March 20, 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
was St. Patrick's Day, which means we are three days late, but no matter. We
still want to share with you the amazing talent of four of our finest who just
returned from wowing the crowds in Ireland with their song and dance number.
Even though Chaplain Bridgen, Larry Reuter, Steve Windisch, Jr. and Neal Wilson
are suffering from jet lag, we talked them into performing one more time for
their peeps. That's you. Click on the link below and put your hands together in
a warm welcome for the PBA Irish Quartet who just returned last night from
The count on Mayor Reed is now 0 and 2. First, Kamala Harris told
him the language on the proposed constitutional amendment would have to be
changed, then a judge upheld Harris' opinion. This is the story according to
last Friday's paper…
California Pension Reform
Initiative Scrapped for 2014 in Big Defeat for San Jose Mayor
maintains Reed, proponents failed to prove bias—
By Mike Rosenberg
Mercury News — March 14, 2014
SAN JOSE -- Mayor Chuck Reed
on Friday abandoned plans for a November statewide pension reform initiative
that had drawn national attention, handing a victory to unions that had made
fighting the plan a top priority.
Reed maintained that he and a handful of other city leaders across California
who had joined him in support would continue to pursue the proposed
constitutional amendment for 2016. He blamed an unfavorable ballot summary from
the attorney general and the upcoming mid-April deadline for qualifying a
November initiative for the delay.
But many doubt the
initiative will be any more viable in two years. Reed struggled to raise the
millions of dollars needed to hire signature gatherers, while unions mounted an
aggressive campaign to defeat it, even enlisting dozens of other California
mayors to line up against it.
"I think the best opportunity was this year, and obviously the money wasn't
there, and that has to be the principal reason he backed off," said Terry
Christensen, a San Jose State professor emeritus of political science who has
advised labor-backed candidates. "There are people around the country who can
write those checks, but it's interesting that they haven't come forward yet."
Earlier efforts to secure statewide pension reforms at the ballot box in 2012
also collapsed after advocates encountered difficulty raising the funds needed
to gather qualifying signatures.
"We're taking on the political machine that's the most powerful force in
California," Reed said of organized labor. "You have to expect that they're
going to mount an aggressive campaign at every step of the way."
What's more, Reed will be out of office at the end of this year and has
indicated no plans to continue his political career, lowering his stature on the
statewide political stage and his ability to reach a broad public audience.
While there was no independent polling on the measure, Reed maintained private
surveys indicated support in the two-thirds range, while union critics
proclaimed their own research showed little public enthusiasm.
Reed, a fiscally conservative Democrat, gained national recognition and the
enmity of the government unions that bankroll his party when he won passage in
2012 of a San Jose measure reducing pensions for new city hires and making
current employees either pay more for their retirement or choose a less-generous
He has since traveled the state and to the nation's capital advocating changes
to government pensions, the soaring costs of which have sucked up funds for
municipal services and contributed to a handful of city bankruptcies.
But city unions sued to overturn Reed's Measure B, and a judge in December
blocked the key provision that would make current city workers pay more toward
their pensions, citing a series of earlier rulings that effectively guarantee
government workers the same or better retirement plan throughout their careers.
Even before that ruling, Reed began gathering support for the statewide
initiative that would change that doctrine, allowing elected officials to
negotiate pension reductions as long as they applied only to employees' future
years on the job. Reed complained that Attorney General Kamala Harris' ballot
summary failed to make that distinction, suggesting instead that it would
broadly "eliminate" pension protections for police, firefighters and teachers. A
judge Friday ruled the summary wording was fair.
But public employee unions said the measure might be dead for 2016, as well.
"We continue to believe that the bargaining table -- not the ballot box -- is
the proper place to address the budget challenges facing our communities and
state," David Low, chairman of the union opposition group, Californians for
Retirement Security, said in a statement. "California's teachers, firefighters,
school bus drivers, nurses and other public employees remain committed to
working to ensure that our public pension systems are healthy and provide the
retirement security we have earned."
• • • • •
Of all the media sources
available, the last one we expected to see cover Mayor Reed and the pension
issue was this one sent in by Mike Roberts (the cop, not the doc). It's from
Aljazeera America. We are providing you with the headline, byline and photo. For
the article you will need to click on the link below the Aljazeera logo. There
also are a couple of comments from other readers below the story...
San Jose’s Pension Woes: Are
Bad Investments to Blame?
—The city has
invested nearly half of its employees’ retirement in high-risk investments like
by Matthew Cunningham-Cook
Aljazeera America — March 14, 2014
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who
initiative to cut pensions for public employees.
~ ~ ~
the Aljazeera article...
