At the beginning of the school year, a teacher asked her young pupils how they spent their summer vacation.
One child wrote the following:
“We went to Florida to visit with Grandma and Grandpa. They used to live in a big brick house but Grandpa got retarded and they moved to Florida.
“Now they live in a tin box and have rocks painted green to look like grass.
They ride around on their bicycles and wear name tags because they don’t know who they are anymore.
“They go to a building called a wreck center, but they must have got it fixed because it is all okay now, they do exercises there, but they don’t do them very well.
There is a swimming pool too, but all they do is jump up and down in it with hats on.
“At their gate, there is a doll house with a little old man sitting in it. He watches all day so nobody can escape.
Sometimes they sneak out, and go cruising in their golf carts.
“Nobody there cooks, they just eat out. and, they eat the same thing every night — early birds.
Some of the people can’t get out past the man in the doll house.
The ones who do get out, bring food back to the wrecked center for pot luck.
“My Grandma says that Grandpa worked all his life to earn his retardment and says I should work hard so I can be retarded someday too.
When I earn my retardment, I want to be the man in the doll house. Then I will let people out, so they can visit their grandchildren.”
Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.
The military men and women who serve and protect the U.S. come from all walks of life; they are parents, children, grandparents, friends, neighbors and coworkers, and are an important part of their communities. Here are some facts about the veteran population of the United States:
Every Veteran’s Day, for exactly one minute, this monument can be seen in its full glory. Composed of five pillars, each representing an arm of the U.S. military, the monument’s shadows will align at precisely the right angles to form the great seal of the U.S. This isn’t just any day or hour: it was designed to do this at 11:11 every November 11th, or Veteran’s Day.
Additionally, the brick pavers within the Circle of Honor are inscribed with the names of U.S. servicemen and women, symbolizing the ‘support’ for the Armed Forces. The pavers are red, the pillars are white, and the sky is blue to represent America’s flag. The circle represents an unbreakable border.
How did the engineers manage to calculate the rotational shadows down to the minute? The monument’s chief engineer Jim Martin says that they knew they had to create this with a “fixed azimuth (the horizontal angle from astronomical north to the center of the sun on Nov. 11 at 11:11 a.m. that creates the horizontal illumination of the Great Seal)” and a “fixed altitude angle (the vertical angle for zenith, or horizon, to the center of the sun on Nov. 11 at 11:11 a.m. that creates the vertical illumination of the Great Seal).” Even with the yearly variations, the monument is accurate to within 12 seconds.
The monument was designed by a local resident of Anthem named Renee Palmer-Jones. The pillars are quite high (tallest is 17 feet) and the order of the branches of the armed service were placed in accordance with Department of Defense protocol—United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force and the United States Coast Guard.
After World War I, the poppy flourished in Europe. Scientists attributed the growth to soils in France and Belgium becoming enriched with lime from the rubble left by the war. From the dirt and mud grew a beautiful red poppy. The red poppy came to symbolize the blood shed during battle. The American Legion Family adopted “In Flanders Fields” following the publication of the wartime poem. The poem was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D. while serving on the front lines.
On September 27, 1920, the poppy became the official flower of The American Legion family to memorialize the soldiers who fought and died during the war. In 1924, the distribution of poppies became a national program of The American Legion.
Led by the American Legion Auxiliary, each year members of The American Legion Family distribute poppies with a request that the person receiving the flower make a donation to support the future of veterans, active-duty military personnel and their families with medical and financial needs.
Poppy Day is celebrated in countries around the world. The American Legion brought National Poppy Day® to the United States by asking Congress to designate the Friday before Memorial Day, as National Poppy Day.
While visiting some cemeteries you may notice that headstones marking certain graves have coins on them, left by previous visitors to the grave.
These coins have distinct meanings when left on the headstones of those who gave their life while serving in America’s military, and these meanings vary depending on the denomination of coin.
A coin left on a headstone or at the grave site is meant as a message to the deceased soldier’s family that someone else has visited the grave to pay respect. Leaving a penny at the grave means simply that you visited.
A nickel indicates that you and the deceased trained at boot camp together, while a dime means you served with him in some capacity. By leaving a quarter at the grave, you are telling the family that you were with the soldier when he was killed.
