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Picture of "Killer," the Super Squirrel

Here in the animal-loving offices of The Curmudgeon, we have a great respect for other creatures.  One notable exception is the common tree squirrel.  Oh sure, they’re cute and fuzzy as they prance across your lawn and into the tree, to the branch, to the electric line, to the roof of your house, and then chewing their mischievous way through the eaves and into your attic and…hey!  See?  That’s the problem with squirrels.  They’re just destructive, disgusting rodents.  Rats with fur.

I have had some epic battles with squirrels, but nothing like that experienced by a couple in Cleveland.  They were trapped in their house by a squirrel.  A particularly mean squirrel.  He was one bad motherfu (shut your mouth) jus’ talkin’ bout squirrel.  This squirrel – we’ll call him “Killer” –  was running full blast and hurling himself at the garage door, apparently intent on gaining entry.  Every time the couple tried to escape the house, Killer came charging at them, crashing into the door as they closed it just in time.

Killer was clearly nuts, so the police were summoned to free the couple.  No word on how this was accomplished.  If they summoned an animal control specialist to capture the squirrel humanely and release it in the local park, then why are they keeping it secret?  Perhaps Killer, upon being released, turned and attacked the handler, biting him on about the neck and face infecting him with rabies.  No, I think not.  My theory is that the police shot the squirrel, and then planted their “drop gun” at the scene to make it appear as though Killer were about to fire at them.  That is why it is secret, because if PETA got a hold of that story they’d be all over it like mange on a squirrel.

That would certainly be the fastest, most economical way to deal with the problem, and it’s a good deed too.

The world can always do with one less squirrel.

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Photo from litwc.com

Here in the sharp-witted offices of The Curmudgeon, we are no strangers to tattoos, having written about them and a few of the employees tattooed like something out of Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man. I personally am not a fan of tattoos (being borderline Aichmophobic), and have likened tattoos on a pretty woman to drawing on a beautiful painting with a sharpie. But this takes the cake: a man in Louisville is going to prison for tattooing a 19 month old child.

He tattooed the child late one night while a 17 year-old relative of the child held the child down across her lap. Heck, it was just a little tattoo; the outline of the letter “A”, the first letter in the child’s name.  The man was sentenced to 3 years in prison. What?  You think that’s too extreme a punishment?  Consider this: It wasn’t even his child. The assistant prosecutor said, “I don’t know who’s idea it was. It was late in the evening and apparently someone thought it was a good idea.”

He faced a possible 8 years in prison, but was given a reduced sentence due to his incomparable idiocy. When asked by the judge at his hearing if he wanted to say anything, the man said, “If I may make a point, your honor, I’ve never been the sharpest knife in the drawer. Normally I just poke around, but the child kept needling me…sticking it to me, you might say.” Okay, he didn’t say that.  Instead, he didn’t speak. I think he should have at least explained his shoddy work.

He won’t start serving his sentence right away because he’s got to complete his current prison sentence for domestic violence and a violating a protection order. What a loser.

See?  I’ve said it all along:

Tattoo bad

(Information from: CantonRep.com)

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Here in the watch-dog offices of The Curmudgeon, we love to expose misleading and downright criminal advertising.  For example, when a soup ad shows a vegetable soup in a bowl that appears to be packed to nearly overflowing, which then turns out to be because they put marbles in the bowl first so the vegetables would be pushed to the top.  Makes a pretty, appetizing picture, but unfortunately, a crock.  And it’s not a crock of soup.  But the “it” it is a crock of also begins with the letter “S.”

So my curiosity was peaked when I learned that Universal Pictures had airbrushed out the two black actors who appeared in the movie out of the posters which were used in Europe, whereas the American posters clearly have the black actors in them (albeit way in the back).  At first, I was surprised at Europe and wondered why they would find this necessary.  But it was Universal Studios who made the decision.

The movie is Couples Retreat, which doesn’t look all that good to me anyway, and the black actors are Faizon Love and Kali Hawk.  They have remained mum on the subject as far as I can tell, but they’re actors.  They have to work in that tinsel town.  They ain’t rocking any boats, not if they know what’s good for their careers, and who wants to hear them bitch anyway?  Not me.

It’s odd and unfortunate but what is to be done about it?  Nothing, and here’s why:  Universal owns this property and it is their right to market it any way they want.  For some reason, they have decided that the movie will do better in Europe without the African American actors on it.  Movie studios spend millions and millions figuring out this marketing stuff and you can bet they know what they are doing.  The studio claims that the revised advertisement aimed “to simplify the poster to actors who are most recognizable in international markets.” (Huffington Post, Nov. 16, 2009)   Mmm…otay.  I can just hear them:  “Hey, those marbles are showing, get them out of the bowl.

So, it says more about the attitude of Europe toward blacks than it does about Universal’s view of them, unless the story about the “recognizable” actors is true, and perhaps it is, except I don’t recognize all of the actors in the poster.  Do you?

Maybe the reason is much more complicated, and not as simple as merely saying it’s racist.  I just don’t know and I don’t have time to devote hours to developing an understanding of the onion-like layers of race issues among people of the world.  People go to war over crap like this.