From Ken Hawkes: I'm not a huge fan of
Aljazeera, but this is a revelation. They have a far better and more concise
take on the problem than I have seen yet. Raises the question of exactly who has
profited by looting the system." —Ken
~ ~ ~
From Dan Katz:
"Interesting analysis (from a surprising source) on CSJ retirement fund
investments and the replacement of elected officials with "financial experts" on
the boards. Keep in mind the largest financial backer of Mayor Reed's statewide
pension effort was hedge-fund billionaire John Arnold. This San Jose "Inside"
column from 10/02/13 sums up the John Arnold funding connection:
And this lengthy Rolling Stone article from 9/26/13 goes
in-depth on the hedge fund/pension reform connection and discusses John Arnold
(profanity alert for our more genteel readers):
2014 State Pension Initiative
Today, a Superior Court
Judge dealt a lethal blow to Chuck Reed's attempt to take his disastrous San
Jose pension carnival act to the rest of California. The Judge ruled against
Reed's attempt to remove the fair and accurate ballot Title and Summary assigned
by the Attorney General to his ill conceived pension initiative scheme. Reed
wanted to replace the fair and accurate description of his measure with words he
cooked up that would have deceived the voters. The Judge said no and now Reed
has announced that he will not pursue a November 2014 statewide pension
Unfortunately, we must put up with several more months of his tenure as Mayor of
San Jose. Read the story here: (Story is under
the "Pension News" column above.)
Don't let Sam, Madison, Pier or Rose continue where
Mayor Reed leaves off. Do your part and help Dave Cortese fix San Jose.
(Click the link
was part of the coalition that fought Chuck Reed, exposed his lies, and ensured
that his statewide pension stealing initiative is dead. But our work is not
done-We must not wake up on June 4th and see this headline:
and Liccardo make November runoff for Mayor, or Nguyen and Oliverio make
November runoff for Mayor or Liccardo and Nguyen make November runoff for Mayor.
It takes money to help Dave Cortese get his message out to voters. He will be
attacked because he will put public safety first and he needs the resources to
fight back. Join the over 100 San Jose Police Officers that have put their
money where their mouths are and contributed to Dave Cortese for Mayor.
Click on the link below:
The next fundraising deadline is March 17th. Hold the City Councilmembers
accountable for what they have done to San Jose. Contribute now online or drop a
check off at the POA made out to: DAVE CORTESE FOR MAYOR
The Daily Fetch (article)
Councilmember Khamis try to game the system?
~ ~ ~
NBC Bay Area
Will the new downtown foot patrol be around after the Mayoral election?
~ ~ ~
Why can't Councilmember Khamis keep his story straight.
As we go to press, there is the possibility that debris found
in the Indian Ocean west of Australia may be from Flight 370.
Last Week's Poll
For the most recent Rasmussen Reports releases, click here:
Here’s something for Mail Call:
If you came on after 1960 you probably don’t remember any of these
“sort-of-senior semi-senile” old guys, so this is only for the REAL old-timers —
however many of you are out there! I had the pleasure of getting together with
T.B. (Tommy) Lyons, Mel Soong, Arno Zeisnitz and our wives at our place at Ko
Olina last week. Tommy, from the then Territory of Hawaii, was hired in 1954.
Mel, also out of Hawaii, Arno, who emigrated from Germany at the end of World
War II, and me from less exotic Bakersfield, were all hired in 1956. Within a
couple of years Tommy and Mel returned to Hawaii where Tommy is now still going
strong as an insurance agent and Mel is a retired judge. Arno also left, going
to U.S. Customs, where he worked all over the world. He is now retired and
continuing to travel extensively. I am now half-time on Oahu and the Zeisnitz’s
were passing through, so we thought it was an opportune time for a reunion.
Allen, T.B. Lyons, Arno Zeisnitz and Mel Soong
A lot of memories were
shared at the table, some confused and most exaggerated, of our beginnings at
the San Jose Police Department nearly 60 years ago, when the City Hall was
located downtown at Park and Market — before it moved away from downtown — just
so it subsequently could be moved back downtown. The entire police department,
including the city switchboard, police and fire communications, the drunk tank,
booking and the city jail were all crowded into that basement with access
through a tunnel.
We talked about walking First or Market Street on midnights and checking in
on call boxes scattered around downtown. We recalled the Tower Bar, the old bus
depot, eating in the back room of Fior d’Italia, and waiting for the paddy wagon
to pick up prisoners at 9 South Market. We remembered midnight shifts with only
five cars working after 3:00 A.M. and sometimes no sergeant. Cars did not have
air conditioning, and some did not have heaters. Most sirens had their own
electric motors, but some still rubbed against the fan belt. And the real jail,
sheriff’s office and court house were all on First Street across from St. James
After lunch, Tommy and Mel took up their ukuleles and serenaded us with some
Hawaiian songs. We had such a good time that we got together again at the Elks’
Club at Waikiki on the next Thursday evening. We resumed where we had left off
(less the music) and spent the evening asking, “Do you remember?” and “What ever
happened to...?” We all agreed that we couldn’t find our way around San Jose
today with a map in one hand and a GPS in the other, but the San Jose we
remember was a wonderful town with a great police department, and our time there
was one of the highlights of our lives.
