WTF: The “Licki Brush” for grooming your cats.

Apparently there’s a group of folks out there in the world who aren’t happy with using traditional pet grooming brushes on their cats. They want something more akin to what a mother cat would use. So someone has invented a tongue-brush you hold in your mouth so you can lick your cat.

No, I'm not fucking kidding.

No, I’m not fucking kidding.

I’m not sure I see the point in this. It doesn’t seem to me that a cat would get more out of this experience than they would from a traditional brush or even just your bare hand. If anything they’d probably be annoyed because now you’re breathing all over them through your nose, which most cats don’t really appreciate. It looks awkward as hell to use and I was pretty sure this had to be a joke, but their website claims they’ll be launching a Kickstarter to raise funding for it soon.

I can’t imagine this will be a big seller, but at least they can take comfort in knowing that they have at least one potential customer out there:

Yeesh. I love my cats, but I have my limits.

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: BBQ Pet edition.

christianassholesThere’s a lot of fucked up shit in the Bible. Things like incest, murder, rape, and animal sacrifice to name just a few. In fact, that last one shows up quite a lot in the Old Testament. There was a time when God really loved the smell of a freshly slaughtered animal on a pyre, but for the most part Christians stopped sacrificing animals after Jesus came along.

Apparently 42-year-old Patrick Zane Thompson in Arizona didn’t get that memo:

Investigators spoke with Thompson’s family, including his daughter and wife. When Thompson went back into the house, they say he got more erratic and told his family, in front of his four minor children, that he needed to make a sacrifice of a male.

According to the victims, Thompson stated it had to be either himself, his firstborn 6-year-old son or the family dog — a small, white poodle weighing about 15 pounds. That’s when the family tried to escape the home but Thompson was able to grab hold of the dog. Investigators say the family pleaded with Thompson not to hurt the dog.

But the situation got more gruesome. Goodyear police say Thompson admitted to then breaking the dog’s neck and strangling it until it “could not breathe.” He allegedly told officers the sacrifice was not done and that he had to put the dog in a “lake of fire.” Court documents say he then told them that he put the dog in the heating element of the smoker, which was turned on.

Oh yeah, I’m sure God’s loving the smell of smoked poodle. That’s gotta be a refreshing change from all those lambs and cows and shit he got in the past. Plus it’s been so long.

So what was the sin that prompted Mr. Thompson to offer up his only poodle to his Lord and Saviour? Why, only one of the most horrific things you’ve ever heard of:

Detectives investigated further and learned that shortly after returning home, Thompson became upset with a shirt that his 17-year-old daughter had. Investigators said he believed the shirt had to do with the devil. That paperwork says Thompson made his daughter take the shirt and go with him to a large BBQ traveler that’s parked in a side yard. The smoker was lit and police report that Thompson put the shirt in the trailer, burning it.

The article doesn’t say what the T-shirt had on it that was so terrible, but I’m sure it was something like “I’m with stupid.” or “I love One Direction.” You know, really evil stuff.

But hey, you can’t judge this guy! He was only doing what he truly believed his God wanted him to do. He was sure calamity was about to befall his family unless he took immediate action. Of course, he was also high as a kite at the time, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t save his family with his quick thinking. God can be pretty fucking demanding! Just read the Bible and you’ll see that for yourself. At least he didn’t opt to use his 6-year-old son instead, right? Can’t say that about Abraham and his kid. I bet if Abraham had had a poodle God wouldn’t have stopped him just before he completed the act. Smoked poodle is delicacy in some places.

Yet another reason why Christians are seen as the bad guys.

andthentheresthisassholeBack in 2009, Decrepit Old Fool wrote an entry for SEB about his discussion with a Christian minister who asked why Christians are seen as the bad guys. It’s a topic I’ve used several times since then, but I’ve not hit upon it in awhile. There’s enough Christians out there giving themselves a bad name that I could almost make it the sole topic of every entry and never run out of material and that gets old fast. Yet every now and then I run across an example that is so egregious that I just can’t help but put it on display.