According to tradition, the money left at graves in national cemeteries and state veterans cemeteries is eventually collected, and the funds are put toward maintaining the cemetery or paying burial costs for indigent veterans.
In the US, this practice became common during the Vietnam war, due to the political divide in the country over the war; leaving a coin was seen as a more practical way to communicate that you had visited the grave than contacting the soldier’s family, which could devolve into an uncomfortable argument over politics relating to the war.
Some Vietnam veterans would leave coins as a “down payment” to buy their fallen comrades a beer or play a hand of cards when they would finally be reunited.
Turn up the volume all the way
So she shouts to a man below, “Excuse me. I promised a friend I would meet him, but I don’t know where I am.”
“You’re at 31 degrees, 14.57 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude,” he replies.
“You must be a Democrat.”
“I am. How did you know?”
“Because everything you told me is technically correct, but the information is useless, and I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve been no help.”
“You must be a Republican.”
“Yes. How did you know?”
“You’ve risen to where you are due to a lot of hot air, you made a promise you couldn’t keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You’re in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it’s my fault.”
Boba tea shop owners and their customers may become the latest unintentional casualties of the plastic straw bans sweeping the nation.
The city of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously voted July 24 to ban plastic straws, which will take effect in July 2019. San Francisco joins a growing list of cities that have already rolled out bans, including Seattle, Miami Beach and Berkeley. Even Starbucks has vowed to eliminate its plastic straws by 2020. But the bans have already faced backlash from disabled customers who rely on plastic straws to drink.
Shops that specialize in boba, or bubble tea — a Taiwanese drink that’s become popular in U.S. cities, primarily with large Asian populations — also say they’re stymied by the ban.
Bubble tea, which fuses Asian tea with milk or fruit syrups and sometimes contains balls of tapioca, originated in Taiwan and has most recently spread in popularity to North America and Europe. The sweet tea drink typically served with milk in a plastic cup, boba drinks come with chewy, marble-sized balls of glutinous tapioca at the bottom that have to be sucked up through a straw. The straw must be wide enough for the tapioca balls, or any other toppings that can go into the drink like lychee jellies or red beans, to pass through.
The straw also must have enough structural integrity to withstand punching through the plastic film that’s often sealed over the top of the cup to make it less likely to spill, a standard part of a shop’s made-to-order process.
Raymond Kot, marketing director for Quickly, which owns several boba shops in the San Francisco area, said one of his biggest obstacles has been finding a straw sturdy enough to pierce that plastic. In order to break the seal, one end of the straw has to be cut at an angle, forming an Exacto knife-like tip that can break through in a single punch.
Indiana-based paper straw company Aardvark has a straw called the “Colossal,” designed specifically for boba drinks. The catch? They don’t come with a pointed tip, meaning some shops may have to cut the straws themselves, and there’s already a long waitlist for orders
Plastic straws at a bubble tea cafe in San Francisco. Eco-conscious San Francisco joins the city of Seattle in banning plastic straws, along with tiny coffee stirrers and cup pluggers, as part of an effort to reduce plastic waste. It also makes single-use food and drink side items available upon request and phases out the use of fluorinated wrappers and to-go containers.
San Francisco’s straw ban is particularly strict: Unlike other cities such as Seattle, compostable plastics such as those made from corn starch-based polylactic acid, or PLA, aren’t allowed. PLA breaks down in the heat generated by microorganisms in compost, but not in the chill of the ocean. They are also too small and light to be caught by the city’s PLA composting facilities, according to San Francisco Department of the Environment spokesperson Charles Sheehan.
Under the city’s new ordinance, only non plastic straws will be allowed, which includes paper, bamboo, metal, wood and fiber-based materials.
Boba tea, or bubble tea, is a sweet tea drink typically served with milk in a plastic cup. It comes with chewy, marble-sized balls of glutinous tapioca that have to be sucked through a straw.
Several hundred shops sell boba drinks across San Francisco, according to Yelp, and all now have a year to find an alternative for their plastic straws if they want to avoid fines from the city ranging from $100 to $500 per violation.