I can be eliminated from remembering all but
you, Robert as I was a high school senior at James Lick in 1960. But Leroy and I
can both remember the smell of orchids and the Hawaiian air during the years
each of our dads were stationed at Pearl in the mid-1950s. Aloha back to you and
the other “sort-of-senior semi-senile” old guys.
LET'S SEND CHAPLAIN
BRIDGEN OFF IN STYLE…
To receive the form
below in an email so you can print it, send a request to
AB 1637: COULD YOU
ENDORSE THIS BILL?
For the past three years I have traveled to Sacramento
in support of legislation to put an identifier of "Veteran" on the drivers
license of Veterans that request them through DMV. Twice I have testified before
the various committees in the State Assembly. Three years in a row this
legislation has died in committee because of budgetary considerations.
This year's bill, AB 1637, is different, and the budget issue has been
addressed. We're hoping that this will make the difference and we will see this
vital piece of legislation move forward and become law. Currently, 47 other
states already have similar laws.
The following is a partial list of why this bill should be passed:
1. Community policing is a fact in today's law enforcement culture. Knowing when
a Vet is in front of an officer can and does result in better outcomes and
improved community relations.
2. Many of the counties in the state now have Veterans Courts. A "Veteran's"
license would help get more eligible Veterans into these courts. Net result is
lowered rates of recidivism. Last year in our Vets Court (Santa Clara County)
our rate of recidivism was only 10%. Far below the state average.
3. We have found in Santa Clara County that identifying Vets in the field can
and does result in increased federal funding. thereby easing the financial
burden on the state and local governments. This is done through referrals to
programs through the VA and Vet Centers.
4. There is also the benefit to the Veterans themselves. It is a practical way
to show some pride and at the same time make available discounts offered to
Veterans by retail stores and restaurants.
5. For some Vets this would be the only source of government ID that would
positively identify them as a Veteran.
As I travel the state I see more and more fake Vets trying to take advantage of
the generosity of citizens by playing on their sympathies. This would make
available a valid way to separate the fakes from our men and women who went in
harms way for our very freedoms.
If you have any questions please call Amy from Assemblyman Frazier's office at
the number below.
Thank you all for all that you have done and continue to do for our Veterans and
the communities that we all live in!
~ ~ ~
As discussed, I have attached the press release and the support letter from the
Town of Danville for a template. Please let me know if there’s anything else I
can send you that may be useful, and thank you again for your help on this!
Office of Assemblymember Jim Frazier, District 11
Last week we published a class photo from Horace Mann Elementary
School dating back to 1944 and challenged you I.D. the kid on the far right end
of the second row…
Of all the guesses we received, only one correctly
identified the kid as Chuck Blackmore. The retiree with the amazing memory
"Could it be Chuck Blackmore? His family home was North 17th, which would
have been within the correct boundaries of the Horace Mann school district.
Family home was "way out" on No 17th, almost to the Bayshore, next to either
Mission or Vestal, and next door to Sgt. John Collins who ran the K9 unit." —Bob
The source of the photo was Harold "Hal"
Burks, a classmate of Chuck's who is fifth from the right on the top row (the
tall kid). Hal posted the photo on Ivan Comelli's "Vintage San Jose Police"
Facebook page. Not recognizing Hal's name, I emailed him and inquired if he was
affiliated with the SJPD and/or aware that Chuck's father was the second longest
reigning San Jose Police Chief in the history of the Dept.? He wrote back:
"Bill, I had met the father. I was a rather wild youth, although not by
today’s standard. He gave me some council that served me well and hooked me up
with the YMCA and Mr. Campbell. I was in good shape from there. I joined the Air
Force at 15 and went on to form a Masonry business in San Jose 1956, then
retired from the business in 1980 and moved to Medford, OR in 1983 to be closer
to my daughters. We now live if Beaverton Oregon for the same reason. My very
best to you and Chuck". —Hal
TIP OF THE WEEK
If you like using those
energy saving CFL bulbs that contain mercury and give off less light than their
incandescent cousins, good for you. I don't.
Call me old
fashioned, but I prefer the bulbs I grew up with. Problem is, the nannies in
Washington made it illegal to manufacture the incandescent bulbs in the popular
60, 75 and 100 watt sizes after Jan. 1st of this year. All that's available for
purchase is the existing supply, and people have been buying up and hoarding all
they can find. You won't see them at Lowes, Home Depot, Costco or any retail
outlets. But...here's the tip: Amazon still has them and will continue to sell
them until their existing supply dries up. Two weeks ago I purchased four dozen
of each wattage and, believe it or not, all 154 bulbs arrived intact; nary a one
was broken. Why so many? I'm thinking they might be good for bartering when the
U.S. dollar takes a dump in the not-too-distant future. Below are the prices I
paid. And that's your tip of the week.
GE 75-watt 48-pack $35
GE 100-watt 48-pack $55
THE BEST OF THE
LATE NITE JOKES
through March 18
President Obama went
shopping at The Gap here in New York City. He ended up buying a sweater for each
of his daughters, and a workout jacket for the first lady. You know, because
whenever someone visits New York the one souvenir people really want is
something from The Gap.