Meet “God Warrior” Marguerite Perrin who has taken it upon herself to warn the blissfully ignorant shoppers at her local Target of the dangers dwelling in the store’s bathrooms:

It’s bad enough she decided to make an ass out of herself in public, but did she really have to drag her poor kids along with her? I love how the teen on her left spends most of the video looking down at his phone so as to avoid making eye contact with anyone. She didn’t accomplish anything with this nonsense other than perhaps alarming a few folks that a crazy lady was loose in the store.

You wanna know why Christians are often seen as the bad guys? This woman right here is a good example.

The “Assassin’s Creed” movie trailer has arrived.

While there have been cinematic video games for a long time now, Hollywood hasn’t as much luck turning video games into cinematic successes. Arguably the best so far was the couple of Tomb Raider movies that came out a few years back and those were hardly blockbusters. Personally, I’ve a soft spot for the two attempts to turn the Hitman: Codename 47 games into movies despite their flaws.

That lack of success hasn’t caused anyone to stop trying, though, and among other upcoming films based on games will be Assassin’s Creed featuring Michael Fassbender. The first trailer for it just hit the Internet:

It’s impossible to say if this will be any better than past video game movies just on this one trailer, but I’m intrigued. There’s been some minor changes to the plot — such as the protagonist being a recently “executed” criminal and there apparently being a whole shitload of people in the program and the Animus has transformed into some sort of robot arm that holds you aloft instead of a pod you laid down in — but most of the aspects of the video game appear to have made it into the movie.

Well, if nothing else, he certainly looks the part.

Well, if nothing else, he certainly looks the part.

Not that I really have a clue what the plot of the games is anymore as I’ve only played the first two to completion on the PS3 and a little bit of the most recent game, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, which I somehow ended up with on the PC. There’s a total of six other games in the series that I’ve not played yet and somewhere along the lines they dropped the parts that took place in the future. In the first two games it seemed like the mysterious company you were kind of a prisoner of was using the sessions in the Animus to find some mysterious artifact, but it was having the side effect of teaching you the skills of your ancestors whose memories you were reliving. I assumed that eventually there’d be a story that takes place in that future setting where you’d finally become the badass your ancestors where, but it appears they dropped that whole plot line. I should check to see how cheap the older games are on Steam these days and get caught up. I hear AC IV was pretty cool.

Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see if the movie can break the Video Game Curse and be a success. That is, if Warcraft doesn’t manage to pull that off first in June.

My attempt to explain the 2016 U.S. election.

Way back at the start of March SEB reader Dave out of the U.K. sent me the following via email:

Hi Les i would love to know what you are thinking about the current presidential campaign and especially what you and your family are making of Trumps lead on the Republican campaign.  I’m from England and am not sure we’re getting a true picture of what is happening.    Thank you

Since then I’ve started at least a half dozen blog entries and I ended up scrapping every one of them because shit keeps changing and things I thought would never happen ended up happening. Still, I promised him a blog post so I should probably post something. Keep in mind that I am no expert on Politics; or much of anything really.

The best I can say, Dave, is that the Republican party has finally lost their goddamned minds. When Trump first announced his intention to run for President most folks, and this includes many Republicans, laughed it off as a publicity stunt. There have even been a couple of people who worked with Trump in his early days who said as much later, but no one realized that the subset of the Republican base made up of poor, racist, angry white people was as large as it turns out to be. Large enough, apparently, to turn Trump from a joke into the presumptive Republican nominee.

Ladies and gentlemen, the best the Republicans have to offer as President.

Ladies and gentlemen, the best the Republicans have to offer for President.

As much fun as it’s been watching the Republican establishment eat itself alive trying to stop this train wreck from happening, there’s a frightening reality that tribalism will assert itself and even the “reasonable” Republicans will fall in line because they can’t countenance the idea of ever voting for a Democrat no matter how terrible their own nominee happens to be. If Trump is the nominee (and there’s no reason to expect he won’t be at this point) there’s a real danger he could end up President. It might be unlikely, but then I thought the same thing about him clinching the nomination and I was horribly wrong about that so I worry about the general election.

As for the Democrats, I would prefer that Bernie Sanders gets the nod as I like a lot of the policies he advocates for. Sure, the chances of some of them ever actually happening in his term might be small, but that’s no reason not to try. That said, if Hillary ends up as the nominee, as it appears she will, I will vote for her because for all her faults she’s still a damned sight better than Trump. I’m not happy with some of her ties to Wall Street and I think she’s more right of center than I’d prefer, but Bernie has dragged her more to the left and hopefully that’ll stick.

