Monday, July 21, 2014

The Russian Jean Valjean

I experienced a very disturbing situation this weekend, which leads me to question the direction our country is going in, but before I can explain it, you need to understand a little bit about Family Day.
Where I live we are part of a homeowners' association. It is not gated, the houses don't all look the same, but we all pay dues, follow rules and almost all the homes are adjacent to one of the three parks.
The elementary school is located on one of the parks. The neighborhood kids go to school together, then playgroup (half-day summer camp for kids kindergarten-6th grade), they play, swim and work together. This fosters an incredible sense of community. Several people we know grew up there as kids and came back to raise their own families.
One day in summer is called Family Day, it starts in the morning with activities for kids like pony rides, inflatable slides (include a water slide), carnival games (with prizes), spin art and face-painting.
It is a completely open event. The pool is open all day to everyone, IDs are not checked, guest fees are not charged. Everything is paid for by the association. All that we ask is that parents (including residents) buy their children a wristband for $15 for access to all the above mentioned attractions plus cotton candy and sno-cones.
The pony rides and the bigger inflatable slide were manned by employees of the respective companies and they were turning away kids without wristbands.

But the rest of the things, like the bounce house were either unstaffed or done so by residents volunteering (and sacrificing times with their own families).
But there was a sign next to each station making it clear that you needed a wristband but many people just ignored it.
After having to wait for non-payers at several attractions including the bounce house (where I saw one lady, speaking Russian, but clearly telling someone about the wristband policy), I started to get frustrated.

While Chase and Julian were getting their faces painted (by a friendly resident volunteer)

the line was starting to get long. Next on line, in front of 3 paying residents, was a little girl, with her scofflaw mother (the one speaking Russian at the bounce house) nowhere to be found.

I decided to speak up. In my nicest voice I said "sweetie, tell your mommy you need a wristband to get your face painted."

Before I even finished the sentence the little girl shot back "we don't have enough money."

No one is going to turn away a child in this case. And the mother knew that. Which is why she coached the daughter to say it.

There is no way this woman is so poor that she literally had to choose between spending 15 dollars on a wristband and eating that day, she just didn't deem this expenditure worth it, especially because she knew if she plotted it right (found the soft targets, coached her daughter, and stood far away) she could get away with it.
I think she was just trying to get away with something (like the people at Panera who ask for a cup for water and then fill it up with soda) but it represents something more sinister and insidious in our society: the entitlement attitude.

If someone has more money than you, they must have stolen it or cheated you to get it, so are just stealing it back.
And that's what this woman was doing: stealing. This was an immoral act. It is wrong to take something (product or service) without paying for it.
If she truly couldn't afford it then that is sad. But she should have stayed home, that would have been a better lesson for the child than the one she taught her.

Friday, July 18, 2014

For Once, I Agree With Coach Boeheim's Strategy Decision

A Syracuse fan got a huge Jim Boeheim tattoo on his leg.

When reached for comment by ESPN, Boeheim said "I would wear long pants for the rest of my life."


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why Does This Keep Happening To Me?

I try to walk carefully, but I just always manage to kick things and stub my toes in the most gruesome possible ways.
I am currently hobbling around with a severely injured pinky toe on my right foot.
But according to this montage it looks like the most mild of my injuries.

Love Me, Love Me, Say That You Love Me

LeBron James is going back to Cleveland, saying he didn't realize four years ago how important the people of Northeast Ohio were to him.
Many people are viewing this as an admission on his part that he made a mistake four years ago when he chose to leave the Cavs for the Heat.
I think he is making the same mistake this time around, only he's doing it in a better way.
Let me explain: First of all, I am talking only about the decision with a lowercase d. The Decision, the TV special, was a complete disaster and at least he learned that lesson this time around.
But the lesson he didn't learn, is that you can't make people happy by doing what you think they want you to do.
I believe LeBron chose Miami four years ago because he thought that's what people wanted and what he needed. He thought he needed to win championships in order to be considered one of the all-time greats. And he was willing to take less money to do it. And he was right, he won two titles and four conference championships in Miami. But he never got the adulation he wanted and desired, in fact the opposite was true. Even excluding the Decision, people were angry that he abandoned his home fans and assembled a super-team.
Upon seeing that his two titles didn't bring him the love respect and adulation he desired LeBron tried to reverse course and go back to Cleveland.
It would be an admirable move, were he really sincere about his intentions. But all he wants is the love. He doesn't really care about the people of Northeast Ohio who felt betrayed by him. He just wants people to stop saying bad things about him.
Well, it's not going to work.
There are always going to be haters and being a person of prominence, they're always going to attack everything he does.
But if he really wants to turn those of us who are mostly agnostic to him (love his play, ambivalent about his personality) he should be less concerned with what we think and more concerned with winning those titles for the people of Cleveland.

Song of the Week

"Magnet and Steel" - Walter Egan

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Smartest Man in Music

In the nearly 30 years since Weird Al Yankovic recorded "Dare to Be Stupid" so many people took his advice that now it's hard to find people who are willing to be smart.
Which is why his latest single, "Word Crimes," strikes a chord with me. He takes on all those stupid grammar mistakes that people make on the internet and claim they made them just to save space or because they were typing quickly, or on a phone but you know they just don't know anything about proper English.

This is probably one of my favorite suggestions in the history of The Poop, because I loved Weird Al, I love grammar and because this video is so new it's still stuck in 301+ views purgatory.

Thanks to Razor for bringing this song into my life.

Weird Al also recently released a parody of "Happy" called "Tacky" but I won't link to it because he makes fun of sandals with socks.

Monday, July 14, 2014

What Do You Give Me For? Sean Dempsey and Johnny Galecki

What do you give me for the 27th place finisher in the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event Sean Dempsey and Big Bang Theory's Johnny Galecki?

Note: I couldn't find a good picture of Johnny Galecki to really make this work. As Leonard Hofstadter he has the glasses but not the beard, as himself he has had a beard, but not the glasses. But if you cover the picture on the right I'd bet your mental picture of Johnny Galecki is closer to Dempsey than the one I found on Google images.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Song of the Week

"Rude" - Magic!
I've been posting a lot of pop songs lately. I promise to rectify that.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Fat Yankees Fan Sleeps, Sues

Andrew Rector was caught on camera sleeping in the stands during a Red Sox-Yankees game at Yankee Stadium:

Now Rector is suing ESPN, MLB and Dan Shulman and John Kruk because the announcers made fun of him. The lawsuit says the "unending verbal crusade against" Rector caused him “substantial injury” to his “character and reputation,” as well as “mental anguish, loss of future income and loss of earning capacity.”

The lawsuit doesn't even look as if it was prepared by a real lawyer, it's full of typos misspellings and failed attempts to sound intelligent.

Fact is, calling the guy "oblivious," wondering if he missed the Beltran homer and gently joking about his weight (by asking Kruk if they are related) are totally legitimate things for the announcers to do.

His other allegations that they called him confused and unintelligent just aren't true. But if they had said those things, they'd be right.

Poker pro Vanessa Selbst got caught on camera sleeping at a Montreal Canadiens game but you don't see her filing frivolous lawsuits.