Good Morn Folks!
While there is a good deal of jocularity in todays issue I’d like to be upfront and warn you that there is an equal amount of material of a serious nature as well.
We have a Memorial tribute to another famous (possibly infamous depending on your point of view) but arguably influential person from the entertainment industry that has passed on.
The Leprechaun Talks Tech feature returns with an important caution for those of you with Apple phones and Facebook which could cause you to innocently run afoul of your local constabulary.
The Big Brother feature also makes a return shedding some new light on something sneaky the FBI has been attempting with good success to strip you of yet more of your privacy.
I offer a serious and simple solution to the Transgender Bathroom Liberal Lunacy, abet in my usual humorous way.
My soapbox comes out for a ‘It’s Not About Left or Right, It’s About Right or Wrong’ concerning a Veteran’s issue that should have all American’s crying foul and up in arms.
Finally on a happy note (who doesn’t like happy endings?) there is the beginning of a story regarding a humorous Adventure happening as wee speak to our pal and resident
danger magnet Impish Dragon which will continue in Saturday’s DragonLaffs.
So as you can see you’ll be quite busy with all this to read, so grab a fresh cuppa and lets get to it shall we?
To Quote ‘The Great One’, Jackie Gleason, “How sweet it is!”
Seriously, I got to give major thought to locating my own personal version of the June Taylor Dancers to serve me coffee.
Well Okay, that plus Irish Whiskey, Bailey’s, Harp’s, Bass Ale, Smithwicks and Guinness
Impish and I seem to often imbibe from this bottle while writing issues. It never really seems to help but it makes the writers block less painful and deadlines less oppressive so we’ve got that going for us which is nice.
Once again, for the good of our society and country, I have wrestled with a liberal created bullshit issue designed to undermine our values and come up with a simple solution. All I really needed to do was ask myself ‘WWTDD?’, (What Would The Duke Do?) after that the answer was perfectly simple and clear to me-
Chuck Barris, TV game show creator and host, dies at 87
Chuck Barris, the “dangerous mind” behind game shows including “The Newlywed Game” and “The Gong Show,” died Tuesday, March 21, 2017, according to multiple news sources. He was 87.
Born June 3, 1929, in Philadelphia, Barris was married three times: to Lyn Levy, Robin Altman, and Mary Rudolph. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Della Barris, in 1998.
Barris was the King of Schlock TV, the creator of a genre of titillating TV shows that some say is the direct ancestor of today’s tell-all reality shows. That’s a judgment usually accompanied by hand-wringing. Barris’ TV creations were lambasted as the lowest-common-denominator viewing of the 1960s and ’70s, bringing down the country’s collective IQ by several points. Barris would argue, however, that his shows were harmless and positive: They were fun, simple, and eminently watchable.
After graduating from Drexel University in his home city in 1953, he was accepted into a management training program at NBC in 1955. But, he told The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2003, the department he was placed in — daytime sales — was eliminated, and he found himself trying, unsuccessfully, to sell the devices then known as TelePrompTers.
During the payola scandals of the 1950s, he was hired to keep a young ABC star, Dick Clark, of “American Bandstand,” out of trouble. (“He sat around doing nothing all day but drawing on a pad of paper,” Mr. Clark told The Inquirer.) By 1959 he was ABC’s director of West Coast daytime programming.
But he wanted to make his own shows, and in 1965 he came up with “The Dating Game,” in which a bachelorette or bachelor would choose a date from among three unseen members of the opposite sex after asking them questions.
“The Dating Game” took a simple concept and turned it into a long-running TV institution. Created by Barris but hosted by a variety of others, most notably Jim Lange in the show’s initial run, it saw three bachelors vying for the hand of one bachelorette. She decided among them by asking them questions about how they would woo her on a date. Once she chose a winner, they’d be sent on a destination date in a faraway city, paid for by the show. The twist: The bachelorette couldn’t see the bachelors while she questioned them and had to make her decision based on their answers and voices alone.
The twist jump-started Barris’ career and the careers of several others as well. One of the legacies of “The Dating Game” was the leg up it gave to a number of young actors and actresses who appeared as contestants before they became famous. They include John Ritter, Farrah Fawcett, and Casey Kasem.
He followed that the next year with “The Newlywed Game,” another question-and-answer show that put just-married couples’ compatibility to the test. Both shows stayed on the air into the mid-1970s and spawned assorted sequels (“The All-New Dating Game” and “The New Newlywed Game”).
