In less than a week, the final season of Game of Thrones begins. After five novels over the course of 23 years, two pilot episodes and seven seasons of the widely popular HBO TV show are finally about to see the end of winter. At least the end of winter for the TV show. And I’m okay with that. I’m not really a super fan of the show. I mean, I like the show. And I love the first three novels in the series, a lot. But books 4 and 5 were, um … long. Much, much too long.
Thankfully, the HBO series ditched a bunch of the meandering nonsense that happened in books 4 & 5 of George R.R. Martin’s beloved fantasy series. Even though that’s true, the farther the series strays from the source material, the less successful it is. And by “less successful” I’m not saying that audiences stopped watching it. No, not that at all. The most recent estimated audience for GoT is, “approx. 30 million people per episode” watch the show. So, it’s more popular than ever. I just think it’s inconsistently “good,” while occasionally being shockingly mediocre. Half the actors are perfectly cast and are considerably good in their roles, the other half of the actors are … um … okay (and sometimes they’re not.)
All that being said, Game of Thrones has certainly been a culture phenomenon far surpassing expectations for the HBO series. I would even go so far as to suggest that Game of Thrones pretty much is HBO. I have no doubt that HBO execs are ever on the lookout for the next GoT. Especially with something like five prequels/sequels in the works.
For those that are familiar with the show but have not read the novels, here is an oft repeated note that Martin’s readers all suspect - George R.R. Martin will probably die before he finishes writing the books. You see, the books are all massive, and it now takes him several years to finish one. Check out this list of publishing dates from most previous novel to the first one:
Book Five: A Dance of Dragons, published on July 12th, 2011.
Book Four: A Feast for Crows, published October 17th, 2005.
Book Three: Storm of Swords, published in 2000.
Book Two: Clash of Kings, published in 1998.
Book One: Game of Thrones, published in 1996.
You can see the time increase between publishing dates as Martin’s world and novels expand. George RR Martin is 70 years old, he’s a big man and he’s not terribly healthy. He still claims that Book Six: The Winds of Winter, isn’t really close to being done - and after that one is finished he still has a final book to write. Which, if his usual pattern continues, means that Book Seven: A Dream of Spring might be out sometime around 2030. And that’s probably not an exaggeration. I drink to Martin’s health and longevity, often. =)
I met Martin a few times back in 1999-2000, and I was able to tell him a cute story. And, boy did I not realize how accurate this story would turn out to be (a story I am about to tell you). You see, I used to work in a bookstore back in 1996, the year Game of Thrones hit the bookshelves. It was an odd looking silver foil cover with no art, it just read, “Game of Thrones. George RR Martin.”
I knew of Martin as I had devoured all of his 80’s series called, “Wildcards.” So, Game of Thrones was on my list, I just hadn’t gotten to it. And so, I’m at work one day and an old gentleman walks up to the counter. He appears to be in his eighties. I saw him the moment he walked in because he was moving very carefully. I didn’t think his movement was only because of his age, in fact - he looked as if either leg joint was injured and/or he was very ill. Or both. Hence the slow movement. So, he comes in, he walks to the Sci-Fi section, grabs the silver hardcover GoT, brings it to the counter and says, “I just finished this and, it’s the greatest fantasy novel I’ve ever read. Do you know when the next one is coming out?”
I say, “Oh, cool, you’re the first person to give me any kind of feedback about this book. I’m glad to hear it’s good because I like Martin’s other work.” Then I look up the exact publishing date of GoT, which was only the previous month. I say to him, “You know what? It looks like the hardcover was just released last month, so we’re probably not looking at a sequel for - at least a year or two.”
And this man, again, in his eighties, matter of factly says to me, “Yeah. I thought you were going to say that. I don’t think I’m gonna make it that long.”
And then he puts the book down on the counter and leaves the store. That day, I 100%, bought a copy of Game of Thrones!
I was able to relay that story to Martin sometime in 2000. There was uncomfortable laughter from him. I mean, what can you say to that story, right? Anyway, I thought his uncomfortable laughter was appropriate. But still, that old gentleman really had no idea what he was saying to me, and that was back in 1996. And Martin still hasn’t finished writing the series.
Back to the show, the GoT showrunners were given the general idea for the ending to all the storylines from Martin himself. So, as the series outpaced the novels the TV show was generally able to follow Martin’s plot. But, not really. The TV show has just transformed into something entirely different from the original novels. Characters arcs and entire storylines have been cut, or vastly changed. Some characters who are still alive in the books are now dead in the show, or vice versa. There really is no longer any comparison. A few years ago, Martin himself joked that the TV series has become more “fan fiction” than adaptation. And, as much as I love about HBO’s Game of Thrones, I kind of agree with that statement - too often the show plays out like overly melodramatic fan fiction.