It’s been very tense between Russia and us recently. In fact, lawmakers in
Russia have started a petition to get the U.S. kicked out of this year's World
Cup. Or they could just take the easier route and wait until we lose in the
first round to literally any other country.
A family called the police because their cat cornered them in a bedroom. They
would've climbed out the window but their hamster was blocking the way.
Keith Richards just announced that he is working on a new children’s book. It’s
called “Oh, the Places You’ll Wake Up.”
The crisis in Ukraine still has people worried. Today John McCain led a group of
senators there to get a firsthand look. When they landed, McCain said, “This is
a disaster, these people are living like animals!” And then someone said, “We
have a layover — this is LaGuardia Airport.”
Things are moving quickly over there. Crimea is now holding a vote on whether to
join Russia, but the ballot doesn’t have an option for voting against the plan —
it lets people vote for joining Russia now, or down the road. When asked where
he got the idea, Vladimir Putin said, “iTunes user agreement.”
A judge in New Jersey ruled that women can keep their husbands and boyfriends
out of the delivery room while they are in labor. When asked if they'd mind
leaving the room, husbands and boyfriends were already gone.
Best Buy will start selling solar panels in an effort to promote energy
conservation. Best Buy says you can find the panels right next to the 300
flat-screen TVs they leave on all day.
The situation in Ukraine keeps getting more tense. And now Vladimir Putin has
moved 10,000 troops to the Russian-Ukrainian border. Russia says its troops are
there only for a training exercise. When asked what they're training for,
Russian officials said, “Invading Ukraine.”
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg apparently called President Obama directly to
complain about NSA and how it spies on ordinary Americans. That’s right, the guy
who runs Facebook got mad at the NSA for spying on people. Talk about the pot
unfriending the kettle!
Zuckerberg criticized the NSA and called the government a threat to the
Internet. Then he went back to running a website where you list everyone you've
ever met, every place you’ve been, every place you’re going, what you had eat,
your ex-girlfriends and your ex-boyfriends, which bands you like...
This week the White House said the economy is continuing to pick up steam, but
then went on to say that the unemployment rate is still “unacceptably high.”
Incidentally, being unacceptably high is also a big reason many people are
Happy St. Patrick's Day! Thanks to all the fans who wished me a happy holiday,
thank you to the people who visited New York to celebrate, and most of all,
thank you for leaving your TV on NBC before you passed out.
St. Patrick’s Day is a huge deal here in New York City. Two million people
turned out today for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It’s the one parade
where the horses are the ones that have to watch where they step.
A new poll found that two-thirds of Americans are following the situation in
Ukraine, which is impressive. Usually, you can't find two-thirds of Americans
who are following the situation in America.
Yesterday, in a highly debated election, 95 percent of Crimea voted to secede
from Ukraine and join Russia. Yeah, 95 percent voted to join Russia. Even Kim
Jong Un said, "Yeah, right."
Things have gotten very tense between the U.S. and Russia. In fact, during a
speech today Vladimir Putin criticized the U.S. for thinking it's “always
right.” Then he went back to organizing an election where you can't vote “No.”
The White House revealed that more than 5 million people have now signed up for
Obamacare, thanks to the administration's recent push. They said, “And if 5
million signed up, that means at least 50 million tried to sign up.”
This week RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said the GOP still isn't where it needs to
be to win the White House in 2016. Yeah, it's not where it should be — kind of
like the letters in “Reince Priebus."
Researchers in China have developed these things called “smart tags” that stick
to containers and change color when food has gone bad. That's in addition to
that other thing that changes color when food goes bad — food.
Today President Obama went
shopping at The Gap. There hasn't been so much security at The Gap since the
time Lindsey Lohan showed up.
Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are back together. Finally, Obama makes good on a
Sylvester Stallone is on the program tonight. I haven't seen Sylvester Stallone
since we fought in "Rocky V."
They have now made Stallone's "Rocky" into a Broadway musical. It's getting such
great early notice that they're already working on another one. I think the
second one is "Rambo Get Your Gun."
Pope Francis is the hip Pope. He is celebrating his first anniversary of being
Pope. He refers to Lent as "March Madness." That is how wacky he gets.
Yesterday Washington had a big power outage. And I thought: Well, wait a minute,
I think the Obama administration has been without power the entire second term.
It was so dark in Washington that when the power went out the only thing that
was glowing what John Boehner's face.
As soon as the lights in Washington went out, Senator John McCain tried to clap
them back on.
The average American citizen — you hear the statistic all the time — works six
months out of the year for the government. That's how difficult the taxes are in
this country. We work six months out of the year. Government employees don't
even do that.
I had to switch accountants because for years on this guy's advice I was sending
my money to the Caymans. Sounds good, right? Well, I just found out a month ago
that it's Phil and Arlene Cayman.
First lady Michelle Obama now has blond highlights in her hair. In fact, her
hair has a higher approval rating than her husband.
