Sunday, November 8, 2015

You Cannot Un-See What You Have Been Shewn

Not The Details, But The Journey

The three persons and the Superintelligent Parakeet who read this blog know that Before Nine isn't exactly a repository of the sunny, perky, fun-filled bits of Life's flotsam, or warm moments featuring Kitties or Small Dogs. Rather the opposite -- but we do try for Teh Funny. In the Words of Saint Roger The Rabbit: sometimes, it's all we have.

When we bring on the funny bits, though, they usually leave a ring of Schadenfreude around the Tub 'O Culture that we collectively bathe in here in Blogtopia. It's a tall order, but someone has to fill it -- and passing these items on frequently results in rioting, bad press, and muttered threats about being hit on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.


... and today's offering is no exception:  I discovered a web news outlet which, on its face, looked like a virtual fountainhead of Teh Crazy: "Now8 News First In News", where we were told employees at a Target store in Kansas City (Missouri, or Kansas, wasn't specified) found a young woman lying on the floor of the Women's bathroom, pleasuring herself with an 'Olaf' hand puppet from the store, while singing "Let It Go" -- a recognizable tune from the Disney CG cartoon film, Frozen, which features little snowman Olaf as one of the main characters.

My first thought: Jeez; what a pathetic attempt to increase hitcount to this news site.  Or, it could be even more evidence of the Decline of Western Civilization, our being purchased by Commie Red China, and forced to sing "The Great Helmsman Is, You Know, That Guy".

The saga continued:
Kansas City Target employees walked into a scene in the woman’s bathroom on Tuesday that they say left them “speechless.” A 26-year-old woman with a history of mental issues ... was taken into custody after employees found her lying next to the trashcan in the woman’s [sic] bathroom crying as she sang the popular song from Disney’s 'Frozen', “Let It Go.” But ... [a]ccording to the employees... it was what she was doing while she was singing that left [them] in utter disbelief and shock. 
One of the employees described the woman in the bathroom as lying "on the floor with her pants around her ankles [and] with an Olaf puppet in one hand and a carrot in the other. What she was doing ... I don’t even have words for it."  The employee added that the scene would be "etched into my mind forever". Regarding the hand puppet, the employee said, "We definitely can’t restock that item.”

Another Now8 Story, And Obligatory Cute Small Animal Photo
Then, showing Team Target loyalty, they took an opportunity for a cheap shot at a competitor: "We really pride ourselves on not seeing these types of things at Target. This is something you usually see at Walmart, not here.”
The [woman in the bathroom] ... kept repeating the same thing over and over again until police arrived: “Let it go, let it go, can't hold back anymore, turn away and slam the door!” ... Police say that [she] was listed as a missing person two weeks prior to the incident and had been off of her medication for schizophrenia / bipolar disorder.... [she] is currently under psychiatric hold in a Kansas City Hospital.
I laughed. I laughed hard enough to break things. It was straight up-from-the-gut laughter you can't stop. I laughed hard enough to involuntarily wet myself -- something which isn't that embarrassing for Dogs, but an event usually confined to literature, or very old persons. However, last week, I couldn't find my glasses for ten minutes; and together with this new incident, it seemed like another proof that soon, I'll be taken to the Vet and Put To Sleep.

Time passed; I padded back to the kitchen for some Single Malt, calmed down, and began writing this... and then saw a link on the "Now8 News" site, to another story -- one about a 61-year-old man, one Marshall Leonard, who set off an explosive device in a Tupelo, Mississippi, Wal-Mart parking lot because police would not allow him to have sex with a goat.  The article stated 13 people had been killed, and the goat taken to an animal shelter for treatment of, uh, abrasions in the neither regions.

As a Dog who has worked in both news reporting and law enforcement, and as a blogger who routinely Photoshops images to increase their humorous potential (example below), something about the Goat Story was off.

Obligatory Fake Small Animal Photo In Middle Of Blog Thing
 It was the reference to Goat injuries, is what did it.  Even if you're a hack writer, you don't follow a paragraph about the death of thirteen people with a reference to a goat's, uh, "lacerations". If you're a news editor, you don't allow such manifestly poor reporting to see print, or you'll be explaining it to the Managing Editor the next day. And, with all due respect -- would your average Target employee use such a phrase as, "It will be etched in my mind" ? Maybe. Just maybe.

A look at a legitimate Mississippi news site yielded a story about 61-year-old Marshall Leonard -- the same person mentioned at the Now8 site -- appearing for a bail hearing. It seems Leonard was angry that a local sporting goods store would no longer sell the Mississippi state flag (with the Confederate States' "Stars and Bars"), so Leonard tried setting off a bomb made of fireworks in the shop's parking lot. Fortunately, the device made smoke and noise, but injured no one.


Then, we hit the Google machine to search local crime sections of legitimate news sites for Kansas City Missouri, and Kansas City Kansas, searching on the phrase, "Target store":  plenty of references to Target's planned layoffs, and to a Target employee arrested for "up skirt" photography in women's dressing rooms. But, no references to a crazy woman doing the She-Bop with a Disney character in a bathroom.

Just by chance, I did an image search on the photo of the straw-haired blonde who appears on the Now8 News site as the "26-year old woman" in the now-infamous Hand Puppet Incident.  As it turns out, the photo is actually of a 35-year-old woman named Tracey Mabb, who had "stripped off her clothing on a highway near Pompano Beach, Florida.
[Mabb] was "vulgar and indecent" as she pulled up her long shirt and showed passing motorists and pedestrians her breasts, vagina and buttocks while hanging out on the South Dixie Highway...  She refused to stop exposing herself and said, "I don't give a f---" to police officers...
The Google machine wasn't working quickly for me earlier; my initial search ("is now8news a hoax site") hadn't come back while I took the long road through Tupelo and Kansas City. When it finally coughed up its results, Snopes.com, for example, did have a longish list of Now8News stories that were, as my Oma would say curtly, "Falsch"; not true.

Proving Godwin's Law (Photo: Hoaxbusters.org)
But, we live in a time when all opinions are equally meritorious and all are given equal weight, rather than offend anyone or suggest an appearance of prejudice. In my Google search results, no one definitively would state that 'Now8 News' were purveyors of bullshit -- humorous bullshit; but, still.

So what started as an odd news story led to side-splitting laughter, momentary minor incontinence, intimations of mortality, single-malt whiskey, and then on to the kind of follow-your-nose stuff that reminded me of The Old Days -- before the Google machine.  It was all fun, and in the end didn't matter if the original story was true or not. The journey was good -- and as in so much else, that's what matters.
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