But, despite its flaws, GoT is still the greatest fantasy we’ve ever had on TV. So, at least there’s that. And beginning on April 14th, 2019 - I, along with 30 million other of my closest friends will tune in to watch every single second of Season Eight of Game of Thrones. And sometime in the future I’ll probably watch every episode again.
Silly little cat videos rarely catch my eye. But the moment you mix a silly little cat video with some of my favorite films - suddenly, I’m on board. And animator, filmmaker, photoshop guru, #catdad Tibo Charroppin clearly, has my number. Tibo is the creator of the “OwlKitty” Instragram/YouTube account. It’s a thing. It might not be Miley Cyrus level popular but OwlKitty (as Godzilla) destroying cities is pretty okay in my book.
OwlKitty is the “stage name” for Lizzy, a two year old cat living with her humans in Portland, Oregon. Her humans - Tibo Olivia Boone have combined their work (animation), and their love of kitties into lots of adorable Lizzy meets Famous Film videos. There are multiple compilations. The one attached to the front page, I think, is the best, as it takes the funniest Lizzy/movie clips and mixes it with behind the scenes footage of Tibo making the, sometimes complicated videos with his kitty and a green screen.
From their website:
Lizzy (stage name: OwlKitty) is a two year-old cat living in Portland, Oregon. She stars in all your favorite movies and tv shows and gets lots of treats and cuddles in return. Offscreen, Lizzy loves her laser pointer, her adoptive mother (a 10 year-old tabby) and the taste of cream cheese. She’s never caught a bird.
So far, OwlKitty has made appearances in such classics as Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, How to Train your Dragon, The Shining, Titanic, 50 Shades of Gray and Risky Business. You can also find her in Game of Thrones, Ariana Grande’s music video and Red Dead Redemption 2. (Editor’s note: The Risky Business clip is my favorite!)
Anyway, OwlKitty seems to be climbing up the charts, as they say. They even take movie suggestions to for OwlKitty placement. You can contact them here at the official OwlKitty website.
And now we return you to your regularly scheduled depressing news cycle. =)
A new study has found the majority of people miss the most vulnerable parts of their face when applying sunscreen.
Published in PLOS One, researchers from the University of Liverpool looked at the sunscreen application habits of 84 men and women with the majority avoiding areas of the face around the eyes.
However, study authors cite the skin around the eyes is the most vulnerable to sun damage and skin cancer. SPF containing moisturizers were used even less around the eyes.
The Sun reports:
My theory: We’ve been told since we were kids to keep things away from our eyes, especially lotions.
Sunscreens use chemicals to disperse or absorb UV rays. Inorganic compounds in sunscreen such a titanium dioxide or zinc oxide attempt to scatter the UV rays. Organic compounds such as PABA and oxybenzone attempt to absorb UV rays so they can’t damage the skin.
UVA rays penetrate deeply into both the epidermis and dermis. They can cause premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, and skin cancer.
UVB rays are shorter and primarily affect the epidermis. They are responsible for causing sunburns as well as skin cancer.
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The higher the SPF, the less sun photons enter the skin and cause damage. SPF primarily measures the protection against UVB rays. We multiply the SPF factor by how long it takes one’s skin to burn by the SPF number to determine the protection factor.
In theory, an SPF of 30 suggests your skin, if it burns within 10 minutes without protection, will not burn until 300 minutes has lapsed (30 times 10). However, we find this isn’t always the case. People sweat or swim and the sunscreen dissipates. Moreover many don’t put on the proper amounts (see below.)
So instead we use SPF as a grade to how much protection the product can offer.
An SPF of 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
An SPF of 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays
An SPF of 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays
As we see, the relationship is not linear, however the higher the SPF, the more protection we have against UV rays..
Although the SPF alludes to protection against burning, hence UVB rays, a sunscreen may still protect against both UVA rays and UVB rays if it’s a broad spectrum sunscreen.
Most people apply sunscreen incorrectly or unevenly. Lotion needs to be applied at an amount of 2mg/cm2 of skin or 1 teaspoon per body part (chest, arm, leg, face and neck). It should be applied 15 minutes prior to going out into the sun and needs to be reapplied every 2 hours, or more often if swimming or sweating.
God of War continues to kill all competitors for end of the year game awards. As of yet GoW has taken home Best Studio Game Direction / Best Action/Adventure / Best Game at the The Game Awards, it’s won an Achievement in Game Writing from the Writers Guild of America, and now it’s swept all the major awards at BAFTA (The British Academy of Film and Television Arts) which is arguably known as the most prestige game award ceremony.
God of Wars swept the five top prize at the BAFTA, winning for Audio Achievement, Best Music, Performer (Jeremy Davies), Best Narrative and Game of the Year. The only other year BATFA handed out that many top prizes to a single game was back in 2014 when The Last of Us won for Audio Achievement, Story, Performer (Ashley Johnson), Action/Adventure and Game of the Year. Which, looks to be similarly what God of War took home this year. And since I LOVE The Last of Us, I think it’s high time I gave God of War a chance, too.
