Here Comes Peter Cottontail, Inbox Full Of Angry Mail

Oh for Christ’s sake.

Peter Rabbit filmmakers and the studio behind it are apologizing for insensitively depicting a character’s allergy in the film that has prompted backlash online.
Sony Pictures said Sunday in a joint statement with the filmmakers that “food allergies are a serious issue” and the film “should not have made light” of a character being allergic to blackberries “even in a cartoonish, slapstick way.”
In Peter Rabbit which was released this weekend, the character of Mr. McGregor is allergic to blackberries. The rabbits fling the fruit at him in a scene and he is forced to use an EpiPen.
The charity group Kids with Food Allergies posted a warning about the scene on its Facebook page Friday prompting some on Twitter to start using the hashtag, #boycottpeterrabbit. The group said that allergy jokes are harmful to their community and that making light of the condition “encourages the public not to take the risk of allergic reactions seriously.”

If we must interpret this somehow, why not look at it as a lesson about problem solving and resourcefulness? Or maybe we could shut the hell up and let the kids enjoy their movie. There’s also that.

Spirit Airlines: Less Hamsters, Oh No!

I don’t have a lot of words. I am really trying to think of a circumstance where I could see where this woman was coming from, but it’s not working. I’m really really trying.

Belen Aldecosea had to fly home, and she wanted to fly with Spirit Airlines. In the recent past, because of anxiety over a medical diagnosis, she decided she needed an emotional support animal, and chose a hamster. She even got a note from a doctor saying this hampster, Pebbles, was her emotional support hamster. As I said in this other post about emotional support animals on planes, emotional support animals aren’t trained and don’t do anything for the owners except give them a warm, fuzzy feeling by being there. She probably could have gotten the same effect by buying a plush toy.

Apparently she called ahead to check that she could bring Pebbles on as an emotional support animal, and was given the incorrect information that this was possible. When she arrived at the airport and started the process of checking in, she was told that this was not going to happen. Then, according to her, she was told that she could either release Pebbles into the wild or flush her down the toilet. After a lot of “agonizing”, she flushed her.

I don’t even know where to begin here. This feels like that story where the woman put her guide dog in a cabby’s trunk, only way worse. At least that poor guide dog lived. I would hope that, God Forbid if somebody told me that Tans couldn’t get on the plane and actually physically prevented us from boarding, that I would possess greater problem-solving skills than this. I would hope that I would choose not to go on that flight so I could work something out. I would make some calls. I would figure something else out that wouldn’t result in an outcome so final for Shmans. It’s not like anyone had a gun to her head or anything.

Her lawyer is trying to say that this isn’t her fault because she’s only 21 so didn’t know what to do. I remember being 21, and although I was just learning about advocating for myself, I’m pretty sure I would have done something other than this. At the very least, I might have called my folks and got some more ideas. I would have never tried to take psych rat Hope on a plane, but if I did, I can’t even begin to picture a scenario where I would flush her if I was told she couldn’t fly. Maybe I would have called a vet to figure out how to board her somewhere. Maybe I would have asked for help finding some other officials in the airport to get more ideas.

This line kills me every time I read it.

“She (Pebbles) was so loving. It was like she knew I needed somebody,”

And that was how she repaid the poor thing.

She has a new hamster. God help Pebbles 2.0.

I guess I had more words than I thought.

Downward-Facing…Down boy! Down!

So I have talked about going to yoga, and of course Shmans is there. Thankfully, she lays very still beside me. Occasionally, when I have had to reach an arm out close to her, she has given me a quick lick, but that’s about it. Sometimes she lets out a deep sigh along with us, which is amusing. Now, imagine going to puppy yoga,where the puppies are basically playing with you as you try to do yoga. Imagine a dog running off with your socks. Imagine getting a giant snuggle while trying to do a pose. It would be pretty funny, and a rather huge test of your ability to concentrate. I would totally be the worst yoga student ever.

Don’t tell Shmans that these puppies get to play around during yoga. She might get some ideas!

Cap’n Cord

I don’t necessarily advocate this sort of thing, but seriously, close the damn box, man. Is this really that hard?

According to police, the victim said that Smith became upset upon discovering the stale cereal and blamed him for failing to keep the Cap’n Crunch fresh. Smith was especially perturbed since he is missing teeth and had difficulty consuming the stale cereal.
At one point, Smith demanded that his roommate remove his dentures so that he could experience how hard it was to consume the Cap’n Crunch. When the man refused, Smith allegedly began striking the victim with an electrical cord.