Michelle Obama added some highlights in her hair. And I know a lot of you are
thinking, "Gee, I wish this show had some highlights."
The Internet turns 25 today.
Whatever you do, don't send it an e-card. Even the World Wide Web hates e-cards.
The Internet revolutionized man's ability to sell useless crap.
The Web has changed our lives. In the old days you actually had to go to the
mall and watch old people fall down escalators in person.
A lot of the information is wrong on the Web. For example, on the IMDB website
it says I'm 51 years old — which is ridiculous!
What a fantastic ovation from the studio audience. You guys have clearly never
been here before.
A new study says Americans spent a record $56 billion on their pets last year.
That may sound like a lot but think about what you get in return. You get the
unconditional love of dogs, the exotic beauty of a tropical fish, and whatever a
cat gives you — disdain, I guess.
Every year reality TV gets more extreme. Back in the old days, married couples
on shows slept in separate beds. But "The Brady Bunch" were hooking up with each
other in real life. They should have called it "All in the Family.”
Albert Einstein wrote a manuscript that was lost for 83 years. Larry King found
it in an old pair of jeans.
The newly found manuscript revealed Einstein didn't believe in the big bang
theory, which says the universe is constantly expanding. He theorized a steady
state that keeps constant by adding elementary particles. I have no idea what
I'm talking about. That's why Einstein was a genius and I'm a creepy man who
tells jokes in the middle of the night.
The most famous scientist today is Bill Nye, the Science Guy. I think all
scientists should have rhyming names, like "Double Trouble Edward Hubble," "Full
Throttle Aristotle," and "Sure Winner B.F. Skinner."
I had a big weekend and my throat is very scratchy. I sound the way Irish people
are going to sound tomorrow.
Some American cities go all out for St. Patrick's Day. In Chicago they dye the
river green. In Boston everyone wears green. In Colorado, they smoke the green.
Then someone tells them it's St. Patrick's Day.
Some people say St. Patrick's Day contributes to national stereotypes. Well, I
don't want to do that. Take it from me, not everyone in Ireland gets
falling-down drunk every day. You're thinking of Australia.
Filmmakers are hoping Pope Francis will watch the new movie "Noah." That must be
really frustrating, I mean, for people in the theater. Can you imagine sitting
behind the Pope's giant hat?
Let's name the Pope's favorite movies. There's "Holy Ghost Busters." "Dude,
Where's My Cardinal?" "Sistine Candles." "Amen in Black." "Live and Let
Diocese." "A Pew Good Men." And "How to Train Your Deacon."
The movie "Noah" is an adaptation from the Bible, of course. For some of you
young people, the Bible is like a long papery tweet from God.
In the middle of his latest speech, the president of Colombia wet his pants. I
was going to show it here but it makes me sad. I mean, I thought OUR president
was having trouble with leaks.
We're here from Austin,
Texas. I stand before you half man, half brisket.
You know you've been in Austin too long when you start randomly finding rib
bones in your pockets, which I did tonight.
I can't button my suit. I can't fit in my clothes anymore because of this place.
This is our fourth of five nights broadcasting from Austin, Texas, during the
South by Southwest festival. I had to get a bigger shirt because my shirts don't
fit anymore. In Texas, pork is considered a condiment.
We'll get a visit from Lady Gaga. She didn't bring the meat dress or the giant
egg. She didn't want to be turned into a giant breakfast taco.
I haven't seen this many hipsters in one place since I took a home pickling
class at an artesian cheese shop.
People have been selling fake parking spaces. They charge people to park in
spots that they have no ownership of. Here's a tip to avoid becoming a victim of
this fraud. If you find a parking space during the festival, it's a scam.
We've been broadcasting from Austin all week, and I'm sad to say this is our
last night here. I would cry but my tear ducts are clogged with queso right now.
We head home and then on Monday I'm going on "The Biggest Loser" to work some of
this weight off. You know it's a good trip when you have to request a seat belt
extender for your flight back.
Austinites are some of the kindest, most welcoming people unless your name is
Rick Perry, in which case they will boo you until you go away. I also learned
that pickles are served with ribs so you feel like you've eaten something green.
I learned that if you follow a man with a beard he will lead you to a panel
discussion on increasing your social media presence.
Willie Nelson is here with us tonight. Willie is America's second-oldest stoner,
right behind Betty White.
There was a small earthquake here this morning. Scariest thing about an
earthquake is that when it starts you have no idea how intense it's going to get
or how long it's going to last. It's like when your mother tells you a story.
We had some earthquake damage at my house. Two bottles of lotion fell over and
we had to wait two hours for the maid to get there to put them back.
Here's a little-known fact. The Richter scale measures the number of local news
anchors who dive under their desks.
Yet another video surfaced that showed what appeared to be a drunken Toronto
Mayor Rob Ford. When he promised to stop drinking, obviously that didn't include
St. Patrick's Day. Or Mardi Gras or Father's Day or Cinco de Mayo.