As for some of the other big stories at the BAFTA: Rockstar’s heavily favored Red Dead Redemption 2 lost in all six of the categories it was nominated. Microsoft Studios’ Forza Horizon 4 was named best British game, Lucas Pope’s Return of the Obra Dinn (unplayed by me) took home Artistic Achievement and Game Design, while Subset Games’ Into the Breach was named Best Original Property (also unplayed by me but now I’m totally interested!). Annapurna interactive Florence wins Best Mobile Game. And by the way, Florence is a very well done slice of life about the “possibilities in vs. the realities of” falling in love. Florence is very lovely, and very heartbreaking. I suspect adults will get far more out of it than kids. But, on the other hand - the kids will love Gods of War, so it all works out. Just sayin. And, despite just having English parents and leaders proclaim that Fortnite is too addictive (and that - someone should do something about that!), Fortnite takes home the BAFTA for Best Evolving Game.
Which, to be fair - Fortnite could be both, right? I mean it could certainly be a great Evolving Game and also be very addictive. Of games can be addictive. You know why? They’re fun to play! If the game wasn’t fun to play it would be a bloody failure of a game!
Anyway, I don’t entirely buy into the recent WHO Gaming Disorder Classification, which parents are trying to use to ban their kids from all games ever. But, even in the actual WHO classification it says:
“Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities. However, people who partake in gaming should be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, particularly when it is to the exclusion of other daily activities, as well as to any changes in their physical or psychological health and social functioning that could be attributed to their pattern of gaming behavior.”
Basically, they're saying, “Um, yeah - well, not many … and by “not many” we mean “hardly any gamers at all, ever” will actually have gaming disorder. But, you know - just watch out for how much you play and maybe do other things once in a while.
Fair enough. But then, do you really need to classify it as a "disorder?" *shrugs*
For more about "Gaming Disorder" check out a 2017 article I wrote: The “Gaming Disorder” Dilemma: Game Violence, Obsession and Addiction.
After a weekend full of Lucy Flores, the time has come to ask why the former gang banger, Nevada Assemblywoman and two time Nevada political loser found it necessary to wait four and a half years and then come after Joe Biden for alleged hair sniffing. Or alleged back of head kissing. Or alleged shoulder holding.
All while Biden, then the Vice President of the United States of America, was lending his support to what would soon become her massive loss in 2014 for Light Gov.
And, did I mention that it was four and a half years before she trotted out Biden’s “crime?”
“I had never experienced anything so blatantly inappropriate and unnerving before,” she (or someone) wrote in New York Magazine.
You mean the abortion you had when you were gang banging at age 16 was perfectly appropriate? The fact that your solution to becoming pregnant was to kill the baby? That was appropriate?
Or does it mean you have a very short memory?
Let me refresh it from your own website:
“By 15 I was on juvenile parole and by 17 I had dropped out of high school.”
Now, Lucy. I’m NOT kicking you when you are down. In fact, the exit you made from that life is impressive. It shows that President Trump is on the right path with his criminal justice reform efforts—which, thankfully, your Democrat buddies seem to be supporting.
Also, I’m not here to make Joe an example of who I would like to see as President, since we already have a perfectly good President in Donald Trump.
But, he is, at least, the sanest of the Democratic candidates so far and is a decent man who doesn’t deserve the negative publicity you and the lamestream media have whipped up, presumably at the request of one of the other crazed Democrat candidates. Further, you seem just a tad too concerned with your political relevance which is actually somewhere between that of Jussie Smollett and Hillary Clinton.
And as far as this #MeToo crap goes, count me out.
As I have said in this space before, my Father took me aside when I was about 13 and told me that I had a Mother and two Sisters and I had better treat women the way I expected others to treat my Mother and two Sisters. Left unsaid was what would happen if I violated those strictures but it wouldn’t have been pleasant.
Somehow, given your gang banging background, if you had been all that offended at the time, Biden might have suffered a groin injury (although the Secret Service might have been upset). Something tells me you didn’t say a word at the time because you are full of crap.
You appreciated his trip to attempt to bail you out of a horrible campaign back then and you feel like there’s nothing he can do for you today.
In short, madam, cut the crap.
You don’t deserve any of the time the lamestream media has wasted on you and, if you want to be an example to troubled youth, maybe you should endorse the President’s First Step Act and get on with it.
Or you can continue to act like Jussie Smollett and become even more irrelevant than you are now.
A teacher from Australia claims his 5-6 can a day habit of Energy Drinks blistered and peeled his tongue.
Dan Royals shared a picture of it on Facebook warning others to get off the caffeinated drink habit.
He wrote, “Found out it’s the chemicals in these drinks that are causing it… it literally eats away at your tongue.”
To me it appears he has “geographic tongue” a response to stress, acidity, spicy foods, or no cause at all. The tongue condition itself is benign but could signify other serious health issues.
