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Ramadan

As you may have heard, Bill Cosby was accused of raping up to 60 women (the earliest allegation took place in the mid-1960’s) but, due to statue of limitations, prosecutors were only able to charge him with one of the rapes. In time Cosby’s original deposition from a 2005 lawsuit was unsealed where he admitted sneaking drugs to women so he could have sex with them.

This week his criminal trial ended in a mistrial. You’d think that with such an outcome Bill Cosby would decide to lay low for a while. Well, you’d think wrong for Bill Cosby is planning to go on tour. As The New York Times reports:

Bill Cosby is planning a series of town hall meetings this summer to educate people, including young athletes and married men, on how to avoid accusations of sexual assault, two of his representatives said Wednesday.

WTF?!? This is just like Adolf Hitler giving talks on how to avoid being accused of anti-semitism. This is totally unbelievable.

I’m going to save you the time, money, and effort that it would take to attend one of Bill Cosby’s town hall meetings and just tell you about how you can avoid accusations of sexual assault.

1) Don’t slip mickeys in other people’s drinks with any kind of drug—regardless of whether the drug is legal or illegal.

2) Always get the other person’s consent before starting sex. If the person says “NO” either before or even during sex, stop immediately.

3) Don’t even THINK about having sex with anyone who’s legally incapable of giving consent, such as underaged minors and people who are passed out from being drunk and/or stoned.

4) Try not to be the only adult who’s alone with a minor, especially one who’s not related to you. (That includes hosting unsupervised sleepovers in your home.)

That’s it. Now you won’t have to go to one of Bill Cosby’s town halls to learn about how to avoid sexual assault accusations. You’re welcome.

Ramadan

I’ve been hearing plenty on the Internet about this new fad known as Fidget Spinners. I became curious enough that I purchased one when the local Five Below store got a shipment in. The Fidget Spinners were only sold behind the counter and sales were limited to no more than two per person. So I paid $5 for a red one. I shot this short video recording my unboxing of my new purchase and my reaction to playing with a Fidget Spinner for the first time. Have fun with this one!

If you want to learn more about this trend, this link has some information, including the bizarre fact that the popular porn site PornHub revealed that, during a 10-day data sampling in May, there were 2.5 million searches for the term “Fidget Spinner”, which made it the top trending term and the fifth most popular search for that month. (Personally I would rather not know the details about how people can use a Fidget Spinner as a sex toy.)

Ramadan

Right now the big scandal is whether President Donald Trump was elected with a little help from his friend, Russian Premiere Vladimir Putin. Then-FBI Director James Comey was investigating the matter until President Trump abruptly fired him.

I could write a long separate blog post about this scandal except for the fact that there have already been so much written about this matter that anything I write here would be redundant. I’ll keep this post short by saying that James Comey was subpoenaed to testify before the Senate on his investigation, which began at 10 a.m. on June 8, 2017. I live outside of Washington, DC so naturally this scheduled testimony became the big talk of the town. In fact, some of the local bars decided to open way earlier than usual so people can watch the proceedings live on the TV screens while drinking alcohol. (Only in DC would the bars do something like this for a Senate hearing.)

The Greenbelt Theater decided to get in on the action by opening at 10 a.m. so it can broadcast the proceedings on the big screen. (The big difference is that the theater doesn’t serve alcohol.) I wasn’t able to get to the theater right at 10 because I was busy getting ready for another job hunting-related event at the state-run Maryland Workforce Exchange that was being held at the Laurel office that afternoon. I managed to arrive around noon. I set the alarm on my smartphone because I could only devote a half-an-hour to watching this because I had to get to Laurel. It turned out that I arrived at the tail end of the proceeding and it ended after I was there for 20 minutes. I managed to take a few token pictures to give you an idea of what it’s like to see something like this on the big screen.

In case you’ve missed it, you can read a summary of Comey’s testimony right here.

