Friday, July 27, 2012

Weird Crime: Your own worst enemy

Lufkin, Texas

On July 9, 2012, 52 -year-old Barbara Mott Bordelon contacted her local police to report that she and another man (most likely her boyfriend) had been receiving threatening calls and text messages. One of the messages, which originated from a prepaid cell phone, warned that the pair would be physically harmed if they went to the police.

Barbara, however, was undeterred by threats of violence against her and went to the authorities anyway. She was even able to give them the name of her harasser, who had been stupid enough to attach her name to the prepaid cell phone purchase, making her identity very easy to trace.

Now right here is where a red flag should go up. Why would someone go to the trouble of buying a prepaid cell phone to harass someone, but pay for it in a way that would lead back to them?

Fortunately, the police in Lufkin did their due diligence...and discovered that the harassing messages were coming from none other than Barbara herself.

When police confronted Barbara with this information, she admitted to making up the story of being harassed and fabricating/sending the messages herself.  But when asked "WHY WOULD YOU DO SOMETHING SO INCREDIBLY STUPID?", she bypassed the opportunity to give a moderately humorous answer like:

-Don't believe her, I'm a liar!
-We are not schizophrenic.
-I was a big fan of Christian Slater's 'My Own Worst Enemy' and never got over it being canceled.

...and instead refused to give a reason for why she did it. I'm guessing that the phantom female harasser that she invented also shares the same name with a real life woman that she hates (or her man likes a little too much).

Barbara is currently being held in the Angelina County jail on $95,000 bond. She has been charged with two counts of tampering evidence and fraudulent use of identifying information.

Just don't put her in solitary confinement; she might be a danger to others.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how much I suck more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Internet Celeb of the Month: Taryn O'Neill

One day while browsing my Twitter feed, I saw a follow suggestion for Taryn O'Neill that caught my eye for a couple of reasons:

1.  Her profile picture was of her as Wonder Woman.

2. She looked incredibly familiar.

I'm not very keen on following actors and actresses unless they share many of my geeky interests and/or make me laugh consistently. Considering the fact that Twitter still nudges me every couple weeks to follow Kim Kardashian, I normally don't trust it...but still, I knew I had seen this woman before, and even if the Wonder Woman outfit was just "geek pandering" (something I have absolutely not tolerance for), she just definitely still pulled off the look.

I decided to listen to Twitter and find out just who exactly Taryn O'Neill was...and ended up finding a new favorite writer/actress to follow. For starters, the "I've seen her somewhere" before recognition turned out to be correct. Taryn has had guest spots on  television shows such as Lie To Me and NCIS and has booked numerous national commercials.

One of them happened to be in my favorite Orbit 'Dirty Mouth' television commercial of all time.

On the web side of things, Taryn also had a very big presence. She was part of the incredibly popular 'Elf Quest' fan film and worked as an actor and producer on the popular web series After Judgment and was featured in the award winning web series Compulsions.

I could just keep listing stuff, but her demo reel can pretty much sum it up. Instead of being like most actress' demo  reels that consist solely of terrible dialogue scenes and crying, this one has Taryn:

-Running from zombies
-Becoming a zombie
-Begging for mercy from a torturer/kidnapper
-Killing a hostage she has taken\
-Going full on amazon/elvish warrior
-As a soulless corporate vixen
-As a concerned and scared mother protecting her child
-Toting a shotgun and shooting you in the face.

What really won me over, however, was her writing.  From her spot on analysis about what was wrong with 'Prometheus' to her unabashed love for all things Joss Whedon, it was clear this girl wasn't just using sci-fi as some sort of grass roots stepping stone; she understood it, loved it, and loved to write about it. She also constantly showed a genuine fascination and understanding of science (Ted Talks, Carl Sagan quotes, cool space videos, etc.) on her blog

Taryn also had no shame going in the complete opposite direction and writing about fashion and physical fitness. This person wasn't faking anything, and the genuine article was beautiful, geeky awesomeness. I decided that I had to get an interview with the former figure skater turned badass sci-fi babe that was Taryn O'Neill, which she kindly agreed to do.

RBC: You used to be a competitive figure skater when you were younger. At what point did you decide to hang up the ice skates and start acting?