The success of “The Dating Game” opened the door for other romance-based game shows in a trend that culminated in more recent ratings-grabbers such as “The Bachelor” and “Who Wants To Marry a Millionaire?” For Barris, the obvious next step after setting up couples on dates was to feature young marrieds, in his next hit game show: “The Newlywed Game,” in 1966. Like “The Dating Game,” it was hosted by others, with Bob Eubanks taking the reins for years. Its premise: Ask a newly married couple questions about their lives together and see just how similar – or uproariously different – their answers would be.
Some questions had the contestants remembering romantic moments, like, “Where was your first kiss?” Others tested a husband’s memory: “What did your wife wear on your first date?”
Risqué answers were often encouraged, especially by the questions about “making whoopee,” the show’s frequently used euphemism. Barris loved the way the show’s simple premise brought never-ending hilarity: “In my opinion, the best game-show format ever was ‘The Newlywed Game’ because it’s so simple: It’s just four couples, eight questions, and a refrigerator or washing machine. That’s it. You’re done, and it worked.”
Indeed, it did work: “The Newlywed Game” became one of the longest-running game shows in TV history, with an original run of eight and one-half years, followed quickly by a syndicated run and a number of revivals in the decades that followed. It was still popular when, in 1976, Barris took on hosting duties in his next – and most notoriously strange – TV creation.
“The Gong Show” was a talent show gone off the rails, a deliberately awful collection of the truly talented, the sincere-but-dreadful, and the just plain strange. Originally slated as host, John Barbour was yanked before the first episode when he realized the show would be a parody rather than a genuine talent show and tried to change Barris’ mind about the angle. Barris didn’t want to change his mind, so he stepped in as host at the last minute, and his quirky persona proved the perfect final touch needed to elevate “The Gong Show” to legendary status.
On “The Gong Show,” contestants sang, danced, and otherwise tried to entertain, usually with a bizarre twist: Two competent singers squeezed into one outfit of clothes; a dentist played “The Stars and Stripes Forever” on his drill; an Elvis impersonator sang “Hound Dog” in a droning monotone. And those were the fairly normal acts. Things often got weird on “The Gong Show,” encouraged by Barris’ enthusiastic introductions. If an act were bad, the celebrity judges – a rotating panel of three that included 1970s notables like Jamie Farr, Phyllis Diller, and Jaye P. Morgan – would rush to hit a gong, signaling the act’s end.
If it was good, or at least goofy enough to appeal to the judges, it didn’t get gonged, and the contestant might be the day’s winner of a check for $516.32 (the going day rate for Screen Actors Guild members at the time) and a trophy.
Pulling it all together was Barris, whose discomfort with being onstage manifested in a series of tics that audiences grew to love – he’d punctuate his sentences with claps, point at the camera, dance while watching an act perform. He pushed the envelope with risqué acts, which contributed to the show’s cancellation in 1978 (though it ran in syndication for another two years and was revived later for a reboot). After the program’s cancellation, Barris tried to keep up the show’s momentum with “The Gong Show Movie” in 1980, but reviews were dismal; it quickly dropped out of sight.
The show, which ran on NBC until 1978 and then in syndication (with revivals in later years), became a cultural sensation. Critics complained about its crassness and cruelty, but Mr. Barris, like purveyors of burlesque and circus sideshows in earlier generations, knew there was a large audience for lowbrow. At one point the daytime version was attracting 78 percent of viewers 18 to 49.
“In my opinion, a good game show review is the kiss of death,” Mr. Barris said in a Salon interview in 2001. “If for some strange reason the critic liked it, the public won’t. A really bad review means the show will be on for years.”
The ghost of “The Gong Show” is evident in numerous reality-television shows of more recent vintage — the early rounds of any given season of “American Idol,” for instance.
Other shows created by Barris include 1973’s “The New Treasure Hunt,” 1967’s “How’s Your Mother-in-Law?” and, in 1979, the contentious “Three’s a Crowd,” which pitted a man’s wife against his secretary to see who could answer more questions about his life, preferences, and proclivities. The latter show, which was seen as deeply problematic, was denounced by major groups including United Auto Workers and the National Organization for Women. A hostile backlash followed, with “Three’s a Crowd” being pulled from the air after just a few months and the rest of Barris’ creations also suffering in its wake. The ratings of his programs plummeted, including “The Gong Show,” and his various shows still in syndication came to abrupt ends.
