Where’s My Tornado Helmet?
Posted on 04.30.12 by Danny Glover @ 6:41 am

If you live in Tornado Alley, you may want to find a sturdy helmet. It could save your life like 8-year-old Noah Stewart’s baseball helmet appears to have saved him:

[Jonathan Stewart had] rushed home just minutes before a tornado swallowed up his neighborhood in Pleasant Grove, Ala. Stewart, his wife, adult daughter and 8-year-old son crowded into a tiny shower stall. It didn’t take long for him to feel the house shift and become weightless — and then an explosion.

“I remember being sucked out of the house, and it was not being blown about, it was not walls blowing around. It was like a vacuum, and it sucked us out,” Stewart says. In an instant, Stewart’s family was gone. Lisa, his wife, peered up into the swirling sea of debris and saw her son, Noah, floating above her — high above her, Lisa says: “I actually saw him up in the air, stuck up in it, being tossed around as high as the power lines.”

Noah was twisting, churning, flying through the air, held up high by the tornado’s angry winds. And then, Noah remembers, “the wind just immediately stopped, and I was going down headfirst, and then I think my helmet just cracked.”

That anecdote from an NPR story about the potential for helmets to reduce tornado deaths fascinated me on many levels. As a parent, I pictured one of our children floating above us inside a tornado, and the thought of it horrified me. As a lilapsophobe in the making (fear of tornadoes and other severe weather), I imagined myself living through every aspect of the Stewarts’ ordeal and wanted to rush to the store to buy tornado helmets for our whole family.

And as an entrepreneurial spirit, I started dreaming of a hot new market for tornado helmets. If I would buy them, how many other people would do the same? Wearing helmets couldn’t possibly prevent all tornado deaths, but it’s common sense that it would give some people a better chance of surviving flying debris.

Filed under: Business and Family and Human Interest and News & Politics and People and Weather
Comments: None

Frog Man
Posted on 04.27.12 by Danny Glover @ 2:02 pm

What better day of the week to post a wacky frog video than Friday. It’s Frog Friday!

Filed under: Human Interest and Just For Laughs and Video and Wildlife
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The Best Bear Picture Of All Time
Posted on 04.27.12 by Danny Glover @ 12:53 pm

That’s what one of my Facebook friends said yesterday when sharing this snapshot, captured by CU Independent photographer Andy Duann after a bear wandered onto Colorado University’s campus:

Head to the CU Independent’s article for more photos of the bear incident. And while we’re getting cheap laughs at the expense of falling bears, watch this decade-old clip of a bear hitting a trampoline, which Shephard Smith plays regularly on his Fox News show:

Filed under: Human Interest and Just For Laughs and Media and News & Politics and Photography and Video and Wildlife
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The ‘Bronies’ Brotherhood
Posted on 04.26.12 by Danny Glover @ 1:29 pm

Every Wednesday when I work from home and sometimes on weekends, I am subjected to the worst kind of televised torture any grown man has to endure — my daughters watching “My Little Ponies.”

Years ago, I thought “Blues Clues” was bad when our toddler son was addicted to it and made us watch the same episodes for hours, but “My Little Ponies” is so much worse. The rainbows, the bright colors, the high-pitched horsey voices — all of it makes me wanna scream!

I would have thought that all people of the male persuasion shared my hostility toward “My Little Ponies.” But sadly, there is an entire subculture of post-pubescent boys and men who adore the fictitious creatures. They call themselves “bronies,” and they’re getting plenty of media attention.

All of which raises this question asked in The Washington Post: “Isn’t there something a little weird about grown men playing with rainbow-hued ponies?”

The paper quoted a psychological expert who said it’s no big deal. “They’re just a fan base revisiting childhood and some of the things they have left behind. … It really is just different ways people have of fulfilling these very fundamental human needs.”

But little girls like our 10-year-old have enough common sense to realize that explanation is bunk. When I told her about bronies the other day, she shot me a look that said, “Are you serious? Are they crazy?”

I’ve now robbed her of a piece of the childhood innocence that bronies refuse to forsake. Hopefully that means I won’t have to watch “My Little Ponies” much longer.

Filed under: Culture and Entertainment and Family
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Ten Golden Rules Of Effective Taxation
Posted on 04.24.12 by Danny Glover @ 12:37 pm

Although these 10 rules are a bit dry, they offer the kind of fiscal enlightenment that rednecks and all Americans need. You can find the details in the American Legislative Exchange Council’s new report, “Rich States, Poor States“:

  • When you tax something more, you get less of it, and when you tax something less, you get more of it.
  • Individuals work and produce goods and services to earn money for present or future consumption.
  • Taxes create a wedge between the cost of working and the rewards from working.
  • An increase in tax rates will not lead to a dollar-for-dollar increase in tax revenues, and a reduction in tax rates that encourages production will lead to less than a dollar-for-dollar reduction in tax revenues.
  • If tax rates become too high, they may lead to a reduction in tax receipts. The relationship between tax rates and tax receipts has been described by the Laffer Curve.
  • (more…)

Filed under: Business and Government and News & Politics
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The VRE Ticket Scofflaw
Posted on 04.24.12 by Danny Glover @ 9:13 am

Nothing aggravates me more as a commuter than watching other commuters repeatedly break the law, whether they are driving in the high-occupancy vehicle lane of I-66 without enough passengers or riding Virginia Railway Express without paying their fares.

Most of us commuters abide by the rules and pay our way, so I for one love watching the scofflaws get busted for their bad behavior. A case in point — this guy who has taken to riding the same VRE train as me in the evening but who apparently thinks he rides for free:

The first time I saw him, he made a huge scene by pretending to have lost his ticket after he boarded the train. He searched every pocket of his coat, his pants, his shirt and his bag. He lifted the VRE seat where he had been sitting and the empty one across from it. He scoured the floor. He obviously never found the ticket because he never had it, so he was fined.