Taryn: I was 16. It wasn't a decision that I wanted to make, however. My knees had deteriorated to a point where I could no longer skate  (or walk) without a huge amount of pain. I had acted in a play when I was 10 and it was a natural move to transition into performing.

RBC You wrote a few pieces for the Huffington Post about the sport; do you still keep up with it?

Taryn: I do, but only in spurts. The Vancouver Olympics were an amazing experience, so I dove back into skating from a citizen journalist perspective. I'm still very passionate about ice dancing, which was the category that I had specialized and competed most in.

RBC: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files were your first "gateway drugs" into sci-fi, correct?

Taryn: Yes! I loved Star Trek (both original and TNG) growing up and any scifi/ space movie (especially ET and The Black Hole) but I didn't realize how much scifi spoke to me until those two shows.

RBC: As a fellow Whedonite, I've gotta ask: Did you like 'Angel' as well? I feel like one of the few people in the universe that thought it was an infinitely better show than Buffy (although Buffy was still great, as well).

Taryn: I did love Angel. It had a great mythology - plus I had a huge crush on David Boreanz :) 

RBC: Now you sound like my wife...

Taryn: But looking back, I don't think any of the eps ever had the same impact on me emotionally that Buffy did. For a show that took place in high school and college, some of the episodes were incredibly sophisticated emotionally and thematically. 

For as much fantasy as the show had, it was completely grounded in reality, at least for me. Plus it had an ass kicking female lead. Sarah Michelle Gellar and Buffy were the reason I started training in Martial Arts.

RBC: Do you hold out any hope of a third X-Files movie getting made (that actually wraps up the plot points from the television series)?

Taryn: Hmm...that's a tough one. I love both that mythology and the dynamic between Mulder and Scully. But we might be past the time where the themes and big questions will be embraced by a large audience. 

I read a great article on Fringe where it talked about how X-Files came out during a time when the world was in a 'good place' and the dark mysteries that X-Files posed were fun escapist stories. We live in a darker time now. I think we are burnt out on the 'we can't trust the government' stories...even if it is an alien cover up. 

RBC: Your Operation B.A.B.E blog (Badass Alien-fighting Body Endeavor) was originally inspired by the character 'Ripley' from the Alien franchise. 

Time to ask a question that can tell a lot about a person: Which was better--Alien or Aliens, and why? (Alien 3 is nowhere near as good as the first two and no one likes Alien: Resurrection, anyway)

Taryn: Alien. Don't get me wrong; I love how wicked badass Ripley becomes in Aliens, fighting the Queen in the mecha robot suit, etc. But the first Alien was simply amazing sci-fi filmmaking (the future world is completely believable) and terrifying. Plus, I love how Ripley was originally written for a man, so I appreciated Sigorney's performance even more. 


Ripley probably wouldn't have minded have Taryn for back up, though...

RBC: Do you draw inspiration from other strong female characters on the big screen like you did from Ripley (like the T2 version of Sarah Connor)?

Taryn: I am a junkie for a strong female character. On the big screen, I will watch Milla Jovovich and Angelina Jolie in whatever action role they inhabit. 

I gravitate towards more of the 'lone wolf' type female characters- so Sarah Connor (especially in T2) is a benchmark of badass to me and I loved her character arc. I think that TV, however, brings us more fleshed out aspirational female characters. I loved Sydney Bristow (I even auditioned for the part when I first started acting). I think Jennifer Gardner did a fantastic job bringing her to life where the balance between her career as a spy and her cover as a 'regular gal' seemed authentic. 

I also loved Kara Thrace on BSG and Peta Wilson's Nikita in the first Nikita TV series. They were both hard as nails, yet had deep, dark vulnerabilities. 

Signourney Weaver and Carla Gugino are amazing and fierce in USA's new show 'Political Animals', but I think my favorite female character on TV right now is Arya in Game of Thrones.  

RBC: You seem to constantly refer to yourself as a "new writer," but your work always feels very polished whenever I read it. Did you used to do a lot of writing in school or before you started working in the entertainment industry?

Taryn: Thank you for the compliment; I didn't realize that I make that statement so often. 