Energy drink health risks (as explained below) can include:
A 21-year-old student in England dropped out of school when his dentist found a mouth full of rotten teeth due to his energy drink habit.
Vinnie Pyner of Margate, England, told SWNS that he would drink 6 cans of Monster Energy drinks a day to get through school. Eventually his teeth cracked and when he finally showed his mom, she rushed him to the dentist who said it was the worst case of tooth decay she had ever seen.
FOX News reported he had 24 filings and dentures to repair his front teeth and will soon return to college.
Teeth can rot easily when exposed to energy drinks due to their acidity and sugar content. The protective enamel gets eroded and is irreplacible. Moreover people may choose these drinks over healthier options such as water or milk, putting them at higher risk of dental disease.
Years ago, Demi Moore confessed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that she lost two of her teeth. The 56 year-old actress cited stress as the reason.
Stress could be a factor, however, that would mean all of us would lose our teeth before senior year high school.
What came to mind was a previous report on Moore’s diet.
In 2012, the actress was hospitalized and multiple rumors surfaced as to what caused her collapse. Some reported an energy drink addiction, some cited anorexia, some said it occurred after inhaling the gas from a whip cream canister. Witnesses reported seizure like activity. According to Daily Mail,
A source told Radar: “She collapsed after having an epileptic seizure… she has not taken care of her health at all lately and has lost a ton of weight.” “Demi is in getting treated for anorexia, as well as other issues that caused her seizure.”
After she recovered, it was revealed that her diet included: “Red Bull for breakfast. Red Bull for lunch. Red Bull for dinner, with a lettuce leaf and a tablespoon yes a tablespoon of tuna fish thrown in… That’s it.” as reported by Light987.com.
According to Medical Daily, Moore had been drinking energy drinks for over 10 years.
Three energy drinks a day in the company of a poor diet could wreck havoc on one’s health. But what about teeth?
In 2012 a study from the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine found the acidity of energy drinks to damage tooth enamel, thereby increasing risk of cavities.
Earlier this year, a 28 year old man from New Zealand, who allegedly drank three cans of energy drinks a day, lost multiple teeth and suffered from severe gum disease.
Energy drinks provide little in the type of nutrition gums and teeth require. Our jaws, gums and teeth were designed to chew, face a variety of forces, and then get washed down with water and our own saliva to avoid damage from non-neutral pH compounds. A balanced diet, with food we need to chew, low on sugar and acidity is just what the human mouth needs.
Other causes of teeth loss (edentulism) include:
So not only is it important to brush, floss, water pick and see one’s dentist regularly, but taking care of one’s non-dental health can be just as crucial to keeping our pearly whites.
A study from the University of Texas finds the consumption of energy drinks to have negative effects on the cardiovascular system by narrowing blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood as soon as 90 minutes.
Vessels that supply the heart, which may already be narrowed due to atherosclerosis, could narrow even more.
Moreover the restriction of blood flow to vital organs implies the brain may not receive the optimal circulation it needs.
The study was conducted by scientists who looked at the endothelial lining of blood vessels in 44 healthy non-smoking students and found within 90 minutes of drinking a 24 oz energy drink the vessel dilation dropped from 5.1% in diameter to 2.8% in diameter.
The study was conducted by scientists who looked at the endothelial lining of blood vessels in 44 healthy non-smoking students and found within 90 minutes of drinking a 24 oz energy drink the vessel dilation dropped from 5.1% in diameter to 2.8% in diameter.
Now energy drinks contain various levels of caffeine, as explained below. But they also contain taurine, sugar, vitamins and other ingredients. This study did not look specifically at caffeine but energy drinks, so the authors can’t specify what’s the culprit.
Last year, however, a South Carolina high school student collapsed in class and later died from allegedly consuming an energy drink. The coroner’s report, revealed cited caffeine as the cause. The caffeine induced a cardiac arrhythmia, abnormal heart rhythm, and 16-year old Davis Allen Cripe tragically died within an hour.
What’s shocking is the amount of caffeine he ingested was not very high. According to Richland County Coroner Gary Watts, Cripe drank, within a two-hour period, a large Mountain Dew, an energy drink, and a cafe latte from McDonalds. The teen had no medical problems or family history of heart issues.
A large Mountain Dew contains 54 mg per 12 fluid oz. So a 20 oz drink would be close to 100 mg caffeine.
Energy drinks, depending on the brand, contain approximately 80 mg of caffeine per can.
A cafe latte from McDonalds, medium size, contains 142 mg of caffeine.
This in total would equal approximately 320 mg of caffeine ingested within a two-hour period.
The lethal dose of caffeine in adults range from 150-200 mg/ kg body weight. So a 70 kg adult could consume a toxic level of caffeine at 10 grams (10,000 mg).
So 320 mg of caffeine is well below the toxic level. But what caffeine could do could be the more dangerous part.
