Iconic Lion Slain by Dentist, Moronic Human Killed by Gator

–July 28, 2015

Cecil is dead.

Who? you ask.

Cecil. Cecil the Lion.

OK….

cecilthelion-e1438117510903Cecil the Lion made international headlines this week after being killed illegally in Zimbabwe by an American dentist who allegedly paid about $55,000 for the privilege. Cecil was Zimbabwe’s most famous lion and a star attraction at Hwange National Park. The 13-year-old lion was also part of an ongoing Oxford University research project and was wearing a GPS collar to trace his movements. The hunter and/or his guides reportedly tried, but failed, to destroy the collar, which researchers used to trace Cecil’s last movements, and ultimately discover his headless and skinned body.

The lion was apparently shot by a crossbow after being lured out of the park at night by the guides who dragged a dead animal from their vehicle. The dentist, Walter Palmer, hit Cecil with a crossbow bolt, but the injured lion managed to get away, only to be tracked down 40 hours later and dispatched with a gun shot. Two Zimbabwean guides have reportedly been arrested, while authorities are still searching for a third. No word yet on whether charges will be laid against the Minnesota dentist.

A spokesperson for Palmer, meanwhile, said that his client is “obviously quite upset over everything.” But we’re not sure if that is just in reference to the flooding of his dental office Facebook page with angry comments and threats, and an online petition demanding justice for Cecil. The petition, which went online this morning, had garnered more than 40,000 signatures by mid day.

The dentist is apparently a well known big game hunter who is in the archery record books for slaying an elk with a bow. He was also reportedly arrested by Wisconsin wildlife officials in 2008 for illegal bear hunting. A Flickr photo album by Trophy Hunt America contains shots of Palmer posing with a variety of dead animals, including a white rhinoceros, of which there are only about 20,000 left in the world.

Conservationists in Zimbabwe and around the world are bemoaning the loss of Cecil, noting that Cecil is the 23 or 24th collared lion to be killed in or near Hwange. Conservationists have pointed out that the dentist paid just $50,000 to kill an animal that was worth millions of dollars in tourism revenues. Along with Cecil, the illegal hunt also likely means the death of Cecil’s six young cubs, as the next Alpha male will probably kill them so as to assert his own bloodline within Cecil’s former pride.

Well, with one (plus six for the cubs) strike against the animal kingdom, I suppose we should balance this out with a strike against the human kingdom. Earlier this month in Texas, 28-year-old Tommie Woodward was killed by a large alligator. Woodward was reportedly killed by the  large gator after jumping into a bayou marked with signs stating: “No Swimming–Alligators!”  Not only did Woodward ignore the signs, but a marina employee reportedly told him to “[p]lease do not go swimming, there’s a big alligator out there. Just stay out of the water.”No_Swimming_sign

Woodward’s last words before screaming for help were reportedly, “Fuck the alligators!”

OK, so this doesn’t even nudge the balance beam, but I tried.

–Originally published by Hash It Out!, July 28, 2015.

Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols Fame Becomes Newest Celebrity Sage

Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols Fame Becomes Newest Celebrity Sage

—July 10, 2015

What’s with this emerging trend of turning celebrities into pundits who pontificate on the economy, politics, international affairs and other important issues as if they had been spending their lives working and studying these disciplines, rather than, well, doing whatever it takes to be a celebrity? The latest such example being Johnny Rotten, who shared his worldly knowledge about Obamacare, the Greek debt crisis, English monarchy, and Confederate flag debate in a July 7, CNBC Market Watch interview. This followed a June 15 Fox Business Network interview with Kiss frontman Gene Simmons, who pontificated about the economy, national debt and 2016 Presidential election (please see my June 26 blog–Big Celebrity Headlines With Little Effort!).

For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Johnny Rotten (nee John Lydon) was the lead singer of the English punk rock band the Sex Pistols, considered by many music aficionados as the vanguard of the short-lived first-wave punk rock movement that flourished from 1975 to 1980. The band, which only produced one studio album and lasted just two-and-a-half years, was known for politically incorrect and profanity-laced lyrics, the promotion of anarchy, and for publicly offensive behaviour such as cursing, spitting vomiting, fighting and related antics, especially during live shows.