The size and shape of boba straws, however, has made the search for alternative straws difficult. Only a handful of paper straw manufacturers produce jumbo straws with a diameter wide enough to slurp up boba – about one-third to a half-inch instead of a normal straw’s quarter-inch. The few that do make them have backlogged orders stretching out for months, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Sheehan wouldn’t say whether the city would give extensions past July 2019 for any businesses who might need them, but said he felt a year was “adequate” time for manufacturers to prepare and for the city to educate residents about the shift away from plastic.
Bubble (or Boba) Tea is hitting the scene as tea and shops are becoming more popular. The key ingredient is the tapioca balls, which must be steamed for 45 minutes before use
“We want to make sure this works for businesses,” Sheehan said. “If there are supply constraints … We’d roll up our sleeves and make sure there wasn’t any undue impact.”
The other problem is cost. A plastic straw can be anywhere from a half-cent to 3 cents, but paper straws are closer to 19 cents each. For a city that uses millions of plastic straws each month, straws could become a serious expense.
It’s unclear how much the drinks will have to increase in price, Quickly’s Kot said, but he estimated it will only be about 10 cents. He said that he doesn’t mind the hassle of finding a plastic alternative as long as his customers understand why buying a boba drink might cost them a little more in the future.
“If everybody has to pay an extra 10 cents to better the environment, it’s a good idea,” Kot said.
Emil DeFrancesco, founder of Steap Tea Bar in San Francisco’s Chinatown, said that he hasn’t found an alternative for his plastic straws yet. In his opinion, straw manufacturers should have seen the plastic straw ban coming and started developing alternatives sooner.
He’s hoping that a year will be enough time for him to find a supplier, order enough straws for his business and figure out whether he needs to adjust his prices.
“A lot of people in the bubble tea world aren’t particularly wealthy,” DeFrancesco said. “They’re often mom-and-pop stores who have to serve at cost or put it on to the consumer.”
One solution he takes issue with are metal straws, which some have proposed as a reusable alternative. Metal straws, DeFrancesco said, are impractical and too expensive, costing $6 to $10 for a pack of four. He added that, since his shop is located in a touristy area in the city, many of his customers might not understand why they should buy a reusable straw that might cost them several dollars.
He doesn’t think a modest price increase will drive away business: “I think a lot of people will say, ‘I’m willing to spend a nickel more so this doesn’t go up a sea turtle’s nose.’ ”
For Daniel Lee, a regular at T&T Café in San Francisco, any price increase more than 10 cents might make him rethink his boba habits. But for others, such as Emanuela Agostini, who is visiting from Italy, a straw that can break down instead of floating around in the ocean or sitting in a landfill offsets any extra expense she might have to incur.
“I prefer to buy something that for the environment is better,” Agostini said. “I will pay more for something that could be better for all of us instead of plastic.”
President Trump strides to a warm and dignified reception from the Queen.
They are driven in a 1934 Bentley to the edge of central London, where they change to a magnificent 17th century carriage hitched to six white horses. They continue on towards the Buckingham Palace..
Suddenly, the right rear horse lets out the most horrendous earth shattering fart ever heard in the British Empire. ..The smell is so atrocious that both the passengers in the carriage, must use handkerchiefs over their noses…The fart shakes the coach, but, the two dignitaries of State do their best to ignore the incident.
The Queen politely turns to President Trump: “Mr President, please, accept my regrets…I am sure you understand there are some things that even a Queen cannot control.”
Trump, always trying to be “Presidential,” responded:
“Your Majesty, do not give the matter another thought…Until you mentioned it, I thought it was one of the horses.”
“Come up stairs quick! Be quiet.” He points to their parents’ bedroom door. “Look through the keyhole.”
The little boy bends down and gasps in horror as he looks in.
Johnny says to him, “Can you believe that’s the same woman who just last night slapped you for sucking your thumb?”
CALL IT THE era of misinformation. Call it a crisis of trust. If you must, call it fake news. The truth is that in 2018, hot-button news events are immediately weaponized online by interested parties, whether that’s foreign actors trying to undermine democracy, local politicians trying to rally their base, spammers trying to make a quick buck, even trolls in it for the old-fashioned lulz—or all of the above.