Caffeine has been known to induce arrhythmias. It’s a stimulant, hence it can affect the heart’s electrical conductivity that manages the organ’s pumping action. Once the electricity is disrupted, the heart muscle fails to have a predictable, rhythmic stimulation, hence cannot pump effectively.
Caffeine also causes vasoconstriction, so blood flow to the heart could be compromised, potentially inducing a heart attack.
In 2014, researchers from Barcelona found energy drinks to be linked to rare cases of heart attack and arrhythmia.
A cup of coffee averages 95mg of caffeine whereas an energy drink contains 80mg. But the latter is consumed much quicker than a hot cup of Joe that needs to be sipped, hence the consumer takes in a larger load of caffeine in a shorter amount of time. This could be too much too fast for the heart.
The following is a chart of average caffeine content in common drinks:
IN 2016 we learned that a 50-year old man with hepatitis C went into acute liver failure after drinking 4-5 energy drinks a day for a period of a three weeks. The culprit appeared to be the Niacin content in each energy drink (200%RDA) that accumulated over the days and became toxic to the liver. Although this is the first time we’ve heard of this severe a hepatic side effect, energy drinks are not foreign to being hazardous to one’s health.
Depending on the brand, ingredients can include the following:
Sugars such as sucrose, glucose or high fructose corn syrup
Guarana extract- an energy supplement also high in caffeine
Taurine – an amino acid that has health benefits but could strain the kidney
Vitamins B 2, 3, 6 and 12 (and Vitamin A and C in some brands)
and multiple other ingredients and additives (Ginkgo Biloba, Ginseng, etc. depending on the brand)
Energy drinks have been known to cause a variety of issues: anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, caffeine withdrawal, a rise in blood sugar…. to name a few.
However the focus of energy drink risks has been on the heart. One study from the Mayo Clinic found blood pressure and adrenaline to rise after drinking an energy drink. In 2011 a case report looked at two teenage boys who went into atrial fibrillation, a deadly heart rhythm. In 2015, doctors blamed energy drinks for a 25 year old man’s heart attack.
We’ve learned that caffeine, though innocent-appearing in coffee and tea, can be deadly not only as a result of quantity but the administration of it. A cup of coffee may have the same amount of caffeine as an energy drink (assuming the Guarana extract isn’t adding more to the total caffeine dose). But a hot cup of coffee is sipped slowly, whereas an energy drink served cold or at room temperature is usually chugged. The huge bolus of caffeine may be too quick-too-much for the body to digest and distribute slowly.
The high sugar content of energy drinks could put one at risk of diabetes. And with the recent case of acute liver failure, we are reminded that ingredients of energy drinks could at high doses cause hepatitis (inflammation of the liver).
Additionally, this week we learned that mixing alcohol with energy drinks, a popular party ritual, caused brain changes in mice similar to those caused by cocaine.
I can’t convince everyone to reach for a piece of broccoli rather than an energy drink when in need of a boost, but at the very least we should deter use by children and teens, and educate those with vulnerable hearts, blood pressure, diabetes, kidney and liver issues that an energy drink may not be the wisest beverage choice.
The 2019 Chicago mayoral election was held on Feb. 26th but since no candidate received a majority of votes, a runoff election was held on April 2nd between the two candidates with the most votes - Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle.
Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, won the runoff election by a 50 point margin and will become the city’s first black woman and openly gay person elected mayor of Chicago. Lightfoot ran on a platform that she would clean up Chicago’s well known, historic level of corruption. And she is not wrong. I mean, did you know that four of Illinois’s last ten Governors were or are currently in prison? For corruption. Seriously.
Otto Kerner, Governor from 1961-1968 - sentenced to three years in prison for bribery.
Dan Walker, Governor from 1973-1977 - spent a few years in prison for bank fraud.
George Ryan, Governor from 1999-2003 - spent several years in prison for racketeering.
Rod Blagojevich - Governor from 2002-2009, impeached and currently serving a 14 year prison sentence for corruption.
And even though Rahm Emanuel has never been actually accused of a crime his tenure as Chicago’s mayor has certainly not been scandal free. As Rick Perlstein points out in his excellent, “The Sudden But Well-Deserved Fall of Rahm Emanuel” for the New Yorker,
“….Emanuel had became the mayor of Chicago, elected with fifty-five per cent of the vote in the spring of 2011. Since then, there have been so many scandals in Emanuel’s administration that have failed to gain traction that it’s hard to single them out.”
Well, Rahm decided not to run again and opened the way for Lightfoot. Lightfoot has never held public office but as a former federal prosecutor she certainly knows how to go after crime. The city has actually only had one black mayor, Harold Washington Jr., who was elected in the early 80’s but only held office for a few months before dying of a heart attack at the age of 65.