The last few days have been full of bad news. Last night there was this horrible bombing that occurred at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England which has resulted in the deaths of 22 people (including an 8-year-old girl). Today the police there has arrested a 22-year-old man named Salman Abedi, who is rumored to be aligned with Daesh/ISIL/ISIS.

This has come on the heels of another incident that sticks closer to home because I happened to live just a few miles from my alma mater, the University of Maryland at College Park. A Bowie State University student named Richard Collins III was just a few days away from graduation. He decided to head over to the University of Maryland to visit a few friends who were students there. Richard Collins III was waiting with his friends at a bus stop at 3 a.m. when a man approached him and he stabbed Collins to death.

The police arrested a 23-year-old man named Sean Christopher Urbanski, who lives in Severna Park (which is located a few miles south of Glen Burnie, where I grew up, and I once dated a man who grew up in that town). Why did Urbanski kill Collins? It’s because Urbanski is white and Collins was African-American. On top of it, Urbanski is a member of a racist Facebook group known as Alt-Right.

Today is the day that Collins would’ve graduated from Bowie State University had he not been stabbed in cold blood.

Personally I lump Sean Christopher Urbanski and Salman Abedi as being two peas in a pod. Both are young adult men in their early 20’s and both have killed strangers for hateful reasons. Granted Urbanski only killed one person while Abedi’s actions have killed and injured more. But they are the same because they are both terrorists.

I get really tired of people who immediately jump on the bandwagon whenever an Islamic fanatic conducts a terrorist act that kills people but these people are strangely silent when it’s a white Christian fanatic who conducts equally destructive acts that result in a loss of lives. The bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing were perpetrated by white men who were raised as Christians.

And that’s not to mention the long list of terrorist acts that have been committed by the Ku Klux Klan, which goes as far back as 1865.

I get that Sean Christopher Urbanski only killed one person but God only knows what could’ve happened had the police not arrested him. For all we know, Urbanski could’ve been a serial killer in the making whose targets are people of color. At least that arrest has nipped any serial killer ambitions that Urbanski may have had in the bud.

Until both the U.S. government and the media (especially the corporate-owned ones) start to treat deadly atrocities perpetrated by whites as terrorism just as much as it treats similar atrocities by brown-skinned people as terrorism, I will consider the ongoing War on Terror to be one thing: A Big Fucking Joke.

I was a kid when Watergate happened but even that one was a highly-refined tea party compared to the constant fuckery that is the Trump Administration. MotherJones.com has an article about what went on this week with a headline that says it all:

It’s Not Just You: This Week Was Bonkers. Here Are All the Big Trump Scoops.

This morning I woke up to find out that Chris Cornell, the lead singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave, has just died at 52. The news is now coming out that he had hung himself.

Soundgarden was among the bands I listened to back during the early 1990’s grunge era (along with Nirvana, Hole, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains). Sadly I never got the chance to see that band in concert. I still play Superunknown on a regular basis because the music is that good.

The sad part is that Soundgarden had just reunited and the band was playing a few gigs. Chris Cornell made this tweet just a few hours before he was found dead.

That tweet doesn’t look like one that was made by someone who was suicidal. It sounded like he was happy.

I’m just going to end this post by embedding a few videos that show Chris Cornell in action.

I found this headline on PasteMagazine.com that says it all about Donald Trump’s first four months in the White House: Trump’s Presidency is the Dumbest Thing That Has Ever Happened.

Last May I was briefly involved with a startup that was test-marketing disposable jumpsuits that were pre-treated with Sawyer Permethrin spray at the annual Loudon Lyme 10K/5K/1K Fun Run. I basically did administrative work (including helping with designing flyers, doing online research into filing for trademarks, and manually spraying each disposable jumpsuit with Sawyer Permethrin). During the course of my two weeks with that startup, I was convinced to write a blog post in this very blog about that startup instead of getting a separate blogging account just for that startup. (I was unable to get the owner/founder to devote any time to setting up that blog. In addition, he insisted on using my Square card reader that’s connected to my PayPal account because he couldn’t be bothered with getting a separate Square card reader/PayPal account for that startup.)

