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Since 1994, this is the 1069th issue of Randy Cassingham’s...

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7 December 2014: The Pomplamoose ProblemCopyright ©2014

Here’s How Not to Do This: A training effort for police in Columbus, Ohio, didn’t go off very well. Thirty-five police recruits and their instructors were on the way to a stadium for riot control training when one of the instructors sped up to close the gap behind the car in front of him. Just then, the front car slowed down for traffic, and the instructor hit it, and pushed it into a third car in front of it. All three police cruisers were damaged. “Sometimes in aconvoy, there’s like an accordion effect,” offered Deputy Chief Tim Becker. Once all that was cleaned up, the training began — and tear gas from the training drifted to a nearby elementary school; six children were treated for eye and throat irritation, and a teacher was taken to the hospital for a checkup since she’s both pregnant and asthmatic. (RC/Columbus Dispatch) ...OK, it was a training. The question remains, did they learn anything?

Asgard Called; They Want Their Name Back: A 26-year-old woman from Puyallup, Wash., filed for a protection order against her boyfriend. Drew Thor Kidd had allegedly claimed to be a member of the Special Forces, the British Special Air Service, and the CIA. He even showed the woman a “dossier” he had collected on her, including her social security number, current and past addresses, place of employment, and where her daughter went to school. Eventually, things got even morestrange, and the woman got scared. She Googled versions of his name and found a picture of Andrew Thor, 33, in a news story — identifying him as a police officer in Lake Stevens, 70 miles north of her. “When I realized everything he said was a lie and that he was capable of so much deception and had such an alternate reality, I was terrified,” she said. Another truth he was hiding from her: his marriage. After the unnamed woman filed for the protection order and aninvestigation was launched, Thor resigned from the department. (MS/Seattle Times) ...Another truth he was hiding from her: he’s far from “a god” in bed.


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Mother Goes into Retractions: When Yolanda Bogert of Jimboomba, Qld., Australia, learned the truth about the person she’d thought for 19 years was her daughter, she published a retraction in the births section of the Brisbane Courier-Mail. “In 1995, we announced the arrival of our sprogget, Elizabeth Anne, as a daughter,” the ad says. “He informs us that we were mistaken. Oops! Our bad. We would now like to present, our wonderful son — KaiBogert.” Her son being transexual “is all very new to us,” she told a reporter, but “I needed to show my son I support him 100 percent.” Kai says “I am still me, but I am more me than I was a few days ago and feel free. I am so happy with what she has done. This last week has changed everything for me.” (AC/Brisbane Courier-Mail) ...I can think of something that didn’t change.

Killing the Dead: Brandan Klosterman didn’t think his friend Jennifer Gable’s relatives even stayed in touch with her. Nevertheless, when she died at 32 from a brain aneurysm, they ran the funeral. Friends turned up to the Little Falls, Idaho, service and found an open casket — with a short-haired body inside. “They tried to make her look like a boy,” said Stacy Hudson. That meant omitting that Gable was transgender, and had lived for a decade as a female,even legally changing her name to Jennifer. The obit for “Geoffrey” mentioned “his” tenor voice. “She would not have wanted to relive the horrible life of Geoffrey,” Klosterman said. “She wouldn’t want to be buried that way.” Gable’s grandparents declined to comment, saying it was a “family situation.” (AC/New York Daily News, Miami Herald) ...No. Kai Bogert has a family. Jennifer Gable just had relatives.

Their Bean Burritos Are Killer
Man Seen Engulfed in Flames Outside Taco Bell
KSAZ Phoenix headline

Did You Find an Error? Check the Errata Page for updates.

This Week’s Contributors: MS-Mike Straw, AC-Alexander Cohen, RC-Randy Cassingham.

It Occurs to Me that the last two stories will provoke some ...reaction. They therefore have been posted to my blog (with a copy of the newspaper “birth retraction notice” in its entirety — I particularly like the last line of that), and that’s the place for respectful debate, pro or con.

This Free Edition is a sampler of the full newsletter, which has 10 or more stories every week (this week it had 12). Tearing out three-quarters of the stories necessarily wrecks the flow, but you get the idea, such as with the last two stories this week. You can get all of the stories every week with a Premium upgrade, and the small fee for that supports the publication and keeps it going. A win-win!

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An Interesting Article on the site Artist Empathy (yeah, I hadn’t heard of it before either) discusses “The Pomplamoose Problem” why Artists Can’t Survive as Saints and Martyrs. Pomplamoose is a neat online band I’ve enjoyed for years onYoutube; a couple known for their awesome music videos: Nataly, a really understated guitarist-singer, and Jack, her way overanimated boyfriend, who plays just about every instrument he can get his hands on.

Jack recently posted a brief article about how hard it is for artists to survive, even those who their fans think have “made it.“ (“We have not ‘made it,’” he concludes. “We’re making it.”) Well, he was ripped a new one for daring to tell the truth — and explaining how and why the band lost money on its recent tour, despite a great turnout by fans.It’s really hard for artists to survive, Artist Empathy says: “The reality is that we’ve reduced American culture to a system of arbitrary donations and pats on the head. That isn’t sustainable. Corporate and trust funded music will survive, but will its message represent the diversity of our culture? No. And resentment is building — a resentment that is quite clear with the level of anger generated by just one mid-level band publishing just one article about thedifficulty of surviving in the music business.”

I can relate — as much as writing and publishing is included in the definition of “art” these days. Premium subscribers have put their money where my mouth is, but a push in last Friday’s issue brought a grand total of eight new subscribers. Eight people who agree to pay $30/year ...for at least one year. Out of their $240, I’ll need to pay for the two writers that each contribute about three stories a week (I write the rest), a high-end web server thatwon’t crash under the sudden loads it gets when an issue goes out, e-mail servers that don’t choke when I’m ready to send tens of thousands of e-mails all at once, an assistant to process your orders (and get books ready for publication), office space, computers — on and on. It’s definitely tough to survive in “the arts” — not even counting those who expect, even demand, that they get the results of the work even though they don’t support itthemselves.

Far from this being a whine, it’s important to me that I periodically say Thank You to the several thousand of you who do support my work, because you make it possible in a very real way. As I say again and again, that doesn’t just mean financial support: spreading the word works wonders. Just one post by a True reader on Lifehacker in June brought in a couple of hundred new readers, simply by answering a question posted there, “What AreBest Email Newsletters That Are Actually Worth Subscribing To?” Wow! Thanks Tidymaze, whoever you are! (The same Lifehacker member did it again last month, by answering another post which asked asked for “The Best Subscription Gifts You Can Give”, which has resulted in more new subscribers. That really, really helps.

So please: think about how important it is for the bands who make music you love, for writers who make you think and laugh, for video producers like the brilliant Veritasium who explains things in understandable ways to make you smarter — we all need your support. You might even be one of eight who really make a difference.

All of the upgrade options are here.

Comments? This is on my blog, including a nice sample of the group’s music (and a Veritasium video): The Pomplamoose Problem.

The Latest Posting to Jumbo Joke: Dreaming of a Redneck Christmas.

Ten Years Ago in True: A Wedding Made in Hell Wedded Bliss(ters)


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This Week’s Honorary Unsubscribe goes to L. Stephen Coles. An obstetrician, Coles was fascinated with the opposite of the very early moments of life: he wanted to figure out how it was that some people could leave healthy lives to very advanced ages — 110 or more....

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