You know, the more I read, the more I think I get Duane Barry Smith. There’s the unless the box has suffered damage during opening, fucking shut it issue that we’ve already covered, but the man also has good taste in bad cereal. Cap’n Crunch is the friggin best, no room for argument.

Anyway, the beating caused Smith’s unidentified roommate injuries to his face, arm and hand. He is expected to be fine and to know better in the future, for Christ’s sake.

Smith, meanwhile, has been charged with domestic violence and may or may not be in custody. A jail official declined to comment when contacted, citing the facility’s policy of not commenting on the status of cereal offenders. Only half of that last sentence is true. I’ll let you decide for yourselves which one it is.

Police Have Locked Him UP And Thrown Away The Key, Which They Remembered To Bring With Them

A question for the bank robbers in the crowd. Setting your car keys on the counter: stupid or really stupid? Seriously, why would you ever do that? If they’re not staying in the getaway vehicle, should they not stay safely in your pocket? Isn’t that, like, the only thing that makes any sense?

A man robbing a Utah bank told the two tellers he had a gun, and he demanded they hand over their money, police said.
Then David Hamson, 39, stuffed the cash into a bag around 5:30 p.m. Thursday and left the Taylorsville, Utah, bank, hoping to get away from the crime scene in a car he’d stolen, police told KSL.
As he got to into his getaway car, though, Hamson realized he’d made a big mistake: He had left the keys to his stolen car on the counter at America First Credit Union, witnesses told police. At that point, Hamson decided to flee on foot, News 4 Utah reports.
But even on foot Hamson kept tripping up, police said. As he ran away, his bag of cash got caught on something and ripped, according to police, sending the stolen money flying, KSL reports.

Police caught up with him not far from the bank, thanks to the help of several witnesses. But even had they not been there, the trail of money leading straight to him probably would have helped.

Hamson was taken into custody, and police say they plan to charge him with aggravated robbery. They also say he’s a suspect in several other, presumably less calamitous hold-ups.

True True False False Share Share Like Like

After all these years, I’m still not on Facebook. There are plenty of reasons for that, not the least of which is the company’s seeming inability to keep its fucking hands out of people’s timelines. Say what you want about Twitter, but for whatever faults it may have, it does get that right. You choose who you would like to see tweets from, those people tweet things, those things appear in order. It’s a completely reasonable adult way to treat customers, even if some of those customers have trouble with the whole reasonable adult thing. But Facebook just can’t help itself. It has to screw about with this and that, trying to solve the world’s problems regardless of whether or not those problems actually exist.

It’s latest crusade is against fake news, which to be fair is a problem that does exist and is one that Facebook had a not so small hand in making worse, so it does arguably have a role to play in shutting it down. But the route it appears to be taking to that end according to a recent issue of Broadcast Dialogue is a pretty foolish and ultimately fruitless one, I think.

Facebook began tests in the U.S. this week prioritizing news from “publications that the community rates as trustworthy,” as part of an ongoing effort to reduce fake news and clickbait. Users can still decide which stories appear at the top of News Feed with the See First feature. For publishers, the move means publications deemed trustworthy by users may see an increase in their distribution, while publications that do not score highly could see a decrease.

What could possibly go wrong, right? I mean it’s not like anyone could ever find a way to game that system through bots or well coordinated campaigns. And the United States, naturally, is the perfect place to test this. It is, more than any other country on Earth, the very definition of a united front. Its government is as honest as the day is long and would never think of starting silly wars with the media, which in turn would never dream of bending facts or outright making shit up in order to push a corporate overlord’s preferred narrative.

Anybody with a clue should be able to figure out how this is going to end. When you make the news into a popularity contest painted up as some sort of online democracy, the only thing that’s going to suffer is actual democracy. People are going to go on believing and spreading whatever they like, facts be damned. It was that way before there was a Facebook. Facebook just made it easier. Sure it would be nice if Facebook could find a way to make it harder, but doing that is going to require some very tough decisions that a lot of people aren’t going to like and that may hurt Facebook’s bottom line, at least in the short-term. There will need to be fact checkers and ground rules and ways to distinguish satire from lies. Do Facebook’s users have a spot in this equation? Of course they do. But it’s so much more than just clicking true or false on a never ending multiple choice test. It’s all about media literacy and critical thinking, and try as it might, Facebook can neither teach those things or instill them into people at will.