Mr. Barris always bristled at the “King of Schlock” label that was hung on him as far back as “The Dating Game.” In a 2003 interview with Newsweek, he noted that shows much like the ones he created were by the 21st century being received differently.
“Today these shows are accepted,” he said. “These shows aren’t seen as lowering any bars.”
Barris also had a career in music, primarily as a songwriter, though he also recorded. His greatest songwriting success was the 1962 hit “Palisades Park,” which Freddy Cannon recorded. The tune reached No. 3 on the Billboard chart. Decades later, in 2007, Mr. Cannon, a Massachusetts native, wanted to rework the song into a rally ditty for his favorite baseball team, the Boston Red Sox. But, he told The Boston Globe, he received a complaint from Mr. Barris, a Yankee fan, and so “Down at Fenway Park” ended up being a Cannon original rather than a repurposed Barris.
By the end of the 1970s, thanks to “The Gong Show,” Mr. Barris’s television production company was busy and profitable, but he was itchy to try something else. What he tried, disastrously, was “The Gong Show Movie,” which he directed and, with Robert Downey Sr., wrote. It was released in May 1980 and flopped.
Mr. Barris gradually withdrew from television, selling his holdings, spending most of his time in France and turning to writing. He had already written one book, “You and Me, Babe” (1974), a novel about a television producer whose marriage failed; it drew heavily on his own rocky marriage to Lyn Levy, a niece of the powerful CBS chief William S. Paley, in the 1950s. They were divorced in 1976.
That first book sold well, but it was the next one that would give Mr. Barris yet another burst of notoriety: “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” (1984), a supposed autobiography in which he claimed that while traveling in his role as a television producer in the 1960s he was also an assassin for the C.I.A.
The book got only a smattering of attention, but it caught some eyes in Hollywood, and in 2003, after many delays, a film version came out, directed by George Clooney and starring Sam Rockwell as Mr. Barris. (Charlie Kaufman wrote the screenplay, embellishing Mr. Barris’s tale.)
The film brought Mr. Barris, by now in his 70s, a fresh round of publicity and endless variations on the obvious question: Was it true? Mr. Barris generally played coy, delivering elliptical answers that neither confirmed nor denied. The C.I.A. was more direct: Various spokesmen said Mr. Barris had had nothing to do with the agency.
In later years Mr. Barris continued to write books, among them the comic novels “The Big Question” (2007), about an outlandish game show where the stakes are literally life or death, and “Who Killed Art Deco?” (2009), about the murder of a wealthy young man.
In 2010 he turned to a much more serious subject with “Della: A Memoir of My Daughter,” telling the story of his only child — from his marriage to Ms. Levy — who as a girl sometimes turned up on “The Gong Show.” She died of a drug overdose in 1998, at 36.
Mr. Barris’s second marriage, to Robin Altman, ended in divorce in 1999. He is survived by his wife, Mary Kane.
Which of his several careers was his favorite? In 2007, during an appearance at the Book Passage bookstore in Corte Madera, Calif., he dealt with the question.
“When you go to that great game show in the sky,” he asked himself, “would you rather be known as an author or as a TV game show producer?”
“That’s the easiest question of all,” he responded. “I would love to be known as an author, but I don’t think it’s written that that’s the way it’s going to be. I think on my tombstone it’s just going to say, ‘Gonged at last,’ and I’m stuck with that.”
[assembled from multiple news feed sources]
Whatever you do, don’t say THIS to Siri!
“Is your refrigerator running?……You better go catch it!” That has to be one of the oldest (and corniest) prank phone call lines of all time.
With the popularity of caller ID, prank phone calls have become few and far between. But pranksters are still finding ways to use phone technology to fool unsuspecting victims.
How pranksters are tricking iPhone users
Some pranksters are trying to trick iPhone users into saying certain phrases that will cause SIRI to call emergency services. It’s making the rounds on social media right now. Here’s an example:
In India, the phone number to emergency services is 108. However, saying 108 to SIRI in the U.S. will also trigger her to dial 911. That’s because SIRI recognizes 108 as an emergency call and converts it to the local emergency services number.
The Sioux Falls Police Department recently pointed this out on Twitter:
For some reason, jokers think it’s funny to have people unwittingly dial emergency services. Some are even going so far as to tell people to say 108 and then close your eyes for 5 seconds. That way the victim of the prank won’t see the message on the screen that says “Calling emergency services in 5 seconds.”