Transportation officials released a study that shows that over the last 10 years
the percentage of Californians who drive has dropped 12 percent, while the
percentage who walk, bike, or take public transit has doubled to 22 percent. So
get ready for a bunch of Schwinn-by shootings, I guess.
If I see a guy on a bike in L.A., I immediately assume he got a DUI and they
took his car away.
Whenever I see somebody walking in L.A., unless they're wearing yoga pants I
assume they're in trouble.
The only time I walk in L.A. is when I forgot where I parked.
New reports show that the
Crimean vote to join Russia on Sunday did not include an option for “no.” There
were only two boxes on the ballot, one for “yes,” and one for “murder my
It looks like Obamacare will miss its enrollment goal of 7 million people by
March 31, as only 4 million have signed up so far. Republicans haven’t been this
excited since the invention of khakis.
The World Wide Web turned 25 years old today. And everyone who still calls it
the World Wide Web turned 50.
The world’s longest-serving ice cream man is retiring after 50 years. He plans
to spend the rest of his life trying to get that song out of his head.
This week Pope Francis is celebrating his first anniversary as Pope, and he
tweeted to his 3.7 million followers “Please pray for me.” I was a little
surprised that he hashtagged it, “so hung over.”
A man is claiming that he was badly injured after falling off a gigantic tongue
slide used on the stage for Miley Cyrus’ tour. He’s now suing the company that
built the slide for "twerkman’s comp."
Researchers have discovered the first Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil inside the Arctic
Circle. The T. Rex apparently froze to death because he couldn’t button his
jacket with those little arms.
The Obama administration announced it is going to require colleges and
vocational schools to demonstrate that they are properly preparing students for
jobs after college. So don’t be surprised if your chemistry class tomorrow is
all about how to make a cappuccino.
A model is suing Playboy after something went wrong with a stunt where someone
hit a golf ball off her butt. Even worse, it was a photo shoot for an article
A man in Pakistan broke a world record after he smashed 155 walnuts with his
head in under a minute. This talent earned him the nickname “the idiot.”
Today is St. Patrick’s Day, when we commemorate the time St. Patrick drove all
the alcoholics out of New Jersey and into Manhattan.
On Saturday, Los Angeles subway workers unearthed prehistoric fossils that are
at least 2 million years old. Scientists could tell the fossils were indigenous
to L.A. because they were each found clutching a head shot and a smoothie.
A professor at Virginia Tech claims he can turn wood chips into food. However,
still no luck with kale.
Vladimir Putin signed a treaty this morning that formally absorbs Crimea into
the Russian Federation. So if you felt bad because you didn’t know where Crimea
was, don’t worry, it’s gone.
Vice President Biden said today that the U.S. is considering sending troops to
the Baltic states bordering Russia. According to Biden, the Baltic states are
the territories located just past Boardwalk and Park Place.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said today that the 2014
midterms will be a victory for Republicans thanks to Obamacare. Coincidentally,
“Reince Priebus” sounds like something that might be covered under Obamacare.
WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN
LEGEND UPDATE AS OF MARCH 15, 2014
behind the legends, information and
misinformation that has or may show up in your inbox
• Conspiracy theory claims Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was made to disappear
so one party could gain control of a multiple-owned patent.
• E-mail phishing scam poses as notifications from NICE about blood test
• Do Red Bull and other brands of energy drink contain bull semen?
• Conspiracy theory claims the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad sabotaged
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
• Is the killer Volat-Araneus 'flying spider' due to migrate to the UK this
• Can a home pregnancy test really detect testicular cancer?
• Links posted on Facebook supposedly point to a video of the missing
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
• Photograph purportedly shows missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
• Did George Zimmerman accidentally shoot and kill himself while loading a
• The snouted 'pigfish' -- real animal or another fauxto?
• Legend not for the squeamish: Did former New York
Mets outfielder Kevin Mitchell cut the head off his girlfriend's cat with a
• The 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web prompts renewed interest in the
claim that former Vice-President Al Gore once claimed he 'invented' the
• Celebrity death hoax claims Chumlee from Pawn Stars has died of a heart
• Is Chipotle offering '100% free food' through 20 March 2014 via an online
• Are 'Facebook companies' contributing money towards
the medical care of a 9-year-old rape victim every time a message is shared?
• A phishing scam is being spread via purported 'stop list' notifications
from various airlines.
• Epitaph on headstone in Montreal cemetery forms an unflattering acrostic.
• Editorial reportedly penned by former Czech president
Vaclav Klaus criticizes those who voted for Barack Obama.
• Is gospel singer Marvin Sapp linked to the disappearance of Dr. Teleka
• Did a 200-million-year old dinosaur egg recently hatch in a Berlin museum?
• Did psychologist B.F. Skinner raise his daughter in a
'Skinner box,' experiments on her and prompting her to commit suicide later in
• Don't forget to visit our Daily Snopes page for a
collection of odd news stories from around the world!
Worth a Second Look
• Customers attempt to avoid financial transactions totaling $6.66.
Still Haunting the Inbox
• Check out our 25 Hottest Urban Legends list to keep abreast of what's
circulating in the on-line world.
