The Ultimate Caper 

Friday, August 26th, 2016

If you enjoyed my absurd fiction on Wednesday, you’ll likely also appreciate a recent piece from my pal (and frequent Barvd “winner”) Neven Mrgan. Start your weekend off with “The Seventh Reservoir Dog”.

A Stunning Rebuke 

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Jeffrey Toobin has a long profile of Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer working in Alabama to provide legal counsel to inmates on death row. In addition to being a profile of a great man, it includes this description of an incredible memorial that’s planned for the victims of lynching.

There will be eight hundred and one columns, one for each county and state in which a lynching took place. The names of the victims and the dates of the lynchings will be inscribed on the columns.

The memorial also has a more provocative component. Adjacent to the colonnade will be another eight hundred and one columns, exact duplicates. Each county in which a lynching took place will be invited to remove its memorial column and display it in its own community. The columns that remain in Montgomery will stand in mute rebuke to the places that refuse to acknowledge their history of lynching.

A Short Tale

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Yesterday, I linked to the story of police officer Jason Short, who attempted to rescue an inanimate doll. Since reading about it, I haven’t been able to get this sequence out of my mind.

He smashed the window with his baton to save the infant. The CPR, however, did not work. He checked for an obstructed airway and called for an ambulance.

“And I went to put my finger in its mouth and it was all resistance,” he said to WMUR-TV. “And I’m like, ‘This is a doll.’”

Picture Lieutenant Short, as he speeds into the Walmart parking lot in response to a 911 call. He’s responding to an anonymous tip of an infant in peril, suffering inside a hot vehicle. Though no one has stuck around at the scene, Short quickly spots the car in question as he circles the lot. He throws it into park, but even as he exits his cruiser, he’s boarding a rollercoaster of emotions.

The officer’s adrenaline rockets up as he tries the door handle. It’s locked, of course, so he must resort to smashing the car’s window with his baton. Even with the loud crash, the baby is non-responsive. Once Short has the car door open, he follows his training. He cradles the child gently and attempts mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Alas, the CPR is terrifyingly ineffective, and he screams into his radio for an ambulance.

In desperation, Short attempts to poke his finger into the newborn’s mouth to clear whatever obstruction might be there. Suddenly, he realizes he’s holding a doll and feels like a complete and utter moron.

Now Short is standing dumbfounded, as the broken glass sprinkled on the ground glints in the sun. All gentleness is gone as he holds the “baby” by a single arm and jerks it up to his face for a closer inspection. His head swivels around, scanning the parking lot as he attempts to find someone with whom he can share a “Can you believe this shit?” look. And yet, there’s no one nearby, no one who has seen what just happened.

“Maybe I can just drive away,” Short thinks. “Otherwise, I’ll never hear the end of this back at headquarters.”

Before he can act on his devious plan, his radio comes to life. The voice of Cheryl Heins crackles through.

“Lieutenant Short, what’s the status on that call?” the dispatcher asks.

“You can cancel that ambulance. It’s…it’s a doll,” Short replies.

“Say again, Jason?” Heins says, incredulous.

“A doll, a doll, it’s a goddamned doll, Cheryl!” Short yells.

After a long pause, the single word response comes back.

“Copy.”

What’s the Police Code for This? 

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

The headline to this article is “Police officer smashes window, performs CPR on doll”. That sounds rather ridiculous, doesn’t it? Honestly, what a dope. Who gets fooled by a doll?


This is the doll.

OK, that headline might be a tad unfair.

Varying Levels of Class

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

On Saturday, Kenyan-American runner Paul Chelimo crossed the finish line second in the men’s 5000 meter (5K) race. However, shortly after, he was disqualified for stepping outside the track. NBC then chose to blindside Chelimo with the news. After making him wait several minutes, NBC’s reporter sprung the news of his disqualification on him during a live interview.

He had not learned that the IAAF had disqualified him and his time of 13:03.90 — about 15 seconds better than his previous best — for infringement. When the interview began, Chelimo learned he had lost it.…“That was the first time I realized I was disqualified. I didn’t know. Just getting the news from the television that I was disqualified, that was the most heartbreaking thing in my life. It’s really something. I couldn’t even wrap it up in my mind.”

That is just incredibly poor form from NBC. Meanwhile, on the other end of the classiness spectrum sits another American runner named Bernard Lagat. As a result of Chelimo’s disqualification, as well as two others, he moved all the way from a sixth-place finish to the bronze medal position. However, despite benefitting from this adjustment, Lagat expressed his displeasure with the result.

“To disqualify people when they didn’t gain an advantage is not the right spirit,” [Lagat] told reporters after the race. “I like to know I earned my medal.”

Now that is the true spirit of the Olympics, and an incredibly classy statement. Ultimately, the USA Track and Field federation successfully protested the decision, and Chelimo’s silver medal was restored to him. Meanwhile, Lagat may have finished off the podium, but he earned wonderful marks in sportsmanship.

The Russian Mosquito Festival 

Friday, August 19th, 2016

Irina Ilyukhina is Russia’s “tastiest girl”, as judged by Russian mosquitos.

America Is Anxious 

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

I had not even heard of this occurrence at JFK airport, but David Wallace-Wells tells the story of the airport shooting that wasn’t. The herd mentality of humans undoubtedly played a part in this ordeal, but this also sounds like exactly what happens when security theater falls apart.

Goat Portraiture 

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Photographer Kevin Horan took portraits of goats (and sheep), and they’re fantastic.

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Sydney here is looking fabulous!

A Very Sage Infestation 

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Capybaras are the world’s largest rodent. They’re sort of like a guinea pig that weighs a hundred pounds. They also look very, very wise.

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Some folks who aren’t so wise have kept them as pets, and now some of those pets have gotten loose, which may lead to an infestation in Florida.

Corpse Cupboard 

Monday, August 15th, 2016

More than 3 billion passengers fly each year, and with a number that high, some of them are going to die in flight. Quartz takes a look at what happens next.