Other numbers will trigger calls to emergency services as well. For example, 911, 000, 110 and 112. Obviously, don’t say any of these numbers to SIRI, unless of course you actually need to contact 911.
Not only are these types of prank calls a drain on 911 services, you could get into serious trouble with the police. Life was much simpler when pranksters were just calling to ask if you had Prince Albert in a can.
One-Pot Mac ‘n’ Cheese
This one-pot wonder has humble beginnings: just milk and dry macaroni. As the pasta cooks, the starch released helps thicken the milk, creating a perfect base for a sauce. The cheeses and seasonings are stirred in at the very end for the perfect finish.
- 4 cups whole milk
- 3/4 pound elbow macaroni (about 3 cups)
- 8 ounces mild Cheddar, shredded (about 3 cups)
- 3 ounces part-skim mozzarella, shredded (about 1 cup)
- 2 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Large pinch cayenne pepper
- Large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- Kosher salt
Put the milk and macaroni in a medium saucepan. Bring the milk to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to keep the macaroni from clumping, then cook, stirring frequently, until the macaroni is tender and the milk has thickened to the consistency of heavy cream, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the Cheddar, mozzarella, cream cheese, butter, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and stir until smooth, thick and creamy. Serve hot. (The dish will thicken as it cools; thin it out with a little hot water if desired.)
Be sure to buy blocks of cheese and shred it yourself. The preshredded cheese that comes in bags is often tossed with starchy cellulose, (to keep it from clumping up in the bag) which can give this mac ‘n’ cheese a clumpy texture.
For easiest & best results place the cheese in the freezer for about 15 minutes before shredding and place a light coat of oil on your box grater by wiping with an oiled paper towel to keep down the ‘cheese drag’
I had a wee…’wardrobe malfunction’ the other day, abrupt failure of the interlocking slide fastener (zipper to you non military/geeks) on me jeans which resulted in the damage shown here. I was arrested for concealing a friendly weapon and got a stiff dressing down from the female judge on the couch in her chambers. I’ve already made restitution for the damages to the city, but apparently the several female oriented businesses in the area don’t want it repaired do to the uptick in their business as women come round for a wee gander at the damage I caused.
Here is a rare picture of Impish doing his Dragon thing. He has to be careful so that too many mundanes (a.k.a. ‘Muggles’) don’t become aware of him but you know our Big Blue, he likes to give to the community and support local Emergency Services where and when he can. Here he’s seen assisting in starting a controlled burn to help prevent wild fires &/or direct/control them if they do manage to get started. Sorry he’s obscured by all the smoke but isn’t his breath impressive?
Meet the designer cats with wild blood
How a Texas Girl packs
Impish was on his way to the executive lunch room. He was engrossed in reviewing his lunch order and weighing the merits of possibly replacing several items on it. Ever since the Culinary Department had seen fit to impose an item count and weight limit on his meals the ordering process had become quite vexing he thought to himself.
His debate was momentarily interrupted and his menu list was replaced with an Incoming call screen. Impish idly noticed whom ever it was, the caller ID was displaying the legend ‘Unknown’. This was a bit unusual since Lethal had showed him an application that automatically blocked Telemarketers and Robo-calling devices.
“Impish here. If you’re a telemarketer please, know that I will actively hunt you down flush the BS out of you with a fire hose then flame broil you alive before eating you.” he groused into the phone. His phone made a strange electronic noise, the call went dead and his screen once again returned to his menu, only to be replaced by the message: DOWNLOAD COMPLETED before switching views again to the following:
Impish immediately detours at a quick waddle to the executive
cargo lift dragon elevator and once inside waves his phone near the control panel. Several additional buttons illuminate and Impish repeatedly jabs the one marked ‘Dragon Safe Room’. Once the cargo lift dragon elevator started moving, he hastily called security.
“No name? Impish. Listen I need a couple of your biggest meanest guards for temporary bodyguard duty until Lethal can assess a new threat to me. Have them come to my personal safe room under HQ. Oh! Tell them to bring as many of those space blanket reflective shiny survival thingies as they can find and duct tape. Bring lots of Duct tape too.”
As soon as he has No Names assurance he was being taken seriously and his requests would receive immediate attention he hangs up intent on dialing his pal, best buddy, brother in arms and paranoia as well as the most vicious lawyer he knew (who was fortunately his lawyer as well) Lethal Leprechaun.