It probably stems out of an insecurity that I don't have any formal training as a screenwriter. I wrote a lot of papers in school and read a lot of scripts when I came to Hollywood (I worked on a literary agent's desk), but I didn't write that much creatively until a few years ago. 

Once I started blogging, my writing brain awoke and I just started doing it...and tried to educate myself about it as much as possible along the way (books, blogs, podcasts, etc.). I am in awe of masterful screenwriters; I never appreciated the worlds they created on the page until I opened my first Final Draft document.  

RBC: You could have easily just stuck with acting, but you seem to have this insanely strong desire to create content as well. Where does that come from and how did it start?

Taryn: I honestly can't help it. Almost daily I have a new idea or epiphany that strikes me that I need to incorporate into a story or that can be the seed for an entirely new project. 

I think it began when I started researching the first project I ever started developing. It was sci-fi/fantasy and was set in a slightly dystopic world on a different timeline than our own. I realized the amazing power of creating a unique world with its own laws and then creating living breathing characters and storylines within it. I also realized the power that these stories could have. 

I am really hopeful that a number of storyworlds that I have created will actually be brought to the screen this year. 

RBC: I do have to strongly disagree with something that you wrote: You claimed that you wouldn't pass the limit test for being a "true geek" due to not being a gamer or religiously devoted to certain sci-fi mythologies.

You don't have to play the game to look good in it.

The fact is, you do pass the litmus test (with flying colors) because it's clear that you actually LOVE sci-fi/fantasy and are working to create within it, unlike some celebs who simply use it as a stepping stone that they shrug off once bigger/more mainstream offers come in.

*Off my soapbox* Tying into that, you've managed to land a lot of mainstream rolls while still working heavily on the "geek" side of things. How is the vibe on the set of a procedural drama or comedy different than a sci-fi project?

Taryn: Ha! Thank you :) 

The term 'geek' is definitely another thing that I can be sensitive about. I dove into sci-fi/fantasy later in life, so missed out on some key sci-fi classics, particularly comics. But i am definitely passionate about sci-fi storytelling, as well as the fundamentals behind it, i.e. science and cosmology. I've been teaching myself as much physics and 'space' as my brain can handle. 

With regards to the being on a mainstream set versus a sci-fi/fantasy one, it's really more along the lines of the difference between a big budget studio shoot (or national commercial) vs. an indie set. The mainstream sets want to keep the status quo. They want Hollywood and advertising to stay the same; it's where the money is. 

But the indie sets, whether new media or film, are looking to change the paradigm of storytelling and the platform that it is released upon. It's an energetic experience to be on set where you 'know' that you're creating something unique.  

RBC: You've built a pretty large presence on the web with some great series like 'After Judgment' and 'Compulsions.' What draws you towards new media projects like this?

Taryn: New media in general is exciting to me. I co-produced After Judgment (along with acting in it) at a time when webseries were just starting to get made. I saw an exciting opportunity to forge new territory in the entertainment/ storytelling landscape. I come from a family of entrepreneurs so this is my way of embracing that trait. 

RBC: Do you see new media projects overtaking film or television one day?

Taryn: I believe it will just all become MEDIA. Different stories at different budgets will be told on the appropriate platforms that will allow the most effective reach to an audience. 

But if you want to have a thriving career in the future, I think you have to understand how successful digital content (like content coming out of Youtube) is being made and marketed. 

RBC: Along those lines, you're also really into fan films...which is awesome...but how the heck do you find time to do projects like that (which often end up being pretty high end) and balance them with paying acting gigs?

Taryn: I just find the time! If it's a great property, like Elfquest, or the Hunger Games Star Squad fan film, playing a character from that world is such a treat; it's like going to fantasy camp! 

These fan films can also lead to great things for the creator. I was up for the role of the woman in the Portal fan film by Dan Trachtenberg; his career took off after that was released!

RBC: I've also heard that you're pretty big into fashion; is that something you would ever like to expand into a larger career?

Taryn: I do like fashion; I remember carting 2 massive Italian Vogues back home after a family trip when I was 10. 