Lightfoot certainly has her work cut out for her as Chicago universally wins yearly “most corrupt city in the US” awards from all the right and wrong places. Even their very own University of Illinois releases a yearly report on corrupt cities and Chicago is always number one with either L.A. or NYC (Manhattan) switching places back and forth for the second and third spot.
Lori Lightfoot will assume the office of Chicago mayor on May 20th, 2019.
If Jussie Smollett isn’t at least whistling this old blues tune highlighted in the classic movie “The Blues Brothers” he’s even dumber than he looked when he got caught faking a so-called hate crime. And make no mistake. He got caught with his panties down around his ankles by the Chicago Police Department.
While we still have never seen this clown on a TV show, we have to admire his lawyers’ understanding of how identity politics works in Chicago.
They managed to get a hopelessly conflicted, elected State’s Attorney to drop all charges against Smollett after he was indicted by a Grand Jury on 16 felony counts. Her conflict, apparently, was between her patron Saint Michelle Obama and reality. Imagine if a Federal Grand Jury had indicted the President and the Attorney General decided not to prosecute.
It was completely predictable. As it happened, I was in Chicago the week Ms. Hopelessly Conflicted Prosecutor was warming up for something like this and now, she’s busy defending her office by suggesting—among other things—that she saved the taxpayers’ money.
The actual assistant State’s Attorney who handled the case said it wasn’t an exoneration and Smollett said he didn’t do it. The Mayor said he did do it, a Grand Jury said he did and the Police Superintendent said he did.
If Joliet Jake (John Belushi) were still alive, he would have probably been proud of Smollett. Or, maybe not, because at least Jake did his time.
The only problem with Smollett’s legal tactic was the unanticipated consequences of Federal involvement. It takes a lot to put President Trump, Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department on essentially the same page, but Jussie Smollett did it. Trump has announced that the Federal Government is looking into the case. This could be the Rodney King case of the 21st Century where we get to explain to students who went to school after the teachers’ union took over, that double jeopardy does not attach in such situations.
This is the way it works in Chicago and has worked from time immemorial. Remember, this is Illinois where being Governor is prep school for prison and the TV show, The Good Wife was either a documentary or a soap opera depending on where you live or grew up.
It’s also hard for someone who grew up in Illinois not to see some parallels to the Blues Brothers.
Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department have threatened to sue Smollett for the $130,000 they say was expended pulling his panties down after he filed a false police report. And Emanuel—in an attempt to keep his street cred with the left, told the President to butt out.
Smollett’s lawyers say that he doesn’t owe the city an apology but rather the Mayor and the Police owe HIM an apology for dragging his name through the mud.
That’s like Al Capone suing Chicago for letting him under-report his income.
The biggest problem with the entire nation seeing a clown show like this one is that not everyone grew up or lives in Illinois so there is a huge group of people out there who don’t understand the Chicago Way and don’t understand that in Chicago, truth is often stranger than fiction.
As we’ve observed before, maybe Law and Order’s Dick Wolf will explain it to the audience writ large with a one or two episode show next season on Chicago PD, ripped from the headlines. That he didn’t come up with a scenario similar to this up to now is only a reminder that you cannot make this stuff up.
Sweet Home Chicago, indeed.
As kids we were taught to never approach a stranger, and to NEVER get in the car of a stranger. Yet with ride sharing services exploding over the last few years we’ve let our guard down. And the kidnapping and murder of a 21-year-old college student who jumped into the back seat of a car, whom she thought was an Uber diver, shed light on how we as a society need to remind ourselves of stranger danger. So here are some safety tips when considering ride sharing…
For those of us comic book buffs, we might have had to take a deep breath before explaining to non buffs what just happened this year, with both Captain Marvel and Shazam hitting the theaters when they are technically the same person.
In the late 30’s Captain Marvel made his debut and was owned by Whiz Comics and Fawcett Publications. It was a competitor’s response to Superman and the comics did very well.
According to Wikipedia:
But after a series of disputes and lawsuits, Captain Marvel was semi-retired until DC Comics/National in the 1970s licensed Captain Marvel and then purchased him in the 1990s.
Marvel Comics, however, was able to secure the trademark of Captain Marvel, so DC Comics couldn’t use the Captain Marvel name anymore. So in renaming the superhero, DC Comics combined the electrical powers of Captain Marvel with the word used by the wizard’s spell, Shazam!
So rather than Billy Batson becoming Captain Marvel when he cries “Shazam”, he simply becomes, Shazam.
Shazam hits theaters April 5, 2019.
Evaldas Rimašauskas, from Lithuanian has been arrested for stealing more than $100 million dollars from tech giants Google and Facebook. In kind of a genius level scam, Evaldas simply - created a fake company and sent FB and Google fake bills for fake product they never ordered that he (obviously) never sent them! Google and Facebook responded by - promptly paying all of Evaldas’ invoices to the tune of about $100 mil from Facebook and another $20 mil from Google.
Wow. Who knew it would be that easy to scam $120 million dollars? But there it is.