However before he can do this the
cargo lift executive dragon elevator arrived at its destination the doors opening to a short dark hallway. Impish steps out before he notices there was a figure in front of the heavy vault like door which to Impish’s horror now stands wide open w/o his bio scans to unlock and open it. Emitting a very high and girlish sounding squeak he attempts to back peddle into the cargo lift dragon elevator, only to find the doors had already closed behind him and the lift had moved off, no doubt to bring his protection and requested supplies to him which would apparently arrive too late to do him any good.
Seeing no recourse and no way out Impish began inhaling deeply in preparation to turn the short passage way into a Draconian version of hell on earth with his fiery breath. About 1/2 way through his inhalation he heard a voice call out from the figure at the end of the corridor.
“OY! Impish! I told you the last time you bloody well accidently panic flamed me it was the last time for that nonsense. Do you not remember what I threatened would happen the next time? Better yet I’m guessing, mind ye just guessing, your in this full fledged panic o’ yours cause you’ve run afoul of something or someone that’s Bigger, Badder, Meaner or More Powerful than you. Possibly even a combination of a multiple number o’ those things. Now enough with your silliness, get your great bloody arse in here so we can close the door just as soon as what ever requests you’ve made o’ No Name arrive.”
That voice Impish recognized at once as the voice of his friend, mentor, protector, lawyer, business manager, partner in shady and quasi legal enterprises and the Corporation’s Chief Shenanigator, Lethal Leprechaun.
“Boy am I glad to see you Lethal! I’m in big big trouble with your…HEY! How’d you beat me here?” Impish asked immediately suspicious and paranoid that Lethal might feel familially obligated to help his cousin Marvin.
“I’ll nae be telling you how I beat you here. I’d have to bill you for the consultation and then kill you as non Grand Master Leprechauns are forbidden from the knowing o’ our secret traveling methods aside from the Fae Portal System.
As to how did I know to do what I did ta beat you here, when you pushed that button ta come down here an alert was automatically directed to me. No Name also had be patched into your call towards the end when he thought you might be unreasoningly hysterical.” Lethal calmly responded.
Impish shoved his still in hand phone at Lethal saying ‘’Get a load of this! I don’t even know how he did got it on my phone. I got maybe a 5 second hang up call then this popped up on my screen and I haven’t even had lunch as yet!” moaned Impish as he dashed inside the safe room to the door controls as the
cargo lift Dragon Elevator doors opened.
Two huge trolls in ill fitting security uniforms trotted out each with a large box under one arm. A mess steward followed right behind with a catering table on wheels loaded down with an assortment of sandwich platters and condiments.
Once the door was closed and the two trolls from security were busily engaged in making a giant shiny Mylar poncho and hood for Impish to wear, under the theory it might reflect Martian tractor beams and keep him from being beamed up to the mother ship Impish grabbed an entire platter of sandwiches before asking Lethal, “So?”
Though out all this Lethal had been engrossed in Impish’s phone. Lethal sighed tossed it back to Impish and said- “Short version? You’re screwed.” before taking a large bite our of a Pastrami & Swiss on Rye which Impish didn’t remember seeing or smelling on the cart.
“Is the long version any better? More optimistic? Mention any loopholes? Sage words of advice to help me? Give me something here Lethal! I’m freaking desperate! I’m going to be beamed away against my will, painfully probed and then probably dumped someplace unconscious in the middle of a giant crop circle and those Men In Black will get their hands on me again! YOU”VE GOT TO HELP ME!” Impish pleaded.
“The long version goes like this-
Hide. Don’t go outside, don’t go near windows, doors or skylights anyplace above ground. I don’t know if your shiny reflective poncho idea will work but its worth a shot. Still I wouldn’t put myself in any position where that was 100% of your protection.
He gets you aboard his saucer and you’re a write off. Sorry but that’s the bottom line. Earth has no more shuttles, one in six of the private rockets that get launched to supply the ISS explode on the pad or before they leave the atmosphere. Honestly that’s all academic since we lack the resources or trained crew required to send a rescue mission after you to Mars. I’ll see that your Will is up to date and if the kidnapping clause of your Key Man Insurance covers kidnapping by Extraterrestrials and let you know.” Lethal returned his attention to his sandwich
“Dude that’s not only harsh it’s cold- stone cold. Doesn’t our friendship mean anything to you?”
“Of course it does! If it didn’t I’d be as far away from you right now as possible thinking of my own safety and survival.”