In this treacherous landscape, you need to be armed with facts, and an awareness that conversation you see online may not be what it appears, especially when it comes to divisive social issues like immigration.
This week, you need to be aware of misinformation surrounding news of a
caravan invasion of migrants walking from Central America through Mexico to the US.
On October 13, some hundreds of people began to march from San Pedro Sula in northern Honduras toward the United States border, and have since been joined by thousands. Accurate reporting of how many people are on the move is hard to come by, but recent estimates put it around 7,500. The trip from San Pedro de Sula to the closest US border crossing in Texas is approximately 2,000 miles, and requires people to pass through inhospitable borders. People walking and hitchhiking know that when—if—they reach the US border, they likely will not be allowed to cross. Their children may be taken from them. They may be arrested and sent back. But they come anyway, fleeing gang violence and poverty.
They are not yet close to the US border, having only crossed between Guatemala and Mexico last weekend.
Journalists are traveling with the
caravan invasion, but even their on-the-ground reporting is competing with so much false information out there, and sometimes being co-opted by it, making it difficult to sort fact from fiction. One viral tweet spreading misinformation takes an ABC News video out of context and uses it as proof that the caravan invasion is part of a liberal agenda to bring immigrants into the US. In fact, the clip shows a few Mexican drivers “taking pity” on some in the caravan invasion and picking them up in their trucks, as the reporter on the ground describes.
caravan’s invasion’s organization has been a major focus of politicians and misinformation campaigns. The Honduran government, attempting to downplay the dangerous conditions in the country, has claimed the caravan invasion is an effort to destabilize the nation. The Daily Beast reports that it was actually an inaccurate news report on television in Honduras, falsely promising that their food and “transportation” would be paid for by a former politician, which inspired many people to begin walking. Some immigrants interviewed by the Daily Beast say that since the trip to the US is so dangerous, they decided to join the caravan invasion in the hopes of benefitting from safety in numbers.
One online conspiracy theory, pushed by sites like Info Wars, says the immigrants in the
caravan invasion are getting rides paid for by wealthy bankers, and that they are organized by immigration advocacy groups. Last week, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz asked on Twitter whether liberal philanthropist George Soros or “US-backed NGOs” are behind it. Some message boards are blunter, suggesting it’s not merely Soros but a vast Jewish cabal that’s driving the caravan invasion. Soros, who is Jewish, is a favorite target of anti-Semites and far-right conspiracy theorists, and is often blamed for everything from Pizza gate to the Women’s March to the refugee crisis in Europe; on Monday evening, the Times reported that an explosive device was found at Soros’s home, although the motive is still unclear. There is no evidence that Soros or any other rich liberal is paying for the immigrants to reach the US.
Another inaccuracy being repeated on social media and YouTube is that the
caravan invasion will soon merge with more than 40,000 Mexican immigrants, and flood over the border just after the midterms. Viral posts, memes, and messages targeted directly at journalists falsely call this an “army.” One copy-paste meme going around Facebook and Twitter, which cumulatively has at least 7,000 likes and shares, spreads the much higher statistic and urges people to get in touch with an anti-immigration militia. When WIRED called one of the listed numbers, the militia member who answered said that the 42,000 number was bogus, and that government officials have told the group that the caravan invasion consists of around 7,000 people—a figure in line with on-the-ground reports. He also said he’s been inundated with calls since his phone number was shared.
President Trump and Vice President Pence have both added to the confusion, repeatedly suggesting, among other things, that “Middle Easterners” are among the immigrants. So far, on-the-ground reporters have been unable to corroborate this. Rumors about Middle Eastern terrorists going through the Mexican border have circulated for years, and they have largely been debunked.
Interest in the
caravan invasion has spiked since President Trump started discussing it, according to Google Trends, although searches in the US for the word “caravan” picked up just a day after the first people began walking from northern Honduras. By Monday, it was one of Google’s top trending searches in the US, with more than 200,000 queries. Searches for Soros—relating to the caravan invasion and the bomb—hit more than 100,000 that day.
Misinformation is not isolated to the right. In some leftist groups, a theory is percolating that the whole immigrant
caravan invasion could have been cooked up by Republican operatives looking to turn out more GOP voters.