On the other hand - Evaldas was caught. He even confessed to the grift, and now faces up to 30 years in jail for fraud. So, that’s not so great for him. But there it is.
On the other hand - he did live like a king for several years while he was worth a $100 million. So, there’s that.
Evaldas has agreed to, get this - pay back $50 million! WTF? Umm … well ….what happened to the other $70 million? Gone? Hidden away in multiple Swiss Bank accounts? Who knows. And what’s he plan to do with the money he’s keeping, anyway? He’s going to jail! For, like - a long time. And he’s already in his thirties. On the other hand, if he gets the maximum 30 year sentence and gets out of jail in his sixties - he’ll clearly live a very cush life until he dies and he'll have the money for great health care which means he'll probably make it into his eighties, maybe longer.
This is one of those “he got caught but kind of got away with it type deals,” ain’t it?
And they say crime doesn’t pay.
Let’s start from the premise that Jerrold Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee is so full of crap that his eyes are brown.
He suffers from a case of political Diarrhea which will ultimately consume him and his cronies who absolutely hate the President and simply cannot help themselves—even in the light of Robert Mueller’s nothingburger which was handed to the Attorney General over the weekend.
That said, we hope he continues along the path he is setting out on—impeachment. It will guarantee this President another term in office because the American public is simply not as stupid as Nadler and his fellow travelers think we are.
And then, there’s Senate Minority Leader, “Chuckie” Schumer, who thinks he’s way too important to lower himself to Nadler’s level. In point of fact, he’s much lower—if that’s possible.
Both of these clowns stand before lecterns and calmly, professorially, lie to the public. They sound a lot like Donald Sutherland’s college professor in the classic movie Animal House. Why, you’d think they actually a) knew what they were talking about and, b) were telling the truth.
Truth be told, they’re Washington swamp hucksters who only want to make sure they hold on to whatever sliver of power they think they have and they see Donald Trump as the guy who can take them down by telling the American voter the truth.
They have a hard time believing a) that Trump could have been elected in the first place and b) that a good share of the voting public—possibly a majority—likes him and approves of the job he is doing.
And they think that by doing everything possible to undermine Trump they will, somehow, gain the hearts and minds of the voters and vanquish the Trump dragon. You know, kind of like how Lyndon Johnson won the hearts and minds of the Viet Nam’s citizens by bombing them into submission. Not.
The truth is that America is so much smarter than the brain trust of the Democrat party that Democrats are heading for an extraordinary beat down in 2020. Think Ronald Reagan in 1984.
It’s not that we love Donald Trump—although many of us do. It’s that Trump has this bad habit of actually standing up for what he believes and doing what he promises. The Democrats aren’t scared that what the President proposes won’t work. They’re scared that it WILL work. That it IS working.
Yet the Democrats are shameless. John Podesta—whose emails were almost as embarrassing as Hillary Clinton calling half of America ‘deplorable’—was on CBS screeching that the report was not an exoneration of the President. Seriously? The poor dear. His emails were supposedly hacked. He didn’t bother to mention that they were all written by his own hand and that he’s so crooked they couldn’t straighten him out with a crucifixion.
Somehow, the party of tolerance and free speech has become the party of Fascist thought. The party which Jews endorsed has become the party of anti-Israel anti-Semitism. The Democrats are the best reason for Israel’s existence, because they have proven that, put into power, another Holocaust CAN happen again!
It’s as if Firesign Theatre and Monty Python have taken over the Democrat Party. Actually both of those early 70’s groups usually made more sense than the Democrats do these days.
Watching Democrats dance over what they still insist is the President’s political grave is like watching an alternate version of Saturday Night Live.
We’ll see how funny they think it is in November of 2020.
Fred Weinberg is a columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions, if expressed, are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subcribe here www.pennypressnv.com. His column has been repritined in full, with permission.
A synthetic alcohol, named Alcarelle, or “Alcosynth,” has been shown to give one the same effects of alcohol without the nasty hangover the next day.
Dr. Professor Nutt, apparently has been working on this for decades, as a PhD student since the early 1980’s. The synthetic alcohol is slated to hit the market in 5 years.
He told the Guardian:
We know where in the brain alcohol has its ‘good’ effects and ‘bad’ effects, and what particular receptors mediate that – Gaba, glutamate and other ones, such as serotonin and dopamine.
“The effects of alcohol are complicated but … you can target the parts of the brain you want to target.”
Alcohol stimulates GABA, a neurotransmitter that can reduce activity of nerve cells making one sluggish. Alcohol also inhibits glutamate which is an excitatory neurotransmitter. But the euphoric feeling one gets may be caused by alcohol’s stimulation of dopamine.
Hence if a drink that acts as ethanol, isn’t actually alcohol, side effects such as drowsiness, stomach upset and liver disease could potentially be bypassed.
Professor Nutt has not revealed the ingredients of his concoction but some resources cite it may be a benzodiazepine derivative, although last year he denied the rumors of using the Valium-like chemicals.
