(Before beginning, a personal note. I haven’t been feeling well today, so completion of this offering was delayed. Here I am stressing out, picturing readers trying and trying to access the new column and getting more and more frustrated when they couldn’t. And then I thought suppose no one even reads it- all my worrying would have been in vain. There was an old ad featuring a soldier asking, “Does anyone know I’m here?” At least I think there was. Anyhow, maybe that’s the case now – does anyone know I’m here? If you are a reader, send along an email letting me know. Maybe that way I will know if I should be stressing about being late. Thanks.)
Greetings, and thanks for joining me for another week. Starting us off are a few news stories you may have missed.  First, small crime, big penalty? Factory worker Thanakorn Siripaiboon was arrested last month in a Bangkok suburb after he wrote a “sarcastic” comment on social media about the dog that belongs to Thailand’s king. For the crime of “insulting the monarch,” Thanakorn faces 37 years in prison. [Weird News]
Next, bring back Windows 3.1…. WOOD-TV of Grand Rapids, Michigan, seemingly uncovered an antiquity — if not a potential vulnerability — in the Grand Rapids public school system last summer when it reported that the heating and cooling systems at 19 schools are controlled using a Commodore Amiga computer (released in the 1980s, about the same time as Windows 2.0), operating on an early Internet modem. It had been installed by a computer-savvy student and, according to the maintenance supervisor, still works fine. Fortunately, the supervisor said, the student still lives in the area and is available if problems arise.
Finally, say it isn’t so! Canadian police are conducting an investigation along with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario after a Toronto shopper discovered that a vodka bottle he purchased at a local store had been filled with water. Rick Crumpton, 62, purchased a plastic 1.75-liter bottle of Smirnoff vodka at an LCBO store, but discovered something tasted off when he mixed himself a cocktail upon arriving at home. “So I took a swig right from the vodka bottle and thought, ‘Man, this tastes like water,'” he told CTV Toronto. Crumpton then called the store where an unsurprised employee informed him this “happens all the time”, although the LCBO told CBC News that his was the first complaint of this kind it had received. Concerned that the liquid in the bottle may have been hazardous, Crumpton sent the bottle for independent analysis that confirmed the bottle contained water with residual amounts of alcohol. LCBO spokesman Keeley Rogers stated that there was “sufficient evidence at this time to indicate that this was the result of deliberate product tampering.” “LCBO takes product tampering and fraudulent returns very seriously, and we are working closely with local police, as this is a criminal matter,” Rodgers said. Const. Victor Kwong of Toronto police said that surveillance footage indicates a singular suspect is involved with a number of similar incidents throughout Ontario.
A turkey drew the attention of the Internet after photos showed the bird being used as an emotional support animal for an airline passenger. The photo of the turkey originated from a Reddit post that showed the fowl seated on a Delta airlines flight. “My neighbor is a flight attendant. He just posted this photo of someone’s ‘therapy pet’ on his flight,” Reddit user biggestlittlepickle wrote. Soon after, another user by the name of unclelimpy commented in the thread and posted a photo of what appeared to be the same turkey being carted around the airport in a wheelchair. A Delta spokesman clarified the circumstances surrounding these photos in a statement to USA Today, explaining that the airline allowed the turkey on the flight in compliance with the Air Carrier Access Act. “While we can’t always accommodate all pets, Delta employees made a judgment call based in part on the extensive documentation from the customer,” spokesman Ashton Morrow said. “We review each case and make every effort to accommodate our customers’ travel needs while also taking into consideration the health and safety of other passengers.” According to the National Service Animal Registry’s website, all domesticated animals, regardless of species, may qualify as an Emotional Support Animal. “These animals do not need any specific task-training because their very presence mitigates the symptoms associated with a person’s psychological/emotional disability, unlike a working service dog,” the website states. “The only requirement is that the animal is manageable in public and does not create a nuisance in or around the home setting.”
One movie fan is calling for popcorn to be banned from theaters because he says it’s too noisy. Mike Shotton, 39, from Newcastle, England, says his enjoyment of films is constantly ruined by others chomping down on the snack. His recent viewing of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was spoiled by children rustling and chowing down on popcorn, according to the Daily Express. So he wants its sale and consumption to be outlawed in all U.K. movie houses. But, so far, he’s only gained 126 signatures on PetitionBuzz.com. That’s way less than the 573,000 who have so far signed a petition on the U.K. government’s official website calling for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump to be banned from visiting the United Kingdom. Shotton complains on the petition site that theater chains “bombard us with constant reminders to be quiet during the film and then they sell the loudest food known to man on the premises.” He describes popcorn as being loud, smelly and tasting of nothing — and “sharing a consistency with weakened polystyrene.” “I call on you now to stand with me, and tell cinema chains, the government and the world at large, that no longer are we prepared to let open mouthed grazers ruin our film viewing,” he adds. The campaign is yet to catch on, however, and a counter petition was actually launched to argue that “popcorn is an essential part of the cinema experience,” reports SWNS.com.
Finally, puns! Daffynitions! Call them what you want (they’re pretty good) (1) COUNTERFEITER: A worker who puts together kitchen cabinets. (2) PARASITES: What you see from the Eiffel Tower. (3) RUBBERNECK: What you do to relax your wife. (4) SUDAFED: Brought litigation against a government official. (5) SELFISH: What the owner of a seafood store does. BONUS: LEFT BANK: What the bank robbers did when their bag was full of money.
Blog Entry #4: Growing up, my best friend and I would watch sports on TV and throw the ball around (baseball and football with some shooting of baskets in his driveway), and while I enjoyed what I watched, I never developed the depth of knowledge necessary to more deeply appreciate what I was seeing. I was the football team’s manager in high school and earned a letter sweater for that, but that was pretty much it. When I got to college, things changed. I played ice hockey and pledged the infamous Rho Delta Omega (the jock/animal fraternity). My first hockey goal came when I accidentally fanned on a slap shot, which caused the goalie to play it as if I had connected, and while he dropped to his right, I gently lifted the puck over his shoulder to my right, and bam! The high point of frat sports was our 85-0 football domination over our rivals. Today, I love watching sports (except basketball as I never understood the game nor could never master even the basic skills), but I still don’t have that depth of knowledge; regardless, I still love what I see. As of this writing, the Patriots are again closing in on yet another Super Bowl appearance, and I really enjoy watching the Red Sox and the Bruins. I appreciate and love excellence. And through it all, there are some great Life lessons, one of the most important being, “Never give up! Failure and rejection are only the first step to succeeding.”– Jim Valvano.