I just see fashion as another artistic outlet and an opportunity to express myself. I'm really excited that the project I'm writing for Stan Lee's World of Heroes channel Super.Model takes place in the fashion world. It's ass kicking sci-fi with fashion! 

Hopefully I can be involved in some of the styling for it, but I don't see a future as a designer...but then again, I like to wear lots of creative hats! Or should I say I carry a lot of bags. I am bag/ purse obsessed!

RBCI noticed that you graduated from Duke University. Do you follow their basketball team at all...and if so, how do you sleep at night? Sorry, but I had to ask; I'm a University of Kentucky grad :)

Taryn: Uh oh, you're a Wildcat? ;) 

Yes, I follow it, but not closely. I'll watch a game here and there and watch the NCAA Tourney. I went to a few amazing Duke/UNC games when I was there. I'm a HUGE hockey fan, though; Go Canucks!

RBC: I guess you get a pass on the Duke thing due to being awesome.

Back on topic, has your martial arts training ever come in handy so that someone was on the receiving end of a well deserved Taryn O'Neill ass kicking?

Taryn: No, thank goodness. I hope to do a bunch of ass kicking on screen in the future, but real life fighting is something I always look to avoid. 

RBC: What projects (writing and acting) are you currently working on?

Taryn: My big project is SUPER.MODEL, the digital series I'm writing for Stan Lee's World of Heroes channel on Youtube. It's being produced by Vuguru, Michael Eisner's digital studio. I'm currently writing it and am a co-producer on it. I've been involved with it for almost a year now and I can't wait to get it cast and in front of a camera! 

I'm also in the end stages of writing and developing a futuristic scifi series with Mark Gantt (The Bannen Way). He will hopefully direct it and we will both star in it. I've been building 'the world' now for over a year and it's completely badass! 

I have a number of other projects in development that cover the spectrum from a sexy female ensemble comedy to teen thriller..and there is a new acting role that I'm up for but I don't want to jinx it.  I'm really excited to be so busy.

RBC: Any dream projects you're still hoping to be a part of?

TarynWonder Woman. I will always have hope to play some iteration of the fierce Amazon warrior.

I think everyone would be alright with that.

RBC: Anything you'd like to say to your fans?

TarynI am incredibly grateful to anyone who follows and supports my work. As a creative, my whole point of existence it to make someone feel or think something, to connect across our ever changing digital world.

RBC: Keep making stuff and we'll keep watching it.

-Be sure to follow Taryn on Twitter for updates on her latest projects.

-To read some great stuff about the world of sci-fi, content creation, exercise/fitness, and fashion, check out her official page and the Operation B.A.B.E blog.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how much I suck more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Weird Crime Wednesday: Behold, the power of mangoes (and fearless old people)

(photo @ criticalmiami.com)

New Bedford, Massachusetts

On Friday, July 21 of 2012, 80-year-old Otilia Martins decided to take an afternoon trip to the local grocery store owned and operated by her daughter and son-in-law. But as she went about her business shopping and supporting the family owned business, a blood curdling scream from the front of the store alerted her that something was very wrong.

Otilia hurried to the register near the store entrance, where she saw the clerk behind the counter (who was a long time friend of hers) being held at gunpoint by two men who were robbing the store. At this point, no one would blame an 80-year-old woman for being scared (which she was), but surely no one would also expect an 80-year-old woman to be a vigilante badass. 

"I was scared he was going to kill her," she told Curt Brown of SouthCoastToday.com "I would rather he kill me than her." True to her word, Otilia began screaming at the gunman to kill her instead.

When you're friends or family with grandma, it's thug life together until you die

That wasn't just gangster bravado, by the way; while screaming at the robbers, Otilia also began digging through her purse for something to throw at them. When she didn't find anything, she took the next logical step available...running right up to the gunman and pelting him with mangoes from the front counter.

The fruited robber, who was no doubt wondering what the heck just happened, decided that it was time to stage a hasty retreat. Otilia, however, had other plans; she grabbed him by the shirt and hung on for dear life, even as he pistol whipped her across the back of the head.

The gun man eventually got free and both robbers fled the store...with Otilia in hot pursuit down the sidewalk. She quickly realized, however, that she'd never be able to catch them (and that her head was bleeding), so she went back inside while the police were called.