It’s unclear at the moment what role automation is playing in misinformation around the
caravan invasion, though many of the Twitter accounts sharing these talking points are tweeting the exact same phrases hundreds of times a day, which could be an indication of bot activity.
With the midterm elections two weeks away, politicians are hoping to use fears over immigration as a way to get people to turn out to the polls. Democrats hope to take over control of the House, while Republicans hope to hold on to their majority. Either party winning depends on more of their voters showing up on November 6. As the president has made clear in his tweets and rallies this week, he and the GOP are hoping the immigrant
caravan invasion will inspire anti-immigration voters to show up. On the other side, democrats are using the family separation crisis and Trump’s harsh anti-immigration stance as reason for democrats to turn out.
Incendiary social issues are one of the key ways interested parties–from politicians to foreign nation states–attempt to sway turnout and opinion before important elections. By influencing the topics of conversation online, these stakeholders are able to influence not just individuals but news organizations, which often report on whatever is trending, thereby amplifying and spreading the information further. Even when news organization report on misinformation in order to debunk it, research shows that merely repeating the misinformation at all can lead people to believe it. Mainstream news organizations have also been criticized for parroting their alarmist language, such as when the AP referred to the immigrants as an “army” in a tweet.
Earlier in October, a Russian national was indicted for heading a vast social media campaign to turn Americans against each other and undermine our ability to trust not just our institutions and news outlets, but our neighbors and the very fabric of reality. The point of creating such chaos? The disruption of the upcoming midterm elections. Backed by millions of dollars, and with the help of hackers and paid operatives, this campaign co-opted unwitting Americans, in some cases paying them to post inflammatory content, in other cases using their most intense beliefs as fuel to fire. The issues they focused on include the Russia inquiry, race, anti-Trump sentiment, and voter registration, and yes, immigration.
When I was going through basic the T. I. noticed an airman basic daydreaming. ‘Get your ass over here ! What’s your name?”
“Paul,” the new recruit replied.
The T. I. screamed “The first an last word to come out of your mouth is sir, do I make myself clear?”
The recruit yelled “Sir, yes Sir.”
The T. I got nose to nose with the recruit “Look, I don’t know what kind of bleeding-heart pansy bull-shit your recruiter told you but I don’t call anyone by his first name,” the sergeant scowled. “It breeds familiarity, and that leads to a breakdown in authority. I refer to my recruits by their last names only — Smith, Jones, Baker and I am to be referred to as ‘Sergeant do I make myself clear?”
“Sir Yes, sir, Sergeant!”
“Now that we’ve got that straight, what’s your last name?”
The recruit stammered “Sir, Darling, sir my name is Paul Darling sir.”
“Okay, Paul, here’s what I want you to do. . .”
On Sunday, August 5 I broke my right leg on the second day of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. I was riding home and had one block to go, as I passed in front of the new “Harley Davidson Rally Point, on the recently named Harley Davidson Way (formerly second street) a huge buffarilla with a greasy turkey leg in one hand and a greasier electronic lobotomy in the other, decided to jaywalk across the street directly in front of me to the Rally Point where a live band was playing. Apparently it’s more important to concentrate on your texting than it is to watch where the fuck your going. I didn’t want an huge ugly buffarilla dent on my bike so I swerved to avoid catastrophe, or so I thought. My right leg got caught between the curb and the bike . . . the leg lost. The buffarilla fled the scene and disappeared into the crowd.
As I started to get up some guy said “DON’T MOVE“, and as I turned to tell him I was OK he told me “it’s not arterial.” With eyes wide open I looked down and I saw the bottom of my right foot rotated about 120 degrees sideways up and to the right and blood on my shoe, fortunately I was not wearing boots because they would have cut it off. I got the bloody shoe back in a biohazard bag, and the hospital lost the left shoe. I thought that my leg should really hurt, but it didn’t, it was still tangled up in the bike and I wanted to get my leg out. They kept telling me not to move and I kept asking them to get me out of the bike before I got blood on it. When they finally got my leg free I sat up and when I looked down my foot was 90 degrees to the right of my leg and I couldn’t move it.