So what if the worst happens and Trump manages to win the general election? Well, that’ll be nerve wracking to be sure, but I won’t go so far as to say it would be a death knell for the United States. We’ve survived some pretty bad presidents over the years and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if both Congress and the SCOTUS kept him in check. Not that he wouldn’t do a great deal of damage however long he’s in office, but I think we’d somehow manage to survive it. I don’t expect this to actually happen as I think between Democrats and Independents there’s enough sane people left in this country to insure he doesn’t win, but I’ve been wrong before.

I don’t know if this answers your question, Dave, but it’s what I’ve got to offer. If you have any followup questions I’ll try to answer them in the comments.

Good news Christians! Photographic proof that Heaven is real is here!

Mboro-1

How could you not trust a face like that? I’m sure his story is 100% legit!

Self-proclaimed South African Prophet and founder of the Incredible Happenings church, Pastor Mboro (real name: Paseka Motsoeneng), claims that on Easter Sunday he ascended physically to Heaven for a guided tour from Jesus and his (Jesus’ not Pastor Mboro’s) “hot, young wife”. Best of all, he had his Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone on hand to document it all with pictures! Which he is TOTALLY going to share with anyone and everyone… who makes a small donation of 5,000 South African Rand (about $351.43 USD) to his church.

Needless to say, some folks have a problem with these claims. Especially the whole making-money-off-pics-of-Heaven thing. This has left Pastor Mboro both confused and sad. He’s especially unhappy with the folks who took to social media to mock him with a number of memes like the ones below:

 

So, being the amazingly Godly man that he is, he announced that he would release the pictures for FREE on his Facebook page on Sunday! At last we’ll have real, photographic proof of the existence of Heaven along with Jesus and his hot, young wife!

Or at least he had TOTALLY planned to do that if not for the fact that his smartphone full of pictures was JUST STOLEN AT A CAR WASH!!

He was facing extortion charges for offering the photos for a price, before he claims his Galaxy S5 was stolen.

“The pictures were really there, I saw them. We suspect one of the boys washing the Prophet’s car took the phone. But they all denied taking it, even after we threatened them,” one of Mboro’s bodyguards told reporters. “All those who have deposited money will be refunded.”

Oh, that’s a tough break! Apparently he wasn’t aware that he could set up his phone, which runs on the Android platform, to automatically back up any pictures he took to his Google account which would’ve mitigated the tragedy of having his phone stolen. You’d think he would’ve put that phone in a safety deposit box or a safe or something.

Surely getting a selfie with Jesus and his hot, young wife is a once-in-a-lifetime experience he is unlikely to see again. Not to mention all those amazing vistas obscured by countless numbers of souls milling about praising God 24/7. This could’ve been something to finally shut all us dumb atheists up with all our dumb requests for stupid “evidence.”

Oh well, I suppose it’s a lesson learned for next time. Turn on that automatic backup feature, folks! You’ll never know when Jesus might invite you up for a tour of his crib!

Picked up a couple of toys the other day.

BDCM5000B

It’s a pretty big coffee maker. Still trying to find room for it on the counter.

Anne and I have been making due with a little 4 cup coffee maker for ages now mainly because I was the only one of the two of us to regularly drink coffee, but she’s since developed a taste for it. So we decided it was time to buy a full-size coffee maker and I figured if I was going to do that then I’d go all the way and buy one with a built-in bean grinder.

I ended up ordering a Black & Decker CM5000B 12-Cup Mill and Brew Coffeemaker from Amazon as it had a pretty good rating and was the cheapest of the models with built-in grinders. Not only is it pretty, but it has a bronze tone permanent filter that you just rinse in the sink eliminating the need to purchase new coffee filters all the time. It can still use pre-ground coffee as well and can be programmed to turn on at a set time. Naturally we went out and bought some whole store-roasted beans at Holiday Market, but we’ve not tried it out yet. Probably this weekend. We’re still using the smaller pot for morning coffee before work.

