humor news

Loo & Order: Stolen Thrones Unit

Yesterday, 35 porta potty toilets, some of them full, were stolen from Ludlow Autograss Club (racetrack) in Pencombe, Herefordshire.

Maisie Olah and Matt Hutchinson writing for the BBC:

The units are owned by Three Counties Toilet Hire which said replacing just one would cost about £1,000.

Neil Griffiths who set up the company in 2020 said: “I’m slightly baffled by it.

“The [toilets are] not easy to move about and some of them were still full. So [the thieves] took full toilets.”

Police don’t know who took them and they have nothing to go on.


Couple Killed in Grizzly Attack

A Lethbridge couple was identified as the husband and wife that were killed in a grizzly bear attack in the backcountry near Banff last weekend.

Colette Derworiz writing for the Canadian Press (via CTV News):

Colin Inglis said his nephew, Doug Inglis, and Jenny Gusse, both 62, from Lethbridge, Alta., died in the bear attack on the weekend. Their seven-year-old border collie named Tris was also killed.

“I got an actual phone call from Garmin saying that the SOS had been activated and that somebody had actually entered into the inReach (a message) that said, ‘Bear attack bad,'” he said Wednesday in an interview from Edmonton.

Inglis said he was told that a bear spray canister had been emptied and that there were signs the couple tried to scare off the bear.

“There was a struggle and the struggle didn’t stay in one place,” he said. “But, in the end, both bodies were back together.
“They were reconnected. That’s who they were. They were together in life, always.”

My wife and I each have friends that were aquainted with one or both of them. Such a traumatic and heartbreaking story.

Parks Canada sent a team out and immediately put the bear down.

Parks Canada said the team, which is specially trained in firearms and wildlife attack site investigation and forensics, encountered a grizzly bear that displayed aggressive behaviour and charged toward them.

It was killed and a necropsy showed that the 25-year-old female bear was old, underweight and had bad teeth. DNA samples from the bear confirmed it was responsible for the attack, and it was not collared, tagged or previously known to wildlife staff in the park.


Heather Armstrong Dead at 47

Tonight I saw the news that Heather Armstrong died yesterday. I read her website pretty regularly for about a decade since the early 2000s.

Alex Williams, The New York Times:

Heather Armstrong, the breakout star behind the website Dooce, who was hailed as the queen of the so-called mommy bloggers for giving millions of readers intimate daily glimpses of her odyssey through parenthood and marriage, as well as her harrowing struggles with depression, died on Tuesday at her home in Salt Lake City. She was 47.

Pete Ashdown, her longtime partner, who found her body in the home, said the cause was suicide.

Terribly sad news. I have a nephew the same age as her oldest daughter and the thought is just so upsetting. Nothing but warm thoughts for her family and friends.

news war

Russia Invades Ukraine

As you have likely heard, after many months of buildup, Russia has invaded Ukraine. Here’s news from Reuters, the NYTimes, AP, the Wall Street Journal and CNN.

From Reuters:

Russian forces invaded Ukraine on Thursday in a massed assault by land, sea and air, the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two.

Missiles rained down. Ukraine reported columns of troops pouring across its borders from Russia and Belarus and landing on the coast from the Black and Azov seas.

Ukrainian troops fought Russian forces along practically the entire border, and fierce fighting was taking place in the regions of Sumy, Kharkiv, Kherson, Odessa and at a military airport near Kyiv, an adviser to the presidential office said.

I’ve been talking to some friends about this buildup and the question keeps coming up as to what Putin’s end game is in all this. I think it’s safe to say Putin is a psychopath with an obsession to reunite the USSR at whatever the cost. As much as this is a simple comparison, it fits — if you’ve ever done well in the board game Risk, you know the feeling where you just want to keep conquering. I predict Putin, with his victory in Crimea, will act just like he’s playing Risk. He’ll keep going until he’s captured the continent.

In the Second World War as he kept conquering country after country the news insisted Hitler was finally done. We know how that ended. I can’t imagine a scenario where Putin will just stop if he can keep going.

basketball news

Kobe Bryant – Death of a Superstar

While the full details are not yet known, ESPN appears to have an early scoop on what happened in that fatal flight.

The helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant that crashed Sunday was in a climbing turn at about 2,400 feet before it turned into a dive, a source told ESPN. According to flight-tracking data, the copter was in a 4,000-feet-per-minute descent when it crashed


What you need to know about the Wildfires in Australia

For anyone you know that thinks global warming isn’t real (okay boomer) this isn’t meant to convince them. For anyone that thinks, “ok the world is warming but what difference does it make?” See this primer on the Australian wildfires from The Verge (link below):

Dozens of fires erupted in New South Wales, Australia in November and rapidly spread across the entire continent to become some of the most devastating on record. An area about twice the size of Belgium, roughly 15 million acres, has burned. At least 18 people are dead, including at least three volunteer firefighters, and more are missing. More than 1,000 houses have been destroyed, hundreds more damaged. As blazes intensified in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, thousands of people who were forced to evacuate sought shelter on beaches across New South Wales and Victoria. Over 100 fires are still burning.

And then it gets worse from there.


Aaron Swartz is Dead

I rolled over this morning stressed out about Gabrielle and the situation as is typical these days. I pulled up Google+ on my iPhone to distract myself. I read some very sad news — Aaron Swartz had completed suicide.

I want to write about how this news has affected me. Words fail though — I’m not, after all, a master at words the way Aaron was. He inspired me. I always wished I could be him, and I always suspected that eventually our paths would cross and we would become fast friends. His death has really affected me deeply.

I am not nearly as smart or eloquent and I suppose I am glad not to have been in his situation but I will miss reading his brilliant writing.

It might seem strange to be sad about the passing of someone you’ve never met. People don’t understand why you care. The friendship was actually just an asynchronous following of his RSS feed, but his writing was one of small selection that were on my highest priority list. If he wrote something, I made a point of reading it. It’s so sad to think there won’t ever be any new posts from Aaron Swartz’s Raw Thought.

magic news

David Copperfield is Tricky

I used to do magic. I wasn’t half bad at it either and I even did a couple of paid gigs but I never really considered myself that great of a magician. I did have a lot of fun fooling a lot of people while I was into it though and while the magic itself is fun, the most excitement comes from the feeling you get when you know your audience is wondering whether or not you really have supernatural powers.

A thought that has often crossed my mind is what it would be like to use magic to fool someone when it really mattered. Take this CNN story for example, where David Copperfield hid the contents of his pockets from three would be criminals with just a sleight of hand.

Copperfield, 50, and two female assistants were walking from the Kravis Center to their tour bus when they were approached by the teens April 23. The assistants handed over money and a cellphone, but the illusionist turned his pockets inside out to reveal nothing, although he was carrying his passport, wallet and cell phone.
“He said in depositions that he had things on him, but it wasn’t difficult to make it seem like there was nothing there,” prosecutor Sherri Collins said.

I don’t know why, but this inspires me to get out my old magic box and stuff a couple of those tricks back up my sleeve.


Lethbridge Man Dies

A man was crushed to death outside the UFA farm store when he dived under a slow-moving semi-trailer to retrieve his baseball cap that was blown off in high winds. “The truck was rolling forward and he dove under to grab the hat. He tried to grab it and wiggle out quickly,” a witness said. He never made it.

Not to make light of a very sad situation, but to me, having your hat run over by a semi truck is a lot like dropping your keys in a river of molten lava. Forget ’em man, because they’re gone.


BMX results

The first time I had my name published in the newspaper was June 15, 1985. I was six years old. It was the results from a BMX race in which I placed second.

I remember being in first for most of the race and not understanding that I needed to keep peddling super hard right to the end. If only I had been more familiar with the story of the Tortoise and the Hare.

From the Medicine Hat News archives (retrieved August 9, 2019):

BMX Results - Results from June 12 Beginners 4 1. Calvin Earl 2. Scott Jolicoeur Beginners 6 1. Mark Hallam 2. Jeff Milner 2. Mark Elhart Beginners 8 and 9 1. Gary Milner 2. Wade Heddon 3. Angela Van Rentergen Beginners 13 and 14 1. Doug Welister 2. Donald Booker 3. Cory Forbes Novice 4 and 5 1. Ryan Haberlack 2. Cody Booker 3. Cory Herter Novice 6 and 7 1. Roymond Jolicoeur 2. Tyler Leismeister 3. Matt Book Novice-Expert 7 1. Jonathan Koch 2. Chad Herter 3. Lucas Ellis Beginners-Novice 11 1. Bobby Holt 2. Kimberlee Van Rentergen 3. Deven Amendt Novice-Expert 8 1. Vladi Morla 2. Chris MacDonald 3. Ken Bull