No Word If Towanda Was Involved

VIDEO: SoCal parking lot fight turns into demolition derby:

A parking lot brawl between two women in South Los Angeles quickly escalated into a demolition derby.

Dramatic video captured fists flying in an apparent argument over a parking space near the 8400 block of South Western Avenue on Sunday.

Here at MfBJN, we have exclusive video of the altercation:

Brian J., is that a clip from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes? WE THOUGHT YOU WERE A MAN!

Gentle reader, I am man enough to sometimes let a woman pick the movie.

Brian J., is that the second day in a row where you’ve equated a news story with a clip from an early 1990s film?

Yes, sadly, it is. Real life is so derivative from pop culture these days, as people build their lives around memes and examples set by modern popular culture. Time was people tried to build lives from examples set by their parents, and culture such as classic literature they learned in school or church set good examples. Now, though, the race is on to build personal lives like people see on conflict-driven reality television.

Or maybe I’m just cynical.

(Link via the formerly One Hand Clapping guy, who blames a new culture of honor/shame arising.)

American Fracking Claims New Victims

Residents forced to flee huge ‘wall of water’ after earthquake causes major New Zealand river to break its banks – as ANOTHER huge tremor strikes

6.2-magnitude quake shakes northwestern Argentina

This is probably not caused by new petroleum extraction techniques. But in our memeified world of thinking, had they would be printed in text on a picture of devastation and passed around on social media as evidence for the dangers of fracking if they’d occurred in the United States.

The world and its processes, including climate, are very complicated, and mankind probably understands only a small portion of them (the good stuff from way back: The seasons change, you can grow grain in this soil, pomegranates in this region). But our “thinking” as it is communicated is losing its capacity to transmit complexity and uncertainty and, dare I say it, a bit of wonder that doesn’t fit into 140 characters or a glance as someone scrolls.

I Know Something This Financial Reporter Doesn’t Know

After the refi boom, can Quicken keep rocketing higher?:

Quicken Loans Inc, once an obscure online mortgage player, seized on the refinancing boom to become the nation’s third largest mortgage lender, behind only Wells Fargo & Co and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Now, with the refi market saturated, Quicken faces a pivotal challenge — convincing home buyers to trust that emotional transaction to a website instead of the banker next door.

Want to know what I know? Quicken and Quicken Loans are two different companies. So to call Quicken Loans “Quicken” is very, very inaccurate and to disparage it is probably bad for Intuit and its stock price, the company that owns Quicken.

How do I know? I once tested an online program for Quicken Loans and reviewed its trademarks and appropriate branding. You see, I work in software quality assurance, where getting things right is important, unlike journalism.

As I Predicted….

Some time ago, I predicted that Disney would someday buy Nintendo. I’m pretty sure I mentioned it on Facebook and have brought it up in conversation from time to time, but a quick search does not show any results on this here blog thingy. But I’ll go ahead and say it again.

There’s news today that proves it: Nintendo will start producing its own movies over the next few years:

After plummeting revenue, Nintendo is looking into new avenues to generate income, including expanding into producing its own feature films.

I got a better idea:

Disney.

Just to Clarify

Police: Man used handgun as hammer at Missouri school:

A man has been charged with unlawful use of a weapon and child endangerment after police say he used a handgun as a hammer while working on a project at a southeast Missouri elementary school.

The unlawful use is not because he used his gun as a hammer; it’s because he had it at the school:

(10) Carries a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, or any other weapon readily capable of lethal use into any school, onto any school bus, or onto the premises of any function or activity sponsored or sanctioned by school officials or the district school board; or

So it doesn’t look like a violation to use it as a hammer. Or a decoration, which is cool, because I have a couple flintlocks on display here at Nogglestead.

Of course, in looking up the statute, I read the first section:

(1) Carries concealed upon or about his or her person a knife, a firearm, a blackjack or any other weapon readily capable of lethal use; or

Which means I’ll have to remember not to put my martial arts training weapons in my bag when conveying them to class. Otherwise, according to my reading of the law, I’d be breaking it.

Disposable Diapers A Fundamental Right

The White House wants to bridge the “diaper gap.”

A new plan announced Thursday aims to make diapers more affordable for low-income families. The initiative will give low-income families access to diapers that are up to 25% cheaper than the ones they currently buy. In a press call on Thursday, President Obama said the program was made possible through a collaboration with Jet.com, the makers of Cuties diapers and several non-profits.