The other thing I bought was a replacement solar lantern for the shepherd’s hook we have in front of our apartment. Ever since we moved to Ann Arbor we’ve had some form of fake lanterns hanging outside our apartment and we’ve carried on that tradition (such as it is) at the new place. Alas, the battery finally wore out on the last solar lantern we had bought around Christmas time a couple of years ago. We had bought a new lantern that looked like a glass lighthouse, but someone recently ripped out the solar panel cap that had the LEDs on it.

So, I replaced it with this:

It’s much bigger than the old lantern and the battery on it is amazing. At its best it’s only supposed to last 8 hours, but so far it’s been running right until sunrise. Not bad for being about $35 on Amazon. It helps to make it easier for folks to find the apartment. Not just friends and family, but delivery guys too. The little yard flag in the background is new too. We’re just starting to amass a collection of those.

Someday I’d like to purchase some of the Luminara fake candles because the flame effect on those is amazing, but with those starting at $50 and quickly going up and given that we’ve already had one solar lantern destroyed by the neighbors, I figured this would do fine.

Alberta couple who let son die of meningitis found guilty.

David and Collet Stephans

David and Collet Stephans

Back in 2012 an Alberta, Canada couple were brought up on charges of “failing to provide the necessaries of life” after their 19-month old son died of meningitis. It seems David Stephan and his wife Collet don’t believe in traditional medicine and instead insisted on using home remedies to cure what they thought was a case of the flu or croup even though a family friend who is a nurse said it was likely meningitis.

Their case finally went to trial in March of this year:

In a bid to boost his immune system, the couple gave the boy — who was lethargic and becoming stiff — various home remedies, such as water with maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and finally a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root as his condition deteriorated.

Court heard the couple on tape explaining to the police officer that they prefer naturopathic remedies because of their family’s negative experiences with the medical system.

It took having their son stop breathing to get them to call for an ambulance. He was airlifted to a local hospital and put on life support for 5 days until it was clear he wasn’t going to recover. He suffered for two and a half weeks before he stopped breathing. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that David works for a  nutritional supplements company.

Yesterday the jury came back with a guilty verdict:

The four-man, eight-woman jury had been deliberating since Monday afternoon. There was a gasp in the courtroom as the decision from the jurors came down. Observers in the courtroom’s gallery started to cry.

The defence argued the couple were loving, responsible parents who simply didn’t realize how sick the little boy was.

The Crown said the Stephans didn’t do enough to ensure Ezekiel received the medical help he needed. The prosecution noted that the Stephans had been warned by a friend who was a registered nurse that the boy probably had meningitis.

The maximum penalty for failing to provide the necessaries of life is five years in prison.

Normally in cases of parents letting their sick kids die rather than getting them medical attention it’s due to religious reasons and often the parents get off because of that. I’m not sure if it’s because this is Canada or the fact that the reasoning these folks used was not religious in nature that they ended up being convicted, but it makes for a refreshing change of pace. Sentencing hasn’t been announced yet, but with any luck they’ll get the maximum to give them time to reconsider some of their deeply held beliefs.

I’m often asked what’s the harm in letting people hold onto their ignorance. This is a prime example of said harm. Alas it’s often their kids who end up suffering the consequences of that ignorance.

Happy 15th Anniversary to the love of my life!

On April 21st, 2001 I said “I do” to my best friend and love of my life, Annette Gribble.

Wedding picture.

The start of the journey.

Fifteen years later and we’re still making it work. It hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve made it this far.

I wish I could come up with something profound to say about marriage after this much time, but the truth is I’m still figuring it out as I go along. All I can say for certain is I love my wife more each day than the day before and I’m grateful she chose me to spend her life with.

Happy 15th Anniversary, sweetheart! Here’s hoping for many more to come!

China has an amazing non-firework fireworks display.

Fireworks originated in China so it’s easy to see why they’d be a big deal there, but back at the beginning they were reserved for rich people to enjoy. What do you do when you live in a poor rural part of the country, but still want to ring in the Chinese New Year? Well, you get the local blacksmith to put on a show by hurling molten metal on the city’s wall:

This is amazing both for its beauty and its absurdity. My favorite part of it is the fact that the blacksmith holds no illusions about how stupidly dangerous this is and makes no grandiose claims that it’s the most beautiful form of fireworks. Just that, hey, we’ve been doing this for 500 years so why not?