The man has been on the train several times since but hasn’t been asked to show his VRE ticket. His luck ran out yesterday, and this time he made more of a scene, accusing two different VRE attendants of harassing him. The charge this time: riding with an invalidated ticket.

The rider blamed a faulty machine at Union Station, one that no other riders had mentioned. The VRE attendant who ultimately issued the fine reminded him that he is obligated as a rider to let a VRE attendant know of such a problem before he boards the train.

The cheater’s response, and I quote: “I’m gonna bring a lawyer with me the next time I ride, and I’m gonna sue you all for harassment. … I’ve spent $25,000 on VRE over 10 years’ time.” (At $150 a pop for riding without paying, I’ll bet most of his commuting investment came in the form of fines, assuming he’s even telling the truth about that.)

His stories aren’t believable, and neither are his threats. My guess is that I’ll see this rider on the train soon, without a lawyer and probably without a ticket. I’ll look forward to watching him get fined again.

Filed under: D.C. Commuter Diary and People
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The Voice Of The ‘Movie Trailer Guy’
Posted on 04.23.12 by Danny Glover @ 9:31 pm

Our 12-year-old son has been brainstorming ways to make money so he can buy an iPod Touch. Maybe once his voice changes, he can adopt this teenager’s tactic and start charging $5 to record messages for people’s answering machines:

The boy behind the voice is 14-year-old Jake Foushee, and the video above made him an Internet star. The Charlotte Observer has the story:

Thanks to an uploaded YouTube video, the deep-voiced teenager has quickly become known all over the world for his spot-on impression of the late Don LaFontaine, also known as “The Movie Trailer King.” (You know the voice, “In a world where …”)

Jake’s impression is irreconcilable with the youthful face from which it emits.

Jake says he began uploading videos of himself doing voiceovers about the time his voice changed when he was 13. A few days ago, his video impersonation of LaFontaine made it to Reddit.com, a social news site on which users vote stories or videos “up” or “down.” That’s when his YouTube numbers started to explode.

Foushee, who was on “Good Morning America” last week, is following in the footsteps of another Southerner who recently become an online celebrity thanks to Reddit: Zeddie Little, the “ridiculously photogenic guy” who spawned an Internet meme.

You gotta love it when enlightened rednecks get their 15 minutes in the spotlight.

Filed under: Entertainment and Human Interest and Just For Laughs and Media and People and Video
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The Congressional Redneck Caucus
Posted on 04.23.12 by Danny Glover @ 8:12 pm

There’s a new and rare breed of creature occupying pockets of the U.S. House of Representatives these days — the rednecks were were baby doctors before they were elected.

The four lawmakers are Republicans Michael Burgess, Phil Gingrey and Phil Roe, all of Georgia, and Ron Paul of Texas, who is running for president.

Notice how they refer to themselves, according to this Roe quote in Politico: “We’re all Southern, conservative and pro-life. … Loudmouthed and red-necked is also a good way to describe us.”

With street cred like that — or should I say “dirt-road cred” — it’s a shame there aren’t more of them in Congress. This country would have not only better health care but better direction all around if the enlightened rednecks were in charge.

Filed under: Government and Health and News & Politics and People and Rednecks
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The Best (And Hardest) Job: Mom
Posted on 04.20.12 by Danny Glover @ 10:35 am

Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen created a firestorm of rhetorical protest last week after she chided first-lady-wannabe Ann Romney’s credentials. In a CNN appearance Rosen said that Romney can’t possibly identify with the economic concerns of women in America because she “never worked a day in her life.”

Proctor & Gamble knows better. A sponsor of the 2012 Olympics, the company just released a video that captures the hard-working essence of motherhood — being there for your children:

The video’s storyline focuses on mothers of future Olympians, but the closing message is a reminder to the Hilary Rosens of the world that stay-at-home mothers do real work and have valuable insights into the economics of life. “The hardest job in the world,” the video says, “is the best job in the world. Thank you, Mom.”

Josh Romney and his brothers know that about their own mother. “She could have pursued a career in teaching, business or science,” Josh Romney wrote of Ann Romney in the book “Life Lessons from Mothers of Faith.” “But she always knew that the profession that would bring her the most happiness and fulfillment was that of a mom.”

Let’s hope the power brokers in Washington now see the value of mothers, too.

Filed under: Culture and News & Politics and Parenting and People and Religion and Video
Comments: None

‘There’s A Tax For That’
Posted on 04.13.12 by Danny Glover @ 2:53 pm

Four years ago, I embarked on a bold mission — to blog about every single tax our family paid over a year’s time to illustrate just how often and deeply the government dives into our wallets. I grossly underestimated how much of my time that blog, Taxation With Representation, would occupy, and the project quickly became too great an editorial burden for a side project.

Bad memories of that blog rushed into my mind as I watched this video, which illustrates the same point in less than one minute and with a more modern technological hook:

The video has a political message: “Under President Obama, there’s a tax for just about everything.” But in reality it doesn’t matter who occupies the White House, the Capitol, statehouses, legislatures, county commissions or city councils across America. The government always will find a way to rob Peter and Paul — and Mary, too.

Or as this nightmare Friday the 13th presentation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce puts it: “It’s a job-killing nightmare. It’s a drain on hard-earned paychecks. It’s a fleecing of epic proportions. It’s … the Tax Blob”:

Filed under: Government and News & Politics and Technology and Video
Comments: None

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