is that really how he died?
<http://www.snopes.com/horrors/freakish/houdini.asp>

• Vanity legend: Weave made from dead person's hair causes worms to grow in recipient's scalp.
<http://www.snopes.com/horrors/vanities/hairweave.asp>

• Did Thomas Edison once say that 'the doctor of the future will give no medicine'?
<http://www.snopes.com/quotes/futuredoctor.asp>

• Photograph shows dog heads for sale in a foreign supermarket's meat section.
<http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/dogheads.asp>

• Will participating in the Facebook 'giraffe challenge' infect your computer and give hackers access to your account?
<http://www.snopes.com/computer/facebook/giraffe.asp>

• Has Dearborn, Michigan, become the first U.S. city to implement Sharia law?
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/satire/sharia.asp>

• A pet python acting 'affectionate' is really just measuring its owner for a meal.
<http://www.snopes.com//critters/snakes/measured.asp>

• The annual return of Ben Stein's 2005 commentary about the observance of Christmas.
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/confessions.asp>

• Did Alka-Seltzer dramatically increase their sales by instructing consumers to use two tablets instead of one?
<http://www.snopes.com//business/genius/alka-seltzer.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

• Did a clever thief find an inventive way to steal a wheelbarrow right under a guard's nose?
<http://www.snopes.com/crime/clever/wheelbarrow.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
 




• • • • •


Someone (or some group) did a masterful job of replacing what these NFL players were actually saying with something they weren't. Check out this clip received from Paul Salerno. It's a hoot. (3 Mins.)

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zce-QT7MGSE>


• • • • •


The Smothers Brothers are alive and well and as funny as ever as you can see from this clip when they appeared on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. If this clip takes you back several decades and makes you smile, you can thank Bert Kelsey for sending it in. (7 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEiU-8gx0hc>


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This 9-year-old Dutch girl who recently appeared on Holland's Got Talent has to be heard to be believed. Could she be the next Sarah Brightman? Time will tell. Have a look and listen to this clip received from Don Hale. (3 Mins.)
 



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


This full version of the video will give you an idea of the little singer's personality, but it would be helpful if you spoke Dutch to understand what's being said. (8 Mins.)

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NfnSgYqM4M>


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When accompanied by the video, we see no reason not to believe the text that accompanied it...

Americans historically and by nature have always found a way to overcome adversity. Recently at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, that can-do American spirit was on full display. Not able to call on our military for flyovers of events due to budget battles and politics, a group of civilian pilots put together the largest formation flyover (49 aircraft) of any sporting event in history. Add to that the fact that these were aircraft constructed from kits by individuals in their workshops, hangars and garages makes this even more impressive. But wait, there's more. All the aircraft trailed pink smoke as they flew over as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To all who were involved in making this happen, well done, very well done indeed! (1 Min.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VImNBuJW3sQ>


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Speaking of flying, imagine that you have hired a paraglider pilot to take you for a ride and everything is going well until you get lost in a cloud and you hear the pilot praying out loud. Seems likely that those on the ground directly under you and the pilot would experience what might feel like some raindrops. Or worse. (14 Mins.)


<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reHHb92rYw4>


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Tip of the week: If you are hiking on the Altamont Wind Farm during a wind storm,  don't stand too close to any of the windmills. (30 Secs.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAWMpxX60KM>

 

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The high-definition B&W photos from the link below provided by Phil Norton look familiar, so we may have included them in the past. Even if we did, they merit a second entry as the photos circa (1900-1925) are extraordinary, but you will need to give the page a few moments to load due to the size and number (100) of the photos. Keep in mind that every person you see is long gone. Here's a small example of one of them…


(Photo #85) 1911: Washington, D.C. "Senorita
Lenore Riviero with Antony Jannus in Rex Smith
airplane. (Note that her legs are tied together.)

<http://photosilke.blogspot.com/2013/03/historic-photos.html>


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Did you spring for a new new iPhoneS with the fingerprint reader? If you did, you might want to click on the link below, then play the embedded video. The Russian website link is from Bob Kosovilka...



<http://tinyurl.com/le6lcqw>


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Lesson of the week: We're happy to pass along this motivation video featuring a little mouse that will show you why you should never give up. (1 Min.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPVUGFKG9QU>


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While we're on the subject of critters, check out this compilation video of exotic baby animals. (4 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aozx2gzSwTs>


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We haven't left the Animal Kingdom yet. This clip will take you through the first hundred days of Mei Lun and Mei Huan in less than three minutes. They are the baby Pandas that were born recently at the Atlanta Zoo. (3 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c30i79-FA3M>


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This clip from Stan Miller is titled the "World's Best Guitar Player." You wouldn't know it by the start, but when he gets going at around the 3 minute mark it would be hard to argue that he's not among the best. The video is from a talent show produced by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and you can tell it took place at Harvard by the lavish stage decor and all the geeks in the audience. (8 Mins.)



<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4ixAfJ1LuI>


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This European video of a German husband and wife acrobatic team we received from Chuck Blackmore combines comedy with a stationary trapeze. Given the strength the performer in the dress displays, we had to go to the couple's website and click on the English button to confirm they were in fact a man and a woman and not two men
<
www.diemaiers.com>. We think it's worth a watch, so go for it. (8 Mins.)



<http://vimeo.com/30014163>


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It's not just little cats that like to play with boxes, so do big cats according to this clip from Bruce Morton. Perhaps it's something in a feline's genes. (3 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J11uu8L8FTY>


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If Obamacare fails and we wind up with a single-payer system like the Brits and Canadians have — and Obama and his army on the Left want — is this what we can expect? Have a look at this clip received from Paul Salerno and judge for yourself. (7 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSw4CLV14sQ>


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You'll be happy to know we're almost at the end. But first, here's a short clip you may want to pass along to your friends. It's about a ghostly apparition that was caught on camera during the filming of a car commercial, but because of what looks like a ghost or spirit, it never made it to air. So is the apparition real? You be the judge. (1 Min.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0fDg9QDiYA>


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OK, we admit it. We bad. Perhaps we can settle your nerves with this Andre Rieu rendition of "The Second Waltz" that was part of a performance that took place in Maastricht, Holland a few weeks ago. Count the smiles. (4 Mins.)

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMBGK-REk2U&feature=youtu.be>


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C'ya


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