When they got there, Otilia was able to describe the robbers, tell which way they fled, and further prove how tough/awesome she was by refusing medical treatment for head wound, claiming that she could treat it herself.

In case this all sounds too awesome to be true, embedded below is the glorious survallience video from the store that fateful day.  

The two robbers, Eduardo Torez Lopez Jr. (age 22) and Jesse Dossantos (age 32), were later apprehended, charged with armed robbery and assault/battery, and will face a lifetime of being made fun of for getting punked by a woman more than twice their age (or in Eduardo's case, nearly quadruple her age) and with ten times the courage.

Otilia Martins, along with the rest of her friends and family, are doing just fine. Otilia only had one regret about her actions that day: That she didn't take the entire fruit basket and crack it over the gunman's head.

I'm guessing these two are regretting a few decisions from that day, too.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how much I suck more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weird Crime: Don't take your baby to a robbery

(photo @ theydonttellyou)

Ocala, Florida

On Sunday, July 22 of 2012, sisters Allison and Laura Niemeyer made a trip to their local Walmart along with Allison's 1-year-old son. This was not, however, going to be a simple shopping trip; it was a heist.

Allison and Laura loaded up their son's diaper bag with $60 worth of Walmart merchandise. Included in their haul were 4 women's t-shirts, a bathing suit, and a package of men's white undershirts. Unfortunately for the criminal duo (trio if you count the one that can't use a toilet yet), a Walmart loss prevention officer caught the pair as they tried to leave the store and ordered them to come back inside.

Allison already had a fairly extensive criminal record and was still under a court ordered house arrest until 2021 (!) for attempted robbery. Knowing that her illegal excursion to Wally World (and her subsequent attempt at shoplifting) would mean a trip to the jail, Allison took off for the vast and dangerous expanse that is a Florida Walmart parking lot.

They may drive slowly, but they also travel in packs and are still quite dangerous.

Laura remained with Allison's child and decided to take the fall for her sister by staying with the Walmart loss prevention officer...for all of about 30 seconds. She wrestled free from the employee and bolted after Allison into the parking lot, where the sisters were picked up by a blue van and spirited away.

As police began their manhunt for the sisters, the Department of Children and Families took in the baby, who had surely been abandoned by his mother and aunt due to a desire on their part to keep him from the life of crime they had decided to lead.

In fact, both women probably agonized over how they may never see their beautiful baby boy again...while they were cutting a rug at a local dance club that same evening...in the same town as the Walmart they had just tried to rob that morning.

Clubbing: A great way to relieve stress 
when your child is missing...or if she's "missing."

Police showed up to the Ocala Entertainment Complex and arrested the sisters without incident. Allison and Laura Niemeyer are currently facing multiple charges; in addition to shoplifting, Allison is charged with violating her probation and child neglect/abandonment. Laura has been charged resisting a merchant.

                                            Allison Niemeyer                                   Laura Niemeyer

Both have also officially been removed from "Mother of the Year" and "Aunt of the Year" consideration, respectively.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how much I suck more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Best Buy Creep Squad

(photo @ studybreaks.com)

When Sophia Ellison went into Best Buy to have information transferred to her new Iphone from her old one, she broke two cardinal rules of mobile phone technical support.

1. Don't have your phone serviced at Best Buy.
2. Repeat Step 1 on any and all phones purchased during your lifetime.

Instead, Sophia went to the masters of "we're going to need to reformat your hard drive," aka The Geek Squad. An employee by the name of George not only agreed to transfer the information to her new phone, but also agreed to buy her old phone for $60 and delete all of the data off of her phone. Included in the data were pictures of herself that Sophia described as "racy" (fyi, that link goes to her quote, not the pictures you perv) and a video her 3 small children took of each other while they were naked and getting out of the shower.

In fact, George was kind enough to make the transaction incredibly hassle free by simply pulling the money out of his wallet and not giving her a store receipt.

Let's get a quick count of these

Red Flag #1: You just handed over a phone with "racy" pictures of yourself to someone you had never met before.

Red Flag #2: Your kids may have been the ones that took a video of themselves naked, but you still had it saved on your phone...AND HANDED IT OVER TO SOMEONE YOU HAD NEVER MET BEFORE.

