Archive for the ‘Bizarre’ Category

By Mark Esposito, Weekend Blogger

Good afternoon folks, and welcome to the sports holy day known as NFL Sunday. We mostly all love it. The collisions, the sparkling cheerleaders, the feats of athleticism that would have made an ancient Greek Olympian proud. It’s all there – drama, excitement, pageantry, bright colors and morality. Yep there’s bad boys (think Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens) and good guys (anybody named Manning or Russell Wilson) and there’s music – marching bands, pep bands, loud speakers blaring just about any rap, punk, pop, or country song you like depending on locale. Football is king! Long Live The King!

But the king has had better seasons.

From the professional gladiators to the high school gladiators-in-training, football’s morality play has come off the skids. The carefully cultivated image of athlete as hero that echoes through the centuries from the plains at Marathon to an Olympic stadium in 1936 Berlin overseen by a bad man with a bad mustache, yes, and all the way to modern day techno-proficient, thunder booming, firework blasting sports theatres, Football America is suffering.

Maybe is was avarice or a sense of invulnerability or most likely hubris. All of football was riding high early this year. The NFL was enjoying record profits even having the audacity to ask its halftime acts to pay it for the privilege of sweating it out before millions of Americans at home and in person.  It was pushing the Old Man of US sports, Major League Baseball, from the headlines but moving its pre-season draft of players to prime time in … gasp … May, smack in the middle of  baseball season. The colleges had just finished a game of musical chairs and chicken all at the same time and got the venerable, doting NCAA to approve a bowl championship, an acknowledgment of the 5 Big Boy Conferences, and the shunning of anything approaching governing the Big 5.

Yes football was riding high — but there were signs of looming disasters to come.

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220px-Modern_British_LED_Traffic_LightHaving just been in Chicago, one of the most prevalent subject of conversation (despite the football season of course) is the ever-rising number of tickets being given to drivers. The Daley administration first made Chicago the most expensive parking city in the country with a corrupt deal that bordered on the criminal. The city was also accused of corrupt dealings with the company handling red-light ticking. However, none of this has curtailed the city contractors and officials clipping motorists for revenue in the form of endless ticketing. The latest outrage was the city reducing the time of yellow lights — a small tweak of a second that resulted in nearly $8 million in new tickets. Drivers are being treated as sources for revenue and hit with the equivalent of speed traps and short lights to generate more and more tickets.

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220px-'JardimBotanico.BotanicalGarden.CuritibaParanaBrasilBrazilWe have previously discussed the criminalization of every element of American society. A new case in Lenoir City, Tennessee is the latest such example. Like many Americans, Karen Holloway has failed to keep her yard work up. Few Americans however have ended up in jail like Holloway after her failure to maintain her yard was turned into a criminal matter. It appears the above garden would be more in line with those wishing to avoid time in the slammer for their overgrown yards.

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1412627695611_wps_77_epa04193391_FILE_A_file_vThere is a sad story out of London that is a commentary on the mutating influence of anonymity on the Internet. Brenda Leyland killed herself after being confronted about her online abuse of the parents of the missing girl Madeleine McCann. Sky News tracked her down as the troll responsible for thousands of hate filled messages to Kate and Gerry McCann, whose three-year-old daughter went missing in Portugal in 2007. (more…)

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220px-Verbrennung_eines_Toten_in_einem_Krematorium_2009-09-05There is an interesting, if somewhat off-putting, story out of Richmond where the Southside Cremation Services building was set ablaze during a cremation in its attempt to cremate an 800 pound man. Fire crews had to extinguish the flames caused by the excessive heat and oil from the cremation. The story stood out from an insurance stand point. I am not sure how such risks are addressed in standard insurance and liability plans. While the fire did not spread, it would have made for a fascinating proximate causation case. Presumably, the over-sized cremated man is at no liability risk.

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By Mark Esposito, Weekend Blogger

Can religious beliefs actually retard our intuitions for justice and fairness? Research seems to suggest it might well. The Christian religion has imbued Western thought with the fundamental belief that God presides over a just world – one where sin is punished and rightly-held beliefs and actions are rewarded. We see this attitude in every aspect of human interaction. Today, in some sparkling sports stadium an earnest athlete is bound to thank his deity of choice for the good fortunes that befell his team or his game changing performance. By extension, the loser ( a value loaded word if ever there was one) will decry his lack of luck. From the Book of Job to Pinocchio and Cinderella, this belief in what some psychologists call “immanent justice” or “The Just Word Hypothesis” seeks to explain our plight and our success. It also hardens our attitudes about the poor, victims of crimes and those folks either buoyed or sunk by pure chance.

The Book of Job gets us into the mindset. A saintly man if ever there was one as the Bible itself acknowledges, God allows Satan to test Job with all manner of suffering to determine his worthiness. Stripped of his wealth, prestige and power, Job then loses his children and ultimately his health and vigor. Still, Job endures and never ever curses his fate – or his God. He does consult his friends for some inkling as to the cause of his travails. Their answer, which comes like a thunderclap is: “Behold,” one of them declares, “God will not cast away an innocent man, neither will he uphold evildoers” (Job 8:20). Classic “Blame the Victim” mentality from this coterie of advisers.

Puzzled but resolute, Job however concludes that despite his worldly righteousness, he can never know divine justice and according to the story prostrates himself silent before his Master’s “Just World.’ For that, he is rewarded with the resumption of his wealth and status. He even replaces his children with seven new ones. The clear message to the world however is the same: God handles the world’s justice and we are powerless to exact our own except on only the most superficial level.

Jesus himself gets in on the act in the New Testament. Addressing the multitude in the Sermon on the Mount, he has two distinct things to say about justice and our expectations of it: Blessed are…..those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled. (Matt. 5:6) and Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:10). In modern speak, “Don’t worry God will handle it in his own way and, if you let him do so, you’ll get the whole enchilada. The pearly gates, the mansions, those singing and harp-playing cherubim … you, my faithful believer, get it all.”

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Submitted by Darren Smith, weekend contributor

150px-burger_king_logosvgAccording to a lawsuit, a Customer claims that he suffered an assault with a deadly weapon after asking a restaurant employee to reheat the cold onion rings he received.

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