It’s a constellation of symptoms that occur post-partying…..and include headache, muscle ache, nausea, anxiety, moodiness, wanting to avoid light and loud sounds, eye redness, thirst and dizziness, though some hangovers may have many more symptoms.
They could be caused by a variety of factors:
Other theories suggesting lactic acid build up, withdrawal from drinking the night before, and congeners that are compounds that vary in alcohol types (red wine vs vodka).
So how can you cure your hangover?
Hydrate people, hydrate. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it makes you urinate more and lose valuable fluid and salts. Water is the easiest, most tolerable, cheapest way to hydrate. Take it slow so you don’t vomit. And not scotch and water. Just water….
An empty stomach is an irritable one. While most sources say eat a “greasy breakfast,” I would recommend balanced breakfast with protein. Give the stomach acid something to chew on but make it easily digestible. Remember the alcohol irritated your gut so you need to go easy on it. Baby steps, but healthy baby steps
Take a short, brisk walk. The adrenaline gets the blood pumping and can help with the headache. The cool air outside will feel good when you inhale and some endorphins will release. This may help with your headache.
Chinese researchers back in 2013 found Sprite to be the best hangover cure and even though we don’t have many other studies to back it up, the sweet and bubbly it provides makes your head and tummy feel better.
Sports Drinks add the salts you lost from alcohol’s diuretic features. Though many of us don’t like the taste, those who do find it a nice way to hydrate.
Originally it was a treatment to ward off rabies. One would, after being bit by a dog, put a piece of dog hair on the wound. A treating fire-with-fire strategy. It later was used for hangovers. Treating a hangover with a chaser of alcohol was supposed to elevate moods and lessen the withdrawal. To date there is not enough scientific support to recommend hair of the dog.
Want to avoid a hangover? Here’s how:
Firstly, try to avoid getting drunk. Set your limits and stick to it.
Secondly, drink plenty of water throughout the night and once you get home.
Finally, don’t drink on an empty stomach to “speed up the buzz.” Your empty gut will absorb alcohol quicker so eat a good nutritious meal prior to partying.
Avoid popping anti-inflammatories or Tylenol once you get home because your stomach and liver are already irritated from the alcohol and this may make matters worse. But if any of the above “cures” don’t help, you may need to use these as a last resort.
Editor's note: Mueller investigators are coming forward to say that the report is far more damaging to the President than the AG (Barr) has let on. Which, is probably true. And that's why Congress should be able to read it.
Former special investigator Robert Mueller turned in his several hundred page report on Friday morning. I’m sure you’ve heard all about it - the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to interfere in the 16' Presidential election. No one outside of the Attorney General (and maybe his office) has seen the full report and so far, only a four page summary has been sent to Congress. The only thing we “know” is from the four page summary, which quotes Mueller’s report as saying, “The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 US Presidential Election.”
Well, that’s kind of hard to misinterpret, you know? It sounds like the report is exonerating the President of all guilt. Right? And it might - for collusion. But the report also says, “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Argh to prosecutor double speak!
As someone who once worked on a lot of legal depositions, I know prosecution speech when I hear it. It sounds as if Mueller is saying, “I don’t think that President Trump and team colluded with the Russians” but he’s also saying, “but Trump still might be guilty of obstruction of justice, I just didn’t find enough evidence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt in court to a jury.”
Prosecutors all over the world struggle with that exact issue. They might honestly believe a suspect is guilty of a crime and the suspect in fact - might actually be guilty. But a prosecutor’s belief in the suspect’s guilt - doesn’t prove anything. A prosecutor needs evidence, and then they have to spend taxpayer money in order to prosecute in a court of law.
What the report does NOT say is that President Trump and team are innocent of all crimes. What the report does NOT say is that the Russians did not interfer in the 2016 Presidential election.
Of course, conservatives are lining up to say the President is innocent of everything and the Mueller report proves it. And Democrats are lining up to say, “Well, maybe - but we need to read the full report because something is fishy here!” And, I do agree at the very least, Congress should receive the full report. I mean, you could convince me that the press and/or regular folks don’t NEED to see the full report (we might want to see it, though). I mean, there are plenty of state or federal secrets and/or sensitive materials that are probably buried within the Mueller Report and I would be okay if the DOJ was like, “No, the general public will not see the full report.”
But Congress? Um, what possible justification could you use to claim that Congress shouldn’t be able to see the full report? The entire legislative branch should be able to read the full report! Congress practically runs the country or at the very least, allows the country to function. They already have top secret clearance so there is no reason the report should be withheld from them. Also, they legislate laws and the report clearly has evidence of Russian interference in the 16’ election, which they might need to legislate laws to protect the U.S. elections from future interference. Withholding the full report from Congress is, frankly, a little suspicious. So give the full report to Congress.
Not that anyone asks me. =)