They’re Your Worms, You Figure It Out

I’ve become drawn to reading stories about people and their parasites ever since Carin and I started watching Monsters Inside Me on Sunday nights while we eat supper. Yeah, we’re a little different, what’s your point? But it wasn’t these people’s hookworms that stood out to me as I read, it was the slimy behaviour of our government that most caught my eye.

Even after diagnosis, more frustration awaited them. Zytner said the medications that are used to treat hookworms are not licensed for sale in this country: Health Canada has put ivermectin and albendazole on its Special Access Programme, meaning that they can only be obtained by federal approval on a case-by-case basis.
Zytner said his request for the drugs was denied. “They said our case wasn’t severe enough to get the medication.”
“I don’t know how much worse it has to be for them to approve it. People have passed away from (parasitic infections).”
Fortunately, a connection with a doctor possessing a dual-nation license allowed Zytner and Stephens to quickly get the medications they needed in the U.S.

And if anyone presumes this to be an isolated case: Zytner said he and Stephens have been in touch with a couple from the Niagara region who they met at the resort.
The Niagara couple are also currently suffering cutaneous larva migrans.
“They have the exact same thing,” Zytner said. “And they were also denied by Health Canada for access to the drugs.”

This is Canada. We are a very fortunate nation. So why must there ever be cases where people are denied medications they need? If we’re talking about experimental treatments that run into the five or six figures and have a more than even chance of not working, by all means, review those all day long. But when it’s a simple matter of this is what you have and this is what fixes it, playing a game of we can’t stop your legs from falling off until your legs fall off should absolutely never be something that someone is paid to do. Nor, by the way, should a citizen of this country ever have to know a guy who knows a guy in order to get medicine. That’s just goddamned ridiculous and I should be able to expect much better from my country.

Police Were Immediately Dispatched To His Location, Because It Was Their Location

In October of 2016, Bank of America discovered a theft. Surprisingly, given that there are so many of them, it wasn’t one of their own. But the bank did suspect that somebody who used to be one of their own was behind it, and so the hunt for former employee Alberto Saavedra Lopez began.

For more than a year, that hunt continued, in large part thanks to Lopez acting like a smart person. A smart person who looked awfully guilty, but that’s neither here nor there. He moved to another town. He refused to talk to the police investigating the case, blowing off the appointments they tried to make with him and not answering their phone calls. In short, he did everything a person on the run should do right in order to stay that way.

But eventually, as so often happens, Lopez ran out of smart person tokens.

The shortage began when, for reasons only he understands, he decided it was time to move back to his old stomping (Stealing?) ground. An iffy proposition to be sure, but one that maybe could have worked had the shortage not become a full blown deficit.

In need of a job, Lopez did what anyone would do. He started applying for one. Unfortunately, he put his name into the running for a dispatcher’s job.

“Unfortunately? What do you mean unfortunately? What’s wrong with working as a dispatcher?”

Nothing, assuming you’re not a wanted man who’s just applied to become one at the very police department that’s been looking for you all this time.

“Ok, you win. That is unfortunate.”

Lopez was arrested when he arrived for what he thought was going to be his interview.

And no, he didn’t get the job. The police took the time to state in their release that he was “out of the running for employment” with the department, in case that was a question someone had. It wasn’t, was it?

If It’s Gotta Be Eaten, It’s Gotta Be Pied!

I just did laundry today and used Tide pods to do it. As I dropped the slippery pods into the laundry, all I could think was ‘Why on earth would people try to eat them?’ I’m not talking about little kids finding one and going “ooo!” I’m not even talking about kids being fed laundry pods by uninformed grandmas. I’m talking about teenagers who are old enough to no better chomping down on the things just to see if they can do it.

Yes, I know, I’ve been under a rock with the rest of the media and apparently this has been going on for a little while, but still. What’s wrong with people?

Now that that’s out of the way, we can have some fun. There’s a pizza place in Brooklyn that decided to make fun of this odd phenomenon by making pod-like calzones that can be eaten.

Brooklyn pizza maker Sean Berthiaume says the idea for “pied pods” came to him in a dream. 
The colourful calzone concoctions are made to look like Tide laundry detergent pods, but the blue and orange swirls are made from cheese dyed with food colouring.