Red Flag #3: An employee at a big box retailer just made a personal transaction with you.

Red Flag #4: You actually trusted a complete stranger/someone from Best Buy to do what they said they would do.

As you can imagine, things go a bit off the rails from there: The next day, Sophia realized that her 900 (!) photos/videos were missing from her new phone. She called Best Buy in a panic, asking to speak to a manager about the missing data.

Best Buy responded by telling her that "management was not in that day" (translation: The manager didn't feel like talking on the phone), but that someone would call her back. That person ended up being her old friend George, who reassured Sophia that they would get her 452 pictures back.

Whether this error in counting was on the part of George/Best Buy or the customer (both parties are likely suspects), Sophia didn't hear from anyone anyone for days. Eventually George called, claiming he had burned her pictures onto a CD...and that she could come over to his house to pick them up.

Despite the many errors in judgement made by Sophia during this ordeal, George's part in this went from basic incompetence into the realm of extreme creepiness. Sophia finally made a good decision by immediately hanging up the phone and not taking George up on his personal service offer.

Instead, she went and found a lawyer who sounded like Dudley Do-Right and made a video explaining her situation...and inciting even more populist rage against the evil that is Best Buy "customer service."

When local news station WTOP alerted Best Buy to the this story, public relations director Paula Baldwin issued a statement apologizing for the incident and announcing that George has been fired for "making a personal transaction with a customer while on duty at the store" (because firing someone for incompetence at Best Buy would set for too high of a precedent).

As of the writing of this article, Sophia has still not received the pictures/video from her old phone. She has also hopefully learned (and helped make others aware) that one should be very wary when they trust their technology with The Geek Squad.

And make sure you're not alone in a room with them when they inevitably ask to "reformat your hard drive."

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how much I suck more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Celeb Boutique: National Tragedy = Marketing Synergy!

It's been very difficult trying to turn on the snark and write an article today due to the horrific Colorado shooting that occurred at a midnight screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises.' At last count, 59 people were injured and 14 killed, including a young sports journalist, Jessica Ghawi, who had survived an earlier shooting this summer in a Toronto food court.

I know that people all over the world die everyday, but this recent act of senseless violence (by some lunatic loser that thought he was The Joker) shook me up way more than I expected. Maybe it's because I wanted to see the Batman movie at midnight as well, but didn't because I just got back from a trip (and I'm old). Maybe it's because a fellow writer was killed. But I just couldn't write anything today; every time I even considered writing about the shooting, I couldn't bring myself to do it.

But then, like a three legged and brain damaged unicorn hobbling over the hill of despair, a company named Celeb Boutique came through in the most asinine way possible. You see, the shooting took place in a town called Aurora. As you can imagine, that word began trending on Twitter, along with plenty of other items and subjects related to the incident. As I'm typing this article, this tweet from the Celeb Boutique twitter account has been up for over an hour:

As you can imagine, the subsequent reaction from other Twitter users was swift, angry, and hilarious. Here are a few of the many gems to be found:

Celeb Boutique did finally issue an apology, but as you can see, the continued hawking of their products didn't help anyone's perception of them to improve. This also may be the first time in history that an emoticon "winky face" can be cited as damning evidence of ill intent.

There will be a lot of anger, both justified and misdirected, for the foreseeable future over what happened last night. For some, it will simply be due to a genuine feeling of despair and outrage over such a senseless act of violence. For others, it will be turned into a political flash point (or a rallying call to fight those they feel are making it into a political statement).

But for right now, while the wound to our national psyche is still raw, maybe it's good that we can all come together and mock the vapid social media department of an overpriced women's clothing store. Celeb Boutique may have done something that was in the poorest and most disgusting taste possible, but the resulting fallout also managed to make me smile for the first time today.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how much I suck more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Weird Crime Wednesday: When life as a thief gives you lemons, take some cheese

(photo @ henningscheese.com)

Alamonte Springs, Florida

On June 9, 2012 at 2:00 AM, a burglar decided that a local Pizza hut would be an excellent place to grab some quick cash. This decision was probably made with great haste or while heavily intoxicated due to a couple of factors:

1. He wasn't wearing any shoes. No one goes out store robbing without proper footwear.
2. There was absolutely no effort made at being subtle; he smashed the glass on the front door with a crow bar.