While panned by most music critics has having limited to no musical talent, the band drew a massive cult following, their album enjoyed robust sales, and the Sex Pistols and Johnny Rotten became known around the world. Since the band’s break up in 1978, Rotten has been a member of the post-punk band Public Image Ltd, written two memoirs and performed with the surviving members of the Sex Pistols on a few reunion tours. Other than that, his only other real claim to celebrity is an appearance on the British reality show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me out of Here!, and bit roles on a wide variety of shows, including Judge Judy.

And now, apparently, Mr. Rotten is a wise sage, with intricate knowledge about the Greek debt crisis, Obamacare and the controversy over the Confederate flag. Just like Mr. Simmons, has apparently become a respected pundit, well versed in both economic and political issues.

Uh-huh….

Now if these gentlemen had been pontificating on these issues in a celebrity magazine, such as People or Hello, we wouldn’t bat an eye. But, CNBC Market Watch? Fox Business?

What, these media giants couldn’t pull in Warren Buffet? Couldn’t find someone who actually is directly involved with these important national issues?

What’s next, A CNN interview with Paris Hilton, in which she weighs in on the collapse of the Chinese stock market, or perhaps proffers advice on how to curb Russian President Vlad Putin’s Ukrainian ambitions.

Maybe Bloomberg can get a Kardashian (shouldn’t be too hard). No doubt that any one of them could provide crucial input about how to resolve the impasse between the West and Iran over its nuclear program.

And we’re sure Eva Longoria can wax poetic on how to subdue the Islamic State while at the same time toppling Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad, all without causing any additional chaos in the region. Who’s up for this interview? New York Times, perhaps? CNN? Anyone?

–Originally published July 10, 2015 in Hash It Out!

Death by Fireworks Call for “Darwin Awards!”

Death by Fireworks Call for “Darwin Awards!”

—July 6, 2015

Among the more interesting headlines on our newsfeed this morning was: “Man shoots off firework from top of his head, dies instantly.” According to the article, 22-year-old Devon Staples of Calais, Maine had been drinking and shooting off fireworks with his friends, when he decided that it would be a good idea to light a re-loadable fireworks mortar tube that he had placed atop his head. His friends reportedly urged him not to do it and thought that they had successfully convinced him to stop, but then Devon lit the fuse and the resulting explosion effectively removed his head.

Devon’s brother, Cody Staples, said his brother “was not the kind of person who would do something stupid. He was the kind of person who would pretend to do something stupid to make people laugh.”

Really?

While Cody undoubtedly knows his brother better than most, we’re inclined to believe that Devon truly did do something stupid, and that he will undoubtedly be in the running for a Darwin Award.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Darwin Awards, they “commemorate individuals who protect our gene pool by making the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives.” Named after Charles Darwin of “Theory of Evolution” fame (or infamy, for those who believe evolution is bunk and the earth and all its critters were created 10,000 or so years ago), Darwin Award winners must “eliminate themselves from the gene pool in an extraordinarily idiotic manner, thereby improving our species’ chances of long-term survival.” For more information go to:  http://www.darwinawards.com/rules/.

Devon was not the only American killed by fireworks this past weekend. In Grant County, Indiana, 41-year-old James Drake died when he was struck in the face by a “fireworks shell” while checking to see why it had not detonated. Well, it decided to detonate and caused “extensive facial trauma” leading to death. In Elkhart County, Indiana, 44-year-old Jose Magallanes was found dead in his back yard, after neighbors reported a “loud boom.” The death was ruled accidental blunt force trauma to the head caused by an explosive fireworks incident.

A 12-year-old boy was killed in Nashville, Tennessee, when a mortar-type firework exploded in his hand causing fatal chest injuries, and a 47-year-old Scott Jeffers of Detroit, Michigan was reportedly killed when a large firework shell he was holding exploded near his head. No word on how or why the firework exploded “near his head.”

With the exception of the 12-year-old whose young age makes him ineligible, these other gentlemen might also make good Darwin Award nominees. While perhaps not as blatantly foolish as lighting a large explosive mortar tube sitting atop one’s head, these men did manage to place their noggins up close and personal to high explosives. We’re not talking about firecrackers here–these were high explosive, really-big-bang pyrotechnics. And we’re talking about pyrotechnics that needed an ignition source. These fireworks didn’t just light themselves….

Celebrity Round Up–Patriotic or Not?

Celebrity Round Up–Patriotic or Not?