At one point he accused me of being secretive and he said that I couldn’t help it because of my birth order. The reason for that accusation: I hadn’t used my Square card reader in a while (due to the fact that I had to cut back on selling my handcrafted goodies at various shows because of declining sales after the 2008 economic crash) so, ON HIS REQUEST, I was silently trying to figure out how it worked. According to him, I was “secretive” because I didn’t orally announce within his earshot “I’m going to do Option A. If that doesn’t work I’m going to try Option B” and so on.

There were more incidents like that but I’m not going to get into any of them since I wrote all about it last year.

Ironically today is the one-year anniversary of the 2016 Loudon Lyme event. (This year’s event was just held on May 7. No, I didn’t attend this year.) A day or two after that event, the startup’s founder sent me a text message asking me what should have been done differently. I replied that maybe we should’ve started with a smaller run of 10-20 jumpsuits to test market instead of 60 jumpsuits we attempted to sell. That was when he sent me a multi-part text message accusing me of being into self-sabotage. (Never mind the fact that he was the one who didn’t register for a vendor booth and had this unrealistic expectation of selling stuff from backpacks.) This was on top of the fact that I was paid for the first couple of days I worked for him but the payments stopped because the founder had plowed the bulk of the startup money into getting 60 jumpsuits and Sawyer Permethrin.

I finally walked away from that startup a day or two after he accused me of being into self-sabotage when he sent another text asking me to show up at a few upcoming Lyme disease related events selling those jumpsuits from out of backpacks. (He didn’t register for vendor booths at those events either.) Between the self-sabotage insult and the fact that I wasn’t paid the rest of the money I was owed for the work I had done, I realized that I had no future with this startup. I wrote a retraction post where I announced that I would no longer write about work that I’m doing for other people in this blog until after the work was finished or there was some kind of a closure.

The startup founder eventually paid me the rest of the money he owed me last November. Granted six months is a long time to wait for a paycheck but at least he paid so I thought I had some closure on this startup.

But then there was new drama earlier this year when the founder had decided to try reviving the Sawyer Permethrin-sprayed jumpsuit idea on a Facebook page using a selfie I took of myself wearing one of the jumpsuits without asking permission first or even trying to get me to sign a release. I didn’t hear any further from my ex-boss for a while after that incident.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I spent the entire day basking in the sunshine while attending the annual Greenbelt Green Man Festival (which I’ll write about in a future post). I had brought my laptop with me so, from time to time, I posted some of my pictures from the previous day’s Gateway Arts Open Studio Tour (which I’ll also write about in a future post) on to various social media sites like Facebook. I saw a lot of people writing online Mother’s Day greetings and posting pictures of mothers with their children. Imagine my surprise when my ex-boss posted something outrageous on Facebook where he not only accused his sister of doing something horrible to their mother but he even posted personal information about her that should never have been posted online. I took a screenshot of that post, which you can see below. I edited out the personal information but you can still get an idea of what he wrote.

He not only named his sister but he posted her personal phone number and encouraged anyone who read that post on Facebook to call that number. In a nutshell, this post says a lot more about him than his sister. That post reminded me of last year’s Square card reader incident when he accused me of being secretive (and my birth order only confirmed his suspicion) because I didn’t verbally announce “I’m going to do Option A…”

What’s more, he immediately made this one comment where he only linked to the notorious documentary Grey Gardens. (For the record, I have never seen that documentary. I did see the made for HBO movie that featured Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore as the dysfunctional mother-daughter pair back when I was still happily married and we still had cable TV.) It’s like he’s cryptically implying that his mother is trapped into a similar dysfunctional relationship with his sister (I think but I don’t know what is going on inside that man’s head). That is so reminiscent of when he cryptically sent me that text asking for feedback on what we could’ve done differently at the Loudon Lyme event, I provided a straightforward opinion, and he responded with that multipart text saying that it was really a trick question because he expected me to write about my own mistakes and he accused me of being into self-sabotage.