“I know! I can hide out in Leprechonia! He can’t find me there right? Come on buddy, old pal you’ve got to grant me asylum, and I don’t mean the Hokey Pokey kind like you always threaten me with.”
“Sorry sport no can do. I have a responsibility to everyone that lives there to keep them as safe as possible. I can’t jeopardize that for a single person, not even my best friend and most lucrative client.” Lethal responded sounding genuinely sad.
“THIS IS SO UNFAIR! WHAT DID I EVER DO TO HIM?”
“You pretty much called him a lair by saying he was ‘pretending’ to be a Martian. A lot of people take serious offense to that sort of thing.”
“But he’s a Leprechaun! He just lives on Mars, that doesn’t make him a Martian!”
“Let me ask you a couple questions. Indulge me for a moment by answering them just as fast as you can even if the line of questions doesn’t make sense to you ok?
Impish puts down the 2 sandwiches he was eating simultaneously (what? he eats when he’s up set and he was really upset right now), straightened up in his chair and fixed as much of his attention as the still laden catering table would allow for on his friend and nodded his accent.
“What do you call some one from Great Britain?”
“North or South Carolina.”
“Martian!… OH SHIT! I did. I did diss him! Oh crap! What do I do now?”
“Well from where I sit you’ve got between now and your next issue’s deadline to draft a sincere heartfelt retraction and apology, but I’m not sure even that is going to be enough to placate him.
See Marvin was always interested in tinkering, inventing and high tech stuff, He’s like the Great Grand Geek, compared to him I’m a minor nerd at best. This would have been cool but he didn’t do it for what the Leprechaun High Council felt was the right reasons, namely to amass wealth and/or power. Marvin’s only concerns were making enough to fund his next project, to keep his lab outfitted with the latest and greatest gizmos and gadgets, himself dressed and his larder half way decently stocked.
The Leprechaun Council was prepared to name him unfit to handle his own affairs and assign someone to do it when I stepped up and tried to help him out. I offered to be his business/financial manager and manage/grow his assets for him. Unfortunately he flew into a rage telling me in front of the council representative I was as bad as them. That I didn’t understand he didn’t give a wit for gold- beyond what funding his next project would cost. That he never wanted to be rich or powerful, but just left alone to tinker and invent. HIS grand plan was to one day invent something which made money irrelevant and its acquisition totally unnecessary.
Well you can just imagine how that report played before the high council! Marvin was declared insane and a threat to the Leprechaun way of life and beliefs. I managed to warn him, helping him to obtain what he needed to move his lab and go into hiding. Suddenly several years later out of the green, I get a message from him, much in the same manner you did- totally untraceable. In my case it was on me cable box when I came home one night and turned on the telly to see the stock market closings.
Much later, he finally confided in me during one of his rare visits that he’d found a way to move to Mars. Of course I thought he was yanking me chain at first, but then he took me to see his saucer and for what he claimed was a ‘slow ride’ around the moon and back in under 3 hours time. I was convinced he was telling the truth.
In the last couple o’ decades Marvin has been growing irate with the those we charge with exploring space as they’re starting to encroach on his planet. First the flybys with exploration satellites, then the orbital ones. after that came the landers and the rovers. Now there is talk of a manned mission to Mars. Marvin has sent them communications all, telling them they’re not wanted and to stay away. That Mars belongs to the Martians and Terrain’s are not welcome on Mars. Everyone apparently thinks him the crack pot and just ignores him. So he already was pretty well chivvied off at Earth and its people before you denied him his Martian citizenship publically in a public blog post. On top of that you, unintentionally and while not meaning to, gave him a single more or less accessible target to fixate and vent his anger on- YOU.”
“SHIT LETHAL! What can I do?”
“Like I said, hide. Wear your Mylar reflective poncho, congrats on that by the way that really was quick and inspired thinking on your part. But (sliding a pad with pen clipped to it into the dragon’s lap) I’d start drafting that apology and a plea for merciful understanding and leniency that would make Daniel Webster himself stand up with tears in his eyes and call out ‘Bravo! Bravo! Author! Author!’ and get it done for your next issue.”
You SURE there’s no other options?
“I can think of two, you can flee back to Draconia and tell Queen Titamat that you honked off the first contact with the first extraterrestrial life form that Dragons have ever met and ask her to hide you.
Or you can try and make serious nice nice with the Dwarves. I’m talking major capital outlay atonement for all the shit you’ve put them through or done to them over the years in hope of being granted permanent asylum on Stonehold in exchange for powering the Master Smith’s forge the rest of your life.”