Once he wandered inside, the burglar continued adding to the case against him being cast in Ocean's Fourteen by going full on Incredible Hulk and angrily slamming the cash register onto the ground.


After a few minutes of dejectedly digging around the destruction which he had wrought, the man realized he wasn't going to be leaving the store with any cash that evening...so he decided to take something that he knww Pizza Hut would have in stock and readily available: 2 cases of mozzarella cheese.

Embedded below is a local news report on the incident, which includes surveillance footage of the thief looking like he just wandered into the restaurant from a Jimmy Buffet concert. The news team was also kind enough to not do the usual "interview with a random person" about the crime, but they did feel the need for an on the scene report...and also couldn't resist one really bad "hot cheese" pun.

As much as we may all be laughing at this shoeless criminal mastermind, he can't be that dumb; the guy has still been at large for almost 2 months. If you live in the Florida area and know someone fitting the burglar's description (who has also been eating grilled cheese sandwiches and unable to poop for two weeks), please contact the police.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how much I suck more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th's Unlucky Spotlight: Allan Pinkerton

(photo @ wikipedia.com)

Allan Pinkerton was born on August 25, 1819 in Glasgow, Scotland. He spent much of his early life as a political and social reform activist for the working class as part of the Charist Movement. Unfortunately, England's government was not a fan of the group (or Pinkerton) and sent a company of soldiers to arrest him on his wedding day.

Pinkerton and his wife, Joan, decided to make a last minute change to their honeymoon plans by fleeing to the United States. They ended up in Dundee, Illinois, where he started his own successful cooperage (i.e. he made made really good wooden barrels). Being a staunch abolitionist, Pinkerton also made his business a station on the Underground Railroad, helping escaped slaves to freedom and cementing his reputation as all around great guy.

But despite how awesome and fun it is to say, "Alan Pinkerton" would not become a household name until a fateful trip he took in 1842 to gather raw materials for his business...when he happened to stumble across a band of counterfeiters. Instead of going full on Rambo or screaming about it to the authorities, however, Pinkerton convinced the town sheriff to help him stake out the group and conducted a sting operation, eventually leading to the capture of the entire operation and their ring leader.

"Not the way I woulda played it, but whatever..."

After a failed bid at running for local office, Pinkerton, his wife, and three sons moved to Chicago, where he decided to start his own detective agency...which would eventually become the legendary (and still operating) Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Pinkerton's skillful use of shadowing suspects and going undercover to gather information were considered revolutionary methods at the time and are (obviously) still used by law enforcement and detective agencies today.

He also become head of the newly formed Union Intelligence Service during the Civil War, which was the forerunner of the United States Secret Service, and built a massive network of spies throughout the Confederacy. Top top it all off, Pinkerton was also the head of a security team that foiled an assassination plot against Abraham Lincoln on the way to his presidential inauguration.

So how did this "James Bond of the Wild West" meet his demise? Was it a sting operation gone bad? A rival spy that got the jump on him? A shootout during his legendary pursuit of Jesse James?

Nope. He fell down...and bit his tongue.


You can die from crying like a 
baby and screaming unintelligible swear words?

In the summer of 1884, Pinkerton was walking down a Chicago sidewalk when he slipped and fell, biting through his tongue when his chin hit the pavement. He did not tend to the wound, which eventually turned gangrenous and led to his death on July 1.

Although Pinkerton's wikipedia entry says that his "death by gangrenous tongue" is not confirmed, all of the sources I've linked in this article (and almost any others that you will find) confirm it. If that's not enough for you, his archived obituary in the New York Times agrees on this as the cause of death, as well.

Alan Pinkerton: Political activist/hero, military spy master, and legendary detective...dead at the age of 64 due to an infection from biting his tongue. Medical science has surely advanced to a point something like this wouldn't happen today, but it just goes to show that bad luck can find anyone...even if it's one of the greatest detectives and spies that ever lived.

...and the inventor of the creepiest company logo.

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