You know what families without disposable income and, come to think of it, all families used to do? Use cloth diapers and wash them.

But that’s too icky in the 21st century, I suppose, for a populace accustomed to more and more government programs.

Of course, I’m a hypocrite for opposing this because my mother benefited from government programs and used cloth diapers on me and/or because I use some of my non-tax income to voluntarily buy diapers and accoutrements for people who need them.

A Tale of Two Bills

Missouri Democrats stall religious objections measure

Filibuster to block anti-gay wedding measure drags into 16th hour in Missouri Senate

No, just kidding. It’s the same thing but reported on by two different news outlets in two different cities.

At issue: Whether the state can compel you as an individual person who owns a business to serve members of a protected class.

People without shoes and shirts are not a protected class, so until they unite, you can continue to deny them service. Maybe.

Headline Chasers Gotta Chase Headlines

Last week, a guy in a car hit several residential buildings including a garage. A Republic police officer apparently tried to talk to him, but the fellow put the car in gear and hit the officer. The officer shot the driver of the car, who died at the hospital. The fellow had a history of seizures and might have been out-of-it when he hit the officer.

It’s a tragedy all around: The guy might have been in the throes of epilepsy or something, but the officer had no way of knowing that.

Enter the sharp from the Big City:

A lawyer representing Meikle’s family told the News-Leader he wants Sgt. John Tinsley fired and charged with murder.

“We’re not talking involuntary manslaughter,” said Jermaine Wooten, a lawyer from St. Louis. “He went beyond negligence.”

Blah blah blah. He’s covering himself with glory when he says:

“This is a tragic loss, not only for the family but for the city of Springfield,” Wooten said. “They lost maybe one of their best citizens.”

Springfield, Republic. All the same to someone from the big city.

I have to wonder who reached out to whom here: Whether the attorney, who gained some media coverage for representing the families after a police shooting in St. Louis, reached out to the family or whether they called him.

Meanwhile, in unrelated news, here’s a story from this week where an actual Springfield police officer was dragged by a car 150 feet this week.

So the sharp won’t be angling for a local jury trial, then.

Brian J. Kills Celebrities Dead

This morning, I saw the headline that Vanity died.

Vanity, a former protege of Prince’s and a member of Vanity 6, has died at age 57, TMZ reports.

According to the website, the singer — born Denise Katrina Matthews — had long suffered from kidney failure and recently battled abdominal illness.

The story mentions her in three films: The Last Dragon, 52 Pick-Up, and Action Jackson.

Late last year, I watched two of those films: Action Jackson and The Last Dragon. I even joked that I had to watch Chuck Norris in An Eye For An Eye because I’d seen as many Vanity movies as Chuck Norris movies last year, and I had to break the tie.

And now she’s dead.

It’s like when I started listening to Eydie Gorme, and she died.

Like when I watched Grizzly Mountain last year. Right before Dan Haggerty died.

Jeez, I’m sorry, folks. I don’t know how I’m doing this.

Actually, I suspect I do: It’s my brain seeing patterns when something comes to my awareness (aka the Jeopardy! nexus). I’m always fascinated by how my brain processes patterns.

TO BE CLEAR: I’ve thought about rewatching Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, but I have not. So Alan Rickman isn’t on me. Also, I’ve not been reading any legal theory or Supreme Court rulings nor have I suddenly liked David Bowie music. So DON’T LOOK AT ME THAT WAY.

Link Dump

A couple things open in my tabs that I wanted to quip one-liners to:

When Your Work Is More Famous Than You Are

American Pie’ singer arrested on domestic violence charge.

The fellow’s name is Don McLean, by the way. But that’s for us trivia buffs now. For everyone else, he’s the American Pie guy who wasn’t Jason Biggs.

(Sad irony here: When fact-checking the name of Jason Biggs here, I typed Jason Silverman because Jason Biggs was the title character in Saving Silverman. So I couldn’t remember the name of a guy and confused it with his work while creating a blog post about a man identified by his work instead of his real name.)

Franking, My Dear, I Do Give A Damn

It’s the election year, so it means it’s time for officials who are running for office to send out Official Communiques with four-color process and their pictures above the fold.

Right, Chris Koster?