“I’ll get started on the rough draft right away! Would you look it over please?”
“Be happy to offer you my legal opinion, at my usual rates of course. Now if you’ll excuse me I didn’t have you scheduled for a major personal disaster today and I’m afraid I’ve taken more time than I should have with you already.”
“Sorry buddy and thanks for your help. Any last sage words of wisdom for me?”
“As a matter o’ fact yes. When you feel the cold nose of the probe back there , resist the urge to clench up tight, T’will only make it hurt more or so wimmen folk have told me. In fact you might try to think of it as a free Colo-rectal cancer screening instead of an Alien Anal Probing.
Luck ta ya Impish me boy-o, I’ve a feelin’ you’re going to be needing it afore this is done.”
Lethal walks over to a door opens it, looking back over his shoulder he winks at Impish, somewhat mischievously, giving him the thumbs up then enters shutting it firmly behind him.
“Umm…Lethal? That’s a broom closet not an exit dude.”
When he gets no reply and Lethal fails to re-emerge from the closet Impish gets up, goes over, stands in front of the door a moment then knocks on it. Getting no answer, he opens it slightly, peering in as if afraid of what he’s going to find. What he finds is…nothing. There is no leprechaun in the closet no matter how he searches.
He has the trolls rip the broom closet apart looking for secret passages or hidden lifts but they find nothing. Now totally spooked, he has the trolls put everything back, screw the door shut and stuff a chair under the door knob then screw the chair to the floor.
Mean time, Lethal has returned to his office via his hidden personal elevator. Quietly entering his office he sees his door is still closed. a quick check of the hidden cameras in his outer office show his personal assistant Friday and her staff are still at lunch.
Lethal opens a small drawer on his desk, takes out his cigar humidor case, inserts the key off his pocket watch chain and twists the key 3 times in one direction them once in the other. A small secret compartment on the bottom opens and Lethal extracts what appears to be some sort of folded stand. Unfolding it carefully he places his personal phone on the device and waits until the screen turns color to black with a head and crossed bones, Marvin’s personal flag. Lethal taps the side of his nose twice then uses a small Bluetooth keyboard and types a two short lines: ‘He’s hooked good and proper. Proceed with phase two.’ As soon as the response ‘Acknowledged. This will be the most fun I’ve had in 3 decades. Thanks for your help.’ appears Lethal refolds the strange stand and re-hides it securely smiling all the while.
FBI’s facial recognition database has half of all U.S. adults on file
Where do you stand on the issue of national security versus privacy? It’s been in the news a lot lately. Now, the FBI’s facial recognition program is making headlines.
How the FBI’s facial recognition program works
Facial recognition has been part of the FBI’s Next Generation Identification program for years. It’s a biometric method of identifying someone by comparing live capture or digital image data with the stored record of that person, typically used for security purposes.
This week, congress held a hearing putting the FBI program under the microscope. It came under a fierce bi-partisan attack from politicians on both sides of the aisle. They said using facial recognition software violates Americans’ privacy and leads to the arrests of innocent people.
It turns out that over 400 million pictures of Americans’ faces are stored in local, state and federal law enforcement databases. It’s estimated that half of all adults in the U.S. are in the databases.
An FBI official said at the hearing, “The only information the FBI has and has collected in our database are criminal mug shot photos.” However, that doesn’t include databases held by local and state law enforcement agencies. Those include images from driver’s licenses, mug shots, passports, security videos and visas.
The FBI has agreements with 18 U.S. states that give it access to all of these databases. The agency is working on getting access to all state databases.
Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz said, “Like many technologies, used in the wrong hands or without appropriate parameters, it is ripe for abuse. It would be one thing if facial recognition technology were perfect or near perfect, but it clearly is not. Facial recognition technology does make mistakes.”
Internal FBI documents prove Chaffetz’s remarks. They revealed that the FBI’s system has an acceptable margin of error of 20 percent. Meaning there is a one out of five chance of identifying the suspect incorrectly.
Tennessee Representative John Duncan said at the hearing, “I think we’re reaching a very sad point, a very dangerous point when we’re doing away with the reasonable expectation of privacy about anything.”
Privacy advocates are concerned about the growing database of images too. The main worry is that normal, everyday citizens like you and me will get caught up in the system and be grouped in with criminals, which could lead to some unfortunate events for many people.
