Odds & ends

Hope everyone had a good weekend.  Here’s a rundown of a few odds & ends that made news since my last post:

A N.Y. man climbed into a tiger enclosure at the Bronx Zoo, saying that he wanted to be “one with the tiger,” and…got mauled.  He survived, but suffice it to say that his wish was partially granted — bits and pieces of him are now, “one with the tiger.”  He’s apparently not insane, just extremely weird, and he’s facing a trespassing charge that he ought to just be glad he’s alive to face.

Almost immediately after I noted Lindsay Lohan’s hypocrisy in pointing out that Amanda Bynes hadn’t been punished enough for violations like alleged drunk driving, hit-and-run, and driving without a license, Lohan was arrested…again…for…hit-and-run.  As usual, I think that this woman will continue to get herself into trouble on a regular basis until she either finally gets punished severely enough to change her outlook (which probably won’t be until she seriously injures or kills somebody) or she dies a preventable death.

Prosecutors in the James Holmes case have apparently done as I’ve suggested and backed off, for now, of litigation over access to the infamous “notebook” in which Holmes allegedly detailed plans of the movie theater massacre for a University of Colorado psychiatrist. As I’ve explained before, the prosecution will get access to the notebook when Holmes’ attorneys raise the insanity defense anyway, so as much as we in the media would like to hear more about it sooner, there’s no need to battle over whether prosecutors should have immediate access to it. Also, three of Holmes’ victims are now suing the theater, essentially alleging that the massacre could’ve and should’ve been foreseen and prevented by better security. More such suits will surely follow, but as bad as I feel for these victims, I still really question whether third parties like the theater and university ought to bear any resposibility for the damage done by Holmes in this case.

A lot of women, my girlfriend included, might think that cooking ability would be a plus in a guy.  Well, maybe not this guy:  Like something straight out of “Sweeny Todd,” an L.A. chef apparently murdered his wife and the disposed of her remains by…boiling them…in a huge vat…for four days…until only her skull remained.  He’s on trial now for her murder.  Insanity defense?  No, thankfully.  He apparently admits arguing with her, binding her, gagging her, and then falling asleep, supposedly awakening to find her “accidentally” deceased, at which point he panicked and boiled the evidence.  Anybody buying that?

While listening to a political talk-show panel discussing the extent to which the U.S. government ought to step in and rescue Americans from problems like a lack of health insurance, the smartest point that I heard was actually made by an Irish guy.  From the outside looking in, he astutely observed that America has essentially said to such individuals, “It’s not your problem; it’s our [the nation’s] problem.”  He then noted that (I’m paraphrasing here), while the nation can still do some things to help people in such situations, “It has to stay [conceptually] their problem,” because if not, we’ll just have more and more people no longer trying to solve “their” problems (and I’d add, more and more people not even trying to avoid “their” problems in the first place), than we can possibly manage to help.  Smart guy.  Sound familiar?

And finally, the ACLU successfully intimidated a Rhode Island public high school into cancelling its traditional “father-daughter” dance.  The ACLU said that the dance was discriminatory, even though the school has also traditionally had a mother-son event, and even though any girl could come to the dance either with her father or with another “father figure,” because a girl without a father actively involved in her life could feel excluded.  Wow, that’s some real defense of “civil liberties” there now isn’t it?  I’ve written and spoken frequently about the “entitlement” problem in our society, but here’s an aspect of it that I haven’t often addressed:  Too many Americans these days seem to feel entitled to go through life without ever feeling bad, and that’s really not any healthier than the other forms of entitlement that I’ve railed against repeatedly.  While nobody wants to see a girl feeling left out of an event, here in America, we haven’t traditionally tried to avoid those hurt feelings by cancelling or changing the event for everyone.  Traditionally, we’ve tried to avoid the hurt feelings, to the extent possible, by instead, for example, trying to find a man — a grandfather, or an uncle, or a friend’s father — to step up and take the girl to the dance.  That was a far better message.

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