• Visit our Top Scams page for a list of schemes
commonly used by crooks to separate the unwary from their money.
THE LIGHTER SIDE &
OTHER ODDS AND ENDS
Large or Full Screen recommended for YouTube videos.
The gate is open. Run free, critters, run free...
It's always good to start
with something that will put a smile on your face, which is why we chose this ad
for Renkeby, a Danish juice company. It's short, so try not to blink.
• • • • •
Remember those little cars
we would see at the circus from which several clowns would emerge? That's what
we have here, except the car has no wheels and the clowns have been turned into
Basset Hounds. Watch quick as the clip only lasts for...
• • • • •
This answers the age-old
question that people have been asking for years: Does a baby hippo make a good
house pet? (2 Mins.)
• • • • •
What are the odds that one
of those GoPro video cameras that accidentally fell from an airplane would land
in a pig pen and that a 200-pound slab of bacon would try to eat it? Seriously,
what are the odds? (1 Min.)
• • • • •
Here's a useful device for
the dog owner who wants to relax and watch TV while Fido gets his exercise. P.S.
Don't waste your time and make or buy one if you own a cat, parrot or gerbil. It
only works for dogs. (2 Mins.)
• • • • •
This Russian clip about a
kitten vs. a "scary thing" would be funny even without the dramatic music. The
sound track is a bonus. (1 Min.)
• • • • •
It's OK for the cat, but
this owner's dog has been trained to stay off the bed. To see how well trained
the dog was, the owner installed a nanny cam in the bedroom. Watch what happens.
• • • • •
The relationship between
this kitten and a Boston Terrier goes beyond cute. In today's jargon, someone
ought to tell them to "Get a room." (1 Min.)
• • • • •
Can the Critter's Corner include a story? Why
not. Who's to tell us it can't?
According to our illustrious PBA president, a rancher spent $6,500 on a young
registered Black Angus bull, but when he put him out with the herd he just ate
grass and wouldn't even look at a cow.
The rancher was worried that he may have bought a bum steer, so he had the Vet
come out and have a look at him. The vet said the bull was very healthy, but
possibly just a little young, so he gave the rancher some 'pills' to feed the
bull once a day.
To the rancher's surprise, the bull started to service the cows within two days,
all of the cows! It even broke through the fence and bred with all of the
"He's like a machine," said the rancher. "I don't know what was in the pills,
but they taste like peppermint."
The critters are
now back in the yard and the gate has been shut...
Are we (the U.S.) following
in the footsteps of France, which many say is becoming a social welfare state?
This video received from Lumpy makes a good argument that we may be. Almost 50
percent of the U.S. population (49.1%) were living in a household receiving
government benefits in the first quarter of 2011, and when that percentage
exceeds 50 percent to any degree, we could very well be on a runaway train
headed to a European-style welfare state.
If you choose to watch this
video, keep in mind that it was produced by the conservative Christian
Broadcasting Network. (5 Mins.)
President Francois Hollande and President Obama
• • • • •
Here is one more item that
we found a little sobering: If you were born in the 1940s, the earth was
populated by about 2.5 billion people (2 billion in the late '20s and 3 billion
in 1960). This video was produced four years ago, in 2010, when the planet
reached a population of 7 billion. Anyone care to join us in asking, "What's
wrong with this picture?" (2 Mins.)
• • • • •
Next time you are accused
of having too much time on your hands, show them this video about the guy in San
Francisco who built the city and the East Bay out of 100,000 toothpicks over a
period of 35 years. (5 Mins.)
• • • • •
Many countries have adopted
their own version of Britain's Got Talent, just as we have here in the U.S. This
clip is of a 14-year-old blind girl singing "You Raise Me Up" on Korea's Got
Talent back in 2011. It wouldn't be a stretch to say she is reminiscent of
another blind singer: Andre Bocelli. (3 Mins.)
• • • • •
Of all the flashdance
videos we have included over the past several years — and there have been about
a dozen — this one that took place in a grocery store five years ago was one of
the performances we somehow overlooked. We bad. (4 Mins.)
• • • • •
"Welcome Home" is a new
series being produced by Sleeping Dog Productions. It tells the story of Vietnam
Veterans from all branches of the service and is scheduled for release on the
40th anniversary year of the end of the war in 2015 as a thank you and a long
overdo welcome home to all Vietnam vets. (10 Mins.)
Russ Jones piloted one of these Huey's in the Vietnam war
• • • • •
Of all the pranks we've
seen and passed along in the Farsider from the creators of "Just for Laughs
Gags," this one involves the most actors. (2 Mins.)
• • • • •
that the song accompanying this clip received from Bruce Morton was written
specifically for these vintage film excerpts. The video is a compilation of car
crashes from the early days of racing when seat belts and roll cages did not
exist. Note: the clip is not for the faint of heart. (4
• • • • •
Speaking of crashes, if you
like NASCAR because of the action, Leroy says you are going to love watching
this Saudi drifting exhibition on the Live Leak website. Why? Because they suck
at it. (4 Mins.)