Because of my past dealings with him, I’m not inclined to immediately side with him or even accept his version of events—especially since I have never met his sister or his mother. It’s possible that his sister is a total elder-abusing bitch but it’s also possible that she’s not doing anything wrong and it’s her brother who has issues with her for some reason that is none of my business.

If he has concerns about how his sister is taking care of their mother, he should seek legal advice from a lawyer instead of making that nasty post on Facebook urging anyone who sees that post to call his sister (regardless of whether that person even knows the sister or not).

If his sister ever finds that post, all she has to do is take a screenshot of that post, print it out, show it to a lawyer, and he could end up getting sued for things like libel, slander, and invasion of privacy.

Last night I sent an email about that post to a friend of mine, who was the one who recommended me for that job in the first place, because he is still housemates with my ex-boss and he rarely goes on Facebook these days. (Twitter is his preferred social media platform.) I wanted to warn him because there’s the chance that he may end up being indirectly involved with this drama, especially if his housemate’s sister decides to go by their house to confront her brother in person. He basically thanked me for alerting him to this.

I’m still looking for a new day job to replace that startup. (I’ve been applying to various temp agencies and employment agencies to no avail.) At least I have an unedited version of that screenshot that I could show to any hiring manager or recruiter who wanted to know more about that startup and why I had quit it after only two weeks because it basically proves what kind of person I was dealing with as my boss when I worked there. What’s more I can prove it using his own words that he wrote himself on Facebook.

The late 1990’s-early 2000’s Internet was relatively crude compared to today. For one thing, there was no YouTube or Vimeo or Daily Motion or any other video sharing site. If you wanted to show videos online, you had to create your own website and learn how to embed HTML codes on your webpage that will make your video appear online for others to view.

If that weren’t enough, one also had to be aware of file sizes for each video he/she wanted to post online. Many ISP’s charged according to server space size as well as bandwidth (meaning how long it took to stream a video file online).

And then there were how people used to access the Internet online. While many universities and larger businesses had very fast broadband access to the Internet, this was a very expensive option that wasn’t available in all areas. As a result, most homes could only go online with a modem that was connected to phone lines. This meant that, for most Internet users, anything as sophisticated as video would take a very long time to download if a person’s sole access to the Internet was a 28.8 modem connected to a phone line.

As a result many video creators had to severely limit their videos by length (the shorter the video, the better), resolution (HD videos were definitely out of the question at this time because of insanely slow download times), and screen size (320 x 240 pixels was the most common screen size).

It was nearly impossible to watch a full-length feature film online using a modem connected to a phone line (unless you were willing to tie up your phone line for anywhere from 12-24 hours). But one enterprising site came up with this novel idea: doing parody movie trailers for non-existent films that lasted no more than a minute or two.

The result was Trailervision. I first read about this site in a magazine and I checked it out. Trailervision was the first video site I ever visited on a regular basis mainly because I could download the latest Trailervision videos in 20-30 minutes.

Trailervision was frequently hilarious as it skewered the various film and TV genres such as drama, science fiction, horror, and reality TV. That site was a perfect example of trying to do something unique, creative, and original with the limitations of the technology at that time.

Trailervision was fun while the videos were shown for free. I stopped visiting when Trailervision decided to switch to a paid subscription model where subscribers would be the first to get the latest videos while everyone else had to wait a while until Trailervision decided to release an older video for free viewing.

Trailervision is now defunct with only this Wikipedia page documenting the site’s onetime existence.  Fortunately one Trailervision fan has managed to gather many of the original videos and has created a YouTube playlist of Trailervision videos. Some of the humor is dated (especially the gags about AOL, modems, and the Y2K bug) but most of these trailers are still pretty funny and enjoyable after all these years. Here is that playlist for you to relive the glory days of Trailervision.

And if that playlist isn’t enough, a different fan has uploaded his/her own copies of the original Trailervision files on the YouTube channel TrailervisionLine.