Freaking awesome. At least something funny can come out of this steaming pile of stupid.

There Was A Prof Named Edward Heddican, Teaching Cheques He Will Not Get Again,, Acted Up And They Suspended Him, Career of Edward Heddican Is At An End

Just in case you don’t get the reference.

I know this happened the week before last. I wanted to write about it last weekend but I ran out of time.

The story goes that University of Guelph professor Edward Hedican was filling in for another prof, and got irritated with a student. Obviously I didn’t see it, but several students on Facebook said that he told the student he was annoying, questioned if he was even enrolled in the class, and referred to an assistant who was with him as his handler, telling the assistant to control him. That’s pretty unprofessional behaviour for a professor at the best of times, but it gets really bad when the student has severe anxiety, hence the reason for the presence of an assistant.

I can’t even say the professor was unaware of the anxiety issues, since apparently, during one of the times the professor asked him what he was doing, the student said he had severe anxiety, and the prof just kept on ridiculing him like he was dealing with a heckler at a comedy club. And after all of this, and despite his union discouraging him from making comments to the press, he said the following:

“There was no physical contact here, there’s no sexual interaction, there’s a verbal altercation that happened in class. And I’ll just leave it at that,” he said.

Hmmm, I think I wouldn’t have even gone that far. Nobody else mentioned any physical or sexual misconduct. He also said there were two sides to every story, and then proceeded to not give his. If you can’t comment, don’t even start.

And allow me to get down to the big reason I wanted to write about this incident. Mr. Heddican obviously has no idea how devastating mere words can be when they are used to humiliate in front of hundreds of people simply because the person holding the power feels like doing it. It’s especially difficult when the thing being used for ridicule is a disability with which someone is trying to deal. Maybe the student had just been recently diagnosed with it and was still trying to figure out coping strategies.

What if I had been in Mr. Heddican’s class and something about my assistive technology had annoyed him. Maybe my notetaking device had beeped unexpectedly. Maybe the sound of me typing would have been a distraction to him. Maybe he didn’t like my dog. Would he decide I should be centred out for his amusement? Would it have required physical or sexual impropriety for it to have been misconduct?

I had something happen to me years ago that wasn’t even close to what Mr. Heddican did, and apparently, by the way my hands are shaking as I write, it still bothers me. I was in a class where the professor loved to put up graphs and charts and pictures, and then just say “You can see from the graph how the crime rates have fallen,” or whatever. He didn’t take the few extra seconds to say “The graph illustrates that there was a steep drop in crime rate after a neighbourhood watch was put in place…” for example. I approached the prof in private and asked him if he could either make the slides available to me, or just verbally describe things a bit so I could be in on the lesson. He said he would try. But the next class, as he put another graph up on the projector, he actually said something to the effect of “I’m sorry, Carin, but a picture is worth a thousand words…” and put the graph up without even trying to describe it. He centred me out in front of a giant class full of students, by name, mentioned my blindness, and then decided to say I wasn’t worth the time to make the lesson inclusive. I wasn’t worth it. I think I turned 40 shades of red. I wish I could say I called in people from the Centre for Students with Disabilities and we had a big meeting about this, but I didn’t. I was in my first year. I shrank back in my chair and wanted to disappear. That was nothing compared to this tirade.

It’s especially difficult for someone with an invisible disability when someone decides to pick on them because of it. A lot of people don’t believe invisible disabilities are a thing. People think of disabilities as blind, deaf, using crutches or a wheelchair. If they can’t see it, it can’t be that bad. So disclosing this sort of thing is something the person does with people with whom they are comfortable, and Mr. Heddican made him do it in front of a giant class. That could have been forgiven since it was given as the answer to a question, but Heddican kept going!

I can understand why Mr. Heddican might be wondering what the hell’s up with the gum, but I’m sure he could have handled it much more tactfully. He’s supposed to be the mature one, after all. Even if he asked what was up with the gum, as soon as the kid said he had anxiety, he could have tried to go on as normal and then talked to him afterwards.

Finally, I’m not one to pick on a specific word used to describe someone or something, but that whole “handler” bit just illustrates Heddican’s attitudes towards anyone who might need extra assistance. It, and that no comment comment he left speaks volumes about his character, in my opinion.

I’m glad he was only substituting, and is now on leave. I can’t imagine the dread that student would have been feeling if he knew he had to walk into another class taught by him.