An ACLU spokesperson said in a statement, “Face recognition is a relatively new technology and it’s important that not only the FBI but the public be aware of its limitations. Errors mean random people could be falsely identified as potential criminals and find themselves coming under the FBI’s powerful investigatory microscope. That could be not only invading people’s privacy but also exposing them to accusations of wrongdoing.”
What do you think, are these databases necessary for national security?
You know what is really interesting to me? It’s ‘OK’ for the FBI to identify us all (thanks to the paranoid we’re going to stop their communization of the US liberals) but we can’t move to a unified National Identity Card or require proof of identification at voting places!
Today we’re featuring Clan Mistress SC. Some of you have asked what SC stands for. I don’t know I asked her one time and she showed me 10 very sharp claws and proceeded to sharpen them on a very expensive cedar cigar humidor while taking umbrage at my asking. I never dared to ask again.
Apparently from what I was haughtily informed, this is what the planning session for a Midnight Ninja Kitty Caper. This particular nights capper involved a stealth attack on the storage area for the Kitty Treats including the successful removal and transportation to another location where the spoils were divvied up with her accomplice Chai of a 1/2 empty bag of treats.
Here is is on what she assures me is her rightful place in the house, my lazy boy, which sees more of her butt than it ever does mine!
This is ‘Chilly Willy’, her Second in Command of the Ninja Kitty Training facility in Leprechonia I was
forced err…that is convinced to open. He’s known for being a ‘second story man’, as you can see he has zero fear of heights and hates to have his naps interrupted.
Dear Cats & Dogs:
When I say to move, it means to go someplace else, not to switch
positions with each other so there are still two of you in the way.
The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The
other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw
print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for
it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically
pleasing in the slightest.
The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack.
Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn’t help
because I fall faster than you can run.
I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry
about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to
ensure your comfort. Cats and dogs actually curl up in a ball when
they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other
stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that
sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other
end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.
For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If
by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it
is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, and try to turn the knob or get
your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit
through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom
for years–canine or feline attendance is not mandatory.
The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other cat or dog’s
butt. I cannot stress this enough!
To pacify you I have posted the following message on our front door.
Rules for Non-Pet Owners Who Visit and Like to Complain About Our Pets:
1. They live here. You don’t.
2. If you don’t want their hair on your clothes, stay off the
furniture. (That’s why they call it “fur”niture.)
3. I like my pets a lot better than most people.
4. To you, it’s an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter
who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn’t speak clearly.
Dogs and cats are easier than kids…they eat less, don’t ask for
money all the time, are easier to train, usually come when called,
never drive your car, don’t hang out with drug-using friends, don’t
smoke or drink, don’t worry about having to buy the latest fashions,
don’t wear your clothes, and don’t need a gazillion dollars for
college–and,you get them spayed and or neutered and if and accident
happens and they get pregnant, you can sell the children.
The author of this missive was found in a shallow grave in her backyard in a flower bed. Both her dog and 2 cats profess no knowledge of how she came to be found there.
I suppose that sign should possibly read ‘Angry Veteran’ as opposed to ‘Angry American’ but see we Veteran’s just accept and deal with this travesty.
I’m going to try not to get too worked up over this as Impish nearly stroked out over it and I seriously don’t want him getting worked up over it again. You need to understand when a Dragon stroke out, well its sort of like a mini super nova event. Remember that earlier photo of him helping with the controlled burn? Yeah he was in a happy mood that day. Now, just picture that with an unhappy angry dragon who suddenly found himself stroking out. His stroke out would likely incinerate all of the tiny town of Peru ,Indiana and half a Air Force Reserve base where they store considerable quantities of aviation fuel which is insanely flammable!
Ginny of the weak knees sent in this question and while it may seem self-serving to Impish and I due to our personal interests, regardless it is still a damned fine question!
Damned fine question Ginny!
I would make one point though, this issue isn’t one being raised by Vets, it’s being raised by the people. The fact that Vets simply take this stoically in stride is another testament to their love of this country and what it stands for, despite the never ending screwing they get post service by those 100% retirement politicians who make such noises about ‘American Heroes’.
Wouldn’t it be nice if all that ‘Support Our Troops’ sentiment that they butter the populace with extended to financial support so that families of those deployed were not on Food Stamps and retired career Vet’s were paid a fair pension? I’m sure most of you retirees know that the public sector, State and Municipal pensions are all one HELL of a lot better than the military offers. Isn’t it about time that stopped?