Sturgis makes a lot of money during bike week. $1.29 million in sales tax from temporary vendors at the rally plus vendor fees, taxi and towing fees from companies outside Sturgis who pay a fee that authorizes them operate within city limits during the rally. Now add the taxes collected by year round business like restaurants, hotels, campground and bars…
I told you that so I could tell you this. My next thought was what about the bike, I have seen Sturgis P.D. put bikes on a hook and haul them to the impound lot, $200.00 for the tow plus daily storage fees. Bikers to the rescue. They had the bike up on the side stand and aside from a little road rash it was fine. I told them that I lived in Sturgis in the apartment building a block away, I told them about the towing BS and asked them if someone could please move the bike to the parking lot behind the building before the Sturgis PD got there and told them they couldn’t. So many bikers wanted to help that there were actually enough of them to carry it and they got ‘er done before Officer Obie showed up.
When Officer Obie arrived he looked at my leg and confirmed that EMT was necessary. I told him what happened and he asked “Where’s The Bike?” Grinning from ear to ear I said “my friends took it home for me.” Officer Obie started the “leaving the scene of the accident” lecture, I smiled and said “I didn’t leave, I’m still here!” then told him about the buffarilla. After dodging his exactly where is the bike questions for a few minutes the paramedics arrived and asked the Officer Obie to “please let us do our job.” They looked at the leg, put splint it and I did not like that, it hurt! Sturgis Regional Hospital was very busy so we were redirected to Spearfish Regional about 17 miles east. The EMT’s asked me if I wanted anything for pain, and I asked Officer Obie for a bullet to bite on.
At the hospital it took two nurses and the doctor, what seemed like an hour, to position my foot to get the x rays and I didn’t like that either, it was pretty bad and I got bumped to the front of the line. They started to prep me for the O.R. and the next thing I knew I woke up to find this.The guy I bumped was in the room right next to me.
If I they had given me a wheelchair I would have pushed myself home. It took five days to get them release me.
Bikers to the rescue again. The CMA (Christian Motorcycle Association) was providing comfort services to hospitalized bikers visiting Sturgis for the rally. They visited me every day and took me back to Sturgis when I was discharged.
This picture was taken at my first follow up visit a month later…they removed the temporary cast and put me in a fiberglass cast and told me to return in a month.
This picture was taken at my second follow up last week:
Three of the 12 screws are broken, the bottom two screws are side by side but you can see two ends on the left of where 4 screws intersect on the x-ray. The P. A. report described a “hardware failure. ‘ They sent me home and told me to return in a month!
I honestly expect the P. A. to take another X-ray and tell me to come back in another month. I’m contemplating what to do if thats what happens and if I should contact a larval politician!
I don’t have proper insurance for most of this and have been busy working on just how I am going to pay the bills I’ve incurred. This is why I have not posted for a few days.
John and his wife were in a loving marriage, but he was having problems with premature ejaculation, so he decided to go to the doctor. He asked the doctor what he could do to cure his problem.
The doctor said, “It’s nothing to be ashamed of, this is in fact a very common problem. And luckily for you, there’s an easy solution.”
John urged him to continue, “But how, doc?”
The doctor replied, “When you feel that you are about to ejaculate, try startling yourself. It needs to be something really scary. Do this and you will stave off the orgasm.”
That same day John went to a sporting goods store and bought himself a starter pistol. All excited to try the new technique, he ran home to his wife.
When he came home he was surprised to find his wife in bed, naked and waiting. John got into bed with her and started to cuddle, putting the starter pistol under the pillow.
Things started to heat up, and they found themselves in the 69 position. Moments later he felt the sudden urge to ejaculate, so he reached under the pillow and fired he starter pistol.
The next day John sat in his doctor’s waiting room, looking depressed.
When the doctor admitted him, he asked, “So, how did it go?”
John answered, “Well, I startled myself and didn’t have a premature ejaculation.”
The doctor said, “That’s excellent news! But why the long face?
John replied, “Well, we were doing 69 and she was on top. When I fired the pistol my wife bit my penis, shit on my face, and my brother came out of the closet with his hands in the air!”