—July 3, 2015

Hoist the flag, don the red, white and blue, and let those fireworks fly, cause the July 4th weekend is upon us. And in the patriotic spirit of our national holiday, we’ve decided to investigate the patriotism of those people who capture the attention of the American public like Old Glory captures the wind.

Yep, let’s randomly examine some celebrities who may have background history that calls their patriotism into question: Here goes:

Donald Trump–No Doubt! Even though he tends to marry foreign and his hair is of questionable origin, he’s gotta be true blue American. Not only is he running for President (the most patriotic position in the land), his platform includes a proposal to build a wall that will help keep America American.

Arnold Schwarzenegger–Without a Doubt! Born in Austria to a former Nazi, The Terminator started dreaming of moving to America at age 10, and fulfilled that dream 10 years later, adopting his dream with enough fervor to allow the weightlifting champion to become a Hollywood star and then Governor of California. He might still have that German accent and perhaps a yen for Guatemala, but there’s little doubt about his love for this country.

Jane Fonda–Debatable! The Academy Award-winning actress’s patriotism has long been called into question due to her active opposition to the Viet Nam War, which included a visit to the enemy’s capital city and earned her the moniker “Hanoi Jane.” To this day, many veterans and most Americans on the right edge of the political spectrum consider her a traitor (at this juncture it needs to be noted that those on the far right generally consider all leftists to be Godless, un-American heathens). Ms. Fonda has publicly apologized for offending veterans, but stands by her opposition to the war. Those on the left would likely posit that Jane truly does love her country, and that her actions have been a case of going against the “my country right or wrong” stance by adopting a position of my country is doing something wrong, so let’s fix it.

Dave Matthews–Yes! Lead guitarist and frontman for the Grammy Award-winning Dave Matthews Band may have been born and partially raised in South Africa, but he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1980 and proudly calls himself “American.” While active in leftist causes (see Jane Fonda above), Matthews is a vocal advocate for the U.S. democratic process.

Justin Bieber–Not! He’s a Canuck! And Justin’s juvenile delinquent antics led to well over 100,000 true-blue Americans signing a petition asking the President to revoke his Green Card and deport him back to the land of ice, moose and beavers.

Pamela Anderson–Probably! Even though she’s another Canuck, the Baywatch babe became a naturalized U.S. Citizen in 2004, and has publicly stated love for her adopted country…though, while also saying that she is proud to be Canadian. We suppose that we should accept her as American, as Baywatch just wouldn’t have been the same if set in Canada. Lifeguards wearing wetsuits and toques? No thanks.

Christian Bale–Probably Not! What could be more patriotic and American than Batman (OK, Superman), but Christian Bale, current star of the Hollywood “Batman” franchise was Welsh Born and British raised. While he lives in Los Angeles, we could find no evidence that the current Batman has ever sought U.S. citizenship.

Michael J. Fox–Dubious! The Back to the Future star has long come across as the all-American boy type, but he’s another Canuck. While he’s a naturalized U.S. citizen in good standing, he reportedly insists upon being referred to as “Canadian-U.S.” and has been quoted as saying “I am a Canadian first.” Hmmm?

Salma Hayek–Unclear! Oscar-nominated actress Salma Hayek was born and raised in Mexico, and while she’s a naturalized U.S. citizen, for a while she reportedly lived in America as an illegal alien. And then there’s her marriage to French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, which could well sway her allegiance toward his homeland.

Kiefer Sutherland–not likely! Who could be more patriotic than Jack Bauer of Fox’s 24? Well, not Emmy Award-winning actor Kiefer Sutherland who plays the character. Born in England to Canadian parents, Kiefer has played many roles that would suggest that he’s a true blue American; however, we could find no evidence that Kiefer has ever sought U.S. citizenship. And while not necessarily a patriotism deal breaker (see Jane Fonda), Kiefer’s grandfather was an influential New Democratic Party (about as far left as it gets) politician in Canada.

Keanu Reeves–Not! Born in Beirut, and holder of Canadian and British citizenship, the Hollywood actor has a Green Card, but we’ve seen no evidence that he has pursued U.S. citizenship. Perhaps he just feels that citizenship is just another component of The Matrix.

What do you think? Have we nailed the level of patriotism for this crop of celebrities? And, what other celebrities need to be more closely examined to ensure that their allegiance is with the red, white and blue?

—Originally published July 3, 2014 in Hash It Out!