• • • • •
This 3-minute clip received
from Paul Salerno has received over 3 million views, and even though it was
nothing more than humorous video promoting a fictitious product, we heard that 2
million of the viewers have actually searched the Internet with the intent of
buying a bottle of...
• • • • •
There is, of course, a more
socially accepted way to stop a child from crying and carrying on, as this
26-second clip points out…
• • • • •
I don't know about any of you, but I'm swearing off of McDonald's Chicken
McNuggets until I am absolutely convinced they are not responsible for this
rampage. Either turn your volume down or hold your hands over the ears of any
kids who might be in the room. (2 Mins.)
• • • • •
If you are one of those who
like to watch pilots experience the "pucker factor" when they try to land
airplanes in strong crosswind conditions, you should find this video of
interest. Of the five "missed approaches" shown, three diverted to other
airports and two "go arounds" landed successfully at this one. The video was
shot at Birmingham Airport in England this past winter during record stormy
conditions. (11 Mins.)
• • • • •
Speaking of the
airlines, take a few minutes and listen to this air traffic controller having a
bad day at the JFK tower and you will understand why they get the big bucks. And
why they develop ulcers and have nervous breakdowns sooner than most other
workers. (11 Mins.)
• • • • •
familiar with the Leidenfrost Effect? No? Check this out and you will see how it
causes water to run uphill. This is Science Friday arriving on Thursday.
Did you watch it? Good. You can now take comfort in
The Duke isn't referring to you.
• • • • •
Ever wonder how the Army
selects those who will stay behind the lines and cook the chow? The selection
process begins when recruits are taught how to throw a grenade.
• • • • •
While we're on the subject
of things that go boom, this website received from Don Hale includes a large
number of highly-detailed declassified photos that show the loading of the
atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan in 1945. But even with a high-speed
Internet connection, the site will take a few minutes to load because of the
number of photos and the relatively slow speed of the site's server, so be
patient if you choose to view the once top secret photos.
was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945 from the B-29 named the Enola Gay." Fat
Man" was dropped over Nagasaki three days later from a B-29 named Bockscar. It
was the second bomb that brought about the unconditional surrender of Japan
which ended World War II.
• • • • •
Did someone mention atomic
bombs? If you want to see what one looks like when it's exploded underwater
using a telephoto lens from over a mile away, this short 40-second clip will
• • • • •
How to make Magic Mud from
a potato is a fun project you can do with your grandkid(s). If nothing else,
you'll wind up with some tasty hash browns. (4 Mins.)
• • • • •
Regular readers of the
Farsider will recognize this guy from past years. He's a handyman who runs the
RedGreen.com website. While none of you have manual windows in your cars and
trucks, some people do, and those are the people who could benefit from this
short 1-minute clip from Wimp.com.
• • • • •
Granted, we don't know how
many misses it took before this guy made all the shots in this video with a
soccer ball. Even so, one has to wonder when he's going to show up in an NFL
uniform. (4 Mins.)
• • • • •
The trick pool shots in
this video received from Paul Salerno are unbelievable. At least those in the
first half of the clip. I don't recall seeing the tricks during the second half
of the clip after the blonde hopped up onto the table. (5 Mins.)
• • • • •
Is this real or not? You be
the judge. If you look at the nails that are apparently forming the image and
the nail gun, the two don't appear to match. But the concept of using a nail gun
to recreate the Mona Lisa is an interesting effect. (2
• • • • •
Unlike the Mona Lisa
rendering above, this image of Marilyn Monroe does in fact appear to have been
created by a few dozen guys armed with paintball guns.
• • • • •
If this video about a
Russian special forces counter-terror confidence drill received from Don Hale is
factual, it provides hard evidence that these Russkies are insane and that it's
best to avoid them at all costs. (6 Mins.)
• • • • •
This amazing nature footage
includes time lapse, slo-mo and macro photography as well as a fitting musical
soundtrack. The downside is that it only lasts for 1 minute and 41 seconds.
• • • • •
Red Bull, Nike, GoPro and
other companies have hired some of the world's most talented athletes to appear
in their commercials, and this is an entry from Adidas. Behold one of the most
talented paragliders you will ever see, courtesy of Chuck Blackmore.
• • • • •
The source of this final
item is as much of a mystery as Malaysia Fight 370 as there are no titles or
credits; the link will take you only to a Facebook URL (web address) with no
identifiers. Nevertheless, the video is one of the most dynamic presentations we
have seen in the recent past, and the mountain bike action is second only to the
beautiful topography. With a nearly perfect musical soundtrack and several slo-mo
excerpts, the 5 minutes and 51 second video is a must-see. Click on the link
below we received from a half dozen readers and see if you don't agree. One more
thing: The guys you will see in this video are certifiably nuts, which usually
makes for enjoyable viewing. (6 Mins.)
• • • • •
Pic of the Week:
If this makes no sense to you, watch the
opening of the TV classic, "Fantasy Island"