On Inauguration Day, I made this post predicting that President Trump will not last past the end of his first term. One of the reasons I cited in that post is this:

9. There is the speculation about Donald Trump’s very cozy relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Recently BuzzFeed posted this report claiming that the Russians have some embarrassing evidence about The Donald that they could potentially use against him. This could cause Americans to wonder if Donald Trump really has the interests of the United States in mind and would his relationship with Russia be construed as treason.

Well this Trump-Russian connection is like an ugly boil that comes closer to coming to a head. I’ve read both sides of the debate on whether Donald Trump is really cozy with the Russians and, if so, how much? I tried to keep an open mind even though I have a personal fantasy where The Donald’s sleazy past (including allegations that he raped a 13-year-old girl and the fallout from his ill-fated Trump University) catches up with him so much that he gets taken away in handcuffs.

I’ll admit that I’m leery about seeing Russia as the enemy because I grew up with that mindset thanks to the Cold War. Not only did that Cold War led to military buildups in both nations at the expense of social programs for its citizens but both nations interfered in the internal affairs of smaller countries like El Salvador, Hungary, Honduras, Czechoslovakia, Iraq, Poland, etc. The best benefit of seeing the Iron Curtain fall back int the 1990’s was that I could openly say that I like certain Russian foods or other aspects of Russian culture without having some knee-jerk asshole accuse me of being a communist.

But given all the revelations of the issue regarding Donald Trump and the Russians, I really can’t ignore this. Golf writer James Dodson said that three years ago Eric Trump told him that his father’s company had all the funding it needs to open new golf courses thanks to the Russians. That’s on top of the alleged existence of the FSB video that shows Donald Trump and some local prostitutes partying in a Russian hotel room, the FBI wiretapping Russian gambling ring headquartered at Trump Tower in New York City, and all that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Last night Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI director James Comey while he was investigating the alleged Trump-Russian ties. This firing happened just as Comey sought more funds so he could continue his investigation. This is definitely a throwback to my childhood when Watergate was the big scandal. This firing is similar to Richard Nixon’s firing of independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox while Cox was investigating Watergate. That incident is now known in history as the Saturday Night Massacre.

Nixon’s firing of Cox happened on October 20, 1973. That firing didn’t damper the ongoing Watergate scandal one bit and it led to Nixon’s resignation on August 8, 1974—nearly 10 months later.

When I learned about Trump’s firing of Comey, Archibald Cox was the first name that popped in my mind. Last night I was posting on Facebook trying to calm down my younger friends who were freaked out over this firing by providing my own memories of Cox’s firing and Nixon’s subsequent resignation, especially since they either weren’t born or they were babies when Watergate happened.

And speaking of Watergate, here is what former Nixon White House counsel John Dean had to say about this on Twitter:

Been so busy talking I haven’t tweeted. Two options explain Trump’s Comey action & both troubling: 1) STUPID and/or 2) EVIL. I think both!

When you have a former Nixon official tweeting this, you know President Trump is in very hot water.

And the Trump-Russia connection gets even more blatant today.

In what was supposed to be a closed-door Oval Office meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, pictures have emerged of meetings between President Trump, Mr Lavrov and Russian Envoy Sergey Kislyak via Russian media and Russian government social media accounts.

The Russian-sourced pictures are the only public record of the meetings as of this writing, largely because members of the White House press pool — who are charged to report on the president’s whereabouts and what happens inside the White House — were not allowed into the meeting Wednesday morning. No photos were taken by the White House press of the president’s meeting with Lavrov and with Russian Envoy Sergey Kislyak.

Right now Washington is in an uproar over this abrupt firing but, given what I know from Watergate, this firing will only intensify the accusations against President Trump just like Cox’s firing intensified the Watergate accusations against President Nixon. All we have to do is bide our time and let the experts continue to investigate Trump’s alleged connections with the Russians. If history is any guide, it may get to the point where President Trump resigns or he gets impeached and imprisoned.

In the meantime, I’m laughing over this story of press secretary Sean Spicer hiding in a bush so he could avoid the reporters who want to question him regarding President Trump’s firing of James Comey. What a coward! (LOL!)

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