And maybe that’s the problem.

We don’t have time to reason, but plenty of time for killing.

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sarah sosiak/flickr

sarah sosiak/flickr

Here in the tuneful and musical offices of The Curmudgeon, staff members sport iPods, headphones, portable CD players, advanced music systems in every office, and a juke box in the company pub packed with classics and contemporary music.  There is even karaoke on Thursday nights, and all are encouraged to get behind the mike and sing their lungs out, good or bad.

Now, I have always thought of Connecticut as a civilized state populated with Kathryn Hepburns and George Plimptons, but I have never been there and the reality of a place doesn’t always fit with its image.  This is a story of hate and passion.  A story of violence and gang mentality.  It is a story of karaoke.

Hits a Bad Note

When 25-year-old Leidy Alcantra took the stage at Bobby Valentine’s Sports Gallery and Cafe in Stamford, she wasn’t met with cheers and good will, but jeers and venom.   She sang a Columbian pop song and was taunted by a group of females, for what I do not know.  Did she sing poorly?  Did she sing well and these other chicks were jealous?   Did they hate Columbian pop songs?  Information is sketchy, but what we do know is when she left the stage, one of the women cold-cocked her in the mouth and the other 5 jumped right in kicking, slapping, biting, and punching in a frenzy of careless limb-flinging, profanity-laced, girl-fighting.  (Also, it is unknown if this simply turned-on the men in the joint, crying “catfight” and getting a closer seat, or if someone broke it up.)

The singer was treated at the hospital for a chipped tooth and heavy bruises, and the chick-gang – hereinafter referred to as “The Karaoke Katfighters – was kicked out of the bar.  Unsatisfactory, I know, which is why I am pleased to report that they were all later arrested and charged with third-degree assault, conspiracy to commit third-degree assault and breach of the peace, according to the Connecticut Post.

Striking a Chord

I’d like to go on a rant about this disintegration of society and its values, the lack of courtesy and respect paid to others, this hatred that grows across the globe like a giant, oozing wen.  I say I’d like to, but I can’t.  I’m tired., I’m weary, and today, at least, I am losing hope.  If you hear this story and your thought is “so what?  Maybe the chick deserved it,” then you are one of them.  If, on the other hand, you share my sentiments, then you are one of us.  It’s truly us against them.

I normally an very hesitant to give names in stories like this, but I also think that when legal punishment is not enough, that public ridicule can help to fill in the gap.  And so, the names of the “Karaoke Katfighters” are  Michelle Rosedom, Danielle Swanson, Martisa Chambers, Chaniel McRae, Deja Hines and Kiana Strickland.  Stupid ho’s.

I think I’ll go take a nap, and just maybe I’ll wake up in a different time or a kinder place.  Good night.

Don’t let the Karaoke Katfighters bite.

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Paste up - London.  Photo by Dr. Case on flickr.

Paste up - London. Photo by Dr. Case on flickr.

Here in the comfortable confines of The Curmudgeon office, I may publicly state that I detest infomercials, but secretly I admire the “advertising business” side of them, the product ambush on your fears, insecurities, anxieties, too-small or too-large body parts, greed, hopes, and dreams.  I have been known to become mesmerized by a particularly good one, and have watched some more than once.  I never buy anything, but boy, do I ever want to.

And now comes the infomercial that was viewed as so offensive, it aired once and was pulled from the airways.  I speak of Doc Bottoms Aspray (pronounced ay-spray).  Apparently there was never a deodorant so strong, so smell-neutralizing, so safe, that it can be used on even your most intimate areas.

Aspray pic“Aspray goes where other deodorants can’t. Aspray your butt,” the announcer blusters. “Aspray under your arms. Aspray your feet. You can even Aspray your privates.”  Just in case you haven’t gotten the idea, a woman is shown in a tight shot of her pelvic area crossing her legs when her hand enters the frame holding the can of Aspray, enticingly close to her coochie.  (Of course, using the word “enticing” was a poor choice of words, knowing as we do that it has an odor problem.)

Were the producers serious?  It certainly looks like it’s played for comedy.  Let’s look at the included testimonial by “Larry F. ,” who tells us frankly that he’s “got odors in special places,” and after a bit of stuttering he clarifies: “My butt.”  Larry’s performance is less than believable.  In fact, it’s downright comedic, and suddenly we realize we are in an alternate universe where a Saturday Night Live parody has become reality, and the reality has become parody.

MSNBC aired the commercial once and removed it, but I am not offended by it.  I think it  is hysterically funny and entertaining, and now I have to buy some butt glue because I laughed my ass off.  No, I think it is marketing genius all the way down to its name.  Let’s face it, people aren’t going to call it ay-spray.  They’re going to call it ass-spray.  And there’s also the name “Doc Bottoms,” as in “your butt smells so bad you need a butt doctor.”  The commercial would have been talked about anyway, but they’ve hit the mother lode: removed from the airwaves due to offensive content and well on it’s way to going viral on youtube.

As we say in the ad biz, “You can’t buy that kind of advertising.”

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