I don’t remember getting slick newsletters about how Attorney General and Candidate for Governor Chris Koster has fought to keep my phone line free of calls except for the multiple times daily I get recorded calls for…. well, I’m not sure, really, as I don’t get far enough into them to know what they’re pitching.

I’m also not sure why there are three telephone numbers on the list: My home phone and two numbers I don’t recognize (and never have had, since I’ve only had one phone number in the 417 area code in my life).

I am sure of one thing, though: I cynically believe that this mailing was sent out only because he’s running for another office and wants to (defensibly) use state money to get his face before voters.

Because “Special Interest Groups” Are Groups That Disagree With The Journalist

Missouri business groups voice support for gas tax hike:

Chambers of commerce, heavy construction and engineering trade groups, and municipal and county government associations were among those who testified in favor of the legislation Wednesday at a Senate transportation committee hearing.

That is, groups that would directly or indirectly benefit from increasing taxes on everyone favor raising those taxes.

All right, raising taxes on people who buy gasoline which is a subset of “everyone.” However, the purpose is the same. And they’re not just business groups, they’re business groups who benefit.

The Right Side Of History Apparently Applies To Physics, Too

This physicist has a groundbreaking idea about why life exists

Why does life exist?

Popular hypotheses credit a primordial soup, a bolt of lightning, and a colossal stroke of luck.

But if a provocative new theory is correct, luck may have little to do with it. Instead, according to the physicist proposing the idea, the origin and subsequent evolution of life follow from the fundamental laws of nature and “should be as unsurprising as rocks rolling downhill.”

From the standpoint of physics, there is one essential difference between living things and inanimate clumps of carbon atoms: The former tend to be much better at capturing energy from their environment and dissipating that energy as heat.

. . .

The formula, based on established physics, indicates that when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy. This could mean that, under certain conditions, matter inexorably acquires the key physical attribute associated with life.

“You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant,” England said.

As a point of order, this hypothesis tries to explain how life exists, not why.

An Idea Only A Corporation and A Young Journalist Could Love

I bought a Springfield News-Leader yesterday because I needed paper to carve jack o’lanterns on, and this was the lead story, page 1 above the fold: Could a $130 million gondola project alleviate congestion on the Branson strip?:

Director of Public Works David Miller has worked for the City of Branson for 25 years. The entire time, he said, the tourist destination in the rolling mountains of the Ozarks has been looking to alleviate the gridlock that can develop on Highway 76, the theater-studded Branson strip.

As a result, the panacea has long been seen as something off the ground. A monorail has been floated multiple times. “Personal Rapid Transit,” a system of individual automated cars moving along elevated tracks, has been proposed. But funding remained elusive, and projects never got past the concept stage.

Now, a new Missouri-based company has proposed a gondola line — think ski lift, not Venice.

At a Branson Board of Aldermen study session on Thursday, American Gondola pitched an approximately 8.5-mile route from Branson Landing to Silver Dollar City, with stops along the way, at a Branson Board of Aldermen study session. Total project cost has been estimated at $130 million.

$130 million for a single-route bit of annual maintenance cost nightmare that won’t be used in rain or winter and will be vulnerable to acts of nature? That’s an idea only the people who would get paid and the twenty-three-year-olds fresh from all-night college brainstorming sessions could love. Hopefully, the responsible people who govern wouldn’t agree, but I think we’re far beyond responsible people governing at this point.

Maybe the city of Branson can pay per passenger like it does on that boondoggle of an airport it has.

Man, I’ve got to wonder how much of the paper’s reporting budget goes for weekly runs to Colorado for, uh, research. I remember a long time ago when newspapers dug up and exposed government boondoggles and waste instead of promoting it.

And this is why I don’t get a Springfield News-Leader more often. I even refuse free copies when they’re handing them out at the warehouse club or supermarket. They’re not worth the couple of minutes it takes to flip through the 24 pages.

I Live In The Country

Farmer bound over in fork loader assault:

The Joplin Globe reports that Wilson’s sister, Barbara Cole, and her husband, Gary, went to see Wilson in June about selling jointing owned property near Miller. Gary Cole said that as his wife approached, Wilson rolled a large, round hay bale off the trailer, and it almost hit her. Cole said Wilson then drove the dual spears of the hay-fork loader through the windshield of the couple’s pickup truck and chased them. No one was hurt.

I was just in Mount Vernon a week ago, as a matter of fact.